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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
ENBANC
G.R.No.L50884March30,1988
THEPEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,plaintiffappellee,
vs.
FILOMENOSALUFRANIA,defendantappellant.

PADILLA,J.:
In an information, dated 7 May 1976, Filomeno Salufrania y Aleman was charged before the Court of First
InstanceofCamarinesNorte,BranchI,withthecomplexcrimeofparricidewithintentionalabortion,committedas
follows:
Thatonoraboutthe3rddayofDecember,1974,inTigbinan,Labo,CamarinesNorte,Philippines,
andwithinthejurisdictionoftheHonorableCourttheaccusedFilomenoSalufraniayAlemandidthen
and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault and use personal violence on
MARCIANA ABUYOSALUFRANIA, the lawfully wedded wife of the accused, by then and there
boxingandstrangingher,causinguponherinjurieswhichresultedinherinstantaneousdeathand
bythesamecriminalactcommittedonthepersonofthewifeoftheaccused,whowasatthetime8
monthsonthefamilyway,theaccusedlikewisedidthenandtherewillfully,unlawfully,andfeloniously
cause the death of the child while still in its maternal womb, thereby committing both crimes of
PARRICIDE and INTENTIONAL ABORTION as defined and punished under Art. 246 and Art. 256,
paragraphI,oftheRevisedPenalCode,tothedamageandprejudiceoftheheirsofsaidwomanand
childintheamountastheHonorableCourtshallassess.
CONTRARYTOLAW
Uponarraignment,theaccused,assistedbycounseldeofficio,pleadednotguiltytotheoffensescharged.
Aftertrialthelowercourtrenderedadecision**dated9August1978,thedispositivepartofwhichstates:
WHEREFORE,findingtheaccusedFilomenoSalufraniayAlemanguiltybeyondreasonabledoubt,of
thecomplexcrimeofParricidewithIntentionalAbortion,heisherebysentencedtosufferthepenalty
ofDEATH,toindemnifytheheirsofthedeceasedMarcianoAbuyointhesumofP12,000.00andto
pay the costs. "For unselfish, valuable and exemplary service rendered by counsel de oficio, Atty.
MarcianoC.Dating,Jr.,acompensationofP500.00isherebyrecommendedforhimsubjecttothe
availabilityoffunds
SOORDERED.
Theaccusedhavingbeensentencedtosufferthepenaltyofdeath,thiscaseisonautomaticreviewbeforethis
Court.
At the trial in the court a quo, the prosecution presented the following witnesses: Dr. Juan L. Dyquiangco Jr.,
PedroSalufraniaandNarcisoAbuyo.
Dr. Juan L. Dyquiangco Jr., who was then Rural Health Officer of Talisay, Camarines Norte, testified that, after
passingtheBoardExamination,hewasemployedasaResidentPhysicianofLaUnionProvincialHospital,then
as Junior Resident Physician of Bethane Hospital in San Fernando, La Union and that later, he joined the
governmentservice,startingfrom1968uptothetimeofthetrialthatasaDoctorofMedicine,hehadperformed
aboutten(10)postmortemexaminationsthathewascalleduponbytheMunicipalJudgeofTalisaytoexamine
thecorpseofMarcianaAbuyoSalufraniathatwasexhumedfromitsgraveintheMunicipalCemeteryofTalisayat
around11:00o'clockinthemorningof11December1974thathispostmortemexaminationlastedfrom12:30

o'clockto2:00o'clockintheafternoonofthesameday.Hereducedhisfindingsofinjuriesintowriting.(Exhibit
"A"),which,togetherwiththeirprobablecause,astestifiedtobyhim,areasfollows:
Injury

Cause

1) Multiple abrasions
with

"Bluntobjectorfrictionby

contusion,
middlepart,

hard object" (tsn., Aug. 20,


posterior

left

leg,

coveringanareaof

1976,p.7)

about 2 & 1/2 by 5


inches.

2)Abrasions,1/2by2

Frictiononahardobject"

inches, medial side of


thecubi

(tsn.,Aug.20,1976,p.7)

talfossa(backleftleg)
3) Multiple
sized
wounds,
starting

pinhead

right

Hardpinheadsizedmaterial

face,

(tsn.,Aug.20,1976,p.7)

fromthesideoftheright
eye

down
bone

to

mandibular

(rightcheck)

4)Upperrighteyelid

Nocausegiven

more prominent than


theleft

eyelid ("the right upper


eyelida

littlebitbulgingthanthe
left

eye "and" sort


"swollen")(tsn.,

of

Aug.20,1976,pp.78)

5) Tongue protruding
bet

Usually,themaincauseof

ween the lips, about 1


inchteeth

protrudingtongueduring

line.

deathis(by)strangulation.

