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DECLARATION AGAINST INTEREST of Calarian relaxing since I have just appointed for him.

of Calarian relaxing since I have just appointed for him. The trial court granted counsel's motion
arrived from Jolo, Sulu that particular day. to transfer the arraignment to March 18.

At that time, I was already running away On that date, by agreement of the parties, the arraignment
G.R. No. L-38833 March 12, 1980 from the authorities because I am an was transferred to March 29, then to April 5, and later to
escapee from San Ramon Prison and April 30, 1974. On that last date, the information was
Penal Farm. translated into the Tausug dialect which is spoken by the
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee accused. With the assistance of his counsel, he pleaded
vs. guilty.
AIROL ALING Y MAJURI, accused whose death sentence Later on, I proceeded to my father's
is under review. house which is just near the seashore,
Upon reaching the house, I saw Nori Then, the accused was placed on the witness stand and
Mohamad but I had no time to talk to her examined by his counsel. He admitted that he killed his
Mamintal Tamano for the accused. because immediately after seeing me, wife. He declared that after he was informed by his counsel
Nori ran away, going to the direction of that the penalty for parricide is death or life imprisonment,
Office of the Solicitor General for appellee. the street. he, nevertheless, admitted the killing of his wife because
that was the truth.
Armed with the bolo which I had been
carrying with me, I chased after Nori and I In answer to the question of the fiscal, the accused said that
AQUINO, J.: catch up with her at the street where I he understood that by pleading guilty he could be
started stabbing her with the bolo, hitting sentenced to death or reclusion perpetua because he was
her on the different parts of the body. an escaped convict.
This is a parricide case. Norija T. Mohamad, 30, was
stabbed in the chest and diaphragm on January 28, 1972 at
Calarian, Zamboanga City. She died at the Brent Hospital When I saw Nori fell down on the street He described the confrontation with his wife. When he
two days later. badly wounded, I hurriedly left the place arrived at his home, his wife ran and he pursued her. He
and ran towards the far end of Calarian. overtook her, stabbed her but she was able to parry the
(Exh. 2). blow, and when -she fell on the ground, he repeatedly
Girlie Aling a relative of Airol Aling stated in her affidavit of stabbed her in the abdomen.
February 21, 1972 that she and Darla Aling (Norija's
daughter) brought the victim to the hospital. They learned Two policemen in their affidavit of March 24, 1972, affirmed
from the police that Norija was stabbed by her husband (p. that Airol admitted to Sergeant Antonio Macrohon in their He said that he was not coerced nor cajoled into entering a
4, Record). presence that he stabbed his wife because she had been plea of guilty. He admitted that he was a prisoner in the
going with many men (Exh. 1). penal colony. He was a Muslim belonging to the Samal tribe
of Siasi Sulu. He killed his wife because while he was in
On March 24, 1972 Airol Aling 35, was investigated by the prison, she did not visit him and she neglected their four
police. He declared in the Chavacano dialect (his On April 19, 1972, Airol Aling was charged with parricide in
the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga City. It was children.
declaration was translated into English) that he killed his
wife (whom he married according to Muslim rites because e alleged in the information that Airol was a convict serving
he was informed in prison by his relatives that his wife was sentence at the penal colony for robbery with frustrated He agreed that his father-in-law could have the custody of
living with another man and fooling around with other men. homicide. his children. He was able to leave the penal colony because
He recounted the killing in this manner: he was a "living-out-prisoner". When he went to his house
The case was first called for arraignment on March 15, on January 28, 1972, his purpose was to be reconciled with
1974. The accused signified his willingness to plead guilty his wife but when she saw him, instead of waiting for him,
At or about one o'clock in the afternoon of she ran away. He had information that his wife was guilty of
January 28, 1972, I was at the seashore although he had no lawyer. A counsel de oficio was
infidelity or had a "kabit". That was a grievous offense under
Muslim customs.
He Identified his signature in his confession which was testified. His confession and the affidavit of the policemen I concur with Justices Teehankee and Fernandez. I vote for
sworn to before the clerk of court (Exh. B or 2). who investigated him were presented in evidence. the imposition of reclusion perpetua.

The trial court sentenced Airol Aling to death and to pay an The contention that the crime was mitigated by the plea of TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
indemnity of twelve thousand pesos to the heirs of Norija guilty lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong and the
Mohamad. It noted that he pleaded guilty with full circumstance that the accused is a non-Christian is not well I vote with Justice Fernandez to reduce the penalty
knowledge of the meaning and consequences of his plea. taken because he is a quasi-recidivist. The special to reclusion perpetua.
aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism cannot be
The case was elevated to this Court for automatic review of offset by generic investigating circumstances.
FERNANDEZ, J., concurring:
the death penalty.
