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ROAD TO JUSTICE: THE RAPE TRIAL
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Evidence cases 3

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Evidence cases 3

  1. 1. [G.R. No. 143125. June 10, 2003.] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. DIOSDADO CORIAL y REQUIEZ, Appellant. D E C I S I O N VITUG, J.: For automatic review is the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 109, 1 imposing the death penalty on convicted appellant Diosdado Corial y Requiez for the crime of qualified rape, 2 said to have been committed, according to the indictment, against his own minor granddaughter Maricar Corial. At his arraignment, appellant pleaded "not guilty" to the charge; 3 trial ensued shortly thereafter. The Case for the Prosecution. — Maricar Corial was born to Marietta Corial, appellant’s daughter, but she did not come to know her father (now said to be deceased). Maricar had two maternal sisters who lived with their mother and her "stepfather" in Balagtas, Bulacan. Maricar lived with her grandparents, herein appellant and his wife Carmelita, in Pasay City. One afternoon in July 1998, Maricar and appellant were left alone in the house. She was wearing a duster when her grandfather forced himself on her. He first inserted his penis into her private part, and then into her mouth and, finally, into her anus. When her mother, Marietta, arrived for Christmas in 1998, Maricar revealed the sexual abuse she had suffered from her grandfather. Maricar went first to the barangay hall where she lodged a complaint against appellant and then to the Philippine General Hospital where Maricar was physically examined. Still later, they repaired to the Pasay City Police station where Maricar executed a sworn statement (salaysay).chanrob1esvirtua11aw1ibrary According to barangay captain Policarpio Tawat, Marietta and Maricar went to see him on the morning of 29 December 1998 at the barangay hall to seek assistance about the sexual assault. Along with a barangay kagawad, Tawat went to invite appellant to the barangay hall and then had a medical examination conducted on Maricar. When the medical examination proved positive for rape, Tawat turned appellant over to the Pasay City Police station. The Provisional Medical Certificate, 4 dated 29 December 1998, showed the following findings of Dr. Mariella Sugue -Castillo, viz:j gc:chanrobl es.com.ph "GENITAL EXAMINATION:chanrob1es vi rtual 1aw li brary External genitalia: normal Hymen: crescentic hymen, no discharge seen, (+) mound at 7 o’clock position, (+) attenuation of posterior hymen Anus: normal findings "IMPRESSION Disclosure of sexual abuse.
  2. 2. Genital finding of posterior hymen attenuation is suspicious for prior penetration injury" 5 On the afternoon of 29 December 1998, SPO3 Milagros Carrasco was at the Women and Children Desk of the Pasay City Police station when Barangay Captain Tawat, Marietta, young Maricar, and Marietta’s father arrived. After hearing the story, SPO3 Carrasco contacted social worker Erlinda Aguila to assist her in conducting the interview with Maricar. The child claimed that her maternal grandfather had sexually abused her. When confronted by SPO3 Carrasco, appellant remarked in Tagalog that he was just having a "taste" of the child (tinitikman niya lang).chanrob1es vi rtua1 1aw 1ibrary The Case for the Defense. — Testifying for her father, Nelly Corial stated that the 59-year-old appellant had six children, all of them female, by his wife Carmelita. He was a mason and construction worker employed by D. M. Consunji while her mother was a dressmaker. Her father was a responsible person with no vices. Her parents first took custody of Maricar because the latter’s father, Francisco Amado and live-in partner of Marietta, would often inflict physical harm upon the child. After Francisco’s death, Marietta resided in Balagtas, Bulacan, with yet another live-in partner, Rene Malinao, who both for a while took Maricar into their custody. Maricar was soon brought back to her grandparent’s residence in Pasay City because of the maltreatment she had been getting from Malinao. According to Nelly, her parents loved Maricar, provided for her needs, and had her take up schooling at the Pio del Pilar Elementary School. After the case against appellant was filed, Marietta confided to Nelly her regrets (nagsisisi) for having filed the case. Marietta became "mentally deranged" and would harm herself for no reason at all. She concluded that Marietta’s complaint was fabricated (gawa-gawa lamang niya iyun). Menchu, another daughter of appellant, also testified for him. Her residence in Pasay City was separated from appellant’s house only by a wall. She confirmed that Maricar was brought to San Pedro, Laguna, at the instance of appellant who had wanted the child to have a vacation there.chanrob1esvirtua11aw 1ibrary Appellant denied having raped Maricar. He took the child away from her parents because they were unable to properly care for her. After Francisco’s death, he took custody of Marietta and her child but only for four months when Marietta started to live with another partner in Bulacan. Marietta was a good daughter and a good mother but she was mentally ill and hardheaded (suwail). Marietta instigated the case against him because he had refused to allow her to live in their house in Pasay City. From Monday to Saturday, he would leave the house at six o’clock in the morning and return from work at seven o’clock in the evening. On Sundays, Nelly would always be at home. The Assailed Decision. — The trial court debunked the defense of denial interposed by appellant and the assertion that the rape case was only trumped-up by his daughter Marietta. It instead gave credence to what it so described as the "spontaneous and straightforward" testimony of Maricar Corial. The trial court adjudged:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "In view of all the foregoing, the Court opines that the prosecution has proven the guilt of the accused, Diosdado Corial y Requiez for rape as defined and penalized under Art. 266-A and 266-B of RA 8353 as amended, and the Court hereby sentences the accused, Diosdado Corial y Requiez to death and to indemnify the complainant in the amount of P75,000.00 and moral and exemplary damages in the amount of P50,000.00." 6 Appellant, in this Court’s review of his case, would consider erroneous his conviction for there was no opportunity for him and his granddaughter to be alone in their residence, particularly on Sundays when all the members of the household stayed home, and for Maricar’s failure to make an outcry during the alleged sexual assault that could have easily attracted the attention of close kins whose house was only adjacent to theirs. Quite often, this Court has held that rapists are not deterred from committing the odious act of sexual abuse by the mere
  3. 3. presence nearby of people or even family members. Rape is committed not exclusively in seclusion; 7 lust, it is said, respects neither time nor place. The trial court has valued Maricar’s testimony as being "spontaneous and straightforward." Indeed, when a victim’s testimony is straightforward and unflawed by any major inconsistency or contradiction, the same must be given full faith and credit. 8 Appellant capitalizes on the so-called disparity between the declaration of Maricar in her testimony in court and her sworn statement. He quotes a portion of her salaysay; viz.chanrob1esvirtua11aw 1i brary "06. T: Natatandaan mo ba kung kailan at kung saan nangyari ang mga ginawa na sinasabi ng lolo mo sa iyo? S: Opo, simula po ng Grade II ako. Tapos naulit po nuong July 1998 at nauulit po pag araw ng Linggo pag wala ang lola ko at ang tita ko sa bahay namin. Kasi nagtatrabaho si Lolo ng Lunes hanggang Sabado. Pero pag wala siyang pasok ay ginagalaw din niya ako. Sa bahay namin sa Dolores, Pasay. 9 He then labels it as being inconsistent with her testimony on cross-examination; viz:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "Atty. Casas:chanrob1esvirtual 1aw li brary Now, it was in July 1998 which is finally the alleged (sic) contained in the information that you claimed you have been sexually molested, is that correct? "A: Yes, sir. "Q: And you told the Court in your direct examination that it was the first time that the same was committed? "A: Yes, sir." 10 Not only is her assailed statement — that before the July 1998 incident she has also been subjected to sexual assault by appellant — inconsequential in a material point but it also does not necessarily take away her credibility at the witness stand. It is acknowledged that affidavits, usually taken ex parte, are often held unreliable for being incomplete and inaccurate. 11 Maricar’s failure to shout during the sexual assault is not all that strange. Not every witness to or victim of a crime can be supposed to always act in conformity with the usual expectations of everyone; 12 in fact, there is no known and accepted standard therefor. Moreover, to attribute to her the sophistication of an adult woman would be to brush aside the fact that Maricar is just a young girl. Even then, it would be unreasonable to judge her actions on the traumatic experience by any norm of behavior that, if at all, may be expected from mature persons. 13 The Court is not persuaded by the claim of appellant that Marietta, the victim’s mother, has fabricated the charge simply because appellant did not allow her to stay with him. It just is not a convincing tale. It is difficult to believe that Ma rietta would send his own father to jail, even to the gallows, sacrifice the honor and dignity of their family and subject her own child to untold humiliation and disgrace if she were motivated by any desire other than to bring to justice the person responsible for defiling her child. 14 Appellant’s claim that Marietta is deranged lacks unbiased evidentiary support. In any event, it hardly has any bearing on the credibility of her own daughter. Nor would the failure of the prosecution to present Marietta at the witness stand adversely affect the outcome of the case. The prosecution is not bound to present any witness other than the victim herself, for as long as the testimony of the victim is credible, natural, convincing and otherwise consistent with huma n nature and the course of things, 15 it may be the basis for a conviction. It is the prerogative of the prosecution, not much unlike that of the defense, to determine which evidence to submit in support of its own case. 16
  4. 4. Maricar, on direct examination, testified thusly:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "Q: In the information filed to (sic) this Honorable Court, stated that you are complaining for rape perpetrated by your Lolo Diosdado Corial that happened in July 1998. Do you still recall the date in July when this incident, the alleged incident happened? "A: It was in July but I do not know or remember the date, sir. "Q: But could you still recall if that was in the morning or lunch time or evening of July 1998? "A: It was in the afternoon of July 1998. "Q: And in what place where this incident happened regarding the complaint (sic) that you were sexually molested by your grandfather Diosdado Corial? "A: The incident happened at 164 Dolores Street, Pasay City. "Q: Was it inside your house? "A: Yes, sir.chanrob1es virtua11aw1i brary "Q: You earlier stated that the alleged rape happened in the afternoon, sometime in July 1998 inside your house at No. 164 Dolores Street, Pasay City. My question is, who were actually present inside your house when the incident happened? "A: My grandmother was there, but she left. "Q: And who was left behind in the afternoon of July 1998 when the incident happened? "A: I and my grandfather was (sic) left inside the house. "Q: And what actually were you doing in that afternoon of July 1998 when you were inside your house? "A: None, sir. "Q: What were you wearing then? "A: I was wearing a duster, sir. "Q: And so was there any unusual incident that happened in the month of July 1998? When you were left by your Lola inside your house and left with your Lolo? "A: Yes, there was. "Q: Would you kindly tell to this Honorable Court, what happened to you on that month of July 1998? "A: I was raped by my grandfather, sir.
