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Republic of the Philippines Four assignments of error are made.

ents of error are made. The first is that the lower court consider, including, we may remark, a somewhat difficult question
SUPREME COURT erred in admitting the testimony of the chemist Pena and Darjuan concerning which the briefs have given little assistance.
Manila as to their purchase of potassium chlorate at the drug store of the
accused, which substance proved on analysis to be barium
The Pharmacy Law was first enacted as Act No. 597, was later
chlorate. What the appellant is here relying on is the maxim res
EN BANC amended by Act Nos. 1921, 2236, and 2382, and is now found as
inter alios acta. As a general rule, the evidence of other offenses
Chapter 30 of the Administrative Code. The law provides for a
committed by a defendant is inadmissible. But appellant has
board of pharmaceutical examiners, and the examination and
G.R. No. L-12858 January 22, 1918 confused this maxim and this rule with certain exceptions thereto.
registration of pharmacists, and finally contains sundry provisions
The effort is not to convict the accused of a second offense.
relative to the practice of pharmacy. High qualification for applicants
Nor is there an attempt to draw the mind away from the point
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, for the pharmaceutical; examination are established. The program
at issue and thus to prejudice defendant's case. The purpose is
vs. of subjects for the examination is wide. Responsibility for the quality
to ascertain defendant's knowledge and intent, and to fix his
SANTIAGO PINEDA, defendant-appellant. of drugs is fixed by section 17 of the Pharmacy Law, as amended
negligence. If the defendant has on more than one occasion
(now Administrative Code [1917], section 751), in the following
performed similar acts, accident in good faith is possibly excluded,
Francisco and Lualhati for appellant. negligence is intensified, and fraudulent intent may even be
Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee. established. It has been said that there is no better evidence of
negligence than the frequency of accidents. (See 10 R. C. L., pp. Every pharmacist shall be responsible for the quality of
938, 940.) The United States Supreme Court has held that: all drugs, chemicals, medicines, and poisons he may sell
or keep for sale; and it shall be unlawful for any
person whomsoever to manufacture, prepare, sell, or
On the trial of a criminal case the question relates to the
This appeal requires a construction and an application, for the first administer any prescription, drug, chemical, medicine, or
tendency of certain testimony to throw light upon a
time, of the penal provisions of the Pharmacy Law. poison under any fraudulent name, direction, or pretense,
particular fact, or to explain the conduct of a particular
or to adulterate any drug, chemical, medicine, or poison
person, there is a certain discretion on the part of the trial
so used, sold or offered for sale. Any drug, chemical,
Santiago Pineda, the defendant, is a registered pharmacist of long judge which a court of errors will not interfere with, unless
medicine, or poison shall be held to be adulterated or
standing and the owner of a drug store located at Nos. 442, 444, it manifestly appear that the testimony has no legitimate
deteriorated within the meaning of this section if it differs
Calle Santo Cristo, city of Manila. One Feliciano Santos, having bearing upon the question at issue, and is calculated to
from the standard of quality or purity given in the United
some sick horses, presented a copy of a prescription obtained from prejudice the accused.
States Pharmacopoeia.
Dr. Richardson, and which on other occasions Santos had given to
his horses with good results, at Pineda's drug store for filling. The Whenever the necessity arises for a resort to
prescription read "clorato de potasa 120 gramos en seis circumstantial evidence, either from the nature of the
The same section of the Pharmacy Law also contains the following
papelitos de 20 gramos, para caballo." Under the supervision of penal provision: "Any person violating the provisions of this Act
inquiry or the failure of direct proof, objections to the
Pineda, the prescription was prepared and returned to Santos in shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than five
testimony on the ground of irrelevancy are not favored.
the form of six papers marked, "Botica Pineda Clorato potasa hundred dollar." The Administrative Code, section 2676, changes
120.00 en seis papeles para caballo Sto. Cristo 442, 444, the penalty somewhat by providing that:
Binondo, Manila." Santos, under the belief that he had purchased Evidence is admissible in a criminal action which tends to
the potassium chlorate which he had asked for, put two of the show motive, although it tends to prove the commission
Any person engaging in the practice of pharmacy in the
packages in water the doses to two of his sick horses. Another of another offense by the defendant. (Moore vs. U. S.
Philippine Islands contrary to any provision of the
package was mixed with water for another horse, but was not used. [1893], 150 U. S., 57.)
Pharmacy Law or violating any provisions of said law for
The two horses, to which had been given the preparation, died which no specific penalty s provided shall, for each
shortly afterwards. Santos, thereupon, took the three remaining The second assignment of error is that the lower court erred in offense, be punished by a fine not to exceed two hundred
packages to the Bureau of Science for examination. Drs. Pea and
finding that the substance sold by the accused to Feliciano Santos pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than ninety days,
Darjuan, of the Bureau of Science, on analysis found that the on the 22d of June, 1916, was barium chlorate and not potassium or both, in the discretion of the court.
packages contained not potassium chlorate but barium chlorate. At chlorate. The proof demonstrates the contrary.
the instance of Santos, the two chemists also went to the drug store
of the defendant and bought potassium chlorate, which when These are the provisions of law, pursuant to which prosecution has
analyzed was found to be barium chlorate. (Barium chlorate, it The third and fourth assignments of error that the lower court erred been initiated and which it is now incumbent upon us to construe.
