G.R. No. 126136 April 5, 2002
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
YAMASHITO RONQUILLO, accused-appellant.
DE LEON, JR., J.:
This is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 91, Quezon City in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-91-26812-14 convicting accused-appellant Yamashito Ronquillo of the crime of Murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
On January 6, 1991, at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening, a loud explosion was heard inside the Manresa Compound which is bounded by Sto. Domingo, Mauban, Dagot and Biak-na-Bato Streets in Barangay Manresa, Quezon City. The explosion set several houses on fire. Thereafter, several men who were going out of the compound were firing shots inside the compound. The shooting lasted for about one hour and stopped only when Quezon City Councilors Calalay and Tamayo arrived. As a result of the incident, five (5) houses were burned, two (2) persons were killed and several others were injured.2
The Quezon City police authorities initially conducted an investigation. Claiming that some of those involved in the incident were Quezon City policemen, the residents of Manresa Compound sought the assistance of the Commission on Human Rights, where they executed their affidavits. Then the affidavits were forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor of Quezon City, which endorsed the case to the Department of Justice for preliminary investigation.3
Seventeen (17) persons, namely, Yamashito Ronquillo, Juan Tagalog, Voltaire Ayate, Orlando Abis, Saturnino Paras, Sofronio Atienza, Jose Ofilan, Jose Malasa, Manuel Paras, Delfin Buendia, Roberto Tayam, Roberto Feliciano, Jaime Caravi, Roberto Obuna and Gil Omio, were charged with (1) Multiple Arson, (2) Attempted Murder and (3) Double Murder with Multiple Frustrated and Attempted Murder.
The Information4 in Criminal Case No. Q-91-26812 for Multiple Arson, reads:
That on or about January 6, 1991 in Barangay Manresa, Quezon City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating with and mutually helping one another and with treachery, abuse of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, and knowing the houses inside a residential compound in said barangay to be the dwellings of Basilisa Marzon, Baltazar Bacolongan, Epifania de Vera, Mely de Guzman and Angelito de Vera and known to the accused to be occupied by the said owners and the members of their families at the time, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously throw and explode a molotov bomb at the residential house of Basilisa Marzon thereby setting it on fire, as well as the four other houses, razing them to the ground, thereby causing damages to the respective owners thereof as follows:
a. Basilisa Marzon
b. Baltazar Bacolongan
c. Epifania de Vera
d. Mely de Guzman
e. Angelito de Vera
The Information5 in Criminal Case No. Q-91-26813 for Attempted Murder, reads:
That on or about January 6, 1991 in Barangay Manresa, Quezon City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating with and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, abuse of superior strength, treachery, aid of armed men, and in disregard of dwelling, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously open fire at Felicisimo Opriasa with their high-powered firearms thus commencing the commission of the felony of murder directly by overt acts, but did not perform all the acts of execution which would produce the felony of murder by reason of some cause other than their own spontaneous desistance, namely, victim Felicisimo Opriasa was not hit as he dodged the shots by dropping to the floor and crawling out of his house.
The Information6 in Criminal Case No. Q-91-26814 for Double Murder with Multiple Frustrated and Attempted Murder reads:
That on or about January 6, 1991 in Barangay Manresa, Quezon City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating with and helping one another, on the occasion of a conflagration, with intent to kill, treachery, abuse of superior strength and with the aid of armed men, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously open fire with their high-powered firearms at the residents of a residential compound resulting in the following, to wit:
a) instantaneous deaths of Rogelio Buencamino, Jr. and Feliciana Bacolongan, both of whom having suffered mortal gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies such as chest, abdomen and thigh;
b) serious gunshot injuries on the different parts of the bodies of Mario Moseños, Armando Pascual and Marissa Galangue, thus, accused had performed all the acts of execution which would produce the felony of murder as a consequence but which nevertheless did not produce it by reason of some cause independent of the will of the perpetrators, namely, the timely medical assistance; and
c) less serious and slight physical injuries to Elisa Albaytar and Jose Bobby Ocenar, thus, accused had commenced the commission of the felony of murder directly by overt acts, but did not perform the acts of execution which would produce the felony of murder by reason of some cause other than their own spontaneous desistance, namely that they failed to inflict serious injuries to the victims and that the injuries the latter sustained were not serious enough to endanger their lives, thereby causing damages in such amounts as may be proved.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Only Yamashito Ronquillo, Juan Tagalog, Voltaire Ayate and Orlando Abis were arrested, while the others are at large. When arraigned, the said four (4) accused pleaded not guilty to the three (3) charges. Joint trial ensued.
