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1. [G.R. No. 131492.

September 29, 2000] Petitioners contend that:

ROGER POSADAS, ROSARIO TORRES-YU, and MARICHU I. THE HONORABLE OMBUDSMAN COMMITTED
LAMBINO, petitioners, vs. THE HON. OMBUDSMAN, GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN HE
THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, and ORLANDO V. RULED THAT: 1) STUDENTS COULD BE
DIZON, respondents. ARRESTED WITHOUT WARRANT ON MERE
SUSPICION; 2) PD 1829 INCLUDES ARRESTS
DECISION WITHOUT WARRANTS ON MERE SUSPICION;
AND WHEN HE REVERSED THE FINDINGS
AND RESOLUTION OF THE SPECIAL
MENDOZA, J.:
PROSECUTION OFFICER, THE DEPUTY
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR AND THE SPECIAL
Dennis Venturina, a member of Sigma Rho at the University PROSECUTOR, WHO CONDUCTED THE
of the Philippines, was killed in a rumble between his fraternity REINVESTIGATION OF THE CASE; AND
and another fraternity on December 8, 1994. In a letter dated FINALLY WHEN HE RESOLVED THAT
December 11, 1994, petitioner Roger Posadas, then Chancellor PETITIONERS SHOULD BE SUBJECTED TO
of U.P. Diliman in Quezon City, asked the Director of the National PUBLIC TRIAL WHEN THERE IS NO PROBABLE
Bureau of Investigation for assistance in determining the persons CAUSE AND NO BASIS.
responsible for the crime. In response to the request, respondent
Orlando V. Dizon, Chief of the Special Operations Group of the
II. SECTION 1, PARAGRAPH C OF PRESIDENTIAL
NBI, and his men went to U.P. on December 12 and, on the basis
DECREE NO. 1829 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.[5]
of the supposed positive identification of two alleged
eyewitnesses, Leandro Lachica and Cesar Mangrobang, Jr.,
attempted to arrest Francis Carlo Taparan and Raymundo Narag, Two issues are raised in this case, to wit: (1) Whether the
officers/members of the Scintilla Juris Fraternity, as suspects in attempted arrest of the student suspects by the NBI could be
the killing of Venturina. It appears that the two suspects had validly made without a warrant; and (2) Whether there was
come that day to the U.P. Police Station for a peace talk between probable cause for prosecuting petitioners for violation of P.D.
their fraternity and the Sigma Rho Fraternity. No. 1829. We answer these questions in the negative.

Petitioners Posadas, Marichu Lambino, and Rosario Torres- First. In view of Art. III, 2 of the Constitution, the rule is that
Yu, also of U.P., and a certain Atty. Villamor, counsel for the no arrest may be made except by virtue of a warrant issued by a
suspects, objected on the ground that the NBI did not have judge after examining the complainant and the witnesses he may
warrants of arrest with them. Posadas and Atty. Villamor produce and after finding probable cause to believe that the
promised to take the suspects to the NBI Office the next day. As person to be arrested has committed the crime. The exceptions
a result of their intervention, Taparan and Narag were not when an arrest may be made even without a warrant are
arrested by the NBI agents on that day.[1] However, criminal provided in Rule 113, 5 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure which
charges were filed later against the two student suspects.[2] reads:

Dizon then filed a complaint in the Office of the Special (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
Prosecutor, charging petitioners Posadas, Torres-Yu, Lambino, actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
Col. Eduardo Bentain, Chief of the Security Force of the U.P.
Police, and Atty. Villamor with violation of P.D. 1829,[3] which (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has
makes it unlawful for anyone to obstruct the apprehension and personal knowledge of the facts indicating that the person to be arrested
prosecution of criminal offenders. has committed it;

On May 18, 1995, an information[4] was filed against them, (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a
alleging that: penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while
That on or about December 12, 1994 and for sometime prior or being transferred from one confinement to another.
subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, There is no question that this case does not fall under
namely: ROGER POSADAS, Chancellor; ROSARIO YU - Vice paragraphs (a) and (c). The arresting officers in this case did not
Chancellor; ATTY. MARICHU LAMBINO - Asst. Legal Counsel; and witness the crime being committed. Neither are the students
COL. EDUARDO BENTAIN - Chief, Security Force, all of the fugitives from justice nor prisoners who had escaped from
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, all public officers, confinement. The question is whether paragraph (b) applies
while in the performance of their respective official functions, taking because a crime had just been committed and the NBI agents
advantage of their official duties and committing the crime in relation had personal knowledge of facts indicating that Narag and
to their office, conspiring and confederating with each other and with a Taparan were probably guilty.
certain ATTY. VILLAMOR, did then and there wilfully, knowingly and
criminally obstruct, impede and frustrate the apprehension of Respondents contend that the NBI agents had personal
FRANCIS CARLO TAPARAN and RAYMUNDO NARAG, both knowledge of facts gathered by them in the course of their
principal suspects involved in the brutal killing of DENNIS investigation indicating that the students sought to be arrested
VENTURINA, a U.P. graduating student and Chairperson of the UP were the perpetrators of the crime. [6] They invoke the ruling
College of Administration, Student Council, and delaying the in People v. Tonog, Jr.[7] in which it was held:
investigation and prosecution of the said heinous case by harboring and
concealing said suspects thus, leading to the successful escape of
It may be that the police officers were not armed with a warrant when
suspects Narag and another principal suspect JOEL CARLO
they apprehended Accused-appellant. The warrantless arrest, however,
DENOSTA; that said above acts were done by the above-named
was justified under Section 5 (b), Rule 133 (sic) of the 1985 Rules of
accused public officials despite their full knowledge that said suspects
Criminal Procedure providing that a peace officer may, without a
were implicated in the brutal slaying of said Dennis Venturina, thus
warrant, arrest a person "when an offense has in fact just been
preventing the suspects arrest, prosecution and conviction.
committed and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it." In this case, Pat. Leguarda, in
CONTRARY TO LAW. effecting the arrest of Accused-appellant, had knowledge of facts
gathered by him personally in the course of his investigation indicating
Later, on motion of petitioners, the Special Prosecutor's that Accused-appellant was one of the perpetrators.
Office recommended the dismissal of the case. But the
recommendation was disapproved. In a memorandum, dated In that case, the accused voluntarily went upon invitation of
September 8, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman directed the the police officer who later noticed the presence of blood stains
Special Prosecutor to proceed with the prosecution of petitioners on the pants of the accused. Upon reaching the police station,
in the Sandiganbayan. Hence this petition for certiorari and the accused was asked to take off his pants for examination at
prohibition to set aside the resolution of the Ombudsman's office the crime laboratory. The question in that case involved the
ordering the prosecution of petitioners. admissibility of the maong pants taken from the accused.It is
clear that Tonog does not apply to this case. First, the accused in Respondent U.P. officials justify their act of barring the apprehending
that case voluntarily went with the police upon the latter's officers from arresting the SJ members on the ground that the
invitation. Second, the arresting officer found blood stains on the warrantless arrest sought to be effected did not conform with Sec. 5,
pants of the accused, on the basis of which he concluded that Rule 113 of the Rules of Court; thereby averting, what would be in their
the accused probably committed the crime for which reason the opinion, an illegal arrest. While this justification may, at best, show
latter was taken into custody. Third, the arrest was made on the their good faith, it does not detract from the fact that they had
same day the crime was committed. In the words of Rule 113, reasonable ground to suspect that the SJ members sought to be arrested
5(b), the crime had "just been committed" and the arresting committed the heinous crime of murder as a result of the positive
officer had "personal knowledge of the facts indicating that the identification made by two eyewitnesses. Besides, the reliance on the
person to be arrested had committed it." alleged illegality of the arrest just shows the clear intent, on
respondents' part, to wilfully obstruct, frustrate or, at the least, delay the
In contrast, the NBI agents in the case at bar tried to arrest apprehension and investigation and prosecution of the SJ members
Narag and Taparan four days after the commission of the positively identified.
crime. They had no personal knowledge of any fact which might
indicate that the two students were probably guilty of the To be sure, respondents knew fully well that inquest proceedings follow
crime. What they had were the supposed positive identification of warrantless arrests. It is in this forum where the prosecutor conducting
two alleged eyewitnesses, which is insufficient to justify the the inquest may rule on their opinion on whether or not the warrantless
arrest without a warrant by the NBI. arrest effected was valid; he having the quasijudicial authority to rule
on this matter. Of course, there are various remedies under the law
We have already explained what constitutes "personal which respondents may have likewise availed of or resorted to in order
knowledge" on the part of the arresting officers: to secure the liberty of the SJ members had the latter been arrested,
without prejudice to any criminal or administrative actions that they
may have filed against the arresting NBI agents.However, it appears
"Personal knowledge" of facts in arrests without a warrant under
that they took the law into their own hands in a manner that obstructed
Section 5 (b) of Rule 113 must be based upon "probable cause" which
and delayed the investigation being conducted by a law enforcement
means an "actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion." The
agency like the NBI. They facilitated the escape of the two SJ members
grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual
pinpointed by eyewitnesses as among those who clubbed to death
belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be
Dennis Venturina.[9]
arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense is based on actual
facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves
to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A The question is not whether petitioners had reasonable
reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, grounds to believe that the suspects were guilty. The question is
coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the whether the suspects could be arrested even in the absence of a
arrest.[8] warrant issued by a court, considering that, as already explained,
the attempted arrest did not fall under any of the cases provided
in Rule 113, 5. Regardless of their suspicion, petitioners could
Indeed, at the time Dennis Venturina was killed, these
not very well have authorized the arrest without warrant of the
agents were nowhere near the scene of the crime. When
students or even effected the arrest themselves. Only courts
respondent Dizon and his men attempted to arrest Taparan and
could decide the question of probable cause since the students
Narag, the latter were not committing a crime nor were they
were not being arrested in flagrante delicto. As the Special
doing anything that would create the suspicion that they were
Prosecutor stated in his memorandum, dated May 18, 1995, in
doing anything illegal. On the contrary, Taparan and Narag,
recommending the dismissal of the case against petitioners:
under the supervision of the U.P. police, were taking part in a
peace talk called to put an end to the violence on the campus.
All told, the evidence adduced in this case do not show that on the night
of December 12, 1994, the accused knew or had reasonable ground to
To allow the arrest which the NBI intended to make without
believe that the students who were then at the U.P. police headquarters
warrant would in effect allow them to supplant the courts. The
had committed a crime. Neither were the warrantless arrest being
determination of the existence of probable cause that the
sought to be made on campus that night, legal. The U.P. officials then
persons to be arrested committed the crime was for the judge to
present had every right to prevent the commission of illegal arrests of
make. The law authorizes a police officer or even an ordinary
students on campus.
citizen to arrest criminal offenders only if the latter are committing
or have just committed a crime. Otherwise, we cannot leave to
the police officers the determination of whom to apprehend if we Based on all the foregoing, the obvious conclusion is that, there is no
are to protect our civil liberties. This is evident from a probable cause to charge Posadas, Torres-Yu, Lambino, Bentain and
consideration of the requirements before a judge can order the Atty. Villamor of violating Section 1(c) of P.D. 1829. Probable cause is
arrest of suspects. Art. III, 2 of the Constitution provides: defined as "sufficient ground to engender a well founded belief that a
crime cognizable by the court has been committed and that the
respondents are probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial"
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
(Section 1, Rule 12, Rules of Court). The absence of an arrest warrant,
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature
the absence of knowledge or reasonable ground on the part of the
and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
accused to believe that the students had committed a crime, the absence
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
of any law punishing refusal to attend an investigation at the NBI, all
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
show that there is no sufficient ground to charge the accused with
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
Obstruction of Justice. On the contrary, the circumstances show that the
particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or
accused, in safeguarding the rights of students, were acting within the
things to be seized.
bounds of law.[10]

For the failure of the NBI agents to comply with


Third. Petitioners are being prosecuted under the following
constitutional and procedural requirements, we hold that their
attempt to arrest Taparan and Narag without a warrant was provision of P.D. No. 1829:
illegal.
SEC. 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a
Second. In ordering the prosecution of petitioners for fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon
violation of P.D. No. 1829, 1(c), the Office of the Ombudsman any person who knowingly or wilfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or
stated in its memorandum dated September 8, 1997: delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and
prosecution of criminal cases by committing any of the following acts:

From the facts adduced, it is submitted that respondents had reasonable


ground to suspect that the SJ members sought to be arrested ....
participated in the clubbing of Dennis Venturina, eventually leading to
the latter's demise. It must be remembered that these SJ members were (c) harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he
positively identified by two eyewitnesses. A reasonably prudent mind knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed
could not just ignore this positive identification. In fact, respondents do any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest,
not dispute the identification made on the alleged participants in the prosecution and conviction;
clubbing of Dennis Venturina.
The rule, of course, is that a criminal prosecution cannot be
enjoined.[11] But as has been held, "[i]nfinitely more important
than conventional adherence to general rules of criminal the NBI agents the following day is immaterial. In the first place,
procedure is respect for the citizen's right to be free not only from they were not sureties or bondsmen who could be held to their
arbitrary arrest and punishment but also from unwarranted and undertaking. In the second place, the fact remains that the NBI
vexatious prosecution."[12] As we held in the similar case agents could not have validly arrested Taparan and Narag at the
of Venus v. Desierto:[13] U.P. Police Station as they did not have a warrant at that
time. Hence, only the NBI agents themselves could be faulted for
Conformably with the general rule that criminal prosecutions may not their inability to arrest Taparan and Narag. If the NBI believed the
be restrained either through a preliminary or final injunction or a writ of information given to them by the supposed eyewitnesses, the
prohibition, this Court ordinarily does not interfere with the discretion NBI should have applied for a warrant before making the
of the Ombudsman to determine whether there exists reasonable ground attempted arrest instead of taking the law into their own
to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is hands. That they chose not to and were prevented from making
probably guilty thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding an arrest for lack of a warrant is their responsibility
information with the appropriate courts. There are, however, settled alone. Petitioners could not be held accountable therefor.
exceptions to this rule, such as those enumerated in Brocka v. Enrile, to
wit: We understand that the highly publicized death of Dennis
Venturina caused a public clamor to bring to justice those
a. To afford protection to the constitutional rights of the accused responsible therefor. We also recognize the pressures faced by
(Hernandez vs. Albano, et al. L-19272, January 25, 1967, 19 SCRA 95); law enforcement agencies to effect immediate arrests and
produce results without unnecessary delay. But it must be
remembered that the need to enforce the law cannot be justified
b. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid
by sacrificing constitutional rights. The absence of probable
oppression or multiplicity of actions (Dimayuga, et al. vs. Fernandez, cause for the filing of an information against petitioners is evident
43 Phil. 304; Hernandez vs. Albano, supra; Fortun vs. Labang, et al., L- from the records. They cannot be indicted because they dared to
38383, May 27, 1981, 104 SCRA 607); uphold the rights of the students. Hence, we see no other
recourse but to enjoin the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman
c. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice (De Leon vs. from proceeding with the case against petitioners.
Mabanag, 70 Phil. 202);
Fourth. The conclusion we have thus far reached makes it
d. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority unnecessary to consider petitioners' challenge to P.D. No. 1829,
(Planas vs. Gil, 67 Phil. 62); 1(c). For a cardinal rule of constitutional adjudication is that the
Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although
e. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or properly presented by the record if the case can be disposed of
regulation (Young vs. Rafferty, 33 Phil. 556; Yu Cong Eng vs. Trinidad, on some other ground such as the application of a statute or
47 Phil. 385, 389); general law.[16]

f. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent (Sangalang vs. People and WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the
Alvendia, 109 Phil. 1140); Ombudsman and his agents are hereby prohibited from
prosecuting petitioners for violation of P.D. No. 1829 1(c) as a
result of the incident complained of in Criminal Case No. 22801
g. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense (Lopez vs. City
and the Sandiganbayan is ORDERED to dismiss the information
Judge, L-25795, October 29, 1966, 18 SCRA 616);
in Criminal Case No. 22801 against petitioners.

h. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution (Rustia vs.


SO ORDERED.
Ocampo, CA-G.R. No. 4760, March 25, 1960);

i. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for
vengeance (Recto vs. Castelo, 18 L.J. (1953), cited in Raoa vs.
Alvendia, CA G.R. No. 30720-R, October 8, 1962; Cf. Guingona, et al. [G.R. No. 133925. November 29, 2000]
vs. City Fiscal, L-60033, April 4, 1984, 128 SCRA 577);
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
j. Where there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and vs. AGUSTIN GOPIO, accused-appellant.
a motion to quash on that ground has been denied (Salonga vs. Pao, et
al., L-59524, February 18, 1985, 134 SCRA 438); and DECISION

k. Preliminary injunction has been issued by the Supreme Court to MENDOZA, J.:
prevent the threatened unlawful arrest of petitioners (Rodriguez vs.
Castelo, L- 6374, August 1, 1953) cited in Regalado, Remedial Law This is an appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial
Compendium, p. 188, 1988 Ed.) Court, Branch 12, Bulacan, finding accused-appellant Agustin
Gopio guilty of statutory rape and sentencing him to suffer the
In this case, petitioners' objection to the arrest of the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the
students cannot be construed as a violation of P.D. No. 1829, victim in the amount of P3,727.00 as actual
1(c) without rendering it unconstitutional. Petitioners had a right damages, P30,000.00, as moral damages, and to pay the costs
to prevent the arrest of Taparan and Narag at the time because of the suit.
their attempted arrest was illegal. Indeed, they could not have
interfered with the prosecution of the guilty parties because in The information against accused-appellant charged:[2]
fact petitioner Posadas had asked the NBI for assistance in
investigating the death of Venturina. On the other hand, just
That sometime in the year 1995, in the municipality of Obando,
because petitioners had asked for assistance from the NBI did
province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
not authorize respondent Dizon and his men to disregard
Honorable Court, the said accused Agustin Gopio y Arcillas, by
constitutional requirements.
means of violence, force and intimidation, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the
The Office of the Ombudsman, however, found that the said Ma. Princess Millano y San Diego, 11 years of age, against
intervention by petitioners resulted in the escape of the student her will.
suspects as petitioner Posadas and Atty. Villamor failed in their
undertaking to surrender the students the following day.
[14] Contrary to law.
Hence, the information against them charged that petitioners
willfully obstructed the apprehension of the suspects Taparan
and Narag, leading to the successful escape of these students Trial proceeded as accused-appellant pleaded not guilty
and another principal suspect, a certain Joel Carlo Denosta. when arraigned on March 7, 1997. The prosecution presented as
[15]
The student suspect mentioned by both the resolution dated witnesses the victim, Ma. Princess Millano, her mother,
May 18, 1995 and the information, a certain Joel Carlo Denosta, Luzviminda Millano, and the Municipal Health Officer of Obando,
was not one of the students whose arrest by the NBI agents Bulacan, Dr. Rufino Bautista.
petitioners prevented on December 12, 1994. Moreover, whether
or not petitioner Posadas surrendered the student suspects to
The offense charged was committed by Agustin Gopio, [3] in a) easily admits size of thumb without any resistant (sic)
Brgy. San Pascual, Obando, Bulacan sometime between the
months of May and June 1995. At that time, the barangay was b) ruptured hymen with hard edges (scar)
celebrating its fiesta. The victim stepped out of their house
around 10:00 a.m. to buy cooking oil from accused-appellants
Medical Opinion:
store. However, it was closed.[4] As she was about to leave the
store, accused-appellant called her. When she came near him,
he suddenly seized her and brought her inside the house. There Virginity was destroyed, sexual intercourse was consummated.
was nobody inside the house when the victim was taken by
accused-appellant to the bedroom. The victim resisted and Dr. Bautistas findings showed that the victims hymen had
screamed but accused-appellant threatened to hurt her and her been ruptured, caused possibly by the insertion of a male
family. Accused-appellant laid the victim on the bed in such a organ. He concluded that the victim had already lost her virginity
way that her feet were dangling on the floor. Then, he removed and explained that the looseness of the vaginal canal could not
her underwear, bent over the victim, and started licking her have been caused by strenuous physical activities or accidental
vagina. Later on, accused-appellant removed his briefs, knelt on falling.[10]
the floor, and placed his penis in the victims vagina. The victim
cried in pain as accused-appellant penetrated her. As the victim Based on the result of the physical examination,
would not stop crying, accused-appellant let her go.[5] Luzviminda, with the help of her brother-in-law, asked her
daughter if something happened to her. At first, the victim was
The victim immediately went outside accused-appellants hesitant but, later on, she finally told them that she was raped by
house and rushed home. On the way to her house, she felt their neighbor, accused-appellant Agustin Gopio.[11] Thereafter,
intense pain in her vagina and noticed that she was bleeding. As on November 25, 1996, Luzviminda filed a criminal complaint in
soon as she reached home, she changed her clothes. She was behalf of the victim charging accused-appellant with rape. The
confused and afraid her mother would get angry because of what information for rape was formally filed on February 12, 1997.
happened to her. When her mother saw her inside the house and
asked her if she was able to buy cooking oil, the victim told her Luzviminda presented several receipts covering medical,
mother that the store was closed. So, she was again sent out to transportation, food, and other expenses which she allegedly
buy cooking oil from another store. incurred on account of the incident.[12]

The victim related that on two other occasions after the The defense, on the other hand, presented accused-
incident, also in 1995, she was again molested by accused- appellant Agustin Gopio and his wife, Susita Gopio, as
appellant. On one occasion, the victim stated that she went to witnesses. Accused-appellant testified that he knew the victim
the house of her godsister, Rachel, also in San Pascual, and her family because they were neighbors in Obando,
Bulacan, to invite the latter to play, but Rachel was not Bulacan. He testified that it was impossible for him to commit the
around. Inside the house were several men playing tong- crime of rape against the victim in May and June of 1995
its. Among them was accused-appellant. When the victim was because he was then in Novaliches, Quezon City. Accused-
about to leave, she saw Rachels younger brother inside the appellant explained that he has been selling fish there almost
bedroom crying, so she went there and picked him up. To the everyday since 1994. He said that he usually left his house at
victims surprise, accused-appellant went to the bedroom and 1:00 a.m. to buy fish from the pondohan and sell them in the
closed the door behind him. The victim tried to cry out for help market from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Accused-appellant would
but accused-appellant tightly covered her mouth and ordered her then go home and reach his house between 12:00 noon to 1:00
to put the child down. When she did so, he lowered her shorts p.m. Afterwards he would usually go to the cockpit between 1:00
and panty and started caressing her vagina. After more or less p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Moreover, accused-appellant alleged that the
one month had elapsed, accused-appellant once again molested victims father told him that, sometime in 1995, the victim and the
the victim when she went to her grandfathers abandoned house other members of her family were in Quezon. Accused-appellant
to get the pail requested by her aunt. She did not know that stated that he last saw the victim in 1994 although he admitted
accused-appellant followed her to the house and she was too that she used to go to their store either to buy food or play with
afraid to resist the sexual advances by accused-appellant. one of his daughters.

The victim did not confide to her family about these Accused-appellant further declared that at one time he
incidents because she was very afraid of accused-appellant and failed to bring along the victims mother to the market to sell fish
of what her parents would do to her. Likewise, the victim was and his failure to do so started the animosity between their
ashamed and worried that her friends would spread the news families. Accused-appellant testified that it could be why the
regarding her unfortunate experience.[6] victims family filed a case against him.

To corroborate the testimony of the victim, Luzviminda Accused-appellants wife, Susita Gopio, testified that they
Millano initially testified that her daughter, who was born on had a retail store at home. She opened the store at around 7:00
February 7, 1985, was 10 years old at the time of the rape a.m. and closes it at 10:00 p.m. everyday. Hence, it was unlikely
incident, as evidenced by the victims birth certificate (Exh. D). that there was nobody in the house at the time of the alleged
[7]
On cross-examination, Luzviminda recalled that when the incident.[13]
victim came back from the store, she observed that her daughter
looked pale and worried. She also noticed that her daughter had
changed her clothes. However, Luzviminda did not bother to ask On November 23, 1996, several policemen came looking
her daughter what happened to her because she had several for accused-appellant in his house. When accused-appellant
things to do and was very busy preparing for lunch. The victim arrived and learned about this, he went to their barangay captain
did not eat lunch on that day and ate supper ahead of for assistance. Thereafter, the barangay captain accompanied
them. Luzviminda added that since the time of the incident, the accused-appellant to the police station to clear his
victim had become inattentive and withdrawn. She started getting name. However, when they arrived at the police station,
noticeably low grades in school.[8] accused-appellant was informed of the charges against him. He
was then placed in jail despite his protests. Moreover, while he
was imprisoned, accused-appellant executed a sworn statement
In November 1996, Luzviminda brought the victim to the denying the charges against him.[14]
Municipal Health Center of Obando, Bulacan because the latter
had been experiencing pain in her navel. The health officer of
Obando, Dr. Rufino Bautista, conducted the physical examination After trial, the court a quo rendered its decision, dated April
of the victim and made the following findings in his report: [9] 6, 1998, finding accused-appellant guilty of rape. The dispositive
portion of its decision reads:[15]

On external examination of the genital organ -


WHEREFORE, finding accused Agustin Gopio y Arcillas guilty as
principal beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of statutory rape
Presence of irregular and hardened surface of both labia majora as charged in the information, there being no aggravating or
and labia minora, around the edges of both labia mitigating circumstance attending the commission of said crime,
he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
On internal examination - perpetua, to indemnify the private offended party in the amount
of P3,727.00 as actual damage, and in the further sum of
P30,000.00 as moral damages, and pay the costs of the S: Umiiyak po ako at sinasabi ko na Huwag po, tama na po,
proceedings. pero hindi po siya nakikinig sa akin.

In the award of the above moral damages the filing fee T: Ang ibig mo bang sabihin ng ikaw ay pinahiga sa kama ay
corresponding thereto shall constitute a first lien on said pumatong ba ang katawan ni Jhun sa katawan mo?
judgment.
S: Hindi po, nakaluhod po siya sa sahig at ang dalawa ko
In the service of his sentence the accused who is a detention pong paa ay nasa sahig.
prisoner shall be credited with the time during which he has
undergone preventive imprisonment, pursuant to Art. 29 of the T: Ikaw ba ay nakakaintindi sa orasan?
Revised Penal Code.
S: Opo.
SO ORDERED.
T: Humigit-kumulang, gaano ba katagal na ginawa sa iyo ni
Hence this appeal. Accused-appellant assigns the following Jhun ang bagay na yun?
errors as having been allegedly committed by the trial court:
S: Humigit kumulang po sa isang (1) minuto.
I.
T: Nang pinasok ni Jhun ang kanyang ari sa iyong ari ano
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ang naramdaman mo?
INFORMATION IS INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A JUDGMENT
OF CONVICTION FOR ITS FAILURE TO STATE THE PRECISE
S: Masakit po ang ari ko.
DATE OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED.

T: Hindi ka ba sumigaw o humingi ng saklolo para matigil ang


II.
gingawa sa iyo ni Jhun?

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-


S: Hindi po dahil natakot po ako sa kanya.
APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE
CRIME CHARGED.
T: Hindi ka ba tinakot ni Jhun?
In the prosecution for rape cases, this Court has been
guided by the following principles in its review of trial court S: Tinakot po ako pagkatapos ng ginawa sa akin ng Huwag
decisions: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it daw po akong magsusumbong kahit kanino dahil may
is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, masamang mangyayari sa akin.
though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the nature of the
crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved, the T: Papaanong natapos ang ginawa sa iyo ni Jhun?
testimony of the complainant is scrutinized with extreme caution;
and (3) the evidence for the prosecution stands or falls on its S: Yun pong kahulihulihan ko pong sinabi sa kanya na Tama
own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the na po tapos saka lang po siya tumigil, pinagbihis po
weakness of the defense.[16] niya ako ng short ko at panty at tapos pinauwi na po
ako.
In the case at bar, our review of the evidence confirms the
finding of the trial court that accused-appellant is guilty of T: Paano ka naman ba napunta sa bahay ni Jhun?
statutory rape. The two elements that must be established to
hold the accused guilty of statutory rape are: (1) that the
accused had carnal knowledge of a woman, and (2) that the S: Bibili po ako sa tindahan nila at nakita ko po na sarado
woman is below 12 years of age. Thus, the age of the victim, as ang tindahan tapos po pauwi na po ako tinawag po ako
an essential element for the conviction thereof, must ni Jhun at pinapasok ako sa bahay nila at may
unquestionably be proved by the prosecution.[17] sasabihin daw po siya sa akin.

The evidence presented by the prosecution shows that T: Natatandaan mo ba kung saan, kailan at kung anong oras
accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of the victim. In the nangyari ito?
sworn statement, dated November 23, 1996, which the victim
executed and properly identified during the trial, she stated:[18] S: Natatandaan ko po nangyari ito duon po sa bahay nila sa
Brgy. San Pascual, Obando, Bulacan, hindi ko na po
T: Ano ba ang ginawa sa yo ni Jhun Gopio at gusto mong matandaan ang buwan, araw pero ang oras po ay alas
makulong ito? 10:00 ng umaga noon pong 1995.

S: Dahil po sa ginawang panghahalay niya sa akin. ....

T: Ano bang klaseng panghahalay ang ginawa sa iyo ni T: Minsan lang ba ito ginawa sa iyo ni Jhun Gopio?
Jhun?
S: Isang (1) beses lang po yun panghahalay sa akin pero
S: Ginahasa po niya ako. dalawang (2) beses pong naulit ang panghihipo po sa
ari ko (kiki).

T: Maaari mo bang sabihin sa pagsisiyasat na ito kung paano


ka ginahasa ni Jhun? The victim consistently testified:[19]

S: Opo, hinubaran po ako ng panty, pinahiga po ako sa FISCAL:


kama, dinila-dilaan po ang ari ko (kiki) at tapos po ay
naghubad po siya ng short at brief pinasok po niya ang Q: Madam witness, do you know of any unusual incident or
ari (titi) niya sa kiki ko. any unusual thing that has been done to you by this
accused if any?
T: Ano pa ang ginawa ni Jhun ng nakapasok na ang titi niya
sa ari mo? A: Yes, Maam.

S: Hindi ko na po matandaan. Q: What was that?

T: Ano ang ginawa mo ng nakapasok na ang titi ni Jhun sa ari A: When he inserted his penis inside my vagina, Maam.
mo?
Q: Do you know as to when was this or when did this take A: By the door of his house, sir.
place?
....
A: That was in 1995, Maam.
Q: Madam witness, you also stated that your vagina bled. Is it
Q: Around what month? not a fact that you were very afraid at that time?

A: Between the months of May and June, Maam. A: I became afraid because of his threat not to tell my family
or bad things will happen to me and to my family, sir.
Q: Why do you know that this incident took place between
the months of May and June, 1995? Q: What did you think of your blood coming from your vagina
at that time, Madam witness?
A: Because there was an occasion then, Maam.
A: I became very afraid worried that something might happen
Q: What occasion? to me which was bad, sir.

A: Our barangay fiesta, Maam. ....

.... Q: Madam witness, when you went back home and bought
again another cooking oil as your mother have told you
at that time, were you wearing the same clothes at that
Q: So what happened when he dragged you inside his
time - were you wearing the same clothes when you
bedroom?
came from the house of Gopio back to your house and
then went out again to buy cooking oil?
A: He advised me to undress, Maam.
A: No, sir, I changed my clothes.
Q: When he advised you to undress, did you follow his order?
COURT:
A: Yes, Maam, because he threatened me.
Q: Why did you change your clothes?
Q: What did he tell you as a means of threatening?
A: My mother might notice the blood on my panty and she
A: He told me not to tell that matter to anybody or else might scold me, your honor.
something bad would happen to my family, Maam.
The age of the victim at the time was likewise proven by the
Q: After he threatened you with those words and after prosecution. In fact, it has not been raised as an issue in this
ordering you to undress which according to you, you case.
followed, what happened next?
The trial court in its decision observed:[21]
A: He inserted his penis inside my vagina, Maam.
. . . . The penal code penalizes carnal knowledge by a man of a
Q: What did you do when he inserted his penis inside you woman under twelve years of age, under any circumstance,
vagina? whether force or intimidation is used or not, whether or not she is
deprived of reason or consciousness, or even if the girl
A: I was then crying. consented or herself was the one who initiated the act. She is
presumed by law not in any position to give either consent or
Q: Why were you crying? resistance because of her young age, and no man is allowed by
law to have sex with her unpunished.
A: Because it was painful, Maam.
In People v. Alegado,[22] it was held that, under 39 and 40 of
the Revised Rules on Evidence, the reputation or tradition
Q: What happened next after that? existing in a family previous to the controversy in respect to the
pedigree of any of its members may be received in evidence if
A: When I was then crying and told him to stop it, he stopped the witness testifying thereon be also a member of the family,
and he let me go outside his house, Maam. either by consanguinity or affinity. The word pedigree includes
relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, and the
.... dates when, the places where these facts occurred, and the
names of the relatives. Hence, the testimonies of the victim and
Q: What happened to your vagina after the accused finished her mother are sufficient to prove the victims age. In addition,
aside from the testimonies of the victim and her mother that the
inserting his penis in your vagina?
former was born on February 7, 1985 and was 10 years old
when the incident took place, the prosecution also presented the
A: There was blood, Maam. birth certificate of the victim.

The victim was unshaken by her cross-examination. She Accused-appellant interposes a number of defenses.
testified:[20]
First. Accused-appellant claims that in May and June of
ATTY. JOSON: 1995, he was in Novaliches selling fish. This defense merits no
consideration. Accused-appellant has not shown that it was
Q: Madam witness, you also stated that you are going to buy physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the
cooking oil and you saw that the house of the accused crime at the time of its commission. Moreover, other than the
was closed. Now, why despite the fact that the house of testimony of accused-appellant and his wife that the latter never
the accused was closed then you still went there at his leaves their house, no evidence was presented to substantiate
store? his defense of alibi.

A: I was about to go back home when he called me and when In contrast, the victim positively identified accused-
I came to him, he suddenly pulled me inside his house, appellant as the perpetrator of the crime and categorically
sir. testified that she had been raped by accused-appellant in the
latters house to which she was taken between the months of
Q: Miss witness, you said that the accused called you. Where May and June 1995. It has been held that when a rape victims
was the accused then when he called you at that time? testimony is straightforward and candid, unshaken by rigid cross-
examination and unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in Q: When you were immediately grabbed inside his house, to
its material points, the same must be given full faith and credit. what part of his house were you brought to?
[23]
Thus, this Court said in one case:[24]
A: At his bedroom, Maam.
Alibi as a means of defense is weak when not substantiated by
the testimony of a credible witness. Courts have always looked Q: Did you notice if there were other persons inside the
upon the defense of alibi with suspicion and have always house or in the bedroom?
received it with caution not only because it is inherently weak
and unreliable but also because it is easily fabricated. Alibi as
A: Nobody, Maam.
basis for acquittal must be established with clear and convincing
evidence. The accused must convincingly demonstrate that it
was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of The evaluation of testimonies rests primarily on trial
the crime at the time of its commission. And, where accused was courts. Our function is to review the testimonies only if it is shown
positively identified by the victim herself who harbored no ill that the trial court has overlooked a matter of substance which, if
motive against the rapist, as in this case, the defense of alibi considered, is likely to result in a different conclusion. We have
must fail. not been shown any such evidence in this case.

