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G.R. No.

133527-28 December 13, 1999


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
JENETTE !GINETTE" #NSON-D$%N&S, POL. &OL. NI&OLS TORRES, POL. INSP. DONIS 'ETO, POL. OFFI&ER %RIO L%IS # FERNNDE(, DO%INDOR
GERO&HE # %H$S#, JI%E GRGLLNO, ROLNDO R. FERNNDE(, ED)IN DI*INGR&I, TEOD# DELGDO, &ESR PE&H, &HRLES D$%N&S
!c+,-..e/", POL. OFFI&ER JOSE PH#$PN !c+,-..e/", *I&ENTE &N$D#, JR. !c+,-..e/", 0cc,1e/, JENETTE !GINETTE" #NSON-D$%N&S, POL. &OL.
NI&OLS TORRES, POL. INSP. DONIS 'ETO, POL. OFFI&ER %RIO L%IS # FERNNDE(, DO%INDOR GERO&HE # %H$S#, JI%E GRGLLNO, ROLNDO
R. FERNNDE(, ED)IN DI*INGR&I, TEOD# DELGDO, &ESR PE&H, accused-appellants.

%ELO, J.:
Accused-appellants were charged with Kidnapping for Ransom with Murder under two Informations which pertinently read:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 94-15562
The undersigned herey accuses !"A#"TT" $A#%&#-'(MA#)A%, )*AR+"% '(MA#)A%, ,-&T* A% .RI#)I.A+% -$ I#'()TI&#/, .&+I)" )&+. #I)&+A% M.
T&RR"% ,A% .RI#)I.A+ -$ I#'()TI&# A#' -$ 'IR")T A#'0&R I#'I%."#%A-+" )&&."RATI&#/, .&+I)" I#%.")T&R A'&#I% ). A-"T&, .&+I)"
&11I)"R% MARI& +AMI% $ 1"R#A#'"2, !&%" .A*A$(.A#, 3I)"#T" )A#('A$, !R., '&MI#A'&R 4"R&)*" $ MA*(%A$, !AIM" 4AR4A++A#&,
R&+A#'& R. 1"R#A#'"2, "'5I# 'I3I#A4RA)IA, T"&'$ '"+4A'&, A++ A% .RI#)I.A+% -$ .ARTI)I.ATI&#, )"%AR .")*A, and "'4AR *I+A'&, -&T*
A% A))"%%&RI"%, of the crime of KI'#A..I#4 1&R RA#%&M 5IT* M(R'"R, committed as follows:
That during the period eginning in the late morning of August 6, 7889 and ending the late evening of the following day in %itio .edrosa, -arangay Ali:es, -acolod )ity, .hilippines
and within the :urisdiction of this *onorale )ourt, the aove-named accused, conspiring, confederating and concurring in a common criminal intent and e;ecution thereof with one
another, save for the accessories, for the purpose of e;tracting or e;torting the sum of .<=<,>>>.>>, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, to wit:
Acting upon the inducement of spouses !eanette $anson-'umancas and )harles 'umancas, under the direction cooperation and undue influence, e;erted y .0)ol. #icolas M.
Torres, ta?ing advantage of his position as the %tation )ommander of the .hilippine #ational .olice, -acolod )ity %tation, with the direct participation and cooperation of .olice
Inspector Adonis ). Aeto, other police officers 3icente )anuday, !r., !ose .ahayupan, Mario +amis, civilian ,police/ agents Rolando R. 1ernande@, "dwin 'ivinagracia, Teody
'elgado, !aime 4argallano, also ta?ing advantage of their respective positions, and 'ominador 4eroche, concurring and affirming in the said criminal design, with the use of motor
vehicle aduct, ?idnap and detain one R(1I#& 4AR4AR, !R. and shortly thereafter at around 77 oAcloc? in the evening of August B, 788< ,7889/, failing in their aforesaid common
purpose to e;tort money and in furtherance of said conspiracy, with evident premeditation and treachery nocturnity and the use of motor vehicle, did then and there shot and ?ill the
said victim, while eing handcuffed and lindfoldedC that accused )esar .echa and "dgar *ilado, with ?nowledge that said 4argar was victim of violence, did then and there
secretly ury the corpse in a ma?eshift shallow grave or the purpose of concealing the crime of murder in order to prevent its discovery for a fee of .=>>.>> eachC aforesaid act or
acts has caused damage and pre:udice to the heirs of said victim, to wit:
.=>,>>>.>> D as indemnity for deathC
=>,>>>.>> D actual damagesC
<>>,>>>.>> D compensatory damages ,lost income/C
7>>,>>>.>> D moral damagesC
=>,>>>.>> D e;emplary damages.
)&#TRAR$ T& +A5.
,pp. 7-<, Record 3ol. I/
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 94-15563
The undersigned herey accused !"A#"TT" $A#%&#-'(MA#)A%, )*AR+"% '(MA#)A% ,-&T* A% .RI#)I.A+% -$ I#'()TI&#/, .&+I)" )&+. #I)&+A% M.