On May 2, 1994, after the cases against said four (4) accused were submitted for decision, Saturnino Paras, Jose Ofilan and Manuel Paras were arrested. Manuel Paras died on June 3, 1994; hence, the cases against him were dismissed. The cases against Saturnino Paras and Jose Ofilan are still pending trial.
On August 25, 1994, the trial court rendered a Joint Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1. ACQUITTING accused Yamashito "Bebot" Ronquillo, Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and Orlando Abis y Declaro of the crime of Multiple Arson in Crim. Case No. Q-91-26812 for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt;
2. ACQUITTING accused Yamashito "Bebot" Ronquillo, Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and Orlando Abis y Declaro of the crime of Attempted Murder in Crim. Case No. Q-91-26813 for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt; and
3. Finding accused Yamashito "Bebot" Ronquillo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder in Crim. Case No. Q-91-26814 for the killing of Feliciana Bacolongan and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to indemnify the heirs of Feliciana Bacolongan in the amount of P50,000.00 and to pay the costs of the suit.
Accused Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and Orlando Abis are ACQUITTED of the crime charged in Crim. Case No. Q-91-26814 on reasonable doubt;
The City Warden, Quezon City Jail, is directed to immediately release Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and Orlando Abis from custody of the law, unless held thereat for another lawful cause.
The conviction of appellant Yamashito Ronquillo for the killing of Feliciana Bacolongan in Criminal Case No. Q-91-26814 was based on the testimony of prosecution witness Baltazar Bacolongan who positively identified the appellant.
Baltazar Bacolongan testified that at 6:00 o' clock in the evening of January 6, 1991, he and his wife Feliciana were walking along Sto. Domingo Street on their way home when they heard a loud explosion. They ran to their house inside the Manresa Compound and saw that it was on fire. They called for their children, and as his wife was about to climb the stairs to their house, his wife fell down and he saw blood on her stomach. He placed his wife on his lap and looked at the direction where the shot came from, which was beside their fence along Mauban Street, and saw appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, Juan Tagalog, Voltaire Ayate, Saturnino Paras, Roberto Tayag, Roberto Feliciano and others firing their guns. He shouted for help and his neighbors came. They brought his wounded wife in front of the house of Polly Opriasa, and then to the hospital, but she died on the way to the hospital. He executed an affidavit8 after the incident.9
Mely de Guzman testified that her house was inside the Manresa Compound, about seven (7) meters away from Mauban Street and three (3) armslength away from the house of Baltazar Bacolongan. On January 6, 1991, at about 6:00 o' clock in the evening, she was cooking dinner when she heard a loud explosion. She saw the house of Baltazar Bacolongan burning and she, her husband and children went out of their house. Then she saw Jose Malasa, Jose Ofilan, Roger Ofilan, appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and others firing their guns. She and her family dropped to the ground to avoid being hit. Aside from the house of Baltazar Bacolongan, one-half of her house, and the houses of her mother, Epifania de Vera and that of her brother, Angelito de Vera, were also burned. However, witness De Guzman did not identify any of the four (4) accused in open court in the course of her testimony as among those involved in the shooting incident.10
On the other hand, appellant Yamashito Ronquillo denied liability in the killing of Feliciana Bacolongan and put up the defense of alibi. He testified that he was an awardee in the housing project in Manresa put up by the Quezon City government during the time of Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr., and also a member of the awards committee which evaluates the qualifications of the applicants of said housing project. Phase 3 of the housing project is occupied by most of the members of the Federation of Concerned Citizens of the Philippines (FOCCOS) headed by Felicisimo Opriasa. FOCCOS opposes the housing project because it claims that the property belongs to its members. In the morning of January 6, 1991, the members of FOCCOS constructed a fence along Mauban and Biak-na-Bato Streets. When informed of said construction, the barangay captain requested for police assistance and they invited the head of the group for a dialogue at the police station. Thereafter, a policeman and Pastor Ofilan went to the site of the aforementioned fence and ordered its removal because it was illegally constructed; appellant helped in the demolition. At about 3:00 o' clock in the afternoon, appellant saw Maria Opriasa and Jose Ofilan arguing but they were pacified by a policeman. At about 5:00 o' clock in the afternoon, appellant saw a person nailing something in the area where the fence was earlier put up, which was just behind his house, and he asked the said person to stop but the latter kicked him and he retaliated by boxing the said person who then ran away. Thereafter, appellant went home. After one hour, he heard a loud explosion from the place of Opriasa along Sto. Domingo and Mauban Streets, about fifty (50) meters away from his house, followed by successive shots, which lasted for about one hour. When the shooting stopped, he went out of his house to find out what happened. While he was standing at the gate of their compound, he saw media men and policemen going back and forth along Mauban Street.11