Between the positive assertions of the prosecution And even assuming that accused-appellants family
witnesses and the negative averments of accused-appellant, the members were around at the time, this does not discount the
former indisputably deserve more credence and are entitled to possibility that a rape was perpetrated inside the house. It has
greater evidentiary weight.[25] time and again been said that rape is no respecter of time or
place as it can be committed in small, confined places or in
places which many would consider as unlikely and inappropriate,
The defense further argues that accused-appellant could
or even in the presence of other family members.[27]
not have committed the crime in his house between those
months because, as testified to by accused-appellants wife, she
was always there tending the store and taking care of their two Indeed, the testimony of Susita Gopio is rendered suspect
small children. The trial court correctly gave credence to the because of her relationship to accused-appellant. In one case, it
victims testimony that there was no one in accused-appellants was contended that the trial court should have given more weight
house when she was raped by the latter. As she testified:[26] to the testimonies of the defense witnesses which uniformly
provided them with convenient alibis. This Court held that these
witnesses were either wives or mothers of the accused who, in
FISCAL:
almost all instances, would freely perjure themselves for the sake
of their loved ones. The defense of alibi may not prosper if it is
.... established mainly by the accused themselves and their relatives
and not by credible persons.[28]
Q: You said that he inserted his penis inside your vagina and
you said that it took place between May and June. My Second. Accused-appellant likewise questions the veracity
question to you now is, where did this takes place? of the victims charges against him because of her failure to
immediately report the incident to the authorities. This, too,
A: In his house, Maam. deserves scant consideration. It has been ruled that the victims
delay in reporting the offense is not an indication of a fabricated
Q: And when you said in his house, where is his charge.[29] In this case, it has not been established that the victim,
house? Where is this house located? of tender age, has any ill motive to falsely testify against
accused-appellant.[30] As the records show, the victim had no
intention at all to report the incident even to her parents for fear
A: At Brgy. San Pascual, Obando, Bulacan, Maam.
that accused-appellant would hurt her and her family and that her
friends would spread the news about her plight. In fact, by
Q: Now, how come that you were in his house at this time? reason of such immense fear on the part of the victim, accused-
appellant succeeded in molesting her on two other occasions
A: I was then going to his house because he has a store, after the incident.
Maam.
What accused-appellant did to complainant would not have
Q: And what will you suppose to do in that store? been discovered by the latters parents were it not for the fact that
she complained of pains in her navel which prompted her mother
A: I would buy something, Maam. to bring her to Dr. Bautista for a medical check-up. There it was
found that the victim was no longer a virgin. Only then did the
victim confess that she was raped by accused-appellant. Had it
Q: And do you still remember what you were suppose to buy not been for that medical examination, the victim would not have
that time? told them about the rape committed by accused-appellant. This
explains the delay in reporting the crime in this case.
A: Yes, Maam.
Nor can this Court consider the victims charges as purely
Q: What will you suppose to buy? fabricated or maliciously motivated. A young girls revelation that
she has been raped, coupled with her willingness to undergo
A: Cooking oil, Maam. public trial where she could be compelled to give out details of an
assault on her dignity, cannot be easily dismissed as a mere
concoction. For it is difficult to imagine that she would undergo
Q: Were you able to buy this cooking oil?
the indignities and hardships concomitant to a prosecution for
rape unless she was motivated by a desire to have the offender
A: No, Maam. apprehended and punished.[31]

Q: Why were you not able to buy the cooking oil? Neither can any ill motive be ascribed against the victims
mother based on accused-appellants testimony that he was
A: Because his house was then closed and nobody [was] being charged because he failed to bring along the victims
inside, Maam. mother at his place of business. No mother would sacrifice her
own daughter, a child of tender years at that, and subject her to
Q: How were you able to go inside his house which according the rigors and humiliation of a public trial for rape if she was not
to you were just to buy from the store? (sic) driven by an honest desire to have her daughters transgressor
punished accordingly.[32] This futile effort to extricate himself from
the charge is so lame for such omission on the part of accused-
A: When I was about to leave the store, I did not see him but
appellant would not have impelled the victim and her family to
he immediately grabbed me inside the house, Maam.
impute so grave a crime against accused-appellant were it not
the truth. Thus, in one case, this Court ruled:[33]
The absence of any ill motive on the part of a rape victim to elements of the crime, such as the exact time of its commission
institute charges does not render her testimony less credible, for in a case of rape.
no woman, especially one of tender age, will agree to undergo
the trouble of having her private parts medically examined and In any event, it is now too late in the day to question the
the humiliation of a public trial if she had not been raped. The form or substance of the information because when he entered
only clear and evident reason for her to institute rape charges is his plea at his arraignment, accused-appellant did not object to
to get justice for her plight. Besides, a mother like Thelma the sufficiency of the information against him. The rule is that, at
Penafiel herein would not subject her child to a public trial, with any time before entering his plea, the accused may move to
its accompanying stigma as the victim of rape, if the charges filed quash the information on the ground that it does not conform
were not true. substantially to the prescribed form. The failure of accused-
appellant to assert any ground for a motion to quash before he
Time and again when the issue is one of credibility of pleads to the information, either because he did not file a motion
witnesses, we have held that appellate courts will generally not to quash or failed to allege the same in said motion, shall be
disturb the findings of the trial courts, considering that the latter deemed a waiver of the grounds for a motion to quash, except
are in a better position to decide the question as they have heard when the grounds are that no offense was charged, the court
the witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged, the
testifying during trial.[34] This Court has said:[35] offense or penalty has been extinguished, and the accused
would be twice put in jeopardy.[38]
We have consistently adhered to the rule that where the
culpability or innocence of an accused would hinge on the issue Regarding his arrest, while accused-appellant claimed that
of credibility of witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, he protested when he was imprisoned by the police authorities,
findings of the trial court are given the highest degree of he failed to raise objections to his arrest at the earliest possible
respect. These findings will not ordinarily be disturbed by an opportunity. The record shows that he voluntarily entered a plea
appellate court absent any clear showing that the trial court has of not guilty when he was arraigned on March 7, 1997, thereby
overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or waiving his right to question any irregularity in his arrest. By
circumstances of weight or substance which could very well pleading guilty, accused-appellant submitted to the jurisdiction of
affect the outcome of the case. The reason for the rule is an the trial court, thereby curing any defect in his arrest, for the
excellent chance on the part of the trial court, an opportunity that legality of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over
is not equally open to an appellate court, of being able to his person. Furthermore, any such irregularity will not negate the
personally observe the expression of declarants on the witness validity of his conviction duly proven beyond reasonable doubt by
stand and their demeanor under questioning. And the Court the prosecution.[39]
agrees with the observation of the trial court that the testimony of
Maricris was straightforward, guileless and credible. She gave a Therefore, the trial court correctly ruled that accused-
plain and candid account of her harrowing experience in a appellant Agustin Gopio is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
manner reflective of honest and unrehearsed testimony. The rule crime of statutory rape.
is well settled that when the question of credence as to which of
the conflicting versions of the prosecution and the defense where
The award of damages by the trial court in favor of the
a rape as committed is in issue, the trial courts answer is
victim should, however, be modified. The award of actual
generally viewed as correct.
damages, in the sum of P3,727.00, must be deleted in the
absence of proof required by Art. 2199 of the Civil Code. To be
Third. Accused-appellant claims that he was denied his entitled to actual and compensatory damages, there must be
constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of competent proof constituting evidence of the actual amount
accusation against him for failure of the information to indicate thereof, such as receipts showing the expenses incurred on
the approximate time of the commission of the offense. This account of the rape incident. [40] In this case, only the laboratory
claim is not tenable. The phrase in the information, that fee issued by Our Lady of Salambao Hospital in Bulacan
sometime in 1995. . . has sufficiently apprised accused-appellant amounting to P350.00 was duly receipted. The rest of the
of the crime which he allegedly committed in 1995. It bears documents, which the prosecution presented to prove the actual
stressing that, in the case of rape, the date of commission is not expenses incurred by the victim, were merely a doctors
an essential element of the offense, what is material being the prescription and a handwritten list of food
occurrence thereof and not the time of its commission. In the expenses. Nevertheless, under Article 2221 of the Civil Code,
case at bar, a reading of the information would readily reveal nominal damages are adjudicated in order that the right of the
satisfactory compliance with the rules and that appellant plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant,
unquestionably has been properly apprised of the charges may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of
proffered against him. Thus, in People v. Isug Magbanua,[36] it indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him. As has
was held: been held, whenever there has been a violation of an
ascertained legal right, although no actual damages resulted or
Although the information did not state with particularity the dates none are shown, the award of nominal damages is proper.[41] In
when the sexual attacks took place, we believe that the this case, the victims family clearly incurred medical expenses
allegations therein that the acts were committed on (sic) the year due to the rape committed by accused-appellant. The victim
1991 and the days thereafter substantially apprised appellant of suffered from pains in her navel which required her physical
the crime he was charged with since all the essential elements of examination. An award of P2,000.00 as nominal damages is thus
the crime of rape were stated in the information. As such, appropriate under the circumstances.
appellant cannot complain that he was deprived of the right to be
informed of the nature of the case filed against him. An On the other hand, based on our current rulings, the award
information can withstand the test of judicial scrutiny as long as it of P30,000.00 as moral damages should be increased
distinctly states the statutory designation of the offense and the to P50,000.00 irrespective of proof thereof.[42] In addition, the
acts or omissions constitutive thereof. victim is entitled to the award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity
which must be given even if there is neither allegation nor
The above ruling was reiterated in the case of People v. evidence presented as basis therefor.[43]
Pambid,[37] where it was held that, under Rule 110, 6 and 11 of
the Rules on Criminal Procedure, an information is sufficient as WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court,
long as it states the statutory designation of the offense and the Branch 12, Bulacan, finding accused-appellant Agustin Gopio
acts or omissions constituting the same, since in rape cases, the guilty of statutory rape and sentencing him to reclusion
time of commission of the crime is not a material ingredient of the perpetuais AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-
offense. It is thus sufficient if it is alleged that the crime took appellant is ordered to pay the victim the amounts of P2,000.00,
place as near to the actual date at which the offense(s) are by way of nominal damages, P50,000.00, as moral damages,
committed as the information or complaint will permit. In this and the additional amount of P50,000.00, as civil indemnity, plus
connection, this Court also ruled that in rape cases, victims of the costs of the suit.
rape hardly retain in their memories the dates, number of times,
and manner they were violated. In the same vein, to be material,
SO ORDERED.
discrepancies in the testimony of the victim should refer to
significant facts which are determinative of the guilt or innocence
of the accused, not to mere details which are irrelevant to the
remained at the family residence at Barrio Militar, Menzi, Isabela,
Basilan Province (Ibid, p. 6).
[G.R. No. 129299. November 15, 2000]
Sometime in January 1995, Rodolfo Madraga took his children
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, from their grandfather and forced them to stay with him at the
vs. RODOLFO OLING MADRAGA, accused- family residence (Ibid, pp. 6 & 7).
appellant.
Sometime in May 1995, at 12:00 midnight, Rodolfo Madraga
DECISION sexually abused her (sic) 16-year old daughter, Fe Madraga, in
one of the rooms of the family residence. (Ibid, pp. 7-8)
BUENA, J.:
On the third night after the rape, Rodolfo Madraga repeated his
bestial act toward her (sic) own daughter and did it every night
Before the Court, for its automatic review, is the
thereafter (Ibid, p. 9).
Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court of Isabela, Basilan, Branch
2, in Criminal Case No. 2511-599, which has found herein
accused-appellant, Rodolfo Oling Madraga, guilty beyond On August 24, 1996, Flordelina Madraga arrived from Malaysia
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed against his 16- (Ibid, p. 10). The presence of her mother gave Fe Madraga
year old daughter. The death sentence having been decreed by enough courage to report to her the sexual abuses committed
the trial court, the records of the case have, accordingly, been against her by her father (Ibid).
elevated to this Court.
Fe Madraga was brought to the doctor, and her medical
Rodolfo Oling Madraga was charged with two (2) counts of examination confirmed that she was sexually molested
rape committed against his own 16-year old daughter, Fe C. (Ibid; Exhibits A, A-1, A-2 and B).
Madraga. One was committed on May 19, 1995 (Crim. Case No.
2511-599), and the other one on August 24, 1996 (Crim. Case Fe Madraga, reported the matter to the police authorities (Ibid, p.
No. 2515-602).[2] 13).[6]

At the arraignment on November 4, 1996, accused- On December 10, 1996, the trial court rendered its
appellant, with the assistance of Atty. Antonio D. Banico, entered Decision,[7] the dispositive portion of which reads:
separate pleas of not guilty for each case. Thereafter, the trial
proper of the cases was set to November 18, 19, and 20, 1996.[3] WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the
accused, RODOLFO OLING MADRAGA, GUILTY beyond
On November 18, 1996, Atty. Banico, counsel for the reasonable doubt of committing the said crime of RAPE against
accused, moved that they be given time up to December to talk his own daughter, who is only more than 16 years old at the time
with complainants mother so that the accused will plead guilty to of the commission of the offense. And hereby sentences said
the first case, but will seek for the dismissal of the second accused to suffer the extreme penalty of DEATH.
case. The complainants mother, who was in Court, manifested
that she does not agree to the proposition. Trial of the cases was The plea of guilty of the accused being offset by his being drunk
re-set to December 2, 3 & 4, 1996.[4] during the commission of the crime, which according to the
complainant, her father is not a habitual drinker, cannot be taken
On December 2, 1996, counsel for the accused manifested into consideration in his favor.
that the accused was willing to enter a plea of guilty to the crime
of rape, which was committed in the month of May, 1995, The penalty imposable for the crime of Rape especially if it is
provided that the other case be tried on another date. committed by the accused against his children is really harsh. In
fact this Presiding Judge was a little bit reluctant to impose that
Thus, accused pleaded guilty in Criminal Case No. 2511- extreme penalty of death upon the accused, but since it is the
599 upon the following complaint: mandate of the law, then the Court when the evidence warrant
must have to obey its command. And besides, the Court cannot
The undersigned complainant, a minor of sixteen (16) years of cleanse its conscience if the perpetrator of the crime of rape
age, under oath, accuses her father, Rodolfo Oling Madraga, of committed against his own blood would be able to escape the
the crime of Rape, committed as follows: punitive sanction of the law.

That sometime in the month of May, 1995, and within the And as this Court had repeatedly pronounced over and over
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, viz., at Barrio Militar, again, under no circumstance, shall a father use his own
Barangay Menzi, Municipality of Isabela, Province of Basilan, daughter as a vehicle to satisfy his bestial instinct for it is his
Philippines, the above-named accused who was under the moral and legal responsibility to take care, to nourish, and to
influence of liquor, entered the room of the undersigned educate his children to become useful citizens of this
complainant, who was then sleeping, and by means of force and country. But since the accused herein had chosen to place the
intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and honor and the dignity of her (sic) daughter into shame, into
feloniously remove the short pant (sic) and panty of the disgrace, and into ill-repute, then the heavy burden of the law
undersigned complainant, lay on top of her and insert his penis that catches upon him cannot show him any mercy.
inside her vagina, and succeeded in having carnal knowledge of
the undersigned complainant, against her will. With respect to Criminal Case No. 2515-602, for the same
offense of Rape committed by the same accused, against the
Contrary to law.[5] same complainant, the hearing thereof is hereby set to the
January calendar of this Court.
Thereafter, the prosecution presented its evidence which
consisted of the private complainants testimony and the medical SO ORDERED.
certificate issued by Dr. Nilo Barandino.
Two Appellants Brief were filed with this Court -- one filed
Private complainants testimony revealed that: by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) Anti Death Penalty
Task Force, and another one filed by Public Attorney Antonio D.
Banico, appellants counsel, before the court a quo.
Fe Madraga, 16 years old, is the daughter of Rodolfo Madraga, a
tricycle driver (TSN, December 2, 1996, pp. 4-5). Her mother,
Flordelina Madraga, was in Sabah, Malaysia, working as a The Appellants Brief filed by the Free Legal Assistance
domestic helper. Group (FLAG), submits the following assignment of errors:

When her mother left for Malaysia, Fe and her brothers and I
sisters stayed with their grandfather, Luis Cotamco Sr., at Calle
Bisaya (Ibid., p. 5). On the other hand, Rodolfo Madraga Accused-appellant was denied due process.
II appellant was arraigned does not state in the specifications of
the acts constitutive of the offense, that he is charged as the
The plea of guilt of accused-appellant is null and void as the trial father of the victim. Such omission is prejudicial to the right of the
court violated Section 3, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal accused to be informed of the nature of the accusations against
Procedure. him.

On the first assigned error, appellant contends that he was In the recent case of People vs. Bali-Balita,[17] the Court,
illegally arrested, because there was no warrant of arrest issued through Madam Justice Minerva P. Gonzaga-Reyes, reiterated
for his arrest. Worse, appellant avers, his right to preliminary the ruling in Buhat vs. Court of Appeals [18]that: xxx the real
investigation was not observed, although there is no showing nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption
that he waived his right thereto. Appellant further alleges that or the preamble of the information, nor from the specification of
there was irregularity in the filing of the information in that a the provision of law alleged to have been violated xxx, but from
criminal complaint was filed on September 10, 1996. However, in the actual recital of the facts as alleged in the body of the
the Order of the Court dated October 7, 1996, it mentioned an information.
information not attached to the records of the case. The trial
court directed the prosecution to submit the resolution which We should now discuss the issue of whether or not the
became the basis for the filing of the alleged information. A prosecution was able to prove appellants guilt beyond
resolution dated October 8, 1996 was submitted by the reasonable doubt, and the appropriate penalty to be imposed on
prosecution on October 17, 1996 in compliance with the Order appellant. But first, the manner in which appellant entered his
dated October 7, 1996. The resolution was issued only on plea of guilt should be tackled.
October 8, 1996, hence, appellant concludes that the same could
not have been the basis for the alleged information (assuming Accused-appellant entered a plea of guilty, but it appears
such information exists) which was obviously filed earlier.[8] from the records of the proceedings before the court a quo that
the same was a conditional plea, because appellants counsel
The contentions have no merit. argued that the mitigating circumstances of plea of guilty and
drunkenness should be appreciated in favor of the appellant.
[19]
In the recent case of People vs. Galleno,[9] this Court held Said counsel was apparently unaware that the mitigating
that an accused, as in this case, is estopped from questioning circumstances of plea of guilty, and the fact that the appellant
any defect in the manner of his arrest if he fails to move for the was drunk when he committed the crime, cannot be appreciated
quashing of the information before the trial court, or if he in the latters favor because a plea of guilty would not, under any
voluntarily submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court by circumstance, affect or reduce the death sentence.
entering a plea, and by participating in the trial.
As heretofore discussed, the appellant pleaded upon a
With regards to the absence of preliminary investigation, charge of simple rape. The penalty for simple rape under Art. 335
this Court ruled in Sanciangco, Jr. vs. People[10] and cited in of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua, a single
Larranaga vs. Court of Appeals,[11] that the absence of indivisible penalty. It appears that said counsel is also not aware
preliminary investigation does not affect the courts jurisdiction that under Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, in all cases in
over the case. Nor does it impair the validity of the (complaint) or, which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be
otherwise, render it defective. applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating
circumstances that may have attended the commission of the
deed (except where there is a privileged mitigating circumstance
On the second issue, appellant, through the FLAG, argues
of minority of the accused under Art. 68, and when the crime
that the trial judge failed to conduct a searching inquiry into the
committed is not wholly excusable under Art. 69 neither of which
voluntariness and full comprehension of the accuseds plea of
is the case here[20]). While the records do not show that appellant
guilty to the capital offense, as mandated in Sec. 3, Rule
entered his plea with the proviso that a certain penalty be
116[12] of the New Rules on Criminal Procedure. Thus, this case
imposed upon him, this can be inferred from the arguments
should be remanded to the court of origin for further and
made by his counsel during the hearing on December 2, 1996,
appropriate proceedings, citing People vs. Estomaca.[13]
and in the appellants brief filed by said counsel, asking that
appellant be entitled to the benefit of the plea.[21]
This contention[14] of the FLAG would have been correct
were it not for the circumstance that accused-appellant did not, in
We would, thus, assume that appellant made a conditional
fact, plead guilty to a capital offense in the first place. On this
plea because this assumption would be more favorable to the
matter, Atty. Banico correctly pointed out that only the first
accused. A conditional plea of guilty, or one entered subject to
paragraph of the complaint mentions the age of the private
the provision that a certain penalty be imposed upon him, is
complainant and the relationship of the accused to the private
equivalent to a plea of not guilty and would, therefore, require a
complainant, i.e., that the accused is the father of the private
full-blown trial before judgment may be rendered.[22] The question
complainant. Atty. Banico is correct in arguing that the first
now arises: Was a full-blown trial conducted?
paragraph of the complaint is not part of the allegation of the
charge for rape to which appellant pleaded guilty. Therefore, said
complaint charges only simple rape under Art. 335, for which the We answer in the affirmative. The prosecution presented
penalty is only reclusion perpetua, and not for rape under R.A. evidence to prove the commission of the crime as charged in the
7659, qualified by the circumstance that the offender is the father Complaint. The victim testified and was cross-examined. An
of the victim who is a minor, for which the penalty is death.[15] examination of the victims testimony shows that she testified in a
categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner, and
remained consistent. Also, we find the victims testimony to be
In other words, since the appellant did not plead guilty to a
natural and consistent with human nature and the normal course
capital offense, he cannot properly invoke Sec. 3, Rule 116,
of things. A rape victim who testifies in a categorical,
and People vs. Estomaca, to have this case remanded to the
straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner, and remains
trial court for compliance with said rule.
consistent, is a credible witness.[23] Although no other evidence
was presented by the prosecution, in rape cases, the accused
In order for rape to be punishable with death, the may be convicted solely on the testimony of the victim, provided
information/complaint must properly allege the qualifying that such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and
circumstance of relationship between the accused and the victim, consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.
and the latters minority, and the same must be proved beyond [24]
We, therefore, find that the trial court correctly found the
reasonable doubt, in the same manner that circumstances that appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape.
qualify a killing to murder, must be alleged in the information, and
also proved beyond reasonable doubt during the trial. Failure to
The victim is entitled to indemnity of P50,000.00 in line with
allege the fact of filiation and minority in the information for rape
prevailing jurisprudence[25] in addition to moral damages in the
is fatal and consequently bars conviction of its qualified form
amount of P50,000.00. Award of moral damages to a rape victim
which is punishable with death.[16]
is proper even if there was no proof presented during the trial as
basis therefor.[26]
In the case at bar, such relationship is not stated in the
cause of the accusation, or in the narration of the act or omission
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED
constituting the offense, but only in the preamble or opening
insofar as it finds the accused-appellant Rodolfo Oling Madraga
statement of the complaint. The complaint upon which the
guilty of the crime of rape, with the MODIFICATION that the
penalty imposed is reduced to reclusion perpetua, and the On July 15, 1992, a hearing was conducted where de la
accused-appellant is directed to pay the victim P50,000.00 by Pea was presented as a witness for the prosecution. Presiding
way of indemnity, in addition to P50,000.00 as moral damages. Judge Agana sustained the objections of the defense counsels
each time that the prosecution attempted to establish the
SO ORDERED. conspiracy to kill the victim. The prosecution filed a motion to
inhibit Judge Agana, which motion was denied.

On November 20, 1992, the Information against Go and


Herodias was dismissed with prejudice on the ground that their
right to a speedy trial had been violated, leaving de la Pea to
face trial.
[G.R. No. 135045. December 15, 2000]
The prosecution then challenged the Order of Dismissal
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. IRENEO with Prejudice before the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP No.
GAKO, JR. (Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial 32954. In its Decision dated April 18, 1994, the Court of Appeals
Court, 7th Judicial Region, Branch 5, Cebu City) and annulled and set aside the Order of Dismissal, ordered the
VICENTE GO, respondents. inhibition of Judge Agana, and ordered the raffle of the case to
another branch. With the dismissal of the appeal of private
DECISION respondent Go and co-accused Herodias by this Court in a
Minute Resolution dated June 26, 1995, the criminal case was
GONZAGA-REYES, J.: set anew for trial.

Before us is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45, Rules of The case was re-raffled to RTC-17 and on October 28,
Court of the Resolution[1] of public respondent Court of Appeals 1996, an Alias Warrant of Arrest was issued against private
(Former Third Special Division) dated August 12, 1998 in CA- respondent Go and co-accused Herodias.
G.R. SP No. 47142, entitled PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
versus HON. IRENEO GAKO, JR. ET. AL., dismissing the On February 2, 1997, Dr. Matig-a, the physician of Go, filed
petition of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), herein a Clinical Summary on the illness of Go and on February 13,
petitioner. 1997 Go filed a Petition for Bail.

This instant petition stems from a murder case filed against On March 7, 1997 and March 10, 1997, the prosecution
private respondent Vicente Go (Go) and two co-accused Sonny presented de la Pea who was acquitted in 1993. De la Pea
Herodias (Herodias) and Leopoldo dela Pea (de la Pea).The testified on matters which he was not allowed by then presiding
victim, Rafael Galan, Sr. (Galan, Sr.), was shot dead on June 25, Judge Agana to testify on.
1991.
On March 21, 1997, a Manifestation on the Confinement of
Judge Priscila S. Agana (Judge Agana) originally presided private respondent Vicente Go was filed urging his arrest
over the criminal case subject of this petition. The prosecution because he was out of the intensive care unit.
sought to inhibit said judge for her alleged collusion with the
accused when she repeatedly sustained the objections of the The motion of the prosecution to transfer the criminal case
defense every time the prosecution attempted to establish the to a Special Heinous Crimes Court was denied by then presiding
conspiracy to kill the victim. Judge Agana denied the motion to Judge Jesus de la Pea (Judge de la Pea). The case was finally
inhibit and dismissed the case with prejudice on the ground that assigned to Branch 5 with public respondent Judge Gako, Jr. as
the rights of the accused to a speedy trial were violated. The presiding judge.
prosecution challenged the dismissal in the Court of Appeals,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 32954. In its Decision dated April
On September 16 and 17, 1997, the hearing was resumed,
18, 1994, the Court of Appeals set aside the order of dismissal,
now presided by public respondent Judge Gako, Jr.
granted the inhibition of the judge, and ordered the re-raffle of
the case. The decision of the Court of Appeals gained finality
when this Court dismissed the appeal of private respondent Go On September 26, 1997, an Urgent Motion to Enforce the
and co-accused Herodias in a Minute Resolution dated June 26, Alias Warrant of Arrest was filed praying for the arrest of private
1995. The criminal case was thus set for retrial. A series of respondent Go first before his Clinical Summary Report could be
delays beset the case when the judges to whom the case was heard.
raffled inhibited themselves. The case was finally presided over
by public respondent Judge Ireneo Gako, Jr (Judge Gako, Jr.). On November 10, 1997, public respondent Judge Gako, Jr.
issued an Order granting the Petition for Bail of private
With the foregoing events as backdrop, the pertinent facts respondent Go.
that led to the filing of this instant petition are as follows:
On November 11, 1997, the prosecution filed a Vehement
On July 3, 1991, de la Pea executed an Extra-judicial Motion to Inhibit public respondent Judge Gako, Jr. due to his
Confession implicating therein Herodias and Go in the alleged delay in resolving the incidents in connection with the
conspiracy to kill and murder the victim. arrest of private respondent Go.

On July 9, 1991, an Information was filed against the three On November 12, 1992, the prosecution moved for the
accused namely, de la Pea, Herodias and Go, charging them reconsideration of the Order of the court dated November 10,
with the murder of Galan, Sr. and the case was docketed as 1997, the order which granted bail to private respondent Go.
Criminal Case No. CBU-22474. Judge Godardo Jacinto,[2] then
the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, On November 14, 1997, a Supplemental Motion to Inhibit
issued a Warrant of Arrest against the accused. public respondent Judge Gako, Jr. was filed by the counsel of the
offended party because Judge Gako, Jr. allegedly pre-judged the
On July 22, 1991 an Urgent Motion to Confine private evidence of the prosecution without carefully evaluating why it is
respondent Go in a hospital was filed. short of the requirement to sustain a verdict of life imprisonment.

On August 2, 1991, the hearing on said motion was On November 15, 1997, a Supplemental Motion for
conducted with the prosecution reserving its right to cross- Reconsideration was filed from the Order dated November 10,
examine Dr. Gonzales. 1997 because the transcripts were allegedly not read.

On August 6, 1991 an Order was issued to confine private On December 1, 1997, a Motion for the Issuance
respondent Go in a hospital without the prosecution having of Subpoena Duces Tecum to produce the records of Dr. Matig-a
cross-examined Dr. Gonzales on his medical report. was filed to determine if the medical findings on private
respondent Go were not exaggerated to prevent his arrest.
On December 11, 1997, public respondent Judge Gako, Jr. and (2) that the certification on non-forum shopping was signed
issued an Order in which he denied the prosecutions by counsel for petitioner Galan, not by petitioner herself.[4]
Manifestation dated March 21, 1997 on the confinement of
private respondent Go, and the Urgent Motion to Enforce the On April 14, 1998, private complainant Galan, through
Alias Warrant of Arrest dated September 26, 1997 against private counsel, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of said Resolution
respondent Go. indicating that petitioner OSG was going to adopt her petition. On
the same date, petitioner OSG manifested before public
On January 20, 1998, public respondent Judge Gako, Jr. respondent Court of Appeals that it was joining private
issued an Order denying the: (1) Motion for Reconsideration of complainant Galan in her petition and was adopting her petition
the Order dated November 10, 1997; (2) Motion to Inhibit; and as its own.
(3) Supplemental Motion to Inhibit the Presiding Judge. The
prosecution received this order on February 10, 1998. On June 18, 1998, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution
that denied said motion for reconsideration of private
On March 20, 1998, private complainant Guadalupe Galan complainant Galan on the ground that the certification on non-
(Galan), the widow of the victim, filed a petition forum shopping was not signed by therein petitioner Galan. The
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court docketed as Court of Appeals also reasoned that the fact that the OSG joined
CA-G.R. SP No. 471460 before public respondent Court of petitioner Galan in her petition did not cure the above deficiency.
[5]
Appeals. The petition sought to annul or set aside the orders of Petitioner OSG received copy of the resolution on June 29,
public respondent Judge Gako, Jr. and then acting Presiding 1998.
Judge de la Pea, to wit:
On August 3, 1998 petitioner OSG filed a petition
a) Order dated May 23, 1997, which set aside the earlier for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the Court
order of the court that granted the re-raffle of this case to a of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 47142.
heinous crime court upon the defenses motion for
reconsideration. On August 12, 1998, said petition of petitioner OSG was
dismissed by public respondent Court of Appeals, the pertinent
b) Order dated November 10, 1997, the dispositive portion portions of the resolution read:
of which reads:
The Court notes that said petition is practically a reproduction of
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the court hereby grants the petition earlier filed by complainant Guadalupe Galan, which
bail to accused Vicente Go which is fixed at P50,000.00, after was dismissed on March 26, 1998. The dismissal was reaffirmed
taking into consideration, and this fact has not been disputed, by the Court in its resolution dated June 18, 1998, copy of which
that said accused is presently confined in the hospital and is was received by the OSG on June 29, 1998.
suffering from the following ailments:
Instead of seeking, on time, the amendment of the first petition or
a) Ischemic Heart Disease, S/P Coronary a review of the resolution dismissing it, the OSG has come to this
Angiogram, Single Vessel Disease, LAD, Court through the instant petition which not only raises the same
Chronic Stable Angina; matters ventilated in the same petition but also was filed beyond
the 60-day period prescribed in Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997
b) Essential Hypertension; Rules of Civil Procedure.

c) NIDDM WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition dated July 17,


1998, is hereby DISMISSED.
d) Hypercholesterolemia; and
SO ORDERED.[6]
e) Respiratory Tract Infection
In seeking the allowance of this instant petition, petitioner
OSG relies upon the following grounds:
And, as per clerical summary report of Dr. Generoso
Matiga, dated February 4, 1997, the confinement of
accused Go in prison will cause his disease to terminate I. PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS
fatally. ERRED IN NOT GIVING DUE COURSE TO THE
SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION OF (sic) CERTIORARI
FILED BY PETITIONER DOCKETED AS CA-G.R.
xxx
SP NO. 47142.

c) Order dated December 11, 1997, the dispositive portion of


II. PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS
which reads:
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT SAID SPECIAL CIVIL
ACTION WAS FILED BEYOND THE SIXTY-DAY
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Manifestation dated PERIOD PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 4, RULE 65
March 3, 1997 and the Motion to Enforce the Alias Warrant of OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
Arrest are hereby denied for want of merit. Besides the accused
was already released on bail and the issue on the enforcement
III.PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS
of the Alias Warrants of Arrest is already moot and academic.
ERRED IN NOT TOUCHING ON THE MERITS OF
THE SAID PETITION.[7]
d) Order dated January 20, 1998, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
Public respondent Court of Appeals correctly ruled that
there was sufficient ground to dismiss the petition filed by private
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Omnibus Motions for complainant Galan since it was her counsel who signed the
Reconsideration on the order of the court granting Bail to certificate on non-forum shopping and not private complainant
accused Vicente Go with Supplemental pleading, xxx and thirdly, herself. The petition clearly failed to comply with the requirement
to disqualify the herein Presiding Judge, are hereby denied for imposed by Section 1, Rule 65[8], in relation to Section 3, Rule
lack of merit. xxx[3] 46[9] of the 1997 Rules of Court. We also agree with the Court of
Appeals, that the mere fact that petitioner OSG manifested that it
The petition was signed by the counsel of private was adopting the petition of therein petitioner Galan did not cure
complainant, Atty. Antonio Guerrero with the conformity of Vidal the defective petition considering that the certificate on non-
Gella, Prosecutor I of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cebu forum shopping was still not signed by petitioner Galan but by
City. her counsel. The manifestation of petitioner OSG also did not
contain a certification on non-forum shopping. By the time that
On March 26, 1998, public respondent Court of Appeals petitioner OSG filed its petition for certiorari in behalf of the
(Special Third Division) issued a Resolution dismissing the said People of the Philippines on August 3, 1998, the dismissal of the
petition on these grounds: (1) that the petition was not filed by petition of private complainant Galan had already been
the Solicitor General in behalf of the People of the Philippines;
reaffirmed and the 60-day period for petitioner OSG to file its bail of accused Go in the amount of P 50,000.00; (3) Order dated
petition had already lapsed. December 11, 1997 denying the Motion to Enforce the Alias
Warrants of arrest; and (4) Order dated January 20, 1998
In dismissing the petition of petitioner OSG, public denying the Omnibus Motions for Reconsideration of the order of
respondent Court of Appeals pointed out that private complainant the court granting bail to accused Go and ruling against the
Galan had no legal standing to file the petition before it because disqualification of respondent Judge Gako, Jr.
only the Solicitor General can represent the People before this
Court (Court of Appeals) and the Supreme Court.[10] On this point, While the petition of private complainant Galan was indeed
we differ. defective in form and the petition of petitioner OSG was
demonstrably filed beyond the 60-day period, we however
In the recent case of Narciso vs. Romana-Cruz[11], we resolve to grant this petition in part in view of the primordial
reiterated the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Calo[12] that: interest of substantial justice.

While the rule is, as held by the Court of Appeals, only the The just cited issues in the petition before public
Solicitor General may bring or defend actions on behalf of the respondent Court of Appeals presented extenuating
Republic of the Philippines, or represent the People or the State circumstances that should have compelled the latter to pass
in criminal proceeding pending in this Court and the Court of upon the merits of said petition. In a number of cases,[15] we have
Appeals (Republic vs. Partisala, 118 SCRA 320 [1982]), the ends set aside the strict application of procedural technicalities in the
of substantial justice would be better served, and the issues in higher interest of justice. As we shall show hereunder, the issues
this action could be determined in a more just, speedy and raised by petitioner OSG deserve disposition to avoid a
inexpensive manner, by entertaining the petition at bar. As an miscarriage of justice and to end the streaks of delay which have
offended party in a criminal case, private petitioner has sufficient saddled the criminal case subject of this petition.
personality and a valid grievance against Judge Adaos order
granting bail to the alleged murderers of his (private petitioners) First, the assailed Order dated November 10, 1997 granting
father. bail is legally infirm for failing to conform with the requirement
that in cases when the granting of bail is not a matter of right, a
In Paredes vs. Gopengco, 29 SCRA 688 (1969), this Court ruled hearing for that purpose must first be conducted. Section 13,
that the offended parties in criminal cases have sufficient interest Article III of the Constitution provides the instances when bail is a
and personality as person(s) aggrieved to file the special civil matter of right or discretionary, to wit:
action of prohibition and certiorari under Sections 1 and 2 of Rule
65 in line with the underlying spirit of the liberal construction of All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by
the Rules of Court in order to promote their object, thus: reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on
Furthermore, as offended parties in the pending criminal case recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall
before petitioner judge, it cannot be gainsaid that respondents not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas
have sufficient interest and personality as person(s) aggrieved by corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
petitioner judges ruling on his non-disqualification to file the
special civil action under sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65. Recently in Section 7, Article 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended,
line with the underlying spirit of a liberal construction of the Rules reiterates that:
of Court in order to promote their object, as against the literal
application of Rule 110, section 2, we held, overruling the No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense
implication of an earlier case, that a widow possesses the right punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, when
as an offended party to file a criminal complaint for the murder of evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of
her deceased husband. (Id., p. 699)[13] the stage of the criminal prosecution.

Hence, private complainant Galan had sufficient interest and Based on the foregoing, bail is not a matter of right with
personality as the aggrieved party[14] in a criminal case to file the respect to persons charged with a crime the penalty for which
special civil action for certiorari before public respondent Court of is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment, or death, when the
Appeals. The proper ground therefore for dismissing her petition evidence of guilt is strong. Private respondent Go, accused in the
is the fact that it was her counsel who signed the certificate on criminal case, was charged with murder in 1991, before the
non-forum shopping and not herself as petitioner. passage of RA 7659, the law that re-imposed the death
penalty. Murder then was a crime punishable by reclusion
Petitioner OSG submits that assuming that the petition perpetua. Thus, accused Gos right to bail is merely discretionary.
for certiorari it filed with public respondent Court of Appeals was
filed out of time, nonetheless the following issues raised in said We have consistently held that when bail is discretionary, a
petition warranted resolution: hearing, whether summary or otherwise in the discretion of the
court, should first be conducted to determine the existence of
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DATED strong evidence or lack of it, against the accused to enable the
NOVEMBER 10, 1997 GRANTING BAIL IS judge to make an intelligent assessment of the evidence
PROPER WITHOUT EXPRESSING THE presented by the parties.[16] A summary hearing is defined as
COURTS FINDING THAT THE EVIDENCE OF such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the
GUILT OF THE ACCUSED IS NOT STRONG. evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the
purpose of hearing which is merely to determine the weight of
II. WHETHER OR NOT PRIVATE RESPONDENT evidence for the purposes of bail. On such hearing, the court
VICENTE GO IS CONSIDERED UNDER LEGAL does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to
CUSTODY AS OF NOVEMBER 20, 1992 UNTIL the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against
THE PRESENT BECAUSE OF HIS HOSPITAL the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on
CONFINEMENT BY ORDER OF THE COURT what further evidence may be therein offered and admitted. The
DATED AUGUST 6, 1991. course of inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court which
may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to
substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary examination and
III. WHETHER OR NOT IT IS NECESSARY THAT
cross examination.[17]
CRIMINAL CASE NO. CBU-22474 SHOULD BE
TRIED BY THE SPECIAL HEINOUS CRIMES
COURT NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE It is inconceivable how Judge Gako, Jr. could have
MURDER WAS COMMITTED IN 1991 BEFORE appreciated the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt of
THE PASSAGE OF THE LAW CREATING THESE the accused when he did not even bother to hear the
SPECIAL COURTS. prosecution.The reliance of Judge Gako, Jr. on the voluminous
records of the case simply does not suffice. As judge, he was
mandated to conduct a hearing on the petition for bail of the
This instant petition also seeks to set aside the following
accused since he knew that the crime charged is one that carries
orders: (1) Order dated May 23, 1997 which set aside the earlier
a penalty of reclusion perpetua, and in that hearing, the
order of the trial court that granted the re-raffle of this case to a
prosecution is entitled to present its evidence. It is worth
heinous crime court upon the motion for reconsideration of the
defense; (2) Order dated November 10, 1997 that granted the
stressing that the prosecution is equally entitled to due process. admitted himself to the hospital, hence was not yet deprived of
[18]
his liberty at the time that he applied for bail.

Another compelling reason why a hearing of a petition for We must first correct the perception that the trial court was
bail is necessary is to determine the amount of bail based on the ousted of its jurisdiction over the person of accused Go after
guidelines set forth in Section 6, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. Judge Agana erroneously dismissed the case and upon the
[19]
Without the required hearing, the bail granted to accused Go refusal of Judge Gako, Jr. to enforce the alias warrant of arrest
in the amount of P 50,000.00 is undoubtedly arbitrary and during the re-trial of the case. Applicable to this issue is the basic
without basis. principle that the jurisdiction of a court, whether in criminal or civil
cases, once it attaches cannot be ousted by subsequent
Second, the order granting bail issued by Judge Gako, Jr. happenings or events although of a character which would have
merely made a conclusion without a summary of the evidence, a prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance; and it
substantive and formal defect that voids the grant of bail.Well retains jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case.[24]
settled is the rule that after the hearing, whether the bail is
granted or denied, the presiding judge is mandated to prepare a Prior to the dismissal of the case by Judge Agana, the court
summary of the evidence for the prosecution. A summary is had already acquired its jurisdiction over accused Go when he
defined as a comprehensive and usually brief abstract or digest was duly arraigned on December 11, 1991.[25] The fact that this
of a text or statement.[20] Based on the summary of evidence, the Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals that voided
judge formulates his own conclusion on whether such evidence the order dismissing the criminal case with prejudice is a clear
is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the accused. The declaration that the jurisdiction of the trial court over the criminal
importance of a summary cannot be downplayed, it is considered case and over the person of the accused continued to
an aspect of procedural due process for both the prosecution subsist. With the nullification of the dismissal of the case, it then
and the defense; its absence will invalidate the grant or denial of became explicit that the court should have tried the case to its
bail.[21] end. The case was ordered remanded and re-raffled because the
inhibition of then presiding Judge Agana was granted, in no way
Thus, we laid down the duties of a judge in case an was the jurisdiction of the trial court over the case and over the
application for bail is filed, viz: person of the accused ever placed in doubt.

(1) Notify the prosecutor of the hearing for bail or require him to We now discuss the theory of petitioner OSG that the right
submit his recommendation; of accused Go to bail did not accrue because he was not under
the custody of the law or deprived of his liberty. Petitioner OSG
rests this claim on the allegations that accused Go voluntarily
(2) Conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of
admitted himself to the hospital during the re-trial of the case and
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to
that Judge Gako, Jr. refused to enforce the alias warrant of arrest
show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of
as evidenced by the questioned Order dated December 11,
enabling the court to exercise its discretion;
1997.

