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G.R. No. 158362 April 4, 2011
Ponente: BERSAMIN, J.


The Court of Appeals (CA) found Gilberto Villarico, Sr., Gilberto Villarico, Jr., Jerry
Ramentos, and Ricky Villarico guilty of murder for the killing of Haide Cagatan, and
imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua on each of them, thereby modifying the decision
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 16, in Tangub City that had pronounced them
guilty of homicide aggravated by dwelling. The RTC and the CA granted the civil liability in the
amount of only P50,000.00.

ISSUE: Whether or not the civil liability of the respondents has been properly set forth.

HELD: No. The civil liability must be modified to accord with pertinent law and

There is no question that the CA justly pronounced all the four accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of murder, and punished them with reclusion perpetua pursuant to Article
248 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Article 63, paragraph 2, of the Revised Penal
Code, considering the absence of any generic aggravating circumstance. However, the CA
did not explain why it did not review and revise the grant by the RTC of civil liability in the
amount of only P50,000.00. Thereby, the CA committed a plainly reversible error for
ignoring existing laws, like Article 2206 of the Civil Code, which prescribes a death
indemnity separately from moral damages, and Article 2230 of the Civil Code, which
requires exemplary damages in case of death due to crime when there is at least one
aggravating circumstance; and applicable jurisprudence.

Plain oversight might have caused both the RTC and the CA to lapse into the serious
omissions. Nonetheless, a rectification should now be made, for, indeed, gross omissions,
intended or not, should be eschewed.

Consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, we grant to the heirs of Haide P75,000.00 as

death indemnity; P75,000.00 as moral damages; and P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages. As clarified in People v. Arbalate, damages in such amounts are to be granted
whenever the accused are adjudged guilty of a crime covered by Republic Act No. 7659,
like the murder charged and proved herein.

Indeed, the Court, observed in numerous cases it has previously decided that the "principal
consideration for the award of damages is the penalty provided by law or imposable for the
offense because of its heinousness, not the public penalty actually imposed on the offender.
The litmus test, therefore, in the determination of the civil indemnity is the heinous character
of the crime committed, which would have warranted the imposition of the death penalty,
regardless of whether the penalty actually imposed is reduced to reclusion perpetua.

People v. Martinez et al.

G.R. No. 191366, December 13, 2010

FACTS: On September 2, 2006 at around 1245 PM, PO1 Bernard Azarden was on duty at the Police
Community Precinct along Arellano St., Dagupan City when a concerned citizen reported that a
pot session was underway in the house of accused Rafael Gonzales in Trinidad Subdivision,
Dagupan City. PO1 Azardan, PO1 Alejandro dela Cruz and members of Special Weapons and
Tactics (SWAT) proceeded to aforesaid house. Upon inquiry from people in the area, the house of
Gonzales was located. As the team entered the house, accused Orlando Doria was arrested
while coming out. Inside the house were Gonzales, Arnold Martinez, Edgar Dizon, and Rezin
Martinez. Seized from the accused were open plastic sachets (containing shabu residue), pieces
of rolled used aluminum foil and pieces of used aluminum foil. The accused were arrested and
brought to police station, seized items were sent to the Pangasinan Provincial Police Crime
Laboratory. All accused, except for Doria, were found positive for methylamphetamine HCL.

On February 13, 2008, RTC found Arnold Martinez, Edgar Dizon, Rezin Martinez and Rafael
Gonzales guilty beyond reasonable doubt under Sec. 13 in relation to Sec. 11, Art. II of RA 9165
and sentenced each to life imprisonment and fined PHP 500,000 plus cost of suit.

The CA supported the findings of the lower court.

ISSUE: Were the guilt of the accused proven beyond reasonable doubt?

RULING: No, the Court finds that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt because (1) evidence against the accused are inadmissible and (2) even if the
evidence were admissible, the chain of custody was not duly established .

The evidence is inadmissible because of the illegal arrest, search and seizure.
Searches and seizures without a warrant are valid in (1) incidence of lawful
arrest, (2) plain view search of evidence, (3) moving vehicle search, (4)
consented search, (5) customs search, (6) stop and frisk, (7)exigent and
emergency cases. Under Rule 113, Sec. 5 of RRCP warrantless arrest can only
be done in in flagrante cases, hot pursuit cases, and fugitive cases. The arrest
of the accused-appellants were based solely on the report of a concerned
citizen, no surveillance of the place was conducted. Under Rule 113, fugitive
case does not apply. In flagrante and hot pursuit case may apply only upon
probable cause, which means actual belief or reasonable ground of suspicion.
It is reasonable ground of suspicion when suspicion of a person to be arrested
is probably guilty of the offense based on actual facts, that is, supported by
circumstances. In case at bar, this is not the case since the entire arrest was
based on uncorroborated statement of a concerned citizen.

The chain of custody as outlined in Sec. 21, Art. II of RA 9165 was not
observed as no proper inventory, photographing, was done in the presence of
the accused nor were there representatives from the media, the DOJ and any
popularly elected official present, although in warrantless seizures, marking
and photographing of evidence may be done at the nearest police station.
Court sets aside and reverses the decision of the CA dated August 7, 2009,
acquits the accused and orders their immediate release.

Chua v. CA

GR No. 150793, 19 November 2004

Quisumbing, J.


A criminal complaint for falsification of public document was filed against Chua
based on the complaint of Hao, treasurer of Siena Realty Corporation. Chua moved
to exclude Haos counsels as private prosecutors in the case for failure to allege &
prove any civil liability in said case. The RTC allowed the intervention of the private
prosecutors in the prosecution of the civil aspect of the criminal case. The CA
affirmed the order of the trial court. Petitioner avers that where from the nature of
the offense or where the law defining & punishing the offense charged does not
provide for an indemnity, the offended party may not intervene in the prosecution
of the offense. He further contends that since no personal damages were proven in
the inferior court, then the participation of her counsel as private prosecutors, who
were supposed to pursue the civil aspect of a criminal case is not necessary & is w/o


Whether the private prosecutors should be allowed to participate in the trial of the
criminal case in pursuance of its civil aspect


Yes. The Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that when a criminal action is
instituted, the civil action arising from the offense charged shall be deemed
instituted w/ the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action,
reserves the right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the
criminal action. Since Hao did not waive the civil action, nor reserve the rt to
institute it separately, nor institute the civil action for damages arising from the
offense charged, private prosecutors can intervene in the trial of the criminal action.
An act or omission is felonious because it is punishable by law, it gives rise to civil
liability not so much because it is a crime but because it caused damage to another.
Additionally, what gives rise to the civil liability is really the obligation and the moral
duty of everyone to repair or make whole the damage caused to another by reason
of his own act or omission, whether done intentionally or negligently. The indemnity
which a person is sentenced to pay forms an integral part of the penalty imposed by
law for the commission of the crime.29 The civil action involves the civil liability
arising from the offense charged which includes restitution, reparation of the
damage caused, and indemnification for consequential damages. 30

Evidence should be allowed in the criminal proceedings to establish the civil liability
arising from the offense committed, & the private offended party has the rt to
intervene through the private prosecutors.

The civil liability arising from the crime may be determined in the criminal
proceedings if the offended party does not waive to have it adjudged or does not
reserve the right to institute a separate civil action against the defendant.
Accordingly, if there is no waiver or reservation of civil liability, evidence should be
allowed to establish the extent of injuries suffered