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People v. Invencion, G.R. No.

c, 05 March 2003

FACTS: Artemio was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac with thirteen
counts of rape in separate complaints. The cases were consolidated and jointly tried.

Witness Elven Invencion, an 8-year-old grade two pupil of Sapang Tagalog Elementary
School in Tarlac, Tarlac, testified that he is a half-brother of Cynthia and son of
Artemio with his second common-law wife. Sometime before the end of the school
year in 1996, while he was sleeping in one room with his father Artemio, Cynthia, and
two other younger brothers, he was awakened by Cynthias loud cries. Looking
towards her, he saw his father on top of Cynthia, doing a pumping motion. After
about two minutes, his father put on his short pants.

Elven further declared that Artemio was a very strict and cruel father and a drunkard.
He angrily prohibited Cynthia from entertaining any of her suitors. Whenever he was
drunk, he would maul Elven and quarrel with his stepfather, Celestino Navarro.

Eddie Sicat, a 40-year-old farmer and neighbor of Artemio testified that on the second
week of March 1996, between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., while he was passing by the house
of Artemio on his way to the field to catch fish, he heard somebody crying. He then
peeped through a small opening in the destroyed portion of the sawali wall of
Artemios house. He saw Cynthia lying on her back and crying, while her father was
on top of her, doing a pumping motion.

Gloria Pagala, the mother of Cynthia and former common-law wife of Artemio,
Cynthia confessed that she had been sexually abused by her father.

Gloria then went to the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Tarlac
and reported what Artemio had done to their daughter Cynthia.

Dr. Rosario Fider of Tarlac Provincial Hospital testified that she examined Cynthia and
found her to be five to six months pregnant and to have incomplete, healed hymenal
acerations at 3, 5, 8 oclock positions, which could have been caused by sexual
intercourse or any foreign body inserted in her private part.

No witnesses were presented by Armtemio instead, his counsel de parte, Atty. Isabelo
Salamida, took the witness stand and testified for the defense that when he went
around the house and tried to peep through the old sawali walls on the front and left
and right sides of the hut, he could not see anything inside the room where Artemio
and his children used to sleep.

On rebuttal, Gloria Pagala and Celestino Navarro testified that the house where
Artemio used to live was a small hut with some destroyed portions in its sawali walls
and that there was a hole in front and at the sidewall of the hut facing confirming the
testimony of Eddie Sicat.

Artemio attacks the competency and credibility of Elven as a witness. He argues that
Elven, as his son, should have been disqualified as a witness against him under
Section 20(c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. Besides, Elvens testimony appears not
to be his but what the prosecution wanted him to say, as the questions asked were
mostly leading questions. Moreover, Elven had illmotive in testifying against him, as
he (Artemio) was cruel to him.

ISSUE: Whether or not Elven may testify against his father. Whether or not Artemio
raped his daughter.
HELD: Yes. As to the competency of Elven to testify, we rule that such is not affected
by Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,19 otherwise known as the rule on filial
privilege. This rule is not strictly a rule on disqualification because a descendant is
not incompetent or disqualified to testify against an ascendant.20 The rule refers to a
privilege not to testify, which can be invoked or waived like other privileges. As
correctly observed by the lower court, Elven was not compelled to testify against his
father; he chose to waive that filial privilege when he voluntarily testified against
Artemio. Elven declared that he was testifying as a witness against his father of his
own accord and only to tell the truth.21

Neither can Artemio challenge the prosecutions act of propounding leading


questions on Elven. Section 10(c) of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court22 expressly allows
leading questions when the witness is a child of tender years like Elven.
The alleged ulterior motive of Elven in testifying against his father also deserves
scant consideration. Such insinuation of illmotive is too lame and flimsy. As observed
by the OSG, Elven, who was of tender age, could not have subjected himself to the
ordeal of a public trial had he not been compelled by a motive other than to bring to
justice the despoiler of his sisters virtue.

With respect to whether or not Artemio raped his daughter, We find no cogent reason
to overturn the findings of the trial court. It is doctrinally settled that the factual
findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of the witnesses, are accorded
great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. This is so because the
trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the different
indicators of truthfulness or falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted
assertion, the sudden pallor of a discovered lie, the tremulous mutter of a reluctant
answer, the forthright tone of a ready reply, the furtive glance, the blush of conscious
shame, the hesitation, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full
realization of the solemnity of an oath, or the carriage and mien.

Although Artimeo points out inconsitencies as to the time the alleged acts were
witnessed, we find as inconsequential the alleged variance or difference in the time
that the rape was committed. The exact time or date of the commission of rape is not
an element of the crime. What is decisive in a rape charge is that the commission of
the rape by the accused has been sufficiently proved.

The remaining issue for our resolution is the correctness of the penalty of death
imposed by the trial court. The death penalty was imposed because of the trial
courts appreciation of the special qualifying circumstances that Artemio is the father
of the victim and the latter was less than 18 years old at the time the crime was
committed.

Although the relationship of Cynthia with her father Artemio was alleged in the
complaint and duly established by evidence during trial, the allegation in the
complaint regarding her age was not clearly proved.

In the present case, no birth certificate or any similar authentic document was
presented and offended in evidence to prove Cynthias age. The statement in the
medical certificate showing Cynthias age is not proof thereof, since a medical
certificate does not authenticate the date of birth of the victim. Moreover, pursuant
to Pruna, Glorias testimony regarding Cynthias age was insufficient, since Cynthia
was alleged to be 16 years old already at the time of the rape and what is sought to
be proved is that she was then 18 years old. Moreover, the trial court did not even
make a categorical finding on Cynthias minority. Finally, the silence of Artemio or his
failure to object to the testimonial evidence regarding Cynthias age could not be
taken against him.

In the absence of sufficient proof of Cynthias minority, Artemio cannot be convicted


of qualified rape and sentenced to suffer the death penalty. He should only be
convicted of simple rape and meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Lee v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 177861, 13 July 2010

Spouses Lee Tek Sheng (Lee) and Keh Shiok Cheng (Keh) entered the Philippines in
the 1930s as immigrants from China. They had 11 children(collectively, the Lee-Keh
children).

In 1948, Lee brought from China a young woman named Tiu Chuan (Tiu), supposedly
to serve as housemaid.

The respondent Keh children believe that Tiu left the Lee-Keh household, moved into
another property of Lee nearby, and had a relation with him.

Shortly after Keh died in 1989, the Lee-Keh children learned that Tius children with
Lee (collectively, the Lees other children) claimed that they, too, were children of Lee
and Keh. This prompted the Lee-Keh children to request the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) to investigate the matter.

After conducting such an investigation, the NBI concluded in its report that the
mother of the 8 children is certainly not KEH but a younger woman, most probably
TIU. Upon further evaluation and analysis by these Agents, LEE is in a quandary in
fixing the age of KEH possibly to conform with his grand design of making his 8
children as their own legitimate children, consequently elevating the status of his
second family and secure their future.

In other words, by the hospital records of the Lees other children, Kehs declared
age did not coincide with her actual age when she supposedly gave birth to such
other children, numbering eight.

On the basis of this report, the respondent Lee-Keh children filed two separate
petitions for the deletion from the certificate of live birth of the petitioner Emma Lee,
one of Lees other children, the name Keh and replace the same with the name Tiu to
indicate her true mothers name.

The Lee-Keh children filed with the RTC an ex parte request for the issuance of a
subpoena ad testificandum to compel Tiu, Emma Lees presumed mother, to testify in
the case. The RTC granted the motion but Tiu moved to quash the subpoena,
claiming that it was oppressive, that she was already of old age, and violated Section
25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the rule on parental privilege, she being Emma
Lees stepmother

The CA ruled that only a subpoena duces tecum, not a subpoena ad testificandum,
may be quashed for being oppressive or unreasonable. The CA also held that Tius
advanced age alone does not render her incapable of testifying.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that the trial court may compel Tiu to
testify in the correction of entry case that respondent Lee-Keh children filed for the
correction of the certificate of birth of petitioner Emma Lee to show that she is not
Kehs daughter.
HELD: Yes. Notably, the Court previously decided in the related case of Lee v. Court of
Appeals that the Lee-Keh children have the right to file the action for correction of
entries in the certificates of birth of Lees other children, Emma Lee included. The
Court recognized that the ultimate object of the suit was to establish the fact that
Lees other children were not children of Keh. Thus:

Taking in mind the ultimate purpose of the Lee-Keh childrens action, obviously, they
would want Tiu to testify or admit that she is the mother of Lees other children,
including petitioner Emma Lee. Keh had died and so could not give testimony that
Lees other children were not hers. The Lee-Keh children have, therefore, a legitimate
reason for seeking Tius testimony and, normally, the RTC cannot deprive them of
their right to compel the attendance of such a material witness.

But petitioner Emma Lee raises two other objections to requiring Tiu to come to court
and testify: a) considering her advance age, testifying in court would subject her to
harsh physical and emotional stresses; and b) it would violate her parental right not
to be compelled to testify against her stepdaughter.

Regarding the physical and emotional punishment that would be inflicted on Tiu if
she were compelled at her age and condition to come to court to testify, petitioner
Emma Lee must establish this claim to the satisfaction of the trial court. About five
years have passed from the time the Lee-Keh children sought the issuance of a
subpoena for Tiu to appear before the trial court. The RTC would have to update itself
and determine if Tius current physical condition makes her fit to undergo the ordeal
of coming to court and being questioned. If she is fit, she must obey the subpoena
issued to her.

Tiu claimed before the trial court the right not to testify against her stepdaughter,
petitioner Emma Lee, invoking Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence, which
reads:

SECTION25.Parental and filial privilege.No person may be compelled to testify


against his parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct descendants.
The above is an adaptation from a similar provision in Article 315 of the Civil Code
that applies only in criminal cases. But those who revised the Rules of Civil Procedure
chose to extend the prohibition to all kinds of actions, whether civil, criminal, or
administrative, filed against parents and other direct ascendants or descendants.

But here Tiu, who invokes the filial privilege, claims that she is the stepmother of
petitioner Emma Lee. The privilege cannot apply to them because the rule applies
only to direct ascendants and descendants, a family tie connected by a common
ancestry. A stepdaughter has no common ancestry by her stepmother.

Art.965.The direct line is either descending or ascending. The former unites the
head of the family with those who descend from him. The latter binds a person with
those from whom he descends.

Consequently, Tiu can be compelled to testify against petitioner Emma Lee.

People v. Gaudia, 423 SCRA 520 (2004)

There can be no greater violation of a persons right to feel safe and secure than the
crime of rape. When one commits such a horrible act on another, he degrades not
only that persons body; more importantly, he defiles that persons mind. When the
victim is a little child, the act and the perpetrator himself assume a bestiality beyond
the comprehension of normal human beings. Yet, the law must apply equally upon
saints and sinners alike, even to the most salacious ruffian.

FACTS: The Information filed against the accused-appellant reads as follows:


That on or about March 24, 1997 at about 6:30 oclock in the evening, in the
Municipality of Hagonoy, Province of Davao del Sur, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, by means of force and
intimidation, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
knowledge with Remelyn Loyola, a minor, against her will to her damage and
prejudice.

The prosecution presented Remelyns mother, Amalia Loyola, as its primary witness.
Amalia testified that on 24 March 1997, she left her two children Remelyn (3 1/2
years old)3 and Kimberly (1 year old)4 at their house in Clib, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur
to gather pigs food at Bulatukan. At the time, her husband was working in Tulunan,
South Cotabato. At about 4:00 in the afternoon, Amalia returned home and could not
find Remelyn. She went to fetch water and proceeded to a neighbor to ask about the
whereabouts of Remelyn. Nobody could provide her any information. On her way
home, she shouted and called out Remelyns name. At about 6:00 p.m., Amalia heard
Remelyn calling out to her, Ma, I am here, from a grove of ipil-ipil trees.5 Amalia
rushed toward the place, but was met by Remelyn at the mango trees, some thirty
(30) meters from their house.6 She found Remelyn crying, naked, nagbakaang
(walking with her legs spread apart) and with fresh and dried blood on her body. Ipil-
ipil leaves clung to her forehead. Blood was oozing from her private organ. Amalia
brought Remelyn home and washed her. Upon closer inspection, she found a whitish
mucuslike substance coming from Remelyns private organ.

The following day, 2 March 1997, Amalia brought Remelyn to the house of a certain
Tiya Coring, a quack doctor, for treatment. The quack doctor found both dried blood
and fresh blood oozing in Remelyns vagina, and told Amalia, Hoy! Amalia, your
daughter was being (sic) raped.9

At about 10:00 a.m., Tulon Mik, a neighbor, came and informed Amalia that he had
seen the appellant pass by her house and take Remelyn0 At this point, the parents of
appellant told Amalia, Mal, let us talk about this matter, we will just settle this, we
are willing to pay the amount of P15,000.00, for the crime that my son committed.

On 25 March 1997, Amalia brought Remelyn to the Hagonoy Health Center in Davao
del Sur. Dr. Patricio Hernane, the municipal health officer,13 conducted a genital
examination of Remelyn, and made the following findings: GENITAL EXAMINATION:
CONCLUSION: Physical virginity lost.

Amalia executed her affidavit complaint.16 Amalia stated therein that Remelyn had
told her Buang Lendoy iya kong lugos.17 (Meaning crazy lendoy he forced me in
the Visayan dialect.) Amalia confirmed in her testimony that two weeks after the
incident, Remelyn told her, Ma, Lendoy is crazy, she (sic) brought me to the ipil-ipil
trees.

