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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 89420 July 31, 1991

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROSALINO DUNGO, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

PARAS, J.:

This is an automatic review of the Decision* of the Regional Trial Court of the Third Judicial Region,
Branch 54, Macabebe, Pampanga, convicting the accused of the crime of murder.

The pertinent facts of the case are:

On March 24, 1987, the prosecuting attorney of the Province of Pampanga filed an information
charging Rosalino Dungo, the defendant-appellant herein, with the felony of murder, committed as
follows:

That on or about the 16th day of March, 1987 in the Municipality of Apalit, Province of
Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused ROSALINO DUNGO, armed with a knife, with deliberate intent to kill, by means of
treachery and with evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously attack, assault and stab Mrs. Belen Macalino Sigua with a knife hitting her in the
chest, stomach, throat and other parts of the body thereby inflicting upon her fatal wounds
which directly caused the death of said Belen Macalino Sigua.

All contrary to law, and with the qualifying circumstance of alevosia, evident premeditation
and the generic aggravating circumstance of disrespect towards her sex, the crime was
committed inside the field office of the Department of Agrarian Reform where public
authorities are engaged in the discharge of their duties, taking advantage of superior
strength and cruelty. (Record, p. 2)

On arraignment, accused-appellant Rosalino Dungo pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Trial on
the merits thereafter ensued.

The prosecution, through several witnesses, has established that on March 16, 1987 between the
hours of 2:00 and 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, a male person, identified as the accused, went to the
place where Mrs. Sigua was holding office at the Department of Agrarian Reform, Apalit, Pampanga.
After a brief talk, the accused drew a knife from the envelope he was carrying and stabbed Mrs.
Sigua several times. Accomplishing the morbid act, he went down the staircase and out of the DAR's
office with blood stained clothes, carrying along a bloodied bladed weapon. (TSN, pp. 4-19, 33-46,
April 13, 1987; TSN, pp. 5-21, 28-38, April 20, 1987).

The autopsy report (Exh. "A") submitted by Dra. Melinda dela Cruz Cabugawan reveals that the
victim sustained fourteen (14) wounds, five (5) of which were fatal.

Rodolfo Sigua, the husband of the deceased, testified that, sometime in the latter part of February,
1987, the accused Rosalino Dungo inquired from him concerning the actuations of his wife (the
victim) in requiring so many documents from the accused. Rodolfo Sigua explained to the accused
the procedure in the Department of Agrarian Reform but the latter just said "never mind, I could do it
my own way." Rodolfo Sigua further testified that his wife's annual salary is P17,000.00, and he
spent the amount of P75,000.00 for the funeral and related expenses due to the untimely death of
his wife. (TSN, pp. 4-21, April 22, 1987).

The accused, in defense of himself, tried to show that he was insane at the time of the commission
of the offense.

The defense first presented the testimony of Andrea Dungo, the wife of the accused. According to
her, her husband had been engaged in farming up to 1982 when he went to Lebanon for six (6)
months. Later, in December 1983, her husband again left for Saudi Arabia and worked as welder.
Her husband did not finish his two-year contract because he got sick. Upon his arrival, he underwent
medical treatment. He was confined for one week at the Macabali Clinic. Thereafter he had his
monthly check-up. Because of his sickness, he was not able to resume his farming. The couple,
instead, operated a small store which her husband used to tend. Two weeks prior to March 16,
1987, she noticed her husband to be in deep thought always; maltreating their children when he was
not used to it before; demanding another payment from his customers even if the latter had paid;
chasing any child when their children quarrelled with other children. There were also times when her
husband would inform her that his feet and head were on fire when in truth they were not. On the
fateful day of March 16, 1987, at around noon time, her husband complained to her of stomach
ache; however, they did not bother to buy medicine as he was immediately relieved of the pain
therein. Thereafter, he went back to the store. When Andrea followed him to the store, he was no
longer there. She got worried as he was not in his proper mind. She looked for him. She returned
home only when she was informed that her husband had arrived. While on her way home, she heard
from people the words "mesaksak" and "menaksak" (translated as "stabbing" and "has stabbed").
She saw her husband in her parents-in-law's house with people milling around, including the
barangay officials. She instinctively asked her husband why he did such act, but he replied, "that is
the only cure for my ailment. I have a cancer in my heart." Her husband further said that if he would
not be able to kill the victim in a number of days, he would die, and that he chose to live longer even
in jail. The testimony on the statements of her husband was corroborated by their neighbor Thelma
Santos who heard their conversation. (See TSN, pp. 12-16, July 10, 1987). Turning to the barangay
official, her husband exclaimed, "here is my wallet, you surrender me." However, the barangay
official did not bother to get the wallet from him. That same day the accused went to Manila. (TSN,
pp. 6-39, June 10, 1981)

Dra. Sylvia Santiago and Dr. Nicanor Echavez of the National Center for Mental Health testified that
the accused was confined in the mental hospital, as per order of the trial court dated August 17,
1987, on August 25, 1987. Based on the reports of their staff, they concluded that Rosalino Dungo
was psychotic or insane long before, during and after the commission of the alleged crime and that
his insanity was classified under organic mental disorder secondary to cerebro-vascular accident or
stroke. (TSN, pp. 4-33, June 17, 1988; TSN, pp. 5-27, August 2, 1988).
Rosalino Dungo testified that he once worked in Saudi Arabia as welder. However, he was not able
to finish his two-year contract when he got sick. He had undergone medical treatment at Macabali
Clinic. However, he claimed that he was not aware of the stabbing incident nor of the death of Mrs.
Belen Sigua. He only came to know that he was accused of the death of Mrs. Sigua when he was
already in jail. (TSN, pp. 5-14, July 15, 1988)

Rebuttal witnesses were presented by the prosecution. Dr. Vicente Balatbat testified that the
accused was his patient. He treated the accused for ailments secondary to a stroke. While Dr.
Ricardo Lim testified that the accused suffered from oclusive disease of the brain resulting in the left
side weakness. Both attending physicians concluded that Rosalino Dungo was somehow
rehabilitated after a series of medical treatment in their clinic. Dr. Leonardo Bascara further testified
that the accused is functioning at a low level of intelligence. (TSN, pp. 620, September 1, 1988;
TSN, pp. 4-29, November 7, 1988).

On January 20, 1989, the trial court rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal for the crime
of murder, the Court hereby renders judgment sentencing the accused as follows:

1. To suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and the accessories of the law;

2. To indemnify the family of the victim in the amount of P75,000.00 as actual damage,
P20,000.00 as exemplary damages and P30,000.00 as moral damages.

SO ORDERED. (p. 30, Rollo)

The trial court was convinced that the accused was sane during the perpetration of the criminal act.
The act of concealing a fatal weapon indicates a conscious adoption of a pattern to kill the victim. He
was apprehended and arrested in Metro Manila which indicates that he embarked on a flight in order
to evade arrest. This to the mind of the trial court is another indication that the accused was sane
when he committed the crime.

It is an exercise in futility to inquire into the killing itself as this is already admitted by the defendant-
appellant. The only pivotal issue before us is whether or not the accused was insane during the
commission of the crime changed.

One who suffers from insanity at the time of the commission of the offense charged cannot in a legal
sense entertain a criminal intent and cannot be held criminally responsible for his acts. His unlawful
act is the product of a mental disease or a mental defect. In order that insanity may relieve a person
from criminal responsibility, it is necessary that there be a complete deprivation of intelligence in
committing the act, that is, that the accused be deprived of cognition; that he acts without the least
discernment; that there be complete absence or deprivation of the freedom of the will. (People v.
Puno, 105 SCRA 151)

It is difficult to distinguish sanity from insanity. There is no definite defined border between sanity
and insanity. Under foreign jurisdiction, there are three major criteria in determining the existence of
insanity, namely: delusion test, irresistible impulse test, and the right and wrong test. Insane delusion
is manifested by a false belief for which there is no reasonable basis and which would be incredible
under the given circumstances to the same person if he is of compos mentis. Under the delusion
test, an insane person believes in a state of things, the existence of which no rational person would
believe. A person acts under an irresistible impulse when, by reason of duress or mental disease, he
has lost the power to choose between right and wrong, to avoid the act in question, his free agency
being at the time destroyed. Under the right and wrong test, a person is insane when he suffers from
such perverted condition of the mental and moral faculties as to render him incapable of
distinguishing between right and wrong. (See 44 C.J.S. 2)

So far, under our jurisdiction, there has been no case that lays down a definite test or criterion for
insanity. However, We can apply as test or criterion the definition of insanity under Section 1039 of
the Revised Administrative Code, which states that insanity is "a manifestation in language or
conduct, of disease or defect of the brain, or a more or less permanently diseased or disordered
condition of the mentality, functional or organic, and characterized by perversion, inhibition, or by
disordered function of the sensory or of the intellective faculties, or by impaired or disordered
volition." Insanity as defined above is evinced by a deranged and perverted condition of the mental
faculties which is manifested in language or conduct. An insane person has no full and clear
understanding of the nature and consequence of his act.

Thus, insanity may be shown by surrounding circumstances fairly throwing light on the subject, such
as evidence of the alleged deranged person's general conduct and appearance, his acts and
conduct inconsistent with his previous character and habits, his irrational acts and beliefs, and his
improvident bargains.

Evidence of insanity must have reference to the mental condition of the person whose sanity is in
issue, at the very time of doing the act which is the subject of inquiry. However, it is permissible to
receive evidence of his mental condition for a reasonable period both before and after the time of the
act in question. Direct testimony is not required nor the specific acts of derangement essential to
establish insanity as a defense. The vagaries of the mind can only be known by outward acts:
thereby we read the thoughts, motives and emotions of a person; and through which we determine
whether his acts conform to the practice of people of sound mind. (People v. Bonoan, 64 Phil. 87)

In the case at bar, defense's expert witnesses, who are doctors of the National Center for Mental
Health, concluded that the accused was suffering from psychosis or insanity classified under organic
mental disorder secondary to cerebro-vascular accident or stroke before, during and after the
commission of the crime charged. (Exhibit L, p. 4). Accordingly, the mental illness of the accused
was characterized by perceptual disturbances manifested through impairment of judgment and
impulse control, impairment of memory and disorientation, and hearing of strange voices. The
accused allegedly suffered from psychosis which was organic. The defect of the brain, therefore, is
permanent.

Dr. Echavez, defense's expert witness, admitted that the insanity of the accused was permanent and
did not have a period for normal thinking. To quote

Q Is there such a lucid intervals?

A In this case, considering the nature of the organic mental disorder, the lucid intervals
unfortunately are not present, sir.

(TSN, p. 36, August 2, 1988)

However, Dr. Echavez disclosed that the manifestation or the symptoms of psychosis may be
treated with medication. (TSN, p. 26, August 2, 1988). Thus, although the defect of the brain is
permanent, the manifestation of insanity is curable.

Dr. Echavez further testified that the accused was suffering from psychosis since January of 1987,
thus:
Q In your assessment of the patient, did you determine the length of time the patient has
been mentally ill?

A From his history, the patient started (sic) or had a stroke abroad. If I may be allowed to
scan my record, the record reveals that the patient had a stroke in Riyadh about seven (7)
months before his contract expired and he was brought home. Sometime in January of 1987,
the first manifestation is noted on the behavioral changes. He was noted to be in deep
thought, pre-occupied self, complaining of severe headache, deferment of sleep and loss of
appetite; and that was about January of 1987, Sir. (TSN, pp. 21-22, August 2, 1988)

The defense reposed their arguments on the findings of the doctors of the National Center for Mental
Health, specifically on Dr. Echavez's assessment that the accused has been insane since January of
1987 or three (3) months before the commission of the crime charged. The doctors arrived at this
conclusion based on the testimonies of the accused's wife and relatives, and after a series of
medical and psychological examinations on the accused when he was confined therein. However,
We are still in quandary as to whether the accused was really insane or not during the commission
of the offense.

The prosecution aptly rebutted the defense proposition, that the accused, though he may be insane,
has no lucid intervals. It is an undisputed fact that a month or few weeks prior to the commission of
the crime charged the accused confronted the husband of the victim concerning the actuations of the
latter. He complained against the various requirements being asked by the DAR office, particularly
against the victim. We quote hereunder the testimony of Atty. Rodolfo C. Sigua:

Q In the latter part of February 1987 do you remember having met the accused Rosalino
Dungo?

A Yes, sir.

Q Where?

A At our residence, sir, at San Vicente, Apalit, Pampanga.

Q Could you tell us what transpired in the latter part of February 1987, when you met the
accused at your residence?

A Accused went to our residence. When I asked him what he wanted, accused told me that
he wanted to know from my wife why she was asking so many documents: why she was
requiring him to be interviewed and file the necessary documents at the Office of the DAR.
Furthermore, he wanted to know why my wife did not want to transfer the Certificate of Land
Transfer of the landholding of his deceased father in his name.

xxx xxx xxx

Q When the accused informed you in the latter part of February 1987 that your wife the late
Belen Macalino Sigua was making hard for him the transfer of the right of his father, what did
you tell him?

A I asked the accused, "Have you talked or met my wife? Why are you asking this question
of me?"
Q What was his answer?

A Accused told me that he never talked nor met my wife but sent somebody to her office to
make a request for the transfer of the landholding in the name of his deceased father in his
name.

Q When you informed him about the procedure of the DAR, what was the comment of the
accused?

A The accused then said, "I now ascertained that she is making things difficult for the
transfer of the landholding in the name of my father and my name."

(TSN, pp. 5-7, April 22, 1987)

If We are to believe the contention of the defense, the accused was supposed to be mentally ill
during this confrontation. However, it is not usual for an insane person to confront a specified person
who may have wronged him. Be it noted that the accused was supposed to be suffering from
impairment of the memory, We infer from this confrontation that the accused was aware of his acts.
This event proves that the accused was not insane or if insane, his insanity admitted of lucid
intervals.

The testimony of defense witness Dr. Nicanor Echavez is to the effect that the appellant could have
been aware of the nature of his act at the time he committed it. To quote:

Q Could you consider a person who is undergoing trial, not necessarily the accused, when
asked by the Court the whereabouts of his lawyer he answered that his lawyer is not yet in
Court and that he is waiting for his counsel to appear and because his counsel did not
appear, he asked for the postponement of the hearing of the case and to reset the same to
another date. With those facts, do you consider him insane?

A I cannot always say that he is sane or insane, sir.

Q In other words, he may be sane and he may be insane?

A Yes, sir.

COURT

Q How about if you applied this to the accused, what will be your conclusion?

A Having examined a particular patient, in this particular case, I made a laboratory


examination, in short all the assessment necessary to test the behavior of the patient, like for
example praying for postponement and fleeing from the scene of the crime is one situation to
consider if the patient is really insane or not. If I may elaborate to explain the situation of the
accused, the nature of the illness, the violent behavior, then he appears normal he can
reason out and at the next moment he burst out into violence regardless motivated or
unmotivated. This is one of the difficulties we have encountered in this case. When we
deliberated because when we prepared this case we have really deliberation with all the
members of the medical staff so those are the things we considered. Like for example he
shouted out "Napatay ko si Mrs. Sigua!" at that particular moment he was aware of what he
did, he knows the criminal case.
COURT

Q With that statement of yours that he was aware when he shouted that he killed the victim
in this case, Mrs. Sigua, do we get it that he shouted those words because he was aware
when he did the act?

A The fact that he shouted, Your Honor, awareness is there. (TSN, pp. 37-41, August 2,
1983; emphasis supplied)

Insanity in law exists when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence. The statement of one of
the expert witnesses presented by the defense, Dr. Echavez, that the accused knew the nature of
what he had done makes it highly doubtful that accused was insane when he committed the act
charged. As stated by the trial court:

The Court is convinced that the accused at the time that he perpetrated the act was sane.
The evidence shows that the accused, at the time he perpetrated the act was carrying an
envelope where the fatal weapon was hidden. This is an evidence that the accused
consciously adopted a pattern to kill the victim. The suddenness of the attack classified the
killing as treacherous and therefore murder. After the accused ran away from the scene of
the incident after he stabbed the victim several times, he was apprehended and arrested in
Metro Manila, an indication that he took flight in order to evade arrest. This to the mind of the
Court is another indicia that he was conscious and knew the consequences of his acts in
stabbing the victim (Rollo, p. 63)

There is no ground to alter the trial court's findings and appreciation of the evidence presented.
(People v. Claudio, 160 SCRA 646). The trial court had the privilege of examining the deportment
and demeanor of the witnesses and therefore, it can discern if such witnesses were telling the truth
or not.

Generally, in criminal cases, every doubt is resolved in favor of the accused.1âwphi1 However, in
the defense of insanity, doubt as to the fact of insanity should be resolved in fervor of sanity. The
burden of proving the affirmative allegation of insanity rests on the defense. Thus:

In considering the plea of insanity as a defense in a prosecution for crime, the starting
premise is that the law presumes all persons to be of sound mind. (Art. 800, Civil Code: U.S.
v. Martinez, 34 Phil. 305) Otherwise stated, the law presumes all acts to be voluntary, and
that it is improper to presume that acts were done unconsciously (People v. Cruz, 109 Phil.
288). . . . Whoever, therefore, invokes insanity as a defense has the burden of proving its
existence. (U.S. v. Zamora, 52 Phil. 218) (People v. Aldemita, 145 SCRA 451)

The quantum of evidence required to overthrow the presumption of sanity is proof beyond
reasonable doubt. Insanity is a defense in a confession and avoidance and as such must be proved
beyond reasonable doubt. Insanity must be clearly and satisfactorily proved in order to acquit an
accused on the ground of insanity. Appellant has not successfully discharged the burden of
overcoming the presumption that he committed the crime as charged freely, knowingly, and
intelligently.

Lastly, the State should guard against sane murderer escaping punishment through a general plea
of insanity. (People v. Bonoan, supra) PREMISES CONSIDERED, the questioned decision is hereby

AFFIRMED without costs.


SO ORDERED.

Melencio-Herrera, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.


Sarmiento, J., concurs in the result.

Footnotes

* Penned by Judge Lorenzo B. Veneracion.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-45130 February 17, 1937

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
CELESTINO BONOAN Y CRUZ, defendant-appellant.

Paulino Sevilla, Fernando Arce and Gaudencio Garcia for appellant.


Undersecretary of Justice for appellee.

LAUREL, J.:

On January 5, 1935, the prosecuting attorney of the City of Manila filed an information charging
Celestino Bonoan, the defendant-appellant herein, with the crime of murder, committed as follows:

That on or about the 12th day of December, 1934, in the City of Manila, Philippine Islands,
the said accused, with evident premeditation and treachery, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously, without any justifiable motive and with the decided purpose to kill
one Carlos Guison, attack, assault and stab the said Carlos Guison on the different parts of
his body with a knife, thereby inflicting upon him the following injuries, to wit:

"One stab wound at the right epigastric region penetrating one cm. into the superior surace
of the right lobe of the liver; and three non-penetrating stab wounds located respectively at
the posterior and lateral lumbar region, and left elbow", which directly caused the death of
the said Carlos Guison three days afterwards.

On January 16, 1935, the case was called for the arraignment of the accused. The defense counsel
forthwith objected to the arraignment on the ground that the defendant was mentally deranged and
was at the time confined in the Psychopatic Hospital. The court thereupon issued an order requiring
the Director of the Hospital to render a report on the mental condition of the accused. Accordingly,
Dr. Toribio Joson, assistant alientist, rendered his report,Exhibit 4, hereinbelow incorporated. On
March 23, 1935, the case was again called for the arraignment of the accused, but in view of the
objection of the fiscal, the court issued another order requiring the doctor of the Psyhopatic Hospital
who examined the defendant to appear and produce the complete record pertaining to the mental
condition of the said defendant. Pursuant to this order, Dr. Toribio Joson appeared before the court
on March 26, 1935 for the necessary inquiry. Thereafter, the prosecution and the defense asked the
court to summon the other doctors of the hospital for questioning as to the mental condition of the
accused, or to place the latter under a competent doctor for a closer observation. The trial court then
issued an order directing that the accused be placed under the chief alienist or an assistant alienist
of the Psychopatic Hospital for his personal observation and the subsequent submission of a report
as to the true mental condition of the patient. Dr. Jose A. Fernandez, assistant alienist of the
Psychopathic Hospital, rendered his report, Exhibit 5, on June 11, 1935. On June 28, 1935, the case
was called again. Dr. Fernandez appeared before the court and ratified his report, Exhibit 5, stating
that the accused was not in a condition to defend himself. In view thereof, the case was suspended
indefinitely.

On January 21, 1936, Dr. Dr. Fernandez reported to the court that the defendant could be
discharged from the hospital and appear for trial, as he was "considered a recovered case."
Summoned by the court, Dr. Fernandez, appeared and testified that the accused "had recovered
from the disease." On February 27, 1936, the accused was arraigned, pleaded "not guilty" and trial
was had.

After trial, the lower court found the defendant guilty of the offense charged in the information above-
quoted and sentenced him to life imprisonment, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of
P1,000, and to pay the costs.

The defendant now appeals to this court and his counsel makes the following assignment of errors:

A. The court a quo erred in finding that the evidence establishes that the accused has
had dementia only occasionally and intermittently and has not had it immediately prior to the
commission of the defense.

B. The court a quo erred in finding that the evidence in this case further shows that during
and immediately after the commission of the offense, the accused did not show any kind of
abnormality either in behavior, language and appearance, or any kind of action showing that
he was mentally deranged.

C. The court a quo erred in declaring that under the circumstances that burden was on the
defense to show hat the accused was mentally deranged at the time of the commission of
the offense, and that the defense did not establish any evidence to this effect.

D. The court a quo in finding the accused guilty of the offense charged and in not acquitting
him thereof.

It appears that in the morning of December 12, 1934, the defendant Celestino Bonoan met the now
deceased Carlos Guison on Avenida Rizal near a barbershop close to Tom's Dixie Kitchen.
Francisco Beech, who was at the time in the barbershop, heard the defendant say in Tagalog, "I will
kill you." Beech turned around and saw the accused withdrawing his right hand, which held a knife,
from the side of Guison who said, also in Tagalog, "I will pay you", but Bonoan replied saying that he
would kill him and then stabbed Guison thrice on the left side. The assaultt was witnessed by
policeman Damaso Arnoco who rushed to the scene and arrested Bonoan and took possession of
the knife, Exhibit A. Guison was taken to the Philippine General Hospital where he died two days
later. Exhibit C is the report of the autopsy performed on December 15, 1934, by Dr. Sixto de los
Angeles.
As the killing of the deceased by the defendant-appellant is admitted, it does not seem necessary to
indulge in any extended analysis of the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution. The defense
set up being that of insanity, the only question to be determined in this appeal is whether or not the
defendant-appellant was insane at the time of the commission of the crime charged.

On the question of insanity as a defense in criminal cases, and the incidental corollaries as to the
legal presumption and the kind and quantum of evidence required, theories abound and authorities
are in sharp conflict. Stated generally, courts in the United States proceed upon three different
theories. (See Herzog, Alfred W., Medical Jurisprudence [1931], sec. 655 et seq., p. 479 et
seq.; also Lawson, Insanity in Criminal Cases, p. 11et seq.) The first view is that insanity as a
defense in a confession and avoidance and as must be proved beyond reasonable doubt when the
commission of a crime is established, and the defense of insanity is not made out beyond a
reasonable doubt, conviction follows. In other words, proof of insanity at the time of committing the
criminal act should be clear and satisfactory in order to acquit the accused on the ground of insanity
(Hornblower, C. J., in State vs. Spencer, 21 N. J. L., 196). The second view is that an affirmative
verdict of insanity is to be governed by a preponderance of evidence, and in this view, insanity
is not to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. According to Wharton in his "Criminal Evidence"
(10th ed.,vol. I, sec. 338), this is the rule in England (Reg. vs. Layton, 4 Cox, C. C., 149; Reg. vs.
Higginson, 1 Car. & K., 130), and in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The third
view is that the prosecution must prove sanity beyond a reasonable doubt (Dais vs. United States,
160 U. S. 496; 40 Law. ed., 499; 16 Sup. Ct. Rep., 353; Hotema vs. United States, 186 U. S., 413;
46 Law. ed., 1225; 22 Sup. Ct. Rep., 895; United States vs. Lancaster, 7 Biss., 440; Fed. Cas. No.
15,555; United States vs. Faulkner, 35 Fed., 730). This liberal view is premised on the proposition
that while it is true that the presumption of sanity exists at the outset, the prosecution affirms every
essential ingredients of the crime charged, and hence affirms sanity as one essential ingredients,
and that a fortiori where the accused introduces evidence to prove insanity it becomes the duty of
the State to prove the sanity of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the Philippines, we have approximated the first and stricter view (People vs. Bacos [1922], 44
Phil., 204). The burden, to be sure, is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
the defendant committed the crime, but insanity is presumed, and ". . . when a defendant in a
criminal case interposes the defense of mental incapacity, the burden of establishing that fact rests
upon him. . . ." (U. S. vs. Martinez [1916], 34 Phil., 305, 308, 309; U. S. vs. Bascos, supra.) We
affirm and reiterate this doctrine.

In the case at bar, the defense interposed being that the defendant was insane at the time he killed
the deceased, the obligation of proving that affirmative allegation rests on the defense. Without
indulging in fine distinctions as to the character and degree of evidence that must be presented
sufficiently convincing evidence, direct or circumstantial, to a degree that satisfies the judicial mind
that the accused was insane at the time of the perpetration of the offense? In order to ascertain a
person's mental condition at the time of the act, it is permissible to receive evidence of the condition
of his mind a reasonable period both before and after that time. Direct testimony is not required
(Wharton, Criminal Evidence, p. 684; State vs. Wright, 134 Mo., 404; 35 S. W., 1145; State vs.
Simms, 68 Mo., 305; Rinkard vs. State, 157 Ind., 534; 62 N. E., 14; People vs. Tripler, I Wheeler,
Crim. Cas., 48), nor are specific acts of derangement essential (People vs. Tripler, supra) to
established insanity as a defense. Mind can only be known by outward acts. Thereby, we read the
thoughts, the motives and emotions of a person and come to determine whether his acts conform to
the practice of people of sound mind. To prove insanity, therefore, cicumstantial evidence, if clear
and convincing, suffice (People vs. Bascos [1922], 44 Phil., 204).
The trial judge arrived at the conclusion that the defendantwas not insane at the time of the
commission of the act for which he was prosecuted on the theory that the insanity was only
occassional or intermittent and not permanentor continuous (32 C. J., sec. 561, p. 757). We are
appraised of the danger of indulging in the preseumption ofcontinuity in cases of temporary or
spasmodic insanity.We appreciate the reason forthe contrary rule. To be sure, courts should be
careful to distinguish insanity in law from passion or eccentricity, mental weakness or mere
depression resulting from physical ailment. The State should guard against sane murderers
escaping punishment through a general plea of insanity. In the case at bar, however, we are not
cconcerned with connecting two or more attacks of insanity to show the continuance thereof during
the intervening period or periods but with the continuity of a particular and isolated attack prior to the
commission of the crime charged, and ending with a positive diagnosis of insanity immediately
following the commission of the act complained of. Upon the other hand, there are facts and
circumstances of record which can not be overlooked.The following considerations have weighed
heavily upon the minds of the majority of this court in arriving at a conclusion different from that
reached by the court below:.

(a) From the evidence presented by the defense, uncontradicted by the prosecution, it
appears that the herein defendant-appellant, during the periods from April 11 to April 26,
1922, and from January 6 to January 10, 1926, was confined in the insane department of the
San Lazaro Hospital suffering from a disease diagnosed as dementia præcox. His
confinement during these periods, it is true, was long before the commission of the offense
on December 12, 1934, but this is a circumstance which tends to show that the recurrence of
the ailment at the time of the occurence of the crime is not entirely lacking of any rational or
scientific foundation.

(b) All persons suffering from dementia præcox are clearly to be regarded as having mental
disease to a degree that disqualifies them for legal responsibility for their actions (Mental
Disorder in Medico-Legal Relations by Dr. Albert M. Barrett in Peterson, Haines and
Webster, Legal Medicine and Toxology, vol. I, p. 613). According to Dr. Elias Domingo, chief
alienist of the Insular Psychopathic Hospital, the symptoms ofdementia præcox, in certain
peeriods of excitement, are similar to those of manic depresive psychosis (p. 19, t. s. n.) and,
in either case, the mind appears "deteriorated" because, "when a person becomes affected
by this kind of disease, either dementia præcox or manic depresive psychosis, during the
period of excitement, he has no control whatever of his acts." (P. 21, t. s. n.) Even if viewed
under the general medico-legal classification of manic-depressive insanity, "it is largely in
relation with the question of irrestible impulse that forensic relations of manic actions will
have to be considered. There is in this disorder a pathologic lessening or normal inhibitions
and the case with which impulses may lead to actions impairs deliberations and the use of
normal checks to motor impulses" (Peterson, Haines and Webster, Legal Medicine and
Toxology [2d ed., 1926], vol, I, p. 617).

(c) According to the uncontradicted testimony of Dr. Celedonio S. Francisco, at one time an
interne at San LazaroHospital, for four (4) days immediately preceding December 12, 1934
— the date when the crime was committed — the defendant and appellant had "an attack of
insomnia", which is one of the symptoms of, and may lead to, dementia præcox (Exhibit 3,
defense testimony of Dr. Celedonio S. Francisco, pp. 13, 14, t. s. n.).

(d) The defendant-appellant appears to have been arrested and taken to the police station
on the very same day of the perpetration of the crime, and although attempted were made by
detectives to secure a statement from him (see Exhibit B and D and testimony of Charles
Strabel, t. s. n. pp. 9, 10) he was sent by the police department to the Psychopathic Hospital
the day following the commission of the crime. This is an indication that the police authorities
themselves doubted the mental normalcy of the acused, which doubt found confirmation in
the official reports submitted by the specialists of the San Lazaro Hospital.

(e) According to the report (Exhibit 4) of the alienist in charge, Dr. Toribio Joson, which report
was made within the first month of treatment, the defendant was suffering from a form of
psychosis, called manic depressive psychosis.We quote the report in full:

INSULAR PSYCHOPATIC HOSPITAL


MANDALUYONG, RIZAL

January 15, 1935.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The chief Alienist, Insular Psychopatic


Hospital, Mandaluyong, Rizal.

SUBJECT: Patient Celestino Bonoan, male,


Filipino, 30 years old, sent by the
Secret Service of the City of Manila
for mental examinition.

1. MENTAL STATUS:

(a) General behavior. — The patient is undetective, staying most of the time in his
bed with his eyes closed and practically totally motionless. At other times, however,
but on very rare occassions and at short intervals he apparently wakes up and then
he walks around, and makes signs and ritualistic movements with the extremities and
other parts of the body. Ordinarily he takes his meal but at times he refuses to take
even the food offered by his mother or sister, so that there have been days in the
hospital when he did not take any nourishment. On several occassions he refused to
have the bath, or to have his hair cut and beard shaved, and thus appear untidy. He
would also sometimes refuse his medicine, and during some of the intervals he
displayed impulsive acts, such as stricking his chest or other parts of the body with
his fists and at one time after a short interview, he struck strongly with his fist the
door of the nurse's office without apparent motivation. He also sometimes laughs, or
smiles, or claps his hands strongly without provocation.

(b) Stream of talk. — Usually the patient is speechless, can't be persuaded to speak,
and would not answer in any form the questions propounded to him. Very often he is
seen with his eyes closed apparently praying as he was mumbling words but would
not answer at all when talked to. At one time he was seen in this condition with a
cross made of small pieces of strick in his hand. He at times during the interviews
recited passages in the literature as for example the following.

"La virtud y las buenas costumbres son la verdadera nobleza del hombre.
(Truthfulness, honesty and loyalty are among the attributes of a dependable
character.)"

At one time he tried to recite the mass in a very loud voice in the hospital.

(c) Mood. — Patient is usually apathetic and indifferent but at times he looks anxious
and rather irritable. He himself states that the often feels said in the hospital.
(d) Orientation. — During the periods that he was acccessible he was found oriented
as to place and person but he did not know the day or the date.

(e) Illusion and hallucination. — The patient states that during the nights that he
could not sleep he could hear voices telling him many things. Voices, for example,
told that he should escape. That he was going to be killed because he was
benevolet. That he could sometimes see the shadow of his former sweetheart in the
hospital. There are times however when he could not hear or see at all anything.

(f ) Delusion and misinterpretation. — On one occassion he told the examiner that he


could not talk in his first day in the hospital because of a mass he felt he had in his
throat. He sometimes thinks that he is already dead and already buried in the La
Loma Cemetery.

(g) Compulsive phenomena. — None.

(h) Memory. — The patient has a fairly good memory for remote events, but his
memory for recent events or for example, for events that took place during his stay in
the hospital he has no recollection at all.

(i) Grasp of general informartion. — He has a fairly good grasp of general


information. He could not, however, do simple numerial tests as the 100-7 test.

( j) Insight and judgment. — At his fairly clear periods he stated that he might have
been insane during his first days in the hospital, but just during the interview on
January 14, 1935, he felt fairly well. Insight and judgment were, of course, nil during
his stuporous condition. During the last two days he has shown marked improvement
in his behavior as to be cooperative, and coherent in his speech.

2. OPINION AND DIAGNOSIS:

The patient during his confinement in the hospital has been found suffering from a
form of physchosis, called Manic depressive psychosis.

(Sgd.) TORIBIO JOSON, M. D.


Assistant Alienist

In the subsequent report, dated June 11, 1935 (Exhibit 5), filed by Dr. Jose A. Fernandez, another
assistant alienist in the Insular Pshychopatic Hospital, the following conclusion was reached:

I am of the opinion that actually this patient is sick. He is suffering from the Manic
Depressive form of psychosis. It might be premature to state before the court has
decided this case, but I believe it a duty to state, that this person is not safe to be at
large. He has a peculiar personality make-up, a personality lacking in control, overtly
serious in his dealings with the every day events of this earthly world, taking justice
with his own hands and many times executing it in an impulsive manner as to make
his action over proportionate — beyond normal acceptance. He is sensitive, overtly
religious, too idealistic has taste and desires as to make him queer before the
average conception of an earthly man.

He will always have troubles and difficulaties with this world of realities.
(Sgd.) J. A. Fernandez, M. D.
Assistant Alienist

To prove motive and premeditation and, indirectly, mental normlacy of the accused at the time of the
commission of the crime, the prosecution called on policeman Damaso Arnoco. Arnoco testified that
upon arresting the defendant-appellant he inquired from the latter for the reason for the assault and
the defendant-appellant replied that the deceased Guison owed him P55 and would pay; that
appellant bought the knife, Exhibit A, for 55 centavos in Tabora Street and that for two days he had
been watching for Guison in order to kill him (pp. 5, 6, t. s. n.). Benjamin Cruz, a detective, was also
called and corroborated the testimony of policeman Arnoco. That such kind of evidence is not
necessarily proof of the sanity of the accused during the commission of the offense, is clear from
what Dr. Sydney Smith, Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine, University of Edinburg, said in his
work on Forensic Medicine (3d ed. [London], p. 382), that in the type of dementia præcox, "the crime
is ussually preceded by much complaining and planning. In these people, homicidal attcks are
common, because of delusions that they are being interfered with sexually or that their property is
being taken."

In view of the foregoing, we are of the opinion that the defendant-appellant was demented at the
time he perpetrated the serious offense charged in the information and that conseuently he is
exempt from criminal liability. Accordingly, the judgment of the lower court is hereby reversed, and
the defendant-appellant acquitted, with costs de oficio in both instances. In conforminty with
paragraph 1 of article 12 of the Revised Penal Code, the defendant shall kept in confinement in the
San Lazaro Hospital or such other hospital for the insane as may be desiganted by the Director of
the Philippine Health Service, there to remain confined until the Court of First Instance of Manila
shall otherwise order or decree. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real and Abad Santos, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

IMPERIAL, J., dissenting:

I agree with the dissenting opinions of Hustices Diaz and Concepcion.

There is not question as to the facts constituting the crime imputed to the accused. The
disagreement arises from the conclusions which both opinions attempt to infer therefrom. The
majority opinon establishes the conclusion that the accused was not in his sound mind when he
committed the crime because he was then suffering fromdementia præcox. The dissenting opinions,
in establishing the conclusion that the accused was then in the possession of his mental facilities, or,
at leats, at a lucid interval, are based on the fact admitted by the parties and supported by expert
testimony, that the accused, before the commission of the crime, had been cured of dementia
præcox and later of manic depressive psychosis. The majority opinion admits that there is no
positive evidence regarding the mantal state of the accused when he comitted the crime, but it infers
from the facts that he must have then been deprived of his reason. This inference is not sufficiently
supported by the circumtantial evidence. I it is admitted that the legal presumption is that a person
who commits a crime is in his right mind (U. S. vs. Hontiveros Carmona, 18 Phil., 62; U. S. vs.
Guevara, 27 Phil., 547; U. S. vs. Zamora, 32 Phil., 218; U. S. vs. Martinez, 34 Phil., 305; People vs.
Bascos, 44 Phil., 204), because the law presumes all acts and ommissions punishable by law to be
voluntary (art. 1, Penal Code; article 4, subsection 1, Revised Penal Code), and if, as it appears,
there is sufficient or satisfactory evidence that the accused was mentally incapacitated when he
committed the crime, the conclusion of fact must be the same presumption established by law, that
is, that he was in his right mind, and the conclusion of law must be that he is criminal liable.

There is another detail worth mentioning which is that no credit was given to the conclusions of fact
arrived at by the judge who tried the case. He observed and heard the witnesses who testified and
he had the advantage of testing their credibility nearby. After weighing all the evidence he arrived at
the conclusion that the accused committed the crime while he was in his right mind. This court
generally gives much weight to the conclusions of fact of the judge who tried the case in the first
instance and does not reject them useless they are clearly in conflict with the evidence.

DIAZ, J., dissenting:

I do not agree to the majority opinion. The appellant committed the crime while he was sane, or at
least, during a lucid interval. He did not kill his victim without rhyme or reason and only for the sake
of killing him. He did so to avenge himself or to punish his victim for having refused, according to
him, to pay a debt of P55 after having made him many promises. He so stated clearly to the
policeman who arrested him immediately after the incident; and he made it so understood to the
witness Mariano Yamson, a friend of both the appellant and his victim, before the commission of the
crime.

The law presumes that everybody is in his sound mind because ordinarily such is his normal
condition. Insanity is an exception which may be said to exist only when thereis satisfactorily
evidence establishing it and it certainly is not always permanent because there are cases in which it
comes and takes place only occasionaly and lasts more or less time according to the circumstances
of the individual, that is, the condition of his health, his environment, and the other contributory
causes thereof. The law itself recognizes this, so much so that in establishing the rule that insane
persons are excempt from criminal liability, because they commit no crime, it also makes the
exception that this is true only when they have not acted during a lucid intervals (art. 12, subsec. 1,
of the Revised Penal Code).

The appellant was afflicted with insanity only for a few days during the months stated in the majority
opinion; April 1922 and January 1926, but he was later pronounced cured in the hospital where he
had been confined because he had already returned to normalcy by recovering his reason. For this
one fact alone, instead of stating that he acted during a lucid interval on said occasion, it should be
said on the contrary, taking into consideration the explanations given by him to the policemen who
arrested him and to other witnesses for the prosecution with whom he had been talking before and
after the incident, that he acted while in the full possession of his mental faculties.

The fact that the appellant was aflicted with manic depressive psychosis after the crime, as certified
by Drs. Toribio Joson, J. A. Fernandez and Elias Domingo who examined him, does not prove that
he was so afflicted on the date and at the time of the commission of the crime nor that said ailment,
taking for granted that he was suffering therefrom, had deprived him of his reason to such an extent
that he could not account for his acts.

There is no evidence of record to show that the appellant was actually insane when he committed
the crime or that he continued to be afflicted with said ailment for which he had to be confined in the
insane asylum for some days during the months above-stated, in 1922 and 1926. The most
reasonable rule which should be adopted in these cases is the one followed by various courts of the
United States stated in 32 C. J., 757, section 561, and 16 C. J., 538, 539, section 1012 as follows:
If the insanity, admitted, or proved, is only occassional or intermittent in its nature, the
presumption of its continuance does not arise, and he who relies on such insanity proved at
another time must prove its existence also at the time alleged. (32 C. J., 757, sec. 561.)

Where it is shown that defendant had lucid intervals, it will be presumed that the offense was
committed in one of them. A person who has been adjudged insane, or who has been
committed to a hospital or to an asylum for the insane, is presumed to continue insane; but
as in the case of prior insanity generally, a prior adjudication of insanity does not raise a
presumption of continued insanity, where the insanity is not of a permanent or continuing
character, or where, for a considerable period of time, the person has been on parole from
the hospital or asylum to which he was committed, or where he escaped from the asylum at
a time when he was about to be discharged. (16 C. J., 538, 539, sec. 1012.)

On the other hand, in Clevenger's Medical Jirusprudence of Insanity (vol. 1, pp. 482 and 484, the
following appears:

Fitful and exceptional attacks of insanity are not presumed to be continuous. And the
existence of prior or subsequent lunacy, except where it is habitual, does not suffice to
change the burden of proof. And where an insane person has lucid intervals offenses
committed by him will be presumed to have been committed in a lucid intervals unless the
contrary appears. The maxim "Once insane presumed always to be insane" does not apply
where the malady or delusion under which the alleged insane person labored was in its
nature accidental or temporary, or the effect of some sickness or disease.

And in order to raise a presumption of continuance it must be of permanent type or a


continuing nature or possessed of the characteristics of an habitual and confirmed disorder
of the mind. And it must appear to have been of such duration and character as to indicate
the probability of its continuance, and not simply the possibility or probability of its
recurrence. And there should be some evidence tending to show settled insanity as
contradistinguished from temporary aberration or hallucination, to justify an instruction which
does nor recognize such a distinction.

It is alleged that the appellant was suffering from insomia before he committed the crime in question.
Such condition does not necessarily prove that on the day in question he was actually insane.
Insomia, according to Dr. Elias Domingo, is not an exlcusive symptom of insanity; other diseases
and ailments also have it (t. s. n., p.19).

In view of the foregoing considerations and of those stated in the dissenting opinion of Justice
Concepcion, I vote for the affirmance of the appealed sentence, because in my opinion it is
supported by the evidence and in accordance with law.

CONCEPCION, J., dissenting:

I dissent: Above all, I wish to state: (1) that the crime committed by the accused is an admitted fact;
and (2) that I adhere to the statement of the majority that it is settled in this jurisdiction that a defense
based upon the insanity of the accused should be established by means of clear, indubitable and
satisfactory evidence.

On December 12, 1934, the accused stabbed the deceased Carlos Guison who, as a result the
wounds received by him, died in the hospital two days after the aggression.
It is alleged that the accused was insane at the time he committed this crime. What evidence is there
of record in support of this defense? Mention has been made of the fact that the accused had been
confined in the san Lazaro Hospital and later in the Psychopathic Hospital. He was confined in the
San Lazaro Hospital from April 11 to April 26, 1922. He returned to the hospital on January 6, 1926,
and left on the 10th of said month and years. Dr Elias Domingo, chief alienist of the Psychopathic
Hospital was questioned as follows:

Q. When he left the hospital, can you state whether he was already completely cured of his
insanity? — A. He wassocially adjustable.

Q. What do you mean by socially adjustable? — A. That he could adapt himself to


environment.

There is no evidence that from the month of January, 1926, when he was declared cured at the
Psychopathic Hospital, to December 12, 1934, the date of the crime, he had shown signs of having
had a relapse. Therefore it is a proven fact during the long period of nine years the accused had
been sane.

It is alleged, however, that four days before the crime the accused was under treatment by Dr.
Celedonio S. Francisco because he was suffering from insomia. Dr. Francisco admitted that he was
not a specialist in mental diseases. He is, therefore, disqualified from testifying satisfactorily on the
mental condition of the accused four days before the crime; and in fact neither has Dr. Francisco
given any convincing testimony to prove that when the accused was under treatment by him he was
suffering from dementia præcox, as the only thing he said was that the accused-appellant had an
attack of insomia which is one of the symptoms of and may lead to dementia præcox(Exhibit 3; t. s.
n., pp. 13, 14). This is not an affirmation of a fact but of a mere possibility. The innoncence of the
accused cannot be based on mere theories or possibilities. To prove insanity as a defense, material,
incontrovertible facts, although circumstantial, are necessary.

On the contrary the evidence shows that on the day the accused committed the crime he talked and
behaved as an entirely normal man. Policemen Damaso T. Arnoco and Benjamin Cruz testified that
the accused, after having been asked why he had attacked Carlos Guison, replied that it was
because Guison owed him P55 for a long time and did not pay him. The accused stated that he
bought the knife with which he had stabbed Guison on Tabora Street for fifty centavos and he had
been waiting for two days to kill Guison. The accused took his dinner at noon on December 12th.
The statement of the accused which was taken in writing by detectives Charles Strubel and Manalo
on December12th was left unfinished because Cruz of the Bureau of Labor arrived and told the
accused not to be a fool and not to make any statement. Thereafter the accused refused to continue
his statement. All of these show that on that day the accused behaved as a sane man and he even
appeared to be prudent, knowing how to take advantage of advice favorable to him, as that given
him by Cruz of the Bureau of Labor. Furthermore it cannot be said hat the accused had stabbed
Guison through hallucination because it is an established fact that his victim really owed him money
as confirmed by the fact that when Guison was stabbed he cried to the accused "I am going to pay
you", according to the testimony of an eyewitness. Therefore the motive of the aggression was a real
and positive fact: vengeance.

Some days after the commission of the crime, the accused was placed under observation in the
Psychopathic Hospital because he showed symptoms of a form of psychosis called depressive
psychosis from which he had already been cured when the case was tried. This pyschosis is of
course evidence that the accused was afflicted with this ailment after the commission of the crime. It
would not be casual to affirm that the commission of the crime had affected his reason. Nervous
shock is one of the causes of insanity (Angeles, Legal Medicine, p. 728); but it cannot be logically
inferred therefrom that the accused was also mentally deranged on the day of the crime, aside from
the ciscumstance that the evidence shows just the contrary. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the
appealed sentence should be affirmed.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-18463 October 4, 1922

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GREGORIO PERFECTOR, defendant-appellant.

Alfonso E. Mendoza and the appellant in behalf of the latter.


Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee.

MALCOLM, J.:

The important question is here squarely presented of whether article 256 of the Spanish Penal
Code, punishing "Any person who, by . . . writing, shall defame, abuse, or insult any Minister of the
Crown or other person in authority . . .," is still in force.

About August 20, 1920, the Secretary of the Philippine Senate, Fernando M. Guerrero, discovered
that certain documents which constituted the records of testimony given by witnesses in the
investigation of oil companies, had disappeared from his office. Shortly thereafter, the Philippine
Senate, having been called into special session by the Governor-General, the Secretary for the
Senate informed that body of the loss of the documents and of the steps taken by him to discover
the guilty party. The day following the convening of the Senate, September 7, 1920, the
newspaper La Nacion, edited by Mr. Gregorio Perfecto, published an article reading as follows:

Half a month has elapsed since the discovery, for the first time, of the scandalous robbery of
records which were kept and preserved in the iron safe of the Senate, yet up to this time
there is not the slightest indication that the author or authors of the crime will ever be
discovered.

To find them, it would not, perhaps, be necessary to go out of the Sente itself, and the
persons in charge of the investigation of the case would not have to display great skill in
order to succeed in their undertaking, unless they should encounter the insuperable obstacle
of offical concealment.

In that case, every investigation to be made would be but a mere comedy and nothing more.

After all, the perpetration of the robbery, especially under the circumstances that have
surrounded it, does not surprise us at all.
The execution of the crime was but the natural effect of the environment of the place in which
it was committed.

How many of the present Senators can say without remorse in their conscience and with
serenity of mind, that they do not owe their victory to electoral robbery? How may?

The author or authors of the robbery of the records from the said iron safe of the Senate
have, perhaps, but followed the example of certain Senators who secured their election
through fraud and robbery.

The Philippine Senate, in its session of September 9, 1920, adopted a resolution authorizing its
committee on elections and privileges to report as to the action which should be taken with reference
to the article published inLa Nacion. On September 15, 1920, the Senate adopted a resolution
authorizing the President of the Senate to indorse to the Attorney-General, for his study and
corresponding action, all the papers referring to the case of the newspaper La Nacion and its editor,
Mr. Gregorio Perfecto. As a result, an information was filed in the municipal court of the City of
Manila by an assistant city fiscal, in which the editorial in question was set out and in which it was
alleged that the same constituted a violation of article 256 of the Penal Code. The defendant
Gregorio Perfecto was found guilty in the municipal court and again in the Court of First Instance of
Manila.

During the course of the trial in the Court of First Instance, after the prosecution had rested, the
defense moved for the dismissal of the case. On the subject of whether or not article 256 of the
Penal Code, under which the information was presented, is in force, the trial judge, the Honorable
George R. Harvey, said:

This antiquated provision was doubtless incorporated into the Penal Code of Spain for the
protection of the Ministers of the Crown and other representatives of the King against free
speech and action by Spanish subjects. A severe punishment was prescribed because it was
doubtless considered a much more serious offense to insult the King's representative than to
insult an ordinary individual. This provision, with almost all the other articles of that Code,
was extended to the Philippine Islands when under the dominion of Spain because the
King's subject in the Philippines might defame, abuse or insult the Ministers of the Crown or
other representatives of His Majesty. We now have no Ministers of the Crown or other
persons in authority in the Philippines representing the King of Spain, and said provision,
with other articles of the Penal Code, had apparently passed into "innocuous desuetude," but
the Supreme Corut of the Philippine Islands has, by a majority decision, held that said article
256 is the law of the land to-day. . . .

The Helbig case is a precedent which, by the rule of stare decisis, is binding upon this court
until otherwise determined by proper authority.

In the decision rendered by the same judge, he concluded with the following language:

In the United States such publications are usually not punishable as criminal offense, and
little importance is attached to them, because they are generally the result of political
controversy and are usually regarded as more or less colored or exaggerated. Attacks of this
character upon a legislative body are not punishable, under the Libel Law. Although such
publications are reprehensible, yet this court feels some aversion to the application of the
provision of law under which this case was filed. Our Penal Code has come to us from the
Spanish regime. Article 256 of that Code prescribes punishment for persons who use
insulting language about Ministers of the Crown or other "authority." The King of Spain
doubtless left the need of such protection to his ministers and others in authority in the
Philippines as well as in Spain. Hence, the article referred to was made applicable here.
Notwithstanding the change of sovereignty, our Supreme Court, in a majority decision, has
held that this provision is still in force, and that one who made an insulting remark about the
President of the United States was punishable under it. (U.S. vs. Helbig, supra.) If it
applicable in that case, it would appear to be applicable in this case. Hence, said article 256
must be enforced, without fear or favor, until it shall be repealed or superseded by other
legislation, or until the Supreme Court shall otherwise determine.

In view of the foregoing considerations, the court finds the defendant guilty as charged in the
information and under article 256 of their Penal Code sentences him to suffer two months
and one day of arresto mayorand the accessory penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the
costs of both instances.

The fifteen errors assigned by the defendant and appellant, reenforced by an extensive brief, and
eloquent oral argument made in his own behalf and by his learned counsel, all reduce themselves to
the pertinent and decisive question which was announced in the beginning of this decision.

It will be noted in the first place that the trial judge considered himself bound to follow the rule
announced in the case of United States vs. Helbig (R. G. No. 14705, 1 not published). In that case,
the accused was charged with having said, "To hell with the President and his proclamations, or
words to that effect," in violation of article 256 of the Penal Code. He was found guilty in a judgment
rendered by the Court of First Instance of Manila and again on appeal to the Supreme Court, with
the writer of the instant decision dissenting on two principal grounds: (1) That the accused was
deprived of the constitutional right of cross-examination, and (2) that article 256 of the Spanish Penal
Code is no longer in force. Subsequently, on a motion of reconsideration, the court, being of the
opinion that the Court of First Instance had committed a prejudicial error in depriving the accused of
his right to cross-examine a principal witness, set aside the judgment affirming the judgment
appealed from and ordered the return of the record to the court of origin for the celebration of a new
trial. Whether such a trial was actually had, is not known, but at least, the record in the Helbig case
has never again been elevated to this court.

There may perchance exist some doubt as to the authority of the decision in the Helbig case, in view
of the circumstances above described. This much, however, is certain: The facts of the Helbig case
and the case before us, which we may term the Perfecto case, are different, for in the first case there
was an oral defamation, while in the second there is a written defamation. Not only this, but a new
point which, under the facts, could not have been considered in the Helbig case, is, in the Perfecto
case, urged upon the court. And, finally, as is apparent to all, the appellate court is not restrained, as
was the trial court, by strict adherence to a former decision. We much prefer to resolve the question
before us unhindered by references to the Helbig decision.

This is one of those cases on which a variety of opinions all leading to the same result can be had. A
majority of the court are of the opinion that the Philippine Libel Law, Act No. 277, has had the effect
of repealing so much of article 256 of the Penal Code as relates to written defamation, abuse, or
insult, and that under the information and the facts, the defendant is neither guilty of a violation of
article 256 of the Penal Code, nor of the Libel Law. The view of the Chief Justice is that the accused
should be acquitted for the reason that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a
violation of article 156 of the Penal Code. Three members of the court believe that article 256 was
abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the Philippines and
is inconsistent with democratic principles of government.
Without prejudice to the right of any member of the court to explain his position, we will discuss the
two main points just mentioned.

1. Effect of the Philippine Libel Law, Act No. 277, on article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code.
— The Libel Law, Act No. 277, was enacted by the Philippine Commission shortly after
organization of this legislative body. Section 1 defines libel as a "malicious defamation,
expressed either in writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or the like, or public theatrical
exhibitions, tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead or to impeach the honesty,
virtue, or reputation, or publish the alleged or natural deffects of one who is alive, and
thereby expose him to public hatred, contempt or ridicule." Section 13 provides that "All laws
and parts of laws now in force, so far as the same may be in conflict herewith, are hereby
repealed. . . ."

