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Republic of the Philippines

11th Judicial Region


REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-BRANCH 11
Davao City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES CRIM. CASE NO. 68, 462-10

-versus- For: MURDER

HAROLD PARONDIA MILLA


RAYMOND CANA a.k.a.
GOZALEZ CANA
One JOHN DOE
Accused
X----------------X

JUDGMENT

Reckless youth makes rueful age.


- Benjamin Franklin

A night of hanging out with friends turn tragic when a young woman
died by stab wound.

Three (3) young men, one of whom is still at large, now stands charged
of Murder, described in the hereunder quoted Information to have been
committed as follows:

“That on or about September 14, 2010, in the City of


Davao, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, accused Raymond Cana a.k.a. Ads
Gonzalez Can, armed with a knife, in conspiracy with
Harold P. Mila and another person whose identity is
still unknown, all with intent to kill and treachery,
herein alleged as qualifying circumstance, and with
the use of the said weapon, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously stabbed at the back one Jessan Galapin, a
woman, in a sudden and unexpected manner without
giving the victim the opportunity to defend herself,
thereby inflicting injury upon her which caused her
instantaneous death.

CONTRARY TO LAW”

At their arraignment on October 8, 2010, accused Harold P. Milla and


Raymond Cana, assisted by the Public Attorney, pleaded Not Guilty to the
above-quoted Information.

Pre-trial proceeding was conducted on February 16, 2011.

Prosecution presented the following witnesses, namely:

1. Rosali Siroy
2. Carmencita Mendoza Casas
3. Dr. Danilo Ledesma
4. Leslie Dooma – on rebuttal

Prosecution’s version of the incident is that on September 14, 2010 at


about 10:45 in the evening, the girls Debie, Leslie Dooma, Jessan Galapin,
Cherry and Rosali Siroy were at Times beach, and was walking at Talisay St
at Ecoland of this City, on their way home.

Then three (3) young men, two (2) of whom, Rosalie Siroy and Leslie
Dooma identified in open Court as Raymond Cana and Harold Milla approached
them and asked cigarette from them. The victim Jessan replied that they have
no cigarette, only money for their fare home.

They started to again walk but the three (3) young men blocked their
way and their unidentified companion asked “lobo mo”. This word lobo is the
name of a gang, according to Rosali Siroy.

The victim Jessan replied “dili mi lobo”, Then the young man with
bandaged in his hand went to Jessan’s back, and stabbed her. The young man
with blond hair (who would later be identified as Harold Milla) wanted to punch
Jessan but Jessan was able to run. And they, the other girls also ran away.
The young men ran after them but there was a TF (Task Force Davao) already,
because the girls were able to seek help from a tricycle driver.

The victim Jessan was brought by an ambulance to DMC (Davao Medical


Center) now SPMC (Southern Philippine Medical Center) where she eventually
died.
Meanwhile, the two (2) young men were arrested by the Task Force and
brought to the Talomo police station, where Rosalie Siroy and Leslie Dooma
positively identified Raymond Cana, as the young man with bandage on his
arm as the one who stabbed the victim Jessan at the back and Harold Milla,
the blond young man who wanted to punch the victim Jessan.

Carmencita Casas was informed that her daughter Jessan was stabbed
and was at the DMC. She rushed to the hospital and saw the lifeless body of
her 19 year old daughter. She could not understand what she felt at that time.

She incurred expenses for the wake and funeral of her daughter Jessan
in the amount of P2, 500 (Exhibit F-5 to F-5b) and P9,500.00 (Exhibit F-3 to
F-3b).

Dr. Danilo Ledesma is the Medico-Legal Officer who signed the Death
Certificate of Jessan Mendoza Galapin (Exhibit A to A-1) and he also conducted
autopsy on the victim and issued a Necropsy Report (Exhibit A-2 tp A-4)
stating that the victim Jessan died of severe hemorrhage because of stab
wound in the chest which penetrated her lungs at the posterior (back) part.

Leslie Dooma testified on rebuttal, corroborating the testimony of


Rosalie Siroy and identifying in open Court, accused Raymond Cana whom she
said had a mark on his wrist, as the one who stabbed victim Jessan.

