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6. People vs.

Edgar Fernandez

It was on March 8, 1985, at about noontime, when Marites Soriano, a seven (7) year old girl and
a Grade I student at the Padilla Elementary School at Lingayen, Pangasinan, was walking home
after school. The accused, Edgar B. Fernandez, a sixteen (16) year old boy offered Marites
Soriano two (2) cashew fruits and led her towards the Colegio of Pangasinan Sur, Lingayen,
Pangasinan. The accused then forced her to lie down on the cemented dike as he placed his body
over Marites and proceeded to have carnal knowledge with her without the latter's consent. 1

Thereafter, the accused left while Marites went home crying and bleeding and immediately
reported the incident to her parents. From the Sto. Niño Hospital in Lingayen, Marites was
brought by her father to the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital at Dagupan City where a medical
report was then issued showing that Marites was sexually abused. 2

The incident was reported to the police by Marites' father Eduardo Soriano. But prior thereto,
barangay authorities brought a certain Danny Miranda to the house of Marites for the latter to
identify if he was the culprit. Danny Miranda is a helper of Municipal Kagawad Jimmy Joves
whose house happened to be near the cemented dike where the incident took place and whose
short pants and brief were found smeared with blood. Marites however, did not point to Danny
Miranda as the offender. 3 At any rate, Danny Miranda's blood smeared short pants and brief
were brought to the NBI for examination and the NBI report found Miranda's pants positive for
human blood. 4

On March 23, 1985, Marites was brought by her father to watch a basketball game at the public
plaza of Lingayen. There, Marites saw the accused Edgar B. Fernandez as one of the players and
confidently pointed to her father the accused as the one who raped her. The accused was then
invited by Barangay Tanod Oscar de los Santos at the police station where he was investigated.
A police line-up was conducted and again the accused was pointed to by Marites as the person
who raped her.

Accused-appellant's defense is predicated on denial and alibi.

He points to Danny Miranda as the culprit simply because the latter was in possession of the
short pants and brief smeared with blood. Moreover, the fact that Danny Miranda worked as a
helper in the house near the cemented dike where the incident took place; and that there are
cashew trees in the front yard of said house are circumstances pointing to Miranda as the primary
suspect.

We are not convinced by accused-appellant's rationalization. What is decisive and cannot be


denied it is his positive identification as the malefactor. 6 It is worthwhile mentioning that
Marites, a young girl of seven, lost no time in reporting that painful incident to her father and
thereafter to the authorities to the extent of even submitting herself to an embarrassing medical
examination in her quest for truth and justice. 7The victim never pointed to Danny Miranda as
the one who raped her. It would be unnatural and illogical for a seven (7) year old girl to point to
another person as the one who raped her when in truth and in fact, he is not. The harrowing and
gruesome experience and the pain will always be remembered and felt by the victim and because
of this, Marites could not have mistakenly identified the appellant. Not even the threat of death
by the rapist had dissuaded her in reporting and denouncing appellant to the authorities as the
person who violated her. No improper motive can be ascribed to Marites other than a desire to
tell the truth and redress for a terrible wrong inflicted on her. 8

As to the appellant's defense of alibi, the trial court in disposing of the same, had this to say:

The defense of alibi (that he was in school at that time) was not satisfactory. It
was not proved convincingly, especially taking into consideration the categorical
statement of the offended party that the said accused was the one who really
sexually abused her. The records of the Pangasinan Memorial College, Lingayen
Pangasinan shows that the accused, Edgar B. Fernandez, was present in school on
March 8, 1985 but on that precise time, there was no showing that he was in his
classroom at the time of the commission of the crime which would show his
physical impossibility to be on the scene of the crime. Alibi, in order to be given
full faith and credit, must be clearly established and must not leave any room for
doubt as to its plausibility and verity. It can not prevail over the positive
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses who have no motive to testify falsely
against the accused.9

What is irrefutable is that Marites unhesitatingly pointed to appellant as the rapist. 10

Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman who is under twelve years of age.11

Appellant invokes his minority as a privileged mitigating circumstance. At the time of the
commission of the offense, appellant was under eighteen (18) years of age. He was exactly
sixteen (16) years, three (3) months, and twenty four (24) days old. Evidence shows that
appellant he was born on November 13, 1968. 12 The appellant is entitled to the mitigating
circumstance of minority. Under Article 68, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code, the imposable
penalty for the crime of rape shall be that penalty next lower than that prescribed by law, but
always in the proper period.

The penalty for rape is reclusion perpetua. a single indivisible penalty. Considering that the
appellant committed a crime of rape while he was under eighteen (18) but over fifteen 15 years
of age, he is entitled to the penalty next lower than that prescribed by law, which is reclusion
temporal. We apply the Indeterminate Sentence Law to accused-appellant's case because of the
established jurisprudence that what is controlling is the penalty actually imposed and not the
penalty imposable under the Revised Penal Code. 14

Appellant cannot avail of Article 192 of PD 603, as amended, of the Child and Youth Welfare
Code, for the suspension of his sentence. The said provision applies to those youthful offenders
who at the time of the commission of the crime were over nine (9) and under fifteen (15) years of
age. Appellant was already above sixteen (16) years of age when the crime of rape, which he no
doubt committed, occurred. Hence, such provision does not apply to him. 15
WHEREFORE, as MODIFIED, with respect to the penalty imposed on the accused-appellant
which is reduced to prision mayor in its minimum period or 6 years and 1 day as its minimum
penalty toreclusion temporal in its medium period or 14 years, 8 months and 1 day as its
maximum penalty, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed in all other respect, with costs
against accused-appellant, whose guilt has been proved with that degree of proof which produces
conviction in an unprejudiced mind.

S0 ORDERED.

