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G.R. No.

173791 The Information, dated February 21, 1997, was filed with the court on February 28,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, 1997.
- versus -
PABLO AMODIA, Accused-Appellant. Pablo was arrested on June 5, 1998 and was thereafter prosecuted. The other
Present: accused remained at large.[4] Pablo moved to quash the Information on the ground
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson, of mistaken identity and the staleness of the warrant of arrest issued on March 4,
CARPIO MORALES, 1997. The RTC denied his motion.[5]
TINGA,
Pablo entered a plea of not guilty to the charge when arraigned on August 3, 1998.[6]
VELASCO, JR., and
BRION, JJ. The Prosecutions Version

Promulgated: The prosecution presented evidence, both documentary [7] and


April 7, 2009 [8]
testimonial, to establish that Pablo was one of the four assailants who, by their
x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x concerted efforts, killed Felix Olandria y Bergao (victim).[9] Acting together, they hit
DECISION him on the head and stabbed him.
BRION, J.:
The records show that Romildo Ceno (Romildo) was a resident of Zone 17, Pembo,
We review in this appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals [1] (CA) affirming with Makati City and lived in the house of Freda Elnar (Freda).[10] At around 12:05 a.m. of
modification the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 38, Makati Cityin November 26, 1996, he, Mario Bitco (Mario),[11] and Freda were talking and watching
Criminal Case No. 97-289. The RTC found the accused-appellant Pablo Amodia television at their house[12] when he heard a noise coming somewhere below the C-5
(Pablo) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentenced him to bridge, located some forty (40) to fifty (50) meters away from their house; he also
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the corresponding civil liabilities heard somebody shout may away doon.[13] Curious, he and Mario went to the
to the heirs of the victim. bridge[14] and saw five persons whom he identified as the victim, Pablo, Arnold
Partosa (Arnold), George Palacio (George),[15] and Damaso Amodia (Damaso). He
knew these men; the victim was his neighbor, while Pablo, Arnold, George and
Pablo was indicted, together with three other accused, under the following Damaso were residents of Scorpion Street, Zone 17 Pembo, Makati City.[16]
Information:[2]
When Romildo was about three arms-length away from the place of the commotion,
That on or about the 26th day of November 1996, in the City of Makati, Philippines, a then illuminated by light coming from a Meralco post located some five (5) to six (6)
place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, meters from the scene, he saw the victim being held on his right hand by Pablo,
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping and aiding one another, while the other hand was held by Arnold. [17] George was positioned at the victims
while armed with a piece of wood and bladed weapon, taking advantage of their back and clubbed the victim on the head; Damaso was in front of the victim and
superior strength [sic] and employing means to weaken the defense, did then and stabbed him three times.[18]
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and employ personal
violence upon one FELIX OLANDRIA y BERGAO, by beating him on the head with a Luther Caberte (Luther), who happened to be passing by the C-5 Bridge at the time,
piece of wood and stabbing him repeatedly on the different parts of his body, also saw what happened. He testified that he saw men fighting under the C-5 Bridge
thereby inflicting upon him mortal/fatal stab wounds which directly caused his which was illuminated by a light coming from a lamppost located some ten (10)
death. meters away.[19] From his vantage point (about 15 meters away from the fight), he
saw Pablo, Damaso, George and Arnold ganging up (pinagtulung-tulungan) on the
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] victim.[20] He saw Pablo holding the victims hand while Damaso was stabbing him. He
also confirmed that George was positioned behind the victim. [21] He personally knew
both Pablo and the victim; they have been neighbors since 1986.[22]
1
Both eyewitnesses left the scene after the stabbing; Romildo was chased away by wounds involved the victims stomach and pancreas.[31] Dr. Bertido declared that no
George and Damaso, while Luther went home immediately. Both were shaken and other wound, aside from the three stab wounds, was found on the victims
shocked with what they had seen.[23] body.[32] He later on executed a Certificate of Post-Mortem Examination showing the
cause of death as hemorrhage, secondary to stab wounds.[33]
At 3:00 a.m. of the same day, the CID Homicide received a report of an unidentified
body found in a road along Comembo Bridge, Barangay Pembo.[24] SPO2 Romeo Dr. Bertido admitted that while he could not specifically determine the position of
Ubana (SPO2 Ubana), a police investigator assigned to the CID Homicide, and a the victim at the time he was stabbed, he was certain that the stab wounds were
police photographer went to the place and saw the body of a dead male person with inflicted when the victim and his assailant were facing each other.[34] He also
three stab wounds whom they subsequently identified as the victim. [25] He prepared disclosed that the sizes of the wounds were different from each other. [35]
a Final Investigation Report of the incident.[26]
The prosecution also presented Claudio Olandria, [36] the victims father, who took the
After the spot investigation, the victims body was taken to the Veronica Memorial witness stand and testified on the expenses that he and his family incurred by reason
Chapel where Dr. Antonio Bertido (Dr. Bertido), a National Bureau of Investigation of his sons death.
(NBI) Medico Legal Officer, subjected it to a post-mortem examination.[27] The
autopsy yielded the following findings: The Defenses Version

Pallor, intergument and nailbeds. The defense relied on the defense of alibi, submitting testimonial and documentary
evidence[37] to support Pablos claim that he was in another place at the time of the
Stab wounds. stabbing.

1. Elongated 4.5. cms. Edges are clean cut, medial border is sharp, lateral border is Pablo averred that his name is Pablito Amodia and stated that at the time of the
blunt. Located at the chest, anterior, left side, 6.0 cms. From the anterior median incident, he lived in the house of Elma Amodia Romero (Elma), his sister, located at
line. Directed backwards, upwards and medially involving the skin and underlying Zone 13, Ilocos Street, Barangay Rizal, Makati City.[38] He has lived there since
soft tissues, into the thoracic cavity, perforating the pericardial sac, into the 1994. He claimed that he was at home in the evening of November 25, 1996, until
pericardial cavity, penetrating the heart with an approximate depth of 10.0 cms. the early morning of the next day.[39] At around 10:00 of that evening, his brother
Elias Amodia (Elias) who lived next door, awakened him[40] and told him that his
2. Elongated, 3.5 cms edges are clean cut, medial border is blunt, lateral border is (Elias) wife, then pregnant, had started having labor pains.[41] He went back to sleep
sharp. Located at the anterior abdominal wall, left side, 6.5 cms. From the anterior only to be awakened by Elias at past 12:00 midnight. Elias then requested him to
median line. Directed backwards, upwards and medially involving the skin and take care of his house.[42]
underlying soft tissues, perforating the stomach with an approximate depth of 14.0
cms. Pablo related that it was at this time that Damaso (another brother), George,
Arnold, and another person he did not know, came to Elmas house. [43] He noticed
3. Elongated, 3.0 cms, edges are clean-cut, medial border is blunt, lateral border is that Damaso was in a hurry and was packing his clothes; the latter told him that they
sharp. Located at the anterior abdominal wall, right side. 2.0 cms. From the anterior (Damaso and his companions) encountered trouble.[44] Damaso and his companions
median line. Directed backwards, upwards and laterally involving the skin and left past midnight; on the other hand, he went to Elias house to take care of the
underlying soft tissues, penetrating the head of the pancreas with an approximate latters children, while Elias and his wife went to a lying-in clinic.[45] While at Elias
depth of 12.0 cms.[28] house, Elma visited him to check on him and the children. [46] He stayed there
until 9:00 a.m. of November 26, 1996 when he went back to Elmas house; he went to
Dr. Bertido stated that the victim was stabbed three times on the body by a single- school later in the day.[47]
bladed sharp-pointed instrument.[29] Through the use of an anatomic diagram, Dr.
Bertido showed that the victim was stabbed on his left chest and over his right and Pablo also alleged that it was only after returning from school that he came to know
left abdominals.[30] He also stated that of the three stab wounds, the wound on the of the victims death; he only knew the victim by name and even went to the victims
victims chest was the most fatal because it was near his heart, while the other wake the first night.[48]
2
He further alleged that he stopped schooling for lack of funds and went to WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Pablo guilty of having committed the crime of
Zamboanga del Norte in January 1997.[49] He went back to Manila on May 22, murder as principal by conspiracy. Considering that there are no aggravating or
1998 to continue his education, but was arrested on June 5, 1998.[50] mitigating circumstances attendant to the commission of the crime, pursuant to
Article 64 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, accused is sentenced to suffer
Elma and Elias corroborated Pablos story.[51] Elma stated that Pablo lived with her in imprisonment of reclusion perpetua. He is further sentence to pay the heirs of the
their brothers house together with her husband, their children, and Damaso. [52] She deceased Felix Olandria the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages and to
added that Damaso told her that they were in trouble (atraso) because of a fight, reimburse said heirs of the amount of P23,568.00 for expenses incurred for the
and that he and his companions were on their way to Cebu.[53] Elma declared that funeral service, burial and incidental expenses.
Pablo was with her when Damaso came to the house to pack his clothes. [54] Pablo
and Damaso left at 12:30, but for different destinations.[55] She knew that Pablo went SO ORDERED.[65]
to Elias house because she went to check on him and the children around 1 a.m. and
then again at 2 a.m.[56] Elias wife gave birth to a baby girl at 2:50 p.m. of November Ruling of the CA
26, 1996.[57]
On appeal, the CA agreed with the RTCs findings and affirmed Pablos
After some prodding, Elma admitted that she knew that cases have been filed conviction.[66] The CA, however, corrected the RTCs ruling on the applicable provision
against Pablo and Damaso as early as December 1996.[58] The defense thereafter of the Revised Penal Code, as amended (Code), and modified the award of actual
rested its case. damages, as follows:

Prosecutions Rebuttal Evidence WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby DENIED. The assailed
Decision dated July 19, 1999 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant is
The prosecution presented Amelita Sagarino, a resident of Scorpion Street, Zone 17 hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua in accordance with Rule
since 1989, as a rebuttal witness.[59] She testified that she knew the victim and the 63(2) of the Revised Penal Code. He is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of the
accused who were all her neighbors.[60] She stated that she served food at the victim, P23,268.00, as actual damages, P50,000 as civil indemnity and P25,000.00, as
victims wake from seven in the evening up to six in the morning and that she never exemplary damages, in addition to the award of P50,000.00 as moral damages.
saw Pablo there.[61] She also heard from her neighbors that the people responsible
for the victims death were George, Arnold, Damaso, Pabling and Pablito SO ORDERED.
Amodia.[62] She clarified that Pabling and Pablito Amodia are one and the same
person.[63] The Issues

Subsequently, she stated that Pablito Amodia also attended the wake of the In his Brief before this Court,[67] Pablo assigns the following errors committed by
victim.[64] both the RTC and CA:

Ruling of the RTC (1) In finding that his guilt for the crime charged has been proven beyond
reasonable doubt.
The RTC convicted Pablo of murder after finding sufficient evidence of his identity,
role in the crime as principal by direct participation, and conspiracy between him and (2) In finding the existence of conspiracy.
the other accused who used their superior strength to weaken the victim. The RTC
Pablo argues that the lower courts erred in failing to give evidentiary weight to
relied on the testimonies of eyewitnesses Romildo and Luther, the autopsy results
his alibi, thus disregarding the constitutional presumption of innocence in his
conducted on the body of the victim, and the lack of physical impossibility on the
favor.[68] He emphasizes that his alibi was corroborated by defense witness Elma who
part of Pablo to be at the crime scene. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision
confirmed that he was at Eliass house at the time of the stabbing. [69]
reads:
He alternatively argues that granting that he was a part of Damasos group and that
this group killed the victim, the prosecution failed to prove the conspiracy among
3
them; there was no evidence adduced to establish how the incident that led to the Both courts gathered, too, from these testimonies that the killing was qualified by
stabbing began. Any doubt that he acted as a principal should have been resolved in the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength, demonstrated by the
his favor.[70] concerted efforts of Pablos group to overpower the victims strength with their own
in carrying out their criminal plan:
In their Brief,[71] the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) representing the People,
maintain that no reversible error was committed by the lower courts. The OSG avers the nature of the evidence presented, there are sufficient reasons to conclude and
that the prosecutions evidence has satisfactorily proven all the elements of the consider as having been established beyond reasonable doubt, the existence of
crime. Similarly, the conspiracy between Pablo and the three accused was proven by conspiracy and the qualifying aggravating circumstances of abuse of superior
the autopsy report which corroborated the categorical testimonies of Romildo and strength and employment of means to weaken the defense. These are: first, the
Luther on how the accused and the others acted, clearly showing a unity of purpose convergence of four (4) accused; x x x second, the time when the four (4) accused
in the accomplishment of their criminal objective.[72] The testimonies of these two were seen together which is about 12:05 in the early morning of November 26, 1997;
eyewitnesses also reveal that the killing was attended by the aggravating x x x third, the place where they were seen together which is below the bridge of C-
circumstance of abuse of superior strength, and the employment of means to 5; fourth, possession by accused Damaso Amodia of a knife his occupation being that
weaken the defense of the victim. These circumstances qualify the killing to murder. of a painter; fifth, absence of any other injuries in other parts of the body of the
victim Felix Olandria x x x; sixth, the location of the three stab wounds all of which
The Courts Ruling were directed against delicate parts of the body indicating intent to kill The foregoing
circumstances clearly proven by the prosecution evidence, when taken together with
We affirm Pablos conviction. the fact that death ensued indicate that there was conspiracy on the part of the
accused that they abused their superior strength and employed means to weaken
The appeal essentially attacks the soundness of the factual findings of the RTC and
the defense. The act of one is to be considered therefore the act of the other. [75]
CA that, according to Pablo, are not in accord with the totality of the evidence in the
case. He emphasizes that the RTC and CA disregarded his alibi and the lack of The Eyewitnesses Testimonies.
evidence establishing a conspiracy to kill the victim.
The RTC and CA found the identification made by Romildo and Luther to
A review of the records fails to persuade us to overturn Pablos judgment of be clear, categorical, and consistent.[76] We observed that in accepting the truth of
conviction. We have emphasized often enough that the factual findings of the trial the identification and the account of how the stabbing took place, the RTC and CA
court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses, and its assessment of their considered the witnesses proximity to the victim and his assailants at the time of the
probative weight are given high respect, if not conclusive effect, unless cogent facts stabbing they were about three arms length away and 15 meters away, respectively;
and circumstances of substance were ignored, misconstrued or misinterpreted, the well-lighted condition of the crime scene; and the familiarity of these
which, if considered, would alter the outcome of the case.[73] Under the eyewitnesses with the victim and his assailants they were all residents of the same
circumstances, we find no exceptional reason to warrant a deviation from this rule. area. Similarly, we also note that no evidence was presented to establish that these
eyewitnesses harbored any ill-will against Pablo and had no reason to fabricate their
The records show that both the RTC and CA convicted Pablo of murder based on the
testimonies. The weight of jurisprudence is to accept these kinds of testimonies as
positive identification by Romildo and Luther and their eyewitness accounts of the
true for being consistent with the natural order of events, human nature and the
actual killing, showing the existence of a conspiracy among Pablos group to kill the
presumption of good faith.[77]
victim. The CA decision clearly reflects these findings and reasoning:
Aside from these, we additionally note that Romildo and Luther never wavered,
The evidence on record gives the picture of the incident at the time when Felix
despite the contrary efforts of the defense, in their positive identification of Pablo as
Olandria was already being held on both hands by accused Pablo Amodia and Arnold
one of the assailants of the victim. The records glaringly show the defense counsels
Pantosa. It was while in this position that accused Damaso Amodia delivered three
vain efforts to prove that these eyewitnesses committed a mistake in identifying
(3) stab blows which proved to be fatal . . .[74]
Pablo as one of the assailants since his name was allegedly Pablito Amadio, and not
Pablo.

4
We state in this regard that positive identification pertains essentially to proof of matters especially those involving violent crimes committed by individuals known to
identity and not necessarily to the name of the assailant. A mistake in the name of them.
the accused is not equivalent, and does not necessarily amount to, a mistake in the
identity of the accused especially when sufficient evidence is adduced to show that The Defense of Alibi
the accused is pointed to as one of the perpetrators of the crime. In this case, the
defenses line of argument is negated by the undisputed fact that the accuseds Pablo argues that his alibi should have been given greater evidentiary weight
identity was known to both the eyewitnesses. On the one hand, we have Romildos because it was corroborated by his sister, Elma. As reproduced by Pablo in his Brief,
testimony stating that Pablo lived across Scorpion Street from where he lived.[78] He the substance of Elmas testimony is as follows:
also stated that he had known Pablo for more than a year. [79] On the other hand,
Q: Mrs. Witness while you were sleeping which you said you start sleeping at 10:00
Luther testified that he had known Pablo since 1986 because they were neighbors
oclock in the evening of November 25, 1996, while you were sleeping, what
and that he even played basketball with him.[80] We stress that Pablo never denied
transpired, if any, was there any unusual incident that transpired? [sic]
these allegations.
A: Pumunta po ang isang kapatid ko, si Elias Amodia dahil naglalabor daw and hipag
In People v. Ducabo, we took notice of the human trait that once a person knows
ko at manganganak at dadalhin niya sa lying-in, eh malayo po at siya ang
another through association, identification becomes an easy task even from a
pinagbabantay sa mga pamangking kong maliliit, sir.
considerable distance; most often, the face and body movements of the person
identified has created a lasting impression on the identifiers mind that cannot easily Q: Could you tell the Honorable Court what time did your brother Elias Amodia wake
be erased.[81] up Pablo Amodia?
The association the eyewitnesses cited specifically, being neighbors and even A: 12:00 midnight, sir.
basketball game mates rendered them familiar with Pablo, making it highly unlikely
that they could have committed a mistake in identifying him as one of the assailants. xxx
Their identification came at the first opportunity (i.e., when they revealed) what they
knew of the killing, and culminated with their courtroom identification of Pablo as Q: When Pablo woke up, what if any did Pablo Amodia do?
among those who assaulted the victim.[82]
A: Pumunta po siya sa bahay ng kapatid ko, sir?
Two reasons settle the argument about Pablos name against his favor. It strikes us
that this argument is a line of defense that came only as the defenses turn to present Q: And where was that house of your brother Elias located?
evidence neared. We have on record that prior to the defenses presentation of
A: Malapit lang po sa amin.
evidence, Pablo referred to himself as Pablo Amodia when the court asked him his
name.[83] We likewise find no competent evidence, other than his assertion and Q: How far is your house to his house?
those of his siblings, showing that his true name is really Pablito Amodia. We
therefore conclude that any uncertainty on the name by which the accused is or A: Tatlong (3) dipa po ang layo, sir.[84]
should be known is an extraneous matter that in no way renders his identification as
a participant in the stabbing uncertain. Alibi is a defense that comes with various jurisprudentially-established limitations. A
first limitation fully applicable to this case is that alibi cannot overcome positive
We find nothing irregular, unusual, or inherently unbelievable, in the eyewitnesses identification.[85] For the defense of alibi to prosper, evidence other than the
testimonies that would affect their credibility. Their narratives are remarkably testimony of the accused must be adduced. Evidence referred to in this respect does
compatible with the physical evidence on hand; likewise, their accounts are also not merely relate to any piece of evidence that would support the alibi; rather, there
consistent with each other. More importantly, the narration of these eyewitnesses must be sufficient evidence to show the physical impossibility (as to time and place)
are in full accord with the human experience of individuals who are exposed to a that the accused could have committed or participated in the commission of the
startling event and their initial reluctance to involve themselves in the criminal crime. For alibi to be given evidentiary value, there must be clear and convincing

5
evidence showing that at the time of the commission of the crime, it was physically Finally, even granting that a semblance of truth exists in the defenses narration of
impossible for the accused to have been at the situs criminis.[86] events, the inconsistencies and contradictions in its witnesses testimonies render
their evidence uncertain. In the final analysis, even their version does not preclude
As we have discussed at length, Pablo was positively identified by Romildo and Pablo from being physically present at the crime scene when the killing took
Luther as one of the victims assailants. We find no reason to doubt the accuracy of place. Thus, the defense and prosecutions evidence taken together, render Pablo
the identification made. guilty of the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt.

Conspiracy
Pablos alibi does not also meet the requirements of physical impossibility of time As an alternative argument, Pablo puts into issue the failure of the prosecutions
and place. A scrutiny of the entire testimony of Elma failed to show that it was evidence to establish the conspiracy between him and his other co-accused to make
physically impossible for Pablo to be at the crime scene when the stabbing took him liable for murder. He emphasizes that the evidence, as testified to by the
place. We note that although Elma testified that Pablo was at Elias house at the time eyewitnesses, only relate to events during, and not prior to, the assault and the
of the stabbing, she nonetheless admitted that her house (which was located beside stabbing of the victim. He argues that no evidence was adduced to show that the
Elias house) and the bridge where the crime was committed is a 10-minute walking accused all agreed to kill the victim.
distance away from each other.[87] She further testified that after Pablo left for Elias
house, she only saw him again at around 1:00 a.m. and at 2:00 a.m at their brothers Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
house. [88] Hence, it was possible that Pablo could have gone out of Elias house to join commission of a felony and decide to commit it. [96] It arises on the very instant the
Damaso, George, and Arnold in assaulting the victim, and afterwards returned to his plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the felony and forthwith decide to
brothers house without Elma knowing that he was ever gone. pursue it.[97] It may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence.[98]

We scrutinize Elmas version of the events with utmost care considering that she is Direct proof of conspiracy is rarely found; circumstantial evidence is often resorted
Pablos sister. This is not the first time that this Court has encountered a case to in order to prove its existence.[99] Absent of any direct proof, as in the present
where alibiis provided by a close kin; we have recognized that in these situations, it case, conspiracy may be deduced from the mode, method, and manner the offense
may come naturally to some to give more weight to blood ties and close relationship was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused themselves, when such
than to the objective truth;[89] thus, our strict scrutiny. acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of
interest.[100] An accused participates as a conspirator if he or she has performed
We find that the time frame in Elmas version of events shows a pattern of some overt act as a direct or indirect contribution in the execution of the crime
inconsistency that renders its truthfulness suspect. The testimony is inconsistent on planned to be committed.[101] The overt act may consist of active participation in the
the time Pablo slept and was awakened by Elias details that, to our mind, are actual commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his co-
material to show his whereabouts on that fateful night.[90] conspirators by being present at the commission of the crime, or by exerting moral
ascendancy over the other co-conspirators.[102] Stated otherwise, it is not essential
Elma initially stated that Pablo slept at 9:00 p.m. and was awakened by Elias that there be proof of the previous agreement and decision to commit the crime; it is
at 12:00 midnight.[91] Thereafter, she claimed that Pablo was also awakened by Elias sufficient that the malefactors acted in concert pursuant to the same objective.[103]
at 9:00 p.m. (the same time that Pablo slept) that evening, and that Pablo went to
Eliass house around 12:30 p.m.[92] Subsequently, she averred that Pablo was Although there was no evidence in the present case showing a prior agreement
awakened at 10:00 p.m.but went back to sleep then awakened again at 12:00 p.m.[93] among Pablo, Arnold, George, and Damaso, the following chain of events however
show their commonality of purpose in killing the victim: first, the accused
These conflicting statements are not rendered any more believable by their conflict surrounded the victim on all sides: Damaso at the front, George at the victims rear,
with the time frames claimed in Pablos version of events. [94] Similarly, Elmas version while Pablo and Arnold flanked the victim on each side; second, Pablo then wrested
of what occurred when is likewise inconsistent with Elias version of events.[95] the right arm of the victim and restrained his movement, while Arnold did the same
to the left arm of the victim; third, George then hit the victims head with a piece of
wood; and fourth, Damaso stabbed the victim three times.
6
In People v. Elijorde,[104] we said: Me-sm superior strength, which qualifies the crime to murder, is present under the
circumstances.
The cooperation that the law punishes is the assistance knowingly or intentionally
rendered which cannot exist without previous cognizance of the criminal act To take advantage of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force out
intended to be executed. It is therefore required in order to be liable either as a of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. [108] Taking
principal by indispensable cooperation or as an accomplice that the accused must advantage of superior strength does not mean that the victim was completely
unite with the criminal design of the principal by direct participation. S defenseless.[109]

In People v. Ventura, we opined that there are no fixed and invariable rules in
considering abuse of superior strength or employing means to weaken the defense
In People v. Manalo,[105] we declared that the act of the appellant in holding the of the victim.[110] Superiority does not always mean numerical superiority. Abuse of
victims right hand while the latter was being stabbed constituted sufficient proof of superiority depends upon the relative strength of the aggressor vis--vis the
conspiracy: victim.[111] Abuse of superiority is determined by the excess of the aggressors natural
strength over that of the victim, considering the position of both, and
Indeed, the act of the appellant of holding the victims right hand while the victim the employment of the means to weaken the defense, although not annulling
was being stabbed by Dennis shows that he concurred in the criminal design of the it.[112] The aggressor must have advantage of his natural strength to ensure the
actual killer. If such act were separate from the stabbing, appellants natural reaction commission of the crime.[113]
should have been to immediately let go of the victim and flee as soon as the first
stab was inflicted. But appellant continued to restrain the deceased until Dennis In the present case, we find that there was abuse of superior strength employed by
completed his attack. Pablo, Arnold, George and Damaso in committing the killing. The evidence shows
that the victim was unarmed when he was attacked. In the attack, two assailants
Tested against these, the existence of conspiracy among the four accused is clear; held his arms on either side, while the other two, on the victims front and back, each
their acts were aimed at the accomplishment of the same unlawful object, each armed with a knife and a piece of wood that they later used on the victim. Against
doing their respective parts in the series of acts that, although appearing this onslaught, the victims reaction was graphically described by the prosecution
independent from one another, indicated a concurrence of sentiment and intent to eyewitness, Luther, when he testified:
kill the victim. Following the reasoning in Manalo, if there was in fact no unity of
purpose among Pablo and the three other accused, Pablos reaction would have been Q: Which came first, by the way, was the victim or what was the victim doing then
to let go of the victim and flee after the first stabbing by Damaso. The evidence when the fight took place?
reveals, however, that after the first stabbing, Pablo still continued to hold the right
arm of the victim, rendering him immobile and exposed to further attack. A: Wala siyang nagawa kase hinawakan siya, gusto niyang makawala pero wala
siyang magawa hinawakan siya sa leeg, sir.[114] [Emphasis supplied]
Where there is conspiracy, a person may be convicted for the criminal act of
another.[106] Where there is conspiracy, the act of one is deemed the act of all. [107] Under these circumstances, no doubt exists that there was gross inequality of forces
between the victim and the four accused and that the victim was overwhelmed by
The Crime forces he could not match. The RTC and CA therefore correctly appreciated the
aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength which qualified the killing to
Murder is committed by killing a person under any of the qualifying circumstances the crime of murder.
enumerated by Article 248 of the Code not falling within the provisions of Article 246
(on parricide), Article 249 (on homicide), and Article 255 (on infanticide) of the said The Penalty
Code.
The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Code is reclusion perpetua to
With Pablos participation in the killing duly established beyond reasonable doubt, death. Article 63 (2) of the same Code states that when the law prescribes a penalty
what is left to examine is whether or not the aggravating circumstance of abuse of consisting of two indivisible penalties and there are neither mitigating nor
7
aggravating circumstances in the commission of the crime, the lesser penalty shall be
imposed. Since the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength already
qualified the killing to murder, it can no longer be used to increase the imposable
penalty. We note that while another aggravating circumstance, i.e., employing
means to weaken the defense of the victim, was alleged in the Information, the
prosecution failed to adduce evidence to support the presence of this circumstance.
Hence, the RTC and CA correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Likewise, the CA correctly awarded P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000 as


exemplary to the heirs of the victim consistent with prevailing
jurisprudence.[115]However, in line with recent jurisprudence, the award of civil
indemnity shall be increased from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00.[116]

Further, the CA erred in awarding actual damages in the amount


of P23,268.00. In People v. Villanueva, we held that when actual damages proven by
receipts during the trial amount to less than P25,000.00, the award of temperate
damages for P25,000.00 is justified in lieu of actual damages of a lesser
amount.[117] We reiterated this ruling in the recent cases of People v.
Casta[118] and People v. Ballesteros[119] where we awarded temperate damages,
in lieu of actual damages, in the amount of P25,000.00.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court AFFIRMS the Court of Appeals


decision dated May 4, 2006 in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01764 finding accused-appellant
Pablo Amodia GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, with
the MODIFICATION that:

(1) The award of civil indemnity shall be increased from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00;

(2) The award of actual damages in the amount of P23,268.00 is hereby DELETED;
and

(3) In lieu thereof, accused-appellant is ORDERED to pay P25,000.00 as temperate


damages.

The other portions of the appealed decision are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

8
G.R. No. 187044 September 14, 2011 wrong be considered in their favor. They also asked that damages be fixed at
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, 120,000.00. This proposal was rejected9 by the prosecution; thus, the pre-trial
vs. conference proceeded. The pre-trial Order contained the following facts as admitted
RENATO LAGAT Y GAWAN A.K.A. RENAT GAWAN AND JAMES PALALAY Y by the parties:
VILLAROSA, Accused-Appellants.
DECISION 1. That the cadaver of Jose Biag was recovered along Angadanan and Sn. Guillermo
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: road by members of the police together with Barangay Captain Heherson Dulay and
Chief Tanod Rumbaoa, Sr.
This appeal was filed by accused-appellants Renato Lagat y Gawan (Lagat), also
2. That the two accused were arrested in possession of palay allegedly stolen in
known as Renat Gawan, and James Palalay y Villarosa (Palalay) to challenge the
Alicia, Isabela.
Court of Appeals October 8, 2008 Decision1 in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02869, for
affirming with modification the March 19, 2007 Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court 3. That the cause of death of Jose Biag was multiple stab and hack wounds as
(RTC), Branch 21, Santiago City, wherein they were found guilty beyond reasonable described in the Autopsy Report and death certificate which shall be submitted
doubt of Qualified Carnapping in Criminal Case No. 21-4949. during trial.10
Accused-appellants Lagat and Palalay were charged with the crime of Carnapping as
defined under Section 2 and penalized under Section 14 3 of Republic Act No. 6539. After the pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued.
The accusatory portion of the Information,4 reads:
The prosecution first presented Florida Biag (Florida), the wife of the victim Jose Biag
That on or about the 12th day of April 2005, at Santiago City, Philippines, and within (Biag), to testify on the circumstances leading to Biags disappearance and the
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, discovery of his body, the recovery of Biags tricycle, and the expenses she incurred
conniving with each other, and mutually helping one another and with intent to gain and the income she had lost as a result of her husbands death. Florida testified that
and without the consent of the owner thereof, did then and there willfully, her husband was a farmer, a barangay tanod, and a tricycle driver. 11 On April 12,
unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away one (1) unit YASUKI tricycle 2005, at around two oclock in the morning, her husband left to operate his tricycle
bearing Engine No. 161FMJ41535420 and Motor No. LX8PCK0034D002243 then for public use. It was around 11:00 a.m. of April 13, 2005, when news reached her
driven and owned by JOSE BIAG, valued at 70,000.00, to the damage and prejudice that their tricycle was with the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the Municipality of
of the owner thereof. Alicia and that her husband had figured in an accident. After learning of the incident,
Florida sought the help of their Barangay (Brgy.) Captain, Heherson Dulay, who
That in the course of the commission of carnapping, or on occasion thereof, the immediately left for Angadanan without her. At around 2:00 p.m., Brgy. Captain
above-named accused, conspiring, conniving confederating and helping each other, Dulay informed12 Florida of what had happened to her husband. 13 Florida then
and with intent to kill, did then and there assault, attack and wound the said JOSE presented in court the receipts14 evidencing the expenses she had incurred for her
BIAG with sharp and pointed instrument directing blows against the vital parts of the husbands wake and funeral and for the repair of their tricycle, which was recovered
body of the latter thereby inflicting upon him multiple stab and hacking wounds with missing parts. She also testified as to the income Biag was earning as a farmer, a
which directly caused the death of the said JOSE BIAG. tanod, and a tricycle driver, and claimed that his death had caused her sleepless
nights.15
Lagat pleaded not guilty upon arraignment on June 16, 2005. 5 Palalay, on the other
hand, did not enter any plea; hence, a plea of not guilty was entered by the RTC for The second witness for the prosecution was the Chief Tanod of Barangay Rizal, Poe
him.6 Rumbaoa, Sr. (Rumbaoa). He testified that on April 13, 2005, after he and Brgy.
Captain Dulay received Floridas report, they immediately went to the Alicia Police
On August 1, 2005, both accused proposed to plead guilty to a lesser offense. 7 In
Station, wherein they found Biags tricycle. The PNP of Alicia showed them the
their plea-bargaining proposal,8they asked that they be allowed to plead guilty to the
identification card recovered in the tricycle and told them that the tricycle was used
crime of Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code and that the
in stealing palay from a store in Angadanan, Isabela that belonged to a certain Jimmy
mitigating circumstances of plea of guilty and/or no intention to commit so grave a
Esteban (Esteban). Rumbaoa and Brgy. Captain Dulay were also told that the owner
9
of the tricycle was killed and dumped along the Angadanan and San Guillermo Road. their investigation.20 PO2 Ignacio added that the two accused also told them how
They were thereafter shown the two suspects and the place where Biags body was they killed Biag, to wit:
dumped. Rumbaoa said that he was able to identify the body as Biags, which was
almost unrecognizable because it was bloated all over, only because Biag had a mark A- They rented a tricycle from Santiago to Alicia but they proceeded to Angadanan.
on his right shoulder, which Rumbaoa knew of.16 And upon arrival at the site, they poked a knife to the driver and the driver ran away.
They chased him and stabbed him, sir.21
Police Officer 2 (PO2) Arthur Salvador, a member of the PNP in Alicia, took the
witness stand next. He testified that on April 13, 2005, he was on duty along with Upon cross-examination, PO2 Ignacio averred that they were not able to recover the
other colleagues at the Alicia PNP Station, when they received a report from Esteban murder weapon despite diligent efforts to look for it and that they had questioned
that the cavans of palay stolen from him were seen at Alice Palay Buying Station in the people at Alice Palay Buying Station and were told that the two accused had no
Alicia, Isabela, in a tricycle commandeered by two unidentified male persons. PO2 other companion. PO2 Ignacio also admitted that while they informed Lagat and
Salvador said that upon receipt of this report, their Chief of Police composed a team, Palalay of their constitutional rights, the two were never assisted by counsel at any
which included him, PO2 Bernard Ignacio, and PO2 Nathan Abuan, to verify the time during the custodial investigation.22
veracity of the report. At Alice Palay Buying Station, they saw the tricycle described
to them by their chief, with the cavans of palay, and the two accused, Lagat and The prosecution also submitted the Post-Mortem Autopsy Report23 on Biag of Dr.
Palalay. PO2 Salvador averred that he and his team were about to approach the Edgar Romanchito P. Bayang, the Assistant City Health and Medico-Legal Officer of
tricycle when the two accused "scampered"17 to different directions. After Santiago City. The Report showed that Biag was likely killed between 12:00 noon and
"collaring" the two accused, they brought them to the Alicia PNP Station together 2:00 p.m. of April 12, 2004, and that he had sustained three stab wounds, an incise
with the tricycle and its contents. PO2 Salvador asseverated that when they reached wound, two hack wounds and an "avulsion of the skin extending towards the
the station, they asked the two accused if they had any papers to show for both the abdomen."24
tricycle and the palay, to which the two accused did not answer. They allegedly kept
After the prosecution rested its case, the accused filed a Motion to Dismiss on
silent even after they were informed of their rights not only to remain as such, but
Demurrer to Evidence25 without leave of court26 on the ground that the prosecution
also to have counsel, either of their own choosing, or to be assigned to them if they
failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Lagat and Palalay averred that
cannot afford one. PO2 Salvador then continued that when they unloaded the
their constitutional rights on custodial investigation were grossly violated as they
tricycle, they discovered bloodstains inside and outside the sidecar. He also
were interrogated for hours without counsel, relatives, or any disinterested third
personally found a wallet containing the tricycles Certificate of Registration and
person to assist them. Moreover, the admissions they allegedly made were not
Official Receipt18 issued by the Land Transportation Office in the name of Jose Biag.
supported by documentary evidence. Palalay further claimed that Rumbaoas
When they asked the two accused about their discoveries, Lagat and Palalay
testimony showed that he had a "swelling above his right eye" and "a knife wound in
voluntarily answered that the name in the papers is that of the owner of the tricycle,
his left arm," which suggests that he was maltreated while under police custody. 27
whom they killed and dumped along Angadanan and San Guillermo Road, when they
carnapped his tricyle. PO2 Salvador alleged that upon hearing this revelation, they The accused also claimed that the circumstantial evidence presented by the
again informed Lagat and Palalay that anything they say would be used against them, prosecution was not sufficient to convict them. They averred that aside from the
and that they had a right to counsel. Thereafter, they coordinated with the PNP of alleged admissions they had made, the prosecution had nothing else: they had no
Angadanan Police Station, and together with the two accused, they proceeded to object evidence for the bloodstains allegedly found in the tricycle; the murder
Angadanan-San Guillermo Road, where they found Biags body in a ravine just after weapon was never found; and no eyewitness aside from the police officers was
the bridge near the road.19 presented to show that they were in possession of the tricycle at the time they were
arrested. Lagat and Palalay argued that the prosecution failed to establish an
The prosecutions last witness, PO2 Ignacio corroborated PO2 Salvadors testimony
unbroken chain of events that showed their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, thus,
on the events that led them to the tricycle, the palay, the two accused, and the body
they were entitled to enjoy the constitutional presumption of innocence absent
of Biag. He also confirmed PO2 Salvadors claim that they had informed the two
proof that they were guilty beyond reasonable doubt.28
accused of their rights but the latter just ignored them; hence, they continued with