(tsn.,Aug.20,1976,p.8)
6)
Deceased
pregnant

is

with a baby boy about


78

months old (tsn., Aug.


20,

1976,p.8).

Dr. Dyquiangco testified that after conducting the post mortem examination, he issued a certification thereof
(Exhibit"A")thatheissuedadeathcertificate(Exhibit"B")forthedeceasedMarcianoAbuyoSalufrania,bearing
the date of 5 December 1974, made on the basis of the information relayed by a certain Leonila Loma to his
nurse before the burial, without mentioning the cause of death that the cause of death, as cardiac arrest, was
indicatedonsaiddeathcertificateonlyafterthepostmortemexaminationon11December1974.
The other witness for the prosecution was Pedro Salufrania, son of herein appellant and of the deceased. The
lowercourt'sdecisionstatesthat,byreasonofinterestandrelationship,beforePedroSalufraniawasallowedto
testifyagainsthisfatheraccusedFilomenoSalufrania,hewascarefullyexaminedbytheprosecutingofficerand
thedefensecounselunderthecarefulsupervisionofthecourtaquo,todeterminewhether,athisageof13years
old,hewasalreadycapableofreceivingcorrectimpressionsoffactsandofrelatingthemtrulyand,also,whether
hewascompelledand/orthreatenedbyanybodytotestifyagainsthisfatheraccused.1
ThelowercourtfoundPedroSalufraniatobedeterminedandintelligent.Heconvincinglydeclaredthathewasnot
threatenedbyanyofhisunclesonhismother'ssidetotestifyagainsthisfather,becauseitwastruethatthelatter
killedhismother.Then,formallytestifyingastheprosecution'sloneeyewitness,hestatedthathisfatherFilomeno
SalufraniaandhismotherMarcianaAbuyoquarrelledatabout6:00o'clockintheeveningof3December1974,in
theirsmallhouseatafarawaysitioinbarrioTigbinan,Labo,CamarinesNortethatduringsaidquarrel,hesaw
hisfatherboxhispregnantmotheronthestomachand,oncefallenonthefloor,hisfatherstrangledhertodeath
thathesawbloodoozefromtheeyesandnoseofhismotherandthatshediedrightonthespotwhereshefell.
PedroSalufraniafurthertestifiedthatafterkillinghismother,theaccusedappellantwentoutofthehousetoget
ahammockthathisbrotherAlexandheweretheonlyoneswhowitnessedhowtheaccusedkilledtheirmother
becausehissisterandotherbrotherswerealreadyasleepwhenthehorribleincidenthappenedthathisbrothers
Celedonio,DaniloandsisterMerlywokeupafterthedeathoftheirmotherandkeptwatchattheirmothersbody
whiletheirfatherwasawaythattheirfatherarrivedearlythenextmorningwiththehammockandafterplacing
their dead mother on the hammock, the accused carried her on his shoulder and brought the cadaver to the
house of his sister Conching, located at a populated section of Tigbinan that from Tigbinan the corpse was
transferredtoGabon,Talisay,CamarinesNorteforburial.
Continuing his testimony, Pedro Salufrania stated that he is now living with his uncle Eduardo Abuyo and had
refusedandstillrefusedtolivewithhisfatheraccused,becausethelatterhasthreatenedtokillhimandhisother
brothersandsistershouldherevealthetruecauseofhismother'sdeath.
The third witness for the prosecution was Narciso Abuyo, a resident of Gabon, Talisay, Camarines Norte. He
testified that the accused Filomeno Salufrania and his sister, the deceased Marciana Abuyo, were lawfully