Leslie Dooma also identified Harold Milla who was beside Raymond
Casas when he stabbed Jessan, and that Harold Milla was about to punch
Jessan but the latter was able to run away.

Now, for the defense, accused Raymond Cana testified that he could not
have stabbed the victim Jessan because at that time, his left arm was in a
cast because of hack wound.

Dr. Kristoffer Roland Roa testified on the Medical Certificate issued by


his senior resident Dr. Allan Rodolfo P. Herrera Jr (Exhibit 1) that accused
Raymond Cana was treated at the SPMC from August 27, 2010 to September
9, 2010 and that with the multiple injury of the tendons and on the nerves,
it would affect his range of motion of his wrist and fingers, and it would usually
take around six (6) months before the patient can recover the full strength
and range of motion with his fingers.

Another physician, Dr. Jaime Occio who issued another Medical


Certificate (Exhibit 2) testified that he operated on the left forearm of the
accused Cana because he sustained nerve injury as well as fracture bones in
his left forearm, so the cast was intended for the protection of the nerve.
Accused Harold Milla, upon the other hand, testified that on the evening
of September 14, 2010, he and companions were having a drinking spree
outside of their house at Talisay, Ecoland, to celebrate the birthday of their
friend Macky. Then they decided to go to the store which was about 20 meters.
While they continued drinking there, somebody from task force arrested them
and brought them to Talomo Police Station, and he was forced to reveal his
companions about the stabbing incident of a tomboy. Accused Milla admitted
that at the time of his arrest he was sporting blond hair.

While the undersigned as Acting Presiding Judge was poring over the
testimonies of the parties, we were confronted with the question of whether
accused Raymond Cana is left handed or right handed. There is no definite
query posed by the Prosecution nor by the then presiding Judge on this.

To answer this big question mark, we called for accused Cana to appear
before us, and in the presence of the Trial Prosecutor and Public Attorney, we
asked him to write his name which he did using his right hand (see Order
dated December 20, 2018).

Thus, it is now clear to us that prosecution eye witnesses Rosalie Siroy


and Leslie Dooma are saying the truth that on that fateful evening, accused
Raymond Cana whose left hand or forearm was in bandage (actually in cast)
went to the back left side of the victim Jessan and then accused Cana took
something from his bandaged/cast left arm/hand and stabbed victim Jessan
who sustain the fatal wound at her left back portion.

The claim of accused Cana that he could not have stabbed victim Jessan
because his left hand or forearm was in cast is a ruse to mislead the Court
into believing that he was left handed.

It now makes sense that accused Cana took out something from his left
bandaged or casted left hand/forearm because he was actually right handed
and using his right hand stabbed the back left side body of the victim Jessan.

As to the participation of accused Harold Milla, he attempted to box the


victim Jessan. In the words of eyewitnesses Siroy and Dooma, the accused
ganged up on the victim Jessan (TSN page 6 dated August 17, 2018 and TSN
page 8 dated June 8, 2011).

However, the different manner by which accused Cana and Milla attack
the victim Jessan will negate the existence of conspiracy. Accused Cana by
stabbing victim Jessan has an intent to kill, while accused Milla by attempting
to box victim Jessan merely wanted to inflict physical injury. Clearly, they did
not act in unity nor has one purpose in mind.

It was held in Rosie Quidet vs. People G.R. No. 170289 April 8, 2010,
citing People vs. Vistido, to wit:

“In Vistido, we held thus

There is no question that "a person may be convicted for the criminal act of
another where, between them, there has been conspiracy or unity of purpose and
intention in the commission of the crime charged." It is, likewise, settled that "to
establish conspiracy, it is not necessary to prove previous agreement to commit
a crime, if there is proof that the malefactors have acted in consort and in
pursuance of the same objective." Nevertheless, "the evidence to prove the same
must be positive and convincing. As a facile device by which an accused may
be ensnared and kept within the penal fold, conspiracy requires conclusive proof
if we are to maintain in full strength the substance of the time-honored principle
in criminal law requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt before conviction."
In the case at bar, the evidence for the prosecution does not comply with
this basic requirement. To begin with, there is no evidence that appellant and his
co-accused had any enmity or grudge against the deceased. On the contrary, the
cousin of the deceased, Reynaldo Pagtakhan, testified that prior to the stabbing
incident, they did not have any quarrel with them. In the absence of strong
motives on their part to kill the deceased, it can not safely be concluded that they
conspired to commit the crime involved herein.