That parts of laws in force in 1901 when the Libel Law took effect, were in conflict therewith, and that
the Libel Law abrogated certain portion of the Spanish Penal Code, cannot be gainsaid. Title X of
Book II of the Penal Code, covering the subjects of calumny and insults, must have been particularly
affected by the Libel Law. Indeed, in the early case of Pardo de Tavera vs. Garcia Valdez ([1902], 1.
Phil., 468), the Supreme Court spoke of the Libel Law as "reforming the preexisting Spanish law on
the subject of calumnia and injuria." Recently, specific attention was given to the effect of the Libel
Law on the provisions of the Penal Code, dealing with calumny and insults, and it was found that
those provisions of the Penal Code on the subject of calumny and insults in which the elements of
writing an publicity entered, were abrogated by the Libel Law. (People vs. Castro [1922], p.
842, ante.)

The Libel Law must have had the same result on other provisions of the Penal Code, as for instance
article 256.

The facts here are that the editor of a newspaper published an article, naturally in writing, which may
have had the tendency to impeach the honesty, virtue, or reputation of members of the Philippine
Senate, thereby possibly exposing them to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, which is exactly libel,
as defined by the Libel Law. Sir J. F. Stephen is authority for the statement that a libel is indictable
when defaming a "body of persons definite and small enough for individual members to be
recognized as such, in or by means of anything capable of being a libel." (Digest of Criminal Law,
art. 267.) But in the United States, while it may be proper to prosecute criminally the author of a libel
charging a legislator with corruption, criticisms, no matter how severe, on a legislature, are within the
range of the liberty of the press, unless the intention and effect be seditious. (3 Wharton's Criminal
Law, p. 2131.) With these facts and legal principles in mind, recall that article 256 begins: Any
person who, by . . . writing, shall defame, abuse, or insult any Minister of the Crown or other person
in authority," etc.

The Libel Law is a complete and comprehensive law on the subject of libel. The well-known rule of
statutory construction is, that where the later statute clearly covers the old subject-matter of
antecedent acts, and it plainly appears to have been the purpose of the legislature to give
expression in it to the whole law on the subject, previous laws are held to be repealed by necessary
implication. (1 Lewis' Sutherland Statutory Construction, p. 465.) For identical reasons, it is evident
that Act No. 277 had the effect so much of this article as punishes defamation, abuse, or insults by
writing.

Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, the Treason and Sedition Law, may also have affected
article 256, but as to this point, it is not necessary to make a pronouncement.
2. Effect of the change from Spanish to Amercian sevoreignty over the Philippine son article
256 of the Spanish Penal Code. — Appellant's main proposition in the lower court and again
energetically pressed in the appellate court was that article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code is
not now in force because abrogated by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty
over the Philippines and because inconsistent with democratic principles of government. This
view was indirectly favored by the trial judge, and, as before stated, is the opinion of three
members of this court.

Article 256 is found in Chapter V of title III of Book II of the Spanish Penal Code. Title I of Book II
punishes the crimes of treason, crimes that endanger the peace or independence of the state,
crimes against international law, and the crime of piracy. Title II of the same book punishes the
crimes of lese majeste, crimes against the Cortesand its members and against the council of
ministers, crimes against the form of government, and crimes committed on the occasion of the
exercise of rights guaranteed by the fundamental laws of the state, including crime against religion
and worship. Title III of the same Book, in which article 256 is found, punishes the crimes of
rebellion, sedition, assaults upon persons in authority, and their agents, and contempts,
insults, injurias, and threats against persons in authority, and insults, injurias, and threats against
their agents and other public officers, the last being the title to Chapter V. The first two articles in
Chapter V define and punish the offense of contempt committed by any one who shall be word or
deed defame, abuse, insult, or threathen a minister of the crown, or any person in authority. The with
an article condemning challenges to fight duels intervening, comes article 256, now being weighed in
the balance. It reads as follows: "Any person who, by word, deed, or writing, shall defame, abuse, or
insult any Minister of the Crown or other person in authority, while engaged in the performance of
official duties, or by reason of such performance, provided that the offensive minister or person, or
the offensive writing be not addressed to him, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor," — that is,
the defamation, abuse, or insult of any Minister of the Crown of the Monarchy of Spain (for there
could not be a Minister of the Crown in the United States of America), or other person in authority in
the Monarchy of Spain.

It cannot admit of doubt that all those provisions of the Spanish Penal Code having to do with such
subjects as treason, lese majeste, religion and worship, rebellion, sedition, and contempts of
ministers of the crown, are not longer in force. Our present task, therefore, is a determination of
whether article 256 has met the same fate, or, more specifically stated, whether it is in the nature of
a municipal law or political law, and is consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States
and the characteristics and institutions of the American Government.

It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations
of the ceded region are totally abrogated. "Political" is here used to denominate the laws regulating
the relations sustained by the inhabitants to the sovereign. (American Insurance Co. vs. Canter
[1828], 1 Pet., 511; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. vs. McGlinn [1885], 114 U.S., 542;
Roa vs. Collector of Customs [1912], 23 Phil., 315.) Mr. Justice Field of the United States Supreme
Court stated the obvious when in the course of his opinion in the case of Chicago, Rock Island and
Pacific Railway Co. vs. McGlinn, supra, he said: "As a matter of course, all laws, ordinances and
regulations in conflict with the political character, institutions and Constitution of the new government
are at once displaced. Thus, upon a cession of political jurisdiction and legislative power — and the
latter is involved in the former — to the United States, the laws of the country in support of an
established religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or authorizing cruel and unusual
punishments, and he like, would at once cease to be of obligatory force without any declaration to
that effect." To quote again from the United States Supreme Court: "It cannot be admitted that the
King of Spain could, by treaty or otherwise, impart to the United States any of his royal prerogatives;
and much less can it be admitted that they have capacity to receive or power to exercise them.
Every nation acquiring territory, by treaty or otherwise, must hold it subject to the Constitution and
laws of its own government, and not according to those of the government ceding it."
(Pollard vs. Hagan [1845], 3 Hos., 210.)

On American occupation of the Philippines, by instructions of the President to the Military


Commander dated May 28, 1898, and by proclamation of the latter, the municipal laws of the
conquered territory affecting private rights of person and property and providing for the punishment
of crime were nominally continued in force in so far as they were compatible with the new order of
things. But President McKinley, in his instructions to General Merritt, was careful to say: "The first
effect of the military occupation of the enemy's territory is the severance of the former political
relation of the inhabitants and the establishment of a new political power." From that day to this, the
ordinarily it has been taken for granted that the provisions under consideration were still effective. To
paraphrase the language of the United States Supreme Court in Weems vs. United States ([1910],
217 U. S., 349), there was not and could not be, except as precise questions were presented, a
careful consideration of the codal provisions and a determination of the extent to which they
accorded with or were repugnant to the "'great principles of liberty and law' which had been 'made
the basis of our governmental system.' " But when the question has been squarely raised, the
appellate court has been forced on occasion to hold certain portions of the Spanish codes repugnant
t democratic institutions and American constitutional principles. (U.S. vs. Sweet [1901], 1 Phil., 18;
U.S. vs. Balcorta [1913], 25 Phil., 273; U.S. vs. Balcorta [1913], 25 Phil., 533;
Weems vs. U.S., supra.)

The nature of the government which has been set up in the Philippines under American sovereignty
was outlined by President McKinley in that Magna Charta of Philippine liberty, his instructions to the
Commission, of April 7, 1900. In part, the President said:

In all the forms of government and administrative provisions which they are authorized to
prescribe, the Commission should bear in mind that he government which they are
establishing is designed not for our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views,
but for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands, and the
measures adopted should be made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their
prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the indispensable
requisites of just and effective government. At the same time the Commission should bear in
mind, and the people of the Islands should be made plainly to understand, that there are
certain great principles of government which have been made the basis of our governmental
system, which we deem essential to the rule of law and the maintenance of individual
freedom, and of which they have, unfortunately, been denied the experience possessed by
us; that there are also certain practical rules of government which we have found to be
essential to the preservation of these great principles of liberty and law, and that these
principles and these rules of government must be established and maintained in their islands
for the sake of their liberty and happiness, however much they may conflict with the customs
or laws of procedure with which they are familiar. It is evident that the most enligthened
thought of the Philippine Islands fully appreciates the importance of these principles and
rules, and they will inevitably within a short time command universal assent.

The courts have naturally taken the same view. Mr. Justice Elliott, speaking for our Supreme Court,
in the case of United States vs. Bull ([1910], 15 Phil., 7), said: "The President and Congress framed
the government on the model with which American are familiar, and which has proven best adapted
for the advancement of the public interests and the protection of individual rights and privileges."

Therefore, it has come with somewhat of a shock to hear the statement made that the happiness,
peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands and their customs, habits, and
prejudices, to follow the language of President McKinley, demand obeisance to authority, and royal
protection for that authority.

According to our view, article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code was enacted by the Government of
Spain to protect Spanish officials who were the representatives of the King. With the change of
sovereignty, a new government, and a new theory of government, as set up in the Philippines. It was
in no sense a continuation of the old, although merely for convenience certain of the existing
institutions and laws were continued. The demands which the new government made, and makes,
on the individual citizen are likewise different. No longer is there a Minister of the Crown or a person
in authority of such exalted position that the citizen must speak of him only with bated breath. "In the
eye of our Constitution and laws, every man is a sovereign, a ruler and a freeman, and has equal
rights with every other man. We have no rank or station, except that of respectability and intelligence
as opposed to indecency and ignorance, and the door to this rank stands open to every man to
freely enter and abide therein, if he is qualified, and whether he is qualified or not depends upon the
life and character and attainments and conduct of each person for himself. Every man may lawfully
do what he will, so long as it is not malum in se ormalum prohibitum or does not infringe upon the
qually sacred rights of others." (State vs. Shepherd [1903], 177 Mo., 205; 99 A. S. R., 624.)

It is true that in England, from which so many of the laws and institutions of the United States are
derived, there were once statutes of scandalum magnatum, under which words which would not be
actionable if spoken of an ordinary subject were made actionable if spoken of a peer of the realm or
of any of the great officers of the Crown, without proof of any special damage. The Crown of
England, unfortunately, took a view less tolerant that that of other sovereigns, as for instance, the
Emperors Augustus, Caesar, and Tiberius. These English statutes have, however, long since,
become obsolete, while in the United States, the offense of scandalum magnatum is not known. In
the early days of the American Republic, a sedition law was enacted, making it an offense to libel the
Government, the Congress, or the President of the United States, but the law met with so much
popular disapproval, that it was soon repealed. "In this country no distinction as to persons is
recognized, and in practice a person holding a high office is regarded as a target at whom any
person may let fly his poisonous words. High official position, instead of affording immunity from
slanderous and libelous charges, seems rather to be regarded as making his character free plunder
for any one who desires to create a senation by attacking it." (Newell, Slander and Libel, 3d ed., p.
245; Sillars vs. Collier [1890], 151 Mass., 50; 6 L.R.A., 680.)

Article 256 of the Penal Code is contrary to the genius and fundamental principles of the American
character and system of government. The gulf which separates this article from the spirit which
inspires all penal legislation of American origin, is as wide as that which separates a monarchy from
a democratic Republic like that of the United States. This article was crowded out by implication as
soon as the United States established its authority in the Philippine Islands. Penalties out of all
proportion to the gravity of the offense, grounded in a distorted monarchical conception of the nature
of political authority, as opposed to the American conception of the protection of the interests of the
public, have been obliterated by the present system of government in the Islands. 1awph!l.net

From an entirely different point of view, it must be noted that this article punishes contempts against
executive officials, although its terms are broad enough to cover the entire official class. Punishment
for contempt of non-judicial officers has no place in a government based upon American principles.
Our official class is not, as in monarchies, an agent of some authority greater than the people but it
is an agent and servant of the people themselves. These officials are only entitled to respect and
obedience when they are acting within the scope of their authority and jurisdiction. The American
system of government is calculated to enforce respect and obedience where such respect and
obedience is due, but never does it place around the individual who happens to occupy an official
position by mandate of the people any official halo, which calls for drastic punishment for
contemptuous remarks.
The crime of lese majeste disappeared in the Philippines with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris.
Ministers of the Crown have no place under the American flag.

To summarize, the result is, that all the members of the court are of the opinion, although for
different reasons, that the judgment should be reversed and the defendant and appellant acquitted,
with costs de officio. So ordered.

Ostrand and Johns, JJ., concur.

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 124453. March 15, 2000]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOSEPH PAMBID y


CORNELIO, accused-appellant.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is an appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 81, Quezon City, finding
accused-appellant Joseph Pambid y Cornelio guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of
statutory rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with all the accessory
penalties, and to indemnify the victim, Maricon Delvie C. Grifaldia,[2] in the amount of P50,000.00
plus costs for each count of rape.

On the basis of a complaint[3] filed by Maricon Delvie C. Grifaldia, six years old, assisted by her
mother, Delia Calzada Grifaldia, the Quezon City Prosecutors Office filed an information charging
accused-appellant Joseph Pambid with two counts of rape allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about the period comprising April and May, 1993, in Quezon City,
Philippines, the above-named accused, by means of force and intimidation, with lewd
designs, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge
with the undersigned complainant, MARYCON DELVIE GREFALDIA Y CALZADA, a
minor, 6 years old, against her will and without her consent, to her damage and
prejudice.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

When arraigned, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty, whereupon, trial commenced.

The evidence for the prosecution shows that accused-appellant, 23 years old, and Maricon, six
years old and a Grade 1 student, were neighbors at Purok 3-A Luzon Avenue, Barangay Culiat,
Quezon City, their houses fronting each other. The two incidents of rape happened sometime
between April and May 1993. The first rape took place when, one day, as it was almost sundown,
Maricon was on her way home after having been sent on an errand. As she was nearing her house,
accused-appellant pulled her and took her to his house. As soon as they were inside the house,
accused-appellant got a knife from the kitchen and, at knifepoint, ordered Maricon to remove her
short pants, then ordered her to lie on the bed while issuing threats that he would beat her up. At
first, accused-appellant inserted his forefinger into Maricons vagina. He then inserted his penis and
commenced the sexual act, but was interrupted by the arrival of his mother who asked why the door
was closed. At that point, accused-appellant hurriedly hid the knife under the bed and asked Maricon
to leave. Because of accused-appellants threat, Maricon never reported the incident to anyone.[4]

The second rape happened one morning in the house of Antonia Adovera, accused-appellants aunt,
which is situated beside accused-appellants house. Accused-appellant saw Maricon on her way to a
nearby store. As nobody was present, accused-appellant took Maricon to his aunts house. He
ordered her to remove her clothes and to lie down on the sofa. Accused-appellant then went on top
of her and inserted his penis into her vagina. Thereafter, he licked her private parts. She was later
released and allowed to go home, but not before she was warned not to tell anyone what had
happened to her.[5]

On May 20, 1993, Maricon and her mother, Delia, went to the house of Melita Calzada Ervi, who is
Delias sister. Melita told Delia how her daughter, Lady Ann Calzada, who was then 10 years old,
was nearly raped on May 17, 1993 by their neighbor, Boni Tolentino, then aged 15. Maricon
suddenly interrupted them and told her mother: "Ako po mama, me ginawa sa akin ang anak ng
kumare ninyo, si Bong-bong"(referring to accused-appellant). Maricon narrated to them the two rape
incidents. It was then that Delia realized why sometime on April 5, 1993, Maricon had a high fever
and experienced difficulty in urinating ("pahinto-hinto ang ihi") and irritations in her private parts.
Delia then confronted Angelita C. Pambid, accused-appellants mother, who insisted that accused-
appellant was not capable of committing such act. Delia also confronted accused-appellants brother,
Renato Pambid, who then went to his fathers house in Caloocan to look for accused-appellant.[6]

On May 21, 1993, Delia brought the matter to the attention of the barangay tanod who reported it to
the police. Accused-appellant was arrested in his house by PO1 Ricardo B. Sibayan and PO3
Wilfredo Nazareno. He was positively identified by Maricon as the person who had abused her.
Thereafter, accused-appellant was taken to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Camp
Karingal, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City and turned over to the investigating officer, PO3 Felix Dulin,
who took the sworn statement of Delia. In a letter dated May 21, 1993, Chief Insp. Jaime Q. Peralta
referred the case to the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.[7]

On the same day, May 21, 1993, Maricon went to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime
Laboratory Service for medical examination. Dr. Florante F. Baltazar, PNP Chief Inspector and
Medico-Legal Officer, examined Maricon. His report (Exh. A)[8] contains the following findings:

FINDINGS:

GENERAL AND EXTRAGENITAL:

Fairly developed, fairly nourished and coherent female child subject.


Breasts are undeveloped. Abdomen is flat and tight.

GENITAL:

There is absence of pubic hair. Labia majora are full, convex and
coaptated with the pale brown labia minora presenting in between.
On separating the same, disclosed an elastic, fleshy-type hymen with
deep, healed laceration at 3 oclock. External vaginal orifice admits
the tip of the examining little finger.

Peri-urethral smears are negative for gram-negative diplococci and


for spermatozoa.
CONCLUSION:

Subject is in non-virgin state physically.

There are no external signs of recent application of any form of


trauma.

Dr. Baltazars findings showed that Maricon is in a non-virgin physical condition which could have
been caused by the insertion of a foreign object or by sexual intercourse. He clarified that strenuous
physical activities could only produce scratches on the private parts and not deep laceration of the
hymen.[9]

The defense evidence consists of denial, alibi and plea of insanity. Accused-appellant did not testify.
It was his father and mother who testified for him.

According to Angelita C. Pambid, accused-appellants mother, accused-appellant was not home


during the time the first incident of rape was alleged to have happened. After he was scolded and
beaten up by his elder brother Renato for refusing to fetch water, on March 14, 1993, he went to
Bagong Bayan, Caloocan City, and stayed with his father, who was estranged from his mother.
Although accused-appellant came home on April 15, 1993, it was only to get some clothes, then he
left to stay with his aunt. It was only on May 20, 1993 that accused-appellant returned home. The
following day, May 21, 1993, Delia Grifaldia went to accused-appellants house, accompanied by two
policemen, two civilians and some barangay officials. Accused-appellant was then brought to the
police precinct for investigation. Angelita Pambid said that Delia Grifaldia had been her neighbor for
the past 15 years.[10]

Jesus Q. Pambid, accused-appellants father, corroborated his wifes claim that accused-appellant
was not living with his mother in March 1993. He also said that sometime in April 1993, he learned
that accused-appellant was residing somewhere in Don Antonio Subdivision, Fairview, Quezon City,
and worked as a helper of a meat vendor in Nepa Q-Mart. Jesus admitted, however, that on three
separate occasions within the month of April 1993, accused-appellant stayed in his mothers house.
He said that, in one of those occasions, he even accompanied his son to get clothes in the house of
Angelita Pambid. On May 21, 1993, he learned from his older son, Renato, that accused-appellant
had been apprehended for having allegedly raped Maricon. He claimed, however, that accused-
appellant was mentally ill, and that was the reason why the latter did not go to school. In fact,
according to him, both his maternal aunt and brother had previously been confined at the National
Mental Hospital in Mandaluyong City.[11]

The defense also presented psychological report (Exh. 1), dated July 15, 1994, of a psychologist,
Rosalina V. Nuestro, which stated:

Current assessment of subjects mental capacity is gauged along the Mild Mental
Retardation level. A 21-point discrepancy between the 2 major scales favoring the
Verbal Scale and both intra and intertest variabilities are present to indicate mental
inefficiency. Pre-morbid level is believed to be higher.

Analysis shows impairment on areas which measure his social intelligence, inductive
reasoning and viso-motor functions. Range of general information, judgmental
capacity, deductive and ability to solve simple arithmetical problems are very poorly
functioning. He is also not so keen in observing details in his surrounding and in
differentiating the essential from the non-essential likeness of objects and forms. On
the other hand, average score is obtained in the Digit Span, however, only his recall
on recent events is adequate but he has difficulty in remembering the most remote
events.

Projective profile shows an immature individual who is so rigid and constricted in his
emotional make-up which renders him unable to relate well with his fellow-beings. He
likewise identifies with the opposite sex and with much younger age level signifying
sexual difficulty and immaturity. His immaturity fits also hamper his capacity to make
sound judgment that is guided more by impulse rather than by intellect.

Flattening of affect is likewise discerned. Sterility of thought process is also evident.

Distortion of the Gestalten and poorly synthesized drawing of human figures are
noted which may indicate the presence of dissociative process in which, in a way, he
loses his integrative capacity. It also reflects his inability to meet or deal effectively
with reality. Ego ineffectiveness is likewise reflected.[12]

Dr. Noemi Angeline E. Jularbal of the National Center for Mental Health, Mandaluyong City, also
examined accused-appellant. Her findings and recommendations were contained in a report (Exh.
2), dated September 21, 1994, which states that:

PSYCHIATRIC EXAMINATION RESULT:

Evaluation shows that patient had suffered from Insanity or Psychosis


classified under Schizophrenia. This mental disorder is characterized
by poor self-care, perceptual aberrations in the form of hallucinations
and delusions. There is marked impairment in intellectual, social and
vocational functioning. Insight and judgment are impaired.

He is likewise suffering from Mental Retardation. This is described as


a subnormal level of intellectual functioning.

At present, he is behaved and manageable. He is deemed competent


to stand court trial.

REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

He is recommended to undergo regular monthly out-patient check-


ups at the National Center for Mental Health.[13]

Dr. Jularbal testified that she found accused-appellant to have very poor attention, a blunt facial
expression and is easily distracted. According to her, accused-appellant was often deep in thought,
hypoproductive and kept on mumbling things to himself. Accused-appellant also exhibited subnormal
intellectual functioning which made him experience hallucinations and delusions. Her conclusion was
that it was possible that, at the time of the alleged rapes, accused-appellant was suffering from
mental illness. Dr. Jularbal also said that at the time she prepared her report, accused-appellant was
no longer psychotic nor actively hallucinating, and that he was aware of the case filed against him as
he cooperated with his legal counsel who prepared his defense.[14]

On the basis of the evidence presented, the trial court rendered its decision, on January 24, 1996,
finding accused-appellant guilty of two counts of rape. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused JOSEPH PAMBID y
CORNELIO guilty beyond reasonable doubt for two counts of rape penalized under
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code and, conformably with said provision, hereby
sentences the said accused to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA with all
the accessory penalties of the law and to indemnify the complainant Marycon Delvie
Grefaldia, the sum of P50,000.00 plus costs for each count of rape.

The period during which the accused is under preventive imprisonment shall be
credited to him in full.

SO ORDERED.

Hence this appeal, seeking reversal of accused-appellants conviction.

First. Accused-appellant capitalizes on Maricons statement, made at some point during her
testimony, that she was only "fingered," i.e.,accused-appellant merely poked his finger into her
vagina. This, he contends, puts in doubt her claim that he succeeded in having sexual intercourse
with her. He also makes much of the fact that Maricon failed to inform her family of the incident
immediately after she was allegedly violated.

This contention is without merit. Maricon had no motive to falsely claim that she had been raped by
accused-appellant if this was not true. We have ruled that a young girls revelation that she has been
raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and willingness to undergo
public trial where she could be compelled to give details of the assault on her dignity, cannot be
easily dismissed as mere concoction.[15] If her story had only been contrived, she would not have
been so composed and consistent throughout her entire testimony in the face of intense and lengthy
interrogation.[16] Maricons testimony is likewise corroborated by medical findings of hymenal
lacerations. The evidence on record thus supports the trial courts finding that accused-appellant is
guilty of raping Maricon. Appellate courts will generally not disturb the factual findings of the trial
court since the latter is in a better position to weigh conflicting testimonies, having heard the
witnesses themselves and observed their deportment, unless it is shown that the trial court has
plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value which, if considered, might affect the result of
the case.[17]

It is true that the supposed dates of the two rape incidents were not alleged in the information. But,
as held in People v. Dimapilis,[18] under Rule 110, 6 and 11 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, an
information is sufficient as long as it states the statutory designation of the offense and the acts or
omissions constituting the same, since in rape cases, the time of commission of the crime is not "a
material ingredient of the offense." It is thus sufficient if it is alleged that the crime took place "as
near to the actual date at which the offense(s) are committed as the information or complaint will
permit." We also ruled that in rape cases, victims of rape hardly retain in their memories the dates,
number of times and manner they were violated. In the same vein, to be material, discrepancies in
the testimony of the victim should refer to significant facts which are determinative of the guilt or
innocence of the accused, not to mere details which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime, such
as the exact time of its commission in cases of rape, and are not grounds for acquittal.[19] Moreover,
accused-appellant entered his plea during arraignment without objecting to the sufficiency of the
information. He thus waived objection on this ground, as provided in Rule 117, 8.

On the other hand, the alleged discrepancy in Maricons testimony whether she had been raped or
merely "fingered" by accused-appellant is more apparent than real. What she said was that accused-
appellant touched her private parts and then had sexual intercourse with her. Thus, Maricon
testified:
Q And Miss Witness, you said that you know Bongbong for quite a long time, now,
this Joseph Pambid @ Bongbong the accused, do you remember if he has done
anything in your person?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, what did Joseph Pambid @ Bongbong do to you?

A He inserted his organ inside mine, sir.

Q Where did this happen Miss Witness?

A In their house, sir.

Q And could you possibly recall Miss Witness when the incident happened, if you
know?

A No, sir.

Q Now, Miss Witness, you said that the accused Joseph Pambid inserted his organ
into your vagina, will you please inform this Honorable Court how Joseph did the act
to you?

A He lay on top of my chest, sir.

Q And after the accused Joseph Pambid lay on top of your chest, what did he do?

A I removed my short and he also removed his short and he inserted his organ into
my vagina, sir.

Q Now, you said that the accused Joseph Pambid lay on top of you and then he
removed his short and you also removed your short, what kind of short are you
wearing?

A I cannot remember, sir.

Q And which came first Miss Witness, the removal of your short or Joseph Pambids
removal of his short?

A The removal of his short, sir.

Q Can you remember Miss Witness, what kind of short Joseph Pambid was
wearing?

A No, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, would you please inform this Honorable Court how Joseph
Pambid inserted his organ into your vagina?

A He held his organ and he inserted, he even inserted his finger, sir.
Q Now Miss Witness, which came first, the insertion of the organ of Pambid into your
vagina or the insertion of his finger into your vagina?

A His finger first, sir.

Q And Miss Witness, after the accused inserted his organ into your vagina, what did
he do?

A He was pumping, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, this incident that you are talking [about] happened at the house
of Joseph Pambid, is it not?

A Yes, sir but it did not consummate because his mother arrived and she was asking
why the door was closed.

Q Now Miss Witness, was that the first time that the accused did that to you at their
house?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, were there other persons aside from you and Joseph Pambid
at the time that Joseph Pambid, the accused, inserted his organ into your vagina?

A None, sir, except his mother who saw the incident, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, did you not shout and ask for help when Joseph Pambid
inserted his organ into your vagina?

A No, sir because he told me that he would kill me by spanking.

Q Miss Witness, when that first incident happened inside the house of Joseph
Pambid, how were you able to enter the house of Joseph Pambid?

A Because we were supposed to play with my cousin when he pulled me inside the
house, sir.

Q And what time was that, Miss Witness, when Joseph Pambid pulled you and
brought you inside their house?

A In the afternoon, sir.

Q Now, where was your mother then at the time that you were brought by Joseph
Pambid inside their house?

A She was working at the City Hall, sir.

Q How about your father, where was he then?

A He is also working, sir.


Q And how about your brothers and sisters, where were they?

A They were attending to our baby.

Q Now Miss Witness, will you please demonstrate before the Honorable Court how
Joseph Pambid removed your short?

A He asked me to stand up sir and I pulled down my short.

Q Who pulled down your short, is it you or Joseph Pambid?

A I was the one, sir.

Q And aside from your short, were you wearing any panty?

A Yes, sir.

Q And how about your panty, was it also removed?

A Yes, sir.

Q Who removed your panty?

A He, sir.

Q And after he removed your panty, what next step did he do?

A He made me lie down, sir and asked me to spread my legs.

Q And after that, he lay down on [top of you]?

A Yes, sir.

Q And then he inserted his organ to your vagina?

A Yes, sir.

Q At the time that the accused Joseph Pambid inserted his organ into your organ,
nobody was present inside the premises except both of you?

A None, sir.

Q Now, after Joseph Pambid was able to consummate his act of sexually [abusing]
you, what did he do after that?

A After that, I told him that I do not like anymore and then, he told me last na lang ito
and then, I told him I will leave na lang and then, he said no.

Q Now Miss Witness, after you told the accused that you are going to leave him and
he answered no, what else did he do to you?
A And then he still [lay] on top of me, sir.

Q You said that he still [lay] on top of you, what did he do after he lay on top of you?

A None anymore, we already wear our shorts, sir.

Q Did he not insert his organ again into your vagina?

A Not anymore, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, you said about this incident, can you recall what month this
first incident happened?

A No, sir.

Q Could it be possible Miss Witness, that the first incident happened in May or April
of 1992?

A No, sir because that was a long time ago.

Q You said Miss Witness, that the accused abused you several [times], when was
the second time that the accused abused you for several times?

INTERPRETER:

At this juncture, witness cannot answer.

FISCAL MIRANDO:

(Continuing)

Where did the accused Joseph Pambid [do] the sexual abuse to you?

A In the house of Lola Tonia.

Q And this Lola Tonia is [your] Lola or of the accused?

A The accused, sir.

Q And where is the house of Lola Tonia located?

A Beside their house, sir.

Q And you were brought inside the house of Lola Tonia by the accused?

A Yes, sir.

Q And after the accused brought you inside the house of his Lola Tonia, what did he
do to you?
A He removed my shorts and then he lay on top of me, sir.

Q And Miss Witness, how was the accused able to bring you inside the house of his
Lola Tonia?

A Because there was nobody there in the house of Lola Tonia.

Q So when you said you were inside the house of Lola Tonia there was nobody
inside except of you?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, what time more or less was this Miss Witness, when you were brought inside
the house of Lola Tonia?

A I do not know, sir, but it was almost dusk.

Q Now, Miss Witness, that [once] inside the house of his Lola Tonia, he told you
again to remove your shorts, are we made to understand that you are again wearing
shorts at the time you were brought to the house of Lola Tonia?

ATTY. MALABAGUIO:

There was no testimony that she was asked to remove [her shorts], your Honor.

COURT:

Reform.

FISCAL MIRANDO:

(Continuing)

Q What were you wearing when Joseph Pambid brought you to the house of Lola
Tonia?

A I cannot remember, sir because that was a long time ago.

Q Were you wearing shorts, dress, pants, if you can recall, Miss Witness?

A No, sir, I cannot remember.

Q Now, after you were brought inside the house of Lola Tonia by the accused, what
did he do?

A He removed my clothes sir, and asked me to spread my legs.

Q You said that the accused asked you to remove your clothes, did you remove your
clothes?
A No, sir because I was going home at that time.

Q Were you wearing panty when you were inside the house of Lola Tonia?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, inside the house of Lola Tonia, did the accused ask you to remove your
panty?

A Yes, sir.

Q In other words, Miss Witness, on that second incident inside the house of Lola
Tonia, the accused did not insert his organ into your vagina?

A He inserted, sir.

Q Now, which is true now Miss Witness, inside the house of Lola Tonia, the accused
inserted his organ into your vagina or he did not, or allowed you to leave?

A He inserted his organ into my vagina, sir.

Q Now, who removed your panty?

A I was the one sir, but I wore it again because I dont like anymore.

Q You said a while ago Miss Witness, that the accused inserted his organ into your
vagina, how did Joseph Pambid @ Bongbong insert his organ into your vagina?

A He made me lie down and then he inserted his organ into my vagina and I told him
I do not like it and so he told me to go home.

Q But Miss Witness, was he [able] to insert his organ into your vagina?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, when you speak of organ of the accused Joseph Pambid, you
are referring to his penis or (titi)?

A Yes, sir.

Q And you said that the second time you were abused by the accused, you were
made to lie down, where did he made you lie down?

A In a bench, sir.

Q Was your vagina hurt when the accused inserted his organ into your vagina?

A Yes, sir.
Q And did you not ask for help or shout when . . .the accused Pambid inserted his
organ into your vagina?

A No, sir because he told me that he would kill me with spanking.

Q But there is nobody inside the house of Lola Tonia except you?

A None, sir.

....

Q Now, was there still another occasion Miss Witness, that you were raped or
sexually abused by Bongbong, the accused, Miss Witness?

A None, sir.

Q So, in other words Miss Witness, you were sexually abused by the accused twice,
first in the house of Joseph Pambid @ Bongbong and the second is in the house of
Lola Tonia?

A I do not know anymore, sir.[20]

....

Q Ms. Witness, during the last hearing, you testified that the second time you were
sexually abused by the accused was at the residence of Aling [Tonia]?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, before you were brought inside the house of Aling [Tonia], what were you
doing?

A None, sir, he just pulled me so that we can enter the house of Aling [Tonia].

Q What were you doing when the accused pulled you?

A I was doing my errand.

Q You mean to say you were being sent by your mother to a store?

A Yes, sir.

Q What were you going to buy in the store?

A My mama asked me to buy some ice.

Q Now, you mean to say, on your way to the store, the accused grabbed you and
brought you [to] the house of Aling [Tonia]?

A Yes, sir.
Q Now, was that in the morning or in the afternoon?

A In the afternoon.

....

Q After you were sexually abused by the accused at the house of Aling [Tonia], what
did he do to you?

A He placed his penis inside my organ and then he inserted his finger.

Q Now, after Joseph Pambid inserted his "tete" or organ inside your vagina, and after
he placed his finger in your organ, what else did he do to you?

A He kissed my vagina.

Q And at that time accused inserted his organ or "tete", was [he] on top of you?

A Yes, sir.

Q And Miss Witness, after he inserted his organ [into] your vagina, and after he
touched your private parts, what else did he do to you?

A I told him that I will go home but he again told me that he will do another act.

....

Q Did you finally decide to report the sexual abuse that was done to you by Joseph
Pambid?

A Yes, sir.

Q To whom did you report the sexual abuse done to you by Joseph Pambid?

A To my mama.

Q Why did you finally arrive [at the] conclusion to report these abuse that was done
to you by Joseph Pambid?

A I was afraid so I reported the matter to my mother.

Q Where did you report the abuse done by the accused?

A At the house of my cousin.

Q What is the name of your cousin?

A Lady.
Q And this Lady that you are referring to, is [she] the daughter of the sister of your
mother?

A Yes, sir.

Q What did you report to your mother?

A My mama asked me if Joseph Pambid abused me and I answered yes, mama.

Q How did that conversation regarding sex abuse come into the picture?

A When I went to the house of my cousin, that is the time that I told it to my mother.

Q Why did you tell the sexual abuse done to you by Joseph Pambid?

A Because I was already afraid so I reported the matter to my mother.

Q Who were present when you reported this matter to your mother?

A My cousin Lady and her mother.

Q Do you remember that your cousin Lady also informed your mother and her
mother that there was an attempt to rape her by another person?

A Yes, sir.

Q And that was the time that you reported this incident that happened to you, to your
mother?

A Yes, sir.

Q And who [was] that person if you know, who made the attempt to abuse the person
of your cousin named Lady?

A Boni.

Q Do you know the real name of this Boni?

A No, sir.

Q Where is this Boni residing?

A He was residing in front of the house of my cousin.

Q Will you be able to identify the person of Joseph Pambid who abused you twice
during the time of April and May, 1993?

A Yes, sir.

Q Will you please point that person who abused you sexually?
A Witness pointing to a young [man] and when asked, [identified] himself by the
name of Joseph Pambid.[21]

Maricon was cross-examined by defense counsel but her foregoing testimony remained unshaken.
She reiterated that on the second occasion of rape, accused-appellant first inserted his finger into
her vagina and, thereafter, his penis.

ATTY. MALABAGUIO:

....

Q And what happened after that, what did he do, if any?

A He [lay] down on top of me, sir.

Q Did he ever use his hands in caressing your body?

A Yes, sir. He even inserted his finger inside my vagina and afterwards, he placed
his penis inside my organ, sir.

Q Which hand did he use in touching your vagina, was it his left hand or his right
hand?

A He used his pointing finger, sir.

Q How were you able to see that he used his pointing finger [since] you were in a
lying position?

A Because I saw it, sir.

Q Are you saying Miss Witness that when he [lay] on top of you, you were able to
see the finger he used in entering your vagina?

A Yes, sir.

Q How were you able to see?

A Because according to him he used his pointing finger, sir.

Q Are you saying that he informed you that he was using his pointing finger when
doing such act?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, you said that Bongbong also inserted his organ inside your vagina, how are
you sure that it was not the finger of Bongbong which penetrated your vagina?

A Because I saw it, sir.

Q When Bongbong was doing the act, you were facing Bongbong, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.

Q And you were looking [at] his face, is that correct?

A Yes, sir.

Q So, when Bongbong was lying on top of you, your attention was on his face, is that
correct?

A Yes, sir.

Q You were not focusing your attention to other things, only at the face of Bongbong,
while Bongbong was lying on top of [you]?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did you remember how long did it take Bongbong to do such act lying on top of
you?

A No more, sir.

Q After that, what happened?

A After he [lay] on top of me, he inserted his finger [into] my organ and then he
instructed me to go home, sir.[22]

On re-direct-examination, she clarified that as to the first incident of rape, accused-appellant inserted
his penis in her vagina and thereafter "fingered" her.

Q And you said Miss Witness, that you saw the organ or the "titi" of Bongbong after
he removed his shorts, is it not Miss Witness?

A No, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, you said that on the first incident, Bongbong inserted his
hintuturo inside your vagina?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now Miss Witness, you also testified that Bongbong also inserted his organ (titi)
inside your vagina, is it not?

A Yes, sir.

Q Which comes first, the insertion of the finger of Bongbong inside your vagina or the
insertion of the organ to your vagina?

A He inserted his organ first, sir.


Q Now Miss Witness, this first incident which you said you were abused sexually by
Bongbong inside their house particularly on the bed, nobody is present except the
two of you?

A Yes, sir.[23]

In any case, the alleged discrepancy concerns mere matters of details which can be expected to
happen when a young girl, aged six and inexperienced, is asked to narrate in court how she was
violated. Such minor inconsistencies, far from detracting from the veracity of her testimony, in fact,
tend to bolster it.[24]

Second. Accused-appellants mother claimed that her son was in the house of his father in Bagong
Bayan, Caloocan City, when the first incident of rape allegedly happened in Barangay Culiat,
Quezon City. This assertion, however, is inconsistent with her testimony on cross-examination that
on April 15, 1993, accused-appellant came back and never left home thereafter.[25] Even Jesus
Pambid, accused-appellants father, confirmed in his direct examination that on three occasions
during the month of April 1993, accused-appellant stayed in the house in Culiat, and that, at one
time, he even accompanied accused-appellant to get some clothes. More importantly, the
testimonies of accused-appellants parents were contradicted by Maricon who, on cross-examination,
said that when accused-appellant forcibly took her to his house and raped her, she saw the latters
mother outside the house. Nor can we believe the claim of Angelita Pambid that her son could not
have raped Maricon a second time in Antonia Adoveras house over Maricons consistent claim that
accused-appellant indeed raped her.

As we have held time and again, the testimony of rape victims who are young and immature
deserves full credence,[26] specially if they are without any motive to testify falsely against accused-
appellant.[27] In this case, accused-appellant offered no evidence to show that Maricon was impelled
by any ulterior motive to fabricate a story of defloration against him. The fact that Maricon failed to
immediately inform any member of her family about the two rape incidents was understandable
considering the threats made by accused-appellant.[28]

Third. In the alternative, it is contended that accused-appellant is exempt from criminal liability by
reason of insanity. The defense claims that accused-appellant was suffering from schizophrenia and
mild mental retardation.

We find accused-appellants plea of insanity unacceptable. To begin with, his shift of theory, from
denial and alibi to plea of insanity, made apparently after realizing the futility of his earlier defense, is
a clear indication that his defenses are nothing but mere concoctions.[29]

While Art. 12(1) of the Revised Penal Code provides that an imbecile or insane person is exempt
from criminal liability, unless he has acted during a lucid interval, the presumption, under Art. 800 of
the Civil Code, is that every man is sane. Anyone who pleads the exempting circumstance of
insanity bears the burden of proving it.[30] He must show that he was completely deprived of reason
when he committed the crime charged. As held in People v. Baez,[31] "the imbecility or insanity at the
time of the commission of the act should absolutely deprive a person of intelligence or freedom of
will, because mere abnormality of his mental faculties does not exclude imputability."

Based on this standard, we find that accused-appellant failed to discharge this burden. A careful
review of the records show the following circumstances which militate against accused-appellants
claim of insanity:
As to the first incident of rape, it is established that accused-appellant closed the door upon entering
his house, apparently so that he would not be seen with Maricon. Then, he got a knife from the
kitchen and pointed it at the child. When he heard his mother get into the house, he stopped having
intercourse with Maricon, hid the knife under the bed and told the child not to report the incident to
anyone, otherwise, he would kill her.

As to the second incident of rape, accused-appellant kept threatening Maricon as he forced himself
on her while they were in the house of Antonia Adovera.

By the totality of his acts, accused-appellant showed that he was fully conscious of what he was
doing.

The bare testimony of accused-appellants father that accused-appellant suffered some mental
illness during childhood and that both his maternal aunt and his brother had been previously
confined at the National Mental Hospital is inadequate to prove that accused-appellant was
completely deprived of reason when he raped Maricon. Neither do the psychological report and the
result of the psychiatric examination indubitably establish that accused-appellant was insane
immediately before or at the time of the commission of the crime.

The psychiatric examination showed that accused-appellant was found suffering from schizophrenia.
When such mental illness completely deprives the offender of the consciousness of his acts, then it
shall be an exempting circumstance. It may also be considered mitigating under Art. 13(a) of the
Revised Penal Code if it diminishes the exercise of his will power. In this case, however, the defense
failed to conclusively establish that accused-appellant was suffering from schizophrenia or any
mental illness that could diminish his will power at the time immediately preceding or during the
commission of the crime. Acts penalized by law are always presumed to be voluntary, and it is
improper to conclude that a person acted unconsciously in order to relieve him of liability, unless his
insanity is conclusively proved.[32] It was, therefore, error for the trial court to appreciate the
mitigating circumstance of insanity in favor of accused-appellant.

Fourth. The trial court convicted accused-appellant of rape committed on two separate occasions
although there was only one information filed against him. It ruled that, on the first occasion of rape,
accused-appellant committed the crime with the use of a deadly weapon for which the penalty
is reclusion perpetua to death, but the court sentenced him to reclusion perpetua only in view of the
suspension of the death penalty at the time the crime was committed. The trial court awarded
Maricon Delvie C. Grifaldia, the sum of P50,000.00, plus costs, for each count of rape.

This is error. The Constitution specifically provides that the accused must "be informed of the nature
and cause of the accusation against him,"[33]in order for him to prepare his defense.

In People v. Manalili,[34] we held:

The hornbook doctrine in our jurisdiction is that an accused cannot be convicted of


an offense, unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information.
Constitutionally, he has a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him. To convict him of an offense other than that charged in the
complaint or information would be violative of this constitutional right. Indeed, the
accused cannot be convicted of a crime, even if duly proven, unless it is alleged or
necessarily included in the information filed against him.

The trial court, in its decision, merely noted that since accused-appellant did not object to having
been charged with two counts of rape in one information, "he may be convicted of two offenses of
rape."[35] The trial court failed to consider, however, that accused-appellant could not have objected
to the validity of the information or raise the issue of duplicity of offenses since the information does
not charge him with more than one offense or occasion of rape.

Thus, although it was shown that accused-appellant raped Maricon on two occasions, nonetheless,
he can be convicted for one count of rape only.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 81, Quezon City, is SET ASIDE and
another one is rendered finding accused-appellant Joseph Pambid y Cornelio GUILTY of one (1)
count of rape, sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering him to pay
complainant Maricon Delvie C. Grifaldia P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral
damages, plus costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-37673 March 31, 1933

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
POTENCIANO TANEO, defendant-appellant.

Carlos S. Tan for appellant.


Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.

AVANCEÑA, C.J.:

Potenciano Tadeo live with his wife in his parent's house of the barrio of Dolores, municipality of
Ormoc, Leyte. On January 16, 1932, a fiesta was being celebrated in the said barrio and visitors
were entertained in the house. Among them were Fred Tanner and Luis Malinao. Early that
afternoon, Potenciano Taneo, went to sleep and while sleeping, he suddenly got up, left the room
bolo in hand and, upon meeting his wife who tried to stop him, he wounded her in the abdomen.
Potenciano Taneo attacked Fred Tanner and Luis Malinao and tried to attack his father after which
he wounded himself. Potenciano's wife who was then seven months pregnant, died five days later as
a result of her wound, and also the foetus which was asphyxiated in the mother's womb.

An information for parricide was filed against Potenciano Taneo, and upon conviction he was
sentenced by the trial court to reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties, to indemnity the heirs
of the deceased in the sum of P500 and to pay the costs. From this sentence, the defendant
appealed.

It appears from the evidence that the day before the commission of the crime the defendant had a
quarrel over a glass of "tuba" with Enrique Collantes and Valentin Abadilla, who invited him to come
down to fight, and when he was about to go down, he was stopped by his wife and his mother. On
the day of the commission of the crime, it was noted that the defendant was sad and weak, and early
in the afternoon he had a severe stomachache which made it necessary for him to go to bed. It was
then when he fell asleep. The defendant states that when he fell asleep, he dreamed that Collantes
was trying to stab him with a bolo while Abadilla held his feet, by reason of which he got up; and as it
seemed to him that his enemies were inviting him to come down, he armed himself with a bolo and
left the room. At the door, he met his wife who seemed to say to him that she was wounded. Then
he fancied seeing his wife really wounded and in desperation wounded himself. As his enemies
seemed to multiply around him, he attacked everybody that came his way.

The evidence shows that the defendant not only did not have any trouble with his wife, but that he
loved her dearly. Neither did he have any dispute with Tanner and Malinao, or have any motive for
assaulting them.

Our conclusion is that the defendant acted while in a dream and his acts, with which he is charged,
were not voluntary in the sense of entailing criminal liability.

In arriving at this conclusion, we are taking into consideration the fact that the apparent lack of a
motive for committing a criminal act does not necessarily mean that there are none, but that simply
they are not known to us, for we cannot probe into depths of one's conscience where they may be
found, hidden away and inaccessible to our observation. We are also conscious of the fact that an
extreme moral perversion may lead a man commit a crime without a real motive but just for the sake
of committing it. But under the special circumstances of the case, in which the victim was the
defendant's own wife whom he dearly loved, and taking into consideration the fact that the defendant
tried to attack also his father, in whose house and under whose protection he lived, besides
attacking Tanner and Malinao, his guests, whom he himself invited as may be inferred from the
evidence presented, we find not only a lack of motives for the defendant to voluntarily commit the
acts complained of, but also motives for not committing said acts.

Doctor Serafica, an expert witness in this case, is also of the same opinion. The doctor stated that
considering the circumstances of the case, the defendant acted while in a dream, under the
influence of an hallucination and not in his right mind.

We have thus far regarded the case upon the supposition that the wound of the deceased was direct
result of the defendant's act performed in order to inflict it. Nevertheless we may say further that the
evidence does not clearly show this to have been the case, but that it may have been caused
accidentally. Nobody saw how the wound was inflicted. The defendant did not testify that he
wounded his wife. He only seemed to have heard her say that she was wounded. What the evidence
shows is that the deceased, who was in the sala, intercepted the defendant at the door of the room
as he was coming out. The defendant did not dream that he was assaulting his wife but he was
defending himself from his enemies. And so, believing that his wife was really wounded, in
desperation, he stabbed himself.

In view of all these considerations, and reserving the judgment appealed from, the courts finds that
the defendant is not criminally liable for the offense with which he is charged, and it is ordered that
he be confined in the Government insane asylum, whence he shall not be released until the director
thereof finds that his liberty would no longer constitute a menace, with costs de oficio. So ordered.

Street, Ostrand, Abad Santos, and Butte, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-54135 November 21, 1991

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
POLICARPIO RAFANAN, JR., defendant-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Causapin, Millar & Tutana Law Office for defendant-appellant.

FELICIANO, J.:

Policarpio Rafanan, Jr. appeals from a decision of the then Court of First Instance of Pangasinan
convicting him of the crime of rape and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua, to indemnify
complainant Estelita Ronaya in the amount of P10,000.00 by way of moral damages, and to pay the
costs.

The facts were summarized by the trial court in the following manner:

The prosecution's evidence shows that on February 27, 1976, complainant Estelita Ronaya
who was then only fourteen years old was hired as a househelper by the mother of the
accused, Ines Rafanan alias"Baket Ines" with a salary of P30.00 a month.

The accused Policarpio Rafanan and his family lived with his mother in the same house at
Barangay San Nicholas, Villasis, Pangasinan. Policarpio was then married and had two
children.

On March 16, 1976, in the evening, after dinner, Estelita Ronaya was sent by the mother of
the accused to help in their store which was located in front of their house about six (6)
meters away. Attending to the store at the time was the accused. At 11:00 o'clock in the
evening, the accused called the complainant to help him close the door of the store and as
the latter complied and went near him, he suddenly pulled the complainant inside the store
and said, "Come, let us have sexual intercourse," to which Estelita replied, "I do not like,"
and struggled to free herself and cried. The accused held a bolo measuring 1-1/2 feet
including the handle which he pointed to the throat of the complainant threatening her with
said bolo should she resist. Then, he forced her to lie down on a bamboo bed, removed her
pants and after unfastening the zipper of his own pants, went on top of complainant and
succeeded having carnal knowledge of her inspite of her resistance and struggle. After the
sexual intercourse, the accused cautioned the complainant not to report the matter to her
mother or anybody in the house, otherwise he would kill her.

Because of fear, the complainant did not immediately report the matter and did not leave the
house of the accused that same evening. In fact, she slept in the house of the accused that
evening and the following morning she scrubbed the floor and did her daily routine work in
the house. She only left the house in the evening of March 17, 1976.
Somehow, in the evening of March 17, 1976, the family of the accused learned what
happened the night before in the store between Policarpio and Estelita and a quarrel ensued
among them prompting Estelita Ronaya to go back to her house. When Estelita's mother
confronted her and asked her why she went home that evening, the complainant could not
answer but cried and cried. It was only the following morning on March 18, 1976 that the
complainant told her mother that she was raped by the accused. Upon knowing what
happened to her daughter, the mother Alejandra Ronaya, immediately accompanied her to
the house of Patrolman Bernardo Mairina of the Villasis Police Force who lives in Barrio San
Nicolas, Villasis, Pangasinan. Patrolman Mairina is a cousin of the father of the complainant.
He advised them to proceed to the municipal building while he went to fetch the accused.
The accused was later brought to the police headquarter with the bolo, Exhibit "E", which the
accused allegedly used in threatening the complainant. 1

At arraignment, appellant entered a plea of not guilty. The case then proceeded to trial and in due course of time, the trial court, as already noted,
convicted the appellant.

The instant appeal is anchored on the following:

Assignment of Errors

1. The lower court erred in basing its decision of conviction of appellant solely on the testimony of the complainant and her mother.

2. The lower court erred in considering the hearsay evidence for the prosecution, "Exhibits B and C".

3. The lower court erred in not believing the testimony of the expert witnesses, as to the mental condition of the accused-appellant at the
time of the alleged commission of the crime of rape.

4. The lower court erred in convicting appellant who at the time of the alleged rape was suffering from insanity. 2

Appellant first assails the credibility of complainant as well as of her mother whose testimonies he contends are contradictory. It is claimed by appellant
that the testimony of complainant on direct examination that she immediately went home after the rape incident, is at variance with her testimony on
cross examination to the effect that she had stayed in the house of appellant until the following day. Complainant, in saying that she left the house of
appellant by herself, is also alleged to have contradicted her mother who stated that she (the mother) went to the store in the evening of 17 March
1979 and brought Estelita home.

The apparently inconsistent statements made by complainant were clarified by her on cross examination. In any case, the inconsistencies related to
minor and inconsequential details which do not touch upon the manner in which the crime had been committed and therefore did not in any way impair
the credibility of the complainant. 3
The commission of the came was not seriously disputed by appellant. The testimony of complainant in this respect is clear and convincing:

Fiscal Guillermo:

Q Now, we go back to that time when according to you the accused pulled you from the door and brought you inside the store after you
helped him closed the store. Now, after the accused pulled you from the door and brought you inside the store what happened then?

A "You come and we will have sexual intercourse," he said.

Q And what did you say?

A "I do not like," I said.

Q And what did you do, if any, when you said you do not like to have sexual intercourse with him?

A I struggled and cried.

Q What did the accused do after that?

A He got a knife and pointed it at my throat so I was frightened and he could do what he wanted to do. He was able to do what he wanted
to do.

Q This "kutsilyo" you were referring to or knife, how big is that knife? Will you please demonstrate, if any?

A This length, sir. (Which parties agreed to be about one and one-half [1-1/2] feet long.)

xxx xxx xxx

Fiscal Guillermo:

Q Now, you said that the accused was able to have sexual intercourse with you after he placed the bolo or that knife [at] your throat. Now,
will you please tell the court what did the accused do immediately after placing that bolo your throat and before having sexual intercourse
you?

A He had sexual intercourse with me.

Q What was your wearing apparel that evening?

A I was wearing pants, sir.

Q Aside from the pants, do you have any underwear?

A Yes, sir, I have a panty.

Q Now, before the accused have sexual intercourse with you what, if any, did he do with respect to your pants and your panty?

A He removed them, sir.

Q Now, while he was removing your pants and your panty what, if any, did you do?
A I continued to struggle so that he could not remove my pants but he was stronger that's why he succeeded.

Q Now, after he had removed your panty and your pants or pantsuit what else happened?

A He went on top of me, sir.

Q At the time what was the accused wearing by way of apparel?

A He was wearing pants.

Q When you said he went on top of you after he has removed your pantsuit and your panty, was he still wearing his pants?

A He unbuttoned his pants and unfastened the zipper of his pants.

Q And after he unbuttoned and unfastened his pants what did you see which he opened?

A I saw his penis.

Q Now, you said that after the accused has unzipped his pants and brought out his penis which you saw, he went on top of you. When he
was already on top of you what did you do, if any?

A I struggled.

Q Now, you said that you struggled. What happened then when you struggled against the accused when he was on top of you?

A Since he was stronger, he succeeded doing what he wanted to get.

xxx xxx xxx

COURT:

Alright, what do you mean by he was able to succeed in what he wanted to get?

Fiscal Guillermo:

Considering the condition of the witness, your honor, with tears, may we just be allowed to ask a leading question which is a follow-up
question?

Witness:

A He inserted his private part inside my vagina.

