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G.R. No.

106429 June 13, 1994


JOSELITA SALITA, petitioner, vs. HON. DELILAH MAGTOLIS, in her capacity as Judge of the RTC,
Quezon City, Br. 107, and ERWIN ESPINOSA, respondents.
FACTS:
Erwin Espinosa, 32, and Joselita Salita, 22, were married at the Roman Catholic Church in Ermita, Manila, on
25 January 1986. A year later, their union turned sour. They separated in fact in 1988. Subsequently, Erwin
sued for annulment on the ground of Joselitas psychological incapacity.
The issue before us however is not the scope nor even the interpretation of Art. 36 of the Family Code.
1

Rather, the issue is the sufficiency of the allegations in the petition for annulment of marriage and the
subsequent bill of particulars filed in amplification of the petition.
The petition for annulment was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City on 7 January 1992.
Therein it is alleged that "[s]ometime in 1987, petitioner came to realize that respondent was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of their marriage, which incapacity existed at the
time of the marriage although the same became manifest only thereafter."
2
Dissatisfied with the allegation in
the petition, Joselita moved for a bill of particulars which the trial court granted.
3
Subsequently, in his Bill of
Particulars, Edwin specified that
. . . at the time of their marriage, respondent (Joselita Salita) was psychologically incapacitated
to comply with the essential marital obligations of their marriage in that she was unable to
understand and accept the demands made by his profession that of a newly qualified Doctor
of Medicine upon petitioners time and efforts so that she frequently complained of his lack of
attention to her even to her mother, whose intervention caused petitioner to lose his job.
Still Joselita was not contented with the Bill of Particulars. She argued that the "assertion (in the Bill of
Particulars) is a statement of legal conclusion made by petitioners counsel and not an averment of ultimate
facts, as required by the Rules of Court, from which such a conclusion may properly be inferred . . . ."
4
But
finding the questioned Bill of Particulars adequate, the trial court issued an order upholding its sufficiency and
directing Joselita to file her responsive pleading.
Joselita was not convinced. She filed a petition for certiorari with us. However, we referred her petition to the
Court of Appeals for resolution.
On 21 July 1992, the Court of Appeals denied due course to her petition thus
In the case under consideration, Espinosa has amplified Salitas alleged psychological
incapacity in his bill of particulars . . .
In our view, the aforesaid specification more than satisfies the Rules requirement that a
complaint must allege the ultimate facts constituting a plaintiffs cause of action. To require more
details thereof, to insist on a specification of Salitas particular conduct or behavior with the
corresponding circumstances of time, place and person indicating her alleged psychological
incapacity would be to ask for information on evidentiary matters. To obtain evidentiary details,
Salita may avail herself of the different modes of discovery provided by the Rules of Court
(Rules 24 to 28).
Whether Espinosas averments in his bill of particulars constitute psychological incapacity in the
contemplation of the Family Code is a question that may be resolved in a motion to dismiss or
after trial on the merits of the case, not in a motion for bill of particulars. And certainly, that
matter cannot be resolved in the present petition.
5

Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari filed by Joselita Salita questioning the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals denying due course to her petition.
Petitioner insists that the allegations in the Bill of Particulars constitute a legal conclusion, not an averment of
facts, and fail to point out the specific essential marital obligations she allegedly was not able to perform, and
thus render the Bill of Particulars insufficient if not irrelevant to her husbands cause of action. She rationalizes
that her insistence on the specification of her particular conduct or behavior with the corresponding
circumstances of time, place and person does not call for information on evidentiary matters because without
these details she cannot adequately and intelligently prepare her answer to the petition.
Private respondent on the other hand believes that his allegations in the Bill of Particulars constitute the
ultimate facts which the Rules of Court requires at this point. He defines ultimate facts as
. . . important and substantial facts which either directly form the basis of the primary right and
duty, or which directly make upon the wrongful acts or omissions of the defendant. The term
does not refer to the details of probative matter or particulars of evidence by which these
material elements are to be established. It refers to principal, determinate facts upon the
existence of which the entire cause of action rests.
6

Ultimate facts are conclusions drawn from intermediate and evidentiary facts, or allegations of
mixed law and fact; they are conclusions from reflection and natural reasoning on evidentiary
fact. The ultimate facts which are to be pleaded are the issuable, constitutive, or traversible
facts essential to the statement of the cause of action; the facts which the evidence on the trial
will prove, and not the evidence which will be required to prove the existence of those facts . . .
7

Private respondent further argues that "[c]onclusions of law and evidentiary matters need not be stated in the
complaint. The rules of pleading limit the statement of the cause of action only to such operative facts as would
give rise to the right of action of the plaintiff to obtain relief against the wrongdoer. The details of probative
matter or particulars of evidence, statements of law, inferences and arguments need not be stated."
8

In a nutshell, the ultimate question is whether the Bill of Particulars submitted by herein respondent is of
sufficient definiteness or particularity as to enable herein petitioner to properly prepare her responsive pleading
or for trial.
A complaint only needs to state the "ultimate facts constituting the plaintiffs cause or causes of action."
9

Ultimate facts has been defined as "those facts which the expected evidence will support."
10
As stated by
private respondent, "[t]he term does not refer to the details of probative matter or particulars of evidence by
which these material elements are to be established." It refers to "the facts which the evidence on the trial will
prove, and not the evidence which will be required to prove the existence of those facts." And a motion for bill
of particulars will not be granted if the complaint, while not very definite, nonetheless already states a sufficient
cause of action.
11
A motion for bill of particulars may not call for matters which should form part of the proof of
the complaint upon trial. Such information may be obtained by other means.
12

We sustain the view of respondent Court of Appeals that the Bill of Particulars filed by private respondent is
sufficient to state a cause of action, and to require more details from private respondent would be to ask for
information on evidentiary matters. Indeed, petitioner has already been adequately apprised of private
respondents cause of action against her thus
. . . . (she) was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
their marriage in that she was unable to understand and accept the demands made by his
profession that of a newly qualified Doctor of Medicine upon petitioners time and efforts
so that she frequently complained of his lack of attention to her even to her mother, whose
intervention caused petitioner to lose his job.
On the basis of the aforequoted allegations, it is evident that petitioner can already prepare her responsive
pleading or for trial. Private respondent has already alleged that "she (petitioner) was unable to understand
and accept the demands made by his profession . . . upon his time and efforts . . . " Certainly, she can respond
to this. To demand for more details would indeed be asking for information on evidentiary facts facts
necessary to prove essential or ultimate facts.
13
For sure, the additional facts called for by petitioner regarding
her particular acts or omissions would be evidentiary, and to obtain evidentiary matters is not the function of a
motion for bill of particulars.
14

We distinguish the instant case from Tantuico, Jr. v. Republic
15
where we said
Furthermore, the particulars prayed for such as names of persons, names of corporations,
dates, amounts involved, a specification of property for identification purposes, the particular
transactions involving withdrawals and disbursements, and a statement of other material facts
as would support the conclusions and inferences in the complaint, are not evidentiary in nature.
On the contrary, those particulars are material facts that should be clearly and definitely averred
in the complaint in order that the defendant may, in fairness, be informed of the claims made
against him to the end that he may be prepared to meet the issues at the trial.
The aforementioned pronouncement cannot apply to the instant case. That ruling involves alleged
"misappropriation and theft of public funds, plunder of the nations wealth, extortion, blackmail, bribery,
embezzlement, and other acts of corruption, betrayal of public trust and brazen abuse of power." The
respondents therein pray for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages. There, the alleged
illicit acts should be fully documented. The instant case, on the other hand, concerns marital relationship. It
would be unreasonable, if not unfeeling, to document each and every circumstance of marital disagreement.
True, the complaining spouse will have to prove his case, but that will not come until trial begins.
Consequently, we have no other recourse but to order the immediate resumption of the annulment proceeding
which have already been delayed for more than two years now, even before it could reach its trial stage.
Whether petitioner is psychologically incapacitated should be immediately determined. There is no point in
unreasonably delaying the resolution of the petition and prolonging the agony of the wedded couple who after
coming out from a storm still have the right to a renewed blissful life either alone or in the company of each
other.
A word on Art. 36 of the Family Code.
16
We do not see the need to define or limit the scope of the provision.
Not in this case, at least. For, we are not called upon to do so, the actual controversy being the sufficiency of
the bill of particulars. To interpret the provision at this juncture would be to give an obiter dictum which is ill-
timed. Besides, it appears that petitioner in her memorandum has demonstrated a good grasp of what Art. 36
actually covers. Suffice it to say that Mme. Justice Sempio-Diy, formerly of the Court of Appeals and a member
of the Civil Code Revision Committee that drafted the Family code, explains
The Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that the giving of
examples would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis.
Rather, the Committee would like the judge to interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis,
guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and
by decisions of church tribunals which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given
persuasive effect since the provision was taken from Canon Law.
17

WHEREFORE, there being no reversible error, the instant petition is DENIED and the questioned Resolution of
respondent Court of Appeals dated 21 July 1992 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED

G.R. No. 94093 August 10, 1993
FAR EAST MARBLE (PHILS.), INC., LUIS R. TABUENA, JR. and RAMON A. TABUENA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and BANK OF PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, respondents.
Minerva C. genevea for petitioners.
Sabino B. Padilla IV for Bank of the Philippines Islands.

MELO, J .:
This has reference to a petition for review by certiorari seeking the reversal of the decision of the Court of
Appeals dated June 26, 1990, in CA-G.R. CV No. 14404 (Bellosillo (P), Marigomen, Sempio-Diy, JJ.) which set
aside the order of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region (Manila, Branch XIV), dated
June 1, 1987 and remanded the case to the court a quo for further proceedings on the grounds that the
complaint for foreclosure of chattel mortgage with replevin had not prescribed and that, there being a cause of
action, further proceedings, including the resolution of the motion for summary judgment may be pursued.
The antecedent facts of the case may be chronicled as follows:
On February 5, 1987, herein respondent Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) filed a complaint for foreclosure
of chattel mortgage with replevin against petitioner Far East Marble (Phils.), Inc. (Far East), Ramon A.
Tabuena and Luis R. Tabuena, Jr. which was docketed as Civil Case No. 87-39345 of Branch XIV of the
Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region stationed in Manila.
The complaint pertinently alleged:
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST FAR EAST
2. That on various dates and for valuable consideration, the defendant Far East received from
Commercial Bank and Trust Company . . . now merged with and into the plaintiff bank . . .
several loans evidenced by promissory notes executed by said Far East, photo copies of which
are attached hereto and made integral parts hereof as Annexes A, B and C.
3. That said promissory notes . . . .have long matured but despite repeated requests and
demands for payment thereof with interests and related charges due, Far East has failed and
refused to pay. The account due on said promissory notes with interests and related charges as
of 10 September 1986 is P4,471,854.32 itemized in a statement of account, copy of which is
attached hereto and made a part hereof as Annex D
4. That because of Far East's failure and refusal in bad faith to pay its long past due obligations
under the promissory notes above alleged, plaintiff was constrained to file this suit . . .
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST FAR EAST
6. That on various dates and for valuable consideration, the defendant Far East received from
and was extended by . . . plaintiff
Bank . . . credit facilities in the form of Trust Receipts, photo copies of which are hereto attached
and made integral parts hereof as Annexes E, F, G, H, I and J.
7. That said Trust Receipts . . . have long matured and despite repeated requests and demands
for payment thereof with interests and related charges due Far East has failed and refused to
pay. The amount due on said Trust Receipts with interests and related charges as of 10
September 1986 is P2,170,476.62 as itemized in a statement of account, copy of which is
attached hereto and made an integral part hereof as
Annex K.
8. That because of far East's failure and refusal to pay its long past due obligations under the
Trust Receipts above alleged, plaintiff was constrained to file this suit . . .
xxx xxx xxx
10. That in September 1976 Far East executed in favor of . . . plaintiff Bank . . . a Chattel
Mortgage, photocopy of which is attached hereto and made an integral part hereof as Annex L,
to secure the payment of its loan obligations including interests and related charges. . .
xxx xxx xxx
CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS RAMON A. TABUENA AND LUIS
R. TABUENA, JR.
13. That in September 1976, defendants Ramon A. Tabuena and Luis R. Tabuena, Jr. executed
in favor of . . . plaintiff Bank . . . a "continuing guaranty" photocopy of which is attached hereto
and made a part hereof as Annex M, whereby they bind themselves, jointly and severally, to
answer for the loan obligations to the Bank of defendant Far East.
14. That despite requests and demands for their payment of Far East's long past due accounts,
said defendants Ramon A. Tabuena and Luis R. Tabuena, Jr. have failed and refused to pay
said Far East accounts and have already defaulted in their solidary obligation under said
"continuing Guaranty."
15. That because of the failure and refusal of defendants Ramon A. Tabuena and Luis R.
Tabuena, Jr. in bad faith to pay Far East's past due accounts under their solidary obligation
stipulated in said "Continuing Guaranty,". . . plaintiff has been constrained to file suit against
them . . .
(pp. 32-36, Rollo.)
On March 10, 1987, Far East filed an answer with compulsory counterclaim admitting the genuineness and
due execution of the promissory notes attached as Annexes A, B, and C to the complaint, but alleging further
that said notes became due and demandable on November 19, 1976, respectively. On the basis of the maturity
dates of the notes, Far East thereupon raised the affirmative defenses of prescription and lack of cause of
action as it denied the allegation of the complaint that BPI had made previous repeated requests and demands
for payment. Far East claimed that during the more than 10 years which elapsed from the dates of maturity of
said obligations up to the time the action for foreclosure of the chattel mortgage securing said obligations was
filed, it had not received from BPI or its predecessor any demand for payment and thus, it had "labored under
the belief that they [the obligations] have already been written off" in the books of BPI. Moreover, Far East
denied the genuineness and due execution of the trust receipts and of the Statement of Account (pp. 78-79,
Rollo). A motion to hear affirmative defenses was attached to the answer.
On March 16, 1987, BPI filed an opposition to the motion to hear affirmative defenses, alleging that its cause of
action against Far East have not prescribed, since within 10 years from the time its cause of action accrued,
various written extrajudicial demands (attached thereto as Annexes "A" and
"A-1") were sent by BPI and received by Far East. Moreover, BPI offered several written documents whereby
Far East supposedly acknowledged its debt to BPI (Annexes "B" to "B-6). Withal, BPI maintained, the ten-
years prescriptive period to enforce its written contract had not only been interrupted, but was renewed.
On the same date, BPI filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that since Far East had admitted
the genuineness and due execution of the promissory notes and the deed of chattel mortgage annexed to its
complaint, there was no genuine issue as to any material fact, thus entitling BPI to a favorable judgment as a
matter of law in regard to its causes of action and on its right to foreclose the chattel mortgage.
On June 1, 1987, the trial court issued an order to the following effect:
WHEREFORE, the Court issues this Order:
1 Dismissing the complaint against the defendant Far East Marble (Phils.) Inc. for lack of
cause of action and on grounds of pre[s]cription:
2 Denying for lack of merit the Motion for Summary Judgment and the Supplemental Motion
for Summary Judgment;
3 Striking off from the records the order of March 6, 1987 and recalling the writ of replevin
issued by this Court, and dismissing all the contempt charges;
4 Ordering the Sheriff to desist permanently from enforcing the writ of seizure and to return
all the property seized by him under the Writ of Replevin, to the defendant Far East Marble
(Phils.) Inc. immediately from receipt of a copy of this order, and in case of his failure to do so,
the value thereof shall be charged against the replevin bond. (pp. 89-90, Rollo.)
An appeal therefrom was forthwith interposed by BPI, assailing the findings of the trial court with respect to its
finding that BPI's cause of action has prescribed and the consequent denial of the motion for summary
judgment.
On June 26, 1990, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision setting aside the June 1, 1987 order of the court
of origin and remanding the case to said court for further proceedings, "including the resolution anew of
plaintiff's motion for summary judgment . . ., reception of the evidence of the parties and, thereafter, to decide
the case as the facts may warrant." (pp. 98-99, Rollo.)
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari filed by Far East, anchored on the following assigned errors:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT DISREGARDED THE FINDINGS OF THE
TRIAL COURT THAT PRESCRIPTION HAS SET IN OBLIVIOUS OF THE FACT THAT THIS
FINDING WAS REACHED AFTER DUE HEARING.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING FOR A REOPENING OF THE
TRIAL FOR THE RECEPTION OF EVIDENCE ON BOTH ISSUES OF PRESCRIPTION AND
SUMMARY JUDGMENT WHEN THESE WERE ALREADY TRIED AND WEIGHED BY THE
TRIAL COURT.
III
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ASSUMING JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE
CONSIDERING THAT THE ISSUES RAISED THEREIN INVOLVE PURE QUESTIONS OF
LAW. (p. 14, Rollo.)
The issue of jurisdiction being basis, we shall endeavor to dispose of it ahead of the other topics raised by
petitioners
Petitioner Far East maintains the position that the Court of Appeals stepped beyond the limits of its authority
when it assumed jurisdiction over the appeal filed by BPI inasmuch as said appeal raised only the pure
questions of law or whether or not the trial court erred: (1) in dismissing BPI's complaint for lack of cause of
action; (2) in finding that BPI's cause of action had prescribed; and (3) in ruling that BPI is not entitled to
summary judgment on its causes of action against Far East. Consequently, Far East contends, BPI should
have taken its case directly to this Court.
There is no dispute with respect to the fact that when an appeal raises only pure questions of law, it is only this
Court which has jurisdiction to entertain the same (Article VIII, Section 5 (2) (e), 1987 Constitution; Rule 45,
Rules of Court; see also Santos, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, 152 SCRA 378 [1987]). On the other hand, appeals
involving both questions of law and fact fall within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.
At this point, there seems to be a need to distinguish a question of law from a question of fact.
It has been held in a number of cases (Medina vs. Asistio, Jr., 191 SCRA 218 [1990]; Gan vs. Licup Design
Group, Inc., G.R. NO. 94264, July 24, 1990, En Banc, Minute Resolution; Pilar Development Corp. vs.
Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., 146 SCRA 215 [1986]; Ramos vs. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., 19 SCRA 289
[1967]; Consolidated Mines, Inc. vs. Court of Tax Appeals, et al., 58 SCRA 618 [1974]), that there is a
"question of law" when there is doubt or difference of opinion as to what the law is on certain state of facts and
which does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties-litigants.
On the other hand, there is a "question of fact" when the doubt or controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of
the alleged facts. Simply put, when there is no dispute as to fact, the question of whether or not the conclusion
drawn therefrom is correct is a question of law.
In the case at bar, BPI alleged in its complaint (Rollo, p. 42) that on various dates and for valuable
consideration, it extended to Far East several loans, evidenced by promissory notes, and credit facilities in the
form of trust receipts, and that despite repeated requests and demands for payment thereof, Far East had
failed and refused to pay. Thus BPI sought foreclosure of the chattel mortgage securing such indebtedness.
In its answer (Rollo, p. 78), Far East admitted the genuineness and due execution of the promissory notes
involved in the case, but denied BPI's allegation that repeated demands for payment were made by BPI on it.
Far East then raised the affirmative defenses of prescription and lack of cause of action, arguing that since the
promissory notes matured in 1976 while BPI filed its action to foreclose the chattel mortgage only in 1987 (or
more than 10 years from the time its cause of action accrued), and there being no demand for payment which
would interrupt the period of prescription for instituting said action, BPI's claims have prescribed.
BPI, however, countered that its allegation of repeated demands on Far East for payment sufficiently stated a
cause of action; that within ten years from the time its cause of action accrued in 1976, it sent written
extrajudicial demands on Far East requesting payment of its due and outstanding obligations; that within that
10-years period, it received written acknowledgments of debt from Far East; and, that these demands for
payment and acknowledgments of debt effectively interrupted and renewed the prescriptive period. Worth
noting is the fact that the acknowledgment of debt and the demands for payment, including the affidavits of
BPI's counsel who prepared the demand letter and that of BPI's messenger who allegedly personally delivered
said letters to Far East were duly annexed to BPI's pleadings.
From the foregoing exchange of pleading, the conflicting allegations of fact by the contending parties sprung
forth. It is thus quite obvious that the controversy centered on, and the doubt arose with respect to, the very
existence of previous demands for payment allegedly made by BPI on petitioner Far East, receipt of which was
denied by the latter. This dispute or controversy inevitably raised a question of fact. Such being the case, the
appeal taken by BPI to the Court of Appeals was proper.
We now come to petitioner's first two assigned errors.
The trial court's finding that BPI's claims due to prescription, can no longer prosper, is inextricably connected
with, and underpinned by, its other conclusion that BPI's allegation that it made "repeated requests and
demands for payment" is not sufficient to state a cause of action. Moreover, in its questioned Order (Rollo, p.
88) dated June 1, 1987, the trial court held that:
Apart from the fact that the complaint failed to allege that the period of prescription was
interrupted, the phrase "repeated requests and demands for payment" is vague and incomplete
as to establish in the minds of the defendant, or to enable the Court to draw a conclusion, that
demands or acknowledgment [of debt] were made that could have interrupted the period of
prescription. (p. 88, Rollo.).
Seemingly, therefore, the trial court believed that the interruption of the prescriptive period to institute an action
is an ULTIMATE FACT which had to be expressly and indispensably pleaded by BPI in its complaint, and that
failure to so alleged such circumstance is fatal to BPI's cause of action.
We believe and hold otherwise.
Section 3 of Rule 6 state that a "complaint is a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's
cause or causes of action." Further elaborating thereon, Section 1 of Rule 8 declares that every pleading,
including, of course, a complaint, "shall contain in a methodical and logical form, a plain, concise and direct
statement of the ultimate facts . . . omitting the statement of mere evidentiary facts." "Ultimate facts" are the
essential and substantial facts which either form the basis of the primary right and duty or which directly make
up the wrongful acts or omissions of the defendant (Tantuico, Jr. vs. Republic of the Phil., et al., 204 SCRA
428 [1991]), while "evidentiary facts" are those which tend to prove or establish said ultimate facts.
What then are the ultimate facts which BPI had to allege in its complaint so as to sufficiently establish its cause
of action?
Basically, a cause of action consists of three elements, namely: (1) the legal right of the plaintiff; (2) the
correlative obligation of the defendant; and (3) the act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal
right (Nabus vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 193 SCRA 732 [1991]); Rebollido vs. Court of Appeals et al., 170
SCRA 800 [1989]). These elements are manifest in BPI's complaint, particularly when it was therein alleged
that: (1) for valuable consideration, BPI granted several loans, evidenced by promissory notes, and extended
credit facilities in the form of trust receipts to Far East (photocopies of said notes and receipts were duly
attached to the Complaint); (2) said promissory notes and trust receipts had matured; and (3) despite repeated
requests and demands for payment thereof, Far East had failed and refused to pay.
Clearly then, the general allegation of BPI that "despite repeated requests and demands for payment, Far East
has failed to pay" is sufficient to establish BPI's cause of action. Besides, prescription is not a cause of action;
it is a defense which, having been raised, should, as correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals (DBP vs.
Ozarraga, 15 SCRA 48 [1965]), be supported by competent evidence. But even as Far East raised the defense
of prescription, BPI countered to the effect that the prescriptive period was interrupted and renewed by written
extrajudicial demands for payment and acknowledgment by Far East of the debt.
A complaint is sufficient if it contains sufficient notice of the cause of action even though the allegation may be
vague or indefinite, for in such case, the recourse of the defendant would be to file a motion for a bill of
particulars (Ramos vs. Condez, 20 SCRA 1146 [1967]). It is indeed the better rule that, pleadings, as well as
remedial laws, should be liberally construed so that the litigants may have ample opportunity to prove their
respective claims so as to avoid possible denial of substantial justice due to legal technicalities (Adamo, et al.
vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., 191 SCRA 195 [1990]).
In the case at bar, the circumstances of BPI extending loans and credits to Far East and the failure of the latter
to pay and discharge the same upon maturity are the only ultimate facts which have to be pleaded, although
the facts necessary to make the mortgage valid enforceable must be proven during the trial (Ortiz v. Garcia, 15
Phil. 192 [1910]).
In fine, the finding of the trial court that prescription has set in is primarily premised on a misappreciation of the
sufficiency of BPI's allegation as above discussed. The records will show that the hearing conducted by the
trial court was merely pro forma and the trial judge did not sufficiently address the issue of whether or not a
demand for payment in fact made by BPI and duly received by herein petitioner Far East.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals hereby
AFFIRMED. No special pronouncement is made as to costs.
SO ORDERED

G.R. No. 89114 December 2, 1991
FRANCISCO S. TANTUICO, JR., petitioner,
vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT, MATEO A.
T. CAPARAS, AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN, respondents.
Kenny H. Tantuico for petitioner.


