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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, G.R. No.

208758 -versusPresent:
VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson, PERALTA, BERSAMIN,* PEREZ, and REYES,JJ JO VEN
GER ON Y YEMA, Promulgated: Accused-Appellant.
x-------------------------------------------------------------~~-~;~ DECISION PEREZ, J.: For
resolution is the appeal from the 25 February 2013 Decision1 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 04890 affirming the conviction of appellant Joven
Geron y Yema for the crime of murder by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lucena
City. . Appellant, together with his brothers Jerry and Juancho Geron were charged
with murder and frustrated murder in two separate Informations, which read: *
Criminal Case No. 2004-94 7 for Murder Additional Member per Raffle dated 22
August 2016. Rollo, pp. 2-11; Penned by Associate Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid with
Associate Justices Marlene Gonzales-Sison and Edwin D.Sorongon concurring.
Decision 2 G.R. No. 208758 That on or about the 9111 day of March 2004, at
Barangay Bignay I, in the Municipality of Sariaya, Province of Quezon, Philippines
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
armed with a caliber .45 pistol, conspiring and confederating together and mutually
helping with one another, with intent to kill, qualified by treachery, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attacked [sic], assault and shot [sic] with
the said firearm one WILLY SISON y PADERON, thereby inflicting upon the latter
multiple gunshot wounds on his body, which directly caused his death.2 Criminal
Case No. 2004-916 for Frustrated Murder That on or about the 9111 day of March
2004, at Barangay Bignay I, in the Municipality of Sariaya, Province of Quezon,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, armed with a caliber .45 pistol, conspiring and confederating together and
mutually helping with one another, with intent to kill, qualified by treachery, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot with
said firearm one DIOMEDES SISON Y PADERON, thereby inflicting upon the latter
gunshot wounds on vital parts of his body, thus performing all the acts of execution
which should have produced the crime of murder as a consequence, but
nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the
accused, that is, by the timely and able medical attendance rendered to said
DIOMEDES SISON Y PADERON, which prevented his death.3 Appellant and his coaccused pleaded not guilty to the charges. The facts, as narrated by the
prosecution, follow: On 9 March 2004, Diomedes Sison (Diomedes) was tending their
sarisari store while his brother, Willy Sison (Willy), was counting their sales when the
group of appellant, Jerry Geron and Juancho Geron came on board a motorcycle.
Appellant alighted from the motorcycle. He was followed by Juancho while Jerry
stayed behind. Appellant suddenly pulled out a gun and shot Willie several times.
He then turned to Diomedes and fired three (3) shots. The latter was able to evade
the shots and he retreated to the rest room. Thereat, Diomedes heard appellant fire
two more shots before the group sped away. Willy was brought to the hospital where
he expired. Meanwhile, Diomedes was treated for three (3) abrasions in a separate
hospital. Thereafter, Diomedes went straight to the police station to give his
statement. He returned on the following day to give another statement.4 4 Records,

pp. 2-3. Id. at 237-238. TSN, 3 August 2006, pp. 7-24. Decision 3 G.R. No. 208758 A
post-mortem examination was conducted on Willy by Dr. Cecilio R. Macaraeg (Dr.
Macaraeg) who found five (5) gunshot wounds in Willy's body. Dr. Macaraeg's
findings are encapsulated as follow: 1. Gunshot wound: Entrance is oblong in shape,
3 cm. long, 2 cm. wide, located at the right shoulder at the area of the anterior
aspect of the right shoulder joint. Exit is irregular in shape, 2cm. long, 2 cm. wide,
located at the area between the right anterior axillary line and right midclavicular
line just below the clavicle. 2. Gunshot wound: Entrance is circular in shape, l .5cm
in diameter at the right midclavicular line, just above the clavicle. Exist is 2 cm.
long, 2 cm. wide at the area of the lateral angle of the left scapula of the posterior
chest. 3. Gunshot wound: Entrance is oblong in shape, 2.5 cm long, 1 cm. wide,
located at the lateral aspect of the right elbow of the upper extremity. Exit is none.
4. Entrance is circular I shape, 1 cm. in diameter, located at the lateral aspect,
proximal third of the right leg, just below the knee. Exit is irregular in shape, 1.5 cm.
long, 1.5 cm. wide at the medical aspect distal third of the right leg. 5. Entrance is
circular in shape, 1.5 cm. in diameter at the right posterior superior iliac spine of the
pelvis. Exit none. 5 Appellant, for his defense, alleged that he was driving a tricycle
in Mandaluyong City on the date of the alleged killing. Appellant claimed that he
only came to know of the charges against him on the following day. Appellant did
not surrender but instead chose to stay in Manila.6 Emelito Paderon (Paderon), a
rebuttal witness, testified that he saw appellant and Gerry at Sitio Aplaya in Sariaya,
Quezon on the date of the shooting at around 5 :00 p.m. 7 On 18 August 2010, the
RTC rendered a Decision8 finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
murder and attempted homicide. Thefallo of the Decision reads: 6 Exhibit folder (No
correct pagination). TSN, 11 December 2008, pp. 5-9. TSN, 17 September 2009, p.
7. Records, pp. 237-247; Presided by Judge Adolfo V. Encomienda. ) Decision 4 G.R.
No. 208758 WHEREFORE, accused JUANCHO GERON and (J]ERRY GERON of Sariaya,
Quezon, on the ground of reasonable doubt, are hereby ACQUITTED of the crime
charged in both cases, and accused JOVEN GERON, also of Sariaya , Quezon is found
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, defined and punished
under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, in Criminal Case No. 2004-947, and he
is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the
heirs of the victim P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, PS0,000.00 as moral damages,
P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P35,000.00 as actual damages. And in
Criminal Case No. 2004-916, Joven Geron is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Attempted Homicide, and he is sentenced, applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, to suffer the penalty of FOUR (4) MONTHS of arresto
mayor as minimum, to FOUR (4) YEARS AND TWO (2) MONTHS of prision
correccional as maximum, and to pay the victim the amount of P2,000.00 as actual
damages and P3,000.00 as moral damages. Accused Juancho Geron and [J]erry
Geron are ordered released from custody, unless they are being detained for any
other lawful cause or causes. 9 The RTC found appellant guilty of murder and
attempted homicide. The trial court gave credence to the testimony of Diomedes
considering that it jived with the physical evidence presented by the prosecution.

The trial court also found the presence of treachery to qualify the crime to murder.
The trial court dismissed appellant's alibi as weak in view of Diomedes' positive
identification. However, the trial court acquitted co-accused Juancho and Gerry for
failure of the prosecution to prove that they conspired to commit the crime.
Appellant elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court affirmed in
to to the ruling of the trial court. Aggrieved by the appellate court's ruling, appellant
filed a Notice of Appeal. 10 Appellant argues that Diomedes is a biased witness
because he is a brother of the victim. Appellant also challenges the testimony of
Paderon to discredit his alibi. Appellant claims that the rebuttal witness only
executed a statement the day before he testified in court. Appellant maintains his
alibi and proffers that it was physically impossible for him to be in Mandaluyong 9
10 Id. at 246-247. Rollo, p. 12. Decision 5 G.R. No. 208758 City and Sariaya, Quezon
at the same time if time and distance were to be taken into consideration. The
appeal is bereft of merit. The elements of murder that the prosecution must
establish are: ( 1) that a person was killed; (2) that the accused killed him or her; (3)
that the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code; and ( 4) that the killing is not parricide or
infanticide. 1 1 The prosecution was able to prove that it was appellant who shot
and killed Willy. Diomedes, the lone eyewitness, gave a clear and categorical
testimony in identifying appellant as the perpetrator, thus: II Q: Now Mr. Witness,
why did you file a complaint against the accused, to wit: [J]erry alias Epong, Joven
and Juancho? A: Because of the frustrated murder for (sic) me and murder for my
brother Willy Sison, sir. Q: Now when did these two incident[s] happened? A: It
happened on March 9, 2004 at about 7:00 o'clock in the evening, SIL A TTY. T
ALABON G Q: Where did it happen? A: In our store at Bignay I, Sariaya, Quezon, sir.
xx xx Q: What were you exactly doing at that particular time in front of your house
or in your store? A: I was standing near the door while smoking at the same time
and I was also watching my brother who was counting money at that time, sir,
because were about to close the store, sir. xx xx COURT Q: What time was it? A:
7:00 o'clock in the evening, Your Honor. xx xx People v. Lagman, 685 Phil. 733, 743
(2012). Decision 6 G.R. No. 208758 ATTY. TALABONG Q: Now, while your brother was
counting money and as you have stated that you were watching your brother on
that particular store, what happened next, Mr. Witness? A: A motorcycle suddenly
arrived and parked in our store with three persons on board, sir. ATTY. TALABONG Q:
For clarification, how far was the distance between your store and the motorcycle
when it was parked? A: About three arm stretches, sir. xx xx ATTY. TALABONG Q: You
stated a while ago that you mentioned that there are three persons on board on
such motorcycle, did you recognize [those] persons? xx xx Witness A: Yes, sir. ATTY.
TALABONG Q: What are the names or identities of these persons? A: Joven Geron,
[J]en-y Geron and Juancho Geron, sir. Q: After that motorcycle parked just in front of
your store what happened next? A: First thing, Joven alighted from the motorcycle
and approached our store, sir. Q: How about the two? A: Juancho followed Joven and
Epong was left on the motorcycle while the engine is still on, sir. Q: Then what
happened next? A: Joven Geron pulled out his gun and "patraydor na ... xx xx

Witness A: "Noong malapit na si Joven sa aking kapatid bigla siyang bumunot ng


baril na pistol mabilis po itong pinaputukan ang aking kapatid ng patraydor", sir.
Decision 7 G.R. No. 208758 xx xx ATTY. TALABONG Q: Now Mr. Witness, when Joven
shot your brother, what happened next? A: When my brother was shot by Joven,
Juancho was behind acting as a back-up, sir. Q: How about you, what happened to
you, if any? A: After my brother was shot. .. ATTY. ZABALLEA It is already a narration,
Your Honor. WITNESS A: ... pinaputukan po ako ng tatlong beses, sir, by Joven. ATTY.
TALABONG Q: By the way, you stated a while ago that Joven shot your brother Willy
Sison. My question is: what happened to your brother when he was shot by Joven?
A: He was not able to move from the place where he was sitting, sir. Q: Now you
stated that you witnessed when Joven shot your brother Willy what was your brother
doing when he was shot by Joven? A: He was counting the money, sir. Q: Are you
sure of that? A: Yes, sir. Q: And you stated that your brother was shot by Joven was
he hit? A: Yes, sir. Q: And do you know how many times Joven shot your brother
Willy? A: The first one was 3 times, sir. Q: Now you stated that after Joven shot your
brother he also shot you 3 times, am I correct? Q: And what did you do after you
were shot 3 times by Joven also? A: "Una po umiwas po ako", first, I tried to evade
the shot by jumping and going to our house and tried to go to the comfort room, sir.
COURT Q: Are you telling that you were hit by those three shots of accused Joven?
A: I was hit two times, Your Honor. Decision 8 G.R. No. 208758 COURT Continue,
counsel. ATTY. TALABONG Q: Where were you hit? A: At my stomach and thigh, sir.
12 The Court of Appeals found that Diomedes' testimony is consistent with his
sworn affidavits and the narration he gave during the joint preliminary investigation,
thus: 12 During his direct examination, Diomedes categorically test(fied that it was
accused-appellant who shot at him and his brother at the time of the incident. He
was consistent in this declaration as man(fested in his first and second affidavits
executed before the police investigators who separately interviewed him on the
night of the incident and the following day. In his Sinumpaang Salaysay executed on
March 9, 2004, he answered thusly to P03 Enrico Perez: xx xx [P03 Perez}: T- Kailan
at saan kayo binaril. [Diomedes]: S- Mga alas siete po ng gabi, ika-9 ng Marso 2004,
doon sa aming lugar sa Barangay Bignay I, Sariaya, Quezon. T- Paano kayo nabaril
ng iyong kapatid. S- Nasa pinto ako ng tindahan naming, bigla na fang my dumating
na motorsiklo bumaba ho ang isang sakay si JOVEN CERON, at binunot ang kalibre
45, sa baywang niya, binaril na si Willie Boy, na nasa loob ng tindahan at
nagkukuwenta ng pera, nakaupo, tatlong putok sa kanya, tapos aka na ang binaril
nito at tinamaan aka sa tiyan daplis at isa ay sa kanang pigi, nakalukw aka, at
tumakbo ako sa loob ng aming bahay at nakatago sa kubeta. xx xx He reiterated
the same narration during the joint preliminary examination on April I 4, 2004, to
wit: TSN, 3 August 2006, pp. 7-16. Decision 9 G.R. No. 208758 Q: So, while you were
there [in the store}, what were you doing at that time, 7:00 o'clock in the evening?
A: I was about to go out and when I was already at the door, the assailant arrived,
sir. Q: Who is that assailant? A: Joven Ceron, sir. Q: Upon his arrival, what happened?
A: He suddenly drew his gun and shot my brother thrice, sir. Q: What weapon? A:
Cal. 45, sir. Q: Then, what did you do? A: I ran away, sir. Consistently, he made the

same statement during the taking of his testimonial evidence on August 3, 2006,
viz: [ATTY TALABONC}: Q: Now, while your brother was counting money and as you
have stated that you were watching your brother on that particular store, what
happened next, Mr. Witness? [DIOMEDES}: A: A motorcycle suddenly arrive and
parked in our store with three persons on board, sir. xx xx Q: What are the name or
identities of these persons? A: Joven Ceron, Gerry Ceron and Juancho Ceron, sir. Q:
After that motorcycle parked just in front of your store what happened next? A: First
thing, Joven alighted.from the motorcycle and approached our store, sir. Q: How
about the two? A: Juancho followed Joven and Epong was left on the motorcycle
while the engine is still on, sir. Q: Then what happened next? A: Joven Ceron pulled
out his gun and patraydor na . .. x xxx Decision 10 G.R. No. 208758 A: Noong
malapit na si .!oven sa aking kapatid big/a siyang bumunot ng baril na pistol mabilis
po nitong pinaputukan ang k. k "d d . 13 a zng apatz ng patray or szr. Positive
identification when categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive
on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over a denial which,
if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-serving
evidence undeserving of weight in law. They cannot be given greater evidentiary
value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.
14 In this case, Diomedes had no motive to falsely accuse appellant. In fact, he
would naturally be interested to find and pinpoint the real perpetrator in order to
achieve justice for the death of his brother. The element of treachery attended the
shooting against Willy. Joven suddenly alighted from the motorcycle, pointed his gun
at Willy and immediately shot him. The attack was sudden and unexpected. Willy,
who was unarmed, had no inkling that he would be shot such that he did not have
any real chance to defend himself. With respect to appellant's alibi, the Court of
Appeals correctly disregarded it because of the statement of the rebuttal witness to
the contrary, i.e., appellant was in Sitio Aplaya, Sariaya, Quezon on the date and
around the time of the commission of the crime. Under Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code, the crime of murder is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death if
committed with treachery. As correctly imposed by the trial court and as affirmed by
the Court of Appeals, appellant must suffer the prison term of reclusion perpetua,
the lower of the said two indivisible penalties, due to the absence of an aggravating
circumstance attending the commission of the crime. 15 Appellant is not eligible for
parole pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346. The awards of civil indemnity,
moral damages and exemplary damages must however be increased to 1!
100,000.00 each in line with prevailing jurisprudence. 16 In addition, interest at the
rate of six percent 14 15 16 Rollo, pp. 7-8. People v. Gani, 710 Phil. 466, 474 (2013).
People v. Jalbonian, 713 Phil. 93, 106 (2013). People v . .Jugueta, G.R. No. 202124, 5
April 2016. Decision 11 G.R. No. 208758 ( 6o/o) per annum shall be imposed on all
monetary awards from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid. The trial court
correctly convicted appellant of attempted homicide of Diomedes. We find the
following ratio decidendi of the Court of Appeals on this point tenable: This Court
likewise agrees with the trial court in finding accusedappellant guilty of the
attempted homicide of Diomedes. Unlike in the case of his brother, Diomedes was

obviously not unable to evade the attacks of accused-appellant since he saw him
from the moment he alighted from their motorcycle and was sufficiently warned
that he was bearing arms. More importantly, he was actually able to escape the
scene by jumping towards their house. Hence, the attendant circumstance which
would have qualified the crime charged to murder is not present in his case.
Moreover, by definition, a felony is "attempted" when the offender commences the
commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of
execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident
other than his own spontaneous desistance. In the present case, shots were fired by
accused-appellant towards Diomedes but none of the injuries he sustained, as a
result - by testimony of Dr. Catarroja - were fatal. In addition, accused-appellant was
prevented from further attacking Diomedes by the simple expedient of the latter's
escape. Ergo, this case is clearly still within the attempted stage of the execution of
the crime of homicide. 17 The penalty for attempted homicide is prision
correccional. It is two degrees lower than reclusion temporal, the penalty for
homicide. The maximum of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the
imposable penalty of prision correccional, taking into account the modifying
circumstances, if any. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstances, the
maximum penalty should be imposed in its medium period. To determine the
minimum of the indeterminate penalty, the penalty of prision correccional has to be
reduced by one degree, which is arresto mayor. The minimum of the indeterminate
penalty shall be taken from the full range of arresto mayor in any of its periods.
Appellant, therefore, was correctly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty
from four ( 4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2)
months of . . . l . 18 przszon correcczona , as maximum. 17 18 Rollo, p. I 0. Cabildo
v. People, 642 Phil. 737, 746-747 (2010). ( Decision 12 G.R. No. 208758
WHEREFORE, the assailed 25 February 2013 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR HC No. 04890 finding appellant Joven Geron y Y ema guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and attempted homicide is AFFIRMED with
the following MODIFICATIONS: 1. The awards of civil indemnity, moral damages and
exemplary damages are increased to Pl 00,000.00 each; 2. That appellant is not
eligible for parole; and 3. All monetary awards shall earn interest at the rate of six
percent ( 6%) per annum from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid. SO
ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appel lee, G.R. No. 212171 -versusPresent:
VELASCO, JR., J, Chairperson, PERALTA, PEREZ ' REYES,* and LEONEN,** JJ MERCURY
DELA CRUZ alias "DEDAY," Promulgated: Accused-Appellant. September 7, 2016
x-----------------------------------------------------------------~-------~--~~:(_-:.~--x ~~ ~~
DECISION PEREZ, J.: We resolve the appeal, filed by accused-appellant Mercury Dela
Cruz alias "Deday," from the 27 September 2013 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01103. In a Decision2 dated 27 November 2008, the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 58, Cebu City, found the accused-appellant guilty
of illegal sale of shabu under Sections 5, Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 91653

artd * ** On Wellness Leave. Additional Member per Raffle dated 8 August 2016.
Rollo, pp. 4-21; Penned by Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan-Manahan with
Associate Justices Ramon Paul L. Hernando and Ma. Luisa C. Quijano-Padilla
concurring. Records, pp. 67-74; Docketed as Criminal Case No. CBU-80787.
Otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of2002." t 1 I 'T
Decision 2 G.R. No. 212171 sentenced him to suffer the penalty life imprisonment
and to pay a fine of PS00,000.00. The RTC gave full credence to the testimonies of
Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Alejandro Batobalanos, Police Officer (PO) l Angsgar
Babyboy A. Reales, and POl Leopoldo Bullido who conducted the buy-bust operation
against the accused-appellant, and rejected the self-serving defenses of denial and
alibi of accused-appellant and her live-in patiner. The RTC noted that the categorical
affirmation of accused-appellant and her live-in partner that the a'rresting officers
did not demand anything from them in exchange for the accused-appellant's liberty
created the presumption that the arresting officers were performing their official
functions regularly. 4 On intermediate appellate review, the CA affirmed in toto the
RTC's ruling. The CA agreed with the RTC in giving weight to the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses, and held that the arresting officers complied with the proper
procedure in the custody and disposition of the seized drugs. Our Ruling We dismiss
the appeal and affirm the accused-appellant's gui It. We find no reason to reverse
the RTC's findings, as affirmed by the CA. In the same manner as the lower courts,
we give full credit to the positive, spontaneous and straightforward testimonies of
the police officers pointing to accused-appellant as the seller and possessor of the
confiscated shabu. We have consistently held that in order to secure a conviction for
illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it is necessary that the prosecution is able to
establish the following essential elements: ( 1) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, the object of the sale and its consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing
sold and its payment. What is material is the proof that the transaction or sale
actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as
evidence. The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the
seller of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction. 5
Here, all the aforesaid elements necessary for accused-appellant's prosecution have
been sufficiently ,1, Records, pp. 73-74. ~ People v. Midenilla, 645 Phil. 587, 601
(2010) citing People v. Guiara, 616 Phil. 290, 302 (2009) further citing People v.
Gonzales, 430 Phil. 504, 513 (2002). Decision " _) G.R. No. 212171 complied with,
indubitably establishing that she has indeed committed the crime. POI Reales
testified in detail how he was introduced by the confidential informant to accusedappellant. The confidential informant, thereafter, manifested to the accusedappellant their intention to buy shabu worth P200.00. Upon giving the accusedappellant the 2 marked PI 00.00 bills, she, in return, handed to PO 1 Real es a small
plastic containing white crystalline substance. The plastic sachet later on tested
positive for the presence of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. The testimony given
by PO 1 Reales was corroborated by SPOl Batobalonos and POI Bullido in all material
details. It is therefore clear beyond any shadow of doubt that the buy-bust operation
had been substantially completed and consummated. The fact that accused-

appellant was able to evade the arrest immediately after the sale and that she was
arrested only after, by-virtue of a warrant of arrest, did not change the fact that the
crime she committed earlier had been consummated. We agree with the lower
courts that in the absence of any intent or illmotive on the part of the police officers
to falsely impute commission of a crime against the accused-appellant, the
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty is entitled to great
respect and deserves to prevail over the bare, uncoJToborated denial and selfserving claim of the accused of frame-up. 6 Also, we reject the appellant's
contention that the police officers failed to comply with the provisions of Section 21,
paragraph 1 of R.A. No. 9165, 7 which provides for the procedure in the custody and
disposition of seized drugs. After a careful perusal of the records, we agree with the
CA that the prosecution had established the unbroken chain of custody over the
seized drugs. This was established through the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses, to wit: "At around 7: 15 o 'clock in the evening of November I 0, 2006,
P03 Batobalonos, POI Reales, POI Bullido and their civilian asset proceeded to Sitio
Cogan, A. Lopez St., Barangay Labangon. When the 6 People v. Dumlao, 584 Phil.
732, 740 (2008). Section 21. Custody and Disp'.>sition of Confiscated, Seized,
and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled
Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory
Equipment. - x x x (I) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of
the drugs shall immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and
photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom
such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any
elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and
be given a copy thereof[.] t T Decision 4 G.R. No. 212171 team went inside the
interior portion of Sitio Cogon, PO 1 Rea/es together with the civilian asset
approached the house of Dela Cruz, while P03 Batobalonos and POl Bul!ido were
strategically hidden more or less ten (I 0) meters away. The civilian asset called
Dela Cruz and told her that they will buy shabu worth P200.00. Thereafter, Dela
Cruz handed POI Reales a small plastic containing white crystalline substance and in
exchange he handed to the former the P200. 00 bills. Upon getting hold of the
money, f>03 Batobalonos and PO I Bullido, who saw the consummation of the
transaction rushed to the scene. When P03 Batobalonos got hold of Dela Cruz, the
latter shouted for help and resisted arrest. Dela Cruz was able to run and so the
team chased her, however, her neighbor Arthur Tabasa Ortega ("Ortega') blocked
their way. The team introduced themselves as policemen but Ortega did not listen,
so P03 Batobalonos fired a warning shot as the people likewise started to gather
around them. Meanwhile, Dela Cruz was able to evade arrest. The team then
arrested Ortega for obstruction a/justice. On their way to the police station aboard
their patrol car, PO 1 Real es handed to P03 Batobalonos the small plastic
contm:ning white crystalline substance which he purchased/ram Dela Cruz.
Thereafter, upon arrival at the police station, P03 Batobalonos marked the seized
item with ''DDM 11II0106. " Afterwards, a Request for Laboratory Examination of the