Fiscal Guillermo:

Q Now, when he inserted his private part inside your vagina what did you feel, if any?

A I felt something that came out from his inside.


Q Now, how long, if you remember, did the accused have his penis inside your vagina:?

A Around five minutes maybe, sir.

Q After that what happened then?

A He removed it.

Q After the accused has removed his penis from your vagina what else happened?

A No more, sir, he sat down.

Q What, if any, did he tell you?

A There was, sir. He told me not to report the matter to my

mother and to anybody in their house.

Q What else did he tell you?

A He told me that if I told anyone what happened, he will kill me.

Q After that where did you go?

A I went home already, sir. 4

The principal submission of appellant is that he was suffering from a metal aberration characterized as schizophrenia when he inflicted his violent
intentions upon Estelita. At the urging of his counsel, the trial court suspended the trial and ordered appellant confined at the National Mental Hospital
in Mandaluyong for observation and treatment. In the meantime, the case was archived. Appellant was admitted into the hospital on 29 December
1976 and stayed there until 26 June 1978.

During his confinement, the hospital prepared four (4) clinical reports on the mental and physical condition of the appellant, all signed by Dr. Simplicio
N. Masikip and Dr. Arturo E. Nerit, physician-in-charge and chief, Forensic Psychiatry Service, respectively.

In the first report dated 27 January 1977, the following observations concerning appellant's mental condition were set forth:

On admission he was sluggish in movements, indifferent to interview, would just look up whenever questioned but refused to answer.

On subsequent examinations and observations he was carelessly attired, with dishevelled hair, would stare vacuously through the window,
or look at people around him. He was indifferent and when questioned, he would just smile inappropriately. He refused to verbalize, even
when persuaded, and was emotionally dull and mentally inaccessible. He is generally seclusive, at times would pace the floor, seemingly in
deep thought. Later on when questioned his frequent answers are "Aywan ko, hindi ko alam." His affect is dull, he claimed to hear strange
voices "parang ibon, tinig ng ibon," but cannot elaborate. He is disoriented to 3 spheres and has no idea why he was brought here.

The report then concluded:


In view of the foregoing examinations and observations, Policarpio Rafanan, Jr. y Gambawa is found suffering from a mental disorder
called schizophrenia, manifested by carelessness in grooming, sluggishness in movements, staring vacuously, indifferen[ce], smiling
inappropriately, refusal to verbalize, emotional dullness, mental inaccessibility, seclusiveness, preoccupation, disorientation, and perceptual
aberrations of hearing strange sounds. He is psychotic or insane, hence cannot stand court trial. He needs further hospitalization and
treatment. 5

The second report, dated 21 June 1977, contained the following description of appellant's mental condition:

At present he is still seclusive, undertalkative and retarded in his reponses. There is dullness of his affect and he appeared preoccupied. He
is observed to mumble alone by himself and would show periods of being irritable saying — "oki naman" with nobody in particular. He claim
he does not know whether or not he was placed in jail and does not know if he has a case in court. Said he does not remember having
committed any wrong act

and the following conclusions:

In view of the foregoing examinations and observations Policarpio Rafanan, Jr. y Gambawa is at present time still psychotic or insane,
manifested by periods of irritability — cursing nobody in particular, seclusive, underactive, undertalkative, retarded in his response, dullness
of his affect, mumbles alone by himself, preoccupied and lack of insight.

He is not yet in a condition to stand court trial. He needs further hospitalization and treatment. 6

In the third report, dated 5 October 1977, appellant was described as having become "better behaved, responsive" and "neat in person," and
"adequate in his emotional tone, in touch with his surroundings and . . . free from hallucinatory experiences." During the preceding period, appellant
had been allowed to leave the hospital temporarily; he stayed with a relative in Manila while coming periodically to the hospital for check-ups. During
this period, he was said to have been helpful in the doing of household chores, conversed and as freely with other members of the household and slept
well, although, occasionally, appellant smiled while alone. Appellant complained that at times he heard voices of small children, talking in a language
he could not understand. The report concluded by saying that while appellant had improved in his mental condition, he was not yet in a position to
stand trial since he needed further treatment, medication and check-ups. 7

In the last report dated 26 June 1978, appellant was described as behaved, helpful in household chores and no longer talking while alone. He was said
to be "fairly groomed" and "oriented" and as denying having hallucinations. The report concluded that he was in a "much improved condition" and "in a
mental condition to stand court trial." 8

Trial of the case thus resumed. The defense first presented Dr. Arturo Nerit who suggested that appellant was sick one or two years before his
admission into the hospital, in effect implying that appellant was already suffering from schizophrenia when he raped complainant. 9
The
defense next presented Raquel Jovellano, a psychiatrist engaged in private practice, who testified
that she had examined and treated the appellant.

Appellant's plea of insanity rests on Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code which provides:

Art. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. —


The following are exempt from criminal liability:

1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.

Where the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a
felony (delito), the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums
established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall not be permitted to leave without first
obtaining the permission of the same court.

xxx xxx xxx

Although the Court has ruled many times in the past on the insanity defense, it was only in People
vs. Formigones10 that the Court elaborated on the required standards of legal insanity, quoting
extensively from the Commentaries of Judge Guillermo Guevara on the Revised Penal Code, thus:

The Supreme Court of Spain held that in order that this exempting circumstance may be
taken into account, it is necessary that there be a complete deprivation of intelligence in
committing the act, that is, that theaccused be deprived of reason; that there be no
responsibility for his own acts; that he acts without the least discernment; (Decision of the
Supreme Court of Spain of November 21, 1891; 47 Jur. Crim. 413.) that there be a complete
absence of the power to discern, (Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain of April 29, 1916;
96 Jur. Crim. 239) or that there be a total deprivation of freedom of the will. (Decision of the
Supreme Court of Spain of April 9, 1872; 6 Jur. Crim. 239) For this reason, it was held that
the imbecility or insanity at the time of the commission of the act should absolutely deprive a
person of intelligence or freedom of will, because mere abnormality of his mental faculties
does not exclude imputability. (Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain of April 20, 1911; 86
Jur. Crim. 94, 97.)

The Supreme Court of Spain likewise held that deaf-muteness cannot be [equated with]
imbecility or insanity.

The allegation of insanity or imbecility must be clearly proved. Without positive evidence that
the defendant had previously lost his reason or was demented, a few moments prior to or
during the perpetration of the crime, it will be presumed that he was in a normal condition.
Acts penalized by law are always reputed to be voluntary, and it is improper to conclude that
a person acted unconsciously, in order to relieve him from liability, on the basis of his mental
condition, unless his insanity and absence of will are proved. (Emphasis supplied.)

The standards set out in Formigones were commonly adopted in subsequent cases. 11 A linguistic or
grammatical analysis of those standards suggests that Formigones established two (2)
distinguishable tests: (a) the test of cognition — "complete deprivation of intelligence in committing
the [criminal] act," and (b) the test of volition — "or that there be a total deprivation freedom of the
will." But our caselaw shows common reliance on the test of cognition, rather than on a test relating
to "freedom of the will;" examination of our caselaw has failed to turn up any case where this Court
has exempted an accused on the sole ground that he was totally deprived of "freedom of the
will," i.e., without an accompanying "complete deprivation of intelligence." This is perhaps to be
expected since a person's volition naturally reaches out only towards that which is presented as
desirable by his intelligence, whether that intelligence be diseased or healthy. In any case, where the
accused failed to show complete impairment or loss of intelligence, the Court has recognized at
most a mitigating, not an exempting, circumstance in accord with Article 13(9) of the Revised Penal
Code: "Such illness of the offender as would diminish the exercise of the will-power of the offender
without however depriving him of the consciousness of his acts." 12
Schizophrenia pleaded by appellant has been described as a chronic mental disorder characterized by inability to distinguish between fantasy and
reality, and often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions. Formerly called dementia praecox, it is said to be the most common form of psychosis
an usually develops between the ages 15 and 30. 13
A standard textbook in psychiatry describes some of the
symptoms of schizophrenia in the following manner:

Eugen Bleuler later described three general primary symptoms of schizophrenia: a


disturbance of association, a disturbance of affect, and a disturbance of activity. Bleuler also
stressed the dereistic attitude of the schizophrenic — that is, his detachment from reality and
consequent autism and the ambivalence that expresses itself in his uncertain affectivity and
initiative. Thus, Bleuler's system of schizophrenia is often referred to as the four A's:
association, affect, autism, and ambivalence.

xxx xxx xxx

Kurt Schneider described a number of first-rank symptoms of schizophrenia that he


considered in no way specific for the disease but of great pragmatic value in making a
diagnosis. Schneider's first-rank symptoms include the hearing of one's thoughts spoken
aloud, auditory hallucinations that comment on the patient's behavior, somatic hallucinations,
the experience of having one's thoughts controlled, the spreading of one's thoughts to
others, delusions, and the experience of having one's actions controlled or influenced from
the outside.

Schizophrenia, Schneider pointed out, also can be diagnosed exclusively on the basis of
second-rank symptoms, along with an otherwise typical clinical appearances. Second-rank
symptoms include other forms of hallucination, perplexity, depressive and euphoric disorders
of affect, and emotional blunting.

Perceptual Disorders

Various perceptual disorders occur in schizophrenia . . . .

Hallucinations. Sensory experiences or perceptions without corresponding external stimuli


are common symptoms of schizophrenia. Most common are auditory hallucinations, or the
hearing of voices. Most characteristically, two or more voices talk about the patient,
discussing him in the third person. Frequently, the voices address the patient, comment on
what he is doing and what is going on around him, or are threatening or obscene and very
disturbing to the patient. Many schizophrenic patients experience the hearing of their own
thoughts. When they are reading silently, for example, they may be quite disturbed by
hearing every word they are reading clearly spoken to them.

Visual hallucinations occur less frequently than auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic


patients, but they are not rare. Patients suffering from organic of affective psychoses
experience visual hallucinations primarily at night or during limited periods of the day, but
schizophrenic patients hallucinate as much during the day as they do during the night,
sometimes almost continuously. They get relief only in sleep. When visual occur in
schizophrenia, they are usually seen nearby, clearly defined, in color, life size, in three
dimensions, and moving. Visual hallucinations almost never in one of the other sensory
modalities.

xxx xxx xxx

Cognitive Disorders
Delusions. By definition, delusions are false ideas that cannot be corrected by reasoning,
and that are idiosyncratic for the patient — that is, not part of his cultural environment. They
are among the common symptoms of schizophrenia.

Most frequent are delusions of persecution, which are the key symptom in the paranoid type
of schizophrenia. The conviction of being controlled by some unseen mysterious power that
exercises its influence from a distance is almost pathognomonic for schizophrenia. It occurs
in most, if not all, schizophrenics at one time or another, and for many it is a daily
experience. The modern schizophrenic whose delusions have kept up with the scientific
times may be preoccupied with atomic power, X-rays, or spaceships that take control over
his mind and body. Also typical for
many schizophrenics are delusional fantasies about the destruction of the world. 14

In previous cases where schizophrenia was interposed as an exempting circumtance, 15


it has mostly been rejected by the Court.
In each of these cases, the evidence presented tended to show that if there was impairment of the
mental faculties, such impairment was not so complete as to deprive the accused of intelligence or
the consciousness of his acts.

The facts of the instant case exhibit much the same situation. Dr. Jovellano declared as follows:

(Fiscal Guillermo:)

Q Now, this condition of the accused schizophrenic as you found him, would you say doctor
that he was completely devoid of any consciousness of whatever he did in connection with
the incident in this case?

A He is not completely devoid of consciousness.

Q Would you say doctor, therefore, that he was conscious of threatening the victim at the
time of the commission of the alleged rape?

A Yes, he was conscious.

Q And he was conscious of forcing the victim to lie down?

A Yes.

Q And he was also conscious of removing the panty of the victim at the time?

A Yes.

Q And he was also conscious and knows that the victim has a vagina upon which he will
place his penis?

A Yeah.

Q And he was conscious enough to be competent and have an erection?

A Yes.
Q Would you say that those acts of a person no matter whether he is schizophrenic which
you said, it deals (sic) some kind of intelligence and consciousness of some acts that is
committed?

A Yes, it involves the consciousness because the consciousness there in relation to the act
is what we call primitive acts of any individual. The difference only in the act of an insane and
a normal individual, a normal individual will use the power of reasoning and consciousness
within the standard of society while an insane causes (sic) already devoid of the fact that he
could no longer withstand himself in the ordinary environment, yet his acts are within the
bound of insanity or psychosis.

Q Now, Doctor, of course this person suffering that ailment which you said the accused here
is suffering is capable of planning the commission of a rape?

A Yes, they are also capable.

Q He is capable of laying in wait in order to assault?

A Yes.

Q And would you say that condition that ability of a person to plan a rape and to perform all
the acts preparatory to the actual intercourse could be done by an insane person?

A Yes, it could be done.

Q Now, you are talking of insanity in its broadest sense, is it not?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, is this insane person also capable of knowing what is right and what is wrong?

A Well, there is no weakness on that part of the individual. They may know what is wrong but
yet there is no inhibition on the individual.

Q Yes, but actually, they are mentally equipped with knowledge that an act they are going to
commit is wrong?

A Yeah, they are equipped but the difference is, there is what we call they lost the inhibition.
The reasoning is weak and yet they understand but the volition is [not] there, the drive is
[not]
there. 16 (Emphasis supplied)

The above testimony, in substance, negates complete destruction of intelligence at the time of commission of the act charged which, in the current
state of our caselaw, is critical if the defense of insanity is to be sustained. The fact that appellant Rafanan threatened complainant Estelita with death
should she reveal she had been sexually assaulted by him, indicates, to the mind of the Court, that Rafanan was aware of the reprehensible moral
quality of that assault. The defense sought to suggest, through Dr. Jovellano's last two (2) answers above, that person suffering from schizophrenia
sustains not only impairment of the mental faculties but also deprivation of there power self-control. We do not believe that Dr. Jovellano's testimony,
by itself, sufficiently demonstrated the truth of that proposition. In any case, as already pointed out, it is complete loss of intelligence which must be
shown if the exempting circumstance of insanity is to be found.
The law presumes every man to be sane. A person accused of a crime has the burden of proving his affirmative allegation of insanity. 17
Here,
appellant failed to present clear and convincing evidence regarding his state of mind immediately
before and during the sexual assault on Estelita. It has been held that inquiry into the mental state of
the accused should relate to the period immediately before or at the very moment the act is
committed. 18 Appellant rested his case on the testimonies of two (2) physicians (Dr. Jovellano and
Dr. Nerit) which, however, did not purport to characterize his mental condition during that critical
period of time. They did not specifically relate to circumtances occurring on or immediately before
the day of the rape. Their testimonies consisted of broad statements based on general behavioral
patterns of people afflicted with schizophrenia. Curiously, while it was Dr. Masikip who had actually
observed and examined appellant during his confinement at the National Mental Hospital, the
defense chose to present Dr. Nerit.

Accordingly, we must reject the insanity defense of appellant Rafanan.

In People vs. Puno (supra), the Court ruled that schizophrenic reaction, although not exempting
because it does not completely deprive the offender of the consciousness of his acts, may be
considered as a mitigating circumstance under Article 13(9) of the Revised Penal Code, i.e., as an
illness which diminishes the exercise of the offender's will-power without, however, depriving him of
the consciousness of his acts. Appellant should have been credited with this mitigating
circumstance, although it would not have affected the penalty imposable upon him under Article 63
of the Revised Penal Code: "in all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty
(reclusion perpetua in this case), it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or
aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed."

WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, except that the amount of moral
damages is increased to P30,000.00. Costs against appellant.

Narvasa, Cruz, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 182239 March 16, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
HERMIE M. JACINTO, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

PEREZ, J.:

Once again, we recite the time-honored principle that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the
victim’s positive identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime.1 For it to prosper, the
court must be convinced that there was physical impossibility on the part of the accused to have
been at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.2
Nevertheless, a child in conflict with the law, whose judgment of conviction has become final and
executory only after his disqualification from availing of the benefits of suspended sentence on the
ground that he/she has exceeded the age limit of twenty-one (21) years, shall still be entitled to the
right to restoration, rehabilitation, and reintegration in accordance with Republic Act No. 9344,
otherwise known as "An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System,
Creating the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council under the Department of Justice, Appropriating
Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes."

Convicted for the rape of five-year-old AAA,3 appellant Hermie M. Jacinto seeks before this Court the
reversal of the judgment of his conviction.4

The Facts

In an Information dated 20 March 20035 filed with the Regional Trial Court and docketed as Criminal
Case No. 1679-13-141[1],6 appellant was accused of the crime of RAPE allegedly committed as
follows:

That on or about the 28th day of January, 2003 at about 7:00 o’clock in the evening more or less, at
barangay xxx, municipality of xxx, province of xxx and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
[Hermie M. Jacinto], with lewd design did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had
carnal knowledge with one AAA, a five-year old minor child.

CONTRARY TO LAW, with the qualifying/aggravating circumstance of minority, the victim being only
five years old.7

On 15 July 2003, appellant entered a plea of not guilty.8 During pre-trial,9 the defense admitted the
existence of the following documents: (1) birth certificate of AAA, showing that she was born on 3
December 1997; (2) police blotter entry on the rape incident; and (3) medical certificate, upon
presentation of the original or upon identification thereof by the physician.

Trial ensued with the prosecution and the defense presenting witnesses to prove their respective
versions of the story.

Evidence for the Prosecution

The testimonies of AAA,10 her father FFF,11 and rebuttal witness Julito Apiki [Julito]12 may be
summarized in the following manner:

FFF and appellant have been neighbors since they were born. FFF’s house is along the road. That
of appellant lies at the back approximately 80 meters from FFF. To access the road, appellant has to
pass by FFF’s house, the frequency of which the latter describes to be "every minute [and] every
hour." Also, appellant often visits FFF because they were close friends. He bore no grudge against
appellant prior to the incident.13

AAA likewise knows appellant well. She usually calls him kuya. She sees him all the time – playing
at the basketball court near her house, fetching water, and passing by her house on his way to the
road. She and appellant used to be friends until the incident.14

At about past 6 o’clock in the evening of 28 January 2003, FFF sent his eight-year-old daughter
CCC to the store of Rudy Hatague to buy cigarettes. AAA followed CCC. When CCC returned
without AAA, FFF was not alarmed. He thought she was watching television at the house of her aunt
Rita Lingcay [Rita].15

Julito went to the same store at around 6:20 in the evening to buy a bottle of Tanduay Rum.16 At the
store, he saw appellant place AAA on his lap.17 He was wearing sleeveless shirt and a pair of short
pants.18 All of them left the store at the same time.19 Julito proceeded to the house of Rita to watch
television, while appellant, who held the hand of AAA, went towards the direction of the "lower area
or place."20

AAA recalled that appellant was wearing a chaleko (sando) and a pair of short pants21 when he held
her hand while on the road near the store.22 They walked towards the rice field near the house of
spouses Alejandro and Gloria Perocho [the Perochos].23 There he made her lie down on harrowed
ground, removed her panty and boxed her on the chest.24 Already half-naked from waist down,25 he
mounted her, and, while her legs were pushed apart, pushed his penis into her vagina and made a
push and pull movement.26 She felt pain and cried.27Afterwards, appellant left and proceeded to the
Perochos.28 She, in turn, went straight home crying.29

FFF heard AAA crying and calling his name from downstairs.30 She was without slippers.31 He found
her face greasy.32 There was mud on her head and blood was oozing from the back of her
head.33 He checked for any injury and found on her neck a contusion that was already turning
black.34 She had no underwear on and he saw white substance and mud on her vagina.35 AAA told
him that appellant brought her from the store36 to the grassy area at the back of the house of the
Perochos;37 that he threw away her pair of slippers, removed her panty, choked her and boxed her
breast;38 and that he proceeded thereafter to the Perochos.39

True enough, FFF found appellant at the house of the Perochos.40 He asked the appellant what he
did to AAA.41Appellant replied that he was asked to buy rum at the store and that AAA followed
him.42 FFF went home to check on his daughter,43 afterwhich, he went back to appellant, asked
again,44 and boxed him.45

Meanwhile, at around 7:45 in the evening of even date, Julito was still watching television at the
house of Rita.46AAA and her mother MMM arrived.47 AAA was crying.48 Julito pitied her, embraced
her, and asked what happened to her, to which she replied that appellant raped her.49 Julito left and
found appellant at the Perochos.50 Julito asked appellant, "Bads, did you really rape the child, the
daughter of [MMM]?" but the latter ignored his question.51 Appellant’s aunt, Gloria, told appellant that
the policemen were coming to which the appellant responded, "Wait a minute because I will wash
the dirt of my elbow (sic) and my knees."52 Julito did found the elbows and knees of appellant with
dirt.53

On that same evening, FFF and AAA proceeded to the police station to have the incident
blottered.54 FFF also had AAA undergo a physical check up at the municipal health center.55 Dr.
Bernardita M. Gaspar, M.D., Rural Health Physician, issued a medical certificate56 dated 29 January
2003. It reads:

Injuries seen are as follows:

1. Multiple abrasions with erythema along the neck area.

2. Petechial hemorrhages on both per-orbital areas.

3. Hematoma over the left upper arm, lateral area


4. Hematoma over the upper anterior chest wall, midclavicular line

5. Abrasion over the posterior trunk, paravertebral area

6. Genital and peri-anal area soiled with debris and whitish mucoid-like material

7. Introitus is erythematous with minimal bleeding

8. Hymenal lacerations at the 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock position

Impression

MULTIPLE SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

HYMENAL LACERATIONS

Upon the recommendation of Dr. Gaspar,57 AAA submitted herself to another examination at the
provincial hospital on the following day. Dr. Christine Ruth B. Micabalo, Medical Officer III of the
provincial hospital, attended to her and issued a medico-legal certificate dated 29 January
2003,58 the pertinent portion of which reads:

P.E. = Findings is consistent with Dr. Bernardita M. Gaspar findings except No. 6 and 7 there is no
bleeding in this time of examination. (sic)59

Evidence for the Defense

Interposing the defense of alibi, appellant gave a different version of the story. To corroborate his
testimony, Luzvilla Balucan [Luzvilla] and his aunt Gloria took the witness stand to affirm that he was
at the Perochos at the time of the commission of the crime.60 Luzvilla even went further to state that
she actually saw Julito, not appellant, pick up AAA on the road.61 In addition, Antonia Perocho
[Antonia], sister-in-law of appellant’s aunt, Gloria,62testified on the behavior of Julito after the rape
incident was revealed.63

Appellant claimed that he lives with his aunt, not with his parents whose house stands at the back of
FFF’s house.64 He denied that there was a need to pass by the house of FFF in order to access the
road or to fetch water.65 He, however, admitted that he occasionally worked for FFF,66 and whenever
he was asked to buy something from the store, AAA always approached him.67

At about 8 o’clock in the morning of 28 January 2003, appellant went to the Perochos to attend a
birthday party. At 6:08 in the evening, while the visitors, including appellant and his uncle Alejandro
Perocho [Alejandro], were gathered together in a drinking session, appellant’s uncle sent him to the
store to buy Tanduay Rum. Since the store is only about 20 meters from the house, he was able to
return after three (3) minutes. He was certain of the time because he had a watch .68

Appellant’s aunt, Gloria, the lady of the house, confirmed that he was in her house attending the
birthday party; and that appellant went out between 6 and 7 in the evening to buy a bottle of
Tanduay from the store. She recalled that appellant was back around five (5) minutes later. She also
observed that appellant’s white shorts and white sleeveless shirt were clean.69

At 6:30 in the evening,70 Luzvilla, who was also at the party, saw appellant at the kitchen having a
drink with his uncle Alejandro and the rest of the visitors.71 She went out to relieve herself at the side
of the tree beside the road next to the house of the Perochos.72 From where she was, she saw
Julito, who was wearing black short pants and black T-shirt, carry AAA.73 AAA’s face was covered
and she was wiggling.74 This did not alarm her because she thought it was just a
game.75 Meanwhile, appellant was still in the kitchen when she returned.76 Around three (3) minutes
later, Luzvilla saw Julito, now in a white T-shirt,77 running towards the house of Rita.78 AAA was
slowly following behind.79 Luzvilla followed them.80 Just outside the house, Julito embraced AAA and
asked what the appellant did to her.81 The child did not answer.82

Luzvilla also followed FFF to the Perochos. She witnessed the punching incident and testified that
appellant was twice boxed by FFF. According to her, FFF tapped the left shoulder of the appellant,
boxed him, and left. FFF came in the second time and again boxed appellant. This time, he had a
bolo pointed at appellant. Appellant’s uncle Alejandro, a barangay councilor, and another Civilian
Voluntary Organization (CVO) member admonished FFF.83

On sur-rebuttal, Antonia testified that, at 7 o’clock in the evening, she was watching the television
along with other people at the house of Rita. Around 7:10, Julito, who was wearing only a pair of
black short pants without a shirt on, entered the house drunk. He paced back and forth. After 10
minutes, AAA came in crying. Julito tightly embraced AAA and asked her what happened. AAA did
not answer. Upon Antonia’s advice, Julito released her and went out of the house.84

Appellant further testified that at past 7 o’clock in the evening, FFF arrived, pointed a finger at him,
brandished a bolo, and accused him of molesting AAA. FFF left but returned at around 8 o’clock in
the evening. This time, he boxed appellant and asked again why he molested his daughter.85

On 26 March 2004, the Regional Trial Court rendered its decision,86 the dispositive portion of which
reads:

WHEREFORE, finding accused Hermie M. Jacinto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape
committed upon a 5-year old girl, the court sentences him to death and orders him to pay [AAA]
P75,000.000 as rape indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. With costs87

The defense moved to reopen trial for reception of newly discovered evidence stating that appellant
was apparently born on 1 March 1985 and that he was only seventeen (17) years old when the
crime was committed on 28 January 2003.88 The trial court appreciated the evidence and reduced
the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua.89 Thus:

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court imposing the death penalty upon the accused is amended
in order to consider the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority. The penalty impos[a]ble upon
the accused, therefore[,] is reduced to reclusion perpetua. xxx

Appealed to this Court, the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals for its disposition in view of
the ruling inPeople v. Mateo and the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court allowing an intermediate
review by the Court of Appeals of cases where the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua, or
life imprisonment.90

On 29 August 2007, the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED the decision of the trial court with the following
MODIFICATIONS:

xxx that Hermie M. Jacinto should suffer the Indeterminate penalty of from six (6) years and one (1)
day to twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to seventeen (17) and four (4) months
of reclusion temporal, as maximum. Appellant Hermie M. Jacinto is ordered to indemnify the victim in
the sum of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as
exemplary damages and to pay the costs.91

On 19 November 2007, the Court of Appeals gave due course to the appellant’s Notice of
Appeal.92 This Court required the parties to simultaneously file their respective supplemental
briefs.93 Both parties manifested that they have exhaustively discussed their positions in their
respective briefs and would no longer file any supplement.94

Before the Court of Appeals, appellant argued that "THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN
CONVICTING HEREIN ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF
RAPE"95 by invoking the principle that "if the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two
or more reasonable explanations, one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and
the other with his guilt, then the evidence does not pass the test of moral certainty and will not
suffice to support a conviction."96

Our Ruling

We sustain the judgment of conviction.

In the determination of the innocence or guilt of a person accused of rape, we consider the three
well-entrenched principles:

(1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the
accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape in which
only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with
extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and
cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.97

Necessarily, the credible, natural, and convincing testimony of the victim may be sufficient to convict
the accused.98 More so, when the testimony is supported by the medico-legal findings of the
examining physician.99

Further, the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the victim’s positive identification of the perpetrator
of the crime,100 except when it is established that it was physically impossible for the accused to
have been at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.101

A man commits rape by having carnal knowledge of a child under twelve (12) years of age even in
the absence of any of the following circumstances: (a) through force, threat or intimidation; (b) when
the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c) by means of fraudulent
machination or grave abuse of authority.102

That the crime of rape has been committed is certain. The vivid narration of the acts culminating in
the insertion of appellant’s organ into the vagina of five-year-old AAA and the medical findings of the
physicians sufficiently proved such fact.

AAA testified:

PROS. OMANDAM:
xxxx

Q You said Hermie laid you on the ground, removed your panty and boxed you, what else
did he do to you?

A He mounted me.

Q When Hermie mounted you, was he facing you?

A Yes.

Q When he mounted you what did he do, did he move?

A He moved his ass, he made a push and pull movement.

Q When he made a push and pull movement, how were your legs positioned?

A They were apart.

Q Who pushed them apart?

A Hermie.

Q Did Hermie push anything at you?

A Yes.

Q What was that?

A His penis.

Q Where did he push his penis?

A To my vagina.

Q Was it painful?

A Yes.

Q What was painful?

A My vagina.

Q Did you cry?

A Yes.103

The straightforward and consistent answers to the questions, which were phrased and re-phrased in
order to test that AAA well understood the information elicited from her, said it all – she had been
raped. When a woman, more so a minor, says so, she says in effect all that is essential to show that
rape was committed.104 Significantly, youth and immaturity are normally badges of truth and
honesty.105

Further, the medical findings and the testimony of Dr. Micabalo106 revealed that the hymenal
lacerations at 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions could have been caused by the penetration of an
object; that the redness of the introitus could have been "the result of the repeated battering of the
object;" and that such object could have been an erect male organ.107

The credible testimony of AAA corroborated by the physician’s finding of penetration conclusively
established the essential requisite of carnal knowledge.108

II

The real identity of the assailant and the whereabouts of the appellant at the time of the commission
of the crime are now in dispute.

The defense would want us to believe that it was Julito who defiled AAA, and that appellant was
elsewhere when the crime was committed.109

We should not, however, overlook the fact that a victim of rape could readily identify her
assailant, especially when he is not a stranger to her, considering that she could have a good look at
him during the commission of the crime.110 AAA had known appellant all her life. Moreover, appellant
and AAA even walked together from the road near the store to the situs criminus111 that it would be
impossible for the child not to recognize the man who held her hand and led her all the way to the
rice field.

We see no reason to disturb the findings of the trial court on the unwavering testimony of AAA.

The certainty of the child, unusually intelligent for one so young, that it was accused, whom she
called "kuya" and who used to play basketball and fetch water near their house, and who was
wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts at the time he raped her, was convincing and persuasive. The
defense attempted to impute the crime to someone else – one Julito Apiki, but the child, on rebuttal,
was steadfast and did not equivocate, asserting that it was accused who is younger, and not Julito,
who is older, who molested her.112

In a long line of cases, this Court has consistently ruled that the determination by the trial court of the
credibility of the witnesses deserves full weight and respect considering that it has "the opportunity to
observe the witnesses’ manner of testifying, their furtive glances, calmness, sighs and the scant or
full realization of their oath,"113 unless it is shown that material facts and circumstances have been
"ignored, overlooked, misconstrued, or misinterpreted."114

Further, as correctly observed by the trial court:

xxx His and his witness’ attempt to throw the court off the track by imputing the crime to someone
else is xxx a vain exercise in view of the private complainant’s positive identification of accused and
other corroborative circumstances. Accused also admitted that on the same evening, Julito Apiki, the
supposed real culprit, asked him "What is this incident, Pare?", thus corroborating the latter’s
testimony that he confronted accused after hearing of the incident from the child."115

On the other hand, we cannot agree with the appellant that the trial court erred in finding his denial
and alibi weak despite the presentation of witnesses to corroborate his testimony. Glaring
inconsistencies were all over their respective testimonies that even destroyed the credibility of the
appellant’s very testimony.

Appellant testified that it was his uncle Alejandro Perocho who sent him to store to buy Tanduay;
that he gave the bottle to his uncle; and that they had already been drinking long before he bought
Tanduay at the store.

This was contradicted by the testimony of his aunt Gloria, wife of his uncle Alejandro. On cross-
examination, she revealed that her husband was not around before, during, and after the rape
incident because he was then at work.116 He arrived from work only after FFF came to their house
for the second time and boxed appellant.117 It was actually the fish vendor, not her husband, who
asked appellant to buy Tanduay.118 Further, the drinking session started only after the appellant’s
errand to the store.119

Neither was the testimony of Luzvilla credible enough to deserve consideration.

Just like appellant, Luzvilla testified that Alejandro joined the drinking session. This is contrary to
Gloria’s statement that her husband was at work.

Luzvilla’s testimony is likewise inconsistent with that of sur-rebuttal witness Antonia Perocho.
Antonia recalled that Julito arrived without a shirt on. This belied Luzvilla’s claim that Julito wore a
white shirt on his way to the house of Rita. In addition, while both the prosecution, as testified to by
AAA and Julito, and the defense, as testified to by Gloria, were consistent in saying that appellant
wore a sleeveless shirt, Luzvilla’s recollection differ in that Julito wore a T-shirt (colored black and
later changed to white), and, thus, a short-sleeved shirt.

Also, contrary to Luzvilla’s story that she saw AAA walking towards Rita’s house three (3) minutes
after she returned to the Perochos at 6:38 in the evening, Antonia recalled that AAA arrived at the
house of Rita at 7:30. In this respect, we find the trial court’s appreciation in order. Thus:

xxx. The child declared that after being raped, she went straight home, crying, to tell her father that
Hermie had raped her. She did not first drop into the house of Lita Lingkay to cry among strangers
who were watching TV, as Luzvilla Balucan would have the court believe. When the child was seen
at the house of Lita Lingkay by Julito Apiki and Luzvilla Balucan, it was only later, after she had been
brought there by her mother Brenda so that Lita Lingkay could take a look at her ˗ just as Julito Apiki
said.120

Above all, for alibi to prosper, it is necessary that the corroboration is credible, the same having been
offered preferably by disinterested witnesses. The defense failed thuswise. Its witnesses cannot
qualify as such, "they being related or were one way or another linked to each other."121

Even assuming for the sake of argument that we consider the corroborations on his whereabouts,
still, the defense of alibi cannot prosper.

We reiterate, time and again, that the court must be convinced that it would be physically impossible
for the accused to have been at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.122

Physical impossibility refers to distance and the facility of access between the situs criminis and the
location of the accused when the crime was committed. He must demonstrate that he was so far
away and could not have been physically present at the scene of the crime and its immediate vicinity
when the crime was committed.123
In People v. Paraiso,124 the distance of two thousand meters from the place of the commission of the
crime was considered not physically impossible to reach in less than an hour even by
foot.125 Inasmuch as it would take the accused not more than five minutes to rape the victim, this
Court disregarded the testimony of the defense witness attesting that the accused was fast asleep
when she left to gather bamboo trees and returned several hours after. She could have merely
presumed that the accused slept all throughout.126

In People v. Antivola,127 the testimonies of relatives and friends corroborating that of the appellant
that he was in their company at the time of the commission of the crime were likewise disregarded
by this Court in the following manner:

Ruben Nicolas, the appellant’s part-time employer, and Marites Capalad, the appellant’s sister-in-law
and co-worker, in unison, vouched for the appellant’s physical presence in the fishpond at the time
Rachel was raped. It is, however, an established fact that the appellant’s house where the rape
occurred, was a stone’s throw away from the fishpond. Their claim that the appellant never
left their sight the entire afternoon of December 4, 1997 is unacceptable. It was impossible for
Marites to have kept an eye on the appellant for almost four hours, since she testified that she, too,
was very much occupied with her task of counting and recording the fishes being harvested.
Likewise, Mr. Nicolas, who, admittedly was 50 meters away from the fishpond, could not have
focused his entire attention solely on the appellant. It is, therefore, not farfetched that the
appellant easily sneaked out unnoticed, and along the way inveigled the victim, brought her
inside his house and ravished her, then returned to the fishpond as if he never
left.128 (Emphasis supplied.)1avvphi1

As in the cases above cited, the claim of the defense witnesses that appellant never left their sight,
save from the 5-minute errand to the store, is contrary to ordinary human experience. Moreover,
considering that the farmland where the crime was committed is just behind the house of the
Perochos, it would take appellant only a few minutes to bring AAA from the road near the store next
to the Perochos down the farmland and consummate the crime. As correctly pointed out by the
Court of Appeals, appellant could have committed the rape after buying the bottle of Tanduay and
immediately returned to his uncle’s house.129 Unfortunately, the testimonies of his corroborating
witnesses even bolstered the fact that he was within the immediate vicinity of the scene of the
crime.130

Clearly, the defense failed to prove that it was physically impossible for appellant to have been at the
time and place of the commission of the crime.

All considered, we find that the prosecution has sufficiently established the guilt of the appellant
beyond reasonable doubt.

III

In the determination of the imposable penalty, the Court of Appeals correctly considered Republic
Act No. 9344(Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006) despite the commission of the crime three
(3) years before it was enacted on 28 April 2006.

We recognize its retroactive application following the rationale elucidated in People v. Sarcia:131

[Sec. 68 of Republic Act No. 9344]132 allows the retroactive application of the Act to those who have
been convicted and are serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of this said Act, and who were
below the age of 18 years at the time of the commission of the offense. With more reason, the Act
should apply to this case wherein the conviction by the lower court is still under
review.133 (Emphasis supplied.)

Criminal Liability; Imposable Penalty

Sec. 6 of Republic Act No. 9344 exempts a child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18)
years of age from criminal liability, unless the child is found to have acted with discernment, in which
case, "the appropriate proceedings" in accordance with the Act shall be observed.134

We determine discernment in this wise:

Discernment is that mental capacity of a minor to fully appreciate the consequences of his unlawful
act.135 Such capacity may be known and should be determined by taking into consideration all the
facts and circumstances afforded by the records in each case.136

xxx The surrounding circumstances must demonstrate that the minor knew what he was doing and
that it was wrong.137 Such circumstance includes the gruesome nature of the crime and the minor’s
cunning and shrewdness.138

In the present case, we agree with the Court of Appeals that: "(1) choosing an isolated and dark
place to perpetrate the crime, to prevent detection[;] and (2) boxing the victim xxx, to weaken her
defense" are indicative of then seventeen (17) year-old appellant’s mental capacity to fully
understand the consequences of his unlawful action.139

Nonetheless, the corresponding imposable penalty should be modified.

The birth certificate of AAA140 shows that she was born on 3 December 1997. Considering that she
was only five (5) years old when appellant defiled her on 28 January 2003, the law prescribing the
death penalty when rape is committed against a child below seven (7) years old141 applies.

The following, however, calls for the reduction of the penalty: (1) the prohibition against the
imposition of the penalty of death in accordance with Republic Act No. 9346;142 and (2) the privileged
mitigating circumstance of minority of the appellant, which has the effect of reducing the penalty one
degree lower than that prescribed by law, pursuant to Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code.143

Relying on People v. Bon,144 the Court of Appeals excluded death from the graduation of penalties
provided in Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code.145 Consequently, in its appreciation of the
privileged mitigating circumstance of minority of appellant, it lowered the penalty one degree
from reclusion perpetua and sentenced appellant to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years
and one (1) day to twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years and four
(4) months of reclusion temporal, in its medium period, as maximum.146

We differ.

In a more recent case,147 the Court En Banc, through the Honorable Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de
Castro, clarified:

Under Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, when the offender is a minor under 18 years, the
penalty next lower than that prescribed by law shall be imposed, but always in the proper
period. However, for purposes of determining the proper penalty because of the privileged
mitigating circumstance of minority, the penalty of death is still the penalty to be reckoned
with. Thus, the proper imposable penalty for the accused-appellant is reclusion
perpetua.148 (Emphasis supplied.)

Accordingly, appellant should be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Civil Liability

We have consistently ruled that:

The litmus test xxx in the determination of the civil indemnity is the heinous character of the crime
committed, which would have warranted the imposition of the death penalty, regardless of whether
the penalty actually imposed is reduced to reclusion perpetua.149

Likewise, the fact that the offender was still a minor at the time he committed the crime has no
bearing on the gravity and extent of injury suffered by the victim and her family.150 The respective
awards of civil indemnity and moral damages in the amount of ₱75,000.00 each are, therefore,
proper.151

Accordingly, despite the presence of the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority which
effectively lowered the penalty by one degree, we affirm the damages awarded by the Court of
Appeals in the amount of ₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity and ₱75,000.00 as moral damages. And,
consistent with prevailing jurisprudence,152 the amount of exemplary damages should be increased
from ₱25,000.00 to ₱30,000.00.

Automatic Suspension of Sentence; Duration; Appropriate Disposition after the Lapse of the Period
of Suspension of Sentence

Republic Act No. 9344 warrants the suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the law
notwithstanding that he/she has reached the age of majority at the time the judgment of conviction is
pronounced. Thus:

SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. - Once the child who is under eighteen (18) years of
age at the time of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense charged, the court
shall determine and ascertain any civil liability which may have resulted from the offense committed.
However, instead of pronouncing the judgment of conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict
with the law under suspended sentence, without need of application: Provided, however,
That suspension of sentence shall still be applied even if the juvenile is already eighteen (18)
years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt. (Emphasis supplied.)

xxxx

Applying Declarador v. Gubaton,153 which was promulgated on 18 August 2006, the Court of
Appeals held that, consistent with Article 192 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended,154 the
aforestated provision does not apply to one who has been convicted of an offense punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.155

Meanwhile, on 10 September 2009, this Court promulgated the decision in Sarcia,156 overturning the
ruling inGubaton. Thus:

The xxx provision makes no distinction as to the nature of the offense committed by the child in
conflict with the law, unlike P.D. No. 603 and A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC. The said P.D. and Supreme
Court (SC) Rule provide that the benefit of suspended sentence would not apply to a child in conflict
with the law if, among others, he/she has been convicted of an offense punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. In construing Sec. 38 of R.A. No. 9344, the Court is
guided by the basic principle of statutory construction that when the law does not distinguish, we
should not distinguish. Since R.A. No. 9344 does not distinguish between a minor who has been
convicted of a capital offense and another who has been convicted of a lesser offense, the Court
should also not distinguish and should apply the automatic suspension of sentence to a child in
conflict with the law who has been found guilty of a heinous crime.157

The legislative intent reflected in the Senate deliberations158 on Senate Bill No. 1402 (Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2005) further strengthened the new position of this Court
to cover heinous crimes in the application of the provision on the automatic suspension of sentence
of a child in conflict with the law. The pertinent portion of the deliberation reads:

If a mature minor, maybe 16 years old to below 18 years old is charged, accused with, or may have
committed a serious offense, and may have acted with discernment, then the child could be
recommended by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), by the Local Council
for the Protection of Children (LCPC), or by [Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s] proposed Office of
Juvenile Welfare and Restoration to go through a judicial proceeding; but the welfare, best interests,
and restoration of the child should still be a primordial or primary consideration. Even in heinous
crimes, the intention should still be the child’s restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration. xxx (Italics
supplied in Sarcia.)159

On 24 November 2009, the Court En Banc promulgated the Revised Rule on Children in Conflict
with the Law,which reflected the same position.160

These developments notwithstanding, we find that the benefits of a suspended sentence can no
longer apply to appellant. The suspension of sentence lasts only until the child in conflict with the law
reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21) years.161 Section 40162 of the law and Section 48163 of
the Rule are clear on the matter. Unfortunately, appellant is now twenty-five (25) years old.

Be that as it may, to give meaning to the legislative intent of the Act, the promotion of the welfare of
a child in conflict with the law should extend even to one who has exceeded the age limit of twenty-
one (21) years, so long as he/she committed the crime when he/she was still a child. The offender
shall be entitled to the right to restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration in accordance with the Act
in order that he/she is given the chance to live a normal life and become a productive member of the
community. The age of the child in conflict with the law at the time of the promulgation of the
judgment of conviction is not material. What matters is that the offender committed the offense when
he/she was still of tender age.

Thus, appellant may be confined in an agricultural camp or any other training facility in accordance
with Sec. 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.164

Sec. 51. Confinement of Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and Other Training Facilities. – A
child in conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the court, be made to serve
his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal institution, in an agricultural camp and
other training facilities that may be established, maintained, supervised and controlled by the
BUCOR, in coordination with the DSWD.

Following the pronouncement in Sarcia,165 the case shall be remanded to the court of origin to effect
appellant’s confinement in an agricultrual camp or other training facility.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 29 August 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No.
00213 finding appellant Hermie M. Jacinto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified rape
is AFFIRMED with the followingMODIFICATIONS: (1) the death penalty imposed on the appellant is
reduced to reclusion perpetua; and (2) appellant is ordered to pay the victim P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. The case is
hereby REMANDED to the court of origin for its appropriate action in accordance with Section 51 of
Republic Act No. 9344.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Court’s Division.

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 193507 January 30, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
REY MONTICALVO y MAGNO, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

PEREZ, J.:
This is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00457 dated 3
December 2009 affirming in toto the Decision2 of Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Catarman, Northern Samar, in Criminal Case No. C-3460 dated 18 October 2005 finding herein
appellant Rey Monticalvo y Magno guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape of a
demented person committed against AAA,3 thereby imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion
perpetua and ordering him to pay P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and
P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Appellant Rey Monticalvo y Magno was charged with raping AAA in an Information4 dated 30 April
2003, the accusatory portion of which reads:

That on or about the 9th day of December 2002 at about 7:00 o’clock in the evening in Bgy. XXX,
Municipality of XXX, Province of XXX, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named appellant, actuated by lust and with lewd design, with force and intimidation, did,
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with AAA, 12 years old
and is suffering from mental disorder or is demented or has mental disability, without the consent
and against the will of said victim.5 [Emphasis supplied].

On arraignment, appellant, with the assistance of counsel de oficio, pleaded NOT GUILTY6 to the
crime charged.

At the pre-trial conference, the prosecution and the defense failed to make any stipulation of
facts.7 The pre-trial conference was then terminated and trial on the merits thereafter ensued.

The prosecution presented the following witnesses: (1) AAA, the private offended party; (2) BBB,
mother of AAA; (3) Analiza Pait (Analiza), neighbor and friend of AAA; (4) Dr. Jesus Emmanuel
Nochete (Dr. Nochete), Medical Officer IV, Northern Samar Provincial Hospital; and (5) Dr. Vincent
Anthony M. Belicena (Dr. Belicena), Medical Specialist II, Northern SamarProvincial Hospital. Their
testimonies established the following facts:

AAA is a mental retardate and was 12 years and 11 months old at the time of the rape incident.8 She
and appellant, who was then 17 years old,9 are neighbors − their respective houses are adjoining
each other.10

In the afternoon of 9 December 2002, AAA and her friend, Analiza, were in front of the sari-sari store
of AAA’s mother, BBB, while appellant was inside the fence of their house adjacent to the said sari-
sari store. Shortly, thereafter, appellant invited AAA to go with him to the kiln at the back of their
house. AAA acceded and went ahead.11

Upon seeing appellant and AAA going to the kiln, Analiza, pretending to look for her one peso coin,
followed them until she reached a papaya tree located three and a half meters away from the place.
Analiza hid under the papaya tree and from there she saw appellant undress AAA by removing the
latter’s shorts and panty. Appellant, however, glanced and saw Analiza. Frightened, Analiza ran
away and went back to the sari-sari store of BBB without telling BBB what she saw.12

Appellant proceeded to satisfy his bestial desire. After undressing AAA, appellant made her lie
down. He then placed himself on top of AAA and made push and pull movements. Afterwards,
appellant stopped, allowed AAA to sit down for a while and then sent her home.13

When AAA arrived at their house around 7:30 p.m., she was asked by her mother, BBB, where she
came from and why she came home late. AAA replied that she was at the back of their house as
appellant brought her there and had sexual intercourse with her.14
The following day, BBB brought AAA to the police station and then to the Northern Samar Provincial
Hospital where AAA was examined by Dr. Nochete.15 The medical examination yielded the following:

The findings are:

= Confluent abrasion 1 x 1 inches, 2 inches below the umbilicus.

Genitalia Exam:

= Admits 1 finger with ease.

= (-) vulvar swelling, (-) erythema.

= (+) complete healed hymenal laceration at 5 o’clock, 7 o’clock & 10 o’clock


position.

Gram Stain Result: Negative for spermatozoa.16

Dr. Nochete explained that AAA could have possibly sustained those complete healed hymenal
lacerations more than a month prior to the date of the examination. He also clarified that even
though AAA has no fresh hymenal laceration it does not necessarily mean that no sexual intercourse
was committed on her on 9 December 2002. It is possible that AAA did not sustain any fresh
hymenal laceration because the vaginal canal has become loose. He did not also find any trace of
spermatozoa on AAA’s vagina, its presence being dependent on whether the appellant did ejaculate
or not.17

AAA was also examined by Dr. Belicena, a Psychiatrist at the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital,
who found that AAA is suffering from moderate to severe mental retardation, meaning, AAA is
suffering from the specific form of below average intelligence that has a low reproduction functioning
resulting in impaired functioning. This finding was obtained through mental examination and actual
interview of AAA. Dr. Belicena, however, recommended a full battery of psychological testing to
determine AAA’s exact mental age.18 Dr. Belicena’s finding was reduced into writing as evidenced by
a Medical Certificate19 dated 18 May 2004.

For its part, the defense offered the testimonies of (1) Pio Campos (Pio), neighbor and friend of
appellant; (2) Cesar Monticalvo (Cesar), appellant’s father; (3) Alexander Sanico (Alexander), Local
Civil Registrar of Bobon, Northern Samar; and (4) appellant, who invoked the defense of denial and
alibi to exonerate himself from the crime charged.

Appellant denied having raped AAA. He claimed that on 9 December 2002, at around 1:00 p.m., he,
together with Pio and a certain Dinnes Samson, was having a drinking spree in the house of one
Adolfo Congayao (Adolfo). They finished drinking at around 6:00 p.m. As he was too drunk, Pio
assisted him in going home. He went to sleep and woke up only at 12:00 midnight as he needed to
urinate. He went back to sleep and woke up at 6:00 a.m. of the following day, i.e., 10 December
2002. He was surprised that AAA charged him with rape. He was then arrested at around 3:00 p.m.
of 10 December 2002.20

Appellant disclosed, however, that the house of Adolfo, where they had their drinking spree, is more
or less six (6) meters away from the house of AAA. In fact, he could still see the house of AAA even
when he was in the house of Adolfo. He similarly admitted that he knew very well that AAA is
suffering from mental abnormalities. He also divulged that he asked Pio to testify on his behalf.21
Appellant’s testimony was corroborated on all material points by Pio and his father, Cesar, who also
admitted that he personally knew AAA as she is their neighbor. Cesar also knew that AAA is
suffering from mental disorder.22Both Pio and Cesar confirmed that on 9 December 2002, they
brought appellant to his bedroom and let him sleep there because he was too drunk. Thereafter, Pio
and Cesar engaged in a drinking spree inside the latter’s house, particularly at the kitchen that is
more than two (2) meters away from appellant’s bedroom, which lasted until 11:00 p.m. Pio and
Cesar likewise stated that there was no moment that appellant went out of his bedroom since the
time they brought him there.23

Alexander, another defense witness, presented appellant’s Certificate of Live Birth24 to prove that the
latter was only 17 years old during the commission of the crime, i.e., 9 December 2002.25

The trial court, convinced about the merits of the prosecution’s case rendered a Decision on 18
October 2005, finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape of a
demented person and sentenced him to an imprisonment term of reclusion perpetua and ordered
him to indemnify AAA in the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages
and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

On appeal, the following errors were assigned:

I.

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE APPELLANT FOR THE CRIME OF
RAPE OF A DEMENTED PERSON DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE
HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

II.

THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO APPRECIATE APPELLANT’S AGE, BEING A MINOR, ATTHE
TIME OF THE COMMISSION OF THE CRIME.

III.

THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO IMPOSE THE PROPER PENALTY.26

The Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision on 3 December 2009 affirming in toto the trial
court’s Decision dated 18 October 2005.

Hence, this appeal.

Appellant contends that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt as the
testimonies of AAA, BBB, Analiza and Dr. Nochete were replete with inconsistencies and
improbabilities. Firstly, while the Information stated that appellant raped AAA on or about the 9th day
of December 2002 at around 7:00 p.m., Analiza testified that it was in the afternoon of the same day
when she saw and heard appellant calling AAA to go to the kiln at the back of their house, and while
she saw appellant undress AAA, she did not actually see the sexual intercourse because the
appellant saw her watching them, so she ran away. Secondly, BBB’s testimony that on 9 December
2002, AAA confided to her that she was raped by appellant early that night was inconsistent with the
testimony of Analiza that it was in the afternoon of the same day when she saw appellant and AAA
going to the kiln, where the former undressed the latter. Thirdly, Dr. Nochete’s testimony clearly
stated that the hymenal lacerations on AAA’s vagina could have possibly been sustained by her a
month ago, which does not support AAA’s claim of rape on 9 December 2002. Even granting that
appellant, indeed, raped AAA on 9 December 2002, it is highly implausible that the hymenal
lacerations on her vagina were already completely healed when she was examined by Dr. Nochete
on 10 December 2002, which was only after less than 24-hours from the date the alleged rape was
committed.

Appellant also questions the credibility of AAA as a witness given her condition as a mental
retardate. Appellant opines that AAA, could not perceive and is not capable of making known her
perception to others. As such, she can be easily coached on what to say or do.

Appellant finally avers that granting arguendo that he is guilty of the crime charged, he was only 17
years old at the time of its commission as evidenced by his Certificate of Live Birth. This fact was
even attested to by the Local Civil Registrar of Bobon, Northern Samar. Given his minority at the
time of the commission of the crime charged, the court should have considered the same as
privileged mitigating circumstance in imposing the penalty against him.

This Court affirms appellant’s conviction.

At the outset, paragraph 1, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act
No. 8353,27provides for two (2) circumstances when carnal knowledge of a woman with mental
disability is considered rape. Subparagraph (b) thereof refers to rape of a person "deprived of
reason" while subparagraph (d) refers to rape of a "demented person."28 The term "deprived of
reason" has been construed to encompass those suffering from mental abnormality, deficiency or
retardation.29 The term "demented," on the other hand, means having dementia, which Webster
defines as mental deterioration; also madness, insanity.30 Dementia has also been defined in Black’s
Law Dictionary as a "form of mental disorder in which cognitive and intellectual functions of the mind
are prominently affected; x x x total recovery not possible since cerebral disease is involved."31 Thus,
a mental retardate can be classified as a person "deprived of reason," not one who is "demented"
and carnal knowledge of a mental retardate is considered rape under subparagraph (b), not
subparagraph (d) of Article 266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.32

In this case, both the trial court and the appellate court incorrectly used the word demented to
characterize AAA’s mental condition and mistakenly categorized the rape committed by appellant
under subparagraph (d), Article 266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, instead of under
subparagraph (b) thereof. Nonetheless, the mistake would not exonerate appellant. Otherwise
stated, his conviction or criminal liability for rape stands though not under subparagraph (d) of Article
266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, but under subparagraph (b) thereof.

