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Republic of the Philippines

National Capital Judicial Region


METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT
Branch 47, Pasay City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff,

-versus- CRIM. CASE NOS. M-PSY-02-2531


For: Slight Physical Injuries

CEDRIC CANETE AND


LETICIA CANETE,
Accused.
x--------------------------------------------x

DECISION
The burden of proof rests upon the prosecution and unless it succeeds in
proving overwhelming evidence of the guilt of the accused, the presumption of
innocence prevails. Did the prosecution discharge its burden in proving the guilt of the
accused without any shadow of doubt?

THE CHARGE

Accused Cedric Canete and Leticia Canete stand charged with Slight Physical
Injuries, the accusatory portion of the Information reads as follows:

In Crim. Case No. 02-2531

That on or about the 1st day of July, 2002 in Pasay City, Metro
Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above named accused, conspiring and confederating together,
mutually helping one another, without justifiable cause, did and there
wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault, and use personal
violence upon the person of JANICE AGABE, thereby causing physical
injuries upon her, which injuries required and will require medical
attendance for a period of less than nine (9) days and will incapacitate her
from performing her habitual work or activity during the same period of
time.

Contrary to law.

In Crim. Case No. 02-2533

That on or about the 1st day of July, 2002 in Pasay City, Metro
Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above named accused, conspiring and confederating together,
mutually helping one another, without justifiable cause, did and there
wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault, and use personal
violence upon the person of FE AGABE y ESPADA, thereby causing
physical injuries upon her, which injuries required and will require

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medical attendance for a period of less than nine (9) days and will
incapacitate her from performing her habitual work or activity during the
same period of time.

Contrary to law.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

During her arraignment on February 11, 2003, accused Cedric Canete and
Leticia Canete entered a plea of not guilty. On February 26, 2006, the Pre-trial was
terminated. Trial on the merits ensued. On October 2, 2006, the prosecution formally
offered its evidence. Thereafter, it rested its case. On September 21, 2010, the defense
formally offered its evidence. The case was submitted for decision.

EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION

Testimonial Evidence

The prosecution presented the following witnesses:

JANICE AGABE testified that on or about 8:45 p.m., July 1, 2002, she was
walking along along Ilang Ilang St., Pasay City, she came from her school. She was in
front of the house of the accused Cedric Canete and Leticia Canete. She saw accused
Cedric Canete drinking liquor. When she passed by, accused Leticia Canete poured
water on her shoulder. Accused Leticia Canete ran away. She went behind her husband
accused Cedric Canete who threw the chair. He uttered, SIGE SIGE. Accused Leticia
Canete pulled her hair, accused Cedric Canete punched her face while their children
Cristine, Catherine and Lowell kicked her.

During her cross-examination, she said accused Cedric Canete was drinking with a
companion which was not stated in her affidavit. 1 Her family members were not present
during the assault by the accused and her children to her. 2 She was all alone by that
time. She did not fight back. Her injuries healed for more than a week, not more than
ten (10 days.

FE AGABE testified that on or about 8:45 p.m., July 1, 2002, she saw her
daughter Janice Agabe mauled by accused Leticia Canete and Cedric Canete in front of
the latters house at 0330 Block III, MIA Road, Pidera I, Pasay City. She rushed towards
them to pacify and to know what happened but she was punched by Cedric Canete and
kicked her. She failed to defend herself. She was chased by him. At her house, he threw
the stones at her and shouted PAPATAYIN KO KAYONG MAG-ANAK.

During her cross-examination, she first saw her daughter passing by, without any
commotion.3 She did not help her daughter Janice Agabe because it was she and
accused Cedric Canete who were fighting. 4 She cannot remember if her other family
members went to the scene of the incident because she was dizzy. 5

1
TSN dated December 8, 2003, pp. 10 to 11.
2
TSN dated December 8, 2003, p. 18.
3
TSN dated May 31, 2004, p. 7.
4
TSN dated May 31, 2004, p. 15.
5
TSN dated May 31, 2004, p. 14.

2
JONNA AGABE testified that on or about 8:45 p.m., July 1, 2002, she was at
their house when she heard a commotion. She saw her sister Janice Agabe being ganged
up by the two accused Cedric Canete and Leticia Canete as well as their children. She
and her sister went down to help their mother Fe Agabe and sister Janice Agabe who
was beaten up. She was mauled by the children of the accused. They sustained several
injuries.6

OLIVIA GONZALES that on or about 8:45 p.m., July 1, 2002, she was
inside their house, she heard a commotion outside. She saw the accused Cedric Canete
punched and kicked Fe Agabe.7 He threw a chair at her. He chased her to the latters
house.