should be noted, is a poison; potassium chlorate is not.) Dr. in finding that the accused has been proved guilty beyond a
Buencamino, a veterinarian, performed an autopsy on the horses, reasonable doubt of an infraction of Act No. 597, section 17, as
Turning to the law, certain points therein as bearing on our present
and found that death was the result of poisoning. amended. The third assignment contains the points we should
facts must be admitted. Thus, defendant is a pharmacist. As a
pharmacist, he is made responsible for the quality of all drugs and As applicable to the owners of drug stores, or persons The rule of caveat emptor cannot apply to the purchase and sale of
poisons which he sells. And finally it is provided that it shall be engaged in vending drugs and medicines by retail, the drugs. The vendor and the vendee do not stand at arms length as
unlawful for him to sell any drug or poison under any "fraudulent legal maxim should be reversed. Instead of caveat in ordinary transactions. An imperative duty is on the druggist to
name." It is the one word "fraudulent" which has given the court emptor, it should be caveat venditor. That is to say, let take precautions to prevent death or serious injury to anyone who
trouble. What did the Legislature intend to convey by this restrictive him be certain that he does not sell to a purchaser or relies on his absolute honesty and peculiar leaning. The nature of
adjective? send to a patient one drug for another, as arsenic for drugs is such that examination would not avail the purchaser
calomel, cantharides for or mixed with snakeroot and anything. It would be idle mockery for the customer to make an
Peruvian bark, or even one innocent drug, calculated to examination of a compound of which he can know nothing.
Were we to adhere to the technical definition of fraud, which the
produce a certain effect, in place of another sent for and Consequently, it must be that the druggist warrants that he will
appellant vigorously insists upon, it would be difficult, if not
designed to produce a different effect. If he does these deliver the drug called for.
impossible, to convict any druggist of a violation of the law. The
things, he cannot escape civil responsibility, upon the
prosecution would have to prove to a reasonable degree of
alleged pretext that it was an accidental or an innocent
certainty that the druggist made a material representation; that it In civil cases, the druggist is made liable for any injury
mistake; that he had been very careful and particular,
was false; that when he made it he knew that it was false or made it approximately resulting from his negligence. If B negligently sells
and had used extraordinary care and diligence in
recklessly without any knowledge of its truth and as positive poison under the guise of a beneficial drug to A, he is liable for the
preparing or compounding the medicines as required,
assertion; that he made it with the intention that it should be acted injury done to A. In a case, which has repeatedly been termed the
etc. Such excuses will not avail him. (Fleet vs.
upon by the purchaser; that the purchaser acted in reliance upon it, leading case on the subject and which has been followed by the
Hollenkemp [1852], 56 Am. Dec., 563.)
and that the purchased thereby suffered injury. Such a construction United States Supreme Court, it was said, "Pharmacists or
with a literal following of well-known principles on the subject of apothecaries who compound or sell medicines, if they carelessly
fraud would strip the law of at least much of its force. It would leave Under the other conception, in which the proof of negligence is label a poison as a harmless medicine, and sent it so labeled into
the innocent purchaser of drugs, who must blindly trust in the good considered as material, where a customer calls upon a druggist for the market, are liable to all persons who, without fault on their part,
faith and vigilance of the pharmacist, at the mercy of any a harmless remedy, delivery of a poisonous drug by mistake by the are injured by using it as such medicine, in consequence of the
unscrupulous vendor. We should not, therefore, without good druggist is prima facie negligence, placing the burden on him to false label; the rule being that the liability in such a case arises not
reason so devitalize the law. show that the mistake was under the circumstances consistent with out of any contract or direct privity between the wrong-doer and the
the exercise of due care. (See Knoefel vs. Atkins, supra,) The person injured, but out of the duty which the law imposes on him to
druggist cannot, for example in filling a prescription calling for avoid acts in their nature dangerous to the lives of others." (Nat.
The profession of pharmacy, it has been said again and again, is
potassium chlorate give instead to the customer barium chlorate, a Savings Bank vs. Ward [1879], 100 U. S., 195, following Thomas
one demanding care and skill. The responsibility of the druggist to
poison, place this poison in a package labeled "potassium vs. Winchester [1852], 2 Seld. [N. Y.], 387.) In reality, for the
use care has been variously qualified as "ordinary care," "care of a
chlorate," and expect to escape responsibility on plea of mistake. druggist, mistake is negligence and care is no defense. Throughout
special high degree," "the highest degree of care known to practical
His mistake, under the most favorable aspect for himself, was the criminal law, run the same rigorous rules. For example,
men." Even under the first conservative expression, "ordinary care"
negligence. So in a case where a druggist filled an order for apothecaries or apothecary clerks, who are guilty of negligence in
with reference to the business of a druggist, the Supreme Court of
calomel tablets with morphine and placed the morphine in a box the sale of medicine when death ensues in consequence, have
Connecticut has said must be held to signify "the highest
labeled calomel, it was said: been held guilty of manslaughter. (See Tessymond's Case [1828],