PADILLA, J .:p
In this petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction and/or restraining order, the petitioner seeks to annul and set aside the resolution of the
Sandiganbayan, dated 21 April 1989, denying his motion for a bill of particulars as well as its resolution, dated
29 May 1989, which denied his motion for reconsideration; to compel the respondent PCGG to prepare and file
a bill of particulars, or that said respondent be ordered to exclude petitioner as defendant in Civil Case No.
0035 should they fail to submit the said bill of particulars; and to enjoin the respondent Sandiganbayan from
further proceeding against petitioner until the bill of particulars is submitted, claiming that the respondent
Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in promulgating the
aforesaid resolutions and that there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy for him in the
ordinary course of law other than the present petition.
As prayed for, this Court issued on 1 August 1989 a temporary restraining order "effective immediately and
continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering the respondent Sandiganbayan to CEASE and DESIST
from further proceeding in Civil Case No. 0035 (PCGG 35), entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. Benjamin
(Kokoy) Romualdez, et al." pending before it. 1
The antecedents are as follows:
On 31 July 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the PCGG, and assisted by the Office of the
Solicitor General, filed with the Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. 0035, entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs.
Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez, et al." for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages. 2
The principal defendants in the said Civil Case No. 0035 are Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez, Ferdinand E.
Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos.
Petitioner Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr. was included as defendant in Civil Case No. 0035 on the theory that: (1)
he acted in unlawful concert with the principal defendants in the misappropriation and theft of public funds,
plunder of the nation's wealth, extortion, blackmail, bribery, embezzlement and other acts of corruption,
betrayal of public trust and brazen abuse of power; 3 (2) he acted as dummy, nominee or agent, by allowing
himself to be incorporator, director, board member and/or stockholder of corporations beneficially held and/or
controlled by the principal defendants; 4 (3) he acted singly or collectively, and/or in unlawful concert with one
another, in flagrant breach of public trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers, with gross and
scandalous abuse of right and power and in brazen violation of the Constitution and laws of the Philippines,
embarked upon a systematic plan to accumulate ill-gotten wealth ; 5 (4) he (petitioner) taking undue advantage
of his position as Chairman of the Commission on Audit and with grave failure to perform his constitutional
duties as such Chairman, acting in concert with defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos,
facilitated and made possible the withdrawals, disbursements and questionable use of government funds; 6
and (5) he acted as dummy, nominee and/or agent by allowing himself to be used as instrument in
accumulating ill-gotten wealth through government concessions, orders and/or policies prejudicial to plaintiff, or
to be incorporator, director, or member of corporations beneficially held and/or controlled by defendants
Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos, Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez and Juliette Gomez Romualdez in
order to conceal and prevent recovery of assets illegally obtained. 7
On 11 April 1988, after his motion for production and inspection of documents 8 was denied by respondent
court in its resolution 9 dated 9 March 1988, petitioner filed a Motion for a Bill of Particulars, 10 alleging inter
alia that he is sued for acts allegedly committed by him as (a) a public officer-Chairman of the Commission on
Audit, (b) as a private individual, and (c) in both capacities, in a complaint couched in too general terms and
shorn of particulars that would inform him of the factual and legal basis thereof, and that to enable him to
understand and know with certainty the particular acts allegedly committed by him and which he is now
charged with culpability, it is necessary that plaintiff furnish him the particulars sought therein relative to the
averments in paragraphs 2, 9(a), 15, 7 and 17 of the Second Amended Complaint so that he can intelligently
prepare his responsive pleading and prepare for trial. The particulars sought for in the said motion are as
follows:
a. Relative to the averments in paragraphs 2, 9(a) and l5 of the Second Amended Complaint:
i) What are the dates of the resolutions (if on appeal) or the acts (if otherwise)
issued or performed by herein defendant which allowed the facilitation of, and
made possible the, withdrawals, disbursements and questionable use of
government funds;
ii) What ministries or Departments, offices or agencies of the government were
involved in these questionable use of government funds;
iii) What are the names of the auditors who had the original audit jurisdiction over
the said withdrawals, disbursements and questionable use of government funds;
iv) How much government funds were involved in these questionable-
disbursements, individually and in totally?
v) Were the disbursements brought to herein defendant for action on pre-audit,
post-audit or otherwise or where they initiated and/or allowed release by herein
defendant alone, without them undergoing usual governmental audit procedures,
or in violation thereof.?
vi) What were herein defendant's other acts or omission or participation in the
matter of allowing such disbursements and questionable use of government
funds, if any?
b. Relative to paragraphs 7 and 17 of the Second Amended Complaint:
i) In what particular contract, dealing, transaction and/or relationship of any
nature of Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos, Juliette Gomez Romualdez or
Benjamin T. Romualdez did herein defendant act as dummy, nominee or agent?
Please specify the dealings, the dates, the corporations or entities involved, the
government offices involved and the private and public documents, if any,
showing herein defendant's complicity, since he is not aware of any such
instance. More basically, please specify whether the defendant is a dummy or
nominee or agent and of which corporation or transaction?
ii) What particular government concession, order and/or policy obtained by
Ferdinand E. Marcos, or Imelda R. Marcos, or Juliette Gomez Romualdez and/or
Benjamin T. Romualdez allowed them either singly or jointly to accumulate ill-
gotten wealth by using herein defendant as instrument for their accomplishment.
Likewise please identify the nature of the transactions, the dates and the
document showing complicity on the part of herein defendant; he is not aware of
any such instance.
iii) Please specify the name or denominate the particular government
concession, order and/or policy prejudicial to the interest of the government
which was obtained by either of the above-named four defendants through the
participation of herein defendant as a dummy, nominee or agent of herein
defendant. Please likewise identify the government office involved, the dates and
other particulars, likewise defendant is not aware of any such instance.
iv) Please name and specify the corporation whether stock or non-stock, whether
government or private, beneficially held and/or controlled by either of the four
above defendants, where herein defendant is an incorporator, director or
member and where his inclusion as such incorporator, director or member of the
corporation was made in order to conceal and prevent recovery of assets illegally
obtained by the aforementioned four defendants, how many shares are involved
and what are their values, how and when have they been acquired.
The Solicitor General, for and in behalf of respondents (except the respondent Sandiganbayan), opposed the
motion.11 After the petitioner had filed his reply 12 thereto, the respondent Sandiganbayan promulgated on 21
April 1990 a resolution 13 denying the petitioner's motion for a bill of particulars on the ground that the
particulars sought by petitioner are evidentiary in nature, the pertinent part of which resolution reads, as
follows:
We are of the considered opinion that the allegations in the Expanded Complaint are quite clear
and sufficient enough for defendant-movant to know the nature and scope of the causes of
action upon which plaintiff seeks relief. They provide the factual scenario which, coupled with
other allegations set forth in the "Common Averments" and further specified in the "Specific
Averments" of herein defendant-movant and his co-defendants' illegal acts which are within
defendant-movant's peculiar and intimate knowledge as a government official and corporate
executive, will enable him to make the proper admission, denials or qualifications, set out
affirmative and/or special defenses and thereafter prepare for trial. Evidentiary facts or matters
are not essential in the pleading of the cause of action, nor to details or probative value or
particulars of evidence by which these material evidence are to be established (Remitere vs.
Yulu, 6 SCRA 251). The matters which he seeks are evidentiary in nature and, being within his
intimate or personal knowledge, may be denied or admitted by him or if deemed necessary, be
the subject of other forms of discovery. 14
Petitioner moved for reconsideration 15 but this was denied by respondent Sandiganbayan in its resolution 16
dated 29 May 1990.
Hence, petitioner filed the present petition.
The principal issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether or not the respondent Sandiganbayan acted
with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the disputed resolutions.
Petitioner argues that the allegations of the Second Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. 0035 (PCGG 35)
pertaining to him state only conclusions of fact and law, inferences of facts from facts not pleaded and mere
presumptions, not ultimate facts as required by the Rules of Court.
On the other hand, the respondent Sandiganbayan, by and through the Solicitor General, contends that the
essential elements of an action for recovery of ill-gotten wealth are: (1) an accumulation of assets, properties
and other possessions; (2) of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their
close relatives, subordinates, business associates, dummies, agents, or nominees; and (3) whose value is out
of proportion to their known lawful income, and that the ultimate facts establishing these three (3) essential
elements of an action for recovery of ill-gotten wealth are sufficiently alleged in the complaint. Hence, petitioner
is not entitled to a bill of particulars.
A complaint is defined as a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's cause or causes of
action.17 Like all other pleadings allowed by the Rules of Court, 18 the complaint shall contain in a methodical
and logical form a plain, concise and direct statement of the ultimate facts on which the plaintiff relies for his
claim, omitting the statement of mere evidentiary
facts. 19 Its office, purpose or function is to inform the defendant clearly and definitely of the claims made
against him so that he may be prepared to meet the issues at the trial. The complaint should inform the
defendant of all the material facts on which the plaintiff relies to support his demand; it should state the theory
of a cause of action which forms the bases of the plaintiff's claim of liability. 20
The rules on pleading speak of two (2) kinds of facts: the first, the "ultimate facts", and the second, the
"evidentiary facts." In Remitere vs. Vda. de Yulo, 21 the term "ultimate facts" was defined and explained as
follows:
The term "ultimate facts" as used in Sec. 3, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, means the essential
facts constituting the plaintiffs cause of action. A fact is essential if it cannot be stricken out
without leaving the statement of the cause of action insufficient. . . . (Moran, Rules of Court, Vol.
1, 1963 ed., p. 213).
Ultimate facts are important and substantial facts which either directly form the basis of the
primary right and duty, or which directly make up the wrongful acts or omissions of the
defendant. The term does not refer to the details of probative matter or particulars of evidence
by which these material elements are to be established. It refers to principal, determinate,
constitutive facts, upon the existence of which, the entire cause of action rests.
while the term "evidentiary fact" has been defined in the following tenor:
Those facts which are necessary for determination of the ultimate facts; they are the premises
upon which conclusions of ultimate facts are based. Womack v. Industrial Comm., 168 Colo.
364,451 P. 2d 761, 764. Facts which furnish evidence of existence of some other fact. 22
Where the complaint states ultimate facts that constitute the three (3) essential elements of a cause of action,
namely: (1) the legal right of the plaintiff, (2) the correlative obligation of the defendant, and (3) the act or
omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right, the complaint states a cause of action, otherwise, the
complaint must succumb to a motion to dismiss on that ground of failure to state a cause of action. 23
However, where the allegations of the complaint are vague, indefinite, or in the form of conclusions, the proper
recourse would be, not a motion to dismiss, but a motion for a bill of particulars. 24 Thus, Section 1, Rule 12 of
the Rules of Court provides:
Before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted by these rules, within
ten (10) days after service of the pleading upon him, a party may move for a more definite
statement or for a bill of particulars of any matter which is not averred with sufficient definiteness
or particularity to enable him properly to prepare his responsive pleading or to prepare for trial.
Such motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired.
In this connection, the following allegations have been held as mere conclusions of law, inferences from facts
not alleged or opinion of the pleader: (a) the allegations that defendants appellees were "actuated by ulterior
motives, contrary to law and morals, with abuse of their advantageous position as employers, in gross and
evident bad faith and without giving plaintiff . . . his due, wilfully, maliciously, unlawfully, and in summary and
arbitrary manner", are conclusions of law, inferences from facts not alleged and expressions of opinion
unsupported by factual premises; 25 (b) an allegation of duty in terms unaccompanied by a statement of facts
showing the existence of the duty, is a mere conclusion of law, unless there is a relation set forth from which
the law raises the duty; 26 (c) an averment . . . that an act was "unlawful" or "wrongful" is a mere legal
conclusion or opinion of the pleader; 27 (d) the allegation that there was a violation of trust was plainly a
conclusion of law, for "a mere allegation that it was the duty of a party to do this or that, or that he was guilty of
a breach of duty, is a statement of a conclusion, not of a fact;" 28 (e) an allegation that a contract is valid or
void, is a mere conclusion of law; 29 (f) the averment in the complaint that "defendant usurped the office of
Senator of the Philippines" is a conclusion of law not a statement of fact inasmuch as the particular facts
on which the alleged usurpation is predicated are not set forth therein; 30 and (g) the averment that "with intent
of circumventing the constitutional prohibition that 'no officer or employee in the civil service shall be removed
or suspended except for cause as provided by law', respondents maliciously and illegally for the purpose of
political persecution and political vengeance, reverted the fund of the salary item . . . and furthermore
eliminated or abolished the said position effective 1 July 1960" is a mere conclusion of law unsupported by
factual premises. 31
Bearing in mind the foregoing rules on pleading and case law, let us now examine the allegations of the
Second Amended Complaint against the petitioner to determine whether or no they were averred with sufficient
definiteness or particularity to enable him properly to prepare his responsive pleading or to prepare for trial. If
the allegations of the said complaint are vague, indefinite or in the form of conclusions, then petitioner is
entitled to a bill of particulars.
The allegations in the complaint pertaining to the alleged culpable and unlawful acts of herein petitioner are
quoted hereunder as follows:
GENERAL AVERMENTS
OF
DEFENDANTS' ILLEGAL ACTS
9. (a) From the early years of his presidency, Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos took undue
advantage of his powers as President. All throughout the period from September 21, 1972 to
February 25, 1986, he gravely abused his powers under martial law and ruled as Dictator under
the 1973 Marcos-promulgated Constitution. Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos, together with other
Defendants, acting singly or collectively, and/or in unlawful concert with one another, in flagrant
breach of public trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers, with gross and
scandalous abuse of right and power and in brazen violation of the Constitution and laws of the
Philippines, embarked upon a systematic plan to accumulate ill-gotten wealth;
(b) Upon his unfettered discretion, and sole authority, for the purpose of implementing the plan
referred to above, Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos ordered and caused, among others:
(b-i) the massive and unlawful withdrawal of funds, securities, reserves and other
assets and property from the National Treasury, the Central Bank, the other
financial institutions and depositories of Plaintiff;
(b-ii) the transfer of such funds, securities, reserves and other assets and
property to payees or transferees of his choice and whether and in what manner
such transactions should be recorded in the books and records of these
institutions and other depositories of Plaintiff;
10. Among others, in furtherance of the plan and acting in the manner referred to above, in
unlawful concerted with one another and with gross abuse of power and authority, Defendants
Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos;
xxx xxx xxx
b. Converted government-owned and controlled corporations into private
enterprises and appropriated them and/or their assets for their own benefit and
enrichment;
c. Awarded contracts with the Government to their relatives, business associates,
dummies, nominees, agents or persons who were beholden to said Defendants,
under terms and conditions grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the
Government;
d. Misappropriated, embezzled and/or converted to their own use funds of
Government financial institutions, particularly those allocated to the Office of the
President and other ministries and agencies of the Government including, those
conveniently denominated as intelligence or counter-insurgency funds, as well as
funds provided to Plaintiff by foreign countries, multinationals, public and private
financial institutions;
e. Raided Government financial and banking institutions of billions of pesos in
loans, guarantees and other types of financial accommodations to finance
dubious and/or overpriced projects of favored corporations or individuals and
misused and/or converted to their own use and benefit deposits found therein to
the financial ruin of Plaintiff and the Filipino people;
xxx xxx xxx
h. Sold, conveyed and/or transferred Government property, real and/or personal,
to corporations beneficially held and/ or controlled by them or through third
persons, under such terms and conditions grossly and manifestly
disadvantageous to the Government;
i. Engaged in other illegal and improper acts and practices designed to defraud
Plaintiff and the Filipino people, or otherwise misappropriated and converted to
their own use, benefit and enrichment the lawful patrimony and revenues of
Plaintiff and the Filipino people.
11. Among the assets acquired by Defendants in the manner above-described and discovered
by the Commission in the exercise of its official responsibilities are funds and other property
listed in Annex "A" hereof and made an integral part of this Complaint.
12. Defendants, acting singly or collectively, and/or in unlawful concert with one another, for the
purpose of preventing disclosure and avoiding discovery of their unmitigated plunder of the
National Treasury and of their other illegal acts, and employing the services of prominent
lawyers, accountants, financial experts, businessmen and other persons, deposited, kept and
invested funds, securities and other assets estimated at billions of US dollars in various banks,
financial institutions, trust or investment companies and with persons here and abroad.
V
SPECIFIC AVERMENTS
OF
DEFENDANTS' ILLEGAL ACTS
xxx xxx xxx
14. Defendants Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez and Juliette Gomez Romualdez, acting by
themselves and/or in unlawful concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R.
Marcos, and taking undue advantage of their relationship, influence and connection with the
latter Defendant spouses, engaged in devices, schemes and strategems to unjustly enrich
themselves at the expense of Plaintiff and the Filipino people, among others:
(a) obtained, with the active collaboration of Defendants Senen J. Gabaldon, Mario D.
Camacho, Mamerto Nepomuceno, Carlos J. Valdes, Delia Tantuico, Jovencio F. Cinco, Cesar
C. Zalamea and Francisco Tantuico, control of some of the biggest business enterprises in the
Philippines, such as, the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), Benguet Consolidated Mining
Corporation (BENGUET) and the Pilipinas Shell Corporation, by employing devious financial
schemes and techniques calculated to require the massive infusion and hemmorrhage of
government funds with minimum or negligible "cashout" from Defendant Benjamin Romualdez.
The following are the general features of a classic take-over bid by Defendant Benjamin
Romualdez:
xxx xxx xxx
(ii) The shares were held in the name of corporations which were organized
soldely (sic) for the purpose of holding title to them. These corporations did not
have any operating history nor any financial track record. Projected cash flow
consisted almost solely of future and contingent dividends on the shares held. In
spite of these limitations, these companies enjoyed excellent credit lines from
banks and other financial institutions, as evidenced by the millions of pesos in
loan and guarantees outstanding in their books;
(iii) The "seed money" used to wrest control came from government and
taxpayers' money in the form of millions of pesos in loans, guarantees and
standby L/C's from government financial institutions, notably the DBP and PNB,
which were in turn rediscounted with the Central Bank;
(iv) Additional funding was provided from the related interests; and
(v) This intricate (sic) skein of inter-corporate dealings was controlled and
administered by an exclusive and closely knit group of interlocking directorate
and officership
xxx xxx xxx
(g) Secured, in a veiled attempt to justify MERALCO's anomalous acquisition of the electric
cooperatives, with the active collaborations of Defendants Cesar E. A. Virata, Juanita R.
Remulla, Isidro Rodriguez, Jose C. Hernandez, Pedro Dumol, Ricardo C. Galing, Francisco C.
Gatmaitan, Mario D. Camacho and the rest of the Defendants, the approval by Defendant
Ferdinand E. Marcos and his cabinet of the so-called "Three-Year Program for the Extension of
MERALCO's Services to Areas Within The 60-kilometer Radius of Manila", which required
government capital investment amounting to millions of pesos;
xxx xxx xxx
(1) Caused the National Investment and Development Corporation (NIDC) to dispose of its
interest in the oil plants located in Tanauan, Leyte, which were owned and operated by its
subsidiary, the NIDC Oil Mills, Inc., in favor of the SOLO II, Inc., a corporation beneficially held
and controlled by Defendant Benjamin Romualdez, with the active collaboration of Defendants
Jose Sandejas, Francisco Tantuico and Dominador G. Ingco, under terms and conditions
grossly disadvantageous to NIDC, to the grave and irreparable damage of Plaintiff and the
Filipino people.
(2) Defendant Francisco Tantuico, taking undue advantage of his position as Chairman of the
Commission on Audit and with grave failure to perform his constitutional duties as such
Chairman, acting in concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos,
facilitated and made possible the withdrawals, disbursements and questionable use of
government funds as stated in the foregoing paragraphs to the grave and irreparable damage
and injury of Plaintiff and the entire Filipino people.
xxx xxx xxx
17. The following Defendants acted as dummies, nominees and/ or agents by allowing
themselves (i) to be used as instruments in accumulating ill-gotten wealth through government
concessions, orders and/or policies prejudicial to Plaintiff, or (ii) to be incorporators, directors, or
members of corporations held and/or controlled by Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R.
Marcos, Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez, and Juliette Gomez Romualdez in order conceal (sic)
and prevent recovery of assets illegally obtained: Francisco Tantuico . . .
17.a. THE NAMES OF SOME OF THE CORPORATIONS BENEFICALLY HELD AND/OR
CONTROLLED BY THE DEFENDANTS BENJAMIN (KOKOY) ROMUALDEZ, FERDINAND E.
MARCOS AND IMELDA R. MARCOS WHERE THE POSITIONS/PARTICIPATIONS AND/OR
INVOLVEMENTS OF SOME OF THE DEFENDANTS AS DUMMIES, NOMINEES AND/OR
AGENTS ARE INDICATED ARE LISTED IN ANNEX "B" HEREOF AND MADE AN INTEGRAL
PART OF THIS COMPLAINT.
xxx xxx xxx
18. The acts of Defendants, singly or collectively, and/or in unlawful concert with one another,
constitute gross abuse of official position and authority, flagrant breach of public trust and
fiduciary obligations, acquisition of unexplained wealth, brazen abuse of official position and
authority, flagrant breach of public trust and fiduciary obligations, acquisition of unexplained
wealth, brazen abuse of right and power, unjust enrichment, violation of the Constitution and
laws of the Republic of the Philippines, to the grave and irreparable damage of Plaintiff and the
Filipino people. (Emphasis supplied)
Let us now analyze and discuss the allegations of the complaint in relation to which the petitioner pleads for a
bill of particulars.
As quoted above, paragraph 9(a) of the complaint alleges that "Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos, together with
other Defendants, acting singly or collectively, and/or in unlawful concert with one another, in flagrant breach of
public trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers, with gross and scandalous abuse of right and
power and in brazen violation of the Constitution and laws of the Philippines, embarked upon a systematic plan
to accumulate ill-gotten wealth." In the light of the rules on pleading and case law cited above, the allegations
that defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos, together with the other defendants "embarked upon a systematic plan to
accumulate ill-gotten wealth" and that said defendants acted "in flagrant breach of public trust and of their
fiduciary obligations as public officers, with gross and scandalous abuse of right and in brazen violation of the
Constitution and laws of the Philippines", are conclusions of law unsupported by factual premises.
Nothing is said in the complaint about the petitioner's acts in execution of the alleged "systematic plan to
accumulate ill-gotten wealth", or which are supposed to constitute "flagrant breach of public trust", "gross and
scandalous abuse of right and power", and "violations of the Constitution and laws of the Philippines". The
complaint does not even allege what duties the petitioner failed to perform, or the particular rights he abused.
Likewise, paragraph 15 avers that "defendant Francisco Tantuico, taking undue advantage of his position as
Chairman of the Commission on Audit and with grave failure to perform his constitutional duties as such
Chairman, acting in concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos facilitated and made
possible the withdrawals, disbursements and questionable use of government funds as stated in the foregoing
paragraphs to the grave and irreparable damage and injury of Plaintiff and the entire Filipino people." In like
manner, the allegation that petitioner "took undue advantage of his position as Chairman of the Commission on
Audit," that he "failed to perform his constitutional duties as such Chairman," and acting in concert with
Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, "facilitated and made possible the withdrawals, disbursements,
and questionable use of government funds as stated in the foregoing paragraphs, to the grave and irreparable
damage and injury of plaintiff and the entire Filipino people", are mere conclusions of law. Nowhere in the
complaint is there any allegation as to how such duty came about, or what petitioner's duties were, with
respect to the alleged withdrawals and disbursements or how petitioner facilitated the alleged withdrawals,
disbursements, or conversion of public funds and properties, nor an allegation from where the withdrawals and
disbursements came from, except for a general allegation that they came from the national treasury. On top of
that, the complaint does not even contain any factual allegation which would show that whatever withdrawals,
disbursements, or conversions were made, were indeed subject to audit by the COA.
In this connection, it may well be stated that the Commission on Audit (COA) is an independent, constitutional
commission, which has no power or authority to withdraw, disburse, or use funds and property pertaining to
other government offices or agencies. This is done by the agency or office itself, the chief or head of which is
primarily and directly responsible for the funds and property pertaining to such office or agency. 32 The COA is
merely authorized to audit, examine and settle accounts of the various government offices or agencies, and
this task is performed not by the Chairman of the COA but by the COA auditors assigned to the government
office or agency subject to COA audit.
Thus, in each agency of the government, there is an auditing unit headed by an auditor, whose duty is to audit
and settle the accounts, funds, financial transactions, and resources of the agency under his audit jurisdiction.
33 The decision of the auditor is appealable to the Regional Director, 34 whose decision, is in turn, appealable
to the COA Manager. 35 Any party dissatisfied with the decision of the COA Manager may bring the matter on
appeal to the Commission proper, a collegiate body exercising quasi-judicial functions, composed of three (3)
COA Commissioners, with the COA Chairman as presiding officer. 36 It is only at this stage that the COA
Chairman would come to know of the matter and be called upon to act on the same, and only if an aggrieved
party brings the matter on appeal.
In other words, the Chairman of the COA does not participate or personally audit all disbursements and
withdrawals of government funds, as well as transactions involving government property. The averments in the
particular paragraph of the complaint merely assume that petitioner participated in or personally audited all
disbursements and withdrawals of government funds, and all transactions involving government property.
Hence, the alleged withdrawals, disbursements and questionable use of government funds could not have
been, as held by respondent Sandiganbayan, "within the peculiar and intimate knowledge of petitioner as
Chairman of the COA."
The complaint further avers in paragraph 17 that "(t)he following Defendants acted as dummies, nominees
and/or agents by allowing themselves (i) to be instruments in accumulating ill-gotten wealth through
government concessions, order and/or policies prejudicial to Plaintiff, or (ii) to be incorporators, directors, or
members of corporations beneficially held and/or controlled by Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R.
Marcos, Benjamin (Kokoy) T. Romualdez and Juliette Gomez Romualdez in order to conceal and prevent
recovery of assets illegally obtained: Francisco Tantuico . . ." 37 Again, the allegation that petitioner acted as
dummy, nominee, or agent by allowing himself "to be used as instrument in accumulating ill-gotten wealth
through government concessions, orders and/or policies prejudicial to Plaintiff" or "to be (an) incorporator,
director, or member of corporations beneficially held and/or controlled" by the Marcoses and Romualdezes, is
a conclusion of law without factual basis.
The complaint does not contain any allegation as to how petitioner became, or why he is perceived to be, a
dummy, nominee or agent. Besides, there is no averment in the complaint how petitioner allowed himself to be
used as instrument in the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth, what the concessions, orders and/or policies
prejudicial to plaintiff are, why they are prejudicial, and what petitioner had to do with the granting, issuance,
and or formulation of such concessions, orders, and/or policies. Moreover, Annex "A" of the complaint lists
down sixty-one (61) corporations which are supposed to be beneficially owned or controlled by the Marcoses
and Romualdezes. However, the complaint does not state which corporations petitioner is supposed to be a
stockholder, director, member, dummy, nominee and/or agent. More significantly, the petitioner's name does
not even appear in Annex "B" of the complaint, which is a listing of the alleged "Positions and Participations of
Some Defendants".
The allegations in the complaint, above-referred to, pertaining to petitioner are, therefore, deficient in that they
merely articulate conclusions of law and presumptions unsupported by factual premises. Hence, without the
particulars prayed for in petitioner's motion for a bill of particulars, it can be said the petitioner can not
intelligently prepare his responsive pleading and for trial.
Furthermore, the particulars prayed for, such as, names of persons, names of corporations, dates, amounts
involved, specification of property for identification purposes, the particular transactions involving withdrawals
and disbursements, and a statement of other material facts as would support the conclusions and inferences in
the complaint, are not evidentiary in nature. On the contrary, those particulars are material facts that should be
clearly and definitely averred in the complaint in order that the defendant may, in fairness, be informed of the
claims made against him to the end that he may be prepared to meet the issues at the trial.
Thus, it has been held that the purpose or object of a bill of particulars is
. . . to amplify or limit a pleading, specify more minutely and particularly a claim or defense set
up and pleaded in general terms, give information, not contained in the pleading, to the opposite
party and the court as to the precise nature, character, scope, and extent of the cause of action
or defense relied on by the pleader, and apprise the opposite party of the case which he has to
meet, to the end that the proof at the trial may be limited to the matters specified, and in order
that surprise at, and needless preparation for, the trial may be avoided, and that the opposite
party may be aided in framing his answering pleading and preparing for trial. It has also been
stated that it is the function or purpose of a bill of particulars to define, clarify, particularize, and
limit or circumscribe the issues in the case, to expedite the trial, and assist the court. A general
function or purpose of a bill of particulars is to prevent injustice or do justice in the case when
that cannot be accomplished without the aid of such a bill. 38
Anent the contention of the Solicitor General that the petitioner is not entitled to a bill of particulars because the
ultimate facts constituting the three (3) essential elements of a cause of action for recovery of ill-gotten wealth
have been sufficiently alleged in the complaint, it would suffice to state that in a motion for a bill of particulars,
the only question to be resolved is whether or not the allegations of the complaint are averred with sufficient
definiteness or particularity to enable the movant properly to prepare his responsive pleading and to prepare
for trial. As already discussed, the allegations of the complaint pertaining to the herein petitioner are deficient
because the averments therein are mere conclusions of law or presumptions, unsupported by factual
premises.
In the light of the foregoing, the respondent Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in promulgating the questioned resolutions.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the resolutions dated 21 April 1989 and 29 May 1989 are hereby
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The respondents are hereby ordered to PREPARE and FILE a Bill of Particulars
containing the facts prayed for by petitioner within TWENTY (20) DAYS from notice, and should they fail to
submit the said Bill of Particulars, respondent Sandiganbayan is ordered TO EXCLUDE the herein petitioner as
defendant in Civil Case No. 0035.
SO ORDERED
[G.R. No. 116588. January 24, 1996]
PRIMO T. TANALA, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, DIANA S. OCHOA and/or
VIA MARE CATERING SERVICES, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
REGALADO, J.:
The extraordinary writ of certiorari is invoked in this petition to nullify the decision of public respondent National
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), dated May 23, 1994, which reversed the decision of the labor arbiter, as
well as said respondents order of July 28, 1994 which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration of its
decision.i[1]
Petitioner was employed as a service driver of respondent company. On November 9, 1992, after his tour of
duty, petitioner and some of his co-employees went to a restaurant located near the companys premises at
Bagtikan, San Antonio Village, Makati. At about 7:30 P.M., while they were drinking beer, petitioner had an
altercation with his co-employee, Rodolfo Laurente, which could have resulted into a fight were it not for the
timely intervention of some bystanders.
The security guard on duty reported the incident to respondent company. Based on said report, private
respondent placed both petitioner and Rodolfo Laurente under preventive suspension for thirty days effective
December 4, 1992.
By reason of his suspension, petitioner filed a complaint on December 28, 1992 with the labor arbiter for illegal
suspension, non-payment of allowances, separation pay and retirement benefits.
After the lapse of the period of preventive suspension, petitioner was not readmitted to work, hence on
February 26, 1993, petitioner filed an amended consolidated complaint for illegal dismissal. Petitioner alleged
that his 30-day suspension and subsequent dismissal were illegal, the same having been the offshoot of a
shouting match he had with a co-employee in a place outside of respondents premises and long after they had
been on off-duty status.ii[2]
In its answer, respondent company averred that the suspension of both protagonists was imposed as a
precautionary measure to avoid a more serious incident; that the occurrence of the fight outside of
respondents premises and while the employees were off duty were immaterial inasmuch as petitioner
allegedly took a knife from his bag inside the garage of the company, which was a violation of house rules; and
further, that petitioner deserved the penalty of dismissal for his illegal possession of a deadly weapon.iii[3]
On September 13, 1993, a decision was rendered by the labor arbiter finding the dismissal illegal and ordering
petitioners reinstatement with payment of back wages, but disallowing his other monetary claims.iv[4]
On appeal, respondent NLRC reversed the decision of the labor arbiter and dismissed the complaint for lack of
merit.v[5] A motion for reconsideration of the said decision was also denied by the NLRC in its order dated July
28,1994.vi[6]
Petitioner has come to us contending that public respondent acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount
to excess or lack of jurisdiction and without regard to the facts on record, the law, as well as established
jurisprudence, when:
a) it said that the two affidavits upon which the labor arbiter based his findings of fact that petitioner did not
carry a knife were obviously surreptitiously inserted into the records;
b) public respondent said that, in any case, the affidavits which purport to show that the affiants, one of whom
was Rodolfo Laurente, petitioners opponent, did not notice petitioner carrying the knife, pales in comparison to
the straightforward and detailed report of the guard who witnessed petitioner bring out a knife from his bag
inside respondents garage; and
c) due process was not observed when petitioner was dismissed from employment.vii[7]
The factual findings of administrative bodies are, as a rule, binding on this Court, but this is true only when they
do not come under the established exceptions. One of these is where the findings of the labor arbiter and the
NLRC are contrary to each other.viii[8] In the instant case, the findings of the NLRC and the labor arbiter are
inconsistent, hence there is a necessity to review the records to determine which of them should be preferred
as more conformable to the evidentiary facts.
A review of the decision rendered by the NLRC discloses that in upholding the legality of the dismissal of
herein petitioner, the commission relied on the fact that on the day of the incident herein petitioner took a knife
from his bag inside the garage of respondent company in violation of its Company House Rules and
Regulations. We are inclined to agree with the said finding of the NLRC which was based on the report made
by the security guard on duty who has not been shown to be harboring any ill feeling against petitioner.ix[9]
On the other hand, the two affidavits executed by Rodolfo Laurente and Deomedes Roca,x[10] which served
as the basis for the findings of the labor arbiter that petitioner did not carry a knife, are not sufficient to refute
the written report of the security guard. In their said affidavits, affiants merely attested to the fact that they did
not notice petitioner carrying any knife or deadly weapon, whereas in the written report of the security guard it
was specifically affirmed in a detailed and straightforward manner that petitioner brought out a knife from his
bag inside the companys garage. Testimony is positive when the witness affirms that a fact did or did not
occur, and negative when he says that he did not see or know of the factual occurrence. Positive testimony is
entitled to greater weight.xi[11]
An employee may be validly dismissed for violation of a reasonable company rule or regulation adopted for the
conduct of the companys business.xii[12] It is recognized principle that company policies and regulations are,
unless shown to be grossly oppressive or contrary to law, generally valid and binding on the parties and must
be complied with until finally revised or amended, unilaterally or preferably through negotiation, by competent
authority.xiii[13]
However, considering the other attendant circumstances, viz.; the incident occurred outside company premises
after office hours, and this is the first infraction committed by petitioner after working with the company for
almost fifteen years without any previous derogatory record, the ends of social and compassionate justice
would be served if petitioner be given some equitable relief in the form of separation pay.
In the case of Soco vs. Mercantile Corporation of Davao, et al.,xiv[14] cited in Cruz vs. Medina, et al.,xv[15] we
ruled that where an employee who had been dismissed for violation of company rules had been employed for
eighteen years, he may be afforded some equitable relief in consideration of the past services rendered by him
by granting him separation pay equivalent to one months salary for every year of his service to the company.
With respect to the issue of whether petitioner was denied due process in the administrative procedure entailed
in his dismissal, we agree with the labor arbiter that petitioner was indeed denied procedural due process
therein. His dismissal was not preceded by any notice of the charges against him and a hearing thereon. The
twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute the essential elements of due process in cases of dismissal
of employees.xvi[16] The purpose of the first requirement is obviously to enable the employee to defend
himself against the charge preferred against him by presenting and substantiating his version of the
facts.xvii[17]
Contrary to the findings of the NLRC, the notice of preventive suspension cannot be considered as an
adequate notice, Even the fact that petitioner submitted a written explanation after the receipt of the order of
suspension is not the ample opportunity to be heard contemplated by law. Ample opportunity to be heard is
especially accorded to the employee sought to be dismissed after he is informed of the charges in order to give
him an opportunity to refute such accusations levelled against him.xviii[18]
Furthermore, this Court has repeatedly held that to meet the requirements of due process, the law requires that
an employer must furnish the worker sought to be dismissed with two written notices before termination of
employment can be legally effected, that is, (1) a notice which apprises the employee of the particular acts or
omissions for which his dismissal is sought; and (2) the subsequent notice, after due hearing, which informs
the employee of the employers decision to dismiss him.xix[19]
In the instant case, petitioner was not furnished either a written charge or a notice of dismissal. Petitioner was
never informed of why after his suspension of thirty days, he was no longer allowed to work. Quite clearly,
therefore, respondent company violated petitioners right to procedural due process before the termination of
his employment. Ergo, he must be given indemnity in the amount of P1,000.00.xx[20]
WHEREFORE, the judgment of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is hereby AFFIRMED with
the MODIFICATION that petitioner is adjudged entitled to and should be paid separation pay equivalent to one
month of his latest and highest salary for every year of service, and that respondent company shall further pay
petitioner the amount of P1,000.00 as indemnity for its disregard of procedural due process.
SO ORDERED
G.R. No. L-30420 September 22, 1971
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
JAIME RAMOS Y DELUSONG alias "BOYING ALIMANGO" alias "BOY" alias "BOYING" alias
"ALIMANGO", defendant-appellant.
M. Isidro for defendant-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

