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Republic of the Philippines his appointment as Military Mayor, Beronilla received copy of a

SUPREME COURT memorandum issued by Lt. Col. Arnold to all Military Mayors in Northern
Manila Luzon, authorizing them "to appoint a jury of 12 bolomen to try persons
accused of treason, espionage, or the aiding and abetting (of ) the enemy"
EN BANC (Exhibit 9). He also received from the Headquarters of the 15th Infantry a
list of all puppet government officials of the province of Abra (which
G.R. No. L-4445 February 28, 1955 included Arsenio Borjal, puppet mayor of La Paz), with a memorandum
instructing all Military Mayors to investigate said persons and gather
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, against them complaints from people of the municipality for collaboration
vs. with the enemy (Exhibit 12-a).
MANUEL BERONILLA, FILIPINO VELASCO, POLICARPIO
PACULDO, and JACINTO ADRIATICO, defendants-appellants. Sometime in March, 1945, while the operations for the liberation of the
province of Abra were in progress, Arsenio Borjal returned to La Paz with
Agripino A. Brillantes, Valera, Eufemio and Bernardez for appellants. his family in order to escape the bombing of Bangued. Beronilla, pursuant
Prospero C. Sanidad and Claro M. Recto for defendant. to his instructions, placed Borjal under custody and asked the residents of
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Jaime R. de La Paz to file complaints against him. In no time, charges of espionage,
los Angeles and Martiniano P. Vivo for appellee. aiding the enemy, and abuse of authority were filed against Borjal; a 12-
man jury was appointed by Beronilla, composed of Jesus Labuguen as
REYES, J.B.L., J.: chairman, and Benjamin Adriatico, Andres Afos, Juanito Casal, Santiago
Casal, Benjamin Abella, Servillano Afos, Mariano Ajel, Felimon
Labuguen, Felix Murphy, Pedro Turqueza, and Delfin Labuguen as
This is an appeal by accused Manuel Beronilla, Policarpio Paculdo,
members; while Felix Alverne and Juan Balmaceda were named
Filipino Velasco, and Jacinto Adriatico from the judgment of the Court of
prosecutors, Policarpio Paculdo as clerk of the jury, and Lino Inovermo as
First Instance of Abra (Criminal Case No. 70) convicting them of murder
counsel for the accused. Later, Atty. Jovito Barreras voluntarily appeared
for the execution of Arsenio Borjal in the evening of April 18, 1945, in the
and served as counsel for Borjal. Sgt. Esteban Cabanos observed the
town of La Paz , Province of Abra.
proceedings for several days upon instructions of Headquarters, 15th
Infantry. The trial lasted 19 days up to April 10, 1945; the jury found
Arsenio Borjal was the elected mayor of La Paz, Abra, at the outbreak of Borjal guilty on all accounts and imposed upon him instruction from his
war, and continued to serve as Mayor during the Japanese occupation, superiors. Mayor Beronilla forwarded the records of the case to the
until March 10, 1943, when he moved to Bangued because of an attempt Headquarters of the 15th Infantry for review. Said records were returned
upon his life by unknown persons. On December 18, 1944, appellant by Lt. Col. Arnold to Beronilla on April 18, 1945 with the following
Manuel Beronilla was appointed Military Mayor of La Paz by Lt. Col. R. instructions:
H. Arnold, regimental commander of the 15th Infantry, Philippine Army,
operating as a guerrilla unit in the province of Abra. Simultaneously with
HEADQUARTERS 3RD MILITARY DISTRICT asked to administer the last confession to the prisoner, while Father
15TH INFANTRY, USAFIP Filipino Velasco of the Aglipayan Church performed the last rites over
In the Field Borjal's remains. Immediately after the execution, Beronilla reported the
matter to Col. Arnold who in reply to Beronilla's report, sent him the
following message:
16 April 1945
HEADQUARTERS 3RD MILITARY DISTRICT
15TH INFANTRY, USAFIP
In the Field
Msg. No. 337
Subject: Arsenio Borjal, Charges Against
To: Military Mayor of La Paz, Abra.
22 April 1945
1. Returned herewith are the papers on the case of Arsenio Borjal.
2. This is a matter best handled by your government and whatever
disposition you make of the case is hereby approved. Msg. No. 398
Subject: Report and information Re Borjal case
To: Military Mayor Beronilla
(Sgd.) R. H. ARNOLD
1. Received your letter dated 18 April 1945, subject, above.
Lieut.-Colonel, 15th Inf., PA
2. My request that you withhold action in this case was only
Commanding
dictated because of a query from Higher Headquarters regarding
same. Actually, I believe there was no doubt as to the treasonable
acts of the accused Arsenio Borjal and I know that your trial was
Received April 18, 1945, 10:35 a.m. absolutely impartial and fair. Consequently, I Can only
compliment you for your impartial independent way of handling
(Sgd.) MANUEL BERONILLA the whole case.
Military Mayor, La Paz, Abra