7. People vs. Alfredo Baroy, et al.,


In a Decision promulgated on May 9, 2002, this Court affirmed the conviction of both appellants
for three counts of rape with the use of a deadly weapon. The penalty imposed upon them by the
trial court was, however, reduced from death to reclusion perpetua for each count of rape,
because aggravating circumstances had neither been alleged in the Information nor sufficiently
proven during the trial.
Appellant Alfredo Baroy has since then filed a Motion for a partial reconsideration of the Courts
Decision. He claims that he is entitled to the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority and,
hence, to a penalty two degrees lower than reclusion perpetua. While he presented various pieces
of conflicting documentary and testimonial evidence during the trial, he now prays that this
Court consider and give weight to his Birth Certificate -- attached as Annex A of his Motion -- as
the best evidence of his age. His Birth Certificate shows that he was born on January 19, 1984,
while the crimes in question were committed on March 2, 1998.
In its August 30, 2002 Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said that it was not in
a position to state whether the Certificate of Live Birth attached as Annex A to appellants Motion
was authentic or not. It pointed out the necessity of requiring the National Statistics Office
(NSO), which appeared to have certified Annex A as a true copy, to comment on the existence of
the document in their files. The OSG further manifested that on the basis of the NSOs comment,
it is leaving to the sound discretion of the Court whether to appreciate the privileged mitigating
circumstance of minority in favor of Baroy.
In its Comment, the NSO confirmed that Annex A was a true copy of the Certificate of Live
Birth of one Alfredo Gorre Baroy. It further confirmed the existence in its archives of his record
of birth.
The Issue:
In his Motion, Baroy submits that his Certificate of Live Birth sufficiently proves his minority
when he committed the crimes
The Courts Ruling:
The Motion has merit.
Sole Issue:
Privileged Mitigating Circumstance of Minority
At the outset, we stress that the verification of the authenticity of the birth certificate of the
accused should normally be done during the trial. However, due to the gravity of the penalty
imposed in this case; the existence in the records of weighty evidence proving Baroys minority at
the time of the commission of the crime; and (3) the simple and straightforward method of
verification recommended by the OSG, the Court -- in the interest of justice -- went the extra
mile to ascertain the authenticity of the evidence submitted. This move was in line with the
particular zealousness of the law in criminal cases in which the transcendental matter of life or
liberty of an individual is at stake.
Baroys Birth Certificate -- the authenticity of which was confirmed by the NSO -- outweighs the
other evidence submitted to prove his date of birth. A birth certificate is the best evidence of a
person’s date of birth.
The earlier evidence submitted by appellant during the trial did not conclusively prove his age.
However, since the OSG did not object to the belated appreciation of Annex A and left the
matter to the sound discretion of this Court, we resolve to rule in favor of the accused.
This has been the position of the Court when confronted with the same dilemma. As early as
1909, in United States v. Barbicho,the doubt as to the age of the accused was resolved in his
favor as follows:
In regard to the doubt as to whether the accused is over or under 18 years of age, and in the
absence of proof that on the day he committed the crime he was 18 years old, he must perforce
be considered as still under that age, and therefore, the mitigating circumstance mentioned in
paragraph No. 2 of article 9 of the code should be applied in his favor, x x x.
Based on his Birth Certificate, it is clear that Baroy was only fourteen (14) years old when he
committed the crime of rape. Hence, a reconsideration of the Courts May 9, 2002 Decision is
proper.
Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code provides that when the offender is a minor under fifteen
years a discretionary penalty shall be imposed, but always lower by two degrees at least than that
prescribed by law for the crime which he committed. The penalty prescribed by law for the crime
committed by Baroy is reclusion perpetua to death.[12] The penalty two degrees lower is prision
mayor. Additionally, Baroy is entitled to the benefits granted by the Indeterminate Sentence
Law.
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Partial Reconsideration is GRANTED. The privileged mitigating
circumstance of minority is appreciated in favour of Appellant Alfredo Baroy, and his penalty
for each count of rape is REDUCED to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional
medium, as minimum; to 10 years of prision mayor medium, as maximum. The civil awards are
retained.
SO ORDERED.
8. People vs. Walter Nacional
On March 1, 1994, Walter Nacional, Zacarias Militante and Efren Musa, through counsel, moved
to withdraw their appeal. They claimed that the charges against them were political in nature
"committed while they were members of the New People's Army (NPA)." They informed the
Court that as political prisoners, they applied for and were recommended by then Secretary of
Justice Franklin M. Drilon for conditional pardon by the President of the Philippines. The Court
granted their motion on May 11, 1994.

On February 1, 1995, Rudy Luces, through counsel, also moved to withdraw his appeal for
becoming moot and academic. He claimed that he had been granted conditional pardon by the
President of the Philippines and had been released from prison per instruction. In its Comment,
the Office of the Solicitor General opined that Rudy Luces abandoned his appeal when he
accepted the pardon granted him. We now therefore dismiss his appeal.

With these developments, only accused Javier Mirabete has remained and pursued his appeal to
this Court.

The judgment convicting the five accused is based on the evidence presented by the
prosecution. It is derived mainly from the testimonies of two eyewitnesses Bienvenida Lagason,
Quirino's widow and Joel's mother, and Crisanto Miranda, a neighbor of the Lagasons and
accused Walter Nacional.

The findings of the trial court as supported by the evidence are summarized as follows:

The six (6) accused, including accused-appellant, were all civilian members of the barangay
organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) - NPA at Daraga, Albay. A few
days before February 21, 1985, their organization had a pulong-pulong(conference) at Barangay
Lacag, Daraga for the purpose of identifying suspected informers of the military whom they
perceived as posing a threat to the NPA's operations within the vicinity. They identified Quirino
and Joel Lagason, both residents of Barangay Salvacion, Daraga as military informers and were
targeted for liquidation. Elevino Rincopan, their team leader, however, disapproved the proposal
for lack of clearance and approval from the higher NPA authorities.

On February 21, 1985, at 4:00 P.M., the six (6) accused and Wilson Lita alias "Ka Cris" were
gathered in front of the RCPI building at Lacag, Daraga. Wilson Lita informed them that they
were to go on a mission at Salvacion, Daraga to talk to two (2) military informers, Quirino and
Joel Lagason. Some members of the group were to confront the two about their being informers
and if they "resisted" they were to be killed. The others were instructed to provide maximum
security during the confrontation. Wilson Lita and Absalon Millamina were each armed with a
short firearm and the whole group left Lacag at 4:30 P.M. and walked towards Salvacion, four
kilometers away.

At about 5:00 P.M., the group stopped at the sari-sari store of Genita Miranda and asked Genita
for directions to the house of Quirino and Joel Lagason. They continued walking and passed by a
waiting shed where they met Crisanto Miranda. They requested Crisanto to accompany them to
the Lagasons' house. Wilson Lita, Zacarias Militante and accused-appellant remained at the
waiting shed and the rest of the group proceeded on their mission.

Along the way, the group saw two men walking on the road whom Crisanto identified as Quirino
and Joel Lagason. Rudy Luces told Crisanto to leave but the latter did not. Walter Nacional
approached Quirino and said something to him. Walter then pulled out a gun from his waist and
shot Quirino in the face, hitting him between the eyebrows. Quirino fell to the ground and died
instantly. A few seconds later, Absalon Millamina shot Joel Lagason on the head. The group
then fled towards the direction of the RCPI Relay Station. Joel's mother, who was at the scene of
the crime, rushed him to the hospital where he died a few hours later.

The defense set up by the accused consisted of denials. Walter Nacional claimed that Quirino
was killed by Wilson Lita alias "Ka Cris" while Joel was allegedly shot by Absalon
Millamina.He further averred that he and the other accused merely provided security to Absalon
Millamina and Wilson Lita who later on was reportedly killed in an encounter with the
military. Rudy Luces, Zacarias Militante, Efren Musa and Javier Mirabete denied being members
of the NPA. They denied any participation in the killings. They declared that their presence in
the vicinity of the crime was merely incidental. Rudy Luces testified that he merely showed
Wilson Lita and Absalon Millamina the way to the Lagasons' house. Zacarias Militante claimed
that he gave the two the directions to the RCPI building. Efren Musa alleged that he gave a glass
of water to Wilson Lita and Absalon Millamina who were passing by his house. Javier Mirabete
testified that he was watching a volleyball game near the scene of the crime when the shooting
happened.

