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G.R. No. Nos.

70565-67 November 9, 1988


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ROBERT POCULAN, Accused-Appellant.
Not one but three (3) separate sworn complaints were filed by Conchita Rone charging the accused, Robert Poculan, erstwhile
Municipal Mayor of Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, with Rape, twice in the evening of 22 March 1980 and at dawn the next day or
on 23 March 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Three (3) Identical Informations differing only as to the date, time and place of commission were subsequently filed on 29
September 1981 before the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Norte, Branch VI, Dipolog City.
1
To quote a typical one:
That in the evening on or about the 22nd day of March 1980, at around 6:30 p.m. in the municipality of Rizal, Zamboanga del
Norte, within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court, the said accused moved by lewd and unchaste design, did then and there, by
means of force, violence and intimidation, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with one Conchita Rone,
against her will and without her consent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Contrary to law, with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of his power as a Municipal mayor by requiring the victim to report
to his house in the pretext of performing official work, before she was raped. (Rollo, Crim. Case No. 2712, p. l)
In a joint Decision, the Trial Court convicted the accused and sentenced him to three (3) penalties of reclusion perpetua; to pay
the complaining witness the sum of P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P15,000.00 as exemplary damages. Hence, this
appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The prosecution version of incidents, culled from the People's Brief, may be narrated thus: Complainant Conchita B. Rone, a
commerce graduate, then 28 years of age and single, worked as a clerk since 1 November 1977 in the Office of the Mayor,
Appellant Atty. Robert Poculan, in Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte. While working as such, she was boarding in the house of her
aunt Sofronias B. Eroy in the poblacion of Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In the morning of 22 March 1980, a Saturday, the Vice Mayor of Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, Julieta Pila, dropped in at
Complainant's boarding house and requested Complainant to accompany her in looking for a Ford Fiera to be hired and used
by the teacher members of the election committees in going to Dipolog City on the following day of 23 March 1980. A
recounting of ballots at the Pilot Demonstration School in Dipolog City was scheduled on that
date.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
After they found and hired a Ford Fiera, Complainant accompanied by Vice Mayor Pila went to the municipal building of Rizal,
Zamboanga del Norte, to prepare and sort out the papers and documents to be brought to Dipolog City on 23 March 1980. At
12:00 noon of 22 March 1980, Complainant went home to her boarding house.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
At 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, a certain Servolo Herodias told her that Appellant wanted her to go to his
house. At Appellant's house, she arranged some documents and papers, complied with other instructions, and typewrote
something.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
After finishing her work, Complainant asked permission to leave at 6:30 P.M. Appellant told her to take the motorcab which was
parked nearby. After she sat in the motorcab, Appellant followed and said that he was also taking the motorcab to go to the
adjoining barangay of Mapang, and he would just drop her at her boarding house along the
way.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
A certain elderly woman she did not recognize was then already in the motorcab. Pat. Benhur Cabiara also rode in the
motorcab. It was driven by Felipe Fuerzas.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
After traveling about 1 kilometers towards barangay Mapang, the elderly woman alighted about a hundred meters from the
house of the Pamatongs. At the intersection of the barangay road leading to barangay Nasipang, Pat. Cabiara also alighted.
The only passengers left were Complainant and Appellant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The motorcab did not proceed towards Complainant's boarding house. She thought that Appellant would just pick up something
nearby. After the motorcab ran very fast downgrade towards Nilabo, Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, she became apprehensive.
She touched the driver and inquired where the motorcab was bound for. The driver, however, did not answer. She wanted to
get out of the cab but Appellant held her hand and said, "Do not move or else I will kill you now." chanrobles virtual law library
Upon reaching the small creek of Nilabo, the motorcab stopped. It could not go farther for after the creek was already a
hill.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Appellant alighted and pulled complainant who resisted by holding on to the shirt of the motorcab driver. But Appellant abruptly
pulled her hand which forced her to get out of the motorcab and even to kneel down. She embraced his legs, pleaded to him
and asked him: "Why are we here? What will we do here?" Appellant answered: "There is a coronation in Nilabo and we would
be the ones to crown." She, however, only cried and pleaded to be allowed to go home.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
Appellant pulled complainant uphill. She resisted but was easily overcome by Appellant who was much stronger. He brought
her to a hut, pushed her and told her to enter. She stumbled near the stairs. Inside the hut, he again pushed her which made
her lie flat on the floor. Immediately, he laid himself on top of her. He then forcibly pulled up her T-shirt and removed her pants
and panty. She resisted and pushed him but he was quite heavy. She said "Do not! Do not!". He told her: "Do not
move." chanrobles virtual law library
He pointed his pistol at her and told her that he would kill her. He bit her chin, squeezed her breast and sucked her nipples.
Despite her resistance and the wiggling of her body, Appellant finally succeeded in penetrating her private part which made her
shout because of the pain.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Thereafter, Appellant lay down on the floor while Complainant squatted at the corner of the room. She looked for her clothes in
the dark but after he saw her moving, he pulled her towards him. She stumbled but went back to the corner of the
room.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Approximately two hours later, he again forced and succeeded in having sexual congress with her despite her resistance and
the moving of her body. Thereafter, he lay down on the floor again. Complainant resumed her search for her clothes and found
them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
At about 12:00 o'clock midnight of 22 March 1980, Appellant told Complainant, "Come on, let's go further to that place," which
she later discovered to be a house about 150 meters away. Upon reaching the house, Appellant called the owner and told him
to pick young coconuts. After drinking the water of the young coconuts, Appellant told the owner of the house to cook food.
While Appellant was eating his very late supper, Complainant was crying for he would not allow her to
leave.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
At about 3:00 o'clock in the early morning of 23 March 1980, Appellant requested one of the occupants of the house to
ascertain if his wagon had already arrived at the place he indicated. After being informed that the wagon was already there, he
told Complainant "All right, go ahead." They then walked towards the waiting wagon and boarded
it.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The wagon was driven by Orlando Capili who was accompanied by Pat. Benhur Cabiara. It proceeded towards the poblacion of
Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On the way back, at about 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning, a little farther from the poblacion, the wagon stopped. Both Capili and
Pat. Cabiara alighted from the wagon and stayed elsewhere. Appellant then told Complainant: "If you will not succumb to my
wish to have sexual intercourse the two men driver, Capili, and the policeman, Cabiara, will have sexual intercourse with you ...
they will take turns in having sexual intercourse with you." chanrobles virtual law library
Intimidated, the third carnal assault on Complainant was consummated. Complainant fixed her clothes and Capili and Pat.
Cabiara boarded the wagon. The wagon then took a shortcut along a barangay road which passes the boarding house of
Complainant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Upon arrival at her boarding house, she knocked at the door which was opened by a domestic helper of her aunt Sofronias
Eroy. She went inside, cried bitterly, collapsed and could not talk. She was then very weak, with swollen eyes and bruises on
her arms, chin and face.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
When her aunt Eroy came out of the room and inquired where she came from, she told her, "Manay, the Mayor brought me to
Nilabo and there he forced me." She then requested her aunt not to reveal to anybody what had happened to her as she was
warned that if the incident were revealed, even the Eroy family would be killed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
The whole day of 23 March 1980, Complainant secluded herself. On the following day, 24 March 1980, accompanied by her
cousin, she left her boarding house and walked towards her native barrio of Balubohan, Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, which
was about 10 kilometers away. Upon arriving home, she cried and told her brother Virgilio Rone, "I was brought by the Mayor to
Nilabo and there he forced me." chanrobles virtual law library
In the afternoon of 26 March 1980, Pat. Cabiara accompanied by Filemon Sagaray, the husband of the barangay captain of
Balubohan, came to see complainant and told her that Appellant wished to meet her at a neighbor's house. She
refused.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On 27 March 1980, Pat. Cabiara together with Filemon Sagaray and his wife Barangay Captain Manoleta Sagaray again
informed her of Appellant's wish to talk to her. She bluntly answered that she would not go. Before departing, Barangay Captain
Manoleta Sagaray told her, "I would just tell the Mayor to see you in your house". She replied, "It is up to you." chanrobles
virtual law library
When appellant arrived in her house on 27 March 1980, he muttered, "Oh, the Mayor is under you because it is the Mayor who
is now coming to you." He then inquired whether she complained to the Philippine Constabulary. After she replied that she did
not, he said, "Yes, I have confidence in you." He praised her and told her that she was religious and educated. He even offered
her any work and anything she would like - a house, a coconut plantation or even further studies. To which Complainant
answered: "What use is that house, the coconut plantation and sending me to school? I do not need them. I am not interested."
He looked at her house and said, "Don't you like that I would remodel your house?" She did not answer
him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On 1 April 1980, Appellant again went to Complainant's house and reiterated his offer to send her for further studies. He
wanted her to report to the office, for the people were wondering why she was not seen there anymore. After she remained
silent, Appellant left, saying: "You watch out. If you go out from your place I will kill you." chanrobles virtual law library
On 4 April 1980, Complainant secretly left her house, walked towards barangay Sebaca, Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, and
sought the advice of her aunt, Marcelina Bartolome. After she disclosed her bitter experience with Appellant, her aunt advised
her to proceed to Dipolog City and get the assistance of a lawyer. Instead of going directly to Dipolog City, she took a
pumpboat and went to the island barangay of Sinipay, Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte, where she slept in the house of her
married sister Nicareta Colaljo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In the morning of 5 April 1980, she took a pumpboat to barangay Panganoran. From theree she hiked for about six (6)
kilometers towards barangay Talisay, Dapitan City, where her aunt Agueda Bartolome resided. After she narrated her bitter
experience, her aunt advised her to proceed to Dipolog City and see her aunt's friend, Rev. Father Paulo Briones, who was
also a lawyer.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
So, on 9 April 1980, accompanied by her cousin Antonio Bartolome, she left for Dipolog City. She met Father Paulo Briones
and narrated to him everything that Appellant did to her.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Father Briones accompanied her to the NBI Sub-Office for medical examination, but they were advised to go to the NBI in
Manila instead. Upon recommendation of Father Briones, she was allowed to stay in the convent of the Religious of the Virgin
Mary until 20 April 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On 20 April 1980, accompanied by Father Briones and Atty. Ana C. Aguilar, they took a flight for Manila. In Manila, she and
Atty. Aguilar lived with the latter's friend; while Father Briones stayed with his brother.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
On 21 April 1980, at the central office of the National Bureau of Investigation, she submitted herself for medicolegal
examination.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The Medico-Legal Division of the Manila NBI issued Living Case Report No. MG- 80-295, reading:
FINDINGS chanrobles virtual law library
GENERAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: chanrobles virtual law library
Height: 150 cms. Weight: 100 lbs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Fairly developed, fairly nourished, ambulatory, coherent, cooperative subject. Breasts, fully developed, hemispherical, firm.
Areolae, brownish, 4.5 cm. in diameter. Nipples, brownish, protruding, 1.5 cm. in
diameter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
No sign of extragenital physical injuries noted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
GENITAL EXAMINATION: chanrobles virtual law library
Pubic hairs, fully grown, moderate in number. Labia majora, gaping. Labia menora, coaptated, hypertrophied anteriorly.
Fourchette, lax. Vestibule, pinkish. Hymen, wide and thick, with recently healed lacerations, deep at 9:00 o'clock and complete
at 5:00 o'clock positions, edges of which are sharp and coaptable. Hymenal orifice admits a tube 2.8 cm. in diameter. Vaginal
walls, moderately tight. Rugosities, moderately prominent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
CONCLUSIONS: chanrobles virtual law library
1. No sign of extragenital physical injuries noted on the body of the subject at the time of
examination.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
2. Genital findings, compatible with sexual intercourse with man on or about the alleged date of commission. (Exhibit "A")
On 7 May 1980, Complainant, accompanied by Father Paulo Briones, sought the help of Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, then of
the Ministry of National Defense, at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Metro Manila, who, after hearing
Complainant's plaints, sent them to the office of Col. Soriano. Thereat, on the same day, she subscribed and swore to her
Affidavit (Exhibit "L") before lst Lt. Camilo A. Catalan, and later re-subscribed it before Major Aniano A. Desierto, Chief,
Prosecution Service, Military Tribunals, on 23 July 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On the same day, 7 May 1980, an Arrest, Search and Seizure Order was issued against Appellant, and on 17 May 1980, he
was arrested and detained at the Bicutan Rehabilitation Center, Taguig, Metro Manila. .chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
Two Charge Sheets were prepared by the Chief Prosecution Division, Military Tribunals, the first on 25 July 1980, and the
second on 16 September 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Upon the accused's written request, the then President of the Philippines transferred the cases to the civil Courts on 15 October
1980 (Exhibit "l 6").chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In its Brief, the defense refrained from giving its own statement of facts. However, exculpatory circumstances relied on by the
accused are contained in his question and answer sworn statement before the Trial Judge on 8 November 1984, considered as
his direct testimony upon request of defense counsel and without objection on the part of the prosecution. Briefly, the accused
maintains:
9. ... that Conchita Rone had filed an application for leave of absence last March 20,
1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
10. ... she did not report for work on March 20, 21, and 22, 1980 because she was already on
leave.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
11. ... Conchita left for Balubohan early in the morning of March 22, 1980. And it was physically impossible for me to be riding
in a motorcab during that time because I was suffering of a physical injury in my left and right legs caused by bullet wounds. My
left leg then could not be flexed so then I could not ride in a motorcab. And I did not order Pat. Cabiara to get a motorcab that
evening.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
24. ... as I have already stated during that time I could not ride on a motorcab. Also, a motorcab cannot reach Nilabo and I
could not have committed such a crime because as already declared she left for Balubohan early in the morning of March 22,
1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
25. ... I do not have a resthouse in Nilabo. What I have is a copra dryer. And then during that time I could not climb a hill or a
steep creek because I walk with my crutches and my left leg could not be flexed. ...chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library
26. ...I have only a copra dryer and that copra dryer does not have stairs, does not have any rooms nor walls.
...chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
27. ... during that time I could not even take off my pants without the help of anybody. And it would be very impossible for me to
lie down on that floor because as I said I could not flex my left leg. Somebody has to help me go down the
floor.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
28. ... and why should I rape her when she was my querida. As I said if I wanted to have sexual intercourse with her that
evening of March 22, 1980 I could have easily prevented her in going home that morning and tell her to accompany me to
Dipolog City in the evening of that day because on the following morning I would be in Dipolog to attend the recounting of the
ballots at Dipolog City.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
32. ... considering my age and my physical injury known as osteoarthritis lumbar vertebrae which I suffered since 1943 I could
perform the sexual act only once per sexual session and never beyond that.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
51. ... I can safely say that this charge of multiple rape against me is politically motivated and maliciously fabricated by my
political enemies using Conchita Rone as a willing tool.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
52. ... Not being able to succeed in ending my life in that ambush (in 1978), my political opponents, with the aid of Conchita
Rone whom I learned was given no less than Pl 0,000.00 in consideration for abetting the scheme of my political opponents,
caused this fabricated case of multiple rape to be filed against me to expose me to public shame and contempt and have me
detained in Bicutan in an effort to cause my ultimate political downfall.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
... all the private prosecutors who appeared in the cases of rape against me are my political
enemies.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
... (Rollo, Crim. Case 2712, pp. 321-332)
Defense witnesses, Julieta T. Pila, Leonilo Tacal, Anastacio Baid, and Manolita Sagaray, corroborated Appellant's declaration
that Complainant was his paramour. Julieta Pila, Vice Mayor of Rizal, even said that she used to see them fondling each other
in the office. Leonilo Tacal, a janitor in the Mayor's office, added that they used to meet in his house and that even his children
noticed how "scandalous(ly)" they acted. Anastacio Baid, Orlando Capili, Leonilo Tacal and Manolita Sagaray echoed
Appellant's declaration that he had been using crutches after he was ambushed in 1978. Mrs. Pila further denied that she had
passed by Complainant's boarding house in the morning of 22 March 1980. Aniceto Baid, son of Anastacio, and a high school
teacher at Sebaca, stated that he was at Complainant's boarding house in the early morning of 23 March 1980 but that he did
not see Complainant thereat. Orlando Capili, who used to drive Appellant's wagon off and on, retracted his sworn statement on
20 May 1980 and denied Complainant's story about his having driven Appellant's wagon, or that he was in Nilabo at all, on 23
March 1980 claiming that he was in Dipolog City then. Felipe Fuerzas, the motorcab driver, and an employee of the Municipal
Waterworks Cooperative, also denied Complainant's story regarding his having driven the motorcab stating that he was in
Cotabato at that time, and that a motorcab cannot reach Nilabo because of the stony road. This latter statement was
corroborated by Gil Alumbro. Manolita Sagaray, Barangay Captain of Balubohan, also denied having gone to see Complainant
at her home at Appellant's behest on 27 March and contended that she saw Complainant at her hometown in Balubohan from
22 March to Good Friday on 6 April 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
After evaluation of the conflicting versions, the lower Court pronounced a guilty verdict and sentenced the accused on 14
December 1984, as follows:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Court after its innermost-depth study and review of the evidences, testimonial and
documentary adduced and offered to it by the prosecution and the defense, the Court finds, as it holds, that the accused
ROBERT P. POCULAN, is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, of the two (2) separate criminal acts of RAPE (Crim. Cases Nos.
2712 & 2713), in the evening of March 22, 1980 committed by said accused lewdly and with force on the person of the
complaining witness Conchita B. Rone; finding ROBERT P. POCULAN, similarly GUILTY of RAPE committed on the same
woman at late dawn of March 23,1980 (as alleged in the Information of Crim. Case No. 2714), with the attendant aggravating
circumstance of advantage taken by said accused because of his public position (denominated "abuse of power" in the three
informations). No mitigating circumstance. With this verdict, herein accused ROBERT P. POCULAN has to be, as he hereby is,
condemned to serve three (3) sentences of RECLUSION PERPETUA (see case of People vs. Antonio Arizila y Flores, G.R.
No. 59713, prom. March 15, 1982); to pay to the complaining witness CONCHITA RONE Y BARTOLOME, the sum of
P75,000.00 as moral damages and P15,000.00 for exemplary damages.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Separate costs for these three (3) cases.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
SO ORDERED. (Decision, p. 47)
On the same date, 14 December 1984, the Trial Court issued an "Addendum to the Decision" as well as a "Supplementary
Opinion Memorandum (To the Decision)" and found no cause to disturb its conclusions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
From the aforesaid judgment, promulgated on 14 January 1985, this appeal has been
interposed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On 4 May 1987, this Court denied Appellant's "Motion to Admit a Substitute Bond" and for the approval thereof and, instead,
ordered his arrest and commitment to the National Penitentiary at Muntinlupa.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
In its Assignments of Error, the defense points to alleged fatal defects not only in the evidence but also in the procedure the
prosecution had pursued in prosecuting the case. We shall dwell on them in seriatim:
I chanrobles virtual law library
The Trial Court fatally erred in proceeding with the trial of these cases and the rendition of its judgments of conviction upon
informations that charged offenses different from the complaints of rape sworn to by the complainant. (p. 1, Brief of Accused-
Appellant)
The defense submits that "Appellant was made to undergo arraignment and trial for offenses different from the charges of the
complainant, which alone could be the legal initial step of any prosecution for the private offense of rape. Hence, all the
proceedings held below from the arraignment to the judgments of conviction were illegal, null and avoid ab initio. (pp, 26-27,
Ibid.) chanrobles virtual law library
The verified Complaints (Exhibits "N", "O", "P), mutatis mutandis, as to date, time and place of commission, filed by Conchita on
28 May 1981 charged the accused as follows:
The undersigned accuses Mayor ROBERT POCULAN of the crime of RAPE committed as follows:chanrobles virtual law library
That on or about the 22nd day of March 1980 at about 10:00 P.M. more or less, in the municipality of Rizal, Zamboanga del
Norte, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said accused ROBERT POCULAN, armed with a revolver, by means
of violence and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant
Conchita Rone, against her will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
All contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the said offense was committed by a public officer on his subordinate,
with the use of firearm and motor vehicle.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
CONTRARY TO LAW.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
(SGD.) CONCHITA RONE
Complainant
It is to be noted that as stressed by the defense, the three (3) Complaints stated that the accused was "armed with a revolver."
On the other hand, the three (3) Informations filed by the Prosecuting Fiscal on 29 September 1981, did not so
state.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
We find nothing "mystifying," however, in the respective texts of the Complaints and Informations. As explained by the Solicitor
General, what qualifies the crime of Rape is the "use of a deadly weapon" in its commission (Article 335, Revised Penal Code).
The allegation "armed with a revolver" in the sworn Complaints does not necessarily mean that the firearm was used in the
commission of the crime. What qualifies the crime of Rape is not the overt act of "being armed with a deadly weapon" but the
use of a deadly weapon" in the commission of the crime." It was up to the Investigating Fiscal to assess the evidence before
him and therefrom to charge what he believed was the proper offense.
IIchanrobles virtual law library
The trial Court fatally erred in holding that there had been a preliminary investigation of these complaints of the complainant
and in proceeding with the trial and convictions subjects of this appeal without such preliminary investigation. (p. 1, Brief of
Accused-Appellant)
The purpose of a preliminary investigation, or a previous inquiry of some kind, before an accused person is placed upon trial is
to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public
accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial (Sausi vs. Querubin, L-24122, January 29, 1975,
62 SCRA 155).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
That purpose has been satisfied in these cases. The records disclose that the accused was given all the opportunity to submit
countervailing evidence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In the proceedings before the Judge Advocate General Service, AFP, Capt. Jose O. Montero, the Summary Preliminary
Investigation Officer, issued a Resolution in Case SPI No. 80390, reading in part:
1. Pursuant to paragraph 4 (a) 1 of PD No. 39, as amended, in relation to PD 91 1, a preliminary investigation was conducted
on the above-entitled case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library
4. On 29 July 1980, respondent was furnished copies of the charge sheet and copies of the documentary evidence against him.
He was required to file his counter-affidavit and counter-evidence within ten (10) days upon receipt. Before the expiration of the
10-days period given him, he filed, thru counsel, a request that he be granted an extension of twenty (20) days from the expiry
date (8 August 1980) within which to file his counter-evidence. The request was granted. On 27 August 1980, counsel for
respondent filed a letter-request that respondent be granted authority and permission to go to Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte
under escort and in the company of his counsel, to procure the necessary affidavits and other evidences of his defense, and
that he be granted a period of ten (10) days after his return from Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, within which to submit his
counter evidence. The request was denied on 1 Sept. 1980 and respondent was required to file immediately his counter-
affidavit otherwise his failure to file the same would be considered as a waiver on his part to file his counter-evidence. He is,
therefore, deemed to have submitted the case for resolution. (Exhibit "X-4-C Court", pp. 2-8)
The defense maintains that the rejection of the second request denied him the opportunity to present controverting evidence.
That is not so. What was rejected was the accused's plea to be released from detention so he could go home to secure
affidavits of his witnesses. That did not bar him nor his lawyers, however, from still presenting counterbalancing evidence as, in
fact, the defense was still given the opportunity to do so.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Thus it was that, acting on Capt. Montero's aforestated Resolution recommending prosecution, the letter, dated 15 September
1980, of Brig. Gen. Hamilton B. Dimaya to the Chief, Detainee Affairs, Camp. General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, stated
that "the preliminary investigation has been completed and the SPI Officer has recommended prosecution of respondent Mayor
before the Military Tribunals" (Exhibit "Y-2 Court" p. 29).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
After the cases were ordered transferred to the civilian authorities, the accused availed himself of a Motion for Reinvestigation
which, however, was denied by Second Assistant Provincial Fiscal Rodolfo T. Mata who, on 24 March 1981, ruled:
WHEREFORE, the undersigned will no longer disturb the findings of the Military Authorities who had conducted the proper
preliminary investigation finding the existence of a prima facie case of rape against the herein respondent. That respondent's
motion for reinvestigation is hereby denied and that proper information be filed against him. (Exhibit "X")
The accused appealed to the then Minister of Justice, who sustained the resolution of Fiscal Mata on 3 September 'L981
(Exhibits "X-4-E Court" and "Y") chanrobles virtual law library
Fiscal Mata thereafter filed the three (3) criminal Informations in Crim. Cases Nos. 2712, 2713 and 2714 on 29 September 1981
before the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Norte at Dipolog City.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
On 15 April 1982, the Trial Court denied Appellant's "Extremely Urgent Omnibus Motion to Temporarily Suspend Proceedings
and, Either Way, for Trial to be Conducted with Assessors." Appellant assailed said denial in a Petition for Mandamus,
Certiorari, Prohibition, Injunction filed with this Court in G.R. No. 60953-55 entitled "Robert Poculan vs. Hon. Simplicio Apalisok,
et al." On 22 September 1982, this Court Resolved to dismiss the Petition for lack of merit. On the basis of the foregoing
proceedings of record, therefore, Appellant's claim of denial of due process can hardly be countenanced.
IIIchanrobles virtual law library
The trial Court erred in finding and holding that complainant Conchita Rone had been raped by appellant three (3) times on
March 22 and 23, 1 980, thru force or intimidation, considering that neither force nor intimidation had been proven at the trial.
The prosecution's own evidences proved that: chanrobles virtual law library
-A-
External evidence did not show rape
Complainant's own principal witness, Dr. Alberto Reyes of the National Bureau of Investigation who examined her upon the
request of the military investigators and her own counsel, testified categorically, without any impeachment, chanrobles virtual
law library
-1- chanrobles virtual law library
When I asked her if she was physically maltreated, such as slapping or kicking or other forms of physical maltrearment usually
accompanying rape cases, said there was no physical maltreatment. (p. 106, TSN, January 24,1983) chanrobles virtual law
library
-2- chanrobles virtual law library
I inquired if she was maltreated, as I have already stated, I asked her if she suffered any physical injuries, she answered she
did not. (p. 107, supra) chanrobles virtual law library
-3- chanrobles virtual law library
No sign of extragenital physical injuries noted ... well the subject denied actually that there was physical violence involved.
Now, my examination likewise showed that there were no evidences that there were extragenital physical injuries, meaning
injuries outside of the genital organ. (p. 109, supra)chanrobles virtual law library