(Exhibit 8, 8-a) (Sgd.) R. H. ARNOLD


Lieut.-Colonel, 15th Inf., PA
and on the night of the same day, April 18, 1945, Beronilla ordered the Commanding
execution of Borjal. Jacinto Adriatico acted as executioner and Antonio
Palope as grave digger. Father Luding of the Roman Catholic Church was
Received April 26, 1947 7:00 a.m. digger) and Demetrio Afos( a boloman) was dismissed for lack of
sufficient evidence.
(Sgd.) MANUEL BERONILLA
Military Mayor, La Paz, Abra Trial proceeded against the rest of the defendants; and on July 10, 1950,
the Court below rendered judgment, acquitting the members of the jury
(Exhibit 21, 21-a) and the grave digger Antonio Palope on the ground that they did not
participated in the killing of Arsenio Borjal; acquitting defendants Jesus
Two years thereafter, Manuel Beronilla as military mayor, Policarpio Labuguen, Felix Alverne, Severo Afos, and Lauro Parado upon
Paculdo as Clerk of the jury, Felix Alverne and Juan Balmaceda as insufficiency of evidence to establish their participation in the crime; but
prosecutors, Jesus Labuguen, Delfin Labuguen, Filemon Labuguen, convicting defendants Manuel Beronilla, Policarpio Paculdo, Filipino
Servillano Afos, Andres Afos, Benjamin Adriatico, Juanito Casel, Santiago Velasco, and Jacinto Adriatico as conspirator and co-principals of the
Casel, Mariano Ajel, Felix Murphy, Benjamin Abella, and Pedro Turqueza crime of murder, and sentencing them to suffer imprisonment of from 17
as members of the jury, Jacinto Adriatico as executioner, Severo Afos as years, 4 months and 1 day ofreclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, to
grave digger, and Father Filipino Velasco as an alleged conspirator, were indemnify the heirs of Arsenio Borjal jointly and severally in the amount
indicted in the Court of First Instance of Abra for murder, for allegedly of P4,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and each to
conspiring and confederating in the execution of Arsenio Borjal. Soon pay one fourth of the costs. In convicting said defendants the Court a
thereafter, the late President Manuel A. Roxas issued Executive quo found that while the crime committed by them fell within the
Proclamation No. 8, granting amnesty to all persons who committed acts provisions of the Amnesty Proclamation, they were not entitled to the
penalized under the Revised Penal Code in furtherance of the resistance to benefits thereof because the crime was committed after the expiration of
the enemy against persons aiding in the war efforts of the enemy. the time limit fixed by the amnesty proclamation;: i.e., that the deceased
Defendant Jesus Labuguen, then a master sergeant in the Philippine Army, Arsenio Borjal was executed after the liberation of La Paz, Abra.
applied for and was granted amnesty by the Amnesty Commission, Armed
Forces of the Philippines (Records, pp. 618-20). The rest of the defendant In view of the sentence meted by the Court below, the accused Beronilla,
filed their application for amnesty with the Second Guerrilla Amnesty Paculdo, Velasco and Adriatico appealed to this Court.
Commission, who denied their application on the ground that the crime
had been inspired by purely personal motives, and remanded the case to The records are ample to sustain the claim of the defense that the arrest,
the Court of First Instance of Abra for trial on the merits. prosecution and trial of the late Arsenio Borjal were done pursuant to
express orders of the 15th Infantry Headquarters. (Exhibit 9 and 12-a),
Upon motion of defense counsel, the case against defendant Jesus instructing all military mayors under its jurisdiction to gather evidence
Labuguen, who had been granted amnesty by the Amnesty Commission of against puppet officials and to appoint juries of at least 12 bolomen to try
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was ordered provisionally dismissed: the accused and find them guilty by two thirds vote. It is to be noted that
defendant Juan Balmaceda was discharged from the information so that he Arsenio Borjal was specifically named in the list of civilian officials to be
might be utilized as state witness, although actually he was not called to prosecuted (Exhibit 12-b).
testify; while the case against defendants Antonio Palope (the grave
In truth, the prosecution does not seriously dispute that the trial and We have carefully examined the evidence on this important issue, and find
sentencing of Borjal was done in accordance with instructions of superior no satisfactory proof that Beronilla did actually receive the radiogram
military authorities, altho it point to irregularities that were due more to Exhibit H or any copy thereof. The accused roundly denied it. The
ignorance of legal processes than personal animosity against Borjal. The messenger, or "runner", Pedro Molina could not state what papers were
state, however, predicates its case principally on the existence of the enclosed in the package he delivered to Beronilla on that morning in
radiogram Exhibit H from Col. Volckmann, overall area commander, to Lt. question, nor could Francisco Bayquen (or Bayken), who claimed to have
Col. Arnold, specifically calling attention to the illegality of Borjal's been present at the delivery of the message, state the contents thereof.
conviction and sentence, and which the prosecution claims was known to
the accused Beronilla. Said message is as follows: The only witness who asserted that Beronilla received and read the
Volckmann message, Exhibit H, was Rafael Balmaceda, a relative of
"Message: Borjal, who claimed to have been, as Beronilla's bodyguard, present at the
receipt of the message and to have read it over Beronilla's shoulder. This
VOLCKMANN TO ARNOLD CLN UNDERSTAND THAT testimony, however, can not be accorded credence, for the reason that in
MUNICIPALITIES OF ABRA HAVE ORGANIZED JURY the affidavit executed by this witness before Fiscal Antonio of Abra
SYSTEM PD BELIEVE THAT THIS BODY IS ILLEGAL AND (Exhibit 4), Balmaceda failed to make any mention of the reading, or even
CANNOT TRY PUNISHMENTS THEREOF PD SPECIFIC the receipt, of the message. In the affidavit, he stated:
INSTANCE IS BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION FRO
PROPER AND IMMEDIATE ACTION ON ONE ARSENIO Q. In your capacity as policeman, do you know of any usual