10
As the accused filed their Demurrer to Evidence without leave of court, they in effect The RTC convicted Lagat and Palalay of the crime of carnapping, qualified by the
waived their right to present evidence, and submitted the case for judgment on the killing of Biag, which, according to the RTC, appeared to have been done in the
basis of the evidence for the prosecution.29 course of the carnapping.33

On March 19, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion of which Lagat and Palalay asked the RTC to reconsider its Decision on the grounds that it
reads: erred in giving full credence to the testimonies of the prosecutions witnesses and in
relying on the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.34
WHEREFORE in the light of the foregoing considerations the Court finds the accused
Renato Lagat y Gawan and James Palalay y Villarosa GUILTY beyond reasonable On May 29, 2007, the RTC denied35 this motion, holding that the testimonies of the
doubt of qualified carnapping and hereby sentences each of them to the penalty of witnesses were credible and supported by the attending facts and circumstances,
reclusion perpetua. They are also ORDERED TO PAY Florida Biag the sum of Twelve and that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to convict the accused.
thousand three hundred pesos ( 12,300.00) as actual damages plus Fifty thousand
pesos ( 50,000.00) for death indemnity and another Fifty thousand pesos ( Lagat and Palalay went36 to the Court of Appeals, asserting that their guilt was not
50,000.00) for moral damages.30 established beyond reasonable doubt.37 They averred that circumstantial evidence,
to be sufficient for a judgment of conviction, "must exclude each and every
After evaluating the evidence the prosecution presented, the RTC agreed with the hypothesis consistent with innocence,"38 which was allegedly not the case in their
accused that their rights were violated during their custodial investigation as they situation. They elaborated on why the circumstantial evidence the RTC enumerated
had no counsel to assist them. Thus, whatever admissions they had made, whether could not be taken against them:
voluntarily or not, could not be used against them and were inadmissible in
evidence.31 1. The accuseds possession of the tricycle cannot prove that they killed its owner;

However, the RTC held that despite the absence of an eyewitness, the prosecution 2. Their act of fleeing may be due to the stolen palay (which is not the subject of this
was able to establish enough circumstantial evidence to prove that Lagat and Palalay case), and not the tricycle;
committed the crime, to wit:
3. No evidence was given that would link the bloodstains found in the tricycle to Biag
1. The accused were caught by the Alicia PNP in possession of Biags tricycle, loaded himself. They could have easily been Palalays, who was shown to have a knife
with stolen palay; wound; and

2. The accused ran immediately when they saw the Alicia PNP approaching them; 4. The accuseds act of pointing to the police and the barangay officials the ravine
where Biags body was dumped was part of their interrogation without counsel,
3. The Alicia PNP found bloodstains on the tricycle and Biags wallet with documents which the RTC itself declared as inadmissible in evidence.39
to prove that Biag owned the tricycle;
On October 8, 2008, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision with the following
4. The Alicia PNP contacted the PNP of Santiago City to inquire about a Jose Biag, and dispositive portion:
this was how the barangay officials of Santiago City and Florida found out that Biags
tricycle was with the Alicia PNP; WHEREFORE, the Decision dated March 19, 2007 of the RTC, Branch 21, Santiago
City, in Criminal Case No. 21-4949, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
5. Biag left early morning on April 12, 2005 and never returned home; accused-appellants Renato Lagat y Gawan and James Palalay y Villarosa are ordered
to pay to private complainant the increased amount of 14,900.00 as actual
6. The accused themselves led the Alicia PNP and Barangay Captain Dulay and damages.40
Rumbaoa to where they dumped Biags body.32
In affirming the conviction of the accused, the Court of Appeals held that the
elements of carnapping were all present in this case. The Court of Appeals pointed
out that Lagat and Palalay were in possession of the missing tricycle when they were
11
apprehended by the Alicia PNP. Moreover, they failed to offer any explanation as to "Motor vehicle" is any vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power
how they came to be in possession of the tricycle. The Court of Appeals also agreed using the public highways, but excepting road rollers, trolley cars, street-sweepers,
with the RTC that whatever confession or admission the Alicia PNP extracted out of sprinklers, lawn mowers, bulldozers, graders, fork-lifts, amphibian trucks, and cranes
the accused could not be used in evidence for having been done without the if not used on public highways, vehicles, which run only on rails or tracks, and
assistance of counsel. The Court of Appeals nonetheless affirmed the RTCs judgment tractors, trailers and traction engines of all kinds used exclusively for agricultural
as it was "convinced" that the following circumstantial evidence supported the purposes. Trailers having any number of wheels, when propelled or intended to be
conviction of the accused for qualified carnapping: propelled by attachment to a motor vehicle, shall be classified as separate motor
vehicle with no power rating.44
1. Biag and his tricycle went missing on April 12, 2005;
The elements of carnapping as defined and penalized under the Anti-Carnapping Act
2. Lagat and Palalay were found in unauthorized possession of the tricycle on April of 1972 are the following:
13, 2005;
1. That there is an actual taking of the vehicle;
3. The Alicia PNP, upon inspection of the tricycle, found traces of blood inside it,
together with the original receipt and certificate of registration of the vehicle in the 2. That the vehicle belongs to a person other than the offender himself;
name of Jose Biag;
3. That the taking is without the consent of the owner thereof; or that the taking was
4. Palalay had a stab wound on his left arm when the Alicia PNP presented him and committed by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force
Lagat to Brgy. Capt. Dulay and prosecution witness Rumbaoa; upon things; and

5. Biag bore five (5) hack wounds on his body when the Alicia PNP recovered his 4. That the offender intends to gain from the taking of the vehicle. 45
corpse in a ravine; and
The records of this case show that all the elements of carnapping are present and
6. Lagat and Palalay failed to account for their possession of the bloodstained tricycle were proven during trial.
immediately after their arrest.41
The tricycle, which was definitively ascertained to belong to Biag, as evidenced by
The accused are now before us with the same lone assignment of error they posited the registration papers, was found in Lagat and Palalays possession. Aside from this,
before the Court of Appeals, to wit: the prosecution was also able to establish that Lagat and Palalay fled the scene when
the Alicia PNP tried to approach them at the palay buying station. To top it all, Lagat
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS GUILTY and Palalay failed to give any reason why they had Biags tricycle. Their unexplained
OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO ESTABLISH HIS possession raises the presumption that they were responsible for the unlawful taking
GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.42 of the tricycle. Section 3(j), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court states that:

Ruling of the Court [A] person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act
is the taker and the doer of the whole act; otherwise, that thing which a person
Lagat and Palalay have been charged and convicted of the crime of qualified possesses, or exercises acts of ownership over, are owned by him.
carnapping under Republic Act. No. 653943 or the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972.
Section 2 of the Act defines "carnapping" and "motor vehicle" as follows: In Litton Mills, Inc. v. Sales,46 we said that for such presumption to arise, it must be
proven that: (a) the property was stolen; (b) it was committed recently; (c) that the
"Carnapping" is the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to stolen property was found in the possession of the accused; and (d) the accused is
another without the latters consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation unable to explain his possession satisfactorily. 47 As mentioned above, all these were
of persons, or by using force upon things. proven by the prosecution during trial. Thus, it is presumed that Lagat and Palalay

12
had unlawfully taken Biags tricycle. In People v. Bustinera, 48 this Court defined Hence, to justify a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the combination of
"unlawful taking," as follows: circumstances must be interwoven in such a way as to leave no reasonable doubt as
to the guilt of the accused.53
Unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is the taking of the motor vehicle without the
consent of the owner, or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or A careful and exhaustive examination of the evidence presented, excluding those
by using force upon things; it is deemed complete from the moment the offender that are inadmissible, show that the circumstantial evidence, when viewed as a
gains possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same. 49 whole, effectively establishes the guilt of Lagat and Palalay beyond reasonable
doubt. We considered the following pieces of evidence as convincing:
Lagat and Palalays intent to gain from the carnapped tricycle was also proven as
they were caught in a palay buying station, on board the stolen tricycle, which they First, Lagat and Palalay were found in possession of the tricycle the same day that it,
obviously used to transport the cavans of palay they had stolen and were going to together with its owner Biag, was reported missing.
sell at the station. In Bustinera, we elucidated on the concept of "intent to gain" and
said: Second, Lagat and Palalay were found at a palay buying station, with the stolen
tricycle packed with cavans of palay allegedly stolen in Alicia, Isabela.
Intent to gain or animus lucrandi is an internal act, presumed from the unlawful
taking of the motor vehicle. Actual gain is irrelevant as the important consideration is Third, Lagat and Palalay who were then on board the tricycle, jumped and ran the
the intent to gain. The term "gain" is not merely limited to pecuniary benefit but also moment they saw the Alicia PNP approaching them.
includes the benefit which in any other sense may be derived or expected from the
act which is performed. Thus, the mere use of the thing which was taken without the Fourth, Lagat and Palalay could not explain to the Alicia PNP why they were in
owners consent constitutes gain.50 possession of Biags tricycle.

Having established that the elements of carnapping are present in this case, we now Fifth, Biags wallet and his tricycles registration papers were found in the tricycle
go to the argument of the two accused that they cannot be convicted based on the upon its inspection by the Alicia PNP.
circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.
Sixth, Biags body bore hack wounds as evidenced by the post-mortem autopsy done
Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is sufficient on him, while his tricycle had traces of blood in it.
for conviction if:
The foregoing circumstantial evidence only leads to the conclusion that Lagat and
(a) There is more than one circumstance; Palalay conspired to kill Biag in order to steal his tricycle. Direct proof that the two
accused conspired is not essential as it may be inferred from their conduct before,
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and during, and after their commission of the crime that they acted with a common
purpose and design.54 The pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution are
(c) The combination of all the circumstances results in a moral certainty that the consistent with one another and the only rational proposition that can be drawn
accused, to the exclusion of all others, is the one who has committed the crime. therefrom is that the accused are guilty of killing Biag to carnap his tricycle.

In People v. Mansueto,51 we said: When a person is killed or raped in the course of or on the occasion of the
carnapping, the crime of carnapping is qualified and the penalty is increased
Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from pursuant to Section 14 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended:
which the facts in issue may be established by inference. Such evidence is founded
on experience and observed facts and coincidences establishing a connection Section 14. Penalty for Carnapping. Any person who is found guilty of carnapping, as
between the known and proven facts and the facts sought to be proved. 52 this term is defined in Section Two of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of
motor vehicle taken, be punished by imprisonment for not less than fourteen years
and eight months and not more than seventeen years and four months, when the
carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon
13
things; and by imprisonment for not less than seventeen years and four months and appointment as a tanod, or that he actually worked as a farmer, we shall consider
not more than thirty years, when the carnapping is committed by means of violence only his earnings as a tricycle driver. According to the death certificate 59 submitted
against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things; and the penalty of by the prosecution, Biag was 56 years old at the time of his death.1wphi1
reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of
the carnapped motor vehicle is killed or raped in the course of the commission of the The amount of damages recoverable for the loss of earning capacity of the deceased
carnapping or on the occasion thereof. (As amended by R.A. No. 7659.) (Emphasis is based on two factors: 1) the number of years on the basis of which the damages
ours) shall be computed; and 2) the rate at which the losses sustained by the heirs of the
deceased should be fixed. The first factor is based on the formula (2/3 x 80 age of
As there was no aggravating circumstance attendant in the commission of the crime, the deceased at the time of his death = life expectancy) which is adopted from the
the RTC properly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua. American Expectancy Table of Mortality.60 Net income is computed by deducting
from the amount of the victims gross income the amount of his living expenses. As
In conformity with prevailing jurisprudence, we affirm the award of 50,000.00 as there is no proof of Biags living expenses, the net income is estimated to be 50% of
civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of Jose Biag and 50,000.00 as moral the gross annual income.61 Thus, the loss of earning capacity of the deceased is
damages for the proven mental suffering of his wife as a result of his untimely death. computed as follows:
However, when actual damages proven by receipts during trial amount to less than
25,000.00, as in this case, the award of temperate damages for 25,000.00 is Net Earning Capacity = life expectancy x [gross annual income living expenses]62
justified in lieu of actual damages of a lesser amount. 55 Thus, an award of
25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of the amount of 14,900.00 that the Court = 2/3 [80-age at time of death] x [gross annual income - 50% of gross annual income]
of Appeals awarded as actual damages is proper in this case.
= 2/3 [80-56] x [ 109,500.00 - 54,750.00]
Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals failed to consider that under Article 2206 of
the Civil Code, the accused are also jointly and severally liable for the loss of the = 16 x 54,750.00
earning capacity of Biag and such indemnity should be paid to his heirs. 56 In People v.
= 876,000.00
Jadap,57 this Court said:
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the October 8, 2008 decision of the
As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02869. Accused-appellants Renato Lagat y
damages for loss of earning capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of
Gawan and James Palalay y Villarosa are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary evidence
the crime of QUALIFIED CARNAPPING and are sentenced to suffer the penalty of
when (1) the deceased is self-employed and earning less than the minimum wage
reclusion perpetua. They are hereby ORDERED to pay the heirs of the victim Jose
under current labor laws, in which case judicial notice may be taken of the fact that
Biag the following: (a) 50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) 50,000.00 as moral
in the deceased's line of work no documentary evidence is available; or (2) the
damages; (c) 25,000.00 as temperate damages; (d) 876,000.00 as loss of earning
deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage
capacity; and (e) interest on all damages awarded at the rate of 6% per annum from
under current labor laws. In this case, no documentary evidence was presented to
the date of finality of this judgment.
prove the claim of the victims heirs for damages by reason of loss of earning
capacity. However, the victims father testified that at the time of his sons death, he SO ORDERED.
was only 20 years old and was working as a mason with a monthly income of
3,000.00. We find the fathers testimony sufficient to justify the award of damages
for loss of earning capacity.58

Biags widow, Florida, testified that Biag worked as a farmer, tanod, and tricycle
driver, and that his income amounted to 40,000.00 per cropping season as a
farmer, 2,000.00 per month as a tanod, and 300.00 per day as a tricycle driver.
However, since the prosecution failed to present any document pertaining to Biags
14
G.R. No. 181043 October 8, 2008 day, they would proceed with their plan. Romeo would be the informant since he is
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, an insider and a trusted general foreman of the victim. The next day, at nine oclock
vs. in the morning, Pancho, Sr. arrived at Ferraers house alone and asked Ferraer if he
MILLANO MUIT, SERGIO PANCHO, JR., EDUARDO HERMANO ALIAS "BOBBY REYES," was already informed of the plan. Ferraer replied in the affirmative. Pancho, Sr. told
ROLANDO DEQUILLO, ROMEO PANCHO, and JOSEPH FERRAER, appellants. him to wait for the groups return. However, the group returned without the
DECISION intended victim because the latter did not show up at the construction site. 5 On 2
TINGA, J.: December 1997, the group received a call from Romeo informing them that the
victim was already at the construction site. Hermano, Morales, Udon, Manuel,
Millano Muit y Munoz (Muit), Sergio Pancho y Cagumoc, Jr. (Pancho, Jr.), Rolando Bokbok, and Muit commuted to the construction site at Barangay Darasa, Tanauan,
Dequillo y Tampos (Dequillo), Romeo Pancho (Romeo), Eduardo "Eddie" Hermano Batangas. Pancho, Jr. was on board the Mitsubishi car as back-up.
alias "Bobby Reyes" alias "Eddie Reyes" (Hermano), and Joseph Ferraer (Ferraer)
were charged with At around two oclock in the afternoon of the same date, 2 December 1997, Roger
kidnapping for ransom with homicide1 and carnapping2 in two separate informations. Seraspe (Seraspe), the personal driver of the victim, drove a blue Pajero with plate
Only Muit, Pancho Jr., Dequillo, Romeo, and Ferraer were arrested and stood trial. number UDL-746 carrying Engr. Ruth Roldan and the victim to visit the Flexopac
However, Ferraer was discharged from the criminal cases by the Regional Trial Court project site at Barangay Darasa, Tanauan, Batangas. At the site, Engr. Roldan and the
(RTC) and was utilized as a state witness. 3 All appellants pleaded not guilty during victim alighted from the Pajero and, along with Engr. Ed dela Cruz, toured the
their arraignments. construction site. Seraspe talked with Armand Chavez (Chavez), the warehouseman
of ILO Construction, while waiting for his boss. 6
The facts as culled from the records are as follows:
After the site inspection, the three engineers walked towards the direction of
In the afternoon of 11 November 1997, Orestes Julaton, (Julaton), a relative of the Pajero. Seraspe was surprised to see that the three engineers who stood
Ferraer, arrived at the latters house in Kaylaway, Nasugbu, Batangas with Sergio together suddenly lay prostrate on the ground. Seraspe and Chavez saw an
Pancho, Sr. (Pancho, Sr.), Pancho, Jr., Dequillo and four other men on board a gray unidentified man standing near the three engineers. Three more armed men
Mitsubishi car with plate number PSV-818. Julaton introduced them to Ferraer and surrounded the Pajero. Two of them approached Seraspe and Chavez. One of the
told the latter that Pancho, Sr. is also their relative. Pancho, Sr. told Ferraer that they armed men, Muit, poked a gun at Seraspe and ordered him and Chavez to lay
wanted to use his house as a safehouse for their "visitor." Ferraer was hesitant at prostrate on the ground.7 The assailants dragged the victim towards the Pajero. They
first as he thought it was risky for him and his family. Hermano told Ferraer not to forced the victim to order Seraspe to give them the keys to the Pajero. When the
worry because they are not killers; their line of work is kidnap for ransom. Ferraer victim was already on board the Pajero, Seraspe heard one of them say, "Sarge,
was assured that the money they will get would be shared equally among them. nandito na ang ating pakay."8
Ferraer and Pancho, Sr. would guard their victim. Later, five other men came and
they were introduced to Ferraer as Muit, Morales, alias Tony, alias David and alias They then started the Pajero and drove away, passing through the Pag-asa Road
Puri. They had dinner and chatted until midnight. That evening, Morales handed to gate. Two more persons who were waiting at the Pag-asa road boarded the Pajero.9
Ferraer for safekeeping a folded carton wrapped with masking tape contained in a
big paper bag, and a green backpack. Hermano told Ferraer that the package At 2:30 that same afternoon, Lipa City Deputy Chief of Police, Supt. Arcadio Mission
contained guns. Ferraer brought the package inside his room; he inspected the (Supt. Mission) received a radio message from the Tanauan Police Station that a
contents before placing them under the bed, and saw that the carton contained a kidnapping was ongoing and the kidnappers on board a Pajero with plate number
shotgun and the green backpack, an Ingram folding. Morales and Udon also showed UDL-746 were heading towards Lipa City. Supt. Mission immediately ordered the
him their .45 caliber guns tucked at their waists.4 police posted near the Lipa City bus stop to put up a barricade. In the meantime, two
teams were organized to intercept the Pajero. They proceeded to the barricade.10
At one oclock in the afternoon of 24 November 1997, Ferraer saw Pancho, Jr., and
Hermano with a companion, seated under the tree in front of his house. Pancho, Jr. Right after Supt. Mission and the teams arrived at the barricade, the Pajero was
introduced their companion as Romeo. They informed Ferraer that the following spotted. When policemen flagged down the Pajero, the driver stopped the vehicle.
While two policemen approached the Pajero, the driver and front passenger opened
15
their car doors and started firing at the policemen. At this point, all the policemen guns used in the kidnapping of the victim. He was allegedly tortured when he denied
present at the scene fired back. The cross-fire lasted for around four minutes. All the any knowledge about the kidnapping and was forced to sign a statement without
occupants of the Pajero, except the driver and the front passenger who managed to being allowed to read it. Atty. Mallare only came in after he had already signed the
escape, died. SPO1 Rolando Cariaga apprehended one of the escapees who turned statement. He denied any participation in the crimes charged against him. 13
out to be Muit, the driver of the Pajero, at Barangay San Carlos, Batangas, about 200
meters from the place of the shootout.11 Pancho, Jr. claimed that he was arrested on 7 December 1997 in Calbayog, Samar. He
was first brought to the Calbayog City Police Station, and then transferred to Camp
On the other hand, after the assailants carried their plan into action, Pancho, Jr. Crame. He alleged that the police tortured him and forced him to sign the written
proceeded to their agreed meeting place but did not find Hermanos group there. confession of his participation in the crimes. He denied having participated in the
Pancho, Jr. waited along the highway in front of the construction site. He thought commission of the offenses charged against him.14
that he had been left behind when he did not see the group, so he left. When
Pancho, Jr. returned to Ferraers house, he told Ferraer what happened to their On the other hand, Muit claimed that on 2 December 1997 he was in Lipa City, near
operation. Worried that something bad might have happened to the group, Pancho, the place of the shootout. He had just attended a gathering of the Rizalistas and was
Jr. went back and looked for the rest of his group. Pancho, Jr. came back alone. waiting for his uncle Bonifacio when the police arrested him. He denied having any
knowledge of the crime. He denied knowing the people whose name appeared in his
At around 5:30 in the morning of 3 December 1997, Ferraer saw Pancho, Sr. and two extra judicial confessions. He claimed that the names were supplied by the
Pancho, Jr. watching the TV program "Alas Singko y Medya." He joined them and saw police and that he was not assisted by counsel during the custodial investigation. 15
on the news the Pajero riddled with bullets. Pancho, Sr. and Pancho, Jr. left Ferraers
house at around 9:00 in the morning and they also left behind the Mitsubishi car In a decision16 dated 22 November 2002, the RTC, Branch 83 of Tanauan City,
they used. That night, Ferraer saw on the news program TV Patrol a footage showing Batangas found Muit, Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Romeo guilty.17 Only the cases
the cadavers of Udon, Morales, Manuel, Bokbok and the victim, and involving the charges of carnapping and kidnapping for ransom which resulted in the
the Pajero riddled with bullets. Ferraer also saw Muit in handcuffs. death of the victim were automatically appealed to this Court.

The prosecution presented Ignacio Ong, Sr., the father of the victim Engr. Ignacio The RTC held that mere denials and alibis of appellants cannot prevail over the
Ong, Jr.; Seraspe; Chavez; Dr. Anthony Llamas, the PNP Medico-Legal Officer who positive declarations of the prosecutions witnesses. It found the prosecutions
conducted the autopsy; Supt. Mission, Ferraer, as the state witness; and Atty. Narzal witnesses more credible than appellants, whose self-serving statements were
Mallare12 (Atty. Mallare), the lawyer who assisted appellants Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo obviously intended to exculpate themselves from criminal liability. The RTC did not
in executing their respective sworn statements as witnesses. Their accounts were give credence to the claims of appellants that their extra judicial confessions were
corroborated by the prosecutions documentary evidence such as the extra judicial procured through torture as these were belied by the testimony of Atty. Mallare and
confessions of Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo, which were executed with the assistance of appellants medical certificates which were issued during their incarceration and
Atty. Mallare. Muit executed two extra judicial confessions: the first statement was after the execution of their statements. And the RTC noted that even without
dated 4 December 1997, in which he was assisted by Atty. Ernesto Vergara, and the appellants extra judicial confessions, there was still sufficient evidence on record to
second statement was dated 7 December 1997 in which he was assisted by Atty. hold them guilty.
Solomon De Jesus and witnessed by his uncle, Bonifacio Muit (Bonifacio), and his
brother, Dominador Muit (Dominador). On the other hand, the defense presented In a resolution dated 17 January 2006, the Court referred the case to the Court of
appellants Dequillo, Pancho, Jr., and Muit. Appeals for intermediate review.18

Dequillo, for his part, claimed that for the period of November to December 1997 he The Court of Appeals in a decision19 dated 31 August 2007 affirmed the decision of
was working as a mason at Villanueva Construction in BF Homes. His work starts at the RTC.20 The appellate court held that the RTC was correct in convicting appellants
8:00 in the morning and ends at 5:00 in the afternoon. He stated that on 8 December for kidnapping and carnapping. The prosecution was able to prove through Ferraer
1997, he was arrested by the CIDG at his house in Purok Sto. Domingo, Barangay that appellants conspired with one another in the planning and execution of their
Holy Spirit, Quezon City. At the CIDG Detention Center, he was questioned about the plan to kidnap the victim. Moreover, appellants executed extra judicial confessions,
duly assisted by their counsels, detailing their participation in the kidnapping. As for
16
Muit, other than his extra judicial confession, he was also positively identified during the kidnappers were intercepted by the group led by Supt. Mission. Supt. Mission
the kidnapping by eyewitnesses Seraspe and Chavez. Appellants filed their notices of testified that the kidnappers refused to surrender and engaged the police in a shoot
appeal with the Court of Appeals. out in which the victim was among the casualties. Muit was one of the two persons
who survived the shoot out, but was apprehended by the police. Pancho, Jr.
Before this Court, appellants opted not to file supplemental briefs, and instead returned to the house of Ferraer alone when the group did not arrive at their
adopted the assignment of errors in their respective original briefs. 21 Taken together, meeting place. Ferraer, Pancho, Jr., and Pancho, Sr. learned from the news that the
appellants claim that: (i) the RTC erred in finding them guilty beyond reasonable group engaged the police in a shoot out and most of them were killed, and that Muit
doubt of the charges against them; (ii) the RTC erred in its finding that they acted in was arrested by the police.
conspiracy in the commission of the crimes charged against them; and (iii) the RTC
erred in giving credence to the extra-judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo, After investigation, the police were able to apprehend appellants Pancho, Jr.,
and to the sworn statement and testimony of Ferraer in convicting them.22 Romeo, and Dequillo who all took part in the botched criminal conspiracy to kidnap
the victim. During the investigation, Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit, with the
The appeals are bereft of merit. assistance of their counsels and family members, executed extra judical confessions
divulging their respective roles in the planning and execution of the crimes.
The elements of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention 23 are the
following: (a) the accused is a private individual; (b) the accused kidnaps or detains Even though Pancho, Jr., Dequillo and Romeo did not participate in the actual
another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (c) the act of detention or abduction of the victim, they should still be held liable, as the courts below did,
kidnapping is illegal; and (d) in the commission of the offense, any of the four because of the existence of conspiracy. Conspiracy is a unity of purpose and
circumstances mentioned in Article 267 is present. The essence of the crime of intention in the commission of a crime.26 Where conspiracy is established, the
kidnapping is the actual deprivation of the victims liberty, coupled with indubitable precise modality or extent of participation of each individual conspirator becomes
proof of intent of the accused to effect the same.24 The totality of the prosecutions secondary since the act of one is the act of all. 27 The degree of actual participation in
evidence in this case established the commission of kidnapping for ransom with the commission of the crime is immaterial.
homicide.
The conspiracy to kidnap the victim was proven through circumstantial evidence. The
On the other hand, Republic Act No. 6539, or the Anti-Carnapping Act, as amended, group thoroughly planned the kidnapping in Ferraers house and patiently waited for
defines "carnapping" as the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging the day when the victim would be at the construction site. Then on 2 December
to another without the latters consent, or by means of violence against or 1997, the group received a call from Romeo so they proceeded to the construction
intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things.25 The crime was committed in site and carried out their plan.
this case when the victims Pajero was forcibly taken away from him
contemporaneously with his kidnapping at the construction site. All the appellants took active part in the criminal conspiracy and performed different
roles to consummate their common plan. The roles which Muit and his other
The kidnapping for ransom with homicide and the carnapping were established by companions played in the actual abduction were described earlier. As for Dequillo,
the direct testimony of Ferraer, Seraspe and Chavez. Ferraer testified on how the he was the one who procured the guns used by the group. Pancho, Jr. served as the
group approached and convinced him to let them use his house to keep the victim driver of the back-up vehicle, and Romeo was the groups informant.
they planned to kidnap. They planned the crime in Ferraers house and waited for
the call from Romeo to inform them when the victim would be at the construction Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence states that circumstantial
site. The group received a call from Romeo on 2 December 1997 informing them that evidence is sufficient if: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from
the victim was already at the construction site, and so they went there to carry out which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all the
their plan. At the construction site, as testified to by Seraspe and Chavez, Muit and circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
the other members of the group pointed their guns at the victim and his companion
and ordered them to lie prostrate on the ground. After getting the keys to The extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit strengthened the
the Pajero from Seraspe, they forced the victim to board the vehicle with Muit case against them. There is nothing on record to support appellants claim that they
driving it. They immediately reported the kidnapping of the victim to the police and were coerced and tortured into executing their extra judicial confessions. One of the
17
indicia of voluntariness in the execution of appellants extra judicial statements is Ferraers testimony that Romeo was introduced to him in his house as the informant
that each contains many details and facts which the investigating officers could not when they were planning the kidnapping.
have known and could not have supplied, without the knowledge and information
given by appellants. Moreover, the appellants were assisted by their lawyers when As for the penalty, the RTC did not err in imposing the penalty of death since the
they executed their statements. Atty. Mallare testified that Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo kidnapping was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or
executed their statements voluntarily and affixed their signatures after he talked any other person. Neither actual demand for nor payment of ransom is necessary for
with them alone and informed them of their constitutional rights.28 Muit, on the the consummation of the felony. It is sufficient that the deprivation of liberty was for
other hand, was assisted by counsels in each instance when he executed his two the purpose of extorting ransom even if none of the four circumstances mentioned
extra judicial confessions; his second statement was even witnessed by his uncle, in Article 267 were present in its perpetration.35The death of the victim as a result of
Bonifacio, and his brother, Dominador. Muit cannot just conveniently disclaim any the kidnapping only serves as a generic aggravating circumstance for the rule is that
knowledge of the contents of his extra judicial confession. Nevertheless, in Muits when more than one qualifying circumstances are proven, the others must be
case, he was also positively identified by Seraspe and Chavez as the one who pointed considered as generic aggravating circumstances. 36
a gun at them during the kidnapping and ordered them to lay prostrate on the
ground.29 The imposition of death penalty is also proper in the carnapping of the
victims Pajero because it was committed by a band, which serves as a generic
Appellants claims of torture are not supported by medical certificates from the aggravating circumstance, without any mitigating
physical examinations done on them. 30 These claims of torture were mere
afterthoughts as they were raised for the first time during trial; appellants did not circumstance.37 There is band whenever more than three armed malefactors shall
even inform their family members who visited them while they were imprisoned have acted together in the commission of the offense. 38 As planned, Muit and three
about the alleged tortures.31Dequillo, for his part, also had the opportunity to other armed men kidnapped the victim and drove away with the latters Pajero while
complain of the alleged torture done to him to the Department of Justice when he two more persons waiting near the Pag-asa road boarded the Pajero.
was brought there.32 Claims of torture are easily concocted, and cannot be given
However, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the
credence unless substantiated by competent and independent corroborating
death penalty, the penalties imposed are commuted to reclusion perpetua with all its
evidence.33
accessory penalties and without eligibility for parole under Act No. 4103. 39
The extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit also strengthened
As to damages, the RTC erred in awarding compensation for loss of earning capacity.
the prosecutions case against Romeo. The rule that an extra judicial confession is
Pursuant to jurisprudence, the Court precludes an award for loss of earning capacity
evidence only against the person making it recognizes various exceptions. One such
without adequate proof as it partakes of the nature of actual damages. 40 The bare
exception is where several extra judicial statements had been made by several
testimony of the father of the deceased that, at the time of his death, the victim was
persons charged with an offense and there could have been no collusion with
earning
reference to said several confessions, the fact that the statements are in all material
respects identical is confirmatory of the confession of the co-defendants and is 5,000.00 per month as an engineer is not sufficient proof.41 But pursuant to the
admissible against other persons implicated therein. They are also admissible as Courts ruling in People v. Abrazaldo42 wherein we deemed it proper to award
circumstantial evidence against the person implicated therein to show the temperate damages in the amount of 25,000.00 in cases where evidence confirms
probability of the latters actual participation in the commission of the crime and the heirs entitlement to actual damages but the amount of actual damages cannot
may likewise serve as corroborative evidence if it is clear from other facts and be determined because of the absence of supporting and duly presented receipts,
circumstances that other the Court awards 25,000.00 temperate damages to the heirs of the victim in the
present case.
persons had participated in the perpetration of the crime charged and proved. These
are known as "interlocking confessions."34 Nonetheless, the RTC, in convicting The civil indemnity should be increased to 75,000.00. 43 The award of civil indemnity
Romeo, relied not only on the aforesaid extra judicial statements but also on may be granted without any need of proof other than the death of the victim. 44 In

18
line with jurisprudence, the moral damages should also be increased
to P 500,000.00.45

Moreover, exemplary damages in the amount of 100,000.00 for the crime of


kidnapping for ransom with homicide46 and 25,000.00 for the crime of carnapping
should be awarded. The law allows exemplary damages in criminal cases as part of
the civil liability of the malefactors when the crime is attended by one or more
aggravating circumstances.47

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 02044 which
commuted the death penalties imposed in Criminal Case Nos. P-521 and P-607
to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole is AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATIONS that the compensation for loss of earning capacity be deleted while
the civil indemnity be increased to 75,000.00 and the moral damages to
500,000.00, and that appellants shall also pay the heirs of Ignacio Earl Ong, Jr.
temperate damages of 25,000.00 and exemplary damages of 100,000.00 for the
crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide and 25,000.00 for the crime of
carnapping. Costs against appellants.

