Criminal Law Digests – June 2000
People v Robles
G.R. No.-101335 June 8,2000
Appellant was convicted of robbery with homicide.He was apprehended after admitting the crime. He was with the other perpetratorsin a taxi which was stopped in a routine inspection.
The unexplained possession of stolen articles gives rise to apresumption of theft, unless it is proved that the owne of the articles was deprived of possession by violence, intimidation, in which case the presumption becomes one of robbery.In robbery with homicide cases, the prosecution need only to prove these elements: 1)the taking of personal property is perpetrated by means of violence or intimidation against a person; 2)property taken belongs to another; 3)the taking is characterized by intent to gain or animus lucrandi, and 4)on the occasion of the robbery or by reason thereof the crime of homicide, here used in a generic sense is committed.The homicide may precede the robbery or may occur after the robbery.What is essential is that there an intimate connection between robbery ad the killing whether the latter be prior or subsequent to the former or whether both crimes be committed at the same time.The rule is that whenever homicide has been committed as a consequence of or on occasion of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals of the crime of robbery with homicide although they did not take part in the homicide, unless it clearly appears they endeavored to prevent the homicide.
People v Antonio
G.R. No.-122473 June 8,2000
This is a case of incestuous rape.
Rape may be committed even when the rapist and the victim are not alone, or while the rapist’s spouse are asleep, or in a small room where other family members also slept.A daughter would not accuse her own father of such unspeakable crime as incestuous rape had she really not been aggrieved.It is highly improbable for a woman, especially one of tender age, to concoct a brutal tale of ravishment, allow a gynecologic examination, and undergo the humiliation of a public trial if she is not motivated solely by a desire to have the culprit apprehended and punished.
People v Mumar
G.R. No.-123155 June 8,2000
The victim was shot while his back was turned towards his assailants.
A direct proof to show that the accused had come to an agreement to commit a felony is not necessary.It is sufficient that all the accused manifested by their acts a common intent to do harm to the victim.
People v Monieva
G.R. No.123912 June 8,2000
The victim was hacked with a bolo and was decapitated by the appellant.
Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony referring to minor details and not upon the basic aspect of the crime do not impair the witness credibility. Even where a witness is found to have deliberately falsified the truth in some particular, and it was not shown that there was such intended prevarication, it is not required that the entire testimony be rejected, since such portions thereof deemed worthy of belief may be credited.
Abuse of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the means available to the person attacked to defend himself. Before it may be appreciated, it must be clearly shown that there was deliberate intent on the part of the malefacto to take advantage thereof.The prosecution is of the opinion that since the appellant was armed with a bolo and was chasing the unarmed victim who was trying to flee, this shows that the latter was powerless to offer resistance thereby admitting his inferiority and superiority of the defendant.This is mere conjecture, it was not all apparent that the appellant consciously adopted that particular means. The mere fact that the victim was running away from the appellant who was wielding a bolo shows that the victim was aware of the danger to himself, thus negating the suddenness of the attack for which reason treachery cannot be appreciated.
People v Cambi
G.R. No.127131 June 8, 2000
The 15 yr old complainant was rape by the appellant.
The absence of illumination in the place of the commission of the crime does not detract from the positive identification by Margie of the appellant as her assailant. Although visibility is an important factor in the identification of a criminal offender, its relative significance depends largely on the attending circumstances and the discretion of the trial court.In the case at bar, the assailant was well known to Margie as the former was her employer.Also, the voice of the appellant was heard when he uttered threats against the complainant.It has been this Court’s observation that it is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to see the looks and faces of their assailants and observe the manner in which he crime was committed.
Not every rape victim can be expected to act conformably to the usual expectations of everyone.Some may shout, some may faint; and some may be shocked into insensibility, while others may openly welcome the intrusion. The force or violence that is required in rape cases is relative.When applied, it need not be overpowering or irresistible.It is enough that it has enabled the offender to consummate his purpose to bring about the desired result.It is not even necessary that the offender be armed with a weapon.
PEOPLE V. OSCAR CARILLO
G.R. NO. 129528
Oscar Carillo together with Eduardo Candare were accused of murder. The physical evidence shows that the death of the victim was caused by 2 stab wounds probably caused by 2 separate instruments. Candare executed an affidavit admitting sole responsibility. Prosecution presented a second cousin of the victim as its main witness.