weddedhusbandandwifeasevidencedbyamarriagecontract(Exhibit"C").Hedeclaredthathissisterwasmore
or less seven (7) months pregnant when she died that he first came to know about his sister's death on 4
December 1974 thru his nephews Pedro and Alex Salufrania who first informed him that their mother died of
stomachailmentandheadachethathewenttoTigbinantorequestforthebodyofhissistersothatitmaybe
buriedinTalisay,CamarinesNorteand,asintended,MarcianaAbuyowasburiedintheTalisayCemeteryon6
December1974.
NarcisoAbuyoalsodeclaredthataftertheburialofMarcianaAbuyo,thethree(3)childrenofhisdeceasedsister
wenttohishouseandrefusedtogohomewiththeirfatherFilomenoSalufraniathatwhenaskedforthereason
why,hisnephewAlexSalufraatoldhimthattherealcauseofdeathoftheirmotherwasnotstomachailmentand
headache, rather, she was boxed on the stomach and strangled to death by their father that immediately after
learningofthetruecauseofdeathofhissister,hebroughtthemattertotheattentionofthepoliceauthoritiesof
Talisay, Camarines Norte, who investigated Alex and Pedro Salufirania and later, to that of the Office of the
ProvincialFiscalofCamarinesNorte.
ThedefensehadforwitnessesGeronimoVillan,JuanitoBragais,AngelesLilingBalceandtheaccusedFilomeno
Salufrania.
GeronimoVillantestifiedthathewasaneighborofFilomenoSulfrania.HedeclaredthatMarcianaAbuyodiedat
around 6:00 o'clock in the morning of 4 December 1974 in her house at Sitio Kapagisahan Tigbinan Labo,
CamarinesNortethathehappenedtopassbysaidhousebecausehisattentionwasattractedbythebrightlight
inthefireplaceandhesawFilomenoSalufraniaboiling"ikmo"andgarlicasmedicineforhiswifewhowasabout
to deliver a child that he helped the accused by applying "ikmo" to the different parts of the body of Marciana
Abuyoandbyadministeringthenativetreatmentknownas"bantil",thatis,bypinchingandpullingtheskinwith
twofingersofhisclosedfistthatwhentheconditionofMarcianaAbuyoworsened,hetoldFilomenoSalufraniato
goandgetJuanitaBragaiswhoisknownasahealerbutthelatterarrivedatabout7:00o'clockinthemorningof
4December1974andthatatthattimeMarcianaAbuyowasalreadydead.
WitnessJuanitaBragaistestifiedthathewasfetchedbyFelipeSalufrania,anothersonofFilomenoSalufraniaat
about6:00o'clockinthemorningof4December1974.Hefurthertestifiedthatwhenhereachedthehouseofthe
Salufranias,MarcianaAbuyowasalreadydeadsohejusthelpedFilomenoSalufraniaintransferringthebodyof
hiswifetothehouseofthelatter'sbrotherinlawatTigbinan,Labo,CamarinesNorte.
Angeles Liling Balce, who claimed to be a former resident of Kapagisahan Tigbinan, Labo, Camarines Norte
testifiedthatshearrivedinthehouseofFilomenoSalufraniaatabout6:00o'clockinthemorningof4December
1974afterbeingcalledbyoneofthelatter'ssonsthatshesawMarcianastillinacomalyingonthelapofher
husbandwhoinformedherthatMarcianawassufferingfromanoldstomachailment.
The accused Filomeno Salufrania admitted that he was that lawful husband of the deceased Marciana Abuyo
thatataround9:00o'clockinthemorningof3December1974,MarcianaarrivedhomefromTalisaywhereshe
hadearlierstayedforaboutaweekthatshewashungryuponherarrival,soheallegedlycookedtheirfoodand
aftereatingtheirlunch,heproceededtohisworkwhilehiswiferestedintheirhousethatwhenhereturnedhome
at3:00o'clockintheafternoonofthatsameday,hiswifecomplainedtohimofstomachpainandhewastoldto
preparethebeddingsbecauseshewasalreadysleepythatatabout4:00o'clockinthemorningof4December
1974,hewasawakenedbyhiswifewhowasstillcomplainingofstomachpain,andthatsheaskedforadrinkof
hotwaterthatwhilehewasboilingwater,GeronimoVillanarrivedandassistedhiminadministeringtohiswife
the native treatments known as "hilot" or massaging and "banti" that Geronimo Villan and Francisco Repuya
alternatelyapplied"bantil"tohiswifebutwhenherconditionworsened,hewokeuphischildren,PedroandAlex
to fetch Rico Villanueva who might be able to ,save the life of their mother that his children left and returned
withoutRicoVillanuevabutthelatterarrivedalittlelater.
AccusedappellantthenwentontosaythathesentforJuanitoBragaisbutthelatterwasnotabletocurehiswife,
sincethelatterwasalreadydeadwhenhearrivedthatafterthedeathofhiswife,heorderedhischildrentoget
thehammockofKaloyBelardowhosehousewasabouttwo(2)kilometersawayfromtheirhouse,anduponthe
arrival of the hammock, he placed the body of his wife thereon and brought it to the house of his sister
ConsolacionSalufraniainTigbinanthatwhilethecorpseofMarcianaAbuyowasatTigbinanhesentChidingand
hiseldersontoinformthebrothersandsistersofhiswifeatTalisayaboutherdeathandthatLeonilaAbuyoand
SalvadorAbuyocamethatheinformedtheBarangayCaptainofTigbinanofthecauseofdeathofhiswifethat
uponthesuggestionofthebrothersandsistersofMarcianaAbuyo,especiallySalvadorAbuyo,thebodyoftheir
sister was brought home to Talisay and thereafter buried at the Talisay Cemetery that there was no quarrel
betweenhimandhiswifethatprecededthelatter'sdeath,andthatduringthelifetimeofthedeceased,theyloved
each other that after her burial, his son Pedro Salufrania was taken by his brotherinlaw Narciso Abuyo and
sincethen,hewasnotabletotalktohissonuntilduringthetrialandthatatthetimeofdeathofhiswife,aside
fromthemembersofhisfamily,GeronimoVillanFranciscoRepuyaandLilingAngelesBalcewerealsopresent.
Thecasewasconsideredsubmittedfordecisionbythetrialcourton18July1978.Asaforestated,thetrialcourt
foundtheappellantguiltyofthecrimeschargedandsentencedhimtothepenaltyofdeath.