T&RR"% ,A% .RI#)I.A+ -$ I#'()TI&# A#' -$ 'IR")TI&# A#'0&R I#'I%."#%A-+" )&&."RATI&#/, .&+I)" I#%.")T&R A'&#I% ). A-"T&, .&+I)"
&11I)"R% MARI& +AMI% $ 1"R#A#'"2, !&%" .A*A$(.A#, 3I)"#T" )A#('A$, !R., '&MI#A'&R 4"R&)*" $ MA*(%A$, !AIM" 4AR4A++A#&,
R&+A#'& -. 1"R#A#'"2, "'5I# 'I3I#A4RA)IA, T"&'$ '"+4A'&, A++ A% .RI#)I.A+% -$ .ARTI)I.ATI&#, )"%AR .")*A and "'4AR *I+A'&, -&T*
A% A))"%%&RI"%, of the crime of KI'#A..I#4 1&R RA#%&M 5IT* M(R'"R, committed as follows:
That during the period eginning in the late morning of August 6, 7889 and ending the late evening of the following day in %itio .edrosa, -arangay Ali:es, -acolod )ity, .hilippines
and within the :urisdiction of this *onorale )ourt, aove-named accused, conspiring, confederating and concurring in a common criminal intent and e;ecution thereof with one
another, save for the accessories, for the purpose of e;tracting or e;torting the sum of .<=<,>>>.>>, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, to wit:
Acting upon the inducement of spouse !eanette $anson-'umancas and )harles 'umancas, under the direction, cooperation and undue influence, e;erted y .0)ol. #icolas M.
Torres, ta?ing advantage of his position as the %tation )ommander of the .hilippine #ational .olice, -acolod )ity %tation, with the direct participation and cooperation of .olice
Inspector Adonis ). Aeto, other police officers 3icente )anuday, !r., !ose .ahayupan, Mario +amis, civilian ,police/ agents Rolando R. 1ernande@, "dwin 'ivinagracia, Teody
'elgado, !aime 4argallano, also ta?ing advantage of their respective positions, and 'ominador 4eroche, concurring and affirming in the said criminal design, with the use of motor
vehicle aduct, ?idnap and detain one 'A#I+& +(MA#4$A& and shortly thereafter at around 77 oAcloc? in the evening of August B, 788< ,7889/, failing in their aforesaid
common purpose to e;tort money and in furtherance of said conspiracy, with evident premeditation and treachery nocturnity and the use of motor vehicle, did then and there shot
and ?ill the said victim, while eing handcuffed and lindfolded, that accused )"%AR .")*A and "'4AR *I+A'&, with ?nowledge that said +umangyao was victim of violence,
did then and there secretly ury the corpse in a ma?eshift shallow grave for the purpose of concealing the crime of murder in order to prevent its discovery for a fee of .=>>.>> eachC
aforesaid act or acts has caused damage and pre:udice to the heirs of said victim, to wit:
.7=>,>>>.>> D as indemnity for deathC
=>,>>>.>> D actual damagesC
<>>,>>>.>> D compensatory damages ,lost income/C
7>>,>>>.>> D moral damagesC
.=>,>>>.>> D e;emplary damages.
)&#TRAR$ T& +A5.
,pp. 7-<, Record 3ol. I-A/
All thirteen accused ,e;cluding "dgar *ilado, who was then still at large/ entered pleas of #&T 4(I+T$ upon arraignment conducted on 1eruary 7E, 788E ,per )ertificates of Arraignment, Record
3ol. I-A, pp. <B9-<FE/. After a :oint trial ,e;cluding accused "dgar *ilado, who upon arraignment on April 77, 788E, pleaded #&T 4(I+T$ GRecord, 3ol. II, p. F66H, was tried separately/, :udgment
was rendered acIuitting )harles 'umancas, .olice &fficers !ose .ahayupan and 3icente )anuday, !r., ut convicting the rest of the accused for the crime charged, to wit:
5herefore, finding the first nine ,8/ Accused herein D
7. !"A##"TT" ,4I##"TT"/ $A#%&#-'(MA#)A%
9. .&+. )&+. #I)&+A% T&RR"%
<. .&+. I#%.. A'&#I% A-"T&
E. .&+. &11I)"R MARI& +AMI% $ 1"R#A#'"2
=. '&MI#A'&R 4"R&)*" $ MA*(%A$
6. !AIM" 4AR4A++A#&
B. R&+A#'& R. 1"R#A#'"2
F. "'5I# 'I3I#A4RA)IA
8. T"&'$ '"+4A'& and
7>. )"%AR .")*A
4(I+T$ -"$&#' R"A%&#A-+" '&(-T A% .RI#)I.A+% and )"%AR .")*A as accessory in the two ,9/ informations filed in these cases, !('4M"#T is herey rendered
against them, as follows:
7. In )RIMI#A+ )A%" #&. 8E-7==69, each of the Accused charged as principal is herey sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, with all the accessories of
the lawC to indemnify, :ointly and severally, the *eirs of Rufino 4argar !r. in the amount of .=>,>>>.>> as indemnity for deathC .9=,>>>.>> as actual damagesC .<>>,>>>.>> for
compensatory damages ,lost income/C .7>>,>>>.>> in moral damages and .=>,>>>.>> as e;emplary damagesC and to pay the cost. Accused )"%AR .")*A who is charged as an
accessory is herey sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of two ,9/ years four ,E/ months and one ,7/ day of Prision Correccional as minimum to eight years and one day
of Prision Maor as ma;imum and to pay one-tenth of the costC
9. In )RIMI#A+ )A%" #&. 8E-7==6<, each of the Accused charged as principal is herey sentenced to suffer the penalty of Recl!sion Per"e#!a, with all the accessories of the law,
indemnify :ointly and severally, the *eirs of 'A#I+& +(MA#4$A& in the amount of .=>,>>>.>> as indemnity for deathC .9=,>>>.>> as actual damagesC .7>>,>>>.>> as
compensatory damages ,lost income/C .7>>,>>>.>> as moral damagesC .=>,>>>.>> as e;emplary damagesC and to pay the cost. Accused )"%AR .")*A who is charged as an
accessory is herey sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of two ,9/ years four ,E/ months and one ,7/ day of "rision correccional as minimum to eight ,F/ years and one
,7/ day of Prision Maor as ma;imum and to pay one-tenth of the cost.
