Sie sind auf Seite 1von 50

CASE 1 CONTRARY TO LAW.

[2]

SECOND DIVISION
Upon arraignment, Torres entered a plea of not guilty to the charge. Thereafter,
[G.R. No. 130661. June 27, 2001]
trial on the merits ensued.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANILO I. TORRES @
Pang-ae, JOHN DOE and PETER DOE, accused. The facts as presented by the prosecution to the trial court are as follows:
DANILO I. TORRES @ Pang-ae, accused-appellant.
Witness MACKY GALANAO was employed as laborer of Lorenzo A. Isagan, Jr. [aka
DECISION Boloy, victim herein] since 1992. On November 21, 1996 he reported for work at 6:00
oclock in the morning at the house of Isagan. He worked in the trucking operation
QUISUMBING, J.:
loading copras and abaca. The truck went towards Libacao driven by Isagan. His
other companions in the truck were Vicente Galanao, his father, Julian Galanao, his
On appeal is the decision[1] rendered on June 20, 1997, by the Regional Trial younger brother and Jose Lumio. They did not reach Libacao because a person
Court of Kalibo, Aklan, Branch 3, in Criminal Case No. 4843 finding appellant Danilo stopped them in Torralba, Banga, Aklan. That person approached them near the left
Torres guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide. side of the truck, went up the stepboard of the truck near the door and shot Boloy
Isagan once. The truck moved backward about fifteen (15) meters away from the spot
In an information dated January 7, 1997, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Mirazol where it originally stopped. Then it stopped moving because its tire struck the canal.
Avila-Legaspi charged appellant with robbery with homicide allegedly committed as After the gun burst, two (2) other persons appeared on the scene. One man ran
follows: towards them and said Dapa (face down) and they obeyed. The men opened the door
of the truck. The witness was inside the truck face down so he did not know what the
That on or about the 21st day of November, 1996, in the morning, in the highway of men were doing. After five minutes the men left the truck going towards the
Barangay Torralba, Municipality of Banga, Province of Aklan, Republic of the mountain. Then Jose Lumio shouted Nong Boloy, Nong Boloy. The witness also
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named jumped out of the truck and seeing the lifeless body of Boloy he ran towards Torralba
accused, conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping one another while with Julian Galanao in order to ask help from Emie Isagan, brother of Boloy who lived
in camouflage fatigue uniform and while armed with guns, by means of force and there. When he told Emie that Boloy was dead, Emie rode in his truck and went to the
violence, and with intent of gain and without the consent of the owner thereof, did crime scene with them. Then they proceeded to the Banga Police Station where they
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal, rob and carry away the reported that Boloy Isagan was dead. After that, they returned to the crime
following: scene. The witness stated that the man who stopped the truck was dressed in fatigue
and he was hiding something. But when he came nearer the witness saw that he had
Cash money - P500,000.00, more or less; a long firearm. The two (2) companions who later came out were also dressed in
One (1) gold ring worth - P10,000.00; fatigue, one armed with a short arm, and the other with a long arm. The witness was
One (1) gold necklace worth - P15,000.00; four (4) meters away from the man who shot Boloy Isagan who was alone in the front
One (1) gold plated wrist-watch worth - P5,000.00 of the truck while his four (4) laborers were at the back of the truck. The following day,
they were investigated by the police concerning the incident in the police station of
Banga. One week later, they were shown pictures (Exhs. F to F-4) of the suspects in
in the total amount of FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND (P530,000.00) PESOS, this case by the investigators and from the pictures they recognized the man shown in
more or less, belonging to LORENZO A. ISAGAN, JR. to the damage and prejudice of Exh. F as the one who waylaid and shot Boloy Isagan. That man was Danilo Torres,
the owner in the aforesaid amount; that by reason or on the occasion of said robbery, the one who stopped the truck. On the way to Libacao, Boloy Isagan carried a blue
and for the purpose of enabling the accused to take, steal and carry away the bag. The witness did not know the contents of the bag. When he and Emie returned
aforesaid items, the above-named accused with intent to kill, and conspiring with one to the truck, the bag was no longer there. He saw the three (3) men carrying that bag
another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with evident when they left going towards the mountain. As he lay flat, inside the truck marked X in
premeditation and treachery stopped the truck being driven by the said LORENZO A. Exh. D-3, he tilted his head to the side trying to peep at the direction of the persons
ISAGAN, JR. and, thereafter, attack, assault and shot LORENZO A. ISAGAN, JR., going to the mountains. The truck was stopped before they reached the barangay
thereby inflicting upon him mortal wounds, to wit: proper and the person who stopped the truck was about four (4) meters away from
the edge of the side of the road. He did not see the man carrying anything as he used
xxx his left hand in making a sign to stop the truck while his other hand was at his side
away from the witness. Boloy Isagan stopped the truck. The witness saw the man as
That as a result of the criminal acts of the accused the heirs of the victim suffered he was standing inside the truck, his head was over the roof. He was at the left side
actual and compensatory damages in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) of the truck going to Libacao while the man was at the right side of the road going to
PESOS. Libacao.[3]

1
Further, the prosecutions version of the killing as summarized by the trial court because Danilo was not there at the time. He wanted to proceed to Malinao and
shows that: inquire about the case because it was a serious one but he was not able to proceed
because it was a Saturday. He was apprehended on Monday, May 5, at the dance
Witness VICENTE GALANAO is a laborer and has stayed in the house of Boloy hall. He asked why he was apprehended when he was innocent but they informed
Isagan in Linabuan Norte for a month now. He started living there about three years him that there was a warrant of arrest for the killing of Isagan and he told them that he
ago. On November 21, 1996 he reported for work at 6:00 oclock in the morning and had no knowledge of the incident. The accused and Porferio Cosmo helped each
went to Libacao with Boloy Isagan, his sons Julian and Macky and Jose riding in the other in tilling their farms. In November they tilled their farms. On November 21 they
back of the truck driven by Boloy. Their purpose was to buy copra and abaca. They weeded. This May he did not bring his wife here because it was hard to travel. The
did not reach Libacao because in the middle of Barangay Torralba they were stopped accused denied the testimony of Florephiz Palmon who alleged that he saw the
by a person who stood at the left side of the road. That man approached the left side accused with companions in Polocate because he was not here (sic) at that
of the truck, went up the truck, and shot Boloy once. After shooting, two persons time. There are other persons who had similar appearance like him and he insisted
appeared from nowhere and approached the back of the truck and told them to lie that he is innocent of this case, whatever they will do to him.[7]
face downward. The two persons came from the portion where bamboos grew by the
side of the road. The one who shot Boloy had a firearm about 12 inches long. One Other witnesses were presented to bolster the version of the defense. Lolita
companion was armed with a short gun and the other a long gun. They heard the Fuentes, Porferio Cosmo and Elizabeth Torres corroborated the testimony of
sound of the side door open and afterwards the men ran towards the appellant.
mountainside. The witness and his companions did not do anything. Macky and
Julian went to seek help from Emie, while Jose went back towards the direction of The court found Torres guilty as charged.
Banga. He remained at the scene, went down the truck and just stood by its Expectedly, Torres readily filed his notice of appeal, albeit mistakenly directed to
side. About five minutes after his companions left, some persons arrived. Later the Court of Appeals. The trial court, nonetheless, elevated the records of this case to
policemen came. They were investigated by the policemen of Banga on November 22 this court despite appellants choice of court in the notice of appeal. In the interest of
the morning following the incident. When the men stopped the truck the witness was justice, the error committed by the counsel of the appellant need not deter us from
at the left side of the truck. On the right side was Julian. The witness noticed that the deciding the appeal on the merits. The rule requiring a party to specify the court to
man was dressed in T-shirt and he recognized him to be the accused Danilo Torres.[4] which the appeal is being made is merely directory. An error in the court to which an
appeal is made is not fatal to the appeal.[8]
The body of the victim was later brought to Dr. Rafael Tumbokon Memorial
Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan. Dr. Edmundo Reloj, Provincial Health Officer, conducted In his brief, appellant assigns the following errors:
a post mortem examination on the victim and found the deceased had nine (9) I
gunshot wounds on the left side of the neck. He declared that the cause of Isagans
death is hemorrhagic shock secondary to multiple gunshot wounds of the left neck.[5]
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANT
The following day, PO3 Pedro Jerry Icay invited the four helpers of Isagan to the WAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED AS ONE OF THOSE WHO COMMITTED THE
police station to shed light on the incident. However, the four could not positively CRIME CHARGED.
describe the culprits. On follow-up investigation, the police gathered photo files and
again summoned the four helpers to the station. At first, they could not identify
II
possible suspects from the pictures. But in the last picture, they identified a suspect
who was later known as Danilo I. Torres, appellant herein. The witnesses sworn
statement and complaint were filed before the prosecutors office.[6] THE TRIAL COURT UTTERLY FAILED TO FIND THAT THE ROBBERY ASPECT OF
THE CRIME CHARGED WAS NOT DULY PROVEN BY THE PROSECUTION.
Only Torres was apprehended while the two other accused remained at large.
Torres claimed that he was somewhere else during the incident. His defenses version
III
of the incident at bar is as follows:

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE
DANILO TORRES denied committing the crime charged because he was a resident
TO ACCUSED-APPELLANTS DEFENSE AND IN NOT ACQUITTING HIM OF THE
of Bohol with his wife when the incident happened. They have a marriage contract but
CRIME CHARGED.[9]
it was taken from him by a certain policeman in Banga. He usually came home to
Aklan every month of May to attend the fiesta. This year he came home on May
3. Reaching his house, his mother told him that there was a warrant of arrest issued The primary issue for resolution concerns the credibility of the prosecution and
against him and he was surprised why he was implicated in the crime when he was in defense witnesses. Secondarily, we must also determine whether all the elements of
Bohol at the time. He asked her why she did not send him a letter when she knew of robbery with homicide were proven beyond reasonable doubt.
the case against him but she said she did not send back the subpoena and just kept it

2
One of the highly revered dicta in our jurisdiction is that this Court will not in the generic sense, was committed.[13] The phrase by reason covers homicide
interfere with the judgment of the trial court in passing on the credibility of opposing committed before or after the taking of personal property of another, as long as the
witnesses unless there appear in the record some facts or circumstances of weight motive of the offender in killing a person before the robbery is to deprive the victim of
and influence that have been overlooked which, if considered, will affect the result of his personal property which is sought to be accomplished by eliminating an obstacle
the case. The reason is founded on practical considerations. The trial judge is in a or opposition or in killing a person after the robbery to do away with a witness or to
better position to decide questions of credibility since he has personally heard the defend the possession of the stolen property.[14] Thus, it matters not that the victim
witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. Nevertheless, in was killed prior to the taking of the personal properties of the victim. What is essential
view of the gravity of the charge and the penalty imposed, we spared no effort to in robbery with homicide is that there be a direct relation and intimate connection
meticulously review the evidence and we are convinced that the trial court had not between robbery and killing, whether both crimes be committed at the same time.[15]
overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and
substance that would have materially affected the outcome of the case. The foregoing elements are present in this case. Roselyn Isagan, the victims
wife, testified that before her husband left their house for his routine business trip, he
In our view, appellant was positively and convincingly identified by Macky and counted the money amounting to P500,000.00 and then placed it in his bag. Her
Vicente Galanao. They were standing at the left side of the truck, just behind the husband brought that amount because it was market day and would use the money in
drivers seat where the victim was. The roof of the truck was low and so their view of buying copra and abaca. In addition, her husband wore a necklace, a ring and a
the road in front of the vehicle was unhampered. They were just four meters away wristwatch when he left for the trip.[16]
from the assailant and the crime was committed in broad daylight. During trial, Macky
and Vicente Galanao positively identified appellant as the same person who stopped Galanao categorically stated that after their employer was shot, he saw the
the truck and shot the victim. [10] Their failure to immediately describe the appearance culprits flee with the victims bag. He and his co-workers were ordered to face down,
of the culprits the day following the shooting is understandable. After witnessing the apparently, in order not to witness the incident. They were not harmed. On the other
killing of their employer right before their eyes, they were still in shock during the hand, after flagging down the truck, appellant immediately shot the victim, facilitating
initial investigation the next day. Nevertheless, a week later, when they were shown the taking of valuables from the latter. While the prosecution witnesses did not
several pictures of suspects, they recognized the appellant as the man in one picture categorically state that they saw the accused divest the victim of his property, the
(Exh. F-4). victims purse containing the money and the pieces of jewelry were missing from his
body. As the trial court observed, there is no other known motive for the killing. From
Likewise, there is nothing in the record to show that Macky and Vicente were these circumstances, the logical conclusion would be that the victim was killed to rob
moved by evil intent to impute the crime on appellant, thus there is the presumption him of valuables.
that they were not so actuated and their testimonies are entitled to full faith and credit.
[11]
Further, we have ruled that where the conditions of visibility are favorable and the Appellants alibi must also fail. He insists that he was in Catigbian, Bohol working
witnesses do not appear to be biased, their assertion as to the identity of the in the farm during the incident. This was corroborated by Elizabeth Torres, his wife;
malefactor should be accepted.[12] Lolita Fuentes, landlady of appellants parents; and Porferio Cosmo, a neighbor of
appellant.[17] It is settled that where alibi is established only by the accused, his
Now, regarding the alleged inconsistency in the testimonies of prosecution relatives and associates, such defense deserves scant consideration especially so in
witnesses. Admittedly, Macky declared that appellant was in fatigue outfit while the face of affirmative testimony of credible prosecution witnesses as in this case.
[18]
Vicente testified that he was in T-shirt. But this discrepancy is understandable. The The penalty for robbery with homicide is reclusion perpetua to death. There being
crime was executed swiftly for the startled witnesses to remember accurately details no evidence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances against or in favor of
in the clothing of the culprits. appellant, the lower of the two indivisible penalties shall be imposed, without the
benefit of the Indeterminate Sentence Law.
Appellant also cites that the testimonies of Macky and Vicente that the victim
was shot only once, did not conform with the autopsy report that the victim sustained WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo,
multiple gunshot wounds. They testified they heard the first volley of gunfire from the Aklan, Branch 3, in Criminal Case No. 4843, dated June 20, 1997, finding appellant,
assailants firearm. In our view, their failure to accurately recall the number of DANILO TORRES Y IRADIEL, guilty of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE as charged;
gunshots is understandable. Under such scary condition, ordinary men with their own sentencing him to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA; ordering him to
lives under threat, are not expected to count gunshots. Besides, it does not follow that restitute one (1) gold necklace, one (1) gold ring and one (1) gold-plated wristwatch or
the number of shots would correspond to the number of gunshot wounds. What is their equivalent value of P30,000.00 if restoration can not be made, and the cash
material is that they saw appellant shot the victim. amount of P500,000.00 taken from the victim, Lorenzo A. Isagan, Jr., is AFFIRMED
WITH MODIFICATION that P50,000.00 is hereby awarded to the heirs of the victim
Robbery with homicide is a special complex crime against property. Homicide is not as actual or compensatory damages but asindemnity for wrongful death,
incidental to the robbery which is the main purpose of the criminal. In charging conformably with current jurisprudence.
robbery with homicide, the onus probandi is to establish: (a) the taking of personal
property with the use of violence or intimidation against a person; (b) the property Costs against appellant.
belongs to another; (c) the taking is characterized with animus lucrandi; and (d) on
the occasion of the robbery or by reason thereof, the crime of homicide, which is used SO ORDERED.

3
CASE 2 According to Joey's testimony, 4 he was sleeping in the servant's quarters when he
was awakened around midnight by the footsteps of Climaco. He asked Climaco what
G.R. No. 117106 June 26, 1996 the matter was ("Ano po 'yon?") but the latter did not answer as he proceeded to the
closet to get a gun. Joey saw Climaco running towards the swimming pool. After a
while, he heard a gunshot. He got up and followed Climaco to the swimming pool
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
where Joey heard shouts. Intending to ask help from neighbors, Joey opened the
vs. gate when he was suddenly attacked by a person whom he identified as accused-
JIMMY ALBERCA, accused-appellant. appellant. 5 He fought back but he was stabbed. He ran towards the house. Along the
way he met another person with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other, and inside
PER CURIAM: the house he saw Climaco lying on the floor, wounded. Climaco was in pain and
asked to be taken to the hospital. Climaco said his gun 6 had been taken by a person
This case is here on appeal from the judgment dated August 11, 1994 1 of Branch 104 who he described was "fatter," "taller," and heavier than Joey and who wore his hair
of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, finding accused-appellant Jimmy Alberca long. Thereafter, several persons arrived, including Danilo Saycon, Arnold Agustin,
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and Physical and Joey's twin brother Jonathan Rodriguez, and the police. Found dead in the
Injuries 2 and sentencing him to death. Accused-appellant was in addition ordered to garden by the police was one of the intruders, who was later identified as Diego
indemnify the heirs of Felipe Climaco in the amount of P50,000.00 and to pay the Aruta. 7
Triad Security and Allied Services, Inc. the amount of P10,000.00 for the value of one
(1) .38 cal. revolver, which had been taken from the victim by one of the malefactors, Climaco was taken to the Lanting General Hospital but he was dead on arrival. 8 The
and the costs. autopsy report 9 showed that he suffered several wounds in various parts of the body,
to wit:
The information against accused-appellant alleged
Fairly developed, fairly nourished male cadaver, in rigor mortis with postmortem
That on or about the 11th day of April 1994, in Quezon City, Philippines, the above- lividity over the dependent portions of the body. Conjunctivae, lips and nailbeds were
named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping with several others pale.
whose true names and real identities have not as yet been ascertained, did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously entered the compound of Rebecca Saycon EXTERNAL INJURIES: TRUNK AND UPPER EXTREMITIES:
located at No. 99 Tandang Sora Avenue, this City, with intent to kill and with the use of
bladed weapons stabbed FELIPE CLIMACO, a security guard on his body several (1) Stab wound, anterior left upper thorax, 130 cms from heel, 11 cms from anterior
times and JOEY RODRIGUEZ, a houseboy thereat on his chest, respectively, thus midline, measuring 7 x 2.5 x 6 cms depth, directed upwards, slightly backwards,
inflicting upon FELIPE CLIMACO serious and mortal wounds which were the direct towards midline, thru the muscle tissue.
and immediate cause of his death and injuries to JOEY RODRIGUEZ and thereafter,
said accused with intent to gain, by means of such violence and intimidation against
(2) Stab wound, anterior right thorax, 121 cms from heel, 9.5 cms from anterior
persons, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry midline, measuring 5 x 1.5 x 13 cms depth, directed slightly upwards, backwards,
away the service firearm of FELIPE CLIMACO, 1 .38 caliber revolver with Serial No.
slightly towards lateral, fracturing the 5th right thoracic rib along the midclavicular line,
31897 with six (6) rounds of ammunitions of still undetermined value, belonging to piercing the middle and lower lobes of the right lung.
Triad Security & Allied Services, Incorporated, to the damage and prejudice of the
heirs of Felipe Climaco, Joey Rodriguez of the injuries sustained [sic] and Triad
Security & Allied Services, Incorporated. (3) Stab wound, anterior right lumbar region, 107 cms from the heel, 11 cms from
anterior midline, measuring 4 x 2 x 12 cms depth, directed upwards, backwards,
towards midline, fracturing the 9th right thoracic rib along the midclavicular line,
Contrary to law. piercing the loops and mesenteries of small intestines and portal vein.

The crime took place in the first hour of April 11, 1994, at the compound of Pastor and
(4) Stab wound, right scapular region, 126 cms from the heel, 12 cms from posterior
Rebecca Gaskell-Saycon at No. 99 Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City. At that time, midline, measuring 5 x 1.5 x 12 cms depth, directed upwards, slightly forwards,
only Rebecca, her two sons and their "yaya" (nursemaid), security guard Felipe
towards midline, thru the muscle tissue.
"Philip" Climaco and houseboy Joey Rodriguez were in the house. 3

4
(5) Incised wound, anterior proximal 3rd left arm, measuring 8 x 2 cms, 4 cms from even if Joey had not been given immediate medical attendance as it id not penetrate
anterior midline. his lungs. 11

(6) Linear abrasion, anterior left lumbar region, measuring 6 x 0.1 cm, 11 cms from Accused-appellant, a "taho" vendor, was arrested by NBI agents on April 17, 1994 in
anterior midline. San Miguel, Bulacan, in the house of his aunt, Priscilla Dagandang Mabuhay. He was
taken to the NBI Headquarters on Taft Avenue in Manila where he gave an
(7) Abrasion, anterior left lumbar region, measuring 0.6 x 0.3 cm, 15 cms from extrajudicial confession in the presence of his wife Noemi and of an assigned
anterior midline. counsel, Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica. 12

(8) Linear abrasion, anterior left lumbar region, measuring 7 x 0.1 cm, 4 cms from In his confession, given on April 19, 1994, accused-appellant said that the plan to rob
anterior midline. the Saycons had been conceived by Diego Aruta and Darius Caenghog and that he
had been told of its on the night of Saturday, April 9, 1994. According to accused-
appellant, the following night, April 10, 1994, at around 7:00, Jhonny "Almar" Alcober,
(9) Linear abrasion, anterior proximal 3rd right forearm, measuring 5 x 0.2 cm, 4 cms
Oscar "Lucas" Clariza and Bengie "Benny" Demson arrived in his house. (Accused-
from anterior midline.
appellant and his family lived in a house which was just outside the Saycon
compound in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.) Diego and Darius arrived at about 10:00 in
(10) Stab wound, posterior middle 3rd right arm, measuring 2.8 x 1.2 cms x 10 cms the evening. The accused-appellant and the group drank two bottles of gin. All the
depth, directed upwards, forwards, towards lateral, thru the muscle tissue. while, they were looking over the wall which separated accused-appellant's house
from the Saycon compound ("Sinisilip nila sa pader ang bahay ni Mr. Saycon"). At
(11) Stab wound, posterior proximal 3rd right forearm, 4 cms from posterior midline, around midnight, the group went into action. Diego climbed over the wall, followed by
measuring 2.5 x 0.8 x 5 cms depth, directed slightly downwards, towards lateral. Darius and accused-appellant and then by the three, Almar, Lucas and Benny. But
they were noticed by the security guard who shot Diego Aruta. Diego charged
(12) Stab wound, posterior proximal 3rd right forearm, 4 cms from posterior midline, ("sinugod"), embraced the security guard and then stabbed him. Diego was joined by
measuring 3.5 x 1 x 5 cms depth, directed upwards, backwards, towards midline, thru Darius who also stabbed the guard at the front and by accused-appellant who
the muscle tissue. stabbed the guard at the back. The security guard staggered into the house.
Accused-appellant then noticed a little man coming from a small room near the gate.
He followed the man and stabbed him. The man, though stricken, was able to run
(13) Incised wound, dorsum of the right hand, measuring 1.7 x 0.3 cm, 6 cms from
inside the house. Accused-appellant then escaped by going over the wall, while
posterior midline.
Darius, who took the security guard's gun, escaped through the gate. Greatly
weakened by his wound, Diego was left behind, eventually to die from his gunshot
INTERNAL FINDINGS: wound.

(1) Recovered from the right thorax and abdominal cavity about 1,000 cc and 500 cc After the incident, the group dispersed. Accused-appellant stayed in his house until
of blood clots, respectively. 4:00 in the morning and then left for Pasay City. On April 13, 1994 he proceeded to
Barrio Tibagan, San Miguel, Bulacan, where NBI agents eventually found him.
(2) Recovered from the stomach 1 glass of partially digested food particles consisting
mostly of rice. Accused-appellant claimed that he signed the confession (Exhibits "B-1" to "B-3")
because he had been "threatened" with harm if he did not 13 and that Atty. Abrenica,
CONCLUSION: who assisted him in the execution of the confession, was not his counsel of choice
but had merely been provided him by NBI Special Investigator Ramon
Cause of death is stab wounds, body. Yap. 14 Accused-appellant claimed that he could not have committed the crime
because at that time he was in San Miguel, Bulacan, having gone there on April 10,
1994 to visit an aunt. 15
On the other hand, Joey was taken to the Quezon City General Hospital. The medico-
legal certificate of the attending physician stated that Joey suffered a "stab wound, 4
cm., 5th ICS, Ant. axillary line, chest (R)" which would require medical attendance for The trial court dismissed accused-appellant's alibi. It held that even without the
seven days under normal condition. 10 The wound would not have caused his death extrajudicial confession of the prosecution's other evidence established beyond

5
reasonable doubt accused-appellant's guilt. Hence this appeal based on the following would be given a competent and independent one. After being thus informed, he said
assignment of errors: he was nonetheless willing to give a statement and tell the truth. Thus, written in
Filipino, the first part of the document reads:
I
TANONG: Bago ang lahat, nais kong ipaalam sa iyo Ginoong JIMMY ALBERCA Y
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT DECLARING AS INADMISSIBLE IN MABUHAY na ikaw ay aming iniimbistigahan sa kasong Robbery with Homicide na
EVIDENCE THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL CONFESSION EXECUTED BY ACCUSED- nangyari noong madaling araw ng Abril 11, 1994 sa tahanan ni MR. PASTOR
APPELLANT. SAYCON sa #99 Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City, naiintindihan mo ba ito?

II SAGOT: Opo sir.

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE T: Nais ko rin na ipaalam sa iyo ang iyong mga karapatan sa ilalim ng ating saligang
UNRELIABLE, IMPLAUSIBLE AND UNPERSUASIVE TESTIMONY OF THE batas, na ikaw ay may karapatan na manahimik at huwag magbigay ng anumang
PERSECUTION WITNESSES AND IN DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE pahayag sa pagsisiyasat na ito at anumang pahayag na iyong sasabihin ay maaaring
PROFFERED BY THE DEFENSE. gamitin laban sa iyo sa harap ng ating husgado, nauunawaan mo ba ito?