  5. 5. "Q: Will you further explain to this Honorable Court, how were you raped by your grandfather? "A: He inserted his penis into my private part, sir.chanrob1es virtua11aw1i brary "Q: And what did you feel when your grandfather inserted his penis inside your private part? "A: I felt pain, sir. "Fiscal Barrera:chanrob1esvirtual1aw library Besides inserting his penis at your private part, what else did your Lolo do to you? "A: He was requesting me to suck his penis. "Q: And did he actually put his penis inside your mouth? "A: Yes, sir. "Q: And what happen(ed) after he inserted his penis inside your mouth? "A: He requested me to suck it, sir. "Q: And what else happened aside (from) inserting his penis at your private part, and putting his penis inside your mouth sometime in the month of July 1998? "A: He inserted his penis inside my anus. "Q: What did you feel when he inserted his penis inside your anus in the month of July 1998? "A: It was painful, sir. "Q: What else happened besides inserting his penis inside your anus or "Puwet" ? "A: No more, sir. "Q: And so after that, what did you do? "A: When my mother arrived last Christmas, I told her what my grandfather did to me. "Q: You mean that was last Christmas 1998? "A: Yes, sir. "Q: And so what actually did you tell your mother Marietta Corial? "A: I told her that my grandfather put his penis inside my vagina. 17 On cross examination, she recounted:j gc:chanrobl es.com.ph
  6. 6. "Q: You specifically mentioned the word rape when you were asked any unusual incident that happened on June 1998, is that correct? "A: Yes, sir. "Q: Who told you or how did you learn the word rape? "A: Nobody told me, sir. "Court:chanrob1esvirtual 1awl ibrary Pero alam mo ba ang meaning nang rape? Alam mo ba ang ibig sabihin nang rape? "A: Rape means ‘Pang gagahasa.’ "x x x "Q: And because the penis of your Lolo was inserted inside your vagina, you felt pain? "A: Yes, sir. "Q: But you did not shout, is that correct? "A: I was boxing him. "x x x "Atty. Casas:chanrob1esvirtual 1aw li brary You also mentioned that your Lolo raped you by placing his penis inside your mouth, is that correct? "A: Yes, sir. "Q: Definitely, you did not like that idea or actuation by your Lolo? "A: Yes, sir.chanrob1es virtua11aw1i brary "x x x "Q: By the way, Maricar, do you love your Lolo and Lola? "A: I love my grandmother. "Q: How about your grandfather, do you love him? "A: I don’t love him.
  7. 7. "Q: Why do you not love your grandfather? "A: Because, he did something wrong to me." 18 The trial court has found appellant guilty of having violated Sections 266-A and 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 8353 (Anti-Rape Law of 1997), 19 that read:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "Article 266-A. Rape; When And How Committed. — Rape is committed — "1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:chanrob1esvirtual 1aw li brary a) Through force, threat, or intimidation; b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present. "2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. "Article 266-B. Penalties. — Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. "x x x "The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "1) When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim."cral aw virtua1aw li brary The death penalty for the crime herein charged may be imposed only when the twin qualifying circumstances of relationship between the appellant and the victim and the latter’s age are indubitably proven; otherwise, the appellant can only be held liable for the crime of simple rape penalized by reclusion perpetua. 20 The relationship between appellant and the victim has been adequately established. The prosecution evidence has shown that appellant is the grandfather of the victim, 21 a fact that appellant himself has likewise maintained. 22 The same cannot, however, be said with respect to the age of the victim. In People v. Pruna, 23 the Court, after noting the divergent rulings on proof of age of the victim in rape cases, has set out certain guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance. The primary evidence of age of the victim is her birth certificate. Age may also be proven by such authentic documents as a baptismal certificate and school records only in the absence of a birth certificate. If the aforesaid documents are shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient but only under the following circumstances: a) If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is
  8. 8. that she is less than 7 years old; b) If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 12 years old; c) If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years old. In the instant case, the prosecution did not offer the victim’s certificate of live birth or any similar authentic document in evidence. The trial court, in convicting the appellant of the crime of rape and imposing upon him the death penalty even in the absence of the necessary documents, relied on the sworn statement of Marietta Corial, the mother of the victim, attesting to the fact that her daughter Maricar Corial was born on 26 May 1990. 24 Marietta Corial, however, did not testify in court. Such sworn statement was thus inadmissible in evidence under the hearsay rule, 25 and unless the affiant had been placed on the witness stand, the admission of the mere affidavit and the conviction of appellant on the basis thereof would violate the right of the accused to meet witness face to face. 26 In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victim’s mother o r relatives concerning the victim’s age under the circumstances heretofore mentioned, the complainant’s sole testimony can suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused; to repeat, "provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused." 27 There is no such declaration and admission on the part of appellant.chanrob1esvirtua11aw1i brary This Court cannot be overly strict as regards the proof of age of the victim particularly when, such as under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Rep. Act No. 8353, age is an element of the crime that, if shown, would make it punishable by death. As so frequently expressed by the Court, the severity of the death penalty, which by its nature is irreversible when carried out, should behoove courts to apply the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence. The prosecution is not excused from discharging its burden even when the defense lets itself loose about it. The trial court ordered appellant to "indemnify the complainant in the amount of P75,000.00 and moral and exemplary damages in the amount of P50,000.00." The award must be corrected. In consonance with prevailing jurisprudence, appellant must be made to pay P50,000.00 civil indemnity, an award that is outrightly due the victim of rape by the mere fact of its commission, P50,000.00 moral damages which is deemed concomitant with and which necessarily results from this odious criminal offense, and P25,000.00 exemplary damages which are awarded under Article 2230 o f the Civil Code when the crime is committed with one or more aggravating circumstances 28 such as relationship between the offender and the victim. 29 WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo finding appellant Diosdado Corial y Requiez guilty of rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that he is hereby only adjudged guilty of simple, not qualified, rape and sentenced to suffer, instead of the death penalty, the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The award of damages by the trial court is likewise modified by hereby ordering appellant to indemnify the victim the amounts of P50,000.00 civil indemnity, P50,000.00 moral damages and P25,000.00 exemplary damages. Costs de officio.chan
  9. 9. Vdade Jacobvs CA Accordingly, the primary evidence of a marriage must be an authentic copy of the marriage contract. And if the authentic copy could not be produced, Section 3 in relation to Section 5, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. — When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except in the following cases: (a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court without bad faith on the part o f the offeror; x x x x x x x x x Sec. 5. When the original document is unavailable. — When the original document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy. Or by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated. As required by the Rules, before the terms of a transaction in reality may be established by secondary evidence, it is necessary that the due execution of the document and subsequent loss of the original instrument evidencing the transaction be proved. For it is the due execution of the document and subsequent loss that would constitute the foundation for the introduction of secondary evidence to prove the contents of such document. In the case at bench, proof of due execution besides the loss of the three (3) copies of the marriage contract has not been shown for the introduction of secondary evidence of the contents of the reconstructed contract. Also, appellant failed to sufficiently establish the circumstances of the loss of the original document. When Is Secondary Evidence Allowed? "It is settled that if the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be produced in court, upon proof of its execution and loss or destruction, or unavailability, its contents may be proved by a copy or a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by recollection of witnesses."13 Upon a showing that the document was duly executed and subsequently lost, without any bad faith on the part of the offeror, secondary evidence may be adduced to prove its contents.14 The trial court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible error when they (1) excluded the testimonies of petitioner, Adela Pilapil and Msgr. Florencio Yllana and (2) disregarded the following: (a) photographs of the wedding ceremony; (b) documentary evidence, such as the letter of Monsignor Yllana stating that he had solemnized the marriage between Dr. Jacob and petitioner, informed the Archbishop of Manila that the wedding had not been recorded in the Book of Marriages, and at the same time requested the list of parties to the marriage; (c) the subsequent authorization issued by the Archbishop — through his vicar general and chancellor, Msgr. Benjamin L. Marino — ordaining that the union between Dr. Jacob and petitioner be reflected through a corresponding entry in the Book of Marriages; and (d ) the Affidavit of Monsignor Yllana stating the circumstances of the loss of the marriage certificate. It should be stressed that the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract, both constituting the conditio sine qua non for the introduction of secondary evidence of its contents, were shown by the very evidence they have disregarded. They have thus confused the evidence to show due execution and loss as "secondary" evidence of the marriage. In Hernaez v. Mcgrath,15 the Court clarified this misconception thus: . . . [T]he court below was entirely mistaken in holding that parol evidence of the execution of the instrument was barred. The court confounded the execution and the contents of the document. It is the contents, . . . which may not be prove[n] by secondary evidence when the instrument itself is accessible. Proofs of the execution are not dependent on the existence or non-existence of the document, and, as a matter of fact, such proofs precede proofs of the contents: due execution, besides the loss, has to be shown as foundation for the introduction of secondary evidence of the contents.
