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Simulation of Births and Usurpation of Civil Status unlawfully and feloniously contract a second marriage with one Norma

Jimenez.
Illegal Marriages (Art. 349-352, RA No. 10655)
Contrary to law.
BIGAMY
Malolos, Bulacan, December 8, 1969.
***US v. Gaoiran
I hereby certify that a preliminary investigation in this case has been
People v. Nepomuceno Jr. conducted by me in accordance with Sec. 14, Rule 112, of the Rules of Court;
that there is reasonable ground to believe that the offense charged has been
committed; and, that the accused is probably guilty thereof. (Orig. Rec., p. 1)
ESGUERRA, J.:
Upon arraignment on February 4, 1970, accused pleaded not guilty and trial
The decision of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch V (Sta. Maria), proceeded accordingly. After the prosecution had presented one witness, the
convicting accused Ricardo Nepomuceno, Jr. y Bernardo of "Bigamy accused, on August 11, 1970, withdrew his plea of not guilty and changed it
punishable under the provisions of Article 349, of the Revised Penal Code, into one of guilty. The case however proceeded for the reception of evidence
and sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of Six (6) Months and on the civil aspect.
One (1) day of Prision Correccional, as minimum, to Six (6) Years and Four
(4) Months of Prision Mayor, as maximum, with costs", is now before Us for
review because the Court of Appeals (Division of Five Justices) in its On December 9, 1970, a motion to quash was filed on the ground that the
Resolution of April 14, 1975, in CA-G.R. No. 12641-CR, by a four to one vote information is defective as it charged only the accused for bigamy without
ruled that only a question of law is involved in the appeal, and decision on the including the second wife and such failure, according to accused, conferred
case is not dependent on factual findings to be made so as to bring the case no jurisdiction on the lower court to try and decide the case. Said motion was
within the competence of the appellate court. The dissenting opinion holds denied on February 22, 1971. On April 28, 1971, private prosecutor orally
that there is no question of law involved as what is to be decided is the withdrew the claim for damages, which the lower court granted. On May 25,
question of whether or not the information filed was defective for not including 1971, the lower court rendered a decision the dispositive portion of which
the second wife as an accused and, hence, the Court of Appeals could have reads:
decided it on the merits by affirming the decision of the lower court.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused RICARDO NEPOMUCENO, JR.
The uncontested facts are: guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy punishable under the
provisions of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences
him to suffer an indeterminate sentence of Six (6) Months and One (l) Day of
The Information dated December 8, 1969 reads as follows: Prision Correccional as minimum, to Six (6) Years and Four (4) Months of
Prision Mayor, as maximum, with costs. (Orig. Rec. 201-202)
"The undersigned Provincial Fiscal accuses Ricardo Nepomuceno,
Jr. of the crime of bigamy, penalized under the provisions of Article 349 of the On appeal to the Court of Appeals, accused cited as a
Revised Penal Code, committed as follows: single error the lower court's failure to quash the information
for lack of jurisdiction. While awaiting completion of the
That on or about the 16th day of August, 1969, in the municipality of records the private prosecutor filed a motion to forward the
Norzagaray, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the Jurisdiction of case to the Supreme Court on the ground that the appeal
this Honorable Court, the said accused Ricardo Nepomuceno, Jr., being then involves a pure question of law. Two other motions of the
previously united in lawful marriage with one Dolores Desiderio, and without same nature were subsequently filed. In its resolution of
the said marriage having been legally dissolved, did then and there wilfully, May 11, 1973, the Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals
resolved to give due course to the appeal, to consider it Only if the second spouse had knowledge of the previous undissolved
submitted for decision, the same to he raffled immediately marriage of the accused could she be included in the information as a co-
and to refer the motions to certify the case to the Supreme accused. Bigamy is a public offense and a crime against status, while adultery
Court to the Division to which the case may be raffled. and concubinage are private offenses and are crimes against chastity. In
adultery and concubinage, pardon by the offended party will bar the
The case was eventually assigned to the Court of Appeals Special Division of prosecution of the case, which is not so in bigamy. It is, therefore, clear that
Five Justices which promulgated the resolution of April 14, 1975, forwarding bigamy is not similar to adultery or concubinage.
the case to this Court for decision.
When the accused raised the question of defective information for non-
On the issue of whether or not the lower court erred in not quashing the inclusion of the second wife as an accused for the first time in a motion to
information because it was defective for not including the second wife (not quash, the lower court ruled:
because of lack of jurisdiction), let us scrutinize the provision of Art. 349 of the
Revised Penal Code, to wit: The information is clear and it is only the accused Ricardo
Nepomuceno, Jr. who contracted a second marriage, he
The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any being previously united in lawful marriage with one Dolores
person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage Desiderio, and without the same having been legally
before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or dissolved, and there being no showing in the recitation of
before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively facts in the information to the effect that Norma Jimenez,
dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proceedings. the second wife, had knowledge of the first marriage, and
(Emphasis for emphasis) despite said knowledge she contracted the second
marriage with the accused; nor is there any showing that
Norma Jimenez had had a previous marriage of her of her
The crime of bigamy is committed when a person contracts a second or own, we see no reason for the inclusion of Norma Jimenez
subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, , the second wife, in the information. (Emphasis for
or before the absent spouse has been judicially declared as presumptively emphasis)
dead. The facts of this case clearly show that accused Nepomuceno married
Dolores Desiderio on March 20, 1969, in Balagtas, Bulacan, and that about
five months later, or on August 16, 1969, he again married Norma Jimenez in Whether or not the second spouse, Norma Jimenez, should be included in the
Norzagaray, Bulacan. Accused undeniably contracted two marriages in the information is a question of fact that was determined by the fiscal who
short span of five months, which he categorically admitted when he pleaded conducted the preliminary investigation in this case. That the fiscal did not
guilty. include Norma Jimenez in the information simply shows absence of evidence
that could make her liable for the crime. Her non-inclusion in the information
as a co-accused of appellant Nepomuceno in the crime of bigamy is not a
Appellant's contention that the crime of bigamy entails the joint liability of two defect in the information filed against Nepomuceno alone since her inclusion
persons who marry each other, while the previous marriage of one or the other or not in said information depended upon available evidence against her. The
is valid and subsisting is completely devoid of merit. Even a cursory scrutiny conclusion is, therefore, irresistible that the lower court committed no error
of Art. 349 of the Revised Penal Code will disclose that the crime of bigamy when it refused to quash the information against the accused, Nepomuceno,
can be committed by one person who contracts a subsequent marriage while, on the mere flimsy ground that the second wife was not included therein.
the former marriage is valid and subsisting. Bigamy is not similar to the crimes
of adultery and concubinage, wherein the law (Art. 344, first and third pars.,
Revised Penal Code, and Sec. 4, Rule 110, Rules of Court) specifically WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court convicting the appellant, Ricardo
requires that the culprits, if both are alive, should he prosecuted or included in Nepomuceno, Jr. y Bernardino, and sentencing him accordingly, as stated on
the information. In the crime of bigamy, both the first and second spouses may pages one (1) and three (3) hereof, is affirmed with costs against the accused-
be the offended parties depending on the circumstances, as when the second appellant. SO ORDERED.
spouse married the accused without being aware of his previous marriage.
People v. Schenckenburger the state; the second, an offense against chastity and may be prosecuted only
at the instance of the offended party. And no rule is more settled in law than
MORAN, J.: that, on the matter of double jeopardy, the test is not whether the defendant
has already been tried for the same act, but whether he has been put in
jeopardy for the same offense. (Diaz v. U. S., 223 U. S., 422; People v.
On March 16, 1926, the accused Rodolfo A. Schneckenburger married the Cabrera, 43 Phil., 82)
compliant Elena Ramirez Cartagena and after seven years of martial life, they
agreed, for reason of alleged incompatibility of character, to live separately
each other and on May 25, 1935 they executed a document which in part Upon the other hand, we believe and so hold that the accused should be
recites as follows: acquitted of the crime of concubinage. The document executed by and
between the accused and the complaint in which they agreed to be "en
completa libertad de accion en cualquier acto y en todos conceptos," while
Que ambos comparecientes convienen en vivir separados el uno del illegal for the purpose for which it was executed, constitutes nevertheless a
otro por el resto de su vida y se comprometen, y obligan valid consent to the act of concubinage within the meaning of section 344 of
reciprocamente a no molastarse ni intervenir ni mezclarse bajo the Revised Penal Code. There can be no doubt that by such agreement, each
ningun concepto en la vida publica o privada de los mismos, entre party clearly intended to forego to illicit acts of the other.
si, quendado cada uno de los otorgantes en completa libertad de
accion en calquier acto y todos concepto.
We said before (People vs. Guinucod, 58 Phil., 621) that the consent which
bars the offended party from instituting a criminal prosecution in cases of
On June 15, 1935, the accused Schneckenburger, without leaving the adultery, concubinage, seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness
Philippines, secured a decree of divorce from the civil court of Juarez, Bravos is that which has been given expressly or impliedly after the crime has been
District, State of Chihuahua, Mexico. On May 11, 1936, he contracted another committed. We are now convinced that this is a narrow view in way warranted
marriage with his co-accused, Julia Medel, in the justice of the peace court of by the language, as well as the manifest policy, of the law. The second
Malabon, Rizal, and since then they lived together as husband and wife in the paragraph of article 344 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
city of Manila. Because of the nullity of the divorce decreed by the Mexico
Court, complaint herein instituted two actions against the accused, one for
bigamy in the Court of First Instance of Rizal and the other concubinage in the The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without
court of First Instance of Manila. The first culminated in the conviction of the including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any
accused for which he was sentenced to penalty of two months and one day of case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the offenders.
arresto mayor. On the trial for the offense of concubinage accused interposed (Emphasis ours.)
the plea of double jeopardy, and the case was dismissed; but, upon appeal by
the fiscal, this Court held the dismissal before the trial to be premature this As the term "pardon" unquestionably refers to the offense after its commission,
was under the former procedure and without deciding the question of double "consent" must have been intended agreeably with its ordinary usage, to refer
jeopardy, remanded the case to the trial court for trial on the merits. Accused to the offense prior to its commission. No logical difference can indeed be
was convicted of concubinage through reckless imprudence and sentenced to perceived between prior and subsequent consent, for in both instances as the
a penalty of two months and one day of arresto mayor. Hence this appeal. offended party has chosen to compromise with his/her dishonor, he/she
becomes unworthy to come to court and invoke its aid in the vindication of the
As to appellant's plea of double jeopardy, it need only be observed that the wrong. For instance, a husband who believers his wife another man for
office of bigamy for which he was convicted and that of concubinage for which adultery, is as unworthy, if not more, as where, upon acquiring knowledge of
he stood trial in the court below are two distinct offenses in law and in fact as the adultery after its commission, he says or does nothing. We, therefore, hold
well as in the mode of their prosecution. The celebration of the second that the prior consent is as effective as subsequent consent to bar the
marriage, with the first still existing, characterizes the crime of bigamy; on the offended party from prosecuting the offense.
other hand, in the present case, mere cohabitation by the husband with a
woman who is not his wife characterizes the crime of concubinage. The first In this arriving at this conclusion we do not with to be misconstrued as
in an offense against civil status which may be prosecuted at the instance of legalizing an agreement to do an illicit act, in violation of law. Our view must
be taken only to mean that an agreement of the tenor entered into between showed her a letter which he wrote breaking off his engagement with Tan. As
the parties herein, operates, within the plain language and manifest policy of a counterclaim defendant asks P50,000 as moral damages for the deceit,
the law, to bar the offended party from prosecuting the offense. If there is fraud and insidious machinations committed upon her by plaintiff.
anything morally condemnatory in a situation of his character, the remedy lies
not with us but with the legislative department of the government. What the On February 19, 1958, after had filed Civil Case No. R-5387 defendant
law is, not what it should be, defines the limits of our authority. Elizabeth Ceasar filed a criminal complaint for bigamy 39 3 against plaintiff
Abundio Merced with the office of the City Fiscal of Cebu. On April 7, 1958 the
Merced v. Hon. Diez, et al. Assistant City Fiscal filed Criminal Case No. V-6520, charging Merced with
bigamy for the second marriage. The information reads.
LABRADOR, J.:
The undersigned Assistant Fiscal of City of Cebu accuses Abundio
This is a petition for a writ of certiorari with prohibition to prohibit the judge Merced of the crime of bigamy, committed as follows:
presiding the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental, Hon. Clementino V.
Diez, from proceeding further in the Criminal Case No. V-6520, entitled People That on or about the 21st day of August, 1957, in the City of Cebu,
of the Philippines vs. Abundio Merced until after final termination of Civil Case Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
No. R-5387, for the annulment of the marriage of petitioner Abundio Merced said accused Abundio Merced, being previously united in lawful
with Elizabeth Ceasar, also pending in same court. marriage with Eufrocina Tan, and without the said marriage having
been legally dissolved did then and there wilfully unlawfully,
The record disclose the following proceedings in the court a quo: On January feloniously contract a second marriage with Elizabeth Ceasar.
30, 1958, Abundio Merced filed a complaint for annulment of his second
marriage with Elizabeth Ceasar. The complaint is docketed as Civil Case No. Contrary to Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. (Annex "2".)
R-5387. The complaint alleges that defendant Elizabeth Ceasar and her
relatives forced, threatened and intimated him into signing an affidavit to the Abundio Merced filed a motion to hold to trial of said criminal case in abeyance
effect that he and defendant had been living together as husband and wife for until final termination of Civil Case No. R- 5387. Reason alleged for the motion
over five years, which is not true; that this affidavit was used by defendant in is that the Civil Action involves facts which if proved will determine the
securing their marriage of exceptional character, without the need for marriage innocence of the accused. After an opposition thereto was filed by the
license; that he was again forced, threatened and intimated by defendant and assistant provincial fiscal, the court granted the motion. However, upon motion
her relatives into entering the marriage with her on August 21, 1957 before for reconsideration filed by the fiscal, the order was set aside and another
Municipal Judge Medardo A. Conde; that immediately after the celebration of entered denying the motion of accused for suspension of the criminal
the marriage plaintiff left defendant and never lived with her; that the defendant proceedings, which last order is the one sough herein to be annulled. The
wrote him on October 29, 1957, admitting that he was forced into the marriage court held in its last order that inasmuch as by virtue of the decision of the
and asking him to go to Cebu to have the marriage annulled, but he refused Supreme Court in the case of People vs. Mendoza, 95 Phil., 50 Off. Gaz. [10],
to go for fear he may be forced into living with the defendant. Merced prays 4767, judicial declaration of nullity of a second and bigamous marriage is not
for annulment of the marriage and for moral damages in the amount of P2,000. necessary, there is no need in this case to decide the nullity of the second
On March 3, 1958, Elizabeth Ceasar filed her answer to the complaint. In her marriage, or to determine and declare the existence of the grounds for
answer, she denies the material allegations of the complaint and avers as annulling the same, but that said grounds should be used as a defense in the
affirmative defenses that neither she nor her relatives know of plaintiff's criminal action. A motion to reconsider the second order of the court having
previous marriage to Eufrocina Tan; that sometime in July, 1957, plaintiff been denied, petition herein was filed.
asked her mother to intercede on their behalf to secure her father's consent
to their marriage as plaintiff could not concentrate on his studies without
marrying Elizabeth, but that her mother advised him to finish his studies first; When the petition for certiorari with prohibition was filed, the petitioner secured
that sometime in April, 1957, defendant learned that plaintiff was engaged to from this Court a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin respondent judge from
marry Eufrocina Tan, but plaintiff, upon being confronted with such discovery, proceeding further in the criminal case.
Before this Court the sole question raised is whether an action to annul the action for bigamy, cannot be determined in the criminal case and since
second marriage is a prejudicial question in a prosecution for bigamy. prosecution for bigamy does not lie unless the elements of the second
marriage appear to exist, it is necessary that a decision in a civil action to the
The definition and the elements of a prejudicial question have been set forth effect that the second marriage contains all the essentials of a marriage must
by us as follows: first be secured.

Prejudicial question has been defined to be that which arises in a We have, therefore, in the case at bar, the issue of the validity of the second
case, the resolution of which (question) is a logical antecedent of the marriage, which must be determined before hand in the civil action, before the
issue involved in said case, and the cognizance of which pertains to criminal action can proceed. We have a situation where the issue of the validity
another Tribunal (Cuestion prejudicial, es 3o 3 la que surge en un of the second marriage can be determined or must be determined in the civil
pleito o causa cuya resolucion sean antecedente logico de la action before the criminal action for bigamy can be prosecuted. The question
cuestion-objeto del pleito o causa y cuyo conocimiento corresponda of the validity of the second marriage is, therefore, a prejudicial question,
a los Tribunales de otro orden o jurisdiccion. — Enciclopedia Juridica because determination of the validity of the second marriage is determinable
Española, p. 228). The prejudicial question must be determinative of in the civil action and must precede the criminal action for bigamy.
the case before the court; this is its first element. Jurisdiction to try
said question must be lodged in another tribunal; this is the second Spanish jurisprudence, from which the principle of prejudicial question has
element. In an action for bigamy for example, if the accused claims been taken, requires that the essential element determinative of the criminal
that the first marriage is null and void and the right to decide such action must be cognizable by another court. This requirement of a different
validity is vested in another tribunal, the civil action for nullity must be court is demanded in Spanish jurisprudence because Spanish courts are
first decided before the action for bigamy can proceed, hence, the divided according to their jurisdictions, some courts being exclusively of civil
validity of the first marriage is a prejudicial question. (People vs. jurisdiction, others of criminal jurisdiction. In the Philippines, where our courts
Aragon, 94 Phil., 357; 50 Off. Gaz., No. 10, 4863). are vested with both civil and criminal jurisdiction, the principle of prejudicial
question is to be applied even if there is only one court before which the civil
In order that a person may be held guilty of the crime of bigamy, the second action and the criminal action are to be litigated. But in this case the court
and subsequent marriage must have all the essential elements of a valid when exercising its jurisdiction over the civil action for the annulment of
marriage, were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. This was the marriage is considered as a court distinct and different from itself when trying
ruling of this Court in People vs. Dumpo, 62 Phil., 246, where we said: the criminal action for bigamy.

It is an essential element of the crime of bigamy that the alleged Our conclusion that the determination of the validity of the marriage in the civil
second marriage, having all the essential requisites, would be valid action for annulment is a prejudicial question, insofar as the criminal action for
were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. It appearing that bigamy is concerned, is supported by Mr. Justice Moran in his dissenting
the marriage alleged to have been contracted by the accused with opinion in De Leon vs. Mabanag, 70 Phil., 207 thus:
Sabdapal, her former marriage with Hassan being undissolved, can
not be considered as such, according to Mohameddan rites, there is La regla general es que cuando hay una cuestion civil y otra criminal sobre
no justification to hold her guilty of the crime charged in the un mismo delito u ofensa, la segunda debe verse antes que la primera, por
information. (People vs. Dumpo, 62 Phil. 246). la razon de que las formas de un juicio criminal son las mas a proposito para
la averiguacion de un delito, y no las de un juicio civil. Esta regla tiene, sin
embargo, una excepcion, y es la que se refiere a una cueston civil prejudicial.
One of the essential elements of a valid marriage is that the consent thereto Una cuestion civil es de caracter prejudicial y debe resolverse antes que una
of the contracting parties must be freely and voluntarily given. Without the cuestion criminal, cuando versa sonbre un hecho distinto y separado del
element of consent a marriage would be illegal and void. (Section 29, Act No. delito, pero tan intimamente ligado a el que determina la culpabilidad o
3613, otherwise known as the Marriage Law.) But the question of invalidity inocencia del acusado. Por ejemplo, una accion criminal por bigamia.
can not ordinarily be decided in the criminal action for bigamy but in a civil
action for annulment. Since the validity of the second marriage, subject of the
The majority decision in said case of De Leon vs. Mabanag also sustains the petition of the herein petitioner to prohibit the Fiscal from prosecuting the case
theory that when a civil action is pending in court, in which a validity of a for bigamy, criminal case no. V-6520, entitled People vs. Abundio Merced, is
document claimed to be false and fictitious is in issue, the fiscal may not hereby set aside and the preliminary injunction issued by this court to that
prosecute the person who allegedly executed the false document because the effect is hereby made permanent. So Ordered.
issue of the validity of the instrument is sub judice and the prosecuting officer
should be ordered to suspend the criminal action until the prejudicial question Morigo v. People
has been finally determined. Thus the Court said"

QUISUMBING, J.:
Hablando en terminos generales la facultad del Fiscal y su deber perseguir
los delitos no deben ser controlados ni coartados por los tribunales; pero no
hay duda que esa facultad puede ser regulada para que no se abuse de ella. This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse the decision1 dated
Cuando un miembro del Ministerio Fiscal se desvia de la ley y entorpece la October 21, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, which
recta administracion de justicia procesando a una persona por hechos affirmed the judgment2 dated August 5, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
constituvos de delito que se encuentran sub-judice y de los cuales se
of Bohol, Branch 4, in Criminal Case No. 8688. The trial court found herein
propone una cuestion prejudicial administrativa, es deber de los tribunales
llamarle la atencion y obligarle que suspenda toda accion criminal hasta que petitioner Lucio Morigo y Cacho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of bigamy
la cuestion prejudicial administrativa se haya decidido finalmente. (De Leon and sentenced him to a prison term of seven (7) months of prision correccional
vs. Mabanag, 70 Phil., 207.) as minimum to six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as maximum.
Also assailed in this petition is the resolution 3 of the appellate court, dated
September 25, 2000, denying Morigo’s motion for reconsideration.
The case of People vs. Mendoza, supra, upon which the trial court and the
respondents rely, presents a different sets of facts from the case at bar. So is
the ruling therein as contained in the syllabus. In the case of People vs. The facts of this case, as found by the court a quo, are as follows:
Mendoza, Mendoza was charged with and convicted of bigamy for a marriage
with one Carmencita Panlilio, contracted in August, 1949. Mendoza was Appellant Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates at the
married for the first time in 1946 with Josefa de Asis; then married for the house of Catalina Tortor at Tagbilaran City, Province of Bohol, for a
second time with Olga Lema; and then married for the third time to Panlilio in period of four (4) years (from 1974-1978).
1949. On February 2, 1943, Josefa de Asis died. The court citing the
provisions of Article 29 of the marriage law, held that the second marriage of
the appellant Mendoza with Lema was operation of law null and void, because After school year 1977-78, Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete lost
at the time of the second marriage in 1941, appellant's former wife Josefa de contact with each other.
Asis was still living. This marriage of appellant with Lema being null and void
at the time the appellant contracted the said marriage, the impediment of the In 1984, Lucio Morigo was surprised to receive a card from Lucia
second marriage did not exist. Hence the appellant was acquitted of bigamy Barrete from Singapore. The former replied and after an exchange
for the 1949 marriage because his previous marriage with Lema in 1941, by of letters, they became sweethearts.
operation of law, was void ab initio.
In 1986, Lucia returned to the Philippines but left again for Canada
In the case at bar, in order that the petitioner be held guilty of the crime of to work there. While in Canada, they maintained constant
bigamy, the marriage which she contracted for the second time with Elizabeth communication.
Ceasar, must first be declared valid. But its validity has been questioned in
the civil action. This civil action must be decided before the prosecution for In 1990, Lucia came back to the Philippines and proposed to petition
bigamy can proceed. appellant to join her in Canada. Both agreed to get married, thus they
were married on August 30, 1990 at the Iglesia de Filipina Nacional
For the foregoing considerations, the petition for the issuance of a writ of at Catagdaan, Pilar, Bohol.
certiorari and prohibition is hereby granted. The order of the court denying the
On September 8, 1990, Lucia reported back to her work in Canada is not a defense in a charge of bigamy. The parties to a marriage should not
leaving appellant Lucio behind. be allowed to assume that their marriage is void even if such be the fact but
must first secure a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage before
On August 19, 1991, Lucia filed with the Ontario Court (General they can be allowed to marry again.
Division) a petition for divorce against appellant which was granted
by the court on January 17, 1992 and to take effect on February 17, Anent the Canadian divorce obtained by Lucia, the trial court cited Ramirez v.
1992. Gmur,9 which held that the court of a country in which neither of the spouses
is domiciled and in which one or both spouses may resort merely for the
On October 4, 1992, appellant Lucio Morigo married Maria Jececha purpose of obtaining a divorce, has no jurisdiction to determine the
Lumbago4 at the Virgen sa Barangay Parish, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. matrimonial status of the parties. As such, a divorce granted by said court is
not entitled to recognition anywhere. Debunking Lucio’s defense of good faith
in contracting the second marriage, the trial court stressed that following
On September 21, 1993, accused filed a complaint for judicial People v. Bitdu,10 everyone is presumed to know the law, and the fact that one
declaration of nullity of marriage in the Regional Trial Court of Bohol, does not know that his act constitutes a violation of the law does not exempt
docketed as Civil Case No. 6020. The complaint seek (sic) among him from the consequences thereof.
others, the declaration of nullity of accused’s marriage with Lucia, on
the ground that no marriage ceremony actually took place.
Seasonably, petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, docketed as
CA-G.R. CR No. 20700.
On October 19, 1993, appellant was charged with Bigamy in an
Information5 filed by the City Prosecutor of Tagbilaran [City], with the
Regional Trial Court of Bohol.6 Meanwhile, on October 23, 1997, or while CA-G.R. CR No. 20700 was
pending before the appellate court, the trial court rendered a decision in Civil
Case No. 6020 declaring the marriage between Lucio and Lucia void ab initio
The petitioner moved for suspension of the arraignment on the ground that since no marriage ceremony actually took place. No appeal was taken from
the civil case for judicial nullification of his marriage with Lucia posed a this decision, which then became final and executory.
prejudicial question in the bigamy case. His motion was granted, but
subsequently denied upon motion for reconsideration by the prosecution.
When arraigned in the bigamy case, which was docketed as Criminal Case On October 21, 1999, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. CR No. 20700 as
No. 8688, herein petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial thereafter follows:
ensued.
WHEREFORE, finding no error in the appealed decision, the same
On August 5, 1996, the RTC of Bohol handed down its judgment in Criminal is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.11
Case No. 8688, as follows:
In affirming the assailed judgment of conviction, the appellate court stressed
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Court finds that the subsequent declaration of nullity of Lucio’s marriage to Lucia in Civil
accused Lucio Morigo y Cacho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Case No. 6020 could not acquit Lucio. The reason is that what is sought to be
the crime of Bigamy and sentences him to suffer the penalty of punished by Article 34912 of the Revised Penal Code is the act of contracting
imprisonment ranging from Seven (7) Months of Prision Correccional a second marriage before the first marriage had been dissolved. Hence, the
as minimum to Six (6) Years and One (1) Day of Prision Mayor as CA held, the fact that the first marriage was void from the beginning is not a
maximum. SO ORDERED.7 valid defense in a bigamy case.

In convicting herein petitioner, the trial court discounted petitioner’s claim that The Court of Appeals also pointed out that the divorce decree obtained by
his first marriage to Lucia was null and void ab initio. Following Domingo v. Lucia from the Canadian court could not be accorded validity in the
Court of Appeals,8 the trial court ruled that want of a valid marriage ceremony Philippines, pursuant to Article 1513 of the Civil Code and given the fact that it
is contrary to public policy in this jurisdiction. Under Article 17 14 of the Civil upon bigamy would not be doing. The petitioner further argues that his lack of
Code, a declaration of public policy cannot be rendered ineffectual by a criminal intent is material to a conviction or acquittal in the instant case. The
judgment promulgated in a foreign jurisdiction. crime of bigamy, just like other felonies punished under the Revised Penal
Code, is mala in se, and hence, good faith and lack of criminal intent are
Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the appellate court’s decision, allowed as a complete defense. He stresses that there is a difference between
contending that the doctrine in Mendiola v. People,15 allows mistake upon a the intent to commit the crime and the intent to perpetrate the act. Hence, it
difficult question of law (such as the effect of a foreign divorce decree) to be a does not necessarily follow that his intention to contract a second marriage is
basis for good faith. tantamount to an intent to commit bigamy.

On September 25, 2000, the appellate court denied the motion for lack of For the respondent, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submits that
merit.16 However, the denial was by a split vote. The ponente of the appellate good faith in the instant case is a convenient but flimsy excuse. The Solicitor
court’s original decision in CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, Justice Eugenio S. General relies upon our ruling in Marbella-Bobis v. Bobis,18 which held that
Labitoria, joined in the opinion prepared by Justice Bernardo P. Abesamis. bigamy can be successfully prosecuted provided all the elements concur,
The dissent observed that as the first marriage was validly declared void ab stressing that under Article 4019 of the Family Code, a judicial declaration of
initio, then there was no first marriage to speak of. Since the date of the nullity nullity is a must before a party may re-marry. Whether or not the petitioner
retroacts to the date of the first marriage and since herein petitioner was, in was aware of said Article 40 is of no account as everyone is presumed to know
the eyes of the law, never married, he cannot be convicted beyond reasonable the law. The OSG counters that petitioner’s contention that he was in good
doubt of bigamy. faith because he relied on the divorce decree of the Ontario court is negated
by his act of filing Civil Case No. 6020, seeking a judicial declaration of nullity
of his marriage to Lucia.
The present petition raises the following issues for our resolution:
Before we delve into petitioner’s defense of good faith and lack of criminal
A. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO intent, we must first determine whether all the elements of bigamy are present
APPLY THE RULE THAT IN CRIMES PENALIZED UNDER THE REVISED in this case. In Marbella-Bobis v. Bobis,20 we laid down the elements of bigamy
PENAL CODE, CRIMINAL INTENT IS AN INDISPENSABLE REQUISITE. thus:
COROLLARILY, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
FAILING TO APPRECIATE [THE] PETITIONER’S LACK OF CRIMINAL
INTENT WHEN HE CONTRACTED THE SECOND MARRIAGE. (1) the offender has been legally married;

B. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING (2) the first marriage has not been legally dissolved, or in case his or
THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE VS. BITDU (58 PHIL. 817) IS APPLICABLE her spouse is absent, the absent spouse has not been judicially
TO THE CASE AT BAR. declared presumptively dead;

C. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO (3) he contracts a subsequent marriage; and
APPLY THE RULE THAT EACH AND EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE FAVORING
THE INNOCENCE OF THE ACCUSED MUST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.17 (4) the subsequent marriage would have been valid had it not been
for the existence of the first.
To our mind, the primordial issue should be whether or not petitioner
committed bigamy and if so, whether his defense of good faith is valid. Applying the foregoing test to the instant case, we note that during the
pendency of CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, the RTC of Bohol Branch 1, handed
The petitioner submits that he should not be faulted for relying in good faith down the following decision in Civil Case No. 6020, to wit:
upon the divorce decree of the Ontario court. He highlights the fact that he
contracted the second marriage openly and publicly, which a person intent
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered It bears stressing though that in Mercado, the first marriage was actually
decreeing the annulment of the marriage entered into by petitioner solemnized not just once, but twice: first before a judge where a marriage
Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete on August 23, 1990 in Pilar, Bohol certificate was duly issued and then again six months later before a priest in
and further directing the Local Civil Registrar of Pilar, Bohol to effect religious rites. Ostensibly, at least, the first marriage appeared to have
the cancellation of the marriage contract. SO ORDERED.21 transpired, although later declared void ab initio.

The trial court found that there was no actual marriage ceremony performed In the instant case, however, no marriage ceremony at all was performed by
between Lucio and Lucia by a solemnizing officer. Instead, what transpired a duly authorized solemnizing officer. Petitioner and Lucia Barrete merely
was a mere signing of the marriage contract by the two, without the presence signed a marriage contract on their own. The mere private act of signing a
of a solemnizing officer. The trial court thus held that the marriage is void ab marriage contract bears no semblance to a valid marriage and thus, needs no
initio, in accordance with Articles 322 and 423 of the Family Code. As the judicial declaration of nullity. Such act alone, without more, cannot be deemed
dissenting opinion in CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, correctly puts it, "This simply to constitute an ostensibly valid marriage for which petitioner might be held
means that there was no marriage to begin with; and that such declaration of liable for bigamy unless he first secures a judicial declaration of nullity before
nullity retroacts to the date of the first marriage. In other words, for all intents he contracts a subsequent marriage.
and purposes, reckoned from the date of the declaration of the first marriage
as void ab initio to the date of the celebration of the first marriage, the accused The law abhors an injustice and the Court is mandated to liberally construe a
was, under the eyes of the law, never married." 24 The records show that no penal statute in favor of an accused and weigh every circumstance in favor of
appeal was taken from the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 6020, the presumption of innocence to ensure that justice is done. Under the
hence, the decision had long become final and executory. circumstances of the present case, we held that petitioner has not committed
bigamy. Further, we also find that we need not tarry on the issue of the validity
The first element of bigamy as a crime requires that the accused must have of his defense of good faith or lack of criminal intent, which is now moot and
been legally married. But in this case, legally speaking, the petitioner was academic.
never married to Lucia Barrete. Thus, there is no first marriage to speak of.
Under the principle of retroactivity of a marriage being declared void ab initio, WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision, dated
the two were never married "from the beginning." The contract of marriage is October 21, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, as well
null; it bears no legal effect. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, for as the resolution of the appellate court dated September 25, 2000, denying
legal purposes, petitioner was not married to Lucia at the time he contracted herein petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
the marriage with Maria Jececha. The existence and the validity of the first The petitioner Lucio Morigo y Cacho is ACQUITTED from the charge of
marriage being an essential element of the crime of bigamy, it is but logical BIGAMY on the ground that his guilt has not been proven with moral certainty.
that a conviction for said offense cannot be sustained where there is no first SO ORDERED.
marriage to speak of. The petitioner, must, perforce be acquitted of the instant
charge.
Tenebro v. Court of Appeals
The present case is analogous to, but must be distinguished from Mercado v.
Tan.25 In the latter case, the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
was likewise obtained after the second marriage was already celebrated. We
held therein that: We are called on to decide the novel issue concerning the effect of the judicial
declaration of the nullity of a second or subsequent marriage, on the ground
A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessary of psychological incapacity, on an individual’s criminal liability for bigamy. We
before a subsequent one can be legally contracted. One who enters hold that the subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of marriage on the
into a subsequent marriage without first obtaining such judicial ground of psychological incapacity does not retroact to the date of the
declaration is guilty of bigamy. This principle applies even if the celebration of the marriage insofar as the Philippines’ penal laws are
earlier union is characterized by statutes as "void."26 concerned. As such, an individual who contracts a second or subsequent
marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage is criminally liable for
bigamy, notwithstanding the subsequent declaration that the second marriage marriage at all between him and Villareyes, but there was no record of said
is void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity. marriage.9

Petitioner in this case, Veronico Tenebro, contracted marriage with private On November 10, 1997, the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-lapu City, Branch
complainant Leticia Ancajas on April 10, 1990. The two were wed by Judge 54, rendered a decision finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt
Alfredo B. Perez, Jr. of the City Trial Court of Lapu-lapu City. Tenebro and of the crime of bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, and
Ancajas lived together continuously and without interruption until the latter part sentencing him to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional,
of 1991, when Tenebro informed Ancajas that he had been previously married as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as
to a certain Hilda Villareyes on November 10, 1986. Tenebro showed Ancajas maximum.10 On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial
a photocopy of a marriage contract between him and Villareyes. Invoking this court. Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of merit.
previous marriage, petitioner thereafter left the conjugal dwelling which he
shared with Ancajas, stating that he was going to cohabit with Villareyes.1 Hence, the instant petition for review on the following assignment of errors:

On January 25, 1993, petitioner contracted yet another marriage, this one with I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED, AND THIS
a certain Nilda Villegas, before Judge German Lee, Jr. of the Regional Trial ERROR IS CORRECTIBLE IN THIS APPEAL – WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE
Court of Cebu City, Branch 15.2 When Ancajas learned of this third marriage, DECISION OF THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO CONVICTING THE
she verified from Villareyes whether the latter was indeed married to petitioner. ACCUSED FOR (sic) THE CRIME OF BIGAMY, DESPITE THE NON-
In a handwritten letter,3 Villareyes confirmed that petitioner, Veronico EXISTENCE OF THE FIRST MARRIAGE AND INSUFFICIENCY OF
Tenebro, was indeed her husband. EVIDENCE.

Ancajas thereafter filed a complaint for bigamy against petitioner. 4 The II. THE COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED FOR (sic) THE
Information,5 which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 013095-L, reads: CRIME OF BIGAMY DESPITE CLEAR PROOF THAT THE MARRIAGE
BETWEEN THE ACCUSED AND PRIVATE COMPLAINANT HAD BEEN
That on the 10th day of April 1990, in the City of Lapu-lapu, Philippines, and DECLARED NULL AND VOID AB INITIO AND WITHOUT LEGAL FORCE
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the aforenamed accused, AND EFFECT.11
having been previously united in lawful marriage with Hilda Villareyes, and
without the said marriage having been legally dissolved, did then and there After a careful review of the evidence on record, we find no cogent reason to
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously contract a second marriage with LETICIA disturb the assailed judgment.
ANCAJAS, which second or subsequent marriage of the accused has all the
essential requisites for validity were it not for the subsisting first marriage.
Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, the elements of the crime of
Bigamy are:
CONTRARY TO LAW.
(1) that the offender has been legally married;
When arraigned, petitioner entered a plea of "not guilty".6
(2) that the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case
During the trial, petitioner admitted having cohabited with Villareyes from his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be
1984-1988, with whom he sired two children. However, he denied that he and presumed dead according to the Civil Code;
Villareyes were validly married to each other, claiming that no marriage
ceremony took place to solemnize their union. 7 He alleged that he signed a
marriage contract merely to enable her to get the allotment from his office in (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and
connection with his work as a seaman.8 He further testified that he requested
his brother to verify from the Civil Register in Manila whether there was any
(4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy
requisites for validity.12 issued by the public officer in custody thereof (Emphasis ours).

Petitioner’s assignment of errors presents a two-tiered defense, in which he This being the case, the certified copy of the marriage contract, issued by a
(1) denies the existence of his first marriage to Villareyes, and (2) argues that public officer in custody thereof, was admissible as the best evidence of its
the declaration of the nullity of the second marriage on the ground of contents. The marriage contract plainly indicates that a marriage was
psychological incapacity, which is an alleged indicator that his marriage to celebrated between petitioner and Villareyes on November 10, 1986, and it
Ancajas lacks the essential requisites for validity, retroacts to the date on should be accorded the full faith and credence given to public documents.
which the second marriage was celebrated.13 Hence, petitioner argues that all
four of the elements of the crime of bigamy are absent, and prays for his Moreover, an examination of the wordings of the certification issued by the
acquittal.14 National Statistics Office on October 7, 1995 and that issued by the City Civil
Registry of Manila on February 3, 1997 would plainly show that neither
Petitioner’s defense must fail on both counts. document attests as a positive fact that there was no marriage celebrated
between Veronico B. Tenebro and Hilda B. Villareyes on November 10, 1986.
First, the prosecution presented sufficient evidence, both documentary and Rather, the documents merely attest that the respective issuing offices have
oral, to prove the existence of the first marriage between petitioner and no record of such a marriage. Documentary evidence as to the absence of a
Villareyes. Documentary evidence presented was in the form of: (1) a copy of record is quite different from documentary evidence as to the absence of a
a marriage contract between Tenebro and Villareyes, dated November 10, marriage ceremony, or documentary evidence as to the invalidity of the
1986, which, as seen on the document, was solemnized at the Manila City marriage between Tenebro and Villareyes.
Hall before Rev. Julieto Torres, a Minister of the Gospel, and certified to by
the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila;15 and (2) a handwritten letter from The marriage contract presented by the prosecution serves as positive
Villareyes to Ancajas dated July 12, 1994, informing Ancajas that Villareyes evidence as to the existence of the marriage between Tenebro and Villareyes,
and Tenebro were legally married.16 which should be given greater credence than documents testifying merely as
to absence of any record of the marriage, especially considering that there is
To assail the veracity of the marriage contract, petitioner presented (1) a absolutely no requirement in the law that a marriage contract needs to be
certification issued by the National Statistics Office dated October 7, 1995; 17 submitted to the civil registrar as a condition precedent for the validity of a
and (2) a certification issued by the City Civil Registry of Manila, dated marriage. The mere fact that no record of a marriage exists does not invalidate
February 3, 1997.18 Both these documents attest that the respective issuing the marriage, provided all requisites for its validity are present. 19 There is no
offices have no record of a marriage celebrated between Veronico B. Tenebro evidence presented by the defense that would indicate that the marriage
and Hilda B. Villareyes on November 10, 1986. between Tenebro and Villareyes lacked any requisite for validity, apart from
the self-serving testimony of the accused himself. Balanced against this
testimony are Villareyes’ letter, Ancajas’ testimony that petitioner informed her
To our mind, the documents presented by the defense cannot adequately of the existence of the valid first marriage, and petitioner’s own conduct, which
assail the marriage contract, which in itself would already have been sufficient would all tend to indicate that the first marriage had all the requisites for
to establish the existence of a marriage between Tenebro and Villareyes. validity.

All three of these documents fall in the category of public documents, and the Finally, although the accused claims that he took steps to verify the non-
Rules of Court provisions relevant to public documents are applicable to all. existence of the first marriage to Villareyes by requesting his brother to
Pertinent to the marriage contract, Section 7 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court validate such purported non-existence, it is significant to note that the
reads as follows: certifications issued by the National Statistics Office and the City Civil Registry
of Manila are dated October 7, 1995 and February 3, 1997, respectively. Both
Sec. 7. Evidence admissible when original document is a public record. – documents, therefore, are dated after the accused’s marriage to his second
When the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is wife, private respondent in this case.
As such, this Court rules that there was sufficient evidence presented by the disregard of the permanent character of the special bond between spouses,
prosecution to prove the first and second requisites for the crime of bigamy. which petitioner has undoubtedly done.

The second tier of petitioner’s defense hinges on the effects of the subsequent Moreover, the declaration of the nullity of the second marriage on the ground
judicial declaration20 of the nullity of the second marriage on the ground of of psychological incapacity is not an indicator that petitioner’s marriage to
psychological incapacity. Ancajas lacks the essential requisites for validity. The requisites for the validity
of a marriage are classified by the Family Code into essential (legal capacity
Petitioner argues that this subsequent judicial declaration retroacts to the date of the contracting parties and their consent freely given in the presence of the
of the celebration of the marriage to Ancajas. As such, he argues that, since solemnizing officer)23 and formal (authority of the solemnizing officer, marriage
his marriage to Ancajas was subsequently declared void ab initio, the crime of license, and marriage ceremony wherein the parties personally declare their
bigamy was not committed.21 agreement to marry before the solemnizing officer in the presence of at least
two witnesses).24 Under Article 5 of the Family Code, any male or female of
the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments
This argument is not impressed with merit. mentioned in Articles 3725 and 3826 may contract marriage.27

Petitioner makes much of the judicial declaration of the nullity of the second In this case, all the essential and formal requisites for the validity of marriage
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity, invoking Article 36 of the were satisfied by petitioner and Ancajas. Both were over eighteen years of
Family Code. What petitioner fails to realize is that a declaration of the nullity age, and they voluntarily contracted the second marriage with the required
of the second marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity is of license before Judge Alfredo B. Perez, Jr. of the City Trial Court of Lapu-lapu
absolutely no moment insofar as the State’s penal laws are concerned. City, in the presence of at least two witnesses.

As a second or subsequent marriage contracted during the subsistence of Although the judicial declaration of the nullity of a marriage on the ground of
petitioner’s valid marriage to Villareyes, petitioner’s marriage to Ancajas would psychological incapacity retroacts to the date of the celebration of the
be null and void ab initio completely regardless of petitioner’s psychological marriage insofar as the vinculum between the spouses is concerned, it is
capacity or incapacity.22 Since a marriage contracted during the subsistence significant to note that said marriage is not without legal effects. Among these
of a valid marriage is automatically void, the nullity of this second marriage is effects is that children conceived or born before the judgment of absolute
not per se an argument for the avoidance of criminal liability for bigamy. nullity of the marriage shall be considered legitimate. 28 There is therefore a
Pertinently, Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code criminalizes "any person recognition written into the law itself that such a marriage, although void ab
who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former initio, may still produce legal consequences. Among these legal
marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been consequences is incurring criminal liability for bigamy. To hold otherwise
declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper would render the State’s penal laws on bigamy completely nugatory, and allow
proceedings". A plain reading of the law, therefore, would indicate that the individuals to deliberately ensure that each marital contract be flawed in some
provision penalizes the mere act of contracting a second or a subsequent manner, and to thus escape the consequences of contracting multiple
marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. marriages, while beguiling throngs of hapless women with the promise of
futurity and commitment.
Thus, as soon as the second marriage to Ancajas was celebrated on April 10,
1990, during the subsistence of the valid first marriage, the crime of bigamy As such, we rule that the third and fourth requisites for the crime of bigamy
had already been consummated. To our mind, there is no cogent reason for are present in this case, and affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
distinguishing between a subsequent marriage that is null and void purely
because it is a second or subsequent marriage, and a subsequent marriage
that is null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity, at least insofar As a final point, we note that based on the evidence on record, petitioner
as criminal liability for bigamy is concerned. The State’s penal laws protecting contracted marriage a third time, while his marriages to Villareyes and Ancajas
the institution of marriage are in recognition of the sacrosanct character of this were both still subsisting. Although this is irrelevant in the determination of the
special contract between spouses, and punish an individual’s deliberate accused’s guilt for purposes of this particular case, the act of the accused
displays a deliberate disregard for the sanctity of marriage, and the State does second marriage with TINA GANDALERA-MANUEL, herein complainant, who
not look kindly on such activities. Marriage is a special contract, the key does not know the existence of the first marriage of said EDUARDO P.
characteristic of which is its permanence. When an individual manifests a MANUEL to Rubylus [Gaña].
deliberate pattern of flouting the foundation of the State’s basic social
institution, the State’s criminal laws on bigamy step in. CONTRARY TO LAW. 3

Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the penalty for the The prosecution adduced evidence that on July 28, 1975, Eduardo was
crime of bigamy is prision mayor, which has a duration of six (6) years and married to Rubylus Gaña before Msgr. Feliciano Santos in Makati, which was
one (1) day to twelve (12) years. There being neither aggravating nor then still a municipality of the Province of Rizal. 4 He met the private
mitigating circumstance, the same shall be imposed in its medium period. complainant Tina B. Gandalera in Dagupan City sometime in January 1996.
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, petitioner shall be entitled to a She stayed in Bonuan, Dagupan City for two days looking for a friend. Tina
minimum term, to be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, i.e., prision was then 21 years old, a Computer Secretarial student, while Eduardo was
correccional which has a duration of six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) 39. Afterwards, Eduardo went to Baguio City to visit her. Eventually, as one
years. Hence, the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the decision of the trial thing led to another, they went to a motel where, despite Tina’s resistance,
court which sentenced petitioner to suffer an indeterminate penalty of four (4) Eduardo succeeded in having his way with her. Eduardo proposed marriage
years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) on several occasions, assuring her that he was single. Eduardo even brought
years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum. his parents to Baguio City to meet Tina’s parents, and was assured by them
that their son was still single.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition for review is
DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. Tina finally agreed to marry Eduardo sometime in the first week of March
21636, convicting petitioner Veronico Tenebro of the crime of Bigamy and 1996. They were married on April 22, 1996 before Judge Antonio C. Reyes,
sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two the Presiding Judge of the RTC of Baguio City, Branch 61. 5 It appeared in
(2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) their marriage contract that Eduardo was "single."
day of prision mayor, as maximum, is AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.
The couple was happy during the first three years of their married life. Through
Manuel v. People their joint efforts, they were able to build their home in Cypress Point, Irisan,
Baguio City. However, starting 1999, Manuel started making himself scarce
CALLEJO, SR., J.: and went to their house only twice or thrice a year. Tina was jobless, and
whenever she asked money from Eduardo, he would slap her. 6 Sometime in
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of January 2001, Eduardo took all his clothes, left, and did not return. Worse, he
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 26877, affirming the Decision2 of the stopped giving financial support.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio City, Branch 3, convicting Eduardo P.
Manuel of bigamy in Criminal Case No. 19562-R. Sometime in August 2001, Tina became curious and made inquiries from the
National Statistics Office (NSO) in Manila where she learned that Eduardo had
Eduardo was charged with bigamy in an Information filed on November 7, been previously married. She secured an NSO-certified copy of the marriage
2001, the accusatory portion of which reads: contract.7 She was so embarrassed and humiliated when she learned that
Eduardo was in fact already married when they exchanged their own vows. 8
That on or about the 22nd day of April, 1996, in the City of Baguio, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused For his part, Eduardo testified that he met Tina sometime in 1995 in a bar
EDUARDO P. MANUEL, being then previously and legally married to where she worked as a Guest Relations Officer (GRO). He fell in love with her
RUBYLUS [GAÑA] and without the said marriage having been legally and married her. He informed Tina of his previous marriage to Rubylus Gaña,
dissolved, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously contract a but she nevertheless agreed to marry him. Their marital relationship was in
order until this one time when he noticed that she had a "love-bite" on her
neck. He then abandoned her. Eduardo further testified that he declared he were misplaced; what is applicable is Article 41 of the Family Code, which
was "single" in his marriage contract with Tina because he believed in good amended Article 390 of the Civil Code. Citing the ruling of this Court in
faith that his first marriage was invalid. He did not know that he had to go to Republic v. Nolasco,14 the OSG further posited that as provided in Article 41
court to seek for the nullification of his first marriage before marrying Tina. of the Family Code, there is a need for a judicial declaration of presumptive
death of the absent spouse to enable the present spouse to marry. Even
Eduardo further claimed that he was only forced to marry his first wife because assuming that the first marriage was void, the parties thereto should not be
she threatened to commit suicide unless he did so. Rubylus was charged with permitted to judge for themselves the nullity of the marriage;
estafa in 1975 and thereafter imprisoned. He visited her in jail after three the matter should be submitted to the proper court for resolution. Moreover,
months and never saw her again. He insisted that he married Tina believing the OSG maintained, the private complainant’s knowledge of the first marriage
that his first marriage was no longer valid because he had not heard from would not afford any relief since bigamy is an offense against the State and
Rubylus for more than 20 years. not just against the private complainant.