REYES, J.B.L., J .:
Appeal from a decision of the Circuit Criminal Court of Manila in its criminal case No. CCC-VI-41, finding the
defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder. The dispositive portion of the decision
follows:
WHEREFORE, accused is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the
crime of murder qualified by treachery, and there being no modifying circumstance to consider,
sentences him to reclusion perpetua, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Rogelio Dumasig
the sum of P12,000.00 for the death of the latter, P300.00 actual damages representing the
funeral expenses and P5,000.00 by way of moral damages, and to pay the costs.
The information which charges Jaime Ramos y Delusong, alias "Boying Alimango" alias "Boy" alias"Boying"
alias "Alimango" of the crime of murder, recites:
That on or about the 15th day of June, 1968, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
with evident premeditation and treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal violence upon one Rogelio Dumasig by then
and there stabbing the latter with a sharp pointed instrument on the abdomen, inflicting upon
him a mortal wound which was the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.
The prosecution, presented Bibiana Baclit, 68 years old, as lone witness to the stabbing incident. She testified
that she was looking for the victim, Rogelio Dumasig (nicknamed Elio) at about 9 in the evening of 15 June
1968 to talk to him about the delivery of stones to her. She found him in a restaurant near the corner of Campa
and Moriones streets, Tondo, and called for him. While they were talking in front of the restaurant, one
"Boying", whom the witness pointed to in court as the accused, approached from behind Elio and immediately
stabbed the latter when he reached Elio's front with what looked like a kitchen knife. There were several
persons during the stabbing, one of whom was Lydia Brinzon.
The victim was taken to Mary Johnston Hospital by a neighbor, Milagros Rios. He was later transferred to Jose
Reyes Memorial Hospital where he was operated on immediately after arrival. The victim, however expired the
following day, 16 June 1968 at 9 in the morning.
1
The Postmortem Certificate of Death signed by Camilo B.
Casaclang, medical examiner of the Manila Police Department (MPD for short) who performed the autopsy,
shows that the victim died of "profuse exanguinating (sic) hemorrhage shock due to a stab wound located in
the anterior abdominal wall just above the umbilicus directed from front to back, slightly upwards laterally to the
right; pierced through and through the right liver lobe, including the gall bladder (fatal)."
2
The wound's point of
entry is 4 centimeters by 2 centimeters and has a depth of 14 centimeters.
3
The victim was identified by his
sister, Flora Dumasig, before he was autopsied by Dr. Casaclang.
Patrolman Mariano Custodia of the MPD who was assigned to investigate the case was presented to identify
the reports submitted by him relative to the investigation
thereof,
4
including that of Cpl. B. de Leos of precinct 3 who originally handled the case.
5

The victim's sister, Flora Dumasig, was likewise presented mainly to prove that the deceased was in the
business of delivering stones during his lifetime; that he was, earning P8.00 or P9.00 daily; and that she spent
more than P300.00 for his interment.
The defense, on the other hand, claims that the accused was not at the scene of the crime but was making
aquaria at Ramos Pet Shop, Cartimar Market, Pasay City, from 8 a.m. to 12 midnight on 15 June 1968. The
accused himself disclaimed knowledge of the stabbing incident, stating that he knew of the same only when he
was arrested on 10 or 11 August 1968. Dario Imutan was presented to corroborate him, but the court a quo
dispensed with his testimony as being merely corroborative.
The defense also presented Lydia Brinzon, who was earlier identified by prosecution witness Bibiana Baclit as
one of those present at the scene of the stabbing. She denied having seen Bibiana Baclit at the said place.
She said that she was at the corner of Campa and Moriones streets at 9 in the evening of 15 June 1968
because she was waiting for her nephew. She was standing there when she saw the victim come out of the
Seorita Ice Cream Parlor eating ice cream. They talked and then Rogelio Dumasig proceeded home. She did
not go with him.
About eleven (11) meters from where she was standing, she saw the victim and a man grab each other. This
man was about 15 meters away, walking on Campa street when she first noticed him.
After the men grabbed each other, a young girl who was near them shouted, "Ay, sinaksak ang mama!" (Ay,
the man was stabbed!) The assailant then pulled out the weapon and walked past her towards the traffic island
of Moriones street and the grandstand (glorieta), while Rogelio Dumasig put his hand in his stomach and ran.
Witness further stated that she saw a shiny, bladed weapon when the assailant passed by. The man tucked
this at his waistline upon reaching the island. She had a good look at his face and she could recognize him if
she saw him again. The assailant was not in the courtroom and he was not the accused, Jaime Ramos.
Aside from the young girl who shouted, there were Mike Lopez, Cesar Romero and an unidentified man at the
scene of the stabbing, none of whom were presented to testify. Witness Brinzon admitted that she is a friend of
the accused, although they are not related. Mike Lopez' testimony was dispensed with by the court a quo when
it was manifested that he would corroborate Lydia Brinzon.
There was no dispute as regards the death of Rogelio Dumasig as a result of the stabbing. The sole issue,
therefore, was who stabbed him.
The court a quo was of the firm belief that the accused was the one who stabbed Rogelio Dumasig suddenly
and without any warning. It found prosecution witness Bibiana's testimony as "natural, logical, straightforward
and probable."
6
It was on the basis of her testimony that the court convicted the accused. The court a quo, on
the other hand, was unimpressed by defense witness Lydia Brinzon's testimony which it desribed as lacking in
that "naturalness and spontaneity which inspires belief".
7
Our own review of the evidence, however, is
convincing that the state failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The lone witness
for the prosecution, Bibiana Baclit, is not only contradicted by defense witness Lydia Brinzon, but the former's
testimony in court as to the manner in which the murder was committed is seriously informed by the varying
descriptions given by her at the fiscal's investigation. According to the transcripts, Baclit gave no less than
three versions of how Dumasig was killed. Early in the investigation she asserted that the deceased was
stabbed twice in opposite directions (Exhibit "Ia", C.F.I. Record, page 67) from right to left and vice versa. Later
this witness claimed before the investigator that the accused first took hold of his victim with the left hand and
stabbed him with a knife held in his right hand (Exhibit "H", C.F.I., Record, page 89). Finally in court she
declared that the appellant stabbed Dumasig once, after coming from behind thevictim, but made no mention
of holding the latter at all.
8
These variations can not but adversely affect Baclit's credibility.
The trial court rejected the testimony of defense witness Brinzon, on the ground that it lacked naturalness and
spontaneity and was negative in character. We fail to discern any unnatural features in Brinzon's version that
after witnessing the stabbing of Dumasig the killer passed her by and she had a good look at his face, and he
was not the accused. Contrary to the trial court's view, We hold that Brinzon's testimony was positive and not
negative in character. As pointed out by Francisco (Comment on Rule 133, page 1125), quoting 32 C.J.S.,
1079-1081:
A distinction must be made between testimony which is negative in form and that which is
negative in character; so testimony may be positive in character even though it amounts to a
negative statement or tends to show a negative situation, and if a witness who was in a position
to observe testifies not merely that he did not see or hear, but that the event did not occur, this
is clearly positive testimony.
Considering that Brinzon's presence at the locus criminis was admitted by prosecution's sole witness Baclit;
that the latter is without corroborative support and that there is nothing to contradict appellant's own sworn
assertion that he was at Cartimar Market in Pasay City, from morning to midnight on 15 June 1968, while
Dumasig was killed in Tondo early in that evening, We are of the opinion that on the meager evidence on
record herein accused-appellant is entitled to acquittal.
WHEREFORE, the guilt of the appellant Jaime Ramos y Delusong not having been proved beyond reasonable
doubt, he is acquitted and ordered discharged from custody, and his bond cancelled. Costs de oficio.
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor, JJ.,
concur.
Makasiar, J., took no part.

[G.R. No. 130784. October 13, 1999]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RODRIGO LOTEYRO AGUINALDO, accused-
appellant.
D E C I S I O N
PUNO, J.:
This is an automatic review of the Decision imposing the death penalty on Rodrigo Loteyro Aguinaldo for
committing the crime of rape.xxi[1]
The Information against appellant Aguinaldo reads:
"That on or about the 24th day of June, 1995, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with the use of force, violence and intimidation, to wit: by then and
there pointing a pointed object at the side of one Jeannette Aguinaldo y Yap and threatening to kill her, have
carnal knowledge of said Jeannette Aguinaldo y Yap, a minor, 17 years of age, without her consent and
against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW."
Appellant, who is complainant's father, waived his right to a pre-trial and pleaded not guilty to the crime
charged.xxii[2] The trial court initially subpoenaed the complainant Jeannettexxiii[3] on October 8, 1996 as the
prosecution's first witness.xxiv[4] She failed to appear and the case was reset to November 20, 1996.xxv[5]
On November 20, 1996, Jeannette appeared and answered questions relating to her personal circumstances,
i.e., she is a 17-year-old resident of 2541 Sulu St., Blumentritt, Sta. Cruz, Manila; she is called Net; she
graduated from high school and appellant is her father. She claimed that at 10:00 p.m. of June 24, 1995,
something happened while she was sleeping at home. Asked what happened, Jeannette hedged. The trial
judge encouraged her to answer but she kept silent. She was on the verge of tears. The trial judge inquired if
she wanted the appellant to leave the courtroom. She agreed.
After the appellant left the courtroom, Jeannette was again queried why she woke from her sleep that night.
Still, Jeannette stayed as silent as a sphinx. This prompted the defense counsel de oficioxxvi[6] to move for
the dismissal of the case. The trial judge asked Jeannette if she wanted the case dismissed and if she would
like to pardon the appellant. Failing to elicit a response from her, the trial judge ordered the prosecutor to talk
to Jeannette. The prosecutor then asked Jeannette if she executed a statement to the policexxvii[7]and
Jeannette responded positively. She acknowledged her signature on the statement and affirmed its
truthfulness. The prosecution then adapted her sworn statement as her direct testimony. Her sworn statement
narrated how she was forced to have sexual intercourse with the appellant.
On cross-examination, Jeannette claimed that her parents had long been separated. She, her elder brother
and younger sister stayed with their father. On the night she was allegedly raped, she slept with her father in a
room upstairs while her brother slept downstairs. Her sister was not around at that time. She confided to Tita
Nelia, a family friend, that her father raped her. However, she could not tell when she revealed the incident to
Tita Nelia. She admitted that she did not immediately undergo any physical examination after the
incident.xxviii[8]
On redirect examination on November 27, 1996, the prosecutor asked Jeannette what woke her up on the
night she was allegedly raped. She did not answer but merely muttered, "I'm afraid. . ." She alleged it was
only on February 24, 1996 that she divulged the incident to her tatay-tatayan, a neighbor, because appellant
again mauled her. She stated that she understood the term "ginahasa" in her sworn statement to be the
Tagalog word for "rape." When asked what appellant did that prompted her to execute a sworn statement
using the term "ginahasa," she did not again respond.
On recross-examination, Jeannette admitted that she was mad at her father for mauling her. However, she
denied she filed the rape charge because of her maltreatment.xxix[9]
The prosecution was obviously disappointed with the timid testimony of Jeannette. At the trial on December 3,
1996, it manifested that Jeannette was willing to narrate the details on how she was raped. In the interest of
justice, the trial court allowed the prosecution to recall Jeannette as a witness. She declared that she woke up
when she felt appellant lying down beside her. He placed a blanket over her but in the process, held her
breast and touched her private part. She asked him why he did that and he explained that he was just "putting
blanket" over her. He then turned off the light and they continued to sleep. She woke up for the second time
when she felt someone was licking her face. She thought it was her dog but found out that it was appellant
doing it. She asked, "Bakit po, Pa?" Appellant told her to keep quiet, mounted her and held her shoulder as
she pushed him away. He mashed her breast and threatened to kill her. Then he "penetrated" her with his
organ. She was wearing a T-shirt and shorts when she slept but when he started raping her, she found that
appellant had removed her shorts. She said she felt pain as appellant raped her. Her efforts to resist proved
futile. His lust sated, appellant slept while she cried until the morning. Appellant was drunk that night.xxx[10]
On February 25, 1996, Senior Inspector Eliseo I. Canares, Jr. of the Western Police District Command
requested the NBI Medico-Legal Officer to conduct a physical examination on Jeannette.xxxi[11] In his report
for Living Case No. MG-96-308,xxxii[12] NBI Medico-Legal Officer Valentin T. Bernales made the following
findings:
"EXTRAGENITAL PHYSICAL INJURIES:
Contusions, light blue: nipple, right, upper-outer quadrant, 3.0 x 2.5 cm.; leg, right, upper third, anterior aspect,
4.0 x 4.0 cm.
Abrasions, healing, with black scab formation; linear; back, scapular and supra-scapular areas, both sides,
multiple, sizes ranging from 2.0 cm. to 4.0 cm; arm, left, middle third, postero-lateral aspect, multiple, whitish,
sizes ranging from 4.0 cm to 7.0 cm; with tenderness' thigh, right, middle third, anterior aspect, linear, 3.0 cm.
GENITAL EXAMINATION:
Pubic hair, short, fine and scanty. Labia majora, gaping and minora, coaptated. Fourchette, tense. Vestibule,
pinkish. Hymen, short, thick and intact. Hymenal orifice, admits a tube of 1.0 cm. in diameter with marked
resistance. Vagina walls, and rugosities cannot be reached by an examining finger.
CONCLUSIONS:
1. The above described physical injuries were noted on the body of the subject at the time of examination.
2. Hymen, intact."
Dr. Bernales opined that there was no penetration of the complainant's hymen as it was intact and that
complainant was physically a virgin. He explained that the complainant's hymen could not admit a tube
with 1.0 cm. diameter, which implied that the opening was "too small for a complete previous penetration."
With respect to the extragenital physical injuries sustained by the complainant, Dr. Bernales declared that
these could have been produced by direct contact of the skin with a hard object. The injuries could also be
produced by a rough surface and these would have been inflicted "a week or two before" the examination
on February 25, 1996.xxxiii[13]
The defense interposed denial. Appellant, a commercial artist and barangay official in-charge of twenty five
(25) tanods, branded as a lie his daughter's accusation. He admitted he was in their house at 10:00 p.m. of
June 24, 1995. He said if he had no drinking session, he would sleep before 9:00 p.m., wake up at 12:00
midnight to check on the attendance and the equipment of the barangay tanods on duty and would be back
home before sunrise. He denied he was drunk that fateful night because he did not have money except for the
"allowance for the house."
On cross-examination, appellant stated that he lived in his house with his three children. His house had two
stories with two bedrooms upstairs. As he was renting out one of the rooms, he and his son slept downstairs
while his daughters slept in the vacant room. In the evening of June 24, 1995, his son slept on the sofa while
he slept on the floor downstairs. He admitted beating up Jeannette because of "her attitude" of going out in the
morning and coming home only at night. She would also go out at night without any permission but their
neighbors would always tell on her.
On redirect examination, appellant charged that Jeannette had a "split personality" - one time she would be
sweet to him and her siblings and then, for no reason at all, she would be mad at all of them. He claimed that
he could not understand her although he knew that she was intelligent (matalino siyang masyado). Jeannette
stopped schooling in 1995 because she spent her enrollment money.
Appellant's eldest child, Boy (Roy) Aguinaldo testified in his favor. He stated he slept between 11:00 and
12:00 midnight on June 24, 1995 at the ground floor of their house with his father and a friend. According to
him, his sister Jeannette "is a very good person but once in a while she is irritable" (may sumpong). He opined
that she could file an unfounded rape case against their father because his sister is a "100% liar."xxxiv[14]
On August 7, 1997, the trial courtxxxv[15] rendered a 3-page Decision finding appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentencing him to death. Holding that a broken hymen is not an
essential element in rape, it concluded that the complainant's testimony was "strong enough to overcome the
presumption of innocence of the accused and establish his guilt." It held further that it was "unthinkable and
unnatural" for the complainant to "invent" a story and charge her own father with rape. The trial court
convicted appellant of the crime under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act
No. 7659, which imposes the death penalty on an accused who is the parent of a complainant below eighteen
years of age. It disposed of Criminal Case No. 96-147936 as follows:
"WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape under Article
335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Section 11 of R. A. No. 7659, and he is sentenced to suffer the
severe penalty of death by lethal injection and the accessory penalties provided by law and to pay the costs.
On the civil liability of the accused, he is further sentenced to pay the complainant moral, nominal and
exemplary damages in respective sums of P50,000.00, P100,000.00 and P30,000.00.
SO ORDERED."
Before this Court, appellant contends:
"I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT BASED ON THE
UNCORROBORATED, DOUBTFUL, UNRELIABLE AND CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS OF THE
PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE
TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE RENDERED BY DR. VALENTIN BERNALES, NBI MEDICO-LEGAL
OFFICER, FAVORABLE TO THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT."
To start with, the trial court wrongly imposed on appellant the death penalty considering the nature of the crime
charged in the information. The information charged the appellant with the crime of simple rape. It did not
qualify that appellant is the father of the complainant or that complainant is the daughter of appellant.
This qualification is very material in determining the nature of the crime for which the accused should be held
liable and the corresponding penalty under the law. Thus, in People v. Ilao,xxxvi[16] a rape case where the
relationship between the minor complainant and the accused was not alleged in the information, this Court
ruled:
"Adopting our pronouncements in People v. Ramos, we perforce have to rule that appellant can only be
convicted of simple statutory rape and cannot be held liable for qualified rape for want of the allegation of
relationship in the present information. Even if relationship was duly proved during the trial, still such proof
cannot be considered to convict appellant of qualified rape and to consequently impose on him the death
penalty since he would thereby be denied his constitutional and statutory right to be informed of the nature and
the cause of accusation against him.
To emphasize such substantial and procedural irregularity in simple terms of dialectics, to charge appellant
with rape in one of its simple forms and then try and convict him of rape in one of its qualified forms would be a
prosecution which leads to a trial and conviction without a valid accusation.
We repeat, therefore, that the attendant circumstances introduced by Republic Act No. 7659 must be
specifically pleaded in an information for rape in order that the same may correctly qualify the crime and to
justify the penalty prescribed by the law. If it is the prosecution's goal to have appellant adjudged guilty of
raping his minor daughter, such conviction is not possible under the wordings of the information herein. With
the failure of the information to state the qualifying circumstance of relationship between appellant and
Jonalyn, the death penalty cannot be imposed upon appellant, just as in People v. Ramos."
For this reason alone, the trial court should not have imposed the death penalty on the appellant. But this is
not all the error of the trial court. In reviewing rape cases, this Court has always been guided by three
principles: First, the prosecution has to show the guilt of the accused by proof beyond reasonable doubt or
that degree of proof that, to an unprejudiced mind, produces conviction. Second, unless there are special
reasons, the findings of trial courts, especially regarding the credibility of witnesses, are entitled to great
respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. Third, the disposition of rape cases are governed by the following
guidelines: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the
person accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only
two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution,
and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot draw strength from the
weakness of the evidence of the defense.xxxvii[17]
Prescinding from these principles, we acquit the appellant. As correctly pointed out by appellant's counsel, the
complainant's conduct on the witness stand did not evince truthfulness.xxxviii[18] Instead of being
straightforward, she hesitated, and even refused, not only once but twice, to give testimony on the alleged
rape. The records show that she failed to appear in court the first time the case was set for hearing. On the
re-scheduled hearing where she was presented as the first witness, she balked, flatly refused to answer the
questions propounded by the prosecutor as well as the questions of the trial court on the alleged sexual
assault by the appellant. This led the trial court to strongly admonish and mildly berate her for her
uncharacteristic silence on a critical point in the prosecution's case. Instead of dismissing the case as
suggested by the defense, the trial court encouraged further the prosecution and hence, complainant was
made to affirm her sworn statement that served as her direct testimony. At the next date for redirect
examination, complainant once again refused to answer the prosecutor's questions notwithstanding the trial
court's effort encouraging her to talk. It was only on December 3, 1996 that complainant broke her silence on
the witness stand. This hesitance of the complainant to testify on the very meat of her case against appellant
certainly evokes disbelief in her sworn statement. More so because her testimony is a mere parroting of her
sworn statement.
The Solicitor General justifies complainant's hedging as natural for a "naive barrio lass" who is "incapable of
hatching such a devious scheme" against her own father.xxxix[19] The records show, however, that
complainant is a city-bred teenage girl who grew up in the Sta. Cruz district in the heart of Manila, the country's
capital where, as in any other city, both progress and decadence exist. She is a high school graduate and
already seventeen (17) years of age at the time the alleged crime was committed. That she was less than lily
white in virtues was testified to by her brother who charged her as a "100% liar." Such negative testimony from
a brother who is naturally expected to throw his support to his own sister but did not, says much about her
character and raises serious doubts as to the truthfulness of her testimony.
Moreover, evidence of her wayward ways demonstrated by complainant's leaving home without her father's
permission, nocturnal escapades and joyrides with jeepney drivers that elicited harsh disciplinary action from
appellant has remained unrebutted. Hence, the Solicitor General's conclusion that "the moral ascendancy of
appellant as a father of private complainant while on the witness stand all the more instilled fear in the latter" is
not appropriate in this case.xl[20] Appellant's moral ascendancy or influence as a father is negated by proof of
complainant's notoriously defiant and recalcitrant behavior towards him.
It is true that in rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness
provided such testimony is credible, convincing and consistent with human nature and the course of
things.xli[21] In the case at bar, however, the complainant lacked candor and spontaneity as a witness. Her
demeanor, composure and manner of testifying revealed heavy traces of insincerity and falsehood even to one
who is simply reading the transcripts of her testimony. Thus, complainant alleged in her sworn statement
that she bled after her private part was fully penetrated during the sexual assault, viz:
"x x x. Hinawakan niya ako sa balikat at pinapatungan, pero itinutulak ko siyang palayo sa akin, hanggang sa
manghina ako at natatakot sa sinasabi niyang papatayin ako. Hanggang sa naipasok na niya ang titi niya sa
puki ko. Nasaktan po ako. Gumalaw-galaw siya at nilalamas niya ang suso ko. Tapos, tumigil siya at inalis
niya ang titi niya at nahiga na siya uli at natulog. Ako naman ay umiyak hanggang umaga. Noong bigla akong
tumayo, may biglang may tumulo pero hindi ko na tiningnan, pero ang alam ko dugo dahil hanggang
kinabukasan ay may dugo ako. x x x."xlii[22] (Underscoring supplied.)
Complainant affirmed her sworn statement during direct examination as follows:
"PROSECUTOR EDAD TO WITNESS:
x x x
Q: What else did he do aside from mashing your breasts?
A: He penetrated me with his penis.
x x x
Q: What are you doing at the time or how did you feel at the time that you father inserted his organ on (sic)
you?
A: It was painful.
x x x
Q: How did you know that it was his penis that was inserted to your vagina?
A: I felt it."xliii[23] (Underscoring supplied.)
On the witness stand, complainant never testified as to her having bled after that sexual intercourse. More
importantly, her claim in her sworn statement that she bled because of full penetration of her sex organ
is belied by the medical record which revealed that her hymen was "short, thick and intact," that the hymenal
orifice could admit a tube with 1.0 cm. in diameter only with "marked resistance" and that the vaginal walls and
rugosities "cannot be reached by an examining finger."xliv[24] Fortifying his report, Dr. Valentin T. Bernales,
NBI medico-legal officer, testified as follows:
"Q: Doctor, is it possible that the hymen remain intact despite (stop) is it possible that the hymen shall
remain intact despite the penetration of an object on (sic) the vagina?
x x x
A: It is possible that the hymen is still intact but there would be difference upon examination that it could
be shown or be noted that the hymen could not admit a tube of 1.0 cm. in diameter that this opening is too
small for a complete previous penetration (sic).
Q: So there was no complete penetration that could not have happen base on your (sic) (interrupted)
A: Examination.
x x x
Q: There could have not been a complete penetration?
A: Yes.
x x x
Q: If there is a penetration only of a portion of the head of the penis that would not have cause(d) the
break up of the hymen of the victim?
A: That is possible, Your Honor.xlv[25]
x x x
Q: So in this particular case it was possible for the victim to have a sexual intercourse even her hymen is
intact? (sic)
A: No, Your Honor. In this particular case, it admit (stop) the hymen, the opening of the hymen only admits
a 1.0 cm. tube.
THE COURT:
Yes.
A: That is a very small compared to 2.5 average size penis (sic). So it only shows that there is no previous
contact or no previous sexual intercourse because the orifice or the opening remain to 1 cm. (sic)"
Needless to state, complainant's claim that she bled implies that there must have been laceration of her sex
organ. Unless there is evidence that she underwent "cosmetic" surgery to restore the hymen's virginal
statexlvi[26] before the NBI medico-legal officer examined her, complainant's claim of bleeding is a
manifest falsehood. When physical evidence runs counter to testimonial evidence, conclusions as to
physical evidence must prevail. Physical evidence is that mute but eloquent manifestation of truth which rate
high in our hierarchy of trustworthy evidence.xlvii[27] The inevitable conclusion therefore is that
complainant was lying through her teeth when she swore that appellant's organ penetrated hers and
that she felt pain and was bleeding even until the morning. That material lapse in her testimony
destroys her credibility.
The other bruises and contusions her body sustained could have been the result of maltreatment by her
father. However, that matter is completely divorced from her allegation of rape. The medico-legal officer
affirmed that complainant's injuries were new and could not have been sustained simultaneously with
the alleged rape that was committed eight (8) months before she was physically examined.
As a rule, delay in the reporting of a rape incident is treated leniently by the courts in view of the ill effects that
forcible defloration usually brings upon both the accused and the accuser. Such delay may become even
longer when the rape committed is incestuous for the reason that our culture shields from the public
embarrassing intrafamilial sexual incidents. Thus, the court shall not discredit the victim as a witness simply
because it took her months to report her having been the victim of sexual abuse considering her tender age,
the moral ascendancy of the accused and his threats against the victim.xlviii[28]
In this case, however, complainant's delay in reporting the alleged rape incident tolls negatively on her
credibility. If indeed appellant ravished her, she would not have lost time to reveal the incident to her brother,
her other relatives, her neighbors and the police. It is worth noting that she could not even tell when she
related the alleged incestuous coitus to her Tita Nelia or to her tatay-tatayan (surrogate father). Complainant
waited eight (8) months before she reported the rape and only as an obvious afterthought to the
maltreatment by appellant.
Indeed, complainant's motive for charging appellant with the crime of rape is suspect. From the unrebutted
testimonies of appellant and complainant's brother, she had an axe to grind against her father. It appears that
the mauling incident before her physical examination triggered the complaint. Having suffered contusions and
abrasions on different parts of her body, she went to the authorities to report the maltreatment and, in addition,
the alleged rape incident that took place eight (8) months before or on June 24, 1995. Fed up with physical
abuse, complainant had a reason to exact revenge from a father she perceived as cruel. That
complainant was actually motivated by anger and revenge, rather than the call for justice, in reporting the
alleged rape is buttressed by her brother's testimony that she was a 100% liar and that her charge of rape
against their father was a mere fabrication.
In sum, complainant's version of the alleged incident cannot withstand objective scrutiny. This Court will not
affirm a conviction for any crime, much more one for which the death penalty may be imposed, on an account
that permits the entertainment of a reasonable doubt as to the culpability of the accused. A reasonable doubt
as to appellant's guilt having been created by an appraisal of the prosecution evidence alone, a detailed
examination of appellant's defense is rendered unnecessary.xlix[29]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision in Criminal Case No. 96-147936 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
Branch XVIII, is REVERSED and appellant Rodrigo Aguinaldo y Loteyro is ACQUITTED for failure of the
prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the crime of rape. No costs.
The Director of the NBP is required to report to this Court the proper implementation of this Decision within ten
(10) days from its receipt.
SO ORDERED


