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People v Malimit

Even assuming arguendo that Rondon and Batin identified the appellant only on
DOCTRINE: The non-disclosure by the witness to the police officers of appellant's September 15, 1991, or after the lapse of five months from commission of the crime,
identity immediately after the occurrence of the crime is not entirely against human this fact alone does not render their testimony less credible.
experience. In fact the natural reticence of most people to get involved in criminal
prosecutions against immediate neighbors, as in this case, is of judicial notice. The non-disclosure by the witness to the police officers of appellant's identity
immediately after the occurrence of the crime is not entirely against human experience.
FACTS: In fact the natural reticence of most people to get involved in criminal prosecutions
 At 8 pm, Onofre Malaki(victim) was attending to his store. Malaki's houseboy against immediate neighbors, as in this case, is of judicial notice.
Edilberto Batin, was busy cooking supper at the kitchen located at the back of the
store At any rate, the consistent teaching of our jurisprudence is that the findings of the trial
 Florencio Rondon, a farmer, arrived at the store of Malaki. to purchase chemical court with regard to the credibility of witnesses are given weight and the highest degree
for his rice farm of respect by the appellate court. This is the established rule of evidence, as the matter
 Batin had just finished cooking, he proceeded directly to the store to ask Malaki if of assigning values to the testimony of witnesses is a function best performed by the
supper is to be prepared. As Batin stepped inside the store, he saw accused trial court which can weigh said testimony in the light of the witness" demeanor,
Ercarnacion “Manolo” Malimit coming out of the store with a bolo while his boss, conduct and attitude at the trial. And although the rule admits of certain exceptions,
bathed in his own blood, was sprawled on the floor struggling for his life namely: (1) when patent inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses are ignored by
 Rondon, who was outside and barely five (5) meters away from the store, also saw the trial court, or (2) when the conclusions arrived at are clearly unsupported by the
accused Malimit rushing out through the front door of Malaki's store with a blood- evidence, we found none in this case.
stained bolo
o Aided by the illumination coming from a pressure lamp inside the Additional info:
store, Rondon clearly recognized Malimit The non-presentation by the prosecution of the police blotter which could prove if
 Both Batin and Rondon rushed to the nearby house of Malaki's brother-in-law accused was indeed implicated right away by Batin to the crime was not necessary for
Eutiquio Beloy and informed Beloy of the tragic incident which befell Malaki. the prosecution to present as evidence. Entries in the police blotter are merely
 Batin, along with Beloy, went back to the store. Inside, they saw the lifeless body corroborative evidence of the uncontroverted testimony of Batin that he identified the
of Malaki in a pool of blood lying prostrate at the floor. Beloy readily noticed that appellant as the perpetrator of the crime before the Silago police. As such, its
the store's drawer was opened and ransacked and the wallet of Malaki was missing presentation as evidence is not indispensable. Besides, if appellant believed that he was
from his pocket not identified therein, then he should have secured a copy thereof from the Silago Police
Station and utilized the same as controverting evidence to impeach Batin's credibility
TC: Convicted accused for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide as witness. Having failed to do so, appellant cannot now pass the blame on the
prosecution for something which appellant himself should have done.
One of the contentions of accused Malimit in this appeal is that the trial court erred in
giving credence to the testimonies of Rondon and Batin. He questions the credibility of
the 2 witnesses because they only revealed that they have knowledge of the crime and
identified the accused as the perpetrator, 5 months after the incident.
Date of the crime: April 15, 1991
Witnesses pointed at accused: September 17, 1991

ISSUE:
WON the testimonies of the witnesses may be appreciated by the court? YES

HELD:

Accused haphazardly concluded that Rondon and Batin implicated the appellant to this
gruesome crime only on September 17, 1991. The aforementioned date however, was
merely the date when Rondon and Batin executed their respective affidavits, narrating
that they saw the appellant on the night of April 15, 1991 carrying a bolo stained with
blood and rushing out of Malaki's store.

As to his claim of delay, suffice it to state that extant from the records are ample
testimonial evidence negating his assertion, to wit:
1. After having discovered the commission of the crime, Rondon and Batin
immediately looked for Eutiquio Beloy, Malaki's brother-in-law, and informed
him that appellant was the only person they saw running away from the crime
scene;
2. Beloy and Batin reported the crime with the CAFGU detachment in their
barangay where Batin declared that it was appellant who robbed Malaki on
that fateful night; and
3. Batin again made a similar statement later at the Silago Police Station.
People V. Jumamoy "That on or about the 1st day of April, 1987, in barangay Poblacion, municipality of
Inabanga, province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
DOCTRINES: Court, the abovenamed accused without justifiable cause or motive, with intent to kill,
and with evident premeditation and treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously attack, assault, and shoot with the use of an unlicensed firearm one
 The issue of credibility is to be resolved primarily by the trial court because it
Rolando Miel without giving opportunity to the latter to prepare for his defense, thereby
is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and
inflicting upon the vital parts of the body of the latter, serious physical injuries which
observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. Thus, its
caused his instantaneous death; to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the
findings on the matter of the credibility of witnesses are entitled to the highest
deceased.
respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that
it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of
weight or substance which would have affected the result of the case. Acts committed contrary to the provisions of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, with
 In the absence of evidence manifesting any ill motive on the part of the the aggravating circumstance of nighttime being purposely sought for or taken
witnesses for the prosecution, it logically follows that no such improper motive advantage of by the accused to facilitate the commission of the crime.
could have existed and that, corollarily, their testimonies are worthy of full
faith and credit. Indeed, if an accused had nothing to do with the crime, it is
City of Tagbilaran, August 14, 1987." 1
against the natural order of events and of human nature and against the
presumption of good faith that a prosecution witness would falsely testify
against the former. while that for Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunitions (sic) relates:
 The prosecution's failure to present the other witnesses listed in the
information did not constitute, contrary to the contention of the accused, "That, on or about the 1st day of April, 1987, in barangay Poblacion, municipality of
suppression of evidence. The prosecutor has the exclusive prerogative to Inabanga, province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
determine the witnesses to be presented for the prosecution. Court, the abovenamed accused, with intent to possess a firearm with ammunitions
 The non-presentation of corroborative witnesses would not constitute (sic), did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally keep, carry and have in his
suppression of evidence and would not be fatal to the prosecution's case. possession, custody and control a (sic) gun still of unknown make and caliber, and at
 The adverse presumption from a suppression of evidence is not applicable least three (3) rounds of live ammunitions (sic), without first obtaining the necessary
when (1) the suppression is not wilful; (2) the evidence suppressed or withheld permit or license to possess the said firearm and ammunitions (sic) or permit to carry
is merely corroborative or cumulative; (3) the evidence is at the disposal of the same from competent authorities, and which firearm was used by the said accused
both parties; and (4) the suppression is an exercise of a privilege. Moreover, in committing the crime of murder wherein the victim was one Rolando Miel; to the
if the accused believed that the failure to present the other witnesses was damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines.
because their testimonies would be unfavorable to the prosecution, he should
have compelled their appearance, by compulsory process, to testify as his own
witnesses or even as hostile witnesses. Acts committed contrary to the provisions of Sec. 878 and 887 of the Administrative
 Discrepancies on minor matters do not impair the essential integrity of the Code in relation to Sec. 2692, of the same Code as amended by Republic Act No. 4 and
prosecution's evidence as a whole or detract from the witnesses' honesty. as further amended by PD No. 1866.
These inconsistencies, which may be caused by the natural fickleness of
memory, even tend to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of City of Tagbilaran, August 14, 1987." 2
prosecution witnesses because they erase any suspicion of rehearsed
testimony. What is important is that the testimonies agree on the essential
facts and that the respective versions corroborate and substantially coincide No bond was recommended in both cases for the temporary liberty of the accused.
with each other to make a consistent and coherent whole.
 For conviction to lie, it is enough that the prosecution establishes by proof Upon his arraignment on 10 December 1987, the accused entered a plea of not guilty
beyond reasonable doubt that a crime was committed and that the accused is in each case. 3
the author thereof. The production of the weapon used in the commission of
the crime is not a condition sine qua non for the discharge of such a burden
Upon motion of the prosecution, the two (2) cases were consolidated and jointly heard.
for the weapon may not have been recovered at all from the assailant.
 The defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the
accused. The prosecution presented Dr. Hector Enriquez, Bonifacio Ayag, Lino Gudes, Jr.,
Artemio Panganiban, Jr. (Supervising Ballistician, NBI, Region VII), Alfredo Alforque,
Sgt. Misericordio Sapong, Rodrigo Aparicio, Pfc. Segundo Requirme and Felisa Miel as
Two (2) separate informations for "Murder" and "Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm
witnesses for its evidence in chief, and Leandro Tirol and Luisito dela Torre for purposes
and Ammunitions (sic)" were filed by the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Bohol with the
of rebuttal. On the other hand, the defense presented the accused, Manuelito Cajes and
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tagbilaran City against accused Luciano Jumamoy y
Ramon Micutuan as its witnesses for its evidence in chief, and the accused himself in
Añora, alias Junior; they were docketed as Criminal Case No. 5064 and Criminal Case
surrebuttal.
No. 5065, respectively, and were raffled off to Branch 3 thereof.

After trial, the court a quo promulgated on 18 July 1991 its judgment, dated 27 June
The information for Murder reads:
1991, 4 finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged. The
dispositive portion of the decision reads:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, this Court finds accused Luciano sustained by the victim. Although he found four (4) gunshot wounds on the victim's
Jumamoy y Añora, alias Junior, guilty beyond reasonable doubt for (sic) the crimes of body, Dr. Enriquez reported that it was possible that the victim was shot at only three
Murder and Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunitions (sic) in the (3) times since the 4th wound on the right forearm was through and through; hence,
foregoing Criminal Cases Nos. 5064 and 5065 and, consequently hereby imposes upon the same bullet may have also caused the 2nd wound which penetrated the 'subcostal
him the penalty of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment in each of the aforesaid margin, midclavicular line, right' (pp. 1-2, tsn, Feb. 24, 1978).
criminal cases.
The doctor deduced that based in (sic) the locations of the wounds, the assailant must
He is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Rolando Miel by way of have been in front obliquely to the right of the victim when the former shot the latter.
actual civil indemnity in the amount of P7,800 (Exhibit C-1) and, further, the amount He also opined that since he did not notice the presence of powder burns on the victim
of P30,000 by way of moral damages. and the downward trajectory of the bullets, the assailant must have been more than
two (2) feet away from, and taller or stood on a higher level than the victim.
Furthermore, of the four (4) wounds sustained by the victim, he considered wound No.
Without pronouncement as to costs.
1 along the '7th ICS, anterior axillary line, right,' and wound No. 2 penetrating the
'subcostal margin, mid-clavicular line, right' as fatal, which caused the victim's death
BE IT SO ORDERED." 5 (pp. 2-3, Ibid.).