Neither can it be said that appellant’s right to be properly informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him was violated. This Court is not unaware that the Information was worded, as
follows: "AAA is suffering from mental disorder or is demented or has mental disability." This fact,
however, will not render the Information defective and will not bar this Court from convicting
appellant under subparagraph (b) of Article 266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

In Olivarez v. Court of Appeals,33 this Court pronounced that:

x x x In People v. Rosare,34 the information did not allege that the victim was a mental retardate
which is an essential element of the crime of statutory rape. This Court however sustained the trial
court’s judgment of conviction holding that the resolution of the investigating prosecutor which
formed the basis of the information, a copy of which is attached thereto, stated that the offended
party is suffering from mental retardation. It ruled that there was substantial compliance with the
mandate that an accused be informed of the nature of the charge against him. Thus:
Appellant contends that he cannot be convicted of statutory rape because the fact that the victim
was a mental retardate was never alleged in the information and, absent this element, the acts
charged negate the commission of the offense for which he was convicted by the lower court.

Pursuant to Section 8, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, we have decided to motu proprio take
cognizance of the resolution issued by the investigating prosecutor in I.S. No. 92-0197 dated June 2,
1992, which formed the basis of and a copy of which was attached to the information for rape filed
against herein appellant. Therein, it is clearly stated that the offended party is suffering from mental
retardation. We hold, therefore, that this should be deemed a substantial compliance with the
constitutional mandate that an accused be informed of the nature of the charge against him x x x
(citation omitted).35 [Emphasis supplied].

In this case, both the Complaint36 and the Resolution37 of the Municipal Trial Court of Northern
Samar, which formed the basis of the Information and copies of which were attached in the records,
stated that AAA is suffering from mental abnormalities – she looked like a retardate and her focus is
not normal. Even, the Resolution38 of the Acting Provincial Prosecutor concurred with the aforesaid
findings. From the aforesaid, it can be gleaned that AAA’s mental disorder or mental disability is that
of being a mentally retarded and not demented. Thus, there was substantial compliance with the
mandate to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation.39 More so, as discussed hereunder,
the prosecution was able to prove that AAA is, indeed, a mental retardate. Even the appellant
affirmed the said mental condition of the victim.

To repeat, the term "deprived of reason" has been construed to encompass those suffering from
mental abnormality, deficiency or retardation.40 Hence, carnal knowledge of a mental retardate is
rape under subparagraph (b) not subparagraph (d) of Article 266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended.41

The gravamen of the crime of rape under Art. 266-A(1) is sexual intercourse with a woman against
her will or without her consent.42 Article 266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended,
specifically states that:

ART. 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. — Rape is committed.

1) By a man who have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a) Through force, threat or intimidation;

b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;

c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though
none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.[Emphasis supplied].

From the foregoing, for the charge of rape to prosper, the prosecution must prove that the offender
had carnal knowledge of a woman through any of the four enumerated circumstances. Without
doubt, carnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is rape under the aforesaid
provisions of law. Proof of force or intimidation is not necessary, as a mental retardate is not capable
of giving consent to a sexual act. What needs to be proven are the facts of sexual congress between
the accused and the victim, and the mental retardation of the latter.43
In People v. Dalandas,44 citing People v. Dumanon,45 this Court held that mental retardation can be
proven by evidence other than medical/clinical evidence, such as the testimony of witnesses and
even the observation by the trial court.46

In the present case, the prosecution was able to establish that AAA is, indeed, a mental retardate
through, (1) the testimony of her mother; (2) the trial court’s observation; and (3) the mental
examination and actual interview of AAA conducted by Dr. Belicena, a Psychiatrist at the Northern
Samar Provincial Hospital, who found AAA to be suffering from moderate to severe mental
retardation, meaning, AAA is suffering from the "specific form of below average intelligence which
has a low reproduction functioning which result to impairment functioning."47 It is also worthy to note
that the defense did not dispute, even admitted the fact that AAA is suffering from mental
retardation. The findings of the lower courts about AAA’s mental condition must be upheld.

The prosecution was also able to establish the fact of sexual congress between appellant and AAA.
Despite the latter’s mental condition, she narrated before the court in the best way she could her
ordeal in the hands of appellant. As stated by the appellate court, AAA conveyed her ideas by words
and demonstrations.48 AAA recounted how the appellant sexually abused her on 9 December 2002
by inviting her to go to the kiln at the back of their house. Thereupon, appellant suddenly undressed
her by removing her shorts and panty. This fact was attested to by Analiza, one of the prosecution
witnesses, who actually witnessed appellant undressing AAA by removing the latter’s shorts and
panty. AAA further testified that after undressing her, appellant made her lie down, placed himself on
top of her and made push and pull movements. Thereafter, appellant stopped, made her sit down
and sent her home.49 This testimony of AAA was correctly found by the trial court and the appellate
court as coherent and given in a detailed manner.50

Emphasis must be given to the fact that the competence and credibility of mentally deficient rape
victims as witnesses have been upheld by this Court where it is shown that they can communicate
their ordeal capably and consistently. Rather than undermine the gravity of the complainant’s
accusations, it even lends greater credence to her testimony, that, someone as feeble-minded and
guileless could speak so tenaciously and explicitly on the details of the rape if she has not in fact
suffered such crime at the hands of the accused. Moreover, it has been jurisprudentially settled that
when a woman says she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that she
has been raped and her testimony alone is sufficient if it satisfies the exacting standard of credibility
needed to convict the accused.51

Worth stressing also is the fact that during AAA’s testimony, she positively identified the appellant as
the person who raped her.52 Thus, the straightforward narration of AAA of what transpired,
accompanied by her categorical identification of appellant as the malefactor, sealed the case for the
prosecution.53

The allegation of inconsistencies in the testimonies of AAA, BBB, Analiza and Dr. Nochete as
regards the exact date and time the alleged rape incident happened, as well as the absence of fresh
hymenal lacerations on AAA’s vagina, pointed to by appellant cannot work in his favor.

Evidently, these inconsistencies refer only to trivial and inconsequential matters that do not alter the
essential fact of the commission of rape.54 A witness is not expected to remember with perfect
recollection every minute detail of her harrowing experience. A minor mistake as to the exact time of
the commission of the rape is immaterial and cannot discredit the testimony of a witness. This Court
has repeatedly held that the exact date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of
the crime.55 Indeed, the precise time of the crime has no substantial bearing on its
commission.56 What is decisive in a rape charge is that the commission of the rape by the accused
against the complainant has been sufficiently proven. Inconsistencies and discrepancies as to minor
matters which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime cannot be considered grounds for
acquittal.57

In the same way, the absence of fresh hymenal lacerations and spermatozoa on AAA’s vagina do
not negate the fact of rape. A freshly broken hymen, as well as the presence or absence of
spermatozoa, is not also an essential element of rape.58 As clarified by Dr. Nochete, the absence of
fresh hymenal laceration on AAA’s vagina does not necessarily mean that she did not engage in
sexual intercourse on 9 December 2002. Possibly, AAA did not sustain any fresh hymenal laceration
as her vaginal canal had become loose. And, he did not find any trace of spermatozoa because its
presence depends on whether or not the appellant ejaculated.

Indeed, a mental retardate is not, by reason of such handicap alone, be disqualified from testifying in
court.59Mental retardation per se does not affect credibility. A mentally retarded may be a credible
witness. The acceptance of her testimony depends on the quality of her perceptions and the manner
she can make them known to the court.60 If the testimony of a mental retardate is coherent, the
same is admissible in court.61

Neither can it be said that AAA was merely coached as a witness by her mother. It is highly
unthinkable that a mother would draw her daughter, a mental retardate at that, into a rape story with
all its attendant scandal and humiliation if the rape did not really happen. No mother in her right mind
would possibly wish to stamp her child with the stigma that follows the despicable crime of
rape.62 Moreover, appellant failed to show any ill-motive on the part of AAA and her mother to falsely
testify against him.

In light of the straightforward and credible testimony of AAA, her positive identification of appellant
as her assailant and the lack of ill-motive on her part to falsely testify against appellant, the latter’s
defense of denial and alibi must necessarily fail.

Denial is an inherently weak defense and has always been viewed upon with disfavor by the courts
due to the ease with which it can be concocted. Denial as a defense crumbles in the light of positive
identification of the accused, as in this case. The defense of denial assumes significance only when
the prosecution’s evidence is such that it does not prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Verily, mere
denial, unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative self-serving evidence which
cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than the testimony of the complaining witness who
testified on affirmative matters.63

Like denial, alibi is not looked upon with favor by the trial court. It also cannot prevail over witnesses’
positive identification of appellant as the perpetrator of the crime. In any event, for the defense of
alibi to prosper, it is not enough that the accused can prove his presence at another place at the time
of its commission, it is likewise essential that he show physical impossibility for him to be at the locus
delicti,64 which the appellant in this case failed to do.

As aptly observed by the trial court:

The houses of the offended party and the appellant are only divided by a fence and the place of the
incident is only at the back of the house of the appellant. The defense of alibi must fail. In addition to
the positive identification made by AAA and the place of the incident is adjacent to the houses of the
victim and the appellant, being neighbors, the fact that the appellant alleged that he was having
drinking spree at that time and that he was dead drunk at around 6:00 p.m. of that date, there is no
impossibility for the appellant to be physically present at the scene of the incident, because of its
proximity.
Corroborative testimony is not credible if tainted with bias particularly in cases where the witnesses
are closely associated to the appellant as to be interested in the appellant’s acquittal. In this case,
the appellant’s witnesses are his alleged drinking buddy and his father. Considering that they are
bound by friendship and affiliation, it is conceivable that they would be inclined to make excuses for
him appellant from culpability.65

All told, appellant’s guilt has been proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt, thus, his
conviction stands.

As to penalty. Under Article 266-B66 in relation to Article 266-A(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, simple rape is punishable by reclusion perpetua. However, when rape is committed by an
assailant who has knowledge of the victim’s mental retardation, the penalty is increased to death.
But this circumstance must be alleged in the information being a qualifying circumstance which
increases the penalty to death and changes the nature of the offense from simple to qualified
rape.67 In the case at bench, while appellant categorically admitted that he knew AAA to be suffering
from mental abnormalities, the prosecution failed to allege this fact in the information. As such, even
if it was proved, it cannot be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance. Thus, appellant’s conviction
is only for simple rape for which he should be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Nonetheless, a reasonable ground exists in this case that calls for the modification of the penaltyof
reclusion perpetua imposed by both lower courts upon the appellant.

This Court finds merit in appellant’s assertion that he was a minor during the commission of the
crime charged. During trial, upon order of the trial court, the Local Civil Registrar of Bobon, Northern
Samar, brought before it their office records, particularly appellant’s Certificate of Live

Birth containing the fact of birth of the latter. Appellant’s Certificate of Live Birth shows that he was
born on 23 February 1985. Indeed, at the time of the commission of the crime charged on 9
December 2002, appellant was only 17 years old, a minor. Thus, he is entitled to the privileged
mitigating circumstance of minority pursuant to Article 68(2) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended,68 which specifically states that:

ART. 68. – Penalty to be imposed upon a person under eighteen years of age. – When the offender
is a minor under eighteen years and his case is one coming under the provisions of the paragraph
next to the last of article 80 of this Code, the following rules shall be observed:

xxxx

2. Upon a person over fifteen and under eighteen years of age the penalty next lower than that
prescribed by the law shall be imposed, but always in the proper period.69 [Emphasis supplied].

Applying the privileged mitigating circumstance, the proper imposable penalty upon appellant is
reclusion temporal, being the penalty next lower to reclusion perpetua - the penalty prescribed by
law for simple rape. Being a divisible penalty, the Indeterminate Sentence Law is applicable.70

Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, appellant can be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty
the minimum of which shall be within the range of prision mayor (the penalty next lower in degree to
reclusion temporal), that is 6 years and 1 day to 12 years, and maximum of which shall be within the
range of reclusion temporal in its medium period (there being no other modifying circumstances
attendant to the crime), that is 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months.71 With that,
the indeterminate penalty of 10 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 17 years and 4 months of
reclusion temporal, as maximum, should be imposed upon the appellant. However, the case of
appellant does not, as it normally should, end at this point. On 20 May 2006, Republic Act No. 9344,
otherwise known as the "Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006," took effect. Section 68 thereof
specifically provides for its retroactive application, thus:72

SEC. 68. Children Who Have Been Convicted and are Serving Sentence. – Persons who have been
convicted and are serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of this Act, and who were below the
age of eighteen (18) years at the time of the commission of the offense for which they were
convicted and are serving sentence, shall likewise benefit from the retroactive application of this Act.
They shall be entitled to appropriate dispositions provided under this Act and their sentences shall
be adjusted accordingly. They shall be immediately released if they are so qualified under this Act or
other applicable law. [Emphasis supplied].

Clearly, Republic Act No. 9344 is applicable in this case even though the crime was committed four
(4) years prior to its enactment and effectivity. Parenthetically, with more reason should Republic Act
No. 9344 apply to this case as the 2005 conviction by the lower courts was still under review when
the law took effect in 2006.73

Section 38 of Republic Act No. 9344 warrants the suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with
the law notwithstanding that he/she has reached the age of majority at the time the judgment of
conviction is pronounced.74 It reads, thus:

SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. – Once the child who is under eighteen (18) years of
age at the time of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense charged, the court
shall determine and ascertain any civil liability which may have resulted from the offense committed.
However, instead of pronouncing the judgment of conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict
with the law under suspended sentence, without need of application: Provided, however, That
suspension of sentence shall still be applied even if the juvenile is already eighteen (18) of age or
more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt.

Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the various circumstances of the child, the court
shall impose the appropriate disposition measures as provided in the Supreme Court Rule on
Juveniles in Conflict with the Law. [Emphasis supplied].

However, while Section 38 of Republic Act No. 9344 provides that suspension of sentence can still
be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already eighteen (18) years of age or more at
the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Section 40 of the same law limits the said suspension
of sentence until the said child reaches the maximum age of 21, thus:75

SEC. 40. Return of the Child in Conflict with the Law to Court. – If the court finds that the objective of
the disposition measures imposed upon the child in conflict with the law have not been fulfilled, or if
the child in conflict with the law has willfully failed to comply with the conditions of his/her disposition
or rehabilitation program, the child in conflict with the law shall be brought before the court for
execution of judgment.

If said child in conflict with the law has reached eighteen (18) years of age while under suspended
sentence, the court shall determine whether to discharge the child in accordance with this Act, to
order execution of sentence, or to extend the suspended sentence for a certain specified period or
until the child reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21) years. [Emphasis supplied].

At present, appellant is already 27 years of age, and the judgment of the trial court was promulgated
prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 9344. Therefore, the application of Sections 38 and 40 of
the said law is already moot and academic.
Be that as it may, to give meaning to the legislative intent of Republic Act No. 9344, the promotion of
the welfare of a child in conflict with the law should extend even to one who has exceeded the age
limit of 21 years, so long as he/she committed the crime when he/she was still a child. The offender
shall be entitled to the right to restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration in accordance with
Republic Act No. 9344 in order that he/she is given the chance to live a normal life and become a
productive member of the community. The age of the child in conflict with the law at the time of the
promulgation of the judgment of conviction is not material. What matters is that the offender
committed the offense when he/she was still of tender age.76 The appellant, therefore, shall be
entitled to appropriate disposition under Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344, which provides for the
confinement of convicted children as follows:77

SEC. 51. Confinement of Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and Other Training Facilities. – A
child in conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the court, be made to serve
his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal institution, in an agricultural camp and
other training facilities that may be established, maintained, supervised and controlled by the
BUCOR, in coordination with the DSWD.

To conform to this Court’s ruling in People v.Sarcia,78 the case shall be remanded to the court of
origin to effect appellant’s confinement in an agricultrual camp or other training facility.79

As to damages. The civil liability resulting from the commission of the offense is not affected by the
appropriate disposition measures and shall be enforced in accordance with law.80 This Court affirms
both the civil indemnity of P50,000.00 and moral damages of P50,000.00 awarded by the lower
courts in favor of AAA. Civil indemnity, which is actually in the nature of actual or compensatory
damages, is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape. Case law also requires automatic award
of moral damages to a rape victim without need of proof because from the nature of the crime, it can
be assumed that she has suffered moral injuries entitling her to such award. Such award is separate
and distinct from civil indemnity.81

In consonance with prevailing jurisprudence on simple rape wherein exemplary damages are
awarded to set a public example and to protect hapless individuals from sexual molestation, this
Court likewise affirms the lower courts award of exemplary damages but increased the same from
P25,000.00 to P30,000.00 to conform to recent jurisprudence.82

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No.
00457 dated 3 December 2009 is hereby MODIFIED as follows: (I) appellant is found guilty of rape
under subparagraph (b) of Article 266-A( I) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and not under
subparagraph (d) thereof; (2) in view of the privileged mitigating circumstance appreciated in favor of
appellant the penalty of reclusion perpetua is reduced to reclusion temporal and being a divisible
penalty, the Indeterminate Sentence Law applies and the indeterminate penalty of I 0 years of
prision mayor, as minimum, to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, is
imposed upon the appellant; and (3) the amount of exemplary damages awarded by the lower courts
is increased from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00. The award of civil indemnity and moral damages both
in the amount of P50,000.00 are maintained. This case, however, shall be REMANDED to the court
a quo for appropriate disposition in accordance with Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson

ARTURO D. BRION MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I
certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of he Court's Division.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 162052. January 13, 2005]

ALVIN JOSE, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-
G.R. CR No. 22289 affirming with modification the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of
Calamba, Laguna, Branch 36, convicting the accused therein of violation of Section 21(b), Article IV
in relation to Section 29, Article IV of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended.
The records show that Alvin Jose and Sonny Zarraga were charged with the said crime in an
Information, the accusatory portion of which reads:

That on or about November 14, 1995, in the municipality of Calamba, Province of Laguna, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and
mutually helping one another, not being licensed or authorized by law, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously sell and deliver to other person METHAMPHETAMINE
HYDROCHLORIDE (or shabu) weighing 98.40 grams, a regulated drug, and in violation of the
aforestated law.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]

The accused, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the charge.


As culled by the trial court, the evidence of the prosecution established the following:

[O]n November 14, 1995, P/Supt. Joseph R. Castro of the Fourth Regional Narcotics Unit received
an information from an unnamed informant. Said unnamed informant was introduced to him by
former Narcom P/Senior Inspector Recomono. The information was that a big time group of drug
pushers from Greenhills will deliver 100 grams of shabu at Chowking Restaurant located at Brgy.
Real, Calamba, Laguna.

Acting on such report, SPO1 Bonifacio Guevarra was assigned to act as the poseur-buyer. SPO2
William Manglo and SPO2 Wilfredo Luna were the other members of the team. SPO1 Guevarra was
provided with marked money consisting of a P1,000.00 bill on top of a bundle of make-believe
money bills supposedly amounting to P100,000.00. P/Supt. Joseph R. Castro, SPO2 William Manglo
and Wilfredo Luna went to the place on a Mitsubishi Lancer while SPO1 Guevarra and the informant
boarded an L-300 van. They arrived at the Chowking Restaurant at about 11:00 in the morning.
They positioned their cars at the parking area where they had a commanding view of people going in
and out (TSN, October 3, 1996, pp. 2-8 and TSN, July 11, 1996, pp. 4-7).

It was about 4 oclock in the afternoon when a Toyota Corolla with Plate No. UBV-389 arrived. Sonny
Zarraga was the driver with Alvin Jose. The unnamed informant approached and talked to Sonny
Zarraga. Then, the informant called SPO1 Bonifacio Guevarra and informed the latter that Sonny
Zarraga had with him 100 grams of shabu. SPO1 Bonifacio Guevarra offered to buy the shabu.
Sonny Zarraga asked SPO1 Bonifacio Guevarra if he had the money to buy 100 grams ofshabu.
Guevarra responded in the affirmative. He showed the aforecited bundle of money bills. Sonny
Zarraga then asked Alvin Jose to bring out the shabu and handover (sic) to Bonifacio Guevarra.
SPO1 Bonifacio Guevarra, in turn, handed the bundle of money bills.

Guevarra scratched his head, the pre-arranged signal to signify that the transaction was
consummated (TSN, July 30, 1996, pp. 3-8). Immediately thereafter, William Manglo and Wilfredo
Luna approached and introduced themselves as Narcom Operatives. They arrested Sonny Zarraga
and Alvin Jose. The buy-bust bundle of money bills and the shabu were recovered. The two were
brought to Camp Vicente Lim for investigation. Edgar Groyon conducted the investigation.
The shabu was brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination (TSN, July 30, 1996, pp. 9-10
and TSN, October 3, 1996, pp. 9-13). P/Senior Inspector Mary Jean Geronimo examined the shabu.
She reported and testified that the specimen, indeed, was a second or low grade methamphetamine
hydrochloride (TSN, July 30, 1996, pp. 31-36).[4]

On the other hand, the accused therein were able to establish the following facts:

Sonny Zarraga and Alvin Jose claimed that, on November 13, 1995, they were at SM Mega
Mall (sic), Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, to change money. Suddenly, a person with a hand bag
appeared and ordered them to handcuff themselves. They were later able to identify three of these
people as Police Supt. Joseph Roxas Castro, SPO3 Noel Seno and a certain Corpuz. They were all
in civilian clothes.
They proceeded to where Sonny Zarragas car was parked. Sonny Zarraga was forced to board
another car while another person drove Sonny Zarragas car with Alvin Jose as passenger. They
drove towards Greenhills. They were eventually blindfolded. On the way to Greenhills, one of the
men opened the gloves compartment of Sonny Zarragas car. One of the men saw a substance
inside the said compartment. He tasted it. Said person asked Sonny Zarraga if he could come up
with P1.5 Million peso (sic). Col. Castro even showed the picture of Sonny Zarragas mother-in-law
who was supposed to be a rich drug pusher.

They ended up inside a room with a lavatory. While inside the said room, Sonny Zarragas cellular
phone rung. It was a call from Sonny Zarragas wife. Col. Castro talked to Pinky Zarraga and asked
her if she could pay P1.5 Million as ransom for the release of Sonny Zarraga. Sonny Zarraga instead
offered to withdraw money from the bank in the amount of P75,000.00. The agreement was that in
the bank, Pinky Zarraga would withdraw the money and deliver it to Col. Castro in exchange for
Sonny Zarragas release. The agreement did not materialize. Col. Castro and Pinky Zarraga met
inside the bank but Pinky Zarraga refused to withdraw the money as Sonny Zarraga was nowhere to
be seen. There was a commotion inside the bank which prompted the bank manager to call the
police.

Col. Castro left the bank in a hurry, passed by for Alvin Jose who was left at the room and brought
them to Camp Vicente Lim. There, they were investigated.

The defense claimed that SPO3 Noel Seno got Sonny Zarragas jewelry, P85,000.00 in cash and
Sonny Zarragas car spare tire, jack and accessories. Noel Seno was even able to withdraw
the P2,000.00 using Sonny Zarragas ATM card.[5]

On June 10, 1998, the trial court rendered judgment convicting both accused of the crime
charged and sentencing each of them to an indeterminate penalty. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, this Court finds both the accused Sonny Zarraga and Alvin Jose guilty beyond
reasonable doubt, for violation of R.A. 6425, as amended, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of imprisonment of, after applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, six (6) years and one (1)
day to ten (10) years.

Both accused are hereby ordered to pay the fine of P2 million each and to pay the cost of suit.

In the service of sentence, the preventive imprisonment undergone both by the accused shall be
credited in their favor.

Atty. Christopher R. Serrano, Branch Clerk of Court, is hereby ordered to deliver and surrender the
confiscated Methamphetamine Hydrochloride to the Dangerous Drugs Board.

SO ORDERED.[6]

On appeal to the CA, the accused-appellants averred that the trial court erred as follows:
I

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FULL CREDENCE TO THE


EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION.

II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THE MERE
PRESENTATION OF THE SHABU IN COURT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO FIND, WITH
ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, THAT THE APPELLANTS COMMITTED THE CRIME OF
SELLING PROHIBITED DRUGS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE IDENTITY OF THE DRUG
WAS NOT PARTICULARLY SET OUT IN THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTION
WITNESSES.

III

EVEN GRANTING THAT THE TRIAL COURT CORRECTLY FOUND THE APPELLANTS
GUILTY OF THE CRIME CHARGED AGAINST THEM:

(a) THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT IMPOSE THE PROPER PENALTY AGAINST
THEM.

(b) EACH OF THE APPELLANTS CANNOT BE MADE TO PAY A FINE IN THE


AMOUNT OF P2 MILLION PESOS (SIC) AND THE COST OF THE SUIT.[7]

The CA rendered judgment affirming the decision appealed from with modification. The
appellate court reduced the penalty imposed on appellant Alvin Jose, on its finding that he was only
thirteen (13) years old when he committed the crime; hence, he was entitled to the privileged
mitigating circumstance of minority and to a reduction of the penalty by two degrees. The appellant
filed a motion for reconsideration, alleging that since the Information failed to allege that he acted
with discernment when the crime was committed and that the prosecution failed to prove the same,
he should be acquitted. The appellate court denied the motion.
Appellant Jose, now the petitioner, filed his petition for review on certiorari, alleging that

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING PETITIONER DESPITE (1)
THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT
PETITIONER, WHO WAS ONLY 13 YEARS OLD WHEN THE CRIME WAS ALLEGEDLY
COMMITTED BY HIM IN CONSPIRACY WITH CO-ACCUSED SONNY ZARRAGA, ACTED WITH
DISCERNMENT, AND (2) THE ABSENCE OF A DECLARATION BY THE TRIAL COURT THAT
PETITIONER SO ACTED WITH DISCERNMENT, PURSUANT TO THE APPLICABLE
PROVISIONS OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND THE ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE.[8]

The petitioner asserts that, under paragraph 3, Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code, a minor
over nine (9) and under fifteen (15) years of age at the time of the commission of the crime is
exempt from criminal liability unless he acted with discernment, in which case he shall be proceeded
against in accordance with Article 192 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 603, as amended by P.D.
No. 1179, as provided for in Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code. He avers that the prosecution
was burdened to allege in the Information and prove beyond reasonable doubt that he acted with
discernment, but that the prosecution failed to do so. The petitioner insists that the court is mandated
to make a finding that he acted with discernment under paragraph 1, Article 68 of the Revised Penal
Code and since the CA made no such finding, he is entitled to an acquittal.
For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) asserts that the allegation in the
Information that the petitioner and his co-accused conspired and confederated to sell
the shabu subject of the Information sufficiently avers that the petitioner acted with discernment;
hence, there was no need for the public prosecutor to allege specifically in the Information that the
petitioner so acted. It contends that it is not necessary for the trial and appellate courts to make an
express finding that the petitioner acted with discernment. It is enough that the very acts of the
petitioner show that he acted knowingly and was sufficiently possessed with judgment to know that
the acts he committed were wrong.
The petition is meritorious.
Under Article 12(3) of the Revised Penal Code, a minor over nine years of age and under fifteen
is exempt from criminal liability if charged with a felony. The law applies even if such minor is
charged with a crime defined and penalized by a special penal law. In such case, it is the burden of
the minor to prove his age in order for him to be exempt from criminal liability. The reason for the
exemption is that a minor of such age is presumed lacking the mental element of a crime the
capacity to know what is wrong as distinguished from what is right or to determine the morality of
human acts; wrong in the sense in which the term is used in moral wrong.[9] However, such
presumption is rebuttable.[10] For a minor at such an age to be criminally liable, the prosecution is
burdened[11] to prove beyond reasonable doubt, by direct or circumstantial evidence, that he acted
with discernment, meaning that he knew what he was doing and that it was wrong.[12] Such
circumstantial evidence may include the utterances of the minor; his overt acts before, during and
after the commission of the crime relative thereto; the nature of the weapon used in the commission
of the crime; his attempt to silence a witness; his disposal of evidence or his hiding the corpus delicti.
In the present case, the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the petitioner,
who was thirteen (13) years of age when the crime charged was committed, acted with discernment
relative to the sale of shabu to the poseur-buyer. The only evidence of the prosecution against the
petitioner is that he was in a car with his cousin, co-accused Sonny Zarraga, when the latter inquired
from the poseur-buyer, SPO1 Bonifacio Guevarra, if he could afford to buy shabu. SPO1 Guevarra
replied in the affirmative, after which the accused Zarraga called the petitioner to bring out and hand
over the shabu wrapped in plastic and white soft paper. The petitioner handed over the plastic
containing theshabu to accused Zarraga, who handed the same to the poseur-buyer:
Q Whom did you approach to buy the shabu?
A The two of them, Sir.
Q While the two of them was (sic) sitting inside the car, what did you tell them?
A They asked me if I can afford to buy the 100 grams, Sir.
Q And what was your response?
A I answer in (sic) affirmative, Sir.
Q And what happened next?
A After that I showed my money, Sir.
Q Now, tell us when you said they reply (sic) in the affirmative specifically. I withdraw that.
Q When you said they asked you whether you can afford to buy 100 grams tell us who
asked you that question?
A Sonny Zarraga, Sir.
Q And after you answer (sic) in the affirmative, what was his response?
A He let his companion to (sic) bring out the shabu, Sir.
Q Did his companion bring out the shabu?
A Yes, Sir.
Q What happened to the shabu?
A Alvin Jose handed the shabu to his companion Sonny Zarraga.
Q After that, what did Sonny Zarraga do with the shabu?
A He handed it to me, Sir.
Q After this shabu was handed to you, what happened next?
A After examining the shabu, I put it in my pocket and then I handed to him the money, Sir.
Q When you say money, which money are you referring to?
A The P1,000.00 bill with the bundle of boodle money, Sir.
Q Now, after you handed the money to the accused, what happened next?
A I made signs to my companions, Sir.
Q What signs did you give?
A I acted upon our agreement by scratching my head, Sir.
Q And how did your companions respond to your signal?
A After scratching my head, my companions approached us and arrested them.
Q Now, tell us, do you know, in particular, who arrested Sonny Zarraga?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Tell us.
A SPO1 William Manglo and PO3 Wilfredo Luna, Sir.
Q Can you describe to us the manner by which Sonny Zarraga was arrested by these
police officers?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Please tell us.
A They introduced themselves as NARCOM operatives, Sir.
Q And after that, what happened?
A They recovered the money from Sonny Zarraga, Sir.[13]
Q What happened to the shabu which was handed to you by the accused?
A It was brought by our office to the crime laboratory, Sir.
Q Who made the request for its examination?
A SPO3 Edgar Groyon, Sir.
Q Earlier, you said that the shabu was handed to you. What did you do with the shabu?
A While we were at the area, I handed it to SPO1 William Manglo, Sir.
Q Tell us, when this shabu was handed to you by the accused, in what container was it
contained?
A When it was handed to me by Sonny Zarraga it was wrapped in a plastic and white soft
paper, Sir.[14]
It was accused Zarraga who drove the car and transacted with the poseur-buyer relative to the
sale of shabu. It was also accused Zarraga who received the buy-money from the poseur-buyer.
Aside from bringing out and handing over the plastic bag to accused Zarraga, the petitioner merely
sat inside the car and had no other participation whatsoever in the transaction between the accused
Zarraga and the poseur-buyer. There is no evidence that the petitioner knew what was inside the
plastic and soft white paper before and at the time he handed over the same to his cousin. Indeed,
the poseur-buyer did not bother to ask the petitioner his age because he knew that pushers used
young boys in their transactions for illegal drugs. We quote the testimony of the poseur-buyer:

ATTY. VERANO:

Q Did you try to find out if they were friends of your informant?
A No, Sir.
Q Did you find out also the age of this Mr. Alvin Yamson?
A I dont know the exact age, what I know is that he is a minor, Sir.
Q Eventually, you find (sic) out how old he is (sic)?
A I dont know, Sir.
Q Mr. Guevarra, may I remind you that, in your affidavit, you stated the age of the boy?
A I cannot recall anymore, Sir.
Q Were you not surprised from just looking at the boy at his age, were you not surprised
that a young boy like that would be in a group selling drugs?
FISCAL:
It calls for an opinion, Your Honor.
ATTY. VERANO:
May I ask, Your Honor, if he did not further interrogate why or how this very young
boy (sic) selling 100 grams of shabu.
COURT:
The witness may answer.
WITNESS:
A No more, Sir, because I know that young boys are being used by pushers.[15]
Even on cross-examination, the public prosecutor failed to elicit from the petitioner facts and
circumstances showing his capacity to discern right from wrong. We quote the questions of the
public prosecutor on cross-examination and the petitioners answers thereto:
FISCAL:
Cross, Your Honor. May I proceed.
COURT:
Please proceed.
FISCAL:
Q Mr. Witness, you started your narration that it started on November 13, 1995 and did I
hear it right that you went to Manuela at 5 oclock in the afternoon?
WITNESS:
A Yes, Sir.
Q Now, when you went to Manuela, you came from Filinvest, Quezon City? You left
Filinvest, Quezon City, at 12 oclock?
A No, Sir.
Q What time did you leave?
A After lunch, Sir.
Q Now, on the second day which you claimed that you were in the custody of the police,
you said that at one occasion on that day, you have (sic) a chance to be with your
cousin in a [L]ancer car and it was inside that [L]ancer car when your cousin saw his
own cellular phone on one of the seats of the car, is that correct?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Did your cousin tell you that that was his first opportunity to make a call to anybody since
the day that you were arrested?
A He did not say anything, he just get (sic) the cellular phone.
Q Did you come to know the reason how that cellular phone appeared inside that [L]ancer
car?
A No, Sir.
Q Now, going back to the first day of your arrest. You said that you were accosted by a
male person at the workshop and then you went out of Megamall and when you went
outside, this man saw the key of the car dangling at the waist. At whose waist?
A From my cousin.
Q And at that time, that person did not have any knowledge where your car was?
A No, Sir.
Q And your cousin told him that your car was parked at the third level parking area of SM
Megamall, is that correct?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And at that time, that man did not make any radio call to anybody?
A No, Sir.
Q Until the time that you reached the third level parking of Megamall, he had not made any
call?
A No, Sir.
Q And yet when you reach (sic) the third level parking of the Megamall, you claimed that
there was already this group which met you?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And this group were the policemen who are the companions of the male person who
arrested you?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Do you know the reason why they were there at that time?
A No, Sir.
Q These people do not know your car?
A No, Sir.
FISCAL:
No further question, Your Honor.
ATTY. VERANO:
No re-direct, Your Honor.
COURT:
Q Mr. Witness, earlier you stated that you are not a drug user nor have you seen any
shabu. In support of your claim, are you willing to submit yourself to an examination?
WITNESS:
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q Are you willing to submit a sample of your urine to this Court?
A Yes, Sir.
COURT:
The witness is discharged.[16]
The claim of the OSG that the prosecution was able to prove that the petitioner conspired with
his co-accused to sell shabu to the poseur-buyer, and thereby proved the capacity of the petitioner
to discern right from wrong, is untenable. Conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or
more persons to commit a crime and decide to commit it. Conspiracy presupposes capacity of the
parties to such conspiracy to discern what is right from what is wrong. Since the prosecution failed to
prove that the petitioner acted with discernment, it cannot thereby be concluded that he conspired
with his co-accused. Indeed, in People v. Estepano,[17] we held that:

Clearly, the prosecution did not endeavor to establish Renes mental capacity to fully appreciate the
consequences of his unlawful act. Moreover, its cross-examination of Rene did not, in any way,
attempt to show his discernment. He was merely asked about what he knew of the incident that
transpired on 16 April 1991 and whether he participated therein. Accordingly, even if he was, indeed,
a co-conspirator, he would still be exempt from criminal liability as the prosecution failed to rebut the
presumption of non-discernment on his part by virtue of his age. The cross-examination of Rene
could have provided the prosecution a good occasion to extract from him positive indicators of his
capacity to discern. But, in this regard, the government miserably squandered the opportunity to
incriminate him.[18]

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 22289 which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Calamba, Laguna, Branch 36, is SET ASIDE. The petitioner is ACQUITTED of the crime charged for
insufficiency of evidence.[19]
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 46539 September 27, 1939

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
VALENTIN DOQUEÑA, defendant-appellant.

Primicias, Abad, Mencias and Castillo for appellant.


Assistant Solicitor-General Concepcion and Assistant Attorney Paredes, Jr., for appellee.

DIAZ, J.:

The accused-appellant, who is a minor, was prosecuted for homicide in the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, for having killed Juan Ragojos by stabbing him in the breast with a knife on November
19, 1938, in the municipality of Sual, Pangasinan. The court, after trying the case, held that the
accused acted with discernment in committing the act imputed to him and, proceeding in accordance
with the provisions of article 80 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Commonwealth Act No.
99, ordered him to be sent to the Training School for Boys to remain therein until he reaches the age
of majority. From this order the accused interposed an appeal alleging that the court erred in holding
that he had acted with discernment and in not having dismissal the case.

On the date of the crime, the appellant was exactly thirteen years, nine months and five days old.
The incident that gave rise to the aggression committed by him on the deceased is narrated in the
appealed order as follows:

Between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon of November 19, 1938, the now deceased Juan
Ragojos and one Epifanio Rarang were playing volleyball in the yard of the intermediate
school of the municipality of Sual, Province of Pangasinan. The herein accused, who was
also in said yard, intervened and, catching the ball, tossed it at Juan Ragojos, hitting him on
the stomach. For this act of the accused, Juan Ragojos chased him around the yard and,
upon overtaking him, slapped him on the nape. Said accused then turned against the
deceased assuming a threatening attitude, for which the reason said deceased struck him on
the mouth with his fist, returning immediately to the place where Epifanio Rarang was in
order to continue playing with him. The accused, offended by what he considered an abuse
on the part of Juan Ragojos, who was taller and more robust than he, looked around the yard
for a stone with which to attack the now deceased Juan Ragojos, but finding none, he
approached a cousin of his named Romualdo Cocal, to ask the latter to lend him his knife.
Epifanio Rarang, who had heard what the accused had been asking his cousin, told the latter
not to give the accused his knife because he might attack Juan Ragojos with it. The accused,
however, succeeded in taking possession of the knife which was in a pocket of his cousin's
pants. Once in possession of the knife, Valentin Doqueña approached Juan Ragojos and
challenged the latter to give him another blow with his fist, to which the deceased answered
that he did not want to do so because he (Juan Ragojos) was bigger that the accused. Juan
Ragojos, ignorant of the intentions of the accused, continued playing and, while he was thus
unprepared and in the act of stopping the ball with his two hands, the accused stabbed him
in the chest with the knife which he carried.

The order also contains the following conclusions and findings of fact which we are not at liberty to
alter, not being called upon or authorized to do so, in view of the nature of the appeal before us, by
section 138 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 3:

Taking into account the fact that when the accused Valentin Doqueña committed the crime in
question, he was a 7th grade pupil in the intermediate school of the municipality of Sual,
Pangasinan, and as such pupil, he was one of the brightest in said school and was a captain
of a company of the cadet corps thereof, and during the time he was studying therein he
always obtained excellent marks, this court is convinced that the accused, in committing the
crime, acted with discernment and was conscious of the nature and consequences of his act,
and so also has this court observed at the time said accused was testifying in his behalf
during the trial of this case.

The proven facts, as stated by the lower court in the appealed order, convinces us that the appeal
taken from said order is absolutely unfounded, because it is error to determine discernment by the
means resorted to by the attorney for the defense, as discussed by him in his brief. He claims that to
determine whether or not a minor acted with discernment, we must take into consideration not only
the facts and circumstances which gave rise to the act committed by the minor, but also his state of
mind at the time the crime was committed, the time he might have had at his disposal for the
purpose of meditating on the consequences of his act, and the degree of reasoning he could have
had at that moment. It is clear that the attorney for the defense mistakes the discernment referred to
in article 12, subsection 3, of the Revised Penal Code, for premeditation, or at least for lack of
intention which, as a mitigating circumstance, is included among other mitigating circumstances in
article 13 of said Code. The discernment that constitutes an exception to the exemption from
criminal liability of a minor under fifteen years of age but over nine, who commits an act prohibited by
law, is his mental capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong, and such capacity
may be known and should be determined by taking into consideration all the facts and
circumstances afforded by the records in each case, the very appearance, the very attitude, the very
comportment and behaviour of said minor, not only before and during the commission of the act, but
also after and even during the trial (U.S. vs. Maralit, 36 Phil., 155). This was done by the trial court,
and the conclusion arrived at by it is correct.

Wherefore, the appealed order is affirmed, with the costs to the appellant. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Laurel, and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-23169 May 31, 197


CONCHITA G. VILLANOS, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
THE HONORABLE ABELARDO SUBIDO, Commissioner of Civil Service, respondent-appellant.

Raymundo R. Armovit for petitioner-appellee.

The Solicitor General for respondent-appellant.

BARREDO, J.:p

Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XVI, in its Civil Case No.
53309, declaring null and void the decision of the respondent-appellant Commissioner of Civil
Service Abelardo Subido, dated February 7, 1963, in Administrative Case No. R-23917, dismissing
from the government service the petitioner-appellee Conchita G. Villanos. The last two paragraphs
of the lower court's decision read as follows:

Premises considered, the Court holds that the action of the Commissioner of Civil
Service in decision (deciding) the administrative case against the herein petitioner
without affording her a fair trial and an opportunity to present her defense and
imposing upon her the penalty of dismissal, constitutes a grave abuse of his
discretion.

WHEREFORE, the Court declares the decision of the respondent in Administrative


Case No. R-23917 null and void. The writ of preliminary injunction issued in this case
is made permanent. No pronouncement as to costs.

As found by the trial court, the facts of this case which are conclusive upon this Court in this appeal
are as follows:

Petitioner-appellee is a public school teacher of the Vigan Central School, in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. She
holds the degrees of Elementary Teacher's Certificate, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
and Bachelor of Science in Education. She is a civil service eligible, having passed the junior as well
as the senior teachers' civil service examinations in 1937 and 1956, respectively. As of the year
1963, she had to her credit thirty-eight (38) years of teaching experience. In the district of Vigan, she
was ranked fifth among 138 classroom teachers, with efficiency ratings of mostly 95 %.

On April 1, 1957, petitioner-appellee wrote a letter jointly addressed to Mrs. Esperanza F. Sebastian
and Miss Anacleta Faypon, her co-teachers in the same school, containing libelous remarks against
the two. Upon receipt thereof, Mrs. Sebastian and Miss Faypon lost no time in instituting a criminal
action against petitioner-appellee in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur charging the latter with
the crime of libel. On March 30, 1959, petitioner-appellee was convicted of the crime charged and
sentenced to pay a fine of P200.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay
costs. This libel conviction was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals in a decision which it
rendered on December 21, 1960. Review of the latter decision was denied for lack of merit by this
Court in a resolution dated March 6, 1961.

A few days after the commencement of the criminal action, or on April 11, 1957, Mrs. Sebastian and
Miss Faypon lodged before the Division Superintendent of Schools an administrative charge against
petitioner-appellee for (1) gross discourtesy to them as her co-teachers, and for (2) notoriously
disgraceful and/or immoral language and/or conduct. They supported their charge with the same
libelous letter, basis of the criminal action.

The administrative charge was first heard on September 23, 1957 before Mr. Severo Lucero, District
Supervisor and Investigator, at which hearing Mrs. Sebastian commenced her direct testimony.
Second hearing thereof took place on February 12, 1958 before the same investigator, wherein Mrs.
Sebastian's testimony was concluded. Although at the conclusion of the second hearing, the
investigator scheduled a third hearing on February 25, 1958, no hearing actually took place on said
date. Two years thereafter, on March 1, 1960, petitioner-appellee wrote a letter to the investigator
asking for a special investigator from either the Bureau of Public Schools or Bureau of Civil Service.
Petitioner's request was, however, denied by the Bureau of Public Schools "in view of dearth of
personnel" in the Office. Continuation of the investigation was directed. Pursuant thereto, hearing
was again scheduled for August 8, 1960, but investigation could not also proceed on said date
because of another plea for postponement by petitioner-appellee who claimed that she made a
second request for another investigator, this time from the Civil Service Commission, who will try
jointly the charge against her together with another two administrative charges which she herself has
filed against Supt. Dizon and one Mr. Padernal and against Mrs. Sebastian and Miss Faypon.

For quite sometime, no action whatsoever was taken on the second request of petitioner-appellee.
Hence, on March 16, 1962, the investigator made an indorsement forwarding to the Division
Superintendent of Public Schools the explanation of petitioner-appellee on the charges preferred
against her and the papers covering the investigation so far conducted. The indorsement stated that
continuation of the investigation could not proceed because of another request of the petitioner-
appellee for another investigator from the Civil Service Commission, which so far has not been acted
upon. The Division Superintendent, in turn, indorsed the same papers to the Director of Public
Schools with a statement to the effect that petitioner-appellee refused to submit to investigation. He
also forwarded to the Director a copy of the Decision of the Court of Appeals (C.A. G.R. No. 00189-
R) which affirmed the libel conviction of petitioner-appellee. Subsequently, following the indorsement
of the Superintendent of Schools, the Assistant Director of Public Schools coursed another
indorsement to the Secretary of Education wherein he likewise stated that petitioner-appellee
"refused to submit to a formal investigation." The Assistant Director further stated that considering
the refusal of petitioner-appellee and her conviction of the crime of libel, he recommends that
petitioner-appellee be transferred to another station, reprimanded and warned that the commission
by her of the same or similar offense will be severely dealt with. This recommendation met the
approval or concurrence of the Secretary of Education who in an indorsement, dated May 21, 1962,
manifested said concurrence to the Commissioner of Civil Service, respondent-appellant herein.

Disregarding the recommendation of the Department of Education, respondent-appellant, on


February 7, 1963, rendered a decision finding petitioner-appellee guilty of the administrative charge
and dismissing her from the service.1

On March 7, 1963, petitioner-appellee filed a verified petition for certiorari and/or prohibition, with writ
of preliminary injunction, before the lower court, for the nullification of the decision of the respondent-
appellant. Petitioner-appellee claimed that she was denied due process of law in that the charge
against her was decided without affording her an oppurtunity to defend herself, the decision being
merely based on the criminal conviction for libel. She obtained, on March 11, 1963, a writ of
preliminary injunction from the lower court enjoining the respondent-appellant and/or any of his
agents or representatives from enforcing his decision.

After due trail, the lower court promulgated the appealed decision on March 2, 1964 in favor of
petitioner-appellee. Hence, this appeal.
Pending resolution of this appeal, on January 29, 1969, the Secretary of Education issued an
indorsement stating, in effect, that his Office will interpose no objection to the payment of whatever
retirement benefits are due to petitioner-appellee, who has already reached the compulsory age of
retirement last December 31, 1968. On February 6, 1969, We noted the contents of said
indorsemets.

Respondent-appellant presents the following three major issues: (1) The lower court had no
jurisdiction over the case, considering the fact that petitioner-appellee failed to appeal the decision of
respondent-appellant to the Civil Service Board of Appeals; (2) Petitioner-appellee was not given
due process in the administrative case before it was decided; and (3) Respondent-appellant did not
commit grave abuse of discretion in rendering the decision imposing upon petitioner-appellee the
penalty of dismissal with the further injunction that the decision be immediately executed.

We find for the petitioner-appellee on all counts and We, accordingly, affirm the decision of the trial
court.

There can be no question that petitioner-appellee has not been given a full hearing. The
investigation was not even half-through when the Superintendent of Schools of Ilocos Sur made his
indorsement which culminated in the challenged decision of the respondent-appellant. The
contention of respondent-appellant that petitioner-appellee was unduly delaying the proceedings and
that she refused to submit to investigation has no basis in fact and in law. As rightly held by His
Honor:

That petitioner did not have the opportunity to defend herself during the
administrative investigation can not be seriously questioned. As a matter of fact only
one witness was able to testify and her cross examination has not yet been
concluded when the hearing was postponed. Even the Solicitor General apparently
agrees to this finding when he argues in his memorandum that 'when disciplinary
action is based upon conviction of a criminal offense, the formal administrative
hearing may be dispensed with.'

The argument of the Solicitor General is too broad and can not be true in all cases. In
this particular case, three separate administrative charges are inter-linked with each
other. One is the administrative charge against the former Superintendent of Schools
of Ilocos Sur and his Chief Clerk for alleged bribe or at least corruption in office.
From the evidence in the records in the present case, it was insinuated that the Chief
Clerk received material favors from the father of Mrs. Sebastian resulting in salary
promotions in her favor. Another administrative case is that one filed by petitioner
against Mrs. Sebastian and Miss Anacleta Faypon for uttering similar words for which
the petitioner is now being dismissed. The third is, of course, the case against the
petitioner for writing the libelous letter.

In view of the close relation between three administrative cases, the best procedure
would have been to investigate them jointly. The investigator must necessarily be not
one who occupies the rank of District Supervisor because it is lower than the rank of
one of the respondents. He should also not be under the office of the Division
Superintendent of Ilocos Sur, in order to avoid any suspicion of partiality.

In asking for an investigator from the Bureau of Public Schools or from the Office of
the Commissioner of Civil Service, the herein petitioner cannot be charged with
deliberately delaying the proceedings. Just what happened with the other two cases,
the Court has no idea as there is no evidence in the present case about them. What
was proven in the present case is that both respondent Commissioner of Civil
Service and the Director of Public Schools (Exh. N) were misled by the erroneous
conclusions of the Superintendent of Schools of Ilocos Sur (Exh. M-1) to the effect
that the 'respondent (herein petitioner) refused to submit to investigation by' his
office.

Such a conclusion is unwarranted for as shown by the evidence, the investigation


was delayed first because the investigator was out of Ilocos Sur for over two years
and later because apparently the respondent did not act on petitioner's request for an
investigator coming from the Civil Service Commission and the old investigator,
instead of proceeding with the investigation, merely submitted the records to the
Director of Public Schools through the Superintendent of Schools, who as stated
above misunderstood the indorsement of the investigator (Exh. M).

This misunderstanding of the attitude taken by the herein petitioner is very important
not only in the action taken by the Director of Public Schools (Exh. N) who submitted
the case to the herein respondent thru the Secretary of Education for decision but
also in finding herein petitioner guilty and recommending that she be transferred to
another station, reprimanded and warned that the commission by her of the same or
similar offense will be severely dealt with.

Indeed, it may be noted that what occurred was precisely what petitioner feared would happen if the
investigation were to be conducted by someone from the Office of the Superintendent, considering
that she had charged the former Superintendent with bribery or corruption in office. As can be seen,
it was the Superintendent who made the initial erroneous indorsement that petitioner-appellee
"refused to submit to an investigation" and even attached to the records which were sent with said
indorsement certified copy of the decision of the Court of Appeals convicting her, thus providing, as it
turned out later, the respondent appellant with what he considered a sufficient legal basis for her
dismissal. These circumstances give added weight to the charge of petitioner-appellee that the
action of respondent-appellant is short of being fair and legal. Undoubtedly, she had a right to
request for a different investigator and to await the outcome of such request. That the authorities
concerned allowed years to pass without even acting thereon cannot be counted against her. At the
stage in which the investigation was at the time when the Superintendent indorsed the records to
higher authorities, only one witness of the complainants had testified, so, even the complainants'
side had not rested; more importantly, the respondent therein, herein petitioner-appellee had not yet
presented any evidence. We hold, therefore, that the action of the education authorities and the
respondent-appellant of considering the case submitted for decision is unwarranted. It is obvious
that said action constitutes denial to petitioner-appellee of her right to due process, hence the
decision of respondent-appellant is null and void.

The plea that the decision of the Court of Appeals which found petitioner-appellee guilty of libel
against the complainants in the administrative case, which arose from the same allegedly
slanderous remarks, is enough basis for respondent-appellant's decision is equally without merit. To
begin with, the said decision was never presented, even informally, as evidence during the
investigation. It was just attached to the records by the Superintendent when he indorsed them to
the Bureau of Public Schools without even advising petitioner-appellee about it. Thus, she had no
chance to present evidence which could have blunted the effects of said decision. And she had a
right to present such evidence. A condemnatory decision in a criminal case, even if final, by itself
alone, cannot serve as basis for a decision in an administrative case involving the same facts, for the
simple reason that matters that are material in the administrative case are not necessarily relevant in
the criminal case. So, notwithstanding that findings in criminal cases must be beyond reasonable
doubt, they cannot be conclusive for administrative purposes. There are defenses, excuses and
attenuating circumstances of value in administrative proceedings which are not admissible in the trial
of the criminal cases. At any rate, it is settled in this jurisdiction that even where criminal conviction is
specified by law as a ground for suspension or removal of an official or employee, such conviction
does not ex proprio vigore justify automatic suspension without investigation and hearing as to such
conviction.

Not even final conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, as distinguished from
conviction pending appeal, dispenses with the requisite notice and hearing. Final
conviction is mentioned in section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code as
ground for proceeding administratively against the convicted officer but does not
operate as automatic removal doing away with the formalities of an administrative
hearing. (Lacson vs. Roque, 92 Phil. 456, 471.)

Neither can We place our stamp of approval on respondent-appellant's posture that petitioner-
appellee has not exhausted administrative remedies. It is charged and We have found it is true that
petitioner-appellee was denied due process. Such being the case, the rule of exhaustion invoked is
not applicable here.

Appellants further maintain that the appellee in this case, had not exhausted
administrative remedies, for appeal from the order of the Commissioner of Civil
Service to the President was yet available, and it was error on the part of the Court of
First Instance of Manila to entertain the premature action instituted against them. We
find no merit in this argument. It has been repeatedly held that the principle requiring
the previous exhaustion of administrative remedies is not applicable where the
question in dispute is purely a legal one (Tapales vs. The President & Board of
Regents of the U.P., L-17523, March 30, 1963), where the controverted act is
patently illegal or was performed without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction
(Mangubat vs. Osmeña, L-12837, April 30, 1959), where the respondent is a
department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bear the implied or
assumed approval of the latter (Marinduque Iron Mines Agents, Inc. vs. Secretary of
Public Works, G.R. No. L-15982, May 31, 1963), or where there are circumtances
indicating the urgency of judicial intervention (Alzate vs. Aldaba, L-14407, February
29, 1960; Demaisip vs. Court of Appeals, L-13000, September 29, 1959). Similarly,
when, as this case, in terminating the services of the appellee, the Commissioner of
Civil Service acted summarily without any semblance of compliance, or even an
attempt to comply with the elementary rules of due process, when the order is
immediately executed and petitioner was immediately removed from office, then
appeal was not a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in ordinary course of law
(Fernandez, et al. vs. Cuneta, et al., G. R. No. L-14392, May 30, 1960), and the
employee adversely affected may forthwith seek the protection of the courts. (Mitra
vs. Subido, G.R. No. L-21691, Sept. 15, 1967.)

