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RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE a. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. FERDINAND MATITO y TORRES, a.k.a. "FREDDIE" G.R. No.

144405, February 24, 2004 Statement of the Facts: On October 16, 1998, around 10:30 in the evening, Filomena Raymundo heard gunshots. As the shots came from the direction where Mariano, her husband was, Filomena rushed to the kitchen door. Upon opening the door, she saw Mariano who was about to come in. He was pressing his hands on his shoulder which was bloodied and bleeding. Once inside the house, Filomena asked Mariano what happened and who did it to him. Mariano replied, Binaril ako ni Pareng Freddie. Binaril ako ni Pareng Freddie. While still alive, Mariano was a Barangay Tanod and the secretary of their neighborhood association. A month prior to his death, Mariano cut the supply of water to the house of appellant for his failure to pay his water bills for two months. Also, Mariano had interceded for and on behalf of some neighbors who demanded that appellant move his fence away from their walk path. Then, about 6:30 in the evening of October 16, 1998, Marlene Raymundo, a daughter of Mariano and Filomena, met appellant along the road. After asking her where her father was, appellant cursed, Putang ina iyang Tatay mo. Yari sa akin iyang Tatay mo. Marlene Raymundo observed that appellant was drunk and his eyes were red. Statement of the Issue: Whether or not there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to establish petitioners guilt beyond reasonable doubt Ruling: Yes. Circumstantial evidence is defined as that evidence that "indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact finder draws from the evidence established. Resort thereto is essential when the lack of direct testimony would result in setting a felon free. It is not a weaker form of evidence vis--vis direct evidence. The former may surpass the latter in weight and probative force. To warrant a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the following requisites must concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The totality of the evidence must constitute an unbroken chain showing the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The combination of the circumstances comprising such evidence forms an unbroken chain that points to appellant, to the exclusion of all others, as the perpetrator of the crime: First, narrating how her husband, before he died, had identified his killer. Second, a bitter quarrel ensued between the victim and appellant. Third, there was also a bitter quarrel between the daughters of appellant and the victim. Fourth, nitrate powder was conclusively proven to be present on the cast taken from the right hand of appellant.

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE b. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PAULINO SEVILLENO G.R. No. 129058, March 29, 1999 Statement of the Facts: Paulino went to Barangay Guadalupe, San Carlos City. He then invited Virginia, his 9 year old neice to accompany him to Sitio Guindali-an to see a beta show. Rogelio Baquia, father of Virginia and Norma, arrived. Not seeing Virginia in their house, Rogelio asked Norma where her sister was. After learning that Virginia had gone with accused, Rogelio immediately set out to look for them. Rogelio continued his search. The next day, they met the accused and learned from him that Virginia was in a sugarcane field known as "Campo 9," still a part of Guadalupe. There they found Virginia dead. He was then charged with rape. Attys. Vic Agravante, Danilo Pabalinas and Florentino Saldavia, all of PAO who assisted the accused. Atty. Agravante did not take time to explain to his client the nature of the crime of which he was charged and the gravity of the consequences of his plea. Instead, he readily agreed to the accused pleading guilty to a capital offense. When the time came for him to adduce evidence, Atty. Saldavia, manifested that since his client had already pleaded guilty he would no longer present any evidence. He only invoked the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty. Statement of the Issue: Whether or not the court erred in convicting the accused and imposing upon him the penalty of death as it failed to observe the required procedure for cases where the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense when arraigned Ruling: Yes. Under Sec. 3, Rule 116, of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, when the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea. It must also require the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of his culpability. If the accused so desires he may also present evidence in his behalf. This procedure is mandatory and a judge who fails to observe it commits grave abuse of discretion. The questions propounded by the trial judge during arraignment hardly satisfied the requisite searching inquiry. Regrettably, there were only two questions propounded to the accused: Do you understand your plea of guilt? and Do you know that your plea of guilt could bring death penalty? In every case where the accused enters a plea of guilty to a capital offense, especially where he is an ignorant person with little or no education, the proper course to follow is to take such evidence as are necessary in support of the material allegations of the information, not only to satisfy the trial judge himself but also to aid the Supreme Court in determining whether the accused truly understood the full significance and consequences of his plea. The trial court did not bother to explain the essential elements of the crime of rape with homicide with which the accused was charged. The accused was not properly accorded his fundamental right to be informed of the precise nature of the accusation leveled against him. The constitutional rights of the accused are for the protection of the guilty and of the innocent alike.