III S: Opo, sir. Nauunawaan ko po at nais ko pong magbigay ng aking salaysay.

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE T: Ibig ko rin ipaalam sa iyo na ikaw ay may karapatang magkaroon o kumuha ng
CRIME CHARGED AND IN IMPOSING THE SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH iyong sariling abogado na pili mo at kung ikaw naman ay wala at hindi mo kayang
DESPITE THE FACT THAT THIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVED BEYOND magbayad ng isang abogado upang tumulong sa pagsisiyasat na ito, ikaw ay
REASONABLE DOUBT. bibigyan namin ng isang abogado na may sapat na kakayahan para pangalagaan
ang iyong karatapan, ito ba ay naiintindihan mo?
1. Art. III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution provides in part:
S: Opo sir. Naiintindihan ko. Naririto po ngayon si Atty. ERLANDO ABRENICA at ang
aking asawa na si NOEMI ALBERCA na siyang aalalay sa akin sa pagbibigay ko ng
"Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
aking salaysay na ito.
have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the
services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived T: Pagkatapos mong malaman ang iyong mga karapatan sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas,
except in writing and in the presence of counsel. at matapos na ikaw ay paliwanagan ng iyong abogado na si Atty. ERLANDO A.
ABRENICA kaharap ang iyong asawa na si NOEMI ALBERCA Y JATULAN, nais mo
pa rin bang magbigay ng iyong pahayag sa pagsisiyasat na ito at magbigay o
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate
magsabi ng katotohanan at pawang katotohanan lamang?
the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places,
solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.
S: Opos sir. Pagkatapos kong marinig at maintindihan ang aking mga karapatan sa
ilalim ng ating Saligang Batas, ako po ay kusang loob na magbibigay ng aking
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall
salaysay at magsasabi ng katotohanan at pawang katotohanan lamang sa
be inadmissible in evidence against him.
pagsisiyasat na ito.

xxx xxx xxx


T: Kung gayon, ikaw ba ay nakahanda na lumagda sa kasulatang pagpapaubaya sa
mga karapatang mong ito?
Accused-appellant signed a document, marked Exhibit "B," which consists of two
parts. The first part, marked Exhibit "B-4," shows that accused-appellant was
S: Opo sir.
informed that he had a right to remain silent and not to give any statement; that any
statement he gave could be used against him in court; that he had a right to retain
counsel of his choice and that if he could not afford to hire the services of counsel he PAGPAPAUBAYA

6
Ako ay pinagpayuhan ng aking mga karapatan na manahimik at magkaroon ng In this case accused-appellant does not claim he did not understood what the
sariling abogado. Lubos ko itong naiintindihan at nais kong ipaubaya ang mga document states. What he claims is that the constitutional rights stated in the
karapatan kong ito kaharap ang aking abogado na si Atty. ERLANDO ABRENICA at document were not read to him because he was merely forced to sign that document.
ang aking asawa na si NOEMI J. ALBERCA. Nais kong magbigay ng aking kusang This is improbable, given the fact that, as already stated, this document was signed
loob na salaysay at alam ko rin na anumang aking sasabihin sa pagsisiyasat na ito ay not only by him but also by his wife. Additionally, accused-appellant affirmed the
maaaring gamitin laban o pabor sa akin. document before the Assistant City Prosecutor.

Nauunawaan ko ang aking mga karapatan at nakahanda akong sumagot sa In People v. Llenaresas, 16 it was also alleged by the defense that accused-appellant's
anumang mga katanungan. Hindi ako tinakot, pinilit, o pinangakuan ng anumang extrajudicial confession should have been excluded from evidence because the
bagay o may ginawa laban sa akin na makakagambala sa aking malayang counsel, who assisted him in executing his confession, did not testify in court.
pagpapaubaya. Rejecting this contention, we held:

SGD. JIMMY ALBERCA Y MABUHAY It is true that the prosecution did not present Atty. Meliton Angeles as a witness to
confirm his presence during the custodial investigation of Jabil and Llenaresas. Such
Nilagdaan sa harap ni: failure is not, however, fatal to the case of the prosecution since the testimonies of the
police officers and of Prosecutor Pedro S. Nantes, in conjunction with the statements
found in the extrajudicial confession itself, were quite adequate to sustain the
(SGD) NOEMI ALBERCA Y JATULAN
conclusion reached by the trial court.

CERTIFICATION
Indeed, what is noteworthy is not the prosecution's failure to present Atty. Abrenica
but accused-appellant's failure to call on his wife to corroborate his allegation of
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that Affiant JIMMY ALBERCA Y MABUHAY voluntarily waived coercion. After all, accused-appellant does not claim that she, too, was made to sign
all his right under the law after the same were satisfactorily explained to him including under duress.
whatever consequences his statements may do.
Another member of the Court also dissents, arguing that in any event it does not
(SGD) Atty. ERLANDO A. ABRENICA appear from the document signed by accused-appellant that he was informed that it
#5 Goldhill Tower, Annapolis St., was his right to have a competent and independent counsel of his own, that he had
Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila been asked whether he had one, and that he had been given time to look for one.

Accused-appellant claims that, contrary to what is recited in the document, the rights Question No. 3 (quoted above) shows that accused-appellant was told that it was his
not read to him and that Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica, who assisted him in waiving the right to have counsel chosen by him and that if he could not afford to hire one, he
constitutional rights, was not his counsel of choice. But this first part of Exhibit "B" would be given a competent counsel in order to protect his rights. ("[I]kaw ay may
was signed and thumbmarked by accused-appellant, apart from the second part, karapatang magkaroon o kumuha ng iyong sariling abogado na pili mo at kung ikaw
which is his confession. He did so in the presence of his counsel, Atty. Erlando A. naman ay wala at hindi mo kayang magbayad ng isang ikaw ay may karapatang
Abrenica, and of his wife Noemi Jatulan Alberca. magkaroon o kumuha ng iyong sariling abogado na pili mo at kung ikaw naman ay
wala at hindi mo kayang magbayad ng isang abogado upang tumulong sa
Accused-appellant makes much of the fact that Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica was not pagsisiyasat na ito, ikaw ay bibigyan namin ng isang abogado na may sapat na
presented by the prosecution. He is joined in this regard by a dissenting member of kakayahan para pangalagaan ang iyong karapatan.")
the Court who contends that Atty. Abrenica should have been presented in order to
testify on the extent of services he had rendered to accused-appellant. But beyond It was unnecessary to tell accused-appellant that he had a right to have a counsel of
seeing to it that the suspect in custodial investigations had been informed of his his choice who was competent and independent since he was told he could choose
constitutional rights and that he understood these rights before he waived them his own counsel. What was necessary was to assure him that if he could not afford to
and thus insure that the waive was knowing, voluntary and intelligent the assigned hire the services of counsel he would be provided by the investigator with a lawyer
counsel does not have anything more to do. who was competent and independent, which was what was done in this case. Nor as
it necessary to ask him whether he had counsel or give him an opportunity to look for

7
counsel since he had waived the right to counsel and pointed to Atty. Abrenica as the threat, intimidation or force used against him to make sign the confession and waiver
counsel he wanted to assist him in making the waiver. of rights. 20

There is therefore no basis for the plea of accused-appellant that his extrajudicial Indeed to disregard the foregoing circumstances and give credence instead to the
confession should have been excluded from the evidence because it was obtained in accused-appellant's claim that he was forced to sign his confession would be to
violation of his rights under Section 12 of Art. III. suggest that accused-appellant's wife, Noemi, the assigned counsel, Atty. Abrenica,
the investigator Ramon Yap and the Assistant City Prosecutor conspired to railroad
Accused-appellant also claims that he signed the extrajudicial confession because he him to conviction.
had been "threatened" with harm if he did not. He made this claim twice in his
testimony in the trial court, once during his direct examination 17 and again in his The confession of accused-appellant in the case at bar is replete with details, which
cross-examination. 18 If true, this would render his confession inadmissible under makes it improbable that it was not voluntarily given. This is evident in the following
paragraphs (2) and (3) of Section 12. However, apart from saying that he was portion of the confession:
"threatened," he did not elaborate as would naturally be his wont had he really been
coerced to ------------------------------------------------- him if he refused to sign the T: Kung gayon, maaari mo bang sabihin sa akin sa pagsisiyasat na ito ang iyong mga
confession. Neither did he say who allegedly made the threat. nalalaman na may tungkol sa nangyayari sa bahay ni Mr. PASTOR SAYCON doon sa
#99 Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City, noong ika-11 ng Abril 1194?
On the contrary, the following circumstances belie his claim that he had been coerced
into signing the confession: S: Ang nasabi pong bahay ay aming pinasok, at nilooban at ninakawan, noong mga
bandang alas dose ng madaling araw ng Abril 11, 1994, araw po ng Lunes.
(a) Accused-appellant signed the confession (Exhibits "B-1" to "B-3") in the presence
of his wife Noemi Jatulan Alberca and counsel, Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica, who signed T: Maaari po bang isalaysay ng maigi ang mga pangyayari?
the confession as witnesses thereto. The confession comprises the second part of the
document marked Exhibit "B." Like the first part, which is the waiver of constitutional
S: Noon pong araw ng Sabado, petsa 9, 1994, bandang alas dose ng tanghali ay
rights, the second part was also signed by him with his wife by his side. The presence
nagplano sina DIEGO ARUTA at DARIUS CAENGHOG sa aking tinitirhan sa 101
of Noemi could only have worked to prevent accused-appellant's will from being
Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City na papasukin at pagnanakawan ang bahay ni Mr.
overborne by pressure, let alone intimidation. However, Noemi was never presented
SAYCON na nasa kabila lamang ng pader ng aking tirahan. Sinabi nila ito sa akin
to corroborate accused-appellant's claim that he had been threatened into signing the
bandang alas 7:00 ng gabi noon ding po Sabadong iyon. Kinabukasan araw ng
confession.
linggo, petsa Abril 10, 1994, bandang alas 7:00 ng gabi ay dumating sina JHONNY
ALCOBER @ "Almar", OSCAR CLARIZA @ "Lucas", at BENGIE DEMSON @
(b) As already noted, before answer the questions of the investigator, accused- "Benny". Sila po ay nagtuloy sa aking tinitirhan at doon pa po sila naghapunan.
appellant was informed in Filipino of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to Bandang alas 10:00 ng gabi ay dumating na rin sina DIEGO at DARIUS sa aking
have competent and independent counsel of his choice and warned that any bahay. Kami po tatlo nila DIEGO at DARIUS ay uminom ng dalawang boteng Ginebra
statement he gave could be used against him. Nonetheless he willingly gave a habang sina ALMAR, LUCAS at BENNY ay nagpapahinga sa itaas ng bahay ni Mr.
statement in order, according to him, to tell the truth. Saycon. ang plano ni DIEGO ay pasukin namin ang bahay ni Mr. Saycon ng bandang
ala-una petsa Abril 11, 1994 pero nainip po sina DARIUS at ALMAR at sinabi nila na
(c) The NBI investigator Ramon Yap testified on the due execution of the extrajudicial pasukin namin ang nasabing bahay ng bandang alas dose.
confession and on the fact that accused-appellant was informed of his constitutional
rights but he waived his rights and decided to proceed with the investigation, which Accused-appellant claims that this portion of his confession was supplied by Ramon
dated morning and afternoon of April 19, 1994. 19 He denied that the confession had Yap, the NBI investigator. Yap would not know who the members of the group were if
been prepared beforehand and that accused-appellant was simply made to sign it. accused-appellant did not give their names. Accused-appellant does not deny that he
knows these persons. In fact it would seem that Alcober, Clariza and Demson were
(d) On April 22, 1994, accused-appellant was taken to the Assistant City Prosecutor of accused-appellant's townmates because it was to Barogo, Leyte, where according to
Quezon City, before whom accused-appellant affirmed his confession. Although the confession, the three fled after the crime. On the other hand, Caenghog was from
accused-appellant claims that he told the prosecutor that the content of the Carigara, also in Leyte, according to the confession.
extrajudicial confession was not true, he does not claim that he complained of any

8
2. Accused-appellant's defense is alibi. He claims that at the time of the commission It is true that none of the witnesses for the prosecution testified having seen accused-
of the crime on April 11, 1994 he was in San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that he went appellant stab Felipe Climaco, a point on which the defense harps. 34 There was
to San Miguel, Bulacan in the morning of April 10 and stayed there until he was conspiracy in this case, however, as shown by the concerted manner in which
picked up by NBI agents on April 17. 21 Accused-appellant would have called on his accused-appellant and his companions entered the Saycon compound and later
relatives Priscilla Dagandang Mabuhay and Antonio Dagandang, as well as Isa withdrew from it and the way they attacked the security guard and the houseboy.
Joson, a neighbor in Bulacan, to testify, except that the prosecution agreed that if Regardless of the part of accused-appellant in the stabbing of the guard and the
presented their testimonies would corroborate accused-appellant's alibi. 22 wounding of the houseboy, he is liable because of the rule in conspiracy that the act
of one is the act of all. 35
Now the rule is settled that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive
identification of the accused.23 In this case, positive identification of accused-appellant Moreover, what the prosecution lacked by way of an eyewitness was made up by the
was made by Joey Rodriguez. Joey was a houseboy of the Saycons. He engaged circumstantial evidence in the record of this case. 36 As provided in Sec. 4 of Rule 133
accused-appellant in a fight and was stabbed by the latter. 24 He did not know of the Revised Rules on Evidence, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction
accused-appellant personally but neither was the latter a "total stranger" to him. For if (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are
the fact was that accused-appellant's house was just outside the Saycon derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to
compound. 25 The premises were sufficiently illuminated by light coming from the produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, it is established that (1)
terrace of the house and from the MERALCO street light which made identification of accused-appellant was present at the scene of the crime; (2) he had a bladed
the accused-appellant possible. 26 Joey could not, therefore, have been mistaken as weapon in his possession and displayed a readiness to use the same when he
to the identity of accused-appellant. stabbed Joey Rodriguez; (3) Climaco died due to multiple stab wounds; (4)
bloodstains were found on the wall separating the Saycon compound from the house
Furthermore, the claim that accused-appellant was in San Miguel, Bulacan at the time of accused-appellant; 37 and (5) accused-appellant fled to Bulacan thereafter. His
of the crime was contradicted by prosecution witness Joselito Aborque. 27 Aborque flight is evidence of his guilt. 38 It is logical to infer from all these circumstances that
was also a "taho" vendor. He was a neighbor of accused-appellant. Aborque testified accused-appellant was among those who inflicted fatal wounds on Climaco. As noted
that he saw accused-appellant in the latter's house with three male visitors at around in People v. Abitona, 39 facts or circumstances which are not only consistent with the
7:00 p.m. of April 10, 1994 28 as he (Aborque) and his wife went out for a stroll. The guilt of the accused but also inconsistent with his innocence, constitute evidence
defense tried to discredit him by imputing to him a desire to eliminate a competitor which, in weight and probative force, may surpass even direct evidence in its effect
since they were both "taho" vendors and by pointing out that Aborque had given his upon the court.
statement to the NBI five days after the crime. 29 Aborque denied he and accused-
appellant were business rivals.30 Even if they were, this would not be enough for him 3. Upon the facts thus established the Court is convinced that accused-appellant is
to testify falsely against accused-appellant. As for the contention that it was only on guilty of robbery with homicide. While accused-appellant and his companions failed to
April 16, 1994 that he gave his statement to the NBI, it is sufficient to say that the rob the Saycons, the fact is that they took the gun of the security guard for the
reluctance of some people to be involved in criminal trials is a matter of judicial notice. purpose of gain. since the group in addition killed the guard, the crime committed is
Failure to volunteer what one knows to law enforcement officials does not necessarily the complex one of robbery with homicide. It is not necessary that the person robbed
impair a witness' credibility. 31 In any event the trial court, which had the opportunity to be the same person whom the malefactors originally intended to rob. In People
observe this witness' demeanor, found his testimony to be truthful and we find no v. Ga, 40 the accused planned to rob a house at Forbes Park in Makati. They killed the
reason to disregard its finding on this matter. house owner, Don Julio Gonzaga, and his wife and houseboy and seriously wounded
his daughter and, as help was coming, they fled without being able to take anything
For the defense of alibi to prosper, accused-appellant must establish by clear and from the house. Instead they took a wristwatch and transistor radio belonging to a
convincing evidence not only that he was not present at the scene of the crime but houseboy. It was held that the crime was robbery with homicide.
also that it was physically impossible for him to have been present there at the time of
its commission. 32 This accused-appellant failed to do. According to him, the distance In People v. Balanag, 41 the accused entered the house of Dr. Guillermo Lopez, Sr.
between San Miguel, Bulacan and Tandang Sora, Quezon City, where the Saycon and then killed him for having filed a case against one of the accused. They fled after
compound is, can be negotiated in two and a half hours, and even an hour less if taking with them a shoulder bag of Dr. Lopez's daughter, Genoveva. This was also
traffic is not heavy. 33 Hence, even assuming that accused-appellant really went to held to be robbery with homicide.
Bulacan in morning of April 10, 1994, he could have easily returned to Tandang Sora
later the same day. Nor is it necessary to show that the sole purpose was robbery and by reason thereof
homicide was committed. Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is
robbery with homicide not only when "by reason of the robbery" homicide is

9
committed but also when "on the occasion" thereof homicide is committed. If robbery Sec. 9. Article 294 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
and homicide are committed on the same occasion, the special complex crime is
deemed committed. Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons Penalties. Any
person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person
Thus, in People v. Pamintuan, 42 the accused, who were detention prisoners, escaped shall suffer:
from jail, killing jail guards and taking firearms from the armory. They were found
guilty of robbery with homicide. 1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the
robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed, or when the robbery shall
In People v. Tolentino, 43 three individuals were creating trouble in a store. When a have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson.
policeman across the street was summoned for help by the storeowner, the three
turned to him and ganged up on him. The accused took the service revolver of the It provides in Section 23:
policeman and shot him and then fled with the gun. It was contended that the taking
of the gun was a mere afterthought and that to prove robbery with homicide the
Sec. 23. Article 62 of the same Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as
prosecution must show that the robbery preceded the killing. In rejecting this
follows:
contention, we held:

Art. 62. Effects of the attendance of mitigating or aggravating circumstances and of


The contentions of the accused-appellant are untenable. The testimony of Lourdes
habitual delinquency. Mitigating or aggravating circumstances and habitual
Santos clearly shows that there was an intent to rob the victim of his gun. The gun
delinquency shall be taken into account for the purpose of diminishing or increasing
was first taken from the victim before he was killed. The gun was then taken away
the penalty in conformity with the following rules:
and hidden. Nevertheless, whether or not the taking was before or after the death of
the victim is of no moment in this case. It is immaterial that homicide preceded the
robbery where robbery was the real motive of the culprits. (People v. Gapasin, 145 1. Aggravating circumstances which in themselves constitute a crime specially
SCRA 178). In the case at bar, the accused intended both to take the gun and kill the punishable by law or which are included by the law in defining a crime and prescribing
victim. the penalty therefor shall not be taken into account for the purpose of increasing the
penalty.
In another case, People v. Hasiron, 44 three individuals, one of whom was the
accused, went to the house of the victim and, when told that he was asleep, left with 1(a). When the commission of the crime, advantage was taken by the offender of his
the advise that they would return. An hour later they returned. They talked with the public position, the penalty to be imposed shall be in its maximum regardless of
victim outside his house and after a while one of the trio shot the victim, another one mitigating circumstances.
went inside his house and took his M-16 Armalite, while the accused took the victim's
service pistol which was trucked in his waist. It was contended that robbery was not The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the offense was completed by a person
the primary motive because if this had been their intention, they would have robbed who belongs to an organized/syndicate to crime group.
the victim of his guns the first time they came. Indeed, the trial court said that the
group's purpose in looking for the victim was to "confront [him] about something." But An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of two or more persons
the contention was dismissed. Finding the accused guilty of robbery with homicide, collaborating, confederating or mutually helping one another for purposes of gain in
this Court said: the commission of any crime. . . .

[T]here is no reasonable doubt that a principal (through not necessarily the only) On the basis of these provisions, the trial court imposed on accused-appellant the
objective of the malefactors was to take away the firearms in the possession of the death penalty.
deceased policeman. They evidently knew that Abdulmonim had a firearm in his
house, apart from the handgun tucked in his waist; Jerry Hayu...... promptly and
We hold that the trial court erred in finding that accused-appellant and his
unerringly went inside the Aspi house and secure the M-16 armalite, while appellant
companions constituted a syndicated or an organized crime group within the meaning
pulled out the handgun from Abdulmonim's waist.
of Article 62, as amended. While it is true they confederated and mutually helped one
another for the purpose of gain, there is no proof that they were a group organized for
4. Now as to the penalty. Republic Act No. 7659, which took effect December 31, the general purpose of committing crimes for gain, which is the essence of a
1993, amended Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code as follows: syndicated organized crime group.

10
The following exchange between Senator Tolentino and Senator Guingona during the Now, if the idea of the distinguished President Pro Tempore is to make the mere fact
deliberation on what is now Art. 62, paragraph 1(a) of the Revised Penal Code is of conspiracy an aggravating circumstance, well, that is another matter. We can have
enlightening: 45 that as a proposal later on. But mere conspiracy does not constitute a syndicate as
conceived in this provision that we are presenting.
Senator Guingona. May we know the difference between the offense committed by a
syndicated crime group and one which is committed by conspiracy of two or more Senator Guingona. So that if two or more persons get together and decided to
persons. commit one crime only, that is not a syndicate.

Senator Tolentino. Mr. President, the syndicated crime is something like an offense by Senator Tolentino. That is not a syndicate. That is a conspiracy.
a group actually for gain purposes. In case of conspiracy, that is not necessarily so.
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Guingona. So that, that is the only difference.
Senator Guingona. That is why under the circumstances, if there is a conspiracy to
Senator Tolentino. The difference, of course, is that in the case of syndicated crime, sell prohibited drugs, under the principle of conspiracy, the liability of the seller would
the group is an organized group, while such organization is not required in the case be equally applied to the liability of the financier or to be importer.
of mere conspiracy. Two or more persons just agree to commit a crime, we have a
conspiracy, while in the case of a syndicate there is a group that is actually organized Senator Tolentino. But if they are not a syndicate, there is no aggravating
for crime purposes. circumstance. They are all liable equally, but there is not aggravating circumstance.

Senator Guingona. How about the difference between the syndicated group and a Senator Guingona. Precisely. Can we not change or, instead of amending the
band in case of specific crimes against persons and property? conspiracy concept, apply that and say that conspiracy will now be considered as the
qualifying aggravating circumstance? In that way, all will have the same liability, and it
Senator Tolentino. Well, in the case of a brand that means all of them participate in is up to the individual person to put up the defense and say: "I did not know. I was a
the commission of the offense. All the members, I think, four or more participate in the part of the syndicate, but I was only doing something that I thought was confined to
commission of the offense. But in the case of a syndicated crime, maybe one this."
member of the group alone commits a crime, while in the organized group one or two
members may commit the crime. Senator Tolentino. Mr. President, if what the distinguished Gentleman means that
instead of "who belongs to an organized or syndicated crime group," we just have to
xxx xxx xxx say "who is a part of conspiracy," that will not carry the intent of this provision.
Because that means, whenever there is an agreement between two or more persons
Senator Guingona. Yes, but as can be gleaned from the answer of the distinguished to commit a particular crime at one time, we already increase the penalty. That is not
Sponsor, only those who actually commit the offense would be the ones liable for this the idea of this. The idea of this proposal is that this group actually engages in the
aggravating circumstance. Those who know but do not participate are not principals, commission of crimes, not just a particular crime.
and even if they are members of the syndicate, they will not be held liable.
As in the case already mentioned by the distinguished Gentleman, there is a
My question is: Would the same situation not arise if we say that conspiracy would syndicate, but one group commits the crime of selling; another group commits the
qualify the offense instead of having a syndicated crime where the member of the crime of importing; another group commits the crime of planting drugs. These are
syndicated group, who does not participate, is not liable? different crimes committed by a single group that is organized for that purpose.

Senator Tolentino. Mr. President, I think the concept of syndicate here is different But when we talk of conspiracy, we mean an agreement between two or more
from conspiracy. Two or more persons may conspire to commit robbery. All right. That persons to commit a particular crime. I do not think the Gentleman can raise that to a
is a particular offense. But in the case of a syndicate, the concept here is a group that level of making it an aggravating circumstance because there is no reason for it. The
is organized for commission of crimes, not only a particular crime, but of crimes. So, reason in the syndicated crime is that it is practically a profession that is being
there is a big difference between the conspiracy and the syndicate. adopted by a group.