seized item was prepared by P03 Batobalonos. The Request and the seized item
were delivered to the Regional Crime Laboratory Ojfice-7, Camp Sotero Cabahug,
Gorordo Avenue .. Cebu City by POl Rea/es at around 1:10 0 'clock in the morning of
November 11, 2006. Thereafter Forensic Chemist PCI Salinas issued Chemistry
Report No. D-1771-2006, " 8 with the finding that the specimen gave positive result
for the presence of Methamphetamine hydrochloride. 9 The confiscated dangerous
drug which also ~onstitutes the corpus delicti of the crime was validly considered
by the courts in arriving at the decision despite the fact that the forensic chemist
who examined it did not testify in court. The relevant portion of the RTC decision
reads: Rollo, pp. 8-9. (Emphasis supplied) Records, p. 9; As evidenced by Chemistry
Report No. D-1771-2006. Decision 5 G.R. No. 212171 The presentation of the
testimony of Forensic chemist PSI MUTCHIT G. SALINAS was dispensed with, the
defense having ADMITTED: the existence of the Letter Request dated November l 0,
2006 from the PNP Station 1 O; the existence of one (1) small plastic pack
containing white crystalline substance which is the subject for examination,
however DENIED as to the ownership of said evidence; the existence and due
execution of the Chemistry Report No. D-1771-2006 executed by witness Mutchit G.
Salinas; that the intended witness is and expert witness who examined the
specimen found to contain the presence of Methylamphetamine hydrochloride
locally known as shabu, a dangerous drug. 10 Anent accused-appellant's contention
that the drugs were marked not at the place where she was apprehended but at the
police station and that there was no physical inventory made on the seized item nor
was it photographed, we find the same untenable. The alleged non-compliance with
Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 was not fatal to the prosecution's case because the
apprehending team properly preserved the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized drugs. 11 Relevant to the instant case is the procedure to be followed in the
custody and handling of the seized dangerous drugs as outlined in Section 2l(a),
Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9165, which states:
10 II (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the
drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and
photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom
such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department or Justice (DO.T), and any
elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and
be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph shall
be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest
police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever :s
practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance
with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending
officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over
said items[.] Id. at 67. In People v. Sanchez (590 Phil. 214, 234 [2008]), we held that
"non-compliance with the strict directive of Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 is not
necessarily fatal to the prosecution's case; [but these lapses] must be recognized

and explained in terms of their justifiable grounds and the integrity and evidentiary
value of the evidence seized must be shown to have been preserved." i . ' Decision
6 G.R. No. 212171 The last part of the aforequoted issuance provided the exception
to the strict compliance with the requirements of Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165.
Although ideally the prosecution should offer a perfect chain of custody in the
handling of evidence, "substantial compliance with the legal requirements on the
handling of the seized item" is sufficient. 12 This Court has consistently ruled that
even if the arresting officers failed to strictly comply with the requirements under
Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, such procedural lapse is not fatal and will not render
the items seized inadmissible in evidence. 13 What is of utmost importance is the
preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same
would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. 14 In
other words, to be admissible in evidence, the prosecution must be able to present
through records or testimony, the whereabouts of the dangerous drugs from the
time these were seized from the accused by the arresting officers; turned-over to
the investigating officer; forwarded to the laboratory for determination of their
composition; and up to the time these are offered in evidence. For as long as the
chain of custody remains unbroken, as in this case, even though the procedural
requirements provided for in Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165 were not faithfully observed,
the guilt of the accused will not be affected. 15 In the instant case, the failure to
strictly comply with the requirements of Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165 was satisfactorily
explained by the apprehending officers. They testified that a commotion erupted
when accused-appellant resisted and shouted for help while she was being arrested.
The commotion eventually gave accused-appellant the oppmiunity to run and elude
arrest. The arresting officers further alleged that the people who gathered around
them were already aggressive prompting them to decide to immediately proceed to
the police station for their safety. 16 In fact, the arresting officers even had to fire a
warning shot and arrest Arthur Tabasa Ortega, the person who intervened in the
arrest of accused-appellant, in order for them to pacify the people around them. The
integrity of the evidence is presumed to have been preserved unless there is a
showing of bad faith, ill will, or proof that the evidence has been tampered with.
Accused-appellant bears the burden of showing that p 13 14 15 16 People v. Cortez,
611 Phil. 360, 381 (2009). People v. Almodiel, 694 Phil. 449, 467 (2012); f'eople v.
Campos, 643 Phil. 668, 673 (2008) citing People v. Concepcion, 578 Phil. 957, 971
(2008). People v. Magundayao, 683 Phil. 295, 321 (2012); People v. Le, 636 Phil.
586, 598 (20 I 0) citing People v. De Leon, 624 Phil. 786, 80 I (20 I 0) further citing
People v. Naquita, 582 Phil. 422, 442 (2008); People v. Concepcion, 578 Phi I. 957,
971 (2008). People v. Manlangit, 654 Phil. 427, 440-441 (20 I I) citing People v.
Rosia/do, 643 Phil. 712, 726 (20 I 0) further citing People v. Rivera, 590 Phil. 894,
912-913 (2008). TSN, 16 September 2008, p. 6; TSN, 21 October 2008, p. 6.
Decision 7 G.R. No. 212171 the evidence was tampered or meddled with in order to
overcome the presumption of regularity in the handling of exhibits by public officers
and the presumption that public officers properly discharged their duties. 17
Accused-ppellant in this case failed to present any plausible reason to impute ill

motive on the part of the arresting officers. Thus, the testimonies of the
apprehending officers deserve full faith and credit. 18 In fact, accusedappellant did
not even question the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. She simply anchored
her defense on denial and alibi. We affirm the penalties imposed as they are well
within the ranges r-irovided by law. Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 prescribes a
perialty of life imprisonment to death 19 and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to Pl
0,000,000.00 for the sale of any dangerous drug, regardless of the quantity or
purity involved. WHEREFORE, the decision dated 27 September 2013 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01103 is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, -versusG.R. No. 211028 Present:
VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson, PERALTA, PEREZ ' REYES,* and PERLAS-BERNABE,** JJ
JONATHAN ARCILLO, Promulgated: Accused-Appellant. July 1.3, ~016
x--------------------------------------------------------~--~~-x RESOLUTION PEREZ, J.: On appeal
is the 25 July 2013 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01011
affirming the conviction of appellant Jonathan Arcilla for the crime of qualified rape.
* ** The Information2 charging appellant with rape reads: That on the 1st day of
November 2004 at 1 :00 o'clock in the afternoon, more or less at Sitio Basiao,
Barangay Canang, Oslob, Cebu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-- named accused with deliberate intent, by means of
force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
carnal On Wellness Leave. Additional Member per Raffle dated 13 June 2016.
er{ Rollo, pp. 3-19; Penned by Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan-Manahan
with Associate Justices Ramon Paul L. Hernando and Ma. Luisa C. Quijano-Padilla
concurring. Records, pp. 1-2. Resolution 2 G.R. No. 211028 knowledge with [AAA],3
a [161 years old minor, against her will and consent. Appellant entered a not guilty
plea. Trial ensued. The evidence for the prosecution shows that AAA lived with her
grandfather CCC. Appellant is AAA's uncle, he being the husband of AAA's aunt. At
around 1:00 p.m. on l November 2004, CCC ordered AAA to gather food for the pigs.
AAA went near the house of appellant where she filled up the sack with leaves of a
tree. Thereat, appellant called AAA from his house but AAA ignored him. Appellant
then went out of his house. He approached AAA from behind, wrestled her, tied her
mouth with a cloth and threatened to kill her with a pinuti, a long bladed weapon.
Appellant forced her to lie down and then stripped her of her underwear. Appellant
then mounted on top of AAA and inserted his penis into her vagina. 4 According to
CCC, AAA went home after gathering the feeds. He noticed that she looked weak.
CCC did not bother to ask AAA until his daughter, the wife of appellant, informed
him that her husband raped AAA. 5 Upon learning of the incident, AAA's mother,
BBB accompanied AAA directly to the police station, and then they proceeded to the
hospital to have AAA examined.6 AAA was born on 7 December 1987 and she was
sixteen years old on the date of the rape incident. The Medico-Legal Certificate
reveals the following findings: Multiple healed skin lesions upper and lower
extremities, The anal genitalia examination showed external genitalia. Medical
evaluation suggestive of sexual abuse7 Appellant denied that he raped AAA.

Appellant narrated that on the date it was done, he and his wife were on the farm at
8:00 a.m. They went home to have lunch from 11 :00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. They went
back to the farm after lunch until 5 :00 p.m .. Appellant denied raping AAA and
claimed 3 The real name of the victim is withheld to protect her privacy. Sec People
v. Caha/q11into, 533 Phil. 703 (2006). TSN, 24 .January 2006, pp. 5-13; TSN, 10
.January 2006, pp. 6-7. TSN, 7 February 2006, pp. 4-6. TSN, 31 .January 2006, pp. 35. C ;\ rollo, p. 86; Records, p. 33. ~ Resolution 3 G.R. No. 211028 that he does not
know her. During the cross-examination, appellant testified that he and his wife
were at the cemetery visiting relatives at 8:00 a.m. on 1 November 2004. They went
home at 3:00 p.m. The trial court judge asked clarificatory questions which led to
appellant admitting that he knew AAA but denied knowing CCC. 8 On 16 February
2009, the RTC convicted appellant of rape. The.fa/lo of the Decision9 reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the aforegoing, this Court finds accused .Jonathan Arcilla
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for the commission of RAPE and hereby sentences
him to suffer the following penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA which carries an
accessory penalty of civil interdiction for the duration of the period of the sentence
and perpetual disqualification. He is also liable to pay moral damages to the private
complainant in the amount of Php75,000.00 and exemplary damages in the amount
of Php25,000.00. 10 The RTC found that the positive assertion of AAA is more
credible than the denial of appellant. The trial court also observed that appellant's
alibi has two versions: first, that he was on the farm; and second, he was at the
cemetery. The trial court noted that appellant failed to present his wife to
corroborate his statement. Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal but on 25 July 2013,
the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling but modifying it as to damages,
to wit: 9 10 II WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is DENIED. The
Decision dated February 16, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 62,
Oslob, Cebu in Criminal Case No. OS-05-371 finding accused-appellant Jonathan
Arcillo ("Arcilla") guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Rape in relation to
Republic Act (RA) No. 7610, is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS as to
damages. Accused-appellant Jonathan Arcillo is ordered to pay victim AAA Fifty
Thousand Pesos (PS0,000.00) as civil indemnity, Fifty Thousand Pesos (PS0,000.00)
as moral damages and Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages,
all with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this
judgment. No costs. 11 TSN, 24 January 2008, pp. 5-14. Records, pp. 84-91 . Id. at
91. Rollo, p. 18. ~ Resolution 4 G.R. No. 211028 The Court of Appeals found no
reason to deviate from the prior assessment of the RTC on the credibility of AAA.
According to the Court of Appeals, the testimony of AAA is supported by the
physician's finding of penetration. The Court of Appeals convicted appellant of
simple rape because the qualifying circumstance of relationship was not present
when CCC admitted that appellant's wife is only his niece, thus, appellant cannot be
AAA's uncle by affinity within the third civil degree. In his Brief~ 12 appellant
maintains that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He
insists that the testimony of AAA is improbable and incredulous. According to
appellant, AAA' s claim that she was raped in an open field is impossible because

many people pass by the area to gather feeds and would have seen them. Appellant
claims that AAA's failure to shout for help is suspicious and her failure to
immediately inform her grandfather of the alleged rape should render her story
impossible. We dismiss the appeal. The RTC found AAA's testimony to be credible
and noted that it was positive, direct and straightforward. The Court of Appeals
agreed that AAA's testimony was straightforward and categorical. The
determination by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses, when affirmed by the
appellate court, as in this case, is accorded full weight and credit as well as great
respect, if not conclusive effect. 12 Indeed, AAA clearly testified that she was raped:
FISCAL ELESTERIO: Q: Can you still recall, where were you on the afternoon or
November 01, 2004, at 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon? A: Yes, I was getting feeds for
the pigs. Q: A: Q: A: Now, where was that place when you got the feeds for the pig;
Near the house of Jonathan. This Jonathan Arcillo the one accused in this case? Yes,
sir. Q: Is he inside the Court room now? A: Yes, Sir. CA rollo, pp. 20-29. ~ Resolution
5 G.R. No. 211028 Fiscal Elesterio (to witness) Q: Will you please point to us this
Jonathan Arcilla? A: At this juncture, the witness is pointing a person in an orange
CPDRC uniform when he (sic) asked his name he answered Jonathan Arcillo. Q: Now,
Madam witness when you were at the place near the house of Jonathan Arcillo, what
happened there? A: He wrestled me. Q: After the accused wrestled you what
happened next? A: He tied out my mouth. Q: With what Madam witness? A: A cloth,
Sir. Q: After that what happened next? A: He threatened me. Q: After he threatened
you what happened next? A: He threatened to kill me. Fiscal Elesterio (to witness) Q:
After he threatened you, what happened? A: He told me not to tell what had
happened. Court (to witness) Q: What did the accused do to you? A: He wrestled
me. Q: After he wrestled you what happened to you? A: He let me to lie clown. Q:
When you were lying down what did the accused do to you? A: He raped me. Q:
What do you mean that you were raped? A: Witness did not answer. Fiscal Elesterio
(to witness) Q: When you said you were raped, are you saying that the accused
inserted his penis to your vagina? A: Yes, sir. Court (to witness) Q: Were you wearing
panty at that time? A: Yes, sir. Resolution 6 G.R. No. 211028 Q: What did the
accused do to your panty? A: He removed my underwear. Q: Than after your panty
was removed by the accused he inserted his penis into your vagina. Is that correct?
A: Yes, sir. Court Proceed. Piscal Elesterio (to witness) Q: Did you resist to the
accused advances? A: Yes, Sir. Q: Please tell us what did you do in fighting back the
accused? A: I cried. Q: Madam witness after you were raped, according to you, you
were raped what did you do i r any? A: Nothing. Court (to witness) Q: You tell the
Court that the accused inserted his penis into your vagina, [ w]as the accused able
to insert his penis in lo your vagina? Y . 13 A: es, sir. For a charge of rape under
Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to prosper, the prosecution must
prove that: ( 1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) he
accomplished such act through force, threat or intimidation, when she was deprived
of reason or otherwise unconscious, or when she was under 12 years of age or was
demented. 14 The prosecution in the present case positively established the
elements of rape required under Atiicle 266-A of the RPC. First, the appellant had

carnal knowledge of the victim. AAA was positive and categorical in asserting that
appellant inserted his penis into her vagina. Her testimony was corroborated by the
medical evaluation which is suggestive of sexual abuse. Second, appellant
employed threat and force. He used a long blade to threaten AAA to submit to his
desire. ln addition, the appellant did not impute any improper motive to AAA or on
any other prosecution witnesses on why they would falsely testify \} TSN, 10
January 2006, pp. 4-8. 1,1 l'eople v. Dolan, 736 Phil. 298, 300(2014). ~ Resolution 7
G.R. No. 211028 against him. The failure of AAA to shout for help and her delay in
reporting the rape incident do not negate rape. We have consistently ruled that
failure of the victim to shout for help does not negate rape and the victim's lack of
resistance especially when intimidated by the offender into submission does not
signify voluntariness or consent. 15 Moreover, delay in reporting rape incidents, in
the face of threats of physical violence, cannot be taken against the victim because
delay in reporting an incident of rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge and
does not necessarily cast doubt on the credibility f - h 1 . 16 o t e comp amant. At
the time of the rape incident, AAA was only 14 years old. However, the qualifying
circumstance of relationship was not proven. Thus, appellant was correctly
convicted of the crime of simple rape. Both courts correctly imposed the penalty of
reclusion perpetua The awards of civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary.
damages must be increased to l!75,000.00 each in line with prevailing
jurisprudence. 17 Interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be
imposed on all monetary awards from date of finality of this Resolution until fully
paid. WHEREFORE, the assailed 25 July 2013 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR-HC No. 01011 finding appellant Jonathan Arcillo guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS; the awards of civil
indemnity, moral damages and exemplary damages are increased to l!75,000.00
each; in addition all monetary awards shall earn interest at the rate of six percent
( 6o/o) per annum from date of finality of this Resolution until fully paid. 15 16 17
SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, G.R. No. 210715 -versusPresent:
VELASCO, JR., J, Chairperson, PERALTA, PEREZ, MENDOZA,* and REYES, JJ. RUSTICO
YGOT y REPUELA, Promulgated: Accused-Appellant. July 18, 2016
x----------------------------------------------------------~~-~-x DECISION PEREZ, J.: For this
Court's resolution is the appeal of Rustico Y got y Repuela (accused-appellant)
assailing the 25 July 2013 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CEB-CR
1~1c No. 01416. The CA Decision affirmed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 47, Tagbilaran City finding the accused guilty of violating Section 5,
Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Background of the Case Accused-appellant was
charged before the RTC with violation of Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165. Upon
arraignment, accused- * Additional Member per Raflle dated 18 May 2016. (On
Wellness Leave). Rollo, pp. 3-14; Penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul L.
Hernando with Associate Justices Carmelita Salandanan-Manahan and Ma. Luisa C.

Quijano-Padilla concurring. Decision '2 G.R. No. 210715 appellant, with the
assistance of counsel, pleaded not guilty to the cnme charged. Pre-trial and trial on
the merits thereafter ensued. On 17 November 2011, the RTC promulgated a
Decision2 finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt. He was
sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine or
~500,000.00. The RTC ruled that the evidence presented by the prosecution
successfully established the elements of illegal sale of dangerous drugs as
accusedappellant was caught in flagranle delicto in a valid buy-bust operation. It
held that the accused-appellant's defenses of denial and frame-up lack persuasive
force as these defenses are one of those standard, worn-out and impotent excuses
of malefactors in the course of the prosecution of drug cases. 3 The RTC noted that
in the absence of any intent or ill-motive on the part of the police officers to falsely
impute commission of a crime against the accused, the presumption of regularity in
the performance of official duty is entitled to great respect and deserves to prevail
over the bare, uncorroborated denial and self-serving claim of the accused of frameup. 4 On intermediate appellate review, the CA found no reason to disturb the
findings of the RTC and thus, upheld its ruling. The appellate court likewise rejected
the defense of frame-up insisted by the accused-appellant. The CA held that the
apprehending officers complied with the proper procedure in the custody and
disposition of the seized drugs and that the identity of the confiscated drugs has
been duly preserved. It maintained that the chain of custody over the two (2) heatsealed plastic sachets of shabu was not broken. It averred that if there were lapses
at all in the compliance with the required procedure, the same were only minor
details which did not, in any way, affect the integrity of the evidence. On 30 August
2013, accused-appellant filed his notice of appeal pursuant to Section 13, par. C,
Rule 124 of the Rules of Court to assail the 25 July 2013 Decision of the CA. Issue
Whether the lower courts erred in convicting accused-appellant despite the
prosecution's failure to establish the chain of custody. 5 Records, pp. 109-115. Id. at
114. Id. CA rollo, p. 16; Brier for the Accused-Appcllanl. ~ Decision ,.., . .) G.R. No.
210715 Our Ruling The conviction of accused-appellant stands. The elements of
illegal sale of dangerous drugs were established. In order to secure a conviction for
illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it is necessary that the prosecution is able to
establish the following essential elements: ( 1) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, the object of the sale and its consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing
sold and its payment. What is material is the proof that the transaction or sale
actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as
evidence. The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the
seller of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction.6
Our examination of the records revealed that the prosecution was able to
convincingly establish all the afore-cited elements. The witness for the prosecution,
Intelligence Officer 1 Ricardo Palapar (IOI Palapar), positively identified accusedappellant as the person who sold shabu to the confidential informant. He testified
that he saw the confidential informant giving the buy-bust money to accusedappellant and in return, accused-appellant handed to the confidential informant two

(2) plastic sachets believed to contain shabu. 7 The prosecution also established
through testimony and evidence the object of the sale, which consisted of two (2)
heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing shabu and the two (2) marked
Php500.00 bills, as the consideration thereof. Finally, the delivery of the shabu sold
and its payment were clearly testified to by prosecution witness I 01 Palapar.
Accused-appellant denied the accusation that he sold shabu to a confidential
informant. He maintained that he just had lunch with a friend at Bohol Quality Mall
when two policemen arrived and accosted him. I-le claimed that he was brought to
the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) office and there, the police officers
frisked him and kept on asking where he hid the shabu. When he replied that he did
not know what they were talking about and that he did not possess any of that
substance, the <> People v. Mideni/la, 645 Phil. 387, 601 (2010) citing People v.
Guiara, 616 Phil. 290, 302 (2009) further citing People v. Gonzales, 430 Phil. 504,
513 (2002); People v. Bonga/on, 425 Phil. 96, 117 (2002). TSN, 9 September 20 I 0,
p. 22. M Decision 4 G.R. No. 210715 policemen allegedly forced him to sign a
document which he did not understand. Accused-appellant's defenses which are
anchored mainly on bare denial and frame-up cannot be given credence. They do
not have more evidentiary weight than the positive assertions of the prosecution
witnesses. His defenses are unavailing considering that he was caught in jlagrante
delicto in a legitimate buy-bust operation. This Court has ruled that the defense of
denial or frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor
for it can just as easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense ploy in
most prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. 8 We agree with the
lower courts that the culpability of accuscdappellant was established beyond
reasonable doubt. The testimony of 101 Palapar was not only unwavering but
consistent even under crossexamination. Moreover, the defense failed to impeach
101 Palapar or present controverting evidence to show why he would incriminate or
testify against accused-appellant. Settled is the rule that the absence of evidence
as to an improper motive strongly tends to sustain the conclusion that none existed
and that the testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. 9 When the police officers
involved in the buy-bust operation have no motive to testify against the accused,
the courts shall uphold the presumption that they performed their duties regularly. '
0 In fact, for as long as the identity of the accused and his participation in the
commission of the crime has been duly established, motive is immaterial for
conviction. Chain of Custody Ruic Accused-appellant submits that the lower courts
failed to consider the procedural flaws committed by the arresting officers in the
safekeeping of the seized drugs as embodied in Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II,
R.A. No. 9165 . 11 I-le claims that the prosecution erred in not presenting the
confidential informant who appears to be the first person in possession of the
G.R. No. 148194

April 12, 2002

WILLY TAN y CHUA, petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
VITUG, J.:
On 12 December 1996, petitioner Willy Tan was found guilty of bigamy by the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 75, of San Mateo, Rizal. He was sentenced to suffer a
prison term of prision correccional in its medium period ranging from two (2) years,
four (4) months, and one (1) day, to four (4) years and two (2) months. On 23
December 1996, petitioner applied for probation. On 8 January 1997, the
application was granted by the trial court but the release order was withheld in view
of the filing by the prosecution, on 21 January 1997, of a motion for modification
of the penalty. The prosecution pointed out that the penalty for bigamy under Article
349 of the Revised Penal Code was prision mayor and the impassable penalty,
absent any mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, should be the medium period
of prision mayor, or from eight (8) years and one (1) day to ten (10) years. Thus, the
prosecution argued, petitioner was not eligible for probation.
The trial court denied the motion of the prosecution for having been filed out of
time since the decision sought to be modified had already attained finality. Indeed,
petitioner had meanwhile applied for probation. Upon motion of the prosecution,
however, the trial court reconsidered its order and rendered an amended decision,
promulgated on 10 July 1998, concluding thusly:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused
Willy Tan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, is hereby sentenced to suffer a minimum prison term
of prision [correccional] TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY to a
maximum prison term of EIGHT (8) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY." 1
On 13 July 1998, petitioner filed a notice of appeal with the trial court and
elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, contending that "THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AMENDING THE FIRST DECISION INCREASING THE
PENALTY AFTER THE SAME HAD ALREADY BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY." 2
The Court of Appeals, in a decision, dated 18 August 2000, dismissed petitioner's
appeal on the ground that petitioner raised a pure question of law. Citing Article VIII,
Section 5(2)(e), of the Constitution, the appellate court explained that jurisdiction
over the case was vested exclusively in the Supreme Court and that, in accordance
with Rule 122, Section 3(e), of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the appeal should
have been brought up by way of a petition for review on certiorari with this Court
and not by merely filing a notice of appeal before the trial court.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which, on 18 May 2001, was denied by
the appellate court. The petition for review on certiorari before this Court raised the
following issues:
"I. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING SECTION 2, RULE 50 ON
DISMISSAL OF IMPROPER APPEAL TO THE COURT OF APPEALS AS THE SAID SECTION
REFERS TO AN APPEAL UNDER RULE 41 IN ORDINARY CIVIL ACTION BUT NOT TO AN
APPEAL IN CRIMINAL CASES WHICH IS GOVERNED BY RULE 122 OF THE REVISED
RULES ON CRIMINAL PROCEDURE.
"II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SUPREME COURT HAS
EXCLUSIVE APPELLATE JURISDICTION ON PURE QUESTIONS OF LAW.
"III. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT BECAUSE THE
APPEAL RAISED PURE QUESTIONS OF LAW, IT IS WITHOUT JURISDICTION TO
RESOLVE THE ISSUE RAISED IN THE APPEAL.
"IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL OUTRIGHT
INSTEAD OF DECLARING THE AMENDED DECISION VOID FOR UTTER WANT OF
JURISDICTION.1wphi1.nt
"V. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT RULE 65 IS THE PROPER
REMEDY TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF JURISDICTION AND IF SO IN NOT TREATING THE
APPEAL AS A SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION FOR CERTIORARI." 3
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to appeal in the
manner prescribed by law.4 While this right is statutory, once it is granted by law,
however, its suppression would be a violation of due process, itself a right
guaranteed by the Constitution.5 Section 3(a), Rule 122 of the Rules of Criminal
Procedure states:
"Section 3. How appeal is taken.
(a) The appeal to the Regional Trial Court, or to the Court of Appeals in cases
decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, shall be
taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered the judgment or
final order appealed from and by serving a copy thereof upon the adverse party.
(Emphasis supplied).
The above rule is plain and unambiguous the remedy of ordinary appeal by notice
of appeal, although not necessarily preclusive of other remedies provided for by the
rules, is open and available to petitioner.
The notice of appeal was timely filed by petitioner on 13 July 1998, three days after
the questioned decision was promulgated. 6 It was a remedy that the law allowed
him to avail himself of, and it threw the whole case effectively open for review on
both questions of law and of fact whether or not raised by the parties.

