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People v. Lim, GR No. 86454,18 October 1990 [Gutierrez, Jr.

] FACTS: One afternoon, sisters Aida and Avelyn Villanueva, 10 and 7 years old respectively, went to Helen Theater in Masbate, Masbate. They were not able to go home to their father, Charito, because Aida stayed with Carmen Lim, while Avelyn stayed with Carmens sister, and did household chores for them. According to the prosecution, the two children ran away from home and it was only after some days when Charito found his daughter Aida in Carmens house and asked Carmen to let Aida go home with him. However, Carmen refused. The following day, Charito went back to Carmens house accompanied by a police officer. The police officer introduced himself to Carmen and took Aida with him. On the other hand, according to the defense, Carmen found the two siblings outside the theater and, after being told that they were driven away from home by their father, let them come inside her store and gave them food to eat. In return, the sisters helped with household chores. When Aidas father came to collect them, Aida refused to go home with him. It was only the following day when Charito was accompanied by a police officer that Aida went with her father. The lower court convicted Carmen for kidnapping and sentenced her to reclusion perpetua. In her appeal, Carmen stated that her conviction was erroneous, as she had no motive to detain the Villanueva sisters. ISSUE:W/N proof of motive is necessary to convict Carmen, in this case. RULING: YES. Though proof of motive is not indispensable to conviction, a void in the evidence in this respect discloses a weakness in the case for the prosecution. The absence of such motive is important in determining which of two conflicting theories is more likely to be true. Lim is a woman of sufficient means. Had she wanted to hire another maid, she could have afforded to have another one without going to the extent of committing a crime as serious as kidnapping. Moreover, there are doubts in the testimony of Aida, Charito, and the policeman on whether Aida was really lcoked up; there was a delay in the lodging of the complaint; and finally, Charito executed an affidavit of desistance, creating serious doubts as to the guilt of the accused. Carmen Lim acquitted on the ground of failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.