Theappellantassignsthefollowingerrorsallegedlycommittedbythetrialcourt:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED ON THE BASIS OF THE TESTIMONY OF AN
INCOMPETENTWITNESS,ANDONINCONSISTENTANDINSUFFICIENTEVIDENCEOFTHEPROSECUTION,
THEREBYVIOLATINGTHERULETHATTHEACCUSEDISENTITLEDTOANACQUITTALUNLESSHISGUILT
ISSHOWNBEYONDANYREASONABLEDOUBT.
II
ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION IS CREDIBLE AND SUFFICIENT,
THETRIALCOURTERREDINCONVICTINGTHEACCUSEDOFTHECOMPLEXCRIMEOFPARRICIDEWITH
INTENTIONALABORTION.
III
THETRIALCOURTERREDINDISCREDITINGTHEEVIDENCEFORTHEACCUSED.
Appellant alleges that the trial court failed to determine the competence of Pedro Salufrania before he was
allowed to testify. Since Pedro was allegedly a child of tender age, being only thirteen (13) years old when he
testified,andonlyeleven(11)yearsoldwhentheoffensechargedoccurred,heispresumedincompetentunder
Rule130Sec.19(b)oftheRevisedRulesofCourt,whichincludesamongthosewhocannotbewitnesses:
Childrenwhoappeartothecourttobeofsuchtenderageandinferiorcapacityastobeincapableof
receiving correct impressions of the facts respecting which they are examined, or of relating them
truly.
Therefore,accordingtoappellant,forfailureofthetrialcourttodeterminePedro'scompetence,thepresumption
of incompetency was not rebutted and Pedro's testimony should not have been admitted. Moreover, appellant
stressesthatthereisnobasisforthetrialcourt'sfindingthatPedroisintelligent.
Appellant's contention is without merit. The record shows that the trial court determined Pedro Salufrania's
competencybeforehewasallowedtotestifyunderoath. 2 The trial court's conclusion that Pedro was intelligent and
competent is fully supported by Pedro's responsiveness to the questions propounded to him when he was already under
oath:

A.Didyougohereincourttotestifyvoluntarily?
Q.Yes,YourHonor.
A.Wereyounotforcedbyyouruncletotestifyinhiscase?
Q.No,Iwasnotforcedbymyuncle.
xxxxxxxxx
A.Theaccusedisyourfather?
Q.Yes,sir.
A.Doyoulovehim?
Q.No,sir.
A.Yourfatherisaccusednowofcrimewhichcarriesthepenaltyofdeath,areyoustill
willingtotestifyagainsthim?
xxxxxxxxx
Q.Whydidyousaythatyoudon'tloveyourfather
A.Becausehekilledmymother.
Q.Andthatisthereasonwhyyouhateyourfathernow?
A.Yes,sir.(tsn.,pp.3,7,17,Nov.12,1976).
Pedro's strong sense of moral duty to tell the truth, even though it should lead to his father's conviction, shows

that he fully appreciated the meaning of an oath, which likewise proves that he was no longer a child of tender
yearsatthetimeofhistestimony.
Appellantalsoallegesthat,sincePedrochangedhisanswerfromnotoyeswhenhewasaskedwhetherhewas
threatened by his uncle to testify against his father, shows that Pedro was lying and proves that he did not
appreciatethemeaningofanoathatall.3
Again, this contention is without merit, Pedro became confused when the trial court ordered that the original
questionbereformed.Pedro'sconfusionisapparentfromthefactthatwhenaskedthethirdtime,heaffirmedhis
firstanswer,
Q.Isn'titthatyourunclethreatenedyouwithbodilyharmifyouwillnotgivestatement
beforethepolice?
A.No,sir.
xxxxxxxxx
Q.Butlateryouactuallywentwithyouruncletothepolicebecauseyouwerethreatened
byhimwithbodilyharmifyouwillnotfollowhim?
A.Yes,sir.
Q.Isittruethatyourunclethreatenedyouwithbodilyharmifyouwillnotgivestatement
tothepolice?
A.No,sir.(tsn.,pp.6,7,Nov.12,1976)
AppellantnextliststhefollowingallegedinconsistenciestodiscreditthetestimonyofPedro.First,Pedrotestified
ondirectexaminationthathismotherdiedintheeveningofDecember3.whileoncrossexaminationhesaidthat
shediedinthemorningofDecember4.Itmustbenotedthatheaffirmedtwiceduringcrossexaminationthathis
motherdiedonDecember3,justashehadtestifiedduringdirectexamination.Significantly,hedidnotmention
December4asthedatewhenshedied,asappellantwouldmakeitappear.Pedromerelyanswered'yes'tothe
question"Andisn'titthatyourmotherdiedintheearlymorningonthatday(December4)andnotontheevening
ofDecember3?" 4Thus, Pedro's answer could have resulted only from a misapprehension of the a question, and for no
otherreason.