practicable degree of prudence, thoughtfulness, and vigilance, and
1 Lewin, C. C., 169.)
most exact and reliable safeguards consistent with the reasonable
conduct of the business, in order that human life may not be It is not suggested, nor can we apprehend that it is in any
constantly be exposed to the danger flowing from the substitution of wise probable, that the act of furnishing the wrong drug in Bearing these general principles in mind, and remembering
deadly poisons for harmless medicine." (Tombari vs. Connors this case was willful. If it was furnished by the clerk, it particularly the care and skill which are expected of druggist, that in
[1912], 85 Conn., 235. See also Willson vs. Faxon, Williams and was undoubtedly a mistake and unintentional. However, some jurisdictions they are liable even for their mistake and in
Faxon [1913], 208 N. Y., 108; Knoefel vs. Atkins [1907], 81 N. E., it was a mistake of the gravest kind, and of the most others have the burden placed upon them to establish that they
600.) The "skill" required of a druggist is denominated as "high" or disastrous effect. We cannot say that one holding himself were not negligent, it cannot be that the Philippine Legislature
"ample." (Peters vs. Jackson [1902], 50 W. Va., 644; 57 L. R. A., out as competent to handle such drugs, and who does intended to use the word "fraudulent" in all its strictness. A plea of
428.) In other words, the care required must be commensurate with so, having rightful access to them, and relied upon by accident and mistake cannot excuse for they cannot take place
the danger involved, and the skill employed must correspond with those dealing with him to exercise that high degree of unless there be wanton and criminal carelessness and neglect.
the superior knowledge of the business which the law demands. caution and care called for by the peculiarly dangerous How the misfortune occurs is unimportant, if under all the
nature of this business, can be heard to say that his circumstances the fact of occurrence is attributed to the druggist as
mistakes by which he furnishes a customer the most a legal fault. Rather considering the responsibility for the quality of
Under one conception, and it should not be forgotten that the case
deadly of drugs for those comparatively harmless is not, drugs which the law imposes on druggists and the position of the
we consider are civil in nature, the question of negligence or
in and of itself, gross negligence, and that of an word "fraudulent" in juxtaposition to "name," what is made unlawful
ignorance is irrelevant. The druggist is responsible as an absolute
aggravated form. (Smith's Admrx. vs. Middleton [1902], is the giving of a false name to the drug asked for. This view is
guarantor of what he sells. In a decision which stands alone, the
56 L. R. A., 484.) borne out by Spanish translation, which we are permitted to consult
Supreme Court of Kentucky said:
to explain the English text. In the Spanish "supuesto" is used, and That on or about the 29th day of September 1996, in Kalookan City, Metro Upon request of the Caloocan City police, a post-mortem
this word is certainly not synonymous with "fraudulent." The usual Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- examination was made on Josephs body. Dr. Rosaline O. Cosidon, a
badges of fraud, falsify, deception, and injury must be present-but named accused, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident medico-legal officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service made the
not scienter. premeditation did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously following findings:
attack and shoot one JOSEPH MARQUEZ y LAGANDI, with the use of a
handgun, thereby inflicting upon the latter serious physical injuries, which
In view of the tremendous an imminent danger to the public from FINDINGS:
ultimately caused the victims death.
the careless sale of poisons and medicines, we do not deem it too
rigid a rule to hold that the law penalizes any druggist who shall sell
Fairly developed, fairly nourished male cadaver in rigor mortis with
one drug for another whether it be through negligence or mistake. CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]
postmortem lividity at the dependent portions of the body. Conjunctiva are
pale, Lips and nailbeds are cyanotic. A needle puncture mark was noted at
The judgment of the lower court, sentencing the defendant to pay a Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. At the trial, the the dorsum of the right hand.
fine of P100, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, prosecution presented the following witnesses: (a) Herminia Marquez, the
and to pay the costs, is affirmed with the cost of this instance mother of the victim; (b) Dr. Darwin Corpuz, a resident doctor at the Manila
against the appellant, without prejudice to any civil action which Caloocan University (MCU) Hospital; (c) PO2 Rodelio Ortiz, a police
may be instituted. So ordered. officer who examined the crime scene; and (d) Dr. Rosaline Cosidon, a
medico-legal officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime (1) Gunshot wound, frontal region, measuring 0.5 x 0.5 cm, just right of
Laboratory. the anterior midline, 161 cm from heel, with an upbraded collar,
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Carson, Araullo, and Street,
measuring 0.2 cm superiorly and laterally, 0.1 cm medially and inferiorly
JJ., concur. The prosecution established the following facts: At 9:00 in the directed posteriorwards, downwards and to the left fracturing the frontal
evening of September 29, 1996, Herminia Marquez, 46 years of age and her bone, lacerating the brain. A deformed slug was recovered embedded at
son, Joseph, 26 years of age, were in the living room of their house located the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain.
at No. 173 General Evangelista St., Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City. The
===================================================== living room was brightly lit by a circular fluorescent lamp in the ceiling.
Outside their house was an alley leading to General Evangelista Street. The (2) Gunshot wound, occipital region, measuring 0.5 x 0.5 cm, 2 cm left of
alley was bright and bustling with people and activity. There were women the posterior midline, 162 cm from heel, with a uniform 0.2 cm upbraded
sewing garments on one side and on the other was a store catering to collar, directed slightly anteriorwards, downwards and lateralwards,
customers. In their living room, mother and son were watching a basketball fracturing the occipital bone and lacerating the brain. A deformed slug was
game on television. Herminia was seated on an armchair and the television recovered at the left auricular region.
[G.R. No. 139070. May 29, 2002] set was to her left. Across her, Joseph sat on a sofa against the wall and
window of their house and the television was to his right. Herminia looked (3) Contusion, right eyebrow, measuring 3 x 2 cm, 3 cm from the anterior
away from the game and casually glanced at her son. To her complete midline.
surprise, she saw a hand holding a gun coming out of the open window
behind Joseph. She looked up and saw accused-appellant Noel Lee peering
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NOEL through the window and holding the gun aimed at Joseph. Before she could There are subdural and subarachnoidal hemorrhages.