Accused )*AR+"% '(MA#)A%, .olice &fficers !&%" .A*A$(.A# and 3I)"#T" )A#('A$ !R. are herey AcIuitted of the crime charged for failure of the prosecution to
prove their guilt eyond reasonale dout, with cost $e o%%icio.
%& &R'"R"'.
,pp. 9B9-9B<,Rollo./
All ten accused filed their respective notices of appeal, and are now efore us on review. After going through the voluminous record of the case, the )ourt adopts the following summary of facts y the
court a &!o, to wit:
'e(r!ar 2), 1992
!eanette $anson 'umancas was swindled in a fa?e gold ar transaction losing .<=9,>>> to 'anilo +umangyao and his cohort.
1)*3) A+M+ A!,!s# 5- 1992 present in the house of Rolando 1ernande@ were:
a/ 'ominador 4eroche
/ Rolando 1ernande@
c/ !aime 4argallano
d/ "dwin 'ivinagracia
e/ Teody 'elgado
f/ Mario +amis and
g/ Moises 4rande@a
&n this occasion Mario +amis rought out the plan to aduct 'anilo +umangyao and Rufino 4argar, !r. ecause they swindled the 'umancas family.
4*3) P+M+ A!,!s# 5- 1992
The group of:
a/ 'ominador 4eroche
/ Mario +amis
c/ Rolando 1ernande@
d/ !aime 4argallano
e/ "dwin 'ivinagracia
f/ Teody 'elgado
g/ Moises 4rande@a
went to the office of )ol. #icolas Torres at .#. *eadIuarters where they met the colonel who told them that if you find these two people ,referring to +umangyao and 4argar/ to
ring and hide them at 'ragon +odge Motel.
.*3) A+M+- A!,!s# 6- 1992
%tate witness Moises 4rande@a went to the house of *elen Tortocion to invite 'anilo +umangyao and Rufino 4argar !r. to JTinolahan "ateryJ at %hopping )enter Terminal ut
found only 4argar !r., as +umangyao went to the house of a certain -ardot at --- Avenue, this )ity.
Moises 4rande@a together with 4argar !r. proceeded to the house of -ardot where they found +umangyao and thereafter the three of them went to JTinolahan "ateryJ.
9*))-1)*)) A+M+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
The three arrived at JTinulahan "ateryJ. 5aiting for them were:
a/ 'ominador 4eroche
/ !aime 4argallano
c/ "dwin 'ivinagracia
d/ Rolando 1ernande@
e/ Teody 'elgadoC and
f/ Mario +amis
Then a/ 1ernande@ / 4eroche and c/ +amis entered JTinulahanJ and handcuffed +umangyao and 4argar.
5aiting in the red Toyota +and )ruiser ,.late #o. 6F8/ were:
a/ 4argallano
/ 'ivinagraciaC and
c/ 'elgado
1)*3) A+M+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
+umangyao and 4argar were rought to the &ffice of !eanette at )eres )ompound on oard red toyota land cruiser y:
a/ Moises 4rande@a
/ 4argallano
c/ +amis
d/ 4eroche
e/ 'ivinagracia
f/ 'elgado, and
g/ 1ernande@
It was there that a/ 'ivinagracia and, / 1ernande@ manhandled +umangyao and 4argar. !eanette then investigated the two victims on the whereaouts of the money that they
swindled from her and the two answered that it was already spent.
It was then that !eanette ordered 'oming ,4eroche/ to ta?e care of the two ,+umangyao and 4argar/.
3*)) P+M+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
1rom )eres )ompound and while the group, together with the two victims, were already at 'ragon +odge Motel, thereafter,
a/ Aeto
/ .ahayupan, and
c/ )anuday
arrived and investigated the two victims regarding the whereaouts of the gold ar and the two replied that it was with *elen Tortocion.
4/*)) P+M+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
a/ Moises 4rande@a
/ 1ernande@, and
c/ 4eroche
went to the office of )ol. Torres to inform him that +umangyao and 4argar were already captured. %o )ol. Torres ordered them to ?eep the two victims so that noody would see
them. After receiving this instructions they went ac? to 'ragon +odge. Meanwhile, 4eroche again interrogated the victims on where the money was D if there was still any let and
4eroche received the same negative reply.
Pas# 6*)) "+0+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
The group, with the two captives transferred to 'A*acienda Motel.
9*)) P+M+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
At 'A*acienda Motel, !eanette and )harles 'umancas, together with Rose Ines arrived. !eanette and Rose Ines investigated the victims where they ?ept the money that they
swindled and the two gave the same reply that it was already gone. !eanette then reiterated her order to 4eroche to ta?e care of the two.
9*3) P+M+ A!,!s# 6- 1992
The group transferred to Moonlight Inn Motel.