-4- chanrobles virtual law library
So it is our usual procedure to ask whether she has those pieces of garments (with blood stain or seminal fluid) so that if there
was, we could have sent them to the laboratory for examination. But she did not have any ... "According to her, there were no
torn panties nor bra." (p.113, supra) chanrobles virtual law library
-5- chanrobles virtual law library
Questioned again thus: "in the light of all the facts that you gathered extraphysically speaking, meaning, the interview that you
conducted, the corresponding answer of the alleged subject, her behavior and the result of your medicolegal examination,
would you be willing to admit the fact that you found no evidence to show that the sexual intercourse was done through force or
violence?", the doctor answered "well, in the absence of evidence as stated in my report and there were no signs of extragenital
physical injuries, I tend to conclude that probably, no evidence was applied or inflicted. (p. 133,
supra).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Another question, "and let's say the victim was forcibly dragged violently and furious physical wrestling took place, and violent
act was committed on the alleged victim to force her to pry open her legs, naturally, you would expect physical injuries; is that
correct?" the doctor answered, yes, sir. (p. 126, supra)chanrobles virtual law library
-6- chanrobles virtual law library
Answering a pointed cross-examination question thus: "My question to you is, made to choose in terms of higher probabilities
which would be more probable date of the laceration March 22 and 23, 1980 (the dates charged in the Informations) or April 7
up to 14, 1980?", the Doctor answered, "Well, as I have stated earlier, this is a recently-healed laceration, the period covering
April because it is closer"... "This is the greater probability". (pp. 131-132, supra).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library
-B-
Neither was there any indication of rape in the examination of complainant's genital organ.
-1-chanrobles virtual law library
While complainant charged that she was raped three (3) times on March 22 and 23, 1980, on the other hand, consistently with
the testimony of the appellant and his witnesses that she was the 'querida' of the appellant with whom she was having sexual
intercourse many times, the doctor declared: chanrobles virtual law library
Well, as to the number of intercourses, the result of my findings show that the state of the private parts of the woman has
experienced not only three or four sexual intercourses. I would say, about ten or more sexual intercourses. (p. 135,
supra) chanrobles virtual law library
I say that because of the result of my findings such as the gaping labia majora, the hyperthropied labia minora, the lax
fourchette, the vagina walls which were no longer tell-tight, and the 'robuscitis which are moderately present'. (id.) And which
tends to flatten due to intercourses, and in the case of complainant, 'they were no longer prominent'." (p. 137, Id; see also p.
138, Id) chanrobles virtual law library
-C-
No pistol, no firearm
His honor, the trial judge himself could not help but ignore the charge of complainant of intimidation with the use of a pistol.
Said the trial court in its decision, 'The court may opt not to touch on whether or not the complaining girl was threatened with
the sidearm of the accused mayor. True it is that this was not alleged in any of the three (3) criminal informations.' (p. 24,
decision) Nor, may we add, was such pistol mentioned in her affidavit Exhibit L, and much less in the charge prepared by the
military Exhibit BB. The situation here is similar to the case were the information or complaint merely alleged lack of consent,
and this honorable court held that evidence of force is inadmissible and could not cure the defect in the complaint. (People vs.
Oso, 62 Phil 217) Again, we submit, that appellant was charged in the informations with offenses different from her charges in
her own complaints.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
-D-
No evidence of rape in wagon
That there was no rape in the alleged intercourse in the wagon on March 23, 1980 at 3:00 o'clock a.m., is legally manifest, it
appearing that all that complainant alleged the appellant told her for her to yield to him was that if she did not, the supposed two
persons allegedly with them would be the ones to do it. There was neither force nor intimidation." (pp. 2-7, Brief of Accused-
Appellant)
In negating the foregoing assigned errors, we derive our bearings from the following accepted rule:
... In People v. Gan, this Court, through Justice Antonio, held: "It is an accepted rule that the force employed in rape need not
be so great nor of such character as could not be resisted. It is only that the force used by the accused be sufficient to enable
him to consummate his purpose." In People v. Olden, the then Justice now retired Chief Justice, Makalintal, reiterated such a
view: "Appellants point out that even assuming that they had sexual intercourse with Edwina Maranga, there is no evidence that
they employed force or intimidation. It is true that she could have shown greater physical resistance to their advances than she
actually did. Another woman would probably have tried to fight them off, even to the jeopardy of life or limb. But not all women
are of the same mettle. ... (People vs. Equac, 80 SCRA 665, 671 [19771)
Applying the yardstick given, we affirm the Trial Court's finding that the force employed by Appellant in this case was sufficient
to enable him to consummate his purpose.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
That the examining physician found no signs of external physical injuries on Complainant's body, nor extragenital physical
injuries, on the date of the physical examination is understandable considering that it was undertaken on 21 April 1980 or
approximately a month after the incidents. The evidence is sufficiently convincing, however, that Complainant did suffer bruises
on the arms, chin and face. Considering their nature, they could not but have been healed on the date of examination. Those
injuries were testified to by Complainant herself, by Mrs. Eroy, her aunt with whom Complainant was living, who noticed them
when Complainant returned home in the early morning of 23 March 1980 (t.s.n., January 25, 1983, p. 171); and by Virgilio
Rone, her brother, who saw Complainant two (2) days after the assault on her honor (t.s.n., March 22, 1983, pp. 364 &
367).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
While it may be that Complainant told Dr. Reyes that she was not physically maltreated, it was not incompatible with her
testimony that she was pulled, pushed, or threatened, the force employed being insufficient to inflict serious physical injuries
but sufficient to overcome her resistance.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In fact, the rape in the wagon was not accompanied by physical maltreatment. However, Appellant's threat that if Complainant
would not succumb to his wish of having carnal knowledge of her, two men, namely, the driver Capili and policeman Cabiara,
would take turns in doing so, was sufficient to cow her into submission. Under those circumstances, no physical force need
have been employed, but intimidation was nonetheless present.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The non-presentation in evidence of Complainant's torn panties or bra does not necessarily connote the absence of resistance.
As she declared, Appellant forcibly took off her clothes and laid on top of her and despite her protestations and resistance and
the wiggling of her body, Appellant finally consummated his lustful desires.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
Appellant stresses that the medical examination of Complainant's genital organ indicated positively that she had experienced
more than three (3) sexual intercourses before and after 22 and 23 March 1980, which is inconsistent with her testimony that
she was a virgin when raped. He further argues that this was consistent with his testimony and that of his witnesses that
Complainant was his "querida" with whom he enjoyed sexual intimacy many times.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
Appellant's arguments are untenable. Conclusion No. 2 of the Living Case Report that "Genital findings, compatible with sexual
intercourse with man on or about the alleged date of commission," corroborates Complainant's testimony that Appellant had
carnal knowledge of her forcibly three (3) times on 22 and 23 March 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
Besides, as to whether or not Complainant was still a virgin at the time she was raped is of no moment. The fact that an
offended party may have been of unchaste character constitutes no defense in a charge of Rape (People vs. Lamberte, L-
65153, July 11, 1986,142 SCRA 685).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
But even assuming that the opinion of Dr. Reyes on the number of sexual intercourses that Complainant may have had were
accurate, it by no means supports Appellant's claim that he had an illicit amorous affair with Complainant. If it were so, he
would not have had to take her to a "God-forsaken" place and to a bare and isolated "hut"; there would have been no need for a
motorcab with two passengers to take them to that site to avoid any suspicion on Complainant's part; and Appellant need not
have employed the ruse of making Complainant report at his home to perform some official chores in the afternoon of 22 March
1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
And in so far as the corroborative testimonies of Appellant's witnesses on that aspect are concerned, the Trial Court had aptly
observed that: "all of them being subject to varied forms of personal and political attachment to the Mayor, with the latter
exercising moral ascendancy over them (they) cannot be expected to tell the whole truth, all the truth, nothing but the truth." (p.
53, Rollo) chanrobles virtual law library
The defense again makes capital of the fact that although Complainant had stated that Appellant had intimidated her with the
use of a revolver, the criminal Informations filed were for simple Rape, different from her charges in her own complaints,
concluding thereby that Complainant's charges were pure "political vendetta." The conclusion is far- fetched. Notwithstanding
that the Complaints indicated that Appellant was "armed with a revolver" it does not follow that, procedurally speaking, the
Informations filed by the investigating Officer should follow the same to the letter. The prosecuting officer is vested with the
discretion to charge what he believes is the proper crime. The complainant in private crimes merely initiates the prosecution
thereof. And as stated previously being "armed with a revolver" is not synonymous with the "use of a deadly weapon." Besides,
it is not only a firearm that can produce intimidation. Intimidation can be addressed to the mind as well, as exemplified by the
rape of Complainant in the wagon.
IVchanrobles virtual law library
The trial court erred in giving faith and credit to complainant's testimony not only because of what has been already shown
above, but also because of more than forty inconsistencies, contradictions, omissions and incredible assertions that
characterized her testimony. (p. 7, Brief of Accused-Appellant)
We have gone over the entire transcript of Complainant's testimony, which, of itself alone is already almost a thousand pages
long, and find that while there may have been some inconsistencies and inaccuracies, e.g. the name of the motorcab driver
which she said was Elias instead of Felipe Fuerzas, and lapses as to her date of birth, they were not on substantial matters nor
on pivotal issues. One indubitable fact, however, is that throughout the eleven (11) session days, morning and afternoon, of
probing, occasionally insulting and bullying, cross examination, punctuated by outpourings of emotion, she remained resolute
and uncowed. We did not discern any intent on her part "to web a fanciful story" impelled by motives of her own said to be "(1)
her dismissal from her employment, (2) a P10,000.00 consideration, and (3) political vendetta, in which she was used as an
instrument by the political enemies of Appellant." On the contrary, we find them baseless
assertions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Even assuming that, as the defense portrays, Complainant had, indeed, applied for a leave of absence of one month from 20
March 1980 (Exhibit "5"), it does not necessarily follow that she left for her hometown in Balubohan on the 20th so that she
could not have been in Nilabo on 22 and 23 March 1980, the dates she maintains the rapes were committed. It is highly
doubtful, however, that she had applied for leave since in the morning of 22 March she still helped Vice Mayor Pila hire a Ford
Fiera and in the afternoon she was sent for by Appellant himself to work in his house. She also knew that there was to be a
recounting of votes in Dipolog City on 23 March and she had to help. It is likewise strange that the original of the leave
application (Exhibit "5") should have been in the hands of the Mayor and there were no official entries thereon. Nor did any
official custodian testify as to its veracity.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The alleged monetary consideration of P10,000.00 remains unsubstantiated.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
"The considerable delay in the initiation of this prosecution" cannot be equated with untruthfulness or vacillation for, as the
developments unfolded, she groped for assistance from one relative to another until another aunt, Agueda Bartolome, directed
her to Father Briones, who was also a lawyer. She also had to move about with caution not only because Appellant had
threatened her life and that of her family but also because Appellant was tracking her movements and sending
emissaries.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Complainant's "failure to lodge her complaint with the provincial prosecution authorities of Zamboanga del Norte" can be
explained by the fact that even the NBI at Zamboanga had advised her to go to the Manila NBI, not to speak of her fear that her
life was in jeopardy, thus accounting for her having left for Manila without even previously informing her family. So much so,
that when she returned to Dipolog City the Ministry of National Defense had provided her with security during the initial stages
of the trial.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Her "availing of the legal services" of Father Briones was not of her own choosing but was upon advise of her aunt, Agueda
Bartolome. If indeed, Father Briones and Atty. Maraon were Appellant's political rivals that was just a
coincidence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Her "failure to take with her to Manila" the apparel she had on and of which she was disrobed by Appellant does not have the
effect of destroying her credibility. Notwithstanding her educational attainment she was still a "provinciana" in the words of the
Trial Court and she was unaware of the legal import of her clothing besides the fact- that absence of torn dresses and
underwear does not negative the truth of a rape complaint and the credibility of a victim's testimony (People vs. Balbuena, L-
44859-60, April 27, 1984, 129 SCRA 10).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Her version of how she happened to ride with Appellant in a motorcab; of having been pressed to walk up a hill which could be
reached only by crossing a creek; of how Appellant was able to have carnal knowledge of her when she slipped inside the hut
in Nilabo; of how she was unable to locate her clothes because of the darkness of night when Appellant was lying down in the
hut; of her position in the wagon when she was raped, which she demonstrated inside the chambers of the Judge - are not as
incredible as the defense would want us to believe.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On the contrary it is Appellant's tale that he could not walk without crutches that has been contradicted by photographs taken
on Valentine's Day 1980 and November 1979, respectively, showing him standing erect delivering a speech, without the help of
any such crutches (Exhibits "T-1", "U-1"). Similarly, Appellant's denial that he did not carry a firearm is also belied in those
same pictures showing him sporting a sidearm. It is true that two medical certificates were presented by Appellant to show that
he was suffering from osteoarthritis lumbar vertebrae." However, the Medical Certificate, dated 26 February 1982 (Exhibit "6"),
indicates that Appellant was admitted at the Constabulary Hospital from 14 June 1980 to 21 September 1980 or after the
subject incidents, while the Certification (Exhibit "7") showed that he sustained injury in 1943 and was issued only on 2 March
1982. Besides, only xerox copies of the Certifications were presented in Court and were not Identified nor testified to by any
physician.
Vchanrobles virtual law library
The trial court erred in not discarding completely the testimonies and affidavits of Patrolman Benhur Cabiara and Virgilio Rone,
the same having been impeached. (p. 7, Brief of Accused- Appellant)
In Pat. Cabiara's first Affidavit, taken on 14 May 1980, at Dipolog City, and sworn to before Assistant City Fiscal Charles D.
Adraincem (Exhibit "I") and subsequently re-subscribed and sworn to on 18 July 1980 at Dipolog City before a certain Captain
Montero, Jr., Pat. Cabiara substantially corroborated Complainant's version. Thus, he stated that on 22 March 1980 he was at
the residence of Appellant Mayor at Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte; that at about 6:30 P.M. of that date, Appellant Mayor ordered
him to look for a motorcab; that when he arrived at the residence with a motorcab, driven by Felipe Fuerzas, Appellant boarded
it and so did Complainant, who also came from Appellant's residence as she was working on some papers for the Mayor; that
Pat. Cabiara also boarded the motorcab which proceeded on its way; that he dropped off at Nasipang; that after going home
and changing clothes, he went back to the National Highway to wait for the Appellant Mayor's wagon to tell the driver that the
Mayor wanted himself fetched at Nilabo, Rizal, after the wagon returned from Dipolog City; that the wagon arrived at about 7:00
P.M. driven by Boy Capili; that on their way to Nilabo, they met the motorcab driven by Felipe Fuerzas, who told them that the
Mayor wanted to be fetched at about 4:00 o'clock dawn of 23 March 1980; that at 3:00 A.M. the next morning, 23 March, on
their way to Nilabo in the Mayor's wagon, they were met by a tenant of the Mayor who informed them that the latter wanted to
be fetched from his rest house at Nilabo, to which place the tenant guided them; that upon arrival thereat and after waiting for a
while, the Mayor and Complainant came out; that Pat. Cabiara noticed Complainant crying although he could not see her
physical appearance because it was still dark; that they all boarded the wagon and on their way to Rizal, the Mayor ordered the
driver to stop, the Mayor ordered Boy Capili and Pat. Cabiara to attend to their personal necessities leaving him and Conchita
in the wagon; after about fifteen (15) minutes the Mayor called for them and they then proceeded in the direction of the Mayor's
house with Complainant and the Patrolman dropping off at their respective residences; that in the evening of 26 March 1980 he
was ordered by the Mayor to fetch Complainant and take her to the house of Felimon Sagaray where the Mayor was waiting;
that because Complainant refused to go with him, Appellant Mayor struck him "with his left hand hitting his abdomen" and told
him to go back, but still Complainant refused; that the next morning the wife of Felimon Sagaray went to fetch Complainant but
the latter still refused; that Pat. Cabiara noticed "bruises at her (Complainant's) right cheek, on the right side of her neck, on her
forearm right;" that on 19 April 1980 at about 3:00 o'clock P.M. Pat. Cabiara was with Appellant Mayor at Tolon, Rizal, for the
induction of the Barangay Councilmen among others, and thereat he read the sign "Joint Induction Ceremony ... - Tolon Rizal -
April 1980;" but that when they came back at about 5:00 P.M., with a photographer, "the lettering signifying the occasion was
changed to 'Welcome Mayor Robert Poculan and Visitors - March 22, 1980;" that in connection with that incident, he signed an
Affidavit on 23 April 1980 prepared by Appellant Mayor, typewritten by Pfc. Socrates Tamparong, wherein he stated that 22
March 1980 was his birthday; that there was a thanksgiving celebration at Tolon, Rizal; and that they returned late that
night.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
However, on 21 January 1981, or eight (8) months after the execution of the first Affidavit, Pat. Cabiara executed an Affidavit of
retraction before Municipal Circuit Judge N.A. Cabasag (Exhibit "J") repudiating everything that he had said in his Affidavit of 14
May 1980 contending that it was prepared by Appellant Mayor's political enemies, Father Paulo Briones and Atty. Ana Aguilar,
and that its contents were fabrications and lies.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As to Virgilio B. Rone, Complainant's brother, the evidence discloses that on 11 April 1980 (date was originally 22 but erased to
11), he executed his first Affidavit sworn to before Municipal Circuit Judge Nicomedes A. Cabasag (Exhibit "F") to the effect that
Complainant arrived at their home in Balubohan on 22 March 1980 at about 5:00 P.M. looking healthy and well; that the next
morning she delivered Appellant Mayor's letter to Barangay Capt. Anastacio Baid, at Sebaca; that Complainant was at
Balubohan on 2 April 1980 when she invited Appellant Mayor to take lunch at their house; that Appellant Mayor was at
Balubohan on 2 April 1980 because he attended to the laying out of water pipes from a place called "Tacia" to Balubohan; and
that from 22 March 1980 to 5 April 1980 Complainant was in their family home in
Balubohan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
However, on 25 April 1980, Virgilio subscribed to another Affidavit before First Assistant Provincial Fiscal Hermogenes S.
Balisado (Exhibit "H") stating that at about 10:00 o' clock A.M. of 22 April 1980, Exequiel Isaal handed to him and his father,
Hugo, a letter from Appellant Mayor, dated 22 April 1980, requesting them to see Appellant Mayor at his residence at Rizal
(Exhibit "G") that they complied with the request and Appellant Mayor inquired from them as to the whereabouts of
Complainant, to which Virgilio Rone replied that he did not know; that when Appellant Mayor heard the answer, he said that
Complainant was already in Manila, and that he wanted them to sign the Affidavit of "l April 1980" stating that when his sister,
the Complainant, arrived at their home she was in good physical condition; that out of fear of Appellant Mayor he and his father
signed the Affidavit.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The defense now faults the Trial Court for not discarding completely the testimonies and affidavits of Pat. Cabiara and Virgilio
Rone. As the Solicitor General points out, however, the Trial Court made use of them as to their tenor only when it said that
those Affidavits, together with others besides "may also have given cause to the preparation of the first "Charge Sheet (Exhibit
'BB') (Decision, p. 33). If the Prosecuting Fiscal was compelled to offer the Affidavits in evidence, it was to impeach Pat.
Cabiara "when he turned hostile on the witness stand since he admitted all the contents of this Affidavit to be true and correct
when he was interviewed by the prosecuting fiscal before he took the witness stand" (Formal Offer of Exhibits by the
prosecution, p. 4).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
And as to Virgilio Rone, it was offered in evidence "as part of (his) testimony that he immediately retracted his Statement,
Exhibit 'F', prepared by Mayor Poculan as the latter's advance defense in a case to be filed against him by Conchita Rone"
(Ibid.,., p. 3).
VIchanrobles virtual law library
The trial court erred in not giving due weight and credit to the testimonies of the appellant and his
witnesses.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
VIIchanrobles virtual law library
The trial court erred iii relying on pure inferences and deductions as well as his honor's baseless imagination of facts, which he
had to resort to because he denied the motion of the defense for an ocular inspection, on the flimsy excuse that he was
physically weak to do it.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
VIII chanrobles virtual law library
The trial court erred in not finding and holding that the false charges of rape were filed because of (a) the order of appellant
separating complainant from her employment in the Municipal Government; (b) a monetary consideration of Ten Thousand
(P10,000.00) given to her; and (3) the influence of vendetta, of which she was a willing instrument, of the long time political
enemies of the appellant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
IX chanrobles virtual law library
All in all, the trial court erred in evaluating the evidence by not observing the fundamental rules laid by jurisprudence in the
appreciation of the testimony of the complaining witnesses in rape cases, namely, that of scrutinizing the same carefully to
determine if it could stand on its own weight, aided as it might be by circumstantial evidence, and not relying instead on the
weakness of the evidence of the defense.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Xchanrobles virtual law library
The trial court erred in rendering the judgements of conviction of the appellant in these three (3) cases instead of acquitting
him."(pp. 8-9, Brief of Accused- Appellant)
Again, we are constrained to disagree.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In so far as the testimonies of defense witnesses are concerned, the Trial Court had pointedly observed:
The testimonies of the defense witnesses such as Julieta T. Pila (incumbent vice mayor of Mayor Poculan), Leonardo Tacal (a
municipal janitor of the Mayor), Anastacio Baid (barangay captain of Sebaca), Felipe Fuerzas (employee of municipal water
works cooperative), Orlando Capili (Barangay captain of West Poblacion, Rizal; the Mayor usually request him to drive the
wagon of the Mayor), Aniceto Baid (a son of Sebaca barangay captain Anastacio Baid; he is a barangay high school teacher of
Sebaca, the school maintained by municipal funds), Manolita Redillas Sagaray (barangay captain of Balubohan), all of them
being subject to varied forms of personal and political attachment to the Mayor, with the latter exercising moral ascendancy
over them, cannot be expected to tell the whole truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth. As stated earlier, they over did
what they were supposed to testify, making their testimonies replete with unnaturalness in the ordinary course of things. ... (p.
324, Rollo).
The totality of evidence, indeed, reveals a criminal design well contrived. Appellant made Complainant report to work in his
house. When it was time for her to go home, a motorcab was waiting which Appellant told her to board. To deflect suspicion of
any kind, an elderly woman passenger was in it and Pat. Cabiara also boarded it. When everyone was seated, unexpectedly,
Appellant also rode in the cab and told Complainant that he was going to the adjoining barangay of Mapang and would drop her
at her boarding house along the way. The woman passenger alighted from the cab near the residence of a certain Pamantong.
Left in the cab were Appellant, Pat. Cabiara, and the driver. Thereafter, without a word, Pat. Cabiara alighted from the cab at
the intersection of the barangay road leading to Barangay Nasipang, leaving Appellant and Complainant as the remaining
passengers. The motorcab, however, did not proceed towards Complainant's boarding house. Instead, without any orders from
Appellant, the driver turned his vehicle towards Nilabo. He kept silent but drove fast all the way. After Appellant and
Complainant had alighted at Nilabo, he drove away without receiving any instructions. At dawn the following day Pat. Cabiara
was on hand in Nilabo with Appellant's wagon driven by Orlando Capili. On their way back towards the poblacion of Rizal, the
wagon stopped "on a by-way." Driver Capili and Pat. Cabiara alighted and moved away from the wagon. Appellant then
succeeded in ravishing Complainant for the third time.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Upon reaching her boarding house that same early morning, Complainant immediately told her aunt that Appellant had taken
her to Nilabo and "forced" her. There was no time for her to concoct a story. She tearfully repeated what had befallen her to her
brother when she went home to Balubohan on 24 March 1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The physical evidence in the form of photographs showing Appellant standing erect with a sidearm (Exhibits "T-1" and "U-1")
belie his alleged inability to board a cab or that he could not move about without crutches. Be it a rest house or a copra dryer
that Appellant Mayor had in Nilabo, with or without steps, the evidence shows that it was in some kind of a hut thereat that the
sexual assaults were consummated.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The failure of the Trial Judge to conduct an ocular inspection of the road leading to Nilabo because of his advanced aged
should not detract from the credibility of the prosecution evidence. The inspection would have taken place approximately three
(3) to four (4) years after the incident and conditions would not have been the same. Besides, Democrito Cadungog, a farmer of
Mapang, Rizal, declared, contrary to what defense witnesses Felipe Fuerzas and Gil Alumbro had stated, that the road to
Nilabo was sand and gravel and that it was accessible by motorcab, truck or pick-up, and that they used to campaign there in
1980.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Appellant's actuations after the criminal acts complained of, albeit denied by him, enhance his culpability. If Appellant had not
wronged Complainant, why did he have to track her to her hometown at Balubohon and instruct Pat. Cabiara to ask her to meet
him at a neighbor's house thereat on 26 March? Why was it repeated on 27 March, this time not only with Pat. Cabiara as the
emissary but also the Sagaray couple? And why Appellant's visit to Balubohan again on 1 April 1980 to Complainant's house
reiterating his offer to send Complainant for further studies and the threat for her not to leave her place otherwise he would kill
her? That he had to supervise the hauling of the water pipes from Tacia to Balubohan on 2 April 1980, assuming it to be true,
provided a convenient official excuse. Further, why Complainant's fear for her life necessitating the assignment of security men
to her when she returned to Dipolog City for the trial of the case?chanrobles virtual law library
It may be that some defense witnesses negated the foregoing and retracted their previous sworn statements, but as the Trial
Court had concluded, they were all unworthy of credence because of the "unnaturalness" of their declarations and Appellant's
moral ascendancy over them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Indeed, Appellant Mayor had done everything he could to quash the charges against him including appeals for intercession to
the former President to whom he wrote "that the alleged case is a political vendetta authored by the Clergy in the person of Fr.
Paulo Briones, political opponent of the KBL Party" (Exhibit "Y" - Court). In his direct testimony (November 8, 1984, p. 14),
Appellant also stated that Assemblyman Hussein Loong wrote a letter (Exhibit "12") to Appellant stating that the President had
signed his temporary release. Even the Provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Norte, Alberto Q. Ubay, wrote the President on
6 October 1980 "strongly recommend(ing) temporary release" of Appellant (Exhibit "13"). But both the military and the civilian
prosecuting officers found prima facie evidence and Complainant's accusations and Appellant's defenses have rightfully been
subjected to judicial scrutiny.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The bottomline is one of credibility of witnesses, in which regard, doctrinal jurisprudence has consistently held that the findings
of the Trial Court with respect thereto are generally given the highest degree of respect. But even independently thereof, our
own findings confirm those of the lower Court's besides the fact that it has not been satisfactorily shown that the Trial Court had
overlooked certain facts of weight and importance that might change the result reached in this
case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The consistent ruling of this Court has also been that when a woman testifies that she had been raped, she says all that is
needed to signify that the crime has been committed (People vs. Soterol, L-53498, December 16, 1985, 140 SCRA 400),
provided her testimony meets the test of credibility. Complainant has successfully met that test. The prosecution evidence
considered by itself is adequate to sustain the judgment appealed from and is not dependent on the "weakness of the evidence
of the defense."chanrobles virtual law library
All told, we conclude that Appellant's culpability for three (3) separate crimes of Rape, with the aggravating circumstance of
taking advantage of his public position, and without any mitigating circumstance, has been established beyond
doubt.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with separate costs in the three (3) cases against accused-
appellant Robert P. Poculan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
SO ORDERED.
http://www.chanrobles.com/scdecisions/jurisprudence1988/nov1988/gr_70565_67_1988.php