  10. 10. x x x x x x x x x Evidence of the execution of a document is, in the last analysis, necessarily collateral or primary. It generally consists of parol testimony or extrinsic papers. Even when the document is actually produced, its authenticity is not necessarily, if at all, determined from its face or recital of its contents but by parol evidence. At the most, failure to produce the document, when available, to establish its execution may affect the weight of the evidence presented but not the admissibility of such evidence. (emphasis ours) The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial court, tried to justify its stand on this issue by relying on Lim Tanhu v.Ramolete.16 But even there, we said that "marriage may be prove[n] by other competent evidence."17 Truly, the execution of a document may be proven by the parties themselves, by the swearing officer, by witnesses who saw and recognized the signatures of the parties; or even by those to whom the parties have previously narrated the execution thereof.18 The Court has also held that "[t]he loss may be shown by any person who [knows] the fact of its loss, or by any one who ha[s] made, in the judgment of the court, a sufficient examination in the place or places where the document or papers of similar character are usually kept by the person in whose custody the document lost was, and has been unable to find it; or who has made any other investigation which is sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument [has] indeed [been] lost."19 In the present case, due execution was established by the testimonies of Adela Pilapil, who was present during the marriage ceremony, and of petitioner herself as a party to the event. The subsequent loss was shown by the testimony and the affidavit of the officiating priest, Monsignor Yllana, as well as by petitioner's own declaration in court. These are relevant, competent and admissible evidence. Since the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract were clearly shown by the evidence presented, secondary evidence — testimonial and documentary — may be admitted to prove the fact of marriage.
  11. 11. [G.R. NO. 158033. July 30, 2004] RAMIL CABUGAO y SISON,Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,Respondent. D E C I S I O N PUNO, J.: This is a Petition for Review of the decision1 and resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. CR No. 24578, affirming the decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 41, which found the petitioner Ramil S. Cabugao guilty of violation of Article III, Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended. The information against the petitioner Cabugao reads as follows:Ï‚ ηαñrοblεšνιrâ€Ï… αl lα ωlιbrαrÿ That on or about the 12th day of March, 1999, in the City of Dagupan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, RAMIL CABUGAO y Sison, did then and there, wil(l) fully, unlawfully and criminally, sell and deliver to a customer Shabu weighing more or less .5 gram contained in a small plastic sachet, without authority to do so. Contrary to Article III, Sec. 15, R.A. 6425, as amended.4 Ï‚ rνll The petitioner pleaded not guilty upon arraignment.5 Ï‚ rνll During the trial, the prosecution presented the testimonies of SPO2 Augusto P. Domingo,6 Police Superintendent Theresa Ann B. Cid, and SPO1 Rolando Lomibao. SPO2 Domingo testified that he has been a policeman in Dagupan City from January 25, 1999. On March 12, 1999, at around 8:40 p.m., the members of the Task Force Anti-Drug of the Dagupan City Police Station conducted a buy-bust operation at M.H. Del Pilar Street in Dagupan City, against the petitioner Cabugao after fifteen (15) days of surveillance. Fifteen (15) minutes before the buy-bust operation, he arranged to sell shabu to the petitioner. During the operation, he approached the petitioner who was seated on a bench in front of Caliman Lodge along M.H. Del Pilar Street. He gave the petitioner two P100 bills which he previously marked with his signature. He arrested the petitioner after the latter handed to him a small plastic sachet of shabu. At the time of the arrest, the other members of the task force were scattered at a distance of 3 to 5 meters away from him. The petitioner was then brought to the police station where the incident was recorded in the police blotter.7 Ï‚ rνll SPO1 Rolando Lomibao, a member of the Dagupan City Police Stations Task Force Anti-Drug, also testified for the prosecution. He said he has been in service as a policeman since 1987. He recalled that in the evening of March 12, 1999, he, together with SPO2 Domingo, SPO1 Danilo Frias, SPO1 Allan Daus, and their team leader Senior Police Inspector Romeo Caramat, went to M.H. Del Pilar Street to hold a buy-bust operation. SPO2 Domingo acted as the poseur buyer in the operation as he was the one who arranged with the petitioner the sale ofshabu. They knew the location of petitioner Cabugao because of their assets. When they arrived at M.H. Del Pilar Street, the petitioner was standing in front of Caliman Lodge. SPO2 Domingo approached the petitioner and handed to him two marked P100 bills. At that time, he was about three meters away from them. SPO2 Domingo arrested the petitioner after the latter gave him the plastic sachet containing shabu. He helped in the apprehension of the petitioner. He bodily searched the petitioner and found a 9-inch dagger in his possession. They turned over the petitioner to the police station and requested for a laboratory examination of the contents of the plastic sachet. Superintendent Wendy Garcia Rosario, the Chief of Police of the Dagupan City Police Station, sent a letter-request8 to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory of Lingayen, Pangasinan, for an examination of the contents of the sachet
  12. 12. handed over by the petitioner. He also reported to the Dangerous Drugs Board the buy-bust operation.9 SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Rolando Lomibao, as members of the task force, executed a joint affidavit regarding the incide nt.10 ς rνl l Theresa Ann Bugayong-Cid, a forensic chemist at the PNP Crime Laboratory of San Fernando, La Union, testified that she examined the specimen and found it to contain methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). 11 ς rνl l For his part, the petitioner denied that a buy-bust operation was conducted against him by the police. His testimony was buttressed by witnesses Teresa Azurin, Maria Luz Villamil, and Romeo Cabugao. Teresa Azurin was a waitress of the turo-turo (eatery) at the sidewalk along M.H. Del Pilar Street where the incident took place. She testified that on March 12, 1999 at around 8:30 in the evening, two men came to their eatery, bought cigarettes and asked for candies. One of them said he would get his money to pay for the candies. To her surprise, the man drew his gun and poked it to her lone customer, the petitioner Cabugao. The two men then frisked the petitioner but found nothing from him. They handcuffed the petitioner and forcibly took him away. She was shocked by the incident and went inside the eskenita (alley). The following morning, the parents of the petitioner dropped by their eatery and paid the food bill of their son. She gave them a receipt.12 ς rνll Maria Luz Villamil is the sister of the petitioners classmate Victorino Villamil. She testified that on March 12, 1999, at 8:30 in the evening, she was at a store along M.H. Del Pilar Street when she saw a man approach the petitioner Cabugao while the latter was eating. She was about two(-) arm(s) length13 away from the petitioner at that time. The man poked a gun at the petitioner and frisked him. Thereafter, some men forced him to go with them. She heard the petitioner say: why, what is my fault; he also asked if they have a search warrant. He begged to be allowed to telephone his parents but was refused. He called on the people around him to inform his parents, telling them his address and telephone number. She went to the address given by the petitioner and informed his parents of the incident.14 ς rνll The petitioner Cabugao, 32 years old, testified that while he was eating at a sidewalk store at M.H. Del Pilar Street on March 12, 1999 at around 8:30 in the evening, SPO1 Domingo suddenly poked a gun at him and warned him Dont move or else I will shoot you. On the other hand, SPO1 Lomibao ordered him to raise his hands. He was bodily frisked but nothing was found on him. He was handcuffed and pulled to an owner-type jeep. He resisted as they did not have a warrant of arrest but to no avail. He begged to be allowed to call his parents but was refused. He then shouted for help so the people p resent would know what was happening. He was kicked while a certain SPO1 Allan Daus fired his gun. He was then brought to the police station, specifically to Senior Inspector Romeo Caramat. He was forced to sign a blank paper but he did not. After that, he was incarcerated in the city jail. He denied that a buy-bust operation took place and that a sachet of shabu and a dagger were recovered from his possession. He said that before the incident or on March 12, SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao asked him to act as an asset in apprehending two of his neighbors suspected to be drug pushers. He agreed, but before he could help them, the suspects were arrested by other members of the Dagupan City Police Station. He asked for their forgiveness but they warned him: the time will come that you (the petitioner) will have your day. Romeo Cabugao, 63 years old, the father of the petitioner, testified that after Villamil informed them of the March 12, 1999 incident, he, together with his wife, immediately went to M.H. Del Pilar Street. They talked to some people in the area, including witness Azurin who related to them in detail the incident. The next day, they paid the food bill of P30.00 incurred by the petitioner, for which an unofficial receipt was issued by Azurin. He declared that before the incident, SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao frequented their house looking for his son, Ramil. The two wanted his son to act as an asset to apprehend suspected drug pushers living at the back of their house. He advised his son to refuse as the two police officers have questionable background. SPO1 Lomibao has been involved in drug pushing while SPO2 Domingo has been found guilty of acts of lasciviousness and dismissed from the service. He also testified that his son was also charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 6 or illegal possession of deadly weapon. The charge was dismissed for the repeated failure of SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao to appear in court despite
  13. 13. due notice. A certified true copy of the resolution15 of the Summary Hearing Officer of the PNP Regional Office I imposing a one-rank demotion against SPO1 Lomibao, an authenticated copy of the decision16 of the Regional Director of the PNP Regional Office I dismissing SPO2 Domingo from the PNP, and the order17 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Dagupan City, Branch 1, dismissing the case against the petitioner for illegal possession of deadly weapon, were marked and submitted as exhibits for the defense. The information18 filed against the two neighbors suspected of drug pushing, Evangeline Mendoza and Dave Doe, and the order19 of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 40, convicting Evangeline Mendoza upon her plea of guilty for violation of Article III, Section 16 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, were also offered as exhibits. After trial, the trial court convicted petitioner Cabugao, to wit:Ï‚ ηα ñ rοbl εšνιrâ€Ï…α l lαωl ιbrαrÿ WHEREFORE, the accused is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Art. III, Section 15, RA 6425, as amended, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of six (6) months, as the minimum to four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day, as the maximum, and to pay the costs. SO ORDERED.20 Ï‚ rνl l The petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which, however, affirmed his conviction on November 22, 2002. His motion for reconsideration was also denied. Undaunted, the petitioner Cabugao filed this petition and submits the following assignment of errors: I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE INCONSISTENT AND INCREDIBLE STATEMENTS OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES. II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES ASSERTION THAT THERE WAS A BUY- BUST OPERATION. III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF VIOLATION OF SECTION 15, ARTICLE III OF REPUBLIC ACT 6425, WHEN THE GUILT OF THE LATTER WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. We find the petition impressed with merit. The decisions of both courts below failed to take into account vital pieces of evidence that engender serious doubt on the guilt of the petitioner. First, we shall consider the documentary evidence of the defense which cannot but erode the credibility of prosecution witnesses SPO2 Augusto Domingo and SPO1 Rolando Lomibao. We refer to: (a) the authenticated copy of the Order of Police Chief Superintendent Velasco dated February 28, 1997 showing that SPO2 Domingo was found guilty of grave misconduct for acts of lasciviousness and ordered dismissed from service; and (b) the certified true copy of the Resolution of Police Senior Inspector Sotero Lucas Soriano, Jr. dated December 8, 1997 showing that SPO1 Rolando Lomibao was convicted of grave misconduct when he was found positive of metabolite (marijuana) and demoted from the rank of SPO1 to PO3.