Physical evidence ranks high in the hierarchy of evidence. As physical evidence is compatible with the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses but inconsistent with the claim of the defense witnesses, the former should prevail. For the same reason, the court cannot accept as true the affidavit of Candare owning sole responsibility for the crime.
Relationship per se does not automatically discredit a witness. In fact, kinship by blood or marriage to the victim would deter one from implicating innocent persons as one’s natural interest would be to secure conviction by the real culprit.
PEOPLE V. ROMEO CAPILI
G.R. NO. 130588
Accused was convicted of murder. Three high school students testified for the prosecution and claimed that they actually saw the accused in flagrante delicto actually striking and submerging the head of the victim in the river. Right after the incident, accused apparently saw them by the riverbank and offered them a ride across the river, to which they readily acceded.
Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. There can never be a better gauge by which a witness’ testimony may be evaluated and analyzed than the ordinary common human experience.
In this case, it is rather unnatural, to say the least, actually defying sound reasons for 3 young students, to allow themselves to be ferried by an adult male whom they have just recently witnessed kill and drown a helpless and unsuspecting victim. It makes the court wonder if the 3 supposed eye witness directly saw the actual killing in this case.
PEOPLE V. RUFINO TESTON & ROGELIO GACO
G.R. NO. 134938
The 3 accused were charged with murder. The prosecution presented one eyewitness. The defense interposed self-defense. Accused questions trial court’s appreciation of the credibility of the prosecution witness as unbelievable and biased.
The trial court’s evaluation of a witness’ trustworthiness is entitled to highest respect for it has the distinct opportunity to observe directly the demeanor of a witness and to determine whether he is telling the truth. Moreover, the defense has not presented any evidence that witness was impelled by dubious or improper motives, therefore, it must be presumed that he was not so moved. The testimony of a single prosecution witness, if found credible and positive, is sufficient to convict, for the truth is not established by the number of witnesses, but by the quality of their testimonies.
Besides, credibility of witness is no longer the issue since self-defense was invoked as justifying circumstance. Whenever the accused admits inflicting a fatal injury on his victim and invokes self-defense, the burden of proof immediately shifts from the prosecution to the defense, the accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence.
PEOPLE V. JOSE GERAL ALIAS “JOSE”
G.R. NO. 122283
Accused was convicted of murder. He assails the credibility of the prosecution witness and the sufficiency of evidence against him.
On the credibility of witnesses, appellate courts accord the highest respect to the assessment made by the trial court. Moreover, patent inconsistencies in and between appellant’s testimony and those of his witnesses only undermine appellant’s defense.
PEOPLE V. MACARIO U. CASTILLO
G.R. NO. 111734-35
Spouses Castillo were convicted as conspirators in the kidnapping for ransom of Wilhelmina. The victim is a businesswoman engaged in the real estate business. The 2 accused are both her sales agents on commission basis.
Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence. It may be inferred from the conduct of all accused before, during and after the commission of the crime. The conduct should point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest. Conspiracy may be proved by circumstantial evidence or deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated. Here, the spouses referred the main perpetrator to the victim. The perpetrator who posed as buyer did not even inform the seller who referred him, which is contrary to common practice.
PEOPLE V. EPIE ARLALEJO
G.R. NO. 127841
The accused was convicted for Robbery with Homicide in an information alleging conspiracy. The 2 accused hoisted the defense of denial and alibi. One of the accused was acquitted and so the accused questions his conviction because in as much as conspiracy was not proved by the prosecution, the appellant should likewise be acquitted.
By its nature, conspiracy is a joint offense as one person cannot conspire alone. In conspiracy, the commission of a crime is through the joint act or intent of 2 or more persons. However, there is nothing irregular with the acquittal of one of the supposed co-conspirators and the conviction of another. Generally, conspiracy is only a means by which a crime is committed as the mere act of conspiring is not by itself punishable. Hence, it does not follow that one person alone cannot be convicted when there is a finding of conspiracy. As long as the acquittal of a co-conspirator does not remove the basis of a charge of conspiracy, one defendant may be found guilty of the offense.
In the case at bar, it is incorrect to state that the accused was acquitted because conspiracy was not proved. The evidence established beyond doubt the existence of conspiracy to rub. However, the evidence proved only the existence of a conspiracy but not the culpability of the appellant. The trial court noted that the victims had no sufficient opportunity to recognize the acquitted accused. The evaluation of evidence reveals that the same is true insofar as the appellant is concerned.