G.R. No. 118533 October 4, 1995
MAYOR PABLO R. OLIVAREZ, Petitioner, v. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (Second Division) and the HON. OMBUDSMAN,
Special Prosecutor ANIANO DESIERTO and Deputy Special Prosecutor JOSE DE G. FERRER, Respondents.
REGALADO, J.:
In this original action for certiorari and prohibition, petitioner Mayor Pablo R. Olivarez seeks to annul the following:
1. Resolution dated February 9, 1994 issued by Special Prosecutor (SP) Aniano Desierto and approved by Ombudsman
Conrado M. Vasquez on February 15, 1994 reversing Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) I Cornelio Somido's recommendation
to dismiss the case against petitioner;
1

2. Resolution dated December 9, 1994 issued by Deputy Special Prosecutor (DSP) Jose De G. Ferrer and approved by
Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez on December 23, 1994 reversing SPO III Angel Mayoralgo's recommendation to withdraw the
case against petitioner for insufficiency of evidence;
2
andchanrobles virtual law library
3. Resolution dated January 16, 1995 issued by the Sandiganbayan denying petitioner's Motion to Strike Out and/or Review
Result of Reinvestigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman.
3
chanrobles virtual law library
The facts are succinctly summarized in the Comment
4
of the Solicitor General as follows:
1. On December 15, 1992, Baclaran Credit Cooperative, Inc. (BCCI), through its board member Roger de Leon, charged
petitioner Paraaque Mayor Dr. Pablo R. Olivarez with Violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for unreasonably
refusing to issue a mayor's permit despite request and follow-ups to implement Paraaque Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No.
744, Series of 1992 which petitioner himself approved on October 6, 1992. Resolution No. 744 authorized BCCI to set up a
night manufacturer's fair during the Christmas fiesta celebration of and at Baclaran for 60 days from November 11, 1992 to
February 15, 1993 for which they will use a portion of the service road of Roxas Boulevard from the corner of Opena to Rivera
Streets (Annex "D", Petition). Attached to the affidavit-complaint were: (i) a letter dated October 29, 1992 of Councilor Winnie
Esplana to Arch. Vita of Paraaque Engineering Department;
(ii) four letters all dated November 13, 1992 of BCCI General Manager Mr. Steve Espina to petitioner, Arch. Vita, Municipal
Health Officer
Dr. Oscar de Leon and Municipal Treasurer Silvestre de Leon requesting assistance for the issuance of a mayor's permit; (iii)
Letter dated November 24, 1992 of BCCI counsel Atty. Renato Dilag to petitioner formally demanding implementation of Res.
744 (Annex "H"); (iv) petitioner's reply letter dated November 27, 1992 to Atty. Dilag stating among others that the non-
implementation of Res. 744 was due to BCCI's failure to apply for appropriate permit and license to operate the Night
Manufacturer's Fair which was one of the conditions in the authorization (Annex "I").chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
2. On March 12, 1993, petitioner filed his counter-affidavit stating that the charge of violation of Sec. 3(f) of RA 3019 has no
legal and factual basis because (a) HCCI, which actually started operation, never applied for a mayor's permit as evidenced by
his letter reply to
Atty. Dilag and the affidavit dated March 11, 1993 of Business Permit and License Office Officer-In-Charge Mrs. Elenita T.
Paracale (Annex "J"). Moreover, the four letters of Mr. Steve Espina requesting assistance in the issuance of mayor's permit
were not filed with the municipal office concerned.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
3. In his Reply Affidavit dated April 1, 1993, complainant BCCI denied conducting actual operations but only commenced
soliciting participants and would-be sponsors to the fair. Allegedly, BCCI exerted all possible efforts to secure the necessary
permit but petitioner simply refused to issue the same unless it gives money to petitioner. Attached to the Reply-Affidavit was a
copy of Executive Order dated Nov. 23, 1992 issued by petitioner granting a group of Baclaran-based
organizations/associations of vendors the holding of "Christmas Agro-Industrial Fair sa Baclaran" from November 28, 1992 to
February 28, 1993 using certain portions of the National and Local Government Roads/Streets in Baclaran for fund raising
(Annex "L").chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
4. Graft Investigation Officer (GIO) III Rogelio A. Ringpis conducted a preliminary investigation and issued on September 22,
1993 a resolution recommending the prosecution of petitioner for violation of Sec. 3(f) of R.A. No. 3019 as amended. The
recommendation was approved by EPIB Head Raul Arnau and endorsed by Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo L. Aportadera to
Special Prosecutor (SP) Aniano Desierto for review and possible preparation of criminal information. The endorsement was
duly noted by Over-all Deputy Ombudsman Francisco A. Villa.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
5. On December 22, 1993, Special Prosecutor (SP) II Luz L. Quinones-Marcos, upon review of the Ringpis resolution,
recommended the filing of information against petitioner for violation of Sec. 3(e) instead of Sec. 3(f) of R.A. 3019. The
recommendation was approved by
Deputy Special Prosecutor (DSP) Jose De G. Ferrer and SP Desierto. On January 11, 1994, Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez
approved the report and recommendation and directed the government prosecutors to file the necessary information against
petitioner with the Sandiganbayan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
6. The Information for Violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019 filed on February 16, 1994 and docketed as Criminal Case No. 20226,
reads as follows:
That in or about the month of November, 1992 or for sometime prior thereto, in the Municipality of Paraaque, Metro Manila,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a public officer being then the duly
elected Municipal Mayor of Paraaque, Metro Manila, with manifest partiality and evident bad faith in the exercise of his
administrative and official functions, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally, without valid reason, refuse to issue a
mayor's permit and/or refuse to act favorably on the application of the Baclaran Credit Cooperative, Inc. (BCCI) to operate a
"night fair" along the service road of Roxas Boulevard (Baclaran) for a period of sixty (60) days in accordance with Resolution
No. 744 series of 1992 of the Municipal Council of Paraaque, and that instead the accused issued and signed an executive
order on November 23, 1992 granting an unknown or unidentified group of Baclaran-based organizations/associations of
vendors the privilege to operate a "night fair" at certain portions of the national and local roads/streets in Baclaran, thus,
causing undue injury to the Baclaran Credit Cooperative, Inc.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
CONTRARY TO LAW.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(Annex "P").
7. On January 17, 1994, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or Reinvestigation allegedly to rectify error of law and
on ground of newly discovered evidence (Annex "O"). Although opposed by the prosecution on January 24, 1994, the same
was granted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
8. On February 7, 1994, Special Prosecu(tion) Officer (SPO) I Cornelio Somido to whorn the reinvestigation was assigned,
issued an order recommending the withdrawal of the information against petitioner for insufficiency of evidence. This
recommendation approved by DSP de G. Ferrer was however disapproved by SP Desierto noting that:
Respondent does not refute the allegation and evidence that complainant and representative approached him and he refused
to issue the permit despite follow up. Neither does respondent claim that in refusing to issue the permit, he advised complainant
and representatives that they had failed to comply with requirements. Bad faith is, therefore, evident in the respondent's
persistent refusal to issue permit.
On February 9, 1994, Ombudsman Vasquez concurred with Special Prosecutor Desierto and disapproved the recommendation
(Annex "A").chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
9. On February 18, 1994, petitioner voluntarily surrendered and posted a cash bail bond with the Sandiganbayan for his
temporary release.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
10. On February 21, 1994, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for a re-examination and re-assessment of the prosecution's
report and documentary evidence with a view to set aside the determination of the existence of probable cause and ultimately
the dismissal of the case (Annex "Q").chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
11. On March 3, 1994, the Sandiganbayan, after finding that sufficient probable cause exist(s) against petitioner, denied for lack
of merit petitioner's Omnibus Motion in open court and proceeded to arraign him as scheduled that day. But in view of
petitioner's refusal to enter any plea, the court ordered a plea of "not guilty" entered into his
record.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
12. On March 8, 1994, the prosecution filed a Motion to suspend AccusedPendente Lite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
13. On March 9, 14 and 15, 1994, petitioner filed a Motion to Set Aside Plea and To Reduce Denial Order Into Writing (With
Entry of Appearance) (Annex "R"), Supplemental Motion to Set Aside Plea and Opposition to Motion to Suspend Accused and
Supplemental Pleading with Additional Opposition to Motion to Suspend Accused (Annex "S"), respectively. Petitioner sought
the following relief, to wit:
a) to set aside plea of "not guilty" entered for him by the court during the arraignment on March 3, 1994;chanrobles virtual law
library
b) to dismiss the case after a re-study of probable cause;chanrobles virtual law library
c) to order preliminary investigation for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019;.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
d) to deny the motion for suspension.
14. On March 23, 1994, the prosecution opposed the supplemental motions and prayed that the denial of petitioner's Omnibus
Motion be maintained.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
15. On April 4, 1994, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's motion but in the interest of justice and to avoid further delay in the
prompt adjudication of the case due to technicalities, it set aside the proceedings conducted on March 3, 1994 including
petitioner's arraignment thus revoking the plea of "not guilty" entered in his record. The arraignment was set to April 7, 1994 but
further action on the prosecution's motion to suspend petitioner pendente lite was deferred, without prejudice to the reiteration
or revival thereof at the proper time and upon notice (Annex "T").chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
16. On April 20, 1994, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was granted on May 15, 1994 (Annex "V").
Consequently, the case was remanded to the Office of the Ombudsman for another reinvestigation to be terminated within 30
days from notice. Petitioner's arraignment was again reset to July 13, 1994 in the event of adverse resolution on the re-
investigation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
17. During this reinvestigation, petitioner filed a Memorandum with Additional Evidence to SP(O) III Berbano to whom the case
was assigned (Annex "W"). Meantime, several scheduled arraignments were deferred on the ground that the reinvestigation
has not been terminated and, later, the recommendation has yet to be acted upon by superior
officers.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
18. On September 23, 1994, SPO III Roger Berbano, Sr. issued a memorandum recommending the withdrawal of the
Information on the ground that no probable cause exist(s) to indict petitioner for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. (3019). He
alleged that to grant an exclusive mayor's permit demanded by BCCI will subject petitioner to liability for violation of R.A. 3019
for giving unwarranted benefit to BCCI. Moreover, BCCI failed to show compliance with the requirements of Res. 744, hence
petitioner had all the reasons to refuse issuance of mayor's permit. Also,
the issuance of Executive Order dated November 23, 1992 allowing Baclaran-based vendors associations to hold a night fair
did not in any manner cause injury to BCCI as the authority given to them under Res. 744 was not exclusive. Petitioner merely
considered the best interest of the municipality.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
19. On October 3, 1994, complainant Manuel A. Vizcarra, formally requested the Ombudsman to disqualify SP(O) Berbano on
the ground of lack of confidence, bias and undue delay in the reinvestigation of the case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
20. The reinvestigation was reassigned to SPO III Angel C. Mayoralgo who on November 3, 1994 recommended the dismissal
of the case stating that petitioner "cannot be held liable for violation of either Section 3(f), the original charge, or Section 3(e),
R.A. 3019, the pending charge against Mayor Olivarez, because he neither neglect[ed]/refuse[d] to act without sufficient
justification on the letter request addressed to him, nor acted through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence causing undue injury to BCCI. If ever the latter sustained injury for the non-implementation of Council Resolution
No. 744, S-92, the same is due to the fault and indiscretion of its officers."chanrobles virtual law library
21. On December 9, 1994, DSP de G. Ferrer reversed the recommendation with the following observation:
Even discounting evident bad faith on the part of respondent for the sake of argument, he is liable under Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019
by giving unwarranted benefit THRU MANIFEST PARTIALITY, to another group on the flimsy reason that complainant failed to
apply for a business permit.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The merits of respondent's justification (insufficient as it is) should be passed upon by the
court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(Annex "B")
The reversal was concurred (in) by SP Desierto and approved by Ombudsman Vasquez, who on December 27, 1994, directed
the prosecution to proceed under the existing information.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
22. On January 13, 1995, petitioner filed a Motion for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum and Ad Testificandum to DSP Jose
de G. Ferrer, SPO III Roger Berbano, Sr., and SPO III Angel Mayoralgo, Jr.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
23. On January 16, 1995, petitioner filed a Motion to Strike Out and/or Review Result of Reinvestigation praying that:
(a) the Ombudsman's Resolution of January 9, 1995 sustaining his original finding that probable cause (exists) against
petitioner be stricken off the record;chanrobles virtual law library
(b) the information be dismissedchanrobles virtual law library
(c) or in the alternative, for the court to review Ombudsman's finding of probable cause against him" (Annex "X").
24. On January 16, 1995, the motion was denied by respondent Sandiganbayan. . . . (Corrections in parentheses supplied.)
Hence, this petition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner assails the discretionary power of the Ombudsman to review the recommendations of the government prosecutors
and to approve or disapprove the same through a mere marginal note, without conducting another preliminary investigation.
Similarly, petitioners fault respondent Sandiganbayan for, allegedly in grave abuse of discretion, refusing to review the finding
of the Ombudsman that there exists probable cause to hold petitioner liable for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, considering
that the Ombudsman did not comply with the guidelines set forth by respondent court in the conduct of the
reinvestigation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We shall first deal with the propriety or impropriety of the questioned marginal notes, dated February 9, 1994 and December 9,
1994, issued by then Special Prosecutor Aniano Desierto (now Ombudsman) and Deputy Special Prosecutor Jose de G.
Ferrer, respectively. Petitioner contends that these marginal notes are null and void on the ground that the same were issued
without the benefit of a new preliminary investigation and that the findings therein were not based on the facts and the evidence
presented. It is likewise averred that the above-named government prosecutors were engaging in a fishing expedition when
they changed theories, that is, from "evident bad faith" to "manifest partiality," but only after the Sandiganbayan had issued a
Resolution declaring that the original finding of bad faith was unwarranted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
After a careful scrutiny of the issues raised in the petition for certiorari, the arguments in support thereof, as well as the
comments of the public respondents thereon, we are not convinced that herein public respondents acted with grave abuse of
discretion or without or in excess of jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The mere fact that the order to file the information against petitioner was contained in a marginal note is not sufficient to impute
arbitrariness or caprice on the part of respondent special prosecutors, absent a clear showing that they gravely abused their
discretion in disapproving the recommendation of the investigating prosecutors to dismiss or withdraw the case against
petitioner. Neither are these marginal notes tainted with or indicative of vindictiveness or arbitrariness as imputed by petitioner.
Public respondents disapproved the recommendation of the investigating prosecutors because they sincerely believed that
there is sufficient evidence to indict the accused.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The Ombudsman's conformity thereto is but an exercise of his powers based upon constitutional mandate and the courts
should not interfere in such exercise. The rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and prosecutory powers
granted by the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman but upon practicality as well. Otherwise, the functions of the courts
will be grievously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by the
Office of the Ombudsman with regard to complaints filed before it, in much the same way that the courts would be extremely
swamped if they could be compelled to review the exercise of discretion on the part of the fiscals or prosecuting attorneys each
time they decide to file an information in court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.
5

It may be true that, on the face thereof, the marginal notes seem to lack any factual or evidentiary basis for failure to specifically
spell out the same. However, that is not all there is to it. What is actually involved here is a situation wherein, on the bases of
the same findings of fact of the investigating prosecutors, respondent special prosecutors were of the opinion that, contrary to
the former's recommendation, petitioner is probably guilty of the offense charged. Obviously, therefore, since it is merely a
review of the conclusions arrived at by the investigating prosecutor, another or a new preliminary investigation is no longer
necessary.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The case of Cruz, Jr. vs. People, et al.,
6
which involves substantially the same issues, has ruled on the matter in this wise:
It may seem that the ratio decidendi for the Ombudsman's order may be wanting but this is not a case of a total absence of
factual and legal bases nor a failure to appreciate the evidence presented. What is actually involved here is merely a review of
the conclusion arrived at by the investigating prosecutor as a result of his study and analysis of the complaint, counter-
affidavits, and the evidence submitted by the parties during the preliminary investigation. The Ombudsman here is not
conducting anew another investigation but is merely determining the propriety and correctness of the recommendation given by
the investigating prosecutor, that is, whether probable cause actually exists or not, on the basis of the findings of the latter.
Verily, it is discretionary upon the Ombudsman if he will rely mainly on the findings of fact of the investigating prosecutor in
making a review of the latter's report and recommendation, as the Ombudsman can very well make his own findings of fact.
There is nothing to prevent him from acting one way or the other. As a matter of fact, Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court
provides that "where the investigating assistant fiscal recommends the dismissal of the case but his findings are reversed by
the provincial or city fiscal or the chief state prosecutor on the ground that a probable cause exists, the latter may, by himself,
file the corresponding information against the respondent or direct any other assistant fiscal or state prosecutor to do so,
without conducting another preliminary investigation."chanrobles virtual law library
With more reason may the Ombudsman not be faulted in arriving at a conclusion different from that of the investigating
prosecutor on the basis of the same set of facts. It cannot be said that the Ombudsman committed a grave abuse of discretion
simply because he opines contrarily to the prosecutor that, under the facts obtaining in the case, there is probable cause to
believe that herein petitioner is guilty of the offense charged.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
. . . (f)rom the tenor of respondent Ombudsman's statement, it is clear that heagreed with the findings of facts of the
investigating prosecutor but disagreedwith the latter's conclusion on the import and significance of said findings. On the basis of
the findings of fact of the investigating prosecutor, which were not disputed by petitioner, respondent Ombudsman believed that
there was sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime had been committed and that petitioner is probably
guilty thereof. (Italics in the original text.)
The alleged shift in theory from "evident bad faith" to "manifest partiality" fails to present a sufficient indicium that respondent
prosecutors gravely abused their discretion. Manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence are but
elements of the offense defined in and punishable under Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 for which petitioner stands
charged. The presence or absence of the elements of the crime are evidentiary in nature and are matters of defense, the truth
of which can be best passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits. Thus, the issue of whether there was bad faith or
manifest partiality on the part of petitioner should best be determined, not in the preliminary investigation, but during the trial
proper.
7

It must here be stressed that a preliminary investigation is essentially inquisitorial, and it is often the only means of discovering
the persons who may be seasonably charged with a crime, to enable the prosecutor to prepare his complaint or information It is
not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining whether a crime has been committed and
whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof, and it does not place the persons against whom it
is taken in jeopardy. It is not the occasion for the full and exhaustive display of the parties' evidence; it is for the presentation of
such evidence only as may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been committed and that the accused is
probably guilty thereof.
8

