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G.R. No.

208404, February 24, 2016

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. VICENTE LUGNASIN AND


DEVINCIO GUERRERO, Accused-Appellants.

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

For review is the January 23, 2013 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C.
No. 02971, which affirmed with modification the March 24, 2003 Decision 2 of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 76, Quezon City, in Criminal Case No. Q-99-87600, entitled
"People of the Philippines v. Vicente Lugnasin, Tito Lugnasin, Excelso Lugnasin, Elmer
Madrid, Rogelio Baldaba and Devincio Guerrero"wherein accused-appellants Vicente
Lugnasin (Vicente) and Devincio Guerrero (Devincio) were found guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom.

On October 15, 1999, the Department of Justice filed an Information against Vicente,
Devincio and four other individuals, namely, Tito E. Lugnasin (Tito), Excelso B. Lugnasin
(Excelso), Elmer A. Madrid (Elmer), Rogelio D. Baldaba (Rogelio), and five other
unidentified individuals: John Doe, Peter Doe, Richard Doe, George Doe, and James Doe,
for the crime of kidnapping for ransom defined and penalized under Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code. The Information reads:

That on or about April 20, 1999 in Quezon City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court accused VICENTE LUGNASIN, TITO LUGNASIN, EXCELSO LUGNASIN, ELMER
MADRID, ROGELIO BALDABA, DEVINCIO GUERRERO, and other persons whose identities
ha[ve] not yet been ascertained, while conspiring, conniving and confederating with one
another, did then and there with criminal and malicious intent, with the use of force, threat
and intimidation, with firearms, take and carry away the person of Nicassius Cordero, to
the Municipality of Tanauan, Province of Batangas, detaining him thereat, depriving
Nicassius Cordero of his liberty, against his free will and consent, for the purpose of
extorting ransom money for his safe release from detention said demand for the payment
of ransom money was made on the relatives of Nicassius Cordero, and the same was
release[d] in the evening of April 24, 1999 along the South Luzon Expressway.3

When arraigned on November 5, 2001, accused-appellant Vicente pleaded not guilty to the
crime charged. Accused-appellant Devincio likewise pleaded not guilty when he was
arraigned on March 6, 2002. Both accused-appellants made no stipulation during their
respective pre-trial conferences except for their identities and the jurisdiction of the court.

The nine other accused remain at large.


The facts succinctly synthesized by the RTC are as follows:

The prosecution's lone witness, Nicassius Cordero narrated in court how he was abducted
while opening the garage door of his residence in Mindanao Avenue in the late evening of
April 20, 1999 by three armed men. He identified Devincio Guerrero as the man with a 38
cal. revolver who came from his left side and pushed him inside the car. The man who
came from his right side and identified later as Tito Lugnasin drove the car with Elmer
Madrid riding at the back. After divesting him of his P5,000.00 cash and asking some
questions, he realized he was being kidnapped for ransom. Repeatedly, he declared that he
was not a rich man. Along Libis, another cohort, Celso Lugnasin, rode with them until they
reached the South Superhi[gh]way and after paying the toll fee, they drove on for about
fifteen minutes and stopped just behind an owner type jeepney before they switched
places. The jcepney driver introduced himself as Commander and drove the car. [Cordero]
saw Commander's face. He was later identified as Vicente Lugnasin. After driving for some
minutes more, they alighted, [Cordero's] abductors placed the car's sunvisor around his
face and ordered him to walk barefooted towards a small house. [Cordero] was kept there
for four days, while they negotiated with Saleena, his sister-in-law for the ransom money.
On the fourth day, Commander was already angry and threatened to finish him off. He was
eventually released, without ransom money being paid.

Vicente Lugnasin, a resident of Luzviminda I, Dasmarifias Quezon City denied the


accusation, saying he only saw Cordero for the first time at the Department of Justice and
Cordero could not even identify him. He recounted that on May 14, 1999[,] while preparing
for the town fiesta celebration, policemen came to his residence and arrested him and his
brother Tito [and] cousin Excelsio for alleged involvement in a robbery case. They were
tortured, then put on display for media men to feast on and for alleged victims to identify.
After posting bail, he was later arrested for illegal possession of firearms. He was also
charged with two other cases, a bank robbery and the Mercury Bank robbery, both pending
before the sala of Judge Jose Mendoza.

Devincio Guerrero, a fish vendor at the Pasig Market, likewise denies any involvement in
the kindnap[ping] of Cordero. He swears he saw him for the first time only in the
courtroom. He recalled that nearing Holy Week in 2002 [,] five uniformed policemen
arrested him without a warrant in Lucena City, where he used to buy smoked fish to sell.
He was transferred to Camp Karingal before being detained at the QC Jail, where he is
detained up to the present. On May 14, 1999[,] he was a sponsor at a baptism of the child
of his kumpadre in Bgy. Luzviminda, Dasmarinas, Cavite. On his way home, he was
accosted by police officers while urinating along the roadside. He was detained first at the
Cavite City Jail then at the Trece Martires jail. He saw Vicente Lugnasin only at the Quezon
City Jail.4
The Court of Appeals also made a finding that accused-appellant Vicente made known their
intentions when he asked Cordero about his work, family, and a contact person, and told
him that they would be demanding 30 Million Pesos as ransom for his release.5

Ruling of the RTC

On March 24, 2003, the RTC, resolving the lone issue of "whether [or not] Cordero's
identification of Vicente Lugnasin and Devincio Guerrero as among his kidnappers is
reliable"6 promulgated its Decision, finding both accused-appellants guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime charged, to wit:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused Vicente Lugnasin and Devincio Guerrero guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom described and penalized under
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 in conspiracy
with each other and other Does, the Court hereby sentences them to each suffer the
penalty of Death and to indemnify jointly and severally the private complainant Nicassius
Cordero the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages.

The warrants of arrest issued against the other accused remain.7 Cha nRobles Virtualawl ibra ry

In convicting the accused-appellants, the RTC found Cordero to be a careful, truthful, and
candid witness, whose story was supported by the evidence submitted. It added that this
was in contrast to the accused-appellants' bare denial of their participation in the
kidnapping. The RTC also pointed out that Cordero was able to identify both accused-
appellants as he saw their faces before he was blindfolded.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On January 23, 2013, the Court of Appeals affirmed the accused-appellants' conviction with
modification as to the penalty. The fallo of the Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeals are hereby DISMISSED for lack of
merit.
The Decision dated March 24, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 76, Quezon City, in
Criminal Case No. Q-99-87600, is MODIFIED in that the penalty of death imposed upon
appellants is AMENDED to Reclusion Perpetua, without the possibility of parole.8 ChanRobles Vi rtua lawlib rary

The Court of Appeals held that the elements of the crime of kidnapping for ransom were
established by the prosecution through its lone witness, Cordero, whose credible testimony
should be accorded great weight. It also ruled that Cordero's identification of his abductors
conformed to the stringent guidelines of out-of court identification, contrary to accused-
appellant Devincio's assertion that it was marked with suggestiveness.9

As regards accused-appellant Devincio's argument that his warrantless arrest was illegal
since it did not fall under Section 6, Rule 109 of the Rules of Procedure, as amended, the
Court of Appeals held that accused-appellant Devincio's right to question his arrest and
subsequent inquest/preliminary investigation is deemed waived due to his failure to raise
such argument before his arraignment.10

Addressing accused-appellant Devincio's claim that his rights under Republic Act No. 7438,
entitled "An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial
Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers
and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof were violated, the Court of Appeals pointed
out that he neither offered any evidence nor executed an extrajudicial confession or
admission for such allegation.11

Finally, in light of Republic Act No. 9346, which prohibits the imposition of the death
penalty, the Court of Appeals modified the penalty from Death to reclusion
perpetua without the possibility of parole.12

Both accused-appellants are now before this Court praying for a reversal of their conviction
on the same arguments upon which their appeal to the Court of Appeals were anchored.13

Issues

Accused-appellant Devincio assigned the following errors in his Appellant's Brief:

I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE
TESTIMONY OF THE LONE PROSECUTION WITNESS.

II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING [DEVINCIO] GUILTY NOTWITHSTANDING


THE PRESENCE OF SUGGESTIVENESS IN [THE] IDENTIFICATION BY THE PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT OF THE APPELLANT AS ONE OF HIS ABDUCTORS.

III

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING [DEVINCIO] 'S WARRANTLESS
ARREST AS ILLEGAL.

IV

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT [DEVINCIO]'S RIGHTS UNDER
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7438 (AN ACT DEFINING CERTAIN RIGHTS OF PERSONS ARRESTED,
DETAINED OR UNDER CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION AS WELL AS THE DUTIES OF THE
ARRESTING, DETAINING AND INVESTIGATING OFFICERS, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES
FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF) WERE VIOLATED.14

Accused-appellant Vicente, for his part, posed a lone error:

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING [VICENTE] DESPITE THE


PROSECUTION'S FAILURE TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.15 ChanRoblesVi rt ualawlib ra ry

Ruling of this Court

This Court finds no compelling reason to overturn the assailed judgment of conviction.

Elements of Kidnapping for Ransom

established.
The accused-appellants were charged and convicted under Article 267 of the Revised Penal
Code as amended by Republic Act No. 7659,16viz.:

ART. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. — Any private individual who shall
kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death:

1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than three days.

2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.

3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person
kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.

4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the


accused is any of the parents, female, or a public officer.

The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the
purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the
circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.

When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is raped, or is


subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed.

From the aforequoted provision, in prosecuting a case involving the crime of Kidnapping for
Ransom, the prosecution must establish the following elements: (i) the accused was a
private person; (ii) he kidnapped or detained or in any manner deprived another of his or
her liberty; (iii) the kidnapping or detention was illegal; and (iv) the victim was kidnapped
or detained for ransom.17

A painstaking review of the present case clearly shows that all the aforestated elements
were proven in the criminal case on review.

The testimony of Cordero sufficiently established the commission of the crime and both the
accused-appellants' culpability. He positively identified in and out of court accused-
appellants Vicente and Devincio as two of his abductors. As the kidnap victim, a private
individual, Cordero's positive identification of both accused-appellants - as two of several
men who abducted him from the gate of his house, who brought him to a hut somewhere
in the south, who chained him to a bed, who essentially deprived him of liberty without
lawful cause for four days, and, which deprivation of his liberty was for the purpose of
extorting ransom from his family -collectively establish the crime of kidnapping for
ransom as the actions of both the accused-appellants were certain and clear, and their
intent was explicit and made known to Cordero himself.

Identification of the

Accused-Appellants.

This Court cannot sustain both accused-appellants' arguments casting doubt on Cordero's
positive identification of their participation in the commission of the crime. As oft-explained,
when the credibility of a witness is in issue, the findings of fact of the trial court, its
calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight
thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded high respect if not
conclusive effect. This holds truer if such findings are affirmed by the appellate court.
Without any clear showing that the trial court and the appellate court overlooked,
misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance, the rule
should not be disturbed.18

Herein, there is nothing farfetched or incredible in Cordero's testimony. Both accused-


appellants failed to show that it was physically impossible for Cordero to recognize them, as
in fact, Cordero had the unhindered view of his captors' faces before he was even
blindfolded. Therefore, Cordero's eyewitness account deserves full faith and credit.

But accused-appellant Devincio avers that the length of time, which has elapsed from the
time Cordero was released, up to the time he identified his abductors would have already
affected his memory, such that the possibility of error in his identification of the abductors
could not be discounted. He also insists that Cordero's "subsequent identification of
[him],in open court should be disregarded since the initial identification was seriously
flawed, i.e., it was characterized by suggestiveness."19

On the other hand, accused-appellant Vicente argues that although denial is an inherently
weak defense, it assumes importance and acquires commensurate strength when the
prosecution's evidence, particularly as to the identity of the accused as the author of the
crime, is feeble, doubtful, inconclusive, or unreliable. He says that Cordero's identification
of his abductors was questionable due to the circumstances during his abduction and
detention, i.e., it was dark when he was abducted, he was instructed to go down on the
floor of the vehicle and not to look at his kidnappers, he was blindfolded, and his
eyeglasses were removed.20
With the foregoing, both accused-appellants claim that the RTC erred in relying on
Cordero's identification of them as two of his abductors as it was doubtful and unreliable.

This Court disagrees.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly found the out-of-court identification made
by Cordero to have satisfied the totality of circumstances test.

People v. Teehankee, Jr.21 is instructive on the rules and test for a valid out-of-court
identification:

Out-of-court identification is conducted by the police in various ways. It is done thru show-
ups where the suspect alone is brought face to face with the witness for identification. It is
done thru mug shots where photographs are shown to the witness to identify the suspect.
It is also done thru line-ups where a witness identifies the suspect from a group of persons
lined up for the purpose. Since corruption of out-of-court identification contaminates the
integrity of in-court identification during the trial of the case, courts have fashioned out
rules to assure its fairness and its compliance with the requirements of constitutional due
process. In resolving the admissibility of and relying on out-of-court identification of
suspects, courts have adopted the totality of circumstances test where they consider the
following factors, viz.: (1) the witness' opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the
crime; (2) the witness' degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior
description given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at
the identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the identification; and, (6)
the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. (Citation omitted.)

Cordero was able to see the faces of the men who abducted him from his house due to the
light emanating from the pedestrian gate. He was also able to describe how these men
approached him, the kind of firearms they were carrying, how the men acted where they
passed, where he was taken, and even the sounds he heard. Cordero's testimonies were
replete with detailed descriptions of how he was abducted and who abducted him. To top it
all, he was confident that he could identify his abductors, as he did at the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Camp Pantaleon Garcia, Imus, Cavite,22 and in
open court.

This Court notes with approval the observation of the RTC, viz.:

Cordero gave a detailed narration of his abduction that fateful night of April 20, 1999. We
observed his demeanor, his reactions to questions asked of him. He was a careful witness,
truthful and candid. At times, we noted that he was in tears at the painful recollection of
the horror he went through. His story was supported by the evidence submitted.23

And as the Court of Appeals said, "Cordero was endeavoring to remember faces and
incidents and etch these in his memory."24 In People v. Martinez25 we held:

Common human experience tells us that when extraordinary circumstances take place, it is
natural for persons to remember many of the important details. This Court has held that
the most natural reaction of victims of criminal violence is to strive to see the features and
faces of their assailants and observe the manner in which the crime is committed, xxx. All
too often, the face of the assailant and his body movements create a lasting impression on
the victim's mind and cannot thus be easily erased from his memory.

Cordero positively identified both accused-appellants Devincio and Vicente as two of his
kidnappers. He saw both accused-appellants' faces before he was blindfolded. Thus, it
cannot be said that the length of time between the crime and the identification of the
accused-appellants, which was only 26 days, had any effect on Cordero's memory, to
render his positive identification flawed.

Accused-appellant Devincio's contention that Cordero's out-of-court identification was


marked by suggestiveness must similarly fail for his failure to support it by solid evidence.
The only reason he gave for such argument was Cordero's knowledge that the persons who
were being investigated in connection with a robbery case were included in the police or
photographic line-up. However, that is not enough to strike down Cordero's identification
for being tainted. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was on point when it quoted this
Court's ruling in People v. Villena26 as follows:

Eyewitness identification is often decisive of the conviction or acquittal of an accused.


Identification of an accused through mug shots is one of the established procedures in
pinning down criminals. However, to avoid charges of impermissible suggestion,
there should be nothing in the photograph that would focus attention on a single
person, x x x. (Citation omitted.)

As the OSG averred, the photographs shown to Cordero contained nothing to suggest
whom he should pick and identify as his abductors. Cordero testified as follows:

Cordero They asked me to see a lineup and I said I was still very afraid of them so they
showed me different photographs and asked if I co[u]ld identify who my abductors were
and from a series of photos, I was able to identify Vicente Lugnasin, Celso Lugnasin, Elmer
Madrid, Guerrero and I could not yet identify de Chaves but I saw him there walking
around.28

But assuming for the sake of argument that Cordero's out-of-court identification was
improper, it will have no bearing on the conviction of the accused-appellants. We have
ruled as follows:

[I]t is settled that an out-of-court identification does not necessarily foreclose the
admissibility of an independent in-court identification and that, even assuming that an out-
of-court identification was tainted with irregularity, the subsequent identification in court
cured any flaw that may have attended it. xxx.29 (Citation omitted.)

Cordero's in-court identification was made with certainty when he pointed to both accused-
appellants in court when he was asked to identify them from among the people inside the
courtroom.

It is apparent in the case at bar that Cordero was able to categorically, candidly, and
positively identify both accused-appellants as two of his abductors both outside and inside
the court. Thus, his identification of the accused is worthy of credence and weight. This
Court, in People v. Cenahonon30said:

An affirmative testimony merits greater weight than a negative one, especially when the
former comes from a credible witness. Categorical and positive identification of an accused,
without any showing of ill motive on the part of the witness testifying on the matter,
prevails over alibi and denial, which are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of
real weight in law unless substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. (Citation
omitted.)

As to the Alleged Illegality of Accused-

appellant Devincio Guerrero's

Warrantless Arrest and the Violation

of His Rights Under Republic Act

No. 7438.

Accused-appellant Devincio insists that his warrantless arrest was illegal for not falling
under the permissible warrantless arrests enumerated in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules
of Court.31 This being the case, accused-appellant Devincio says, the RTC had no
jurisdiction to render judgement over his person. He also claims that there was no showing
that he was informed of his Constitutional rights at the time of his arrest and his rights
under Sections 2 and 3 of Republic Act No. 7438 during investigation.32

As the Court of Appeals has already pointed out, that accused-appellant Devincio raised
none of these issues anytime during the course of his trial. These issues were raised for the
first time on appeal before the Court of Appeals. We affirm the ruling of the Court of
Appeals and quote below Miclat, Jr. v. People33 on this Court's treatment of an accused's
belated allegation of the illegality of his warrantless arrest:

At the outset, it is apparent that petitioner raised no objection to the irregularity of his
arrest before his arraignment. Considering this and his active participation in the trial of the
case, jurisprudence dictates that petitioner is deemed to have submitted to the jurisdiction
of the trial court, thereby curing any defect in his arrest. An accused is estopped from
assailing any irregularity of his arrest if he fails to raise this issue or to move for the
quashal of the information against him on this ground before arraignment. Any objection
involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure by which the court acquired jurisdiction over
the person of the accused must be made before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection
is deemed waived.