The evidence for the prosecution, upon which the trial court based its decision, is Dr. Enriquez also recovered from the victim's body one (1) slug (p. 3. Ibid.), which,
summarized in the People's Brief as follows: when examined by the NBI Supervising Ballistician of Region VII stationed at Cebu City,
was found to have been fired from a .38-caliber firearm, probably a homemade (paltik)
"Appellant Luciano Jumamoy and the victim Rolando Miel were once friends and firearm, caliber .38 (pp. 1-3, tsn, August 23, 1988).
belonged to the same 'barkada' until sometime in 1970 when the former was stabbed
by the latter on his left forearm. As a result, appellant's left arm was deformed, despite Upon request, Sgt. Misericordio Sapong of the Bohol PC Command issued a certification
medical attendance, because the main vein of his left arm was severely cut. Since then (Exhibit "E") that appellant was never issued a permit or license to possess or carry a
the two had not met each other, as the victim avoided appellant (sic) (p. 2, tsn, April firearm (p. 1, tsn, Nov. 11, 1988)." 6
3, 1989).
The trial court disregarded the accused's defense of alibi. The latter testified that he
In the evening of April 1, 1987, the victim and his younger brother Edgar, together with had left Inabanga, Bohol for Cebu City on 29 March 1987 to look for employment; he
three other companions, went to the Cultural Center of Inabanga, Bohol, where a 'disco' claims to have boarded a motor banca, the M/B Roxan, which left for Cebu City from
dance was being held in connection with the commencement exercises of St. Paul Buenavista, Bohol at 9:00 o'clock in the morning of that date. The motor banca
Academy. However, upon reaching the premises of the Center, the victim's brother and supposedly reached Cebu City at 11:00 o'clock on the same day. He recounts that he
a companion stayed behind and sat on a concrete bench, as the victim and their other stayed in the house of a friend, Feliciano Cenita, in Pasil, Cebu City from 1 April to 4
companions proceeded (p. 2, tsn, Nov. 11, 1988; p. 4, tsn, June 26, 1990). April 1987. While in Cebu City, he drove, as a reserve driver, the passenger jeepney
owned and driven by Cenita under the so-called boundary system. In the evening of 4
Upon reaching the Center, the victim and his companions joined three other members April 1987, Jumamoy avers that he took a boat, the M/V Sweet Roro, for Manila and
of their 'barkada' watching the disco outside. The victim and three of his friends were stayed in the house of his brother Abundio in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila. He stayed
leaning against a concrete post of the Center conversing and watching the 'disco,' when there for seven (7) months and departed for Inabanga only upon hearing that he had
all of a sudden appellant appeared in front obliquely to the right of the victim and fired been named a suspect in the killing of Rolando Miel; he arrived in Inabanga on 9
three (3) successive shots at the latter, who slumped and fell to the ground (pp. 2-7, November 1987. 7
tsn, July 6, 1988; pp. 2-5, tsn, Nov. 11, 1988).
The accused did not, however, present Feliciano Cenita as a witness despite his
Thereafter, the people inside and outside the Center scampered for safety (p. 7, tsn, (accused's) repeated manifestation of his intention to do so and the court's liberality in
July 6, 1988; p. 5, tsn, Nov. 11, 1988). However, on his way to escape, appellant granting his request for postponement for the said purpose. Instead, "out of the blue,
passed by the victim's brother Edgardo and a companion who were then sitting on a the accused . . . presented one Ramon Micutuan . . . to corroborate his claim that in
bench about 60 meters away from the Center. When appellant got near the two, the the evening of April 1, 1987, he was in Cebu City driving a passenger jeepney." 8
former poked his gun at the victim's brother, and uttered, 'Unsa, laban ka?' ('What Commenting on the accused's defense, the trial court declared:
now, are you taking sides?'). The two remained silent, as appellant ran behind a house
and into the 1-3, tsn, June 26, 1990). "It is a well-settled rule that alibi as a defense is weak although the Courts should not
take a negative attitude in some cases as against the accused, if the defense of alibi
Meanwhile, the victim's sister Zeny, who was then inside the Center, came to his (sic) reveals the truth. Alibi is also entitled to credit if the accused is not positively identified
brother's rescue. With the help of other people, she brought her brother to a hospital, by the prosecution witnesses. Moreover, the accused claiming alibi as a defense must
but the latter expired before arrival thereat (p. 9, tsn, July 6, 1988; pp 8-9, tsn, Nov. prove that it was impossible for him to be at the place at the time of the commission
11, 1988). because he was elsewhere during the incident.

Dr. Hector Enriquez, who conducted an examination on the victim's cadaver, issued a The records in this case will show that at the time of the incident, at the time of the
Medico-Legal Report (Exhibit "A"), wherein he described the four (4) gunshot wounds police investigation, during the preliminary investigation before the Municipal Circuit
Trial Court of Inabanga-Buenavista as well as in the trial proper, the accused was The testimonies of the three (3) alleged eyewitnesses who actually testified were
positively identified by the prosecution witnesses. inconsistent with each other. Each of the three witnesses presented different versions
as to the source of light that lighted the place of the incident. They were not united as
to whether the place was sufficiently lighted that enabled (sic) them to identify the
It was established by the prosecution that the prosecution witnesses and the accused
accused.
knew and were familiar with each other from the time they attained the age of reason
because they lived in adjacent barangays located in the same municipality. It was also
established by the prosecution that at the time of the incident there were several The inconsistencies of the three witnesses only prove that they are not telling the truth.
'blinking' dancing lights at the cultural center because of the ongoing disco dance. In They wanted to hide the truth that the place of incident was dark, and they could not
fact, there was another light — an electric bulb of 25 watts — which was placed at the identify the person or persons who shot and killed the victim.
concrete post where the victim and some of the prosecution witnesses were then
leaning against. That electric bulb was very near to the victim and the accused at the
Another doubtful testimony is about the description of the firearm allegedly used by the
time of the incident.
assailant. One witness said that the firearm used by the accused was a short firearm,
but on cross-examination the same witness declared that he did not actually see the
During the hearing proper as well as during the investigation conducted by the police firearm. What he saw was the sparkling lights that came out from the barrel of the
and before the municipal circuit trial court during the preliminary investigation, all the firearm after it was fired (Page 4, TSN, August 24, 1988). If the witness saw the sparks,
prosecution eyewitnesses pointed without hesitancy to the accused as the murderer of then the place must be dark.
the victim, and during the trial before this Court there was not even one witness
wavered of (sic) his identification of the accused as the author of the crime.
Alfredo Alforque, one of the prosecution witnesses who claimed to have seen the
shooting, made the following doubtful testimonies (sic):
To the mind of the Court, the accused's evidence of alibi cannot be believed, the same
being clearly an afterthought or afterwit because while the accused himself and his
Q While in that position, you said Luciano Jumamoy suddenly appeared. From what
witness Manuelito Cajes positively declared during the presentation of the defense
direction did he come?
evidence in chief that it was on March 29, 1987 that they were on board MB Roxan
together from Buenavista, Bohol, to Cebu City, the owner of the MB Roxan, Engr.
Leandro Tirol, however, declared on rebuttal that it was impossible for the accused to A From behind us, passing our right side walking towards Rolando Miel (Page 7, TSN,
have boarded on the said vessel on March 29, 1987, that date being a Sunday and that Oct. 4, 1988).
MB Roxan did not have any voyage from Buenavista, Bohol, to Cebu City on that date
because it was not legally authorized to do so. So that on surrebuttal, the accused However, on cross-examination, he changed his answer when he made the following
conveniently changed the date March 29, 1987 to probably March 30, 1987." 9 answer:

Accused thus appeals the said judgment of conviction 10 and in his Appellant's Brief, Q You did not notice immediately the accused when (sic) he suddenly arrived?
claims that the trial court committed the following errors:

A I noticed him because he suddenly arrived from behind. He was running (Page 9,
"I TSN, Oct. 4, 1988).