Consequently, petitioner's asseveration that the reinvestigation is null and void because the respondent prosecutors failed to
consider all the evidence presented in his defense has no leg to stand on. A perusal of the records will show that all the
documentary evidence, as well as the additional documents submitted by petitioner during the reinvestigation, were thoroughly
examined and fully evaluated in the determination of probable cause.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Probable cause, as explained in the aforecited case of Pilapil, is -
. . . a reasonable ground of presumption that a matter is, or may be, well founded, such a state of facts in the mind of the
prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary caution and prudence to believe, or entertain an honest or strong suspicion, that
a thing is so. The term does not mean "actual and positive cause" nor does it import absolute certainty. It is merely based on
opinion and reasonable belief. Thus, a finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient
evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense
charged. Precisely, there is a trial for the reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of the
charge.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Whether an act was done causing undue injury to the government and whether the same was done with manifest partiality or
evident bad faith can only be made out by proper and sufficient testimony. Necessarily, a conclusion can be arrived at when the
case has already proceeded on sufficient proof.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
. . . the court should not be guided by the rule that accused must be shown to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather
whether there is sufficient evidence which inclines the mind to believe, without necessarily leaving room for doubt, that accused
is guilty thereof.
9
chanrobles virtual law library
We have meticulously analyzed the arguments raised by the parties in the various pleadings and motions, together with their
documentary evidence, which all formed the basis for the issuance of the questioned resolutions, and we are convinced that
there exists probable cause as to warrant the filing of charges against herein petitioner for a violation of Section 3(e) of
Republic Act
No. 3019.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner's main defense is that BCCI was not issued a mayor's permit by reason of its failure to apply therefor and to comply
with the conditions set forth in Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 744. There are several flaws to this argument.
First. The purported absence of an application for the issuance of a permit is actually more apparent than real. Initially,
petitioner claims that he could not grant a permit to BCCI, which was allegedly demanding an exclusive authority to operate, on
the pretext that he can be held liable for a violation of Republic Act No. 3019 for giving unwarranted benefits to BCCI to the
detriment of other Baclaran-based vendors' associations. Subsequently, but in the same vein, petitioner tries to justify the
issuance of an executive order granting a permit to the unidentified Baclaran-based vendors' associations, in that the same did
not cause injury to BCCI since the authority to operate given to the latter is not exclusive.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
It would appear, therefore, that petitioner had taken it upon himself to categorize and determine the exclusivity or non-
exclusivity of the authority to operate granted to BCCI, depending on whether or not it would suit his purpose or predilection.
The inconsistent stand taken by petitioner with regard to the true character of BCCI's authority to operate is indeed quite
perplexing and suffices to cast sufficient doubt on the real motive behind the non-issuance of the required permit.
Second. It is asserted that the executive order granting a permit to the Baclaran-based vendors' associations was issued by
petitioner supposedly in the best interest of the municipality as evidenced by its earnings from the night fair in the total amount
of P13,512,948.00. While the avowed purpose may prove noble, still it miserably pales in contrast to what appears to be bad
faith or manifest partiality on the part of petitioner in refusing to grant a permit to BCCI. Petitioner could not plausibly
demonstrate how the issuance of a permit to BCCI would so adversely affect public interest as to warrant its denial. On the
contrary, the Sangguniang Bayan of Paraaque had even passed a resolution, which notably was approved by herein
petitioner, expressly allowing BCCI to hold the night fair. This is concrete proof that the grant of authority to operate in favor of
BCCI was not at all contrary to law and public policy, nor was it prejudicial to public
interest.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner's suspected partiality may be gleaned from the fact that he issued a permit in favor of the unidentified Baclaran-based
vendors' associations by the mere expedient of an executive order, whereas so many requirements were imposed on BCCI
before it could be granted the same permit. Worse, petitioner failed to show, in apparent disregard of BCCI's right to equal
protection, that BCCI and the unidentified Baclaran-based vendors' associations were not similarly situated as to give at least a
semblance of legality to the apparent haste with which said executive order was issued. It would seem that if there was any
interest served by such executive order, it was that of herein petitioner.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner likewise submits that no permit could be issued because BCCI never filed an application therefor with the proper
office, that is, the Business Permit and Licensing Office. This is actually begging the question. It is not denied that on November
13, 1992, BCCI, through its general manager, wrote petitioner requesting for a permit to operate, but this was rejected outright
by him on the theory that the application should be made with the proper municipal official. The indifference shown by petitioner
to BCCI's application taints his actuations with dubiety.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As the mayor of the municipality, the officials referred to were definitely under his authority and he was not without recourse to
take appropriate action on the letter-application of BCCI although the same was not strictly in accordance with normal
procedure. There was nothing to prevent him from referring said letter-application to the licensing department, but which
paradoxically he refused to do. Whether petitioner was impelled by any material interest or ulterior motive may be beyond us for
the moment since this is a matter of evidence, but the environmental facts and circumstances are sufficient to create a belief in
the mind of a reasonable man that this would not be completely improbable, absent countervailing
clarification.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Lastly, it may not be amiss to add that petitioner, as a municipal mayor, is expressly authorized and has the power to issue
permits and licenses for the holding of activities for any charitable or welfare purpose, pursuant to Section 444 (b) (3) (iv and v)
of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160). Hence, he cannot really feign total lack of authority to act on
the letter-application of BCCI..chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On the basis of the foregoing, we are reasonably convinced that there is enough evidence to warrant the filing of a formal
charge in court against herein petitioner for a violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No.
3019.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Considering that the findings of fact by the Office of the Ombudsman are supported by substantial evidence, the same should
be considered conclusive. Furthermore, the Ombudsman's findings are essentially factual in nature. Accordingly, in assailing
said findings on the contention that the Ombudsman committed a grave abuse of discretion in holding that petitioner is liable for
the offense charged, the petition at bar clearly raises questions of fact. The arguments therein are anchored on the propriety of
or error in the Ombudsman's appreciation of the facts of the case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner cannot be unaware of our oft-repeated injunction that this Court is not a trier of facts, more so in an application for the
extraordinary writ of certiorari where neither questions of fact nor even of law are entertained, since only questions of lack or
excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion are authorized.
10
On this issue, therefore, we find that no grave abuse of
discretion has been committed by respondents which would warrant the granting of the writ of certiorari, especially where the
circumstances attending the recourse therefor are strongly suggestive of dilatory
purposes.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
SO ORDERED.
http://www.chanrobles.com/scdecisions/jurisprudence1995/oct1995/gr_118533_1995.php

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FELIPE BALLESTEROS, CESAR GALO and ALVIN
BULUSAN, accused-appellants.
D E C I S I O N
ROMERO, J.:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Branch 19, finding the accused
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, qualified by treachery, as charged under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, to wit:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the three accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, qualified by treachery, as
charged, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and applying Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code hereby sentences them to reclusion perpetua, with all the accessory penalties provided by law, and further
sentencing them to pay jointly and solidarily -
1. The heirs of Jerry Agliam compensatory damages in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P50,000.00), moral damages in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00), and actual
damages in the amount of THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE PESOS
(P35,755.00), with interest;
2. The heirs of the late Eduardo Tolentino, Sr., compensatory damages in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND
PESOS (P50,000.00), moral damages in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00), and
actual damages in the total amount of SIXTY-ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE
PESOS (P61,785.00), with interest;
3. Carmelo Agliam, actual damages in the amount of TWO THOUSAND AND THREE PESOS AND FORTY
CENTAVOS (P2,003.40), and moral damages in the amount of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00),
with interest;
4. Vidal Agliam Jr., Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino, moral damages in the amount of FIVE THOUSAND
PESOS (P5,000.00) each, with interest.
5. The costs.
The accused shall be credited in the service of their sentence the full time during which they had undergone preventive
imprisonment, if they agreed voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners,
otherwise, they shall be credited in the service thereof with only four-fifths of the time during which they had undergone
preventive imprisonment.
[1]

In the warm summer evening of May 28, 1991, Carmelo Agliam, his half-brother Eduardo Tolentino, Ronnel Tolentino,
Vidal Agliam, his brother Jerry Agliam, Robert Cacal, Raymundo Bangi and Marcial Barid converged at a carinderia owned by
Ronnel Tolentino at Ganayao, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. They proceeded to the barangay hall at Carusipan to attend a
dance. The group did not tarry for long at the dance because they sensed some hostility from Cesar Galo and his companions
who were giving them dagger looks. In order to avoid trouble, especially during the festivity, they decided to head for home
instead of reacting to the perceived provocation of Galo and his companions.
The group had barely left when, within fifty meters from the dance hall, their owner jeep was fired upon from the rear.
Vidal Agliam was able to jump out from the eastern side of the topdown jeep and landed just beside it. He scurried to the side
of the road and hid in the ricefield. His younger brother Jerry also managed to jump out, but was shot in the stomach and
died.
[2]
Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino sustained injuries in the right foot, back of the right thigh, and legs
and thighs, respectively.
[3]
The stunned Eduardo Tolentino was not even able to move from his seat and was hit with a bullet
which punctured his right kidney.
[4]
He did not survive. The precipitate attack upon the jeep left two people dead and four
others injured.
Based upon the affidavits of Carmelo and Vidal Agliam, warrants for the arrest of Ballesteros, Galo and Bulusan were
issued. Charged with the crime of double murder with multiple frustrated murder, an information was filed as follows:
That on or about (sic) May 28, 1991, in the Municipality of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the
Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, nighttime purposely sought, with evident premeditation and treachery,
confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there, with intent to kill, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack
and shot Eduardo Tolentino Sr., Jerry Agliam, Vidal Agliam, Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino, with the use
of firearms which caused the death of Eduardo Tolentino Sr. and Jerry Agliam and thereby inflicting gunshot wounds to Vidal
Agliam, Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino having performed all the acts which would have produced the
crime of Murder, but which did not by reason of causes independent of the will of the defendant, namely the able and timely
medical assistance given to said Vidal Agliam, Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino which prevented their
death.
All pleaded not guilty. Paraffin tests conducted on Galo and Ballesteros produced positive results. Bulusan was not
tested for nitrates.
In his testimony, Galo claimed that he did not even talk to Bulusan or any of his companions at the basketball court, as
alleged by the complainants. Having been found with gunpowder residue in his hands, Galo attempted to exculpate himself
from the results by confessing that he had been a cigarette smoker for the past ten years and had, in fact, just consumed eight
cigarette sticks prior to the test. He further asserted that paraffin tests are not infallible, and that his hand may have been
contaminated by a nitrogenous compound, the source of which is urine. Lastly, he said that he was not even present at the
crime scene when the firing incident took place; hence, he could not have been one of those who strafed the jeep.
[5]

For his part, Ballesteros interposed the defense of alibi, narrating to the court that, on May 28, 1991, at around 7:00
oclock in the evening, he went to a nearby store to purchase some cigarettes. He returned home within thirty minutes and
cleaned his garlic bulbs before retiring at 9:00 oclock. The next morning, he busied himself with some chores, which included
fertilizing his pepper plants with sulfate. He handled the fertilizers without gloves. To counter the finding of traces of nitrates on
his left hand, Ballesteros maintained that he uses his left hand in lighting cigarettes, as it was very painful for him to use his
right hand. He likewise informed the trial court that he had no motive to kill the victims.
[6]

Bulusan echoed the defense of alibi of Galo and Ballesteros, stating that he saw only Galo on the evening of the dance
but did not talk to him. He denied joining the two later that night because after the dance, he went straight to the house of
Michael Viloria, where he spent the night until he went to work at 7:00 oclock in the morning of the following day.
[7]

The trial court found the three accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, qualified by treachery, as charged,
defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.
The accused now come to the High Court on appeal, praying that the decision of the trial court be reversed and that a
new one be entered acquitting them of the charges.
The principal question to be resolved has to do with the merits of the decision of the lower court. Was it correct in finding
accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt? We answer in the affirmative.
Accused-appellants insist that the trial court erred in finding that Carmelo and Vidal Agliam recognized them as the
assailants. This claim is unmeritorious. In their testimonies, Carmelo and Vidal Agliam both described the area to be well
illumined by the moon. The shooting took place on a small road in the mountainous terrains of Ilocos Norte, where the air is
free from darkening elements and turbidity. It being a summer evening, there could not have been any fog to becloud the
atmosphere and hamper the vision of the victims, which would have prevented them from clearly seeing their assailants. They
pinpointed the location of the malefactors to be approximately three meters from where they stood.
[8]
Considering the
luminescence of the moon and the proximity between them, the victims could distinctly identify their assailants. It must be
noted that Carmelo was acquainted with Galo and his brother, a butcher, since he used to deal with them in his business of
buying and selling cattle.
[9]
Bulusan was a classmate of Vidal at Cadaratan School. Generally, people in rural communities
know each other both by face and name.
[10]
Bulusan and Agliam were, not only townmates, but former classmates as well. The
constant interaction between them through the years would necessarily lead to familiarity with each other such that, at the very
least, one would have been able to recognize the other easily.
That accused-appellants had no motive in perpetrating the offense is irrelevant. A distinction is herein timely made
between motive and intent. Motive is the moving power which impels one to action for a definite result. Intent, on the other
hand, is the purpose to use a particular means to effect such result.
[11]
Motive alone is not proof of a crime.
[12]
In order to tip the
scales in its favor, intent and not motive must be established by the prosecution. Motive is hardly ever an essential element of
a crime. A man driven by extreme moral perversion may be led to commit a crime, without a real motive but just for the sake of
committing it.
[13]
Along the same line, a man who commits a crime with an apparent motive may produce different results, for
which he is punished. As held in a line of cases, the rule is well-settled that the prosecution need not prove motive on the part
of the accused when the latter has been positively identified as the author of the crime.
[14]
Lack or absence of motive for
committing the crime does not preclude conviction thereof where there were reliable witnesses who fully and satisfactorily
identified the accused as the perpetrator of the felony.
[15]

Accused-appellants attempt to offer wild excuses regarding the source of the gunpowder traces found on their hands is
futile. Experts confirm the possibility that cigarettes, fertilizers and urine may leave traces of nitrates, but these are minimal
and, unlike those found in gunpowder, may be washed off with tap water.
The hackneyed defense of alibi interposed by accused-appellants must likewise fail. As consistently enunciated by this
Court, the established doctrine is that, for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove, not only that he was at some
other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus
delicti or within its immediate vicinity.
[16]
This accused-appellants failed to satisfactorily prove. On the night of May 28, 1991,
Galo and Bulusan attended the dance at the barangay hall. After the dance, they went their separate ways but remained within
the barangay. Galo lingered in the premises. Bulusan slept over at the house of Michael Viloria, which was within walking
distance from the dance hall.
The defense of alibi must be established by positive, clear and satisfactory evidence, the reason being that it is easily
manufactured and usually so unreliable that it can rarely be given credence.
[17]
This is especially true in case of positive
identification of the culprit by reliable witnesses,
[18]
which renders their alibis worthless.
[19]
Positive identification prevails over
denials and alibis.
[20]

Accused-appellants are under the common misconception that proof beyond reasonable doubt requires total freedom
from any quantum of doubt. This is not so. Under Section 2, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court,
(p)roof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree of proof as, excluding possibility of error, produces absolute
certainty. Moral certainty only is required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.
Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded by law to convict a person of a criminal charge. The doubt to the benefit of
which an accused is entitled in a criminal trial is a reasonable doubt, not a whimsical or fanciful doubt based on imagined but
wholly improbable possibilities and unsupported by evidence.
[21]
Reasonable doubt is that engendered by an investigation of
the whole proof and inability, after such investigation, to let the mind rest easy upon the certainty of guilt.
[22]
A precise example
would be the uncorroborated alibi of accused in the case at bar where accused-appellants individually interposed the wavering
defense of alibi. Galo failed to elucidate on his whereabouts after the dance, whereas Bulusan claimed to have slept in the
house of one Michael Viloria. Ballesteros attested that he was not at the dance hall at all. None of them, however, attempted to
corroborate their alibi through the testimony of witnesses. In fact, they never attempted to present as witnesses those who
could have testified to having seen them elsewhere on the night in question. Had they done so, the presentation of
corroborative testimony would have reenforced their defense of alibi. As held in People vs. Ligotan,
[23]
an alibi must be
supported by credible corroboration from disinterested witnesses, and where such defense is not corroborated, it is fatal to the
accused.
The Court correctly ruled in finding that the offense was qualified by treachery. Under Paragraph 16, Article 14 of the
Revised Penal Code, (t)here 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. The requisites of treachery are twofold: (1) (t)hat at the time of the
attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself; and (2) that the offender consciously adopted the particular means,
method or form of attack employed by him.
[24]
As regards the second requisite, the accused must make some preparation to kill
his victim in such a manner as to insure the execution of the crime or to make it impossible or hard for the person attacked to
defend himself or retaliate.
[25]
There must be evidence that such form of attack was purposely adopted by the accused.
[26]
Here,
it is obvious that the accused-appellants had sufficient opportunity to reflect on their heinous plan. The facts show that the
attack was well-planned and not merely a result of the impulsiveness of the offenders. Manifestations of their evil designs were
already apparent as early as the time of the dance. They were well-armed and approached the homebound victims, totally
unaware of their presence, from behind. There was no opportunity for the latter to defend themselves, the attack being so
sudden that Eduardo Tolentino was shot right where he sat.
The trial court was also correct in the award of damages to the heirs of the victims. Damages may be defined as the
pecuniary compensation, recompense, or satisfaction for an injury sustained, or as otherwise expressed, the pecuniary
consequences which the law imposes for the breach of some duty or the violation of some right.
[27]
Actual or compensatory
damages are those awarded in satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained,
[28]
whereas moral damages may
be invoked when the complainant has experienced mental anguish, serious anxiety, physical suffering, moral shock and so
forth, and had furthermore shown that these were the proximate result of the offenders wrongful act or omission.
[29]
In granting
actual or compensatory damages, the party making a claim for such must present the best evidence available, viz., receipts,
vouchers, and the like,
[30]
as corroborated by his testimony.
[31]
Here, the claim for actual damages by the heirs of the victims is
not controverted, the same having been fully substantiated by receipts accumulated by them and presented to the
court.
[32]
Therefore, the award of actual damages is proper. However, the order granting compensatory damages to the heirs of
Jerry Agliam and Eduardo Tolentino Sr. must be amended. Consistent with the policy of this Court, the amount of fifty
thousand pesos (P 50,000.00) is given to the heirs of the victims by way of indemnity, and not as compensatory damages.
[33]
As
regards moral damages, the amount of psychological pain, damage and injury caused to the heirs of the victims, although
inestimable,
[34]
may be determined by the trial court in its discretion. Hence, we see no reason to disturb its findings as to this
matter.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/jan1998/120921.htm