In the present case, at the time of petitioner's arraignment, there was no objection raised
as to the irregularity of his arrest. Thereafter, he actively participated in the proceedings
before the trial court. In effect, he is deemed to have waived any perceived defect in his
arrest and effectively submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court trying his case. At
any rate, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid
judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error. It will not even
negate the validity of the conviction of the accused. (Citations omitted.)

The foregoing ruling squarely applies to accused-appellants Devincio and Vicente who failed
to raise their allegations before their arraignment. They actively participated in the trial and
posited their defenses without mentioning the alleged illegality of their warrantless arrests.
They are deemed to have waived their right to question their arrests.

As regards accused-appellant Devincio's argument that his rights under Republic Act No.
7438 were violated, we likewise uphold the following ruling of the Court of Appeals:

With respect to appellant Devincio's argument that his rights under RA 7438 were violated
while he was under custodial investigation, aside from his bare-faced claim, he has offered
no evidence to sustain such claim; and appellant Devincio (or appellant Vicente, for that
matter) has not executed an extrajudicial confession or admission for, as stated in People
vs. Buluran and Valenzuela:
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

There is no violation of the constitutional rights of the accused during custodial


investigation since neither one executed an extrajudicial confession or admission. In fact,
the records show that appellant Cielito Buluran opted to remain silent during custodial
investigation. Any allegation of violation of rights during custodial investigation is relevant
and material only to cases in which an extrajudicial admission or confession extracted from
the accused becomes the basis of their conviction.34 (Citation omitted.)

Damages Awarded.

The RTC awarded Cordero Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages. However,
pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence, the Court finds it proper to modify such award as
follows:

1. P100,000.00 as civil indemnity;

2. P100,000.00 as moral damages; and

3. P100,000.00 as exemplary damages to set an example for the public


good.35

"The award of exemplary damages is justified, the lowering of the penalty to reclusion
perpetua in view of the prohibition of the imposition of the death penalty notwithstanding,
it not being dependent on the actual imposition of the death penalty but on the fact that a
qualifying circumstance warranting the imposition of the death penalty attended the
kidnapping."36

The accused-appellants shall be jointly and severally liable for these amounts awarded in
favor of Cordero. In addition, these amounts shall accrue interest at the rate of six percent
(6%) per annum, to earn from the date of the finality of this Court's Decision until fully
paid.37

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated January 23, 2013 in CA-G.R.
CR.-H.C. No. 02971 finding accused-appellants Vicente Lugnasin and Devincio
Guerrero GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom under
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 8 of Republic Act No. 7659,
and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetuawithout eligibility of parole
is AFFIRMED with modification. Accused-appellants Vicente Lugnasin and Devincio
Guerrero are ordered to pay Nicassius Cordero the following:

1. P100,000.00 as civil indemnity;

2. P100,000.00 as moral damages; and

3. P100,000.00 as exemplary damages.

The foregoing amounts shall accrue interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum, to
earn from the date of the finality of this Decision until fully paid.

SO ORDERED. cralawlawlib rary


G.R. No. 174471

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
JERRY PEPINO y RUERAS and PRECIOSA GOMEZ y CAMPOS, Accused-
Appellants.

DECISION

BRION, J.:

This is an appeal filed by Jerry Pepino (Pepino) and Preciosa


Gomez (Gomez) assailing the June 16, 2006 decision1 of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 02026.

ANTECEDENTS

The prosecution evidence showed that at 1:00 p.m., on June 28, 1997, two men
and a woman entered the office of Edward Tan at Kilton Motors Corporation in
Sucat, Parafiaque City, and pretended to be customers. When Edward was about
to receive them, one of the men, eventually identified as Pepino pulled out a gun.
Thinking that it was a holdup, Edward told Pepino that the money was inside the
cashier's box. Pepino and the other man looted the "'cashier's box, handcuffed
Edward, and forced him to go with them.2 From the hallway, Jocelyn Tan
(mentioned as "Joselyn" in some parts of the record), Edward's wife, saw Pepino
take her husband. She went to the adjoining room upon Edward's instructions.3

Pepino brought Edward to a metallic green Toyota Corolla where three other men
were waiting inside. The woman (later identified as Gomez) sat on the front
passenger seat.4 The abductors then placed surgical tape over Edward's eyes and
made him wear sunglasses. After travelling for two and a half hours, they arrived
at an apartment in Quezon City. The abductors removed the tape from Edward's
eyes, placed him in a room, and then chained his legs. Pepino approached
Edward and asked for the phone number of his father so that he could ask for
ransom for his (Edward's) liberty. Edward told Pepino to negotiate with his wife,
but the latter insisted on talking to his father.5

At around 5:00 p.m. of the same day, the kidnappers called Edward's father and
demanded a P40 million ransom for his release. Edward's father told the
kidnappers that he did not have that amount. The abductors negotiated with
Jocelyn who eventually agreed to a P700,000.00 ransom. The kidnappers told
Jocelyn to pack the money into two packages and to drop these at a convenience
store in front of McDonald's at Mindanao Avenue. They further demanded that
Edward's vehicle be used to bring the money.6

After four days, or on July 1, 1997, Antonio Gepiga (the family driver) brought the
agreed amount to the 7-Eleven convenience store at Mindanao A venue as
instructed.7 That evening, three men and Gomez blindfolded Edward, made him
board a car, and drove around for 30 minutes. Upon stopping, they told Edward
that he could remove his blindfold after five minutes. When Edward removed his
blindfold, he found himself inside his own car parked at the UP Diliman Campus.
He drove home and reported his kidnapping to Teresita Ang See, a known anti-
crime crusader.8

After five months, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI!) informed Edward
that they had apprehended some suspects, and invited him to identify them from a
lineup consisting of seven persons: five males and two females. Edward positively
identified Pepino, Gomez, and one Mario Galgo.9 Jocelyn likewise identified
Pepino.10

Pepino and Gomez did not testify for their defense. The defense instead
presented Zeny Pepino, Reynaldo Pepino, NBI Special Investigator Marcelo
Jadloc and P/Sr. Insp. Narciso Quano (mentioned as "Qano" in some parts of the
record).

Zeny testified that she and her husband, Jerry Pepino, were inside their house in
Cebu City on December 7, 1997, when about 20 heavily armed men entered their
house looking for Jerry. When Jerry asked them if they had a warrant of arrest,
one of the men pointed a gun at him and handcuffed him; the armed men then hit
him with the butt of an armalite and punched him. The men also took Pepino' s
wristwatch and wallet, as well as Zeny's bag and watch. Some of the armed men
searched the second floor of the house, and found a .45 caliber gun. The armed
men brought Zeny and Pepino outside their house where Zeny saw Renato
Pepino and Larex Pepino already handcuffed. The armed men brought them to
the Cebu City Police Headquarters before bringing them to the NBI Headquarters
in Manila. The following day, Jerry, Renato, and Larex were brought to the
Department of Justice (DO.I). Zeny, on the other hand, was released after being
detained at the NBI for three (3) days.11

Reynaldo's testimony was summarized by the CA as follows:

x x x On December 6, 1997, he accompanied accused-appellant Gomez to his


brother's sister-in-law who happens to work in a recruitment agency. While they
were inside the latter's house at Lot 2, Block 15, Marikina Heights, Marikina City,
they heard a noise at the gate. When he peeped through the window, he saw two
(2) motorcycles and two (2) Vannette vans. Shortly thereafter, someone kicked the
back door and several armed men emerged therefrom and announced their arrest.
When he asked them if they had any warrant, they replied: "Walang warrant,
warrant. Walang search, search." They were then hogtied and made to lie face
down. Five (5) of them then went upstairs and seized his personal belongings
together with his briefcase which contained P45,000.00, documents of accused-
appellant Gomez, and his .45 caliber pistol as well as his license and permit to
carry the same. No receipts were issued for their personal effects which were
confiscated. They were subsequently brought to Camp Crame and subjected to
torture. The following day, they were brought to the Department of Justice and a
case for kidnapping was filed against him. Upon reinvestigation, however, he was
discharged from the Information and the court dismissed the case against him.12

SI Jadloc and Police Senior Inspector Quano, Jr. were presented as hostile
witnesses.

Jadloc declared on the witness stand that NBI Assistant Director Edmundo Arugay
dispatched a team to Cebu City to investigate a kidnap-for-ransom case. The
team immediately conducted surveillance operations when they arrived at Calle
Rojo, Lahug, Cebu City. One of the team members saw Renato and Larex Pepino
with guns tucked in their waists. When the team approached them, the two men
ran inside their house. The team went after them and on entering the house, they
saw Jerry in possession of a .45 caliber gun. The team arrested Jerry, Renato and
Larex, and then brought them to the NBI Headquarters in Manila.13

Quano testified that he was designated as the leader of a team tasked to arrest
members of a kidnap-for-ransom group at their safe house in Lot 2, Block 50,
Marikina Heights, Marikina City. When they arrived there, they introduced
themselves as police officers. The police forcibly opened the door after the
occupants of the house refused to open the ground floor door. During their search
at the second floor, the operatives found an armalite and a .45 caliber gun. The
members of the team handcuffed Gomez and Reynaldo, and then brought them to
Camp Crame.14

The prosecution charged Preciosa Gomez, Jerry Pepino, Reynaldo Pepino, Jessie
Pepino, George Curvera, Boy Lanyujan, Luisito "Tata" Adulfo, Henriso
Batijon (a.k.a. Dodoy Batijon), Nerio Alameda, and an alias Wilan Tan with
kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 259, Paranaque City.15 Reynaldo was subsequently
discharged after reinvestigation. Only Pepino, Gomez, and Batijon were arraigned;
their other co-accused remained at large.

In its May 15, 2000 decision, the RTC convicted Pepino and Gomez of kidnapping
and serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code (as
amended) and sentenced them to suffer the death penalty. The RTC also ordered
them to pay Edward P700,000.00 representing the amount extorted from him;
P50,000.00 as moral damages; and P50,000 as exemplary damages. The trial
court acquitted Batijon for insufficiency of evidence.

The R TC held that Edward positively identified Pepino and Gomez as two of the
persons who forcibly abducted him at gunpoint inside Kilton Motors, and who
consequently detained him somewhere in Quezon City for four (4) days until he
was released inside the UP Diliman Campus after the payment of ransom. The
RTC added that Jocelyn corroborated Edward's testimony on material points. It
also pointed out that Edward identified both Pepino and Gomez at the lineup
conducted inside the NBI compound, although Jocelyn only recognized Gomez.

The R TC further ruled that the accused were already estopped from questioning
the validity of their arrest after they entered their respective pleas.
The case was automatically elevated to this Court in view of the death penalty that
the R TC imposed. We referred the case to the CA for intermediate review
pursuant to our ruling in People v. Mateo.16

In its decision dated June 16, 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC
decision with the modification that the amounts of moral and exemplary damages
were increased from P300,000.00 and Pl00,000.00, respectively.

The CA held that Pepino and Gomez were deemed to have waived any objection
to the illegality of their arrests when they did not move to quash the information
before entering their plea, and when they participated at the trial.

The CA further ruled that Pepino and Gomez conspired with each other to attain a
common objective, i.e., to kidnap Edward in exchange for ransom.

While the case was under review by the Supreme Court, Pepino filed an urgent
motion to withdraw his appeal, which the Court granted.17 Only Gomez's appeal is
now pending before us.

In her brief18 and supplemental brief,19 Gomez maintained that it was impossible for
Edward to have seen her in the front seat of the getaway car because he
(Edward) was blindfolded. She also alleged that the prosecution failed to prove
that she had conspired with the other accused.

Gomez further claimed that Edward's identification of her during trial "may have
been preconditioned x x x by suggestive identification"20 made at the police lineup.
She further argued that the death penalty imposed on her is no longer proper due
to the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346.

THE COURT'S ·RULING

We affirm Gomez's conviction, but we modify the penalty imposed and the
awarded indemnities.

Illegality of the Arrest

We point out at the outset that Gomez did not question before arraignment the
legality of her warrantless arrest or the acquisition of RTC's jurisdiction over her
person. Thus, Gomez is deemed to have waived any objection to her warrantless
arrest.
It is settled that [a]ny objection to the procedure followed in the matter of the
acquisition by a court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be
opportunely raised before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed
waived.21 As we held in People v. Samson:22

[A ]ppellant is now estopped from questioning any defect in the manner of his
arrest as he failed to move for the quashing of the information before the trial
court. Consequently, any irregularity attendant to his arrest was cured when he
voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a plea
of "not guilty" and by participating in the trial.23

At any rate, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside
a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error.
Simply put, the illegality of the warrantless arrest cannot deprive the State of its
right to prosecute the guilty when all other facts on record point to their culpability.
It is much too late in the day to complain about the warrantless arrest after a valid
information had been filed, the accused had been arraigned, the trial had
commenced and had been completed, and a judgment of conviction had been
rendered against her.24

Sufficiency of the Prosecution Evidence

a. Elements of kidnapping proved

The elements of kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended, are: (1) the offender is a private individual; (2)
he kidnaps or detains another or in any other manner deprives the latter of his
liberty; (3) the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) in the
commission of the offense, any of the following circumstances is present: (a) the
kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three (3) days; or (b) it is committed by
simulating public authority; or (c) serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the
person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made; or (d) the person
kidnapped or detained is a minor, female, or a public officer. If the victim of
kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a minor, the duration of his detention is
immaterial. Likewise, if the victim is kidnapped and illegally detained for the
purpose of extorting ransom, the duration of his detention is also of no moment
and the crime is qualified and becomes punishable by death even if none of the
circumstances mentioned in paragraphs 1 to 4 of Article 267 is present.25
All these elements have been established by the prosecution. Edward positively
identified Gomez and Pepino - both private individuals - as among the three
persons who entered his office and pretended to be Kilton Motors'customers. He
further declared that Pepino pointed a gun at him, and forcibly took him against his
will. To directly quote from the records:

ATTY. WILLIAM CHUA:

Q: Can you tell us if anything unusual happened to you on June 28, 1997?

EDWARD TAN:

A: I was kidnapped.

xxxx

Q: Can you tell this Court how the kidnapping was initiated?

A: At around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon, there were three persons who entered
the office of Kilton Motors and pretended to be customers.

Q: What was the gender of these three persons that you are referring to?

A: Two men and a woman.

Q: After they pretended to be customers, tell us what happened?

A: · They told me they were going to pay but instead of pulling out money, they
pulled out a gun.

Q: How many people pulled out guns as you said?

A: Only one, sir.

Q: Will you look around this courtroom now and tell us if the person who pulled out
a gun is in court?

A: (WITNESS POINTED TO A PERSON AT THE RIGHT SECTION, SECOND


ROW WHO, WHEN ASKED HIS NAME, ANSWERED JERRY PEPINO)
Q: Now, you said that there were two men and a woman who went up the Kilton
Motors Office and you pointed to one of the men as Jerry Pepino, can you look
around the courtroom and tell us if any of the two others are in court?

A: (WITNESS POINTED TO A WOMAN INSIDE THE COURTROOM WHO,


WHEN ASKED HER NAME, ANSWERED AS PRECIOSA GOMEZ)

xxxx

Q: You said Mr. Pepino pulled out his gun, what happened after he pulled out his
gun?

A: He told me just to be quiet and go with him.

Q: What was your reaction when he pointed a gun to you and he stated those
words?

A: I thought it was only a holdup and so I told him there was money with the
cashier and told him to get it.

Q: What happened after you told him the money was in the cashier's box?

A: His companion took the money and told me to still go with them.

Q: When they told you to go with them, what happened next? A: I told them why
should I still go with them and then, I was handcuffed and was forced to go down.

xxxx

Q: As they were bringing you down, what happened next, Mr. Witness?

A: When we went down nearing his car, I was boarded on [in] his car.

xxxx

Q: When they boarded you inside that car, what did they do to you, Mr. Witness?

A: They put surgical tape on my eyes and also sunglasses.

xxxx
Q: Who was at the passenger's front seat of the car?

A: It was Preciosa Gomez.26

xxxx

Edward further declared on the witness stand that Pepino, Gomez, and their other
co-accused brought him to a safe house in Quezon City; detained him there for
four (4) days; and demanded ransom from his (Edward's) family.

It is settled that the crime of serious illegal detention consists not only of placing a
person in an enclosure, but also in detaining him or depriving him of his liberty in
any manner. For there to be kidnapping, it is enough that the victim is restrained
from going home. Its essence is the actual deprivation of the victim's liberty,
coupled with indubitable proof of the intent of the accused to effect such
deprivation.27

Notably, Jocelyn corroborated Edward's testimony on the following points: Pepino


poked a handgun at Edward while they were on the second floor of Kilton; Pepino
and his companion brought him downstairs and out of the building, and made him
board a car; and the kidnappers demanded ransom in exchange for Edward's
release.

Both the RTC and the CA found the respective testimonies of Edward and Jocelyn
credible and convincing. We affirm the credibility accorded by the trial court (and
affirmed by the CA) to these prosecution witnesses, in the absence of any
showing that this factual finding had been arbitrarily arrived at. There is nothing in
the records that would put the testimonies of Edward and Jocelyn under suspicion.
We recall that Edward had close contacts with Pepino at Kilton Motors and at the
safe house. He also saw Gomez (a) seated at the front seat of the getaway
Toyota Corolla vehicle; (b) at the safe house in Quezon City; and (c) inside the car
before the kidnappers released him.

Jocelyn, for her part, stated that she was very near Pepino while he was taking
away her husband.