LORGIE SANOGAL testified that on or about 8:45 p.m., July 1, 2002, she
bought a barbeque in front of the house of the accused Cedric Canete and Leticia
Canete.8 She saw accused Leticia Canete poured water at Janice Agabe. Accused Cedric
Cantet threw a mono block chair. Accused Leticia Canete pulled the hair of Janice
Agabe.9 Fe Agabe approached them to help her daughter Janice Agabe already down on
the ground being attacked by the two accused and their children. Cedric Canete threw
another mono block chair at Fe Agabe. He slapped, punched and kicked Fe Agabe.

Documentary Evidence

The prosecution offered the following exhibits which were admitted by the
Court: (1) Medical certificate of Jonna Agabe marked as Exhibit A; (2) Medical
certificate of Fe Agabe marked as Exhibit B with sub-markings; (3) Sinumpaang
salaysay of Fe Agabe marked as Exhibit C with sub-markings; and (4) Certificate to
file action marked as Exhibit D.

EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENSE

Testimonial Evidence

The defense presented as its lone witness:

CEDRIC CANETE testified that it was not true he was included in the
complainant against Leticia Canete before the barangay. He was not issued any
barangay summons.10 He was included in the certificate to file action despite non-
attendance of the barangay hearing. When he asked the barangay chairman why he was
included in the certificate to file action, said chairman was also surprised.

During the cross-examination, he answered he merely pacified her wife and the
complainants Agabes. Had he hit them, they will land in the hospital and they cannot
complaint due to the gravity of the injuries they will sustain. 11 The Barangay Chairman
issued a certification dated August 27, 2007 that he was not issued any summons or
certificate to file action.12

6
TSN dated July 20, 2002, p. 8.
7
TSN dated October 4, 2005, p. 4.
8
TSN dated October 4, 2005, p. 4.
9
TSN dated October 4, 2005, p. 6.
10
TSN dated June 15, 2010, p. 14.
11
TSN dated June 15, 2010, p. 18.
12
TSN dated June 15, 2010, p. 27.

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Documentary Evidence

The defense offered the following exhibits which were admitted by the Court:
(1) Counter-affidavit of Cedric Canete marked as Exhibit 1 with sub-making; (2)
Reklamong salaysay of Cedric Canete marked as Exhibit 2; (3) Certificate to File
Action marked as Exhibit 3; (4) Summons and Minutes of Barangay Hearing
marked as Exhibits 4 and 5; (5) Complaint marked as Exhibit 6; (6) Medico legal
slip marked as Exhibit 7; (7) Police blotter marked as Exhibit 8; (8) Certification
by Brgy. Chairman marked as Exhibit 9; and (9) Affidavit of Nestor Canites marked as
Exhibit 10.

ISSUE

The issue is whether or not accused Cedric Canete and Leticia Canete are guilty
as charged.

APPLICABLE LAW

Revised Penal Code, Article 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. The
crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:

1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall
incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require
medical attendance during the same period.

2. By arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos and censure when the
offender has caused physical injuries which do not prevent the offended party
from engaging in his habitual work nor require medical assistance.

3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 50 pesos when
the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without causing any injury.

RULING

The prosecution was able to discharge its burden in proving the guilt of the
accused Leticia Canete beyond reasonable doubt because the elements of the crime of
Slight Physical Injuries were established against private complainant Janice Agabe.
There was a medical certificate presented by the said private complainants to support
the physical attack of the same accused as testified to by her and her witnesses. Having
failed to prove that the prosecution witnesses, other than the private complainants,
were impelled by improper motives, this Court finds their testimonies to be credible.

As for the penalty, even though it appears on record that private complainant
Janice Agabe received medical treatment immediately after her injury, there is no
evidence regarding the extent of incapacity the said injury caused her. Neither there is
showing that she was incapacitated from carrying out her habitual work after the injury.
Accordingly, accused Leticia Canete may only be held liable for the crime of Slight
Physical Injuries under Paragraph 2 of Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code.

As to the complaint of Slight Physical Injuries by the private complainant Fe


Agabe against accused Leticia Canete, the same must fail for her failure to allege with

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particularity the participation of the said accused with the alleged punching and kicking
of her by accused Cedric Canete. Her testimony failed to convincingly show conspiracy
between the two accused during the incident.

As to the physical attack of Cedric Canete to the private complainants, while the
certificate to file action dated July 20, 2002 submitted by the prosecution named both
accused as respondents no summons by the barangay was issued to the accused Cedric
Canete regarding the incident for barangay conciliation and mediation among them as
parties in these cases. Therefore, there was a premature issuance of the certificate to
file action against him.