SO ORDERED.

19
G.R. No. 177751 December 14, 2011 Version of the Prosecution
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
vs. The prosecutions version of the events is as follows:
FLORENCIO AGACER, EDDIE AGACER, ELYNOR AGACER, FRANKLIN AGACER and
ERIC* AGACER,Appellants. Cesario was a 55-year old farmer and owner of a ricefield situated in Dungeg, Santa
DECISION Ana, Cagayan. On April 2, 1998, at around 9:00 a.m., he was clearing a section of his
DEL CASTILLO, J.: farm and preparing the beddings for the rice seedlings intended for the coming
planting season. Farm laborers Genesis Delantar (Genesis), his brother Andy, Rafael
This case involves a man who was killed by his own relatives. Convicted for the crime Morgado and brothers Roden (Roden) and Ric (Ric) Vallejo were nearby in a separate
of murder by the lower courts, the indicted relatives are now before us assailing section of the same ricefield harvesting Cesarios palay.
their guilty verdict.
According to prosecution witnesses Genesis and Roden, it was at that moment while
Factual Antecedents
Cesario was tending to his farm when appellants suddenly emerged from a nearby
This is an appeal from the November 17, 2006 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) banana plantation and surrounded Cesario. Visibly intimidated, Cesario moved
in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01543, affirming with modification the August 7, 2001 backwards and retreated to where the other farm laborers were working. However,
Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Aparri, Cagayan which found Franklin set afire the rice straws that covered Cesarios rice seedlings. This prompted
appellants Florencio Agacer (Florencio), Franklin Agacer (Franklin), Elynor Agacer Cesario to return to put out the fire and save his rice seedlings. At this point, Franklin
(Elynor), Eric Agacer (Eric) and Eddie Agacer (Eddie), guilty beyond reasonable doubt and Eric started throwing stones at Cesario which forced the latter to retreat again.
of the crime of murder for the killing of Cesario Agacer (Cesario). Thereafter, Florencio, while standing side by side with Eric, signaled Cesario to come
closer. Cesario obliged but when he was just around five meters away from the
As mentioned, all the appellants were related to Cesario. Florencio was Cesarios group, Eddie suddenly pulled out a gun concealed inside a sack and, without
nephew and is the father of Franklin while the brothers Elynor, Eric and Eddie are his warning, shot Cesario hitting him in the left portion of his chest. Almost
nephews. simultaneously, Elynor took aim at Cesario with his bow and arrow but missed his
mark. As Cesario fell, appellants fled towards the irrigation canal, where another
On March 2, 1999, an Information3 for Murder was filed against the five appellants, gunshot rang. Thereafter, a short firearm was thrown from where the appellants ran
the accusatory portion of which reads as follows: towards the direction of Cesarios fallen body. Appellants then immediately left the
scene of the crime onboard a hand tractor and a tricycle.
That on or about April 2, 1998, in the municipality of Sta. Ana, Province of Cagayan,
and within the jurisdiction [of] this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, After these events unfolded, Genesis and the other farm laborers scampered away in
armed with a long firearm, a bow and arrow, a bolo and stones, with intent to kill, different directions. Genesis then reached Barangay Capanikian and informed
with evident premeditation and with treachery, conspiring together and helping one Cesarios son, Neldison Agacer (Neldison), of the death of his father. At around 3:00
another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack, stone p.m., Cesarios friends in said barangay went to the scene of the crime and retrieved
and shoot one Cesario Agacer, inflicting upon the latter [bruises] and multiple his corpse. During the autopsy, a total of eight entrance wounds were found, mostly
gunshot wounds in his body which caused his death. on the chest of Cesarios cadaver. According to the Medico-Legal Officer, the fatal
gunshot wounds were inflicted by the use of a firearm capable of discharging several
That the killing was aggravated by the use of an unlicensed firearm. slugs simultaneously.

CONTRARY TO LAW.4 Version of the Defense


On October 14, 1999, Florencio, Elynor, Franklin and Eric entered separate pleas of The appellants denied the accusations against them and claimed that Florencio only
"not guilty" during their arraignment.5 On January 11, 2000, Eddie likewise pleaded acted in self-defense and in defense of relatives. As proof, appellants presented
"not guilty".6 Thereafter, trial ensued. Florencio who testified that on April 2, 1998, he proceeded to Dungeg, Sta. Ana,
Cagayan, from his residence in Merde, also in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, to prepare seed
20
beddings in the ricefield over which he and his uncle Cesario had an existing dispute. 2. indemnify the heirs of the victim, the amount of 75,000.00 as death indemnity;
At around 8:00 a.m., he claimed that Cesario attempted to prevent him from the amount of 40,000.00 as actual damages and the amount of 30,000.00 as and
preparing the seed beds. When Florencio persisted and argued that he inherited the by way of Attorneys fees.
land from his father, Cesario departed through a cogonal area. Moments later,
Cesario returned and shouted at him not to continue working on the land. At that 3. pay the costs of litigation.
time, Florencio noticed that Cesario was holding an object. Suspecting that Cesario
may be armed, he shouted to Eric, Franklin, Eddie and Elynor, who had just arrived, SO ORDERED.9
to run away. The four heeded his warning and scampered in different directions.
Appellants filed a Notice of Appeal,10 which was approved by the trial court in its
Cesario then chased Florencio who ran and jumped into the irrigation canal to hide
Order11 of August 17, 2001. Pursuant thereto, the records of the case were elevated
in the tall cogon grasses. However, Cesario was not deterred and continued to
to this Court. However, in view of the Courts ruling in People v. Mateo 12 allowing an
search for him. When Florencio saw that Cesario was already close, he suddenly
intermediate review by the CA where the penalty involved is death, reclusion
grabbed Cesarios buckshot gun and successfully disarmed him. Thereupon, Cesario
perpetua as in this case, or life imprisonment, the case was transferred to said court
drew another firearm and shot Florencio several times. As Cesario was shooting him,
for appropriate action and disposition.13
Florencio also fired the gun he earlier grabbed from Cesario and hit the latter.
Finding out that he too was hit in the arm, he shouted to his nephews for help. They Ruling of the Court of Appeals
responded by taking him to a hospital for treatment. On April 16, 1998, he went to
the police to surrender. The CA affirmed the ruling of the trial court in all respects. It also awarded moral
damages pursuant to the rule laid down in People v. Dela Cruz 14 and People v.
Elynor and Eddie corroborated this version in their respective testimonies. 7 Panela.15 The dispositive portion of the November 17, 2006 Decision 16 of the CA
reads as follows:
Ruling of the Trial Court
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the
The trial court found the prosecutions evidence sufficient to prove
instant appeal, and accordingly AFFIRMING in toto the herein impugned August 7,
appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It held that appellants acted in conspiracy 2001 Decision of the RTC, Branch 08, of Aparri, Cagayan. Additionally, the amount of
in inflicting upon Cesario, in a treacherous manner, multiple gunshot wounds. P50,000.00 is hereby awarded in favor of Cesario Agacers surviving heirs as and by
However, the trial court did not appreciate evident premeditation as a qualifying way of moral damages pursuant to the doctrine in the cases of Dela Cruz and Panela,
aggravating circumstance for failure to establish its elements as clearly as the as heretofore stated.
criminal act itself. It also did not consider as aggravating circumstance the use of an
SO ORDERED.17
unlicensed firearm since the firearm used in the killing was not presented in
evidence. Hence, the present appeal.
The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision8 of August 7, 2001, reads: Assignment of Errors
WHEREFORE, the Court finds all the accused FLORENCIO AGACER, EDDIE AGACER, In their Brief,18 appellants assigned the following errors:
ELYNOR AGACER, FRANKLIN AGACER and ERIC AGACER GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of MURDER qualified [by] treachery and hereby sentence[s] them I
to:
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT CONSPIRACY EXISTED [AMONG] THE
1. suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with all the accessory penalties; HEREIN ACCUSED-APPELLANTS IN THE KILLING OF CESARIO AGACER.

II

21
THE LOWER COURT LIKEWISE ERRED IN FINDING THAT "Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it." 23 In conspiracy, it is not necessary
TREACHERY AS A QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE ATTENDED THE COMMISSION OF THE to adduce direct evidence of a previous agreement to commit a crime. 24 It "may be
CRIME. shown through circumstantial evidence, deduced from the mode and manner in
which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused
III themselves when such lead to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and
community of interest."25 Proof of a previous agreement and decision to commit the
THE LOWER COURT FINALLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS
crime is not essential but the fact that the malefactors acted in unison pursuant to
GUILT HAS BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.19
the same objective suffices.26
Appellants contend that both lower courts erred in finding that they conspired to kill
Here, while there is no proof of any previous agreement among appellants to
Cesario. They argue that there was no evidence sufficient to establish their
commit the crime and while it was established during trial that Eddie alone shot
intentional participation in the crime to achieve a common purpose. Thus, they claim
Cesario, the acts of all appellants before, during and after the incident establish the
that the criminal culpability arising from their acts, even if the same were all directed
existence of conspiracy to kill Cesario beyond reasonable doubt. First, all of them
solely against one victim, is individual and not collective. Put differently, each of
emerged at the same time from a banana plantation beside the ricefield. Second,
them is liable only for his own acts.
they surprised Cesario by immediately surrounding him. Third, all of them were
Appellants also contend that treachery did not attend the commission of the crime. armed at the time of the incident. Eddie had a shotgun concealed in a sack, Florencio
They assert that treachery cannot be appreciated when an altercation precedes the was armed with a bolo, Elynor had a bow and arrow, while Eric and Franklin had
killing. Here, Cesario already had a previous heated altercation with Florencio. stones in their hands. Fourth, Eric and Franklin struck Cesario with stones moments
Appellants aver that Cesario had only himself to blame for obliging when Florencio before the shooting. Fifth, Eddie immediately shot Cesario at close range while the
summoned him to come near considering that they just had a heated argument. latter was approaching the group of appellants upon being summoned by Florencio.
According to them, Cesario literally courted danger by approaching Florencio instead Sixth, Florencio, Franklin, Eric and Elynor stood just a meter away from Eddie when
of running away from him. he shot Cesario, but did not do anything to stop or dissuade Eddie from the assault.
Seventh, after Cesario was shot, all appellants departed from the scene of the crime
Lastly, appellants posit that they cannot be held guilty of murder since the qualifying together.
circumstance of treachery was not alleged with clarity nor specified in the
Information as required by Sections 8 and 9, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court. Undoubtedly, the acts of the assailants constitute proof of their unanimity in design,
intent and execution.27 They "performed specific acts with closeness and
In its Brief,20 the People of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General coordination as to unmistakably indicate a common purpose and design" 28 to ensure
(OSG) maintains that there was conspiracy among the appellants as shown by their the death of Cesario. We thus uphold the lower courts finding that appellants
collective acts before, during, and after the perpetration of the crime. Their specific conspired to commit the crime of murder against Cesario.
acts are in fact indicative of a common design and intent to ensure the commission
of the crime.21 The OSG also belies the assertion of the appellants that treachery Having established conspiracy, appellants assertion that each of them can only be
does not exist in this case. It insists that their attack on Cesario was sudden and made liable for his own acts deserves no merit. Evidence as to who among the
unexpected, thereby depriving him of a chance to defend himself and ensuring its appellants delivered the fatal blow is therefore no longer indispensable since in
commission without risk to the appellants and without the slightest provocation on conspiracy, a person may be convicted for the criminal act of another.29 In a
the part of the victim.22 conspiracy, the act of one is deemed the act of all.30

Our Ruling Essence of Treachery; Elements

The appeal is unmeritorious. We are also unimpressed with appellants contention that both the trial and
appellate courts erred in ruling that treachery qualified the killing of Cesario to
Conspiracy was sufficiently established murder. They maintain that since the attack on Cesario was frontal, there was
22
therefore no element of surprise on the victim or suddenness of the assault that the latter [bruises] and multiple gunshot wounds in his body which caused his
characterizes treachery. death.36 (Emphasis supplied.)

"There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, "Well-settled is the rule that when x x x treachery x x x is present and alleged in the
employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly Information, it qualifies the killing and raises it to the category of murder." 37
and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense
which the offended party might make." 31 Two conditions must concur for treachery Appellants failed to discharge their burden to prove Florencios claim that he acted
to be appreciated. First, is the employment of means of execution that gives the in self-defense and in defense of relatives.
person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate. Second, the means
of execution was deliberate or consciously adopted.32 "The essence of treachery is Florencio admits that he shot Cesario but invokes defense of himself and of his
the sudden attack by an aggressor without the slightest provocation on the part of relatives to escape criminal liability.
the victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself, thereby
The Court is not convinced.
ensuring the commission of the crime without risk to the aggressor." 33
While it is the burden of the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused beyond
In this case, treachery is evident from the same circumstances we have already
reasonable doubt, this burden shifts when the accused admits the killing and pleads
discussed above. From the facts, Cesario could not have been aware that he would
self-defense by way of justification. It therefore becomes vital for the accused to
be surrounded, attacked and killed by the appellants who were all related to him. He
show clear and convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense. In so doing, he
could not have also been aware that Eddie had a shotgun concealed in a sack
must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the
because if he was, he would not have casually approached Florencio when the latter
prosecutions evidence.38
summoned him. Unfortunately, while Cesario was advancing towards Florencio,
Eddie shot him at close range without any warning whatsoever. Evidently, the crime The accused must also prove the following elements of self-defense: (1) there was
was committed in a manner that there was no opportunity for Cesario to defend unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) there was reasonable necessity of
himself. Also, the mode of attack did not spring from the unexpected turn of events the means employed to prevent or repel the attack; and (3) the lack of sufficient
but was clearly thought of by the appellants. Hence, it no longer matters that the provocation on the part of the person defending himself. 39 In the justifying
assault was frontal since its swiftness and unexpectedness deprived Cesario of a circumstance of self-defense, unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non.40 Self-
chance to repel it or offer any resistance in defense of his person. 34 defense, complete or incomplete, cannot be considered a justification, unless the
victim commits an unlawful aggression against the person defending himself.41
Appellants contention that treachery was not alleged with certainty in the
Information is also devoid of merit. In People v. Villacorta 35 the Court appreciated Here, Florencio failed to prove that he defended himself against the unlawful
treachery as an aggravating circumstance, it having been alleged in the Information aggression of Cesario. He failed to present any evidence to substantiate his claim
and proved during trial that the "x x x accused, armed with a sharpened bamboo that there was an actual or imminent peril to his life or limb. Aside from his
stick, with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there unreliable and self-serving claim, there is no proof that Cesario assaulted and shot
willfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said weapon one DANILO him with a firearm during their struggle or, if at all, that there was indeed a struggle
SALVADOR CRUZ x x x." between them. On the other hand, the separate testimonies of prosecution
witnesses Genesis and Roden negate Florencios claim of unlawful aggression. The
Similarly, we hold that treachery was sufficiently alleged in the Information when it
testimonies of these witnesses established that it was the appellants who emerged
reads, viz:
from a nearby banana plantation; that they surrounded Cesario and set to fire the
x x x the above-name[d] accused, armed with a long firearm, a bow and arrow, a rice straws covering his rice seedlings; that appellants were armed with different
bolo and stones, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with treachery, kinds of weapons, while Cesario was not; that Franklin and Elynor cast stones upon
conspiring together and helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully Cesario; and, that the one who pulled a gun from a sack and shot Cesario was Eddie,
and feloniously assault, attack, stone and shoot one Cesario Agacer, inflicting upon not Florencio. We thus hold that if there was unlawful aggression here, it came from

23
appellants end and not from Cesario. Hence, there being no unlawful aggression on Cesario in self-defense and in defense of relatives since an innocent person will not
the part of Cesario, Florencios claim of self-defense must fail. hesitate to take the prompt and necessary action to exonerate himself of the crime
imputed to him.
Another basis for appellants conviction is the finding of the medico-legal expert that
the cause of Cesarios death was multiple gunshot wounds found mostly at the All told, we find no reason to disturb the conclusion of the trial court, as affirmed by
"infero-lateral portion of the anterior chest, right side." This corroborates the the CA. The testimonies of the eyewitnesses presented by the prosecution were
testimonies of Genesis and Roden that Cesario was shot in his chest. These given in a clear, natural and spontaneous manner. Their positive identification of the
dovetailing findings of the medico-legal expert and the eyewitness accounts of appellants as the persons responsible for the death of Cesario has been clearly,
Genesis and Roden also deserve more credence than the unsubstantiated claim of categorically and consistently established on record. Moreover, we note that no
self-defense of Florencio, who, interestingly, gave contradictory testimony. Florencio evidence was presented to establish that these eyewitnesses harbored any ill-will
claimed that he could not see the gun used by Cesario in shooting him as tall cogonal against the appellants or that they have reasons to fabricate their
grass obstructed his view, yet he could clearly recall that he saw the bullet-riddled testimonies.45These kinds of testimonies are accepted as true for being consistent
Cesario fall.42 These contradictory statements of Florencio all the more convince us with the natural order of events, human nature and the presumption of good faith. 46
to believe the testimonies of prosecution witnesses that no exchange of gunfire
actually transpired between Cesario and Florencio. Rather, it was only Eddie who The Proper Penalty
wielded a gun and shot Cesario.1avvphi1
Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for the crime of murder is
Florencio also invokes the justifying circumstance of defense of relatives, which has reclusion perpetua to death. As correctly imposed by the trial court and as affirmed
three elements, to wit, (1) there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; by the CA, appellants must suffer the prison term of reclusion perpetua, the lower of
(2) there was reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and the said two indivisible penalties, due to the absence of an aggravating circumstance
(3) in case of provocation given by the person being attacked, the person making attending the commission of the crime.
defense had no part therein.43 Like in the case of self-defense, unlawful aggression is
also an indispensable element in defense of relative. As discussed, there is no The Civil Liability
unlawful aggression on the part of Cesario. Hence, Florencios reliance on this
For the victims death resulting from the crime, the heirs are entitled to the following
justifying circumstance is likewise unavailing.
awards: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of the victim; (2) actual or
Similarly, Florencios subsequent presentation of himself at the police station cannot compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5)
be considered as a "voluntary surrender" which would mitigate the penalty imposed. temperate damages.47
"A surrender to be voluntary must be spontaneous, showing the intent of the
Civil indemnity in the amount of 75,000.00 is mandatory and is granted without
accused to submit himself unconditionally to the authorities either because (a) he
need of evidence other than the commission of the crime. 48 Moral damages in the
acknowledges his guilt or (b) he wishes to save them the trouble and expense
sum of 50,000.00 shall be awarded despite the absence of proof of mental and
necessarily incurred in his search and capture."44 Here, Florencio cannot be
emotional suffering of the victims heirs.49 "As borne out by human nature and
considered to have surrendered voluntarily since his act did not emanate from a
experience, a violent death invariably and necessarily brings about emotional pain
natural impulse to admit the killing of Cesario or to save the police officers the effort
and anguish on the part of the victims family."50 Also under Article 2230 of the Civil
and expense that would be incurred in his search and incarceration. Although he
Code, exemplary damages may be imposed when the crime was committed with one
submitted a medico-legal certificate purportedly to show that his injuries prevented
or more aggravating circumstances, like treachery,51 as in this case. Thus, the award
him from immediately surrendering to the authorities, same, however, does not
of 30,000.00 for exemplary damages is in order.52
certify as to the period of his incapacity or the period during which he required
medical attendance. Thus, there can be no explanation why he surrendered only on As regards actual damages, the son of Cesario, Neldison, testified that the sum of
April 16, 1998 or 14 days after the commission of the crime. To us, Florencios 40,000.00 was spent for the coffin of his father but was unable to present receipts
surrender was a mere afterthought undeserving of any consideration. Indeed, the to substantiate such claim. Where the amount of actual damages for funeral
failure of Florencio to immediately surrender militates against his claim that he killed expenses cannot be ascertained due to the absence of receipts to prove them,
24
temperate damages in the sum of 25,000.00 may be granted, as it is hereby
granted, in lieu thereof.53 "Under Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate damages
may be recovered as it cannot be denied that the heirs of the victim suffered
pecuniary loss although the exact amount was not proved." 54

The heirs of Cesario are also entitled to an interest on all the amounts of damages
we have awarded at the legal rate of 6% from the date of finality of this Decision
until fully paid.55

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the November 17, 2006 Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01543 which affirmed the August 7, 2001 Decision of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Aparri, Cagayan, finding appellants Florencio,
Franklin, Elynor, Eddie and Eric, all surnamed Agacer, guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of murder, with the following modifications:

(1) actual damages is DELETED;

(2) the appellants are ORDERED to pay the heirs of Cesario Agacer 25,000.00 as
temperate damages; and

(3) the appellants are ORDERED to pay the heirs of Cesario Agacer interest at the
legal rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all the amounts of damages awarded,
commencing from the date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.

Costs against the appellants.

SO ORDERED.

25
G.R. No. 178300 March 17, 2009 During their arraignment,5 appellants, assisted by a counsel de oficio, pleaded "Not
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, guilty" to the charge. Trial on the merits thereafter followed.
vs.
DOMINGO REYES y PAJE, ALVIN ARNALDO y AVENA and JOSELITO FLORES y The prosecution presented as witnesses Jona Abagatnan (Abagatnan), Robert Yao
VICTORIO, Accused-Appellants. (Robert), Yao San, Police Officer 3 (PO3) Alex Alberto, PO3 Roberto Jabien, Atty.
DECISION Florimond Rous (Atty. Rous) and Atty. Carlo Uminga (Atty. Uminga). Their
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: testimonies, taken together, attest to the following:

For review is the Decision,1 dated 14 August 2006, and Resolution,2 dated 18 October The Yao family is composed of Yao San (father), Chua Ong Ping Sim (mother), Robert
2006, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02301 affirming with and Raymond (children), Lenny (daughter-in-law, wife of Robert), Matthew and
modifications the Decision,3 dated 26 February 2002, of the Regional Trial Court Charlene (grandchildren), and Jona Abagatnan and Josephine Ortea (housemaids).
(RTC), Branch 12, Malolos, Bulacan, in Criminal Case No. 1611-M-99 finding herein The Yao family owns and operates a poultry farm in Barangay Santo Cristo, San Jose
accused-appellants Domingo Reyes y Paje (Reyes), Alvin Arnaldo y Avena (Arnaldo) del Monte, Bulacan.
and Joselito Flores y Victorio (Flores) guilty of the special complex crime of
On 16 July 1999, at about 11:00 p.m., the Yao family, on board a Mazda MVP van,
kidnapping for ransom with homicide and imposing upon each of them the capital
arrived at the their poultry farm in Barangay Sto. Cristo, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
punishment of death.
Yao San alighted from the van to open the gate of the farm. At this juncture,
The facts culled from the records are as follows:
appellant Reyes and a certain Juanito Pataray (Pataray) approached, poked their
On 11 August 1999, an Information4 was filed before the RTC charging appellants guns at Yao San, and dragged him inside the van. Appellant Reyes and Pataray also
with the special complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide. The boarded the van. Thereupon, appellants Arnaldo and Flores, with two male
accusatory portion of the information reads: companions, all armed with guns, arrived and immediately boarded the van.
Appellant Flores took the drivers seat and drove the van. Appellants Reyes and
The undersigned State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice hereby accuses Arnaldo and their cohorts then blindfolded each member of the Yao family inside the
Domingo Reyes y Paje, Alvin Arnaldo y Avena and Joselito Flores y Victorio of the van with packaging tape.6
crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide defined and penalized under Article
267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed as follows: After about 30 minutes of traveling on the road, the van stopped. Per order of
appellants and their cohorts, Chua Ong Ping Sim, Robert, Raymond and Jona
That on or about 11:00 p.m. on July 16, 1999, at Sitio Lambakin, barangay Sto. Cristo, Abagatnan (Abagatnan) stepped out of the van with appellants Reyes and Arnaldo,
San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Pataray and one of their male companions.7 Appellant Flores, with the other male
Court, the above-named accused conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one companion, drove the van with the remaining members of the Yao family inside the
another and grouping themselves together with Juanito Pataray y Cayaban, Federico vehicle.8
Pataray y Cabayan and Rommel Libarnes y Acejo, who are still at large, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by means of force and intimidation and Later, the van stopped again. Appellant Flores and his male companion told Yao San
with use of firearms, carry away and deprive Robert Yao, Yao San, Chua Ong Ping to produce the amount of five million pesos (5,000,000.00) as ransom in exchange
Sim, Raymond Yao, Ronald Matthew Yao, Lennie Yao, Charlene Yao, Jona Abagatnan for the release of Chua Ong Ping Sim, Robert, Raymond and Abagatnan. Thereafter,
ang Josephine Ortea against their will and consent on board their Mazda MVP van appellant Flores and his male companion left the van and fled; while Yao San, Lenny,
for the purpose of extorting money in the amount of Five Million Pesos Matthew, Charlene and Josephine remained inside the van. Upon sensing that the
(5,000,000.00), that during the detention of Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymong Yao, kidnappers had already left, Yao San drove the van towards the poultry farm and
said accused with intent to kill, willfully and unlawfully strangled Chua Ong Ping Sim sought the help of relatives.9
and Raymond Yao to death to the damage and prejudice of their heirs in such
Meanwhile, Chua Ong Ping Sim, Robert, Raymond and Abagatnan were taken on foot
amount as may be awarded to them by this Honorable Court.
by appellants Reyes and Arnaldo, Pataray and one male companion to a safe-house

26
situated in the mountainous part of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan where they spent participants in the incident. Appellant Arnaldo also described the physical features of
the whole night.10 his cohorts and revealed their whereabouts. 17

On the morning of the following day, at around 4:00 a.m., appellants and their Subsequently, appellant Reyes was arrested in Sto. Cristo, San Jose del Monte,
cohorts tried to contact Yao San regarding the ransom demanded, but the latter Bulacan. Thereafter, appellants Arnaldo and Reyes were identified in a police line-up
could not be reached. Thus, appellants instructed Abagatnan to look for Yao San in by Yao San, Robert and Abagatnan as their kidnappers.18
the poultry farm. Appellants Reyes and Arnaldo and one male companion escorted
Abagatnan in proceeding to the poultry farm. Upon arriving therein, Abagatnan On 10 August 1999, agents of the PAOCTF arrested appellant Flores in Balayan,
searched for Yao San, but the latter could not be found. Appellants Reyes and Batangas. Afterwards, appellant Flores, with the assistance of Atty. Rous, executed a
Arnaldo told Abagatnan to remind Yao San about the ransom demanded. Thereafter, written extra-judicial confession detailing his participation in the incident. Appellant
appellants Reyes and Arnaldo and their male companion left Abagatnan in the Flores identified appellants Reyes and Arnaldo, Pataray and a certain Tata and Akey
poultry farm and went back to the safe-house.11 as his co-participants in the incident. Appellant Flores was subsequently identified in
a police line-up by Yao San, Robert and Abagatnan as one of their kidnappers. 19
In the safe-house, appellants told Robert that they would release him so he could
help Abagatnan in locating Yao San. Robert and appellants left the safe-house, and The prosecution adduced documentary evidence to bolster the aforesaid allegations,
after 30 minutes of trekking, appellants abandoned Robert. Robert then ran towards to wit: (1) Sinumpaang Salaysay of Abagatnan (Exhibit A);20 (2) Karagdagang
the poultry farm. Upon arriving at the poultry farm, Robert found Yao San and Sinumpaang Salaysay of Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San (Exhibit B); 21 (3) sketch
informed him about the ransom demanded by the appellants. Robert also told Yao made by Abagatnan (Exhibit C);22 (4) death certificates of Chua Ong Ping Sim and
San that Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were still held by appellants and their Raymond (Exhibits D & E);23 (5) Sinumpaang Salaysay of Robert (Exhibit F);24 (6)
cohorts.12 Sinumpaang Salaysay of Yao San (Exhibit H);25 (7) joint affidavit of Police Senior
Inspector Loreto P. Delelis and PO3 Roberto Jabien (Exhibit I);26 (8) joint affidavit of
On 18 July 1999, appellants called Yao San through a cellular phone and demanded PO3 Alex Alberto and PO3 Leonito Fermin (Exhibit J); 27 (9) written extra-judicial
the ransom of 5 million for Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond. Yao San acceded to confession of appellant Flores (Exhibit K);28 (10) written extra-judicial confession of
appellants demand. Appellants allowed Yao San to talk with Chua Ong Ping Sim. 13 appellant Arnaldo (Exhibit L);29 and (11) sketch made by appellant Arnaldo (Exhibit
M).30
On the morning of 19 July 1999, appellants again called Yao San via a cellular phone
and threatened to kill Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond because of newspaper and For its part, the defense presented the testimonies of appellants, Marina Reyes,
radio reports regarding the incident. Yao San clarified to appellants that he did not Irene Flores Celestino, Wilfredo Celestino, Jr., Rachel C. Ramos, and Isidro Arnaldo.
report the incident to the police and also pleaded with them to spare the life of Chua Appellants denied any liability and interposed alibis and the defense of frame-up.
Ong Ping Sim and Raymond. Appellants then instructed Yao San to appear and bring Their testimonies, as corroborated by their witnesses, are as follows:
with him the ransom of 5 million at 3:00 p.m. in the Usan dumpsite, Litex Road,
Fairview, Quezon City. Yao San arrived at the designated place of the pay-off at 4:00 Appellant Arnaldo testified that he was an "asset" of the PAOCTF. He narrated that
p.m., but none of the appellants or their cohorts showed up. Yao San waited for on 25 July 1999, while he was at the tricycle terminal of Brgy. Sto. Cristo, San Jose del
appellants call, but none came. Thus, Yao San left.14 Monte, Bulacan, a police officer named Liwanag of the PAOCTF approached and
invited him to go to Camp Crame to shed light on a kidnapping case allegedly
On 23 July 1999, the corpses of Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were found at the committed by a certain Brgy. Captain Ramos and by members of the Aguirre and
La Mesa Dam, Novaliches, Quezon City.15 Both died of asphyxia by strangulation.16 Bautista families. He accepted the invitation. Subsequently, he proceeded to Camp
Crame and met therein Colonel Cesar Mancao III (Colonel Mancao) of the PAOCTF.
On 26 July 1999, appellant Arnaldo surrendered to the Presidential Anti-Organized Colonel Mancao told him that the PAOCTF would arrest Brgy. Capt. Ramos and
Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) at Camp Crame, Quezon City. Thereupon, appellant certain persons named Gerry Bautista and Dadie Bautista. Colonel Mancao
Arnaldo, with the assistance of Atty. Uminga, executed a written extra-judicial instructed him to identify said persons as responsible for the kidnapping of the Yao
confession narrating his participation in the incident. Appellant Arnaldo identified family. He refused to do so because he feared Brgy. Capt. Ramos. The day after,
appellants Reyes and Flores, Pataray and a certain Tata and Akey as his co- Colonel Mancao called appellant Arnaldo to his office. Upon arriving thereat, the
27
latter saw Yao San. Yao San promised him that if their kidnappers would be The defense proffered documentary and object evidence to buttress their foregoing
apprehended through his cooperation, he would give him 500,000.00. He accepted claims, to wit: (1) prayer booklet of appellant Arnaldo (Exhibit 1 for appellant
Yao Sans offer under the condition that he would identify a different set of suspects. Arnaldo);36 (2) calling card of Colonel Mancao (Exhibit 2 for appellant Arnaldo); 37 and
Later, Colonel Mancao gave him 30,000.00.31 (3) pictures allegedly showing appellant Flores working as a carpenter in Antipolo
City (Exhibits 1 & 2 for appellant Flores).38
Subsequently, he pointed to appellants Reyes and Flores as his cohorts in kidnapping
the Yao family. He implicated appellants Reyes and Flores to get even with them, After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision dated 26 February 2002 convicting
since the two had previously mauled him after he sold their fighting cocks and failed appellants of the special complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide and
to give them the proceeds of the sale.32 sentencing each of them to suffer the supreme penalty of death. Appellants were
also ordered to pay jointly and severally the Yao family 150,000.00 as civil
He denied having met with Atty. Uminga. He was not assisted by the latter when he indemnity, 500,000.00 as moral damages and the costs of the proceedings. The
was forced by the PAOCTF to make a written extra-judicial confession on the dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads:
kidnapping of the Yao family. Further, he claimed that while he was under the
custody of PAOCTF, a certain Major Paulino utilized him as a drug pusher. Upon WHEREFORE, finding herein three (3) accused DOMINGO REYES y PAJE, ALVIN
failing to remit the proceeds of the drug sale, he was beaten up by PAOCTF agents ARNALDO y AVENA, and JOSELITO FLORES y VICTORIO guilty as principals beyond
and thereafter included as accused with appellants Reyes and Flores for the reasonable doubt of the crime of KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM WITH (DOUBLE)
kidnapping of the Yao family.33 HOMICIDE as charged, they are hereby sentenced each to suffer the supreme
penalty of DEATH as mandated by law, to jointly and severally indemnify the heirs of
On the other hand, appellant Reyes testified that he slept in his house with his family deceased Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond Yao in the amount of One Hundred Fifty
from 6:00 p.m. of 16 July 1999 until the morning of the next day; that on the early Thousand Pesos (150,000.00), and all the private offended parties or victims,
morning of 26 July 1999, five policemen barged into his house and arrested him; that including the heirs of the deceased, in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos
the policemen told him that he was a suspect in the kidnapping of the Yao family; (500,000.00) as moral damages, subject to the corresponding filing fee as a first
that he was mauled by the policemen outside his house; that the policemen forcibly lien, and to pay the costs of the proceedings.39
brought him to Camp Crame, where he was subsequently tortured; that he knew the
Yao family because he worked as a carpenter in the familys poultry farm at Brgy. By reason of the death penalty imposed on each of the appellants, the instant case
Sto. Cristo, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; that he had no involvement in the was elevated to us for automatic review. However, pursuant to our ruling in People
kidnapping of the family; and that appellant Arnaldo implicated him in the v. Mateo,40 we remanded the instant case to the Court of Appeals for proper
kidnapping of the family because appellant Arnaldo held a grudge against him. 34 disposition.