3*)) A+M+ A!,!s# 1- 1992
The group transferred again to )asamel +odge Motel.
1)*)) A+M+ A!,!s# 1- 1992
The group returned to 'A*acienda Motel and it was there that the plan was pursued to liIuidate the two victims at 79:>> midnight.
The persons who conceived of this plan were:
a/ 4eroche, and
/ 1ernande@
4*3) P+M+ A!,!s# 1- 1992
7/ )anuday
9/ Aeto
</ 'udero
E/ +esaca, and
=/ Arollado
searched the residence of *elen Tortocion for the gold dust and simulated gold ar per search warrant >7E-89 ,";h. J'J/ ut the search was fruitless.
1*3) P+M+ A!,!s# 1- 1992
The group, including the victims, partoo? of supper which was charged to Roy $anson.
Then a/ Aeto
/ )anuday, and
c/ .ahayupan
entered the room and as?ed 1ernande@ what they are going to do with the two victims to which 1ernande@, replied that he will e responsile for the two.
11*)) P+M+ A!,!s# 1- 1992
a/ 4eroche
/ +amis
c/ 1ernande@, and
d/ Moises 4rande@a
rode on the red Toyota +and )ruiser to conduct 4eroche to his house. The victims were left ehind.
1rom his house 4eroche too? an armalite rifle and the group then went ac? to 'A*acienda Motel.
12*)) P+M+ A!,!s# 1- 1992
a/ 1ernande@, and
/ +amis
lindfolded and handcuffed +umangyao and 4argar ,";h. JAJ and JA-7J/ and have them oard a vehicle, with
a/ 4argallano the driver
/ 4eroche sitting in front, and with
c/ Moises 4rande@a also seated inside.
1rom 'A*acienda Motel, the group rode on the red toyota land cruiser. They proceeded to *da. .edrosa in -rgy. Ali:is. 5hen they arrived there the two victims were ordered to
alight and sit y the side of the road. 4eroche then as?ed Moises 4rande@a to hold the hands of +umangyao and then 4argar ehind their ac?s. After that D
a/ 4argallano was the first to shoot. *e shot 4argar at the ac? of his head ,";h. K/ using a ay armalite. Then
/ 4eroche followed suit y shooting +umangyao with a .E= cal. .istol at his right lower :aw ,";h. +/.
Thereafter, the two dead odies were loaded on oard the land cruiser and rought to *da. %iason where .echa and *ilado uried them in the shallow grave they dug.
A!,!s# .- 1992
In %itio )aalagnan were recovered
a/ Three ,</ empty shells of armalite rifle and one .E= cal. "mpty shell ,";h. J4J, J4-9J/
In *da. %iason were recovered
a/ the dead odies of Rufino 4argar, !r. and 'anilo +umangyao
/ -oth of the two victims hands were handcuffed ,";h. JAJ and JA-7J/.
A!,!s# 9- 1992
The same group again went to see )ol. Torres in his office and reported the e;termination of the two and )ol. Torres promptly gave the instruction that Jyou who are here inside,
noody ?nows what you have done ut you have to hide ecause the #-I are after you.
A!,!s# 1)- 1992
a/ +amis
/ 4eroche
c/ 1ernande@
d/ 'ivinagracia
e/ 4argallano
f/ 'elgado, and
g/ Moises 4rande@a
went ac? to the office of )ol. Torres and this time he told the group Jto hide ecause the #-I are now investigatingJ.
4*)) P+M+ A!,!s# 12- 1992
The same group that liIuidated +umangyao and 4argar again went ac? to the office of )ol. Torres where they were as?ed y )ol. Torres to escort him to )eres )ompound ecause
he would li?e to orrow money from Ricardo $anson as )ol. Torres said that he has huge dets to pay. )ol. Torres was ale on this occasion, to meet Ricardo $anson.
&n this same day,
a/ Moises 4rande@a
/ +amis, and
c/ 4eroche
were pic?ed up in a land cruiser y the driver of the $ansonsA to go to the house of 1ernande@ where 4eroche will give the money to the group. "ach memer of the group, after the
chec?, which was drawn y $anson, was encashed were given the amount of .7,B>>.>> each.
A!,!s# 13- 1992
#enita -ello went to the office of )ol. Torres to plead for his help in regard to the death of her relatives +umangyao and 4argar ut was promptly turned down y )olonel Torres
with the curt remar? that her case was very difficult ecause it involves the JmilitaryJ and some Jig timesJ.
The %angguniang .anlungsod of -acolod )ity also passed, on this day, Resolution #o. <9F, series of 7889 urging the #ational -ureau of Investigation ,#-I/ to conduct an
investigation on the death of Jsalvage victimsJ 'anilo +umangyao and Rufino 4argar, !r. as soon as possile ,";h. JIJ/.
Se"#e0(er 24- 1992
The odies of Rufino 4argar !r. and 'anilo +umangyao were e;humed at -rgy. -uenavista )emetery, -alintawa?, "scalante, #egros &ccidental and autopsies were conducted
,";hs. JMJ and J#J/ y 'r. Ricardo !aoneta, Medico +egal &fficer of the #-I.
a/ 1ound on the ody of Rufino 4argar, !r. ,per e;amination report, ";h. JMJ/ among others, were ligature mar?s, wrist :oint, right side ,";h. JM-9J/, and
/ 4unshot wound ,";h. JM-7J/
As to 'anilo +umangyao, the e;humation report ,";h. J#J disclose
a/ +igature mar?s, right wrist ,";h. J#-9J/ and among others, and
/ 4unshot wound ,";h. J#-7J/
After the #ational -ureau of Investigation, -acolod &ffice, conducted its investigation, the %tate .rosecutors of the 'epartment of !ustice too? over and the result were the filing of
these two criminal cases of Kidnapping with Murder against the aove-named accused.