Section 410 (b) of the Local Government Code is quoted hereunder:

"Mediation by lupon chairman. Upon receipt of the complaint, the lupon chairman
shall within the next working day summon the respondent(s), with notice to the
complainant(s) for them and their witnesses to appear before him for a mediation of
their conflicting interests. If he fails in his mediation effort within fifteen (15) days from
the first meeting of the parties before him, he shall forthwith set a date for the
constitution of the pangkat in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter."

Furthermore, Administrative Circular No. 14-93 provides:

"In order that the laudable purpose of the law may not be subverted and its effectiveness
undermined by indiscriminate, improper and/or premature issuance of certifications to
file actions in court by the Lupon or Pangkat Secretaries, attested by the Lupon/Pangkat
Chairmen, respectively, the following guidelines are hereby issued for the information of
trial court judges in cases brought before them coming from the Barangays:

"[II] 4. If mediation or conciliation efforts before the Punong Barangay proved


unsuccessful, there having been no agreement to arbitrate (Sec. 410-{b}, Revised Rule
Katarungang Pambarangay Law; Sec. 1,c,[1], Rule III, Katarungang Pambarangay
Rules), or where the respondent fails to appear at the mediation proceeding before the
Punong Barangay (3rd par. Sec. 8,a, Rule VI, Katarungang Pambarangay Rules), the
Punong Barangay shall not cause the issuance of this stage of a certification to file
action, because it is now mandatory for him to constitute the Pangkat before whom
mediation, conciliation, or arbitration proceedings shall be held.

"III. All complaints and/or informations filed or raffled to your sala/branch of the
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court or Municipal Trial Court shall be
carefully read and scrutinized to determine if there has been compliance with prior
Barangay conciliation procedure under the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law and
its Implementing Rules and Regulations, as a pre-condition to judicial action,
particularly whether the certification to file action attached to the records of the case
comply with the requirements hereinabove enumerated in part II; (Emphasis and italics
supplied)

"IV. A case filed in court without compliance with prior Barangay conciliation which is a
pre-condition for formal adjudication x x x may be dismissed upon motion of the
defendant/s x x x or the court may suspend proceedings upon petition of any party x x x
and refer the case motu proprio to the appropriate Barangay authority. x x x."

In Bonifacio Law Office vs. Judge Bellosillo , A.M. No. MTJ-00-1308,December


16, 2002, our Supreme Court held, Evidently, the barangay failed to exert enough

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effort required by law to conciliate between the parties and to settle the case before it.
Hence, respondent judge was not incorrect in remanding the case to it for completion of
the mandated proceedings. We cannot fault him for seeking to promote the objectives of
barangay conciliation and for taking to heart the provisions of Supreme Court Circular
No. 14-93. His referral of the case back to the barangay cannot be equated with gross
ignorance of the law. Neither does it constitute grave abuse of discretion or obvious
partiality. In Royales vs. Intermediate Appellate Court13, the Supreme Court ruled that
"non-compliance with the condition precedent prescribed by PD 1508 could affect the
sufficiency of the plaintiffs cause of action and make his complaint vulnerable to
dismissal on the ground of lack of cause of action or prematurity."

DISPOSITIVE PORTION

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the accused Leticia


Canete GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of Slight Physical Injuries
against Janice Agabe in Criminal Case No. 02-2531 and sentences her to pay the
fine of Two Hundred Pesos (P 200.00) with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency and censure. She is ACQUITTED of Slight Physical Injuries against Fe
Agabe in Criminal Case No. 02-2533 on the ground of reasonable doubt. The Slight
Physical Injuries in Criminal Cases Nos. 02-2531 and 02-2533 against accused Cedric
Canete are DISMISSED for the premature issuance of the certificate to file action.

SO ORDERED.

Pasay City, November 8, 2010.

ELIZA B. YU
Judge

Copy furnished:
ACP John Giselher Imperial
City Prosecutors Office
Hall of Justice, Pasay City

Atty. Cecil Fojas


Private Prosecutor
Suite 8, Poolsite Lane, Elorde Sports Complex,
Sucat Road, Paranaque City

13
127 SCRA 470 (1984).

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Atty. Remmel Balinbin
Defense Counsel
Public Attorneys Office
Hall of Justice, Pasay City

Janice Agabe
Fe Agabe
Private Complainants
No. 02187, Blk. II, Ilang-Ilang St.,
Pildera I, Pasay City

Cedric Canete
Leticia Canete
Accused
No. 0330 blk. III, Pildera I,
NAIA Road, Pasay City