LEE, accused-appellant. warn him, Joseph turned his body towards the window, and simultaneously,
appellant fired his gun hitting Josephs head. Joseph slumped on the sofa. Stomach is full of partially digested food particles and positive for
Herminia stood up but could not move as accused-appellant fired a second alcoholic odor.
DECISION shot at Joseph and three (3) shots more two hit the sofa and one hit the
cement floor. When no more shots were fired, Herminia ran to the window
and saw accused-appellant, in a blue sando, flee towards the direction of his
house. Herminia turned to her son, dragged his body to the door and shouted
On automatic review is the decision of the Regional Trial Court, for help. With the aid of her neighbor and kumpare, Herminia brought Cause of death is intracranial hemorrhage as a result of gunshot wounds.
Caloocan City, Branch 127 in Criminal Case No. C-54012 (98), which Joseph to the MCU Hospital where he later died. Head.[3]
sentenced accused-appellant Noel Lee to death for the murder of Joseph
Marquez. Police investigators arrived at the hospital and inquired about the
shooting incident. Herminia told them that her son was shot by Noel Lee. At the time of his death, Joseph was employed as driver by the Santos
On May 27, 1998, an Information was filed against accused- From the hospital, Herminia went to the St. Martin Funeral Homes where Enterprises Freight Services earning P250.00 a day. [4] He left behind two
appellant charging him with the crime of murder committed as follows: Josephs body was brought. Thereafter, she proceeded to the Caloocan City children by his live-in partner who are now under his mothers care and
Police Headquarters where she gave her sworn statement about the support. Herminia spent approximately P90,000.00 for the funeral and
burial expenses of her deceased son. The expenses were supported by In a decision dated June 22, 1999, the trial court found accused- VICTIM AGAINST WHOM OTHERS MIGHT HAVE AN
receipts[5] and admitted by the defense.[6] appellant guilty and sentenced him to the penalty of death. The court also AXE TO GRIND.
ordered appellant to pay the heirs of the victim civil indemnity
Herminia filed a complaint for murder against accused-appellant. of P50,000.00, actual damages of P90,000.00, moral damages
The complaint, docketed as I.S. No. 96-3246, was however dismissed for III
of P60,000.00 and exemplary damages of P50,000.00 and the costs of the
insufficiency of evidence in a Resolution dated December 4, 1996 by suit. Thus:
Prosecutor Dionisio C. Sison with the approval of Caloocan City Prosecutor THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN ITS
Rosauro J. Silverio.[7] Herminia appealed the order of dismissal to the DECISION OF FINDING GUILT ON THE ACCUSED-
Secretary of Justice. In a letter dated March 16, 1998, Secretary of Justice WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered and the prosecution having
Silvestre Bello III reversed and set aside the appealed Resolution and established beyond an iota of doubt the guilt of accused NOEL LEE of the
ordered the City Prosecutor of Caloocan City to file an information for crime of Murder as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the
murder against the accused-appellant.[8] Accordingly, the Information was Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 7659, this court, in view of the
filed and a warrant of arrest issued against accused-appellant on June 8, presence of the generic aggravating circumstance of dwelling and without
1998. On October 16, 1998, appellant was arrested by agents of the National any mitigating circumstance to offset it, hereby sentences the said accused
Bureau of Investigation (NBI). to suffer the extreme penalty of DEATH; to indemnify the legal heirs of
the deceased civil indemnity of P50,000.00; to pay the private complainant
Appellant is a well-known figure in their neighborhood and has actual damages of P90,000.00 plus moral and exemplary damages IV
several criminal cases pending against him in Caloocan City. He was of P60,000.00 and P50,000.00, respectively; and to pay the costs.
charged with frustrated homicide in 1984 and attempted murder in 1989. [9]
For his defense, accused-appellant presented two witnesses: (a) Consistent with the provisions of Section 10, Rule 122 of the 1985 Rules TREATING WITH LENIENCY HERMINIA MARQUEZS
Orlando Bermudez, a neighbor; and (b) himself. He denies the killing of on Criminal Procedure, as amended, let the entire records hereof including VACILLATION WITH RESPECT TO THE BUTAS NG
Joseph Marquez. He claims that from 8:00 to 10:00 in the evening of the complete transcripts of stenographic notes be forwarded to the BINTANA AS CONTAINED IN HER SWORN
September 29, 1996, he was in his house located at 317 M. de Castro St., Supreme Court for automatic review and judgment, within the STATEMENT AND THE BUKAS NA BINTANA AS PER
Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City. He was having some drinks with his reglementary period set forth in said section. HER REPAIRED TESTIMONYA SERIOUS
neighbor, Orlando Bermudez, and his driver, Nelson Columba. They were PROCEDURAL ANOMALY THAT ASSAULTED THE
enjoying themselves, drinking and singing with the videoke. Also in the SUBSTANTIAL RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED-
house were his wife, children and household help. At 10:00 P.M., Orlando APPELLANT.