PEOPLE V. DOMINADOR HISTORILLO
G.R. NO. 130408
Appellant was convicted for raping his 12 year old daughter and was sentenced to death. Appeal assails the criminal complaint which was not under oath and is therefore void. Also, prosecution failed to establish the use of force in the occasion of the crime. Further, the penalty of death was also questioned as the information does not allege the age of the victim and her relationship with the offender.
A complaint presented by a private person when not sworn by him is not necessarily void. The want of an oath is a mere defect of form which does not affect the substantial rights of the defendant on the merits. The law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving the resistance where there is intimidation. Moreover, in a crime of rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the father’s moral ascendancy and influence over the latter substitutes for violence or intimidation.
Age and relationship are special qualifying circumstances that changes the nature of simple rape by producing a qualified form punishable by death. Since the charge of rape in the complaint is not in its qualified form so as to fall under the special qualifying circumstance stated in section 11 of RA 7659, the penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed.
PEOPLE V. ROBERTO ESTRADA
G.R. NO. 130487
Accused was convicted for murder and sentenced to death. Defense interposed insanity with proof of his history of mental illness filed for suspension of arraignment and suspension of proceedings. Both were denied without subjecting accused to mental examination.
Case remanded for the conduct of a proper mental examination to determine competency to stand trial. By depriving appellant of mental examination, the trial court effectively deprived appellant of a fair trial and the proceedings before the court are therefore nullified. He who invokes insanity as an exempting circumstance must prove it by clear and positive evidence. The absence of direct proof however, does not entirely discount the probability that accused was not of sound mind at that time. In passing the question of the propriety of suspending the proceedings, the test is found in the question whether the accused would have a fair trial with the assistance which the law secures or gives. There are 2 distinct matters to be determined under this test (1) whether the defendant is sufficiently coherent to provide his counsel with information necessary or relevant to constructing a defense and (2) whether he is able to comprehend the significance of the trial and his relation to it.
The determination of whether a sanity investigation or hearing should be ordered rests generally in the discretion of the trial court. In the case, the trial court took it solely upon itself to determine the sanity of the accused. The trial judge however is not a psychiatrist or psychologist or some other expert equipped with the specialized knowledge of determining the state of a person’s mental health. The court should have at least ordered the examination of the accused, especially in the light of the latter’s history of mental item.
PEOPLE V. VENANCIO FRANCISCO
G.R. NO. 130490
Accused was convicted of murder and slight physical injuries. The trial court imposed penalty of reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua medium. In imposing the penalty, the trial court applied the Indeterminate Sentence Law stating that RA 7659 (An act to impose the death penalty on certain heinous crimes) made the penalty of reclusion perpetua divisible.
Notwithstanding RA 7659, the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua remains an indivisible penalty. Although RA 7659 has fixed the duration of reclusion perpetua to 20 years and 1 day to 40 years, there was no clear legislative intent to alter its original classification as an indivisible penalty. It remains as an indivisible penalty.
PEOPLE V. MARCELO NAVA JR.
G.R. NO. 130509-12
Accused was convicted of 4 counts of rape of his 13 year old daughter. The information does not allege the age of the victim and her relationship with the offender. He was sentenced to death and made to pay civil indemnity only.
Crime is only simple rape since the information does not allege the age of victim and her relationship with he offender. Civil indemnity is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape; it is distinct from and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different jural foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion. An award of 50,000 as moral damages for each of the counts of rape is granted in recognition of the victim’s injury as being inherently concomitant with and necessarily resulting from the odious crime of rape and to warrant per se an award of moral damages.
PEOPLE VS ROMEO ARILLAS
G.R. NO. 130593
Accused was convicted for raping his 16 year old daughter. He was sentenced to death despite the fact that the information does not allege the age of the victim and her relationship with the offender.
When the age and the relationship are not alleged in the information, such should not be considered as special qualifying circumstances that will change the nature of simple rape and punish offender with the penalty of death. If the qualifying circumstance is not alleged but proved, it shall only be considered as an aggravating circumstance. It is a denial of the right of an accused to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him and consequently a denial of due process if he is convicted of a crime in its qualified form notwithstanding the fact that the information on which he was arraigned charges him only of the crime in its simple form by not specifying the circumstance that qualifies the crime.