Neither the Constitution nor the Rules of Criminal Procedure exclusively vests in the
Supreme Court the power to hear cases on appeal in which only an error of law is
involved.7 Indeed, the Court of Appeals, under Rule 42 and 44 of the Rules of Civil
Procedure, is authorized to determine "errors of fact, of law, or both." 8 These rules
are expressly adopted to apply to appeals in criminal cases, 9 and they do not
thereby divest the Supreme Court of its ultimate jurisdiction over such questions.
Anent the argument that petitioner should have filed a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65, it might be pointed out that this remedy can only be resorted to when there
is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law.10 Appeal, being a remedy still available to petitioner, a petition
for certiorari would have been premature.
In fine, petitioner had taken an appropriate legal step in filing a notice of appeal
with the trial court. Ordinarily, the Court should have the case remanded to the
Court of Appeals for further proceedings. The clear impingement upon petitioner's
basic right against double jeopardy,11 however, should here warrant the exercise of
the prerogative by this Court to relax the stringent application of the rules on the
matter. When the trial court increased the penalty on petitioner for his crime of
bigamy after it had already pronounced judgment and on which basis he then, in
fact, applied for probation, the previous verdict could only be deemed to have
lapsed into finality.
Section 7, Rule 120, of the Rules on Criminal Procedure that states
"Sec. 7. Modification of judgment. A judgment of conviction may, upon
motion of the accused, be modified or set aside before it becomes final or
before appeal is perfected. Except where the death penalty is imposed, a
judgment becomes final after the lapse of the period for perfecting an
appeal, or when the sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or
served, or when the accused has waived in writing his right to appeal, or
has applied for probation"implements a substantive provision of the Probation Law which enunciates that the
mere filing of an application for probation forecloses the right to appeal.
"SEC. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the trial court
may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon application
by said defendant within the period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution
of the sentence and place the defendant on probation for such period and upon
such terms and conditions as it may deem best: Provided, That no application for
probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal
from the judgment or conviction.

"Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment


or a fine only. An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court. The
filing of the application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal.
"An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. (As amended by
PD 1257, and by PD 1990, Oct. 5, 1985.)" 12
Such a waiver amounts to a voluntary compliance with the decision and
writes finis to the jurisdiction of the trial court over the judgment. 13 There is no
principle better settled, or of more universal application, than that no court can
reverse or annul, reconsider or amend, its own final decree or judgment. 14 Any
attempt by the court to thereafter alter, amend or modify the same, except in
respect to correct clerical errors, would be unwarranted.
WHEREFORE, the petition is given due course. The assailed amendatory judgment
of the trial court is SET ASIDE and its decision of 12 December 1996
is REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and
Carpio, JJ., concur.
Mendoza, J., See dissent.
Bellosillo, Quisumbing, De Leon, Jr., JJ., joins the dissenting opinion of J. Mendoza.
Panganiban, J., in the result.

Footnotes
1

Rollo, pp. 109 112.

Appellant's Brief, p. 5.

Petition, p. 11; Rollo, p. 15.

Section 1(i), Rule 115, Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Estoya vs. Abraham-Singson, 237 SCRA 1.

See Section 6, Rule 122, Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxx

xxx

xxx

(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or
the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:

(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or
executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction,
ordinance, or regulation is in question.
(b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any
penalty imposed in relation thereto.
(c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue.
(d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher.
(e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.
8

Section 2, Rule 42; Section 15, Rule 44, Rules of Civil Procedure

Section 18, Rule 124, Rules of Criminal Procedure.

10

Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Civil Procedure.

11

Gregorio vs. Director of Prisons, 43 Phil. 650; US vs. Hart, 24 Phil. 578.

12

Establishing A Probation System, Appropriating Funds Therefor And For Other


Purposes (P.D. No. 968, as amended by P.D. 1990.
13

Lanestosa vs. Santamaria, 52 Phil. 67.

14

United States vs. Ballad and Tamaray, 35 Phil. 15.

Justice Jose Feria, commenting on the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, has this to
say
"A judgment of conviction may now be modified by the court rendering it only `upon
motion of the accused.' This provision changes the previous rulings of the Supreme
Court to the effect that such modification may be made upon motion of the fiscal,
provided the same is made before the judgment has become final or an appeal has
been perfected." (Feria, Philippine Legal Studies Series No. 2.)
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

EN BANC
G.R. No. 148194

April 12, 2002

WILLY TAN y CHUA, petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

DISSENTING OPINION
MENDOZA, J.:
The reasons for my disagreement with the majority will be spelled out in detail, but
in brief they are as follows: (1) The case before the Court of Appeals did not involve
an error of judgment but an alleged error of jurisdiction and, therefore, appeal was
not the appropriate remedy to bring the matter to that court. (2) Even assuming the
case involved an error of judgment and therefore appeal was the appropriate
remedy open to petitioner, the appeal should have been brought before this Court
and not the Court of Appeals, and it should not be by mere notice of appeal but by a
petition for review. (3) The correct remedy is certiorari. (4) Even equity will not
excuse petitioner's failure to observe the rules for seeking a review, and this Court
is not justified in deciding the issue which petitioner should have first brought
before the Court of Appeals.
There is no dispute as to the following facts.
Petitioner Willy Tan and Mildred Gococo-Tan were married on January 14, 1979. On
November 28, 1981, while their marriage was subsisting, petitioner contracted
marriage with Estela G. Infante. On the complaint of Mildred Gococo-Tan, petitioner
and Estela G. Infante were charged with bigamy. The case was filed before the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 75, San Mateo, Rizal, which, on December 12, 1996,
found petitioner Willy Tan guilty of bigamy and sentenced him "to suffer a prison
term of prision correccional in its medium period ranging from two (2) years, four
(4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months." The case against
Estela g. Infante, who was at large, was ordered archived without prejudice to its
revival upon her arrest.
On the basis of the penalty imposed on him, petitioner applied for probation on
December 23, 1996. His application was granted by the trial court in its order of
January 8, 1997, but release of the order was withheld in view of the filing on
January 21, 1997 by the prosecution of a motion for modification of the penalty. The
prosecution pointed out that the penalty for bigamy prescribed under Art. 349 of the
Revised Penal Code is prision mayor and that the maximum imposable penalty, in
the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances, is the medium period
of prision mayor, which is from eight (8) years and one (1) day to ten (10) years.
Petitioner was thus not eligible for probation, it was argued.

On August 5, 1997, the trial court denied the prosecution's motion for having been
filed out of time, the decision sought to be modified having become final when
petitioner applied for probation. However, upon motion of the prosecution, the trial
court reconsidered its order and, on April 14, 1998, amended the dispositive portion
of its decision as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused
Willy tan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, is hereby sentenced to suffer a minimum prison term
of prision [correccional] of TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY to a
maximum prison term of EIGHT (8) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY. 1
The decision, as thus amended, was promulgated on July 10, 1998.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals by filing a notice of appeal with the trial
court on July 13, 1998. Petitioner contended that
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AMENDING THE FIRST DECISION INCREASING THE
PENALTY AFTER THE SAME HAD ALREADY BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY. 2
In its decision, dated August 18, 2000, now the subject of this review, the Court of
Appeals3 dismissed for lack of jurisdiction petitioner's appeal on the ground that it
raised a pure question of law. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but his
motion was denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution of May 18, 2001.
In dismissing petitioner's appeal from the amended decision of the Regional Trial
Court, the Court of Appeals held that the appeal raised only a question of law; that,
pursuant to Art. VIII, 5(2)(e) of the Constitution, appellate jurisdiction over the case
was vested exclusively in the Supreme Court; and that, in accordance with Rule 122,
3(e) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the appeal should be brought by filing with
this Court a petition for review on certiorari, not by filing a notice of appeal in the
trial court.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals.
Rule 122, 3 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
How appeal taken.
(a) The appeal to the Regional Trial Court, or to the Court of Appeals in cases
decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, shall be
taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered the judgment or
final order appealed from and by serving a copy thereof upon the adverse party.
(b) The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court
in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction shall be by petition for review under Rule
42.

(c) The appeal to the Supreme Court in cases where the penalty imposed by the
Regional Trial Court is reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, or where a lesser
penalty is imposed but for offenses committed on the same occasion or which arose
out of the same occurrence that gave rise to the more serious offense for which the
penalty of death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment is imposed, shall be by
filing a notice of appeal in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section.
(d) No notice of appeal is necessary in cases where the death penalty is imposed by
the Regional Trial Court. The same shall be automatically reviewed by the Supreme
Court as provided in section 10 of this Rule.
(e) Except as provided in the last paragraph of section 13, Rule 124, all other
appeals to the Supreme Court shall be by petition for review on certiorari under Rule
45.
The majority holds that petitioner's appeal to the Court of Appeals by mere notice is
justified under Rule 122, 3(a) as above quoted. Petitioner argues that Rule 44, 15
in fact allows assignments of errors to be made concerning questions of law or fact
in appeals to the Court of Appeals. The Court thus sustains the following contention
of petitioner:
. . . Rule 122 governing appeals in criminal cases does not direct as it does in
ordinary appeals in civil cases under Rule 41 which provides that in all cases where
only questions of law are raised or involved, the appeal shall be to the Supreme
Court by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45.
Under Rule 122(a), the appeal to the Regional Trial Court, or to the Court of Appeals
in criminal cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original
jurisdiction, shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered
the judgment or final order appealed from and by serving a copy thereof upon the
adverse party unfettered by any restriction on the questions that may be raised on
appeal[.] Section 3(d) Rule 122 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure transposed
to par. (e) cited in the footnote by the Court of [A]ppeals decision merely provides
that "All other appeals to the Supreme Court shall be by petition for certiorari." As
worded in the present rule "Except as provided in the last paragraph of section 13,
Rule 124, all other appeals to the Supreme Court shall be by petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45."
It did not direct as it does in Rule 41 that appeal in criminal cases on pure questions
of law shall only be to the Supreme Court. What the rule directs is that when an
appeal is to be made to the Supreme Court the appeal shall be by petition for
review.
Rule 41 cannot likewise to applied by analogy in appeals in criminal cases since Rule
41 is not among the rules that was expressly adopted to apply to appeals in criminal
cases. Under Section 18 of Rule 124:

SEC. 18. Application of certain rules in civil procedure to criminal cases. The
provisions of Rules 42, 44 to 46 and 48 to 56 relating to procedure in the Court of
Appeals and in the Supreme Court in original and appealed civil cases shall be
applied to criminal cases insofar as they are applicable and not inconsistent with
the provisions of this Rule.
The exclusion of Rule 41 which refers to appeals in civil cases from Rule 122 which
refers to appeals in criminal cases clearly indicates that the modes of appeal in
ordinary civil actions is not applicable in criminal cases. On the other hand, Section
18 of the Rule 122 expressly provides that Rule 44 on procedure in the Court of
Appeals in ordinary appealed cases shall be applied in criminal cases. As will
hereafter be shown[,] Rule 44, like Rules 42 and 43 alternatively allows assignment
of errors on questions of fact or of law, meaning a[n] assignment of error only on
pure questions of law are allowable in appeals to the Court of Appeals. Section
18 clearly connotes that when the rules allow the application of a particular
rule in a particular situation, it does so expressly. Note that Rule 47 on Annulment of
Judgments was also excluded.
I respectfully disagree with the majority ruling for the following reasons:
First. Appeal is not the appropriate remedy because it is not an error of judgment,
but an error of jurisdiction allegedly committed by the trial court, which petitioner
was raising in the Court of Appeals. The question whether the trial court could
correct an error in computing the penalty after its decision had become final was
not passed upon by the trial court in deciding the criminal case before it but was
determined by it only as an incident of the case. Indeed, the issue in that case was
whether petitioner Willy Tan y Chua was guilty of bigamy as the trial court found. If
petitioner did not agree with his conviction, an appeal by mere notice to that effect
would have been perfectly correct under Rule 122, 3(a).1wphi1.nt
But the decision of the trial court on this question has never been disputed by
petitioner. No error of judgment had been imputed to the trial court. Rather, what
petitioner questioned was the power of the trial court to amend its decision to
correct a mistake it had made in fixing the maximum term of the sentence, after the
decision had become final. This is a question of jurisdiction. There is therefore no
basis for applying Rule 122, 3(a) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
While a question of jurisdiction may be raised on appeal, in the context of this case,
this was not possible because the majority's premise is precisely that the trial court
had lost jurisdiction over the case as its decision had become final while at the
same time saying that appeal was petitioner's appropriate remedy. Nor can it be
argued that petitioner could not have appealed until the trial court modified its
judgment because petitioner was not questioning the original decision but only the
decision as modified. Amendments retroact to the date of the original judgment. At
any rate, this only shows the absurdity of allowing appeal when the reason of the

majority is that the decision of the trial court could no longer be modified because it
had become final. This brings me to my second point.
Second. Even assuming that appeal was the appropriate remedy, because it was a
question of law that petitioner wanted to raise, the appeal should have been to this
Court, not the Court of Appeals, and it should have been by petition for review on
certiorari, not by mere notice of appeal.
Art. VIII, 5(2)(e) of the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall have
appellate jurisdiction over "all cases in which only an error or question of law is
involved." This jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is exclusive by reason of 17, par.
4(4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, which provides:
SEC. 17. Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. - . . . .
The Supreme Court shall further have exclusive jurisdiction to review, revised,
reverse, modify or affirm on certiorari as the law or rules of court may provide, final
judgments and decrees of inferior courts as herein provided, in
.
(4) All other cases in which only errors or questions of law are involved: Provided,
however, That if, in addition to constitutional, tax or jurisdictional questions, the
cases mentioned in the three next preceding paragraphs also involve questions of
fact or mixed questions of fact and law, the aggrieved party shall appeal to the
Court of Appeals; and the final judgment or decision of the latter may be reviewed,
revised, reversed, modified or affirmed by the Supreme Court on writ of certiorari; . .
. . (Emphasis added)
Art. VIII, 5(2)(e) of the Constitution provides that the appeal shall be "by certiorari
as the law or the rules of court may provide." Accordingly, Rule 122, 3(d) states
that "all other appeals to the Supreme Court [in criminal cases other than those
involving the imposition of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment or death] shall
be by a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45." As petitioner simply filed a
mere notice of appeal with the trial court, his appeal was correctly dismissed by the
Court of Appeals.
The majority contends that the Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction over
cases in which the only question is a question of law that may be brought by mere
notice of appeal filed with the trial court because of Rule 42, 2 and Rule 44, 15 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which are made applicable to criminal cases by
Rule 124, 184 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. These Rules state:
Rule 42, 2. Form and contents. The petition shall be filed in seven (7) legible
copies, with the original copy intended for the court being indicated as such by the
petitioner, and shall (a) state the full names of the parties to the case, without
impleading the lower courts or judges thereof either as petitioners or respondents;

(b) indicate the specific material dates showing that it was filed on time; (c) set
forth concisely a statement of the matters involved, the issues raised, the
specification of errors of fact or law, or both, allegedly committed by the Regional
Trial Court, and the reasons or arguments relied upon for the allowance of the
appeal; (d) be accompanied by clearly legible duplicate originals or true copies of
the judgments or final orders of both lower courts, certified correct by the clerk of
court of the Regional Trial Court, the requisite number of plain copies thereof and of
the pleadings and other material portions of the record as would support the
allegations of the petition. . . . (Emphasis added)
Rule 44, 15. Questions that may be raised on appeal. Whether or not the
appellant has filed a motion for new trial in the court below, he may include in his
assignment of errors any question of law or fact that has been raised in the court
below and which is within the issues framed by the parties. (Emphasis added)
Mixed questions of fact and law may be raised in the Court of Appeals but not pure
questions of law. This is clear from 17, par. 4(4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as
quoted above. The exclusive jurisdiction of this Court over appeals in which only
errors or questions of law are involved is affirmed in B.P. Blg. 129, 9 defining the
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. This provision reads in part:
SEC. 9. Jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals shall exercise:
....
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions,
orders, or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies,
instrumentalities, boards or commissions, including the Securities and Exchange
Commission, the Social Security Commission, the Employees Compensation
Commission and the Civil Service Commission, except those falling within the
appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the
Labor Code of the Philippines under PD No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this
Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the
fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. . . . (Emphasis added)
The phrase "errors of fact or law or both" found in Rule 42, 2 and the phrase "any
question of law or fact" in Rule 44, 15 must, therefore, be understood to mean
"question of fact or mixed questions of fact and law" when referring to cases falling
within the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. The reason for this is
simple. Rule 42, 2 and Rule 44, 15 are procedural rules, and it is conventional
learning that procedural rules cannot amend or change substantive laws, such as
the Constitution, the Judiciary Act of 1948 (R.A. No. 296), and the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129).
As petitioner's appeal did not involve either a question of fact or a mixed question
of fact and law, but solely a question of law, resort to the Court of Appeals by mere

notice of appeal was erroneous, and therefore the appeal was correctly dismissed.
Under no circumstance can the appeal be taken to the Court of Appeals without
violating the Judiciary Act of 1948 and B.P. Blg. 129.
Third. Petitioner's remedy was to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, 1 for,
as already shown, the question raised is not an error of law but an alleged error of
jurisdiction. Such petition should be filed in the Court of Appeals pursuant to B.P.
Blg. 129, 9 by means of special civil action of certiorari. Such petition should have
been brought within 60 days from notice to petitioner of the ruling of the trial court,
which is now long over.1wphi1.nt
Nonetheless, the majority argues that this Court should relax the rules and decide
directly the question raised by petitioner in the Court of Appeals, namely, whether
the trial court could correct the penalty imposed on petitioner after its decision had
become final. It is contended that this is necessary because a constitutional right of
petitioner has been violated, i.e., the right of petitioner not to be placed in double
jeopardy.
Rules governing jurisdiction and the procedure for appeals as discussed above are
not mere technicalities. They are part and parcel of the system of doing justice. It is
justice according to law which we administer. As the majority notes, Rule 115, 1(i)
gives every accused the right to appeal from a judgment of conviction. The same
Rule provides, however, that the exercise of the right to appeal must be "in the
manner prescribed by law."
Nor is it tenable to invoke "demands of substantial justice" in this case as ground for
setting aside the rules. Justice is due the State and the complainant in the criminal
case as much as it is due petitioner. Again and again, the majority harps on the fact
that the decision of the trial court had already become final and therefore it could
no longer be modified even if that was to correct a plain error in computing the
penalty. We are told that petitioner has the right not to be placed in double jeopardy
of punishment for the same offense. This is not however the issue before this Court.
The issue here is whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing petitioner's
appeal (1) because appeals in cases in which the only error assigned is a question
of law are exclusively cognizable by this Court and petitioner should have filed a
petition for review on certiorari, not a mere notice of appeal given to the trial court
and (2) because petitioner's remedy was really a special civil action of certiorari
under Rule 65.
It is I think misplaced sentimentality to argue on the constitutional right of petitioner
when he had his remedies to seek vindication of this right but lost them by default
by failing to avail himself of those remedies in the law. What about the right of the
State and of complainant to have the correct penalty imposed on petitioner who
does not question his conviction? After all, the mistake in the imposition of the
penalty was that of the trial court, not that of the State and the complainant.

The demands of justice would seem to indicate that petitioner be not allowed to
invoke the finality of the erroneous sentence in order to escape his just deserts.
After all, what the trial court did in this case was to correct an error it had made in
fixing the maximum term of the sentence on petitioner. Petitioner, who does not
question his liability for bigamy, can claim no vested right in the erroneous
sentence.
To summarize them, petitioner had remedies available to him for the correction of
an error allegedly committed by the trial court. But he lost those remedies by
default. We cannot set aside the rules just so he will be able to raise the questions
which he sought to raise in the Court of Appeals. We must abide by our rules. This is
the essence of the Rule of Law.
I vote therefore to affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals.
G.R. No. 172678

March 23, 2011

SEA LION FISHING CORPORATION, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
When an instrument or tool used in a crime is being claimed by a third-party not
liable to the offense, such third-party must first establish its ownership over the
same.
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the January 10, 2006 Decision1 of
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 91270 which denied the Petition
for Certiorari and Mandamus2 questioning the twin Sentences3both dated May 16,
2005 and the Order4 dated August 4, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Puerto
Princesa City, Branch 52 in Criminal Case Nos. 18965 and 19422. Likewise assailed
is the May 5, 2006 Resolution5 of the CA denying the Motion for
Reconsideration6 thereto.
Factual Antecedents
In response to fishermens report of poaching off Mangsee Island in Balabac,
Palawan, a combined team of Philippine Marines, Coast Guard and barangay officials
conducted search and seizure operations therein. There they found F/V Sea Lion
anchored three nautical miles northwest of Mangsee Island. Beside it were five
boats and a long fishing net already spread over the water. The team boarded the
vessel and apprehended her captain, a Filipino, and a crew composed of three
Filipinos and three Chinese. Also arrested were 17 Chinese fishermen aboard F/V
Sea Lion.

Various charges were thereafter filed as follows: (1) Violation of Section 97 7 of


Republic Act (RA) No. 85508against all those arrested, docketed as I.S. No. 2004032; (2) Violation of Section 909 of the same law against the captain of F/V Sea Lion,
the Chief Engineer, and the President of the corporation which owned said vessel,
docketed as I.S. No. 2004-061; and (3) Violation of Section 27(a) and (f) 10 of RA
914711 and of Section 8712 of RA 8550 against all those arrested and the President of
the corporation which owned the vessel, respectively docketed as I.S. Nos. 2004-68,
2004-69, and 2004-70.
Ruling of the Provincial Prosecutor
While the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan dismissed I.S. Nos. 2004-61, 2004-68 and
2004-69, he nevertheless found probable cause for the remaining charges 13 but only
against the 17 Chinese fishermen.14 This was after it was found out that the crew of
F/V Sea Lion did not assent to the illegal acts of said 17 Chinese fishermen who
were rescued by the crew of the F/V Sea Lion from a distressed Chinese vessel. The
prosecutor concluded that the crew, unarmed, outnumbered and hampered by
language barrier, acted only out of uncontrollable fear of imminent danger to their
lives and property which hindered them from asserting their authority over these
Chinese nationals. Accordingly, corresponding Informations against the 17 Chinese
fishermen were filed in court.
With the crew of F/V Sea Lion now exculpated, petitioner Sea Lion Fishing
Corporation filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor an Urgent Motion for
Release of Evidence15 alleging that it owns the vessel. Said Office thus issued a
Resolution16 dated August 25, 2004, viz:
WHEREFORE, F/[V] Sea Lion is hereby recommended to be released to the movant
upon proper showing of evidence of its ownership of the aforesaid vessel and the
posting of a bond double the value of said vessel as appraised by the MARINA, if
through any court accredited company surety, or equal to the aforesaid value[,] if
by cash bond. Said bond shall be on the condition that [the] vessel owner shall
make [the vessel] available for inspection during the course of the trial. 17 (Emphasis
supplied.)
This Resolution was later amended through a Supplemental Resolution 18 dated
September 10, 2004 reading as follows:
This pertains to the Resolution of the undersigned dated 25 August 2004
recommending the release of the vessel F/[V] Sea Lion. In addition to the conditions
therein, the release of the said vessel shall be with the approval of the Provincial
Committee on Illegal Entrants which has jurisdiction over all apprehended vessels
involved in poaching.19
Petitioner, however, failed to act in accordance with said Resolutions.