Second,appellantallegesthatPedrotestifiedondirectexaminationthathesawappellantleavethehousetoget
a hammock after strangling the victim and then came back the following morning. However, upon cross
examination, Pedro testified that appellant left at noon or in the afternoon of December 4. Moreover, Pedro
allegedly testified on redirect that he saw appellant sleep beside the dead body of his mother. Again Pedro
misapprehendedthequestionpropoundedtohim.Ajudiciousreadingofthetranscriptwillbearthisout:
Q.Whendidyourfatherleavetogetthehammock?
A.Intheafternoon.
Q.ThatmaybewhenthebodywasbroughttoTalisay.Whenyourfather,rather,when
yousaidthatyourfatherlefttogetahammocksothatyourmothermaybebroughtto
Tigbinanwhattimewasthat?
A.About12:00o'clocknoon.(Tsn,p.16,Nov.12,1976)
Onemaydiscernthatthecourtitselfnoticedthattherewasamissapprehensionwhenitcommented"thatmaybe
when the body was brought to Talisay" after Pedro answered "In the afternoon". When Pedro answered "about
12:00noon'hemusthavebeenreferringtothetimewhenappellantcarriedhisdeadwifetoTigbinan.Itmustbe
notedthatthequestionwassowordedthatitcouldhavemisledPedrotothinkthatwhatwasbeingaskedwasthe
timewhenappellantbroughthisdeadwifetoTigbinan.Infact,thereisnothinginconsistentwithPedro'stestimony
that he saw his father leave in the evening of December 3 and again saw him asleep and thus not noticed
appellant'scomingbackaftersecuringahammockandsleepingbesidethedeceased.Pedrowasthereforetelling
the truth when he said that, upon waking up, he saw his father sleeping beside his dead mother. By then,
appellanthadalreadyreturnedwiththehammock.
Third, Pedro allegedly testified on direct examination that the corpse was carried to Tigbinan in the morning of
December4,whileoncrossexamination,hesaiditwasintheevening. 5 It must be pointed out that Pedro merely
answered "yes" to a question purportedly mentioning the time when the victim's body was transferred to Tigbinan. The
questionisasfollows:"ThecorpseofyourmotherwasbroughttotheTigbinanproperwhenthevigilwashadintheevening
ofDecember4,isthatright?"Itistobenotedthatthequestion'sthrustiswhetherornotthevictim'sbodywasbroughtto

Tigbinan.Thetimeitwasbroughtwasmerelyincidental.Thus,Pedromaynothavepaidattentiontothepartofthequestion
involvingtime.Moreover,thephrase"intheevening"mayhavereferredeithertothetimeoftransportofthebodyortothe
vigil,whichcouldhavedefinitelyconfusedPedro.

Fourth, Pedro allegedly testified on direct examination that he, together with his brothers and sister, kept vigil
besidetheirmother'sdeadbodythatnight,whileoncrossexamination,hetestifiedthattheyjustkeptlyingdown
andpretendedtosleep.6Thereisnothinginconsistenthere.Thechildrencouldhavekeptvigilwhilelyingdownwiththeir
deceasedmother.

AppellantfurthercitesotherallegedimprobabilitiestodiscreditPedro'stestimony.Appellantcontendsthatitwas
improbableforPedrotohaveseentheattackonhismothersincehetestifiedthattheroomwasdimlylighted,and
that,whiletheattachwasgoingon,heclosedhiseyespretendingtosleep. 7Thiscontentioniswithoutmerit.Even
thoughtheroomwasdimlylighted,Pedrowasonlytwo(2)metersawayfromhisparentsthus,hecouldeasilysee,ashe
saw,theattackonhismother. 8Also,althoughhepretendedtobeasleep,itwasunlikelythathekepthiseyesclosedall
thewhile,ashewasawarethatafightwasgoingon.Rather,itwastobeexpectedthathehadhiseyesopenand,thus,he
sawtheheinouscrimeunfoldandultimatelyconsumated.