[G.R. No. 109783. September 22, 1994.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ALFONSO MENDOZA, Accused-Appellant.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE TO BELIEVED MUST NOT ONLY
COME FROM A CREDIBLE WITNESS BUT MUST BE CREDIBLE IN ITSELF. As the truism goes,
testimonial evidence to be believed must have been given not only by credible witnesses but it must be
credible in itself.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; AFFIRMATIVE TESTIMONY GIVEN MORE WEIGHT THAN NEGATIVE. Moreover, greater
weight should generally be given to the positive declarations of prosecution witnesses than than to mere
denials of the defense. The settled rule is that affirmative testimony has more value than the negative one, for
the reason that he who denies a certain fact may not remember exactly the circumstances on which he bases
his denial.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY RELATIONSHIP. Mere relationship of the witnesses to
the victim does not render their positive assertions less worthy of full faith and credit.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT AFFECTED BY MINOR INCONSISTENCIES. As to the alleged contradictions in the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, these are clearly on matters of details and are, therefore, of minor
importance. Far from eroding the effectiveness of the testimonies of Mercedes Sia and Rosemarie Ching, such
trivial differences in fact constitute signs of veracity. It is of common knowledge that witnesses react differently
to what they see depending upon their situation and state of mind. The most candid witnesses oftentimes
make mistakes and fall into confused and inconsistent statements but such honest lapses do not necessarily
affect their credibility.

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; UNIFORMITY IN DETAILS, BADGE OF UNTRUTHFULNESS; CASE AT BENCH. On the
other hand, uniformity in details is a badge of untruthfulness, and such indicium of dubiety apparently applies
to the testimonies of the witnesses for the defense. Indeed, and in contrast to the prosecution witnesses,
appellants narration of the facts was reiterated literally and point by point by the testimonies of defense
witnesses Pfc. Manuel Matanggihan and SPO1 Felix Real. These are the earmarks of rehearsed or coached
testimony and, at the very least, cast serious doubts on their credibility.

6. ID.; ID.; ID.; FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE TRIAL COURT, GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL.
Parenthetically, the forthright and specific testimonies of Mercedes Sia and Rosemarie Ching were given full
credit by the trial court and, since we find no showing of any gross misapprehension on its part of the facts
after our scrutiny of the evidence on record, the same should not be disregarded.

7. CRIMINAL LAW; QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE; TREACHERY; REQUISITES. For alevosia to be
considered as a qualifying circumstance, two conditions need to be satisfied: (a) the employment of means,
method or manner of execution which would ensure the safety of the malefactor from defensive or retaliatory
acts on the part of the victim, no opportunity being given to the latter to defend himself or to retaliate; and (b)
the means, method, or manner of execution were deliberately or consciously adopted by the offender.

8. ID.; ID.; ID.; APPRECIATED WHERE VICTIM WAS RENDERED DEFENSELESS WHEN FIRED UPON.
The victim, Oscar Andal, was not only unarmed but was also deprived of all means to defend himself from or
evade the sudden and unexpected assault. The circumstances that appellant first hurled the deceased to the
ground abruptly and forcibly thus rendering the latter defenseless, and then fired at him without the slightest
warning as he lay supine, constitute a clear case of treachery. It also shows that appellant deliberately or
consciously adopted and resorted to a mode of attack to ensure the killing without any risk to himself.

9. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT; ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT
BENCH. In fine, the evidence offered by the defense has been totally unconvincing and has not detracted
from the weight and force of the Peoples evidence which have sufficiently overcome the presumption of
innocence initially vouchsafed to appellant. The Court finds, therefore, that it was his perfidious act of
deliberately shooting Oscar Andal that caused the latters untimely death and that appellant is guilty of murder
beyond reasonable doubt.

10. CRIMINAL LAW; QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE; EVIDENT PREMEDITATION; NOT CONSIDERED
FOR LACK OF EVIDENCE. However, the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation cannot be
appreciated against him for lack of evidence thereon.

D E C I S I O N

REGALADO, J .:

Oscar Andal and Demetrio Sia both died on the night of May 24, 1993 from gunshot wounds. The witnesses for
the prosecution positively pointed to accused-appellant Alfonso Mendoza as the assailant. Appellant
maintained that the fatal shooting had been accidental, but he was nonetheless charged with murder for the
twin killings before the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City, that is, in Criminal Case No. 91-293 for the death of
Oscar Andal filed with Branch 60 of said court; and Criminal Case No. 91-294 for the killing of Demetrio Sia,
lodged before Branch 58 thereof. 1

Appellant continues to insist on his innocence through this appeal now before us with respect to and involving
only Criminal Case No. 91-293 of the court below. A judgment of conviction had been handed down therein
finding him guilty as charged in an information which alleged:chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

"That on or about the 24th day of May 1990, at Poblacion, Municipality of San Antonio, Province of Quezon,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with (an) M-
16 Armalite rifle, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and, sho(o)t with the said armalite rifle one Oscar Andal, inflicting
upon the latter gunshot wounds on different parts of his body, which directly caused his death." 2

At his arraignment on August 22, 1991 with the assistance of counsel, appellant entered a plea of not guilty. 3
Trial on the merits was thereafter conducted and the case was submitted for the trial courts verdict on January
21, 1993. The court a quo sentenced appellant to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the
heirs of Oscar Andal in the amount of P50,000.00. 4

The evidence for the prosecution discloses that Demetrio Sia and his common-law wife, Rosemarie Ching,
together with the formers mother, Mercedes Sia, were in their residence at the poblacion of San Antonio,
Quezon at about 9:00 P.M. of May 24, 1990, when appellant Alfonso Mendoza, Pfc. Manuel Matanggihan, and
SPO1 Felix Real suddenly arrived thereat. Appellant, who was at the time the deputy station commander of the
San Antonio police force with the rank of police corporal, inquired from Demetrio Sia about the whereabouts of
one Oscar "Boy" Andal. Sia answered, "Ka Ponsing, magpapaliwanag ako." Appellant, however, snapped at
him saying, "Walang palipaliwanag, basta lumabas ka." He then grabbed Sia and turned him over to Pfc.
Matanggihan who frisked him for concealed weapons. 5

Appellant, meanwhile, spotted Oscar Andal sitting on a bench. He swiftly proceeded to where Andal was
seated and unceremoniously struck the latter with the butt of his service weapon, an M-16 automatic rifle,
causing Andal to fall to the ground. Appellant then picked him up and led him out of the house. Demetrio Sia
was likewise escorted out of the house by the two other policemen. Mercedes Sia, her daughter Marilou Sia,
and Rosemarie Ching, who were apprehensive of what would happen, followed closely behind the group. 6

Once the group reached the highway, appellant threw down ("iwinaksi") Oscar Andal to the ground and,
without much ado, opened fire at the helpless victim. After he was through with Andal, appellant turned his rifle
towards Demetrio Sia and likewise peppered him with automatic gunfire, in the process wounding his comrade,
Pfc. Matanggihan, and a bystander, a certain Rodrigo Din. Appellant then fled from the macabre scene. Andal
died on the spot, while Sia was pronounced dead in a hospital at nearby Lipa City. Pfc. Matanggihan and
Rodrigo Din, on the other hand, survived the carnage. 7

Appellant admits that the two victims were killed on that night. He persists, however, in his contention that the
deceased caused their own deaths when they tried to grab his service rifle from him. In the ensuing struggle for
possession of the M-16 rifle, a burst of automatic gunfire rant out and shortly, thereafter, Oscar Andal and
Demetrio Sia lay dead on the road. Appellants other companion, Pfc. Matanggihan, was also wounded but not
fatally. 8

In this appeal, appellant ascribes error on the part of the trial court (a) when it gave more weight and credence
to the theory presented by the prosecution than to that advanced by the defense, and (b) in pronouncing a
verdict of conviction against appellant in spite of the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. 9

After a painstaking review of the record, we are convinced that the lower court correctly convicted appellant
Alfonso Mendoza of the crime of murder. Indeed, the defense of appellant taxes and assaults our credulity. He
would have the Court believe that the incident which resulted in the deaths of Oscar Andal and Demetrio Sia,
and the wounding of SPO1 Matanggihan and Rodrigo Din, was the result of the unsuccessful attempt of Andal
and Sia to wrest from him his service rifle. However, the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the
deceased indubitably point to inherent and inexplicable flaws in appellants version of the incident.chanrobles
virtual lawlibrary

In the first place, the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as to how Oscar Andal was wounded are
confirmed by the nature and location of the multiple gunshot wounds that he sustained. Said witnesses
categorically concur that appellant forcefully shoved or swung the victim to the ground before shooting him.
Andal fell flat on his back and it was at this point that appellant fired away with the fatal shots. Andal suffered
three bullet wounds, with one slug piercing his right forearm, another hitting him just above the left nipple, and
still another penetrating his lower back. 10 The first two wounds indicate that he had been shot at frontally. The
gunshot wound at the back of his body may have been due to the fact that, according to Dr. Pedro P. Landicho
who conducted the postmortem examination on Andals body, he was probably moving and presumably turning
towards his left side in an effort to evade the hail of bullets. 11

In the second place, it is extremely difficult to believe that Andal and Sia, both unarmed and not endowed with
any unusual physical strength or prowess, would dare attack appellant in the presence of the other policemen
who were likewise armed. Such superiority in number and force could have effectively deterred the two victims
from embarking upon a foolhardy resistance. That the ill-fated duo had supposedly done so in the manner
asserted by appellant and his witnesses is incredible and runs counter to normal human behavior. It would
have meant, in the words of the trial court, "suicide" on their part, and suicidal attempts belong to the realm of
the extraordinary or fictional fantasies.

What exacerbates the incredibility level of appellants version of the incident is the disregard of physical facts
and possibilities. According to appellant, and this is sought to be corroborated by his witnesses, the relative
positions of the protagonists when they were grappling for the armalite rifle was that appellant, with the rifle
slung over his right shoulder and pointing downward, was facing Andal who was at appellants right while Sia
was in front of him. Andal held the butt of the rifle with his left hand while his right hand gripped the portion of
the gun near its magazine. Sia, on the other hand, latched on to the middle part of the rifle towards its "pointed
portion." The gun, during that particular moment, was by then pointed upwards. 12

Appellant claims that he tried to swing to his left in order to pull the weapon away from the clutches of Andal
and Sia but, notwithstanding the fact that he had positioned or put on the safety lock of the rifle, it still fired a
burst of bullets and, in the process, Pfc. Matanggihan who was standing nearby at his left side was hit. Before
he knew it, Andal and Sia had both slumped on the ground with mortal wounds. 13

The Court is just as extremely incredulous and discombobulated as the court below over this theory. For, if we
were to give credence to said account, then how could Andal have sustained those gunshot wounds
considering that he was, as appellant himself asserted, holding on to the butt of the rifle, hence away and in
the opposite direction from the muzzle or front end of the barrel of the rifle? The same question could be asked
with respect to Sia for, according to appellant himself, the rifle was slung over his shoulder pointed downwards
and, during the supposed struggle for its possession, it was pointed upwards. However, we shall limit our
discussion only to the foregoing observations material to this appeal, since Criminal Case No. 91-294 for the
death of Sia is not a subject of this proceeding.chanrobles.com : virtual law library

Coming back to this case, the consideration that the safety lock of an M-16 armalite rifle is not easily shifted or
disengaged, the fact that there were four persons who were injured fatally or otherwise, and the multitude of
wounds that they sustained clearly negate the possibility that it had all been an accident as appellant contends.
As for the wounding of Pfc. Matanggihan, it may well be that he was hit by stray bullets for he was near
Demetrio Sia when appellant trained his armalite rifle on Sia. 14

While it is true that Pfc. Matanggihan later testified in appellants favor, aside from the interplay of the well-
known esprit de corps among soldiers or policemen, that fact is at any rate beside the point. For, between the
two conflicting versions of the parties in this case, that of the prosecution concededly appears believable and
accordingly worthy of credence, while that of the defense is inherently improbable. As the truism goes,
testimonial evidence to be believed must have been given not only by credible witnesses but it must be
credible in itself. 15 Moreover, greater weight should generally be given to the positive declarations of
prosecution witnesses than than to mere denials of the defense. 16 The settled rule is that affirmative
testimony has more value than the negative one, for the reason that he who denies a certain fact may not
remember exactly the circumstances on which he bases his denial. 17

The motive attributed by appellant to Mercedes Sia and Rosemarie Ching for testifying against him hardly
deserves any discussion. True, Demetrio Sia was the son of Mercedes Sia and the common-law husband of
Rosemarie Ching but that is insufficient to cast doubts on their testimonies. Both witnesses creditably
demonstrated the truthfulness of what they had seen by their direct and categorical declarations before the trial
court. Mere relationship of the witnesses to the victim does not render their positive assertions less worthy of
full faith and credit. 18

As to the alleged contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, these are clearly on matters of
details and are, therefore, of minor importance. Far from eroding the effectiveness of the testimonies of
Mercedes Sia and Rosemarie Ching, such trivial differences in fact constitute signs of veracity. 19 It is of
common knowledge that witnesses react differently to what they see depending upon their situation and state
of mind. 20 The most candid witnesses oftentimes make mistakes and fall into confused and inconsistent
statements but such honest lapses do not necessarily affect their credibility. 21

On the other hand, uniformity in details is a badge of untruthfulness, 22 and such indicium of dubiety
apparently applies to the testimonies of the witnesses for the defense. Indeed, and in contrast to the
prosecution witnesses, appellants narration of the facts was reiterated literally and point by point by the
testimonies of defense witnesses Pfc. Manuel Matanggihan and SPO1 Felix Real. 23 These are the earmarks
of rehearsed or coached testimony and, at the very least, cast serious doubts on their credibility.
Parenthetically, the forthright and specific testimonies of Mercedes Sia and Rosemarie Ching were given full
credit by the trial court and, since we find no showing of any gross misapprehension on its part of the facts
after our scrutiny of the evidence on record, the same should not be disregarded. 24

We agree with the finding of the lower court that appellant killed Andal in a treacherous manner. For alevosia
to be considered as a qualifying circumstance, two conditions need to be satisfied: (a) the employment of
means, method or manner of execution which would ensure the safety of the malefactor from defensive or
retaliatory acts on the part of the victim, no opportunity being given to the latter to defend himself or to retaliate;
and (b) the means, method, or manner of execution were deliberately or consciously adopted by the
offender.25cralaw:red

The victim, Oscar Andal, was not only unarmed but was also deprived of all means to defend himself from or
evade the sudden and unexpected assault. The circumstances that appellant first hurled the deceased to the
ground abruptly and forcibly thus rendering the latter defenseless, and then fired at him without the slightest
warning as he lay supine, constitute a clear case of treachery. It also shows that appellant deliberately or
consciously adopted and resorted to a mode of attack to ensure the killing without any risk to
himself.chanrobles law library : red

In fine, the evidence offered by the defense has been totally unconvincing and has not detracted from the
weight and force of the Peoples evidence which have sufficiently overcome the presumption of innocence
initially vouchsafed to appellant. The Court finds, therefore, that it was his perfidious act of deliberately
shooting Oscar Andal that caused the latters untimely death and that appellant is guilty of murder beyond
reasonable doubt. However, the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation cannot be appreciated
against him for lack of evidence thereon.

ACCORDINGLY, the challenged judgment of the court a quo in Criminal Case No. 91-293 is hereby
AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against accused-appellant Alfonso Mendoza.