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court


The case for Violation of Section 97 of RA 8550 was docketed as Criminal Case No.
18965 while that for Violation of Section 87 of the same law was docketed as
Criminal Case No. 19422. The Chinese nationals entered separate pleas of "not
guilty" for both offenses. Later, however, in Criminal Case No. 18965, they changed
their pleas from "not guilty" to "guilty" for the lesser offense of Violation of Section
88, sub-paragraph (3)20 of RA 8550. Hence, they were accordingly declared guilty of
said lesser offense in a Sentence 21 issued by the RTC of Puerto Princesa City, Branch
52 on May 16, 2005, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, with the plea of guilty of all the accused to the lesser offense, the
Court hereby finds the Seventeen (17) accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt as
principals for the crime of Violation of Section 88, sub-par. (3) of R.A. 8550 and
sentences them to suffer an imprisonment of FIVE (5) YEARS TO SIX (6) YEARS, SIX
(6) MONTHS AND SEVEN (7) DAYS. The Fishing Vessel F/V Sea Lion I as well as the
fishing paraphernalia and equipments used by the accused in committing the crime
[are] hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the government.
The x x x confiscated vessel and all the fishing gadgets, paraphernalia and
equipment are hereby ordered to be placed under the [temporary] custody of the
Philippine Coast Guard. The latter is hereby directed to prepare and submit to this
Court the inventory of all confiscated items within 15 days from receipt of this order.
Further, the Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard should observe the diligence
of a good father of the family in the preservation and maintenance of the entrusted
confiscated items until the final disposition thereof by the Court.
Having appeared that the accused have been detained since January 19, 2004, the
period of their detention is hereby credited in their favor.
SO ORDERED.22
A Sentence23 in Criminal Case No. 19422 was also issued on even date, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, with the plea of guilty of all seventeen (17) accused, the Court hereby
finds them guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals of the crime of Violation of
Section 87 of R.A. 8550 (Poaching) and sentences them to pay a fine of One
Hundred Thousand (US$100,000.00) Dollars to be paid to the Republic of the
Philippines. The Fishing Vessel F/V Sea Lion 1 as well as the fishing paraphernalia
and equipments used by the accused in committing the crime [are] hereby ordered
confiscated in the favor of the government.
The x x x confiscated vessel and all the fishing gadgets, paraphernalia and
equipment are hereby ordered to be placed under the [temporary] custody of the
Philippine Coast Guard. The latter is hereby directed to prepare and submit to this

Court the inventory of all confiscated items within 15 days from receipt of this order.
Further, the commander of the Philippine Coast Guard should observe the diligence
of a good father of the family in the preservation and maintenance of the entrusted
confiscated items until the final disposition thereof by the Court.
The Provincial Jail Warden of Palawan is hereby ordered to release all the abovenamed accused unless held for some other lawful cause or causes.
SO ORDERED.24
It was only after the issuance of the above Sentences that petitioner again made its
move by filing a Motion for Reconsideration25 on June 24, 2005. It prayed for the trial
court to delete from said Sentences the confiscation of F/V Sea Lion. The Office of
the Provincial Prosecutor filed an Opposition thereto. 26 After receipt of petitioners
Reply27 to said Opposition, the trial court denied petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration.
Hence, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus 28 with the CA.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On January 10, 2006, the CA promulgated its assailed Decision denying the
petition.29 The CA ruled that there was no lack of jurisdiction, excess of jurisdiction
or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court since it had jurisdiction
over the crimes as alleged in the Informations and the penalty for violating the laws
stated therein. Necessarily, it had the authority to seize the F/V Sea Lion which was
mentioned in the said Informations. The CA further held that while the petitioner
attempted to claim as its own the fishing vessel in its Motion for Reconsideration
dated June 24, 2005, its effort is undeserving of merit due to failure to adduce
evidence. Lastly, the CA declared that the petitioner did not avail of the proper
procedural remedy. After the trial court recognized its personality to intervene in the
Order dated August 4, 2005, petitioners recourse should have been an appeal and
not certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. 30
The appellate court also denied petitioners subsequent Motion for
Reconsideration31 in its assailed Resolution dated May 5, 2006. 32
Thus, petitioner filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari raising the sole issue of
whether the confiscation of F/V Sea Lion was valid. 33
The Parties Arguments
Petitioner contends that F/V Sea Lion should be released to it because it is the
registered owner of said vessel and her captain and crew members were not among
those accused of and convicted in Criminal Case Nos. 18965 and 19422. To buttress
its contention, petitioner invokes Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code which
provides:

ART. 45. Confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds or instruments of the crime. Every penalty imposed for the commission of a felony shall carry with it the
forfeiture of the proceeds of the crime and the instruments or tools with which it
was committed.
Such proceeds and instruments or tools shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of
the Government, unless they be the property of a third person not liable for
the offense, but those articles which are not subject of lawful commerce shall be
destroyed. (Emphasis supplied.)
Petitioner also claims that it was denied its right to due process of law when it was
not notified of the judicial proceedings relative to the confiscation of the fishing
vessel. It argues that such notification was necessary considering that the provincial
prosecutor was duly informed of its claim of ownership of the F/V Sea Lion.
On the other hand, respondent People of the Philippines through the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG) argues that since the 17 Chinese nationals were charged
with violations of the provisions of RA 8550, a special law, Article 45 of the Revised
Penal Code does not apply. This is in view of Article 10 of said Code which
specifically declares that acts punishable by special laws are not subject to the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code. They are only supplementary to such laws
unless the latter should specifically provide the contrary. Hence, the forfeiture and
confiscation of the fishing vessel under RA 8550 are different from the forfeiture and
confiscation under the Revised Penal Code which are additional penalties imposed in
the event of conviction. And, since RA 8550 provides that the vessel used in
connection with or in direct violation of the provisions of RA 8550 shall be subjected
to forfeiture in favor of the government without mention of any distinction as to who
owns the vessel, the forfeiture of F/V Sea Lion was proper.
The OSG also contends that even if Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code is
applicable, still the present petition must fail due to petitioners failure to present its
third-party claim at the earliest opportunity. It likewise argues that petitioner was
not deprived its right to due process considering that it was given ample
opportunity to be heard particularly when its motion for release of the F/V Sea Lion
was granted by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor subject to certain conditions.
However, it opted not to comply with the conditions imposed by the prosecutor and
instead waited for the trial courts final disposition of the case.
Our Ruling
The petition has no merit.
We note, at the outset, that petitioner pursued an incorrect remedy when it sought
recourse before the CA. The filing of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court before the CA is limited only to the correction of errors of jurisdiction
or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court. 34 "A special civil action for

certiorari is an independent action, raising the question of jurisdiction where the


tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted
without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction."35 The CA did not find either lack or error of jurisdiction
or grave abuse of discretion. There was no jurisdictional error because based on the
Informations,36 the offenses were committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the
trial court. The penalties imposable under the law were also within its jurisdiction.
As a necessary consequence, the trial court had the authority to determine how the
subject fishing vessel should be disposed of. Likewise, no grave abuse of discretion
attended the issuance of the trial courts order to confiscate F/V Sea Lion
considering the absence of evidence showing that said vessel is owned by a third
party. Evidently, the remedial relief pursued by the petitioner was infirm and
improper.
We also agree with the CAs observation that the trial court impliedly recognized
petitioners right to intervene when it pronounced that petitioner failed to exercise
its right to claim ownership of the F/V Sea Lion. This being the case, petitioner
should have filed an appeal instead of a petition for certiorari before the CA. Under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, certiorari is unavailing when an appeal is the plain,
speedy, and adequate remedy.37 "The nature of the questions intended to be raised
on appeal is of no consequence. It may well be that those questions will treat
exclusively of whether x x x the judgment or final order was rendered without or in
excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion x x x. This is immaterial. The
remedy, to repeat, is appeal, not certiorari as a special civil action." 38 The
jurisdiction of a court is not affected by its erroneous decision. 39 The orders and
rulings of a court on all controversies pertaining to the case cannot be corrected by
certiorari if the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the
person.40 Thus, we agree with the CAs dismissal of the petition.
Even assuming that the CA may resolve an error of procedure or judgment, there
was none committed in this particular case.
Petitioners claim of ownership of F/V Sea Lion is not supported by any proof on
record. The only document on record that is relevant in this regard is a request for
the release of the F/V Sea Lion based on petitioners alleged ownership filed with
the Provincial Prosecutor. While the latter authorized the release of said fishing
vessel, this was conditioned upon petitioners submission of a proof of ownership
and the filing of a bond, with which petitioner failed to comply. Even when judicial
proceedings commenced, nothing was heard from the petitioner. No motion for
intervention or any manifestation came from petitioners end during the period of
arraignment up to the rendition of sentence. While petitioner later explained before
the CA that its inaction was brought about by its inability to put up the required
bond due to financial difficulties, same is still not a sufficient justification for it to
deliberately not act at all.

It was only after the trial court ordered the confiscation of F/V Sea Lion in its
assailed twin Sentences that petitioner was heard from again. This time, it filed a
Motion for Reconsideration dated June 24, 2005 41 to which was attached a copy of
an alleged Certificate of Registration issued by the Maritime Industry Authority
(MARINA).42 However, as correctly observed by the CA:
Significantly, the lack of any factual basis for the third-party claim of ownership was
not cured at all when the petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration before the
trial court. At that point, evidence should have been adduced to support the
petitioners claim (so that a new trial or reopening of the trial on the confiscation
aspect should have been prayed for, rather than a mere motion for reconsideration.)
There is firstly the factual issue - to be proved by proper evidence in order to be
properly considered by the court - that the vessel is owned by a third party other
than the accused. Article 45 required too that proof be adduced that the third party
is not liable for the offense. After the admission by the accused through their guilty
plea that the vessel had been used in the commission of a crime, we believe and so
hold that this additional Article 45 requirement cannot be simply inferred from the
mere fact that the alleged owner is not charged in the same case before the court. 43
Accordingly, petitioners recourse to a motion for reconsideration was not proper.
Although it attached a copy of an alleged Certificate of Registration, the same
cannot be considered by the trial court because it has not been formally offered,
pursuant to Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. As suggested by the CA,
petitioner should have instead moved for a new trial or reopening of the trial on the
confiscation aspect, rather than a mere motion for reconsideration. 44
Finally, petitioners contention that it was deprived of its right to due process in the
confiscation of F/V Sea Lion has no factual basis. As correctly pointed out by the CA:
That the trial court concluded that no denial of due process occurred is likewise
legally correct, perhaps not in the exact way expressed in the assailed order, but for
what the reason articulated in the assailed order directly implies. As we discussed
above, the petitioner did not intervene before the trial court to claim ownership of
the fishing vessel, nor were there records before the court showing a third-party
claim of ownership of the vessel; the formal introduction of evidence that would
have formally brought the third-party ownership of the vessel to light was prevented
by the plea of guilt of the accused. There was therefore no third-party property right
sought to be protected when the trial court ordered the confiscation of the vessel.
Significantly, the lack of any factual basis for the third-party claim of ownership was
not cured at all when the petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration before the
trial court. At that point, evidence should have been adduced to support the
petitioners claim (so that a new trial or reopening of the trial on the confiscation
aspect should have been prayed for, rather than a mere motion for reconsideration.)
There is firstly the factual issue - to be proved by proper evidence in order to be

properly considered by the court - that the vessel is owned by a third party other
than the accused. Article 45 required too that proof be adduced that the third party
is not liable for the offense. After the admission by the accused through their guilty
plea that the vessel had been used in the commission of a crime, we believe and so
hold that this additional Article 45 requirement cannot be simply inferred from the
mere fact that the alleged owner is not charged in the same case before the court.
It was under this legal situation that the trial court issued its assailed order that
correctly concluded that there had been no denial of due process. Given the
absence of any admissible evidence of third-party ownership and the failure to
comply with the additional Article 45 requirement, the courts order to confiscate
the F/V Sea Lion pursuant to Article 87 of R.A. No. 8550 cannot be incorrect to the
point of being an act in grave abuse of discretion. 45
In fine, it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that F/V Sea Lion was used
by the 17 Chinese fishermen in the commission of the crimes. On the other hand,
petitioner presented no evidence at all to support its claim of ownership of F/V Sea
Lion. Therefore, the forfeiture of F/V Sea Lion in favor of the government was proper.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated January 10, 2006 and the
Resolution dated May 5, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91270 are
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 184960

August 24, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
CLEOFE BAROQUILLO y VILLANUEVA and LEONARDO MAHILUM y
CAETE, Accused-Appellants.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
This Appeal was filed by accused-appellants Cleofe Baroquillo y Villanueva (Cleofe)
and Leonardo Mahilum y Caete (Leonardo) to challenge the January 31, 2008
Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00395 MIN, which affirmed
the judgment of conviction for Murder rendered against them by the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 6, of Iligan City on October 7, 2002, in Criminal Case No. 068614.
The antecedents of this case, which were succinctly summarized by the Court of
Appeals from the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN), are as follows:

Accused Lorenza Madeloso y Demecillo (Lorenza hereinafter) and victim Nelson


Madeloso (Nelson hereinafter) are spouses with five children. Sometime in 1994,
accused Lorenza met accused Cleofe Baroquillo y Villanueva (Cleofe hereinafter) [as
they were both employees of the Abalos family in Kolambugan; TSN, March 5, 2002,
p. 27]. [Their membership in the] congregation of a religious group, the Couples
(sic) for Christ, x x x nurtured a special friendship that culminated to an amorous
relationship.
Sometime in October 2000, accused Lorenza disclosed to her kumare Ellen Dajao
(Ellen hereinafter), her intimacy with accused Cleofe. Accused Lorenza even
introduced accused Cleofe to Ellen as her second husband. In one of their
conversations, Lorenza told Ellen how much she loves accused Cleofe. Ellen also
recounted that accused Lorenza and accused Cleofe had a furious argument over
the surname of accused Lorenzas fourth child, suspected to be of accused Cleofes.
Apparently, the latter wanted said child to carry his surname but accused Lorenza
refused out of respect [for] her husband Nelson. Accused Lorenza further intimated
to Ellen that she wanted her husband killed because he no longer gives her money.
On 5 January 2001, accused Lorenza went to her father-in-law Gregorio Madeloso
(Gregorio hereinafter), in Cotabato City to get the twenty[-]three thousand pesos
(P23,000.00) which the latter promised as financial assistance for her intended trip
abroad. On the same day, accused Lorenza went back to Iligan City with the money.
On her way to their house, she spotted her husband Nelson, sitting by the store of
Vicky Ababa, approached him and angrily shouted: "Wala ko makadala ug cuarta
kay wala ang imong papa mohatag." She also threatened Nelson saying: "Dili ka
magdugay [Nel]son; pipila na lang ka adlaw, ipapatay ta ka."
On 10 January 2001, at around twelve oclock noon, accused Lorenza met and had
lunch with accused Cleofe and accused Leonardo Mahilum (Leonardo hereinafter) at
Dados Lechon House in Tibanga, Iligan City. Meanwhile, at around eight oclock in
the evening, Nelson went out of their house and asked Promelito Jimenez (Promelito
hereinafter), their neighbor who was then sitting outside their house, for the time.
Promelito answered and asked him where he was going. Nelson replied, "Mamang
called for me," and then hurriedly left. Nelson fondly called his wife mamang or
mama.
At around 8:15 p.m., Lorenza, with one of her children, arrived home. Meantime,
Nelson chanced upon Meneleo Tumampil (Meneleo hereinafter), another neighbor
driving his motorcycle bound for Villaverde, Iligan City. Nelson flagged down
Meneleo. When the latter asked where he was headed, Nelson responded, "Mamang
called for me." Nelson then requested Meneleo if he could drop him off at the
crossing of St. Mary and Bagong Silang. Menelo acceded and the two rode off
together. When Nelson reached the place, he alighted and left Meneleo on his way.

At around nine oclock in the evening, in Bagong Silang, Nelson was shot dead by
accused Leonardo. The prosecution witness, Ricky Ramos (Ricky hereinafter), saw
the gruesome incident while walking on his way home from the house of a friend.
He vividly recounted that he saw Nelson sitting by the gutter of the road when two
(2) men, identified later on as accused Cleofe and Leonardo, crossed the street and
approached Nelson. Accused Cleofe pulled Nelson up towards him and held him,
while Leonardo pulled out a gun from his side and shot Nelson in the head several
times.
Soon after, the Iligan City police received a report that there had been a shooting
incident in Bagong Silang. Several members of the Iligan police went to the crime
scene to investigate and found the victim, Nelson, prostrate on the ground drenched
with his own blood.
[Promelito Jimenez, another neighbor of the Madelosos, overheard] Major Celso
Regencia inform accused Lorenza about the shooting incident x x x. [He added that]
accused Lorenzas reaction [to hearing about Nelsons death] was strangely
opposed to ordinary human experience she did not really look surprised, as if she
was expecting the news.
Promelito, and a few other neighbors, then accompanied accused Lorenza to
Bagong Silang. When accused Lorenza saw her husbands lifeless body, she
embraced him and cried but her cry allegedly x x x appeared feigned and insincere
[to Promelito] Nelsons bloody corpse was then taken to Mansueto Funeral homes.
At Mansueto Funeral Homes, SPO2 Genaro Enchavez asked Lorenza a few questions.
When the police received the information of accused Lorenza and accused Cleofes
extra-marital affair, Lorenza was invited to the police station for further questioning
where she confessed her illicit relation with accused Cleofe. Thereupon, the police
proceeded to accused Cleofes house at Riverside, Kolambogan by patrol car. The
police met accused Cleofes wife and asked her what time accused Cleofe arrived
home. She replied that her husband came home between eleven and twelve oclock
midnight. When the police invited accused Cleofe to the station for questioning, his
wife exhorted them to incarcerate her husband because of his alleged love affair
with the wife of Nelson.
In the morning of 11 January 2001, while at the police station, Lorenza received a
phone call from Leonardo. With the permission of the police, Lorenza answered the
call. Leonardo instructed her to meet him at around twelve oclock noon at Dados
Lechon House to which she agreed with the approval of the police. At around
eleven-thirty oclock in the morning, accused Lorenza, together with the police,
arrived at Dados Lechon House. After thirty minutes, more or less, accused
Leonardo arrived and sat at the table occupied by accused Lorenza. The police, who
were sitting nearby, approached the two accused persons and invited accused

Leonardo to the police station for questioning. After investigation, the accusedappellants, Cleofe, Leonardo and Lorenza were charged with murder. 2
On January 15, 2001, Cleofe and Leonardo, along with Lorenza Madeloso (Lorenza),
were charged with Murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code before the
RTC, Branch 6 of Iligan City. The pertinent portion of the Amended
Information3 reads as follows:
That on or about January 10, 2001, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, conspiring with and
confederating together and mutually helping one another, armed with a deadly
weapon, with intent to kill and evident premeditation and by means of treachery,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, [shoot,] and
wound one Nelson Madeloso, thereby inflicting upon him the following physical
injuries, to wit:
-Cranicerebral injury
-Multiple Gunshot Wounds
and as a result thereof, the said Nelson Madeloso died.
Contrary to and in violation of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code with the
aggravating circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation.
All three accused pleaded not guilty to the crime of Murder during their Arraignment
on January 31, 2001.4 They also filed three separate Petitions for Bail, 5 which were
all denied by the RTC on August 28, 2001. 6
Trial on the merits followed the pre-trial conference, 7 also conducted and concluded
on January 31, 2001.
As can be gleaned from the antecedents above, the prosecution presented Ellen
Dajao8 and Estrella Bailo9 to testify on the extra-marital affair between Lorenza and
Cleofe and how Lorenza wanted her husband dead; and Gregorio
Madeloso,10 Marichel Paler,11 Meneleo Tumampil,12 Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2)
Genaro Echavez,13SPO2 Rodney Diez,14 SPO1 Andres Lluch,15 Promelito
Jimenez,16 and Ricky Ramos17 to testify on the circumstances that led to the
shooting of Nelson Madeloso (Nelson), how his body was discovered, and the events
that transpired after. The prosecution also presented Dr. Leonardo Labanon, the
Iligan City Health Office physician who examined the dead body of Nelson and who
accomplished the Necropsy Report18 and Certificate of Death.19 Dr. Labanon testified
that on January 11, 2001, he examined the cadaver of Nelson, whom he determined
to have died of craniocerebral injury due to multiple gunshot wounds. He explained
that a craniocerebral injury is damage caused to the brain substance (cerebral) and
the skull protecting the brain (cranium).20 Dr. Labanon also elaborated on the other
injuries found on Nelsons body, including a gunshot wound that entered the left

side and exited through the right side of his head, a "raccoon sign" 21 on his left eye,
a gunshot wound on his lower right jaw with an upward trajectory, 22 an abrasion on
his left foot, a "thru and thru"23gunshot wound on his upper right back, and a
laceration on the middle portion of his back. 24 When asked which of the wounds
Nelson sustained was fatal, the Doctor answered that gunshot wounds to the head
are always fatal.25
After the prosecution rested its case, the three accused took the stand and denied
killing Nelson.
Leonardo claimed that on January 10, 2001, he left his house before lunchtime to go
to Villaverde for his cousin, Bonifacio Patacs birthday party. On his way there, he
passed by Dados Lechon eatery where he saw his childhood friend Cleofe. Cleofe
was accompanied by Lorenza and her child, whom Leonardo met for the first time.
After Lorenza and her child left, Leonardo and Cleofe transferred to Anduyans
where they watched an NBA game and drank beer until 6:00 p.m., when they parted
ways. Cleofe went towards his house in Kolambugan, and Leonardo, towards his
cousins party in Villaverde. Leonardo alleged that he reached his cousin Bonifacios
house in Villaverde between 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and stayed there until the
following morning, then he proceeded to Dados Lechon in acquiescence to
Lorenzas text message to him to meet her there for lunch. 26
In support of Leonardos alibi, the defense presented the birthday celebrator
himself, Bonifacio Patac, and another cousin, Rowela Gabinera (Rowela), who was
also present at Bonifacios birthday celebration. Rowela testified that Leonardo
arrived at around eight oclock in the evening; and from then until about 10:00 p.m.,
they ate and played the card game tong-its. She also alleged that Leonardo spent
the night at their house and when she left at 12:30 p.m. the following day to go to
class, Leonardo was still there.27 Bonifacio backed-up Leonardos and Rowelas
claims that they were both present at his birthday celebration. He also corroborated
Rowelas testimony that at 9:00 p.m., Leonardo was in their house playing tong-its
with them, further adding that he, Leonardo, and another male cousin slept
together in their living room an hour later. Bonifacio also confirmed that Leonardo
stayed there for the night because he was still sleeping in the living room when
Bonifacio woke up at 6:30 a.m. the following day. 28
Cleofe also denied killing Lorenzas husband and alleged that he was at home in
Riverside, Kolambugan when Nelson was killed. Cleofe testified that on January 10,
2001, before nine oclock in the morning, he went to Iligan to have his wifes mobile
phone repaired. As lunchtime drew near, he looked for a place to eat and ended up
at Dados Lechon, which was within walking distance from where he was. While at
Dados Lechon, he saw Leonardo on his bicycle, so he called him and invited him for
lunch. They parted ways between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. When Cleofe reached his
house in Kolambugan at about 7:30 p.m., he ate dinner with his family and watched
television until he went to sleep between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. 29