The fact that he escaped from confinement in order to kill
his wife shows a high degree of perversity and incorrigibility I vote to impose the penalty of reclusion perpetua. I doubt
Counsel de oficio assigned to present the side of the whether the accused and the victim were legally married .
accused in this review, contends that the marriage of Airol His being a non-Christian cannot serve to extenuate the
to Norija was not indubitably proven. That contention cannot heinousness of his offense. He understood the gravity of his
be sustained. The testimony of the accused that he was crime because he had attained some education. He AQUINO, J., concurring:
married to the deceased was an admission against his reached first year high school and he used to be a checker
penal interest. It was a confirmation of the maxim semper in a stevedoring firm. I certify that Mr. Justice Abad Santos voted for the
praesumitur matrimonio and the presumption "that a man imposition of the death penalty.
and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife However, only since Justices (Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio,
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage" (Sec. 5[bbl, Aquino, Concepcion Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro
Rule 131, Rules of Court). and Melencio-Herrera) voted for the imposition of the death
Separate Opinions
He and the deceased had five children. He alluded in his
testimony to his father-in-law. That implies that the WHEREFORE, the trial court's judgment is affirmed with the
deceased was his lawful wife. The fact that he bitterly modification that, for lack of one vote, the accused is FERNANDO, C.J., concurring:
resented her infidelity. Her failure to visit him n prison and sentenced to reclusion perpetua Costs de oficio.
her neglect of their children are other circumstances I concur with Justices Teehankee and Fernandez. I vote for
confirmatory of their marital status. SO ORDERED. the imposition of reclusion perpetua.

The contention that the accused did not understand fully he Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Concepcion Jr., Fernandez, TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
nature and effect of Ms plea of guilty is belied by the record. Guerrero, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ. concur.
The trial judge, a Muslim, took pans to follow the rule that in
I vote with Justice Fernandez to reduce the penalty
case a plea of guilty is entered in a capital case, evidence
to reclusion perpetua.
should be received in order to leave no room for reasonable
doubt that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and
that he had full knowledge of the meaning and FERNANDEZ, J., concurring:
consequences of his plea of guilty (People vs. Duaban, L-
31912, August 24, 1979). Separate Opinions I vote to impose the penalty of reclusion perpetua. I doubt
whether the accused and the victim were legally married .
In this case, the arraignment was postponed three times in
order to enable his counsel to confer with him and explain to AQUINO, J., concurring:
him the consequences of his plea of guilty. The accused
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring:
I certify that Mr. Justice Abad Santos voted for the The prosecution and the defense alike agree on the facts being sworn in accordance with
imposition of the death penalty. above outlined. The disputable point is whether the accused law, state the following:
Eugenio Toledo intervened in the quarrel and dealt a mortal
blow to Filomeno Morales. For the prosecution, there was My additional homestead
presented the witness Justina Villanueva, the querida of situated in Calingag was cleaned
Filomeno Morales, who testified to the presence and by me and is at present planted
participation of Eugenio Toledo. Her testimony was partially with palay (rice), on which I also
corroborated by that of the witness Justina Llave. On the plant hemp, but the hemp
G.R. No. L-28655 August 6, 1928 other hand, the theory for the defense was that Toledo was planted by my workers is
in another place when the fight between Morales and frequently uprooted by Filomeno
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff- Holgado occurred and that his only participation was on Morales who claims that said
appellee, meeting Holgado, who was his landlord or master, in land is his, whereas when I was
vs. helping him to a nearby house. To this effect is the cleaning said land nobody
EUGENIO TOLEDO and SISENANDO testimony of the accused and of Conrado Holgado, the son objected to it, but now that it is
HOLGADO, defendants. of Sisenando Holgado. The defense also relied upon the already cleaned, Filomeno
EUGENIO TOLEDO, appellant. affidavit of Sisenando Holgado, Exhibit 1, which was Morales says that one-half of the
identified by the municipal president of Pinamalayan. land occupied by me is his; for
C. V. Sanchez for appellant. this reason I decided to see
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee. Counsel de oficio in this court makes the following Filomeno Morales about this
assignment of errors: matter and when I talked to him
MALCOLM, J.: this morning (Wednesday) at
I. The lower court erred in not admitting in about nine o'clock, at the hemp
evidence Exhibit 1. plantation of Victorio Saudan
This is an appeal taken by Eugenio Toledo from a judgment situated in Calingag, he told me
of the Court of First Instance of Mindoro, finding him guilty that if I should plant there
of the crime of homicide, and sentencing him therefor to II. The lower court erred in not finding that anything he would cut my neck,
imprisonment for fourteen years, eight months, and one accused-appellant Eugenio Toledo did not take and to this I answered that if he
day, reclusion temporal, with the corresponding accessory part in the fight between accused Sisenando was going to cut my neck we
penalties, indemnity, and costs. Holgado and deceased Filomeno Morales, would fight and thereupon he
resulting in the death of the latter. stabbed me with a penknife and
Sisenando Holgado and Filomeno Morales had disputes then I slashed at him; after this
about the occupation of certain land situated in the III. The lower court erred in not giving accused- we separated, and went to
municipality of Pinamalayan, Province of Mindoro. On the appellant Eugenio Toledo the benefit of a Dalmacio Manlisic's house.