SO ORDERED

[G.R. No. 123546. July 2, 1998]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOERAL GALLENO, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
PER CURIAM:
What could be more compelling than deciding a case which involves the sexual abuse of a five-year old child?
Equally important is the fact that the case before us involves the highest penalty imposable by law. Being the
guardian of the most fundamental liberties of every citizen, the Court must pass upon every intricate detail of
the case at bar to determine whether or not accused-appellant committed the gruesome act imputed against
him.
Accused-appellant Joeral Galleno seeks reversal of the judgment of Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court of
the 6th Judicial Region stationed in Roxas City, relying on the defense of denial. Since the case involves the
death penalty, the matter has been elevated to this Court for automatic review.
Accused-appellant was charged in an Information docketed as Criminal Case No. C-4629 for the crime of
Statutory Rape, reading as follows:
The undersigned Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, upon prior authority and approval of the Provincial
Prosecutor, and the original complaint filed by the guardian of the offended party, accuses Joeral
Galleno of the crime of STATUTORY RAPE, committed as follows:
That on or about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of August 16, 1994, at Brgy. Balighot, Maayon, Capiz,
and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the said accused did, then and there, wilfully and feloniously,
and without the permission of anyone, enter the house of EVELYN OBLIGAR, a five-year old child,
and succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her thereby inflicting upon the latter a vaginal laceration
which caused continuous bleeding and her admission of five (5) days at the Roxas Memorial Hospital.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
(p. 9, Rollo.)
Accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued, resulting in a judgment
of conviction, the dispositive portion of which reads:
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING ESTABLISHED FACTS, the Court finds accused JOERAL
GALLENO GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659 amending
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.
Accordingly, accused JOERAL GALLENO is sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH and
to indemnify the victim Evelyn Obligar Garganera the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00)
PESOS.
Let this DECISION serve as clear signal warning the perverts, the misguided elements of our society,
especially their lackadaisical parents in their innate moral obligation and responsibility in educating
their children that in this corner of the world the wheels of justice is not asleep and its unforgiving
hands and watchful eyes are as vigilant as ever.
(pp. 44-45, Rollo.)
In flashback, let us visualize the events.
Evelyn Obligar Garganera is the 5-year old daughter of Rosita Obligar Garganera who had to leave the
province to find work in Manila after separating from her husband. Evelyn, together with her younger brother,
3-year old Eleazar, was thus left under the care and custody of their uncle, Emetario Obligar, and aunt,
Penicola Obligar.
Less than kilometer away from their place of residence lived accused-appellant, 19-year old Joeral Galleno,
known well Evelyn's family due to his frequent visits at the Obligars' abode as he was paying court to
Emetario's eldest child, Gina.
On August 16, 1994, Emetario and Penicola left their residence to work at sugarcane plantation owned by
Magdalena Dasibar. Their three children had all ealier left for school. The only persons left in the house were
niece Evelyn and nephew Eleazar.
At around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, accused-appellant was on his way to his Lola Esing to have his pants
tailored. Since it was drizzling, he passed by the Obligars' residence and found the two children left to
themselves. The prosecution and the defense presented conflicting versions on what occurred at said
residence. However, the result is undisputed. Evelyn sustained a laceration in her vagina which result in
profuse, and to our mind, life-threatening bleeding due to her tender age.
The prosecution's version of what took place at the Obligars' residence is based on the testimony of Evelyn
herself, her uncle Emetario, and the doctors who examined and treated her. The Solicitor General summarized
the same in this wise:
2. Appellant took advantage of the situation by sexually molesting Evelyn. After lowering her shorts,
he made Evelyn sit on his lap, facing him. As Evelyn was only five-years old while appellant was fully-
grown man, the penetration caused the child's vagina to bleed, making her cry in pain. (pp.10-11 and
18-25, tsn, Garganera, January 10, 1995).
3. Appellant tried to stop the bleeding by applying, with his finger, the sap of "madre de cacao" leaves
on her vagina. Unsuccessful in his attempt, he left Evelyn grimacing and crying in pain. (pp. 14-15, tsn
Garganera, January 10, 1995; pp. 6-7, tsn, Obligar, February 7, 1995).
4. Shortly, Emeterio and Penicola came home from work. The spouses were laborers in a sugarcane
plantation about two kilometers away from their house. They arrived to find Evelyn crying. Emetario
noticed that there was blood in Evelyn's dress and she was pressing a rug against her genital organ.
(pp. 11-12, tsn, Obligar, January 10, 1995; pp. 8-9, tsn, Obligar, February 7, 1995).
5. Emeterio asked Evelyn what happened but she did not answer. Emetario spread the child's legs
and saw that her vagina had been lacerated and blood was oozing therefrom. He summoned a
"quack" doctor who applied herbal medicine on Evelyns's vagina but did not stop the bleeding. (pp.12-
14, tsn, Obligar, January 12, 1995).
6. The following day, August 17, 1994, Emeterio brought Evelyn to the clinic of Dr. Alfonso D. Orosco,
the Rural Health Physician of Maayon, Capiz. Dr. Orosco reported, upon examining Evelyn, that he
found (1) clotted blood, about 1 centimeter in diameter, in her vaginal opening, and (2) a vaginal
laceration, measuring 1.0 centimeter x o.5 centimeter, between the 3:00 o'clock and 6:00 o'clock
position. He also affirmed that Evelyn's vaginal laceration could have been by blunt instrument
inserted into the vigina, that it was possible that a human penis in full erection had been forcibly
inserted into her vagina, and that a human penis in full errection is considered a blunt intrument (pp.
4-7, tsn, Orosco, November 28, 1994; p. 14, tsn, Obligar, January 12, 1995).
7. While he was examining Evelyn, Dr. Orosco asked Evelyn what caused her injuries. The child told
him that a penis was inserted into her vagina and that its insertion caused her pain. (pp. 9-10, 14 and
18-19, tsn, Orosco, November 28, 1994).
8. Since his clinic lacked the proper medical facilities needed to treat Evelyn, Dr. Orosco, after
dressing the victim's wound which continued to bleed, advised Emeterio and Penicola to bring the
child to the hospital for further medical treatment. (p.8, tsn, Orosco, November 28, 1994; pp. 14-16,
tsn, Obligar, January 12, 1995)
9. On August 18, 1994, Emeterio brought Evelyn to the Roxas Memorial General Hospital were she
was examined by resident physician Dr. Ma. Lourdes Laada. Dr. Laada, upon examining Evelyn
found that "there was a 3 cm. lacerated wound at the left anterior one-third of the vagina" and "the
pressence of about 10-15cc of blood" at the vaginal vault. Dr. Laada recommended that evelyn be
admitted for confinement in the hospital because the wound in her vagina, which was bleeding, had to
be repaired. Due to financial constraints, Evelyn was not admitted into the Hospital that day and went
home with Emeterio to Barangay Balighot. (pp.6-8,tsn Laada, January 4, 1995; pp. 15-16, ts,
Obligar, January 12, 1995).
10. Upon her examination of the victim on August 18, 1994, Dr. Laada opined that "a lot of things will
cause the lacerated wound in the vagina." (p. 9, tsn, Laada, January 4, 1995). According to Dr.
Laada, the vaginal laceration may be caused (1) by trauma to the area, when a girl falls and hits her
genital area on a blunt instrument; (2) by medical instrumentation, like the insertion of a speculum into
the vagina; or (3) by the insertion of blunt foreign object into the vagina, like a finger or a penis of a
man in full erection. (pp. 8-9, tsn, Laada, January 4, 1995).
11. On August 19, 1994, Emetario brought Evelyn back to the Roxas Memorial General Hospital
where she was attended to by Dr. Machael Toledo, the resident physician on duty, who found blood
clots and minimal bleeding in the genital area. Dr. Toledo " pack(ed) the area to prevent further
bleeding and (he) admitted the patient for possible repair of the laceration and blood transfusion
because she has anaemia 2ndary to bleeding." Two hundred fifty five (255) cc of blood was
transfused to Evelyn and she was given antibiotics to prevent infection. However, she was no longer
operated on because the laceration had healed. Five days later, Evelyn was discharged and sent
home with medication. (pp. 11-13, 17 and 26, tsn, Toledo, December 2, 1994).
12. Upon his examination of Evelyn on August 19, 1994, Dr. Toledo disclosed that the child suffered
severe compound laceration which could have been caused by a normal and fully developed penis of
a man in a state of erection that was forcibly inserted into her vagina and that the insertion caused her
vagina to hemorrhage which thus required the transfusion of 255 cc of blood (pp. 14-16 and 26, tsn,
Toledo, December 2, 1994.
13. Prior to her confinement in the Roxas Memorial General Hospital on August 19, Emetario and
Penicola Obligar brought Evelyn to the Maayon Police Station on August 18, 1994, where they
reported the crime to SPO1 Paulino Durana. That same day, appellant was apprehended in a house
near the Balighot Elementary School and brought to the police station (pp17-19, tsn, Obligar, January
12, 1995; pp. 5-9, 16-17 and 21, tsn, Durana, January 16, 1995).
(pp. 164-171, Rollo.)
Denial is presented as the defenses. Accused-appellant testified that when he arrived at the Obligar residence
that afternoon of August 16, 1994, he found the two children, Evelyn and Eleazar (also referred to in the record
as Pilfo). While seated at the balcony, accused-appellant was approached by Evelyn, who knew him (tsn, April
5, 1995, pp.5 and 8). He cajoled her by throwing her up and down, his right hand holding the child and his left
hand covering her vagina (Ibid., p. 21). Upon lifting up the child the first time, his left ring finger was
accidentally inserted into the vagina of child since his fingernail was long and the child was not wearing any
underwear. Consequently, Evelyn began to cry because her vagina started to bleed. Upon seeing this, he
immediately went down the house and got some bark or leaves of madre de cacao tree and applied the sap on
the child's wound. The bleeding ceased and Evelyn stopped crying. Thereafter, accused-appellant went home.
(Ibid., pp.9-10).
Accused-appellant further testified that on August 18, 1994, at around 9 o'clock in the morning, he was
arrested. On the same day, Emeterio Obligar asked him to admit the offense so that he could be released the
next day, but accused-appellant did not do so (Ibid., pp. 26-27).
Accused-appellant's father Raul Galleno was called to the witness stand and he testified that he learned about
the arrest of his son on August 18, 1994 (tsn, May 12, 1995, p.6). The following day, he went to the house of
the Obligars to ask Evelyn what happened to her. The child allegedly answered that a finger was accidentally
inserted into her genital organ, but that Penicola who was then present, butted into the conversation and told
Raul Galleno that the penis of accused-appellant was likewise inserted (Ibid., p.8).
The trial court did not accord credence to the version of the defense, pointing out in its decision that accused-
appellant's defense of denial hinged on the argument that the statement of Evelyn as to how she sustained her
vaginal laceration was mere concoction and a plain distortion of facts by her guardian. The trial court called this
a "desperate attempt of the defense to becloud the charge of rape."
The trial court believed and accepted the testimony of Police Officer Paulino Durana that during the
interrogation of Evelyn which he conducted at the PNP Station of Maayon, Emeterio and Penicola Obligar did
not interfere with the responses of Evelyn, although, true enough, it was difficult to obtain answer from her
because of her tender age.
The trial deemed the following circumstances significant in finding accused-appellant culpable:
1. Accused-appellant failed to explain how his left finger accidentally came in contact with Evelyn's
vagina, while in the process of throwing her up and down. Besides, the prosecution was able to establish that
Evelyn was wearing shorts. And assuming for the sake of argument that Evelyn was not wearing any pants or
underwear at that time, accused-appellant failed to explain how his finger could possibly penetrate the victim's
vagina by about one-fourth of an inch (p. 23, tsn, April 5, 1995).
2. After satisfying his lust, accused-appellant left the victim with her 3-year old brother, in pain and
bleeding.
3. Evelyn's statement given to Dr. Ma. Lourdes Laada, the physician who examined her at the Roxas
Memorial General Hospital, that it was accused-appellant's finger which injured her, was a consequence of the
victim's confusion.
4. The formal offer of settlement made by accused-appellant's father Raul Galleno militates against the
cause of the defense.
Hence, the instant appeal and review, with accused-appellant assigning the following errors:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES
OF THE MEDICAL DOCTORS WHEN THE SAME FAILED TO CONCLUSIVELY AND
SUFFICIENTLY ESTABLISH THE CAUSE OF THE LACERATION IN THE OFFENDED PARTY'S
VAGINA
THE TRIAL COURT SHOWED MANIFEST BIAS THEREBY DEPRIVING THE ACCUSED-
APPELLANT TO A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL TRIAL AND DISREGARDED THE RIGHT OF THE
ACCUSED TO BE PRESUMED INNOCENT, WHEN HE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN THE CROSS
EXAMINATIUON OF THE ACCUSED
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE
ACCUSED AS UNJUSTIFIED
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN INTERPRETING THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE EXTENDED BY
THE PARENTS OF THE ACCUSED TO THE OFFENDED PARTY AS AN IMPLIED ADMISSION OF
GUILT
(pp. 81-82, Rollo.)
One can not escape the feeling of utmost compassion for any rape victim, and more especially so for a 5-year
old statutory rape victim. However, in our consideration of the matter before us, we set aside emotion and
observe impartiality and coldness in drawing conclusions.
Under the first assigned error, accused-appellant contends that the testimony of the three expert witnesses
presented by the prosecution, namely, Dr. Alfonso Orosco, Dr. Ma. Lourdes Laada, and Dr. Machael Toledo,
which convinced the trial court that rape was committed against the offended party, is not impeccable
considering that they found that there was no presence of spermatozoa, and that they were not sure as to what
caused the laceration in the victim's vagina; that Dr. Laada herself testified that Evelyn told her that it was the
finger of accused-appellant which caused the laceration. In addition, accused-appellant banks on the victim's
testimony on cross-examination, that it was the finger of accused-appellant which caused the laceration; and
that she even disclosed this to accused-appellant's father, Raul Galleno.
We are not persuaded.
As a general rule, witnesses must state facts and not draw conclusions or give opinions. It is the court's duty to
draw conclusions from the evidence and form opinions upon the facts proved (Francisco, Pleadings and Trial
Practice, Vol. I. 1989 ed., pp. 889-890). However, conclusions and opinions of witnesses are received in many
cases, and are not confined to expert testimony, based on the principle that either because of the special skill
or expert knowledge of the witness, or because of the nature of the subject matter under observation, of for
other reasons, the testimony will aid the court in reaching a judgment. (Ibid., p.886).
In the case at bar, the trial court arrived at its conclusions not only with the aid of the expert testimony of
doctors who gave their opinions as to the possible cause of the victim's laceration, but also the testimony of the
other prosecution witness, especially the victim herself. In other words, the trial court did not rely solely on the
testimony of the expert witnesses. Such expert testimony merely aided the trial court in the exercise of its
judgment on the facts. Hence, the fact that the experts enumerated various possible causes of the victim's
laceration does not mean the trial court's interference is wrong.
The absence of spermatozoa in the victim's vagina does not negate the conclusion that it was his penis which
was inserted in the victim's vagina (People vs. Caada, 253 SCRA 277 [1996]). In rape, the important
consideration is not the emission of semen but the penetration of the female genitalia by the male organ
(People vs. Dadles, 254 SCRA 696 [1996]). Verily, it is entirely probable that climax on the part of accused-
appellant was not reached due to the cries of pain of the victim and the profuse bleeding of her vagina.
As regards the inconsistencies in Evelyn's declaration, particularly as to what really caused the laceration, we
are convinced that the child, due to her tender age, was just confused. This is best exemplified by the
testimony of Dr. Lourdes Laada on cross-examination, as follows:
Q Now, Doctor, at the time that you conducted your examination, you were aware that this child was only
five years old?
A Yes, sir.
Q And at that tender age, Doctor, is it possible that the child may not know the difference of distinction
between fingers of the hands and a finger protruding between the legs of a person?
A Yes, sir, it is possible.
Q So that is possible, Doctor, that the child may have referred to a finger that is between the legs?
WITNESS
You mean the penis?
PROSECUTOR OBIENDA
Yes.
WITNESS
It is possible.
(TSN, p.27, March 30, 1995.)
Of vital consideration and importance too is the unreliability, if not the outright incredulity of the version of
accused-appellant which is not in accord with ordinary human experience. We thus can not help expressing
sentiments similar of those of the trial court when is said:
The contention of accused Joeral Galleno raises serious doubts to his credibility. He failed to explain
how his ring finger accidentally came in contact with the genitalia of Evelyn, while it was established
by the prosecution that at that time Evelyn was wearing shorts. Even assuming "ex gratia argumente"
that Evelyn was pantyless, how could it be possible for his finger to penetrate to the vagina for about
one-fourth of an inch when she was in shorts. The Supreme Court, in People vs. Fulgencio
Baquiran, 20 SCRA 451, (held that) evidence, to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of
a credible witness, but it must be credible in itself. Human perception can be warped by the impact of
events and testimony colored by the unconscious workings of the mind. No better test has yet been
found to measure the value of a witness' testimony than its conformity to the knowledge and common
experience of mankind.
(pp.42-43, Rollo.)
Section 4, Rule 128 of the Rules of Court provides that "(e)vidence must have such a relation to the fact in
issue as to induce belief in its existence or nor-existence." This simply means that relevancy is determinable
by the rules of logic and human experience (Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II, 1988 ed., p.434).
There is no precise and universal test of relevancy provided by law. However, the determination of whether
particular evidence is relevant rests largely at the discretion of the court, which must be exercised according to
the teachings of logic and everyday experience (Sibal and Salazar, Compendium on Evidence, 1995 ed., citing
Alfred Asmore Pope Foundation vs. New York, 138 A. 444, 106 Conn. 432).
There is no explanation how the left ring finger (allegedly with long fingernail) of accused-appellant penetrated
the victim's vagina by a depth of one fourth of an inch. Admittedly, accused-appellant's right hand held the
child while his left hand supposedly held her in the vagina area. Why would the hold the child's vagina if his
only intention was to frolic and kid around with her?
Accused-appellant likewise failed to explain why after injuring Evelyn (and after applying to the wound the sap
of madre de cacao), he left her in the company of an even younger child, the victim's 3-year old brother. He
did not even make an effort to immediately inform Emeterio and Penicola of what happened. Instead, he went
home and kept mum about the incident.
Accused-appellant also said that after the alleged accident, before going home, he removed Eleazar's shorts
and put them on Evelyn. Assuming this to be true, this only shows that the child was still bleeding. Why then
would he leave the child considering that there was no adult to attend her? Significantly, his act of immediately
leaving the place, when considered in the light of the other evidence, reflects his fear because of what he had
done. The proverb "the wicked fleeth even when no man pursueth, but the innocent are as bold as a lion" was
correctly adopted by the trial court in drawing its conclusions.
All of these loopholes are palpable and manifest, and clearly work against the credibility of accused-appellant's
story on which his defense is based.
Besides, the trial court's conclusions finds supports in the testimony of accused-appellant's own witness, Dr.
Lourdes Laada (who was earlier presented during the trial as a prosecution witness), who testified that a
laceration is caused by a blunt instrument and that a fingernail is not a blunt but a sharp instrument (TSN,
pp.32-33, March 30, 1995).
As regards accused-appellant's argument that the victim's testimony is just a concocted story of what really
happened, we apply the rule that the revelation of an innocent child whose chastity was abused deserves full
credence (People vs. Cagto, 253 SCRA 455 [1996]). We likewise consider the fact that her uncle and aunt,
virtually her foster parents, themselves support her story of rape. It is unnatural for a parent to use her
offspring as an engine of malice, especially if it will subject a daughter to embarrassment and even stigma
(People vs. Dones, supra.)
Accused-appellant's father, Raul Galleno, tried to destroy the credibility of Evelyn when he took the stand and
testified that the child disclosed to him that is was accused-appellant's finger which was inserted into her
vagina. Nevertheless, this testimony cannot prevail over the testimony of the victim, to wit:
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q You said that Joeral Galleno the accused in this case hurt you while you were in the farm, can you tell
in the farm, can you tell the Honorable Court which part of your body was hurt by Joeral Galleno?
A (Witness pointing to her vagina) Here.
Q When you said you were hurt did you bleed?
WITNESS
A Yes, Sir.
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q What was used by Joeral Galleno in hurting your sexual organ
A His (Pitoy). Penis.
COURT
Make the translation of "Pitoy" into Penis. Do you agree that the translation of Pitoy is Penis in English?
ATTY. DISTURA
Agreeable, Your Honor.
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q What did Joeral Galleno do with his Pitoy (Penis) to your vagina (Putay)?
A It was inserted (ginsulod) to my vagina (Putay).
Q When Joeral Galleno inserted his penis (Pitoy) to your vagina (Putay), that was the reason why it
bleed?
A Yes, sir.
Q And it was very painful?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And you cried because of pain?
A Yes, Sir.
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q And you were brought to the Doctor and admitted to the hospital because of that?
A Yes, Sir.
(TSN, pp.10-12, January 10, 1995)
Under the second assigned error, accused-appellant alleges that he was deprived of a fair and impartial trial
since the trial court showed bias by discounting his testimony, and by actually participating in the cross-
examination of accused-appellant.
We recently pronounced in People vs. Malabago (265 SCRA 198 [1996]) that a judge may not properly
intervene in the presentation of evidence to expedite and prevent unnecessary waste of time and clarify
obscure and incomplete details after the witness was given direct testimony cannot be assailed as a specie of
bias.
Of course, we are aware of Rule 3.06 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides:
While a judge may, to promote justice, prevent waste of time or clear up some obscurity, properly
intervene in the presentation of evidence during the trial, it should always be borne in mind that undue
interference may prevent the proper presentation of the cause or the ascertainment of truth.
And there is undoubtedly undue interference if the judge extensively propounds question to the witness which
will have the effect of or will tend to build or bolster the case for one of the parties. We have, however,
carefully examined the record and transcript of stenographic notes of the instant case. The trial court judge,
the Honorable Salvador S. Gubaton, did not to build the case for one of the parties. For instance, accused-
appellant, in his brief, refers to the questions propounded by the trial court on his of cajoling the child. A
perusal of the line of questioning referred to hardly shows bias on the part of the trial court, but pure
clarification.
In the third assigned error, accused-appellant questions the validity of his arrest.
It is settled jurisprudence that any objection involving a warrant of arrest or procedure in the acquisition by the
court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the
objection is deemed waived (People vs. Lopez, Jr., 245 SCRA 95[1995]). An accused should question the
validity of his arrest before he enters his plea in the trial court (Filoteo, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan, 263 SCRA 222
[1996]). He is estopped from questioning any defect in the manner of his arrest if he fails to move for the
quashing of the information before the trial court (People vs. Compil, 244 SCRA 135 [1995]) or if he voluntarily
submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court by entering a plea and by participating in the trial (People vs. De
Guzman, 22 4 SCRA 93 [1993); People vs. Lopez, Jr., supra).
It does not appear in the record that accused-appellants raised this matter before entering his plea of "not
guilty" to the charge (pp. 63 & 67, Record). Further, this issue was not even touched during the trial.
Lastly, accused-appellant, in his fourth assigned error, argues that the trial court misinterpreted the financial
assistance extended by his parents as an attempt to settle the case. Accused-appellant even banks on the
alleged close relationship between Emeterio Obligar and Raul Galleno as compadres, and the fact that
Emeterio borrowed forty pesos from Raul Galleno, despite the fact that Emeterio already knew that accused-
appellant caused the laceration in Evelyn's vagina.
Accused-appellant also draws attention to two incidents involving alleged financial assistance extended by
Raul Galleno to the spouses Emeterio and Penicola Obligar. First, Emeterio Obligar, whom Raul Galleno said
is his compadre, borrowed P40.00 for fare going Roxas City where Evelyn was confined. Decond, on August
20, 1994, Raul Galleno and his wife and one of the brothers of Penicola Obligar went to Roxas Memorial
General Hospital. There he gave P400.00 financial assistance to Penicola Obligar. Raul Galleno later admitted
that the sum of P440.00 was returned to him by the spouses. Accused-appellant insists that these offers of
financial assistance were not attempts at an amicable settlement but were prompted out of a sincere desire on
the part of Raul Galleno to help the offended party.
We find no merit in the above-stated argument. It may be inferred that Raul Galleno wanted to settle the case
by offering an amount to the spouses Obligar, to wit:
Q Now according to you, you were paid in the amount of Four Hundred Pesos (P400.00) then you
expected your Comareng Pening as financial assistance to Evelyn Garganera, isn't it?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q How long after August 19, 1994, that your Comareng Pening returned to you the amount of Four
Hundred Pesos (P400.00)?
A A week after when Evelyn had already checked up from the hospital.
Q It was given by you or as voluntary financial assistance, why did you receive the amount or the
payment returned to that amount of Four Hundred Pesos (P400.00)?
A That was telling me that they refused already for the settlement of the case.
Q And that is why they returned the amount of Four Hundred Pesos (P400.00).
(tsn, pp. 29-30, May 12, 1995.)
From the above-stated clarificatory questions by the trial court, it may gleaned that Raul Galleno no longer had
any interest in aiding the victim when he found that the Obligar spouses would still pursue the case against his
son, accused-appellant, and hence he found that his offer for settlement was unavailing. Hence, on this point
we likewise agree with the trial court when it took the financial assistance to mean an act of settling the case.
This does manifest a father's attempt to rescue his guilty son sure incarceration.
The nightmare that was forced into the tender mind of 5-year old Evelyn Obligar Garganera may fortunately
haunt her all her life. Justice may not be able to save from this nightmare but it can calm and assure her that
her tormentor and abuser shall undoubtedly face retribution.
Four members of the Court - although maintaining their adherence to the separate opinions expressed in
People vs. Echegaray (G.R. No. 117472, February 7, 1997) that Republic Act No. 7659, insofar as it prescribes
the death penalty is unconstitutional - nevertheless submit to the ruling of the Court, by a majority vote, that the
law is constitutional and that the death penalty should accordingly be imposed.
WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellant justified by the evidence on record, the assailed
decision is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, upon
finality of this decision, let the record of the case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President for
possible exercise of the pardoning power.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 116918. June 19, 1997]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BONFILO MARTINEZ y DE LA ROSA, JOHN DOE and
PETER DOE, accused.
BONFILO MARTINEZ y DELA ROSA, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
REGALADO, J.:
In an information filed before Branch 121 of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City on March 8, 1994,
accused-appellant Bonfilo Martinez and two other unidentified persons were charged with the special complex
crime of robbery with rape allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 28th of December, 1991 in Kalookan City, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping with (sic) one another,
with intent of gain and by means of violence and intimidation employed upon the persons of MICHAEL
BUENVINIDA Y SOLMAYOR, POL BONGGAT, SHERWIN SOLMAYOR, JONATHAN BONGGAT, JUNIOR
SOLMAYOR, GLORIA SOLMAYOR and GLORIVIC BANDAYANON Y QUIAJO while the aforesaid persons
were inside the house of ERNESTO BUENVINIDA viewing television program, said accused, all armed with
guns of unknown caliber, tied the hands of the occupants of the house, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously take, rob and carry away the following articles belonging to ERNESTO BUENVINIDA, to wit:
1. Radio Cassette Recorder worth P3,000.00
2. Assorted imported perfumes 30,000.00
3. Assorted imported canned goods 5,000.00
4. Cash money amounting to 8,000.00
5. Cash money in U.S. Dollar $1,000.00
that in the course of said robbery, said accused, with the use of force, violence and intimidation, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie with and have sexual intercourse with one GLORIVIC BANDAYON
Y QUIAJO, against the latters will and without her consent.l[1]
Although the two Does remained unknown and at large, appellant was arrested on March 3, l994 for soliciting
funds for a fictitious volleyball competition.li[2] After his arrest, he was confined at the Bagong Silang Sub-
station detention cell for an hour and was later transferred to the Caloocan City Jail.lii[3] Appellant entered a
plea of not guilty during his arraignment in Criminal Case No. C-46704 (94) on March 21, 1994.liii[4]
As collated from the transcripts of the testimonies of prosecution eyewitnesses Glorivic Bandayanonliv[5] and
Michael Buenvinida,lv[6] the indicated coverage of which yield the particular facts hereunder narrated, the
circumstances attendant to the crime charged are detailed in the paragraphs that follow.
Michael Buenvinida, Michelle Buenvinida, Gloria Solmayor, Sherwin Solmayor, Junior (JR) Solmayor, Paul
Bonggat, Jonathan Bonggat and Glorivic Bandayanon were in Ernesto and Cornelia Buenvinidas house
situated at Lot 25, Block 20, Wallnut St., Rainbow Village, Caloocan City when the crime was committed on
December 28, 1991.
Michael and Michelle are the children of Ernesto and Cornelia. Gloria is a sister-in-law of Cornelia who was in
the house for a visit, while Sherwin, Junior, Paul and Jonathan are Cornelias nephews. Glorivic is a friend of
Cornelia who volunteered to look after the latters children while she is in Sweden. Ernesto was at the office at
the time of the commission of the crime.
While the occupants of the house were watching a television show in the living room at around 6:30 P.M.,
Michael noticed a man wearing short pants and holding a handgun jump over the low fence of their house.
The man entered the house through its unlocked front door and introduced himself to the surprised group as a
policeman. The intruder then told them that Michaels father got involved in a stabbing incident in the local
basketball court. As if on cue, two men followed the first man in entering the house and promptly thereafter
covered their faces with handkerchiefs. These two were wearing long pants and also carried handguns. The
first man who entered the house did not cover his face.
With guns pointed at them, the occupants of the house were brought to the masters bedroom where they were
tied and detained by the three intruders.
Later, one of the armed men, identified by Michael as herein appellant, untied Michael and ordered him to pull
out the plugs of the appliances in the house, such as the television set, the V.H.S. player and the radio
cassette recorder. Appellant and the other masked man then began to search the house for valuables in the
living room and in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, the first man remained in the masters bedroom and found cash money, in pesos and dollars, and
bottles of perfume. The men then placed in a big bag the radio cassette player, canned goods, money and
perfumes that they had found inside the house.
Thereafter, the first intruder, whom Glorivic referred to as the mastermind of the group, returned to the masters
bedroom and asked the terrified group for jewelries. Unable to get any jewelry, he brought Glorivic to the
childrens (Michael and Michelles) bedroom opposite the masters bedroom. Upon entering the room, the man
turned on the lights there. In the meanwhile, his two masked companions continued looking around the house
for other valuables.
Inside the bedroom, the ostensible leader of the gang untied Glorivic and ordered her to search the room for
jewelries. After Glorivic failed to find any, the man directed her to remove her clothes and pointed his gun at
Glorivics head. Despite her pleas and cries, the man removed the shirt, long pants and underwear of Glorivic
while keeping the gun leveled at her. Shortly after, the man put the gun on top of the ironing board beside the
bed, then pushed Glorivic towards the bed and lay on top of her. Glorivics resistance proved to be futile as the
man was able to violate her chastity.
Before the first man could leave the room, another member of the group entered and pushed Glorivic again to
the bed when she was just about to put on her dress. Upon entering the room, the second mans cloth cover
tied around his face fell and hang around his neck. After threatening to kill her, the man put a pillow on her
face, forcibly spread Glorivics legs and has sexual congress with her. Glorivic would later point to appellant
during the trial as this second man.
After the second man was through, the third man came in. While Glorivic was still sitting on the bed and
crying, the third man took the bed sheet and covered her face with it. Just like what his companions did before
him, the third man had sexual intercourse with Glorivic through force and intimidation, but not without first
removing the handkerchief tied over his face.
Michael was able to see the three malefactors enter and leave the room one after the other as the door of the
masters bedroom was left open. He was also able to hear Glorivic crying and her implorations to her
tormentors in the opposite room.
After the consummation of the odious act, the third man told Glorivic to dress up. Glorivic felt blood flowing
down her thighs as she put on her clothes. Thereafter, the third man tied her up and brought her back to the
company of the other occupants of the house. Michael saw Glorivic with disheveled hair and wearing her
pants turned inside out, with blood on the lower parts.
The felons left after intimating to the group by way of a threat that they were going to explode a hand grenade.
Around five minutes later, after ascertaining that the culprits had left, Michael and the others untied each other.
Thereafter, they went to the house of his fathers friend located two blocks away and, from there, they
proceeded to the Urduja police detachment.
Glorivic met appellant again on March 7, 1994. Policemen came to her place of work and asked her to come
with them as they had a person in custody whom they suspected to be herein appellant. At the Caloocan City
Jail, Glorivic was made to face eight detainees. She was able to readily recognize appellant among the group
because of the mole on his right cheek. Before she picked him out from the other men, she carefully saw to it
that the one she pointed out was really appellant.
On the part of Michael, he stated that he was fetched by policemen on March 7, 1994 at his school to make an
identification at the Dagat-Dagatan police station. Appellant was with six other inmates when they arrived at
the station. Michael pointed to appellant as one of the robbers who entered their house, after readily
remembering that he was the one who ordered him to unplug the appliances. Michael could never be
mistaken in appellants identity because he could not forget the prominent mole and its location on appellants
right cheek.
Testifying at the trial,lvi[7] appellant denied any participation in the robbery with rape committed in the
Buenvinida residence. Appellant claimed that it was only on March 7, 1994 that he first met Glorivic
Bandayanon and insisted that he does not know Michael Buenvinida.
He claimed that he was in his house in Wawa, Paraaque together with his wife and children the whole day of
December 28, 1991. He moved to Bagong Silang, Caloocan City in 1993 after he was able to find work as a
mason under his brother who lives in the same district. On cross-examination, appellant denied having visited
his brother at Bagong Silang from 1991 to 1992. However, upon further questioning by the public prosecutor,
appellant admitted that he made several visits to his brother in 1991. Moreover, he explained that it usually
took him three hours to travel to Caloocan City from Paraaque by public utility bus.
Giving credence to the testimonies of the witnesses of the prosecution and rejecting appellants defense of
alibi, the trial courtlvii[8] found appellant guilty of the composite crime of robbery with rape. Although the
proper imposable penalty is death,lviii[9] considering the lower courts finding of two aggravating circumstances
of nocturnidad and use of a deadly weapon, appellant was sentenced to reclusion perpetua in observance of
the then constitutional prohibition against the imposition of capital punishment. With regard to his civil
liabilities, appellant was ordered to indemnify Ernesto Buenvinida in the sum of P73,000.00 as the value of his
stolen and unrecovered personal properties, and to pay Glorivic Bandaya P30,000.00 by way of moral
damages, plus the costs of suit.lix[10]
In this present appellate review, appellant inceptively faults the lower court for convicting him despite the
supposedly undependable and untrustworthy identification made by the eyewitnesses. He claims that Glorivic
Bandayanon and Michael Buenvinida could have been mistaken in their identificationlx[11]because (l) of the
long interval of time before they were able to confront him; (2) his face was covered with a handkerchief as
they themselves narrated in court; and (3) they could have been so gravely terrified by the criminal act as to
have their mental faculties impaired.
When an accused assails the identification made by witnesses, he is in effect attacking the credibility of those
witnesses who referred to him as the perpetrator of the crime alleged to have been committed.lxi[12] The case
then turns on the question of credibility.
It has long been a well-entrenched rule of evidence and procedure that the issue of credibility of witnesses is
almost invariably within the exclusive province of a trial court to determine, under the principle that the findings
of trial courts deserve respect from appellate tribunals.lxii[13] The foregoing rule notwithstanding, we expended
considerable time and effort to thoroughly examine the records and objectively assay the evidence before us,
considering the gravity of the offense charged. However, we find no compelling reasons to overturn the lower
courts conclusion on the accuracy and correctness of the witnesses identification of appellant as one of the
persons who robbed the house of the Buenvinidas and raped Glorivic.
The testimonies of the principal witnesses for the prosecution were not only consistent with and corroborative
of each other. The transcripts of stenographic notes which we have conscientiously reviewed, further reveal
that their narrations before the lower court were delivered in a clear, coherent and unequivocal manner.
There was no perceptible hesitation or uncertainty on the part of Glorivic and Michael when they unerringly
identified appellant during the trial. The unhurried, studious and deliberate manner in which appellant was
identified by them in court added strength to their credibilitylxiii[14] and immeasurably fortified the case of the
prosecution.
The records also show that the memory of these witnesses were not in any way affected by the passage of two
years and three months since the tragedy. Glorivic categorically stated on the witness stand that the lapse of
those years did not impair her memory and she could still identify those who raped her.lxiv[15] Michael
asserted that he could still positively identify appellant because of the latters mole, as well as the several
opportunities of the former to take a good look at appellants face during the robbery,lxv[16] and the same is
true with Glorivic. Appellants mole on his right cheek provided a distinctive mark for recollection and which,
coupled with the emotional atmosphere during the incident, would be perpetually etched in the minds of the
witnesses.
It is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to ascertain the appearance of their
assailants and observe the manner in which the crime was committed. Most often, the face and body
movements of the assailants create a lasting impression on the victims minds which cannot be easily erased
from their memory.lxvi[17]
While appellant claims that his face was covered during the commission of the crime, there were providential
points in time when the two witnesses were able to freely see his face and scan his facial features closely to as
to enable them to identify him later on.
Although appellant placed a pillow on her face. Glorivic declared that when the latter two offenders raped her,
their faces were no longer covered. In the case of appellant, the handkerchief on his face fell upon his entering
the room and he left it that way while he raped Glorivic.lxvii[18] And when the latter two transgressors entered
the house, their faces were then exposed and it was only when they were already inside the house that they
covered their faces with handkerchiefs.lxviii[19] These circumstances gave Michael and Glorivic sufficient time
and unimpeded opportunity to recognize and identify appellant.
There is no evidence to show that the two eyewitnesses were so petrified with fear as to result in subnormal
sensory functions on their part. Contrarily, in a recently decided case, we held that fear for ones life may even
cause the witness to be more observant of his surroundings.lxix[20] The ample opportunity to observe and the
compelling reason to identify the wrongdoer are invaluable physiognonomical and psychological factors for
accuracy in such identification.
The records do not disclose any improper motive on the part of the witnesses to falsely point to appellant as
one of the robber-rapists. Appellant even admitted that he did not know Glorivic and Michael prior to the
commission of the crime. It is doctrinally settled that in the absence of evidence showing that the prosecution
witnesses were actuated by improper motive, their identification of the accused as the assailant should be
given full faith and credit.lxx[21]
Where conditions of visibility are favorable, as those obtaining in the Buenvinida residence when the crimes
were committed, and the witnesses do not appear to be biased, their assertions as to the identity of the
malefactor should be accepted as trustworthy.lxxi[22]
For his second assignment of error, appellant contends that the lower court should not have ordered him to
pay the value of the unrecovered personalties to Ernesto Buenvinida, damages to Glorivic Bandayanon, and
the costs of suit because he is not criminally liable as shown by the failure of the witnesses to properly identify
him.
We find speciosity in this second contention of appellant because such argument flows from the premise that
he is not guilty. As the trial court found, and with which we resolutely agree as already explained, appellant is
culpable beyond reasonable doubt for the special complex crime of robbery with rape committed in the early
evening of December 28, l99l at Caloocan City.
However, we deem worthy of elucidation the matter of the value of the items established to have been stolen
from the house of the Buenvinidas. Incidentally, appellant claims in his brief that the amounts alleged in the
information as the bases of his civil liability for robbery were just concocted and founded on speculation and
conjectures.lxxii[23]
To prove the value of the burglarized properties, the prosecution presented an affidavit executed by Ernesto
Buenvinidalxxiii[24] on March 7, 1994, containing a list of the stolen movables and with their corresponding
values, as now found in the information. This affidavit was identified and marked as Exhibit Hlxxiv[25] for the
prosecution during the testimony of SPO4 Abner Castro,lxxv[26] the police officer who conducted an
investigation of the incident on December 28, 1991. In addition to testifying on the arrest and investigation of
appellant, Castro repeated in open court the respective values of the personal properties as explained to him
by Ernesto Buenvinida and how he helped Ernesto in the preparation thereof.lxxvi[27] The same was formally
offered in evidencelxxvii[28] to prove, among others, the facts and amounts contained therein and as testified
to by witness Castro. Although objected to by appellant as self-serving,lxxviii[29] the lower court admitted said
document for the purpose for which it was offered and as part of the testimony of said witness.lxxix[30]
It may be theorized, and in fact appellant in effect so postulates, that the prosecution has failed to prove the
value of the stolen properties and, for lack of evidence thereon, the civil liability therefor as adjudged by the
court below may not be sustained. It is true that the evidence presented thereon consisted of the testimony of
the investigator, Abner Castro, who based his evaluation on the report to him by Ernesto Buenvinida. These
are legal aspects worth discussing for future guidance.
While it is claimed that hearsay testimony was involved, it is actually and not necessarily so. The rule that
hearsay evidence has no probative value does not apply here, since SPO4 Abner Castro was presented as a
witness and testified on two occasions, during which he explained how the value of the stolen properties was
arrived at for purposes of the criminal prosecution. During his testimony on his investigation report and the
affidavit of Ernesto Buenvinida on the amounts involved, appellant had all the opportunity to cross-examine
him on the correctness thereof; and it was this opportunity to cross-examine which negates the claim that the
matters testified to by the witness are hearsay. And, said documents having been admitted as part of
testimony of the policeman, they shall accordingly be given the same weight as that to which his testimony
may be entitled.
Again, even under the rule on opinions of ordinary witnesses, the value of the stolen items was established. It
is a standing doctrine that the opinion of a witness is admissible in evidence on ordinary matters known to all
men of common perception, such as the value of ordinary household articles.lxxx[31] Here, the witness is not
just an ordinary witness, but virtually an expert, since his work as an investigator of crimes against property
has given him both the exposure to and experience in fixing the current value of such ordinary articles subject
of the crime at bar. Incidentally, it is significant that appellant never dared to cross-examine on the points
involved, which opportunity to cross-examine takes the testimony of Castro out of the hearsay rule, while the
lack of objection to the value placed by Castro bolsters his testimony under the cited exception to the opinion
rule.
Also not to be overlooked is the fact that the trial court has the power to take judicial notice, in this case of the
value of the stolen goods, because these are matter of public knowledge or are capable of unquestionable
demonstration.lxxxi[32] The lower court may, as it obviously did, take such judicial notice motu
proprio.lxxxii[33] Judicial cognizance, which is based on considerations of expediency and convenience,
displace evidence since, being equivalent to proof, it fulfills the object which the evidence is intended to
achieve.lxxxiii[34] Surely, matters like the value of the appliances, canned goods and perfume (especially since
the trial court was presided by a lady judge) are undeniably within public knowledge and easily capable of
unquestionable demonstration.
Finally, as a matter of law and not on the excuse that after all appellant cannot satisfy his civil liability, the real
value of the asported properties would nonetheless be irrelevant to the criminal liability of appellant. Insofar as
the component crime of robbery is concerned, the same was committed through violence against or
intimidation of persons, and not through force upon things, hence the value of the property subject of the crime
is immaterial.lxxxiv[35] The special complex crime of robbery with rape has, therefore, been committed by the
felonious acts of appellant and his cohorts, with all acts of rape on that occasion being integrated in one
composite crime. The value of the objects of the apoderamiento relates only to the civil aspect, which we have
already resolved.
One final complementary disposition is called for. Victim Glorivic Bandayanon was subjected by appellant and
his co-conspirators to multiple rape, and under humiliating circumstances equivalent to augmented ignominy
since she was abused by the three accused successively and virtually in the presence of one after the other.
The award of P30,000.00 for moral damages made by the court below should accordingly be amended.
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED in full, with the sole
MODIFICATION that the damages awarded to the offended party, Glorivic Bandayanon, is hereby increased to
P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-54886 September 10, 1981
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (Special Second Division), COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF
BULACAN, TURANDOT, TRAVIATA, MARCELITA, MARLENE, PACITA, MATTHEW, VICTORIA and
ROSARY, all surnamed ALDABA, respondents.