Lita Balatero Daviz (Lita) corroborated Cleofes alibi that he was at home in the
evening of January 10, 2001. Lita was Cleofes neighbor in Kolambugan and she
used to go to Cleofes house every night to watch television as she had none of her
own. Lita claimed that Cleofe was at his house the entire time she was there, which
was from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.30
Lorenza, for her part, claimed that she had no reason to have her husband killed as
she loved him. She averred that aside from the normal spats between couples, she
and Nelson had a harmonious and peaceful marital life due largely to Nelsons
patience. She admitted receiving the 23,000.00 she had asked from Nelsons
father, Gregorio, but claimed that Nelson borrowed 10,000.00 to redeem the
service motorcycle he had mortgaged. Lorenza testified that on January 10, 2001,
she met Cleofe at Ladies Burger in Tibanga, Iligan City, to fetch her child, whom she
entrusted to Cleofe earlier that morning. When she arrived there, Cleofe was playing
billiards with a man whom she later on came to know as Leonardo. The three of
them had lunch at Dados Lechon until about 1:30 p.m. After some window
shopping, she and her child made their way back home to Abigail Subdivision.
Lorenza alleged that at exactly 7:15 p.m. they entered their house and she found
her husband Nelson and their other children there. After dinner, Nelson left with the
Twenty Pesos (20.00) he had previously asked from her. 31
On October 7, 2002, the RTC convicted all three accused of Murder. The dispositive
portion of its Decision32reads:
WHEREFORE, the court finds the accused Cleofe Baroquillo y Villanueva, Leonardo
Mahilum y Caete and Lorenza Madeloso y Demecillo GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt as principals of the crime of murder qualified by treachery defined and
penalized in Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and there being no
other aggravating circumstance (superior strength is absorbed in treachery)
attending the offense, hereby sentences each of them to the single and indivisible
penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA with the corresponding accessory penalties
prescribed by law. The accused are further ordered to indemnify solidarily the heirs
of the deceased Nelson Madeloso the sums of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P10,000.00 as nominal damages
and P1,655,640.00 as loss of earning capacity and/or support without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency.
The accused Lorenza Madeloso is further disqualified from receiving any inheritance
from the deceased Nelson Madeloso as well as the proceeds of any life insurance of
the latter even if said accused has been named beneficiary therein.
The three accused have been under preventive detention since January 11, 2001
until the present. The period of such preventive imprisonment shall be credited in
full in favor of each of the accused in the service of their respective
sentences.33 1avvphi1

The RTC dissected each piece of evidence submitted by the parties. It said that the
fact that there was an extra-marital affair between Cleofe and Lorenza was duly
established by the prosecution through the testimonies of the Madelosos friends
who knew of the affair, and through pictures of Lorenza and Cleofe submitted in
evidence34 It also proclaimed that on January 10, 2001, about nine hours before
Nelson was killed, the three accused had lunch together. In convicting Cleofe and
Leonardo, the RTC held that they were not able to satisfy the burden of proof to
establish their defense of alibi. The RTC believed the testimony of Ricky Ramos, the
lone eyewitness, as it was "clear, coherent and responsive." 35 The RTC, citing People
v. Oquio, 36 said that "it is also well-settled that the testimony of a single witness
which satisfies the court in a given case is sufficient to convict." 37 The RTC was
intrigued that Cleofe and Leonardo tried to make it appear that their lunch meeting
at Dados Lechon was purely coincidental "in direct contrast" to Lorenzas claim that
she and Cleofe had previously agreed to meet at Ladies Burger, a restaurant near
Dados Lechon.38 The RTC also found it curious why Leonardo had to leave before
lunch to go to an evening party and why he took the longer route to Villaverde. The
RTC concluded that all circumstances point to the conclusion that the lunch meeting
among the three was not at all accidental.39
The established extra-marital affair between Cleofe and Lorenza, Lorenzas threats
to kill Nelson, Lorenzas receipt of 23,000.00 from Nelsons father, her eventual
denial that she received such money, the January 10, 2001 lunch meeting at Dados
Lechon, Meneleos testimony that Nelson hitched a ride with him at around 8:00
p.m. to Bagong Silang because "Mamang" 40 had wanted him to go there, and the
fact that an hour later Nelson was shot at Bagong Silang, all led the RTC to conclude
that Lorenza conspired with Cleofe and Leonardo to kill her husband. The RTC held
that while it is difficult to establish conspiracy, it can be proven when "the facts
from which the inference is derived are proven and the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt." 41
On intermediate appellate review, the Court of Appeals was faced with the lone
assignment of error as follows:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANTS GUILTY OF
THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO ESTABLISH THEIR
GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.42
On January 31, 2008, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated 7 October 2002 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Iligan City is hereby AFFIRMED in so far as it found
accused Cleof[e] Baroquillo y Villanueva and Leonardo Mahilum y Caete GUILTY of
murder and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua. The award of P10,000.00 as
nominal damages is, however, DELETED. Instead, they are ordered to pay jointly

and severally to the heirs of the deceased Nelson Madeloso the amounts
of P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P1,655,640.00 as
loss of earning capacity, and P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
Considering that the accused Cleof[e] Baroquillo y Villanueva and Leonardo Mahilum
y Caete are detention prisoners, let the period of their detention be credited to the
service of their sentence pursuant to Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.
Accused Lorenza Madeloso y Demecillo is ACQUITTED of the crime of murder. The
Superintendent of the Correctional Institution for Women is directed to cause the
immediate release of Lorenza Madeloso y Demecillo, unless the latter is being
lawfully held for another cause; and to inform the Court of the date of her release,
or the reasons for her continued confinement, within ten (10) days from notice. 43
While the Court of Appeals agreed that Cleofe and Leonardo were guilty beyond
reasonable doubt for the murder of Nelson, it found the evidence against Lorenza
insufficient to convict her as a principal by inducement. In acquitting Lorenza, the
Court of Appeals ratiocinated:
Indubitably, the prosecution presented none of the percepto (command) or pacto
(consideration) required to establish the liability of accused Lorenza. It bears
stressing that it is incumbent upon the prosecution to prove that accused Lorenza
had an influence over accused Cleofe and Leonardo so great that such inducement
would be the determining cause of the commission of the crime by the material
executor. We can only surmise, at the very least, the motive of the other accused,
Cleofe and Leonardo, in killing Nelson. But, our surmises and conjectures, no matter
how strong, are no substitute to proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Verily, the circumstances proffered by the prosecution and relied upon by the trial
court, albeit taken to be established and credible, only go [so] far as to create a
suspicion of guilt or innocence. The hornbook principle is that "x x x when the
inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more interpretations, one
of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other or others
consistent with his guilt, then the evidence, in view of the constitutional
presumption of innocence, has not fulfilled the test of moral certainty and is thus
insufficient to support a conviction". No court, when confronted with issues that
affect the life and liberty of citizens in a free society, should treat flippantly the
latters constitutional guarantees and supply deficiencies in the evidence for the
prosecution with its own bias, suspicion or speculation. 44
Accused-appellants Cleofe and Leonardo are now before us, praying for a reversal of
their conviction, on the same arguments 45 posited before the Court of Appeals.
Ruling of the Court

Cleofe and Leonardo were charged and convicted of Murder under Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code:
Art. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246,
shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion
perpetua, to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed
men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure
or afford impunity;
2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise;
3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel,
derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles,
or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin;
4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or
of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other
public calamity;
5. With evident premeditation;
6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the
victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.
Cleofe and Leonardo assert that the lower courts assessment of their defense of
alibi as weak is erroneous because they were properly supported by the testimonies
of witnesses who were with them at the time of the commission of the crime. 46
This Court has reviewed the entire records of the case and finds no reason to
overturn the conviction of Cleofe and Leonardo.
The two accused-appellants contend that "contrary to the common notion, alibi is in
fact a good defense,"47 and that "it cannot be haphazardly concluded that the
accused-appellants conspired with each other to kill Nelson x x x, moreso (sic) when
such conclusion was only brought about by the statements of the prosecution
witnesses that the three (3) accused-appellants were seen eating lunch together on
the day of the commission of the crime charged." 48
We agree with Cleofe and Leonardo that alibi is indeed a good defense and could
certainly exculpate a person accused of a crime. However, this is true only if the
accuseds alibi strictly meets the following requisites:
1. His presence at another place at the time of the commission of the crime; and
2. The physical impossibility of his presence at the scene of the crime. 49

In People v. Bihag, Jr. and Hilot,50 this Court elucidated on the concept of alibi and its
elements to prosper as a defense:
This Court has ruled consistently that alibi is an inherently weak defense and should
be rejected when the identity of the accused is sufficiently and positively
established by the prosecution. Moreover, for alibi to overcome the prosecutions
evidence, the defense must successfully prove the element of physical impossibility
of the accuseds presence at the crime scene at the time of the perpetration of the
offense. Physical impossibility in relation to alibi takes into consideration not only
the geographical distance between the scene of the crime and the place where
accused maintains he was, but more importantly, the accessibility between these
points. x x x.51
However, neither Cleofe nor Leonardo was able to establish by clear and convincing
evidence that not only was he somewhere else when Nelson was killed, but also
that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime. "By
physical impossibility, we refer to the distance and the facility of access between
the situs criminis and the place where he says he was when the crime was
committed." 52
Noting the distances between Bagong Silang, where Nelson was killed, and the
respective locations of Leonardo and Cleofe at the time the crime was committed,
the trial court correctly concluded that given the relative proximity of the places,
the availability of transportation, and the physical fitness of both accused to travel,
it was not impossible for them to have traversed to and from the scene of the crime
and their alleged locations that fateful evening of January 10, 2001.
The testimonies of Cleofes and Leonardos witnesses who corroborated their alibis,
did little to help their case as they were either relatives or close family friends of the
accused. In fact, one of Leonardos witnesses, Rowela, was caught in a lie when she
testified that she saw Leonardo, still in their house on January 11, 2001 at 12:30
p.m., contrary to Leonardos own testimony that he was at Dados Lechon at that
time to meet Lorenza for lunch. Not a single disinterested witness was presented by
Cleofe or Leonardo to support their alibis. In People v. Abatayo, 53 this Court held that
"alibi becomes less plausible as a defense when it is corroborated only by a relative
or a close friend of the accused." 54
Furthermore, contrary to Cleofes and Leonardos arguments, their conviction was
not based on circumstantial evidence but on the positive identification of an
unbiased witness. It is well-settled that since alibi is a weak defense for being easily
fabricated, it cannot prevail over and is worthless in the face of the positive
identification by a credible witness that an accused perpetrated the crime. 55
The issue therefore boils down to the credibility of the prosecutions lone
eyewitness, Ricky Ramos. This Court sees no reason to disturb the trial courts
evaluation and assessment of the credibility of Ricky Ramos, which the Court of

Appeals also sustained. We have, time and again, explained our reason for
respecting the trial courts findings as follows:
Jurisprudence teaches us that the findings of the trial court judge who tried the case
and heard the witnesses are not to be disturbed on appeal unless there are
substantial facts and circumstances which have been overlooked and which, if
properly considered, might affect the result of the case. The trial judges evaluation
of the witness credibility deserves utmost respect in the absence of arbitrariness.
Furthermore, conclusions and findings of the trial court are entitled to great weight
on appeal and should not be disturbed unless for strong and valid reasons because
the trial court is in a better position to examine the demeanor of the witnesses while
testifying on the case.56
The RTC adequately addressed and rebuked each doubt the defense tried to cast on
Ricky Ramoss testimony. Moreover, it sufficiently explained why Ricky Ramoss
testimony was enough to convict the accused-appellants, to wit:
The credibility of evidence is not necessarily determined by the number of
witnesses but by the quality of the testimony. (People v. pascual, Jr. 127 SCRA 179).
The court notes that Mr. Ramos is a complete stranger to the deceased Nelson
madeloso or to his father Gregorio and all of the accused. Immediately after his
arrival home, he told his wife who advised him not to get involved. Nonetheless in
the afternoon of the [f]ollowing day, he saw SPO2 Rodney Diez to inform him of his
knowledge of the incident. There is no evidence or any other indication in record
that his motive was tainted by any cause or reason other than the call of
conscience. His relationship by affinity to Officer Diez is immaterial since the latter
himself does not [have] an evil motive other than to do his duty as a police officer.
His testimony was clear, coherent and responsive. Although he is a lone witness, "it
is well-settled that the testimony of a single witness which satisfies the court in a
given case is sufficient to convict." (People v. Oquio, supra.) 57
A perusal of the records will not yield any trace of bias in the testimony of Ricky
Ramos. In fact, when asked if he was sure of his identification of the two accused,
considering the gravity of the crime charged against them, he categorically replied
that "[he] can stand on [his] words." 58 It is contrary to human nature for a witness to
finger innocent persons as the perpetrators of a very serious crime. 59 Thus, absent
any showing that there was any ill motive on the part of Ricky Ramos, his
categorical, consistent, and positive identification deserves full weight and credit.
This Court also agrees with the lower courts appreciation of the attendance of the
qualifying circumstance of treachery, and the conspiracy between Cleofe and
Leonardo to kill Nelson.
Article 14, No. 16, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person,
employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly
and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense
which the offended party might make.
It was established in this case that Nelson was attacked with treachery because
aside from having had no idea of what was to befall him when he stood up as Cleofe
and Leonardo approached him, Nelson was also defenseless against the sudden
gunshots Leonardo delivered to him. The fact that the attack on Nelson was frontal
does not preclude the presence of treachery in this case as the same made the
attack no less unexpected and sudden.60
Conspiracy was also duly established as Ricky Ramos testified that while Cleofe
pulled Nelson, Leonardo fired shots at Nelson. Conspiracy was evident from the
coordinated movements of the two accused, their common purpose, being, to kill
Nelson. In People v. Quinao, 61 we expounded on the concept of conspiracy as
follows:
It is well-settled that conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an
agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. Proof of
the agreement need not rest on direct evidence, as the same may be inferred from
the conduct of the parties indicating a common understanding among them with
respect to the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to show that two or
more persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement setting out the
details of an unlawful scheme or the details by which an illegal objective is to be
carried out. The rule is that conviction is proper upon proof that the accused acted
in concert, each of them doing his part to fulfill the common design to kill the
victim. In such a case, the act of one becomes the act of all and each of the accused
will thereby be deemed equally guilty of the crime committed. 62
Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence,63 this Court is increasing the award of civil
indemnity from Fifty Thousand Pesos (50,000.00) to Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos
(75,000.00). Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals failed to award exemplary
damages to the heirs of the victim. In view of the presence of the qualifying
aggravating circumstance of treachery, the award of exemplary damages in the
amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (30,000.00) in accordance with Article 2230 of
the Civil Code,64 is in order.65
WHEREFORE, the decision dated January 31, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00395 MIN is hereby AFFIRMED insofar as it found the accusedappellants Cleofe Baroquillo y Villanueva and Leonardo Mahilum y Caete GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER and sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua. They are hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of
Nelson Madeloso the following: (a) 75,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) 50,000.00 as
moral damages; (c) 30,000.00 as exemplary damages; (d) 25,000.00 as

temperate damages; (e) 1,655,640.00 as loss of earning capacity; and (f) interest
on all damages awarded at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this
judgment.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 150224

May 19, 2004

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,


vs.
JOEL YATAR alias "KAWIT", appellant.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
On automatic review is a Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bulanao, Tabuk,
Kalinga, Branch 25, sentencing appellant Joel Yatar alias "Kawit" to Death for the
special complex crime of Rape with Homicide, and ordering him to pay the heirs of
the victim, Kathylyn D. Uba, civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000.00, moral
damages in the amount of P200,000.00, exemplary damages in the amount of
P50,000.00, actual damages in the amount of P186,410.00, or total damages
amounting to P511,410.00, and costs of litigation. 1
Appellant was charged with Rape with Homicide under the following Information:
That on or about the afternoon of June 30, 1998 at Liwan West, Rizal, Kalinga, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused, in order to have carnal
knowledge of a certain KATHYLYN D. UBA, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully,
and feloniously, and with use of a bladed weapon stab the latter inflicting upon her
fatal injuries resulting in the death of the victim, and on the occasion or by reason
thereof, accused, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and by means of force and
violence had carnal knowledge of said Kathlyn D. Uba against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
The facts are:
On June 30, 1998, at 8:30 a.m., Judilyn Pas-a and her first cousin, seventeen year
old Kathylyn Uba, were on the ground floor of the house of their grandmother, Isabel
Dawang, in Liwan West, Rizal, Kalinga. They were talking about the letter sent by
their aunt, Luz Yatar, to her husband, appellant Joel Yatar, through Kathylyns friend,
Cecil Casingan. Kathylyn handed the letter to appellant earlier that morning. 3
At 9:00 a.m. of the same day, Judilyn and her husband, together with Isabel
Dawang, left for their farm in Nagbitayan some two kilometers away. Before Judilyn
and her husband departed, Kathylyn told Judilyn that she intended to go to
Tuguegarao, but in the event she would not be able to leave, she would just stay

home and wash her clothes or go to the house of their aunt, Anita Wania. Kathylyn
was left alone in the house.4
Later, at 10:00 a.m., Anita Wania and fifteen year old Beverly Deneng stopped by
the house of Isabel. They saw appellant at the back of the house. They went inside
the house through the back door of the kitchen to have a drink of water. Anita asked
appellant what he was doing there, and he replied that he was getting lumber to
bring to the house of his mother.5
At 12:30 p.m., while Judilyn was on her way home from Nagbitayan, she saw
appellant descend the ladder from the second floor of the house of Isabel Dawang
and run towards the back of the house. 6 She later noticed appellant, who was
wearing a white shirt with collar and black pants, pacing back and forth at the back
of the house. She did not find this unusual as appellant and his wife used to live in
the house of Isabel Dawang.7
At 1:30 p.m., Judilyn again saw appellant when he called her near her house. This
time, he was wearing a black shirt without collar and blue pants. Appellant told her
that he would not be getting the lumber he had stacked, and that Isabel could use
it. She noticed that appellants eyes were "reddish and sharp." Appellant asked her
where her husband was as he had something important to tell him. Judilyns
husband then arrived and appellant immediately left and went towards the back of
the house of Isabel.8
In the evening of the same day, Isabel Dawang arrived home and found that the
lights in her house were off. She called out for her granddaughter, Kathylyn Uba.
The door to the ground floor was open. She noticed that the water container she
asked Kathylyn to fill up earlier that day was still empty. She went up the ladder to
the second floor of the house to see if Kathylyn was upstairs. She found that the
door was tied with a rope, so she went down to get a knife. While she groped in the
dark, she felt a lifeless body that was cold and rigid. 9
Isabel moved her hand throughout the entire body. She found out that it was the
naked body of her granddaughter, Kathylyn. She called for help. Judilyn and her
husband arrived. Isabel was given a flashlight by Judilyn. She focused the beam and
saw Kathylyn sprawled on the floor naked, with her intestines protruding out of her
stomach. Meanwhile, neighbors had arrived to offer assistance. A daughter of
Isabel, Cion, called the police.10
At 9:00 that evening, SP04 Melchor Faniswa received a report that a dead woman
was found in Isabel Dawangs house. Together with fellow police officers, Faniswa
went to the house and found the naked body of Kathylyn Uba with multiple stab
wounds.
The people in the vicinity informed the police officers that appellant was seen going
down the ladder of the house of Isabel Dawang at approximately 12:30 p.m.

The police discovered the victims panties, brassiere, denim pants, bag and sandals
beside her naked cadaver at the scene of the crime, and they found a dirty white
shirt splattered with blood within 50 meters from the house of Isabel.
When questioned by the police authorities, appellant denied any knowledge of
Kathylynss death,11 however, he was placed under police custody.
On July 3, 1998, appellant asked the police officers if he could relieve himself. Police
Officer Cesar Abagan accompanied him to the toilet around seven to ten meters
away from the police station. They suddenly heard someone shout in the Ilocano
dialect, "Nagtaray!" (Hes running away!). Police Officer Orlando Manuel exited
through the gate of the Police Station and saw appellant running away. Appellant
was approximately 70 meters away from the station when Police Officer Abagan
recaptured him.12 He was charged with Rape with Homicide. When he was arraigned
on July 21, 1998, appellant pleaded "not guilty."
After trial, appellant was convicted of the crime of Rape with Homicide, defined and
penalized under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 8353,
otherwise known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, and was accordingly, sentenced
to Death.
Hence, this automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. In his Brief, appellant assigns the following errors:
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING MUCH WEIGHT TO THE EVIDENCE
PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION NOTWITHSTANDING THEIR DOUBTFULNESS.
II
THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
OF THE SERIOUS CRIME CHARGED DUE TO REASONABLE DOUBT.
Appellants contentions are unmeritorious.
The issue regarding the credibility of the prosecution witnesses should be resolved
against appellant. This Court will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court in
determining the credibility of witnesses unless there appears in the record some
fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked or the
significance of which has been misinterpreted. 13 Well-entrenched is the rule that the
findings of the trial court on credibility of witnesses are entitled to great weight on
appeal unless cogent reasons are presented necessitating a reexamination if not the
disturbance of the same; the reason being that the former is in a better and unique
position of hearing first hand the witnesses and observing their deportment,
conduct and attitude.14 Absent any showing that the trial judge overlooked,
misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight which would

affect the result of the case, the trial judges assessment of credibility deserves the
appellate courts highest respect. 15 Where there is nothing to show that the
witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motive, their testimonies
are entitled to full faith and credit.16
The weight of the prosecutions evidence must be appreciated in light of the wellsettled rule which provides that an accused can be convicted even if no eyewitness
is available, as long as sufficient circumstantial evidence is presented by the
prosecution to prove beyond doubt that the accused committed the crime. 17
Reference to the records will show that a total of eleven (11) wounds, six (6) stab
and five (5) incised, were found on the victims abdomen and back, causing a
portion of her small intestines to spill out of her body. 18 Rigor mortis of the vicitms
body was complete when Dr. Bartolo examined the victim at 9:00 a.m. on July 1,
1998. According to him, the time of death may be approximated from between nine
(9) to twelve (12) hours prior to the completion of rigor mortis.19 In other words, the
estimated time of death was sometime between 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on June 30,
1998. This was within the timeframe within which the lone presence of appellant
lurking in the house of Isabel Dawang was testified to by witnesses.
It should also be noted that, although the Postmortem Report by the attending
physician, Dr. Pej Evan C. Bartolo, indicates that no hymenal lacerations, contusions
or hematoma were noted on the victim, 20 Dr. Bartolo discovered the presence of
semen in the vaginal canal of the victim. During his testimony, Dr. Bartolo stated
that the introduction of semen into the vaginal canal could only be done through
sexual intercourse with the victim.21In addition, it is apparent from the pictures
submitted by the prosecution that the sexual violation of the victim was manifested
by a bruise and some swelling in her right forearm indicating resistance to the
appellants assault on her virtue.22
Significantly, subsequent testing showed that the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of
the sperm specimen from the vagina of the victim was identical the semen to be
that of appellants gene type.
DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic information in all living organisms. 23 A
persons DNA is the same in each cell and it does not change throughout a persons
lifetime; the DNA in a persons blood is the same as the DNA found in his saliva,
sweat, bone, the root and shaft of hair, earwax, mucus, urine, skin tissue, and
vaginal and rectal cells.24 Most importantly, because of polymorphisms in human
genetic structure, no two individuals have the same DNA, with the notable
exception of identical twins.25
DNA print or identification technology has been advanced as a uniquely effective
means to link a suspect to a crime, or to exonerate a wrongly accused suspect,
where biological evidence has been left. For purposes of criminal investigation, DNA
identification is a fertile source of both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. It can

assist immensely in effecting a more accurate account of the crime committed,


efficiently facilitating the conviction of the guilty, securing the acquittal of the
innocent, and ensuring the proper administration of justice in every case.
DNA evidence collected from a crime scene can link a suspect to a crime or
eliminate one from suspicion in the same principle as fingerprints are
used.26 Incidents involving sexual assault would leave biological evidence such as
hair, skin tissue, semen, blood, or saliva which can be left on the victims body or at
the crime scene. Hair and fiber from clothing, carpets, bedding, or furniture could
also be transferred to the victims body during the assault. 27 Forensic DNA evidence
is helpful in proving that there was physical contact between an assailant and a
victim. If properly collected from the victim, crime scene or assailant, DNA can be
compared with known samples to place the suspect at the scene of the crime. 28
The U.P. National Science Research Institute (NSRI), which conducted the DNA tests
in this case, used the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification method by
Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis. With PCR testing, tiny amounts of a specific
DNA sequence can be copied exponentially within hours. Thus, getting sufficient
DNA for analysis has become much easier since it became possible to reliably
amplify small samples using the PCR method.
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, courts should consider, inter alia,
the following factors: how the samples were collected, how they were handled, the
possibility of contamination of the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the
samples, whether the proper standards and procedures were followed in conducting
the tests, and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests. 29
In the case at bar, Dr. Maria Corazon Abogado de Ungria was duly qualified by the
prosecution as an expert witness on DNA print or identification techniques. 30 Based
on Dr. de Ungrias testimony, it was determined that the gene type and DNA profile
of appellant are identical to that of the extracts subject of examination. 31 The blood
sample taken from the appellant showed that he was of the following gene types:
vWA 15/19, TH01 7/8, DHFRP2 9/10 and CSF1PO 10/11, which are identical with
semen taken from the victims vaginal canal.32 Verily, a DNA match exists between
the semen found in the victim and the blood sample given by the appellant in open
court during the course of the trial.
Admittedly, we are just beginning to integrate these advances in science and
technology in the Philippine criminal justice system, so we must be cautious as we
traverse these relatively uncharted waters. Fortunately, we can benefit from the
wealth of persuasive jurisprudence that has developed in other jurisdictions.
Specifically, the prevailing doctrine in the U.S. has proven instructive.
In Daubert v. Merrell Dow,33 it was ruled that pertinent evidence based on
scientifically valid principles could be used as long as it was relevant and reliable.
Judges, under Daubert, were allowed greater discretion over which testimony they