  14. 14. The respondent, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), tries to minimize the significance of these pieces of documentary evidence. It contends that they are hearsay evidence because they are not certified and were only identified by the petitioners father, Romeo Cabugao.21 It also argues that the demotion of SPO1 Lomibao and the dismissal from service of SPO2 Domingo have no bearing on the culpability of the petitioner.22 ς rνl l We disagree. The contention of the respondent that the subject documents are uncertified is erroneous. Under the Rules of Court, when the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof.23 The Rules does not require that the certification should be in a particular form. The four-page Resolution dated December 8, 1997 contains a stamped certification signed by Police Inspector David U. Ursua of the Legal Service, PNP Regional Office I of Parian, San Fernando, La Union.24 The three-page Decision dated February 28, 1997 has the handwritten authentication of Police Inspector Mario L. Aduan, also from the same office, on each and every page.25 They ought to satisfy the requirement of the Rules on certification. Moreover, the respondent did not raise the hearsay objection when the subject documents were offered in evidence by the defense. When the father of the petitioner was asked during direct examination if he had proof that SPO2 Domingo was dismissed from service and that SPO1 Lomibao was involved in drug activities, the prosecution objected on other grounds, i.e.,that the line of questioning is now irrelevant and immaterial and that (t) his is not (sic) the character of the complainant which is in issue.26 When the subject documents were marked as exhibits, the prosecution again did not raise any objection. When the documents were formally offered in evidence, the respondent once more did not object on the ground of hearsay. The prosecution objected on the ground that the documents are off-tangent to the issue in this case.27 ς rνll The Rules of Court requires that grounds for objection must be specified, whether orally or in writing.28 The result of violating this rule has been spelled out by this Court in a number of cases. In Krohn v. Court of Appeals,29 the counsel for the petitioner objected to the testimony of private respondent on the ground that it was privileged but did not question the testimony as hearsay. We held that in failing to object to the testimony on the ground that it was hearsay, counsel waived his right to make such objection and, consequently, the evidence offered may be admitted. In Tan Machan v. De la Trinidad,30 the defendant assailed as error the admission of plaintiffs book of account. We rejected the contention and ruled that an appellate court will not consider any other ground of objection not made at the time the books were admitted in evidence. In the case at bar, the respondent did not assail in the trial court the hearsay character of the documents in question. It is too late in the day to raise the question on appeal. At any rate, these documentary pieces of evidence cannot be cavalierly dismissed as irrelevant. They have a material bearing on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao. SPO2 Domingo has been dismissed from the service as of February 28, 1997. At the time of the incident on March 12, 1999, he was no longer a policeman and yet misrepresented himself as one. On the other hand, SPO1 Lomibao has been found guilty of drug use. Their credibility as truth tellers leaves much to be desired. Furthermore, the participation of SPO2 Domingo in the alleged buy-bust operation when he was no longer a member of the police force speaks ill of the regularity of the operation. It is unusual for SPO2 Domingo to be given the role of poseur buyer when he was at the time a dismissed policeman. As a dismissed policeman, he is not entitled to the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. Yet this presumption was used as a crutch to convict the petitioner. Second, there is a major inconsistency in the testimonies of SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao. The petitioner stressed that the two policemen could not agree on the reason that prompted them to conduct the buy-bust operation. SPO1 Lomibao testified that they were tipped by their informants. In contrast, SPO2 Domingo declared that they conducted a 15-day
  15. 15. surveillance prior to the operation and that he personally made a pre-arrangement with the petitioner to buy shabu 15 minutes prior to the alleged operation. No informer was involved in the operation. The pertinent excerpts of their testimonies follow:ςηαñrοbl εš νιrâ€Ï…αl lαωlιbrαrÿ SPO2 Domingo:Ï‚ ηαñrοbl εš νιrâ€Ï…αl lαωlιbrαrÿ COURT:Ï‚ ηαñrοblεšνιrâ€Ï…αl lαωl ιbrαrÿ Q: Before you conducted the buy-bust, where did you made (sic) that pre-arrangement?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: I acted as poseur buyer, your Honor. Q: But before that, where did you make that arrangement?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: In that same place, your Honor. Q: How many days before the buy-bust operation?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: More or less 15 minutes, your Honor.31 Ï‚ rνl l On the other hand, SPO1 Lomibao testified:ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl l αωlιbrαrÿ Q: Arriving at M.H. del Pilar Street of (sic) March 12, 1999, what happened?chanroblesvi rtual aw library A: SPO3 Domingo who acted as pusher-buyer (sic) approached Ramil Cabugao, ma(a) m. x x x Q: You said that SPOe (sic) Augusto Domingo acted as pusher-buyer (sic), what did he actually do?chanrobl esvirtualawl ibrary A: He approached Ramil Cabugao and handed (to) him P200.00 bills, ma(a) m. Q: What happened?chanroblesvi rtualawli brary A: And have arrangement with Ramil Cabugao and asked Ramil Cabugao if he (Cabugao) could sell (to) him P200.00 of shabu, ma(a) m. Q: At the time SPO3 Augusto Domingo was transacted (sic) with accused Ramil Cabugao being a pusher-buyer (sic), how far were you from the two?chanroblesvi rtual awlibrary A: I was more or less three meters away, ma(a) m.32 Ï‚ rνl l During cross-examination, Lomibao testified:Ï‚ ηαñrοbl εšνιrâ€Ï…αl lαωl ιbrαrÿ Q: You have no previous agreement with Ramil Cabugao that you will meet him in front of the Caliman Lodge in (sic) that night?chanroblesvi rtual awlibrary A: None, sir. Q: How did you know that Ramil Cabugao was there when you have no agreement with him?chanroblesvi rtualawli brary A: We have informants and assets that gave information with (sic) us, sir.33 Ï‚ rνl l
  16. 16. Just recently, in People v. Ong ,34 we held that it is the duty of the prosecution to present a complete picture detailing the buy-bust operation - - - from the initial contact between the poseur buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of the consideration, until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal subject of sale. Failing in this duty, the buy-bust operation will be greeted with furrowed brows. Second, the story of the prosecution that a dagger was found in the possession of the petitioner further crushed the credibility of their witnesses. SPO1 Lomibao testified that he bodily searched the petitioner and found a 9-inch dagger. In contrast, SPO2 Domingo never testified that a dagger was found from the petitioner. Several witnesses for the defense categorically declared that no dagger was found during the body frisk of the petitioner. The records show that the charge for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 6 or illegal possession of dangerous weapon against the petitioner was dismissed due to the repeated failure of SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao to appear before the court despite due notice. This repeated failure strengthens the impression that the prosecution story about the dagger taken from the petitioner is false. The falsity is not of little significance. A witness who manufactures that kind of a lie that could lead to the long time incarceration of the victim does not merit credence. Third, the documentary and testimonial evidence showing ill motive on the part of the police officers who witnessed against the petitioner cannot be shunted aside. The petitioner claims that SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao had reason to frame him up for he repeatedly refused to become their police asset for the arrest of certain neighbors believed to be drug pushers. He alleged that because of his refusal, other police officers were able to arrest the suspects ahead of SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao. As result, other police officers were promoted instead of SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao.35 His testimony was corroborated by his father, Romeo Cabugao. The prosecution did not rebut these allegations establishing the ill motive of SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao. Their testimonies cannot therefore be taken hook, line and sinker. Finally, we note that the testimonies of defense witnesses Azurin and Villamil were not given any significance in the decisions of the courts below. In fact, they were not even discussed. Of importance is the testimony of Azurin who witnessed the entire incident from the time the police officer approached the petitioner up to the time he was handcuffed and carried away. Her testimony has all the earmarks of truth. The incident took place in a small, sidewalk eatery where there was o nly one table. The petitioner was then the lone customer and Azurin attended to his order. She testified that the petitioner was merely eating and was not doing anything wrong when arrested by the policemen, viz: Q: After the two men came and something happened(,) that is the time you left?chanrobl esvi rtual awlibrary A: Not yet, ma(a) m. Q: Did you not say during direct examination that when something happened you were shocked and you left and you went to eskenita?chanroblesvi rtual awlibrary A: After he was poked with a gun and (they) handcuffed him(.) (T) hat was the time I left, ma(a) m. x x x Q: Now, according to you(,) you did not see anything that they got from Ramil Cabugao?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: Yes, ma(a) m. Q: You believed that Ramil Cabugao did not do anything wrong, is that it?chanroblesvi rtual awlibrary
  17. 17. A: I did not say that, ma(a) m. Q: You said that you have witnessed since the time Ramil Cabugao arrived in (sic) your store you did not see him do anything wrong in your store?chanrobl esvirtualawl ibrary A: Yes, ma(a) m. x x x Q: How far were you when these policemen frisked Ramil Cabugao?chanrobl esvirtualawl ibrary A: I was about one and a half meter away, ma(a) m. Q: Which took place first(,) the frisking of the body of Ramil Cabugao or the poking of the gun?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: The poking of gun, ma(a) m. Q: And they handcuffed him?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: They frisked him, ma(a) m. Q: The poking of the gun was first made by the policemen?chanroblesvirtualawli brary A: Yes, ma(a) m. Q: And then they handcuffed him?chanrobl esvirtualawl ibrary A: The handcuff was the last, ma(a) m.36 ς rνl l We find Azurin to be an unbiased witness. She has no relation to the petitioner. She was a waitress in the eatery where the incident took place. She testified at the risk of inviting the ire of police officers whose influence could very well affect their livelihood and well-being. It is well-settled that conviction must rest upon the strength of the evidence of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the evidence for the defense.37 The prosecutions evidence, resting mainly on the testimonies of two police officers whose authority and credibility are highly doubtful, cannot sustain the conviction of the petitioner. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 41, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner is AC QUITTED of the crime of violation of Article III, Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended. Cost de oficio.