morning of June 15, 1927, the two men happened to meet. reasonable doubt." Exhibit 1 above-mentioned in When we fought, there was
The argument was renewed, and they agreed to fight. They assignment of error No. 1, made originally in nobody present.
did engage in a bolo duel with a fatal result for Filomeno Tagalog, in translation reads as follows:
Morales, who was killed almost instantly. Sisenando Question by president: When
Holgado was also seriously wounded but was able to AFFIDAVIT you went to the house of
proceed to a neighboring house. From there Sisenando Dalmacio Manlisic, did you not
Holgado was taken to the municipal building where he meet anybody before reaching
made a sworn statement before the municipal president, in I. Sisenando Holgado, married,
of legal age, and resident of this said house?
which he declared that only he and Filomeno Morales
fought. About one month later, Sisenando Holgado died municipality of Pinamalayan,
from the wounds received in the fight. Province of Mindoro, P. I., after Answer: I met one of my workers
named Eugenio Toledo, who
accompanied me to the house of (Sgd.) ILLEGIBLE through the party and not the party talking about the facts.
Dalmacio Manlisic. Municipal President There was such a correlation between the statement and
the fact of which it forms part as strongly tends to negative
Question by president: How do The discussion of the case in court has revealed three the suggestion of fabrication or a suspicion of afterthought.
you know that the hemp you different points of view among the members participating, all The nature and circumstances of the statement do not
planted on your land above- leading to the same result of acquittal. Under such disclose intrinsic evidence of premeditation as revealed in a
mentioned was frequently circumstances, it is, course, difficult for the writer of the long, coherent, closely connected story. The modern
uprooted by Filomeno Morales? opinion to do entire justice to those theories which do not tendency is toward the extension of the rule admitting
conform to his own. However, an effort will be made to spontaneous declarations to meet the needs of justice when
present the various opinions, leaving it for any individual other evidence of the same fact cannot be procured. (22 C.
Answer: Because he said as to J., pp. 461 et seq.; U. S. vs. David [1903], 3 Phil., 128.)
my worker named Eulogio member to enlarge upon the same, if he so desires.
Question by president: Do you
have anything more to say about The Chief and Mr. Justice Villamor would disregard entirely The third opinion in court is that held by Messrs. Justices
the incident? the first assignment of error and would, therefore, refrain Street, Malcolm, and Ostrand, who would resolve the first
from all discussion relative to the admissibility of Exhibit 1. assignment of error by holding that the court erred in not
Confining themselves exclusively to an analysis of the admitting Exhibit 1 as the statement of a fact against penal
Answer: No more. interest. Had Exhibit 1 been received, it is believed that its
evidence other than Exhibit 1, they find that Eugenio Toledo
has not been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The influence would have been felt by the trial court. Without
In testimony of all that I stated contradictions in the testimony for the prosecution pointed Exhibit 1, the appellate court is bound by the appreciation of
above, I signed this document in out by the trial judge do not impress these members of the the evidence made in the trial court, and could, with little
the presence of two witnesses court so seriously. In reality, there being but one witness for propriety, set aside the findings made by a learned trial
and then swore to it in the the prosecution who, on account of her relations with judge. The case calls for an examination of the right of the
presence of the municipal Filomeno Morales, and the land troubles, might be expected courts to receive in evidence documents of the character of
president here at Pinamalayan, to exaggerate, and there being on the contrary exculpatory Exhibit 1.
Mindoro, this June fifteenth, evidence for the defense, even without Exhibit 1, the
nineteen hundred twenty-seven. Government has not made out its case. Consequently, on Hearsay evidence, with a few well recognized exceptions, it
the testimonial facts, these members vote for acquittal. has been said on high authority, is excluded by courts in the
His United States that adhere to the principles of the common
SISENANDO HOLGADO II law. One universally recognized exception concerns the
Mark admission of dying declarations. Another exception permits
the reception, under certain circumstances, of declarations
In the presence of: The second view is that for which Messrs. Justices of third parties made contrary to their own pecuniary or
Romualdez and Villa-Real are responsible, and is that proprietary interest. But the general rule is stated to be that
(Sgd.) Exhibit 1 should have been admitted in evidence as part of the declarations of a person other than accused confessing
ILLEGIBLE the res gestae, and that giving it effect, in relation with the or tending to show that he committed the crime are not
HILARION other evidence, the accused has not been proved guilty. competent for accused on account of the hearsay doctrine.
NIEVA What has heretofore been said with reference to the state of
the record need not here be repeated. It only remains to be
stated that Exhibit 1 was made by Sisenando Holgado on Professor Wigmore, one of the greatest living authorities on
Signed and sworn to before me, the law of evidence, has attempted to demonstrate the false
the same morning that the fight occurred and without the
this June fifteenth, 1927. premises on which the arbitrary limitation to the hearsay
interval of sufficient time for reflection. The declaration of
Sisenando Holgado fulfilled the test of the facts talking rule rests. He shows that the limitation is inconsistent with
the language originally employed in stating the principle and Wigmore that there is no need to set them forth at as evidence to be taken into consideration in connection
is unjustified on grounds of policy. Professor Wigmore in greater length. (2 Wigmore, Evidence, pars. 1476, with the other proven facts.
turn has been answered by no less a body than the 1477.)