(3) Decide whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong


By the very definition of bail in Section 1, Rule 114 of the
based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution; (Italics
Rules of Court[26], the person applying for bail must be in the
supplied)
custody of the law. A person is considered to be in the custody of
the law (a) when he is arrested either by virtue of a warrant of
(4) If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the arrest issued pursuant to Section 6, Rule 112, or even without a
accused upon the approval of the bail bond. Otherwise, petition warrant under Section 5, Rule 113 in relation to Section 7, Rule
should be denied.[22] 112 of the Revised Rules of Court, or (b) when he has voluntarily
submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court by surrendering
In dispensing with the required hearing for bail, Judge to the proper authorities.[27]
Gako, Jr. pointed out in the assailed order that the accused was
confined in the hospital, was suffering from a number of ailments We do not agree with petitioner OSG that accused Go was
and that the eventual confinement of accused Go in prison will not in custody of the law at the time that he applied for bail. In the
allegedly cause his disease to terminate fatally.[23] The irregularity same assailed order, Judge Gako, Jr. explained his refusal to
in the grant of bail however is not attenuated since respondent enforce the alias warrant of arrest in this manner:
judges findings were based on the summary clinical report of Dr.
Matiga dated February 4, 1997 while the order granting bail was
Secondly, the movant wanted this court to order the arrest of the
issued on November 10, 1997. It could not therefore be
accused in view of the Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by Acting
reasonably assumed that the actual state of health of accused
Judge Andres Garalza, Jr. on October 28, 1996. For the
Go could still be accurately reflected by the said medical report
information of the movant, there is another Alias Warrant of
when nine months had already passed from the time that said
Arrest issued by Judge Jose Burgos on May 27, 1996 after he
medical report was prepared. It was therefore clear error for
denied the Investigation Report submitted by the Office of the
Judge Gako, Jr. to depend solely on the dated medical report in
Cebu City Prosecutor which recommended the dismissal of the
granting bail when the defense failed to present a more recent
case against Vicente Go.
one that would convincingly raise strong grounds to apprehend
that the imprisonment of the accused would endanger his life.
The court believes honestly that these two (2) Alias Warrants of
Arrest were improvidently issued because at that time the
Petitioner OSG advances the theory that the accused,
Warrant of Arrest issued by then Judge Godardo Jacinto on July
private respondent Go, is not entitled to bail because he was
9, 1991 was still valid and subsisting. In fact it was this latter
allegedly not under the custody of the law at the time that he
Warrant of Arrest that handed to this court jurisdiction over the
applied for bail. Petitioner OSG anchors this theory on the
person of the accused Go.
following arguments: that the August 6, 1991order commanding
the confinement of accused Go in the hospital was void because
the prosecution was not able to cross-examine the doctor who The Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by Judge Burgos has no legal
prepared the medical report pertaining to the accused illnesses; basis not only because the Warrant of Arrest issued by Judge
that when the Information in this case was ordered dismissed Jacinto is still valid and subsisting but also for the fact that it was
with prejudice on November 20, 1992 by then presiding Judge issued as an aftermath of the courts denial of the Reinvestigation
Agana, accused Go was bodily released from his confinement; Report of the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor which
that at that point, the trial court had lost its jurisdiction over the recommended the dismissal of Gos case. Under Section 6, Rule
person of the accused; that before the dismissal with prejudice 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, the
was voided by the Court of Appeals, accused traveled Regional Trial Court may issue a warrant of arrest after a
extensively abroad; that when the case was re-raffled and finally preliminary investigation, not after reinvestigation when one was
presided by Judge Gako, Jr. accused continued to be confined in already was (sic) issued.
the hospital on the strength of the allegedly void order of
confinement dated August 6, 1991; that Judge Gako, Jr. refused Likewise, the Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by Judge Garalza,
to enforce the alias warrant of arrest on the ground that the order which came about five months (5) later, had no legal basis, firstly,
of confinement was still in effect; and that accused Go voluntarily because there was already an Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by
Judge Burgos on May 27, 1996, secondly, the Warrant of Arrest
issued by Judge Jacinto on July 9, 1991 is still valid and is the subject of review, without the written consent of all parties
subsisting. But what appears more funny is the Alias Warrant of in interest, signed by them and entered upon the records.
Arrest issued by Judge Garalza against accused Go who was at
that time lawfully confined in the hospital pursuant to an Order of A judge, may in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify
the court, dated August 6, 1991. When Judge Garalza issued himself from sitting in a case, for just or valid reasons other than
said alias (sic) Warrant of Arrest, there was no showing that those mentioned above.
accused Go had escaped, or refused to obey a lawful Order of
the court.
The ground of partiality is not one of the grounds enumerated in
the first paragraph of the just quoted provision that would per
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Manifestation, dated se disqualify a judge from sitting in a case. Jurisprudence is clear
March 21, 1997, and the Motion to Enforce the Alias Warrant of that partiality is a recognized ground for the voluntary inhibition of
Arrest are hereby denied for want of merit. Besides, the accused the judge under the second paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137.
was already released on bail and the issue on the enforcement [31]
In this case, Judge Gako, Jr. has already ruled in the assailed
of the Alias Warrants of Arrest is already moot and academic.[28] Order dated January 20, 1998 that he will not inhibit himself.

As pointed out by Judge Gako, Jr., accused Go had already To overturn the ruling of Judge Gako, Jr. and rule for his
been arrested on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge disqualification, there must be clear and convincing evidence to
Jacinto on July 9, 1991 which gave the trial court jurisdiction over prove the charge of partiality. Material to this issue are the
the accused. As mentioned earlier, accused Go was duly following parameters we have set in disqualifying a judge: mere
arraigned before the case was erroneously dismissed. From the suspicion that a judge was partial to a party is not enough; that
time that accused Go was arrested, he was already deprived of there should be adequate evidence to prove the charge; that
his liberty and was in the custody of the law. At the re-trial of the there must be showing that the judge had an interest, personal or
case, accused Gos confinement in the hospital was by virtue of a otherwise, in the prosecution of the case at bar; and that to be
court order dated August 6, 1991; the restraint on the freedom of disqualifying, the bias and prejudice must be shown to have
accused Go is evident. There was therefore no more need to stemmed from an extra-judicial source and result in an opinion
enforce the alias warrant of arrest since accused Go was still on the merits on some basis other than what the judge learned
under the custody of the law, and there being no evidence that from his participation in the case.[32]
accused Go had escaped or refused to obey a lawful order of the
court. At this point, the setting aside of the questioned order
Petitioner OSG accuses Judge Gako, Jr. of partiality
dated December 11, 1997 that denied the enforcement of the
supposedly shown by the grant of bail without a hearing and the
alias warrant of arrest against accused Go has become moot
alleged suppression of the hearing on the Clinical Summary
and academic with the provisional freedom of accused Go after
Report of the accused. Again, to successfully disqualify a judge
his bail was erroneously granted by Judge Gako, Jr.
on the ground of bias or partiality, there must be concrete proof
that a judge has a personal interest in the case and his bias is
We however find merit in the argument of petitioner OSG shown to have stemmed from an extra-judicial source. This
that the order dated August 6, 1991 authorizing the confinement precept springs from the presumption that a judge shall decide
of accused Go in the hospital was, in the words of petitioner on the merits of a case with an unclouded vision of its facts.
OSG, a continuing one and built-in license for the accused to [33]
Thus, we have held that an erroneous ruling on the grant of
automatically confine himself as many times as he likes. It may bail alone does not constitute evidence of bias.[34] Likewise,
be true that said order subsisted for it was never quashed, but at respondent judges reliance on the order of confinement even if
the re-trial of the case, the prosecution through its motion to erroneous is not sufficient to point to a conclusion that he was
enforce the alias warrant of arrest dated September 26, 1997 manifestly partial to the defense. To allow the disqualification of a
had already put in issue the health of the accused. Yet, Judge judge on the mere allegation of partiality with nothing more would
Gako, Jr. in an Order dated December 11, 1997 justified the open the floodgates to forum shopping.[35]
confinement of accused Go in the hospital on the basis of the
August 6, 1991 order of confinement.
Corollary to the foregoing, we do not find well taken the
recommendation of petitioner OSG that the criminal case be
The prosecution vigorously objected to the confinement of raffled to a Special Heinous Crimes Court. Even petitioner OSG
accused Go in the hospital, questioning the alleged ill health of concededly recognizes that Supreme Court Administrative Order
the accused. Judge Gako, Jr. was called upon to rule on this No. 51-96 dated May 3, 1996 creating the Special Heinous
matter and instead of ascertaining the true state of health of said Crimes Court provides that: All cases covered by this order
accused, Judge Gako, Jr. instead inexplicably relied on a court where trial has already been commenced shall continue to be
order authorizing the confinement of accused Go in the hospital, heard by the branches to which these were originally
an order that was issued six years ago. The proper course of assigned. Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 104-96 dated
action in this case should have been to recall the order of October 21, 1996 which amended Supreme Court Administrative
confinement and to order the detention of accused Go until the Order No. 51-96, also contains a similar provision, to wit: Where
defense could prove through competent evidence that the trial has already begun, the same shall continue to be heard by
imprisonment of said accused would imperil his health. The order the respective branches to which they have been originally
to arrest accused Go in such case would be the consequence of assigned. For purposes hereof, a criminal case is considered
the recall of the order of confinement, not for the purpose of begun when the accused or any of them has already been
placing him under the custody of the law since to repeat, he arraigned; in a civil case, it is when pre-trial has already been
already was under the custody of the law. conducted and a pre-trial order issued.

As discussed earlier, accused Go is currently already out We thus see no cogent reason to set aside the order dated
on bail,[29] the granting of which is void for want of a hearing and May 23, 1997 that denied the transfer of Criminal Case No. CBU-
summary of evidence. In cases when the grant of bail is void, this 22474 to a Special Heinous Crimes Court when the trial of the
Court will not hesitate to set aside the order granting bail and case has already begun and when the crime for which the
order that the accused be recommitted to jail pending his accused is being charged with occurred prior to the creation of
application for bail,[30] as this Court now holds in the case at bar. the Special Heinous Crimes Court. Furthermore, there are no
extraordinary circumstances that would compel this Court to
As to the issue of whether or not public respondent Judge exercise its power under the Constitution to order a change of
Gako, Jr. should be inhibited on the ground of partiality, the venue or place of trial.
relevant provision to consider is Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules
of Court, it provides: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the assailed
resolution of public respondent Court of Appeals dated August
SECTION 1. Disqualification of judges.No judge or judicial officer 12, 1998 is SET ASIDE. The order dated November 10, 1997 of
shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily the trial court in Criminal Case No. CBU-22474 is SET ASIDE for
interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is being void in so far as it grants bail to the accused and the
related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or accused is ordered recommitted to jail pending the hearing on
affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree, computed the bail application. The order dated May 23, 1997 denying the
according to the rules of civil law, or in which he has been re-raffle of Criminal Case No. CBU-22474 to a Special Heinous
executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which Crimes Court and the resolution dated January 20, 1997 ruling
he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision against the inhibition of presiding Judge Ireneo Gako, Jr. are
hereby AFFIRMED. The court a quo is ordered to proceed with For failure of the accused Violeta Madera to register her bailbond in
dispatch in the disposition of this case. accordance with Section 14, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
Procedure, this Court hereby orders the cancellation of the order of
SO ORDERED. release previously issued for her provisional liberty.[1]

Santiago likewise assails the authority of Judge


Jovellanos to issue the Order of Release dated July 3, 1996
in connection with Criminal Case No. 6663. She avers that
a warrant of arrest was issued against Madera on July 1,
1996. On July 2, 1996, Madera was arrested and detained in
[A.M. No. MTJ-00-1289. August 1, 2000] San Ildefonso, Bulacan but was released from custody on
the basis of said Order of Release.
JESUSA M. SANTIAGO, complainant, vs. JUDGE
EDUARDO U. JOVELLANOS, MCTC Alcala- On July 29, 1996, Judge Domingo issued an Order
Bautista, Pangasinan; ADORACION R. directing the clerk of court of the MCTC of Alcala-Bautista,
MARCOS, Clerk of Court, MCTC Alcala- Pangasinan to forward Maderas bail bond to the MTC of
Bautista, Pangasinan; and CELESTINA B. San Ildefonso, Bulacan.Upon receipt thereof, Judge
CORPUZ, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Domingo noted that:
Court, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, respondents.
On August 6, 1996, this court received the Bail Bond posted by the
MARGARITA SANCHEZ, complainant, vs. JUDGE accused with the MCTC of Alcala-Bautista, Alcala, Pangasinan,
EDUARDO U. JOVELLANOS, MCTC, Alcala- together with the original of the Order of Release dated August 5, 1996.
Bautista, Pangasinan, respondent.
The Court notes that the subject Bail Bond and the Order of Release are
DECISION dated August 5, 1996, whereas the Order of Release signed by the same
Judge which was the basis for the release of the accused from detention
DE LEON, JR., J.: is dated July 3, 1996.[2]

For resolution are (1) the verified complaint dated In his Answer/Comment dated August 5, 1997, Judge
September 9, 1996, earlier docketed as A.M. OCA IPI No. Jovellanos cites Section 19, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules of
96-216-MTJ, against Judge Eduardo U. Jovellanos, Criminal Procedure and argues that an accused must be
presiding judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court released upon approval of the bail by any judge, who shall
(MCTC) of Alcala-Bautista, Pangasinan, Adoracion R. forward the release papers to the court where the case is
Marcos, clerk of court of said MCTC, and Celestina pending. He further explained that:
Corpuz, clerk of court of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC)
of Urdaneta, Pangasinan for ignorance or blatant defiance x x x Since the accused is from Pangasinan, she can go to any
of the law, grave abuse of authority/discretion, gross available Judge especially so that it was nighttime when her
misrepresentation/falsification and/or acts inimical to the bailbond was presented to said respondent judge.
service, and (2) the verified complaint dated January 9,
1997, earlier docketed as A.M. No. OCA IPI 97-262-MTJ,
x x x [S]ince the warrant of arrest against the accused as claimed
against Judge Edgardo U. Jovellanos for violation of the
by the complainant was issued on March 26, 1996, it is very
second paragraph of Section 19, Administrative Circular
highly probable that accused was already aware of its existence
No. 12-94.
and she was able to secure her bailbond. Thus, the release order
dated April 3, 1996 was chronologically correct.
These two (2) verified complaints were consolidated
into one (1) administrative case docketed as Adm. Matter
x x x [T]he failure to send the bailbond on time to the MTC San
No. MTJ-00-1289. In her verified complaint, complainant
Ildefonso was due to the fact that the accused failed to register
Jesusa M. Santiago alleges that she is the private
her bailbond within ten (10) days from the date the order of
complainant in Criminal Cases Nos. 6333-6336, 6360-6362
release was issued by the respondent. Non-compliance with the
and 6663, all entitled: People of the Philippines vs. Violeta
order to register the bailbond shall be sufficient cause for the
Madera, pending before the sala of Judge Henry L.
cancellation of the property bond (Sec. 14, Rule 114, 1985 Rules
Domingo of the MTC of San Ildefonso, Bulacan. On March
on Criminal Procedure).It is the policy of herein respondent not
26, 1996, Madera failed to appear at the scheduled hearing
to send the bailbond to the Court where the case or cases are
of Criminal Cases Nos. 6333-6336 and 6360-6362,
pending unless and until the bailbond is registered within ten (10)
prompting Judge Domingo to issue a bench warrant against
days from the time the order of release was issued.
her. Madera was arrested on July 2, 1996 and detained at
the municipal jail of San Ildefonso, Bulacan. She was
released the following day pursuant to the Order of Release xxx
dated April 3, 1996 issued by respondent Judge Jovellanos.
Approval of bailbonds is a ministerial duty for any judge as long as the
Complainant Santiago questions the propriety of the requirements are fully satisfied. When the said bailbond was presented
said Order of Release on two (2) grounds: first, the to herein respondent, he examined it carefully and he saw no reason
authority of Judge Jovellanos to issue the said Order of why the same should not be approved taking into account that it was
Release and, second, the date of issuance thereof. Santiago sufficient in form and in substance.
points out that Madera was arrested and detained in San
Ildefonso, Bulacan and her cases were pending before the When the herein respondent approved the subject bailbond, he was
MTC of said municipality but it was respondent judge from desirous not only to perform a judicial function required of his office
the MCTC of Alcala-Bautista, Pangasinan which issued the but also moved by humanitarian considerations thinking that cases
Order of Release. Also, while Madera was arrested on July involving detention should be acted upon with dispatch. [3]
2, 1996, the Order of Release was dated April 3, 1996.
Meanwhile, Marcos avers:
Santiago further alleges that the MCTC of Alcala-
Bautista, Pangasinan failed to forward to the MTC of San 2) It is a vital matter that she wishes to make emphasis that one of the
Ildefonso, Bulacan the bail bond allegedly posted by duties of her office is ministerial in nature. Thus, she transmits records,
Madera despite the letter dated August 8, 1996 of the clerk processes, and other vital court documents with dispatch and with
of court of the MTC of San Ildefonso, Bulacan and the proper authority emanating only from the Court. This stress aims to
Order dated August 23, 1996 of Judge Domingo. Instead, establish that she was not in a position to perform her duty of
the MTC of San Ildefonso, Bulacan received from Clerk of transmitting the questioned bailbond of the accused after its approval by
Court Adoracion R. Marcos a letter dated September 3, the Court to the MTC, San Ildefonso, Bulacan because of the following:
1996 stating that the Order dated August 23, 1996 could not
be complied with due to the cancellation of Maderas bail
a) That she has no knowledge of the bailbond alluded to, much less to
bond. Attached to the letter was the Order dated August 28,
its appendages, i.e. release order, receipts, tax declarations, etc., and
1996 of Judge Jovellanos stating that:
that she never saw the bailbond presented to her nor to the Judge in the
8th MCTC, Alcala-Bautista, Pangasinan, during the required office Having secured a copy of the foregoing Order, Sanchez and
hours that it should have been presented. This fact can be proven by the Mrs. Pulido proceeded to Branch 53 of the RTC of Rosales,
answer/comment of her co-respondent Clerk of Court of MTC, Pangasinan and gave a copy of the same to its staff for
Urdaneta, Pangasinan. comment. However, the staff explained that they could not
act on the Order because they do not have the
b) That she only learned of the existence of such bailbond when she records. Sanchez, Mrs. Pulido and Atty. Fernando again
received the letter dated August 8, 1996, Annex B, of the Clerk of Court contacted Judge Jovellanos, who informed them that the
of MTC, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, requesting for the transmittal of the records of Orallos bail bond were not yet in the possession
bailbond being referred to. She replied to the request through her letter of Branch 53. He then assured them that if Atty. Asuncion
dated August 15, 1996, Annex C, explaining therein that she was not will not forward the records of the bail bond, he or his
aware of the presentation and approval of said bailbond. representative will do so.Notwithstanding these assurances,
Sanchez, Mrs. Pulido and Atty. Fernando learned that, as of
January 7, 1997, the records of the bail bond have not yet
xxx
been transmitted to the RTC of Rosales, Pangasinan.

d) Annex F which is an order of the Court dated August 28, 1996


In response to Sanchez complaint, Judge Jovellanos
cancelled the release order and the bailbond for that matter, due to the
alleged that:
failure of the accused to register her bailbond. As ordered by the Court,
the undersigned respondent transmitted the same, WITH DISPATCH, to
the Clerk of Court, MTC, San Ildefonso, Bulacan x x x.[4] x x x when the bailbond was presented to the undersigned respondent,
he was told by the father of the accused that his son, has been
languishing in the jail for sometime because the RTC Judge Sergio
For her part, respondent Corpuz, Clerk of Court,
Garcia could not be contacted as he was preparing to retire; and so the
Municipal Trial Court of Urdaneta, denies having facilitated
father of the accused was asking the favor of the undersigned
the approval of Maderas bail bond. She adds that:
respondent in order to save his son from further disconforts [sic] and
inconvenience, that his property bond be approved and the undersigned
The truth of the matter was that as far as her recollection, when the bail respondent Judge, for humanitarian reasons and considering that upon a
bond alluded to was presented to Respondent Judge Eduardo thorough examination, the property bond is proper and in order,
Jovellanos, all the documents as well as the order for the Release of the proceeded to approve his property bond and issued the corresponding
accused were all prepared and since it was already nighttime, the family Order of Release in accordance with the Provisions of Section 14, Rule
of the accused begged that they be accompanied [to] the house of 114 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Respondent Judge so that the said Order maybe signed and since herein
Respondent knew personally the accused and her family being
x x x respondent judge was not in possession of said property bond
townmates and knowing that Respondent Judge Eduardo Jovellanos
because it was given to the accused to be registered with the Office of
certainly would be of help and nothing is wrong if said bailbond would
the Register of Deeds in accordance with the Provision of Section 8,
be approved and the subsequent Order of Release be issued, the herein
Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules in Criminal Procedure x x x.
Respondent obliged thereby she accompanied the family of the accused
[to] the residence of the Judge for the approval of the said bailbond. [5]
Finally, when respondent Judge found out that the RTC Presiding Judge
Sergio Garcia was still holding sessions although he was already about
She also complied with the instructions of respondent Judge
to retire, undersigned respondent Judge immediately issued an Order
Jovellanos that the original copy of the Order of Release
cancelling his previous Order of Release (Annex G Complaint) which
dated April 3, 1996 and its attachments be sent to the MTC
he issued to the accused James Orallo on December 6, 1997 in Criminal
of San Ildefonso.With respect to Criminal Case No. 6663,
case No. 3712, pending before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 53,
she did not give any comment since there was no mention
Rosales, Pangasinan.[7]
of her participation therein.

On July 8, 1998, upon recommendation of the Office


In her verified complaint, complainant Margarita
of the Court Administrator (OCA), the Third Division of
Sanchez alleges that she is the private complainant in
this Court resolved to consolidate A.M. OCA IPI No. 96-
Criminal Case No. 3712 entitled People of the Philippines
216-MTJ with OCA IPI No. 97-262-MTJ and to refer the
vs. James H. Orallo pending before Branch 53 of the
cases to Hon. Alicia B. Gonzales-Decano, Executive Judge
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Rosales, Pangasinan. Orallo
of the RTC of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, for investigation,
was arrested and detained at Rosales, Pangasinan and later
report and recommendation. Surprisingly, on October 29,
transferred to the Balungao District Jail in Balungao,
1998, and subsequently on November 11, 1998, Judge
Pangasinan. Despite the pendency of said case before the
Decano dismissed both cases due to complainants alleged
RTC of Rosales, Pangasinan, Orallo posted a property bond
lack of interest to prosecute the same. In a Resolution dated
with the MCTC of Alcala-Bautista, and thus, released from
March 24, 1999, the Third Division required Judge Decano
custody by virtue of an Order of Release dated December 6,
to explain why she ordered the dismissal of the cases
1996 issued by respondent Judge Jovellanos.
without any authority from this Court [8] and simultaneously
directed Vice Executive Judge Modesto C. Juanson of the
On December 9, 1996, complainant Sanchez, RTC of Dagupan City to conduct a thorough investigation
accompanied by her lawyer, Atty. Dominador B. Fernando, of the complaints and to submit a report and
and Mrs. Fely Pulido who is a neighbor of the accused in recommendation thereon.
that case proceeded to the office of Judge Jovellanos and
requested permission to read and examine the records
In his report dated September 8, 1999, the
relating to Orallos bail bond. Judge Jovellanos replied that
investigating judge, Judge Modesto C. Juamson, concluded
the records were in the possession of Atty. Isaias
that, with respect to A.M. OCA IPI 96-216-MTJ, Judge
Asuncion. Atty. Fernando politely told Judge Jovellanos
Jovellanos failed to observe the procedure for the release of
that he should have refrained from acting on Orallos bail
an accused on bail. He also found that:
bond as the presiding judge of Branch 53 of the RTC of
Rosales, Pangasinan was not unavailable. Atty. Fernando
further suggested that Judge Jovellanos take necessary x x x It is also the conclusion of this Court that the Order of
action on the matter. Judge Jovellanos assured Sanchez and Release dated April 3, 1996, was issued without any approved
Atty. Fernando that he will issue an order and that a copy property bond. Judge Jovellanos deliberately lied when he said he
thereof shall be available the following day. cancelled the property bond posted by the accused for her failure
to register the property within ten (10) days to the proper
office. No property bond had reached the Court [that] issued the
On December 10, 1996, Judge Jovellanos issued the
warrant of arrest. Judge Jovellanos had taken advantage of his
following order:
position as Presiding Judge, MCTC, Alcala-Bautista, Pangasinan,
knowing fully well that he issued an order for the release of a
In view of the failure of the accused James Orallo to register his detained person, ordered the release of Violeta Madera under
bailbond in accordance with Section 14, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules of Order of Release dated April 3, 1996 even without the approved
Criminal Procedure, this Court hereby orders the cancellation of the property bond. Judge Jovellanos deliberately lied again when he
Order of Release and the bailbond previously issued for his provisional issued an Order of Recall of Order dated April 3, 1996 for failure
liberty.[6] of accused Madera to register the bailbond in accordance with
Sec. 14, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure. Recall order dated August 28, 1996 is another copy of the approved property bond, thus, he issued an order of
instance of dishonesty. When unable to produce the property cancellation, dated December 10, 1996.[10]
bond, He (Jovellanos) thought of another lies by issuing said
Order dated August 28, 1996. The fact that the record of Criminal The investigating judge likewise recommended that
Case No. 6663 was forwarded from MTC San Ildefonso, Bulacan respondent Judge Jovellanos be dismissed from the service
to RTC, Bulacan does not render the propriety of issuing the without forfeiture of his retirement benefits and leave
Order of Release without property bond, moot and academic. The credits.
Order of Release on the basis of property bond is valid unless
revoked by the Appellate Court.
The OCA upheld the findings of the investigating
judge in both cases but recommends the forfeiture of the
The Court likewise found Celestina Corpuz having conspired and retirement pay and leave credits of respondent Judge
confabulated with Judge Jovellanos in the issuance of the Order of Jovellanos and respondent Corpuz.
Release dated April 3, 1996. Corpuz averred that upon instruction of
Judge Jovellanos, she sent by registered mail [a] copy of the bailbond
This Court agrees with the factual findings of the
and other pertinent documents together with the original of the Order of
investigating judge and the OCA. In Victorino Cruz v.
Release dated April 3, 1996 as evidenced by the registry receipt
Judge Reynold Q. Yaneza,[11] this Court held that:
attached to the letter of Adoracion Marcos. As clerk of Court, Corpuz
knows that sending an important document to MTC San Ildefonso, it
must require a registry return card or in the absence thereof, she must Section 17, par. (a), of Rule 114, as amended by Administrative
produce [a] certification from the post office concerned evidencing the Circular No. 12-94, provides:
sending of the letter. Besides, the Court is certain that the letter will
reach the addressee if really mailed. The truth is that, in order to cover (a) ....Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the
up and protect themselves (Judge Jovellanos and Corpuz) she case is pending, or, in the absence of unavailability of the judge thereof,
concocted the idea that she sent the copy of the property bond together with another branch of the same court within the province or city.If the
with the Order of Release to MTC, San Ildefonso by registered accused is arrested in a province, city or municipality other than where
mail. The actuation of Judge Jovellanos and Corpuz pretending to have the case is pending, bail may be filed also with any regional trial court
mailed the property bond together with the Order of Release may be of said place, or if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan
described as pure and simple dishonesty in the performance of their trial judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.
duties. Corpuz facilitated the Order of Release dated April 3, 1996 even
without [a] covering property bond. Judge Jovellanos cooperated for The foregoing provision anticipates two (2) situations. First, the
reasons known only to him. Both (Jovellanos and Corpuz) have accused is arrested in the same province, city or municipality where his
violated their Oath of Office. Corpuz facilitated the Order of Release case is pending. Second, the accused is arrested in the province, city or
dated April 3, 1996 as evidenced by the reply letter of Adoracion municipality other than where his case is pending. In the first situation,
Marcos dated August 15, 1996. the accused may file bail in the court where his case is pending, or in
the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another branch
xxx of the same court within the province or city. In the second situation,
the accused has two (2) options. First, he may file bail in the court
Adoracion Marcos did not facilitate, participate or have any knowledge where his case is pending or, second, he may file bail with any regional
about the property bond and Order of Release dated April 3, 1996. trial court in the province, city, municipality where he was
arrested. When no regional trial judge is available, he may file bail with
any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit
xxx
trial judge therein.

As to the second Order of release dated July 3, 1996, in Criminal Case


Interestingly, almost all the cases wherein respondent Judge approved
No. 6663 where Violeta Madera was ordered arrested on July 1, 1996. x
bail bonds and issued release orders were not pending before his
x x Again, Judge Jovellanos failed to indorse and deliver the property
sala. To complicate matters, the accused were neither arrested nor
bond to MTC San Ildefonso, Bulacan. The truth is that the questioned
detained within the territorial jurisdiction of respondent Judges court.
Order of Release dated July 3, 1996 was issued without approved
property bond.[9]
xxx
The investigating judge recommended that Judge
Jovellanos and Corpuz be dismissed from the service xxx Since Judge Yaneza presides over MeTC-Branch 54 in Navotas,
without forfeiture of their retirement benefits and leave Metro Manila, his territorial jurisdiction is confined therein. Therefore,
credits considering that Judge Jovellanos was already 67 to approve bail applications and issue corresponding release orders in
years old, half of whose body was paralyzed due to a cases pending in courts outside his territorial jurisdiction, some even in
stroke, and Corpuz years of service in the judiciary. Insofar courts as far as Nueva Ecija and Palawan, particularly so where the
as respondent Adoracion R. Marcos is concerned, the accused are detained thereat and not in his jurisdiction and therefore
investigating judge recommended the dismissal of the cannot personally appear before him as required, constitute ignorance
complaint for lack of substantial evidence. of the law so gross as to amount to incompetence and even corruption.