G.R. No. 101741 March 23, 1993
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ADLY HUBILO, Accused-Appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.chanrobles virtual law library
Joselito J. Ocoma for accused-appellant.
FELICIANO, J.:
Appellant Adly Hubilo was found guilty by the trial court of "multiple (triple) murder" and of frustrated murder. The conviction
was based on the following information:
That on or about the 18th day of August, 1988 in Barangay Paitan Sur, Municipality of Cuyapo, Province of Nueva Ecija,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with intent to kill and by means of
treachery as the attack was sudden and unexpected which method was employed by him to ensure execution of his plan
without risk to himself from the defense which his victims might make, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and shoot the persons of Rogelio Antonio, Hermogenia Cacayurin, Cesario Gamiz, and Ferdinand Gamiz who
were then on board a tricycle passing along an uninhabited place, thereby inflicting fatal gunshot wounds on the persons of
Rogelio Antonio, Hermogenia Cacayurin and Cesario Gamiz which resulted [in] their death, as well as inflicting fatal gunshot
wounds on the person of Ferdinand Gamiz which ordinarily would cause his death, thus performing all the acts of execution
necessary to produce the crime of murder but did not, however, produce the same due to some cause independent of the will
of the accused, that is, the timely and able medical attendance rendered to Ferdinand Gamiz which prevented his
death.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
That as a consequence of the crime committed, the corresponding heirs of Rogelio Antonio, Hermogenia Cacayurin and
Cesario Gamiz suffered actual, moral and consequential damages which could be estimated in the total sum of P50,000.00
each victim and Ferdinand Gamiz, P30,000.00.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Contrary to law.
1
chanrobles virtual law library
He is now before this Court on appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The facts found by the trial court may be summarized in the following manner.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
On 18 August 1988, at around 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Hermogenia Cacayurin, Cesario Gamiz and Ferdinand Gamiz
were riding on a tricycle driven by Rogelio Antonio, proceeding north toward Barangay Nagcuralan, Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija,
where they resided. As they approached the cemetery of Nagcuralan, gunfire greeted them and driver Rogelio, being hit, fell off
the tricycle. Ferdinand Gamiz who had been seated behind the tricycle driver jumped off the tricycle and ran in a northerly
direction. He was met or confronted by an armed man whose face was covered by handkerchief. The masked gunman lifted his
weapon, a 2-1/2 foot long firearm and fired at Ferdinand, hitting him near the right armpit. As the gunman fired, the cover on his
face fell off. Ferdinand recognized the assailant as Adly Hubilo, also a resident of Nagcuralan and known to him since he
reached the age of reason. Wounded and fearing for his life, Ferdinand pleaded: "Please, have mercy on me, manong." Hubilo,
however, squeezed the trigger again but this time the gun did not fire. Ferdinand seized his chance to escape death and ran
away as fast as he could in a westerly direction. Hubilo tried to pursue Ferdinand and reload his weapon at the same time.
Ferdinand was able to elude him and as he looked back while fleeing, he saw Hubilo approach the stalled tricycle and fire many
shots.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The wounded Ferdinand continued to run for sometime. He stopped at an inclined pass, where two (2) young boys saw him
and he called to them for help. Two (2) barangay tanods, Lolito Balbas and his brother Loreto Balbas, later came upon the
scene. Ferdinand told them that he had been shot by Adly Hubilo. Ferdinand was put on board another tricycle in order to bring
him to the municipal building of Cuyapo. En route, the tricycle passed by the cemetery of Nagcuralan where the shooting had
taken place, and where Cesario Gamiz, Rogelio Antonio, Hermogenia Cacayurin lay dead of gunshot wounds. Ferdinand's
father, Roberto Gamiz, was at the scene and Ferdinand told him that they (Ferdinand and his brother Cesario and their
companions) had been shot by appellant Hubilo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Ferdinand was later transferred from the tricycle to an ambulance. When the ambulance reached the Cuyapo Municipal
Building, Patrolman Eddie Damaso got on board and started questioning Ferdinand. After some initial reluctance, Ferdinand
told the police officer that he and his companions had been shot by Adly Hubilo. Ferdinand was later taken to a hospital in
Tarlac and there was operated on by Dr. Manuel Alzate who had decided that without proper medical attention, Ferdinand
would die of his gunshot wounds.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Dr. Pilarcita Verde conducted post mortem examinations on Cesario Gamiz, Rogelio Antonio and Hermogenia Cacayurin on 18
August 1988. The examination showed that the three (3) died because of multiple gunshot wounds: (a) Cesario suffered eight
[8] wounds; (b) Rogelio was felled by three [3]; while (c) Hermogenia sustained two [2]
wounds.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On the morning of 19 August 1988, policemen went to Hubilo's house and asked him to go with them to the police station in
Cuyapo. At the station, appellant Hubilo was informed that he was a suspect in the killings which had occurred on the afternoon
of 18 August 1988. He, together with his farm helper Bernardo Silapan, who was also a suspect, was detained in jail. The two
(2) suspects were later taken to Camp Olivas and underwent a paraffin test which, however, found them negative for powder
burns.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On 22 August 1988, the Police Station Commander of Cuyapo filed a complaint for multiple murder with frustrated murder
against appellant Hubilo and Bernardo Silapan before the Municipal Trial Court ("MTC") of Cuyapo. The next day, which was
also Ferdinand Gamiz' fifth day in the hospital, policemen brought appellant Hubilo with them to the hospital. There, Ferdinand
identified appellant Hubilo as the person who had shot him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In the MTC's resolution dated 26 August 1988, suspect Bernardo Silapan was dropped from the complaint and the records of
the case were ordered forwarded to the Provincial Prosecutor of Nueva Ecija. Hubilo filed with the MTC a motion to fix bail and
for provisional liberty upon the filing of the bail bond, dated 31 August 1988. At the hearing set on 9 September 1988, when the
police prosecutor informed the Court that he was not ready, counsel for Hubilo manifested that they were waiving their right to
present evidence at the preliminary investigation and prayed that the records of the case, including the motion to fix bail, be
forwarded to the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Guimba, Nueva Ecija. Defense counsel also requested that accused Hubilo be
transferred and detained at Guimba. The MTC thereupon issued an order granting the
request.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On 28 September 1988, an information was filed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Ubaldino A. Lacurom against appellant,
with the RTC. On 17 October 1988, appellant Hubilo filed another motion to fix bail, but this motion was denied by the trial
court. On a motion for reconsideration, however, the trial court reversed itself and held a hearing on the application for
bail.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Ultimately, the RTC denied the application for bail, holding that the evidence of guilt of accused Hubilo was strong. Appellant
responded by filing, on 12 April 1989, a motion to disqualify or inhibit the judge alleging that appellant would not be afforded a
fair trial because of the findings of the RTC. Judge Raymundo Z. Annang then inhibited himself and ordered the records of the
case forwarded to the Executive Judge, but Executive Judge Pablo D. Atienza ordered the return of the case to the sala of
Judge Annang. Judge Annang set the case for arraignment, pre-trial and trial; but these settings did not materialize. Appellant
Hubilo filed a Petition for Certiorari before this Court, questioning the denial of his application for bail and the order of Executive
Judge Atienza returning the case to Judge Annang for continuation of proceedings. This Petition was dismissed by this Court
for failure to attach clearly legible duplicate originals or certified true copies of the questioned orders. Appellant then filed with
the trial court a motion for preliminary investigation. This motion was denied. Appellant Hubilo was finally arraigned on 9
November 1989, and he pleaded not guilty. The case proceeded to trial on the merits. In due time, the RTC promulgated its
judgment convicting the accused.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In the instant appeal, appellant Hubilo contends that the trial court committed the following errors:
1. The trial court erred in denying the accused his constitutional rights of due process of law, when it denied his "Motion for
Preliminary Investigation and/or Investigation" on August 29, 1989;chanrobles virtual law library
2. The trial court erred in considering the "ante-mortem statement (Dying Declaration) (Exhibit A) of Ferdinand Gamiz taken
from him by Pat. Eddie Damaso at 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon (one hour after he was shot) on August 18, 1988 has all the
requisites of law which made it valid and admissible in evidence for the prosecution;chanrobles virtual law library
3. The trial court erred in disregarding the findings of the PC Crime Laboratory Service, Camp Olivas, San Fernando,
Pampanga, wherein they found that both hands of the accused do not contain gunpowder residue (nitrate);chanrobles virtual
law library
4. The trial court erred in ruling that "from the evidence of the prosecution, the accused Adly Hubilo suddenly fired at the
victim[s] Rogelio Antonio, Hermogenia Cacayurin, [and] Cesario Gamiz when they were in [on] board a tricycle . . .";chanrobles
virtual law library
5. The trial court erred in disregarding the findings of Dr. Manuel Alzate, the medico-legal expert as follows:
Point of entry 10th ICS AAL right
Point of exit epigastric area
lacerated wound 5 cm.
right lobe liver;
6. The trial court erred in not considering that there was evil motive in the filing of the charges against the accused;chanrobles
virtual law library
7. The court erred in relying too much on the testimony of Ferdinand Gamiz despite the unnatural, unreliable and unbelievable
declarations of said witness which are replete with several falsehoods leading to the conviction of the accused;chanrobles
virtual law library
8. The trial court erred in disregarding the evidence and defenses of the accused;chanrobles virtual law library
9. The trial court erred in finding the accused guilty of the crime of multiple murder (triple) with frustrated murder as
charged.
2
chanrobles virtual law library
In principle, the first alleged error, if it were proven, is a serious one, considering that the right to preliminary investigation is a
substantive right and its denial amounts to a denial of due process of law.
3
An accused in a criminal case, however, may waive
his right to preliminary investigation,
4
and here appellant Hubilo expressly waived preliminary investigation. Moreover, appellant,
by applying for bail,
5
and by submitting to arraignment and proceeding to trial, must be deemed to have foregone his right to
preliminary investigation and his right to question any irregularity that might have attended such investigation.
6
We note, still
further, that appellant did not question the supposed denial of his right to preliminary investigation by going to an appellate
court on certiorari and prohibition. In the light of the foregoing circumstances, and considering that the trial court has rendered
after trial on the merits a judgment of conviction on what it regarded as proof beyond reasonable doubt, it is too late in the day
for appellant to make an issue of his right to a preliminary investigation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The so-called ante mortem statement (Exhibit "A") which is the subject of the second assignment of error, was properly
admissible even though declarant Ferdinand Gamiz did not eventually die. That statement which was made by Ferdinand as he
lay wounded in the ambulance before being brought to a hospital shortly after the shooting, is properly considered as part of
the res gestae. The rule on admissibility of statements forming part of the res gestae,
7
as one of the exceptions to the hearsay
rule, requires that: (a) the principal act, the res gestae, be a startling occurrence; (b) the statements forming part thereof were
made while the startling occurrence was taking place or immediately prior or subsequent thereto, that is, before the declarant
had the opportunity to reflect upon such occurrence and to contrive possible falsehood; and (c) the statements relate to the
occurrence in question and its attendant circumstances.
8
The gunfire that greeted Hermogenia Cacayurin, Cesario Antonio, and
Ferdinand Gamiz while riding on the tricycle and as they approached the cemetery of Nagcuralan, was certainly a very startling
occurrence. So too was the sudden appearance of an armed man who suddenly shoots and hits the fleeing Ferdinand Gamiz.
In his statement (Exhibit "A"), the declarant Ferdinand Gamiz referred to the shooting that had just occurred and positively
identified Adly Hubilo as the assailant. Since all the requisites were present, we consider that the statement of Francisco Gamiz
(Exhibit "A") was properly admissible as part of the res gestae.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Appellant Hubilo also contends that the trial court erred in disregarding the finding of the PC Crime Laboratory Service that both
his hands yielded no trace of gunpowder residue. This Court, however, has observed that it is quite possible for a person to
discharge a firearm and yet exhibit no trace of nitrates: when, e.g., the assailant fired the weapon while wearing gloves or
where the assailant subsequently washes his hands.
9
As Marlyn Salangad of the PC Crime Laboratory Service stated in her
testimony before the trial court, if a person covers his hand with a handkerchief or wears rubber gloves before firing a gun, or
pulls the trigger with a strong wind blowing away from the gunman, gunpowder residue would not be found in that person's
hands.10 In People v. Pasiliao,
11
a finding that the paraffin test on the person of the appellant yielded negative results, was held
to be not conclusive evidence to show that the appellant indeed had not fired a gun.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
The rest of the assignments of error may be discussed together. Appellant Hubilo attacks the testimony of Ferdinand Gamiz as
unnatural, unreliable and unbelievable. Hubilo, however, failed to show any animosity or ill-feeling on the part of Ferdinand
Gamiz which could have motivated Ferdinand falsely to accuse Hubilo of the crimes of multiple murder and frustrated murder.
Appellant did voice his suspicion that Buenaventura Flores, Barangay Captain of Nagcuralan, had a hand in the filing of the
criminal charges against appellant. Appellant suggested that because he was the strongest political rival of Flores, Flores was
interested in seeing to it that appellant was incarcerated.
12
We consider, however, that this contention is much too speculative,
considering that appellant did not show that Ferdinand had named appellant Hubilo as his assailant only after strong pressure
applied by Flores. In fact, appellant failed to show any connection between Ferdinand Gamiz and Buenaventura Flores that
could have established an ill-motive on the part of Ferdinand in accusing appellant Hubilo of multiple murder and frustrated
murder. Appellant did not even show that he was a political rival of Flores, considering that appellant himself admitted that he
had never run for any public position in the Barangay of Nagcuralan.
13
No evil or improper motive in testifying against the
appellant having been shown, the presumption is that Ferdinand did not have any such motive and so his testimony is entitled
to full faith and credence.14 Ferdinand was a lone eyewitness. In People v. De la Cruz,
15
and many other cases, this Court
has, however, held that the testimony of a single eyewitness, if positive, reasonable and credible, is sufficient to support a
conviction, especially where the testimony bears the earmarks of truth and sincerity and had been delivered spontaneously,
naturally and in a straightforward manner. In the case at bar, the trial court was able to observe the demeanor of prosecution
witness and victim Ferdinand Gamiz on the stand and to assess the credibility of that witness. Thus, the familiar applicable rule
is that the trial court's conclusion on the credibility of witnesses is accorded great weight on appeal, absent a showing that such
conclusion was reached in a merely arbitrary and capricious manner.
16
chanrobles virtual law library
Ferdinand's statement concerning the point of entry (the stomach) and the point of exit (his right side) of the bullet which had hit
him is, it is true, not consistent with Dr. Manuel Alzate's finding that the bullet had entered Ferdinand's right side and exited
from his stomach. We do not believe, however, that this inconsistency requires us to regard Ferdinand's entire testimony as, in
the words of appellant's counsel,
17
"replete with patent falsities contradictory to one another." Ferdinand was not a medical
doctor and therefore, quite possibly did not know which of his wounds was the entry wound and which the exit wound. It takes
only a split second for a bullet to pierce and to traverse a person's body. Ferdinand knew that appellant Hubilo was generally
facing him when the shot rang out, and so could well have assumed that his stomach wound was the wound of entry and the
other, the exit wound. But it is not at all improbable for Ferdinand to have turned to his left as he sought to escape his assailant
thereby exposing his right side. It is also possible that the assailant was not frontally facing Ferdinand, but could have been
positioned somewhat to the right of Ferdinand. The Court notes also that Dr. Alzate himself testified that he could not pinpoint
the position of the attacker from an examination of the bullet wounds of Ferdinand.
18
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Appellant Hubilo also complains that Ferdinand had described the gun used by appellant as a 22-caliber long firearm, while the
shells recovered by the police from the scene of the crime indicated that a Garand rifle and an M-30 U.S. Army Carbine had
been used.
19
Again, this inconsistency is not a substantial one, if only because Ferdinand (unlike appellant Hubilo) was not a
military man and was not familiar with firearms.
20
We consider, therefore, that this inconsistency, if that is what it was, did not
impair the value and weight ascribed by the trial court to the testimony of Ferdinand Gamiz. As frequently pointed out by this
Court, minor inconsistencies in the declarations of witnesses do not destroy the witnesses' credibility, but even enhance their
worth as they preclude suspicion that the testimony had been coached or rehearsed.
21
chanrobles virtual law library
Appellant set up the defense of alibi. He alleged that he had spent most of 18 August 1988 with his relatives in Sinimbaan, a
locality that was a
30-minute walk away from Nagcuralan, and had left Sinimbaan only at around 5:30 p.m.
22
Appellant's relatives testified in
support of his alibi. As has been emphasized time and again by this Court, however, alibi by itself is a weak defense, especially
if it is sought to be established by the testimony of the accused himself and that of his relatives, and not by independent
witnesses.
23
An accused asserting alibi must not only show that he was at some other place at the time the crime had
occurred, but also that it is physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime.
24
In the case at bar, it certainly
was not impossible for appellant to have been at Nagcuralan at the time of the shooting, since between Sinimbaan and
Nagcuralan, it was only a 30-minute walk, and an even shorter ride by bicycle or by a
tricycle.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The weakness of appellant's alibi is heavily underscored by the fact that appellant was positively identified by Ferdinand Gamiz
as his assailant.
25
In his brief, appellant insists that Ferdinand had at first declined to identify his assailant when questioned by
Patrolman Eddie Damaso. Appellant apparently seeks to suggest that Ferdinand had not really recognized who his assailant
had been. If there was any reluctance on the part of Ferdinand, in immediately identifying to Patrolman Eddie Damaso who his
assailant had been, while he lay wounded inside the ambulance which had stopped by the municipal hall, we must note that it
is not uncommon for a witness or the victim of a crime to show some reluctance about getting involved in a criminal case.
26
The
initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer information about a criminal case is common and has been recognized as not
affecting the intrinsic credibility of a witness.
27
What is properly stressed is that Ferdinand did identify appellant Hubilo as his
assailant several times. Ferdinand had pointed to Hubilo twice even before Patrolman Eddie Damaso questioned him: he
revealed the identity of his assailant to barangay tanod Lolito Balbas and to his father, Roberto Gamiz, shortly after the
shooting and before the ambulance had taken him to the municipal hall where Patrolman Damaso questioned him. Moreover,
Ferdinand reiterated his identification a fourth time before the trial court where he stated that he had personally known Hubilo
"since reaching the age of reason," both of them being residents of Nagcuralan. Thus, the denial of appellant Hubilo must be
weighed against this positive repeated identification by the victim himself. The trial court gave full credence to this identification
and, after careful examination of the record, we find no reason for reversing the trial court on this
point.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The crime was correctly characterized by the trial court as murder, appellant having employed treachery in staging the
ambuscade. Appellant selected a secluded and uninhabited area, where thick cogon grass grew on the side of the road, and
suddenly fired as the tricycle with its three (3) passengers and driver approached. Appellant, in other words, chose a particular
mode of execution of the felony which tended to ensure its commission without risk to himself arising from any defense which
the victim might make.
28
chanrobles virtual law library
The trial court held appellant Hubilo guilty of "multiple (triple) murder, with frustrated murder:"
WHEREFORE and in view of all the foregoing, Judgment is hereby rendered, finding the accused Adly Hubilo guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime ofMultiple (Triple) Murder with Frustrated Murder as charged, and hereby sentences him to
suffer LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
As a consequence thereof, said accused is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Rogelio Antonio,
Hermogenia Cacayurin and Cesario Gamiz in the sum of P30,000 each, and likewise to pay Ferdinand Gamiz the sum of
P20,000, as moral and actual damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the
costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
IT IS SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied)
When the evidence presented by the prosecution did not show that a single shot had slain three (3) different persons, appellant
is properly held liable for three (3) separate murders. In the case at bar, separate and distinct acts (or shots) were directed at
each of the deceased victims. As earlier noted, Cesario had suffered eight (8) bullet wounds, Rogelio Antonio, three (3); and
Hermogenia Cacayurin two (2). Moreover, the evidence showed that, after the wounded Ferdinand had escaped, appellant
Hubilo went back to the stalled tricycle and fired multiple shots at the three (3) victims lying on the road, presumably to make
sure all three (3) were dead.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the judgment of the trial court dated 14 June 1991 is hereby MODIFIED by holding
appellant Adly Hubilo guilty of three (3) separate crimes of murder and one crime of frustrated murder. He is hereby sentenced
to suffer three (3) penalties of reclusion perpetua; and for the frustrated murder, he is hereby sentenced to imprisonment for a
period ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day as minimum to twenty (20) years as maximum. The indemnity due to the
heirs of Cesario Gamiz, Rogelio Antonio and Hermogenia Cacayurin, is hereby INCREASED to P50,000.00 each, in line with
recent jurisprudence of this Court. As so modified, the judgment of the trial court is hereby
AFFIRMED.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
SO ORDERED.
http://www.chanrobles.com/scdecisions/jurisprudence1993/mar1993/gr_101741_1993.php

[G.R. Nos. 137408-10. December 8, 2000]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. WILLY MARQUEZ, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
For automatic review by the Court is the conviction of accused Willy Marquez, for three (3) counts of rape
[1]
committed
against five-year old Maria Cristina Agustin. The three (3) similarly worded informations, all dated February 17, 1998 allege:
That on or about the month of October 1997, at Brgy. Bacayao, Municipality of Guimba, Province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd design, and taking advantage of his
superior strength, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
knowledge of one MARIA CRISTINA AGUSTIN, a five year old girl, against her will, to her damage and prejudice.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Upon arraignment, accused entered a plea of not guilty in all three (3) cases. The case thereafter proceeded to trial.
After trial, the court a quo rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the prosecution having established the guilt of the accused Willy Marquez beyond
reasonable doubt, this Court hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH for each crime he has committed in Criminal
Cases Nos. 1536-G, 1537-G and 1538-G. Further, the accused Willy Marquez is likewise ordered to indemnify the offended
party the amount of P150,000.00 as moral damages.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The prosecution established that sometime in October 1997, the minor victim, Maria Cristina Agustin, was forcibly
dragged by accused-appellant from her house in Bacayao, Guimba, Nueva Ecija to the banana plantation situated at the back
of the house. There, accused-appellant undressed Maria Cristina, spat on her vagina, and had sexual intercourse with
her. After the rape, accused-appellant warned the victim not to tell anybody what he did to her.
On another occasion also in October 1997, accused-appellant again dragged Maria Cristina to the banana plantation
where he raped her. This was repeated still in October 1997, when accused-appellant raped Maria Cristina a third time at the
banana plantation.
It was only on January 8, 1998 when Maria Cristina confided to her mother in detail what appellant did to her. Upon the
advice of the police, Maria Cristina was brought by her parents to the Cabanatuan Provincial Hospital for medical examination.
Dr. Cora Lacurom, who examined Maria Cristina, found an old healed hymenal laceration at 6:00 oclock position, which
could have been inflicted through forced sexual intercourse committed in or about October 1997.
[2]

Denying he had anything to do with the offenses charged, accused-appellant testified that during daytime for the whole
month of October 1997 he was at his place of work hauling palay hay for Honofre Arenas at Barangay Bacayao, Guimba,
Nueva Ecija.
[3]
He further claimed that he worked from Monday to Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and had a break time
which lasted from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.
[4]
Aside from hauling palay hay, accused-appellants work included pasturing the
cows and cleaning their wastes.
[5]
During break time, accused would hang out at the workshop (talyer) of his employers
brother-in-law which was just in front of his workplace.
[6]
After his dismissal from work, he would proceed to the workshop of the
brother-in-law in order to learn.
[7]

In his Brief, accused-appellant raises the lone assigned error that
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIMES CHARGED DESPITE
FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO STATE IN THE (3) INFORMATIONS THE PRECISE DATES OF THE COMMISSION
OF THE ALLEGED RAPES.
In support of the foregoing error, accused insists in sum that the three (3) informations charging him with three (3) counts
of rape suffer from constitutional and procedural infirmities in that the the date and time of the offenses charged are ...
indefinite to give [him] an opportunity to prepare for his defense.
[8]
Accused-appellant specifically alludes to the phrase on or
about the month of October, 1997, the dates of commission of the crimes as alleged in the informations in Criminal Cases Nos.
1536-G, 1537-G and 1538-G.
[9]

The argument is not novel and is bereft of merit.
The remedy against an indictment that fails to allege the time of commission of the offense with sufficient definiteness is a
motion for bill of particulars.
[10]
The records of these cases reveal that accused-appellant did not ask for a bill of particulars in
accordance with Rule 116, Section 10 of the Rules of Court,
[11]
which provides that:
SEC. 10. Bill of particulars. Accused may, at or before arraignment, move for a bill of particulars to enable him properly to
plead and to prepare for trial. The motion shall specify the alleged defects and details desired.
The failure to move for specifications or the quashal of information on any of the grounds provided for in the Rules of
Court deprives accused of the right to object to evidence which could be lawfully introduced and admitted under an information
of more or less general terms but which sufficiently charges the accused with a definite crime.
[12]
It is too late in the day for
accused-appellant to raise this issue because objections as to matters of form or substance in the information can not be made
for the first time on appeal.
[13]
Be that as it may, the exact date of the commission of the crime is not an essential element of the
crime.
[14]
In People v. Jesus Gianan y Molina,
[15]
the Court pointedly stated that:
It is settled that the time of the commission of rape is not an element thereof, as this crime is defined in Art. 335 of the Revised
Penal Code. The gravamen of the crime is the fact of carnal knowledge under of the circumstances enumerated therein, i.e. (1)
by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is
under twelve years of age or is demented. In accordance with Rule 110, Section 11, as long as it alleges that the offense was
committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was committed, an information is sufficient. Thus,
in People v. Bugayong,
[16]
it was held when the time given in the (information) is not the essence of the offense, the time need
not be proven as alleged and that the complaint will be sustained if the proof shows that the offense was committed at any time
within the period of the statute of limitations and before the commencement of the action.
[17]

x x x x x x x x x
Indeed, this Court has held that the allegation that rapes were committed "before and until October 15, 1994,"
[18]
"sometime in
the year 1991 and the days thereafter,"
[19]
and "on or about and sometime in the year 1988"
[20]
constitute sufficient compliance
with Rule 110, Section 11. In any event, even if the information failed to allege with certainty the time of the commission of the
rapes, the defect, if any, was cured by the evidence presented during trial and any objection based on this ground must be
deemed waived as a result of accused-appellant's failure to object before arraignment. Accused-appellant's remedy was to
move either for a bill of particulars
[21]
or for the quashal of the information on the ground that it does not conform substantially to
the prescribed form.
[22]

Indeed, under Rule 110, Section 6 of the Rules of Court, the information need only state the approximate time of the
commission of the offense, while Section 11 thereof states that
SEC. 11. Time of the commission of the offense.- It is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise time at
which the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of the offense, but the act may be alleged to have
been committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was committed as the information or complaint will
permit. (Italics ours)
In view of the gravity of the penalties imposed on accused-appellant, the Court must once again defer to the following
guiding principles in the review of rape cases: 1.] to accuse a man of rape is easy, but to disprove it is difficult though the
accused may be innocent; 2.] considering that in the nature of things, only two persons are usually involved in the crime of
rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and 3.] the evidence for the prosecution must
stand or fall on its own merit and not be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the
defense.
[23]
Corollary to the foregoing legal yardsticks is the dictum that when a victim of rape says that she has been defiled,
she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been inflicted on her and so long as her testimony meets the t est
of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.
[24]

The Court has said time and again that in reviewing rape cases, it will be guided by the settled realities that an accusation
for rape can be made with facility. While the commission of the crime may not be easy to prove, it becomes even more difficult
for the person accused, although innocent, to disprove that he did not commit the crime. In view of the intrinsic nature of the
crime of rape where only two persons are normally involved, the testimony of the complainant must always be scrutinized with
great caution.
[25]
Thus, in a prosecution for rape, the complainants credibility becomes the single most important issue.
[26]

Guided by these principles, the Court has meticulously scrutinized the testimony of complaining witness Maria Cristina
Agustin and ultimately reached the conclusion that the acts charged did in fact occur. Maria Cristinas testimony on the acts of
rape perpetrated against her by accused-appellant is clear and could have only been narrated by a victim subjected to those
sexual assaults. Nowhere is accused-appellants bestiality detailed than in the following narration of the victim, who was six
years old
[27]
at the time she was called to testify at the witness stand:
FISCAL:
Q Now, do you still remember if sometime in October 1997 this Willy Marquez did something bad to you?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did he do to you this Willy Marquez?
A He brought me to the banana plantation (sagingan), sir.
Q That place where there were banana plants, is it situated near your house?
A Yes, sir.
Q At the back of your house or in front of your house?
A At the back, sir.
Q What were you doing during the first time that Willy Marquez brought you to the banana plantation or the place where
there were bananas? Were you outside the house or inside the house?
A Outside, sir.
Q You were doing what at that time? Were you playing or doing something at that time?
A Playing, sir.
Q What time of day was that, in the morning or in the afternoon or in the evening?
A Afternoon, sir.
Q And you said Willy Marquez brought you to that place where there were bananas, what did he do to you when you
reach[ed] the place where there were bananas?
A He took off my clothes, sir.
Q After taking off your clothes, what did Willy Marquez do to you?
A He took off his clothes, sir.
Q After he took off his clothes, what did he do next?
A He spit, sir (dinuraan).
Q Willy Marquez spit on what?
A My private part, sir.
Q Your vagina?
A Yes, sir.
Q After spitting on your vagina, what did he do?
A He inserted, sir.
Q What did he insert?
A His private part, sir.
Q He inserted his penis into your vagina?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you feel when he inserted his penis into your vagina?
A I got hurt, sir.
Q What did you do when Willy Marquez was inserting his penis into your vagina?
A Nothing, sir.
Q What did he tell you, this Willy Marquez?
A That I should not tell anybody, sir.
Q Did he threaten you or was he trying to scare [you] that you should not tell this to anybody?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you were scared of him?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, after that first experience with Willy Marquez, did he repeat the same act in October 1997?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many times did he do that to you?
A Three (3) times, sir.
Q Now on the second occasion that he did that again to you, where did he do it?
A Also in the place where there were banana plants, sir.
Q The third time that he did that to you in the same month, October 1997, where did he do that?
A Also in the place where there were banana plants, sir.
Q The second time that Willy Marquez brought you to the place where there were bananas, what did he do to you?
A Also the same, sir.
Q He inserted his penis into your vagina?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did he tell you anything?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did he tell you?
A I should not tell anybody, sir.
Q The last time that he did that to you, where did he take you?
A Also the place where there were banana plants, sir.
Q What did he do to you that third time?
A He did the same, sir.
Q He inserted his penis into your vagina?
A Yes, sir.
Q And when finally did you tell your mother or father about what Willy Marquez did to you?
FISCAL:
I will refresh (sic) my question your Honor.
COURT:
Do it.
FISCAL:
Q Did you finally tell your mother about what happened?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you tell your mother?
A The thing that Willy Marquez did to me, sir.
Q When did you tell your mother, the first time Willy Marquez did that to you, the second time or the third time that he did
that to you?
A The witness nod[ded] her head the sign of approval the third time.
[28]

In his defense, accused-appellant interposed alibi in all three (3) instances of rape, by claiming that during daytime for the
whole month of October 1997 he was at his place of work haulingpalay hay for Honofre Arenas at Barangay Bacayao, Guimba,
Nueva Ecija.
[29]
He further alleged that he worked from Monday to Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and had a break time
which lasted from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.
[30]
Aside from hauling palay hay, accused-appellants work included pasturing the
cows and cleaning their wastes.
[31]
During break time, accused would hang out at the workshop (talyer) of his employers
brother-in-law which was just in front of his workplace.
[32]
After his dismissal from work, he would proceed to the workshop of
the brother-in-law in order to learn.
[33]