The prosecution also presented Tulon Mik, Remelyns neighbor and a barangay
kagawad in their area. Mik testified that on 24 March 1997, at about 4:00 p.m., he
and his wife were on their way home after registering at the COMELEC office. They
were in a hurry as their child was running a fever. Mik saw appellant carrying Amalia
in his arms on their wa toward the ipil-ipil trees.
The appellant, ROLENDO GAUDIA, interposed the defense of alibi. He averred that on
24 March 1997, at about 4:00 p.m., he went to the Barangay Center to register at the
COMELEC for the National Elections. With him was Totong Loyola, the brother-in-law
of Amalia Loyola. They finished at 5:00 p.m., left and repaired to the house of
Catalina Cabano, appellants aunt, to ask for vinegar for their kinilaw (a dish
composed of raw fish steeped in vinegar). Thereafter, they went to the house of
appellant. Dodo Malon and appellants parents were in the house. At around 9:00
p.m., Totong and Dodo Malon left, after partaking of the kinilaw. Appellant stayed
home

As corroborative witness, appellant presented Alex Totong Loyola. Totong testified


that on 24 March 1997, at about 4:00 p.m., they registered as voters in the barangay.
After registering, they went home to appellants house, but again left to get vinegar
from his aunt Catalina Cabano, for their kinilaw

Catalina Cabano also corroborated appellants story.

ISSUE: Whether or not Rolendo raped Amalia. Whether or not the compromise
agreement offered by Rolendos parents is an admission of a third person of his guilt.

HELD: Yes and No.

Under Rule 133, Section 4 of the Revised Rules of Court, conviction may be based on
circumstantial evidence provided three requisites concur: (a) there is more than one
circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c)
the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.

The first circumstantial evidence against the appellant is the testimony of


prosecution witness Tulon Mik that at 4:00 p.m. on 24 March 1997, he saw him
carrying Remelyn toward the direction of the ipil-ipil grove,

The second circumstantial evidence against the appellant is Amalias testimony that
Remelyn emerged naked from the same ipil-ipil grove, with ipil-ipil leaves clinging to
her forehead. Remelyn was crying and walking with her legs spread far apart.
Remelyns private organ was bleeding and excreting a white mucus-like substance.

The third circumstantial evidence against appellant is Remelyns statement to her


mother that it was appellant who had brought her to the ipil-ipil grove34 and forced
her to do something against her will.35
There is no question that Remelyn was violated.
Appellant contends, first, that Tulon Miks testimony is weak, on the ground that Mik
is a relative of the husband of Amalia. He also questions the credibility of Mik
because of his failure to confront appellant when he saw him carrying Remelyn.
Neither did Mik inform Amalia about what he saw when Amalia was looking for
Remelyn. Appellant insists that it was Daylen whom he carried and not Remelyn.
Second, he stresses the fact that Remelyn did not make any categorical statement
that he sexually molested her. Third, he maintains that the accusation of flight
against him is false. Fourth, he avers that the offer of compromise by his parents as
tendered to Amalia Loyola should not be taken against him,37 while the offer of
compromise he allegedly made to Amalias husband, as relayed by Amalia in her
testimony, should be excluded as evidence for being hearsay.

We reject appellants arguments.


First, appellants attempt to discredit the testimony of Mik cannot succeed. It is true
that Mik is a relative by affinity of Amalia Loyola. It is hoary jurisprudence, however,
that mere relationship to one of the parties, without a showing of any other improper
motive

Next, appellant tried to capitalize on the fact that Remelyn never made any
statement that he sexually molested her. This is a specious argument. Remelyn had
told her mother, Crazy Lendoy forced me.44 Remelyn was 3 1/2 years old at the
time. At such an infantile age, she could not be expected to have a comprehension of
the concept of rape. Studies show that children, particularly very young children,
make the perfect victims. They naturally follow the authority of adults as the
socialization process teaches children that adults are to be respected. Moreover, they
have a limited vocabulary.45 The fact that Remelyn called appellant Buang or crazy
shows that he did something which she knew was not right or proper. By saying iya
kong lugos, Remelyn clearly conveyed that he forced her to do something bad.

Similarly, appellants charge that the offers of compromise allegedly made by the
parents of the appellant to Amalia, and by the appellant himself to Amalias husband
should not have been taken against him by the trial court, even if sustained, will not
exculpate him. To be sure, the offer of compromise allegedly made by appellant to
Amalia Loyolas husband is hearsay evidence, and of no probative value. It was only
Amalia who testified as to the alleged offer, and she was not a party to the
conversation which allegedly transpired at the Hagonoy Municipal Jail. A witness can
only testify on facts which are based on his personal knowledge or perception.

The offer of compromise allegedly made by the appellants parents to Amalia may
have been the subject of testimony of Amalia. However, following the principle of res
inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet, the actions of his parents cannot prejudice
the appellant, since he was not a party to the said conversation, nor was it shown
that he was privy to the offer of compromise made by them to the mother of the
victim. They cannot be considered as evidence against appellant but we reiterate
that these errors are not enough to reverse the conviction of the appellant.

We now review the penalty of death imposed upon appellant. In the case at bar, the
Information states that appellant, by means of force and intimidation . . . willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously (had) carnal knowledge with Remelyn Loyola, a minor,
against her will to her damage and prejudice.. But the Information did not allege
that Remelyn was below seven years old when she was violated. Appellant was
therefore charged with simple rape.

People v. Lising, 285 SCRA 595 (1998)


The parents of Cochise and Beebom must have lifted their sorrowful faces heavenward and
blurted out an anguished cry: Oh God! Why must it be they, so young, so loving, so
beautiful and so promising, to be brutally snatched from our embrace and never to be seen
again?
FACTS: Cochise, whose full name was Ernesto Bernabe II, was 26 years old on the fateful day
of April 26, 1990 and Ana Lourdes Castaos, or Beebom to her family and friends, was 22.
Cochise had just graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree of Bachelor
of Laws and was reviewing for the bar examinations, while Beebom was a graduating
student at the College of Mass Communications from the same university. Both excelled in
academic and extra-curricular activities.
Sometime in March, 1990, Rodolfo Manalili, a businessman asked Felimon Garcia, his
townmate, if he knew somebody who could allegedly effect the arrest of one Robert Herrera,
the suspect in the killing of his brother, Delfin Manalili. Felimon Garcia said he knew one and
arranged a meeting with him.
Felimon Garcia called up Manalili and informed him that he already contacted a policeman to
help him and said that the policeman wanted to talk to him. So an appointment was set at
Dau Exit, North Expressway, Mabalacat, Pampanga.
On said date Manalili, together with his son Richard, arrived at the Dau Exit where Garcia
was already there waiting for Manalili.
They proceeded to the Golden Palace Chinese Restaurant where they would meet Roberto
Lising. They, however, had to change venue because Roberto Lisings live-in partner, Ligaya
Fausto and other companions were in the restaurant. So they went instead to a nearby
carinderia and instructed Felimon Garcia to follow them there.
Shortly, Felimon Garcia arrived and introduced Roberto Lising, Enrico Dizon and another man
armed with a service pistol to Manalili. During the meeting, Manalili offered to pay them
P50,000.00 for the job.
On April 23-24, Lisings group went to Quezon City and met with Vic Lisboa. They conducted
a surveillance on the Castaos residence in the hope of seeing Herrera. Failing to do so, the
group was asked to come back the next day.
On April 25, the same group arrived at the vicinity of the Castaos residence at around 5:00
p.m. to resume their surveillance. Two hours later, Lisboa alerted the group after allegedly
spotting Herrera entering the Castaos residence.
Later, the group saw a man and a woman who happened to be Cochise and Beebom leave
the Castaos residence in a green box type Lancer car. The group followed the Lancer car
with their car and motorcycle.
The Lancer car went to Dayrits Ham and Burger House on Timog Circle, Quezon City where
the couple intended to have dinner. Alighting from the car, they were accosted by Dizon and
Manga who were both carrying firearms. Amidst protestations, Dizon poked his gun at
Cochise, handcuffed him, and shoved him into the car. Beebom protested loudly at the arrest
and was also shoved into the back of the car.

The abduction of Cochise and Beebom hit the front pages. Appeals by the parents to locate
them reached the authorities where all possible angles of their disappearance were explored
but there were no significant leads.

After about two (2) months of futile search for their whereabouts, a break came when two
(2) security guards working in a Shellane Warehouse in San Fernando, Pampanga went to
see Ms. Rosie Bernabe at her Pasay City Hall office and had information concerning her son.

The two guards told the CAPCOM that their friends Raul Morales and Jun Medrano, both
employees of Roberto Lising, informed them that Lising killed a mestisuhin man and a
woman in their warehouse.

Raul Morales was picked up and told his story. In a sworn statement executed on even date,
he stated that he was a pahinante residing in the warehouse where LPG cylinders are stored
owned by Ligaya Fausto, common-law wife of Roberto Lising alias Rambo.
According to Morales: He opened the gate of the warehouse for Lising, and a black car and a
lancer entered. Rambo and Felimon opened the car doors and a woman and a man was
pulled out. Then their hands were tied with alambre and blindfolded them. Felimon was
carrying a shovel. The man was resisting so Rambo pushed him out of the warehouse. The
girl begged them maawa naman po kayo sa amin dahil wala kaming kasalanan Rambo
replied: Putang ina mo, wag kang maingay, papatayin rin kita.
Rambo proceeded outside to where the man was. After half an hour, Rambo came back
without the man. Rambo had no shirt on, sweating, and washed his hands. Rambo then
entered the black vehicle with the girl, Felimon in the lancer, and they 2 cars left.
On June 25, 1990, the body of Cochise was exhumed. An autopsy was conducted where the
finding was: Cause of Death: Multiple Stab Wounds. The next day, Beeboms body, which
was in an advanced decomposing stage was exhumed from a shallow grave, two (2)
kilometers from where Cochises body was found.

After evading arrest the previous days, Roberto Lising was finally apprehended on June 30,
1990. In a Sworn Statement executed on the same day at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, he
implicated Felimon Garcia and Rodolfo Manalili. According to him Manalili killed the Conchise
and Felimon blindfolded the Beebom and left with her. He was merely a lookout.

Thereafter, the manhunt for Felimon Garcia and Rodolfo Manalili began. One by one, the
men responsible for the killing of Cochise and Beebom fell into the hands of the authorities.

Felimon Garcia, who surrendered, with the assistance of his counsel, Atty. Redemberto
Villanueva stated that: Lising killed Conchise and the other suspects blindfolded and took
Beebom.

Rodolfo Manalili, the other hand, with the assistance of Atty. Rodolfo Jimenez stated that: he
told the others to postpone the plan against Herrera because he was going to Germany. And
that he was told that Conchise and Beebom would be released. But while he was in
Germany, he received threatening phone calls from Garcia and Lising asking for P60,000.00,
otherwise they will kill him or implicate him in the crime.

Consequently, two (2) Amended Informations were filed in court against Roberto Rambo
Lising, Rodolfo Manalili, Felimon Garcia, Enrico Dizon, Robin Manga, and Ligaya Fausto for
Carnapping; Kidnapping with double murder.

Upon arraignment, all the accused pleaded not guilty. In building up their case, the
prosecution presented two vital witnesses: Froilan Olimpia, who witnessed the abduction of
the young couple at Dayrits Ham and Burger House; and Raul Morales, the pahinante who
testified on the killing of Cochise.

On the basis of the testimonies of the above witnesses, plus the confessions made in the
extrajudicial statements, the prosecution presented their version of the incident that Lising
handed a knife to Garcia, who then stabbed Cochise in the chest. Lising, appearing
dissatisfied, grabbed the knife from Garcia and stabbed Cochise several times in the chest
and stomach area, as if telling Garcia how to do it. All this time, Dizon was holding Cochise.
ising, Dizon, Garcia and Manga brought Cochise to the back of the bodega, into the shallow
grave dug by Garcia. The four then covered Cochise with soil.

The five accused left the bodega, Dizon and Manga on board the black car, Manalili in his
own car, and Lising, Garcia and Beebom in the green Lancer. Later, upon the instructions of
Lising, Dizon and Manga took Beebom with them on the black car. This was the last time
that Beebom was seen alive.

In their defense, the accused policemen claimed that there was insufficient evidence to
sustain their conviction. At the same time, each one had an alibi.

On July 1, 1992, the trial court rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds accused RODOLFO MANALILI, ROBERTO
LISING y CANLAS, FELIMON GARCIA, ROBIN MANGA y QUIMZON and ENRICO DIZON y
ESCARIO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Double Murder qualified with
treachery and aggravated by evidence pre-meditation and abuse of public position by Lising,
Manga and Dizon.

The accused appealed attacking the admissibility of the extrajudicial statements of


appellants Manalili, Garcia and Lising;

ISSUE: Whether or not the extrajudicial confessions are admissible

HELD: Extrajudicial statements are as a rule, admissible as against their respective


declarants, pursuant to the rule that the act, declaration or omission of a party as to a
relevant fact may be given in evidence against him. This is based upon the presumption that
no man would declare anything against himself, unless such declarations were true.

There is no question that their respective extrajudicial statement of Manalili and Garcia were
executed voluntarily. They were assisted by their counsel and properly sworn to before a
duly authorized officer. They merely relied on their extrajudicial statements and did not take
the witness stand during the trial.

Lising, on the other hand, claims that he was coerced and tortured into executing the
extrajudicial statement but nothing appears on record that such extrajudicial statement was
made under compulsion, duress or violence on his person. Lising did not present himself for
physical examination, nor did he file administrative charges against his alleged tormentors
which would necessarily buttress the claim of torture in the absence of such evidence. There
are in fact indicia of voluntariness in the execution of his extrajudicial statements.

Moreover, the claim that Lising was not assisted by counsel is belied by the fact that the
signature of his counsel Atty. Yabut appears in all the pages of his extrajudicial statements.

The rule that an extrajdicial statement is evidence only against the person making it, also
recognizes various exceptions. One such exception worth noting is the rule that where
several extrajudicial statements had been made by several persons charged with an offense
and there could have been no collusion with reference to said several confessions, the facts
that the statements are in all material respects identical, is confirmatory of the confession of
the co-defendants and is admissible against other persons implicated therein.17 They are
also admissible as circumstantial evidence against the person implicated therein to show the
probability of the latters actual participation in the commission of the crime and may
likewise serve as corroborative evidence if it is clear from other facts and circumstances that
other persons had participated in the perpetration of the crime charged and proved.18
These are known as interlocking confessions.
No doubt that the statements were independently executed and rather identical with each
other in their material details. There are also distinct similarities in the narration of events
leading to the killings of Cochise and Beebom.