In OCA IPI No. 97-262-MTJ, the investigating judge xxx


reported that:
Section 35 of BP Blg. 129 and Sections 17 and 19 of Rule 114 are to be
Judge Jovellanos assertion that he had cancelled the bailbond posted by construed and applied in conjunction with each other. The abovecited
James Orallo when the latter failed to register said bond in accordance rules do not give the Metropolitan Trial Judge blanket authority to grant
with law is another pure and simple [lie], insulting to the intelligence of applications for bail. There are prerequisites to be complied with. First,
the Court. It is the duty of the respondent Judge that before he issues the application for bail must be filed in the court where the case is
and releases the questioned Order of Release dated December 6, 1996 x pending. In the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, the
x x he must require the accused to register first the property bond [with] application for bail may be filed with another branch of the same court
the Local Register of Deeds (for registered property) or Local Assessors within the province or city. Second, if the accused is arrested in a
Office (for unregistered property). x x x province, city or municipality other than where the case is pending, bail
may be filed with any regional trial court of the place. If no judge
thereof is available, then with any metropolitan trial judge or municipal
Besides, the records of either the instant administrative case or
circuit trial judge therein.[12]
Regional Trial Court, Branch 53, Rosales, Pangasinan (Pp vs. James
Orallo, Criminal Case No. 3712-R) nor the MCTC, Alcala-Bautista,
Pangasinan, do not show the existence of the approved property bond It is clear from this Courts disquisition in Yaneza that
which was the basis of the release order dated December 6, 1996. The Judge Jovellanos reliance on Section 19, Rule 114 of the
Order of Cancellation of the bond of James Orallo issued by Judge 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure is misplaced. Yaneza, in
Jovellanos dated December 10, 1996 was done in order to appease Mrs. fact, only highlights that Judge Jovellanos, contrary to
Margarita Sanchez and her lawyer Atty. Fernando who has been prescribed procedures, approved the applications for bail of
searching the records in Criminal Case No. 3712-R, RTC, Branch 53, accused whose cases were not only pending in other courts
Rosales, Pangasinan and that of the MCTC, Alcala-Bautista for the but who were likewise arrested and detained outside his
copy of the property bond. When Judge Jovellanos could not produce a territorial jurisdiction. It also does not appear from the
records of these cases that the judges having jurisdiction
over the accused were absent or otherwise unavailable to Considering the advanced age and poor health of
act upon their applications for bail. Worse, in A.M. OCA respondent Judge Jovellanos and the long years of service
IPI 96-216-MTJ, Judge Jovellanos ordered the release of in the judiciary of respondent Corpuz, we find that
Madera without the corresponding bail bond being posted. suspension from the service will be sufficient punishment
for their acts complained of.
Judge Jovellanos invocation of good faith and his
plea that he was only moved by humanitarian WHEREFORE, the complaint against Adoracion
considerations cannot excuse his conduct. We have often Marcos is DISMISSED for lack of merit. Respondent Judge
stressed that as an advocate of justice and a visible Eduardo U. Jovellanos is hereby SUSPENDED, without
representation of the law, a judge is expected to keep pay, for a period of one (1) year while respondent Celestina
abreast with and be proficient in the interpretation of our Corpuz is likewise SUSPENDED, without pay, for a period
laws. A judge should be acquainted with legal norms and of four (4) months, with the WARNING that a repetition of
precepts as well as with statutes and procedural the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with
rules. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of more severely.
incompetence which goes against Canon 3, specifically
Rule 3.01, of the Code of Judicial Conduct. [13] Having SO ORDERED.
accepted the exalted position of a judge, Judge Jovellanos
owes the public and the court he sits in proficiency in the
law. He must have the basic rules at the palm of his hands
as he is expected to maintain professional competence at all
times.[14] [G.R. Nos. 121201-02. October 19, 2001]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GIO
Insofar as respondent Corpuz is concerned, she has CONCORCIO @ JUN, EDWIN YUNGOT, ROMMEL
evidently been remiss in the performance of her MAGPATOC and JOSEL AYALA @ DODONG
duties. Although she claims that she followed the LANAY, accused.
instructions of respondent Judge Jovellanos and transmitted EDWIN YUNGOT and ROMMEL MAGPATOC, accused-
the records of Maderas bail bond to the MTC of San appellants.
Ildefonso, Bulacan by registered mail, the MTC of San
Ildefonso, Bulacan has yet to receive the same. As pointed DECISION
out by the investigating judge, respondent Corpuz failed to BUENA, J.:
secure a registry return card or, in the absence thereof, a
certification from the post office to show that said records This is an appeal from the joint decision [1] dated March 28, 1995,
of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 16, [2] finding
were mailed. Indeed, even in the absence of a registry
accused-appellants, Edwin Yungot and Rommel Magpatoc guilty of two
return card or certification, the Court is certain that the
counts of murder and imposing upon them two terms of reclusion
[documents] will reach the addressee if really mailed.
[15]
perpetua. Accused-appellants were ordered to reimburse the heirs of the
This circumstance leads us to doubt whether respondent victims, Jernie Sumagaysay and Oscar Celis, of actual expenses, and to
Corpuz actually transmitted the records to the MTC of San pay compensatory and moral damages, and costs.[3]
Ildefonso, Bulacan, and more importantly, whether Madera
indeed posted a bail bond for her temporary liberty in The antecedent facts are as follows:
Criminal Case Nos. 6333-6336 and 6360-6362. We have The two informations[4] charging accused Gio Concorcio @ Jun,
consistently held that the conduct required of court Edwin Yungot, Rommel Magpatoc and Josel Ayala @ Dodong Lanay,
personnel must always be beyond reproach and is with two counts of murder read:
circumscribed with a heavy burden of responsibility.[16] This
Criminal Case No. 15,377-87
Court cannot countenance any act or omission on the part
of those involved in the administration of justice which That on or about May 24, 1987, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and
would violate the norm of public accountability and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned
diminish, or even just tend to diminish, the faith of the accused, armed with a knife, conspiring, confederating together and
people in the judiciary.[17] helping one another, with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously, with treachery and evident premeditation,
and during nighttime, suddenly attacked, assaulted and stabbed one
As to the penalty that should be imposed on
Jernie Sumagaysay, with the use of said bladed instrument, thereby
respondents Judge Jovellanos and Corpuz, we find the afflicting [upon] the latter stabbed (sic) wounds which directly caused
recommended penalty of dismissal too harsh. In Yaneza, we his immediate death.
meted upon respondent judge therein the penalty of
dismissal considering the number of times he exceeded his CONTRARY TO LAW.[5]
authority in approving applications for bail outside his Criminal Case No. 15,378-87.
territorial jurisdiction and his persistence in doing so
despite the pendency of the administrative complaint That on or about May 24, 1987, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and
against him. This was further aggravated by his summary within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned
approval of an application for bail in a case where the accused, armed with a knife, conspiring, confederating together and
helping one another, with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully,
penalty imposable was life imprisonment. However, in the
unlawfully and feloniously, with treachery and evident premeditation,
case at bar, similar circumstances are wanting.
and during nighttime, suddenly attacked, assaulted and stabbed one
Oscar Celis, with the use of said bladed instrument, thereby afflicting
For similar conduct, less severe penalties were [upon] the latter stabbed (sic) wounds which directly caused his
imposed upon two (2) erring judges, thus - immediate death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[6]
1. In Paz v. Tiong,[18] we imposed upon respondent
therein, a judge of the MTC of Bolinao, Pangasinan, a fine Accused-appellants, Edwin Yungot and Rommel Magpatoc were
arrested on September, 1991[7] and February, 1993,[8] respectively. The
of P3,000.00 for signing the bail bond and the order of
two (2) other accused remained at large.
release of an accused whose case was pending before the
RTC of Alaminos, Pangasinan absent any showing that the When arraigned on October 21, 1991, Yungot pleaded not guilty
judge having jurisdiction over the same was unavailable. to both charges. Immediately, a joint trial for the two counts of murder
ensued against him. On the other hand, subsequent to his arrest in 1993,
Magpatoc also pleaded not guilty to both charges upon his arraignment.
2. In Adapon v. Domagtoy,[19] we fined respondent [9]
An urgent motion for bail was filed by Magpatoc on March 1,
judge of the MCTC of Santa Monica-Burgos, Surigao del
1993. After the hearing[10] on the said motion, the trial court issued an
Norte in the amount of P10,000.00 for ordering the release Order dated June 16, 1993, denying the motion for bail. [11] Since the
of an accused whose cases were pending before the MCTC prosecution had already finished presenting its evidence-in-chief
of Dapa, Surigao del Norte notwithstanding the fact that the against Yungot, and had rested its case against Yungot at the time of
accused was neither arrested nor did he surrender to the Magpatocs arrest, Magpatoc was given a separate trial whereupon the
authorities before the order of release was issued, and that prosecution presented its evidence-in-chief against Magpatoc. After the
the judge having jurisdiction over the cases was likewise prosecution rested its case against Magpatoc, a joint trial was conducted
unavailable. for the defense, rebuttal and surrebuttal.
The prosecution presented the following witnesses against
Yungot: Delilah Celis Banderado, Sgt. Virgilio Jaranilla, Romeo
Sumagaysay, SPO4 Leonor Sonza, P/Cpl. Dionisio Erispe, Jonathan the level of the 3rd intercostal space, penetrating the skin
Abellana, Jose Lagamon, Jr. and Dr. Jose Pagsaligan. The following and muscles and the heart through and through.
witnesses testified against Magpatoc: Jose Oyson and Jose Lagamon,
Jr.,[12] SPO4 Leonor Sonza, P/Cpl. Dionisio Erispe, Sgt. Virgilio 2. Contusion-abrasion 3 cm. x 1.5 cm. in diameter below
Jaranilla, Delilah Celis Banderado and Dr. Jose Pagsaligan. Notably, the right eye along the outer canthus of the right eye, 7
except for Jose Oyson, the foregoing witnesses also testified against cm. from the anterior median line and 6 cm. from the
Yungot. On rebuttal, the prosecution recalled witnesses Jose Oyson and right ear.
Sgt. Virgilio Jaranilla, and in addition, presented Ruth Dionson and 3. Contusion-abrasion 3 cm. x 1.5 cm. in diameter, slightly
Democrito Madiclum as witnesses. On surrebuttal, Yungots defense above the right mandible, 2 cm. from the anterior
counsel presented Lorna Surbito as a witness. median line and 10 cm. from the right ear.
On the other hand, in his defense, Magpatoc presented Allen CAUSE OF DEATH: SHOCK SECONDARY TO
Ledesma, Noel Cahiwat, Ysmael Cahiwat and himself as witnesses; SEVERE HEMORRHAGE DUE TO STAB WOUND,
while Yungot, along with Bernardo Bajenteng and Leovigildo Bautista CHEST, LEFT.[31]
testified in court.
Autopsy Report No. N-040-87[32]
The prosecution adduced the following evidence against Yungot
during his trial. Prosecution witness Jose Lagamon, Jr. testified that he POSTMORTEM FINDINGS
knew the deceased Oscar Celis, who was his former classmate and the 1. STABBED WOUND 1.5 cm. long, gaping, running
other deceased, Jernie Sumagaysay,[13] whom he had met at medially downward, edges cleancut, sharp edge
school. According to Lagamon, Jr., on May 24, 1987, he had a drinking inferiorly medially, located in the right side of the chest,
spree with Oscar Celis, Jernie Sumagaysay and Ben Hur Barol at the 4 cm. from the anterior median line, 12 cm. from the
Davao Fiesta.[14] Around 9 or 10 p.m.,[15] after consuming four (4) or right nipple, penetrating the skin and muscles in the
five (5) bottles of beer, Lagamon, Jr. and his companions paid their bill 2nd intercostal space, right, cutting the pulmonary artery.
and proceeded home. While walking along Claveria St., Lagamon, Jr.,
who was walking alongside Ben Hur Barol some five (5) to six (6) CAUSE OF DEATH: SHOCK SECONDARY TO
meters ahead of Oscar Celis and Jernie Sumagaysay, heard a SEVERE HEMORRHAGE DUE TO STAB WOUND,
commotion at his back.[16] He immediately turned around and saw CHEST, RIGHT.[33]
accused-appellant Edwin Yungot stab Oscar Celis two (2) or three (3)
In Dr. Pagsaligans opinion, each stab wound which caused the death of
times at the left side of his chest, while three (3) or four (4) other
Celis and Sumagaysay was inflicted using a single-bladed weapon.
persons were holding Celis.[17] He also saw another person thrust a knife [34]
He further opined that the assailants might have used two (2)
at the right side of the chest of Jernie Sumagaysay while riding at the
weapons.[35]
latters back.[18] He tried to assist his friend but the latters assailant
threatened to stab him as well. [19] His companion, Ben Hur Barol did Delilah Celis Banderado, sister of Oscar Celis, presented the
nothing because he was in shock. In his estimation, about five (5) to six death certificate of Celis[36] and testified on the actual expenses
(6) persons were involved in the stabbing incident, three (3) or four (4) amounting to P13,990.00, which they incurred due to the death of Celis.
of whom were armed. [20] He was then about a meter away from Celis [37]
She further testified that at the time of his death, her brother was 24
and Sumagaysay. He further testified that the place was well- years old and had just graduated from an Electrical Engineering course
lighted. After the incident, the assailants scampered away. Lagamon, Jr. at the University of Mindanao.[38]
and Barol flagged down a jeepney and brought Celis to the Davao
Doctors Hospital.[21] Lagamon, Jr. did not notice where Jernie Romeo Sumagaysay, father of Jernie Sumagaysay, proffered the
Sumagaysay had gone after the latter was stabbed. On cross- death certificate of Jernie, [39] and testified that he incurred P12,000.00
examination, he testified that he is a member of the Philippine National as funeral and burial expenses arising from the death of Jernie. He also
Police (PNP) and that he joined the Philippine Constabulary in 1988; testified that at the time of Jernies death, Jernie was a second year
but in 1987, when the stabbing incident occurred, he was a bet-taker. college student at the University of Mindanao.[40]
[22]
He insisted that he saw the assailants of Celis and Sumagaysay As pointed out earlier, after the prosecution rested its case against
because the place where the stabbing incident occurred was well- Yungot, the other accused, Rommel Magpatoc was arrested and given a
lighted with fluorescent lamps.[23] He could not remember what kind of separate trial only insofar as the presentation of the prosecutions
knife was used by Yungot in stabbing Celis but recalled that it was evidence-in-chief against him. A joint trial, however, was subsequently
about six (6) to seven (7) inches long. [24] He was not summoned by the conducted for the defense of both accused-appellants as well as for
police authorities for an investigation; neither did he report what he had rebuttal and surrebuttal.
witnessed to the police authorities.
Subsequent to his arrest and arraignment, accused-appellant
Jonathan Abellana, who was serving sentence for murder, Rommel Magpatoc filed a motion for bail dated March 1, 1993. [41] At
[25]
testified that on May 24, 1987, at around 9 p.m., he was at a dance in the hearing[42] on the said motion, the prosecution presented as
Roxas St., in front of the Holy Child School, and between Roxas and witnesses, Jose Oyson and Jose Lagamon, Jr. The defense, however, did
Claveria Sts., with Dodong Lanay, Allen Ledesma, Jun-jun Oyson, not present any evidence.[43]
Edwin Yungot and Omi Magpatoc.[26] They proceeded to Barrio Fiesta
for a drinking spree upon the invitation of a certain Jun. After the group At the said hearing, Lagamon, Jr. claimed that he came to know
consumed two (2) cases of beer, Abellana went back to the dance. Later, Sumagaysay at the Davao Fiesta where they started drinking at around
the rest of the group[27] also returned to the dance. 8 p.m., on May 24, 1987. [44] He was with Celis, Sumagaysay and Ben
Hur. He reiterated his testimony at Yungots trial that they left Davao
P/Cpl. Dionisio Erispe, a member of the Philippine National Fiesta between 9 and 10 p.m.; and walked towards RCBC, with himself
Police (PNP), assigned at the Homicide and Arson Section of the San and Ben Hur about two (2) meters ahead of Celis and
Pedro Patrol Station, testified that on May 24, 1987, at around 12 Sumagaysay. Upon hearing footsteps behind them, he turned around
midnight, he received information regarding a stabbing incident which and saw Celis being stabbed. [45] When asked by the trial judge if he
took place at Claveria St. Together with the members of the Mobile knew the person who stabbed Celis, Lagamon, Jr. answered that he
Patrol, he went to the San Pedro Hospital and Davao Doctors Hospital, could not recognize the person who stabbed Celis because it happened
where the stabbed victims were brought, and conducted an so suddenly.[46] But when asked by the prosecutor if he could identify
investigation. From the said hospitals, they proceeded to the scene of the assailants if he were to see them again, he answered, I could
the crimes and continued with the investigation. Based on his recognize them by face.[47] He further recalled that about four (4)
investigation, P/Cpl. Erispe learned that one (1) of the victims was persons attacked his companions, two (2) or three (3) of whom were
stabbed near RCBC while the other victim was able to run towards the armed with knives. He also declared that Sumagaysay was stabbed in
Martinez Pawnshop. From the hospital records, he was able to identify the same manner that Celis was stabbed, i.e., the assailants left hand
the stabbed victims as Oscar Celis and Jernie Sumagaysay.[28] was placed on the victims shoulder, while the formers right hand
SPO4 Leonor Sonza, of the Criminal Record Branch, stabbed the victim.[48] He admitted that he could not clearly recognize
Metrodiscom, PNP, brought the Record of Events of the San Pedro Sumagaysays assailant because the incident happened suddenly;
[49]
Patrol Station, dated May 24, 1987, [29] showing the entry of the stabbing however, he maintained that Magpatoc was one of those who killed
incident involving Celis and Sumagaysay. his companions.[50] On cross-examination and upon query by the trial
court, Lagamon, Jr. pointed to Magpatoc as the person who stabbed
Dr. Jose Pagsaligan, Medical Specialist II, Regional Health Office Celis,[51] contrary to his testimony during Yungots trial that Yungot was
No. XI, Department of Health (DOH), Davao City, performed the the one who stabbed Celis. When asked if he could recognize the
autopsy on the victims cadavers on May 25, 1987 and issued Autopsy person who attacked Sumagaysay if in court, he replied, [h]e is not
Report Nos. N-039-87 and N-040-87, showing the following findings: here.[52]
Autopsy Report No. N-039-87[30] The prosecution also presented Jose Oyson as a witness at the
hearing on Magpatocs motion for bail. [53] Oyson testified that on May
POSTMORTEM FINDINGS
24, 1987, at about 8:30 p.m., he was drinking at the Davao Fiesta in
1. STABBED WOUND 3.5 cm. long, gaping, running Claveria St., along with Jun Concorcio, Jun Laos, Edwin Yungot, Omie
medially and slightly upward, edges cleancut, sharp Magpatoc,[54] Allen Ledesma, Joe Dalman alias Idi, Jun Suaner alias
edge inferiorly, located in the left chest, 10 cm. from Siquio and Jose Dodong Cahiwat. [55] He recounted that Jun Concorcio
the anterior median line, 4 cm. from the left nipple at pointed at the group of Celis, Sumagaysay and two (2) others, who
were laughing at him.[56] Corsiga[57] told them to birahan (to do some
harm to) Celis, Sumagaysay and the two (2) others. [58] At about 10 p.m., Dodong Lanay told him that Jun Driver stabbed somebody. [86] On cross-
when Celis, Sumagaysay and their two (2) companions left Barrio examination, he admitted that in the evening of May 24, 1987, Jose
Fiesta, Oysons group followed them. [59] Celis, Sumagaysay and their Oyson was at the Barrio Fiesta with his group.
two (2) companions went towards Land Bank in Claveria St. Celis and
Sumagaysay were walking behind their two (2) companions. Edwin Ysmael Cahiwat, barangay captain of 33-B Poblacion, Davao
Yungot, Josel Ayala alias Bobong Lanay[60] and Omie Magpatoc rushed City, testified to prove the good moral character of accused-appellant
towards Celis and Sumagaysay. Edwin Yungot stabbed Oscar Celis. Magpatoc. He stated that Magpatoc had been active in community
[61]
Oyson could not ascertain who between Magpatoc and Ayala activities and had demonstrated leadership in the youth activities for the
actually stabbed Jernie Sumagaysay.[62] Yungot, Ayala and Magpatoc IKP chapel. According to Cahiwat, at the time of Magpatocs arrest, the
were armed with knives.[63] One (1) of the stabbed victims fell on the latter was an elected Sangguniang Kabataan member.
ground while the other victim was able to run away. Oyson was about On the other hand, in his defense, Edwin Yungot testified that in
seven (7) meters away from the place where the stabbing incident the evening of May 24, 1987, he operated the radio phono at the benefit
occurred. The said place was lighted with a fluorescent bulb. After the dance held at the back of the Aldevinco Center.[87] He operated the said
incident, Oyson and his companions ran away and proceeded to the radio phono, without anybodys assistance, until the benefit dance ended
dance on Roxas Avenue.[64] On cross-examination, Oyson testified that at 1 a.m. of the following day. He confirmed that Magpatoc was at the
the group which followed Celis, Sumagaysay and their two (2) benefit dance and that Magpatoc left when the dance ended at 1 a.m. [88]
companions from Barrio Fiesta, included himself, accused-appellants,
Edwin Yungot and Omie Magpatoc, Joe Dalman, Allen Ledesma, Josel Bernardo Bajenteng, a neighbor of Yungot and former president
Ayala, Jun Laos, Edic, Jun Suaner alias Siquio, and Dodong Cahiwat. of the Pag-asa Youth Movement, corroborated Yungots testimony that
[65]
They were all members of the Looban Young Killer (LYK) gang. on May 24, 1987, he (Yungot) operated the sound system from 8 p.m.
[66]
Oyson recalled that three (3) among his companions on the night of until 1 a.m. of the following day.[89] However, according to Bajenteng,
May 24, 1987, were armed with knives, namely, Yungot, Ayala and Yungot was assisted by the son of the owner of the sound
Magpatoc, because they were [walking] ahead of the group. [67] They system. Furthermore, Bajenteng insisted, on cross-examination, that
followed Celis, Sumagaysay and their two (2) companions in order to Yungot did not leave the benefit dance from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. of the
do harm to them.[68] following day, except at one instance, that is, at about 9 p.m., Yungot
left, but after five minutes, he returned back to the dance. [90]Bajenteng
As pointed earlier, the prosecution adopted the foregoing acted as the emcee at the dance.
testimonies of Jose Oyson and Jose Lagamon, Jr. during the hearing on
Magpatocs motion for bail, as part of its evidence-in-chief against Leovigildo Bautista,[91] a youth organizer associated with the
Magpatoc. In addition to the foregoing testimonies, the prosecution Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), issued a
presented anew five (5) witnesses, namely, P/Cpl. Dionisio Erispe, certification confirming that Yungot was a bonafide member of
SPO4 Leonor Sonza, Sgt. Virgilio Jaranilla, Dr. Jose Pagsaligan and the Pag-asa Youth Movement.
Delilah Celis Banderado, whom it had earlier presented during Yungots On rebuttal, the prosecution presented Jose Oyson, who refuted
trial. These five (5) witnesses respective testimonies at Magpatocs trial Yungots testimony that he was the operator of the phonograph system
were substantially identical with their testimonies at Yungots trial. used at the benefit dance held on the night of May 24, 1987; and
At Magpatocs trial, P/Cpl. Dionisio Erispe further testified that declared that it was Ruth Dionson, granddaughter of the owner of the
while he was at the Davao Doctors Hospital, he was able to talk with phonograph system, who operated the said system. [92] Oyson further
the two (2) companions of the stabbed victim who was brought claimed that Yungot and Magpatoc were at the Davao Fiesta in the
there.He identified these two (2) companions as Ben Hur and Joe evening of May 24, 1987. [93] He maintained that he saw Yungot,
Lagamon.[69] At the San Pedro Hospital, hospital employees gave him Magpatoc and Ayala stab Celis and Sumagaysay.[94] On cross-
two (2) identification cards of Jernie Sumagaysay for safekeeping, examination, he asserted that at 7:30 p.m., on May 24, 1987, he left the
which he subsequently turned over to the desk officer at the station. [70] dance and went to the Davao Barrio Fiesta with accused-appellants,
Edwin Yungot and Rommel Magpatoc, Jossel Ayala, Jun Laos, Allen
Dr. Jose Pagsaligan, the medical specialist from the Regional Ledesma, Jun Suaner, Edi (Edic in footnote 65), Jose Dalman and
Health Office No. XI of the Department of Health (DOH), Davao City, Dodong Cajiwat.[95] After three (3) hours, all of them left the Barrio
who performed the autopsy on the two victims cadavers on May 25, Fiesta, and returned to the dance after the stabbing incident had
1987, and issued Autopsy Report Nos. N-039-87 and N-040-87, also occurred.[96]
testified that because of the trajectory of the wound which Sumagaysay
sustained, his assailant was most probably at his back, holding the Still on rebuttal, Ruth Dionson disputed Yungots testimony that
bladed weapon.[71] he operated the sound system at the benefit dance held on May 24,
1987, and claimed she operated the said sound system with her aunt,
Delilah Celis Banderado, sister of Oscar Celis, testified anew on Melanie Guinagao.[97]
the actual expenses amounting to P13,990.00, which they incurred due
to the death of Celis. The prosecution also recalled Sgt. Virgilio Jaranilla who testified
that a week after May 24, 1987, as investigator, he went to the house of
With leave of court, accused-appellants, Yungot and Magpatoc Yungot but failed to find Yungot.
filed their respective Demurrers to Evidence, [72] which, however, were
denied by the trial court in an Order dated November 10, 1993. [73] On April 17, 1995, the trial court promulgated its joint decision
dated March 28, 1995, finding both Yungot and Magpatoc guilty
Subsequently, a joint trial was conducted for the presentation of beyond reasonable doubt of murder in both Criminal Cases Nos.
evidence for the defense. Rommel Magpatoc, in his defense, testified 15,377-87 and 15,378-87, imposing upon them two terms of reclusion
along with Allen Ledesma, Noel Cahiwat and Ysmael Cahiwat; while perpetua, and the payment of actual, compensatory and moral damages,
Edwin Yungot, also in his defense, presented Bernardo Bajenteng, and costs. The dispositive part of the said decision reads:
Leovigildo Bautista and himself as witnesses.
WHEREFORE, in Criminal Case No. 15,377-87, finding the accused
According to accused-appellant Magpatoc, on May 24, 1987, at Rommel (Umi) Magpatoc and Edwin Yungot guilty beyond reasonable
about 7:30-8:00 p.m., he went with his girlfriend to the dance held at doubt of the crime of MURDER punishable under Article 248 of the
the back of the Aldevinco building. [74] Together with three (3) others, Revised Penal Code with no attendant circumstance, both are hereby
namely, his girlfriend, Noel Cahiwag and the latters friend, Magpatoc sentenced to a penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to pay the cost; to pay
left the dance at around 11 p.m. and went home. [75] He denied having the offended party jointly and severally the amount of P12,000.00 as
gone to Barrio Fiesta on that night.[76] actual damages; each to indemnify the offended party the amount of
Allen Ledesma, a friend of Magpatoc, testified that on May 24, P50,000.00 as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 as moral
1987, at 10 p.m., he was inside the disco house at Aldevinco Shopping damages.
Center with Magpatoc and Dodong Abellana. [77] At around 10:30 p.m., In Criminal Case no. 15,378-87, finding the two (2) accused Rommel
he went to the Davao Fiesta with Dodong Abellana upon the latters (Umi) Magpatoc and Edwin Yungot guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
invitation, leaving behind Rommel Magpatoc, who stayed in the disco the crime of MURDER punishable under Article 248 of the Revised
house.[78] Ledesma and Abellana joined six (6) others at the Davao Penal Code with no attendant circumstance, both are hereby sentenced
Fiesta. After consuming three (3) bottles of beer, Ledesma left Davao to a penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to pay the cost; to pay the
Fiesta with a certain Anak, [79] bought some cigarettes and went back to offended party jointly and severally the amount of P13,990.00 as actual
the disco house. Among the six (6) persons left behind at the Davao damages; each to indemnify the offended party the amount of
Fiesta were Dodong Cahiwat, a certain Caloy and a certain Lanay. P50,000.00 as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 as moral
[80]
Jose Oyson was later identified as one of the six (6) persons, damages.[98]
[81]
whom Ledesma and Abellana joined at the Davao Fiesta.Likewise,
Edwin Yungot was at the Davao Fiesta when they arrived there. [82] Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellant Edwin Yungot raises the
following assignment of errors:[99]
Noel Cahiwat testified that on the night of May 24, 1987, he was
at the dance held behind the Aldevinco Shopping Center, with Rommel I
Magpatoc, Allen Ledesma and several others. At about 9:30 p.m., a THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-
certain Jun Driver invited them to drink at the Davao Fiesta. He went to APPELLANT YUNGOT GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF
the Davao Fiesta with Dodong Siquio and another person whose name MURDER DESPITE THE FACT THAT HIS GUILT THEREOF
he could not remember.[83] Rommel Magpatoc and the others were left WAS NOT DETERMINED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
at the disco house.[84] At 10 p.m., Noel Cahiwat left the Davao Fiesta
with a companion and went back to the dance hall. [85] At the dance hall, II
AT ANY RATE, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN Celis, the two holding Celis while the third one stabbed Celis at his
APPRECIATING THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE OF breast while Celis was facing the assailant sidewise. He pointed to the
TREACHERY DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SAME WAS accused Edwin Yungot as the person who stabbed Oscar Celis. The
NOT PROVEN DURING THE PROCEEDINGS THEREIN. place where the stabbing incident occured (sic) was well lighted by
[f]luorescent light so that he could fully recognized (sic) the faces of the
Accused-appellant Rommel Magpatoc, on the other hand, raises the assaillants (sic). The person who stabbed Sumagaysay was different
following assignment of errors: from the person who stabbed Celis and he could also identify the
I assaillant (sic) of Sum[a]gaysay. He looked around the [c]ourtroom
when asked to identify the assaillant (sic) of Sumagaysay and answered
THE TRIAL COURT HAD PREJUDGED THE GUILT OF that he is (sic) not in the [c]ourt room. [L]et it be noted that he testified
THE ACCUSED BY REASON OF HIS DEFENSE OF before the arrest of Rommel Magpatoc. xxx xxx.[105]
ALIBI.
The above findings of the trial court are fully supported by the
II records. As shown by the transcripts, Lagamon, Jr. testified as follows:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
TO THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES TESTIMONIES
DESPITE MATERIAL AND SUBSTANTIAL xxx xxx.
INCONSISTENCIES. Q: Who were with you walking?
III A: Ben Hur, myself, Sumagaysay and Celis.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING Q: How far were Celis and Sumagaysay?
THE CHARACTER EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE
ACCUSED. A: About 5 to 6 meters.
IV xxx xxx.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING Q: What happened while you were walking?
THE ACCUSED DESPITE THE STRENGTH OF THE
DEFENSE OF ALIBI. A: We were walking towards the direction of Land Bank when
suddenly there was a commotion at the back.
This Court is not persuaded.
Q: What did you do when you heard the commotion?
Accused-appellant Edwin Yungots arguments, in fine, revolve on
the matter of credibility of the prosecution witnesses. In particular, INTERPRETER:
Yungot cites several instances of inconsistencies in the testimony of Witness demonstrating that Ben Hurs arm was around him at the
prosecution witness Jose Lagamon, Jr. For instance, on direct back and when a commotion ensued he turned immediately
examination at Yungots trial, Lagamon, Jr. claimed that Yungot stabbed his back and that he saw somebody thrust a knife.
Celis. However, during the hearing on Magpatocs motion for bail at
Magpatocs trial, Lagamon, Jr. asserted on both direct and cross- PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
examinations that he could not recognize the person who stabbed Celis Q: You said you turned your back, what did you see?
because the incident happened suddenly; but immediately thereafter, he
declared that he could recognize Celis assailants only by face, [100] and in A: When I turned my back I saw the commotion at the back and
open court pointed at accused-appellant Rommel Magpatoc as the somebody was stabbing Celis and Sumagaysay.
person who stabbed Celis.[101] Yungot argues that the [s]aid
Q: How far were you when you turned your back from Celis and
inconsistencies in the testimony of Jose Lagamon, Jr. should not have
Sumagaysay?
been overlooked by the trial court, for it not only puts to doubt the
identity of the assailant[s] in the crime[s] but likewise casts doubt as to A: Very near.
the credibility of the said witness, the very foundation of the crime for
which ... [he] stand[s] to lose his liberty.[102] Q: Can you estimate?

The argument is plainly unmeritorious. Well-settled to the point COURT:


of being elementary is the rule of procedure that in rendering its The distance between?
judgment, the court must consider only such evidence, duly
presented during the trial, for or against any party to the A: Between me and Sumagaysay, about a meter away.
action, and made the sole basis of the decision therein. [103] Thus, PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
Lagamon, Jr.s testimony in the separate trial of Magpatoc cannot, at this
stage, be used by Yungot to exculpate himself. Under Section 1(f), Rule xxx xxx.
115 of the Rules of Court, xxx xxx. [e]ither party may utilize as part of
Q: How about Celis? Did you see and demonstrate?
its evidence the testimony of a witness who is deceased, out of, or
cannot, with due diligence be found in the Philippines, unavailable or Please demonstrate how he was stabbed?
otherwise unable to testify, given in another case or proceeding, judicial
or administrative, involving the same parties and subject matter, the A: Celis was pushed and he turned around and 3 persons were
adverse party having had the opportunity to cross-examine him. Thus, ganging up on Celis and stabbed him.
the only instance when Lagamon, Jr.s testimony at the separate trial of COURT:
Magpatoc could have been utilized as part of Yungots evidence was if
the said witness was deceased, out of or cannot with due diligence be Q: The persons whom you saw stabbed Sumagaysay also stabbed
found in the Philippines, unavailable or otherwise unable to testify, Celis?
which was not proved at all in this case. A: No, sir, different persons.
The trial court found Lagamon, Jr.s testimony to be clear, PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
straightforward, convincing and rigning (sic) with sincerity.
[104]
According to the trial court: Q: But that happened at the same time?
There were two prosecutions witnesses, namely, Jose Lagamon, Jr. and A: Yes, simultaneous.
Jose Oyson who were in the scene of the crime when it happened and
Q: Will you be able to identify the assailants?
actually witnessed the stabbing incident and saw who were the
perpetrator[s]. A: Yes, sir.
Jose Lagamon, Jr. testified twice, during the presentation of the xxx xxx.
prosecutions evidence against Edwin Yungot and in the hearing of the
petition for bail of Rommel Magpatoc. Q: You said you can identify the assailants. With regard to
Celis, can you identify the persons who stabbed him?
Jose Lagamon, Jr. was a classmate of the victim Oscar Celis, both
graduated from the same school. On that night of September (should A: Yes, because the place was well lighted.
have been May) 24, 1987, he went to the Davao Barrio Fiesta place at Q: Look around this courtroom and see if any of the assailants
Claveria St. to drink beer and found inside Oscar Celis and Jermie is in Court?
Sumagaysay and Ben Hur. Ben Hur was his former classmate and
Jermie Sumagaysay was also known to him for they already met in the INTERPRETER:
school. The witness is looking around the courtroom and after looking
After paying for the beers they drank, they proceeded home along the for a while pointed to a person wearing a t-shirt with a
Claveria St., he and Ben Hur were walking a few meters ahead of Oscar print Free and when asked his name answered that he is
Celis and Jermie Sumagaysay who were trailing closed (sic) behind. He Edwin Yungot.
heard a commotion at his back and when he turned around, he saw xxx xxx.
Celis and Sumagaysay were being stabbed. Three persons ganged up at
Q: Earlier, you pointed to a person who answered by the name Q: When you said we, who were your companions who went to the
of Edwin Yungot. What is his participation in the stabbing Davao Fiesta on May 24, 1987 at 8:30 in the evening?
of Celis.
A: Alias Jun Driver, Edwin Yungot, Rommel Magpatoc, Jun Laos,
A: He was the one who stabbed first. Joe Dalman, Jun Suaner, Edi, Allen Ledesma, Dodong
Cahiwat and me.
Q: What do you mean by bira?
COURT:
A: He was the one who stabbed first. The other persons were
holding on (sic) Celis. Q: What time was it when you and the group you mentioned left the
dancing place in order to go to the Barrio Fiesta?
COURT:
A: About 7:30.
Q: Who were the other persons? How many were they?
COURT:
A: 3 or 4 persons held Celis.
Proceed.
Q: And so, while those 3 or 4 persons held Celis this Edwin
Yungot stabbed Celis from the back? PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
A: From the back. Q: 7:30 in the evening?
PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III: A: Yes, sir.
Q: Please demonstrate how Edwin Yungot stabbed Celis? Q: So the declaration of the other accused Magpatoc that they never
left the dancing (sic) party during the whole duation (sic) of
INTERPRETER: May 24, 1987 in the evening is also not true?
The witness is demonstrating that Celis was stabbed at the left side A: Not true.
of the body.
Q: The 2 accused Yungot and Magpatoc declared before the Court
COURT: that they have no participation in the stabbing incident on the
Q: You mean the body of Celis was facing sidewise Edwin Yungot evening of May 24, 1987 which resulted to (sic) the death of
when the latter stabbed Celis at his breast? Oscar Celis and Gernie Sumagaysay which incident is now
subject of these 2 criminal cases. What can you say to that?
A: Yes, sir.
ATTY. MONTEJO:
Q: So the one who stabbed Celis was Yungot?
It is not covered by the offer. The offer is only to rebut the
A: Yes, sir. testimony that they never left the dancing place.
Q: How many times did you see Celis hit by Yungot? PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
A: About 2 or 3 times. It is in the record, Your Honor.
Q: While Yungot was stabbing Celis, the 3 or 4 companions of STENOGRAPHER:
Yungot were holding Celis?
(Reading back the offer of testimony by the Public Prosecutor and
INTERPRETER: the last question propounded by the Public Prosecutor.)
The witness demonstrating that 2 or 3 persons held the backside of COURT:
the deceased Celis and he was twisted so that his left side was
facing the assailant Edwin Yungot. It is there.

xxx xxx. (emphasis supplied)[106] A: That is not true.

Even assuming arguendo that Lagamon, Jr.s testimony at PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III:
Magpatocs trial could be considered as part of Yungots evidence, we Q: You said the declaration of the 2 accused is not true. What is the
have previously ruled that [c]ourts are not bound to accept or reject the participation of Edwin Yungot to that stabbing incident which
whole of the testimony of a witness. They may believe one part and resulted to (sic) the death of Oscar Celis and Jernie
disbelieve the other part of the testimony. If there are conflicts in the Sumagaysay?
testimony which cannot be so reconciled as to admit every witness
swearing the truth, the Court adopts that testimony which it believes to A: They were really the ones who stabbed. The three (3) of them.
be true, taking into consideration the general character of the witness,
his manner and demeanor on the stand while testifying, the consistency Q: Who were the three (3) who stabbed?
or inconsistency of his statements, their probability or improbability, his A: Edwin Yungot, Rommel Magpatoc and Josel Ayala.
ability and willingness to speak the truth, his intelligence and means of
knowledge, his motive to speak the truth or swear a falsehood. [107] As it Q: Did you see these three (3) stab the victims?
were, the trial court aptly found the testimony of Lagamon, Jr. to be A: Yes, sir.
clear, straightforward, convincing and ringing with sincerity.
Q: How far were you from the stabbing of the 2 victims?
Nonetheless, even if we were to consider Lagamon, Jr.s entire
testimony as unreliable, unworthy of belief and undeserving of A: About seven (7) meters.
credence because of some inconsistency in his testimony, particularly
Q: The scene of the stabbing incident, was it well-lighted?
regarding the identity of Celis assailant, Yungots active participation in
the crimes charged was positively asserted by another eyewitness for A: Yes, sir.
the prosecution, Jose Oyson. In other words, Yungots conviction was
based not only on Lagamon, Jr.s testimony but also on the testimony of xxx xxx. (emphasis supplied)[108]
another eyewitness, Jose Oyson, who categorically testified that: Furthermore, the following circumstances, duly established by the
PROSECUTOR DAYANGHIRANG III: evidence for the prosecution, which Yungots defense of alibi could not
surmount, proved that Yungot was one of those who participated in the
xxx xxx. killing of Celis and Sumagaysay and is, therefore, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt:
Q: Accused Yungot also declared before this court that on said date
May 24, 1987 during the benefit dance held at the back of 1. Yungot was positively identified by his companions on the night of
Aldevinco Shopping Center, he did not leave the dancing May 24, 1987, Jonathan Abellana and Jose Oyson, as one of those who
place during the duration of the dance party. What can you were drinking with them at the Davao Barrio Fiesta; and by Jose
say to that declaration? Lagamon, Jr. who was also drinking at the Davao Barrio Fiesta with
Celis and Sumagaysay.
A: That is not true.
2. Yungot and his companions left the Davao Barrio Fiesta after three
Q: If you know, where did Yungot go on the said date?
hours.
A: They were at the Davao Fiesta.
3. Celis, Sumagaysay, Lagamon, Jr. and Barol left the Davao Barrio
Q: What time did he go to the Davao Fiesta? On May 24, 1987? Fiesta and walked towards Claveria St.
A: About 8:30. 4. Yungot was one of the five or six persons involved in the stabbing
incident, three or four of whom were armed.
Q: 8:30 in the evening?
5. Celis and Sumagaysay each died of a stab wound inflicted using a
A: Yes, sir. single-bladed weapon.
6. Immediately after the commission of the crimes, Yungot and showing in this case, notwithstanding the valiant efforts of counsels for
Magpatoc resorted to flight. accused-appellants to create such an impression.
7. Prosecution witnesses Jose Oyson, Jose Lagamon, Jr. and Jonathan In like manner, accused-appellant Rommel Magpatoc, in his
Abellana were not shown to have any cause to testify falsely against defense, submits that the credibility of prosecution witnesses, Jose
Yungot. Lagamon, Jr. and Jose Oyson, are suspect, pointing out several material
and substantial inconsistencies in their respective testimonies which
The inconsistencies between the testimony of Lagamon, Jr. and were simply overlooked and not considered by the trial court.
Jose Oysons testimony, particularly, the manner how Celis and
Sumagaysay were attacked,[109] and the number of persons involved in As to Lagamon, Jr.s testimony, Magpatoc cites the following
the stabbing incident,[110] as further pointed out by Yungot, are more inconsistencies: first, the distance between Lagamon, Jr. and the two
apparent than real, if not altogether immaterial and victims at the time of the stabbing incident; second, the number of
insignificant. Concededly, some inconsistencies may be noted; they are, persons who attacked the victims; third, the number of assailants who
however, not so material and substantial as to affect the credibility of were armed with knives; fourth, the act of the person who pointed a
the said witnesses; thus there is no compelling reason to disturb the knife at Lagamon, Jr.; fifth, the identity of the person who stabbed
findings of the trial court in this regard. Oscar Celis; and sixth, Lagamon, Jr.s reaction when he was threatened
by one of the assailants. [117] As to Jose Oysons testimony, Magpatoc
We now tackle the issue of whether treachery and conspiracy points out the following inconsistencies: first, the identity of the
attended the commission of the crimes. Yungots allegation that the trial assailants; second, the number of assailants; third, the unusual incident
court erred in appreciating the presence of treachery and conspiracy, is or conversation at the Barrio Fiesta; and fourth, the activities/purpose of
not supported by the records. the Looban Young Killers group.[118] Magpatoc likewise cites the
In People vs. Rivera,[111] we held that: inconsistency between Oysons testimony and that of Dr. Pagsaligan as
to the relative positions of the victims and their assailants at the time of
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the stabbing incident.[119]
the person, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution
thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, After a careful and thorough review of the evidence on record,
without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended particularly the testimonies of the witnesses, the Court notes that these
party might make. Thus, for treachery or alevosia to be appreciated as a alleged inconsistencies refer, at best, only to trivial, minor, and
qualifying circumstance, the prosecution must establish the concurrence insignificant details and slight variations. In People vs. Alolod,[120] we
of two (2) conditions: (a) that at the time of the attack, the victim was held that:
not in a position to defend himself; and (b) that the offender xxx xxx. Recollection of different witnesses with respect to time, place
consciously adopted the particular means, method or form of attack and other circumstances of a criminal event would naturally differ in
employed by him.[112] various details. Not all persons who witness an incident are impressed
Indeed, the foregoing requisites were evidently present in the case at in the same manner and it is but natural that in relating their
bar. Accused-appellant Yungots attack, coming from behind, on the impressions, they disagree on the minor details and that there be
unarmed Oscar Celis, was sudden, unprovoked, unexpected and contradictions in their testimonies. Witnesses cannot be expected to
deliberate. To ensure or afford impunity, three (3) other persons were recollect with exactitude every minute detail of an event. This is
holding Celis while he was being stabbed by Yungot. Clearly, under especially true when the witnesses testify as to facts which transpired in
these circumstances, Celis was in no position and without any means to rapid succession, attended by flurry and excitement. The testimony of
defend himself. The attack was done in a manner which directly and each witness should not be expected to be identical to and coinciding
specially insured the execution of the act without any risk to Yungot with each other. It is enough that the principal points covered by their
arising from the defense which Celis might have made. Thus, as testimonies are established although they do not dovetail in all details
correctly held by the trial court, treachery was present in this case, which would even prove well-rehearsed and studied declarations. If
qualifying the crime to murder. witnesses should agree as to every detail of a transaction which
occupied a considerable space of time, and should undertake to tell all
We are also in agreement with the trial courts finding that there that occurred in precisely the same order, each giving the same incident
was conspiracy between the accused-appellants, as alleged in the as the other in precisely the same words, that fact would be of itself a
informations. As enunciated by the trial court: suspicious circumstance.[121]
xxx xxx. The alleged inconsistencies bear no materiality to the commission
Conspiracy of both the two accused and the others who participated in of the crimes imputed against accused-appellants. As pointed out by the
the stabbing was clearly proven by the evidence independent of the Solicitor General, xxx xxx. [t]hese [seeming] discrepancies may be
crime itself. It was shown that there was a unity of purpose of the two attributed to the fact that the witnesses were called to relate the incident
(2) accused and the others and the intention to stab the two victims almost five years after it transpired. It is not unusual for a witness to a
simultaneously. When the two accused left the Davao Barrio Fiesta startling occurrence, not to vividly and exactly remember minute details
with the others immediately after the two victims and their two of the occurrence, such as [the] number and location of the wounds
companions left said place, there was already the intention and plan to inflicted on the victim[s] especially, when he was called to testify only
inflict injury upon the two victims. xxx xxx.[113] after a lapse of almost five years. xxx xxx.[122] Trivial incongruities
within a testimony and between testimonies likewise do not impair the
Conspiracy, as alleged in the informations, was convincingly credibility of the witness/witnesses. Minor lapses are to be expected
established. There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an when a person is recounting details of a traumatic experience too
agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit painful to recall. In fact, the discordance in the testimonies of witnesses
it.[114] Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner by which on minor matters heightens their credibility and shows that their
the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from acts of the accused testimonies were not coached or rehearsed, especially where there is
themselves when such point to a joint purpose and design, concerted consistency in relating the principal occurrence and positive
action and community of interest.[115] In this case, the prosecution identification of the assailant.[123]
established that accused-appellants, Yungot and Magpatoc, and their
companions left the Davao Barrio Fiesta right after Celis, Sumagaysay Moreover, accused-appellant Magpatoc bewails the supposed
and their companions left the said place, with the intention to do harm failure of prosecution witness Jose Lagamon, Jr. to promptly report the
to Celis, Sumagaysay and their two (2) companions. Coming from crimes to the authorities; and assails the delay of prosecution witness
behind, Yungot stabbed Celis while three (3) others held and restrained Jose Oyson in testifying before the trial court.
him; and simultaneously or almost at the same time, Magpatoc rode on The contention is untenable.
Sumagaysays back and stabbed him. Yungot and Magpatoc each
inflicted one fatal stab wound which caused the death of the This Court has already taken judicial notice of the actuality that
victims. These concerted actions of accused-appellants reveal their witnesses in this country are usually reluctant to volunteer information
common intent to harm Celis and Sumagaysay, if not cause them death. about a criminal case or are unwilling to be involved in or dragged into
criminal investigations.[124] The initial reluctance to volunteer
In sum, we find no reason to disturb the findings of the trial court information about a criminal case and/or the unwillingness to be
that the prosecution witnesses are more credible, that their testimonies involved in a criminal investigation due to fear of reprisal are common
were clear, straightforward, convincing and rigning (sic) with sincerity and have been judicially declared to have no effect on credibility.[125]
and that there was, as well, no reason for them to testify falsely against
the accused-appellants, specially since the trial court had the Finally, Magpatoc alleges that the trial court erred in disregarding
opportunity to observe the witnesses demeanor and deportment on the evidence of his good moral character. The allegation has no
witness stand, hence, its assessment of the credibility of the witnesses, merit. In People vs. Cerelegia,[126] we ruled that xxx xxx. [i]t is true that
is entitled to great respect. It may not be amiss to reiterate that on the the good moral character of an accused having reference to the moral
issue of credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will not disturb the trait involved in the offense charged may be proven by him. But an
findings arrived at by the trial court, which was certainly in a better accused is not entitled to an acquittal simply because of his previous
position to rate the credibility of the witnesses after hearing them and good moral character and exemplary conduct if the Court believes he is
observing their deportment and manner of testifying during the guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The affirmance or
trial. This rule stands absent any showing that certain facts and reversal of his conviction must be resolved on the basic issue of
circumstances of weight and value have been overlooked, whether the prosecution had discharged its duty of proving his guilt
misinterpreted or misapplied by the trial court which, if considered, beyond peradventure of doubt.[127] After reviewing the evidence in this
would affect the result or outcome of the case. [116] There is no such case, we are convinced that the prosecution has satisfactorily overcome
the presumption of innocence accorded to every accused and that complainant that since they could not get anything from her anyway,
accused-appellants, Yungot and Magpatoc are guilty beyond reasonable she might as well submit herself to them. Then, accused-appellant
doubt of the crime charged; thus, evidence of good moral character will began kissing complainant and touching her private parts. Randy
not prevail. Simbulan, meanwhile, inserted his finger into complainants vagina.
Regarding accused-appellants mutual defense of alibi, we rule As they were entering Levitown Subdivision, accused-appellant
that the trial court correctly rejected their alibi since it was not ordered complainant to act naturally while they passed the
physically impossible for both accused-appellants to be at the scene of guardhouse. Once they got through, accused-appellant asked her to give
the crime at the time of its commission. We have ruled, time and again, in to his desire, and then, he again began touching her private
that alibi is the weakest of all defenses and cannot stand against strong parts. Complainant answered that she would rather be killed than
and positive identification, as in this case. [128] accede to his desire. This prompted accused-appellant to hit her with an
icepick on the abdomen.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed judgment of
the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 16, in Criminal Case Upon reaching a vacant lot, accused-appellant ordered Vendibil to
Nos. 15,377-87 and 15,378-87, finding accused-appellants, Edwin stop the tricycle. He then tried to strangle complainant, causing her to
Yungot and Rommel Magpatoc guilty beyond reasonable doubt of fall down from her seat and lose consciousness. When she regained
murder on two counts, and sentencing each of them to reclusion consciousness, she was forced to board the tricycle. Again, they rode
perpetua for each count, and ordering them to pay the offended partly, around the village. Accused-appellant tried to strangle her with a
jointly and severally, the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity, and bandana and ordered her to remove her underwear. When she refused,
P50,000.00 as moral damages in each case and the amount of accused-appellant himself removed her underwear, opened his pant
P12,000.00 and P13,990.00 as actual damages in Criminal Cases Nos. zipper and forced her to sit on his lap. Complainant struggled, so
15,377-87 and 15,378-87, respectively, is hereby AFFIRMED. accused-appellant ordered the tricycle to stop and dragged complainant
out. Accused-appellant then brought complainant to a grassy vacant lot
SO ORDERED. and forced himself on her. After satisfying his lust, they again boarded
the tricycle and accused-appellant informed complainant that his
companions would follow. Complainants pleas were in vain. After a
few minutes of driving around, they came upon another vacant lot
where accused-appellant and Vendibil dragged complainant. There,
Vendibil forced complainant to put his penis into her
mouth. Unsatisfied, Vendibil forced her to lie down and succeeded in
[G.R. No. 120468. August 15, 2001] having sexual intercourse with her while accused-appellant and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. LOPE Simbulan watched. Thereafter, Simbulan took his turn. After he
LIWANAG y BUENAVENTURA, SANDY SIMBULAN y satisfied his lust, they talked of killing complainant.
GARCIA and RAMIL VENDIBIL y CASTRO, accused. Complainant pleaded for her life and, in desperation, she offered
LOPE LIWANAG y BUENAVENTURA, accused-appellant. them money in exchange for her life. Accused-appellant asked her if
she can produce P10,000.00, but she said she could not. Accused-
DECISION appellant lowered his demand to P5,000.00. They negotiated until they
finally agreed on the sum of P2,000.00. Accused-appellant instructed
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
complainant to deliver the money at Guadalupe, Makati. She was to
Accused-appellant Lope Liwanag y Buenaventura, and his co- place the amount inside a bag together with a sandwich she was to buy
accused Randy Simbulan and Ramil Vendibil, were charged with the at Burger Machine. They agreed to meet at 11:30 that same
crime of highway robbery with multiple rape in an Information [1]which morning. When they finally let go of her, complainant proceeded to a
reads, thus: church. At daybreak, she went home and told her mother the whole
incident. Together, they proceeded to the Fort Bonifacio police station
That on or about the 27th day of April, 1992, in the Municipality of and reported the matter. The police, in turn, devised an entrapment
Paraaque, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this operation.
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with an icepick,
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping and aiding At the appointed hour, complainant went to Guadalupe, Makati,
one another, with intent to gain and by means of force, violence and bringing with her an envelope containing pieces of plain
intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, paper. Accused-appellant arrived after 45 minutes. Complainant handed
take, rob and divest from the complainant, Corazon Hernandez y Delfin the envelope to him, then she ran away. Accused-appellant also ran and
the amount of P60.00; That on the occasion thereof, the above-named boarded a bus, but he was collared and arrested by the police.
accused, conspiring and confederating together and each of them
Dr. Louella Nario, Medico Legal Officer of the National Bureau
mutually helping and aiding one another and by means of force and
of Investigation conducted an examination on the complainant and
intimidation, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
issued a medical certificate[2] with the following findings:
one at a time have carnal knowledge of the said complainant, inside the
Levitown Subdivision, Paraaque, Metro Manila, against her will and Extragenital Physical Injuries:
consent;
Abrasions, linear, leg, right, upper third, anterior aspect, 4.8 cms., in
That accused Randy Simbulan y Garcia, who is allegedly 14 years old, length and left, lower third, anterior aspect, 4.7 cm. in length.
has acted with discernment in the commission of the offense; and
Contused abrasion, epigastric region, 2.4 x 0.3 cm.
That the aggravating circumstance of that means employed or
circumstance brought about which add ignominy to the natural effect of Contusions, reddish, mandibular region, right side, 1.8 x 1.5 cm. and
the act where one of the accused, by means of force and intimidation, left side, 2.0 x 1.0 cms.; neck, lateral aspect, right side, 5.5 x 0.5 cms.,
caused the victim to suck his penis made the effect of the crime more and 9.8 x 0.5 cms. and 2.5 x 0.5 cms. deltoid region, left side, 2.4 x 1.3
humiliating to the victim, attended the commission of the offense. cms. purplish, deltoid region, left side, 4.2 x 2.5 cms.

