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Coverdale Abarquez, y Evangelista, Petitioner, versus

The People of the Philippines, Respondents.

(G.R. No. 150762, January 20, 2006, 3rd Division)
TOPIC: Circumstantial Evidence
The prosecution charged Abarquez with the crimes of homicide and
attempted homicide alleging in the two informations filed that said accused was
conspiring and confederating with one Alberto Almojuela in the killing of
Ricardo Quejong Bello, by stabbing him twice with a bladed weapon and hitting
him with a gun at the back. The trial court found Abarquez guilty beyond
reasonable doubt as an accomplice in the crime of homicide. Abarquez filed an
appeal to the Court of Appeals. However the Court of Appeals rejected
Abarquezs allegation that he was merely at the crime scene to pacify the
quarreling parties. Abarquez alleges that the prosecutions evidence does not
satisfy the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support his conviction
as an accomplice. He further alleges that there was a misapprehension of facts
and that the trial court and the Court of Appeals reached their conclusion
based entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures. Abarquez also assails
the credibility of the witnesses against him.
Whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prove that fact that
Abarquez was an accomplice in the killing of Ricardo Bello
No. Two elements must concur before a person becomes liable as an
1. community of design, which means that the accomplice knows of, and
concurs with, the criminal design of the principal by direct
2. the performance by the accomplice of previous or simultaneous acts
that are not indispensable to the commission of the crime.
Mere commission of an act, which aids the perpetrator, is not enough.
The cooperation that the law punishes is the assistance knowingly rendered,
which cannot exist without the previous cognizance of the criminal act
intended to be executed. The accused must unite with the criminal design of
the principal by direct participation in order to be liable as an accomplice. The
court held in one case that the mere presence of the accused at the crime
scene cannot be interpreted to mean that he committed the crime charged.
In convicting Abarquez in this case, the trial court and the Court of
Appeals relied mainly on the testimony of Paz. Paz testified that he was held by
Abarquez on the shoulders, thus preventing him from helping Quejong who
was grappling with Almojuela. Pazs testimony does not show that Abarquez
concurred with Almojuelas criminal design. "Tumigil" literally means "stop."

Clearly, Abarquez was trying to stop Paz from joining the fray, not from helping
Quejong. Paz claims that he was only trying to talk to Almojuela. However, Paz
could not have been merely talking to Almojuela, as he tried to portray, because
Almojuela was already grappling with Quejong at that time. Paz interpreted
Abarquezs action as an attempt to prevent him from helping Quejong. His
interpretation was adopted by the trial court and sustained by the Court of
Appeals. Yet, in his testimony, Paz admitted that while restraining him,
Abarquez was scolding or reprimanding him and telling him to stop. It was not
shown that Abarquez was stopping Paz from helping Almojuela. It is more likely
that Abarquez was trying to stop Paz from joining the fight. Abarquezs act of
trying to stop Paz does not translate to assistance to Almojuela

People of the Philippines, Appellee, versus

Cesar Galvez, Appellant.
(G.R. No. 157221, March 30, 2007, 3rd Division)
TOPIC: Circumstantial Evidence
Enojarda, Rellios, Perez, and their two companions were sprayed with
gunfire. Enojarda was fatally hit while Rellios, Perez and their two companions
ducked and crawled to seek cover. Five minutes after the first burst of gunfire,
Galvez, armed with an M16 armalite rifle, was seen firing at Rellios, Perez and
their two companions and at about 20 to 25 minutes Galvez was again seen
carrying an M16 armalite rifle along with three armed companions.
ISSUE: Whether or not the circumstances are sufficient to establish the guilt of
Galvez for the crime of murder beyond reasonable doubt
NO. The prosecution failed to prove that Galvez was the sole author of
the shot that killed Enojarda. The circumstances do not point to Galvez as the
sole perpetrator of the crime. The presence of the three armed men raises the
probability that any one of those men inflicted the fatal shot. The fact that
Galvez was seen minutes after Enojarda was shot does not sufficiently
establish that Galvez was the one who shot Enojarda.
There are four basic guidelines in assaying the probative value of
circumstantial evidence:(a) It should be acted upon with caution; (b) All the
essential facts must be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt; (c) The facts
must exclude every other theory but that of guilt of the accused; and, (d) The

facts must establish with certainty the guilt of the accused as to convince
beyond reasonable doubt that he was the perpetrator of the offense.
The peculiarity of circumstantial evidence is that the series of events
pointing to the commission of a felony is appreciated not singly but collectively.
The guilt of the accused cannot be deduced from scrutinizing just one
particular piece of evidence

People of the Philippines, Appellee, versus

Rolando Pineda y Manalo, Celso Sison y Lloreen (at large), Victor
Emmanuel Gonzales Colet alias Victor Colet acquitted, Totie Jacob alias
Totie at large, John Doe and Peter Doe (at large), Accused,
Rolando Pineda y Manalo, appellant.
(G.R. No. 141644, May 27, 2004, En Banc)
TOPIC: Circumstantial Evidence
Rolando Pineda together with several others allegedly staged a hold-up
while on board a bus. The bus driver, Camilo Ferrer, testified that while driving
he had witnessed what was happening through his rearview mirror and
identified Pineda as one of the perpetrators. Ferrer again identified Pineda
through a mugshot of the latter shown to him in an out-of-court identification
by the police.