After this case was submitted for decision, or, under date of February 1, 1969, counsel for appellee
brought the attention of the Court a 3rd indorsement of then Secretary of Education, Hon. Onofre D.
Corpuz, of January 23, 1969 reading:

Respectfully transmitted to the Honorable Commission of Civil Service, Manila.

This has reference to a decision of that Office dated February 7, 1963 wherein for
highly improper conduct (libel), Mrs. Conchita G. Villanos, a public school teacher
was dismissed from the service. It appears that Mrs. Villanos was able to obtain a
writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the immediate execution of the decision of that
Office. On March 2, 1964, however, the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XVI
through Judge Carmelino Alvendia rendered a decision declaring the aforesaid
decision of that Office in Administrative Case 23917 null and void, thereby making
the writ of preliminary junction permanent. It appears further that the decision of the
Court of First Instance is on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Records show that last December 31, 1968, Mrs. Conchita G. Villanos reached the
compulsory retirement age of 65. Devoid of any means of livelihood, she is now
requesting for whatever retirement benefits she is entitled to after long years of
service in the government.

It may be mentioned in this connection that in a 1st Indorsement dated May 18, 1961
that Office ruled that the compulsory retirement of one who has reached the age of
65 terminates the administrative proceedings against him. The Secretary of Justice,
however, in Opinion No. 5, s. 1962 stated the the "retirement of an officer or
employee does not, ... nullify or render moot the investigation of the administrative
charges filed against him for delinquency or misconduct in Office, although it may
render academic the imposition of certain penalties like removal, demotion or
reduction in rank. The consequential penalties of forfeiture of retirement benefits and
leave privileges incidental to dismissal from the service for cause may still be given
effect." However, the Honorable Commissioner of civil Service in a 1st Indorsement
dated January 17, 1962 rendered an opinion that "only in case of investigation or
prosecution of those offenses, as defined and penalized under Republic Act No.
3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft Law and those in the Revised Penal Code
on Bribery, may a public officer be prohibited from resigning or retiring."

In view thereof, the within request of Mrs. Conchita G. Villanos is being transmitted to
that Office for whatever action that Office deems proper to take on the matter.
Further, information is being requested as to what Office "will give effect" to the
forfeiture of retirement benefits incidental to dismissal from the service.

It may be mentioned in this connection that considering the forty three years of
service of Mrs. Villanos in the government and in consonance with decisional
consensus (e.g., Lacson v. Roque, et al., 49 O.G. No. 1, p. 93 and 67 C.J.S. secs.
58, 61, 62 & 67) here and abroad that the construction of rules relating to
administrative disciplinary action must be strictly construed against the government
and liberally in favor of respondent employee, this Office will interpose no objection
to the payment of whatever retirement benefits are due to Mrs. Conchita G. Villanos.

We required further information from the parties, by Our resolution of December 5, 1969, as to
whether or not appellee's purported retirement has actually materialized. In a manifestation dated
January 19, 1970, all that appellee's counsel could say was that he transmitted copy of the
resolution to his client by registered mail but he had not received any reply from her.2 Under the
circumstances, and in view of the above result We have arrived at, the Court has deemed it best to
render this judgment, but this decision is not to be understood as upholding any of the views
expressed by the different officials referred to in the above-quoted indorsement regarding the
question of whether or not an official or employee in the civil service may allowed to resign before
the termination of an administrative investigation being conducted against him, which question, We
do not have to decide for the purposes this case.

Before closing, We may add the observation that the alleged fault of petitioner-appellee had no
direct relation to her work. Besides, the alleged libel charged was contained in communications
which were not public and could not, therefore, have been in any manner dangerous to the
impressionable minds of the young students of the school where she was teaching, contrary to the
contention of respondent-appellant. On the other hand, her impressive credentials and record of
service, its length and highly rated efficiency are worthy of utmost consideration. It was improper for
the respondent-appellant to completely ignore them in making his decision. It is to be presumed that
petitioner-appellee knew better than to refuse to submit to an investigation duly ordered by
competent authorities and that she would not deliberately throw away her valuable investments in
her career in the public service by virtue actually foregoing her right to present her case fully. It is in
this perspective that her position should have been viewed and construed. These observations,
however, are not intended to hint in any way the Court's opinion as to petitioner-appellee's guilt or
innocence which must be determined by the corresponding authorities after proper and full hearing,
albeit, if the education authorities feel that it is best for all concerned to earlier put an end to the case
against petitioner-appellee, the Court sees no insurmountable objection to their adopting the course
of action suggested in the above communication of Secretary Corpuz which would naturally mean
that, upon the resumption of the proceedings as a consequence of this decision, the administrative
case against petitioner-appellee shall be immediately dismissed, without regard to the merits of the
charge therein made and she will be granted all the benefits of retirement, if only to compensate the
denial to her of due process that We have found above, which would be in the same fashion in
essence to the dismissal of a criminal case without regard to the possible guilt or innocence of the
accused when it appears that said accused is being denied speedy trial, which, to be sure, could be
said not to be any more objectionable than the lengthy wait that petitioner-appellee was made to
suffer in this case.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is affirmed. No costs.

Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.

SECOND DIVISION
ROBERT SIERRA y CANEDA, G.R. No. 182941
Petitioner,
Present:

QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,


CARPIO-MORALES
**
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO,
***
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and
BRION, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Respondent. Promulgated:

July 3, 2009

x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

BRION, J.:

Before us is the petition of Robert Sierra y Caneda (petitioner) for the review on certiorari[1] of the
Decision[2] and Resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals[4] (CA) that affirmed with modification his
conviction for the crime of qualified rape rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 159,
Pasig City, in its decision of April 5, 2006.

THE ANTECEDENT FACTS

In August 2000, thirteen-year-old AAA[5] was playing with her friend BBB in the second floor of her
familys house in Palatiw, Pasig. The petitioner arrived holding a knife and told AAA and BBB that he
wanted to play with them. The petitioner then undressed BBB and had sexual intercourse with
her. Afterwards, he turned to AAA, undressed her, and also had sexual intercourse with her by
inserting his male organ into hers. The petitioner warned AAA not to tell anybody of what they did.

AAA subsequently disclosed the incident to Elena Gallano (her teacher) and to Dolores Mangantula
(the parent of a classmate), who both accompanied AAA to the barangay office. AAA was later
subjected to physical examination that revealed a laceration on her hymen consistent with her claim
of sexual abuse. On the basis of the complaint and the physical findings, the petitioner was charged
with rape under the following Information:

On or about August 5, 2000, in Pasig City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the accused, a minor, 15 years old, with lewd designs and by means of force,
violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
sexual intercourse with his (accused) sister, AAA, thirteen years of age, against the
latters will and consent.

Contrary to law.[6]

The petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge and raised the defenses of denial and alibi.
He claimed that he was selling cigarettes at the time of the alleged rape. He also claimed that AAA
only invented her story because she bore him a grudge for the beatings he gave her. The parties
mother (CCC) supported the petitioners story; she also stated that AAA was a troublemaker. Both
CCC and son testified that the petitioner was fifteen (15) years old when the alleged incident
happened.[7]

The defense also presented BBB who denied that the petitioner raped her; she confirmed the
petitioners claim that AAA bore her brother a grudge.

On April 5, 2006, the RTC convicted the petitioner of qualified rape as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court finds the accused ROBERT
SIERRA y CANEDA GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape
(Violation of R.A. 8353 in relation to SC A.M. 99-1-13) and hereby sentences the said
juvenile in conflict with law to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of reclusion
perpetua; and to indemnify the victim the amount of P75,000 as civil
indemnity, P50,000 as moral damages, andP25,000 as exemplary damages.

SO ORDERED.[8]

The petitioner elevated this RTC decision to the CA by attacking AAAs credibility. He also
invoked paragraph 1, Section 6 of R.A. No. 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006)[9] to
exempt him from criminal liability considering that he was only 15 yearsold at the time the crime was
committed.
The CA nevertheless affirmed the petitioners conviction with modification as to penalty as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding that the trial court did not err in convicting Robert
Sierra, the assailed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED withMODIFICATION that
Robert Sierra has to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of RECLUSION
TEMPORAL MAXIMUM. The award of damages are likewise affirmed.

SO ORDERED.[10]

In ruling that the petitioner was not exempt from criminal liability, the CA held:

As to the penalty, We agree with the Office of the Solicitor General that Robert is not
exempt from liability. First, it was not clearly established and proved by the defense
that Robert was 15 years old or below at the time of the commission of the crime. It
was incumbent for the defense to present Roberts birth certificate if it was to invoke
Section 64 of Republic Act No. 9344. Neither is the suspension of sentence available
to Robert as the Supreme Court, in one case, clarified that:

We note that, in the meantime, Rep. Act No. 9344 took effect
on May 20, 2006. Section 38 of the law reads:

SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. Once the child


who is under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the
commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense
charged, the court shall determine and ascertain any civil
liability which may have resulted from the offense committed.
However, instead of pronouncing the judgment of conviction,
the court shall place the child in conflict with the law under
suspended sentence, without need of application: Provided,
however, That suspension of sentence shall still be applied
even if the juvenile is already eighteen (18) years of age or
more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt.

Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the


various circumstances of the child, the court shall impose the
appropriate disposition measures as provided in the Supreme
Court on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law.

The law merely amended Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as


amended by A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC, in that the suspension of sentence
shall be enjoyed by the juvenile even if he is already 18 years of age
or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt. The other
disqualifications in Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as amended, and
Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC have not been deleted from
Section 38 of Republic Act No. 9344. Evidently, the intention of
Congress was to maintain the other disqualifications as provided in
Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as amended, and Section 32 of A.M. No.
02-1-18-SC. Hence, juveniles who have been convicted of a crime
the imposable penalty for which is reclusion perpetua, life
imprisonment or reclusion perpetua to death or death, are disqualified
from having their sentences suspended.[11]

The CA denied the petitioners subsequent motion for reconsideration; hence, the present
petition.
THE ISSUES

The petitioner no longer assails the prosecutions evidence on his guilt of the crime charged;
what he now assails is the failure of the CA to apply paragraph 1, Section 6 [12] of R.A. No. 9344
under the following issues:

(1) Whether or not the CA erred in not applying the provisions of R.A. No. 9344 on the
petitioners exemption from criminal liability;

(2) Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that it was incumbent for the defense to present the
petitioners birth certificate to invoke Section 64 of R.A. No. 9344 when the burden of
proving his age lies with the prosecution by express provisions of R.A. No. 9344; and

(3) Whether or not the CA erred in applying the ruling in Declarador v. Hon.
Gubaton[13] thereby denying the petitioner the benefit of exemption from criminal liability
under R.A. No. 9344.

The threshold issue in this case is the determination of who bears the burden of proof for
purposes of determining exemption from criminal liability based on the age of the petitioner at the
time the crime was committed.

The petitioner posits that the burden of proof should be on the prosecution as the party who
stands to lose the case if no evidence is presented to show that the petitioner was not a 15-year old
minor entitled to the exempting benefit provided under Section 6 of R.A. No. 9344. [14] He additionally
claims that Sections 3,[15] 7,[16] and 68[17] of the law also provide a presumption of minority in favor of
a child in conflict with the law, so that any doubt regarding his age should be resolved in his favor.
The petitioner further submits that the undisputed facts and evidence on record specifically:
the allegation of the Information, the testimonies of the petitioner and CCC that the prosecution
never objected to, and the findings of the RTC established that he was not more than 15 years old at
the time of the commission of the crime.

The Peoples Comment, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), counters that the
burden belongs to the petitioner who should have presented his birth certificate or other
documentary evidence proving that his age was 15 years or below. The OSG also stressed that
while petitioner is presumed to be a minor, he is disqualified to have his sentence suspended
following the ruling inDeclarador v. Hon. Gubaton.[18]

THE COURTS RULING


We grant the petition.

We examine at the outset the prosecutions evidence and the findings of the lower courts on
the petitioners guilt, since the petition opens the whole case for review and the issues before us are
predicated on the petitioners guilt of the crime charged. A determination of guilt is likewise relevant
under the terms of R.A. No. 9344 since its exempting effect is only on the criminal, not on the civil,
liability.

We see no compelling reason, after examination of the CA decision and the records of the
case, to deviate from the lower courts findings of guilt. The records show that the prosecution
established all the elements of the crime charged through the credible testimony of AAA and the
other corroborating evidence; sexual intercourse did indeed take place as the information
charged.[19] As against AAAs testimony, the petitioner could only raise the defenses of denial and
alibi defenses that, in a long line of cases, we have held to be inherently weak unless supported by
clear and convincing evidence; the petitioner failed to present this required evidentiary
support.[20] We have held, too, that as negative defenses, denial and alibi cannot prevail over the
credible and positive testimony of the complainant.[21] We sustain the lower courts on the issue of
credibility, as we see no compelling reason to doubt the validity of their conclusions in this regard.

While the defense, on appeal, raises a new ground i.e., exemption from criminal liability
under R.A. No. 9344 that implies an admission of guilt, this consideration in no way swayed the
conclusion we made above, as the defense is entitled to present all alternative defenses available to
it, even inconsistent ones. We note, too, that the defenses claim of exemption from liability was
made for the first time in its appeal to the CA. While this may initially imply an essential change of
theory that is usually disallowed on appeal for reasons of fairness, [22] no essential change is really
involved as the claim for exemption from liability is not incompatible with the evidence submitted
below and with the lower courts conclusion that the petitioner is guilty of the crime charged. An
exempting circumstance, by its nature, admits that criminal and civil liabilities exist, but the accused
is freed from criminal liability; in other words, the accused committed a crime, but he cannot be held
criminally liable therefor because of an exemption granted by law.In admitting this type of defense on
appeal, we are not unmindful, too, that the appeal of a criminal case (even one made under Rule 45)
opens the whole case for review, even on questions that the parties did not raise.[23] By mandate of
the Constitution, no less, we are bound to look into every circumstance and resolve every doubt in
favor of the accused.[24] It is with these considerations in mind and in obedience to the direct and
more specific commands of R.A. No. 9344 on how the cases of children in conflict with the law
should be handled that we rule in this Rule 45 petition.

We find a review of the facts of the present case and of the applicable law on exemption
from liability compelling because of the patent errors the CA committed in these
regards. Specifically, the CAs findings of fact on the issues of age and minority, premised on the
supposed absence of evidence, are contradicted by the evidence on record; it also manifestly
overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties that, if properly considered, would justify
a different conclusion.[ 2 5 ]

In tackling the issues of age and minority, we stress at the outset that the ages of both the
petitioner and the complaining victim are material and are at issue. The age of the petitioner is
critical for purposes of his entitlement to exemption from criminal liability under R.A. No. 9344, while
the age of the latter is material in characterizing the crime committed and in considering the resulting
civil liability that R.A. No. 9344 does not remove.
Minority as an Exempting Circumstance

R.A. No. 9344 was enacted into law on April 28, 2006 and took effect on May 20, 2006. Its
intent is to promote and protect the rights of a child in conflict with the law or a child at risk by
providing a system that would ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their
well-being through a variety of disposition measures such as care, guidance and supervision orders,
counseling, probation, foster care, education and vocational training programs and other alternatives
to institutional care.[26] More importantly in the context of this case, this law modifies as well the
minimum age limit of criminal irresponsibility for minor offenders; it changed what paragraphs 2 and
3 of Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, previously provided i.e., from under
nine years of age and above nine years of age and under fifteen (who acted without discernment) to
fifteen years old or under and above fifteen but below 18 (who acted without discernment) in
determining exemption from criminal liability.In providing exemption, the new law as the old
paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 12 of the RPC did presumes that the minor offenders completely lack the
intelligence to distinguish right from wrong, so that their acts are deemed involuntary ones for which
they cannot be held accountable.[27] The current law also drew its changes from the principle of
restorative justice that it espouses; it considers the ages 9 to 15 years as formative years and gives
minors of these ages a chance to right their wrong through diversion and intervention measures.[28]
In the present case, the petitioner claims total exemption from criminal liability because he was not
more than 15 years old at the time the rape took place. The CA disbelieved this claim for the
petitioners failure to present his birth certificate as required by Section 64 of R.A. No. 9344. [29] The
CA also found him disqualified to avail of a suspension of sentence because the imposable penalty
for the crime of rape is reclusion perpetua to death.

Burden of Proof
Burden of proof, under Section 1, Rule 131 of the Rules on Evidence, refers to the duty of a
party to present evidence on the facts in issue in order to establish his or her claim or defense. In a
criminal case, the burden of proof to establish the guilt of the accused falls upon the prosecution
which has the duty to prove all the essential ingredients of the crime. The prosecution completes its
case as soon as it has presented the evidence it believes is sufficient to prove the required
elements. At this point, the burden of evidence shifts to the defense to disprove what the prosecution
has shown by evidence, or to prove by evidence the circumstances showing that the accused did not
commit the crime charged or cannot otherwise be held liable therefor. In the present case, the
prosecution completed its evidence and had done everything that the law requires it to do. The
burden of evidence has now shifted to the defense which now claims, by an affirmative defense, that
the accused, even if guilty, should be exempt from criminal liability because of his age when he
committed the crime. The defense, therefore, not the prosecution, has the burden of showing by
evidence that the petitioner was 15 years old or less when he committed the rape charged.[30]

This conclusion can also be reached by considering that minority and age are not elements
of the crime of rape; the prosecution therefore has no duty to prove these circumstances. To impose
the burden of proof on the prosecution would make minority and age integral elements of the crime
when clearly they are not. [31] If the prosecution has a burden related to age, this burden relates to
proof of the age of the victim as a circumstance that qualifies the crime of rape.[32]

Testimonial Evidence is Competent Evidence


to Prove the Accuseds Minority and Age

The CA seriously erred when it rejected testimonial evidence showing that the petitioner was only 15
years old at the time he committed the crime. Section 7 of R.A. No. 9344 expressly states how the
age of a child in conflict with the law may be determined:
SEC. 7. Determination of Age. - x x x The age of a child may be determined from
the child's birth certificate, baptismal certificate or any other pertinent
documents. In the absence of these documents, age may be based on
information from the child himself/herself, testimonies of other persons, the
physical appearance of the child and other relevant evidence. In case of doubt
as to the age of the child, it shall be resolved in his/her favor. [Emphasis
supplied]
Rule 30-A of the Rules and Regulations Implementing R.A. No. 9344 provides the implementing
details of this provision by enumerating the measures that may be undertaken by a law enforcement
officer to ascertain the childs age:

(1) Obtain documents that show proof of the childs age, such as

(a) Childs birth certificate;


(b) Childs baptismal certificate ;or
(c) Any other pertinent documents such as but not limited to the childs school
records, dental records, or travel papers.
(2) x x x

(3) When the above documents cannot be obtained or pending receipt of such
documents, the law enforcement officer shall exhaust other measures to
determine age by:

(a) Interviewing the child and obtaining information that indicate age (e.g. date
of birthday, grade level in school);
(b) Interviewing persons who may have knowledge that indicate[s] age of the
child (e.g. relatives, neighbors, teachers, classmates);
(c) Evaluating the physical appearance (e.g. height, built) of the child; and
(d) Obtaining other relevant evidence of age.
xxx

Section 7, R.A. No. 9344, while a relatively new law (having been passed only in 2006), does
not depart from the jurisprudence existing at that time on the evidence that may be admitted as
satisfactory proof of the accuseds minority and age.

In the 1903 case of U.S. v. Bergantino,[33] we accepted testimonial evidence to prove the
minority and age of the accused in the absence of any document or other satisfactory evidence
showing the date of birth. This was followed by U.S. v. Roxas[34] where the defendants statement
about his age was considered sufficient, even without corroborative evidence, to establish that he
was a minor of 16 years at the time he committed the offense charged. Subsequently, in People v.
Tismo,[35] the Court appreciated the minority and age of the accused on the basis of his claim that he
was 17 years old at the time of the commission of the offense in the absence of any contradictory
evidence or objection on the part of the prosecution. Then, in People v. Villagracia,[36] we found the
testimony of the accused that he was less than 15 years old sufficient to establish his minority. We
reiterated these dicta in the cases of People v. Morial[37] and David v. Court of Appeals,[38] and ruled
that the allegations of minority and age by the accused will be accepted as facts upon the
prosecutions failure to disprove the claim by contrary evidence.

In these cases, we gave evidentiary weight to testimonial evidence on the accuseds minority
and age upon the concurrence of the following conditions: (1) the absence of any other satisfactory
evidence such as the birth certificate, baptismal certificate, or similar documents that would prove
the date of birth of the accused; (2) the presence of testimony from accused and/or a relative on the
age and minority of the accused at the time of the complained incident without any objection on the
part of the prosecution; and (3) lack of any contrary evidence showing that the accuseds and/or his
relatives testimonies are untrue.

All these conditions are present in this case. First, the petitioner and CCC both testified
regarding his minority and age when the rape was committed.[39] Second, the records before us
show that these pieces of testimonial evidence were never objected to by the prosecution.
And lastly, the prosecution did not present any contrary evidence to prove that the petitioner was
above 15 years old when the crime was committed.

We also stress that the last paragraph of Section 7 of R.A. No. 9344 provides that any doubt
on the age of the child must be resolved in his favor.[40] Hence, any doubt in this case regarding the
petitioners age at the time he committed the rape should be resolved in his favor. In other words, the
testimony that the petitioner as 15 years old when the crime took place should be read to mean that
he was not more than 15 years old as this is the more favorable reading that R.A. No. 9344 directs.

Given the express mandate of R.A. No. 9344, its implementing rules, and established
jurisprudence in accord with the latest statutory developments, the CA therefore cannot but be in
error in not appreciating and giving evidentiary value to the petitioners and CCCs testimonies
relating to the formers age.

Retroactive Application of R.A. No. 9344


That the petitioner committed the rape before R.A. No. 9344 took effect and that he is no
longer a minor (he was already 20 years old when he took the stand) will not bar him from enjoying
the benefit of total exemption that Section 6 of R.A. No. 9344 grants.[41] As we explained in
discussing
Sections 64 and 68 of R.A. No. 9344[42] in the recent case of Ortega v. People:[43]

Section 64 of the law categorically provides that cases of children 15 years


old and below, at the time of the commission of the crime,shall immediately be
dismissed and the child shall be referred to the appropriate local social welfare and
development officers (LSWDO). What is controlling, therefore, with respect to the
exemption from criminal liability of the CICL, is not the CICLs age at the time of
the promulgation of judgment but the CICLs age at the time of the commission
of the offense. In short, by virtue of R.A. No. 9344, the age of criminal
irresponsibility has been raised from 9 to 15 years old. [Emphasis supplied]

The retroactive application of R.A. No. 9344 is also justified under Article 22 of the RPC, as
amended, which provides that penal laws are to be given retroactive effect insofar as they favor the
accused who is not found to be a habitual criminal. Nothing in the records of this case indicates that
the petitioner is a habitual criminal.

Civil Liability

The last paragraph of Section 6 of R.A. No. 9344 provides that the accused shall continue to
be civilly liable despite his exemption from criminal liability; hence, the petitioner is civilly liable to
AAA despite his exemption from criminal liability. The extent of his civil liability depends on the crime
he would have been liable for had he not been found to be exempt from criminal liability.

The RTC and CA found, based on item (1) of Article 266-B of the RPC, as amended, that the
petitioner is guilty of qualified rape because of his relationship with AAA within the second civil
degree of consanguinity and the latters minority.[44] Both courts accordingly imposed the civil liability
corresponding to qualified rape.

The relationship between the petitioner and AAA, as siblings, does not appear to be a
disputed matter. Their mother, CCC, declared in her testimony that AAA and the petitioner are her
children. The prosecution and the defense likewise stipulated in the proceedings below that the
relationship exists. We find, however, that AAAs minority, though alleged in the Information, had not
been sufficiently proven.[45] People v. Pruna[46] laid down these guidelines in appreciating the age of
the complainant:
In order to remove any confusion that may be engendered by the foregoing
cases, we hereby set the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an
element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance.

1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or
certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party.

2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as


baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim
would suffice to prove age.

3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or
destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the
victims mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is
qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of
birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on
Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances:

a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is


sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years old;
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is
sought to be proved is that she is less than 12 years old;
c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is
sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years old.

4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of


the victims mother or relatives concerning the victims age, the complainants
testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by
the accused.

5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended
party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence
regarding age shall not be taken against him. [Emphasis supplied]

The records fail to show any evidence proving the age of AAA. They do not likewise show
that the petitioner ever expressly and clearly admitted AAAs age at the time of the rape. Pursuant
to Pruna, neither can his failure to object to AAAs testimony be taken against him.

Thus, the required concurrence of circumstances that would upgrade the crime to qualified
rape i.e., relationship within the third degree of consanguinity and minority of the victim does not
exist. The crime for which the petitioner should have been found criminally liable should therefore
only be simple rape pursuant to par. 1, Article 266-A of the RPC, not qualified rape. The civil liability
that can be imposed on the petitioner follows the characterization of the crime and the attendant
circumstances.
Accordingly, we uphold the grant of moral damages of P50,000.00 but increase the awarded
exemplary damages P30,000.00, both pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence.[47] Moral damages are
automatically awarded to rape victims without the necessity of proof; the law assumes that the victim
suffered moral injuries entitling her to this award.[48] Article 2230 of the Civil Code justifies theaward
of exemplary damages because of the presence of the aggravating circumstances of relationship
between AAA and petitioner and dwelling.[49] As discussed above, the relationship (between the
parties) is not disputed. We appreciate dwelling as an aggravating circumstance based on AAAs
testimony that the rape was committed in their house.[50] While dwelling as an aggravating
circumstance was not alleged in the Information, established jurisprudence holds that it may
nevertheless be appreciated as basis for the award of exemplary damages.[51]

We modify the awarded civil indemnity of P75,000.00 to P50,000.00, the latter being the civil
indemnity appropriate for simple rape[52] on the finding that rape had been committed.[53]

In light of the above discussion and our conclusions, we see no need to discuss the petitions
third assignment of error.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated
February 29, 2008 and Resolution dated May 22, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.-CR.-H.C.
No. 02218 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

Pursuant to Section 64 of R.A. No. 9344, Criminal Case No. 120292-H for rape filed against
petitioner Robert Sierra y Caneda is hereby DISMISSED. Petitioner is REFERRED to the
appropriate local social welfare and development officer who shall proceed in accordance with the
provisions of R.A. No. 9344. Petitioner is ORDERED to pay the victim, AAA, P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Unless there are other valid causes for petitioners continued detention, we
hereby ORDER his IMMEDIATE RELEASEunder the above terms.

Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Director of the Bureau of Corrections
in Muntinlupa City for its immediate implementation. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is
directed to report to this Court within five days from receipt of this Decision the action he has taken.
Let a copy of this Decision be likewise furnished the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council.

SO ORDERED.

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson

CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson

CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons
Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 138471. October 10, 2002]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MANUEL PRUNA y RAMIREZ or ERMAN


PRUNA y RAMIREZ, accused-appellant.

DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:

A rosebud that had been snuffed out of its fragrance long before it could even blossom into a
flower. Such is the case of Lizette Arabelle Gonzales (hereafter LIZETTE), who had been defiled at
a very tender age. She was at the time voiding her body waste at their neighbors backyard, but that
did not deter herein appellant from imposing his lechery on her. Indeed, lust is no respecter of time
and place.[1]
On 27 January 1995, an information[2] for rape was filed against accused-appellant Manuel
Pruna y Ramirez or Erman Pruna y Ramirez (hereafter PRUNA), the accusatory portion of which
reads:

That on or about January 3, 1995 at Sitio Tabing-ilog, Brgy. Panilao, Pilar, Bataan, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused thru force and intimidation, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie and succeed to have sexual intercourse with the
offended party, Lizette Arabelle Gonzales, a 3-year-old minor girl, against the will and consent of the
latter, to her damage and prejudice.

Upon motion of PRUNAs counsel, the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), the Information was
amended changing the name of the accused from Manuel Pruna y Ramirez to Erman Pruna y
Ramirez, which was the name reflected in his birth certificate.[3] However, when he testified in court,
he stated that his name was Manuel Pruna; and in the minutes of the court proceedings, he signed
the name Manuel Pruna.
On 27 November 1995, upon the Motion to Put the Accused Under Psychiatric or Mental
Examination[4] filed by PRUNAs counsel on the ground that he could not secure from PRUNA a
coherent answer to even simple questions, the trial court ordered that the accused be brought to the
National Mental Hospital in Mandaluyong City for psychiatric or mental examination.[5] Accordingly,
the trial was suspended, and PRUNA was sent to the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH),
Mandaluyong City.
On 28 June 1996, the trial court received a telegram[6] from the NCMH stating that PRUNA was
in fair condition. The NCMH later submitted to the trial court a report[7] on the psychiatric evaluation
of PRUNA with a recommendation to put him back to jail for the resumption of court
proceedings. The report also stated that PRUNA narrated that while he and his friends were under
the bridge sniffing rugby and drinking alcohol, they saw a 3-year-old girl defecating in the river bank;
that they called her; and, upon the order of his friends he placed her on his lap and attempted to
caress her sensitive parts. Said report was not, however, offered in evidence by the prosecution or
the defense.
The prosecution presented five witnesses, whose testimonies can be summed up as follows:

Jacqueline Gonzales, the mother of LIZETTE, testified that on 3 January 1995, at 9:30 a.m., she
was fetching water from the artesian well located ten meters away from her house, while LIZETTE
was defecating at the back of the house of their neighbor Gloria Tolentino. Jacqueline then carried
her pail of water and went back to her house. Since LIZETTE was not home yet, Jacqueline headed
toward the place where the former was moving her bowel. She looked for LIZETTE but did not find
her. It was when Jacqueline was already returning to her house that she saw LIZETTE from behind -
- red-faced, crying, and appeared to be very frightened.When asked where she came from, LIZETTE
answered that she was brought by a certain Boy to the grassy area at the back of Glorias house
where she was sexually molested (or kinantot in the Tagalog dialect). LIZETTE then pulled her
mother and led her to the house of PRUNA, which was about eight meters away from their
house. PRUNA, the only one known in their community as Boy, was not there. Jacqueline forthwith
requested her mother-in-law to report the matter to the police, while Jacqueline and LIZETTE went
to the Bataan Provincial Hospital.[8]

Jacqueline further declared that at the time of the alleged rape, LIZETTE was 3 years old, but at
the time Jacqueline testified on 17 October 1995, LIZETTE was 4 years old. LIZETTEs last birthday
was on 19 April 1995.[9]
LIZETTE testified that she knew PRUNA whom he called Boy. She pointed to him inside the
courtroom. According to her, PRUNA laid her down in a grassy area and inserted his penis into her
vagina. When the presiding judge asked her whether she knew that it is a sin to tell a lie, she
answered in the affirmative.[10]
Dr. Emelita Quiroz, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Bataan Provincial Hospital, testified
that on 3 January 1995, she conducted a complete physical examination on LIZETTE and took wet
smear specimen from her vaginal wall through scraping. The specimen was sent to the laboratory for
analysis by a medical technologist. Further, she requested a urinalysis for LIZETTE.[11] The Medico-
Legal Report[12] prepared by Dr. Quiroz reveals the following findings:

Essentially normal PE-Findings

Infantile areola & nipples


Flat breasts (-) hematoma

(-) pubic hair

Labia minora and majora well coaptated

Hymenal ring intact (+) hyperemia (-) laceration

(Vaginal Opening)

LABORATORY RESULT:

WET SMEAR: KOH - Negative for T-Vaginalis

NSS- Negative for fungi

SPERM ANALYSIS -POSITIVE for sperm cells

Gram staining-few, epithelial cells seen, no other microorganism

URINALYSIS: RBC-3-7-/hpf epithelial cells few.

WBC-0-2

Although not stated in the Medico-Legal Report of Dr. Quiroz, the urinalysis report[13] includes a
positive finding for sperm cells. Dr. Quiroz explained that the presence of sperm cells in the vaginal
canal signified that sexual intercourse and ejaculation had occurred on the person of the
patient. There was no laceration; but there was hyperemia, which means reddening of the tissue
around the vaginal opening. Among the causes of hyperemia is the insertion of a hard object like
penis and finger.[14]
Teresita Magtagnob, the medical technologist who conducted the laboratory examinations and
prepared the corresponding reports,[15]testified that sperm cells were found in the wet smear
specimen and urine taken from LIZETTE.[16]
SPO2 Romeo D. Bunsoy, a member of the Philippine National Police assigned at the Pilar
Municipal Station, testified that on 3 January 1995 the parent of the minor rape victim filed a
complaint against PRUNA. He referred the matter to the desk officer to have it blottered. Upon his
advise, the minor was brought to the hospital for examination. When they returned from the hospital,
he took their statements. Later, he conducted an ocular inspection and investigation at the alleged
place of the incident and caused the place to be photographed, which showed that the grasses were
flattened. He inquired from the people in the neighborhood, and one of them answered that he saw
the minor being brought by PRUNA to the place where the minor was found. When PRUNA was
brought to their station by four barangay tanods of Panilao, Pilar, Bataan, SPO2 Bunsoy tried to
converse with him, but the former did not give any reply.[17]
On the part of the defense, Carlito Bondoc and PRUNA took the witness stand.
Carlito testified that on 3 January 1995, he fetched water at the public artesian well together
with Jacqueline. After having drawn water from the well, Jacqueline called her daughter, who was
then defecating on the road near the river; and they both went home. After a while, the parents of
LIZETTE shouted that their daughter was raped, and then they proceeded to the house of PRUNA
and accused him of having raped the child.Carlito asserted that PRUNA could not have raped
LIZETTE because he (PRUNA) was in his house from the time that LIZETTE was moving her bowel
up to the time that her mother went to the house of PRUNA. Carlito knew that PRUNA was at home
because the former was also in the latters house to have coffee. Carlito and the Sulit family
thereafter brought PRUNA to the barangay hall. Since the barangay captain was not around, they
brought PRUNA to the municipal building to prove that he was innocent.[18]
PRUNA denied having raped LIZETTE. He claimed that in the morning of 3 January 1995, he
was in his house preparing coffee for Carlito.After Carlito left, several men arrived and boxed him for
reasons not known to him. Carlito and the latters friend then brought him to the barangay hall. There,
LIZETTEs father boxed him. He was thereafter brought to the Pilar Municipal Jail. There, the mother
of the child threw at him the lid cover of a kettle. He was also asked by the police to take off his
clothes and lie flat; then he was mauled. Thereafter, he was told to put his feet between the grills,
and he was made to masturbate. Worse, his testes were burned with cigarette butts. Every night, he
was asked to kneel on a chair and was hit with a 2x 2 piece of wood.[19]
After trial, PRUNA was convicted by the trial court of the crime of rape in its qualified form and
sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of death and to indemnify the victim in the sum of P50,000,
plus costs.[20] Hence, this automatic review.
In his Appellants Brief,[21] PRUNA attributed to the trial court the following errors:
I

IN RELYING ON THE TESTIMONY OF JACQUELINE S. GONZALES, THE MOTHER OF THE


CHILD, THAT THE LATTER WAS THREE (3) YEARS OLD WHEN THE ALLEGED RAPE
OCCURRED WHEN THE BEST EVIDENCE THEREFOR IS THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE OF THE
CHILD.

II

IN RELYING ON THE HEARSAY TESTIMONY OF JACQUELINE S. GONZALES AS TO THE


ALLEGED RAPE OF HER CHILD.

III
IN ADMITTING AND RELYING ON THE TESTIMONY OF COMPLAINANT[ ] CHILD WHO WAS
ONLY THREE (3) YEARS OLD WHEN THE ALLEGED RAPE OCCURRED EVEN AS SHE WAS
ONLY FIVE (5) YEARS OLD WHEN SHE TESTIFIED.
IV

IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED ON DUBIOUS EVIDENCE.

The Office of the Solicitor General (hereafter OSG) seeks the affirmation of the trial courts
decision with the modification that an additional award of P50,000 as moral damages be granted in
favor of the offended party.
As culled from the arguments of the parties, the issues to be resolved in this case are as
follows:
(1) Whether LIZETTE was a competent and credible witness considering that she was
allegedly only 3 years old when the alleged rape occurred and 5 years old when she
testified;
(2) Whether Jacquelines testimony as to the declarations of LIZETTE is hearsay;
(3) Whether the failure of the prosecution to present Gloria Tolentino as a witness is fatal;
(4) Whether appellants guilt has been proved beyond reasonable doubt;
(5) Whether the qualifying circumstance of minority has been duly proved as to justify the
imposition of the death penalty.
We shall resolve these issues in seriatim.

I. LIZETTEs Competency and Credibility as a Witness

Appellant disputes the competency of LIZETTE to testify by reason of her tender age. When
LIZETTE was called to testify, his counsel interposed a vigorous objection to the admission of her
testimony because of her tender age. The trial court noted the objection and allowed her to testify;
thus:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY
PROS. LUMABAS:
Do you know Manuel Pruna?
A Yes, sir.
Q How do you call Manuel Pruna?
A Boy, sir.
Q Where is he?
A There, sir. (Witness pointing to a person wearing blue T-shirt, who when asked, gave his
name as Manuel Pruna)
PROS. LUMABAS:
What did Manuel Pruna or Boy do to you?
A Inihiga niya ako and inserted his penis to my vagina, sir.
Q And in what place did he do this to you?
A In the grassy area, sir.
Q After he inserted his penis to your vagina, what happened next?
ATTY. BALUYOT:
The witness for quite sometime could not answer the question.
PROS. LUMABAS:
I think that will be all for the witness.[22]
After which, the defense counsel manifested that he would not cross-examine her and that he
intended to file a motion for her disqualification as a witness.[23] The court then proceeded to ask her
a few questions, thus:
COURT :
Do you know what will happen to a child if she is not telling the truth?
A Sa lupa.
Q Do you know that it is a sin to tell a lie?
A Yes, sir.
Q The witness is excused considering the manifestation of Atty. Baluyot that he will be filing
a written motion for the striking out of the testimony of the witness considering her
tender age.[24]
No such motion is extant on the records. At the next hearing, the defense counsel cross-
examined LIZETTE, as follows:
ATTY. BALUYOT:
On January 3, 1995, in the morning where were you?
A I was in the grassy area, sir.
Q In that grassy area there were other children with you playing?
A None, sir.
Q You were then removing[sic] your bowel, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q Then while removing your bowel you saw your mother pass[ ] by, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q She was then carrying a pail to fetch some water, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q The water from where she will fetch is [sic] a few meter[s] away from you, is it not?
A Near, sir.
ATTY. BALUYOT:
Considering that the grassy place where you were then discharging your bowel is beside a
street?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you saw your mother bringing a pail of water towards your house after her pumping
from the well, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q When she passed by she likewise saw you, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q Then how far were you from your house when you were discharging your bowel? Please
demonstrate the distance?
A Up to that door, sir.
Q From that position you were at the grass you could see your house, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q Could you tell the Honorable Court how long did it take you to discharge your bowel?
A For a short period of time, sir.
(Sandali lang po.)[25]
As a general rule, when a witness takes the witness stand, the law, on ground of public policy,
presumes that he is competent. The court cannot reject the witness in the absence of proof of his
incompetency. The burden is, therefore, upon the party objecting to the competency of a witness to
establish the ground of incompetency.[26]
Section 21 of Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence enumerates the persons who are disqualified
to be witnesses. Among those disqualified are [c]hildren whose mental maturity is such as to render
them incapable of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and relating them
truthfully.
No precise minimum age can be fixed at which children shall be excluded from testifying. The
intelligence, not the age, of a young child is the test of the competency as a witness.[27] It is settled
that a child, regardless of age, can be a competent witness if he can perceive and, in perceiving, can
make known his perception to others and that he is capable of relating truthfully the facts for which
he is examined.[28]
In determining the competency of a child witness, the court must consider his capacity (a) at the
time the fact to be testified to occurred such that he could receive correct impressions thereof; (b) to
comprehend the obligation of an oath; and (c) to relate those facts truly to the court at the time he is
offered as a witness.[29] The examination should show that the child has some understanding of the
punishment which may result from false swearing. The requisite appreciation of consequences is
disclosed where the child states that he knows that it is wrong to tell a lie, and that he would be
punished if he does so, or that he uses language which is equivalent to saying that he would be sent
to hell for false swearing.[30] A child can be disqualified only if it can be shown that his mental
maturity renders him incapable of perceiving facts respecting which he is being examined and of
relating them truthfully.[31]
The question of competency of a child-witness rests primarily in the sound discretion of the trial
court. This is so because the trial judge sees the proposed witness and observes his manner of
testifying, his apparent possession or lack of intelligence, as well as his understanding of the
obligation of an oath.[32] Since many of the witness manners cannot be photographed into the record,
the finding of the trial judge will not be disturbed or reversed unless from what is preserved it is clear
that such finding was erroneous.[33]
In this case, appellant questions the competency of LIZETTE as a witness solely on the ground
of her age. He failed to discharge the burden of showing her mental immaturity. From the above-
quoted testimony, it can be gleaned that LIZETTE had the capacity of observation, recollection, and
communication[34] and that she could discern the consequence of telling a lie. We, therefore, sustain
the trial court in admitting her testimony and according it great weight.
We are not persuaded by appellants assertion that LIZETTE should not be allowed to testify two
years after the alleged rape when the interplay of frail memory combines with the imagination of
earlier years. It must be noted that it is a most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to have
a lasting impression of the manner in which the crime was committed and the identity of the person
responsible therefor.[35]
In a string of cases, we have said that the testimony of a rape victim who is of young or tender
age is credible and deserves full credit,[36]especially where no motive is attributed to the victim that
would make her testify falsely against the accused.[37] Indeed, a girl of such age as LIZETTE would
not concoct a story of defloration; allow the examination of her private parts; and undergo the
expense, trouble, inconvenience, and the trauma of a public trial unless she was in fact raped.[38]
II. The Alleged Hearsay Testimony of Jacqueline Gonzales

Contrary to appellants contention, Jacquelines testimony that LIZETTE told her that appellant
laid her in the grassy area and inserted his penis into her vagina is not covered by the hearsay
evidence rule, which finds application when the declarant does not testify. This rule, as enunciated
under Section 36, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence, provides that a witness can testify only to
those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge except as otherwise provided in the Rules of
Court.
The term hearsay as used in the law on evidence, signifies evidence which is not founded upon
the personal knowledge of the witness from whom it is elicited and which consequently does not
depend wholly for its credibility and weight upon the confidence which the court may have in him; its
value, if any, is measured by the credit to be given to some third person not sworn as a witness to
that fact, and consequently not subject to cross-examination.[39] If one therefore testifies to facts
which he learned from a third person not sworn as a witness to those facts, his testimony is
inadmissible as hearsay evidence.[40]
The reason for the exclusion of hearsay evidence is that the party against whom the hearsay
testimony is presented is deprived of the right or opportunity to cross-examine the person to whom
the statements are attributed.[41] Moreover, the court is without opportunity to test the credibility of
hearsay statements by observing the demeanor of the person who made them.[42]
In the instant case, the declarant (LIZETTE) herself was sworn as a witness to the fact testified
to by Jacqueline. The appellant even cross-examined her (LIZETTE). Moreover, the trial court had
the opportunity to observe her manner of testifying. Hence, Jacquelines testimony on the incident
related to her by her daughter cannot be disregarded as hearsay evidence.
Even assuming that the aforementioned testimony of Jacqueline is hearsay, its non-admission
would not save the day for the appellant. Such testimony is not indispensable, as it merely serves to
corroborate LIZETTEs testimony that PRUNA laid her down in the grass and inserted his private
organ into hers. As discussed earlier, LIZETTEs testimony, which was found to be credible by the
trial court, is sufficient basis for conviction.
At any rate, Jacquelines testimony is proof of the victims conduct immediately after the rape. It
shows that LIZETTE immediately revealed to her mother the rape incident and the identity of her
defiler. As will be discussed later, such conduct is one of the earmarks of the truth of the charge of
rape.

III Non-Presentation of Gloria Tolentino as a Witness

Appellant harps on the prosecutions failure to put on the witness stand Gloria Tolentino, who
was listed as a witness and executed an affidavit on 4 January 1995 that she saw the appellant
carrying and bringing LIZETTE to a grassy area at the back of her house.
It is undisputed that at the time the case was called for trial, Gloria had already moved out of her
residence in Panilao, Pilar, Bataan, and could not be found anymore. In any event, as opined by the
OSG, her intended testimony could be dispensed with, as it would only be corroborative of
LIZETTEs testimony that Pruna brought her to a grassy area.

IV. Sufficiency of the Prosecutions Evidence Against Appellant


When LIZETTE was put in the witness stand, she unhesitatingly identified PRUNA, their
neighbor, as the one who defiled her. A rape victim can easily identify her assailant especially if he is
known to her because during the rape, she is physically close to her assailant that enables her to
have a good look at the latters physical features.[43]
LIZETTE testified that on 3 January 1995 PRUNA, whom she called Boy, laid her in a grassy
area and inserted his penis into her genitalia.When a girl or a woman says that she has been raped
she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was truly committed.[44] She is not expected
to remember all the ugly details of the outrage committed against her.[45] And when her testimony
passes the test of credibility, the accused can be convicted on the basis thereof, for in most cases it
is the only evidence that can be offered to establish his guilt.[46]
Likewise, LIZETTEs mother testified that right after the incident LIZETTE disclosed what
happened to her and readily identified PRUNA as the culprit. She even led her mother to the house
of PRUNA.[47] Thereafter, the two went to the police authorities to report the incident, and then to the
hospital for LIZETTEs medical examination.
By and large, the medical evidence lends credence to LIZETTEs testimony that PRUNA
inserted his penis into her vagina. The Medico-Legal Report shows that there was hyperemia or
reddening of the vaginal opening of LIZETTE. As opined by Dr. Quiroz, who was presented as an
expert witness, hyperemia can be caused by the insertion of a hard object like penis and
finger.[48] The presence of sperm cells in the vaginal canal and urine of LIZETTE is also a mute
testimony of the sexual contact that further strengthens LIZETTEs claim of rape.
This Court is not oblivious of the finding that no laceration was found in LIZETTEs organ despite
the fact that she was examined immediately after she was raped. We have already ruled, however,
that the absence of fresh lacerations does not preclude the finding of rape,[49] especially when the
victim is of tender age.[50] Well- settled is the rule that rape is consummated by the slightest penile
penetration of the labia or pudendum of the female.[51] The presence of hyperemia in LIZETTEs
vaginal opening and the existence of sperm cells in her vaginal canal and urine are clear indications
that PRUNAs organ indeed touched the labia or pudendum of LIZETTE.
In a nutshell, the following overwhelmingly establish the truth of the charge of rape: (a) the
spontaneity of the identification by LIZETTE of PRUNA as the rapist; (b) her immediate revelation to
her mother of the dastard act committed against her; (c) her act of leading her mother to appellants
house right after the incident; (d) the prompt filing of the complaint before the authorities; (e)
LIZETTEs submission to medical examination; (f) the hyperemia in her private part; and (g) the
presence of sperm cells in her vaginal canal and urine.
The trial court correctly disregarded the defense of alibi raised by the accused. We have
consistently held that for alibi to prosper, it must be proved that during the commission of the crime,
the accused was in another place and that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime
scene. Just like denial, alibi is an inherently weak defense; and unless supported by clear and
convincing evidence, the same cannot prevail over the positive declaration of the victim.[52] We have
also held that when alibi is established only by the accused, his relatives, or close friends, the same
should be treated with strictest scrutiny.[53]
Carlito, who was admittedly a close friend of appellants parents, corroborated PRUNAs
testimony that he (PRUNA) was in his house during the time that LIZETTE was raped. It is, however,
an established fact that the place where the rape occurred was just a few meters away from the
house of PRUNA. Thus, there was no physical impossibility for PRUNA to be in the grassy area to
consummate the crime of rape.
The defense, through Carlito, attempted to impute motive to Jacqueline in filing against PRUNA
the charge of rape. According to him, LIZETTEs grandparents, the Sulits, wanted to buy the place of
the PRUNA family, but the latter refused.[54] Aside from the fact that such testimony was not
corroborated, said motive, if at all, is too flimsy to be even considered. No mother in her right mind
would use her offspring as an engine of malice. She would not subject her child to the humiliation,
disgrace, and even the stigma attendant to a prosecution for rape unless she is motivated by the
desire to bring to justice the person responsible for her childs defilement.[55]

V. Sufficiency of Evidence of LIZETTEs Minority and Propriety of the Imposition of the Death
Penalty

The commission of the crime of rape by PRUNA having been duly established by the
prosecution, we now come to the question of the penalty to be meted upon him.
Article 335, seventh paragraph, no. 4, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act
No. 7659, provides that the death penalty shall be imposed if the crime of rape is committed against
a child below seven (7) years old. We have held that in such a case the minority of the victim must
be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. The failure to sufficiently establish
the victims age is fatal and consequently bars conviction for rape in its qualified form.[56]
A persons age is best proved by the birth certificate. But is the presentation of the victims birth
certificate a sine qua non requirement to prove her age for the appreciation of minority either as an
element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance? Recent jurisprudence has conflicting
pronouncements.
In the following cases, no birth certificate was presented and this Court ruled that the age of the
victim was not duly proved by the prosecution:

1. In People v. Vargas,[57] the testimonies of the victim and her aunt that the former was 10 years old
at the time of the rape were not considered proof of her age for being hearsay. This Court also
observed that the victim could easily be mistaken for a child below 12 years of age, and hence it was
not correct to judge the victims age by her appearance. We held: The difference of two or three
years in age may not always be readily apparent by mere physical manifestations or appearance.

2. In People v. Javier,[58] the victim was alleged to be 16 years old, and the accused did not contest
her age. Ratiocinating that in this age of modernism, there is hardly any difference between a 16-
year-old girl and an 18-year-old one insofar as physical features and attributes are concerned, this
Court held that an independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim is vital and essential so as to
remove an iota of doubt that the victim is indeed under 18 years of age as to fall under the qualifying
circumstances enumerated in R.A. No. 7659.

3. In People v. Brigildo,[59] aside from the failure of the prosecution to present the offended partys
birth certificate or other equally acceptable official document concerning her age, the testimonies on
record were not clear as to her exact age. The victim declared that she was 11 years old when she
testified in court a year after the incident, while her mother claimed that she was around 15 years old
at the time of the commission of the crime. The informations even alleged a different age.Hence, this
Court refused to appreciate the qualifying circumstance of minority because of the uncertainty
regarding her age.

4. In People v. Tipay,[60] the offended party was alleged in the information to be under 16 years of
age. No independent evidence was presented to prove it. This Court recognized that the minority of
a victim who may be below the age of 10 is quite manifest and may be taken judicial notice of by the
court. But when the victim is between the crucial years of 15 and 17 where minority may seem to be
dubitable due to one's physical appearance, the prosecution should prove the fact of minority with
certainty. The lack of objection on the part of the accused concerning the victims age does not
excuse the prosecution from discharging its burden.

5. In People v. Cula,[61] the victim was alleged in the complaint to be 16 years old when the rape was
committed, but no evidence at all was presented to prove her age. We held that the failure of the
accused to deny such allegation cannot make up for the failure of the prosecution to prove with
certainty the victims minority.Because of the lacuna in the prosecutions evidence, coupled with the
trial courts failure to make a categorical finding of minority of the victim, we declined to consider the
qualifying circumstance of minority.

6. In People v. Veloso,[62] the victim was alleged to be 9 years of age when she was
raped. Citing People v. Vargas,[63] this Court refused to consider the testimonies of the victim and
her father as sufficient proof of her age.

7. In People v. Pecayo,[64] the victim simply stated during the beginning of her direct examination that
she was 14 years old and that she was born on 13 January 1983. We held that the victims casual
testimony as to her age is not enough, and that the lack of denial on the part of the accused does
not excuse the prosecution from proving her age through competent evidence such as a duly
certified certificate of live birth, baptismal certificate, or some other authentic document showing her
age.

8. In People v. Tundag,[65] the victim testified that she was 13 years of age when she was raped, but
she did not know exactly when she was born. Unable to secure a copy of her birth certificate, the
prosecution moved that judicial notice be taken of the fact that she was below 18 years old at the
time of the rape. Despite the admission by the defense of such fact, this Court held that the age of
the victim is not a matter of judicial notice, whether mandatory or discretionary. Under Section 3,
Rule 129 of the Rules on Evidence, a hearing is required before such fact can be taken judicial
notice of by courts.

9. In People v. Geraban,[66] the victims testimony was categorical in declaring that she was 15, but
her mothers testimony regarding her age was not clear. We thus declared that the prosecution failed
to discharge the burden of proving minority.

10. In People v. Liban[67] and People v. Llandelar,[68] the only evidence adduced to prove the minority
of the victims was the victims bare testimony that they were 10 and 16 years old, respectively. This
Court held that while the declaration of a victim as to her age, being an exception to the hearsay
proscription, would be admissible under the rule on pedigree, the question on the relative weight that
may be accorded to it is another matter. The prosecution should present the victims birth certificate
or, in lieu thereof, any other documentary evidence, like a baptismal certificate, school records, and
documents of similar nature, or credible testimonial evidence that can help establish the age of the
victim. Neither the obvious minority of the victim nor the absence any contrary assertion from the
defense can exonerate the prosecution from its burden. Judicial notice of the issue of age without
the requisite hearing under Section 3 of Rule 129 of the Rules on Evidence would not be sufficient
compliance with the law.

11. In People v. Alvarado,[69] the victim testified that she was 14 years old at the time of the rape,
and this was confirmed by the accused, who was victims father.The victims mother, however,
testified as to her date of birth which showed that she was 13 years of age at the time of the
commission of the crime. For this doubt as to the victims age, the accused was held guilty of simple
rape only and meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and not death penalty.
On the other hand, in the following cases, we ruled that the age of the rape victim was
sufficiently established despite the failure of the prosecution to present the birth certificate of the
offended party to prove her age:

1. In People v. Rafales,[70] the testimony of the victim and her mother that the former was only 10
years old when she was raped, which was not denied by the accused, was deemed sufficient to
prove her age for the purpose of determining whether the accused could be held guilty of statutory
rape, which is carnal knowledge of a woman below 12 years of age.