  18. 18. Roble vsArbasa As held by the trial court, when the terms of an agreement had been reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be, between the parties and their successor-in-interest, no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement.[39] We find no ambiguity in the terms and stipulations of the deed of sale. Contracts are the laws between the contracting parties. It shall be fulfilled according to the literal sense of their stipulations. If their terms are clear and leave no room for doubt as to the intention of the contracting parties, the contracts are obligatory no matter what their forms may be, whenever the essential requisites for their validity are present.[40] Sale, by its very nature, is a consensual contract because it is perfected by mere consent. The essential elements of a contract of sale are the following: (a) consent or meeting of the minds, that is consent to transfer ownership in exchange for the price; (b) determinate subject matter; and (c) price certain in money or its equivalent.[41] All these elements are present in the instant case. Moreover, parol evidence rule forbids any addition to or contradiction of the terms of a written instrument by testimony or other evidence purporting to show that, at or before the execution of the parties’ written agreement, other or different terms were agreed upon by the parties, varying the purport of the written contract. When an agreement has been reduced to writing, the parties can not be permitted to adduce evidence to prove alleged practices, which to all purposes would alter the terms of the written agreement. Whatever is not found in the writing is understood to have been waived and abandoned.[42] The rule is in fact founded on “long experience that written evidence is so much more certain and accurate than that which rests in fleeting memory only, that it would be unsafe, when parties have expressed the terms of their contract in writing, to admit weaker evidence to control and vary the stronger and to show that the parties intended a different contract from that expressed in the writing signed by them.[43] The rule is not without exceptions, however, as it is likewise provided that a party to an action may present evidence to modify, explain, or add to the terms of the written agreement if he puts in issue in his pleadings: (a) an intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the written agreement; (b) the failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and agreement of the parties thereto; (c) the validity of the written agreement; or (d) the existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors in interest after the execution of the written agreement.[44] None of the aforecited exceptions finds application to the instant case. Nor did respondents raise this issue at the proceedings before the trial court.
  19. 19. PagsuyuinvsIAC The main issue in the instant case is whether or not parol evidence is admissible to annul the deed of assignment on the ground of fraud. Petitioners Rafael Pagsuyuin, et al. contend that both lower courts gravely erred in voiding the Deeds of Assignment based upon extrinsic evidence of alleged vitiated consent of the assignor-private respondent Salud Pagsuyuin in defiance of the settled rule of parol evidence that a document reduced to writing is deemed to have contained all such terms and conditions as contemplated by the parties and there can be, between the said parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of the terms of the agreement other than the contents of the writing itself. The contention is untenable. The rule on parol evidence recognizes the following exceptions: (a) where a mistake or imperfection of the writing, or its failure to express the true intent and agreement of the parties, or the validity of the agreement is put in issue by the pleadings; (b) . . . . (Sec. 7, Rule 130). As can be clearly gleaned from the foregoing, the rule making a writing the exclusive evidence of the agreement therein stated, is not applicable when the validity of such agreement is the fact in dispute. A contract may be annulled where the consent of one of the contracting parties was procured by mistake, fraud, intimidation, violence or undue influence (Art. 1330, New Civil Code). In fact, as early as 1919 in the case of Bough v. Cantiveros, 40 Phil. 209, this Court laid down the rule that where the validity of the agreement is the issue, parol evidence may be introduced to establish illegality or fraud. In the case at bar, petitioners relied heavily on the fact of notarial certification of the Deeds of Assignment by Notary Pub lic Edmundo Tubio allegedly on the 13th of September, 1976 in the presence of witnesses Marietta Pagsuyuin-Javier and Federico Javier to deflect the admissibility of parol evidence. On the other hand, private respondent's evidence clearly shows that on September 7, 1976 a document was brought to her at the Manila International, Airport, which she signed that same evening (when she returned to her house) in the presence of witnesses Federico and Marietta Javier but they were not given copies thereof ( Rollo, pp. 72-76). Then on September 8, 1976 at around 6:00 a.m., Rafael Pagsuyuin went to the house of the private respondent Salud Pagsuyuin with more documents for signature. Relying on the assurances of petitioner Rafael that the same were additional copies of the documents they had signed in the evening of September 7, 1976 (TSN, Hearing of May 9, 1978, pp. 9-13; Rollo, pp. 73-74), Salud and her witnesses signed without reading as petitioner Rafael was in a hurry (TSN, Hearing of January 31, 1978; Rollo, pp. 74-75) and he only showed them the latter portion and refused to show the contents of the documents (TSN, Hearing of October 13, 1977; Rollo, pp. 75-76). After he had obtained their signatures, Rafael left the house of Salud again without leaving any copy of the document (TSN, Hearing of January 31, 1978, Ibid.). As it turned out, the documents were denominated as Deeds of Assignment, contrary to the intent of private respondent. These testimonies were never satisfactorily rebutted by the petitioners. At this juncture, the findings of the trial court which were affirmed by the appellate court are quoted with approval: . . . the instruments of sale (Exh. "A" and "B") lacked the valid consent of the transferor Salud Pagsuyuin as there was fraud enlisted in making plaintiff sign the documents without understanding the contents thereof. The authenticity and genuineness of the documents were attacked because . . . . . defendants vitiated consent in the preparation and execution of said documents as plaintiff was misled into believing the same is a deed of mortgage instead of a deed of assignment. The evidence had proven that plaintiff was tricked and deceived into signing two (2) deeds of assignment which was not her intention to do so (sic). The trial court continued: The person who could have enlightened this court as to the disputed facts is none other than Rafael Pagsuyuin himself, but said witness developed cold feet and discontinued declaring against the plaintiff,
  20. 20. most probably because of deep-rooted fear of being discovered falsifying the truth and experiencing the fangs of guilty conscience, he broke completely down in court and could not continue his declaration against his cousin the herein plaintiff, so that his counsel withdrew him as a witness and his entire testimony was disregarded by this court. Judging from his demeanor and attitude, the court had very well observed that he could not explain the dubious circumstances that characterized the transfer of the property between him and the plaintiff. The failure of defendant Rafael Pagsuyuin to give testimony was a fatal defect that torpedoed the efforts of the defendants and witnesses to prove the defense that there was a valid transfer of the properties. (C.A. Decision,Rollo, pp. 40-51). While the writing itself may have been accompanied by the most solemn formalities, no instrument is so sacred when tainted with fraud as to place it beyond the scrutiny of extrinsic evidence. This evidence overcomes the known presumption fraus est odiosa et non praesumenda (Yturralde v. Vagilidad, 28 SCRA 393 [1969]). The testimonies of private respondent Salud Pagsuyuin and her two instrumental witnesses which have not been satisfactorily rebutted by the petitioners Rafael Pagsuyuin, et al. have made out a case of fraud by evidence clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant.