SPO2 Rosito Calabucal, who is with the Inspectorate and Legal Affairs Division, Central Police District Command, Camp Karingal, Quezon City, testified that he was the principal investigator designated to investigate the incident that occurred at Barangay Manresa. Upon receiving the assignment, he went to the National Orthopedic Hospital where two (2) victims of the shooting incident, Armando Pascual and Estrellita Pascual, were being treated. Armando Pascual gave a statement identifying Barangay Captain Saturnino Paras, Kagawad Jose Ofilan, Police Officer Malasa and other policemen as the persons who fired the shots inside the compound. Then SPO2 Calabucal went to the United Doctors Medical Center where another victim, Feliciana Bacolongan, was brought but who was already dead on arrival. He interviewed said victim's husband, Baltazar Bacolongan, who was not able to name the assailants. He advised Baltazar Bacolongan to go to the La Loma Police Station to give his statement but the latter failed to do so. He proceeded to the police headquarters at La Loma and prepared a report. Thereafter, he went to the crime scene and saw the dead body of Rogelio Buencamino which he brought to the PC Crime Laboratory for autopsy. He observed that the compound along Sto. Domingo and Mauban Streets is fenced with galvanized iron about six (6) feet high and that only the roofs of the houses can be seen outside the fence.12
The trial court ruled that solely accused-appellant Yamashito Ronquillo was liable for the death of Feliciana Bacolongan since he was the only one positively identified by Baltazar Bacolongan as one of those whom he saw firing his gun after his wife was shot on the stomach. Although Bacolongan testified that aside from appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, he also saw Juan Tagalog, Voltaire Ayate, Saturnino Paras, Roberto Tayag, Roberto Feliciano and many others, the trial court pointed out that in his Affidavit subscribed before the Public Prosecutor on January 17, 1991, Bacolongan failed to identify accused Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and Orlando Abis as among those whom he saw shooting at them and his neighbor, and only mentioned the names of appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, Roberto Feliciano, Jose Ofilan, Saturnino Paras, Sofronio Atienza and Pat. Jose Malasa, who were with other men whom he failed to recognize.13 The trial court deduced that Bacolongan would not have failed to recognize Juan Tagalog whom he admitted to know very well because the latter has been residing in Dagot for a long time;14 the same was true of Voltaire Ayate and Orlando Abis who were his long-time neighbors.15 Moreover, Baltazar Bacolongan together with Mely de Guzman, Basilisa Marzon and Epifania de Vera executed a Joint Affidavit16 subscribed on February 7, 1991, naming appellant, Juan Tagalog, Voltaire Ayate and Orlando Abis as among those responsible for the burning of their houses and the death of Feliciana Bacolongan and Rogelio Buencamino, Jr. Although Mely de Guzman testified that she saw appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog, Jose Malasa, Jose Ofilan, Roger Ofilan and others, among those firing their guns as her house and that of Baltazar Bacolongan were burning, she did not identify appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, accused Voltaire Ayate, Juan Tagalog and Orlando Abis in court, which was fatal to the cause of the prosecution since the identification of the malefactors is the testimonial linchpin of a criminal prosecution.17 The trial court considered said Joint Affidavit as hearsay evidence with no probative value insofar as Basilisa Marzon and Epifania de Vera were concerned because they were not presented as witnesses.18
The trial court also held that although Baltazar Bacolongan did not actually see Yamashito Ronquillo fire the shot that hit his wife, there being conspiracy between Yamashito Ronquillo and his armed companions, the act of each one of them is the act of all and it becomes immaterial who among them discharged the fatal bullet. The attendant circumstance of treachery qualified the killing to murder.19
Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration20 of the trial court's judgment of conviction, which was denied for lack of merit.21
Hence, this appeal.
Appellant ascribes to the trial court the following errors:
THE HONORABLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT BALTAZAR BACOLONGAN HAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED THE ACCUSED YAMASHITO RONQUILLO.
THE HONORABLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING CONSPIRACY IN THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE.