11
Senator Guingona. Must there be more than one offense planned? perpetua should be imposed on accused-appellant in accordance with Article 47 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659.
Senator Tolentino. Maybe several in the future, not in a particular instance.
On the other hand, four (4) of the Justices, while holding that accused-appellant is
Here is a syndicate that may commit one crime now; another crime tomorrow; another guilty of robbery with homicide, do not agree that nighttime was sought in this case in
crime two days afterwards. It is really a crime group. order to facilitate the commission of the crime and therefore they vote to impose on
accused-appellant the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
What emerges from this discussion is the idea of a group of persons, at least two in
number, which is organized for the purpose of committing crimes for gain. In the case The remaining six (6) other Justices believe that accused-appellant is guilty only of
at bar, while the evidence shows that accused-appellant and his companions planned the separate crimes of homicide and physical injuries. Of these six, four (4) believe
to rob the Saycons, there is no evidence that they were organized for the purpose of that nighttime should be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance, while two (2)
committing crimes for gain. There was a conspiracy to commit robbery but not a do not think it should. Two (2) of the six (6) Justices, with whom the other four (4)
syndicated or organized crime group. concurred (so far as the two find the crimes committed to be homicide and physical
injuries), expressed different reasons for their dissents. One said:
The foregoing is the opinion of nine (9) members of the Court, five (5) of whom
believe that the aggravating circumstance of nighttime should have been appreciated [1] In People v. Galit (135 SCRA 465 [1985]), it was held that to satisfy the
by the trial court. To them it is clear that accused-appellant and his companions constitutional guarantees accorded a person under custodial investigation, "there
waited until it was midnight of April 10, 1994 before carrying out their plan, the better should be several short and clear questions and every right explained in simple
to ensure its success. As earlier noted, three of accused-appellant's companions words." The warning given to the accused-appellant in the form of two paragraphs
(Alcober, Clariza and Demson) arrived at 7:00 o'clock in the evening of April 10, 1994 falls short of this requirement. He was not informed by the investigator of his right to a
in the house of accused-appellant. But the group did not then go into actin. At 10:00 competent and independent counsel of his choice. Neither was he asked whether he
o'clock the other two (Aruta and Caenghog) arrived to join the group. Still the group has a counsel of his choice, nor was he given an opportunity to look for one.
did not strike. They waited until midnight before they did. All the time, the group was
looking over the wall. Evidently accused-appellant and his group was looking over the [2] My reading of the PAGPAUBAYA suggests that he waived not just the right to
wall. Evidently accused-appellant and his group were waiting until the occupants of remain silent but also the right to counsel. However, as can be gleaned from his
the house had retired for the night. Even viewed objectively, it can be said that certification, Atty. Abrenica did nothing as a procured lawyer; he remained as a mere
nighttime greatly facilitated the commission of the crime because with people asleep, stolid witness to an act of a lowly taho vendor, which could seal the latter's destiny
the possibility of resistance from the occupants of the house and help from the with death. [The Constitution] requires of the counsel a meaningful presence
neighbors was considerably diminished. As held in People v. Alcala: 46 consisting of a sincere to explain further to the subject the significance, import, and
consequences of the waiver.
While it does not positively appear that the accused sought the nighttime for the
perpetration of the crime, the fact is that they at least took advantage of it, for they [3] Even assuming that the extrajudicial confession spoke the truth and was not
approached the house at an early time, and yet they did not commit the crime until extracted by means of violence or intimidation, the denial of the accused-appellant's
late in the night. This is sufficient in order that the aggravating circumstances of right to a competent and independent counsel or the absence of effective legal
nocturnity may be held to exist. (US. vs. Billedo, 32 Phil., 574.) assistance when he waived his constitutional rights rendered the confession
inadmissible pursuant to Section 12(3), Article II of the 1987 Constitution.
Since there is no mitigating circumstance to offset the aggravating circumstance of
nighttime, in the opinion of the five (5) Justices the greater penalty (i.e., death) must The other said:
be imposed on accused-appellant, in accordance with Article 63, paragraph 2, no. 1
which provides that when only an aggravating circumstance is present in the [1] The NBI ought to have given him reasonable opportunity to get a lawyer of his
commission of an offense, the penalty for which is composed of two indivisible confidence thru his family or friends before extracting his confession. The police
penalties, the greater penalty should be imposed. practice of calling any lawyer on-sight to assist a suspect under custodial
investigation should be discontinued. . . . For generally, these on-sight lawyers give
Since the votes of the five (5) Justices fall short of the majority of eight (8) votes their services free and understandably lack the enthusiasm to defend the rights to an
needed to affirm the sentence of death of the trial court, the penalty of reclusion accused. Atty. Abrenica appears to belongs to this variety. . . . The records do not
show how well be advised appellant of his rights. Indeed, he did not even appear

12
during the trial to enlighten the court of the extent of his legal services to the
appellant. When the crime is heinous and punishable by death, it behooves this Court
to be strict in safeguarding the right to counsel of the accused. It can spell the
difference between life and death.
CASE 3

[2] Even assuming that the appellant was not denied the right to counsel, . . . he
SECOND DIVISION
should only be convicted for the separate crimes of homicide and physical
injuries. . . . They failed to consummate their conspiracy because of the intervention
of security guard Felipe "Philip" Climaco and houseboy Joey Rodriguez. On the [G.R. No. 115401. December 16, 1996]
occasion of said attempted robbery, accused-appellant and his companions stabbed
Climaco and Rodriguez. Climaco died while Rodriguez sustained serious physical PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EDILBERTO
injuries. . . . FABULA alias EDEN, KANO FABULA, RICKY CUSI and JOHN
DOE, accused-appellant.
The taking of Climaco's gun cannot be completed with the stabbing of Climaco and
Rodriguez to constitute robbery with homicide. Before they entered the premises, the DECISION
group had no intention of robbing Climaco of his gun. It was only Darius, one of the
companions of accused-appellant, who sized Climaco's gun after they had killed him. PUNO, J.:
His act was merely an afterthought. . . .
On August 24, 1992, at about 8:00 in the evening, an elderly couple was robbed
The facts in People vs. Tolentino of People vs. Harison are different from the case at and killed near their residence at Barangay Gamao, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. The
bar. In those cases, the intent to rob the victims is clear and the killing was only suspects were Edilberto Fabula alias Eden, Kano Fabula, Ricky Cusi and John
incidental to the robbery. . . . Doe. They were charged before the Regional Trial Court of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
with the crime of Robbery with Double Homicide. The Information alleged:
The taking [by anther malefactor] of Climaco's gun constitutes theft. Be that as it may,
accused-appellant cannot be held liable for left because that is not the object of the That on or about the 24th day of August, 1992, at 8:00 oclock in the evening, more
conspiracy. The evidence shows that the group only conspired to rob the Saycon or less, in the Barangay of Gamao, Municipality of Naujan, Province of Oriental
residence. The rule is that conspirators are liable only for acts done pursuant to the Mindoro, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
conspiracy. . . . named accused, with intent to gain, conspiring, confederating and mutually
helping one another did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by
WHEREFORE, the decision of Branch 104 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, means of force and intimidation, take, steal and carry away the sum of FIFTEEN
so far as it finds the accused-appellant guilty of robbery with homicide is, AFFIRMED THOUSAND PESOS (P15,000), Philippine Currency, from spouses MARIANO
with the modification that the penalty of reclusion perpetua is imposed on him for lack CUETO and PETRA CUETO; that on the occasion (sic) of the said robbery and
of the necessary votes to affirm the death sentence. for the purpose of enabling them to take, steal and carry away the money above-
mentioned, herein accused in pursuance of their conspiracy did then and there
SO ORDERED. wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab several times said
spouses MARIANO CUETO and PETRA CUETO with the use of bladed
instruments thereby inflicting upon said victims fatal stab wounds in the different
vital parts of the body resultant therewith caused their instantaneous death.

Contrary to Article 294, par. 1 thereof (sic) the Revised Penal Code.[1]

Among the four accused, only Edilberto Eden Fabula was arraigned and tried as
the others were still at large.[2]

During the trial, the prosecution presented the testimony of eyewitness Bernardo
Lingasa as well as his sworn statement executed before SPO3 Henry J. Aceremo at

13
the Naujan PNP Station on September 25, 1992.[3]The prosecution evidence shows At the outset, we observe that accused-appellants brief violates the form
that on the evening of August 24, 1992, Bernardo Lingasa was at the house of required by the Rules of Court. Section 16 of Rule 46 states:
spouses Mariano and Petra Cueto in Barangay Gamao, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. At
about 8:00 in the evening, Bernardo heard Petra scream: Anong wawalanghiya Sec. 16. Contents of appellants brief. The appellants brief shall contain in
ninyo Eden! She was then at the store about twelve (12) arms length from the the order herein indicated the following:
house. Sensing a commotion, Bernardo peeked through the door to see what was
happening. He saw the accused Edilberto Eden Fabula grab Petras bag and
(a) A subject index of the matter in the brief with a digest of the argument and page
thereafter stab her on the chest. Mariano rushed to aide his wife but Edens
references and a table of cases alphabetically arranged, textbooks and statutes cited
companion held his neck and stabbed him. Eden then told his companion Tayo na
with reference to the pages where they are cited;
Kuya Kano, patay na yang mga yan. [4] Both Petra and Mariano died on the spot due
to the stab wounds inflicted on them.[5]
(b) An assignment of the errors intended to be urged. Such errors shall be separately,
distinctly and concisely stated without repetition, and shall be numbered
To corroborate Bernardos testimony as regards the taking of Petras bag, the
consecutively;
prosecution presented Danilo Cueto, son of Petra and Mariano. He testified that
on August 23, 1992, the day before the tragic incident, he saw his mother, Petra,
counting money inside their store. Petra placed the bills amounting to P15,000.00 (c) Under the heading Statement of the Case, a clear and concise statement of the
inside her bag. After his parents death, he looked for the bag but he never found it.[6] nature of the action, a summary of the proceedings, the appealed rulings and orders
of the court, the nature of the judgment and any other matters necessary to an
understanding of the nature of the controversy, with page references to the record;
The accused interposed the defense of denial and alibi. He testified that he did
not rob and kill the Cueto spouses and that on the evening of August 24, 1992, he
was at his parents house in Sta. Cruz, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.[7] (d) Under the heading Statement of Facts, a clear and concise statement in a
narrative form of the facts admitted by both parties and of those in controversy,
together with the substance of the proof relating thereto in sufficient detail to make it
The trial court convicted the accused and sentenced him to two terms
clearly intelligible, with page references to the record;
of reclusion perpetua, thus:

(e) A clear and concise statement of the issues of fact or law to be submitted to the
WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
court for its judgment;
crime of Robbery with Double Homicide penalized under Article 294,
Paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, the accused, Edilberto Fabula, is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the death of (f) Under the heading Argument, the appellants arguments on each assignment of
Mariano Cueto. Likewise, the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the error with page references to the record. The authorities relied upon shall be cited by
penalty of reclusion perpetua for the death of Petra Cueto. He is hereby the page of the report at which the case begins and the page of the report on which
ordered to pay the sum of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) to the citation is found;
the heirs of Mariano and Petra Cueto by way of indemnity. The period of
preventive imprisonment shall be deducted from his principal penalty. (g) Under the heading Relief, a specification of the order or judgment which the
appellant seeks;
All accessory penalties provided for by the Revised Penal Code are hereby
imposed.[8] (h) In cases not brought up by record on appeal, the appellants brief shall contain as
an appendix, a copy of the judgment or order appealed from.
In this appeal, accused-appellant asserts that the prosecution twisted the facts
of the case by allegedly suppressing material evidence favorable to him. He also Accused-appellants brief does not contain a subject index, a statement of the facts,
assails the credibility of prosecution witnesses by citing certain inconsistencies in their and a statement of the case. Accused-appellants counsel proceeded directly to
testimonies. discuss his arguments without stating the assigned errors and the issues in
accordance with paragraphs (b) and (e) of the aforementioned rule. The brief also
The appeal fails in both form and substance. does not contain a Prayer to indicate the relief sought by the accused-
appellant. These omissions are fatal and highlight the bankruptcy of accused-
appellants appeal.

14
Even on the merits, accused-appellant failed to show that the trial court erred in
rendering a judgment of conviction.

Eyewitness Bernardo Lingasa positively identified accused-appellant as the one


who stabbed Petra Cueto and took her bag. We thoroughly scrutinized his testimony
both in the direct and cross-examination and we find it to be clear and
unequivocal. Thus, we see no cogent reason to disturb the conclusions of the trial
court regarding his credibility.

Accused-appellants uncorroborated alibi crumbles in the face of such positive


identification made by an eyewitness, especially since there is no showing that the
witness was impelled by evil motives in imputing the offense on the accused-
appellant. Furthermore, accused-appellant failed to prove that it was impossible for
him to be at the crime scene at the time of its commission. He alleged that on August
24, 1992, at 8:00 in the evening, he was sleeping in his parents house in Sta. Cruz,
Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.[9] It has not been shown, however, that Barangay Gamao
is absolutely inaccessible from Sta. Cruz, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro as to preclude
any possibility of the accused-appellant going there in the evening of August 24,
1992. Accused-appellant also did not present any witness to corroborate his alibi. It is
settled that for an alibi to be credible, the defense must not only prove that the
accused was not at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission, but it must
also prove that it was absolutely impossible for the accused to be there at that time.[10]

We, however, find that accused-appellant was erroneously sentenced to two


terms of reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant was wrongly charged with Robbery
with Double Homicide. Such crime does not exist in our statute books. Article 294
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code [11] imposes only one penalty for the special
complex crime of robbery with homicide regardless of the number of persons killed.
[12]
This special complex crime does not limit the homicide to one victim as to make
the killings in excess of that number punishable as separate offenses. All the
homicides are merged in the composite, integrated whole that is robbery with
homicide so long as the killings were perpetrated by reason or on the occasion of the
robbery.[13] In addition, the trial court erred in failing to order the payment of fifteen
thousand pesos (P15,000.00) to the heirs of the victims, the sum of money forcibly
stolen by the accused-appellant.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, we find the accused-appellant GUILTY of the crime of


Robbery with Homicide. He is hereby sentenced to Reclusion Perpetua and to pay
the sum of P50,000.00 to the heirs of each of the victims as death indemnity plus the
sum of P15,000.00 representing the money forcibly stolen from the victims. Costs
CASE 4
against accused-appellant.

THIRD DIVISION
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 110037. May 21, 1998]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee vs. EDUARDO PULUSAN
y ANICETA, ROLANDO RODRIGUEZ y MACALINO, ROLANDO TAYAG
and JOHN DOE Alias Ramon/Efren, accused.

15
EDUARDO PULUSAN y ANICETA and ROLANDO RODRIGUEZ y around except for the occupants of the passenger jeepney (pp. 7 - 8, TSN, June
MACALINO, accused-appellants. 10, 1986; pp. 7 - 8, TSN, March 10, 1987). Afterwards, appellant Rolando
Rodriguez (Rodriguez) dragged Marilyn Martinez to the "talahiban" a few meters
DECISION away from the parked jeepney where his three (3) companions, including
appellant Pulusan, were left guarding Gomez and his other passengers (pp. 7-8,
KAPUNAN, J.: TSN, June 10, 1986; pp. 10-11, TSN March 10, 1987; pp. 1-13, TSN, March 18,
1987). Once at the "talahiban," appellant Rodriguez, then armed with a kitchen
knife, through force and intimidation, succeeded in having carnal knowledge of
Four men held a robbery of a passenger jeepney along Bulacan-Pampanga
Marilyn Martinez who was then still virgin (Exhibit "W"; pp. 10-13, TSN, March
highway, divesting all passenger of their valuables. Four of the jeepney's passengers
10, 1987). Subsequently, appellant Pulusan followed appellant Rodriguez and
were killed by the robbers and the only female passenger raped repeatedly. Three
Marilyn Martinez at the "talahiban and likewise sexually abused her (pp. 14-15,
victims, however, lived to tell the story - the jeepney driver, a fifty-year old and the
TSN, March 10, 1987; Exh. "W"). Later, appellants two other companions
ravaged girl .
similarly took turns in having carnal knowledge of Marilyn Martinez at the
The Solicitor General summarized the prosecution evidence as follows: "talahiban" (pp. 15-16, TSN, March 10, 1987). After the fourth man had
succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her , he held Marilyn Martinez's wrist
On January 20, 1986 at about 9:00 o'clock in the evening, Constancio Gomez and they both proceeded towards the jeepney (pp. 16-17, TSN, March 10,
was then plying his route from Balagtas, Bulacan along the MacArthur Highway 1987).
going towards Malolos, Bulacan on board a passenger jeepney with six (6)
passenger (pp. 5-6, TSN, June 10, 1986). They included Marilyn Martinez a Meanwhile, at the place where the jeepney was parked Gomez and one of his
seventeen (17) year old student and Cresenciano Pagtalunan (p. 2, TSN, March passengers who were then inside the vehicle were called outside by one of
10, 1987; pp. 2-3, TSN, June 10, 1986). The four (4) other male passenger were appellant's companions and asked Gomez " pare, gusto mo bang mamatay?" (p.
later identified to be Rodolfo Cruz, Magno Surio, Constancio Dionisio and 10, TSN, June 10, 1986). Gomez pleaded with them that he be spared because
Armando Cundangan (pp. 2-3, TSN, Dec. 16, 1986; pp. 5-14, TSN, Aug. 5, his wife recently gave birth and he was the only breadwinner for his family
1987; pp. 3-5, TSN, April 8, 1987; Exhibits "Z", "AA', "BB", "CC"). (ibid). Thereafter, he was boxed at the right jaw and told to board the jeepney
while said man, together with appellants Pulusan and Rodriguez, clubbed and
Upon reaching Bry. Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan, a group of four (4) male passengers stabbed the passenger who was called with him (pp. 10-11, TSN, June 10,
boarded the jeepney (pp. 5-6, TSN, June 10, 1986). Two of them sat at the 1986).Subsequently, the four called three other passengers inside the jeepney
rearmost portion of the jeepney fronting each other; the third sat behind the one by one. When the three (3) passengers managed to run towards the
driver's seat while the fourth man sat in the middle of the other passengers (pp. "talahiban" but his captors pursued and eventually killed him (pp. 10-11, TSN,
6-7, TSN, June 10, 1986; pp. 3-4, TSN, July 22, 1986; pp. 3-5, TSN, March 10, June 10, 1986). Subsequently, Cresenciono Pagtaluan was hit with pipe and
1987). Sudenly, the man who was later identified to be appellant Eduardo clubbed by appellant and their companions but one of them uttered: Pare,
Pulusan, who sat behind the driver, poked a knife at Constancio Gomez and huwag na yan, matanda na yan, hindi na papalag" (pp. 12-13, TSN, ibid' p. 7,
announced: "Hold-up ito, huwag kayong kikilos (pp. 5-6, TSN, June 10, 1986; TSN, July 22, 1986). Thereafter, Gomez was ordered to start the jeepney while a
pp. 5-6, 9, TSN, March 10, 1987; pp 4-6, TSN, June 10, 1986; pp. 5-6, 9, TSN, shotgun was aimed at his temple and threatened not to report the incident (ibid.)
March 10, 1987; pp. 4-6, TSN, March 18, 1987). Thereafter, appellant Pulusan's Eventually, their captors boarded Marilyn Martinez in the jeepney and threatened
three (3) companions followed suit, poked their knife and "sumpak" (homemade her not to report the incident and sent them home. Appellants and his
shotgun) at the passengers and divested them of their valuables (p. 6, TSN, companions then dispersed to different directions (pp. 12-13, TSN, June 10,
June 10, 1986; pp. 3-5, TSN, July 22, 1986; pp. 5-9, March 10, 1997). Gomez 1986).
was divested of his P100 cash money, a lighter valued at P50.00 and a fancy
ring of unknown value (pp.7-8, TSN, June 10, 1986). Cresenciano Pagtalunan, Accordingly, Gomez and his two surviving passengers Marilyn Martinez and
one of the passengers was similarly divested of P110.00 in cash and a diver's Cresenciano Pagtalunan, left their four (4) co-passengers who had been killed
watch worh P1,000.00 (TSN, pp.3-4, July 22, 1986). Marilyn Martinez, another by their captors and proceeded to the Municipal Building of Apalit, Pampanga to
passenger was divested of a wristwatch worth P350.00 together with her books, report the incident to the Apalit police (p. 14, TSN, June 20, 1986; pp. 8-9, TSN,
notebooks and handbag (pp. 5-7, TSN, March 10, 1987). Rodolfo Cruz was July 22, 1986; p. 19, TSN, March 10, 1987). Accompanied by the Apalit police
likewise divested of a watch valued at P700.00, a wedding ring worth P500.00 (p. 14, TSN, June 20, 1986; pp. 8-9, TSN, July 22, 1986; p. 19, TSN, March 10,
and P750.00 in cash (pp.3-8, TSN, Jan. 27, 1987). Magno Surio's watch 1987). Gomez and Crescenciano Pagtalunan, were immediately interviewed by
worth P400.00, camera with flash bulb and batteries inside and cash of more Pat. Maniago, Investigator of the San Simon (pp. 2-3, TSN, Dec. 16,
than P2,000.00 were also taken during the incident (pp. 3-7, 9-10, TSN, Feb. 17, 1986). Later, Pagtalunan stayed at the municipal building of San Simon where
1987; Exhs. "A", "B", "C" to "C-3"). Thereafter, appellant Pulusan took over the he remained for more than a day (p. 10, TSN where he remained for more than
wheels from driver Gomez and drove towards Pampanga. He later stopped at a day (p. 10, TSN, July 22, 1986). Thereafter, the joint team of the San Simon
Quezon Road, Bgy. San Pablo, San Simon, Pampanga (pp. 7 - 8, TSN, June 10, and Apalit police, including Pat. Maniago, Pfc. Nicolas Yambao and Umali was
1987). He parked the jeepney in a "talahiban" where there were no people accompanied by Gomez to the crime scene at Quezon Road, Bgy. San Pablo,