,pp. B<-F=, 'ecisionC pp. 9>9-97E, Rollo./
After a thorough review of the factual findings of the trial court 2is-3-2is the evidence on record, we find ourselves unale to agree with the conclusions arrived at y the trial court convicting all 7>
accused-appellantsC rather, we concur in the suggestion of the %olicitor 4eneral, that accused-appellants !eanette $anson-'umancas and .olice Inspector Adonis Aeto should e acIuitted. Too, y
reason of his supervening death, accused-appellant .olice )ol. #icolas Torres is acIuitted. The :udgment of conviction of the rest of the accused-appellants is to e affirmed.
A. 4eane##e 56ine##e7 8anson-9!0ancas
&n the case of accused-appellant !eanette $anson-'umancas ,!eanette, for short/, the information charged her of the crime of ?idnapping for ransom with murder as principal y induction together
with her husand, )harles, who was found y the trial court not guilty of the crime.
Art. 7B, Revised .enal )ode, provides:
Art. 7B. Princi"als. D The following are considered principals:
7. Those who ta?e a direct part in the e;ecution of the actC
9. Those who directly force or induce others to commit it.
<. Those who cooperate in the commission of the offense y another act without which it would not have een accomplished.
5hat the )ourt now has to e;amine is whether or not sufficient evidence was adduced y the prosecution to prove eyond reasonale dout that !eanette indeed performed any of the following acts:
,a/ directly %orcin, the ?illers to commit the crime, or ,/ directly inducing them to commit the crime.
There are 9 ways of directly forcing another to commit a crime, namely: ,i/ y using irresistile force, or ,ii/ y causing uncontrollale fear. (pon review of the testimony of all the witnesses of the
prosecution, we find nothing to conclude that !eanette used irresistile force or caused uncontrollale fear upon the other accused-appellants. 1rom the factual findings of the trial court, it is patent that
the plan to aduct and liIuidate the victims was hatched on August =, 7889 ,7>:<> A.M./ without !eanetteAs involvement or participation whatsoever ,p. 9>9, Rollo/. The record is entirely ereft of any
evidence to show that !eanette directly forced the participants of the said meeting to come up with such plan, y either using irresistile force or causing uncontrollale fear. The only asis relied upon
y the trial court in arriving at its conclusion that !eanette is guilty of the crime as principal y inducement, is the supposed JcommandsJ or order given y her to accused-appellant 'ominador 4eroche
on two occasions ,one inside the )eres )ompound: p. 9>=, Rollo, and the other in 'A*acienda Motel: p. 9>B, Rollo/. -y no stretch of the imagination may these so-called JcommandsJ, standing alone,
e considered as constituting irresistile force or causing uncontrollale fear.
+i?ewise, there are 9 ways of directly inducing another to commit a crime, namely: ,i/ y giving a price, or offering reward or promise, and ,ii/ y using words of command. The )ourt finds no
evidence, as did the trial court, to show that !eanette offered any price, reward, or promise to the rest of accused-appellants should they aduct and later ?ill the victims in this case. If at all, the
prosecution witness mentioned the name of Ricardo $anson as having lent money to accused-appellant )ol. Torres to e used for paying the latterAs dets or oligations. -ut definitely, no money ever
came from !eanette herself. The trial courtAs surmise that the money delivered y Ricardo $anson to the group was with the ?nowledge and approval of !eanette in completely aseless.
The only matter left for consideration is whether the order supposedly given y !eanette to accused-appellant 4eroche Jto ta?e care of the twoJ constitutes words of command which may e considered
sufficient asis to convict !eanette as principal y inducement.
In order that a person may e convicted as principal y inducement, the following must e present: ,7/ the inducement e made with the intention of procuring the commission of the crime, and ,9/
such inducement e the determining cause of the commission y the material e;ecutor ,(.%. vs. Indanan, 9E .hil. 9>< G787<H/. To constitute inducement, there must e;ist on the part of the inducer the
most positive resolution and the most persistent effort to secure the commission of the crime, together with the presentation to the person induced of the very strongest ?ind of temptation to commit the
crime.
-y the foregoing standards, the remar? of !eanette to Jta?e care of the twoJ $oes no# cons#i#!#e #:e co00an$reIuired y law to :ustify a finding that she is guilty as a principal y inducement. As we
held in U+S+ 2s. In$anan,s!"ra, Ja chance word spo?en without reflection, a wrong appreciation of a situation, an ironical phrase, a thoughtless act, may give irth to a thought of, or even a resolution
to crime in the mind of one for some independent reason predisposed thereto without the one who spo?e the word or performed the act having any e;pectation that his suggestion would e followed or
any real intention that it produce the result. In such case, while the e;pression was imprudent and the results of it grave in the e;treme, he ,the one who spo?e the word or performed the act/ would not
e guilty of the crime committedJ ,p. 978/.