Supreme Court of Mississippi in the case of Brown vs. State We cannot bring this decision to a conclusion without
of Mississippi ([1910], 37 L. R. A., New Series, 345). The In the Philippine jurisdiction, we have never felt bound to quoting the well considered language of Professor Wigmore
editor of the Mississippi case in L. R. A., however, comes to follow blindly the principles of the common law. A on the subject, the pertinent part of a decision coming from
the support of Professor Wigmore saying the unanimity of reexamination of some of those principles discloses a court which has gained respect particularly in criminal
the decisions "is as complete as the shock which they give anomalies. cases, and an editorial note. Professor Wigmore has said:
the general sense of justice." The question has likewise in
recent years gained attention by the Supreme Court of the
United States in the case of Donnelly vs. United States A dying declaration is admitted of necessity in order, as the PAR. 1476. History of the Exception; Statement of
([1913], 228 U. S., 243). There it was held that the court Supreme Court of Mississippi states, "to reach those man Fact against Penal Interest, excluded; Confessions
below properly excluded hearsay evidence relating to the slayers who perpetrate their crimes when there are no other of Crime by a Third Person. It is today
confession of a third party, then deceased, of guilt of the eyewitnesses." But the person accused of a crime, under commonly said, and has been expressly laid down
crime with which defendant was charged. Mr. Justice the same principle of necessity, is not permitted to free by many judges, that the interest prejudiced by the
Pitney, delivering the opinion of the court, said: "In this himself by offering in evidence the admission of another facts stated must be either a pecuniary or a
country there is a great and practically unanimous weight of under oath that this other committed the crime. Again proprietary interest, and not a penal interest. What
authority in the estate courts against admitting evidence of admissions are receivable against either a pecuniary or a ground in authority there is for this limitation may
confessions of third parties, made out of court, and tending proprietary interest, but not against a penal interest. We fail be found by examining the history of the execution
to exonerate the accused." Mr. Justice Van Devanter to see why it can be believed that a man will be presumed at large.
concurred in the result while Mr. Justice Holmes, with whom to tell the truth in the one instance but will not be presumed
concurred Mr. Justice Lurton and Mr. Justice Hughes, to tell the truth in the other instance. Again the exhibit would The exception appears to have taken its rise
dissented. Mr. Justice Holmes said: have been admitted against its maker at his trial, if he had chiefly in two separate rivulets of rulings, starting
not died. But the document is held inadmissible to independently as a matter of practice, but
exonerate another. Yet the truth of the exhibit is not different afterwards united as parts of a general principle. . .
. . . The rues of evidence in the main are based on in the first case that in the second.
experience, logic, and common sense, less .
hampered by history than some parts of the
substantive law. There is no decision by this court A study of the authorities discloses that even if given These lines of precedent proceeded independently
against the admissibility of such a confession; the application they are not here controlling. Most of them do till about the beginning of the 1800s, when a unity
English cases since the separation of the two not concern the confessions of declarants shown to be of principle for some of them came gradually to be
countries do not bind us; the exception to the deceased. Practically all of them give as the principal perceived and argued for. This unity lay in the
hearsay rule in the case of declarations against reason for denying the admission of a confession of a third circumstance that all such statements, in that they
interest is well known; no other statement is so person that he committed the crime with which the accused concerned matters prejudicial to the declarant's
much against interest as a confession of murder; it is charged, that it was not made under oath. Here the self-interest, were fairly trustworthy and might
is far more calculated to convince than dying declarant is deceased and his statements were made under therefore (if he were deceased) be treated as
declarations, which would be let in to hang a man oath. They also read in such a way as to ring with the truth. forming an exception to the hearsay rule.