2. In People v. De la Cruz,[71] the testimony of the mother alone that her two daughters were both 14
years old at the time of the rape incidents was deemed sufficient because there was no reason to
doubt the testimony of the mother, who had personal knowledge of the ages of her
children. Moreover, said testimony was never challenged by the accused and stood unrebutted by
any other evidence.

3. In People v. Bali-balita,[72] the victims testimony as to her age, which was corroborated by her half-
sister, was deemed sufficient. We noted that the victim testified in court four months after the rape,
and hence it was not difficult for the trial court to take judicial notice that she was under 18 years of
age.

4. In People v. Velasco,[73] the minority of the victim was deemed established by (a) the complainant
herself, who was held to be competent to testify on her age, as it constituted family tradition; (b) the
open admission of the accused that the victim was a 12-year-old minor; and (c) the categorical
finding of the trial court that she was a minor of a little over twelve years.

5. In People v. Remudo,[74] the trial court appreciated the qualifying circumstance of minority on the
strength of (a) the offended partys testimony as to the date of her birth, which showed that she was
13 years old at the time of the rape, and (b) the admission of said date of birth by the accused who
was the victims brother.

6. In People v. LLanita[75] the only evidence presented by the prosecution to establish that the victim
was below 7 years old at the time of the alleged rape was the victims own testimony. Although
hearsay because she could not have personal knowledge of the date of her birth but could only
acquire knowledge thereof from her parents or relatives, said testimony was held admissible for
being an assertion of family tradition regarding pedigree. Her testimony and the accuseds admission
that she was 5 years old during the commission of the crime were held sufficient to establish her
age.

7. In People v. Agustin,[76] the victims testimony that she was 14 years old at the time of the rape
incidents, coupled with the express admission of her age by the accused who was her father,
sufficiently proved her minority.

8. In People v. Esuela,[77] the testimony of the victims mother that the victim was 13 years of age at
the time of the rape was held sufficient to establish minority for the reason that as a mother she was
in the best position to know when she delivered her child. Also considered were the victims own
testimony regarding her age, as well as the observation of the trial court that she could not have
been more than 18 years old when she testified.

In order to remove any confusion that may be engendered by the foregoing cases, we hereby
set the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying
circumstance.
1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy
of the certificate of live birth of such party.
2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal
certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age.
3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or
otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victims mother or a member of the
family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree
such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the
Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances:

a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is
less than 7 years old;

b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is
less than 12 years old;

c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is
less than 18 years old.

4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victims
mother or relatives concerning the victims age, the complainants testimony will suffice provided that
it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.[78]
5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure
of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him.
The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.
In the present case, no birth certificate or any similar authentic document, such as a baptismal
certificate of LIZETTE, was presented to prove her age. In imposing the death penalty, the trial court
ratiocinated in this wise:

In the instant case, the victim, Lizette Arabelle Gonzales, was a 3-year-old minor girl as alleged in
the information and the defense did not contest her age and as a matter of fact was questioning her
qualification to testify because of her tender age when she testified two (2) years later in Court. The
victims Medico-Legal Certificate date[d] January 3, 1995 established the fact that at the time of the
commission of the rape on January 3, 1995, the child was only 3 years old.[79]

It thus appears that the trial courts finding that LIZETTE was 3 years old when she was raped
was based on the Medico-Legal Report prepared by Dr. Quiroz, as well as on the fact that the
defense did not contest her age and even questioned her qualification to testify because of her
tender age.
However, the Medico-Legal Report relied upon by the trial court does not in any way prove the
age of LIZETTE, for there is nothing therein which even mentions her age. Only testimonial evidence
was presented to establish LIZETTEs age. Her mother, Jacqueline, testified on 17 October 1995 as
follows:
Q. Now, on January 3, 1995 at about 9:30 in the morning, do you still recall where you
were?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where were you at that particular date and time?
A. I was fetching water from an artesian well beside the house of my neighbor, sir.
Q. Where was this daughter of yours then when you were fetching water?
A. My daughter was discharging her bowel who was then at the back of the house of our
neighbor, sir.
How old is your daughter Lizette Arabelle Gonzales?
A. Three years old, sir.
Q. At the time that she was discharging her bowel, how old [was] she?
A. Three years old, sir. She is four years old now.
Q. When was her last birthday?
A. April 19, 1995, sir.[80]
Likewise, LIZETTE testified on 20 November 1996, or almost two years after the incident, that
she was 5 years old.[81] However, when the defense counsel asked her how old she was on 3
January 1995, or at the time of the rape, she replied that she was 5 years old. Upon further question
as to the date she was born, she could not answer.[82]
For PRUNA to be convicted of rape in its qualified form and meted the supreme penalty of
death, it must be established with certainty that LIZETTE was below 7 years old at the time of the
commission of the crime. It must be stressed that the severity of the death penalty, especially its
irreversible and final nature once carried out, makes the decision-making process in capital offenses
aptly subject to the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence.[83]
In view of the uncertainty of LIZETTEs exact age, corroborative evidence such as her birth
certificate, baptismal certificate or any other authentic document should be introduced in
evidence[84] in order that the qualifying circumstance of below seven (7) years old is appreciated
against the appellant. The lack of objection on the part of the defense as to her age did not excuse
the prosecution from discharging its burden.That the defense invoked LIZETTEs tender age for
purposes of questioning her competency to testify is not necessarily an admission that she was
below 7 years of age when PRUNA raped her on 3 January 1995. Such being the case, PRUNA
cannot be convicted of qualified rape, and hence the death penalty cannot be imposed on him.
However, conformably with no. 3(b) of the foregoing guidelines, the testimony of LIZETTEs
mother that she was 3 years old at the time of the commission of the crime is sufficient for purposes
of holding PRUNA liable for statutory rape, or rape of a girl below 12 years of age. Under the second
paragraph of Article 335, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, in relation to no. 3 of the first paragraph
thereof, having carnal knowledge of a woman under 12 years of age is punishable by reclusion
perpetua. Thus, the penalty to be imposed on PRUNA should be reclusion perpetua, and not death
penalty.
As regards the civil liability of PRUNA, the indemnity in the amount of P50,000 awarded by the
trial court is not sufficient. In accordance with recent jurisprudence, LIZETTE should also be
awarded moral damages in the amount of P50,000 without need of pleading or proof because the
mental, physical and psychological trauma suffered by her is too obvious.[85]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Balanga, Bataan, in Criminal
Case No. 6044 is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that accused Manuel Pruna y Ramirez or
Erman Pruna y Ramirez is held guilty beyond reasonable doubt of statutory rape, and not qualified
rape, and is sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua and to pay the victim Lizette Arabelle Gonzales
the sum of P50,000 as moral damages in addition to the indemnity of P50,000.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Callejo, Sr.,
JJ., concur.
Bellosillo, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Ynarez-Santiago, Carpio, and Austria-Martinez, JJ., on official
leave.

G.R. No. 137347 March 4, 2004

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,


vs.
PO3 FERDINAND FALLORINA Y FERNANDO, appellant.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

For automatic review is the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 95,
convicting appellant PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina y Fernando of murder for the killing of eleven-year-old
Vincent Jorojoro, Jr. while the latter was flying his kite on top of a roof. The court a quo sentenced
the appellant to suffer the death penalty.

The accusatory portion of the Information charging the appellant with murder reads:

That on or about the 26th day of September 1998, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said
accused, with intent to kill, by means of treachery and taking advantage of superior strength,
did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and employ personal
violence upon the person of VINCENT JOROJORO, JR. y MORADAS, a minor, eleven (11)
years of age, by then and there, shooting him with a gun, hitting him on the head, thereby
inflicting upon him serious and mortal wound which was the direct and immediate cause of
his death, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the said offended party.

CONTRARY TO LAW.2

Upon arraignment on October 20, 1998, the appellant, with the assistance of counsel, pleaded not
guilty. Thereafter, trial ensued.

Case for the Prosecution3

Eleven-year-old Vincent Jorojoro, Jr. was the third child of Vicente and Felicisima Jorojoro. The
family lived at Sitio Militar, Barangay Bahay Toro, Project 8, Quezon City. Vincent, nicknamed
"Hataw," was a grade three pupil whose education was sponsored by the Spouses Petinato, an
American couple, through an educational foundation.4
The appellant was an officer of the Philippine National Police detailed in the Traffic Management
Group (TMG) based in Camp Crame, Quezon City, but was on detached service with the Motorcycle
Unit of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

At about 2:30 p.m. of September 26, 1998, Vincent asked permission from his mother Felicisima if
he could play outside. She agreed.5 Together with his playmate Whilcon "Buddha" Rodriguez,
Vincent played with his kite on top of the roof of an abandoned carinderia beside the road in Sitio
Militar, Barangay Bahay Toro. Beside thiscarinderia was a basketball court, where fourteen-year-old
Ricardo Salvo and his three friends, nicknamed L.A., Nono and Puti, were playing backan, a game
of basketball.

Ricardo heard the familiar sound of a motorcycle coming from the main road across the basketball
court. He was nonplussed when he looked at the person driving the motorcycle and recognized the
appellant. Ricardo knew that the appellant abhorred children playing on the roof of
the carinderia and berated them for it. His friend Ong-ong had previously been scolded by the
appellant for playing on the roof.

Ricardo called on Vincent and Whilcon to come down from the roof. When the appellant saw Vincent
and Whilcon, the former stopped his motorcycle and shouted at them, "Putang inang mga batang ito,
hindi kayo magsibaba d'yan!" After hearing the shouts of the appellant, Whilcon immediately jumped
down from the roof.6 Vincent, meanwhile, was lying on his stomach on the roof flying his kite. When
he heard the appellant's shouts, Vincent stood up and looked at the latter. Vincent turned his back,
ready to get down from the roof. Suddenly, the appellant pointed his .45 caliber pistol7 towards the
direction of Vincent and fired a shot. Vincent was hit on the left parietal area. He fell from the roof,
lying prostrate near the canal beside the abandoned carinderia and the basketball court.8

Whilcon rushed to help Vincent up but was shocked when he saw blood on the latter's head.
Whilcon retreated and left his friend.9 The appellant approached Vincent and carried the latter's
hapless body in a waiting tricycle and brought him to the Quezon City General Hospital. Vincent was
pronounced dead on arrival.

Meantime, word reached Vincent's parents that their son was shot and brought to the hospital. They
rushed to the hospital, only to see their son's already lifeless body. The appellant was nowhere to be
found.

Dr. Ravell Ronald R. Baluyot of the Medico-Legal Division of the National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI) conducted an autopsy where he made the following findings:

Cyanosis, lips and nailbeds.

Abrasion, 7.0 x 2.0 cms., right arm, middle third, postero-lateral aspect.

Contused-abrasion, 14.5 x 2.5 cms., postero-lateral chest wall, right side.

Gunshot Wound, Entrance, 3.0 x 0.8 cms., roughly ovaloid, with irregular edges, abrasion
collar widest postero-inferiorly, located at the head, left parietal area, 9.0 cms. above and 8.0
cms. behind the left external auditory meatus, directed forward upward and from left to right,
involving the scalp, fracturing the left parietal bone (punched-in), lacerating the left and right
cerebral hemispheres of the brain, fracturing the right parietal bone (punched-out), lacerating
the scalp, making an Exit wound, 3.3 x 1.0 cms., stellate with everted and irregular edges,
12.0 cms. above and 2.0 cms. in front of the right external auditory meatus.
Intracranial hemorrhage, subdural and subarachnoid, extensive, bilateral.

Scalp hematoma, fronto-parietal areas, bilateral.

Visceral organs, congested.

Stomach, one-fourth (1/4) filled with partially digested food particles.

CAUSE OF DEATH: GUNSHOT WOUND, HEAD.10

Dr. Baluyot testified that the victim died from a single gunshot wound in the head. The bullet entered
the left upper back portion of the head (above the level of the left ear)11 and exited to the right
side.12 Dr. Baluyot signed Vincent's certificate of death.13

At about 3:00 p.m., SPO2 Felix Pajarillo and Police Inspector Abelardo P. Aquino proceeded to the
scene of the shooting but failed to find the victim and the appellant. They proceeded to the Quezon
City General Hospital where they heard that the victim had died. They returned to the crime scene
and recovered an empty shell from a .45 caliber gun.14

On September 28, 1998, Major Isidro Suyo, the Chief of the MMDA Motorcycle Unit to which the
appellant was assigned on detached service, reported to the Sangandaan Police Station that the
appellant had not reported for duty.15 At 2:10 p.m. of September 29, 1998, Police Senior
Superintendent Alfonso Nalangan, the Regional Director of the PNP-TMG, NCR, surrendered the
appellant to the Sangandaan Police Station together with his .45 caliber pistol bearing Serial No.
AOC-38701.16

Meantime, upon the urging of Vicente Jorojoro, Ricardo was brought to the Department of Justice
where he was enrolled under its Witness Protection Program. He gave his sworn statement to NBI
Special Agent Roberto Divinagracia on September 29, 1998.17 On the same date, P/Insp. Abelardo
Aquino wrote the Chief of the PNP Crime Laboratory Examination Unit requesting for the ballistic
examination of the .45 caliber pistol with Serial No. AOC-38701 and the empty shell of a .45 caliber
gun found at the scene of the shooting.18 Before noon on September 30, 1998, Divinagracia arrived
at the station and turned over two witnesses, Raymond Castro and Ricardo Salvo. He also turned
over the witnesses' sworn statements.19 On October 2, 1998, on orders of the police station
commander,20 Pajarillo took pictures of the crime scene, including the carinderia and the roof with a
bullet hole as part of the office filing.21 He did not inform the prosecution that he took such pictures,
nor did he furnish it with copies thereof. However, the appellant's counsel learned of the existence of
the said pictures.

On October 5, 1998, P/Insp. Mario Prado signed Firearms Identification Report No. FAIB-124-98
stating that:

FINDINGS:

Microscopic examination and comparison of the specimen marked "FAP" revealed


the same individual characteristics with cartridge cases fired from the above-
mentioned firearm.

CONCLUSION:
The specimen marked "FAP" was fired from the above-mentioned caliber .45
Thompson Auto Ordnance pistol with serial number AOC-38701.22

Vincent's family suffered mental anguish as a result of his death. As evidenced by receipts, they
spent P49,174 for the funeral.23

Case for the Appellant

The appellant denied shooting Vincent. He testified that at about 1:30 p.m. of September 26, 1998,
Macario Ortiz, a resident of Sitio San Jose, Quezon City, asked for police assistance; Macario's
brother-in-law was drunk and armed with a knife, and was creating trouble in their house. The
appellant's house was located along a narrow alley (eskinita) perpendicular to the main road. It was
200 meters away from Macario's house.24 Responding to the call, the appellant took his .45 service
revolver, cocked it, put the safety lock in place and tucked the gun at his right waistline. He brought
out his motorcycle from the garage and slowly negotiated the bumpy alley leading to the main road.
Macario, who was waiting for him at the main road, called his attention to his revolver which was
about to fall off from his waist. The appellant got distracted and brought his motorcycle to the right
side of the road, near the abandoned carinderia where he stopped. As he stepped his right foot on
the ground to keep himself from falling, the appellant lost his balance and slipped to the right. At this
point, the revolver fell to the ground near his foot and suddenly went off. Bystanders shouted, "Ano
yon, ano yon, mukhang may tinamaan." He picked up his gun and examined it. He put the safety
latch back on and tucked it at his right waistline. He then told Macario to wait for a while to check if
somebody was really hit. He went near the abandoned carinderia and saw Vincent sprawled to the
ground. He picked up the bloodied child, boarded him on a tricycle on queue and instructed its
driver, Boy Candaje, to bring the boy to the hospital.25 On board the tricycle were Jeffrey Dalansay
and Milbert Doring.

The appellant rode his motorcycle and proceeded to his mother's house in Caloocan City but did not
inform her of the incident. He then called his superior officer, Major Isidro Suyo, at the Base 103,
located at Roces Avenue, Quezon City. The appellant informed Major Suyo that he met an accident;
that his gun fell and fired; and, that the bullet accidentally hit a child. He also told his superior that he
might not be able to report for work that day and the following day. He assured his superior that he
would surrender later. He then went to Valenzuela City to the house of his friend PO3 Angelito Lam,
who was a motorcycle unit cop. The appellant stayed there for three days. He also visited friends
during that time.

On September 29, 1998, he went to the office of Major Suyo and surrendered his .45 caliber pistol.
Major Suyo accompanied and turned over the appellant to the commanding officer at Camp Crame,
Quezon City. The appellant was subjected to a neuro and drug test. He stated that the results of the
drug test were negative. The appellant was then referred to the Sangandaan Police Station for
investigation.26 The pictures27 of the crime scene were given to him by Barangay Tanod Johnny
Yaket, shown in one of the pictures pointing to a bullet hole. The appellant's testimony was
corroborated in pari materia by Macario Ortiz.

Leonel Angelo Balaoro, Vincent's thirteen-year-old playmate, testified that at 1:30 p.m. of September
26, 1998, he was playing basketball at Barangay Bahay Toro, at the basketball court along the road
beside the chapel. With him were Ricardo, Puti and Nono. Vincent was on the rooftop of
the carinderia with Whilcon. While Puti was shooting the ball, an explosion ensued. He and Ricardo
ran beside the chapel near the basketball court. He looked back towards the basketball court and
saw the appellant, about 15 meters away from the canal, holding the prostrate and bloodied Vincent.
He did not see the appellant shoot Vincent. He did not report what he saw to the police authorities.
He was ordered by his father to testify for the appellant. He also testified that his mother was related
to Daniel, the appellant's brother.

On January 19, 1999, the trial court rendered judgment convicting the appellant of murder, qualified
by treachery and aggravated by abuse of public position. The trial court did not appreciate in favor of
the appellant the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. The decretal portion of the decision
reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina y
Fernando GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder defined in and penalized
by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, and in
view of the presence of the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage by the accused of
his public position (par. 1, Art. 14, Revised Penal Code), is hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of DEATH.

The accused is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of the late Vincent Jorojoro, Jr. the
amounts of P49,174.00, as actual damages; P50,000.00, as moral damages; P25,000.00, as
exemplary damages; and, P50,000.00, as death indemnity.

The accused is to pay the costs.

The .45 caliber pistol, service firearm (Exh. "R") of the accused, shall remain under the
custody of the Court and shall be disposed of in accordance with the existing rules and
regulations upon the finality of this decision.28

The appellant assigned the following errors for resolution:

1. THE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT GIVING DUE CREDENCE TO


RELEVANT PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, WHICH IF CONSIDERED COULD HAVE ALTERED
THE CONCLUSIONS ARRIVED AT BY THE COURT AND THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE.

2. THE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED BY OVERSTEPPING THE LINE OF


JUDGING AND ADVOCACY, AND GOING INTO THE REALM OF SPECULATION,
PATENTLY DEMONSTRATING BIAS AND PARTIALITY.

3. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN GIVING UNDUE CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF


RICARDO SALVO, ALLEGED PROSECUTION EYEWITNESS, WHOSE TESTIMONY IS
WANTING IN PROBABILITY, AS IT IS CONTRARY TO THE COMMON EXPERIENCE OF
MANKIND.

4. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN INEQUITABLY APPRECIATING


EXCULPATORY AND INCULPATORY FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH SHOULD
HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED.

5. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE THE MITIGATING


CIRCUMSTANCE OF VOLUNTARY SURRENDER IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED.

6. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE AGGRAVATING


CIRCUMSTANCE OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HIS POSITION BY ACCUSED.29
The appellant asserts that the trial court failed to appreciate in his favor the physical evidence, viz.,
the hole found on the rooftop of the carinderia where Vincent was when he was shot. The appellant
contends that the picture30taken on October 2, 1998 by no less than SPO2 Felix Pajarillo, one of the
principal witnesses of the prosecution, and the pictures31 showing Barangay Tanod Yaket pointing to
a hole on the roof buttress the defense of the appellant that the shooting was accidental. The
appellant maintains that his service revolver fell to the ground, hit a hard object, and as the barrel of
the gun was pointed to an oblique direction, it fired, hitting the victim who was on the rooftop. The
bullet hit the back portion of the victim's head, before exiting and hitting the rooftop. The appellant
posits that the pictures belie Ricardo's testimony that he deliberately shot the victim, and, instead,
complements Dr. Baluyot's testimony that the gunshot wound came from somewhere behind the
victim, somewhere lower than the point of entrance. The appellant invokes P/Insp. Mario Prado's
testimony that if a gun hits the ground in an oblique position, the gun will fire and the bullet will exit in
the same position as the gun, that is, also in an oblique position.

The Office of the Solicitor General, for its part, asserts that the contention of the appellant is based
on speculations and surmises, the factual basis for his conclusion not having been proven by
competent and credible evidence. There is no evidence on record that the hole shown in the
pictures32 was caused by a bullet from a .45 caliber pistol. The appellant did not present Barangay
Tanod Johnny Yaket, who was shown in the pictures, to testify on the matter. The appellant failed to
prove that any slug was found on the rooftop or under the roof which came from the appellant's .45
caliber pistol. According to the Solicitor General, the pictures relied upon by the appellant cannot
overcome the positive and straightforward testimony of the young eyewitness Ricardo Salvo.

We agree with the Office of the Solicitor General. Whether or not the appellant is exempt from
criminal liability is a factual issue. The appellant was burdened to prove, with clear and convincing
evidence, his affirmative defense that the victim's death was caused by his gun accidentally going
off, the bullet hitting the victim without his fault or intention of causing it; hence, is exempt from
criminal liability under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code which reads –

The following are exempt from criminal liability:

4. Any person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by mere
accident without fault or intention of causing it.

The basis for the exemption is the complete absence of intent and negligence on the part of the
accused. For the accused to be guilty of a felony, it must be committed either with criminal intent or
with fault or negligence.33

The elements of this exempting circumstance are (1) a person is performing a lawful act; (2) with
due care; (3) he causes an injury to another by mere accident; and (4) without any fault or intention
of causing it.34 An accident is an occurrence that "happens outside the sway of our will, and although
it comes about through some act of our will, lies beyond the bounds of humanly foreseeable
consequences." If the consequences are plainly foreseeable, it will be a case of negligence.

In Jarco Marketing Corporation v. Court of Appeals,35 this Court held that an accident is a fortuitive
circumstance, event or happening; an event happening without any human agency, or if happening
wholly or partly through human agency, an event which under the circumstance is unusual or
unexpected by the person to whom it happens. Negligence, on the other hand, is the failure to
observe, for the protection of the interest of another person, that degree of care, precaution and
vigilance which the circumstances justly demand without which such other person suffers injury.
Accident and negligence are intrinsically contradictory; one cannot exist with the other.36 In criminal
negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it being simply the incident of
another act performed without malice.37 The appellant must rely on the strength of his evidence and
not on the weakness of that of the prosecution because by admitting having caused the death of the
victim, he can no longer be acquitted.

In this case, the appellant failed to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, his defense.

First. The appellant appended to his counter-affidavit in the Office of the Quezon City Prosecutor the
pictures showing the hole on the roof of the carinderia38 to prove that he shot the victim accidentally.
However, when the investigating prosecutor propounded clarificatory questions on the appellant
relating to the pictures, the latter refused to answer. This can be gleaned from the resolution of the
investigating prosecutor, thus:

Classificatory questions were propounded on the respondent but were refused to be


answered. This certainly led the undersigned to cast doubt on respondent's allegations. The
defenses set forth by the respondent are evidentiary in character and best appreciated in a
full-blown trial; and that the same is not sufficient to overcome probable cause.39

Second. The appellant did not see what part of the gun hit the victim.40 There is no evidence
showing that the gun hit a hard object when it fell to the ground, what part of the gun hit the ground
and the position of the gun when it fell from the appellant's waist.

Third. In answer to the clarificatory questions of the court, the appellant testified that the chamber of
his pistol was loaded with bullets and was cocked when he placed it on his right waistline.41 He also
testified that the gun's safety lock was on. He was asked if the gun would fire if the hammer is
moved backward with the safety lock in place, and the appellant admitted that even if he pulled hard
on the trigger, the gun would not fire:

Q Is this your service firearm?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q So the chamber might have been loaded when you went out of the house?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q What about the hammer, how was the hammer at that time when you tucked the gun
in your waistline?

A The hammer was cocked like this.

COURT:

Can you not stipulate that the hammer is moved backwards near the safety grip.

ATTY. AND PROS. SINTAY:

Admitted, Your Honor.

ATTY. PEREZ:
Yes, Your Honor.

COURT: (to the witness)

Q You are a policeman, if there is a bullet inside the barrel of the gun and then the
hammer is moved backwards and therefore it is open, that means that if you pull the trigger,
the bullet will fire because the hammer will move forward and then hit the base of the bullet?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q Therefore, the gun was cocked when you came out?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q You did not place the safety lock before you went out of your house?

A I safety (sic) it, sir.

Q So when you boarded the motorcycle, the gun was on a safety lock?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q Will you please place the safety lock of that gun, point it upwards.

(witness did as instructed)

It is now on a safety locked (sic)?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q Pull the trigger if the hammer will move forward?

(witness did as instructed)

A It will not, Your Honor.

COURT: (to the parties)

Q Can you not admit that at this position, the accused pulled the trigger, the hammer did
not move forward?

PROS. SINTAY AND ATTY. PRINCIPE:

Admitted, Your Honor.

COURT: (to the witness)

Q And therefore at this position, even if I pull the trigger many times, a bullet will not
come out from the muzzle of the gun because the hammer is on a safety locked (sic)?
A Yes, Your Honor.

Q Even if I pushed it very hard, it will not fire the gun?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q Alright, I will ask you again a question. If the hammer of the gun is like this and
therefore it is open but it is on a safety lock, there is space between the safety grip which is
found below the hammer, there is a space, is it not?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q That even if I pushed the safety grip forward, like this.

The Court gave the gun to the accused for him to demonstrate.

(to the witness)

You push it forward in order to push the hammer. Hard if you want but do not remove the
safety lock.

(witness did as instructed)

The witness tried to push the safety grip and it does not touch the hammer even if the
hammer is cocked.42

Fourth. The trial court was witness as the appellant's counsel himself proved that the defense
proffered by the appellant was incredible. This can be gleaned from the decision of the trial court:

3. More importantly, and which the Court considers it as providential, when the counsel of
the accused was holding the gun in a cocked position and the safety lock put in place, the
gun accidentally dropped on the cemented floor of the courtroom and the gun did not fire and
neither was the safety lock moved to its unlock position to cause the hammer of the gun to
move forward. The safety lock of the gun remained in the same position as it was when it
dropped on the floor.43

Fifth. After the shooting, the appellant refused to surrender himself and his service firearm. He hid
from the investigating police officers and concealed himself in the house of his friend SPO3 Angelito
Lam in Valenzuela City, and transferred from one house to another for three days to prevent his
arrest:

Q So did you surrender that afternoon of September 26, 1998?

A No, Your Honor.

Q I thought you were surrendering to Major Suyo?

A I was but I was not able to surrender to Major Suyo, Your Honor.

Q Why, you were already able to talk to Major Suyo?


A Because at that time I was already confused and did not know what to do, Your Honor.

ATTY. PRINCIPE: (to the witness)

Q What is your relation with PO3 Angelito Lam of Valenzuela?

A Just my co-motorcycle unit cop in the TMG, sir.

Q Did I hear you right that you slept at the residence of PO3 Lam for three days?

A Yes, sir.

Q Why instead of going home to your residence at Bahay Toro?

A Because I am worried, sir.

COURT: (to the witness)

Q So what did you do for three days in the house of PO3 Lam?

A During daytime, I go to my friends, other friends and in the evening, I go back to the
house of PO3 Lam, Your Honor.

Q So if you were able to visit your friends on September 27 or 28, 1998 and then
returned to the house of PO3 Lam in the evening, why did you not go to Major Suyo or to
your 103 Base?

A Your Honor, during those days I am really calling Major Suyo.

Q Why did you not go to your office at Camp Crame, Quezon City?

A At that time, I did not have money, Your Honor.

Q What is the connection of you having money to that of informing your officer that you
will surrender?

A What I know, Your Honor, is that if I do that I will already be detained and that I will
have no money to spend.

ATTY. PRINCIPE: (to the witness)

Q Mr. Witness, from the time of the incident up to Sept. 29, 1998, you did not even visit
your family in Barangay Bahay Toro?

A No, sir.

COURT: (to the witness)

Q Did you send somebody to visit your family?


A No, Your Honor.

ATTY. PRINCIPE: (to the witness)

Q Did you cause to blotter the shooting incident of Vincent?

A I was not able to do that, sir.

Q You did not even talk to the Bgy. Officials in Bgy. Bahay Toro?

A No sir, because I already brought the child to the hospital.44

The conduct of the appellant after the shooting belies his claim that the death of the victim was
accidental and that he was not negligent.

We agree with the encompassing disquisitions of the trial court in its decision on this matter:

The coup de grace against the claim of the accused, a policeman, that the victim was
accidentally shot was his failure to surrender himself and his gun immediately after the
incident. As a police officer, it is hard to believe that he would choose to flee and keep
himself out of sight for about three (3) days if he indeed was not at fault. It is beyond human
comprehension that a policeman, who professes innocence would come out into the open
only three (3) days from the incident and claim that the victim was accidentally shot. Human
behavior dictates, especially when the accused is a policeman, that when one is innocent of
some acts or when one is in the performance of a lawful act but causes injury to another
without fault or negligence, he would, at the first moment, surrender to the authorities and
give an account of the accident. His failure to do so would invite suspicion and whatever
account or statement he would give later on becomes doubtful.

For the accused, therefore, to claim that Vincent was accidentally shot is odious, if not, an
insult to human intelligence; it is incredible and unbelievable, and more of a fantasy than a
reality. It was a deliberate and intentional act, contrary to accused's claim, that it happened
outside the sway of his will.45

It is a well-entrenched rule that findings of facts of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of
the witnesses, its assessment of the credibility of the said witnesses and the probative weight of their
testimonies are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect by the appellate court, as the trial
judge was in a better position to observe the demeanor and conduct of the witnesses as they
testified.46 We have carefully reviewed the records of the case and found no reason to deviate from
the findings of the trial court.

The testimony of prosecution witness Ricardo Salvo deserves credence. He testified in a positive
and straightforward manner, which testimony had the earmarks of truth and sincerity. Even as he
was subjected to a grueling cross-examination by the appellant's counsel, he never wavered in his
testimony. He positively identified the appellant as the assailant and narrated in detail how the latter
deliberately aimed his gun and shot the victim. The relevant portions of his testimony are quoted:

Q: While playing basketball with Nono, LA and Puti, do you remember of any unusual
incident which took place?

A: Yes, sir.
Q: What was that unusual incident?

A: When Vincent was shot, sir.

Q: Who shot Vincent?

A: Ferdinand Fallorina, sir.

Q: And in what place that Vincent was shot by Fallorina?

A: He was at the roof of the karinderia, sir.

Q: Was there any companion of Vincent?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What was the position of Vincent at that time that you saw him and Fallorina shot
him?

A: "Nakatalikod po siya."

Q: You included in this Exhibit O your drawing the figure of a certain Jeffrey and you and
his tricycle? Why did you include this drawing?

A: Because it was in the tricycle where Vincent was boarded to and brought to the
hospital.

(Witness referring to Exhibit O-11)

Q: And who was the driver of that tricycle?

A: It was Jeffrey who drove the tricycle, sir.

Q: You also drew here a motorcycle already marked as Exhibit O-7. Why did you include
the motorcycle?

A: Because Fallorina was riding on that motorcycle at that time.

COURT: (to the witness)

Q: So when Ferdinand Fallorina shot the boy, the motorcycle was moving?

A: It was stationary, your Honor.

Q: Did you see where he came from, I am referring to Fallorina before you saw him shot
the boy?

A: He came from their house, Your Honor.

Q: What was his attire, I am referring to Ferdinand Fallorina?

A: He was wearing white shirt and blue pants, Your Honor.

ATTY. PRINCIPE: (to the witness)

Q: At that time that Fallorina shot the victim, was Buddha still there?

A: He ran, sir. He jumped in this place, sir.

(Witness is pointing to a place near the canal already marked as Exhibit O-14).

Q: Now from the witness stand that you are now seated. Can you tell the Court how far
where (sic) you from Fallorina at that time of the shooting?

COURT:

Can the prosecution and the accused stipulate that the distance pointed to by the witness is
more or less 7 meters.

ATTY. PRINCIPE: (to the witness)

Q: How about the distance of Fallorina from Vincent, can you tell that?

COURT: (to the witness)

Can you point a distance between Fallorina and the boy at that time the body (sic) was shot?

COURT:

10 meters more or less?

Q: How long have you known Ferdinand Fallorina before the incident?

A: More or less two years, sir.

Q: Why do you know him?

A: I usually see him in that place at Sitio Militar, especially on Sundays, sir.

Q: How many shots did you hear?

A: Only one, sir.

Q: Do you recognize the gun used by Fallorina?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What was that gun?

A: .45 cal., sir.

Q: Are you familiar with .45 cal.?

A: No, sir.

Q: Why do you know that it was .45 cal.?

A: Because that kind of gun, I usually see that in the movies, sir.

Q: Ricardo, you said that you have known Fallorina for two (2) years and you saw him
shot Vincent on September 26, 1998 at around 2:30 in the afternoon. Please look around the
courtroom now and point at the person of PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina?

CT. INTERPRETER:

Witness is pointing to a male person the one seated at the back of the lady and wearing a
yellow shirt and maong pants and when asked of his name, he stated his name as Ferdinand
Fallorina.

ATTY. PRINCIPE: (to the witness)

Q: Can you tell to the Court whether you heard utterances at that time that he shot the
victim?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What was that?

A: "Putang inang mga batang ito, hindi kayo magsisibaba diyan!"

Q: After Fallorina shot Vincent Jorojoro, you saw Vincent Jorojoro falling from the roof,
what about Fallorina, what did he do?
A: He was still on board his motorcycle and then he went at the back of the karinderia
where Vincent fell, Your Honor.

Q: And after he went at the back of the karinderia and looked at Vincent Jorojoro, what
did he do?

A: He carried Vincent, Your Honor.

Q: And after carrying Vincent, what did he do?

A: He boarded Vincent in the tricycle.

Q: What about the gun, what did he do with the gun?

A: I do not know anymore.47

The appellant even uttered invectives at the victim and Whilcon before he shot the victim. In fine, his
act was deliberate and intentional.

It bears stressing that of the eyewitnesses listed in the Information as witnesses for the prosecution,
only Ricardo Salvo remained steadfast after he was brought under the Witness Protection Program
of the Department of Justice. He explained that the reason why he testified for the prosecution,
despite the fact that the appellant was a policeman, was because he pitied the victim's mother who
was always crying,48 unable to obtain justice for her son. We find no ill motive why Ricardo would
falsely testify against the appellant. It was only his purest intention of ferreting out the truth in this
incident and that justice be done to the victim.49 Hence, the testimony of Ricardo is entitled to full
faith and credence.

The Crime Committed by the Appellant

We agree with the trial court that the appellant committed murder under Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code qualified by treachery. As the trial court correctly pointed out, Vincent was shot
intentionally while his back was turned against the appellant. The little boy was merely flying his kite
and was ready to get down from the roof when the appellant fired a shot directed at him. The
essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack on an unsuspecting victim without the
slightest provocation on his part.50 Nonetheless, Vincent was an eleven-year-old boy. He could not
possibly put up a defense against the appellant, a police officer who was armed with a gun. It is not
so much as to put emphasis on the age of the victim, rather it is more of a description of the young
victim's state of helplessness.51 Minor children, who by reason of their tender years, cannot be
expected to put up a defense. When an adult person illegally attacks a child, treachery exists.52 The
abuse of superior strength as alleged in the Information is already absorbed by treachery and need
not be considered as a separate aggravating circumstance.53

We, however, note that the trial court appreciated the aggravating circumstance of abuse of public
position in this case. We reverse the trial court on this score.

There is no dispute that the appellant is a policeman and that he used his service firearm, the .45
caliber pistol, in shooting the victim. However, there is no evidence on record that the appellant took
advantage of his position as a policeman when he shot the victim.54 The shooting occurred only
when the appellant saw the victim on the rooftop playing with his kite. The trial court erred in
appreciating abuse of public position against the appellant.
The trial court did not, however, err in ruling that the appellant is not entitled to the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender. Surrender is said to be voluntary when it is done by the
accused spontaneously and made in such a manner that it shows the intent of the accused to
surrender unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or he wishes
to save them the trouble and expense necessarily incurred in his search and capture.55

In this case, the appellant deliberately evaded arrest, hid in the house of PO3 Lam in Valenzuela
City, and even moved from one house to another for three days. The appellant was a policeman who
swore to obey the law. He made it difficult for his brother-officers to arrest him and terminate their
investigation. It was only after the lapse of three days that the appellant gave himself up and
surrendered his service firearm.

Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death.
Since there is no modifying circumstance in the commission of the crime, the appellant should be
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, conformably to Article 63 of the Revised Penal
Code.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch 95, is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. The appellant PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina y
Fernando is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder under Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code and, there being no modifying circumstances in the commission of the crime, is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is also ordered to pay the heirs of
the victim Vincent Jorojoro, Jr. the amount of P49,174 as actual damages; P50,000 as moral
damages; P50,000 as civil indemnity; and P25,000 as exemplary damages.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-


Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Puno, J., on leave.
Panganiban, J., on official leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-5418 February 12, 1910

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
CECILIO TAÑEDO, defendant-appellant.

O'Brien & De Witt, for appellant.


Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey, for appellee.

MORELAND, J.:

The defendant in this case was accused of the crime of murder committed, as alleged in the
information, as follows:
That on or about the 26th day of January of this year, the said accused, with the intention of
killing Feliciano Sanchez, invited him to hunt wild chickens, and, upon reaching the forest,
with premeditation shot him in the breast with a shotgun which destroyed the heart and killed
the said Sanchez, and afterwards, in order to hide the crime, buried the body of the
deceased in a well. The motive is unknown. The premeditation consists in that the accused
had prepared his plans to take the deceased to the forest, there to kill him, so that no one
could see it, and to bury him afterwards secretly in order that the crime should remain
unpunished.

The defendant was found guilty of homicide by the Court of First Instance of the Province of Tarlac
and sentenced to fourteen years eight months and one day of reclusion temporal, accessories,
indemnification and costs. The defendant appealed.

There is very little dispute about the facts in this case, in fact no dispute at all as to the important
facts. The accused was a landowner. On the morning of the 26th of January, 1909, he, with
Bernardino Tagampa, Casimiro Pascual, Valeriano Paulillo, and Juan Arellano, went to work on
a malecon or dam on his land. The defendant took with him a shotgun and a few shells, with the
intention to hunt wild chickens after he had set his laborers at work. He remained with his laborers
an hour or so and then went a short distance away across a stream to see how the alteration which
he had made in the malecon affected the flow of water from the rice filed on the other side of the
stream. He carried his shotgun with him across the stream. On the other side of the stream he met
the deceased, who, with his mother and uncle, had been living in a small shack for a month or so
during the rice-harvesting season. The accused asked the uncle of the deceased where he could
find a good place in which to hunt wild chickens. The uncle was lying on the floor in the interior of the
shack sick of fever. The deceased, a young man about 20 years of age, was working at something
under a manga tree a short distance from the shack. Although the accused directed his question to
the uncle inside of the shack, the deceased answered the question and pointed out in a general way
a portion of the forest near the edge of which stood the shack. There is some contradiction between
the testimony of the accused and the Government witnesses just at this point. The uncle of the
deceased testified that the boy and the accused invited each other mutually to hunt wild chickens
and that the accused accepted the invitation. The accused, however, testified that he did not invite
the deceased to go hunting with him, neither did the deceased go with him, but that he remained
under the manga tree "trying something." At any rate the accused went into the forest with his gun.
What took place there is unknown to anybody except the accused. Upon that subject he testified as
follows:

And after Feliciano Sanchez pointed out that place to me, that place where the wild chickens
were to be found, I proceeded to hunt, because, in the first place, if I could kill some wild
chickens we would have something to eat on that day. So when I arrived at that place I saw
a wild chickens and I shot him. And after I shot that chicken I heard a human cry. I picked up
the chicken and went near the place where I heard the noise, and after I saw that I had
wounded a man I went back toward the malecon, where my companions were working,
running back, and when I arrived there I left my shotgun behind or by a tree not far from
where my companions were working; and I called Bernardino Tagampa to tell him about the
occurrence, and to him I told of that occurence because he is my friend and besides that he
was a relative of the deceased, and when Tagampa heard of this he and myself went
together to see the dead body.

Only one shot was heard that morning and a chicken was killed by gunshot wound. Chicken feathers
were found in considerable qualities at the point where the chicken was shot and where the accident
occurred. The defendant within a few minutes after the accident went out of the woods to
the malecon where he had left his laborers at work, carrying the dead chicken with him. The accused
called Bernardino Tagampa, on of the laborers, to go with him and they disappeared for some time.
Tagampa says that they went a little way toward the woods and came back. The accused says that
they went to the place where the body of the deceased lay and removed it to a place in the cogon
grass where it would not be easily observed. It is certain, however, that the body was concealed in
the cogon grass. During the afternoon Tagampa left the malecon, where his fellow laborers were
working, probably to hunt for a place in which to hide the body. The rest of the laborers saw the
witness Yumul take the chicken which had been killed by the accused. He delivered it to the wife of
the accused, who testified that she received the chicken from Yumul and that it had been killed by a
gunshot wound. That evening the accused and Tagampa went together to dispose of the body
finally. They took it from the cogon grass where it lay concealed and carried it about seventeen or
eighteen hundred meters from the place where it had originally fallen, and buried it in an old well,
covering it with straw and earth and burning straw on top of the well for the purpose of concealing it.
Tagampa said that he helped the accused dispose of the body because he was afraid of him,
although he admits that the accused in no way threatened or sought to compel him to do so. The
defendant prior to the trial denied all knowledge of the death of the deceased or the whereabouts of
the body. On the trial, however, he confessed his participation in the death of the deceased and told
the story substantially as above.

So far as can be ascertained from the evidence the prior relations between the accused and the
deceased had been normal. The deceased was a tenant on land belonging to a relative of the
accused. There was no enmity and no unpleasant relations between them. No attempt was made to
show any. There appears to have been no motive whatever for the commission of the crime. The
Government has not attempted to show any. The only possible reason that the accused could have
for killing the deceased would be found in the fact of a sudden quarrel between them during the
hunt. That idea is wholly negative by the fact that the chicken and the man were shot at the same
time, there having been only one shot fired.

Article 1 of the Penal Code says:

Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and omissions punished by law.

Acts and omissions punished by law are always presumed to be voluntary unless the
contrary shall appear.

Article 8, subdivision 8, reads as follows:

He who, while performing a legal act with due care, causes some injury by mere accident
without liability or intention of causing it.

Section 57 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is as follows:

A defendant in a criminal action shall be presumed to be innocent until the contrary is


proved, and in case of a reasonable doubt that his guilt is satisfactorily shown he shall be
entitled to an acquittal.

The American doctrine is substantially the same. It is uniformly held that if life is taken by misfortune
or accident while in the performance of a lawful act executed with due care and without intention of
doing harm, there is no criminal liability. (Tidwell vs. State, 70 Ala., 33; State vs. Benham, 23 Ia.,
154, 92 Am. Dec., 417; Bertrong vs. State, 2 Tex. Ap., 160; Williamson vs. State, 2 Ohio C. C., 292;
U. S. vs. Meagher, 37 Fed. Rep., 875; U. S. vs. Castro, Fed. Cas., 14752; State vs. Legg, 3 L. R. A.,
N. S., 1152.)
In this case there is absolutely no evidence of negligence upon the part of the accused. Neither is
there any question that he was engaged in the commission of a lawful act when the accident
occurred. Neither is there any evidence of the intention of the accused to cause the death of the
deceased. The only thing in the case at all suspicious upon the part of the defendant are his
concealment and denial.

In the case of the State vs. Legg, above referred to, it is said (p.1165):

Where accidental killing is relied upon as a defense, the accused is not required to prove
such a defense by a preponderance of the evidence, because there is a denial of intentional
killing, and the burden is upon the State to show that it was intentional, and if, from a
consideration of all the evidence, both that for the State and the prisoner, there is a
reasonable doubt as to whether or not the killing was accidental or intentional, the jury
should acquit. . . . But where accidental killing is relied upon, the prisoner admits the killing
but denies that it was intentional. Therefore, the State must show that it was intentional, and
it is clearly error to instruct the jury that the defendant must show that it was an accident by a
preponderance of the testimony, and instruction B in the Cross case was properly held to be
erroneous.

In 3 L. R. A., N. S., page 1163, it is said:

Evidence of misadventure gives rise to an important issue in a prosecution for homicide,


which must be submitted to the jury. And since a plea of misadventure is a denial of criminal
intent (or its equivalent) which constitutes an essential element in criminal homicide, to
warrant a conviction it must be negative by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.

In support of such contention the author cites a number of cases.

We are of the opinion that the evidence is insufficient to support the judgment of conviction.

The judgment of conviction is, therefore, reversed, the defendant acquitted, and his discharge from
custody ordered, costs de oficio. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa and Johnson, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-482 February 25, 1947

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
BIENVENIDO NOCUM, defendant-appellant.

Severino P. Izon for appellant.


Assistant Solicitor General Kapunan, Jr. and Solicitor Umali for appellee.

BENGZON, J.:
For having discharged a gun and accidentally killed Eugenio Francisco, the defendant Bienvenido
Nocum, aliasBembe, was tried in the Court of First Instance Manila, before the Honorable Alfonso
Felix, judge. Found guilty of homicide through reckless negligence, he appealed in due course.

According to the evidence, about 9 o'clock in the evening of November 21, 1945, there was a fistic
fight between Federico Bautista and Vicente Aurencio at the corner of Mayhaligue and Magdalena
Streets, City of Manila. Desiring to stop the encounter, defendant shouted at the combatants. As
these paid him no attention, he drew a .45 caliber pistol and shot twice at the air. The bout
continued, however; so he fired another shot at the ground, but unfortunately the bullet ricocheted
and hit Eugenio Francisco, an innocent by-stander, resident of the place. The wounded man was
promptly carried to the St. Luke's Hospital where he expired soon after.

The above paragraph is a composite and abridged statement of the declarations of several
witnesses (Jesus Santos, Vicente and Juan Aurencio and Ramon Gagui) in connection with
defendant's confession Exhibit F.1 But his attorney, assailing the validity of said confession in the
ground of involuntariness, contends in this Court that in asmuch as the corpus delicti had not been
demonstrated by evidence dehors that document, his client should be absolved, pursuant to several
pertinent decisions. (United States vs. De la Cruz, 2 Phil., 148; and People vs. Bantagan, 54 Phil.,
834.) Particular attention has been given to these points. Yet there is competent proof establishing
the fact that, during the affray, pistol detonations were heard, and that one of the bullets produced
the tragic death of Eugenio Francisco, whose photograph is Exhibit B. That is proof of the corpus
delicti, i. e.,proof of violent death, whether or not feloniously caused. (See Moran, Law of Evidence,
Revised Edition, pp. 108, 109; People vs. Mones, 58 Phil., 46.) The confession Exhibit F served to
identify the person who fired those shots and committed the offense.

We feel no inclination to reject such confession, because the uncorroborated and implausible
testimony of the accused, alleging he had been manhandled before signing this document, about
which he knew nothing, could not definitely overcome the positive assertions of Pablo Montilla of the
Manila Police Department (before whom Exhibit F had been executed) that no force or intimidation
had been employed on Nocum, who willingly signed it "after propounding to him all the questions
and explaining to him the contents" thereof. The impartiality of that officer of the law has not been
shaken by the lone testimony of herein appellant, which, as explained in the People's brief, deserves
no credence. Nocum said in court that he signed Exhibit F when Montilla told him "it was simply a
proof that they arrested me" (p. 27, t.s.n.). This is inconsistent with the alleged third-degree methods.
If he was forced, deceit was unneccessary. And yet, he could not be deceived thusly, because he
was no illiterate, being seventh grader.

Anyway, the trial judge had the chance to see the opposing witnesses, and to observe their
demeanor on the stand; and in the conflict of their statements we will not interfere with his judgment,
unless the record discloses some important circumstance which was overlooked, (United States vs.
Remigio, 37 Phil., 599; United States vs. Maralit, 36 Phil., 155), it being the peculiar province of trial
courts to resolve questions relating to the credibility of witnesses. (United States vs. Pico, 15 Phil.,
549.)

The mishap should be classed as homicide through reckless imprudence, the slaying having been
unintentional (cf. People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939; and United States vs. Reodique, 32 Phil., 458). It is
apparent the defendant wilfully discharged his gun — for which he exhibited no license, by the way
— without taking the precautions demanded by the circumstance that the district was populated, and
the likehood that his bullet would glance over the hard pavement of the Manila thoroughfare.

A landowner surprise a youngster in the act of stealing some fruit in his orchard. To scare the
intruder he fired a shotgun aiming at the foliage of a cherry tree. The shot scattered and a pellet
injured the boy, who was standing under the tree. That was reckless negligence, the Spanish
Supreme Court decided. (Sent. June 20, 1900, Viada, 5th ed., Vol. 7, p. 14.)

The penalty imposed on the appellant is 2 months and 1 day to 1 year and 1 day, indemnity of
P2,000 with subsidiary imprisonment, and costs. It is within the limits authorized by law. (Article 365,
Rev. Penal Code, and Act No. 4103.) (Act No. 284.)

Wherefore, the appealed judgment is affirmed, with costs against appellant.

Moran, C.J., Feria, Pablo, Hilado, Briones, Hontiveros, Padilla and Tuason, JJ., concur.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 128106-07. January 24, 2003]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GONZALO BALDOGO, accused-


appellant.

DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is an automatic review of the Joint Judgment,[i] dated October 18, 1996, of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 52, Puerto Princesa City, finding accused-appellant Gonzalo Baldogo
alias Baguio guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder in Criminal Case No. 12900 and
Kidnapping in Criminal Case No. 12903. The trial court imposed on accused-appellant the supreme
penalty of death in Criminal Case No. 12900 and reclusion perpetua in Criminal Case No. 12903.

I. The Indictments

Two Informations were filed against accused-appellant and Edgar Bermas alias Bunso which
read:

That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1996 in the evening at the residence of Mr. Julio
Camacho of Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused who were both convicted by final judgment of
the offense of Homicide and while already serving sentence, committed the above name offense by
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, with
treachery and evident premeditation and while armed with a bolo, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack and hack one JORGE CAMACHO, hitting him and inflicting
upon him mortal wounds at the different parts of his body, which was the direct and immediate cause
of his death shortly thereafter.

CONTRARY TO LAW, with the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident[,] premeditation and
recidivism. Puerto Princesa City, Philippines, March 5, 1996.[1]
xxx

That on Thursday, February 22, 1996 at more or less 8:15 in the evening at the Victims residence,
Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused while serving sentence at the Central Sub-Colony both for the
offense of Homicide, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another,
commits (sic) another offense, kidnapping one JULIE E. CAMACHO, a girl 12 years of age, and
brought her to the mountains, where said Julie E. Camacho was detained and deprived of her liberty
fro [sic] more than five days.

CONTRARY TO LAW and attended by the aggravating circumstance of recidivism.[2]

Accused-appellant was arraigned on June 28, 1996 and entered a plea of not guilty to both
charges.[3] Edgardo Bermas died before he could be arraigned.[4] The two cases were ordered
consolidated and a joint trial thereafter ensued.
The prosecution presented four witnesses, namely, Julie Camacho, Dr. Edilberto Joaquin,
Esteban Mamites and Julio Camacho, Sr., and offered documentary and object evidence on its
evidence-in-chief.