and Nelson went home and accused-appellant went to sleep. He woke up at
5:30 in the morning of the following day and learned that Joseph Marquez, Hence, this appeal. Before us, accused-appellant assigns the
a neighbor, was shot to death. To appellants surprise, he was tagged as following errors:
Josephs killer.[10]
Accused-appellant had known the victim since childhood and their THE EXTREME PENALTY OF DEATH UPON
houses are only two blocks apart. Joseph had a bad reputation in their THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN RELYING ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE OBVIOUS
neighborhood as a thief and drug addict. Six days before his death, on HEAVILY ON THE SELF-SERVING AND REASONABLE DOUBT.[14]
September 23, 1996, accused-appellant caught Joseph inside his car trying CONTRADICTORY TESTIMONY OF THE MOTHER OF
to steal his car stereo. Joseph scampered away. As proof of the victims bad THE VICTIM, HERMINIA MARQUEZ, WHOSE The assigned errors principally involve the issue of the credibility of
reputation, appellant presented a letter handwritten by his mother, NARRATION OF THE CHAIN OF OCCURRENCE Herminia Marquez, the lone prosecution eyewitness. Accused-appellant
Herminia, addressed to Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo of Caloocan City, and THAT LED TO THE DEATH OF JOSEPH MARQUEZ claims that the trial court should not have accepted Herminias
sent through PO3 Willy Tuazon and his wife, Baby Ruth. In the letter, WAS BEYOND BELIEF. testimony because it is biased, incredible and inconsistent.
Herminia was surrendering her son to the Mayor for rehabilitation because
he was hooked on shabu, a prohibited drug, and was a thief. Herminia was Herminias testimony on direct examination is as follows:
scared that eventually Joseph might not just steal but kill her and everyone II
in their household because of his drug habit.[11] xxx
The accused-appellant likewise explained the two criminal cases ATTY. OPENA: Now who was your companion, if any, at that time?
filed against him in 1984 and 1989. The information for attempted murder
AS THE ASSAILANT BASED MERELY ON THE WITNESS: Me and my son, Joseph Marquez, and the wife upstairs
was dismissed as a result of the victims desistance while in the frustrated
homicide case, the real assailant appeared and admitted his crime.[12]
Q: What were you and your son, Joseph, doing then?
A: Watching TV. Q: By how many inches or feet? Q: How many shots did you hear?

Q: Will you please tell us your position, I am referring to you and A: About half a foot. A: Five shots.
your son in relation to the television set where you are
watching the show. Q: You said the sofa was long. Will you please tell us in what portion Q: That was prior to helping your son?
of your sofa your son Joseph was seated?
A: We were facing each other while watching television which is on A: Yes, sir.
the left side. ATTY. VARGAS: Already answered, your Honor. She said dulo, end
of the sofa. Q: And how many times was your son hit?
Q: Will you please tell us where exactly was your son, Joseph,
seated while watching television?

A: At the end most of the sofa. ATTY. OPENA TO WITNESS: Q: Objection, your honor. It was already answered. Because
according to her it was five shots.
Q: The sofa you are referring to is the one near the window. Q: When you said end of sofa which portion, the left side or the right
side? COURT: It does not follow that the victim was hit. So, the witness
A: Yes, sir. Dikit lang po. may answer.
A: The right.
Q: Will you give us an idea or describe to us that window which WITNESS: Twice, Two shots hit my son, two shots on the sofa and
you mentioned awhile ago? Q: Now, while you and your son were watching television, was there one shot on the cement.
anything unusual that transpired?
A: Transparent glass. COURT: How about the other one?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How high is it from the ground? A: Doon po sa semento.
Q: Tell us what was that all about.
A: Mayroon po akong napansin na kamay na nakatutok sa anak ko.
ATTY. OPENA: The window glass? Nakita ko po si Noel Lee na nakatayo sa may bintana. Q: And who fired these shots?

WITNESS: About three feet from the ground. Q: What do you mean by the word kamay? A: Noel Lee.

ATTY. OPENA TO WITNESS: A: Hawak hawak po niya iyong baril, nakatutok po sa anak ko. Q: That Noel Lee that you are referring to, will you please point at
him if he is around?
Q: You said three feet. What do you mean by that? Is that Q: What did you do with what you saw?
window elevated from the ground? A: (Witness going down the witness stand and pointing to accused
A: Nakita ko pong gumanoon siya, sumilip na ganoon, sabay putok ng Noel Lee).
A: The same height as this court window which is about three feet baril. Tumingin po siya sa may bintana, ganoon po, sabay
from the ground, and from one another about four by four putok ng baril. Q: How do you know that it was Noel Lee who shot your son?
window [sic], three feet by the ground.
COURT: You said he turned the head. Who turned the head? Sino ang A: Kitang kita ko po. Magkatapat po kami.
Q: Now, you demonstrated by showing a portion, you mean to tell us gumanyan sa sinabi mo?
that window was mounted on a concrete or hollow block? Q: Will you please describe to us?
A: (Witness demonstrating that the victim peeped through the
A: Hollow block, po. window). A: Maliwanag po kasi ang ilaw. Maliwanag din po sa labas, may
nananahi doon. Nandoon po kaming dalawa ng anak ko
Q: How high is that hollow block that you were referring to? Q: And then? nanonood ng television. (Witness sobbing in tears).
Napakasakit sa akin. Hindi ko man lang naipagtanggol and
COURT: She said three feet. A: At the same time the firing of the gun [sic] and I saw my son anak ko.
ATTY. OPENA TO WITNESS: COURT: She was emotionally upset.
Q: Which is higher, that sofa which is posted near the window or the ATTY. OPENA: Ill just make it on record that the witness was
hollow block? Q: And after your son was slumped, what did you do? emotionally upset. May I ask if she can still testify?

A: Hollow block. A: I went to my son and carried him to take him to the hospital. xxxxxxxxx
WITNESS: Masakit lang po sa loob ko ang pagkawala ng anak ko. the direct examination. She readily gave specific details of the crime A: Opo.
scene, e.g., the physical arrangement of the sofa and the television set, the
ATTY. OPENA TO WITNESS: height of the sofa, the wall and the window, because the crime happened Q: What you saw from that butas is a hand with a gun, is that correct?
right in her own living room. She explained that she was unable to warn
Q: You saw that the light was bright. Where were those lights coming A: Opo.