MAKASIAR, J .:
Petitioner, through this petition for review by certiorari, seeks to annul and set aside the respondent Court of
Appeals' April 29, 1980 decision and August 15, 1980 resolution in CA G.R. No. 10081-SP, entitled "Republic
of the Philippines versus Hon. Roque Tamayo, et al. " a special action for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus sustaining the lower court's action in dismissing petitioner's appeal as not having been perfected
on time.
The root case is an expropriation proceedings initiated by the petitioner over a 15,000 square meter lot of
private respondents situated in Barrio Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan, docketed in the lower court as Civil Case No.
525, entitled " Republic of the Philippines vs. Turandot Aldaba, et al. " The subject parcel of land is needed by
the petitioner to set up a permanent site for the Bulacan Area Shop, Bureau of Equipment, Department of
Public Highways, a public purpose authorized by law to be undertaken by the Ministry of Public Highways. On
March 2, 1978, the lower court issued a writ of possession placing the petitioner in possession of the land in
question, upon its deposit of the amount of P7,200.00 as provisional value. On March 31, 1978, counsel for
private respondents filed a motion praying for the creation of a three (3)- man committee in accordance with
Section 5, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, to study and submit a report as to the just and reasonable
compensation for the parcel of land subject of expropriation. On July 31, 1978, the lower court issued an order
naming the chairman and members of the committee of three. On November 17. 1978, the three-man
committee submitted a joint report to the lower court, recommending that the just compensation of the
expropriated land be fixed at P50.00 per square meter. In this petition, the Solicitor General claims that he was
not served copies of the aforementioned March 31, 1978 motion of private respondents, July 31, 1978 order of
the respondent lower court and the November 17, 1978 report of the three-man committee. The records reveal
that the Solicitor General authorized the provincial fiscal of Bulacan to represent him in that proceedings (pp.
11-12, C.A. rec.). Parenthetically, private respondents in their comment to this petition, alleged "that the
Provincial Fiscal, being duly authorized by the office of the Solicitor General to represent the latter in this case,
the court merely furnished the office of the Provincial Fiscal with all the pleadings and other papers of the
case,, (p. 53, rec.).
On December 18, 1978, the Solicitor General received a copy of the lower court's order dated December 8,
1978. The order reads in part:
The joint report filed by the three-man committee charged with the determination of the just
compensation of the property herein sought to be condemned is hereby APPROVED, such that
the just compensation of the land described in Paragraph 11 of the Complaint is fixed at Thirty
Pesos (P30.00) per square meter.
The defendant may now withdraw from the Philippine National Bank, Malolos, Branch, the sum
of P7,200.00 deposited by the Third Regional Equipment Services, Department of Public
Highways under Account No, 35109, said sum to be part of the total amount of P450,000.00
(15,000 square meters at P30.00 per square meter), which the Department of Public Highways,
Third Regional Equipment Services, Malolos, Bulacan, shall, and is hereby ordered, to pay to
the herein defendants as just compensation for the subject property.
On December 22, 1978, the Solicitor General filed through the mail a notice of appeal as well as a first motion
for extension of time of 30 days from January 17, 1979 within which to file record on appeal. The extension
sought for was granted by the lower court in its order dated January 17, 1979.
On February 13, 1979, the lower court, acting upon petitioner's manifestation filed on January 9, 1979 and
motion filed on February 8, 1979, allowed the Solicitor General to borrow the records of the expropriation case
"under proper receipt, the Clerk of Court taking the necessary steps to index and number the pages thereof
and to ensure its integrity; and granted a second extension of thirty (30) days from February 17, 1979, within
which to file the record on appeal of the Republic of the Philippines" (p. 79, C.A. rec.).
Again, on March 22, 1979, the lower court granted petitioner's third motion for an extension of thirty (30) days
from March 19, 1979 within which to file its record on appeal (p. 80, C.A. rec.).
Subsequently, the lower court, in an order dated April 24, 1980, acted favorably upon petitioner's motion for a
fourth extension of thirty (30) days from April 19, 1979 within which to file its record on appeal and petitioner's
request that the records of the expropriation case be forwarded to the Solicitor General (p. 81, C.A. rec.).
In a motion dated May 17, 1979, the petitioner, invoking heavy pressure of work, asked for a fifth extension of
thirty (30) days from May 18, 1979 or until June 17, 1979, within which to file its record on appeal (pp. 82-83,
C.A. rec.).
On June 7, 1979, when its motion for a fifth extension has not yet been acted upon by the lower court,
petitioner filed its record on appeal (p. 13, rec.).
On June 15, 1979, eight (8) days after petitioner had filed its record on appeal, private respondents filed an
opposition to the aforesaid fifth motion for extension (pp. 85-87, C.A. rec.), and an objection to petitioner's
record on appeal (pp. 88-89, C.A. rec.), on the ground that the same was filed beyond the reglementary period,
because petitioner's motion dated May 17, 1979 for extension to file record on appeal was mailed only on May
21, 1979 (pp. 13-14, rec.).
On June 27, 1979, petitioner filed its opposition to the aforesaid objection to its record on appeal, contending
that the said May 17, 1979 motion for extension of time was actually mailed on May 18, 1979, which was the
last day of the extended period allowed by the lower court's order of April 24, 1979 (p. 14, rec.).
In an order dated August 13, 1979 but received by the Solicitor General only on September 10, 1979, the lower
court dismissed the appeal of petitioner on the ground that the fifth motion for extension of time dated May
17,1979 within which to file the record on appeal and the record on appeal were filed out of time. The lower
court found that the said fifth motion for extension of time was actually mailed on May 21, 1979 and not on May
18, 1979 as claimed by petitioner (pp. 14, 34-35, rec.). The order of dismissal reads:
Upon consideration of the approval of the record on appeal filed by the Republic and acting on
the manifestation filed on July 25, 1979 by the defendants thru counsel, the Court finds no merit
in the same.
The last motion of the Office of the Solicitor General for extension of time to file record on
appeal was on May 17, 1979, seeking for an additional extension of thirty (30) days from April
18, 1979.
The thirty-day period requested by the Solicitor General from May 18, 1979 therefore expired on
June 17, 1979. But this last request for extension was not acted upon by the court. The
Republic of the Philippines had therefore only up to May 17, 1979, within which to file record on
appeal. The record on appeal was filed only on June 11, 1979 (should be June 7), which is well
beyond the period to file record on appeal Moreover, the last motion for extension which was
not acted upon by the Court had only been filed on May 21, 1979 as shown by the stamp of the
Manila Post Office, the date of the mailing which should be reckoned with in computing periods
of mailed pleadings, and received by the Court on June 22, 1979. Both the motion for extension
filed on May 21, 1979 and the record on appeal filed on June 11, 1979 (should be June 7), have
therefore been filed beyond the reglementary period of 30 days from April 18, 1979, or up to
May 18,1979.
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 34-35, rec.).
On October 4, 1979, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration claiming that "l) there is merit in plaintiff's
appeal from tills Honorable Court's order of December 8, 1978, a copy of which was received on December 18,
1978; 2) plaintiff's May 17, 1979 motion for 30 days extension from May 17, 1979 to file Record on Appeal,
was actually filed on May 18, 1919; and 3) the Honorable Court denied plaintiff's appeal without first resolving
plaintiff's motion for a 30-day extension, from May 18, 1979 to file Record on Appeal" (pp. 14-15, rec.; pp. 52-
66, C.A. rec.). Relative to the timeliness of the filing of its fifth motion for extension of time, petitioner submitted
a certification of the Postmaster of the Central Office of the Bureau of Posts, Manila, that registered letter No.
3273 containing the aforesaid motion addressed to the Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Malolos,
Bulacan ... was received by this Office late Friday afternoon, May 18, 1979. The letter was not included in the
only morning dispatch of May 19 to Bulacan and was dispatched May 21, 1979, Monday (May 20, being a
Sunday) under the Manila Malolos Bill No. 202, page 1, line 15" (p. 66, C.A. rec.).
On the merits of the dismissed appeal, petitioner stressed that the creation of a three-man committee to fix the
just compensation of the expropriated lot was without legal basis, because Section 5, Rule 6 of the Rules of
Court upon which the same was anchored had already been repealed by the provisions of Presidential Decree
No. 76 which took effect on December 6, 1972 under which the court has no alternative but to base the just
compensation of expropriated property upon the current and fair market value declared by the owner or
administrator. or such market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower.
On October 31, 1979, the lower court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration for lack of merit (pp. 36-40,
rec.; pp. 2832, C.A. rec.), thus:
The grounds advanced by the plaintiff Republic of the Philippines have been fully taken into
account by the Court in its order of August 13, 1979, particularly the late filing of the record on
appeal. Plaintiff's counsel should not have assumed that the motion for extension of the period
for filing of the record on appeal would be granted.
The plaintiff's counsel's belief that their May 17, 1979 motion would be granted cannot be the
basis for the plaintiff to be absolved of the effect of late filing of the record on appeal considering
that the Court had liberally extended for five times *, each for thirty (30) days, the filing of said
record. This Court considers said extensions as sufficient time for the counsel for plaintiff to
prepare its record on appeal. Plaintiff's counsel, with all the resources it has to protect its client's
interests, should have been vigilant enough not to assume and should not expect that their
motion for extension would be granted. It is not correct therefore that only three days had
elapsed after the reglementary period to perfect appeal because the reglementary period ended
not on June 17, 1979, but on May 17, 1979, because the last motion for extension was not
granted by the Court.
The Court deplores the insinuation of plaintiff's counsel that it took hook, line and sinker,
defendant's allegation about the fact of mailing. I t has carefully gone over the record and found
that the date of mailing of the motion for extension is May 21, 1979, as shown by the stamp
'Registered, Manila, Philippines, May 1, 1979 appearing on the covering envelope containing
the motion for extension. Therefore, the explanation contained in Annex B of the motion for
reconsideration to the effect that registered Letter No. 3273, addressed to the Clerk of Court,
Court of First Instance of Malolos, Bulacan, was received by the Manila Post Office late Friday
afternoon, May 18, 1979, but was not included in the "only" morning dispatch of May 19 to
Bulacan and was dispatched May 21, 1979, Monday (May 20 being a Sunday), under the
ManilaMalolos Bill No. 202, page 1, line 15', can not overturn the fact of date of actual mailing
which is May 21, 1979, because it is of judicial knowledge that a registered letter when posted is
immediately stamped with the date of its receipt, indicating therein the number of the registry,
both on the covering envelope itself and on the receipt delivered to the person who delivered
the letter to the post office. The letter Annex B of the motion therefore lacks sufficient weight
and persuasiveness to prove the fact that the letter asking for another extension was actually
filed on May 18, 1979, and not May 21, 1979.
Regarding the creation of a three-man committee which according to plaintiff the Court sorely
lacked the prerogative to create pursuant to Sec. 5, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court because it
has been superseded by the provisions of PD 76 which definitely fixed the guidelines for the
determination of just compensation of private property acquired by the State for public use, the
Court had to resort to this old method of determining fair market value, which is defined as:
The "current and fair market value" shall be understood to mean the "price of
which a willing seller would sell and a willing buyer would buy neither being under
abnormal pressure", because, firstly; the plaintiff failed to show evidence thereof
as declared by the owner or administrator of the property under the provisions of
PD 76, or the valuation or assessment of the value as determined by the
assessor, whichever is lower. Hence, for all intents and purposes, the findings of
the three-man committee have become the basis of the evaluation, Paragraph Ill
of the complaint notwithstanding, because allegation in the complaint, unless
proved, are not binding as evidence.
Presidential Decree No. 42, from its very caption, which reads:
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 42 AUTHORIZING THE PLAINTIFF IN EMINENT
DOMAIN PROCEEDINGS TO TAKE POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY
INVOLVED UPON DEPOSITING THE ASSESSED VALUE FOR PURPOSES
OF TAXATION
does not fix the value of the property to be expropriated, but rather for the purpose of taking
possession of the property involved, the assessed value for purposes of taxation is required to
be deposited in the Philippine National Bank or any of its branches or agencies. This is borne
out by the first Whereas of the decree which finds the existing procedure for the exercise of the
right of eminent domain not expeditious enough to enable the plaintiff to take or enter upon the
possession of the real property involved, when needed for public purposes. The second
Whereas states that the measure is in the national interest in order to effect the desired
changes and reforms to create a new society and economic order for the benefit of the country
and its people.
The body of the law does not specify the valuation of the property, but rather the method by
which seizure of the property could be done immediately, and that is by the act of depositing
with the Philippine National Bank, in its main office or any of its branches or agencies, an
amount equivalent to the assessed value of the property for purposes of taxation, to be held by
said bank subject to the orders and final disposition of the Court.
Only in this respect are the provisions of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court and or any other existing
law contrary to or inconsistent therewith repealed. If at an, the decree, PD 42, fixes only a
provisional value of the property which does not necessarily represent the true and correct value
of the land as defined in PD 76. It is only provisional or tentative to serve as the basis for the
immediate occupancy of the property being expropriated by the condemnor. This is in line with
the recent decision of the Honorable Supreme Court promulgated on October 18, 1979, in the
case of the Municipality of Daet, Petitioner, vs. Court of Appeals and Li Seng Giap & Co., Inc.,
Respondents, G.R. No. L-45861, which states in part:
..., it can already be gleaned that said decree fixes only the provisional value of
the property. As a provisional value, it does not necessarily represent the true
and correct value of the land. The value is only "provisional" or "tentative" to
serve as the basis for the immediate occupancy of the property being
expropriated by the condemnor.
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 28-32, rec.).
Dissatisfied with the aforesaid orders of the lower court, petitioner on December 3, 1979 filed with the
respondent Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction in
CA-G.R. No. 10081-Sp, entitled: Republic of the Philippines versus Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch
VI, presided over by Hon. Roque Tamayo, et al., whereby it prayed that: 1) This petition be given due course;
2) A writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary retraining order be issued ex-parte restraining respondent
court from executing, enforcing and/or implementing its Order dated December 8, 1978, ... and its orders dated
August 13, 1979 and October 31, 1979 ...; 3) After hearing on the merits, judgment be rendered: [a] annulling
and setting aside respondent court's Orders of August 13, 1979 ... : [b] Directing and compelling respondent
court to allow and approve petitioner's record on appeal and to certify and elevate the same to this Honorable
Court; [c] Declaring the writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order herein prayed for to be made
permanent and perpetual" and for such other relief as the Court may deem just and equitable in the premises.
On December 14, 1979, respondent Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order to maintain the
status quo, and required private respondents to file their comment (pp. 67-68, C.A. rec.).
On January 2, 1980, private respondents filed the required comment (pp. 69-91, C.A. rec.).
On April 29, 1980, respondent Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner's action and set aside its December 14,
1979 restraining order. The respondent Court of Appeals ruled that "A review of the whole record convinces Us
that the challenged orders are not a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as to constitute a grave
abuse of discretion ..." (pp. 44-45, rec.). The Solicitor General received a copy of the aforesaid decision on
May 19, 1980.
On May 30, 1980, the Solicitor General sought a thirty-day extension from June 3, 1980 within which to file a
motion for reconsideration (pp. 106-107, C.A. rec.).
On June 20, 1980, the respondent Court of Appeals granted the extension sought (p. 108, C.A. rec.).
On June 23, 1980, the Solicitor General filed his motion for reconsideration on the ground that, "The Honorable
Court of Appeals was misled by private respondents' counsel in holding that petitioner's motion for extension of
time to file record on appeal dated May 17, 1979 ... was filed on May 21, 1979, not on May 18, 1979 (which
was the last day within which to file petitioner's record on appeal); hence, this Honorable Court was not correct
in ARRIVING AT THE CONCLUSION THAT PETITIONER'S AFORESAID MOTION FOR EXTENSION was
filed beyond the reglementary period" (pp. 109-118, C.A. rec.). Petitioner also moved to set the case for oral
argument (p. 119, C.A. rec.). Petitioner vehemently insisted as it did in the main action (pp. 10-12, C.A. rec.),
that it is erroneous to conclude that its
... motion for extension dated May 17, 1979 ... was filed on May 21, 1979 and not on May 18,
1979 which is the last day of the extended period fixed by respondent court for petitioner to file
its record on appeal. It is submitted that the motion for extension dated May 17, 1979 ... was
actually filed on May 18,1979 as there is incontrovertible proof that the same was in fact mailed
on May 18, 1979 via registered mail (Registry Letter 3273) at the Manila Central Office of the
Bureau of Posts. A letter dated September 26, 1979 of Delfin Celis, postmaster of Central Post
Office, Manila, to the Chief of the Records Section of the Office of the Solicitor General shows
that the envelope containing the May 17, 1979 motion was received by the Post Office of Manila
on May 17, 1979. Said letter states:
In compliance to your request in your letter dated September 20, 1979 in
connection with registered letter No. 3273 addressed to the Clerk of Court, Court
of First Instance Malolos, Bulacan, please be informed that it was received by
this Office late Friday afternoon, May 18, 1979. The letter was not included in the
only morning dispatch of May 19 to Bulacan and was dispatched May 21, 19719,
Monday (May 20, being a Sunday) under the Manila- Malolos Bill No. 202, page
1, line 15.
Thus, it is conceded that the envelope containing the registered letter of petitioner's motion for
extension to file record on appeal dated May 17, 1979 has on its face the date May 21, 1979
stamped thereon ... . If the aforesaid proof of mailing presented by private respondent is taken
into account solely without taking into consideration the letter of postmaster Delfin Celis dated
September 25, 1979 ... , then it could be said that petitioner's motion for extension to file record
on appeal dated May 17, 1979 was filed out of time. However, the certification of the Postmaster
stating that the letter was actually received in the Post Office on May 18, 1979 conclusively
shows that such date is the date of mailing, and the date May 21, was thus wrongly stamped
thereon by an employee of the Post Office. Petitioner should not be blamed for the mistake
committed by the personnel of the Post Office of stamping May 21, 1979 on the envelope of
said Registered Letter No. 3273. Petitioner's counsel had nothing to do with the aforesaid
mistake that had been committed by the personnel of the Post Office.
In resume it can be said with certainty that the records of the Office of the Solicitor General and
the Post Office of Manila clearly show that the petitioner's motion for extension dated May 17,
1979 was seasonably filed on May 18, 1979 as the latter was actually the date of its mailing and
therefore said date should be deemed as the actual date of its filing before respondent court.
At this juncture, it may be stated that undersigned counsel were constrained to seek extension
to file record on appeal because of the pressure of work and their need to borrow the records of
the case from the trial court. Thus, as early as January 9, 19-i 9, they were borrowing the
expediente of the case so as to enable them to prepare an accurate record on appeal. Petitioner
in its motion and manifestation of January 9, 1979 stated why it wanted to borrow the
expediente of the case at bar, as follows:
3. The records of the undersigned counsel may not be complete as it had
authorized the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan to appear in the hearings before this
honorable Court, thus it is possible that the Office of the Solicitor General may
not have been furnished copies of Orders of this honorable Court, as well as
pleadings that may have been furnished the provincial Fiscal of Bulacan.
4. This being the case, undersigned counsel can not prepare an accurate and
concise record on appeal, hence it is necessary that the records of the case be
lent to the undersigned counsel pursuant to Sec. 14, Rule 1:36, of the Revised
Rules of Court' (pp. 6-7 Motion for Reconsideration [in the CFI of Bulacan]; see
pp. 52, 57-58, C.A. rec.),
On April 10, 1979, undersigned counsel reiterated their desire to borrow said expediente but it
was not until May 3, 1979 that the expediente of the case consisting of 164 pages were
received by the Docket Section of the Office of the Solicitor General. It was only on May 16,
1979 that said expediente were delivered to undersigned Solicitor, thus compelling him to
prepare the May 17, 1979 motion. And for the same reasons, it was only on June 7, 1979 that
the record on appeal was filed, which was well within the 30 days extension from May 18, 1979
prayed for in petitioner's motion of May 17, 1979.
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 109-113, C.A. rec.).
On July 14, 1980, respondent Court of Appeals resolved to require private respondents to comment on the
motion for reconsideration within ten (10) days from receipt of the resolution (p. 12 1, C.A. rec.).
Earlier, however, or on July 8, 1980, private respondents mailed their opposition to the motion for
reconsideration and their waiver to appear for oral argument (pp. 122-123, C.A. rec.), Both were received by
the Court of Appeals on July 14, 1980, the very day the resolution requiring private respondents to comment
on the motion for reconsideration, was released by the Court of Appeals. In the petition before this Court, the
Solicitor General laments the fact that no copies of the aforesaid pleadings of the private respondents were
ever served on and received by him (p. 18, rec.). Indeed, said pleadings of the private respondents do not
show nor indicate that copies thereof were served on the Solicitor General (pp. 121-123, C.A. rec.).
In the aforesaid opposition of private respondents, they claimed that
The undersigned counsel merely stated that the date of filing the fifth motion for extension to file
record on appeal by the office of the Solicitor General was on May 21, 1979, as shown on the
envelope bearing the stamp of the Manila Post Office, which clearly reads 'May 21, 1979 and
the undersigned counsel brought to the attention of the lower court that the date of filing of this
fifth extension was the date shown when the mailing was made as stamped on the envelope.
That there can be no other date than the date stamped on the envelope made by the Manila
Post Office when the fifth request for extension of filing the record on appeal was mailed. This
fact of the date of mailing, May 21, 1979, was stamped on the envelope.
The office of the Solicitor General further alleged:
If ... taken into account solely without taking into consideration the letter of the
Post Master Delfin Cells, dated September 25, 1979 x x, then it could be said
that petitioner's motion for extension to file record on appeal, dated May 17,
1979, was filed out of time.
From the above statement of the Office of the Solicitor General there can never be any abuse in
the exercise of judgment as to constitute a grave abuse of discretion. the lower court chose to
rely on the date stamped on the envelope by the Manila Post Office rather than considering as
paramount a mere letter from the Manila Post Office employee, Delfin Cells.
xxx xxx xxx
If we are to believe that the stamped date, May 21, 1979, was wrongly stamped by an employee
of the Manila Post Office, then thousands of mails received and or mailed on that date were all
wrongly stamped. How can the lower court believe that the date May 21, 1979, was merely
erroneously stamped on the envelope? The lower court's finding of facts on this regard, must
also be sustained.
The other reason given by the Office of the Solicitor General was that they have asked for the
complete record of the case but that it was only forwarded to their office sometime on May 3,
1979.
The record of the case cannot be easily forwarded to the Solicitor General because there was
the case of motion for intervention filed in connection with the case.
The failure on the part of the court to immediately comply with the request of the office of the
Solicitor General cannot be a justifying reason for failure to comply with the rules of court and of
the order of filing the record on appeal within the reglementary period, or time given by the
court.
The office of the Solicitor General gave the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan the power to handle the
case for (them) and the office of the Provincial Fiscal was furnished with all pleadings, orders
and other papers of the case. The record therefore of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal can
easily be available to them. Besides no less than five (5) extensions of time had been requested
and the last one was not acted upon by the Court and yet the Office of the Solicitor General filed
the Record on Appeal only on June 17, 1979 should be June 7, 1979), which is far beyond the
reglementary period which was May 17, 1979 (should be May 18, 1979).
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 123-125, C.A. rec.).
On August 15, 1980, respondent Court of Appeals issued a resolution denying the motion for reconsideration,
thus:
Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration dated June 23, 1980 filed by the Solicitor General and
the opposition thereto filed on July 8, 1980 by the respondents and considering that the said
motion does not cite new matters which have not been considered in the decision promulgated
on April 29, 1980, the said motion is hereby denied.
Petitioner's Motion to Set Case for Oral Argument' dated June 23, 1980 is likewise DENIED.
Aforesaid resolution was received by the Solicitor General on August 20, 1980.
Hence, this recourse.
Petition was filed on October 24, 1980; two extensions of time of thirty (30) days each having been previously
asked by and granted to petitioner Republic of the Philippines.
On October 29, 1980, WE resolved to require respondents to comment on the petition within ten (10) days
from notice of the resolution and at the same time issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents
from executing, enforcing and/or implementing the decision dated April 28, 1980 issued in CA G.R. No. SP-
10081, entitled "Republic of the Philippines, Petitioner, versus Hon. Roque Tamayo, etc., et al., Respondents"
of the Court of Appeals, and the Order dated December 8, 1978 issued in Civil Case No. 5257-M, entitled
"Republic of the Philippines. Plaintiff, versus Turandot Aldaba, et al., Defendants" of the Court of First Instance
of Bulacan, Branch VI at Malolos, Bulacan, (pp. 49-51, rec.).
On November 14, 1980, private respondents filed their comment to the petition contending that no abuse of
discretion or act in excess of jurisdiction exists as to require a review by this honorable Court (pp. 52-64, rec.).
On November 24, 1980, WE resolved to give due course to the petition and to declare the case submitted for
decision (p. 65, rec.).
But on December 22, 1980, private respondent filed a motion, praying for the outright dismissal of the instant
petition on the main ground that the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals sought to be reviewed has
already become final and executors hence, unappealable, because this petition was filed out of time as the
petitioner's motion for reconsideration iii the Court of Appeals was pro forma (pp. 66-67, rec.).
The main issue to be resolved in this case is whether or not respondent Court of Appeals itself committed a
grave abuse of discretion in not finding that the respondent trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion in
dismissing petitioner's appeal. The questioned orders should be set aside.
I. It must be underscored that the basic provisions of the Rules of Court basis of the dismissal of the
petitioner's appeal by the Court of First Instance of Bulacan as sustained by the respondent Court of Appeals
are Section 13, Rule 41; Where the notice of appeal, appeal bond or record on appeal are not filed within the
period of time herein provided, the appeal shall be dismissed; and Section 14, Rule 41; A motion to dismiss an
appeal on any of the grounds mentioned in the preceding section may be filed in the Court of First Instance
prior to the transmittal of the record to the appellate court.
The Court of First Instance of Bulacan dismissed herein petitioner's appeal on the bases of the foregoing
provision upon its finding that the record on appeal of petitioner was filed out of time as it was filed only on
June 7, 1979 or twenty (20) days after May 18, 1979, the last day of the appeal period s extended petitioner
fifth extension of time of thirty days from May 18, 1979, not having been favorably acted upon by the Court of
First Instance of Bulacan upon its finding that the same was also filed late or three days after the last day of the
extended appeal period. The implication of the questioned orders of the Court of First Instance is that since the
fifth extension of time was filed out of time, no action may be taken thereon by it; hence, petitioner Republic
had only up to May 18, 1979 within which to file the record on appeal. Consequently, the filing thereof only on
June 7, 1979 was too late.
The petitioner, however, herein contends as it did before the Court of First Instance of Bulacan and before the
respondent Court of Appeals, that its fifth extension of time was actually filed on May 18, 1979, not on May 21,
1979 as found out by the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeals and in support thereof, pointed to the
certification of the postmaster of the Central Office of the Bureau of Posts, dated September 25, 1949 (P. 47,
rec.) to the effect that the said motion for extension of time as contained in registered mail No. 3273 addressed
to the Clerk of Court of First Instance of Bulacan (Malolos) ... was received by this office late Friday afternoon,
May 8, 1979. The letter was not included in the only morning dispatch of May 19, to Bulacan and was
dispatched May 21, 1979, Monday (May 20 being a Sunday) under the Manila-Malolos Bill No. 202 page 1, line
15."
But the Court of First Instance of Bulacan opined that said certification cannot override the prevailing practice
in post offices "that a registered letter when posted is immediately stamped with the date of its receipt,
indicating therein the number of the registry, both on the covering envelope itself and on the receipt delivered
to the person who delivered the letter to the office" of which it took judicial notice.
WE entertain grave doubts that the aforesaid post office practice is a proper subject of judicial notice.
Section 1 of Rule 129 on judicial notice provides that "The existence and territorial extent of states, their forms
of government and symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world
and their seals, the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative,
executive, and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, the
geographical divisions and political history of the world and all similar matters which are of public knowledge,
or are capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to judges because of their judicial
functions, shall be judicially recognized by the court without the introduction of proof; but the court may receive
evidence upon any of the subjects in this section stated, when it shag find it necessary for its own information,
and may resort for its aid to appropriate books or documents or reference."
Undoubtedly, the post office practice of which the Court of First Instance took judicial notice is not covered by
any of the specific instances cited above. Neither can it be classified under "matters which are of public
knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to judges because of their
judicial functions ... . " For a matter to be taken judicial notice of by the courts of law, it must be a subject of
common and general knowledge. In other words, Judicial notice of facts is measured by general knowledge of
the same facts. A fact is said to be generally recognized or known when its existence or operation is accepted
by the public without qualification or contention. The test is whether the 'act involved is so notoriously known as
to make it proper to assume its existence without proof. The fact that a belief is not universal, however, is not
controlling for it is very seldom that any belief is accepted by everyone. It is enough that the matters are
familiarly known to the majority of mankind or those persons f with the particular matter in question (20 Am Jur
49-50; Martin, Rules of Court 37, Second Edition). Furthermore, a matter may be personally known to the
judge and yet tot be a matter of judicial knowledge and vice versa, a matter may not be actually known to an
individual judge, and nevertheless be a proper subject of judicial cognizance.
The post office practice herein involved is not tested by the aforestated considerations, a proper matter of
judicial notice. Moreover, the certification issued by the very postmaster of the post office where the letter
containing the questioned motion for extension of time was posted, is a very clear manifestation that the said
post office practice is not of unquestionable demonstration. Indeed, the doctrine of judicial notice rests on the
wisdom and discretion of the courts. The power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by the courts with
caution; care must be taken that the requisite notoriety exists; and every reasonable doubts upon the subject
should be promptly resolved in the negative (31 CJS 522; Martin, Rules of Court 38, Second Edition).
It is therefore manifest from the foregoing that the Court of First Instance of Bulacan committed a palpable
error amounting to a grave abuse of discretion in relying on the alleged post office practice aforementioned
over the uncontroverted certification of the postmaster earlier referred to. That being so, the dismissal of
petitioner's appeal therefore lacks factual basis. It should have acted on petitioner's fifth motion for extension of
time which WE find to have been filed on time.
The records reveal that a favorable action on the aforesaid fifth motion for extension of time is warranted by the
following circumstances: (1) the record on appeal was filed by petitioner even before the lower court could
consider the questioned motion for extension of time; and private respondents objected to the said motion only
after petitioner had filed the record on appeal; (2) the order of the lower court granting the fourth extension of
time did not contain any caveat that no further extension shall be allowed; (3) the fact that the CFI records of
the case were sent to the Solicitor General only on May 3, 1979 and ostensibly handed to the Solicitor
assigned to the case only on May .16, 1979 or barely two (2) days before the expiration of the extended appeal
period; and (4) pressure of work in the undermanned Office of the Solicitor General who is the counsel of the
National Government and all other governmental agencies and instrumentalities; and (5) and the
unconscionable amount of P450,000.00 for a parcel of 1.5 hectares situated in a barrio of Malolos, Bulacan,
with only a provisional value of P7,200.00 obviously based upon its assessed value appearing on its tax
declaration. No sugar, rice or coconut land of only 15,000 square meters could command such a fabulous
price.
WE therefore rule that the respondent Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in affirming the disputed
orders of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan.
II. But even assuming that the motion for extension to file record on appeal dated May 17, 1979 was filed not
on May 18, 1979 but on May 21, 1979 as claimed by private respondents, which is a delay of only one (1)
working day, May 19 and 20 being Saturday and Sunday, respectively, that circumstance alone would not
justify the outright dismissal of the appeal of petitioner Republic of the Philippines, especially so in the light of
the undisputed fact that petitioner had already filed with the lower court the record on appeal at the time the
questioned dismissal order was issued by the lower court. For, as ruled in one case, "... the delay of four days
in filing a notice of appeal and a motion for an extension of time to file a record on appeal can be excused on
the basis of equity and considering that the record on appeal is now with the respondent judge. ( Ramos vs.
Bagasao, et al., G.R. No. 51552, February 28, 1980, Second Division; emphasis supplied). Moreover, WE
have already liberalized in a number of cases the jurisprudence on the matter of perfection of appeals. For
one, in De Las Alas vs. Court of Appeals (83 SCRA 200-216 [19781), WE ruled that:
... litigation should, as much as possible, be decided on their merits and not on technicality, and
under the circumstances obtaining in this case, We said in the case of Gregorio vs. Court of
Appeals (L-4351 1, July 23, 1976, 72 SCRA 120, 126), thus:
... Dismissal of appeals purely on technical grounds is frowned upon where the
policy of the courts is to encourage hearing of appeals on their merits. The rules
of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense; rules of
procedure are used only to help secure, not override, substantial justice. If a
technical and rigid enforcement of the rules is made, their aim would be
defeated.
xxx xxx xxx
III. Moreover, a special circumstance which is the subject of one of the main issues raised by petitioner in its
appeal warrants US to exercise once more OUR exclusive prerogative to suspend OUR own rules or to
exempt a particular case from its operation as in the recent case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of
Appeals, et al. (83 SCRA 459, 478-480 119781), thus: ... The Rules have been drafted with the primary
objective of enhancing fair trials and expediting justice. As a corollary, if their application and operation tend to
subvert and defeat instead of promote and enhance it, their suspension is justified. In the words of Justice
Antonio P. Barredo in his concurring opinion in Estrada vs. Sto. Domingo, '(T)his Court, through the revered
and eminent Mr. Justice Abad Santos, found occasion in the case of C. Viuda de Ordoverza v. Raymundo, to
lay down for recognition in holding that ' "it is always in the power of the court (Supreme Court) to suspend its
own rules or to except a particular case from its operation whenever the purposes of justice require it . . . . .' "
(Emphasis supplied). As emphasized by the Solicitor General, if the questioned orders are not annulled and
set aside, its enforcement and implementation will result to the prejudice of, and irreparable injury to, public
interest." This is so because the Government would lose its opportunity to assail the order of the lower court
dated December 8, 1978, the dispositive portion of which reads, as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
The joint report filed by the three-man committee charged with the determination of the just
compensation of the property herein sought to be condemned is hereby approved, such that the
just compensation of the land described in Paragraph 11 of the Complaint is fixed at Thirty
Pesos (P30.00) per square meter.
The defendant may now withdraw from the Philippine National Bank, Malolos Branch, the sum
of P7,200.00 deposited by the Third Regional Equipment Services, Department of Public
Highways under Account No. 35109, said sum to be part of the total amount of P450,000.00
(15,000 square meters at P30.00 per square meter), which the Department of Public Highways,
Third Regional Equipment Services, Malolos, Bulacan, shall, and is hereby ordered, to pay to
the herein defendants as just compensation for the subject property.
SO ORDERED (pp. 3-4, Order dated December 8, 1978).
It must be stressed at this stage that the Government would lose no less than P425,000.00 if
the lower court's order of December 8, 1978 is not scrutinized on appeal. It must be stated that
the lower court was without jurisdiction to create a three-man committee because Sec. 5, Rule
67 of the Revised Rules of Court was repealed by P.D. 76 which took effect on December 6,
1972, the salient features of which read, as follows:
The "current and fair market value" shall be understood to mean the price of
which a willing seller would sell and a willing buyer would buy neither being under
abnormal pressure.
For purposes of just compensation in cases of private property acquired by the
government for public use, the basis shall be the current and fair market value
declared by the owner or administrator or such market value as determined by
the assessor, whichever is lower.
Thus, from December 6, 1972, the effectivity date of PD 76, the just compensation to be paid for
private property acquired by the government for public use is the current and fair market value
declared by the owner or administrator or such market value as determined by the Assessor
whichever is lower. Pursuant to said Decree, the government's obligation to private respondent
would only be P24,376.00. The lower court thus had no jurisdiction to fix an amount of just
compensation higher than P24,376.00. It follows therefore that the joint report submitted by the
three-man committee created by the lower court could not serve as a legal basis for the
determination of the just compensation of the property sought to be condemned.
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 19-21, rec.).
IV. With respect to the motion to dismiss filed on December 22, 1980 by private respondents, WE find no merit
therein. The contention of private respondents that the June 23, 1980 motion for reconsideration of petitioner
with the Court of Appeals was pro forma is belied by the results obtained in this petition before US.
WHEREFORE, PETITION IS HEREBY GRANTED; THE DECISION DATED APRIL 29, 1980 AND THE
RESOLUTION DATED AUGUST 15, 1980 OF THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ARE HEREBY
ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE; AND THE RESPONDENT COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF BULACAN IS
HEREBY DIRECTED TO APPROVE PETITIONER'S RECORD ON APPEAL AND TO ELEVATE THE SAME
TO THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. NO COST.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. Nos. 135695-96. October 12, 2000]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. TOMAS TUNDAG, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
QUISUMBING, J.:
For automatic review is the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 28, in Criminal
Cases Nos.DU-6186 and DU-6203, finding appellant Tomas Tundag guilty of two counts of incestuous rape
and sentencing him to death twice.
On November 18, 1997, private complainant Mary Ann Tundag filed with the Mandaue City Prosecutors Office
two separate complaints for incestuous rape. The first complaint, docketed as Criminal Case No. DU-6186,
alleged:
That on or about the 5th day of September, 1997, in the City of Mandaue, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the father of complainant MARY ANN
TUNDAG, who is a 13-year-old girl, with deliberate intent, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
have sexual intercourse with the said offended party against the latters will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.lxxxv[1]
The other, docketed as Criminal Case No. DU-6203, averred:
That on or about the 7th day of November, 1997, in the City of Mandaue, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the father of complainant MARY ANN TUNDAG,
who is a 13-year-old girl, with deliberate intent, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
sexual intercourse with the said offended party against the latters will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.lxxxvi[2]
Upon arraignment appellant, assisted by counsel de parte, pleaded Not Guilty to the charges.
The two cases were consolidated and a joint trial ensued.
Appellants defense was bare denial. He claimed that private complainant had fabricated the rape charges
against him since he and his daughter, had a quarrel when he accordingly reprimanded her for going out
whenever he was not at home.lxxxvii[3]
Appellant did not present any witness to reinforce his testimony.
On August 31, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision, thus:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, Joint Judgment is hereby rendered, to wit:
I. In Criminal Case No. DU-6186 -
a) Finding the herein accused TOMAS TUNDAG guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape,
said accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of death;
b) To indemnify the offended party Mary Ann Tundag the following amounts:
(1) P50,000.00 by reason of the commission of the offense of rape upon her; and
(2) Another P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217
and 2230 of the New Civil Code for the pain and moral shock suffered by her and for the commission of the
crime of rape with one qualifying aggravating circumstance; and
c) To pay the costs.
II. In Criminal Case No. DU-6203 -
a) Finding the herein accused TOMAS TUNDAG guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape,
said accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of death;
b) To indemnify the offended party Mary Ann Tundag the following amounts:
(1) P50,000.00 by reason of the commission of the offense of rape upon her; and
(2) Another P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217
and 2230 of the New Civil Code for the pain and moral shock suffered by her and for the commission of the
crime of rape with one qualifying aggravating circumstance; and
(3) To pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.lxxxviii[4]
In its judgment, the court below gave credence to complainants version of what accused did to her.
The evidence for the prosecution as adduced during the trial on the merits clearly shows that private
complainant Mary Ann Tundag is a 13 year old girl who does not know how to read and write and has an IQ of
76% which is a very low general mental ability and was living with her father, the herein accused, at Galaxy
Compound, Mandaue City.
x x x
That on September 5, 1997 at about 10:00 oclock in the evening, she was in the house together with her
father. But before she went to sleep, her father was already lying down on the mat while herself (sic) just lied
down at his head side which was not necessarily beside him. However, when she was already sleeping, she
noticed that her father who was already undressed was beside her and was embracing her. Then, he
undressed her which she resisted but her father used a knife and told her that he would kill her if she shouts
and after that, he inserted his penis into her vagina and told her not to shout or tell anyone. In effect, his penis
penetrated her genital, which made her vagina bleed and was very painful.
That when the penis of her father was already inserted in her vagina, her father was all the time asking by
saying (sic) : Does it feel good? And at the same time, he was laughing and further, told her that a woman
who does not marry can never enter heaven and he got angry with her when she contradicted his statement.
That while the penis of her father was inside her vagina and (he) was humping over her, she felt intense pain
that she cried and told him to pull it out but did not accede and in fact, said: Why will I pull it out when it feels
so good(?)
That after removing his penis from her vagina and after telling her that she could not go to heaven if she did
not get married, her father just stayed there and continued smoking while she cried.
That in the evening of November 7, 1997, she was at home washing the dishes while her father was just
smoking and squatting. That after she finished washing the dishes, she lied (sic) down to sleep when her father
embraced her and since she does not like what he did to her, she placed a stool between them but he just
brushed it aside and laid down with her and was able to take her womanhood again by using a very sharp knife
which he was holding and was pointing it at the right side of her neck which made her afraid.
That in the early morning of the following day, she left her fathers place and went to her neighbor by the name
of Bebie Cabahug and told her what had happened to her, who, in turn, advised her to report the matter to the
police, which she did and accompanied by the policemen, she went to the Southern Islands Hospital where
she was examined and after her medical examination, she was brought back by the police and was
investigated by them.lxxxix[5]
Appellants claim that the complainants charges were manufactured did not impress the trial court, which
found him twice guilty of rape. Now before us, appellant assails his double conviction, simply contending
that:xc[6]
THE TRIAL COURT HAS COMMITTED AN ERROR IN NOT ABSOLVING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF
THE CRIMES CHARGED IN THE INFORMATIONS DESPITE THE PRESENCE OF REASONABLE DOUBT
TO EXCULPATE HIM OF THE SAME.
Appellant flatly denies that the incidents complained of ever took place. He contends that on September 5,
1997, he was working as a watch repairman near Gals Bakery in Mandaue City Market and went home tired
and sleepy at around 11:00 oclock that evening. On November 7, 1997, he claims he was at work. In his brief,
he argues that it was impossible for him to have raped his daughter because when the incidents allegedly
transpired, he went to work and naturally, being exhausted and tired, it is impossible for him to do such
wrongdoings.xci[7]
The Office of the Solicitor General disagrees with appellant and urges the Court to affirm the trial courts
decision, with the recommendation that the award of damages and indemnity ex delicto be modified to conform
to prevailing jurisprudence.
Considering the gravity of the offense charged as a heinous crime and the irreversibility of the penalty of death
imposed in each of these cases before us, the Court leaves no stone unturned in its review of the records,
including the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense. Conviction must rest on nothing
less than a moral certainty of guilt.xcii[8] But here we find no room to disturb the trial courts judgment
concerning appellants guilt, because his defense is utterly untenable.
Appellants defense of alibi and denial is negative and self-serving. It hardly counts as a worthy and weighty
ground for exculpation in a trial involving his freedom and his life. Against the testimony of private complainant
who testified on affirmative matters,xciii[9] such defense is not only trite but pathetic. Denial is an inherently
weak defense, which becomes even weaker in the face of the positive identification by the victim of the
appellant as the violator of her honor.xciv[10] Indeed, we find that private complainant was unequivocal in
charging appellant with ravishing her. The victims account of the rapes complained of was straightforward,
detailed, and consistent.xcv[11] Her testimony never wavered even after it had been explained to her that her
father could be meted out the death penalty if found guilty by the court.xcvi[12]
In a prosecution for rape, the complainants credibility is the single most important issue.xcvii[13] The
determination of the credibility of witnesses is primarily the function of the trial court. The rationale for this is
that the trial court has the advantage of having observed at first hand the demeanor of the witnesses on the
stand and, therefore, is in a better position to form an accurate impression and conclusion.xcviii[14] Absent any
showing that certain facts of value have clearly been overlooked, which if considered could affect the result of
the case, or that the trial courts finding are clearly arbitrary, the conclusions reached by the court of origin
must be respected and the judgment rendered affirmed.xcix[15]
Moreover, we note here that private complainants testimony is corroborated by medical findings that
lacerations were present in her hymen. The examination conducted by Dr. Bessie Acebes upon the private
complainant yielded the following results:
Genitalia: grossly female
Pubic Hairs: scanty
Labia Majora: coaptated