BORJAL OF LA PAZ WHO HAS BEEN TRIED CMA occurrence that transpired in La Paz, Abra? A. Yes, sir.
CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO BE HANGED PD
REPORT ACTION TAKEN BY YOU ON THIS MATTER PD Q. Will you state what is the event? A. On April 17, 1945, I was
MSG BEGINS CLN" assigned as guard at the Presidencia where Mayor Arsenio Borjal
is confined. On the 18th of April, 1945, six bolomen came to me
(EXH. H) while I was on duty as guard, that Mayor Borjal should be tied, on
orders of Mayor Beronilla, Mayor Borjal wanted to know the
The crucial question thus becomes whether or not this message, originally reason why he would be tied, as he had not yet learned of the
sent to Arnold's quarters in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur, was relayed by the decision of the jury against him. Mayor Borjal wrote a note to
latter to appellant Beronilla in La Paz, Abra, on the morning of April 18, Mayor Beronilla, asking the reason for his being ordered to be
1945, together with the package of records of Borjal's trial that was tied. I personally delivered the note of Borjal to Mayor Beronilla.
admittedly returned to and received by Beronilla on that date, after review Mayor Beronilla did not answer the note, but instead told me that I
thereof by Arnold (Exhibit 8-8-a). Obviously, if the Volckmann message should tie Mayor Borjal, as tomorrow he would die, as he cannot
was known to Beronilla, his ordering the execution of Borjal on the night escape. I returned to the Presidencia, and Mayor Borjal was tied,
of April 18, 1945 can not be justified. as that was the ordered of Mayor Beronilla.
The plain import of the affidavit is that the witness Rafael Balmaceda was Nos. L-2011 and 2267, June 30, 1951). Actually, the conduct of the
not with Beronilla when the message arrived, otherwise Beronilla would appellants does not dispose that these appellants were impelled by malice
have given him his orders direct, as he (Balmaceda) testified later at the (dolo). The arrest and trial of Borjal were made upon express orders of the
trial. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that having learned of the contents higher command; the appellants allowed Borjal to be defended by counsel,
of the Volckmann message, Balmaceda should not have relayed it to Borjal one of them (attorney Jovito Barreras) chosen by Borjal's sister; the trial
, or to some member of the latter's family, considering that they were lasted nineteen (19) days; it was suspended when doubts arose about its
relatives. In addition to Balmaceda was contradicted by Bayken, another legality, and it was not resumed until headquarters (then in Langangilang,
prosecution witness, as to the hatching of the alleged conspiracy to kill Abra) authorized its resumption and sent an observer (Esteban Cabanos, of
Borjal. Balmaceda claimed that the accused-appellants decided to kill the S-5) to the proceedings, and whose suggestions on procedure were
Borjal in the early evening of April 18, while Bayken testified that the followed; and when the verdict of guilty was rendered and death sentence
agreement was made about ten o'clock in the morning, shortly after the imposed, the records were sent to Arnold's headquarters for review, and
accused had denied Borjal's petition to be allowed to hear mass. Borjal was not punished until the records were returned eight days later
with the statement of Arnold that "whatever disposition you make of the
Upon the other hand, Beronilla's conduct belies his receipt of the case is hereby approved" (Exhibit 8), which on its face was an assent to
Volckmann message. Had he executed Borjal in violation of superior the verdict and the sentence. The lower Court, after finding that the late
orders, he would not have dared to report it to Arnold's headquarters on the Arsenio Borjal had really committed treasonable acts, (causing soldiers
very same day, April 18th, 1945, as he did (Exhibit 20), half an hour after and civilians to be tortured, and hidden American officers to be captured
the execution. And what is even more important, if Borjal was executed by the Japanese) expressly declared that "the Court is convinced that it was
contrary to instructions, how could Lt. Colonel Arnold on April 21, 1945, not for political or personal reason that the accused decided to kill Arsenio
write in reply (Exhibit 21, 21-a) "I can only compliment you for your Borjal" (Decision, p. 9; Record, p. 727).
impartial but independent way of handling the whole case" instead of
berating Beronilla and ordering his court martial for disobedience? It appearing that the charge is the heinous crime of murder, and that the
accused-appellants acted upon orders, of a superior officers that they, as
Our conclusion is that Lt. Col. Arnold, for some reason that can not now military subordinates, could not question, and obeyed in good faith,
be ascertained, failed to transmit the Volckmann message to Beronilla. And without being aware of their illegality, without any fault or negligence on
this being so, the charge of criminal conspiracy to do away with Borjal their part, we can not say that criminal intent has been established (U.
must be rejected, because the accused had no need to conspire against a S. vs. Catolico, 18 Phil., 507; Peo. vs. Pacana, 47 Phil., 48; Sent. of the
man who was, to their knowledge, duly sentenced to death. Tribunal Supremo of Spain, 3 July 1886; 7 January 1901; 24 March 1900;
21 Feb. 1921; 25 March 1929). Actus non facit reum nisi mens si rea.
The state claims that the appellants held grudges against the late Borjal.
Even so, it has been already decided that the concurrence of personal To constitute a crime, the act must, except in certain crimes made
hatred and collaboration with the enemy as motives for a liquidation does such by statute, be accompanied by a criminal intent, or by such
not operate to exclude the case from the benefits of the Amnesty claimed negligence or indifference to duty or to consequence, as, in law, is
by appellants, since then "it may not be held that the manslaughter equivalent to criminal intent. The maxim is, actus non facit reum,
stemmed from purely personal motives" (People vs. Barrioquinto,* G. R. nisi mens rea-a crime is not committed if the minds of the person
performing the act complained of be innocent. (U. S. vs. Catolico,
18 Phil., 507).