PEOPLE V. ANGEL RIOS
G.R. NO. 132632
Accused was convicted of murder. The crime was preceded by a heated argument. The accused left and came back minutes after the altercation and stabbed victim at the latter’s terrace.
Homicide and not murder. Treachery was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Qualifying and aggravating circumstances before being taken into consideration for the purpose of increasing the degree of the penalty to be imposed must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as that which establishes the commission of the act charged as a criminal offense. Dwelling was correctly considered aggravating. The word dwelling includes every dependency of the house that forms part thereof.
PEOPLE V. JOEL TANEZA
G.R. NO. 121668
Accused was convicted of murder for shooting a bakery delivery man. The victim was brought to the hospital and subjected to an operation. He was interviewed and he named the accused as his assailant. He died a day after giving his statement.
The statement was considered as a dying declaration and is admissible in evidence as part of the res gestae. The requirements for the admissibility of an ante-mortem statement are: (1) it must concern the crime and the surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death; (2) at the time it was made, the declarant was under a consciousness of impending death; (3) the declarant was competent as a witness; (4) the declaration was offered in a criminal case for homicide, murder or parricide in which the decedent was the victim. Although it may not be ascertained from the written statement whether the victim was speaking with a consciousness of impending death, the degree and seriousness of the wounds and the fact that death supervened shortly afterwards may be considered as substantial evidence that the declaration was made by the victim with full realization that he was in a dying condition.
PEOPLE V. WILSON DREU
G.R. NO. 126282
Accused was convicted of rape. He interposed the defense that he and the victim was sweethearts. He offered marriage but was rejected.
The “sweethearts defense” cannot be appreciated as the defense failed to come up with convincing proof. Indeed, the accused bears the burden of proving that he and the complainant had an affair which naturally led to a sexual relationship. The guilt of the accused was also established by the fact that he offered marriage to the complainant after the incident was reported to the authorities. As a rule in rape cases, an offer of marriage is an admission of guilt.
PEOPLE V. PATROLMAN DOMINGO BELBES
G.R. NO. 124670
Accused was convicted of murder. He interposed self-defense and that he acted in the fulfillment of a duty.
Self defense cannot be appreciated. Where the accused admits to killing the victim in self defense, the burden of evidence shifts to him. For a person not to incur criminal liability when he acts in the fulfillment of a duty, 2 requisites must concur: (1) that the offender acted in the performance of a duty; (2) that the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due performance of such right or office. However, second requisite here was not proved since killing need not be a necessary consequence of his duty.
PEOPLE V. JOHNNY DELA CRUZ
G.R. NO. 133921
Accused was convicted of rape. The charge was filed 12 years after the alleged incident, when the victim was already 20 years old.
An accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused, although innocent to disprove the charge. In rape cases, the testimony of the complainant must stand or fall on its own merits and should never be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense. The long delay of the complainant in reporting the incident makes it difficult for the court not to have compelling doubts on the veracity of her episode. Proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt not proven.
PEOPLE V. ROLANDO FLORES
G.R. NO. 124977
Accused was convicted of murder. The conviction was based purely on circumstantial evidence because there was no eye witness to the actual killing of the victim.
A judgment of conviction based purely on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the following requisites concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The corollary rule is that the circumstances proven must constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person.
PEOPLE V. FELIPE HOFILENA
G.R. NO. 134772
Accused was convicted of raping a 12 year old girl. The accused interposed alibi as defense.
When a victim of rape says that she has been defiled, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been inflicted on her and so long as her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. In the absence of strong and convincing evidence, alibi could not prevail over the positive testimony of the victim, who had no improper motive to testify falsely against him.
PEOPLE V. HENRY FLORES
G.R. NO. 116794
Accused was convicted of murder. Only one eyewitness was presented.
The testimony of a single witness, if credible and positive, is sufficient to produce a conviction.
PEOPLE V. HERMOGENES FLORA
G.R. NO. 125909
The 2 accused (Hermogenes and Edwin) were convicted for the murder of Emerita and Ireneo and the attempted murder of Flor. The 2 were found to have conspired to kill Ireneo. However, during the commission of the crime, Emerita was also killed and Flor hit by a bullet.