The trial court rejected the denials of the accused and convicted them.

In this appeal, accused-appellant Javier Mirabete insists on his claim that he was merely
watching a volleyball game when the shooting happened. He denies being a member of the NPA
or any rebel organization. He likewise denies the existence of a plot and a conspiracy to kill the
Lagasons. Accused-appellant claims that he is a mere farmer, already 69 years old and had
barely finished Third Grade in school. According to him, his advanced age made it impossible
for him to join the NPA at the time of the incident. He contends that the testimonies of
Bienvenida Lagason and Crisanto Miranda identifying him with the group that killed the
Lagasons are unreliable and hearsay because both witnesses never knew him. It was only four
years after the shooting that Crisanto Miranda purportedly learned of the members' identities and
revealed the same to Bienvenida.

Reviewing the records, we find that accused-appellant was part of the group that conspired to kill
and actually killed the Lagasons. The identification of accused-appellant was made not only by
Bienvenida Lagason and Crisanto Miranda but by other witnesses as well, including prosecution
witnesses Elevino Rincopan, Genita Miranda, and appellant's co-accused Walter Nacional
himself.

Elevino Rincopan, a former CPP-NPA team leader at Daraga, Albay identified accused-appellant
as one of the civilian members of their barangay organization. Elevino testified that accused-
appellant was present at the pulong-pulong before February 21, 1985 where the Lagasons were
identified and proposed to be liquidated.[26] The fact that Elevino Rincopan alias "Ka Boy" was
the NPA team leader at Daraga, Albay was corroborated by Walter Nacional himself. Walter
Nacional likewise identified accused-appellant as present at the meeting on February 21, 1985 at
4:00 P.M. in front of the RCPI building at Lacag, Daraga. It was at this meeting that the group
was instructed by Wilson Lita alias "Ka Cris" to seek out the Lagasons and shoot them. Later,
Genita Miranda, who was tending her sari-sari store recognized and identified accused-appellant
as part of the group that passed by her store and asked her for directions to the victims' house.

Accused-appellant was also identified by Crisanto Miranda who testified that he recognized all
of the accused when they approached him at the waiting shed. Crisanto explained that he
recognized them because they all came from neighboring barangays. In fact, Crisanto was able to
clearly identify and distinguish three of the group who remained at the waiting shed and the rest
whom he accompanied in their search of the Lagasons. His credibility is not adversely affected
by the fact that he did not reveal their identities to the authorities immediately after the
shooting. He averred that Efren Musa threatened him to remain silent. For fear of his life,
Crisanto fled to Manila. He stayed in Manila for almost two years and returned to Daraga, Albay
after some time. It was only in 1989 that Crisanto revealed to Bienvenida Lagason the identities
of her husband's and son's assailants, and voluntarily gave his statement to the police.

Clearly, the evidence proves beyond doubt that accused-appellant was a civilian member of the
CPP-NPA at Daraga, and was part of the group of CPP-NPA members that deliberately planned
the killing of the Lagasons.

The events that led to the victims' deaths also show that this group of CPP-NPA members
deliberately planned, plotted and premeditated their victims' deaths.

Evident premeditation exists when the execution of the criminal act is preceded by cool thought
and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent. There must be, between the
reflection and execution of the crime, a space of time sufficient for the offender to arrive at a
calm judgment.

Indeed, there was more than sufficient time for the group to reflect on their criminal intentions
between the decision to shoot the victims and the actual shooting itself. At the pulong-pulong a
few days before February 21, 1995, the Lagasons were identified as military informers and the
idea of killing them was openly suggested. On February 21, 1985, all the accused were gathered
at one place where the decision to kill the Lagasons was made. The group planned the execution
of the crimes, assigned the participation of each member, and armed two of them. The group
thereafter deliberately and intentionally searched for the victims and more than an hour later,
shot them as planned.

We also hold that the prosecution has clearly and convincingly established the existence of a
conspiracy in the planning and execution of the crimes. Conspiracy arises at the very instant the
plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the felony and forthwith to actually pursue it.
The conspiracy in the instant case was established at the meeting of February 25, 1985 at 4:00
P.M. Apparently, nobody disagreed with the plan to shoot the victims because immediately after
the meeting, all the accused and Wilson Lita were seen walking as a group towards Barangay
Salvacion. When they saw their intended victims, they shot them and fled towards the RCPI
building. Even those left at the waiting shed likewise fled towards the same direction. Clearly,
the shooting of the Lagasons was characterized by a unity of purpose, intention and design.
It hardly matters that accused-appellant was not actually present at the specific place of the
shooting. He was at the waiting shed but this was for the purpose of providing security to those
who carried out the shooting. The waiting shed was located along the way to the Lagasons'
house, strategically at the entrance to and exit from it.

A conspiracy, once established, makes each of the conspirators liable for the acts of the others.
All conspirators are liable as co-principals regardless of the extent of their participation because
in contemplation of law, the act of one is the act of all.

We also agree with the trial court that the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength
cannot be appreciated against the appellant. Mere superiority in number does not prove abuse of
superior strength.

We likewise find no mitigating circumstance in the commission of the crimes. The analogous
circumstance of age of over 70 years cannot be considered mitigating because accused-appellant
was only 59 years old at the time of the commission of the offense.

Since there is no mitigating nor generic aggravating circumstance, the penalty


of reclusion perpetua was correctly imposed by the trial court against the accused-appellant.

Finally, we rule that the grant of conditional pardon and the consequent dismissal of the appeals
of Walter Nacional, Zacarias Militante, Efren Musa and Rudy Luces does not exempt them from
payment of the civil indemnity. A conditional pardon, when granted, does not extinguish the
civil liability arising from the crime. The indemnity of P50,000.00 imposed by the trial court for
each of the deaths of Quirino and Joel Lagason must be shared solidarily by all the accused.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED insofar as the
criminal liability of accused-appellant Javier Mirabete is concerned, and insofar as the civil
liability of all the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 4854-4855.

SO ORDERED.
9. People vs. Danilo O. Baldilla

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered finding


accused Danilo Badilla y Oñes alias "Dodong" guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Robbery with Homicide allegedly committed in the manner and under the circumstances
described in the aforequoted information and as penalized under the provisions of Article 294 of
the Revised Penal Code and taking into account three aggravating circumstances alleged in the
aforequoted information which is offset by one mitigating circumstance, the Court hereby
sentences accused Danilo Badilla y Oñes alias "Dodong" the penalty of DEATH and to
indemnify the heirs of Nestora Horohoro the sum of P12,000.00 without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency therefor pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions of
Art. 39 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by RA 5465 and to pay the costs of the
proceedings.