CONTRARY TO LAW. Genital Examination:

During the arraignment, all of them pleaded not guilty to the Pubic hair, fully grown, abundant. Labia majora and minora,
charge. Accused Randy Simbulan and Ramil Vendibil were earlier gaping. Fourchette, lax. Vestibular mucosa, congested, with fresh
released on recognizance, and were later ordered rearrested for their superficial abrasion at the fossa navicularis. Hymen, thick, short,
failure to appear at the scheduled hearings. However, the warrants for intact.Hymenal orifice, annular, admits a tube, 2.0 cms., in diameter
their arrest were not implemented. Trial on the merits, thus, ensued only with moderate resistance. Vagina walls, tight. Rugosities, prominent.
against accused-appellant Lope Liwanag y Buenaventura. Conclusion:
Complainant Corazon Hernandez was on her way home to 1. The above-described extragenital physical injuries noted on the body
Paraaque at around 1:00 oclock in the early morning of April 27, of the subject at the time of examination.
1992. Upon reaching the tricycle terminal at Doa Soledad St., Better
Living Subdivision, Paraaque, Metro Manila, she was offered by 2. Genital injury present.
tricycle driver Ramil Vendibil a special trip, which means that she Accused-appellant denied the accusation against him. He claimed
would be brought right in front of her house. She agreed and boarded that at around 12:00 oclock midnight of April 27, 1992, he was at his
the tricycle.While they were about to leave, Randy Simbulan and Lope house at Texas Street, Better Living Subdivision, Paraaque, Metro
Liwanag also rode the tricycle behind the driver. When they reached Manila. His uncle, Emilio Changco, dropped by and, together with
India Street, Lope Liwanag entered the sidecar and sat beside Ponciano Buenaventura and Hermenegildo Liwanag, they had a
complainant. He immediately grabbed complainants shoulder, pointed drinking session up to 3:00 oclock in the morning. At around 4:00
an instrument at the side of her neck, and declared a hold-up. Surprised oclock in the morning, Changco left and accused-appellant went to
and fearing for her life, complainant told accused-appellant that she sleep. He woke up at 7:30 in the morning to prepare for his trip to San
only had sixty pesos (P60.00) in her bag. Accused-appellant Lope Miguel, Bulacan to see his grandfather.
Liwanag instructed Randy Simbulan to get her bag.
He alleged that while waiting for a ride in front of Jollibee at
While the tricycle was traversing the road leading to the Guadalupe, Makati, he was arrested by policemen in civilian clothes for
municipal building of Paraaque, accused-appellant informed being a rebel soldier, based on a mark on his right fist indicating his
membership in the Guardians Luzon, an association of soldiers. He was the judgment of conviction, Atty. Brioso filed the Notice of Appeal on
brought to Fort Bonifacio where he allegedly met for the first time behalf of accused-appellant. Atty. Brioso, however, failed to file the
Randy Simbulan and Ramil Vendibil. He claimed that the three of them appellants brief because of the refusal of accused-appellants mother to
were beaten and subjected to electric shocks. He also claimed that transmit the entire records of the case to him. Thus, accused-appellant
policemen forced his co-accused to point to him. was required to manifest whether he still desired to be represented by
Atty. Brioso in this appeal. Upon accused-appellants failure to reply,
On April 17, 1995, a decision[3] was rendered by the Regional Atty. Francis Ed. Lim was appointed counsel de officio.
Trial Court of Makati, Branch 138, the dispositive portion of which
reads: There is no dispute that accused-appellant was provided with a
counsel de officio who assisted him during the arraignment and
WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Lope Liwanag y Buenaventura conducted the cross examination of all prosecution witnesses as well as
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of having violated Presidential his direct examination. Thereafter, from the time he was cross-
Decree No. 532, known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery examined up to the presentation of other defense witnesses, he was
Law of 1974. Considering that on the occasion of the highway robbery, assisted by a counsel of his choice.
rape was committed, a situation which calls for the imposition of death
penalty under Presidential Decree No. 532 but which penalty was still Accused-appellants citation of People v. Holgado[7] and Powell v.
proscribed at the time of the commission of the offense alleged in the Alabama,[8] insofar as the right to be heard by counsel is concerned, is
Information, said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of misleading. Both cases only defined the right to be heard by counsel as
reclusion perpetua, the penalty next lower in degree (People v. Miranda, the right to be assisted by counsel. It cannot be inferred from these
235 SCRA 202). He is further ordered to indemnify the complainant cases that the right to be heard by counsel presupposes the right to an
Corazon Hernandez of the amount of One Million Pesos intelligent counsel. The requirement is not for counsel to be intelligent,
(P1,000,000.00) representing moral damages; P20,000.00 as litigation but to be effective.
expenses and attorneys fees and to return the P60.00 taken from
her. Filing fees due on the award shall be a lien on the amount which Jurisprudence defined the meaning of effective counsel only in
may be recovered by the complainant from the accused. the light of Article III, Section 12 (1) of the Constitution, which refers
to the right of persons under custodial investigation. In People v.
As to the two other co-accused, Randy Simbulan and Ramil Vendibil, Lucero,[9] the rationale for this constitutional right was elucidated by
trial of the case shall therefore continue. this Court, to wit:
Aggrieved by the trial courts decision, accused-appellant The 1987 Constitution requires that a person under investigation for the
interposed the instant appeal assigning as errors the following: commission of a crime should be provided with counsel. We have
constitutionalized the right to counsel because of our hostility against
1. The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant notwithstanding the use of duress and other undue influence in extracting confessions
the fact that he was deprived of his constitutional right to effective and from a suspect. Force and fraud tarnish confessions and render them
competent counsel, and, consequently, other constitutional rights inadmissible. In providing for said right, this Court has held in the same
afforded an accused; case that when the Constitution requires the right to counsel, it did not
2. The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant notwithstanding mean any kind of counsel but effective and vigilant counsel. The
that there was no sufficient evidence positively identifying him as the requirements of effectiveness and vigilance of counsel during that stage
perpetrator of the crime charged; before arraignment were for the purposes of guarding against the use
of duress and other undue influence in extracting confessions which
3. The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant in spite of the may taint them and render them inadmissible. (Italics supplied)
inconsistencies that tainted the evidence for the prosecution;
On the other hand, Article III, Section 14 (2) of the 1987
4. The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant in spite of the Constitution requires that the accused shall enjoy the right to be heard
improbability of the manner by which the crime was allegedly by himself and counsel. The reason for the latter provision was
committed; explained in People v. Holgado, thus:
5. The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant inspite of One of the great principles of justice guaranteed by our Constitution is
complainants failure to offer any resistance prior to and even during her that no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without
alleged rape; and due process of law, and that all accused shall enjoy the right to be heard
6. The trial court erred in disregarding the defense of accused-appellant by himself and counsel. In criminal cases there can be no fair hearing
as a mere alibi. unless the accused be given an opportunity to be heard by counsel. The
right to be heard would be of little avail if it does not include the right
Accused-appellant submits that he was deprived of his to be heard by counsel. Even the most intelligent or educated may have
constitutional right to counsel under Article III, Section 14, (2) of the no skill in the science of the law, particularly in the rules of procedure,
1987 Constitution which provides, thus: and, without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but
because he does not know how to establish his innocence. And this can
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent
happen more easily to persons who are ignorant or uneducated. It is for
until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by
this reason that the right to be assisted by counsel is deemed so
himself and counsel, x x x. (Italics supplied)
important that it has become a constitutional right and it is so
As a consequence, accused-appellant claims that from the time he implemented that under our rules of procedure it is not enough for the
was arrested up to the time of his conviction, he was deprived of his Court to apprise an accused of his right to have an attorney, it is not
other constitutional rights, particularly his right to be secure in his enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an attorney, but it is
person against unreasonable searches and seizures, [4] his right to essential that the court should assign one de oficio for him if he so
preliminary investigation,[5] and his right to bail.[6] desires and he is poor or grant him a reasonable time to procure an
attorney of his own.[10] (Italics supplied)
In addition, accused-appellant claims that the assistance extended
to him by his former counsel was ineffective to the extent that private In essence, the right to be heard by counsel simply refers to the
complainant, as well as prosecution witnesses SPO1 Armando P. Sevilla right to be assisted by counsel for the purpose of ensuring that an
and Editha Hernandez, were hardly cross-examined, while Dra. Louella accused is not denied the collateral right to due process, a fundamental
Nario was not cross-examined at all. right which cannot be waived by an accused. The underlying basis for
due process is the concept of fairness, without which there can be no
In any case, accused-appellant claims that he could not have justice. In other words, there can be no due process accorded an
committed the crime being imputed to him as he was engaged in a accused if he is not given the right to be heard through counsel or
drinking session at the very moment when the alleged crime was assisted by counsel. It follows that in order to be heard, and therefore be
committed. accorded due process, the assistance given by counsel must be effective
Accused-appellant maintains that the trial court erred in as implied in the rationale of Article III, Section 14 (2). In this sense,
convicting him because: 1) the prosecution failed to provide sufficient this Court subscribes to American jurisprudence when it held that [t]he
evidence positively identifying him as the perpetrator of the crime; 2) right of an accused to counsel is beyond question a fundamental
inconsistencies tainted the prosecution evidence; 3) the manner by right. Without counsel, the right to a fair trial itself would be of little
which the crime was committed was improbable; and, 4) complainant consequence, for it is through counsel that the accused secures his other
failed to offer any resistance prior to and even during her alleged rape. rights. In other words, the right to counsel is the right to effective
assistance of counsel.[11]
This appeal revolves primarily on the issue of whether accused-
appellant was denied his constitutionally guaranteed right to be heard In the light of the above ratiocination, accused-appellant contends
by himself and counsel. He argues that his right to be heard through his that the right to be heard by counsel is the right to effective assistance
counsel means that he should be effectively assisted by counsel of counsel. Citing Strickland v. Washington,[12] accused-appellant
throughout the proceedings, from the time he was arrested up to the contends that the assistance rendered by counsel is ineffective or is
time judgment is rendered. defective if the following elements are present: (1) that counsels
performance was deficient, which requires a showing that counsel was
The records show that at the start of the proceedings before the not functioning as the counsel guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth
trial court, accused-appellant was represented by counsel de officio, Amendment; and (2) that the deficient performance prejudiced the
Atty. William T. Uy of the Public Attorneys Office. In the middle of the defense, which requires a showing that counsels errors were so serious
trial, accused-appellant retained the services of counsel de parte Atty. as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial which result is
Bienvenido R. Brioso, replacing Atty. Uy. After the trial court rendered
reliable. Accused-appellant claims that the assistance afforded him by several matters which amplify the improbability, if not impossibility, in
his counsel during the course of the trial was ineffective since the the complainants testimony on how the crime was allegedly
counsel de officio failed to safeguard his rights necessary for the committed. Thus, the defense was not able to highlight several crucial
reversal of his conviction. points, among which are: (1) the impossibility that the alleged crime,
particularly the rape, was committed in a populated area - an inhabited
One of the rights which accused-appellant contends his and well-developed subdivision in Paraaque, with a 24-hour store
counsel de officio failed to safeguard was his right to be secure in his (Burger Machine) at that - without being noticed; (2) the fact that,
person against unreasonable searches and seizures as enshrined in the assuming that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of the
Bill of Rights. He claims that his right was violated when he was complainant, the latter did not offer any form of resistance; and (3) the
arrested without a warrant which his counsel should have contested. impossibility that after the crime charged was allegedly committed,
Accused-appellants argument is not well-taken. As reiterated accused-appellant and his co-accused gentlemanly accompanied
in People v. Costelo:[13] complainant to a place of her choice (the church).

[A]ppellants failure to quash the information, his participation in the Moreover, several questions remained unanswered. For example (1)
trial and presenting evidence in his behalf, placed him in estoppel to What time did the complainant report the incident to the police?; (2)
make such challenge. He has patently waived any objection or How long did the police plan the alleged entrapment?; (3) Were there
irregularities and is deemed as having submitted himself to the other officers involved in the entrapment?; and (4) Why was the money
jurisdiction of the court. It should be noted that the legality of arrest and other materials used for entrapment not presented in evidence?
affects only the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the Furthermore, there were also no attempts to impeach the testimony of
accused.Consequently, if objection on such ground is waived, the the private complainant on the scene of the crime through the use of
illegality of the arrest is not sufficient reason for setting aside an contradictory evidence as provided in the Rules. For instance, accused-
otherwise valid judgment rendered after the trial, free from error. The appellants counsel could have presented a resident of the subdivision
technicality cannot render the subsequent proceedings void and deprive where the crime was allegedly committed to describe the area. Such
the State of its right to convict the guilty when the facts on the record witness can establish: (1) whether or not the area where the crime was
point to the culpability of the accused. (Italics supplied) allegedly committed was indeed too dark for anyone to notice the
Any objection involving a warrant of arrest must be made before commission of the alleged crime; (2) whether or not the houses in the
he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. [14] subdivision are indeed too far apart that occurrences outside one house
would not be discernible from within; and (3) whether or not the
Accused-appellant, likewise, claims that he was deprived of his location of the houses in the subdivision is such that it would indeed be
right to a preliminary investigation. Had his counsel de oficio been useless for a woman, faced with the threat of rape to even attempt to
effective, he should have filed the proper motion on his behalf. ask for help.
There is no merit in this contention. We are not convinced. The assistance extended by Attorney Uy of
Considering that accused-appellant submitted himself to the the Public Attorneys Office was sufficiently effective. As noted by the
jurisdiction of the trial court, he is deemed to have waived his right to Office of the Solicitor General, to wit:
preliminary investigation. The pertinent transcripts of stenographic notes would show that
As aptly stated in People v. Buluran:[15] appellants counsel de oficio, Atty. William Uy, cross-examined the
private complainant extensively as well as two other prosecution
The failure to accord appellants their right to preliminary investigation witnesses (SPO1 Sevilla and Edith Hernandez). That said counsel opted
did not impair the validity of the information nor affect the jurisdiction not to cross-examine the prosecution expert witness, Dr. Louella Nario,
of the trial court. While the right to preliminary investigation is a is of no moment because said witness merely explained in court her
substantive right and not a mere formal or technical right of the findings and conclusions that she had arrived at after conducting the
accused, nevertheless, the right to preliminary investigation is deemed medical examination on the private complainant [Exhibit C] (TSN,
waived when the accused fails to invoke it before or at the time of March 30, 1993, pp. 10-12). In fact, at one point, Atty. Uy raised an
entering a plea at arraignment. It appearing that appellants only raised objection to the private prosecutors question on how private
the issue of lack of preliminary investigation during appeal, their right complainants genital injuries were sustained for being incompetent to
to a preliminary investigation was deemed waived when they entered answer, which objection was impliedly sustained by the trial judge
their respective pleas of not guilty.[16] (Ibid., p. 13).
Accused-appellant next contends that he was deprived of his right In assessing the effectiveness of counsels assistance,
to bail. He contends that had his counsel de officio been effective, he the Strickland standard invoked by accused-appellant is too stringent
would have filed the proper motion. for application in Philippine judicial setting. Strickland only seeks to
ensure that the adversarial testing process is present in a case by
The contention is without any merit. As ruled by this Court
requiring that the assistance rendered by counsel be effective. The
in People v. Manes:[17]
presence of an adversarial testing process, in other words, ensures that
The issue of bail has been rendered academic by the conviction of the the trial is fair by according the accused due process through the
accused. When an accused is charged with a capital offense, or an effective assistance of counsel.
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment or
While fairness is likewise the object of Article III, Section 14 (2)
death, and evidence of guilt is strong, bail must be denied, as it is
of the Philippine Constitution, the assistance afforded by counsel to an
neither a matter of right nor of discretion.
accused in light of the Philippine constitutional requirement need only
In the case of Strickland,[18] the United States Supreme Court: be in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court, the
Code of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional
Judicial scrutiny of counsels performance must be highly deferential. It Ethics. In Philippine judicial setting, a counsel assisting an accused is
is all too tempting for a defendant to secondguess counsels assistance presumed to be providing all the necessary legal defense which are
after conviction or adverse sentence, and it is all too easy for a court, reasonable under the circumstances in accordance with said norms.
examining counsels defense after it has proved unsuccessful, to
conclude that a particular act or omission of counsel was In this regard, a counsel assisting an accused is guided by the
unreasonable. A fair assessment of attorney performance requires that following provisions of Section 20 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:
every effort be made to eliminate the distorting effects of hindsight, to
Sec. 20. Duties of attorneys. -- It is the duty of an attorney:
reconstruct the circumstances of counsels challenged conduct, and to
evaluate the conduct from counsels perspective at the time. Because of xxxxxxxxx
the difficulties inherent in making the evaluation, a court must indulge a
strong presumption that counsels conduct falls within the wide range of (c) To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear
reasonable professional assistance; that is, the defendant must to him to be just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly
overcome the presumption that, under the circumstances, the challenged debatable under the law;
action might be considered sound trial strategy. There are countless (d) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to
ways to provide effective assistance in any given case. Even the best him, such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never
criminal defense attorneys would not defend a particular client in the seek to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false
same way. statement of fact or law;
In showing the ineffectiveness of the assistance rendered by xxxxxxxxx
counsel de officio, accused-appellant points out the following:
(h) Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause
The private complainant, whose testimony was the principal basis of of the defenseless or oppressed;
the conviction, was hardly cross-examined. The same is true with
prosecution witnesses SPO1 Armando P. Sevilla and Editha (i) In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and
Hernandez.In fact, prosecution witness Dra. Louella Nario was not honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of
cross-examined at all. the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end
that no person may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of
As a result of the insufficient cross-examination of the witnesses for the law. (Italics supplied)
prosecution, particularly the private complainant, the defense of the
accused-appellant failed to bring to the attention of the trial court
The following canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility, First, counsels decision to adopt the defense of denial and alibi as
likewise, provide: part of the trial strategy merely highlighted the strength of the
prosecution evidence. While its adoption may have been dictated by the
Canon 2 -- A lawyer shall make his legal services available in an factual circumstances of the case as perceived by accused-appellant,
efficient and convenient manner compatible with the independence, however, denial is an inherently weak defense vis--vis the positive and
integrity and effectiveness of the profession. categorical assertion of prosecution witnesses. In fact, the trial court
xxxxxxxxx found accused-appellants denial to be self-serving.

Canon 12 -- A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to Like denial, accused-appellants alibi was not looked upon with
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. favor by the trial court. Not only is it one of the weakest defenses due to
its being capable of easy fabrication, it also cannot prevail over
xxxxxxxxx witnesses positive identification of accused-appellant as the perpetrator
Canon 17 -- A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he of the crime. In any event, for the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not
shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. enough that the accused can prove his being at another place at the time
of its commission, it is likewise essential that he can show physical
Canon 18 -- A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and impossibility for him to be at the locus delicti.[20] The trial court found
diligence. accused-appellants and his witnesses testimonies on the formers alibi
unconvincing.
xxxxxxxxx
In the instant case, accused-appellant claims that he was engaged
Canon 19 -- A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the
in a drinking session with some persons at their house in Texas Street,
bounds of the law.
Better Living Subdivision at about the time when the crime was
Lastly, the Canons of Professional Ethics provide: committed until 3:00 oclock in the morning. However, Better Living
Subdivision is adjacent to Levitown Subdivision, where the rape was
4. A lawyer assigned as counsel for an indigent prisoner ought not to committed. In fact, it was in Better Living Subdivision where
ask to be excused for any trivial reason and should always exert his best complainant was robbed and sexually molested prior to being raped at
efforts in his behalf. Levitown Subdivision.
5. It is the right of the lawyer to undertake the defense of a person Second, accused-appellant also points to alleged discrepancies
accused of crime, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of between some of complainants accounts in her sworn statement and
the accused; otherwise, innocent persons, victims only of suspicious some of her declarations in her direct testimony regarding the position
circumstances, might be denied proper defense. Having undertaken of accused relative to that of complainant, the kind of instrument used
such defense, the lawyer is bound, by all fair and honorable means, to to threaten complainant and the person who got complainants
present every defense that the law of the land permits, to the end that no money. The apparent discrepancies, however, only refer to immaterial
person may be deprived of life or liberty but by due process of law. or irrelevant details. Complainant was consistent in her narration in her
15. x x x x x x x x x sworn statement as well as during her direct examination and even in
the cross-examination regarding the roles played by the three accused in
The lawyer owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal the commission of the crime.
in the maintenance and defense of his rights and the exertion of his
utmost learning and ability, to the end that nothing be taken or be A Sinumpaang Salaysay or a sworn statement is merely a short
withheld from him, save by the rules of law, legally applied. No fear of narrative subscribed to by the complainant in question and answer
judicial disfavor or public unpopularity should restrain him from the form. Thus, it is only to be expected that it is not as exhaustive as ones
full discharge of his duty. In the judicial forum the client is entitled to testimony in open court. The contradictions, if any, may be explained
the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by by the fact that an affidavit can not possibly disclose the details in their
the law of the land, and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such entirety, and may inaccurately describe, without deponent detecting it,
remedy or defense. But it is steadfastly to be borne in mind that the some of the occurrences narrated. Being taken ex-parte, an affidavit is
great trust of the lawyer is to be performed within and not without the almost always incomplete and often inaccurate, sometimes from partial
bounds of the law. The office of attorney does not permit, much less suggestions, and sometimes from the want of suggestions and
does it demand of him for any client, violation of law or any manner of inquiries. It has thus been held that affidavits are generally subordinated
fraud or chicanery. He must obey his own conscience and not that of his in importance to open court declarations because the former are often
client. executed when an affiants mental faculties are not in such a state as to
afford her a fair opportunity of narrating in full the incident which has
The above-cited norms are more than adequate to guide a transpired. Further, affidavits are not complete reproductions of what
counsels conduct in the performance of his duty to assist a client in an the declarant has in mind because they are generally prepared by the
effective manner as required by Article III, Section 14 (2). Said administering officer and the affiant simply signs them after the same
constitutional provision is patterned after the Sixth Amendment of the have been read to her.[21]
American Constitution. As in Article III, Section 14 (2), the Sixth
Amendment refers simply to counsel, not specifying particular In People v. Mangat,[22] this Court has reiterated the doctrine that
requirements of effective assistance. It relies instead on the legal discrepancies between sworn statements and testimonies made at the
professions maintenance of standards sufficient to justify the laws witness stand do not necessarily discredit the witness. Sworn
presumption that counsel will fulfill the role in the adversary process statements/affidavits are generally subordinated in importance to open
that the Amendment envisions. The proper measure of attorney court declarations because the former are often executed when an
performance remains simply reasonableness under prevailing affiants mental faculties are not in such a state as to afford him a fair
professional norms.[19] opportunity of narrating in full the incident which has
transpired. Testimonies given during trials are much more exact and
Coupled with the presumption that counsels performance was elaborate. Thus testimonial evidence carries more weight than
reasonable under the circumstances, as long as the trial was fair in that statements/affidavits.
the accused was accorded due process by means of an effective
assistance of counsel, then the constitutional requirement that an Third, accused-appellant alleges that complainant failed to offer
accused shall have the right to be heard by himself and counsel is any resistance prior to or even during her alleged rape thereby
satisfied. The only instance when the quality of counsels assistance can concluding that it could have been consensual. She did not ask for help
be questioned is when an accused is deprived of his right to due when the alleged rape took place in a populated area. She likewise did
process. Otherwise, there is the danger that questioning counsels acts or not try to escape when she had the opportunity to do so.
omissions in the conduct of his duties as counsel for an accused may This Court finds the above argument specious and
breed more unwanted consequences than merely upholding an accuseds unmeritorious. It should be noted that accused-appellant was
constitutional right or raising the standard of the legal profession. brandishing an icepick which clearly showed his readiness to use the
In the case at bar, accused-appellants right to due process has same by hitting complainant with it. Besides, she testified that she was
been observed and the trial was conducted in a fair manner. Corollarily, already weak and tired to be able to do anything against three
this Court sees no reason to doubt or overcome the presumption that malefactors who were stronger than her. It would have been foolhardy
counsel de officio reasonably assisted accused-appellant in accordance for complainant to resist the accused considering her weakened
with the prevailing norms of professional conduct and his sworn duties condition. The workings of a human mind placed under emotional
as an officer of the court. stress are unpredictable and people react differently - some may shout,
some may faint, and some may be shocked into insensibility while
Based on the findings of the trial court, accused-appellant was not others may openly welcome the intrusion. In any case, the law does not
at all prejudiced by the alleged ineffectiveness of his counsel. The impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving resistance. Physical
alleged failures by his counsel to safeguard his rights from the time he resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is
was arrested up to the time he was sentenced and the alleged exercised upon the victim and she submits herself against her will to the
inadequacies in the direct and cross-examinations of prosecution rapists lust because of fear for life and personal safety.[23]
witnesses were ultimately inconsequential to the eventual outcome of
the case. If at all, the outcome was the result of the strength of the Lastly, complainant positively pointed at accused-appellant as one
prosecution evidence rather than the failures and inadequacies in the of the perpetrators of the crime. Accused-appellant could not show any
conduct of the defense as shown by the following: reason why complainant would point him as one of the perpetrators of
the crime. It is settled that where there is no evidence to show any
dubious reason or improper motive why a prosecution witness would improvident issuance of the Warrant of Arrest in Crim. Case No. Br. 20-
testify falsely against an accused or falsely implicate him in a crime, the 1373.
testimony is worthy of full faith and credit.[24]
We find the recommendation to be well-taken and adopt the
The trial court ordered accused-appellant to pay complainant same.
moral damages in the amount of P1,000,000.00. This award must be
reduced to P50,000.00. The purpose of this award is not to enrich the Enshrined in our Constitution is the rule that "[n]o x x x warrant
victim but to compensate her for injuries to her feelings. Moreover, of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
moral damages for rape is fixed at P50,000.00.[25] personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of
the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the describing x x x the persons x x x to be seized."[6] Interpreting the words
Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 138, finding accused-appellant "personal determination" we said[7] that it does not thereby mean that
Lope Liwanag guilty of violating P.D. No. 532 and sentencing him to judges are obliged to conduct the personal examination of the
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to indemnify complainant complainant and his witnesses themselves. To require thus would be to
Corazon Hernandez P20,000.00 as litigation expenses and attorneys unduly laden them with preliminary examinations and investigations of
fees and to return the P60.00 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION criminal complaints instead of concentrating on hearing and deciding
that the amount of moral damages is reduced to P50,000.00. Costs cases filed before them. Rather what is emphasized merely is
against accused-appellant. the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy
himself as to the existence of probable cause. To this end he may: (a)
SO ORDERED. personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents submitted
by the prosecutor regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the
basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (b) if on the basis thereof he
finds no probable cause, disregard the prosecutors report and require
the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in
determining its existence. What he is never allowed to do is follow
blindly the prosecutors bare certification as to the existence of probable
[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1610. October 5, 2001] cause. Much more is required by the constitutional provision.Judges
ATTY. EDGAR H. TALINGDAN, complainant, vs. JUDGE have to go over the report, the affidavits, the transcript of stenographic
HENEDINO P. EDUARTE, RTC-Br. 20, Cauayan, notes if any, and other documents supporting the prosecutors
Isabela, respondent. certification. Although the extent of the judges personal examination
depends on the circumstances of each case, to be sure, he cannot just
RESOLUTION rely on the bare certification alone but must go beyond it. This is
because the warrant of arrest issues not on the strength of the
BELLOSILLO, J.:
certification standing alone but because of the records which sustain it.
[8]
Atty. Edgar H. Talingdan, a private practitioner, charges He should even call for the complainant and the witnesses to answer
respondent Judge Henedino P. Eduarte, RTC-Br. 20, Cauayan, Isabela, the courts probing questions when the circumstances warrant. [9]
with improvidently issuing a warrant of arrest in Crim. Case No. Br. 20-
In the case at bench respondent Judge not only failed to follow
1373 for libel without the requisite preliminary investigation being first
the required procedure but worse, was negligent enough not to have
conducted by the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
noticed that there was not even a prosecutor's certification to rely upon
Specifically, complainant alleged in his Letter-Complaint dated since no information had even been filed yet in court, and that Crim.
14 June 2000 that sometime in April 2000 elements of the PNP Case No. Br. 20-1373 was merely docketed as such on the strength of a
Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya stormed into his residence to arrest him and mere complaint filed by the private complainant Leoncio Dalin Sr.
his client, Modesto Luzano, on the strength of a Warrant of Arrest dated himself. Respondent Judge admitted that he signed the Warrant of
12 April 2000[1] issued by respondent Judge Eduarte in Crim. Case No. Arrest against complainant and the latters client simply because it was
Br. 20-1373 entitled "People v. Edgar Talingdan and Modesto presented to him for signature by the Criminal Docket Clerk. There was
Luzano" of the RTC-Br. 20, Cauayan, Isabela for the supposed crime of thus a total and unwarranted abdication of a judicial
libel. Surprised that such a case existed against him and his client as function. Respondent cannot exculpate himself from administrative
they had not been previously charged, complainant filed a Very Urgent liability by contending that the mistake was entirely attributable to the
Motion to Quash and/or Set Aside Warrant of Arrest and Direct Criminal Docket Clerk who failed to faithfully comply with her "duty"
Prosecutors Office to Conduct Preliminary Investigation dated 5 May of going over the records of criminal cases and ensuring first that an
2000 asking that the Warrant of Arrest be set aside for being premature information had already been filed in court before preparing the warrant
since they had not been previously notified of the charge against them of arrest. As we have already repeatedly said, a judge cannot take
and no preliminary investigation was ever conducted by the public refuge behind the inefficiency of his court personnel for they are not
prosecutors office yet, and for being defective since the amount of bail guardians of his responsibilities.[10] More importantly the responsibility
was not specified therein in violation of their constitutional right to delegated by respondent was clearly unauthorized and unwarranted, as
bail. Respondent Judge granted the motion and recalled the warrant of already explained above. He cannot without abandoning his judicial
arrest in an Order dated 12 May 2000 admitting that he issued the same obligation just instruct the Criminal Docket Clerk, through the much
under the mistaken belief that a preliminary investigation had already vaunted Check List for Criminal Cases that he had prepared for her to
been conducted and an information already filed in court. follow, to automatically prepare warrants of arrest simply because
informations have been filed against the accused. Although respondents
Complainant nonetheless filed this administrative case allegedly purpose in preparing the Check List, i.e., to help him comply with RA
to help the Court in purging the Judiciary of those who undermine its 8493 otherwise known as the Speedy Trial Act of 1998, [11] may be
dignity and credibility as his faith therein was almost eroded by the considered laudable, we have already said that shortcuts in judicial
unfortunate incident. processes are to be avoided when they impede rather than promote a
In his Comments dated 28 August 2000[2] respondent Judge did judicious dispensation of justice.[12] Much more when, as in the instant
not deny that he issued the improvident warrant of arrest. He only case, the shortcut amounted to a violation of a constitutional provision.
alleged by way of explanation and exculpation that on 24 March 2000 a A judge fails in his bounden duty if he relies merely on the
complaint for libel was directly filed with the RTC-Br. 19, Cauayan, certification of the investigating officer as to the existence of probable
Isabela, by Leoncio Dalin Sr. which was docketed as Crim. Case No. cause[13] making him administratively liable. We can do no less in the
2881. The case was assigned to his sala after raffle and was re-docketed case of herein respondent who issued the subject warrant of arrest
as Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1373. The records of the case then went to the without even such certification to rely upon, and worse, merely at the
Criminal Docket Clerk, Ms. Imelda Severino who, under the Check List instance of the Criminal Docket Clerk who mechanically typed the
for Criminal Cases[3] that he had prepared for her, was supposed to Warrant of Arrest for his signature.
verify from the records first whether an information had already been
filed and if there was, to prepare the corresponding warrant of arrest if ACCORDINGLY, respondent Judge Henedino P. Eduarte, RTC-
the accused had not yet been arrested. Thus when he saw the Warrant of Br. 20, Cauayan, Isabela, is FINED P10,000.00 for improvidently
Arrest prepared by Ms. Severino in Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1373, he issuing the Warrant of Arrest dated 12 April 2000 in Crim. Case No. Br.
signed the same honestly thinking that she had faithfully complied first 20-1373 in violation of the constitutional requirement of personal
with her duty of going over the records of the case. Respondent Judge determination by the issuing judge as to the existence of probable
assured the Court that the incident was a simple mistake on his part and cause. He is WARNED that any repetition of the procedure he had
that he had not been actuated by malice, corrupt motive, or improper heretofore observed in the issuance of warrants of arrest will merit a
consideration in its commission. more severe sanction.
We referred this case on 17 January 2001 to the Presiding Justice, SO ORDERED.
Court of Appeals, for assignment who would conduct an investigation
and thereafter submit a report and recommendation within ninety (90)
days from notice.[4]
In his Report and Recommendation[5] Associate Justice Salvador
J. Valdez, Jr. recommended that respondent Judge be adjudged guilty as
charged and fined Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) for the
[G. R. Nos. 140900 & 140911. August 15, 2001] that they could get money from the store, but they refused to do so.
[9]
Instead, complainants were made to board the rear of the Tamaraw
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, FX.[10] Two of the mens companions were already seated in the front
vs. RODERICK LICAYAN @ RUDY, ROBERTO LARA seat. The man in the drivers seat asked Co for the key to the vehicle.
@ TUNGKOY/UNYOK, PEDRO MABANSAG @ [11]
The three other men also boarded the vehicle with the
PUTOL (At large), ALEX PLACIO (At large), JOJO complainants. Co identified accused-appellant Roderick Licayan as one
SAJORGO (At large), ALLAN PLACIO (At large), of his five abductors.[12]
NOEL DELOS REYES (At large), DODONG ADOLFO
(At large), and BENJIE MABANSAG (At large), accused, Co said their hands were tied and their eyes taped, and that they
were made to wear caps over their heads as the vehicle reached Quezon
RODERICK LICAYAN @ RUDY, ROBERTO LARA @ Avenue in Quezon City.[13] After 45 minutes, Co said he felt the vehicle
TUNGKOY/UNYOK, accused-appellants. stop. The rear door was opened and he heard the voices of people
DECISION approaching the vehicle.