(Mattox vs. United States, 146 U. S., 140; 36 Law. When Sisenando Holgado declared "When we fought, there
ed., 917; 13 Sup. Ct. Rep., 50); and when we was nobody present," it was at the end of just such a
rambling statement as a wounded man would be expected This broad principle made its way slowly. There
surround the accused with so many safeguards, was some uncertainty about its scope; but it was
some of which seem to me excessive; I think we to make. When Sisenando Holgado declared "I met one of
my workers named Eugenio Toledo, who accompanied me an uncertainty in the direction of breadth; for it was
ought to give him the benefit of a fact that, if sometimes put in the broad form that any
proved, commonly would have such weight. The to the house of Dalmacio Manlisic," he did so in response to
a question by the municipal president. Exhibit 1 should have statement by a person "having no interest to
history of the law and the arguments against the deceive" would be admissible. This broad form
English doctrine are so well and fully stated by Mr. been received not as conclusive evidence of innocence, but
never came to prevail (post, par. 1576). But
acceptance was gained, after two decades, for the argument of danger of abuse. This would be a even by producing to the tribunal a perfectly
principle that all declarations of facts against good argument against admitting any witnesses at authenticated written confession, made on the very
interest (by deceased persons) were to be all, for it is notorious that some witnesses will lie gallows, by the rule culprit now beyond the reach
received. What is to be noted, then, is that from and that it is difficult to avoid being deceived by of justice. Those who watched (in 1899) with self-
1800 to about 1830 this was fully understood as their lies. The truth is that any rule which hampers righteous indignation the course of proceedings in
the broad scope of the principle. It was thus stated an honest man in exonerating himself is a bad rule, Captain Dreyfus' trial should remember that, if that
without other qualifications; and frequent passages even if it also hampers a villain in falsely passing trial had occurred in our own courts, the spectacle
show the development of the principle to this point. for an innocent. would have been no less shameful if we, following
our own supposed precedents, had refused to
But in 1884, in a case in the House of Lords, not strongly The only practical consequences of this admit what the French court never for a moment
argued and not considered by the judges in the light of the unreasoning limitation are shocking to the sense of hesitated to admit, the authenticated confession
precedents, a backward step was taken and an arbitrary justice; for, in its commonest application, it of the escaped Major Esterhazy, avowing himself
limit put upon the rule. It was held to exclude the statement requires, in a criminal trial, the rejection of a the guilty author of the treason there charged. (3
of a fact subjecting the declarant to a criminal liability, and confession, however well authenticated, of a Wigmore on Evidence, 2d ed., secs. 1476, 1477.)
to confined to statements of facts against either pecuniary person deceased or insane or fled from the
or proprietary interest. Thenceforward this rule was jurisdiction (and therefore quite unavailable) who In the case of Pace vs. State ([1911], Court of Criminal
accepted in England; although it was plainly a novelty at the has avowed himself to be true culprit. The Appeals of Texas, 135 Southwestern, 379), the appellant
time of its inception; for in several rulings up to that time absurdity and wrong of rejecting indiscriminately all offered to prove in the trial court by the witness Byron Kyle
such statement had been received. such evidence is patent. that on Saturday morning following the killing of the
deceased on the previous Sunday he had a conversation
The same attitude has been taken by most The rulings already in our books cannot be thought with Dick Cain, one of the parties to the homicide, in which
American courts, excluding confessions of a crime, to involve a settled and universal acceptance of Dick Cain admitted the he killed the deceased. The court
or other statements of facts against penal interest, this limitation. In the first place, in almost all of the ruled:
made by third persons; although there is not rulings the declarant was not shown to be
wanting authority in favor of admitting such deceased or otherwise unavailable as a witness, . . . Wherever the state seeks to fasten criminality
statements. and therefore the declaration would have been upon the party on trial, the accused had a right to
inadmissible in any view of the present exception meet and rebut any testimony which may be
PAR. 1477. Same: Policy of this Limitation. It is (ante, par. 1456). Secondly, in some of the rulings offered against him in any legitimate way. If Cain
plain enough that this limitation, besides being a (for example, in North Carolina) the independent had been upon trial, his confession to the witness
fairly modern novelty, is inconsistent with the broad doctrine (ante, pars. 139-141) was applicable that, Kyle would have been admissible beyond any
language originally employed in stating the reason in order to prove the accused's non-commission of shadow of doubt, and would have been upon trial,
and principle of the present exception (ante, pars. the offense by showing commission by another his confession to the witness Kyle would have
1457, 1476) as well as with the settled principle person, not merely one casual piece of evidence been admissible beyond any shadow of doubt, and
upon which confessions are received (ante, par. suffices but a "prima facie" case resting on several would have been strong evidence to go before the
1475). concurring pieces of evidence must be made out. jury. The estate would have been seeking to
Finally, most of the early rulings had in view, not introduce this and with great earnestness, and
the present exception to the hearsay rule, but the correctly so. If appellant could prove that another
But, furthermore, it cannot be justified on grounds doctrine of admissions (ante, pars. 1076, 1079) party or others committed the homicide, it might
of policy. The only plausible reason of policy that that the admissions of one who is not a co- prove his innocence, and would be strong
has ever been advanced for such a limitation is the conspirator cannot affect others jointly charged. evidence to go before the jury in his favor. Any
possibility of procuring fabricated testimony to such legitimate fact or circumstance which would meet
a admission if oral. This is the ancient rusty or tend to meet the state's case and break the
weapon that has always been drawn to oppose It is therefore not too late to retrace our steps, and
to discard this barbarous doctrine, which would force of criminative facts introduced against the
any reform in the rules of evidence, viz., the accused is always admissible. Appellant's
refuse to let an innocent accused vindicate himself
contention was that he did not kill the deceased, deliberately acknowledged himself to be the perpetrator of a seeks reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals
but that Cain did. The state's theory was the crime and exonerated the person charged with the crime, affirming his conviction for murder.[1]
appellant shot the deceased, and Cain did not and there was other evidence indicative of the truthfulness
shoot him. Under the rules of evidence this of the statement, the accused man should not be permitted At four o clock in the morning of 24 June 1989 Julieto
testimony was clearly inadmissible. to go to prison or to the electric chair to expiate a crime he Malaspina together with Godofredo Llames, Honorio Osok
never committed. Shall Judges trained and experienced in and Alberto Toling, was at a benefit dance at Dump Site,
the law display less discerning common sense that the Tudela, Trento, Agusan del Sur. Petitioner called Malaspina
We would like finally to turn attention to what was said by and placed his right arm on the shoulder of the latter saying,
the editor of L. R. A. in his note in volume 37 hereinbefore layman and allow precedent to overcome truth?