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO The serious and material inconsistencies of the testimonies of prosecution witnesses
PROVE THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT IN THE only proves (sic) that said witnesses were lying. Their testimonies were all fabricated.
TWO CASES. They were planted witnesses. They have to testify falsely in order to help the family of
their fallen close friend.
II
On the other hand, the firearm alleged to have been used by the accused in killing the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE TWO victim was not presented in court during the trial. Its caliber and make was (sic) never
CRIMES OF MURDER AND QUALIFIED ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARM AND established by sufficient evidence, so that there is no basis to convict the accused for
SENTENCING HIM THE (sic) PENALTY OF RECLUSION PERPETUA IN EACH OF THE SAID illegal (sic) possession of firearm."
TWO CRIMES." 11
It is at once obvious that the instant appeal is bereft of any merit. The accused's failure
The assigned errors were discussed in eight (8) short paragraphs, to wit: to point out to this Court, with specific references to the transcripts of the stenographic
notes of the testimonies of the witnesses, the so-called inconsistencies committed by
the three (3) prosecution witnesses, and to make statements of facts, though he started
"Let us try to assess the testimonies of the alleged eyewitnesses of the prosecution.
the Appellant's Brief with the heading "Statement of Facts And of the Case," 12 betrays
an honest realization of the futility of this appeal and not merely the lack of diligence
Originally there were six (6) alleged eyewitnesses for the prosecution. Surprisingly, only or zeal in the pursuit thereof which, incidentally, is likewise eloquently evidenced
three (3) took the witness stand and testified. The suppression (sic) of the testimonies therein.
of the other three (3) alleged eyewitnesses raises some doubts that their testimonies
would mixed (sic) up the evidence for the prosecution.
The instant appeal rests principally on the issue of the credibility of the witnesses for corroborate and Substantially coincide with each other to make a consistent and
the prosecution and, to a lesser extent, on the alleged suppression of evidence and coherent whole. 20
failure to present in evidence the firearm used by the accused.
Nor can We agree with the accused that it was indispensable for the prosecution to
It is settled that the issue of credibility is to be resolved primarily by the trial court introduce and offer in evidence the firearm which was used in the killing of the victim.
because it is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and There is no law or rule of evidence which requires the prosecution to do so; there is
observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. Thus, its findings also no law which prescribes that a ballistics examination be conducted to determine
on the matter of the credibility of witnesses are entitled to the highest respect and will the source and trajectory of the bullets. For conviction to lie it is enough that the
not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that it overlooked, prosecution establishes by proof beyond reasonable doubt that a crime was committed
misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight or substance which and that the accused is the author thereof. The production of the weapon used in the
would have affected the result of the case. 13 commission of the crime is not a condition sine qua non for the discharge of such a
burden for the weapon may not have been recovered at all from the assailant. If the
rule were to be as proposed by the accused, many criminals would go scot-free and
We have carefully reviewed the records and the transcripts of the stenographic notes
much injustice would be caused to the victims of crimes, their families and society. In
of the testimonies of the witnesses and find nothing therein to warrant a reversal of the
the instant case, it was established with moral certainty that the accused attacked,
findings of fact of the trial court. The meticulous care with which the court a quo
assaulted and shot the victim Rolando Miel with an unlicensed firearm, thereby inflicting
summarized and analyzed, in its 31-page decision, the testimonies of the witnesses of
upon the latter multiple gunshot wounds which caused his death. Such proof was all
both parties during the direct and cross examinations attests to its impartial disposition
that was needed for the conviction of the accused.
of the cases in the light of applicable jurisprudence. That the accused was positively
identified by prosecution witnesses Lino Gudes, Alfredo Alforque and Rodrigo Aparicio
is beyond dispute. These three had known the accused long before the incident; Against the overwhelming evidence consisting of his positive identification as the author
moreover, the place where the shooting took place, the cultural center, was sufficiently of Rolando Miel's death, accused has nothing to offer but alibi. It is a fundamental
lighted. Nor was any motive ascribed by the accused to these witnesses to show why judicial dictum that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of
they would falsely testify against him. In the absence of evidence manifesting any ill the accused. 21 Besides, his alibi is obviously fabricated. He was caught lying through
motive on the part of the witnesses for the prosecution, it logically follows that no such his teeth when during rebuttal, it was shown through the testimony of Leandro Tirol,
improper motive could have existed and that, corollarily, their testimonies are worthy owner of the M/B Roxan, that he (Jumamoy) could not have left — as he had vigorously
of full faith and credit. 14 Indeed, if an accused had nothing to do with the crime, it is insisted — on board the said vessel for Cebu City on 29 March 1987 because the same
against the natural order of events and of human nature and against the presumption was not authorized by its franchise to travel on that day, a Sunday. In an effort to
of good faith that a prosecution witness would falsely testify against the former. 15 dodge this fatal blow, the accused took the witness stand on surrebuttal to change the
date of his supposed departure to 30 March 1987. 22 Moreover, despite his assurances
that he would present as his witness Feliciano Cenita of Pasil, Cebu City — in whose
The prosecution's failure to present the other witnesses listed in the information did not
house he allegedly stayed from 1 April to 7 April 1987 — for which reason the trial court
constitute, contrary to the contention of the accused, suppression of evidence. The
accommodated his requests for postponements, accused never did so. No acceptable
prosecutor has the exclusive prerogative to determine the witnesses to be presented
explanation had been offered to justify the failure of the said prospective witness to
for the prosecution. 16 If the prosecution has several eyewitnesses, as in the instant
come to the rescue of the accused. Thus, the inevitable conclusion is that either this
case, the prosecutor need not present all of them but only as many as may be needed
Cenita is a fictitious person or that, if he exists, he was unwilling to support the
to meet the quantum of proof necessary to establish the guilt of the accused beyond
accused's claim of alibi. If the accused had gone to Cebu City at all, it must have been
reasonable doubt. The testimonies of the other witnesses may, therefore, be dispensed
after the incident — not to look for employment as he claimed, but to evade arrest. In
with for being merely corroborative in nature. This Court has ruled that the non-
fact, it appears that on 7 April 1987, he left for Manila.
presentation of corroborative witnesses would not constitute suppression of evidence
and would not be fatal to the prosecution's case. 17 Besides, there is no showing that
the eyewitnesses who were not presented in court as witnesses were not available to The trial court correctly convicted the accused of Murder under Article 248 of the
the accused. We reiterate the rule that the adverse presumption from a suppression of Revised Penal Code in Criminal Case No. 5064. The killing was indeed attended by the
evidence is not applicable when (1) the suppression is not wilful; (2) the evidence qualifying circumstance of treachery, which is duly alleged in the information. The
suppressed or withheld is merely corroborative or cumulative; (3) the evidence is at mode, manner and means of attack adopted by the accused insured the
the disposal of both parties; and (4) the suppression is an exercise of a privilege. 18 accomplishment of his purpose, i.e., the killing of the victim without giving the latter
Moreover, if the accused believed that the failure, to present the other witnesses was any opportunity to defend himself or resist the attack. The firing of the gun at the victim
because their testimonies would be unfavorable to the prosecution, he should have was so sudden and unexpected that the latter, who was unarmed, was caught totally
compelled their appearance, by compulsory process, to testify as his own witnesses or unprepared to defend himself or retaliate. There is treachery when the offender
even as hostile witnesses. 19 commits any of the crimes against persons employing means, methods or forms in the
execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk
to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. 23
The claimed inconsistencies are on minor if not inconsequential or trivial, matters.
Settled is the rule that discrepancies on minor matters do not impair the essential
integrity of the prosecution's evidence as a whole or detract from the witnesses Coming to the charge of illegal possession of firearms, Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866
honesty. These inconsistencies which may be caused by the natural fickleness of penalizes, inter alia, the unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition with reclusion
memory, even tend to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of prosecution temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. However, under the second
witnesses because they erase any suspicion of rehearsed testimony. What is important paragraph thereof, the penalty is increased to death if homicide or murder is committed
is that the testimonies agree on the essential facts and that the respective versions with the use of an unlicensed firearm. It may thus be loosely said that homicide or
murder qualifies the offense because both are circumstances which increase the
penalty. It does not, however, follow that the homicide or murder is absorbed in the
offense. If this were to be so, an anomalous absurdity would result whereby a more
serious crime defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code will be absorbed by
a statutory offense, one which is merely malum prohibitum. Hence, the killing of a
person with the use of an unlicensed firearm may give rise to separate prosecutions for
(a) the violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and (b) the violation of either Article 248
(Murder) or Article 249 (Homicide) of the Revised Penal Code. The accused cannot plead
one to bar the other; stated otherwise, the rule against double jeopardy cannot be
invoked as the first is punished by a special law while the second — Murder or Homicide
— is punished by the Revised Penal Code. 24 Considering, however, that the imposition
of the death penalty is prohibited by the Constitution, the proper imposable penalty
would be the penalty next lower in degree, or reclusion perpetua. 25

The trial court also correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua in Criminal Case
No. 5065. However, the words "or life imprisonment" following "reclusion perpetua" in
the dispositive portion of the decision should be deleted, for the latter is not the same
as life imprisonment. 26

In line with the prevailing jurisprudence, the indemnity awarded by the trial court
should be increased from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of Branch 3 of the Regional Trial Court of Tagbilaran City in
Criminal Case No. 5064 and Criminal Case No. 5065 finding the accused LUCIANO
JUMAMOY y AÑORA, alias "JUNIOR," guilty of the crimes charged therein, is hereby
AFFIRMED subject to the modification as to the indemnity which is increased from
P30,000.00 to P50,000.00 and the deletion of the words "life imprisonment" from the
dispositive portion thereof.

Costs against the accused.

SO ORDERED.
People V. Flores The facts as found by the trial court are as follows:

This is an appeal from the decision[1] of September 19, 1996, of the Regional Trial Court "Antonio Garcia is 39 years old, married to Teresita Maningas Garcia,
of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 16, in Criminal Case No. 1323-M-92 convicting accused- tricycle driver, and residing at No.27 Bulualto, San Miguel, Bulacan.
appellant Rosalino Flores alias "Jianggo" of the crime of murder as follows: On June 13, 1992 at about 7:00 in the evening, he was celebrating
his birthday and having a drinking spree with his invited guests
namely: Danilo Lacanilao[5], Romeo Lacap, Gregorio Olalia,
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, herein accused is hereby found
Hermogenes Gatdula and Sergio Villegas, who were all from Bulualto.
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder defined under
They were all seated around a table at the backyard 4 arms length
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and he is therefore sentenced
away from the back door of his house. The table was about 4 to 5
to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA.
meters away from the bamboo trees. Between the table and the
bamboo trees was a lighted 60 to 100-watt electric bulb hanging from
Further, accused is ordered to pay the wife or heirs of deceased a wire 2 1/2 meters away from the bamboo trees. At about that time,
Antonio Garcia, the following: Myla Garcia, 17 years old and 2nd year high school student daughter
of Antonio Garcia was also at the backyard to throw garbage to the
a) P50,000, as death indemnity; dump pit. On her way, she heard noise (langitngit) of the debris of
the bamboo trees at the backyard (siit ng kawayan sa may likuran).
When she inspected what was the noise about, she saw Rosalino
b) P9,000, as expenses for the wake; Flores, herein accused standing 1 arms length away from her and 3
arms length away from her father and holding a short gun pointed to
c) P13,000, as expenses for the funeral; her father. Accused was half-naked upward and wearing black pants.
She rushed to her father but before reaching him, accused had
already fired the gun hitting her father who leaned on her and
d) P18,000, as lost income of Antonio Garcia for 10 years; and eventually fell to the ground at her side. She embraced her father
and walked with him to the house 4 arms length away but before
e) P60, 000, as moral damages; plus costs. reaching the house, she saw the accused still there and when she
shouted "si Jianggo, si Jianggo", the accused ran away. Antonio was
brought inside the house still breathing and talking and while being
Considering that the accused is a detention prisoner, the period
embraced by his wife and his head was on the lap of his daughter, he
served by him as such shall be deducted from this sentence in his
uttered the words "Hoy, may tama ako. Binaril ako ni Jianggo." His
favor
daughter, wife and Roberto Sebastian heard those words. He (Antonio
Garcia) was immediately brought to San Miguel District Hospital, but
SO ORDERED."[2] he died 20 minutes before reaching the hospital. He was pronounced
dead on arrival. He died of hemorrhage due to gunshot wound caused
The Information dated July 3, 1992 against accused-appellant reads: Esm by a bullet fired from a handgun believed to be a .38 caliber. The
bullet hit first the left arm of Antonio Garcia towards the left side of
his stomach and landed on his left lung. A deformed slug measuring
"The undersigned Asst. Provincial Prosecutor accuses 0.2 centimeter by 2 centimeters was extracted from his left
Risalino[3] Flores y Caperlac alias "Jianggo" of the crime of murder, leg. Esmmis
penalized under the provisions of Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code,
committed as follows:
Roberto Sebastian resident also of Bulualto, San Miguel, Bulacan was
an invited guest of Antonio Garcia to his birthday party. On his way
That on or about the 13th day of June, 1992, in the municipality of to the party and while he was at the gate of the house of Antonio
San Miguel, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the Garcia which was about 5 to 6 meters away from the place where
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, Antonio Garcia and his guests were drinking, he heard a gun shot and
armed with a handgun and with intent to kill one Antonio Garcia, did thereafter a shout "Si Jianggo, si Jianggo." He saw the accused half-
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident naked standing and holding a shot gun 1 meter away from the
premeditation, abuse of superior strength and treachery, attack, bamboo tree where a lighted electric bulb of 60 to 100 watt was
assault and shoot with the said handgun he was then provided said hanging from the wire. He was 10 to 11 meters away from the
Antonio Garcia, hitting the latter on his left side, thereby inflicting accused when the latter ran away from the scene of the incident. He
serious physical injuries which directly caused the death of said (Roberto Sebastian) was 1 foot away from Antonio Garcia when he
victim. heard the latter utter "Binaril ako ni Jianggo." After uttering those
words Antonio Garcia expired (nalungayngay). Both Roberto
CONTRARY TO LAW."[4] Sebastian and Myla Garcia gave sworn written statements about the
subject incident to the NBI District Office at Baliuag, Bulacan I day
after the incident."[6]Accused-appellant denied killing the victim and
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant Rosalino Flores entered a plea of not guilty and proffered an alibi that on the date and time of the alleged shooting,
trial thereafter ensued. Esmsc he was at the house of one PO3 Ernesto Martin attending the birthday
party of the latter's daughter. According to him, PO3 Martin invited father; (2) Roberto's testimony that he saw accused-appellant flee from the scene of
him in the morning of June 13, 1992 but he went to the latter's the crime after Garcia was shot.
residence between 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and stayed there until
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.[7]
We do not agree. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict provided the following
requisites are present, namely: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts
In his appeal, accused-appellant contends: from which the inferences are derived from are proven; and (3) the combination of all
the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.[12] The
circumstantial evidence must constitute an unbroken chain of events so as to lead to a
A. THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT THE
fair and reasonable conclusion that points to the guilt of the accused.[13]
PROSECUTION PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE
APPELLANT KILLED ANTONIO GARCIA.
Although Myla and Roberto may not have seen the accused-appellant in the actual act
of shooting the victim, the unrebutted testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution
B. THE COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE DYING DECLARATION OF
point to him as the only person who may have been responsible for the commission of
ANTONIO GARCIA.
the crime to the exclusion of any other person. Witness for the prosecution Myla Garcia,
daughter of the victim, testified in a plain and straightforward manner that she saw
C. THE COURT ERRED IN DISREGARDING APPELLANT'S DEFENSE OF accused-appellant standing 3 arms' length away from the place where her father
ALIBI.[8] Antonio Garcia and his companions were drinking; that she approached him at a
distance of about one arm's length; that she saw him pointing a gun at her father; that
The appeal is without merit. Esmso as she rushed towards her father she heard a shot that hit her father who leaned and
then fell on her side; that she embraced him and walked him towards their house; that
before they entered the house, she saw accused-appellant still there but when she
We shall resolve the admissibility of the dying declaration of Antonio Garcia first. shouted, "si Jianggo, si Jianggo," he ran away.[14]Exsm
Accused-appellant argues that the dying declaration of the victim is inadmissible
because he was an incompetent witness and it was not made with knowledge of an
impending death. The elements for the admissibility of a dying declaration are: (1) the The other witness for the prosecution, Roberto Santiago, testified that as he was about
declaration must concern the crime and surrounding circumstances of the declarant's to enter the gate of the victims residence to attend the latter's birthday celebration, he
death; (2) it was made at a time when the declarant was under the consciousness of heard a shot and someone shouted, "si Jianggo, si Jianggo". He passed through the
an impending death; (3) the declarant would be competent to testify; and (4) the front door and went out the back door to where he heard the shot. Thereafter, he saw
declaration is offered in any case in which the decedent is the victim.[9] accused-appellant holding a gun and running away from the place of the incident.[15]