AppellantallegesthathedoesnotbelievethatitwasfearofhimthatcausedthedelayinPedro'sdivulgingthe
realcauseofhismother'sdeathuntil10December1974.Accordingtoappellant,suchfearcouldnolongerhave
influencedPedrofromDecember6,thedatehestartedtoliveseparatelyfromhim.Thiscontentionisuntenable.
EventhoughPedrostartedtoliveseparatelyfromhisfatherfromDecember6,itcannotbesaidthattheinfluence
of appellant's threat suddenly ceased from that time. It must be noted that Pedro was young and was still very
muchunderappellant'sinfluenceandcontrol.Thethoughtandmemoryofhisfather'sviciousnesswerestilltoo
fresh even after three days from his mother's death. The fear that he too could be killed by appellant in like
mannermusthavedeterredhimfromdivulgingthetruthearlier.
Appellant also alleges that it was improbable for Pedro to have just watched the killing of his mother. This
contentionisuntenable.Atthatmoment,whenhismotherwasbeingassaultedandstrangled,Pedromusthave
beensoshockedastoberenderedimmobileandpowerlesstodoanything.Thisisanormalreactioninsucha
situation. Besides, it is a fact of life that different people react differently to the same types of situations. 9 One
cannotoverlookthatthereisnostandardformofbehaviourwhenoneisconfrontedbyashockingoccurrence.10

Appellant next alleges that since the prosecution has failed without satisfactory explanation to present Pedro's
brother Alex who is alleged to be also an eyewitness to the killing of the victim, it is presumed that Alex's
testimony would be adverse to the prosecution if presented. This contention is without merit. First, Alex, who is
younger than Pedro by 3 years, may not have been competent to testify due to his tender age. Second, even
assuming that he was competent to testify, his testimony could be merely corroborative. Corroboration is not
necessary in this case because the details of the crime have already been testified to by Pedro with sufficient
clarity. The failure to present all the eyewitnesses to an act does not necessarily give rise to an unfavorable
presumption, especially when the testimony of the witness sought to be presented is merely corroborative. 11
Witnessesaretobeweighed,notnumbered,anditisawellestablishedrulethatthetestimonyofasinglewitness,evenif
uncorroborated,butpositiveandcredible,issufficienttosupportaconviction. 12Inanyevent,itisnotfortheappellantto
sayhowmanywitnessestheprosecutionshouldhavepresented.13

The inconsistencies magnified by appellant in the testimony of Pedro Salufrania have been satisfactorily
explained.Infact,someofthemarenotmaterialsincetheyneithertouchuponthemannerofdeathofthevictim
nor question the identity of the killer, both of which were unwaveringly testified upon by Pedro. Thus, with the
allegedinconsistenciesandimprobabilitiesexplainedaway,Pedro'stestimonyremainsunperturbed.Evenifthere
werediscrepancies,suchdiscrepancieswereminorandmaybeconsideredasearmarksofverisimilitude.14
The trial court's assessment of Pedro's testimony, as quoted hereunder, deserves more than passing
consideration:
...ThetestimonyofeyewitnessPedroSalufrania,13yearoldsonofthevictimMarcianaAbuyoand
herkillerspouseFilomenoSalufrania,appearstobeveryclear,convincingandtruthful.Itisvividas
to the details of the horrible occurence that took place at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening of
December 3, 1974 in their small house at a far away sitio of Tigbinan, Labo, Camarines Norte,
resultingintheuntimelyandcrueldeathofher(sic)mother.HeandhisbrotherAlexweretheonly
eyewitnesses to the gory crime committed by their father. The credibility of this witness (Pedro
Salufrania)andhistestimonywasinvestedwhen,despiterigidcrossexamination,theveracityofhis
testimonyinchiefwasnotimpeached.Heremainedfirmandonthevergeofcrying,whenhepointed
anaccusingfingerathisfatherduringthetrial.Hewasunshakennotwithstandingalonganddetailed
crossexamination. And, there is reason to bestow complete credence to his testimony because he
hadtheopportunitytocloselyobservehowhisfatherhaddeliberatelyandcruellyendedthelifeofhis
mother. Despite his tender age and apparent childish innocence, this Court believes that he can
clearlyperceiveandperceiving,makeknownhisperception,precludingthepossibilityofcoachingor