  21. 21. PPvs Pardua Accused-appellants fault the trial court for considering the testimony of Juanito, who was not among those present at the scene of the crime by Orlando and Alfredo, and whose name was not listed in the information as among the prosecution witnesses. According to accused-appellants, Juanito’s testimony is a fabrication, for he saw nothing of the incident which befell his uncle, Toribio. The Court is not persuaded. As long as a person is qualified to become a witness, he may be presented as one regardless of whether his name was included in the information or not. BalayonvsOcampo 8. ID.; RULES ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE; WITNESS WHO HAS NOT PROPERLY SUBMITTED AFFIDAVIT MAY TESTIFY ON SPECIFIC FACTUAL MATTER RELEVANT TO THE ISSUE. — In Orino v. Judge Gervasio, the Supreme Court ruled in a Minute Resolution that even if a witness has not priorly submitted his/her affidavit, he may be called to testify in connection with a specific factual matter relevant to the issue. Thus, a medical doctor whose medical certificate is among the evidence on record may be called to testify. This also applies to a Register of Deeds or Provincial Assessor in connection with official documents issued by his office. Pp vsGolimlim In the present case, no cogent reason can be appreciated to warrant a departure from the findings of the trial court with respect to the assessment of Evelyn’s testimony. That Evelyn is a mental retardate does not disqualify her as a witness nor render her testimony bereft of truth. Sections 20 and 21 of Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provide: SEC. 20. Witnesses; their qualifications. – Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perception to others, may be witnesses. x x x SEC. 21. Disqualification by reason of mental incapacity or immaturity. – The following persons cannot be witnesses: (a) Those whose mental condition, at the time of their production for examination, is such that they are incapable of intelligently making known their perception to others; (b) Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and of relating them truthfully. In People v. Trelles,24 where the trial court relied heavily on the therein mentally retarded private complainant’s testimony irregardless of her "monosyllabic responses and vacillations between lucidity and ambiguity," this Court held: A mental retardate or a feebleminded person is not, per se, disqualified from being a witness, her mental condition not being a vitiation of her credibility. It is now universally accepted that intellectual weakness, no matter what form it assumes, is not a valid objection to the competency of a witness so long as the latter can still give a fairly intelligent and reasonable narrative of the matter testified to.25 It can not then be gainsaid that a mental retardate can be a witness, depending on his or her ab ility to relate what he or she knows.26 If his or her testimony is coherent, the same is admissible in court.27
  22. 22. To be sure, modern rules on evidence have downgraded mental incapacity as a ground to disqualify a witness. As observed by McCormick, the remedy of excluding such a witness who may be the only person available who knows the facts, seems inept and primitive. Our rules follow the modern trend of evidence.28 Thus, in a long line of cases,29 this Court has upheld the conviction of the accused based mainly on statements given in court by the victim who was a mental retardate. From a meticulous scrutiny of the records of this case, there is no reason to doubt Evelyn’s credibility. To be sure, her testimony is not without discrepancies, given of course her feeblemindedness. By the account of Dr. Chona Cuyos-Belmonte, Medical Specialist II at the Psychiatric Department of the Bicol Medical Center, who examined Evelyn, although Evelyn was suffering from moderate mental retardation with an IQ of 46, 30 she is capable of perceiving and relating events which happened to her. PPvs Rama Secondly, the accused points out that since Bryan and Benjamin were not presented as prosecution witnesses, Diana Laviste's claim that these children pointed to the accused as the man who took away Joyce Ann does not bear any weight in evidence. This therefore leaves only the testimony of Roxanne as the basis for the prosecution's identification of the accused Rama as the culprit. The defense contends, however, that Roxanne's testimony, coming from the mouth of a five-year old, does not deserve credit because she could not answer many questions and appeared to have been coached by her grandmother, Diana. We cannot subscribe to the accused's contention. The Rules of Evidence provide in Rule 130, Secs. 20 and 21: "Sec. 20. Witnesses; their qualifications. - Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perceptions to others, may be witnesses. Sec. 21. Disqualification by reason of mental incapacity or immaturity. - The following persons cannot be witnesses: xxx (b) Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable pf perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and relating them truthfully." In Dulla v. Court of Appeals and Andrea Ortega,[22] the Court, citing the above provisions, gave credence to the testimony of a three-year old witness. It held: "It is thus clear that any child, regardless of age, can be a competent witness if he can perceive, and perceiving, can make known his perception to others and of relating truthfully facts respecting which he is examined. In the 1913 decision in United States v. Buncad, this Court stated: Professor Wigmore, after referring to the common-law precedents upon this point says: 'But this much may be taken as settled, that no rule defines any particular age as conclusive of incapacity; in each instance the capacity of the particular child is to be investigated.' (Wigmore on Evidence, vol. I, p. 638) The requirements then of a child's competency as a witness are the: (a) capacity of observation, (b) capacity of recollection, and (c) capacity of communication. And in ascertaining whether a child is of sufficient intelligence according to the foregoing, it is setted that the trial court is called upon to make such determination." (emphasis supplied)
  23. 23. In People v. Mendiola,[23] the Court gave credence to the testimony of the six-year old witness even if she failed to answer some questions because of her tender age. In the case at bar, while the five-year old witness, Roxanne, was not able to answer some questions such as which was her left and her right, she was straightforward in identifying the accused Rama as the culprit, We thus find no reason to disturb the trial court's assessment of the credibility of the child witness, Roxanne. The determination of the competence and credibility of a child as a witness rests primarily with the trial judge as he had the opportunity to see the demeanor of the witness, his apparent intelligence or lack of it, and his understanding of the nature of the oath. As many of these qualities cannot be conveyed by the record of the case, the trial judge's evaluation will not be disturbed on review, unless it is clear from the record that his judgment is erroneous.[26] This conclusion is in accord with the spirit and letter of the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness (the "Rule") which became effective last December 15, 2000. The following provisions are apropos: "Section 1. Applicability of the Rule. -- Unless otherwise provided, this Rule shall govern the examination of child witnesses who are victims of crime, accused of a crime, and witnesses to crime. It shall apply in all criminal proceedings and non-criminal proceedings involving child witnesses." (emphasis supplied) "Section 3. Construction of the Rule. -- This Rule shall be liberally construed to uphold the best interests of the child and to promote the maximum accommodation of child witnesses without prejudice to the constitutional rights of the accused." (emphasis supplied) "Section 6. Competence. -- Every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. However, the court shall conduct a competency examination of a child, motu proprio or on motion of a party, when it finds that substantial doubt exists regarding the ability of the child to perceive, remember, communicate, distinguish truth from falsehood, or appreciate the duty to tell the truth in court. xxx (a) Proof of necessity. -- A party seeking a competency examination must present proof of necessity of competence examination. The age of the child by itself is not a sufficient basis for a competency examination." (emphasis supplied) Thirdly, the defense faults the trial court for relying on a single eyewitness account in convicting the accused Rama. The Court has long held that the testimony of a sole eyewitness is sufficient to support a conviction so long as it is clear, straightforward and worthy of credence by the trial court. Bordalbavs CA Thus, petitioner filed the instant petition, assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals. Petitioner contends that the testimonies given by the witnesses for private respondents which touched on matters occurring prior to the death of her mother should not have been admitted by the trial court, as the same violated the dead man’s statute. Likewise, petitioner questions the right of private respondents to inherit from the late Nicanor Jayme and Asuncion Jayme -Baclay, as well as the identity between the disputed lot and the parcel of land adjudicated in the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition. The contentions are without merit. It is doctrinal that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals upholding those of the tria l court are binding upon this Court. While there are exceptions to this rule, petitioner has not convinced us that this case falls under one of them. 16 The Court sees no reason to deviate from the findings of the trial court that petitioner resorted to fraud and misrepresentation in obtaining a free patent and title over the lot under scrutiny. The Court of Appeals correctly pointed out that misrepresentation tainted petitioner’s application, insofar as her declaration that the land applied for was not occupied
  24. 24. or claimed by any other person. Her declaration is belied by the extrajudicial partition which she acknowledged, her mother’s aborted attempt to have the lot registered, private respondents’ predecessors-in-interest’s opposition thereto, and by the occupancy of a portion of the said lot by Nicanor Jayme and his family since 1945. It is a settled rule that the Land Registration Act protects only holders of title in good faith, and does not permit its pro vision to be used as a shield for the commission of fraud, or as a means to enrich oneself at the expense of others. 17 As to the alleged violation of the dead man’s statute, 18 suffice it to state that said rule finds no application in the present case. The dead man’s statute does not operate to close the mouth of a witness as to any matter of fact coming to his knowledge in any other way than through personal dealings with the deceased person, or communication made by the deceased to the witness. 19 Since the claim of private respondents and the testimony of their witnesses in the present case is based, inter alia, on the 1947 Deed of Extra-judicial Partition and other documents, and not on dealings and communications with the deceased, the questioned testimonies were properly admitted by the trial court. PP vs Sandiganbayan People vs. Sandiganbayan 275 SCRA 505 FACTS Paredes, was the Provincial Attorney of Agusan del Sur, then Governor of the same province and is at present a Congressman. Atty. Sansaet is a practicing attorney who served as counsel for Paredes in several instances. In 1976, Paredes applied for a free patent over a piece of land and it was granted to him. But later, the Director of Lands found out that Paredes obtained the same through fraudulent misrepresentations in his application. A civil case was filed and Sansaet served as counsel of Paredes. A criminal case for perjury was subsequently filed against Paredes and Sansaet also served as counsel. Later, Teofilo Gelacio, a taxpayer, initiated perjury and graft charges against Paredes and Sansaet, claiming that they acted in conspiracy, by not filing an arraignment in the criminal case. To evade responsibility for his own participation, he claimed that he did so upon the instigation and inducement of Paredes, and to discharge himself as a government witness. The Sandiganbayan claimed that there was an attorney-client privilege and resolved to deny the discharge. ISSUES Whether or not the testimony of Atty. Sanset is barred by the attorney-client privilege HELD Statements and communications regarding the commission of a crime already committed, made by a party who committed it, to an attorney, consulted as such, are privileged communications. However, the communication between an attorney and client having to do with the client's contemplated criminal acts, or in aid or furtherance thereof, are not covered by the cloak of privilege ordinarily existing in reference to communications between an attorney and a client. The falsification not having been committed yet, these communications are outside the pale of the attorney client privilege.