In People v. Pavillare,28 the Court found the testimonies of the private complainant
Sukhjinder Singh and his cousin, Lakhvir Singh, to be credible and convincing,
and reasoned out as follows:
Both witnesses had ample opportunity to observe the kidnappers and to
remember their faces. The complainant had close contact with the kidnappers
when he was abducted and beaten up, and later when the kidnappers haggled on
the amount of the ransom money. His cousin met Pavillare face to face and
actually dealt with him when he paid the ransom money. The two-hour period that
the complainant was in close contact with his abductors was sufficient for him to
have a recollection of their physical appearance. Complainant admitted in court
that he would recognize his abductors if he sees them again and upon seeing
Pavillare he immediately recognized him as one of the malefactors as he
remembers him as the one who blocked his way, beat him up, haggled with the
complainant's cousin and received the ransom money. x x x It bears repeating that
the finding of the trial court as to the credibility of witnesses is given utmost
respect and as a rule will not be disturbed on appeal because it had the
opportunity to closely observe the demeanor of the witness in court. 29

b. Admissibility of Identification

We find no merit in Gomez's claim that Edward's identification of her during


trial might have been preconditioned by the "suggestive identification" made
during the police lineup.

In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,30 the Court explained the procedure for out-of-court
identification and the test to determine the admissibility of such identifications in
this manner:

Out-of-court identification is conducted by the police in various ways. It is done


thru show-ups where the suspect alone is brought face to face with the witness
for identification. It is done thru mug shots where photographs are shown to the
witness to identify the suspect. It is also done thru lineups where a witness
identifies the suspect from a group of persons lined up for the purpose x x x In
resolving the admissibility of and relying on out-of-court identification of suspects,
courts have adopted the totality of circumstances test where they consider the
following factors, viz: (1) the witness' opportunity to view the criminal at the time of
the crime; (2) the witness' degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any
prior description given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by
the witness at the identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the
identification; and (6) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure.31
Applying the totality-of-circumstances test, we find Edward's out-of-court
identification to be reliable and thus admissible. To recall, when the three
individuals entered Edward's office, they initially pretended to be customers, 32and
even asked about the products that were for sale.33 The three had told Edward that
they were going to pay, but Pepino "pulled out a gun" instead.34 After Pepino' s
companion had taken the money from the cashier's box, the malefactors
handcuffed Edward and forced him to go down to the parked car. From this
sequence of events, there was thus ample opportunity for Edward - before and
after the gun had been pointed at him - to view the faces of the three persons who
entered his office. In addition, Edward stated that Pepino had talked to him "[a]t
least once a day"35 during the four days that he was detained.

Edward also saw Gomez seated at the front seat of the getaway metallic green
Toyota Corolla vehicle. In addition, the abductors removed the tape from Edward's
eyes when they arrived at the apartment, and among those whom he saw there
was Gomez. According to Edward, he was able to take a good look at the
occupants of the car when he was about to be released.

On the part of Jocelyn, she was firm and unyielding in her identification of Pepino
as the person who pointed a gun at her husband while going down the stairs, and
who brought him outside the premises of Kilton Motors. She maintained that she
was very near when Pepino was taking away her husband; and that she could not
forget Pepino's face. For accuracy, we quote from the records:

ATTY. CORONEL:

Q: You stated that you were able to see one of the persons who kidnapped your
husband, if you see this person again, would you be able to identify him?

JOCELYN SY TAN:

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Can you look around the courtroom and see if the person you are referring to is
here today?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Can you point to him?


A: (WITNESS POINTED TO A MALE PERSON INSIDE THE COURTROOM WHO
WHEN ASKED HIS NAME ANSWERED AS JERRY PEPINO).

Q: Ms. Witness, what role did this person whom you identified and gave his name
as Jerry Pepino, what role did he play in the kidnapping of your husband?

A: Siya po bale 'yang nakayakap sa husband ko tapos nakatutok ng baril.

xxxx

A TTY. ESTRUCO:

Q: When Jerry Pepino was at Kilton Motors, he embraced your husband?

JOCELYN SY TAN:

A: Yes, sir. And pointed a gun at my husband.

Q: And he was not blindfolded at that time?

A: No, he was not blindfolded, he was only wearing a cap.

Q: You are very sure that he is Jerry Pepino?

A: Yes, I am very, very sure. I could not forget his face.

Q: You are very sure?

A: Yes, sir. Kahit sa nightmare ko, kasama siya.

xx x x36

We add that no competing event took place to draw Edward's and Jocelyn's
attention from the incident. Nothing in the records shows the presence of any
distraction that could have disrupted the witnesses' attention at the time of the
incident.37

Jurisprudence holds that the natural reaction of victims of criminal violence is to


strive to see the appearance of their assailants and observe the manner the crime
was committed. As the Court held in People v. Esoy:38
It is known that the most natural reaction of a witness to a crime is to strive to look
at the appearance of the perpetrator and to observe the manner in which the
offense is perpetrated. Most often the face of the assailant and body movements
thereof, create a lasting impression which cannot be easily erased from a
witness's memory. Experience dictates that precisely because of the unusual acts
of violence committed right before their eyes, eyewitnesses can remember with a
high degree of reliability the identity of criminals at any given time.39

While this pronouncement should be applied with great caution, there is no


compelling circumstance in this case that would warrant its non-application.

Contrary to what Gomez claimed, the police lineup conducted at the NBI was not
suggestive. We note that there were seven people in the lineup; Edward was not
compelled to focus his attention on any specific person or persons. While it might
have been ideal if there had been more women included in the lineup instead of
only two, or if there had been a separate lineup for Pepino and for Gomez, the fact
alone that there were five males and two females in the lineup did not render the
procedure irregular. There was no evidence that the police had supplied or even
suggested to Edward that the appellants were the suspected perpetrators.

The following exchanges at the trial during Edward's cross-examination prove this
point:

ATTY. ESTURCO:

Q: When they were lined up at the NBI, where were they placed, in a certain
room?

EDWARD TAN:

A: Yes, sir.

Q: With a glass window? One way?

A: No, sir.

Q: You mean to say you were face to face with the alleged kidnappers?

A: Yes, sir.
Q: And before you were asked to pinpoint the persons who allegedly kidnapped
you, you conferred with the NBI agents?

A: The NBI agents told me not to be afraid.

Q: No, my question is, you conferred with the NBI agents?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What is the name of the NBI agent?

A: I cannot remember, sir.

Q: And how many were lined up?

A: Seven, sir.

Q: And the NBI agent gave the names of each of the seven?

A: No, sir.40

We also note that Jocelyn's and Edward's out-of-court identifications were made
on the same day. While Jocelyn only identified Pepino, the circumstances
surrounding this out-of-court identification showed that the whole identification
process at the NBI was not suggestive. To directly quote from the records:

ATTY. ESTURCO:

Q: How about the alleged kidnappers, where were they placed during that time?

JOCELYN TAN:

A: They were in front of us.

Q: Without any cover?

A: None, sir.

Q: Without any glass cover?

A: See-through glass window.


Q: One-way mirror?

A: Not one way, see-through.

Q: And before you were asked to pinpoint the alleged kidnappers, you were
already instructed by the NBI what to do and was told who are the persons
to be lined up?

A: No, sir.

xxxx

Q: And between the alleged length of time, you were still very positive that it
was Gerry (sic) Pepino inside the NBI cell?

A: At first, I did not know that he was Jerry Pepino but we know his face.

Q: At first, you did not know that it was Jerry Pepino?

A: Yes, sir.

xxxx

Q: It was the NBI officer who told you that the person is Jerry Pepino, am I
correct?

A: They identified that the person we identified was Jerry Pepino. We first
pinpointed na heto ang mukha at saka sinabi na 'yan si Jerry Pepino.

xx x x41

These exchanges show that the lineup had not been attended by any
suggestiveness on the part of the police or the NBI agents; there was no evidence
that they had supplied or even suggested to either Edward or Jocelyn that the
appellants were the kidnappers.

We are not unaware that the Court, in several instances, has acquitted an
accused when the out-of-court identification is fatally flawed. In these cases,
however, it had been clearly shown that the identification procedure was
suggestive.
In People v. Pineda,42 the Court acquitted Rolando Pineda because the police
suggested the identity of the accused by showing only the photographs of Pineda
and his co-accused Celso Sison to witnesses Canilo Ferrer and Jimmy Ramos.
According to the Court, "there was impermissible suggestion because the
photographs were only of appellant and Sison, focusing attention on the two
accused."43

Similarly, the Court in People v. Rodrigo44 acquitted appellant Lee Rodrigo since
only a lone photograph was shown to the witness at the police station. We thus
held that the appellant's in-court identification proceeded from, and was influenced
by, impermissible suggestions in the earlier photographic identification.

The lack of a prior description of the kidnappers in the present case should not
lead to a conclusion that witnesses' identification was erroneous. The lack of a
prior description of the kidnappers was due to the fact that Jocelyn (together with
other members of Edward's family), for reasons not made known in the records,
opted to negotiate with the kidnappers, instead of immediately seeking police
assistance. If members of Edward's family had refused to cooperate with the
police, their refusal could have been due to their desire not to compromise
Edward's safety.45 In the same manner, Edward, after he was freed, chose to
report the matter to Teresita Ang See, and not to the police.

Given these circumstances, the lack of prior description of the malefactors in this
case should not in any way taint the identification that Edward and Jocelyn made.

c. The Right to Counsel

The right to counsel is a fundamental right and is intended to preclude the


slightest coercion that would lead the accused to admit something false. The right
to counsel attaches upon the start of the investigation, i.e., when the investigating
officer starts to ask questions to elicit information and/or confessions or
admissions from the accused.46

Custodial investigation commences when a person is taken into custody and is


singled out as a suspect in the commission of the crime under investigation.47 As a
rule, a police lineup is not part of the custodial investigation; hence, the right to
counsel guaranteed by the Constitution cannot yet be invoked at this stage. The
right to be assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial investigation and
cannot be claimed by the accused during identification in a police lineup.
Our ruling on this point in People v. Lara48 is instructive:

x x x The guarantees of Sec. 12(1 ), Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, or the so-
called Miranda rights, may be invoked only by a person while he is under custodial
investigation. Custodial investigation starts when the police investigation is no
longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a
particular suspect taken into custody by the police who starts the inte1Togation
and propounds questions to the person to elicit incriminating statements. Police
line-up is not part of the custodial investigation; hence, the right to counsel
guaranteed by the Constitution cannot yet be invoked at this stage.49

Defense witness Reynaldo, however, maintained that Pepino and Gomez were
among those already presented to the media as kidnapping suspects by
the DOJ a day before the police lineup was made. In this sense, the appellants
were already the focus of the police and were thus deemed to be already under
custodial investigation when the out-of-court identification was conducted.

Nonetheless, the defense did not object to the in-court identification for
having been tainted by an irregular out-of-court identification in a police
lineup. They focused, instead, on the legality of the appellants' arrests.

Whether Edward and Jocelyn could have seen Pepino and Gomez in various
media fora that reported the presentation of the kidnapping suspects to the media
is not for the Court to speculate on. The records merely show that when defense
counsel, Atty. Caesar Esturco, asked Jocelyn during cross-examination whether
she was aware that there were several kidnap-for-ransom incidents in Metro
Manila, the latter answered that she "can read in the newspapers." 50 At no time did
Jocelyn or Edward ever mention that they saw the appellants from the news
reports in print or on television.

At any rate, the appellants' respective convictions in this case were based on
an independent in-court identification made by Edward and Jocelyn, and not
on the out-of-court identification during the police lineup. We reiterate that
the RTC and the CA found the court testimonies of these witnesses to be positive
and credible, and that there was no showing that their factual findings had been
arrived at .arbitrarily. The in-court identification thus cured whatever irregularity
might have attended the police lineup.

As the Court ruled in People v. Algarme:51


Even assuming arguendo the appellants' out-of-court identification was defective,
their subsequent identification in court cured any flaw that may have initially
attended it. We emphasize that the "inadmissibility of a police lineup identification
x x x should not necessarily foreclose the admissibility of an independent in-court
identification." We also stress that all the accused-appellants were positively
identified by the prosecution eyewitnesses during the trial.

It is also significant to note that despite the overwhelming evidence adduced by


the prosecution, Pepino and Gomez did not even testify for their respective
defenses. 1âwphi1

d. The Presence of Conspiracy

Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning


the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. It may be proved by direct or
circumstantial evidence consisting of acts, words, or conduct of the alleged
conspirators before, during and after the commission of the felony to achieve a
common design or purpose.

Proof of the agreement does not need to rest on direct evidence, as the
agreement may be inferred from the conduct of the parties indicating a common
understanding among them with respect to the commission of the offense.
Corollarily, it is not necessary to show that two or more persons met together and
entered into an explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or
the details by which an illegal objective is to be carried out.52

In the present case, the records establish the following facts: Pepino, Gomez, and
another man entered Edward's office, and initially pretended to be customers; the
three told Edward that they were going to pay, but Pepino pulled out a gun. After
Pepino' s companion took the money from the cashier's box, the malefactors
handcuffed him and forced him to go down to the parked car; Gomez sat at the
front passenger seat of the car which brought Edward to a safe house in Quezon
City; the abductors removed the tape from Edward's eyes, placed him in a room,
and then chained his legs upon arrival at the safe house; the abductors negotiated
with Edward's family who eventually agreed to a P700,000.00 ransom to be
delivered by the family driver using Edward's own car; and after four days, three
men and Gomez blindfolded Edward, made him board a car, drove around for 30
minutes, and left him inside his own car at the UP Diliman campus.
The collective, concerted, and synchronized acts of the accused before, during,
and after the kidnapping constitute undoubted proof that Gomez and her co-
accused conspired with each other to attain a common objective, i.e., to kidnap
Edward and detain him illegally in order to demand ransom for his release.

The Proper Penalty:

Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, mandates the imposition of
the death penalty when the kidnapping or detention is committed for the purpose
of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person. Ransom, as employed in
the Jaw, is so used in its common or ordinary sense; meaning, a sum of money or
other thing of value, price, or consideration paid or demanded for redemption of a
kidnapped or detained person, a payment that releases one from captivity.53

In the present case, the malefactors not only demanded but received ransom for
Edward's release. The CA thus correctly affirmed the RTC's imposition of the
death penalty on Pepino and Gomez.

With the passage of Republic Act No. 9346, entitled ''An Act Prohibiting the
Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines" (signed into law on June 24, 2006),
the death penalty may no longer be imposed. We thus sentence Gomez to the
penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole pursuant to A.M. No. 15-
08-02-SC.54

The reduced penalty shall likewise apply to the non-appealing party, Pepino, since
it is more favorable to him.

The Awarded Indemnities:

In the case of People v. Gambao55 (also for kidnapping for ransom), the Court set
the minimum indemnity and damages where facts warranted the imposition of the
death penalty if not for prohibition thereof by R.A. No. 9346, as follows: (1)
Pl00,000.00 as civil indemnity; (2) Pl00,000.00 as moral damages which the victim
is assumed to have suffered and thus needs no proof; and (3) Pl00,000.00 as
exemplary damages to set an example for the public good. These amounts shall
earn interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of the finality
of the Court's Resolution until fully paid.

We thus reduce the moral damages imposed by the CA from P300,000.00 to


Pl00,000.00 to conform to prevailing jurisprudence on kidnapping cases. This
reduced penalty shall apply to Pepino for being more favorable to him. However,
the additional monetary award (i.e., P100,000.00 civil indemnity) imposed on
Gomez shall not be applied to Pepino.56

We affirm the P700,000.00 imposed by the courts below as restitution of the


amount of ransom demanded and received by the kidnappers. We also affirm the
CA's award of Pl00,000.00 as exemplary damages based on Gambao.

WHEREFORE, in the light of all the foregoing, we AFFIRM the challenged June
16, 2006 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 02026 with the
following MODIFICATIONS:

(1) the penalty imposed on Gomez and Pepino shall be reduced from death
to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole;

(2) they are jointly and severally ordered to pay the reduced amount of
PI00,000.00 as moral damages;

(3) Gomez is further ordered to pay the victim Pl00,000.00 as civil indemnity; and

(4) the awarded amounts shall earn interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per
annum from the date of the finality of the Court's Decision until fully paid.

[G.R. No. 130189. June 25, 1999]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs. DOMINGO R. MULETA, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

An extra-judicial confession extracted in violation of


constitutionally enshrined rights is inadmissible in
evidence. During custodial investigation, suspects have the
rights, among others, (1) to remain silent, (2) to have an
independent and competent counsel, (3) to be provided with
such counsel, if unable to secure one, (4) to be assisted by one in
case of waiver, which should be in writing, of the foregoing; and
(5) to be informed of all such rights and of the fact that anything
he says can and will be used against him. Where the remaining
pieces of evidence are insufficient to determine guilt with moral
certainty, the appellant is entitled to an acquittal. A conviction
must rest on the strength of the admissible evidence of the
prosecution, not on the weakness or insufficiency of the defense.
The Case

Domingo R. Muleta appeals the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of


Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 14, in Criminal Case No. 3264-M-93, finding him
guilty of the complex crime of rape with homicide and sentencing him
to reclusion perpetua.
The Information, dated October 1, 1993 and signed by Prosecution Attorney
Emmanuel Y. Velasco, charged appellant as follows:
That on April 30, 1993, between the hours of 12:05 past midnight to 2:00 in the morning, at a house in
Malolos, Bulacan and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused DOMINGO MULETA y
ROCERO willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had carnal knowledge of a woman in the person of
Charito M. Delgado without her consent, by using force and intimidation and while the latter was
unconscious; and thereafter accused Domingo Muleta y Rocero by reason or on occasion of the said rape
incident, taking advantage of his superior strength, stab[bed] Charito M. Delgado in the neck and at the
back causing the instantaneous death of the latter.[1]

Upon arraignment on December 10, 1993, the appellant[2] pleaded not guilty to
the charge.[3]
After trial, the lower court rendered its assailed August 15, 1997
Judgment,[4] the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court finds accused Domingo R. Muleta guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the complex crime of [r]ape with [h]omicide and hereby sentences him to suffer the
penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA.

The accused is hereby ordered to pay the heirs of the deceased victim Charito Delgado death indemnity of
P50,000.00, actual damages of P44,000.00, exemplary damages of P20,000.00 and moral damages of
P20,000.00.