We agree with accused-appellant that the dying declaration is inadmissible for the sole At the time Myla and Roberto saw accused-appellant they were at a distance reasonable
reason that the declarant was not competent to testify had he survived. Garcia was not to make an accurate identification. Myla was only an arm's length away, while Roberto
a competent witness because he could not have seen who shot him. According to Mylas was 10 to 11 meters away from accused-appellant. Further, Myla and Roberto are
testimony, the assailant was positioned behind her father.[10] Upon being shot, Antonio familiar with the accused-appellant as they live in the same place and accused-appellant
Garcia stumbled and fell on his daughter. There is no showing that Garcia had the is Myla's uncle.
opportunity to see his assailant. Apparently, Garcia heard his daughter shout "Si
Jianggo, si Jianggo" and relying thereon, uttered, "Hoy, may tama ako, binaril ako ni All these circumstances put together constitute an unbroken chain, consistent with each
Jianggo," before he expired. A dying declaration of the victim identifying his assailant other and the theory that accused-appellant authored the crime charge. The culpability
will not be given probative value if the victim was not in a position to identify his of the accused is further strengthened by that fact that he fled from the place after the
assailant as he was shot from behind.[11] commission of the crime.[16] This Court has already ruled time and again that flight of
an accused from the scene of the crime removes any remaining shreds of doubt on his
Notwithstanding, the prosecution established with certainty the identity and culpability guilt.[17]
of accused-appellant. Msesm
Second, accused-appellant argues that the lower court erred in according great weight
Accused-appellant's contention that there is reasonable doubt that the accused- to the testimony of Roberto Sebastian that he saw accused-appellant leaving the crime
appellant killed Antonio Garcia for the following reasons: 1) there is no direct evidence scene after Antonio Garcia was shot. Accused-appellant questions the credibility of
that the appellant actually shot Antonio Garcia; 2) the accused-appellant tested Roberto Sebastian. According to accused-appellant, Roberto Sebastian could not have
negative in the paraffin test; 3) the gun supposedly used to kill the victim an the slugs possibly seen the accused leave the premises considering that Myla testified that the
were never presented in evidence; and that 4) there was another person, Danilo assailant ran away after the shot was fired and at that point in time, Sebastian was just
Leonardo, who possessed a gun at the time the killing occurred, fails to convince the entering the gate of the house of the victim. True, Sebastian testified that he was at
Court. the gate when he heard a gun shot and a shout, "Si Jianggo, si Jianggo." However, he
also testified that it only took him 6 to 7 seconds to get to the crime scene by passing
through the front door and out the back door.[18] Verily, the fact that it only took Roberto
First, accused-appellant argues that the trial court convicted the accused-appellant on 6 to 7 seconds to reach the back of the house from the gate enabled him to see accused-
the basis of circumstantial evidence which is not sufficient to support a conviction, to appellant still holding the gun and fleeing from the crime scene. Kyle
wit: (1) Myla's testimony that she saw accused-appellant with a gun pointed at her
Moreover, credibility of witnesses is generally for the trial court to determine. The "Besides, it is hard to believe that accused was attending the birthday
reason is that it had seen and heard the witnesses themselves and observe their party of the daughter of PO3 Ernesto Martin at the time of the
demeanor and manner of testifying. Its factual findings therefore command great commission of the crime. PO3 Ernesto Martin, a defense witness,
weight and respect. These findings can only be overturned if the trial court overlooked testified that during the birthday celebration, accused greeted his 10-
facts of substance and value that if considered might change the result of the year old daughter celebrant. However, in the latter part of his
case.[19] None was adduced in the instant case. testimony, he testified that his said daughter was not there on that
date because she lived with her grandmother. If this is so, then it is
not true that accused greeted the celebrant in that birthday party.
Third, accused-appellant attempts to break the chain of circumstances by pointing out
There is doubt also on the testimony of the accused saying that he
that the defense presented a witness who testified that she saw a person whom she
took 4 bottles and 2 glasses of beer in the birthday party and never
identified as Danilo Leonardo as also half-naked and carrying a gun in the vicinity of
left the place even to urinate from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Based on
the crime scene. Defense witness Carmelita Leonardo testified against her own brother,
common knowledge and experience, it is highly unbelievable for a
Danilo Leonardo, that she saw the latter undressed, holding a small gun and going out
person who has taken 4 bottles and 2 glasses of beer not to urinate
of the crime scene after Antonio Garcia was shot. Danilo Leonardo took the witness
for 3 hours. Further, he said that at the birthday party he was seated
stand to refute the testimony of his sister. Danilo Leonardo testified, among others,
on the bench together with Ex-Mayor Lipana, Barangay Captain Roger
that he did not see Carmelita in the house of the victim in the evening of June 30, 1992;
Torres and other guests. However, PO3 Ernesto Martin the host of the
that Carmelita could not have been invited by Antonio Garcia to his birthday because
party, did not mention Ex-mayor Lipana and Barangay Captain Roger
they became adversaries when Antonio Garcia testified against Rosalino Flores, brother
Torres as his guests. Furthermore, according to the accused he was
of Victorino Flores who happens to be the husband of Carmelita.[20] The trial court found
informed immediately after the subject incident that Antonio Garcia
the version of Danilo Leonardo credible and that of Carmelitas as biased for the reason
his first cousin, was shot and he was a suspect to it. If he was not
that "she is the live-in-partner for 10 years of Victorino Flores, the brother of the
really involved in the shooting, why did he not surrender himself to
accused, who together with the accused, threatened to kill Antonio Garcia for testifying
the police authorities and gave statement about his innocence? He
against said accused." We find no reason to set aside the evaluation by the trial court
was then with PO3 Ernesto Martin, a police officer, Ernesto Catiis,
of the contradictory testimonies of these two witnesses. As we have mentioned earlier,
Bgy. Captain of Bulualto and other guests in the birthday party who
the evaluation of the testimonies of witnesses by the trial court is received on appeal
were all Barangay Captains and Municipal Officials of San Miguel,
with the highest respect because such court has the direct opportunity to observe the
Bulacan to whom he could have coursed his surrender. Why did he
witnesses on the witness stand and determine whether they are telling the truth or
still wait to be arrested by the NBI agents 3 days after the subject
not.[21]Kycalr
incident. He did not even bother to see or extend assistance to his
first cousin who met a horrible fate. His inactions add doubts to his
In relation to the foregoing, the trial court appreciated motive as disclosed, by the claim of non-involvement in the shooting.[26]Calrky
evidence for the prosecution which created a more credible picture of the commission
of the crime charged against accused-appellant. To complement its theory of the killing,
Aside from the foregoing assessment of the trial court that accused-appellant's alibi is
the prosecution convincingly established that accused-appellant was driven by a
not worthy of belief, we find that his alibi failed to prove that he could not have been
personal grudge against the victim because the latter was testifying against the former
anywhere near the locus criminis, for in his own testimony he admitted that there are
in a criminal case. Verily, the prosecution introduced evidence that he had previously
two routes at a distance of 400 meters each from the house of PO3 Ernesto Martin and
threatened to kill Antonio Garcia for testifying against him. It has been held that a key
the place of the incident.[27] Defense witness PO3 Ernesto Martin testified that the place
element in the web of circumstantial evidence is motive.[22]
of the incident could be reached by foot for about 10 to 15 minutes and by vehicle for
about 5 to 10 minutes.[28] Clearly, accused-appellant failed to establish that it was
Third, the fact that accused-appellant tested negative in the paraffin test; that the physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at the time of commission. Thus,
prosecution did not present the gun used in the commission of the crime and the slug his alibi must fail.
recovered from the body of the victim is of no moment. It has been held that the
negative findings of the paraffin test do not conclusively show that a person did not
We agree with the trial court that murder was committed in this case. However, among
discharge a firearm at the time the crime was committed for the absence of nitrates is
the qualifying circumstances enumerated in the Information, only treachery may be
possible if a person discharged a firearm with gloves on, or if he thoroughly washed his
correctly appreciated. Abuse of superior strength is necessarily absorbed
hands thereafter.[23] Since accused-appellant submitted himself for paraffin test 3 days
therein.[29] Evident premeditation can not be considered for lack of evidence that
after the shooting, it is likely that he has already washed his hands thoroughly and
accused-appellant pre-conceived the crime.[30]
removed all traces of nitrates in his hand. It has also been held that the non-
presentation by the prosecution of the gun used and the slug recovered from the body
of the victim is not fatal to the case[24] when there is positive identification of the Treachery is appreciated when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons,
assailant, as in the instant case. employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and
specially to ensure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which
the offended party might make. The presence of treachery which qualified the killing to
Finally, accused-appellant would have the Court reconsider his defense of alibi as
murder was correctly appreciated by the trial court because the manner by which
proper. For alibi to be validly invoked, not only must he prove that he was somewhere
accused-appellant commenced and consummated the shooting of the victim Antonio
else when the crime was committed but he must also satisfactorily establish that it was
Garcia showed conclusively that the latter was totally unaware of the assault and not
physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at the time of commission.[25] In
afforded an opportunity to raise any defense against the assailant. Antonio Garcia, could
the instant case, the trial court disbelieved accused-appellant's alibi as follows: Rtc-
not have expected, while drinking with his buddies in celebration of his birthday that
spped
he will be shot from behind. There is treachery where the accused's attack was so
sudden and launched from behind that the victim was caught off guard without an
opportunity t defend himself.[31]Mesm