The weapons used in the commission of the crime namely one stainless knife with white handle
and two pieces of broken pestle are ordered confiscated in favor of the government, and the one
rota air electric fan marked Exhibit B and the radio cassette (Exh. A) Dynamic Sound, are
ordered returned to the heirs of Nestora Horohoro. (Original Record, pp. 55-56)

The prosecution evidence upon which the trial court based its finding of guilt beyond reasonable
doubt is summarized as follows:

The first witness of the prosecution was Ruth Torrefranca, 10 years old, single, Grade V, student
of Cogon Elementary School, Tagbilaran City, who testified that on July 18, 1984, in the
morning she was at home in their house at Calceta Street, Tagbilaran City together with her aunt
Nestora Horohoro. The owner of the house where they live is Praxedes Quidang who at that time
was in Manila. That she knows accused Danilo Badilla (witness pointing to the accused in the
courtroom). In the whole morning of July 18, 1984 she was in school from 7:00 o'clock in the
morning to past 11:00 o'clock. In the afternoon she went back to school but at about 2:00 in the
afternoon of the aforementioned date somebody went to school to her classroom and informed
her of the incident that happened to her aunt Nestora Horohoro. Before that incident when she
returned home at 11:00 o'clock Nestora Horohoro and Danilo Badilla were with them. They ate
lunch together in the said house. After lunch she left for school and at about 2:00 in the same
afternoon somebody informed her that her aunt Nestora Horohoro died. She went home due to
said information. When she arrived home she noticed that the radio cassette and rota air electric
fan were already gone. These two aforementioned things were placed near the TV set and that
Nestora Horohoro was already dead lying face down bathed in her own blood at the porch where
she was sweeping when she (Ruth Torrefranca) left for school after lunch. Nestora Horohoro was
already dead when she arrived. The radio cassette was shown to her in the trial by the
prosecuting fiscal and was identified by her to be the same radio cassette near the TV set in the
sala of Praxedes Quidang where she lives and said radio cassette was marked Exhibit "A" The
rota air electric fan presented by the prosecution was also identified by her to be the same rota air
electric fan that was placed near the TV set of the house of Praxedes Quidang and the
prosecution marked said rota air electric fan as Exhibit "B". On cross-examination she declared
that before the death of Nestora Horohoro on July 18, 1984, she saw Danilo Badilla, the accused
visit the house of Praxedes Quidang three times. However, she did not know the reason why
Danilo Badilla visited Nestora Horohoro because at that time she did not know yet that the
accused is a relative of Nestora Horohoro.

The next witness of the prosecution was Erica Requina, 45 years old, married, beautician,
resident of Calceta St., Tagbilaran City, who declared that she knows accused Danilo Badilla
(witness pointing to accused in the courtroom). She knew Nestora Horohoro being a niece of
Praxedes Quidang who lives in the house of the latter. The house of Praxedes Quidang is located
at Calceta St., City of Tagbilaran which is adjacent to her (Erica) house. Her house and the house
of Praxedes Quidang are separated by a fence. On July 18, 1984 at past 1:00 o'clock in the
afternoon she was at home with her husband. When she was about to go out from her house, she
heard a sound of the gate in the house of Praxedes Quidang. She went out and verified what was
it and there she saw Danilo Badilla going out of the gate bringing a radio cassette and rota air
electric fan. This Danilo Badilla is the accused in this case which she identified during the trial to
be the same Danilo Badilla whom she saw bringing the radio cassette and rota air electric fan.
After seeing the accused bringing rota air electric fan and radio cassette, she went to the gate of
the house of Praxedes Quidang and called for Nestora Horohoro but nobody answered. So she
went inside the gate to verify whether Nestora Horohoro was washing clothes but instead she
saw Nestora Horohoro lying dead bathed in her own blood. In view of the situation that she saw,
she awoke her husband and told her husband to call for the police. At first she wanted to call the
police at Social's residence nearby but the telephone was busy so she rode a pedicab towards the
Tagbilaran City police station and reported the matter to the police. When she reached the police
station, the police already knew about the incident because somebody had already reported the
matter, therefore she went back home riding in the police jeep with Pat. Balatero. She declared
that she saw the rota air electric fan and radio cassette brought by accused Badilla because she
visits the house of Praxedes Quidang almost everyday as they are neighbors. She identified the
radio cassette and rota air electric fan in the trial to be the same rota air electric fan and radio
cassette placed in the house of Praxedes Quidang which were brought by the accused.

The next witness of the prosecution, was Joseph Lim, 33 years old, married, businessman and
resident of CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City who declared that he knows accused Danilo Badilla
(witness pointing to accused in the courtroom). That as businessman he is engaged in the sale of
hardware and groceries and his place of business establishment is at the old post office building,
CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City. The name of his store is Tagbilaran Champion Enterprises. At
about 8:00 o'clock in the morning of July 18, 1984 he was at his store. While in his store a
certain person approached him and offered to sell a radio cassette and a rota air electric fan. He
told the person to bring the said items because he would see if he would like it. That person who
wanted to sell the two aforementioned items promised to come back at about 2:00 P.M. and after
that the person went away. After the person left he called the radio station DYRD and inquired
the radio station if somebody has lost a radio cassette and rota air electric fan because he usually
hears from said radio station about some person who lost things like radio cassette. But the radio
station DYRD advised him to call a police station at Tagbilaran City and so he called for the
police. The police with whom he conversed on the telephone told him that the police would go to
his store. At about 9:00 in the morning of that day there were policemen who arrived at his store.
The policemen stayed nearby his store until past 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon of said day. At
past 1:00 in the afternoon of the same date the person who introduced to him that he would sell
radio cassette and electric fan arrived in his store. While the said person was in his store the two
policemen were also inside his store. Right there, he asked the person about the price of the two
items and the answer of said person it was P3,000.00. This person who was selling the two items
was called by the policemen and was asked about the last price of said items, and the person
answered it is P3,000.00. After that he (accused) was asked by the police who were then in plain
clothes as to where he got the radio cassette and rota air and the answer of that person it was
given to him by his brother. Then the police told the person that he would be investigated and
this person was later on known to be Danilo Badilla who was identified by him (Joseph Lim) in
the trial of the case to be the same person who went to his store to sell radio cassette and rota air.
He identified the radio cassette to be colored black, Sanyo Dynamic Sound which he identified in
the trial and marked Exhibit A and likewise she (sic) identified the rota air to be light brown in
color. Later on he learned from the police station that somebody died. He did not know how the
accused Danilo Badilla got those radio cassette and rota air.

On cross-examination Joseph Lim declared that when Danilo Badilla went to his store at 1:00 in
the afternoon of July 18, 1984 bringing the radio cassette and rota air electric fan he noticed that
there was a small wound on his index finger. He forget whether it was left (sic) or right index
finger.