For his part, appellant Flores testified that he stayed in his sisters house at Antipolo On 14 August 2006, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision affirming with
City from 12 July 1999 up to 30 July 1999; that he went to her house on 12 July 1999 modifications the RTC Decision. The appellate court reduced the penalty imposed by
because it was the birthday of her child; that he worked as a construction worker the RTC on each of the appellants from death penalty to reclusion perpetua without
during his stay in his sisters house; that he was arrested in Batangas and thereafter the possibility of parole. It also decreased the amount of civil indemnity from
brought to Camp Crame, where he was beaten up by policemen for refusing to admit 150,000.00 to 100,000.00. Further, it directed appellants to pay jointly and
involvement in the kidnapping of the Yao family; that after three days of beating, he severally the Yao family 100,000.00 as exemplary damages. The fallo of the Court of
was forced to sign a document which he later found out to be a written extra-judicial Appeals decision states:
confession; that he never met nor did he know Atty. Rous; that he knew the Yao
family because he lived near the familys poultry farm, and he used to work therein WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
as a welder; that he had no participation in the kidnapping of the family; and that Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 12, dated February 26, 2002, in Criminal Case No. 1611-M-
appellant Arnaldo implicated him in the kidnapping of the family because he and 99 convicting accused-appellants of the crime of Kidnapping For Ransom with
appellant Reyes had mauled appellant Arnaldo several years ago. 35 (Double) Homicide, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS in that:

28
1) accused-appellants are instead sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect and even finality, as it had the
perpetua; opportunity to examine their demeanor when they testified on the witness stand;
and (3) a witness who testifies in a clear, positive and convincing manner is a credible
2) the award of civil indemnity ex delicto is hereby reduced to 100,000; and witness.44

3) accused-appellants are further ordered to pay private complainants the amount of After carefully reviewing the evidence on record and applying the foregoing
100,000.00 as exemplary damages.41 guidelines to this case, we found no cogent reason to overturn the RTCs ruling
finding the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses credible. Prosecution witnesses
Appellants filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals Decision but Abagatnan, Robert, and Yao San positively identified appellants and their cohorts as
this was denied. Hence, appellants filed their Notice of Appeal on 25 August 2006. their kidnappers during a police line-up and also during trial. Abagatnan specifically
testified during the trial that after appellants and their cohorts forcibly entered the
In their separate briefs,42 appellants assigned the following errors:
van where she and the Yao family were, appellant Flores drove the van away from
I. the poultry farm; that appellants Reyes and Arnaldo were among the kidnappers
who guarded her, Robert, Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond in the safe-house; and
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES that appellants Reyes and Arnaldo accompanied her in going to the poultry farm to
OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES; search for Yao San and remind him about the ransom demanded. 45 Robert confirmed
that appellants and their cohorts blindfolded them inside the van during the
II. incident. He also recounted that appellants and their cohorts detained him and Chua
Ong Ping Sim, Raymond and Abagatnan in a safe-house. He was later instructed by
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING A CONSPIRACY BETWEEN APPELLANTS; appellants to find Yao San and remind him about the ransom. 46 Yao San declared
that during the incident, appellant Reyes and Pataray approached him, poked their
III.
guns at him, and dragged him into the van. Appellant Flores took the drivers seat
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL and drove the van. Appellant Flores and his male companion told him to produce 5
CONFESSIONS OF APPELLANT ARNALDO AND APPELLANT FLORES; million as ransom money in exchange for the release of Chua Ong Ping Sim, Robert,
Raymond and Abagatnan.47
IV.
Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San testified in a clear and candid manner during the
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN TOTALLY IGNORING THE CORROBORATED EVIDENCE OF trial. Their respective testimonies were consistent with one another. They were
THE DEFENSE; steadfast in recounting their ordeal despite the grueling cross examination of the
defense. Moreover, their testimonies were in harmony with the documentary
V. evidence adduced by the prosecution. The RTC and the Court of Appeals found their
testimonies credible and trustworthy. Both courts also found no ill motive for
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION HAD PROVEN Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San to testify against appellants.
APPELLANTS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.43
Appellants, nonetheless, maintain that Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San could not
Anent the first assigned error, appellants assail the credibility of prosecution have identified their kidnappers, because (1) the incident occurred in the darkness of
witnesses Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San. the night; (2) they were blindfolded then; and (3) the heads of the kidnappers were
covered by T-shirts.
In resolving issues pertaining to the credibility of the witnesses, this Court is guided
by the following well-settled principles: (1) the reviewing court will not disturb the It appears that the crime scene was well-lighted during the incident. At that time,
findings of the lower court, unless there is a showing that the latter overlooked, there was a light from a fluorescent bulb hanging above the gate of the poultry farm
misunderstood or misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and substance wherein Yao San was held at gunpoint by appellant Reyes and Pataray. 48 The
that may affect the result of the case; (2) the findings of the trial court on the
29
headlights of the van were also turned on, making it possible for Abagatnan and nonetheless, ruled that the victims testimony was credible and truthful. We
Robert to see the faces of appellant Reyes and Pataray as the two approached and sustained such ruling of the trial court and ratiocinated:
poked their guns at Yao San.49 Further, there was a bulb inside the van, which turned
on when the doors van was opened. This bulb lighted up when appellants and their Appellants dispute the plausibility of Enrico Cebuhanos claim that he was able to
cohorts forcibly boarded the van, thus, allowing Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San to identify the assailants because they took off their masks. Persons who wear masks
glance at the faces of appellants and their cohorts.50 would not take them off so casually in the presence of their victims, as doing so
would thereby reveal their identities. x x x.
Although the Yao family was blindfolded during the incident, it was, nevertheless,
shown that it took appellants and their cohorts about 10 minutes before all The above arguments are untenable. In his testimony, Enrico Cebuhano clearly
members of the Yao family were blindfolded.51 During this considerable length of stated that the men who entered his home removed their masks when he was
time, Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San were able to take a good look at the faces of brought downstairs. Why they did so was known only to them. It is possible that they
appellants and their cohorts. In addition, Abagatnan and Robert narrated that their thought that there was no one in the vicinity who could identify them, or that they
respective blindfolds loosened several times, giving them the opportunity to have a wanted Enrico to see who they were so as to intimidate him. It is also possible that
glimpse at the faces of appellants and their cohorts.52 they felt secure because there were 14 of them who were all armed. In any event,
what is important is that the trial court found Enrico Cebuhanos testimony to be
Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San testified that even though the heads of appellants both credible and believable, and that he was able to positively identify appellants
and their cohorts were covered by T-shirts, their faces were, nonetheless, exposed herein, because the men who entered his home removed their masks, x x x.
and uncovered, allowing them to see their faces.53 Robert and Yao San also declared
that they recognized the faces of appellants during the incident because the latter It is significant to note that Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were brutally killed as a
resided near the poultry farm of the Yao family, which used to hire them several result of the kidnapping. It is difficult to believe that Robert and Yao San would point
times in the farm as carpenters/welders.54 to appellants and their cohorts as their kidnappers if such were not true. A witness
relationship to the victim of a crime makes his testimony more credible as it would
Appellants, however, insist that the testimonies of Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San be unnatural for a relative interested in vindicating a crime done to their family to
that they were able to recognize the kidnappers -- because although the kidnappers accuse somebody other than the real culprit.56 Relationship with a victim of a crime
heads were covered with T-shirts, their faces were nevertheless exposed or would deter a witness from indiscriminately implicating anybody in the crime. His
uncovered -- are incredible. Appellants argue that it is against human nature and natural and usual interest would be to identify the real malefactor and secure his
experience that kidnappers would cover only their heads and not their faces in conviction to obtain true justice for the death of a relative. 57
concealing their identities.
Appellants put in issue the failure of Robert and Yao San to immediately report the
It is not illogical or against human nature for appellants and their cohorts to cover incident and identify appellants to authorities despite their common claim that they
their heads with T-shirts, while leaving their faces exposed and uncovered when they recognized appellants, as the latter used to work in the poultry farm.
kidnapped the Yao family. Perhaps, appellants and their cohorts thought that putting
T-shirts on their heads without covering their faces was sufficient to conceal their Robert and Yao San cannot be blamed for not immediately reporting the incident to
identities. Regardless of their reason, the fact remains that Abagatnan, Robert and the authorities. Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were still held by appellants and
Yao San positively identified appellants as their kidnappers, and their said their cohorts when the ransom was demanded for their release. Appellants and their
identification and testimonies were found by the RTC, the Court of Appeals and by cohorts were armed and dangerous. Appellants and their cohorts also threatened to
this Court to be credible. In People v. Barredo,55 the victim testified that he was able kill Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond if Yao San and Robert would report the incident
to identify the accused as his assailants because the latter took off their masks to the authorities.58 Understandably, Yao San and Robert were extremely fearful for
during the assault. The accused argued that the victims testimony was incredible the safety of their loved ones, and this caused them to refrain from reporting the
because persons who wore masks would not take them off so casually in the incident. Robert and Yao San cannot also be blamed for not reporting the incident to
presence of their victims, as doing so would reveal their identities. The trial court, the police even after the corpses of Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond had already
been found, and appellants and their cohorts had cut their communication with
them. Certainly, the killings of Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond had a
30
chilling/paralyzing effect on Robert and Yao San. Also, appellants and their cohorts Appellant Reyes claims that his alleged participation in the kidnapping of the Yao
were still at large then, and the possibility that they would harm the remaining family was based solely on the written extra-judicial confessions of appellants
members of the Yao family was not remote, considering that appellants and their Arnaldo and Flores. He maintains, however, that said extra-judicial confessions are
cohorts were familiar with the whereabouts of the Yao family. At any rate, we have inadmissible in evidence, because they were obtained in violation of his co-
held that failure to immediately report the kidnapping incident does not diminish the appellants constitutional right to have an independent counsel of their own choice
credibility of the witnesses.59 The lapse of a considerable length of time before a during custodial investigation. Appellant Reyes alleges that the agents of the PAOCTF
witness comes forward to reveal the identities of the perpetrators of the crime does did not ask his co-appellants during the custodial investigation whether they had a
not taint the credibility of the witness and his testimony where such delay is lawyer of their own choice, and whether they could afford to hire a lawyer; that the
satisfactorily explained.60 agents of the PAOCTF suggested the availability of Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous to his
co-appellants; and that Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous were associates of the PAOCTF.
Apropos the second assigned error, appellants contend that the prosecution failed to Appellant Reyes also asseverates that the extra-judicial confessions of appellants
prove that they conspired in kidnapping the Yao family. Arnaldo and Flores cannot be utilized against him.

Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when two or more Appellant Flores argues that his written extra-judicial confession is inadmissible in
persons agree to commit a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy presupposes evidence, because it was obtained in violation of his constitutional right to have an
unity of purpose and unity in the execution of the unlawful objective among the independent counsel of his own choice during custodial investigation. He insists that
accused.61 When the accused by their acts aimed at the same object, one performing his written extra-judicial confession was elicited through force, torture and without
one part and the other performing another part as to complete the crime, with a the assistance of a lawyer. He avers that he was not assisted by any lawyer from the
view to the attainment of the same object, conspiracy exists.62 time he was arrested until he was coerced to sign the purported confession; that he
was forced to sign it because he could not anymore endure the beatings he suffered
As can be gleaned from the credible testimonies and sworn statements of at the hands of the PAOCTF agents; and that he never met or knew Atty. Rous who,
Abagatnan, Robert and Yao, appellant Reyes and Pataray 63 approached and poked according to the PAOCTF, had assisted him during the custodial investigation.
their guns at Yao San, and thereafter dragged the latter into the van. Appellant
Flores then took the drivers seat and drove the van, while each member of the Yao Appellant Arnaldo contends that his written extra-judicial confession should be
family was blindfolded by appellants Reyes and Arnaldo and their cohorts inside the excluded as evidence, as it was procured in violation of his constitutional right to
van. Thereafter, appellant Flores instructed Yao San to produce the amount of 5 have an independent counsel of his own choice during custodial investigation. He
million as ransom money in exchange for the release of Chua Ong Ping Sim, Robert, claims that he was not given freedom to choose his counsel; that the agents of the
Raymond and Abagatnan. Appellant Reyes and appellant Arnaldo were among the PAOCTF did not ask him during the custodial investigation whether he had a lawyer
kidnappers who guarded Abagatnan, Robert, Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond in the of his own choice, and whether he could afford to hire a lawyer; and that the agents
safe-house. They also accompanied Abagatnan and Robert in going to the poultry of the PAOCTF suggested the availability of Atty. Uminga to him.
farm to search for and remind Yao San about the ransom demanded. Further,
appellants Arnaldo and Flores narrated in their respective extra-judicial An extra-judicial confession is a declaration made voluntarily and without
confessions64 how they planned and executed the kidnapping of the Yao family. Their compulsion or inducement by a person under custodial investigation, stating or
extra-judicial confessions also detailed the particular role/participation played by acknowledging that he had committed or participated in the commission of a
each of appellants and their cohorts in the kidnapping of the family. Clearly, the crime.65 In order that an extra-judicial confession may be admitted in evidence,
foregoing individual acts of appellants and their cohorts demonstrated their unity of Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution mandates that the following
purpose and design in kidnapping the Yao family for the purpose of extorting safeguards be observed66:
ransom.
Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
Appellants, however, challenge the legality and admissibility of the written extra- have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent
judicial confessions. and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford

31
the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be However, the foregoing rule is not intended to deter to the accused from confessing
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.1awphi.zw+ guilt if he voluntarily and intelligently so desires, but to protect him from admitting
what he is being coerced to admit although untrue. To be an effective counsel, a
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate lawyer need not challenge all the questions being propounded to his client. The
the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, presence of a lawyer is not intended to stop an accused from saying anything which
incommunicado, or other forms of detention are prohibited. might incriminate him; but, rather, it was adopted in our Constitution to preclude
the slightest coercion on the accused to admit something false. The counsel should
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 shall be never prevent an accused from freely and voluntarily telling the truth. 75
inadmissible in evidence against him.
We have gone over the records and found that the PAOCTF investigators have duly
Thus, we have held that an extra-judicial confession is admissible in evidence if the apprised appellants Arnaldo and Flores of their constitutional rights to remain silent
following requisites have been satisfied: (1) it must be voluntary; (2) it must be made and to have competent and independent counsel of their own choice during their
with the assistance of competent and independent counsel; (3) it must be express; respective custodial investigations.
and (4) it must be in writing.67
The Pasubali76 of appellants Arnaldo and Floress written extra-judicial confessions
The mantle of protection afforded by the above-quoted constitutional provision clearly shows that before they made their respective confessions, the PAOCTF
covers the period from the time a person is taken into custody for the investigation investigators had informed them that the interrogation about to be conducted on
of his possible participation in the commission of a crime or from the time he is them referred to the kidnapping of the Yao family. Thereafter, the PAOCTF agents
singled out as a suspect in the commission of the offense although not yet in explained to them that they had a constitutional right to remain silent, and that
custody.68 anything they would say may be used against them in a court of law. They were also
told that they were entitled to a counsel of their own choice, and that they would be
The right of an accused to be informed of the right to remain silent and to counsel
provided with one if they had none. When asked if they had a lawyer of their own,
contemplates the transmission of meaningful information rather than just the
appellant Arnaldo replied that he would be assisted by Atty. Uminga, while appellant
ceremonial and perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle. 69 Such
Flores agreed to be represented by Atty. Rous. Thereafter, when asked if they
right contemplates effective communication which results in the subject
understood their said rights, they replied in the affirmative. The appraisal of their
understanding what is conveyed.70
constitutional rights was done in the presence of their respective lawyers and in the
The right to counsel is a fundamental right and is intended to preclude the slightest Tagalog dialect, the language spoken and understood by them. Appellants Arnaldo
coercion as would lead the accused to admit something false.71 The right to counsel and Flores and their respective counsels, Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous, also signed
attaches upon the start of the investigation, i.e., when the investigating officer starts and thumbmarked the extra-judicial confessions. Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous
to ask questions to elicit information and/or confessions or admissions from the attested to the veracity of the afore-cited facts in their respective court
accused.72 The lawyer called to be present during such investigation should be, as far testimonies.77 Indeed, the appraisal of appellants constitutional rights was not
as reasonably possible, the choice of the accused. If the lawyer is one furnished in merely perfunctory, because it appeared certain that appellants had understood
behalf of accused, he should be competent and independent; that is, he must be and, in fact, exercised their fundamental rights after being informed thereof.
willing to fully safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused. 73 A competent and
Records reflect that appellants Arnaldo and Reyes were likewise accorded their right
independent counsel is logically required to be present and able to advice and assist
to competent and independent counsel during their respective custodial
his client from the time the latter answers the first question asked by the
investigations.
investigator until the signing of the confession. Moreover, the lawyer should
ascertain that the confession was made voluntarily, and that the person under As regards appellant Arnaldo, Atty. Uminga testified that prior to the questioning of
investigation fully understood the nature and the consequence of his extra-judicial appellant Arnaldo about the incident, Atty. Uminga told the PAOCTF investigators
confession vis-a-vis his constitutional rights. 74 and agents to give him and appellant Arnaldo space and privacy, so that they could
freely converse. After the PAOCTF investigators and agents left them, he and

32
appellant Arnaldo went to a cubicle where only the two of them were present. He and unload the burden on his mind. He requested appellant Flores to lift his shirt for
interviewed appellant Arnaldo in the Tagalog language regarding the latters the former to verify if there were torture marks or bruises on his body, but found
personal circumstances and asked him why he was in the PAOCTF office and why he none. Again, he cautioned appellant Flores about the serious consequences of his
wanted a lawyer. Appellant Arnaldo replied that he wanted to make a confession confession, but the latter maintained that he wanted to tell the truth. Thereafter, he
about his participation in the kidnapping of the Yao family. Thereupon, he asked permitted the PAOCTF investigators to question appellant Flores.80
appellant Arnaldo if the latter would accept his assistance as his lawyer for purposes
of his confession. Appellant Arnaldo agreed. He warned appellant Arnaldo that he Additionally, Atty. Rous stayed with appellant Flores while the latter was giving
might be sentenced to death if he confessed involvement in the incident. Appellant statements to the PAOCTF investigators. After the taking of appellant Flores
Arnaldo answered that he would face the consequences because he was bothered by statements, he instructed appellant Flores to read and check his written confession.
his conscience. He inquired from appellant Arnaldo if he was harmed or intimidated Appellant Flores read the same and made some minor corrections. He also read
into giving self-incriminating statements to the PAOCTF investigators. Appellant appellant Flores written confession. Afterwards, he and appellant Flores signed the
Arnaldo answered in the negative. He requested appellant Arnaldo to remove his latters written confession.81
shirt for him to check if there were torture marks on his body, but he found none. He
also observed that appellant Arnaldos appearance and movements were normal. His It is true that it was the PAOCTF which contacted and suggested the availability of
conference with appellant Arnaldo lasted for 15 minutes or more. Thereafter, he Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous to appellants Arnaldo and Flores, respectively.
allowed the PAOCTF investigators to question appellant Arnaldo.78 Nonetheless, this does not automatically imply that their right to counsel was
violated. What the Constitution requires is the presence of competent and
Further, Atty. Uminga sat beside appellant Arnaldo during the inquiry and listened to independent counsel, one who will effectively undertake his clients defense without
the latters entire confession. After the taking of appellant Arnaldos confession, any intervening conflict of interest.82 There was no conflict of interest with regard to
Atty. Uminga requested the PAOCTF investigators to give him a copy of appellant the legal assistance rendered by Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous. Both counsels had no
Arnaldos confession. Upon obtaining such copy, he read it entirely and thereafter interest adverse to appellants Arnaldo and Flores. Although Atty. Uminga testified
gave it to appellant Arnaldo. He instructed appellant Arnaldo to read and that he was a former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent, he, nevertheless,
comprehend the same carefully. He told appellant Arnaldo to ask him for clarification clarified that he had been separated therefrom since 199483 when he went into
and comment if he did not agree or understand any part of his written confession. private practice. Atty. Uminga declared under oath that he was a private practitioner
Appellant Arnaldo read his entire written confession and handed it to him. Atty. when he assisted appellant Arnaldo during the custodial investigation.84 It appears
Uminga asked him if he had objections to it. Appellant Arnaldo replied in the that Atty. Uminga was called by the PAOCTF to assist appellant Arnaldo, because
negative. He then reminded appellant Arnaldo that the latter could still change his Atty. Umingas telephone number was listed on the directory of his former NBI
mind, and that he was not being forced to sign. Appellant Arnaldo manifested that officemates detailed at the PAOCTF. Atty. Rous, on the other hand, was a member of
he would sign his written confession. Later, he and appellant Arnaldo affixed their the Free Legal Aid Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Quezon City at
signatures to the written confession.79 the time he rendered legal assistance to appellant Flores.85Part of Atty. Rous duty as
member of the said group was to render legal assistance to the indigents including
With respect to appellant Flores, Atty. Rous declared that before the PAOCTF suspects under custodial investigation. There was no evidence showing that Atty.
investigators began questioning appellant, Atty. Rous interviewed him in Tagalog Rous had organizational or personal links to the PAOCTF. In fact, he proceeded to the
inside a room, where only the two of them were present. He asked appellant Flores PAOCTF office to assist appellant Flores, because he happened to be the lawyer
about his personal circumstances. Appellant Flores replied that he was a suspect in manning the office when the PAOCTF called.86 In People v. Fabro,87 we stated:
the kidnapping of the Yao family, and he wanted to give a confession regarding his
involvement in the said incident. He asked appellant Flores whether he would accept The Constitution further requires that the counsel be independent; thus, he cannot
his assistance as his lawyer. Appellant Flores affirmed that he would. He asked be a special counsel, public or private prosecutor, counsel of the police, or a
appellant Flores why he wanted to give such confession. Appellant Flores answered municipal attorney whose interest is admittedly adverse to that of the accused. Atty.
that he was bothered by his conscience. Atty. Rous warned appellant Flores that his Jungco does not fall under any of said enumeration. Nor is there any evidence that
confession would be used against him in a court of law, and that the death penalty he had any interest adverse to that of the accused. The indelible fact is that he was
might be imposed on him. Appellant Flores told him that he wanted to tell the truth
33
president of the Zambales Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and not a were subjected to violence or torture. Neither did they file complaints against the
lackey of the lawmen. persons who had allegedly beaten or forced them to execute their respective
confessions despite several opportunities to do so. Appellants Arnaldo and Flores
Further, as earlier stated, under Section 12(1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution, an averred that they informed their family members/relatives of the alleged
accused is entitled to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his maltreatment, but the latter did not report such allegations to proper authorities. On
own choice. The phrase "preferably of his own choice" does not convey the message the contrary, appellants Arnaldo and Flores declared in their respective confessions
that the choice of a lawyer by a person under investigation is exclusive as to preclude that they were not forced or harmed in giving their sworn statements, and that they
other equally competent and independent attorneys from handling the defense. were not promised or given any award in consideration of the same. Records also
Otherwise, the tempo of custodial investigation would be solely in the hands of the bear out that they were physically examined by doctors before they made their
accused who can impede, nay, obstruct, the progress of the interrogation by simply confessions.92Their physical examination reports certify that no external signs of
selecting a lawyer who, for one reason or another, is not available to protect his physical injury or any form of trauma were noted during their examination. 93 In
interest.88While the choice of a lawyer in cases where the person under custodial People v. Pia,94 we held that the following factors indicate voluntariness of an extra-
interrogation cannot afford the services of counsel or where the preferred lawyer judicial confession: (1) where the accused failed to present credible evidence of
is not available is naturally lodged in the police investigators, the suspect has the compulsion or duress or violence on their persons; (2) where they failed to complain
final choice, as he may reject the counsel chosen for him and ask for another one. A to the officers who administered the oaths; (3) where they did not institute any
lawyer provided by the investigators is deemed engaged by the accused when he criminal or administrative action against their alleged intimidators for maltreatment;
does not raise any objection to the counsels appointment during the course of the (4) where there appeared to be no marks of violence on their bodies; and (5) where
investigation, and the accused thereafter subscribes to the veracity of the statement they did not have themselves examined by a reputable physician to buttress their
before the swearing officer.89 Appellants Arnaldo and Flores did not object to the claim.
appointment of Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous as their lawyers, respectively, during
their custodial investigation. Prior to their questioning, appellants Arnaldo and Flores It should also be noted that the extra-judicial confessions of appellants Arnaldo and
conferred with Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous. Appellant Arnaldo manifested that he Flores are replete with details on the manner in which the kidnapping was
would be assisted by Atty. Uminga, while appellant Flores agreed to be counseled by committed, thereby ruling out the possibility that these were involuntarily made.
Atty. Rous. Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous countersigned the written extra-judicial Their extra-judicial confessions clearly state how appellants and their cohorts
confessions of appellants Arnaldo and Flores, respectively. Hence, appellants Arnaldo planned the kidnapping as well as the sequence of events before, during and after its
and Flores are deemed to have engaged the services of Atty. Uminga and Atty. Rous, occurrence. The voluntariness of a confession may be inferred from its language if,
respectively. upon its face, the confession exhibits no suspicious circumstances tending to cast
doubt upon its integrity, it being replete with details which could only be supplied by
Since the prosecution has sufficiently established that the respective extra-judicial the accused.95
confessions of appellant Arnaldo and appellant Flores were obtained in accordance
with the constitutional guarantees, these confessions are admissible. They are With respect to appellant Reyess claim that the extra-judicial confessions of
evidence of a high order because of the strong presumption that no person of appellants Arnaldo and Flores cannot be used in evidence against him, we have ruled
normal mind would deliberately and knowingly confess to a crime, unless prompted that although an extra-judicial confession is admissible only against the confessant,
by truth and conscience.90 Consequently, the burden of proving that undue pressure jurisprudence makes it admissible as corroborative evidence of other facts that tend
or duress was used to procure the confessions rests on appellants Arnaldo and to establish the guilt of his co-accused.96 In People v. Alvarez,97 we ruled that where
Flores.91 the confession is used as circumstantial evidence to show the probability of
participation by the co-conspirator, that confession is receivable as evidence against
In the case at bar, appellants Arnaldo and Flores failed to discharge their burden of a co-accused. In People v. Encipido98 we elucidated as follows:
proving that they were forced or coerced to make their respective confessions.
Other than their self-serving statements that they were maltreated by the PAOCTF It is also to be noted that APPELLANTS extrajudicial confessions were independently
officers/agents, they did not present any plausible proof to substantiate their made without collusion, are identical with each other in their material respects and
claims.lawphil.net They did not submit any medical report showing that their bodies confirmatory of the other. They are, therefore, also admissible as circumstantial

34
evidence against their co-accused implicated therein to show the probability of the The defense of frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed by this Court with
latters actual participation in the commission of the crime. They are also admissible disfavor, for it can easily be concocted but is difficult to prove. In order to prosper,
as corroborative evidence against the others, it being clear from other facts and the defense of frame-up must be proved by the accused with clear and convincing
circumstances presented that persons other than the declarants themselves evidence.100
participated in the commission of the crime charged and proved. They are what is
commonly known as interlocking confession and constitute an exception to the It should be observed that the family residence/house of appellant Reyes where he
general rule that extrajudicial confessions/admissions are admissible in evidence claimed to have slept when the incident occurred is located within Brgy. Sto. Cristo,
only against the declarants thereof. San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.101 This is the same barangay where the Yao familys
poultry farm is situated. Appellant Reyes, in fact, admitted that the poultry farm is
Appellants Arnaldo and Flores stated in their respective confessions that appellant near his residence.102 There is a huge possibility that appellant Reyes slept for a
Reyes participated in their kidnapping of the Yao family. These statements are, while, woke up before 11:00 p.m., and thereafter proceeded to the Yao familys
therefore, admissible as corroborative and circumstantial evidence to prove poultry farm to participate in the kidnapping of the family. The same is true with
appellant Reyes guilt. appellant Flores. Wilfredo, appellant Flores nephew, testified that he and appellant
went to bed and slept together in the house of appellants sister in Antipolo City at
Nevertheless, even without the extra-judicial confessions of appellants Arnaldo and about 8:00 p.m. of 16 July 1999.103 It is greatly possible that Wifredo did not notice
Flores, evidence on record is sufficient to sustain a finding of culpability of appellant when appellant Flores woke up later at 9:00 p.m. and immediately proceeded to the
Reyes. As earlier found, Abagatnan, Robert and Yao positively identified appellant Yao familys poultry farm to participate in the kidnapping of the family, arriving
Reyes as one of their kidnappers. They specifically testified that during the incident, therein at about 11:00 p.m. It is a fact that a person coming from Antipolo City may
appellant Reyes (1) approached and pointed a gun at Yao San and dragged the latter reach San Jose del Monte, Bulacan in two hours via a motor vehicle, considering that
inside the van; and (2) accompanied Abagatnan and Robert in going to the poultry there was no more heavy traffic at that late evening. Obviously, appellants Reyes and
farm to search for and remind Yao San about the ransom demanded. The RTC, Court Flores failed to prove convincingly that it was physically impossible for them to be at
of Appeals and this Court found such testimonies credible. the crime scene during the incident.

Appellants argue that their alibis cast reasonable doubt on their alleged guilt. Appellant Flores submitted two pictures which, according to him, show that he
Appellant Reyes avers that he could not have been one of those who kidnapped the worked as a construction worker from 12 July 1999 up to 30 July 1999 while staying
Yao family on the night of 16 July 1999 at around 11:00 p.m., because he was in his sisters house at Antipolo City. These pictures, however, do not clearly and
sleeping with his family in their residence during such time and date. Likewise, convincingly support such claim, because (1) the pictures were undated; (2) the shots
appellant Flores asseverates that he could not have been present at the crime scene were taken from a far distance; and (3) the face of the man in the pictures which
on such date and time, as he was already sleeping in his sisters house at Antipolo appellant Flores claims as his is blurred, unrecognizable and almost hidden, as such
City. For his part, appellant Arnaldo asserts that he is a victim of a police frame-up. person is wearing a cap and is in a position where only the right and back portions of
He alleges that he was an asset of the PAOCTF, but was later utilized as a drug his head and body are visible.
pusher by the said agency. Upon failing to remit the proceeds of a shabu sale to the
PAOCTF officers, he was beaten up and included as accused in the kidnapping of the Appellant Arnaldo also failed to prove with convincing evidence his defense of
Yao family. frame-up. Aside from his self-serving testimony that he was a former PAOCTF agent
and that he was beaten and included as accused in the kidnapping of the Yao family
Alibi is the weakest of all defenses, for it is easy to contrive and difficult to prove. by the PAOCTF agents because he failed to remit to the PAOCTF officers the
Alibi must be proved by the accused with clear and convincing evidence; otherwise it proceeds of his sale of shabu, he did not present convincing proof to support said
cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of credible witnesses who testify on allegations. He submitted the calling card of Colonel Mancao, which appears to have
affirmative matters. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove been signed by the latter at the back portion, but there is nothing on it which
that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove indicates or verifies that appellant Arnaldo was indeed a former PAOCTF agent. He
that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its also submitted a prayer book containing his handwritten narration of torture he
immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. 99 allegedly experienced at the hands of the PAOCTF agents, but this does not

35
conclusively show that he was beaten by the PAOCTF agents. As we earlier found, dehumanizing acts. Both of these qualifying circumstances are alleged in the
appellant Arnaldo did not produce any medical records/certificates or file any information and proven during trial.
complaint against the PAOCTF agents to bolster his claim of maltreatment.
As testified to by Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San, appellants and their cohorts
It is true that the alibis of appellants Reyes and Flores and the defense of frame-up of demanded the amount of 5 million for the release of Chua Ong Pong Sim and
appellant Arnaldo were corroborated on some points by the testimonies of some of Raymond. In fact, Yao San went to the Usan dumpsite, Litex Road, Fairview, Quezon
their relatives/friends. We have, however, held that alibi and the defense of frame- City, to hand over the ransom money to appellants and their cohorts, but the latter
up become less plausible when they are corroborated only by relatives and friends did not show up. It was also apparent that Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were
because of perceived partiality.104 killed or died during their captivity. Yao San declared that appellants and their
cohorts called up and told him that they would kill Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond
Indeed, the positive and credible testimonies of Abagatnan, Robert and Yao San who were still under their custody, because they heard the radio report that the
prevail over the alibis and defense of frame-up of appellants.105 incident was already known to the police. True to their threats, the corpses of Chua
Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were later found dumped in La Mesa Dam. Their
We shall now determine the propriety of appellants conviction for the special respective death certificates show that they died of asphyxia by strangulation.
complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide and the corresponding
penalties imposed. Withal, the death penalty cannot be imposed on the appellants in view of the
passage of Republic Act No. 9346 on 24 June 2006 prohibiting the imposition of
Under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, the crime of kidnapping is committed death penalty in the Philippines. In accordance with Sections 2 and 3 thereof, the
with the concurrence of the following elements: (1) the offender is a private penalty that should be meted out to the appellants is reclusion perpetua without the
individual; (2) he kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of possibility of parole. The Court of Appeals, therefore, acted accordingly in imposing
his liberty; (3) the act of detention or kidnapping is illegal; and (4) in the commission the penalty of reclusion perpetua without the possibility of parole on each of the
of the offense, any of the following circumstances is present: (a) the kidnapping or appellants.
detention lasts for more than three days; (b) it is committed by simulating public
authority; (c) serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or The Court of Appeals was also correct in ordering appellants to jointly and severally
detained or threats to kill him are made; or (d) the person kidnapped or detained is a pay civil indemnity and exemplary damages to the Yao family. Nonetheless, their
minor, female, or a public officer. 106 All of the foregoing elements were duly corresponding amounts should be modified. In People v. Quiachon, 110 we explained
establish by the testimonial and documentary evidences for the prosecution in the that even if the death penalty was not to be imposed on accused because of the
case at bar. First, appellants and their cohorts are private individuals. Second, prohibition in Republic Act No. 9346, the civil indemnity of 75,000.00 was still
appellants and their cohorts kidnapped the Yao family by taking control of their van proper, as the said award was not dependent on the actual imposition of the death
and detaining them in a secluded place. Third, the Yao family was taken against their penalty but on the fact that qualifying circumstances warranting the imposition of
will. And fourth, threats to kill were made and the kidnap victims include females. the death penalty attended the commission of the offense. As earlier stated, both
the qualifying circumstances of demand for ransom and the double killing or death
Republic Act No. 7659 provides that the death penalty shall be imposed if any of the of two of the kidnap victims were alleged in the information and proven during trial.
two qualifying circumstances is present in the commission of the kidnapping: (1) the Thus, for the twin deaths of Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond, their heirs (Yao San,
motive of the kidnappers is to extort ransom for the release of the kidnap victims, Robert, Lenny, Matthew and Charlene) are entitled to a total amount of 150,000.00
although none of the circumstances mentioned under paragraph four of the as civil indemnity. Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction
elements of kidnapping were present. Ransom means money, price or consideration for the public good.111 In criminal offenses, exemplary damages may be recovered
paid or demanded for the redemption of a captured person that would release him when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances,
from captivity.107 Whether or not the ransom is actually paid to or received by the whether ordinary or qualifying.112 Since both the qualifying circumstances of demand
perpetrators is of no moment.108 It is sufficient that the kidnapping was committed for ransom and the killing or death of two of the kidnap victims (Chua Ong Ping Sim
for the purpose of exacting ransom;109 and (2) the kidnap victims were killed or died and Raymond) while in captivity were alleged in the information and proven during
as a consequence of the kidnapping or was raped, or subjected to torture or trial, and in order to deter others from committing the same despicable acts, the

36
award of exemplary damages is proper. The total amount of 100,000.00 as
exemplary damages should be modified. In several cases, 113 we awarded an amount
of 100,000.00 to each of the kidnap victims. As in this case, the amount of
100,000.00 as exemplary damages should be awarded each to Yao San, Robert,
Lenny, Matthew, Charlene, Abagatnan and Ortea. This makes the total amount of
exemplary damages add up to 700,000.00.

