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032. People v.

127 SCRA 242/January 31, 1984/First Division/Appeal
The People of the Philippines plaintiff-appellee
Constantino Leneses alias Alex Remonte and Leon David defendants-appellants
Edgardo Vengco, Rogelio Encarnacion, Romeo Soliba, defendants
Decision by J. Relova, Digest by Jadd Dealino

Short Version: Edwin Vengco and two other men stabbed Charlie Celadena, who was being
restrained by two other men. Leneses, David, Vengco, Encarnacion, and Soliba were all charged
with Murder. Conspiracy was alleged in the Information. The CFI Manila Branch 20 found all of
them guilty and sentenced Leneses and David (appellants) to reclusion perpetua. The Supreme
Court decided against Leneses and David, affirming the CFIs decision with a modification as to
the civil liability, based on the finding of conspiracy among the accused.

Facts: In the evening of August 24, 1967, Celadena got off a taxi. A group of five persons,
including Vengco and David, were 30 meters away from Celadena. Rolando Quiane invited
Celadena to go to his apartment so that Celadena could avoid Vengcos group, as there had been a
recent incident involving Vengco chasing and throwing bottles at Celadena. Celadena refused this
offer. Later, two men restrained Celadena while Vengco and two other men stabbed Celadena.
This incident was seen and testified to by several witnesses (Quiane as regards previous incident
between Vengco and Celadena as well as the invitation to Celadena to go to the apartment; Go
Hong, another neighbor, as regards Vengcos act of stabbing, and Leneses and three other persons
moving away from the place of the incident, while carrying a dagger, ice pick, and another pointed
weapon; and Purita Delgado, a person inside of Celadenas sisters house, corroborating the
incident where Celadena was being held by two men while being stabbed.)

Vengco, Encarnacion, Soliba, Leneses, and David were all charged for the Murder of Celadena.
The CFI Manila (Branch 20) found them guilty.

Leneses argues that he was dead drunk throughout the evening of August 24, 1967.

David denies being part of the group; he was walking away as the incident occurred.

Issue: Whether Leneses and David are guilty of Murder. YES.

Ruling: Judgment affirmed with modification.

1. The Court gives full faith and credit to the clear and positive testimony of the witnesses,
especially since no improper motive is shown for them to testify against the accused.
2. The Court saw Davids hiding in Cavite as a circumstance indicative of his guilt.
a. Davids explanation of being afraid of Vengco was not appreciated. The Court
said that if he was innocent, he would not have gone into hiding, would have told
the authorities of what happened, and would testify in court against the others.
3. The Court finds the testimonies sufficient.
a. There are neither inconsistencies nor contradictions.
b. The testimony of just one witness, if credible, positive, and satisfactory to the
court beyond reasonable doubt, is sufficient to convict (citing People v. Agrana).
c. The positive identification of Leneses defeats his weak defense of alibi. Leneses
has failed to present clear, positive, and convincing proof of his alibi.
4. This case involves Murder qualified by Abuse of Superior Strength.
a. The Court took into account the commission, manner of perpetration, and abuse
of superior strength.
b. The conspiracy was shown by the conduct of the accused.
i. The manner of their assault, and their conduct sometime before, and

immediately after, show an agreement to kill.
ii. The rule is that if it is proven that two or more persons aimed
by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful
object, each doing a part so that their acts, although apparently
independent, were in fact connected and cooperative,
indicating a closeness of personal association and concurrence
of sentiment, a conspiracy may be inferred though no actual
meeting among them is proven (citing Underhill)
1. Reworded: A conspiracy may be inferred even though no actual
meeting is proven, if it is shown that there is a closeness of
personal association and concurrence of sentiment between two
or more persons whose apparently-independent acts are actually
connected and cooperative to accomplish the same unlawful
5. The proper penalty is reclusion temporal.
a. There are no generic aggravating circumstances.
i. Nighttime, evident premeditation, and treachery were not sufficiently
proven by the prosecution.
b. There are no mitigating circumstances.
c. The penalty is reclusion temporal to death for Murder.

Voting: Teehankee, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.