THE HONORABLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED YAMASHITO RONQUILLO BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT ON THE LONE TESTIMONY OF BALTAZAR BACOLONGAN WHICH IS MATERIALLY WEAK, IN TOTAL DISREGARD OF THE EVIDENCE THUS INTRODUCED AS WELL AS THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES PROVEN IN THE CASE.22
Appellant contends that the trial court erred in finding that he was positively identified by prosecution witness Baltazar Bacolongan to be responsible for the death of Feliciana Bacolongan due to the following reasons:
1. Bacolongan's view must have been hampered by the crowded houses inside the compound, hence, he could not have possibly recognized appellant as one of the culprits.
2. Bacolongan's testimony suffered contradiction since he testified during direct examination that appellant was in front of his house firing at them while during cross-examination, he testified that appellant and his companions were positioned at the back of their fence along Mauban Street.
3. In spite of the testimony of Felicisimo Opriasa that there was light coming from OTALCO just across Sto. Domingo Street, the street on the other side of Mauban Street where Bacolongan's house was situated has no light. It is also a common experience that once there is fire, electricity in the whole block will automatically be shut off to prevent the fire from spreading.
4. Bacolongan did not implicate appellant as among the culprits when he was interviewed by the police investigator at the hospital where Bacolongan's wife was brought. Bacolongan only mentioned appellant as one of the culprits in his affidavit, which was executed eleven (11) days after the incident, and in another joint affidavit where ten (10) more accused were added.23
Appellant's arguments are devoid of merit.
We find that Bacolongan's testimony on direct examination that appellant was in front of Bacolongan's house firing at them is not necessarily inconsistent with his testimony on cross-examination that appellant and his companions were positioned beside the fence at the back of Bacolongan's house along Mauban Street. When Bacolongan said that the appellant and his companions were in front of their house, he meant that they were at the fence along Mauban Street fronting their house. Appellant testified that his house was the first house near the fence along Mauban Street, and that his house was about three (3) meters away from the fence.24 Before Bacolongan's wife fell down, she was facing Mauban Street and was about one and a half meters away from the stairs of their house.25 Appellant and his companions were beside their fence along Mauban Street and were about five (5) meters away from Bacolongan's house.26 As the Solicitor General pointed out, Feliciana Bacolongan's wound on the stomach is consistent with Baltazar Bacolongan's testimony during cross-examination that his wife's assailants were beside the fence along Mauban Street.1âwphi1.nęt
From the foregoing, it is apparent that at the time of the incident, the position of appellant vis-à-vis Baltazar Bacolongan, who was behind his wife27 when the latter was shot, shows that Bacolongan's view of the appellant and his companions was not hampered by any house in the compound because his house was the first house near the fence along Mauban Street with a distance of only three (3) meters, and appellant and his companions were then positioned beside their fence along Mauban Street. Bacolongan testified that the height of their fence along Mauban Street, which was made of wood and galvanized iron, was only half that of his house thus enabling him to see outside the compound.28
Appellant's contention that the place of the incident was dark was belied by prosecution witness Severina Navoa who testified, thus:
Q Immediately after the explosion, is it not that the lights in the compound went off?
A Yes, sir, the lights went off.
Q So are you telling us that at that time there was a total brownout?
A It was not due to brownout, but the lights went off because of the fire.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: She said it was not due to brownout. Witness may answer.
A The compound darken, but there were lights outside the compound.29
Moreover, we noted that Mely de Guzman, who was Bacolongan's neighbor, testified that their side of the compound near Mauban Street was well-lighted because of the burning houses,30 which included that of Baltazar Bacolongan.
With regard to the appellant's contention that Bacolongan did not implicate him the first time he was interviewed by the investigating officer, SPO2 Rosito Calabucal, the trial court correctly resolved this issue, thus:
xxx However, said accused (appellant) tried to discredit the testimony of Baltazar Bacolongan through SPO2 Rosito Calabucal, who stated that when he interviewed Baltazar Bacolongan in the hospital on the night of the incident and asked him for the identity of the suspect who shot his wife, Baltazar Bacolongan was not able to mention any name. It is worth noting that in the Initial Investigation Report31 submitted by SPO2 Rosito Calabucal to his Station Commander regarding the shooting incident, he merely stated in paragraph 8 thereof that he saw the cadaver of Feliciana Bacolongan at the morgue of the United Doctors Medical Center. There is nothing in said Report which states that SPO2 Calabucal interviewed or even saw Baltazar Bacolongan in the hospital, unlike in paragraph 6 thereof where he stated that he interviewed/investigated victims Estrellita Pascual and Amado Pascual, who both sustained gunshot wounds, at the National Orthopedic Hospital where they were brought for treatment.32 (Emphasis supplied.)