II. The Antecedent Facts

Julio Camacho, Sr. and his wife, Heather Esteban, had four children, namely: Julio, Jr., a
student of the Palawan State University in Puerto Princesa City and who stayed in Guaygo, Puerto
Princesa City; Jorge, who was fourteen years old;[5] Julie, who was 12 years old and a grade six
elementary pupil at the Iwahig Elementary School and Jasper, who was eight years old. Julio Sr.
was employed as a security guard in the Iwahig Prison and Penal Colony. He and his family lived in
a compound inside the sub-colony. Edgardo Bermas alias Bunso, an inmate of the penal colony,
was assigned as a domestic helper of the Camacho spouses. Accused-appellant alias Baguio, also
an inmate of the colony, was assigned in January 1996 as a domestic helper of the Camacho
family. Both helpers resided in a hut located about ten meters away from the house of the Camacho
family.
In the evening of February 22, 1996, accused-appellant and Bermas served dinner to Julio Sr.,
Jorge and Julie in the house of the Camachos. At about 7:30 p.m., Julio Sr. left the house to attend a
bible study at the dormitory in the Agronomy Section of the Penal Farm.Heather and her son,
Jasper, were in Aborlan town. Only Jorge and his sister Julie were left in the house.
After Julio Sr. had left the house, Julie went to the sala to study her assignment. Momentarily,
Bermas called Julie from the kitchen saying:Jul, tawag ka ng kuya mo. Julie ignored him. After five
minutes, Bermas called her again but Julie again ignored him. Julie was perturbed when she heard a
loud sound, akin to a yell, Aahh! Ahh! coming from the kitchen located ten meters from the
house. This prompted Julie to stand up and run to the kitchen. She was appalled to see Jorge
sprawled on the ground near the kitchen, face down and bloodied. The vicinity was lighted by a
fluorescent lamp. Standing over Jorge were accused-appellant and Bermas, each armed with a
bolo.[6] The shirt of Bermas was bloodied.[7]Julie was horrified and so petrified that although she
wanted to shout, she could not. She ran back to the sala with accused-appellant and Bermas in
pursuit. Accused-appellant overtook Julie, tied her hands at her back with a torn t-shirt and placed a
piece of cloth in her mouth to prevent her from shouting for help from their neighbors. Bermas went
to the room of Julies brothers. Accused-appellant dragged Julie outside the house and towards the
mountain. Bermas tarried in the house.
With the aid of a flashlight, accused-appellant, with Julie in tow, walked for hours towards the
direction of the mountain. About a kilometer away from the house of the Camachos, accused-
appellant and Julie stopped under a big tamarind tree at the foot of the mountain. After about thirty
minutes, Bermas arrived with a kettle and raw rice. Accused-appellant and Bermas retrieved a bag
containing their clothing and belongings from the trunk of the tamarind tree. They untied Julie and
removed the gag from her mouth. The three then proceeded to climb the mountain and after walking
for six hours or so, stopped under a big tree where they spent the night. When the three woke up in
the morning of the following day, February 23, 1996, they continued their ascent of the
mountain. Seven hours thereafter, they started to follow a descending route. Accused-appellant and
Bermas told Julie that they would later release her. At about 3:00 p.m., Bermas left accused-
appellant and Julie. However, accused-appellant did not let go of Julie. The two survived on sugar
and rice cooked by accused-appellant. Once, they saw uniformed men looking for Julie. However,
accused-appellant hid Julie behind the tree. She wanted to shout but he covered her mouth.
In the early morning of February 28, 1996, accused-appellant told Julie that he was leaving her
as he was going to Puerto Princesa City. He told her to fend for herself and return to the lowland the
next day. After their breakfast, accused-appellant left Julie alone to fend for herself. A few hours
after accused-appellant had left, Julie decided to return to the lowlands. She found a river and
followed its course toward Balsaham until she saw a hut. She called upon its occupant who
introduced himself as Nicodemus. Julie sought help from him. When asked by Nicodemus if she was
the girl whom the police authorities were looking for, she replied in the affirmative. Nicodemus
brought Julie to Balsaham where they met some personnel of the penal colony and police officers,
and Nicodemus turned Julie over for custody to them.
Meanwhile, Julio, Sr. arrived home after his bible study at about 9:00 p.m. on February 22,
1996. He noticed that the television set was switched on but no one was watching it. He looked for
his children but they were nowhere to be found. He then proceeded to the hut occupied by accused-
appellant and Bermas but he also failed to find them. Julio Sr. then rushed to the house of his older
brother, Augusto Camacho, to look for his children, but Augusto told him that Jorge and Julie were
not there. Julio Sr. then sought the help of Romualdo Esparagoza, a trustee of the penal farm. The
two rushed back to the Camacho residence and proceeded to the kitchen where they noticed blood
on the floor. The two proceeded to the dirty kitchen and saw the bloodied body of Jorge dumped
about three meters away from the dirty kitchen. Julio Sr. and Esparagoza then brought Jorge to the
Iwahig Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 12:40 a.m. of February 23, 1996. Dr.
Edilberto Joaquin examined the cadaver and found that the victim was stabbed on the breast once
and at the back seven times. He sustained a lacerated wound on the neck. The layers of the neck,
trachea and esophagus of Jorge had been cut. Jorge did not sustain any defensive wound.Dr.
Joaquin performed an autopsy of the cadaver and signed a medical certificate with his findings, thus:

MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

GENERAL DATA:

JORGE CAMACHO y ESTEBAN, 14 years old, student, resident of Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm,
approximately 53 inches in-height, was brought to the hospital, (DOA) dead on arrival at 12:40 AM,
23 February 1996, approximate time of death 8:00 P.M. February 22, 1996.

FINDINGS

1. Stab wound, deep, penetrating, approximately 1 inch in length, at the level of the xyphoid
process, anteriorly.
2. Stab wound, chest, back, approximately 1 inch length, right midclavicular line, level of
the 3rd rib.
3. Stab wound, back, right midclavicular line, level of the 5th rib.
4. Stab wound, back, approximately 1 inch length level of the 5th rib, left midclavicular line.
5. Stab wound, back, approximately 1 inch length, right midclavicular line, 6th rib.
6. Stab wound, back, approximately 1 inch length, right midclavicular line, level of the
4th lumbar region.
7. Stab wound, back, approximately 1 inch in length, right third lumbar region, deep,
penetrating involving the liver.
8. Stab wound, back, approximately 3/4 inch, at the level of the 2nd lumbar region.
9. Lacerated wound, neck, anteriorly, deep, penetrating, cutting the layers of the neck and
the trachea and esophagus.

CAUSE OF DEATH

Hypovolemia due to severe hemorrhage secondary to multiple stab wounds and laceration of the
neck.[8]

Wounds numbers 7 and 9 were fatal. It was possible that two sharp-edged and sharp pointed
weapons were used in stabbing Jorge and that two assailants stabbed the victim.[9]
On February 29, 1996, Julie gave her sworn statement and a supplemental sworn statement to
the police investigators.[10] Julio Sr. suffered mental anguish and sleepless nights because of the
death of Jorge.
The prosecution adduced in evidence excerpts of the personal file of accused-appellant kept in
the penal colony showing that he had been convicted of homicide by the Regional Trial Court of
Baguio City and that he commenced serving sentence on November 19, 1992 and that the minimum
term of his penalty was to expire on August 16, 1997.[11]

III. The Defenses and Evidence of Accused-Appellant

Accused-appellant denied killing Jorge and kidnapping Julie. Accused-appellant asserted that
Julie implicated him because she was coached and rehearsed. He testified that he was assigned as
a helper in the house of Augusto Camacho, the Chief of the Industrial Section of the colony and the
older brother of Julio Sr. Augusto told accused-appellant that his brother, Julio Sr., wanted to have
accused-appellant transferred as his domestic helper. However, accused-appellant balked because
he had heard from Edgardo Bermas, the helper of Julio Sr., that the latter was cruel and had been
maltreating Bermas. Nonetheless, in December 1995, accused-appellant was transferred as a
domestic helper of Julio Sr. Accused-appellant confirmed that indeed Julio Sr. was cruel because
whenever the latter was angry, he maltreated accused-appellant by spanking and boxing him. These
would occur about two times a week.
On February 22, 1996, at about 6:30 p.m., accused-appellant took his dinner in the kitchen. At
about 7:00 p.m., while he was already in his quarters and preparing to sleep, Bermas arrived, armed
with a bloodied bolo measuring about 1 feet long and told accused-appellant that he (Bermas) had
just killed Jorge to avenge the maltreatment he received from Julio Sr. Bermas warned accused-
appellant not to shout, otherwise he will also kill him. Petrified, accused-appellant kept
silent. Bermas then brought accused-appellant to the kitchen in the house of the Camachos where
accused-appellant saw the bloodied body of Jorge sprawled near the kitchen. Bermas called Julie
three times, telling her that her brother was calling for her but Julie at first ignored Bermas. Julie later
relented and went to the kitchen where Bermas grabbed her and threatened to kill her if she
shouted. Bermas tied the hands of Julie with a piece of cloth and placed a piece of cloth around her
face to prevent her from shouting.
Bermas, still armed with his bolo tucked on his waist and a knife on his hand, brought accused-
appellant and Julie outside the house. The three then trekked towards the mountain. On the way,
Bermas picked a bag containing food provisions and his and accused-appellants clothings. Accused-
appellant thought of escaping but could not because Bermas was watching him. With the help of a
flashlight brought by Bermas, the three walked towards the mountain, with Julie walking ahead of
accused-appellant and Bermas. After walking for hours, they stopped by a tree to which Bermas tied
Julie. At one time, while Bermas and accused-appellant were scouring for water, Bermas kicked
accused-appellant and pushed him into a ten feet deep ravine. The right hand and foot of accused-
appellant sustained bruises. He likewise sustained a sprain on his foot. Bermas left accused-
appellant and Julie after 1 days.
In the meantime, accused-appellant managed to climb out of the ravine and heard Julie calling
his name. Julie later told accused-appellant that before Bermas left, the latter told her that he was
going to kill accused-appellant.
Accused-appellant and Julie remained in the mountain after Bermas had left. At one time,
accused-appellant and Julie saw soldiers who were looking for her. Accused-appellant did not reveal
his and Julies location to the soldiers because he was afraid that he might be killed. On February 25,
1996, accused-appellant untied Julie. He told her that he will set her free as soon as his foot shall
have healed.
On February 27, 1996, accused-appellant told Julie that she can go home already. He ordered
her to go down the mountain and proceed to Balsaham on her way back home. Although his foot
was still aching, accused-appellant went down from the mountain ahead of Julie and proceeded to
Balsaham. He then walked to Irawan where he took a tricycle to the public market in the poblacion in
Puerto Princesa City. He then took a passenger jeepney and alighted at Brookes Point where he
was arrested after one week for the killing of Jorge and the kidnapping of Julie.
Accused-appellant maintained that he did not intend to hurt Julie or deprive her of her
liberty. He averred that during the entire period that he and Julie were in the mountain before
Bermas left him, he tried to protect her from Bermas. Accused-appellant asserted that he wanted to
bring Julie back to her parents after Bermas had left them and to surrender but accused-appellant
was afraid that Julio Sr. might kill him.

IV. The Verdict of the Trial Court

After due proceedings, the trial court rendered its decision, the decretal portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, a Joint Judgment is hereby rendered in:

A. CRIMINAL CASE NO. 12900 finding the accused Gonzalo Baldogo, alias Baguio, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of murder as defined and penalized in Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7659, and appreciating against
him the specific aggravating circumstance of taking advantage and use of superior strength, without
any mitigating circumstance to offset the same, and pursuant to the provisions of the second
paragraph, No. 1, of Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, he is hereby sentenced to death in the
manner prescribed by law; to pay the heirs of the deceased Jorge Camacho;
1. Actual and compensatory damages:
For expenses incurred for funeral and
other expenses incident to his death ---P45,000.00
2. Moral damages ----------------------------- 100,000.00
3. Civil indemnity for the death of the
victim, Jorge Camacho ------------------- 50,000.00
or the aggregate amount of ------------- 195,000.00

B. CRIMINAL CASE NO. 12903 finding the accused GONZALO BALDOGO, alias, Baguio, guilty
beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention as
defined and penalized in Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 8 of
Republic Act No. 7659, and there being no modifying circumstance appreciated and pursuant to the
provisions of the second paragraph, No. 2, of Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, and not being
entitled to the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is hereby sentenced to reclusion
perpetua, with the accessory penalties of civil interdiction for life, and of perpetual absolute
disqualification; to pay the offended party, Julie Camacho for physical suffering, mental anguish,
fright, serious anxiety and moral shock, moral damages of P100,000; and to pay the costs.

The case as against co-accused Edgar Bermas is ordered dismissed by reason of extinction of
criminal liability occasioned by his death pending conclusion of the proceedings as against him.

SO ORDERED.[12]

V. Assignment of Error

In his appeal brief, accused-appellant avers that:


I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF MURDER AND KIDNAPPING.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REJECTING ACCUSED-APPELLANTS DEFENSE OF
DENIAL.
III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE QUALIFYING AGGRAVATING
CIRCUMSTANCE OF EVIDENT PREMEDITATION AND GENERIC AGGRAVATING
CIRCUMSTANCE OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SUPERIOR STRENGTH DESPITE THE
FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE THE SAME.
IV
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY UPON THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT IN THE (SIC) CRIMINAL CASE #12900.[13]
VI. Resolution of this Court

The first two assignments of errors being interrelated, the Court will delve into and resolve the
same simultaneously.
Accused-appellant avers that he had nothing to do with, and hence should not be claimed for,
the death of Jorge and the kidnapping and detention of Julie. Accused-appellant claims that he was
acting under duress because he was threatened by Bermas with death unless he did what Bermas
ordered him to do. Accused-appellant was even protective of Julie. He insists that the latter was not
a credible witness and her testimony is not entitled to probative weight because she was merely
coached into implicating him for the death of Jorge and her kidnapping and detention by Bermas.
We find the contention of accused-appellant farcical. At the heart of the submission of accused-
appellant is the credibility of Julie, the 12-year old principal witness of the prosecution and the
probative weight of her testimony.
This Court has held in a catena of cases that the findings of facts of the trial court, its calibration
of the testimonial evidence of the parties, its assessment of the probative weight of the collective
evidence of the parties and its conclusions anchored on its findings are accorded by the appellate
court great respect, if not conclusive effect. The raison detre of this principle is that this Court has to
contend itself with the mute pages of the original records in resolving the issues posed by the
parties:

x x x The record will not reveal those tell-tale signs that will affirm the truth or expose the
contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or
the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply. The record will not
show if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked down in confession or gazed steadily with a
serenity that has nothing to distort or conceal. The record will not show if tears were shed in anger,
or in shame, or in remembered pain, or in feigned innocence. Only the judge trying the case can see
all these and on the basis of his observations arrive at an informed and reasoned verdict.[14]

In contrast, the trial court has the unique advantage of monitoring and observing at close range
the attitude, conduct and deportment of witnesses as they narrate their respective testimonies before
said court. Echoing a foreign courts observation, this Court declared:

Truth does not always stalk boldly forth naked, but modest withal, in a printed abstract in a court of
last resort. She oft hides in nooks and crannies visible only to the minds eye of the judge who tries
the case. To him appears the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the
sincere or the flippant or sneering tone, the heat, the calmness, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or
lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien. The brazen
face of the liar, the glibness of the schooled witness in reciting a lesson, or the itching
overeagerness of the swift witness, as well as the honest face of the truthful one, are alone seen by
him.[15]

The rule, however, is not iron clad. This Court has enumerated exceptions thereto, namely: (a)
when patent inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses are ignored by the trial court; (b) when
the conclusions arrived at are clearly unsupported by the evidence; (c) when the trial court ignored,
misunderstood, misinterpreted and/or misconstrued facts and circumstances of substance which, if
considered, will alter the outcome of the case.[16] In this case, the trial court found the youthful Julie
credible and her testimony entitled to full probative weight. Accused-appellant has not sufficiently
demonstrated to this Court the application of any of the aforestated exceptions.
The Court agrees with accused-appellant that the prosecution was burdened to prove his guilt
beyond reasonable doubt of the felonies for which he is charged. This Court has held that
accusation is not synonymous with guilt. It is incumbent on the prosecution to prove the corpus
delicti, more specifically, that the crimes charged had been committed and that accused-appellant
precisely committed the same. The prosecution must rely on the strength of its own evidence and
not on the weakness of the evidence of the accused.[17] The reasonable standard rule which was
adopted by the United States way back in 1978 is a requirement and a safeguard, in the words of
Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter of the United States Supreme Court, of due process of law in the
historic, procedural content of due process. The United States Supreme Court emphasized in Re:
Winship[18] that in a criminal prosecution, the accused has at stake interests of immense importance,
both because of the possibility that he may lose his liberty or even his life upon conviction and
because of the certainty that he would be stigmatized by the conviction.
In the cases at bar, the prosecution failed to adduce direct evidence to prove that accused-
appellant killed Jorge. However, the prosecution adduced indubitable proof that accused-appellant
conspired with Bermas not only in killing Jorge but also in kidnapping and detaining Julie.
Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is conspiracy if two or more persons
agree to commit a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy may be proved by direct evidence or
circumstantial evidence. Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused, before, during
and after the commission of a felony pointing to a joint purpose and design and community of
intent.[19] It is not required that there be an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the
commission of a felony; rather, it is sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense, all the
conspira`tors had the same purpose and were united in its execution.[20] In a conspiracy, the act of
one is the act of all.[21] All the accused are criminally liable as co-principals regardless of the degree
of their participation.[22] For a conspirator to be criminally liable of murder or homicide, it is not
necessary that he actually attacks or kills the victim. As long as all the conspirators performed
specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to unmistakably indicate a common purpose
or design in bringing about the death of the victim, all the conspirators are criminally liable for the
death of said victim.[23]
In these cases, the prosecution adduced conclusive proof that accused-appellant indeed
conspired with Bermas to kill Jorge and kidnap Julie as shown by the following cogent facts and
circumstances:
1. When Julie responded to the repeated calls of Bermas for her to go to the kitchen on his
pretext that Jorge wanted to talk to her, Julie saw accused-appellant and Bermas, each armed with a
bolo, about half a meter from Jorge who was sprawled on the ground, bloodied all over.[24]
2. Even as Julie fled from the kitchen for dear life to the sala of their house, accused-appellant
and Bermas ran after her. Accused-appellant tied the hands of Julie with a piece of cloth and
inserted a piece of cloth into her mouth to prevent her from shouting for help from their neighbors.[25]
3. With a flashlight on hand, accused-appellant then exited from the house, dragged Julie
towards the direction of the mountain while Bermas remained in the house to rummage through the
things in the bedroom of her brothers. Accused-appellant stopped for a while for Bermas to join
him.[26]
4. Before the killing of Jorge, accused-appellant and Bermas placed their clothing and personal
belongings in a bag and buried the bag under a tree, and when accused-appellant and Bermas were
on their way to the mountain after killing Jorge, they excavated and retrieved the bag from under the
tree.[27]
5. Accused-appellant and Bermas brought with them to the mountain a kettle filled with raw rice
which they cooked in the forest.[28]
6. When Julie saw uniformed men who were looking for her and wanted to shout for help,
accused-appellant covered her mouth to prevent her from shouting for help.[29]
7. Even after Bermas had left accused-appellant and Julie in the forest in the afternoon of
February 23, 1991, accused-appellant continued detaining Julie in the forest until February 27, 1996,
when he abandoned Julie in the forest to fend for herself.
The evidence of the prosecution was even buttressed by the judicial admissions of accused-
appellant, thus:
1. After releasing Julie on February 27, 1996, accused-appellant proceeded to Puerto Princesa
City and on to Brookes Point where he was arrested a week after said date.[30]
2. Both accused-appellant and Bermas had a motive to kill Jorge and kidnap Julie, that is, to
avenge the repeated maltreatment and physical abuse on them by Julio Sr., the father of Jorge and
Julie.[31]
The flight of both accused-appellant and Bermas from the house of Julio Sr. to the mountain
where they found refuge after killing Jorge, and their motive to kill Jorge Jr. and kidnap and detain
Julie in conjunto constitute potent evidence of their confabulation and of their guilt for the death of
Jorge and kidnapping and detention of Julie.[32]
The bare denial by accused-appellant of criminal liability for the crimes charged is inherently
weak. Accused-appellants claims that he even protected Julie from harm and that he was forced by
Bermas to kidnap Julie are of the same genre.[33] The bare denial by accused-appellant of the crimes
charged constitutes self-serving negative evidence which cannot prevail over the categorical and
positive testimony of Julie and her unequivocal identification of accused-appellant as one of the
perpetrators of the crimes charged.[34]
Accused-appellants insistence that he was forced by Bermas, under pain of death, to cooperate
with him in killing Jorge and kidnapping and detaining Julie is merely an afterthought. For duress to
exempt accused-appellant of the crimes charged, the fear must be well-founded, and immediate and
actual damages of death or great bodily harm must be present and the compulsion must be of such
a character as to leave no opportunity to accused for escape or interpose self-defense in equal
combat.[35] Accused-appellant is burdened to prove by clear and convincing evidence his defense of
duress. He should not be shielded from prosecution for crime by merely setting up a fear from, or
because of, a threat of a third person.[36] As Lord Dennan declared in Reg. Vs. Tyler,[37] No man from
fear of circumstances to himself has the right to make himself a party to committing mischief on
mankind. In these cases, in light of the testimony of Julie and the inculpatory acts of accused-
appellant no less, there is no doubt that the latter acted in concert with Bermas and is himself a
principal by direct participation. That accused-appellant abandoned Julie after six days of captivity
does not lessen his criminal culpability much less exempt him from criminal liability for the killing of
Jorge and the kidnapping and detention of Julie.
Accused-appellant failed to prove his claim that Julie was coached on how and what to testify
on. Indeed, when asked to identify the person or persons who coached Julie, accused-appellant
failed to mention any person:
Q You heard the testimony of Julie Camacho that she is pointing to you to have kidnapped
her and participated in the killing of her brother Jorge, what can you say to that?
A That is not true.
Q You donot (sic) know the reason why? In fact you treated her well, why she pointed you
as one of the authors of the crime?
A Maybe somebody coached her.
Q Who do you think coached her?
A I cannot mention the name but I am sure that somebody coached her.[38]
It bears stressing that when she testified, Julie was merely 12 years old. The Court has
repeatedly held that the testimony of a minor of tender age and of sound mind is likewise to be more
correct and truthful than that of an older person so that once it is established that they have fully
understood the character and nature of an oath, their testimony should be given full credence and
probative weight.[39] Julie had no ill motive to tergiversate the truth and falsely testify against
accused-appellant. Hence, her testimony must be accorded full probative weight.[40]

VII. Crimes Committed by Accused-Appellant

The Court shall now delve into and resolve the issue of what crime or crimes accused-appellant
is guilty of. The trial court convicted accused-appellant of two separate crimes and not the special
complex crime of kidnapping with murder or homicide under the last paragraph of Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act 7659.[41] The trial court is correct. There is no
evidence that Jorge was kidnapped or detained first by accused-appellant and Bermas before he
was killed. The last paragraph of Article 267 of the Code is applicable only if kidnapping or serious
illegal detention is committed and the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the kidnapping or
serious illegal detention.

Re: Criminal Case No. 12900


(For Murder)

The trial court convicted accused-appellant of murder with the qualifying aggravating
circumstance of evident premeditation, based on the following findings and ratiocination:

The slaying of Jorge Camacho took place about 8:30 oclock in the evening of February 22, 1996. It
was carried out after the accused have been through tidying-up the kitchen, the dining room and the
kitchen wares the family of the Camachos used in their early dinner before 7:00 oclock that
evening. But even before dinner, the accused have already made preparations for their flight, shown
by the fact that they already had their clothes, other personal belongings and food provisions
stacked in their respective travelling bags then placed in a spot where they can just pick them up as
they take to flight.[42]

The trial court also appreciated against accused-appellant the qualifying aggravating
circumstance of abuse of superior strength with the following disquisition:

The victim, Jorge Camacho, is a lad only 14 years of age and unarmed when brutally slain. On the
contrary, both accused are of age and confirmed convicted felons.Any one of them would already be
superior in strength and disposition to their hapless and innocent victim. How much more with the
combined strength and force of the two of them.

Their choice of the object of their brutality is indicative of their unmistakable intent of taking
advantage of their superior strength. The likely object of their resentment, for purported cruelty to
them, is Prison Guard Julio Camacho, father of the victim. They could have directed their criminal
intent on Julio Camacho himself. But Julio Camacho could be a match in strength and agility to any
of them or even to the combined force of both of them. So, to insure execution of their criminal intent
without risk to them for the defense which the offended party might put up, they directed their
criminal acts against the deceased who is very much inferior in physical combat even only to any
one of them.[43]

While the Court agrees that accused-appellant is guilty of murder, it does not agree with the
rulings of the trial court that the crime was qualified by evident premeditation and abuse of superior
strength. To warrant a finding of evident premeditation, the prosecution must establish the
confluence of the following requisites:

x x x (a) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating
that the offender clung to his determination; and (c) a sufficient interval of time between the
determination and the execution of the crime to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his
act. x x x[44]

The qualifying aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation, like any other qualifying
circumstance, must be proved with certainty as the crime itself. A finding of evident premeditation
cannot be based solely on mere lapse of time from the time the malefactor has decided to commit a
felony up to the time that he actually commits it.[45] The prosecution must adduce clear and
convincing evidence as to when and how the felony was planned and prepared before it was
effected.[46] The prosecution is burdened to prove overt acts that after deciding to commit the felony,
the felon clung to his determination to commit the crime. The law does not prescribe a time frame
that must elapse from the time the felon has decided to commit a felony up to the time that he
commits it. Each case must be resolved on the basis of the extant factual milieu.
In this case, the prosecution failed to prove evident premeditation. The barefaced fact that
accused-appellant and Bermas hid the bag containing their clothing under a tree located about a
kilometer or so from the house of Julio Sr. does not constitute clear evidence that they decided to kill
Jorge and kidnap Julie. It is possible that they hid their clothing therein preparatory to escaping from
the colony. There is no evidence establishing when accused-appellant and Bermas hid the bag
under the tree. The prosecution even failed to adduce any evidence of overt acts on the part of
accused-appellant, nor did it present evidence as to when and how he and Bermas planned and
prepared to kill Jorge and kidnap Julie and to prove that the two felons since then clung to their
determination to commit the said crimes. Although accused-appellant and Bermas were armed with
bolos, there is no evidence that they took advantage of their numerical superiority and weapons to
kill Jorge.Hence, abuse of superior strength cannot be deemed to have attended the killing of
Jorge.[47] Nighttime cannot likewise be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance because there is
no evidence that accused-appellant and Bermas purposely sought nighttime to facilitate the killing or
to insure its execution or accomplishment or to evade their arrest.[48] Neither is dwelling aggravating
because there is no evidence that Jorge was killed in their house or taken from their house and killed
outside the said house.
In light of the evidence on record, it is clear that the killing of Jorge was qualified by
treachery. When Jorge was killed by accused-appellant and Bermas, he was barely 14 years
old. The Court has previously held that the killing of minor children who by reason of their tender
years could not be expected to put up a defense is attended by treachery.[49] Since treachery
attended the killing, abuse of superior strength is absorbed by said circumstance.[50]
The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic
Act 7659 is reclusion perpetua to death. There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances in
the commission of the crime, accused-appellant should be meted the penalty ofreclusion
perpetua.[51] Conformably with current jurisprudence, accused-appellant is hereby ordered to pay to
the heirs of the victim civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 and the amount of P50,000.00 by
way of moral damages. Although Julio Sr. testified that he spentP45,000.00 during the wake and
burial of the victim, the prosecution failed to adduce any receipts to prove the same. Hence, the
award ofP45,000.00 by way of actual damages has no factual basis and should thus be deleted.

Re: Criminal Case No. 12903


(For Kidnapping)

The trial court convicted accused-appellant of kidnapping under Article 267 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, punishable byreclusion perpetua to death. The trial court is correct.
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code was taken from Article 267 of the Spanish Penal Code,
which reads:

Art. 267Detencin ilegal grave.Ser castigado con la pena de reclusin temporal el particular que
secuestrare o encerrare a otro o en cualquier forma le privare de libertad.

Secuestrare means sequestration.[52] To sequester is to separate for a special purpose, remove


or set apart, withdraw from circulation.[53] It also means to lock-up or imprison. Encerrare is a
broader concept than secuestrare.[54] Encerrare includes not only the imprisonment of a person but
also the deprivation of his liberty in whatever form and for whatever length of time. As explained by
Groizard, encerrar es meter una persona cosa en parte de donde no pueda salir; detener o arrestar,
poner en prisin, privar de la libertad alguno. He continued that la detencin, la prisin, la privacin de la
libertad de una persona, en cualquier forma y por cualquier medio por cualquier tiempo en virtud de
la cual resulte interrumpido el libre ejercicio de su actividad.[55] On his commentary on the Spanish
Penal Code, Cuello Calon says that the law preve dos modalidades de privacion de libertad, el
encierro y la detencion. Encerrar significa recluir a una persona en un lugar de donde no puede
salir, detener a una persona equivale a impedirle o restringirle la libertad de movimiento. Para que el
sujeto pasivo no quiera permanecer en el sitio donde esta recluido, pues no es posible llamar
encierro ni detencion a la estancia de un a persona en lugar del que no quiere salir.[56]
In this case, Julie, a minor, was not locked up. However, she was seized and taken from her
house through force and dragged to the mountain. Since then, she was restrained of her liberty by
and kept under the control of accused-appellant and Bermas. She was prevented from going back
home for a period of about six days. Patently then, accused-appellant is guilty of kidnapping and
illegally detaining Julie. The crime was aggravated by dwelling because Julie was taken from their
house by accused-appellant and Bermas. However, dwelling was not alleged in the Information as
an aggravating circumstance as required by Section 9, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure which reads:

SEC. 9. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information shall state the designation of the
offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its
qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense, reference shall
be made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it.[57]

Even if dwelling is proven but is not alleged in the Information as an aggravating circumstance,
the same will not serve to aggravate the penalty.[58]
Quasi-recidivism as defined in Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code [59] is alleged in both
Informations. Accused-appellant is alleged to have committed murder and kidnapping while serving
sentence in the penal colony by final judgment for the crime of homicide. Quasi-recidivism is a
special aggravating circumstance.[60] The prosecution is burdened to prove the said circumstance by
the same quantum of evidence as the crime itself. In the present case, to prove quasi-recidivism, the
prosecution was burdened to adduce in evidence a certified copy of the judgment convicting
accused-appellant of homicide and to prove that the said judgment had become final and
executory.[61] The raison detre is that:

x x x Since the accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty to such information, there was a
joinder of issues not only as to his guilt or innocence, but also as to the presence or absence of the
modifying circumstances so alleged. The prosecution was thus burdened to establish the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt and the existence of the modifying circumstances. It was then
grave error for the trial court to appreciate against the accused-appellant the aggravating
circumstance of recidivism simply because of his failure to object to the prosecutions omission as
mentioned earlier.[62]

In this case, the prosecution adduced in evidence merely the excerpt of the prison record of
accused-appellant showing that he was convicted of homicide in Criminal Case No. 10357-R by the
Regional Trial Court of Baguio (Branch 6) with a penalty of from six years and one day as minimum
to fourteen years, eight months and one day as maximum and that the sentence of accused-
appellant commenced on November 19, 1992 and that the minimum term of the penalty was to
expire on August 16, 1997.[63] The excerpt of the prison record of accused-appellant is not the best
evidence under Section 3, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court[64] to prove the judgment of the
Regional Trial Court of Baguio City and to prove that said judgment had become final and
executory. Said excerpt is merely secondary or substitutionary evidence which is inadmissible
absent proof that the original of the judgment had been lost or destroyed or that the same cannot be
produced without the fault of the prosecution. The barefaced fact that accused-appellant was
detained in the penal colony does prove the fact that final judgment for homicide has been rendered
against him.[65] There being no modifying circumstances in the commission of the crime, accused-
appellant should be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua conformably with Article 63 of the
Revised penal Code.[66]

VIII. Civil Liability of Accused-Appellant for Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention

The trial court awarded the amount of P100,000.00 to Julie by way of moral damages for the
felony of kidnapping with serious illegal detention, predicated on her having suffered serious anxiety
and fright when she was kidnapped and dragged to the mountain where she was detained for
several days. The trial court is correct. Julie is entitled to moral damages.[67] In light of the factual
milieu in this case, the amount is reasonable. Julie is also entitled to exemplary damages in the
amount of P25,000.00.[68]
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby
AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION:
1. In Criminal Case No. 12900, accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
murder defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as amended and is hereby meted the
penalty of reclusion perpetua, there being no modifying circumstances attendant to the commission
of the felony. Accused-appellant is hereby ordered to pay to the heirs of the victim the amount
of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and the amount of P50,000.00 as of moral damages. The award
of P45,000.00 as of actual damages is deleted.
2. In Criminal Case No. 12903, accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
kidnapping with serious illegal detention defined in Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by Republic Act 7659, and there being no modifying circumstances attendant to the
commission of the felony is hereby meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant is
hereby ordered to pay moral damages to the victim, Julie Camacho, in the amount of P100,000.00
and exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-
Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Bellosillo, J., on leave.

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-64 October 28, 1946

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. MIGUEL M. MORENO, Defendant-


Appellant.

Santiago F. Alidio for appellant.


First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes, Assistant Solicitor Cañizares and Solicitor Luciano for
appellee

FERIA, J.: chanrobles virtual law library

This is an appeal by the defendant Miguel M. Moreno from the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Zamboanga, which found him guilty of the crime charged with the aggravating
circumstances of premeditation and cruelty and without any mitigating circumstance, and sentenced
the defendant to death and to indemnify the heirs of the
deceased.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The appellant was at the outbreak of the war a prisoner serving sentence in the San Ramon Penal
Colony Farm, situated in the City of Zamboanga. During the Japanese occupation, he befriended
and gained the confidence of the Japanese naval authorities, was released from prison, and
appointed Captain of a semi-military organization known as Kaigun Jeutay, composed of Filipinos
and sponsored by the Japanese navy. On October 23, 1944, the defendant was appointed by the
Japanese naval authorities as section commander of the San Ramon Penal Colony with plenary
powers of supervision and control over said colony and its
environs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

On November 23, 1944, a group of defendant's soldiers went to the house of Paciano de los Santos,
and took with them two single young daughters of said Paciano, and on the next day, when the
deceased wet to San Ramon Penal Colony, he was confined in a cell by order of the
defendant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

On the night of December 1, 1944, defendant gathered all the prison officials and employees of San
Ramon Penal Colony in a meeting in the house of P.D. Dellosa then Assistant Superintendent of the
institution, and in that gathering the accused arrogantly announced that he was not afraid to cut the
head of anybody, ordered all those present to witness the execution of Paciano de los Santos the
following day, and instructed Gregorio Magalit, a prisoner employee of said institution to prepare the
grave for said Paciano and issue a formal memorandum to that effect. A photostatic copy of which
was presented as Exhibit D during the trial.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
And in the morning of December 2, 1944, Paciano de los Santos was taken to a place known as
Fishery Division of the colony with both hands tied at the back, and there the defendant ordered the
victim Paciano to kneel down with the head bent forward by the side of the grave already prepared
for him by order of the accused, and in that position the accused with a Japanese sabre held in the
handle by his both hands, hacked the head of Paciano de los Santos, and immediately kicked the
prostrate body of the victim into the grave.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The facts above stated were established beyond a per-adventure of doubt by the testimony of the
witnesses for the prosecution, and are substantially admitted by the defendant in his testimony
during the trial. When the defendant was asked whether he killed Paciano de los Santos in the form
and manner described by the witness for the prosecution, he answered the following: "When I
arrived at the place the deceased Paciano de los Santos was already in the place where I was to
execute him, and was taken there by four Japanese and several guards of San Ramon, and on the
way they have instructed me how should I kill him, I did kill him in the form and manner testified to by
the witnesses for the prosecution." (Pp. 49, 50, t.s.n.)chanrobles virtual law library

The attorney de oficio appointed by this court for the defendant contends, in the four assignments of
error assigned in his brief, that the court below erred (1) in trying the defendant in the same day on
which he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty, and not granting him two days to prepare for trial as
provided by law; (2) in trying and convicting the accused without a preliminary investigation by the
municipal judge or Fiscal of Zamboanga City;(3) in not compelling, by process of subpoena, the
attendance of witnesses in behalf of the defendant, and finding, despite this failure, that the latter's
testimony was not corroborated by any witness; and (4) in finding the accused guilty of murder with
two aggravating circumstances and imposing upon him the penalty of
death.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(1) As to the first assigned error of the court below, it is true that, according to section 7, Rule 114,
the defendant after arraignment is entitled to at least two days to prepare for trial, except when the
case is on appeal from the justice of the peace. But this court in several cases, among them, the
case of People vs. Cruz (54 Phil., 24, 28), has already construed said section and held that the said
right may be waived either expressly, or impliedly by not asking for time to prepare for trial. In the
present case, the defendant has waived his right to have at least two days to prepare for trial, by
submitting himself and not objecting to the trial ordered by the court on the same day in which he
was arraigned. The decision of this court in the case of People vs. Valte (43 Phil., 907), quoted by
the attorney for the accused, does not support his contention, for in the said case the defendant did
not waive but exercised his right by demanding that he be granted two days to prepare for
trial.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Besides, taking into consideration the fact that the defendant admitted having killed the victim in the
form and manner testified to by the witnesses for the prosecution, and the only defense he alleged is
that he was ordered to do so by Japanese naval authorities; that the defendant had in fact been
given time to prepare for his defense, because before the trial had begun, the said attorney, after a
conference with the defendant, asked the court to issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum to
Nicanor Punsala and Timoteo Almonte, employees in San Ramon Penal Colony, and to Gregorio
Magalit, a detainee in the stockade of Zamboanga, and the subpoenas were issued and served on
the same date, August 6, upon them; and that after three of the witnesses for the prosecution had
testified, the trial was adjourned and continued on August 7 and 8; it may be concluded that had
there been any error such an error is not a reversible one, for it did not impair the substantial rights
of the defendant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(2) With respect to the second assignment of error, the record shows that the defendant has waived
his right to a preliminary investigation in a communication called a motion of July 30, 1945, filed with
the court, in which the said defendant states that "he respectfully waives his right to a preliminary
investigation and request that this case be remanded to the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga for
final decision."chanrobles virtual law library

Section 1 and 7, Rule 108, of the Rules of Court use the words "preliminary investigation," but a
cursory reading thereof would clearly show that the investigation mentioned therein is not the
preliminary investigation proper in which the defendant has the right to present his evidence. That is
the reason why said investigation made for the purpose of issuing the warrant of arrest of a
defendant if it appears that his arrest is justified, is defined by section 1 as "a previous inquiry or
examination made before the arrest of the defendant." Whether or not the warrant of arrest issued
without a probable cause, has nothing to do with the right of the defendant to a preliminary
investigation, and cannot be raised for the first time on appeal from a judgment in which the
defendant is found guilty of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt and sentenced to
death.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The preliminary investigation proper to which the defendant is entitled as apart of the due process of
law in those cases in which the statute provides for it, is that established by section 11, of same Rule
108, and consist in the right of the defendant, after his arrest, to "be informed of the complaint or
information filed against him . . . of the substance of the testimony and evidence presented against
him," and to be allowed "to testify or to present witnesses or evidence in his favor." And the
defendant has waived expressly his right to that preliminary investigation, as above
stated.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(3) In his third assignment of error, the attorney for the defendant states that "the lower court erred in
not compelling by process of subpoena the attendance of witnesses in behalf of the appellant as
provided by the Philippine Constitution, and finding, despite this failure, that the testimony of the
appellant was corroborated by any witnesses."chanrobles virtual law library

This assignment of error is clearly without foundation; because the same attorney admits in his brief
that, the would be witnesses for the defense Nicanor Punsalan, Timoteo Almonte and Gregorio
Magalit were, upon petition of his attorney in the court below, served on August 6 with subpoena and
subpoena duces tecum issued by the court, That "Nicanor Punsalan and Timoteo Almonte were not
examined or presented as witnesses in behalf of the appellant," does not support the contention of
dependant's attorney that they have not been compelled by subpoena to appear in court as
witnesses. The presumption is that they had appeared in compliance with the subpoena, there being
nothing in the record to show the contrary, and that if they had not been presented as such by the
attorney for the defendant, it was because their testimonies were not favorable to the latter; as
evidenced by the testimony of said Magalit, the other witness subpoenaed for the defense, who was
used by the prosecution as a rebuttal witness and testified against the
accused.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(4) The fourth or last assignment of error, is also without merit. Because the defendant, testifying in
his own behalf, admitted having killed Paciano de los Santos on the date and in the form and
manner testified to by the witnesses for the prosecution, and the only defense that he executed or
killed the deceased in obedience to an order given him by Japanese officers of the navy, by whom
he was informed that the deceased was one of those who were encountered by the Japanese in a
mountain and wounded a Japanese soldier, is not supported by any evidence in the record. And
because assuming that there was such an order, it would not justify the crime committed by
defendant and exempt him from criminal liability.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
That there was no such order, oral or written, is clearly shown by the defendant's own incredible,
contradictory and unsupported testimony relating to his having been ordered by the Japanese naval
officer to kill the deceased, which reads as follows:

P. declarando aqui los testigos de la acusacion todos dijeron de que ejecucion de aquel Paciano de
los Santos era por orden de Vd, es cierto eso? - R, senor.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library

P. Tambien declararon aqui de que Vd. habia ordenado a n tal Magalit, su assistant para que
notificara al jefe y a los empleado de la Colonia de San Ramon para que estuviera presente en el
dia y hora de ejecucion de Paciano de los Santos, es cierto esto? -R. Eso era el diciembre
1.0.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

P. Si? - R. Cuando el Capitan Susuki y el Commander Tanigawa se fueron a mi oficina me ordeno


para que ejectura a Paciano de los Santos.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

P. Y cual era objecto de Vd. al notificar a los oficiales y empleados de la Colonia Penal de San
Ramon para el que estuviera presente al tiempo de la ejecucion de Paciano de los Santos? - R.
Para que durante la manana cuando me estaban dando ordenes de que yo ejecute esa orden de
matar a Paciano de los Santos que ellos esten presentes, porque yo estuve discutiendo con el
Capitan Susuki, yo les dije que no podia hacerlo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library

P. Por que? - R. Por ellos insistian, y yo les dije que realmente no podia hacerlo, pero entonces
ellos me dijeron, Tienes que obedecer porque esa ordende Major Susuki tienes que cumplir, de lo
contrario tines que venir con nosotros.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

P. Que mas? - R. Asi pues era la orden de Major Sasaki.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles


virtual law library

P. Que mas? - R. Y como yo no podia esquivarme de la orden que ellos me daban, yo les pedi si
voy a hacer la ejecucion ellos tienen que presenciar tambien para que ellos vean que yo lo hago
contra mi propia voluntad. Entonces, el Capitan Susuki me dijo que ellos no podian estar presentes
porque tenian que volver acquel mismo dia a Zamboanga. (Pp. 48, 49,
t.s.n.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

JUZGADO: P. Aquel suspuesto orden que recibio Vd. de los oficiales del navy para la ejecucion de
Paciano de los Santos dada a Vd. por escrito o verbalmente? - R. Una carta del Commander
Tanigawa llevada alli a mi oficina y la orden fue firmada por el Major
Sasaki.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

P. Aquella carta estaba dirigida a Vd? - R. Si, senor.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual


law library

P. Y tiene Vd. en sur poder esa carta? - R. Tenia todo eso en el record alli en San Ramon pero no
se ahora no se puede encontrar.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

FISCAL ATILANO.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. you had office in San Ramon, as you say? - A. Yes, sir.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
Q. You had also a record clerk who kept all your papers? - A. Yes,
sir.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. And this particular order you said that was given to you by Major Sasaki was also delivered to
your record clerk Mr. Magalit? - A. Si, senor, yo le he dado para que ponga al file de cartas
recibidas. (Pp. 58, 59, t.s.n.).

The above-quoted appellant's testimony is unsupported. And it is not only unsupported, but
contradicted by the witness for the prosecution whose testimony about the order of the appellant to
witness the beheading of the victim we have already stated above, and by Gregorio Magalit who
testified that he had not received or seen the alleged written order of Major
Sasaki.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

It is also incredible and contradictory as a cursory reading of the above would show. The appellant
testified that he ordered them to witness the execution of Paciano de los Santos, so that "during the
morning when they will give me orders to execute the mandate to kill Paciano de los Santos, they be
present" (emphasis supplied); but in the same breath he added: "as I could not refuse to comply with
their order, I asked that if I had to execute it, they should also be present so that they would see that
I do against my will. The Captain Susuki told me that they could not be present because they had to
return that same day to Zamboanga." (P. 49, t.s.n.) Upon being pressed to explain how could the
mere act of his beheading Paciano de los Santos inform those present that he (the defendant) had
acted against the order of the Japanese authorities, he tried to give an explanation that does not
explain by saying that, on the night previous to the execution, he informed the officers and
employees of San Ramon Penal Colony, gathered by his order in the house of Mr. Dellosa, "that he
had been ordered by Major Sasaki to kill Paciano de los Santos, and asked their opinion about it."
This explanation does not explain, because, aside from being contradicted by the witnesses for the
prosecution (p. 68, t.s.n.), if it were true that he had already informed them about it, why did he still
require them to be present at the execution of Paciano de los Santos, specially when, according to
his own testimony, the Japanese officers who gave him the order could not be present because they
had to return the same day to Zamboanga?chanrobles virtual law library

But assuming that such an order was really given by Major Sasaki, it could not exempt the defendant
from criminal liability, either under subsection 6, article 11, or subsections 5 and 6, article 12, of the
Revised Penal Code.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Not under subsection 6 of article 11, because, in killing the deceased, the defendant has not acted in
obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose. The alleged order was not for
lawful purpose, because the deceased was to be killed without any previous trial or hearing, and
Commander Sasaki has no authority to give or issue such an order. This court, in the case of United
States vs.Garcia (5 Phil., 58), held that it is not a defense to a charge of homicide that it was
committed under an illegal order of an officer of the United States
Army.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

And not under subsections 5 and 6, article 12, of the same Revised Penal Code, which exempt from
criminal liability any person "who acts under the compulsion of an irresistable force," or "who acts
under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury." Because it is plain that
there was no compulsion of an irresistible force that compelled the defendant to kill the victim
against his will; nor was there any threat of such a serious character and imminence as to create in
the mind of the defendant an uncontrollable fear that an equal or greater evil or injury would be
inflicted upon him if he did not comply with the alleged order to kill the deceased. The only part of the
defendant's testimony relating to a sort of a threat is the following: "As they insisted and I informed
them that I could not do it, then Captain Susuki told me: You have to comply with the order, he had
to come along with them, is not such a threat as contemplated by said provision of the Revised
Penal Code; especially, taking into consideration that the defendant himself declared that the captain
told him "that they could not be present (at the execution of the deceased) because they had to
return that same day to Zamboanga." (P. 49, t.s.n.)chanrobles virtual law library

At the oral argument, the appellant's attorney invited the attention of this court to a letter received by
him from the defendant Moreno, where it is stated, among other things, that his attorney de oficio in
the court below, Atty. Timoteo de los Santos, was a relative (kamaganak) of he deceased Pacianode
los Santos, and this court ordered that said letter be attached to the record. Later on, the Solicitor
General presented to this court the affidavits of Timoteo de los Santos and Maximo de los Santos,
attorney in the lower court and brother respectively, of the deceased Paciano de los Santos, in which
the affiants declare that the victim was not related at all to said Timoteo de los
Santos.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Although the attorney for the appellant in this court did not impugn in his brief the manner of
conducting the defense by the attorney de oficio for the defendant in the court below, in his
memorandum of authorities submitted after the oral argument he states that the letter above referred
to corraborates in part the statement of Attorney De los Santos appearing in the stenographic
transcript when he said, among other things, "Por encima de micircunstancia personal y de mi
opinion personal entre el acusado, me veo ahora obligado a aceptar el nombramiento y defender al
acusado." In view of the fact that the appellant is charged with a capital offense and the penalty
imposed upon him by the court below is death, we suggested, during and after the hearing of the
case on appeal, that the appellant's attorney file a formal motion for a new trial accompanied by
evidence or affidavit of merits of witnesses who could support the appellant's defense of having
acted in obedience to a lawful order, so as to have some legal ground to grant a new trial and thus
give the appellant additional opportunity to substantiate his
defense.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

We can not find a legal way of remanding this case to the lower court for a new trial. In the first
place, because from the fact that about eight months having already elapsed since the oral
argument or hearing of this case, and no formal motion for a new trial has been filed as suggested, it
may be inferred that the appellant has no other evidence to support his defense; and because after
examining carefully the conduct of the proceedings in the trial court by the attorney de oficio for
defendant, we have come to the conclusion that, though said attorney was somewhat reluctant at
first to act as attorney de oficio for the defendant, he accepted the appointment although his
personal opinion is against the defendant, and performed faithfully his duties as such. Atty. Timoteo
de los Santos did not cross-examine the rebuttal witness Magalit, whose testimony was limited to
deny having received or seen any order by Major Sasaki commanding the appellant to execute
Paciano de los Santos, for it would have been useless to cross-examine him on that point. He did
not cross-examine the witness Carmona because he merely denied the testimony of the defendant
that, during the meeting in the house of Dellosa, he told the officials and employees of the San
Roman Penal Colony gathered there that he did not like to execute Paciano de los Santos. And he
did not cross-examine the other witnesses, Faustino Triplett, Rosa Orquijo and Pedro Herrera, who
testified that in the arrest of civilians by the defendant the latter was not being accompanied by a
Japanese, for whether or not he was accompanied by a Japanese was not material to the present
case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

In view of all the foregoing, we hold that the judgment of the lower court that finds the defendant
guilty of the crime of murder with the aggravating circumstances of premeditation and cruelty and
sentences him to death, is in conformity with the facts and law, and should therefore be affirmed with
costs against the appellant. But in view of the fact that one of the Justices dissents from this
decision, the appellant should, according to section 133 of Commonwealth Act No. 3, as amended
by Executive Order No. 86 of the President of the Philippines dated January 7, 1946, suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua instead of death. So ordered.

Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Bengzon, Briones, Padilla and Tuason, JJ., concur.
Moran, C.J., I certify that Mr. Justice concurred in this decision

Separate Opinionschanrobles virtual law library

PERFECTO, M., tutol:chanrobles virtual law library

Buhay at kamatayan ang siyang natataya sa usaping ito. Ang mahalagang suliranin na kailangan
lutasin ay kung nararapat igawad namin ang kakilakilabot na hatol upang kitilin ang buhay ng isang
salarin. Dakila ang sagutin. Upang mabagayan ang saguting iyan, sagutin na matutularan lamang
kadakilaan ng mga sandaling ang tao ay humaharap sa kay Bathala upang hukuman, may tumpak,
malaki at mahigpit na tungkulin na kailangang tuparin upang kami huwag maging taksil sa aming
sariling budhi at mga sinumpaan sapagtanggap ng isang luklukan sa Kataastaasang
Hukuman.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ang kapalaran ng nasasakdal ay nasa aming mga kamay. Ang timbangan ng katarungan ay aming
hawak sa mga sandaling ito. Ang kasalanan ng humahabol ay napatunayan kaya sa ibabaw ng lahat
ng matuwid na alinlangan? Upang ang kasalanang iyan ay mapatunayan, kailangang gamitin ang
mga paraang itinakda ng Saligang Batas at iba pang mga batas upang ang walang sala ay hindi
mapagkamalan, at maparusahan lamang siyang tunay na may
sala.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ano mang higpit ng pagsusuri ng record na ngayo'y nasa aming harap, hindi makapagbibigay ng
kapanatagang loob ukol sa pagtupad ng mga paraan na iniutos ng batas at mga palatuntunan upang
ang kasalanan ng isang nasasakdal ay tumpak na mapatunayan sagayon sa mga simulain ng
katuwira't katutuhanan, ngkarangala't katarungan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library

Sa hinahaba-habang panahon ng pakikipagbaka ng mga dakilang diwa upang maiwasan ng sino


mang walang sala ang maparusahan, isa na sa mga kailan man ay hindi maitatakwil na kalasag na
ang isang nasasakdal ay kailan man ay hindi mapagkakailaan ng tulong ng isang manananggol.
Kahit sino iyang taong iyang nasasakdal, kahit siya ay pinakaaba at mangmang, kahit siya ang
pinakasusuklamang salarin, kagaya nina Yamashita at Homma at ng mga salaring Nazi na
hinukuman sa Nuremberg, kailangan siya ay magkaruon ng tulong ng isang manananggol, upang
kanyang mapakinabangan ang lahat ng mga sandata at paraan na ipinagkaloob ng batas upang sa
paghuhukom ay walang ibang umiral kungdi ang katutuhana't katarungan
lamang.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Sa ngayon sa record, ang nasasakdal ay hinuli at piniit simula pa nuong Hulyo 26, 1945, araw din
nang igawad ang warrant ng Hukom Martin A. Paulati ng hukumang municipal at nuong araw ding
yaon itinala ang pangunang paglilitis na gaganapin sa Hulyo 30, 1945. Sa ngayon sa rekord, sa
araw ding iyon si Moreno ay binasahan ng sakdal laban sa kaniya at sumagot ng hindi pagamin.
Pagkatapus ay nagrenunsya siya ng kanyang karapatan sa pangunang paglilitis at hiningi niya na
ang usapin ay ilipat sa hukumang Unang Dulugan ng Zamboanga. Ang Hukom Paulati naman ay
ginawa ang paglilipat.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Kasing liwanag ng sikat ng araw na makikita sa record na, sa lahat ng mga hakbang na ginawa
sapul sa pagkakahuli ng nasasakdal hanggang ang mga papel ng usapin ai mailipat sa hukumang
unang dulugan, kahit sa alin mang sandali ay ang nasasakdal ay hindi nagkamit ng kahit kaunting
tulong ng isang manananggol. Itong kakulangang ito ay isang maliwanag na paglabag sa Saligang
Batas. Sa ngayon sa rekord, iginawad ng Hukom Paulati ang warrant sa pagdakipkay Moreno dahil
sa ito magsimula pa ng Hulyo 26, 1945, ay nasasakdal na sakasalanang asesinato sa usaping
bilang 157, na nagsasaad sa isang sakdal nainiharap ng Fiscal Jose T. Atilano nuon ding Hulyo 26,
bagaman sa itaas nagsakdal ay mayruong nasusulat na "filed July 31-45, 2:50 p.m." Maliwanag na
itong notang ito'y hindi nababatay sa katutuhanan, at ang sakdal ay iniharap nuong Julyo 26 pa, at
kung hindi ay walang katuwirang sabihin ng Hukom Paulatisa warrant na si Moreno ay nasasakdal
sa kasalanang asesinato.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ang karapatan ng isang nasasakdal na ipagtanggol ng isang manananggol ay dapat kamtan sa


lahat at bawa't isa sa mga hakbang ng paglilitis, sapul sa siya'y basahan ng sakdal (sec. 1, Rule
111). Sa ngayon sa mga palatuntunan ng mga hukuman, sa sandaling pagharap ng nasasakdal sa
pagbasa ng sakdal, pag ang nasasakdal ay humarap na walang kasamang manananggol,
tungkuling mahigpit ng hukuman na tanungin ang nasakdal kung nais niyang siya'y tulungan ng
isang manananggol, at pag ang nasasakdal ay walang kayang kumuha ng sariling manananggol,
tungkulin ng hukuman ang humirang ng isang manananggol, tungkulin ng hukuman ang humirang
ng isang manananggol de oficio (section 3, Rule 112). Sa nasa ng Kataastaasang Hukuman na ang
karapatan na ating pinaguusapan ay huwag matawaran kahit sa anong paraan, iniuutos tuloy na
pagkalooban ang isang nasasakdal ng isang manananggol kahit hindi titulado sa mga pook na
walang maapuhap na kahit hindi isa mang may titulo, huwag lamang mangyari na ang isang
nasasakdal ay mawawalan ng mahusay na katulong sa sakunang kaniyang hinaharap (Section 4,
Rule 112.) Sangayon sa mga inihahayag ng rekord, ang mga nabanggit na mga tungkulin ng
hukuman ay hindi tinupad samantalang ang usapin ay hindi pa nalilipat sa hukumang unang
dulugan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Kung susuriin ang rekord ng mga nangyari sa hukumang unang dulugan, bagaman tila ang
nasasakdal ay pinagkaloobang sunod-sunod ng tatlong manananggol de oficio ikinalulungkot na
aminin na sa buong paglilitis hanggang sa ang nasasakdal ay hinatulan ay katulad din sa walang
sinumang manananggol ang nakialam upang ipagmatuwid ang lahat niyang mga
karapatan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ang sakdal sa hukumang unang dulugan ay iniharap nuong ika 31 ng Hulyo, 1945. Nuong araw ding
iyon ay ipinakalat ang mga babala sa nasasakdal at sa mga saksi ng pamamahalaan na itinakda sa
Agosto 3, 1945, ang tuluyang paglilitis ng sakdal. Nuong Agosto 2, 1945, bispera ng araw ng
paglilitis, ang Teniente J.b. Villanueva, nangangasiwa ng kinapipiitan ni Moreno, ay nagpahayag ng
itong walang manananggol. At nuon ding araw na iyon ang Hukon Florentino Saginay hinirang si
Ramon V. Villaflor na maging manananggol de oficio ng
nasasakdal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Sa araw na itinakda, Agosto 3, 1945, humarap si Villaflor upang hingin sa hukuman na pahintulutan
siyang huwag magpatuloy sa paglilingkod sa nasasakdalsa dalawang dahilan: una, sapagkat siya at
ang nasasakdal ay hindi magkasundo sa mga paraan ukol sa pagtatanggol; at pangalawa, sapagkat
nais niyang pumaroon sa Kabasalan, upang iligtas niya ng kaniyang mga kasangkapan dahil duon
ay mayruon pang mga Hapones. Ang kahilingan ay pinaunlakan ng hukuman at hinirang naman nito
si Jaime O'Hara, bilang manananggol de oficio na kahalili, at ipinaliban ang paglilitis para sa Lunes,
Agosto 6, 1945.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Nuong Agosto 4, 1945, si Jaime O'Hara ay tumanggi rin upang maging manananggol de oficio ng
nasasakdal, sa pagñgañgatuwirang siya'y isang kagawad ng pamahalaan at ang palatuntunan ng
servisyo sivil ay naguutos na iukol niya ang kaniyang buong panahon sa kaniyang mga tungkulin,
bukod pa sa pangyayari na siya ay kumpadre at matalik na kaibigan ng mga sinasabing viktima ni
Moreno at inakala niya na dahil dito ay siya ay walang ganap na kalayaan upang kaniyang
mapaglingkuran ng buong tapat ang mga pakay ng
katarungan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Nuong Agosto 6, 1945, araw din ng paglilitis, ay ginawad ng Hukom Sagin ang isang kautusan na
pinapayagan ang kahiliñgan ni Jaime O'Hara, at sabay na hinarang na kahalili ang manananggol T.
de los Santos.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Sangayon sa rekord, nuon ding araw na iyon ai binasahan si Moreno ng sakdal laban sa kaniya at
kaniyang sinagot ng hindi pagamin ng kasalanan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

Sangayon sa mga palatuntunan ang mga hukuman, pagkatapus na sagutin ang sakdal, ang
nasasakdal ay mayruong karapatang pagkalooban ng panahong hindi bababa sa dalawang araw
upang makapaghanda sa paglilitis (section 7, Rule 114). Gayon pa man, itong mahigpit na kautusan
ng tuntunin ay sadyang nilabag, at pagkaraan ng mga ilang minuto lamang na mabasa ang sakdal,
sinimulan agad ang paglilitis sa ika siyam ng umaga ding iyon. Ang mananaggol Timoteo de los
Santos ay nagsimula ng magpahayag na katatanggap pa lamang niyang kaniyang pagkahirang na
manananggol de oficio na "kung ako lamang ang masusunod, sa tapatang pahayag, ay hindi ko
tatanggapin ang usaping ito," at sapilitan lamang siyang tumutupad sa kautusan ng hukuman, "sa
ibabaw ng aking kalagayang sarile at ng aking paniniwalang laban sa nasasakdal." (T. 1,
2.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Sa bandang tanghali ng araw ding iyon ang hukuman na rin ang nagpahayag ng sumusunod: "Mr.
De los Santos informed the court this morning that he was not ready for trial but because the court
requested him to cooperate in disposing of the testimony of some of the witnesses, he willingly
accommodated us."(T. 25.) Ang rekord ay pipi kung bakit ang manananggol ay nagpaunlak agad
salabag-batas na mungkahi ng hukuman at kinapus ng tibay-loob upang ipaglaban ang karapatan
ng nasasakdal na bigyan ng panahon sa paghahanda bago humarap sa
paglilitis.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Sa makatuwid, maliwanag sa mga pangyayari na pinilit ng hukuman na ang nasasakdal ay pumasok


sa paglilitis ng hindi nakahanda, ng ang kaniyang manananggol ay hindi rin handa, ng niyurakan ang
karapatan ng nasasakdal napagkalooban ng hindi bababa sa dalawang araw upang makapaghanda,
ng ang kaniyang sariling manananggol ay mayroong paniniwalang laban sa ipagtatanggol. Ang
kalagayan ng nasasakdal, sangayon sa mga inihahayag ng rekord, ay higit ang sama kay sa walang
manananggol de oficio na humarap, sapagkat ang kaniyang inaasahang magtatanggol sa kaniya ay
kaniya palang kalaban sa paniniwala.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ang maraming mga pagkukulang na ginawa ng nabanggit na manananggol de oficio ay napasagwa


na hindi akalaing gagawin ng kahit pinaka baguhang manananggol. Ang pagkukulang na iyan ay
nangyari lamang dahil sa nabanggit na manananggol ay magsimula pa sa simula ay mayruon ng
matibay na paniniwalang laban sa kaniyang ipinagtatanggol. Hindi na paniniwalan na ang naging
sanhi ay ang kaniyang kamangmangan ukol sa batas, sapagkat wala namang tumatawad sa
kanyang kaalaman at kabihasnan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ang pagwawalang bahala at pagwawalang malasakit ng manananggol de oficio ay mapatutunayan,


bukod sa mga nasabi na sa una, sa pangyayari na pito sa mga saksi ng pamahalaan ang hindi niya
pinaraan sa baso at lagangan ng kahit isang subling tanong, at kung mayroon man siyang mga
itinanong sa ilan sa mga saksi ay kakaunti at walang halaga ang kaniyang tanong na ginawa, sa
paraang walang naidulot at naidudulot na anomang kabutihan sa pagtatanggol ng
nasasakdal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Bukod sa mga pagkukulang na nabanggit, ang manananggol de oficio ay gumawa ng is an
kamaliang hindi maaring patawarin. Alam niya na ang saksing si Gregorio Magalit ng pamahalan ay
labang-laban sa nasasakdal (Abogado De los Santos: "Queremos hacer constar que el testigo esta
muy hostil a la defensa." T. 43.) Gayon pa man, kahit hindi kailangan, ginawa niya ang nabanggit na
taona maging saksi din ng nasasakdal bagaman ang mga bagay na kaniyang itinanongsa bagong
hiram na saksi ay maari ding usisain sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatuloy ng kaniyang mga subling
tanong. Tila sinadyang gawing saksi ng defensa si Magalit, ang pinakamahigpit na saksi ng
pamahalaan, upang mapanganyaya at dikdikin ang kapalaran ng
nasasakdal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Kung ating maalaala ang mahusay na alegato ng manananggol de oficio na hinirang ng


Kataastaasang Hukuman, ang kaniyang pagsusumikap at pagmamalasakit upang ihayag ang lahat
ng matuwid sa ikabubuti ng humahabol na nasasakdal, ay lalung-lalo ng mahahalata ang mga
pagkukulang at mga pagkakamali ng manananggol de oficio na humawak ng usapin sa hukuman
unang dulugan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Dahil sa mga pangyayaring nasasaad sa itaas, ay aming ipinalalagay na ang nasasakda; na si


Moreno ay pinagkaitan ng kaniyang karapatan na bigyan ng panahong hindi bababa sa dalawang
araw upang makapaghanda sa paglilitis at ng kaniyang karapatang nasasalig sa Saligang Batas na
magkaruon ng tulong ng isang manananggol, at ito'y laban sa mga subseksion 15 at 17 ng seksion
1, articulo III, ng Saligang Batas.

(15) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(17) In all criminal prosecution the accused shall be presumed to be innocent until the contrary is
proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature
and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy and public trial, to meet the witnesses
face to face, and to have compulsary process to secure the attendance of witnesses in his behalf.

Hindi namin masasangayunan ang isang hatol na mag-uutos na putihin ang buhay ng isang tao sa
ilalim ng mga nabanggit na paglalabag sa batas. Tiyak na alam namin na sa aming palagay na ito ay
aming inililigtas ang buhay ng isang taona marahil ay wala ng karapatan kahit kaunti upang
magpatuloy lasunin ng kaniyang hininga ang simoy na dapat kamtan lamang ng mga taong hindi
nagkakautang ng buhay ng kapuwa; subalit bago ang isang hukom o mahistrado ay pahintulutang
ang kaniyang kamay ay matigmak ng dugo ng kapuwa tao ay dapat niyang tiyakin ng walang ano
mang alinglangan, na sa mga mahigpit na kautusan ng batas at na ganyak ng sariling budhi ay wala
ng ibang paraan, at ang tungkulin ay hindi maiiwasan, matataliwasan at matatalikuran. Sa usaping
ito ay kami ay hindi nasisiyahan upang sangayunan ang pasiya ng aming mgakapatid sa
Kataastaasang Hukuman.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Ipinapasiya namin na pawalang bisa ang hatol ng hukuman unang dulugan at ibalik ang usapin sa
nabaggit na hukuman upang litisin ng panibago pagkatapusna pagkalooban ang nasasakdal ng
isang manananggol de oficio na tunay namakapagsanggalang sa kaniya at igalang ng hukuman ang
lahat niyang mga karapatan sa buong paglilitis hanggang igawad ang panibagong hatol.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 215424, December 09, 2015

ADINA B. MANANSALA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated April 16, 2014 and the
Resolution3 dated October 7, 2014 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 34763, affirming the
conviction of petitioner Adina B. Manansala (Manansala) for the crime of Falsification of Private Documents,
defined and penalized under Article 172 (2), in relation to Article 171 (4), of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

The Facts

On May 31, 1999, private complainant Kathleen L. Siy (Siy), former Vice President for Finance of Urban
Finance and Leasing Corporation, now UMC Finance and Leasing Corporation (UMC), instructed her
secretary, Marissa Bautista (Bautista), to withdraw via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) the amount of
P38,000.00 from her Metrobank and Bank of the Philippine Islands bank accounts. However, Bautista was
not able to make such withdrawal as the ATM was offline so she took it upon herself to get such amount
from the petty cash custodian of UMC instead, but she forgot to inform Siy where she got the money. On
June 9, 1999, UMC Finance Manager Violeta Q. Dizon-Lacanilao (Lacanilao) informed Siy that as per the
Petty Cash Replenishment Report (subject report) of the same date prepared by UMC Petty Cash Custodian
Manansala, she allegedly made a cash advance in the amount of P38,000.00 which remained unliquidated. It
was only then that Siy found out what Bautista had done, and she immediately rectified the situation by
issuing two (2) checks to reimburse UMC's petty cash account. As the checks were eventually encashed
resulting in the replenishment of UMC's petty cash account, Lacanilao instructed Manansala to revise the
subject report by deleting the entry relating to Siy's alleged cash advance, to which Manansala acceded. On
June 11, 1999, Lacanilao reported the incident to UMC President Conrado G. Marty (Marty).4

Sometime in March 2000, Lacanilao instructed Manansala to retrieve the subject report, re-insert the entry
relating to Siy's alleged cash advance therein, reprint the same on a scratch paper, and repeatedly fold the
paper to make it look old. On the basis of the reprinted subject document, Siy was administratively charged
for using office funds for personal use. On April 18, 2000, Siy was terminated from her job and Lacanilao
succeeded the former in the position she left vacant. The foregoing prompted Siy to pursue criminal charges
against Marty, Lacanilao, and Manansala for Falsification of Private Documents. Eventually, the charge
against Marty was withdrawn, and an Amended Information5 dated July 19, 2001 for the aforesaid crime
was filed against Lacanilao and Manansala before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 65
(MeTC).6

In her defense, Manansala maintained that she was just following Lacanilao's orders as the latter is her
superior who approves her work. She added that when Lacanilao instructed her to reprint the subject report,
she was apprehensive to follow because she suspected something, but nevertheless acquiesced to such
instruction.7

The MeTC Ruling

In a Decision8 dated October 27, 2010, the MeTC both found Lacanilao and Manansala guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of committing the crime of Falsification of Private Documents and, accordingly: (a)
sentenced Lacanilao to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for the indeterminate period of one (1) year and
one (1) day of arresto mayor maximum to prision correccional minimum, as minimum, to three (3) years,
six (6) months, and twenty one (21) days of prision correccional medium and maximum, as maximum, and
to pay a fine of P3,000.00; (b) sentenced Manansala to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for the
indeterminate period of four (4) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor maximum to prision correccional
minimum, as minimum, to two (2) years, four (4) months, and one (1) day of prision correccional
medium and maximum, as maximum, and to pay a fine of P2,000.00; and (c) ordered each of the accused
to pay Siy the amounts of P100,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as attorney's fees.9

The MeTC found that Lacanilao and Manansala conspired in falsifying the subject report by stating therein
that Siy made a cash advance and used it for her personal use, despite knowing all along that Siy never did
so; thus, resulting in Siy's termination from her work. In this regard, the MeTC tagged Lacanilao as the
mastermind of the crime as she benefited the most from Siy's termination, while Manansala aided Lacanilao
in the realization of her sinister motive.10

Nonetheless, the MeTC appreciated the mitigating circumstance of acting under an impulse of uncontrollable
fear in favor of Manansala, noting that she merely acted upon Lacanilao's instructions and that she only
performed such acts out of fear that she would lose her job if she defied her superior's orders.11 Manansala
moved for reconsideration12 but was denied in an Order13 dated January 31, 2011.

Aggrieved, Manansala appealed her conviction to the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 142
(RTC).14 Records are, however, bereft of any showing that Lacanilao made any similar appeal, thus, her
conviction had lapsed into finality.

The RTC Ruling

In a Decision15 dated October 20, 2011, the RTC affirmed the MeTC ruling in toto. It held that Manansala
clearly falsified the subject report by inserting a statement therein which she knew from the start to be
untruthful - that Siy made a cash advance for her personal needs - resulting in prejudice on the part of
Siy.16

Manansala moved for reconsideration,17 but was denied in an Order18 dated January 30, 2012. Undaunted,
she elevated the matter to the CA via a petition for review.19

The CA Ruling

In a Decision20 dated April 16, 2014, the CA affirmed the RTC ruling. The CA agreed with the MeTC and
RTC's findings that Manansala made untruthful statements in the subject report which was contrary to her
duty as UMC Petty Cash Custodian and that such findings were utilized to the detriment of Siy who was
terminated on the basis of said falsified report.21

Dissatisfied, Manansala moved for reconsideration,22 which was, however, denied in a Resolution23dated
October 7, 2014; hence, this petition.

The Issue Before the Court

The core issue for the Court's resolution is whether or not the CA correctly affirmed Manansala's conviction
for Falsification of Private Documents.

The Court's Ruling

The petition is without merit.

At the outset, it must be stressed that in criminal cases, an appeal throws the entire case wide open for
review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even
reverse the trial court's decision based on grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. The
appeal confers the appellate court full jurisdiction over the case and renders such court competent to
examine records, revise the judgment appealed from, increase the penalty, and cite the proper provision of
the penal law.24

Proceeding from the foregoing, the Court agrees with the ruling of the courts a quo convicting Manansala of
the crime of Falsification of Private Documents, but disagrees in the appreciation of the "mitigating
circumstance" of acting under an impulse of uncontrollable fear in her favor.

As already stated, Manansala was charged with committing the crime of Falsification of Private Documents
defined and penalized under Article 172 (2), in relation to Article 171 (4), of the RPC, which respectively
read as follows:
ART. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee; or notary or ecclesiastical minister. - The penalty
of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee,
or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the
following acts:
chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

xxxx
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;

xxxx

ART. 172. Falsification by private individuals and use of falsified documents. - The penalty of prision
correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than 5,000 pesos shall be imposed
upon:chanRoblesv irtual Lawlib rary

xxxx

2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any
private document commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next preceding article.

xxxx
The elements of Falsification of Private Documents under Article 172 (2) of the RPC are: (a) that the
offender committed any of the acts of falsification, except those in Article 171 (7) of the same Code; (b)
that the falsification was committed in any private document; and (c) that the falsification caused damage to
a third party or at least the falsification was committed with intent to cause such damage.25 On the other
hand the elements of Falsification under Article 171 (4) of the RPC are as follows: (a) the offender makes in
a public document untruthful statements in a narration of facts; (b) he has a legal obligation to disclose the
truth of the facts narrated by him; and (c) the facts narrated by him are absolutely false.26

In the instant case, the MeTC, RTC, and CA all correctly found Manansala guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the aforesaid crime, considering that: (a) as UMC's Petty Cash Custodian, she is legally obligated to disclose
only truthful statements in the documents she prepares in connection with her work, such as the subject
report; (b) she knew all along that Siy never made any cash advance nor utilized the proceeds thereof for
her personal use; (c) despite such knowledge, she still proceeded in revising the subject report by inserting
therein a statement that Siy made such a cash advance; and (d) she caused great prejudice to Siy as the
latter was terminated from her job on account of the falsified report that she prepared. Basic is the rule that
findings of fact made by a trial court are accorded the highest degree of respect by an appellate
tribunal27 and, absent a clear disregard of the evidence before it that can otherwise affect the results of the
case or any clear showing of abuse, arbitrariness or capriciousness committed by the lower court, its
findings of facts, especially when affirmed by the CA, are binding and conclusive upon this Court,28 as in this
case.

While the conviction of Manansala for the aforesaid crime was proper, it was error for the MeTC to
appreciate the "mitigating circumstance" of acting under an impulse of uncontrollable fear and for the RTC
and the CA to affirm in toto the MeTC's ruling without correcting the latter court's mistake.

To begin with, "acting under an impulse of uncontrollable fear" is not among the mitigating circumstances
enumerated in Article 13 of the RPC, but is an exempting circumstance provided under Article 12 (6) of the
same Code. Moreover, for such a circumstance to be appreciated in favor of an accused, the following
elements must concur: (a) the existence of an uncontrollable fear; (b) that the fear must be real and
imminent; and (c) the fear of an injury is greater than, or at least equal to, that committed.29 For such
defense to prosper, the duress, force, fear or intimidation must be present, imminent and impending, and of
such nature as to induce a well-grounded apprehension of death or serious bodily harm if the act be done. A
threat of future injury is not enough.30

In the instant case, while the records show that Manansala was apprehensive in committing a falsity in the
preparation of the subject report as she did not know the repercussions of her actions,31 nothing would show
that Lacanilao, or any of her superiors at UMC for that matter, threatened her with loss of employment
should she fail to do so. As there was an absence of any real and imminent threat, intimidation, or coercion
that would have compelled Manansala to do what she did, such a circumstance cannot be appreciated in her
favor.

Hence, as there should be no mitigating circumstance that would modify Manansala's criminal liability in this
case - and also taking into consideration the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law - she must be
sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for the indeterminate period of six (6) months of arresto
mayor, as minimum, to two (2) years, four (4) months, and one (1) day of prision correccional, as
maximum.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Accordingly, the Decision dated April 16, 2014 and the Resolution
dated October 7, 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 34763 are
herebyAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, sentencing petitioner Adina B. Manansala to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment for the indeterminate period of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two (2)
years, four (4) months, and one (1) day of prision correccional, as maximum.

SO ORDERED. chanroblesvi rtua llawli bra ry

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Perez, JJ., concur. chanrob leslaw

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-32265 May 16, 1983

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ERNESTO RAMOS y ANTONIO, ELADIO CALUYA y BINUYA, SIXTO GABORNE y LLUADER
and EDUARDO SUBLECHERO y GABUAT, defendants-appellants.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Amado Sison for E. Sublechero.

Ernesto C S. Sibal for E. Ramos, defendants-appellants.

RELOVA, J.:

Automatic review of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XIV at Caloocan City,
for robbery with homicide, sentencing Ernesto Ramos, Eladio Caluya, Eduardo Sublechero, and
Sixto Gaborne "to suffer the supreme penalty of death by electrocution, and to indemnify the heirs of
Dr. Mariano Gana jointly and severally the sum of P12,200.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency and to pay the costs."

With respect to the accused Sixto Gaborne who, upon arraignment, pleaded guilty to the charge and
was sentenced accordingly, this Court on July 25, 1974 set aside the decision of the lower court of
March 5, 1970 and granted him a new trial "to enable him to be afforded the opportunity to be heard
in accordance with the guidelines set forth by this Court from Apduhan and the subsequent cases."
Thus, this appeal concerns the accused Ernesto Ramos y Antonio, Eladio Caluya y Binuya and
Eduardo Sublechero y Gabuat only.

Evidence shows that about nine o'clock in the evening of December 8, 1967, Vilma Pitelo and
Milagros Bural, housemaids of Dr. and Mrs. Mariano Gana whose residence is at 139 Tirad Pass,
Balintawak, Caloocan City were in the kitchen of the said Gana residence. Vilma was scrubbing the
kitchen floor while Milagros was putting water in bottles near the kitchen sink. Suddenly, appellant
Ernesto Ramos came from behind Milagros Bural, held her left shoulder and tied a handkerchief
over her mouth. A companion of Ernesto Ramos helped in tying her hands behind her back,
following which Vilma Pitelo was also tied, her mouth with a twisted shirt and her hands and feet tied
with a rope. Upon hearing the footsteps from the other side of the kitchen, Milagros Bural, and Vilma
Pitelo saw Ernesto Ramos and the other appellants who had entered the kitchen door, hide behind
the door near the refrigerator. Dr. Gana entered the kitchen and got a bottle of water inside the
refrigerator. He then went back to the sala and listened to the radio.

Appellants entered the sala, except Ernesto Ramos who stayed and stood guard in the kitchen.
Suddenly, Mrs. Rosario Bella-Gana who at the time was resting in her bedroom at the ground floor
of their residence heard a groan and thinking that her husband, Dr. Gana, might be suffering from
"bangungot", shouted: "Manoy, Manoy, may sakit ka ba? Ano ang nangyari?" and immediately
rushed to leave her room to give her husband a glass of water. As she opened the door, she met
appellants Caluya, Sublechero, Gaborne and another one she described as tag and thin. These four
men led her back to her room and demanded money. Mrs. Gana told them they can get every thing
and pleaded not to hurt her. Appellant Sublechero asked for the key to the aparador while the tan
one took the money which is a little over P200.00.

Thereafter, the four men led Mrs. Gana to the kitchen where they tied her hands behind her back
with a rope. She was made to join her two maids who were tied to the rice sack near the cupboard.
The five men including Ernesto Ramos fled from the house.

Mrs. Gana managed to go up to the second floor of the house where she called her daughter-in-law,
Sarah Florentino Gana, who untied her. They went down the ground floor where they saw Dr. Gana
slumped at the foot of the stairs, soaked with blood. Sarah went to the kitchen and untied the maids,
following which, they returned to the sala and found Dr. Gana already dead.

The matter was reported to the police who came to investigate and ordered the members of the
household not to touch anything. Vilma then and there told the police that she knew one of the five
men, Eduardo Sublechero, because the latter used to play basketball in their yard.

After the statements of the other witnesses had been taken, appellants Ernesto Ramos, Eladio
Caluya and Eduardo Sublechero were investigated by the police of Caloocan City before whom they
gave their respective statements which were subscribed and sworn to before the inquest fiscal. Sixto
Gaborne refused to give a statement.

Dr. Plaridel Vidal of the National Bureau of Investigation conducted the examination on the body of
the deceased Dr. Mariano Gana. Necropsy report shows that the victim died of "[h]emorrhage,
meningeal, subdural, subarachnoidal extensive and generalized, traumatic." (Exhibit "F")

In his defense, Ernesto Ramos professed innocence of the crime charged due to the exempting
circumstance of irresistible force and uncontrollable fear. His evidence tends to show that:

[O]n December 8, 1967, at about 7:00 o'clock in the evening, accused appellant
Ernesto Ramos was fetched from his house at 109 G. de Jesus, Caloocan City by
co-accused Eduardo Sublechero and brought to the house of the latter at General
Tirona, Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City to fill out application forms for overseas
employment. While thus preparing their application forms, two other co-accused,
Sixto Gaborne and Boy Andy came and invited them to eat in a restaurant for they
won in gambling, (t.s.n., p. 3, March 19, 1969). Thereafter, they proceeded to a store
at Bagong Barrio where Boy Andy bought a rope. Upon seeing the rope, accused-
appellant Ernesto Ramos became curious and asked Boy Andy what he will do with
the rope and he was told to keep quiet but after about two minutes Ernesto Ramos
insisted in knowing what the rope was for. Finally Boy Andy told them if they really
want to have money, Ernesto Ramos protested and said what they were thinking was
not good and that he wanted to go home. Boy Andy prevented him from leaving for
he had already known of their evil scheme and was afraid he might tell the police.
When Ernesto Ramos refused to join them, and was insisting to go home. Boy Andy
held him by the collar of his shirt at the same time pulling out a dagger which he
pointed to Ramos and told him if Ramos will not go with him he will kill him. For fear,
Ramos went with them to Samson Road where they waited for Jojo. From there, they
proceeded to the house of Dr. Mariano Gana. After cutting the wire fence, Boy Andy
pushed Eduardo Sublechero inside. When they were all inside, Ramos was forced by
Andy to go inside too. Ramos' knees were trembling, (t.s.n. p. 4, March 19, 1969)
Ramos saw the two housemaids hogtied but he could not see clearly who hogtied
them for it was dark inside-the lights were off. Boy Andy ordered Ramos to stand
guard and threatened him not to leave or he will kill him. After a while he heard
banging noises inside and then saw all the others running towards the kitchen so all
of them ran outside of the house and proceeded to Boy Andy's house where the loot
of P200.00 was divided. At first Ramos refused to accept his share of P40.00 by
saying they could keep it and he will just go home. When Boy Andy suspected that
Ramos might tell the police of the incident, the latter got nervous and afraid so for
fear of his life, he accepted the money and went home. The following day, they were
arrested by the police and investigated at the police headquarters. (pp. 3 & 4,
Appellant Ernesto Ramos' Brief)

The defense of Eduardo Sublechero is as follows: On December 8,1967, he and Ernesto Ramos
were preparing their applications for overseas employment. Boy Andy arrived and invited them to go
to Bagong Barrio. On the way, and in front of the house of Dr. Mariano Gana, Boy Andy held
Sublechero by the collar of his shirt, poked a three-bladed instrument at him and ordered him to
enter the residence of Dr. Mariano Gana. While inside the residence of the victim, Sublechero did
riot have the chance to go out of the house because Boy Andy was always beside him. In short, this
appellant claims exemption from any criminal liability because his acts and/or participation in the
criminal design of Boy Andy, who up to then remains at large, was under compulsion of an
irresistible force and under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury.

Likewise, Eladio Caluya claims that on December 8,1967, at about 8:00 in the evening he was on his
way to his residence at Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City, from work at the Asiatic Shoe Factory and
met Boy Andy, Gaborne, Sublechero and Ramos waiting for him at Samson Road. He claimed no
conversation took place among them and they walked towards Bagong Barrio until they reached the
residence of Dr. Mariano Gana. They stopped in front of said house and he claimed he was
surprised when Boy Andy told them that they would enter the said house to rob. He remonstrated
but Boy Andy threatened to kill him if he would not join. His testimony follows.

Q When he told you would rob said house, what did you do, you
particularly?

A I told him that I would not go with him.

Q When you told him you would not go with him, what happened?

A He threatened me if I would not go with them, he would kill me.

Q When he threatened you, did he have any weapon with him then?

A He had.
Q What was with him?

A A knife this long (Witness demonstrating a foot long).

ATTY. BALGONA:

Q Did he threatened you with that knife?

A Yes, sir, by poking the same at my side.

Q Did you finally enter the premises of the house of Doctor Gana?

A Yes, sir." (tsn. p. 2 1, March 19, 1969 hearing)

He claimed, however, that he did not do anything while inside the


house of Dr. Gana.

Q What did you do when you were already at the premises of the
house of Doctor Gana?

A None, sir. (tsn. p. 21, March 19, 1969 hearing)

On December 9, 1967, at about 3:00 in the morning, he was apprehended at his residence by
policemen and brought to the Caloocan City Police Headquarters for investigation.

The trial court, with valid reason, refused to accept the alleged threat employed by Boy Andy to kill
them if they would not join him and considered the same as flimsy and inadequate so as to strike
fear in their hearts and compel them to obey and commit the heinous crime. "Even if Boy Andy was
armed with a knife, he was alone and the three accused could manage to overpower him if not
escape from the scene of the crime. It is evident that accused Ramos, Sublechero and Caluya were
willing participants in the pursuit of their criminal design to rob and kill. The excuses of the
defendants cannot prevail over the clear, conclusive and positive evidence of the prosecution.
Moreover, the crime committed was proven independently of the extra-judicial confessions of the
accuse thru the testimonies of the pro petition witnesses beyond reasonable doubt. It is proceedings.
observed by the Court that the evidence on record offers sufficient and ample ground to conclude
that the accused committed the crime of robbery with homicide pursuant to a conspiracy. The
circumstance of their meeting together one night in one place from which they proceeded to the
scene of the crime; the taking along with them a newly bought rope; their separate, individual and
assigned tasks in the commission of the crime; the almost militant dispatch and precision in the
perpetration of the crime; and their departure together from the scene of the crime and meeting in
one place to divide the loot- all these facts and circumstances taken together clearly manifest a pre-
conceived, well-planned and concerted action on the part of the accused in pursuance of their
common and evil design to rob and kill. (Decision, pp. 27-28)

We find no reason to differ from the conclusions reached by the trial court in finding herein
appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The defense invoked by the
appellants that they acted in view of the irresistible force and uncontrollable fear of Boy Andy in the
unfortunate incident which resulted in the death of Dr. Mariano Gana is devoid of merit. Basis of
these two exempting circumstances is the complete absence of freedom. In the case at bar,
appellants Ramos, Sublechero and Caluya failed to show that they resisted the threats of Boy Andy
and that in spite of their resistance they were still forced to act in accordance with his wishes. Their
fear of Boy Andy was merely speculative and there was complete absence of real or reasonable fear
for one's life. Had appellants wanted to, they would have easily overpowered Boy Andy who was
alone.

On the other hand, the manner in which the crime was executed shows that appellants had
community of design and that they cooperated and helped each other in the commission thereof.
They met in Samson Road, Caloocan City and from there proceeded to the scene of the crime. In
the presence of the appellants, Boy Andy bought a rope from a store. Upon entering the house, each
one performed his assigned task and after the commission of the crime, they left the scene of the
crime and met in the place of Boy Andy to get their respective shares.

By and large, the people's evidence is sufficient to sustain the judgment appealed from. However, in
the absence of the necessary votes, We have to impose the penalty lower than death which is
reclusion perpetua.

WHEREFORE, as modified in the sense that the penalty imposed on herein appellants Ernesto
Ramos y Antonio, Eladio Caluya y Binuya and Eduardo Sublechero y Gabuat is reduced to reclusion
perpetua, the appealed judgment is AFFIRMED in all other respects.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee, (Actg. C.J.), Makasiar, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro,
Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin Vasquez and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

Fernando, CJ., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-6082 March 18, 1911

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ISIDRO VICENTILLO, defendant-appellant.

C.W. Ney for appellant.


Attorney-General Villamor for appellee.

CARSON, J.:

The defendant in this case was found guilty in the court below of the crime of "illegal and arbitrary
detention" of the complaining witness for a period of three days, and sentenced to pay a fine of 625
pesetas, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs of the trial.

We are of opinion that under all the circumstances of this case there can be no doubt of the lawful
authority of the defendant, in the exercise of his functions as municipal president, to make arrest of
the complaining witness which resulted in his alleged unlawful detention. As we understand the
evidence, the alleged offense with which the complaining witness in this case was charged was
committed by him in the presence of the municipal president, who must be held to have had all the
usual powers of a police officer for the making of arrest without warrant, under the doctrine laid down
in the case of U.S. vs. Fortaleza (12 Phil. Rep., 472).

The judgment of conviction of the court below must therefore be reversed, unless the evidence
discloses that having made the arrest, the defendant arbitrarily and without legal authority, as it is
alleged, cause the complaining witness to be detained for a period of three days without having him
brought before the proper judicial authority for the investigation and trial of the charge on which he
was arrested. But so far as we can gather from the extremely meagre record in this case the
arrested man was in fact brought before a justice of the peace as soon as "practicable" after his
arrest. True, three days were expended in doing, so, but it was conclusively proven at the trial that at
the time of the arrest neither the local justice of the peace nor his auxiliary were in the municipality,
and to reach the justice of the peace of either of the two adjoining municipalities, it was necessary to
take a long journey by boat. The evidence discloses, moreover, that with all practicable dispatch, the
prisoner was forwarded first to one and then to the other of the adjoining municipalities for trial, the
failure to secure trial on the first occasion being due to the fact that the written complaint, which was
intrusted to the policeman in charge of the prisoner, was either lost or stolen. It does not appear why
the prisoner was not sent to the same municipality on both occasions, but in the absence of proof we
must assume that in this respect the officers in charge were controlled by local conditions, changes
in the weather, or the like, which, as appears from the uncontradicted evidence of record, made the
journey by boats safer and more commodious sometimes to one and sometimes to the other of the
two adjoining municipalities.

It may be that the defendant was not friendly to the arrested man, and that he was not sorry to see
him exposed to considerable inconvenience and delay in the proceedings incident to his trial, but
there is nothing in this record upon which to base a finding that his defendant caused the arrest and
the subsequent detention of the prisoner otherwise than in the due performance of his official duties;
and there can be no doubt of his lawfully authority in the premises. The trial judge lays great stress
upon the trivial nature of the offense for which the arrest was made, but keeping in mind the fact that
there was no judicial officer in the remote community where the incident occurred at the time of the
arrest, and no certainty of the early return of the absent justice of the peace, or his auxiliary, we are
not prepared to hold, in the absence of all the evidence on this point that in a particular case of a
defiance of local authority by the willful violation of a local ordinance, it was not necessary, or at least
expedient, to make an arrest and send the offender forthwith to the justice of the peace of a
neighboring municipality, if only to convince all would-be offenders that the forces of law and order
were supreme, even in the absence of the local municipal judicial officers.

The judgment of the lower court convicting and sentencing the defendant must be reversed and he
is hereby acquitted of the offense with which he is charged, with the costs in both instances de
oficio. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Mapa , Moreland, and Trent, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 45186 September 30, 1936


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
JOSEFINA BANDIAN, defendant-appellant.

Jose Rivera Yap for appellant.


Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee.

DIAZ, J.:

Charged with the crime of infanticide, convicted thereof and sentenced to reclusion perpetua and the
corresponding accessory penalties, with the costs of the suit, Josefina Bandian appealed from said
sentence alleging that the trial court erred:

I. In taking into consideration, to convict her, her alleged admission to Dr. Nepomuceno that
she had thrown away her newborn babe, and

II. In holding her guilty of infanticide, beyond reasonable doubt, and in sentencing her
to reclusion perpetua, with costs.

The facts of record ma be summarized as follows:

At about 7 o'clock in the morning of January 31, 1936, Valentin Aguilar, the appellant's neighbor,
saw the appellant go to a thicket about four or five brazas from her house, apparently to respond to a
call of nature because it was there that the people of the place used to go for that purpose. A few
minutes later, he again saw her emerge from the thicket with her clothes stained with blood both in
the front and back, staggering and visibly showing signs of not being able to support herself. He ran
to her aid and, having noted that she was very weak and dizzy, he supported and helped her go up
to her house and placed her in her own bed. Upon being asked before Aguilar brought her to her
house, what happened to her, the appellant merely answered that she was very dizzy. Not wishing
to be alone with the appellant in such circumstances, Valentin Aguilar called Adriano Comcom, who
lived nearby, to help them, and later requested him to take bamboo leaves to stop the hemorrhage
which had come upon the appellant. Comcom had scarcely gone about five brazas when he saw the
body of a newborn babe near a path adjoining the thicket where the appellant had gone a few
moments before. Comcom informed Aguilar of it and latter told him to bring the body to the
appellant's house. Upon being asked whether the baby which had just been shown to her was hers
or not, the appellant answered in the affirmative.

Upon being notified of the incident at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of said day, Dr. Emilio Nepomuceno,
president of the sanitary division of Talisayan, Oriental Misamis, went to the appellant's house and
found her lying in bed still bleeding. Her bed, the floor of her house and beneath it, directly under the
bed, were full of blood. Basing his opinion upon said facts, the physician in question declared that
the appellant gave birth in her house and in her own bed; that after giving birth she threw her child
into the thicket to kill it for the purpose of concealing her dishonor from the man, Luis Kirol, with
whom she had theretofore been living maritally, because the child was not his but of another man
with whom she had previously had amorous relations. To give force to his conclusions, he testified
that the appellant had admitted to him that she had killed her child, when he went to her house at the
time and on the date above-stated.

The prosecuting attorney and the lower court giving absolute credit to Dr. Nepomuceno whose
testimony was not corroborated but, on the contrary, was contradicted by the very witnesses for the
prosecution and by the appellant, as will be stated later, they were of the opinion and the lower court
furthermore held, that the appellant was an infanticide. The Solicitor-General, however, does not
agree with both. On the contrary, he maintains that the appellant may be guilty only of abandoning a
minor under subsection 2 of article 276 of the Revised Penal Code, the abandonment having
resulted in the death of the minor allegedly abandoned.

By the way, it should be stated that there is no evidence showing how the child in question died. Dr.
Nepomuceno himself affirmed that the wounds found in the body of the child were not caused by the
hand of man but by bites animals, the pigs that usually roamed through the thicket where it was
found.

Infanticide and abandonment of a minor, to be punishable, must be committed wilfully or


consciously, or at least it must be result of a voluntary, conscious and free act or omission. Even in
cases where said crimes are committed through mere imprudence, the person who commits them,
under said circumstances, must be in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties, or must be conscious
of his acts, in order that he may be held liable.

The evidence certainly does not show that the appellant, in causing her child's death in one way or
another, or in abandoning it in the thicket, did so wilfully, consciously or imprudently. She had no
cause to kill or abandon it, to expose it to death, because her affair with a former lover, which was
not unknown to her second lover, Luis Kirol, took place three years before the incident; her married
life with Kirol — she considers him her husband as he considers her his wife — began a year ago;
as he so testified at the trial, he knew that the appellant was pregnant and he believed from the
beginning, affirming such belief when he testified at the trial, that the child carried by the appellant in
her womb was his, and he testified that he and she had been eagerly waiting for the birth of the
child. The appellant, therefore, had no cause to be ashamed of her pregnancy to Kirol.

If to the foregoing facts is added the testimony of the witnesses Valentin Aguilar and Adriano
Comcom that the child was taken from the thicket and carried already dead to the appellant's house
after the appellant had left the place, staggering, without strength to remain on her feet and very
dizzy, to the extent of having to be as in fact she was helped to go up to her house and to lie in bed,
it will clearly appear how far from the truth were Dr. Nepomuceno's affirmation and conclusions. Also
add to all these the fact that the appellant denied having made any admission to said physician and
that from the time she became pregnant she continuously had fever. This illness and her extreme
debility undoubtedly caused by her long illness as well as the hemorrhage which she had upon
giving birth, coupled with the circumstances that she is a primipara, being then only 23 years of age,
and therefore inexperienced as to childbirth and as to the inconvenience or difficulties usually
attending such event; and the fact that she, like her lover Luis Kirol — a mere laborer earning only
twenty-five centavos a day — is uneducated and could supplant with what she had read or learned
from books what experience itself could teach her, undoubtedly were the reasons why she was not
aware of her childbirth, or if she was, it did not occur to her or she was unable, due to her debility or
dizziness, which causes may be considered lawful or insuperable to constitute the seventh
exempting circumstance (art. 12, Revised Penal Code), to take her child from the thicket where she
had given it birth, so as not to leave it abandoned and exposed to the danger of losing its life.

The act performed by the appellant in the morning in question, by going into the thicket, according to
her, to respond to call of nature, notwithstanding the fact that she had fever for a long time, was
perfectly lawful. If by doing so she caused a wrong as that of giving birth to her child in that same
place and later abandoning it, not because of imprudence or any other reason than that she was
overcome by strong dizziness and extreme debility, she should not be blamed therefor because it all
happened by mere accident, from liability any person who so acts and behaves under such
circumstances (art. 12, subsection 4, Revised Penal Code).
In conclusion, taking into account the foregoing facts and considerations, and granting that the
appellant was aware of her involuntary childbirth in the thicket and that she later failed to take her
child therefrom, having been so prevented by reason of causes entirely independent of her will, it
should be held that the alleged errors attributed to the lower court by the appellant are true; and it
appearing that under such circumstances said appellant has the fourth and seventh exempting
circumstances in her favor, is hereby acquitted of the crime of which she had bee accused and
convicted, with costs de oficio, and she is actually confined in jail in connection with this case, it is
ordered that she be released immediately. So ordered.

Avanceña, C. J., and Abad Santos, J., concur.

Separate Opinions

VILLA-REAL, J., concurring:

I concur in the acquittal of the accused Josefina Bandian not on the ground that she is exempt from
criminal liability but because she has committed no criminal act or omission.

The evidence conclusively shows that on the day in question the accused Josefina Bandian had
spent a year of marital life with her lover Luis Kirol by whom she was begotten with a child for the
first time. Her said lover knew that she was pregnant and both were waiting for the arrival of the
happy day when the fruit of their love should be born. Since she became pregnant she continuously
had fever, was weak and dizzy. On January 31, at about 7 o'clock in the morning, she went down
from her house and entered a thicket about four or five brazas away, where the residents of said
place responded to the call of nature. After some minutes the accused emerged from the thicket
staggering and apparently unable to support herself. Her neighbor Valentin Aguilar, who saw her
enter the thicket and emerged therefrom, ran to help her, supported her and aided her in going up to
her house and to bed. Asked by Aguilar what happened to her, she merely answered that she was
very dizzy. Thinking that he alone was unable to attend to her, Valentin Aguilar called Adriano
Comcom, who lived nearby, and requested him to take bamboo leaves to stop the appellant's
hemorrhage. Adriano had scarcely gone about five brazas, when he saw the body of a newborn
child near the path adjoining the thicket where the accused had been a few moments before. Upon
being informed of the discovery, Valentin Aguilar told Adriano Comcom to bring the child into the
appellant's house. Upon being asked whether or not the child shown to her was hers, the appellant
answered in the affirmative. After an autopsy had been made of the body, it was found that the child
was born alive.

Unconscious, precipitate or sudden deliveries are well known in legal medicine among young
primiparæ who, by reason of their ignorance of the symptoms of parturition and of the process of
expulsion of fetus, are not aware that they are giving birth when they are responding to an urgent
call of nature (Dr. A. Lacassagne, Precis de Medicine Legale, pages, 799-781; Annales de Medicine
Legale, December 1926, page 530; Vibert, Manual de Medicina Legal y Toxicologia, vol. I, pages
512-514). There is no doubt that the accused, in her feverish, weak and dizzy condition when she
went into the thicket to defecate and being a primipara with no experience in childbirth, was not
aware that upon defecating she was also expelling the child she was carrying in her womb. Believing
that she did nothing more to respond to an urgent call of nature which brought her there, she
returned home staggering for lack of strength to support herself and for being dizzy, without
suspecting that she was leaving a newborn child behind her, and she only knew that she had given
birth when she was shown the already dead child with wounds on the body produced by the bites of
pigs.

Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code provides that acts and omissions punishable by law are felonies,
which may be committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa); there
being deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent, and fault when the wrongful act results
from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight or lack of skill.

As the herein accused was not aware that she had delivered and that the child had been exposed to
the rough weather and to the cruelty of animals, it cannot be held that she deceitfully committed the
crime of infanticide or that of abandonment of a minor, because according to the above-cited legal
provision there is deceit when the act punishable by law is performed with deliberate intent. Suffering
from fever and from dizziness, the appellant under the circumstances was not aware that she had
given birth and, consequently, she could not have deliberately intended to leave her child, of whose
existence she was ignorant, to perish at the mercy of the elements and of the animals. Neither can it
be held that she faultily committed it because, as already stated, not knowing for lack of experience
in childbirth that in defecating — a perfectly lawful physiological act, being natural — she might expel
the child she carried in her womb, she cannot be considered imprudent, a psychological defect of a
person who fails to use his reasoning power to foresee the pernicious consequences of his willful
act. Having had no knowledge of the fact of her delivery, the accused could not think that by leaving
the child in the thicket, it would die as a consequence of the rough weather or of the cruelty of
animals. Neither can she be considered negligent because negligence is the omission to do what the
law or morals obliges one to do, which implies knowledge of the thing which is the subject matter of
the compliance with the obligation. Inasmuch as the accused was not aware of her delivery, her
mind cannot contemplate complying with her legal and moral duty to protect the life of her child.
Neither can it be held that the appellant lacked foresight because, having been absolutely ignorant of
her delivery, she could not foresee that by abandoning her child in a thicket it would die. Neither can
it be held that her act was the result of lack of skill because she did not know that to defecate in a
state of pregnancy might precipitate her delivery, and as defecation is a natural physiological
function, she could not refrain from satisfying it.

We cannot apply to the accused fourth exempting circumstance of article 12 of the Revised Penal
Code which reads: "Any person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury
by mere accident without fault or intention of causing it," because although the lawful act of satisfying
a natural physiological necessity accidentally provoked the delivery, the delivery itself was not an
injury, but the exposure of the child at the mercy of the elements and of the animals which cased its
death. As the child was born alive, if the accused had been aware of her delivery and she had
deliberately abandoned the child, her accidental delivery would not exempt her from criminal liability
because then the death of said child no longer would have been accidental. Neither can we consider
the seventh exempting circumstance of article 12 of the Revised Penal Code consisting in the failure
to perform an act required by law, when prevented by some lawful or insuperable cause, because
this exempting circumstance implies knowledge of the precept of the law to be complied with but is
prevented by some lawful or insuperable cause, that is by some motive which has lawfully, morally
or physically prevented one to do what the law commands. In the present case, what the law
requires of the accused-appellant, with respect to the child, is that she care for, protect and not
abandon it. Had she been aware of her delivery and of the existence of the child, neither her debility
nor her dizziness resulting from the fever which consumed her, being in the full enjoyment of her
mental faculties and her illness not being of such gravity as to prevent her from asking for help,
would constitute the lawful or insuperable impediment required by law. Having been ignorant of her
delivery and of the existence of the child, to her there was subjectively no cause for the law to
impose a duty for her to comply with.
Having had no knowledge of the expulsion of her fetus, the death thereof resulting from its exposure
to the rough weather and to the cruelty of the animals cannot be imputed to the accused, because
she had neither deceitfully nor faultily committed any act or omission punishable by law with regard
to the child.

Imperial and Laurel, JJ., concur.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 137050. July 11, 2001]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GEORGE CORTES


y ORTEGA, accused-appellant.

DECISION
PARDO, J.:

The case is before the Court on automatic review of the decision[1] of the Regional Trial
Court, Surigao del Sur, Branch 29, Bislig, finding accused George Cortes y Ortega guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of murder and sentencing him to the supreme penalty of death.
On August 12, 1998, provincial prosecutor Alfredo J. Pondoc of Surigao del Sur filed with
the Regional Trial Court, Surigao del Sur, Branch 29, Bislig, an Information for murder against
accused George Cortes y Ortega, which reads as follows:

That on or about 11:00 oclock in the evening, more or less, of June 24, 1998, at P.
Lindo Street, Saint Paul District, Nangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with
treachery and evident premeditation, armed with a knife and with intent to kill did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attacked, assault and stabbed one
Edlyn S. Gamboa, a 16 year old girl, thereby inflicting the latter multiple stab wounds
on her body which caused her instantaneous death as certified by the doctor, to the
damage and prejudice of the victims heirs.

Contrary to law: In violation of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.[2]

On June 24, 1998, at about eleven oclock in the evening, Junilla Macaldo was sitting on a
bench outside her house located at P. Lindo St., Saint Paul District, Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao
del Sur. While thus seated, Edlyn Gamboa came to her asking for the whereabouts of Yen-yen
Ibua. Junilla noticed that Edlyn was followed by accused George Cortes. Junilla then instructed
Edlyn to go upstairs of the house. When Edlyn complied, accused followed her and successively
stabbed her several times. Junilla tried to help Edlyn, but accused overpowered her. In a moment,
Edlyn was able to run away despite being wounded; however, she collapsed five (5) meters away
from where she was stabbed. Junilla shouted for help. At this juncture, accused scampered
away. Edlyn was able to stand up but again collapsed after walking about five (5) steps. She was
brought to the Babano Medical Clinic, where she expired.
Accused admitted that he stabbed Edlyn. He mistook Edlyn for her male companion against
whom he had an altercation earlier. He committed the mistake because at the time of the
incident, accused was very drunk and the place was very dark. He only learned that he had
stabbed the wrong person the following morning through the radio vigilantes program.
On August 28, 1998 the trial court arraigned the accused.[3] He entered a plea of guilty.[4] In
virtue of his plea of guilty, the trial court proceeded to satisfy itself of the voluntariness of the
plea by propounding questions to the accused to find out if he understood his plea and the legal
consequence thereof. Accused, assisted by counsel, reiterated his plea of guilty and the extra
judicial confession he executed before the police.
Nonetheless, the prosecution proceeded to present evidence to prove the presence of
aggravating circumstances. The accused on the other hand presented evidence proving the
mitigating circumstances that attended the commission of the crime.
The prosecution alleged that the aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation,
cruelty, nighttime, abuse of superior strength, disrespect to sex, and intoxication were present in
the commission of the crime. The accused, on the other hand, raised the attendance of the
mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender, plea of guilty, mistaken identity and the
alternative mitigating circumstance of intoxication.
On September 2, 1998, the trial court after considering the aggravating and mitigating
circumstances attendant found the existence of the aggravating circumstances and appreciated
only the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty that was offset by one of the aggravating
circumstances. The trial court then proceeded to rule on the appropriate penalty to be imposed on
the accused. The trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended by the Republic Act 7659, otherwise known as the Death Penalty Law
and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Death, to indemnify the family of the
victim in the amount of P60,000.00, and to pay damages in the amount of
P200,000.00 and cost .[5]

Hence, this review.[6]


Accused raises the following errors imputed to the trial court:
1. In finding that the aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation, cruelty, nighttime,
abuse of superior strength, sex and intoxication attended the commission of the crime
charged; and
2. In imposing the death penalty upon accused instead of reclusion perpetua.
According to the accused, the prosecution failed to prove the aggravating circumstances of
evident premeditation and other circumstances attending the commission of the crime.
We agree with the accused that the prosecution did not prove the aggravating circumstance
of evident premeditation. The prosecution failed to establish the following elements of this
aggravating circumstance: (a) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime, (b) an
act manifestly indicating that the accused clung to that determination, and (c) a lapse of time
between the determination and the execution sufficient to allow the accused to reflect upon the
consequences of the act.[7]
As to the aggravating circumstance of cruelty, although the accused stabbed the victim
several times, the same could not be considered as cruelty because there was no showing that it
was intended to prolong the suffering of the victim. For cruelty to be appreciated against the
accused, it must be shown that the accused, for his pleasure and satisfaction, caused the victim to
suffer slowly and painfully as he inflicted on him unnecessary physical and moral pain. The
crime is aggravated because by deliberately increasing the suffering of the victim the offender
denotes sadism and consequently a marked degree of malice and perversity. The mere fact of
inflicting various successive wounds upon a person in order to cause his death, no appreciable
time intervening between the infliction of one (1) wound and that of another to show that he had
wanted to prolong the suffering of his victim, is not sufficient for taking this aggravating
circumstance into consideration.[8]
As to the aggravating circumstance of nighttime, the same could not be considered for the
simple reason that it was not specifically sought in the commission of the crime. Night-time
becomes an aggravating circumstance only when (1) it is specially sought by the offender; (2)
the offender takes advantage of it; or (3) it facilitates the commission of the crime by insuring the
offender's immunity from identification or capture.[9] In the case at bar, no evidence suggests that
accused purposely sought the cover of darkness to perpetrate the crime, or to conceal his identity.
The trial court erred in further appreciating the aggravating circumstance of abuse of
superior strength. Abuse of superior strength is absorbed in treachery, so that it can not be
appreciated separately as another aggravating circumstance.[10] Here, treachery qualified the
offense to murder.
As to the aggravating circumstance of disregard of sex, the same could not be considered as
it was not shown that accused deliberately intended to offend or insult the sex of the victim, or
showed manifest disrespect for her womanhood.[11] In fact, the accused mistook the victim for a
man.
Ordinarily, intoxication may be considered either aggravating or mitigating, depending upon
the circumstances attending the commission of the crime. Intoxication has the effect of
decreasing the penalty, if it is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit the contemplated
crime; on the other hand, when it is habitual or intentional, it is considered an aggravating
circumstance. A person pleading in toxication to mitigate penalty must present proof of having
taken a quantity of alcoholic beverage prior to the commission of the crime, sufficient to produce
the effect of obfuscating reason. At the same time, that person must show proof of not being a
habitual drinker and not taking the alcoholic drink with the intention to reinforce his resolve to
commit the crime.[12]
Accused argues that in the absence of any of the aggravating circumstances alleged in the
information and considering that there was one mitigating circumstance attendant, that of plea of
guilty, the penalty imposable is not death but reclusion perpetua.
The Solicitor General agrees with the accused that the only aggravating circumstance
present was treachery which qualified the killing to murder and that there were two mitigating
circumstances of plea of guilty and intoxication, not habitual. The penalty shall be reclusion
perpetua, not death, in accordance with Article 63 in relation to Article 248 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6759.
We also award P50,000.00 as moral damages in keeping with current jurisprudence. Moral
damages is proper considering the mental anguish suffered by the heirs of the victim on account
of her untimely and gruesome death.[13]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Surigao del Sur, Branch 29,
Bislig, in Criminal Case No. 2026 convicting accused George Cortes y Ortega of murder
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to the penalty imposed. In lieu of the death penalty,
the accused George Cortes y Ortega is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua, with all the
accessory penalties of the law, to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as death indemnity, and fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as moral
damages and to pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Buena, Ynares-
Santiago, De Leon, Jr., and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
Panganiban, J., abroad on official leave.
Quisumbing, J., on official leave.
Gonzaga-Reyes, J., on leave.