The last issue to be resolved is the propriety of the amounts awarded by the trial court
to the heirs of Antonio Garcia. We affirm the award of P50,000.00 as indemnity for the
death of Antonio Garcia as this is in accord with prevailing jurisprudence.[32] Considering
that the heirs of the victim asked for it and testified that they experienced moral
suffering, the award of moral damages is proper but in the reduced amount of
P50,000.00, as this is also in accord with prevailing jurisprudence.[33]We cannot sustain
the award of P9,000.00 as expenses for the wake and the additional P13,000.00 as
expenses for the funeral. The records show that the prosecution failed to substantiate
the bare assertion of the widow, Teresita Maningas Garcia, with other corroborative
evidence. The Court can only grant such amount for expenses if they are supported by
receipts.[34] Finally, we must modify the award for loss of earning capacity. It was
established that Antonio Garcia was 39 years old at the time of his death and earning
P150.00 a day[35] or P4,500.00 a month as a tricycle driver. Loss of earning capacity is
computed on the basis of the following formula:[36]

Net life expectancy Gross Living expensesJjjuris

Earning = [2/3 (80-age at x [Annual - 50% of GAI)]

Capacity = death)] Income

(x) (GAI)

X = 2 (80-39) x 54,000.00 27,000.00

X = 27.33 x 27,000.00

Net Earning Capacity = P737,999.99

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as follows:

Accused-appellant Rosalino Flores is found GUILTY of murder for the death of Antonio
Garcia. He is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua and is ordered to pay the heirs of
Antonio Garcia P50,000.00 death indemnity, P50,000.00 moral damages and
P737,999.99 for loss of earning capacity. Jurismis

SO ORDERED.
People V. Penaso "ACT CONTRARY TO LAW."2 [Id. at 1.]

PEOPLE V. PENASO, 326 SCRA 311 (2000) Following the preliminary investigation on April 25, 1990, the municipal circuit court
issued an order for the arrest of the accused who, by then, had left Bohol for Misamis
FACTS: In April 1990, private complainant Lacar, a minor, filed a complaint for multiple Oriental.
rape against Gonzalo Penaso.
1. Private complainant alleged that Penaso with the use of force and superior
Meanwhile, on July 10, 1990, appellant was arrested in Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental,
strength, raped Lacar and threatened to kill her if she reported the matter to
for illegal possession of firearms. Notwithstanding the warrant of arrest for rape against
her parents
him, he posted bail for the case for which he was arrested, and then he disappeared.
2. Subsequently, the private complainant gave birth to a baby boy
3. The trial court convicted Penaso of rape. Penaso then filed an appeal.
4. Penaso alleged that he did not get Lacar pregnant. He cited the testimony of On July 16, 1990, private complainant gave birth to a baby boy.
defense witness Libres, a classmate of Lacar, to the effect that the complainant
admitted to him that Penaso did not cause her pregnancy. According to Libres, In August 1990, private complainant filed three additional complaints for rape with the
complainant identified one Willy Guitano or a certain man from Sagumay as circuit court, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 397,3 [Exhibit "B", Exhibit "3", Index of
the possible father of her child. Penaso also accused the private complainant’s Exhibits, p. 2.]398,4 [Exhibit "C", Exhibit "4", Id. at 5.] and 399.5 [Exhibit "D", Exhibit
stepfather as a possible culprit "5", Id. at 8.] These rapes allegedly took place in November and December 1989. She
5. Penaso challenged the allegations of Lacar and asked for a DNA test or blood likewise amended her complaint in Criminal Case No. 372, limiting it to just one charge
test of rape allegedly committed on November 16, 1989.6 [Supra Note 1, at 63.]

ISSUE: WON DNA test is necessary evidence to prove rape


On August 27, 1990, the Provincial Prosecutor of Bohol filed an information for the first
HELD: No. The SC held in one case: the issue of DNA tests as a more accurate rape complained of, to wit:
and authoritative means of identification than eye-witness identification need
not be belabored. The accused were all properly and duly identified by the "That on or about the 16th day of November, 1989, in the
prosecution’s principal witness. DNA testing proposed by petitioners to have an municipality of Candijay, Province of Bohol, Philippines and within the
objective and scientific basis of identification of semen samples to compare with those jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with
taken from the vagina of the victim are thus unnecessary or are forgotten evidence to lewd designs using force and intimidation, did then and there willfully,
late to consider on appeal unlawfully and feloniously succeed in having sexual intercourse with
the offended party one Basilisa Jugarap Lacar, a 15 years old girl,
Regarding Penaso’s allegation that he did not get Lacar pregnant, this attempt to against her will and without her consent, to the damage and prejudice
impugn the victim’s moral character is self-serving and not supported by the evidence. of the offended party and her parents in the amount to proved during
Moreover, the question of who sire the victim’s child has no bearing here for in rape the trial.
cases, the identity of the father of the victim’s child is not an issue since pregnancy is
not an element of the crime of rape.
"Acts committed contrary to the provisions of Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act(s) 2632 and
The facts of this case, as culled from the records, are as follows: 4111."7 [Id. at 17.]

On April 16, 1990, private complainant, assisted by her mother Rosalina Lacar, filed The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 6775 in the RTC of Tagbilaran City and
with the 8th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Candijay-Anda, Bohol, a complaint for raffled to Branch 1 of said court.
multiple rape, docketed as Criminal Case No. 372, stating:
On September 3, 1990, the Provincial Prosecutor filed with the RTC three additional
"That on the 16th of November 1989 at about 9:00 in the morning informations docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 6787, 6788, and 6789. Except as to the
more or less, particularly in the house of the accused Gonzalo Penaso, dates of the incidents complained of, the informations in these three cases were
when I, the victim Basilisa Lacar was there to borrow a book from my virtually identical to the information in Criminal Case No. 6775.
classmate which (sic) is the daughter of the accused, did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and felonuously (sic) with the use of
superior strenght (sic) and intimidation, pulled me forcibly and boxed On April 17, 1991, appellant was arrested in Magallanes, Agusan del Norte.
my abdomen and once in the state of almost unconcious have carnal
knowledge and to the effect caused me to bleed for he had broken On May 5, 1991, appellant escaped from his police escort in Cebu City while being
through my virginity, and threatens me of killing if I tell of what had transported from Agusan del Norte to Bohol.8 [Id. at 41.]
happened, to my parents, and repeated the same to my person with
the same threats one week after, and repeated on the third and fourth
In March 1993, police operatives in Cagayan de Oro City finally apprehended appellant.
time on the month of January 1990 in the fear that he might kill me
once I told everything to my parents, and as a result of his devil(ish)
act caused me to have an unwanted pregnancy of an unwanted child,
to the damage and prejudices to myself and to my parents.
When arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty to the four counts of rape. The cases were In rape cases the issue, more often than not, is the credibility of the victim. Rape is
consolidated and trial on the merits ensued. Appellant raised the defenses of denial and generally unwitnessed and very often the victim is left to testify for herself. Her
alibi. testimony is most vital and must be received with the utmost
caution.10 [People v. Domogoy, et al., G.R. No. 116738, March 22, 1999, p. 11, citing
People v. Casim, 213 SCRA 390 (1992).] When a rape victims testimony is
After trial, the court summarized its factual findings as follows:
straightforward, unflawed by any material or significant inconsistency, then it deserves
full faith and credit and cannot be discarded. Once found credible, her lone testimony
"a) That on November 16, 1989 at 9:00 oclock in the morning at the is sufficient to sustain a conviction.11 [People v. Caratay, G.R. Nos. 119418, 119436-
house of the accused Gonzalo Penaso (Criminal Case No. 6775) the 37, October 5, 1999, p. 8.]
complainant Basilisa Lacar who was then fifteen years old knocked at
the door of the house of the aforementioned accused Gonzalo Penaso
In assessing the credibility of witnesses, we are guided by the following doctrinal
who opened the door and upon inquiry whether his daughter, who
principles:
was a classmate of complainant, was present which the latter told the
complainant that her (sic) daughter was in the kitchen when in fact
and in truth his daughter was out; (1) The reviewing court will not disturb the findings of the lower court
unless there is a showing that it had overlooked, misunderstood, or
misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that
"b) That the accused Gonzalo Penaso forcibly pulled the complainant
could affect the results of the case;
Basilisa Lacar and pushed her into the bamboo bed and boxed the
abdomen of the complainant Basilisa Lacar and subsequently took off
her panty and inserted his penis into the vagina of the complainant (2) The findings of the trial court respecting the credibility of
Basilisa Lacar causing it to bleed; witnesses are entitled to great respect and even finality as it had the
opportunity to examine their demeanor when they testified on the
witness stand; and
"c) That the accused Gonzalo Penaso warned the complainant Basilisa
Lacar not to report to her parents otherwise he would kill her;
(3) A witness who testified in clear, positive, and convincing manner
and remained consistent on cross-examination, is a credible
"d) That the complainant reported the incident to her parents after
witness.12 [People v. Vergilio Reyes, G.R. No. 113781, September
the accused Gonzalo Penaso escaped to avoid being arrested;
30, 1999 citing People v. Bañago,, G.R. No. 128384, June 29, 1999.]