After trial, the court rendered judgment on July 2, 2002 finding Eduardo guilty However, the OSG agreed with the appellant that the penalty imposed by the
beyond reasonable doubt of bigamy. He was sentenced to an indeterminate trial court was erroneous and sought the affirmance of the decision appealed
penalty of from six (6) years and ten (10) months, as minimum, to ten (10) from with modification.
years, as maximum, and directed to indemnify the private complainant Tina
Gandalera the amount of ₱200,000.00 by way of moral damages, plus costs On June 18, 2004, the CA rendered judgment affirming the decision of the
of suit.9 RTC with modification as to the penalty of the accused. It ruled that the
prosecution was able to prove all the elements of bigamy. Contrary to the
The trial court ruled that the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable contention of the appellant, Article 41 of the Family Code should apply. Before
doubt all the elements of bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Manuel could lawfully marry the private complainant, there should have been
It declared that Eduardo’s belief, that his first marriage had been dissolved a judicial declaration of Gaña’s presumptive death as the absent spouse. The
because of his first wife’s 20-year absence, even if true, did not exculpate him appellate court cited the rulings of this Court in Mercado v. Tan15 and Domingo
from liability for bigamy. Citing the ruling of this Court in People v. Bitdu,10 the v. Court of Appeals16 to support its ruling. The dispositive portion of the
trial court further ruled that even if the private complainant had known that decision reads:
Eduardo had been previously married, the latter would still be criminally liable
for bigamy. WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the Decision promulgated on July
31, 2002 is hereby MODIFIED to reflect, as it hereby reflects, that accused-
Eduardo appealed the decision to the CA. He alleged that he was not appellant is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of two (2) years, four (4)
criminally liable for bigamy because when he married the private complainant, months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years
he did so in good faith and without any malicious intent. He maintained that at of prision mayor as maximum. Said Decision is AFFIRMED in all other
the time that he married the private complainant, he was of the honest belief respects.
that his first marriage no longer subsisted. He insisted that conformably to
Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code, there must be malice for one to be SO ORDERED.17
criminally liable for a felony. He was not motivated by malice in marrying the
private complainant because he did so only out of his overwhelming desire to Eduardo, now the petitioner, filed the instant petition for review on certiorari,
have a fruitful marriage. He posited that the trial court should have taken into insisting that:
account Article 390 of the New Civil Code. To support his view, the appellant
cited the rulings of this Court in United States v. Peñalosa11 and Manahan, Jr.
v. Court of Appeals.12 I

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) averred that Eduardo’s defense of THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR OF LAW
good faith and reliance on the Court’s ruling in United States v. Enriquez13 WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONER’S FIRST WIFE CANNOT BE
LEGALLY PRESUMED DEAD UNDER ARTICLE 390 OF THE CIVIL CODE was a "GRO" before he married her, and even knew that he was already
AS THERE WAS NO JUDICIAL DECLARATION OF PRESUMPTIVE DEATH married. He genuinely loved and took care of her and gave her financial
AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER ARTICLE 41 OF THE FAMILY CODE. support. He also pointed out that she had an illicit relationship with a lover
whom she brought to their house.
II
In its comment on the petition, the OSG maintains that the decision of the CA
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR OF LAW affirming the petitioner’s conviction is in accord with the law, jurisprudence and
WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE AWARD OF PHP200,000.00 AS MORAL the evidence on record. To bolster its claim, the OSG cited the ruling of this
DAMAGES AS IT HAS NO BASIS IN FACT AND IN LAW.18 Court in Republic v. Nolasco.19

The petitioner maintains that the prosecution failed to prove the second The petition is denied for lack of merit.
element of the felony, i.e., that the marriage has not been legally dissolved or,
in case his/her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, which defines and penalizes bigamy,
presumed dead under the Civil Code. He avers that when he married reads:
Gandalera in 1996, Gaña had been "absent" for 21 years since 1975; under
Article 390 of the Civil Code, she was presumed dead as a matter of law. He Art. 349. Bigamy. – The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any
points out that, under the first paragraph of Article 390 of the Civil Code, one person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former
who has been absent for seven years, whether or not he/she is still alive, shall marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been
be presumed dead for all purposes except for succession, while the second declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper
paragraph refers to the rule on legal presumption of death with respect to proceedings.
succession.
The provision was taken from Article 486 of the Spanish Penal Code, to wit:
The petitioner asserts that the presumptive death of the absent spouse arises
by operation of law upon the satisfaction of two requirements: the
specified period and the present spouse’s reasonable belief that the absentee El que contrajere Segundo o ulterior matrimonio sin hallarse legítimamente
is dead. He insists that he was able to prove that he had not heard from his disuelto el anterior, será castigado con la pena de prision mayor. xxx
first wife since 1975 and that he had no knowledge of her whereabouts or
whether she was still alive; hence, under Article 41 of the Family Code, the The reason why bigamy is considered a felony is to preserve and ensure the
presumptive death of Gaña had arisen by operation of law, as the two juridical tie of marriage established by law.20 The phrase "or before the absent
requirements of Article 390 of the Civil Code are present. The petitioner spouse had been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment
concludes that he should thus be acquitted of the crime of bigamy. rendered in the proper proceedings" was incorporated in the Revised Penal
Code because the drafters of the law were of the impression that "in
The petitioner insists that except for the period of absences provided for in consonance with the civil law which provides for the presumption of death after
Article 390 of the Civil Code, the rule therein on legal presumptions remains an absence of a number of years, the judicial declaration of presumed
valid and effective. Nowhere under Article 390 of the Civil Code does it require death like annulment of marriage should be a justification for bigamy."21
that there must first be a judicial declaration of death before the rule on
presumptive death would apply. He further asserts that contrary to the rulings For the accused to be held guilty of bigamy, the prosecution is burdened to
of the trial and appellate courts, the requirement of a judicial declaration of prove the felony: (a) he/she has been legally married; and (b) he/she contracts
presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is only a requirement a subsequent marriage without the former marriage having been lawfully
for the validity of the subsequent or second marriage. dissolved. The felony is consummated on the celebration of the second
marriage or subsequent marriage.22 It is essential in the prosecution for
The petitioner, likewise, avers that the trial court and the CA erred in awarding bigamy that the alleged second marriage, having all the essential
moral damages in favor of the private complainant. The private complainant requirements, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of the first
marriage.23 Viada avers that a third element of the crime is that the second probable consequence of his voluntary act in the absence of proof to the
marriage must be entered into with fraudulent intent (intencion fraudulente) contrary, and such presumption must prevail unless a reasonable doubt exists
which is an essential element of a felony by dolo.24 On the other hand, Cuello from a consideration of the whole evidence.34
Calon is of the view that there are only two elements of bigamy: (1) the
existence of a marriage that has not been lawfully dissolved; and (2) the For one to be criminally liable for a felony by dolo, there must be a confluence
celebration of a second marriage. It does not matter whether the first marriage of both an evil act and an evil intent. Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea.35
is void or voidable because such marriages have juridical effects until lawfully
dissolved by a court of competent jurisdiction.25 As the Court ruled in Domingo
v. Court of Appeals26 and Mercado v. Tan,27 under the Family Code of the In the present case, the prosecution proved that the petitioner was married to
Philippines, the judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is a Gaña in 1975, and such marriage was not judicially declared a nullity; hence,
defense. the marriage is presumed to subsist.36 The prosecution also proved that the
petitioner married the private complainant in 1996, long after the effectivity of
the Family Code.
In his commentary on the Revised Penal Code, Albert is of the same view as
Viada and declared that there are three (3) elements of bigamy: (1) an
undissolved marriage; (2) a new marriage; and (3) fraudulent intention The petitioner is presumed to have acted with malice or evil intent when he
constituting the felony of the act.28 He explained that: married the private complainant. As a general rule, mistake of fact or good
faith of the accused is a valid defense in a prosecution for a felony by dolo;
such defense negates malice or criminal intent. However, ignorance of the law
… This last element is not stated in Article 349, because it is undoubtedly is not an excuse because everyone is presumed to know the law. Ignorantia
incorporated in the principle antedating all codes, and, constituting one of the legis neminem excusat.
landmarks of our Penal Code, that, where there is no willfulness there is no
crime. There is no willfulness if the subject
believes that the former marriage has been dissolved; and this must be It was the burden of the petitioner to prove his defense that when he married
supported by very strong evidence, and if this be produced, the act shall be the private complainant in 1996, he was of the well-grounded belief
deemed not to constitute a crime. Thus, a person who contracts a second that his first wife was already dead, as he had not heard from her for more
marriage in the reasonable and well-founded belief that his first wife is dead, than 20 years since 1975. He should have adduced in evidence a decision of
because of the many years that have elapsed since he has had any news of a competent court declaring the presumptive death of his first wife as required
her whereabouts, in spite of his endeavors to find her, cannot be deemed by Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Article 41 of the Family
guilty of the crime of bigamy, because there is no fraudulent intent which is Code. Such judicial declaration also constitutes proof that the petitioner acted
one of the essential elements of the crime.29 in good faith, and would negate criminal intent on his part when he married
the private complainant and, as a consequence, he could not be held guilty of
bigamy in such case. The petitioner, however, failed to discharge his burden.
As gleaned from the Information in the RTC, the petitioner is charged with
bigamy, a felony by dolo (deceit). Article 3, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal
Code provides that there is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate The phrase "or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively
intent. Indeed, a felony cannot exist without intent. Since a felony by dolo is dead by means of a judgment rendered on the proceedings" in Article 349 of
classified as an intentional felony, it is deemed voluntary. 30 Although the words the Revised Penal Code was not an aggroupment of empty or useless words.
"with malice" do not appear in Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code, such The requirement for a judgment of the presumptive death of the absent spouse
phrase is included in the word "voluntary."31 is for the benefit of the spouse present, as protection from the pains and the
consequences of a second marriage, precisely because he/she could be
charged and convicted of bigamy if the defense of good faith based on mere
Malice is a mental state or condition prompting the doing of an overt act testimony is found incredible.
without legal excuse or justification from which another suffers injury.32 When
the act or omission defined by law as a felony is proved to have been done or
committed by the accused, the law presumes it to have been intentional. 33 The requirement of judicial declaration is also for the benefit of the State.
Indeed, it is a legal presumption of law that every man intends the natural or Under Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution, the "State shall protect and
strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution." Marriage is a
social institution of the highest importance. Public policy, good morals and the The absentee shall not be presumed dead for the purpose of opening his
interest of society require that the marital relation should be surrounded with succession till after an absence of ten years. If he disappeared after the age
every safeguard and its severance only in the manner prescribed and the of seventy-five years, an absence of five years shall be sufficient in order that
causes specified by law.37 The laws regulating civil marriages are necessary his succession may be opened.
to serve the interest, safety, good order, comfort or general welfare of the
community and the parties can waive nothing essential to the validity of the Art. 391. The following shall be presumed dead for all purposes, including the
proceedings. A civil marriage anchors an ordered society by encouraging division of the estate among the heirs:
stable relationships over transient ones; it enhances the welfare of the
community.
(1) A person on board a vessel lost during a sea voyage, or an aeroplane
which is missing, who has not been heard of for four years since the loss of
In a real sense, there are three parties to every civil marriage; two willing the vessel or aeroplane;
spouses and an approving State. On marriage, the parties assume new
relations to each other and the State touching nearly on every aspect of life
and death. The consequences of an invalid marriage to the parties, to innocent (2) A person in the armed forces who has taken part in war, and has been
parties and to society, are so serious that the law may well take means missing for four years;
calculated to ensure the procurement of the most positive evidence of death
of the first spouse or of the presumptive death of the absent spouse 38 after the (3) A person who has been in danger of death under other circumstances and
lapse of the period provided for under the law. One such means is the his existence has not been known for four years.
requirement of the declaration by a competent court of the presumptive death
of an absent spouse as proof that the present spouse contracts a subsequent The presumption of death of the spouse who had been absent for seven years,
marriage on a well-grounded belief of the death of the first spouse. Indeed, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, is created by law and
"men readily believe what they wish to be true," is a maxim of the old jurists. arises without any necessity of judicial declaration. 42 However, Article 41 of
To sustain a second marriage and to vacate a first because one of the parties the Family Code, which amended the foregoing rules on presumptive death,
believed the other to be dead would make the existence of the marital relation reads:
determinable, not by certain extrinsic facts, easily capable of forensic
ascertainment and proof, but by the subjective condition of individuals. 39 Only
with such proof can marriage be treated as so dissolved as to permit second Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a
marriages.40 Thus, Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code has made the previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the
dissolution of marriage dependent not only upon the personal belief of parties, subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive
but upon certain objective facts easily capable of accurate judicial years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent
cognizance,41 namely, a judgment of the presumptive death of the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of
spouse. death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the
Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient.
The petitioner’s sole reliance on Article 390 of the Civil Code as basis for his
acquittal for bigamy is misplaced. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding
paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as
provided in this Court for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee,
Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code provide – without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.43

Art. 390. After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not, With the effectivity of the Family Code,44 the period of seven years under the
the absentee still lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for first paragraph of Article 390 of the Civil Code was reduced to four consecutive
those of succession. years. Thus, before the spouse present may contract a subsequent marriage,
he or she must institute summary proceedings for the declaration of the
presumptive death of the absentee spouse,45 without prejudice to the effect of
the reappearance of the absentee spouse. As explained by this Court in reglementary period within which an appeal may be taken, for such
Armas v. Calisterio:46 presumption is still disputable and remains subject to contrary proof, then a
petition for such a declaration is useless, unnecessary, superfluous and of no
In contrast, under the 1988 Family Code, in order that a subsequent bigamous benefit to the petitioner. The Court stated that it should not waste its valuable
marriage may exceptionally be considered valid, the following conditions must time and be made to perform a superfluous and meaningless act. 50 The Court
concur, viz.: (a) The prior spouse of the contracting party must have been also took note that a petition for a declaration of the presumptive death of an
absent for four consecutive years, or two years where there is danger of death absent spouse may even be made in collusion with the other spouse.
under the circumstances stated in Article 391 of the Civil Code at the time of
disappearance; (b) the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the In Lukban v. Republic of the Philippines,51 the Court declared that the words
absent spouse is already dead; and (c) there is, unlike the old rule, a judicial "proper proceedings" in Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code can only refer
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee for which purpose the to those authorized by law such as Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code
spouse present can institute a summary proceeding in court to ask for that which refer to the administration or settlement of the estate of a deceased
declaration. The last condition is consistent and in consonance with the person. In Gue v. Republic of the Philippines,52 the Court rejected the
requirement of judicial intervention in subsequent marriages as so provided in contention of the petitioner therein that, under Article 390 of the Civil Code,
Article 41, in relation to Article 40, of the Family Code. the courts are authorized to declare the presumptive death of a person after
an absence of seven years. The Court reiterated its rulings in Szatraw, Lukban
The Court rejects petitioner’s contention that the requirement of instituting a and Jones.
petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family
Code is designed merely to enable the spouse present to contract a valid Former Chief Justice Ramon C. Aquino was of the view that "the provision of
second marriage and not for the acquittal of one charged with bigamy. Such Article 349 or "before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively
provision was designed to harmonize civil law and Article 349 of the Revised dead by means of a judgment reached in the proper proceedings" is erroneous
Penal Code, and put to rest the confusion spawned by the rulings of this Court and should be considered as not written. He opined that such provision
and comments of eminent authorities on Criminal Law. presupposes that, if the prior marriage has not been legally dissolved and the
absent first spouse has not been declared presumptively dead in a proper
As early as March 6, 1937, this Court ruled in Jones v. Hortiguela47 that, for court proceedings, the subsequent marriage is bigamous. He maintains that
purposes of the marriage law, it is not necessary to have the former spouse the supposition is not true.53 A second marriage is bigamous only when the
judicially declared an absentee before the spouse present may contract a circumstances in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 83 of the Civil Code are not
subsequent marriage. It held that the declaration of absence made in present.54 Former Senator Ambrosio Padilla was, likewise, of the view that
accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code has for its sole purpose the Article 349 seems to require judicial decree of dissolution or judicial
taking of the necessary precautions for the administration of the estate of the declaration of absence but even with such decree, a second marriage in good
absentee. For the celebration of civil marriage, however, the law only requires faith will not constitute bigamy. He posits that a second marriage, if not illegal,
that the former spouse had been absent for seven consecutive years at the even if it be annullable, should not give rise to bigamy. 55 Former Justice Luis
time of the second marriage, that the spouse present does not know his or her B. Reyes, on the other hand, was of the view that in the case of an absent
former spouse to be living, that such former spouse is generally reputed to be spouse who could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code, the
dead and the spouse present so believes at the time of the celebration of the spouse present cannot be charged and convicted of bigamy in case he/she
marriage.48 In In Re Szatraw,49 the Court declared that a judicial declaration contracts a second marriage.56
that a person is presumptively dead, because he or she had been unheard
from in seven years, being a presumption juris tantum only, subject to contrary The Committee tasked to prepare the Family Code proposed the amendments
proof, cannot reach the stage of finality or become final; and that proof of of Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code to conform to Article 349 of the
actual death of the person presumed dead being unheard from in seven years, Revised Penal Code, in that, in a case where a spouse is absent for the
would have to be made in another proceeding to have such particular fact requisite period, the present spouse may contract a subsequent marriage only
finally determined. The Court ruled that if a judicial decree declaring a person after securing a judgment declaring the presumptive death of the absent
presumptively dead because he or she had not been heard from in seven spouse to avoid being charged and convicted of bigamy; the present spouse
years cannot become final and executory even after the lapse of the will have to adduce evidence that he had a well-founded belief that the absent
spouse was already dead.57 Such judgment is proof of the good faith of the spouse is bigamous even if done in good faith.61 Justice Regalado opined that
present spouse who contracted a subsequent marriage; thus, even if the there were contrary views because of the ruling in Jones and the provisions
present spouse is later charged with bigamy if the absentee spouse of Article 83(2) of the Civil Code, which, however, appears to have been set
reappears, he cannot be convicted of the crime. As explained by former to rest by Article 41 of the Family Code, "which requires a summary hearing
Justice Alicia Sempio-Diy: for the declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse before the other
spouse can remarry."
… Such rulings, however, conflict with Art. 349 of the Revised Penal Code
providing that the present spouse must first ask for a declaration of Under Article 238 of the Family Code, a petition for a declaration of the
presumptive death of the absent spouse in order not to be guilty of bigamy in presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code
case he or she marries again. may be filed under Articles 239 to 247 of the same Code.62

The above Article of the Family Code now clearly provides that for the purpose On the second issue, the petitioner, likewise, faults the trial court and the CA
of the present spouse contracting a second marriage, he or she must file a for awarding moral damages in favor of the private complainant. The petitioner
summary proceeding as provided in the Code for the declaration of the maintains that moral damages may be awarded only in any of the cases
presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the latter’s provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code, and bigamy is not one of them. The
reappearance. This provision is intended to protect the present spouse from petitioner asserts that the appellate court failed to apply its ruling in People v.
a criminal prosecution for bigamy under Art. 349 of the Revised Penal Code Bondoc,63 where an award of moral damages for bigamy was disallowed. In
because with the judicial declaration that the missing spouses presumptively any case, the petitioner maintains, the private complainant failed to adduce
dead, the good faith of the present spouse in contracting a second marriage evidence to prove moral damages.
is already established.58
The appellate court awarded moral damages to the private complainant on its
Of the same view is former Dean Ernesto L. Pineda (now Undersecretary of finding that she adduced evidence to prove the same. The appellate court
Justice) who wrote that things are now clarified. He says judicial declaration ruled that while bigamy is not included in those cases enumerated in Article
of presumptive death is now authorized for purposes of 2219 of the Civil Code, it is not proscribed from awarding moral damages
remarriage. The present spouse must institute a summary proceeding for against the petitioner. The appellate court ruled that it is not bound by the
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, where the ordinary rules of following ruling in People v. Bondoc:
procedure in trial will not be followed. Affidavits will suffice, with possible
clarificatory examinations of affiants if the Judge finds it necessary for a full ... Pero si en dichos asuntos se adjudicaron daños, ello se debió
grasp of the facts. The judgment declaring an absentee as presumptively dead indedublamente porque el articulo 2219 del Código Civil de Filipinas autoriza
is without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the said absentee. la adjudicación de daños morales en los delitos de estupro, rapto, violación,
adulterio o concubinato, y otros actos lascivos, sin incluir en esta enumeración
Dean Pineda further states that before, the weight of authority is that the el delito de bigamia. No existe, por consiguiente, base legal para adjudicar
clause "before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead x x aquí los daños de ₱5,000.00 arriba mencionados.64
x" should be disregarded because of Article 83, paragraph 3 of the Civil Code.
With the new law, there is a need to institute a summary proceeding for the The OSG posits that the findings and ruling of the CA are based on the
declaration of the presumptive death of the absentee, otherwise, there is evidence and the law. The OSG, likewise, avers that the CA was not bound
bigamy.59 by its ruling in People v. Rodeo.

According to Retired Supreme Court Justice Florenz D. Regalado, an eminent The Court rules against the petitioner.
authority on Criminal Law, in some cases where an absentee spouse is
believed to be dead, there must be a judicial declaration of presumptive death,
which could then be made only in the proceedings for the settlement of his Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious
estate.60 Before such declaration, it was held that the remarriage of the other anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to
moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the in No. 3 of this article, may also recover moral damages.
defendant’s wrongful act or omission.65 An award for moral damages requires
the confluence of the following conditions: first, there must be an injury, The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring
whether physical, mental or psychological, clearly sustained by the claimant; the action mentioned in No. 9 of this article in the order named.
second, there must be culpable act or omission factually established; third,
the wrongful act or omission of the defendant is the proximate cause of the
injury sustained by the claimant; and fourth, the award of damages is Thus, the law does not intend that moral damages should be awarded in all
predicated on any of the cases stated in Article 2219 or Article 2220 of the cases where the aggrieved party has suffered mental anguish, fright, moral
Civil Code.66 anxieties, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation and similar injury arising out of an act or omission of another,
otherwise, there would not have been any reason for the inclusion of specific
Moral damages may be awarded in favor of the offended party only in criminal acts in Article 221967 and analogous cases (which refer to those cases bearing
cases enumerated in Article 2219, paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Civil analogy or resemblance, corresponds to some others or resembling, in other
Code and analogous cases, viz.: respects, as in form, proportion, relation, etc.)68

Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous Indeed, bigamy is not one of those specifically mentioned in Article 2219 of
cases. the Civil Code in which the offender may be ordered to pay moral damages to
the private complainant/offended party. Nevertheless, the petitioner is liable
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries; to the private complainant for moral damages under Article 2219 in relation to
Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code.
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
According to Article 19, "every person must, in the exercise of his rights and
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts; in the performance of his act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe
honesty and good faith." This provision contains what is commonly referred to
as the principle of abuse of rights, and sets certain standards which must be
(4) Adultery or concubinage; observed not only in the exercise of one’s rights but also in the performance
of one’s duties. The standards are the following: act with justice; give everyone
(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest; his due; and observe honesty and good faith. The elements for abuse of rights
are: (a) there is a legal right or duty; (b) exercised in bad faith; and (c) for the
(6) Illegal search; sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another.69

(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation; Article 20 speaks of the general sanctions of all other provisions of law which
do not especially provide for its own sanction. When a right is exercised in a
manner which does not conform to the standards set forth in the said provision
(8) Malicious prosecution; and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which
the wrongdoer must be responsible.70 If the provision does not provide a
(9) Acts mentioned in article 309; remedy for its violation, an action for damages under either Article 20 or Article
21 of the Civil Code would be proper. Article 20 provides that "every person
who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another shall
(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34 and
indemnify the latter for the same." On the other hand, Article 21 provides that
35.
"any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter
for damages." The latter provision
is adopted to remedy "the countless gaps in the statutes which leave so many 24, 27 N.J. Super, 579, 591, 99 A.2d 833 (App. Div. 1953); Prosser, supra, at
victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually suffered p. 38. Here the defendant’s conduct was not merely negligent, but was willfully
material and moral injury should vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that and maliciously wrongful. It was bound to result in shame, humiliation, and
untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible for human foresight to mental anguish for the plaintiff, and when such result did ensue the plaintiff
prove for specifically in the statutes." Whether or not the principle of abuse of became entitled not only to compensatory but also to punitive damages. See
rights has been violated resulting in damages under Article 20 or Article 21 of Spiegel v. Evergreen Cemetery Co., supra; Kuzma v Millinery Workers, etc.,
the Civil Code or other applicable provisions of law depends upon the Local 24, supra. CF. Note, "Exemplary Damages in the Law of Torts," 70 Harv.
circumstances of each case.71 L. Rev. 517 (1957). The plaintiff testified that because of the defendant’s
bigamous marriage to her and the attendant publicity she not only was
In the present case, the petitioner courted the private complainant and embarrassed and "ashamed to go out" but "couldn’t sleep" but "couldn’t eat,"
proposed to marry her. He assured her that he was single. He even brought had terrific headaches" and "lost quite a lot of weight." No just basis appears
his parents to the house of the private complainant where he and his parents for judicial interference with the jury’s reasonable allowance of $1,000 punitive
made the same assurance – that he was single. Thus, the private complainant damages on the first count. See Cabakov v. Thatcher, 37 N.J. Super 249, 117
agreed to marry the petitioner, who even stated in the certificate of marriage A.2d 298 (App. Div.74 1955).
that he was single. She lived with the petitioner and dutifully performed her
duties as his wife, believing all the while that he was her lawful husband. For The Court thus declares that the petitioner’s acts are against public policy as
two years or so until the petitioner heartlessly abandoned her, the private they undermine and subvert the family as a social institution, good morals and
complainant had no inkling that he was already married to another before they the interest and general welfare of society.
were married.
Because the private complainant was an innocent victim of the petitioner’s
Thus, the private complainant was an innocent victim of the petitioner’s perfidy, she is not barred from claiming moral damages. Besides, even
chicanery and heartless deception, the fraud consisting not of a single act considerations of public policy would not prevent her from recovery. As held
alone, but a continuous series of acts. Day by day, he maintained the in Jekshewitz v. Groswald:75
appearance of being a lawful husband to the private complainant, who
changed her status from a single woman to a married woman, lost the Where a person is induced by the fraudulent representation of another to do
consortium, attributes and support of a single man she could have married an act which, in consequence of such misrepresentation, he believes to be
lawfully and endured mental pain and humiliation, being bound to a man who neither illegal nor immoral, but which is in fact a criminal offense, he has a
it turned out was not her lawful husband.72 right of action against the person so inducing him for damages sustained by
him in consequence of his having done such act. Burrows v. Rhodes, [1899]
The Court rules that the petitioner’s collective acts of fraud and deceit before, 1 Q.B. 816. In Cooper v. Cooper, 147 Mass. 370, 17 N.E. 892, 9 Am. St. Rep.
during and after his marriage with the private complainant were willful, 721, the court said that a false representation by the defendant that he was
deliberate and with malice and caused injury to the latter. That she did not divorced from his former wife, whereby the plaintiff was induced to marry him,
sustain any physical injuries is not a bar to an award for moral damages. gave her a remedy in tort for deceit. It seems to have been assumed that the
Indeed, in Morris v. Macnab,73 the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled: fact that she had unintentionally violated the law or innocently committed a
crime by cohabiting with him would be no bar to the action, but rather that it
xxx The defendant cites authorities which indicate that, absent physical might be a ground for enhancing her damages. The injury to the plaintiff was
injuries, damages for shame, humiliation, and mental anguish are not said to be in her being led by the promise to give the fellowship and assistance
recoverable where the actor is simply negligent. See Prosser, supra, at p. 180; of a wife to one who was not her husband and to assume and act in a relation
2 Harper & James, Torts, 1031 (1956). But the authorities all recognize that and condition that proved to be false and ignominious. Damages for such an
where the wrong is willful rather than negligent, recovery may be had for the injury were held to be recoverable in Sherman v. Rawson, 102 Mass. 395 and
ordinary, natural, and proximate consequences though they consist of shame, Kelley v. Riley, 106 Mass. 339, 343, 8 Am. Rep. 336.
humiliation, and mental anguish. See Spiegel v. Evergreen Cemetery Co., 117
NJL 90, 94, 186 A 585 (Sup. Ct. 1936); Kuzma v. Millinery Workers, etc., Local
Furthermore, in the case at bar the plaintiff does not base her cause of action On 26 November 1992, a marriage was solemnized between Cenon Teves
upon any transgression of the law by herself but upon the defendant’s (Cenon) and Thelma Jaime-Teves (Thelma) at the Metropolitan Trial Court of
misrepresentation. The criminal relations which followed, innocently on her Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila.3
part, were but one of the incidental results of the defendant’s fraud for which
damages may be assessed. After the marriage, Thelma left to work abroad. She would only come home to
the Philippines for vacations. While on a vacation in 2002, she was informed
[7] Actions for deceit for fraudulently inducing a woman to enter into the that her husband had contracted marriage with a certain Edita Calderon
marriage relation have been maintained in other jurisdictions. Sears v. (Edita). To verify the information, she went to the National Statistics Office and
Wegner, 150 Mich. 388, 114 N.W. 224, 17 L.R. A. (N.S.) 819; Larson v. secured a copy of the Certificate of Marriage 4 indicating that her husband and
McMillan, 99 Wash. 626, 170 P. 324; Blossom v. Barrett, 37 N.Y. 434, 97 Am. Edita contracted marriage on 10 December 2001 at the Divine Trust
Dec. 747; Morril v. Palmer, 68 Vt. 1, 33 A. 829, 33 L.R.A. 411. Considerations Consulting Services, Malhacan, Meycauayan, Bulacan.
of public policy would not prevent recovery where the circumstances are such
that the plaintiff was conscious of no moral turpitude, that her illegal action On 13 February 2006, Danilo Bongalon, uncle of Thelma, filed before the
was induced solely by the defendant’s misrepresentation, and that she does Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Malolos City, Bulacan a complaint 5
not base her cause of action upon any transgression of the law by herself. accusing petitioner of committing bigamy.
Such considerations
distinguish this case from cases in which the court has refused to lend its aid
to the enforcement of a contract illegal on its face or to one who has Petitioner was charged on 8 June 2006 with bigamy defined and penalized
consciously and voluntarily become a party to an illegal act upon which the under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in an Information6
cause of action is founded. Szadiwicz v. Cantor, 257 Mass. 518, 520, 154 N.E. which reads:
251, 49 A. L. R. 958.76
That on or about the 10th day of December, 2001 up to the present, in the
Considering the attendant circumstances of the case, the Court finds the municipality of Meycauayan, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the
award of ₱200,000.00 for moral damages to be just and reasonable. jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said Cenon R. Teves being previously
united in lawful marriage on November 26, 1992 with Thelma B. Jaime and
without the said marriage having legally dissolved, did then and there willfully,
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. The assailed unlawfully and feloniously contract a second marriage with one Edita T.
decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner. Calderon, who knowing of the criminal design of accused Cenon R. Teves to
SO ORDERED. marry her and in concurrence thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously cooperate in the execution of the offense by marrying Cenon
Teves v. People R. Teves, knowing fully well of the existence of the marriage of the latter with
Thelma B. Jaime.
PEREZ, J.:
During the pendency of the criminal case for bigamy, the Regional Trial Court
This Petition for Review seeks the reversal of the 21 January 2009 decision 1 , Branch 130, Caloocan City, rendered a decision 7 dated 4 May 2006 declaring
of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 31125 affirming in toto the the marriage of petitioner and Thelma null and void on the ground that Thelma
decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 20, Malolos City in Criminal is physically incapacitated to comply with her essential marital obligations
Case No. 2070-M-2006. The RTC decision2 found petitioner Cenon R. Teves pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. Said decision became final by virtue
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy penalized under Article of a Certification of Finality8 issued on 27 June 2006.
349 of the Revised Penal Code.
On 15 August 2007, the trial court rendered its assailed decision, the
THE FACTS dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding the Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code states:
accused Cenon R. Teves, also known as Cenon Avelino R. Teves, guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy penalized under Article 349 The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall
of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the Information dated June 8, 2006. contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has
Pursuant to the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is hereby been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared
sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of four (4) years, two (2) presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper
months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years proceedings.
and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum.9
The elements of this crime are as follows:
Refusing to accept such verdict, petitioner appealed the decision before the
Court of Appeals contending that the court a quo erred in not ruling that his
criminal action or liability had already been extinguished. He also claimed that 1. That the offender has been legally married;
the trial court erred in finding him guilty of Bigamy despite the defective
Information filed by the prosecution.10 2. That the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or
her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed
On 21 January 2009, the CA promulgated its decision, the dispositive portion dead according to the Civil Code;
of which reads:
3. That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED and the Decision dated August 15,
2007 in Criminal Case No. 2070-M-2006 is AFFIRMED in TOTO.11 4. That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential
requisites for validity.16
On 11 February 2009, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the
decision.12 This however, was denied by the CA in a resolution issued on 2 The instant case has all the elements of the crime of bigamy. Thus, the CA
July 2009.13 was correct in affirming the conviction of petitioner.

Hence, this petition. Petitioner was legally married to Thelma on 26 November 1992 at the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Muntinlupa City. He contracted a second or
Petitioner claims that since his previous marriage was declared null and void, subsequent marriage with Edita on 10 December 2001 in Meycauayan,
"there is in effect no marriage at all, and thus, there is no bigamy to speak Bulacan. At the time of his second marriage with Edita, his marriage with
of."14 He differentiates a previous valid or voidable marriage from a marriage Thelma was legally subsisting. It is noted that the finality of the decision
null and void ab initio, and posits that the former requires a judicial dissolution declaring the nullity of his first marriage with Thelma was only on 27 June 2006
before one can validly contract a second marriage but a void marriage, for the or about five (5) years after his second marriage to Edita. Finally, the second
same purpose, need not be judicially determined. or subsequent marriage of petitioner with Edita has all the essential requisites
for validity. Petitioner has in fact not disputed the validity of such subsequent
marriage.17
Petitioner further contends that the ruling of the Court in Mercado v. Tan 15 is
inapplicable in his case because in the Mercado case the prosecution for
bigamy was initiated before the declaration of nullity of marriage was filed. In It is evident therefore that petitioner has committed the crime charged. His
petitioner’s case, the first marriage had already been legally dissolved at the contention that he cannot be charged with bigamy in view of the declaration
time the bigamy case was filed in court. of nullity of his first marriage is bereft of merit. The Family Code has settled
once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence on the matter. A declaration of
the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause
We find no reason to disturb the findings of the CA. There is nothing in the law of action or a ground for defense. Where the absolute nullity of a previous
that would sustain petitioner’s contention. marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second
marriage, the sole basis acceptable in law for said projected marriage to be marriage to Thelma cannot be made to retroact to the date of the bigamous
free from legal infirmity is a final judgment declaring the previous marriage marriage.
void.18
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is DENIED and the assailed
The Family Law Revision Committee and the Civil Code Revision Committee Decision dated 21 January 2009 of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.
which drafted what is now the Family Code of the Philippines took the position Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.
that parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage
is void even if such be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of Santiago v. People
the nullity of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry again.19

SERENO, CJ:
In fact, the requirement for a declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage is
also for the protection of the spouse who, believing that his or her marriage is
illegal and void, marries again. With the judicial declaration of the nullity of his We resolve the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner Leonila G.
or her marriage, the person who marries again cannot be charged with Santiago from the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
bigamy.20 1avvphi1 CA-G.R. CR No. 33566.1 The CA affirmed the Decision and Order of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Criminal Case No. 7232 2 convicting her of
bigamy.
In numerous cases,21 this Court has consistently held that a judicial
declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be
contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage, reprehensible THE FACTS
and immoral.
Four months after the solemnization of their marriage on 29 July 1997, 3
If petitioner’s contention would be allowed, a person who commits bigamy can Leonila G. Santiago and Nicanor F. Santos faced an Information 4 for bigamy.
simply evade prosecution by immediately filing a petition for the declaration of Petitioner pleaded "not guilty," while her putative husband escaped the
nullity of his earlier marriage and hope that a favorable decision is rendered criminal suit. 5
therein before anyone institutes a complaint against him. We note that in
petitioner’s case the complaint was filed before the first marriage was declared The prosecution adduced evidence that Santos, who had been married to
a nullity. It was only the filing of the Information that was overtaken by the Estela Galang since 2 June 1974, 6 asked petitioner to marry him. Petitioner,
declaration of nullity of his first marriage. Following petitioner’s argument, who 'was a 43-year-old widow then, married Santos on 29 July 1997 despite
even assuming that a complaint has been instituted, such as in this case, the the advice of her brother-in-law and parents-in-law that if she wanted to
offender can still escape liability provided that a decision nullifying his earlier remarry, she should choose someone who was "without responsibility." 7
marriage precedes the filing of the Information in court. Such cannot be
allowed. To do so would make the crime of bigamy dependent upon the ability
Petitioner asserted her affirmative defense that she could not be included as
or inability of the Office of the Public Prosecutor to immediately act on
an accused in the crime of bigamy, because she had been under the belief
complaints and eventually file Informations in court. Plainly, petitioner’s
that Santos was still single when they got married. She also averred that for
strained reading of the law is against its simple letter.
there to be a conviction for bigamy, his second marriage to her should be
proven valid by the prosecution; but in this case, she argued that their
Settled is the rule that criminal culpability attaches to the offender upon the marriage was void due to the lack of a marriage license.
commission of the offense, and from that instant, liability appends to him until
extinguished as provided by law, and that the time of filing of the criminal
Eleven years after the inception of this criminal case, the first wife, Estela
complaint (or Information, in proper cases) is material only for determining
Galang, testified for the prosecution.1âwphi1 She alleged that she had met
prescription.22 The crime of bigamy was committed by petitioner on 10
petitioner as early as March and April 1997, on which occasions the former
December 2001 when he contracted a second marriage with Edita. The finality
introduced herself as the legal wife of Santos. Petitioner denied this allegation
on 27 June 2006 of the judicial declaration of the nullity of his previous
and averred that she met Galang only in August and September 1997, or after The best support to her argument would have been the submission of a judicial
she had already married Santos. decree of annulment of their marriage. Absent such proof, this court cannot
declare their marriage null and void in these proceedings.
THE RTC RULING
THE CA RULING
The RTC appreciated the undisputed fact that petitioner married Santos
during the subsistence of his marriage to Galang. Based on the more credible On appeal before the CA, petitioner claimed that her conviction was not based
account of Galang that she had already introduced herself as the legal wife of on proof beyond reasonable doubt. She attacked the credibility of Galang and
Santos in March and April 1997, the trial court rejected the affirmative defense insisted that the former had not known of the previous marriage of Santos.
of petitioner that she had not known of the first marriage. It also held that it
was incredible for a learned person like petitioner to be easily duped by a Similar to the RTC, the CA gave more weight to the prosecution witnesses'
person like Santos. 8 narration. It likewise disbelieved the testimony of Santos. Anent the lack of a
marriage license, the appellate court simply stated that the claim was a vain
The RTC declared that as indicated in the Certificate of Marriage, "her attempt to put the validity of her marriage to Santos in question. Consequently,
marriage was celebrated without a need for a marriage license in accordance the CA affirmed her conviction for bigamy. 12
with Article 34 of the Family Code, which is an admission that she cohabited
with Santos long before the celebration of their marriage." 9Thus, the trial court THE ISSUES
convicted petitioner as follows: 10
Before this Court, petitioner reiterates that she cannot be a co-accused in the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court finds the accused Leonila G. instant case, because she was not aware of Santos's previous marriage. But
Santiago GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy, defined in the main, she argues that for there to be a conviction for bigamy, a valid
and penalized under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code and imposes second marriage must be proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable
against her the indeterminate penalty of six ( 6) months and one (1) day of doubt.
Prision Correctional as minimum to six ( 6) years and one (1) day of Prision
Mayor as maximum. No pronouncement as to costs.SO ORDERED.
Citing People v. De Lara, 13 she contends that her marriage to Santos is void
because of the absence of a marriage license. She elaborates that their
Petitioner moved for reconsideration. She contended that her marriage to marriage does not fall under any of those marriages exempt from a marriage
Santos was void ab initio for having been celebrated without complying with license, because they have not previously lived together exclusively as
Article 34 of the Family Code, which provides an exemption from the husband and wife for at least five years. She alleges that it is extant in the
requirement of a marriage license if the parties have actually lived together as records that she married Santos in 1997, or only four years since she met him
husband and wife for at least five years prior to the celebration of their in 1993. Without completing the five-year requirement, she posits that their
marriage. In her case, petitioner asserted that she and Santos had not lived marriage without a license is void.
together as husband and wife for five years prior to their marriage. Hence, she
argued that the absence of a marriage license effectively rendered their
marriage null and void, justifying her acquittal from bigamy. In the Comment 14 filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
respondent advances the argument that the instant Rule 45 petition should be
11
denied for raising factual issues as regards her husband's subsequent
The RTC refused to reverse her conviction and held thus: marriage. As regards petitioner's denial of any knowledge of Santos' s first
marriage, respondent reiterates that credible testimonial evidence supports
Accused Santiago submits that it is her marriage to her co-accused that is null the conclusion of the courts a quo that petitioner knew about the subsisting
and void as it was celebrated without a valid marriage license x x x. In marriage.
advancing that theory, accused wants this court to pass judgment on the
validity of her marriage to accused Santos, something this court cannot do. The crime of bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall (1) when Santos was courting and visiting petitioner in the house of her in-
contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has laws, they openly showed their disapproval of him; (2) it was incredible for a
been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared learned person like petitioner to not know of his true civil status; and (3)
presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper Galang, who was the more credible witness compared with petitioner who had
proceedings. various inconsistent testimonies, straightforwardly testified that she had
already told petitioner on two occasions that the former was the legal wife of
In Montanez v. Cipriano, 15 this Court enumerated the elements of bigamy as Santos.
follows:
After a careful review of the records, we see no reason to reverse or modify
The elements of the crime of bigamy are: (a) the offender has been legally the factual findings of the R TC, less so in the present case in which its findings
married; (b) the marriage has not been legally dissolved x x x; (c) that he were affirmed by the CA. Indeed, the trial court's assessment of the credibility
contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (d) the second or subsequent of witnesses deserves great respect, since it had the important opportunity to
marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The felony is observe firsthand the expression and demeanor of the witnesses during the
consummated on the celebration of the second marriage or subsequent trial. 20
marriage. It is essential in the prosecution for bigamy that the alleged second
marriage, having all the essential requirements, would be valid were it not for Given that petitioner knew of the first marriage, this Court concurs with the
the subsistence of the first marriage. (Emphasis supplied) ruling that she was validly charged with bigamy. However, we disagree with
the lower courts' imposition of the principal penalty on her. To recall, the RTC,
For the second spouse to be indicted as a co-accused in the crime, People v. which the CA affirmed, meted out to her the penalty within the range of prision
Nepomuceno, Jr. 16 instructs that she should have had knowledge of the correctional as minimum to prision mayor as maximum.
previous subsisting marriage. People v. Archilla 17 likewise states that the
knowledge of the second wife of the fact of her spouse's existing prior Her punishment as a principal to the crime is wrong. Archilla 21 holds that the
marriage constitutes an indispensable cooperation in the commission of second spouse, if indicted in the crime of bigamy, is liable only as an
bigamy, which makes her responsible as an accomplice. accomplice. In referring to Viada, Justice Luis B. Reyes, an eminent authority
in criminal law, writes that "a person, whether man or woman, who knowingly
THE RULING OF THE COURT consents or agrees to be married to another already bound in lawful wedlock
is guilty as an accomplice in the crime of bigamy." 22 Therefore, her conviction
should only be that for an accomplice to the crime.
The penalty for bigamy and petitioner's knowledge of Santos's first marriage
Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the penalty for a
The crime of bigamy does not necessary entail the joint liability of two persons principal in the crime of bigamy is prision mayor, which has a duration of six
who marry each other while the previous marriage of one of them is valid and years and one day to twelve years. Since the criminal participation of petitioner
subsisting. As explained in Nepomuceno: 18 is that of an accomplice, the sentence imposable on her is the penalty next
lower in degree, 23 prision correctional, which has a duration of six months and
In the crime of bigamy, both the first and second spouses may be the offended one day to six years. There being neither aggravating nor mitigating
parties depending on the circumstances, as when the second spouse married circumstance, this penalty shall be imposed in its medium period consisting of
the accused without being aware of his previous marriage. Only if the second two years, four months and one day to four years and two months of
spouse had knowledge of the previous undissolved marriage of the accused imprisonment. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, 24 petitioner shall be
could she be included in the information as a co-accused. (Emphasis supplied) entitled to a minimum term, to be taken from the penalty next lower in degree,
arresto mayor, which has a duration of one month and one day to six months
Therefore, the lower courts correctly ascertained petitioner's knowledge of imprisonment.
Santos's marriage to Galang. Both courts consistently found that she knew of
the first marriage as shown by the totality of the following circumstances: 19 The criminal liability of petitioner resulting from her marriage to Santos
Jurisprudence clearly requires that for the accused to be convicted of bigamy, All told, the evidence on record shows that petitioner and Santos had only
the second or subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites for known each other for only less than four years. Thus, it follows that the two of
validity. 25 If the accused wants to raise the nullity of the marriage, he or she them could not have cohabited for at least five years prior to their marriage.
can do it as a matter of defense during the presentation of evidence in the trial
proper of the criminal case. 26 In this case, petitioner has consistently27 Santiago and Santos, however, reflected the exact opposite of this
questioned below the validity of her marriage to Santos on the ground that demonstrable fact. Although the records do not show that they submitted an
marriages celebrated without the essential requisite of a marriage license are affidavit of cohabitation as required by Article 34 of the Family Code, it appears
void ab initio. 28 that the two of them lied before the solemnizing officer and misrepresented
that they had actually cohabited for at least five years before they married
Unfortunately, the lower courts merely brushed aside the issue. The RTC each other. Unfortunately, subsequent to this lie was the issuance of the
stated that it could not pass judgment on the validity of the marriage.1âwphi1 Certificate of Marriage, 37 in which the solemnizing officer stated under oath
The CA held that the attempt of petitioner to attack her union with Santos was that no marriage license was necessary, because the marriage was
in vain. solemnized under Article 34 of the Family Code.