The next witness for the prosecution was Teofano Ordidor patrolman of the Tagbilaran Police
Station, who declared that he had been with the Tagbilaran Police Station as patrolman for 16
years up to the present. That on July 18, 1984 in the morning while in the police station he was
called by Capt. Absalon, then the station commander, to conduct surveillance at Champion
Enterprises because there was a person who offered to sell a radio cassette and electric fan. In
compliance with the said order of their station commander he and Pfc. Zamora went to the
Champion Enterprises located at CPG North, Tagbilaran City. The owner of the said store is
Joseph Lim. They asked Joseph Lim if it is true that there was a person who offered to sell a
radio cassette and electric fan to him and Joseph Lim answered Yes. Joseph Lim informed them
that person who offered to sell the aforementioned items would come back to his store. When the
person came back to the Champion Enterprises at about past noon time he and Pat. Zamora were
already in the store, while Joseph Lim and accused Danilo Badilla (the person who offered to sell
the aforementioned items) were negotiating for the price of the said items, they were listening.
And they heard that Danilo Badilla would sell the item for P3,000.00 to Joseph Lim. After that
he held the shoulder of Danilo Badilla and introduced themselves to be policemen because they
were then in plain clothes. They invited the accused to go with them to the police station for
questioning because the items he brought to Champion Enterprises were questionable. Pat.
Ordidor identified the radio cassette recorder (Dynamic Sound) marked Exhibit "A"; and the rota
air electric fan (Super King) as Exhibit B. He was able to identify the two items because there
was an initial of Pat. Eugenio Zamora in the radio cassette marked Exhibit 2 (should be A) as
well as in the rota air electric fan. Thereafter, they rode on a motorcycle and brought the accused
to the police station. They noticed that the right little finger of the accused was with bandage
which was stained with blood. At the police station they conducted investigation on the accused.
The piece of cloth (bandage) which was the cover of the little finger of the accused was removed
and said piece of cloth was identified by him to be the same bandage marked Exhibit D.

The next witness of the prosecution was Dr. Marcial Escobia, Jr., 31 years old, resident physician
of the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital, Tagbilaran City, who declared that on July 18,
1984 he examined the dead body of Nestora Horohoro. After examining said deceased body, he
issued a postmortem certificate of death marked Exhibit E and the back of the said certificate is a
postmortem certificate marked Exhibit E-1 which he both identified during the trial. Atty.
Migriño, Jr., admits that the entry in the post mortem certificate is correct, after Dr. Escobia
compared the said certificate with the records of the hospital. The post mortem certificate is
signed by Dr. Jones of the Tagbilaran City Hospital because the dead body of Nestora Horohoro
was brought to the City Hospital of Tagbilaran. However, they received the request from the INP
Tagbilaran City to conduct autopsy on the deceased body of Nestora Horohoro and after which
he issued an autopsy report marked Exhibit F but it was signed by Dr. Jones because as already
said the dead body was brought to the Tagbilaran City Hospital.

According to Dr. Escobia the lacerated wound right side of the forehead and temple of the head
of the said victim may be caused by blunt object. It could have been caused by wooden pole
which was shown to Dr. Escobia during the trial which was already marked Exhibit G (long
broken pole) and G-1 (short broken pole). The incised wound in the body of the victim may be
caused or inflicted with knife. And when shown the knife (Exh. H) Dr. Escobia said it is possible
that said knife may have been the instrument used in inflicting the incised wound on said victim.
The victim Nestora Horohoro sustained fifteen (15) stab wounds. The cause of death was due to
hemorrhage and collapse of the lungs because the wound penetrated the lungs of the victim.
There were four wounds which penetrated the lungs of the victim.

The next witness of the prosecution, Pat. Erlende Bantugan, Tagbilaran Police Station, who
declared that on July 18, 1984 at about past 12:00 he was at the police station of Tagbilaran City.
While in said station a certain Rica Requina requested them to go with her to the residence of
Praxedes Quidang (sic) because she saw a dead person. He and Pat. Suaybaguio went with
Requina to the aforementioned house at Calceta St., Tagbilaran City. When they arrived at the
said house, Pat. Oppus also arrived and they cordoned the area to prevent persons from getting
inside. When they went inside the compound where the house is located they saw a person lying
face on the ground and they also noticed a broken pestle situated near the body of the victim who
was lying on the pool of blood. The broken pestle was marked Exhibit G and G-1. He could still
identify the two pieces of broken pestle because he inscribed at the tip of the long broken pestle
the letters EEB and another initial on the shorter broken pestle letters EEB which means Erlende
E. Bantugan. Thereafter, he requested Pat. Oppus to contact the Fiscal and the doctor to conduct
an inquest. Later on, Fiscal Geulen, Jr. and a photographer arrived. He requested the
photographer to take pictures of the victim. When Fiscal Geulen rolled the body of the victim to
face up they found a knife, underneath which knife was identified by him in the trial marked
Exhibit H. He could identify the said knife because he placed initial on the tip of the knife at the
time of the investigation letters EEB which means Erlende E. Bantugan. After Fiscal Geulen
inspected the body of the victim, the body of the said victim was brought to the funeral parlor.
When they entered the door of the house there was a drop of fresh blood coming from the
kitchen door to the sala and they saw a piece of cloth with blood stain near the door of the
comfort room and this bloodstained cloth was marked Exhibit 1 (should be I) which he identified
to be the same cloth found near the door of the comfort room. Afterwards when he went to the
sala of the house he saw a portion of a piece of cloth taken from the handkerchief which portion
was marked Exhibit J. After that the father of the victim in the person of Amadeo Horohoro
informed them that the rota air electric fan and radio cassette in the house were lost. The
photographs taken by the Ramasola Superstudio photographer which took pictures of the victim
were marked as Exhibits L, L-1, L-2 and L-3 and the pool of blood in Exhibit L is marked
Exhibit

The version of the defense is shown in the testimony of the accused- appellant. It is summarized
as follows:

Danilo Badilla, 21 years old, single, jobless, temporarily residing at Barrio Bood, Maribojoc,
Bohol who declared that he is a resident of the Municipality of Calamba, Misamis Occidental but
he is on vacation, that is why he stayed at Barangay Bood, Maribojoc, Bohol. His parents are
from Calamba, Misamis Occidental and both are still alive. He arrived in Barrio Bood, last June
1984 and stayed in the house of his uncle. He also remembered that upon his arraignment in this
case he pleaded Guilty. Before July 18, 1984 he already knew Nestora Horohoro because she
was his relative being related to his mother. The surname of his mother is Oñes. Before July 18,
1984 he already saw Nestora Horohoro at her residence in the house of Quidang at Calceta
Street, Tagbilaran City. He had gone to the house of Praxedes Quidang three times. When he
first visited Nestora Horohoro in the residence of Quidang he wanted to borrow money from
Nestora Horohoro but the latter did not lend him money. However, he stayed in the house of
Quidang for four hours. When he left the house of Quidang Nestora Horohoro told him to come
back. He came back for the second time to the house of Quidang just to visit but he did not
borrow money anymore from Nestora Horohoro. The third time he visited Nestora Horohoro at
the house of Quidang his purpose was to borrow the radio cassette recorder in the house of
Quidang because he would bring it to the sea. The radio cassette exhibited by the prosecution
was the same radio cassette he borrowed from Nestora Horohoro. He did not bring the radio
cassette recorder after Nestora Horohoro agreed but he went first to contact one Joseph Lim at
the Champion Enterprises because he had planned to pledge the radio cassette recorder to Joseph
Lim for P500.00 so that the money could be used for his daily expenses. He contacted Joseph
Lim at the Tagbilaran Champion Enterprises but at that time he did not know Joseph Lim yet.
However, he noticed that Joseph Lim store had radio cassette for sale and he thought that Joseph
Lim would be interested to buy a radio cassette recorder. After contacting Joseph Lim the latter
told him to go back to the store because he would examine first the item. Then he went back to
the house where Nestora Horohoro was residing. When he arrived at the house of Quidang where
Nestora Horohoro was residing he did not get at once the radio cassette recorder. He first listened
to the drama through the radio at the house of Quidang. Then he took his lunch with Nestora
Horohoro at Quidang's house. After lunch Nestora Horohoro was cleaning at the back portion of
their kitchen and he also helped. At that time Nestora Horohoro's companion was a small girl.
Later on the small girl went to school. After that Nestora Horohoro was trimming the grasses
with a bolo. While she was trimming the grasses it was already about 2:00 o'clock in the
afternoon and it was almost time to go to the sea. He told Nestora Horohoro that he was leaving
and that he will bring the radio cassette but Nestora Horohoro refused. He went near to Nestora
Horohoro but he was pushed by Nestora. At that time Nestora Horohoro got angry and she
refused to lend the radio cassette. He approached again Nestora Horohoro but she shouted. He
told her not to shout for there might be neighbors who could hear them but she kept on shouting.
And so he tried to cover her mouth with his hand and so it happened that his little finger was
placed in the mouth of Nestora Horohoro and she bit it while he pulled his finger away. He told
Nestora Horohoro not to bite his finger and he asked her to release it. And he told Nestora that he
is no longer borrowing the radio cassette. He was able to pull by force his finger out from the
mouth of Nestora Horohoro. When he saw that his finger was bleeding because of the bite of
Nestora Horohoro's teeth, he felt obfuscated so he held his knife and stabbed Nestora Horohoro.
He cannot remember how many times he stabbed Nestora Horohoro but he had no intention to
kill her. Because he thought that Nestora Horohoro was already dead he decided to bring the rota
air electric fan and radio cassette recorder inside the house of Praxedes Quidang where Nestora
Horohoro was residing because his plan was to use the proceeds of said item for his fare. He
identified the small piece of cloth marked Exhibit D for the prosecution which was bloodstained
and he told the court that, that is the same cloth that he bound around his finger that was
bleeding. Then he left the house of Quidang and brought the radio cassette recorder and the rota
air electric fan and proceeded to the Champion Enterprises. He declared also that the broken
pestle marked Exhibits G and G-1 for the prosecution was already broken when he was there and
he did not use said pestle against Nestora Horohoro. At the time he stabbed Nestora Horohoro,
the bolo used by Nestora Horohoro in trimming (sic) the grass was stuck in the banana plant but
Nestora Horohoro did not use said bolo against him although Nestora Horohoro attempted to
reach for the bolo but he tried to hold her hands. The knife marked Exhibit H of the prosecution
was identified by him to be the same knife he used in stabbing Nestora Horohoro. He had that
knife during that occasion because he was planning to go with his friends to the sea and eat raw
fish locally called "kinilaw". On cross-examination, accused Danilo Badilla declared that he
went to the house of Praxedes Quidang where Nestora Horohoro was residing in 1984 for the
first time. At that time he did not know yet Nestora Horohoro but he introduced himself to her.
He was first looking for Praxedes Quidang but she was not there so he borrowed money from
Nestora Horohoro. He is acquainted with Praxedes Quidang, the owner of the house where
Nestora Horohoro is residing because Praxedes Quidang and Nestora Horohoro are his relatives.
He further declared on cross-examination that his purpose to borrow the radio cassette recorder
on July 18, 1984 was to pledge it to Joseph Lim. After lunch on July 18, 1984 Nestora Horohoro
refused to lend him the said radio cassette. On further cross-examination, accused answered that
the knife (Exh. H) which was exhibited by the prosecution was bent because of the force he used
when he stabbed Nestora Horohoro.

Two trials were conducted in this case. During the initial proceedings, the accused was arraigned
He pleaded guilty to the offense charged. As a result of this plea of guilty, the accused was
sentenced to death by the lower court on October 31, 1984. In an automatic review of the
foregoing decision, this Court gave the accused a fuller opportunity to re-examine his plea of
guilt, set aside the judgment under automatic review and ordered the case to be remanded to the
trial court for further proceedings on September 11, 1985. The questioned March 3, 1986
decision of the trial court is based on the continued proceedings.

It should be stressed at the outset that the accused-appellant never withdrew his October 22, 1984
plea of GUILTY during the further proceedings. In his later testimony he admits killing the
victim although he attributes it to obfuscation.

In the first assignment of error, the appellant contends that the information filed against him does
not charge the crime of robbery as the phrase "with the intent to gain and by the use of force and
violence" qualifies the charge of homicide, not the charge of robbery.

The information filed against the accused alleged:

That on or about the 18th day of July, 1984, in the City of Tagbilaran, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- named accused, with the intent to gain and by
the use of force and violence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault,
attack, and beat Nestora Horohoro with a wooden pole, and with the use of a stainless knife, a
deadly weapon, stab the latter on the vital parts of her body thereby inflicting upon her various
mortal wounds which directly caused the death of said Nestora Horohoro, and thereafter, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and forcibly take and carry away
one (1) rota-air electric fan and one (1) Sanyo Dynamic radio cassette recorder, to the damage
and prejudice of the heirs of the said Nestora Horohoro in an amount to be proved during the
trial. (Emphasis supplied)

Acts committed contrary to the provisions of Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code with the
aggravating circumstances of treachery, obvious ungratefulness and dwelling. (Original Record,
p. 10)

A close analysis of the above information will reveal that it has sufficiently alleged the proper
offense committed which is that of Robbery with Homicide and fully apprises the accused about
what he is facing.

It is explicit in Rule 110, Sec. 9 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure that:


Sec. 9. Cause of accusation. — The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense
must be stated in ordinary and concise language without repetition, not necessarily in the terms
of the statute defining the offense, but in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common
understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce
proper judgment. (8)

Although the term "with the intent to gain and by the use of force and violence" precedes the part
alleging the "homicide", the information taken as a whole is sufficient to enable a person of
common understanding to know that the crime charged is that of robbery with homicide as the
necessary elements of the said offense are present in the above information. This
notwithstanding, we take this opportunity to remind the Chief Prosecutors of provinces and cities
to train their subordinates how to prepare carefully crafted and precisely professional
informations in studiedly correct grammar so that, as argued by the distinguished counsel of the
appellant, technical offenses are accurately presented with all distinguishing and essential
elements characterized beyond question.

The appellant also states assuming arguendo that robbery was committed, the killing was the
result of the quarrel between the victim and himself thus, the homicide was not committed as a
consequence of or on occasion of the robbery.

This contention is without merit.

