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People v Taan

Topic: Real or object evidence Issue: W/N the non-presentation of the firearm is fatal to the case. (NO)

Doctrine: With respect to the non-presentation of the subject firearm, such is not fatal Held:
to the prosecution of an illegal possession case as long as the existence thereof can be (1) With respect to the non-presentation of the subject firearm, such is not fatal to
established by testimony. the prosecution of an illegal possession case as long as the existence thereof can
be established by testimony. In this case, Ochinang testified that he saw Taan in
Facts: possession of a “.38 caliber revolver,” which the latter used to shoot Ladaga. This
(1) Sometime in July 1999, Ochinang, a barangay kagawad and relative of the was corroborated by the postmortem examination conducted, which reported
deceased, was at Mariano Domaoal’s (Mariano) house having a drinking spree that Ladaga sustained a gunshot wound with a 1.3 hole.
with Mariano and several persons, including Taan.
(2) At around 4:30pm, Taan invited the group to continue their drinking session at his (2) The trial court gave credence and full probative value of the testimony of
house. Ochichang, Marquez, Tacadena, and Ruar accepted the invitation. Ochinang. The trial court characterized Ochinang’s testimony as positive,
(3) On their way to Taan’s house, they met Ladaga. Taan told Tacadena, his godfather, categorical and straightforward. Moreover, his testimony was adequately
“this is the one we are looking for, he was the one who robbed the school… Take supported by documentary evidence.
him, ninong for I have been looking for that guy.” Tacadena and Marquez then - Ochinang’s testimony that Marquez struck Ladaga’s face with a stone was
took Lagada and carried him to a mango tree. To force Ladaga to confess to the confirmed by the Autopsy Report.
crime of stealing, Marquez tied his hands while Taan held his legs. Marquez then - Ochinang’s allegation that Taan put the barrel of the gun inside Ladaga’s
stuck his forehead with a big stone while Taan removed his shirt to wipe off the mout and fired it, causing the latter’s death, was likewise established by the
blood. Autopsy Report.
(4) Ladaga was brought to Taan’s house while Tacadena and Ruar went home. At
midnight, Marquez and Taan brought Ladaga to a 2ft deep irrigation canal. Taan (3) That Ochinang’s testimony is at variance with his Sworn Statement does not
poked a gun in his mouth and fired it 4x. Ochinang, who was then at the dike of persuade us to rule that Ochinang should be discredited as a witness.
the canal a meter away, saw Taan bury Ladaga in the canal. - He testified that after the drinking spree, he was with the rest of group when
(5) 2 days later, Taan summoned Ochinang to dig a deeper burial site for Ladaga they met Ladaga, but in the Sworn Statement, he stated that after parting
because of the foul odor coming from the gravesite. Nonetheless, it was Taan who ways with drinking mates, he was about to cross the bridge when he saw
transferred the body to the new excavation 6 meters away. Taan and Marquez holding Ladaga.
(6) Ochinang then reported the matter to the CIDG. He executed a sworn statement - The alleged inconsistencies are trivial and insignificant and refer only to minor
asserting Taan’s authorship of the crime and location of the gravesite, allowing details and do not impugn Ochinang’s credibility. Discrepancies or
Ladaga’s body to be recovered. inconsistencies between the affidavit and testimony do not necessarily impair
(7) An autopsy was conducted of the body producing postmortem findings, and a credibility as affidavits are taken ex parte and are often incomplete or
certification from the Firearms and Explosives division of PNP was also presented, inaccurate for lack of search inquiries by the investigating officer. The
stating that Taan is not a licensed firearm holder. testimony commands greater weight especially when cross-examined.
(8) On the other hand, Taan, as the sole witness of the defense, interposed a denial.
He alleged Ochinang falsely accused him because he had previously imputed (4) Other defenses of Taan: (a) Delay in reporting to authorities: Ochinang testified
against the latter the stealing of 3 of his uncle’s goats and he had refused to help that he tried to stop Taan and Marquez but could not because Taan was holding a
Ochinang in his bid for the position of barangay kagawad. He alleged that on the gun and took shabu. He also implored to them 4x not to kill Ladaga, to no avail.
night of the incident, he attended a wedding then went to Mariano’s house for a Hence, the reason Ochinang failed to immediately report the incident for fear of
drinking session. He then saw Ochinang pulling an anonymous person whose Taan does not affect his credibility nor destroy the truth per se of the complaint;
hands were tied. Several days later, during a drinking session, he asked Ochinang if (b) The supposed grudge Ochinang had against Taan which provoked the filing of
he had heard about the disappearance of the anonymous man he was with. the criminal case: flimsy. Even if true, a grudge does not automatically affect
Ochinang told him to shut up. credibility. Moreover, Taan failed to present testimonies of his corroborating
(9) RTC: Taan found guilty of murder aggravated by the use of an unlicensed firearm witnesses; i.e. the drinking buddies.
and sentenced to death.
(10) CA: Affirmed.
Fallo: Affirmed. Murder qualified by treachery (as Ladaga was tipsy and pinned down
when killed) and aggravated by use of unlicensed firearm. However, due to RA 9346,
proper penalty is reclusion perpetua.