The Solicitor General aptly branded as mere conjectures the appellant's allegations that it was improbable that (1) Bacolongan did not incur a single wound and his wife suffered only one gunshot wound in spite of Bacolongan's testimony that there were about six (6) to sixteen (16) armed men shooting towards their direction; and (2) appellant escaped arrest despite the presence of 75 policemen who responded at the crime scene. Indeed, appellant's allegations cannot prevail over the positive identification of appellant by prosecution witness Bacolongan, thus:
Q When you saw your house on fire, what did you do at that time?
A I called my children who were crying inside the house.
Q And what did you do after that?
A I saw my wife full bloodied and wounded on her bosom.
xxx xxx xxx
When you saw your wife lay flat on the ground, what did you do after that?
I placed her on my lap and then I tried to look where the shot came from.
Q After you carried your wife, what did you do after that?
A I turned and tried to look where the shot came from and then I saw Yamashito Ronquillo, Juan Tagalog, Voltaire Ayate, Jose Ofilan.
Q Who else?
A Rogelio Ofilan, Orlando Abis and many others.
And where you able to find out where the shot came from?
Yes, your Honor. It came from beside our fence.
The fence of what street?
And can you tell which part of the body of your wife which was hit by bullet?
Here in the stomach. (Witness pointing to his stomach.)33
We agree with the trial court's ruling that the fact that the appellant and his armed companions were seen by Baltazar Bacolongan firing their guns immediately after his wife was shot gave rise to no other conclusion but that the appellant and his armed companions were the ones responsible for the shooting of Feliciana Bacolongan.34
With regard to the appellant's contention that the trial court erred in believing the allegedly weak testimony of prosecution witness Baltazar Bacolongan which resulted in his conviction, it is a well-settled rule that the credibility of the witnesses is best left to the discretion of the trial court, which has the advantage of observing the demeanor of the witnesses as they testify.35 Thus, on appeal, the trial court's evaluation of the testimony of the witnesses is accorded great respect and finality in the absence of any indication that it overlooked certain facts or circumstances of weight and influence, which if reconsidered, would alter the result of the case.36 We have carefully reviewed the records of this case and find no reason to alter the conclusion of the trial court.
Further, appellant faults the trial court for ruling that conspiracy existed between him and his armed companions.
We agree with the trial court that conspiracy was present in this case. Direct proof of previous agreement of the accused to commit the crime is not necessary.37 Proof of the conspiracy may be inferred from the conduct of the accused, at the time of the commission of the felony, disclosing a common understanding among them for the perpetration of the offense.38 The evidence shows that after Feliciana Bacolongan was hit on the stomach and fell to the ground, prosecution witness Baltazar Bacolongan placed his wife on his lap and looked at the direction where the shot came from and saw appellant Yamashito Ronquillo, together with Saturnino Paras, Jose Ofilan, Jose Malasa and others firing their guns beside their fence along Mauban Street. The successive firing of guns inside Manresa compound caused the death of Feliciana Bacolongan, among others. Appellant and his companions acted in concert in the pursuit of their unlawful design or common goal which was to harm the people inside the compound. Hence, even if Baltazar Bacolongan did not actually see appellant fire the shot that hit his wife, where conspiracy is established, the act of one is the act of all.39 All the conspirators are liable as co-principals.40
Appellant's alibi is the weakest of all defenses because it can easily be concocted.41 For alibi to prosper, one must not only prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but must also show that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime.42 Appellant testified that after hearing an explosion and the successive shooting that followed, he remained in his house which is along Mauban Street and near the squatter's area,43 in the vicinity of the crime scene; hence, he failed to prove that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene when the crime was committed. More importantly, the defense of alibi and denial cannot prevail over positive identification by the prosecution witness who testified that he saw the accused-appellant at the scene of the incident and participated in the commission of the felony.44
The trial court correctly ruled that treachery was present in the commission of the offense. There is treachery when the 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, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.45 Treachery requires the concurrence of two conditions: (1) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (2) the deliberate or conscious adoption of the means of execution.46 Although the attack was frontal, treachery was present since the attack was sudden and unexpected and the victim, Feliciana Bacolongan, was not in a position to offer an effective defense.47 The appellant and his armed companions also positioned themselves behind the fence made of wood and galvanized iron from where they fired at the compound, which showed the employment of a means of execution which insured their safety from any defensive or retaliatory act on the part of the victim or residents of the compound. The other qualifying circumstances of abuse of superior strength and aid of armed men are absorbed by treachery and cannot be appreciated separately.48
The attendant circumstance of treachery qualifies the killing to murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, which at the time of the commission of the crime was punishable by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. Absent any mitigating or aggravating circumstances in the commission of the crime, the trial court correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Aside from the civil indemnity in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos P50,000.00) which was correctly awarded by the trial court to the heirs of the victim, they are also entitled to moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00), which needs no proof since the conviction of the appellant for the crime of murder is sufficient to justify the award of the same.49
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-91-26812-14 finding accused-appellant Yamashito Ronquillo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to pay the heirs of the victim civil indemnity in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that he is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of the victim moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00). Costs against the appellant.1âwphi1.nęt
Bellosillo, Mendoza, and Quisumbing, JJ., concur.