Manalili and Garcias statements reveal that Manalili wanted to effect the arrest of Robert
Herrera; that he asked help from Garcia if the latter knew of policemen who could do the job;
that Garcia arranged the meeting with Lising who volunteered to take the job for the
promised consideration of P50,000.00; that a downpayment of P2,000.00 was made; that
Manalili together with Garcia and Nabua proceeded to the PC-INP Headquarters in Pampanga
where they were told to proceed to Valle Verde Motel; that they were met by Dizon and
Manga at the motel and were told that Herrera was inside the room; that upon discovery
that Lisings group had taken the wrong person and recognized Beeboms voice, Manalili
pleaded to the group that the victim be released, assuring Lising that the balance of
P40,000.00 would still be paid; that Lising and his group refused but relented upon Manalilis
persistence; that Manalili left for Manila but instructed Garcia to stay behind and ensure the
release of the victims; and that the next day Lising went to his office and claimed the
balance to which Manalili issued the corresponding check.

Garcia added that after Manalili had left, Lising told him to bring Cochise and Beebom to the
warehouse owned by Ligaya where Cochise was killed. Thereafter, they forcibly took Beebom
into the car and proceeded to Brgy. San Agustin.

Likewise, we find Lisings statement as corroborative evidence against the others. Except as
to that portion where he exculpates himself from any liability stating that it was Manalili and
Garcia who actually stabbed Cochise in the warehouse and that he was merely a lookout,
Lisings statement is identical as to the other material facts, namely, that Cochise and
Beebom were brought to the Valle Verde Motel, blindfolded where he met Manalili and
Garcia; that they were brought to the warehouse on board a green box type Lancer car,
where Cochise was killed; that Beebom was brought to Brgy. San Agustin where she was
eventually killed; that he should take care of the green box type Lancer car and was given
P40,000.00 in check.

Nonetheless, the trial courts decision, in convicting all the accused was based not on the
aforesaid extrajudicial statements of the accused alone but mainly on the eyewitness
account of the two witnesses, Froilan Olimpia and Raul Morales, which the trial court gave
weight and credence as bearing the chime of truth and honesty. Froilan Olimpia, a security
guard of the Rotonda Wine Station, an establishment adjacent to the Dayrits Ham and
Burger House witnessed the abduction of Cochise and Beebom in front of the said
restaurant.

Undoubtedly, the trial court did not err in finding the existence of conspiracy in this case.
With the interlocking confessions of Manalili, Garcia and Lising, the group came to an
agreement to effect the arrest of Robert Herrera for a considerable sum of P50,000.00. The
stake-out at the Castaos residence, the tailing of the car, the abduction at Dayrits Ham
and Burger Restaurant and the detention in the Valle Verde Motel and the subsequent killing
of the two victims all show that all the accused acted in unison and cooperated with each
other towards the accomplishment of a common criminal design. Where conspiracy is
established, the act of one is the act of all.

Furthermore, the decision of the trial court exonerating Manalili and Garcia for the crime of
Kidnapping and finding the rest of the accused guilty for the crime of Slight Illegal Detention
only does not escape us. There being conspiracy, all the accused should be equally guilty for
the crimes as charged. Unfortunately, we can no longer convict Manalili and Garcia for
Kidnapping in consonance with the constitutional right against double jeopardy. Nonetheless,
they stand to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua for the double murder. The crime of
Slight Illegal Detention should be qualified to Serious Illegal detention under Article 267 of
the Revised Penal Code considering that a female victim was involved.

PEOPLE vs MUIT - As a rule, an extra-judicial confession is admissible only against the


person making it except when several extra judicial statements are made by several persons
charged with an offense and there could have been no collusion in the said confessions, the
fact that the statements are in all material respects identical is confirmatory of the
confession of the co-defendants and is admissible against other persons implicated therein.

Facts: In the afternoon of 11 November 1997, Orestes Julaton, (Julaton), a relative of


Ferraer, arrived at the latters house in Kaylaway, Nasugbu, Batangas with Sergio Pancho, Sr.
(Pancho, Sr.), Pancho, Jr., Dequillo and four other men on board a gray Mitsubishi car with
plate number PSV818. Julaton introduced them to Ferraer and told the latter that Pancho, Sr.
is also their relative. Pancho, Sr. told Ferraer that they wanted to use his house as a
safehouse for their visitor. Ferraer was hesitant at first as he thought it was risky for him
and his family. Hermano told Ferraer not to worry because they are not killers; their line of
work is kidnap for ransom. Ferraer was assured that the money they will get would be
shared equally among them. Ferraer and Pancho, Sr. would guard their victim. Later, five
other men came and they were introduced to Ferraer as Muit, Morales, alias Tony, alias
David and alias Puri. They had dinner and chatted until midnight. That evening, Morales
handed to Ferraer for safekeeping a folded carton wrapped with masking tape contained in a
big paper bag, and a green backpack. Hermano told Ferraer that the package contained
guns. Ferraer brought the package inside his room; he inspected the contents before placing
them under the bed, and saw that the carton contained a shotgun and the green backpack,
an Ingram folding.

Ferraer saw Pancho, Jr., and Hermano with a companion, seated under the tree in front of his
house. Pancho, Jr. introduced their companion as Romeo. They informed Ferraer that the
following day, they would proceed with their plan. Romeo would be the informant since he is
an insider and a trusted general foreman of the victim.

However, the group returned without the intended victim because the latter did not show up
5
at the construction site. On 2 December 1997, the group received a call from Romeo
informing them that the victim was already at the construction site.

After the site inspection, the three engineers walked towards the direction of the Pajero.
Seraspe was surprised to see that the three engineers who stood together suddenly lay
prostrate on the ground. Seraspe and Chavez saw an unidentified man standing near the
three engineers. Three more armed men surrounded the Pajero. Two of them approached
Seraspe and Chavez. One of the armed men, Muit, poked a gun at Seraspe and ordered him
7
and Chavez to lay prostrate on the ground. The assailants dragged the victim towards the
Pajero. They forced the victim to order Seraspe to give them the keys to the Pajero. When
the victim was already on board the Pajero, Seraspe heard one of them say, Sarge, nandito
na ang ating pakay.

At 2:30 that same afternoon, Lipa City Deputy Chief of Police, Supt. Arcadio Mission (Supt.
Mission) received a radio message from the Tanauan Police Station that a kidnapping was
ongoing and the kidnappers on board a Pajero with plate number UDL746 were heading
towards Lipa City
In the meantime, two teams were organized to intercept the Pajero. They proceeded to the
barricade.

When policemen flagged down the Pajero, the driver stopped the vehicle. While two
policemen approached the Pajero, the driver and front passenger opened their car doors and
started firing at the policemen. At this point, all the policemen present at the scene fired
back. The crossfire lasted for around four minutes. All the occupants of the Pajero, except
the driver and the front passenger who managed to escape, died. SPO1 Rolando Cariaga
apprehended one of the escapees who turned out to be Muit, the driver of the Pajero, at
Barangay San Carlos, Batangas, about 200 meters from the place of the shootout.

At around 5:30 in the morning of 3 December 1997, Ferraer saw Pancho, Sr. and Pancho, Jr.
watching the TV program Alas Singko y Medya. He joined them and saw on the news the
Pajero riddled with bullets. Pancho, Sr. and Pancho, Jr. left Ferraers house at around 9:00 in
the thony Llamas, the PNP MedicoLegal Officer who conducted the autopsy; Supt. Mission,
12
Ferraer, as the state witness; and Atty. Narzal Mallare (Atty. Mallare), the lawyer who
assisted appellants Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo in executing their respective sworn statements
as witnesses. Their accounts were corroborated by the prosecutions documentary evidence
such as the extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo, which were executed with
the assistance of Atty. Mallare. Muit executed two extra judicial confessions: the first
statement was dated 4 December 1997, in which he was assisted by Atty. Ernesto Vergara,
and the second statement was dated 7 December 1997 in which he was assisted by Atty.
Solomon De Jesus and witnessed by his uncle, Bonifacio Muit (Bonifacio), and his brother,
Dominador Muit (Dominador). On the other hand, the defense presented appellants Dequillo,
Pancho, Jr., and Muit.

Dequilo, Pancho and Muit testified. Dequilo claimed that he was tortured, Pancho testified
that he was tortured and forced to sign an extra judicial confession. Muit claimed that on 2
December 1997 he was in Lipa City, near the place of the shootout. He had just attended a
gathering of the Rizalistas and was waiting for his uncle Bonifacio when the police arrested
him. He denied having any knowledge of the crime. He denied knowing the people whose
name appeared in his two extra judicial confessions. He claimed that the names were
supplied by the police and that he was not assisted by counsel during the custodial
investigation

The RTC held that mere denials and alibis of appellants cannot prevail over the positive
declarations of the prosecutions witnesses. It found the prosecutions witnesses more
credible than appellants, whose self serving statements were obviously intended to
exculpate themselves from criminal liability. The RTC did not give credence to the claims of
appellants that their extra judicial confessions were procured through torture as these were
belied by the testimony of Atty. Mallare and appellants medical certificates which were
issued during their incarceration and after the execution of their statements.

19
The Court of Appeals in a decision dated 31 August 2007 affirmed the decision of the
20
RTC. The appellate court held that the RTC was correct in convicting appellants for
kidnapping and carnapping. The prosecution was able to prove through Ferraer that
appellants conspired with one another in the planning and execution of their plan to kidnap
the victim. Moreover, appellants executed extra judicial confessions, duly assisted by their
counsels, detailing their participation in the kidnapping. As for Muit, other than his extra
judicial confession, he was also positively identified during the kidnapping by eyewitnesses
Seraspe and Chavez. Appellants filed their notices of appeal with the Court of Appeals.

Issues: W/N the RTC erred in giving credence to the extra judicial confessions of Pancho and
Dequillo?

Held: The extrajudicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit strengthened the case
against them. There is nothing on record to support appellants claim that they were coerced
and tortured into executing their extrajudicial confessions. One of the indicia of
voluntariness in the execution of appellants extrajudicial statements is that each contains
many details and facts which the investigating officers could not have known and could not
have supplied, without the knowledge and information given by appellants. Moreover, the
appellants were assisted by their lawyers when they executed their statements. Atty. Mallare
testified that Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo executed their statements voluntarily and affixed their
signatures after he talked with them alone and informed them of their constitutional rights.
Muit, on the other hand, was assisted by counsels in each instance when he executed his
two extrajudicial confessions; his second statement was even witnessed by his uncle,
Bonifacio, and his brother, Dominador. Muit cannot just conveniently disclaim any knowledge
of the contents of his extrajudicial confession. Nevertheless, in Muits case, he was also
positively identified by Seraspe and Chavez as the one who pointed a gun at them during
the kidnapping and ordered them to lay prostrate on the ground.

Appellants claims of torture are not supported by medical certificates from the physical
examinations done on them. These claims of torture were mere afterthoughts as they were
raised for the first time during trial; appellants did not even inform their family members
who visited them while they were imprisoned about the alleged tortures. Dequillo, for his
part, also had the opportunity to complain of the alleged torture done to him to the
Department of Justice when he was brought there. Claims of torture are easily concocted,
and cannot be given credence unless substantiated by competent and independent
corroborating evidence.

The extrajudicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit also strengthened the
prosecutions case against Romeo. The rule that an extrajudicial confession is evidence only
against the person making it recognizes various exceptions. One such exception is where
several extrajudicial statements had been made by several persons charged with an offense
and there could have been no collusion with reference to said several confessions, the fact
that the statements are in all material respects identical is confirmatory of the confession of
the co defendants and is admissible against other persons implicated therein. They are also
admissible as circumstantial evidence against the person implicated therein to show the
probability of the latters actual participation in the commission of the crime and may
likewise serve as corroborative evidence if it is clear from other facts and circumstances that
other persons had participated in the perpetration of the crime charged and proved. These
are known as interlocking confessions. Nonetheless, the RTC, in convicting Romeo, relied
not only on the aforesaid extra judicial statements but also on Ferraers testimony that
Romeo was introduced to him in his house as the informant when they were planning the
kidnapping.

Muit, on the other hand, was assisted by counsels in each instance when he executed his
two extra judicial confessions; his second statement was even witnessed by his uncle,
Bonifacio, and his brother, Dominador.
Muit cannot just conveniently disclaim any knowledge of the contents of his extra judicial
confession. Nevertheless, in Muits case, he was also positively identified by Seraspe and
Chavez (witnesses presented by the prosecution, they were there when the kidnapping
happened) as the one who pointed a gun at them during the kidnapping and ordered them
to lay prostrate on the ground.

Republic vs Bautista

Facts: petitioner Department of Health (DOH), represented by its then Regional Director, Dr.
Ricardo T. Trinidad, engaged the services of Rescue Security Services (Rescue Security),
owned by respondent Donatilla Bautista, to guard the DOH premises against theft, pilferage,
robbery, arson and other unlawful acts of strangers.

petitioners personnel discovered that the ceiling of Storeroom No. 1 was forcibly detached.
After the matter was reported to the police authorities, they conducted an inventory and
discovered that medicines worth P4,244,385.32 were missing.

Petitioner repeatedly notified Rescue Security about the loss. The last of such notification
was on 5 July 1996 through a letter sent by Dr. Trinidad. On 9 August 1996, petitioner sent
Rescue Security a notice of termination of the contract of services. Rescue Security refused
to pay the total amount of loss, prompting petitioner to institute an action for damages
against respondents based on Rescue Securitys contractual undertaking that it would
guarantee the payment of any loss or damage to petitioners property.

Respondent Bautista did not appear despite proper service of summons on her. Only
respondent Palma filed an answer and participated in the proceedings.