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE c. MELANIO MALLARI y LIBERATO vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 153911, December 10, 2004 Statement of the Facts: Erlinda Boyose was a teacher at the Bustamante High School, Davao City. At the start, she had a good working relationship with the school principal, appellant Melanio Mallari. However, their relationship turned sour when she began to question appellant on alleged unaccounted school funds. She personally handed over to him a letter to account for fees collected from students. While riding on a jeepney, a man drew and pointed a gun at Boyoses temple. Boyose heard two successive clicking sounds of the gun but it did not fire. She heard the man utter in the Cebuano dialect, Unsa man ni, dili man ni moboto, meaning Whats this, this will not fire. She then grabbed the gun and grappled for its possession but she failed. Eventually, she was able to get out of the jeepney and ran away but the man followed her and shot her repeatedly. During the custodial investigation, Leonardo Bontia admitted to be the gunman. He pointed to appellant Mallari as the one who hired him to kill Boyose. On the other hand, Zaldy Bontia admitted to have been hired by Mallari to look for a gunman to kill Erlinda Boyose and that he was the one who recommended to Mallari his brother Leonardo Bontia to do the job for a fee. Statement of the Issue: Whether there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to establish petitioners guilt Ruling: No. The testimonies of the witnesses presented against petitioner reveals the absence of direct evidence establishing his criminal participation. Nonetheless, in the absence of direct proof, a conviction may still be based on circumstantial evidence. But to warrant such conviction, the following requisites must concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance, (2) the facts from 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. The accused is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, a conviction based on circumstantial evidence must exclude every hypothesis consistent with innocence. Hence, if the totality of the circumstances eliminates beyond reasonable doubt the possibility of innocence, conviction is proper; otherwise, the accused. Boyoses letter to petitioner tending to establish his ill motive, there is hardly any evidence to corroborate his co-accuseds extrajudicial confessions or to establish the probability of his actual participation (by inducement) in the commission of the crime. Considering that the strength of the prosecution evidence against him falls short of the required quantum of proof beyond reasonable doubt, his constitutional right to be presumed innocent must prevail. The circumstances shown to exist yield at least two inferences-one of which is consistent with the presumption of innocence and the other with the finding of guilt-the Court must acquit the accused, because the evidence does not then fulfill the test of moral certainty or suffice to support a judgment of conviction. Hence, petitioner must be acquitted.