Fourchette: U-shaped
Vestibule: pinkish
Hymen: + old healed laceration at 3 and 9 oclock position(s).
Orifice: admits 2 fingers with ease
Vagina:
Walls: pinkish
Ruganities: prominent
Uterus: small
Cervix: closed
Discharges: Mucoid, minimal
Smears:
Conclusions: sperm identification (-)
Gram staining of vaginal disc.c[16]
Dr. Acebes testified that her findings of healed hymenal lacerations in the complainants private parts meant a
history of sexual congress on her part.ci[17] According to her, the lacerations may have been caused by the
entry of an erect male organ into complainants genitals. The examining physician likewise pointed out that
previous coitus may be inferred from complainants U-shaped fourchette since the fourchette of a female who
has not yet experienced sexual intercourse is V-shaped.cii[18] While Dr. Acebes conceded under cross-
examination, that the existence of the datum U-shape(d) fourchette does not conclusively and absolutely
mean that there was sexual intercourse or contact because it can be caused by masturbation of fingers or
other things,ciii[19] nonetheless, the presence of the hymenal lacerations tends to support private
complainants claim that she was raped by appellant.
Appellant next contends that his daughter pressed the rape charges against him because she had quarreled
with him after he had castigated her for misbehavior. He stresses that the prosecution did not rebut his
testimony regarding his quarrel or misunderstanding with private complainant. He urges us to consider the
charges filed against him as the result of his frequent castigation of her delinquent behavior.civ[20]
Such allegation of a family feud, however, does not explain the charges away. Filing a case for incestuous
rape is of such a nature that a daughters accusation must be taken seriously. It goes against human
experience that a girl would fabricate a story which would drag herself as well as her family to a lifetime of
dishonor, unless that is the truth, for it is her natural instinct to protect her honor.cv[21] More so, where her
charges could mean the death of her own father, as in this case.
Appellant likewise points out that it was very unlikely for him to have committed the crimes imputed to him
considering that he and his wife had ten children to attend to and care for. This argument, however, is
impertinent and immaterial. Appellant was estranged from his wife, and private complainant was the only child
who lived with him.cvi[22] As pointed out by the Solicitor General, appellant was thus free to do as he wished
to satisfy his bestial lust on his daughter.cvii[23]
Nor does appellants assertion that private complainant has some psychological problems and a low IQ of 76 in
any way favor his defense. These matters did not affect the credibility of her testimony that appellant raped her
twice. We note that the victim understood the consequences of prosecuting the rape charges against her own
father, as shown by the following testimony of the victim on cross-examination:
Q : Were you informed that if, and when your father will be found guilty, your father will be sentenced to death?
A : Yes.
Q : Until now you wanted that your father will be sentenced by death?
A (Witness nodding.)
x x x
Q : I will inform you, Miss Witness, that you have filed two cases against your father and in case your father
would be found guilty, two death sentences will be imposed against him?
A: Yes.
Q: With that information, do you still want this case would proceed?
A: I want this to proceed.cviii[24]
Indeed, appellant is guilty. But is the penalty of death imposed on him correct?
Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659,cix[25]