16
San Simon where the bodies of his four (4) male passengers were found and their respective husbands were among the four (4) passengers of jeepney who
which were later brought to the Funeraria Punzalan for autopsy (p. 14, June 10, were killed in San Simon, Pampanga and were invited to go to the funeral parlor
1996; pp. 3-5, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986). Pat. Emerito Maniago prepared a sketch of in Pampanga to make the necessary identification of the cadavers (pp. 305,
the crime scene (Exh. "S", p. 4, TSsN, Dec 2, 1986). Eventually, Pat. Maniago, TSN, April 8, 1987; pp. 3-4, TSN, January 27, 1987; pp. 3-5, TSN, Feb. 17,
Pfc, Nicolas Yambao and Lino Umali returned to the station and interviews 1987). Lucila Cruz confirmed her husband's death when she went to San Simon,
Gomez and Pagtalunan about the description of the suspects and conducted Pampanga on January 23, 1986 at 2:00 o'clock p.m. (pp. 3-4, TSN, January 23,
follow-up investigation of the case (pp. 3-4, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986; Exh. "P", "P-1"; 1987; Exh. "Z", pp. 8-9, TSN, Aug. 5, 1987). The death of her husband
pp. 3-6, TSN, Dec. 16, 1986; pp. 2-9, TSN, Jan. 6, 1987). They also proceeded Constancio Dionisio was confirmed by his widow Corazon when she went to the
to Malolos, Bulacan to coordinate with the Malolos INP for the identification of funeral parlor in San Simon on January 25, 1986 (pp. 3-5, TSN, April 8,
the victims' cadavers (pp. 3-4, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986). Thereafter, Pat. Maniago 1987). The death of Magno Surio was also confirmed by his widow Susana
prepared an "Initial Investigation Report" addressed to Corporal Santiago Bautista Surio when she went to the funeral parlor in San Simon accompanied
Rodriguez, Station Commander of the San Simon Police Station at San Simon, by a policeman from malolos (pp.3-5, TSN, Feb. 17, 1987; Exh. "AA"; pp. 10-11,
Pampanga concerning the "Robbery In Band, Rape, Multiple Homicide and TSN, Aug. 5, 1987).
Illegal Possession of Firearms/Deadly Weapons" committed on or about 9:30 to
10:30 P.M. of January 20, 1986 at Quezon Road, San Pablo Propio, San Simon, Dr. Maria Teresa F. Santos, Rural Health Physician of San Simon, Pampanga,
Pampanga (Exh. "P", "P-1"; pp. 2-5, TSN, Dec 16, 1986; pp. 2-16, TSN, Jan. 6, who conducted autopsy of the four (4) cadavers recovered at Bgy. San Pablo,
1987; pp. 2-3, TSN, Nov. 18, 1986). San Simon, Pampanga, issued Certificates of Death of Rodolfo C. Cruz, Magno
Surio, Constancio Dionisio and Armando Cundangan (pp. 3-4, TSN, Aug. 5,
On January 21, 1986, Cpl. Santiago Rodriguez was informed of the aforesaid 1987; Exhs. "Z", "AA", "BB" and "CC"). The cause of death of Rodolfo C. Cruz
incident (pp. 2-3, TSN, Nov. 18, 1986). He then instructed his men to continue was "Cardio-respiratory arrest, shock hemorrhage, multiple stab wounds" (Exh.
investigation on the case considering that preliminary investigation threon had "ZZ, pp. 8-9, TSN. Aug. 5, 1987). The cause of death of Magno dela Cruz y
been made by Pat. Maniago (pp. 3-4, TSN, ibid.; pp. 3-6, TSN, Nov. 25, 1986). Surio is the same as that of Rodolfo C. Cruz (Exh. "AA", pp. 10-11 TSN, Aug. 5,
1987).The stated cause of death of Constancio Dionisio and Armando
On the same day, Marilyn Martinez, one of the surviving victims, was brought by Cundangan was also the same as those indicated in the certificates of death of
her relatives to the Cemtral Luzon General Hospital in San Fernando, the other victims (Exhs. "BB", "CC"; pp. 12-14, TSN, Aug. 5, 1987).
Pampanga where she underwent physical examination by Dr. Evelyn
Macabulos, resident of the Hospital's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Meanwhile, in the early morning of January 23, 1986, Cpl. Rodriguez received a
(pp. 19-20, TSN, March 10, 1987; pp. 6-15, TSN, May 27, 1987; Exh. "W", tip from a civilian informer that the description of one of the four (4) suspects
"W1"). Dr. Macabulos found that the patient was conscious, coherent , slightly given by Marilyn Martinez tallied with that of appellant Eduardo Pulusan who
incooperative, distraught, untidy with soiled clothes and underwear" and that her previously had a record in their file (pp. 6-8, TSN, Nov. 25, 1986; pp. 4-6, TSN,
blood pressure was 130/80 while her pulse rate was 105 per minute (pp 7-9, Sept. 7, 1987).
TSN, May 27, 1987). She noted that "her eyes were swollen but without
contusions; her heart was slightly tachycardic, regular rate rhythm with no In the afternoon of January 23, 1986, Cpl. Rodriguez, Pat. Maniago and several
murmur (pp. 9-10, TSN, ibid) She also observed that she had clear breath policemen of San Simon, Pampanga, together with the Pampanga P.C.
sounds; her breast are conical, well-developed, symmetrical with light brown Command, including Sgt. Mario Dulin, proceeded to the residence of appellant
nipple and areola, no contusions noted" (ibid.). She also noted that he trunk has Pulusan at Bgy. San Pablo, San Simon., Pampanga (pp. 10-11, TSN, Nov. 25,
linear hematoma at the back which looked like finger marks while in her 1986). When their group reached San Pablo, San Simon, Pampanga, they found
extremities, there were 2 x 1.5 cm. Round hematoma at posterior upper part of Honwario Pulusan, appellant Eduardo Pulusan's brother there (pp. 10-11, Nov.
the left thigh (pp. 9-10, TSN, ibid). Dr. Macabulos further osserved that in her 25, 1986; p. 6, TSN, Sept. 9, 1987). After interviewing him, the team learned
external genitalia there was "scanty pubic hair, well coaptated but moderately from Honwario that appellant Pulusan was with Rolando Rodriguez, Rolando
swollen labia minora, labia mahora also confested (sic)". She noted that the Tayag and one Efren alias Ramon at Bgy. Moras dela Paz, Sto Tomas,
hymen had fresh lacerations at 12 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 5 and 7 o'clock; scantly Pampanga, where Rolando Rodriguez resided (pp.2-5, TSN, Nov. 18, 1986; pp.
bleeding from the laceration; there was a .3 x .3 cm. Hematoma (sic) at 12 10-11, TSN, Jan. 6, 1987; pp. 5-7, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986). Immediately thereafter,
o'clock; the patient cried and was hysterical in the examination of her genitalia the joint San Simon police and Pampanga PC Team coordinated with the Station
and complained of pain when application was inserted for smear; the patient's Commander of Sto. Tomas and proceeded to Moras dela Paz together with
panty was stained with blood and when smear for spermatozoa was done, none Honwario Pulusan (pp. 3-5, TSN, Nov. 18, 1986). Upon reaching Bgy. Moras
was found (pp. 10-11, TSN, May 27, 1987; Exh. "w"). Later that day, Marilyn was dela Paz, the team parked their vehicle a few meters away from the residence of
confined at the Rosary Hospital in Bulacan for 2 1/2 days so that she can appellant Rolando Rodriguez (pp. 5-6, TSN, Oct. 7, 1997). As the members of
recover her strength (p. 11, TSN, March 25, 1987). the joint PC and police team approached the residence of appellant Rodriguez
about 20 or 30 meters therefrom, they noticed four (4) persons, including
Meanwhile, the widows of the passengers who were killed during the January appellants Rodriguez and Pulusan, jumping and scampering away from the
20, 1986 incident at Bgy. San Pablo, San Simon, Pampanga, including Susana house (pp. 7-8, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986; pp. 7-8, TSN, Nov. 18, 1986). Honwario
Bautista Vda. De Surio, Lucila Cruz and Corazon Dionisio, were informed that Pulusan pointed to the police team appellants Rodriguez and Pulusan and also
17
and "Kuya, sumuko na kayo" (p. 8, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986).The joint police and PC Susana Bautista Surio, widow of the victim Magno Surio, in her "Sworn
team pursued them and eventually apprehended appellants Rodriguez and Statement: identified the camera, flash and batteries, among the items
Pulusan (pp. 7-8, TSN, September 9, 1987; pp. 4-6, TSN, Nov. 11, 1986). confiscated by the police at the house of appellant Rodriguez, to be the property
of her husband who used them in his work as commercial photographer (pp. 4-
Thereafter, Pat. Maniago, Sgt. Dulin and the Barangay Captain, returned to the 11, TSN, Feb. 17, 1987; Exh. "U", "U-1"; Exhs. "A", "B", "C" to "C-3").
house of appellant Rodriguez, conducted a search thereon in the presence of
one Gloria Bautista, siste-in-law of Rolando and eventually confiscated several An information charging Pulusan and Rodriguez with the crime of highway robbery
items, to wit: "one (1) camera, nikon type with cover (Exh. "A"); one (1) pair of attended with multiple homicide and multiple rape was filed in the Regional Trial Court
men's shoes, colored brown (Exh. "E"); one pair Grosby men's shoes (while) of Bulacan in Malolos.[1] The information was later amended to include Rolando Tayag
(Exh. "G"); one (1) pair ladies shoes colored black (Melvin Trade Mark (Exh. and one John Doe alias Ramon or Efren. The amended information reads:
"H"); one (1) KNIFE 12 inches long (Exh. "J"); one (1) knife 10 inches long (Exh.
"K"); one (1) sunglass (Unisex) (Exh. "I"); one (1) ladies wrist watch (Urika) (Exh. That on or about the 20th day of January, 1986, along the Mac Arthur highway in
"M"); four (4) pcs. of batteries (Exh. "C" to "C-3"); two (2) pieces of steel pipes the municipality of Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the
which turned out to be an improvised 12 gauge shotgun "paltik-sumpak" (Exh. jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Eduardo Pulusan y Anicete
"L", "L-1"); one (1) pants Haruta (Exh. "F"); one (1) jacket colored green (Exh and Rolando Rodriguez y Macalino, Rolando Tayag and one John doe alias
"D"); one (1) camera flasher (Exh. "B"); two (2) pieces (live) 12 gauge shotgun Ramon/Efren, conspiring and confederating together and helping one another,
ammos (Exh. "N"); and one (1) piece empty shell for 12 gauge shotgun" (Exh. armed with an improvised firearm and bladed instruments, with intent of gain
"N") (pp. 8-10, TSN, Dec. 2, 1986; pp. 8-9, TSN, Sept 9, 1987; pp. 3-9, TSN, and by means of violence against and intimidation persons (sic), did then and
Dec. 9, 1986; pp. 6-10, TSN, Nov. 18, 1986). Afterwards, Sgt. Dulin prepared an there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry away with them the
inventory of the recovered items (Exh. "R", "R-1", "R-2"; pp. 8-11, Sept. 9, following articles from the driver and the passengers of a passenger jeepney
1987).Subsequently, appellants Pulusan and Rodriguez, together with recovered bound for the said municipality, to wit:
items, were brought to the Station of the Pampanga P.C. Command at St. Nino,
San Fernando, Pampanga, for further investigation (p.15, TSN, Sept. 9, 1987). A From Constancio Gomez, driver:
"Progress Report" relative to the arrest of appellants Pulusan and Rodriguez and
the recovery of the items from their possession was also made by Cpl. Cash ------------------------------------------------------------------- P100.00
Rodriguez (Exh. "Q", "A-1"). Lighter (Zippo brand) ----------------------------------------------- 100.00
In the afternoon of January 23, 1986, the joint police and PC team informed the 2 fancy rings ---------------------------------------------------------- 60.00
three (3) surviving victims Gomez, Pagtalunan and Martinez that the suspects From Cresenciano Pagtalumam, passenger:
had been arrested and invited them and the wives of the victims who were killed, Cash --------------------------------------------------------------------- P 110.00
including Lucila Cruz, Susanaa Surio and Mrs. Cundangan, to go to the PC Wrist watch ------------------------------------------------------------ 1,500.00
Headquaters in the morning of January 24, 1986 (pp. 15-16, TSN, Sept. 9, 1987; From Magno Surio, passenger:
pp. 10-11 TSN, Nov. 11, 1986; pp. 23-24, TSN, Nov. 25, 1986; pp. 4-11 , TSN, Wrist watch, Seiko brand -------------------------------------------- P 800.00
Nov. 11, 1986). Camera, Nikon brand ------------------------------------------------ 8,000.00
From Armando Cundangan, passenger:
In the early morning of January 24, 1986, Gomez, Marilyn Martinez and Wrist watch, Seiko brand ------------------------------------------- P 700.00
Pagtalunan, together with the wives of those who were killed, proceeded to the Cash ------------------------------------------------------------------- 80.00
PC Headquarters in San Fernando Pampanga (pp. 15-16, TSN, June 10, 1986; From Rodolfo Cruz, passenger:
pp. 5-6, TSN, July 29, 1986). Three persons, including appellants Pulusan and Cash ---------------------------------------------------------------- P 700.00
Rodriguez, were presented to Gomez, Martinez and Pagtalunan and they were Wrist watch, Seiko brand ----------------------------------------- 700.00
asked if they knew them (pp. 2-3, TSN, Oct. 14, 1986) Pagtalunan pinpointed From Constancion Dionisio, passenger:
only two of them, appellants Pulusan and Rodriguez as the persons who held Cash ----------------------------------------------------------------- P 200.00
them up in Malolos on January 20, 1986 (ibid.; pp. 15-17, TSN, July 22, From Constancio Dionisio, passenger:
1986). Gomez and Martinez also positively identified appellants to be among the Cash --------------------------------------------------------------- P 200.00
four (4) persons who committed the robbery, killing and rape in the evening of From Marilyn Martinez, passenger:
January 20, 1986 (pp. 10-11, kTSN, Dec. 2, 1986; pp. 20-21, TSN, March 19, Wrist watch Urika brand ---------------------------------- ----- P 350.00
1987; Exh. "O", "O-1" to "O-3"). Pictures of the identification of appellants
Pulusan and Rodriguez by the three (3) surviving victims were taken by a To the damage and prejudice of the above-enumerated persons in the amounts
commercial photographer under the supervision of the police authorities (pp. 16- above-mentioned; and that by reason or on the occasion of the said highway
17, TSN, June 10, 1986; pp. 5-6, TSN, July 29, 1986; pp. 10-11, TSN, July 22, robbery and in pursuance of their conspiracy, the said Eduardo Pulusan y
1986; Exhs. "O", "O-1", "O-2" and "O-3"). Aniceta, Rolando Rodriguez y Macalinao and Rolando Tayag and one John
Doe alias Ramon/Efren, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with lewd designs and by means of force, violence and intimidation, have

18
carnal knowledge of said Marilyn Martinez one after the other, and with intent to He professed innocence because he had never been implicated in a crime, not
kill, abuse of superior strength, cruelty, treachery and evidence premeditation, even vagrancy. He denied the testimony of prosecution witness Sgt. Dulin that he
further assault, attack strike and hack/stab with the weapons they were then once had a rape case against him.[9]
provided the said Magno Surio, Armando Cundagan, Rodolfo Cruz and
Constancio Dionisio, inflicting on the said persons serious physical injuries On June 5, 1990, the Regional Trial Court of Bulucan, Branch 12 at Malolos,
which directly caused their instantaneous death. rendered a Decision in Criminal Case No. 9217-M as follows:
WHEREFORE, the prosecution having established the guilt of the accused
Contrary to law.[2] EDUARDO PULUSAN y ANICETA and ROLANDO RODRIGUEZ y MACALINO
beyond reasonable doubt, this Court finds them guilty of the offense of Robbery
Rolando Tayag and John Does alias Ramon or Efren remain at large. Pulusan with Homicide penalized under Article 294, paragraph 1, Revised Penal Code,
and Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. and hereby sentences each of them to suffer and undergo imprisonment for life
or RECLUSION PERPETUA, with cost against said accused.
In his defense, Rodriguez testified that he was a nephew of co-accused
Eduardo Pulusan. He denied knowledge of the crime charged against him. He asserts Both accused Pulusan and Roriguez are hereby ordered, jointly and severally,
that he had not committed any crime, and that in fact, he was able to get an NBI to indemnify the heirs of the late Rodolfo Cruz, Magno Surio, Constancio Dinisio
clearance as a requirement for his work as a driver in Iraq.[3] and Armando Cundangan the amount of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P30,000.00) for each dead victim as civil indemnification for their death.
As a kabo ng jueteng, he would collect bets three times a day, the
last jueteng draw being at 9:30 in the evening. He would thus be home only between Both accused Pulusan and Rodriguez are also hereby ordered to pay, jointly
11:30 and twelve midnight, as on the night of January 20, 1986.Rodriguez presented and severally, as indemnification to the rape victim Marilyn Martinez, the amount
in court to corroborate his alibi fellow kabo Oscar Nocum, a jueteng collector named of SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000.00).
Sara Lee, and a jueteng bettor Marilou Garcia. Both accused Pulusan and Rodriguez are hereby further ordered, jointly and
Oscar Nocum testified that Rodriguez was with him from about 9:30 in the severally, to pay moral damages to the respective heirs of the deceased Magno
evening of January 20, 1986, which was the time of the last jueteng draw, until Surio, Rodolfo Cruz, Constancio Dionisio and Armando Cundangan, the amount
midnight:[4] of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00).

Sara lee, who lived nine houses from Rodriguez, testified that on the night of Both accused Pulusan and Rodriguez are hereby further ordered, jointly and
January 20, 1986 she saw Rodriguez at around eight o'clock to remit her severally, to pay moral damages to the respective heirs of the deceased Magno
collection. Rodriguez then came back to her house between 10:30 and eleven o'clock Surio, Rodolfo Cruz, Constancio Dionisio and Armando Cundangan, the amount
because she had invited him to her daughter's birthday celebration and because they of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) to each victim and to rape
expected to hear from him the results of the jueteng draw.[5] victim Marilyn Martinez the amount of FORTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P40,000.00).
Marilou Garcia, also a neighbor of Rodriguez who lived six houses away,
testified that she placed a bet with Rodriguez at his house at around eight o'clock to Both accused Pulusan and Rodriguez are hereby furthermore ordered, jointly
8:45 in the evening of January 20, 1986, afterwhich Rodriguez left. She next saw him and severally, to reimburse the heirs of the dead victims for the funeral
later that evening at around 10:30 to eleven o'clock when he passed by Garcia's expenses by them as follows:
house where a bingo game was in progress.[6] TWENTY ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY
When arrested at his house in Moras, Sto. Tomas, Pampanga, Rodriguez was PESOS (P21,830.00) for deceased Rodolfo Cruz;
with his two children, his uncle Eduardo Pulusan and jueteng collectors, one of which TEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY PESOS
was Rolando Tayag, one of those charged with Pulusan and Rodriguez in the (P10,170.00) for deceased Magno Surio;
amended information. Pulusan was in Rodriguez's house to invite the latter to their
town fiesta.[7] ELEVEN THOUSAND PESOS (P11,000.00) for deceased
Constancio Dionisio.
Eduardo Pulusan testifying in his defense asserted that on January 20, 1986, he
was repairing his house in preparation for the coming fiesta. His helper then was a Finally, both accused Pulusan and Rodriguez are hereby ordered, jointly and
certain Tony. The following day, he also stayed at home because he helped his father severally, to return to the victims or their heirs the items they have taken during
in their fishpond. He did not leave his house until around 1:30 p.m. on January 23, the robbery or to reimburse the value thereof as follows:
1986 when he went to the house of his nephew, Rolando Rodriguez, to invite him to
the fiesta. Pulusan presented in court his mother, Agapita, and Antonio Libid, the Constancio Gomez - a lighter worth P50.00 and cash of P100.00;
carpenter who allegedly repaired his house, to corroborate his alibi. Both testified that
Pulusan did not leave the house on the night of January 20, 1986.[8]

19
Cresenciano Pagtalunan - a driver's watch Worth P1,100.00 and cash of P110.00. Q Mr. Witness when one of the persons you mentioned who boarded your jeep at
Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan poked a knife at your back and announced a hold-
Marilyn Martinez - a wrist watch worth P350.00; up, you became greatly afraid Mr. Witness, correct?
A Of course, sir.
Rodolfo Cruz - a watch worth P700.00, a wedding ring worth P500 and cash
of P750.00. Q You were even terrified of being killed harmed by such happening, Mr.
Witness?
As regards accused ROLANDO TAYAG and a John Doe alias 'Ramon/Efren', let the A Yes, sir.
record of this case be committed to the Archives to await their arrest and for this
purpose, let an alias warrant of arrest be issued against accused Rolando Tayag. Q And you were very much afraid of these four men who announced the hold-up,
correct?
SO ORDERED.[10] A Yes, sir, of course, I am afraid.
xxxxxxxxx
Pulusan contends before this Court that the trial court erred in giving credence
to his identification by prosecution witnesses as one of the perpetrators of the crime; Q In fact Mr. Witness when these persons announced the hold-up, specifically
in giving evidentiary weight to the "incredible, unreliable and inconsistent if not when one of them was poking a knife at your back and you were terribly
conflicting testimonies of the prosecution witnesses;" in failing to give "exculpatory afraid of these four persons, you were afraid much more to look at their
weight" to his alibi which was supported by witnesses, and in convicting him even if faces, correct?
his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.[11]
A Yes, sir, I am not looking at their faces because something was poked at me.
Rodriguez asserts that the trial court erred in convicting him and imposing on
him the penalty of reclusion perpetua and in giving credence to the evidence Q Now even if you were ordered to go inside the jeepney, together with the
presented by the prosecution.[12] passengers and even after one of the four men took the wheels of the jeep,
you were still very afraid to look at them, correct?
The arguments of Pulusan and Rodriguez are anchored mainly on the issue of
credibility. A Even if I am so afraid, sir, once in a while I glanced at them and tried to
recognize them.
The matter of assigning values to declarations on the witness stand is best and
most competently performed by the trial judge, who, unlike appellate magistrates, can Q Is it not a fact Mr. Witness that when you were ordered to go inside the jeep to
weigh such testimony in the light of the declarant's demeanor, conduct and attitude at sit with your passengers, they ordered the light of the jeep to be put off?
the trial and is hereby placed in a more competent position to discriminate between
A When that was said, we were already far and all the valuables were already
the true and the false.[13] Thus, the trial court's findings on the credibility of witnesses
taken from us, sir.
are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal
absent any clear showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts Q The light were (sic) ordered to go inside the jeep to sit with your passengers,
or circumstances of weight or substance which could have affected the result of the they ordered the light of the jeep to be put off?
case.[14] There is no showing in the instant case of an oversight, misundertanding or
misapplication of facts on the part of the trial court that may warrant reversal of that A They were the ones who put off the light, sir.
court" findings and conclusions.
Q When you said that you take a look at their faces, it means to say that you take
Pulusan avers that the prosecution witnesses' identification of him as one of the only a passing glance at their faces, correct?
robbers was not enough to hurdle the test of certainty. [15] Pulusan quotes the following
portions of the testimony of Constancio Gomez:[16] A Yes, sir.

Q Mr. Witness before the wheel of your jeep was taken from you and (you were) Q When you were just taking a passing glance of the faces of those four men, you
told to sit at the back, you did not recognize the faces of those persons? did not actually describe (sic) their faces, is that correct?

A No, sir. A Some of them I can describe but the others I cannot, sir.

Q Because you did not give a glance at their faces, correct? Q When you arrived at the place where the jeep stopped, is it not a fact that the
place was dark?
A When something was poked at me, I have not yet recognized them. But when I
was sitted (sic) at the back, once in awhile I glanced at them, sir. A Darked (sir), sir.

20
Q While you were there, you were not able to recognize the faces of the four men, In an attempt to discredit the eyewitnesses and their testimonies, Pulusan points
correct? out these conflicting testimonies: (1) Gomez and Marilyn testified he poked a knife at
Gomez while Pagtalunan said that he was holding a sumpak; (2) Gomez testified that
A No more because it was dark, sir.[17] (Underlining supplied) it was Pulusan who brought Marilyn to the talahiban while according to Marilyn, it was
The quoted portion, rather than support Pulusans contention, show that Gomez, Rodriguez who brought her first to that place; (3) Gomez testified that they went to the
although gripped by fear, was able to look at and see the malefactors. While it may be PC headquarters the day following January 20, 1986 while Pagtalunan testified that
true that Gomez had only occasional glances at the men, this does not mean that he they did so four days later; and (4) Gomez contradicted his testimony on direct
could not have been able to recognize them. The most natural reaction of victims of examination that the crime transpired on January 20, 1986 by his testimony on cross-
violence is to strive to see the appearance of the perpetrators of the crime and examination that the incident happened on February 20, 1986.
observe the manner in which the crime was being committed.[18] We find these alleged contradictions too trivial to affect the prosecutions
We also consider the following testimony of Cresenciano Pagtalunan, thus: case. Far from eroding the effectiveness of the testimonies of these eyewitnesses,
such trivial differences are in fact indicative of veracity.[26]Witnesses testifying on the
Q When these four passengers boarded the jeepney, was the jeepney inside same event do not have to be consistent in every detail considering the inevitability of
lighted or not? differences in their recollection, viewpoint or impression. Total recall or perfect
symmetry is not required as long as the witnesses concur on material points.[27]
A The jeepney was lighted, sir.
The prosecution, contrary to appellants contention has also proven beyond
Q Did you look at the faces of these four persons who boarded the jeepney? reasonable doubt that the four men, Pulusan and Rodriguez included, conspired in
the commission of the crime. In conspiracy, direct proof of a previous agreement to
A I came to know their faces when they passed by me and announced that it was
commit a crime is not necessary. It may be deducted from the mode and manner by
a hold-up, I happened to look at them, sir.
which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused
Q In fact you looked at their faces and you have only a glimpse of their faces, themselves when such points to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and
correct? community of interest.[28]

A Yes, sir. Pulusan and Rodriguez boarded the jeep together with two companions at the
same time in Barangay Tikay. When Pulusan announced the hold-up, Rodriguez and
Q Did you have glimpses of these four persons who boarded at Malolos or only their companions simultaneously brandished knives and the sumpak and divested the
one of them? passengers of their money and valuables. When the jeepney reached an isolated
place, the men took turns in raping Marilyn, inflicting physical harm on four male
A I saw their faces because there was still light inside the jeep, sir.[19] passengers who all succumbed to repeated clubbing and stabbing. After the carnage,
This testimony was corroborated by Marilyn Martinez who affirmed that when the four malefactors walked towards the same northerly direction. Apparent then is
the four men boarded the jeep, the light inside the jeep was still on. She was able to the unity of purpose and design in the execution of the unlawful act. [29]And where the
recognize the men because they entered the jeep one by one. Moreover, Marilyn conspiracy is shown, the precise extent of participation of each accused in the crime
testified that even though the light inside the jeep was off, because they travelled is secondary and the act of one may be imputed to all the conspirators.[30]
quite a long distance, lights from the vehicles following them provided enough Pulusan and Rodriguezs respective alibis cannot prosper. Apart from the fact
illumination.[20] When they arrived at the isolated talahiban in Sto. Tomas, one of the that they situated themselves in places not too far from the crime scene, there was no
robbers switched on the headlights of the jeep. After the repeated rape of Marilyn, the proof that it was physically impossible for them to have been at the locus
light inside the jeep was already on.[21] Furthermore, appellant Rodriguez, who was criminis during its commission.[31] Most of all, their respective alibis collapse in the
the first to rape Marilyn, dragged her to the talahiban by passing in from to the jeep face of the positive identification of them as the perpetrators of the crime.[32]
with its headlights on. She was looking at him, pleading for mercy.[22]
The crime of charged in the information was highway robbery attended with
This Court has time and again held that the relative weight and significance of multiple homicide with multiple rape. Highway robbery or brigandage is defined in
evidence on visibility depend largely on the attending circumstances and the Sec. (2) of Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-
discretion of the trial court. The Court has considered as sufficient for identification Highway Robbery Law of 1974, as:
illumination from a kerosene lamp[23] from a flashlight,[24] in the same way that the
Court considered as enough lighting for identification purposes the medium light
inside a jeepney which was passing through a dark place.[25] In the instant case, the (t)he seizure of any person of ransom, extortion or other unlawful purposes, or the
factor of visibility was in favor of the eyewitnesses. Such identification by all of the taking away of property of another by means of violence against or intimidation of
three prosecution eyewitnesses, not only by one, could not have been coincidental or person or force upon things or other unlawful means, committed by any person on
contrived. any Philippine Highway.