  25. 25. Moreover, Sansaet himself was a conspirator in the commission of the falsification. For the communication to be privileged, it must be for a lawful purpose or in furtherance of a lawful end. The existence of an unlawful purpose prevents the privilege from attaching. PPvs Invencion We find no cogent reason to overturn the findings of the trial court on the culpability of Artemio. It is doctrinally settled that the factual findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of the witnesses, are a ccorded great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. This is so because the trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted assertion, the sudden pallor of a discovered lie, the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer, the forthright tone of a ready reply, the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, or the carriage and mien. 17 This rule, however, admits of exceptions, as where there exists a fact or circumstance of weight and influence that has been ignored or misconstrued by the court, or where the trial court has acted arbitrarily in its appreciation of the facts. 18 We do not find any of these exceptions in th e case at bar. As to the competency of Elven to testify, we rule that such is not affected by Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, 19 otherwise known as the rule on "filial privilege." This rule is not strictly a rule on disqualification because a descendant is not incompetent or disqualified to testify against an ascendant. 20 The rule refers to a privilege not to testify, which can be invoked or waived like other privileges. As correctly observed by the lower court, Elven was not compelled to testify against his father; he chose to waive that filial privilege when he voluntarily testified against Artemio. Elven declared that he was testifying as a witness against his father of his own accord and only "to tell the truth." 21 Neither can Artemio challenge the prosecution’s act of propounding leading questions on Elven. Section 10(c) of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court 22 expressly allows leading questions when the witness is a child of tender years like Elven.cral aw:red The alleged ulterior motive of Elven in testifying against his father also deserves scant consideration. Such insinuation of ill- motive is too lame and flimsy. As observed by the OSG, Elven, who was of tender age, could not have subjected himself to the ordeal of a public trial had he not been compelled by a motive other than to bring to justice the despoiler of his sister’s virtue. There is no indication that Elven testified because of anger or any ill-motive against his father, nor is there any showing that he was unduly pressured or influenced by his mother or by anyone to testify against his father. The rule is that where there is no evidence that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to full credence. Simangan vs people n February 24, 1980, Fernando and the petitioner were on their way home from their ROTC classes at the St. Louis University. The petitioner then narrated to Fernando that at about 7:00 p.m. on Februa ry 10, 1980, after buying cigarettes from a store, the store-owner agreed to go with him and his four companions. The petitioner revealed that they brought the victim over to the place where twenty of his other comrades were waiting. He also told Fernando that he and his companions stabbed the victim over and over again, and tasted the latters blood so that they would not get sick. The petitioner warned that if Fernando divulged to anyone what he had just revealed, he (the petitioner), would drink his blood, too.10 Ï‚ rνll The petitioner did not know that Fernando was the first cousin of Sofronia, the widow of Ernesto Flores, who was, in turn, the store-owner referred to by Moises.11 Fernando immediately told Sofronia what the petitioner had told him. On March 21, 24 and 25, 1980, Sofronia, Fernando and Lorna gave their respective statements12 to Sgt. Quirino Espiritu of the Philippine Constabulary in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, in which they identified Moises as one of Ernestos assailants. The petitioner contends that the testimony of Fernando is hearsay, as he had no personal knowledge that he was one of those who killed the victim.
  26. 26. The testimony of Fernando, that the petitioner admitted to him that he was one of the victims killers, is not hearsay. The testimony of Fernando was offered to prove the petitioners extrajudicial admission of his involvement in the killing of Ernesto. Such admission is an admission against personal interest, and is admissible against the petitioner.27 Ï‚ rνl l We note that the petitioner admitted during trial that he and Fernando were classmates in a civil engineering subject at St. Louis University, and in the ROTC training. The petitioner also admitted that he and Fernando were friends. Hence, it was not impossible for the petitioner to have revealed his involvement in the killing to Fernando. The petitioner did not hesitate to inform Fernando that he and his companions had killed Ernesto because an informer had told them that Ernesto was bad. The petitioners alibi and denial of the crime charged cannot prevail over the positive and straightforward identification made by Lorna and Sofronia that he was one of the armed men who left with Ernesto, coupled with the petitioners own admission that he was one of the victims assailants. We note that there is no evidence, nor any showing of any ill-motive on the part of Lorna, Sofronia and Fernando to prevaricate. In fact, the petitioner and Fernando were close friends. Thus, the presumption is that the said witness acted in good faith; hence, their testimonies must be accorded credence and full probative weight. The three witnesses cannot be faulted, and their credibility denigrated for giving their statements to Sgt. Espiritu of the Philippine Constabulary only on March 21 to 25, 1980. As copiously explained by the Court of Appeals:ςη GuttierezvsPalattao Nevertheless, despite this incorrect interpretation of a rule on evidence, we do not find the same as sufficiently constitutive of the charges of gross ignorance of the law and of knowingly rendering an unjust decision. Rather, it is at most an error in judgement, for which, as a general rule, he cannot be held administratively liable. In this regard, we reiterate the prevailing rule in our jurisdiction as established by current jurisprudence: “We have heretofore ruled that a judge may not be held administratively accountable for every erroneous order or decision he renders. To unjustifiably hold otherwise, assuming that he has erred, would be nothing short of harassment and would make his position doubly unbearable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. The error must be gross or patent, malicious, deliberate or in evident bad faith. It is only in this latter instance, when the judge acts fraudulently or with gross ignorance, that administrative sanctions are called for as an imperative duty of this Court. “As a matter of public policy then, the acts of a judge in his official capacity are not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are erroneous. Good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper consideration are sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with ignorance of the law can find refuge. xxx xxx.”[7] Moreover, it must be stressed that in the case of De la Cruz vs. Concepcion[8] this Court declared that: “Mere errors in the appreciation of evidence, unless so gross and patent as to produce an inference of ignorance or bad faith, or of knowing rendition of an unjust decision, are irrelevant and immaterial in an administrative proceeding against him. No one, called upon to try facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice, can be infallible in his judgment. All that is expected of him is that he follow the rules prescribed to ensure a fair and impartial hearing, assess the different factors that emerge therefrom and bear on the issues presented, and on the basis of the
  27. 27. conclusions he finds established, with only his conscience and knowledge of the law to guide him, adjudicate the case accordingly.”[9] In this case, the record is bereft of any evidence to conclusively show that the respondent Judge’s actuations were tainted with malice and bad faith, hence the administrative charges against him must fail. PPvs Gaudia Fourth, he avers that the offer of compromise by his parents as tendered to Amalia Loyola should not be taken against him,37 while the offer of compromise he allegedly made to Amalias husband, as relayed by Amalia in her testimony, should be excluded as evidence for being hearsay. Similarly, appellants charge that the offers of compromise allegedly made by the parents of the appellant to Amalia, and by the appellant himself to Amalias husband should not have been taken against him by the trial court, even if sustained, will not exculpate him. To be sure, the offer of compromise allegedly made by appellant to Amalia Loyolas husband is hearsay evidence, and of no probative value. It was only Amalia who testified as to the alleged offer,46 and she was not a party to the conversation which allegedly transpired at the Hagonoy Municipal Jail. A witness can only testify on facts which are based on his personal knowledge or perception.47 The offer of compromise allegedly made by the appellants parents to Amalia may have been the subject of testimony48 of Amalia. However, following the principle of res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet,49 the actions of his parents cannot prejudice the appellant, since he was not a party to the said conversation, nor was it shown that he was privy to the offer of compromise made by them to the mother of the victim. They cannot be considered as evidence against appellant but we reiterate that these errors are not enough to reverse the conviction of the appellant. Pp vs Vda de Ramos We find that the foregoing testimony of Dador was not based on his own personal knowledge but from what Osabel told him. He admitted that he was never near appellant and that he did not talk to her about the plan when they were at her house on July 15, 1992. Thus, his statements are hearsay and does not prove appellant’s participation in the conspiracy. Under Rule 130, Section 36 of the Rules of Court, a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his own personal knowledge, i.e., which are derived from his own perception; otherwise, such testimony would be hearsay. Hearsay evidence is defined as “evidence not of what the witness knows himself but of what he has heard from others.”[10] The hearsay rule bars the testimony of a witness who merely recites what someone else has told him, whether orally or in writing.[11] In Sanvicente v. People,[12] we held that when evidence is based on what was supposedly told the witness, the same is without any evidentiary weight for being patently hearsay. Familiar and fundamental is the rule that hearsay testimony is inadmissible as evidence.[13] Osabel’s extrajudicial confession is likewise inadmissible against appellant. The res inter alios acta rule provides that the rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another.[14] Consequently, an extrajudicial confession is binding only upon the confessant and is not admissible against his co-accused. The reason for the rule is that, on a principle of good faith and mutual convenience, a man’s own acts are binding upon himself, and are evidence against him. So are his conduct and declarations. Yet it would not only be rightly inconvenient, but also manifestly unjust, that a man should be bound by the acts of mere unauthorized strangers; and if a party ought not to be bound by the acts of strangers, neither ought their acts or conduct be used as evidence against him.[15] The rule on admissions made by a conspirator, while an exception to the foregoing, does not apply in this case. In order for such admission to be admissible against a co-accused, Section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court requires that there must be independent evidence
  28. 28. aside from the extrajudicial confession to prove conspiracy. In the case at bar, apart from Osabel’s extrajudicial confession, no other evidence of appellant’s alleged participation in the conspiracy was presented by the prosecution. There being no independent evidence to prove it, her culpability was not sufficiently established. Unavailing also is rule that an extrajudicial confession may be admissible when it is used as a corroborative evidence of other facts that tend to establish the guilt of his co-accused. The implication of this rule is that there must be a finding of other circumstantial evidence which, when taken together with the confession, establishes the guilt of a co-accused beyond reasonable doubt.[16] As earlier stated, there is no other prosecution evidence, direct or circumstantial, which the extrajudicial confession may corroborate. In People v. Berroya,[17] we held that to hold an accused liable as co-principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the conspiracy. That overt act may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his co-conspirators by being present at the time of the commission of the crime, or by exerting moral ascendancy over the other co- conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the conspiracy. In the case at bar, no overt act was established to prove that appellant shared with and concurred in the criminal design of Osabel, Dador and Purcino. Assuming that she had knowledge of the conspiracy or she acquiesced in or agreed to it, still, absent any active participation in the commission of the crime in furtherance of the conspiracy, mere knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate is not sufficient to constitute one as a party to a conspiracy.[18] Conspiracy transcends mere companionship.[19] Conspiracy must be proved as convincingly as the criminal act itself. Like any element of the offense charged, conspiracy must be established by proof beyond reasonable doubt.[20] Direct proof of a previous agreement need not be established, for conspiracy may be deduced from the acts of appellant pointing to a joint purpose, concerted action and community of interest. Nevertheless, except in the case of the mastermind of a crime, it must also be shown that appellant performed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy PPvs Cui Despite its ruling, the trial court used the statements of Basingan, as testified to by Sgt. Ouano, as proofs of the guilt of the Cuis, Obeso and Sarte. Undeniably, they are hearsay for any oral or documentary evidence is hearsay by nature if its probative value is not based on the personal knowledge of the witnesses but on the knowledge of some other person who was never presented on the witness stand. 26 Conviction cannot be based on hearsay evidence. In the 1996 case of People v. Raquel, 27 we squarely addressed the issue of whether or not the extra-judicial statements of an escaped accused implicating his co-accused may be utilized against the latter. There we ordered an acquittal and held:j gc:chanrobl es.com.ph "A thorough review of the records of this case readily revealed that the identification of herein appellants as the culprits was based chiefly on the extrajudicial statement of accused Amado Ponce pointing to them as his co -perpetrators of the crime. As earlier stated, the said accused escaped from jail before he could testify in court and he has been at large since then.chanroblesvirtual awl ibrary chanrobl es.com:chanrobles.com.ph "The extra-judicial statements of an accused implicating a co-accused may not be utilized against the latter, unless these are repeated in open court. If the accused never had the opportunity to cross-examine his co-accused on the latter’s extra- judicial statements, it is elementary that the same are hearsay as against said accused. That is exactly the situation, and the disadvantaged plight of appellants, in the case at bar.