No pronouncement as to costs. [5]


Hence, this appeal.[6]
The Facts

Version of the Prosecution

The facts, as viewed by the prosecution, are summarized in the Appellees


Brief[7] thus:
On April 15, 1993, nineteen-year-old Charito Delgado, a native of Oriental Mindoro, went to Manila to
find work. Once in Manila, Charito proceeded to 1347 Banaba Street, Moriones, Tondo, Manila, where
her uncle, Ruben Delgado lived. There, she stayed with her sister Marissa. Shortly thereafter, Charito
landed a job as a saleslady at the Ali Mall, in Cubao, Quezon City.

In the afternoon of April 29, 1993, Charito left Tondo, Manila and moved to Valenzuela, Metro Manila,
bringing with her some of her sisters baggage. She, however, returned to Tondo, Manila to pick up their
remaining baggage. It was the last time she was seen alive by her relatives.

"On April 30, 1993, Charitos lifeless body was found naked in Mojon, Malolos, Bulacan, tied to a post
with the use of a pair of pants and both her hands were tied with a bra. Charitos body bore five (5) stab
wounds, three (3) in the left side of her neck and two (2) at her back.

The initial investigation on Charitos death was conducted by the police in Malolos, Bulacan but the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Manila, later took over and the case was assigned to NBI Agent
Ely Tolentino on May 19, 1993.

Based on Tolentinos investigation, appellant is Charitos uncle, [appellant] being the brother of Charitos
mother, Milagros Delgado; that on April 29 and 30, 1993, appellant was working at the Loadstar Shipping
Lines located at Pier 16, North Harbor, Tondo, Manila; that on April 29, 1993, appellant left his work at
9:30 in the evening; that appellant reported for work on April 30, 1993 at 8:00 in the evening; that
according to appellants wife, he left for work on April 29,1993 but returned only in the morning of April
30, 1993.
On September 19, 1993, Tolentino went to appellants house in Oriental Mindoro and requested appellant
to go with him to the NBI, Manila for investigation. Appellant readily obliged. Danilo Delgado, Charitos
paternal uncle, accompanied Tolentino and appellant to Manila.

During his custodial investigation on September 19, 1993, appellant was assisted by counsel, Atty.
Deborah [D]aquis[8], with address at Room 401, D & D Building, Pedro Gil and San Marcelino
Street, Manila. There, he admitted having raped and later killed Charito Delgado.

Another prosecution witness, Danilo Delgado, testified that during the wake of Charito Delgado on May
13, 1993 in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, appellant became hysterical, crying, shaking his head and
muttering: Patawarin mo ako Charito, ikaw kasi lumaban pa, nakakahiya, mabuti pang mamatay na.

Delgado saw appellant drink a bottle of chlorux, after which he fell to the ground. Appellant was brought
to the Fatima Hospital.[9] (citations omitted)

Version of the Defense

The appellant, on the other hand, submits the following as the facts of the case:
xxx [T]he defense presented the accused himself [Domingo Muleta] who testified that he was not the one
who committed the crime [he was] being charged [with]; that he was just unscrupulously picked up by the
NBI and forced to admit the crime in question; that on April 30, 1993, he was in their rented house at
Camias St., Magsaysay, Tondo, Manila; that on that day, he left the house at 5:30 in the afternoon and
went to the house where Charito Delgado was then residing; that he learned from his sister Milagros
Delgado that the latters daughter Charito transferred to another house and she was then missing; that he
reported the matter to the police authorities; first, to the PNP Headquarters in Tondo; second, to the PNP
Headquarters at U.N. Avenue; and third, to the PNP Headquarters situated at Caloocan; that on May 8,
1993, he found the body of Charito Delgado already lying in state at Valenzuela, Metro, Manila; that he
learned from his sister Milagros that her body was found somewhere in Malolos; that he was working in
the Load Star shipping as a welder on a contractual basis; that from April to May, 1993, he was applying
to another company because Load Star Shipping closed shop; that on September 19, 1993, he was picked
up by the NBI at Banos Gloria, Oriental Mindoro; that he was brought at Taft Avenue; that he was
tortured; that aside from boxing and kicking him, [they] brought [him] to a secluded place; that he was
blindfolded; that he was told to lie down on his back, his feet were tied and water was poured on his nose;
that he was forced to sign a document which he was not able to read, that he was forced to sign the
document because he [could] no longer bear the torture; that he did not have a lawyer at that time; that the
NBI agents name is Ely Tolentino who testified earlier in this case; that he knows that the reason why he
was accused of raping his niece is that he gave an information about a woman he saw in the room of his
brother-in-law Rolando Delgado.

xxx [T]hat the last time he [accused] visited his niece in her residence in Moriones was April 26, 1993;
that Marissa was present when he visited Charito Delgado; that he used to work at Lawang Bato,
Bagbaguin, Valenzuela, Bulacan; that he did not work in Malolos; that when he saw the cadaver of
Charito, he was so sad about her condition, that he [could] no longer recall what he did because of his
anger.

xxx Emelinda Muleta testified that her husband, the accused-appellant, never left the house in Tondo,
Manila in the evening of April 29, 1993.[10]

Ruling of the Trial Court

Despite the absence of an eyewitness, the trial court held that the circumstantial
evidence in this case was enough to establish the guilt of the appellant. In so
holding, it referred to the following as sufficient circumstantial evidence to
convict:
First, the accused is familiar with the place VOP Compound, Bo. Mojon, Malolos, Bulacan, where the
crime was committed and where the body of the victim was found;

Second, the accused left his place of work at around 9:30 in the evening of April 29, 1993;

Third, the accused did not go home in the evening of April 29, 1993 but went home only in the morning
of April 30, 1993;

Fourth, that during the wake of Charito, the accused went wild and hysterical and uttered these
words: Patawarin mo ako Charito, ikaw kasi lumaban pa, nakakahiya ako, mabuti pang mamatay na.;

Fifth, the accused admitted in his sworn statement, that he uttered these words;

Sixth, the accused admitted that he drank chlorox and was brought to the Fatima Hospital for treatment;
and

Seventh, the sworn statement executed by the accused contains details of the manner in which the crime
was committed which only he could have known.[11]

In upholding the validity of the extrajudicial confession, the lower court further ruled:

The contention of the accused that his extra-judicial confession [was] inadmissible because it was
obtained through force and without the assistance of counsel is untenable. Well-settled is the rule that a
confession is presumed to be voluntary until the contrary is proved. In th[is] case, the presumption has not
been overcome. The narration contained in the sworn statement bespeaks spontan[ei]ty and truth. Not
only is the [confession of the accused] replete with details only he could have supplied, but the
circumstances surrounding its execution belie his claim. Indubitably established is the fact that accused
was assisted by Atty. Deborah Daquis who even signed the statement; that before accused made his
extrajudicial confession he was first asked if he was amenable to the services of Atty. Daquis to which
query he answered affirmatively. Finally, while accused recited a litany of alleged acts of maltreatment,
no medical certificate had been shown to prove that he did suffer inhuman treatment. Nor was there any
proof that he even initiated the filing of an administrative or criminal complaint against his alleged
tormentors. Neither did accused present any eyewitness to the alleged torture. In short, his allegation,
obviously self-serving, hardly deserves consideration. Noteworthy too, is the fact that he did not repudiate
said confession at the earliest opportunity and did so only during trial, thus indicating that his repudiation
[was] only a last-ditch effort to avoid the consequences of the crime.

The court upholds the admissibility of accuseds extrajudicial confession which, by itself, is sufficient
basis for his conviction.

The rule is, a confession constitutes evidence of high order since it is supported by the strong presumption
that no person of normal mind would deliberately and knowingly confess to a crime unless prompted by
truth and his conscience.

Finally, accuseds defense of denial and alibi cannot negate his culpability because these are not supported
by any credible evidence other than his bare assertion. Additionally, there was no evidence of any ulterior
or evil motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses that might have led them to give fabricated
testimony against the accused.[12] (citations omitted)

Assignment of Error

Appellant presents this lone assignment of error:


THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE EVIDENCE FOR
THE PROSECUTION AND IN THE PROCESS DISREGARDING THE DEFENSE OF ALIBI OF THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT.[13]

A reading of the Appellants Brief, however, yields the following issues to be


resolved: (1) the validity and admissibility of the extrajudicial confession of the
appellant, (2) the sufficiency of the prosecutions evidence to prove appellants
guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and (3) alibi as a defense.
This Courts Ruling

The appeal is meritorious. The extrajudicial confession of appellant is


inadmissible, and the remaining circumstantial evidence presented by the
prosecution is sorely insufficient to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
First Issue:

Validity of Extrajudicial Confession


The appellant claims that it is not true that [he] had executed an extra-judicial
confession[14]. As correctly pointed out by the solicitor general, however, the
appellant actually admits to the execution of the said confession, albeit without
the assistance of counsel. But unlike the solicitor general, we are not ready to
declare that such ambivalence only indicates the unreliability of [appellants]
claim.[15] Indeed, confessions extracted without the assistance of counsel are
taboo and useless in a court of law.
To be acceptable, extrajudicial confessions must conform to constitutional
requirements. A confession is not valid and not admissible in evidence when it
is obtained in violation of any of the following rights of persons under
custodial investigation: to remain silent, to
have independent and competent counsel preferably of their own choice, to be
provided with counsel if they are unable to secure one, to be assisted by such
counsel during the investigation, to have such counsel present when they
decide to waive these rights, and to be informed of all these rights and of the
fact that anything they say can and will be used against them in
court. In People v. Santos,[16] we held:
A confession is not admissible unless the prosecution satisfactorily shows that it was obtained within the
limits imposed by the 1987 Constitution. Section 12, Article III thereof, provides:

(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of
his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If
the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

xxx xxx xxx


(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in
evidence against him.

"If the extrajudicial confession satisfies these constitutional standards, it is subsequently tested for
voluntariness, i.e., if it was given freely -- without coercion, intimidation, inducement, or false promises;
and credibility, i.e., if it was consistent with the normal experience of mankind.

"A confession that meets all the foregoing requisites constitutes evidence of a high order because no
person of normal mind will knowingly and deliberately confess to be the perpetrator of a crime unless
prompted by truth and conscience.[17] Otherwise, it is disregarded in accordance with the cold
objectivity of the exclusionary rule.[18] (citations omitted)
Flagrantly violated in the present case were the appellants right to be informed
of his rights under custodial investigation, his right to counsel, as well as this
right to have said counsel present during the waiver of his rights under
custodial investigation.
The Right to Be Apprised of Constitutional Rights

The right to be informed of ones constitutional rights during custodial


investigation refers to an effective communication between the investigating
officer and the suspected individual, with the purpose of making the
latter understand these rights. Understanding would mean that the information
transmitted was effectively received and comprehended. Hence, the
Constitution does not merely require the investigating officers to informthe
person under investigation; rather, it requires that the latter be informed. [19]
The prosecution's purported compliance with this requisite appears in the
following portion of the extrajudicial confession:
SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY NI DOMINGO MULETA y ROCERO NA IBINIGAY KAY NBI
AGENT ELY T. TOLENTINO DITO SA TANGGAPAN NG NBI, ANTI-ORGANIZED CRIME
DIVISION NGAYONG IKA-19 NG SETYEMBRE, 1993 SA HARAP NG ILANG SAKSI.

x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
01. TANONG: Bago kita tanungin hinggil sa pagkamatay ni CHARITO DELGADO y MULETA ay nais
ipabatid sa iyo ang iyong mga karapatan na itinatadhana ng ating saligang batas, at ito ay ang mga
sumusunod:

01. Ikaw ay may karapatang manahimik at huwag sumagot sa mga katanungan sa iyo sa imbestigasyong
ito[.] Nauunawaan mo ba ito? (Sgd. Domingo Muleta)

02. Ikaw ay may karapatan na kumuha ng abogado na sarili mong pili, pero kung wala kang ikakaya ay
bibigyan ka namin ng abogado para matulungan ka sa imbestigasyong ito[.] Nauunawaan mo ba ang
karapatan mong ito? (Sgd. Domingo Muleta)

03. Ang lahat ng bagay na sasabihin mo sa imbestigasyong ito ay maaaring gamitin laban sa iyo sa
alinmang hukuman[.] Nauunawaan mo ba ito? (Sgd. Domingo Muleta)

Matapos na malaman mo ang iyong mga karapatan ikaw ay nakahanda pa ring magbigay ng pahayag?

SAGOT: Nakahanda po akong sabihin lahat ng totoo.


02. Ikaw ba ay may abogado na matatawagan ngayon na sarili mong pili?

S: Wala po.

03. T: Nais mo bang bigyan ka namin ng abogado?

S: Opo.

04. T: Gusto naming ipakilala sa iyo si Atty. Deborah Z. Daquiz isang abogada na pribado na handang
asistihan at tulungan ka sa imbestigasyong ito. Gusto mo bang tawagin natin siya bago natin ituloy ang
pagbibigay mo ng pahayag?

S: Opo. (At this juncture, Atty. Daquiz was called first and the statement taking was temporarily stopped
until after her arrival).

05. T: Ngayong naririto na si Atty. DEBORAH DAQUIZ, ikaw ba ay nais pa ring magbigay ng salaysay
na bukal sa iyong kalooban?

S: Opo.

06. T: Atty. Daquiz: Gusto mo bang talikdan ang iyong mga karapatan na ibinibigay sa iyo ng ating
Konstitusyon?

S: Tinatalikdan ko na po iyon dahil gusto ko nang ipagtapat ang pangyayari kay CHARITO DELGADO
na pamangkin ko. (Sgd. Domingo Muleta)

xxx xxx xxx


SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 19th day of September, 1993 at the Office of the NBI
Anti-Organized Crime Division, NBI Building, Taft Avenue, Manila and I hereby certify that I have
personally examined the herein Affiant and found him to have fully read and understood the contents of
his statement containing three (3) pages and that he executed the same out of his own volition.

(Sgd.) Atty. ARTEMIO M. SACAGUING

Chief AOCD

(By Authority of Rep. Act 157)

xxx xxx xxx[20] (emphasis ours)


The questions propounded to the appellant did not satisfy the strict
requirements mandated by the Constitution.[21] Such terse and perfunctory
statements[22] implied a superficial reading of the rights of the accused, without
the slightest consideration of whether he understood what was read to
him. This Court will not subscribe to such manner of informing the accused of
his constitutional rights. We have stated this then,[23] and we reiterate it now:
[The] stereotyped advice appearing in practically all extrajudicial confessions which are later repudiated
has assumed the nature of legal form or model. Police investigators either automatically type it together
with the curt Opo as the answer or ask the accused to sign it or even copy it in their handwriting. Its tired,
punctilious, fixed and artificially stately style does not create an impression of voluntariness or even
understanding on the part of the accused. The showing of a spontaneous, free and unconstrained giving up
of a right is missing. (emphasis supplied)

The Right to Counsel

The prosecution contends that this constitutional requirement was satisfied


because appellant executed the confession with the assistance and in the
presence of Atty. Deborah Daquiz.[24] The participation of the counsel was
described in the confession in this manner:
xxx xxx xxx
04. T: Gusto naming ipakilala sa iyo si Atty. Deborah Z. Daquiz, isang abogada
na pribado na handang asistihan at tulungan ka sa imbestigasyong ito. Gusto
mo bang tawagin natin siya bago natin ituloy ang pagbibigay mo ng pahayag?
S: Opo. (At this juncture, Atty. Daquiz was called first and the statement taking
was temporarily stopped until after her arrival).
xxx xxx xxx
However, the testimony of Tolentino, the investigating NBI agent, clearly
contradicts the claim of the prosecution. The agent testified:
xxx xxx xxx
Q Did you inform her [Atty. Deborah Daquiz] x x x thr[ough] the phone x x x
why you were soliciting her assistance?
A Yes [,] sir. We told her that we have a subject to confess what he [did,] will
you kindly assist him in this investigation[?]
Q What was the response of Atty. Daquis?
A She [asked] me [if it] could xxx be made the following day.
Q What was you[r] answer?
A It is up to you, I said.
Q If the request of Atty. Daquis was the following day[,] meaning September
20, are you saying that the statement of Muleta was given the following day[,]
on September 20?
A September 19, I started taking the statement. I think I just finished the
question the following day I continued. [sic]

xxx xxx xxx[25] [Emphasis ours]


Atty. Quintana amplified this point on cross-examination:
xxx xxx xxx
Q In the direct examination, you claimed that the accused Domingo Muleta
gave his statement and made a confession?
A Yes, madam.
Q You also claimed that you started taking the statement of Domingo Muleta,
the accused, without the presence of counsel?
A No, madam. I took his statement in the presence of Atty. Daquis.
Q In the direct examination on May 27, 1994, page 81, last paragraph and I
quote: A. September 19, I started taking the statement. I think I just finished the
question the following day I continued. Now, do you want to change now your
answer that you took the accused [sic] statement with the presence of counsel?
A No, madam. Although I started to take his statement on the night of
September 19, I continued it when Atty. Daquiz arrived xxx the following
morning wherein the accused conferred with the accused, madam. [sic]
Q But, [is it] not true that on the night of September 19, 1993 you started
taking the statement of the accused without the presence of Atty. Daquiz and
only continued the same on the early morning of September 20, 1993 when
Atty. Daquiz arrived?
A Yes, madam.
Q Dont you know that as a police officer NBI a[t] that, that before a suspected
person can give his statement, a counsel must be present at all times?
A Yes, madam.
xxx xxx xxx[26] (emphasis ours)
Despite Agent Tolentinos claim that the confession of the accused started to be
taken on September 19, 1993 and continued the next day, the sworn statement
itself clearly showed that what began on the 19th of September ended on the
same day. According to the jurat, the extrajudicial confession was subscribed
and sworn to on September 19, 1993. The importance of the jurat must be
stressed. [27]. In People v. Relucio,[28] we observed:
At this point, it must be noted that Exhibit 2-A, the statement which Padrones claimed above to have been
admittedly taken by Viloria on October 5, 1972 but, supposedly signed by him later and not on the same
day before Judge Vicencio as he had previously stated, bears the following heading:

SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY NI MIGUEL PADRONES y ESPEJO SA PAGTATANONG NI P/CPL J.