Joseph because she was shocked by the sight of accused-appellant aiming a
from? gun at her son. The tragic events unfolded so fast and by the time she took Q: Madam witness, your window is just like the window of this
A: Maliwanag po sa loob ng bahay namin dahil may fluorescent na hold of herself, her son had been shot dead. courtroom?
bilog. Saka sa labas may nananahi po doon sa alley katapat ng
A sons death in his mothers house and in her presence is a painful A: Yes, sir.
bahay namin. At saka po doon sa kabila, tindahan po tapat po and agonizing experience that is not easy for a mother to forget, even with
namin, kaya maliwanag ang ilaw. the passing of time. Herminias testimony shows that she was living with a Q: In your testimony, you did not mention what part of the window
Q: After trying to help your son, what happened? conscience that haunted and blamed her own self for failing to protect her was that hand holding a gun that you saw? Is that correct?
son or, at least, save him from death.
A: I was able to hold on to my son up to the door. Upon reaching the A: Hindi naman po butas, kundi bukas na bintana. Nakabukas iyong
door, I asked the help of my kumpare. Nonetheless, accused-appellant points out inconsistencies in the bintana namin.
eyewitness testimony. In her affidavit of September 30, 1996 given
Q: Meanwhile, what did the accused do after shooting five times? before PO2 Rodelio Ortiz, Herminia declared that while she and Q: So in your sinumpaang salaysay in the statement that you said
Joseph were watching television, she saw a hand holding a gun pointed butas na bintana is not correct?
A: He ran to the alley to go home. at her son. The hand and the gun came out of a hole in the window,
i.e., butas ng bintana. On cross-examination, Herminia stated that she A: Mali ho kasi, hindi ko na napansin iyan, kasi ito napansin ko,
Q: Now you said he ran to an alley towards the direction of their saw a hand holding a gun in the open window, i.e., bukas na bintana. kinorect ko.
house. Do you know where his house is located? According to accused-appellant, this inconsistency is a serious flaw
COURT: You show to the witness. There, butas na bintana.
which cannot be repaired by her statement on the witness stand.
A: Yes, sir. 142 M. de Castro Street, Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.
WITNESS: Mali po ang letra, Bukas hindi butas.
The inconsistency between her affidavit and her testimony was
Q: How far is that from your residence?
satisfactorily explained by Herminia on cross-examination: x x x x x x x x x.[16]
A: More or less 150 to 200 meters.
xxxxxxxxx Herminia corrected her affidavit by saying in open court that she saw
Q: Where did you finally bring your son? the hand and the gun coming out of the open window, not from a hole in the
window. In her direct testimony, Herminia presented a photograph of her
A: MCU. living room just the way it looked from her side on the night of the
Q: You said that you saw a hand from a hole in the window with a
gun, is that correct? shooting.[17] The sofa on which Joseph was seated is against the wall, with
Q: When you say MCU, are you referring to MCU Hospital?
the window a few inches above the wall. The window is made of transparent
A: Yes, sir. MCU Hospital. A: Bukas na bintana. Not from a hole but from an open window. glass with six (6) vertical glass panes pushing outwards. The entire window
is enclosed by iron grills with big spaces in between the grills. The living
Q: At MCU, life-saving devices were attached to my son. Later, after Q: Madam witness, do you recall having executed a sworn room is well-lit and the area outside the house is also lit by a fluorescent
reaching 11:00, he died. statement before the police, right after the shooting of your lamp.
COURT: 11:00 P.M.? Between Herminias testimony in open court and her sworn
A: Yes, sir. statement, any inconsistency therein does not necessarily discredit the
A: Yes, maam. witness.[18] Affidavits are generally considered inferior to open court
Q: I will read to you paragraph 8 of your statement which is already declarations because affidavits are taken ex-parte and are almost
Q: Same day? marked as your Exhibit A in which is stated as follows: always incomplete and inaccurate.[19] Oftentimes, they are executed when
Isalaysay mo nga sa akin ang buong pangyayari? Answer: Sa the affiants mental faculties are not in such a state as to afford him a fair
A: Yes, maam. mga oras ng alas 9:00 ng gabi petsa 29 ng Setyembre 1996 opportunity of narrating in full the incident that transpired.[20] They are
habang ang aking anak ay nanonood ng palabas sa TV ng usually not prepared by the affiant himself but by another who suggests
x x x x x x x x x.[15] basketball malapit sa kanyang bintana sa labas at ako naman ay words to the affiant, or worse, uses his own language in taking the affiants
Herminias testimony is positive, clear and straightforward. She did nakaupo sa sopa katapat ko siya subalit medyo malayo ng konti statements.[21]
not waver in her narration of the shooting incident, neither did she waffle in sa kanya, mayroon akong napansin na kamay na may hawak ng
recounting her sons death. She was subjected by defense counsel to rigorous baril at nakaumang sa aking anak sa may butas ng bintana, do Accused-appellant argues that since Herminia declared in her
cross and re-cross examinations and yet she stuck to her testimony given in you recall that? affidavit that she saw a hand coming from the window, she did not see the
person holding the gun, let alone who fired it.[22] A complete reading of the left side of the back of the victims head.[27] Two slugs were recovered from character; among these are common honesty and veracity, especially in all
pertinent portion of Herminias affidavit will refute appellants the victims head. Judging from the location and number of wounds professional intercourse; a character that measures up as good among