"e) That the second, third and fourth rape incidents were committed
Applying these guidelines, we find no reason to disturb the trial courts assessment of
in the same place in the vicinity of Cogtong Elementary School;
private complainants credibility. Appellant has shown no reason whatsoever for us to
doubt her testimony. The records show that private complainant testified as to her
"f) The defense witnesses and the accused Gonzalo Penaso ravishment in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous, and frank manner. She
vehemently denied the rape charges and interposed the defense that positively identified appellant as her rapist. She was consistent in her narration of how
four men impregnated the complainant Basilisa Lacar; she was dragged inside appellants house, boxed into submission, and
ravished.13 [Records, p. 6-8.] We find that private complainant did not waiver in her
"g) The first charge of rape was committed at the house of the account of her harrowing experience under intense and grueling cross-
accused Gonzalo Penaso at Cogtong, Candijay, Bohol; examination14 [TSN, August 13, 1993, pp. 12-20; TSN, August 24, 1993, pp. 3-
6.] Absent any showing that the trial courts assessment of her credibility was flawed,
we are bound by its findings.15 [People v. Mengote, G. R. No. 130491, March 25, 1999,
"h) The second, third and fourth charges of rape were allegedly p. 8.]
committed in the afternoon at the same premises near the Cogtong
Elementary School."9 [Id. at 111-112.]
We also note the finding of the trial court that:

The trial court convicted appellant in Criminal Case No. 6775 and sentenced him
to reclusion perpetua. "...in the course of the first trial of the above-entitled Criminal Cases
Nos. 6775, 6787, 6788 and 6789 the accused Gonzalo Penaso was
smiling while the complainant Basilisa Lacar cried and was seriously
Hence, this appeal with the sole assignment of error, as follows: and emotionally disturbed (as) characterized by anger as shown on
her facial expression."16 [Records, p. 108.]
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
GONZALO PENASO BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF A woman who says she has been raped, as a rule, says almost all that is necessary to
RAPE. signify that the crime has been committed.17 [People v. Tumala, Jr., 284 SCRA 436,
439 (1998).] More so, if she was crying throughout her testimony, for we have found
In his brief, appellant assails the trial court for giving credence to private complainants the same to be a badge of truthfulness.18 [People v. Mosqueda, G.R. No. 131830-34,
account and disregarding his alibi. He submits that the rape charges against him are September 3, 1999, p. 10; People v. Bea, Jr., G.R. No. 109618, May 5, 1999, p. 5;
fabricated.
People v. Maglantay, G.R. No. 125537, March 8, 1999, p. 7; People v. Ramos, 296 "The issue of "DNA tests" as a more accurate and authoritative means
SCRA 559, 570 (1998).] of identification than eye-witness identification need not be
belabored. The accused were all properly and duly identified by the
prosecutions principal witnessDNA testing proposed by petitioners to
Appellant argues that he could not have raped complainant on November 16, 1989 at
have an objective and scientific basis of identification of "semen
about 9:00 0clock in the morning, since the latter was attending classes at the Bohol
samples to compare with those taken from the vagina of the victim"
School of Fisheries in Cogtong, Candijay, Bohol, while he was in Sun-oc, Ubay, Bohol
are thus unnecessary or are forgotten evidence too late to consider
making banana chips. Inasmuch as they were in separate places, the rape could not
now."27 [Andal v. People, G.R. Nos. 138268-69, May 26, 1999, pp.
have taken place. His wife and another defense witness corroborated his testimony.
4-5.]
The latters testimony, was given scant consideration by the trial court, as said witness
admitted receiving one hundred pesos (P100.00) from appellants wife before testifying.
Appellant further points to the testimony of his daughter, Jonalou Penaso, who was the Moreover, the records show that appellant escaped from his police escort while being
victims classmate, to the effect that the victim was attending classes with her at the transported to face charges, and then remained at large for two years. His claims of
Bohol Fisheries School at the time and date the rape took place, so it was impossible abduction by the members of the New Peoples Army or by relatives of the victim are
for the victim to have been at his house at that time. both incredible and wanting in substantive proof, given his admission that he hid out
for a while with a relative in Metro Manila.28 [TSN, February 28, 1995, pp. 12-
13.] Flight is an implied admission of guilt, and appellants escape betrays both his guilt
We find complainants testimony credible, while appellants defenses of alibi and denial
and his desire to evade responsibility.29 [People v.Villanueva, 284 SCRA 501, 510
are lacking in truth and candor. Nothing is more settled in criminal law jurisprudence
(1998).] A truly innocent person would naturally grasp the first available opportunity
than that alibi and denial cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony of
to defend himself and assert his innocence as to the crime imputed to
the complainant.19 [People v. Tabion, G.R. No. 132715, October 20, 1999, p. 18;
him.30 [People v. Solis, 291 SCRA 529, 540 (1998).]
People v. Accion, G.R. Nos. 122550-51, August 11, 1999, p. 11.] Alibi is an inherently
weak defense, which is viewed with suspicion and received with caution because it can
easily be fabricated.20 [People v. Hivela, G.R. No. 132061, September 21, 1999, p. The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the pertinent elements of the
5.] Denial is an intrinsically weak defense which must be buttressed with strong felony of rape as defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code,
evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility.21 [People v. Hivela, supra. citing namely: that appellant Gonzalo Penaso had carnal knowledge of the victim against her
People v.Burce, 269 SCRA 293 (1997).] We find that despite his stance that several will and through the use of force and intimidation. No reversible error can be attributed
persons watched him demonstrate how to cook banana chips in Ubay, Bohol in the to the trial court in finding appellant guilty of rape. Hence, his conviction must be
morning of November 16, 1989,22 [TSN, December 29, 1994, pp. 3-4.] appellant failed upheld.
to present any disinterested witness to support his claim. For alibi to prosper, it is not
enough that accused show he was elsewhere at the time the crime was committed, but
We note, however, that the trial court awarded only P50,000.00 as indemnity and moral
there must also be clear and convincing proof that it was impossible for him to be at
damages. Pursuant to current jurisprudence, the award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity
the locus criminis at the time of its commission.23 [People v.Agunos, G.R. No. 130961,
is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape.31 [People v. Maglente, G.R. Nos.
October 13, 1999, p. 9.]
124559-66, April 30, 1999, p. 36.] In addition, moral damages amounting
to P50,000.00 at the least should be imposed in rape cases involving young and
With respect to the appellants claim that the victim was attending her classes at the immature girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, without need of further
time she was raped, we note that complainants explanation that it was their vacant proof.32 [People v. Batoon, G.R. No. 134194, October 26, 1999, pp. 8-9.]
period,24 [TSN, August 13, 1993, p. 11.] was not rebutted by the defense. All told, we
see no reason to depart from the rule that positive identification of the malefactor
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of the court a quo finding appellant Gonzalo
prevails over the defenses of alibi and denial.
Penaso guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua is hereby AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION
Appellant insists that he did not get private complainant pregnant. He cites the that CIVIL INDEMNITY in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) and
testimony of defense witness Rafael Libres, a classmate of the victim, to the effect that MORAL DAMAGES also in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) should
complainant admitted to him that appellant had not caused her pregnancy. According be paid by appellant to private complainant, Basilisa Lacar. Costs against appellant.
to Libres, complainant identified either one Willy Guitano or a certain man from
Sagumay, Candijay, Bohol as the possible father of her child. Appellant also points an
SO ORDERED.
accusing finger at private complainants stepfather as a possible culprit. This attempt to
impugn the victims moral character by the appellant is self-serving and unsupported
by the evidence. Furthermore, the question of who sired the victims child has no bearing
here, for in rape cases, the identity of the father of the victims child is not an issue,
pregnancy not being an element of the crime.25 [People v. Villaluna, G.R. No. 117666,
February 23, 1999, p. 14; People v. Malapo, 294 SCRA 579, 588 (1998); People v. Sta.
Ana, 291 SCRA 188, 214 (1998).]

In a last-ditch effort to win an acquittal, appellant asked for a DNA test or blood
test.26 [Rollo, p. 116.] We find the motion futile. As held in one case:
People V. Adoviso Mallari V. CA

FACTS: Pablo Adoviso, allegedly a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Given credence by respondent Court of Appeals is the following narration of the
Unit (CAFGU) and four John Does, were tried for the MURDER of Rufino Agunos and factual antecedents of this case by the People.
Emeterio Vazquez. Pablo Adoviso was positively identified by Bonifacio Agunos, the son
of one of the victims, because the former did not wear a mask in the perpetration of
the crime. Sometime on December 27, 1990, at around 2:30 p.m., Pat Manipon and Pfc.
Esguerra, who were both then assigned at the Capas Police Station, received reliable
Aside from denial and alibi, the defense also offered in evidence the testimony information that appellant Diosdado Mallari, who has a standing warrant of arrest in
of Ernesto A. Lucena, Polygraph Examiner II of the National Bureau of Investigation connection with Criminal Case No. 471 for homicide in 1989, was seen at Sitio 14,
(NBI) in Manila, who conducted a polygraph test on Adoviso. In Polygraph Report No. Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac (tsn, April 18, 1991, pp. 3-4; June 27, 1991, p.3).
900175, Lucena opined that Adoviso’s “polygrams revealed that there were no specific
reactions indicative of deception to pertinent questions relevant” to the investigation of Immediately upon receipt of such information, Pfc. Manipon, accompanied by Pat.
the crimes. Esguerra and Pat. Narciso Simbulan, with personal knowledge of the existence of a
standing warrant of arrest against appellant in connection with Criminal Case No. 471
The RTC of Camarines Sur found Adoviso guilty. for Homicide, immediately proceeded to Sitio 14, Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac. Upon
reaching the place, the arresting officers surrounded the house of appellant, arrested
On the premise that the trial court rendered the judgment of conviction on the him and told him to remain stationary.Thereupon, the arresting officers searched him
basis of “mere conjectures and speculations,” appellant argues that the negative result and found a homemade gun (paltik) with one M-16 live ammunition (tsn, April 18,
of the polygraph test should be given weight to tilt the scales of justice in his favor. 1991, pp. 5-6, 8; June 27, 1991, pp. 3-5, 7).