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE d. PEOPLE V. COJA, GR No. 179277, 18 June 2008 Statement of the Facts: On 2 May 2001, appellant was charged in an Information for rape allegedly committed as follows: That on or about the 1st day of May 2001 in the Municipality of Noveleta, Province of Cavite, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating with four (4) other persons whose real names, personal identities and whereabouts are still unknown, by means of force and taking advantage of superior strength, and while the herein private complainant, [AAA], a minor of 16 years old, was deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, with lewd designs and actuated by lust, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], against her will and consent, to her damage and prejudice. Appellant insists that his guilt has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He assails the credibility of AAA's testimony with respect to the commission of the crime and the identity of the alleged perpetrator. He raises doubts as to whether AAA was raped because there was no evident sign of extragenital injury nor traces of semen in her organ and because her hymen was still intact. These medical findings further lend dubiety to AAA's claim that at least five men raped her. Assuming further that AAA was indeed raped, appellant adds, there is no direct evidence that would directly implicate him as the perpetrator. Appellant asserts that there were no witnesses to corroborate AAA's statement before or after she passed out. He contends that AAA only implicated him mainly because he was the last one she had seen before she lost consciousness Ruling: Jurisprudence is replete with cases of rape where the victim was unconscious and the accused was found guilty on the basis of circumstantial evidence. In People v. Sabardan, the victim felt dizzy and lost consciousness after the accused forced her to drink beer. Upon waking up, she found herself completely naked and felt severe pains in her vagina. The Court upheld the culpability of the accused for rape. In People v. Gaufo, the victim was hit on her head by the accused but she fought back and asked for help. The accused then punched her abdomen causing her to lose consciousness. Upon regaining her bearings, she noticed that her underwear was missing, her vagina was bleeding and her body was painful. The combination of these circumstances, among others, led the Court to adjudge the accused guilty of rape. In People v. Perez, this Court ruled that the victim's positive identification of the accused as the person who came to her room and covered her nose and mouth with a foul smelling handkerchief until she lost consciousness, the blood and white substance found in her aching vagina, her torn shorts and her missing panties all led the Court to the conclusion that accused had raped her while she was unconscious.

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE e. AMORA VS. PEOPLE, G.R. No. 154466 January 28, 2008

Statement of the Facts: Petitioner ClimacoAmoras edifice was constructed on a lot owned by AdelfaTagaytay. Adelfas father had earlier entered into a contract of lease with petitioner, whereby the latter was to use the lot and erect a building thereon for a monthly rental of P50.00, for a period of 20 years. The lease contract provided that, upon the expiration of the contract on July 10, 1993, ownership over the building shall be transferred to the lessor. On January 4, 1993, Adelfa informed petitioner that she would no longer renew the contract of lease. However before the expiration of lease contract, petitioner secured a fire insurance coverage over the subject building from the Malayan Insurance Company for P150,000.00, then obtained another fire insurance policy from Makati Insurance Company for P300,000.00. It appears that the amounts of insurance coverage were substantially higher than the buildings market value. On June 27, 1993, a fire broke out in the building used by petitioner as residence and as a bakery. The fire also gutted nearby houses. The authorities who conducted an investigation submitted an Investigation Report which concluded with the finding that: "Based on the testimonies of witnesses available and after a meticulous study of the fire incident, the investigation concludes that the cause of fire was intentionally done." After trial, RTC of Tagbilaran City found petitioner ClimacoAmora guilty of the crime of Destructive Arson as defined and penalized under P.D. No. 1613. On appeal, CA affirmed RTC decision. Hence this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioners only real challenge against the CA decision is the absence of direct evidence to prove his culpability which ostensibly negates the appellate courts finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Statement of the Issue: Whether or not direct evidence is necessary to prove that accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Ruling: The following circumstances are adequate proof of petitioners guilt: First, there is motive on the part of [petitioner] to commit arson, as the contract of lease over the building would soon be terminated by owner Adelfa Maslog-Tagaytay, against his will. Settled is the rule that a key element in the web of circumstantial evidence is motive. Second, [petitioner] insured the property despite the fact that the lease would soon be terminated and in fact, he had already been advised to vacate the place. Third, the amount covering the fire insurance was substantially more than its market and assessed value. Fourth, [petitioner] was seen in his residence immediately before the fire and subsequently in a neighbors shop during the fire. Fifth, the Fire Investigators concluded in their report that the fire was intentionally done. In the absence of any showing that these investigators were illmotivated in testifying against [petitioner], their testimonies are given weight and credit.