On the basis that the lower courts have manifestly overlooked certain issues The legal effects in a criminal case of a deliberate act to put a flaw in the
and facts, 29 and given that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case marriage
open for review, 30 this Court now resolves to correct the error of the courts a
quo. The Certificate of Marriage, signed by Santos and Santiago, contained the
misrepresentation perpetrated by them that they were eligible to contract
After a perusal of the records, it is clear that the marriage between petitioner marriage without a license. We thus face an anomalous situation wherein
and Santos took place without a marriage license. The absence of this petitioner seeks to be acquitted of bigamy based on her illegal actions of (1)
requirement is purportedly explained in their Certificate of Marriage, which marrying Santos without a marriage license despite knowing that they had not
reveals that their union was celebrated under Article 34 of the Family Code. satisfied the cohabitation requirement under the law; and (2) falsely making
The provision reads as follows: claims in no less than her marriage contract.

No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who We chastise this deceptive scheme that hides what is basically a bigamous
have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any and illicit marriage in an effort to escape criminal prosecution. Our penal laws
legal impediment to marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the on marriage, such as bigamy, punish an individual's deliberate disregard of
foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to the permanent and sacrosanct character of this special bond between
administer oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he spouses.38 In Tenebro v. Court of Appeals,39 we had the occasion to
ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties are found no legal emphasize that the State's penal laws on bigamy should not be rendered
impediment to the marriage.31 nugatory by allowing individuals "to deliberately ensure that each marital
contract be flawed in some manner, and to thus escape the consequences of
Here, respondent did not dispute that petitioner knew Santos in more or less contracting multiple marriages, while beguiling throngs of hapless women with
in February 1996 32 and that after six months of courtship,33 she married him the promise of futurity and commitment."
on 29 July 1997. Without any objection from the prosecution, petitioner
testified that Santos had frequently visited her in Castellano, Nueva Ecija, prior Thus, in the case at bar, we cannot countenance petitioner's illegal acts of
to their marriage. However, he never cohabited with her, as she was residing feigning a marriage and, in the same breath, adjudge her innocent of the
in the house of her in-laws,34 and her children from her previous marriage crime. For us, to do so would only make a mockery of the sanctity of marriage.
40
disliked him.35 On cross examination, respondent did not question the claim
of petitioner that sometime in 1993, she first met Santos as an agent who sold
her piglets.36 Furthermore, it is a basic concept of justice that no court will "lend its aid to x
x x one who has consciously and voluntarily become a party to an illegal act
upon which the cause of action is founded." 41 If the cause of action appears in CA-G.R. CR No. 33566 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. As modified,
to arise ex turpi causa or that which involves a transgression of positive law, petitioner Leonila G. Santiago is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt
parties shall be left unassisted by the courts. 42 As a result, litigants shall be of the crime of bigamy as an accomplice. She is sentenced to suffer the
denied relief on the ground that their conduct has been inequitable, unfair and indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor as minimum to four years
dishonest or fraudulent, or deceitful as to the controversy in issue. 43 of prision correctional as maximum plus accessory penalties provided by law.
SO ORDERED.
Here, the cause of action of petitioner, meaning her affirmative defense in this
criminal case of bigamy, is that her marriage with Santos was void for having Xxx Performance of Illegal Marriage xxX
been secured without a marriage license. But as elucidated earlier, they
themselves perpetrated a false Certificate of Marriage by misrepresenting that Ronulo v. People
they were exempted from the license requirement based on their fabricated
claim that they had already cohabited as husband and wife for at least five BRION, J.:
years prior their marriage. In violation of our law against illegal marriages, 44
petitioner married Santos while knowing full well that they had not yet complied
with the five-year cohabitation requirement under Article 34 of the Family Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 filed by petitioner Fr.
Code. Consequently, it will be the height of absurdity for this Court to allow Rene Ronulo challenging the April 3, 2008 decision 2 of the Court of Appeals
petitioner to use her illegal act to escape criminal conviction. (CA) in CA-G.R. CR. No. 31028 which affirmed the decision of the Regional
Trial Court, (RTC) Branch 18, Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The applicability of People v. De Lara
The Factual Antecedents
Petitioner cites De Lara as the relevant jurisprudence involving an acquittal for
bigamy on the ground that the second marriage lacked the requisite marriage The presented evidence showed that3 Joey Umadac and Claire Bingayen
license. In that case, the Court found that when Domingo de Lara married his were scheduled to marry each other on March 29, 2003 at the Sta. Rosa
second wife, Josefa Rosales, on 18 August 1951, the local Civil Registrar had Catholic Parish Church of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. However, on the day of
yet to issue their marriage license on 19 August 1951. Thus, since the the wedding, the supposed officiating priest, Fr. Mario Ragaza, refused to
marriage was celebrated one day before the issuance of the marriage license, solemnize the marriage upon learning that the couple failed to secure a
the Court acquitted him of bigamy. marriage license. As a recourse, Joey, who was then dressed in barong
tagalong,and Claire, clad in a wedding gown, together with their parents,
sponsors and guests, proceeded to the Independent Church of Filipino
Noticeably, Domingo de Lara did not cause the falsification of public Christians, also known as the Aglipayan Church. They requested the
documents in order to contract a second marriage. In contrast, petitioner and petitioner, an Aglipayan priest, to perform a ceremony to which the latter
Santos fraudulently secured a Certificate of Marriage, and petitioner later used agreed despite having been informed by the couple that they had no marriage
this blatantly illicit act as basis for seeking her exculpation. Therefore, unlike certificate.
our treatment of the accused in De Lara, this Court cannot regard petitioner
herein as innocent of the crime.
The petitioner prepared his choir and scheduled a mass for the couple on the
same date. He conducted the ceremony in the presence of the groom, the
No less than the present Constitution provides that "marriage, as an inviolable bride, their parents, the principal and secondary sponsors and the rest of their
social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the invited guests.4
State." 45 It must be safeguarded from the whims and caprices of the
contracting parties. 46 in keeping therefore with this fundamental policy, this
Court affirms the conviction of petitioner for bigamy An information for violation of Article 352 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC),
as amended, was filed against the petitioner before the Municipal Trial Court
(MTC) of Batac, Ilocos Norte for allegedly performing an illegal marriage
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner Leonila ceremony.5
G. Santiago is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals
The petitioner entered the plea of "not guilty" to the crime charged on The RTC affirmed the findings of the MTC and added that the circumstances
arraignment. surrounding the act of the petitioner in "blessing" the couple unmistakably
show that a marriage ceremony had transpired. It further ruled that the positive
The prosecution’s witnesses, Joseph and Mary Anne Yere, testified on the declarations of the prosecution witnesses deserve more credence than the
incidents of the ceremony. Joseph was the veil sponsor while Mary Anne was petitioner’s negative statements.13 The RTC, however, ruled that the basis of
the cord sponsor in the wedding. Mary Anne testified that she saw the bride the fine should be Section 39, instead of Section 44, of the Marriage Law.
walk down the aisle. She also saw the couple exchange their wedding rings,
kiss each other, and sign a document.6 She heard the petitioner instructing The CA Decision
the principal sponsors to sign the marriage contract. Thereafter, they went to
the reception, had lunch and took pictures. She saw the petitioner there. She On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC’s ruling. The CA observed that although
also identified the wedding invitation given to her by Joey. 7 there is no prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of marriage,
the law provides minimum standards in determining whether a marriage
Florida Umadac, the mother of Joey, testified that she heard the couple ceremony has been conducted, viz.: (1) the contracting parties must appear
declare during the ceremony that they take each other as husband and wife. 8 personally before the solemnizing officer; and (2) they should declare that they
Days after the wedding, she went to the municipal local civil registrar of San take each other as husband and wife in the presence of at least two witnesses
Nicolas, Ilocos Norte with Atty. Mariano R. Nalupta Jr. where she was given a of legal age.14 According to the CA, the prosecution duly proved these
certificate that no marriage license was issued to the couple. 9 requirements. It added that the presence of a marriage certificate is not a
requirement in a marriage ceremony.15
The petitioner, while admitting that he conducted a ceremony, denied that his
act of blessing the couple was tantamount to a solemnization of the marriage The CA additionally ruled that the petitioner’s criminal liability under Article
as contemplated by law.10 352 of the RPC, as amended, is not dependent on whether Joey or Claire
were charged or found guilty under Article 350 of the same Code. 16
The MTC Judgment
The CA agreed with the MTC that the legal basis for the imposition of the fine
The MTC found the petitioner guilty of violation of Article 352 of the RPC, as is Section 44 of the Marriage Law since it covers violation of regulations to be
amended, and imposed on him a ₱200.00 fine pursuant to Section 44 of Act promulgated by the proper authorities such as the RPC.
No. 3613. It held that the petitioner’s act of giving a blessing constitutes a
marriage ceremony as he made an official church recognition of the The Petition
cohabitation of the couple as husband and wife.11 It further ruled that in
performing a marriage ceremony without the couple’s marriage license, the The petitioner argues that the CA erred on the following grounds: First, Article
petitioner violated Article 352 of the RPC which imposes the penalty provided 352 of the RPC, as amended, is vague and does not define what constitutes
under Act No. 3613 or the Marriage Law. The MTC applied Section 44 of the "an illegal marriage ceremony." Assuming that a marriage ceremony
Marriage Law which pertinently states that a violation of any of its provisions principally constitutes those enunciated in Article 55 of the Civil Code and
that is not specifically penalized or of the regulations to be promulgated, shall Article 6 of the Family Code, these provisions require the verbal declaration
be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred pesos or by imprisonment that the couple take each other as husband and wife, and a marriage
of not more than one month, or both, in the discretion of the court. certificate containing the declaration in writing which is duly signed by the
contracting parties and attested to by the solemnizing officer.17 The petitioner
The RPC is a law subsequent to the Marriage Law, and provides the penalty likewise maintains that the prosecution failed to prove that the contracting
for violation of the latter law. Applying these laws, the MTC imposed the parties personally declared that they take each other as husband and wife. 18
penalty of a fine in the amount of ₱200.00.12 Second, under the principle of separation of church and State, the State
cannot interfere in ecclesiastical affairs such as the administration of
The RTC Ruling matrimony. Therefore, the State cannot convert the "blessing" into a "marriage
ceremony."19
Third, the petitioner had no criminal intent as he conducted the "blessing" in as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal
good faith for purposes of giving moral guidance to the couple. 20 age.

Fourth, the non-filing of a criminal case against the couple in violating Article Even prior to the date of the enactment of Article 352 of the RPC, as amended,
350 of the RPC, as amended, should preclude the filing of the present case the rule was clear that no prescribed form of religious rite for the solemnization
against him.21 of the marriage is required. However, as correctly found by the CA, the law
sets the minimum requirements constituting a marriage ceremony: first, there
Finally, Article 352 of the RPC, as amended, does not provide for a penalty. should be the personal appearance of the contracting parties before a
The present case is not covered by Section 44 of the Marriage Law as the solemnizing officer; and second, heir declaration in the presence of not less
petitioner was not found violating its provisions nor a regulation promulgated than two witnesses that they take each other as husband and wife.
thereafter.22
As to the first requirement, the petitioner admitted that the parties appeared
THE COURT’S RULING: before him and this fact was testified to by witnesses. On the second
requirement, we find that, contrary to the petitioner’s allegation, the
prosecution has proven, through the testimony of Florida, that the contracting
We find the petition unmeritorious. parties personally declared that they take each other as husband and wife.

The elements of the crime punishable under Article 352 of the RPC, as The petitioner’s allegation that the court asked insinuating and leading
amended, were proven by the prosecution questions to Florida fails to persuadeus. A judge may examine or cross-
examine a witness. He may propound clarificatory questions to test the
Article 352 of the RPC, as amended, penalizes an authorized solemnizing credibility of the witness and to extract the truth. He may seek to draw out
officer who shall perform or authorize any illegal marriage ceremony. The relevant and material testimony though that testimony may tend to support or
elements of this crime are as follows: (1) authority of the solemnizing officer; rebut the position taken by one or the other party. It cannot be taken against
and (2) his performance of an illegal marriage ceremony. In the present case, him if the clarificatory questions he propounds happen to reveal certain truths
the petitioner admitted that he has authority to solemnize a marriage. Hence, that tend to destroy the theory of one party.28
the only issue to be resolved is whether the alleged "blessing" by the petitioner
is tantamount to the performance of an "illegal marriage ceremony" which is At any rate, if the defense found the line of questioning of the judge
punishable under Article 352 of the RPC, as amended. objectionable, its failure to timely register this bars it from belatedly invoking
any irregularity.
While Article 352 of the RPC, as amended, does not specifically define a
"marriage ceremony" and what constitutes its "illegal" performance, Articles In addition, the testimonies of Joseph and Mary Anne, and even the
3(3) and 6 of the Family Code are clear on these matters. These provisions petitioner’s admission regarding the circumstances of the ceremony, support
were taken from Article 5523 of the New Civil Code which, in turn, was copied Florida’s testimony that there had indeed been the declaration by the couple
from Section 324 of the Marriage Law with no substantial amendments. Article that they take each other as husband and wife. The testimony of Joey
625 of the Family Code provides that "[n]o prescribed form or religious rite for disowning their declaration as husband and wife cannot overcome these clear
the solemnization of the marriage is required. It shall be necessary, however, and convincing pieces of evidence. Notably, the defense failed to show that
for the contracting parties to appear personally before the solemnizing officer the prosecution witnesses, Joseph and Mary Anne, had any ill-motive to testify
and declare in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that against the petitioner.
they take each other as husband and wife."26 Pertinently, Article 3(3)27 mirrors
Article 6 of the Family Code and particularly defines a marriage ceremony as
that which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before We also do not agree with the petitioner that the principle of separation of
the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other church and State precludes the State from qualifying the church "blessing"
into a marriage ceremony. Contrary to the petitioner’s allegation, this principle
has been duly preserved by Article 6 of the Family Code when it provides that
no prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of marriage is Neither does the non-filing of a criminal complaint against the couple negate
required. This pronouncement gives any religion or sect the freedom or criminal liability of the petitioner. Article 352 of the RPC, as amended, does
latitude in conducting its respective marital rites, subject only to the not make this an element of the crime. The penalty imposed is proper
requirement that the core requirements of law be observed.
On the issue on the penalty for violation of Article 352 of the RPC, as
We emphasize at this point that Article 15 29 of the Constitution recognizes amended, this provision clearly provides that it shall be imposed in accordance
marriage as an inviolable social institution and that our family law is based on with the provision of the Marriage Law. The penalty provisions of the Marriage
the policy that marriage is not a mere contract, but a social institution in which Law are Sections 39 and 44 which provide as follows: Section 39 of the
the State is vitally interested. The State has paramount interest in the Marriage Law provides that:
enforcement of its constitutional policies and the preservation of the sanctity
of marriage. To this end, it is within its power to enact laws and regulations, Section 39. Illegal Solemnization of Marriage – Any priest or minister
such as Article 352 of the RPC, as amended, which penalize the commission solemnizing marriage without being authorized by the Director of the
of acts resulting in the disintegration and mockery of marriage. Philippine National Library or who, upon solemnizing marriage, refuses to
exhibit the authorization in force when called upon to do so by the parties or
From these perspectives, we find it clear that what the petitioner conducted parents, grandparents, guardians, or persons having charge and any bishop
was a marriage ceremony, as the minimum requirements set by law were or officer, priest, or minister of any church, religion or sect the regulations and
complied with. While the petitioner may view this merely as a "blessing," the practices whereof require banns or publications previous to the solemnization
presence of the requirements of the law constitutive of a marriage ceremony of a marriage in accordance with section ten, who authorized the immediate
qualified this "blessing" into a "marriage ceremony" as contemplated by Article solemnization of a marriage that is subsequently declared illegal; or any
3(3) of the Family Code and Article 352 of the RPC, as amended. officer, priest or minister solemnizing marriage in violation of this act, shall be
punished by imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than two
We come now to the issue of whether the solemnization by the petitioner of years, or by a fine of not less than two hundred pesos nor more than two
this marriage ceremony was illegal. thousand pesos. [emphasis ours]

Under Article 3(3) of the Family Code, one of the essential requisites of On the other hand, Section 44 of the Marriage Law states that:
marriage is the presence of a valid marriage certificate. In the present case,
the petitioner admitted that he knew that the couple had no marriage license, Section 44. General Penal Clause – Any violation of any provision of this Act
yet he conducted the "blessing" of their relationship. not specifically penalized, or of the regulations to be promulgated by the
proper authorities, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred
Undoubtedly, the petitioner conducted the marriage ceremony despite pesos or by imprisonment for not more than one month, or both, in the
knowledge that the essential and formal requirements of marriage set by law discretion of the court. [emphasis ours]
were lacking. The marriage ceremony, therefore, was illegal. The petitioner’s
knowledge of the absence of these requirements negates his defense of good From a reading of the provisions cited above, we find merit in the ruling of the
faith. CA and the MTC that the penalty imposable in the present case is that covered
under Section 44, and not Section 39, of the Marriage Law.
We also do not agree with the petitioner that the lack of a marriage certificate
negates his criminal liability in the present case. For purposes of determining The penalized acts under Section 39 of Act No. 3613 do not include the
if a marriage ceremony has been conducted, a marriage certificate is not present case.1âwphi1 As correctly found by the MTC, the petitioner was not
included in the requirements provided by Article 3(3) of the Family Code, as found violating the provisions of the Marriage Law but Article 352 of the RPC,
discussed above. as amended. It is only the imposition of the penalty for the violation of this
provision which is referred to the Marriage Law. On this point, Article 352 falls
squarely under the provision of Section 44 of Act No. 3613 which provides for
the penalty for any violation of the regulations to be promulgated by the proper
authorities; Article 352 of the RPC, as amended, which was enacted after the hauling a push cart with cases of detergent of the well-known "Tide" brand.
Marriage Law, is one of such regulations. Petitioner unloaded these cases in an open parking space, where Calderon
was waiting. Petitioner then returned inside the supermarket, and after five (5)
Therefore, the CA did not err in imposing the penalty of fine of ₱200.00 minutes, emerged with more cartons of Tide Ultramatic and again unloaded
pursuant to Section 44 of the Marriage Law. these boxes to the same area in the open parking space.7

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition and affirm the decision of the Court of Thereafter, petitioner left the parking area and haled a taxi. He boarded the
Appeals dated April 3, 2008 in CA-G.R. CR. No. 31028. SO ORDERED. cab and directed it towards the parking space where Calderon was waiting.
Calderon loaded the cartons of Tide Ultramatic inside the taxi, then boarded
the vehicle. All these acts were eyed by Lago, who proceeded to stop the taxi
Title 10 Property; Robbery in General;(Art. 293-305) Taking as it was leaving the open parking area. When Lago asked petitioner for a
receipt of the merchandise, petitioner and Calderon reacted by fleeing on foot,
Valenzuela v. People
but Lago fired a warning shot to alert his fellow security guards of the incident.
Petitioner and Calderon were apprehended at the scene, and the stolen
TINGA, J.: merchandise recovered.8 The filched items seized from the duo were four (4)
cases of Tide Ultramatic, one (1) case of Ultra 25 grams, and three (3)
This case aims for prime space in the firmament of our criminal law additional cases of detergent, the goods with an aggregate value of
jurisprudence. Petitioner effectively concedes having performed the felonious ₱12,090.00.9
acts imputed against him, but instead insists that as a result, he should be
adjudged guilty of frustrated theft only, not the felony in its consummated stage Petitioner and Calderon were first brought to the SM security office before they
of which he was convicted. The proposition rests on a common theory were transferred on the same day to the Baler Station II of the Philippine
expounded in two well-known decisions1 rendered decades ago by the Court National Police, Quezon City, for investigation. It appears from the police
of Appeals, upholding the existence of frustrated theft of which the accused in investigation records that apart from petitioner and Calderon, four (4) other
both cases were found guilty. However, the rationale behind the rulings has persons were apprehended by the security guards at the scene and delivered
never been affirmed by this Court. to police custody at the Baler PNP Station in connection with the incident.
However, after the matter was referred to the Office of the Quezon City
As far as can be told,2 the last time this Court extensively considered whether Prosecutor, only petitioner and Calderon were charged with theft by the
an accused was guilty of frustrated or consummated theft was in 1918, in Assistant City Prosecutor, in Informations prepared on 20 May 1994, the day
People v. Adiao.3 A more cursory after the incident.10

treatment of the question was followed in 1929, in People v. Sobrevilla, 4 and After pleading not guilty on arraignment, at the trial, petitioner and Calderon
in 1984, in Empelis v. IAC.5 This petition now gives occasion for us to finally both claimed having been innocent bystanders within the vicinity of the Super
and fully measure if or how frustrated theft is susceptible to commission under Sale Club on the afternoon of 19 May 1994 when they were haled by Lago
the Revised Penal Code. and his fellow security guards after a commotion and brought to the Baler PNP
Station. Calderon alleged that on the afternoon of the incident, he was at the
Super Sale Club to withdraw from his ATM account, accompanied by his
I.The basic facts are no longer disputed before us. The case stems from an neighbor, Leoncio Rosulada.11 As the queue for the ATM was long, Calderon
Information6 charging petitioner Aristotel Valenzuela (petitioner) and Jovy and Rosulada decided to buy snacks inside the supermarket. It was while they
Calderon (Calderon) with the crime of theft. On 19 May 1994, at around 4:30 were eating that they heard the gunshot fired by Lago, leading them to head
p.m., petitioner and Calderon were sighted outside the Super Sale Club, a out of the building to check what was
supermarket within the ShoeMart (SM) complex along North EDSA, by
Lorenzo Lago (Lago), a security guard who was then manning his post at the
open parking area of the supermarket. Lago saw petitioner, who was wearing transpiring. As they were outside, they were suddenly "grabbed" by a security
an identification card with the mark "Receiving Dispatching Unit (RDU)," guard, thus commencing their detention.12 Meanwhile, petitioner testified
during trial that he and his cousin, a Gregorio Valenzuela, 13 had been at the this Court, as they modified trial court convictions from consummated to
parking lot, walking beside the nearby BLISS complex and headed to ride a frustrated theft and involve a factual milieu that bears similarity to the present
tricycle going to Pag-asa, when they saw the security guard Lago fire a shot. case. Petitioner invoked the same rulings in his appeal to the Court of Appeals,
The gunshot caused him and the other people at the scene to start running, yet the appellate court did not expressly consider the import of the rulings
at which point he was apprehended by Lago and brought to the security office. when it affirmed the conviction.
Petitioner claimed he was detained at the security office until around 9:00
p.m., at which time he and the others were brought to the Baler Police Station. It is not necessary to fault the Court of Appeals for giving short shrift to the
At the station, petitioner denied having stolen the cartons of detergent, but he Diño and Flores rulings since they have not yet been expressly adopted as
was detained overnight, and eventually brought to the prosecutor’s office precedents by this Court. For whatever reasons,
where he was charged with theft.14 During petitioner’s cross-examination, he
admitted that he had been employed as a "bundler" of GMS Marketing,
"assigned at the supermarket" though not at SM. 15 the occasion to define or debunk the crime of frustrated theft has not come to
pass before us. Yet despite the silence on our part, Diño and Flores have
attained a level of renown reached by very few other appellate court rulings.
In a Decision16 promulgated on 1 February 2000, the Regional Trial Court They are comprehensively discussed in the most popular of our criminal law
(RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 90, convicted both petitioner and Calderon of annotations,29 and studied in criminal law classes as textbook examples of
the crime of consummated theft. They were sentenced to an indeterminate frustrated crimes or even as definitive of frustrated theft.
prison term of two (2) years of prision correccional as minimum to seven (7)
years of prision mayor as maximum.17 The RTC found credible the testimonies
of the prosecution witnesses and established the convictions on the positive More critically, the factual milieu in those cases is hardly akin to the fanciful
identification of the accused as perpetrators of the crime. scenarios that populate criminal law exams more than they actually occur in
real life. Indeed, if we finally say that Diño and Flores are doctrinal, such
conclusion could profoundly influence a multitude of routine theft
Both accused filed their respective Notices of Appeal,18 but only petitioner filed prosecutions, including commonplace shoplifting. Any scenario that involves
a brief19 with the Court of Appeals, causing the appellate court to deem the thief having to exit with the stolen property through a supervised egress,
Calderon’s appeal as abandoned and consequently dismissed. Before the such as a supermarket checkout counter or a parking area pay booth, may
Court of Appeals, petitioner argued that he should only be convicted of easily call for the application of Diño and Flores. The fact that lower courts
frustrated theft since at the time he was apprehended, he was never placed have not hesitated to lay down convictions for frustrated theft further validates
in a position to freely dispose of the articles stolen. 20 However, in its Decision that Diño and Flores and the theories offered therein on frustrated theft have
dated 19 June 2003,21 the Court of Appeals rejected this contention and borne some weight in our jurisprudential system. The time is thus ripe for us
affirmed petitioner’s conviction.22 Hence the present Petition for Review,23 to examine whether those theories are correct and should continue to
which expressly seeks that petitioner’s conviction "be modified to only of influence prosecutors and judges in the future.
Frustrated Theft."24
III. To delve into any extended analysis of Diño and Flores, as well as the
Even in his appeal before the Court of Appeals, petitioner effectively conceded specific issues relative to "frustrated theft," it is necessary to first refer to the
both his felonious intent and his actual participation in the theft of several basic rules on the three stages of crimes under our Revised Penal Code.30
cases of detergent with a total value of ₱12,090.00 of which he was charged. 25
As such, there is no cause for the Court to consider a factual scenario other
than that presented by the prosecution, as affirmed by the RTC and the Court Article 6 defines those three stages, namely the consummated, frustrated and
of Appeals. The only question to consider is whether under the given facts, attempted felonies. A felony is consummated "when all the elements
the theft should be deemed as consummated or merely frustrated. necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present." It is frustrated
"when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the
felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason
II. In arguing that he should only be convicted of frustrated theft, petitioner of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator." Finally, it is attempted
cites26 two decisions rendered many years ago by the Court of Appeals: "when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt
People v. Diño27 and People v. Flores.28 Both decisions elicit the interest of acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the
felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous criminal statute must also provide for the overt acts that constitute the crime.
desistance." For a crime to exist in our legal law, it is not enough that mens rea be shown;
there must also be an actus reus.40
Each felony under the Revised Penal Code has a "subjective phase," or that
portion of the acts constituting the crime included between the act which It is from the actus reus and the mens rea, as they find expression in the
begins the commission of the crime and the last act performed by the offender criminal statute, that the felony is produced. As a postulate in the
which, with prior acts, should result in the consummated crime. 31 After that craftsmanship of constitutionally sound laws, it is extremely preferable that the
point has been breached, the subjective phase ends and the objective phase language of the law expressly provide when the felony is produced. Without
begins.32 It has been held that if the offender never passes the subjective such provision, disputes would inevitably ensue on the elemental question
phase of the offense, the crime is merely attempted. 33 On the other hand, the whether or not a crime was committed, thereby presaging the undesirable and
subjective phase is completely passed in case of frustrated crimes, for in such legally dubious set-up under which the judiciary is assigned the legislative role
instances, "[s]ubjectively the crime is complete."34 of defining crimes. Fortunately, our Revised Penal Code does not suffer from
such infirmity. From the statutory definition of any felony, a decisive passage
Truly, an easy distinction lies between consummated and frustrated felonies or term is embedded which attests when the felony is produced by the acts of
on one hand, and attempted felonies on the other. So long as the offender execution. For example, the statutory definition of murder or homicide
fails to complete all the acts of execution despite commencing the commission expressly uses the phrase "shall kill another," thus making it clear that the
of a felony, the crime is undoubtedly in the attempted stage. Since the specific felony is produced by the death of the victim, and conversely, it is not produced
acts of execution that define each crime under the Revised Penal Code are if the victim survives.
generally enumerated in the code itself, the task of ascertaining whether a
crime is attempted only would need to compare the acts actually performed We next turn to the statutory definition of theft. Under Article 308 of the
by the accused as against the acts that constitute the felony under the Revised Revised Penal Code, its elements are spelled out as follows:
Penal Code.
Art. 308. Who are liable for theft.— Theft is committed by any person who,
In contrast, the determination of whether a crime is frustrated or consummated with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor
necessitates an initial concession that all of the acts of execution have been force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter’s
performed by the offender. The critical distinction instead is whether the felony consent.
itself was actually produced by the acts of execution. The determination of
whether the felony was "produced" after all the acts of execution had been Theft is likewise committed by:
performed hinges on the particular statutory definition of the felony. It is the
statutory definition that generally furnishes the elements of each crime under
the Revised Penal Code, while the elements in turn unravel the particular 1. Any person who, having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to
requisite acts of execution and accompanying criminal intent. the local authorities or to its owner;

The long-standing Latin maxim "actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea" 2. Any person who, after having maliciously damaged the property of another,
supplies an important characteristic of a crime, that "ordinarily, evil intent must shall remove or make use of the fruits or object of the damage caused by him;
unite with an unlawful act for there to be a crime," and accordingly, there can and
be no crime when the criminal mind is wanting. 35 Accepted in this jurisdiction
as material in crimes mala in se,36 mens rea has been defined before as "a 3. Any person who shall enter an inclosed estate or a field where trespass is
guilty mind, a guilty or wrongful purpose or criminal intent,"37 and "essential forbidden or which belongs to another and without the consent of its owner,
for criminal liability."38 It follows that the statutory definition of our mala in se shall hunt or fish upon the same or shall gather cereals, or other forest or farm
crimes must be able to supply what the mens rea of the crime is, and indeed products.
the U.S. Supreme Court has comfortably held that "a criminal law that contains
no mens rea requirement infringes on constitutionally protected rights."39 The
Article 308 provides for a general definition of theft, and three alternative and adopted the latter thought that there was no need of an intent to permanently
highly idiosyncratic means by which theft may be committed.41 In the present deprive the owner of his property to constitute an unlawful taking. 51
discussion, we need to concern ourselves only with the general definition
since it was under it that the prosecution of the accused was undertaken and So long as the "descriptive" circumstances that qualify the taking are present,
sustained. On the face of the definition, there is only one operative act of including animo lucrandi and apoderamiento, the completion of the operative
execution by the actor involved in theft ─ the taking of personal property of act that is the taking of personal property of another establishes, at least, that
another. It is also clear from the provision that in order that such taking may the transgression went beyond the attempted stage. As applied to the present
be qualified as theft, there must further be present the descriptive case, the moment petitioner obtained physical possession of the cases of
circumstances that the taking was with intent to gain; without force upon things detergent and loaded them in the pushcart, such seizure motivated by intent
or violence against or intimidation of persons; and it was without the consent to gain, completed without need to inflict violence or intimidation against
of the owner of the property. persons nor force upon things, and accomplished without the consent of the
SM Super Sales Club, petitioner forfeited the extenuating benefit a conviction
Indeed, we have long recognized the following elements of theft as provided for only attempted theft would have afforded him.
for in Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code, namely: (1) that there be taking
of personal property; (2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the On the critical question of whether it was consummated or frustrated theft, we
taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the are obliged to apply Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code to ascertain the
consent of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use answer. Following that provision, the theft would have been frustrated only,
of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things. 42 once the acts committed by petitioner, if ordinarily sufficient to produce theft
as a consequence, "do not produce [such theft] by reason of causes
In his commentaries, Judge Guevarra traces the history of the definition of independent of the will of the perpetrator." There are clearly two determinative
theft, which under early Roman law as defined by Gaius, was so broad enough factors to consider: that the felony is not "produced," and that such failure is
as to encompass "any kind of physical handling of property belonging to due to causes independent of the will of the perpetrator. The second factor
another against the will of the owner,"43 a definition similar to that by Paulus ultimately depends on the evidence at hand in each particular case. The first,
that a thief "handles (touches, moves) the property of another."44 However, however, relies primarily on a doctrinal definition attaching to the individual
with the Institutes of Justinian, the idea had taken hold that more than mere felonies in the Revised Penal Code52 as to when a particular felony is "not
physical handling, there must further be an intent of acquiring gain from the produced," despite the commission of all the acts of execution.
object, thus: "[f]urtum est contrectatio rei fraudulosa, lucri faciendi causa vel
ipsius rei, vel etiam usus ejus possessinisve."45 This requirement of animo So, in order to ascertain whether the theft is consummated or frustrated, it is
lucrandi, or intent to gain, was maintained in both the Spanish and Filipino necessary to inquire as to how exactly is the felony of theft "produced."
penal laws, even as it has since been abandoned in Great Britain. 46 Parsing through the statutory definition of theft under Article 308, there is one
apparent answer provided in the language of the law — that theft is already
In Spanish law, animo lucrandi was compounded with apoderamiento, or "produced" upon the "tak[ing of] personal property of another without the
"unlawful taking," to characterize theft. Justice Regalado notes that the latter’s consent."
concept of apoderamiento once had a controversial interpretation and
application. Spanish law had already discounted the belief that mere physical U.S. v. Adiao53 apparently supports that notion. Therein, a customs inspector
taking was constitutive of apoderamiento, finding that it had to be coupled with was charged with theft after he abstracted a leather belt from the baggage of
"the intent to appropriate the object in order to constitute apoderamiento; and a foreign national and secreted the item in his desk at the Custom House. At
to appropriate means to deprive the lawful owner of the thing."47 However, a no time was the accused able to "get the merchandise out of the Custom
conflicting line of cases decided by the Court of Appeals ruled, alternatively, House," and it appears that he "was under observation during the entire
that there must be permanency in the taking 48 or an intent to permanently transaction."54 Based apparently on those two circumstances, the trial court
deprive the owner of the stolen property; 49 or that there was no need for had found him guilty, instead, of frustrated theft. The Court reversed, saying
permanency in the taking or in its intent, as the mere temporary possession that neither circumstance was decisive, and holding instead that the accused
by the offender or disturbance of the proprietary rights of the owner already was guilty of consummated theft, finding that "all the elements of the
constituted apoderamiento.50 Ultimately, as Justice Regalado notes, the Court
completed crime of theft are present." 55 In support of its conclusion that the stored as it was in the 1882 decision; and before the thief had been able to
theft was consummated, the Court cited three (3) decisions of the Supreme spirit the item stolen from the building where the theft took place, as had
Court of Spain, the discussion of which we replicate below: happened in Adiao and the 1897 decision. Still, such intervals proved of no
consequence in those cases, as it was ruled that the thefts in each of those
The defendant was charged with the theft of some fruit from the land of cases was consummated by the actual possession of the property belonging
another. As he was in the act of taking the fruit[,] he was seen by a policeman, to another.
yet it did not appear that he was at that moment caught by the policeman but
sometime later. The court said: "[x x x] The trial court did not err [x x x ] in In 1929, the Court was again confronted by a claim that an accused was guilty
considering the crime as that of consummated theft instead of frustrated theft only of frustrated rather than consummated theft. The case is People v.
inasmuch as nothing appears in the record showing that the policemen who Sobrevilla,57 where the accused, while in the midst of a crowd in a public
saw the accused take the fruit from the adjoining land arrested him in the act market, was already able to abstract a pocketbook from the trousers of the
and thus prevented him from taking full possession of the thing stolen and victim when the latter, perceiving the theft, "caught hold of the [accused]’s
even its utilization by him for an interval of time." (Decision of the Supreme shirt-front, at the same time shouting for a policeman; after a struggle, he
Court of Spain, October 14, 1898.) recovered his pocket-book and let go of the defendant, who was afterwards
caught by a policeman."58 In rejecting the contention that only frustrated theft
Defendant picked the pocket of the offended party while the latter was hearing was established, the Court simply said, without further comment or
mass in a church. The latter on account of the solemnity of the act, although elaboration:
noticing the theft, did not do anything to prevent it. Subsequently, however,
while the defendant was still inside the church, the offended party got back We believe that such a contention is groundless. The [accused] succeeded in
the money from the defendant. The court said that the defendant had taking the pocket-book, and that determines the crime of theft. If the pocket-
performed all the acts of execution and considered the theft as consummated. book was afterwards recovered, such recovery does not affect the [accused’s]
(Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain, December 1, 1897.) criminal liability, which arose from the [accused] having succeeded in taking
the pocket-book.59
The defendant penetrated into a room of a certain house and by means of a
key opened up a case, and from the case took a small box, which was also If anything, Sobrevilla is consistent with Adiao and the Spanish Supreme Court
opened with a key, from which in turn he took a purse containing 461 reales cases cited in the latter, in that the fact that the offender was able to succeed
and 20 centimos, and then he placed the money over the cover of the case; in obtaining physical possession of the stolen item, no matter how momentary,
just at this moment he was caught by two guards who were stationed in was able to consummate the theft.
another room near-by. The court considered this as consummated robbery,
and said: "[x x x] The accused [x x x] having materially taken possession of Adiao, Sobrevilla and the Spanish Supreme Court decisions cited therein
the money from the moment he took it from the place where it had been, and contradict the position of petitioner in this case. Yet to simply affirm without
having taken it with his hands with intent to appropriate the same, he executed further comment would be disingenuous, as there is another school of thought
all the acts necessary to constitute the crime which was thereby produced; on when theft is consummated, as reflected in the Diño and Flores decisions.
only the act of making use of the thing having been frustrated, which, however,
does not go to make the elements of the consummated crime." (Decision of
the Supreme Court of Spain, June 13, 1882.)56 Diño was decided by the Court of Appeals in 1949, some 31 years after Adiao
and 15 years before Flores. The accused therein, a driver employed by the
United States Army, had driven his truck into the port area of the South Harbor,
It is clear from the facts of Adiao itself, and the three (3) Spanish decisions to unload a truckload of materials to waiting U.S. Army personnel. After he
cited therein, that the criminal actors in all these cases had been able to obtain had finished unloading, accused drove away his truck from the Port, but as he
full possession of the personal property prior to their apprehension. The was approaching a checkpoint of the Military Police, he was stopped by an
interval between the commission of the acts of theft and the apprehension of M.P. who inspected the truck and found therein three boxes of army rifles. The
the thieves did vary, from "sometime later" in the 1898 decision; to the very accused later contended that he had been stopped by four men who had
moment the thief had just extracted the money in a purse which had been loaded the boxes with the agreement that they were to meet him and retrieve
the rifles after he had passed the checkpoint. The trial court convicted accused the terminal of the stevedoring company. The truck driver proceeded to show
of consummated theft, but the Court of Appeals modified the conviction, the delivery receipt to the guard on duty at the gate of the terminal. However,
holding instead that only frustrated theft had been committed. the guards insisted on inspecting the van, and discovered that the "empty" sea
van had actually contained other merchandise as well. 65 The accused was
In doing so, the appellate court pointed out that the evident intent of the prosecuted for theft qualified by abuse of confidence, and found himself
accused was to let the boxes of rifles "pass through the checkpoint, perhaps convicted of the consummated crime. Before the Court of Appeals, accused
in the belief that as the truck had already unloaded its cargo inside the depot, argued in the alternative that he was guilty only of attempted theft, but the
it would be allowed to pass through the check point without further appellate court pointed out that there was no intervening act of spontaneous
investigation or checking."60 This point was deemed material and indicative desistance on the part of the accused that "literally frustrated the theft."
that the theft had not been fully produced, for the Court of Appeals pronounced However, the Court of Appeals, explicitly relying on Diño, did find that the
that "the fact determinative of consummation is the ability of the thief to accused was guilty only of frustrated, and not consummated, theft.
dispose freely of the articles stolen, even if it were more or less momentary." 61
Support for this proposition was drawn from a decision of the Supreme Court As noted earlier, the appellate court admitted it found "no substantial variance"
of Spain dated 24 January 1888 (1888 decision), which was quoted as follows: between Diño and Flores then before it. The prosecution in Flores had sought
to distinguish that case from Diño, citing a "traditional ruling" which
Considerando que para que el apoderamiento de la cosa sustraida sea unfortunately was not identified in the decision itself. However, the Court of
determinate de la consumacion del delito de hurto es preciso que so haga en Appeals pointed out that the said "traditional ruling" was qualified by the words
circunstancias tales que permitan al sustractor la libre disposicion de aquella, "is placed in a situation where [the actor] could dispose of its contents at
siquiera sea mas o menos momentaneamente, pues de otra suerte, dado el once."66 Pouncing on this qualification, the appellate court noted that
concepto del delito de hurto, no puede decirse en realidad que se haya "[o]bviously, while the truck and the van were still within the compound, the
producido en toda su extension, sin materializar demasiado el acto de tomar petitioner could not have disposed of the goods ‘at once’." At the same time,
la cosa ajena.62 the Court of Appeals conceded that "[t]his is entirely different from the case
where a much less bulk and more common thing as money was the object of
the crime, where freedom to dispose of or make use of it is palpably less
Integrating these considerations, the Court of Appeals then concluded: restricted,"67 though no further qualification was offered what the effect would
have been had that alternative circumstance been present instead.
This court is of the opinion that in the case at bar, in order to make the booty
subject to the control and disposal of the culprits, the articles stolen must first Synthesis of the Diño and Flores rulings is in order. The determinative
be passed through the M.P. check point, but since the offense was characteristic as to whether the crime of theft was produced is the ability of
opportunely discovered and the articles seized after all the acts of execution the actor "to freely dispose of the articles stolen, even if it were only
had been performed, but before the loot came under the final control and momentary." Such conclusion was drawn from an 1888 decision of the
disposal of the looters, the offense can not be said to have been fully Supreme Court of Spain which had pronounced that in determining whether
consummated, as it was frustrated by the timely intervention of the guard. The theft had been consummated, "es preciso que so haga en circunstancias tales
offense committed, therefore, is that of frustrated theft. 63 que permitan al sustractor de aquella, siquiera sea mas o menos
momentaneamente." The qualifier "siquiera sea mas o menos
Diño thus laid down the theory that the ability of the actor to freely dispose of momentaneamente" proves another important consideration, as it implies that
the items stolen at the time of apprehension is determinative as to whether if the actor was in a capacity to freely dispose of the stolen items before
the theft is consummated or frustrated. This theory was applied again by the apprehension, then the theft could be deemed consummated. Such
Court of Appeals some 15 years later, in Flores, a case which according to circumstance was not present in either Diño or Flores, as the stolen items in
the division of the court that decided it, bore "no substantial variance between both cases were retrieved from the actor before they could be physically
the circumstances [herein] and in [Diño]."64 Such conclusion is borne out by extracted from the guarded compounds from which the items were filched.
the facts in Flores. The accused therein, a checker employed by the Luzon However, as implied in Flores, the character of the item stolen could lead to a
Stevedoring Company, issued a delivery receipt for one empty sea van to the different conclusion as to whether there could have been "free disposition," as
truck driver who had loaded the purportedly empty sea van onto his truck at
in the case where the chattel involved was of "much less bulk and more In pointing out the distinction between Diño and Espiritu, Reyes wryly
common x x x, [such] as money x x x."68 observes that "[w]hen the meaning of an element of a felony is controversial,
there is bound to arise different rulings as to the stage of execution of that
In his commentaries, Chief Justice Aquino makes the following pointed felony."77 Indeed, we can discern from this survey of jurisprudence that the
observation on the import of the Diño ruling: state of the law insofar as frustrated theft is concerned is muddled. It fact,
given the disputed foundational basis of the concept of frustrated theft itself,
the question can even be asked whether there is really such a crime in the
There is a ruling of the Court of Appeals that theft is consummated when the first place.
thief is able to freely dispose of the stolen articles even if it were more or less
momentary. Or as stated in another case[69 ], theft is consummated upon the
voluntary and malicious taking of property belonging to another which is IV. The Court in 1984 did finally rule directly that an accused was guilty of
realized by the material occupation of the thing whereby the thief places it frustrated, and not consummated, theft. As we undertake this inquiry, we have
under his control and in such a situation that he could dispose of it at once. to reckon with the import of this Court’s 1984 decision in Empelis v. IAC. 78
This ruling seems to have been based on Viada’s opinion that in order the
theft may be consummated, "es preciso que se haga en circumstancias x x x As narrated in Empelis, the owner of a coconut plantation had espied four (4)
[70 ]"71 persons in the premises of his plantation, in the act of gathering and tying
some coconuts. The accused were surprised by the owner within the
In the same commentaries, Chief Justice Aquino, concluding from Adiao and plantation as they were carrying with them the coconuts they had gathered.
other cases, also states that "[i]n theft or robbery the crime is consummated The accused fled the scene, dropping the coconuts they had seized, and were
after the accused had material possession of the thing with intent to subsequently arrested after the owner reported the incident to the police. After
appropriate the same, although his act of making use of the thing was trial, the accused were convicted of qualified theft, and the issue they raised
frustrated."72 on appeal was that they were guilty only of simple theft. The Court affirmed
that the theft was qualified, following Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code,79
but further held that the accused were guilty only of frustrated qualified theft.
There are at least two other Court of Appeals rulings that are at seeming
variance with the Diño and Flores rulings. People v. Batoon 73 involved an
accused who filled a container with gasoline from a petrol pump within view of It does not appear from the Empelis decision that the issue of whether the
a police detective, who followed the accused onto a passenger truck where theft was consummated or frustrated was raised by any of the parties. What
the arrest was made. While the trial court found the accused guilty of frustrated does appear, though, is that the disposition of that issue was contained in only
qualified theft, the Court of Appeals held that the accused was guilty of two sentences, which we reproduce in full:
consummated qualified theft, finding that "[t]he facts of the cases of U.S. [v.]
Adiao x x x and U.S. v. Sobrevilla x x x indicate that actual taking with intent However, the crime committed is only frustrated qualified theft because
to gain is enough to consummate the crime of theft." 74 petitioners were not able to perform all the acts of execution which should
have produced the felony as a consequence. They were not able to carry the
In People v. Espiritu,75 the accused had removed nine pieces of hospital linen coconuts away from the plantation due to the timely arrival of the owner.80
from a supply depot and loaded them onto a truck. However, as the truck
passed through the checkpoint, the stolen items were discovered by the No legal reference or citation was offered for this averment, whether Diño,
Military Police running the checkpoint. Even though those facts clearly admit Flores or the Spanish authorities who may have bolstered the conclusion.
to similarity with those in Diño, the Court of Appeals held that the accused There are indeed evident problems with this formulation in Empelis.
were guilty of consummated theft, as the accused "were able to take or get
hold of the hospital linen and that the only thing that was frustrated, which Empelis held that the crime was only frustrated because the actors "were not
does not constitute any element of theft, is the use or benefit that the thieves able to perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the felon
expected from the commission of the offense." 76 as a consequence."81 However, per Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, the
crime is frustrated "when the offender performs all the acts of execution,"
though not producing the felony as a result. If the offender was not able to
perform all the acts of execution, the crime is attempted, provided that the 1. Los que con ánimo de lucrarse, y sin volencia o intimidación en las
non-performance was by reason of some cause or accident other than personas ni fuerza en las cosas, toman las cosas muebles ajenas sin la
spontaneous desistance. Empelis concludes that the crime was voluntad de su dueño.

frustrated because not all of the acts of execution were performed due to the 2. Los que encontrándose una cosa perdida y sabiendo quién es su dueño se
timely arrival of the owner. However, following Article 6 of the Revised Penal la apropriaren co intención de lucro.
Code, these facts should elicit the conclusion that the crime was only
attempted, especially given that the acts were not performed because of the 3. Los dañadores que sustrajeren o utilizaren los frutos u objeto del daño
timely arrival of the owner, and not because of spontaneous desistance by the causado, salvo los casos previstos en los artίculos 606, núm. 1.0; 607, núms,
offenders. 1.0, 2.0 y 3.0; 608, núm. 1.0; 611; 613; Segundo párrafo del 617 y 618.