During trial, respondent Palma denied the loss of the medicines and further alleged that
they were never placed under the custody of Rescue Security or any of its security guards
assigned at the DOH premises. Respondent Palma also pointed out that no notification was
made within 48 hours from discovery of the loss.

the RTC rendered a Decision dismissing the complaint. While the trial court found that the
medicines worth P4,220,293.35 were indeed lost, it ruled that petitioners evidence failed to
establish that the medicines had already been placed inside the storeroom when the robbery
took place. The trial court also based the dismissal of petitioners complaint on its conclusion
that petitioner failed to notify Rescue Security of the loss within 48 hours from its
occurrence, although the RTC decision did not elaborate on this finding.

petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. Petitioner questioned the trial courts
ruling that the absence of inventory negated its claim that the medicines had been placed
under the custody of Rescue Security. CA affirmed the decision respect to its conclusion that
petitioner failed to notify respondents about the loss within 48 hours from its occurrence. As
regards the issue of whether an inventory of the medicines was a requirement before they
could be considered placed under the control or custody of Rescue Security, the Court of
Appeals differed from the RTCs opinion. It concluded that the petitioner and Rescue Security
were in agreement that as long as the medicines were placed within the DOH premises,
they were already considered to have been placed under the control of the security guards
and any loss that may occur shall be the responsibility of the latter.14

Just the same, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of petitioners complaint because
of petitioners failure to notify Rescue Security of the fact of loss within 48 hours from the
incident.

Issue: whether the Court of Appeals was correct in concluding that petitioner failed to
comply with the 48hour notice requirement.

Held: As pointed out by petitioner, Rescue Securitys own personnel officer, Oliver Liangco,
testified that in the morning of 8 April 1996, he went to the DOH premises after he received
at work a phone call from a certain Lourdes Macabulos, Planning Officer of DOHRegion 3.
According to Liangco, Macabulos informed him about the incident, prompting him to proceed
to the DOH premises and make an ocular inspection of

the storeroom. Furthermore, Liangco testified that Macabulos accompanied him when he
inspected the storeroom and even verbally conveyed to him that the drugs inside the
storeroom were missing. This fact alone is sufficient proof that Rescue Security had been
informed of the loss through its personnel, Oliver Liangco. Under Rule 130, Section 26 of the
Rules on Evidence, the act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be
given in evidence against him. This rule is based upon the notion that no man would make
any declaration against himself, unless it is true.

On crossexamination, respondent Palma likewise testified that Liangco reported to her about
the inspection he had conducted on the DOH premises on the day of the alleged loss.19 Her
testimony corroborated Liangcos testimony that on the day of the discovery of the loss,
Liangco was summoned to the DOH premises where the reported loss took place.

The Court of Appeals sweepingly brushed aside Liangcos testimony and was persuaded by
Macabulos rebuttal testimony denying that she had spoken to Liangco about the incident.
The rule is that the positive and categorical assertions of witnesses generally prevail over
bare denials. Such accordance of greater probative value to evidence that is positive in
nature than that which is negative in character is a timehonored principle.20 Denial is a self
serving negative evidence that cannot be given greater weight than the declaration of
credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters.21 Accordingly, Liangcos testimony
that he was informed about the incident must be upheld.

Now, does the notice to Liangco sufficiently comply with the requirement under the Contract
of Security Services?

It is a cardinal rule in the interpretation of contracts that if the terms of a contract are clear
and leave no doubt on the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its
stipulation shall control.23 When the language of the contract is explicit, as in the case at
bar, leaving no doubt as to the intention of the drafters thereof, the courts may not read into
it any other intention that would contradict its plain import.24

Unfortunately, the Contract of Security Services does not define the requisite notice. Neither
does it specify the manner of reporting the loss, whether it should be written or verbal, or
the employee responsible should convey or receive the notice. The contract plainly states
that the loss or damage should be reported to Rescue Security within 48 hours from its
occurrence as a condition for the payment of the loss of property.

Thus, the reportorial requirement should be construed in its plain and literal import. The
Court cannot further qualify the requisite or read into it any other meaning not expressed in
the contract. Accordingly, as long as Rescue Security is informed in any manner whatsoever
about the loss of the property, the requisite notice should be deemed satisfied. In the case
at bar, Liangco received the information, not only once but twice, in his capacity as an
officer of Rescue Security. The notice to Liangco was notice to Rescue Security.

While it is true that the question of negligence on the part of Rescue Security was never
made an issue either before the Court of Appeals or in this petition, nonetheless this Court
deems it proper to resolve the same to arrive at a complete determination of this case.

From a reading of the Contract of Security Services,30 it can be fairly deduced that the fact
of negligence on the part of Rescue Security cannot be presumed in the event of loss. Thus,
in order to impute liability to Rescue Security in case of loss, it is incumbent upon petitioner
to prove that Rescue Security and or its security guards were guilty of negligence in
performing the security services it undertook to provide under the contract which include
shielding the DOH premises from robbery and other unlawful acts. the Court finds that
petitioner failed to present preponderant evidence showing that the negligence or
carelessness of the security guards was the proximate cause of the loss of the medicines. A
perusal of their testimonies reveals that the security guards posted at petitioners premises
during the period that the robbery took place had performed their duties in the manner
reasonably expected of them under the circumstances. Petitioner failed to present proof to
rebut this evidence. However, absent any evidence showing a direct link between the loss
and the conduct of the security guards, the Court cannot make Rescue Security answerable
for the loss.

People vs Sabagala

Facts: an Information for rape was filed against Michael Framio Sabagala by Prosecutor
Mamerta V. Paradiang for raping Annie Cosip

On arraignment, the accused pleaded not guilty. Trial thereafter ensued.

The prosecution presented as witnesses Annie P. Cosip, Marcelino Boro,5 Dr. Alfredo
Soberano, and Dolores Cosip.

Private complainant Annie P. Cosip testified that she was 14 years old, single, student. On
February 14, 1992, at around 5:30 p.m., while she was on her way home to Punod, she was
accosted by appellant, a suitor whose suit she had refused because they were third degree
cousins. Immediately after her refusal, he dragged her towards the banana plants. She
shouted for help as appellant pushed her down. When she struggled to free herself,
appellant boxed her.

Despite her resistance by means of fistic blows, kicks and bites, appellant was able to tear
her dress and pull down her panty. Since he was physically stronger and because she was
already tired, appellant succeeded in having sex with her. At around this time a certain
Marcelino Boro came by and shouted at appellant who immediately stood up and walked
away. Annie headed home. When she reached her house, she did not immediately tell her
mother of her ordeal because she was threatened by appellant not to tell anyone. It was
Marcelino Boro who informed her mother about the incident.

On February 22, 1992, they went to the police station to file a complaint. She presented her
torn skirt and panty that had already been washed. She learned that appellant had been
telling his friends that he had his way with her. Annie denied appellants claims.

Neither was it true, she said, that she and appellant have had an amorous relationship since
May 3, 1991.8 She denied attending a disco dance with appellant at the Pinamungajan
fiesta. She also denied she had asked the chief of polices consent to visit appellant while
the latter was in jail.

Marcelino Boro corroborated parts of Annies story. He testified that in the afternoon of
February 14, 1992, while he was grazing his carabao at around 6:00 p.m., he heard a
womans shout so he immediately proceeded to the place where the shout came from. He
approached complainant who was crying so he brought her home and informed her mother
what had happened.

Dr. Alfredo Soberano, municipal health officer of Pinamungajan, Cebu, conducted the
examination testified that the hymen of private complainant was ruptured and the vaginal
wall was inflamed. There were hematomas in the vaginal canal.

Dolores Cosip, mother of the complainant, testified that on February 14, past 6:00 in the
evening, her daughter arrived with Marcelino Boro. She said Marcelino told her about the
incident. He told her that her daughter was raped by Michael Sabagala.9

The defense, for its part, presented Hilaria10 Sabagala, SPO4 Loreto Gines,11 Orlando
Sabagala, appellant Michael Sabagala, and Judge Esmeraldo Cantero.

Hilaria Sabagala, appellants aunt, testified that she knew Annie. she arrived at their house,
the door was open and she saw Annie at the sala necking with Angelito Boro.

SPO4 Loreto Gines was the Chief of Police of Pinamungajan at the time private complainant
filed her case. He testified that he saw several persons visit appellant during his detention,
among them Annie and her classmates. Annie asked for his permission to talk to appellant in
his office and he acceded

Orlando Sabagala, appellants younger brother, testified that on February 14, 1992, at
around 6:00 p.m., he was walking home from the basketball court with Nestor Sabagala. On
the bridge of Punod, they met Marcelino on a carabao and the latter even greeted them. On
their way home they met appellant together with Annie. he saw appellant accompanying
Annie to a dance being held at Punod.

Appellant Michael Sabagala testified that he was 21 years old, single, and a resident of
Punod, Pinamungajan, Cebu.15 He alleged that on February 14, 1992, at about 4:00 p.m., he
was at Pinamungajan Provincial High School to pick up Annie because they had previously
agreed that he would fetch her. According to him, he and Annie were sweethearts. On
February 14, they met at 5:00 p.m. because Annie had classes earlier that day. Later, they
went home passing the public market and they got a ride up to Hagakhakan. They arrived at
Hagakhakan at around 6:00 p.m. and from there they walked towards the house of Annie in
Punod. They were supposed to go to a dance but found out that none would be held on that
day. On the way to Annies house, they met appellants brother Orlando and some friends,
namely Nestor Marcelo17 and Artemio Tangaro at the bridge. On his way home, he met
Marcelino Boro.19 The following day, February 15, he met Annie at the dance.20 Annie went
home at 2:00 a.m. of February 16. He did not accompany her anymore as she was with
Angel Boro and her older brother, Jojit Cosip.21 He was arrested on February 24, 1992 and
while detained, Annie visited him to ask for his forgiveness for filing the case. She allegedly
explained to him that it was her mother who insisted on filing the case.

Appellant denied raping Annie. He pointed out that on February 14, 1992, Annie was wearing
a school uniform, a blue skirt and a white blouse.23 He said that the blue skirt presented by
the prosecution belonged to Annies sister and was not the one Annie wore on February
14.24 On cross examination appellant stated that he and Annie were sweethearts. He did
not know whether or not they were related by blood. He stated that he did not visit her in
the house because her parents were strict and her mother might get angry. He admitted that
he asked Annie to marry him although he was not the one who raped her. Annies mother
turned down his offer.

Judge Esmeraldo Cantero testified that he is the presiding judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial
Court of Toledo City.28 He alleged that after the appellant had been arrested, he saw him
conversing with private complainant behind the office of the Chief of Police.

the prosecution presented private complainant. She denied having any amorous relations
with appellant and agreeing to meet him on February 14, 1992. She belied appellants claim
that she asked him for forgiveness, saying that she was only prevailed upon by Loreto Gines,
the chief of police and appellants uncle, to talk to appellant in his office.

The defense presented appellant as surrebuttal witness. He testified that he and Annie
became sweethearts on May 3, 1991. He also alleged that there was a letter written to him
by complainant after the incident but this was confiscated by Barangay Captain Lauriano
Bagahansol.

the trial court rendered the decision finding appellant guilty of rape. Appellant contends that
the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were improbabilities. According to him,
Annies allegation that she kicked appellant while she was lying down is unbelievable, for
kicking while lying down is beyond human capability and experience.35 Likewise improbable
is Annies assertion that appellant was able to continue his sexual advances although she
shouted for help eight times. Appellant maintains that no one of sound mind would pursue
his passionate advances if the wouldbe victim had the chance to summon help by shouting,
especially in remote areas.36 Appellant also questions complainants allegation that she
reported the incident because he kept on telling everybody that he had sexual intercourse
with her Likewise, appellant asserts that he could not have committed the crime near the
house of Marcelino Boro as the latter would most likely discover it.38

Appellant points out inconsistencies and contradictions in the testimonies of Annie Cosip and
Marcelino Boro. These show that they are perjured witnesses, according to appellant. First,
Annie testified that appellant tore off her dress and panty while she was already lying down
after he pushed her.39 However, she also testified that he had removed her skirt before he
pushed her.40 Second, Annie vehemently denied that her skirt was merely lifted up.41
However, Marcelino specifically stated that he saw Annies skirt merely lifted by appellant
while he was raping her.

Third, Annie initially testified that she did not tell anyone of the crime and that she would
have remained silent had she not learned that appellant had been spreading the story that
he had his way with her.43 Later however, she testified that she told her mother about the
rape right after the incident, and she admitted that she lied in court about the time when
she told her mother of the rape.

Held: From the arguments raised by appellant and the OSG, it is clear that the sole issue to
be resolved in this case is the credibility of the prosecutions witnesses.

It is an entrenched jurisprudential rule that when the issue is on the credibility of witnesses,
appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court47 on the ground that
it had the advantage of having observed closely the demeanor and conduct of the
witnesses. Aside from this, we are also guided by the following principles in reviewing rape
cases: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility, but it is difficult to prove and
even more difficult to disprove; (2) considering that only two persons are usually involved in
the crime, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and
(3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot draw
strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.48 With these in mind and after
thoroughly reviewing the records of this case, we entertain no doubt that appellant
committed the crime charged.

Appellant assails Annies testimony for being riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions.
True, her testimony was not flawless as pointed out by appellant in his brief and as we
discovered on our own reading of the records.

Also, when asked what day February 9, 1992 was, Annie confidently answered that it was a
Tuesday and that she was in school on that date.53 When confronted that said date was a
Sunday, Annie retracted her statement and stated that she could no longer recall said
date.54 Subsequently, Annie also testified that she met the appellant prior to February 14,
1992 in a seminar for the youth at Punod Primary School.55 However, she again withdrew
this statement and stated that the seminar was held after the alleged incident of rape,56 not
before. When she was again confronted to affirm her earlier statement that she had met
appellant prior to February 14, she just meekly answered, I cannot remember anymore.57

However, and this we have to emphasize, these inconsistencies pertain to inconsequential


and trivial matters. They do not, in any way, relate to the gravamen of the crime, that is, the
fact of carnal knowledge. Annie had consistently held during her testimony that appellant
forced her to have sex with him and that he succeeded in doing so, notwithstanding the
tremendous resistance she exerted to repel his undesired advances.

Rather than weaken her testimony, said inconsistencies tend to strengthen complainants
credibility as these prove that she was being spontaneous during her narration of the ordeal
she suffered at the hands of appellant, an indication that she was not a rehearsed witness.

A rape victim is not and cannot be expected to keep an accurate account of her traumatic
experience.61 A court cannot expect a rape victim to remember every ugly detail of the
appalling outrage, especially so since she might in fact have been trying not to remember
them. Moreover, it must be remembered that the victim was only a 14year old barrio lass,
far from being a sophisticated woman who could be expected to weigh her every word with
care so as to be free of inconsistency.