The appellant's reason for stabbing the victim is that "when he saw that his finger was bleeding
because of the bite of Nestora Horohoro's teeth, he felt so obfuscated so he held his knife and
stabbed Nestora Horohoro". This statement is purely self-serving. The more believable reason is
the appellant's craving for the radio cassette recorder and the electric fan and his willingness to
get them from the appellant whatever the means or cost. The testimony of Joseph Lim reveals
that the appellant already had a plan to get not only the radio cassette but the rota air electric fan
as well even before the killing. The testimony of the appellant, therefore, was only an attempt to
cover-up his plan to get the two items as he did not even make mention of an electric fan to be
borrowed from the deceased. These two items were offered by the appellant to Joseph Lim as
early as 8:00 o'clock in the morning of July 18, 1984. Upon the victim's refusal to give the said
items, the appellant attacked and killed the victim and thereafter took the items to sell to Joseph
Lim. The policemen were already there because of the tip that someone was coming back to sell
what were probably hot items.

The homicide then, was committed as a consequence of or on occasion of the robbery.

It is evident that robbery was committed. Article 293 of the Revised Penal Code states:

Any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another, by
means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything shall be
guilty of robbery.
These elements are present in the instant case. The intention to gain can be gleaned not only from
the testimony of the businessman-buyer, Joseph Lim but also from the appellant's own testimony
as he would have used the proceeds of the sale of the radio cassette and electric fan for his fare.
There was also the use of force as earlier discussed.

It has been held that in robbery with homicide, the robbery itself must be proven, otherwise, the
accused may be convicted only for the killing, homicide or murder as the case may be. (People v.
Repuela, et al., G.R. No. 85178, March 15, 1990). In the case at bar, the fact of robbery has been
established.

As regards the third assignment of error, the appellant questions the admissibility in evidence of
the post-mortem certificate, Exhibit "E" signed by Dr. Jones when he was not presented as a
witness to identify said certificate.

Also, he states that the best evidence should have been the hospital records and not the post-
mortem certificate of death as the entries in the certificate were merely copied from the hospital
records.

It has been repeatedly held as a rule of evidence that objections against the admission of any
evidence must be made at the proper time and that if not so made it will be understood to have
been waived. The proper time to make a protest or objection is when, from the question
addressed to the witness, or from the answer thereto, or from the presentation of the proof the
inadmissibility of evidence is, or may be, inferred. (People v. Mariño, 130 SCRA 595, 600-601
[1984]; People v. Verges, 105 SCRA 744, 755 [1981]). In the case at bar, even if the appellant
would not admit Exhibit "E" without seeing the original (TSN, January 10, 1986, p. 28), this is
not the objection that is raised in the accused's appeal. Moreover, the appellant did not object to
the admissibility of Exhibit "E" and "E-1" (TSN, January 17, 1986, p. 5)

Even without said rule, the witness presented by the prosecution, Dr. Escobia, had personally
examined the cadaver of the deceased and is, thus deemed competent to testify on the same
matters covered by the post-mortem certificate.

The appellant alleges that the aggravating circumstances of treachery, dwelling, and obvious
ungratefulness were not supported by evidence.

Treachery is present in this case because the appellant employed measures intended to ensure the
commission of the offense without risk to him arising from the defense his victim might make.
(People v. Francisco, et al., G.R. No. 69580, February 15, 1990)

The numerous stab wounds, some of which were inflicted at the back of the victim, shows that
the appellant's attack was sudden and brutal. The suddenness of the attack deprived the victim,
who was a woman, unarmed, and alone, the opportunity to run or fight back. The appellant, a
strong young man, did not even suffer any injuries except for the small wound on his finger
inflicted by a bite. Obviously, apart from using her teeth, the victim could not put up any
defense.

Obvious ungratefulness cannot be appreciated as there is no evidence as to what generosities and


the extent thereof were received by the appellant from the victim.

Dwelling is also considered as an aggravating circumstance in this case. The appellant cites a
number of cases decided in the 1940's and 50's ruling that for the circumstance of dwelling to be
established, the house in which the offense is committed must belong to the victim or at least be
her permanent dwelling.

Dwelling may mean temporary dwelling Applying the above ruling, we agree with the trial court
that dwelling is an aggravating circumstance even though the victim was not the owner of the
house where the crime was committed. She was living in that house with her niece. The owner
was in Manila.

The appellant submits that the mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to commit so grave a
wrong mentioned in the sixth assignment of error should be considered as he had no intention to
kill.

We find that such mitigating circumstance cannot be considered in this case. The intention of the
appellant was clearly manifested in his overt acts as the victim suffered at least eighteen (18) stab
wounds and multiple lacerated wounds plus abrasions and other injuries.

Robbery with homicide is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. The aggravating


circumstances of treachery and dwelling are appreciated in this case with the mitigating
circumstance of plea of guilty

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, the judgment of the trial court is MODIFIED, and
the accused-appellant DANILO BADILLA is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide with the aggravating circumstances of treachery
and dwelling and the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty. The accused-appellant is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. In addition, the INDEMNITY to the
offended party is INCREASED TO THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00).

SO ORDERED.

10. People vs. Eddie Isleta

On November 10, 1990, at around 5 oclock in the afternoon, prosecution witness Moises Roberto
Balbarosa, son of the victim Moises Balbarosa, was resting near the gate (tarangkahan) of the
Balbarosa residence at Nadres Street, Candelaria, Quezon. From where he sat, he noticed that
Bulahan, de Gala, Magbuhos and the appellant were having a drinking spree inside the house of
Bulahan which was also situated along Nadres St.

While resting, he saw appellant Isleta come out twice from the house of Bulahan, accompanied
first by Bulahan and later by Magbuhos. On these two occasions, both Magbuhos and Bulahan
pointed to deceased Balbarosas house.

Afterwards, appellant went out of Bulahans house and seated himself on a bench at a store
located in front of Balbarosas house, about twenty (20) meters from Bulahan's place. When the
victim Moises Balbarosa arrived a little later, appellant stood up and without any warning
immediately stabbed the former, who thereupon fell to the ground.

Moises Balbarosa was brought to the Candelaria Municipal Hospital, but was later taken in an
ambulance for transfer to a hospital in Lucena City. However, he expired along the way.

Corroborating witness Gina Dimaunahan testified that at around 5 oclock that afternoon, she
happened to look out the front window of her grandmother’s house at Nadres Street, and noticed
appellant sitting on a bench at a store. When her father Moises Balbarosa arrived, the appellant
immediately stood up and suddenly, without provocation, stabbed the former. The hapless
Balbarosa tried to parry the thrust by attempting to hold a bamboo pole used as a clothesline
support (tukod), but was unsuccessful because he could not budge said pole. Appellant stabbed
Balbarosa in the stomach, and thereafter, fled the scene of the crime. (Nine months later,
appellant was apprehended by Policeman Jaime Bagsik of the Laguna Police Station.)

In addition to Gina Balbarosa Dimaunahan and Moises Roberto Balbarosa, the prosecution
presented Maria Theresa Balbarosa-Galang who testified that appellant acted upon the
inducement of the other accused.

