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ERPASCUAL DIEGA y PAJARES, Petitioner.

v.s.
COURT OF APPEALS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 173510. March 15, 2010.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee.


v.s.
ERPASCUAL DIEGA y PAJARES, Appellant.
G.R. No. 174099. March 15, 2010.
(En Banc)

The victim, AAA, was a 13-year old 1st year high school student who would usually leave her home at
4:00 o’clock in the morning and walk for about a kilometer to a terminal where she could take a ride to
school. The path towards the terminal passes a farm within a 50-hectare plantation where the appellant
was employed as a stay-in security guard. AAA uses the same route on her way home.

AAA failed to return home at the usual time. The following morning, AAAs dead body was discovered
inside the plantation. AAAs corpse was covered with leaves, a wood vine tied around her neck and
several wounds on her head. Her school uniform was crumpled and her panty was missing. The medico-
legal examination indicated that she died of asphyxia by strangulation, hemorrhages as a result of
traumatic injuries, head and body. There were deep, fresh lacerations at 3:00 and 9:00 o’clock positions
and a shallow fresh laceration at 7:00 o’clock position in her hymen which are compatible with recent loss
of virginity. There were also several injuries in the middle left forearm, suggesting that AAA used her
hands to protect herself.

Based on police investigation, Juanito Manalo III (Juanito) was grazing the carabaos when he saw the
appellant and approached him. Juanito noticed AAA lying unconscious on the ground. The appellant
pointed his pistol to Juanito and ordered him to touch the body of AAA and to tie a vine around her neck.
Juanito obeyed and discovered that AAA no longer had undergarments. He was permitted to leave but
only after receiving death threats from the appellant. As Juanito fled from the scene, he was seen by
Martin Gailan and Arnel Alminana who were also privy to the death threats made by the appellant. Prior
to the commission of the crime, every time the appellant would see AAA and her aunt, he would whistle at
AAA and even touch her upper arm. The appellant even uttered to AAAs aunt, Misis, ingatan mo ang
iyong pamangkin. According to the aunt, the appellant always looked lecherously at AAA. Pending trial,
appellant absconded and remained at-large until his arrest.