But even assuming that the accused-appellant did commit crime with they
are charged, the Court below should not have denied their claim to the
benefits of the Guerrilla Amnesty Proclamation No. 8 (42 Off. Gaz.,
2072)on the ground that the slaying of Arsenio Borjal took place after
actual liberation of the area from enemy control and occupation. The
evidence on record regarding the date of liberation of La Paz, Abra, is
contradictory. The Military Amnesty Commission that decided the case of
one of the original accused Jesus Labuguen, held that La Paz, Abra, was
liberated on July 1, 1945, according to its records; and this finding was
accepted by Judge Letargo when he dismissed the case against said
accused on March 15, 1949. On the other hand, Judge Bocar and Hilario,
who subsequently took cognizance of the case, relied on Department Order
No. 25, of the Department of the Interior, dated August 12, 1948, setting
the liberation of the Province of Abra on April 4, 1945, fifteen days before
Borjal was slain. The two dates are not strictly contradictory; but given the
benefit of the Presidential directive to the Amnesty Commissions (Adm.
Order No. 11, of October 2, 1946) that "any reasonable doubt as to
whether a given case falls within the (amnesty) proclamation shall be
resolved in favor of the accused" (42 Off. Gaz., 2360), as was done
in People vs. Gajo, Phil., 107 46 Off. Gaz., (No. 12) p. 6093.