For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time the crime
was committed but that it was likewise impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the alleged crime.
[34]
In the
case at bar, accused-appellant failed to prove and demonstrate the physical impossibility of his being at the scene of the crime
at the approximate time of its commission. No less than accused-appellant himself admitted that his workplace was 250 meters
away from the house of the victim.
[35]
Even his assertion that it took an hour to get to the victims house because of the muddy
condition of the road
[36]
can not discount the possibility of his presence at the scene of the crime. As an element of a credible
alibi, physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the accused was and when the crime transpired and
the place it was committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places.
[37]
Accused-appellants allegation that the
road was muddy cannot be given credence, inasmuch as he himself admitted that it did not rain during the month of October
1997 because it was the height of the El Nio phenomenon.
[38]
In this connection, it must once again be stressed that
Alibi is almost always flawed not only by its inherent weakness but also by its implausibility. Easily susceptible of concoction
and viewed invariably with suspicion, an alibi may be considered with favor only when established by positive, clear and
satisfactory evidence. Significantly, where no one corroborates the alibi of an accused, such defense becomes all the weaker
for this deficiency.
[39]
Neither can plain denial, a negative and self-serving evidence stand against the positive identification and
categorical testimony made by a victim of rape.
[40]
A mere denial is seldom given greater evidentiary value than the testimony of
a witness who creditably testifies on affirmative matters.
[41]

All told, the proffered alibi of accused-appellant can not stand against the positive identification by the private complainant
that he is the culprit. Basic is the rule that alibi which is easy to concoct can not prevail over the positive identification; what is
more, appellant utterly failed to prove that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the
approximate time of its commission. Consequently, accused-appellants defense of alibi can not prosper.
[42]
Indeed, the
revelation of an innocent child whose chastity was abused deserves full credit, as the willingness of complainant to face pol ice
investigation and to undergo the trouble and humiliation of a public trial is eloquent testimony of the truth of her
complaint.
[43]
Stated differently, it is most improbable for a five-year old girl of tender years, so innocent and so guileless as the
herein offended party, to brazenly impute a crime so serious as rape to any man if it were not true.
[44]

We now address the issue of the propriety of the penalty imposed. The trial court meted out the death penalty on
accused-appellant pursuant to Section 11 [7], of Republic Act No. 7659, which was in force at the time of commission of the
crime. The said law provides in pertinent part:
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
x x x x x x x x x;
4. when the victim is a religious or a child below seven (7) years old.
The above-quoted circumstance qualifies the crime of rape. As such, the same must be both alleged in the information
and proved with competent and convincing evidence. Jurisprudence dictates that when the law specifies certain circumstances
that will qualify an offense and thus attach to it a greater degree of penalty, such circumstances must be both alleged and
proven in order to justify the imposition of the graver penalty. Recent rulings of the Court relative to the rape of minors
invariably state that in order to justify the imposition of death, there must be independent evidence proving the age of the victim,
other than the testimonies of prosecution witnesses and the absence of denial by the accused. A duly certified certificate of live
birth accurately showing the complainant's age, or some other official document or record such as a school record, has been
recognized as competent evidence.
[45]

In the case at bar, while the informations sufficiently allege the minority of Maria Cristina, the prosecution did not present
proof to substantiate the age of the victim, such as her birth certificate. This becomes crucial considering that the prosecution
must establish with moral certainty that the victim was below seven (7) years old at the time of the rape, to justify the imposition
of the death penalty. Accordingly, the penalty imposed on accused-appellant must be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
The Court finally observes that while the trial court awarded moral damages, it did not award any indemnity ex delicto. A
civil indemnity of P50,000.00 is automatically given to the offended party without need of further evidence other than the fact of
rape.
[46]
Consistent, therefore, with present case law which treats the imposition of civil indemnity as being mandatory upon the
finding of rape,
[47]
accused-appellant should likewise be ordered to pay the amount of P50,000.00 for each count of rape. This
civil indemnity is distinct from and awarded in addition to moral damages, the two being based on different jural foundations
and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion.
[48]

This is not the first time that a child has been snatched from the cradle of innocence by some beast to sate its deviant
sexual appetite. To curb this disturbing trend, accused-appellant should likewise be made to pay exemplary
damages,
[49]
which, in line with prevailing jurisprudence, is pegged at P25,000.00,
[50]
for each count of rape.
[51]

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 of Guimba, Nueva Ecija, finding accused-appellant
guilty of three (3) counts of rape in Criminal Case Nos. 1536-G, 1537-G AND 1538-G, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS
that accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each of the three counts of rape, and is
ordered to pay the offended party P150,000.00 as civil indemnity; P150,000.00 as moral damages and P75,000.00 as
exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2000/dec2000/137408_10.htm

[G.R. Nos. 105965-70. March 20, 2001]
GEORGE UY, petitioner, vs. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, THE HON. OMBUDSMAN AND THE HON. ROGER C.
BERBANO, SR., SPECIAL PROSECUTION OFFICER III, OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
PUNO, J.:
Before the Court is the Motion for Further Clarification filed by Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto of the Court's ruling in its
decision dated August 9, 1999 and resolution dated February 22, 2000 that the prosecutory power of the Ombudsman extends
only to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and that the Ombudsman has no authority to prosecute cases falling within the
jurisdiction of regular courts.
The Court stated in its decision dated August 9, 1999:
In this connection, it is the prosecutor, not the Ombudsman, who has the authority to file the corresponding information/s
against petitioner in the regional trial court. The Ombudsman exercises prosecutorial powers only in cases cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan.
It explained in the resolution of February 22, 2000 that:
(t)he clear import of such pronouncement is to recognize the authority of the State and regular provincial and city prosecutors
under the Department of Justice to have control over prosecution of cases falling within the jurisdiction of the regular
courts. The investigation and prosecutorial powers of the Ombudsman relate to cases rightfully falling within the jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan under Section 15 (1) of R.A. 6770 ("An Act Providing for the Functional and Structural Organization of the
Office of the Ombudsman, and for other purposes") which vests upon the Ombudsman "primary jurisdiction over cases
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan" And this is further buttressed by Section 11 (4a) of R.A. 6770 which emphasizes that the
Office of the Special Prosecutor shall have the power to "conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute criminal cases within
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan." Thus, repeated references to the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction clearly serve to limit the
Ombudsman's and Special Prosecutor's authority to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.
Seeking clarification of the foregoing ruling, respondent Ombudsman raises the following points:
(1) The jurisdiction of the Honorable Sandiganbayan is not parallel to or equated with the broader jurisdiction of
the Office of the Ombudsman;
(2) The phrase "primary jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan"
is not a delimitation of its jurisdiction solely to Sandiganbayan cases; and
(3) The authority of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to prosecute cases before the Sandiganbayan cannot be
confused with the broader investigatory and prosecutorial powers of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Thus, the matter that needs to be discussed herein is the scope of the power of the Ombudsman to conduct preliminary
investigation and the subsequent prosecution of criminal offenses in the light of the provisions of the Ombudsman Act of 1989
(Republic Act [RA] 6770).
We held that the Ombudsman is clothed with authority to conduct preliminary investigation and to prosecute all criminal
cases involving public officers and employees, not only those within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, but those within the
jurisdiction of the regular courts as well.
The authority of the Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute offenses committed by public officers and employees is
founded in Section 15 and Section 11 of RA 6770. Section 15 vests the Ombudsman with the power to investigate and
prosecute any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be
illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient, thus:
Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties.--The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties:
(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee,
office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over
cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from
any investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases;
x x x
Section 11 grants the Office of the Special Prosecutor, an organic component of the Office of the Ombudsman under the
latters supervision and control, the power to conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute criminal cases within the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. It states:
Sec. 11. Structural Organization. x x x
x x x
(3) The Office of the Special Prosecutor shall be composed of the Special Prosecutor and his prosecution staff. The Office of
the Special Prosecutor shall be an organic component of the Office of the Ombudsman and shall be under the supervision and
control of the Ombudsman.
(4) The Office of the Special Prosecutor shall, under the supervision and control and upon authority of the Ombudsman, have
the following powers:
(a) To conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute criminal cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan;
(b) To enter into plea bargaining agreements; and
(c) To perform such other duties assigned to it by the Ombudsman.
The power to investigate and to prosecute granted by law to the Ombudsman is plenary and unqualified. It pertains
to any act or omission of any public officer or employee when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or
inefficient. The law does not make a distinction between cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and those cognizable by
regular courts. It has been held that the clause any illegal act or omission of any public official is broad enough to embrace
any crime committed by a public officer or employee.
[1]

The reference made by RA 6770 to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, particularly in Section 15 (1) giving the
Ombudsman primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, and Section 11 (4) granting the Special
Prosecutor the power to conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute criminal cases within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, should not be construed as confining the scope of the investigatory and prosecutory power of the Ombudsman
to such cases.
Section 15 of RA 6770 gives the Ombudsman primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. The law
defines such primary jurisdiction as authorizing the Ombudsman "to take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of
the government, the investigation of such cases." The grant of this authority does not necessarily imply the exclusion from i ts
jurisdiction of cases involving public officers and employees cognizable by other courts. The exercise by the Ombudsman of
his primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan is not incompatible with the discharge of his duty to
investigate and prosecute other offenses committed by public officers and employees. Indeed, it must be stressed that the
powers granted by the legislature to the Ombudsman are very broad and encompass all kinds of malfeasance, misfeasance
and non-feasance committed by public officers and employees during their tenure of office.
[2]

Moreover, the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman should not be equated with the limited authority of the Special
Prosecutor under Section 11 of RA 6770. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is merely a component of the Office of the
Ombudsman and may only act under the supervision and control and upon authority of the Ombudsman.
[3]
Its power to conduct
preliminary investigation and to prosecute is limited tocriminal cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Certainly, the
lawmakers did not intend to confine the investigatory and prosecutory power of the Ombudsman to these types of cases. The
Ombudsman is mandated by law to act on all complaints against officers and employees of the government and to enforce their
administrative, civil and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants.
[4]
To carry out this duty, the law allows him
to utilize the personnel of his office and/or designate any fiscal, state prosecutor or lawyer in the government service to act as
special investigator or prosecutor to assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain cases. Those designated or
deputized to assist him work under his supervision and control.
[5]
The law likewise allows him to direct the Special Prosecutor to
prosecute cases outside the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction in accordance with Section 11 (4c) of RA 6770.
The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers and employees is one of the most important functions of the
Ombudsman. In passing RA 6770, the Congress deliberately endowed the Ombudsman with such power to make him a more
active and effective agent of the people in ensuring accountability in public office.
[6]
A review of the development of our
Ombudsman laws reveals this intent.
The concept of Ombudsman originated in Sweden in the early 19
th
century, referring to an officer appointed by the
legislature to handle the peoples grievances against administrative and judicial actions. He was primarily tasked with receiving
complaints from persons aggrieved by administrative action or inaction, conducting investigation thereon, and making
recommendations to the appropriate administrative agency based on his findings. He relied mainly on the power of persuasion
and the high prestige of the office to effect his recommendations.
[7]

In this jurisdiction, several Ombudsman-like agencies were established by past Presidents to serve as the peoples
medium for airing grievances and seeking redress against abuses and misconduct in the government. These offices were
conceived with the view of raising the standard in public service and ensuring integrity and efficiency in the government. In
May 1950, President Elpidio Quirino created the Integrity Board charged with receiving complaints against public officials for
acts of corruption, dereliction of duty and irregularity in office, and conducting a thorough investigation of these complaints. The
Integrity Board was succeeded by several other agencies which performed basically the same functions of complaints-handling
and investigation. These were the Presidential Complaints and Action Commission under President Ramon Magsaysay, the
Presidential Committee on Administration Performance Efficiency under President Carlos Garcia, the Presidential Anti-Graft
Committee under President Diosdado Macapagal, and the Presidential Agency on Reform and Government Operations and the
Office of the Citizens Counselor, both under President Ferdinand Marcos. It was observed, however, that these agencies failed
to realize their objective for they did not enjoy the political independence necessary for the effective performance of their
function as government critic. Furthermore, their powers extended to no more than fact-finding and recommending.
[8]

Thus, in the advent of the 1973 Constitution, the members of the Constitutional Convention saw the need to
constitutionalize the office of an Ombudsman, to give it political independence and adequate powers to enforce its
recommendations.
[9]
The 1973 Constitution mandated the legislature to create an office of the Ombudsman to be known as
Tanodbayan. Its powers shall not be limited to receiving complaints and making recommendations, but shall also include the
filing and prosecution of criminal, civil or administrative case before the appropriate body in case of failure of justice. Section 6,
Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution read:
Sec. 6. The Batasang Pambansa shall create an office of the Ombudsman, to be known as Tanodbayan, which shall receive
and investigate complaints relative to public office, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, make
appropriate recommendations, and in case of failure of justice as defined by law, file and prosecute the corresponding criminal,
civil or administrative case before the proper court or body.
Implementing this constitutional provision, President Marcos, on June 11, 1978, exercising his power under Proclamation
1081, enacted Presidential Decree (PD) 1487 creating the Office of the Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan. Its principal
task was to investigate, on complaint, any administrative act
[10]
of any administrative agency
[11]
including any government-
owned or controlled corporation.
[12]
The Tanodbayan also had the duty to file and prosecute the corresponding criminal, civil, or
administrative case before the Sandiganbayan or the proper court or body if he has reason to believe that any public official,
employee, or other person has acted in a manner resulting in a failure of justice.
[13]
It should be noted, however, that the
prosecution of cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan was to be done by the Tanodbayan through the Special
Prosecutor who, according to PD 1486,
[14]
had the exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation, file information for
and prosecute cases within the jurisdiction of said court. The Special Prosecutor was then under the control and supervision of
the Secretary of Justice.
[15]

Shortly after its enactment, PD 1487 was amended by PD 1607 which took effect on December 10, 1978. The
amendatory law broadened the authority of the Tanodbayan to investigate administrative acts of administrative agencies by
authorizing it to conduct an investigation on its own motion or initiative, even without a complaint from any person.
[16]
The new
law also expanded the prosecutory function of the Tanodbayan by creating the Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor in the
Office of the Tanodbayan and placing under his direction and control the Special Prosecutor who had the exclusive authority to
conduct preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan; to file informations therefor and to direct and
control the prosecution of said cases therein.
[17]
Thus, the law provided that if the Tanodbayan has reason to believe that any
public official, employee, or other person has acted in a manner warranting criminal or disciplinary action or proceedings, he
shall cause him to be investigated by the Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor who shall file and prosecute the corresponding
criminal or administrative case before the Sandiganbayan or the proper court or before the proper administrative agency.
[18]

On July 18, 1979, PD 1630 was enacted further amending PD 1487 and PD 1607. PD 1630 reorganized the Office of the
Tanodbayan and transferred the powers previously vested in the Special Prosecutor to the Tanodbayan himself. Thus, the
Tanodbayan was empowered to directly conduct preliminary investigation, file information and prosecute cases within the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and other courts. The amendment gave the Tanodbayan the exclusive authority to conduct
preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan; to file information therefor and to direct and control the
prosecution of said cases.
[19]
Section 10 of PD 1630 provided:
Sec. 10. Powers.--The Tanodbayan shall have the following powers:
(a) He may investigate, on complaint by any person or on his own motion or initiative, any administrative act
whether amounting to any criminal offense or not of any administrative agency including any government-
owned or controlled corporation;
x x x
(e) If after preliminary investigation he finds a prima facie case, he may file the necessary information or complaint
with the Sandiganbayan or any proper court or administrative agency and prosecute the same.
Section 18 further stated:
Sec. 18. Prosecution of Public Personnel or Other Person.--If the Tanodbayan has reason to believe that any public official,
employee or other person has acted in a manner warranting criminal or disciplinary action or proceedings, he shall conduct the
necessary investigation and shall file and prosecute the corresponding criminal or administrative case before the
Sandiganbayan or the proper court or before the proper administrative agency.
With the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, a new Office of the Ombudsman was created. The present Ombudsman, as
protector of the people, is mandated to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or
employees of the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
corporations, and to notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof.
[20]
He possesses the following powers,
functions and duties:
1. Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee,
office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient;
2. Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any public official or employee of the Government, or any
subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as of any government-owned or controlled corporation
with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent and correct
any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.
3. Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and
recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance
therewith.
4. Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law,
to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the
disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for
appropriate action.
5. Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its
responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents.
6. Publicize matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due prudence.
7. Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the Government and
make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency.
8. Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may
be provided by law.
[21]

As a new Office of the Ombudsman was established, the then existing Tanodbayan became the Office of the Special
Prosecutor which continued to function and exercise its powers as provided by law, except those conferred on the Office of the
Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution.
[22]

The frameworks for the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Special Prosecutor were laid down by President
Corazon Aquino in Executive Order (EO) 243 and EO 244, both passed on July 24, 1987.
In September 1989, Congress passed RA 6770 providing for the functional and structural organization of the Office of the
Ombudsman. As in the previous laws on the Ombudsman, RA 6770 gave the present Ombudsman not only the duty to receive
and relay the people's grievances, but also the duty to investigate and prosecute for and in their behalf, civil, criminal and
administrative offenses committed by government officers and employees as embodied in Sections 15 and 11 of the law.
Clearly, the Philippine Ombudsman departs from the classical Ombudsman model whose function is merely to receive
and process the people's complaints against corrupt and abusive government personnel. The Philippine Ombudsman, as
protector of the people, is armed with the power to prosecute erring public officers and employees, giving him an active role in
the enforcement of laws on anti-graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses that may be committed by such officers and
employees. The legislature has vested him with broad powers to enable him to implement his own actions. Recognizing the
importance of this power, the Court cannot derogate the same by limiting it only to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. It
is apparent from the history and the language of the present law that the legislature intended such power to apply not only to
cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but also those within the jurisdiction of regular courts. The Court observed in
the case of Republic vs. Sandiganbayan:
[23]

A perusal of the law originally creating the Office of the Ombudsman then (to be known as the Tanodbayan), and the
amendatory laws issued subsequent thereto will show that, at its inception, the Office of the Ombudsman was already vested
with the power to investigate and prosecute civil and criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan and even the regular courts.
x x x
Presidential Decree No. 1630 was the existing law governing the then Tanodbayan when Republic Act No. 6770 was enacted
providing for the functional and structural organization of the present Office of the Ombudsman. This later law retained in the
Ombudsman the power of the former Tanodbayan to investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any
act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust,
improper or inefficient. x x x.
Finally, it must be clarified that the authority of the Ombudsman to prosecute cases involving public officers and
employees before the regular courts does not conflict with the power of the regular prosecutors under the Department of
Justice to control and direct the prosecution of all criminal actions under Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure. The Rules of Court must be read in conjunction with RA 6770 which charged the Ombudsman with the duty to
investigate and prosecute all illegal acts and omissions of public officers and employees. The Court held in the case
of Sanchez vs. Demetriou
[24]
that the power of the Ombudsman under Section 15 (1) of RA 6770 is not an exclusive authority
but rather a shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense charged. Thus, Administrative Order No. 8 issued by the
Office of the Ombudsman provides:
The prosecution of case cognizable by the Sandiganbayan shall be under the direct exclusive control and supervision of the
Office of the Ombudsman. In cases cognizable by regular Courts, the control and supervision by the Office of the Ombudsman
is only in Ombudsman cases in the sense defined (therein).
[25]
The law recognizes a concurrence of jurisdiction between the
Office of the Ombudsman and other investigative agencies of government in the prosecution of cases cognizable by regular
courts.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court's ruling in its decision dated August 9, 1999 and its resolution dated February 20, 2000
that the Ombudsman exercises prosecutorial powers only in cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan is SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2001/mar2001/105965_70.htm

G.R. No. 121234 August 23, 1995
HUBERT J. P. WEBB, Petitioner, v. HONORABLE RAUL E. DE LEON, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Paraaque, Branch 258, HONORABLE ZOSIMO V. ESCANO, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque,
Branch 259, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ZENON L. DE GUIA, JOVENCITO ZUO, LEONARDO GUIYAB, JR.,
ROBERTO LAO, PABLO FORMARAN, and NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, and HONORABLE AMELITA G.
TOLENTINO, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque, Branch 274, respondents, LAURO
VIZCONDE, intervenor.
G.R. No. 121245 August 23, 1995
MICHAEL A. GATCHALIAN, Petitioner, v. HONORABLE RAUL E. DE LEON, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Paraaque, Branch 258, HONORABLE ZOSIMO V. ESCANO, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque,
Branch 259, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ZENON L. DE GUIYAB, JR., ROBERTO LAO, PABLO FORMARAN, and
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, and HONORABLE AMELITA G. TOLENTINO, the Presiding Judge of the Regional
Trial Court of Paraaque, Branch 274, Respondents.
G.R. No. 121297 August 23, 1995
ANTONIO L. LEJANO, Petitioner, v. HONORABLE RAUL E. DE LEON, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Paraaque, Branch 258, HONORABLE ZOSIMO V. ESCANO, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque,
Branch 259, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ZENON L. DE GUIA, JOVENCITO ZUO, LEONARDO GUIYAB, JR.,
ROBERTO LAO, PABLO FORMARAN, and NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, and HONORABLE AMELITA G.
TOLENTINO, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque, Branch 274,Respondents.chanrobles virtual law
library
PUNO, J.:
Before the Court are petitions for the issuance of the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with application
for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to: (1) annul and set aside the Warrants of Arrest issued against
petitioners by respondent Judges Raul E. de Leon and Amelita Tolentino in Criminal Case No. 95-404; (2) enjoin the
respondents from conducting any proceeding in the aforementioned criminal case; and (3) dismiss said criminal case or include
Jessica Alfaro as one of the accused therein.
1

From the records of the case, it appears that on June 19, 1994, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed with the
Department of Justice a letter-complaint charging petitioners Hubert Webb, Michael Gatchalian, Antonio J. Lejano and six (6)
other persons,
2
with the crime of Rape with Homicide. Forthwith, the Department of Justice formed a panel of prosecutors
headed by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Jovencio R. Zuo to conduct the preliminary investigation
3
of those charged with
the rape and killing on June 30, 1991 of Carmela N. Vizconde;
4
her mother Estrellita Nicolas-Vizconde,
5
and her sister Anne
Marie Jennifer
6
in their home at Number 80 W. Vinzons, St., BF Homes, Paraaque, Metro
Manila.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
During the preliminary investigation, the NBI presented the following: (1) the sworn statement dated May 22, 1995 of their
principal witness, Maria Jessica M. Alfaro who allegedly saw the commission of the crime;
7
(2) the sworn statements of two (2)
of the former housemaids of the Webb family in the persons of Nerissa E. Rosales and Mila S.Gaviola;
8
(3) the sworn-
statement of Carlos J. Cristobal who alleged that on March 9, 1991 he was a passenger of United Airlines Flight No. 808 bound
for New York and who expressed doubt on whether petitioner Webb was his co-passenger in the trip; (4) the sworn statement
of Lolita Birrer, a former live-in partner of Gerardo Biong, who narrated the manner of how Biong investigated and tried to cover
up the crime at bar;
9
(5) the sworn statements of Belen Dometita and Teofilo Minoza, two of the Vizconde maids, and the
sworn statements of Normal White, a security guard and Manciano Gatmaitan, an engineer. The autopsy reports of the victims
were also submitted and they showed that Carmela had nine (9) stab wounds, Estrellita twelve (12) and Jennifer nineteen
(19).
10
The genital examination of Carmela confirmed the presence of spermatozoa.
11