PER CURIAM: Complainants were brought inside a room of a house made of


light materials and which had no ceiling. [14] They were made to sit on
This is an automatic review of the Consolidated Decision, [1] dated the floor.[15] Then, they were transferred to another room where the
September 9, 1999, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 272, Marikina covers of their eyes were removed and their feet were tied. Manaysay
City, finding accused-appellants Roderick Licayan and Roberto Lara testified that she saw accused-appellants in the house after the masking
guilty of Kidnapping for Ransom under Art. 267 of the Revised Penal tape was removed from their eyes. [16] Cos wallet which contained
Code, as amended, and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of death P5,000.00 in cash and his watch and Manaysays necklace and earrings
by lethal injection and to indemnify private complainants in the amount were taken from them. [17] A person was left to guard them inside the
of P100,000.00, as moral and exemplary damages, and the additional room, whom both complainants identified as accused-appellant Roberto
amount of P20,000.00 for Private Complainant Joseph Co as actual Lara.[18]
damages. Accused-appellants were acquitted of the crime of Robbery.
After about two hours, Manaysay told Co that she wanted to
The Information[2] for Kidnapping for Ransom against accused- urinate. Hence, Co asked their guard if Manaysay could go outside to
appellants and their other co-accused charged - do it.[19] The guard left and came back with a half-gallon container
That on or about August 10, 1998 at around 1:45 a.m., the above-named which he gave Manaysay to urinate in.
accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, Co tried talking to the guard and pleaded with him to let tem
armed with a handgun and with evident premeditation, did then and go. But the guard replied that he was just following orders. Co offered
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with the use of force and him some money which he had, but the guard did not accept the money
intimidation kidnap JOSEPH TOMAS CO and LINDA MANAYSAY and instead threw it away.[20]
for the purpose of extorting ransom in the amount of P10 million at
Goodies Pares Mami House located at Loyola cor. Constancia St., The guard later fell asleep and Co and Manaysay somehow
Sampaloc, Manila, owned and managed by the aforementioned victim managed to escape without being noticed by the look-out outside their
Co and thereafter took them with the use of Toyota Tamaraw FX room.[21] After running for several meters, complainants took refuge in a
likewise owned by Co as getaway vehicle to a house in Daang Bakal, house. An old woman living in the house allowed them to use the
Parang, Marikina and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court telephone from which Co was able to call the Marikina Police
where they were kept under detention against their will until they were Headquarters.[22] The woman told them that they were in Kaolin St.,
able to escape the following day at around 4:30 in the afternoon on Twinriver Subdivision, Parang, Marikina.[23] Two police officers from
August 11, 1998. the Marikina police arrived, followed by a police SWAT team.
[24]
Complainants case was later turned over to the Presidential Anti-
CONTRARY TO LAW. Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) for investigation.[25]
The Information[3] for Robbery charged - On August 11, 1998, at around 6:30 p.m., members of the
That on or about August 10 and 11, 1998 at Daang Bakal, Parang, PAOCTF raided the safehouse at Daang Bakal, Parang, Marikina where
Marikina City and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the Co and Manaysay had been held captive. [26] A man seen running away
above-named accused, armed with a handgun and with intent to gain, was arrested by SPO3 Ismael Fajardo Jr.[27] Upon being questioned, the
conspiring, confederating and mutually helping each other, by means of man identified himself as accused-appellant Roberto Lara. [28] SPO3
force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and Fajardo identified accused-appellant Lara from photographs shown to
feloniously take and divested JOSEPH TOMAS CO and LINDA him in court as the man he arrested. [29] Lara pointed to accused-
MANAYSAY of the following personal properties after forcible taking appellant Licayan as one of his companions and told the PAOCTF
them as hostages for ransom, to wit: members that Lara was hiding in his (Laras) uncles house at the back of
the San Mateo Rizal Municipal Hall. The PAOCTF members thereafter
1. Wallet of Co containing his drivers license, original copy proceeded to the house and were able to arrest accused-appellant
of official receipt (OR), certificate of registration Licayan.[30]
(CR) of his two (2) L-300 vans;
Lara and Licayan were thereafter brought to the PAOCTF
2. Bank time deposit certificate at Metrobank, Valenzuela Branch; headquarters in Camp Crame where they were identified by Co and
Manaysay in a line-up consisting of Lara, Licayan, and eight PAOCTF
3. Casio G-Shock watch;
members.[31]
4. Necklace and earrings of Manaysay; and
Benjamin Co, complainant Joseph Thomas Cos brother, testified
5. P10,000.00 cash that he was twice called in his office by unidentified persons who
demanded P10 million for the release of complainants. [32] The
to the damage and prejudice of said victim as owners thereof kidnappers were of course frustrated as complainants were able to
against their will. escape.
CONTRARY TO LAW. Accused-appellants defense is alibi. Accused-appellant Licayan
The facts are as follows: claimed that on August 11, 1998, at around 7:00 p.m., he was at home
in Sta. Cecilia Village, San Mateo Rizal, having dinner with Nicolas
Complainant Joseph Tomas Co owns a restaurant called Goodies Salvivia, a dump truck driver; [33] that on the next day, August 12, 1998,
Pares Mami House with branches in Valenzuela, Cubao, and Sampaloc. he was arrested by members of the PAOCTF while he was having
[4]
Cos regular routine was for him and the other complainant, Linda drinks with Salvivia and Salvivias father at the latters residence in Sta.
Manaysay, the restaurants cashier and accounting officer, to make the Cecilia Village;[34] and that when he was arrested, he was not informed
rounds of the three branches for inspection and collection of left-over of the charges against him. He said he only learned that he was arrested
food and cash sales. The rounds would normally begin late in the for the kidnapping of complainants after he had been brought to Camp
evening and last until early in the morning of the next day. [5] The Crame.[35]
prosecution evidence shows that on August 9, 1998, complainant went
to the Goodies Valenzuela Branch where they stayed until midnight. In Camp Crame, he and his co-accused were handcuffed and
[6]
From there, they proceeded to the Cubao branch where they stayed made to stand in a police-line up. They were not assisted by counsel.
[36]
until about 12:45a.m., August 10, 1998. Their last stop was at the The complainants pointed to him and Lara as part of the group who
Sampaloc branch which they visited at 1:30 a.m.[7] kidnapped complainants.[37] Licayan claimed he only saw complainant
Co for the first time when he (Licayan) was brought to Camp Crame. [38]
While Co was at the Sampaloc branch, supervising the loading of
left-over food into the back of his Tamaraw FX service vehicle, three On the other hand, accused-appellant Lara, a construction worker,
men approached him from behind. When Co saw the men, he asked testified that from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. of August 10, 1998, he was in
what they wanted. The men were armed with two caliber .45 pistols and his place of work in Antipolo.[39] At 7:00 a.m. of August 11, 1999, he
a .38 revolver. None of the men wore any masks.[8] went home to Novaliches, stopping by the house of his uncle, Pedro
Mabansag, in Parang, Marikina. Mabansag had driven Laras family out
Co told the men that if they wanted money, they could get it from of his house and Lara had gone there to get his childs belongings.
the store. The men refused to get money from the store. Without any [40]
However, before he could do so, he was arrested by the Marikina
warning, one of the mens guns went off. When Manaysay heard the Police at Greenheights.[41]
shot, she came out and asked the men what they wanted. She told them
Lara wanted to ask his cousin Nicolas Salvivia for help. [42] The Now, Mr. Witness, you were seated at the rar (rear[sic]) portion of
police beat him up and told him that they would go to Salvivias the FX, you cannot see the faces of the person driving the FX
house. He was made to board a van where his head was covered with a and that man seated at the front portion.
plastic bag and he was again beaten up. [43] The police found Salvivia
and Licayan in Salvivias house and ordered the two to drop to the WITNESS:
ground.[44] The police poked a gun to Laras head and told him to Yes maam.[50]
identify his companions, otherwise he would be killed. Thus, according
to Lara, he pointed to Licayan.[45] With respect to complainant Manaysay, the following portion of
her answer on cross-examination is cited:
Lara claimed that at Camp Crame, after he and Licayan were
identified by complainants in a police line-up, they were forced to sign ATTY. LARRACAS:
a statement.[46] They were not informed of their right to remain silent Of course, Madam Witness when you were seated at the place
and to be assisted by counsel. [47] Lara denied that Atty. Confesor B. where you said you were seated, you cannot see the faces of
Sansano, who appeared to have assisted him in making his statement, the persons at the two section of the FX?
actually assisted him.[48]
A: The person in front of us I was able to see, maam.
After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 272, Marikina City,
rendered its decision acquitting accused-appellants of robbery but Q: The person who you saw which you said was seated in front of
convicting them of kidnapping and sentencing them to death and to pay at the back of FX is not of the two persons who are inside the
damages to complainants. The dispositive portion of its decision states: courtroom?
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding RODERICK A: None, maam.
LICAYAN and ROBERTO LARA GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
xx xx xx xx
for the crime of Kidnapping for Ransom penalized under Article 267 of
the Revised Penal Code in relation to R.A. 7659, and imposing upon Q: So Madam Witness, you said that there was a curtain which
both of them the penalty of death by lethal injection and the solidary separates the room and the curtain was always spread out
payment to each of the victims the amount of One Hundred Thousand during that time that you were inside?
(P100,000.00) Pesos as moral and exemplary damages and an
additional amount of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos for Joseph A: Yes, maam.
Co as actual damages for the valuables taken from him.However, both ATTY. LARRACAS:
accused are acquitted for the crime of robbery for the reasons
previously discussed in keeping with the constitutional presumption of Q: So you did not see the faces of the persons outside that curtain?
innocence of any man whose guilt is not within the standard of moral A: Just their feet maam. [51]
certainty. The cases against the other accused Pedro Mabansag @ Tata
Pandak, Jose Sajorgo, Allan Placio, Noel Delos Reyes, Dodong Adolfo Whether or nor complainants saw the faces of any or all the
and Benjie Mabansag who all remain at large are ordered archived and abductors while they were inside the vehicle is immaterial. What is
let alias warrants for their arrest be issued. important is that complainants positively identified accused-appellants
as among those who abducted them on August 10, 1998. Complainant
Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellants contend that - Co said that accused-appellant Lara guarded them in the kidnappers
I. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING safehouse on August 10, 1998, while Licayan guarded them the next
FULL CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF day, August 11, 1998.[52] In the police line-up conducted on the same
PROSECUTION WITNESSES DESPITE THE day that complainants escaped, complainant Co was able to identify and
MANIFEST INCONSISTENCIES IN THEIR point to accused-appellants as part of the group of men who took part in
TESTIMONIES. their kidnapping.[53] On the other hand, complainant Manaysay
positively identified accused-appellant Licayan as one of two persons
II. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT she saw when the tapes placed over their eyes were removed in the
RULING THAT THE ACCUSED APPELLANTS safehouse.[54] Like Co, she identified accused-appellant Lara as the
WERE ILLEGALLY ARRESTED, AND THE person who guarded them in their room when they first arrived there
CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THEY and as the person who brought her a half-gallon container in response to
WERE ARRESTED DO NOT FALL UNDER THE her request to go out so she could urinate. [55] She said she and Co tried
WARRANTLESS ARREST. to offer accused-appellant Lara money to help them escape, but he
III. ASSUMING IN ARGUENDO THAT THE ACCUSED- refused the money and threw it away.[56] And like Co, Linda Manaysay
APPELLANTS ARE GUILTY, THE COURT A was also able to identify and point to accused-appellants during the
QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT police line-up in Camp Crame as their abductors.[57]
THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS ACTED IN Having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their
CONSPIRACY WITH THE OTHER CO- deportment and manner of testifying, [58] the trial court had reason to
ACCUSED AND IN NOT FINDING THAT THE declare:
ACCUSED-APPELLANTS PARTICIPATION IN
THE COMMISSION OF THE CRIME AS MERE [Complainants] assertions as to the identities of the accused were made
ACCOMPLICES. in a clear straightforward and frank manner and their testimonies are
compatible on material points and should be respected considering the
The Court finds the appeal to be without merit. lengthy visible exposure of the accused to the victims from the time of
First. As in all criminal cases where conviction or acquittal the kidnapping and up to the time of their escape x x x[59]
depends almost entirely on the victims positive identification of the In the light of complainants positive identification of accused-
culprit, the basic issue presented in the case at bar deals with the appellants, the latters defense of alibi must fail. Alibi is an inherently
credibility of the complainants. For this purpose, the assessment of the weak defense and must be rejected when the accused's identity is
evidence by the trial court is given the highest degree of respect satisfactorily and categorically established by the eyewitnesses to the
because of the judges opportunity to observe directly the demeanor of offense,[60] especially when there is no showing that such eyewitnesses
the witnesses on the stand.[49] had any improper motive to testify falsely. [61] In the case at bar, the
Accused-appellants make much of complainants failure to defense failed to show that Co and Manaysay were motivated by ill will
remember the physical features and characteristics of their in testifying against accused-appellants. It is noteworthy that accused-
abductors. The following testimony on cross-examination of appellants self-serving testimonies were not corroborated by other
complainant Joseph Tomas Co is cited: witnesses.

ATTY. LARACAS: Second. Accused-appellants contend that their arrest was illegal
because the arresting officers had no personal knowledge that accused-
You were not able... Mr. Witness, the person who investigated you appellants had committed a crime. Their arrest, according to accused-
did not require you to prepare any sketch of these three appellants, was based only on the information given by complainants.
persons who were in front of you at the FX? [62]
Accused-appellants argue that their warrantless arrest does not fall
under any of the cases enumerated in Section 5, Rule 113 of the
WITNESS:
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure under which warrantless arrests
No maam. may validly be made. In addition, accused-appellants claim that after
their arrest, they were already under custodial investigation and,
ATTY. LARACAS: therefore, should have been informed of their constitutional rights,
Because you cannot very recall what their faces? which the arresting officers did not do.

WITNESS: We likewise find no merit in this contention.

No maam. Upon arraignment, accused-appellants pleaded not guilty without


moving to quash the information on the ground that their arrest was
xx xx xx xx invalid. Accused-appellants are, therefore, estopped from questioning
ATTY. LARACAS: the legality of their arrest. Any irregularity attendant to accused-
appellants arrest was cured when they voluntarily submitted to the
jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a plea of not guilty and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. TOKOHISA
participating in the trial.[63] KIMURA and AKIRA KIZAKI,[1] respondents.
Anent the claim that they were not assisted by counsel during DECISION
their custodial investigation, suffice it to say that the trial court held:
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Further, the admission of participation in the commission of the crime
Appellants Tomohisa Kimura and Akira Kizaki seek reversal
by accused Roberto Lara was made voluntarily, as attested by counsel
of the decision[2] dated June 27, 1997 in Criminal Case No. 94-
de officio who legally assisted him in giving his sworn statement at the
5606, rendered by the Regional Trial Court (Branch 66), Makati
office of the latter, has shown compliance with the constitutional
City, finding them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of
requirements on pre-interrogation advisories. Albeit an extra-judicial
Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by
confession is admissible only against the confessant, jurisprudence
R.A. No. 7659, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of
makes it admissible as corroborative evidence of other facts that tend to
1972, and sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty
establish the guilt of the co-accused (People vs. Suarez, 267 SCRA
of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00.
119).[64]
The Information dated August 8, 1994 against the accused
Third. Accused-appellants contend that even assuming that the
alleges:
prosecutions version of the facts is true, they can only be found guilty
as accomplices to the crime [65] because the record does not clearly show The undersigned State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice accuses
that they acted in conspiracy with the other accused. They maintain that TOMOHISA KIMURA and AKIRA KIZAKI of violation of Section 4,
it was never shown that they directly conspired in abducting the Article II of Republic Act 6425, as amended by R.A. 7659, otherwise
complainants nor that they were the ones who called and demanded known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, committed as follows:
ransom from Benjamin Co. Accused-appellants assert that, if at all,
their participation was limited only to their act of guarding the victims That on or about June 27, 1994 in Makati, Metro Manila and within the
in the safehouse. They are mere accomplices since there is no showing jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
that they knew beforehand the criminal design of their co-accused. conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously transport and deliver
This argument must be rejected. without lawful authority approximately 40,768 grams of Indian hemp
(marijuana), a prohibited drug, in violation of the aforecited law.
Conspiracy can be inferred from and proven by acts of the
accused themselves when said acts point to a joint purpose and design, CONTRARY TO LAW. [3]
concerted action, and community of interests. [66] Although the same
degree of proof required for establishing the crime is required to Upon arraignment on October 10, 1994, the two accused,
support a finding of the presence of conspiracy, it need not be proven through counsel, entered their separate pleas of Not Guilty to the
by direct evidence. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and crime charged;[4] whereupon, the trial of the case ensued.
manner in which the offense was perpetrated. [67] In the instant case, the The testimonies of the following prosecution witnesses, to
trial court correctly held that conspiracy can be deduced from the acts wit: SPO4 Juan Baldovino, Jr.,[5] SPO1 Rolando Cabato,[6] SPO1
of accused-appellant and their co-accused which show a concerted Edmundo Badua, Chief Inspector Nilo Anso, PO3 Alfredo Cadoy,
action and community of interest. By guarding Co and Manaysay and SPO1 Manuel Delfin and Forensic Chemist, Police Inspector
preventing their escape, accused-appellants exhibited not only their Sonia Ludovico, sought to establish the following facts:
knowledge of the criminal design of their co-conspirators but also their
participation in its execution. In the morning of June 27, 1994, Maj. Anso, head of Delta
Group, Narcotics Command (NARCOM) I, North Metro District
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659, Command, Camp Karingal, Quezon City, received information
imposes the penalty of death if the person kidnapped is a female or if from a confidential informant that a certain Koichi Kishi and Rey
the crime was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the Plantilla were engaged in the selling of illegal drugs at the Cash
victim or any other person. These circumstances being present in this and Carry Supermarket, Makati City.[7] Acting on said information,
case, the crime proven to have been committed by accused-appellants is Maj. Anso organized a team composed of SPO4 Baldovino, Jr.,
kidnapping for ransom. SPO1 Cabato and PO3 Cadoy to conduct surveillance of the
Four (4) Justices of the Court maintain their position that R.A. area.[8] A buy-bust operation was launched and PO3 Cadoy was
7659 is unconstitutional insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; designated to act as poseur-buyer and they prepared the buy-
nevertheless, they submit to the ruling of the majority that the law is bust money consisting of one P500.00 bill and five pieces
constitutional and the death penalty can be lawfully imposed in the case of P100.00 bill.[9]
at bar. At around 3:00 in the afternoon of the same day, the team
together with the informant arrived at the Cash and Carry
As already stated, the trial court ordered accused-appellants to
Supermarket and conducted surveillance of the area.[10] Later, the
pay jointly and severally each of the complainants the amount of
informant was able to contact the targets who told him that they
P100,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages without specifying the
will be arriving at 8:00 in the evening at the parking area of the
amount of each item of damages.
Cash and Carry Supermarket.[11] At around 8:00 in the evening,
An award in the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages to each Koichi and Rey arrived and were met by PO3 Cadoy and the
of the complainants is proper, consistent with the current case law. informant.[12] PO3 Cadoy gave the marked money
[68]
However, no award of exemplary damages can be made considering worth P1,000.00 to Rey and Koichi who then handed him the
the absence of aggravating circumstances. [69] Under Art. 2230 of the shabu. PO3 Cadoy scratched his head as a pre-arranged signal
Civil Code, exemplary damages in criminal offenses may be made only of the consummation of the sale.[13] The operatives were about
when the crime is committed with one or more aggravating five meters from the suspects.[14] While the team was
circumstances. The award of actual damages in this case should approaching, PO3 Cadoy held Koichi by the hand while Rey
likewise be disallowed. Actual damages must be proved with certainty scampered away to the direction of the South Superhighway.
[15]
and cannot be presumed. No evidence to sustain this award has been The team brought Koichi to a safe area within the Cash and
presented in this case. Carry Supermarket and interrogated him. They learned from
Koichi that his friends/suppliers will arrive the same evening to
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch fetch him.[16] Several minutes later, a white Nissan Sentra car
272, Marikina City finding accused-appellant RODERICK LICAYAN driven by appellant Kimura with his co-appellant Kizaki seating at
and ROBERTO LARA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of the passenger seat arrived at the parking area. Koichi pointed to
Kidnapping for Ransom and sentencing each of them to death is them as the ones who will fetch him. Appellants remained inside
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that each of the accused- the car for about ten to fifteen minutes.[17] Then, a certain Boy
appellants is ORDERED to pay P50,000.00 as moral damages to each driving a stainless jeep, without a plate number, arrived and
of the complainants. The award of P20,000.00 as actual damages made parked the jeep two to three parking spaces away from the
in favor of complainant Joseph Co is deleted. Costs against accused- Sentra car.[18] Boy approached the Sentra car and after a few
appellants. minutes, appellants got out of their car. Appellant Kizaki went to
In accordance with Section 25 of R.A. 7659, amending Art. 83 of the stainless jeep and sat at the passenger seat. Boy and
the Revised Penal Code, upon the finality of this decision, let the appellant Kimura went to the rear of the Sentra car and opened
records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the President of the its trunk.[19] Appellant Kimura got a package wrapped in a
Philippines for the possible exercise of the pardoning power. newspaper and gave it to Boy who walked back to his jeep.
[20]
While Maj. Anso and SPO4 Baldovino, Jr. were approaching to
SO ORDERED. check what was inside the wrapped newspaper, appellant
Kimura ran but was apprehended while Boy was able to board
his jeep and together with appellant Kizaki who was seated at
the passenger seat sped off towards South Superhighway.[21] The
police operatives then inspected the contents of the trunk and
found packages of marijuana.[22] They brought Koichi and
appellant Kimura to the headquarters and turned over the seized
[G.R. No. 130805. April 27, 2004] marijuana to the investigator who made markings thereon.[23]Maj.
Anso reported the escape of appellant Kizaki to their witnesses. For alibi to prosper, the accused must show that it was
investigation section.[24] impossible for him to have been at the scene of the commission of the
crime at the time of its commission.
The seized packages which were contained in 3 sacks
were brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory on June 29, 1994. Akira testified that on the evening of June 27, 1994, he was in his house
[25]
Forensic Chemist Sonia Sahagun-Ludovico testified that the located at Dian Street corner Ampil Street, Makati City, Metro Manila,
contents of the sacks weighed 40,768 grams and were positive which is a walking distance to Cash and Carry Supermarket, the scene
to the test of marijuana.[26] of the offense. It was not therefore impossible for accused Akira Kizaki
to have been present at the scene of the crime at the time of its
On June 29, 1994, appellant Kizaki while having dinner with
commission.
his friends at the Nippon Ichi Restaurant located at Mabini,
Malate, Manila[27] was arrested by another NARCOM group led Accused Kimura testified that on the evening of June 27, 1994, he was
by Maj. Jose F. Dayco.[28] with his co-accused Kizaki at the Cash and Carry Supermarket but for
another purpose, i.e., to meet Rey Plantilla who was borrowing money
Appellants defense is denial and alibi. In support thereof,
from him. In fine accused Kimura merely denied the offense charged
both appellants were called to the witness stand.
against him, which is weak defense.
Appellant Kimuras testimony is as follows: In the afternoon
Both accused, Kizaki and Kimura, were positively identified by
of June 27, 1994, Kimura was in the house of his co-appellant
prosecution witnesses SPO4 Baldomino, SPO1 Cabatu, Maj. Anso and
Kizaki at Dian Street, Makati City, together with Koichi Kishi, Luis
PO3 Cadoy as the persons whom they arrested for drug trafficking in a
Carlos and a certain Sally and Boy.[29] In the evening of the said
buy-bust operation at the Cash and Carry Supermarket on June 27,
date, Kimura borrowed the car of Kizaki in order to get his
1994.
(Kimuras) television from his house located in Evangelista Street,
near the Cash and Carry Supermarket, and bring the same to a Finally, although the evidence show that there is a doubt in the illegality
repair shop.[30] On their way to Kimuras house, Koichi requested of the arrest of accused Kimura by Major Dayco, the jurisprudence is
Kimura to pass by Cash and Carry Supermarket because Koichi that the illegality of warrantless arrest cannot deprive the state of its
needed to meet a certain Rey who was borrowing money from right to convict the guilty when all the facts on record point to their
him. Upon reaching Cash and Carry, Kimura parked the car culpability.[39]
about twenty meters from its entrance, then Koichi and Carlos
alighted from the car and Koichi handed something to Rey. Hence, this appeal before us. Appellants assert the
[31]
Shortly thereafter, Koichi and Carlos were grabbed by two following:
men from behind. Then four men approached the car and one I
guy ordered him to sit at the back and together with Koichi and
Carlos, they were all brought to Camp Karingal allegedly for THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING
violating Sec. 4 of Republic Act No. 6425.[32]Kimura was asked ACCUSED-APPELLANTS DEFENSE.
questions about the address and business of Kizaki. Kimura
II
denied that there was marijuana in the car on the night of June
27, 1994 but claims that he saw marijuana placed at the car THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE
trunk the following day at Camp Karingal. Kizaki was not with him GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS HAD BEEN PROVEN
at Cash and Carry on the night of June 27, 1994. There was no BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
stainless jeep near the car on the same night. Carlos was
released and was not charged because Kimuras girlfriend, Sally, Appellants claim that although the defense of alibi and
served as Carlos guarantor. denial are weak, it is still the duty of the prosecution to prove the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt to support a
On the other hand, appellant Kizaki testified that on the judgment of conviction; that the trial court mainly relied on the
date that the alleged crime was committed, he was in the weakness of the defense rather than on the strength of the
company of his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Takeyama, his co-appellant evidence for the prosecution. They argue that appellant Kizakis
Kimura, and his driver Boy and maid Joan at his house in Dian claim that he was not at the Cash and Carry Supermarket on the
Street, Makati City;[33] that appellant Kimura borrowed his car on night of June 27, 1994 was corroborated by three independent
the night of June 27, 1994 to pick up Kimuras broken TV and witnesses including appellant Kimura who testified that he was
bring it to the repair shop.[34] not with appellant Kizaki at Cash and Carry Supermarket on the
said night.
Appellant Kizakis alibi was corroborated by Rosario Quintia,
his former housemaid, and his friend, Akiyoshi Takeyama, who Appellants further question how the trial court could have
both testified that they were at Kizakis house on the night of June been certain that the marijuana presented in court are the same
27, 1994 from 7:00 to 10:00 in the evening and never saw Kizaki articles confiscated from the appellants when the arresting
leave the house.[35] officers did not place identifying marks on the confiscated items.
Appellant Kizaki was arrested on June 29, 1994, two days Appellant Kizaki further contends that he was arrested two
after the Cash and Carry incident, in the Nippon Ichi Restaurant days after the alleged buy-bust operation without a valid warrant
located at Mabini, Manila. He was having dinner with Lt. Col. of arrest. He points out that although the trial court expressed
Rodolfo Tan, Masami Y. Nishino, Anita Takeyama and Akiyoshi doubts as to the legality of his arrest, it nevertheless convicted
Takeyama. These witnesses executed a joint affidavit[36] and him of the crime charged, which is in violation of the
testified that while they were about to leave the restaurant, a Constitution. Kizaki argues that he could not have been caught
man got near Kizaki and asked for his passport whom they in flagrante delicto to justify the warrantless arrest when he was
thought was from the Immigration. Later, they learned that Kizaki arrested two days after the alleged Cash and Carry incident
was brought to Camp Karingal.[37] while he was only having dinner with his friends at a restaurant.
On June 27, 1997, the trial court rendered the herein In the appellees brief, the Solicitor General prays that the
assailed judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads: decision of the trial court finding appellants guilty as charged be
affirmed. He argues that appellants were positively identified by
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered finding
four prosecution witnesses, all police officers, as among the
accused Akira Kizaki and Tomohisa Kimura GUILTY beyond
three persons engaged in the transportation and delivery of
reasonable doubt for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act 6425, as
about 40,768 grams of marijuana on June 27, 1994 at the Cash
amended by Republic Act 7659, and the Court hereby sentences them to
and Carry Supermarket; that the police operatives were able to
suffer, taking into consideration the absence of mitigating or
seize the marijuana from the Sentra car they were using to
aggravating circumstances, the amount of marijuana seized from the transport the marijuana; that the marijuana introduced and
accused which weigh 40,768 grams, the penalty of RECLUSION offered at the trial were positively identified by the arresting
PERPETUA and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 each. officers as those seized from the car of the appellants; that the
The Bureau of Immigration and Deportation is hereby ordered to deport contention of appellant Kizaki that his warrantless arrest two
Akira Kizaki and Tomohisa Kimura without further proceedings after days after the alleged incident, was unlawful, is legally
the service of their sentence. inconsequential in this case considering that his conviction was
not based on his arrest on June 29, 1994 but on his having
Let the marijuana, the subject matter of this case be immediately participated in the transport and delivery of marijuana on June
forwarded to the Dangerous Drugs Board for proper disposition. 27, 1994; that appellant Kizaki never questioned the validity of
SO ORDERED.[38] the warrantless arrest of his co-appellant Kimura on June 27,
1994, either before the trial court or before this Court; thus, any
In convicting appellants, the trial court made the following challenge against the search and seizure of the marijuana based
findings: on constitutional ground is deemed waived insofar as appellant
Kizaki is concerned.
The settled jurisprudence is that alibi is inherently a weak defense. Like
the defense of alibi, denial by the accused of the offense charged We will first resolve the issue on the alleged warrantless
against him is also inherently a weak defense. It is also the settled arrest of appellant Kizaki.
jurisprudence that the defense of alibi and denial cannot prosper over
the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution Appellant Kizaki assails the legality of his warrantless
arrest. Indeed, SPO1 Delfin, one of those who arrested appellant
Kizaki at the Nippon Ichi restaurant, admitted that they did not immediately after they had allegedly apprehended appellants,
have a warrant of arrest when his group arrested Kizaki on the thus failing to prove that the marijuana presented in court was
night of June 29, 1994. Rule 113, Section 5 of the Revised Rules the very same marijuana seized from appellants. Maj. Anso,
of Criminal Procedure provides that a peace officer or a private head of the police operatives, testified on cross-examination as
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person only under the follows:
following circumstances:
ATTY. BALICUD:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting With respect to the packages which you identified
to commit an offense; yesterday, before you showed that to your
investigation section, did you make any
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has markings thereat?
probable cause to believe based on personal
WITNESS:
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
to be arrested has committed it; and None, sir.
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has ATTY. BALICUD:
escaped from a penal establishment or place where
he is serving final judgment or is temporarily Did any of your men place any markings at least to
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped identify that that is the drugs confiscated by you
while being transferred from one confinement to at the Cash and Carry?
another. WITNESS:
The alleged crime happened on June 27, 1994 and What I know your honor, is that the investigation
appellant Kizaki was arrested on June 29, 1994 or two days after section is the one who will mark the evidence.
the subject incident. At the time appellant Kizaki was arrested, he
was at a restaurant having dinner with a group of friends, thus, ...
he was not committing or attempting to commit a crime. Neither COURT:
was he an escaped prisoner whose arrest could be effected even
without a warrant. It bears stressing that none of the arresting You mean to say when you have already
officers of appellant Kizaki was present on the night of June 27 surrender(sic) the shabu(sic) to the investigation
where appellant Kizaki allegedly sold and transported marijuana section that was the time when the investigator
and escaped, thus the arresting officers had no personal mark them?
knowledge of facts or circumstances that appellant Kizaki
committed the crime. None of the exceptions enumerated above WITNESS:
was present to justify appellant Kizakis warrantless arrest. It is already their duty to mark them, your honor.
However, notwithstanding the unjustified warrantless arrest ...
of appellant Kizaki, the records show that he did not raise such
question before he pleaded to the offense charged. [40]Neither did ATTY. BALICUD:
he move to quash the information on that ground before the trial And did you see if any of those men in the
court.[41] He thus waived objection to the illegality of his arrest. investigation section did the corresponding
[42]
Moreover, appellant Kizakis application for bail [43] which was markings?
denied by the trial court likewise constitutes a waiver of his right
to question whatever irregularities and defects which attended WITNESS:
his arrest.[44]
I did not already see sir.[47]
Nevertheless, we find the other claims of appellants
The testimony of Maj. Anso was confirmed by SPO4
meritorious.
Baldovino, Jr. when the latter testified on cross-examination as
In all prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, follows:
the existence of all dangerous drugs is a sine qua non for
ATTY. SENSON:
conviction. The dangerous drug is the very corpus delicti of the
crime of violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.[45] Q. When the packages contained in Exhibits B, C and
D were recovered at the car, did you not make
In People vs. Casimiro,[46] we acquitted appellant for failure
any markings on them, is that correct?
of the prosecution to establish the identity of the prohibited drug
which constitutes the corpus delicti and held: WITNESS:
In People vs. Mapa, the accused-appellant was granted an acquittal after A. That is true, sir.[48]
the prosecution failed to clarify whether the specimen submitted to the
NBI for laboratory examination was the same one allegedly taken from SPO4 Baldovino, Jr. further clarified on his re-direct
the accused. In People vs. Dismuke, this Court ruled that the failure to examination why no markings were made, thus:
prove that the specimen of marijuana examined by the forensic chemist FISCAL MANABAT:
was that seized from the accused was fatal to the prosecutions case. In
People vs. Laxa, the policemen composing the buy-bust team failed to Q. Why is it that no markings were made on these
mark the confiscated marijuana immediately after the alleged marijuana packages?
apprehension of the accused-appellant. One policeman admitted that he ...
marked the seized items only after seeing them for the first time in the
police headquarters. It was held: WITNESS:
This deviation from the standard procedure in the anti-narcotics We did not put markings there because after we
operations produces doubts as to the origins of the marijuana. Were the confiscated those packages, there was a press
allegedly confiscated from the scene of the crime the same ones which conference conducted and after that we
the investigator marked in the police headquarters? This question gives submitted it to PCCL or Philippine Crime
rise to surmises and speculations, and cannot prove beyond reasonable Laboratory, sir.[49]
doubt the guilt of accused-appellant.
The failure to establish the chain of custody of the evidence
In this case, the prosecution failed to prove the crucial first link in the is further shown by the testimony of SPO1 Badua, the person
chain of custody. The prosecution witnesses PO2 Supa, SPO2 Madlon assigned to bring the alleged seized marijuana to the PNP Crime
and PO3 Piggangay admitted they did not write their initials on the Laboratory. His testimony is as follows:
brick of marijuana immediately after allegedly seizing from accused- PROS. MANABAT:
appellant outside the grocery store but only did so in their headquarters.
The narcotics field test, which initially identified the seized item as Do you recall your activities on that day, June 29,
marijuana, was likewise not conducted at the scene of the crime, but 1994?
only at the narcotics office. There is thus reasonable doubt as to
WITNESS:
whether the item allegedly seized from accused-appellant is the same
brick of marijuana marked by the policemen in their headquarters and I was ordered to bring the marijuana to the Crime
given by them to the crime laboratory for examination. Laboratory.
After examining the evidence for the prosecution, and PROS. MANABAT:
tested in the light of the Casimiro case, we find that the
prosecution failed to establish the identity of the marijuana Who ordered you to bring the marijuana to the Crime
allegedly seized from appellants Kimura and Kizaki. Extant in the Laboratory?
records were the admissions made by the police operatives of WITNESS:
their failure to place any markings on the seized marijuana
Superintendent Eduardo Cario, sir. Yes, sir.
PROS. MANABAT: COURT:
Where did this marijuana come from, if you know? Who was the investigator?
WITNESS: WITNESSS:
In our office confiscated from Japanese nationals. SPO1 Delfin, sir.
PROS. MANABAT: PROS. MANABAT:
Do you know the name of the Japanese nationals you Now, what proof do you have that you actually brought
are referring to? these three sacks of marijuana which you
identified to the PNP Crime Laboratory?
WITNESS;
WITNESS:
I do not know, sir.
There is a request for laboratory examination.
PROS. MANABAT:
PROS. MANABAT:
Can you describe this marijuana which you said you
were required to bring to the PNP Crime Who prepared this request for laboratory examination
Laboratory? of the marijuana?
WITNESS: WITNESS:
They are contained in sacks, sir. SPO1 Delfin.[50]
COURT: And on cross-examination as follows:
How many sacks? ATTY. BALICUD:
WITNESS: Now, were you present when this request for
laboratory examination was prepared?
Three (3), sir.
WITNESS:
PROS. MANABAT:
Yes, sir.
What kind of sacks were these, can you recall?
ATTY. BALICUD:
WITNESS:
Who specifically typed the request?
Rice sacks.
WITNESS:
...
SPO1 Delfin, sir.
PROS. MANABAT:
ATTY. BALICUD:
Now, if you see this marijuana you said you were
required to bring to the PNP Crime Laboratory And this was made on June 28, 1994?
which you described as being contained in three
(3) sacks, will you be able to identify these three WITNESS:
(3) sacks of marijuana. Yes, sir.
WITNESS: ...
Yes, sir. ATTY. BALICUD:
PROS. MANABAT: And then about what time on June 28 was it
Now, I am showing to you SPO1 Badua, there are prepared?
three (3) sacks (sic) here already deposited in WITNESS:
Court, please examine these three (3) sacks
carefully and tell us the relation of these three Morning, sir.
sacks to that marijuana contained in sacks which ATTY. BALICUD:
you said you were required to bring to PNP
Crime Laboratory. But then this request was received already by the
Crime Laboratory on June 29, 1994, where were
WITNESS: the three sacks deposited from June 28 up to
These are the three sacks I brought. the time you picked it up on June 29 to be
brought to the Crime Laboratory?
PROS. MANABAT:
WITNESS:
...
It was deposited inside our supply room.
Now, you said that this marijuana was contained in
three sacks, three rice sacks, will you please ATTY. BALICUD:
examine the sacks and tell us if these are the Why did you not deposit or deliver it immediately to
same sacks which you brought to the PNP the Crime Laboratory?
Crime Laboratory?
WITNESS:
WITNESS:
We were still preparing the necessary papers.
Yes, sir, these are the same sacks I brought.
ATTY. BALICUD:
COURT:
What papers were still being prepared?
What made you so sure that these are the same
sacks that you brought from your office to the WITNESS:
Crime Laboratory?
Request for laboratory, medical, drug dependency.
WITNESS:
...
Because of the markings A, B, C.
ATTY. BALICUD:
COURT:
Now, when the request for laboratory
Who affixed those markings? examination was made, did you already see the
contents inside the sack?
WITNESS:
WITNESS:
The investigator, sir.
Yes, sir.
COURT:
ATTY. BALICUD:
Did you see the investigator affixed those markings?
Why did you open the sacks?
WITNESS:
WITNESS: Consequently, the failure of the NARCOM operatives to
place markings on the alleged seized marijuana coupled with
Yes, sir. their failure to observe the procedure in the seizure and taking
ATTY. BALICUD: custody of said drug seriously bring to question the existence of
the seized prohibited drug. It is not positively and convincingly
Who opened the sacks? clear that what was submitted for laboratory examination and
WITNESS: presented in court was actually recovered from the appellants.

The investigator. Evidently, the prosecution has not proven the indispensable
element of corpus delicti of the crime which failure produces a
ATTY. BALICUD: grevious doubt as to the guilt of the appellants. In criminal cases,
proof beyond reasonable doubt is required to establish the guilt
So that they were placed in three sacks?
of the accused. Similarly, in establishing the corpus
WITNESS: delicti, that unwavering exactitude is necessary. Every fact
necessary to constitute the crime must be established by proof
Yes, sir. beyond reasonable doubt.[53]
ATTY. BALICUD: Although the defense raised by appellants Kimura and
And you opened each and every sack? Kizaki were denial and alibi, respectively, which are inherently
weak, we have repeatedly declared that the conviction of the
WITNESS: accused must rest not on the weakness of the defense but on
Yes, sir. the strength of the prosecution.[54] The denial of appellant Kimura
that he was caught in the Cash and Carry Supermarket
ATTY. BALICUD: delivering marijuana on the night of June 27, 1994 may be weak
but the evidence for the prosecution is clearly even
You brought the same to the Crime Laboratory?
weaker. In People vs. Laxa,[55] we acquitted the appellant for
WITNESS: failure of the prosecution to establish the identity of the prohibited
drug which constitutes the corpus delicti, an essential
Yes, sir. requirement in a drug related case. In the present case, the
ATTY. BALICUD: prosecution also failed to indubitably show the identity of the
marijuana which mere allegedly seized from appellants.
Were there markings in the 3 sacks when the
same were brought to the PNP Crime The alibi of appellant Kizaki that he was in his house on the
Laboratory? same night assumes weight and significance considering that the
scenario depicted by the prosecution on the alleged escape of
WITNESS: appellant Kizaki at the Cash and Carry left much to speculations
and surmises. The prosecution tried to show that appellant Kizaki
Yes, sir. A, B, C.
who was on board the stainless jeep was able to escape even if
ATTY. BALICUD: the police operatives were only about five meters away from the
jeep[56] which was heading to the entrance of the Cash and Carry
So that one sack is marked A, the other sack is along South Superhighway. It is quite difficult for us to accept its
B and the other is marked C. veracity considering that despite the short distance of the
WITNESS: operatives from the jeep when it started to speed off, the
operatives who were all armed with service revolvers[57] chased
Yes, sir. on foot the stainless jeep and did not even fire any warning shot
ATTY. BALICUD: to stop the driver and appellant Kizaki nor did they fire a shot at
the tire of the jeep to immobilize it.The alibi of Kizaki found
How about the contents of these three sacks, were corroboration from his friend Akiyoshi Takeyama and appellant
they also marked when you brought the same to Kizakis former housemaid Rosaria Quintia that he was in his
the PNP Crime Laboratory? house and never left it on the night of the alleged delivery or
transport of marijuana in Cash and Carry Supermarket. In fact,
WITNESS:
co-appellant Kimura testified that appellant Kizaki was not one of
Yes, sir, but it was marked at the Crime Laboratory his companions in going to Cash and carry Supermarket on June
already. 27, 1994.[58] Moreover, in the request for laboratory examination
dated June 28, 1994, signed by P/CI Jose F. Dayco, Chief,
ATTY. BALICUD: Investigation Section, NMDU, NARCOM, the suspects named
So, it is clear that when the alleged marijuana was therein were only Koichi Kishi and Tomohisa Kimura. [59] Hence,
brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory, there was the constitutional presumption of innocence has not been
no marking yet? overcome by the prosecution.