For these reasons, we cannot attribute weight to Empelis as we consider the It was under the ambit of the 1870 Codigo Penal that the aforecited Spanish
present petition. Even if the two sentences we had cited actually aligned with Supreme Court decisions were handed down. However, the said code would
the definitions provided in Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, such passage be revised again in 1932, and several times thereafter. In fact, under the
bears no reflection that it is the product of the considered evaluation of the Codigo Penal Español de 1995, the crime of theft is now simply defined as
relevant legal or jurisprudential thought. Instead, the passage is offered as if "[e]l que, con ánimo de lucro,
it were sourced from an indubitable legal premise so settled it required no
further explication.
tomare las cosas muebles ajenas sin la voluntad de su dueño será
castigado"82
Notably, Empelis has not since been reaffirmed by the Court, or even cited as
authority on theft. Indeed, we cannot see how Empelis can contribute to our
present debate, except for the bare fact that it proves that the Court had once Notice that in the 1870 and 1995 definition of theft in the penal code of Spain,
deliberately found an accused guilty of frustrated theft. Even if Empelis were "la libre disposicion" of the property is not an element or a statutory
considered as a precedent for frustrated theft, its doctrinal value is extremely characteristic of the crime. It does appear that the principle originated and
compromised by the erroneous legal premises that inform it, and also by the perhaps was fostered in the realm of Spanish jurisprudence.
fact that it has not been entrenched by subsequent reliance.
The oft-cited Salvador Viada adopted a question-answer form in his 1926
Thus, Empelis does not compel us that it is an insurmountable given that commentaries on the 1870 Codigo Penal de España. Therein, he raised at
frustrated theft is viable in this jurisdiction. Considering the flawed reasoning least three questions for the reader whether the crime of frustrated or
behind its conclusion of frustrated theft, it cannot present any efficacious consummated theft had occurred. The passage cited in Diño was actually
argument to persuade us in this case. Insofar as Empelis may imply that utilized by Viada to answer the question whether frustrated or consummated
convictions for frustrated theft are beyond cavil in this jurisdiction, that decision theft was committed "[e]l que en el momento mismo de apoderarse de la cosa
is subject to reassessment. ajena, viéndose sorprendido, la arroja al suelo." 83 Even as the answer was as
stated in Diño, and was indeed derived from the 1888 decision of the Supreme
Court of Spain, that decision’s factual predicate occasioning the statement
V. At the time our Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1930, the 1870 Codigo was apparently very different from Diño, for it appears that the 1888 decision
Penal de España was then in place. The definition of the crime of theft, as involved an accused who was surprised by the employees of a haberdashery
provided then, read as follows: as he was abstracting a layer of clothing off a mannequin, and who then
proceeded to throw away the garment as he fled.84
Son reos de hurto:
Nonetheless, Viada does not contest the notion of frustrated theft, and willingly
recites decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain that have held to that effect. 85
A few decades later, the esteemed Eugenio Cuello Calón pointed out the
inconsistent application by the Spanish Supreme Court with respect to proposed in Diño and Flores. A final ruling by the Court that there is no crime
frustrated theft. of frustrated theft in this jurisdiction will not lead to scholastic pariah, for such
a submission is hardly heretical in light of Cuello Calón’s position.
Hay frustración cuando los reos fueron sorprendidos por las guardias cuando
llevaban los sacos de harino del carro que los conducia a otro que tenían Accordingly, it would not be intellectually disingenuous for the Court to look at
preparado, 22 febrero 1913; cuando el resultado no tuvo efecto por la the question from a fresh perspective, as we are not bound by the opinions of
intervención de la policia situada en el local donde se realizó la sustracción the respected Spanish commentators, conflicting as they are, to accept that
que impidió pudieran los reos disponer de lo sustraído, 30 de octubre 1950. theft is capable of commission in its frustrated stage. Further, if we ask the
Hay "por lo menos" frustración, si existe apoderamiento, pero el culpale no question whether there is a mandate of statute or precedent that must compel
llega a disponer de la cosa, 12 abril 1930; hay frustración "muy próxima" us to adopt the Diño and Flores doctrines, the answer has to be in the
cuando el culpable es detenido por el perjudicado acto seguido de cometer la negative. If we did so, it would arise not out of obeisance to an inexorably
sustracción, 28 febrero 1931. Algunos fallos han considerado la existencia de higher command, but from the exercise of the function of statutory
frustración cuando, perseguido el culpable o sorprendido en el momento de interpretation that comes as part and parcel of judicial review, and a function
llevar los efectos hurtados, los abandona, 29 mayo 1889, 22 febrero 1913, 11 that allows breathing room for a variety of theorems in competition until one is
marzo 1921; esta doctrina no es admissible, éstos, conforme a lo antes ultimately adopted by this Court.
expuesto, son hurtos consumados.86
V. The foremost predicate that guides us as we explore the matter is that it
Ultimately, Cuello Calón attacked the very idea that frustrated theft is actually lies in the province of the legislature, through statute, to define what
possible: constitutes a particular crime in this jurisdiction. It is the legislature, as
representatives of the sovereign people, which determines which acts or
La doctrina hoy generalmente sustentada considera que el hurto se consuma combination of acts are criminal in nature. Judicial interpretation of penal laws
cuando la cosa queda de hecho a la disposición del agente. Con este criterio should be aligned with what was the evident legislative intent, as expressed
coincide la doctrina sentada últimamente porla jurisprudencia española que primarily in the language of the law as it defines the crime. It is Congress, not
generalmente considera consumado el hurto cuando el culpable coge o the courts, which is to define a crime, and ordain its punishment. 88 The courts
aprehende la cosa y ésta quede por tiempo más o menos duradero bajo su cannot arrogate the power to introduce a new element of a crime which was
poder. El hecho de que éste pueda aprovecharse o no de lo hurtado es unintended by the legislature, or redefine a crime in a manner that does not
indiferente. El delito no pierde su carácter de consumado aunque la cosa hew to the statutory language. Due respect for the prerogative of Congress in
hurtada sea devuelta por el culpable o fuere recuperada. No se concibe la defining crimes/felonies constrains the Court to refrain from a broad
frustración, pues es muy dificil que el que hace cuanto es necesario para la interpretation of penal laws where a "narrow interpretation" is appropriate.
consumación del hurto no lo consume efectivamente, los raros casos que "The Court must take heed of language, legislative history and purpose, in
nuestra jurisprudencia, muy vacilante, declara hurtos frustrados son order to strictly determine the wrath and breath of the conduct the law
verdaderos delitos consumados.87 (Emphasis supplied) forbids."89

Cuello Calón’s submissions cannot be lightly ignored. Unlike Viada, who was With that in mind, a problem clearly emerges with the Diño/Flores dictum. The
content with replicating the Spanish Supreme Court decisions on the matter, ability of the offender to freely dispose of the property stolen is not a
Cuello Calón actually set forth his own thought that questioned whether theft constitutive element of the crime of theft. It finds no support or extension in
could truly be frustrated, since "pues es muy dificil que el que hace cuanto es Article 308, whether as a descriptive or operative element of theft or as the
necesario para la consumación del hurto no lo consume efectivamente." mens rea or actus reus of the felony. To restate what this Court has repeatedly
Otherwise put, it would be difficult to foresee how the execution of all the acts held: the elements of the crime of theft as provided for in Article 308 of the
necessary for the completion of the crime would not produce the effect of theft. Revised Penal Code are: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2) that
said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent to
gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that
This divergence of opinion convinces us, at least, that there is no weighted the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation
force in scholarly thought that obliges us to accept frustrated theft, as of persons or force upon things.90
Such factor runs immaterial to the statutory definition of theft, which is the x x x [T]he most fundamental notion in the crime of theft is the taking of the
taking, with intent to gain, of personal property of another without the latter’s thing to be appropriated into the physical power of the thief, which idea is
consent. While the Diño/Flores dictum is considerate to the mindset of the qualified by other conditions, such as that the taking must be effected animo
offender, the statutory definition of theft considers only the perspective of lucrandi and without the consent of the owner; and it will be here noted that
intent to gain on the part of the offender, compounded by the deprivation of the definition does not require that the taking should be effected against the
property on the part of the victim. will of the owner but merely that it should be without his consent, a distinction
of no slight importance.94
For the purpose of ascertaining whether theft is susceptible of commission in
the frustrated stage, the question is again, when is the crime of theft Insofar as we consider the present question, "unlawful taking" is most material
produced? There would be all but certain unanimity in the position that theft is in this respect. Unlawful taking, which is the deprivation of one’s personal
produced when there is deprivation of personal property due to its taking by property, is the element which produces the felony in its consummated stage.
one with intent to gain. Viewed from that perspective, it is immaterial to the At the same time, without unlawful taking as an act of execution, the offense
product of the felony that the offender, once having committed all the acts of could only be attempted theft, if at all.
execution for theft, is able or unable to freely dispose of the property stolen
since the deprivation from the owner alone has already ensued from such acts With these considerations, we can only conclude that under Article 308 of the
of execution. This conclusion is reflected in Chief Justice Aquino’s Revised Penal Code, theft cannot have a frustrated stage. Theft can only be
commentaries, as earlier cited, that "[i]n theft or robbery the crime is attempted or consummated.
consummated after the accused had material possession of the thing with
intent to appropriate the same, although his act of making use of the thing was
frustrated."91 Neither Diño nor Flores can convince us otherwise. Both fail to consider that
once the offenders therein obtained possession over the stolen items, the
effect of the felony has been produced as there has been deprivation of
It might be argued, that the ability of the offender to freely dispose of the property. The presumed inability of the offenders to freely dispose of the stolen
property stolen delves into the concept of "taking" itself, in that there could be property does not negate the fact that the owners have already been deprived
no true taking until the actor obtains such degree of control over the stolen of their right to possession upon the completion of the taking.
item. But even if this were correct, the effect would be to downgrade the crime
to its attempted, and not frustrated stage, for it would mean that not all the
acts of execution have not been completed, the "taking not having been Moreover, as is evident in this case, the adoption of the rule —that the inability
accomplished." Perhaps this point could serve as fertile ground for future of the offender to freely dispose of the stolen property frustrates the theft —
discussion, but our concern now is whether there is indeed a crime of would introduce a convenient defense for the accused which does not reflect
frustrated theft, and such consideration proves ultimately immaterial to that any legislated intent,95 since the Court would have carved a viable means for
question. Moreover, such issue will not apply to the facts of this particular offenders to seek a mitigated penalty under applied circumstances that do not
case. We are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the taking by the admit of easy classification. It is difficult to formulate definite standards as to
petitioner was completed in this case. With intent to gain, he acquired physical when a stolen item is susceptible to free disposal by the thief. Would this
possession of the stolen cases of detergent for a considerable period of time depend on the psychological belief of the offender at the time of the
that he was able to drop these off at a spot in the parking lot, and long enough commission of the crime, as implied in Diño?
to load these onto a taxicab.
Or, more likely, the appreciation of several classes of factual circumstances
Indeed, we have, after all, held that unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is such as the size and weight of the property, the location of the property, the
deemed complete from the moment the offender gains possession of the number and identity of people present at the scene of the crime, the number
thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same.92 And long ago, and identity of people whom the offender is expected to encounter upon
we asserted in People v. Avila:93 fleeing with the stolen property, the manner in which the stolen item had been
housed or stored; and quite frankly, a whole lot more. Even the fungibility or
edibility of the stolen item would come into account, relevant as that would be
on whether such property is capable of free disposal at any stage, even after Sazon v. Sandiganbayan
the taking has been consummated.
NACHURA, J.:
All these complications will make us lose sight of the fact that beneath all the
colorful detail, the owner was indeed deprived of property by one who intended Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
to produce such deprivation for reasons of gain. For such will remain the Rules of Court seeking to nullify the Decision 1 of the Sandiganbayan, dated
presumed fact if frustrated theft were recognized, for therein, all of the acts of July 26, 2001, in Criminal Case No. 18257, finding the petitioner Zenaida V.
execution, including the taking, have been completed. If the facts establish the Sazon guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery Extortion. 2 Likewise
non-completion of the taking due to these peculiar circumstances, the effect assailed is the Sandiganbayan’s Resolution3 dated November 16, 2001
could be to downgrade the crime to the attempted stage, as not all of the acts denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
of execution have been performed. But once all these acts have been
executed, the taking has been completed, causing the unlawful deprivation of
property, and ultimately the consummation of the theft. The facts, as established by the evidence presented, are as follows:

Maybe the Diño/Flores rulings are, in some degree, grounded in common Petitioner was a Senior Forest Management Specialist of the Department of
sense. Yet they do not align with the legislated framework of the crime of theft. Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Capital Region
The Revised Penal Code provisions on theft have not been designed in such (NCR).4 On September 24, 1992, the DENR-NCR issued Travel Order No. 09-
fashion as to accommodate said rulings. Again, there is no language in Article 92-409 directing the petitioner and a certain Carlos Gubat I (Gubat) to proceed
308 that expressly or impliedly allows that the "free disposition of the items to Karuhatan and Navotas, both in Metro Manila, to perform the following:
stolen" is in any way determinative of whether the crime of theft has been
produced. Diño itself did not rely on Philippine laws or jurisprudence to bolster 1. To investigate [an] intelligence report on the alleged arrival of
its conclusion, and the later Flores was ultimately content in relying on Diño illegal shipment of poles and piles to Navotas, Metro Manila; and
alone for legal support. These cases do not enjoy the weight of stare decisis,
and even if they did, their erroneous appreciation of our law on theft leave 2. [To] verify illegal resaw operation of Honway Lumber, Karuhatan,
them susceptible to reversal. The same holds true of Empilis, a regrettably Metro Manila.5
stray decision which has not since found favor from this Court.

On September 25, 1992, petitioner and her team, composed of Gubat and
We thus conclude that under the Revised Penal Code, there is no crime of Forester Nemesio Ricohermoso, conducted a surveillance in Karuhatan and
frustrated theft. As petitioner has latched the success of his appeal on our Navotas. While looking for the office of Vifel Shipyard, subject of the travel
acceptance of the Diño and Flores rulings, his petition must be denied, for we order, the team chanced upon the R&R Shipyard (R&R) and asked from the
decline to adopt said rulings in our jurisdiction. That it has taken all these years lady guard for Mr. Rodrigo Opena (Mr. Opena), the Operations Manager. 6 As
for us to recognize that there can be no frustrated theft under the Revised the petitioner knew Mr. Opena, the former wanted to inquire from the latter
Penal Code does not detract from the correctness of this conclusion. It will where Vifel Shipyard was.7 In the course of their conversation with the lady
take considerable amendments to our Revised Penal Code in order that guard, the team spotted squared logs, which they claimed to be "dungon" logs
frustrated theft may be recognized. Our deference to Viada yields to the higher piled at the R&R compound. Upon a closer look, the team noticed that the
reverence for legislative intent. squared logs were mill-sawn and bore hatchet marks with a number indicating
inspection by the DENR. Since "dungon" logs were banned species, the team
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Costs against petitioner. SO asked for the pertinent documents relative thereto. However, the same could
ORDERED. not be produced at that time; hence, they decided to return on October 1. 8

Intent to Gain On October 1, 1992, petitioner and her team returned to R&R to check the
necessary documents they were looking for. Yet again, Mr. Opena could not
produce the documents as they were then allegedly in the possession of the
auditing section of their main office. Petitioner insisted that the subject logs At about 11 o’clock in the evening, petitioner was brought to the assistant
were banned species and, thus, threatened Mr. Opena that he could be prosecutor for inquest.20 Thereafter, an Information for Robbery Extortion was
arrested and that the logs could be confiscated. Mr. Opena, however, claimed filed against the petitioner, the accusatory portion of which reads:
that the logs that were seen by the petitioner were "yakal" and "tangile" and
not "dungon."9 That on or about October 14, 1992, in Kalookan City, Metro Manila and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a public
On October 7, 1992, Atty. Teresita Agbi, the lawyer of R&R, met with the officer, being then the supervisor of the Department of Environment and
petitioner to talk about the subject logs. Petitioner instructed Atty. Agbi to Natural Resources (D[E]NR), taking advantage of her public position and
proceed to the bakeshop at the ground floor of the former’s office. 10 There, which offensed (sic) was committed in relation to her office, by means of
Atty. Agbi informed the petitioner that she had in her possession the receipts intimidation and with intent to gain, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
covering the subject logs; but the latter averred that the receipts were not feloniously demand, take and extort from the IRMA FISHING & TRADING
sufficient as there were additional requirements 11 to be submitted. Believing COMPANY as represented herein by ATTY. TERESITA A. AGBI, the amount
that Atty. Agbi could not produce the required documents, petitioner initially of ₱100,000.00 to prevent the confiscation of more or less thirty (30) pcs. of
demanded the payment of ₱300,000.00 if no papers would be submitted; logs, which are found in the compound of RNR Marine Inc., purportedly for
₱200,000.00 if incomplete; and ₱100,000.00 if the papers were complete.12 unauthorize[d] possession of the said logs, and belonging to the said Irma
Fishing & Trading Company, to the damage and prejudice of the said owner
On October 13, 1992, petitioner made a final demand of ₱100,000.00 in in the aforementioned amount of ₱100,000.00.
exchange for the favor of "fixing" the papers of the alleged "hot logs." She
even offered Atty. Agbi ₱25,000.00 as her share in the amount. 13 Atty. Agbi CONTRARY TO LAW.21
reported the matter to the police. Consequently, an entrapment operation
against the petitioner was planned wherein Atty. Agbi would agree to pay Upon arraignment, petitioner entered a plea of "Not Guilty." 22
₱100,000.00 to settle the issue with the petitioner.14
After trial on the merits, the Sandiganbayan rendered a Decision23 convicting
On October 14, 1992, the day of the scheduled entrapment operation, Atty. the petitioner of the crime of robbery extortion. The dispositive portion of the
Agbi, together with Senior Police Officer 1 Edwin Anaviso (SPO1 Anaviso), assailed decision is quoted hereunder:
SPO1 Pablo Temena (SPO1 Temena) and SPO2 Renato Dizon (SPO2 Dizon)
went to the Max’s Restaurant in EDSA, Caloocan City, where they would meet
the petitioner.15 Upon seeing Atty. Agbi, petitioner instructed the former to drop WHEREFORE, the accused, ZENAIDA SAZON y VENTURA, is hereby found
the envelope containing the money in the taxicab parked outside. Atty. Agbi, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ROBBERY EXTORTION,
however, could not comply since her ₱25,000.00 commission had not yet defined under Article 293, and penalized under paragraph 5, Article 294 (as
been segregated from the ₱100,000.00. Petitioner thus offered to segregate amended by Section 9, Republic Act No. 7659) both of the Revised Penal
it at the ladies’ room.16 As soon as Atty. Agbi handed over the envelope Code, and, there being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance that
containing the money, petitioner placed her wallet and handkerchief inside the attended the commission of the crime, she is hereby sentenced, under the
envelope;17 then SPO2 Dizon immediately accosted and handcuffed the Indeterminate Sentence Law, to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of from
petitioner while SPO1 Temena took pictures of the incident. 18 Two (2) Years and Three (3) Months of prision correccional, as minimum, to
Seven (7) Years of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the costs.
Petitioner, for her part, denied the above accusation. She averred that it was
in fact Atty. Agbi who proposed the settlement which she, however, rejected. SO ORDERED.24
When offered a brown envelope containing money, petitioner allegedly stood
up and prepared to leave, but a man came from nowhere and immediately The court found that the elements of robbery with intimidation were
handcuffed her while another man took pictures.19 established by the prosecution.25 It was pointed out that if the interest of
petitioner was merely the submission by R&R of the required documents, she
should have required that they meet at her office and not at a restaurant. 26
Her liability, said the court, was not negated by the eventual admission of Irma record.32 However, we find no reason to disturb the factual findings of the
Fishing and Trading Co. that the required documents could not be produced.27 Sandiganbayan, as none of these exceptions is present in this case.

Hence, the instant petition on the following grounds: Petitioner was charged with robbery defined and penalized under Articles
29333 and 294(5)34 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), otherwise known as
I. WITH DUE RESPECT, THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED simple robbery. Simple robbery is committed by means of violence against or
IN CONCLUDING THAT THE VERSION OF THE PROSECUTION TENDS intimidation of persons.35 The elements of robbery as defined in Article 293 of
TO SHOW THAT ALL THE ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME OF ROBBERY the RPC are the following: a) that there is personal property belonging to
WITH INTIMIDATION ARE PRESENT. another; b) that there is unlawful taking of that property; c) that the taking is
with intent to gain; and d) that there is violence against or intimidation of
persons or force upon things.36
II. WITH DUE RESPECT, THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED
IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF
THE CRIME CHARGED.28 Indeed, the prosecution adequately established the above elements.

Apart from the instant criminal case, the DENR filed an administrative As to what was taken, it is undisputed that petitioner demanded and eventually
complaint against the petitioner for grave misconduct in the performance of received from R&R ₱100,000.00, a personal property belonging to the latter.
official duty, but the same was dismissed for lack of interest on the part of the The amount was placed inside a brown envelope and was given to petitioner
complainant. Another administrative case was filed before the Office of the while inside Max’s Restaurant in EDSA, Caloocan City.
Ombudsman, but the same was likewise dismissed.29
As to how the money was taken, it was proven that ₱100,000.00 was
Petitioner’s insistence on her acquittal of the crime of robbery with intimidation unlawfully taken by the petitioner from R&R, with intent to gain and through
hinges on the alleged absence of the elements of the crime. She specifically intimidation. In robbery, there must be an unlawful taking or apoderamiento,
questions the Sandiganbayan’s conclusion that she employed intimidation in which is defined as the taking of items without the consent of the owner, or by
order to extort ₱100,000.00 from R&R. Petitioner strongly doubts that the means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon
threat of confiscation of the subject logs created fear in the mind of R&R or its things.37 Taking is considered complete from the moment the offender gains
employees. Absent such element, says the petitioner, her exoneration is possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same.
clearly indicated.30 In the instant case, it was adequately proven that petitioner received and took
possession of the brown envelope containing the money; she even placed her
wallet and handkerchief inside the envelope. At that point, there was already
We do not agree with the petitioner. "taking."

In appeals to this Court from the Sandiganbayan, only questions of law may As a public officer employed with the DENR, petitioner was tasked to
be raised, not issues of fact. The factual findings of the Sandiganbayan are implement forestry laws, rules and regulations. Specifically, she had the power
binding upon this Court.31 The Supreme Court should not be burdened with to make reports on forestry violations which could result in the eventual
the task of re-examining the evidence presented during the trial of the case. confiscation of logs if the possession thereof could not be justified by the
This rule, however, admits of exceptions, to wit: 1) when the conclusion is a required documents; and the prosecution of violators thereof. Undoubtedly,
finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise or conjectures; 2) the petitioner could not demand and eventually receive any amount from private
inference made is manifestly mistaken; 3) there is grave abuse of discretion persons as a consideration for the former’s non-performance of her lawful
on the part of the lower court or agency; 4) the judgment is based on a task. More so, in the instant case where the petitioner threatened the
misapprehension of facts; 5) said findings of fact are conclusions without complainants with possible confiscation of the logs and prosecution if they
citation of specific evidence on which they are based; and 6) the findings of would not accede to her demand for ₱100,000.00. Under such circumstances,
fact of the Sandiganbayan are premised on an absence of evidence on the eventual receipt of the said amount by the petitioner makes the taking
"unlawful."
To constitute robbery, the taking should be accompanied by intent to gain. robbery with intimidation. These include the early cases of People v.
Intent to gain, or animus lucrandi, as an element of the crime of robbery, is an Francisco42 and United States v. Sanchez,43 and the more recent cases of
internal act; hence, presumed from the unlawful taking of things. 38 Actual gain Fortuna v. People44 and Pablo v. People.45
is irrelevant as the important consideration is the intent to gain. 39 Having
established that the amount of ₱100,000.00 was unlawfully taken by the In People v. Francisco, the accused, who was then a sanitary inspector in the
petitioner from R&R for her personal benefit, intent to gain was likewise Philippine Health Service, discovered during an inspection of the merchandise
proven. in Sy Ham’s store that the lard was unfit for consumption. He then demanded
from Sy Ham the payment of ₱2.00 with threats of prosecution and arrest. For
Lastly, we agree with the Sandiganbayan that petitioner employed intimidation fear of being arrested, prosecuted, and convicted, Sy Ham immediately paid
in order to obtain the amount of ₱100,000.00 from R&R. the amount demanded.

Intimidation is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as unlawful coercion; In United States v. Sanchez, two police officers demanded from a Chinese,
extortion; duress; putting in fear.40 In robbery with intimidation of persons, the who allegedly violated the Opium Law, ₱500.00, accompanied by threats to
intimidation consists in causing or creating fear in the mind of a person or in take him before the proper authorities and have him prosecuted. For fear of
bringing in a sense of mental distress in view of a risk or evil that may be being sent to prison for a long term, the Chinese paid a negotiated amount of
impending, real or imagined. Such fear of injury to person or property must ₱150.00
continue to operate in the mind of the victim at the time of the delivery of the
money.41 In Fortuna v. People and Pablo v. People, three policemen frisked Diosdada
and Mario Montecillo, and accused the latter of illegal possession of a deadly
Applying this principle to the pertinent facts of the instant case, it is noteworthy weapon. The policemen threatened Mario that he would be brought to the
that: On September 25, 1992, petitioner discovered the questioned logs and police station where he would be interrogated by the police, mauled by other
asked that the supporting documents be shown; on October 1, she formally prisoners and heckled by the press. The apprehending policemen took from
demanded the submission of the required documents; on October 7, she Mario ₱1,000.00. They likewise rummaged Diosdada’s bag where they found
demanded payment of a particular sum of money while offering to "fix" the and eventually pocketed ₱5,000.00. They further demanded from Diosdada
problem; on October 13, she made the final demand; and on October 14, the any piece of jewelry that could be pawned. Thereafter, the two were released
representatives of R&R parted with their ₱100,000.00. While it appears that by the policemen.
initially, petitioner only demanded the submission of the supporting documents
to show that R&R’s possession of the subject logs was legal, she agreed to In all of the above cases, the Court was convinced that there was sufficient
talk about the matter outside her office. This circumstance alone makes her intimidation applied by the accused on the offended parties inasmuch as the
intentions highly suspect. The same was confirmed when petitioner eventually acts of the accused engendered fear in the minds of their victims and hindered
demanded from R&R the payment of a particular sum of money, accompanied the free exercise of their will.
by threats of prosecution and confiscation of the logs.1avvphi1
As in the aforesaid cases, petitioner herein was a public officer who, in the
From the foregoing, and in light of the concept of intimidation as defined in performance of her official task, discovered the subject logs which she claimed
various jurisprudence, we find and so hold that the ₱100,000.00 "grease to be banned species. By reason of said discovery, she had the power to bring
money" was taken by the petitioner from R&R’s representatives through the offenders to the proper authorities. As such public officer, she abused her
intimidation. By using her position as Senior Management Specialist of the authority and demanded from the offenders the payment of a particular sum
DENR, petitioner succeeded in coercing the complainants to choose between of money, accompanied by an assurance that the latter would no longer be
two alternatives: to part with their money, or suffer the burden and humiliation prosecuted. Eventually, money was given to the petitioner. We, therefore, find
of prosecution and confiscation of the logs. no reason to depart from the above conclusion.

Indeed, this Court had, in a number of cases involving substantially the same We would like to stress that the Constitution guarantees that in all criminal
factual milieu as in the present case, convicted the accused of the crime of prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
proved. This means proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. qualified theft2 for the unlawful taking of a Daewoo Racer GTE Taxi and
Reasonable doubt is present when, after the comparison and consideration of sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, he comes to this
all the evidence adduced, the minds of the judges are left in a condition that Court on appeal.
they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction, a moral certainty, of the truth
of the charge, a certainty that convinces and directs the understanding, and In an information3 dated June 17, 1997, appellant was indicted as follows:
satisfies the reason and judgment of those who are bound to act
conscientiously upon it.46 To be sure, proof beyond reasonable doubt does
not demand absolute certainty and the exclusion of all possibility of error. 47 The undersigned accuses LUISITO D. BUSTINERA of the
crime of Qualified Theft, committed as follows:
We find, however, that the Sandiganbayan failed to appreciate the
aggravating circumstance of "abuse of public position." 48 The fact that That on or about the 25th day of December up to
petitioner was Senior Forest Management Specialist of the DENR situated her the 9th day of January, 1997, in Quezon City,
in a position to perpetrate the offense. It was on account of petitioner’s Philippines, the said accused being then
authority that the complainants believed that they could be prosecuted and employed as one [of] the taxi Drivers of Elias S.
the subject logs confiscated unless they gave her what she wanted. Cipriano, an Operator of several taxi cabs with
Consequently, we find that a modification of the penalty imposed by the business address at corner 44 Commonwealth
Sandiganbayan is in order. Avenue, iliman (sic), this City, and as such has
free access to the taxi he being driven, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with
Article 294(5) of the RPC fixes the penalty for simple robbery at prision intent to gain, with grave abuse of confidence
correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period, the reposed upon him by his employer and without the
range of which is from four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to ten knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, take,
(10) years. Considering the aggravating circumstance of abuse of public steal and carry away a Daewoo Racer GTE Taxi
position, the penalty should be imposed in its maximum period; and applying with Plate No. PWH-266 worth ₱303,000.00,
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the same should likewise be the maximum Philippine Currency, belonging to Elias S.
term of the indeterminate penalty. The minimum term, on the other hand, shall Cipriano, to the damage and prejudice of the said
be taken from the penalty next lower in degree which is arresto mayor offended party in the amount of ₱303,000.00.
maximum to prision correccional medium in any of its periods, the range of
which is four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. 49
CONTRARY TO LAW.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of
the Sandiganbayan, dated July 26, 2001, and its Resolution dated November Upon arraignment4 on March 27, 2000, appellant, assisted by counsel de
16, 2001 in Criminal Case No. 18257, are AFFIRMED WITH THE oficio, entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
MODIFICATION that petitioner Zenaida V. Sazon is sentenced to the
indeterminate penalty of Two (2) Years, Ten (10) Months and Twenty-One From the evidence for the prosecution, the following version is established.
(21) Days of prision correccional, as minimum, to Eight (8) Years and Twenty-
One (21) Days of prision mayor, as maximum. SO ORDERED. Sometime in 1996, Edwin Cipriano (Cipriano), who manages ESC Transport,
the taxicab business of his father, hired appellant as a taxi driver and assigned
People v. Bustinera him to drive a Daewoo Racer with plate number PWH-266. It was agreed that
appellant would drive the taxi from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m, after which he
CARPIO MORALES, J.: would return it to ESC Transport’s garage and remit the boundary fee in the
amount of ₱780.00 per day.5
From the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 217, Quezon City
finding appellant Luisito D. Bustinera guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
On December 25, 1996, appellant admittedly reported for work and drove the Q: So, when you return the taxi, you sign the record book?
taxi, but he did not return it on the same day as he was supposed to.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, Mr. Witness, on December 25, 1996, did you report
for work? Q: You mentioned that on December 25, 1996, you brought
out a taxi?
A: Yes, sir.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, since you reported for work, what are your duties
and responsibilities as taxi driver of the taxi company? Q: What kind of taxi?

A: That we have to bring back the taxi at night with the A: Daewoo taxi, sir.
boundary.
Q: Now did you return the taxi on December 25, 1996?
Q: How much is your boundary?
A: I was not able to bring back the taxi because I was short
A: ₱780.00, sir. of my boundary, sir.6

Q: On December 25, 1996, did you bring out any taxi? The following day, December 26, 1996, Cipriano went to appellant’s house to
ascertain why the taxi was not returned.7 Arriving at appellant’s house, he did
A: Yes, sir. not find the taxi there, appellant’s wife telling him that her husband had not yet
arrived.8 Leaving nothing to chance, Cipriano went to the Commonwealth
Q: Now, when ever (sic) you bring out a taxi, what Avenue police station and reported that his taxi was missing.9
procedure [do] you follow with that company?
On January 9, 1997, appellant’s wife went to the garage of ESC Transport and
A: That we have to bring back the taxi to the company and revealed that the taxi had been abandoned in Regalado Street, Lagro, Quezon
before we leave we also sign something, sir. City.10 Cipriano lost no time in repairing to Regalado Street where he
recovered the taxi.11
Q: What is that something you mentioned?
Upon the other hand, while appellant does not deny that he did not return the
taxi on December 25, 1996 as he was short of the boundary fee, he claims
A: On the record book and on the daily trip ticket, sir. that he did not abandon the taxi but actually returned it on January 5, 1997; 12
and that on December 27, 1996, he gave the amount of ₱2,000.00 13 to his
Q: You said that you have to return your taxi at the end of wife whom he instructed to remit the same to Cipriano as payment of the
the day, what is then the procedure reflect (sic) by your boundary fee14 and to tell the latter that he could not return the taxi as he still
company when you return a taxi? had a balance thereof.15

A: To remit the boundary and to sign the record book and Appellant, however, admits that his wife informed him that when she went to
daily trip ticket. the garage to remit the boundary fee on the very same day (December 27,
1996),16 Cipriano was already demanding the return of the taxi.17
Appellant maintains though that he returned the taxi on January 5, 1997 and THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-
signed the record book,18 which was company procedure, to show that he APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF
indeed returned it and gave his employer ₱2,500.0019 as partial payment for QUALIFIED THEFT.25
the boundary fee covering the period from December 25, 1996 to January 5,
1997. It is settled that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case
open for review, and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct such
Continuing, appellant claims that as he still had a balance in the boundary fee, errors as may be found in the judgment even if they have not been specifically
he left his driver’s license with Cipriano; 20 that as he could not drive, which assigned.26
was the only work he had ever known, without his driver’s license, and with
the obligation to pay the balance of the boundary fee still lingering, his wife Appellant was convicted of qualified theft under Article 310 of the Revised
started working on February 18, 1997 as a stay-in maid for Cipriano, with a Penal Code, as amended for the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. However,
monthly salary of ₱1,300.00,21 until March 26, 1997 when Cipriano told her Article 310 has been modified, with respect to certain vehicles,27 by Republic
that she had worked off the balance of his obligation; 22 and that with his Act No. 6539, as amended, otherwise known as "AN ACT PREVENTING AND
obligation extinguished, his driver’s license was returned to him. 23 PENALIZING CARNAPPING."

Brushing aside appellant’s claim that he returned the taxi on January 5, 1997 When statutes are in pari materia28 or when they relate to the same person or
and that he had in fact paid the total amount of ₱4,500.00, the trial court found thing, or to the same class of persons or things, or cover the same specific or
him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified theft by Decision of May 17, particular subject matter,29 or have the same purpose or object,30 the rule
2001, the dispositive portion of which is quoted verbatim: dictates that they should be construed together – interpretare et concordare
leges legibus, est optimus interpretandi modus.31 Every statute must be so
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding construed and harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform system of
accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt as charged, and jurisprudence,32 as this Court explained in City of Naga v. Agna,33 viz:
he is accordingly sentenced to suffer the penalty of
Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the costs. . . . When statutes are in pari materia, the rule of statutory
construction dictates that they should be construed
In the service of his sentence, accused is ordered credited together. This is because enactments of the same
with four-fifths (4/5) of the preventive imprisonment legislature on the same subject matter are supposed to form
undergone by him there being no showing that he agreed in part of one uniform system; that later statutes are
writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed supplementary or complimentary to the earlier enactments
upon convicted prisoners. and in the passage of its acts the legislature is supposed to
have in mind the existing legislation on the same subject
SO ORDERED.24 and to have enacted its new act with reference thereto.
Having thus in mind the previous statutes relating to the
same subject matter, whenever the legislature enacts a new
Hence, the present appeal anchored on the following assigned errors: law, it is deemed to have enacted the new provision in
accordance with the legislative policy embodied in those
I. prior statutes unless there is an express repeal of the old
and they all should be construed together. In construing
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONCLUDING WITHOUT them the old statutes relating to the same subject
matter should be compared with the new provisions
CONCRETE BASIS THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT HAS INTENT TO
GAIN WHEN HE FAILED TO RETURN THE TAXI TO ITS GARAGE. and if possible by reasonable construction, both
should be so construed that effect may be given to
every provision of each. However, when the new
II.
provision and the old relating to the same subject violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things. But
cannot be reconciled the former shall prevail as it is the a careful comparison of this special law with the crimes of robbery and theft
latter expression of the legislative will . . .34 (Emphasis readily reveals their common features and characteristics, to wit: unlawful
and underscoring supplied; citations omitted) taking, intent to gain, and that personal property belonging to another is taken
without the latter's consent. However, the anti-carnapping law particularly
The elements of the crime of theft as provided for in Article 308 of the Revised deals with the theft and robbery of motor vehicles. Hence a motor vehicle
Penal Code are: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2) that said is said to have been carnapped when it has been taken, with intent to gain,
property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent to gain; (4) without the owner's consent, whether the taking was done with or without the
that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that the use of force upon things. Without the anti-carnapping law, such unlawful
taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation of taking of a motor vehicle would fall within the purview of either theft or
persons or force upon things.35 robbery which was certainly the case before the enactment of said
statute.42 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; citations omitted.)

Theft is qualified when any of the following circumstances is present: (1) the
theft is committed by a domestic servant; (2) the theft is committed with grave It is to be noted, however, that while the anti-carnapping law penalizes the
abuse of confidence; (3) the property stolen is either a motor vehicle, mail unlawful taking of motor vehicles, it excepts from its coverage certain vehicles
matter or large cattle; (4) the property stolen consists of coconuts taken from such as roadrollers, trolleys, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers,
the premises of a plantation; (5) the property stolen is fish taken from a amphibian trucks and cranes if not used on public highways, vehicles which
fishpond or fishery; and (6) the property was taken on the occasion of fire, run only on rails and tracks, and tractors, trailers and tractor engines of all
earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular kinds and used exclusively for agricultural purposes. By implication, the theft
accident or civil disturbance.36 or robbery of the foregoing vehicles would be covered by Article 310 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended and the provisions on robbery,
respectively.43
On the other hand, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended defines
"carnapping" as "the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging
to another without the latter's consent, or by means of violence against or From the foregoing, since appellant is being accused of the unlawful taking of
intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things." The elements of a Daewoo sedan, it is the anti-carnapping law and not the provisions of
carnapping are thus: (1) the taking of a motor vehicle which belongs to qualified theft which would apply as the said motor vehicle does not fall within
another; (2) the taking is without the consent of the owner or by means of the exceptions mentioned in the anti-carnapping law.
violence against or intimidation of persons or by using force upon things; and
(3) the taking is done with intent to gain.37 The designation in the information of the offense committed by appellant as
one for qualified theft notwithstanding, appellant may still be convicted of the
Carnapping is essentially the robbery or theft of a motorized vehicle,38 the crime of carnapping. For while it is necessary that the statutory designation be
concept of unlawful taking in theft, robbery and carnapping being the same. 39 stated in the information, a mistake in the caption of an indictment in
designating the correct name of the offense is not a fatal defect as it is not the
designation that is controlling but the facts alleged in the information which
In the 2000 case of People v. Tan40 where the accused took a Mitsubishi determines the real nature of the crime.44
Gallant and in the later case of People v. Lobitania41 which involved the taking
of a Yamaha motorized tricycle, this Court held that the unlawful taking of
motor vehicles is now covered by the anti-carnapping law and not by the In the case at bar, the information alleges that appellant, with intent to gain,
provisions on qualified theft or robbery. took the taxi owned by Cipriano without the latter’s consent. 45 Thus, the
indictment alleges every element of the crime of carnapping, 46 and the
prosecution proved the same.
There is no arguing that the anti-carnapping law is a special law,
different from the crime of robbery and theft included in the Revised
Penal Code. It particularly addresses the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor Appellant’s appeal is thus bereft of merit.
vehicle belonging to another without the latter's consent, or by means of
That appellant brought out the taxi on December 25, 1996 and did not return Appellant assails the trial court’s conclusion that there was intent to gain with
it on the same day as he was supposed to is admitted. 47 the mere taking of the taxi without the owner’s consent. He maintains that his
reason for failing to return the taxi was his inability to remit the boundary fee,
Unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is the taking of the motor vehicle without his earnings that day not having permitted it; and that there was no intent to
the consent of the owner, or by means of violence against or intimidation of gain since the taking of the taxi was not permanent in character, he having
persons, or by using force upon things; it is deemed complete from the returned it.
moment the offender gains possession of the thing, even if he has no
opportunity to dispose of the same.48 Appellant’s position does not persuade.

While the nature of appellant’s possession of the taxi was initially lawful as he Intent to gain or animus lucrandi is an internal act, presumed from the unlawful
was hired as a taxi driver and was entrusted possession thereof, his act of not taking of the motor vehicle.51 Actual gain is irrelevant as the important
returning it to its owner, which is contrary to company practice and against the consideration is the intent to gain.52 The term "gain" is not merely limited to
owner’s consent transformed the character of the possession into an unlawful pecuniary benefit but also includes the benefit which in any other sense may
one.49 Appellant himself admits that he was aware that his possession of the be derived or expected from the act which is performed. 53 Thus, the mere use
taxi was no longer with Cipriano’s consent as the latter was already of the thing which was taken without the owner’s consent constitutes gain. 54
demanding its return.
In Villacorta v. Insurance Commission55 which was reiterated in Association of
Q: Also you said that during your direct testimony that when you gave your Baptists for World Evangelism, Inc. v. Fieldmen’s Insurance Co, Inc.,56 Justice
wife the ₱2,500.00, you also told her to go to the company to ask the company Claudio Teehankee (later Chief Justice), interpreting the theft clause of an
for permission for you to use the taxi since you were then still short of the insurance policy, explained that, when one takes the motor vehicle of another
boundary. Alright, after telling that to your wife and after seeing your wife without the latter’s consent even if the motor vehicle is later returned, there
between December 27, 1996 and January 5, 1997, did you ask your wife what is theft, there being intent to gain as the use of the thing unlawfully taken
was the answer of the company to that request of yours? constitutes gain:

A: He did not allow me, sir, and he even [got] angry with me. Assuming, despite the totally inadequate evidence, that the
taking was "temporary" and for a "joy ride", the Court
Q: So, when did you learn that the company was not agreeable to your making sustains as the better view57 that which holds that when a
use of the taxicab without first returning it to the company? person, either with the object of going to a certain place, or
learning how to drive, or enjoying a free ride, takes
possession of a vehicle belonging to another, without the
A: Before the new year, sir. consent of its owner, he is guilty of theft because by taking
possession of the personal property belonging to another
Q: When you said new year, you were referring to January 1, 1997? and using it, his intent to gain is evident since he derives
therefrom utility, satisfaction, enjoyment and pleasure.
A: Either December 29 or December 30, 1996, sir. Justice Ramon C. Aquino cites in his work Groizard
who holds that the use of a thing constitutes gain and
Cuello Calon who calls it "hurt de uso."58 (Emphasis and
Q: So, are you telling us that even if you knew already that the company was underscoring supplied; citation omitted)
not agreeable to your making use of the taxicab continually (sic) without
returning the same to the company, you still went ahead and make (sic) use
of it and returned it only on January 5, 1997. Besides, the trial court did not believe appellant’s claim that he in fact returned
the taxi on January 5, 1997.

A: Yes, sir.50 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)


The Court can not (sic) believe accused’s assertion that he returned the While appellant maintains that he signed on January 5, 1997 the record book
subject vehicle on January 5, 1997 to the garage and that he had in fact paid indicating that he returned the taxi on the said date and paid Cipriano the
the amount of ₱4,500.00 in partial payment of his unremitted "boundary" for amount of ₱4,500.00 as partial payment for the boundary fee, appellant did
ten (10) days. He could not even be certain of the exact amount he allegedly not produce the documentary evidence alluded to, to substantiate his claim.
paid the taxicab owner. On direct-examination, he claimed that he paid Edwin That such alleged record book is in the possession of Cipriano did not prevent
Cipriano on December 27, 1996 the amount of ₱2,000.00 and it was his wife him from producing it as appellant has the right to have compulsory process
who handed said amount to Cipriano, yet on cross-examination, he claimed issued to secure the production of evidence on his behalf. 63
that he gave ₱2,500.00 to his wife on that date for payment to the taxicab
owner.59 The trial court having convicted appellant of qualified theft instead of
carnapping, it erred in the imposition of the penalty. While the information
The rule is well-entrenched that findings of fact of the trial court are accorded alleges that the crime was attended with grave abuse of confidence, the same
the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal absent any cannot be appreciated as the suppletory effect of the Revised Penal Code to
clear showing that the trial court had overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied special laws, as provided in Article 10 of said Code, cannot be invoked when
some facts or circumstances of weight and significance which, if considered, there is a legal impossibility of application, either by express provision or by
would alter the result of the case.60 The reason for the rule being that trial necessary implication.64
courts have the distinct advantage of having heard the witnesses themselves
and observed their deportment and manner of testifying or their conduct and Moreover, when the penalties under the special law are different from and are
behavior during the trial.61 without reference or relation to those under the Revised Penal Code, there
can be no suppletory effect of the rules, for the application of penalties under
Other than his bare and self-serving allegations, appellant has not shown any the said Code or by other relevant statutory provisions are based on or
scintilla of evidence that he indeed returned the taxi on January 5, 1997. applicable only to said rules for felonies under the Code. 65

Q: You said that you returned the taxi on January 5, 1997, correct? Thus, in People v. Panida66 which involved the crime of carnapping and the
A: Yes, sir. penalty imposed was the indeterminate sentence of 14 years and 8 months,
Q: Now, Mr. Witness, did you sign any record when you returned the taxi? as minimum, to 17 years and 4 months, as maximum, this Court did not apply
A: Yes, sir. the provisions of the Revised Penal Code suppletorily as the anti-carnapping
Q: Do you have any copy of that record? law provides for its own penalties which are distinct and without reference to
A: They were the one (sic) in-charge of the record book and I even the said Code.
voluntarily left my driver’s license with them, sir.
Q: You said that you did not return the taxi because you were short of (sic) The charge being simple carnapping, the imposable penalty is imprisonment
boundary, did you turn over any money to your employer when you returned for not less than 14 years and 8 months and not more than 17 years and 4
the taxi? months. There can be no suppletory effect of the rules for the application
A: I gave them [an] additional ₱2,500.00, sir. of penalties under the Revised Penal Code or by other relevant statutory
Q: At the time when you returned the taxi, how much was your short provisions based on, or applicable only to, the rules for felonies under
indebtedness (sic) or short boundary (sic)? the Code. While it is true that the penalty of 14 years and 8 months to 17
A: I was short for ten (10) days, and I was able to pay ₱4,500.00. years and 4 months is virtually equivalent to the duration of the medium
Q: Do you have any receipt to show receipt of payment for this period of reclusion temporal, such technical term under the Revised
₱4,500.00? Penal Code is not given to that penalty for carnapping. Besides, the
A: They were the ones having the record of my payment, and our other penalties for carnapping attended by the qualifying circumstances
agreement was that I have to pay the balance in installment.62 stated in the law do not correspond to those in the Code. The rules on
(Emphasis supplied) penalties in the Code, therefore, cannot suppletorily apply to Republic Act No.
6539 and special laws of the same formulation. For this reason, we hold that
the proper penalty to be imposed on each of accused-appellants is an
indeterminate sentence of 14 years and 8 months, as minimum, to 17 years complainant’s NELIA R. SILVESTRE gold necklace worth P3,500.00,
and 4 months, as maximum.67 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; citations belonging to said complainant, to the damage and prejudice of the owner
omitted) thereof in the aforementioned amount of P3,500.00.

Appellant being then culpable for carnapping under the first clause of Section CONTRARY TO LAW.2 (Emphasis in the original, underscoring supplied)
14 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended, the imposable penalty is
imprisonment for not less than 14 years and 8 months, not more than 17 years From the evidence for the prosecution, the following version is gathered:
and 4 months,68 for, as discussed above, the provisions of the Revised Penal
Code cannot be applied suppletorily and, therefore, the alleged aggravating
circumstance of grave abuse of confidence cannot be appreciated. At about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon of June 7, 1999, private complainant
Nelia R. Silvestre (Nelia), together with Maria Viovicente (Maria) and Veronica
Amar (Veronica), boarded a tricycle on their way to Pembo, Makati City. Upon
Applying Section 1 of Act No. 4103,69 as amended, otherwise known as the reaching Ambel Street, appellant and his brother Edwin Consulta (Edwin)
Indeterminate Sentence Law, if the offense is punishable by a special law, the blocked the tricycle and under their threats, the driver alighted and left.
court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum Appellant and Edwin at once shouted invectives at Nelia, saying "Putang ina
term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the mong matanda ka, walanghiya ka, kapal ng mukha mo, papatayin ka namin."
minimum term shall not be less than the minimum prescribed by the same – Appellant added "Putang ina kang matanda ka, wala kang kadala dala,
the penalty imposed being a range.70 sinabihan na kita na kahit saan kita matiempuhan, papatayin kita."