21
As manifest in its preamble, the object of the decree is to deter and punish suffered four rapes by four men, the victim should be awarded no less than the
lawless elements who commit acts of depredation upon persons and properties of amount of P200,000.00 as moral damages.[41]
innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another thereby
disturbing the peace and tranquility of the nation and stunning the economic and WHEREFORE, the Decision dated June 5, 1990 of the Regional Trial Court,
social progress of the people. A conviction for highway robbery requires proof that the Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 12 convicting appellants Eduardo Pulusan and Rolando
accused were organized for the purpose of committing robbery indiscriminately. There Rodriguez of the crime of robbery with homicide is hereby AFFIRMED subject to the
is no such proof in this case. Neither is there proof that the four men previously modifications that the heirs of the four (4) slain victims shall each be entitled to an
attempted to commit similar robberies indiscriminately.[33] indemnity of P50,000.00 and the rape victim, Marilyn Martinez, shall be awarded
moral damages in the amount of P200,000.00. Appellants shall be liable jointly and
The trial court thus correctly found Pulusan and Rodriguez guilty of the crime of severally for the monetary awards.
robbery with homicide aggravated by rape under Article 294(1) of Revised Penal
Code. In the interpretation of an information, controlling is not the designation but the SO ORDERED.
description of the offense charged. Under the allegations in the information, Pulusan
and Rodriguez are liable under the aforesaid article of the penal code.[34]
We must state that regardless of the number of homicides committed on the
occasion of a robbery, the crime of still robbery with homicide. In this special complex
crime, the number of persons killed is immaterial and does not increase the penalty
prescribed in Art. 294 of the Revised Penal Code. [35] There is no crime of robbery with
multiple homicide under the said Code.[36] The same crime is committed even if rape
and physical injuries are also committed on the occasion of said crime. Moreover,
whenever the special complex crime of robbery with homicide is proven to have been
committed, all those who took part in the robbery are liable as principals therein
although they did not actually take part in the homicide.[37]
Rape had not been proven to be original intention of the appellants, the crime
having been committed simply because there was a female passenger in the
jeep. Hence, rape can only be considered as an aggravating circumstance and not a
principal offense.[38]
Under Art. 294(1) of the Revised Penal Code, robbery with homicide is
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Considering the attendance of rape as a
generic aggravating circumstance, the maximum penalty of death should be
imposed. However, by reason of Section 19(1), Art. III of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution which proscribes the imposition of the death penalty and considering
further that at the time the crime was committed, Republic Act No. 7659 entitled An
Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes reimposing the death
penalty had not yet been enacted, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.
Because reclusion perpetua is a single indivisible penalty for the special complex
crime of robbery with homicide, the same shall be imposed regardless of the
attending aggravating or mitigating circumstances.[39]
The Court gives credence to the findings of the trial court as to the items to be
returned or equivalent amount to be reimbursed to the victims of robbery, as well as
the actual damages claimed and proven by the windows of the slain, victims.
However, the civil indemnity for the heirs of the deceased victims should be
increased to P50,000.00 in conformity with jurisprudence.[40]
As to the moral damages awarded to Marilyn Martinez, the same should be
increased pursuant to this Court's ruling that the offended party in the crime of rape is
entitled to moral damages in the amount of at least P50,000.00; but in casses where
multiple rapes are committed against one victim, as in this case where the victim

22
CASE 5 before Patrolman Cario are inadmissible against them and cannot be used in
support of their conviction.
SECOND DIVISION
4. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; PRESUMPTIONS; PRESUMPTION OF REGULAR
[G.R. No. 112262. April 2, 1996] PERFORMANCE OFFICIAL ACTS DOES NOT APPLY TO IN CUSTODY
INVESTIGATION. - As we have heretofore held, it is now incumbent upon the
prosecution to prove during the trial that, prior to questioning, the confessant
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ
was warned of his constitutionally protected rights because the presumption of
CAMAT and WILFREDO TANYAG DEL ROSARIO, accused-appellants.
regularity of official acts does not apply during in-custody investigation. Trial
courts should further keep in mind that even if the confession of the accused is
SYLLABUS gospel truth, if it was made without the assistance of counsel, it is inadmissible
in evidence regardless of the absence of coercion or even if it had been
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHTS OF A PERSON voluntarily given.
ARRESTED. - The rights invoked by appellants are premised upon Section 20,
Article IV of the 1973 Constitution then in force. The aforequoted provision was 5. ID.; ID.; EXTRA JUDICIAL CONFESSION; BINDING ONLY UPON THE
interpreted and expounded upon in the case of Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, et al., CONFESSANT; REASON. As to the implication of Del Rosario in the
(121 SCRA 538) wherein this Court laid down the procedure to be followed in extrajudicial confession of Camat, no reliance can be placed on the imputation
custodial investigations, thus: x x x . At the time a person is arrested, it shall be therein because it violates the rule on res inter alios acta and does not fall under
the duty of the arresting officer to inform him of the reason for the arrest and he the exceptions thereto, especially since it was made after the supposed
must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He shall be informed of his homicidal conspiracy. An extrajudicial confession is binding only upon the
constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement he confessant and is not admissible against his co-accused. As against the latter,
might make could be used against him. The person arrested shall have the right the confession is hearsay.
to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or anyone he chooses by the most
expedient means - by telephone if possible - or by letter or messenger. It shall
6. ID.; ID.; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY; CONVINCING AND TRUSTWORTHY
be the duty of the arresting officer to see to it that this is accomplished. No
TESTIMONY OF A SINGLE WITNESS IS SUFFICIENT TO CONVICT. - It is
custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the presence of
well settled that the testimony of a single eyewitness, if found convincing and
counsel engaged by the person arrested, by any person on his behalf, or
trustworthy by the trial court, is sufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond
appointed by the court upon petition either of the detainee himself or by anyone
reasonable doubt. (People vs. Catubig, 195 SCRA 505) We also see no reason
on his behalf. The right to counsel may be waived but the waiver shall not be
to deviate from the trial courts observation that Penalvers testimony bore the
valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained in
attributes of truth, having been delivered in a candid and straightforward
violation of the procedure herein laid down, whether exculpatory or inculpatory,
manner. We have scrupulously examined the testimony of Penalver and we find
in whole or in part, shall be inadmissible in evidence.
the same to be categorical and candid, untainted by inconsistencies,
contradictions or evasions. It creditably chronicles the material details in the
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHTS AVAILABLE WHERE INVESTIGATION BEGAN TO FOCUS commission of the crimes in question, and should accordingly be given full
ON A PARTICULAR SUSPECT. - As interpreted in the jurisdiction of their origin, credence.
these rights begin to be available where the investigation is no longer a general
inquiry into an unsolved crime but has began to focus on a particular suspect,
7. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY; FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE TRIAL COURT,
the suspect has been taken into police custody, and the police carry out a
GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL. - It bears repeating that findings of the
process of interrogation that lends itself to eliciting incriminating statements.
trial court pertaining to the credibility of witnesses deserve great respect since it
had the opportunity to hear and observe their demeanor as they testified on the
3. ID.; ID,; ID.; EXTRA-JUDICIAL CONFESSION OF ACCUSED OBTAINED witness stand and, therefore, it was in a better position to discern if such
WITHOUT BEING INFORMED OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, witnesses were telling the truth or not based on their deportment while testifying.
INADMISSIBLE. - A reading of the challenged decision shows that the court
below relied upon appellants confessions to disaffirm their credibility and to
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; TESTIMONY OF WITNESS WITHOUT EVIL MOTIVE AGAINST
impugn their denial of complicity in the commission of the felony. This the lower
ACCUSED, ENTITLED TO FULL FAITH AND CREDIT. - There was no
court cannot do because, absent any showing that appellants were duly advised
evidence of any ulterior or evil motive on the part of Penalver that might have
of the mandatory guarantees under the Bill of Rights, their confessions made
led him to give fabricated testimony against appellants. He, and even appellant
23
Camat, declared in open court that they did not know each other before the the scene of the crime at that time. Appellants, from their own testimony in court,
gruesome incident happened on September 1, 1985. Having no motive to testify were present not only in the same municipality but in the same district where the
falsely, his positive testimony is sufficient for conviction. When there is no crime was committed. We take judicial notice of the fact that Bagong Silang and
evidence indicating that the principal witness for the prosecution was moved by Sanchez Streets are just a few meters away from Quirino Avenue and,
improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so moved, and his therefore, it was not impossible for them to be present at the scene of the crime
testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. at the time it was perpetrated.

9. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; 12. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; BECOMES LESS PLAUSIBLE WHEN MAINLY ESTABLISHED
RIGHT OF CONFRONTATION; AVAILABLE TO ACCUSED DURING TRIAL BY ACCUSED HIMSELF AND HIS RELATIVES. - Alibi becomes less plausible
AND NOT DURING CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION. - The right of confrontation as a defense when it is mainly established by the accused himself and his
is one of the rights of an accused enumerated in Section 19, Article IV of the immediate relatives who, in the present case, are respectively appellants mother
1973 Constitution. In a case decided in 1979, the above provision was invoked and mother-in-law, because they would naturally be expected to make
by an accused in claiming that his extrajudicial confessions made prior to the statements in his favor. Furthermore, the positive identification of the
effectivity of the 1973 Constitution were illegally obtained because his malefactors made by witness Penalver negates appellants submissions on their
constitutional right to counsel was disregarded. The Court, citing respective alibis.
People vs. Jose, et al., clarified that the phrase criminal prosecutions in the said
constitutional provision shall be interpreted to mean proceedings before the trial 13. CRIMINAL LAW; COMPLEX CRIME; ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE; HOMICIDE,
court, which in its most expanded concepts is from arraignment up to the UNDERSTOOD IN ITS GENERIC NAME; ABSORBS ALL OTHER ACTS
rendition of the decision. It will also be observed that under both the 1964 Rules WHICH DO NOT RESULT TO DEATH. - Regarding the designation of the
of Court, and the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, the right of confrontation is offense for which appellants were convicted based on the criminal charge in the
specified as a right of the accused at the trial. We accordingly reiterate that an information, the present jurisprudential rule is that appellants should have been
accuseds constitutional right to meet the witnesses face to face is limited to indicted only for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide under
proceedings before the trial court. Accordingly, appellants reliance upon this Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code. There is no crime of robbery with
constitutional right is evidently misplaced as the same is available to him at the homicide and frustrated homicide. The term homicide in paragraph 1, Article 294
trial and not during a custodial investigation. of the Revised Penal Code is to be understood in its generic sense, absorbing
not only the act which results in death but also all other acts producing anything
10. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; IT IS THE PREROGATIVE OF short of death, assuming that death occurs by reason or on the occasion of the
EACH PARTY TO CHOOSE ITS OWN WITNESSES. - Appellants apprehension robbery, and is designated as such regardless of the number of homicides and
that the unidentified witness may be someone who is harboring ill motives physical injuries committed. Hence, the frustrated homicide aspect of the
against appellant Camat will not subvert the case of the prosecution. It is the present charge is deemed merged in the special complex crime of robbery with
prerogative of each party to choose its own witness in accordance with its own homicide defined and penalized under the law.
assessment of the evidence it needs to prove its case. If appellants felt that the
vendor might have a grudge against Camat, there was nothing to prevent them 14. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; INDEMNITY FOR DEATH RAISED TO P50,000.00.
from determining that fact on the witness stand by calling said vendor via - The civil indemnity for the death Nelson Sinoy is hereby increased to
compulsory process available to them both under the Constitution and the Rules P50,000.00 in consonance with the present jurisprudential policy.
of Court.
APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL
11. ID.; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; ALIBI; REQUISITE FOR DEFENSE TO
PROSPER; CASE AT BAR. - We agree with the lower court in discarding the
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
stories of appellants which were designed to provide them their respective alibis
coetaneous with the commission of the offense. Time and again, we have held
that alibi is one of the weakest defenses that can be resorted to by an accused, Public Attorneys Office for accused-appellants.
not only because it is inherently weak and unreliable but also because it is easy
of fabrication without much opportunity for checking or rebutting it. For a DECISION
defense of alibi to prosper, we have repeatedly stressed, it must not only be
shown that the accused was not at the scene of the crime at the time of its REGALADO, J.:
commission but also that it was physically impossible for him to have been at

24
Accused-appellants Armando Rodriguez Camat, alias Amboy Camat, and About 9:00 oclock in the evening of September 1, 1985, Nelson Sinoy and
Wilfredo Tanyag del Rosario, alias Willie, were charged in Criminal Case No. 19841 Gonzalo Penalver, both members of the Philippine Marine(s) stationed at Fort
of the Regional Trial Court of the then Municipality of Makati, Branch 147, with the so- Bonifacio, Makati, Metro Manila, were walking along Quirino Avenue, Paranaque,
called special complex crime of robbery with homicide and frustrated homicide Metro Manila. They had just come from Camp Claudio where they attended a birthday
committed in Paranaque, Metro Manila. party. They were in civilian clothes.

The information therefor, filed on October 21, 1985 with the approval of the While walking along Quirino Avenue, they noticed two persons trailing them
Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, alleges: closely, about ten meters away. The place was well-lighted. Gonzalo Penalver was
carrying a clutch bag, containing a Sanwa electric tester (Exhibit 1). They crossed the
That on or about the 1st day of September, 1985, in the Municipality of street ostensibly to avoid the two men following them.
Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines and a place within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together On(e) of them, Wilfredo del Rosario rushed to Nelson Sinoy and kicked the
and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another, with intent of gain and latter. Armando Camat followed del Rosario and pulled out a knife and stabbed
without the consent and against the will of Gonzalo Penalver and Nelson Sinoy, and Nelson Sinoy. Gonzalo Penalver kicked Camat who in turn stabbed the former, hitting
by means of force, threats, violence and intimidation employed upon the persons of him at the right rib. When Penalver kicked Camat he became outbalanced. Wilfredo
said Nelson Sinoy and Gonzalo Penalver, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and del Rosario then grabbed the clutch bag from him (Penalver).
feloniously divest the said Gonzalo Penalver of his one (1) Black leather clutch bag
containing plier(s), test valve, longnose and one (1) Sanwa Electric tester, valued at Realizing they were at the losing end, Sinoy and Penalver ran away. With the
P150.00, with the total amount of P150.00, to the damage and prejudice of the said aid of somebody who identified himself as a policeman, they were brought to the San
Gonzalo Penalver, in the aforementioned amount of P150.00; that on the occasion of Juan de Dios Hospital.
the said Robbery (Hold-Up) immediately thereafter, the above-named accused, with
intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab said Nelson
Nelson Sinoy died at the San Juan de Dios Hospital despite the efforts of Dr.
Sinoy, thereby inflicting upon the latter serious and mortal stab wounds, which directly
Vittorio Pantig to save him. Dr. Pantig conducted an exploratory lapar(o)tomy on the
caused his death; that as a further consequence, the above-named accused, with
abdomen of Nelson Sinoy and found massive bleeding in the abdominal cavity, and
intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab said Gonzalo
partial damage to the kidney, pancreas and the diaphragm. He tried to control the
Penalver, thereby inflicting upon the latter serious and mortal stab wounds, which
bleeding but despite blood transfusion, the blood pressure of the patient went down to
ordinarily would cause the death of said Gonzalo Penalver, thus performing all the
zero.
acts of execution which would produce the crime of Homicide, as a consequence, but
nevertheless did not produce it by reason of cause or accident independent of the will
of the said accused, that is due to the timely and able medical assistance rendered to Gonzalo Penalver was transferred to the AFP Medical Center on September 2,
the said Gonzalo Penalver, which prevented his death.1 1985 after his wound was already sutured at the San Juan de Dios Hospital. At the
AFP Medical Center, Dr. Benedicto Mina took care of the patient. He gave blood
transfusion to the patient. The patient was discharged from the hospital only on March
At their arraignment, appellants pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. After
15, 1986.4
due hearing, the lower court rendered judgment2 on June 19, 1987 finding both
appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide and
frustrated homicide, sentencing them to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and In traversing the criminal charge, appellants interposed the defense of alibi and
ordering them to indemnify the heirs of Nelson Sinoy in the amount of P30,000 and denied any participation in the commission of the felony.
Gonzalo Penalver in the sum of P10,000.00.
Appellant Armando R. Camat claimed that at around 7:00 to 8:30 in the evening
Hence, this appeal, with appellants assigning in their joint brief a single error of September 1, 1985, he was already in his house located at Bagong Silang Street,
submitting that the trial court gravely erred in finding them guilty beyond reasonable Baclaran, Paranaque resting and preparing to sleep for the night. He testified that he
doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide and frustrated omicide.3 was at the saklaan working as a card dealer from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. of that day.5

The factual findings of the court a quo are sustained by the evidence on record, This testimony of appellant Camat. was corroborated by his mother-in-law,
and we reproduce the same: Filomena Macabangon, who stated that she is certain Camat was at their house at
around 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on September 1, 1985 as the said appellant and his
family lived with her and her other children at Bagong Silang Street.6

25
For his part, appellant Wilfredo T. del Rosario contended that from 5:00 A.M. to appellant Del Rosario wherein the latter supposedly gave to the investigating
7:00 P.M. of September 1,1989, he and his wife were are their stall selling vegetables policeman the name of his relative in possession of the electric tester.14
along a sidewalk of Quirino Avenue in Baclaran. He went home at 7:00 oclock in the
evening and never left their house located at Sanchez St., Baclaran, Paranaque The rights invoked by appellants are premised upon Section 20, Article IV of the
because he was very tired that day.7 1973 Constitution15 then in force, and which provided:

Magdalena del Rosario, mother of appellant Del Rosario supported the story of SEC. 20. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any
the latter by testifying that she saw her son vending vegetables up to 7:00 P.M. and person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to
that he have never left the house after 7:00 oclock in the evening of September 1, remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence,
1989.8 threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used
against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible
Both appellants claim that they did not know each other prior to the date of the in evidence.
commission of the crime and that they met each other only after they were arrested
and brought to the police precinct.9 The aforequoted provision was interpreted and expounded upon in the case
of Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, et al., 16 wherein this Court laid down the procedure to be
Patrolman Odeo Cario, to whom the case was assigned for investigation on followed in custodial investigations, thus:
September 2, 1985, stated on the witness stand that appellant Camat orally admitted
to him his (Camat s) participation in the killing of the soldier during interrogation at the xxx xxx xxx
police precinct.10 In addition, Camat also allegedly gave the names of Wilfredo del
Rosario and one Roland as his co-conspirators in the crime charged, and alluded to
7. At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform
appellant Del Rosario as the one who actually stabbed Sinoy.11
him of the reason for the arrest and he must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He
shall be informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that
With this information, Patrolman Cario and another policeman traced the any statement he might make could be used against him. The person arrested shall
whereabouts of Del Rosario and, when they found him, they invited him for have the right to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or anyone he chooses by
questioning. In the police station, appellant Del Rosario allegedly confessed to the most expedient means - by telephone if possible - or by letter or messenger. It
Patrolman Cario his involvement in the crime and informed the latter that the electric shall be the duty of the arresting officer to see to it that this is accomplished. No
tester could be recovered from his relatives.12 custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the presence of counsel
engaged by the person arrested, by any person on his behalf, or appointed by the
The investigation of the case centered upon Camat only after the latter was court upon petition either of the detainee himself or by anyone on his behalf. The right
pointed to by a vendor who allegedly saw what happened during the night of to counsel may be waived but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with the
September 1, 1985;As fate would have it, Camat was arrested by Paraaque assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained in violation of the procedure herein
policemen on October 11, 1985 for acts of lasciviousness, upon the complaint of his laid down, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be
sister-in-law. Since Camat fitted the description given earlier by the eyewitness to the inadmissible in evidence.
investigating policemen, Patrolman Cario fetched the vendor to verify the identity of
Camat. At the police station, said witness recognized and identified Camat as the one xxx xxx xxx
who killed Sinoy. On the witness stand, Patrolman Cario refused to give the identity of
the anonymous vendor-witness who was allegedly afraid of the accused, but the
As interpreted in the jurisdiction of their origin, these rights begin to be available
policeman promised that he would present said witness if ordered to do so by the
where the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has
court.13
began to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect has been taken into police
custody, and the police carry out a process of interrogation that lends itself to eliciting
In support of their lone assignment of error, appellants insist that the trial court incriminating statements.17
cannot rely on the extrajudicial confession of appellant Camat as a basis for their
conviction because such confession was obtained during custodial investigation in
A reading of the challenged decision shows that the court below relied upon
violation of their constitutional rights. Correlatively, appellants aver that the lower
appellants confessions to disaffirm their credibility and to impugn their denial of
court also erred in making an inference of guilt from the extrajudicial confession of
complicity in the commission of the felony. This the lower court cannot do because,
absent any showing that appellants were duly advised of the mandatory guarantees

26
under the Bill of Rights, their confessions made before Patrolman Cario are testify falsely, his positive testimony is sufficient for conviction. When there is no
inadmissible against them and cannot be used in support of their conviction. evidence indicating that the principal witness for the prosecution was moved by
improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so moved, and his testimony is
As we have heretofore held, it is now incumbent upon the prosecution to prove entitled to full faith and credit.26
during the trial that, prior to questioning, the confessant was warned of his
constitutionally protected rights because the presumption of regularity of official acts We also take note of the fact that prosecution witness Penalver positively
does not apply during in-custody investigation.18 Trial courts should further keep in identified appellants as the persons who robbed him and killed Sinoy. He could not
mind that even if the confession of the accused is gospel truth, if it was made without have been mistaken in identifying appellants as the scene of the crime was
the assistance of counsel, it is inadmissible in evidence regardless of the absence of sufficiently illuminated and he even remembers that appellant Del Rosario was
coercion or even if it had been voluntarily given.19 wearing faded camouflage clothing at the time of the robbery.27 Thus, appellants claim
that witness Penalver failed to identify them 28 is without merit. His narration of the
As to the implication of Del Rosario in the extrajudicial confession of Camat, no incident and his identification of the malefactors are direct and definite.
reliance can be placed on the imputation therein because it violates the rule on res
inter alios acta and does not fall under the exceptions thereto,20 especially since it Appellants also contend that the failure of the prosecution to present in court the
was made after the supposed homicidal conspiracy. An extrajudicial confession is police informer who allegedly pointed to appellant Camat in the police precinct
binding only upon the confessant and is not admissible against his co-accused. As deprived them of their constitutional right of confrontation.29
against the latter, the confession is hearsay.21
The right of confrontation is one of the rights of an accused enumerated in
However, even disregarding the extrajudicial confessions of appellants, the Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution30 which provided that:
judgment of conviction rendered by the lower court stands and can be sustained.
Worthy of consideration is the trial courts conclusion that (a)lthough there is only one In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the
(1) eyewitness presented by the prosecution in the person of Gonzalo Penalver, the contrary is proven, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be
Court is of the opinion and so holds that the prosecution has satisfactorily proved the informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him, to have a speedy,
guilt of both accused beyond reasonable doubt.22 impartial and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory
process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his
It is well settled that the testimony of a single eyewitness, if found convincing behalf. x x x
and trustworthy by the trial court, is sufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.23 We also see no reason to deviate from the trial courts In a case decided in 1979,31 the above provision was invoked by an accused in
observation that Penalver s testimony bore the attributes of truth, having been claiming that his extrajudicial confessions made prior to the effectivity of the 1973
delivered in a candid and straightforward manner. Constitution32 were illegally obtained because his constitutional right to counsel was
disregarded. The Court, citing People vs. Jose, et al.,33 clarified that the phrase
We have scrupulously examined the testimony of Penalver and we find the criminal prosecutions in the said constitutional provision shall be interpreted to mean
same to be categorical and candid, untainted by inconsistencies, contradictions or proceedings before the trial court, which in its most expanded concepts is from
evasions. It creditably chronicles the material details in the commission of the crimes arraignment up to the rendition of the decision. It will also be observed that under
in question, and should accordingly be given full credence. both the 1964 Rules of Court, and the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, the right of
confrontation is specified as a right of the accused at the trial.34 We accordingly
It bears repeating that findings of the trial court pertaining to the credibility of reiterate that an accuseds constitutional right to meet the witnesses face to face is
witnesses deserve great respect since it had the opportunity to hear and observe their limited to proceedings before the trial court. Accordingly, appellants reliance upon this
demeanor as they testified on the witness stand and, therefore, it was in a better constitutional right is evidently misplaced as the same is available to him at the trial
position to discern if such witnesses were telling the truth or not based on their and not during a custodial investigation.
deportment while testifying.24
Appellants apprehension that the unidentified witness may be someone who is
Additionally, there was no evidence of any ulterior or evil motive on the part of harboring ill motives against appellant Camat will not subvert the case of the
Penalver that might have led him to give fabricated testimony against appellants. He, prosecution. It is the prerogative of each party to choose its own witnesses in
and even appellant Camat, declared in open court that they did not know each other accordance with its own assessment of the evidence it needs to prove its case. 35 If
before the gruesome incident happened on September 1, 1985.25 Having no motive to appellants felt that the vendor might have a grudge against Camat, there was nothing

27
to prevent them from determining that fact on the witness stand by calling said vendor
via compulsory process available to them both under the Constitution and the Rules
of Court.

We agree with the lower court in discarding the stories of appellants which were
designed to provide them their respective alibis coetaneous with the commission of
the offense. Time and again, we have held that alibi is one of the weakest defenses
that can be resorted to by an accused, not only because it is inherently weak and
unreliable but also because it is easy of fabrication without much opportunity for
checking or rebutting it.36For a defense of alibi to prosper, we have repeatedly
stressed, it must not only be shown that the accused was not at the scene of the
crime at the time of its commission but also that it was physically impossible for him to
have been at the scene of the crime at that time.37

Appellants, from their own testimony in court, were present not only in the same
municipality but in the same district where the crime was committed. We take judicial
notice of the fact that Bagong Silang and Sanchez Streets are just a few meters away
from Quirino Avenue and, therefore, it was not impossible for them to be present at
the scene of the crime at the time it was perpetrated.

Also, alibi becomes less plausible as a defense when it is mainly established by


the accused himself and his immediate relatives who, in the present case, are
respectively appellants mother and mother-in-law, because they would naturally be
expected to make statements in his favor.38 Furthermore, the positive identification of
the malefactors made by witness Penalver negates appellants submissions on their
respective alibis.39

Regarding the designation of the offense for which appellants were convicted
based on the criminal charge in the information, the present jurisprudential rule is that
appellants should have been indicted only for the special complex crime of robbery
with homicide under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code. There is no crime of
robbery with homicide and frustrated homicide. The term homicide in paragraph 1,
Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code is to be understood in its generic sense,
absorbing not only the act which results in death but also all other acts producing CASE 6
anything short of death, assuming that death occurs by reason or on the occasion of
the robbery, and is designated as such regardless of the number of homicides and Republic of the Philippines
physical injuries committed.40 Hence, the frustrated homicide aspect of the present SUPREME COURT
charge is deemed merged in the special complex crime of robbery with homicide Manila
defined and penalized under the law.*
THIRD DIVISION
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with the
MODIFICATIONS that appellants are declared guilty of the crime of robbery with G.R. No. 121272 June 6, 2001
homicide, and the civil indemnity for the death of Nelson Sinoy is hereby increased to
P50,000.00 in consonance with the present jurisprudential policy.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,
vs.
SO ORDERED. REYDERICK LAGO, appellant.