Before submitting his counter-affidavit, petitioner Webb filed with the DOJ Panel a Motion for Production And Examination of
Evidence and Documents for the NBI to produce the following:
(a) Certification issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on the admission to and stay of Hubert Webb in the United
States from March 9, 1991 to October 22, 1992;chanrobles virtual law library
(b) Laboratory Report No. SN-91-17 of the Medico Legal Officer, Dr. Prospero A. Cabanayan, M.D.;chanrobles virtual law
library
(c) Sworn Statements of Gerardo C. Biong (other than his Sworn Statement dated October 7, 1991);chanrobles virtual law
library
(d) Photographs of fingerprints lifted from the Vizconde residence taken during the investigation;chanrobles virtual law library
(e) Investigation records of NBI on Engr. Danilo Aguas, et al.;chanrobles virtual law library
(f) List of names of 135 suspects/persons investigated by the NBI per Progress Report dated September 2, 1991 submitted by
Atty. Arlis Vela, Supervising Agent;chanrobles virtual law library
(g) Records of arrest, interview, investigation and other written statements of Jessica Alfaro (other than the May 22, 1995
Sworn Statement) conducted by the NBI and other police agencies;chanrobles virtual law library
(h) transmittal letter to the NBI, including the report of the investigation conducted by Superintendent Rodolfo C. Sison,
Regional Deputy Director, NCRC;chanrobles virtual law library
(i) The names of NBI officials/agents composing the Task Force Jecares, including their respective positions and
duties;chanrobles virtual law library
(j) Statements made by other persons in connection with the crime charged.
The motion was granted by the DOJ Panel and the NBI submitted photocopies of the documents. It alleged it lost the original of
the April 28, 1995 sworn statement of Alfaro. This compelled petitioner Webb to file Civil Case No. 951099 in the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Makati, Br. 63, for the purpose, among others, of obtaining the original of said sworn statement. He succeeded,
for in the course of its proceedings, Atty. Arturo L. Mercader, Jr., produced a copy of said original in compliance with a
subpoena duces tecum. The original was then submitted by petitioner Webb to the DOJ Panel together with his other evidence.
It appears, however, that petitioner Webb failed to obtain from the NBI the copy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Report despite his request for its production.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner Webb claimed during the preliminary investigation that he did not commit the crime at bar as he went to the United
States on March 1, 1991 and returned to the Philippines on October 27, 1992.
12
His alibi was corroborated by Honesto Aragon,
Lecinia Edrosolano, Sylvia Climaco, Gina Roque, Sonia Rodriguez, Edgardo Venture and Pamela Francisco.
13
To further
support his defense, he submitted documentary evidence that he bought a bicycle and a 1986 Toyota car while in the United
States on said dates
14
and that he was issued by the State of California Driver's License No. A8818707 on June 14,
1991.
15
Petitioner Webb likewise submitted the letter dated July 25, 1995 of Mr. Robert Heafner, Legal Attache of the US
Embassy, citing certain records tending to confirm, among others, his arrival at San Francisco, California on March 9, 1991 as
a passenger in United Airlines Flight No. 808.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The other respondents - Hospicio "Pyke" Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian, Antonio "Tony Boy" Lejano, Peter Estrada, Miguel
Rodriguez and Gerardo Biong - submitted sworn statements, responses, and a motion to dismiss denying their complicity in the
rape-killing of the Vizcondes.
16
Only the respondents Joey Filart and Artemio "Dong" Ventura failed to file their counter-
affidavits though they were served with subpoena in their last known address.
17
In his sworn statement,
petitioner Gatchalian alleged that from 11 o'clock in the evening of June 29, 1991 until 3 o'clock in the morning of the following
day, he was at the residence of his friends, Carlos and Andrew Syyap, at New Alabang Village, Muntinlupa watching video
tapes. He claimed that his co-petitioner Lejano was with him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On August 8, 1995, the DOJ Panel issued a 26-page Resolution "finding probable cause to hold respondents for trial" and
recommending that an Information for rape with homicide be filed against petitioners and their co-respondents,
18
On the same
date, it filed the corresponding Information
19
against petitioners and their co-accused with the Regional Trial Court of
Paraaque. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 95-404 and raffled to Branch 258 presided by respondent judge
Zosimo V. Escano. It was, however, the respondent judge Raul de Leon, pairing judge of Judge Escano, who issued the
warrants of arrest against the petitioners. On August 11, 1995, Judge Escano voluntarily inhibited himself from the case to
avoid any suspicion about his impartiality considering his employment with the NBI before his appointment to the bench. The
case was re-raffled to Branch 274, presided by Judge Amelita Tolentino who issued new warrants of arrest against the
petitioners and their co-accused. On August 11, 1995, petitioner Webb voluntarily surrendered to the police authorities at Camp
Ricardo Papa Sr., in Bicutan, Taguig. Petitioners Gatchalian and Lejano likewise gave themselves up to the authorities after
filing their petitions before us.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In their petitions at bar, petitioners contend: (1) respondent Judges de Leon and Tolentino gravely abused their discretion when
they failed to conduct a preliminary examination before issuing warrants of arrest against them: (2) the DOJ Panel likewise
gravely abused its discretion in holding that there is probable cause to charge them with the crime of rape with homicide; (3) the
DOJ Panel denied them their constitutional right to due process during their preliminary investigation; and (4) the DOJ Panel
unlawfully intruded into judicial prerogative when it failed to charge Jessica Alfaro in the Information as an
accused.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We find the petitions bereft of merit.
I
Petitioners fault the DOJ Panel for its finding of probable cause. They insist that the May 22, 1995 sworn statement of Jessica
Alfaro is inherently weak and uncorroborated. They hammer on alleged material inconsistencies between her April 28, 1995
and May 22, 1995 sworn statements. They assail her credibility for her misdescription of petitioner Webb's hair as semi-blonde.
They also criticize the procedure followed by the DOJ Panel when it did not examine witnesses to clarify the alleged
incredulities and inconsistencies in the sworn statements of the witnesses for the NBI.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
We start with a restatement of the purpose of a preliminary investigation. Section 1 of Rule 112 provides that a preliminary
investigation should determine " . . . whether there is a sufficient ground to engender a well-grounded belief that a crime
cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be
held for trial." Section 3 of the same Rule outlines the procedure in conducting a preliminary investigation, thus:
Sec. 3. Procedure. - Except as provided for in Section 7 hereof, no complaint or information for an offense cognizable by the
Regional Trial Court shall be filed without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted in the following
manner:chanrobles virtual law library
(a) The complaint shall state the known address of the respondent and be accompanied by affidavits of the complainant and his
witnesses as well as other supporting documents, in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) copies for
the official file. The said affidavits shall be sworn to before any fiscal, state prosecutor or government official authorized to
administer oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, a notary public, who must certify that he personally examined the affiants
and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
(b) Within ten (10) days after the filing of the complaint, the investigating officer shall either dismiss the same if he finds no
ground to continue with the inquiry, or issue a subpoena to the respondent, attaching thereto a copy of the complaint, affidavits
and other supporting documents. Within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, the respondent shall submit counter-affidavits and
other supporting documents. He shall have the right to examine all other evidence submitted by the
complainant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(c) Such counter-affidavits and other supporting evidence submitted by the respondent shall also be sworn to and certified as
prescribed in paragraph (a) hereof and copies thereof shall be furnished by him to the
complainant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(d) If the respondent cannot be subpoenaed, or if subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day
period, the investigating officer shall base his resolution on the evidence presented by the
complainant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(e) If the investigating officer believes that there are matters to be clarified, he may set a hearing to propound clarificatory
questions to the parties or their witnesses, during which the parties shall be afforded an opportunity to be present but without
the right to examine or cross-examine. If the parties so desire, they may submit questions to the investigating officer which the
latter may propound to the parties or witnesses concerned.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(f) Thereafter, the investigation shall be deemed concluded, and the investigating officer shall resolve the case within ten (10)
days therefrom. Upon the evidence thus adduced, the investigating officer shall determine whether or not there is sufficient
ground to hold the respondent for trial.
Section 4 of Rule 112 then directs that "if the investigating fiscal finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare
the resolution and corresponding information. He shall certify under oath that he, or as shown by the record, an authorized
officer, has personally examined the complainant and his witnesses, that there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has
been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof . . ."
The need to find probable cause is dictated by the Bill of Rights which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their
persons . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature . . ."
20
An arrest without a probable cause is an
unreasonable seizure of a person, and violates the privacy of persons which ought not to be intruded by the State.
21
Probable
cause to warrant arrest is not an opaque concept in our jurisdiction. Continuing accretions of case law reiterate that they are
facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been
committed by the person sought to be arrested.
22
Other jurisdictions utilize the term man of reasonable caution 23 or the
term ordinarily prudent and cautious man.
24
The terms are legally synonymous and their reference is not to a person with
training in the law such as a prosecutor or a judge but to the average man on the street.
25
It ought to be emphasized that in
determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of our
technical rules of evidence of which his knowledge is nil. Rather, he relies on the calculus of common sense of which all
reasonable men have an abundance.
Applying these basic norms, we are not prepared to rule that the DOJ Panel gravely abused its discretion when it found
probable cause against the petitioners. Petitioners belittle the truthfulness of Alfaro on two (2) grounds: (a) she allegedly
erroneously described petitioner Webb's hair as semi-blond and (b) she committed material inconsistencies in her two (2)
sworn statement, thus:
26

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To illustrate, the following are some examples of inconsistencies in the two sworn statements of Alfaro:
On whether Alfaro knew Carmela before the incident in question
First Affidavit: She had NOT met Carmela before June 29, 1991.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Second Affidavit: "I met her in a party sometime in February, 1991."
On whether Alfaro saw the dead bodies
First Affidavit: She did not see the three dead persons on that night. She just said "on the following day I read in the newspaper
that there were three persons who were killed . . ."chanrobles virtual law library
Second Affidavit: "I peeped through the first door on the left. I saw two bodies on top of the bed, bloodied, and in the floor, I saw
Hubert on top of Carmela."
On the alleged rape of Carmela Vizconde
First Affidavit: She did not see the act of rape.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Second Affidavit: She saw Hubert Webb "with bare buttocks, on top of Carmela and pumping, her mouth gagged and she was
moaning and I saw tears on her eyes."
On how Webb, Lejano, and Ventura entered the Vizconde house
First Affidavit: "by jumping over the fence, which was only a little more than a meter high."chanrobles virtual law library
Second Affidavit: They "entered the gate which was already open."
On whether Alfaro entered the Vizconde house
First Affidavit: She never entered the house.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Second Affidavit: "I proceeded to the iron grill gate leading to the dirty kitchen."
In its Resolution, the DOJ Panel ruled that these alleged misdescription and inconsistencies did not erode the credibility of
Alfaro. We quote the pertinent ruling, viz.:
27

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As regards the admissibility of Alfaro's statements, granting for purposes of argument merely that she is a co-conspirator, it is
well to note that confessions of a co-conspirator may be taken as evidence to show the probability of the co-conspirator's
participation in the commission of the crime (see People vs. Lumahang, 94 Phil. 1084).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
Furthermore, it is a well-established doctrine that conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence of prior agreement to
commit the crime. Indeed, "only rarely would such a prior agreement be demonstrable since, in the nature of things, criminal
undertakings are only rarely documented by agreements in writing. Thus, conspiracy may be inferred from the conduct of the
accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, showing that the several accused had acted in concert or in
unison with each other, evincing a common purpose or design." (Angelo vs. Court of Appeals, 210 SCRA 402 [1992], citations
omitted; People vs. Molleda, 86 SCRA 699).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Neither can we discredit Alfaro merely because of the inconsistencies in her two sworn statements. In Angelo, the Court
refused to discredit the testimony of a witness accusing therein petitioner for the slaying of one Gaviano Samaniego even
though said witness failed to name Angelo in his affidavit which was executed five (5) months earlier. Granting, the Court
continued, that a part of the witness' testimony is untrue, such circumstance is not sufficient to discredit the entire testimony of
the witness.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On August 7, 1995, another counsel for respondent Webb submitted his memorandum suggesting that the instant complaint
"should not be decided within the month to give time to the NBI to coordinate with the FBI on the latter's inquiry into the
whereabouts of Hubert Webb . . . and to check on our U.S.-based witnesses."chanrobles virtual law library
In said memorandum, counsel for respondent Webb calls for the application of the maxim falsus in uno, falsus in
omnibus arising from the inconsistencies of Alfaro's statements, among others. This is untenable. As held in Angelo:
There is no rule of law which prohibits a court from crediting part of the testimony of a witness as worthy of belief and from
simultaneously rejecting other parts which the court may find incredible or dubious. The maxim falsus in uno, falsus in
omnibus is not a rule of law, let alone a general rule of law which is universally applicable. It is not a legal presumption either. It
is merely a latinism describing the conclusion reached by a court in a particular case after ascribing to the evidence such
weight or lack of weight that the court deemed proper.
In the case before us, complainant reasoned out that Alfaro was then having reservations when she first executed the first
statement and held back vital information due to her natural reaction of mistrust. This being so, the panel believes that the
inconsistencies in Alfaro's two sworn statements have been sufficiently explained especially specially so where there is no
showing that the inconsistencies were deliberately made to distort the truth. Consequently, the probative value of Alfaro's
testimony deserves full faith and credit. As it has been often noted, ex parte statements are generally incomplete because they
are usually executed when the affiant's state of mind does not give her sufficient and fair opportunity to comprehend the import
of her statement and to narrate in full the incidents which transpired (People vs. Sarellana, 233 SCRA 31 [1994]; Angelo vs.
Court of Appeals, supra). In the case at bar, there is no dispute that a crime has been committed and what is clear before us is
that the totality of the evidence submitted by the complainant indicate aprima facie case that respondents conspired in the
perpetration of the imputed offense.
We note that the May 22, 1995 sworn statement of Alfaro was given with the assistance of counsel
28
and consists of six (6)
pages, in single space reciting in rich details how the crime was planned and then executed by the petitioners. In addition, the
DOJ Panel evaluated the supporting sworn statements of Nerissa Rosales and Mila Gaviola, former housemaids of the Webbs,
Carlos J. Cristobal, a passenger in United Airlines Flight No. 808 and Lolita Birrer, a paramour of Gerardo Biong. The Panel
assayed their statements as follows:
29

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According to Nerissa E. Rosales, a former housemaid of the Webb family, on June 29, 1991, between 7:00 o'clock and 8:00
o'clock in the evening, Hubert was at home inside his room with two male visitors. She knew it because she and her co-
housemaid, Loany, were instructed by Hubert to bring them three glasses of juice. It was the last time she saw Hubert and was
later told by then Congressman Webb that Hubert was in the United States.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
While Mila S. Gaviola, another former housemaid of the Webb family and who served as a laundry woman, claims, aside from
corroborating the statement of Nerissa Rosales, that on June 30, 1991, she woke up at around 4:00 in the morning and as what
she used to do, she entered the rooms of the Webbs to get their clothes to be washed. As a matter of fact, in that early
morning, she entered Hubert's room and saw Hubert, who was only wearing his pants, already awake and smoking while he
was sitting on his bed. She picked up Hubert's scattered clothes and brought them together with the clothes of the other
members of the family to the laundry area. After taking her breakfast, she began washing the clothes of the Webbs. As she was
washing the clothes of Hubert Webb, she noticed fresh bloodstains in his shirt. After she finished the laundry, she went to the
servant's quarters. But feeling uneasy, she decided to go up to the stockroom near Hubert's room to see what he was doing. In
the said stockroom, there is a small door going to Hubert's room and in that door there is a small opening where she used to
see Hubert and his friends sniffing on something. She observed Hubert was quite irritated, uneasy, and walked to and from
inside his room.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On that day, she noticed Hubert left the house at around 1:00 in the afternoon and came back at around 4:00 in the same
afternoon and went inside his room using the secret door of the house. It was the last time that she saw Hubert until she left the
Webb family.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On the other hand, Carlos J. Cristobal alleged that on March 9, 1991, at about 10:00 in the morning, he was at the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport as he was then scheduled to take the United Airlines Flight No. 808 at 2:00 in the afternoon for
New York. At the airport's lobby, he saw then Congressman Freddie Webb with a male companion. He greeted him and Webb
answered: "Mabuti naman, at ito, ihahatid ko ang anak ko papuntang Florida." He knew Freddie Webb because he often
watched him then in a television show "Chicks to Chicks." He observed that the man whom Freddie Webb referred to as his
son, was of the same height as Freddie. The son referred to has fair complexion with no distinguishing marks on his face. He
(son of Webb) was then wearing a striped white jacket. When he and his children were already inside the plane, he did not see
Freddie anymore, but he noticed his son was seated at the front portion of the economy class. He never noticed Freddie
Webb's son upon their arrival in San Francisco. He claims that, while watching the television program "DONG PUNO LIVE"
lately, he saw the wife of Freddie Webb with her lawyer being interviewed, and when she described Hubert as "moreno" and
small built, with a height of five feet and seven inches tall, and who was the one who left for United States on March 9, 1991, he
nurtured doubts because such description does not fit the physical traits of the son of Freddie, who left with him for United
States on the same flight and date.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Lolita Birrer, alleged that she know Gerardo Biong because she had an affair with him for almost three (3) years and in fact, she
had a child with him who is now four (4) years old. Their relationship started in February, 1991 until she broke up with him in
September 1993. She recalls that on June 29, 1991, at around 6:00 p.m., Biong invited her to play mahjong at the canteen of a
certain Aling Glo located at the back of the Paraaque Municipal Hall.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
At about 2:30, in the early morning of January 30, 1991, the radio operator of the Paraaque police told Biong that he has a
phone call. Before Biong went to the radio room, she was instructed to take him over and after somebody won the game, she
followed Biong at the radio room where she overheard him uttering, "Ano?, Saan? Mahirap yan, Paano, o sige, aantayin kita, O
ano?, dilaw na taxi, o sige." When he put the phone down, Biong told her, "Mayroon lang akong rerespondehan, ikaw muna
ang maupo" and then, he went outside the canteen apparently waiting for somebody. Twenty minutes later, a taxi, colored
yellow, arrived with a male passenger sitting at the backseat and parked near the canteen. After it made some signals by
blinking its headlight, Biong rode thereat at the front seat beside the driver and then, they left. She was not able to recognize
the male passenger because the window of the taxi was tinted. Biong came back at around 7:00 of the same morning and
when he arrived, he immediately washed his hands and face, and took his handkerchief from his pocket which he threw at the
trash can. She asked him why he threw his handkerchief and he answered, "Hmp . . . amoy tae." She inquired what happened
in BF Homes and he replied, "Putang inang mga batang iyon, pinahirapan nila ako."chanrobles virtual law library
Biong later invited her for breakfast, but they first went to his office where she observed him doing something in his steel
cabinet while he appeared to be uneasy. Moments later, Galvan, another policeman of Paraaque, arrived and said, "Oy Biong,
may tatlong patay sa BF, imbestigahan mo" to which Biong answered, "Oo susunod na ako." Biong went to the office of Capt.
Don Bartolome who offered to accompany him and with whom she asked permission to go with them. Before they proceeded to
the place where the killings happened, she asked Biong if he knew the exact address and the latter immediately responded,
"Alam ko na yon." She was surprised because Galvan never told him the place of the
incident.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As soon as they arrived at the Vizconde's residence, Biong instructed the housemaids to contact the victim's relatives, while the
security guard fetched the barangay chairman and the president of the Homeowners Association. When all these persons were
already in the house, Biong started recording the wounds of the victim. Inside the master's bedroom, she saw Biong took a
watch from the jewelry box. Because she could not tolerate the foul odor, she and Capt. Bartolome went out of the room and
proceeded to the dining area. On top of the dining table, she saw the scattered contents of a shoulder bag. Moments later,
Biong came out from the room and proceeded to the front door to remove the chain lock; asked the keys from the housemaid
and it was only then that the main door was opened. Biong noticed a stone in front of the broken glass of the door and
requested Capt. Bartolome to go inside the servant's quarters as he doubted the housemaids' claim that they heard nothing
unusual. Using the handle of his gun, Biong broke the remaining glass of the door panel. Bartolome then came out of the room
and told Biong that he can hear the sound of the glass being broken. At the garage, Biong also noticed same marks on the
hood of the car.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On the following day, at around 12:00 noon, Biong arrived in her house together with the Vizconde housemaids. When Biong
was preparing to take a bath, she saw him remove from his pocket the things she also saw from Vizconde's residence, to wit:
calling cards, driver's license, ATM card, a crossed check worth P80,000.00, earrings, a ring, bracelet, necklace, and the watch
he took from the jewelry box inside the room of the Vizcondes. These jewelry items were later pawned by Biong for P20,000.00
at a pawnshop in front of Chow-Chow restaurant in Santos Avenue, Paraaque. The next day, she saw Biong took from his
locker at the Paraaque Police Station an imported brown leather jacket, which the latter claimed to have been given to him by
the person who called him up in the early morning of June 30, 1991.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Since then, Biong has been wearing said jacket until they broke up sometime in 1993. She observed that Biong seemed not
interested in pursuing the investigation of the Vizconde case. In fact, when Biong and this group picked up Mike Gatchalian and
brought him to the Paraaque Police Station, she was surprised that Biong halted the investigation when Gatchalian was
profusely sweating while being interrogated. After the father of Gatchalian talked to Colonel Pureza, the latter called up and
instructed Biong to bring Gatchalian to him (Colonel Pureza) and that was the last thing she remembered regarding this case.
The DOJ Panel then weighed these inculpatory evidence against the exculpatory evidence of petitioners. It ruled:
30

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The voluminous number of exhibits submitted by respondent Webb to support his defense of denial and alibi notwithstanding,
the panel, after a careful and thorough evaluation of the records, believes that they cannot outweigh the evidence submitted by
the complainant. Alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification made by a prosecution witness. Verily, alibi deserves scant
consideration in the face of positive identification especially so where the claim of alibi is supported mainly by friends and
relatives (People vs. Apolonia, 235 SCRA 124 [1994]; People vs. Lucas, 181 SCRA 316 and a long line of
cases).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Similarly, denial is a self-serving negative which cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than the declaration of a credible
witness who testified on affirmative matters (People vs. Carizo, 233 SCRA 687 [1994]). Indeed, denial, like alibi, is weak and
becomes even more weaker when arrayed against the positive identification by the witness for the prosecution (People vs.
Onpaid, 233 SCRA 62 [1994]).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Surprisingly, Gatchalian's defense of alibi was not corroborated by Lejano, whom he claimed was with him watching video
tapes at the Syyap residence. Other than claiming that he "was not and could not have been at or near the area of the
Vizconde residence at the time of the alleged commission of the crime," respondent Lejano proffered no evidence to
substantiate his claim of alibi.
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On the other hand, respondent Webb seeks to enhance the acceptability of his alibi in the form of documents tending to show
that he was thousands of miles away when the incident occurred. We have carefully deliberated and argued on the evidence
submitted by respondent Webb in support of his absence from the country since March 9, 1991 to October 26, 1992 and found
the same wanting to exonerate him of the offense charged. The material dates in this case are June 29 and 30, 1991. While
respondent Webb may have submitted proof tending to show that he was issued a California driver's license on June 14, 1991,
there is no showing that he could not have been in the country on the dates above mentioned. Neither do we find merit in the
allegation that respondent Webb personally bought a bicycle on June 30, 1991 in California in view of his positive identification
by Alfaro and the two (2) househelps of the Webb family who testified that he was here in the country on said dates.
Additionally, the issuance of receipt evidencing the purchase of a bicycle in California is no conclusive proof that the name
appearing thereon was the actual buyer of the merchandise.
Given these conflicting pieces of evidence of the NBI and the petitioners, we hold that the DOJ Panel did not gravely abuse its
discretion when it found probable cause against the petitioners. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence
showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspects. Probable cause need not
be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt and
definitely, not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. As well put in Brinegar v. United States,
31
while probable
cause demands more than "bare suspicion," it requires "less than evidence which would justify . . . conviction." A finding of
probable cause merely binds over the suspect to stand trial. It is not a pronouncement of
guilt.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Considering the low quantum and quality of evidence needed to support a finding of probable cause, we also hold that the DOJ
Panel did not, gravely abuse its discretion in refusing to call the NBI witnesses for clarificatory questions. The decision to call
witnesses for clarificatory questions is addressed to the sound discretion of the investigator and the investigator alone. If the
evidence on hand already yields a probable cause, the investigator need not hold a clarificatory hearing. To repeat, probable
cause merely implies probability of guilt and should be determined in a summary manner. Preliminary investigation is not a part
of trial and it is only in a trial where an accused can demand the full exercise of his rights, such as the right to confront and
cross-examine his accusers to establish his innocence. In the case at bar, the DOJ Panel correctly adjudged that enough
evidence had been adduced to establish probable cause and clarificatory hearing was unnecessary.
II
We now come to the charge of petitioners that respondent Judge Raul de Leon and, later, respondent Judge Amelita Tolentino
issued warrants of arrest against them without conducting the required preliminary examination. Petitioners support their stance
by highlighting the following facts: (1) the issuance of warrants of arrest in a matter of few hours; (2) the failure of said judges to
issue orders of arrest; (3) the records submitted to the trial court were incomplete and insufficient from which to base a finding
of probable cause; and (4) that even Gerardo Biong who was included in the Information as a mere accessory had a "NO BAIL"
recommendation by the DOJ Panel. Petitioners postulate that it was impossible to conduct a "searching examination of
witnesses and evaluation of the documents" on the part of said judges.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The issuance of a warrant of arrest interferes with individual liberty and is regulated by no less than the fundamental law of the
land. Section 2 of Article III of the Constitution provides:
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things
to be seized.
The aforequoted provision deals with the requirements of probable cause both with respect to issuance of warrants of arrest or
search warrants. The similarities and differences of their requirements ought to be educational. Some of them are pointed out
by Professors LaFave and Israel, thus:
32
"It is generally assumed that the same quantum of evidence is required whether one
is concerned with probable cause to arrest or probable cause to search. But each requires a showing of probabilities as to
somewhat different facts and circumstances, and thus one can exist without the other. In search cases, two conclusions must
be supported by substantial evidence: that the items sought are in fact seizable by virtue of being connected with criminal
activity, and that the items will be found in the place to be searched. It is not also necessary that a particular person be
implicated. By comparison, in arrest cases there must be probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the person
to be arrested committed it, which of course can exist without any showing that evidence of the crime will be found at premises
under that person's control." Worthy to note, our Rules of Court do not provide for a similar procedure to be followed in the
issuance of warrants of arrest and search warrants. With respect to warrants of arrest, section 6 of Rule 112 simply provides
that "upon filing of an information, the Regional Trial Court may issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused." In contrast, the
procedure to be followed in issuing search warrants is more defined. Thus, Sections 3, 4 and 5 of Rule 126 provide:
xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 3. Requisites for issuing search warrant. - A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with
one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be
seized.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 4. Examination of complainant; record. - The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of
searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath the complainant and any witnesses he may produce on facts
personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits
submitted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 5. Issuance and form of search warrant. - If the judge is thereupon satisfied of the facts upon which the application is
based, or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he must issue the warrant, which must be substantially in the
form prescribed by these Rules.
We discussed the difference in the Procedure of issuing warrants of arrest and search warrants in Soliven vs. Makasiar,
33
thus:
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The second issue, raised by Beltran, calls for an interpretation of the constitutional provision on the issuance of warrants of
arrest. The pertinent provision reads:
Art. III, Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches
and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things
to be seized.
The addition of the word "personally" after the word "determined" and the deletion of the grant of authority by the 1973
Constitution to issue warrants to "other responsible officers as may be authorized by law," has apparently convinced petitioner
Beltran that the Constitution now requires the judge to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses in his
determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest. This is not an accurate interpretation.
What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself of the
existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the
judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and procedure,
he shall: (1) personally evaluate the report and the documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable
cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant; or (2) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the
fiscal's report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusions as to the
existence of probable cause.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges would be unduly laden with the preliminary examination and
investigation of criminal complaints instead of concentrating on hearing and deciding cases filed before their courts.
Clearly then, the Constitution, the Rules of Court, and our case law
34
repudiate the submission of petitioners that respondent
judges should have conducted "searching examination of witnesses" before issuing warrants of arrest against them. They also
reject petitioners' contention that a judge must first issue an order of arrest before issuing a warrant of arrest. There is no law or
rule requiring the issuance of an Order of Arrest prior to a warrant of arrest.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
In the case at bar, the DOJ Panel submitted to the trial court its 26-page report, the two (2) sworn statements of Alfaro and the
sworn statements of Carlos Cristobal and Lolita Birrer
35
as well as the counter-affidavits of the petitioners. Apparently, the
painstaking recital and analysis of the parties' evidence made in the DOJ Panel Report satisfied both judges that there is
probable cause to issue warrants of arrest against petitioners. Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges
merely determinepersonally the probability, not the certainty of guilt of an accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de
novo hearing to determine the existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial determination of the
prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence. The sufficiency of the review process
cannot be measured by merely counting minutes and hours. The fact that it took the respondent judges a few hours to review
and affirm the probable cause determination of the DOJ Panel does not mean they made no personal evaluation of the
evidence attached to the records of the case.
36