She claimed that the four accused plotted to kill a person whose identity she did not know at the
time. She said she went to Bulahans house earlier in the afternoon of that fateful day to collect
the contribution of Felisa Bulahan, wife of accused Bulahan, to their turnohan (a financial
accomodation scheme practised locally, also known as paluwagan). She did not enter said house
because the appellant and the other accused were having a drinking spree inside. But as she stood
near the window outside Bulahans house, she overheard their conversation. She allegedly heard
Magbuhos say, Gori , may problema si Celso. De Gala (Gori) answered, Huwag kang mag-alala,
akong bahala, killer ang kasama ko. Appellant then boasted, Basta ituro nyo, isang tusok lang
yan. Bulahan replied, Ituturo ko sa iyo pero wala akong sabit.

Anxious about what she heard, Galang changed her mind and desisted from collecting Felisa
Bulahan. She also did not realize the full import of the conversation she had overheard. When
she left for the next house, she heard some shouting, but it was only later on that she learned
from a certain Jovy Salazar that her father had been stabbed.
She recalled that prior to this incident; her father and Bulahan had an altercation over the formers
side-swiping of the latter’s vehicle. The matter was even brought to the attention of their
Barangay Captain sometime in October 1990.

She also presented her father’s death certificate which attributes the victims death to hemorrhage
due to stab wound. She further testified that her family incurred burial expenses amounting to
P30,000.00.

The defense relied solely on appellants uncorroborated testimony. Appellant admitted stabbing
the victim, but denied that it was at the instance of Bulahan. Claiming he acted alone, he
explained that he was de Galas brother-in-law, and that he went to Candelaria that day upon the
latters invitation regarding a job. Upon arriving in Candelaria around 2:30 p.m., he and de Gala
were invited by Bulahan to his house for a drinking spree.

During the drinking session, he went to a nearby store to buy cigarettes, and noticed someone,
whom he later learned was Moises Balbarosa, staring (masama ang tingin) at him. After buying
cigarettes, he returned to the house. When he went out of the house again, Balbarosa approached
him and suddenly tried to stab him with a pointed bamboo pole. He was hit in his arm pit. As the
victim thrust the pole at him again, he caught it and struggled for possession of the bamboo. In
the scuffle, he accidentally stabbed the victim in the abdomen.

Appellant fled to Dalahican, Lucena City. He allegedly went with his wife to a certain Barangay
Captain Magadia of Dalahican to report the incident. But said barangay captain died before he
could be presented in court.

The Courts Ruling

First Issue: Treachery

Contrary to appellants contention, treachery was sufficiently shown by the prosecution. It is


basic in our penal law that treachery is present when the offender employs means, methods or
forms which tend directly and especially to insure the execution of the crime, without risk to
himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. Treachery is present
when the attack is sudden and unexpected, which renders the victim unable to defend himself.

This qualifying circumstances was established by prosecution witnesses Gina Dimaunahan and
Moises Roberto Balbarosa. The gist of their testimony is that after waiting for about seven to ten
minutes for the victim to arrive, appellant upon seeing the victim, immediately stood up and,
suddenly and unexpectedly, stabbed the victim sans provocation or warning.
Treachery is evident from the fact that appellant suddenly stabbed the victim, who
unsuccessfully tried to defend himself with the bamboo support of a clothesline. This attack
came without warning, was swift, deliberate and unexpected, and afforded the hapless, unarmed
and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or to escape. To our mind, this is the essence of
treachery.

Second Issue: Self-defense

We agree with the trial court’s rejection of appellants’ claim of self-defense, in light of the
positive testimony pointing to appellant as having lain in wait for the victim, and considering
appellants flight after the killing.

To successfully posit the theory of self-defense, an accused must prove by clear and convincing
evidence that he acted in self-defense. In this regard, appellant wretchedly failed. Not only is
appellants testimony self-serving and uncorroborated, it is completely incredible. It is contrary to
human experience for an aggressor to arm himself with a bamboo pole, one end of which
happens to be firmly embedded in the ground and the other securely tied to a clothesline, when
he had all the time in the world to choose a more deadly weapon to carry out his plan. To further
magnify our disbelief, appellant claims that he just happened to have a bladed weapon on his
person at the time of the incident. This is the height of absurdity. Not only is appellant an
unbelievable witness, his tell-tale testimony is likewise wholly unworthy of belief. Evidence to
be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness; it must be credible in
itself.[15] In this case, the fantasy which appellant concocted foe his defense causes us to wonder
whether appellant and his counsel are really serious in pursuing this appeal, or perhaps they just
did not have any credible defense to present.

Third Issue: Mitigating Circumstances

The defense interposes in the alternative the mitigating circumstances of (1) voluntary surrender;
(2) voluntary plea of guilty to the lesser crime of homicide; and (3) lack of intention to commit
so grave a wrong.

However, for voluntary surrender to be appreciated as a mitigating circumstances, it is necessary


that the same be spontaneous and unconditional.

These conditions are absent in the circumstances attendant to appellants surrender. Appellant
claims to have voluntarily given himself up to the Barangay Captain of Dalahican, Lucena City.
The records reveal however that appellant never surrendered voluntarily, but was in fact arrested
by Policeman Jaime Bagsik of Rizal, Laguna on August 8, 1991, nine months after the
commission of the crime. From this fact, no interference can be made that he either
acknowledged his guilt or wished to save the authorities the trouble and expense of his arrest.
Neither may the mitigating circumstances of voluntary plea of guilty to the lesser crime of
homicide be appreciated in his favor. The standing plea of appellants is not guilty to murder,
which he made during his arraignment. In his brief, appellant contends that he offered to plead
guilty to homicide, during the plea bargaining process. The accused offer of a plea to a lesser
offense cannot inure to his benefit as the same is allowed only when the prosecution has no
sufficient evidence to establish guilt for the crime charged. Therefore, this mitigating
circumstances is likewise not available to him.

His other plea of lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong cannot be established by his claim
that the victim sustained only one stab wound, and his insinuation that he could have stabbed
him several times more. The mitigating circumstances of lack of intent to commit so grave a
wrong as that actually perpetrated cannot be appreciated where the acts employed by the accused
were reasonably sufficient to produce and did actually produce the death of the victim.[19] In
this case, the single stab wound -- by reason of its location and severity -- was sufficient to kill
the victim, as in fact it did kill him. Whether the appellant could have inflicted more wounds
under the circumstances is completely immaterial.

Fourth Issue: Crime and Punishment

All the foregoing considered, we agree with the trial court that the prosecution had clearly
proven the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.

Article 248, Revised Penal Code, prescribes the penalty of reclusion temporal to death for
murder. The trial court properly imposed reclusion perpetua since the crime was committed prior
to the effectivity of R.A. 7659 which reimposed the death penalty. However, the trial court
apparently made an erroneous to the Indeterminate Sentence Law, Sec. 2 of which prohibits its
application in the present case.[20] The foregoing notwithstanding, the challenged Decision
correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby dismisses the instant appeal and AFFIRMS the conviction of
the accused Eduardo Eddie Isleta who is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua
and to pay the heirs of the deceased the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity plus P30,000.00 as
burial expenses, and costs.

SO ORDERED.