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Appellant thereafter grabbed Nelia’s 18K gold necklace with a crucifix pendant
Branch 217, in Crim Case No. Q-97-71956, finding appellant Luisito D. which, according to an "alajera" in the province, was of 18k gold, and which
Bustinera guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified theft, is REVERSED was worth ₱3,500, kicked the tricycle and left saying "Putang ina kang
and SET ASIDE, and another judgment entered in its place, finding him guilty matanda ka! Kayo mga nurses lang, anong ipinagmamalaki niyo, mga nurses
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of carnapping under Republic Act No. lang kayo. Kami, marami kaming mga abogado. Hindi niyo kami
6539, as amended and sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty of maipapakulong kahit kailan!"
Fourteen (14) Years and Eight (8) Months, as minimum, to Seventeen (17)
Years and Four (4) Months, as maximum. SO ORDERED.
Nelia and her companions immediately went to the Pembo barangay hall
where they were advised to undergo medical examination. They, however,
Consulta v. People repaired to the Police Station, Precinct 8 in Comembo, Makati City and
reported the incident. They then proceeded to Camp Crame where they were
CARPIO MORALES, J.: advised to return in a few days when any injuries they suffered were expected
to manifest.
The Court of Appeals having, by Decision of April 23, 2007, 1 affirmed the
December 9, 2004 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch Nine days after the incident or on June 16, 1999, Nelia submitted a medico-
139 convicting Pedro C. Consulta (appellant) of Robbery with Intimidation of legal report and gave her statement before a police investigator.
Persons, appellant filed the present petition.
Denying the charge, appellant branded it as fabricated to spite him and his
The accusatory portion of the Information against appellant reads: family in light of the following antecedent facts:

That on or about the 7th day of June, 1999, in the City of Makati, Philippines He and his family used to rent the ground floor of Nelia’s house in Pateros.
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, Nelia is his godmother. The adjacent house was occupied by Nelia’s parents
with intent of gain, and by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then with whom she often quarreled as to whom the rental payments should be
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away remitted. Because of the perception of the parents of Nelia that his family was
partial towards her, her parents disliked his family. Nelia’s father even filed a The appellate court affirmed appellant’s conviction with modification on the
case for maltreatment against him which was dismissed and, on learning of penalty.
the maltreatment charge, Nelia ordered him and his family to move out of their
house and filed a case against him for grave threats and another for light In his present appeal, appellant raises the following issues:
threats which were dismissed or in which he was acquitted.
(1) Whether or not appellant was validly arraigned;
Appellant went on to claim that despite frequent transfers of residence to avoid
Nelia, she would track his whereabouts and cause scandal.
(2) Whether or not appellant was denied due process having been
represented by a fake lawyer during arraignment, pre-trial and
Appellant’s witness Darius Pacaña testified that on the date of the alleged presentation of principal witnesses for the prosecution;
robbery, Nelia, together with her two companions, approached him while he
was at Ambel Street in the company of Michael Fontanilla and Jimmy
Sembrano, and asked him (Pacaña) if he knew a bald man who is big/stout (3) Whether or not appellant has committed the crime of which he
with a big tummy and with a sister named Maria. As he replied in the was charged; and
affirmative, Nelia at once asked him to accompany them to appellant’s house,
to which he acceded. As soon as the group reached appellant’s house, (4) Whether or not the prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the
appellant, on his (Pacaña’s) call, emerged and on seeing the group, told them appellant beyond reasonable doubt. (Underscoring supplied)
to go away so as not to cause trouble. Retorting, Nelia uttered "Mga hayop
kayo, hindi ko kayo titigilan."
The first two issues, which appellant raised before the appellate court only
when he filed his Motion for Reconsideration of said court’s decision, were
Another defense witness, Thelma Vuesa, corroborated Pacaña’s account. resolved in the negative in this wise:

The trial court, holding that intent to gain on appellant’s part "is presumed from On the matter of accused-appellant’s claim of having been denied due
the unlawful taking" of the necklace, and brushing aside appellant’s denial and process, an examination of the records shows that while accused-appellant
claim of harassment, convicted appellant of Robbery, disposing as follows: was represented by Atty. Jocelyn P. Reyes, who "seems not a lawyer," during
the early stages of trial, the latter withdrew her appearance with the conformity
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds accused PEDRO C. of the former as early as July 28, 2000 and subsequently, approved by the
CONSULTA guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as principal of the felony of RTC in its Order dated August 4, 2000. Thereafter, accused-appellant was
Robbery with Intimidation of Persons defined and penalized under Article 294, represented by Atty. Rainald C. Paggao from the Public Defender’s
paragraph No. 5, in relation to Article 293 of the Revised Penal Code and (Attorney’s) Office of Makati City. Since the accused-appellant was already
hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment from one (1) year, represented by a member of the Philippine Bar who principally handled his
seven (7) months and eleven (11) days of arresto mayor, as minimum, to eight defense, albeit unsuccessfully, then he cannot now be heard to complain
(8) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, about having been denied of due process.3 (Underscoring supplied)
applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no mitigating or
aggravating circumstances which attended the commission of the said crime. That appellant’s first counsel may not have been a member of the bar does
not dent the proven fact that appellant prevented Nelia and company from
The said accused is further ordered to pay unto the complainant Nelia proceeding to their destination. Further, appellant was afforded competent
Silvestre the amount of P3,500.00 representing the value of her necklace representation by the Public Attorneys’ Office during the presentation by the
taken by him and to pay the costs of this suit. prosecution of the medico-legal officer and during the presentation of his
evidence. People v. Elesterio4 enlightens:
SO ORDERED. (Italics in the original, underscoring supplied)
"As for the circumstance that the defense counsel turned out later to be a non-
lawyer, it is observed that he was chosen by the accused himself and that his
representation does not change the fact that Elesterio was undeniably Absent intent to gain on the part of appellant, robbery does not lie against him.
carrying an unlicensed firearm when he was arrested. At any rate, he has He is not necessarily scot-free, however.
since been represented by a member of the Philippine bar, who prepared the
petition for habeas corpus and the appellant’s brief." (Underscoring supplied) From the pre-existing sour relations between Nelia and her family on one
hand, and appellant and family on the other, and under the circumstances
On the third and fourth issues. Article 293 of the Revised Penal Code under related above attendant to the incidental encounter of the parties, appellant’s
which appellant was charged provides: taking of Nelia’s necklace could not have been animated with animus lucrandi.
Appellant is, however, just the same, criminally liable.
Art. 293. Who are guilty of robbery. – Any person who, with intent to gain, shall
take any personal property belonging to another, by means of violence against For "[w]hen there is variance between the offense charged in the complaint or
or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything, shall be guilt of information and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or
robbery. (Italics in the original, underscoring supplied) necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the
offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense
Article 294, paragraph 5, under which appellant was penalized provides: charged which is included in the offense proved." 8

Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons – Penalties. SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. – An offense
– Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the essential
of any person shall suffer: elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or
information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily
included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former
xxxx constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.9 (Italics in the original,
underscoring supplied)
5. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor
in its medium period in other cases. x x x (Citations omitted; italics in the Grave coercion, like robbery, has violence for one of its elements. Thus Article
original; underscoring supplied) 286 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

The elements of robbery are thus: 1) there is a taking of personal property; 2) "Art. 286. Grave coercions. – The penalty of prision correccional and a fine
the personal property belongs to another; 3) the taking is with animus lucrandi; not exceeding six thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any person who,
and 4) the taking is with violence against or intimidation of persons or with without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, threats or intimidation,
force upon things. prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law or compel him to
do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong.
Animus lucrandi or intent to gain is an internal act which can be established
through the overt acts of the offender. It may be presumed from the furtive If the coercion be committed in violation of the exercise of the right of suffrage
taking of useful property pertaining to another, unless special circumstances or for the purpose of compelling another to perform any religious act or to
reveal a different intent on the part of the perpetrator.5 prevent him from exercising such right or from doing such act, the penalty next
higher in degree shall be imposed." (Italics in the original; underscoring
The Court finds that under the above-mentioned circumstances surrounding supplied)
the incidental encounter of the parties, the taking of Nelia’s necklace does not
indicate presence of intent to gain on appellant’s part. That intent to gain on The difference in robbery and grave coercion lies in the intent in the
appellant’s part is difficult to appreciate gains light given his undenied claim commission of the act. The motives of the accused are the prime criterion:
that his relationship with Nelia is rife with ill-feelings, manifested by, among
other things, the filing of complaints6 against him by Nelia and her family which
were subsequently dismissed or ended in his acquittal. 7
"The distinction between the two lines of decisions, the one holding to robbery Petitioner Jose Angeles, Jr. has filed before us a petition for review, assailing
and the other to coercion, is deemed to be the intention of the accused. Was the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 07597 dated July 10,
the purpose with intent to gain to take the property of another by use of force 1991,1 which affirmed with modification the Decision 2 of the Regional Trial
or intimidation? Then, conviction for robbery. Was the purpose, without Court of Davao City, Branch 5, dated June 13, 1989, as well as the Resolution
authority of law but still believing himself the owner or the creditor, to compel of the Court of Appeals3 dated August 20, 1991, which denied petitioner’s
another to do something against his will and to seize property? Then, Motion for Reconsideration.
conviction for coercion under Article 497 of the Penal Code. The motives of
the accused are the prime criterion. And there was no common robber in the Petitioner, together with Teresita Uy-Abubakar, Florante Sapitula alias "Bong",
present case, but a man who had fought bitterly for title to his ancestral estate, Dedardo Deles alias "Boy", Antonio Suganob alias "Tony," Andres Tello alias
taking the law into his own hands and attempting to collect what he thought "Boy Tello", and Boy Apostol, were charged with Robbery in an Information
was due him. Animus furandi was lacking."10 (Italics in the original; citations which alleged:
omitted; underscoring supplied)
That on or about December 17, 1984, in the City of Davao,
The Court finds that by appellant’s employment of threats, intimidation and Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
violence consisting of, inter alia, uttering of invectives, driving away of the above-mentioned accused, armed with a HM revolver cal. 38 and a
tricycle driver, and kicking of the tricycle, Nelia was prevented from proceeding handgrenade and with intent to gain and by means of force and
to her destination. intimidation, conspiring, confederating together and helping one
another willfully, unlawfully and feloniously took and carried away
Appellant is thus guilty of grave coercion which carries the penalty of prision nine hundred seventy three (973) cartons of assorted products of the
correccional and a fine not exceeding ₱6,000. There being no aggravating or Philippine Refining Company worth P384,384.81 belonging to the
mitigating circumstance, the penalty shall be imposed in its medium term. said Philippine Refining Company, to the damage and prejudice of
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum that may be imposed the said complainant in the amount of P384,384.81.1âwphi1.nêt
is anywhere from one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months of arresto
mayor, as minimum, and from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day Contrary to law.4
to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum.
Dedardo Deles and Boy Apostol were not arrested and remained at large. The
WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE the challenged Court of Appeals rest of the aforenamed accused accused were arraigned and, with the
Decision and another is rendered finding appellant, Pedro C. Consulta, exception of Andres Tello, all entered a plea of not guilty. The case then
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Grave Coercion and sentences him to proceeded to trial.
suffer the indeterminate penalty of from six (6) months of arresto mayor as
minimum, to three (3) years and six (6) months of prision correccional medium
as maximum. As summed up by respondent Court of Appeals, the facts are as follows:

Appellant is further ordered to return the necklace, failing which he is ordered It appears from the evidence presented in this case that on
to pay its value, Three Thousand Five Hundred (₱3,500) Pesos. Costs de December 17, 1984 a Red Ball Express truck of Ansuico, Inc., driven
oficio. SO ORDERED. by Gaudencio Juyo was travelling from Davao City on its way to
Cotobato. With Juyo in the truck was his helper Antonio Oribado. The
truck was loaded with various merchandise consisting of Philippine
Robbery with Violence or Intimidation Refining Company products such as Ovaltine, Sunsilk, Breeze and
others, all of which were worth a total of P384,180.46 owned by the
Angeles Jr., v. Court of Appeals said PRC. Somewhere at Sitio Ulas in the district of Talomo, Davao
City at about 5:00 A.M. the truck was flagged down by Andres Tello,
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: another driver of the Ansuico, Inc. Because Tello was a co-
employee, Juyo stopped the truck. Tello requested that his two (2)
alleged cousins who were with him be allowed to hitch a ride to M/Sgt. Molinos took the statement of Angeles on January 4, 1985
Digos, Davao del Sur. Although it was against company rules, Juyo and of a certain Federito Alvarado on January 14, 1985. The
consented and the two (2) men, who turned out to be Dedardo Deles statement of Sapitula was taken by Lt. Claro B. Alaan on January 3,
and Florante Sapitula, rode inside the driver’s compartment with him. 1985. He also took the statements of Andres Tello and Dedardo
Deles on December 30, 1984 and the supplemental statement of
While the truck was somewhere in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur the two Jose Angeles on January 6, 1985. S/Sgt. Jesus Malabasbas took the
(2) men asked the driver to stop the truck because they would statements of Gaudencio Juyo and Antonio Oribado and of Antonio
urinate. When the truck stopped the men brandished a caliber thirty- Suganob.
eight pistol and a grenade and told the driver Juyo and his helper
Oribado that it was a hold up. They said that they were NPAs and S/Sgt. Rodolfo Ramones, together with five (5) other companions,
that they needed the goods in the mountains. One of the hold- were sent to the house of Florante Sapitula at Buhangin, Davao City
uppers, Deles, drove the truck and they returned to Davao City. to confiscate the gun allegedly used in the robbery. A gun was
However, Juyo took over the driving because Deles was driving surrendered by the wife of Sapitula, while the latter was outside the
dangerously. He and Oribado were warned not to make any false house. This gun was later identified by Gaudencio Juyo as the one
move. Upon arrival in Davao City the truck was parked in front of a used in the robbery.
house owned by one Cesar Maglalang at Lanzona Subdivision. Two
(2) men arrived there, one of whom was Antonio Suganob. The Upon request of the prosecution, Andres Tello had been discharged
goods were unloaded in the said house at about 10:00 P.M. with the from the Information and was utilized as a state witness. His
help of Antonio Suganob. testimony, added to that of Juyo and Oribado, clinched the case for
the prosecution.
The following morning, at around 3:00 A.M. of December 18, 1984,
driver Juyo with helper Oribado and Dedardo Deles drove the truck From the written statement given by Tello to the PC which he
back to Davao del Sur. At Padada, Deles alighted and told Juyo and affirmed and his oral testimony before the lower court he pointed to
Oribado to report the hold-up to the police. Jose Angeles, Jr. as the brains of the robbery. He stated that he had
been a driver of the Red ball Express since 1982; that Dedardo Deles
Juyo and Oribado reported the robbery to the Padada Police Station. asked him to come to the house of Jose Angeles, Jr. on December
They were referred to the Digos Police Station which in turn indorsed 5, 1984 but he did not go on said date; that at about 1:00 P.M. on
them to the Philippine Constabulary Barracks at Digos. Since it was December 15, 1984 he was fetched by Deles and they went to the
already late afternoon, they were told by the PC to return the next house of Antonio Suganob. From there they proceeded to the house
day. of Angeles at Ecoland Subdivision, Davao City at about 5:00 P.M.;
that present at said residence were Suganob, Deles, Angeles, Boy
Juyo and Oribado were interrogated by PC M/Sgt. Rodolfo Molinos Apostol, a certain Eddie, an Teresita Abubakar; that he was
and S/Sgt. Wedemyr Amantillo at Camp Catitipan, Davao City. introduced by Deles and Suganob to Jose Angeles, Jr. as the driver
of the Ansuico, Inc.; that Angeles told him that he had been planning
to stage a hijacking of a Red Ball Express delivery van a long time
After interviewing the two (2) Ansuico employees, the investigators ago but had difficulty getting in so he had called him (Tello); that he
went to the house of Cesar Maglalang where the goods were taken, was speechless but Angeles told him that he would not hesitate to
but the items were no longer in the warehouse. order the killing of any one who would back out from the project and
said that even his family may be endangered; that with that he
The PC investigators questioned Andres Tello, who first implicated nodded in agreement; that Angeles told him to flag down the truck so
Florante Sapitula and Antonio Suganob, and later, also Dedardo that his men can ride thereon; and that he would be fetched from his
Deles, Jose Angeles, Jr. and Teresita Abubakar. house in the early morning of December 17, 1984 for the purpose.
Tello further stated that they stayed at the house of Angeles until she is hereby acquitted for insufficiency of evidence. Costs against
10:00 P.M. then went to see the house of Maglalang which Angeles appellants. SO ORDERED.
was renting and where the loot would be kept; that thereafter they
went to a disco house and had a drinking spree but their main topic Petitioner Angeles filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Court of
was still the hijacking; that Angeles gave him P500.00 for goodtime Appeals denied on August 20, 1991.8 Hence, the instant petition for review
purposes; that he was promised an equal share in the loot; and that raising the following issues:
said loot was taken to JAG Marketing at Uyanguran St., Davao City
owned by Angeles.
Whether or not petitioner Jose Angeles, Jr. may be convicted on the
basis solely of the uncorroborated and unsubstantial testimony of the
Some of the goods, valued at P65,551.03, appear to have been discharged witness Andres Tello.
recovered as shown in Exhibit "N". The loss suffered by Philippine
Refining Company was therefore only P319,629.43 but this was paid
to it in full by the trucker Ansuico, Inc.5 Whether or not the role of Jose Angeles, Jr. as principal in the alleged
conspiracy has been established.
As stated above, the trial court rendered judgment on June 13, 1989 as
follows: Whether or not the Court of Appeals scrutinized the records of the
case and whether or not the guilt of petitioner was proved beyond
reasonable doubt.9
WHEREFORE, the guilt of the accused as principals having been
proven beyond reasonable doubt, accused Teresita Uy Abubakar,
Jose Angeles, Jr., Florante Sapitula and Antonio Suganob are Petitioner first argues that the testimony of state witness Andres Tello, which
hereby sentenced to be imprisoned for a minimum period of six is uncorroborated and unsubstantiated, is not sufficient to sustain his
years, one day to seven years and four months and a maximum conviction. We are not impressed. We have consistently ruled that the
period of eight years, eight months and one day to ten years and to testimony of a single witness, free from any sign of impropriety or falsehood,
pay in solidum ANSUICO INCORPORATED the sum of three is sufficient for conviction, even if uncorroborated. Indeed, the testimony of a
hundred eighty four thousand three hundred four pesos and eighty single witness is sufficient and needs no corroboration, save only in offenses
one centavos with legal interest to be computed from December 17, where the law expressly prescribes a minimum number of witnesses.10
1984 until fully paid. Otherwise, corroborative evidence is deemed necessary only when there are
reasons to warrant the suspicion that the witness falsified the truth or that his
observation had been inaccurate.11 In the case at bar, there is nothing in the
SO ORDERED.6 records which would indicate that Tello falsified the truth or that his
observation was inaccurate.
On July 10, 1991, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads: First, there appears no viable reason why Tello would implicate petitioner as
the brains behind the robbery if this were not true. Petitioner has failed to
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the trial court is AFFIRMED insofar establish that Tello was motivated to falsely testify against him. Absent any
as it finds the accused Jose Angeles, Jr., Florante Sapitula and clear showing that Tello was actuated by ill-motive and selfish ends, this Court
Antonio Suganob guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime a fortiori finds his narration truthful and unblemished by falsehood. 12 Indeed,
charged but the penalty imposed upon them is MODIFIED by it would have been enough for Tello to merely point out to the actual
sentencing each of them to imprisonment for a minimum of four (4) participants in the crime, his co-accused Deles, Sapitula and Suganob, all of
years of prision correccional to a maximum of eight (8) years of whom were identified and pointed out as such by truck driver Juyo and his
prision mayor and to indemnify the offended party Ansuico, Inc. in helper, Oribado. There really was no reason for Tello to falsify the truth and to
the lesser sum of P319,629.43. The Decision is SET ASIDE insofar point to petitioner as the mastermind behind the robbery, if such were not
as it finds the accused-appellant Teresita C. Uy Abubakar guilty as really the case.
Neither can Tello’s testimony be considered inaccurate. Indeed, his testimony Petitioner argues that it is contrary to human nature for him to have divulged
clearly shows that he had been employed as a driver of Ansuico, Inc., for two to Tello, whom he had just met, their plan to rob the Red Bull Express truck.
years prior to the time of commission of the crime. His neighbor, accused This must be brushed aside, however, in view of the convincing explanation
Dedardo Deles, who knew that he was employed with Ansuico, Inc. as driver that Tello’s cooperation was precisely sought because of his employment as
of the Red Ball Express, which transported the stolen goods, befriended him driver of the Red Bull Express. It was, in fact, Tello’s role as an insider which
and talked to him on several occasions for six (6) months. Finally, Deles petitioner needed to carry out his hatched criminal plan.
revealed to him the plot to stage the heist and convinced him to join the
conspiracy. In the afternoon of December 15, 1984, he was fetched by Deles Petitioner further argues that his role as principal in the alleged conspiracy has
and brought to the house of accused Antonio Suganob, and from there they not been established, and that his guilt has not been proved beyond
proceeded to petitioner’s house in Ecoland Subdivision, Davao City. Deles reasonable doubt. These claims are just as tenuous.
and Suganob introduced Tello to petitioner. Petitioner then informed Tello that
he had long been wanting to hijack the truck but had difficulty getting in, and
that he needed Tello’s participation. Upon hearing this, Tello was, in his own As aptly pointed out in People v. Osmundo Fueres, et al.,15 conspiracy exists
words, speechless. However, he nodded in agreement after petitioner warned when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission
him that he would not hesitate to kill anyone who would back out of the project, of a felony and decide to commit it. Contrary to petitioner’s protestation,
including their family. After that, they stayed in petitioner’s house for spent conspiracy is undoubtedly present in this case. The robbery of the Red Ball
around three (3) hours planning the robbery. Petitioner told Tello that he would Express truck on December 17, 1984 was the result of prior planning. One of
be fetched in the morning of December 17, 1984, and that he was supposed the meetings was even held at petitioner’s house, with him clearly
to flag down the truck so that his men could board it. orchestrating the crime. Then, too, petitioner cannot insist that his participation
in the conspiracy was not established by the evidence. As stated above,
Tello’s testimony, free from any ill-motive, directly linked petitioner to the crime
Furthermore, Tello testified that, after leaving petitioner’s house at 10:00 as charged.
o’clock that evening, they all went to Cesar Maglalang’s house in Lanzano
Subdivision, which petitioner rented for the purpose of storing the goods after
the heist. The group then went to a disco house and had a drinking spree, Direct proof of conspiracy is not required, being rarely found; for criminals do
while talking more about the hijacking. Tello specifically mentioned that not write down their lawless plans and plots.16 Instead, the agreement may be
petitioner handed to him the sum of P500.00 for him to have a "good time," deduced from the mode and manner of the commission of the offense; 17 or
and that petitioner promised him an equal share in the loot. from the acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the
crime indubitably pointing to and indicating a joint purpose, a concert of action
and a community of interest.18
The robbery took place as planned. Tello’s narration on this score was
unequivocal, forthright and replete with details which, being seals of self-
authentication on its credibility, convince us to accord full faith and credit to Even as petitioner did not actually participate in the commission of the crime
Tello’s testimony.13 What is more, Tello’s story as to how the crime was itself, his participation was, however, convincingly proven by the testimony of
committed was confirmed and corroborated on its material point by witnesses Tello that petitioner was the one who discussed and planned the robbery and
Juyo, Oribado, and his co-accused Sapitula. that the hijacked goods were unloaded in the house that petitioner rented and
then later transferred to JAG Marketing, which petitioner owns.
Significantly, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals accepted the
testimony of state witness Andres Tello as convincing and credible. In not Considering the use of the gun and hand grenade in the commission of the
disturbing this finding, we adhere to the time-honored principle that findings of offense, the crime committed was robbery by means of violence against or
the trial court with respect to the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies intimidation of persons which, under Article 294 (5) of the Revised Penal
are entitled to great respect, and even finality, unless said findings are Code, is punishable with prision correccional maximum to prision mayor
arbitrary, or facts and circumstances of weight and influence have been medium. There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance, the penalty
overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied by the trial judge which, if should be imposed in the medium period, i.e., prision mayor minimum, which
considered, would have affected the case.14 has a range of six (6) years and one (1) day to eight (8) years. Applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, petitioner is entitled to a minimum term to be
taken within the penalty next lower in degree to that imposed by the Code, or did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry away
arresto mayor maximum to prision correccional medium, which has a range of the following items, to wit:
four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months.
Therefore, the Court of Appeals was correct in imposing on petitioner the Two (2) pieces Rice Cooker (heavy duty)
indeterminate penalty of four (4) years of prision correcional, as minimum, to One (1) piece of [Teppanyaki] (big)
eight (8) years of prision mayor, as maximum. 1,000 pieces of Boxes (printed)
Kitchen Utensils
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is DENIED for lack of Fresh Meat (48 kls)
merit. The appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFIRMED in toto. SO Three (3) boxes of Ter[i]yaki Sauce
ORDERED. One (1) Heavy duty blender
One (1) Programmer Calculator
Robbery in an Uninhabited place One (1) Transistor Radio

Marquez v. People all belonging to the said complainant, to the damage and prejudice of the latter
in the total amount of P42,000.00.
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
CONTRARY TO LAW.5
"The testimony of a co-conspirator, even if uncorroborated, will be considered
sufficient if given in a straightforward manner and it contains details which All of them pleaded "not guilty" during arraignment. 6 After the pre-trial
could not have been the result of a deliberate afterthought." 1 conference was held and terminated,7 trial ensued. In the course of the trial,
however, Benzon failed to appear despite due notice.8 The trial court therefore
ordered the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and the cancellation of his bail
Factual Antecedents bond.9 Benzon was then tried in absentia.10

For our review is the July 27, 2007 Decision 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in Prosecution’s Version
CA-G.R. CR No. 28814 which affirmed the June 30, 2004 Decision 3 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 121 in Criminal Case No.
C-65837 finding herein petitioners Ricky "Totsie" Marquez (Marquez), Roy At around 2:30 a.m. of April 6, 2002, Marlon Mallari (Mallari) was with
Bernardo (Bernardo), Jomer Magalong (Magalong) and accused Ryan petitioners and Benzon in front of the University of the East (U.E.), Caloocan
Benzon (Benzon) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery. City. Marquez suggested that the group rob the Rice-in-a-Box store located at
With Force Upon Things and sentencing them to imprisonment of six (6) years the corner of U.E.11 Marquez then got a lead pipe and handed it to Magalong,
of prison correccional to nine (9) years of prison mayor and to pay the private which he and Bernardo used to destroy the padlock of the store.12 Mallari was
complainant Sonia Valderosa (Valderosa) the amount of P42,000.00. designated as the look-out while petitioners and Benzon entered the store and
carried away all the items inside it which consisted of rice cookers, a blender
and food items.13 They then brought the stolen items to the house of Benzon’s
The Information4 filed against petitioners and Benzon contained the following uncle.14 Apprehensive that Mallari might squeal,15 the group promised to give
accusatory allegations: him a share if they could sell the stolen items.16

That on or about the 6th day of April, 2002 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila and At 9:30 a.m. of the same day, Valderosa received information from the
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused daughter of the owner of the premises where her Rice-in-a- Box franchise
confederating together and mutually aiding each other, with intent of gain by store was located, that her store had been forcibly opened and its padlock
means of force upon things, that is, by destroying the door lock of the stall of destroyed.17 Upon her arrival thereat, she discovered that the contents of her
one SONIA VALDEROSA and passing/entering thru the same, once inside, freezer were missing along with other items inside the store, such as two rice
cookers valued at P3,900.00 each, teppanyaki worth P2,700.00, a thousand MAGALONG GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery
pieces of rice boxes at P5.00 a piece, kitchen utensils valued at P4,500.00, With Force Upon Things and sentences each of them to suffer the penalty
an estimated 48 kilos of fresh meat at P250.00 per kilo, three boxes of teriyaki of imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS of Prision Correctional [sic] to NINE (9)
sauce worth P3,600.00, a blender costing P2,200.00, a programmer calculator YEARS Of Prision Mayor and to indemnify private complainant Sonia
valued at P3,500.00, and a transistor radio worth P1,500.00. The total value Valderosa the amount of P42,000.00 representing the value of the stolen
of these stolen items was approximately P42,000.00. 18 She reported the articles. With costs. SO ORDERED.34
robbery to the police.19
Petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal which was given due course by the trial
Meanwhile, on April 7, 2002, Mallari informed his older brother of his court.35
involvement in the said robbery.20 At around 4:00 p.m. of the next day, he
again confessed but this time to Valderosa.21 The Court of Appeal’s Decision

Petitioners’ Version Before the CA, petitioners imputed error upon the trial court in finding them
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. According to them, the
From 11:00 p.m. of April 5, 2002 until 2:00 a.m. of April 6, 2002, petitioners trial court should not have given credence to Mallari’s testimony because he
and Ferdie Dela Cruz (Dela Cruz), Jay Maranan (Maranan) and Randy is not a credible witness. They likewise contended that even assuming that
Badian, were enjoying a videoke session in the house of Gerard "Boy Payat" they committed the crime, the trial court erred in ruling that there was
Santiago, which was just near U.E.22 Before going home, they decided to eat conspiracy since the participation of Bernardo in the alleged robbery was
lugaw at a rolling eatery in the Monumento Circle, Caloocan City. 23 While on vague.
their way to the lugawan, they passed by Mallari, who was standing in front of
the Rice-in-a-Box store.24 They later went home aboard a jeepney.25 Maranan In its assailed Decision of July 27, 2007,36 the appellate court did not find merit
alighted first while Benzon and Dela Cruz followed. 26 When it was petitioners’ in petitioners’ appeal. Its review of the transcript of Mallari’s testimony only
turn to get off the jeepney, they saw the Rice-in-a-Box store already opened.27 resulted in the affirmation of the trial court’s ruling that he was a credible
However, they did not report the incident to the police or barangay witness. The CA held that while Mallari was a co-conspirator and his testimony
authorities.28 was uncorroborated, same was still sufficient to convict petitioners since it
"carries the hallmarks of honesty and truth."37 It clearly established Bernardo’s
The Regional Trial Court’s Decision participation in the conspiracy in that he, together with another petitioner,
carried away from the store all the stolen items.38
On June 30, 2004, the trial court rendered a Decision 29 in favor of the
prosecution. It ruled that Mallari’s personal identification of petitioners and The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:
Benzon, and his narration of their individual participation in the robbery were
sufficient to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 30 The trial court WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from finding all the accused guilty
disregarded the petitioners’ denial and alibi considering that it was not beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with force upon things is
physically impossible for them to be in the crime scene or its vicinity at the hereby AFFIRMED. Considering that Ryan Benson was tried in absentia, the
time of the commission of the crime.31 It stressed that the place petitioners trial court is directed to issue an alias warrant of arrest against him. SO
claimed to be in was a mere walking distance from the site of the burglary. 32 ORDERED.39
Moreover, the RTC found Mallari’s testimony more worthy of credence than
that of petitioners since Bernardo and Magalong themselves admitted that
Mallari had no motive to falsely testify against them.33 The dispositive portion Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari.40
of the trial court’s Decision reads:
Issue
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds accused RICKY
"TOTSIE" MARQUEZ, RYAN BENZON, ROY BERNARDO and JOMER In their Memorandum, petitioners raised the sole issue of:
WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN With respect to robbery by the use of force upon things, same is contained
AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT under Section Two, Chapter 1,53 Title Ten54 of the RPC. Falling under said
FINDING THE PETITIONERS, IN CONSPIRACY WITH EACH OTHER, section two, among others, are Article 299 which refers to robbery in an
GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME inhabited house or public building or edifice devoted to worship and Article
CHARGED.41 302, to robbery in an uninhabited place or in a private building. Said articles
provide, to wit:
Petitioners argue that their defense of denial and alibi should not have been
disregarded since the prosecution’s case was based solely on the ART. 299. Robbery in an inhabited house or public building or edifice devoted
uncorroborated testimony of a co-conspirator, Mallari.42 And while Mallari to worship. - Any armed person who shall commit robbery in an inhabited
admitted to participating in the commission of the crime, he was not charged house or public building or edifice devoted to religious worship, shall be
together with petitioners in the Information for robbery and was instead utilized punished by reclusion temporal, if the value of the property taken shall exceed
as a state witness.43 It is therefore in this light that petitioners assert that 250 pesos, and if –
Mallari’s testimony does not deserve any credence since he merely concocted
his testimony in order to save himself and escape criminal liability. 44 Moreover, (a) The malefactors shall enter the house or building in which the
petitioners claim that the prosecution failed to prove conspiracy. 45 robbery is committed, by any of the following means:

The Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, insists through its 1. Through an opening not intended for entrance or
Memorandum46 that Mallari is a credible witness and that his testimony is egress;
sufficient to establish petitioners’ guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 47 It explains 2. By breaking any wall, roof, or floor or breaking any door
that Mallari’s confession to the crime immediately after its commission or window;
resulted in petitioners’ arrests prior to the filing of the Information. 48 For the 3. By using false keys, picklocks, or similar tools;
said reason, the former was not indicted and was merely utilized as a 4. By using any fictitious name or pretending the exercise
prosecution witness.49 Be that as it may, Mallari’s testimony, though of public authority. Or if –
uncorroborated, can stand by itself and also deserves credence since it was
"given in a straightforward manner and contained details which could not have
been the result of deliberate afterthought." 50 Also, Mallari’s positive (b) The robbery be committed under any of the following
identification of petitioners as the perpetrators of the crime, without evil motive circumstances:
on his part, prevails over the latter’s defense of denial and alibi. 51
1. By breaking of doors, wardrobes, chests, or any other
Our Ruling kind of locked or sealed furniture or receptacle;
2. By taking such furniture or objects away to be broken or
forced open outside the place of the robbery.
There is no merit in the petition.
When the offenders do not carry arms, and the value of the property taken
Robbery with force upon things in an uninhabited place under Article 302 of exceeds 250 pesos, the penalty next lower in degree shall be imposed.
the Revised Penal Code (RPC)
The same rule shall be applied when the offenders are armed, but the value
"Article 293 of the [RPC] defines robbery to be one committed by any ‘person of the property taken does not exceed 250 pesos.
who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another,
by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or using force upon
anything . . .’ Robbery may thus be committed in two ways: (a) with violence When the said offenders do not carry arms and the value of the property taken
against, or intimidation of persons and (b) by the use of force upon things." 52 does not exceed 250 pesos, they shall suffer the penalty prescribed in the two
next preceding paragraphs, in its minimum period.
If the robbery committed in one of the dependencies of an inhabited house, The term "public building" includes every building owned by the Government
public building or building dedicated to religious worship, the penalties next or belonging to a private person but used or rented by the Government,
lower in degree than those prescribed in this article shall be imposed. although temporarily unoccupied by the same.

ART. 302. Robbery in an uninhabited place or in a private building. - Any Here, the Information did not specify whether the robbery with force upon
robbery committed in an uninhabited place or in a building other than things was committed in an inhabited house or uninhabited place. It merely
those mentioned in the first paragraph of Article 299, if the value of the stated that petitioners committed the robbery "by means of force upon things,
property taken exceeds 250 pesos shall be punished by prision correccional that is, by destroying the door lock of the stall of one of SONIA VALDEROSA
in its medium and maximum periods, provided that any of the following and passing/entering thru the same, once inside, did then and there willfully,
circumstances is present: unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry away the [earlier mentioned]
items x x x."55
1. If the entrance has been effected through any opening not
intended for entrance or egress; Likewise, the trial court, in its judgment of conviction, did not discuss whether
2. If any wall, roof, floor, or outside door or window has been the robbery in this case was committed in an inhabited house or in an
broken; uninhabited place. It was different, though, when the case was decided by the
3. If the entrance has been effected through the use of false keys, CA. Unlike the trial court, the appellate court discussed about robbery in an
picklocks, or other similar tools; inhabited house under the above-quoted Article 299 of the RPC in its assailed
4. If any door, wardrobe, chest, or any sealed or closed furniture or Decision.56 Pursuant to the same provision, it then proceeded to affirm the
receptacle has been broken; penalty imposed by the trial court upon the petitioners after finding them guilty
5. If any closed or sealed receptacle, as mentioned in the preceding of the crime charged.57
paragraph, has been removed, even if the same be broken open
elsewhere. The Court, however, notes at the outset that the CA erred in applying Article
299 of the RPC. The records show that the store alleged to have been robbed
When the value of the property taken does not exceed 250 pesos, the penalty by petitioners is not an inhabited house, public building or building dedicated
next lower in degree shall be imposed. to religious worship and their dependencies under Article 299 and as defined
under Article 301. From Valderosa’s testimony, it can be deduced that the
Meanwhile, Article 301 of the RPC defines an inhabited house, public building, establishment allegedly robbed was a store not used as a dwelling. In fact,
or building dedicated to religious worship and their dependencies as follows: after the robbery took place, there was a need to inform Valderosa of the same
as she was obviously not residing in the store.58 "If the store was not actually
occupied at the time of the robbery and was not used as a dwelling, since the
Inhabited house means any shelter, ship, or vessel constituting the dwelling owner lived in a separate house, the robbery committed therein is punished
of one or more persons, even though the inhabitants thereof shall temporarily under Article 302."59 Neither was the place where the store is located owned
be absent therefrom when the robbery is committed. by the government. It was actually just a stall rented by Valderosa from a
private person.60 Hence, the applicable provision in this case is Article 302 and
All interior courts, corrals, warehouses, granaries, barns, coach-houses, not Article 299 of the RPC.
stables, or other departments, or inclosed places contiguous to the building or
edifice, having an interior entrance connected therewith and which form part Petitioners committed the crime charged and acted in conspiracy
of the whole, shall be deemed dependencies of an inhabited house, public
building, or building dedicated to religious worship.
Under Article 293 of the RPC, robbery is committed by any person who, with
intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another by using
Orchards and other lands used for cultivation or production are not included force upon anything. When committed in an uninhabited place or a private
in the terms of the next preceding paragraph, even if closed, contiguous to the building with the circumstance, among others, that any wall, roof, floor, or
building, and having direct connection therewith.
outside door or window has been broken, the same is penalized under Article Q: After Totsie Marquez handed a lead pipe to Jomer Magalong, what happened?
302. A: The lock was removed, ma’am.
Q: Who destroyed the lock?
A: Roy and Jomer, ma’am.
As testified to by Valderosa, she rented the premises located at No. 269 corner Q: What happened when Ryan [sic] and Jomer were destroying the padlock of the rice
Samson Road, Caloocan City and therein operated her Rice-in-a-Box store.61 box?
On April 6, 2002, burglars destroyed the store’s padlock and broke into the A: None sir, I was just looking and then afterwards, it was opened.
store. The burglars then went inside the store through the broken door and Q: After opening the store by destroying the padlock, what did you and your
took various items valued at P42,000.00. As she was not living therein and companions do?
A: I was instructed to be the look-out.
only utilized it as a store, Valderosa only learned of the burglary after being
Q: What did the four accused do inside the store?
informed about it by the daughter of the owner of the building where her store A: Ryan and Totsie entered x x x the store.
was located. Q: What did you do inside the store?
A: They took all the things inside.
Save from the identities of the perpetrators, Valderosa’s testimony clearly Q: What were the things taken inside the store?
A: Two (2) rice cookers, one (1) big as if a rice cooker, blender and foods.
indicates that a robbery under Article 293 in relation to Article 302 of the RPC Q: What did Roy and Jomer do after the padlock was destroyed and the door was
was committed. Luckily for her, it was not long before a co-conspirator to the already opened?
crime, Mallari, revealed the identities of his companions and the details of the A: They carried all the things robbed.
crime to complete the picture. Q: Where did they bring those items taken from the said store?
A: [To] the house of the uncle of Ryan in Marcela, ma’am.
Q: What happened after that?
Mallari testified that he participated in the commission of the crime after A: They cooked foods but I remained [seated].
petitioners told him to be the look-out while they entered and burglarized the Q: What did the accused tell you if any while they were cooking in the house of the
store. He first confessed to his brother his participation in the crime and later uncle of Ryan?
reported the incident to the store owner herself, Valderosa. A: "Baka raw kumanta ako."
Q: What else did they tell you?
A: According to them, they will give me my share if they would be able to sell [them]. 62
In clear and concise language, Mallari narrated the incident as follows:

Q: On April 6, 2002 at 2:30 in the morning, where were you?


To recall, Marquez was the one who proposed the robbery. When all acceded,
A: In front of the University of the East, Caloocan City he then provided Magalong with a lead pipe, who, together with Bernardo,
Q: Who were with you at that time? smashed and destroyed the padlock of the store and which likewise caused
A: Ryan Benzon, Ricky Marquez, Jomer Magalong and Roy Bernardo, ma’am. the door to be broken. All petitioners and Benzon then entered the store and
Q: While you were with them, what happened? took things, with the intention to sell the items stolen and share among
A: Totsie invited us to stage a robbery in the rice box. themselves the proceeds thereof. It is therefore clear from the testimony of
Q: You said Totsie, are you referring to accused Ricky Marquez? Mallari that petitioners acted in conspiracy in the commission of the robbery.
A: Yes, ma’am. It must be stressed that what is important in conspiracy is that all conspirators
Q: What is this rice box?
A: A store selling viands and rice, ma’am.
"performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to indicate
Q: [W]here is it located? an unmistakably common purpose or design to commit the crime." 63 The
A: At the corner of University of the East. responsibility of the conspirators is therefore collective rendering all of them
Q: How far was this rice box from the place where you were standing with the four equally liable regardless of the extent of their respective participations. 64
accused?
A: About 5 meters (as stipulated by counsel for both parties).
Q: When Totsie or Ricky Marquez invited you to stage a robbery in the rice box, what
Mallari’s testimony deserves full weight and credence
did you do together with the group?
A: Totsie got a lead pipe and handed it to Jomer. Contrary to the petitioners’ argument, Mallari’s credibility was not adversely
Q: You are referring to [Jomer] Magalong, one of the accused in this case? affected by his non-inclusion as an accused in the Information. This was not
A: Yes, ma’am.
an attempt to escape criminal liability. Rather, the prosecution merely availed
of its legal option to immediately utilize him as a state witness instead of floor, or the outside door or window has been broken. Considering that
undergoing the judicial procedure of charging him as a co-conspirator then petitioners burglarized the store of Valderosa which was not used as a
moving for his discharge as a witness. dwelling by breaking its door and stealing property therein with a total value of
P42,000.00, the penalty that must be imposed is prision correccional in its
Besides, it is established that the assessment on the credibility of witnesses medium and maximum periods, which has a prison term of two (2) years four
is a function best discharged by the trial court due to its position to observe (4) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. There being no aggravating or
the behavior and demeanor of the witness in court. 65 This rule is set aside only mitigating circumstances the range of the penalty that must be imposed as
when the trial court’s evaluation was reached arbitrarily, or when it maximum penalty is three (3) years six (6) months and twenty-one (21) days
"overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied certain facts or circumstances of to four (4) years nine (9) months and ten (10) days. Applying the Indeterminate
weight and substance which could affect the result of the case." 66 Here, no Sentence Law, the minimum penalty that should be imposed upon petitioners
such situation occurred. is arresto manor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum
period with a range of four (4) months and one (1) day to two (2) years and
four (4) months. Consequently there is a need to modify the prison term
Also, Mallari’s positive identification of petitioners as the perpetrators of the imposed by the trial court.
robbery and the absence of any ill-motive on his part to testify falsely against
them prevail over petitioners’ denial and alibi. As repeatedly held, alibi is the
weakest defense since it can easily be fabricated and difficult to disprove. 67 Anent the amount to be indemnified, the trial court and the CA correctly held
Hence as a rule, the defenses of denial and alibi can only prosper if there is that petitioners must indemnify Valderosa the sum of P42,000.00 representing
evidence that the accused were not only in another place at the time of the the value of the goods taken.
commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for them to
be within the immediate vicinity.68 Here, while petitioners denied being at the WHEREFORE the Petition for Review on Centiorari is DENIED. The July 27,
scene of the crime at the time of its commission, they failed to prove that it 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 28814, which
was physically impossible for them to be in the store at the time of the robbery. affirmed the June 30, 2004 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan
In fact, they testified that they were in a place only about 15 meters away from City Branch 421, in Criminal Case No. C-65837, is AFFIRMED with the
the scene of the crime. MODIFICATION that petitioners are sentenced to an indeterminate prison
term of one (1) year and eight (8) months to four (4) years nine (9) months
Moreover, while the Court is well-aware of the general rule that "the testimony and ten (10) days of prision correccional. SO ORDERED.
of a co-conspirator is not sufficient for the conviction of the accused unless
such testimony is supported by evidence," 69 there is, however, an exception. Robbery with Homicide
Thus, "the testimony of a co-conspirator, even if uncorroborated, will be
considered sufficient if given in a straightforward manner and it contains People v. De Jesus
details which could not have been the result of deliberate afterthought," 70 as
in this case. A review of the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimony
of Mallari showed that same was sincere since it was given without hesitation PER CURIAM:
and in a simple manner. His recollection of the events was detailed and candid
such that it could not have been a concoction from a polluted mind. Thus, This is an automatic review of the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of
Mallari’s testimony, even if uncorroborated, deserves full weight and credence Makati, Branch 64, convicting the appellant of robbery with homicide and
and, therefore, sufficient to establish petitioners’ commission of the crime sentencing him to suffer the death penalty.
charged.
The Case for the Prosecution
Penalty. Article 302 of the RPC provides that when the robbery is committed
in an uninhabited place or in a private building and the value of the property SPO3 Eugenio Ybasco was a policeman assigned to the Makati Police
exceeds P250.00, the penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium and Station, Substation Block No. 6 since March 16, 1973. 3 After his tour of duty,
maximum periods provided that, among other circumstances, any wall, roof, he worked on the sly for a money changer in the vicinity of the Intercontinental
Hotel and the Rustan’s Supermarket in Makati City. He delivered money for Serial No. 172410. On board his motorbike, he sped towards the scene to
his employer every afternoon. The money was placed in a plastic bag 3 and he investigate the incident. Del Rosario confronted Acosta and grappled with him
used a bicycle for this extra job.4 Everytime Ybasco delivered money to his for the possession of the gun.21 As Del Rosario managed to wrest possession
employer, he passed by Yolanda dela Rapa who was selling cigarettes in the of the gun from Acosta, Manansala ordered Del Rosario to shoot. Del Rosario
vicinity of the Rustan’s Supermarket and the Kimpura Restaurant, Ayala did as he was told, and shot Acosta in the mouth. They boarded the car, and
Center, Makati City.5 Ybasco was a familiar face among the other cigarette sped towards EDSA.22 Dela Rapa was shocked at the sudden turn of events.23
vendors in the area, namely, Lydia, Gina, Jing and Romy. 6 Dela Rapa called So was Juanito Mendoza, who had just stepped out from the Rustan’s
him "Sir Ybasco."7 Supermarket and saw the shooting incident.24

Sometime in February 1994, Dante Manansala, a native of Barangay Wilfredo Delia, another security guard at the Ayala Center, rushed to Acosta’s
Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna,8 appellant Eduardo de Jesus, a native of aid and brought him to the Makati Medical Center. Acosta expired at about
Barangay Tabuyok, Apalit, Pampanga,9 and Crispin Del Rosario, the 10:10 p.m.25
appellant’s brother-in-law10 and a native of Barangay Tadloc, Los Baños,
Laguna,11 agreed to stage a robbery in the afternoon of March 7, 1994. On Meanwhile, the Toyota Corolla sped towards the direction of Cabuyao,
February 15, 1994, the appellant told Del Rosario of the planned robbery.12 Laguna. Manansala said that they would have no problem because the mayor
Del Rosario was told that the financier for the heist was Christopher Nash, a was his ninong.26 However, when he looked inside Ybasco’s bag and found
British national residing in the Philippines.13 The appellant knew that Ybasco that it only contained ₱5,000 instead of the expected US$250,000, he was
was to deposit US$250,000 in the bank every afternoon for his employer. They enraged. Manansala hit Ybasco on the nape and uttered invectives at the
decided to waylay Ybasco on his way to the bank. latter. Ybasco explained, "Eh wala naman akong idinedeliber mga anak na
ganyan kalaking pera." Manansala took the ₱5,000 from Ybasco.27
At 8:00 a.m. on March 7, 1994, upon Nash’s instructions, Del Rosario and the
appellant took a Toyota Corolla car with Plate No. TAX 732 from Rolando Ybasco was transported to a sugar farm at Barangay Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna.
Fajardo in Tanauan, Batangas. The car was owned by Nash. 14 While the Manansala and the appellant took him out of the car and told him that he would
appellant, Del Rosario and Manansala were on board the car, their be allowed to board a tricycle. The appellant warned Ybasco not to follow
confederate, Tonton, had lunch somewhere in Batangas. The group arrived in them, as he, (the appellant) was a member of the New People’s Army.
the vicinity of the parking lot at the Ayala Center near the Rustan’s Believing that Ybasco would be freed, Del Rosario took ₱80 from the latter’s
Supermarket and the Kimpura Restaurant on board the same car.15 The wallet, but returned ₱50 to him for his fare.28
appellant was armed with a caliber .45 handgun. 16 Manansala, the appellant
and Del Rosario alighted, and conducted a surveillance of the area. Tonton
remained in the car. Manansala instructed Del Rosario to position himself as The appellant suddenly shot Ybasco on the head. The latter fell to the ground
a lookout at the corner of the Rustan’s Supermarket, and for the appellant to with his hands still handcuffed.29 Manansala, the appellant and Del Rosario
position himself within the vicinity.17 Manansala waited Ybasco near the office proceeded to Calamba, Laguna, where Del Rosario alighted after receiving
of the money changer. Dela Rapa, who was then vending cigarettes, was ₱100 from the appellant for his fare.30 The appellant explained that the
about five arm’s length away from the car.18 remaining ₱4,900 would be used for the repair of the car.