penalizes rape of
a minor daughter by her father as qualified rapecx[26] and a heinous crime. In proving such felony, the
prosecution must allege and prove the elements of rape: (1) sexual congress; (2) with woman; (3) by force or
without her consentcxi[27] and in order to warrant the imposition of capital punishment, the additional elements
that: (4) the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape and (5) the offender is a parent of the
victim.cxii[28]
In this case, it was sufficiently alleged and proven that the offender was the victims father.cxiii[29] But the
victims age was not properly and sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt. She testified that she was
thirteen years old at the time of the rapes. However, she admitted that she did not know exactly when she was
born because her mother did not tell her. She further said that her birth certificate was likewise with her mother.
In her own words, the victim testified - cxiv[30]
COURT TO WITNESS
Q: When were you born?
A: I do not know.
Q: You do not know your birthday?
A: My mama did not tell me exactly when I asked her.
COURT: Proceed.
FISCAL PEREZ: For our failure to secure the Birth Certificate Your Honor, may we just request for judicial
notice that the victim here is below 18 years old.
ATTY. SURALTA: Admitted.
Judicial notice is the cognizance of certain facts which judges may properly take and act on without proof
because they already know them.cxv[31] Under the Rules of Court, judicial notice may either be mandatory or
discretionary. Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides when court shall take mandatory judicial
notice of facts -
SECTION 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. - A court shall take judicial notice without the introduction of
evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and
symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the
political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial
departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical divisions.
Section 2 of Rule 129 enumerates the instances when courts may take discretionary judicial notice of facts -
SEC. 2. Judicial notice, when discretionary. - A court may take judicial notice of matters which are of public
knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration or ought to be known to judges because of their
judicial functions.
Thus, it can be considered of public knowledge and judicially noticed that the scene of the rape is not always
nor necessarily isolated or secluded for lust is no respecter of time or place. The offense of rape can and has
been committed in places where people congregate, e.g. inside a house where there are occupants, a five (5)
meter room with five (5) people inside, or even in the same room which the victim is sharing with the accuseds
sister.cxvi[32]
The Court has likewise taken judicial notice of the Filipinas inbred modesty and shyness and her antipathy in
publicly airing acts which blemish her honor and virtue.cxvii[33]
On the other hand, matters which are capable of unquestionable demonstration pertain to fields of professional
and scientific knowledge. For example, in People v. Alicante,cxviii[34] the trial court took judicial notice of the
clinical records of the attending physicians concerning the birth of twin baby boys as premature since one of
the alleged rapes had occurred 6 to 7 months earlier.
As to matters which ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions, an example would be facts
which are ascertainable from the record of court proceedings, e.g. as to when court notices were received by a
party.
With respect to other matters not falling within the mandatory or discretionary judicial notice, the court can take
judicial notice of a fact pursuant to the procedure in Section 3 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court which requires
that -
SEC. 3. Judicial notice, when hearing necessary. - During the trial, the court, on its own initiative, or on request
of a party, may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard
thereon.
After the trial, and before judgment or on appeal, the proper court, on its own initiative or on request of a party,
may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a
material issue in the case.
In this case, judicial notice of the age of the victim is improper, despite the defense counsels admission,
thereof acceding to the prosecutions motion. As required by Section 3 of Rule 129, as to any other matters
such as age, a hearing is required before courts can take judicial notice of such fact. Generally, the age of the
victim may be proven by the birth or baptismal certificate of the victim, or in the absence thereof, upon showing
that said documents were lost or destroyed, by other documentary or oral evidence sufficient for the purpose.
Thus, in People v. Rebancos, 172 SCRA 426 (1989), the victim was below 12 and we found that the rape
committed was statutory rape. The mother testified that her daughter was born on October 26, 1974, and so
was only 9 years old at the time of the rape on February 12, 1984. Although no birth certificate was presented
because the victims birth had allegedly not been registered, her baptismal certificate was duly presented.
Hence, we ruled that the mothers testimony coupled with the presentation of the baptismal certificate was
sufficient to establish that the victim was below 12 at the time of the rape.
However, in People v. Vargas, 257 SCRA 603 (1996), we ruled that appellant can only be convicted of simple
rape, and not statutory rape, because of failure of the prosecution to prove the minority of the victim, who was
allegedly 10 years old at the time of the rape. The prosecution failed to present either the birth or baptismal
certificate of the victim. Also there was no showing that the said documents were lost or destroyed to justify
their non-presentation. We held that testimony of the victim and her aunt were hearsay, and that it was not
correct for the trial court to judge the age of the victim by her appearance.
In several recent cases, we have emphasized the need for independent proof of the age of the victim, aside
from testimonial evidence from the victim or her relatives. In People v. Javier,cxix[35] we stressed that the
prosecution must present independent proof of the age of the victim, even though it is not contested by the
defense. The minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. In
People v. Cula,cxx[36] we reiterated that it is the burden of the prosecution to prove with certainty the fact that
the victim was below 18 when the rape was committed in order to justify the imposition of the death penalty.
Since the record of the case was bereft of any independent evidence thereon, such as the victims duly
certified Certificate of Live Birth, accurately showing private complainants age, appellant could not be
convicted of rape in its qualified form. In People v. Veloso,cxxi[37] the victim was alleged to have been only 9
years of age at the time of the rape. It held that the trial court was correct when it ruled that the prosecution
failed to prove the victims age other than through the testimony of her father and herself.
Considering the statutory requirement in Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. No.
7659 and R.A. No. 8353, we reiterate here what the Court has held in Javier without any dissent, that the
failure to sufficiently establish victims age by independent proof is a bar to conviction for rape in its qualified
form. For, in the words of Melo, J., independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim becomes vital and
essential so as to remove an iota of doubt that the case falls under the qualifying circumstances for the
imposition of the death penalty set by the law.
In this case, the first rape was committed on September 5, 1997 and is therefore governed by the death
penalty law, R.A. 7659. The penalty for the crime of simple rape or rape in its unqualified form under Art. 335 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Sec. 11 of R.A. 7659, is reclusion perpetua. The second rape was
committed on November 7, 1997, after the effectivity of R.A. 8353, also known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997,
which took effect on October 22, 1997. The penalty for rape in its unqualified form remains the same.
As to civil indemnity, the trial court correctly awarded P50,000.00 for each count of rape as civil indemnity.
However, the award of another P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to
Articles 2217 and 2230 of the Civil Code for each count is imprecise. In rape cases, the prevailing
jurisprudence permits the award of moral damages without need for pleading or proof as to the basis
thereof.cxxii[38] Thus, pursuant to current jurisprudence, we award the amount of P50,000.00 as moral
damages for each count of rape.
The award of exemplary damages separately is also in order, but on a different basis and for a different
amount. Appellant being the father of the victim, a fact duly proved during trial, we find that the alternative
circumstance of relationship should be appreciated here as an aggravating circumstance. Under Article 2230
of the New Civil Code, exemplary damages may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more
aggravating circumstances. Hence, we find an award of exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00
proper. Note that generally, in rape cases imposing the death penalty, the rule is that relationship is no longer
appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance in view of the amendments introduced by R.A. Nos. 7659
and 8353. The father-daughter relationship has been treated by Congress in the nature of a special
circumstance which makes the imposition of the death penalty mandatory.cxxiii[39] However, in this case, the
special qualifying circumstance of relationship was proved but not the minority of the victim, taking the case out
of the ambit of mandatory death sentence. Hence, relationship can be appreciated as a generic aggravating
circumstance in this instance so that exemplary damages are called for. In rapes committed by fathers on their
own daughters, exemplary damages may be imposed to deter other fathers with perverse tendency or aberrant
sexual behavior from sexually abusing their own daughters.cxxiv[40]
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 28, in Criminal Case Nos.
DU-6186 and DU-6203, is hereby MODIFIED as follows: appellant Tomas Tundag is found guilty of two (2)
counts of simple rape; and for each count, sentenced to reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay the victim the
amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 152954. March 10, 2004]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. PAULINO SEVILLENO y VILLANUEVA, a.k.a. Tamayo
Sevilleno, appellant.
D E C I S I O N
PER CURIAM:
On July 25, 1995, appellant Paulino Sevilleno y Villanueva alias Tamayo was charged with rape with homicide
in an Information1[1] which reads:
That on or about 10:00 oclock a.m., July 22, 1995 at Hacienda San Antonio, Barangay Guadalupe, San Carlos
City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
have carnal knowledge of one VIRGINIA BAKIA, a minor, 9 years of age, against the latters will and consent;
and after attaining his purpose of ravishing said Virginia Bakia, accused, did, then and there, with intent to hide
his identity and to prevent discovery thereof, with intent to kill, strangled said Virginia Bakia which directly
resulted to her death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On arraignment, appellant entered a guilty plea. Trial proceeded to determine the voluntariness and full
comprehension of the plea. However, during the pendency of the proceedings, appellant escaped from prison
but he was recaptured several months later.
On March 6, 1997, the appellant was found guilty as charged by the Regional Trial Court of San Carlos City,
Negros Occidental, Branch 57, and sentenced to death and to pay the heirs of his victim P50,000.00 plus
costs.
On automatic review before this Court, it was found that the trial court failed to conduct a searching inquiry into
the voluntariness and full comprehension by the appellant of the consequences of his plea of guilty. It likewise
appeared that the defense lawyers were remiss in their duties to explain to appellant the nature of the crime
and the gravity of the consequences of his plea. Finding that appellant was not properly apprised of his
fundamental right to be informed of the nature of the accusation leveled against him, this Court set aside and
annulled the trial courts decision of March 6, 1997 and remanded the case to the court of origin for the proper
arraignment and trial of the appellant until terminated.
Appellant was thus re-arraigned on February 23, 2000, where he entered a plea of not guilty. Trial on the
merits ensued and the following facts were established:
At around 10:00 in the morning of July 22, 1995, 9-year old Virginia and 8-year old Norma, both surnamed
Bakia, met appellant on their way to a store in Brgy. Guadalupe, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
Appellant offered them bread and ice candy then invited Virginia to watch a beta show.2[2] Appellant and
Virginia thereafter headed to the direction of the sugarcane fields while Norma followed. However, she
changed her mind and went home instead.





Rogelio Bakia, Virginias and Normas father, came home at around 11:00 that same morning and looked for
Virginia. They were informed by Norma that Virginia went with appellant to Sitio Guindali-an. Rogelio
immediately set out after her. He met appellant in Sitio Guindali-an but he denied any knowledge of Virginias
whereabouts. Rogelio noticed fingernail scratches on appellants neck and a wound on his left cheek.
The following day, Rogelio and Eugenio Tiongson again met appellant at the house of former barangay captain
Paeng Lopez. When asked where Virginia was, appellant answered that she was in a sugarcane field known
as Camp 9, also located in Brgy. Guadalupe. Immediately, they proceeded to the designated place where they
found Virginias corpse covered with dried sugarcane leaves. She was naked except for her dress which was
raised to her armpits. Her legs were spread apart and her body bore multiple wounds.
Another prosecution witness, Maria Lariosa, testified that on July 22, 1995 at around noontime, she saw
appellant and Virginia pass by her house near Camp 9. The following day, July 23, 1995, she saw appellant
emerge alone from the sugarcane fields in Camp 9 with scratches on his face and neck.
Dr. Arnel Laurence Q. Portuguez, Health Officer of San Carlos City, autopsied Virginias body and found the
following: linear abrasion over hematoma, 3.0 x 2.0 cm., right superior anterior neck; linear abrasion over
hematoma, 2.5 x 3.0 cm., left superior anterior neck; hematoma 9.0 x 4.0 cm., right inguinal area; hematoma
9.0 x 5.0 cm., left inguinal area; superficial hymenal laceration 0.5 cm., at 12 oclock position, with clot
formation at intuitus; abrasion 5.5 x 4.0 cm., left superior gluteal area; abrasion 5.0 x 3.0 cm., right superior
gluteal area; abrasion 6.0 x 2.0 cm., right inferior lateral gluteal area; vaginal smear showing absence of sperm
cells except pus cells and epithelial cells. Cause of death: asphyxia secondary to strangulation.3[3] The
examining physician concluded that Virginia must have been raped and strangled to death.
Appellant interposed the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that on July 22, 1995, he left his house at
6:30 in the morning and went to his work place at Uy King Poe warehouse in San Carlos City, arriving there at
about 7:00 in the morning. At 5:00 in the afternoon, he left the warehouse and passed by the market to buy
fish. He reached his house at 8:00 in the evening.
No other witness for the defense was presented. On October 16, 2001, the Regional Trial Court, San Carlos
City, Branch 59, rendered a decision,4[4] the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this Court finds and so holds the accused PAULINO SEVILLENO y
VILLANUEVA (detained) GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide as charged in
the Information and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH.
The accused is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the sum of P75,000.00 as an indemnity for the
death of the victim; P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.
The accused is further ordered to be immediately committed to the National Penitentiary for service of
sentence.
The Clerk of Court of this Court is hereby ordered to immediately forward the records of this case to the
Supreme Court for automatic review.
Costs against the accused.





SO ORDERED.
The case was elevated to this Court for automatic review, pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. In his Brief, appellant submits that:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL CONFESSION EXECUTED BY
HEREIN APPELLANT IS VALID AND BINDING.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE
CRIME OF RAPE WITH HOMICIDE HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
Appellant argues that the voluntariness and due execution of his extra-judicial confession was not sufficiently
established, considering that only his thumbprint was affixed on said document. He alleges that he customarily
affixes his signature on all his documents. Appellant likewise argues that at the time his extra-judicial
confession was taken, he was assisted by Atty. Vicente J. Agravante who was admonished by this Court for
being remiss in his duties.5[5]
Appellants contention is misleading. The March 29, 1999 Resolution referred to Atty. Agravantes participation
during appellants arraignment and not during his custodial investigation. In fact, it was stated therein that
Atty. Vic Agravante assisted the accused during the arraignment only.6[6]
Besides, the rule is that once the prosecution has shown compliance with the constitutional requirements on
custodial investigations, a confession is presumed voluntary and the declarant bears the burden of destroying
this presumption. The confession is admissible until the accused successfully proves that it was given as a
result of violence, intimidation, threat, or promise of reward or leniency.7[7]
Appellant failed to show that his confession in this case was given under any of the above circumstances. As
correctly found by the trial court:
Atty. Agravante knows the accused Paulino Sevillano because the latter was his previous client in a case for
qualified theft and was also the previous counsel of the accused in the present case, The accused happened
to be his client way back in July 24, 1995 when he was called up by Patrolman Ramon Bartulin through a
telephone that the accused wanted his services, so he responded to the police station, and on his arrival at the
police station, he talked and inquired with the accused as to the incident and the latter answered that he
(accused) was charged with the crime of rape then the accused voluntarily confessed his guilt to him (Atty.
Agravante) then when asked the accused what was the latters opinion, the accused replied that he (accused)
will accept his guilt on the case charged against him and so the extra-judicial confession was executed by the
accused while he (Atty. Agravante) was present all the time until the end of the investigation. In fact, he was
with the accused and the investigator who went with them to the Prosecutors Office and he (Atty. Agravante)
also affixed his signature in the extra-judicial confession.







x x x x x x x x x
During cross-examination, witness Atty. Agravante further testified that before the accused was investigated,
the accused was informed of his constitutional rights and the accused requested him to translate the question
in visayan or the local vernacular, and he was certain that the accused understood his plea for which in fact the
accused had already confessed to him twice. That when the accused pleaded guilty during the arraignment he
was also the one who assisted the accused, however, the case was remanded by the Supreme Court. . . .8[8]
Also, we agree with the Solicitor Generals observation that appellant trusted Atty. Agravante considering that
he had previously hired the said lawyers legal services in a theft case and engaged him again in this rape
charge.9[9]
Moreover, appellant failed to present evidence that his constitutional rights was violated when he executed his
extra-judicial confession. His claim that his extra-judicial confession bears only his thumbmark is not an
indication that his confession was irregular considering that it was executed in the presence of his lawyer. Also,
he never denied that Atty. Agravante was not his personally chosen counsel. Neither was there evidence to
prove that his extra-judicial confession was given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat, or made upon a
promise of reward or leniency.
Significantly, appellants conviction was not based solely on his extra-judicial confession but on other pieces of
evidence established by the prosecution to the satisfaction of the court.
In the second assigned error, appellant submits that the circumstances relied upon by the trial court as bases
for his conviction did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the crime.
The trial court convicted appellant based on the following circumstances:
1. Prior to the commission of the crime the victim and her sister were seen in the company of the
appellant. (TSN-Alcantara, Jan. 31, 2001, p. 8)
2. Appellant invited the victim to watch a beta-show in Sitio Guindali-an, Brgy. Guadalupe. (TSN-
Alcantara, Jan. 31, 2001, p. 8)
3. Norma Bakia saw the victim and the appellant proceed to a sugarcane field in Campo 9, Hacienda San
Antonio, the place where the corpse of the victim was found. (TSN-Alcantara, Jan. 31, 2001, p. 8)
4. Maria Lariosa, saw the appellant together with the victim at noon time of July 22, 1995 pass by the back
of their house en route to Camp 9, Hacienda San Antonio. (TSN-Alcantara, Feb. 28, 2001, p. 16)
5. Maria Lariosa saw the appellant emerge from the sugarcane field alone and without the victim, with
fresh scratches on his face, neck and both arms. (TSN-Alcantara, Feb. 28, 2001, p. 8)
6. When the appellant went to the residence of the victim in the morning of July 23, 1995, witness Norma
Bakia observed that the right portion of his face and neck have scratch marks on it. (TSN-Alcantara, Jan. 31,
2001, pp. 10-11).





7. The body of the victim was found in the same sugarcane field at Camp 9, the same place where the
appellant and the victim were seen by the witnesses go inside. (TSN-Alcantara, Feb. 28, 2001, pp. 8-9)
8. The multiple scratches suffered by the appellant on the right side of his face and ears were all caused
by human fingernails. (TSN-Mondragon, Dec. 13, 2000, p. 3)
9. The appellant was the last person seen in the company of the victim before the commission of the
crime and was positively identified as such by the witnesses; and
10. The victim suffered hymenal laceration, contusions, abrasions and hematoma on different parts of her
body and was strangled resulting to her death which indicated that there was a struggle and the victim
vigorously put up a fight against her attacker.10[10]
Appellant argues that the scratches on his face do not prove that they were inflicted by Virginia, much less that
he committed the crime.
Indeed, the scratches on appellants face, by itself, may not prove that he committed the crime. Nonetheless,
he explained that the scratches were caused by a galvanized sheet which hit his face.11[11] This claim,
however, was contradicted by three prosecution witnesses. SPO4 Romeo S. Leyte testified that appellant
admitted to him that the scratches were inflicted by the victim Virginia.12[12] Eugenio Tiongson testified that
appellant admitted to him that they were caused by his girlfriend.13[13] Finally, Dr. Diosdado G. Sarabia
testified that when he examined appellant on July 23, 1995, he admitted that the scratches were inflicted by
Virginia.14[14]
Appellant claims that if he was indeed guilty, he would not have gone to the victims residence in the early
morning of July 23, 1995.
We are not persuaded. Appellants act of going to the house of the victim may not be consistent with ordinary
human behavior, but is nevertheless possible. While an appellants post-incident behavior is never proof of
guilt, neither is it of innocence.15[15]
The rules on evidence and precedents to sustain the conviction of an accused through circumstantial evidence
require the presence of the following requisites: (1) there are more than one circumstance; (2) the inference













must be based on proven facts; and (3) the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.16[16] To justify a conviction upon circumstantial evidence, the
combination of circumstances must be such as to leave no reasonable doubt in the mind as to the criminal
liability of the appellant.17[17] Jurisprudence requires that the circumstances must be established to form an
unbroken chain of events leading to one fair reasonable conclusion pointing to the appellant, to the exclusion
of all others, as the author of the crime.18[18] These, the prosecution were able to establish.
It is doctrinal that the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal law does not mean such a
degree of proof as to exclude the possibility of error and produce absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is
required or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.19[19] While it is
established that nothing less than proof beyond reasonable doubt is required for a conviction, this exacting
standard does not preclude resort to circumstantial evidence when direct evidence is not available. Direct
evidence is not a condition sine qua non to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt. For in the
absence of direct evidence, the prosecution may resort to adducing circumstantial evidence to discharge its
burden. Crimes are usually committed in secret and under conditions where concealment is highly probable.
If direct evidence is insisted on under all circumstances, the prosecution of vicious felons who commit heinous
crimes in secret or secluded places will be hard, if not impossible, to prove.20[20]
In People v. Corfin,21[21] which is similar to this case, we upheld the conviction of the accused based on the
following circumstances: (1) the accused was the last person seen with the victim; (2) said accused and the
victim were seen together near the dry creek; (3) the accused was seen leaving said place alone; and (4) the
body of the victim was found in the dry creek.
Likewise, it did not help that appellant can only raise the defenses of denial and alibi. Denial is inherently a
weak defense. To be believed, it must be buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability. Otherwise, such
denial is purely self-serving and without merit.22[22] In the case at bar, appellants workplace and the crime
scene in Camp 9 are both in San Carlos City.















On the other hand, an alibi, to be believed, must receive credible corroboration from disinterested
witnesses.23[23] Appellant failed to present his employer or any co-worker to corroborate his alibi or a logbook
that would prove his presence at his workplace at the time of the commission of the crime. Neither was there
any evidence to show that it was impossible for the appellant to be at the crime scene at the time of its
commission.
In the end, the rule is settled that where the culpability or innocence of the accused hinges on the credibility of
the witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, the findings of trial courts are given the highest degree of
respect. Hence, their findings on such matters are binding and conclusive on appellate courts, unless some
fact or circumstance of weight and substance has been overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted.24[24]
We find no circumstance of weight or substance that was overlooked by the trial court.
Appellant was thus correctly convicted by the trial court of Rape with Homicide under Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, in relation to R.A. 7659, which provides that when by reason or on the occasion of the
rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death.25[25]
The trial court awarded damages in the amount of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Current judicial policy authorizes the mandatory award of P50,000.00 in case of death, and P50,000.00 upon
the finding of rape. Thus, if homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of the rape, indemnity in the
amount of P100,000.00 is fully justified and properly commensurate with the seriousness of the said complex
crime.26[26] We therefore award P100,000.00 as civil indemnity to the heirs of the victim.
As to moral damages, jurisprudence allows that the amount of P75,000.00 be awarded in cases of rape with
homicide. Thus, the P50,000.00 award given by the court below as moral damages should likewise be
increased to P75,000.00.27[27]
The P25,000.00 exemplary damages awarded by the trial court is deleted for lack of legal basis. Article 2230
of the New Civil Code provides that in criminal cases, exemplary damages may be imposed when the crime
was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. There is none in this case.
WHEREFORE, the decision dated October 16, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court of San Carlos City, Negros
Occidental, Branch 59, in Criminal Case No. RTC-1285 finding Paulino Sevilleno y Villanueva a.k.a. Tamayo
Sevilleno GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide, and imposing upon him the
penalty of DEATH, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that he is ordered to pay the heirs of Virginia











Bakia the amounts of P100,000.00 as civil indemnity and P75,000.00 as moral damages. The award of
P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is DELETED for lack of legal basis.
Upon the finality of this decision, and pursuant to Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President for
possible exercise of the pardoning power.
SO ORDERED.