would allow at trial, including the introduction of new kinds of scientific techniques.
DNA typing is one such novel procedure.
Under Philippine law, evidence is relevant when it relates directly to a fact in issue
as to induce belief in its existence or non-existence. 34 Applying the Daubert test to
the case at bar, the DNA evidence obtained through PCR testing and utilizing STR
analysis, and which was appreciated by the court a quo is relevant and reliable
since it is reasonably based on scientifically valid principles of human genetics and
molecular biology.
Independently of the physical evidence of appellants semen found in the victims
vaginal canal, the trial court appreciated the following circumstantial evidence as
being sufficient to sustain a conviction beyond reasonable doubt: (1) Appellant and
his wife were living in the house of Isabel Dawang together with the victim, Kathylyn
Uba; (2) In June 1998, appellants wife left the house because of their frequent
quarrels; (3) Appellant received from the victim, Kathylyn Uba, a letter from his
estranged wife in the early morning on June 30, 1998; (4) Appellant was seen by
Apolonia Wania and Beverly Denneng at 1:00 p.m. of June 30, 1998 near the kitchen
of the house of Isabel Dawang, acting strangely and wearing a dirty white shirt with
collar; (5) Judilyn Pas-a saw appellant going down the ladder of the house of Isabel
at 12:30 p.m., wearing a dirty white shirt, and again at 1:30 p.m., this time wearing
a black shirt; (6) Appellant hurriedly left when the husband of Judilyn Pas-a was
approaching; (7) Salmalina Tandagan saw appellant in a dirty white shirt coming
down the ladder of the house of Isabel on the day Kathylyn Uba was found dead; (8)
The door leading to the second floor of the house of Isabel Dawang was tied by a
rope; (9) The victim, Kathylyn Uba, lay naked in a pool of blood with her intestines
protruding from her body on the second floor of the house of Isabel Dawang, with
her stained pants, bra, underwear and shoes scattered along the periphery; (10)
Laboratory examination revealed sperm in the victims vagina (Exhibit "H" and "J");
(11) The stained or dirty white shirt found in the crime scene was found to be
positive with blood; (12) DNA of slide, Exhibit "J" and "H", compared with the DNA
profile of the appellant are identical; and (13) Appellant escaped two days after he
was detained but was subsequently apprehended, such flight being indicative of
guilt.35
Circumstantial evidence, to be sufficient to warrant a conviction, must form an
unbroken chain which leads to a fair and reasonable conclusion that the accused, to
the exclusion of others, is the perpetrator of the crime. To determine whether there
is sufficient circumstantial evidence, three requisites must concur: (1) there is more
than one circumstance; (2) facts on which the inferences are derived are proven;
and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction
beyond reasonable doubt.36
In an attempt to exclude the DNA evidence, the appellant contends that the blood
sample taken from him as well as the DNA tests were conducted in violation of his

right to remain silent as well as his right against self-incrimination under Secs. 12
and 17 of Art. III of the Constitution.
This contention is untenable. The kernel of the right is not against all compulsion,
but against testimonial compulsion.37 The right against self- incrimination is simply
against the legal process of extracting from the lips of the accused an admission of
guilt. It does not apply where the evidence sought to be excluded is not an
incrimination but as part of object evidence.
We ruled in People v. Rondero38 that although accused-appellant insisted that hair
samples were forcibly taken from him and submitted to the National Bureau of
Investigation for forensic examination, the hair samples may be admitted in
evidence against him, for what is proscribed is the use of testimonial compulsion or
any evidence communicative in nature acquired from the accused under duress.
Hence, a person may be compelled to submit to fingerprinting, photographing,
paraffin, blood and DNA, as there is no testimonial compulsion involved.
Under People v. Gallarde,39 where immediately after the incident, the police
authorities took pictures of the accused without the presence of counsel, we ruled
that there was no violation of the right against self-incrimination. The accused may
be compelled to submit to a physical examination to determine his involvement in
an offense of which he is accused.
It must also be noted that appellant in this case submitted himself for blood
sampling which was conducted in open court on March 30, 2000, in the presence of
counsel.
Appellant further argues that the DNA tests conducted by the prosecution against
him are unconstitutional on the ground that resort thereto is tantamount to the
application of an ex-post facto law.
This argument is specious. No ex-post facto law is involved in the case at bar. The
science of DNA typing involves the admissibility, relevance and reliability of the
evidence obtained under the Rules of Court. Whereas an ex-post facto law refers
primarily to a question of law, DNA profiling requires a factual determination of the
probative weight of the evidence presented.
Appellants twin defense of denial and alibi cannot be sustained. The forensic DNA
evidence and bloodied shirt, notwithstanding the eyewitness accounts of his
presence at Isabel Dawangs house during the time when the crime was committed,
undeniably link him to the June 30, 1998 incident. Appellant did not demonstrate
with clear and convincing evidence an impossibility to be in two places at the same
time, especially in this case where the two places are located in the same
barangay.40 He lives within a one hundred (100) meter radius from the scene of the
crime, and requires a mere five minute walk to reach one house from the other. This
fact severely weakens his alibi.

As to the second assignment of error, appellant asserts that the court a


quo committed reversible error in convicting him of the crime charged. He alleges
that he should be acquitted on reasonable doubt.
Appellants assertion cannot be sustained.
Generally, courts should only consider and rely upon duly established evidence and
never on mere conjectures or suppositions. The legal relevancy of evidence denotes
"something more than a minimum of probative value," suggesting that such
evidentiary relevance must contain a "plus value." 41 This may be necessary to
preclude the trial court from being satisfied by matters of slight value, capable of
being exaggerated by prejudice and hasty conclusions. Evidence without "plus
value" may be logically relevant but not legally sufficient to convict. It is incumbent
upon the trial court to balance the probative value of such evidence against the
likely harm that would result from its admission.
The judgment in a criminal case can be upheld only when there is relevant evidence
from which the court can properly find or infer that the accused is guilty beyond
reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt requires moral certainty of guilt in
order to sustain a conviction. Moral certainty is that degree of certainty that
convinces and directs the understanding and satisfies the reason and judgment of
those who are bound to act conscientiously upon it. It is certainty beyond
reasonable doubt.42 This requires that the circumstances, taken together, should be
of a conclusive nature and tendency; leading, on the whole, to a satisfactory
conclusion that the accused, and no one else, committed the offense charged. 43 In
view of the totality of evidence appreciated thus far, we rule that the present case
passes the test of moral certainty.
However, as a matter of procedure, and for the purpose of meeting the requirement
of proof beyond reasonable doubt, motive is essential for conviction when there is
doubt as to the identity of the culprit.44
Pertinently, it must be noted that Judilyn Pas-a, first cousin of the victim, testified
that she last saw the victim alive in the morning of June 30, 1998 at the house of
Isabel Dawang.45 She witnessed the appellant running down the stairs of Isabels
house and proceeding to the back of the same house. 46 She also testified that a few
days before the victim was raped and killed, the latter revealed to her that "Joel
Yatar attempted to rape her after she came from the school." 47 The victim told
Judilyn about the incident or attempt of the appellant to rape her five days before
her naked and violated body was found dead in her grandmothers house on June
25, 1998.48 In addition, Judilyn also testified that when her auntie Luz Dawang Yatar,
wife of appellant, separated from her husband, "this Joel Yatar threatened to kill our
family."49 According to Judilyn, who was personally present during an argument
between her aunt and the appellant, the exact words uttered by appellant to his

wife in the Ilocano dialect was, "If you leave me, I will kill all your family and your
relatives x x x."50 These statements were not contradicted by appellant.
Thus, appellants motive to sexually assault and kill the victim was evident in the
instant case. It is a rule in criminal law that motive, being a state of mind, is
established by the testimony of witnesses on the acts or statements of the accused
before or immediately after the commission of the offense, deeds or words that may
express it or from which his motive or reason for committing it may be inferred. 51
Accordingly, we are convinced that the appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the special complex crime of rape with homicide. Appellant sexually assaulted
Kathylyn Uba, and by reason or on the occasion thereof, in order to conceal his
lustful deed, permanently sealed the victims lips by stabbing her repeatedly,
thereby causing her untimely demise.
The following are the elements constitutive of rape with homicide: (1) the appellant
had carnal knowledge of a woman; (2) carnal knowledge of a woman was achieved
by means of force, threat or intimidation; and (3) by reason or on the occasion of
such carnal knowledge by means of force, threat or intimidation, appellant killed the
woman.52 However, in rape committed by close kin, such as the victims father,
step-father, uncle, or the common-law spouse of her mother, it is not necessary that
actual force or intimidation be employed.53 Moral influence or ascendancy takes the
place of violence and intimidation.54 The fact that the victims hymen is intact does
not negate a finding that rape was committed as mere entry by the penis into the
lips of the female genital organ, even without rupture or laceration of the hymen,
suffices for conviction of rape.55 The strength and dilatability of the hymen are
invariable; it may be so elastic as to stretch without laceration during intercourse.
Absence of hymenal lacerations does not disprove sexual abuse especially when the
victim is of tender age.56
In the case at bar, appellant is the husband of the victims aunt. He is seven years
older than the victim Kathylyn Uba. Before he and his wife separated, appellant
lived in the house of his mother-in-law, together with the victim and his wife. After
the separation, appellant moved to the house of his parents, approximately one
hundred (100) meters from his mother-in-laws house. Being a relative by affinity
within the third civil degree, he is deemed in legal contemplation to have moral
ascendancy over the victim.
Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty of death is imposed
when by reason or on the occasion of the rape, homicide is committed. Although
three (3) Justices of this Court maintain their position that R.A. 7659 is
unconstitutional insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, they nevertheless submit
to the ruling of the majority that the law is not unconstitutional, and that the death
penalty can be lawfully imposed in the case at bar.

As to damages, civil indemnity ex delicto of P100,000.00, 57 actual damages incurred


by the family of the victim that have been proved at the trial amounting to
P93,190.00,58 and moral damages of P75,000.0059 should be awarded in the light of
prevailing law and jurisprudence. Exemplary damages cannot be awarded as part of
the civil liability since the crime was not committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances.60
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision of the RTC of Bulanao, Tabuk,
Kalinga, Branch 25 in Criminal Case No. 35-98, sentencing appellant Joel Yatar alias
"Kawit" to Death for the special complex crime of Rape with Homicide
is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that he be ORDERED to pay the family of
the victim Kathylyn Uba civil indemnity ex delicto in the amount of P100,000.00,
P93,190.00 in actual damages and P75,000.00 in moral damages. The award of
exemplary damages is DELETED.
Upon the finality of this Decision and in accordance with Art. 83 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by Sec. 25 of Rep. Act No. 7659, let the records of this case be
forthwith forwarded to the President of the Philippines for the possible exercise of
the pardoning power.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 124639. February 1, 2001
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
REYNALDO DE VILLA, accused-appellant.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Elevated to this Court by way of automatic review is the decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 166, 1 in Criminal Case No. 107520-H, sentencing
accused-appellant to death for committing the crime of rape and ordering him to
indemnify the victim the sum of P50,000 and to support the child whom he sired
with the victim.1wphi1.nt
On January 9, 1995, a criminal information was filed against accused-appellant with
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City alleging as follows:
That on or about the month of April, 1994, in the Municipality of Pasig, Metro Manila,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, with lewd designs and by means of force and intimidation did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with a thirteen

(13.) year old girl, Aileen Mendoza y Corales, without her consent and against her
will.
CONTRARY TO LAW 2
On January 26, 1995, accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty. 3
During the trial, the prosecution established the following:
Sometime in the third week of April 1994, at about 10:00 oclock in the morning,
Aileen Mendoza, 12 years and ten (10) months old, woke up in their rented room in
Sagad, Pasig, Metro Manila, and found the accused on top of her. Aileen was unable
to shout for help because accused covered her mouth with a pillow and threatened
to kill her. Aileen could not do anything but cry, while accused succeeded in
inserting his penis inside her vagina and then ejaculated after making up and down
motions with his body, resulting in the pregnancy of Aileen which was noticed by
Aileens mother, Leonila Mendoza, in November, 1994. When confronted by her
mother, Aileen revealed that she was raped by the accused. Aileens parents
brought her to the Pasig Police Station, where they lodged their complaint against
the accused. At the Police Station, Aileens and her mothers statements were taken
by the police. Dr. Rosaline Cosidon, who examined Aileen, confirmed that Aileen was
eight (8) months pregnant and found in her hymen healed lacerations at 5:00
oclock and 8:00 oclock positions. On December 19, 1994, Aileen, assisted by Dr.
Purisima Barbosa, gave birth to her baby. 4
Accused-appellant raised the defense that at the time of the alleged rape
committed in April 1994, he was 67 years old. Ten years previous to that, he was
suffering from stomach ulcer and confined in a hospital. Since that time, he has
been incapable of having an erection. He further alleged that from the time that he
got married to the sister of Aileens father, the family of his father-in-law has held a
grudge against him. 5
The trial court rejected the claim of impotency on the ground that there was no
convincing evidence to show that at his age of 66 or 67 years old, accusedappellant could no longer engage in sexual intercourse. Thus, finding that accusedappellant is the uncle of the victim, being married to the sister of her father, the
trial court applied Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic
Act No. 7659, and sentenced accused-appellant to suffer the supreme penalty of
death, to indemnify the victim the sum of P50,000.00, to pay the cost of the suit
and to support the child. 6
In his Appellants Brief, accused-appellant raises the following assignment of errors:
-ITHAT THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED MANIFEST ERROR AMOUNTING TO GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ADMITTING PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE SWORN STATEMENT

OF THE COMPLAINING WITNESS AS HER DIRECT TESTIMONY WITH RESPECT TO THE


ALLEGED INCIDENT, AS IF THE CASE IS COVERED BY THE RULES ON SUMMARY
PROCEDURE;
- II THAT THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED MANIFEST ERROR IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE
TO THE PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF ACCUSED TO COMMIT THE ALLEGED OFFENSE
OF RAPE; CONSIDERING HIS AGE OF 68 YEARS OLD AND HIS DETERIORATING
HEALTH;
- III THAT THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED MANIFEST ERROR AMOUNTING TO GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ATTRIBUTING THE BIRTH OF A CHILD OF THE
COMPLAINING WITNESS TO A 68-YEAR OLD ACCUSED, AFTER THE LAPSE OF EIGHT
(8) MONTHS FROM THE ALLEGED DATE OF INCIDENT; AND THE ALLEGED BIRTH WAS
NOT EVEN REGISTERED/REPORTED WITH THE OFFICE OF THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRY
OF PASIG CITY; 7
More specifically, accused-appellant assails the credibility of the victim since she
was not asked details on how the rape was committed, but was merely made to
identify her sworn statements. However, the Solicitor General pointed out that,
contrary to accused-appellants claim, Aileen in fact testified that she was raped by
her uncle. 8
The claim of the defense is untenable. It is not necessary that the victim narrate all
the sordid details of the rape. To do so would require her to relive the horror and
anguish she experienced which, in all probability, she is trying very hard to erase
from memory. Especially, this kind of testimony would usually be made in plain view
of the accused, who would in all likelihood be present in the courtroom. Hence, it
should be enough if the victim merely says she was raped. This is why this Court
has consistently held that when a woman declares that she has been raped she
says in effect all that is necessary to mean that she has been raped, and where her
testimony passes the test of credibility, the accused can be convicted on the basis
thereof. 9
Accused-appellant casts doubt on the veracity of the victims claim since she
reported the incident after the lapse of seven (7) months. However, jurisprudence
has established that delay in revealing the commission of rape is not an indication
of a fabricated charge. 10
Accused-appellant also raises the defense of alibi, averring that at the time of the
incident, he was in his hometown of San Luis, Batangas attending the feast day of
San Isidro Labrador, Patron Saint of the Farmers. It should be emphasized that the
victim positively and categorically testified that she was raped by accused-

appellant. Alibi is one of the weakest defenses in criminal cases and it should be
rejected when the identity of the accused is sufficiently and positively established
by the prosecution. Moreover, in order to overcome the evidence of the prosecution,
the accused must establish not only that he was somewhere else when the crime
was committed but also that it was physically impossible for him to have been at
the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. 11 The distance between Pasig
City and Batangas can be traversed within a few hours; hence, it was not physically
impossible for accused-appellant to be in Pasig City at any time within the third
week of April 1994, during which the rape was committed.
In support of his claim that he was already impotent, accused-appellants wife,
Sionita de Villa, testified that they could no longer have any sexual intercourse
because of her husbands inability to obtain an erection. It has been held, however,
that the advanced age of the accused does not mean that sexual intercourse is no
longer possible, as age is not a criterion taken alone in determining sexual interest
and capability of middle-aged and older people. 12 Moreover, impotency as a
defense in rape cases must be proven with certainty to overcome the presumption
in favor of potency.
Neither can the claim of impotency by accused-appellant be countenanced. In
People v. Palma (G.R. No. 69152, 23 September 1986, 144 SCRA 236), we ruled that
impotency as a defense in rape cases must be proved with certainty to overcome
the presumption in favor of potency. We even rejected that defense in People v.
Olmedillo (No. L-42660, 30 August 1982, 116 SCRA 193) where a doctor had
examined the accused by stimulating his organ with a wisp of cotton for three (3)
minutes and there was no erection.
With more reason must we reject such defense in the face of the unsubstantiated
allegation of Ablog. For at no time did he present himself for the same kind of
examination. Even the expert witness he presented, Dr. Arnold Pasia, could not state
with unequivocal conviction that his hypertension was of a permanent nature and of
such gravity that it rendered him bereft of sexual desires and potency. On the
contrary, Dr. Pasia stressed that the hypertension that Ablog suffered was merely
symptomatic and could be healed by proper medication. Neither can accusedappellant invoke old age. In People v. Bahuyan (G.R. No. 105842, 24 November
1994, 238 SCRA 330), we convicted an octogenarian of rape as we brushed aside
his claim of impotency. There we said that assuming arguendo that this was the
truth, his advanced age did not mean that sexual intercourse for him was no longer
possible, as age taken alone could not be a criterion in determining sexual interest
and capability of middle-aged and older people. 13
Accused-appellant denies having sired the victims child, who was born some eight
months from the time of the alleged rape by normal delivery. He cites the case of
People v. Lao, 14 where this Court acquitted the accused of the crime of rape
because the logical date of conception did not coincide with the alleged occasions

of rape. Said ruling, however, finds no application in the case at bar, because in said
case, the victim gave birth seven months from the dates of the supposed rapes, and
she admitted that she had no sexual contact with the accused prior to the sevenmonth period.
In the case at bar, the discrepancy lies in the fact that between the date of
commission of the rape, i.e., in the third week of April. 1994, to the date of birth of
the victims child, on December 19, 1994, only eight months elapsed. As correctly
argued by the Solicitor General, the date of birth of Aileens child is medically
consistent with the time of the rape since the child was born within the nine-month
gestation period. Moreover, when the victims mother testified that Aileen
delivered her baby in a normal way, 15 she did not state that Aileen gave birth to a
full-term nine-month old baby. Thus, the prosecution maintained that Aileen
prematurely gave birth to an eight-month old baby by normal delivery. 16
This Court, therefore, finds credible the victims testimony that she was raped by
accused-appellant. Time-honored is the doctrine that no young and decent woman
would publicly admit that she was ravished and her virtue defiled, unless such was
true, for it would be instinctive for her to protect her honor. No woman would
concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts and submit
herself to public humiliation and scrutiny via an open trial, if her sordid tale was not
true and her sole motivation was not to have the culprit apprehended and
punished. 17
It bears emphasis that the victim was barely thirteen when she was raped. It is
settled jurisprudence that testimonies of child-victims are given full weight and
credit, since when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that she has been
raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was committed.
Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. 18
Furthermore, as a rule appellate courts will not disturb the findings by the trial court
on the credibility of witnesses, for the trial court is in a better position to pass upon
the same. As succinctly explained in the case of People vs. Atop, 19 the trial court
has the valuable edge of observing the witness deportment and manner of
testifying, her furtive glance, blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or
sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the scant or full realization of an oath --- all of
which are useful aids for an accurate determination of a witness honesty and
sincerity. 20
While the Court affirms the finding of guilt of accused-appellant of the crime of rape,
we cannot sustain the death sentence imposed by the trial court. Accused-appellant
was convicted under Section 11 of R.A. 7659, which reads in pertinent part:
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any
of the following attendant circumstances:

1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
third civil degree, or the common law spouse of the parent of the victim.
xxx
The Court has consistently declared that the circumstances under the amendatory
provisions of R.A. 7659, Section 11, the attendance of which would mandate the
imposition of the single indivisible penalty of death, are in the nature of qualifying
circumstances which should be alleged in the information and proved at the trial.
Indeed, the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1,
2000, now specifically require both qualifying and aggravating circumstances to be
alleged in the information, 21
SEC. 8. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information shall state the
designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions
constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If
there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or
subsection of the statute punishing it.
SEC. 9. Cause of the accusation. The acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be
stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the language used in
the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to
know what offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and aggravating
circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.
Both circumstances of minority of the victim and her relationship with the accused
must be alleged in the information. In the case at bar, the prosecution only alleged
the minority of the victim; it failed to allege that accused-appellant is her relative by
consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree of relationship.
Consequently, accused-appellant cannot be convicted of qualified rape. It must be
borne in mind that the requirement for complete allegations on the particulars of
the indictment is based on the right of the accused to be fully informed of the
nature of the charges against him so that he may adequately prepare for his
defense pursuant to the due process clause of the Constitution. 22 Hence, the crime
committed is only simple rape, punishable by reclusion perpetua.
On the matter of damages, this Court holds that in addition to the award of
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, the victim, Aileen Mendoza, is also entitled to moral
damages of P50,000.00 without need of proof other than the fact of rape. 23
The Court has also resolved that in crimes of rape, such as that under consideration,
moral damages may additionally be awarded to the victim in the criminal
proceeding, in such amount as the Court deems just, without the need for pleading

or proof of the basis thereof as has heretofore been the practice. Indeed, the
conventional requirement of allegata et probata in civil procedure and for
essentially civil cases should be dispensed with in criminal prosecution for rape with
the civil aspect included therein, since no appropriate pleadings are filed wherein
such allegations can be made.1wphi1.nt
Corollarily, the fact that complainant has suffered the trauma of mental, physical
and psychological sufferings which constitute the bases for moral damages are too
obvious to still require the recital thereof at the trial by the victim, since the Court
itself even assumes and acknowledges such agony on her part as a gauge of her
credibility. What exists by necessary implication as being ineludibly present in the
case need not go through the superfluity of still being proved through a testimonial
charade. 24
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, finding accused-appellant
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, is AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATIONS that he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
ordered to pay the offended party P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; P50,000.00 as
moral damages; costs of the suit and to provide support for the child Lealhyn
Corales Mendoza.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 137647

February 1, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
WILFREDO FERNANDEZ y MALINAO, accused-appellant.
DAVIDE, JR., C.J..:
Under automatic review is the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch
265, in Criminal Case No. 111534-H, finding accused-appellant Wilfredo Fernandez y
Malinao, alias Alfredo Fernandez y Malinao (hereafter Wilfredo), guilty of rape and
sentencing him to suffer the extreme penalty of death.1wphi1.nt
The information2 which charged WILFREDO with rape was filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 265. It reads:
On or about December 20, 1996 in Taguig, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the said accused, with lewd design and by means of force
and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual
intercourse with one Melissande Pasasala y Bohol, a minor, fifteen years of age,
against her will and consent.
Upon arraignment, WILFREDO entered a plea of not guilty.