For the reasons stated, the judgment appealed from is reversed and the
appellants are acquitted, with costs de oficio.

Paras, C. J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Jugo,


Bautista Angelo and Concepcion, JJ.,concur.
This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated July 28, 2006 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00187-MIN, which affirmed with
modifications the Regional Trial Court's (RTC) conviction2 of appellants
Jojo Sumilhig (Jojo), Ricardo Sumilhig alias Carding Sumilhig (Carding),
and Pasot Saloli (Pasot) in Criminal Case No. 3(99).

Factual Antecedents

Appellants, together with the accused Eric Enoc, Warlito Montibon and
Cio Limama, were charged with double murder and double frustrated
murder in an Amended Information,3 the accusatory portion of which
reads:
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT That on or about October 31, 1998, inthe Municipality of Kiblawan,
Manila Province of Davao del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and
SECOND DIVISION helping one another, armed with assortedfirearms, with intent to kill with
treachery and evident premeditation, did, then and there willfully,
G.R. No. 178115 July 28, 2014 unlawfully and feloniously, simultaneously strafe the house of Eugenio
Santander resulting to death of [Cresjoy] Santander and RollySantander
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, and seriously wounding Marissa Santander and Micel Santander, which
vs. would have caused their death had there been no timely and able medical
JOJO SUMILHIG, RICARDO SUMILHIG alias CARDING assistance rendered to them, to the damage and prejudice of the offended
SUMILHIG, PASOT SALOLI, ERIC ENOC, WARLITO parties.
MONTEBON,* and CIO LIMAMA, Accused,
CONTRARY TO LAW.4
JOJO SUMILHIG, RICARDO SUMILHIG alias CARDING
SUMILHIG, and PASOT SALOLI, Accused-Appellants. Only Jojo, Carding and Pasot, who entered separate pleas of "not guilty"
during their arraignment,5 faced trial. The other accused could not be
DECISION located and remain at-large to this day.

DEL CASTILLO, J.: Factual Antecedents


The prosecution established that onOctober 31, 1998, at around 6:30 p.m., Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
Jerry Masaglang (Jerry), together with Eugenio Santander (Eugenio) and
his son Mario, were in the living room of Eugenios house in The RTC convicted the appellants ofthe complex crime of double murder
SitioOverland, Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. Suddenly, they heard and double frustrated murder and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of
gun bursts and saw six persons firing at the kitchen where members of the death. It further ordered them to indemnify, jointlyand severally, the heirs
Santander family werehaving dinner. Jerry and Mario recognized the of Cresjoy and Rolly the sum of P100,000.00 as civil indemnity, and the
assailants to be the appellants and their co-accused. surviving victims, Marissa and Micel, the sums of P50,000.00
and P30,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages, respectively.8
The strafing of the kitchen lasted for about two minutes. Before the
gunmen dispersed, Jojo shouted, "At last, I have retaliated!" In the Ruling of the Court of Appeals
aftermath, the children of Eugenios other son Remegio6 Santander
(Remegio), 3-year old Cresjoy,7 8-year old Rolly, and teeners Marissa and On appeal, the CA did not find any reason to disturb the findings of the
Micel, sustained gunshot wounds. Unfortunately, Cresjoy expired while on RTC. However, it found merit in appellants argument that the crime
the way to the hospital while Rolly was pronounced dead-on-arrival. committed could not have been a complex crime since the death and
Marissa sustained gunshot wounds atthe right breast area and left wrist, injuries complained of did not result from a single act but from several and
while Micel was wounded inthe left sternal area and elbow. distinctacts of shooting. And as treachery was alleged in the Amended
Information and sufficiently proven during trial, appellants should be
Jojo denied involvement in the incident and interposed the defense of alibi. convicted instead of two counts of murder and two counts of frustrated
At the time of the incident, he claimed to be in the house of his parents-in- murder. Thus, in rendering its Decision9 dated July 28, 2006, the CA
law in SitioOlogo-o, BarangayTacub, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. He further disposed ofthe case as follows:
asserted that it was impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime on
October 31, 1998 since he could not walk briskly due to a gunshot wound WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction of appellants Jojo Sumilhig,
he earlier sustained in his left knee and anus. He maintained that it was Alias Carding Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli is affirmed butmodified as
only in January 1999 that he was able to walk without the aid of crutches. follows
However, Jojo admitted harboring ill-will against the Santander clan since
he believed that they were the ones responsible for the massacre of his Appellants Juan "Jojo" Sumilhig, Alias Carding Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli,
family in February 1998. are found guilty beyondreasonable doubt of:

Carding, for his part, claimed to be illiterate and unaware of the incident. a. Murder for killing Crisjoy Santander, and x x x are sentenced to
He contended that at the time of the shooting, he was in Dalmandang, suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
Tacub, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, which is four-hours walk away from the
crime scene. Pasot, on the other hand, maintained that he was withhis wife b. Murder for the killing of Rolly Santander, and x x x are
at the house of Pablo Mot in Lampara, Balasiao, Kiblawan, Davao atthe sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
time the crime was committed. Bothclaimed total ignoranceof the incident.
c. Frustrated Murder for the shooting of Marissa Santander and x x unnecessary for the Court to rule on [Cardings] appeal. Whether x x x he
x are sentenced to suffer an imprisonment ofsix (6) years, four (4) was guilty of the [crimes] charged has becomeirrelevant since, following
months and [ten] (10) days of prision mayoras minimum to Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code, x x x, even assuming [that
fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of Carding] had incurred any criminal liability, it was totally extinguished by
reclusion temporalas maximum; d. Frustrated Murder for the his death. Moreover, because [the] appeal was still pending and no final
shooting of Micel Santander and x x x are sentenced to suffer an judgment of conviction had been rendered against him [before] he died,
imprisonment ofsix (6) years, four (4) months and ten (10) days of his civil liability arising from the crime, being civil liability ex delicto,was
prision mayoras minimum to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months likewise extinguished by his death."14
and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporalas maximum. All
accused are ordered to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of Appellants Arguments
Crisjoy Santander and Rolly Santander the sum of P100,000.00
and the surviving victims Marissa Santander and Micel Appellants claim that the RTC erred in relying heavily on the ill-feelings
Santander P50,000.00 as moral damages and P30,000.00 as and vendetta Jojo harbored against the Santander family. They contend
exemplary damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of that this motive for committing the crime is not a substitute for proof
insolvency. beyond reasonable doubt. Moreover, Jojosalibi that it was impossible for
him to be at the crime scene due to the gunshot wounds in his knee and
Costs de officio. anus is amply corroborated by a medical prognosis.

SO ORDERED.10 Anent Pasot, appellants argue that although the trial court found his claim
of total ignorance on almost about everything to beincredulous, still, his
Hence, this appeal. conviction must not rest on the weakness of his defense but on the strength
of the prosecutions evidence.
Since there is no more dispute that appellants should not have been
convicted of the complex crime of double murder and frustrated murder as Appellants likewise question the finding of conspiracyand treachery.
the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) already concedes to the
same,11 the only error left from those raised by appellants in their brief is Our Ruling
as follows:
The appeal has no merit.
GRANTING ARGUENDO THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS ARE Appellants conviction was based on
GUILTY, THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT their positive identification by the
CONSPIRACY WAS PRESENT AND INFINDING THAT THE CRIMES prosecution witnesses.
COMMITTED WERE MURDER AND FRUSTRATED MURDER.12
True, the RTC noted in its Decision the existence of motive on the part of
It must be noted at the outset that Carding diedon June 24, 2011 during the Jojo for committing the crime as well as Pasots incredulous claim of
pendency of this appeal.13 "[I]n view of [this] supervening event, it is
ignorance on almost about everything. It is well to note, however, that the Visayan, which is of common knowledge to be widely spoken in almost
said court neither based the appellants conviction on the existence of such every part of Mindanao. Saloli claimed he did not know what day [it] was
motive nor on Pasots weak defense of ignorance alone, but upon the when he was testifying, or the day before and after that. Both claimed they
prosecution witnesses identification of appellants as the assailants, viz: did not know the complainants or of the massacre that took place.