Neither could it be assumed that when the appellant and his co-accused
were together drinking wine, at the time and place of the incident, they were
there purposely to wait for and to kill the deceased. For, they could not have
surmised beforehand that between 3:00 and 4:00 o'clock in the morning of
November 1, 1969, the deceased and his cousin after coming home from their
work at the cemetery would go to the Marzan Restaurant, and thereafter, would
take a taxi for home, and then, alight at M. Francisco Street. The meeting
between the appellant's group and the deceased appears to be purely accidental
which negates the existence of conspiracy between the appellant and his co-
accused.

Besides, the appellant was unarmed; only his two companions (Pepito
Montao and one John Doe) were armed with daggers. If he (appellant) had
really conspired with his co-accused to kill the deceased, he could have provided
himself with a weapon. But he did not. Again, this fact belies the prosecution's
theory that the appellant had entered into a conspiracy with his co-accused to
kill the deceased.

Moreover, although the appellant and his co-accused acted with some
degree of simultaneity in attacking the deceased, nevertheless, the same is
insufficient to prove conspiracy. The rule is well-settled that
"simultaneousness does not of itself demonstrate the concurrence of will
nor the unity of action and purpose which are the basis of the responsibility
of two or more individuals." To establish common responsibility it is not
sufficient that the attack be joint and simultaneous; it is necessary that the
assailants be animated by one and the same purpose. In the case at bar, the
appellant Raymundo Vistido and the accused Pepito Montao, did not act
pursuant to the same objective. Thus, the purpose of the latter was to kill as
shown by the fact that he inflicted a mortal wound below the abdomen of the
deceased which caused his death. On the other hand, the act of the appellant
in giving the deceased one fist blow after the latter was stabbed by the
accused Pepito Montao an act which is certainly unnecessary and not
indispensable for the consummation of the criminal assault does not
indicate a purpose to kill the deceased, but merely to "show off" or express
his sympathy or feeling of camaraderie with the accused Pepito Montao. Thus,
in People vs. Portugueza, this Court held that:

Although the appellants are relatives and had acted with some
degree of simultaneity in attacking their victim, nevertheless, this fact
alone does not prove conspiracy. (People vs. Caayao, 48 Off. Gaz. 637).
On the contrary, from the nature and gravity of the wounds inflicted on the
deceased, it can be said that the appellant and the other defendant did not
act pursuant to the same objective. Florentino Gapole's purpose was to kill
the deceased, as shown by the fact that he inflicted a mortal wound which
almost severed the left arm. The injury inflicted by the appellant, merely
scratching the subcutaneous tissues, does not indicate a purpose to kill the
victim. It is not enough that appellant had participated in the assault made
by his co-defendant in order to consider him a co-principal in the crime
charged. He must have also made the criminal resolution of his co-accused
his own. x x x.

and, in People vs. Vicente, this Court likewise held:

In regard to appellant Ernesto Escorpizo, there seems to be no


dispute that he stabbed Soriano several times with a small knife only after
the latter had fallen to the ground seriously wounded, if not already dead.
There is no showing that this accused had knowledge of the criminal intent
of Jose Vicente against the deceased. In all likelihood, Escorpizo's act in
stabbing the fallen Soriano with a small knife was not in furtherance of
Vicente's aim, which is to kill, but merely to 'show off' or express his
sympathy or feeling of camaraderie with Vicente. x x x.

By and large, the evidence for the prosecution failed to show the
existence of conspiracy which, according to the settled rule, must be shown
to exist as clearly and convincingly as the crime itself. In the absence of
conspiracy, the liability of the defendants is separate and individual, each
is liable for his own acts, the damage caused thereby, and the consequences
thereof. While the evidence shows that the appellant boxed the deceased, it is,
however, silent as to the extent of the injuries, in which case, the appellant
should be held liable only for slight physical injuries”

As for the defense of both accused Cana and Milla that they do not know
about the stabbing incident and that they were inside their respective houses
at that time, which was really within the vicinity of Talisay, Ecoland where the
stabbing incident occurred is mere rubbish considering that the eyewitnesses
Siloy and Dooma were firm and definite in their identification of them.