28
PANGANIBAN, J.: Benjamin Raymundo y Sta. Teresa on the vital part of his body, thereby
inflicting upon the latter stab wounds which directly caused his death."
When conspiracy is proven in a case of robbery with homicide, all those who
participated in the robbery will be held guilty of the special complex crime of robbery When arraigned on February 23, 1994, appellant pleaded4 not guilty.5 After due trial,
with homicide, even if not all of them actually took part in the homicide perpetrated by the RTC promulgated its assailed Decision.
just one of them on the occasion or as a consequence of the asportation.
Hence, this appeal.6
The Case
The Facts
Before the Court is an appeal by Reyderick Lago, assailing the February 28, 1995 Prosecutions Version
Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig, Metro Manila (Branch 159), in
Criminal Case No. 87719. The decretal portion of the assailed Decision, which found In its Brief,7 the Office of the Solicitor General presents the prosecutions version of
him guilty of robbery with homicide, reads as follows: the facts as follows:

"WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Reyderick Lago guilty beyond "Rosana Capacillo of 80 A.T. Reyes Street, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, was
reasonable doubt of the crime of [r]obbery with [h]omicide punishable under one of victim Benjamin Raymundos neighbors. On that fateful morning of
Art. 294 par. (1) of the Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences said July 24, 1991, around 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., she was waiting for her
accused to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the heirs of husband outside their house. While so engaged, [she] saw a man, whom
the victim in the amount of [f]ifty [t]housand (P50,000.00) [p]esos; the sum of she [later] identified as Rainier Lisbog, come out of Raymundos house.
[e]ighteen [t]housand [s]ix [h]undred (P18,600.00) [p]esos representing Rosana and this person looked at each other. Later in the evening when
reimbursement of funeral expenses and [s]ixty [s]even [t]housand Rosana and her husband came home from work, they learned that their
(P67,000.00) [p]esos for the value of the stolen cash and articles; and to pay neighbor, Benjamin Raymundo, had been robbed and killed.
the cost.
"Ramon Bernardo, a refrigeration/aircon technician, testified that in the
The Jail Warden of the Rizal Provl. Jail is hereby ordered to commit the morning of July 24, 1991, he went to the house of Benjamin Raymundo to
person of accused Reyderick Lago to the Bureau of Prisons, Muntinlupa, get a refrigeration gasket. Before reaching the gate of the compound where
Metro Manila immediately upon receipt hereof."2 Benjamin lived, he met a man whom he described as wearing a ball cap,
white T-shirt, black pants[; was] thin faced, dark skinned, of medium buil[d]
The Information,3 dated August 14, 1991, charged appellant and four others as and about 16 to 20 years old. He identified that person in open court as
follows: Jayson Diadid. When he was already inside the compound, he called out
Mang Ben, Mang Ben. A man opened the door and demonstrated that
"That on or about the 24th day of July, 1991, in the Municipality of Benjamin Raymundo was still asleep. In turn, Ramon made a sign indicating
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this that he [would] be back. A little later at about 9:00 in the morning, Ramon
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a bladed weapon, came back and learned that Benjamin Raymundo had been robbed and
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping [or] aiding each killed. Ramon Bernardo identified the man who made a sign to him as
other, with intent to gain, by means of force upon things, did, then and there Rainier Lisbog.
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously enter the house of Benjamin Raymundo y
Sta. Teresa, by then and there removing one blade of the glass window "Cozette Aragon, one of appellants co-accused, was called to testify as a
jalousie near the door, and once inside the house, take, steal and carry away witness during appellants trial. Cozette testified that he was introduced to
cash[,] money and jewelries worth P92,000.00 belonging to said Benjamin Jayson Diadid by a classmate named Dennis Sison. Dennis introduced
Raymundo y Sta. Teresa, to the damage and prejudice of the latter; that on Cozette to Jayson because the latter could do whatever had to be done in
the occasion of the said robbery and for the purpose of enabling them to the robbery being planned by Cozette. When Jayson and Cozette were
take, steal and carry away the said cash, money and jewelries, in pursuance planning the robbery, Jayson asked Cozette if he wanted to have his uncle
of their conspiracy and to insure the success of their criminal act, with intent killed, to which Cozette replied in the negative as he merely wanted to rob
to kill, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab said his uncle.

29
"On the day of the robbery, Cozette, Rainier, Jayson and appellant arrived Trial Courts Ruling
together at the house of Benjamin Raymundo. Cozette removed one jalousie
block of a window, through which he was able to unlock the door. They then The RTC found appellant a co-conspirator in the robbery with homicide committed on
entered the house. At first they sat on the sofa. After that, Cozette pointed July 24, 1991. The trial court concluded:
out to Jayson the room of his uncle. Jayson saw a wallet and 3 packs of
cigarettes on top of a refrigerator. He took them and handed them to
"All considered, the quantum of proof required to establish proof beyond any
appellant. When Cozette and Jayson entered Benjamins room, Rainier
shadow of doubt is satisfactorily met by the evidence on record and this
acted as a look-out posted by the door while appellant sat on the sofa,
Court is morally convinced that Reyderick Lago is equally responsible for the
waiting for Cozette and Jayson, just outside Benjamin Raymundos room.
offense charged."10
During the robbery, Benjamin was repeatedly stabbed by Jayson, leading to
Benjamins death.
The Issue
"Dr. Alberto Reyes, a medico-legal officer of the NBI, testified that he
performed the autopsy on the cadaver of Benjamin Raymundo. According to Appellant raises a single alleged error for our consideration:
Dr. Reyes, the victim sustained 21 stab wounds, 7 in the front and 14 at the
back. The stab wounds affected some vital organs such as the lung, the liver "The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant Reyderick Lago of the
and the pancreas. He gave the immediate cause of death as severe crime of robbery with homicide despite insufficiency of the evidence of the
hemorrhage resulting from stab wounds."8 (citations omitted) prosecution."11

Defenses Version The Courts Ruling

On the other hand, appellant gives the following narration of facts: The appeal has no merit.

"Accused Reyderick Lago testified that on June 24, 1991, the regular Sole Issue:
classes opened. At around 6:30 to 7:00 in the morning, accused Cozette Sufficiency of the Evidence for the Prosecution
Aragon who was his classmate in English approached him and asked him to
accompany him to the house of his uncle to get a project and collect his Appellant contends that the lower court erred in convicting him of the crime of robbery
salary. Aragon also invited Lisbog to go with them. Thereafter, he came to with homicide, supposedly because the prosecution was not able to prove the crime
know that Diadid also proceeded to the house of Aragons uncle at the back charged, beyond reasonable doubt. We are not convinced. As a co-conspirator in the
of Don Bosco in Kalentong. aforesaid crime, he is liable for the acts of his co-conspirators.

"Upon entering the gate of the house, Aragon opened the jalousie window The second paragraph of Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code defines conspiracy, as
with the use of a beinte nueve balisong and unlocked the door. Aragon let follows:
them in. Lisbog was instructed to wait outside. While he was seated on the
sofa, Aragon and Diadid went inside the room. Suddenly, he heard
"A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement
somebody was groaning from the room. Afraid, he immediately left the place
concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it."
and went to the house of his grandmother in Mandaluyong who advised him
not to leave the place anymore.
The elements of conspiracy are the following: (1) two or more persons came
to an agreement, (2) the agreement concerned the commission of a felony,
"On cross-examination, he testified that Cozette Aragon was his classmate
and (3) the execution of the felony was decided upon. Proof of the
in one of his back subjects at Jose Fabella Memorial School. Lisbog was
conspiracy need not be based on direct evidence, because it may be
also his classmate. He did not know personally Jayson Diadid and Dennis
inferred from the parties conduct indicating a common understanding
Sison. He admitted that when he heard the groaning inside the room, he did
among themselves with respect to the commission of the crime. Neither is it
not bother to verify what was happening. He went out of the house
necessary to show that two or more persons met together and entered into
immediately and did not attend his classes anymore. He stopped schooling.
an explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or
"9
objective to be carried out. The conspiracy may be deduced from the mode

30
or manner in which the crime was perpetrated; it may also be inferred from Time and time again, this Court has ruled that when conspiracy is proven, the act of
the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, one is the act of all.26 As shown above, the prosecution was able to prove beyond
concerted action and community of interest.12 reasonable doubt that conspiracy had attended the commission of the crime of
robbery with homicide. Despite the protestations of appellant that he did not conspire
Appellant met with his co-accused -- Cozette Aragon, Jayson Diadid, Rainier Lisbog to rob and kill, but only to rob, the victim, we hold that appellant is liable for the
and Dennis Sison -- at noon on July 23, 1991, to discuss Aragons plan to rob an special complex crime of robbery with homicide.
uncle.13 Initially, appellant contended that he had only accompanied Aragon, who was
going to the house of the latters uncle to get a project and collect an unpaid The elements of this special complex crime are the following: (1) the taking of
salary.14 But appellant later admitted that he had conspired to rob but not to kill the personal property is committed with violence or intimidation against a person; (2) the
victim.15 property taken belongs to another; (3) the taking is done with animo lucrandi; and (4)
by reason of the robbery or on occasion thereof, homicide (used in its generic sense)
Except for Sison who did not show up at the meeting place agreed upon, all the four is committed.27
conspirators met on June 24, 1991, near the Jose Fabella Memorial School. From
there they proceeded to the victims house at the back of Don Bosco on Kalentong The records and the pleadings show that all the above-mentioned elements are
Street.16 Upon reaching the house, Aragon forcibly opened the jalousie using present in the case at bar. Appellant and his cohorts broke into the house of Aragons
a veinte-nueve balisong (29-inch knife) and entered the house with Diadid and uncle;28 took the victims wallet and cash, wrist watch and several pieces of jewelry
Lago.17 The latter two entered the victims bedroom, while appellant sat on the sofa amounting to P67,000;29 and, in the course of the robbery, stabbed and killed the
where he waited for them to come out.18 When appellant heard the groaning inside victim.
the bedroom, he became apprehensive and left, because he sensed that his two
companions were stabbing the victim.19 All this time, Lisbog acted as a lookout.20 As aforesaid, whenever a homicide is committed as a consequence of or on the
occasion of a robbery, all those who took part in the asportation will be held guilty of
Although Aragon avers that it was only Diadid who did the stabbing, the latters act is the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, even if they did not all actually
deemed to be the act of all.21 This Court has ruled that whenever a homicide has take part in the homicide, unless it appears that those who did not do so endeavored
been committed as a consequence or on the occasion of a robbery, all those who to prevent the killing.30
took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals in the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide, even if they did not all actually take Appellant, upon hearing the groaning emanating from the bedroom, did not do
part in the homicide; that is, unless it appears that those who did not do so anything to check on what was happening. Thinking that his cohorts were stabbing
endeavored to prevent the homicide.22 the victim,31 appellant simply allowed them to finish their dastardly deed. He hid for
two years first in the house of his grandmother32 and, later on, in that of his
The medicolegal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation testified that the victim mother.33 On January 6, 1994, a barangay official apprehended and brought him to
was stabbed 21 times, 7 in front and 14 at the back. Some of his vital organs were hit the Mandaluyong jail.34
like the right lung, the liver and the pancreas. The immediate cause of death was
severe hemorrhage resulting from stab wounds.23 It is therefore clear that appellant did not do anything to prevent his co-conspirators
from stabbing and ultimately killing the victim. When he left the scene of the crime; he
Because the victim was stabbed 21 times, it could not be said that there was no intent could have gone to the police to report the crime, but he hid and tried to escape the
to kill him. Although Aragon testified that he had no intention to kill, but only to rob, arm of the law. Because he did not do anything to prevent the homicide, he is
why did the former bring his co-assailants to his uncles house? Why did he bring a therefore equally guilty of robbery with homicide.
balisong when he entered his uncles room? Why did he not prevent Diadid from
stabbing the victim? Why was it necessary to inflict 21 stab wounds? These questions We affirm the awards of actual damages which were duly proven.
further imply that the common objective was more than robbery.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED and the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED. Costs
Appellant himself, in his Brief,24 agrees with the findings of the trial court that he against appellant.
"conspired with his co-accused to commit robbery." He claims, however, that there
was "no concurrence of sentiment and no positive proof or evidence that he joined his
SO ORDERED.
co-accused in the commission of the crime of homicide."25 We are not persuaded.

CASE 7
31
FIRST DIVISION and handed to him her fare. To her surprise, what she received in return was not
loose change, but a slap.

[G.R. No. 136394. February 15, 2001]


The driver then began to maul her. Desiree fought back as hard as she could,
but this made the driver more ferocious in his assault. She was strangled, boxed and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HERSON NAAG y kicked. She was repeatedly stabbed with a screw driver on her face, head, and
different parts of her body. Her head was banged against the sidecar. She realized
LOBAS, accused-appellant.
that her struggle was in vain and would only put her life in greater danger. She
stopped resisting and pretended to be dead.
DECISION
He then transported her to another place. He lifted her from the tricycle and she
PUNO, J.: thought she would be thrown to a ravine or cliff beside what appeared to be an
abandoned house. Instead, she was tossed to the ground. The driver removed her
One of the more interesting conceptual exercises in the field of Criminal Law is pants and panties. She could not resist, fearing death. After her garments were
the characterization of a crime. The challenge is not only to prove existence of its removed, her legs were spread apart and he copulated with her.
elements. The challenge is to correctly categorize it. In the case at bar, a man
sexually defiled then immediately divested his woman-victim of her belongings. Is he After satisfying his lust, the driver took her wristwatch worth P600.00, a bracelet
guilty of the special complex crime of Robbery with Rape or the separate crimes of worth P1,500.00 and fled with her bag containing her clothes, wallet
Robbery and Rape? The answer lies in his intent. containing P1,800.00 in cash, and some loose change. When Desiree sensed that he
has left the premises, she rolled down the ravine. She did not have the energy to
The accused in this case is a certain Herson Naag y Lobas. He was indicted for stand and walk and so she crawled until she reached a house, which turned out to be
Robbery with Rape under an Information which reads: the dwelling place of witness Engineer Antonio Balacano located at Sybil Subdivision,
Sipi, Daraga. She cried for help.
That on or about the 8th day of January, 1996 at Daraga, Albay x x x the above
named accused, armed with a screw driver, by means of violence and intimidation, Engr. Balacano responded to Desirees call for assistance. He saw Desiree, a
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, have carnal knowledge of the bloodied girl, cold and torn, squatting by the gate with her pants down and hanging on
complainant Desiree Gollena, against her will, by inflicting upon her with the use of one leg. It was already 5 oclock in the morning. The wife of the engineer telephoned
said screw multiple serious physical injuries, and thereafter said accused, having local police authorities for assistance. In the meantime, Desiree was brought to the
been fully satisfied of his carnal lust over said Desiree Gollena and believing her to be Albay Provincial Hospital where she was given medical treatment. Dr. Jose Solano
dead, with intent of gain, divested and took her personal belongings, to wit: (1) one testified that the girl was in pain when he examined her and that she sustained
bag containing clothes worth P500.00 (2) one gold bracelet worth P1,500.00 (3) multiple lacerations and stab wounds on different parts of her body, and had
wallet containing P1,800.00 and (4) ladies wristwatch valued at P600.00 to the blackening of her left and right eyes. Dr. Aileen Francis Bartilet examined Desirees
damage and prejudice of said Desiree Gollena. genitalia and noted the absence of any sign of injury: there was no bleeding, no
laceration of the hymen, no contusion in the vulvar wall of the vagina, and no
abrasion.
ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]

Later that morning of January 8, 1996, policemen came to the hospital to


He pleaded not guilty during arraignment and the action proceeded to trial.
investigate the incident. Desiree gave a description of the suspect as well as the
tricycle. The next day, on January 9, SPO1 Pastor Perena Jr. and SPO2 Domingo
The evidence for the prosecution shows that Desiree was a singer in a band Mabini happened to apprehend one Herson Naag y Lobas, a tricycle driver, for driving
which regularly plays at the Gloss and Glitters Disco located in Tabaco, Albay. On the a public utility tricycle without the necessary license. Naag and the vehicle were
morning of January 8, 1996, she went home to Sipi, Daraga, Albay, to visit her family. brought to the police station of Daraga. Perena and Mabini realized that Naag fit the
She took the bus and by about 4 oclock in the morning, she alighted at the towns description of the malefactor given by Desiree. They brought the confiscated student
Freedom Park in Daraga. She crossed a street where two tricycles were parked. She drivers permit of Naag (which contains his photograph) to the hospital for
woke up one of the drivers and inquired whether she could be brought to Sipi. Getting identification. Their hunch was confirmed when Desiree, upon being shown the
a positive response, she boarded it. Upon reaching her place, she told him to stop permit, identified the man in the picture as the one who raped and robbed her.

32
When the policemen returned to the station, Naag was already gone, but not The accused Herson Naag y Lobas is also found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
without leaving his tricycle behind. They brought the tricycle to the hospital for of the separate crime of Robbery under Art. 294 (4) of the Revised Penal Code, and
identification. Desiree did not have any difficulty in identifying the tricycle as the same taking into consideration the Indeterminate Sentence Law he is hereby sentenced to
vehicle she boarded on the morning of January 8. A criminal complaint was then filed suffer the penalty of imprisonment of ten (10) years of Prision mayor medium in its
against Naag. On February 25, 1996, he was arrested by the NBI agents of Naga City maximum period as the minimum to fourteen (14) years, ten months and twenty (20)
at Tagkawayan, Quezon. days of Reclusion Temporal medium period in its medium period as the maximum and
to return the ladies wrist watch worth P600.00, bracelet worth P1,500.00, bag of
The accused alleged, in his defense, that it was impossible for him to be the clothes worth P500.00 or their total value of P2,600.00 if return cannot be had and the
author of the crime at bar. He claimed that at the time and date of the incident, he was cash of P1,800.00. Costs against the accused.
sleeping in their house approximately seven kilometers away from where it
happened. His tricycle was not in a serviceable condition then, and he was repairing it SO ORDERED.[3]
the night before. It was fixed only on January 9 since he was able to buy the spare
part that he needed at about 8:30 a.m. of January 8. The previous day was a Sunday Dissatisfied with the verdict, the accused interposed this appeal. In his brief, he made
and almost all of the motor shops were closed. Hence, he alleged that he could not this lone assignment of error: The Lower Court erred in finding the accused guilty of
have operated on the Sipi route on the 8th as his tricycle was not in running the separate crimes of Robbery and Rape.[4]
condition. He explained that he was in Tagkawayan when he was arrested because
he had undergone hospitalization and was on an errand.
We affirm the conviction.

The defense also called two other witnesses to the stand who backstopped the
There is no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the lower court. Well-
testimony of the accused. It presented his wife who basically reiterated the story of
entrenched is the rule that an appellate court will generally not disturb the
her husband. She said that he was with her from the night of January 7 up to the
assessment of the trial court on factual matters considering that the latter, as a trier of
morning of January 8, at about 8:30, when he had to buy the spare part that he
fact, is in a better position to appreciate the same. The only exceptions allowed are
needed for his tricycle. Similarly, it presented a certain Lino Era, a next-door neighbor
when the trial court has plainly overlooked certain facts of substance which, if
who recalled seeing the accused at about 10 oclock in the evening of January 7 doing
considered, may affect the result of the case, or in instances where the evidence fails
some repairs on his tricycle.
to support or substantiate the lower courts findings and conclusions, or where the
disputed decision is based on a misapprehension of facts.[5] This case does not fall
In the end, the trial court chose not to believe Naag. It held: under any of the exceptions. Hence, there is no reason for us to modify the factual
findings of the lower court.
The accused in his defense put up alibi, a shabby excuse, a defense indicties never
seem to tire of. (People vs. Bracamonte, 257 SCRA 380) This defense of the accused Even then, the appellant raises two points in support of his assignment of error
cannot prevail over the positive identification by the victim Desiree of the accused and designed to sow in our minds seeds of doubt. The first relates to the medical
of the tricycle. This defense of alibi is worthless in the face of his being positively evidence on record while the second deals with his identity.
identified by the victim Desiree. (People vs. Rivera, 242 SCRA 26)[2]
The appellant capitalizes, firstly, on Dr. Bartilets testimony on the absence of
However, the trial court did not convict him of the crime he was originally charged fresh injury on the private part of the offended party although she was examined
with, which is Robbery with Rape. Instead he was meted out two different sentences almost immediately after the assault. According to him, the findings of said medical
for the separate crimes of Robbery and Rape, viz: expert negate the charge of rape. On the other hand, the prosecution contends that
the lack of injury and the healed laceration could be attributed to the sexual
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the accused Herson Naag y Lobas is hereby intercourse she had with her boyfriend.
found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape under Art. 335 (1) of
the Revised Penal Code as amended, and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the The appellants argument fails to impress. It is to be noted that Dr. Bartilet herself
penalty of imprisonment of Reclusion Perpetua with all the accessory penalties explained that her findings did not eliminate the possibility of sexual intercourse. She
thereto appertaining, to pay Desiree Gollena P50,000.00 as Indemnity and opined that it must have been done only outside the vagina but within the external
P50,000.00 as moral damages. vulva by merely pushing and giving some force to it. [6] She added that the appellant
could have ejaculated and discharged semen on the external genitalia even without
penetrating into the vagina.

33
In rape cases, what is material is that there is penetration of the female organ no Moreover, Desiree should have no difficulty in identifying the appellant because when
matter how slight.[7]7 In a long line of decisions, we have ruled that the only essential she first approached him at the centro to hire his services, the place was bright and
point is to prove the entrance or at least the introduction of the male organ into the well-lighted.
labia of the pudendum.[8] Hence, the moment the accuseds penis knocks at the door
of the pudenda it suffices to constitute the crime of rape.[9] The appellant further argues that Desirees initial identification of him through his
picture is unreliable considering the physical and emotional state she was in at that
The appellant next assails the identification made by Desiree. He contends that time. It is urged that due to her physical and mental instability, the showing of the
it was still dark at the time of the incident. He argues that when people board a student permit must have generated a prejudice in her mind that the person shown in
tricycle, they do not usually focus their attention on the driver. He states that the the picture of the drivers ID is the one who assaulted her.[14]
identity of the driver could be the least of Desirees concern for at 4 oclock in the
morning, she would have just wanted to go home and rest in the comfort of her bed. The argument proceeds from a wrong assumption. It assumes that the picture
was shown before the victim gave the description to the police. It was the other way
We are not persuaded. Desiree could not have failed to recognize the appellant around. Thus:
because she was the victim of the assault. A truism founded on ordinary experience is
that victims of criminal violence often strive hard to recognize their assailants. Court: Have you seen him in that parking area before January 8, 1996?
[10]
Furthermore, a victim has a natural knack in remembering the face of an assailant
for she, more than anybody else, would be interested in bringing the malefactor to
Desiree: No, your honor.
justice.[11] On the other hand, it would be unnatural for someone who is interested in
vindicating the crime to accuse somebody other than the real culprit.[12]
Q: Now, while you were in the Hospital you said that an ID was shown to you and
the picture of a person and whose picture you recognize to be that of a
To be sure, Desiree was very emphatic in her identification of the appellant as
person who raped you. Who showed you that picture?
her assailant, thus:

A: The Police Officer.


Court: Now that person Herson Naag, how is he related to the accused in this
case?
Q: How come that the Policeman was able to go to Albay Provincial Hospital with
that ID?
Desiree: He is the one and same person who raped and robbed me.

A: Because when they interviewed me in the hospital, I gave them the


Q: You said it was the first time you saw the accused on January 8, 1996. It was
description of the accused and his tricycle.[15]
still dark is (sic) it not?

The point is made more explicit during Desirees cross-examination:


A: It was bright at the centro.

Atty. Gomez (continuing on cross-examination)


Q: But it was not in park (sic) he was sleeping at that time in his tricycle. Is it not?
(sic)
Q: Now, on that date Jan. 9, 1996 were you told by the policemen that the person
whose ID was shown to you was one of their suspects?
A: It was bright because there were lights.

A: The policeman told me to identify the person in the ID.


Q: But you saw him only once on Jan. 8, 1996. How were you able to recognize
him in the Municipal building when you were asked to identify him after one
month, being detained? Q: Were you told that the owner of the ID was apprehended for violation of traffic
law?
A: As I have said, I can never forget his face.[13]
A: No, Sir. I was just asked to identify him.

34
Q: After the ID was shown to you that was the time when you also gave them the more suited, nay, comfortable, for his plan of lying with her. Needless to say, an
description of the person, is (sic) it not? abandoned house fits well.

A: No, Sir. It was on Jan. 8, 1996 when I gave the description of the tricycle Lastly, at no time did the appellant ask for the belongings of Desiree. Neither
driver.[16] did he search her for valuables, except for the wallet in her pants. What is apparent is
that he only: (1) took her watch and bracelet, both easily seen and noticeable, and (2)
We shall now ascertain the nature and extent of the criminal responsibility of the fled with her bag which was already in the tricycle. These overt acts only indicate that
appellant. The issue is whether the crime committed by him is Robbery with Rape or he decided to take Desirees belongings as an afterthought and only when the
the two separate felonies of Robbery and Rape. opportunity presented itself.

In the special complex crime of robbery with rape, the true intent of the accused We disagree, however, on the ruling of the trial court that the appellant is guilty
must first be determined because it is his intent that determines the offense he has of robbery. He should only be convicted of theft because when he took the personal
committed. This Court in People vs. Dinola,[17] citing the cases of People vs. properties of Desiree, the element of violence and intimidation was no longer present.
Canastre[18] and People vs. Faigano,[19] held: While it is true that he inflicted force upon her person, that was with the view and in
pursuance of the rape, not of the taking. When the asportation happened, Desiree
was near lifeless, incapable of putting any form of opposition.
x x x if the intention of the accused was to rob, but rape was committed even before
the asportation, the crime is robbery with rape. But if the original plan was to rape but
the accused after committing the rape also committed the robbery when the The penalty for theft is determined by the value of the property taken. Under
opportunity presented itself, the offense should be viewed as separate and distinct. To Article 309 of the Revised Penal Code, any person guilty of theft shall be punished by
be liable for the complex crime of robbery with rape the intent to take personal the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of
property of another must precede the rape. the thing stolen is more than 200 pesos but does not exceed 6,000 pesos. Applying
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty to be meted out on the
appellant Naag should be anywhere within the range of 2 months and 1 day to 6
We must ascertain the force which moved the appellant when he employed
months of arresto mayor; and the maximum should be within the range of 6 months
violence and intimidation against the person of Desiree. It is true that the appellant
and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional. Considering that no
raped Desiree before she was dispossessed of her personal properties. This,
aggravating or mitigating circumstance attended the commission of the crime, the
however, is not decisive. Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code does not distinguish
appellant should be sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of 4 months and 21
whether the rape was committed before, during or after the robbery. It suffices that the
days of arresto mayor maximum as the minimum, to 1 year, 8 months and 21 days
robbery was accompanied by rape.[20]
of prision correccional as the maximum.