ISSUE: Whether or not the result of the polygraph test should be given weight and be
admitted as evidence? Appellant was handcuffed and brought to the Capas Police Station where he was
endorsed to the chief investigator while the homemade gun and live ammunition were
HELD: NO. A polygraph is an electromechanical instrument that simultaneously endorsed to the property custodian. The incident was then entered in the police
measures and records certain physiological changes in the human body that blotter after which the spot and investigation reports were prepared (tsn, June, April
are believed to be involuntarily caused by an examinee’s conscious attempt to 18, 1991, p. 5, 10; June 27, 1991, p. 6).[1]
deceive the questioner. The theory behind a polygraph or lie detector test is that a
person who lies deliberately will have a rising blood pressure and a subconscious block After investigation, the petitioner was charged with the crime of Illegal Posession
in breathing, which will be recorded on the graph. However, American courts almost of Firearms and Ammunition, and pleaded not guilty on arraignment. Trial on the merits
uniformly reject the results of polygraph tests when offered in evidence for ensued, after which, the Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac convicted petitioner of
the purpose of establishing the guilt or innocence of one accused of a crime, the crime charged, as follows:
whether the accused or the prosecution seeks its introduction, for the reason that
polygraph has not as yet attained scientific acceptance as a reliable and accurate means
WHEREFORE, accused Diosdado Mallari is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable
of ascertaining truth or deception. The rule is no different in this jurisdiction. Thus, in
doubt of the crime of Illegal Posession of Firearms and Ammunitions and hereby
People v. Daniel, stating that much faith and credit should not be vested upon a lie
sentences him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of seventeen years, four months
detector test as it is not conclusive. Appellant, in this case, has not advanced any
and one day as minimum to eighteen years and eight months as maximum.
reason why this rule should not apply to him.

Appellant was therefore correctly adjudged guilty of two counts of Accused, who is a detention prisoner is given full credit for the period of his
Murder. Treachery qualified the killings to murder. There is treachery when the preventive imprisonment, after compliance with Article 29 of the Revised penal Code.
offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means, methods or
forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, SO ORDERED.[2]
without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might
make. In other words, there is treachery when the attack on an unarmed victim who
has not given the slightest provocation is sudden, unexpected and without warning. The Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the decision of respondent Court
victims in this case were totally unaware of an impending assault – Rufino was sleeping of Appeals affirming in toto the abovequoted decision of the trial court. In its decision,
and Emeterio was going down the stairs when they were shot. The RTC Judgment is the Court of Appeals held that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, Pfc.
affirmed. Manipon and Pat Esguerra unequivocally proved that the handgun (paltik) and the live
M-16 ammunition were recovered from the person of the appellant (herein
petitioner).[3] The Court of Appeals further held that the search conducted on the
petitioner and the seizure of the subject firearm and ammunition were done on the
occasion of a lawful arrest as there was then an outstanding warrant for petitioners
arrest in Criminal Case No. 471.[4] It likewise found that petitioner was arrested while
committing the crime of illegal possession of firearms in the presence of the police
authorities. Thus, anent petitioners insistence that there was no standing warrant for
his arrest, thereby making the search and seizure invalid, the Court of Appeals stated
that, under the prevailing factual milieu, even in the absence of a warrant, still
appellants arrest would fall squarely within the context of Rule 113, Sec. 5 (b), Rules What about with respect to Criminal Case No. 471 you do not have a warrant
of Court x x x[5] which cites the instances when a warrantless arrest may be valid. of arrest issued by this court?

In seeking the reversal of his conviction, petitioner questions the factual finding A There was, maam, I know that there was a warrant of arrest issued, that is why
of the Court of Appeals that at the time of his arrest, there was a standing warrant we proceeded to Sitio 14, maam.
against him in Criminal Case No. 471. Petitioner posits that the absence of the requisite
warrant is fatal and renders the search and seizure unlawful. Corrolarily, the handgun COURT:
and ammunition seized from him are inadmissible in evidence. Petitioner also contends
Alright you proceeded to Sitio 14 because of the warrant of arrest issued by
that it was error for the Court of Appeals to conclude that the search and seizure could
this court to to apprehend Diosdado Mallari in Criminal Case No. 471, is that
be validly effected as it was done on the occasion of a lawful warrantless arrest,
correct?
particularly, while in the act of committing the crime of illegal possession of firearms in
the presence of the arresting officers. Finally, petitioner claims that even assuming that A Yes, maam.[7] [Underscoring supplied]
the handgun and ammunition had in fact been found in his possession, the prosecution
failed to prove that he had no license therefor and absent this essential element of the Pat. Jose Esguerra:
crime of illegal possession of firearms, it was manifest error for the Court of Appeals to
uphold his conviction. Q Do you have with you at the time when you arrested or when you seized the
gun and the live ammunition, a search and seize warrant?
The threshold issue is factual: whether or not there indeed existed a standing
warrant for the arrest of the petitioner. At the outset, this Court reiterates the general A None, your honor.
rule that when supported by substantial evidence, factual findings of the Court of
COURT:
Appeals are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal.[6] A careful
scrunity of the records of the case at bench leads this Court to concur with the Court of Q Did you have with you the warrant of arrest you mentioned with respect to CR.
Appeals in its finding that when the petitioner was arrested, there was then a standing No. 471?
warrant of arrest against him in connection with Criminal Case No. 471. This fact is
manifest from the testimonies of the arresting officers which the defense failed to rebut A When we went to him, we did not have a warrant of arrest because we were in
during trial. a hurry but when we returned, we reached the warrant officer, you honor.

Pfc. Danilo Manipon: Q Where did you return?

Q When you arrested Diosdado Mallari Mr. Witness, were you carrying a warrant A When we returned to the Capas Police Station there was the warrant officer
of arrest then? already, your Honor.

A No, sir. Proceed.

Q Neither you did not have with you a seize and search warrant and despite the ATTY. DULDULAO:
fact that you have no search and seize warrant you have still pursued in
getting the ammunition you have just mentioned, the home made gun and Q You said you did not bring the warrant of arrest when you arrested the the
the live bullet? accused how did you come to know that Diosdado Mallari was indeed the
accused despite the fact that you did not bring with you the warrant of arrest
A Yes, sir. then?

COURT: A When we went there, sir, we did not have a warrant of arrest because we were
in a hurry if we will wait our warrant officer, we may not reach Diosdado
You are referring to what case? Mallari, but we know that he has a standing warrant of
arrest.[8] [Underscoring provided]
A Homicide, maam, Criminal Case No. 471.
Further bolstering the arresting officers testimonies is the absence of any motive
COURT:
on their part to falsely testify against the petitioner. And it has been repeatedly held
Alright. that without proof of such motive, law enforcers are presumed to have regularly
performed their duties.[9] Thus, absent strong and convincing proof to the contrary, this
Q Was the seizure of the home made gun related to the warrant of arrest being Court is bound by the presumption that the arresting officers were aware of the legal
issued by this honorable court with respect to criminal case No. 471? mandates in effecting an arrest and strictly complied with the same.

COURT: At this juncture, the Court would like to stress that this is not a case of a
warrantless arrest but merely an instance of an arrest effected by the police authorities
Will you clarify, I heard him saying that he did not have a warrant of arrest, without having the warrant in their possession at that precise moment. Finding as it
is that correct? does, this Court deems it unnecessary to delve into the applicability of Section 5, Rule
113 of the Rules of Court and on the merits of both the petitioners and the Office of the
A Yes, maam.
Solicitor Generals arguments with respect thereto. The applicable provision is not
COURT: Section 5, Rule 118 of the Rules of Court on warrantless arrests, but Section 7, Rule
113 which provides as follows:
Sec. 8. Method of Arrest by officer by virtue of warrant. -- When making an arrest by True that in the case of People vs. Mesal[18], this Court dispensed with a
virtue of a warrant the officer shall inform the person to be arrested of the cause of certification from the Firearms and Explosives Unit (FEU) of the Philippine National
the arrest and the fact that a warrant has been issued for his arrest, except when he Police (PNP) to establish the alleged lack of license or permit on the part of the accused-
flees or forcibly resists before the officer has opportunity so to inform him or when appellant to possess the M-14 rifle found in his possession. This was, however,
the giving of such information will imperil the arrest. The officer need not have the premised on the fact that:
warrant in his possession at the time of the arrestbut after the arrest, if the person
arrested so requires, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as practicable.
The records reveal that the allegation was successfully substantiated by other
[Underscoring supplied]
evidence which firmly and undisputably established that accused-appellant did not
have and could not possibly have, the requisite license or authority to possess the M-
The abovequoted rule clearly allows a police officer to effect arrest without the 14 rifle concerned. Technical Sgt. Alfredo Romasanta, Supply Officer of the PC-INP
warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest. Thus, appellants arrest being lawful, 253rd PC Company, testified that the rifle concerned is the type of weapon which only
the search and seizure made incidental thereto is likewise valid, albeit conducted military men are authorized to possess x x x.[19]
without a warrant.[10] In the case of People v. Acol,[11] where the unlicensed firearms
were found when the police team apprehended the accused for robbery and not for
The above enunciated doctrine is not applicable to this case. The records are
illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, this Court held that the unlicensed
bereft of any evidence similar to that offered by the prosecution in Mesal to prove that
firearms may be seized without the necessity of obtaining a search warrant. Expounding
the petitioner did not have and could not possibly have the requisite license or authority
thereon, it stated that:
to possess the paltik and the M-16 live ammunition.

` x x x The illegality of the search is independent from the illegal possession of In view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed
prohibited arms. The illegality of the search did not make legal an illegal possession of decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Diosdado Mallari is hereby ACQUITTED
firearms. When, in pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of a criminal for insufficiency of evidence and ordered immediately released unless there are other
offense, the offending police officers should happen to discover a criminal offense legal grounds for his continued detention.
being committed by any person, they are not precluded from performing their duties
SO ORDERED.
as police officers for the apprehension of the guilty and the taking of the corpus
delicti.[12]

Finally, petitioner contends that the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of
proving that he did not have the requisite license for the firearm and ammunition found
in his possession. Anent this contention, the Office of the Solicitor General does not
even attempt to point out any evidence on record of petitioners non-possession of a
license or permit for there really is no such evidence. It relies on the theory that as the
firearm involved is a homemade gun or paltik and is illegal per se, it could not have
been the subject of license.[13] This, according to the Solicitor General, dispenses with
the necessity of proving that petitioner had no license to possess the firearm. This is
where the prosecutions case fails and miserably so. This Court has ruled that:

We do not agree with the contention of the Solicitor General that since a paltik is a
homemade gun, is illegally manufactures as recognized in People vs. Fajardo, and
cannot be issued a license or permit, it is no longer necessary to prove that it is
unlicensed. This appears to be at first blush, a very logical proposition. We cannot,
however, yield to it because Fajardo did not say that paltiks can in no case be issued
a license or permit and that proof that a firearm is a paltik with proof that it is
unlicensed.[14]