At the trial, the prosecution first presented the victim, Melissande Pasasala who was
already seventeen years old at that time. She testified that her mother Dionisia had
been living together with WILFREDO since she was nine (9) years old. She, her
mother, WILFREDO (whom she reverently addressed as "Papa") and her three
siblings all lived together in her mother's house in Bahayang Pag-asa, Ibayong
Tipas, Taguig. Her youngest sister was born out of the union of her mother and
WILFREDO.3
Melissande described their house as made of plywood with a mezzanine. The
mezzanine was partitioned into two rooms. She shared a room with her younger
sister while the opposite room was occupied by her older brother. Her mother and
WILFREDO occupied the room at the ground floor. 4
In the afternoon of 28 December 1996, she and her younger sister were the only
ones left home. WILFREDO then arrived from work with some companions and
began a drinking spree which ended at around 7:00 p.m. When his guests left,
WILFREDO inquired from Melissande where her mother was. She replied that her
mother was at a meeting in the multipurpose hall. She proceeded to clear the used
utensils. WILFREDO thereafter called her and told her to watch the television show.
She declined and continued her chore in the kitchen. WILFREDO called her anew. He
asked about her studies. She replied that she was doing fine. He further inquired as
to what course she was planning to take. At this point Melissande no longer
answered him. She tearfully narrated that WILFREDO was already holding her waist
and she was trying to avoid him. He then left her and proceeded to the master's
bedroom. Her sister, who was in the same room, went out and called her to say that
WILFREDO was asking for her.5
Melissande entered the bedroom and was told by WILFREDO to lie down over his
chest. He laid on the bed and asked if she wanted to go away with him at a faraway
place where they could be happy. Suddenly, he heard a noise. He immediately
pushed the girl away. He thought Melissande's mother had arrived. Melissande went
back to the kitchen to finish her chore. When WILFREDO realized that her mother
was not yet home, he followed her to the kitchen and held her shoulders. He then
told her to leave the dishes and follow him. WILFREDO brought her to a long bench
where he sat down. WILFREDO requested her to accommodate him (pagbigyan ko
raw siya). She understood the statement as an expression of his attraction to her.
But she felt afraid.6
WILFREDO asked her to go to his room, but she refused. Instead, he told her to go to
bathroom and actually pushed her there. Inside, he sat on her thighs. She
begged, "Papa, I don't like," but he threatened her with a foot-long knife and asked
her if she wanted him to kill her. He even declared that he was in the urge to kill.
She moved to the corner and begged him once more not to proceed. Instead, he
told her to obey what he wished and she reluctantly obliged. WILFREDO dragged her
back to and roughly pushed her down (Ibinalibag niya ako) the bench. He thereafter

attempted to open her shorts. When he failed, he went out of the house but
immediately returned inside the house. He then turned off the lights and dragged
the girl. But, he merely switched on the light and went out again, after which, he
proceeded to the bathroom. She told him that she was going to sleep. WILFREDO,
instead, told her to go up and he followed her. 7
In her mezzanine bedroom, Melissande pleaded, "I don't want." Unheeding,
WILFREDO removed her dress and underwear and laid her down. He removed his
pants and briefs and positioned himself on top of her. She shouted at him to stop
but he punched her and ordered her to be quiet. She could not ask succor from her
sister because of his threats to kill them both. He kissed her and he remained on top
of her, he heard her mother knocking. By that time he had penetrated her. He
wanted to continue but instead, immediately got up, went down and exited at the
back door. Her mother was able to push the bedroom door open as she hurriedly
dressed up. Her mother entered the bedroom but Melissande ran out of the house
and sought refuge in the home of her older brother Efren Cassamayo, who lived in
San Joaquin, another town.8
Melissande revealed to Efren that WILFREDO raped her. This angered Efren but she
dissuaded him from going to her mother's place. She spent the night at Efren's
home. The following afternoon, on an errand, she chanced upon her neighbor who
informed her that her mother and brother Nobee Jun had been looking for her. She
told her neighbor that she was staying with her brother Efren. That evening Nobee
Jun visited her at San Joaquin. She admitted to Nobee Jun that she was raped by
WILFREDO. Nobee Jun raged and threatened to kill WILFREDO. He further inquired if
she had reported the matter t the police. She in fact did go to the police station
accompanied by Efren and her sister-in-law on 31 December 1996. 9 There,
Melissande executed a sworn statement relating to her harrowing experience. 10 On
3 January 1997, she was physically examined at Camp Crame and the doctor
confirmed that she was raped (nagalaw nga raw po ako). The knife used by
WILFREDO to threaten her was turned over to the police by her mother. 11
Melissande claimed that the incident brought her shame. It was not the first time
that Wilfredo raped her. The first incident happened in 1994, but she close to suffer
in silence since he threatened to kill her and her mother. This time, however, she
mustered the courage to file the rape charge against him. She could no longer
consider him as her father. Her mother severed her relationship with him and her
relatives disowned him as a member of the family. She wished for him death as
penalty for the crime committed against her.12
Dionisia Pasasala, Melissande's mother, testified that WILFREDO was her commonlaw spouse. Since 1989, they had been living together in her house at Ibayong
Tipas, Taguig. In the evening of 28, December 1996, she attended a meeting at the
multi-purpose hall and arrived at their home at 9:00 p.m. As he knocked on the
door, she heard a thud from the mezzanine. She peered through a small hole, about

the size of a One Peso coin, near the door. She saw WILFREDO going down the stairs
from the mezzanine, naked waist down. She immediately ran towards the back door
which could be easily opened. She went to their room where she saw WILFREDO
pretending to be asleep. She dragged him out of the room and demanded to know
what he did to Melissande. He did not answer and she proceeded to the mezzanine
but Melissande was no longer there; she had left. She looked for her son Nobee Jun,
whom she found in a neighbor's house. She instructed him to look for Melissande
but she was nowhere to be found.13
The following afternoon, Dionisia Learned that a neighbor informed Nobee Jun that
Melissande was seen in San Joaquin and sent word that she was staying with her
older brother, Efren. On 31 December 1996, the police arrested WILFREDO at their
home. That same night Dionisia went to Pasig police station where she found
Melissande. Only then did learn that WILFREDO raped Melissande and threatened
her with a knife. They were referred to the Taguig Police where she executed her
sworn statement.14
The rape incident and several other despicable circumstances angered Dionisia,
betrayed her trust for WILFREDO and destroyed her love for him. She then recalled
that the he drove her blind mother away from their home. He also had previously hit
Melissande that caused her head to bleed. She admitted that she was not able to do
anything then against WILFREDO because she, too, was afraid of him. He had killed
a person and was just out on parole. She also confirmed that he had the habit of
carrying a knife even when he sleeps. She also presented as documentary evidence
WILFREDO's Certificate of Discharge from Prison,15 his Certificate of Discharge on
Parole16 and Melissande's Birth Certificate.17
On the part of the defense, WILFREDO was the sole witness. His testimony was
brief. He did not rape Melissande. He worked as a carpenter and would do repairs in
the house he shared with Dionisia. He also denied that there was a hole anywhere
near the main door.18
On rebuttal, the prosecution presented Nobee Jun Casamayor, Dionisia's son and
Melissande's brother. He considered WILFREDO as his stepfather. He was able to
confirm the himself what happened to Melissande after accompanying her to Camp
Crame for her medical examination. He identified the medico legal report 19 on the
examination conducted on her. He further expressed wonder why WILFREDO could
not reciprocate the love they gave him. He was treated like a real father; yet, he did
not treat them as his own children.20
In its decision of 7 December 1998, the trial court convicted WILFREDO and decreed
as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgement is hereby rendered finding
Accused, WILFREDO FERNANDEZ y MANILAO alias ALFREDO FERNANDEZ y
MANILAO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE, aggravated by the

fact that the same was committed by and hereby sentences him to suffer the
penalty of DEATH, as provided for under R.A. No. 7659; to pay the Private
Complainant , Melissande Pasasala y Bohol, the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P50,000.00) by way of indemnity; THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00) as moral
damages, plus all accessory penalties provided by law, without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs.
The trial court gave credence to the spontaneous and detailed testimony of
Melissande on the facts that she was raped. It declared that Melissande's failure to
run-away during WILFREDO's attempt to impose his lechery on her could not be
interpreted as assent to the sexual act as insinuated by the defense during crossexamination. WILFREDO's moral ascendancy, physical dominance and influence
over Melissande were too evident and apparent to be ignored. His tendency for
violence, habit, temperament and position as "father" in the family were too much
for the girl. Besides, he was threatening her with a knife. Thus, despite her feeble
protests, this second rape was likewise consummated.1wphi1.nt
In his lone assignment of error. WILFREDO no longer questions his conviction.
Instead, he argues that the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty
considering that while the information alleged that the victim was 15 years old at
the time the rape was allegedly committed, it failed to allege that the offender was
the common-law spouse of the victim's natural mother. The failure to allege these
special qualifying circumstances mandated the imposition of the lesser penalty
of reclusion perpetua, not death. Thus, the information merely charged him with
simple rape. He could not, therefore, be convicted of qualified rape which is
punishable by death.
WILFREDO further asserts that he was never married to Dionisia. Thus, he could not
even be considered a stepfather of Melissande.
For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General refutes WILFREDO's latter argument
by maintaining that the relationship between him and Dionisia was clearly
established in the testimonies of Melissande and Dionisia. He even failed to deny it
when he testified in open court.
Anent the failure of the information to allege that he is the common-law spouse of
the victim's natural mother or the stepfather of the victim, the Office of the Solicitor
General counters that such omission does not warrant a modification of the penalty
imposed upon him. Accordingly, WILFREDO exercised moral ascendancy as
stepfather of Melissande; and the rape was committed with the aggravating
circumstances of obvious ungratefulness and the use of a deadly weapon, while
these circumstances were not alleged in the information, nonetheless, they were
proven during trial. Thus, the trial properly imposed the death penalty.

Finally, the Office of the Solicitor General seeks an increase in the award of civil
indemnity to P75,000.00 and moral damages to P50,000.00, in conformity with
current jurisprudence.
In his Reply Brief, WILFREDO additionally contends that there was no finding by the
trial court of the aggravating circumstance of obvious ungratefulness. Neither was
the use of a deadly weapon proven. Further, the Appellee's Briefs made no mention
of a knife in the counter-statement of facts; instead, it alleged that Melissande no
longer resisted the rape supposedly due to WILFREDO's punch.
It is fundamental that in the review of rape cases we are guided by the following
principles: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility for it is difficult to
prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove it; (2)
in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime where two persons are 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 it cannot be
allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. 21
The paramount issue in rape cases is the credibility of the witnesses and the
determination thereof lies with the trial courts which have the opportunity to
observe the deportment of the witnesses. As a general rule, we do not disturb the
judgement of the trial court on the credibility of the witnesses, unless there exists a
fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been ignored or
misconstrued. Hence, the trial court's finding on the matter is accorded the highest
degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. 22
In the instant case, we give credence to the trial court's finding that Melissande was
sexually ravished by WILFREDO. We approve the trial court's appreciation of
Melissande's forthright testimony. She was unwavering in her answers concerning
the circumstances of the rape even in the grueling cross-examination. Well settled is
the principle that when a woman declares that she has been raped she says in
effect all that is the test of credibility, the accused can be convicted on the basis
thereof.23
The use of force and intimidation are also undisputed. 24 WILFREDO's act of
threatening the girl, who was 15 years old at the time of the incident, with a footlong knife absolutely constitute intimidation. The intimidation was heightened by a
previous sexual molestation, threats and previous acts of violence on her and her
family by WILFREDO. Indeed, such intimidation produced fear in Melissande's mind.
Moreover, WILFREDOs' subsequent acts of requiring her to undress, lie down and
spread her legs to satisfy his lust notwithstanding her refusal and struggles to avert
the rape clearly establish force.25
Indeed, no woman would openly admit that she was raped and consequently
subject her to an examination of her private parts, undergo the trauma and
humiliation of a public trial and disgrace herself with the narrative details of how

she was raped, if she was not in fact raped. 26 This ruling especially holds true where
the complainant is a minor whose testimony deserves full credence. 27
As to WILFREDO's sole defense of denial, the same is unsubstantiated. Moreover, he
failed to ascribe any ill-motive why Melissande would falsely accuse him of such a
serious crime. Where there is no evidence to show a doubtful reason or improper
motive why a prosecution witness should testify against the accused of falsely
implicate him in a crime, the said testimony is trustworthy. 28 Besides, we have time
again ruled that mere denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony of the
witness.29
While we affirm the trial court's judgement of conviction, we do not agree with the
trial court's imposition of the death penalty on the basis of the relationship between
WILFREDO and Melissande specially described in Article 335 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659 under which he was charged, viz:
The death penalty shall be imposed if the crime is committed with any of the
following attendant circumstances:
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
third civil degree or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. [Italics
supplied.]
The information clearly indicates that there is no allegation therein that WILFREDO
is the common-law spouse of the victim's mother. In other words, the actual
relationship existing between the offender and the offended party was not alleged.
We have been steadfast in our pronouncements that the circumstances under the
amendatory provisions of Section 11 of R.A No. 7659, the existence of which would
mandate the imposition of the death penalty, are in the nature of special qualifying
circumstances which must be alleged in the information and if not so alleged cannot
be proven as such.30 Where any of said special qualifying circumstance is proven
alone without the concurrent allegation thereof in the information, the constitutional
and statutory right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him is violated.31
Having been charged in the information with simple rape only, and no other
modifying circumstance having been proven, the penalty that should be imposed on
WILFREDO pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code would be reclusion
perpetua, the lesser of the penalties prescribed by Article 335 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659.
The other issues raised need not be discussed except the award of moral damages
which the trial court imposed in the amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000).
The same is increased to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,00) in accordance with current
jurisprudence.

WHEREFORE, the decision of 7 December 1998 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig
City, Branch 265, in Criminal Case No. 11534-H finding WILFREDO FERNANDEZ y
MALINAO, alias ALFREDO FERNANDEZ y MALINAO, guilty of rape is hereby
AFFIRMED, with the modifications that he is declared guilty of simple rape only and
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and that the award of moral
damages in the amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000) is increased to Fifty
Thousand Pesos (P50,000).
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 137751

February 1, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
TEODORO LAUT y REBELLON1 and DOMINGO LAUT y SEVILLA, accusedappellants.
BELLOSILLO, J.:
TEODORO LAUT y REBELLON and DOMINGO LAUT y SEVILLA appeal from the
Decision of the court a quo finding them guilty of murder and imposing upon them
the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering them to pay the heirs of TOMAS
FLORES SR., P14,390.50 as actual damages and P30,000.00 as moral damages. 2
The version of the prosecution is that in the early afternoon of 28 November 1995,
ten (10)-year old Tomas Flores Jr., was planting palay together with his mother
Erlinda Flores in their rice field located in Biong, Cabusao, Camarines Sur. His
younger brother Joel was playing in the fields. He chanced to look up the slope
where he last saw his father Tomas Flores Sr., plowing the earth with his carabao but
did not see him there. He dashed up the slope and at his vantage view saw his
father being chased by his neighbor Domingo Laut. In no time, Domingo overtook
his father and hacked him on the leg. He (Tomas Jr.) shouted to his mother that his
father was being attacked. Erlinda scurried up the slope and saw Domingo
continuously hacking her husband who had already fallen. She also saw that
Domingo's brother Joselito and their father Teodoro join in the fray. Erlinda looked at
Teodoro and noticed that he was carrying two (2) bolos, one tucked in his waist and
the other raised in his right arm. She rushed to her husband and pleaded with the
Lauts to stop the carnage. Tomas Jr. meanwhile ran to the poblacion to seek help.
Domingo menacingly advanced towards her and struck her head with the handle of
a scythe while exhorting her, "Saro ka pang hayop ka, gagadanon taka!" (you're
another one, I will kill you!). Erlinda's bandana fell from her head as she dashed for
safety towards the direction of her home. Domingo pursued her but she managed to
elude him.1wphi1.nt

While playing, Joel saw his Manoy Junior and his mother scampering in different
directions. He ran to where they were and saw the Lauts hacking his father who was
already lying on the ground bathed in his own blood. Upon seeing his father, he
cried and then fled.
Upon reaching her barangay, Erlinda sought help from her neighbor Luis Nacor who
accompanied her home and advised her to wait for the authorities. Soon enough,
several police officers arrived with her son Junior and they proceeded to the rice
fields where she last saw her husband fall. There they saw her husband,
unconscious, soaked in his own blood. Several men lifted his body from the ground
and brought him to the hospital where he died.
The necropsy examination conducted by Dr. Eduardo P. Madrilejo, Municipal Health
Officer of Cabusao, Camarines Sur, revealed that Tomas Flores, Sr., had sustained a
total of twelve (12) hack wounds, the most fatal of which was the "partial avulsion
wound at the anterior middle aspect of the neck measuring three (3) inches." 3
On the same day, Teodoro Laut and his sons Domingo and Joselito were arrested
and brought to the police station. Teodoro and Domingo were detained at the
Tinangis Penal Farm while Joselito, who was barely fifteen (15) years of age, was
placed under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development of
Cabusao, Camarines Sur.
At the trial, the prosecution presented Erlinda, Tomas Jr., Joel, SPO4 Gerardo Gigic
and Dr. Madrilejo as witnesses. After the testimonies of Erlinda, Tomas Jr. and Joel,
Teodoro took the witness stand and claimed sole responsibility for the killing of
Tomas Flores Sr. Teodoro insisted that he acted in self-defense. Consistent with their
father's testimony, Domingo and Joselito denied participation in the crime and
proceeded to present their respective alibis.
Teodoro testified that on 28 November 1995 he was at the bamboo grove which
separated his property from the land tilled by Tomas. According to him, he was
given by the landlord of Tomas, a certain Felix Gonzales, the authority to trim
several clumps of bamboo that were encroaching on his property. Suddenly,
someone struck his head from behind. He faced his attacker and recognized Tomas
Flores Sr. who furiously said, "You fight because this is the end of your life!" 4 Tomas
was holding a bolo in his right hand and a piece of wood on the other. Sensing
danger, he moved backwards. Tomas attacked him with his bolo and he parried his
blows. Since he knew a little of armas de mano5 he was able to disarm Tomas and
succeeded in getting hold of the latter's bolo. However, Erlinda, who was at her
husband's side, gave him another bolo while shouting "kill him" 6 With a new bolo in
hand, Tomas and Teodoro then fought it out. In the course of the fight, Teodoro
inflicted several wounds on Tomas. With all his strength, he struck Tomas at the
back. Tomas lost his balance and fell. Seeing that Tomas was already lying on the
ground, he gathered the two (2) bolos used by Tomas in attacking him an wrapped

them under his jacket. On his way to the Bicol Sanitarium for the treatment of his
wounds, he met his son Joselito who accompanied him. Together, they proceeded to
the hospital where he supposedly surrendered the two (2) bolos to the security
guard. At the hospital, Dr. Delfin Sunga attended to his wounds located at his left
eyebrow, earlobe and right knee.7 The policemen came later with his son Domingo
and together they were taken to the police station where they were detained.
Accused Domingo testified that on the afternoon in question, he was weeding his
rice field located four (4) kilometers away from the scene of the crime. According to
him, he left home right after lunch, at approximately 11:00 o'clock in the morning,
and stayed at his rice field all afternoon. He came home at dusk and was informed
that his father was being treated at the hospital for hack wounds. After washing
himself, he went to the Bicol Sanitarium where he saw several policemen waiting for
his father. They asked him to accompany his father to the police station and he
obliged. At the police station, he was detained together with his father. His
protestations for release fell on deaf ears.
Joselito likewise disclaimed any knowledge of the killing and expressed surprise
when arrested. He testified that in the afternoon of 28 July 1995 he was tethering
his father's carabao about a kilometer away. Upon his return home, he met his
wounded father who was on his way to the hospital. He accompanied him to the
Bicol Sanitarium and witnessed his arrest.
The trial court gave more credence to the testimony of Erlinda and her sons who
vigorously asserted that they saw the Lauts hack their patriarch. Teodoro's plea of
self-defense was rejected upon a finding that he inflicted twelve (12) hack wounds
on Tomas. According to the court a quo, "if the accused stabbed the deceased
merely to defend (himself), it certainly defies reason why (he) had to inflict (twelve)
stab wounds (upon the deceased)." 8Consequently, Teodoro together with Domingo
was convicted of murder qualified by abuse of superior strength. Joselito was
however acquitted for insufficiency of evidence.
In this appeal, accused-appellants contend that the court a quo erred in not
sustaining Teodoro's plea of self-defense and in finding that Domingo assisted his
father in killing the deceased.
Teodoro's claim that he merely defended himself deserves no credit. In an effort to
dramatize his plight, he exaggerated his story. The necropsy report would readily
repudiate his version of the story and in the process disprove the aphorism that
dead men tell no tales. For one, if indeed he merely parried the blows delivered by
the deceased, then Tomas' six-inch hack wound located at the center of his back
clearly needs an explanation. In addition, as correctly observed by the trial court,
the twelve (12) hack wounds found on the body of the deceased as contrasted with
Teodoro's three (3) small superficial wounds belies the theory of the defense that it
was Tomas who was the aggressor. Tomas' wounds located at his arms, wrists,

chest, legs and back are all indicative of aggression and of the complicity of the
father and son in the dastardly act.
In light of the foregoing, Teodoro's tall tale of self-defense does not inspire belief,
especially when contrasted with the positive and categorical eyewitness accounts of
Erlinda and her sons. Their testimonies are further corroborated by the extent of the
hack wounds received by the deceased. Certainly, it would be the height of
gullibility to believe Teodoro's plea of self-defense.
Domingo, on the other hand, relies on his alibi for exculpation. In his testimony, he
attempted to show that he was tending his rice field some four (4) kilometers away
when his father killed Tomas such that it was impossible for him to have been in the
scene of the crime either before or after the killing.
We are not convinced. Domingo's defense must be rejected because of the easy
access from his rice field to that of Tomas. Even if his claim that he went to his rice
field at 11:00 o'clock in the morning is believed, this does not discount the
possibility that he hiked back in time for the murder of Tomas. The distance of fur
(4) kilometers is not that far as to prevent Domingo, full-bodied as he is, from
negotiating the stretch that very same afternoon. His defense then that he was at
some other place at the time of the killing does not satisfactorily show that it was
physically impossible for him to have participated therein.
The killing was properly denominated as murder because it was qualified by abuse
of superior strength. The deceased, outnumbered and vanquished, was pursued
until he stumbled and fell whereupon the two (2) accused-appellants synchronously
delivered hacking blows upon him.
A perusal of the Decision reveals that its award of damages in favor of the heirs
must be modified. Firstly, the trial court failed to award civil indemnity. Well
entrenched is the rule that upon a finding of death, courts award civil indemnity in
the amount of P50,000.00. This is in addition to the actual damages which in the
present case were fixed at P14,390.50. The award of civil indemnity in case of death
is separate and distinct from the award of actual damages which is based on a
different jural foundation.
As to the award of damages for loss of earning capacity, Erlinda testified that her
husband Tomas was earning P600.00 a week prior to his death. 9 She however failed
to produce evidence to substantiate her claim. Nonetheless, Art. 2206 of the Civil
Code provides, "the defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of
the deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter x x x unless
the deceased on account of permanent disability not caused by the defendant had
no earning capacity at the time of his death." In the present case, as there is no
indication that the deceased had no earning capacity at the time of his death due to
a permanent physical disability, we are inclined to give credit to Erlinda's testimony.
Based on her computation, Tomas was earning an annual income of P28,800.00

counted at the rate of P600.00 a week for forty-eight (48) weeks. To this amount
would be deducted his necessary and incidental expenses estimated at fifty percent
(50%), leaving a balance of P14,400.00. 10 His net annual income would then be
multiplied by his life expectancy using the following formula: 2/3 x 80 40 (age of
the victim at time of death).11 Tomas can therefore be said to have a life expectancy
of twenty-six (26) years. All taken, an award of P374,400.00 for loss of earning
capacity is just and proper.
The award of moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00 should be increased to
P100,000.00 after considering that Tomas had left a brood of twelve (12) fatherless
children and a grieving widow.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the trial court finding accused-appellants
TEODORO LAUT Y REBELLON and DOMINGO LAUT Y SEVILLA guilty of Murder and
sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of
the victim Tomas Flores Sr., P14,390.50 as actual damages with the modifications
that accused-appellants be also ordered to pay the heirs P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity for the death of Flores Sr., and P374,400.00 representing the loss of his
earning capacity. In addition, the award of moral damages is increased to
P100,000.00.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 122664