At around 6:30 p.m., Ybasco emerged from the office of his employer holding In the meantime, police operatives from the Makati Police Station, including
a plastic bag. Manansala contacted Del Rosario and told him that Ybasco was SPO4 Tomas Sipin and SPO1 Ramoncito Ocampo, arrived at the Ayala
on his way out. He reminded Del Rosario to be on the lookout for anybody Center to conduct an on-the-spot investigation of the killing of Acosta and
who might rush to the succor of Ybasco, while the appellant would take care Ybasco’s abduction.31 When Dela Rapa informed the policemen that she
of Ybasco. Momentarily, Manansala and the appellant confronted Ybasco and witnessed the incident, she was brought to the police station where she gave
told him, "May warrant of arrest ka." They grabbed Ybasco, handcuffed him a sworn statement.32 At 8:10 p.m., Juanito Mendoza arrived at the Makati
and dragged him to the car.19 Manansala and the appellant had a scuffle with Police Station and gave a sworn statement where he indicated that he
Ybasco when they grabbed the plastic bag from him. 20 Roberto Acosta, a witnessed the shooting incident and saw the get-away car, a Toyota Corolla
roving security guard, saw the incident and pulled out his .38 caliber gun with
with Plate No. TAX 732. He also gave a physical description of Acosta’s From a police line-up of ten persons formed by the Makati Police Station,
assailant.33 which included Del Rosario, Dela Rapa was asked to identify Acosta’s killer
and Ybasco’s abductors. Dela Rapa pointed to and positively identified Del
At 6:20 a.m. of March 8, 1994, Sofronio Entridicho was at his sugar field and Rosario as Acosta’s assailant. Dela Rapa gave a supplemental statement45
saw the cadaver of Ybasco whose hands were still handcuffed.34 Entridicho pointing to and identifying Del Rosario as the person whom she saw boarding
reported what he saw to the Cabuyao Police Station. 35 SPO2 Reynaldo a white car.46
Arcibal of the Cabuyao Police Station reported the finding to the Makati Police
Station which dispatched a team of police investigators to Barangay Pulo, In the meantime, PNP Medico-Legal Officer Joselito Rodrigo performed an
Cabuyao, Laguna. The policemen found Ybasco’s body and an empty shell autopsy on the cadaver of Ybasco and issued Medico-Legal Certificate No.
from a .45 caliber pistol.36 M-006-94 which contained the following findings:

In the meantime, the policemen were able to ascertain that the Toyota Corolla Well-nourished, well-developed male cadaver in rigor
car with Plate No. TAX 732 belonged to Cecilia Tan and her husband mortis with postmortem lividity over the dependent portions
Christopher Nash, and that the latter gave the car keys to Rolando Fajardo for of the body. Pale conjunctivae, cyanotic lips and nailbeds.
car repairs, with instructions to turn it over later to Del Rosario and the Both upper extremities were handcuffed.
appellant.37 On March 9 and 10, 1994, Rolando Fajardo gave sworn
statements38 to the Makati Police Operatives where he stated that at 8:00 a.m. HEAD AND EXTREMITIES
of March 7, 1994, he turned over the car to the appellant and the latter’s
brother-in-law, Del Rosario. Fajardo also stated that at 9:00 a.m. of March 8,
1994, Manansala told him how Ybasco was abducted and brought to 1. Gunshot wound thru and thru point of entry right zygomatic region
Cabuyao, Laguna, where he was shot by the appellant. measuring 0.9 x 1.2 cms., 10 cms. from its anterior midline with area of
smugging and tattoing measuring 4 x 7 cms. directed posteriorwards, slightly
downwards and to the left fracturing the right zygomatic bone, maxillary bone,
On March 9, 1994, police operatives arrested Del Rosario at his residence in and occipital bone making a point of exit at the posterior neck region
Barangay Tadloc, Los Baños, Laguna.39 Del Rosario tried to shoot it out with measuring 1 x 1.2 cms., 2.5 cms. from its posterior midline.
the policemen using Acosta’s service pistol, a .38 caliber revolver which had
six live ammunitions, bearing serial number 172410. 40 The gun was turned
over to SPO2 Marlon Binotapa at the homicide section of the Makati police CONCLUSION:
department.41 On the same day, Manansala was arrested at his residence in
Barangay Canlubang, Laguna. Cause of death is hemorrhage as a result of gunshot wound
of the head.47
On March 12, 1994, Manansala, with the assistance of his counsel, Atty.
Sofronio Untalan, Jr., executed an extrajudicial confession in which he The doctor also issued the victim’s Certificate of Death.48
narrated how he, the appellant, Del Rosario and Nash, planned to rob Ybasco
of the cash he was carrying, including the details of the abduction and the On May 19, 1995, Del Rosario and Manansala were charged with robbery with
killing.42 The policemen attempted to arrest the appellant at his residence, but homicide in an Information, the accusatory portion of which reads:
the latter was nowhere to be found. The appellant remained at large. 43

That on or about March 7, 1994, in the Municipality of


Tanauan Police Operatives found the white Toyota Corolla with Plate No. TAX Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
732 in Tanauan, Batangas.44 The car was turned over to SPO2 Romeo Urbino of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
of the Makati Police Station, who discovered that the said plate number was conspiring and confederating with Eduardo de Jesus y
tampered with and renumbered PTT 134. Enrile alias "Eddie," Christopher John Nash and one alias
"Ton Ton" whose real name and present whereabout are
still unknown and all of them mutually helping and aiding
one another, with intent of gain and by means of force, court, thereafter, rendered judgment convicting Del Rosario of robbery with
violence and intimidation, to wit: dragging, shoving and homicide and sentencing him to suffer reclusion perpetua.53
pushing inside a Toyota Corolla car, colored white with
Plate No. TAX-732 one SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, did then On motion of the public prosecutor, the court admitted the Amended
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and Information filed by public prosecutor. The amendment consisted of the
carry away the following: inclusion of Christopher John Nash and the appellant as additional accused. 54
Consequently, the court issued warrants for their arrest. Christopher Nash
1) One (1) Cal. 38 revolver Smith & Wesson, with filed a petition for review of the resolution of the public prosecutor finding
probable cause against him for the crime charged. On January 25, 1995, the
Serial No. AUB-1015; Secretary of Justice granted the petition and ordered the public prosecutor to
move for the withdrawal of the Amended Information as against Christopher
Nash only. The public prosecutor filed the motion55 which the court granted on
2) Identification Cards; March 29, 1994.56 Manansala, through counsel, prayed for the inhibition of the
Presiding Judge on the ground of partiality. The court granted the motion. The
3) One (1) wallet containing ₱5,000.00 cash. case was re-raffled to Branch 65 of the court. In the meantime, the prosecution
began presenting its evidence against Manansala.
belonging to the said SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, against his
will, to the damage and prejudice of the said SPO2 Eugenio On November 20, 1995, the police operatives arrested the appellant in
Ybasco and/or his heirs and thereafter, the above-named Cabuyao, Laguna.57 The appellant was arraigned, with the assistance of
accused, after handcuffing both hands of the said SPO2 counsel on February 13, 1996, and entered a plea of not guilty. 58 On
Eugenio Ybasco, with intent to kill, did then and there November 6, 1996, Manansala died while under detention due to a mauling
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, shoot and fire at him incident.59 The case against him was dismissed,60 while trial against the
with a handgun, thereby inflicting upon the latter a mortal appellant continued. Considering that Del Rosario was detained at the
wound which was the direct and immediate cause of his national penitentiary, the court conducted a trial thereat on May 20, 1997,
death; that on the occasion of the aforesaid robbery where Del Rosario testified for the prosecution and was cross-examined by
committed on SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, the above-named the appellant’s counsel.61
accused, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously shoot and fire at, with a handgun, one Roberto The appellant, through counsel, admitted the due execution of the sworn
Acosta y Capirao, a roving security guard detailed at the statement of Rolando Fajardo,62 Juanito Mendoza,63 Marcelina Acosta64 and
Ayala Center, who came to the rescue of SPO2 Eugenio Dolores Ybasco,65 and waived his right to cross-examine the said witnesses.66
Ybasco, thereby inflicting upon him a serious mortal wound The prosecution no longer presented the affiants as witnesses.
which directly caused his death.
The Evidence for the Appellant
CONTRARY TO LAW.49
The appellant denied any involvement whatsoever in the crime charged. He
Del Rosario was arraigned on April 5, 1994, assisted by counsel, and pleaded did not know of any person named John Nash. He denied being in the
guilty to the charge.50 On April 15, 1994, Manansala, assisted by counsel, was company of Manansala, Del Rosario and a certain Tonton in the evening of
arraigned and pleaded not guilty.51 On April 21, 1994, Del Rosario appeared March 7, 1994.67
before the court and stated that he wanted to testify and elucidate on how the
crime charged was committed by him and his cohorts. The court granted Del
Rosario’s request. With the assistance of counsel de parte, he forthwith The appellant testified that in February 1994, he purchased a tricycle for
testified on how he, Manansala and the appellant perpetrated the crime. 52 The ₱46,705 in Calamba, Laguna. He borrowed the amount from his sister. He
had the tricycle registered in his name.68 He drove the tricycle everyday to eke
out a living, plying the route in Barangay Tabuyoc, Apalit, Pampanga, from also received a letter from Del Rosario sometime in Easter, suggesting that
6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.69 he ask for a hearing so that Del Rosario could testify and clear him of the crime
charged. The appellant also alleged that before Manansala died, the latter
On March 7, 1994, the appellant took out his tricycle to ply his usual route. At disclosed that he executed a statement implicating the appellant because he
around 5:00 p.m. that day, he dropped off his passenger, Mrs. Silvina Lumba, (Manansala) was tortured by policemen.86
at the market. They had agreed that he would pick her up from the market,
then drop her off at her house. The distance from the market to the Lumba Silvina Lumba corroborated the testimony of De Jesus. She testified that at
residence was about 2-l/2 kilometers. The trip took him about one hour.70 On 5:00 p.m. on March 7, 1994, she contracted the services of the appellant to
March 10 or 11, 1994, policemen raided his house, but failed to arrest him. 71 transport her in his tricycle, going to and from the market. They arrived at her
house at around 6:30 p.m.87 The appellant asked her to appear in court and
The appellant admitted that he had known Manansala in Pampanga to testify.88

since he was a boy. He alleged that Del Rosario was the brother of his wife, Rosario Dizon Lopez testified that sometime in November or December 1997,
Cecille; hence, his brother-in-law.72 After he and Cecille were married, they she visited her husband Jerry Lopez at the Makati City Jail where she met Del
resided in the house of his in-laws where Del Rosario was also staying.73 Rosario. She again met Del Rosario in Muntinlupa where he would ask her to
There was a time when he and Del Rosario had a violent altercation. As he deliver letters89 to the appellant, who was then detained at the Makati City
was also a sewing machine mechanic by profession, Del Rosario asked him Jail.90 The jail warden never knew that the said letters were handed to her;
to alter a pair of pants, but the appellant refused to do so. Del Rosario then neither were her things inspected when she left the national penitentiary.
smashed the sewing machine74 and the two of them exchanged fist blows.75 Lopez did not course the letters through the jail warden, but would simply go
Since then, Del Rosario harbored a grudge against him. Later, he and Cecille directly to the jail guards who would inspect the letters and read them. She
parted ways. She married a Swedish national and resided in Sweden, 76 was then allowed to bring the letters in. Furthermore, the visits in the Makati
bringing their daughter Diane Joyce along with her. The appellant had five City Jail were not recorded in the logbook; nor was she required to sign
children with his new partner. Del Rosario was also mad at him because he therein. At times, her forearms were stamped to indicate that she was a
had planned on filing a case against his sister for marrying a foreigner. visitor.91 She also recounted that sometime in 1997, the appellant asked for
money from Del Rosario, but the latter did not send any.92
The appellant was in the house of his aunt on March 11, 1994 when he learned
that he had been implicated in the case. A team of policemen, together with Jennifer Obina, the appellant’s live-in partner, testified that the latter worked
Manansala and Del Rosario, raided his house. He saw his co-accused in a as a sewing machine mechanic in a garment factory in Pasong Tamo
"bugbog-sarado condition."77 He also received information that Del Rosario Extension, Makati, when they started living together. In 1988, she was
and Manansala were tied to a bridge and dipped into the river while under the engaged in the business of selling fish and tinapa. Sometime in February
custody of policemen.78 Upon the advice of his brother, the appellant decided 1994, the appellant bought a tricycle and drove it as a means of livelihood. He
not to surrender, as he was afraid that he might also be mauled and hurt by would start plying his route, usually around the market and the municipal hall,
the police.79 The appellant, thereafter, worked in Binangonan, Rizal. 80 He was at 6:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. everyday of the week.
arrested on November 20, 199581 and was brought to Camp Vicente Lim,82
where he was treated well and subjected to physical examination. On March 10, 1994, Obina was surprised to learn that the appellant was
implicated in a kidnapping and killing incident which was aired over the
While in prison, Del Rosario told the appellant that he would be impleaded and television and radio.93 Also on the said date, policemen in civilian clothes who
jailed as he had abandoned his sister, and that Del Rosario was intending to were looking for her "husband" raided their house.94 The appellant, however,
file a case against him.83 The appellant received a letter with a Christmas card was not there, but was within the vicinity of his aunt’s house. The policemen
from his daughter in Sweden.84 He also received a letter from Del Rosario never showed any warrant of arrest or search warrant. They just went inside
dated December 4, 1997 through Pinky Dizon, the wife of one of the inmates the house and poked a gun at her head. They forced her to reveal where the
at the penitentiary.85 In the said letter, Del Rosario stated that the appellant appellant was, but she refused to do so.95 Neither was she informed why they
was not involved in the case and apologized for implicating him. The appellant were looking for him. The policemen merely told her that the appellant was a
criminal and a killer. Although the appellant knew that he was "wanted" for the IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OUTRIGHTLY DISREGARDING
kidnapping and killing incidents, he just ignored the matter. 96 Obina later ACCUSED-APPELLANT’S DEFENSE OF ALIBI AND DENIAL, DESPITE
learned from the appellant’s cousin that the latter had already left for Manila. 97 THE FACT THAT THE SAME IS CREDIBLE AND WAS CORROBORATED
The appellant did not return for about a week, and thereafter, stayed with his BY ANOTHER WITNESS.
aunt in Taguig.98
V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING AGAINST THE
After trial, the court rendered judgment finding De Jesus guilty of the crime ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF
charged, the decretal portion of which reads: TREACHERY.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered finding the VI. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CRIME OF
accused EDUARDO DE JESUS Y ENRILE GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE WAS COMMITTED DESPITE THE FACT THAT
of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and sentencing him to suffer the penalty NO ROBBERY ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE.
of DEATH; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco and
Roberto Acosta in the sum of ₱50,000.00 each family; and to pay the heirs of VII. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-
SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco the sum of ₱500,000.00 by way of moral damages.99 APPELLANT AND IN IMPOSING UPON HIM THE SUPREME PENALTY OF
DEATH, AND IN NOT ACQUITTING HIM OF THE CRIME CHARGED,
The trial court relied principally on the testimony of Dela Rapa and Del DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE PROSECUTION’S EVIDENCE AGAINST
Rosario, corroborated by the other evidence on record, in convicting the ACCUSED-APPELLANT FAILED TO STAND THE CRUCIBLE TEST OF
appellant of the crime charged. It considered the testimony of Del Rosario on REASONABLE DOUBT TO OVERTHROW THE CONSTITUTIONALLY
April 21, 1994 as a judicial confession, admissible in evidence not only against GUARANTEED PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.100
the confessant (Del Rosario) but also against the appellant.
The appellant contends that the prosecution failed to prove the commission of
The appellant now assails the decision of the trial court on the following the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt. While the prosecution may have
grounds: proved the killing of Acosta and Ybasco, it, however, failed to prove that the
appellant divested Ybasco of ₱5,000.
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE EVIDENCE OF
THE PROSECUTION IS INSUFFICIENT TO PROVE THE GUILT OF The appellant also avers that the prosecution failed to prove that he was one
ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. of the malefactors, and his precise participation in the commission of the crime
charged. He asserts that absent proof of conspiracy, Del Rosario’s judicial
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE JUDICIAL confession is admissible in evidence only against the confessant but not
CONFESSION OF ACCUSED CRISPIN DEL ROSARIO AND IN USING THE against him. Moreover, the appellant asserts, the said judicial confession
SAME AGAINST THE OTHER ACCUSED, INCLUDING ACCUSED- came from a "polluted source," as Del Rosario himself admitted to being one
APPELLANT EDUARDO DE JESUS, IMPLICATING THEM TO THE CRIME of the malefactors. Thus, his testimony must be scrutinized with care and
CHARGED, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SAME IS INADMISSIBLE IN subjected to grave suspicion. The appellant further avers that Del Rosario
EVIDENCE. MOREOVER, THE AFFIDAVIT OF ACCUSED DANTE even stated that Manansala was Ybasco’s assailant. He argues that Del
MANANSALA POINTING TO ACCUSED-APPELLANT AS THE ASSAILANT Rosario himself could also have been the assailant, as it was he who shot
IS LIKEWISE INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE. Acosta when the latter tried to rescue Ybasco.

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT ACCUSED- According to the appellant, Del Rosario implicated him, his own brother-in-
APPELLANT CONSPIRED WITH THE OTHER ACCUSED IN COMMITTING law, because they often quarreled with each other. The appellant had made
THE CRIME CHARGED. life miserable and unbearable for Del Rosario, and the latter’s sister, who was
later impelled to marry a Swedish national. As shown by Del Rosario’s letters
to the appellant, the former himself apologized to the latter for having falsely (1) the taking of personal property is committed with
implicated him in the crime charged. violence or intimidation against persons;

Contrary to the ruling of the trial court, Del Rosario’s letters to the appellant (2) the property taken belongs to another;
were not hearsay. The prosecution could very well have presented Del
Rosario anew to refute his allegations, but the prosecution failed to do so. The (3) the taking is animo lucrandi; and
appellant further argues that Manansala’s extrajudicial confession is hearsay,
because the latter died before he could testify and later be cross-examined by
the appellant thereon. Moreover, the affidavits and testimony of Dela Rapa, (4) by reason of the robbery or on the occasion thereof,
as well as Del Rosario’s judicial confession, are utterly insufficient on which to homicide is committed.101
anchor a finding that the appellant was one of the malefactors and that he
conspired with the perpetrators of the crime, namely, Manansala and Del
Rosario. Finally, the appellant concludes that Dela Rapa failed to identify him In robbery with homicide, the original criminal design of the malefactor is to
as one of the malefactors. commit robbery, with homicide perpetrated on the occasion or by reason of
the robbery.102 The intent to commit robbery must precede the taking of human
We have meticulously reviewed the records and we are convinced beyond life.103 The homicide may take place before, during or after the robbery. It is
cavil that the prosecution adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt that the only the result obtained, without reference or distinction as to the
appellant, Del Rosario and Manansala, conspired to rob Ybasco of circumstances, causes or modes or persons intervening in the commission of
US$250,000 through violence and intimidation and that the appellant was one the crime that has to be taken into consideration.104
of the perpetrators thereof; hence, criminally liable therefor as a principal by
direct participation. There is no such felony of robbery with homicide through reckless imprudence
or simple negligence. The constitutive elements of the crime, namely, robbery
The Felony of Robbery and homicide, must be consummated.

With Homicide It is immaterial that the death would supervene by mere accident; or that the
victim of homicide is other than the victim of robbery, or that two or more
persons are killed or that aside from the homicide, rape, intentional mutilation,
Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code provides: or usurpation of authority, is committed by reason or on the occasion of the
crime. Likewise immaterial is the fact that the victim of homicide is one of the
Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of robbers; the felony would still be robbery with homicide. Once a homicide is
persons – Penalties. - Any person guilty of robbery with the committed by or on the occasion of the robbery, the felony committed is
use of violence against or any person shall suffer: robbery with homicide. All the felonies committed by reason of or on the
occasion of the robbery are integrated into one and indivisible felony of
1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, robbery with homicide. The word "homicide" is used in its generic sense.
when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the Homicide, thus, includes murder, parricide, and infanticide.
crime of homicide shall have been committed, or
when the robbery shall have been accompanied Intent to rob is an internal act but may be inferred from proof of violent unlawful
by rape or intentional mutilation or arson. taking of personal property. When the fact of asportation has been established
beyond reasonable doubt, conviction of the accused is justified even if the
For the accused to be convicted of the said crime, the prosecution is burdened property subject of the robbery is not presented in court. After all, the property
to prove the confluence of the following elements: stolen may have been abandoned or thrown away and destroyed by the
robber or recovered by the owner.105 The prosecution is not burdened to prove
the actual value of the property stolen or amount stolen from the victim.
Whether the robber knew the actual amount in the possession of the victim is of one is the act of all the conspirators. The precise extent or modality of
of no moment because the motive for robbery can exist regardless of the exact participation of each of them becomes secondary,112 since all the conspirators
amount or value involved.106 are principals. To exempt himself from criminal liability, a conspirator must
have performed an overt act to dissociate or detach himself from the
When homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery, all conspiracy to commit the felony and prevent the commission thereof.113
those who took part as principals in the robbery would also be held liable as
principals of the single and indivisible felony of robbery with homicide although In this case, the appellant, Del Rosario and Manansala, intended to abduct
they did not actually take part in the killing, unless it clearly appears that they Ybasco and divest him of money in the amount of US$250,000, which they
endeavored to prevent the same.107 thought Ybasco was about to deposit in the bank. Each of them had specific
tasks to perform: the appellant and Manansala were tasked to abduct Ybasco,
If a robber tries to prevent the commission of homicide after the commission handcuff him and board him in their car, while Del Rosario acted as a lookout
of the robbery, he is guilty only of robbery and not of robbery with homicide. who would prevent anyone from interfering with Ybasco’s abduction and the
All those who conspire to commit robbery with homicide are guilty as principals consummation of the robbery. The trio performed their tasks with precision. In
of such crime, although not all profited and gained from the robbery. One who the process, Del Rosario shot and killed Acosta who was on patrol within the
joins a criminal conspiracy adopts the criminal designs of his co-conspirators vicinity and had rushed to the scene to investigate the incident. The appellant
and can no longer repudiate the conspiracy once it has materialized. 108 and Manansala abducted Ybasco, handcuffed him and boarded him in the car.
Del Rosario took Acosta’s service gun bearing serial number 172410 after
killing the victim. This is gleaned from the Del Rosario’s testimony, viz:
Homicide is said to have been committed by reason or on the occasion of
robbery if, for instance, it was committed to (a) facilitate the robbery or the
escape of the culprit; (b) to preserve the possession by the culprit of the loot; FISCAL BACULI
(c) to prevent discovery of the commission of the robbery; or, (d) to eliminate
witnesses in the commission of the crime. As long as there is a nexus between Q Isinusumpa mo ba na ang lahat ng sinasabi mo ay pawang katotohanan lamang?
the robbery and the homicide, the latter crime may be committed in a place
other than the situs of the robbery. A Oho, sir, siya rin ho ang nagsabi niyan sa akin narinig ko sa kanyang bunganga,
ngayon pagdating naming dito ng mga menus kinse bago magalas-sais dito sa may
kotse doon piplano (sic) ni Dante kung paanong posisyon ang gagawin dinala niya ako
The Prosecution Adduced Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt That The
sa may kanto ng Rustan’s si Eddie doon niya ipinuwesto sa may banda roon ng aking
Appellant Conspired With Del Rosario And Manansala To Commit Robbery puwesto tapos ho si Dante dito naman siya sa may malapit sa money changer siya ang
With Violence Against Or Intimidation Of Persons tumitingin at umaagap dito kay sir Ybasco, ngayon ho nong dumating ang oras ng labas
ni sir Ybasco nauna si Dante kasunod si sir Ybasco ngayon ho pagdating sa akin sa
Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when ten or may kanto sabi sa akin ni Dante "nandiyan na bahala ka diyan" sabi sa aking ganon
kung meron mang humarang ikaw ang bahala upakan mo sabi sa aking ganon ako
more offenders agree to commit a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy
naman ang bahala dito kay tanda kay tatang sabing ganon tutulungan ko si Eddie dito
may be proved by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. Conspiracy sa pagipit, ngayon ho nong lumampas sa akin si sir Ybasco dalawa na sila doon si
must be shown as distinctly and conclusively as the crime itself.109 It may be Dante at si Eddie ngayon ho nakita ko dinakot nila si sir Ybasco pinosasan nila tapos
declared from the acts of the suspect before, during and after the commission pilit nilang isinakay sa kotse siya naming dating nong guwardiya at tinanong sa akin
of the felony which are indicative of a joint purpose, concocted action and "bakit anong ibig sabihin niyan" at nakahawak sa pulohan ng baril ngayon ho natakot
concurrence of sentiments.110 naman ako dahil nakahawak sa pulo ng baril baka ako barilin ngayon ho sa lito ko hindi
ko maintindihan kung anong gagawin ko ang ginawa ko ho pagbunot niya ng baril yon
pinilit agawan ng baril habang inaagaw ko ang baril sigaw naman ng mga ito pilitin mong
To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of the execution; maagaw tapos iputok mo sa kanya.
he need not even take part in every act or need not even know the exact part
to be performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy. Each COURT
conspirator may be assigned separate and different tasks which may appear
unrelated to one another but, in fact, constitute a whole collective effort to
achieve their common criminal objective.111 Once conspiracy is shown, the act Sino ang nag-utos sa iyo non?
A Si Dante po, sir, tapos po di hindi ko naman inintindi yon dahil alam ko naman ang Q How long have you know[n] him as [a] member of the Makati
gagawin ko dahil ako naman talaga ang mamamatay kung bibitawan ko eh yon ho Police Headquarters?
pagkaagaw ko ng baril kaysa ako ang mamatay siya na ho ang pinutukan ko. 114
A As far as I know I am selling for thirteen years and he is also
Del Rosario’s testimony is corroborated by the fact that Acosta’s firearm was working at the Makati Police Headquarters for thirteen years.
found in his possession when he was arrested by the police, 115 and by Dela
Rapa’s sworn statements to the Makati police office as well as her testimony: Q Do you know what was his position or nature of his work at the
Makati Police Headquarters?
Q While selling cigarette at that date and time, do you still
remember or recall of any unusual incident that happened on that A I do not know, sir.
date and time?
Q A while ago, you said that with the same date and time, you saw
A Yes, sir. some persons shoving, dragging and pushing Eugenio Ybasco
inside a white car, do you know the identities of these some (sic)
Q Please inform the Court what was that unusual incident that persons?
happened on that date and time?
A I cannot remember the persons who dragged, shoved and
A Mr. Ybasco was forcefully dragged into the white car, sir. pushed Eusebio Ybasco inside the car because it was a little bit
dark, sir.

Q Who is this Mr. Ybasco, if you know?


Q But, were there lights that (sic) date and time?

A I called him "Sir Ybasco," sir.


A Yes, sir.

Q Why do you addressed him "Sir Ybasco?"


Q How many lights were there at that place and time?

A Because I know him for a long time and I’m selling cigarette for a
long time, sir. A There were several lights at that date and time, because it is a
parking lot and there were lights in the Kimpura, sir.

Q Do you know where he was connected?


Q Do you still recall how many persons were pushing, shoving and
dragging Eugenio Ybasco inside a white colored car?
A Yes, sir.
A Around three (3) persons, sir.
Q Where?
Q Are these three (3) persons male or female?
A Money Changer, Sir.
A Male, sir.
Q Do you know also if he is [a] member of [the] Makati Police
Headquarters?
Q Now, what happened then when these three male persons
pushed, dragged or shoved Eugenio Ybasco inside the white car?
A Yes, sir.
A After Eusebio Ybasco was pushed inside the car he (witness is kami sa Cabuyao ang sabi ni Dante "nandito na tayo sa Cabuyao ninong ang mayor
referring to Crispin Del Rosario) shot Mr. Acosta, a certain Security diyan wala tayong problema dito na lang natin itumba yan" hindi naman ho ako
Guard. makapagsalita dahil marami naman ho sila eh di pagdating ho ng Cabuyao doon sa
may tubohan tumigil ho ang kotse at bumaba si Dante, pagbaba ni Dante ang sabi
narinig ko "teka muna titingnan ko muna baka may tao" dahil madilim ho ang lugar tapos
Q Are you sure that he was the one who shot a certain Security
ho nong makita niyang walang tao sabi niya kay Eddie "sige Ed ibaba mo na yan si
Guard Roberto Acosta?
tatang" ngayon bago niya ibinaba si tatang akala ko pasasakayin niya ng tricycle dahil
ang sabi ni Eddie sa loob ng tricycle eh pakakawalan na naming kayo basta huwag lang
A Yes, sir. kayong hahabol kami’y eh mga NPA sabing ganon pa ni Eddie hindi naman kami NPA
si Eddie lang ang NPA yon ang panakot sabi naman ni sir Ybasco "sige wala tayong
problema mga anak sabi niyang ganon" ngayon ho ibinaba nila si sir Ybasco, si Eddie
Q Did you see him actually shoot a certain Roberto Acosta? at si Dante dinala ho sa banda roon, akala ko naman talagang pasasakayin nila ng
tricycle dahil yong pera ho sa bulsa ni sir Ybasco na baryang otsenta pesos ako
A Yes, sir.116 pa ho ang kumuha non at ako pa ho ang nagbigay ng singkuwenta pesos kay sir
Ybasco ngayon ho nong pagkababang yon nakita ko hong tinututukan ni Eddie kasama
si Dante dahil ipinagmamalaki niya na ninong nga daw niya yong meyor doon at
Juanito Mendoza, likewise, corroborated in part the testimonies of Del Rosario malakas siya sa Cabuyao. Ngayon ho di patay yong tao nakita ko tagilid siyang
and Dela Rapa.117 The barefaced fact that Dela Rapa and Mendoza did not bumagsak tapos eh tumihayang ganon tapos eh uulitin ng baril kaya lang hindi na naulit
see the face of the appellant and could not identify him as one of Ybasco’s dahil bumatangal daw yong baril kaya hindi na ho pumutok.
abductors does not negate the fact that they witnessed the abduction and the
killing of Acosta. COURT

The Prosecution Adduced Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt thatthe Appellant Sino ang bumaril?
and his Cohorts Divested Ybasco of P5,030.00 And That The Appellant Shot
Ybasco And Acosta To Death On The Occasion Or By Reason Of Robbery A Si Eddie po ang nakita kong bumaril pero ang nagbaba ho ng tao ay silang dalawa,
si Eddie at si Dante, ngayon ho pagdating naming sa Calamba yon ibinaba na nila ako
We reject the appellant’s contention that the prosecution failed to prove that sa Calamba binigyan niya ako ng pera isangdaang piso.
the appellant and his cohorts divested Ybasco of ₱5,030.00, and his argument
that Ybasco was shot by either Manansala or Del Rosario. The prosecutor FISCAL BACULI
adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt that Del Rosario shot Acosta in
Makati, that the appellant divested Ybasco of ₱5,000.00, and that Del Rosario Sino ang nagbigay ng pera sa iyo?
divested the victim of ₱30.00. This is gleaned from the testimony of Del
Rosario, viz:
A Si Eddie po dahil nasa kanya yong pera eh, ngayon ho di binigyan na ako ng perang
isandaang pisong pamasahe at marami pa raw hong papartihan … (interrupted).
FISCAL BACULI
COURT
Ikaw ba ay handang tumestigo laban kay Dante Manansala kung bibistahan uli ang
kaso niya?
Magkano bang nakuha n’yo?

A Opo, sir, tapos po nakita ko pong naisakay na si sir Ybasco na hindi ko naman alam
A ₱5,000.00 lang, sir, at ipapaayos pa raw ang salamin sa likod dahil sira dahil
na pulis pala at pagkakita ko pong nakasakay na sila ako nama’y takbo tapos may
habang kami’y nananakbo eh nalaglag na yong salamin ngayon ho hindi ko na
bumaril pa ho sa loob ng kotse kaya nagkaroon ng sira yung likuran ng kotse hindi ko
alam kung saan nila dinala yong kotse at saka isa pa ho sobra ho galit niya kay
ho matiyak kung ako ang binaril nila o yong guwardiya dahil ang alam ko talaga ako
sir Ybasco hinahanap niyang maigi ang pera na $250,000 daw.
ang nakabaril sa guwardiya wala naman silang babarilin kundi ako lang talaga dahil ako
nama’y biktima nila ngayon po pagdating naming sa kotse umandar na kami papunta
kami ng expressway sa madalit sabi ho di nasa expressway na kami nong malapit na FISCAL BACULI
Sino? nakuha ninyo? Five thousand lang, sir. How do you reconcile now your testimony that
there was no robbery to your answer to that question that you were able to take the
amount of five thousand pesos?
A Si Dante ho, sir, nong kami’y nasa expressway galit na galit yan kay sir Ybasco
minumura niyang magaling yong matanda at binabatukan pa ho ng patunog hinahanap
yong perang $250,000 bakit daw hindi siya nagdeliber ngayon hinahanap niyang WITNESS
magaling sabi naman ho ni sir Ybasco "eh wala naman akong idenideliber mga anak na
ganyang kalaking pera" ang akala ko meron ng pera sabi pa niyang ganon eh pagtingin
Well sir, what I know is that their target was the money changer because the money
ko naman ho sa bag sa loob ng bag eh wala naman ho ang nakita ko lang ay baunan
changer where Sir Ybasco has a part time job but they were thinking that the old man
nong mga oras na yon.118
takes the money to the bank…. and Sir Ybasco takes the money to the bank. They are
planning to holdup Sir Ybasco but they were not able to find money from him, sir.
It is true that when Del Rosario continued with his testimony during the trial on
May 20, 1997, he admitted to having pleaded guilty to robbery with homicide, PROS. BAGAOISAN
but declared that no robbery took place:
Now, where did you get then this amount of five thousand pesos?
PROS. BAGAOISAN
WITNESS
Mr. Witness, do you recall that you pleaded guilty to the offense Robbery with Homicide
before Branch 65, Regional Trial Court, Makati City?
Well, sir, at that time my mind was confused, I have said that amount five thousand
pesos, but the truth is there was no money found from Sir Ybasco, sir. 120
WITNESS

Indeed, Del Rosario’s testimony during the trial on May 20, 1997 is
Yes, sir, but there was no robbery that took place on that day.119 inconsistent with his testimony during the trial of April 21, 1994. But the trial
court rejected the aforequoted testimony of Del Rosario on May 20, 1997, and
Del Rosario even declared on re-direct examination that no money was found gave credence to his testimony on April 21, 1994.
in the possession of Ybasco and that when he testified on April 21, 1994, his
mind was confused: We agree with the trial court.

PROS. BAGAOISAN
First. When the public prosecutor asked Del Rosario to affirm and confirm the
truth of his answers to the questions propounded on him during the trial of
Yes, Your Honor. April 21, 1994,121 Del Rosario unequivocably declared that his answers to the
said questions were true, and that he was not coerced, forced or intimidated
Q Mr. Witness, you testified on cross-examination that there was (sic) no robbery that into answering:
(sic) was committed, am I correct?
PROS. BAGAOISAN
WITNESS
After you pleaded guilty before Branch 65 Regional Trial Court, Makati City, do you
Yes, sir. recall that the Presiding Judge and the Fiscal propounded questions to you regarding
that incident?
PROS. BAGAOISAN
WITNESS
But in the hearing of April 21, 1994, particularly on page 18 of the transcript of
stenographic notes, the Court asked you [a] question and I repeat: Magkano ba ang Yes, sir.
PROS. BAGAOISAN Second. We have carefully reviewed the testimonies of Del Rosario on April
21, 1994 and May 20, 1997, and conclude that it is Del Rosario’s testimony
In other words, there was a hearing conducted after you pleaded guilty to the offense during the hearing of April 21, 1994 which represents the truth. The transcript
charged? of stenographic notes taken during that day is replete with important details,
logical and positive in character, and consistent even in light of the clarificatory
WITNESS questions of the trial court. Del Rosario, who was then assisted by counsel,
could not have contrived his April 21, 1994 testimony where he implicated not
only the appellant and Manansala but also confirmed his criminal participation
Yes, sir.
in the crime charged, including his killing of Acosta. His testimony on April 21,
1994 was not made by one who had a confused mind, but by one who had a
PROS. BAGAOISAN clear recollection of what he, the appellant and Manansala, had done with
precision to consummate the crime they had planned so meticulously to
Now, Mr. Witness, I am showing to you an official transcript of stenographic accomplish. In contrast, the testimony of Del Rosario on May 20, 1997, made
notes of Branch 65 Regional Trial Court, Makati City, certified true and correct more than three years after his initial testimony, is frontally inconsistent. He
by Court Stenographic Reporter Ms. Concepcion Padua, will you please go claimed that his mind was confused when he testified on April 21, 1994, but
over the same and tell us if these are the same questions that were in the same breath, affirmed and confirmed the truth of his answers to the
propounded to you and these are the same answers that you have given to questions propounded on him during the said trial.
the questions?
Del Rosario claimed in his testimony during the hearing of May 20, 1997 that
WITNESS when he pleaded guilty to robbery with homicide, he was not assisted by
counsel. However, the records show that he was, in fact, assisted by his
Yes, sir, these are the questions that were asked and these are counsel, Atty. Sofronio Untalan, Jr.123 We find it incredible that Del Rosario
my answers. would plead guilty to robbery with homicide and accept the penalty of reclusion
perpetua imposed on him by the trial court if, after all, Ybasco was not robbed
PROS. BAGAOISAN of ₱5,000. For the court to acquit the appellant of robbery with homicide simply
and merely because Del Rosario made a volte face and disavowed his judicial
confession on his bare claim that his mind was confused when he testified on
Mr. Witness, under your present oath, do you still affirm and April 21, 1994 is unacceptable. In People v. Ubiña, et al.,124 we ruled that it
confirm the truthfulness and veracity by (sic) your answers to the
questions propounded to you by the Presiding Judge and the would be a dangerous rule for courts to reject testimonies solely taken before
prosecutor? the courts of justice simply because witnesses who had given them later on
change their minds for one reason or another. Such a rule would make some
trials a mockery and place the investigation of truths at the mercy of
WITNESS
unscrupulous witnesses. All the expedients devised by men to determine the
credibility of witnesses should be utilized to determine which of the
Yes, sir. contradictory testimonies represents the truth.125 The trial court and this Court
reviewed the records and have come to the same conclusion – it is Del
PROS. BAGAOISAN Rosario’s April 21, 1994 testimony which represents the truth.

Were you forced, coerced or intimidated when you made these It is true that Del Rosario was a co-conspirator and that he implicated the
answers, Mr. Witness? appellant and Manansala in the killing of Ybasco and the taking of ₱5,000 from
the latter. However, we have ruled that the testimony of a co-conspirator may
WITNESS: No, sir.122 be given full probative weight if it is shown to be candid and straightforward,
and is full of details which by its nature could not have been contrived, besides
being corroborated by independent evidence. In People v. Sia,126 we had the Q Why do you know him?
occasion to state:
A He was a former husband of my sister, sir.
… [I]n this regard, it must be borne in mind that the fact that
a witness may have been a co-conspirator in the Q Is it correct to say that Ed de Jesus and your sister were already
commission of the offense is not in itself sufficient to dilute separated?
the credibility of or, much less, be a ground to disregard
altogether his testimony. Indeed: A Yes, sir, almost 17 years.

By way of exception, the testimony of a co-conspirator may, even if Q And because they were already separated, you took grudge
uncorroborated, be sufficient as when it is shown to be sincere in itself, against Ed de Jesus, is that correct?
because given unhesitatingly and in a straightforward manner, and is full of
details which by their nature could not have been the result of deliberate A No, sir.
afterthought.127
Q Do you have any grudge against Ed de Jesus?
The April 21, 1994 testimony of Del Rosario is not only replete with details; it
is also corroborated by independent evidence, including the medico-legal A None, sir.130
report of Dr. Joselito A. Rodrigo and his testimony that Ybasco was shot once
on the right cheek,128 the sworn statement of Mendoza, the sworn statements
and testimony of Dela Rapa, as well as the results of the investigation of the Second. In his October 8, 1997 letter, Del Rosario claimed that the appellant
police operatives. was even intending to send money to him and that he, Del Rosario, was
expecting some money from the appellant. Del Rosario even expressed hope
that the appellant would help him first:
Del Rosario’s letters to the appellant dated October 8, 1997 and December 4,
1997,129 did not weaken his testimony and enfeeble the case for the
prosecution. Neither did they bolster the appellant’s defenses of denial and O cege (sic) Ed hanggang dito nalang at sana lagi kang
alibi. The appellant’s contention that his own brother-in-law, Del Rosario, bore mag-iingat diyan at ako’y umaasa na magpapadala ka dito
a grudge against him on account of their personal differences, deserves scant sa akin. At siyempre alam mo na walang Bigas. walang
consideration. ulam. walang gas. At walang pera. Siguro naman mas higit
mo akong dapat na matulungan. Kaysa sa ibang kakosa
natin dito.131
First. On cross-examination by the defense counsel on May 20, 1997, Del
Rosario was asked if he bore a grudge against the appellant on account of the
latter’s separation from his wife, Cecille, Del Rosario’s sister. Del Rosario If, as claimed by the appellant, his brother-in-law Del Rosario falsely
categorically denied nurturing any grudge against the appellant: implicated him in the heinous crime, Del Rosario should have manifested
remorse and sought forgiveness from the appellant for his perfidy. Del Rosario
did not do so, and was even expecting financial help from the appellant, the
ATTY. DE LEON
very person he falsely implicated.

Do you know this person Ed de Jesus?