S. VILORIA DITO SA HIMPILAN NG PULISYA NG KABANATUAN NGAYONG IKA-19 NG
OKTUBRE 1972 SA GANAP NA IKA 5:15 NG HAPON ...

and ends with the following jurat:

NILAGDAAN AT PINANUMPAAN sa aking harap ngayong ika 20 ng Oktubre 1972, dito sa Lunsod ng
Kabanatuan.

With the dates October 19 and 20 thus appearing in this statements, how could there be any proximity to
the truth in the assertion of Padrones that his statement was first taken by Viloria on October 5, 1972 and
that it was signed by him before Fiscal del Rosario on October 9, 1972 and that it was the very statement
he had been referring to earlier as having been signed by him before Judge Vicencio? (emphasis in the
original)

We note that the heading of the sworn statement refers to the same date:
September 19, 1993. It is thus daylight clear that the purported sworn statement
of the appellant was prepared prior to the arrival of his NBI-procured
counsel.[29] In other words, the sworn statement was executed and completed on
September 19, 1993, while Atty. Daquiz arrived only the following day,
September 20, 1993. Thus, when the appellant executed and completed his
purported extrajudicial confession on September 19, 1993, he was not assisted
by counsel.
As observed by this Court in People v. Lucero,[30] [w]e have constitutionalized
the right to counsel because of our hostility against the use of duress and other
undue influence in extracting confessions from a suspect.Force and fraud
tarnish confessions and render them inadmissible. This Court has consistently
held, without equivocation, that no custodial investigation shall be conducted
unless it is done in the presence of counsel.[31]The failure of the
prosecution[32] to present Atty. Daquiz to testify on the validity of the
confession substantiates the conclusion that the sworn statement is
constitutionally suspect and invalid. In relation to this, we stress that the right
to counsel refers to competent and independent lawyers preferably chosen by
the accused persons themselves.[33] This Court, as well as the court a quo, did
not have the opportunity to determine the competence and the independence of
the NBI-procured lawyer because, despite the denial of the accused that he was
assisted by counsel, the prosecution failed to present Atty. Daquiz.[34]
Based on the prosecutions own evidence, the accused was already singled out
as the perpetrator of the crime. The supposed invitation by NBI Agent Ely
Tolentino was in reality a custodial investigation targeting the accused for the
purpose of procuring a confession. Republic Act 7438 includes as an integral
part of custodial investigation the practice of issuing invitations to persons
being investigated in connection with an offense they are suspected to have
committed.[35] Under the present factual milieu, Domingo Muleta should have
been accorded the right to counsel (and all the constitutional rights of the
accused), from the time that he was brought to the NBI office in Manila.
No Valid Waiver

The illegality of the alleged confession is further demonstrated by the fact that
appellant exercised no satisfactory waiver of his rights. As stated in our earlier
discussions, since he was not assisted by a lawyer when the waiver was made,
there was no valid waiver to speak of.[36]
Furthermore, even if we were to assume that the appellant was assisted by
counsel when he waived his rights, the waiver itself was lamentably
insufficient. After Atty. Daquiz was allegedly called to assist the appellant, she
posited this question: Gusto mo bang talikdan ang iyong mga karapatan na
ibinibigay sa iyo ng ating Konstitusyon?[37] To this, the appellant
replied: Tinatalikdan ko na po iyon dahil gusto ko nang ipagtapat ang
pangyayari kay CHARITO DELGADO na pamangkin ko.[38]
To the Court, this was not the waiver that the Constitution clearly and strictly
required. Such waiver failed to show his understanding of his rights, his waiver
of those rights, and the implications of his waiver. The waiver, in order to be
valid, should have been in a language that clearly manifested his desire to do
so.[39] The part of the sworn statement in which the accused waived his rights
referred to them as mga karapatan na ibinibigay sa iyo ng ating
Konstitusyon and iyon words that were utterly vague and insufficient to satisfy
the Constitutional requirements.[40] As presented, the prosecution would have us
refer to the first part of the sworn statement for guidance, as if it were a
footnote saying Please see first part. Such stratagem is woefully insufficient to
constitute a waiver of rights cherished and enshrined in our basic law.
Moreover, Atty. Daquiz raised only one question: whether appellant would like
to waive his rights. This was odd, because she had been called to assist
appellant in making his confession, not his waiver. Atty. Daquiz made no effort
to determine whether the accused was treated well, or if he understood his
rights. Such perfunctory, even cavalier, attempt falls short of constitutional
requirements.
Second Issue:

Sufficiency of Evidence for the Prosecution

Having ruled the alleged confession as unconstitutional and inadmissible, we


now determine whether the other pieces of evidence all circumstantial in nature
would be sufficient to overturn yet another constitutional right: to be presumed
innocent unless otherwise proven.
The rule is that x x x in the absence of direct proof, conviction may be based on
circumstantial evidence, but to warrant such conviction, the following
requisites must concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts
from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of
all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
doubt.[41]
Here, the solicitor general, as well as the trial court, posits that the conviction
of the appellant was sufficiently warranted by the aggregate of the following
circumstantial evidence:
1. The appellant was familiar with the place where the crime was
perpetrated.
2. The appellant left work around 9:30 on the evening of April 29, 1993
and did not return home until the morning of April 30, 1993.
3. The appellant, during the victims wake, became hysterical and allegedly
uttered: Patawarin mo ako Charito, ikaw kasi lumaban pa, nakakahiya
ako, mabuti pang mamatay na, after which he drank chlorox.

We do not agree. At the outset, we stress that a careful review of the records of
this case reveals that these pieces of circumstantial evidence were controverted
by the defense and, even more important, they were not sufficiently
established.[42]
Despite the efforts of the fiscal during cross-examination,[43] the appellant
consistently denied that he worked in the place where the victims body was
found. Also, the prosecution failed to prove that he was at work around 9:30
p.m. on April 29, 1993 and that he went home on April 30, 1993.[44] All it could
present was the testimony of NBI Agent Ely Tolentino, who merely testified on
what appellants co-workers related to him: that appellant left work
earlier.[45] This is clearly hearsay. The affidavits of these co-workers do not help
the prosecutions case, since they themselves were not presented during the
trial. An affidavit is hearsay if the affiant is not presented in court and
subjected to cross-examination.[46] Besides, the appellant's wife, Emelinda
Muleta, stated categorically that her husband was with her at home on April 29
and 30, 1993.[47] The appellant himself steadfastly affirmed this during his
cross-examination.[48]
The appellants rather strange behavior during the wake was, according to his
testimony, due to his perceived failure to take care of his niece.[49] This was
corroborated by the testimony of Danilo Delgado.[50]Moreover, the defense
claims that the words he said during the wake were ambiguous. Patawarin mo
ako Charito could have meant that the appellant was blaming himself for being
unable to protect the victim. Ikaw kasi lumaban pa could have connoted
frustration with what he imagined could have saved the life of his
niece. Nakakahiya ako, mabuting mamatay na also shows the appellants for
blaming himself inutile, indicating his desire to take his own worthless life. If
these words merit anything, it is this: it places the appellant under
suspicion. But suspicion or accusation is not synonymous with guilt.[51]
Most importantly, even if we were to assume that all the foregoing were
proven, they are still not enough to establish an unbroken chain leading
inexorably to the guilt of the appellant. That the appellant could have been
familiar with the place where the body was found did not legally prove
anything. That he left work at 9:30 p.m. on April 29 1993 did not necessarily
mean he was at the scene of the crime. So many other possible conclusions
could be made regarding this circumstance. As for his statements during the
wake, they are ambiguous.
We have said that [i]n the absence of an eyewitness, the guilt of an accused
may be established by circumstantial evidence. Such evidence, however, must
still pass the test of moral certainty. When inadequate and uncorroborated,
circumstantial evidence cannot sustain a conviction. Specifically, where the
states evidence does not constitute an unbroken chain leading beyond
reasonable doubt to the guilt of the accused, the constitutional presumption of
innocence prevails and the accused is entitled to an acquittal.[52] Thus, in People
v. Bato,[53] the pieces of circumstantial evidence presented there those showing
that the accused brothers invited the victim (and his son) for a drink, suddenly
tied his hands and took him away; after which his body was recovered from the
river the next day -- were ruled to be inadequate to sustain a conviction based
on guilt beyond reasonable doubt.[54]
In this case, the circumstantial evidence presented acquires significance only
when taken together with the appellants confession. The pattern of the
tapestry,[55] which the prosecution would want us to see, is bound by only a
single thread -- the confession of the appellant. Due to constitutional infirmity,
that one strand has been cut, and thus the pattern disintegrates. The tapestry
becomes an unreadable puzzle.
Third Issue:

Alibi as a Defense

True, we have always considered alibi inherently weak,[56] because it can be


either easily fabricated or difficult to disprove.[57] However, we have
consistently held that the prosecution must convict the accused based on the
strength of its own case, not on the weakness of the defense:
True, alibi is a weak defense. But then, so also is the prosecutions evidence in this case. x x x Indeed, it is
when the evidence is purely circumstantial that the prosecution is much more obligated to rely on the
strength of its own case and not on the weakness of the defense, and that conviction must rest on nothing
less than moral certainty.[58] (emphasis supplied)
Presumption of Innocence

Where the state fails to meet the quantum of proof required to overcome the
constitutional presumption, the accused is entitled to acquittal, regardless of the
weakness or even the absence of his defense, for any conviction must rest on
the strength of the prosecutions case and not on the weakness of the
defense.[59] Here, without the confession of the appellant, the presumption of
innocence prevails.
This principle is well-articulated in People v. Mejia.[60] In our jurisdiction
accusation is not synonymous with guilt. The freedom of the accused is
forfeit[ed] only if the requisite quantum of proof necessary for conviction be in
existence. This, of course, requires the most careful scrutiny of the evidence for
the State, both oral and documentary, independent of whatever defense is
offered by the accused. Every circumstance favoring the accuseds innocence
must be duly taken into account. The proof against the accused must survive
the test of reason. Strongest suspicion must not be permitted to sway
judgment. The conscience must be satisfied that on the accused could be laid
the responsibility for the offense charged. If the prosecution fails to discharge
the burden, then it is not only the accuseds right to be freed; it is, even more,
the courts constitutional duty to acquit him.
One final note. In acquitting appellant, the Court is not saying that he did not
commit the offense charged. We are only saying that the prosecution failed to
present credible and admissible evidence of appellants guilt.The strongest
evidence of the prosecution is the extrajudicial confession of appellant. But the
Constitution is clear -- a confession obtained in violation of the rights of an
accused cannot be used as evidence. Without Muletas confession, the other
pieces of circumstantial evidence lose their significance. Had the National
Bureau of Investigation followed the law in extracting appellants admission of
guilt, perhaps just perhaps the result of this case would have been
different. The Court is saddened that law enforcement agents transgress the law
which they have sworn to defend and uphold. A mockery of the law which was
manifestly perpetrated in this case -- must not be allowed to sully the countrys
quest for peace and order.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision is
hereby REVERSED and VACATED. Appellant Domingo R. Muleta is
hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence. The director of the Bureau
of Corrections is hereby directed to cause the release of appellant forthwith,
unless the latter is being lawfully held for another cause; and to inform the
Court of his release, or the reasons for his continued confinement, within ten
days from notice. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 205412, September 09, 2015

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ADRIAN GUTING Y


TOMAS, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

For Our consideration is an appeal from the Decision1 dated May 23, 2012 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04596, which affirmed the Decision2 dated June 24, 2010
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Camiling, Tarlac, Branch 68, in Criminal Case No. 06-93,
finding accused-appellant Adrian Guting y Tomas guilty of the crime of Parricide under
Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code.

In an Information3 dated August 1, 2006, docketed as Criminal Case No. 06-93, accused-
appellant was charged before the RTC with Parricide, allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about 4:50 in the rainy afternoon of July 30, 2006 at Plaridel St., Poblacion B.
Camiling, Tarlac, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with evident
premeditation, that is, having conceived and deliberated to kill his own father Jose Guting y
Ibarra, 67 years old, married, while inside their residential house, and armed with a bladed
weapon, suddenly and unexpectedly stabbed several times the victim, employing means,
manner and form in the execution thereof which tender directly and specially to insure its
commission without danger to the person of said accused, the result of which attack was
that said victim received multiple stab wounds on his body which directly caused his
instantaneous death.

When arraigned on September 19, 2006, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the crime
charged.4Thereafter, pre-trial and trial on the merits ensued.
Below is a summary of the prosecution witnesses' testimonies.

Police Officer (PO1) Fidel Torre (Torre) testified that on the rainy afternoon of July 30,
2005, at around 5:00 o'clock, he and PO1 Alexis Macusi (Macusi) were standing in front of
the Camiling Police Station when accused-appellant, all wet from the rain and with a bladed
weapon in his hand, suddenly approached them and told them that he had stabbed his
father. Hearing accused-appellant's statement, PO1 Torre immediately got the bladed
weapon from accused-appellant and turned it over to PO1 Macusi for proper disposition.5

PO1 Macusi corroborated PO1 Torre's testimony. PO1 Macusi narrated that accused-
appellant suddenly appeared before them at the Police Station, all wet and holding a knife.
Accused-appellant proclaimed that his father was already dead. Unsuspecting, PO1 Macusi
asked who killed accused-appellant's father. Accused-appellant answered, "Sinaksak ko po
yong tatay ko! Napatay ko na po!" PO1 Torre then got the knife from accused-appellant
and gave it to PO1 Macusi. PO1 Macusi placed the knife in the custodian cabinet in the
Police Station. Thereafter, PO1 Macusi, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Eliseo Hermosado
(Hermosado), and SPO2 Noli Felipe (Felipe) went to the residence of Jose Guting (Jose),
accused-appellant's father, to verify the reported crime, while other police officers informed
Flora Guting (Flora), Jose's wife (also accused-appellant's mother), who was still in the
market with Emerlito Guting (Emerlito), Jose and Flora's other son (accused-appellant's
brother), who was then driving a tricycle for hire. While waiting for Flora and Emerlito, PO1
Macusi, SPO2 Hermosado, and SPO2 Felipe inquired from the neighbors if anybody had
witnessed the crime, but no one did. When Flora and Emerlito arrived, they entered the
house and saw Jose's lifeless body with blood still oozing from his wounds. Immediately,
Flora and Emerlito brought Jose to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Subsequently, Flora and Emerlito executed their respective Sinumpaang Salaysay and filed
a case for Parricide against accused-appellant.6

On cross-examination, PO1 Macusi divulged that when the knife was given to him by PO1
Torre for safekeeping, he did not ask accused-appellant if it was the knife he used to kill his
father. Neither did accused-appellant mention to PO1 Macusi that it was the knife he used
in stabbing Jose. All that accused-appellant said was, "Sinaksak ko po yong tatay ko!
Napatay ko na po!" PO1 Macusi also admitted that he did not request for the examination
of the knife because it was clean; any trace or stain of blood on it would have been washed
away by the rains at that time. PO1 Macusi was further questioned as to why he did not put
into writing accused-appellant's admission that he killed his father, and PO1 Macusi
explained that it escaped his mind as he was still new at the job then and he was carried
away by the fast flow of events.7
Flora conceded that she was not present when Jose, her husband, was killed by accused-
appellant, their son. Flora only learned of the stabbing incident and accused-appellant's
surrender from the police officers of the Camiling Police Station. Flora declared that she
spent for the wake and burial of Jose and that Jose, who was a tricycle driver, had been
earning around P200.00 a day at the time of his death.8

Doctor Valentin Theodore Lomibao (Dr. Lomibao) conducted the autopsy of Jose's body. Dr.
Lomibao reported that Jose suffered around 39 stab wounds on the head, neck, thorax,
abdomen, and extremities. Jose's internal organs were heavily damaged by the stab
wounds, resulting in his instantaneous death. Dr. Lomibao also showed several pictures of
Jose's body which were taken before he conducted the autopsy.9

Accused-appellant opted not to present any evidence in his defense.

The RTC promulgated its Decision on June 24, 2010 finding accused-appellant guilty of
Parricide based on his verbal admission that he killed his father, Jose. Even assuming that
accused-appellant's admission was inadmissible in evidence, the RTC adjudged that the
prosecution was still able to establish sufficient circumstantial evidence which, taken
collectively, pointed to accused-appellant as the perpetrator of the brutal killing of his
father. The dispositive portion of the RTC judgment reads:

WHEREFORE, accused Adrian Guting y Tomas is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the offense of Parricide punishable under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended and hereby sentences him to a penalty of Reclusion Perpetua.

Accused is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, another amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages, and still another amount of
P30,000.00 as temperate damages.10

Accused-appellant appealed his conviction before the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-
G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04596. The appellate court promulgated its Decision on May 23, 2012,
decreeing thus:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Camiling,
Tarlac, Branch 68 convicting herein accused-appellant Adrian Guting y Tomas for the crime
of Parricide under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code is AFFIRMED.11

Hence, accused-appellant comes before us via the instant appeal with the same assignment
of errors he raised before the Court of Appeals, to wit:

I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT ON THE
BASIS OF HIS EXTRAJUDICIAL ADMISSION.

II

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT ON THE


BASIS OF INSUFFICIENT CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.

III

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY


BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE PROSECUTION'S
FAILURE TO OVERTHROW THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IN HIS
FAVOR.12

We find no merit in accused-appellant's appeal.

Accused-appellant argues that his oral confession to PO1 Torre and PO1 Macusi, without
the assistance of counsel, is inadmissible in evidence for having been made in blatant
violation of his constitutional right under Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution.