The appellate court aptly held that the award of moral damages is warranted. Under
Article 2217 of the New Civil Code, moral damages include physical suffering, mental
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, moral shock and similar injury.
Article 2219 of the same Code provides that moral damages may be recovered in
cases of illegal detention. There is no doubt that each member of the Yao family
suffered physical and/or psychological trauma because of the ordeal, especially
because two of the family members were ruthlessly killed during their captivity.
Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence,114 Yao San, Robert, Lenny, Matthew, Charlene,
Abagatnan and Ortea should each receive the amount of 100,000.00 as moral
damages. Per computation, the total amount of moral damages is 700,000.00 and
not 500,000.00 as fixed by the RTC and the Court of Appeals.

Finally, we observed that the RTC and the Court of Appeals denominated the crime
committed by appellants in the present case as the special complex crime of
kidnapping for ransom with double homicide since two of the kidnap victims were
killed or died during the kidnapping. The word "double" should be deleted therein.
Regardless of the number of killings or deaths that occurred as a consequence of the
kidnapping, the appropriate denomination of the crime should be the special
complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide.

WHEREFORE, the Decision, dated 14 August 2006, and Resolution, dated 18 October
2006, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02301 is hereby AFFIRMED with
the following MODIFICATIONS: (1) the total amount of civil indemnity is
150,000.00; (2) the total amount of exemplary damages is 700,000.00; (3) the
total amount of moral damages is 700,000.00; and (4) the appropriate
denomination of the crime committed by appellants is the special complex crime of
kidnapping for ransom with homicide.

SO ORDERED.

37
G.R. No. 178301 April 24, 2009 On February 5, 1995, in San Juan, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff/Appellee, Court, the accused, conspiring and confederating with Beverly Tibo-Tan, and three other
vs. individuals whose identities are still unknown, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and
ROLANDO "Botong" MALIBIRAN Accused, feloniously, with intent to kill, treachery, evidence (sic) premeditation and with the use of
and BEVERLY TIBO-TAN, Accused/Appellant. explosion, plan, plant the explosive, and kill the person of Reynaldo C. Tan, by placing said
DECISION grenades on the drivers side of his car, and when said victim opened his car, an explosion
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ J.: happened, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wound which was the direct and
immediate cause of his death.
For review is the November 13, 2006 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No.
02167 which affirmed the Joint Decision2 dated September 23, 2003 of the Regional Trial The accused Oswaldo, without having participated in said crime of murder as principal, did
Court (RTC), Special Court for Heinous Crimes, Branch 156, of Pasig City, Metro Manila, finding and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take part, as an accomplice, in its commission,
Rolando "Botong" Malibiran (Rolando) and Beverly Tibo-Tan (appellant) guilty of Murder and by cooperating in the execution of the offense by previous and simultaneous acts.
Parricide, respectively, and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
The conviction arose from the death of Reynaldo Tan (Reynaldo) on February 5, 1995. The Contrary to law.5
antecedents that led to Reynaldo's death, however, go way back in the 70's when Reynaldo
left his common-law wife, Rosalinda Fuerzas (Rosalinda), and their two (2) children, Jessie and The Information in Criminal Case No. 113066-H accused appellant of the crime of Parricide, to
Reynalin, in Davao, and went to Manila to seek greener pastures. While in Manila, Reynaldo wit:
met and had a relationship with appellant. They eventually married in 1981. Reynaldo and
appellant begot three (3) children Renevie, Jag-Carlo and Jay R. On February 5, 1995, in San Juan Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the accused, while still married to Reynaldo C. Tan, and such marriage not having been
In 1984, Reynaldo's and Rosalinda's paths crossed again and they resumed their relationship. annulled and dissolved by competent authority, conspiring and confederating with Rolando V.
This led to the "souring" of Reynaldo's relationship with appellant; and in 1991, Reynaldo Malibiran, and three other individuals whose identities are still unknown, did then and there
moved out of the conjugal house and started living again with Rosalinda, although Reynaldo willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent to kill, treachery, evidence (sic) premeditation
maintained support of and paternal ties with his children. and with the use of explosion, plan, plant the explosive, and kill the person Reynado C. Tan, by
placing said grenades on the drivers side of his car, and when said victim opened his car, an
On that fateful day of February 5, 1995, Reynaldo and appellant were in Greenhills with their explosion happened, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wound which was the direct and
children for their usual Sunday gallivant. After finishing lunch at the Kimpura restaurant, the immediate cause of his death.
family separated at around 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon to do some shopping. Later, they
regrouped and purchased groceries at Unimart. At around 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, the Contrary to law.6
family stepped out of the shopping mall and Reynaldo proceeded to the parking lot to get his
red Honda Accord, while the rest of his family stayed behind and waited. Immediately Rolando and appellant pleaded not guilty on arraignment. 7 Their co-accused, Oswaldo, was
thereafter, the family heard an explosion coming from the direction where Reynaldo parked later discharged and utilized as one of the prosecution witnesses.
his car. Appellant and Renevie got curious and proceeded to the parking lot. There, they saw
The prosecution presented Jessie Tan, Inspector Silverio Dollesin, Elmer Paug, Police Inspector
the Honda Accord burning, with Reynaldo lying beside the driver's seat, burning, charred and
Wilson Lachica, Supervising Investigating Agent Reynaldo Olasco, Rosalinda Fuerzas, Janet
bleeding profusely. A taxi driver named Elmer Paug (Elmer) appeared and pulled Reynaldo out
Pascual (Janet), and Oswaldo, as its witnesses.
of the car. Reynaldo was then rushed to the Cardinal Santos Medical Hospital where he
eventually died because of the severe injuries he sustained.3 The underlying cause of his death
For its part, the defense presented the following witnesses, namely: Renevie Tan, Romulo
was Multiple Fracture & Multiple Vascular Injuries Secondary to Blast Injury.4
Bruzo (Romulo), Tessie Luba, Emily Cuevas, Jose Ong Santos, Victorino Feliz, Virgilio Dacalanio
and accused Rolando. Appellant did not testify in her behalf.
An investigation was conducted by the police after which two separate Informations for
Murder and Parricide, dated September 10, 1997, were filed against appellant, Rolando and
The RTC summed up the testimonies, as follows:
one Oswaldo Banaag (Oswaldo).
THE EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION
The Information in Criminal Case No. 113065-H accused Rolando and Oswaldo of the crime of
Murder, to wit: 1. Jessie Tan, a son of Reynaldo with Rosalinda Fuerzas, testified that he moved to Manila
from Davao in 1985 to study at the instance of his father Reynaldo and to enable then to bring

38
back time that had been lost since his father left his mother Rosalinda and the latters children skills as an expert was uncontroverted, testified that the perpetrator knew who the intended
in Davao (TSN, Jan. 27, p.14); In 1991 Reynaldo moved to their house because his relationship vicitim was and has reliable information as to his position when opening the vehicle. If the
with Beverly was worsening, and to exacerbate matters, Beverly had then a lover named Rudy intended victim does not usually drive and usually sits on the rear portion of the vehicle (p. 49,
Pascua or Pascual, a contractor for the resthouse of Reynaldo. Reynaldo and Beverly were April 14, 1999 TSN) Inspector Dollesins conclusion states that the device (bomb) was placed in
then constantly quarreling over money (TSN, February 10, 1999, pp. 28-29); Jessie had heard front of the vehicle in between the drivers seat and the front door because the perpetrator
the name of Rolando Malibiran sometime in 1994 because one day, Reynaldo came home had information about the victims movements, otherwise he could have placed the device
before dinner feeling mad since he found Rolando Malibiran inside the bedroom of Beverly at underneath the vehicle, in the rear portion of the vehicle or in any part thereof (p. 53 ibid). He
their White Plains residence; Reynaldo had his gun with him at the time but Malibiran ran testified that persons who have minimal knowledge can set up the explosive in the car in five
away (TSN, January 27, 1999, pp. 19-21). He eventually came to learn about more details on (5) minutes (p. 65 ibid). The explosion will commence at about 4-7 seconds (p. 66 ibid).
Rolando Malibiran from Oswaldo Banaag, the family driver of Beverly who was in the house at
White Plains at the time of the incident (Ibid, p. 22). One night in December of the same year 4. Elmer Paug, the taxi driver, testified that on February 5, 1995 he was just dropping a
(1994) Jessie overheard Reynaldo talking to Beverly over the phone, with the latter fuming passenger to Greenhills Shopping Complex when he heard a loud explosion at the parking
mad. After the phone conversation he asked his father what happened because the latter was level. Being curious of the incident he hurriedly went out to look for a parking, then proceeded
already having an attack of hypertension and his father told him that Beverly threatened him to the area where the explosion occurred. He saw a man wearing a shirt and short who is
and that "he, (Reynaldo) will not benetit from his money if he will continue his move for about to give assistance to a man who was a down on the ground bloodied. Finding that the
separation" (p. 40 ibid). This threat was taped by Reynaldo in his conversation with Beverly man could not do it on his own, Elmer rushed through to give aid. He held both arms of the
(Exh. "B") Jessie himself has received threat of his life over the phone in 1989 (p. 30 ibid). victim, grabbed him in the wrists and dragged him out and brought him farther to the burning
car. (pp. 7 July 7, 1999 TSN). The man lying on the pavement has burnt fingers and hair, chest
At the lounge at Cardinal Santos Hospital, on the day of the mishap, Jessie testified on the bloodied and skin already sticking to Elmers clothes (p. 8 Ibid). He noticed two women at
emotional state of his mother Rosalinda while in said Hospital; that she was continuously about two armlength from the car where he was. The younger woman shouted "Daddy,
crying while she was talking to Jessies uncle. When asked where Beverly was and her Daddy, kaya mo iyan". She was crying had wailing (p. 10 ibid). He said that the older woman
emotional state, he said that Beverly was also at the lounge of the said hospital, sometimes gestured her left hand exclaimed in a not so loud voice "wala bang tutulong sa amin?" while
she is seated and then she would stand up and then sit again and then stand up again. He did her right hand clutched her shoulder bag (p. 11 ibid). When asked if the older woman appears
not see her cry "hindi ko po syang nakitang umiyak" (pp. 52-23 ibid). When asked if his father to be alarmed, Elmer testified that he cannot say, and said she looked normal; he did not
had enemies when he was alive, he said he knows of no one (p.54 ibid). Jessie was informed notice her crying. Neither of the two female rendered assistance to drag the victim, they just
by his mother (Rosalinda) few months after the death of Reynaldo that there was a letter by followed him when he pulled him out. The older woman never touched the victim. (p. 12 ibid).
Rosalinda addressed to his uncle which stated that "if something happened to him, Beverly Considering that his Taxi is quite far where the victim was lying, he flagged a taxi, and the
has a hand in it" (p. 56 ibid, Exh. "D" Letter dated March 24, 1999) victim was brought to Cardinal Santos Hospital (pp. 15-16 ibid).

On cross examination, he admitted having gone to Mandaluyong City Jail and talked with On cross examination, he was asked what the meaning of normal is, and he said "natural
Oswaldo Banaag about latters claim that both accused have planned to kill his father. When Parang walang nangyari" It looks like nothing happened (p. 42 ibid). Her was uncertain as to
asked if he knows the consequences if Beverly is convicted, on the matter of Conjugal Partition whether the two females joined the deceased in the taxi cab (p. 43) as he left.
of Property, Jessie knows that Beverlys share would be forfeited. Counsel confirmed Jessies
request of whatever property of his father remaining shall shared equally by the legitimate 5. Police Inspector Wilson Lachica testified that he was the police officer who investigated the
and illegitimate children. Thus, Jessie confirmed as the agreement between them (p. 28, case. In the Cardinal Santos Hospital he was able to interview Beverly Tan. He asked her name,
March 24, 1999 TSN). address, name of the victim, how the incident happened and who their companions were. She
answered those questions in a calm manner (p. 13, Sept. 21, 1999 TSN). As per his observation
2. Mr. Salonga, a locksmith in Greenhills Supermarket whose work area is at the entrance door which was told to his superiors, he has not seen remorse on the part of the victim, (meaning
of the grocery of Unimart testified that he can duplicate any key of any car in five (5) minutes. the wife) for an investigator that is unusual. Based on his more than six years of experience as
And that he is accessible to any one passing to Greenhills Shopping Complex (p. 45, March 24, an investigator, whenever a violent crime happened, usually those relatives and love ones
1999 TSN). The Honda Car representative on the other hand testified that the Honda Accord of appears hysterical, upset and restless. Her reaction at the time according to him is not normal,
the deceased has no alarm, that the Honda Accord key can be duplicated without difficulty. considering that the victim is her husband. He interviewed persons close to the victim even at
And the keyless entry device of the said vehicle can be duplicated (pp. 46-47 ibid, Stipulation. the wake at Paz Funeral in Quezon City. He was able to interview the daughter of the lady-
Order p. 335 record Vol. 1). accused; the other lady and family or relatives of the victim, the same with the driver of the
lady accused. He came to know the identity of the policeman linked with the lady accused,
3. Insperctor Selverio Dollesin, the Chief of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Eastern Police named Rolando Malibiran. He testified that he obtained the information that he desired from
District, and the Police Officer who conducted the post aftermath report of the incident whose the widow nonchalantly and marked with blithe unconcern, which in his observation is
39
unusual since she is supposed to be the one who would diligently push through in the underwear not intented for her (p. 9, Oct. 11, 2000 TSN); that on August 1994, Malibiran told
investigation. When asked the level of interest as regards accused Malibiran, witness testified Beverly that he has a "kumapre" who knows how to make "kulam" for an amount of
that because of the manner of the commission of the crime through the use of explosives, 10,000.00. That Reynaldo would just sleep and never wake up. Witness testified that they
only a trained person can do that job (pp. 15-16 ibid). went to Quiapo to buy the needed ingredients but nothing happened (p. 14 Ibid). The accused
wanted to kill Reynaldo in a way that they would not be suspected of having planned it, and
6. Supervising Investigating Agent Reynaldo Olasco testified that his only observation on the for him just to die of "bangungot". She testified that they wanted to separate their properties
demeanor of Beverly Tan is that she did not give her statement readily without the assistance but it did not push through, referring to Beverly and Reynaldo. That Beverly heard of the
of her counsel which for the investigator is quite irregular. Considering that she is the legal house being built in Corinthian intended for Rosalinda and family. In July 1994 Malibiran told
wife, he could not see the reason why Beverly would bring a counsel when she is supposed to witness testified that she heard this on their way to Batangas, it was Beverlys birthday (p. 16
be the complainant in the case (p. 11, April 5, 2000 TSN). He testified that after having ibid). On October 1994 she asked by Malibiran to convince Beverly to marry him, this was
interviewed a representative from Honda, they had set aside the possibility that it was a third asked at the time when Beverly was in Germany (p. 17 ibid).
party who used pick lock in order to have access to the Honda Accord and the presumption is
that the duplicate key or the main key was used in opening the car. The assessment was When asked whether Beverly and Rolando ever got married the witness testified that the two
connected with the statement of Renevie that she heard the clicking of all the locks of the got married on November 8, 1994. (p. 155 Vol. 1-A records Exh. "JJ" Certificate of Marriage).
Honda Accord, which she was sure of when they left the car in the parking lot (p. 12 ibid) In That she executed an affidavit of corroborating witnesses for Beverly and Malibiran to
1998 they arrested Rolando Malibiran in Candelaria Quezon, he was fixing his owner type jeep facilitate the processing of their exemption in obtaining marriage license requirement (p. 128
at that time. The arresting officers waited for Beverly Tan, and after thirty minutes they were Ibid; Exh. "BB"). She is an employee of the Municipality of San Juan. After getting married they
able to arrest Beverly Tan on the same place (p 8, May 31, 2000 TSN). They searched the discussed how Malibiran would get inside the car of Reynaldo. On December of 1994, Beverly
premises of the place where they reside and found a white paper which he presumed to be was able to duplicate Reynaldos key at the time when they have shopped for many things,
"kulam" because theres some oracle words inscribe in that white piece of paper and at the Reynaldo asked her to bring the goods to the car in the compartment as the kids would still
bottom is written the same of Jessie (pp. 8-9 ibid). On cross examination, he admitted that shop (p. 17 ibid). After having done so, she proceeded to a key duplicator in Virra Mall and had
70% of the information on the case was given by Oswaldo Banaag through the persistence of the key duplicated. Thereafter on the succeeding days or weeks, she was able to give the
the NBI which convinced him to help solve the case. It was disclosed to the investigating duplicate to Malibiran. That they would use the grenade since Malibiran has one in his house
officer after he was released, thats the only time he gave in to the request (p. 14, may 31, but his only problem is how to get inside the car and place the grenade (p. 18, Oct. 11, 2000
2000 TSN). As to how the NBI operatives effected the arrest, it was through an information TSN; Vide p. 35 ibid)
from the Lucena Sub-Office (p. 17, Ibid).
As to when the killing would take place, the witness heard that they will do it during the
7. Rosalinda Fuerzas testified that her life in Makati was "medyo magulo lnag kase nanggugulo baptism of the child of Gloria, Rolando Malibirans sister. They chose that date so that they
sya sa amin." When asked who this "siya" was, she said Beverly. That one day Beverly called would not be suspected of anything and that pictures would be taken in the baptism to reflect
on her and harassed her, and one day she received a murder letter threatening that she that Malibiran took part in the same (pp. 17-18 ibid). During Reynaldos internment when
(Rosalinda) would be around the newspaper saying that she would be killed, like what they did asked whether Beverly looked sad, witness said that she did not see her sad (p. 20 ibid). On
in the news papers, puputu-putulin iyong mga dodo o anuman dahil mang-aagaw daw ako February 8, 1995, during the wake, witness met Malibiran in a canteen in White Plains and
(Rosalinda) ng asawa (p. 11 ibid, June 27, 2000 TSN). She stated that her husband wanted to they rode a Canter owned by Beverly, on the road while the vehicle was cruising along
separate with Beverly because he found out that the latter has paramour named Rudy Pascua Katipunan avenue near Labor Hospital, Malibiran told her among others that on the day he
contractor of Jollibee (pp. 13-14 ibid). She had never seen Beverly appeared to be lonely when placed a grenade on Reynaldos car he saw a security guard roving and so what he did was to
her husband was then kidnapped. A telephone conversation with Beverly was recorded by hurriedly tie the wire in the grenade (p. 21 ibid) not connected with the wire unlike the one
Reynaldo which was a quarrel regarding money. In the Cardinal Santos Hospital, she did not intended for Reynaldo which has a connection (p. 21 ibid). As far as she knows, there were
see Beverlys appearance to be lonely but appeared to be a criminal, and Beverly did not cry four or five grenades placed. She told this secret to another friend so that in case something
(pp. 13-17 ibid). She mentioned the letter of Reynaldo that if something happened to him, happened to her, it was the doing of Malibiran and Beverly.
Beverly is the one who killed him (p. 26 Ibid; pp. 24-25, Exh. "D, Vol. 1-A Record).
On Cross examination, she was asked whether Malibiran did it alone, she said that he has a
8. Janet Pascual testified that she was able to know Rolando Malibiran, because on March look out as what Malibiran told him (p. 26 ibid). When confronted why she was testifying only
1993 when she was in White Plains, Beverly showed her a picture of him (Malibiran) and said now, she said she was bothered by her conscience. As to how did she get the information of
to her that he is her boy friend. Witness told her that he was handsome. She was close to key duplication, she said that it was told to her by Beverly (p. 35 ibid). It was also disclosed
Beverly that she frequently stayed in White Plains when Beverly and Reynaldo is no longer that she did ask Atty. Morales for a sum of P5,000.00 for he to buy medicine.
living in the same roof. They played mahjong, chat and has heard Beverlys hurtful emotions
by reason of her philandering husband Reynaldo. Beverly told her of how she felt bad against
40
9. Oswaldo Banaag (or Banaag) testified that Beverly told him that she and Malibiran had a and Mabiliran almost had a shootout in the bedroom downstairs because Malibiran was inside
relationship (p. 39, April 1994 TSN). He testified that on April 10, 1994 Beverly asked him to the bedroom where Beverly was, Reynaldo have a gun at that time bulging in his waste [sic]
look for a hired gunman, if he could not find one, he just look for a poison that would kill (p. 40 ibid).
Reynaldo, ten thousand (10,000.00) pesos was given him for this (p. 14 Ibid). In his sworn
statement he said that Beverly asked him to seek means for Reynaldo to die. That she will pay Further on Cross, he testified that sometime in June 1994, he with Beverly went to Hilltop
any amount just for him to get out of her life. He has driven for her in going to Hilltop Police Police Station and fetched Malibiran and company to go to Paombong Bulacan, they passed by
Station, Taytay Rizal to see Rolando Malibiran. That Malibiran blames Beverly of the reason Malabon before going to Bulacan. When they reached the bridge near the sea, they rode a
why Reynaldo is still alive and then volunteered himself to remedy the situation, that he banca, about six of them plus the one rowing the boar towards an Island. In the Island, there
would seek a man that would kill Reynaldo he made an example of a man they killed and was one person waiting (p. 44-45 ibid). he stayed there for just for about ten (10) minutes, and
threw in Antipolo "Bangin" with Beverly, Malibiran and two other persons who appear to be during that period, at about one arms length he overheard their conversation concerning a
policeman because they have something budging in their waste [sic] which is assumed to be a man to bring the bomb in the car. When asked who was in the banca then, he said it was
gun, they went to Paombong Bulacan via Malabon. He heard that they would fetch a man in Beverly, Botong (Malibiran), Janet and the man they picked up at Hilltop. He was told to return
Bulacan that knows how to place a bomb in a vehicle. Near the sea they talked to a person the L300 and just wait for them in Binangonan, hence he rode a banca to return to the bridge
thereat. From Paombong they rode a banca and went to an islet where the planning was and then drove the L300 Van towards Binangonan (p. 50 ibid). When asked if he knows that
discussed as to how much is the fee and how the killing will be had. They ordered him to Malibiran is engaged in the fishing business of bangus, he had no idea (p. 45 ibid).
return back to the vehicle and just fetched them in Binangonan.
DEFENSE EVIDENCE
He swore that on February 5, 1995 around 10:30 a.m. Beverly asked one of her siblings to call
Reynaldo for them to be picked up because every Sunday, the family would go out for For the defense, in opposition to the testimony of Elmer Paug, it called to the witness stand
recreation. Around 12:00 pm he was asked by Beverly to follow where they will go and when Renevie Tan. She testified that she believe that her mother (Beverly) did not kill her dad
they are already parked, he was instructed to fetch Malibiran in Caltex, Katipunan near because she was with them at the time of the incident (p. 6 Feb. 5, 2002 TSN). That it is not
Shakeys and bring them to the place where Reynaldo was parked. In the Caltex station he saw true that they did nothing when his dad was lying on the ground at the time of the incident.
Malibiran with two persons who looked like policemen and another person he previously saw That her mom screamed at that time and did tried to pull her dad who was under the car that
in Bulacan. He drove the L300 Van, and brought them to the parking lot where Reynaldos she kept going around to find a safer place to pull him out because the car was burning and so
Honda Car was parked and Malibiran told him just drove [sic] in the area and come back. At they could not pick her dad without burning. Her mother tried crawling underneath the car so
around 3:00 p.m. after half an hour he saw Malibiran and company and I picked them up. He she can reach him but he pulled her mom aside and pulled dad risking himself from burning
heard from the person in Bulacan "Ayos na, siguradong malinis ito." Then he was asked to (p. 11 ibid) She found out that the person who helped them was the taxi driver, Elmer Paug.
drive them to Hilltop Police Station. He discovered the death of Reynaldo when he saw and
read newspaper, he called Beverly to confirm this incident and he was asked to be hired again That a driver of a Ford Fiera or Toyota Tamaraw of some kind of delivery van boarded her dad
and drove for her. When he was in White Plains already, he was asked by Beverly and with her mom and headed for Cardinal Santos Hospital. She said that if is not true that her
Malibiran not to squeal what he knows of, otherwise, his life will just be endangered. That mom appeared unaffected or acting normal as if nothing happened. That it is likewise not true
Beverly and Malibiran were lovers since March 1993, when they met each other in a piggery in when Elmer Paug said that he alone carried her dads body, and said that there was another
Marikina. There was an incident that Reynaldo saw Malibiran in their own bedroom, and there man who helped put her dad on the car (p. 14 ibid). She swore that her mom was shocked and
was almost a gunshot incident, he was there because he was asked to drive the vehicle. was crying at that time (pp. 112-115, Exh. "U" Sworn Statement of Renevie Tan). She admitted
Beverly Tans source of money was from Reynaldo Tan, that he (Banaag) was asked frequently that it was only the taxi driver who pulled out his dad from the danger area to a safer place at
by Beverly who in turn would give it to Malibiran (Exh. "y", pp. 122-125 Vol. 1-A, Sworn about four (4) meters, while Elmer Paug was dragging her dad, they where there following him
Statement November 29, 1996). (p. 43 February 5, 2002, TSN). That she touched her father when they where (p. 45 ibid). It was
confirmed in her testimony that it was the taxi drivers who looked for a taxi cab ( p. 46 ibid).
On March 29, 1996 he was no longer driving for Beverly because he was arrested by the She asked if she observed whether her mom carried a portion of her dads body or arms,
Presidential Anti-Crime Commission for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of the father hands, legs or buttocks of her father, she said she could not remember (p. 7-8, February 12,
of the classmate of Renevie Tan. He was later on acquitted (p. 16, Feb. 20, 2001 TSN) and 2002 TSN). When asked whether her mom has a shoulder bag at that time, she could not
released from incarceration on May 7, 1997. When asked whether Jessie Tan helped him to be remember.
acquitted in the kidnapping case, he said no (p. 16 ibid).
She testified that her parents keep quarreling to each other may be in 1988-89 and stopped in
On Cross examination, he was asked how many times did Jessie Tan visit him in prison, he said 1991. it was a once a month quarrel (pp. 23-24 ibid). A certain Janet Pascual frequently stayed
that it was Atty. Olanzo who visited him for about six times and that he saw Jessie when he in their house in the months of October 1994 until February of 1995, and her moms
was already out of jail (pp. 24-25 ibid). He testified that there was one incident when Reynaldo relationship with Janet was cordial (pp. 27-28, ibid). As regards to Malibiran, she knows him at
41
the month of August or September of 1994 but no knowledge of a marriage that took place Emily Cuevas, one of the friends of Beverly testified that Janet Pascual is a back fighter and a
between her mom and Malibiran on November of the same year (p. 30 ibid). traitor, that Janet tried to convince her to testify against Beverly and if witness will be
convinced, Janet will receive a big amount of money about three (3) million from another
Romulo Bruzo, the security guard of Tan Family at White Plains testified that there was an source. Testified that it is not true that Beverly and Malibiran orchestrated or masterminded
offer of half a million to him by an unknown person and a demand for him to leave the employ the death of Reynaldo, and that Janet testified because she needed money because she is sick
of Beverly Tan and a threat to his life should he testify before the Court. He testified that and diabetic (p. 7, May 21, 2002 TSN). She knows such fact by heart that they are innocent and
Banaag was a family driver of the Tan in White Plains from March 1993 until August 1994, that they are good people (p. 20 ibid).
after said date, he was taken by Reynaldo Tan as driver at Winreach. He testifies that the
statement of Oswaldo Banaag that he came over to White Plains on February 5, 1995, drove Victorino Felix, a police officer testified that Malibiran is a member of the Aquarius Multi-
the L300 Van and followed the family to Greenhills Shopping Complex is false. Because at that Purpose Cooperative, a cooperative that is engaged in the culture of fish particularly "Bangus"
time, the L300 was still parked inside White Plains, it was just a concocted statement of at Laguna De Bay particularly Bagumbong, Binangonan, Laguna.
Banaag because he has a grudge on Mrs. Tan as she did not help him when he was
incarcerated in Camp Crame (p.47-48 ibid). He testified that sometime in 1994, he together with Malibiran waited at Tropical Hut, Cainta
for them to be picked up for Bulacan to purchase fingerlings. They were fetched by an L300
He was told by Banaag that they were supposed to kidnap the three siblings of Beverly Tan but Van driven by Oswaldo Banaag and they were around six or seven at that time that headed
he took pity on them because Beverly is a nice person to him. He stated that Jessie Tan helped first to Dampalit, Malabon, Metro Manila to meet the owner of the fish pond, finding that the
him to be acquitted (p. 49 ibid) and promised good job and house to live in. owner thereof was already in Bulacan they proceeded thereat, at Taliptip, Bulacan. In said
place, they left the L300 Van along the bridge, near the sea and from there they rode a motor
As regards Janet Pascual, he testified that he had an altercation with her (Janet) because there banca in going to the fingerlings ponds. He testified that Oswaldo was not with them in going
was an instruction for him by Renevie for Janet not to let inside the house. That Janet got mad to the pond from Taliptip (pp. 11-13, Sept. 3, 2002 TSN). When asked where he was, he said
at them because she is not been [sic] treated the way Renevies mom did not to her. Likewise, he drove the L300 back (p. 14 ibid). The pond was about three kilometers from Talilip, and
Renevie has refused to give her 5,000.00 allowance as her mom did before to Janet for the they were able to buy fingerlings, loaded it in another water transport going to Laguna Lake
latters medicine (pp. 50-51). from Bulacan traversing Pasig River and thereafter they returned back to Binangonan (p. 15
ibid).
On account of said incident, she made a threatening remark that if she will not be treated
fairly and the 5,000.00 allowance be not given to her, she will go to the Tan Brother and she On Cross, he testified that has met Banaag many times because he used to deliver rejected for
will testify Mrs. Tan. When asked whom she was angry of Bruzo said it was against Renevie bangus feeds, but said that it was only once when Banaag drove with him, that is sometimes in
and Atty. Morales. She was angry with the latter because she thought that Atty. Morales was 1994 (p. 20 ibid). he testified that Malibiran together with him went to Talilip, Bulacan to
telling Renevie not to give her allowance anymore and refuse access inside the white plains (p. procure some fingerlings sometime in June 1995 to mid 1996 (Joint Order, Sept. 3, 2002, p.
51 ibid). 366 Vol. III record).

When asked if he knows Malibiran, he said that he was able to join him twice when there was Virgilio Dacanilao testified that on February 5, 1995 at about 12:00 noon he was at the
a delivery of rejected bread for fish feeds in Bulacan. That he saw him eight (8) times in a residence of one Gloria Malibiran Santos and from there, he saw accused Rolando Malibiran
month in 1994 and just twice a week in the month of August, September and October of said together with his wife and children, witness parents-in-law and sisters-in-law. When asked
year. (p. 52 ibid). He also saw him on July of 1994 on the occasion of Beverlys Birthday. who his parents-in-law is, he said Fernando Malibiran and Jovita Malibiran, the parents of
Rolando Malibiran (p. 5, Sept. 17, 2002 TSN). He said that they left the occasion at around
That on February 5, 1994, Beverly called on him to relay to Roger to fetch the three kids in 5:00pm and at that time, accused Malibiran, with Boy Santos and Eduardo was still playing
Green Hills. When asked the tone of Beverly at the time of the phone call, he said the tone "pusoy". When asked if there was such a time that Malibiran left the house of Gloria Santos,
was that she was scared and confused (p. 63 ibid) he said, he did not go out of the house sir (pp. 5-7 ibid).