Even the alleged contradiction between Annies testimony and that of Marcelino Boro,
however, refers to an immaterial aspect of this case. Annie testified that appellant pulled
down her skirt, it was not lifted up.63 However, Marcelino specifically stated that Annies
skirt was merely raised up while appellant was doing the coital act.64 What should be
stressed here is that notwithstanding the above contradiction, Marcelino proved to be
consistent throughout his testimony. He testified that he heard cries for help and when he
went to the source of these shouts, he saw appellant, with his pants lowered down to his
knees, having sexual intercourse with Annie.

Appellant offered to marry private complainant in his desperate attempt to free himself from
any liability. In a number of cases, we have held that an offer of marriage is considered an
admission of guilt by the accused.68 If it were true that he did not commit the crime, there
is no reason why appellant would go to the extent of offering to marry the woman who
supposedly fabricated false charges against him. This is not in accord with ordinary human
experience. He would have stood his ground and defended his innocence.

In sum, we find no error in the rinding of guilt made by the trial court. However, we see the
need to modify the award for damages to conform to current jurisprudence. The trial court
awarded P30,000.00 to private complainant as civil indemnity. This is not enough. Recent
jurisprudence pegs the amount of civil indemnity to be awarded for simple rape at
P50,000.00

People vs Satorre

Facts: Appellant Herminiano Satorre alias Emiano Satorre was charged with Murder for
killing ROMERO PANTILGAN, hitting the latter at the head which caused his instantaneous
death.

Gliceria Saraum, wife of the victim Romero Pantilgan, testified that at 2:00 a.m. of May 25,
1997, she and her two children were asleep inside the house of her parents at Tagaytay,
Calidngan, Carcar, Cebu. Her mother, Florida Saraum, was also in the house. Her husband,
Romero, went out to attend a fiesta. While she was asleep, she was awakened by a gunshot.
Gliceria got up and went out to the porch, where she found her dead husband lying on the
ground. Blood oozed out of a gunshot wound on his head.

Rufino Abayata, a barangay kagawad, testified that around 7:00 a.m. of May 25, 1997, his
fellow barangay kagawad, Pio Alvarado, fetched him from his house and, together, they
went to verify a report regarding a dead person on the porch of the Saraum residence.

Rufino further narrated that appellants father, Abraham Satorre, informed them that it was
appellant who shot Pantilgan. They looked for appellant in the house of his brother, Felix
Satorre, at Dumlog, Talisay, Cebu, but were told that he already left. Nevertheless,
appellants brothers, Margarito and Rosalio Satorre, went to Rufinos house and surrendered
the gun which was allegedly used in killing Pantilgan.

Flavio Gelle narrated that he accompanied appellant and his father, Abraham, to the
Barangay Captain of Can asohan, Carcar, Cebu where appellant admitted killing Pantilgan.
Thereafter, appellant was detained.

Corroborating Gelles story, Cynthia Castaares, and Gelle brought appellant to her
residence where he confessed having killed Pantilgan. Appellant allegedly informed her that
he killed Pantilgan because the latter struck him with a piece of wood. That same evening,
she went to the Carcar Police Station with appellant where she executed an affidavit. She
further averred that appellant voluntarily narrated that he killed Pantilgan with the use of a
handgun which he wrestled from his possession.

Denying the charges against him, appellant claimed that he was asleep inside his house at
the time of the incident. He alleged that Rufino Abayata had a grudge against him because
of an incident when he tied Rufinos cow to prevent it from eating the corn in his farm. He
denied having confessed to the killing of Pantilgan. He disclaimed ownership over the paltik .
38 revolver and stated that he could not even remember having surrendered a firearm to
Castaares.
Appellants brother, Rosalio Satorre, claimed that he never accompanied appellant to
Castaares house to surrender. His other brother, Felix, also testified that he never
surrendered any firearm to anybody.

After trial, the court a quo gave credence to the prosecutions evidence4 and rendered a
decision convicting appellant of Murder, Appellant interposed this appeal, contending that
the trial court erred: (1) in giving full faith and credence to the testimonies of prosecution
witnesses; (2) in proceeding with the trial of the instant case amounting to lack of due
process provided by law due to its denial of accuseds motion for preliminary investigation or
reinvestigation; and (3) in rejecting the testimony of the defenses witnesses.

The appeal has merit.

In particular, appellant claims that his alleged confession or admission, which was concocted
by the Barangay Captain, is inadmissible in evidence for being hearsay and for being
obtained without a competent and independent counsel of his choice. In effect, the quantum
of evidence adduced by the prosecution was not sufficient to overcome the constitutional
presumption of innocence. The bare allegation that he confessed or admitted killing Romero
Pantilgan is not proof of guilt.

Rule 130, Section 26 of the Rules of Court defines an admission as an act, declaration or
omission of a party as to a relevant fact. A confession, on the other hand, under Section 33
of the same Rule is the declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense
charged, or of any offense necessarily included therein. Both may be given in evidence
against the person admitting or confessing. On the whole, a confession, as distinguished
from an admission, is a declaration made at any time by a person, voluntarily and without
compulsion or inducement, stating or acknowledging that he had committed or participated
in the commission of a crime.5

Evidently, appellants alleged declaration owning up to the killing before the Barangay
Captain was a confession. Since the declaration was not put in writing and made out of
court, it is an oral extrajudicial confession.

The nexus that connects appellant to the killing was his alleged oral extrajudicial confession
given to Barangay Captain Cynthia Castaares and two barangay kagawads. According to
the trial court, their testimonies were positive and convincing. Appellants retraction of his
oral extrajudicial confession should not be given much credence in the assessment of
evidence.

There is no question as to the admissibility of appellants alleged oral extrajudicial


confession. Indeed, as far as admissibility is concerned, Rule 130, Section 33 of the Rules of
Court makes no distinction whether the confession is judicial or extrajudicial.

The rationale for the admissibility of a confession is that if it is made freely and voluntarily, a
confession constitutes evidence of a high order since it is supported by the strong
presumption that no sane person or one of normal mind will deliberately and knowingly
confess himself to be the perpetrator of a crime, unless prompted by truth and conscience.6

Accordingly, the basic test for the validity of a confession iswas it voluntarily and freely
made. The term voluntary means that the accused speaks of his free will and accord,
without inducement of any kind

Plainly, the admissibility of a confession in evidence hinges on its voluntariness.

The voluntariness of a confession may be inferred from its language such that if, upon its
face, the confession exhibits no suspicious circumstances tending to cast doubt upon its
integrity, it being replete with detailswhich could only be supplied by the accused
reflecting spontaneity and coherence, it may be considered voluntary. The problem with
appraising voluntariness occurs when the confession is an oral extrajudicial confession
because the proof of voluntariness cannot be inferred from the testimony of a witness who
allegedly heard the confessant since there is no written proof that such confession was
voluntarily made. Neither can the confessant be appraised by the court since, precisely, it
was made outside the judicial proceeding. The problem posed therefore by an oral
extrajudicial confession is not only the admissibility of the testimony asserting or certifying
that such confession was indeed made, but more significantly whether it was made
voluntarily.

On the question of whether a confession is made voluntarily, the age, character, and
circumstances prevailing at the time it was made must be considered.

In the case at bar, appellant was a 19year old farmer who did not even finish first grade.
Granting that he made the confession in the presence of Barangay Captain Castaares, he
may not have realized the full import of his confession and its consequences. This is not to
say that he is not capable of making the confession out of a desire to tell the truth if
prompted by his conscience. What we are saying is that due to the aforesaid personal
circumstances of appellant, the voluntariness of his alleged oral confession may not be
definitively appraised and evaluated.

At any rate, an extrajudicial confession forms but a prima facie case against the party by
whom it is made. Such confessions are not conclusive proof of that which they state; it may
be proved that they were uttered in ignorance, or levity, or mistake; and hence, they are, at
best, to be regarded as only cumulative proof which affords but a precarious support and on
which, when uncorroborated, a verdict cannot be permitted to rest.

Also at the police station, appellant allegedly admitted before policemen that he killed
Pantilgan.13 His statement was not taken nor was his confession reduced into writing. This
circumstance alone casts some doubt on the prosecutions account that appellant freely and
voluntarily confessed killing Pantilgan. It raises questions not only as to the voluntariness of
the alleged confession, but also on whether appellant indeed made an oral confession.
To be sure, a confession is not required to be in any particular form. It may be oral or written,
formal or informal in character. It may be recorded on video tape, sound motion pictures, or
tape.14 However, while not required to be in writing to be admissible in evidence, it is
advisable, if not otherwise recorded by video tape or other means, to reduce the confession
to writing.

In the cases cited by the trial court,16 the convictions were based on circumstantial
evidence in addition to the appellants confessions, or the extrajudicial confessions were
reduced to writing and were replete with details which only appellants could have supplied.
In the case at bar, however, there was no circumstantial evidence to corroborate the
extrajudicial confession of appellant. More importantly, the said confession does not contain
details which could have only been known to appellant.

Furthermore, the events alleged in the confession are inconsistent with the physical
evidence. According to Barangay Captain Castaares, appellant narrated to her that during
the struggle between him and the deceased, he fell to the ground after the latter hit him on
the head with a piece of wood. In the autopsy report, however, Dr. Plebia Villanueva found
that the entrance wound on the deceased was located at the top of the head or the crown,
indicating that the victim was probably lying down when he was shot.

Indeed, an extrajudicial confession will not support a conviction where it is uncorroborated.


There must be such corroboration that, when considered in connection with confession, will
show the guilt of accused beyond a reasonable doubt. Circumstantial evidence may be
sufficient corroboration of a confession. It is not necessary that the supplementary evidence
be entirely free from variance with the extrajudicial confession, or that it show the place of
offense or the defendants identity or criminal agency. All facts and circumstances attending
the particular offense charged are admissible to corroborate extrajudicial confession.18

Nonetheless, the fatal gun and the slug extracted from Pantilgans brain can not be
considered as corroborative evidence. While the slug embedded in Pantilgans brain came
from the fatal gun, the prosecution was not able to conclusively establish the ownership of
the gun other than the bare testimony of prosecution witnesses that appellants brothers
surrendered the gun to them. This was denied by appellant and his brothers and there was
no other proof linking the gun to him.

On the whole, it appears that the trial court simply based appellants conviction on the
testimonial evidence of prosecution witnesses that appellant orally owned up to the killing.

To conclude, it must be stressed that in our criminal justice system, the overriding
consideration is not whether the court doubts the innocence of the accused, but whether it
entertains a reasonable doubt as to their guilt.
Boston Bank vs Manalo

Facts: The Xavierville Estate, Inc. (XEI) was the owner of parcels of land in Quezon City,
known as the Xavierville Estate Subdivision, with an area of 42 hectares. XEI caused the
subdivision of the property into residential lots, which was then offered for sale to individual
lot buyers.

Xavierville Estate, Inc. sold to The Overseas Bank of Manila (OBM) some residential lots in
Xavierville subdivision. Nevertheless, XEI continued selling the residential lots in the
subdivision as agent of OBM.

Carlos Manalo, Jr. proposed to XEI, through its President Emerito Ramos, to purchase two lots
in the Xavierville subdivision and offered as part of the downpayment the P34,887.66 Ramos
owed him. XEI, through Ramos, agreed.

In a letter dated August 22, 1972 to Perla Manalo (Carlos wife), Ramos confirmed the
reservation of the lots. In the letter he also pegged the price of the lots at P348,060 with a
20% down payment of the purchase price amounting to P69,612.00 (less the P34,887.66
owing from Ramos), payable as soon as XEI resumes its selling operations; the
corresponding Contract of Conditional Sale would then be signed on or before the same
date. Perla Manalo conformed to the letter agreement. Thereafter, the spouses constructed
a house on the property.

The spouses were notified of XEIs resumption of selling operations. However, they did not
pay the balance of the downpayment because XEI failed to prepare a contract of conditional
sale and transmit the same to them. XEI also billed them for unpaid interests which they
also refused to pay.

XEI turned over its selling operations to OBM. Subsequently, Commercial Bank of Manila
(CBM) acquired the Xavierville Estate from OBM. CBM requested Perla Manalo to stop any
on-going construction on the property since it (CBM) was the owner of the lot and she had
no permission for such construction. Perla informed them that her husband had a contract
with OBM, through XEI, to purchase the property. She promised to send CBM the documents.
However, she failed to do so. Thus, CBM filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against the
spouses. But later on, CBM moved to withdraw its complaint because of the issues raised. In
the meantime, CBM was renamed the Boston Bank of the Philippines.

RTC : The trial court ordered the petitioner (Boston Bank) to execute a Deed of Absolute Sale
in favor of the spouses upon the payment of the spouses of the balance of the purchase
price. It ruled that under the August 22, 1972 letter agreement of XEI and the spouses, the
parties had a "complete contract to sell" over the lots, and that they had already partially
consummated the same.
CA: The Court of Appeals sustained the ruling of the RTC, but declared that the balance of
the purchase price of the property was payable in fixed amounts on a monthly basis for 120
months, based on the deeds of conditional sale executed by XEI in favor of other lot buyers.

Boston Bank filed a Motion for the Reconsideration of the decision alleging that there was no
perfected contract to sell the two lots, as there was no agreement between XEI and the
respondents on the manner of payment as well as the other terms and conditions of the
sale. Boston Bank also asserts that there is no factual basis for the CA ruling that the terms
and conditions relating to the payment of the balance of the purchase price of the property
(as agreed upon by XEI and other lot buyers in the same subdivision) were also applicable to
the contract entered into between the petitioner and the respondents. CA denied the MR.

ISSUE: Whether or not the terms of the 3 deeds of conditional sale executed by XEI in favor
of the other lot buyers in the subdivision, which contained uniform terms of 120 equal
monthly installments, constitute evidence that XEI also agreed to give the Manalo spouses
the same mode and timeline of payment?