Third. In the Letter dated December 4, 1997, Del Rosario stated that he
implicated the appellant in the robbery because of his fear that the appellant
WITNESS would sue his ex-wife. This was but an afterthought on the part of Del Rosario
to inveigle the appellant to send money to him. The appellant did not adduce
Yes, sir. evidence to prove that animosity existed between him and his ex-wife, or
between him and Del Rosario, on account of the appellant’s separation from
Cecille. The appellant and his ex-wife had mutually agreed to separate more In People v. Escote, Jr.,137 the trial court ruled that treachery is aggravating in
than two decades ago. In the interim, the appellant and his ex-wife had robbery with homicide. The aggravating circumstance of the use of a vehicle
separate partners and families. The only proof the appellant offered was his in committing robbery with homicide is also attendant in this case. The
bare testimony, which does not deserve credence. appellant and his cohorts used a vehicle when they abducted Ybasco and
transported him to Cabuyao, Laguna. However, the Information does not
The appellant’s bare denial of the crime charged and his alibi are intrinsically allege that the appellant and his cohorts used a vehicle in committing the crime
weak defenses and cannot prevail over the positive and straightforward charged as mandated by Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
identification made by Del Rosario, that the appellant was one of the Procedure. The rule must be applied retroactively because it is favorable to
perpetrators of the crime charged.132 Alibi is so easy to concoct and difficult to the appellant.138 However, the additional killing is not an aggravating
disprove.133 Furthermore, the appellant’s defenses of denial and alibi were circumstance in robbery with homicide. This is in accordance with the ruling
debilitated by his flight after learning that he was wanted by police authorities of this Court in People v. Regala139 which is the prevailing doctrine.
for robbery with homicide, and his hiding in Cabuyao, Laguna on November
20, 1994, where he was arrested. The appellant managed to evade the police The imposable penalty for robbery with homicide as amended by Rep. Act No.
authorities from March 10 or 11, 1994134 by working in Cabuyao, Laguna, and 7659 is reclusion perpetua to death. Considering the presence of the
in Binangonan, Rizal,135 while his family remained in Pampanga. We agree aggravating circumstance of treachery, and that no mitigating circumstance
with the following disquisitions of the trial court: attended the commission of the crime, the trial court correctly sentenced the
appellant to suffer the death penalty, conformably to Article 63, paragraph 1
Additionally, working against the accused Eduardo de of the Revised Penal Code.
Jesus is his "flight" from justice. After knowing that the
police authorities were after him in connection with this The trial court ordered the appellant to pay ₱50,000 to the heirs of Ybasco
case, he went into hiding. He was brought to Court only after and ₱50,000 to the heirs of Acosta as civil indemnity. It also ordered the
he was arrested by the PNP Regional Directorate appellant to pay to the heirs of Ybasco ₱500,000 as moral damages. The trial
Intelligence, Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna, on court, however, failed to award exemplary damages. We shall, thus, modify
November 20, 1995. (Records, p. 195). "Flight" according the decision of the trial court.
to the Supreme Court, is an indication of guilt. His reason
that he feared for his life has no basis.136 The heirs of Ybasco are entitled to ₱75,000 as civil indemnity. Although the
killing of Acosta was integrated into the single and indivisible felony of robbery
The trial court sentenced the appellant to suffer the death penalty on its finding with homicide, the two crimes having no separate juridical existence,
that Ybasco was shot to death with treachery. The appellant contends that (a) nonetheless, the heirs of Acosta are entitled to civil indemnity. 140
the prosecution failed to prove that he shot the victim; and, (b) even if he did
shoot the victim, the prosecution failed to prove that he adopted a particular The heirs of Ybasco are entitled to exemplary damages in the amount of
means or method to do so. The Office of the Solicitor General contends that ₱25,000.141 The heirs of Acosta are, likewise, entitled to ₱25,000 as
treachery was attendant because when Ybasco was shot, he was handcuffed; exemplary damages. Since Dolores Ybasco, the widow of the victim, testified
hence, unable to defend himself. for the prosecution on the factual basis for moral damages, the heirs of Ybasco
are entitled to, moral damages in the amount of ₱75,000. However, the heirs
We agree with the trial court and the Office of the Solicitor General. The of Acosta are not entitled thereto, for failure of the prosecution to present any
evidence on record shows that when the appellant and Manansala abducted of the heirs of the victim to testify on the factual basis for the said damages.
Ybasco in Makati, they handcuffed the victim and transported him to a sugar The appellant is obliged to return to the heirs of Ybasco the ₱30.00 which Del
field in Cabuyao, Laguna. The appellant and Manansala brought Ybasco out Rosario took from Ybasco before he was shot.
of the car. Still handcuffed, Ybasco was shot by the appellant on the right
cheek. The appellant insists that it was Del Rosario who shot Ybasco. IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is rendered AFFIRMING
However, the identity of the conspirator who shot Ybasco and Acosta is of no WITH MODIFICATION the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati,
moment. Branch 4. The appellant Eduardo de Jesus is found GUILTY of robbery with
homicide under Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as At 8:00 a.m. on March 7, 1994, upon Nash’s instructions, Del Rosario and the
amended by Rep. Act No. 7659, and sentenced to suffer the death penalty. appellant took a Toyota Corolla car with Plate No. TAX 732 from Rolando
The said appellant is hereby ORDERED to pay to the heirs of the victim SPO3 Fajardo in Tanauan, Batangas. The car was owned by Nash. 14 While the
Eugenio Ybasco the amount of ₱5,030.00 as actual damages; ₱75,000 as appellant, Del Rosario and Manansala were on board the car, their
civil indemnity; ₱75,000 as moral damages, and ₱25,000 as exemplary confederate, Tonton, had lunch somewhere in Batangas. The group arrived in
damages. The appellant is, likewise, ORDERED to pay to the heirs of Roberto the vicinity of the parking lot at the Ayala Center near the Rustan’s
Acosta ₱75,000 as civil indemnity and ₱25,000 as exemplary damages. Costs Supermarket and the Kimpura Restaurant on board the same car. 15 The
de oficio. SO ORDERED. appellant was armed with a caliber .45 handgun. 16 Manansala, the appellant
and Del Rosario alighted, and conducted a surveillance of the area. Tonton
People v. De Jesus remained in the car. Manansala instructed Del Rosario to position himself as
a lookout at the corner of the Rustan’s Supermarket, and for the appellant to
position himself within the vicinity.17 Manansala waited Ybasco near the office
PER CURIAM: of the money changer. Dela Rapa, who was then vending cigarettes, was
about five arm’s length away from the car.18
This is an automatic review of the Decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court of
Makati, Branch 64, convicting the appellant of robbery with homicide and At around 6:30 p.m., Ybasco emerged from the office of his employer holding
sentencing him to suffer the death penalty. a plastic bag. Manansala contacted Del Rosario and told him that Ybasco was
on his way out. He reminded Del Rosario to be on the lookout for anybody
The Case for the Prosecution who might rush to the succor of Ybasco, while the appellant would take care
of Ybasco. Momentarily, Manansala and the appellant confronted Ybasco and
SPO3 Eugenio Ybasco was a policeman assigned to the Makati Police told him, "May warrant of arrest ka." They grabbed Ybasco, handcuffed him
Station, Substation Block No. 6 since March 16, 1973. 3 After his tour of duty, and dragged him to the car.19 Manansala and the appellant had a scuffle with
he worked on the sly for a money changer in the vicinity of the Intercontinental Ybasco when they grabbed the plastic bag from him. 20 Roberto Acosta, a
Hotel and the Rustan’s Supermarket in Makati City. He delivered money for roving security guard, saw the incident and pulled out his .38 caliber gun with
his employer every afternoon. The money was placed in a plastic bag3 and he Serial No. 172410. On board his motorbike, he sped towards the scene to
used a bicycle for this extra job.4 Everytime Ybasco delivered money to his investigate the incident. Del Rosario confronted Acosta and grappled with him
employer, he passed by Yolanda dela Rapa who was selling cigarettes in the for the possession of the gun.21 As Del Rosario managed to wrest possession
vicinity of the Rustan’s Supermarket and the Kimpura Restaurant, Ayala of the gun from Acosta, Manansala ordered Del Rosario to shoot. Del Rosario
Center, Makati City.5 Ybasco was a familiar face among the other cigarette did as he was told, and shot Acosta in the mouth. They boarded the car, and
vendors in the area, namely, Lydia, Gina, Jing and Romy. 6 Dela Rapa called sped towards EDSA.22 Dela Rapa was shocked at the sudden turn of events.23
him "Sir Ybasco."7 So was Juanito Mendoza, who had just stepped out from the Rustan’s
Supermarket and saw the shooting incident.24

Sometime in February 1994, Dante Manansala, a native of Barangay


Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna,8 appellant Eduardo de Jesus, a native of Wilfredo Delia, another security guard at the Ayala Center, rushed to Acosta’s
Barangay Tabuyok, Apalit, Pampanga,9 and Crispin Del Rosario, the aid and brought him to the Makati Medical Center. Acosta expired at about
appellant’s brother-in-law10 and a native of Barangay Tadloc, Los Baños, 10:10 p.m.25
Laguna,11 agreed to stage a robbery in the afternoon of March 7, 1994. On
February 15, 1994, the appellant told Del Rosario of the planned robbery. 12 Meanwhile, the Toyota Corolla sped towards the direction of Cabuyao,
Del Rosario was told that the financier for the heist was Christopher Nash, a Laguna. Manansala said that they would have no problem because the mayor
British national residing in the Philippines.13 The appellant knew that Ybasco was his ninong.26 However, when he looked inside Ybasco’s bag and found
was to deposit US$250,000 in the bank every afternoon for his employer. They that it only contained ₱5,000 instead of the expected US$250,000, he was
decided to waylay Ybasco on his way to the bank. enraged. Manansala hit Ybasco on the nape and uttered invectives at the
latter. Ybasco explained, "Eh wala naman akong idinedeliber mga anak na
ganyan kalaking pera." Manansala took the ₱5,000 from Ybasco.27
Ybasco was transported to a sugar farm at Barangay Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna. On March 9, 1994, police operatives arrested Del Rosario at his residence in
Manansala and the appellant took him out of the car and told him that he would Barangay Tadloc, Los Baños, Laguna.39 Del Rosario tried to shoot it out with
be allowed to board a tricycle. The appellant warned Ybasco not to follow the policemen using Acosta’s service pistol, a .38 caliber revolver which had
them, as he, (the appellant) was a member of the New People’s Army. six live ammunitions, bearing serial number 172410. 40 The gun was turned
Believing that Ybasco would be freed, Del Rosario took ₱80 from the latter’s over to SPO2 Marlon Binotapa at the homicide section of the Makati police
wallet, but returned ₱50 to him for his fare.28 department.41 On the same day, Manansala was arrested at his residence in
Barangay Canlubang, Laguna.
The appellant suddenly shot Ybasco on the head. The latter fell to the ground
with his hands still handcuffed.29 Manansala, the appellant and Del Rosario On March 12, 1994, Manansala, with the assistance of his counsel, Atty.
proceeded to Calamba, Laguna, where Del Rosario alighted after receiving Sofronio Untalan, Jr., executed an extrajudicial confession in which he
₱100 from the appellant for his fare.30 The appellant explained that the narrated how he, the appellant, Del Rosario and Nash, planned to rob Ybasco
remaining ₱4,900 would be used for the repair of the car. of the cash he was carrying, including the details of the abduction and the
killing.42 The policemen attempted to arrest the appellant at his residence, but
In the meantime, police operatives from the Makati Police Station, including the latter was nowhere to be found. The appellant remained at large. 43
SPO4 Tomas Sipin and SPO1 Ramoncito Ocampo, arrived at the Ayala
Center to conduct an on-the-spot investigation of the killing of Acosta and Tanauan Police Operatives found the white Toyota Corolla with Plate No. TAX
Ybasco’s abduction.31 When Dela Rapa informed the policemen that she 732 in Tanauan, Batangas.44 The car was turned over to SPO2 Romeo Urbino
witnessed the incident, she was brought to the police station where she gave of the Makati Police Station, who discovered that the said plate number was
a sworn statement.32 At 8:10 p.m., Juanito Mendoza arrived at the Makati tampered with and renumbered PTT 134.
Police Station and gave a sworn statement where he indicated that he
witnessed the shooting incident and saw the get-away car, a Toyota Corolla From a police line-up of ten persons formed by the Makati Police Station,
with Plate No. TAX 732. He also gave a physical description of Acosta’s which included Del Rosario, Dela Rapa was asked to identify Acosta’s killer
assailant.33 and Ybasco’s abductors. Dela Rapa pointed to and positively identified Del
Rosario as Acosta’s assailant. Dela Rapa gave a supplemental statement 45
At 6:20 a.m. of March 8, 1994, Sofronio Entridicho was at his sugar field and pointing to and identifying Del Rosario as the person whom she saw boarding
saw the cadaver of Ybasco whose hands were still handcuffed.34 Entridicho a white car.46
reported what he saw to the Cabuyao Police Station. 35 SPO2 Reynaldo
Arcibal of the Cabuyao Police Station reported the finding to the Makati Police In the meantime, PNP Medico-Legal Officer Joselito Rodrigo performed an
Station which dispatched a team of police investigators to Barangay Pulo, autopsy on the cadaver of Ybasco and issued Medico-Legal Certificate No.
Cabuyao, Laguna. The policemen found Ybasco’s body and an empty shell M-006-94 which contained the following findings:
from a .45 caliber pistol.36
Well-nourished, well-developed male cadaver in rigor mortis with postmortem
In the meantime, the policemen were able to ascertain that the Toyota Corolla lividity over the dependent portions of the body. Pale conjunctivae, cyanotic
car with Plate No. TAX 732 belonged to Cecilia Tan and her husband lips and nailbeds. Both upper extremities were handcuffed.
Christopher Nash, and that the latter gave the car keys to Rolando Fajardo for
car repairs, with instructions to turn it over later to Del Rosario and the
appellant.37 On March 9 and 10, 1994, Rolando Fajardo gave sworn HEAD AND EXTREMITIES
statements38 to the Makati Police Operatives where he stated that at 8:00 a.m.
of March 7, 1994, he turned over the car to the appellant and the latter’s 1. Gunshot wound thru and thru point of entry right zygomatic region
brother-in-law, Del Rosario. Fajardo also stated that at 9:00 a.m. of March 8, measuring 0.9 x 1.2 cms., 10 cms. from its anterior midline with area of
1994, Manansala told him how Ybasco was abducted and brought to smugging and tattoing measuring 4 x 7 cms. directed posteriorwards, slightly
Cabuyao, Laguna, where he was shot by the appellant. downwards and to the left fracturing the right zygomatic bone, maxillary bone,
and occipital bone making a point of exit at the posterior neck region Roberto Acosta y Capirao, a roving security guard detailed at the Ayala
measuring 1 x 1.2 cms., 2.5 cms. from its posterior midline. Center, who came to the rescue of SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, thereby inflicting
upon him a serious mortal wound which directly caused his death.
CONCLUSION:
CONTRARY TO LAW.49
Cause of death is hemorrhage as a result of gunshot wound
of the head.47 Del Rosario was arraigned on April 5, 1994, assisted by counsel, and pleaded
guilty to the charge.50 On April 15, 1994, Manansala, assisted by counsel, was
The doctor also issued the victim’s Certificate of Death. 48 arraigned and pleaded not guilty.51 On April 21, 1994, Del Rosario appeared
before the court and stated that he wanted to testify and elucidate on how the
crime charged was committed by him and his cohorts. The court granted Del
On May 19, 1995, Del Rosario and Manansala were charged with robbery with Rosario’s request. With the assistance of counsel de parte, he forthwith
homicide in an Information, the accusatory portion of which reads: testified on how he, Manansala and the appellant perpetrated the crime. 52 The
court, thereafter, rendered judgment convicting Del Rosario of robbery with
That on or about March 7, 1994, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, homicide and sentencing him to suffer reclusion perpetua.53
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, conspiring and confederating with Eduardo de Jesus y Enrile On motion of the public prosecutor, the court admitted the Amended
alias "Eddie," Christopher John Nash and one alias "Ton Ton" whose real Information filed by public prosecutor. The amendment consisted of the
name and present whereabout are still unknown and all of them mutually inclusion of Christopher John Nash and the appellant as additional accused.54
helping and aiding one another, with intent of gain and by means of force, Consequently, the court issued warrants for their arrest. Christopher Nash
violence and intimidation, to wit: dragging, shoving and pushing inside a filed a petition for review of the resolution of the public prosecutor finding
Toyota Corolla car, colored white with Plate No. TAX-732 one SPO2 Eugenio probable cause against him for the crime charged. On January 25, 1995, the
Ybasco, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and Secretary of Justice granted the petition and ordered the public prosecutor to
carry away the following: move for the withdrawal of the Amended Information as against Christopher
Nash only. The public prosecutor filed the motion55 which the court granted on
1) One (1) Cal. 38 revolver Smith & Wesson, with March 29, 1994.56 Manansala, through counsel, prayed for the inhibition of the
Presiding Judge on the ground of partiality. The court granted the motion. The
Serial No. AUB-1015; case was re-raffled to Branch 65 of the court. In the meantime, the prosecution
began presenting its evidence against Manansala.

2) Identification Cards;
On November 20, 1995, the police operatives arrested the appellant in
Cabuyao, Laguna.57 The appellant was arraigned, with the assistance of
3) One (1) wallet containing ₱5,000.00 cash. counsel on February 13, 1996, and entered a plea of not guilty. 58 On
November 6, 1996, Manansala died while under detention due to a mauling
belonging to the said SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, against his will, to the damage incident.59 The case against him was dismissed,60 while trial against the
and prejudice of the said SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco and/or his heirs and appellant continued. Considering that Del Rosario was detained at the
thereafter, the above-named accused, after handcuffing both hands of the national penitentiary, the court conducted a trial thereat on May 20, 1997,
said SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, where Del Rosario testified for the prosecution and was cross-examined by
unlawfully and feloniously, shoot and fire at him with a handgun, thereby the appellant’s counsel.61
inflicting upon the latter a mortal wound which was the direct and immediate
cause of his death; that on the occasion of the aforesaid robbery committed The appellant, through counsel, admitted the due execution of the sworn
on SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco, the above-named accused, did then and there, statement of Rolando Fajardo,62 Juanito Mendoza,63 Marcelina Acosta64 and
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot and fire at, with a handgun, one
Dolores Ybasco,65 and waived his right to cross-examine the said witnesses.66 and Manansala were tied to a bridge and dipped into the river while under the
The prosecution no longer presented the affiants as witnesses. custody of policemen.78 Upon the advice of his brother, the appellant decided
not to surrender, as he was afraid that he might also be mauled and hurt by
The Evidence for the Appellant the police.79 The appellant, thereafter, worked in Binangonan, Rizal. 80 He was
arrested on November 20, 199581 and was brought to Camp Vicente Lim,82
where he was treated well and subjected to physical examination.
The appellant denied any involvement whatsoever in the crime charged. He
did not know of any person named John Nash. He denied being in the
company of Manansala, Del Rosario and a certain Tonton in the evening of While in prison, Del Rosario told the appellant that he would be impleaded and
March 7, 1994.67 jailed as he had abandoned his sister, and that Del Rosario was intending to
file a case against him.83 The appellant received a letter with a Christmas card
from his daughter in Sweden.84 He also received a letter from Del Rosario
The appellant testified that in February 1994, he purchased a tricycle for dated December 4, 1997 through Pinky Dizon, the wife of one of the inmates
₱46,705 in Calamba, Laguna. He borrowed the amount from his sister. He at the penitentiary.85 In the said letter, Del Rosario stated that the appellant
had the tricycle registered in his name.68 He drove the tricycle everyday to eke was not involved in the case and apologized for implicating him. The appellant
out a living, plying the route in Barangay Tabuyoc, Apalit, Pampanga, from also received a letter from Del Rosario sometime in Easter, suggesting that
6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.69 he ask for a hearing so that Del Rosario could testify and clear him of the crime
charged. The appellant also alleged that before Manansala died, the latter
On March 7, 1994, the appellant took out his tricycle to ply his usual route. At disclosed that he executed a statement implicating the appellant because he
around 5:00 p.m. that day, he dropped off his passenger, Mrs. Silvina Lumba, (Manansala) was tortured by policemen.86
at the market. They had agreed that he would pick her up from the market,
then drop her off at her house. The distance from the market to the Lumba Silvina Lumba corroborated the testimony of De Jesus. She testified that at
residence was about 2-l/2 kilometers. The trip took him about one hour.70 On 5:00 p.m. on March 7, 1994, she contracted the services of the appellant to
March 10 or 11, 1994, policemen raided his house, but failed to arrest him. 71 transport her in his tricycle, going to and from the market. They arrived at her
house at around 6:30 p.m.87 The appellant asked her to appear in court and
The appellant admitted that he had known Manansala in Pampanga to testify.88

since he was a boy. He alleged that Del Rosario was the brother of his wife, Rosario Dizon Lopez testified that sometime in November or December 1997,
Cecille; hence, his brother-in-law.72 After he and Cecille were married, they she visited her husband Jerry Lopez at the Makati City Jail where she met Del
resided in the house of his in-laws where Del Rosario was also staying.73 Rosario. She again met Del Rosario in Muntinlupa where he would ask her to
There was a time when he and Del Rosario had a violent altercation. As he deliver letters89 to the appellant, who was then detained at the Makati City
was also a sewing machine mechanic by profession, Del Rosario asked him Jail.90 The jail warden never knew that the said letters were handed to her;
to alter a pair of pants, but the appellant refused to do so. Del Rosario then neither were her things inspected when she left the national penitentiary.
smashed the sewing machine74 and the two of them exchanged fist blows. 75 Lopez did not course the letters through the jail warden, but would simply go
Since then, Del Rosario harbored a grudge against him. Later, he and Cecille directly to the jail guards who would inspect the letters and read them. She
parted ways. She married a Swedish national and resided in Sweden, 76 was then allowed to bring the letters in. Furthermore, the visits in the Makati
bringing their daughter Diane Joyce along with her. The appellant had five City Jail were not recorded in the logbook; nor was she required to sign
children with his new partner. Del Rosario was also mad at him because he therein. At times, her forearms were stamped to indicate that she was a
had planned on filing a case against his sister for marrying a foreigner. visitor.91 She also recounted that sometime in 1997, the appellant asked for
money from Del Rosario, but the latter did not send any.92
The appellant was in the house of his aunt on March 11, 1994 when he learned
that he had been implicated in the case. A team of policemen, together with Jennifer Obina, the appellant’s live-in partner, testified that the latter worked
Manansala and Del Rosario, raided his house. He saw his co-accused in a as a sewing machine mechanic in a garment factory in Pasong Tamo
"bugbog-sarado condition."77 He also received information that Del Rosario Extension, Makati, when they started living together. In 1988, she was
engaged in the business of selling fish and tinapa. Sometime in February II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE JUDICIAL
1994, the appellant bought a tricycle and drove it as a means of livelihood. He CONFESSION OF ACCUSED CRISPIN DEL ROSARIO AND IN USING THE
would start plying his route, usually around the market and the municipal hall, SAME AGAINST THE OTHER ACCUSED, INCLUDING ACCUSED-
at 6:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. everyday of the week. APPELLANT EDUARDO DE JESUS, IMPLICATING THEM TO THE CRIME
CHARGED, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SAME IS INADMISSIBLE IN
On March 10, 1994, Obina was surprised to learn that the appellant was EVIDENCE. MOREOVER, THE AFFIDAVIT OF ACCUSED DANTE
implicated in a kidnapping and killing incident which was aired over the MANANSALA POINTING TO ACCUSED-APPELLANT AS THE ASSAILANT
television and radio.93 Also on the said date, policemen in civilian clothes who IS LIKEWISE INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE.
were looking for her "husband" raided their house.94 The appellant, however,
was not there, but was within the vicinity of his aunt’s house. The policemen III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT ACCUSED-
never showed any warrant of arrest or search warrant. They just went inside APPELLANT CONSPIRED WITH THE OTHER ACCUSED IN COMMITTING
the house and poked a gun at her head. They forced her to reveal where the THE CRIME CHARGED.
appellant was, but she refused to do so.95 Neither was she informed why they
were looking for him. The policemen merely told her that the appellant was a IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OUTRIGHTLY DISREGARDING
criminal and a killer. Although the appellant knew that he was "wanted" for the ACCUSED-APPELLANT’S DEFENSE OF ALIBI AND DENIAL, DESPITE
kidnapping and killing incidents, he just ignored the matter.96 Obina later THE FACT THAT THE SAME IS CREDIBLE AND WAS CORROBORATED
learned from the appellant’s cousin that the latter had already left for Manila. 97 BY ANOTHER WITNESS.
The appellant did not return for about a week, and thereafter, stayed with his
aunt in Taguig.98
V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING AGAINST THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF
After trial, the court rendered judgment finding De Jesus guilty of the crime TREACHERY.
charged, the decretal portion of which reads:
VI. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CRIME OF
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered finding the ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE WAS COMMITTED DESPITE THE FACT THAT
accused EDUARDO DE JESUS Y ENRILE GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt NO ROBBERY ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE.
of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and sentencing him to suffer the penalty
of DEATH; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco and
Roberto Acosta in the sum of ₱50,000.00 each family; and to pay the heirs of VII. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-
SPO2 Eugenio Ybasco the sum of ₱500,000.00 by way of moral damages.99 APPELLANT AND IN IMPOSING UPON HIM THE SUPREME PENALTY OF
DEATH, AND IN NOT ACQUITTING HIM OF THE CRIME CHARGED,
DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE PROSECUTION’S EVIDENCE AGAINST
The trial court relied principally on the testimony of Dela Rapa and Del ACCUSED-APPELLANT FAILED TO STAND THE CRUCIBLE TEST OF
Rosario, corroborated by the other evidence on record, in convicting the REASONABLE DOUBT TO OVERTHROW THE CONSTITUTIONALLY
appellant of the crime charged. It considered the testimony of Del Rosario on GUARANTEED PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.100
April 21, 1994 as a judicial confession, admissible in evidence not only against
the confessant (Del Rosario) but also against the appellant.
The appellant contends that the prosecution failed to prove the commission of
the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt. While the prosecution may have
The appellant now assails the decision of the trial court on the following proved the killing of Acosta and Ybasco, it, however, failed to prove that the
grounds: appellant divested Ybasco of ₱5,000.

I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE EVIDENCE OF The appellant also avers that the prosecution failed to prove that he was one
THE PROSECUTION IS INSUFFICIENT TO PROVE THE GUILT OF of the malefactors, and his precise participation in the commission of the crime
ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. charged. He asserts that absent proof of conspiracy, Del Rosario’s judicial
confession is admissible in evidence only against the confessant but not Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons – Penalties.
against him. Moreover, the appellant asserts, the said judicial confession - Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or any person
came from a "polluted source," as Del Rosario himself admitted to being one shall suffer:
of the malefactors. Thus, his testimony must be scrutinized with care and
subjected to grave suspicion. The appellant further avers that Del Rosario 1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on
even stated that Manansala was Ybasco’s assailant. He argues that Del occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been
Rosario himself could also have been the assailant, as it was he who shot committed, or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by
Acosta when the latter tried to rescue Ybasco. rape or intentional mutilation or arson.

According to the appellant, Del Rosario implicated him, his own brother-in- For the accused to be convicted of the said crime, the prosecution is burdened
law, because they often quarreled with each other. The appellant had made to prove the confluence of the following elements:
life miserable and unbearable for Del Rosario, and the latter’s sister, who was
later impelled to marry a Swedish national. As shown by Del Rosario’s letters
to the appellant, the former himself apologized to the latter for having falsely (1) the taking of personal property is committed with violence or intimidation
implicated him in the crime charged. against persons;

Contrary to the ruling of the trial court, Del Rosario’s letters to the appellant (2) the property taken belongs to another;
were not hearsay. The prosecution could very well have presented Del
Rosario anew to refute his allegations, but the prosecution failed to do so. The (3) the taking is animo lucrandi; and
appellant further argues that Manansala’s extrajudicial confession is hearsay,
because the latter died before he could testify and later be cross-examined by (4) by reason of the robbery or on the occasion thereof, homicide is
the appellant thereon. Moreover, the affidavits and testimony of Dela Rapa, committed.101
as well as Del Rosario’s judicial confession, are utterly insufficient on which to
anchor a finding that the appellant was one of the malefactors and that he
conspired with the perpetrators of the crime, namely, Manansala and Del
Rosario. Finally, the appellant concludes that Dela Rapa failed to identify him In robbery with homicide, the original criminal design of the malefactor is to
as one of the malefactors. commit robbery, with homicide perpetrated on the occasion or by reason of
the robbery.102 The intent to commit robbery must precede the taking of human
life.103 The homicide may take place before, during or after the robbery. It is
We have meticulously reviewed the records and we are convinced beyond only the result obtained, without reference or distinction as to the
cavil that the prosecution adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt that the circumstances, causes or modes or persons intervening in the commission of
appellant, Del Rosario and Manansala, conspired to rob Ybasco of the crime that has to be taken into consideration.104
US$250,000 through violence and intimidation and that the appellant was one
of the perpetrators thereof; hence, criminally liable therefor as a principal by
direct participation. There is no such felony of robbery with homicide through reckless imprudence
or simple negligence. The constitutive elements of the crime, namely, robbery
and homicide, must be consummated.
The Felony of Robbery

It is immaterial that the death would supervene by mere accident; or that the
With Homicide
victim of homicide is other than the victim of robbery, or that two or more
persons are killed or that aside from the homicide, rape, intentional mutilation,
Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code provides: or usurpation of authority, is committed by reason or on the occasion of the
crime. Likewise immaterial is the fact that the victim of homicide is one of the
robbers; the felony would still be robbery with homicide. Once a homicide is
committed by or on the occasion of the robbery, the felony committed is
robbery with homicide. All the felonies committed by reason of or on the may be proved by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. Conspiracy
occasion of the robbery are integrated into one and indivisible felony of must be shown as distinctly and conclusively as the crime itself.109 It may be
robbery with homicide. The word "homicide" is used in its generic sense. declared from the acts of the suspect before, during and after the commission
Homicide, thus, includes murder, parricide, and infanticide. of the felony which are indicative of a joint purpose, concocted action and
concurrence of sentiments.110
Intent to rob is an internal act but may be inferred from proof of violent unlawful
taking of personal property. When the fact of asportation has been established To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of the execution;
beyond reasonable doubt, conviction of the accused is justified even if the he need not even take part in every act or need not even know the exact part
property subject of the robbery is not presented in court. After all, the property to be performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy. Each
stolen may have been abandoned or thrown away and destroyed by the conspirator may be assigned separate and different tasks which may appear
robber or recovered by the owner.105 The prosecution is not burdened to prove unrelated to one another but, in fact, constitute a whole collective effort to
the actual value of the property stolen or amount stolen from the victim. achieve their common criminal objective.111 Once conspiracy is shown, the act
Whether the robber knew the actual amount in the possession of the victim is of one is the act of all the conspirators. The precise extent or modality of
of no moment because the motive for robbery can exist regardless of the exact participation of each of them becomes secondary,112 since all the conspirators
amount or value involved.106 are principals. To exempt himself from criminal liability, a conspirator must
have performed an overt act to dissociate or detach himself from the
When homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery, all conspiracy to commit the felony and prevent the commission thereof. 113
those who took part as principals in the robbery would also be held liable as
principals of the single and indivisible felony of robbery with homicide although In this case, the appellant, Del Rosario and Manansala, intended to abduct
they did not actually take part in the killing, unless it clearly appears that they Ybasco and divest him of money in the amount of US$250,000, which they
endeavored to prevent the same.107 thought Ybasco was about to deposit in the bank. Each of them had specific
tasks to perform: the appellant and Manansala were tasked to abduct Ybasco,
If a robber tries to prevent the commission of homicide after the commission handcuff him and board him in their car, while Del Rosario acted as a lookout
of the robbery, he is guilty only of robbery and not of robbery with homicide. who would prevent anyone from interfering with Ybasco’s abduction and the
All those who conspire to commit robbery with homicide are guilty as principals consummation of the robbery. The trio performed their tasks with precision. In
of such crime, although not all profited and gained from the robbery. One who the process, Del Rosario shot and killed Acosta who was on patrol within the
joins a criminal conspiracy adopts the criminal designs of his co-conspirators vicinity and had rushed to the scene to investigate the incident. The appellant
and can no longer repudiate the conspiracy once it has materialized. 108 and Manansala abducted Ybasco, handcuffed him and boarded him in the car.
Del Rosario took Acosta’s service gun bearing serial number 172410 after
killing the victim. This is gleaned from the Del Rosario’s testimony, viz:
Homicide is said to have been committed by reason or on the occasion of
robbery if, for instance, it was committed to (a) facilitate the robbery or the
escape of the culprit; (b) to preserve the possession by the culprit of the loot; FISCAL BACULI
(c) to prevent discovery of the commission of the robbery; or, (d) to eliminate
witnesses in the commission of the crime. As long as there is a nexus between Q Isinusumpa mo ba na ang lahat ng sinasabi mo ay pawang katotohanan lamang?
the robbery and the homicide, the latter crime may be committed in a place
other than the situs of the robbery. A Oho, sir, siya rin ho ang nagsabi niyan sa akin narinig ko sa kanyang bunganga,
ngayon pagdating naming dito ng mga menus kinse bago magalas-sais dito sa may
kotse doon piplano (sic) ni Dante kung paanong posisyon ang gagawin dinala niya ako
The Prosecution Adduced Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt That The
sa may kanto ng Rustan’s si Eddie doon niya ipinuwesto sa may banda roon ng aking
Appellant Conspired With Del Rosario And Manansala To Commit Robbery puwesto tapos ho si Dante dito naman siya sa may malapit sa money changer siya ang
With Violence Against Or Intimidation Of Persons tumitingin at umaagap dito kay sir Ybasco, ngayon ho nong dumating ang oras ng labas
ni sir Ybasco nauna si Dante kasunod si sir Ybasco ngayon ho pagdating sa akin sa
Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when ten or may kanto sabi sa akin ni Dante "nandiyan na bahala ka diyan" sabi sa aking ganon
kung meron mang humarang ikaw ang bahala upakan mo sabi sa aking ganon ako
more offenders agree to commit a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy
naman ang bahala dito kay tanda kay tatang sabing ganon tutulungan ko si Eddie dito A I cannot remember the persons who dragged, shoved and pushed Eusebio Ybasco
sa pagipit, ngayon ho nong lumampas sa akin si sir Ybasco dalawa na sila doon si inside the car because it was a little bit dark, sir.
Dante at si Eddie ngayon ho nakita ko dinakot nila si sir Ybasco pinosasan nila tapos Q But, were there lights that (sic) date and time?
pilit nilang isinakay sa kotse siya naming dating nong guwardiya at tinanong sa akin A Yes, sir.
"bakit anong ibig sabihin niyan" at nakahawak sa pulohan ng baril ngayon ho natakot Q How many lights were there at that place and time?
naman ako dahil nakahawak sa pulo ng baril baka ako barilin ngayon ho sa lito ko hindi A There were several lights at that date and time, because it is a parking lot and there
ko maintindihan kung anong gagawin ko ang ginawa ko ho pagbunot niya ng baril yon were lights in the Kimpura, sir.
pinilit agawan ng baril habang inaagaw ko ang baril sigaw naman ng mga ito pilitin mong Q Do you still recall how many persons were pushing, shoving and dragging Eugenio
maagaw tapos iputok mo sa kanya. Ybasco inside a white colored car?
A Around three (3) persons, sir.
Q Are these three (3) persons male or female?
COURT
A Male, sir.
Q Now, what happened then when these three male persons pushed, dragged or
Sino ang nag-utos sa iyo non? shoved Eugenio Ybasco inside the white car?
A After Eusebio Ybasco was pushed inside the car he (witness is referring to Crispin
Del Rosario) shot Mr. Acosta, a certain Security Guard.
A Si Dante po, sir, tapos po di hindi ko naman inintindi yon dahil alam ko naman ang
Q Are you sure that he was the one who shot a certain Security Guard Roberto
gagawin ko dahil ako naman talaga ang mamamatay kung bibitawan ko eh yon ho Acosta?
pagkaagaw ko ng baril kaysa ako ang mamatay siya na ho ang pinutukan ko. 114 A Yes, sir.
Q Did you see him actually shoot a certain Roberto Acosta?
Del Rosario’s testimony is corroborated by the fact that Acosta’s firearm was A Yes, sir.116
found in his possession when he was arrested by the police, 115 and by Dela
Rapa’s sworn statements to the Makati police office as well as her testimony: Juanito Mendoza, likewise, corroborated in part the testimonies of Del Rosario
and Dela Rapa.117 The barefaced fact that Dela Rapa and Mendoza did not
Q While selling cigarette at that date and time, do you still remember or recall of any see the face of the appellant and could not identify him as one of Ybasco’s
unusual incident that happened on that date and time? abductors does not negate the fact that they witnessed the abduction and the
A Yes, sir. killing of Acosta.
Q Please inform the Court what was that unusual incident that happened on that date
and time?
A Mr. Ybasco was forcefully dragged into the white car, sir. The Prosecution Adduced Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt thatthe Appellant
Q Who is this Mr. Ybasco, if you know? and his Cohorts Divested Ybasco of P5,030.00 And That The Appellant Shot
A I called him "Sir Ybasco," sir. Ybasco And Acosta To Death On The Occasion Or By Reason Of Robbery
Q Why do you addressed him "Sir Ybasco?"
A Because I know him for a long time and I’m selling cigarette for a long time, sir.
Q Do you know where he was connected? We reject the appellant’s contention that the prosecution failed to prove that
A Yes, sir. the appellant and his cohorts divested Ybasco of ₱5,030.00, and his argument
Q Where? that Ybasco was shot by either Manansala or Del Rosario. The prosecutor
A Money Changer, Sir. adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt that Del Rosario shot Acosta in
Q Do you know also if he is [a] member of [the] Makati Police Headquarters? Makati, that the appellant divested Ybasco of ₱5,000.00, and that Del Rosario
A Yes, sir. divested the victim of ₱30.00. This is gleaned from the testimony of Del
Q How long have you know[n] him as [a] member of the Makati Police Headquarters? Rosario, viz:
A As far as I know I am selling for thirteen years and he is also working at the Makati
Police Headquarters for thirteen years.
Q Do you know what was his position or nature of his work at the Makati Police FISCAL BACULI
Headquarters?
A I do not know, sir.
Q A while ago, you said that with the same date and time, you saw some persons Ikaw ba ay handang tumestigo laban kay Dante Manansala kung bibistahan uli ang
shoving, dragging and pushing Eugenio Ybasco inside a white car, do you know the kaso niya?
identities of these some (sic) persons?
A Opo, sir, tapos po nakita ko pong naisakay na si sir Ybasco na hindi ko naman alam A ₱5,000.00 lang, sir, at ipapaayos pa raw ang salamin sa likod dahil sira dahil
na pulis pala at pagkakita ko pong nakasakay na sila ako nama’y takbo tapos may habang kami’y nananakbo eh nalaglag na yong salamin ngayon ho hindi ko na
bumaril pa ho sa loob ng kotse kaya nagkaroon ng sira yung likuran ng kotse hindi ko alam kung saan nila dinala yong kotse at saka isa pa ho sobra ho galit niya kay
ho matiyak kung ako ang binaril nila o yong guwardiya dahil ang alam ko talaga ako sir Ybasco hinahanap niyang maigi ang pera na $250,000 daw.
ang nakabaril sa guwardiya wala naman silang babarilin kundi ako lang talaga dahil ako
nama’y biktima nila ngayon po pagdating naming sa kotse umandar na kami papunta
FISCAL BACULI
kami ng expressway sa madalit sabi ho di nasa expressway na kami nong malapit na
kami sa Cabuyao ang sabi ni Dante "nandito na tayo sa Cabuyao ninong ang mayor
diyan wala tayong problema dito na lang natin itumba yan" hindi naman ho ako Sino?
makapagsalita dahil marami naman ho sila eh di pagdating ho ng Cabuyao doon sa
may tubohan tumigil ho ang kotse at bumaba si Dante, pagbaba ni Dante ang sabi
narinig ko "teka muna titingnan ko muna baka may tao" dahil madilim ho ang lugar tapos A Si Dante ho, sir, nong kami’y nasa expressway galit na galit yan kay sir Ybasco
ho nong makita niyang walang tao sabi niya kay Eddie "sige Ed ibaba mo na yan si minumura niyang magaling yong matanda at binabatukan pa ho ng patunog hinahanap
yong perang $250,000 bakit daw hindi siya nagdeliber ngayon hinahanap niyang
tatang" ngayon bago niya ibinaba si tatang akala ko pasasakayin niya ng tricycle dahil
ang sabi ni Eddie sa loob ng tricycle eh pakakawalan na naming kayo basta huwag lang magaling sabi naman ho ni sir Ybasco "eh wala naman akong idenideliber mga anak na
kayong hahabol kami’y eh mga NPA sabing ganon pa ni Eddie hindi naman kami NPA ganyang kalaking pera" ang akala ko meron ng pera sabi pa niyang ganon eh pagtingin
ko naman ho sa bag sa loob ng bag eh wala naman ho ang nakita ko lang ay baunan
si Eddie lang ang NPA yon ang panakot sabi naman ni sir Ybasco "sige wala tayong
problema mga anak sabi niyang ganon" ngayon ho ibinaba nila si sir Ybasco, si Eddie nong mga oras na yon.118
at si Dante dinala ho sa banda roon, akala ko naman talagang pasasakayin nila ng
tricycle dahil yong pera ho sa bulsa ni sir Ybasco na baryang otsenta pesos ako It is true that when Del Rosario continued with his testimony during the trial on
pa ho ang kumuha non at ako pa ho ang nagbigay ng singkuwenta pesos kay sir May 20, 1997, he admitted to having pleaded guilty to robbery with homicide,
Ybasco ngayon ho nong pagkababang yon nakita ko hong tinututukan ni Eddie kasama
but declared that no robbery took place:
si Dante dahil ipinagmamalaki niya na ninong nga daw niya yong meyor doon at
malakas siya sa Cabuyao. Ngayon ho di patay yong tao nakita ko tagilid siyang
bumagsak tapos eh tumihayang ganon tapos eh uulitin ng baril kaya lang hindi na naulit PROS. BAGAOISAN
dahil bumatangal daw yong baril kaya hindi na ho pumutok.
Mr. Witness, do you recall that you pleaded guilty to the offense Robbery with Homicide
COURT before Branch 65, Regional Trial Court, Makati City?

Sino ang bumaril? WITNESS

A Si Eddie po ang nakita kong bumaril pero ang nagbaba ho ng tao ay silang dalawa, Yes, sir, but there was no robbery that took place on that day.119
si Eddie at si Dante, ngayon ho pagdating naming sa Calamba yon ibinaba na nila ako
sa Calamba binigyan niya ako ng pera isangdaang piso.
Del Rosario even declared on re-direct examination that no money was found
in the possession of Ybasco and that when he testified on April 21, 1994, his
FISCAL BACULI mind was confused:

Sino ang nagbigay ng pera sa iyo? PROS. BAGAOISAN


Yes, Your Honor.
A Si Eddie po dahil nasa kanya yong pera eh, ngayon ho di binigyan na ako ng perang
isandaang pisong pamasahe at marami pa raw hong papartihan … (interrupted). Q Mr. Witness, you testified on cross-examination that there was (sic) no robbery that
(sic) was committed, am I correct?
COURT
WITNESS
Magkano bang nakuha n’yo? Yes, sir.
PROS. BAGAOISAN PROS. BAGAOISAN
But in the hearing of April 21, 1994, particularly on page 18 of the transcript of In other words, there was a hearing conducted after you pleaded guilty to the offense
stenographic notes, the Court asked you [a] question and I repeat: Magkano ba ang charged?
nakuha ninyo? Five thousand lang, sir. How do you reconcile now your testimony that
there was no robbery to your answer to that question that you were able to take the
WITNESS
amount of five thousand pesos?
Yes, sir.

WITNESS
PROS. BAGAOISAN
Well sir, what I know is that their target was the money changer because the money
changer where Sir Ybasco has a part time job but they were thinking that the old man Now, Mr. Witness, I am showing to you an official transcript of stenographic
takes the money to the bank…. and Sir Ybasco takes the money to the bank. They are notes of Branch 65 Regional Trial Court, Makati City, certified true and
planning to holdup Sir Ybasco but they were not able to find money from him, sir. correct by Court Stenographic Reporter Ms. Concepcion Padua, will you
please go over the same and tell us if these are the same questions that
PROS. BAGAOISAN were propounded to you and these are the same answers that you have
Now, where did you get then this amount of five thousand pesos? given to the questions?

WITNESS WITNESS
Well, sir, at that time my mind was confused, I have said that amount five thousand Yes, sir, these are the questions that were asked and these are my answers.
pesos, but the truth is there was no money found from Sir Ybasco, sir.120
PROS. BAGAOISAN
Indeed, Del Rosario’s testimony during the trial on May 20, 1997 is Mr. Witness, under your present oath, do you still affirm and confirm the truthfulness
and veracity by (sic) your answers to the questions propounded to you by the
inconsistent with his testimony during the trial of April 21, 1994. But the trial
Presiding Judge and the prosecutor?
court rejected the aforequoted testimony of Del Rosario on May 20, 1997, and
gave credence to his testimony on April 21, 1994.
WITNESS
Yes, sir.
We agree with the trial court.
PROS. BAGAOISAN
First. When the public prosecutor asked Del Rosario to affirm and confirm the Were you forced, coerced or intimidated when you made these answers, Mr. Witness?
truth of his answers to the questions propounded on him during the trial of
April 21, 1994,121 Del Rosario unequivocably declared that his answers to the WITNESS: No, sir.122
said questions were true, and that he was not coerced, forced or intimidated
into answering:
Second. We have carefully reviewed the testimonies of Del Rosario on April
21, 1994 and May 20, 1997, and conclude that it is Del Rosario’s testimony
PROS. BAGAOISAN during the hearing of April 21, 1994 which represents the truth. The transcript
of stenographic notes taken during that day is replete with important details,
After you pleaded guilty before Branch 65 Regional Trial Court, Makati City, do you logical and positive in character, and consistent even in light of the clarificatory
recall that the Presiding Judge and the Fiscal propounded questions to you regarding questions of the trial court. Del Rosario, who was then assisted by counsel,
that incident? could not have contrived his April 21, 1994 testimony where he implicated not
only the appellant and Manansala but also confirmed his criminal participation
WITNESS in the crime charged, including his killing of Acosta. His testimony on April 21,
Yes, sir. 1994 was not made by one who had a confused mind, but by one who had a
clear recollection of what he, the appellant and Manansala, had done with
precision to consummate the crime they had planned so meticulously to
accomplish. In contrast, the testimony of Del Rosario on May 20, 1997, made
more than three years after his initial testimony, is frontally inconsistent. He The April 21, 1994 testimony of Del Rosario is not only replete with details; it
claimed that his mind was confused when he testified on April 21, 1994, but is also corroborated by independent evidence, including the medico-legal
in the same breath, affirmed and confirmed the truth of his answers to the report of Dr. Joselito A. Rodrigo and his testimony that Ybasco was shot once
questions propounded on him during the said trial. on the right cheek,128 the sworn statement of Mendoza, the sworn statements
and testimony of Dela Rapa, as well as the results of the investigation of the
Del Rosario claimed in his testimony during the hearing of May 20, 1997 that police operatives.
when he pleaded guilty to robbery with homicide, he was not assisted by
counsel. However, the records show that he was, in fact, assisted by his Del Rosario’s letters to the appellant dated October 8, 1997 and December 4,
counsel, Atty. Sofronio Untalan, Jr.123 We find it incredible that Del Rosario 1997,129 did not weaken his testimony and enfeeble the case for the
would plead guilty to robbery with homicide and accept the penalty of reclusion prosecution. Neither did they bolster the appellant’s defenses of denial and
perpetua imposed on him by the trial court if, after all, Ybasco was not robbed alibi. The appellant’s contention that his own brother-in-law, Del Rosario, bore
of ₱5,000. For the court to acquit the appellant of robbery with homicide simply a grudge against him on account of their personal differences, deserves scant
and merely because Del Rosario made a volte face and disavowed his judicial consideration.
confession on his bare claim that his mind was confused when he testified on
April 21, 1994 is unacceptable. In People v. Ubiña, et al.,124 we ruled that it First. On cross-examination by the defense counsel on May 20, 1997, Del
would be a dangerous rule for courts to reject testimonies solely taken before Rosario was asked if he bore a grudge against the appellant on account of the
the courts of justice simply because witnesses who had given them later on latter’s separation from his wife, Cecille, Del Rosario’s sister. Del Rosario
change their minds for one reason or another. Such a rule would make some categorically denied nurturing any grudge against the appellant:
trials a mockery and place the investigation of truths at the mercy of
unscrupulous witnesses. All the expedients devised by men to determine the
ATTY. DE LEON
credibility of witnesses should be utilized to determine which of the
Do you know this person Ed de Jesus?
contradictory testimonies represents the truth.125 The trial court and this Court WITNESS
reviewed the records and have come to the same conclusion – it is Del Yes, sir.
Rosario’s April 21, 1994 testimony which represents the truth. Q Why do you know him?
A He was a former husband of my sister, sir.
Q Is it correct to say that Ed de Jesus and your sister were already separated?
It is true that Del Rosario was a co-conspirator and that he implicated the
A Yes, sir, almost 17 years.
appellant and Manansala in the killing of Ybasco and the taking of ₱5,000 from Q And because they were already separated, you took grudge against Ed de Jesus, is
the latter. However, we have ruled that the testimony of a co-conspirator may that correct?
be given full probative weight if it is shown to be candid and straightforward, A No, sir.
and is full of details which by its nature could not have been contrived, besides Q Do you have any grudge against Ed de Jesus?
being corroborated by independent evidence. In People v. Sia,126 we had the A None, sir.130
occasion to state:
Second. In his October 8, 1997 letter, Del Rosario claimed that the appellant
… [I]n this regard, it must be borne in mind that the fact that a witness was even intending to send money to him and that he, Del Rosario, was
may have been a co-conspirator in the commission of the offense is expecting some money from the appellant. Del Rosario even expressed hope
not in itself sufficient to dilute the credibility of or, much less, be a that the appellant would help him first:
ground to disregard altogether his testimony. Indeed:
O cege (sic) Ed hanggang dito nalang at sana lagi kang mag-iingat diyan at
By way of exception, the testimony of a co-conspirator may, even if ako’y umaasa na magpapadala ka dito sa akin. At siyempre alam mo na
uncorroborated, be sufficient as when it is shown to be sincere in itself, walang Bigas. walang ulam. walang gas. At walang pera. Siguro naman mas
because given unhesitatingly and in a straightforward manner, and is full of higit mo akong dapat na matulungan. Kaysa sa ibang kakosa natin dito. 131
details which by their nature could not have been the result of deliberate
afterthought.127
If, as claimed by the appellant, his brother-in-law Del Rosario falsely means or method to do so. The Office of the Solicitor General contends that
implicated him in the heinous crime, Del Rosario should have manifested treachery was attendant because when Ybasco was shot, he was handcuffed;
remorse and sought forgiveness from the appellant for his perfidy. Del Rosario hence, unable to defend himself.
did not do so, and was even expecting financial help from the appellant, the
very person he falsely implicated. We agree with the trial court and the Office of the Solicitor General. The
evidence on record shows that when the appellant and Manansala abducted
Third. In the Letter dated December 4, 1997, Del Rosario stated that he Ybasco in Makati, they handcuffed the victim and transported him to a sugar
implicated the appellant in the robbery because of his fear that the appellant field in Cabuyao, Laguna. The appellant and Manansala brought Ybasco out
would sue his ex-wife. This was but an afterthought on the part of Del Rosario of the car. Still handcuffed, Ybasco was shot by the appellant on the right
to inveigle the appellant to send money to him. The appellant did not adduce cheek. The appellant insists that it was Del Rosario who shot Ybasco.
evidence to prove that animosity existed between him and his ex-wife, or However, the identity of the conspirator who shot Ybasco and Acosta is of no
between him and Del Rosario, on account of the appellant’s separation from moment.
Cecille. The appellant and his ex-wife had mutually agreed to separate more
than two decades ago. In the interim, the appellant and his ex-wife had In People v. Escote, Jr.,137 the trial court ruled that treachery is aggravating in
separate partners and families. The only proof the appellant offered was his robbery with homicide. The aggravating circumstance of the use of a vehicle
bare testimony, which does not deserve credence. in committing robbery with homicide is also attendant in this case. The
appellant and his cohorts used a vehicle when they abducted Ybasco and
The appellant’s bare denial of the crime charged and his alibi are intrinsically transported him to Cabuyao, Laguna. However, the Information does not
weak defenses and cannot prevail over the positive and straightforward allege that the appellant and his cohorts used a vehicle in committing the crime
identification made by Del Rosario, that the appellant was one of the charged as mandated by Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
perpetrators of the crime charged.132 Alibi is so easy to concoct and difficult to Procedure. The rule must be applied retroactively because it is favorable to
disprove.133 Furthermore, the appellant’s defenses of denial and alibi were the appellant.138 However, the additional killing is not an aggravating
debilitated by his flight after learning that he was wanted by police authorities circumstance in robbery with homicide. This is in accordance with the ruling
for robbery with homicide, and his hiding in Cabuyao, Laguna on November of this Court in People v. Regala139 which is the prevailing doctrine.
20, 1994, where he was arrested. The appellant managed to evade the police
authorities from March 10 or 11, 1994134 by working in Cabuyao, Laguna, and The imposable penalty for robbery with homicide as amended by Rep. Act No.
in Binangonan, Rizal,135 while his family remained in Pampanga. We agree 7659 is reclusion perpetua to death. Considering the presence of the
with the following disquisitions of the trial court: aggravating circumstance of treachery, and that no mitigating circumstance
attended the commission of the crime, the trial court correctly sentenced the
Additionally, working against the accused Eduardo de appellant to suffer the death penalty, conformably to Article 63, paragraph 1
Jesus is his "flight" from justice. After knowing that the of the Revised Penal Code.
police authorities were after him in connection with this
case, he went into hiding. He was brought to Court only after The trial court ordered the appellant to pay ₱50,000 to the heirs of Ybasco
he was arrested by the PNP Regional Directorate and ₱50,000 to the heirs of Acosta as civil indemnity. It also ordered the
Intelligence, Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna, on appellant to pay to the heirs of Ybasco ₱500,000 as moral damages. The trial
November 20, 1995. (Records, p. 195). "Flight" according court, however, failed to award exemplary damages. We shall, thus, modify
to the Supreme Court, is an indication of guilt. His reason the decision of the trial court.
that he feared for his life has no basis.136
The heirs of Ybasco are entitled to ₱75,000 as civil indemnity. Although the
The trial court sentenced the appellant to suffer the death penalty on its finding killing of Acosta was integrated into the single and indivisible felony of robbery
that Ybasco was shot to death with treachery. The appellant contends that (a) with homicide, the two crimes having no separate juridical existence,
the prosecution failed to prove that he shot the victim; and, (b) even if he did nonetheless, the heirs of Acosta are entitled to civil indemnity.140
shoot the victim, the prosecution failed to prove that he adopted a particular
The heirs of Ybasco are entitled to exemplary damages in the amount of a) Heirs of Carlos Deveza:
₱25,000.141 The heirs of Acosta are, likewise, entitled to ₱25,000 as
exemplary damages. Since Dolores Ybasco, the widow of the victim, testified 1. The sum of P50,000.00 for (sic) reason of the death of the victim SPO3 Carlos
for the prosecution on the factual basis for moral damages, the heirs of Ybasco Deveza;
are entitled to, moral damages in the amount of ₱75,000. However, the heirs
of Acosta are not entitled thereto, for failure of the prosecution to present any 2. P21,719.40 for actual damages;
of the heirs of the victim to testify on the factual basis for the said damages.
The appellant is obliged to return to the heirs of Ybasco the ₱30.00 which Del
3. P300,000.00 by way of restitution of the unrecovered cash amount stolen;
Rosario took from Ybasco before he was shot.