Whether or not Pineda was properly identified as the perpetrator of the

NO. Although showing mug shots of suspects is one of the established
methods of identifying criminals, the procedure used in this case is
unacceptable. The first rule in proper photographic identification procedure is
that a series of photographs must be shown, and not merely that of the
suspect. The second rule directs that when a witness is shown a group of
pictures, their arrangement and display should in no way suggest which one of
the pictures pertains to the suspect. In the present case, the police obviously
suggested the identity of Pineda by showing only the photographs of Pineda
and Sison. The testimony of Ferrer fails the totality of circumstances test.

Ariston A. Abad, Petitioner, versus

Court of Appeals and The People of the Philippines, Respondents.
(G.R. No. 119739, June 18, 1998, 3rd Division)
TOPIC: Circumstantial Evidence

Ariston Abad allegedly stabbed Roberto Pineda to death. Ana Paulin,

Robertos mother, testified that she saw Ariston running away from their house
just moments before she found her sons body at their doorstep. No one saw
who had stabbed Roberto, nor was the murder weapon ever found. The
circumstances upon which the RTC and CA relied on for Aristons conviction
was that he was present at the scene of the incident and that he had a motive
for killing Roberto.
Whether or not the circumstances established was sufficient to prove the
guilt of Ariston beyond reasonable doubt
NO. The mere presence of Ariston at the locus criminis cannot be solely
interpreted to mean that he committed the killing. Furthermore, in order to
support a conviction, motive must be coupled with evidence from which it may
be reasonably deduced that the accused-appellant was the malefactor. The
totality of evidence adduced by the prosecution cannot be considered as
constituting an unbroken chain leading to the fair and reasonable conclusion
that Ariston is guilty of the crime charged. The circumstances proffered by the
prosecution only go so far as to create a suspicion that the accused probably
perpetrated the crime charged.

People of the Philippines, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus

Edmundo Villaflores y Olano, Accused-Appellant.
(G.R. No. 184926, April 11, 2012, 3rd Division)
TOPIC: Circumstantial Evidence
On July 2, 1999, Marita was last seen by her mother Julia to be playing
at the rear of their residence, when her mother noticed that she was
missing, she called her husband who rushed home to fi nd their
daughter. At 6:00AM of July 3, 1999, they found Maritas lifeless body covered
with blue and yellow sack five houses away from their home. The result of the
postmortem examination showed that the child was raped and the cause of death is
asphyxia by strangulation.
investigation, two (2) witnesses who were
Bautista and Jovy Stadium pointed Villaflores as the culprit. Both witnesses
narrated that at about 10:00AM on July 2, 1999, they saw Villaflores leading
Maria by the hand. At noon, the three used shabu for a while, but the
witnesses did not see Marita in the vicinity of Villaflores house. It was only on
3:00PM that they heard cries of a child. At about 7:00PM both witnesses saw
Batman carrying a yellow sack which appears heavy, the same sack that he
saw when they are still inside the house of Batman. The wife of the accused
also gave a supporting testimony that on the night of July 2, 1999 she saw his
husband place some sacks under their house and then went closer and saw
a protruding elbow inside the sack, when she confronted his husband who
was on drugs, Villaflores said was nothing. Based from these circumstances,
the RTC convicted Villaflores of a rape with homicide holding that the
circumstantial evidence led to no other conclusion but that his guilt was shown
beyond reasonable doubt. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the
conviction. The accused appealed and argued that both RTC and CA erred in
convicting him of a composite crime of Rape with homicide through
circumstantial evidence.
Whether or not the guilt of Villaflores for the crime of rape with homicide
has been established beyond reasonable doubt
YES. The duly established circumstances were links in an unbroken
chain that established with moral certainty the guilt of Villaflores for the crime
of rape with homicide.
1) Villaflores was seen leading Marita by the hand towards his house.
2) Marita went missing after that.
3) The cries of a child from inside his house.

4) Villaflores was seen carrying a yellow sack towards the abandoned

house where the childs lifeless body was later found.
5) The identification of the yellow and blue sack.
6) A hidden pathway between the abandoned house and Villaflores
7) The white rope and the yellow sack were traced to Villaflores.
8) The medico-legal findings of death from asphyxiation by
9) The multiple deep fresh hymenal lacerations.
10) The body of Marita was already in the second stage of flaccidity at
the time of the autopsy of her cadaver indicating that she had been
dead for more than 24 hours.