We agree with the conclusion of the trial court that rape was the primary intent
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the impugned decision is hereby MODIFIED. The
of the appellant and his taking away of the belongings of the victim was only a mere
accused-appellant Herson Naag y Lobas is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
afterthought. Although the trial court did not state the reasons for its ruling, there
of the crime of RAPE under Article 335 (1) of the Revised Penal Code as amended,
exists sufficient evidence on record from where such deduction can be made.
and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of reclusion
perpetua with all the accessory penalties thereto appertaining, to pay Desiree
First. It is obvious from the degree and character of the violence and Gollena P50,000.00 as indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
intimidation which the appellant employed (and when he employed it) upon Desiree
that his intent was to rape her. He applied such force as to render her resistance to
The accused-appellant Herson Naag y Lobas is also found GUILTY beyond
his lust inutile. The kind of force used was unnecessary if he only planned to rob
reasonable doubt of the separate crime of THEFT under Article 308 of the Revised
Desiree. On the other hand, the excessive force was clearly meant to attain his lustful
Penal Code, and taking into consideration the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is
scheme. Resultantly, when he finally forced his bestial desire on her, he was able
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of 4 months and 21 days
to traverse, in a manner of speaking, the path of least resistance.
of arresto mayor maximum as the minimum, to 1 year, 8 months and 21 days
of prision correccional as the maximum, and to return the ladies wristwatch
Second. The appellant transported Desiree from where he first mauled her to worth P600.00, bracelet worth P1,500.00, bag of clothes worth P500.00 or their total
an abandoned place. All the time that Desiree was helpless after her mauling, value of P2,600.00 if return cannot be made and the cash of P1,800.00. Costs
appellant did not concern himself with robbing Desiree even if he could have done so against the accused.
with ease if not with impunity. Instead, he preoccupied himself in finding a location

35
SO ORDERED.

CASE 8

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 135034. January 18, 2001]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ADRIANO SEGUIS a.k.a.


JUNIOR, ROSALITO ESTEBE a.k.a. DODONG, RODRIGO DOQUILA
a.k.a. LOLONG (At Large), ELMER CANICO (At Large), LOLOY
GIBERTAS (At Large), BERFEL DELA CRUZ (At Large), and JOHN DOE
(At Large), accused.

ADRIANO SEGUIS and ROSALITO ESTEBE, accused-appellants.


36
DECISION Of the seven accused, the record reveals that five of them remain at large. Only
the first two were placed under the custody of the authorities: Seguis and Estebe, and
PUNO, J.: they are the appellants in this case. During arraignment, both entered a plea of NOT
GUILTY. Trial then proceeded.
Juliet A. Magamayo, a nineteen-year-old barrio lass from an obscure town in
Surigao del Norte complains that she has been ravished, then robbed by seven men, The prosecutions version of the story is based mainly on the private
who, following her accounts, were definitely no Romeos. She claims they did not only complainants recollection of what happened that dreadful night. The offended party is
forcibly take her gold ring, they stole her innocence as well. She claims they did not one Juliet A. Magamayo, a nineteen-year old unmarried girl residing at San Jose,
only dispossess her of a gold bracelet, they also divested her of her sense of Mainit, Surigao del Norte. According to her, in the afternoon of August 18, 1995 at
security. She claims they did not only deprive her of her last remaining fifty pesos, about 3 o clock, she went to Barangay Togbongon, Surigao City, a few kilometers
they denied her furthermore a future. away from the city proper. Her purpose was to collect a loan of fifty pesos from
Michael Balantucas, a friend of long standing whom she met when she was still
staying with her elder sister in Togbongon. She arrived there after approximately one
Juliet pointed to the following men as the ones who committed the outrage
hour of travel. As customary with friends, they exchanged pleasantries and stories,
against her womanhood: Adriano Seguis a.k.a. Junior, Rosalito Estebe a.k.a. Dodong,
and basically caught up with old times. A while later, accused Loloy Gibertas and
Rodrigo Doquila a.k.a. Lolong, Elmer Canico, Loloy Gibertas, Berfel dela Cruz, and a
Elmer Canico who were on their way to fetch water passed by the house. Michael
certain John Doe. They were charged with the crime of robbery with multiple rape and
introduced them to Juliet. They shook hands and talked a little before the two
were indicted in an Amended Information which reads:
eventually left. Michael then invited Juliet to stay in their home for the night because
darkness was closing in. Michael was living with his younger brother Rolando and
That on or about August 19, 1995, in Barangay Togbongon, City of Surigao, younger sister Lilibeth since their parents already died.Juliet agreed as she has slept
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named in the place before. She thought that it was too late and perilous to go back home.
accused, conspiring, confederating together and with mutual understanding with one
another, with lewd designs and by means of force and intimidations (sic), did then and
Little did Juliet know that, in a cruel twist of fate, danger would visit her in the
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of Juliet A.
very refuge where she sought safety. Following a dinner of cooked bananas plus a
Magamayo, while the latter was already sleeping, by taking turns in raping her against
few more stories, she and the Balantucas siblings prepared to retire. Juliet and
her will and without her consent and on same occasion, accused with intent to gain
Lilibeth slept in the houses only bedroom, which was lighted by a kerosene lamp.
and by means of violence and intimidation, took, stole and carried away the following
Michael was just outside the rooms doorway while Rolando stayed in the sala. At
personal belongings of Juliet A. Magamayo, to wit:
about midnight, Juliet was awakened by the noise brought about by the commotion of
five men who entered the house. She got up and saw Rodrigo Doquila pointing a
1. Gold bracelet ----------------------------- P 500.00 knife at the throat of a crouching Michael. She noticed that Lilibeth was not beside her
anymore as it turned out that the young girl went to the kitchen to relieve herself.
2. Gold ring ----------------------------- 4,000.00 Afraid, she shouted for help to Michael who understandably could not do anything
being himself mentally preoccupied with, in a manner of speaking, saving his own
3. Cash money ------------------------------ 50.00 neck.

T O T A L P 4,550.00 At this juncture, Elmer Canico grabbed the hair of Juliet and commanded her to
lie down on the floor. Loloy Gibertas held her right hand even as someone else was
holding her left. She struggled and twisted her body, so another man had to restrain
in the total amount of FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY (P4,550.00)
her legs. Elmer Canico removed his pants and brief, and knelt in front of her. He
PESOS, Philippine currency, to the damage and prejudice of said Juliet A. Magamayo
stripped Juliet of her pants and underwear before continuing to place himself on top
in the aforesaid amount of P4,550.00 and such other damages as may be allowed by
of the woman. He inserted his penis into her vagina then made a push and pull
law.
movement. Feeling pain, she fought to free herself. She kicked her legs but Canico
did not seem to mind a bit. After satisfying his lust, he stood up and put on his
Contrary to law. pants. He replaced Lolong Doquila in guarding Michael with a knife.

Surigao City, Philippines, August 21, 1995.[1] The next time, it was Doquila who introduced his penis into the ladys private
part. Perhaps realizing the futility of her struggle, Juliet tried to appeal to their sense

37
of mercy. She begged him to stop, mainly because of the pain. This also proved anything, since all the while that the rape was going on, somebody was pointing a
fruitless. He made the same push and pull movements stopping only afterwards when knife at his throat. He was practically rendered impotent by the threat that something
he was able to satisfy his lust. Doquila was replaced by Loloy Gibertas who had coital bad might happen to him or his siblings.
intercourse with the hapless victim. Again she resisted and shouted for help. The men
around her told her to remain silent if she does not want to get killed. Shortly, Gibertas For her part, Lilibeth Balantucas recounted, among other things, that she woke
stood up and informed Berfel dela Cruz that it was his turn. Like the others before up at around midnight to answer a call of nature. She went to the kitchen to urinate
him, and like the others soon to follow, he forced himself on Juliet. When he had his when five men suddenly entered the bedroom. She identified them to be the accused
fill, the unidentified man also had sexual contact with her. Elmer Canico, Lolong Doquila, Loloy Gibertas and Berfel dela Cruz. However, she did
not know the fifth person. Tagging along were Adriano Seguis and Rosalito Estebe
Almost after the five predators finished ravaging their prey, Adriano Seguis and who pulled and dragged her out of the house. She was able to recognize them
Rosalito Estebe came into the room. Juliet already knew them even before this because of the light coming from an electric bulb located in the kitchen. Outside,
incident. She recognized the two that night by means of a flashlight which Estebe Seguis and Estebe ordered her to keep quiet, or else they would kill her. Out of
brought to illuminate the area. Earlier, the small kerosene lamp had been extreme fear, she did not make any sound. After about one hour, they also went
extinguished by the five men. As expected, Estebe laid himself on top of the girl, who inside the room. Lilibeth remained where she was as they told her not to move.
fought weakly against her new tormentor. He rammed his penis into her vagina. He
got up on his feet only after some minutes of sexual activity. Then Elmer Canico Going back to Juliets testimony, it appears that later in the morning of August
returned to the bedroom and Juliet heard him announce that it was his turn again. For 19, 1995, someone fetched Francisco Pecante, a member of the local CVO, who
the second time that early morning, he succeeded in copulating with her. The last one initially investigated the incident. Then he sought Perfecto Pagas, the barangay
to have carnal knowledge of Juliet against her will was Adriano Seguis. The latter captain of Togbongon. Together, they brought the victim to the Surigao Provincial
inserted his male organ into her private part and performed the same push and pull Hospital where she was physically examined and medically treated.
maneuverings using his buttocks. The victim begged him to stop for she could not
bear it anymore. Seguis told her to keep quiet.
The attending physician, Dr. Panfilo Jorge Tremedal III, testified that on August
19, 1995, he was a resident doctor of the hospital. He checked up the person of Juliet
When Seguis was done, he rose to his feet and went to the kitchen. He came Magamayo who complained that she has been raped. Among his findings was an
back with a plate of rice which he gave to the sobbing lady. Juliet pretended to eat the abrasion of the labia majora. In his expert opinion, the injury could have probably
rice only so that she would not be raped anymore. She did not utter a word but cried a been caused by a blunt object like an erect human penis. Another member of the
river of tears over her heartbreaking experience. She requested Seguis to help her up medical staff was also presented by the prosecution: Elsa Adlawan who was
and she sat down in a corner. Rosalito Estebe was seated on a nearby trunk. When employed as a medical technologist by the hospital. She declared that on the same
Seguis tried to blame her for what took place, she answered that the five men date, she received a vaginal specimen taken from Juliet for a laboratory evaluation for
sexually abused her. Michael appeared and Juliet asked him how it happened. the presence of spermatozoa. After conducting the required tests, she determined the
Michael replied that he also did not know because they were all asleep when the said specimen to be positive for spermatozoa.
incident started. Seguis and Estebe warned them not to tell anybody of what
transpired otherwise they might all be killed. It was about one oclock in the morning
With the prosecution resting its case, the defense made its counter-presentation
when the two remaining accused left.
of the facts. It first offered Nilda Cabug-os, who, per her own declaration, is a friend of
the victim but not related to her. She recalled that Juliet arrived at her house in
Juliet discovered later on that she had been despoiled of her gold ring Togbongon at about four oclock in the afternoon of August 18, 1995, purportedly to
worth P4,000.00 and her gold bracelet worth P500.00. Furthermore, her cash money collect a sum of money Michael Balantucas owed her. They have only conversed for
amounting to P50.00 was no longer in her pants pocket. She admitted though that a brief moment when Juliet went her way, returning after about two hours in the
she was not aware who among the accused carried away the aforementioned company of a male escort, one Jeffrey Lerio. Later, Juliet would again leave the
personal belongings while she was being assaulted by them. house with Jeffrey for an undisclosed destination. By the time the clock struck eight,
Juliet came back to the house. As a matter of hospitality, Nilda extended an invitation
The prosecution presented two other witnesses who corroborated Juliets to her guest to spend the night in their abode, which invitation Juliet readily
testimony. Michael Balantucas confirmed that the seven accused indeed illegally accepted. The latter was already sleeping when some young men came to drop
entered their house and took turns in sexually defiling Juliet. The rapes were by. She rose to entertain her visitors. More than that, she went out with them. And
committed right before his eyes. He observed how one by one each of them was able although she asked Nildas permission, she did not say where they were going. It was
to impose his own bestial will against the lady. He very much wanted to help his the last time she saw her that night.
visitor whom he only invited that night. But as much as he wanted to, he could not do

38
The next morning greeted Nilda with a neighbors story that Juliet allowed herself pesos. While the lady supposedly kept her part of the bargain, the men did not.
to have sexual intercourse with several men in the house of Michael Balantucas. She Instead they even had the audacity to take her bracelet and wristwatch when they left
replied that she and her husband cautioned her about going out so late in the night at about two oclock dawn. Juliet was enraged. She wanted to bring her customers[3] to
but Juliets persistence made them yield. She remembered that Juliet was wearing court not to collect the bill but to charge them with rape. When Seguis and Estebe
maong pants and a blouse on the day of the incident. She also wore a cheap arrived the next day, she asked the three of them (including Michael) to testify in her
wristwatch worth about P35.00, a small belt worth approximately P30.00, a headband behalf, otherwise she would implicate them. As far as Michael knows, he was the only
and shoes made of cloth. She did not notice any fancy jewelry. one who acceded to the ladys demand.

Another witness, Perfecto Pagas, gave evidence that he is a barangay kagawad Rosalito Estebe basically towed the same story line as the two other witnesses.
of Togbongon for three years, although a tricycle driver by vocation. He came to know He testified that he knows Juliet as she often comes to Togbongon where he lives.
of Juliet not only because she is a frequent passenger but allegedly due to her One time, on March 1995, he saw her engage in sexual intercourse with multiple
reputation in the locality of associating herself with different men. According to Pagas, partners in their barrio. He himself did not take part in the orgy. Later, she asked him
sometime in March 1995, Juliet complained to him in the office of the barangay to be her witness as she intended to file rape charges against the persons who had
council that she was raped by five men. She did not identify any names. The sex with her. He refused as he heard that she has been paid the sum of P1,000.00.
complaint was not pursued as he heard later on that she has been paid. He admitted Subsequently on May 14, 1995, which was the fiesta in Togbongon, Juliet again
too that he failed to enter the complaint in the official records on the excuse that Juliet requested him to be a witness in the complaint for rape she has filed against Ricky
anyway did not return anymore. Antallan, Michael Balantucas, Jeffrey Lerio, Lolong Doquila, Elmer Canico and Berfel
dela Cruz. When he rejected her, she implicated him in the present case.
In his defense, the accused Adriano Seguis testified that on March 9, 1995,
Juliet approached him and made a request for him to bear witness in a rape case she In rebuttal, Juliet denied that she agreed to have sex with anyone for P1,000.00.
was about to file. It was not clear whether this is the same incident of the alleged rape She reiterated her stand that she was abused by all seven men. Furthermore, it is not
that she complained to Kagawad Pagas. He claimed that it was the first time that they true that she merely implicated Seguis and Estebe after the two declined to be her
met, although they became acquaintances after. At any rate this is not the reason why witnesses. Both also had sex with her.
he refused her. He simply had no knowledge of the incident.
After trial, the lower court pronounced the following sentence:[4]
Seguis must have felt history repeating itself right before his very eyes. On the
morning of August 19, 1995, at 6 a.m., he arrived at the residence of Michael WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds each of the accused, Adriano
Balantucas. He went there together with his co-accused Rosalito Estebe pursuant to Seguis or Adriano Seguis Jr. and Rosalito Estebe, guilty beyond reasonable doubt as
a prior agreement that they would help Michael in harvesting his crop of palay. In the a principal (sic) of the crime of simple rape under Article 335 of the Revised Penal
uncanniest of coincidences, Juliet, who was already there when he arrived, again was Code, and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
apparently involved in another case of rape which happened the previous night, and and to pay one-half of the costs.
once more asked him to testify for her. This time the request was coupled with a
threat that she would implicate him in the legal action if he refused to cooperate. For
Each of the said accused is ordered to indemnify the victim, Juliet Magamayo, in the
the second time in as many instance, he rejected her plea.For scorning her twice, he
amount of P50,000.00 for the rape committed by him.[5]
incurred her fury. She made good her threat and implicated him.

Hence, the present appeal. In their brief, appellants raised the lone assigned
In an unexpected turn of events, the defense called to the witness stand Michael
error, to wit:
Balantucas who previously testified for the prosecution. He was this time singing a
different tune. He claimed that his conscience was bothering him, and he could not
suffer the burden of seeing two innocent men go to jail. That is why he elected to THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS GUILTY
testify even though he was aware that he was courting criminal prosecution in THOUGH NOT OF THE CRIME CHARGED BUT ONLY OF SIMPLE RAPE
changing his testimony. Michael recanted his former testimony by declaring that in the WITHOUT THEIR GUILT HAVING BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE
evening of August 18, 1995, he was staying at his house with Juliet and his siblings, DOUBT.
Rolando and Lilibeth, when at around ten oclock, five men arrived. These five were
the accused Lolong Doquila, Elmer Canico, Loloy Gibertas, Berfel dela Cruz, and a It is to be noted that the accused in this case were originally indicted for the
certain Rolando Ezperanza. They had a talk with Juliet wherein it was agreed that felony of robbery with multiple rape, a special complex crime punishable under Art.
they would rent[2] her (i.e., have sex with her) that night for a fee of one thousand 294, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code and which is committed when the robbery shall

39
have been accompanied by rape. The said provision, needless to say, covers cases We affirm the conviction.
of multiple rapes.[6] This is primarily due to the fact that the juridical concept of this
crime does not limit the consummation of rape against one single victim or to one This Court has steadfastly adhered to the rule that when a woman testifies that
single act, making other rapes in excess of that number as separate, independent she has been raped, and if her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused
offense or offenses. All the rapes are merged in the composite, integrated whole that may be convicted on the basis thereof.[8] A rape victim who testifies in a categorical,
is robbery with rape, so long as the rapes accompanied the robbery. It does not straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner, and remains consistent, is a credible
matter too whether the rape occurred before, during, or after the robbery. witness.[9] If her story had only been contrived, she would not have been so
composed and consistent throughout her entire testimony in the face of intense and
Still and all, this does not change the nature of the felony. It is essentially a lengthy interrogation.[10] In the case at bar, the victim gave a direct and straight
crime against property. The following are its elements: (1) the taking of personal narration of the events which only evinces the truthfulness of her testimony. Her story
property is committed with violence or intimidation against persons; (2) the property is corroborated on its material points by an impartial and unbiased witness, Lilibeth
taken belongs to another; (3) the taking is done with animo lucrandi; and, (4) the Balantucas, who has absolutely no personal interest in the outcome of this suit. Also,
robbery is accompanied by rape. To sustain a conviction, it is imperative that the the medical evidence is consistent with the theory that the complainant had been a
robbery itself must be conclusively established; just as the fact that it was the victim of rape.
accused who committed it be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution must
be able to demonstrate the level of their participation with legal and moral certainty, In addition, Juliets credibility is bolstered by her instantaneous report of the
including the existence of a conspiracy, if any. Otherwise, those who were charged crime to the police. The incident occurred in the early morning of August 19, 1995,
should be acquitted, at least for the robbery. Proof of the rape alone is not sufficient to and the very next day, or on August 20, 1995, she executed her affidavit before the
support a conviction for the crime of robbery with rape. authorities of the Surigao City Police.

This is exactly the factual conclusion of the trial court, whose findings, to Besides, the appellants failed to prove any ulterior or improper motive which
reiterate, are accorded great weight and respect as trial judges are undeniably in the could have induced the victim and her witness to testify against or falsely implicate
best position to weigh the declaration of witnesses in light of their opportunity to them in the commission of the crime.[11] Indeed, if an accused had really nothing to do
observe physically the witnesses conduct and attitude during trial. [7] Thus said the with the crime, it is against the natural order of events and human nature and against
court: the presumption of good faith that the prosecution witness would falsely testify
against the former.[12] Thus, we adhere to the established rule that in the absence of
x x x However there is no sufficient evidence pointing to the herein two accused as any evidence to show that the witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by any
the ones who divested the victim of her money and valuables. The complainant improper motive, their identification of the accused-appellants should be given full
herself admitted that she did not know who among the many accused took her gold faith and credit.[13]
ring, bracelet and cash. All that she became aware of after her horrible experience
was she no longer had the aforementioned items. Appellants defense that they were merely implicated by Juliet as they refused to
testify in her favor is far from convincing. Both of them testified that they are not even
x x x There is a complete lack of evidence pointing to Adriano Seguis or Rosalito close friends of Juliet. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor-General, It is quite
Estebe as the ones who took the valuables in question. In the absence of proof of contrary to human experience that a woman would narrate to somebody how she was
conspiracy among the accused to commit the crime of robbery, they are liable only for used sexually for a fee (and was not paid) and thereafter request said person whom
their own separate and individual acts. she hardly knew to testify in her favor to support her complaint. [14] Also, such motive if
availing is attributable only to Juliet. The same cannot be imputed to the other vital
But the lower courts finding of their non-participation in the robbery does not witness Lilibeth, who, to repeat, does not have any interest in this case and yet
mean that they are totally guiltless. They will still be held accountable for whatever explicitly declared that appellants were among the seven men who went to their
unlawful acts they may have committed, and for which acts they were charged. In a house the night of August 18, 1995.
criminal action for robbery with rape, where the prosecution failed to prove the robo or
the participation of the accused in it, the latter may still be convicted for the rape. As In support of their lone assignment of error, the accused advanced several
already mentioned, the trial court has ruled that the appellants had carnal knowledge arguments designed to destroy the credibility of the witness herself and then
of the private complainant by using force and intimidation. It convicted them of one her testimony. We are not impressed by these arguments.
count of rape each because there was no showing that they conspired or assisted
each other in committing those rapes. I

40
Appellants basic submission is a mere restatement of their defense. They assert Q : How about Adriano Seguis?
that they were not present at the scene of the crime during the supposed moment that
it was unfolding. On the contrary, they arrived there only at six oclock the following A : He was there sitting near the head of Michael.
morning allegedly to help Michael Balantucas harvest his palay.
Q : Was the room still lighted at that time.
Such submission must fail for obvious reasons. We have ruled that the defense
of alibi is inherently weak and crumbles in the light of positive declarations of truthful
A : No more, sir, only the flashlight.
witnesses who testified on affirmative matters that the accused-appellants were at the
scene of the incident and were the victims assailants and perpetrators of the crime.
[15]
In the present case, the appellants were positively identified by the victim, thus: Q : Did you see the face of Rosalito Estebe?

Prosec. Menor : After that person was finished, what happened next? A : Yes, sir.

Juliet : Then Adriano Seguis and Rosalito Estebe went up the house. Q : How were you able to see the faces of Adriano Seguis and Rosalito Estebe?

Q : Did they enter the room? A : The light from the flashlight was moving around.

A : Yes, sir. Rosalito entered the room first. Q : Are you very sure that the two persons who came late were Adriano Seguis
and Rosalito Estebe?
Q : By the way, do you know personally Rosalito Estebe?
A : Yes, sir.[16]
A : Yes, sir.
In addition, there is the testimony of Lilibeth Balantucas, pointing to the two appellants
as among those who entered their house at around midnight. Her testimonial
Q : For how long have you known him prior to the incident?
narrative proved that Seguis and Estebe were in the Balantucas residence at
precisely or about the same time Juliet was being raped. It forthrightly contradicted
A : A long time, sir. the assertions of the two that they arrived there only about six oclock in the morning
of the next day. According to her:
Q : In Barangay Togbongon?
xxx
A : Yes, sir.
Prosec. Menor: You said you slept at about 12:00 (sic) oclock in the evening, what
Q : You knew him because you have stayed in Togbongon, Surigao City? time did you awake up?

A : Yes, sir. It was Jolly who introduced (sic) to me. Lilibeth: At 12:00 because I want to urinate.

Q : How were you able to recognize that it was Rosalito Estebe and Adriano Q : Where did you go after you wake (sic) up?
Seguis who entered the room?
A : To the kitchen.
A : Because Rosalito and Adriano called for Michael Tol.
Q : When you reached the kitchen of your house, what happened next?
Q : My question, how were you able to recognize Rosalito Estebe and Adriano
Seguis. A : Then some men entered our room.

A : Estebe was bringing (sic) a flashlight.


41
Q : How many were they? A : Yes, sir.[17]

A : Five persons. Moreover, the defense of alibi is an issue of fact that hinges on credibility, the
relative weight of which the trial court assigns to the testimony of the witnesses. Such
Q : How about you? assessment, unless patently and clearly inconsistent, must be accepted, for verily a
careful evaluation of the record does not reveal that the trial courts rejection of the
defense of alibi is inconsistent with the evidence on record.[18]
A : I was outside because I was afraid and I was pulled.