Assessing the evidence presented by both [P]rosecution and defense, we xxxx


see a less than glaring hint of vendetta. As part of his defense, the accused
Jojo Sumilhig narrated that his family was massacred by Jerry Santander, More importantly, these claims [of] utter ignorance are belied by the
brother of Remigio Santander [in] February 1998. Short of admitting the evasiveness by which all three accused answered in obvious effort to avoid
crime, Sumilhig stated that because of this, he harbored ill feelings not criminal responsibility. Behind the faade of ignorance and lack of
only against Jerry and Carlos Santander but also against their family. Thus education lurks a calculating mind. We find [it] difficult to ascribe
a clear motive for killing the Santander family has been established giving innocence to the accused when traces of ingenuity and craftiness
credence to prosecution witnesses allegation that after the strafing Jojo characterize their testimonies.
Sumilhig shouted"Nakabalos na ko!" The likelihood of his intention to
wipe out the said family became even more apparent. All these observations however become insignificant in the face of the
positive and spontaneous identification of the assailants/accused by
Despite his positive assertion that it was the Santanders that killed his credible witnesses Jerry Masaglang and Remigio Santander.15
family, he did not file any case against them. It was only after he was
arrested that he filed a complaint against Jerry and Carlos Santander. There is no reason to doubt Jerry and Marios identification of the
appellants considering that (1) Jerry was just six meters away from
His alibi likewise failed to meet the stringent requisites of the Rules. Even them;16 (2) the moon was bright and Jerry was familiar with all the accused
as Dr. Quirapas appeared determined to rule out the possibility that he as most of them are his relatives;17 and, (3) Mario knows Jojoever since he
could walk without crutches five months after his discharge, the same was was small.18 Besides, "[t]ime-tested is the rulethat between the positive
based on general medical prognosis. Such prognostication admits certain assertions of prosecution witnesses and the negative averments of the
exception[s], as could be gleaned from the testimony of the doctor himself accused, the former undisputedly [deserve] more credence and [are]
that the healing period may vary depending on the age and physical entitled to greater evidentiary weight."19
condition of the patient. Notably Jojo Sumilhig was then 23 years old.
Anent the respective alibis interposed by appellants, suffice it to say that
What was certain was the positive identification made by Jerry Masaglang "[a]libi cannot prevail over the positive identification of a credible
and Remegio Santander of all of the accused. witness."20