Co-conspirators are liable only for acts done pursuant to the conspiracy. For other acts done outside the contemplation of the co-conspirators or which are not the necessary and logical consequence of the intended crime, only the actual perpetrators are liable. Evidence only shows conspiracy to kill Ireneo and no one else. Hence, both can be convicted for the murder of Ireneo. However, only Hermogenes who fired at Emerita and Flor can be convicted for the murder of Emerita and Flor respectively.
PEOPLE V. EDDY PANEZA
G.R. NO. 131829
The 3 accused were convicted of highway robbery. They assert that they cannot be convicted of highway robbery as the crime was not committed by at least 4 persons as required in Article 306 of the Revised Penal Code.
Highway robbery is now governed by PD No. 532, otherwise known as Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974. It is no longer required that there be at least 4 armed persons forming a band of robbers. The no. of offenders is no longer an essential element of the crime of highway robbery. PD 532 only requires proof that persons were organized for the purpose of committing highway robbery indiscriminately. The robbery must be directed not only against specific, intended or preconceived victims but against any and all prospective victims.
PEOPLE V. JUDGE ESTRELLA ESTRADA
G.R. NO. 124461
Motion for the return of seized goods on the ground that the warrant was illegal. Further, the seized medicines were found genuine but were only illegally imported.
Even if the medicines were genuine if the seller has no permit from the appropriate government agency, the drugs or medicines cannot be returned although the search warrant was declared illegal.
PEOPLE V. MARIANO AUSTRIA
G.R. NO. 123539
Accused, 82 years old at the time of the commission of the offense, was convicted of the crime of rape. He raises as defense the 2 week delay in reporting the offense and his alleged impotency.
Delay or vacillation in criminal accusations do not necessarily impair the complainant’s credibility if such delay is satisfactorily explained. It is not uncommon to conceal rape because of rapist’s threats to life, fear of public humiliation and lack of courage. Silence is not an odd behavior of a rape victim. The presumption is always in favor of potency. Impotency is considered an abnormal condition and should not be presumed. The doctor’s testimony stated that his sex organ was diseased but never was there even a hint that accused was impotent. The trial court also observed that accused was still strong, agile and capable of committing the sexual act and seriously doubts that he is 82 years old.
PEOPLE V. ABDULAJID SABDANI
G.R. NO. 134262
The accused was convicted of murder. He interposed self-defense as defense.
The accused who invokes self-defense admits authorship of the killing and therefore the burden of proof shifts to him who must then establish with clear and convincing evidence all the elements of self-defense. Accused failed to prove unlawful aggression. Unlawful aggression presupposes not merely a threatening/intimidating attitude, but an actual and sudden attack or an imminent danger thereof, which imperils one’s life or limb. In the case at bar, there was no sign that victim was armed other than the fact that his hands were tucked inside his shirt. Accused did not ascertain whether victim was really armed, or warn him to drop his weapon.
PEOPLE V. ROLANDO TABANGGAY
G.R. NO. 130504
Accused was convicted of raping his 2 minor children. He was sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of death.
Penalty reduced to reclusion perpetua. The victim’s minority was not sufficiently proved. In accusations involving incestuous rape, the relationship of the accused with the offended party as well as the latter’s age must be alleged in the information and proven by the prosecution with competent evidence during their trial. A bare photocopy of the victim’s birth certificate which is neither certified nor offered formally in evidence is not sufficient proof of the victim’s age.
PEOPLE V. PEPE LOZADA
G.R. NO. 130589
As Danilo Morin and his cousin were walking one evening, Lozada followed from behind and shot Morin to death. Lozada was convicted of murder appreciating treachery as a qualifying circumstance.
Affirmed. There was treachery since Morin was unsuspectingly shot from behind. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by an aggressor on an unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any chance to defend himself and thereby ensuring its commission without risk to himself. The 2 conditions for treachery to be considered as qualifying circumstance are: (1) employment of means, methods and manner of execution to ensure the safety of the malefactor from defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim; (2) and the deliberate adoption of such means, methods and manner of execution.
PEOPLE V. ARMANDO REANZARES
G.R. NO. 130656
Accused was held guilty of highway robbery with homicide. Accused interposed alibi as defense. He questions credibility of witness.
For alibi to be believed it must be shown that: (a) the accused was in another place at the time of the commission of the offense; and (b) it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene. This was not shown here. However, he cannot be held liable for highway robbery. Conviction for highway robbery requires proof that several accused were organized for the purpose of committing it indiscriminately. There is no proof in the instant case that the accused and his cohorts organized themselves to commit highway robbery. Neither is there proof that they attempted to commit robbery as to show the “indiscriminate” perpetration thereof. On the other hand, what the prosecution established was only a single act of depredation is not what is contemplated under PD 532 as its objective is to deter and punish lawless elements who commit acts of depredation upon persons and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another.