4. P50,000.00 moral damages;


IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is rendered AFFIRMING
WITH MODIFICATION the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati,
Branch 4. The appellant Eduardo de Jesus is found GUILTY of robbery with b) Wilfredo Dazo
homicide under Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by Rep. Act No. 7659, and sentenced to suffer the death penalty. 1. P49,762.32 for actual damages;
The said appellant is hereby ORDERED to pay to the heirs of the victim SPO3
Eugenio Ybasco the amount of ₱5,030.00 as actual damages; ₱75,000 as 2. P30,000 for moral damages.
civil indemnity; ₱75,000 as moral damages, and ₱25,000 as exemplary
damages. The appellant is, likewise, ORDERED to pay to the heirs of Roberto
Both to pay a fine of P20,000.00 each and to pay the proportionate share of
Acosta ₱75,000 as civil indemnity and ₱25,000 as exemplary damages. Costs
the costs.
de oficio. SO ORDERED.

Let the property bond posted for the provisional liberty of accused Dennis
People v. Legaspi
Legaspi be cancelled, and a commitment order issue for the transfer of both
accused to the Bureau of Correction, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines.
BUENA, J.: SO ORDERED.

For the robbery-slay of Police Officer Carlos Deveza and the physical injuries On 24 December 1992, appellants Legaspi and Franco were charged with
inflicted on Wilfredo Dazo, the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 114 robbery with homicide and serious physical injuries in an information 2 the
convicted accused-appellants Dennis Legaspi and Emilio Franco, in Criminal accusatory portion of which reads:
Case No. 92-2109, for the special complex crime of Robbery with Homicide.
That on or about the 28th day of November, 1992, in Pasay City, Metro Manila,
Nursing principally the twin defenses of alibi and denial, accused-appellants Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said accused,
now come before us to assail the trial court's decision 1 , the decretal portion conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, with
of which reads: intent to gain and by means of force and intimidation employed on the person
of one SPO3 Carlos Deveza Y Sanchez, did then and there divest and carry
Wherefore, the court finds accused Dennis Legaspi Y Cusi and Emilio Franco away from said victim his black shoulder bag containing the following items,
Y Faderan guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals of the complex crime to wit:
of robbery with homicide punishable under paragraph 1, Article 294, Revised
Penal Code and imposes on both of them the mandatory penalty of reclusion 1. Cash amount of P300,000 more or less
perpetua along with its accessory penalties, to pay jointly and severally the
following: 2. Assorted checks
3. Assorted jewelry Upon arrival, Carlos parked his Toyota Tamaraw vehicle along Cartimar
Avenue, specifically in front of CDS Stall. Immediately thereafter, Estella
4. Service firearm approached Carlos, who was still at the driver's seat, and handed him a black
leather bag which contained P300,000.00 cash, pieces of jewelry and checks
3 while Ramon Tulod loaded the rotten vegetables, packed in eight white
Belonging to SPO3 Carlos Deveza Y Sanchez with a total amount of P1.5
plastic bags and three "kaings", at the back of the Tamaraw. Benjamin de
million, more or less, Philippine Currency to the damage and prejudice of said
Leon, also a helper of the Devezas, stayed near a post in front of the store,
owner in the said total amount; that likewise on the occasion of the said
facing the side of the vehicle.
robbery and for the purpose of enabling them to take, steal and carry away
the articles above-mentioned, herein accused, in pursuance of their
conspiracy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, As Estella left to make a phone call, Carlos alighted from the Tamaraw and
assault and shoot with a gun they were then provided with at the vital parts of stood on the left side of the vehicle (driver's side) with both arms resting on
the body of the said SPO3 Carlos Deveza Y Sanchez thereby causing upon the vehicle's window. 4
said SPO3 Carlos Deveza Y Sanchez mortal wounds which caused his
instantaneous death; and thereafter, herein accused, in pursuance of their As an eyewitness to the crime, Ramon Tulod testified that while he was then
conspiracy did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, loading the rotten vegetables at the back of the Tamaraw, with his Kuya Carlos
assault and shoot at the cheek with a gun Wilfredo Dazo Y Morbos, thereby in view, he saw Legaspi, donning white short pants, approach Deveza from
inflicting upon him serious physical injuries which required and will continue to behind, coming from the front of the vehicle 5 and coming from the direction of
require medical attendance for more than thirty (30) days. Taft Avenue. 6 Thereafter, Tulod saw Legaspi position himself two and a half
(2 1/2) meters away from Deveza, level and poke a gun at Deveza's nape and
Contrary to law. eventually pull the trigger. 7 According to Tulod, Legaspi shot the victim with a
gun wrapped in a piece of cloth or towel.
Pasay City, Metro Manila.
Fatally wounded, Deveza fell on the pavement, his head positioned toward
the rear portion of the vehicle and toward Leveriza Street. Shocked by what
December 24, 1992.
he saw, Tulod froze and stood motionless 8 for three seconds. The gunman
then picked up Deveza's black shoulder bag 9 and casually walked away from
Upon arraignment, Legaspi and Franco, assisted by their respective counsels, the scene of the crime toward Leveriza Street.
pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After regaining lost composure, Tulod ran toward Apartment No. 3, located
The trial court anchored the conviction of accused-appellants Legaspi and 100 meters away from the scene of the crime, to inform the victim's brother,
Franco on facts culled from the collective testimony of the witnesses Junie Deveza, of the shooting incident. While scampering toward Leveriza
presented by the prosecution, namely: Ramon Tulod, Wilfredo Dazo, Estella Street, Tulod heard two (2) more gunshots.
Tuplano Deveza, Dr. Ariel M. de Sagun and NBI Medico Legal Officer Dr.
Valentin Bernales. 10
On the same day, Tulod gave a sworn written statement. to the police
regarding the incident.
As early as five in the afternoon of 28 November 1992, Ramon Tulod, a store
helper of the Devezas, was already waiting for the arrival of his Kuya Carlos
At the trial, prosecution witness Wilfredo Dazo, a tricycle driver, recounted that
(Carlos Deveza), in front of CDS Stall owned by the latter and located at the
at the time of the commission of the crime, he was waiting for passengers at
Cartimar Plaza Market, Pasay City. At 6:20 PM, SPO3 Carlos Deveza,
the corner of Cartimar Avenue and Leveriza Street, about ten (10) meters
erstwhile member of the Philippine National Police, Western Police District
away from Deveza's vehicle, specifically on the second post of the dormitory.
and a new transferee at the Southern Police District Command at the time of
his death, arrived at the Cartimar Plaza Market to fetch his wife, Estella
Deveza, who was then closing the family chain of stalls for the day.
While conversing with other tricycle drivers, Dazo suddenly heard a gunshot a gunshot entrance wound at the nape and an exit gunshot wound at the
prompting him to dart his eyes toward the direction of the gunfire where he cheek area. The post-mortem findings also revealed that Deveza's cause of
saw Deveza stooping and about to fall 11 on the ground. Dazo further testified death was gunshot wound.
that when he initially saw Legaspi and Franco, the accused-appellants were
at a distance of less than a meter from the Tamaraw. After the shooting, According to Dr. Bernales, the projectile or trajectory of the bullet, which could
Legaspi and Franco, walked away, one after the other 12 from the scene of the have been fired from a .38 caliber or 9 mm. gun, was "directly forward, slightly
crime, toward Leveriza Street and in the direction where Dazo was, as if upward and laterally to the left." Additionally, Dr. Bernales opined that Deveza
nothing happened. 13 was shot at close range because of the presence of tatooing or powder burns;
the assailant could be more or less three (3) feet away from the victim.
Pitying the victim, 14 Dazo hid behind a post for three to four seconds 15 and
waited in ambush for Legaspi and Franco. In so doing, Dazo intended to seize As the last witness for the prosecution, Dr. Ariel de Sagun, one of the
and stop Legaspi who was then holding a gun, but in the process mistakenly physicians who conducted surgical operation on Wilfredo Dazo, declared on
grabbed the unarmed Franco 16 by the waist. Thereafter, Dazo and Franco the stand that Dazo was admitted at the emergency room of the Manila
wrestled for about thirty seconds 17 causing Dazo to fall on his knees and Sanitarium Hospital at 7:10 PM of 28 August 1992. Dr. de Sagun testified that
allowing Legaspi to take an aim and shoot at Dazo twice. Dazo suffered two wounds, "one on the right side below the angle of the jaw
and one on the left side".
At the height of the struggle between Dazo and Franco, two shots were fired
by Legaspi. After hearing the first gunfire, Dazo, thinking he was shot, looked According to Dr. de Sagun, the wounds are "fatal wounds" caused by a "high
back and saw Legaspi aiming at him a .38 caliber pistol. 18 As a result, Dazo velocity missile" — a bullet. 22 Further, Dr. de Sagun declared that based on
lost hold of Franco causing the latter to extricate and escape. Legaspi then the trajectory and the nature of the wounds, Dazo could have been stooping
fired the second shot, which bullet hit Dazo on the right jaw. Realizing he was at the time of the shooting, and the gunman could have been taller than Dazo.
hit, Dazo spinned and shouted, "May tama ako!". Upon seeing the injured 23
Dazo, the other tricycle drivers rushed him to the Manila Sanitarium Hospital
for surgical operation.
In opposition, the defense interposed alibi and denial to substantiate accused-
appellants' claim of innocence. Testifying on his behalf, accused-appellant
During Dazo's confinement, accused-appellants were brought for Legaspi claimed that at the time of the commission of the crime, he was at his
identification to the Manila Sanitarium Hospital where Dazo was asked by the father's house located at No. 9 Camia St., Pasay City, to attend the birthday
police if the two suspects were the same persons who shot him. 19 Responding party of his godson and nephew—Lou Anthony Legaspi. Upon his arrival
to the query, Dazo identified and pointed at Legaspi and Franco as the however at said address around 6:10 PM, he discovered that only his father,
assailants who shot him. Victor Legaspi, was present in the house, as his nephews were accompanied
by his mother, Leoncia Legaspi, to the carnival at Star City, Philcite.
Furthermore, Dazo, after being discharged from the hospital, proceeded with Subsequently, Dennis prepared and ate a sandwich; then, he watched
his wife to the upper floor of the police headquarters where he again identified television. At 6:45 PM, 24 Leoncia, together with the group who went to Philcite,
accused-appellants in a line-up of five 20 as the perpetrators of the crime. arrived at the house afterwhich they all had dinner. Thereafter, Dennis again
watched television at the sala but eventually fell into slumber until 11:30 PM
Similarly during trial, Dazo positively identified accused-appellants as the two when Leoncia awakened him to inquire whether he would still be going home
persons whom he saw walking briskly from the place where Deveza was to Roberts Street. Before Dennis left, Victor gave his son One hundred pesos.
25
fatally shot. Dazo clarified that Franco was the person whom he wrestled with
and Legaspi was the gunman who shot him.
While on his way home, Dennis met Johnny Adoptante, a childhood friend, at
Likewise, the prosecution presented Dr. Valentin Bernales, NBI Medico-Legal the corner of Vizcarra and Protacio Streets but the two did not talk anymore.
Officer who conducted an autopsy report 21 on the body of Carlos Deveza. At Dennis arrived home at Roberts Street around one o'clock in the morning of
the witness stand, Dr. Bernales testified that Deveza suffered among others, 29 November 1992 and slept.
To bolster his defense of alibi and denial, Dennis Legaspi presented Victor Legaspi, as borne by Chemistry Report No. C-92-857 and Chemistry Report
Legaspi and Leoncia Legaspi, his father and mother respectively, who No. C-92-858, respectively.
corroborated Dennis' testimony. Likewise, the defense presented Johnny
Adoptante who testified that around six in the evening of 28 November 1992, On 05 May 1994, the RTC of Pasay City, Branch 114, in appreciating the
at the corner of Protacio and Vizcarra Streets, Pasay City, he met and talked presence of conspiracy between Legaspi and Franco, convicted accused-
with accused Dennis Legaspi, who at that time was on his way to No. 9 Camia appellants of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide.
Street, Pasay City. Adoptante and Legaspi engaged in a conversation which
lasted for fifteen minutes afterwhich the latter proceeded to No. 9 Camia
Street. At 11:30 PM, Adoptante again saw Legaspi as the latter was on his In the instant appeal, accused-appellant Legaspi impugns the trial court's
way home to Roberts Street. guilty verdict on the following grounds:

I
Similarly, accused-appellant Emilio Franco raised the twin defenses of alibi
and denial. According to Franco, at 3:45 PM of 28 November 1992, he went
to 116 Roberts Street, Pasay City to visit his sister Elsa Franco Mislang, fetch The court gravely erred in not considering the violation of accused's constitutional rights;
water and play "Pusoy Dos", a local card game. 26 At 4 PM, Emilio Franco,
Elsa Franco Mislang and Jose Villarin III played "Pusoy dos" until past 9 PM, II
afterwhich Emilio went to sleep and woke up only the following morning of 29
November 1992. The court gravely erred in convicting the accused-appellants for a crime not proven
convincingly and conclusively by the evidence presented;
Furthermore, the defense presented the testimonies of the following witnesses
to corroborate the version of accused-appellant Emilio Franco: Epifanio III
Sarmienta, a boarder of the Francos at 116 Roberts Street; Jose Villarin III,
nephew of Emilio; and Elsa Franco Mislang, sister of Emilio. The court gravely erred in finding that the guilt of the accused-appellants was proven
beyond reasonable doubt when the testimonies of witnesses thereof, human nature and
Around 11:30 AM of November 29, 1992, policemen—acting on an informer's common knowledge of facts do not logically support such finding;
tip that persons involved in the Deveza robbery-slay ran inside the Franco
Compound at Roberts Street—went to said place, gathered eleven (11) male IV
residents of the compound and invited them to the Pasay City Police
Headquarters for verification. Among those invited to the police station were The court erred in adopting the uncorroborated identification of the two state witnesses
Dennis and Emilio. Upon arrival thereat, the eleven males were made to stand testifying on two different facts ever the corroborated testimonies for the accused-
in a police line-up and photographed afterwhich they were released, except appellants;
for accused-appellants Legaspi and Franco who were asked to stay until 7
PM. V

On 30 November 1992, around 2:00 - 3:00 PM, policemen returned to the The court manifested bias when it based its decision on facts not presented during the
Franco compound to invite Dennis Legaspi and Emilio Franco to the police trial over which accused was not given the opportunity to confront or explain.
headquarters for further questioning. At the police station, one Bernard Bulos
pointed at Legaspi and Franco as the perpetrators of the crime. As to accused-appellant Franco, the following errors were ascribed to the trial
court:
On 01 December 1992, NBI Forensic Chemist Aida Viloria Magsipoc
conducted paraffin test on accused-appellants to determine powder burns and 1. The trial court erred in holding that the prosecution was able to establish by
presence of nitrates. The tests yielded negative results for both Franco and clear and positive evidence the identity of the appellant Emilio Franco as one
of the assailants despite the fact that such finding was based only on doubtful to accused-appellant Franco for failure of the prosecution to prove his
or unreliable testimony of the one prosecution witness; culpability with moral certainty.

2. The trial court erred in disregarding the defense of alibi of appellant Emilio First, accused-appellant Legaspi faults the lower court for convicting him of a
Franco by simply jumping to the conclusion that it is the weakest kind of crime not proven convincingly and conclusively by the evidence presented by
defense without even seriously evaluating its merits and without considering the prosecution.
the absence of any controvertible evidence from the prosecution and without
considering further the failure of the prosecution to establish the identity of On the contrary, an exhaustive perusal of the evidence would indubitably lead
said appellant by clear and positive evidence that he is one of the assailants; to a conclusion of guilt on the part of accused-appellant Legaspi. The records
are replete with evidence that necessarily points to Legaspi as the perpetrator
3. The trial court erred in not holding that the prosecution failed to establish of the robbery-slay of Carlos Deveza and the shooting of Wilfredo Dazo. The
the guilt of appellant Emilio Franco beyond reasonable doubt and, therefore, prosecution's evidence singles out accused-appellant Legaspi as the willing
for not acquitting said appellant of the crime charged; author of the crime.

4. The trial court erred in disregarding other evidence of appellant Emilio In light of the positive identification by prosecution witnesses Tulod and Dazo,
Franco such as his good moral character which has not been controverted by accused-appellant Legaspi's twin defenses of alibi and denial must
the prosecution and which is material in cases of robbery with homicide and necessarily fail. Certainty, alibi is one of the weakest, defenses an accused
for overlooking the fact that no physical evidence or the effects of robbery can invoke, and the courts have always looked upon it with caution, if not
were found in his possession. suspicion, not only because it is inherently unreliable but likewise because it
is rather easy to fabricate. 27 To prosper, alibi must strictly meet the
In sum, the Court is tasked to resolve the following principal issues: 1) Was requirements of time and place. 28 Thus, we have consistently ruled that it does
the special complex crime of robbery with homicide duly established by the not suffice to prove that the accused was somewhere else at the time of the
evidence presented by the prosecution? 2) Was the prosecution's evidence commission of the crime. Similarly, jurisprudence dictates that the element of
sufficient to establish the guilt of Legaspi and Franco beyond reasonable physical impossibility be clearly shown; The accused must clearly establish
doubt and convict accused-appellants of the crime charged? 3) Was that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been physically
conspiracy attendant in the commission of the crime? 4) Was there a violation present at the locus criminis or its immediate vicinity at the time of the
of accused-appellant's constitutional rights so as to justify a verdict of commission of the crime.
acquittal?
To our mind, the defense failed to discharge this burden especially in view of
In the instant case, the trial court, invoking conspiracy, convicted accused- the positive identification of accused-appellant Legaspi by credible
appellants as principals in the special complex crime of robbery with homicide. prosecution witnesses Tulod and Dazo. Positive identification where
Thus, regardless of the acts individually performed by accused-appellants and categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill-motive on the part of
applying the basic principle in conspiracy that the "act of one is the act of all", the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which,
the trial court found Legaspi and Franco guilty as co-conspirators; in effect, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence are negative and self-
their criminal liability are one and the same. serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. 29

We are not in full agreement with the trial court's findings and conclusions. Notably, accused-appellant Legaspi relied on the testimony of his parents,
Victor and Leoncia and that of his childhood mate Johnny Adoptante, to
strengthen his inherently weak defense of alibi. In our jurisdiction, where an
Thus, while we affirm the conviction of accused-appellant Legaspi on the accused's alibi is established only by himself and his relatives, his denial of
ground that the prosecution clearly established his guilt beyond reasonable culpability does not deserve any consideration in the face of affirmative
doubt, this Court is not equally persuaded to adopt the same guilty verdict as testimonies of credible prosecution witnesses. 30
In the same vein, accused-appellant Legaspi failed to substantiate the While it is true that people faced with danger usually become passive and
element of physical impossibility inasmuch as the records reveal that the submissive, it is equally true that there are some people who are emboldened
distance between Camia Street, where Legaspi claims he was at the time of in sudden or impulsive reaction to a frightening experience. 37
the commission of the crime, and Cartimar Plaza, where the robbery-slay
transpired, is barely six to seven kilometers away from each other. 31 Thus, on cross-examination, 38 Wilfredo Dazo testified:
Moreover, on direct examination, accused-appellant Legaspi declared that
there exists a shortcut between the two points — M. Santos Street — and that
Q: And when you decided to wait for the two suspects, you knew all along that your
a person riding a motorcycle could reach Cartimar Plaza from Roberts Street
life was in danger, knowing that you'll have a fight with them. I suppose you know self-
within fifteen (15) minutes, without a traffic jam. 32 Clearly, such short distance defense or marshal (sic) arts?.
and negligible time negate Legaspi's claim of alibi and destroys any attempt A: I don't know anything about self-defense. I am relying on myself, sir.
to prove the element of physical impossibility. Q: And that was the reason why you let your other three companions just go away?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: According to you, Mr. Witness you have a family?
Beyond this, the defense of alibi is practically worthless in the face of positive
A: Yes, sir.
identification. Q: With two kids?
A: Yes, sir.
Cognizant of this principle, the defense assails the credibility of prosecution Q: And of course, you love them?
witnesses Tulod and Dazo and posits further that their testimonies, human A: Naturally, sir.
Q: And of course you don't want to evade yourself?
nature and common knowledge of facts do not logically support the trial court's
A: It did not occur to my mind, sir. I only want to extend help at that precise moment.
finding of guilt. Specifically, the defense casts doubt on the testimony of
witness Tulod who, despite being stunned for three seconds, could still narrate
the details of the robbery-slay. Finely imbedded in our jurisdiction is the rule xxx xxx xxx
that where there is no evidence, and nothing to indicate that the principal
witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motive, the Q: Now according to you Mr. Witness, you waited for the two suspects at the second
presumption is that they were not so actuated and their testimony is entitled post of Cartimar Avenue?
to full faith and credit. 33 Also, it would be unnatural for the relatives of the A: Yes, sir.
victim — like Estella Deveza, widow of Carlos — to commit an injustice by Q: By the way, what is your intention in waiting for them?
A: I waited for the two because of the incident that happened. I pitied Carlos Deveza
taking the witness stand and impute the crime to innocent persons and not to
and wanted to avenge. (As answered by the witness: "Gusto kong iganti si Deveza.")
those who were actually responsible therefor. 34 Q: So, in short, your intention was to make "higanti" and not to make "huli" of the two?
A: Yes, sir, what I had in mind at the moment was to take hold of them. When I did,
Moreover, appellant maintains that no grappling match occurred between they resisted and we wrestled.
Dazo and one of the assailants. The defense even goes further by stressing Q: So, you were expecting a fight that time?
A: Yes, sir, I was very sure of that. (Emphasis ours).
that natural human behavior negates Dazo's testimony of risking his life
against two armed and relatively taller men considering that Dazo is a family
man. Appellant then concludes that Dazo is a perjured witness. During trial, Wilfredo Dazo positively identified Dennis Legaspi as the person
who shot him and as one of two men whom Dazo saw walk away from where
Carlos Deveza was shot, viz:
These arguments are flimsy. This Court, in a long line of cases, categorically
ruled that a witness to a crime usually strives to remember the uncovered face
of the assailant. 35 The most natural reaction of victims of criminal violence Q: When was the point of time when you said you heard the second shot?
during its perpetration would be to strive to see the looks and faces of their A: That was when I was already shot and I was already dizzy and I fell down.
Q: And who shot you?
assailants, 36 and to estimate what, could be their next move either as an
instinctive reaction or as a measure to help fend against any further attack.
Note: Witness pointed at Legaspi.
In the course of trial, Dazo demonstrated how Legaspi shot him "by raising his Note: Witness pointed to a man who, when asked, answered by the name of
both arms with one pointed finger to the level of his shoulder." Dennis Legaspi Y Cusi.

Of paramount importance to the conviction of accused-appellant Legaspi is


the testimony of Ramon Tulod who witnessed Deveza's killing, narrated the Q: Do you know this person whom you pointed to before the incident?
details surrounding the robbery-slay, and positively identified during trial the A: No, sir.
assailant of his Kuya Carlos, to wit: Q: So the first time you saw him was on that incident which you are now testifying?
A: Yes, sir?

Court: A while ago, you said that the man who approached Carlos Deveza
Tulod's testimony, as to the fatal shooting of Deveza, was corroborated by the
from his back leveled/poked the gun at him. To what portion did the man
leveled/poked (sic) the gun at Carlos Deveza? Please demonstrate to us. post-mortem findings and testimony of NBI Medico-Legal Officer Dr. Valentin
Bernales, who declared on the stand that Deveza's cause of death was
gunshot wound and that Deveza was shot at the nape at close range because
Note: Witness demonstrating by poking his right hand right at the nape of of the presence of tattooing or powder burns on the victim's body. Dr. Bernales
Fiscal Mario I. Chua. further testified that the assailant could be more or less three (3) feet away
from Deveza when the gunman fired the fatal shot.

Q: And what happened when this man poked the gun at the nape of Carlos Deveza? In a train of decisions, we have categorically enunciated the rule that to sustain
Court: Before that Fiscal. When this man leveled his gun at the nape of Carlos
a conviction for the crime of robbery with homicide, it is imperative that the
Deveza, where were you?
A: I was behind the vehicle, your honor. robbery itself be proven as conclusively as any other essential element of a
Q: You said that the man who approached Carlos Deveza leveled or poked the gun at crime, 39 inasmuch as robbery with homicide is primarily an offense against
him. what did the man do with the gun? property. 40
A: He pulled the trigger.
Q: Thereafter, that was the time you heard the shot?
Hence, as to the element of robbery, witness Ramon Tulod recounted at the
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What happened to Carlos Deveza after the trigger of the gun was pulled by that stand 41 that Dennis Legaspi was the culprit who single-handedly took
man? Deveza's black shoulder bag, viz:
A: He fell, sir.
Q: Where did he fall? Q: After you saw Carlos Deveza fell down (sic) on the ground, what did you notice if
A: Somewhere on the rear portion of the vehicle with his head towards any?
Leveriza street. A: The bag was taken sir.
Q: By whom?
A: The gunman sir.
Q: That man who approached your Kuya Carlos Deveza and poked/ leveled a gun at Q: From whom was the bag taken?
his nape and later on pulled the trigger of the gun, the gun wrapped with something A: From Carlos sir.
like a piece of cloth or towel, if you will see him again will you be able to recognize Q: Will you describe the bag that you said that (sic) the gunman took after Carlos
him? Deveza fell on the ground?
A: Yes, sir. A: It is a black shoulder bag, sir.
Q: Will you please look around the courtroom and see if he is present. If he is around, Q: That gunman who according to you shoot (sic) and thereafter took after Carlos
please finger him out. Deveza fell on the ground?
A: Yes, sir, he is present. A: It is (sic) a black shoulder bag, sir.
Q: Please point to him. Q: That gunman who according to you shoot and thereafter took the shoulder bag of
A: There he is. Carlos Deveza, what was he wearing if you remember?
A: He was wearing shorts, sir.
Q: What color?
A: White sir.
Verily, the evidence adduced and presented by the prosecution established innocent. Likewise, it is axiomatic that motive is not an element of robbery with
all the elements of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide. For in homicide or frustrated homicide. 49
the crime of robbery with homicide, the homicide may precede the robbery or
may occur after the robbery, as what is essential is that there is a direct Accused-appellant Legaspi further avers that "it is ridiculously illogical for a
relation, an intimate connection between the robbery and the killing. 42 This PMA'er and a college undergraduate to perpetrate a crime three blocks away
special complex crime is primarily a crime against property and not against from their residence, in the manner it was allegedly executed, on a Saturday
persons, homicide being a mere incident of the robbery with the latter being yet, at seven o'clock in the evening, without fleeing."
the main purpose and object of the criminal. 43 In the instant case, the records
show that the fatal shooting of Carlos Deveza, while it preceded the robbery,
was for the purpose of removing an opposition to the robbery or suppressing Again, we are not persuaded. Well-settled is the rule that non-flight is not, per
evidence thereof. se, an indication of innocence. There is no law or dictum holding that non-
flight of an accused is conclusive proof of innocence. 50 For this Court is not
blind to the cunning ways of a wolf, which after a kill, may feign innocence and
In this specie of offense, the phrase "by reason" covers homicide committed choose not to flee; the crafty wolf may instead hide and lie in ambush under
before or after the taking of personal property of another, as long as the motive sheep's skin — ready to jump and gorge on its next unsuspecting prey.
of the offender (in killing a person before the robbery) is to deprive the victim
of his personal property which is sought to be accomplished by eliminating an
obstacle or opposition, or to do away with a witness or to defend the Similarly, the defense cites the negative results of the paraffin test on accused-
possession of stolen property. 44 appellants to support their claim of innocence and justify their bid for acquittal.
Time and again, we have held that an NBI Chemist's finding that the paraffin
test on the person of the appellant is negative, is not conclusive to show that
Obviously, the killing of Carlos Deveza and the shooting of Wilfredo Dazo were appellant has not fired a gun. It is possible to fire a gun and yet be negative
perpetrated by reason of or on the occasion of the robbery. Thus, the physical for the presence of nitrates, as when firing while wearing gloves or by washing
injuries sustained by Dazo are deemed absorbed in the crime of robbery with the hands afterwards. 51 In the present case, witness Ramon Tulod testified
homicide, 45 Taken in its entirety, the overt acts of accused-appellant Legaspi that Legaspi, in shooting Deveza, covered the gun with a piece of cloth or
prove that the lone motive for the killing of Deveza and the shooting of Dazo towel.
was for the purpose of consummating and ensuring the success of the
robbery.
In fine, this (Diphenylamine or Paraffin) test has proved extremely unreliable
in use. The only thing that it can definitely establish is the presence or absence
In the final analysis, the shooting of Dazo was done in order to defend the of nitrates or nitrites on the hand. 52
possession of the stolen property. 46 It was therefore an act which tended to
insure the successful termination of the robbery and secure to the robber the
possession and enjoyment of the goods taken. 47 Accused-appellant's Incidentally, the defense harps on the alleged violation by the law enforcers of
argument that the element of "taking" was not proved is thus unavailing in the the constitutional rights of the accused-appellants. As to the arrest of accused-
face of Tulod's testimony. appellants on 29 November 1992, we hold that neither their constitutional
rights under Article III of the Constitution nor their statutory rights under
Republic Act 7438 were transgressed inasmuch as Legaspi and Franco were
Additionally, accused-appellant Legaspi remonstrates that "considering that not yet singled out as the perpetrators of the crime. The police merely invited
the crime charged was robbery, motive on the part of the accused is absent, for questioning the eleven male residents of the compound including Legaspi
as they have no means of knowing that Deveza was carrying money, if so, and Franco. In addition, when accused-appellant Legaspi was asked a single
whether it was worth killing for." 48 question at the police station regarding his whereabouts on the evening of 28
November 1992, no custodial investigation occurred inasmuch as the query
We do not agree. Motive in the present case is immaterial because of the was merely part of the "general exploratory stage".
presence of eyewitnesses who rendered clear, straightforward and convincing
testimonies of the commission of the crime sufficient to satisfy the quantum of At such definite stage, neither accused-appellants nor the other nine (9) male
evidence required to overturn Legaspi's constitutional right to be presumed residents of the Franco compound were singled out or pinpointed as the
perpetrators of the crime. The police authorities have not yet focused on any governmental power and individual liberties is maintained. Thus, it does not
of the eleven (11) men as a particular suspect in the robbery-slay of Carlos bode well for society when our law enforcers defy the fundamental law of the
Deveza. Infact, Legaspi and Franco were released on the evening of the same land in ignoring these rights designed to ensure the very equilibrium of our
day, albeit, a little later than the release of the other nine (9) male residents of democracy. 55
the compound.
To be sure, these fundamental rights accorded to each citizen, by no less than
In contrast, as to the "initial questioning" of Emilio Franco conducted on 30 the fundamental law itself, are the very ligaments that bind every civilized
November 1992 by Chief Inspector Ding Santos, this Court is of the view that society. These rights are borne not by the stressful need to insulate any
the law enforcers and police authorities could have committed a violation of urbane society from the clutches of barbarism, chaos and lawlessness.
Franco's rights considering that said questioning was not put into writing nor
was counsel present during the course thereof as required by law. Worthy to For without the Bill of Rights, man is stripped of his humanity and society
note is that in said stage, accused-appellants may have already been becomes a putrid dump of lost lives.
considered by the police as the suspects in the robbery-slay; the police
authorities could have already pinpointed Legaspi and Franco as the authors
of the crime. Thus at that precise point, accused-appellants were very well Second, as to Emilio Franco's liability, we hold that the trial court erred in
entitled to the rights accorded by both fundamental and statutory laws to convicting accused-appellant Franco of this special complex crime for failure
persons suspected of having committed a crime. of the prosecution to prove by clear and convincing evidence his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.
A close scrutiny of the records would however show that the trial court's
judgment of conviction is not based on evidence extracted, produced or Well-enshrined is the rule that findings of fact and conclusions of trial courts
elicited during the "initial questioning" conducted by Chief Inspector Santos on are accorded great weight and generally not to be disturbed on appeal. Absent
Emilio Franco on the evening of 30 November 1992. Clearly, the trial court's any showing of a fact or circumstance which the trial court failed to appreciate
guilty verdict on accused-appellant Legaspi is based on the positive and which would change the result if it were considered, the factual findings
identification and testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. as laid down by the trial court remain binding upon the Supreme Court. 56
Stated differently, where certain facts of substance and value are overlooked,
which if considered would affect the result of the case, then such finding is not
Equally important is that upon entering a plea of not guilty, accused-appellants conclusive to us, as in this present appeal. 57
Legaspi and Franco validly waived their right to raise this infirmity and assail
the legality of the arrest. Again, we take this occasion to rule that any objection
involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure in the acquisition by the court of In the case before us, the trial court based Franco's conviction on the theory
jurisdiction over the person of an accused must be made before he enters his that conspiracy attended the commission of the crime.1âwphi1 To put it
plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. 53 differently, the trial court concluded that Legaspi and Franco, animated by a
joint purpose, acted in unison and conspired in perpetrating the robbery-slay
of Carlos Deveza. As such, regardless of the individual participation of Legaspi
Hence, any irregularity attendant to his arrest, if any, was cured when he and Franco, the act of one conspirator is deemed, by legal fiction, the act of
voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a the other.
plea of not guilty and participating in the trial. 54
At this point, it is well to stress that although direct proof is not essential to
Nonetheless, we do not countenance the infringement of accused-appellant's prove conspiracy, as it may be inferred from the acts of the accused before,
rights under the hands of the police. As law enforcers, it is their bounden duty during and after the commission of the crime suggesting concerted action and
to respect these constitutional safeguards and render strict compliance with unity of purpose among them, it must however be shown that it exists as
the mandate of the basic law of the land. clearly as the commission of the offense. 58 Conspiracy must be established
by positive and conclusive evidence and it cannot be based on mere
For never could it be overemphasized that the rights enshrined in the Bill of conjectures but must be established as a fact. 59
Rights are the very mechanisms by which the delicate balance between
Similar to the physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of To our mind, however, these acts taken as a whole, do not suffice to prove
conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. 60 For this purpose overt conspiracy in the present case. Neither do these acts render Franco liable for
acts of the accused may consist of active participation in the actual the special complex crime of robbery with homicide. Jurisprudence dictates
commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his co- that mere presence at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission is
conspirators by being present at the time of the commission of the crime, or not, by itself, sufficient to establish conspiracy at the time of its commission.
64 Without evidence—clear and convincing at that—as to how an accused
by exerting moral ascendancy over the other co-conspirators by moving them
to execute or implement the conspiracy. 61 participated in the perpetration of the crime, conspiracy cannot be
appreciated. against him. 65
In the case at bench, Franco's actual participation in the commission of the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide, as well as his overt acts that At the most, the prosecution, realizing the weakness of its evidence against
tend to show his conspiracy with Legaspi, were not clearly established by the accused-appellant Franco, merely relied and pegged the latter's criminal
prosecution. The records are bereft of any finding that Franco acted in unison liability on its sweeping theory of conspiracy, which to us, was not attendant
with Legaspi in killing Carlos Deveza and thereafter taking away the black in the commission of the crime.
shoulder bag subject of the robbery.
The rule is firmly entrenched that a judgment of conviction must be predicated
Aside from the testimony of Wilfredo Dazo that he saw Legaspi and Franco on the strength of the evidence for the prosecution and not on the weakness
walking away from the scene of the crime, no other compelling evidence was of the evidence for the defense. 66 The proof against him must survive the test
ever presented by the prosecution sufficient to warrant the conviction of of reason; the strongest suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment.
accused-appellant Franco. The prosecution's evidence as to the participation The conscience must be satisfied that on the defense could be laid the
of Franco is limited to the testimony given by Wilfredo Dazo on the witness responsibility for the offense charged; that not only did he perpetrate the act
stand, to wit: 62 but that it amounted to a crime. What is required then is moral certainty. 67

Q: So what did you notice about these two (2) persons to whom your attention was Verily, it is the role of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the appellant beyond
focused? reasonable doubt in order to overcome the constitutional presumption of
A: After the shot, I saw the two men walk toward Leveriza street. innocence. 68
Q: These two men whom you saw walking towards Leveriza, coming from where
Carlos Deveza was then, can you recognize these two persons?
A: Yes, sir. Even if it be argued that the defense is weak, the fact is that the prosecution
Q: Please point at them, if they are present inside the courtroom? is even weaker and so must fail by its own impotence. 69 For conviction must
A: There they are, sir. rest no less than on hard evidence showing that the accused, with moral
certainty, is guilty of the crime charged. Short of these constitutional mandate
Note: Witness pointed to a man who, when asked, and statutory safeguard — that a person is presumed innocent until the
answered by the name of Emilio Franco Y Faderan and contrary is proved — the Court is then left without discretion and is duty bound
again pointed to a man who when asked, answered by the to render a judgment of acquittal.
name of Dennis Legaspi Y Cusi.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing disquisitions, the decision of the trial
As borne by the records, Dazo testified that he never saw at anytime during court finding appellant Dennis Legaspi guilty of the special complex crime of
the incident that Franco held the gun or the black shoulder bag subject of the robbery with homicide is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the
offense. 63 Surprisingly, prosecution witness Ramon Tulod, who was fine of P20,000 is DELETED. Costs against appellant Legaspi.
practically only a few meters away from the scene of the crime, failed to
mention about Franco's criminal participation, even the latter's mere presence As to appellant Emilio Franco, the judgment of conviction is REVERSED and
at the scene of the crime. Notably, the only acts attributable to Franco were SET ASIDE and appellant Franco is hereby ACQUITTED on grounds of
his walking away from the crime scene and his wrestling with Wilfredo Dazo. reasonable doubt.
Accordingly, the Director of Prisons is ordered to immediately release The RTC, in its Decision of September 25, 2008, found the appellants guilty
appellant Emilio Franco from confinement in the National Penitentiary unless beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide committed by a band, and
he is lawfully held on some other charges. SO ORDERED. sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. It also ordered
them to pay the victim’s heirs the amounts of ₱75,000.00 and ₱24,000.00 as
People v. Latam civil indemnity and burial expenses, respectively; and ₱17,800.00
representing the value of the cash and other stolen items.
BRION, J.:
On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC decision in toto. The CA held that
Fortunato and Thelma positively identified the appellants as among the
We resolve in this Decision the appeal from the April 27, 2010Decision 1of the persons who robbed their house; Fortunato, in fact, saw Ngano shoot Nestor.
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00675-MIN. The CA affirmed Reggie corroborated their testimonies on material points.
the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 26, Surallah, South
Cotabato, finding appellants Gaga Latam, Saligo Kuyan and Kamison Akoy
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide committed by a The CA disregarded the appellants’ defense of denial due to lack of
band,3 and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. corroboration. It, likewise, did not believe their alibi because they failed to
prove that it was physically impossible for them to be at the crime scene.
At around 6:45 p.m. of February 8, 1998, Gaga, Saligo, Ngano Sugan, Nga
Ben Latam and one alias Francing, all armed with guns, entered Fortunato We deny the appeal, but modify the designation of the offense and the
Delos Reyes’ residence in Purok Roxas 1, Lamsugod, Surallah, South amounts of the awarded indemnities.
Cotabato, and declared a hold up. Kamison and Cosme Latam stayed outside
and acted as lookouts. There is robbery with homicide when a homicide is committed either by
reason, or on occasion, of the robbery. To sustain a conviction for robbery with
Once inside, the armed men ordered Fortunato, his wife Thelma Delos Reyes, homicide, the prosecution must prove the following elements: (1) the taking of
and their son Nestor Delos Reyes, to drop to the floor. The armed men personal property belonging to another; (2) with intent to gain; (3) with the use
inquired from them where the money and other valuables were hidden; of violence or intimidation against a person; and (4) on the occasion or by
thereafter, they took cash amounting to ₱10,000.00, personal belongings reason of the robbery, the crime of homicide, as used in its generic sense,
worth ₱5,000.00, and an air gun valued at ₱2,800.00. Ngano then brought was committed. A conviction requires certitude that the robbery is the main
Nestor outside the house, and shot him.4 purpose and objective of the malefactor, and the killing is merely incidental to
the robbery. The intent to rob must precede the taking of human life but the
killing may occur before, during or after the robbery.7
Reggie Delos Reyes, another son of Fortunato and Thelma, ran to his parents’
house when he heard the gunshot. When he arrived, Kamison and Cosme
pointed a knife and a gun at him, respectively, and told him not to enter the In the present case, no doubt exists, based on the appellants’ and their
house. Reggie then heard Nestor shout that he had been hit. Thereafter, all companions’ actions that their overriding intention was to rob Fortunato’s
the seven (7) armed men left. Reggie rushed Nestor to the hospital, but the house. The following facts are established and undisputed: the armed men
latter died due to multiple gunshot wounds.5 entered Fortunato’s house and ordered its occupants to drop to the ground;
they asked for the location of the money and other valuables; they took cash
amounting to ₱10,000.00, personal belongings worth ₱5,000.00, and an air
The prosecution charged the appellants and their companions with the special gun valued at ₱2,800.00.
complex crime of robbery with homicide before the RTC.6 Gaga, Saligo and
Kamison all pleaded not guilty to the charge upon arraignment. Ngano, Nga
Ben and alias Francing remain at large. Cosme died on July 23, 2000 while While it was undisputed that only Ngano shot Nestor, the lower courts correctly
under detention. found the appellants liable for robbery with homicide. Case law establishes
that whenever homicide has been committed by reason of or on the occasion
of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be
held guilty as principals of robbery with homicide although they did not take band, the indictable offense would still be denominated as robbery with
part in the homicide, unless it appears that they sought to prevent the killing. 8 homicide under Article 294(1) of the Revised Penal Code. The element of
band would be appreciated as an ordinary aggravating circumstance. 12
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement
concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy Under Article 294(1) of the Revised Penal Code, the crime of robbery with
may be inferred from the acts of the accused – before, during and after the homicide carries the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death. Considering the
commission of the crime – which indubitably point to and are indicative of a presence of the aggravating circumstance of commission by a band, the
joint purpose, concert of action and community of interest. For conspiracy to proper imposable penalty would have been death, conformably with Article
exist, it is not required that there be an agreement for an appreciable period 63, paragraph 1 of the Penal Code. In view, however, of the enactment on
prior to the occurrence of the offense; it is sufficient that at the time of its June 24, 2006 of Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the
commission, the malefactors had the same purpose and were united in its death penalty in the Philippines, the lower courts correctly imposed on the
execution.9 appellants the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

In the present case, the appellants and their companions clearly acted in We award ₱75,000.00 as moral damages to the victim’s heirs to conform with
conspiracy in committing the special complex crime charged. To recall, Gaga, recent jurisprudence.13 We further award ₱25,000.00 as temperate damages,
Saligo, Ngano, Nga Ben and alias Francing entered Fortunato’s house, while in lieu of the proven burial expenses of a lesser amount. 14
Kamison and Cosme acted as lookouts. While his companions were robbing
the house, Ngano brought Nestor outside and shot him. Reggie rushed to the The existence of one aggravating circumstance also merits the grant of
scene, but Kamison and Cosme prevented him from entering the house by exemplary damages under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. Pursuant to
pointing a knife and a gun at him, respectively. Thereafter, all the seven (7) prevailing jurisprudence, we award ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages to the
armed men fled together. victim’s heirs.15

The foregoing circumstances prove beyond reasonable doubt that the WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, we AFFIRM the April 27, 2010
appellants acted in concert to attain a common purpose. The evidence does Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00675-MIN, with the
not show that any of the appellants sought to avert the killing of Nestor. In following MODIFICATIONS:
People of the Philippines v. Nonoy Ebet,10 we ruled that once conspiracy is
shown, the act of one is the act of all. The precise extent or modality of
participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators (1) the appellants are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
are principals. crime of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE;

As the lower courts did, we see no merit in the appellants’ defenses of denial (2) the appellants are ORDERED to PAY, jointly and severally, the
and alibi. Denial is a negative, self-serving evidence that cannot prevail over heirs of Nestor ₱75,000.00 and ₱30,000.00 as moral damages and
the positive and straightforward identification made by Fortunato, Thelma and exemplary damages, respectively; and
Reggie. Alibi, too, is generally viewed with suspicion because of its inherent
weakness and unreliability. In the present case, the defense failed to (3) the appellants are ORDERED to PAY, jointly and severally, the
demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the appellants were so far heirs of Nestor ₱25,000.00 as temperate damages, in lieu of actual
away from the scene of the crime that it was physically impossible for them to damages of a lesser amount. SO ORDERED.
have been at the crime scene at the time of its commission. 11

We, however, point out that the lower courts found the appellants guilty of
robbery with homicide committed by a band. This is an erroneous
denomination of the crime committed, as there is no crime of robbery with
homicide committed by a band. If robbery with homicide is committed by a