Before, I saw you with a long hair but now you have a short
referred to, viz: hair.[2]Suddenly petitioner stabbed Malaspina in the
JUDGMENT abdomen with a hunting knife. Malaspina fell to the ground
The purpose of all evidence is to get at the truth. and his companions rushed to his side. Petitioner fled. Before
The reason for the hearsay rule is that the For three somewhat divergent reasons, we are all of the the victim succumbed to the gaping wound on his abdomen
extrajudicial and unsworn statement of another is opinion that the defendant-appellant Eugenio Toledo should he muttered that Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., stabbed him.[3]
not the best method of serving this purpose. In be given the benefit of the reasonable doubt which prevails
other words, the great possibility of the fabrication in our minds. Accordingly, the judgment appealed from will Dr. Porfirio L. Salubre, the Rural Health Physician who
of falsehoods, and the inability to prove their be reversed and the defendant and appellant acquitted, and autopsied the cadaver of Julieto Malaspina on 24 July 1989,
untruth, requires that the doors be closed to such as it appears that he is now confined in Bilibid Prison, an reported that death was due to stab wound at left lumbar
evidence. So long therefore as a declarant is order will immediately issue directing his release, with region I V2 in. in length with extracavitation of the small and
available as a witness, his extrajudicial statement costs de oficio. large intestines.[4]
should not be heard. Where, however, the Petitioner claims on the other hand that it was his cousin
declarant is dead or has disappeared, his previous Avancea, C.J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Romualdez and Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., alias Jonie who knifed Malaspina; that
statements, out of court, if not inadmissible on Villa-Real, JJ., concur. when the victim was killed he was conversing with him; that
other grounds, are the best evidence. But they are he was compelled to run away when he heard that somebody
not rendered inadmissible by the mere fact that the with a bolo and spear would kill all those from San Isidro
declarant is unavailable, something else is because Jonie, the killer, was from that place; that since he
necessary. One fact which will satisfy this was also from San Isidro he sought refuge in his brothers
necessity is that the declaration is or was against house where he met Jonie; that Jonie admitted
the declarant's interest, and this is because no spontaneously that he stabbed Malaspina because after a
sane person will be presumed to tell a falsehood to [G.R. No. 111692. February 9, 1996] boxing match before the latter untied his gloves and punched
his own detriment. him; that as there were many persons milling around the
house Jonie jumped out and escaped through the window;
xxx xxx xxx that he was arrested at eight oclock in the morning of 24 June
ALEJANDRO FUENTES, JR., petitioner, vs. COURT OF 1989 while he was in a store in the barangay.[5]
Again, if, seems indisputable, the desire to close APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE The Regional Trial Court of Prosperidad, Agusan del
the door to falsehood which cannot be detected PHILIPPINES, respondents. Sur, found petitioner guilty of murder qualified by treachery
dictates the exclusion of such testimony, the and imposed on him an indeterminate prison term of ten (10)
question as to the effect to be given to such a DECISION years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to
confession is solely one of weight and credibility. . . seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion
. BELLOSILLO, J.: temporal as maximum, to indemnify the heirs of the victim
Julieto Malaspina the amount of P50,000.00 and to pay
Any man outside of a court and unhampered by the Still professing innocence and insisting that he is a P8,300.00 as actual damages plus costs.[6]
pressure of technical procedure, unreasoned rules of victim of mistaken identity, petitioner Alejandro Fuentes, Jr.,
evidence, and cumulative authority, would say that if a man
The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial Petitioner would make much of the alleged confession In the instant case, we find that the declaration
court; hence, this petition for review. of Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., since it is a declaration against penal particularly against penal interest attributed to Zoilo Fuentes
interest and therefore an exception to the hearsay rule. The Jr. is not admissible in evidence as an exception to the
Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred when so-called confession of Zoilo was allegedly given to hearsay rule. We are not unaware of People Toledo,[12] a
it held that petitioner was positively and categorically Felicisimo Fuentes, the uncle of petitioner and Zoilo, who in 1928 case, where Justice Malcolm writing for the Court
identified as the killer of Malaspina, in affirming the judgment turn relayed the matter to P/Sgt. Benjamin Conde, Jr. endeavored to reexamine the declaration of third parties
of conviction and in holding petitioner liable for damages to Felicisimo testified that on 24 June 1989 while he was at made contrary to their penal interest. In that case, the
the heirs of the victim. Barangay San Isidro, Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., confessed that he protagonists Holgado and Morales engaged in a bob duel.