WITNESS: In fine, for failure of the prosecution to establish the guilt of


both appellants beyond reasonable doubt, they must perforce be
[51]
Yes, sir. exonerated from criminal liability.
While SPO1 Baduas testimony showed that it was WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court in Criminal
investigator SPO1 Delfin who made the markings A, B, C on the Case No. 94-5606 is hereby REVERSED and appellants
three sacks containing the marijuana which he brought to the Tomohisa Kimura and Akira Kizaki, are hereby ACQUITTED on
laboratory, nowhere in his testimony did he say that such ground of reasonable doubt. They are ordered immediately
markings were made on the night the appellants were arrested, released from prison, unless they are being detained for some
i.e., on June 27, 1994. Investigator Delfin did not initial said other lawful cause. The Director of Prisons is DIRECTED to
markings nor did he testify affirming his markings. inform this Court of the action taken hereon within five (5) days
Moreover, although the three sacks of alleged marijuana from receipt hereof.
were marked as A, B, C, the contents of these three sacks Let the PNP Director be furnished a copy of herein decision
however had no markings when they were kept inside the supply for the proper information and guidance of his police operatives.
room on June 28 since as Badua intimated, the contents of these The marijuana is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the
three sacks were only marked when he brought the same to the government for its proper disposition under the law.
PNP Crime Laboratory on June 29, 1994.
Costs de oficio.
The records of the case do not show that the police
operatives complied with the procedure in the custody of seized SO ORDERED.
prohibited and regulated drugs as embodied in the Dangerous
Drugs Board Regulation No. 3 Series of 1979 amending Board
Regulation No. 7 Series of 1974, [52] i.e., any apprehending team
having initial custody and control of said drugs and/or
paraphernalia, should immediately after seizure or confiscation,
have the same physically inventoried and photographed in the
presence of the accused, if there be any, and/or his
representative, who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof. In this case, there was no
inventory made in the crime scene despite the fact that Maj.
Anso testified that he saw eighteen packages neatly wrapped in
a newspaper but the inventory was made already in the [A.M. No. MTJ-01-1384. April 11, 2002]
headquarters. SPO1 Badua testified that the marijuana
confiscated from appellant Kimura was contained in three sacks.
RASMIA U. TABAO, complainant, vs. ACTING PRESIDING assumed by the custodian or responsible citizen who may be appointed
JUDGE ACMAD T. BARATAMAN, MTCC, BRANCH 1, by the court. It is different from Section 15, Rule 114 of the Rules of
MARAWI CITY, respondent. Criminal Procedure which allows the release of the accused on his own
recognizance or that of a responsible person. R.A. No. 6036 applies to
DECISION criminal cases where the prescribed penalty is not higher than six
PUNO, J.: months imprisonment and/or a fine of P2,000.00, or both. In the case at
bar, accused stands charged with abandonment of a minor which carries
The present administrative case stems from an affidavit- with it the imposable penalty of arresto mayor and/or a fine
complaint[1] filed by complainant Rasmia U. Tabao charging respondent of P500.00. Hence, it was erroneous for respondent judge to have
Judge Acmad Barataman, in his capacity as acting presiding judge of granted the motion for bail on the basis of the affidavit of the father of
MTCC, Branch 1, Marawi City, with gross ignorance of the law and the accused.
grave abuse of discretion.
Moreover, R.A. No. 6036 allows the release of the accused on his
Complainant Rasmia Tabao is the private complainant in own recognizance only where it has been established that he is unable
Criminal Case No. 9106 entitled "People vs. Samsodin M. Tabao" for to post the required cash or bail bond. The accused in this case is a CPA
abandonment of minor. It appears that on July 16, 1998, respondent who is engaged in the transport business. We reject the contention of
judge issued an Order[2] granting the motion for bail on recognizance respondent judge that the law does not distinguish whether the accused
filed by the father of the accused pursuant to R.A. No. 6036. The is rich or poor. The distinction is all to clear for the law explicitly
motion of the prosecution to cancel bail on the ground that accused is a provides that the accused can be released on his own recognizance only
certified public accountant and can afford to post cash bond was denied if he is able to clearly establish that he is unable to post cash or bail
by respondent judge in an Order dated June 30, 1999, [3] stating that the bond.
law, in allowing bail on recognizance, does not distinguish whether an
accused is rich or poor. We reiterate the rule that although a judge may not be subjected
to disciplinary action for every erroneous order or decision he renders,
Complainant avers that respondent committed grave abuse of that relative immunity is not a license to be negligent or abusive and
discretion in granting the motion for bail on recognizance because (1) it arbitrary in performing his adjudicatory prerogatives. Judges who
was filed not by the accused but by his father, Hadji Yusoph Tabao; (2) wantonly misuse the powers vested in them by law cannot render fair
the prosecutor was not furnished a copy of the motion and there was no and impartial justice.
hearing conducted; (3) it lacked the sworn statement of the accused
signed in the presence of two witnesses; and (4) the motion and its Second. Respondent judge does not deny that the accused in
supporting affidavit were signed by the father of the Criminal Case No. 9106 was at large when the motion for bail on
accused. Complainant also contends that the accused is not poor but is a recognizance was filed and subsequently granted. Bail is the security
certified public accountant and operates a transport business in Metro given for the release of a person in custody of the law.[5] Section 15,
Manila.Thus, it is urged that he should not have been released on Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that the
recognizance since he could put up a cash bond. court may release a person in custody on his own recognizance or that
of a responsible person. It is a basic principle that bail is intended to
In his comment, respondent judge alleges that the crime of obtain provisional liberty and cannot be granted before custody of an
abandonment of a minor is covered by the Rules on Summary accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities by his arrest or
Procedure and hence bail on recognizance is not required as the court voluntary surrender. It is self-evident that a court cannot grant
can immediately arraign and try the accused, pursuant to Section 13 of provisional liberty to one who is actually in the enjoyment of his liberty
the Rules; that if he were the acting judge when the criminal case was for it would be incongruous to give freedom to one who is free. Thus,
filed, he would not issue a warrant of arrest but order the immediate we have held that it is premature to file a motion for bail for someone
arraignment and trial of the case and there would be no need to discuss whose liberty has yet to be curtailed.[6]
the matter of bail; and, that the court can appoint as custodian of the
accused his father, a former City Councilor of Marawi City, who In the case at bar, respondent judge was fully cognizant that the
qualifies as a responsible person under Section 15, Rule 144 of the court had not yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused
Rules of Court. who was still at large and yet, he entertained and granted his motion for
bail. In doing so, respondent judge violated a tenet in criminal
On November 6, 2001, Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco, procedure which is too basic as to constitute gross ignorance of the
Jr. submitted a Memorandum[4] finding respondent judge guilty of gross law. When the law violated is elementary, a judge is subject to
ignorance of the law for releasing the accused on recognizance before it disciplinary action.[7]
could acquire jurisdiction over his person. The accused was still at large
when the motion for bail was filed. He likewise found the respondent Indeed, the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be faithful
judge to have violated R.A. No. 6036. He ratiocinated:first, the law to the law and maintain professional competence. A judge is called
requires that the accused sign in the presence of two witnesses of good upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and
standing in the community a sworn statement binding himself, pending procedural rules; it is imperative that he be conversant with basic legal
final decision of his case, to report to the Clerk of Court hearing the principles and be aware of well-settled authoritative doctrines. He
case periodically every two weeks. No such sworn statement was should strive for excellence exceeded only by his passion for truth, to
executed by the accused and; second, in order to be released on the end that he be the personification of justice and the Rule of Law.[8]
recognizance, the accused must be unable to post bail bond.The accused In the case of Comia vs. Antona,[9] we found respondent judge
is a CPA and can afford to post bond. The Court Administrator liable for gross ignorance of the law for entertaining an application for
recommends that respondent judge be ordered to pay a fine bail even though the court had not yet acquired jurisdiction over the
of P20,000.00, considering that it is his first offense, with a warning accused. He was fined P20,000.00 with a stern warning that a repetition
that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
severely.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Judge Acmad T.
We agree with the finding of the Office of the Court Barataman liable for gross ignorance of the law and imposes upon him
Administrator. The respondent judge is liable in granting the motion for a fine of P20,000.00 with a stern warning that a repetition of the same
bail on recognizance in clear violation of R.A. No. 6036, for the or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
following reasons:
SO ORDERED.
First. Section 1 of R.A. No. 6036 provides that "any provision of
law to the contrary notwithstanding, bail shall not be required of a
person charged with violation of a criminal offense the prescribed
penalty for which is not higher than six months imprisonment and/or a
fine of two thousand pesos, or both." Instead of bail, Section 2 states
that the person charged "shall be required to sign in the presence of two
witnesses of good standing in the community a sworn statement
binding himself, pending final decision of his case, to report to the
Clerk of Court hearing his case periodically every two weeks. The
Court may, in its discretion and with the consent of the person charged,
require further that he be placed under the custody and subject to the
authority of a responsible citizen in the community who may be willing [A.M. No. 00-1529-RTJ. April 9, 2002]
to accept the responsibility. In such a case the affidavit herein
mentioned shall include a statement of the person charged that he binds ATTY. FRED HENRY V. MARALLAG and NORMA F.
himself to accept the authority of the citizen so appointed by the Court." FERI, complainants, vs. JUDGE LORETO CLORIBEL-
PURUGGANAN, RTC, Branch 3, Tuguegarao,
In the present case, it is not disputed that the sworn statement Cagayan, respondent.
supporting the motion for bail filed before respondent judge was
signed, not by the accused but by his father. The failure of the accused DECISION
to sign the sworn statement is in clear contravention of the express
KAPUNAN, J.:
mandate of the law that the person charged shall sign a sworn statement
binding himself to report to the Clerk of Court. This is a personal This is an administrative complaint filed by Fred Henry V.
obligation imposed by R.A. No. 6036 on the accused and cannot be Marallag and his client Norma F. Feri against respondent Judge Loreto
Cloribel-Purugganan of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, those charged with a capital offense, or an offense which, under the law
Cagayan, Branch 3 for gross incompetence, gross ignorance of the law, at the time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail,
oppression and grave abuse of discretion, relative to Criminal Case No. is punishable by reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong.
7316.
Finding no witnesses to prove the guilt of the accused or to show that
The records show that on December 3, 1996, an information for the evidence of guilt is strong;
murder was filed against Segismundo Duarte charging him with the
murder of Ferdinand T. Feri. Subsequently, Duarte filed a petition for AS PRAYED FOR, said Motion for Bail is hereby granted.[1]
bail. Complainants thereafter filed the instant administrative case
On January 28, 1997, the date set for the hearing of the petition against respondent Judge, claiming that her issuance of the August 14,
for bail, complainant Marallag, the private prosecutor handling 1997 Order reflects gross ignorance of the law, incompetence and grave
Criminal Case No. 7316, manifested that Duarte first had to be abuse of discretion on her part, since said Order granting bail did not
arraigned in order that the trial court may acquire jurisdiction over said contain a summary of evidence presented by the prosecution which
accused. Upon arraignment, Duarte pleaded Not Guilty to the offense summary is necessary to determine whether a judge has adequate basis
charged. The prosecution informed the court that during the preliminary for granting bail.[2]
investigation before the Municipal Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, In her Answer, respondent Judge argued that the complaint is
Duarte admitted to the killing of Ferdinand Feri but claimed that he did premature since the assailed Order is still under reconsideration.
it in self-defense. Thereafter, the prosecution orally moved that the Moreover, she said that there was no gross incompetence on her part in
reverse order of trial be conducted (i.e., that the defense shall be the issuing the same because the prosecution failed to present its witnesses
first to present its evidence), in view of Duartes admission of the to oppose the petition for bail, notwithstanding the setting of several
killing. hearing dates for it to do so.[3] Respondent Judge also charged
Respondent Judge ordered Duarte to clarify in writing whether he complainant Marallag of violating Canons 10 [4] and 10.1[5] of the Code
admits to the killing of Ferdinand Feri or not. She likewise set for oral of Professional Responsibility for including the following false
argument the next day, January 29, 1997, the issue of whether the statements of fact in the administrative complaint against her:
reverse order of trial should be followed in the criminal case. (1) that respondent Judge denied his motion for
On January 29, 1997, after both parties were heard, respondent reconsideration of the February 26, 1997 Order (requiring
Judge granted the motion to conduct the trial in reverse order. The the prosecution to present evidence and to consider the
defense moved to reconsider the trial courts ruling. Subsequently, the motion for bail submitted for resolution) in its Order of
trial court required the parties to submit their respective position papers June 18, 1997, when in fact respondent Judge partly
on the issue of whether the trial should be in the reverse order. On granted the same and acknowledged therein that in
February 4, 1997, the prosecution submitted a Memorandum of petitions for bail, the prosecution must be accorded the
Authorities while the defense submitted its Position Paper. opportunity to present evidence to prove that the evidence
of guilt of the accused is strong, and accordingly set the
In an Order dated February 26, 1997, respondent Judge ruled that presentation of evidence for August 12, 1997;
the prosecution shall first present evidence regarding the petition for
bail. The order stated in part: (2) that respondent Judge denied complainants due process
by considering the application for bail submitted for
xxx resolution without conducting a hearing thereon, when it
was the prosecution which failed, despite several
Let this case be reset anew for hearing of the application for bail on opportunities granted thereto, to present its witnesses on
March 11 and 12, 1997, at 8:30 oclock in the morning, since the the scheduled hearing dates;
accused refused to be presented during the last hearing, the prosecution
is directed to get ready with their witnesses to be presented if any to (3) that respondent Judge refused to postpone the hearing
prove their opposition. Otherwise the Court will consider this Motion on the application for bail on August 12, 1997 despite the
for Bail submitted for resolution. pendency in the Court of Appeals of the petition for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus (assailing the order
The prosecution moved to reconsider the same, and its motion directing the prosecution to present evidence ahead of the
was granted in part by respondent Judge in her Order of June 18, 1997, defense), even though in truth, complainant had already
which acknowledged that a hearing on the petition for bail must first be received a copy of the appellate courts resolution denying
conducted before the court may resolve the same. said petition even before August 12, 1997. [6]
On July 14, 1997, complainants filed with the Court of Appeals a Respondent Judge further accused complainant Marallag of violating
petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition questioning the Canons 11[7] and 11.03 [8] of the Code of Professional Responsibility for
February 26, 1997 Order of the respondent Judge, but the same was exhibiting disrespect towards her during the hearing on August 12,
dismissed by the appellate court in a Resolution dated July 24, 1997, on 1997, specifically, by using menacing language against her and raising
the ground that the prosecution failed to report the matter to the Office his voice. [9]
of the Solicitor General for appropriate action.
On November 29, 1999, Office the Court Administrator submitted
Meanwhile, at the hearing of the petition for bail on August 12, its memorandum recommending that respondent Judge be held liable
1997, the prosecution moved for postponement thereof in view of the for gross ignorance of the law and be fined in the amount of Five
pendency of the petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition in the Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00).
Court of Appeals. Respondent Judge informed the parties of the
dismissal of said petition, but the prosecution reiterated their motion for The complaint is meritorious.
postponement, arguing that since they had not yet received a copy of
the appellate courts resolution denying their petition, said dismissal had The rule is that all persons in custody shall, before conviction, be
not yet attained finality and that they were going to file a motion for entitled to bail as a matter of right. However, when the accused is
reconsideration thereof. Respondent Judge ordered the prosecution to charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
proceed with the presentation of its witnesses but only complainant Feri perpetua, and the evidence of guilt is strong, the grant of bail becomes a
was present in court. When the respondent Judge called on Mrs. Feri to matter of discretion. [10]
testify, the prosecution refused, reasoning that the latter was not an Where the admission to bail of an accused is discretionary, it is
eyewitness to the crime charged and would be testifying only with mandatory for the trial court to conduct a hearing to afford both the
respect to the civil aspect of the case. However, respondent Judge prosecution and the defense a reasonable opportunity to present
considered the petition for bail submitted for resolution. evidence to establish, in the case of the prosecution, that evidence of the
On August 14, 1997, the trial court issued an Order granting bail guilt of the accused is strong, and in the case of the defense, that such
to Duarte. Respondent Judge concluded that the evidence against evidence of guilt is not strong. [11]
Duarte was not strong and the latter was thus entitled to post bail due to The criminal case before respondent Judge involved an accused
the prosecutions failure to present its witnesses during the scheduled who was charged with murder, a capital offense. [12] Thus, the conduct of
hearings for the petition for bail despite the issuance of subpoenas to a hearing on the accuseds application for bail was necessary before the
said witnesses. The Order stated: trial court could grant bail. The records of the case however reveal that
xxx although the trial court set several dates for the hearing on the
application for bail, the parties were not able to adduce evidence which
Considering that the prosecution witnesses never appeared when their would enable the trial court to determine whether the evidence of the
turn to testify came and for four (4) settings, they never cropped up, this accuseds guilt was strong, for purposes of resolving the issue of
Court developed its impression that prosecution is left without anybody whether the latter is entitled to bail. It was the other issues raised by the
to oppose this motion for bail with no proof that the guilt of the accused prosecution, such as the necessity of Duartes arraignment before the
is strong. application for bail may be resolved, and the propriety of conducting
trial in reverse order, which were taken up during the scheduled
So this Court has to follow the amended Rules on Criminal Procedure, hearings.[13] The prosecution was thus deprived of the opportunity to
especially Rule 114, Sec. 3, quoted thus: prove that the evidence of Duartes guilt was strong, and the defense
Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. - All persons in custody, shall, was also denied the chance to prove otherwise. The records further
before final conviction, be entitled to bail as a matter of right; except indicate that when the prosecution failed to present any evidence during
the hearing on the application for bail on August 12, 1997, respondent appellants, who, however, pleaded not guilty to the four
Judge proceeded at once to pronounce that the motion was deemed separate informations for murder.
submitted for resolution.
At the trial before the Regional Trial Court of Bauang, La
The prosecutions failure to submit evidence on the accuseds Union, Branch 67, the prosecution presented as witnesses
application for bail did not justify respondent Judges act of granting Jessie and his brother and neighbors, as well as several police
bail to the accused without a hearing, because the established rule is officers. Their testimonies disclose as follows:
that even if the prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to
Jessie was about to leave their house to watch cartoons in
interpose any objection to the motion for bail, it is still mandatory for
his uncles house next door when two armed men suddenly
the court to conduct a hearing or ask searching and clarificatory
entered the front door of their house. The two ordered Jessie to
questions from which it may infer the strength of the States evidence of
drop to the floor, and then hit him in the back with the butt of a
guilt of the accused.[14] A judge is in fact required to include in his or her
long gun. Without much ado, the intruders shot to death Jessies
order granting or refusing bail a summary of the evidence presented by
uncle, Victorino V. Lolarga, who was then in the living room.
the prosecution; otherwise, such order would be uncontrolled and may
Jessie forthwith crawled and hid under a bed, from where he saw
be deemed capricious or whimsical.[15]
the feet of a third man who had also entered the house. The men
Respondent Judges act of granting bail to the accused without entered the kitchen and continued shooting. When the rampage
hearing the parties on the matter or asking searching and clarificatory was over and after the malefactors had already departed, Jessie
questions runs counter to the rule requiring the conduct of a hearing on came out of his hiding place and proceeded to the kitchen. There
a petition for bail in cases where an accused is charged with a capital he saw his mother, Carmelita Barnachea; his brother
offense. Such error merits a reprimand, for the Court has previously Felix Barnachea, Jr.; and his cousin Rubenson Abance - all
held that- slaughtered.[1]
xxx admission to bail as a matter of discretion presupposes the exercise Meanwhile, Jessies eldest brother, Robert E. Barnachea,
thereof in accordance with law and guided by the applicable legal was in his uncles house watching television with his aunt and
principles. The prosecution must first be accorded an opportunity to young cousins when he sensed a commotion outside. When
present evidence because by the very nature of deciding applications for Robert went out to see what was transpiring, he saw armed men
bail, it is on the basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is running towards their house. One of them turned and pointed a
weighed in determining whether the guilt of the accused is strong. in gun at him, prompting him to scamper away and hide at the back
other words, discretion must be exercised regularly, legally and within of his uncles house. From where he was hiding, he noticed a
the confines of procedural due process, that is, after evaluation of the stainless jeep, with blue rim and marking fruits and vegetables
evidence submitted by the prosecution. Any order issued in the absence dealer, parked in front of the fence of their house. Standing
thereof is not a product of sound judicial discretion but of whim, behind the jeep were three armed men wearing bonnets, with
caprice and arbitrariness.[16] only their nose and eyes exposed. In the next instant, he heard
gunshots and then saw men running from his house. The men
However, the Court notes that the prosecutions failure to present hurriedly boarded the jeep and left the place.[2]
evidence in relation to the petition for bail was not entirely due to the
fault of respondent Judge. The prosecution is also partly to blame for The jeep did not go unnoticed by the
such failure. On the dates set by the trial court for hearing of the neighbors. Russel Tamba was with some friends in front
petition for bail, the prosecution raised other issues-first, the alleged of Rodas Store, around 100 meters away from
inconsistency between the accuseds plea of Not Guilty during the the Barnachea residence, when the jeep passed by very slowly
arraignment and his admission during the preliminary investigation that going towards the Barnachea residence. According to him, the
he killed Ferdinand Feri in self-defense; and second, the necessity of jeep had a marking El Shaddai in front, aside from the marking
conducting the trial in the reverse order-which sidetracked the hearing fruits and vegetables dealer on the sides.
[3]
on the petition for bail. Moreover, it was the prosecution which refused Francisco Andrada was also talking with some people in front
to heed respondent Judges order that it proceed with the presentation of of the Calumbaya Barangay Hall, only five meters away
its evidence relative to the petition for bail during the hearing of August from Rodas Store, when he noticed that jeep, with
12, 1997. Hence, the Court finds that an imposition on respondent the El Shaddai marking, pass by.[4] Not long after, both heard
Judge of a fine would not be justified under the circumstances of this gunshots and later saw the jeep pass by again, this time running
case. very fast.[5]

The Court also deems it proper to refer to the integrated Bar of The incident was immediately reported to the police, and
the Philippines for investigation, recommendation and report the the description of the El Shaddai jeep used by the malefactors
allegations of respondent Judge that complainant Marallag knowingly was relayed through radio to the police stations in
made untruthful statements of fact in his complaint filed with the Court, the provinceof La Union.[6] At around 7:45 p.m., the jeep was
and exhibited disrespect toward respondent Judge during several intercepted at a checkpoint set up in the highway by the police
hearings of Criminal Case No. 7316. force in Aringay, La Union. On board were the eight appellants.
No firearms were found in the vehicle. The jeep and the eight
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Loreto Cloribel-Purugganan appellants were thereafter brought to the Aringay police station
of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Branch 3, is and then turned over to the Bauang police.[7]
hereby REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or
similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely. Let a copy When the Chief of Police of Bauang Benjamin
of this decision be attached to the personal record of respondent Judge. M. Lusad was informed of the apprehension of the eight
appellants, he went to the Barnachea residence, where he came
The charges made by respondent Judge against complainant Atty. to know that Jessie was an eyewitness. He invited Jessie to ride
Fred Henry V. Marallag are hereby REFERRED to the Integrated Bar with him to pick up the suspects. While Lusad was supervising
of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation. the boarding of the suspects into the vehicle, Jessie was in
another police vehicle with PO3 Juan Casern, Jr., to see whether
SO ORDERED.
he could recognize any one of the eight men. Jessie pointed
to Dominador Cachola and Ernesto Amay as the two armed men
who entered his house and killed his relatives. During the police
line-up at the Bauang Police Station, Jessie again
identified Cachola and Amay as the assailants.[8] The next day,
when the police conducted the third confirmatory investigation,
which was to present Jessie with photographs of the suspects,
Jessie identified the two for the third time.
The eight appellants were thereafter subjected to paraffin
[G.R. Nos. 148712-15. January 21, 2004]
test. But only the right hands of Cachola and Amay yielded
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DOMINADOR positive results for gunpowder nitrates.[9]
CACHOLA y SALAZAR, ERNESTO AMAY y PASCUA,
The Death Certificates attest to the gruesome and
NESTOR MARQUEZ y MANUEL, BENJAMIN
merciless killings. Carmelita sustained one gunshot wound on
LAEGEN y CAMADO, RODOLFO SAGUN y
her head and three on her body;[10] Felix, Jr., two gunshot
JIMENEZ, RODEMIR GUERZO y LATAOAN, MELLKE
wounds on his head and on his body, and stab wounds on his
IGNACIO y SALVADOR, and NELSON C.
chest and arms;[11] Victorino, two gunshot wounds on his head,
ECHABARIA, appellants.
three on his body, and with his penis excised;[12] Rubenson, one
DECISION gunshot wound on his head and a stab wound that lacerated his
liver.[13]
PER CURIAM:
The testimonies of the other prosecution witnesses were
In just an instant, 12-year-old Jessie E. Barnachea lost his dispensed with upon the stipulation by the public prosecutor and
mother, an elder brother, an uncle, and a cousin as a result of the the counsels for the appellants that the nature of their
carnage that took place at around 6:00 p.m. of 28 December testimonies would be that (1) PO3 Juan Casern, Jr., was inside
1999 right inside their house in Barangay Calumbaya, Bauang, the police car with Jessie when the latter recognized
La Union. Their horrible death was attributed to herein
appellants Cachola and Amay; (2) Mark Garcia would reasonable doubt. The credible testimony of, and positive
corroborate the testimony of Felix Andrada regarding the identification by, Jessie Barnachea, which are corroborated by
description of the jeep; (3) Felix Barnachea, Sr., suffered actual forensic evidence, i.e., the positive results of the paraffin test on
damages amounting to P177,000 as a result of the death of his the right hands of Cachola and Amay, constitute sufficient
wife Carmelita and son Felix, Jr.; (4) a police officer of Aringay, evidence to sustain their conviction.
La Union, flagged down the jeep at the checkpoint and saw the
appellants on board; and (5) a police officer of Bauang, La As to the credibility of Jessie Barnachea, the trial court
Union, would identify the pictures taken at the crime scene. made the following observations:

After the prosecution had rested its case, the defense The Court observed the demeanor of Jessie Barnachea on the witness
counsels orally asked for leave of court to file a demurrer to stand and ... did not observe any indication of falsehood in his
evidence. The trial court denied the motion outright and set the narration. He showed obvious readiness to answer questions
schedule for the presentation of the evidence for the defense. propounded to him. His reactions and answers to the questions
[14]
Instead of presenting their evidence, however, the appellants, displayed evident respect for truth. He remained consistent on cross-
through their respective counsels, filed a Demurrer to examination. He positively identified accused Amay and Cachola as the
Evidence[15] even without leave of court. one who shot and killed his family. The Court did not observe any
hesitancy or indication of uncertainty - and his recital of the events
On 26 September 2000, the trial court rendered a appeared spontaneous.[22]
decision[16] (1) convicting (a) Cachola and Amay, as principals, of
four counts of murder and sentencing them to suffer four counts There is nothing on record that gives this Court cause to
of the supreme penalty of death; and (b) interfere with the trial courts determination of the credibility of
Marquez, Laegen, Sagun, Guerzo, Ignacio, and Echabaria, as Jessie. Indeed, his testimony was unwavering despite attempts
accomplices, of four counts of murder and sentencing them to of the defense counsels to confuse or trap him. The alleged
suffer four counts of the indeterminate penalty of eight years inconsistency between Jessies sworn statement and testimony
of prision mayor as minimum to twelve years and one day on the number of malefactors, if at all, does not detract from his
of reclusion temporal as maximum; and (2) ordering all of them credibility. That Jessie saw two armed men enter his house is
to pay the heirs of the victims a total of P300,000 as death clear. While the defense claims ambiguity as to the presence of a
indemnity; P200,000 as moral damages; and P177,000 as actual third man, Jessies statement easily reveals that the third man
or compensatory damages. was not immediately mentioned because he (the third man) only
followed the two and Jessie did not see his face.
Before us on automatic review, appellants Cachola, Sagun,
Ignacio, and Marquez contend that the trial court erred (1) in It is also pointed out that Jessies identification
finding conspiracy among them and their co-appellants; (2) in of Cachola and Amay runs counter to Roberts testimony that the
finding proof beyond reasonable doubt; and (3) in not dismissing armed men were wearing bonnets. Again, from their testimonies,
the informations outright despite a motion before arraignment, it is apparent that the brothers saw different men. Besides,
there having been a clear illegal arrest and denial of due Robert also stated that one of the men did not have his head
process. covered. As to the alleged improbability of the lookouts wearing
bonnets while the principal shooters were unmasked, or of the
As for appellants Amay, Guerzo, Laegen, and Echabaria, malefactors sparing Jessie, suffice it to say that such
they assert that the trial court erred (1) in finding circumstances are not so incredible as to cast reasonable doubt
appellant Amay guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal in on the truth of the narrated events.
the crime of murder; and (2) in not acquitting
appellants Guerzo, Laegen, and Echabaria for insufficiency of In sum, none of the alleged inconsistencies, minor as they
evidence and on reasonable doubt. are, could leave us with doubt that Jessie was present in his
house and saw armed men shoot his relatives. Barely two hours
In its Consolidated Reply Brief, the Office of the Solicitor had passed since he witnessed the gruesome murders when
General (OSG) recommends the affirmance of the conviction for Jessie identified appellants Cachola and Amay as the
murder of appellants Cachola and Amay, and the acquittal of the malefactors. Reasonably, the memory of their faces was still
other appellants for failure of the prosecution to establish their fresh on his mind. Moreover, Jessie identified the two appellants
identity and participation beyond reasonable doubt. two times more at the police station and once in open court, and
he never faltered in his identification.
We agree with the recommendation of the OSG to acquit
appellants Sagun, Ignacio, Marquez, Guerzo, Laegen, Significantly, the appellants have not imputed any ill motive
and Echabaria. Upon a thorough review of the records of the to Jessie for testifying against Cachola and Amay. Where there is
case, we found nothing that would show their participation in the no evidence to show a doubtful reason or improper motive why a
commission of the crimes. Not one of the prosecution witnesses prosecution witness should testify against the accused or falsely
identified them as among the malefactors who were at implicate him in a crime, the said testimony is trustworthy and
the Barnachea residence on that fateful day. Surprisingly, even should be accorded full faith and credit.[23]
as the trial court declared that the prosecution failed to establish
the actual participation of the other appellants in the commission In all, there does not appear on record to be some fact or
of the crime, it found that they cooperated in the execution of the circumstance of weight and influence which the trial court has
offense by previous or simultaneous acts.[17] It appears, however, overlooked or the significance of which it has misapprehended or
that the only reason why they were implicated was that they were misinterpreted. [24] We rely, therefore, on the competence of the
with Cachola and Amay on board the jeep that was intercepted trial court to decide the question of credibility of the witnesses,
in Aringay, La Union, almost two hours after the killings. What having heard them and observed their deportment and manner
constitute previous or simultaneous acts that would make them of testifying during the trial.[25]
liable as accomplices are not found in the decision or in any The reliance by appellant Cachola on People
evidence on record. v. Teehankee[26] is misplaced. In that case the negative result of
To hold a person liable as an accomplice, two elements the paraffin test did not preclude a finding of guilt by the trial
must concur: (1) community of design, which means that the court, the reason being that the accused was tested for the
accomplice knows of, and concurs with, the criminal design of presence of nitrates only after more than 72 hours had lapsed
the principal by direct participation; and (2) the performance by from the time of the shooting. In the present case, the paraffin
the accomplice of previous or simultaneous acts that are not test was conducted on the same night the shooting incident
indispensable to the commission of the crime.[18] In the present occurred; hence, the lapse of only a few hours increases its
case, neither element was proved. The mere presence of the six reliability. While the presence of nitrates on accuseds hand is not
appellants in the company of appellants Cachola and Amay on conclusive of guilt, it bolsters the testimony of an eyewitness that
board a jeep is not evidence of their knowledge of, or assent to, the accused fired a gun.
the criminal design to perpetuate the massacre. [19] That they As to whether the trial court erred in not allowing the
were found to be with appellants Cachola and Amay almost two appellants to present evidence after filing their demurrer to
hours after the commission of the crime does not constitute evidence without leave of court, then Section 15, Rules 119 of
previous or simultaneous act. Absent a link between the crime the Rules of Court[27] is clear on the matter, thus:
and their presence in the jeep two hours later, we cannot
consider their participation even as accessories to the crime. SEC. 15. - Demurrer to evidence. - After the prosecution has rested its
case, the court may dismiss the case on the ground of insufficiency of
It is a basic evidentiary rule in criminal law that the evidence: (1) on its own initiative after giving the prosecution an
prosecution has the burden of proving the guilt of the accused opportunity to be heard; or (2) on motion of the accused filed with prior
beyond reasonable doubt.[20] If the prosecution fails to discharge leave of court.
that burden, the accused need not present any evidence.
[21]
Thus, for utter lack of evidence against the six appellants, If the court denies the motion for dismissal, the accused may adduce
their acquittal is in order. evidence in his defense. When the accused files such motion to
dismiss without express leave of court, he waives the right to present
However, as regards appellants Cachola and Amay, we evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence
concur with the trial court and the OSG that the prosecution had for the prosecution. (Underscoring supplied).
presented sufficient evidence to prove their guilt beyond
The filing by the appellants of a demurrer to evidence in the moral damages each in the amount of P50,000, or a total of
absence of prior leave of court was a clear waiver of their right to P400,000. They are further ordered to pay the respective heirs of
present their own evidence. To sustain their claim that they had Carmelita and Felix Jr. exemplary damages in the amount of
been denied due process because the evidence they belatedly P25,000, or a total of P50,000, in view of the presence of one
sought to offer would have exculpated them would be to allow aggravating circumstance in the commission of the crime against
them to wager on the outcome of judicial proceedings by the said victims. As to the claim for damages by
espousing inconsistent viewpoints whenever dictated by Felix Barnachea Sr. in the amount of P177,000, we sustain the
convenience.[28] Furthermore, it cannot be said that the waiver same even if only a list of expenses, [37] not official receipts, was
was not clear. The trial court postponed the hearings on the submitted because such amount was admitted by the defense
motion for demurrer, even after leave of court had been denied, during the trial.[38] Moreover, although there is no evidence as to
and then granted extensions to Amay until he finally adopted the the amount spent as a result of the death
position of his co-appellants. At no time other than in this of Victorino and Rubenson, their respective heirs shall be
automatic review was there any attempt that is contrary to the awarded temperate damages in the amount of P25,000, since
waiver of the presentation of evidence. they clearly incurred funeral expenses.[39]
Neither can the question of the legality of WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated 26 September
the warrantless arrest of the appellants be raised for the first time 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Bauang, La Union, Branch
before this Court. As arrests fall into the question of the exercise 67, is hereby AFFIRMED insofar as DOMINADOR CACHOLA y
by the trial court of its jurisdiction over the person of the accused, SALAZAR and ERNESTO AMAY y PASCUA are found GUILTY
the question should have been raised prior to their arraignment. of four counts of murder in Criminal Cases Nos. 2323-26 and
That the appellants objected to the arrests prior to the sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of death in Criminal
arraignment[29]is unsubstantiated. Their claim that they requested Cases Nos. 2324 and 2325. The said decision is, however,
an extension of time to file a motion to quash the information or MODIFIED in that they are (1) sentenced to suffer the penalty
to dismiss the case,[30] which the trial court allegedly denied, of reclusion perpetua, instead of death, in Criminal Cases Nos.
cannot save the day for them. The fact remains that before 2323 and 2326; and (2) ordered to pay, jointly and severally, the
arraignment, no such motion was filed. Even assuming that their following damages:
arrest was illegal, their act of entering a plea during their
arraignment constituted a waiver of their right to question their a. P50,000 as death indemnity in favor of the heirs of each
arrest.[31] victim, or a total of P200,000;

We now discuss the circumstances that attended the b. P50,000 as moral damages in favor of the heirs of each
commission of the crimes. victim, or a total of P200,000;

The information alleges the qualifying circumstances of c. P25,000 as exemplary damages in favor of the respective
treachery and evident premeditation. There is no doubt that the heirs of Carmelita Barnachea and Felix Barnachea Jr.,
killings were done with treachery, considering that the assailants or a total of P50,000;
suddenly barged in and immediately went on a shooting d. P177,000 as actual damages in favor of the heirs of
rampage. We have time and again ruled that when the attack is Carmelita Barnachea and Felix Barnachea Jr.; and
sudden and unexpected, there is treachery.[32] The presence of
even this single qualifying circumstance is sufficient to qualify the e. P25,000 as temperate damages in favor of the respective
killing to murder.[33] heirs of Rubenson Abance and Victorino Lolarga, or a
total of P50,000.
As to the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation,
we find the same lacking, for there is no evidence of planning or The assailed decision is REVERSED insofar as appellants
preparation to kill, much less of the time when the plot was NESTOR MARQUEZ y MANUEL, BENJAMIN LAEGEN y
conceived.[34] CAMADO, RODOLFO SAGUN y JIMENEZ, RODEMIR
GUERZO y LATAOAN, MELLKE IGNACIO y SALVADOR, and
It may not be amiss to mention that the death certificate NELSON C. ECHABARIA are concerned, and another one is
of Victorino Lolarga reveals that his penis was excised. One may hereby rendered (1) acquitting them of the crimes charged for
wonder whether such circumstance amounted to ignominy that insufficiency of evidence; (2) ordering their immediate release
can aggravate the offense. from confinement unless their further detention is warranted by
For ignominy to be appreciated, it is required that the virtue of any lawful cause; and (3) directing the Director of the
offense be committed in a manner that tends to make its effect Bureau of Corrections to submit a report on their release within
more humiliating, thus adding to the victims moral suffering. five days from notice hereof.
Where the victim was already dead when his body or a part Costs de oficio.
thereof was dismembered, ignominy cannot be taken against the
accused.[35] In this case, the information states SO ORDERED.
that Victorinos sexual organ was severed after he was shot and
there is no allegation that it was done to add ignominy to the
natural effects of the act. We cannot, therefore, consider
ignominy as an aggravating circumstance.
However, as regards Carmelita and Felix, Jr., we appreciate
the aggravating circumstance of dwelling, since it was alleged in
the information and proved during the trial that they were killed
inside their house. Appellants Cachola and Amay, therefore,
violated the sanctity of the said victims home.
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code provides that the
penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death. In conjunction, G.R. No. 150735 March 15, 2004
Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides that when the law
prescribes two indivisible penalties, the greater penalty shall be PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,
imposed when in the commission of the deed, there is present vs.
one aggravating circumstance. In the cases of Carmelita and STEPHEN CADLEY y CIANO, appellant.
Felix Jr., in Criminal Cases Nos. 2324 and 2325, there is one
aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstance to
offset it; hence, the higher penalty of death imposed by the trial DECISION
court stands.
CARPIO-MORALES, J.:
Three members of the Court maintain their adherence to
the separate opinions expressed in People vs. Echegaray[36] that
Republic Act No. 7659, insofar as it prescribes the penalty of On appeal is the November 5, 2001 Decision1 of the Regional
death, is unconstitutional; nevertheless they submit to the ruling Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch 59, in Criminal Case No. 597
of the majority that the law is constitutional and that the death finding Stephen Cadley y Ciano (appellant) guilty of violating
penalty should accordingly be imposed. Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425 otherwise known as
But in the cases of Victorino and Rubenson, in Criminal the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Cases Nos. 2323 and 2326, there being no aggravating or
mitigating circumstance, the penalty should The accusatory portion of the Information2 charging appellant for
be reclusion perpetua,which is the lower of the two indivisible violation of Republic Act No. 6425 reads:
penalties prescribed by law.
As regards the civil liability of That on or about 11th day of June, 2000, in the municipality of
appellants Cachola and Amay, we hold them jointly and severally Mabalacat, province of Pampanga, Philippines and within the
liable to pay the heirs of each of the victims death indemnity and jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
STEPHEN CADLEY y CIANO, without having been lawfully and same. He, however, denied having brought any marijuana or
permitted and authorized, did then and there willfully, unlawfully knowing any such persons.10
and feloniously deliver and/or give away to a poseur buyer
SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY GRAMS and SEVEN THOUSAND He was later brought to Camp Olivas, Pampanga where the
FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY ONE TENTH THOUSANDTHS OF police confiscated his personal belongings without issuing him a
A GRAM (790.7421 g) of dried marijuana leaves, a prohibited receipt therefor. PO2 Ubias then told him that he would be set
drug. free if he could produce P60,000.00. Using PO2 Ubias'
cellphone, he thus called his brother McCoy11 and uncle Sgt.
Contrary to law. Efren Aberin who repaired to Manila from Baguio City with the
said amount.
Appellant pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on June 27,
2000.3 Despite giving money to the police, he was not released and his
brother and uncle were even charged with attempted bribery.12
As culled from the records of the case, the prosecution
established the following facts: With respect to the marijuana brick allegedly taken from him,
appellant denied any knowledge thereof, he claiming that the
In May 2000, following information received from a female purpose of his arrest was to extort money from him.
civilian informant that a certain "Steve" was a supplier of
marijuana, team leader SPO4 Venusto Jamisolamin of the PNP Testifying for appellant, his uncle Sgt. Aberin declared that he
Narcotics Group at Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga and McCoy, bringing with them P60,000.00, left Baguio City and
instructed his men to conduct surveillance and intelligence arrived at Camp Olivas, Pampanga in the early morning of June
investigation at Aguso, Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga.4 12, 2000. They refused to part off with the money, however, as
appellant was not being released. They were then told to return
On June 10, 2000, PO2 Luisito Ubias who was designated as on June 13, 2000, June 12, 2000 being a holiday. They thus
poseur-buyer and the civilian informant arranged with "Steve" by returned to the camp on June 13, 2000 and which McCoy turned
telephone for the sale of 50 kilos of marijuana to be made on over the money to a certain SPO1 Gamit, upon which he (Sgt.
June 11, 2000, at 4:00 a.m., at the Dau bus terminal station in Aberin) and McCoy were handcuffed and charged with attempted
Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. bribery.13 He further declared that despite their delivery
of P60,000 to the police, the police reported receiving
only P10,000.
As scheduled, the buy-bust team composed of SPO4
Jamisolamin, PO2 Ubias, PO1 Avelino Lopez, Jr., four other
police officers, and the civilian informant proceeded to the Shell Testifying for the defense, Larry Pantig who, together with
gasoline station near the Dau bus terminal station. Except for Benigno Guillermo, accompanied appellant to Manila, declared
PO2 Ubias and the civilian informant who waited for the suspect that while they were on a stop-over at the Victory Bus Station in
near the San Trans bus terminal,5 the other members of the team Tarlac, they saw appellant talking to a lady after which five men
positioned themselves in such a way that they would be able to held appellant at gunpoint and forced him to board a red vehicle
observe the transaction. with white stripes; and they (Pantig and Guillermo) thereupon
boarded their own vehicle and followed the red vehicle bearing
appellant and the five men until the gate of Clark, Pampanga, but
After waiting for more or less 25 minutes, the civilian informant
were forced to return to Baguio when the vehicle stopped and
called PO2 Ubias attention to a man wearing a "blue or green t-
one man got out cocking his firearm.14
shirt" who directly approached them. The man, later identified as
Stephen Cadley, herein appellant, showed a rectangular object
wrapped in newspaper, with a hole through which the contents The case was heard by different judges.15
could be seen,6 and informed the two that he had left 70 kilos of
marijuana with his companion.7 PO2 Ubias took a sample of the As stated early on, the trial court convicted appellant by the
contents of the rectangular object and once he was convinced assailed decision,16 the dispositive portion17 of which reads:
that it was marijuana,8 he wiped his face with a face-towel
several times, the pre-arranged signal for the rest of the team WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused STEPHEN CADLEY y
members to approach them. CIANO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Violation
of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,
Appellant was at once arrested and the rectangular object was and hereby sentences him to suffer a penalty of Reclusion
brought to the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory where laboratory Perpetua and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos
tests conclusively proved that it contained marijuana weighing (P500,000.00) and to pay the costs.
790.7421 grams.9
SO ORDERED.
Hence, the indictment of appellant.
Appellant assails the decision on the following grounds:
In defense, appellant, who gave his occupation as a vegetable
vendor at La Trinidad, Benguet, claimed as follows: I.