1urthermore, the utterance which was supposedly the act of inducement, should precede the commission of the crime itself ,.eople vs. )astillo, !uly 96, G7866H/. In the case at ar, the aduction, which
is an essential element of the crime charged ,?idnapping for ransom with murder/ has already ta?en place when !eanette allegedly told accused-appellant 4eroche to Jta?e care of the two.J %aid
utterance could, therefore, not have een the inducement to commit the crime charged in this case.
Most importantly, it was duly proven y no less than the prosecution witness himself, Moises 4rande@a, that the intention of !eanette was ut to allow the law to its course, when in his cross-
e;amination, the following transpired:
ATT$. .ARR"K&:
L. And according to your testimony this morning, !eanette 'umancas said, what more can we do that swindling transpired four months ago, definitely that money
could nowhere e around. 5ould you confirm that you testified that this morning efore this )ourtM Is that correctM
A. $es, sir.
L. Mr. 5itness, this is very important. .lease ma?e a vivid recall. 5hen 'anilo +umangyao made that answer that the money was not around and !eanette
'umancas said whatAs the use, the money is now nowhere to e found as four months have already transpired, did not !eanette 'umancas tell 'oming:
J9o0in,, (rin, #:ese #;o #o #:e PC or "olice an$ I ;ill call A##+ 6eoca$in so #:a# "ro"er cases co!l$ (e %ile$ a,ains# #:e0MJ Kindly ma?e a recall on that.
A. $es, sir.
,pp. =E-==, tsn 1e. 7E, 788E/
Thus, even the veracity of the allegation that !eanette uttered the words: Jta?e care of the twoJ is put to some reasonale dout y the prosecution witness himself. The remar?, if made at all, cannot y
any stretch of the imagination, e asis for the conviction of !eanette.
Peo"le 2s. Mana0(i# ,9B7 %)RA <EE G788BH/ finds apt application, to wit:
In criminal law, the Iuantum of evidence for conviction is that which produces moral certainty in an unpre:udiced mind that the accused is guilty eyond reasonale dout, -ut, i%
#:e e2i$ence is s!sce"#i(le o% #;o in#er"re#a#ions, one consis#en# ;i#: #:e innocence o% #:e acc!se$ an$ #:e o#:er consis#en# ;i#: :is ,!il#, #:e acc!se$ 0!s# (e ac&!i##e$.
,p. <F=/
-. Police Ins"ec#or A$onis A(e#o
5ith respect to accused-appellant Aeto, we Iuote with approval the oservations of the %olicitor 4eneral as follows:
.olice Inspector Adonis ). AetoAs appeal is meritorious. -e it rememered that AetoAs only participation was to serve the search warrant on *elen TortocionAs residence and the
suseIuent interrogation of the two victims at the *acienda Motel. *e was never part of the conspiracy to aduct and liIuidate the two victims. *e is similarly situated as that of
)anuday and .ahayupan.
The trial court, in acIuitting )anuday and .ahayupan had this to say:
The evidence against &fficer )A#('A$, !R. shows that in the afternoon of August 6, 7889, together with &fficers A-"T& and .A*A$(.A#, they went to
'ragon +odge Motel to investigate +(MA#4$A& and 4AR4AR, !R. as to the whereaouts of the gold ,fa?e/ ar used in swindling !"A#"ATT". The two
captives answered that it is with *"+"# T&RT&)I&#. A suseIuent search of TortocionAs house led y &fficer A-"T& yielded no fa?e gold ar. Meanwhile,
in the evening of August B, 7889, &fficers A-"T&, )A#('A$, !R., and .A*A$(.A# showed up at 'A*acienda Motel to inIuire from 1"R#A#'"2 what he
is going to do with the two.
+i?e &fficer .ahayupan, his eing in the company of &fficers Aeto, on the two occasions can not give rise, to without proof of previous agreement, a conspiracy.
Thus, eing present at the scene of the crime is not y itself sufficient to estalish conspiracy, as already averted to previously. %o does mere companionship.
,p. 7B9>-7B97,Rollo./
After due consideration of accused-appellant AetoAs constitutional right to the presumption of innocence, coupled with the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official functions having
simply followed the order of his superior officers, much is left to e desired efore the )ourt can sustain the trial courtAs conviction of accused-appellant Aeto. The two presumptions negate the
inadeIuate proof adduced against accused-appellant Aeto, who must perforce e acIuitted, in much the same manner that accused )anuday, !r. and .ahayupan, who eing similarly situated, were
cleared and asolved.
). Police Col+ Nicolas M+ Torres
As for accused-appellant )ol. Torres, who passed away during the pendency of this appeal, the following rule laid down y this )ourt in Peo"le 2s. <ao#as ,9<6 %)RA 9<8 G788EH/ applies:
7. 'eath of the accused pending appeal of his conviction e;tinguishes his criminal liaility as well as the civil liaility ased solely thereon. As opined y !ustice Regalado, in this
regard, Jthe death of the accused prior to final :udgment terminates his criminal liaility and onl the civil liaility directly arising from and ased solely on the offense
committed, i.e., civil liaility e= $elic#o in senso s#ric#iore.J
9. )orollarily, the claim for civil liaility survives notwithstanding the death of accused, if the same may also e predicated on a source of oligation other than delict. Article 77=B
of the )ivil )ode enumerates these other sources of oligation from which the civil liaility may arise as a result of the same act or omission:
a/ +aw
/ )ontracts
c/ Luasi-contracts
d/ ;;; ;;; ;;;
e/ Luasi-delicts
<. 5here the civil liaility survives, as e;plained in #umer 9 aove, an action for recovery therefor may e pursued ut only y way of filing a separate civil action and su:ect to
%ection 7, Rule 777 of the 78F= Rules on )riminal .rocedure as amended. This separate civil action may e enforced either against the e;ecutor0administrator of the estate of the
accused, depending on the source of oligation upon which the same is ased as e;plained aove.