Tessie Luba, the caretaker of Manila Memorial Park testified that she was paid by Beverly to On Cross examination, it was disclosed that he knows Malibiran at the time witness was still
take care of the tomb of Reynaldo and that in some points in time Jessie took over and later his wife, the sister of Malibiran, that was sometime in 1988. when asked if he considered
her services were not availed of anymore (p. 23, April 30, 2002 TSN) That she saw Beverly with Malibiran to be close to him as the brother of his wife, he said yes sir (p. 10 ibid). Asked if his
Banaag on November 1996 (p. 8 ibid) and Jessie with Banaag in one occasion in going to the relationship with him is such that he would place Malibiran in a difficult situation, he
tomb on November 1997 (p. 47 ibid) and in April 2001 (p. 20 ibid). answered, it depends on the situation (p. 11 ibid). Witness was asked how long it would take
to reach Unimart Supermarket from his residence in Malanday, he estimate it to be more or

42
less half an hour (p. 13 ibid). He testified that no game was ever stop [sic] on the reason that Reynaldo; he said he just heard him based on his conversation with Beverly Tan which took
they have to wait for Malibiran. place in the piggery in Marikina. In sum, the place of incidents where he managed to meet and
talk with Beverly Tan was in the piggery in Marikina; at Camp station in Taytay Rizal; in Bulacan
Said witness testimony was corroborated by Jose Ong Santos, the father of the child who was when they procured fingerlings in Binangonan; Malabon; Zambales; White Plains and Cainta.
baptized on said occasion. He testified that he played "pusoy" with Malibiran at around (pp. 30; 32; 35 ibid).
2:00pm, until 6:30 to 7:00 pm and there was never a time that Malibiran left the table where
they were playing except when he feels like peeing (p. 10 July 16, 2002 TSN). It was estimated He testified that he was arrested in Candelaria Quezon on December 1998 (p. 11 January 21,
at abut five times, and it took him about three to five minutes everytime he would rise to pee 2003) but denied living with Beverly Tan at the time of the arrest. He said he just saw Beverly
and return to the table. That Malibiran may have left their house at around 6:30 or 7:00 in the thirty (30) minutes after his arrest in the town proper of Candelaria, Quezon (P. 21, ibid). He
evening on February 5, 1995 (p. 11, ibid) denied that he uttered the remark "its better to kill Rene since you are not benefiting from
him" (p. 38 ibid); never have access to grenades; never asked Beverly Tan how he could get
On Cross examination, he testified that the idea of baptism was rushly scheduled, because he inside Reynaldos Car never claimed to be a sharp shooter and had never went to Batangas
won in a cockfight three to four days before the baptism of his child at about February 1 or 2 uttering the remarks mentioned by Janet Pascual nor went to Batangas at the time of
of 1995. That amount was about 50,000.00 (pp. 20-21 ibid). Malibiran did not take any Beverlys birthday.
participation in the baptism nor was he present at the church, but was already at the
reception with his family, for lunch. He testified that Malibiran left by call of nature, to pee, On Cross examination, he said that he never talk to Janet at the time of his restriction and
about four to five times and a span of five minutes (p. 31 ibid). thereafter. He had no commercial dealing with Janet nor have any romantic relations with her
(p. 8, ibid). It was only when the case was filed he was able to talk to her (p. 5, February 4,
Accused Rolando Malibiran in his Counter-Affidavit said that he does intelligence work for 2003 TSN). He testified that he evaded arrest because there was a pending petition for review
seven years. He doesnt know Banaag as to reckless discuss a supposed plot to kill somebody filed by his lawyer before the Department of Justice despite the fact that there is an existing
within his hearing. That would be inconsistent with the entire training and experience as a warrant of arrest which he found out at the end of 1997 (p. 15 ibid).
police officer. Especially when the expertise is intelligence work. Banaag drove for them in
June or July 1995 not in June of 1994 (for months after the death of Reynaldo) [pp. 147-152, On September 23, 2003, the RTC found Rolando guilty of Murder and appellant, of Parricide.
Exh. "HH" Vol. 1-a record]. The dispositive portion of the Joint Decision reads as follows:

He testified that he met Banaag sometime in the last quarter of 1993 at the piggery of Beverly WHEREFORE, the Court finds both accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt as charged.
Tan (pp. 12-13, Oct. 8, 2002 TSN). He admitted that he was with Banaag using the L300 Van of Accused Rolando Malibiran for the crime of Murder in Criminal Case No. 113065-H and
Beverly in one occasion, in 1994 when they purchased fingerlings from Bulacan. They procured accused Beverly Tibo-Tan for Parricide in Criminal Case No. 113066-H defined and penalized
the same because their cooperative was culturing "bangus" in Barangay Bombon, Binangonan, under Article 248 and Article 246, respectively, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in
Rizal (pp. 14-15). He testified that in Bulacan, Banaag was left at the foot of the bridge where relation to Republic Act No. 7659 with the attendant circumstances of treachery, evident
the L300 was parked (p. 19 ibid) and heard that Beverly told Banaag to go back, in White Plains premeditation and use of explosion and sentencing both accused the supreme penalty of
(p. 21, ibid). After procuring the fingerlings, they rode a big banca called "pituya" then they DEATH, and ordering them to pay jointly and severally to the heirs of Reynaldo Tan the
went back to Pritil, Binangonan. In Pritil, they waited for Banaag (P. 26 ibid). amount of Fifty Thousand (50,000.00) Pesos as indemnity for death, Eighty Thousand
(80,000.00) Pesos as actual damages; Fifty Thousand (50,000.00) as moral damages; and to
He denied having met Janet Pascual on Wednesday at about February 8, 1995 because since pay the costs.
Tuesday (February 7, 1995) he was already confined in the Camp by Order of his Unit
Commander, Chief Inspector Florentin Sipin (p. 5, January 21, 2003 TSN) because he was SO ORDERED.8
under investigation by the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission. He admitted that he met
Beverly in the last quarter of 1993 (p. 8, October 22, 2002) but denied having intimate Appellant then appealed to this Court; the appeal was, however, referred to the CA pursuant
relations with her (p. 21 ibid). to People v. Mateo.9

He testified that he met Janet Pascual only once, on November 1994, but said that they never In its Decision dated November 13, 2006, the CA affirmed the Decision of the RTC. The CA,
talked (p. 12, November 12, 2002 TSN). He denied having married Beverly Tan nor did he ever however, took judicial notice of Republic Act No. 9346 prohibiting the imposition of the death
requested Janet Pascual to secure a license for them to get married. He denied having had a penalty and thus reduced the penalty to reclusion perpetua. The dispositive portion of the said
trip with Janet in Bulacan and admitted that he went to Zamables once, with Beverly, kids and Decision reads as follows:
yaya as well as his father (p. 25, ibid), that was sometime in 1994, before Reynaldo died. He
testified that he used his own vehicle with his father in going to Zamables. He denied seeing
43
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the joint decision dated September 23, 2003 of the already been stated that witnesses of startling occurrences react differently depending upon
Regional Trial Court, Special Court for Heinous Crimes, Branch 156, Pasig City in Criminal Case their situation and state of mind, and there is no standard form of human behavioral response
No. 113065-H for Murder and Criminal Case No. 113066-H for Parricide is hereby AFFIRMED when one is confronted with a strange, startling or frightful experience. The workings of the
with Modification in that the supreme penalty of death imposed on both accused-appellants is human mind placed under emotional stress are unpredictable, and people react differently
hereby reduced to RECLUSION PERPETUA. some may shout, some may faint and others may be shocked into insensibility.15

SO ORDERED.10 Also, appellant's failure to testify in her defense should not be taken against her. The Court
preserves the rule that an accused has the right to decline to testify at the trial without any
As manifested by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Rolando did not file a Motion for inference of guilt drawn from his failure to be on the witness stand.16 The constitutional right
Reconsideration or a Notice of Appeal from the CA Decision. 11 For all intents and purposes, the to be presumed innocent still prevails.
judgment of conviction as to Rolando became final and executory on December 14, 2006. This
was confirmed by CA Resolution dated January 29, 2007, which noted that "pursuant to the This notwithstanding, the totality of the circumstantial evidence presented against appellant
report dated January 23, 2007 of the Judicial Records Division that no motion for justifies her conviction of the crime of Parricide.
reconsideration or notice of appeal had been filed by counsel for appellant Rolando Malibiran,
entry of judgment is issued against said appellant x x x."12 Appellant claims that the circumstantial evidence proven during trial only shows that there
was a possibility that appellant may have conspired with Rolando, but nevertheless claims that
This review shall therefore pertain only to appellant Beverly Tibo-Tan's conviction. it came short of proving her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 17

Appellant and the OSG were required by the Court in its Resolution dated October 3, 2007 to Appellant further argues that the testimony of Oswaldo was in some parts hearsay and replete
file supplemental briefs, if they so desired. The OSG filed a Manifestation and Motion that it with inconsistencies.18 Specifically, appellant contends that the testimony of Oswaldo that "he
would no longer file any supplemental brief. As regards appellant, records show that, as of overheard a conversation between Malibiran (Rolando) and Beverly (appellant) that they will
even date, she had not filed any supplemental brief, despite due notice.13 fetch a man in Bulacan that knows how to place a bomb in a vehicle" is hearsay. 19 Likewise, in
her Reply Brief,20 appellant claims that the testimony of Janet is hearsay.
In the Brief she filed with the Court prior to the endorsement of the case to the CA, appellant
raised the following assignment of errors: Contrary to the claim of appellant, the testimonies of Oswaldo and Janet are not covered by
the hearsay rule.
I.
The hearsay rule states that a witness may not testify as to what he merely learned from
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEVERLY TIBO others either because he was told, or he read or heard the same. This is derived from Section
TAN GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF PARRICIDE BASED MERELY ON CIRCUMSTANCIAL EVIDENCE, 36, Rule 130, Revised Rules of Court, which requires that a witness can testify only to those
THE REQUISITES THEREOF NOT HAVING BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY ESTABLISHED; facts that he knows of or comes from his personal knowledge, that is, that are derived from
his perception. Hearsay testimony may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has
II. learned.21

THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE NOT APPRECIATED THE TESTIMONY OF The law, however, provides for specific exceptions to the hearsay rule. One is the doctrine of
PROSECUTION WITNESS OSWALDO BANAAG AS ITS BASIS FOR ESTABLISHING CONSPIRACY independently relevant statements, where only the fact that such statements were made is
BETWEEN ACCUSED-APPELLANT MALIBIRAN AND ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEVERLY TAN, SUCH relevant, and the truth or falsity thereof is immaterial. The hearsay rule does not apply; hence,
TESTIMONY BEING HEARSAY ON SOME PARTS AND REPLETE WITH INCONSISTENCIES; 14 the statements are admissible as evidence. Evidence as to the making of such statement is not
secondary but primary, for the statement itself may constitute a fact in issue or be
Before proceeding to the merits of appellant's arguments, the Court takes note of the RTC's circumstantially relevant as to the existence of such a fact.22 The witness who testifies thereto
observation regarding appellant's stoic stance during and after the incident and her non- is competent because he heard the same, as this is a matter of fact derived from his own
presentation as witness. The RTC took this negatively against appellant. The Court differs perception, and the purpose is to prove either that the statement was made or the tenor
therefrom. thereof.23

Appellant's seeming indifference or lack of emotions cannot be categorically quantified as In this case, Oswaldo's testimony that he overhead a conversation between Rolando and
an indicium of her guilt. There is no hard and fast gauge for measuring a person's reaction or appellant that they would fetch a man in Bulacan who knew how to place a bomb in a vehicle
behavior when confronted with a startling, not to mention horrifying, occurrence. It has is admissible, if only to establish the fact that such statement was made and the tenor thereof.

44
Likewise, Janet may testify on matters not only uttered in her presence, since these may be A. And after Beverly placed the things inside the compartment, she had with her the key,
considered as independently relevant statements, but also personally conveyed to her by she proceeded to a key duplicator in Virra Mall and had the key duplicated.
appellant and Rolando.
Q. When did she give the key to Malibiran, if you know?
Appellant further argues that Oswaldo's testimony to the effect that he drove the L300 van of
the Tan family and brought Rolando to the parking lot where Reynaldos Honda Accord was A. That was already December, I cannot recall the exact date, sir.
parked, was refuted by defense witness Romulo, the security guard of the Tan family. Romulo
testified that the L300 van never left White Plains on the day of the incident.24 Q. Why did Mr. Malibiran need the key?

While the defense may have presented Security Guard Romulo to refute the testimony of A. Because they planned, since they cannot use the gun Butch said that they would use
Oswaldo, it is settled that when credibility is in issue, the Supreme Court generally defers to grenade instead because he had a grenade in his house. But their only problem is how to get
the findings of the trial court, considering that it was in a better position to decide the inside the car.
question, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment during
trial.25 Thus, in the absence of any palpable error, this Court defers to the trials court's COURT:
impression and conclusion that, as between Oswaldo and Romulo, the former's testimony
deserved more weight and credence.1awphi1 Who is Butch?

There is nothing on record to convince the Court to depart from the findings of the RTC. On A. Mr. Malibiran, your Honor.
the contrary, the testimony of Janet as corroborated by Oswaldo, though circumstantial,
COURT
leaves no doubt that appellant had in fact conspired with Rolando in bringing about the death
of her husband Reynaldo. As a rule of ancient respectability now molded into tradition,
Butch and Botong are one and the same person?
circumstantial evidence suffices to convict, only if the following requisites concur: (a) there is
more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; A. Yes, your Honor.
and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.26 Q. Did they discuss how, where and when they would planted the grenade in the car of Rene?
The case of the prosecution was primarily built around the strength of the testimonies of Janet A. I heard from them that they would do it during the baptismal of the child of Gloria who is
and Oswaldo. The salient portions of Janet's testimony are extensively quoted hereunder: the sister of Butch.
Q. Anything else significant that happened in the remaining of 1994, Ms. Pascual? Q. And Butch is Botong?
A. After they were married, they talked about what they're gonna do for Rene. A. Botong, sir.
Q. Where did they discuss it? Q. Do you know when that binyag when supposed to be held?
A. Inside the car, Botong was asking Beverly how would he be able to get inside the car since A. The baptismal be held on February 5, 1995, sir.
he has no key and Beverly said that she can do something about it and so it was in the last
week of November 1994 of first week of December 1994 when they shopped for so many Q. Why did they choose that date of the binyag?
things.
A. So that if a picture was taken during the baptism, there would be witnesses that they were
Q. Who is (sic) with him? in the baptism, they would not be suspected that they have something to do with that.27

A. Rene, Beverly and her three kids. Rene asked her since Rene and kids would still shop, Rene xxxx
asked her to brings the goods to the car in the compartment.
Q. What day of the week was this?
Q. And then?
A. Sunday, Ma'm.

45
Q. What kind of kind [sic] was duplicated? Q. Upon whose instruction?

A. The key in the new car of Rene the Honda Accord. A. Ate Beverly, sir.

Court: Q. Did you in fact follow her?

But in the first place, you were not there when it was duplicated? How you were [sic] able to A. Yes, sir.
know that it was indeed duplicated?
Q. What time did they reach. the[W]hiteplains?
A. Because after Beverly had duplicated the key, she told me that she was able to have the
key duplicated and she told me how she did it and she told me that she will give the key to A. Almost 1 o'clock, sir.
Butch.
Q. Incidentally, who was with Beverly?
Q. Did she show you the duplicated key?
A. Kuya Rene Tan, Beverly Tan, Renebie, Jag and JR.
A. Ginanoon niya lang.
Q. What car did they use?
Q. What does it looked [sic] like?
A. Honda Accord.
A. Iyong mahaba na malaki. Hindi ko na inano basta susi, nag-iisa.
Q. Color?
Q. On what occasion did she tell you about this?
A. Red, sir.
A. None, I was just in White Plains.
Q. Who drived [sic]?
Q. When was this?
A. Kuya Rene, sir.
A. That was December, 1994.
Q. What part of Greenhills did they go?
Q. What was their decision when they will execute the plan?
A. The parking lot infront [sic] of Unimart, sir.
A. It will be during the baptismal of the child of Gloria because Butch is one of the
sponsors.28 (Emphasis Supplied) Q. What did you do when they come [sic] to Greenhills?

In addition, Oswaldo testified on the occurrences on the day of the incident, in this wise: A. When I found out they already parked and Kuya Rene got in I went straight to Katipunan.

Q: Why did you go to Greenhills? Q. Why?

A. I was told by Ate Beverly to follow them wherever they go. A. Because I was told by Ate to fetch Botong.

Q. What time did she tell you to go there? Q. Where in Katipunan?

A. After lunch, sir. A. In Caltex near Shakeys.

Q. What vehicle did you use to follow her? COURT

A. L300, sir. Who is Botong?

A. Rolando Malibiran, Your Honor.


46
Q. The accused in this case? A. L300 that I was driving, sir.

A. Yes, your Honor.29 Q. Where if any did you go after picking them up?

xxxx A. From Caltex we proceeded to Greenhills.

Q. You picked up Malibiran at Caltex on February 5, 1995? Q. Why?

A. Yes, sir. A. Because that is the instruction of Ate Beverly. Where they were, I will drop them there.

Q. What time was that? Q. Did you do that?

A. Around 2 o'clock, sir. A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who if any was with him? Q. Where exactly did you drop them on?

A. Two guys. One whom I saw in [sic] Bulacan and the one whom we sinakay at Hilltop. A. In the place where Kuya Rene was parked.31

Q. When did you go in [sic] Bulacan? xxxx

A. In June 1994, sir. COURT: x x x What happened while they were inside the vehicle while you were going back to
the place as instructed by Beverly?
Q. With whom?
A. After that I brought them where the car of Kuya Rene was parked, Your Honor. Before they
A. Botong, Beverly, Janet, I and two guys in Hilltop because that is the instruction of Beverly. alighted, Botong asked, dito na ba?32

Q. Do you know the name of the two guys from Hilltop? Atty. Rondain:

A. If given the chance I can recognize them but I do not know them by name. So you replied Opo, dyan po pumasok si Kuya Rene?

Q. What did you do in Bulacan? A. After I alighted they just go [sic] around.

A. We went to the Island near the sea. Q. Where?

Q. What did you do at that Island? A. In Greenhills, sir.

A. They talked to a person. Q. Then, what happened?

Q. What if you know the date [sic] all about? A. After half an hour I saw Kuya Botong, the three of them. Then they stopped me and the
three of them boarded the vehicle.
A. As far as I remember they talked about the plans about the killing of Kuya Rene.30
Q. What happened?
xxxx
A. After they boarded, the man from Bulacan said, ano pare, malinis na paggawa nito. Then,
Q. Where did they ride on Feb. 5, 1995? I was told by Botong to bring them to Hilltop.33

A. In Katipunan, sir. Based on the foregoing, the testimonies of Janet and Oswaldo clearly link appellant to the
planning of the crime. True, as intimated by appellant, she may not have been at the scene of
Q. What did they ride?
47
the crime at the time of the explosion;34 but then again, if she was, then she would have COURT
suffered the same fate as Reynaldo. Moreover, the nature of the crime and the manner of its
execution, i.e., via a booby trap, does not demand the physical presence of the perpetrator at What Hospital?
the very time of its commission. In fact, the very manner in which it was carried out
necessitated prior scheming and execution for it to succeed. Thus, appellant's absence from A. V. Luna, your Honor, along Katipunan.
the actual scene of the crime does not negate conspiracy with Rolando in plotting the death of
her husband. A conspiracy exists even if not all the parties committed the same act, but the COURT
participants performed specific acts that indicated unity of purpose in accomplishing a
criminal design.35 Moreover, direct proof of previous agreement to commit an offense is not Luna in Katipunan?
necessary to prove conspiracy -- conspiracy may be proven by circumstantial evidence.36
A. V. Luna is going to Katipunan, your Honor. It was Labor Hospital, your Honor and not V.
The testimonies of Janet and Oswaldo established the following set of circumstances which, if Luna. Then Botong told me that on the day he placed the grenade, he was seeing a guard
taken collectively, show the guilt of appellant: that appellant and Rolando conspired, planned roving and so what he did since he was already perspiring at that time he hurriedly tied the
and agreed to kill Reynaldo using a grenade; that appellant duplicated the key to the red wire in the grenade.
Honda Accord of Reynaldo so that Rolando could gain access to the car; that appellant
Atty. Rondain:
thereafter gave the duplicate key to Rolando; that on February 5, 1995, appellant told
Oswaldo to follow the red Honda Accord of Reynaldo until the latter parked the car; that
Iqoute na lang natin.
appellant told Oswaldo to thereafter pick up Rolando at Katipunan and bring the latter to
where Reynaldo parked his red Honda Accord. Reynaldo died soon after due to injuries he COURT
sustained from an explosion caused by grenades planted in his car.
Dinali-dali niyang ibinuhol ang alambre. That's her term.39 (Emphasis Supplied)
Another notable fact is that according to the expert opinion of Inspector Selverio Dollesin,
Chief of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Eastern Police District, the perpetrator had information What sealed appellant's fate was that, as observed by the RTC, there were already
about the victim's movements. Dollesin also observed that the perpetrator knew his intended outstanding warrants of arrest against appellant and Rolando as early as September 11, 1997;
victim, since the grenade was specifically placed in between the driver's seat and the front yet they evaded arrest and were only arrested on December 4, 1998.40 It is well settled that
door. That the perpetrator knew the victim's movements was further corroborated by the flight, when unexplained, is a circumstance from which an inference of guilt may be drawn.
affidavits executed by the Tan children, Renevie37 and Jag Carlo38 , attesting that while they "The wicked flee, even when no man pursueth; but the righteous are as bold as a
spent their Sundays with their father, this was the only time that they spent a Sunday in lion."41Appellant did not even proffer the slightest explanation for her flight.
Greenhills. Only someone who had close personal contact with Reynaldo would know his
movements, where the car would be parked, and that he was the one who usually drove the All told, this Court is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant is guilty of the crime
red Honda Accord, such that it was precisely positioned to ensure damage to the intended as charged. Moreover, considering the manner in which appellant and Rolando planned and
victim. executed the crime, the RTC was correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstances of
treachery, evident premeditation, and use of explosives. Thus, appellant is guilty of the crime
There is no doubt that, based on the testimony of Janet, it was Rolando who planted the of Parricide as provided in the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
grenades inside the car of Reynaldo, to wit:
Article 246. Parricide- Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate
Q. Where did you go? or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of
parricide and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. (Emphasis Supplied)
A. When I was inside the Canter, Botong (Rolando) was asking me while the vehicle was
moving slowly. He asked me what happened in the funeral parlor. Moreover, the Revised Penal Code provides for death as the proper penalty:
Q. And what did you say? Article 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties.
A. I told him that Major Penalosa called me for an interview but I did not say anything. xxxx
Then were already in front of the V. Luna Hospital. In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the
following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:
48
When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating circumstance, the Moreover, although not awarded by the RTC and pursuant to Regalario, exemplary damages
greater penalty shall be applied. in the amount of 30,000.00 is likewise warranted because of the presence of the aggravating
circumstances of intent to kill, treachery, evident premeditation and the use of explosives. The
However, as observed by the CA, with the effectivity of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9346 entitled imposition of exemplary damages is also justified under Art. 2229 of the Civil Code in order to
"An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines" on June 24, 2006, the set an example for the public good.45
imposition of the penalty of death has been prohibited. Thus, the proper penalty to be
imposed on appellant as provided in Section 2, paragraph (a) of said law is reclusion However, the award of 80,000.00 by the RTC as actual damages is deleted for lack of
perpetua.42 The applicability of R.A. No. 9346 is undeniable in view of the principle in criminal competent evidence to support it. Only substantiated and proven expenses, or those that
law that favorabilia sunt amplianda adiosa restrigenda. Penal laws that are favorable to the appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death, wake or burial of the
accused are given retroactive effect.43 victim will be recognized by the court.46 In lieu thereof, appellant should pay temperate
damages in the amount of 25,000.00, said amount being awarded in homicide or murder
In addition, appellant is not eligible for parole pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346, which cases when no evidence of burial and funeral expenses is presented in the trial court, 47 and in
states: accordance with prevailing jurisprudence.48 Under Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate
damages "may be awarded when the Court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered
SECTION 3. Persons convicted with reclusion perpetua, or those whose sentences will be but its amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty."
reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act
No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended. Finally, Section 11, Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that:

Lastly, as to the award of damages, the RTC awarded the following amounts: (1) 50,000.00 as An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal,
civil indemnity for death, (2) 80,000.00 as actual damages, and (3) 50,000.00 as moral except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter.
damages.1avvphi1
Since Rolando did not appeal the decision of the CA, only portions of this judgment that are
In the recent case of People v. Regalario,44 the Court stated: favorable to Rolando may affect him. On the other hand, portions of this judgment that are
unfavorable to Rolando cannot apply to him. Thus, he cannot be made liable to pay for
While the new law prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty provided for by exemplary damages, as the same were not awarded by the RTC.49However, he benefits from
law for a heinous offense is still death and the offense is still heinous. Consequently, the civil this Court's finding that, instead of actual damages, only temperate damages should be
indemnity for the victim is still 75,000.00. x x x the said award is not dependent on the actual awarded to the heirs of the victim.
imposition of the death penalty but on the fact that qualifying circumstances warranting the
imposition of the death penalty attended the commission of the offense. WHEREFORE, the Court of Appeals Decision dated November 13, 2006 and Resolution dated
September 23, 2003, finding appellant Beverly Tibo-Tan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
As to the award of moral and exemplary damages x x x. Moral damages are awarded despite Parricide and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA are
the absence of proof of mental and emotional suffering of the victim's heirs. As borne out by hereby AFFIRMED. Appellant is ineligible for parole and is further ordered to pay, jointly and
human experience, a violent death invariably and necessarily brings about emotional pain and severally with Rolando Malibiran, the heirs of Reynaldo Tan the amounts of 75,000.00 as civil
anguish on the part of the victim's family. If a crime is committed with an aggravating indemnity, 75,000.00 as moral damages and 25,000.00 as temperate damages. In addition,
circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of exemplary damages is justified under appellant is solely liable to pay the heirs of Reynaldo Tan the amount of 30,000.00 as
Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. This kind of damage is intended to serve as deterrent to exemplary damages.
serious wrongdoings and as vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights
of an injured, or as a punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct. However, consistent Costs de oficio.
with recent jurisprudence on heinous crimes where the imposable penalty is death but
reduced to reclusion perpetua pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346, the award of moral SO ORDERED.
damages should be increased from 50,000.00 to 75,000.00 while the award of exemplary
damages should be increased from 25,000.00 to 30,000.00.

Consistent therewith, the RTC's award should be modified: the civil indemnity should be
increased to 75,000.00, and moral damages to 75,000.00.

49
G.R. No. 181902 August 31, 2011 (b) CCC:
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs. * One tri-colored gold necklace (choker) valued at 50,000.00;
EDGAR EVANGELIO y GALLO, JOSEPH EVANGELIO, ATILANO AGATON y OBICO, and
NOEL MALPAS y GARCIA, Accused. * One yellow-gold necklace (choker) valued at 5,000.00;
JOSEPH EVANGELIO, Accused-Appellant.
* One gold necklace with Jesus Christ head pendant valued at 12,000.00;
DECISION
PERALTA, J.: * One gold necklace with star diamond pendant valued at 8,000.00;