arguments, viz: sustained, Dr. Cosidon theorized that the assailant could have been more people of the community in which the person lives, or that is up to the
than two feet away from the victim.[28] Both gunshot wounds were serious standard of the average citizen; that status which attaches to a man of good
and fatal.[29] behavior and upright conduct.[33]
Accused-appellant makes capital of Josephs bad The rule is that the character or reputation of a
T- Isalaysay mo nga sa akin and buong pangyayari? reputation in their community. He alleges that the victims drug party is regarded as legally irrelevant in determining a
habit led him to commit other crimes and he may have been controversy, so that evidence relating thereto is not
S Sa mga oras ng alas 9:00 ng gabi, petsa 29 ng Setyembre 1996, habang shot by any of the persons from whom he had stolen.[30] As admissible. Ordinarily, if the issues in the case were allowed to be
ang aking anak ay nanonood ng palabas sa T.V. ng basketball malapit sa proof of Josephs bad character, appellant presented Herminias influenced by evidence of the character or reputation of the parties, the trial
aming bintanan [sic] sa labas, at ako naman ay nakaupo sa sopa katapat ko letter to Mayor Malonzo seeking his assistance for Josephs would be apt to have the aspects of a popularity contest rather than a factual
siya subalit medyo malayo ng kaunti sa kanya, mayroon akong napansin rehabilitation from drugs. On rebuttal, Herminia admitted that inquiry into the merits of the case. After all, the business of the
akong [sic] kamay na hawak-hawak na baril na nakaumang sa aking anak she wrote such letter to Mayor Malonzo but denied anything
sa butas na bintana na nakaawang, maya-maya ng kaunti ay nakarinig na court is to try the case, and not the man; and a very bad
about her sons thievery.[31]
ako ng putok at ang unang putok ay tumama sa ulo ng aking anak kaya man may have a righteous cause.[34] There are exceptions to this
napayuko siya, pagkatapos noon ay sunod-sunod na ang putok na narinig Character evidence is governed by Section 51, Rule 130 of the rule however and Section 51, Rule 130 gives the exceptions in both criminal
ko, mga limang beses, kaya kitang kita ko siya ng lapitan ko ang aking Revised Rules on Evidence, viz: and civil cases.
anak at nakita ko itong si NOEL LEE, pagkatapos noon ay tumakbo
na ito papalabas ng iskinita papunta sa kanila. In criminal cases, sub-paragraph 1 of Section 51 of Rule 130
Section 51. Character evidence not generally admissible; exceptions:-- provides that the accused may prove his good moral character which is
pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged. When the
x x x x x x x x x.[23] accused presents proof of his good moral character, this strengthens
(a) In Criminal Cases:
the presumption of innocence, and where good character and
It is thus clear that when Herminia approached her son, she saw that reputation are established, an inference arises that the accused did not
the person firing the gun was accused-appellant. Appellant continued firing (1) The accused may prove his good moral commit the crime charged. This view proceeds from the theory that a
and then ran away towards the direction of his house. This account is not character which is pertinent to the person of good character and high reputation is not likely to have committed
inconsistent with the witness testimony in open court. moral trait involved in the offense the act charged against him.[35] Sub-paragraph 2 provides that the
charged. prosecution may not prove the bad moral character of the
Herminias declarations are based on her actual account of the accused except only in rebuttal and when such evidence is
commission of the crime. She had no ill motive to accuse appellant of killing (2) Unless in rebuttal, the prosecution may pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged. This
her son, or at least, testify falsely against appellant. Accused-appellant not prove his bad moral character is intended to avoid unfair prejudice to the accused who might otherwise be
himself admitted that he and Herminia have been neighbors for years and which is pertinent to the moral trait convicted not because he is guilty but because he is a person of bad
have known each other for a long time. Appellant is engaged in the business involved in the offense charged. character.[36] The offering of character evidence on his behalf is a privilege
of buying and selling scrap plastic and Herminia used to work for him as an of the defendant, and the prosecution cannot comment on the failure of the
agent.[24] She would not have pointed to appellant if not for the fact that it defendant to produce such evidence.[37]Once the defendant raises the issue
was him whom she saw shoot her son. (3) The good or bad moral character of the
of his good character, the prosecution may, in rebuttal, offer evidence
offended party may be proved if it
Indeed, the Solicitor General points out that it was appellant himself of the defendants bad character. Otherwise, a defendant, secure from
tends to establish in any reasonable
who had strong motive to harm or kill Joseph.[25] Appellant revealed that six refutation, would have a license to unscrupulously impose a false character
degree the probability or
days before the shooting, he caught Joseph inside his car attempting to steal upon the tribunal.[38]
improbability of the offense charged.
the stereo. The alibi that appellant was drinking with his friends that fateful Both sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) of Section 51 of Rule 130 refer to
night of September 29, 1996 does not rule out the possibility that he could character evidence of the accused.[39] And this evidence must be pertinent
have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. The x x x x x x x x x.