E. 1inally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file a separate civil action y prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the criminal action
and prior to its e;tinction, the private-offended party instituted together therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liaility is deemed interrupted
during the pendency of the criminal case, conformaly with provisions of Article 77== of the )ivil )ode, that should therey avoid any apprehension on possile privation of right
y prescription.
,pp. 9==-9=6/
5ith the application of the aove set of rules to accused-appellant Torres, we hold that his death e;tinguished his criminal liaility and the civil liaility solely ased thereon. Accordingly, the appeal
of accused-appellant Torres is forthwith dismissed, such dismissal having the force and effect of an acIuittal.
'. Pol+ O%%icer Mario La0is 'ernan$e>, 9o0ina$or 6eroc:e Ma:!sa, 4ai0e 6ar,allano, Rolan$o R+ 'ernan$e>, E$;in 9i2ina,racia, Teo$ 9el,a$o, an$ Cesar Pec:a
#ow, in regard to the other accused-appellants, after a careful review of the evidence, we find the same sufficient to affirm their conviction.
These accused-appellants assail the credence given y the trial court to the eyewitness account of Moises 4rande@a. "ven after a thorough perusal of their main appellantsA rief ,pp. <9B-E8F, Rollo/,
plus the separate riefs of accused-appellants 4eroche ,pp. 7E=<-769B/ and .echa ,pp. F9F-7>>8, Rollo/, we find no cogent reason to depart from the well settled rule that when it comes to the issue of
crediility of witnesses, the factual findings of the trial court is generally accorded great weight. In Peo"le 2s. Ta?e$o ,966 %)RA <E G788BH/ the )ourt had occasion to reiterate the ruling that findings
of fact of the trial court pertaining to the crediility of witnesses command great respect since it had the opportunity to oserve their demeanor while they testified in court. The riefs of accused-
appellants +amis, e# al. are replete with generalities and legal principles relating to the issue, ut are utterly wanting in relevant particulars which may e the asis to rule that indeed, the trial court
erred in lending full credence to the testimony of witness 4rande@a on the matter. As held in Peo"le 2s. Ra0ire> 966 %)RA <<= G788BH/, unless the trial :udge plainly overloo?ed certain facts of
sustance and value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case, his assessment on crediility must e respected.
In an attempt to uttress the contention that witness 4rande@aAs testimony should not have een given credence y the court a &!o, accused-appellants referred to supposed inconsistencies etween
4rande@aAs sworn statements efore investigators 2is-3-2is his testimony in court ,pp. <E8-<=8, RolloC and 7E6=-7E6F, Rollo/. The )ourt, however, is not impressed. This will not e the first occasion
for us to hold that discrepancies etween the statements of the affiant in his affidavit and those made y him on the witness stand do not necessarily discredit him since e=-"ar#e affidavits are generally
incomplete D affidavits are generally suordinated in importance to open court declarations ,.eople vs. .adao, 96B %)RA 6E G788BH/. A contradiction etween a witnessA affidavit and his testimony in
open court may almost e e;plained y the fact that, eing ta?en e= "ar#e, an affidavit is often incomplete and inaccurate, sometimes from partial suggestions, and sometimes from the want of
suggestions and inIuiries ,%umalpong vs. )ourt of Appeals, 96F %)RA B6E G788BH/. 4rande@aAs perceived failure to mention anything in his < affidavits pertaining to the supposed meetings where the
criminal plot was hatched, does not necessarily render his testimony in court unworthy of credit.
In his rief, accused-appellant 4eroche cites 4rande@aAs failure to identify one of their co-accused, )harles 'umancas, in open court, and the variance on the alleged instructions given y !eanette, and
the failure y 4rande@a to mention the supposed meetings in his previous affidavits, as grounds to totally disregard 4rande@aAs entire testimony for eing unworthy of credence ,pp. 7E67-7E68, Rollo/.
Indirectly, accused-appellant 4eroche wants this )ourt to apply the ma;im %als!s in !no, %als!s in o0ni(!s. In this regard, we held in Peo"le 2s. Pacis ,7<> %)RA =E> G78FEH/:
The ma;im of @%als!s in !no %als!s in o0ni(!s-@ however, is not a positive rule of law. #either is it an infle;ile one of universal application. If a part of a witnessA testimony is
found true, it cannot e disregarded entirely. The testimony of a witness may e elieved in part and diselieved in part.
,p. =E6/
Also in Peo"le 2s. Li <!n 4!an ,7B %)RA 8<E G7866H/ we ruled:
. . . In this connection it must e orne in mind that the principle %als!s in !no %als!s in o0ni(!s is not an asolute one, and that it is perfectly reasonale to
elieve the testimony of a witness with respect to some facts and diselieve it with respect to other facts. InPeo"le 2s. Aeller, E6 &.4. #o. B, pp. <999-<99<, the
following was Iuoted with approval y the )ourt of Appeals from 7 Moore on 1acts, p. 9<:
7F. Testimony may e partly credited and partly re:ected. D Trier of facts are not ound to elieve all that any witness has saidC they may accept some portions of
his testimony and re:ect other portions, according to what seems to them, upon other facts and circumstances to e the truth . . . "ven when witnesses are found to
have delierately falsified in some material particulars, the :ury are not reIuired to re:ect the whole of their uncorroorated testimony, ut may credit such
portions as they deem worthy of elief.