The "overkill" by which the accused Pasot Saloli and Carding Sumilhig There was conspiracy among the accused.
claimed total ignorance of almost anything only served to arouse
incredulity. Both accused claimed they could not read, write, tell time, day,
month or year. Neither could [they] allegedly speak [or] understand
"[C]onspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement The crime committed is two counts of
concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it." 21 It is not murder and two counts of frustrated
necessary to adduce evidence of a previous agreement to commit a murder.
crime.22"Conspiracy may be shown through circumstantial evidence,
deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated, As earlier discussed, treachery attendedthe commission of the crime. This
or inferred from the acts of the accused themselves when such leadto a qualifies the killing of Cresjoy and Rolly to murder.
joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest." 23
With regard to Marissa and Micel, the Court notes that while the RTC was
Here, there is no proof of a previous agreement among the accused but silent as to the nature of injuries sustained by them, the CA correctly ruled
there is a series of events that clearly established conspiracy among them. on the seriousness thereof. The Medico Legal report of Marissa shows that
First, they were all armed with firearms. Second, they surreptitiously she suffered multiple gunshot wounds in her right breast and left
approached the crime scene. Third, when they were within close range of wrist27 while the Certificate of Treatment/Confinement of Micel states that
the intended victims, they simultaneously discharged their firearms. she sustained gunshot wounds in the area of the sternum and elbow.28 As
Fourth, they ceased firing at the same time and fled together. Undoubtedly, aptly found by the CA, the girls would have died if not for the timely
their acts before, during and immediately after strafing the house of medical attention provided to them. The crimes committed by the
Eugenio evince their unanimity in design, intent and appellants against them were thus frustrated murders.
execution.24 Treachery attended the commission of the crime.
The Penalty
"There is treachery whenthe offender commits any of the crimes against
the person, employing means, methods orforms in the execution thereof Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for the crime of
which tend directly and specially to insure the execution, without risk to murder is reclusion perpetuato death.1wphi1With both penalties being
himself arising from [any] defense which the offended party might indivisible and there being no aggravating circumstance other than the
make."25 qualifying circumstance of treachery, the lower of the two penalties which
is reclusion perpetua was properly imposed by the CA on appellants for
Treachery is evident in this case as the suddenness and unexpectedness of each count of murder.29 However, appellants are not eligible for parole. 30
the assault deprived the victims of an opportunity to resist it or offer any
defense of their persons. This is considering that the victims were unaware As regards the frustrated murders of Marissa and Micel, the penalty lesser
that they would be attacked by appellants with a hailof bullets from their by one degree shall be imposed on appellants.31 Accordingly, the penalty
firearms fired at close range. Indeed, "[t]he suddenness of the attack, that must be imposed is reclusion temporalfor each count of frustrated
without the slightest forewarning thereof, placed the [victims] x x x in murder. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law and in the absence of
such a position that they could not have defended themselvesfrom the modifying circumstances other than the qualifying circumstance of
aggression x x x."26 treachery, the maximum penalty shall be taken from the medium period of
reclusion temporal, which has a range of fourteen (14) years, eight (8)
months and one (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months, while
the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree which is
prision mayorin any of its periods, the range of which is from six (6) (1) appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli shall suffer the
years,one (1) day to twelve (12)years. The prison term imposed by the CA prison tenn of reclusion perpetua for each count of murder without
on appellants must therefore be modified to six (6) years and one (1) day eligibility for parole;
of prision mayoras minimum to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and
one (1) day of reclusion temporalas maximum, which is within these (2) appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli shall pay the heirs of
ranges,32 for each count of frustrated murder. the victims the amount of P5,000.00 as civil indemnity for the
death of each victim;
Awards of Damages
(3) appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli shall pay the heirs of
For the murders of Cresjoy and Rolly, the CA correctly held that their heirs the victims P25,000.00 as temperate damages for each death.
are entitled to an award of civil indemnity, however, the amount of the
award must be P75,000.00 for each death pursuant to prevailing For the frustrated murders of Marissa Santander and Micel Santander:
jurisprudence.33 The awards of moral damages in the amount
of P50,000.00 each and exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00 (1) appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli are sentenced to
each are proper.34 In addition, the heirs of the victims are entitled to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six ( 6) years and one (1) day
temperate damages in the sum of P25,000.00 for each death in lieu of of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8)
actual damages.35 months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum, for
each count of frustrated murder; and,
For the frustrated murders of Marissa and Micel, the awards of moral and
exemplary damages by the CA must be decreased to P40,000.00 (2) appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli are ordered to pay
and P20,000.00, respectively for each victim. 36 They are likewise entitled moral damages and exemplary damages to each of the victims in
to temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00 each in lieu of actual the reduced amounts of P40,000.00 and P25,000.00, respectively.
damages.37
All amounts of damages awarded shall earn interest at the legal rate of 6%
All damages awarded shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annumfrom per annum commencing from the date of finality of judgment until fully
the date of finality of thisjudgment until fully paid. 38 paid.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CRH.C. Due to the death of Ricardo Swnilhig alias Carding Sumilhig prior to final
No. 00187-MIN which affirmed withmodification the Decision of the judgment, his criminal liability and civil liability ex delicto as found by the
Regional Trial Court of DigosCity, Davao del Sur, Branch 19, finding Regional Trial Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are
appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli guilty beyond reasonable doubt extinguished. Consequently, Criminal Case No. 3(99) is ordered dismissed
of two counts of murder and two counts offrustrated murder is insofar as Ricardo Sumilhig alias Carding Sumilhig is concerned.
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONSas follows:
Costs against appellants Jojo Sumilhig and Pasot Saloli.
For the murders of Cresjoy Santander and Rolly Santander:
SO ORDERED.