This is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC * One gold necklace, tri-colored cross diamond valued at 13,000.00;
No. 00109, affirming the trial court's judgment finding appellant Joseph Evangelio
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Rape in Criminal Case * Three tri-colored bracelet (gold) with diamond valued at 18,000.00;
No. 2001-12-773.
Appellant Joseph Evangelio (Joseph), accused Edgar Evangelio y Gallo (Edgar), Atilano * Three tri-colored bracelet (twisted) valued at 15,000.00;
Agaton y Obico (Atilano) and Noel Malpas y Garcia (Noel) are charged with the crime
* One gold bracelet with diamonds valued at 6,000.00;
of Robbery with Rape in an Information, which reads:
* One gold bracelet (dangling) valued at 4,000.00;
The undersigned City Prosecutor of the City of Tacloban accuses EDGAR EVANGELIO
y GALLO, JOSEPH EVANGELIO, ATILANO AGATON y OBICO, and NOEL MALPAS y * One gold bracelet (chain) valued at 7,000.00;
GARCIA of the crime of Robbery with Rape, committed as follows:
* Five sets earrings and rings valued at 45,000.00;
That on or about the 3rd day of October 2001, in the City of Tacloban, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, * One set earrings and rings (diamond Solitaire) valued at 45,000.00;
conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping each other, with intent to
gain and armed with a handgun and deadly/bladed weapons forcibly enter the * Two black-colored wristwatch (Pierre Cardin) valued at 25,000.00; and
inhabited house/residence of BBB and while inside, by means of violence and
intimidation using said arms on the latter and the other occupants therein, and * Two gold-plated wristwatch (Pierre Cardin) valued at 25,000.00; and -
without the consent of their owners did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, take, and carry away from said residence the following personal * One gold bracelet (chain) valued at 4,000; and -
properties belonging to:
(c) Josefina Manlolo:
(a) BBB:
* Instamatic Camera, Olympus brand.
*Two Saudi-gold necklace with pendant with a combined value of 25,000 more or
to the damage and prejudice of said owners to the extent of the value of their
less;
respective properties above indicated.
* Saudi-gold bracelet valued at 25,000.00;
That on the occasion of the said robbery and in the same house/residence, accused,
* Leather wallet containing 1,500.00 cash; by means of force and intimidation and using the said handgun and deadly/bladed
weapons, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
and - knowledge of AAA,2 a 17-year-old minor, against her will and consent and at the time
when the latter lost consciousness after her head was banged on the bathroom
* Two shoulder bags with a combined value of 2,000.00. floor.3
50
CONTRARY TO LAW. She heard accused Edgar ask her nieces where their father kept their pieces of
jewelry and firearm. When her nieces told him that the valuables were kept upstairs,
On December 18, 2001, a Warrant of Arrest was issued against the four accused. On accused Edgar brought one of them there.
February 8, 2002, appellant Joseph, accused Edgar and Atilano were arrested, while
accused Noel remained at-large. BBB came home around 7:00 in the evening and when he entered the sliding door
facing the garage, he saw the four accused inside, three of them armed with knives
On May 21, 2002, appellant was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the crime and the other one with a gun. When he entered, he was immediately accosted and
charged. Accused Edgar and Atilano, who at that time were detained at the Bacolod warned to keep quiet. He recognized their faces, particularly the leader of the group,
City Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), were ordered to be brought whom he identified as accused Edgar, who previously worked for him as a laborer in
to Tacloban City for trial. However, they were not brought to Tacloban City by the the construction of the extension of his house. Upon accused Edgar's command, the
Bacolod City BJMP for the reason that they were criminally charged in the courts of other three accused, one of whom he identified in open court as appellant, tied him
Bacolod City. up. Accused Edgar, then struck him with the gun on his head, causing him to fall face
down on the floor with blood oozing from his left eyebrow. After a while, appellant
The evidence of the prosecution follows: and the three accused went out of the house, through the kitchen door, carrying two
traveling bags and the jewelry box of his wife.
On October 3, 2001, at 6:30 in the evening, while AAA, a 17-year-old househelper,
was cooking in the kitchen of the house of BBB situated in Tacloban City, four CCC, the wife of BBB, came home from the office in the early evening of October 3,
persons, one of whom was armed with a handgun while the other three with knives, 2001. Upon arriving thereat, she tried to open the door but was not able to do so.
suddenly barged inside the house through the open kitchen door. The four men She then called out the names of her children, but nobody responded. She peeped
accosted her, warned her to keep quiet, and brought her to the living room. There, through the window screen and saw people inside the house with whom she did not
they herded all the other members of the household whom they caught and bound recognize. One of the accused then poked a gun at her head and told her to come
their hands and feet, and thereafter, placed masking tapes over their captives eyes. inside, otherwise, he would kill her children. She ran away from their house, and
With her eyes partially covered by the tape, AAA was brought by the appellant inside cried out for help from the neighbors. They called the police. Shortly thereafter, the
the comfort room and thereat, appellant and one of the robbers stripped off AAA's policemen arrived. They found the house in complete disarray, the cabinets were
clothes and removed her panty. AAA resisted and fought back but they slammed her forcibly opened, CCC's jewelry box and her pieces of jewelry stolen, and the
head twice against the concrete wall, causing her to lose consciousness. When she members of the household traumatized. An inventory was taken of the stolen
regained her senses, appellant and the other robbers were already gone, and she valuables which amounted to PhP336,000.00, more or less. Some of the stolen items
found herself lying on the side on the floor of the comfort room with her feet untied were later recovered from the house of accused Edgar.
and her hands still tied behind her back. She saw her shorts and panty strewn at her
side. She suffered pain in her knees, head, stomach, and her vagina, which was The following day, AAA was examined by Dr. Angel Cordero, a medico-legal officer of
bleeding. Later on, AAA was freed from the comfort room by the other occupants of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory at Camp Ruperto Kangleon,
the house, who were earlier freed. Palo, Leyte. Dr. Cordero found that AAA sustained "deep healing lacerations at the 6
o'clock, 9 o'clock, and 3 o'clock positions and shallow healed lacerations at the 1
Prosecution witness Evelyn4 was in the living room when the incident happened. She o'clock and 11 o'clock positions." He concluded that AAA was in a "non-virgin state
was tutoring her nieces when the four men barged inside the house. She testified physically" and that "findings are compatible with recent loss of virginity" and
that she could not be mistaken as to the identity of the accused Edgar, who was with "recent sexual intercourse."
armed with a handgun, because he is a friend of her husband and who used to work
for him. Appellant and accused Noel are also familiar to her because they previously In his defense, appellant denied having committed the crimes charged and
stayed in Sampaguita, Tacloban City, where she lives. Upon the instruction of interposed alibi as a defense. He claims that at the time of the incident on October 3,
accused Edgar, Edelyn was divested of her earrings, bracelet, watch, and ring. 2001, at about 6:30 in the evening, he was sleeping in his house at Diit, Tacloban City
Thereafter, appellant tied her hands and feet, and blindfolded her with masking with his mother and sisters. No other witness was presented by the appellant.
tape. She was hit on the head with a firearm, causing a cut and her losing
consciousness. When she regained her senses, she found herself in the maids' room.
51
On August 23, 2004, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tacloban City, Branch 7, about 6:30 in the evening, he was sleeping in his house at Diit, Tacloban City,
rendered its Decision5 dated May 16, 2003, the dispositive portion of which reads: together with his mother and sisters. On the other hand, the appellant was positively
identified by the prosecution witnesses as one of the perpetrators of the crime of
WHEREFORE, premises considered, pursuant to Article 293 in relation to 294, par. 1 robbery with rape. Both the trial court and the CA found the testimonies of the
of the Revised Penal Code as amended, and the amendatory provisions of R.A. No. prosecution witnesses credible. The Court gives great weight to the trial courts
8353, (the Anti-Rape Law of 1997) and R.A. No. 7659 (Death Penalty Law), the Court evaluation of the testimony of a witness because it had the opportunity to observe
found accused, JOSEPH EVANGELIO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the special the facial expression, gesture, and tone of voice of a witness while testifying, thus
complex crime of ROBBERY WITH RAPE charged under the information and making it in a better position to determine whether a witness is lying or telling the
sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of DEATH, and pay actual damages in the truth.9
amount of Three Hundred Thirty-Six Thousand (336,000.00) Pesos to spouses BBB
and CCC and moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand (50,000.00) Pesos; Between the categorical statements of the prosecution witness, on one hand, and
pay civil indemnity to AAA, the amount of Seventy Five Thousand (75,000.00) the bare denial of the appellant, on the other, the former must perforce prevail. An
Pesos, and moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand (50,000.00) Pesos; pay affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony especially when it
Edelyn the amount of Three Thousand (3,000.00) Pesos as actual damages and comes from the mouth of a credible witness. Alibi and denial, if not substantiated by
moral damages in the amount of Twenty Thousand (20,000.00) Pesos; and pay the clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of
costs. weight in law. They are considered with suspicion and always received with caution,
not only because they are inherently weak and unreliable but also because they are
SO ORDERED.6 easily fabricated and concocted. 10 Denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony
of prosecution witnesses who were not shown to have any ill-motive to testify
An appeal was made and the records of the case were forwarded to this Court. against the appellant.11
However, pursuant to this Courts ruling in People v. Mateo, 7 the case was
transferred to the CA for appropriate action and disposition. The CA rendered a As to the defense of alibi. Aside from the testimony of appellant that he was in Diit,
Decision dated August 10, 2007 affirming with modification the decision of the trial Tacloban City at the time of the incident, the defense was unable to show that it was
court. In view of the abolition of the death penalty, pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) physically impossible for appellant to be at the scene of the crime. Basic is the rule
No. 9346, which was approved on June 24, 2006, the appellant was sentenced that for alibi to prosper, the accused must prove that he was somewhere else when
to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole. The CA did not consider the the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to have been
aggravating circumstances of nighttime and unlawful entry in the commission of the at the scene of the crime. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the
crime. The CA deleted the awards of PhP3,000.00, as actual damages, and place where the appellant was when the crime transpired and the place where it was
PhP20,000.00, as moral damages, in favor of Edelyn, because they were not charged committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places. 12 Where there is
in the Information. the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of
alibi must fail.13 The appellant testified during trial that Diit is only a one-hour ride
On August 28, 2007, appellant, through the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), appealed away from Tacloban City.14 Thus, it was not physically impossible for the appellant to
the decision of the CA to this Court. Appellant had assigned the following error in his be at the locus criminis at the time of the incident. In addition, positive identification
appeal initially passed upon by the CA, to wit: destroys the defense of alibi and renders it impotent, especially where such
identification is credible and categorical.15
I
Further, appellant insists that he was at home at the time of the incident with his
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES OF
mother and sisters. The defense, however, failed to put them on the witness stand.
NIGHTTIME, COMMITTED BY A BAND, DWELLING AND UNLAWFUL ENTRY IN THE
Neither did they execute any statement under oath to substantiate appellant's alibi.
IMPOSITION OF THE PENALTY AGAINST THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT. 8
To be convicted of robbery with rape, the following elements must concur: (1) the
In his Brief, appellant denied having committed the crime charged and interposed
taking of personal property is committed with violence or intimidation against
alibi as a defense. He claims that at the time of the incident on October 3, 2001, at
52
persons; (2) the property taken belongs to another; (3) the taking is characterized by In the following decided cases, the victim was unconscious and was not aware of the
intent to gain or animus lucrandi; and (4) the robbery is accompanied by rape. 16 sexual intercourse that transpired, yet the accused was found guilty on the basis of
circumstantial evidence.
In this case, the prosecution established that appellant and his three co-accused took
the pieces of jewelry and valuables of the spouses BBB and CCC by means of violence In People v. Gaufo,21 the victim was hit on her head by the accused but she fought
and intimidation. Appellant and his co-accused barged into the house of the victims back and asked for help. The accused then punched her abdomen causing her to lose
armed with a handgun and knives and tied the hands and feet of the members of the consciousness. Upon regaining her bearings, she noticed that she had no more
household. The perpetrators then asked for the location of the pieces of jewelry and underwear, her vagina was bleeding and her body was painful. The combination of
valuables. BBB was also tied and was struck in the head with a gun causing him to fall these circumstances, among others, led the Court to adjudge the accused guilty of
face down on the floor with blood oozing from his left eyebrow. He was able to see rape.
the perpetrators going out of the house carrying bags and the jewelry box of his
wife. Intent to gain, or animus lucrandi, as an element of the crime of robbery, is an In People v. Pabol,22 the accused hit the victim on her face causing her to fall.
internal act; hence, presumed from the unlawful taking of things.17 Having Accused then hugging the victim from behind, sat the victim on his lap, and stroke
established that the personal properties of the victims were unlawfully taken by the her breast with a piece of stone. When she shouted for help, accused covered her
appellant, intent to gain was sufficiently proven. Thus, the first three elements of the mouth and later she fell unconscious. When she had woken up some two hours later,
crime were clearly established. she discovered that her ears had been sliced, her blouse opened and her underwear
stained with her own blood. She also experienced pain in her private part after the
As regard the last requirement. Although the victim AAA did not exactly witness the incident. Given the foregoing circumstances, the Court found that the accused raped
actual rape because she was unconscious at that time, circumstantial evidence the victim.
shows that the victim was raped by the appellant and the other accused.
The Court notes that AAA was examined by Dr. Angel Cordero, a medico-legal officer
Circumstantial evidence, also known as indirect or presumptive evidence, refers to of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, Camp Ruperto Kangleon,
proof of collateral facts and circumstances whence the existence of the main fact Leyte the following day23 and found that she sustained deep healing
may be inferred according to reason and common experience.18 Circumstantial lacerations and shallow healed lacerations. He concluded that AAA was in a "non-
evidence is sufficient to sustain conviction if (a) there is more than one circumstance; virgin state physically" and that "findings are compatible with recent loss of
(b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; (c) the combination virginity" and with "recent sexual intercourse."24Prosecution witness Dr. Cordero on
of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. 19 A direct examination stated that:
judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be sustained when the
circumstances proved form an unbroken chain that results in a fair and reasonable Q. Now in your examination were you able to conduct a personal examination on the
conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the person of the victim?
perpetrator.20
A. Yes, Sir.
The following circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution, when analyzed
and taken together, lead to the inescapable conclusion that the appellant raped AAA: Q. And what was your finding?
first, while two of the robbers were stealing, appellant and one of the robbers
A. I had my findings in my report and it is all reflected in this particular report that I
brought AAA inside the comfort room; second, inside the comfort room, AAA was
have made.
stripped off her clothes and her panty; third, when AAA resisted and struggled,
appellant and the other robber banged her head against the wall, causing her to lose Q. Now in your report in the second page of your report there is here a conclusion
consciousness; fourth, when she regained consciousness, the culprits were already and remarks, No. 3 of which states that finding compatible with recent sexual
gone and she saw her shorts and panty strewn at her side; and fifth, she suffered intercourse. What do you mean by that Doctor Cordero?
pain in her knees, head, stomach and, most of all, in her vagina which was then
bleeding.

53
A. That there was a sexual connection between the victim and that of the offender AAA in the comfort room and sexually abused her; they then left the house together
and it was manifested on the findings that I have made and reflected in my report. 25 carrying the loot. With the foregoing circumstances, there can be no other
conclusion than that the successful perpetration of the crime was done through the
Although Dr. Cordero's report stated that AAA's lacerations were deep healing and concerted efforts of the four armed men.
healed lacerations, this finding does not negate the commission of rape on October
3, 2001. The Court held that the absence of fresh lacerations does not prove that the In People v. Suyu, we ruled that once conspiracy is established between several
victim was not raped.26 A freshly broken hymen is not an essential element of rape accused in the commission of the crime of robbery, they would all be equally
and healed lacerations do not negate rape.27 Hence, the presence of healed hymenal culpable for the rape committed by anyone of them on the occasion of the robbery,
lacerations the day after the victim was raped does not negate the commission of unless anyone of them proves that he endeavored to prevent the others from
rape by the appellant when the crime was proven by the combination of highly committing rape.32 There is no showing that the other accused prevented appellant
convincing pieces of circumstantial evidence. In addition, a medical examination and from sexually abusing AAA. In view, however, that the accused Edgar, Atilano and
a medical certificate are merely corroborative and are not indispensable to the Noel were not brought for arraignment and trial, judgment cannot be rendered
prosecution of a rape case.28 against them.

For a conviction of the crime of robbery with rape to stand, it must be shown that THE PENALTY
the rape was committed by reason or on the occasion of a robbery and not the
other way around. This special complex crime under Article 294 of the Revised Penal We now come to the imposition of the proper penalty. The crime of robbery with
Code contemplates a situation where the original intent of the accused was to take, rape is a special complex crime punishable under Article 294 of the Revised Penal
with intent to gain, personal property belonging to another and rape is committed Code as amended by R.A. 7659.33 Article 294 provides for the penalty of reclusion
on the occasion thereof or as an accompanying crime.29 In the case at bar, the perpetua to death, when the robbery was accompanied by rape. The provision reads
original intent of the appellant and his co-accused was to rob the victims and AAA as follows:
was raped on the occasion of the robbery.
Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons; Penalties. - Any
The trial court also found the presence of conspiracy between the perpetrators. person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any
Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when two or more person shall suffer:
persons come to an agreement concerning a felony and decide to commit it. It may
be inferred from the acts of the accused before, during or after the commission of 1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death when by reason or on occasion of the
the crime which, when taken together, would be enough to reveal a community of robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed; or when the robbery
criminal design, as the proof of conspiracy is frequently made by evidence of a chain shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson; x x x
of circumstances.30 To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of
The CA correctly ruled in not considering the aggravating circumstances of nighttime
the execution; he need not even take part in every act or need not even know the
and unlawful entry.
exact part to be performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy. Each
conspirator may be assigned separate and different tasks which may appear As correctly pointed out by the CA:
unrelated to one another but, in fact, constitute a whole collective effort to achieve
their common criminal objective. Once conspiracy is shown, the act of one is the act x x x [T]he aggravating circumstances of nighttime and unlawful entry cannot be
of all the conspirators. The precise extent or modality of participation of each of considered. Under the law, specifically Sections 8 and 9, Rule 110 of the Revised
them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are principals. 31 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as well as jurisprudence, it is required that qualifying as
well as aggravating circumstances must be expressly and specifically alleged in the
In the instant case, conspiracy was shown by the coordinated acts of the four Complaint or Information; otherwise, the same will not be considered by the court
persons. From the time they gained entry into the victims residence, they tied and against the appellant, even if proved during the trial. And, this principle is applicable
blindfolded the members of the household; inflicted physical injuries on some of the to all criminal cases.
victims; some went upstairs and proceeded to ransack the house; the others brought

54
The information merely stated that the crime took place "on or about the 3rd day of In view, however, of the passage of R.A. No. 9346, 43 prohibiting the imposition of the
October 2001," without specifying the time of its commission. Also nighttime is death penalty, the CA correctly reduced the penalty of death to reclusion
considered an aggravating circumstance only when it is deliberately sought to perpetua,44 without eligibility for parole.45
prevent the accused from being recognized or to ensure escape. There must be
proof that this was intentionally sought to ensure the commission of the crime, and THE DAMAGES
that the accused took advantage of it to insure his immunity from captivity. Here,
there is a paucity of evidence that nighttime was purposely, deliberately, and The trial court did not order the appellant to return the items taken from the victims
especially sought by the accused. The mere fact that the offense was committed at but, instead, directed the payment of actual damages amounting to PhP336,000.00.
night will not suffice to sustain a finding of nocturnity. The said amount is the value of the items taken from the spouses BBB and CCC.

Further, the phrase, "forcibly enter the inhabited house" does not comprise the Under Article 10546 of the Revised Penal Code, the appellant is obliged to return the
aggravating circumstance of "unlawful entry." Verily, evidence showed that all the items he took from the spouses BBB and CCC. If appellant can no longer return the
accused freely entered the [victims'] residence through the open kitchen door, which articles taken, he is obliged to make reparation for their value, taking into
is clearly intended for ingress and or egress.34 consideration their price and their special sentimental value to the offended
parties.47 Hence, the Court modifies the decision of the trial court, as affirmed by the
The trial court and the CA correctly appreciated the aggravating circumstance of the CA, and directs the appellant to return the pieces of jewelry and valuables taken
commission of a crime by a band.35 In the crime of robbery with rape, band is from the spouses BBB and CCC as enumerated in the Information48 dated December
considered as an aggravating circumstance. 36 The prosecution established that one 3, 2001 and proven during trial. Should restitution be no longer possible, appellant
of the accused was armed with a handgun, while the other three had knives when shall pay the spouses BBB and CCC the value of the stolen pieces of jewelry and
they committed the crime.37 valuables as determined by the trial court in the amount of PhP336,000.00.

The aggravating circumstance of dwelling38 was also attendant in the present case. The trial court's award of moral damages in the amount of PhP50,000.00 to the
Dwelling aggravates a felony where the crime is committed in the dwelling of the spouses BBB and CCC is not proper. In order that a claim for moral damages can be
offended party provided that the latter has not given provocation therefor. 39 In this aptly justified, it must be anchored on proof showing that the claimant experienced
case, robbery with violence was committed in the house of the victims without moral suffering, mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded
provocation on their part. In robbery with violence and intimidation against persons, feelings, moral shock, social humiliation or similar injury. 49 The victim spouses BBB
dwelling is aggravating because in this class of robbery, the crime may be committed and CCC, however, did not present any evidence of their moral sufferings as a result
without the necessity of trespassing the sanctity of the offended party's house.40 It is of the robbery. Thus, there is no basis for the grant of moral damages in connection
considered an aggravating circumstance primarily because of the sanctity of privacy with the robbery.
that the law accords to the human abode.41 He who goes to anothers house to hurt
him or do him wrong is more guilty than he who offends him elsewhere. 42 In line with prevailing jurisprudence, AAA is entitled to civil indemnification. Upon
the finding of rape, the victim is entitled to civil indemnity. 50 Thus, AAA is entitled to
Since the aggravating circumstances of band and dwelling were alleged in the PhP75,000.00 as civil indemnity.51
Information and proven, the imposable penalty upon the appellant is death,
pursuant to Article 63, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code, which provides: In addition, AAA is entitled to moral damages pursuant to Article 2219 of the Civil
Code,52 without the necessity of additional pleadings or proof other than the fact of
x x x In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible rape.53 Moral damages is granted in recognition of the victim's injury necessarily
penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof: resulting from the odious crime of rape.54 Such award is separate and distinct from
the civil indemnity.55 However, the amount of PhP50,000.00 awarded as moral
1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating damages, is increased to PhP75,000.00 in line with current jurisprudence.56
circumstance, the greater penalty shall be applied. x x x
The award of exemplary damages in the amount of PhP30,000.00 should also be
imposed. Exemplary damages are awarded when the crime is attended by an
55
aggravating circumstance, or as a public example, in order to protect hapless The Office of the Court Administrator is hereby DIRECTED to determine the status of
individuals from molestation.57 Furthermore, interest at the rate of six percent (6%) the case against the accused Edgar Evangelio and Atilano Agaton who, despite being
per annum shall be imposed on all damages awarded from the date of finality of this under the custody of the BJMP Bacolod City, were not brought for trial at the RTC,
judgment, pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence.58 Tacloban City for the crime of robbery with rape. The said office is further directed to
investigate and ascertain the possible liability of the person(s) concerned who
The CA was also correct in deleting the award of actual damages amounting to caused the delay in the prosecution of accused Edgar Evangelio and Atilano Agaton
PhP3,000.00 and moral damages amounting to PhP20,000.00 in favor of Edelyn. for the said offense.
Verily, it is a rule that the accused is entitled to be informed of the nature and cause
of the accusation against him.59 The information for robbery with rape filed against SO ORDERED.
the accused shows that Edelyn is not one of the complainants therein and there is no
description of the pieces of jewelry and valuables allegedly taken from her. Simply
put, the appellant was not informed that he was being charged of robbery in so far
as Edelyn is concerned. Hence, the CA correctly deleted the award.

On a final note, records reveal that accused Edgar and Atilano, who were charged
with the appellant, were not brought for arraignment and trial, despite the fact that
they are detained in Bacolod City.

Records show that the RTC of Tacloban City directed the BJMP of Bacolod City to
transfer the accused Atilano and Edgar to the BJMP of Tacloban City in order for
them to stand trial for the crime of robbery with rape. 60 In a letter61dated June 26,
2002, the Jail Warden of Bacolod City informed the trial court that Edgar and Atilano
are being charged with several offenses in the courts of Bacolod City. 62 Thus, the Jail
Warden of Bacolod City requested that Edgar and Atilano be transferred from the
BJMP Bacolod City to the BJMP Tacloban City only after their pending criminal cases
in Bacolod City shall have been terminated. However, the records are bereft of any
information as to the status of this case, i.e., Criminal Case No. 2001-12-773, insofar
as accused Atilano and Edgar are concerned.1avvphil1

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CR-HC No. 00109 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Appellant Joseph
Evangelio is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery with Rape and is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, without eligibility of parole
pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346. He is ordered to return the pieces of jewelry and
valuables taken from the spouses BBB and CCC as enumerated in the
Information63 dated December 3, 2001. Should restitution be no longer possible,
appellant shall pay the spouses BBB and CCC the value of the stolen pieces of jewelry
and valuables in the amount of PhP336,000.00. He is further directed to pay AAA the
amounts of PhP75,000.00 as civil indemnity, PhP75,000.00 as moral damages and
PhP30,000.00 as exemplary damages. Interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per
annum is imposed on all the damages awarded in this case from date of finality of
this judgment until fully paid.

56
G.R. No. 170289 April 8, 2010 and with the use of sharp pointed x x x instrument, and x x x conspiring,
ROSIE QUIDET, Petitioner, confederating and helping one another, and taking advantage of the night [in] order
vs. to facilitate the commission of the offense, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. and feloniously attack, assault, and stab one Andrew Tagarda thereby hitting his left
DECISION chest and nose, the accused having performed all the acts of execution which would
DEL CASTILLO, J.: produce the crime of Homicide as a consequence except for reason or cause
independent of the will of the accused that is, the stab was deflected by the victim.
Conspiracy must be proved as clearly and convincingly as the commission of the
offense itself for it is a facile device by which an accused may be ensnared and kept CONTRARY TO and in violation of Article 249 in relation to Article 6 of the Revised
within the penal fold. In case of reasonable doubt as to its existence, the balance tips Penal Code.4
in favor of the milder form of criminal liability as what is at stake is the accuseds
liberty. We apply these principles in this case. Upon arraignment, all the accused entered a plea of not guilty in Criminal Case No.
This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks to reverse and set aside the Court of 92-080 (frustrated homicide). Meanwhile, in Criminal Case No. 92-079 (homicide),
Appeals (CA) July 22, 2005 Decision1 in CA-G.R. CR No. 23351 which affirmed with Taban entered a voluntary plea of guilt while petitioner and Tubo maintained their
modifications the March 11, 1999 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of innocence. Accordingly, on June 24, 1992, the trial court rendered a partial
Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 20 in Criminal Case Nos. 92-079 and 92-080. judgment5sentencing Taban to imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day
of prision mayor, as minimum, to twelve (12) years, two (2) months and one (1) day
Factual Antecedents of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and ordering him to pay the heirs of Jimmy
50,000.00 as civil indemnity.6 Thereafter, joint trial ensued.
On January 13, 1992, petitioner Rosie Quidet (petitioner), Feliciano Taban, Jr.
(Taban), and Aurelio Tubo (Tubo) were charged with homicide in Criminal Case No. Version of the Prosecution
92-079 for the death of Jimmy Tagarda (Jimmy) allegedly committed as follows:
On October 19, 1991, at around 8:00 oclock in the evening, Jimmy, Andrew, Edwin
That on or about the 19th day of October 1991 at 8:00 oclock in the evening, more Balani7 (Balani), and Rolando Mabayo (Mabayo) visited a friend in Sitio Punta, Looc,
or less, at Barangay Looc, Salay, Misamis Oriental, Philippines and within the Salay, Misamis Oriental. Along the way, they saw Taban, together with petitioner and
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused Feliciano Taban, Jr., Tubo, come out of the house of one Tomas Osep (Osep). Taban suddenly stabbed
Rosie Quidet and Aurelio Tubo, with intent to kill, conspiring, confederating, x x x and Andrew on the chest with a knife. Andrew retaliated by boxing Taban. Jimmy tried to
[sic] helping one another, taking advantage of the darkness of the night, in order to pacify Andrew and Taban but the latter stabbed him in the abdomen. Taban then
facilitate the commission of the offense with the use of sharp pointed x x x immediately fled.
instruments which the accused conveniently provided themselves did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab one Jimmy Tagarda Meanwhile, after Jimmy fell down, Tubo threw a drinking glass at Andrews face
thus the victim sustained several wounds in different parts of his body and as a while petitioner boxed Andrews jaw. Tubo stabbed Jimmy who was then lying face
consequence of which the victim died immediately thereafter. down on the ground twice on the back with an ice pick after which he fled. Petitioner
then boxed Jimmys mouth. At this juncture, Balani rushed to Jimmys aid and boxed
CONTRARY TO and in violation of Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code.3 petitioner who retaliated by punching Balani. Thereafter, petitioner left the scene.
Mabayo was unable to help Jimmy or
On even date, the aforesaid accused were charged with frustrated homicide in
Criminal Case No. 92-080 for the stab wounds sustained by Jimmys cousin, Andrew Andrew because he was shocked by the incident.
Tagarda (Andrew), arising from the same incident, viz:
After the incident, Jimmy was brought to the clinic of Dr. Precioso Tacandang (Dr.
That on or about the 19th day of October 1991 at 8:00 oclock in the evening, more Tacandang). Jimmy was then in critical condition, thus, Dr. Tacandang advised the
or less, at Barangay Looc, Salay, Misamis Oriental, Philippines and within the relatives of Jimmy to bring him to the Northern Mindanao Regional Training Hospital.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, Upon arrival at the aforesaid hospital, Jimmy was declared dead by the attending
57
physician, Dr. Cedric Dael (Dr. Dael). Jimmy sustained a vital or mortal stab wound at 4) And likewise to pay solidarily the heirs of the victim Andrew Tagarda the sum of
the epigastric area four centimeters below the cyphoid process and another stab 10,000.00 for committing the crime of Frustrated Homicide.9
wound on the left lumbar. Andrew, who sustained minor injuries, was treated by Dr.
Dael. The period of preventive imprisonment during which the accused were detained
pending the trial of these cases shall be credited in full in favor of all the accused.
Version of the Defense
SO ORDERED.10
On the night of the stabbing incident, Taban, Tubo and petitioner were drinking
liquor in the house of Osep. Taban left the group to urinate on a nearby coconut The trial court found that the stabbing of Jimmy and Andrew was previously planned
tree. Outside Oseps house, he was suddenly boxed by Andrew and kicked by Jimmy by the accused. The active participation of all three accused proved conspiracy in the
causing him to fall near a fishing boat. There Taban found a fishing knife with which commission of the crimes. Furthermore, the positive identification of the accused by
he stabbed Jimmy and Andrew in order to defend himself. After which, he fled for the prosecution witnesses cannot be offset by the defense of plain denial.
fear for his life. Meanwhile, petitioner went out to look for Taban. As he was
stepping out of Oseps house, he was boxed by Balani. Petitioner fought back. From this judgment, only petitioner appealed to the CA.
Andrew tried to help Balani but petitioner was able to evade Andrews attacks.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Instead, petitioner was able to box Andrew. Petitioner then called out to Tubo to
come out and run. When Tubo stepped out of the house, neither Taban nor On July 22, 2005, the CA promulgated the assailed Decision, affirming with
petitioner was present but he saw a person being lifted by several people. Upon modifications, the judgment of the RTC, viz:
seeing this, Tubo, likewise, fled for fear for his life.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the following modifications: (a) That in Criminal
Case No. 92-080 the crime is only Attempted Homicide; and (b) the civil indemnity in
On May 16, 1995, the RTC rendered a judgment finding petitioner and Tubo guilty of
the amount of ten thousand (10,000.00) pesos which was awarded to the heirs of
homicide8 and all three accused (petitioner, Tubo and Taban) guilty of frustrated
Andrew Tagarda be deleted as the same has not been fully substantiated. No costs.
homicide, viz:
SO ORDERED.11
1) In Criminal Case No. 92-079, accused Rosie Quidet and Aurelio Tubo are hereby
sentenced, there being no mitigating or aggravating circumstances present, to the In upholding the conviction of the accused for homicide, the CA held that conspiracy
penalty of EIGHT (8) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY OF PRISION MAYOR with its medium was duly established as shown by the concerted acts of the accused in inflicting
period as minimum under the Indeterminate Sentence Law to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS, mortal wounds on Jimmy. Hence, all of the accused are guilty of homicide for the
EIGHT (8) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL in its medium death of Jimmy.
period [as maximum] under the same law.
The CA, however, disagreed with the trial courts finding that the accused are liable
2) In Criminal Case No. 92-080 for Frustrated Homicide, there being no mitigating or for frustrated homicide with respect to the injuries sustained by Andrew. According
aggravating circumstances present, this court hereby sentences all the accused to the CA, the accused failed to inflict mortal wounds on Andrew because the latter
[Feliciano Taban, Jr., Rosie Quidet and Aurelio Tubo] in this case to an Indeterminate successfully deflected the attack. Andrew suffered only minor injuries which could
Sentence [Law] of FOUR (4) YEARS OF PRISION CORRECCIONAL in its medium period have healed within five to seven days even without medical treatment. The crime
as the minimum under the Indeterminate Sentence Law to TEN (10) YEARS OF committed, therefore, is merely attempted homicide.
PRISION MAYOR in its medium period as the maximum under the same law. With
costs. The CA also deleted the award of civil indemnity to the heirs of Andrew because the
same was not fully substantiated.
3) To pay jointly and severally the heirs of Jimmy Tagarda in the sum of 50,000.00
for Criminal Case No. 92-079; Issue
58
Whether the Decision of the CA finding petitioner to have acted in conspiracy with crime itself, must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. When there is conspiracy, the
the other accused (Taban and Tubo) in the commission of the offenses charged is in act of one is the act of all.
accordance with law and/or jurisprudence.12
Conspiracy can be inferred from and established by the acts of the accused
Petitioners Arguments themselves when said acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and
community of interests.16 However, in determining whether conspiracy exists, it is
Petitioner claims that the evidence merely established that: (1) Taban went out of not sufficient that the attack be joint and simultaneous for simultaneousness does
Oseps store while petitioner and Tubo remained inside; (2) a commotion took place not of itself demonstrate the concurrence of will or unity of action and purpose
between Taban and Andrew; (3) after this altercation, petitioner and Tubo stepped which are the bases of the responsibility of the assailants. 17 What is determinative is
out of Oseps store; and (4) petitioners participation in the incident is limited to proof establishing that the accused were animated by one and the same purpose.18
boxing Andrew after the latter had already been stabbed by Taban, and boxing
Jimmys mouth after the latter had been stabbed by Taban and Tubo in succession. As a general rule, factual findings of the trial court, which is in a better position to
evaluate the testimonial evidence, are accorded respect by this Court. But where the
Petitioner insists that it cannot be said that he had the same criminal purpose and trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of
design as Taban and Tubo. His participation was not necessary to the completion of weight and substance which can affect the result of the case, this Court is duty-
the criminal acts because by the time he boxed Andrew and Jimmy, the stabbing had bound to correct this palpable error for the right to liberty, which stands second only
already taken place. The evidence further established that the stabbing incident was to life in the hierarchy of constitutional rights, cannot be lightly taken away. In the
purely accidental and that the accused had no grudge against the victims. Also, instant case, we find that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt
petitioner was unarmed negating his intent to kill. that petitioner conspired with Taban and Tubo in committing the crimes of homicide
and attempted homicide.
Petitioner also cites People v. Vistido13 where it was ruled that conspiracy was not
established under facts similar to the present case. In Vistido, the accused was Both the trial court and the CA ruled that the evidence duly established conspiracy.
merely convicted of slight physical injuries. In particular, the CA noted:
Respondents Arguments [T]his Court HOLDS that there was conspiracy. x x x
Respondent contends that conspiracy was duly established. Petitioner was not With respect to Criminal Case No. 92-080 (for frustrated homicide), it was revealed
merely present during the commission of the crime but he aided Taban and Tubo by that after Andrews chest was stabbed by Taban, Tubo also threw a drinking glass at
inflicting blows on Andrew and Jimmy after the latter were stabbed. The Andrews face while [petitioner] boxed Andrews jaws.
simultaneous movement of the accused towards the victims and their successive
escape from the crime scene clearly evince conspiracy. Respondent also stresses that From the foregoing facts, it can be inferred that all the accused acted in solidum in
the factual findings of the trial court should be accorded respect for it is in a better trying to inflict injuries to Andrew. Had it been otherwise, Tubo and [petitioner]
position to evaluate testimonial evidence. would have just left the scene of the crime.