Held: There was no perfected contract of sale. . In a contract to sell property by


installments, it is not enough that the parties agree on the price as well as the amount of
downpayment. The parties must, likewise, agree on the manner of payment of the balance
of the purchase price and on the other terms and conditions relative to the sale. Even if the
buyer makes a downpayment or portion thereof, such payment cannot be considered as
sufficient proof of the perfection of any purchase and sale between the parties. A contract of
sale is perfected at the moment there is a meeting of the minds upon the thing which is the
object of the contract and the price. The agreement as to the manner of payment goes into
the price, such that a disagreement on the manner of payment is tantamount to a failure to
agree on the price. We have meticulously reviewed the records, including Ramos February
8, 1972 and August 22, 1972 letters to respondents and find that said parties confined
themselves to agreeing on the price of the property (P348,060.00), the 20% downpayment
of the purchase price (P69,612.00), and credited respondents for the P34,887.00 owing from
Ramos as part of the 20% downpayment. Based on these two letters, the determination of
the terms of payment of the P278,448.00 had yet to be agreed upon on or before December
31, 1972, or even afterwards, when the parties sign the contract of conditional sale. So long
as an essential element entering into the proposed obligation of either of the parties
remains to be determined by an agreement which they are to make, the contract is
incomplete and unenforceable.

Also, the bare fact that other lot buyers were allowed to pay the balance of the purchase
price of lots purchased by them in 120 or 180 monthly installments does not constitute
evidence that XEI also agreed to give the respondents the same mode and timeline of
payment.

Under Section 34, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court, evidence that one did a certain
thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did the same or similar thing at another
time, although such evidence may be received to prove habit, usage, pattern of conduct or
the intent of the parties.

Habit, custom, usage or pattern of conduct must be proved like any other facts. The offering
party must establish the degree of specificity and frequency of uniform response that
ensures more than a mere tendency to act in a given manner but rather, conduct that is
semi-automatic in nature. The offering party must allege and prove specific, repetitive
conduct that might constitute evidence of habit. The examples offered in evidence to prove
habit, or pattern of evidence must be numerous enough to base on inference of systematic
conduct. Mere similarity of contracts does not present the kind of sufficiently similar
circumstances to outweigh the danger of prejudice and confusion. In determining whether
the examples are numerous enough, and sufficiently regular, the key criteria are adequacy
of sampling and uniformity of response. It is only when examples offered to establish pattern
of conduct or habit are numerous enough to lose an inference of systematic conduct that
examples are admissible.

Respondents failed to allege and prove that, as a matter of business usage, habit or pattern
of conduct, XEI granted all lot buyers the right to pay the balance of the purchase price in
installments of 120 months of fixed amounts with pre-computed interests, and that XEI and
the respondents had intended to adopt such terms of payment relative to the sale of the two
lots in question. Indeed, respondents adduced in evidence the three contracts of conditional
sale executed by XEI and other lot buyers merely to prove that XEI continued to sell lots in
the subdivision as sales agent of OBM after it acquired said lots, not to prove usage, habit or
pattern of conduct on the part of XEI to require all lot buyers in the subdivision to pay the
balance of the purchase price of said lots in 120 months.

People vs Bernal

Facts: Accusedappellant Theodore Bernal, together with two other persons whose identities
and whereabouts are still unknown, were charged with the crime of kidnapping of
Bienvenido Openda, Jr., while the latter was drinking liquor with his friends at Bolton Isla, this
City and was brought, handcuffed and carried away using a PU then fled together with
Bienvenido Openda, Jr., thereby depriving the said Bienvenido Openda, Jr. of his liberty
against his will.

A plea of not guilty having been entered by Bernal during his arraignment, trial ensued. The
prosecution presented four witnesses. On the other hand, Theodore Bernal testified for his
defense.

It appears that on August 5, 1991, around 11:30 in the morning, while Roberto Racasa and
Openda, Jr. were engaged in a drinking spree, they invited Bernal, who was passing by, to
join them.

After a few minutes, Bernal decided to leave both men, apparently because he was going to
fetch his child. Thereafter, two men arrived, approached Openda, Jr., and asked the latter if
he was Payat.3 When he said yes, one of them suddenly pulled out a handgun while the
other handcuffed him and told him not to run because they were policemen and because
he had an atraso or a score to settle with them. They then hastily took him away. Racasa
immediately went to the house of Openda, Jr. and informed the latters mother of the
abduction.

The theory of the prosecution, as culled from the testimony of a certain Salito Enriquez,
tends to establish that Openda, Jr. had an illicit affair with Bernals wife Naty and this was
the motive behind the formers kidnapping. Until now, Openda, Jr. is still missing.

On the other hand, the defense asserts that Openda, Jr. was a drugpusher arrested by the
police on August 5, 1991, and hence, was never kidnapped.

the court a quo rendered judgment5 finding Bernal guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of kidnapping for the abduction and disappearance of Bienvenido Openda, Jr.

Bernal assails the lower court for giving weight and credence to the prosecution witnesses
allegedly illusory testimonies and for convicting him when his guilt was not proved beyond
reasonable doubt.

The Court notes that up to this day, neither the victim nor his body has been found. This,
however, does not preclude the Court from ruling on the merits of the case. In kidnapping,
what is important is to determine and prove the fact of seizure, and the subsequent
disappearance of the victim will not exonerate an accused from prosecution therefor.
Otherwise, kidnappers can easily avoid punishment by the simple expedient of disposing of
their victims bodies.

For the charge of kidnapping to prosper, the deprivation of the victims liberty, which is the
essential element of the offense, must be duly proved. In the case at bar, Bernal
indisputably acted in conspiracy with the two other unknown individuals as shown by their
concerted acts evidentiary of a unity of thought and community of purpose.7 Proof of
conspiracy is perhaps most frequently made by evidence of a chain of circumstances only.8
The circumstances present in this case sufficiently indicate the participation of Bernal in the
disappearance of Openda, Jr.

The prosecution has proffered sufficient evidence to show that, indeed, Bernal, together with
his two companions, abducted Openda, Jr. on August 5, 1991. A certain Adonis Sagarino, a
childhood friend and neighbor of the victim, testified that he saw Bernal at the billiard hall at
about 11:00 a.m. with his two companions and overheard him dispatching one of them to
Tarsings Store to check if a certain person was still there. This person later turned out to
be Openda, Jr. He added that after the latters presence was confirmed, the three men left
the billiard hall. Minutes later, Openda, Jr., already handcuffed, passed by the billiard hall
with Bernals companions.
Equally important is the testimony of Roberto Racasa, a resident of Bucana, Davao City who
knew both Bernal and the victim, the former being his neighbor and compadre. He narrated
that he and the victim were drinking at Tarsings Store on that fateful day when Bernal
passed by and had a drink with them. After a few minutes, Bernal decided to leave, after
which, two men came to the store and asked for Payat. When Openda, Jr. confirmed that
he was indeed Payat, he was handcuffed and taken away by the unidentified men.
Likewise, a certain Salito Enriquez, a tailor and a friend of Openda, Jr., testified that
sometime in January 1991, Openda, Jr. confided to him that he and Bernals wife Naty were
having an affair. One time, Naty even gave Openda, Jr. money which they used to pay for a
motel room. He advised Naty not to do it again because she (was) a married woman.

Motive is generally irrelevant, unless it is utilized in establishing the identity of the


perpetrator. Coupled with enough circumstantial evidence or facts from which it may be
reasonably inferred that the accused was the malefactor, motive may be sufficient to
support a conviction.10 Openda, Jr.s revelation to Enriquez regarding his illicit relationship
with Bernals wife is admissible in evidence, pursuant to Section 38, Rule 130 of the Revised
Rules on Evidence, viz.:

Sec. 38. Declaration against interest.The declaration made by a person deceased, or


unable to testify, against the interest of the declarant, if the fact asserted in the declaration
was at the time it was made so far contrary to declarants own interest, that a reasonable
man in his position would not have made the declaration unless he believed it to be true,
may be received in evidence against himself or his successorsininterest and against third
persons.

With the deletion of the phrase pecuniary or moral inter est from the present provision, it
is safe to assume that declaration against interest has been expanded to include all kinds
of interest, that is, pecuniary, proprietary, moral or even penal.11

A statement may be admissible when it complies with the following requisites, to wit: (1)
that the declarant is dead or unable to testify; (2) that it relates to a fact against the interest
of the declarant; (3) that at the time he made said declaration the declarant was aware that
the same was contrary to his aforesaid interest; and (4) that the declarant had no motive to
falsify and believed such declaration to be true.12

Openda, Jr., having been missing since his abduction, cannot be called upon to testify. His
confession to Enriquez, definitely a declaration against his own interest since his affair with
Naty Bernal was a crime, is admissible in evidence because no sane person will be presumed
to tell a falsehood to his own detriment

In his brief, Bernal highlights supposed inconsistencies in Sagarinos testimony. He alleges


that the latter could not have seen the actual handcuffing because Tarsings Store could
not be seen from the billiard hall. Sagarinos testimony shows that after Bernal and two
others left the billiard hall, the latter came back with Openda, Jr., already handcuffed.
But Sagarino has not said that he saw the actual handcuffing of Openda, Jr. at the Tarsing or
Tarcing store. On the contrary, he says that he had not known who the person was that
Bernal referred to when he requested one of this two companions to go see if that person
was still there at the store, and that he came to know that he was Openda, Jr. only after he
saw Openda, Jr. pass by the billiard hall already handcuffed, with the two unidentified
companions of Bernal with him, on their way out to the main road.

If one had a direct view of Tarsings Store from the billiard hall, Bernal would not have
requested his companion to check if Openda, Jr. were still there drinking with Racasa.
Another discrepancy pointed out by Bernal arose from the testimonies of Racasa and
Sagarino.

Q After Theodore Bernal left you have seen him also returned (sic) with his child, is that
correct?

A Yes, sir, because I was still in the store.17

On the other hand, Sagarino averred that:

Q He has with him his son?

A He was with nobody, sir.

The testimonies of Racasa and Sagarino are not absolutely inconsistent with each other as
to be irreconcilable.

Considering the proximity of the store from the billiard hall, there is a possibility that when
Racasa saw Bernal with his son at the store, the latter could have already brought home his
son before proceeding alone to the billiard hall where he was seen by Sagarino.

Bernal would like the Court to dismiss Sagarinos testimony by imputing revenge as his
motive for testifying. He alleges that on July 29, 1991, or six days before the alleged
kidnapping, five policemen arrived at Kasilak, Bucana on board a patrol car asking for
Openda, Jr., Sagarino, Joseph Mendoza, Dansoy Madelo and Dagoy Balagan. He replied that
they were residents of the place and staying at the billiard hall and mahjong house.

Bernals position is that no abduction or kidnapping ever took place but that an arrest was
made by pursuing policemen. This contention is quite improbable, if not highly preposterous.

The trial court correctly appreciated the testimony of Sagarino, it being free from any ill -
motive against Bernal. If the latters allegations were true, then Sagarino should have been
arrested by the police at the time he gave his testimony in court. No such arrest was,
however, made.

The court a quo committed no error in finding the testimonies of Enriquez, Racasa and
Sagarino sufficient to convict Bernal. The court said that Sagarinos forthright answers to the
questions of the prosecutor and defense counsel clearly establish the participation of Bernal
in the abduction or kidnapping of Openda, Jr. Evidence, to be believed, must not only
proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but must be credible in itself.21 This Court
once again finds occasion to reiterate the established rule that the findings of fact of a trial
court carry great weight and are entitled to respect on appeal, absent any strong and cogent
reason to the contrary, since it is in a better position to decide the question of credibility of
witnesses.22

We note that after a lapse of a considerable length of time, the victim has yet to resurface.
Considering the circumstances, it is safe to assume that Openda, Jr. is already dead.

Dallas Railway and Terminal v. Farnsworth

Facts: Action for damages on account of injuries suffered by respondent, Mrs. Letta M.
Farnsworth, when struck by petitioner's streetcar immediately after she had alighted from it.

Respondent, a widow, fifty-two years of age, became a passenger, together with her thirty
year old daughter and three year old grandson, on petitioner's streetcar to travel from South
Lamar Street to the corner of Elm and St. Paul Streets, a distance estimated by the operator
of the streetcar to be approximately one mile and by respondent approximately three or four
miles. Traveling east on Elm Street, the car stopped when it arrived at St. Paul Street. At that
place the car tracks do not extend farther on Elm Street, but turn to the left and north on St.
Paul Street. Although respondent had been a passenger on streetcars in Dallas and in other
places oftentimes over many years, she had never been on a streetcar on Elm Street and did
not know that the car turned to the left at St. Paul Street, and did not look at the tracks
ahead of the car, and she had never observed that the rear end of a streetcar would swing
out as the car went around a curve and did not know that it would.

Eight or ten passengers alighted from the streetcar at its front door. According to
respondent's testimony all of the others were ahead of respondent, her daughter and
grandchild, respondent being the last passenger to alight. She testified that just as she
stepped off the streetcar step within the safety zone the traffic light which she was facing
and in the direction that she intended to go, that is, to the south, changed to red, and that
before she had time to take a step, almost instantaneously, she was struck and knocked
down by the streetcar.

The operator of the streetcar testified that as he closed the door of the car immediately
before starting he looked to his right, saw that the door was clear, and saw no one within
reach of the door or within reach of the overhang of the streetcar, and that there was no one
"at the point of my front door within the overswing zone''; and that after he closed the door
and started the streetcar he never looked back to his right or to the back of the streetcar, his
attention being given to watching the traffic traveling west on Elm Street and the
pedestrians who were crossing St. Paul Street. His testimony shows that he knew nothing
about the accident until he had traveled to the end of the line and returned to Elm and Ervay
Streets, where he was told of it by the company's supervisor.

Similar acts of negligence by the driver immediately before the accident were admitted as
evidence

Issue: Are similar occurences that happened immediately before the disputed event
admissible as evidence?