Petitioner points to an alleged inconsistency between killed Malaspina in retaliation; that he even showed him the Morales was killed almost instantly. Holgado who was
the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Alberto Toling and knife he used and asked his help in finding a lawyer, in seriously wounded gave a sworn statement (Exh. 1) before
Honorio Osok to the effect that they saw petitioner stab securing bail and, if possible, in working out a settlement with the municipal president declaring that when he and Morales
Malaspina on the right lumbar region, and the testimony of the relatives of the deceased. The following day however he fought there was nobody else present. One (1) month later
the attending physician that the victim was stabbed on the left learned that the self-confessed killer was gone and that Holgado died from his wounds. While the Court was agreed
lumbar region. petitioner had been arrested for a crime he did not commit.[9] that Toledo, who reportedly intervened in the fight and dealt
the mortal blow, should be exonerated on reasonable doubt,
This discrepancy is inconsequential. What is material is For his part, Station Commander P/Sgt. Conde, Jr., the members did not reach an accord on the admissibility of
that Malaspina was stabbed to death and that three (3) testified that after the criminal information for murder was Exh. 1. One group would totally disregard Exh. 1 since there
prosecution witnesses positively identified petitioner as the filed on 26 July 1989, petitioner met Felicisimo who informed was ample testimonial evidence to support an acquittal. The
knife wielder. It must be stressed that these witnesses had him of the disclosure by Zoilo. Conde then advised Felicisimo second group considered Exh. 1 as part of the res gestae as
known petitioner for quite some time and never had any that if it was true that it was Zoilo who fatally stabbed it was made on the same morning when the fight occurred. A
personal misunderstanding nor altercation with the latter as Malaspina Felicisimo must persuade Zoilo to surrender. third group, to which Justice Malcolm belonged, opined that
to create any suspicion that they were impelled by ill motives Conde then personally went to Barangay San Isidro to the court below erred in not admitting Exh. 1 as the statement
to falsely implicate him. investigate. There he was told by the townsfolk that Zoilo had of a fact against penal interest.
already fled).[10]
That it was another person who committed the offense For all its attempt to demonstrate the arbitrariness
is too incredible. No less than petitioners own witness, Nerio One of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule is behind the rejection in certain cases of declarations against
Biscocho who claimed he also saw the killing, testified that that pertaining to declarations made against interest. Sec. 38 penal interest, the Toledo case cannot be applied in the
Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., the petitioner, and Jonie Fuentes are of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that (t)he instant case which is remarkably different. Consider this
one and the same person. Thus - declaration made by a person deceased, or unable to testify, factual scenario: the alleged declarant Zoilo Fuentes Jr., a
against the interest of the declarant, if the fact asserted in the cousin of accused-appellant, verbally admitted to the latter,
COURT: declaration was at the time it was made so far contrary to and later to their common uncle Felicisimo Fuentes, that he
declarants own interest, that a reasonable man in his position (Zoilo) killed the victim because of a grudge, after which he
Q. Who is this Joni Fuentes and Alejandro would not have made the declaration unless he believed it to disappeared. One striking feature that militates against the
Fuentes? be true, may be received in evidence against himself or his acceptance of such a statement is its patent
successors in interest and against third persons. The untrustworthiness. Zoilo who is related to accused-appellant
A. That Joni Fuentes is the same of that or the
admissibility in evidence of such declaration is grounded on had every motive to prevaricate. The same can be said of
accused Alejandro Fuentes. I do not know
necessity and trustworthiness.[11] accused-appellant and his uncle Felicisimo. Secondly, we
his real name but he is called as Joni, sir, x
x x[7] There are three (3) essential requisites for the need not resort to legal rhetorics to find that the admission of
admissibility of a declaration against interest: (a) the such a statement may likewise be, according to Wigmore,
On cross-examination witness Biscocho further shocking to the sense of justice.[13] Let us assume that the
declarant must not be available to testify; (b) the declaration
admitted that he himself would call petitioner Alejandro trial court did admit the statement of Zoilo and on that basis
must concern a fact cognizable by the declarant; and (c) the
Fuentes, Jr., as Joni or Jonie Fuentes, as some of his friends acquitted accused-appellant. Let us assume further that Zoilo
circumstances must render it improbable that a motive to
did, but victim Malaspina occasionally called petitioner was subsequently captured and upon being confronted with
falsify existed.
Junior.[8] his admission of guilt readily repudiated the same. There is
medium period of the penalty, i.e. reclusion perpetua, should [1]
nothing, absolutely nothing, that can bind Zoilo legally to that Decision penned by Justice Quirino D. Abad Santos, Jr.,
statement. have been imposed on petitioner.[17] with Justices Oscar M. Herrera and Alfredo J. Lagamon
concurring, prom. 28 July 1993; Rollo, pp. 34-39.