tutoringbysomeone.Hisdeclarationastowhen,whereandhowthehorribleincidentcomplainedof
happenedisthebelievableversion.15
AppellantquestionsthecompetenceofDr.Dyquiangcoasanexpertwitness,sincethisisthefirsttimethatthe
doctorconductedanautopsyonacadaverwhichhadbeenburiedforaboutaweek.Itmustbenoted,however,
that although this was the doctor's first autopsy under circumstances present in this case, he had, however,
conducted similar postmortem examinations on ten (10) other occasions. This would constitute sufficient
experience. Significantly, appellant did not object to the doctor's expression of medical opinions during the trial.
Being an expert in his field, the doctor is presumed to have taken all pertinent factors into consideration with
regardtotheautopsy,includingembalmingandthestateofthecadaver'sdecomposition.Dr.JuanDyquiangco
Jr., was a disinterested witness in the case, and a reputable public official in whose favor the presumption of
regularityintheperformanceofofficialdutiesmustbeapplied.
Appellant further alleges that the findings of Dr. Dyquiangco and the testimony of Pedro Salufrania do not tally.
Suffice it to say that the Court finds no inconsistencies between the findings of Dr. Dyquiangco and Pedro
Salufrania's testimony. Both are consistent on material points. Thus, the Court sees no reason to disturb the
conclusionsreachedbythetrialcourtinsofarastheircredibilityandtheappellant'sguiltareconcerned.
Appellant'sthirdassignmentoferrorallegesthatthetrialcourterredindiscreditinghisevidencesimplybecause
the testimonies of the defense witnesses were consistent on material points. Moreover, there is no showing,
accordingtotheappellant,thatsaidtestimonieswererehearsedsoastodovetailwitheachother.
This contention is without merit. The Court notes, first of all, that appellant did not even bother to discuss his
defenseinordertorefutethemassiveevidenceagainsthim.Thisistantamounttoanadmissionthathecouldnot
adequately support his version of Marciana Abuyo's death. The trial court's reasons for rejecting the defense
version,ashereunderquoted,aretenableandsound.Thus
Onthecontrary,thetestimoniesofdefensewitnessesGeronimoVillan,AngelesLilingBalceandthe
accused Filomeno Salufrania suspiciously dovetailed in every detail as to when, where and how
.Marciana Abuyo died at 6:00 o'clock in the morning of 4 December 1974, in their house at sitio
Kapagisahan Tigbinan Labo, Carnarines Norte, of stomach pain. On these points, these witnesses
andtheaccusedmadestatementswhichseemedtobeveryfreshandclearintheirminds,despite
thelapseoffourlongyears.Theirexactanduniformdeclarationsonthesepoints,theirphenomenal
recollections, without sufficient special or uncommon reason to recall, rendered their testimonies
unconvincing. If at all, their testimonies appeared to this Court to be an eleventh hour concoction.
And, as defense witnesses, after observing them and their declarations on the witness stand, they
appearedtotheCourttobeuntruthfulandunreliable.For,despitethesynchronizationoftimewhen,
theplacewhereandhowtheincidencehappened,theirtestimoniesonothermaterialpointsrevealed
their tendency to exaggerate and their propensity to falsehood, thusAside from the accused
FilomenoSalufrania,therearethreeotherwitnessesforthedefenseGeronimoVillanAngelesLiling
BalceandJuanitaBragais.ThereisnothinginthetestimonyofJuanitoBragaisbecausehedidnot
witnesshowandwhenMarcianaAbuyodied.FranciscoRepuya,whowasalsoallegedbyFilomeno
Salufrania to be present when Marciana Abuyo died, did not testify. Accused Filomeno Salufrania
neverclaimedthathesummonedforAngelesLilingBalce.AccordingtohimAngelesLilingBalcewas
notpresentduringthemomentofdeathofMarcianaAbuyo,forshewasfetchedbyhimonlyafterthe
death of his wife. Logically, therefore, there is no basis for the presentation of Angeles Liling Balce
thatshewaspresentduringthemomentofdeathofMarcianaAbuyo.Shewasmerelyplayacting.
Geronimo Villan who claimed he passedby the house of Filomeno Salufrania and saw the latter
boilingwaterwith"ikmo"andgarlic,asmedicineforhiswifeMarcianaAbuyo,whowasabouttogive
birthwasdiscreditedbyaccusedhimselfwhodeclaredhewasmerelyboilingwaterforthehotdrink
ofhiswife,whowassuferringfromheroldstomachailment.Inlikemanner,witnessGeronimoVillan
discredited the accused Filomeno Salufrania, about the presence of Francisco Repuya, who
allegedly alternated with Geronimo Villan in applying the native treatments of 'hilot' and 'bantil' to
MarcianaAbuyo,whenthroughouthistestimonyhe(GeronimoVillan)nevermentionedthepresence
ofFranciscoRepuya.
After closely observing defense witnesses Geronimo Villan and Angeles Liling Balce, this Court is
convincedthattheirtestimoniesandaccountsoftheincidentarefabricated,untruthfulandnotworth
ofcredence.Certainly,theywerenotpresentimmediatelybeforeandduringthemomentofdeathof
MarcianaAbuyo....
Addedtothese,thereisonescandalouscircumstance,whichtothemindofthisCourt,betraysthe
guiltyconscienceoftheaccused.IftherewasnothingrevealinginthefaceofthedeceasedMarciana
Abuyo,whywasherfacecoveredbyapieceofclothbytheaccused....
Trial judges are in the best position to ascertain the truth and detect falsehoods in the testimony of witnesses.
This Court will normally not disturb the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses, in view of its