1 Penned by Judge Marina L. Buzon, Rollo, pp. 59-82.
2 Rollo, p. 59.
3 Rollo, p. 59.
4 Records, Vol. 1, pp. 5-6.
5 Records, Vol. II, p. 2.
6 Records, Vol. III, pp. 5-6.
7 Rollo, pp. 81-82.
8 Records, Vol. I, pp. 52-53.
9 TSN, April 22, 1993, pp. 6-9; April 29, 1993, pp. 6-8.
10 TSN, June 14, 1993, pp. 6-8, 11-13, 23.
11 TSN, January 17, 1994, pp. 5-17, 19.
12 TSN, January 10, 1994, pp. 3-11.
13 Exhibit B, Records, Vol. I, pp. 52-53.
14 TSN, April 29, 1993, p. 22.
15 TSN, November 15, 1993, p. 3.
16 Exhibit "F", Records, Vol. I, pp. 472-473.
17 People v. Lagnas, 222 SCRA 745, 756 (1993); People v. Hatton, 210 SCRA 1, 17 (1992).
18 Rollo, pp. 78-79.
19 Rollo, p. 80.
20 Rollo, pp. 174-195.
21 Rollo, p. 199.
22 Rollo, p. 93.
23 Appellant's Brief, Rollo, pp. 120-123.
24 TSN, April 29, 1993, p. 3; April 22, 1993, p. 14.
25 TSN, April 29, 1993, pp. 9-10.
26 TSN, April 29, 1993, pp. 8, 12.
27 TSN, April 29, 1993, p. 9.
28 TSN, April 22, 1993, p. 13; TSN, April 29, 1993, p. 5.
29 TSN, April 30, 1993, pp. 9-10.
30 TSN, June 14, 1993, p. 31.
31 Exh. 20-Ronquillo, Records, Vol. I, pp. 533-538.
32 Rollo, pp. 79-80.
33 TSN, April 29, 1993, pp. 7-8.
34 People v. Salveron, 228 SCRA 92, 97 (1993).
35 People v. Realin, 301 SCRA 495, 509 (1999); People v. Patawaran, 274 SCRA 130, 137 (1997).
36 People v. Realin, supra.
37 People v. Geguira, et al., 328 SCRA 11, 32-33 (2000).
39 People v. Sortes, 260 SCRA 353, 365 (1996); People v. Pablo, et al., G.R. Nos. 120394-97, January 16, 2001.
40 People v. Peralta, 25 SCRA 759, 776-777 (1968); People v. Pablo, supra.
41 People v. Perez, 265 SCRA 506, 513 (1996); People v. Juan, 322 SCRA 598, 618 (2000).
42 People v. Juan, et al., supra; People v. Villanueva, 302 SCRA 380, 394-395 (1999).
43 TSN, January 17, 1994, p. 21.
44 People v. Juan, et al., supra; People v. Abdul, et al., July 13, 1999.
45 Article 14, paragraph 16, The Revised Penal Code.
46 People v. Barona, 323 SCRA 239, 244-245 (2000).
47 People v. Cuadra, 85 SCRA 576, 595 (1978); People v. Liston, 179 SCRA 415, 421 (1989).
48 People v. Sespeñe, et al., 102 Phil. 199, 210 (1957).
49 People v. Clarino, G.R. No. 134634, July 31, 2001; People v. Cortez, G.R. No. 131924, December 26, 2000.
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