But more importantly, the far weightier reason why the Petitioner maintains that assuming that he committed
admission against penal interest cannot be accepted in the the crime it is error to hold him answerable for P8,300.00 as TSN, 11 July 1991, pp. 9-10.
instant case is that the declarant is not unable to testify. actual damages on the basis of the mere testimony of the [3]
There is no showing that Zoilo is either dead, mentally victims sister, Angelina Serrano, without any tangible TSN, 18 June 1991, pp. 2-6; 11 July 1991, pp. 8-11; 8
incapacitated or physically incompetent which Sec. 38 document to support such claim. This is a valid point. In August 1991, pp. 3-5
obviously contemplates. His mere absence from the crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant is liable for all [4]
Exhs. A and B, Records, pp. 69-71; see TSN, 11 July I 991,
jurisdiction does not make him ipso facto unavailable under damages which are the natural and probable consequences pp. 2-4.
this rule.[14] For it is incumbent upon the defense to produce of the act or omission complained of.[18] To seek recovery for
each and every piece of evidence that can break the actual damages it is essential that the injured party proves [5]
TSN, 3 September 1991, pp. 3-7.
prosecution and assure the acquittal of the accused. Other the actual amount of loss with reasonable degree of certainty
than the gratuitous statements of accused-appellant and his premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence Judge Evangeline S. Yuipco, presiding; Records, pp. 107-
uncle to the effect that Zoilo admitted having killed available.[19] Courts cannot simply rely on speculation, 108.
Malaspina, the records show that the defense did not exert conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and amount [7] TSN 29 August 1991, pp. 7-8.
any serious effort to produce Zoilo as a witness. Lest we be of damages.[20]
misunderstood, the Court is always for the admission of [8] Id., pp. 13-14.
evidence that would let an innocent declaration of guilt by the The award by the court a quo of P8,300.00 as actual
real culprit. But this can be open to abuse, as when the damages is not supported by the evidence on record. We [9] TSN, 29 August 1991, pp. 3-5.
extrajudicial statement is not even authenticated thus have only the testimony of the victims elder sister stating that
she incurred expenses of P8,300.00 in connection with the Id., 4 September 1991, pp. 2-3.
increasing the probability of its fabrication; it is made to
persons who have every reason to lie and falsify; and it is not death of Malaspina.[21] However, no proof of the actual [11]
damages was ever presented in court. Of the expenses Jones on Evidence, 2nd Ed., Sec. 1164, cited in
altogether clear that the declarant himself is unable to testify. Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court in the
Thus, for this case at least, exclusion is the prudent recourse alleged to have been incurred, the Court can only give
Philippines, Vol. III, 1990 Ed., p. 554.
as explained in Toledo -The purpose of all evidence is to get credence to those supported by receipts and which appear
at the truth. The reason for the hearsay rule is that the to have been genuinely expended in connection with the [12] 51 Phil. 825(1928).
extrajudicial and unsworn statement of another is not the best death of the victim. Since the actual amount was not
method of serving this purpose. In other words, the great substantiated, the same cannot be granted.[22] Id., p. 836.
possibility of the fabrication of falsehoods, and the inability to WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from finding [14]
See Weber v. Chicago, R. I. & P. RY. Co., 151 N.W. 852,
prove their untruth, requires that the doors be closed to such petitioner ALEJANDRO FUENTES JR. guilty of MURDER 862, cited in 20 Am. Jur. 468; People v. Catalino, No. L-
evidence.[15] and directing him to indemnify the heirs of Julieto Malaspina 25403, 15 March 1968, 22 SCRA 1091, 1107.
The Court of Appeals as well as the trial court correctly in the amount of P50,000.00 plus costs is AFFIRMED with [15]
the modification that the penalty imposed should be as it is Id., p. 838.
determined the crime to be murder qualified by treachery.
The suddenness of the attack, without any provocation from corrected to reclusion perpetua, and the award of actual [16]
People v. Ronquillo, G.R. No. 96125, 31 August 1995;
the unsuspecting victim, made the stabbing of Malaspina damages is deleted. People v. Loto, G.R. Nos. 114523-24, 5 September 1995.
treacherous.[16] However, the court a quo erred in imposing SO ORDERED. [17]
an indeterminate prison term of ten (10) years and one (1) People v. Laspona, G.R. No. 108084,14 August 1995;
day of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years Padilla (Chairman), Vitug, Kapunan, and Hermosisima, People v. Mirabite, G.R. Nos. 111294-95,7 September 1995.
and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum. JJ., concur [18] Art. 2202, New Civil Code.
Murder under Art. 248 of The Revised Penal Code is
punishable by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to [19] Art. 2199, id.
death. Since aside from treachery qualifying the crime to
murder there is no other modifying circumstance proved, the People v. Degoma, G.R. Nos. 89404-05,22 May 1992,
209 SCRA 266; People v. Arguelles, G.R. No. 102539, 17
May 1993, 222 SCRA 166; Dichoso v. Court of Appeals, OR.
No. 55613, 10 December 1990, 192 SCRA 169.
[21] TSN, 19 June 1991, p. 4.
[22]In People v. Wenceslao, G.R. No. 95583, 12 August
1992,212 SCRA 560, the Court disallowed claim for actual
damages, the same being merely based on a typewritten list
of expenses submitted by the father of the deceased without
any competent proof presented in court.