Time and time again, this Court has ruled that denial and alibi are the
weakest of all defenses, because they are easy to concoct and fabricate.
(People v. IIagan, 455 Phil. 891, 903 (2003). Furthermore, said defenses
cannot prevail over the positive and unequivocal identification of the appellant
by the prosecution witnesses. Suffice it to say that denial and alibi are
practically worthless against the positive identification made by the
prosecution witnesses (People v. Isla, Jr., 432 Phil. 414, 431 (2002).

The act of accused Cana in going near the victim Jessan from behind
and stabbing her at the left side portion of her body clearly shows that accused
Cana knows what part of the human body should be hit to inflict a fatal injury.
This can only be described as treachery and thus qualifying the killing as
Murder.

The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without warning,


done in a swift, deliberate and unexpected manner, affording the
hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or to
escape. The test of treachery may thus be expressed as follows: Did
the assailant consciously or deliberately employ means, methods or
forms in the execution of the criminal act which tended directly and
especially to ensure the execution thereof without risk to the
assailant himself arising from the defense which the victim might
make? If in the affirmative, treachery can be appreciated to qualify
the crime to murder.( People v. Grefaldia, G.R. Nos. 121631-36, 30
October 1998, 298 SCRA 337, cited in disenting opinion of Justine
Ynares-Santiago in (People vs Agsalog : 141087)

To reiterate the incident which took the life of the 19 year old Jessan
Galapin, in the late evening of September 14, 2010, she, a tomboy and her
girls, two of whom are the eyewitnesses, Rosalie Siroy and Leslie Dooma were
walking along the Talisay area of Ecoland, Davao City, after merry making at
Times Beach. They were stopped by a group of three (3) young men, two of
whom are accused Ramund Cana and Harold Milla, who asked for cigarette.
The tomboy Jessan Galapin replied that they have none only fare going home.

We surmised that Jessan Galapin and her girls must have taken some
alcoholic drink. The same with the group of Cana and Milla. Times Beach is,
after all known, as one of the poor man’s drinking holes in this part of the city.

There must have been something in the tone of Jessan’s voice that irked
the group of accused Cana and Milla. The latter asked if they are members of
the Lobo gang, to which the tomboy Jessan denied perhaps in a haughty voice.

Tipsy that they all were, it would not be far fetched to imagine that they
were causing annoyance to each other. This could only be the logical
explanation why accused Cana would take a pointed weapon hidden in the
cast of his left forearm and stabbed the tomboy Jessan at her back left side
portion, while the accused Mila raised his fist to punch Jessan but the latter
feeling that she was hit, run away.

Accused Raymond Cana having solely thought of and acted to fatally


stab victim Jessan should be solely punished for it.

While accused victim Harold Milla who merely attempted to box victim
Jessan has been in jail for eight (8) years already, serving enough jail time
for the felony of Unjust Vexation of which he would be convicted.

It is truly unfortunate that young people who are blessed with full use
of their physical and mental faculties should waste their youth and their life in
senseless merry making instead of engaging in meaningful activities.

It is with regret that Raymond Cana will grow old within the confines of
the penitentiary. We can only hope that he would find meaning in his life
behind bars, be remorseful of taking the life of Jessan Galapin and perhaps
one day, be granted a chance to be set free.

Having said that, we now render our verdict.


WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proved the guilt with moral
certainty, accused Raymund Cana is hereby CONVICTED of the crime of
Murder and accordingly sentenced him to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION
PERPETUA
He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Jessan Galapin P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P12,000.00 as actual damages
As for accused Harold Milla, he is criminally liable for Unjust Vexation.
However, having already served more than the penalty for this crime, he is
hereby ordered RELEASED from detention unless being detained by a lawful
order.

SO ORDERED.

Given this December 21, 2018 at Davao City, Philippines.

JUDGE ARLENE I. LIRAG-PALABRICA

Serve to:

The City Prosecutor


Davao City

The Public Attorney’s Office


Davao City

Raymond Cana

Harold Milla

Carmensita Casas
Diego Silang Punta Dumalag
Matina Aplaya Davao City