Our Ruling With respect to Criminal Case No. 92-079 (for homicide), it was revealed that after
Andrew was stabbed by Taban using a double-bladed knife, Taban subsequently
The petition is partly meritorious. stabbed Jimmy before fleeing from the crime scene. Moments later, while Andrew
was recovering from fist and glass blows from [petitioner] and Tubo, Tubo
The existence of conspiracy was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, [straddled] Jimmy and stabbed him twice with an icepick before [he] left.
petitioner is criminally liable only for his individual acts. [Petitioner], on the other hand, delivered a fist blow to Jimmys mouth
notwithstanding the fact that Jimmy was already stabbed by Taban and Tubo.
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it.14 The essence of conspiracy is the
unity of action and purpose.15 Its elements, like the physical acts constituting the
59
From the foregoing facts, it can be inferred that all the accused in Criminal Case No. Andrew stated that he retaliated by boxing Taban and it was only then when he
92-079 confederated and mutually helped each other to insure the killing of Jimmy (Andrew) saw Tubo and petitioner come out of Oseps house. 21 The records of the
Tagarda. Hence, conspiracy was present in the cases at bar.19 preliminary investigation of this case confirm this latter version of the events when
Andrew stated that it was only after the commotion between him and Taban that
We disagree. To determine if petitioner conspired with Taban and Tubo, the focus of Tubo and petitioner stepped out of Oseps store to help Taban defend himself in the
the inquiry should necessarily be the overt acts of petitioner before, during and after ensuing fight.22 Significantly, when the defense on cross-examination confronted
the stabbing incident. From this viewpoint, we find several facts of substance which Andrew with this inconsistency between his statements on direct examination and
militate against the finding that petitioner conspired with Taban and Tubo. the preliminary investigation, Andrew answered that at the time of the incident it
was only Taban that he saw.23 The same observation can be made on the testimony
First, there is no evidence that petitioner, Taban or Tubo had any grudge or enmity of the prosecutions second eyewitness, Balani. While on direct examination Balani
against Jimmy or Andrew. The prosecution eyewitnesses (Andrew and Balani) as well claimed that the three accused successively came out of Oseps house, on cross-
as the three accused were one in testifying that there was no misunderstanding examination, he modified his stance by stating that it was only Taban who initially
between the two groups prior to the stabbing incident. During the testimony of accosted their group and that petitioner and Tubo were inside Oseps house prior to
prosecution witness Balani, the trial court itself grappled with the issue of motive: the commotion.24 This material inconsistency in the testimonies of the prosecutions
eyewitnesses belies the prosecutions theory that the three accused had a pre-
COURT: (to the witness)
conceived plan to kill Jimmy and Andrew.
Q- [W]hen you saw Feliciano Taban and Tubo stabbing Jimmy Tagarda, you mean to
Third, unlike Taban and Tubo, petitioner was unarmed during the incident, thus,
tell this court that they were enemies?
negating his intent to kill the victims. By the prosecution witnesses account,
A- No sir. petitioners participation was limited to boxing Andrew and Jimmy after Taban and
Tubo had stabbed the victims. His acts were neither necessary nor indispensable to
xxxx the commission of the crimes as they were done after the stabbing. Thus,
petitioners act of boxing the victims can be interpreted as a mere show of sympathy
Q- Now, was there any information that you received that the reason why the to or camaraderie with his two co-accused.
accused Taban and Tubo stabbed Jimmy Tagarda and Andrew Tagarda was x x x of
some previous misunderstanding? Taken together, the evidence of the prosecution does not meet the test of moral
certainty in order to establish that petitioner conspired with Taban and Tubo to
A- No, I did not know. commit the crimes of homicide and attempted homicide. We agree with petitioner
that this case is similar to People v. Vistido25 and the ruling there applies with equal
Q- Until now, you cannot tell this court the reason why the stabbing took place force here. In Vistido, we held thus
except the fact that the group of the accused were having [a] drinking session and
your group also had a [prior] drinking session somewhere? There is no question that "a person may be convicted for the criminal act of another
where, between them, there has been conspiracy or unity of purpose and intention
A- Yes, sir.20 in the commission of the crime charged." It is, likewise, settled that "to establish
conspiracy, it is not necessary to prove previous agreement to commit a crime, if
Second, the stabbing incident appears to have arisen from a purely accidental
there is proof that the malefactors have acted in consort and in pursuance of the
encounter between Tabans and Andrews groups with both having had a drinking
same objective." Nevertheless, "the evidence to prove the same must be positive
session. On direct examination, prosecution witness Andrew testified that Taban,
and convincing. As a facile device by which an accused may be ensnared and kept
Tubo and petitioner successively went out of Oseps house to engage their group.
within the penal fold, conspiracy requires conclusive proof if we are to maintain in
This version of the events made it appear that the three accused laid in wait to carry
full strength the substance of the time-honored principle in criminal law requiring
out the crimes. However, on cross-examination, Andrew contradicted himself when
proof beyond reasonable doubt before conviction."
he stated that it was only Taban who their group initially saw with a knife outside
Oseps house and who suddenly stabbed Andrew.1avvphi1 After he was stabbed,
60
In the case at bar, the evidence for the prosecution does not comply with this basic "Although the appellants are relatives and had acted with some degree of
requirement. To begin with, there is no evidence that appellant and his co-accused simultaneity in attacking their victim, nevertheless, this fact alone does not prove
had any enmity or grudge against the deceased. On the contrary, the cousin of the conspiracy. (People vs. Caayao, 48 Off. Gaz. 637). On the contrary, from the nature
deceased, Reynaldo Pagtakhan, testified that prior to the stabbing incident, they did and gravity of the wounds inflicted on the deceased, it can be said that the appellant
not have any quarrel with them. In the absence of strong motives on their part to kill and the other defendant did not act pursuant to the same objective. Florentino
the deceased, it can not safely be concluded that they conspired to commit the Gapole's purpose was to kill the deceased, as shown by the fact that he inflicted a
crime involved herein. mortal wound which almost severed the left arm. The injury inflicted by the
appellant, merely scratching the subcutaneous tissues, does not indicate a purpose
Neither could it be assumed that when the appellant and his co-accused were to kill the victim. It is not enough that appellant had participated in the assault made
together drinking wine, at the time and place of the incident, they were there by his co-defendant in order to consider him a co-principal in the crime charged. He
purposely to wait for and to kill the deceased. For, they could not have surmised must have also made the criminal resolution of his co-accused his own. x x x." and,
beforehand that between 3:00 and 4:00 o'clock in the morning of November 1, 1969, in People vs. Vicente, this Court likewise held:
the deceased and his cousin after coming home from their work at the cemetery
would go to the Marzan Restaurant, and thereafter, would take a taxi for home, "In regard to appellant Ernesto Escorpizo, there seems to be no dispute that he
and then, alight at M. Francisco Street. The meeting between the appellant's group stabbed Soriano several times with a small knife only after the latter had fallen to the
and the deceased appears to be purely accidental which negates the existence of ground seriously wounded, if not already dead. There is no showing that this accused
conspiracy between the appellant and his co-accused. had knowledge of the criminal intent of Jose Vicente against the deceased. In all
likelihood, Escorpizo's act in stabbing the fallen Soriano with a small knife was not in
Besides, the appellant was unarmed; only his two companions (Pepito Montao and furtherance of Vicente's aim, which is to kill, but merely to 'show off' or express his
one John Doe) were armed with daggers. If he (appellant) had really conspired with sympathy or feeling of camaraderie with Vicente. x x x."
his co-accused to kill the deceased, he could have provided himself with a weapon.
But he did not. Again, this fact belies the prosecution's theory that the appellant had By and large, the evidence for the prosecution failed to show the existence of
entered into a conspiracy with his co-accused to kill the deceased. conspiracy which, according to the settled rule, must be shown to exist as clearly and
convincingly as the crime itself. In the absence of conspiracy, the liability of the
Moreover, although the appellant and his co-accused acted with some degree of defendants is separate and individual, each is liable for his own acts, the damage
simultaneity in attacking the deceased, nevertheless, the same is insufficient to caused thereby, and the consequences thereof. While the evidence shows that the
prove conspiracy. The rule is well-settled that "simultaneousness does not of itself appellant boxed the deceased, it is, however, silent as to the extent of the injuries, in
demonstrate the concurrence of will nor the unity of action and purpose which are which case, the appellant should be held liable only for slight physical injuries.26
the basis of the responsibility of two or more individuals." To establish common
responsibility it is not sufficient that the attack be joint and simultaneous; it is We reach the same conclusion here. For failure of the prosecution to prove
necessary that the assailants be animated by one and the same purpose. In the case conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt, petitioners liability is separate and individual.
at bar, the appellant Raymundo Vistido and the accused Pepito Montao, did not act Considering that it was duly established that petitioner boxed Jimmy and Andrew
pursuant to the same objective. Thus, the purpose of the latter was to kill as shown and absent proof of the extent of the injuries sustained by the latter from these acts,
by the fact that he inflicted a mortal wound below the abdomen of the deceased petitioner should only be made liable for two counts of slight physical injuries. In
which caused his death. On the other hand, the act of the appellant in giving the addition, he should pay 5,000.00 as moral damages to the heirs of Jimmy and
deceased one fist blow after the latter was stabbed by the accused Pepito Montao another 5,000.00 as moral damages to Andrew.27 Actual damages arising from said
an act which is certainly unnecessary and not indispensable for the consummation acts cannot, however, be awarded for failure to prove the same.
of the criminal assault does not indicate a purpose to kill the deceased, but merely
to "show off" or express his sympathy or feeling of camaraderie with the accused Anent the penalty imposed on Taban and Tubo, in Criminal Case No. 92-080, the CA
Pepito Montao. Thus, in People vs. Portugueza, this Court held that: correctly modified the same. The crime committed was attempted homicide and not
frustrated homicide because the stab wounds that Andrew sustained were not life-
threatening.28 Although Taban and Tubo did not appeal their conviction, this part of

61
the appellate courts judgment is favorable to them, thus, they are entitled to a WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The July 22, 2005 Decision of the
reduction of their prison terms. 29 The rule is that an appeal taken by one or more of Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 23351 is AFFIRMED with the
several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal except insofar as the following MODIFICATIONS:
judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter. 30
1) In Criminal Case No. 92-079, Rosie Quidet is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt
Anent the award of damages for which Taban and Tubo should be made solidarily of slight physical injuries and is meted the sentence of fifteen (15) days of arresto
liable, in Criminal Case No. 92-079, the trial court properly awarded civil indemnity in menor. He is ordered to pay the heirs of Jimmy Tagarda 5,0000.00 as moral
the amount of 50,000.00 to the heirs of Jimmy. Civil indemnity is automatically damages. Feliciano Taban, Jr. and Aurelio Tubo are ordered to solidarily pay the heirs
granted to the heirs of the deceased victim without need of further evidence other of Jimmy Tagarda 50,0000 as civil indemnity, 50,000.00 as moral damages and
than the fact of the commission of the crime.31 In addition, the trial court should 25,000.00 as temperate damages.
have awarded moral damages in the sum of 50,000.00 in consonance with current
jurisprudence.32 As to actual damages, the prosecution was able to prove burial- 2) In Criminal Case No. 92-080, Feliciano Taban, Jr. and Aurelio Tubo are found guilty
related expenses with supporting receipt 33 only to the extent of 5,000.00. In People beyond reasonable doubt of attempted homicide and are meted the sentence of
v. Villanueva,34 we held that when actual damages proven by receipts during the trial four (4) months of arresto mayor in its medium period as minimum to four (4) years
amount to less than 25,000.00, the award of temperate damages for 25,000.00 is of prision correccional in its medium period as maximum. They are ordered to
justified in lieu of actual damages for a lesser amount. We explained that it was solidarily pay Andrew Tagarda 30,000.00 as moral damages. Rosie Quidet is found
anomalous and unfair that guilty beyond reasonable doubt of slight physical injuries and is meted the sentence
of fifteen (15) days of arresto menor. He is ordered to pay Andrew Tagrda 5,000.00
the heirs of the victim who tried but succeeded in proving actual damages as moral damages
amounting to less than 25,000.00 would be in a worse situation than those who
might have presented no receipts at all but would be entitled to 25,000.00 3) The period of preventive imprisonment of Feliciano Taban, Jr., Aurelio Tubo and
temperate damages.35 Accordingly, an award of 25,000.00 as temperate damages Rosie Quidet shall be credited in their favor in accordance with Article 29 of the
in lieu of actual damages is proper under the premises. As to loss of earning capacity, Revised Penal Code.
the same cannot be awarded due to lack of proof other than the self-serving
testimony of Jimmys mother. In Criminal Case No. 92-080, the CA correctly ruled 4) The bail bond of Rosie Quidet is cancelled.
that Andrew is not entitled to an award of actual damages for failure to substantiate
SO ORDERED.
the same. However, he is entitled to moral damages in the amount of 30,000.00 for
the pain, trauma and suffering arising from the stabbing incident. 36 It may be noted
that the afore-discussed higher indemnities are not favorable to Taban and Tubo
who did not appeal, but in line with our ruling in People v. Pacaa,37 they shall be
held solidarily liable therefor since these amounts are not in the form of a penalty. 38

Finally, the records indicate that the three accused were placed under preventive
imprisonment prior to and during the trial of this case. This can be surmised from the
motion to grant bail filed by petitioner which was subsequently granted39 by the trial
court. It is not clear, however, for how long and under what conditions they were put
in preventive imprisonment. The trial court should, thus, determine the length and
conditions of the preventive imprisonment so this may be credited, if proper, in
favor of the accused as provided in Article 2940 of the Revised Penal Code.

62
G.R. No. 187536 August 10, 2011 Upon seeing Vitalicio, Bokingco allegedly pushed open the screen door and attacked
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, him with a hammer in his hand. A struggle ensued and Vitalicio was hit several times.
vs. Vitalicio bit Bokingcos neck and managed to push him away. Bokingco tried to chase
MICHAEL BOKINGO alias "MICHAEL BOKINGCO" and REYNANTE COL, Accused- Vitalicio but was eventually subdued by a co-worker. Vitalicio proceeded to his house
Appellants. and was told by his wife that Pasion was found dead in the kitchen of Apartment No.
DECISION 3. Vitalicio went back to Apartment No. 3 and saw Pasions body lying flat on the
PEREZ, J.: kitchen floor. Pasion and Vitalicio were brought to the hospital. Pasion expired a few
hours later while Vitalicio was treated for his injuries.8
For review is the Amended Decision1 dated 14 November 2008 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00658, finding appellants Michael Elsa testified that she was in the masters bedroom on the second floor of the house
Bokingco2 (Bokingco) and Reynante Col (Col) guilty as conspirators beyond when she heard banging sounds and her husbands moans. She immediately got off
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and sentencing them to suffer the penalty the bed and went down. Before reaching the kitchen, Col blocked her way. Elsa
of reclusion perpetua. asked him why he was inside their house but Col suddenly ran towards her, sprayed
On 31 July 2000, an Information3 was filed against appellants charging them of the tear gas on her eyes and poked a sharp object under her chin. Elsa was wounded
crime of murder committed as follows: when she bowed her head to avoid the tear gas. 9 Col then instructed her to open the
vault of the pawnshop but Elsa informed him that she does not know the
That on or about the 29th day of February, 2000 in the City of Angeles, Philippines combination lock. Elsa tried offering him money but Col dragged her towards the
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, back door by holding her neck and pulling her backward. Before they reached the
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping each other, armed with door, Elsa saw Bokingco open the screen door and heard him tell Col: "tara, patay na
a claw hammer and with intent to kill by means of treachery, evident premeditation, siya."10 Col immediately let her go and ran away with Bokingco. Elsa proceeded to
abuse of confidence, and nighttime, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and Apartment No. 3. Thereat, she saw her husband lying on the floor, bathed in his own
feloniously attack, assault and maul NOLI PASION, by hitting and beating his head blood.11
and other parts of his body with said hammer, thereby inflicting upon said NOLI
PASION fatal wounds on his head and body which caused his death.4 PO3 Quirino Dayrit (PO3 Dayrit) was stationed at Police Station No. 4 in Barangay
Salakot, Balibago, Angeles City. At 1:20 a.m. of 29 February 2000, he received a
On arraignment, Bokingco entered a guilty plea while Col pleaded not guilty. During phone call regarding the incident. He, together with a certain P/Insp. Maniago,
the pre-trial, Bokingco confessed to the crime charged. 5 proceeded to Apartment No. 3 and conducted an investigation. He noticed a pool of
blood on the cemented floor of the kitchen. He also saw a claw hammer with a green
The victim, Noli Pasion (Pasion) and his wife, Elsa, were residing in a house along lead pipe handle approximately 13 inches long near the kitchen sink. A lead pipe
Mac Arthur Highway in Balibago, Angeles City. Pasion owned a pawnshop, which measuring 40 inches and a chisel were also found in the nearby construction site.
formed part of his house. He also maintained two (2) rows of apartment units at the The police went to Angeles University Medical Center afterwards. PO3 Dayrit saw
back of his house. The first row had six (6) units, one of which is Apartment No. 5 and Pasion lying in one of the beds while Vitalicio was still loitering around the
was being leased to Dante Vitalicio (Vitalicio), Pasions brother-in-law, while the emergency room. He approached Vitalicio and Elsa who both informed him of the
other row was still under construction at the time of his death. Appellants, who were incident.12 He prepared a police report on the same day narrating the result of his
staying in Apartment No. 3, were among the 13 construction workers employed by investigation.13
Pasion.6
Evelyn Gan, the stenographic reporter of Prosecutor Lucina Dayaon, jotted down
The prosecutions evidence show that at around 1:00 a.m. on 29 February 2000, notes during the preliminary investigation. She attests that Bokingco admitted that
Vitalicio was spin-drying his clothes inside his apartment when Pasion came from the he conspired with Col to kill Pasion and that they planned the killing several days
front door, passed by him and went out of the back door. 7A few minutes later, he before because they got "fed up" with Pasion.14
heard a commotion from Apartment No. 3. He headed to said unit to check. He
peeped through a screen door and saw Bokingco hitting something on the floor.

63
The necropsy report prepared by Dr. Joven G. Esguerra (Dr. Esguerra), contained the 19. Lacerated wound, 4 cm length, C-shaped 2 cm to the right of injury (18) 1 cm
following findings: below, wound involving the whole scalp.

1. Marked pallor of lips and nailbeds 20. Lacerated wound, left post-auricular region, C-shaped 4 cm length, 3 cm length.

2. Body in rigor mortis 21. Lacerated wound left post-auricular region, region of the squamous part of the
left temporal bone, C-shaped (2) 3.5 cm and 4 cm lengths.
3. Contusion with hematoma, right medial infraorbital region extending to the right
of the root of the nose. 22. Lacerated wound, right mandibular region 4 cm length, 1 cm wide.

4. Contusion with hematoma, left post-auricular region. 23. Lacerated wound, stellate, 5.5 x 5 x 5 cm, right fronto-parietal region with brain
tissue out of the gaping wound.
5. Contusion with hematoma, right angle of mandible.
24. Lacerated wound, right submandibular region 0.3 x 3.5 cm.
6. Contusion with hematoma, right mandibular region.
25. Lacerated wound, right cheek 0.8 cm length.
7. Contusion with hematoma, left occipital region.
26. Depressed, complete fracture, occipital bone right with stellate linear extensions,
8. Contusion with hematoma, right fronto-parietal region. with gaping, with brain tissue maseration.

9. Contusion with hematoma, right supraorbital region. 27. Skull fracture, right fronto-parietal region, depressed, complete, C-shaped with
linear extensions, with gaping of bone with brain tissue maceration and expulsion.
10. Abrasions, linear, confluent, proximal third, right leg anterior 2 x 6 cm.
28. Hemorrhage, massive, subdural and epidural.
11. Contusion with hematoma, left shoulder, level of head of left humerus.
29. Brain tissue damage.15
12. Stab wound, anterior chest along the anterior median line, 7 cm above the nipple
line, 0.8cm length, 0.5 cm wide and 1 cm deep, hitting and puncturing the Dr. Esguerra concluded that the injuries sustained by Pasion on his skull proved
manubrium sterni, not entering the thoracic cavity. Both extremities round. fatal.16
13. 2 stab wounds, non-penetrating, anterior chest, 13 cm to the left of the anterior Appellants testified on their own behalf. Bokingco recalled that he was sleeping in
median line, 3 cm below injury (12) 14 cm the right of the anterior median line 4 Apartment No. 3 at around 1:20 a.m. on 29 February 2000 when he was awakened
on below injury (12). Wound 0.8 cm in length, both extremities round. by Pasion who appeared to be intoxicated. The latter wanted to know why he did not
see Bokingco at the construction site on 28 February 2000. When Bokingco replied
14. Lacerated wound, semi-lunar shape, 3 cm length, left shoulder. that he just stayed at the apartment the whole day, Pasion suddenly hit him in the
head. This prompted Bokingco to take a hammer and hit Pasion. They both struggled
15. Lacerated wound, right eyebrow area, C-shaped 2 cm length.
and Bokingco repeatedly hit Pasion. Bokingco escaped to Manila right after the
16. Lacerated wound, lateral angle, right eye, 0.8 cm length. incident. He was subsequently arrested in Mindanao on 11 June 2000. 17 During the
cross-examination, Bokingco admitted that he harbored ill feelings towards Pasion. 18
17. Lacerated wound, right supraorbital region, medial aspect, 2 cm length.
Col confirmed that he was one of the construction workers employed by Pasion. He
18. Lacerated wound, semi-lunar, 5 cm length, occipital region 5 cm length involving however resigned on 26 February 2000 because of the deductions from his salary. He
all layers of the scalp with brain tissue seen on the gaping wound. went home to Cainta, Rizal, where he was apprehended and brought to Camp Olivas.

64
Upon reaching the camp, he saw Bokingco who pointed to him as the person who premeditation, nighttime and abuse of confidence attended the commission of the
killed Pasion. He insisted that he doesnt know Bokingco very well. 19 crime.24

On 16 December 2004, the trial court rendered judgment 20 finding appellants guilty The Court of Appeals merely modified its Decision by including the criminal liability
beyond reasonable doubt of murder, viz: of Bokingco in its dispositive portion of its Amended Decision, which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused MICHAEL BOKINGO alias MICHAEL BOKINGCO WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Accused-
and REYNANTE COL guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER, appellants MICHAEL BOKINGCO and REYNANTE COL are found GUILTY as
defined and penalized in Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and there being the two conspirators beyond reasonable doubt of MURDER as defined in Article 248 of the
aggravating circumstances of nighttime and abuse of confidence to be considered Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, qualified by treachery
against both accused and the mitigating circumstance of voluntary plea of guilty in and evident premeditation and with the attendant aggravating circumstances of
favor of accused Bokingo only, hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty nighttime and abuse of confidence, with no mitigating circumstances. The proper
of DEATH. Each accused is ordered to indemnify the heirs of victim Noli Pasion in the imposable penalty would have been death. However, pursuant to Republic Act No.
amount of Seventy five thousand pesos (P75,000.00) to pay the heirs of the victim 9346, the accused-appellant are sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Seventeen thousand six hundred pesos (P17,600.00) as actual damages, Fifteen Perpetua without the possibility of parole (in accordance with Section 3 of the said
thousand pesos (P15,000.00) as attorneys fees, Twenty five thousand pesos law). Each of the accused-appellants is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of
(P25,000.00) as exemplary damages, and to pay the costs. 21 victim Noli Pasion in the amount of Seventy five thousand pesos (75,000.00); Fifty
thousand pesos (50,000.00) as moral damages; Twenty five thousand pesos
In its Decision dated 24 July 2008, the Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the (25,000.00) as exemplary damages; Twenty five thousand pesos (25,000.00) as
trial court but reduced the penalty to reclusion perpetua in view of Republic Act No. temperate damages; Fifteen thousand pesos (15,000.00) as attorneys fees; and to
7659, thus: pay the costs.25
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Accused- Appellants filed a notice of appeal. In its Resolution dated 26 October 2009, this
appellant REYNANTE COL is found GUILTY as conspirator beyond reasonable doubt of Court required the parties to submit their Supplemental Briefs within 30 days from
MURDER as defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by notice thereof if they so desire.26 Appellants manifested that they are no longer filing
Republic Act No. 7659, qualified by treachery and evident premeditation and with a Supplemental Brief and are adopting their arguments in the Appellants Brief
the attendant aggravating circumstances of nighttime and abuse of confidence, with submitted before the Court of Appeals. 27 The appellee likewise manifested that it is
no mitigating circumstances. The proper imposable penalty would have been death. dispensing with the filing of a Supplemental Brief. 28The instant case was thus
However, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346, appellant is sentenced to suffer the submitted for deliberation.
penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. Accused-appellant is further ordered to indemnify the
heirs of victim Noli Pasion in the amount of Seventy five thousand pesos In seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals Amended Decision, two issues were
(75,000.00); Fifty thousand pesos (50,000.00) as moral damages; Twenty five raised: 1) whether the qualifying circumstances were properly appreciated to convict
thousand pesos (25,000.00) as exemplary damages; Twenty five thousand pesos appellant Bokingco of murder and 2) whether appellant Col is guilty beyond
(25,000.00) as temperate damages; Fifteen thousand pesos (15,000.00) as reasonable doubt as a co-conspirator.
attorneys fees; and to pay the costs.22
There is no question that Bokingco attacked and killed Pasion. Bokingco made two
Appellants filed a Motion for Reconsideration23 and called the appellate courts (2) separate and dissimilar admissions: first, in his extrajudicial confession taken
attention on the omission to rule on Bokingcos fate when it rendered the challenged during the preliminary investigation where he admitted that he and Col planned the
decision. Appellants also noted the absence of other evidence, aside from Bokingcos killing of Pasion; and second, when he testified in open court that he was only
admission, to prove that conspiracy existed in the instant case. Appellants provoked in hitting Pasion back when the latter hit him in the head. On the basis of
maintained that the admission made by Bokingco cannot be used as evidence his extrajudicial confession, Bokingco was charged for murder qualified by evident
against his alleged co-conspirator. Appellants also took exception to the findings of premeditation and treachery.
the lower courts that the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident
65
Appellants maintain that they could not be convicted of murder. They question the It was during the preliminary investigation that Bokingco mentioned his and Cols
presence of treachery in the commission of the crime considering that no one from plan to kill Pasion.35 Bokingcos confession was admittedly taken without the
the prosecution witnesses testified on how Pasion was attacked by Bokingco. They assistance of counsel in violation of Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution,
also submit that evident premeditation was not proven in the case. They belittle which provides:
Bokingcos extrajudicial admission that he and Col planned the killing. The
attendance of the aggravating circumstances of nighttime and abuse of confidence Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
was likewise assailed by appellants. They aver that nighttime was not purposely have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent
sought but it was merely co-incidental that the crime took place at that time. Neither and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford
has trust and confidence been reposed on appellants by the victim to aggravate the the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be
crime by abuse of confidence. Appellants claim that they were living in an apartment waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
owned by Pasion, not because the latter trusted them but because they worked in
the construction of the victims apartment. xxxx

On the other hand, the OSG emphasizes that the prosecution has established that (3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof
Pasion was defenseless when fatally attacked by Bokingco and there was no shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
opportunity for him to defend himself from the unexpected assaults of Bokingco.
In People v. Sunga,36 we held that "the right to counsel applies in certain pretrial
The OSG agrees as well with the trial courts findings that evident premeditation,
proceedings that can be deemed critical stages in the criminal process. The
nighttime, and abuse of confidence attended the commission of the crime.
preliminary investigation can be no different from the in-custody interrogations by
We agree with appellants that treachery cannot be appreciated to qualify the crime the police, for a suspect who takes part in a preliminary investigation will be
to murder in the absence of any proof of the manner in which the aggression was subjected to no less than the State's processes, oftentimes intimidating and
commenced. For treachery to be appreciated, the prosecution must prove that at relentless, of pursuing those who might be liable for criminal prosecution."37 In said
the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself, and that case, Sunga made an uncounselled admission before the police. He later
the offender consciously adopted the particular means, method or form of attack acknowledged the same admission before the judge in a preliminary investigation.
employed by him.29 Nobody witnessed the commencement and the manner of the Sunga was thrust into the preliminary investigation and while he did have a counsel,
attack. While the witness Vitalicio managed to see Bokingco hitting something on the for the latters lack of vigilance and commitment to Sungas rights, he was virtually
floor, he failed to see the victim at that time.30 denied his right to counsel. Thus, the uncounselled admission was held
inadmissible.38 In the instant case, the extrajudicial confession is inadmissible against
Bokingco admitted in open court that he killed Pasion. 31 But the admitted manner of Bokingco because he was not assisted at all by counsel during the time his confession
killing is inconsistent with evident premeditation. To warrant a finding of evident was taken before a judge.
premeditation, the prosecution must establish the confluence of the following
requisites: (a) the time when the offender was determined to commit the crime; (b) The finding that nighttime attended the commission of the crime is anchored on the
an act manifestly indicating that the offender clung to his determination; and (c) a presumption that there was evident premeditation. Having ruled however that
sufficient interval of time between the determination and the execution of the crime evident premeditation has not been proved, the aggravating circumstance of
to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act. 32 It is indispensable to show nighttime cannot be properly appreciated. There was no evidence to show that
how and when the plan to kill was hatched or how much time had elapsed before it Bokingco purposely sought nighttime to facilitate the commission of the offense.
was carried out. 33 In the instant case, no proof was shown as to how and when the
Abuse of confidence could not also be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance in
plan to kill was devised. Bokingco admitted in court that he only retaliated when
this case. Taking into account that fact that Bokingco works for Pasion, it may be
Pasion allegedly hit him in the head.34 Despite the fact that Bokingco admitted that
conceded that he enjoyed the trust and confidence of Pasion. However, there was
he was treated poorly by Pasion, the prosecution failed to establish that Bokingco
no showing that he took advantage of said trust to facilitate the commission of the
planned the attack.
crime.

66
A downgrade of conviction from murder to homicide is proper for Bokingco for examination.40 However, this rule admits of exceptions, namely: 1) when the trial
failure of the prosecution to prove the presence of the qualifying circumstances. courts findings of facts and conclusions are not supported by the evidence on
record, or 2) when certain facts of substance and value likely to change the outcome
Under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, the applicable penalty for homicide is of the case have been overlooked by the lower court, or 3) when the assailed
reclusion temporal. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance alleged decision is based on a misapprehension of facts. 41 The second exception obtains in
and proven in the instant case, the penalty should be applied in its medium period this case.
pursuant to Article 64(1) of the Revised Penal Code, which ranges from a minimum
of 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to a maximum of 17 years and 4 months. Applying Indeed, in order to convict Col as a principal by direct participation in the case before
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the imposable penalty shall be within the range of us, it is necessary that conspiracy between him and Bokingco be proved. Conspiracy
prision mayor in any of its periods as minimum to reclusion temporal in its medium exists when two or more persons come to an agreement to commit an unlawful act.
period as the maximum. The range of prision mayor is from 6 years and 1 day to 12 It may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during, and after the
years, while reclusion temporal in its medium period, ranges from 14 years, 8 commission of the crime. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner in
months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months. Therefore, the indeterminate penalty of which the offense was perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the accused evincing
six years and one day of prision mayor as minimum to 14 years, eight months and a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action, and community of
one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum is appropriate under the interest.42 Unity of purpose and unity in the execution of the unlawful objective are
circumstances.39 The award of exemplary damages should be deleted as no essential to establish the existence of conspiracy.43
aggravating circumstance was proven.
As a rule, conspiracy must be established with the same quantum of proof as the
Col, on the other hand, was charged as a co-conspirator. He contends that to hold crime itself and must be shown as clearly as the commission of the crime.44
him guilty as co-conspirator, it must be established that he performed an overt act in
furtherance of the conspiracy. Applying Section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, The finding of conspiracy was premised on Elsas testimony that appellants fled
Col asserts that Bokingcos uncounselled testimony that appellants planned to kill together after killing her husband and the extrajudicial confession of Bokingco.
Pasion bears no relevance considering the fact that there was no other evidence
which will prove the conspiracy. Col also claims that Elsas statements during trial, Nobody witnessed the commencement of the attack. Col was not seen at the
such as the presence of Col inside her house and his forcing her to open the vault of apartment where Pasion was being attacked by Bokingco. In fact, he was at Elsas
the pawnshop, as well as the alleged statement she heard from Bokingco "Tara, house and allegedly ordering her to open the pawnshop vault, thus:
patay na siya," are not adequate to support the finding of conspiracy.
Q: Do you remember any unusual incident that happened on that time and date
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) justifies Cols conviction of murder by when you were in your masters bedroom?
conspiracy by mentioning that starting from the declaration of Bokingco, the victims
A: I heard a bumping sound (kalabog) at the back portion of our building where we
wife, Elsa, also positively declared that Col blocked and attacked her with a knife
reside.
when she tried to check on her husband. She was left alone by Col when he was told
by Bokingco that the victim was already dead. For the OSG, appellants acts are xxxx
indicative of conspiracy. The OSG contends that the prosecution witnesses had no ill-
motive to lie and falsely accuse appellants of the crime of murder. Q: What did you do when you heard those sounds in the wee hours of the morning
on that day when you were in your masters bedroom?
The lower courts concluded that there was conspiracy between appellants.
A: I wondered why and I immediately went down to the kitchen since the door of the
We disagree. kitchen was directly leading to the back door or back portion of the building where
the apartments were situated.
This Court is well aware of the policy to accord proper deference to the factual
findings of the trial court, owing to their unique opportunity to observe the Q: Why, on what floor is this masters bedroom located?
witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grueling
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A: Second floor. Q: What did you feel when your eyes was (sic) sprayed with tear gas?

Q: Were you actually able to go down and see what was happening? A: It was "mahapdi" (painful).

A: Yes, sir, but I was only able to reach the stairs leading to the kitchen. I was not Q: When you felt pain in your eyes, how were you able to see something or a sharp
able to go out of the kitchen because I was blocked. weapon under your chin?

Q: You were blocked by whom? A: Before he sprayed the tear gas to my eyes, I was able to see him poke the sharp
object under my chin and I bowed my head a little to avoid the tear gas. I was
A: By Reynante Col. wounded under my chin and I felt the sharpness of the object.45

Q: Are you referring to the same Reynante Col, the accused in this case? xxxx

A: Yes, sir. Q: What else happened while he was doing that to you?

xxxx A: He sprayed tear gas in my eyes and told me to be silent.


Q: You said you were blocked by Reynante Col. How did he block you? Q: What else, if any, did he tell you?
A: As soon as I reached the stairs, I was blocked by Reynante Col and he was situated A: To open the combination of the vault.
near the back door of the pawnshop. There is a pawnshop in the front portion of our
residence. Q: Did you comply to his order that you open the combination of the vault?

Q: When you saw him near the door of your pawnshop, did you confront him? A: No, sir. I do not know the combination.

A: Yes, sir. Q: What vault are you referring to?

Q: How did you confront him? A: Vault of the pawnshop.

A: I asked him, Reynante, what are you doing here? Q: Where is that pawnshop located with reference to your residence?

Q: What was the reaction of Reynante Col? A: At the first floor is the pawnshop and at the back is our kitchen.

A: He ran towards me and sprayed something into my eyes and he put a sharp object Q: When you refused to open the vault of the pawnshop, what did Reynante Col do
under my chin. (Witness demonstrating by putting her hand under her chin) about it?

Q: How far was he before he attacked you? A: He did not say anything.

A: Probably, from the witness stand up to the chair of Fiscal Hilario. Maybe two steps Q: How about you, was there anything else you did?
away from him. (Around 3 meters)
A: I offered him money so he will not kill me.
Q: Were you able to identify what this spray is and what part of your body was hit?
Q: When you offered him money so he will not kill you, did he agree?
A: My eyes were sprayed with tear gas.
A: No, sir.

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Q: What else happened next when he did not agree to your offer of money? All told, an acquittal for Col is in order because no sufficient evidence was adduced
to implicate him.
A: He dragged me going towards the back door.46
WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
Based on these acts alone, it cannot be logically inferred that Col conspired with CR-H.C. No. 00658 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant Reynante Col is ACQUITTED
Bokingco in killing Pasion. At the most, Cols actuations can be equated to attempted on ground of reasonable doubt. The Bureau of Corrections is ordered to cause the
robbery, which was actually the initial information filed against appellants before it immediate release of accused-appellant, unless he is being lawfully held for another
was amended, on motion of the prosecution, for murder. 47 cause, and to inform this Court of action taken within ten (10) days from notice.
Elsa testified that she heard Bokingco call out to Col that Pasion had been killed and Appellant Michael Bokingco is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
that they had to leave the place. This does not prove that they acted in concert of Homicide. He is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of six years (6) and one (1)
towards the consummation of the crime. It only proves, at best, that there were two day of prision mayor as minimum to 14 years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of
crimes committed simultaneously and they were united in their efforts to escape reclusion temporal, as maximum Appellant is further ordered to indemnify the heirs
from the crimes they separately committed. of Noli Pasion in the amount of Seventy five thousand pesos (75,000.00); Fifty
thousand pesos (50,000.00) as moral damages; Twenty five thousand pesos
Their acts did not reveal a unity of purpose that is to kill Pasion. Bokingco had (25,000.00) as temperate damages; Fifteen thousand pesos (15,000.00) as
already killed Pasion even before he sought Col. Their moves were not coordinated attorneys fees; and to pay the costs.
because while Bokingco was killing Pasion because of his pent-up anger, Col was
attempting to rob the pawnshop.1avvphi1 SO ORDERED.

In as much as Bokingcos extrajudicial confession is inadmissible against him, it is


likewise inadmissible against Col, specifically where he implicated the latter as a
cohort. Under Section 28, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the rights of a party cannot
be prejudiced by an act, declaration or omission of another. Res inter alios acta alteri
nocere non debet. Consequently, an extrajudicial confession is binding only on the
confessant, is not admissible against his or her co-accused, and is considered as
hearsay against them.48 An exception to the res inter alios acta rule is an admission
made by a conspirator. Section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that the
act or declaration of the conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its
existence may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator provided that the
conspiracy is shown by evidence other than by such act or declaration. 49 In order
that the admission of a conspirator may be received against his or her co-
conspirators, it is necessary that first, the conspiracy be first proved by evidence
other than the admission itself; second, the admission relates to the common object;
and third, it has been made while the declarant was engaged in carrying out the
conspiracy.50 As we have previously discussed, we did not find any sufficient
evidence to establish the existence of conspiracy. Therefore, the extrajudicial
confession has no probative value and is inadmissible in evidence against Col.

Bokingcos judicial admission exculpated Col because Bokingco admitted that he only
attacked Pasion after the latter hit him in the head.

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