Petitioners' reliance on the case of Allado vs. Diokno
37
is misplaced. OurAllado ruling is predicated on the utter failure of the
evidence to show the existence of probable cause. Not even the corpus delicti of the crime was established by the evidence of
the prosecution in that case. Given the clear insufficiency of the evidence on record, we stressed the necessity for the trial
judge to make a further personal examination of the complainant and his witnesses to reach a correct assessment of the
existence or non-existence of probable cause before issuing warrants of arrest against the accused. The case at bar, however,
rests on a different factual setting. As priorly discussed, the various types of evidence extant in the records of the case provide
substantial basis for a finding of probable cause against the petitioner. The corpus delictiof the crime is a given fact. There is an
eyewitness account of the imputed crime given by Alfaro. The alibi defense of petitioner Webb is also disputed by sworn
statements of their former maids. It was therefore unnecessary for the respondent judges to take the further step of
examining ex parte the complainant and their witnesses with searching questions.
IIIchanrobles virtual law library
Petitioners also complain about the denial of their constitutional right to due process and violation of their right to an impartial
investigation. They decry their alleged hasty and malicious prosecution by the NBI and the DOJ Panel. They also assail the
prejudicial publicity that attended their preliminary investigation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We reject these contentions. The records will show that the DOJ Panel did not conduct the preliminary investigation with
indecent haste. Petitioners were given fair opportunity to prove lack of probable cause against them. The fairness of this
opportunity is well stressed in the Consolidated Comment of the Solicitor General, viz.:
Again, there is no merit in this contention. Petitioners were afforded all the opportunities to be heard. Petitioner Webb actively
participated in the preliminary investigation by appearing in the initial hearing held on June 30, 1995 and in the second hearing
on July 14, 1995; and by filing a "Motion for Production and Examination of Evidence and Documents" on June 27, 1995 (p. 4,
Petition), a "Reply to the compliance and Comment/Manifestation to the Motion for Production and Examination of Evidence" on
July 5, 1995 (p. 6, Petition), a "Comment and Manifestation" on July 7, 1995 (p. 6, Petition), his "Counter-Affidavit" on July 14,
1995 (pp. 6-7, Petition) and a "Motion to Resolve" on August 1, 1995. Numerous letter-requests were also sent by the petitioner
Webb's counsel to the DOJ Panel requesting the latter to furnish him a copy of the reports prepared by the FBI concerning the
petitioner's whereabouts during the material period (Annexes "L", "L-1" and "L-2" of the Supplemental Petition dated August 14,
1995). In fact, not satisfied with the decision of the DOJ Panel not to issue subpoena duces tecum to Atty. Arturo L. Mercader,
Jr., petitioner Webb filed a "Petition for Injunction, Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus" with the Regional Trial Court, Branch
63 of Makati in order to compel said Atty. Mercader, Jr. to produce the first sworn statement of Alfaro for submission to the DOJ
Panel. (p. 4, Petition) The said court dismissed the petition after Mercader produced and submitted to the DOJ Panel the first
sworn statement of Alfaro, without ruling on the admissibility and credence of the two (2) conflicting and inconsistent sworn
statements of the principal witness, Alfaro. (Attached hereto is a copy of the order of Judge Ruben A. Mendiola, RTC-Makati,
Branch 63 dated July 28, 1995) marked as Annex "F."chanrobles virtual law library
It must also be pointed out that despite the declaration by the DOJ Panel that the preliminary investigation was to be terminated
after the hearing held on July 14, 1995, the panel continued to conduct further proceedings, e.g. comparison of the photo-
copies of the submitted documents with the originals on July 17, 1995. (p. 7, Petition) The panel even entertained the
"Response" submitted by accused Miguel Rodriguez on July 18, 1995. (p. 17 Resolution) In addition to these, the panel even
announced that any party may submit additional evidence before the resolution of the case. (p. 8, Petition) From the time the
panel declared the termination of the preliminary investigation on July 14, 1995, twenty-seven (27) dayselapsed before the
resolution was promulgated, and the information eventually filed in the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque on August 10, 1995.
This notwithstanding the directive of Section 3(f) Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Court that the investigating officer shall
resolve the case within ten (10) days from the termination of the preliminary investigation. The DOJ Panel precisely allowed the
parties to adduce more evidence in their behalf and for the panel to study the evidence submitted more fully. This directly
disputes the allegation of the petitioners that the resolution was done with indecent haste in violation of the rights of the
petitioners. During the period of twenty-seven (27) days, the petitioners were free to adduce and present additional evidence
before the DOJ Panel.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Verily, petitioners cannot now assert that they were denied due process during the conduct of the preliminary investigation
simply because the DOJ Panel promulgated the adverse resolution and filed the Information in court against them.
Petitioners cannot also assail as premature the filing of the Information in court against them for rape with homicide on the
ground that they still have the right to appeal the adverse resolution of the DOJ Panel to the Secretary of Justice. The filing of
said Information is in accord with Department of Justice Order No. 223, series of 1993, dated June 25, 1993. We quote its
pertinent sections, viz.:
Sec. 4. Non-Appealable Cases; Exceptions. - No appeal may be taken from a resolution of the Chief State Prosecutor/Regional
State Prosecutor/Provincial or City Prosecutor finding probable cause except upon showing of manifest error or grave abuse of
discretion.Notwithstanding the showing of manifest error or grave abuse of discretion, no appeal shall be entertained where the
appellant had already been arraigned. If the appellant is arraigned during the pendency of the appeal, said appeal shall be
dismissed motu propioby the Secretary of Justice.
An appeal/motion for reinvestigation from a resolution finding probable cause, however, shall not hold the filing of the
information in court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 2. When to appeal. - The appeal must be filed within a period of fifteen (15) days from receipt of the questioned resolution
by the party or his counsel. The period shall be interrupted only by the filing of a motion for reconsideration within ten (10) days
from receipt of the resolution and shall continue to run from the time the resolution denying the motion shall have been received
by the movant or his counsel. (Emphasis supplied)
Without doubt then, the said DOJ Order No. 223 allows the filing of an Information in court after the consummation of the
preliminary investigation even if the accused can still exercise the right to seek a review of the prosecutor's recommendation
with the Secretary of Justice.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Next, petitioners fault the DOJ Panel for not including Alfaro in the Information considering her alleged conspiratorial
participation in the crime of rape with homicide. The non-inclusion of Alfaro is anchored on Republic Act
No. 6981, entitled "An Act Providing For A Witness Protection, Security And Benefit Program And For Other Purposes" enacted
on April 24, 1991. Alfaro qualified under its Section 10, which provides:
xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 10. State Witness. - Any person who has participated in the commission of a crime and desires to a witness for the State,
can apply and, if qualified as determined in this Act and by the Department, shall be admitted into the Program whenever the
following circumstances are present:chanrobles virtual law library
(a) the offense in which his testimony will be used is a grave felony as defined under the R.P.C. or its equivalent under special
laws;chanrobles virtual law library
(b) there is absolute necessity for his testimony;chanrobles virtual law library
(c) there is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed;chanrobles virtual law library
(d) his testimony can be substantially corroborated on its material points;chanrobles virtual law library
(e) he does not appear to be most guilty; andchanrobles virtual law library
(f) he has not at anytime been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
An accused discharged from an information or criminal complaint by the court in order that he may be a State Witness pursuant
to Sections 9 and 10 of Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Court may upon his petition be admitted to the Program if he complies
with the other requirements of this Act. Nothing in this Act shall prevent the discharge of an accused so that he can be used as
a Witness under Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Upon qualification of Alfaro to the program, Section 12 of the said law mandates her non-inclusion in the criminal Complaint or
Information, thus:
xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 12. Effect of Admission of a State Witness into the Program. - The certification of admission into the Program by the
Department shall be given full faith and credit by the provincial or city prosecutor who is required NOT TO INCLUDE THE
WITNESS IN THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION and if included therein, to petition the court for his discharge in
order that he can be utilized as a State Witness. The court shall order the discharge and exclusion of the said accused from the
information.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Admission into the Program shall entitle such State Witness to immunity from criminal prosecution for the offense or offenses in
which his testimony will be given or used and all the rights and benefits provided under Section 8 hereof.
The validity of these provisions is challenged by petitioner Webb. It is urged that they constitute ". . . an intrusion into judicial
prerogative for it is only the court which has the power under the Rules on Criminal Procedure to discharge an accused as a
state witness." The argument is based on Section 9, Rule 119
38
which gives the court the prerogative to approve the discharge
of an accused to be a state witness. Petitioner's argument lacks appeal for it lies on the faulty assumption that the decision
whom to prosecute is a judicial function, the sole prerogative of courts and beyond executive and legislative interference. In
truth, the prosecution of crimes appertains to the executive department of government whose principal power and responsibility
is to see that our laws are faithfully executed. A necessary component of this power to execute our laws is the right to
prosecute their violators. The right to prosecute vests the prosecutor with a wide range of discretion - the discretion of whether,
what and whom to charge, the exercise of which depends on a smorgasbord of factors which are best appreciated by
prosecutors. We thus hold that it is not constitutionally impermissible for Congress to enact R.A. No. 6981 vesting in the
Department of Justice the power to determine who can qualify as a witness in the program and who shall be granted immunity
from prosecution.
39
Section 9 of Rule 119 does not support the proposition that the power to choose who shall be a state
witness is an inherent judicial prerogative. Under this provision, the court, is given the power to discharge a state witness only
because it has already acquired jurisdiction over the crime and the accused. The discharge of an accused is part of the
exercise of jurisdiction but is not a recognition of an inherent judicial function. Moreover, the Rules of Court have never been
interpreted to be beyond change by legislation designed to improve the administration of our justice system. R.A. No. 6981 is
one of the much sought penal reform laws to help government in its uphill fight against crime, one certain cause of which is the
reticence of witnesses to testify. The rationale for the law is well put by the Department of Justice, viz.: "Witnesses, for fear of
reprisal and economic dislocation, usually refuse to appear and testify in the investigation/prosecution of criminal
complaints/cases. Because of such refusal, criminal complaints/cases have been dismissed for insufficiency and/or lack of
evidence. For a more effective administration of criminal justice, there was a necessity to pass a law protecting witnesses and
granting them certain rights and benefits to ensure their appearance in investigative bodies/courts."
40
Petitioner Webb's
challenge to the validity of R.A. No. 6981 cannot therefore succeed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Further, petitioners charge the NBI with violating their right to discovery proceedings during their preliminary investigation by
suppressing the April 28, 1995 original copy of the sworn statement of Alfaro and the FBI Report. The argument is novel in this
jurisdiction and as it urges an expansive reading of the rights of persons under preliminary investigation it deserves serious
consideration. To start with, our Rules on Criminal Procedure do not expressly provide for discovery proceedings during the
preliminary investigation stage of a criminal proceeding.
41
Sections 10 and 11 of Rule 117 do provide an accused the right to
move for a bill of particulars and for production or inspection of material evidence in possession of the prosecution.
42
But these
provisions apply after the filing of the Complaint or Information in court and the rights are accorded to the accused to assist
them to make an intelligent plea at arraignment and to prepare for trial.
43

This failure to provide discovery procedure during preliminary investigation does not, however, negate its use by a person
under investigation when indispensable to protect his constitutional right to life, liberty and property. Preliminary investigation is
not too early a stage to guard against any significant erosion of the constitutional right to due process of a potential accused. As
aforediscussed, the object of a preliminary investigation is to determine the probability that the suspect committed a crime. We
hold that the finding of a probable cause by itself subjects the suspect's life, liberty and property to real risk of loss or
diminution. In the case at bar, the risk to the liberty of petitioners cannot be understated for they are charged with the crime of
rape with homicide, a non-bailable offense when the evidence of guilt is strong.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
Attuned to the times, our Rules have discarded the pure inquisitorial system of preliminary investigation. Instead, Rule 112
installed a quasi-judicial type of preliminary investigation conducted by one whose high duty is to be fair and impartial.
44
As this
Court emphasized in Rolito Go vs. Court of Appeals,
45
"the right to have a preliminary investigation conducted before being
bound over for trial for a criminal offense, and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is not a mere formal
or technical right; it is a substantive right." A preliminary investigation should therefore be scrupulously conducted so that the
constitutional right to liberty of a potential accused can be protected from any material damage. We uphold the legal basis of
the right of petitioners to demand from their prosecutor, the NBI, the original copy of the April 28, 1995 sworn statement of
Alfaro and the FBI Report during their preliminary investigation considering their exculpatory character, and hence,
unquestionable materiality to the issue of their probable guilt. The right is rooted on the constitutional protection of due process
which we rule to be operational even during the preliminary investigation of a potential accused. It is also implicit in section (3)
(a) of Rule 112 which requires during the preliminary investigation the filing of a sworn complaint, which shall ". . . state the
known address of the respondent and be accompanied by affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses as well as other
supporting documents . . ."chanrobles virtual law library
In laying down this rule, the Court is not without enlightened precedents from other jurisdictions. In the 1963 watershed case
of Brady v. Maryland 46 the United States Supreme Court held that "suppression of evidence favorable to an accused upon
request violates due process where the evidence is material to guilt or punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of
the prosecution." Its progeny is the 1935 case of Mooney v. Holohan 47 which laid down the proposition that a prosecutor's
intentional use of perjured testimony to procure conviction violates due process. Thus, evolved jurisprudence firming up the
prosecutor's duty to disclose to the defense exculpatory evidence in its possession.
48
The rationale is well put by Justice
Brennan in Brady
49
- "society wins not only when the guilty are convicted but when criminal trials are fair." Indeed, prosecutors
should not treat litigation like a game of poker where surprises can be sprung and where gain by guile is not
punished.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
But given the right of petitioners to compel the NBI to disclose exculpatory evidence in their favor, we are not prepared to rule
that the initial non-production of the original sworn statement of Alfaro dated April 28, 1995 could have resulted in the
reasonable likelihood that the DOJ Panel would not have found probable cause. To be sure, the NBI, on July 4, 1995, upon
request of petitioners, submitted a photocopy of Alfaro's April 28, 1995 sworn statement. It explained it cannot produce the
original as it had been lost. Fortunately, petitioners, on July 28, 1995, were able to obtain a copy of the original from Atty. Arturo
Mercader in the course of the proceedings in Civil Case No. 951099.
50
As petitioners admit, the DOJ Panel accepted the
original of Alfaro's April 28, 1995 sworn statement as a part of their evidence.
51
Petitioners thus had the fair chance to explain
to the DOJ Panel then still conducting their preliminary investigation the exculpatory aspects of this sworn statement.
Unfortunately for petitioners, the DOJ Panel still found probable cause to charge them despite the alleged material
discrepancies between the first and second sworn statements of Alfaro. For reasons we have expounded, this finding of
probable cause cannot be struck down as done with grave abuse of discretion.
52
On the other hand, the FBI Report while
corroborative of the alibi of petitioner Webb cannot by itself reverse the probable cause finding of the DOJ Panel in light of the
totality of evidence presented by the NBI.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Finally, we come to the argument of petitioner that the DOJ Panel lost its impartiality due to the prejudicial publicity waged in
the press and broadcast media by the NBI.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Again, petitioners raise the effect of prejudicial publicity on their right to due process while undergoing preliminary investigation.
We find no procedural impediment to its early invocation considering the substantial risk to their liberty while undergoing a
preliminary investigation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In floating this issue, petitioners touch on some of the most problematic areas in constitutional law where the conflicting
demands of freedom of speech and of the press, the public's right to information, and an accused's right to a fair and impartial
trial collide and compete for prioritization. The process of pinpointing where the balance should be struck has divided men of
learning as the balance keeps moving either on the side of liberty or on the side of order as the tumult of the time and the
welfare of the people dictate. The dance of balance is a difficult act to follow.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
In democratic settings, media coverage of trials of sensational cases cannot be avoided and oftentimes, its excessiveness has
been aggravated by kinetic developments in the telecommunications industry. For sure, few cases can match the high volume
and high velocity of publicity that attended the preliminary investigation of the case at bar. Our daily diet of facts and fiction
about the case continues unabated even today. Commentators still bombard the public with views not too many of which are
sober and sublime. Indeed, even the principal actors in the case - the NBI, the respondents, their lawyers and their
sympathizers - have participated in this media blitz. The possibility of media abuses and their threat to a fair trial
notwithstanding, criminal trials cannot be completely closed to the press and the public. In the seminal case of Richmond
Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia,
53
it was wisely held:
xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library
(a) The historical evidence of the evolution of the criminal trial in Anglo-American justice demonstrates conclusively that at the
time this Nation's organic laws were adopted, criminal trials both here and in England had long been presumptively open, thus
giving assurance that the proceedings were conducted fairly to all concerned and discouraging perjury, the misconduct of
participants, or decisions based on secret bias or partiality. In addition, the significant community therapeutic value of public
trials was recognized: when a shocking crime occurs, a community reaction of outrage and public protest often follows, and
thereafter the open processes of justice serve an important prophylactic purpose, providing an outlet for community concern,
hostility, and emotion. To work effectively, it is important that society's criminal process "satisfy the appearance of justice,"
Offutt v. United States, 348 US 11, 14, 99 L Ed 11, 75 S Ct 11, which can best be provided by allowing people to observe such
process. From this unbroken, uncontradicted history, supported by reasons as valid today as in centuries past, it must be
concluded that a presumption of openness inheres in the very nature of a criminal trial under this Nation's system of
justice, Cf., e.g., Levine v. United States, 362 US 610, 4 L Ed 2d 989, 80 S Ct 1038.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
(b) The freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, expressly guaranteed by the First Amendment, share a common core
purpose of assuring freedom of communication on matters relating to the functioning of government. In guaranteeing freedoms
such as those of speech and press, the First Amendment can be read as protecting the right of everyone to attend trials so as
to give meaning to those explicit guarantees; the First Amendment right to receive information and ideas means, in the context
of trials, that the guarantees of speech and press, standing alone, prohibit government from summarily closing courtroom doors
which had long been open to the public at the time the First Amendment was adopted. Moreover, the right of assembly is also
relevant, having been regarded not only as an independent right but also as a catalyst to augment the free exercise of the other
First Amendment rights with which it was deliberately linked by
the draftsmen. A trial courtroom is a public place where the people generally - and representatives of the media - have a right to
be present, and where their presence historically has been thought to enhance the integrity and quality of what takes
place.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(c) Even though the Constitution contains no provision which by its terms guarantees to the public the right to attend criminal
trials, various fundamental rights, not expressly guaranteed, have been recognized as indispensable to the enjoyment of
enumerated rights. The right to attend criminal trials is implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendment; without the freedom to
attend such trials, which people have exercised for centuries, important aspects of freedom of speech and of the press could be
eviscerated.
Be that as it may, we recognize that pervasive and prejudicial publicity under certain circumstances can deprive an accused of
his due process right to fair trial. Thus, in Martelino, et al. vs. Alejandro, et al.,
54
we held that to warrant a finding of prejudicial
publicity there must be allegation and proof that the judges have been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the
barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, we find nothing in the records that will prove that the tone and content, of the publicity
that attended the investigation of petitioners fatally infected the fairness and impartiality of the DOJ Panel. Petitioners cannot
just rely on the subliminal effects of publicity on the sense of fairness of the DOJ Panel, for these are basically unbeknown and
beyond knowing. To be sure, the DOJ Panel is composed of an Assistant Chief State Prosecutor and Senior State Prosecutors.
Their long experience in criminal investigation is a factor to consider in determining whether they can easily be blinded by the
klieg lights of publicity. Indeed, their 26-page Resolution carries no indubitable indicia of bias for it does not appear that they
considered any extra-record evidence except evidence properly adduced by the parties. The length of time the investigation
was conducted despite its summary nature and the generosity with which they accommodated the discovery motions of
petitioners speak well of their fairness. At no instance, we note, did petitioners seek the disqualification of any member of the
DOJ Panel on the ground of bias resulting from their bombardment of prejudicial publicity.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
It all remains to state that the Vizconde case will move to a more critical stage as petitioners will now have to undergo trial on
the merits. We stress that probable cause is not synonymous with guilt and while the light of publicity may be a good
disinfectant of unfairness, too much of its heat can bring to flame an accused's right to fair trial. Without imposing on the trial
judge the difficult task of supervising every specie of speech relating to the case at bar, it behooves her to be reminded of the
duty of a trial judge in high profile criminal cases to control publicity prejudicial to the fair administration of justice.
55
The Court
reminds judges that our ability to dispense impartial justice is an issue in every trial and in every criminal prosecution, the
judiciary always stands as a silent accused. More than convicting the guilty and acquitting the innocent, the business of the
judiciary is to assure fulfillment of the promise that justice shall be done and is done - and that is the only way for the judiciary
to get an acquittal from the bar of public opinion.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petitions are dismissed for lack of showing of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
respondents. Costs against petitioners.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
SO ORDERED.
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