Held: Evidence of similar transactions or conduct on other occasions is not competent to


prove the commission of a particular act charged unless the acts are connected in some
special way (eg: the acts are closely connected in time)

Respondent was permitted to testify, over objections, that when she entered the streetcar
on Lamar Street the operator started the car before she could get to a seat and was in a
great hurry, that he stopped at Lamar and Young Streets and passengers "scarcely got off
before he started,'' and that the same was true at Lamar and Main Streets. This testimony
when first considered may appear to be forbidden by the general rule that "when the
question is whether or not a person has been negligent in doing or in failing to do a
particular act, evidence is not admissible to show that he has been guilty of a similar act of
negligence or even habitually negligent upon a similar occasion.'' The reason for the rule is
the fundamental principle that evidence must be relevant to the facts in issue in the case on
trial and tend to prove or disprove those facts, evidence as to collateral facts not being
admissible. There are some modifications of the general rule as applied to particular cases.
It has been said that evidence of similar transactions or conduct on other occasions is not
competent to prove the commission of a particular act charged "unless the acts are
connected in some special way, indicating a relevancy beyond mere similarity in certain
particulars.''

People vs Villacorte

Facts: RTC convicted accusedappellant Julie V. Gil of the crime of Destructive Arson with
Homicide defined and penalized under Article 320 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
That she deliberately set fire on a residential house located at No. 603 Sulucan St.,
Sampaloc, in said city, owned by ANGGE ARGUELLES, by then and there pouring kerosene on
a mattress placed in a room of said house then occupied by the said accused and ignited it
with a lighter, knowing it to be occupied by one or more persons, thereby causing as a
consequence thereof, damage to the said house and adjacent houses in the amount of more
or less P2,000,000.00, to the damage and prejudice of said owners in the aforesaid amount
of P2,000,000.00, Philippine Currency; that on the occasion and by reason of said fire, one
RODOLFO CABRERA, a resident/occupant of said house sustained burn injuries which were
the direct and immediate cause of his death.

The RTC admitted the oral and written confessions of the accused appellant and found the
prosecution witnesses more credible than the accusedappellant.

This case was directly elevated to this Court for mandatory review. In a Minute Resolution7
dated January 11, 2005, we referred this case to the CA for proper disposition conformably
with the decision rendered in People v. Mateo.8 On review, the CA rejected the assignments
of error raised by the accusedappellant and affirmed her conviction of the crime charged.

A summary of the evidence adduced by the prosecution are quoted from the assailed
decision of the CA as follows:

William Lim, a Kagawad of Barangay 395, Zone 41 of the 4th District, Sampaloc, Manila,
testified that on March 1, 1998 while eating at their store located at 843 Quezon Boulevard,
his former typist in the barangay, Jonah, called him to tell that a woman wanted to surrender
to a barangay official. Jonah brought him to the woman who introduced herself as Julie Gil.
The latter appeared to be a lesbian, drunk and very confused. She felt bothered by her
conscience and admitted that she burned her residence. He called up precinct 4 to report
the incident, and was told that there was indeed a fire that took place in the area.

Ronnie Gallardo declared that he was present during the incident. He and his mother
occupied the room next to that of the accused. On March 1, 1998 at around 12:30 p.m. while
lying in bed inside their room, he heard a thud (kalabog) coming from the room of the
accused. He went out of his room and when he found the accused door open, he peeped
through the door where he noticed the latter standing. When she saw him, the accused
pointed to him the fire on her folding bed made of plastic with foam. At that time the fire
was getting bigger. She then told him x x x pabayaan mo na iyan. Damaydamay na tayo. At
hinatak na niya ako. They went out but he tried to get back to get their belongings.

Rodolfo Lorenzo, a Kagawad of Barangay 457, Zone 45 which covered the area of Sulucan
Street, Sampaloc, Manila, met the accused two (2) days before the incident at around 9:00
p.m. According to him, somebody called for his help, informing that the accused was making
trouble She was drunk, and there were two (2) broken bottles of gin scattered along
Earnshaw Street. He was told by the accused mother that the accused broke the bottles
because she had problems with her livein partner. He first swept the pieces of broken bottles
before approaching the accused and her mother, Aling Lita. The accused told him that her
livein partner, Trining, wrote her two (2) breakup letters, which obviously she could not
accept. He told the accused to stay calm, but she refused to be pacified. She even told him
x x x manggugulo ako at manununog.

To appease, he told her: Julie, baka hindi mo alam ang gagawin mo magpakahinahon ka.
Isipin mo muna ng makasampung beses bago mo gawin ang iniisip mo, hindi basta bastang
kaso iyan. The accused just ignored him. He noticed, however, that her eyes were red and
she was gnashing her teeth. He then thought she was on drugs. The next day, March 1,
1998 at around noon time, while talking with a neighbor in the basketball court, his attention
was called on the alleged fire that broke near the squatters area. He proceeded to the place
and saw Aling Lita outside her house. He immediately looked for the accused whom he saw
walking very fast along Earn shaw Street going towards Recto or Espaa. He tried to chase
her, but she was very fast. It would seem he was out of his mind as she was even smiling
when she saw the fire. She told, x x x damay damay na tayo diyan, huwag ninyo ng patayin
ang sunog. When he felt that he could no longer chase her, he stopped chasing her and
instead helped put off the fire as he was concerned with his constituents.

Unfortunately, Rodolfo did not give any statement before the police after the incident.

It was SFO1 Redentor Alumno who investigated the fire incident. Upon receipt of the alarm,
his team proceeded to the crime scene and conducted on the spot investigation.

Barangay Kagawad William Lim turnedover to their office the accused informing them that
the latter voluntarily surrendered to him (Lim). A letter written by the accused was also
handed to him. After conducting an investigation, SFO1 prepared a Crime Report in
connection with the incident. On March 2, 1998, the accused was subjected to inquest.

There were more or less 15 to 20 houses destroyed, one (1) man by the name of Rodolfo
Cabrera died, and a certain Marites Cabrera was injured.

As a result of the untimely demise of victim Rodolfo Cabrera, his surviving family suffered
damages. According to his surviving spouse, Anacleta Cabrera, during the wake of her
husband, she spent P3,175.00 for food. She also incurred expenses for his funeral and burial
amounting to P7,700.00 and P5,475.00, respectively. She also paid P2,600 for the burial lot.

The written statement executed by the accused appellant admitting responsibility for
conflagration before Kagawad William Lim reads:

Ako po ay si Julie V. Gil ay bolontaryong sumuko kay Kagawad William Lim sa salang
Panununog sa inuupahang bahay ko sa No. 603 Sulucan St., Sampaloc, kaninang mga
bandang 12:00 ng tanghali. Sinunog ko po ang tinitirhan ko dahil sa Pambabastos sa akin ng
mga taong kamaganak ng live in partner ko na si Trinidad Domingo 25 y old kaya ang
ginawa ko ay kinuha ko ang kalan di bomba at pagkatapos ibinuhos ko ang laman kerosene
gas sa kutson pero bago ko sinindihan bumaba muna ako, at saka ko sila sinabihan na
lumabas na sila lahat sa iskinita dahil susunogin ko na at damay damay na tayo at saka ako
uli umakyat upang sindihan ang lighter at saka uli ako bumaba at saka umalis, napadpad
ako sa isang barangay at kusang sumuko sa Kagawad William Lim.

On the other hand, the accusedappellant relied on her lone testimony in her defense. While
she admitted the authenticity of her abovequoted writ en confession, she denied on the
witness stand that she voluntarily wrote this confession. The accused appellant related her
version of the fire incident which is quoted hereunder from the assailed decision of the CA:

According to [accusedappellant], the fire resulted from her defective gas stove which
suddenly caught fire while she was boiling water. When the stove caught fire, she got
flustered and poured water on the stove. To her surprise, the fire got bigger. According to the
accused, it was William Lim who took custody of him for reasons unknown to her. Thereafter,
they gave her a paper with something written on it and they instructed her to copy the same
in another paper. Confused, she did what was told of her because they told her that it would
be good for her.

The accusedappellant contends that the circumstantial evidence of the prosecution failed to
produce the required quantum of proof to hold her criminally liable for the charge. She
explained that prosecution witness Ronnie Gallardo saw her mattress already on fire but
never saw her deliberately burn her mattress. Ronnie Gallardo neither saw nor identified any
overt act which would suggest that the accusedappellant intentionally put her mattress on
fire.

The accusedappellant also argues that her written confession is inadmissible in evidence.
She claims that she was not assisted by counsel at the time she executed the same; and
that she was merely led to believe, without apprising her of its legal significance, that it
would help her.

Held: This Court agrees with the plaintiffappellee11 that the RTC has passed upon enough
circumstantial evidence to hold the accusedappellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime charged. The plaintiffappellee correctly cites the ruling in People v. Gallarde, which
distinguished the two types of positive identification of a perpetrator of a crime and
discussed their legal importance, thus:

Positive identification pertains essentially to proof of identity and not per se to that of being
an eyewitness to the very act of commission of the crime. There are two types of positive
identification. A witness may identify a suspect or accused in a criminal case as the
perpetrator of the crime as an eyewitness to the very act of the commission of the crime.
This constitutes direct evidence. There may, however, be instances where, although a
witness may not have actually seen the very act of commission of a crime, he may still be
able to positively identify a suspect or accused as the perpetrator of a crime as for instance
when the latter is the person or one of the persons last seen with the victim immediately
before and right after the commission of the crime. This is the second type of positive
identification, which forms part of circumstantial evidence, which, when taken together with
other pieces of evidence constituting an unbroken chain, leads to the only fair and
reasonable conclusion, which is that the accused is the author of the crime to the exclusion
of all others. If the actual eyewitness are the only ones allowed to possibly positively identify
a suspect or accused to the exclusion of others, then nobody can ever be convicted unless
there is an eyewitness, because it is basic and elementary that there can be no conviction
until and unless an accused is positively identified. Such a proposition is absolutely absurd,
because it is settled that direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix
wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. If resort to
circumstantial evidence would not be allowed to prove identity of the accused on the
absence of direct evidence, then felons would go free and the community would be denied
proper protection. [Emphasis supplied]

The circumstantial evidence of the prosecution consisted of the following: the testimony of
Kagawad Rodolfo Lorenzo about the behavior and remarks of the accusedappellant at the
time she caused a public disturbance and threatened to cause chaos and arson13 and to
drag her neighbors into this turmoil, the testimony of Kagawad Rodolfo Lorenzo that, at the
time he tried to chase the accusedappellant during the fire incident, he again heard her
utter a nonchalant remark: Damaydamay na tayo diyan, huwag ninyo nang patayin ang
sunog;16 and the testimony of Kagawad William Lim that the accusedappellant approached
and admitted to him immediately after the incident that she was the person responsible for
the conflagration.

We are not persuaded by the bare and uncorroborated allegation of the accusedappellant
that the fire was accidental, and that she was arrested and forced by Kagawad William Lim
to copy the contents of her written confession from a piece of paper handed to her by the
said barangay official.

To quote a wellentrenched legal precept, the factual findings of the trial court, its calibration
of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of their probative weight are given
high respect, if not conclusive effect, unless it ignored, misconstrued, misunderstood or
misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance, which, if considered, will alter
the outcome of the case and the said trial court is in the best position to ascertain and
measure the sincerity and spontaneity of witnesses through its actual observation of the
witnesses manner of testifying, demeanor and behavior while in the witness box.18

In this case, the trial court found that the prosecution witnesses testified consistently and
truthfully. The chain of events before, during, and after the fireas narrated by the
prosecution witnessesestablished beyond reasonable doubt that the accusedappellant
committed the acts alleged in the information, which constituted the crime of arson with
homicide.

Regarding her extrajudicial confession, the plaintiff appellee correctly adverted to the ruling
in People v. Andan19 as to the admissibility of the verbal confession made by the accused-
appellant, which she made not only to Kagawad William Lim but also to Kagawad Rodolfo
Lorenzo while the fire was in progress. Moreover, as correctly held by the CA, even if the
written extrajudicial confession is disregarded, the evidence presented by the prosecution is
more than sufficient to prove the guilt of the accusedappellant beyond reasonable doubt.

People vs Erguiza
Facts: The Court is confronted with another case of rape. The victim, a 13yearold girl. And
although the Court may be moved by compassion and sympathy, the Court, as a court of
law, is dutybound to apply the law. Basic is the rule that for conviction of a crime, the
evidence required is proof beyond reasonable doubtconviction with moral certainty.

That on or about 5:00 oclock in the afternoon of January 5, 2000, at the back of the Bical
Norte Elementary School, municipality of Bayambang, province of Pangasinan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, armed with a
kitchen knife, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully,
and feloniously have sexual intercourse with AAA,3 a minor of 13 years old, against her will
and consent and to her damage and prejudice.

The prosecution presented four witnesses, namely: private complainant (AAA), her mother
BBB and father CCC, and Dr. James Sison.

PROSECUTIONS VERSION:

On January 5, 2000, at around 4:00 oclock in the afternoon, AAA, a thirteenyear old first
year high school student, together with her friends, siblings Joy and Ricky Agbuya, went to
the mango orchard located at the back of ZZZ Elementary School to gather fallen
mangoes.7 When they were bound for home at around 5:00 oclock in the afternoon, AAAs
short pants got hooked on the fence. AAA asked Joy and Ricky to wait for her but they ran
away and left her.

While AAA was trying to unhook her short pants, Larry suddenly grabbed and pulled her.
Poking a knife at her neck, Larry threatened to hurt her if she would make a noise.9
Accusedappellant dragged AAA towards a place where a tamarind tree and other thorny
plants grow. Then Larry removed his maong pants and forced AAA to lie down on the grassy
ground. Thereafter, he removed her short pants and panty, mounted himself on top of her
and inserted his penis into her private parts and made push and pull movements. He
likewise raised AAAs sando and mashed her breast.

Larry told AAA not to tell anybody about the incident otherwise he would kill her and all the
members of her family and then he ran away.11

AAA lingered for a while at the place and kept crying. Having spent her tears, she wore her
panty and short pants and proceeded to the adjacent store of her Aunt Beth who was asleep.
After staying for some time at the store, AAA decided to come (sic) home. Upon reaching
home, she directly went to bed. Fearing Larrys threat, AAA kept mum on the incident.
BBB brought her daughter AAA to her grandmother (BBBs mother), a hilot residing in XXX,
Tarlac, to consult her on the unusual palpitation on the midportion of AAAs throat and the
absence of her monthly period.