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE At the outset, it may be well to emphasize that direct evidence is not the sole means of establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Established facts that form a chain of circumstances can lead the mind intuitively or impel a conscious process of reasoning towards a conviction. Indeed, rules on evidence and principles in jurisprudence have long recognized that the accused may be convicted through circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence has been defined as such evidence which goes to prove a fact or series of facts, other than the facts in issue, which, if proved, may tend by inference to establish the fact in issue. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted to when to insist on direct testimony would ultimately lead to setting felons free. But for circumstantial evidence to be sufficient for a conviction, the following requisites must be present, namely: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances results in a moral certainty that the accused, to the exclusion of all others, is the one who has committed the crime. These requisites obtain in the instant case. The trial court found that the circumstances enumerated above sufficiently point to the petitioner as the author of the crime. Indeed, all these circumstances, taken together, are consistent with the hypothesis that petitioner is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent.

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE f. PEOPLE VS. OCHATE, G.R. No. 127154. July 30, 2002 Statement of the Facts: Around 5:15 in the afternoon of September 26, 1994, Rowena Albiso and her older brother Roseller were walking together on their way home from school at Tampilisan, ZamboangadelNorte. While on their way home, Rowena stopped and went to the communal water pump to wash her food container and her slippers. Roseller went home ahead of her sister. On his way home, he passed by the hut of accused Roldan Ochate where he saw the latter in the yard tucking a scythe on his waist. When Roseller arrived home, their father, Romulo, asked for the whereabouts of Rowena. Roseller told Romulo that his sister was not yet home. Romulo then went to meet Rowena. However, he was unable to find her. Romulo and Roseller thereafter went to the house of the accused who is their neighbor but finding no one there, they proceeded to report the incident to barangay councilman and acting barangay captain Crisanto Montano. The search was conducted the whole evening of September 26, 1994 to no avail. It was only around eight oclock the following morning that the group found Rowena in a ricefield about fifty meters from Ochates house. She was already dead. Suspecting that Ochate was the culprit, police officers as well as other members of the barangay went to see Ochate at his house but they were not able to find him. It was only on September 29, 1994 that a certain Bienvenido Pantallano, a member of the CAFGU, was able to locate Ochate and he took Ochate in his custody and brought him to the Chief of Police of Tampilisan. It was alleged that the accused made verbal admissions, in the absence of a counsel, during custodial investigation. On January 9, 1995, an Information for Rape with Homicide was filed against Ochate before the RTC of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte Branch 11. After trial, the lower court found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide. Hence, this automatic review. Accused imputed to the lower court the error of convicting the accused on alleged incriminatory circumstantial evidence and error in taking against the accused verbal admissions allegedly made during custodial investigation in violation of his right to remain silent and to counsel. Statement of the Issue: Whether or not the circumstantial evidence of the prosecution was sufficient to convict accused

RULE 133: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE Ruling: The requisites to sustain a conviction of an accused based on circumstantial evidence are: (1) there must be more than one circumstance; (2) the inference must be based on proven facts; and (3) the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. And in the appreciation of circumstantial evidence, there are four basic guidelines: (1) it should be acted upon with caution; (2) all the essential facts must be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt; (3) the facts must exclude every other theory but that of guilt; and (4) the facts must establish such a certainty of guilt of the accused as to convince the judgment beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is the one who committed the offense. After a careful review of the entire evidence presented, combination of the foregoing circumstances is insufficient to convict appellant of rape with homicide. Said circumstances do not lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion that accused-appellant, to the exclusion of all others, is the person guilty of the offense charged. Appellants indifference to the events that happened in their barangay beginning September 26, 1994 up to the time of his arrest on September 29, 1994 may lend support to the suspicion of the barangay and police authorities that he is the author of the crime. But then, mere suspicion, no matter how strong it may be, is not sufficient to sustain conviction. Law and jurisprudence demand proof beyond reasonable doubt before any person may be deprived of his life, liberty, or even property. Enshrined in the Bill of Rights is the right of the accused to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and to overcome the presumption nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt must be established by the prosecution. The constitutional presumption of innocence requires courts to take "a more than casual consideration" of every circumstances or doubt proving the innocence of the accused.