advantageinobservingfirsthandtheirdemeanoringivingtheirtestimony.16Suchruleappliesinthepresentcase.
Lastly, appellant alleges that, assuming he indeed killed his wife, there is no evidence to show that he had the
intentiontocauseanabortion.Inthiscontention,appellantiscorrect.Heshouldnotbeheldguiltyofthecomplex
crimeofParricidewithIntentionalAbortionbutofthecomplexcrimeofParricidewithUnintentionalAbortion.The
elementsofUnintentionalAbortionareasfollows:
1.Thatthereisapregnantwoman.
2.Thatviolenceisuseduponsuchpregnantwomanwithoutintendinganabortion.
3.Thattheviolenceisintentionallyexerted.
4.Thatasaresultoftheviolencethefoetusdies,eitherinthewomborafterhavingbeenexpelled
therefrom.17
TheSolicitorGeneral'sbriefmakesitappearthatappellantintendedtocauseanabortionbecauseheboxedhis
pregnantwifeonthestomachwhichcausedhertofallandthenstrangledher.Wefindthatappellant'sintentto
cause an abortion has not been sufficiently established. Mere boxing on the stomach, taken together with the
immediatestranglingofthevictiminafight,isnotsufficientprooftoshowanintenttocauseanabortion.Infact,
appellantmusthavemerelyintendedtokillthevictimbutnotnecessarilytocauseanabortion.
The evidence on record, therefore, establishes beyond reasonable doubt that accused Filomeno Salufrania
committedandshouldbeheldliableforthecomplexcrimeofparricidewithunintentionalabortion.Theabortion,
in this case, was caused by the same violence that caused the death of Marciana Abuyo, such violence being
voluntarilyexertedbythehereinaccuseduponhisvictim.
It has also been clearly established (a) that Marciana Abuyo was seven (7) to eight (8) months pregnant when
she was killed (b) that violence was voluntarily exerted upon her by her husband accused and (c) that, as a
resultofsaidviolence,MarcianaAbuyodiedtogetherwiththefoetusinherwomb.Inthisafternoon,Article48of
theRevisedPenalCodestatesthattheaccusedshouldbepunishedwiththepenaltycorrespondingtothemore
seriouscameofparricide,tobeimposedinitsmaximumperiodwhichisdeath.However,byreasonofthe1987
Constitution which has abolished the death penalty, appellant should be sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusionperpetua.
WHEREFORE,asmodified,thejudgmentappealedfromisAFFIRMED.Accusedappellantisherebysentenced
tosufferthepenaltyofreclusionperpetua.TheindemnityofP12,000.00awardedtotheheirsofthedeceased
MarcianaAbuyoisincreasedtoP30,000.00inlinewiththerecentdecisionsoftheCourt.Withcostsagainstthe
appellant,
SOORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, MelencioHerrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco,
Bidin,Sarmiento,CortesandGrioAquino,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes
*PennedbyJudgeDomingoMedinaAngeles.
1DivisionofCFI,pp.23,
2tsn.,pp.12,Nov.12,1976,
3tsn.,pp.67,Nov.12,1976.
4tsn.,pp.15,Nov.12,1976.
5tsn.,pp.11&19,Nov.12,1976.
6tsn.,pp.11&25,Nov.12,1976.
7tsn.,pp.25&28,Nov.12,1976.
8tsn.,p.18,Nov.12,1976.
9Peoplevs.Realon,99SCRA422Peoplevs.Gonzales,99SCRA697.

10Peoplevs,Radomes,141SCRA548Peoplevs.Amoncio,122SCRA686.
11Peoplevs.Gardon,129SCRA465.
12Peoplevs.Romero,119SCRA234Peoplevs.Vengco,127SCRA.242Peoplevs.Martinez,127
SCRA260Peoplevs.Pueblas,127SCRA746Peoplevs.Argana,10SCRA311.
13Peoplevs.Gani,139SCRA301.
14Peoplevs.Baseloy,137SCRA39.
15DecisionofCFI,pp,89.
16Peoplevs.Millarpe,134SCRA555Peoplevs.Jones,137SCRA166Peoplevs.Beltran,138
SCRA521Peoplevs.Mationg,133SCRA167Peoplevs.Demate,113SCRA353Peoplevs.
Macatangay,114SCRA743Peoplevs.Delasa,115SCRA74Peoplevs.Gasendo,117SCRA280
Peoplevs.Cardinas,118SCRA457Peoplevs.Monaga118SCRA466.
17BookTwo,Reyes,TheRevisedPenalCode,p.486,(12thed.,1981).
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