February 5, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GEORGE BAYOD y DALURAN, accused-appellant.
PARDO, J.:
The case before the Court is an appeal from a decision of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 01, Manila convicting accused George Bayod y Daluran of murder and
frustrated homicide, for the killing of Eduardo del Rosario y Diaz and the near fatal
killing of Arnold Tamo y Martinez.
The fallo of the decision reads:
"WHEREFORE, this court finds the accused George Bayod y Daluran GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crimes of murder and frustrated homicide and, as a
consequence thereof, sentences him, as follows:
"(1) In Criminal Case No. 92-112209, to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua
together with all the accessory penalties provided by law.
"Further, he shall indemnify Amelia del Rosarion in the total amount of P67,535.00
as actual and compensatory damages and P15,000.00 as and for attorney's fees;

and the legal heirs of the deceased in the amount of P50,000.00 as damages for
death and P100,000.00 as moral damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case
of insolvency; and
"(2) In Criminal Case No.92-112210, to suffer the indeterminate prison term of six
(6) years, of prision correccional maximum as minimum to ten (10) years of prision
mayor medium as maximum.
"Cost against the accused in both cases.
"SO ORDERED."1
By two separate Information filed on November 4, 1992, with the Regional Trial
Court, Manila, Assistant City Prosecutor Arturo A. Cabides of Manila charged accused
with murder and frustrated murder, as follows:
Criminal Case No. 92-112209
"INFORMATION
"The undersigned accuses GEORGE BAYOD Y DALURAN of the crime of MURDER,
committed as follows:
"That on or about November 1, 1992, in the city of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused, conspiring and confederating with others, whose names, identities and
present whereabouts are still unknown and helping each other, with intent to kill
and with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault and use personal violence upon the
person of one EDUARDO DEL ROSARIO y DIAZ, by then and there hacking and
mauling the latter several times on the different parts of his body with a bolo,
thereby inflicting upon him mortal stab wounds which were the direct cause of his
death.
"CONTRARY TO LAW.
"ARTURO A. CABIDES
Assistant City Prosecutor"2
Criminal Case No.92-112210
"INFORMATION
"The undersigned accuses GEORGE BAYOD Y DALURAN of the crime Frustrated
Murder, committed as follows:
"That on or about November 1, 1992, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused, conspiring and confederating with others, whose names, identities and
present whereabouts are still unknown and helping each other, with intent to kill

and with evident premeditation and treachery, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and use personal violence upon one
ARNOLD TAMO Y MARTINEZ, by then and there hacking and mauling the latter with
a bolo on the different parts of his body, thereby inflicting upon him physical injuries
which are necessary mortal (sic), thus performing all the acts of execution which
would have produced the crime of murder as a consequence but which
nevertheless, did not produce it by reason or cause independent of the will of the
said accused, that is, the timely and able medical assistance rendered to the said
ARNOLD TAMO Y MARTINEZ, which prevented his death.
"CONTRARY TO LAW.
"ARTURO A. CABIDES
Assistant City Prosecutor"3
Upon arraignment on November 27, 1992, accused entered a plea of not guilty in
both cases.4 He filed a petition for bail; however, after due hearing, on April 7, 1993,
the trial court denied the petition.5 Joint trial of the cases ensued.
On November 1, 1992, around 2:30 in the afternoon, Eduardo del Rosario, Arnold
Tamo, Oliver Alano, Luis Diaz and a certain Timoteo were in front of Eduardo's house
located at No. 1122 Antipolo St., Sampaloc, Manila. Earlier that morning, they sold
fish at the Espaa market. Eduardo's companions accompanied him home, and
assisted him because he was a paralytic.6
The doorbell at the gate of the house was not functioning, so the group registered
their presence by knocking at the gate and shouting "Roy, Tao," which words were
echoed by someone from accused's group which was having a drinking session in a
neighboring house. After a short exchange of words between the two groups,
accused and his two (2) companions went out of their house and challenged
Eduardo's companions to a fistfight. When accused's group was about to be
overpowered, they went back to accused's house and each of them got a weapon.
Accused hacked Arnold Tamo with a bolo on the head and stabbed him at the left
side of his body. Then accused went after Luis Diaz and Timoteo who ran away from
the scene.7
Thereafter, accused attacked Eduardo with a bolo hitting the latter on the left chin.
Accused's companions, who hay armed themselves with wooden clubs, struck
Eduardo on the head and face.8
Accused then threatened Oliver Alano with a bolo. However, Oliver pleaded that he
be spared, and accused relented. Subsequently, one of accused's companions
struck Eduardo with a wooden club and then turned to Oliver and hit his arms. 9
Both Eduardo and Arnold Tamo were brought to the UST Hospital and at around 6:45
in the evening, Eduardo expired.10

During the trial, the prosecution presented Amelia del Rosario, the common-law wife
of Eduardo. She testified that she saw the entire incident from the second floor
balcony of their house facing Antipolo Street, which was three meters up from the
ground floor. She saw George Bayod hack her husband Eduardo with a bolo. She
knew George Bayod because they were neighbors.
She hurriedly went down and sought help from a passing police mobile patrol car.
Policemen rushed Eduardo and Arnold unconscious to the UST Hospital, for
treatment.11
Aside from Amelia, Arnold Tamo, one of the victims who survived the attack,
testified that accused George Bayod attacked them. He positively identified accused
Bayod as the one who hacked him on the head and then stabbed him at the left
abdomen.12
Oliver Alano was another witness for the prosecution. He testified that one of the
companions of accused Bayod struck Eduardo del Rosario with a piece of wood
when the latter was down.13
The medical reports of Dr. Sergio Alteza, Medico Legal, Officer, UST Hospital showed
that Eduardo del Rosario sustained the following injuries:
"INJURIES: Unconscious, stretcher-borne
"1. Depressed fracture 3 cm, left frontal area, head
"2. Periorbital contusion with hematoma, left
"3. Massive contusion with hematoma, 10 x 15 cm. face, left
"4. Stab wound, 3 cm x 1 cm, left submandibular area
"5. Multiple contuso-abrasions, Rt. Forearm, Rt. Elbow and Rt. Knee
"6. Massive intracranial hemorrhage.14
And Arnold Tamo the following:
"Injuries:
"1. Stab wound, 12 cm x 3 cm., mid-parietal area, head
"2. Stab wound, 7 cm. x 1 cm., abdomen" 15
According to accused Bayod, on November 1, 1992, he was at his house at No. 1124
Antipolo St., Sampaloc, Manila.
About lunchtime, he was cooking and entertaining his visitors, who were applying as
security guards. After lunch, he heard a loud voice coming from outside his house.

Someone was uttering "putang ina ninyo." He went to their gate outside and saw
around seven (7) to eight (8) persons in front of the house of Eduardo del Rosario,
talking to each other. He went inside his house and again heard someone
say "putang ina ninyo, patay kayong lahat." At this juncture, accused Bayod and
two of his visitors went out of the gate of his house. He saw a commotion happening
outside.16
He saw his two visitors, his cousin and brother-in-law, in front of the house of
Eduardo del Rosario with four other men engaged in a fight and that the group of
del Rosario were all armed with lead pipes and knives. They hit accused on the
forehead with a lead pipe after which he went inside his house and got his bolo.
When he went out, he was met by three men holding steel pipes and fan knives. He
recognized one of them as Arnold Tamo. They were waiting for him to strike.
Someone struck him on his left shoulder with a steel pipe. He then retreated and felt
weak but the men continued to pursue him and when they were about to attack, he
swung his bolo and hit Arnold Tamo on the left side of the body. 17
The commotion and the fight lasted more than five minutes. The group of del
Rosario retreated and accused chased Arnold Tamo and his companions. When he
returned to the scene of the commotion, he noticed a man sprawled face down on
the road and recognized him to be del Rosario. However, he did not approach him
for there were people coming and so he ran towards his house. 18
Senissa Castissima, wife of the accused, and Felicidad Garcia testified that there
was no conspiracy among the accused and his friends. They did not see the
commotion that led to the death of Eduardo del Rosario and the serious injury
sustained by Arnold Tamo.
On August 18, 1995, the trial court rendered a decision convicting accused and
sentencing him as set forth in the opening paragraph of this decision.
Hence, this apeal.19
The accused-appellant raises the following issues:
1. Whether the trial court erred in not absolving him of the crime charged
considering the testimony of prosecution witness Oliver Alano;
2. Whether the trial court erred in holding that there was conspiracy among the
accused and the other unidentified malefactors;
3. Whether the trial court erred in considering the attendance of the aggravating
circumstance of treachery;
4. Whether the trial court erred in concluding that the accused hacked the deceased
on the chin contrary to the findings of the medico legal expert; and

5. Whether the trial court erred in depending on the testimony of Amelia del
Rosario, who was not an eyewitness.20
We shall scrutinize the testimonies of both the prosecution and defense witnesses.
The first assigned error deals with the testimony of prosecution witness Oliver
Alano.21 We quote the testimony to better understand its import.
"Q. Before that, how about the two companions of George Bayod, where were they
when Bayod was trying to run after Luis, Arnold and Timoteo?
"A. Among the companions of George Bayod, there was one left behind.
"Q. Why, was only one left? How about the other one?
"A. I did not notice him anymore ma' am.
"Q. And then, what happened?
"A. The one who was left behind picked up a piece of wood and struck Mr. Eduardo
del Rosario on the head.
"Q. How many times?
"A. Once when Mr. Del Rosario was still standing and twice when he was already on
the ground.22
Clearly, witness Oliver Alano did not absolve the accused of the crime. Witness
Oliver Alano simply stated that "it was the one who was left behind that struck the
deceased with a piece of wood." He declared that accused-appellant George Bayod
hacked the deceased with a piece of wood. Hence, Oliver Alano did not absolve
accused-appellant of the crime charged.
In the second assigned error, accused-appellant argues that there was no
conspiracy among accused-appellant and his other unidentified companions. The
argument deserves no merit. Conspiracy can be deduced from the acts of the
assailant prior, during and after the attack. "To establish conspiracy it is not
essential that there be previous agreement to commit the crime; it is sufficient that
there be a common purpose and design, concerted action and concurrence of
interests and the minds of the parties meet understandingly so as to bring about a
deliberate agreement to commit the offense charged, notwithstanding the absence
of a formal agreement."23
"The agreement may be deduced from the manner in which the offense was
committed; or from the acts of the accused before, during and after the commission
of the crime indubitably pointing to and indicating a joint purpose, a concert of
action and a community of interest. It is not essential that there be proof of the
previous agreement to commit the crime. It is sufficient that the form and manner

in which the attack was accomplished clearly indicate unity of action and
purpose."24
In this case, the series of events indubitably show that there was unity of purpose
and concurrence of will, and that they all acted in concert towards the same end. (1)
Accused-appellant and his companions were together as a group in the neighboring
house; (2) when Eduardo and his group called out from the gate of his house,
someone from the group of accused-appellant retorted to every call made by the
other group; (3) after an exchange of unpleasant words between the two group,
accused-appellant and two of his companions went out of the house and engaged
the group of del Rosario in a fist fight; (4) when they were about to be overtaken by
the group of del Rosario, they all retreated to the house of accused-appellant and
armed themselves with bolos, lead pipes, knives and wooden clubs; and (5) they
went on the attack again against the group of del Rosario, with accused George
Bayod thrusting the first blow on del Rosario and on Arnold Tamo.
Such events undeniably point to one conclusion, that is, to subdue the opposing
faction. This is evidence to prove the existence of conspiracy.
In the third assigned error, accused-appellant claims that treachery was not present
in the killing of Eduardo del Rosario.
Treachery is present when the offender commits any crime against persons
employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly
and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any
defense which the offended party might make. 25
The deceased del Rosario was a paralytic and was not armed at the time of the
attack. He was not in a position to defend himself. The attack on del Rosario was
without risk of any defense, or retaliation from the deceased, hence, treacherous.
However, the attack on Arnold Tamo could not be considered treacherous since the
victim could easily avoid the attack by fleeing from accused-appellants, and his
companions.
In the fourth assigned error, accused assails the discrepancies in the testimony of
prosecution witnesses and that of Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr., the medico legal expert.
According to the accused, the trial court concluded that accused hacked the
deceased on the chin whereas the testimony of Dr. Alteza stated that the wound on
the chin was a stab wound not a hack wound. We see no discrepancy in the medico
legal report and the testimony of prosecution witness as to the kind of injury
sustained by the deceased del Rosario on the chin. The prosecution witnesses were
using the term hacked in layman's terminology, whereas Dr. Alteza used the term
stab wound as a doctor who knew the difference between a hack wound, stab
wound and an incised wound.

Further, we agree with the Solicitor General that the issue is legally inconsequential
since among accused's group he was the only one holding a bladed weapon. All the
others were armed with wooden clubs.
As to the fifth error, we find no support for the argument that witness Amelia del
Rosario, being the wife of the victim would be "overwhelmed by the tragedy and
could naturally lead her to point an accusing finger to an obvious and known
target--her neighbor, accused George Bayod." 26
"On the contrary, relationship itself could strengthen credibility in a particular case,
for it is unnatural for an aggrieved relative to falsely accuse someone other than the
actual culprit. The earnest desire to seek justice for a dead kin is not served should
the witness abandon his conscience and prudence to blame one who is innocent of
the crime."27
Eyewitness Amelia del Rosario was a few meters away from the scene and her view
was unobstructed. On the other hand, Arnold Tamo was in the middle of the
commotion, hence, distracted by everything that was going on around him. Amelia
del Rosario was in a position to clearly see what was happening. She was outside of
the commotion area and necessarily focused attention on her husband.
In summation, we believe that accused-appellant George Bayod y Daluran and his
group had one thing in mind when they went out to face the group of Eduardo del
Rosario. They were irked by the exchange of words between their group and that of
the deceased.
Initially, the group of accused-appellant went out to meet the group of del Rosario,
and engaged them in fisticuffs.
It should have ended there when accused-appellant George Bayod went back to his
house. However, accused-appellant went out again and armed with a two feet bolo
went on a rampage and begun the attack on the group of the deceased Eduardo del
Rosario, who were all unarmed and so were easily overpowered.
Accused-appellant was the first to initiate the attack with his two feet bolo. The
deceased del Rosario was a paralytic, who could hardly move. The seriously
wounded Arnold Tamo was unarmed and completely overpowered by the group of
accused-appellant. With this scenario, the conclusion is inevitable that accusedappellant George Bayod and his unidentified companions ganged-up on the group of
del Rosario and with an advantage in number and strength killed del Rosario and
seriously wounded Arnold Tamo, who could have died if not for the timely medical
attention given him.
The trial court erred in convicting accused Bayod of frustrated homicide. It is clear
from the nature of the wounds inflicted on Arnold M. Tamo that the wounds were
fatal wounds. The weapon used was a two feet bolo. From these, it could be readily

concluded that the intent of accused-appellant was to kill Arnold Tamo, not merely
to injure him.
Intent to kill may be deduced from the nature of the wound inflicted and the kind of
weapon used. In the case at bar, accused-appellant was armed with a two feet bolo
and the injuries sustained by Arnold Tamo in the head and the belly were fatal
wounds that would have caused his death had he not been given immediate
medical attention. This belies any claim that accused-appellant did not intend to kill
Arnold Tamo.1wphi1.nt
"A felony is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which
would produce the felony as a consequence which nevertheless, do not produce it
by reason or causes independent of the will of the perpetrator." 28 In this case, timely
medical attention saved the life of Arnold Tamo.
The penalty for frustrated murder is one degree lesser than that prescribed for the
consummated felony,29 which in this case is prision mayor maximum to reclusion
temporal medium.30
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law and in the absence of any modifying
circumstance, the penalty for frustrated murder may be eight (8) years of prision
mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight months of reclusion
temporal, as maximum.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED, with
modification that the accuser appellant George Bayod y Daluran is found guilty of
murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua, in Criminal Case No. 92-112209, and
of frustrated murder and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years
of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months
of reclusion temporal, as maximum, in Criminal Case No. 92-112210. In all other
respects, the appealed decision is affirmed.
Costs against accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 134402

February 5, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NARCISO BAYANG y LEYPOS,1 DANILO DOMDOM y CONGOLO, and PEDRO
PENZA y CANTILLA, accused-appellants.
PARDO, J.:
The case before the Court is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court,
Quezon City, Branch 862finding accused Narcisco Bayang y Leypos, Danilo Domdom

y Congolo and Pedro Penza y Cantilla (hereafter "Bayang", "Domdom" and "Penza",
respectively) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide, sentencing
each of them to reclusion perpetua and to jointly and severally indemnify the heirs
of Edilberto Espiritu in the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as
compensatory damages, sixteen thousand five hundred and forty pesos
(P16,540.00) as funeral expenses, and thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as moral
damages. The court acquitted accused of the charge of carnapping on the ground of
reasonable doubt.1wphi1.nt
On August 15, 1995, at around eleven fifteen in the evening, prosecution witness
Alexander Rodelas (hereafter "Alexander") was in his tricycle parked along Osias
Street in Barangay Poblacion, Makati. Alexander noticed an Angeleah taxicab stop in
front of him. The accused alighted from it.3 The taxicab's plate number was TSJ568.4
Since it was unusual for taxicabs to stop in that area, Alexander looked into it and
noticed that there was blood on the front seat and near the door. Alexander also
noticed that the taxicab's meter and radio were missing. 5
Alexander immediately narrated what he saw to his friends who were drinking
nearby. They reported the incident to the punong barangay. 6
When Alexander found accused along P. Burgos St., he recognized them and asked if
they were the ones who alighted from the taxicab. Upon being asked, accused
cursed him. This prompted Alexander to shout, "holdupper, holdupper!" 7
A man in civilian clothes8 came to Alexander's assistance. At around this time, they
were on Burgos St., in front of the Jool's International Club. The man turned out to
be a police officer, Marvin Fajilan (hereafter "Marvin") who was on beat
patrol.9 Marvin pointed a gun at accused-appellants. 10
Marvin ordered Bayang to open the black bag he was carrying. Marvin searched
accused-appellants and as a result, Marvin recovered a blaster stereo and taximeter
from Bayang, a paltik revolver cal. 38 with five bullets and four spare bullets from
Penza and the keys to the taxicab from Domdom. 11
In that evening, a person was found dead along Sauyo Road, Novaliches, Quezon
City. The person, who suffered a gunshot wound in the neck, was unidentified. 12
In the early morning of August 16, 1995, the deceased was identified by his
relatives as Edilberto Espiritu (hereafter, "Edilberto"), the driver of the taxicab that
accused-appellants alighted from.13
On August 16, 1995, a certificate of death was issued reporting that Edilberto, forty
(40) years old died of "Hemorrhage as a result of (a) gunshot wound" in the head. 14

On August 18, 1995, Assistant City Prosecutor Benjamin P. Mayo of Quezon City filed
with the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City an information charging accusedappellants with robbery with homicide.15 We quote:
"That on or about the 15th day of August, 1995, in Quezon City, Philippines, the
above-named accused, conspiring together, confederating with and mutually
helping one another, with intent of gain and with intent to kill by means of violence
against and/or intimidation of person, did, then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously rob EDILBERTO ESPIRITU-Quinilog in the following manner, to wit: on the
date and place afore-mentioned while said EDILBERTO ESPIRITU-Quinilog was
driving his taxi with plate No. TSJ-568 along Sauyo Road, Novaliches, this City,
accused held and boarded said taxi, after which, accused pursuant to their
conspiracy, shot to death said Edilberto Espiritu and divested him of has day's
earnings in an undetermined amount, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of
said offended party.
"CONTRARY TO LAW."16
On the same day, Assistant City Prosecutor Mayo also filed with the same court an
information for carnapping17against accused-appellants. We reproduce its contents
thus:
"That on or about the 15th day of August, 1995, in Quezon City, Philippines, the
above-named accused, conspiring together, confederating with and mutually
helping one another, with intent of gain, without the knowledge and consent of the
owner, did, then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry
away one (1) unit Angeleah Taxi bearing plate No. TSJO 568 valued at still
undetermined amount, belonging to CORAZON ESPERITO-AYUBAN, to the damage
and prejudice of the said offended party.
"CONTRARY TO LAW."18
On August 18, 1995, the prosecution moved that the two cases be Consolidated and
tried jointly.19
On August 28, 1996, the court ordered the arraignment of accused, assisted by
counsel de oficio. They each pleaded "not guilty" to both charges of robbery with
homicide and carnapping.20 Trial on the merits ensued. On May 4, 1998, the trial
court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding all the
accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide and
hereby sentence each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to
indemnify the heirs of Edilberto Espiritu, jointly and severally, the amount of
P50,000.00 as compensatory damages, and the amount of P16,540.00 for funeral
expenses, plus moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00.

"On grounds of reasonable doubt the accused are acquitted of Criminal Case No. Q95-62674 for violation of .the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, as amended.
"SO ORDERED."21
On May 19, 1998, accused-appellants, through the Public Attorney's Office, filed
their notice of appeal.12
On February 3, 1999, we resolved to accept the appeal. 23
On December 17, 1999, Bayang filed a motion to withdraw his appeal on the ground
that he is a pauper litigant, abandoned by his family and could no longer afford to
pursue his appeal.24
On February 7, 2000, the Court granted Bayang's motion, considered Bayang's
appeal as withdrawn and dismissed the appeal as far as he was concerned. 25
On March 13, 2000, the decision of the trial court became final and executory as to
Bayang and judgment was recorded in this Court's Book of Entry of Judgments. 26
Hence, this appeal affects only Domdom and Penza.
Domdom and Penza argue that the circumstantial evidence relied on by the trial
court is not sufficient to support a verdict of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 27
We do not agree. We resolve to affirm the conviction.
True, there were no eyewitnesses to the actual robbery with homicide. The only
witness who could have testified as to the details of the gruesome crime is
Edilberto. Death has silenced his lips forever. However, circumstantial evidence is
available and sufficient to convict. We cannot allow felons to go free even without
direct testimony.28
The Revised Rules on Evidence provides that: 29
"SEC. 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient - Circumstantial evidence is
sufficient for conviction if:
"(a) There is more than one circumstance;
"(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
"(c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce conviction
beyond reasonable doubt."
In affirming convictions beyond reasonable doubt, we never required a degree of
proof that excludes all possibility of error. Only moral, not absolute certainty is what
the fundamental law requires. 30 In this case, the following circumtances are
sufficient to justify a finding of guilt:

First, the crime of robbery and homicide occurred on August 15, 1995, in
Novaliches, Quezon City. The incident involved the Angeleah taxicab and its driver,
Edilberto, who was later on found dead. The crime has two evidence of corpus
delicti - first, the stolen items recovered from accused- appellants and second, the
corpse of Edilberto. In this case, both exist and were proven.
Second, there was a witness who categorically stated that accused-appellants
parked, abandoned and alighted from the taxicab involved in the robbery with
homicide. When there is no showing that the witness was actuated by an improper
motive, the presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled
to full faith and credit.31
Third, not only did accused-appellants alight from the taxicab, they behaved
suspiciously afterwards and were belligerent and cursed when they were asked
whether they were the ones that abandoned the taxicab. 32
Fourth, the taxicab itself bore physical evidence of the violence that occurred
therein as there was blood on its front seat and near the door. 33
Fifth, accused-appellants were caught in possession of the taximeter, radio blaster
and keys which were taken from the taxicab. The keys were found in Domdom's
possession.34
We have held time and again that when there are facts or circumstances that are
consistent with the guilt of the accused and inconsistent with his innocence, such
constitute evidence of weight and probative force. This evidence may even surpass
direct evidence in its effect upon the Court. 35 We find adequate evidence to warrant
conviction of the accused.
An appeal opens the whole case open for review. We revise the grant of damages.
First, we affirm the award of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity for
wrongful death. Civil indemnity may be awarded without need of proof other than
the death of the victim.36 Second, we increase the award of moral damages to fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000.00) in line with current jurisprudence. 37 Lastly, we delete
the award of actual damages for funeral expenses. The claim is not supported by
any receipt. The rule is that every pecuniary loss must be established by credible
evidence before it may be it awarded.38
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM with modification the decision of the Regional Trial
Court, Quezon City, Branch 86 in Criminal Case No. Q-95-62673 rendered on May 4,
1998, finding accused-appellants Danilo C. Domdom and Pedro C. Penza guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE, defined and penalized
under Article 294, par. 4 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
7659, and sentencing each of them to reclusion perpetua.

We order accused-appellants jointly and severally to pay the heirs of Edilberto


Espiritu fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity for wrongful death and
fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages. We delete the award of
sixteen thousand five hundred and forty pesos (P16,540.00) for funeral expenses for
lack of basis.
Costs against accused-appellants. 1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.