victims house is merely two blocks away from appellants house and could to the moral trait involved in the offense charged, meaning, that the
be reached in several minutes.[26] Character is defined to be the possession by a person of certain character evidence must be relevant and germane to the
qualities of mind and morals, distinguishing him from others. It is the kind of the act charged,[40] e.g., on a charge of rape, character for
The lone eyewitness account of the killing finds support in the opinion generally entertained of a person derived from the common report chastity; on a charge of assault, character for peacefulness or violence; on a
medico-legal report. Dr. Rosalie Cosidon found that the deceased sustained of the people who are acquainted with him; his reputation.[32] Good moral charge for embezzlement, character for honesty and integrity.[41] Sub-
two gunshot woundsone to the right of the forehead, and the other, to the character includes all the elements essential to make up such a paragraph (3) of Section 51 of the said Rule refers to the character of
the offended party.[42] Character evidence, whether good or bad, Moreover, proof of the victims bad moral character is not necessary aggravating circumstance, there is no basis for the award of exemplary
of the offended party may be proved if it tends to establish in in cases of murder committed with treachery and premeditation. In People damages.[62]
any reasonable degree the probability or improbability of the v. Soliman,[57] a murder case, the defense tried to prove the violent,
quarrelsome or provocative character of the deceased. Upon objection of IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision dated June 22, 1999 of the
offense charged. Such evidence is most commonly offered to support Regional Trial Court, Caloocan City, Branch 127 in Criminal Case No. C-
the prosecution, the trial court disallowed the same. The Supreme Court
a claim of self-defense in an assault or homicide case or a claim of 54012 (98) is affirmed insofar as accused-appellant Noel Lee is found guilty
consent in a rape case.[43] of murder for the death of Joseph Marquez. The death sentence imposed by
the trial court is however reduced to reclusion perpetua, there having been
In the Philippine setting, proof of the moral character of the x x x While good or bad moral character may be availed of as an aid no aggravating circumstance in the commission of said crime. Except for
offended party is applied with frequency in sex offenses and to determine the probability or improbability of the commission of an the award of exemplary damages, the award of civil indemnity, other
homicide.[44] In rape and acts of lasciviousness or in any prosecution offense (Section 15, Rule 123),[58] such is not necessary in the crime of damages and costs are likewise affirmed.
involving an unchaste act perpetrated by a man against a woman where murder where the killing is committed through treachery or
the willingness of a woman is material, the womans character as to her premeditation. The proof of such character may only be allowed in SO ORDERED.
chastity is admissible to show whether or not she consented to the mans homicide cases to show that it has produced a reasonable belief of
act.[45] The exception to this is when the womans consent is imminent danger in the mind of the accused and a justifiable Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza,
immaterial such as in statutory rape[46] or rape with violence or conviction that a prompt defensive action was necessary (Moran, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., Sandoval-
intimidation.[47] In the crimes of qualified seduction[48] or consented Comments on the Rules of Court, 1952 ed., Vol. 3, p. 126). This rule Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, and Corona, JJ., concur.
abduction,[49] the offended party must be a virgin, which is presumed if she does not apply to cases of murder.[59]
is unmarried and of good reputation,[50] or a virtuous woman of good
reputation.[51] The crime of simple seduction involves the seduction of a
woman who is single or a widow of good reputation, over twelve but In the case at bar, accused-appellant is charged
under eighteen years of age x x x.[52] The burden of proof that the with murder committed through treachery and
complainant is a woman of good reputation lies in the prosecution, and the
accused may introduce evidence that the complainant is a woman of bad evident premeditation. The evidence shows that there was
reputation.[53] treachery. Joseph was sitting in his living room watching television when
accused-appellant peeped through the window and, without any warning,
shot him twice in the head. There was no opportunity at all for the victim
In homicide cases, a pertinent character trait of the victim is to defend himself or retaliate against his attacker. The suddenness and
admissible in two situations: (1) as evidence of the deceaseds unexpectedness of the attack ensured his death without risk to the assailant.
aggression; and (2) as evidence of the state of mind of the Following the ruling in People v. Soliman, where the killing of the victim
accused.[54] The pugnacious, quarrelsome or trouble-seeking character of was attended by treachery, proof of the victims bad character is not
the deceased or his calmness, gentleness and peaceful nature, as the case necessary. The presence of this aggravating circumstance negates the
may be, is relevant in determining whether the deceased or the accused was necessity of proving the victims bad character to establish the
the aggressor.[55] When the evidence tends to prove self-defense, the known probability or improbability of the offense charged and, at the same
violent character of the deceased is also admissible to show that it produced time, qualifies the killing of Joseph Marquez to murder.
a reasonable belief of imminent danger in the mind of the accused and a
justifiable conviction that a prompt defensive action was necessary.[56] As to the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation, this
cannot be appreciated to increase the penalty in the absence of direct
In the instant case, proof of the bad moral character of the victim is evidence showing that accused-appellant deliberately planned and prepared
irrelevant to determine the probability or improbability of his killing. the killing of the victim.[60]
Accused-appellant has not alleged that the victim was the
Neither can the aggravating circumstance of dwelling found by the
aggressor or that the killing was made in self-defense. trial court be applied in the instant case. The Information alleges only
There is no connection between the deceaseds drug addiction and treachery and evident premeditation, not dwelling. Under Sections 8 and 9,
thievery with his violent death in the hands of accused-appellant. Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, a complaint or
In light of the positive eyewitness testimony, the claim that Information must specify the qualifying and aggravating circumstances in
because of the victims bad character he could have been killed by the commission of the offense.[61] The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
any one of those from whom he had stolen, is pure and simple took effect on December 1, 2000, and Section 8, Rule 110 is favorable to
speculation. the accused. It may be applied retroactively to the instant case.

Accordingly, without the aggravating circumstance of dwelling, the

penalty of death was erroneously imposed by the trial court. There being no