Section 12, paragraphs 1 and 3, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution mandate
that:

SEC. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have
the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services
of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing
and in the presence of counsel.

xxxx

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him.13

The "investigation" in Section 12, paragraph 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution pertains
to "custodial investigation." Custodial investigation commences when a person is taken into
custody and is singled out as a suspect in the commission of a crime under investigation
and the police officers begin to ask questions on the suspect's participation therein and
which tend to elicit an admission.14 As we expounded in People v. Marra15:

Custodial investigation involves any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after
a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any
significant way. It is only after the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an
unsolved crime and begins to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect is taken into
custody, and the police carries out a process of interrogations that lends itself to eliciting
incriminating statements that the rule begins to operate. (Citation omitted.)

Applying the foregoing definitions, accused-appellant was not under custodial investigation
when he admitted, without assistance of counsel, to PO1 Torre and PO1 Macusi that he
stabbed his father to death. Accused-appellant's verbal confession was so spontaneously
and voluntarily given and was not elicited through questioning by the police authorities. It
may be true that PO1 Macusi asked accused-appellant who killed his father, but PO1 Macusi
only did so in response to accused-appellant's initial declaration that his father was already
dead. At that point, PO1 Macusi still had no idea who actually committed the crime and did
not consider accused-appellant as the suspect in his father's killing. Accused-appellant was
also merely standing before PO1 Torre and PO1 Macusi in front of the Camiling Police
Station and was not yet in police custody.

Accused-appellant cites in support of his argument People v. Cabintoy,16 where we held that
an uncounselled extrajudicial confession without a valid waiver of the right to counsel - that
is, in writing and in the presence of counsel - is inadmissible in evidence. The situation of
accused-appellants in Cabintoy is not similar to that of accused-appellant herein. The
accused-appellants in Cabintoy, when they executed their extrajudicial confessions without
assistance of counsel, were already suspects under custodial investigation by the San
Mateo Police for robbery with homicide committed against a taxi driver. Accused-appellant
in the instant case, on his own volition, approached unsuspecting police officers standing in
front of the police station with a knife in his hand and readily confessed to stabbing his
father to death. Accused-appellant was arrested and subjected to custodial investigation by
the police officers only after his confession.

Hence, herein accused-appellant's confession, even if done without the assistance of a


lawyer, is not in violation of his constitutional right under Section 12, paragraph 1, Article
III of the 1987 Constitution. The present case is more akin to People v. Andan17 wherein we
allowed into evidence the uncounselled confession of therein accused-appellant given under
the following circumstances:

Under these circumstances, it cannot be successfully claimed that appellant's confession


before the mayor is inadmissible. It is true that a municipal mayor has "operational
supervision and control" over the local police and may arguably be- deemed a law
enforcement officer for purposes of applying Section 12 (1) and (3) of Article III of the
Constitution. However, appellant's confession to the mayor was not made in response to
any interrogation by the latter. In fact, the mayor did not question appellant at all. No
police authority ordered appellant to talk to the mayor. It was appellant himself who
spontaneously, freely and voluntarily sought the mayor for a private meeting. The mayor
did not know that appellant was going to confess his guilt to him. When appellant talked
with the mayor as a confidant and not as a law enforcement officer, his uncounselled
confession to him did not violate his constitutional rights. Thus, it has been held that the
constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous
statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary
manner whereby appellant orally admitted having committed the crime. What the
Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions. The
rights under Section 12 are guaranteed to preclude the slightest use of coercion by the
state as would lead the accused to admit something false, not to prevent him from freely
and voluntarily telling the truth. Hence, we hold that appellant's confession to the mayor
was correctly admitted by the trial court.

Moreover, accused-appellant's verbal confession that he stabbed his father to death made
to PO1 Torre and PO1 Macusi, established through the testimonies of said police officers,
falls under Rule 130, Section 26 of the Rules of Court, which provides that "[t]he 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.18 Accused-appellant's declaration is admissible for being part of
the res gestae. A declaration is deemed part of the res gestae and admissible in evidence
as an exception to the hearsay rule when these three requisites concur: (1) the principal
act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before the
declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (3) the statements concern the occurrence in
question and its immediately attending circumstances.19 All the requisites are present in
this case. Accused-appellant had just been through a startling and gruesome occurrence,
that is, his father's death. Accused-appellant made the confession to PO1 Torre and PO1
Macusi only a few minutes after and while he was still under the influence of said startling
occurrence, before he had the opportunity to concoct or contrive a story. In fact, accused-
appellant seemed to still be in shock when he walked to the Police Station completely
unmindful of the rain and the knife in his hand, and headed directly to PO1 Torre and PO1
Macusi, who were standing in front of the Police Station, to confess to stabbing his father to
death. The police officers who immediately went to the house of Jose, accused-appellant's
father, found Jose's lifeless body with blood still oozing from his stab wounds. As res
gestae, accused-appellant's spontaneous statement is admissible in evidence against him.

Accused-appellant's confession was further corroborated by the circumstantial evidence.

To justify a conviction upon circumstantial evidence, the combination of circumstances


must be such as to leave no reasonable doubt in the mind as to the criminal liability of the
accused.20 Rule 133, Section 4 of the Rules of Court enumerates the conditions when
circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction, thus:

SEC. 4. Circumstantial Evidence, when sufficient. - Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for


conviction if:
cha nRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary
(a) There is more than one circumstance; ChanRoblesVirtuala wlibra ry

(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and

(c) The combination of all circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond


reasonable doubt.

The RTC, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, found that the aforequoted requisites have been
satisfied in this case given the following circumstantial evidence:

1. On or about 4:50 o'clock in the afternoon of July 30, 2006, the victim was stabbed to
death.

2. Thirty minutes later, [accused-appellant] personally went to Camiling Police Station and
surrendered himself and the bladed weapon he used in killing his father to the police
authorities of the said police station.

3. When his mother learned about the incident, [accused-appellant] did nothing to appease
his responding mother. "It has always been said that criminal case are primarily about
human nature." Here is a case of a son doing nothing to explain the death of his father to
his grieving mother. Such inaction is contrary to human nature.

4. When he was detained after police investigation, [accused-appellant] did not object to
his continued detention.

These circumstances constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable
conclusion that points to accused-appellant, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty
person.21 The incriminating collage of facts against accused-appellant was created by
circumstantial evidence anchored on the credible and unbiased testimony of the
prosecution's witnesses. We will not disturb but shall accord the highest respect to the
findings of the RTC on the issue of credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies, it
having had the opportunity to observe their deportment and manner of testifying during
the trial.22

Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code defines Parricide as follows:

Art. 246. Parricide. - Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be
guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
Parricide is committed when: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by the
accused; and (3) the deceased is the father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or
illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other descendant, or the legitimate spouse
of the accused. The key element in Parricide - other than the fact of killing - is the
relationship of the offender to the victim.23 All the elements are present in this case. Jose,
the victim, was killed by accused-appellant, his own son. Accused-appellant's birth
certificate, which was presented before the RTC, establishes that accused-appellant was the
legitimate son of Jose and Flora.

The crime of Parricide is punishable by the indivisible penalties of reclusion perpetua to


death. With one mitigating circumstance, namely, voluntary surrender, and no aggravating
circumstance, the imposition of the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua on accused-
appellant was proper.

We modify though the monetary awards imposed by the RTC and affirmed by the Court of
Appeals. When death occurs due to a crime, the following damages may be awarded: (1)
civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of the victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages;
(3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5) temperate damages.24

Prevailing jurisprudence pegs the amount of civil indemnity and moral damages awarded to
the heirs of the victim of Parricide at P75,000.00 each.25 The temperate damages awarded
by the RTC in the amount of P30,000.00 should be decreased to P25,000.00 to also
conform with the latest jurisprudence.26 It is fitting to additionally award exemplary
damages in the sum of P30,000.00 considering the presence of the qualifying circumstance
of relationship.

Damages for the loss of earning capacity of Jose should be awarded as well given the
testimony of his wife, Flora, on this particular fact. We refer to our pronouncements
in People v. Verde27 that:

The heirs are also entitled to damages for the loss of earning capacity of the deceased
Francisco Gealon. The fact that the prosecution did not present documentary evidence to
support its claim for damages for loss of earning capacity of the deceased does not
preclude recovery of said damages. The testimony of the victim's wife, Delia Gealon, as to
the earning capacity of her husband Francisco Gealon sufficiently establishes the basis for
making such an award. It was established that Francisco Gealon was 48 years old at the
time of his death in 1991. His average income was P200.00 a day. Hence, in accordance
with the American Expectancy Table of Mortality adopted in several cases decided by this
Court, the loss of his earning capacity is to be calculated as follows:

To be able to claim damages for loss of earning capacity despite the non-availability of
documentary evidence, there must be oral testimony that: (a) the victim was self-
employed earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws and judicial notice
was taken of the fact that in the victim's line of work, no documentary evidence is
available; or (b) the victim was employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the
minimum wage under current labor laws.28

In the case at bar, Jose was 67 years old at the time of his death and was earning a daily
wage of P200.00 as a tricycle driver, which was below the P252.00 to P263.50 minimum
wage rate for non-agriculture under Wage Order No. 11 dated June 16, 2005 for Region III.
We take judicial notice that there is no documentary evidence available to establish the
daily earning capacity of a tricycle driver. We thus compute the award of damages for the
loss of Jose's earning capacity as follows:

Net earning capacity (x)


=
life expectancy
x
Gross annual income
-
less living expenses (50% of gross annual income)

x
= 2(80-67) x [73,000.00-36,500.00]

= 8.67 x 36,500.00

= P316,455.00
Finally, in conformity with current policy, we impose interest on all monetary awards for
damages at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of this
Decision until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04596, finding
accused-appellant, Adrian Guting y Tomas, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of Parricide, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Accused-appellant is sentenced
to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the victim the amounts of
P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate
damages, P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P316,455.00 as compensation for loss
of earning capacity. All monetary awards for damages shall be subject to interest of six
percent (6%) per annum from date of finality of this Decision until they are fully paid.

SO ORDERED. ch
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 182601 November 10, 2014

JOEY M. PESTILOS, DWIGHT MACAPANAS, MIGUEL GACES, JERRY


FERNANDEZ and RONALD MUNOZ,Petitioners,
vs.
MORENO GENEROSO and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

DECISION

BRION, J.:

We resolve the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
challenging the decision1 dated January 21, 2008 and the resolution2 dated April
17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG.R. SP No. 91541.

The appealed decision affirmed the Order dated March 16, 2005 of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 96, Quezon City, denying Joey M. Pestilos, Dwight
Macapanas, Miguel Gaces, Jerry Fernandez, and Ronald Munoz's (petitioners)
Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation, as well as their subsequent
motion for reconsideration.

The Antecedent Facts

The records of the case reveal that on February 20, 2005, at around 3: 15 in the
morning, an altercation ensued between the petitioners and Atty. Moreno
Generoso (Atty. Generoso) at Kasiyahan Street, Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon
City where the petitioners and Atty. Generoso reside.3

Atty. Generoso called the Central Police District, Station 6 (Batas an Hills Police
Station) to report the incident.4Acting on this report, Desk Officer SPOl Primitivo
Monsalve (SPOJ Monsalve) dispatched SP02 Dominador Javier (SP02 Javier) to
go to the scene of the crime and to render assistance.5 SP02 Javier, together with
augmentation personnel from the Airforce, A2C Alano Sayson and Airman Ruel
Galvez, arrived at the scene of the crime less than one hour after the alleged
altercation6 and they saw Atty. Generoso badly beaten.7

Atty. Generoso then pointed to the petitioners as those who mauled him. This
prompted the police officers to "invite" the petitioners to go to Batasan Hills Police
Station for investigation.8 The petitioners went with the police officers to Batasan
Hills Police Station.9 At the inquest proceeding, the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
found that the petitioners stabbed Atty. Generoso with a bladed weapon. Atty.
Generoso fortunately survived the attack.10

In an Information dated February 22, 2005, the petitioners were indicted for
attempted murder allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about the 20th h day of February, 2005, in Quezon City, Philippines,
the said accused, conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping
one another, with intent to kill, qualified with evident premeditation, treachery and
taking advantage of superior strength, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously commence the commission of the crime of Murder directly by overt
acts, by then and there stabbing one Atty. MORENO GENEROSO y FRANCO,
with a bladed weapon, but said accused were not able to perform all the acts of
execution which would produce the crime of Murder by reason of some cause/s or
accident other than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, said complainant
was able to parry the attack, to his damage and prejudice.

CONTRARY TO LAW.11

On March 7, 2005, the petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary
Investigation12 on the ground that they had not been lawfully arrested. They
alleged that no valid warrantless arrest took place since the police officers had no
personal knowledge that they were the perpetrators of the crime. They also
claimed that they were just "invited" to the police station. Thus, the inquest
proceeding was improper, and a regular procedure for preliminary investigation
should have been performed pursuant to Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.13

On March 16, 2005, the RTC issued its order denying the petitioners' Urgent
Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation.14 The court likewise denied the
petitioners' motion for reconsideration.15
The petitioners challenged the lower court's ruling before the CA on a Rule 65
petition for certiorari. They attributed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction, on the R TC for the denial of their motion for preliminary
investigation.16

The Assailed CA Decision

On January 21, 2008, the CA issued its decision dismissing the petition for lack of
merit.17 The CA ruled that the word "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest executed by
SP02 Javier carried the meaning of a command. The arresting officer clearly
meant to arrest the petitioners to answer for the mauling of Atty. Generoso. The
CA also recognized that the arrest was pursuant to a valid warrantless arrest so
that an inquest proceeding was called for as a consequence. Thus, the R TC did
not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying the Urgent Motion for
Regular Preliminary Investigation.

The CA saw no merit in the petitioners' argument that the order denying the
Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation is void for failure to clearly
state the facts and the law upon which it was based, pursuant to Rule 16, Section
3 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA found that the RTC had sufficiently
explained the grounds for the denial of the motion.

The petitioners moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion in its
Resolution of April 17, 2008;18 hence, the present petition.

The Issues

The petitioners cited the following assignment of errors:

I.

WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE VALIDLY ARRESTED


WITHOUT A WARRANT.

II.

WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE LAWFULLY ARRESTED WHEN


THEY WERE MERELY INVITED TO THE POLICE PRECINCT.

III.
WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DENYING THE MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
INVESTIGATION IS VOID FOR FAILURE TO STATE THE FACTS AND THE
LAW UPON WHICH IT WAS BASED.

The petitioners primarily argue that they were not lawfully arrested. No arrest
warrant was ever issued; they went to the police station only as a response to the
arresting officers' invitation. They even cited the Affidavit of Arrest, which actually
used the word "invited. "

The petitioners also claim that no valid warrantless arrest took place under the
terms of Rule 112, Section 7 of the Revised Rules of Court. The incident
happened two (2) hours before the police officers actually arrived at the crime
scene. The police officers could not have undertaken a valid warrantless arrest as
they had no personal knowledge that the petitioners were the authors of the crime.

The petitioners additionally argue that the R TC' s Order denying the Urgent
Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation is void because it was not properly
issued.

The Court's Ruling

We find the petition unmeritorious and thus uphold the RTC Order. The criminal
proceedings against the petitioners should now proceed.

It is unfortunate that the kind of motion that the petitioners filed has to reach this
Court for its resolution. The thought is very tempting that the motion was
employed simply to delay the proceedings and that the use of Rule 65 petition has
been abused.

But accepting things as they are, this delay can be more than compensated by
fully examining in this case the legalities surrounding warrantless warrants and
establishing the proper interpretation of the Rules for the guidance of the bench
and the bar. These Rules have evolved over time, and the present case presents
to us the opportunity to re-trace their origins, development and the current
applicable interpretation.

I. Brief history on warrantless arrests

The organic laws of the Philippines, specifically, the Philippine Bill of 1902,19 and
the 1935,20 197321 and 198722Constitutions all protect the right of the people to be
secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures. Arrest falls
under the term "seizure. "23

This constitutional mandate is identical with the Fourth Amendment of the


Constitution of the United States. The Fourth Amendment traces its origins to the
writings of Sir Edward Coke24 and The Great Charter of the Liberties of England
(Magna Carta Libertatum), sealed under oath by King John on the bank of the
River Thames near Windsor, England on June 15, 1215.25 The Magna Carta
Libertatum limited the King of England's powers and required the Crown to
proclaim certain liberties26 under the feudal vassals' threat of civil war.27 The
declarations in Chapter 29 of the Magna Carta Libertatum later became the
foundational component of the Fourth Amendment of the United States
Constitution.28 It provides:

No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised29 of his Freehold, or


Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed;
nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his
Peers, or by the Law of the Land, We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer
to any man either Justice or Right.30 [Emphasis supplied]

In United States v. Snyder,31 the United States Supreme Court held that this
constitutional provision does not prohibit arrests, searches and seizures without
judicial warrant, but only those that are unreasonable.32 With regard to an arrest, it
is considered a seizure, which must also satisfy the test of reasonableness. 33

In our jurisdiction, early rulings of the Court have acknowledged the validity of
warrantless arrests. The Court based these rulings on the common law of America
and England that, according to the Court, were not different from the Spanish
laws.34 These court rulings likewise justified warrantless arrests based on the
provisions of separate laws then existing in the Philippines.35

In 1905, the Court held in The United States v. Wilson36 that Section 3737 of Act No.
183, or the Charter of Manila, defined the arresting officer's power to arrest without
a warrant, at least insofar as the City of Manila was concerned.

In The United States v. Vallejo, et al.,38 the Court held that in the absence of any
provisions under statutes or local ordinances, a police officer who held similar
functions as those of the officers established under the common law of England
and America, also had the power to arrest without a warrant in the Philippines.
The Court also ruled in The United States v. Santos39 that the rules on warrantless
arrest were based on common sense and reason.40 It further held that warrantless
arrest found support under the then Administrative Code41 which directed
municipal policemen to exercise vigilance in the prevention of public offenses.

In The United States v. Fortaleza,42 the Court applied Rules 27, 28, 29 and 3043 of
the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code which were provisions
taken from the Spanish Law.

These rules were subsequently established and incorporated in our Rules of Court
and jurisprudence. Presently, the requirements of a warrantless arrest are now
summarized in Rule 113, Section 5 which states that: Section 5. Arrest without
warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to
believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to
be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from
one confinement to another.