  29. 29. "Extreme caution should be exercised by the courts in dealing with the confession of an accused which implicates his co - accused. A distinction, obviously, should be made between extra-judicial and judicial confessions. The former deprives the other accused of the opportunity to cross-examine the confessant, while in the latter his confession is thrown wide open for cross-examination and rebuttal. "The res inter alios rule ordains that the rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another. An extra-judicial confession is binding only upon the confessant and is not admissible against his co -accused. The reason for the rule is that, on a principle of good faith and mutual convenience, a man’s own acts are binding upon himself, and are evidence against him. So are his conduct and declarations. Yet it would not only be rightly inconvenient, but also manifestly unjust, that a man should be bound by the acts of mere unauthorized strangers; and if a party ought not to be bound by the acts of strangers, neither ought their acts or conduct be used as evidence against him." 28 The res inter alios has exceptions. Thus, Section 30 of Rule 130 provides:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its existence, may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator after the conspiracy is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration." chanrobl eslawl ibrary For this provision to apply, the following requisites must be satisfied:j gc:chanrobles.com.ph "a. That the conspiracy be first proved by evidence other than the admission itself; "b. that the admission relates to the common objects; and "c. that it has been made while the declarant was engaged in carrying out the conspiracy." 29 The general rule is that extra-judicial declarations of a co-conspirator made before the formation of the conspiracy or after the accomplishment of its object are inadmissible in evidence as against the other co-conspirators, on the ground that the accused in a criminal case has the constitutional right to be confronted with the witnesses against him and to cross -examine them. 30chanrobl esvirtual lawli brary In the case at bar, the alleged conspiracy among the accused was not priorly established by independent evidence. Nor was it shown that the extra-judicial statements of Basingan were made while they were engaged in carrying out the conspiracy. In truth, the statements were made after the conspiracy has ended and after the consummation of the crime. They were not acts or declarations made during the conspiracy’s existence. Since the extra-judicial admissions were made after the supposed conspiracy, they are binding only upon the confessant and are not admissible against his co-accused; as against the latter, the confession is hearsay. 31 In fine, the extra-judicial statements of Basingan cannot be used against the Cuis, Obeso and Sarte without doing violence against their constitutional right to confront Basingan and to cross-examine him. 32 Pp vsGarcia The records show that Garcia and Bernabe admitted to Cortez and Ignacio that they were responsible for taking the vehicle and killing the victim, Elis. On December 24, 1996, Cortez went to the Moncada Municipal Jail and talked to them while they were detained. Both admitted to him that they forcibly took the said vehicle from Elis, stabbed him and thereafter dumped him at San Rafael, Bulacan. 27 Subsequently, on December 26, 1996, Cortez and Ignacio went to Moncada and confronted the two in their cells. Garcia admitted to Cortez and Ignacio that they stole the vehicle because they were in dire need of money, while Bernabe kept quiet. 28 Appellant Bernabe maintains that the trial court erred in admitting in evidence his admission to Cortez and Ignacio on the grounds that (a) he did not make such admission; (b) the admission made by Garcia should not prejudice him; and (c) assuming he made such admission, it should be excluded for having been made under duress and intimidation. 29 In People v. Andan, 30 it was held that the constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary manner whereby appellant orally admitted having committed the crime. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions. The rights under Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution are guaranteed to preclude the slightest use of coercion by the state as would lead the accused to admit something false, and not to prevent him from freely and voluntarily telling the truth. Hence, appellant’s voluntary admission to Cortez that he and his co-accused conspired in killing the deceased when the latter opposed their plan to sell the vehicle is admissible as evidence against him.
  30. 30. Anent Garcia’s extrajudicial confession implicating appellant in the commission of the offense, it appears that the latter did not oppose or affirm Garcia’s statement. Neither did he make an attempt to refute the same insofar as his participation in the commission of the crime was concerned. As correctly observed by the Office of the Solicitor General, "he cannot invoke his silence during this crucial moment as his right. He ought to speak and failing to do so, his silence weighs heavily on him. Thus, it was not accused-appellant’s Garcia’s admission that prejudiced accused-appellant Bernabe, but his own silence when it was ‘such as naturally to call for action or comment if not true’." 31 Rule 130, Section 32 of the Rules of Court provides that an act or declaration made in the presence and within the hearing or observation of a party who does or says nothing when the act or declaration is such as naturally to call for action or comment if not true, and when proper and possible for him to do so, may be given in evidence against him. PP vs Satore Confession before the barangay captain was admitted as evidence but is not sufficient to convict in the absence of other corroborating evidence presented or adduced. PP vs Nardo During the trial, the defense endeavored to portray Lorielyn as an incorrigible liar. Occasions were cited wherein Lorielyn supposedly lied in order to obtain money or her parents’ permission to leave the house. However, Rule 130, Section 34, of the Rules of Court provides that: "Evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did nor did not do the same or a similar thing at another time; but it may be received to prove a specific intent or knowledge, identity, plan, system, scheme, habit, custom or usage, and the like." While lying may constitute a habit, we believe that the falsehoods committed by Lorielyn, assuming them for the moment to be true, are petty and inconsequential. They are not as serious as charging one’s own father of the sordid crime of rape, with all of its serious repercussions. PP vs Preciados On the second issue, appellant submits that the trial court erred when it admitted and gave much weight to the probative value of the "ante mortem" statement of Antonio. 61 Appellant contends that the statement can neither be considered as dying declaration under Rule 130, Sec. 37 62 nor part of the res gestae under Rule 130, Section 42 63 of the Rules of Court. It is inadmissible for being hearsay. Furthermore, he avers it was error for the trial court to give weight to the first affidavit of Antonio, 64 since Antonio repudiated the same, stating that its contents were false. According to appellant, Antonio claimed said affidavit was given under duress. The Solicitor General, for its part, argues that Antonio’s actions during and immediately after the incident were completely inconsistent with those of a person who allegedly wanted to commit suicide. Hence, his retraction should be looked at with jaundiced eye, following our ruling in People v. Junio, 237 SCRA 826 (1994), where we held that retractions are generally unreliable and looked upon with considerable disfavor. A dying declaration is the statement which refers to the cause and surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death, made under the consciousness of an impending death." 65 It is admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule 66 because of necessity and trustworthiness. Necessity, because the declarant’s death makes it impossible for him to take the witness stand 67 and trustworthiness, for when a person is at the point of death, every motive for falsehood is silenced and the mind is induced by the most powerful consideration to speak the truth. 68 The requisites for the admissibility of a dying declaration are: (1) the death is imminent and the declarant is conscious of that fact; (2) the de claration refers to the cause and surrounding circumstances of such death; (3) the declaration relates to facts which the victim is competent to testify; (4) the declarant thereafter dies; and (5) the declaration is offered in a criminal case wherein the declarant’s death is the subject of inquiry. 69 In the present case, the foregoing requisites were not met. A dying declaration is essentially hearsay, because one person is testifying on what another person stated. This is because the declarant can no longer be presented in court to identify the document or confirm the statement, but more important, to be confronted with said statement by the accused and be cross- examined on its contents. 70 It was patently incorrect for the trial court to have allowed prosecution witness PO3 Leonardo Inoc to testify on Antonio’s so-called "dying declaration" because Antonio was alive and later even testified in court. But was the purported ante-mortem statement part of the res gestae? Where a victim’s statement may not be admissible as an ante mortem declaration, it may nonetheless be considered as part of the res gestae, if made immediately after a

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