,p. 8E=/
The grounds relied upon y accused-appellant 4eroche do not, therefore, constitute cogent reasons to discredit the testimony of eyewitness 4rande@a in its entirety.
As regards accused-appellant 4erocheAs defense of alii, it is settled that alii cannot prevail over positive identification ,.eople vs. 4arma, 9B7 %)RA =7B G788BH/. -eing easy to faricate and difficult
to disprove, alii cannot prevail over and is worthless in the face of the positive identification of the accused-appellant ,.eople vs. 'atun, 9B9 %)RA <F> G788BH/. -esides, the record is ereft of strong
and convincing evidence that accused-appellant could not have een at the scene of the crime ecause the certification proffered in support thereof stated that he was in Mt. )alandog only a%#er the
commission of the crime. And, as aptly stated y the %olicitor 4eneral in the .eopleAs rief, Jthe trial court e;pressed pu@@lement why this supposed fact was not mentioned in his !uly <, 788< affidavit
. . . The first impulse of an innocent man when accused of a wrongdoing is to e;press his innocence at the first opportune time. The .eople can only conclude that 4erocheAs defense of alii is ut an
afterthoughtJ ,p. 7B9<, Rollo/.
As to accused-appellant )esar .echaAs case, the )ourt finds it difficult to elieve that he had no ?nowledge that the 9 victims he was urying were victims of violence. The deceased were surely
loodied from their gunshot wounds and were in fact still handcuffed when e;humed from their shallow grave. It ecomes almost impossile for accused-appellant .echa not to at least, entertain
douts as to the asence of foul play in this case. *e is thus guilty as an accessory to the crime committed under .aragraph 9, Article 78, of the Revised .enal )ode, to wit:
Art. 78. Accessories. D Accessories are those who, having ?nowledge of the commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principals or accomplices,
ta?e part suseIuent to its commission in any of the following manners:
7. -y profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit y the effects of the crimeC
9. -y concealing or destroying the ody of the crime or the effects or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discoveryC
<. -y haroring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal of the crime, provided the accessory acts with ause of his pulic functions or whenever the author of the
crime is guilty of treason, parricide, murder, or an attempt to ta?e the life of the )hief ";ecutive, or is ?nown to haitually guilty of some other crime.
All told, there are only reasons to affirm, and none to reverse, the trial courtAs conviction of accused-appellants .ol. &fficer Mario +amis y 1ernande@, 'ominador 4eroche y Mahusay, !aime
4argallano, Rolando R. 1ernande@, "dwin 'ivinagracia, and Teody 'elgado as principals y direct participation of the crime of ?idnapping for ransom with murder, and that of )esar .echa as
accessory thereto.
(nder Article 96B of the Revised .enal )ode, when the crime of ?idnapping is committed for the purpose of e;torting ransom from the victims, the penalty is death. *owever, since the crime was
committed efore the re-imposition of the death penalty, only recl!sion "er"e#!a is imposale upon all the accused-appellant found guilty of the crime as principals. Accused-appellant .echaAs penalty,
as accessory is 9 degrees lower, which is "rision 0aor. Applying the indeterminate sentence law, the penalty to e imposed is 6 months and 7 day ,the minimum of"rision correccional/, as minimum,
up to F years ,within the minimum period of "rision 0aor/, as the ma;imum.
&n the civil liailities, accused-appellants who are herein convicted of the crime as principals are held solidarily liale for the amount of .=>,>>>.>> to the heirs of each of the victims, as indemnity for
their death. The amount of .=>,>>>.>>, each, y way moral damages and .9=,>>>.>>, each, as e;emplary damages are already deemed sufficient. Accused-appellant )esar .echa is held liale for one-
tenth of the aove amounts. The appealed :udgment is silent as to any :ustification for the other damages awarded and can therefore not e sustained on appeal.
5*"R"1&R", accused-appellants !"A#"TT" $A#%&#-'(MA#)A% and A'&#I% A-"T& are herey A)L(ITT"' and forthwith ordered released from detention unless there may e reason
for their further detention on other criminal cases. The case and appeal of #I)&+A% T&RR"% is 'I%MI%%"' y reason of his death. The convictions of all the other accused-appellants for each case
filed are A11IRM"' e;cept for the modification that accused-appellant )"%AR .")*A is sentenced for each case to an indeterminate prison term of si; ,6/ months and one ,7/ day of "rision
correccional, as minimum up to eight ,F/ years of "rision 0aor, as ma;imum. !oint and several civil liaility for the accused-appellants found guilty as principals, is reduced to .=>,>>>.>> for each
case, as indemnity for the death of each victim, .=>,>>>.>> for each case, y way moral damages, and .9=,>>>.>> for each case, y way of e;emplary damages. The civil liaility of accused-appellant
)esar .echa is maintained at one-tenth of the aove amount.
#o special pronouncement is made as to costs.
%& &R'"R"'.