In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a
warrant shall be forth with delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall
be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.

A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a)


above has been denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while that under
Section 5(b) has been described as a "hot pursuit" arrest.44

For purposes of this case, we shall focus on Section 5(b) – the provision
applicable in the present case. This provision has undergone changes through the
years not just in its phraseology but also in its interpretation in our jurisprudence.
We shall first trace the evolution of Section 5(b) and examine the applicable
American and Philippine jurisprudence to fully understand its roots and its
appropriate present application.

II. Evolution of Section 5(b), Rule 113

A. Prior to the 1940 Rules of Court

Prior to 1940, the Court based its rulings not just on American and English
common law principle on warrantless arrests but also on laws then existing in the
Philippines. In Fortaleza,45 the Court cited Rule 28 of the Provisional Law for the
Application of the Penal Code which provided that:

Judicial and administrative authorities have power to detain, or to cause to be


detained, persons whom there is reasonable ground to believe guilty of some
offense. It will be the duty of the authorities, as well as of their agents, to arrest:

First. Such persons as may be arrested under the provisions of rule 27.

Second. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty
greater than that of confinamiento.

Third. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty less
than that of confinamiento, if his antecedents or the circumstances of the case
would warrant the presumption that he would fail to appear when summoned by
the judicial authorities.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not apply, however, to a


defendant who gives sufficient bond, to the satisfaction of the authority or agent
who may arrest him, and who it may reasonably be presumed will appear
whenever summoned by the judge or court competent to try him.

Fourth. A person coining under the provisions of the preceding paragraph may be
arrested, although no formal complaint has been filed against him, provided the
following circumstances are present:

First. That the authority or agent had reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful
act, amounting to a crime had been committed.
Second. That the authority or agent had sufficient reason to believe that the
person arrested participated in the commission of such unlawful act or crime."
[Emphasis and underscoring supplied]

In the same decision, the Court likewise cited Section 3 7 of the Charter of Manila,
which provided that certain officials, including police officers may, within the
territory defined in the law, pursue and arrest without warrant, any person found in
suspicious places or under suspicious circumstances, reasonably tending to show
that such person has committed, or is about to commit any crime or breach of the
peace.

In Santos,46 the Court cited Miles v. Weston,47 which ruled that a peace officer may
arrest persons walking in the street at night when there is reasonable ground to
suspect the commission of a crime, although there is no proof of a felony having
been committed.

The Court ruled in Santos that the arresting officer must justify that there was a
probable cause for an arrest without a warrant. The Court defined probable cause
as a reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently
strong in themselves as to warrant a reasonable man in believing that the accused
is guilty. Besides reasonable ground of suspicion, action in good faith is another
requirement. Once these conditions are complied with, the peace officer is not
liable even if the arrested person turned out to be innocent.

Based on these discussions, it appears clear that prior to the 1940 Rules of Court,
it was not necessary for the arresting officer to first have knowledge that a crime
was actually committed. What was necessary was the presence of reasonably
sufficient grounds to believe the existence of an act having the characteristics of a
crime; and that the same grounds exist to believe that the person sought to be
detained participated in it. In addition, it was also established under the old court
rulings that the phrase "reasonable suspicion" was tantamount to probable cause
without which, the warrantless arrest would be invalid and the arresting officer
may be held liable for its breach.48

In The US. v. Hachaw,49 the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest of a


Chinaman because the arresting person did not state in what way the Chinaman
was acting suspiciously or the particular act or circumstance which aroused the
arresting person's curiosity.
It appears, therefore, that prior to the establishment in our Rules of Court of the
rules on warrantless arrests, the gauge for a valid warrantless arrest was the
arresting officer's reasonable suspicion (probable cause) that a crime was
committed and the person sought to be arrested has participated in its
commission. This principle left so much discretion and leeway on the part of the
arresting officer. However, the 1940 Rules of Court has limited this discretion.

B. The 1940 Rules of Court


(Restricting the arresting
officer's determination of
probable cause)

Rules 27 and 28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code were
substantially incorporated in Section 6, Rule 109 of the 1940 Rules of Court as
follows:50

SEC. 6. Arrest without warrant - When lawful. - A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is


about to commit an offense in his presence;

(b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground
to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it;

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]

These provisions were adopted in toto in Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of
Court. Notably, the 1940 and 1964 Rules have deviated from the old rulings of the
Court. Prior to the 1940 Rules, the actual commission of the offense was not
necessary in determining the validity of the warrantless arrest. Too, the arresting
officer's determination of probable cause (or reasonable suspicion) applied both
as to whether a crime has been committed and whether the person to be arrested
has committed it.

However, under the 1940 and the 1964 Rules of Court, the Rules required that
there should be actual commission of an offense, thus, removing the element of
the arresting officer's "reasonable suspicion of the commission of an offense."
Additionally, the determination of probable cause, or reasonable suspicion, was
limited only to the determination of whether the person to be arrested has
committed the offense. In other words, the 1940 and 1964 Rules of Court
restricted the arresting officer's discretion in warrantless arrests under Section
6(b), Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court.

C. The more restrictive 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure

Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court again underwent substantial
changes and was re-worded and re-numbered when it became Section 5, Rule
113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when. lawful. - A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another. In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the
person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police
station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112,
Section 7. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]

As amended, Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Court retained the
restrictions introduced under the 1964 Rules of Court. More importantly, however,
it added a qualification that the commission of the offense should not only have
been "committed" but should have been "just committed." This limited the
arresting officer's time frame for conducting an investigation for purposes of
gathering information indicating that the person sought to be arrested has
committed the crime.

D. The Present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure


Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was further
amended with the incorporation of the word "probable cause" as the basis of the
arresting officer's determination on whether the person to be arrested has
committed the crime.

Hence, as presently worded, Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure provides that:

When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be
arrested has committed it.

From the current phraseology of the rules on warrantless arrest, it appears that for
purposes of Section S(b ), the following are the notable changes: first, the
contemplated offense was qualified by the word "just," connoting immediacy; and
second, the warrantless arrest of a person sought to be arrested should be based
on probable cause to be determined by the arresting officer based on his personal
knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person to be arrested has
committed it.

It is clear that the present rules have "objectified" the previously subjective
determination of the arresting officer as to the (1) commission of the crime; and (2)
whether the person sought to be arrested committed the crime. According to
Feria, these changes were adopted to minimize arrests based on mere suspicion
or hearsay.51

As presently worded, the elements under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure are: first, an offense has just been committed; and
second, the arresting officer has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed
it.

For purposes of this case, we shall discuss these elements separately below,
starting with the element of probable cause, followed by the elements that the
offense has just been committed, and the arresting officer's personal knowledge of
facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed the crime.

i) First Element of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure: Probable cause
The existence of "probable cause" is now the "objectifier" or the determinant on
how the arresting officer shall proceed on the facts and circumstances, within his
personal knowledge, for purposes of determining whether the person to be
arrested has committed the crime.

i.a) U.S. jurisprudence on probable cause in warrantless arrests

In Payton v. New York,52 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment
of the Federal Constitution does not prohibit arrests without a warrant although
such arrests must be reasonable. According to State v. Quinn, 53 the warrantless
arrest of a person who was discovered in the act of violating the law is not a
violation of due process.

The U.S. Supreme Court, however indicated in Henry v. United States54 that the
Fourth Amendment limited the circumstances under which warrantless arrests
may be made. The necessary inquiry is not whether there was a warrant or
whether there was time to get one, but whether at the time of the arrest probable
cause existed. The term probable cause is synonymous to "reasonable cause"
and "reasonable grounds."55

In determining the existence of probable cause, the arresting officer should make
a thorough investigation and exercise reasonable judgment. The standards for
evaluating the factual basis supporting a probable cause assessment are not less
stringent in warrantless arrest situation than in a case where a warrant is sought
from a judicial officer. The probable cause determination of a warrantless arrest is
based on information that the arresting officer possesses at the time of the arrest
and not on the information acquired later.56

In evaluating probable cause, probability and not certainty is the determinant of


reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause involves
probabilities similar to the factual and practical questions of everyday life upon
which reasonable and prudent persons act. It is a pragmatic question to be
determined in each case in light of the particular circumstances and the particular
offense involved.57

In determining probable cause, the arresting officer may rely on all the information
in his possession, his fair inferences therefrom, including his observations. Mere
suspicion does not meet the requirements of showing probable cause to arrest
without warrant especially if it is a mere general suspicion. Probable cause may
rest on reasonably trustworthy information as well as personal knowledge. Thus,
the arresting officer may rely on information supplied by a witness or a victim of a
crime; and under the circumstances, the arresting officer need not verify such
information.58

In our jurisdiction, the Court has likewise defined probable cause in the context of
Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In Abelita Ill v. Doria et al.,59 the Court held that personal knowledge of facts must
be based on probable cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds
of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of
actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested
is probably guilty of committing the offense is based on actual facts, i.e.,
supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the
probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion,
therefore, must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part
of the peace officers making the arrest.

i.b) Probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, distinguished from probable cause in preliminary investigations and
the judicial proceeding for the issuance of a warrant of arrest

The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether a crime has


been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused
is guilty of the crime and should be held for triat.60 In Buchanan v. Viuda de
Esteban,61 we defined probable cause as the existence of facts and circumstances
as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the
knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for
which he was prosecuted.

In this particular proceeding, the finding of the existence of probable cause as to


the guilt of the respondent was based on the submitted documents of the
complainant, the respondent and his witnesses.62

On the other hand, probable cause in judicial proceedings for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest is defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances that
would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense
has been committed by the person sought to be arrested.
Hence, before issuing a warrant of arrest, the judge must be satisfied that based
on the evidence submitted, there is sufficient proof that a crime has been
committed and that the person to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. At this
stage of the criminal proceeding, the judge is not yet tasked to review in detail the
evidence submitted during the preliminary investigation. It is sufficient that he
personally evaluates the evidence in determining probable cause63 to issue a
warrant of arrest.

In contrast, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause under Section


5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is based on his
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person sought to be
arrested has committed the crime. These facts or circumstances pertain to actual
facts or raw evidence, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in
themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A
reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with
good faith on the part of the peace officers making.the arrest.

The probable cause to justify warrantless arrest ordinarily signifies a reasonable


ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves
to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the
offense with which he is charged,64 or an actual belief or reasonable ground of
suspicion, based on actual facts.65

It is clear therefore that the standard for determining "probable cause" is invariable
for the officer arresting without a warrant, the public prosecutor, and the judge
issuing a warrant of arrest. It is the existence of such facts and circumstances that
would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense
has been committed by the person sought to be arrested or held for trial, as the
case may be.

However, while the arresting officer, the public prosecutor and the judge all
determine "probable cause," within the spheres of their respective functions, its
existence is influenced heavily by the available facts and circumstance within their
possession. In short, although these officers use the same standard of a
reasonable man, they possess dissimilar quantity of facts or circumstances, as set
by the rules, upon which they must determine probable cause.

Thus, under the present rules and jurisprudence, the arresting officer should base
his determination of probable cause on his personal knowledge of facts and
circumstances that the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime; the
public prosecutor and the judge must base their determination on the evidence
submitted by the parties.

In other words, the arresting officer operates on the basis of more limited facts,
evidence or available information that he must personally gather within a limited
time frame.

Hence, in Santos,66 the Court acknowledged the inherent limitations of determining


probable cause in warrantless arrests due to the urgency of its determination in
these instances. The Court held that one should not expect too much of an
ordinary policeman. He is not presumed to exercise the subtle reasoning of a
judicial officer. Oftentimes, he has no opportunity to make proper investigation but
must act in haste on his own belief to prevent the escape of the criminal.67

ii) Second and Third Elements of Section 5(b), Rule 113:


The crime has just been committed/personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
to be arrested has committed it

We deem it necessary to combine the discussions of these two elements as our


jurisprudence shows that these were usually taken together in the Court's
determination of the validity of the warrantless arrests that were made pursuant to
Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In Posadas v. Ombudsman,68 the killing of Dennis Venturina happened on


December 8, 1994. It was only on December 11, 1994 that Chancellor Posadas
requested the NBI's assistance. On the basis of the supposed identification of two
(2) witnesses, the NBI attempted to arrest Francis Carlo Taparan and Raymundo
Narag three (3) days after the commission of the crime. With this set of facts, it
cannot be said that the officers have personal knowledge of facts or
circumstances that the persons sought to be arrested committed the crime.
Hence, the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest.

Similarly, in People v. Burgos,69 one Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily


surrendered to the authorities, stating that Ruben Burgos forcibly recruited him to
become a member of the NPA, with a threat of physical harm. Upon receipt of this
information, a joint team of PC-INP units was dispatched to arrest Burgos who
was then plowing the field. Indeed, the arrest was invalid considering that the only
information that the police officers had in effecting the arrest was the information
from a third person. It cannot be also said in this case that there was certainty as
regards the commission of a crime.

In People v. del Rosario,70 the Court held that the requirement that an offense has
just been committed means that there must be a large measure of immediacy
between the time the offense was committed and the time of the arrest. If there
was an appreciable lapse of time between the arrest and the commission of the
crime, a warrant of arrest must be secured.

The Court held that the arrest of del Rosario did not comply with these
requirements because he was arrested only a day after the commission of the
crime and not immediately thereafter. Additionally, the arresting officers were not
present and were not actual eyewitnesses to the crime. Hence, they had no
personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested had
committed the offense. They became aware of del Rosario's identity as the driver
of the getaway tricycle only during the custodial investigation.

In People v. Cendana,71 the accused was arrested one (1) day after the killing of
the victim and only on the basis of information obtained from unnamed sources.
The unlawful arrest was held invalid.

In Rolito Go v. CA,72 the arrest of the accused six ( 6) days after the commission of
the crime was held invalid because the crime had not just been committed.
Moreover, the "arresting" officers had no "personal knowledge" of facts indicating
that the accused was the gunman who had shot the victim. The information upon
which the police acted came from statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to
the shooting; one stated that the accused was the gunman; another was able to
take down the alleged gunman's car's plate number which turned out to be
registered in the name of the accused's wife. That information did not constitute
"personal knowledge."

In People v. Tonog, Jr.,73 the warrantless arrest which was done on the same day
was held valid. In this case, the arresting officer had knowledge of facts which he
personally gathered in the course of his investigation, indicating that the accused
was one of the perpetrators.

In People v. Gerente,74 the policemen arrested Gerente only about three (3) hours
after Gerente and his companions had killed the victim. The Court held that the
policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of the victim and of facts
indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him. The warrantless arrest was
held valid.

In People v. Alvario,75 the warrantless arrest came immediately after the arresting
officers received information from the victim of the crime. The Court held that the
personal knowledge of the arresting officers was derived from the information
supplied by the victim herself who pointed to Alvario as the man who raped her at
the time of his arrest. The Court upheld the warrantless arrest. In People v.
Jayson,76 there was a shooting incident. The policemen who were summoned to
the scene of the crime found the victim. The informants pointed to the accused as
the assailant only moments after the shooting. The Court held that the arresting
officers acted on the basis of personal knowledge of the death of the victim and of
facts indicating that the accused was the assailant. Thus, the warrantless arrest
was held valid.

In People v. Acol,77 a group held up the passengers in a jeepney and the


policemen immediately responded to the report of the crime. One of the victims
saw four persons walking towards Fort Bonifacio, one of whom was wearing his
jacket. The victim pointed them to the policemen. When the group saw the
policemen coming, they ran in different directions. The Court held that the arrest
was valid.

In Cadua v. CA,78 there was an initial report to the police concerning a robbery. A
radio dispatch was then given to the arresting officers, who proceeded to Alden
Street to verify the authenticity of the radio message. When they reached the
place, they met with the complainants who initiated the report about the robbery.
Upon the officers' invitation, the victims joined them in conducting a search of the
nearby area where the accused was spotted in the vicinity. Based on the reported
statements of the complainants, he was identified as a logical suspect in the
offense just committed. Hence, the arrest was held valid.

In Doria,79 the Court held that Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of
Criminal Procedure does not require the arresting officers to personally witness
the commission of the offense.

In this case, P/Supt. Doria alleged that his office received a telephone call from a
relative of Rosa Sia about a shooting incident. He dispatched a team headed by
SP03 Ramirez to investigate the incident. SP03 Ramirez later reported that a
certain William Sia was wounded while Judge Abelita III, who was implicated in
the incident, and his wife just left the place of the incident. P/Supt. Doria looked for
Abelita III and when he found him, he informed him of the incident report. P/Supt.
Doria requested Abelita III to go with him to the police headquarters as he had
been reported to be involved in the incident. Abelita III agreed but suddenly sped
up his vehicle and proceeded to his residence where P/Supt. Doria caught him up
as he was about to run towards his house.

The police officers saw a gun in the front seat of the vehicle beside the driver's
seat as Abelita III opened the door. They also saw a shotgun at the back of the
driver's seat. The police officers confiscated the firearms and arrested Abelita III.
The Court held that the petitioner's act of trying to get away, coupled with the
incident report which they investigated, were enough to raise a reasonable
suspicion on the part of the police authorities as to the existence of probable
cause. Based on these discussions, it appears that the Court's appreciation of the
elements that "the offense has just been committed" and ''personal knowledge of
facts and circumstances that the person to be arrested committed it" depended on
the particular circumstances of the case. However, we note that the element of
''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" under Section S(b ), Rule 113 of
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure requires clarification.

The phrase covers facts or, in the alternative, circumstances. According to the
Black's Law Dictionary,80"circumstances are attendant or accompanying facts,
events or conditions. " Circumstances may pertain to events or actions within the
actual perception, personal evaluation or observation of the police officer at the
scene of the crime. Thus, even though the police officer has not seen someone
actually fleeing, he could still make a warrantless arrest if, based on his personal
evaluation of the circumstances at the scene of the crime, he could determine the
existence of probable cause that the person sought to be arrested has committed
the crime. However, the determination of probable cause and the gathering of
facts or circumstances should be made immediately after the commission of the
crime in order to comply with the element of immediacy.