In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the burden
of proving the elements thereof, viz: (a) the existence of the subject firearm and (b)
the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding
license or permit to possess the same.[15] The latter is a negative fact which constitutes
an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession, and it is the duty of the
prosecution not only to allege it but also to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.[16] In the
case at bench, the testimony of a representative of, a certification from the PNP (FEU)
that petitioner was not a licensee of the said firearm would have sufficed for the
prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of the crime of illegal
possession.[17] The absence of the foregoing is fatal to the prosecutions case and
renders petitioners conviction erroneous.
People V. Rugay he was in Taytay, Palawan from August 15 to August 28, 1991, working as the overseer
of his fathers fishing boats.
Charged before the Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa with the Both accused admitted knowing each other but denied being together on the date
killing of Ariel Mendoza were Ricolito Rugay and Arvil Villalon in an information which of the alleged incident. The accused also denied any acquaintance with either Jesus
reads as follows: Madrid or Ariel Mendoza. They disavowed any participation in the latters death. Rugay
also denied having possessed any firearm.
That on or about the 28th day of August, 1991, in the evening, at Junction
I, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this The accused presented two witnesses, Artemio Figueroa and Odilon Jaboli, to
Honorable Court, the said accused with intent to kill, with treachery and corroborate their respective alibis.
evident premeditation conspiring and confederating together and mutually
helping one another and while armed with knife and gun, did then and Artemio Figueroa claimed that he was one of Rugays drinking buddies at the night
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack, stab and shot of the incident. A neighbor of Rugays parents-in-law, Figueroa was hired by Rugay as
therewith one Ariel Mendoza, thereby inflicting upon him mortal wounds, a farmhand to till the latters one hectare farm. On the evening of August 28, 1991,
which were the direct and immediate cause of his death.[1] Rugay allegedly invited Figueroa for a drink at the house of the accuseds parents-in-
law. Figueroa, together with Rugay, Pedong Baang and Rugays brother-in-law, stopped
In connection with said killing, accused Ricolito Rugay was charged with violating drinking at around 10:00 after which they parted ways. During that time,
the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1866, thus: Rugay supposedly never left the house.
That on or about the 28th day of August, 1991 in the evening, at Junction I, Odilon Jaboli, a friend of the Villalon family, testified that on the day of the alleged
Puerto Princesa City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this incident, Villalon was in the formers house where the Villalons usually stayed whenever
Honorable Court, the said accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully they were in Taytay. Jaboli allegedly saw him both during the day and the evening of
and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control one (1) August 28, 1991.
handgun, without first securing the necessary permit and/or license from
the proper authorities to possess the same which is in violation of Prs. The defense, likewise, offered in evidence the testimony of SPO4 Pedro Guba, a
Decree No. 1866.[2] member of the Philippine National Police currently assigned to the Narcotics
Command. Guba admitted utilizing Madrid as an asset to help pinpoint persons dealing
Upon arraignment on October 11, 1991, both accused entered a plea of not guilty in prohibited drugs. After Madrids detention on August 15, 1991, however, Guba ceased
to the murder charge. Accused Ricolito Rugay, likewise, pleaded not guilty to the charge employing him as such. Guba denied having taken Madrid out of jail on August 28,
of illegal possession of firearms. Joint trial commenced thereafter. 1991, saying he had no authority to take the latter in his custody.
The prosecutions version, as narrated by its principal witness, Jesus Madrid, is as Another defense witness, Ms. Aida Viloria-Magsipoc, a Forensic Chemist from the
follows: National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), conducted a chemical examination of the
paraffin casts taken from the hands of the accused. She testified that the diphenylamine
A detainee at the City Jail of Puerto Princesa City, Madrid claimed that he was
test on said casts yielded negative results, indicating the absence of nitrate specks on
employed by a certain M/Sgt. Guba as an asset supplying information concerning other
the hands of both accused.
drug users, that is, until his arrest and detention for possession of marijuana on August
15, 1991. On October 5, 1993, the Regional Trial Court[3] rendered its decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
On August 28, 1991, Guba allegedly negotiated with the city warden for Madrids
temporary release and engaged the latters services for surveillance purposes. WHEREFORE AND IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS,
JUDGMENT IS HEREBY RENDERED FINDING BOTH THE ACCUSED in
At around 11:30 that evening, Madrid and his friend, Joy Cortez, were in front of
Criminal Case No. 9628 guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
the Israel Motorworks, Junction I, Puerto Princesa, waiting for a tricycle. A drunk, Arvil
Murder as the same is defined and penalized under the Revised Penal
Villalon, walking in a zigzag manner, then passed by. After walking some two (2) meters
Code, sentencing both accused to suffer the penalty of reclusion
away from the couple, Villalon suddenly turned back and kicked Madrid. Villalon then
perpetua as well as to pay the cost. They are furthermore ordered to
pulled out a fan knife and attempted to stab the latter. Madrid sustained injuries on his
indemnify the heirs of the deceased the sum of Fifty Thousand
right wrist and left palm as he parried Villalons thrusts. While the stabbing incident was
(P50,000.00) Pesos as and for the death of the deceased as well as the
taking place, Ariel Mendoza, a friend of Madrid, appeared from his house and came to
further sum of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as and for moral
help Madrid. Mendoza chased Villalon as the latter ran towards the Mami House across
damages jointly and severally.
the road. Mendoza, however, was not able to overtake Villalon, for Ricolito Rugay
suddenly came out from the Mami House, pulled a gun from his waist, and shot In Criminal Case No. 9627, judgment is hereby rendered finding the
Mendoza. Mendoza fell face up. Villalon, who came out from the Mami House together accused Ricolito Rugay alias Jun Rugay guilty beyond reasonable double
with Rugay, then stabbed Mendoza on the chest. Rugay next turned his gun on Madrid, doubt of the violation of P.D. No. 1866 sentencing said accused to suffer
shot him twice and hit him on the left foot. Rugay and Villalon then fled the scene the penalty of reclusion perpetua as well as to pay the costs.
aboard a tricycle.
SO ORDERED.[4]
Both accused interposed the defense of alibi. Ricolito Rugay testified that he was
at his parents-in-laws house in Magsaysay, Aborlan, Palawan, on the evening of August Both accused appealed to this Court. However, accused Arvil Villalon later filed a
28, 1991. Rugay, his brother-in-law Blaire Sulpido, Artemio Figueroa alias Jun Bicol, motion to withdraw his appeal,[5] which was granted by the Court in its Resolution of
and a certain Pidong were then engaged in a drinking session. The group finished December 13, 1995,[6] thus leaving accused Ricolito Rugay as the lone appellant in this
drinking around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. For his part, accused Arvil Villalon claimed that case.
After a careful study of the evidence on record, we find that the prosecution failed owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess
to establish appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt. the same.[12]

Appellants conviction was based mainly upon the testimony of Jesus Madrid. The The prosecution attempted to prove the second element by presenting a
latter however admitted that he had been in detention at the Puerto Princesa City Jail certification[13] from the Philippine National Police to the effect that said office ha(d) no
from August 15, 1991 up to and including the date of the commission of the crime on available information regarding any license issued to Rugay.
February 28, 1991 for violation of the Dangerous Drug Law, having been arrested for
possession of marijuana. The Court, therefore, entertains serious doubts regarding the The prosecution nevertheless failed to establish the first element. No firearm was
opportunity by which this supposed witness came to know of the facts to which he presented in evidence. Moreover, Madrid testified that appellant used a short
testified. In the ordinary course of nature,[7]Madrid could not have possibly witnessed gun.[14] According to Ms. Aida Viloria-Magsipoc, the NBI Forensic Chemist, a short
the events that transpired on the night of August 28, 1991 as he was in detention at barreled firearm, as approved to one with a long barrel, would deposit more gunpowder
the Puerto Princesa City Jail. His assertion that in the evening of August 28, 1991 he nitrates on the subject.[15] Logically, the use of a short-barreled gun increases the
was taken out of the jail and used for surveillance purposes by SPO4 Guba was belied probability that the paraffin tests would yield positive results. Yet, the paraffin tests
by the latter who testified that after August 15, 1991, he no longer utilized Madrid as yielded exactly the opposite. While a negative result on a paraffin test is not conclusive
an asset since Madrid was already in detention and he (Guba) had no authority to place proof that appellant did not fire a gun,[16] such fact, if considered with the other
Madrid under his custody.[8] circumstances of this case, may be taken as an indication of his innocence.[17] In
criminal cases, every circumstance favoring the innocence of the accused must be duly
Other than Madrids testimony, no evidence was presented to establish Rugays taken into account.[18]
presence at the scene of the crime. In this connection, it may be asked why the
prosecution did not present other eyewitnesses to the incident considering the doubt Finally, the Court notes that the conviction of appellants co-accused, Arvil Villalon,
that certainly could be genuinely raised as to Madrid being where he was at the time of rests on the same evidence used to convict appellant.The Court finds that such evidence
the shooting. The presence of other persons at the scene of the crime is implicit in does not prove beyond reasonable doubt either of the accuseds guilt. The acquittal of
Madrids testimony relating to the events transpiring after appellant shot him: Ricolito Rugay should also benefit Arvil Villalon, the withdrawal of the latters appeal
notwithstanding.[19]
A I was brought by the people there to our house.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED. Ricolito Rugay
Q Were you brought to the hospital for medical treatment? and Arvil Villalon are hereby ACQUITTED of Murder.Ricolito Rugay is, likewise,
ACQUITTED of violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866. Their immediate release from
A Yes, maam. confinement is hereby ordered unless they are detained for some other lawful cause.
Q How about Ariel Mendoza, what happened to him if any after he was shot and SO ORDERED.
stabbed?

A He was brought to the hospital immediately, maam.

Q By whom?

A By the people from the Mami House.[9]

Yet, none of the people there or those from the Mami House was ever presented by the
prosecution as witnesses to the killing of Ariel Mendoza, or even to confirm Madrids
presence at Junction I, Puerto Princesa. Neither was Joy Cortez, Madrids supposed
1322companion and probably the only other witness to the incident, called upon by the
prosecution to testify.[10]

Madrid was allegedly stabbed by Arvil Villalon and, thereafter, shot by Ricolito
Rugay, resulting in injuries to his hands and left foot. No medical certificate, however,
was shown, nor any doctor, nurse or medical attendant presented to prove that Madrid
was treated for said injuries. Neither was there any proof that the scars on his hands,
which he exhibited to the trial court, were inflicted by a fan knife or that they were
sustained on the alleged date.

It is true that the accuseds defense is inherently weak, grounded as it is on


alibi. Nevertheless, the conviction of the accused must rest not on the weakness of the
defense but on the strength of the prosecutions evidence.[11] Considering the
circumstances of this case, the Court is left with no alternative but to acquit appellant
Ricolito Rugay of Murder for the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.

The Court, likewise, acquits appellant of the charge of Illegal Possession of


Firearms. To warrant conviction for illegal possession of firearms, the prosecution must
prove: (1) the existence of the subject firearm, and (2) the fact that the accused who