A certain Binyang who hails from Angeles City goes to his stall at THE APPEALED DECISION WAS RENDERED BY A NEWLY
least once a month to buy vegetables during which she would APPOINTED JUDGE WHO HAS NOT PERSONALLY HEARD
ask him if he knows of any marijuana for sale to which he would ANY OF THE WITNESSES PRESENTED AND, THEREFORE,
always respond in the negative. Sometimes, Binyang would also HAD NO OPPORTUNITY TO OBSERVE THEIR
offer to sell him shabu. DEMEANOR VIS-A-VIS THE TRUTHFULNESS OF THEIR
VERSIONS.
On June 9, 2000, appellant informed Binyang that he was going
down to Manila with his friends the following day, or on June 10, II.
2000, at 10:00 p.m., to buy spare parts for his vehicle, and they
would stop-over in Tarlac.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN:

Appellant left for Manila as planned and while on a stop-over at


A. BEING PARTIAL, BY TOTALLY BELIEVING THE
the Victory Bus Terminal in Tarlac, he saw Binyang and went to
INCREDIBLE VERSION OF THE PROSECUTION; BY
talk to her while his companions went to the comfort room. While
NOT APPRECIATING THE MAJOR
he was talking to her, somebody approached him and poked a
INCONSISTENCIES OF THE PROSECUTION
gun at him, saying, "NARCOM ito, huwag gagalaw." More
WITNESSES' TESTIMONIES AND THEIR LACK OF
persons, who later arrived, along with the persons who identified
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE DETAILS OF
himself as a "NARCOM," forcibly dragged him inside a vehicle.
THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST OPERARATION; BY
Inside the vehicle, the persons mauled him, poked a gun at him,
TOTALLY IGNORING THE EXCULPATORY FACTS IN
and demanded that he show them where the marijuana was and
FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED; AND BY NOT
give the names of the persons in Benguet engaged in selling the
APPRECIATING THE CREDIBLE VERSION OF THE
DEFENSE.
B. RELYING ON SURMISES AND CONJECTURES. What is important is that the testimonies are supported by the
physical evidence consisting of the marijuana block presented
C. NOT DISMISSING THE INFORMATION FOR LACK before the court in its original newspaper wrapper (bearing the
OF JURISDICTION. GRANTING FOR THE SAKE OF initials of the arresting officers), and Chemistry Report No. D-
ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT A QUO HAD 0592-200024 "the genuineness, due execution and the truth of the
JURISDICTION OVER THE INSTANT CASE, IT contents" of which were admitted by appellant during the pre-trial
GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE on July 26, 2000 as shown by the Pre-Trial Order dated July 27,
ACCUSED. 2000.25

D. NOT APPRECIATING THAT THE ACCUSED'S As to why the police arrested appellant after receiving only one
DETENTION, INQUEST CONDUCTED, AND brick of marijuana instead of waiting for the receipt of the rest of
INFORMATION FILED WERE LEGALLY the 70 kilos offered for sale, PO2 Ubias explained that his
FLAWED/INFIRMED FROM THE VERY START instructions were to effect the pre-arranged signal once he had
AMOUNTING TO BLATANT VIOLATION OF THE determined that what appellant was offering was indeed
CONSTITUTIONAL AND PROCEDURAL RIGHTS OF marijuana, and there was no instruction for him to try to recover
THE ACCUSED WHICH SHOULD ENTITLE THE the rest of the marijuana. Moreover, he proffered that when
LATTER FOR (sic) HIS IMMEDIATE RELEASE. appellant was asked where the remainder of the marijuana was,
appellant responded that "the other 70k were in the possession
of his companion."26
Appellant draws attention to the fact that the judge who wrote the
decision did not hear the case, hence, did not have the
opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses. That a Neither is it improbable for appellant to deal in drugs openly in a
judge did not hear a case does not necessarily render him less public place to persons he hardly knew, for drug dealers are
competent in assessing the credibility of witnesses. He can rely known to sell their goods even to strangers. They ply their wares
on the transcripts of stenographic notes of their testimony and wherever prospective customers may be found. They have
calibrate them in accordance with their conformity to common indeed become increasingly daring and openly defiant of the
experience, knowledge and observation of ordinary men. Such law.27
reliance does not violate substantive and procedural due process
of law.18 As for the non-presentation by the prosecution of the confidential
informant, it is well-settled that except when the appellant
Appellant goes on to call the buy-bust operation a fabrication in vehemently denies selling prohibited drugs and there are
light of the lack of surveillance conducted on him, the admission material inconsistencies in the testimonies of the arresting
of the prosecution that no buy-bust money was involved or used officers, or there are reasons to believe that the arresting officers
in the operation, and his immediate arrest after his alleged had motives to testify falsely against appellant, or that only the
production of only one brick of marijuana even if PO2 Ubias and informant was the poseur-buyer who actually witnessed the
the civilian informant were allegedly offered 70 kilos. He posits entire transaction, the testimony of the informant may be
that no seller of marijuana would openly carry a brick thereof dispensed with as it would merely be corroborative of the
under his arm and negotiate its sale in the open. And he apprehending officers' eyewitness testimonies.28
contends as denting the case for the prosecution its failure to
present the confidential informant as a witness, and the In the case at bar, the presentation of the confidential informant,
inconsistency of statements of its witnesses. whose identity must be hidden to preserve his invaluable service
to the police,29 the sale having been adequately proven by
In another vein, appellant argues that the trial court has no prosecution witnesses.30
jurisdiction over the offense as the incident actually occurred in
Tarlac City, and not in Dau, Pampanga. And he questions his Like alibi, frame-up as a defense has invariably been viewed with
warrantless arrest and his detention as violative of Article 125 of disfavor as it is a common and standard line of defense in most
the Revised Penal Code, he not having waived its provision, and prosecutions arising from violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
of Department of Justice Circular No. 61, September 21, 1993 on Clear and convincing evidence is required to prove the defense
New Rules on Inquest. of "frame-up" which appellant has failed to proffer.

Appellants appeal does not lie. If the only reason appellant was brought to the police station
was, as he claims, to extort money, why did he fail to file charges
A prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an administrative or criminal against the policemen, especially
entrapment or buy-bust operation, the conduct of which has no in light of the fact that his uncle who came to his rescue is a
rigid or textbook method.19 Flexibility is a trait of good police military sergeant and, therefore, ought to have been aware and
work. However the police carry out its entrapment operations, for knowledgeable of appellants rights in the premises.
as long as the rights of the accused have not been violated in the
process,20 the courts will not pass on the wisdom thereof. Neither is there any basis for appellants contention that the
incident occurred in Tarlac City, Tarlac, and not in Dau,
Neither is the fact that no money changed hands a critical factor Pampanga. The policemen were clear and straightforward in
that affects the outcome of the case at bar. There is no rule of furnishing details of their location, whereas the description made
law which requires that in buy-bust operations there must be a by appellant and the witnesses for the defense as to the place of
simultaneous exchange of the marked money and the prohibited the alleged arrest is bereft of details determinative of the exact
drug between the poseur-buyer and the pusher.21 location of the arrest.

Moreover, Article II, Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 6425 punishes not Parenthetically, albeit appellant had manifested that he had an
only the sale but also the mere act of delivery of prohibited drugs independent witness who would testify to the occurrence of the
after the offer to buy by the entrapping officer has been accepted incident in Tarlac City, no such witness was presented.
by the seller of prohibited drugs.22
Finally, appellant's challenge on his warrantless arrest fails.
As the information reflects, appellant was charged with the When an accused is apprehended in flagrante delicto, under
unlawful delivery and/or giving away to a poseur buyer of Section 5, Rule 113, paragraphs (a) and (b) of the 1985 Rules on
790.7421 grams of dried marijuana leaves. Since the prosecution Criminal Procedure, as a result of a buy-bust operation, as in
has discharged its onus of proving the accusation as in fact it appellants case, the police are not only authorized but duty-
presented the prohibited drug and identified appellant as the bound to arrest him even without a warrant.31
offender,23 it is immaterial that no payment was made to
appellant. As for appellants contention that his detention was unlawful
because there was no waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of
As for the alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of PO2 the Revised Penal Code, the same likewise fails.
Lopez and SPO4 Jamisolamin, the same are minor and do not
detract from the veracity and weight of the salient points thereof. While a public officer who thus detains a person beyond the legal
period may be held criminally liable, the proceeding taken
against him for the act he has committed remains unaffected, for
the two acts are distinct and separate.32 (Underscoring supplied)
It is gathered that after appellant was arrested on June 11, 2000, deliver the desired quantity of shabu at P50,000.00 per
and the Iinformation indicting him was prepared by the Provincial 50 gram. After SPO1 Jimenez agreed to the price,
Prosecutor on June 13, 2000 (the day before was a holiday), and appellant told him to come back at 10:00 in the evening
was filed before the trial court on June 14, 2000. Assuming of the same day.8
arguendo that the delay in the filing of the Information was
intentional, appellant should have taken steps to report or file The team returned to the scene at the designated time and
charges against the officers, failing which he cannot now rely on positioned themselves strategically around the area. After a few
administrative shortcomings of police officers to get a judgment minutes, the informant and appellant arrived and, after a brief
of acquittal.33 conversation, SPO1 Jimenez handed the bundle of money to
appellant, who in turn gave Jimenez white crystalline substance
At all events, appellants entry of a valid plea34 and active contained in five plastic sachets. Immediately, SPO1 Jimenez
participation in the trial cured any defect in his arrest.35 introduced himself as a police officer and simultaneously raised
his right hand as a pre-arranged signal to his companions that
In fine, the trial court did not err in rendering the appealed the sale had been consummated. Appellant tried to escape, but
decision. he was arrested by SPO1 Jimenez, with the help of his
companions who had rushed to the scene after seeing the signal.
SPO1 Jimenez confiscated from appellant the bundle of money.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
Appellant was then brought to the MMDEG-NCRPO station for
59, Angeles City finding appellant, STEPHEN CADLEY y CIANO,
investigation. The five plastic sachets containing the white
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 4, Article II of
crystalline substance, which weighed 262.272 grams were
Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, is hereby AFFIRMED.
forwarded to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination and
were found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or
SO ORDERED. shabu, a regulated drug.

Appellant denied the charge and claimed that he was framed up


by the police. He alleged that on March 1, 1999, at 3:30 in the
afternoon, his friend, a certain Sherman, and the latter's female
companion, dropped by his sister's house where he was then
G.R. No. 144317 August 5, 2003 staying. Sherman invited him to go with them to the Luneta Park
and later to have a snack at Jollibee.9 They boarded a black
Mitsubishi Pajero. As soon as they passed Ayala bridge, they
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, were blocked by a Honda Civic. Eight armed men in civilian
vs. clothes alighted therefrom and introduced themselves as police
MICHAEL MONTE Y ABDUL, appellant. officers. Appellant and his companions were ordered to alight
from the Pajero and were frisked.10Afterwards, appellant was
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: made to board the Honda Civic while Sherman and his female
companion boarded the Pajero.11 Inside the Honda Civic,
This is an appeal from the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of appellant was mauled by the police officers.12 He was brought to
Manila, Branch 18, in Criminal Case No. 99-171228, finding the Drug Enforcement Unit in Bicutan, Taguig, where he was
appellant Michael Monte guilty beyond reasonable doubt of tortured by putting a plastic bag over his head and tying it around
violation of Article III, Section 15 of Republic Act 6425, otherwise his neck.13 He was told to put up a bailbond for his release.14
known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,2 as amended, and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with On July 10, 2002, the trial court rendered a decision convicting
all the accessory penalties provided by law, and to pay the costs. appellant of the crime charged, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
Appellant Michael Monte was charged with violation of Article III,
Section 15, of RA 6425, as amended, in an information which WHEREFORE, the accused, Michael Monte y Abdul, is
reads: hereby convicted of the crime of Violation of Section 15,
Article III of R.A. 6425 as amended without any
That on or about March 1, 1999, in the City of Manila, aggravating and/or mitigating circumstances, and
Philippines, the said accused, not having been sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua
authorized by law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or with all the accessory penalties provided by law and to
distribute any regulated drug, did then and there wilfully, pay the costs.
unlawfully, and knowingly sell or offer for sale five (5)
heat-sealed transparent plastic bags each containing The 262.272 grams of shabu is forfeited in favor of the
white crystalline substance with a total weight [of] government and is ordered turned over to the
262.272 grams known as shabu containing Dangerous Drugs Board, for proper disposition.
methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a regulated
drug. SO ORDERED.15

Contrary to law.3 Hence this appeal, raising the following errors:

When arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, trial I. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING
ensued. WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE UNBELIEVALE
TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESS SPO1
The following facts are established: ISAGANI JIMENEZ AND IN GIVING IN HIS FAVOR
THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE
On March 1, 1999, at about 6:00 in the morning, SPO2 PERFORMANCE OF DUTY DESPITE THE APPARENT
Virgilio Martinez of the Metro Manila Drug Enforcement IRREGULARITIES IN THE MANNER THEY
Group, National Capital Region Police Office (MMDEG- CONDUCTED THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST
NCRPO), Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig Metro Manila, OPERATION.
received a call from a confidential informant about the
illegal drug activities of appellant Michael Monte on P. II. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING
Casal Street, San Miguel Manila.4 A team of eight SCANT CONSIDERATION TO THE EVIDENCE
operatives, SPO1 Isagani Jimenez included, was PRESENTED BY THE ACCUSED APPELLANT.
organized to conduct surveilance and buy-bust
operations.5 They prepared fake money which were III. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING
arranged in a bundle placed in between genuine THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
P500.00 bills.6 SPO1 Jimenez was designated as the FOR THE CRIME CHARGED HAS BEEN PROVEN
poseur buyer.7 Upon arriving at P. Casal Street, the BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.16
confidential informant met SPO1 Jimenez and
introduced him to appellant as a prospective buyer of
250 grams of shabu. Appellant told them that he can
The issue of whether or not the prosecution was able to prove Moreover, the prosecution witness was able to present and
beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of appellant Michael Monte is identify in court the confiscated drugs, which are corroborating
the core of the instant appeal. pieces of evidence of the corpus delicti, thus:

Appellant argues that the trial court failed to consider the Prosecutor Jaime Guray to witness:
irregularities in the conduct of the buy-bust operation which could
have exculpated him from criminal liability. He said that while the Q: And you also testified that you were handed by
prosecution claimed that two genuine 500 peso bills were put, the accused 5 plastic sachets containing white
one on top and the other at the bottom of the fake money, it crystalline substance?
failed to show the source of the said bills, which creates doubt as
to their existence and to the prosecution's claim that said
A: Yes, sir.
genuine 500 peso bills were taken from appellant. Appellant
maintains that as a standard operating procedure in buy-bust
operations, the law enforcers put mark on the money bills and Q: If shown to you these five plastic sachets
have them photocopied. In the case at bar, the police officers containing white crystalline substance which you said
who participated in the buy bust neither marked nor photocopied was handed to you by the accused, will you be able to
the two 500 peso bills. Also, SPO1 Jimenez, the lone prosecution identify the same?
witness, testified that he confiscated from appellant 262.272
grams of shabu. However, he did not present the Booking Sheet A: Yes, sir.
and Arrest Report which would show that shabu was indeed
taken from appellant. Q: May I invite you in the table, Mr. witness, and
examine these five plastic sachets which have been
The appeal is without merit. marked as Exhibit F, F-1 to F-5 for the prosecution and
tell us what relation is these five plastic sachets to the
In the prosecution for the sale of regulated drugs, like shabu, plastic sachets which you stated that was handed to
what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale you by the accused?
transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus
delicti.17 Corpus delicti is the body or substance of the crime, and A: These were the shabu that were sold to me by
establishes the fact that a crime has been actually committed.18 It the accused, sir.22
has two elements, namely: (1) proof of the occurrence of a
certain event; and (2) some person's criminal responsibility for We find no reason to deviate from the findings of the trial court. It
the act.19 is very clear from the testimony of the prosecution witness that
his narration of events was positive, probable and in accord with
SPO1 Jimenez, the poseur-buyer, clearly established the above human experience. It bears the badges of truth, such that it is
elements, viz: an illegal sale of the regulated drug actually took extremely difficult for a rational mind not to find it credible. SPO1
place and appellant was the author thereof. He testified as Jimenez's testimony was coherent, straightforward and
follows: unperturbed even under the intense cross-examination by the
defense and searching questions by the trial court.
Prosecutor Panfilo Pabelonia, Jr. to witness
Appellant claims that there were irregularities in his arrest. He
Q: When you arrived at that bridge [P. Casal], was said that instead of bringing him to the Western Police District on
the accused already there? United Nations Avenue, Manila, the arresting officers brought him
to the Drug Enforcement Unit in Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila, in
clear violation of the mandate of Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules
A: He was not yet there, Sir.
of Court.23Further, the arresting officers did not inform him of his
basic constitutional rights. He was not afforded the assistance of
Q: How long did you wait? a competent and independent counsel of his choice during
custodial investigation.
A: Around 10 minutes then the accused arrived.
We find nothing irregular in the turn-over of appellant to the Drug
Q: The accused arrived together with the Enforcement Unit in Taguig, Metro Manila, although the Rules
confidential informant? provide that persons arrested without a warrant shall be
delivered to the nearest police station or jail. As correctly argued
A: Yes, Sir. by the Solicitor General, the place where appellant was brought
after the arrest for inquest is immaterial to the ultimate issue of
whether he peddled illicit drugs. Moreover, the records show that
Q: After the accused arrived together with the
appellant was brought to the Drug Enforcement Unit in Taguig,
confidential informant, what transpired?
Metro Manila because the arresting officers belonged to the
Metro Manila Drug Enforcement Group, National Capital Region
A: He asked me the money and I also asked him Police Office (MMDEG-NCRPO), Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig,
where is the shabu, and when I handed the money to Metro Manila, which office was more specialized in the area of
him I asked him to hand to me the shabu and when the drug investigation.
shabu was handed to me, I introduced myself as police
officer and at the same time I held the accused and
In People v. Garcia,24 it was held that there was nothing irregular
signaled for my companions to approach us.20
in the turn-over of appellant, who was arrested without a warrant
for illegal possession of marijuana, to the Criminal Investigation
The result of the laboratory examination conducted on the white Service (CIS) Office at the Baguio Water District Compound
crystalline substance confiscated from appellant and forwarded instead of bringing him to the nearest police station, since the
to the Western Police District bolsters the foregoing testimony CIS office was more specialized in the area of investigation of
that, indeed, what was sold by appellant was shabu, a regulated drug offenses.
drug. The results of the examination states:
Nevertheless, considering that appellant had entered his plea
FINDINGS: and actively participated in the trial of the case, he submitted to
the jurisdiction of the trial court, thereby curing any defect in his
Qualitative examination conducted on the above-stated arrest.25
specimens gave POSITIVE results to the tests for
methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug. x Even assuming that appellant was not afforded the assistance of
xx a counsel of his own choice, the proceedings in the trial court will
not necessarily be struck down because no incriminatory
CONCLUSION: evidence in the nature of a compelled or involuntary confession
or admission was used as evidence against him. Appellant's guilt
Specimen A contains methylamphetamine was clearly established by the evidence adduced by the
hydrochloride, a regulated drug. x x x.21 prosecution, which consisted of the testimony of SPO1 Jimenez,
the arresting officer and poseur buyer, together with the Nos. 93-100 and 101 entitled People of the Philippines v.
documentary and object evidence which were formally offered Jennifer Santos, which were pending in said court.
and admitted in evidence in the trial court.
On 10 July 1998, Judge Eliezer R. de los Santos furnished
the Office of the Court Administrator with a copy of his 8 July
Anent the appellant's defense that he was framed-up, we are 1998 Order for whatever action it may deem appropriate
aware that in some instances, law enforcers resort to the practice concerning the actuation of Judge Mangino of the Municipal Trial
of planting evidence to extract information or even to harass Court of Tarlac in approving the bail bond of an accused arrested
civilians.26 However, like alibi, frame-up is viewed with disfavor in Angeles City and residing in Angeles City and the cases being
for it is self-serving, can easily be fabricated and is a common pending also in Angeles City.
standard defense ploy in most prosecutions for violations of the In his 8 July 1998 Order, Judge Eliezer R. de los Santos
Dangerous Drugs Act.27 Clear and convincing evidence is narrated:
required to prove the defense.28
The records show that these cases pending before this Court were filed
since last February, 1993. Both the accused and the complainant are
In the case at bar, apart from claiming that he was a victim of residing in Angeles City. The accused was arrested in Angeles City and
frame-up and extortion by the narcotics agents of the MMDEG- the bail bond for the provisional liberty of the accused was issued by
NCRPO, appellant failed to present any evidence to substantiate the Angeles City office of the Imperial Insurance Company. According
his claim. He testified that he was accompanied by a friend, a to the accused, she paid P3,000 as premium to the Imperial Insurance
certain Sherman and the latter's female companion, when the Company thru a certain Mr. Antonio Tolentino. However, instead of
vehicle they were boarding was blocked by the Honda Civic having the said bail bond be approved by this Court, the said bail bond
being used by the narcotics operatives. However, he failed to was approved by Judge Marvin Mangino of Branch I of the Municipal
present in court these two persons to corroborate his claim. Trial Court of Tarlac. The order of release was also issued by the said
Judge Mangino. According to the accused, she never went to Tarlac and
appeared before said Judge Mangino. She also alleged that she never
Everything considered, we find that the prosecution has
went to Makati City and appeared before the Notary Public Melchor
established appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Ancanan.
Accordingly, he must suffer for his serious crime of being a
merchant of death, a "killer without mercy who poisons the mind From the contents of the said bond No. 27367 issued by the Imperial
and deadens the body" of his victims.29 Insurance Company, it was made to appear that accused Jennifer Santos
appeared before Notary Public Melchor Ancanan in Makati City on
June 23, 1998.
The penalty prescribed under Section 15 of Article III, in relation
to Section 20 of Article IV, of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, In the same Order, Judge Eliezer R. de los Santos required
as amended by RA 7659, for unauthorized sale of 200 grams or Julieta M. Bautista, Clerk of Court I, Branch 1, Municipal Trial
more of shabu or methylamphetamine hydrochloride is reclusion Court, Tarlac, to appear before his court on 24 July 1998 at 8:30
perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand a.m. to explain and shed light on the circumstances behind the
pesos to ten million pesos. In the case at bar, as the penalty issuance and approval of bail bond No. 27367 by Judge Marvin
B. Mangino of Branch 1 of the Municipal Trial Court of Tarlac,
of reclusion perpetua to death consists of two (2) indivisible
Tarlac. He also ordered Mr. Roberto Cabuay, Executive Vice-
penalties, appellant was correctly meted the lesser penalty
President and General Manager of the Imperial Insurance
of reclusion perpetua, conformably with Article 63 (2) of the Company and notary public Melchor Ancanan to explain in
Revised Penal Code that when there are neither mitigating nor writing or in person why they should not be held liable for making
aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the it appear that accused Jennifer Santos appeared before notary
lesser penalty shall be applied. public Ancanan in Makati City on 23 June 1998.
In her written compliance[2] dated and filed on 23 July 1998,
However, we note that the trial court did not impose a fine. The Clerk of Court Julieta M. Bautista of the Municipal Trial Court of
imposition of fine is mandatory in cases of conviction of Tarlac explained:
unauthorized sale of regulated drugs. Courts may fix any amount
within the limits established by law and; in fixing the amount in Regarding the bailbond posted by the accused JENNIFER SANTOS in
each case, attention shall be given, not only to the mitigating and Crim. Cases Nos. 93-100 and 101 of that Court, at the time the
aggravating circumstances, but more particularly to the wealth or bondsman Imperial Insurance Co. who [sic] has a branch office at
Tarlac, Tarlac, presented the same for approval, he [sic] was with a
means of the culprit.30 As stated above, the law prescribes the
woman who appears [sic] to be the accused and believing the bond to
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from
be legal with all its attached documents, the same was approved by
five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos if the shabu
Hon. Marvin B. Mangino of this Court.
involved weighs 200 grams or more. Considering that the
amount of shabu sold in this case weighed 262.272 grams, we For its part, on 18 August 1998, the Office of the Court
deem the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos Administrator referred to Judge Marvin B. Mangino for Comment
(P500,000.00) reasonable.31 within ten (10) days from receipt thereof the 8 July 1998 Order of
Judge de los Santos.[3]
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the On 2 September 1998, Judge Marvin B. Mangino submitted
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 18, in Criminal Case No. his Comment[4] wherein he stated that he initially adopts the
99-171228, finding appellant Michael Monte y Abdul guilty explanation of Clerk of Court Julieta M. Bautista on the incident,
beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Article III, Section 15 of and requested for a photocopy of the order and the bond subject
Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing him to of the case so that he could intelligently make a comment
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with all the accessory thereon. However, he did not file any supplemental comment or
press his request for a photocopy of the order and of the bond.
penalties provided by law, is AFFIRMED, with the
MODIFICATION that appellant is further ordered to pay a fine in On 10 April 2002, this Court resolved to require the parties
the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00). to manifest within ten (10) days from notice whether they were
willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the
pleadings already filed.[5]
Costs de oficio.
On 14 May 2002, Judge Marvin B. Mangino submitted his
SO ORDERED. manifestation expressing his willingness to submit for resolution
the above-entitled case based on the pleadings filed therein.
[6]
Since complainant Judge de los Santos did not submit any
manifestation, the Court, in its Resolution of 19 February 2003
directed that the Resolution of 10 April 2002 be served on him at
his office at the Court of Appeals. On 27 March 2003, the Court
received his Manifestation[7] dated 24 March 2002, expressing
his willingness to submit this matter for resolution on the basis of
[A.M. No. MTJ-03-1496. July 10, 2003]
the pleadings already filed.
JUDGE ELIEZER R. DE LOS SANTOS, complainant, vs.
In its Evaluation Report, the Office of the Court
JUDGE MARVIN B. MANGINO, respondent.
Administrator stated:
RESOLUTION
Section 17 (a), Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:
Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the Court where the case is
This administrative matter refers to the Order dated 8 July pending, or, in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with
1998[1] of then Judge Eliezer R. de los Santos * of the Regional another branch of the same court within the province, city or
Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch 59, relative to Criminal Cases municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed
[10]
also with any regional trial court of said place, or, if no judge there is As an advocate of justice and a visible representation of the
available, with any metropolitan judge, municipal trial judge or law, he is expected to keep abreast with and be proficient in the
municipal circuit trial judge therein. application and interpretation of the law. When the law is
sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it;
Thus, bail may be filed with the same court where the case is anything less than that would be gross ignorance of the law.
pending. In the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, it may
[sic] filed with another branch of the same court within the province or Further, a judge should exhibit more than a cursory
city.If the accused is arrested in a province, city or municipality other acquaintance with the basic legal norms and precepts as well as
than where the case is pending, bail may be filed also with any regional with statutes and procedural rules. It is his pressing responsibility
trial court of said place, or, if no judge there is available, with any to be diligently acquainted with the law and jurisprudence and
metropolitan judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge the changes therein not only because the study thereof is a
therein. never-ending and ceaseless process but also for the reason that
ignorance of the law, which everyone is bound to know, excuses
In the instant case, the accused Jennifer Santos was not arrested. That no one, not even judges.[11] Having accepted his exalted position
being the case, she should have filed her bail bond with the court where as a member of the judiciary, Judge Marvin B. Mangino owes it
her case was pending, i.e., the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City. In to the public and to the court over which he presides to maintain
the absence of the judge thereof, it could be done at another branch of professional competence at all times and to have the basic rules
the same court within the province of Pampanga or City of at the palm of his hands.[12]
Angeles. Instead, accused Jennifer Santos filed her bond in the
Municipal Trial Court of Tarlac, respondent Judge Marvin B. Mangino, Judge Marvin B. Mangino failed to live up to these
presiding, who approved the same and ordered his [sic] release from standards. Not only did he approve the bail bond of the accused
custody. Res ipsa loquitor. Respondent Judges act is clearly irregular without the requisite authority to do so, his manner of doing so
and is in violation of the rules on the matter. showed a flagrant disregard for the applicable procedural law he
had sworn to uphold and serve. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of
and recommended, as follows: Court is a sign of incompetence which goes against Canon 3,
that respondent Judge Marvin B. Mangino of the Municipal Trial Court specifically Rule 3.01, of the Code of Judicial Conduct.[13] To
of Tarlac, Branch I, be DECLARED guilty of misconduct for non- disregard the law when one has become familiar with it is worse
observance of Section 17(a), Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court, a because bad faith comes in.
less serious offense under Section 4, Rule 140, supra, for which he This palpable disregard of the procedural law on bail or
should be ordered to pay a FINE of P5,000. gross ignorance thereof, which also amounted to conduct grossly
As regards Section 17 (a), Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, prejudicial to the best interest of the service, renders Judge
cited by the Court Administrator, this Court held in Cruz v. Marvin B. Mangino administratively liable as recommended by
Yaneza:[8] the Office of the Court Administrator. Under the doctrine of res
ipsa loquitur, the Court may impose its authority upon erring
The foregoing provision anticipates two (2) situations. First, the judges whose actuations, on their face, would show gross
accused is arrested in the same province, city or municipality where his incompetence, ignorance of the law or misconduct.[14]
case is pending. Second, the accused is arrested in the province, city or
municipality other than where his case is pending. In the first situation, A brief survey on the existing jurisprudence on the matter
the accused may file bail in the court where his case is pending or, in reveals that for similar conduct, less severe penalties were
the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another branch imposed. In Paz v. Tiong,[15] this Court imposed upon the
of the same court within the province or city. In the second situation, respondent judge of the Municipal Trial Court of Bolinao,
the accused has two (2) options. First, he may file bail in the court Pangasinan, a fine of P3,000 for signing the bail bond and the
where his case is pending or, second, he may file bail with any regional order of release of an accused whose case was pending before
trial court in the province, city or municipality where he was the Regional Trial Court of Alaminos, Pangasinan, absent any
arrested. When no regional trial court judge is available, he may file showing that the judge presiding over the same was
bail with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge or unavailable. In Adapon v. Domagtoy,[16] this Court fined the
municipal circuit trial judge therein. respondent judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Santa
Monica-Burgos, Surigao del Norte, in the amount of P10,000 for
The case at bar falls under the first situation mentioned ordering the release of an accused whose cases were pending
in Cruz v. Yaneza because the accused, Jennifer Santos, was before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dapa, Surigao del
arrested in Angeles City and Criminal Cases Nos. 93-100 and Norte, notwithstanding the fact, that the accused was neither
101, which were filed against her and under which she was arrested nor did he surrender to the authorities before the order
arrested, were pending with Branch 59 of the Regional Trial of release was issued and that the judge having jurisdiction over
Court of Angeles City. Thus, the bail bond for Jennifer Santos the cases was not shown to be unavailable. In the more recent
provisional liberty should have been filed in said court, or, in the case of Panganiban v. Cupin-Tesorero,[17] this Court imposed the
absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another penalty of fine in the amount of P20,000 on respondent Municipal
branch of the same court within the province or city. Circuit Trial Court judge of Silang-Amadeo, Cavite who granted
bail and ordered the release of the accused whose case was
A mere cursory glance of the bail bond application would
pending with the Regional Trial Court of Cavite by relying on the
readily inform Judge Marvin B. Mangino that the criminal cases
representations made by the process server of the latter court
in question were pending with Branch 59 of the Regional Trial
that the presiding judge therein was absent.
Court of Angeles City. He also knew, or ought to know, that there
are many branches of the Regional Trial Court in Angeles City Under the factual milieu in this case, respondent Judge
and in the province of Pampanga. Thus, even if the Presiding Marvin B. Mangino deserves a penalty higher than a fine
Judge of Branch 59 was absent or unavailable, any one of the of P5,000 recommended by the Office of the Court
judges of the other branches of the Regional Trial Court in Administrator. A fine of P15,000 is in order in light of the ruling of
Angeles City could have acted on the bail bond. Judge Marvin B. this Court in Panganiban v. Cupin-Tesorero.
Mangino also knew that his court is not of the same level as
Branch 59 of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City. Therefore, It is rather a sad commentary to make that this is not the
he knew, or ought to know, that he had absolutely no authority or first time that a complaint involving irregular approval of bail bond
jurisdiction to approve the bail bond of accused Jennifer and issuance of order of release was brought before this Court.
[18]
Santos. Clearly, Judge Marvin B. Mangino blatantly disregarded Some judges refuse to learn from the lessons of previous
Section 17(a), Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. rulings of this Court. Indeed, some are difficult to reform. This
Court takes this opportunity to once again remind the judges of
Worse, it would further appear that Judge Marvin B. lower courts of their role as the embodiment of competence,
Mangino did not even try to verify the authenticity of the bail integrity and independence.[19] They should always keep in mind
bond. It appears that the bail bond was notarized in Makati City, that in order to achieve justice, they should diligently ascertain
although the bonding company has a branch office in Tarlac, and conscientiously apply the law in relation to the facts of each
Tarlac. He should have inquired why it was notarized in Makati case they hear and then decide the same, unswayed by partisan
City. It is obvious that he solely relied on the clerk of court and interests, public opinion or fear of criticism. The pursuit of
approved the bail bond on the basis of the findings of the clerk of excellence must be their guiding principle. This is the least that
court. He admitted this dereliction of duty to make an judges can do to sustain the trust and confidence which the
independent assessment of the bail bond application when he public reposed on them and the institution they represent.[20]
adopted as part of his Comment the compliance of his clerk of
court. WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Marvin B. Mangino of the
Municipal Trial Court of Tarlac, Tarlac, Branch 1, is hereby found
It is thus patent that Judge Marvin B. Mangino failed to GUILTY of grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law and
exert such conscientiousness, studiousness, and thoroughness conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and is
expected and demanded of a judge. He was, therefore, remiss in hereby FINED in the amount of Fifteen Thousand (P15,000)
observing the conduct expected of a member of the judiciary.[9] Pesos, with a warning that a repetition of the same or
commission of similar acts in the future will be dealt with more
A judges conduct should be above reproach, and in the
severely.
discharge of his judicial duties he should be conscientious,
studious, thorough, courteous, patient, punctual, just, impartial. SO ORDERED.