In other words, the clincher in the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or


circumstances" is the required element of immediacy within which these facts or
circumstances should be gathered. This required time element acts as a
safeguard to ensure that the police officers have gathered the facts or perceived
the circumstances within a very limited time frame. This guarantees that the police
officers would have no time to base their probable cause finding on facts or
circumstances obtained after an exhaustive investigation.

The reason for the element of the immediacy is this - as the time gap from the
commission of the crime to the arrest widens, the pieces of information gathered
are prone to become contaminated and subjected to external factors,
interpretations and hearsay. On the other hand, with the element of immediacy
imposed under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, the police officer's determination of probable cause would necessarily
be limited to raw or uncontaminated facts or circumstances, gathered as they
were within a very limited period of time. The same provision adds another
safeguard with the requirement of probable cause as the standard for evaluating
these facts of circumstances before the police officer could effect a valid
warrantless arrest.

In light of the discussion above on the developments of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and our jurisprudence on the matter, we
hold that the following must be present for a valid warrantless arrest: 1) the crime
should have been just committed; and 2) the arresting officer's exercise of
discretion is limited by the standard of probable cause to be determined from the
facts and circumstances within his personal knowledge. The requirement of the
existence of probable cause objectifies the reasonableness of the warrantless
arrest for purposes of compliance with the Constitutional mandate against
unreasonable arrests.

Hence, for purposes of resolving the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrest
of the present petitioners, the question to be resolved is whether the requirements
for a valid warrantless arrest under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure were complied with, namely: 1) has the crime just been
committed when they were arrested? 2) did the arresting officer have personal
knowledge of facts and circumstances that the petitioners committed the crime?
and 3) based on these facts and circumstances that the arresting officer
possessed at the time of the petitioners' arrest, would a reasonably discreet and
prudent person believe that the attempted murder of Atty. Generoso was
committed by the petitioners? We rule in the affirmative.

III. Application of Section S(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules


of Criminal Procedure in the present case: there was a
valid warrantless arrest
We deem it necessary to review the records of the CA because it has
misapprehended the facts in its decision.81From a review of the records, we
conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of facts or circumstances
upon which they had properly determined probable cause in effecting a
warrantless arrest against the petitioners. We note, however, that the
determination of the facts in the present case is purely limited to the resolution of
the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrests of the petitioners.

Based on the police blotter82 entry taken at 4:15 a.m. on February 20, 2005, the
date that the alleged crime was committed, the petitioners were brought in for
investigation at the Batasan Hills Police Station. The police blotter stated that the
alleged crime was committed at 3:15 a.m. on February 20, 2005, along Kasiyahan
St., Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City.

The time of the entry of the complaint in the police blotter at 4:15 a.m., with Atty.
Generoso and the petitioners already inside the police station, would connote that
the arrest took place less than one hour from the time of the occurrence of the
crime. Hence, the CA finding that the arrest took place two (2) hours after the
commission of the crime is unfounded.

The arresting officers' personal observation of Atty. Generoso's bruises when they
arrived at the scene of the crime is corroborated by the petitioners' admissions
that Atty: Generoso indeed suffered blows from petitioner Macapanas and his
brother Joseph Macapanas,83 although they asserted that they did it in self-
defense against Atty. Generoso.

Atty. Generoso's bruises were also corroborated by the Medico-Legal


Certificate84 that was issued by East Avenue Medical Center on the same date of
the alleged mauling. The medical check-up of Atty. Generoso that was made
about 8:10 a.m. on the date of the incident, showed the following findings:
"Contusion Hematoma, Left Frontal Area; Abrasion, T6 area, right midclavicular
line periorbital hematoma, left eye; Abrasion, distal 3rd posterolateral aspect of
right forearm; Abrasion, 4th and fifth digit, right hand; Abrasion on area of ih rib (L
ant. Chest wall), tenderness on L peripheral area, no visible abrasion. In addition,
the attending physician, Dr. Eva P. Javier, diagnosed Atty. Generoso of contusion
hematoma, periorbital L., and traumatic conjunctivitis, o.s.

To summarize, the arresting officers went to the scene of the crime upon the
complaint of Atty. Generoso of his alleged mauling; the police officers responded
to the scene of the crime less than one (1) hour after the alleged mauling; the
alleged crime transpired in a community where Atty. Generoso and the petitioners
reside; Atty. Generoso positively identified the petitioners as those responsible for
his mauling and, notably, the petitioners85 and Atty. Generoso86 lived almost in the
same neighborhood; more importantly, when the petitioners were confronted by
the arresting officers, they did not deny their participation in the incident with Atty.
Generoso, although they narrated a different version of what transpired.87

With these facts and circumstances that the police officers gathered and which
they have personally observed less than one hour from the time that they have
arrived at the scene of the crime until the time of the arrest of the petitioners, we
deem it reasonable to conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of
facts or circumstances justifying the petitioners' warrantless arrests. These
circumstances were well within the police officers' observation, perception and
evaluation at the time of the arrest. These circumstances qualify as the police
officers' personal observation, which are within their personal knowledge,
prompting them to make the warrantless arrests.

Similar to the factual antecedents in Jayson,88 the police officers in the present
case saw Atty. Generoso in his sorry bloodied state. As the victim, he positively
identified the petitioners as the persons who mauled him; however, instead of
fleeing like what happened in Jayson, the petitioners agreed to go with the police
officers.

This is also similar to what happened in People v. Tonog, Jr.89 where Tonog did
not flee but voluntarily went with the police officers. More than this, the petitioners
in the present case even admitted to have been involved in the incident with Atty.
Generoso, although they had another version of what transpired.

In determining the reasonableness of the warrantless arrests, it is incumbent upon


the courts to consider if the police officers have complied with the requirements
set under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
specifically, the requirement of immediacy; the police officer's personal knowledge
of facts or circumstances; and lastly, the propriety of the determination of probable
cause that the person sought to be arrested committed the crime.

The records show that soon after the report of the incident occurred, SPOl
Monsalve immediately dispatched the arresting officer, SP02 Javier, to render
personal assistance to the victim.90 This fact alone negates the petitioners'
argument that the police officers did not have personal knowledge that a crime
had been committed - the police immediately responded and had personal
knowledge that a crime had been committed. 1âwphi1

To reiterate, personal knowledge of a crime just committed under the terms of the
above-cited provision, does not require actual presence at the scene while a crime
was being committed; it is enough that evidence of the recent commission of the
crime is patent (as in this case) and the police officer has probable cause to
believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to
be arrested has recently committed the crime.

Considering the circumstances of the stabbing, particularly the locality where it


took place, its occasion, the personal circumstances of the parties, and the
immediate on-the-spot investigation that took place, the immediate and
warrantless arrests of the perpetrators were proper. Consequently, the inquest
proceeding that the City Prosecutor conducted was appropriate under the
circumstances.

IV. The term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest is construed to


mean as an authoritative command

After the resolution of the validity of the warrantless arrest, the discussion of the
petitioners' second issue is largely academic. Arrest is defined as the taking of a
person into custody in order that he may be bound to answer for the commission
of an offense. An arrest is made by an actual restraint of the person to be
arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person making the
arrest.91 Thus, application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical
restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not required. It is enough that there be
an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and the intent of
the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission is
necessary.92

Notwithstanding the term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest, 93 SP02 Javier could not
but have the intention of arresting the petitioners following Atty. Generoso' s
account. SP02 Javier did not need to apply violent physical restraint when a
simple directive to the petitioners to follow him to the police station would produce
a similar effect. In other words, the application of actual force would only be an
alternative if the petitioners had exhibited resistance.
To be sure, after a crime had just been committed and the attending policemen
have acquired personal knowledge of the incidents of the crime, including the
alleged perpetrators, the arrest of the petitioners as the perpetrators pointed to by
the victim, was not a mere random act but was in connection with a particular
offense. Furthermore, SP02 Javier had informed the petitioners, at the time of
their arrest, of the charges against them before taking them to Batasan Hills Police
Station for investigation.94

V. The Order denying the motion for preliminary


investigation is valid

In their last ditch attempt at avoidance, the petitioners attack the R TC Order
denying the petitioners' urgent motion for regular preliminary investigation for
allegedly having been issued in violation of Article VIII, Section 14 of the 1987
Constitution95 and Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.96

The RTC, in its Order dismissing the motion, clearly states that the Court is not
persuaded by the evidentiary nature of the allegations in the said motion of the
accused. Aside from lack of clear and convincing proof, the Court, in the exercise
of its sound discretion on the matter, is legally bound to pursue and hereby gives
preference to the speedy disposition of the case."

We do not see any taint of impropriety or grave abuse of discretion in this Order.
The RTC, in resolving the motion, is not required to state all the facts found in the
record of the case. Detailed evidentiary matters, as the RTC decreed, is best
reserved for the full-blown trial of the case, not in the preliminary incidents leading
up to the trial.

Additionally, no less than the Constitution itself provides that it is the decision that
should state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. In
resolving a motion, the court is only required to state clearly and distinctly the
reasons therefor. A contrary system would only prolong the proceedings, which
was precisely what happened to this case. Hence, we uphold the validity of the
RTC's order as it correctly stated the reason for its denial of the petitioners' Urgent
Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation. WHEREFORE, premises considered,
we hereby DENY the petition, and hereby AFFIRM the decision dated January 21,
2008 and the resolution dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 91541. The City Prosecutor of Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to
proceed with the criminal proceedings against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

Republic Act No. 7438 April 27, 1992

AN ACT DEFINING CERTAIN RIGHTS OF PERSON ARRESTED, DETAINED


OR UNDER CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION AS WELL AS THE DUTIES OF THE
ARRESTING, DETAINING AND INVESTIGATING OFFICERS, AND PROVIDING
PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in
Congress assembled::

Section 1. Statement of Policy. – It is the policy of the Senate to value the


dignity of every human being and guarantee full respect for human rights.

Section 2. Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial


Investigation; Duties of Public Officers.–

(a) Any person arrested detained or under custodial investigation shall at all times
be assisted by counsel.

(b) Any public officer or employee, or anyone acting under his order or his place,
who arrests, detains or investigates any person for the commission of an offense
shall inform the latter, in a language known to and understood by him, of his rights
to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel, preferably of his
own choice, who shall at all times be allowed to confer privately with the person
arrested, detained or under custodial investigation. If such person cannot afford
the services of his own counsel, he must be provided with a competent and
independent counsel by the investigating officer.lawphi 1Ÿ

(c) The custodial investigation report shall be reduced to writing by the


investigating officer, provided that before such report is signed, or thumbmarked if
the person arrested or detained does not know how to read and write, it shall be
read and adequately explained to him by his counsel or by the assisting counsel
provided by the investigating officer in the language or dialect known to such
arrested or detained person, otherwise, such investigation report shall be null and
void and of no effect whatsoever.

(d) Any extrajudicial confession made by a person arrested, detained or under


custodial investigation shall be in writing and signed by such person in the
presence of his counsel or in the latter's absence, upon a valid waiver, and in the
presence of any of the parents, elder brothers and sisters, his spouse, the
municipal mayor, the municipal judge, district school supervisor, or priest or
minister of the gospel as chosen by him; otherwise, such extrajudicial confession
shall be inadmissible as evidence in any proceeding.

(e) Any waiver by a person arrested or detained under the provisions of Article
125 of the Revised Penal Code, or under custodial investigation, shall be in writing
and signed by such person in the presence of his counsel; otherwise the waiver
shall be null and void and of no effect.

(f) Any person arrested or detained or under custodial investigation shall be


allowed visits by or conferences with any member of his immediate family, or any
medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or by any member of
his immediate family or by his counsel, or by any national non-governmental
organization duly accredited by the Commission on Human Rights of by any
international non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Office of the
President. The person's "immediate family" shall include his or her spouse, fiancé
or fiancée, parent or child, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild, uncle or
aunt, nephew or niece, and guardian or ward.

As used in this Act, "custodial investigation" shall include the practice of issuing an
"invitation" to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is
suspected to have committed, without prejudice to the liability of the "inviting"
officer for any violation of law.

Section 3. Assisting Counsel. – Assisting counsel is any lawyer, except those


directly affected by the case, those charged with conducting preliminary
investigation or those charged with the prosecution of crimes.

The assisting counsel other than the government lawyers shall be entitled to the
following fees;

(a) The amount of One hundred fifty pesos (P150.00) if the suspected person is
chargeable with light felonies;lawphi 1©alf

(b) The amount of Two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00) if the suspected person is
chargeable with less grave or grave felonies;

(c) The amount of Three hundred fifty pesos (P350.00) if the suspected person is
chargeable with a capital offense.

The fee for the assisting counsel shall be paid by the city or municipality where the
custodial investigation is conducted, provided that if the municipality of city cannot
pay such fee, the province comprising such municipality or city shall pay the fee:
Provided, That the Municipal or City Treasurer must certify that no funds are
available to pay the fees of assisting counsel before the province pays said fees.
In the absence of any lawyer, no custodial investigation shall be conducted and
the suspected person can only be detained by the investigating officer in
accordance with the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

Section 4. Penalty Clause. – (a) Any arresting public officer or employee, or any
investigating officer, who fails to inform any person arrested, detained or under
custodial investigation of his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice, shall suffer a fine of Six
thousand pesos (P6,000.00) or a penalty of imprisonment of not less than eight (8)
years but not more than ten (10) years, or both. The penalty of perpetual absolute
disqualification shall also be imposed upon the investigating officer who has been
previously convicted of a similar offense.

The same penalties shall be imposed upon a public officer or employee, or


anyone acting upon orders of such investigating officer or in his place, who fails to
provide a competent and independent counsel to a person arrested, detained or
under custodial investigation for the commission of an offense if the latter cannot
afford the services of his own counsel.

(b) Any person who obstructs, prevents or prohibits any lawyer, any member of
the immediate family of a person arrested, detained or under custodial
investigation, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or
by any member of his immediate family or by his counsel, from visiting and
conferring privately with him, or from examining and treating him, or from
ministering to his spiritual needs, at any hour of the day or, in urgent cases, of the
night shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than four (4) years nor
more than six (6) years, and a fine of four thousand pesos (P4,000.00). lawphi1©

The provisions of the above Section notwithstanding, any security officer with
custodial responsibility over any detainee or prisoner may undertake such
reasonable measures as may be necessary to secure his safety and prevent his
escape.

Section 5. Repealing Clause. – Republic Act No. No. 857, as amended, is


hereby repealed. Other laws, presidential decrees, executive orders or rules and
regulations, or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are
repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 6. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its
publication in the Official Gazette or in any daily newspapers of general circulation
in the Philippines.

Approved: April 27, 1992.

RULE 113

Arrest

Section 1. Definition of arrest. — Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be
bound to answer for the commission of an offense. (1)

Section 2. Arrest; how made. — An arrest is made by an actual restraint of a person to be arrested, or by
his submission to the custody of the person making the arrest.

No violence or unnecessary force shall be used in making an arrest. The person arrested shall not be
subject to a greater restraint than is necessary for his detention. (2a)

Section 3. Duty of arresting officer. — It shall be the duty of the officer executing the warrant to arrest
the accused and to deliver him to the nearest police station or jail without unnecessary delay. (3a)

Section 4. Execution of warrant. — The head of the office to whom the warrant of arrest was delivered
for execution shall cause the warrant to be executed within ten (10) days from its receipt. Within ten (10)
days after the expiration of the period, the officer to whom it was assigned for execution shall make a
report to the judge who issued the warrant. In case of his failure to execute the warrant, he shall state the
reasons therefor. (4a)

Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place
where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped
while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith
delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7
of Rule 112. (5a)

Section 6. Time of making arrest. — An arrest may be made on any day and at any time of the day or
night. (6)

Section 7. Method of arrest by officer by virtue of warrant. — When making an arrest by virtue of a
warrant, the officer shall inform the person to be arrested of the cause of the arrest and of the fact that a
warrant has been issued for his arrest, except when he flees or forcibly resists before the officer has
opportunity to so inform him, or when the giving of such information will imperil the arrest. The officer
need not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest but after the arrest, if the person
arrested so requires, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as practicable. (7a)

Section 8. Method of arrest by officer without warrant. — When making an arrest without a warrant, the
officer shall inform the person to be arrested of his authority and the cause of the arrest, unless the latter is
either engaged in the commission of an offense, is pursued immediately after its commission, has escaped,
flees or forcibly resists before the officer has opportunity so to inform him, or when the giving of such
information will imperil the arrest. (8a)

Section 9. Method of arrest by private person. — When making an arrest, a private person shall inform
the person to be arrested of the intention to arrest him and cause of the arrest, unless the latter is either
engaged in the commission of an offense, is pursued immediately after its commission, or has escaped,
flees, or forcibly resists before the person making the arrest has opportunity to so inform him, or when the
giving of such information will imperil the arrest. (9a)

Section 10. Officer may summon assistance. — An officer making a lawful arrest may orally summon as
many persons as he deems necessary to assist him in effecting the arrest. Every person so summoned by
an officer shall assist him in effecting the arrest when he can render such assistance without detriment to
himself. (10a)

Section 11. Right of officer to break into building or enclosure. — An officer, in order to make an arrest
either by virtue of a warrant, or without a warrant as provided in section 5, may break into any building or
enclosure where the person to be arrested is or is reasonably believed to be, if he is refused admittance
thereto, after announcing his authority and purpose. (11a)

Section 12. Right to break out from building or enclosure. — Whenever an officer has entered the
building or enclosure in accordance with the preceding section, he may break out therefrom when
necessary to liberate himself. (12a)

Section 13. Arrest after escape or rescue. — If a person lawfully arrested escapes or is rescued, any
person may immediately pursue or retake him without a warrant at any time and in any place within the
Philippines. (13)

Section 14. Right of attorney or relative to visit person arrested. — Any member of the Philippine Bar
shall, at the request of the person arrested or of another acting in his behalf, have the right to visit and
confer privately with such person in the jail or any other place of custody at any hour of the day or night.
Subject to reasonable regulations, a relative of the person arrested can also exercise the same right. (14a)