BBB asked AAA who was the father of her unborn child but AAA refused to talk. After much
prodding, and in the presence of her Uncle, Rudy Domingo, AAA finally revealed that she
was raped by accusedappellant.14

On April 8, 2000, AAA, accompanied by her mother and uncle, went to the police
headquarters in YYY

BBB testified that her daughter AAA stopped going to school after she was raped and that no
amount of money could bring back the lost reputation of her daughter.

CCC (AAAs father), testified that on May 2, 2000, the family of accusedappellant went to
their house and initially offered P50,000 and later P150,000; that in January 5, 2000, while
they were repairing his house for the wedding reception,18 Larry left at around 4:00 oclock
p.m.

DEFENSES VERSION

On January 5, 2000, Larry Erguiza helped in the repair of CCCs19 house from 8:00 oclock in
the morning up to 5:00 oclock in the afternoon. When he reached home at around 5:00 pm,
his mother Albina Erguiza instructed him to fetch a hilot as his wife Josie was already
experiencing labor pains. He proceeded to fetch the hilot Juanita Angeles and stayed in
their house until his wife delivered a baby at around 3:00 oclock in the morning of January
6, 2000.20

Juanita Angeles corroborated Larrys testimony that he indeed fetched her at around 5:10
pm on January 5, 2000 to attend to his wife who was experiencing labor pains and who
delivered a baby at about 3:00 a.m. of January 6, 2000; and that Larry never left his wifes
side until the latter gave birth.

Albina, mother of the accusedappellant, testified that AAA is the daughter of her balae
Spouses CCC and BBB; that her son Larry, her husband and two others left CCC and BBBs
residence at about 5:00 oclock in the afternoon on January 5, 2000; that she went to
Spouses CCC and BBB to talk about the charge of rape against her son; that Spouses CCC
and BBB were asking for P1,000,000.00 which was later reduced to P250,000.00 and that
she made a counteroffer of P5,000.00.21
Joy Agbuya testified that she and AAA were at the mango orchard of Juanito Macaraeg on
January 5, 2000; that she never left AAA when her short pants got hooked; that they went
together to the store of Auntie Beth where they parted.

The appeal is meritorious. The prosecutions evidence does not pass the test of moral
certainty.

This Court has ruled that in the review of rape cases, the Court is guided by the following
precepts: (a) an accusation of rape can be made with facility, but it is more difficult for the
accused, though innocent, to disprove it; (b) the complainants testimony must be
scrutinized with extreme caution since, by the very nature of the crime, only two persons are
normally involved; and (c) if the complainants testimony is convincingly credible, the
accused may be convicted of the crime.

Generally, when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says
in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was committed. And so long as her
testimony meets the test of credibility and unless the same is controverted by competent
physical and testimonial evidence, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. After
a judicious examination of the records of the case, the Court finds that there is testimonial
evidence that contradicts the findings of the RTC and CA on the basis of which no conviction
beyond reasonable doubt could arise. It is the unrebutted testimony of a credible defense
witness. The testimony of Joy Agbuya (Joy) casts doubt as to the possibility of rape having
taken place as narrated by complainant. In addition, the testimony of a disinterested
defense witness, Juanita Angeles (Juanita) corroborated the alibi of appellant.

An offer of compromise from an unauthorized person cannot amount to an admission of the


party himself. Although the Court has held in some cases that an attempt of the parents of
the accused to settle the case is an implied admission of guilt, we believe that the better
rule is that for a compromise to amount to an implied admission of guilt, the accused should
have been present or at least authorized the proposed compromise. Moreover, it has been
held that where the accused was not present at the time the offer for monetary
consideration was made, such offer of compromise would not save the day for the
prosecution.

The Court is not unmindful of the rule that the exact date of the commission of the crime of
rape is extraneous to and is not an element of the offense, such that any inconsistency or
discrepancy as to the same is irrelevant and is not to be taken as a ground for acquittal.
Such, however, finds no application to the case at bar. AAA and Joy may differ in their
testimonies as to the time they were at the mango orchard, but there could be no mistake as
to the actual day when AAA was supposed to have been raped; it was the day when AAAs
shorts got hooked to the fence at the mango orchard.

This Court is not unmindful of the doctrine that for alibi to succeed as a defense, appellant
must establish by clear and convincing evidence (a) his presence at another place at the
time of the perpetration of the offense and (b) the physical impossibility of his presence at
the scene of the crime.

What needs to be stressed is that a conviction in a criminal case must be supported by proof
beyond reasonable doubtmoral certainty that the accused is guilty. The conflicting
testimonies of Joy and complainant, and the testimony of Juanita that corroborated
appellants alibi preclude the Court from convicting appellant of rape with moral certainty.

Faced with two conflicting versions, the Court is guided by the equipoise rule. Thus, where
the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations, one of
which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt,
then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a
conviction. The equipoise rule provides that where the evidence in a criminal case is evenly
balanced, the constitutional presumption of innocence tilts the scales in favor of the
accused.

It is the primordial duty of the prosecution to present its side with clarity and persuasion, so
that conviction becomes the only logical and inevitable conclusion. What is required of it is
to justify the conviction of the accused with moral certainty. Upon the prosecutions failure to
meet this test, acquittal becomes the constitutional duty of the Court, lest its mind be
tortured with the thought that it has imprisoned an innocent man for the rest of his life.

Tamargo vs Awingan

Facts: Atty. Franklin V. Tamargo and his 8-year-old daughter were shot and killed in 2003.
The police had no leads on the perpetrators of the crime until a certain Reynaldo Geron
surfaced and executed an affidavit wherein he stated that a certain Lucio Columna told him
during a drinking spree that Atty. Tamargo was ordered killed by Lloyd Antiporda and that he
(Columna) was one of those who killed Atty. Tamargo. Columna was arrested.

On March 8, 2004, Columna executed an affidavit wherein he admitted his participation as


look out during the shooting and implicated Romulo Awingan as the gunman and one
Richard Mecate. He also tagged as masterminds Licerio Antiporda, Jr. and his son, Lloyd
Antiporda, ex-mayor and mayor, respectively, of Buguey, Cagayan.

Pursuant to this affidavit, petitioner Harold V. Tamargo (brother of Atty. Tamargo) filed a
complaint against those implicated by Columna in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila.
Columna affirmed his affidavit before the investigating prosecutor.

During the preliminary investigation, Licerio presented Columnas handwritten letter wherein
the latter disowned the contents of his earlier affidavit and narrated how he had been
tortured until he signed the extrajudicial confession. Licerio also submitted an affidavit of
Columna dated May 25, 2004 wherein the latter essentially repeated the statements in his
handwritten letter. The investigating prosecutor set a clarificatory hearing so
that Columna could clarify his contradictory affidavits and his unsolicited letter. During the
hearing, Columna categorically admitted the authorship and voluntariness of the unsolicited
letter. Thus, the investigating prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the charges.

In another handwritten letter addressed to City Prosecutor, however, Columna said that he
was only forced to withdraw all his statements against respondents during the clarificatory
hearing because of the threats to his life inside the jail. The RTC judge denied the motion to
withdraw the informations and held that based on the March 8, 2004 affidavit which
Columna affirmed before the investigating prosecutor, there was probable cause to hold the
accused for trial. CA reversed the decision.

Tamargo appealed. Petitioner argues that, based on the independent assessment of the
Judge Daguna, there was probable cause based on the earlier affidavit of Columna. Awingan
and the Antipordas, on the other hand, contend that Columnas extrajudicial confession was
inadmissible against them because of the rule on res inter alios acta.

Issue: Whether or not the admission of Columna is admissible against Awingan and the
Antipordas

Held: Columnas extrajudicial confession in his March 8, 2004 affidavit was not admissible
as evidence against respondents in view of the rule on res inter alios acta. The rule on res
inter alios acta provides that the rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act,
declaration, or omission of another. Consequently, an extrajudicial confession is binding only
on the confessant, is not admissible against his or her co-accused and is considered as
hearsay against them.

An exception to the res inter alios acta rule is an admission made by a conspirator under
Section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court:

Admission by conspirator. The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the


conspiracy and during its existence, may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator
after the conspiracy is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.

This rule prescribes that the act or declaration of the conspirator relating to the conspiracy
and during its existence may be given in evidence against co-conspirators provided that the
conspiracy is shown by independent evidence aside from the extrajudicial confession. Thus,
in order that the admission of a conspirator may be received against his or her co-
conspirators, it is necessary that (a) the conspiracy be first proved by evidence other than
the admission itself (b) the admission relates to the common object and (c) it has been
made while the declarant was engaged in carrying out the conspiracy. Otherwise, it cannot
be used against the alleged co-conspirators without violating their constitutional right to be
confronted with the witnesses against them and to cross-examine them.

Here, aside from the extrajudicial confession, which was later on recanted, no other piece of
evidence was presented to prove the alleged conspiracy. There was no other prosecution
evidence, direct or circumstantial, which the extrajudicial confession could corroborate.
Therefore, the recanted confession of Columna, which was the sole evidence against
respondents, had no probative value and was inadmissible as evidence against them.

Lejano vs People
Facts: On 30 June 1991, Estellita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela and Jennifer were
brutally slain at their home in Paranaque City. Four years later in 1995, the NBI announced
that it had solved the crime. It presented star-witness Jessica Alfaro, one of its informers,
who claimed that she had witnessed the crime. She pointed to Hubert Webb, Antonio
Lejano, Artemio Ventura, Michael Gatchalian, Hospicio Fernandez, Peter Estrada, Miguel
Rodriguez and Joy Filart as the culprits. She also tagged police officer, Gerardo Biong, as an
accessory after the fact. Alfaro had been working as an asset to the NBI by leading the
agency to criminals. Some of the said criminals had been so high-profile, that Alfaro had
become the darling of the NBI because of her contribution to its success. The trial court
and the Court of Appeals found that Alfaros direct and spontaneous narration of events
unshaken by gruesome cross-examination should be given a great weight in the decision of
the case.

In Alfaros story, she stated that after she and the accused got high of shabu, she was asked
to see Carmela at their residence. After Webb was informed that Carmela had a male
companion with her, Webb became piqued and thereafter consumed more drugs and plotted
the gang rape on Carmela. Webb, on the other hand, denied all the accusations against him
with the alibi that during the whole time that the crime had taken place, he was staying in
the United States. He had apparently left for the US on 09 March 1991 and only returned on
27 October 1992. As documentary evidence, he presented photocopies of his passport with
four stamps recording his entry and exit from both the Philippines and the US, Flights
Passenger Manifest employment documents in the US during his stay there and US-INS
computer generated certification authenticated by the Philippine DFA. Aside from these
documentary alibis, he also gave a thorough recount of his activities in the US.

Issue: Whether or not Webbs documented alibi of his U.S. travel should be given more
credence by the Court than the positive identification by Alfaro.

Ruling: For a positive identification to be acceptable, it must meet at least two criteria:

1 The positive identification of the offender must come from a credible witness; and

2 The witness story of what she personally saw must be believable, not inherently
contrived.

The Supreme Court found that Alfaro and her testimony failed to meet the above criteria.
She did not show up at the NBI as a spontaneous witness bothered by her conscience. She
had been hanging around the agency for sometime as a stool pigeon, one paid for mixing up
with criminals and squealing on them. And although her testimony included details, Alfaro
had prior access to the details that the investigators knew of the case. She took advantage
of her familiarity with these details to include in her testimony the clearly incompatible acts
of Webb hurling a stone at the front door glass frames, for example, just so she can
accommodate the crime scene feature.

To establish alibi, the accused must prove by positive, clear and satisfactory evidence that:

1 He was present at another place at the time of the perpetration of the crime, and
2 That it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime.

The Supreme Court gave very high credence to the compounded documentary alibi
presented by Webb. This alibi altogether impeaches Alfaros testimony not only with respect
to him, but also with respect to the other accused. For, if the Court accepts the proposition
that Webb was in the US when the crime took place, Alfaros testimony will not hold
altogether. Webbs participation is the anchor of Alfaros story.

Other matters:

The Court of Appeals rejected the evidence of Webbs passport since he did not leave the
original to be attached to the record. But, while the best evidence of a document is the
original, this means that the same is exhibited in court for the adverse party to examine and
for the judge to see. As Court of Appeals Justice Tagle said in his dissent, the practice when a
party does not want to leave an important document with the trial court is to have a
photocopy of it marked as exhibit and stipulated among the parties as a faithful reproduction
of the original. Stipulations in the course of trial are binding on the parties and on the court.

The U.S. Immigration certification and the computer printout of Webbs arrival in and
departure from that country were authenticated by no less than the Office of the U.S.
Attorney General and the State Department. Still the Court of Appeals refused to accept
these documents for the reason that Webb failed to present in court the immigration official
who prepared the same. But this was unnecessary. Webbs passport is a document issued by
the Philippine government, which under international practice, is the official record of travels
of the citizen to whom it is issued. The entries in that passport are presumed true. The U.S.
Immigration certification and computer printout, the official certifications of which have been
authenticated by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, merely validated the arrival
and departure stamps of the U.S. Immigration office on Webbs passport. They have the
same evidentiary value. The officers who issued these certifications need not be presented
in court to testify on them. Their trustworthiness arises from the sense of official duty and
the penalty attached to a breached duty, in the routine and disinterested origin of such
statement and in the publicity of the record.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals expressed marked cynicism over the accuracy of
travel documents like the passport as well as the domestic and foreign records of departures
and arrivals from airports. They claim that it would not have been impossible for Webb to
secretly return to the Philippines after he supposedly left it on March 9, 1991, commit the
crime, go back to the U.S., and openly return to the Philippines again on October 26, 1992.
Travel between the U.S. and the Philippines, said the lower courts took only about twelve to
fourteen hours. If the Court were to subscribe to this extremely skeptical view, it might as
well tear the rules of evidence out of the law books and regard suspicions, surmises, or
speculations as reasons for impeaching evidence. It is not that official records, which carry
the presumption of truth of what they state, are immune to attack. They are not. That
presumption can be overcome by evidence. Here, however, the prosecution did not bother
to present evidence to impeach the entries in Webbs passport and the certifications of the
Philippine and U.S. immigration services regarding his travel to the U.S. and back. The
prosecutions rebuttal evidence is the fear of the unknown that it planted in the lower courts
minds.