Lastly, it puzzles this court why the appellants, despite their plea of alibi, never
Q : By whom?
testified as to their whereabouts the night of August 18, 1995. Neither did they
present any witness who can plausibly confirm that they were indeed in another place
A : Dodong Estebe, Adriano Seguis. at that period. For the defense of alibi to be appreciated, it is not enough to prove that
the accused was somewhere else when the offense was committed. It must likewise
Q : Including Estebe and Seguis, how many persons were there in the house, all be shown that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to be physically
in all? present at the place of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time of its
commission. The rule is settled that for the defense of alibi to prosper, the
A : Seven persons. requirement of time and place must be strictly met.[19]

Q : What did Seguis and Estebe do to you? II

A : Seguis and Estebe held my hands and told me to keep quite or they would kill Appellants contend that private complainant is not credible as she is known in
me. the locality as a scheming 19-year old woman, of loose morals, engaged in the oldest
trade, and wise in her ways with the world. [20] Consequently, it is a misplaced gesture
of sympathy and compassion to consider her truthful and a paragon of a Filipinas
xxx
inbred modesty and Christian virtues. The record, however, is bereft of any evidence
that Juliet is a woman for hire, except for the statements of witnesses Nilda Cabug-
Q : Considering that it was nighttime, how were you able to recognize them when os, Perfecto Pagas, and appellant Rosalito Estebe to the effect that she is often seen
they were able to drag you outside? in the company of men. These recitals by themselves cannot be made sufficient basis
for accepting the veracity of the allegation. Greater amount of quantitative and
A : Because there was a light. qualitative proof is needed.

Q : Light from what? Moreover, it is unlikely that even a prostitute would agree to have sex
continuously with five to seven men for one night for a fee of P1,000.00. And it is
A : From electric bulb. even more unlikely that she would go to the extent of filing a case against them, two
of whom are acquaintances, have her parts physically examined, and testify in court
how she was ravaged by them just to get even for their failure to pay. Obviously, the
Q : And where was that electric bulb located or placed?
reason why Juliet went to court and opted to suffer the ordeal of being interrogated on
her harrowing experience is to obtain justice.
A : Outside.
III
Q : Are you referring to the post?
Appellants next call our attention on the so-called badges or telltale signs of a
A : No, sir, it was came from our kitchen. perfected contract for sexual services between Juliet and the accused. The appellants
would like to impress upon this Court that an agreement would lend credence to their
Q : Kitchen of your house? theory that she allowed herself to be used that night by five men who in turn reneged
on their word of paying her. As a consequence of which, she was left with no choice

42
but to file this action and include the appellants as well for refusing her request to be IV
her witnesses. In the alternative, the agreement should demonstrate that if there was
any sexual activity participated in by the woman and the appellants, it was at least On another point, appellants keep harping on the one hundred eighty-degree
consensual. turn around made by Michael on the stand. They say that if the alleged sexual
congresses were true, and witnessed by Michael, it is highly unthinkable that, despite
First. They argue that if it were true that Juliet was raped no less than eight the risk of facing criminal prosecution for false testimony and perjury, he would still
times and by seven different men, she should have sustained more injuries than mere recant his previous testimony in court in favor of the two. They stress that Juliet and
superficial linear abrasion on the labia majora. This should manifest that every Michael are more than good friends; and, the latter by force of circumstance should
intercourse was done, not with force and intimidation, but with care and finesse. not hesitate to defend the complainants position.
Suffice it to say that the absence of external signs of physical injuries does not negate
rape.[21] This is especially true if we take into consideration that two men held Juliets The Court fails to be impressed with the recantation of Michael Balantucas for
hands while she was being raped in succession. Be that as it may, whatever wounds several reasons. A recantation does not necessarily cancel an earlier declaration.
she might have suffered is consistent with the hypothesis that she was raped. As [25]
Like any other testimony, it is subject to the test of credibility based on the relevant
opined by Dr. Tremedal, an acknowledged expert witness, her scars, by their very circumstances and especially the demeanor of the witness on the stand. Moreover, it
nature, must have been caused by a blunt object hitting the vagina with force, such as should be received with caution as otherwise it could make solemn trials a mockery
an erect male penis during sexual intercourse. and place the investigation of truth at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses.[26]

Second. Appellants ask how come Seguis and Estebe preferred not to rape In any event, the eyewitness accounts of Juliet herself and Lilibeth are more
Lilibeth Balantucas herself who was already at their complete control during the time than sufficient to prove beyond doubt the participation of the appellants in the
that complainant was allegedly being gang-raped by the other five accused inside the commission of the assault. Even if the trial court had not given credence to the first
room? Why did they wait for the five to finish and leave behind in the process a fresh, testimony of Michael, there still is enough indication to ascertain their culpability. His
sweeter, and younger[22] Lilibeth? They claim that this is unnatural for people driven by declaration is merely cumulative, or additional evidence of the same kind tending to
lust and bestial desire, unless there was a prior arrangement made by them with the establish the same point or factual issue.
victim. We are not persuaded. Lust is not a respecter of time, place and
circumstances, nor of persons and relationships,[23] and neither is it a conformist to
V
reason and good taste, nor common sense even. When a man is overcome by lustful
passions, certainly it would be too much to expect that he will still concern himself
with the age, scent or appearance of his prospect. Lastly, appellants put private complainant to task for alleged marked
contradictions and pure improbabilities surrounding her story. For instance, they
assert that it would be highly doubtful for Juliet not to notice who took away her gold
Third. Appellants contend that Juliets act of telling Adriano Seguis, before she
ring and gold bracelet, if in the first place there were any. So too are they puzzled with
was raped by the latter, that she could not take it anymore is indicative of the
how consistent she is in her perception of how long each accused raped her. To them
existence of a prior agreement with the seven accused for a fee of P1,000. Again, the
this is a sure sign that her performance on the stand is rehearsed.
argument lacks merit. When Juliet told Seguis that she could not take it, she was not
asking for a recess or timeout[24] as they insist, but was actually pleading that he no
longer rape her as she has suffered enough in the hands of the other accused. The submission deserves scant attention. Verily, one cannot expect a victim of
such nerve-racking experience to become aware of every minute detail of the event,
or question her keenness to observe one aspect of it but not another. It is
Fourth. They assert that the subsequent act of Seguis and Estebe in socializing
understandable for the poor victim not to remember who particularly among the seven
with the victim and the Balantucas siblings negates any idea of a misdeed. A reality
took away her valuables. At that point, her ring and bracelet were not that important to
check, however, would show that the accused stayed for a while after raping Juliet
her. Regarding the time, it could well be the only thing that concerned her mind. In
1not to socialize with them, as in fact the two warned them not to tell anybody of what
any event, these contradictions or improbabilities, as appellants would put it, cannot
happened or they would be killed. Although it is correct that Seguis later showed
erode the credibility of Juliets testimony.
some signs of remorse towards the victim, his acts were belated and could no longer
erase his crime. The ambiguous attitude of Seguis is understandable. While
succumbing to his uncontrollable lust, he remained quite sympathetic to the plight of IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Surigao City in
Juliet, who was an old acquaintance. Nevertheless, the apparent regret shown by Criminal Case No. 4581 is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against appellants.
Seguis after the act of rape could not undo what he had done. It was too late for
recriminations. SO ORDERED.

43
to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00)
Pesos. 1

The accused appellant, however, denied the accusation and claimed that he was
sleeping soundly at the time the crime was allegedly committed and asks us to acquit
him. This Court, however, upon a review of the evidence, finds accused-appellant's
protestation of innocence not credible and convicts him of two specific offenses, that
of homicide and theft, instead of robbery with homicide.

The information for robbery with homicide against Virgilio Alay-Ay, alias "Cot" reads:

That on or about the 22nd day of March, 1985, at around 5:30 o'clock in the morning,
more or less, corner Capaya and Duhat Sts., Homesite Subdivision, Barangay Dau,
Municipality of Mabalacat, Province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused VIRGILIO ALAY-AY
alias "COT", with intent to gain, by means of violence against and without the
knowledge and consent of the store's owner Felomena Franche, and once inside the
CASE 9 store, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry
away with the following, to wit:
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT One (1) transistor radio, valued at P100.00
One (1) one hundred pesos bill 100.00
Manila

P200.00
SECOND DIVISION
in the total amount of TWO HUNDRED (P200.00) PESOS, to the damage and
prejudice of the said owner in the total amount of P200.00, Philippine Currency, and
on the occasion thereof, said accused, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident
G.R. No. 94310 June 30, 1993 premeditation and taking advantage of his superior strength, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack and hit said Felomena Franche with
a 2" x 1" and 1/2" x 26" piece of wood on the different parts of her body, thereby
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE, plaintiff-appellee,
resulting in her death shortly thereafter.
vs.
VIRGILIO ALAY-AY, ALIAS "COT," accused-appellant.
All Contrary to Law. 2

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


The Solicitor General summarized the antecedent facts of the case as follows:

Orlando R. Pangilinan for accused-appellant.


Between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning of March 22, 1985, Felomena Franche was
tending her store at Dau Homesite, Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. Her daughter, Mila
NOCON, J.: Pineda, lived in a house some 20 meters from the store, with the door of the store
facing the house. Saldy Guela, Mila's nephew and grandson of Felomena, was
Evidence having been shown by the prosecution in the court below that accused- staying in the same house. Suddenly, Saldy heard a woman shouting, "Mila, Mila,
appellant was the culprit who hit the victim, Felomena Franche, repeatedly on the somebody is hitting your mother's head." Upon hearing this, Saldy stood up and
head with a 2" x 2" piece of wood and stole her Sanyo transistor radio, the trial court looked out the window. He saw a man inside the store hitting the head of his
convicted him of Robbery with Homicide and sentenced him to life imprisonment and grandmother, Felomena Franche, with a two- foot long piece of wood. When the man
was about to get out of the store, Saldy saw his face and recognized him as "COT",

44
who frequently drank liquor at the store. He went downstairs but upon reaching the WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered convicting the accused of Robbery with
ground, "COT" was already scaling the wall. Thus, Saldy proceeded to the store Homicide as defined and punished under Article 294 (1) of the Revised Penal Code
where he carried his grandmother (tsn., Jan. 18, 1989, pp. 4-7). as amended, and this Court sentences the accused VIRGILIO ALAY-AY alias "Cot":

On her part, Mila Pineda was awakened by a noise to the effect that there was a a) to suffer LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to suffer its accessory penalties;
robbery committed at the store which her mother, Felomena Franche, was tending.
When she peeped through the window, she saw many people in front of the store. A (b) to indemnify the heirs of the victim Felomena Franche, in the amount of THIRTY
woman then approached her, saying, "Go down. Your mother was hit." Thus, Mila THOUSAND PESOS;
proceeded to the store to look for her mother. There, she saw that her mother was
"nangingisay" or trembling all over (tsn., Nov. 20, 1986. pp. 4-5).
(c) to pay the heirs of the victim Felomena Franche the further sum of THIRTY
THOUSAND PESOS as adequate compensation for actual damages (except
It turned out that the one who shouted, "Mila, Mila, your mother is being beaten" or attorney's fees and expenses for litigation), another sum of FIVE THOUSAND
words to that effect, was Dolores C. Lising. Dolores went to the store of Felomena PESOS as moral damages;
Franche that morning to buy sugar. There, she heard somebody pounding, as if
"somebody was pounding a rat," and an old woman moaning. When she came near,
(d) to pay the costs of suit.
she saw a man beating the old woman with a piece of wood. Knowing that the old
woman was the mother of Mila Pineda, she ran towards the latter's house which was
located near the store and shouted to her.(tsn., Oct. 6, 1987, pp. 5-10). Being a detention prisoner, the accused is entitled to the benefits of Article 29 of the
Revised Penal Code as amended.
About 6:00 that same morning, Natividad de la Cruz, who was
on her way to the store of Felomena Franche, saw appellant, Virgilio Alay-ay, alias SO ORDERED. 4
"Cot" whom she had known since 1972, jump over the fence of said store. Appellant
was carrying a Sanyo transistor radio which Natividad recognized as the property of Accused-appellant assails the credibilities of the prosecution witnesses who testified
Felomena, because she always saw Felomena use it whenever she Natividad went to against him. He contends that:
the store (tsn., Feb. 16, 1988, pp. 3-9).
. . . Saldy Guela was a surprise witness for the prosecution. His name does not
Meanwhile, Mila Pineda, Saldy Guela and a neighbor, Jimmy, succeeded in reviving appear in the Police Report (Information Report) neither . . . (was) his name ever
the unconscious Felomena. Afterwards, Mila and another neighbor brought Felomena mentioned by the witnesses for the prosecution. . . . Guela did not even report the
to the Pampanga Polymedic Hospital. On the way to the hospital, Mila asked her incident in question to the police nor did he ever execute a statement regarding his
mother "Who hit you?" and she answered, "It was Cot" (tsn., pp. 16, 19-20). testimony in Court. The incident happened sometime on March 22, 1985, and (he)
testified only on January 19, 1989 . . . (or after) a period of about four years . . . . He
At the Pampanga Polymedic Hospital, Dr. Carmelo Mendiola attended to Felomena was a close relative of the victim (she) being his grandmother . . . .
Franche. At past 8:00 that same morning, the case was referred to Dr. Eduardo
Buencamino, who found Felomena unconscious, in shock, with multiple injuries on . . . Natividad de la Cruz . . . testified that she saw a person jump over the fence of
the face and head and blood coming out from her nose and mouth. He ordered Felomena Franche, . . . (that this person's) name is Virgilio Alay-ay; that she saw him
resuscitative measures which, however, proved unsuccessful. At 10:10 that morning, bringing a radio; that after seeing the accused jump over the fence and run away
Felomena Franche was declared dead. In his medical certificate (Exh. B), Dr. towards Duhat St., said witness went home; that witness did not reach the store
Buencamino found at least two fractures on the head of Felomena which could have because she proceeded home; and that she came to know later that Felomena
been caused by her being beaten by someone with a piece of wood. The doctor ruled Franche died.
out the probability of Felomena's having fallen down by herself and her head hitting
the cement floor, because the injuries sustained were caused by multiple hitting (tsn., . . . the defense will submit that such testimony is highly improbable . . . (because the
Sept. 10, 1987, pp. 9-19, 35-37; Exh. A). 3 witness did not) report the matter to the owner of the property or to the . . .
authorities . . . (but rather) went home and . . . proceeded to continue her regular
Virgilio Alay-Ay was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The dispositive chores of collecting.
portion of the decision reads:

45
. . . (the) witness Mila Pineda gave her conflicting testimony when she testified that 3. As to Mila Pineda
while on their way to the hospital, she allegedly asked her mother who hit her and her
mother allegedly answered that it was "Cot." However, during cross examination . . . xxx xxx xxx
(half a year later), the same
witness . . . (testified that when she asked her mother if "Cot" was the one who hit
There may be a little inconsistency between Mila's declaration on direct examination
her, her mother just nodded).
that when she asked her mother who hit her, the latter answered, "It was Cot" (whose
real name, Virgilio Alay-ay was known to Mila), and her, statement on cross-
. . . witness Dolores Hipolito Lising testified that while buying sugar at the store of the examination that when she asked her mother if it was "Cot" who hit her, the latter
victim on March 22, 1985 at or about 5:30 o'clock in the morning she heard a nodded her head. Nevertheless, what is important is the end result, which is that
pounding sound and heard somebody before she died, the victim identified her assailant, namely, appellant Virgilio Alay-ay,
yelling. That while she was near the store . . . (saw) someone hitting the old woman . . alias "Cot".
. (but) but she failed to recognize him as he ran away . . . 5
4. As to Dolores Hipolito Lising The fact that this witness was not able to recognize
Refuting said arguments point by point, the Solicitor General argues as follows: the man whom she saw beating Felomena Franche with a piece of wood does not
make her less credible than the others. Witnesses have varying perceptions of the
1. As to Saldy Guela It is not true that Saldy Guela's name was not mentioned by same event, depending on their location, mental and physical condition, etc. In fact,
any witness for the prosecution. Mila Pineda, the first one to testify for the prosecution her candidness in not pretending to recognize the assailant renders her testimony
declared that her nephew, Saldy Guela, and a neighbor, Jimmy, were with her when believable. 6
she was trying to revive her mother, who was then unconscious (tsn., November 20,
1986, p. 16). Also, the fact that Saldy Guela testified only on January 19, 1985, The appeal has no merit.
(should be January 18, 1989) i.e., four (4) years after the incident on March 22, 1986,
is immaterial. The trial commenced on November 20, 1986 with the presentation of
Well-settled is the rule that findings of the trial court on the issue of credibility of
Mila Pineda as first prosecution witness. Since the prosecution had seven (7)
witnesses are entitled to great respect and are accorded the highest consideration by
witnesses, with Saldy Guela as the last, and considering postponements of the
appellate courts. 7 Credibility "is a matter that is peculiarly within the province of the
hearing, there is nothing irregular about the date when Saldy testified. As to Saldy's
trial judge, who had first-hand opportunity to watch and observe the demeanor and
relationship to the victim, the same does not affect his credibility. Mere relationship is
behavior of witnesses both for the prosecution and the defense, at the time of their
not sufficient to discard the testimony of credible witnesses, especially where there is
testimony." 8
no showing that these witnesses have testified merely by reason of relationship or
alleged interest in the case, other than a desire to see that justice is done (People vs.
Pajenado, 69 SCRA 172). Testimony of a witness who, although related to the victim, Likewise, it is settled that it is the prosecuting fiscal's prerogative to determine who or
is without ulterior motive in testifying against the accused, is given credence (People how many witnesses are to be presented in order to establish the quantum of proof
vs. Moises, 66 SCRA 151). necessary for conviction. 9 The prosecution may even call unlisted witnesses to
testify. 10
xxx xxx xxx
In the case at bar, Saldy Guela, an unlisted witness 11 who was mentioned by the first
prosecution witness, Mila Pineda, as having helped her in trying to revive the
2. As to Natividad de la Cruz It may be true that after Natividad saw appellant jump
victim, 12 positively identified accused-appellant as the perpetrator of the crime as
over the fence of the victim's store carrying the latter's Sanyo radio, she did not
follows:
immediately report the matter to the authorities. But such inaction is not unusual. The
initial reluctance of witnesses in this country to volunteer information about a criminal
case, and their unwillingness to be involved in or dragged into a criminal investigation Q More particularly, on March 22, 1985 while you were in your home at Dau
is common and has been judicially declared not to affect credibility (People vs. Kipte, Homesite, Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga, do you recall of any unusual incident between
42 SCRA 119). Besides, Natividad, not long after the incident, gave her statement
the hours of 5:30 and 6:00 early morning on that date?
before Pfc. Gabriel Balilo, relating what she saw on March 22, 1985 (Exh. E).

xxx xxx xxx A There was, sir.

46
Q Will you please tell the Honorable Court, what was that unusual incident all about? ATTY. ZAMAR:

A I heard a woman shouting, "Mila, Mila! Somebody is hitting your mother's head." Q When you said that this man was hitting your grandmother, did you see and identify
this man?
Q What did you do when you heard this shouting?
A I saw his face when he was about to get out because he passed a light, sir.
A I stood up and saw through the window that a male was hitting the head of my
grandmother, sir. Q Did you identify that man whom you saw hit your grandmother?

Q Who is this grandmother you are talking about? A I recognized his face, sir.

A Filomena Franche, sir. Q When you recognized his face, do you know his identity even his name only?

Q Where did you see this man hitting the head of your grandmother? A I know his name in the homesite as "Cot", sir.

A At the store, sir. Q If you see that Cot again, will you be able to identify him?

Q What was this man using in hitting your grandmother? A Yes, sir.

A A two by two wood, sir. Q Will you look around the courtroom and tell us if he is inside the courtroom?

(WITNESS DEMONSTRATING A 2 FEET LONG, 2 x 2 thick wood) A He is there, sir.

Q How far were you when you said you stood up and peeped and saw that your [WITNESS POINTED TO A MAN WHEN ASKED GAVE HIS NAME AS VIRGILIO
grandmother was hit by this man? ALAY-AY]

A From here up to the other side of the wall, sir. Q Before March 22, 1985, do you already know this person when you said that he
was called in the homesite as Cot?
COURT:
A Yes, sir.
Can you stipulate?
Q How long before March 22, 1985 that you know his person?
COUNSELS:
A About three months, sir.
More or less, 20 meters.

47
Q Will you please tell us why you know the person of the accused here which you Q Who was this person you noticed jumped over the fence of Felomena Franche?
said you know him as Cot.
A Virgilio Alay-ay, sir.
A They frequently drink liquor at the store, sir.
Q And this Virgilio Alay-ay is the same person you have just pointed a while ago.
Q Whose store is that?
A Yes, sir.
A My Aunt's, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And this is the store where you saw your grandmother being hit by a man with a 2 x
2 wood? Q After having seen this accused Virgilio Alay-ay jumped over the fence, did you see
him where he went?
A Yes, sir.
A He went towards Duhat Street, sir.
Q When you said that you saw the accused hitting your grandmother, what did you
do? xxx xxx xxx

A I went downstairs but upon reaching the ground, he was already scaling the wall, Q After jumping over the wall, was he bringing something?
sir.
A He was bringing something, sir.
Q What did you do when you saw the accused scaling the wall (pader)?
Q Did you notice what kind of something was that?
A I was not able to reach him so I proceeded to the store and carried my
grandmother. 13 A It was a radio, sir.

Another witness, Dolores Hipolito Lising, had earlier testified that she happened to
Q Why do you say it was a radio?
see the incident in question a man hitting the victim with a piece of wood. She did
not, however, recognize the assailant as she immediately ran away after seeing such
happening before her very eyes. 14 A I saw him carrying it, sir.

Another prosecution witness, Natividad de la Cruz, testified that she saw the accused
Q How large was it?
appellant carry with him the victim's Sanyo transistor radio when he jumped over the
fence of the victim's aunt's store (she was the caretaker) as follows:
A About 12 inches in length, sir.
Q You said that you saw a person jumped over the fence of Inang, Filomena Franche,
who you are referring to did you have the occasion to recognize that person? Q How wide?

A Yes, sir. A It was a Sanyo Transistor radio, sir.

48
Q Why do you know it was a Sanyo? In the case at bar, it cannot be said with moral certainty that accused appellant's
intention was to steal the radio and money and that the killing of the victim was a
mere incident to the robbery.
A Because that was the radio she used to use to hear news every morning, sir. 15
There is testimony 20 by Saldy Guela that the accused-appellant had been frequently
Against these positive testimonies identifying accused appellant as the person who hit drinking at the store tended by the victim for about three (3) months prior to the killing.
There is also testimony 21 by Mila Pineda that accused-appellant had always been
the victim on the head with a piece of wood and took her transistor radio when he
quarreling with the victim and it could have been due in part to the fact that accused-
made good his escape from the store, is accused appellant's flimsy alibi that he was appellant had been enamored of her.
somewhere else sleeping at his friend's house at the time the incident happened. As
correctly observed by the Solicitor General: Given these two variables, a possible scenario could have been the following:

Accused appellant, went very early to see the victim at the store that fateful
Appellant insists that he has a valid defense that of alibi. According to him, he slept day. He might have tried to physically display his affections, if one could call
at the house of Reynaldo Salunga between 10:00 p.m. of March 21, 1985 and 6:00- it that, toward the victim. She must have resisted, or worse, laughed him off,
6:30 a.m. of the following day, March 22, 1985, and thereafter he told Reynaldo that and he must have resented it. One thing might have led to another with the
he was going to Bamban, Tarlac. Reynaldo's house is located at Dau Homesite, Dau, end result that he hit her with a piece of wood. In his escape he grabbed her
Mabalacat, Pampanga, where the victim's store is situated. Sanyo transistor radio, as a souvenir, 22 and the P100 peso-bill to provide for
his fare to Bamban, Tarlac.
xxx xxx xxx
What We are pointing out is that there is a dearth of evidence to show that the
. . . Since the scene of the crime (the victim's store) is located in the same accused-appellant had the intention to steal cash and other valuables in the store and
subdivision Dau Homesite, and the incident happened between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. that he killed the victim on occasion of the robbery. As such he cannot be convicted of
of March 22, 1985, it was not physically impossible for appellant to be at the crime the crime of robbery with homicide but of two specific crimes, that of homicide and
scene at the time of its commission. In a defense of alibi, the accused must show that theft.
it was impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime (People vs. Malibay, 63
SCRA 420; People vs. Sarmiento, 64 SCRA 350). This appellant clearly failed to do. The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal. 23 There being no mitigating or
aggravating circumstance, the minimum of his indeterminate penalty is anywhere
The Court, for its part, is not precluded from rendering a judgment of conviction based within the range of prision mayor while the maximum is the medium period
solely on the testimony of a single witness as long as such testimony is found to be of reclusion temporal. 24 Accordingly, we fix his penalty at six years and one day
credible and satisfies the Court that the accused is guilty beyond any reasonable of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen years, eight months and one day
doubt of the crime charged. 16 of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum.

The Court, however, disagrees with the decision of the trial court convicting the The penalty for theft in the amount of Two Hundred Pesos is arresto mayor in its
accused appellant for the crime of robbery with homicide. Incidentally, the proper medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period. Since there are neither
penalty here is reclusion perpetua and not life imprisonment. 17 mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, the penalty imposable is arresto mayor in
its maximum period. The Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply as the penalty
In People vs. Evardo, 18 this Court stated that: actually imposed does not exceed one (1) year. 25 Accordingly, we fix his penalty at
six (6) months of arresto mayor maximum.
. . . To sustain conviction for the special complex crime of robbery
with homicide, it must be established with certitude that the killing WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby VACATED and SET ASIDE. A new
was a mere incident to the robbery, the latter being the main one is entered finding the accused-appellant Virgilio Alay-ay guilty of the crimes of
purpose and objective of the criminals. It contemplates a situation Homicide and Theft. For the crime of Homicide, he is sentenced to Six Years and One
where the homicide resulted by reason or on the occasion of the Day of Prision Mayor, as minimum, to Fourteen Years, Eight Months and One Day
robbery (People vs. Robante, 178 SCRA 552 [1989]. 19 of Reclusion Temporal medium, as maximum, and to indemnify the heirs of the victim
in the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50.000.00) Pesos. For the crime of Theft, he is

49
sentenced to a straight penalty of Six (6) Months of Arresto Mayor maximum, and to SO ORDERED.
return the Sanyo transistor radio to the heirs of the victim, and the P100 peso bill, or
the amount of P200.00 if the Sanyo transistor radio can no longer be returned.

50