Accused should be held liable for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide as the allegation in the information are enough to convict him therefore.
PEOPLE V. REYNALDE LAZARTE
G.R. NO. 130711
Accused was convicted of the crime of murder. Accused interposed self-defense.
In instances where an accused acknowledges full responsibility for the death of the victim but claims self-defense, the burden of evidence is transferred to the accused to prove that his taking of a life was justified and that he did not incur any criminal liability for the same. In order that he may be acquitted, the accused must prove that the 3 circumstances are present, namely: (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused. Unlawful aggression was not proven. The alleged revolver used by the victim was not even presented in evidence. Further, accused did not even voluntarily surrender and opted to remain silent about the incident. A person claiming self-defense would have reported the incident to the police as he has nothing to hide.
As to civil liability, aside from the ordinary indemnity of P50,000 accused is obliged to compensate the heirs of the victim for the latter’s lose of earning capacity and pay the heirs of the victim moral damages for the mental anguish suffered by them.
PEOPLE V. ERNESTO SANTOS
G.R. NO. 131103 & 143472
Accused was found guilty of 2 counts of rape of his 14 year old daughter. The information alleges that the crime was committed on or about sometime in 1988 and 1989. He avers that such allegations are indefinite and have deprived him of the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.
It is too late for the accused to question the form or substance of the information in these cases since he did not move to quash the information before he was arraigned. Further, in the crime of rape, the date of the commission is not an essential element of the crime.
PEOPLE V. PACITA ORDONO
G.R. NO. 132154
The 2 accused were convicted of the special complex crime of rape with homicide attended with conspiracy on the bases of their extra judicial confession. An interview with a radio announcer was also done where the 2 accused accepted responsibility for the crime. They now assail their conviction as their confession was attended by infirmities’ i.e. mainly the lack of counsel to assist them during custodial investigation.
The absence of counsel renders the extra judicial confession inadmissible. The presence of the mayor, municipal judge and the family of the accused during the confession did not cure the defect. However, statements spontaneously made by a suspect to a news reporter on televised interview are deemed voluntary and are admissible in evidence. By analogy, statements made by herein accused to a radio announcer should likewise be held admissible. The interview was not in the nature of an investigation, and thus, the uncounselled confession did not violate accused’s constitutional rights.
PEOPLE V. BENIDO ALCARTADO
G.R. NO. 132379-82
The 2 accused, stepfather and step grandfather of the victim, were convicted of rape and sentenced to suffer supreme penalty of death. The information, however, does not allege the relationship of the accused with the victim.
The absence of the allegation of relationship in the information converted the crime to simple rape which is not punishable by death. Qualifying circumstances must be properly pleaded in the indictment. If the same are not pleaded, but are proved, they shall be considered only as aggravating circumstances.
PEOPLE V. ARNOLD RATUNIL
G.R. NO. 137270
The accused was convicted of the crime of rape with the use of force. Accused used sweetheart defense. He presented a letter written by the victim asking for money from the accused since she was leaving town.
In a rape case, the testimony of the complainant is scrutinized with great caution, for the crime is usually known only to her and to her rapist. The dubious behavior of the alleged victim after the rape detracts from her credibility and creates reasonable doubt that may lead to the acquittal of the accused. Conviction always rests on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, never on the weakness of that of the defense.
PEOPLE V. EDISON ARELLANO
G.R. NO. 122477
Accused was convicted of murder. He assails credibility of the witnesses.
Positive identification, where categorical and consistent, without any showing of ill-motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter prevails over alibi and denial which if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. However, appellant should be convicted of homicide not murder since treachery was not established. Appellant’s stabbing of the victim was done on an impulse. As appellant did not consciously adopt the means of attack, treachery cannot be appreciated.
As regards the monetary award, aside from the civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000 in accordance with Art. 2206 of the Civil Code, the defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall be assessed and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of permanent and physical disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of award. The amount of loss of earning capacity is based mainly on 2 factors: (1) the number of years of which the damages shall be computed; and (2) the rate at which the losses sustained by the respondent should be fixed.
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001