THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING PROBATIVE VALUE TO THE INCREDIBLE, IMPLAUSIBLE AND HIGHLY INCONGRUOUS TESTIMONY OF PRIVATE COMPLAINANT ANENT THE IMPUGNED INCIDENTS IN CRIMINAL CASE NOS. L-5256, 5992, 5994 AND 5295.

Appellant challenges the credibility of the complainant, Aileen S. Alba, by capitalizing on his physical handicap of being a one-armed man, his right arm having been amputated. He submits that with this physical disadvantage, the complainant’s assertions that she was raped eight (8) times on four (4) occasions; that her mouth was covered with a handkerchief and her hands and feet were tied; that after each incident, the handkerchief was removed from her mouth and her hands and feet untied; that this same procedure was followed in all incidents, are incredible, and the consummation of the crimes ascribed to him, highly impossible.

We find appellant’s reliance upon his disability as a futile attempt to disprove the charge against him and escape liability. While it is true that he is one-armed, such fact alone does not sufficiently prove that he could not have committed the crime. His physical defect does not make it entirely implausible for him to have committed the crime of rape, in the face of 12-year old Aileen’s positive identification and unwavering testimony that appellant raped her. What is essential is that the essence of the crime – sexual penetration of the female genitalia by the male organ – is established beyond reasonable doubt.

After a thorough review of the declaration on the witness stand of complainant Aileen, we find her testimony very typical of an innocent child whose virtue has been violated. Aileen testified that appellant used his left hand and his teeth to tie both ends of the handkerchief. Thus, it was not impossible for appellant to cover Aileen’s mouth with a handkerchief. As to the fact that her feet were tied when she was raped, Aileen testified that her feet were tied near the ankle. Aileen remained constant and steadfast despite intense grilling by defense counsel on cross-examination. Enlightening are the following excerpts from her candid and unequivocal testimony which we quote verbatim:

“Q Now, what did the accused do next to you?
“A He removed my shortpant, sir.
“Q Removed or just lowered your shortpant?
“A He lowered, sir.
“Q Then he went on top of you?
“A But first, he removed his pants, sir.
“Q Then he went on top of you?
“A Yes, sir.
“Q Then, you claim that he inserted his penis to your vagina?
“A Yes, sir.
“Q Now, in spite of the fact that the accused did not remove your panty first before he inserted his penis to your vagina?
“A He lowered my panty, sir.
“Q I thought what was lowered only is shortpant?
“A He lowered my shortpant and my underwear, sir.
“Q And in spite of the fact that your thighs are near each other you claim still that the accused was able to insert his penis to your vagina?
“A My thighs were not too close, sir.
“Q What do you mean that your thighs were not too close when you said before hand during all the time that you were raped by the accused on January 16, 23, February 16 and your thighs were near to each other?
“A What I mean my legs were quite open, sir?
“Q With your knees pointed upward?
“xxx xxx xxx.
“WITNESS:
“A My legs are about three (3) inches apart, sir.
“COURT:
“Q Are you very sure that is your position when the accused laid you down and rape you on top of the bed?
“FISCAL:
“With due respect, she was ordered to lie down, Your Honor.
“A Yes, sir.
“COURT:
“Q In spite of the fact that you claim that your feet were tightly tight that was your position?
“WITNESS:
“A My feet were tightly tight but the accused spread my legs a little far apart, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q Now, when did the accused open your legs a little apart was it before he went on top of you or he was already on top of you?
“WITNESS:
“A Before he went on top of me, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“COURT:
“Q Did you feel pain when the accused sexually abused you?
“WITNESS:
“A Yes, sir.
“Q What part of your body?
“A My whole body, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q In spite of the pain you felt on your body, you did not cry?
“WITNESS:
“A I cried, sir.
“Q You cried loud?
“A No, sir.
“Q How loud was your cry?
“A My tears were just flowing, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q You said the accused was able to insert his penis to your vagina, for how long did the accused take before he could finally insert his penis to your vagina on January 23, 1995?
“WITNESS:
“A Quite sometime, sir.
“Q How long is that quite sometime?
“A Quite long time, sir.
“Q While he was trying his penis to insert into your vagina was he embracing you titely?
“A Yes, sir.
“Q He kiss you also?
“A No, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q For how long did the accused make sexual intercourse against you on January 23, 1995?
“WITNESS:
“A Long time, sir.
“Q How long is that long time?
“A I cannot remember how many minutes at that time, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“Q Considering that you are now Grade VI, how long is that one (1) minute, more or less?”
“A The accused take a long time in sexually but I cannot tell how many minutes, sir.
“xxx xxx xxx
“COURT
“Q Were you also enjoying the act being done to you by the accused?
“A No, sir.
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q And what did you feel?
“WITNESS:
“A I felt pain, sir.
“Q When you were feeling that pain, did you try to move your buttocks counter likewise in order to remove the penis of the accused or just remain stand still?
“A When I tried to move I cannot because Beriong (the accused) was very heavy, sir.” 

The child remained steadfast and candid on further cross-examination:

“Q Now, when the accused was on top of you, did he embrace you tightly?
“A Yes, sir.
“Q And after that he inserted his penis to your vagina?
“A Yes, sir.
“Q And you claim that despite of facts that you ties are very closed to each other, Beriong was able to insert his penis to your vagina?
“FISCAL:
“Near not very close.
“COURT:
“Reform the question.
“Near.
“WITNESS:
“A Yes, sir.
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q Was he able to insert his penis to your vagina with ease?
“WITNESS:
“A No, sir.
“Q How long was he able to insert his penis to your vagina?
“A I don’t know, sir.
“Q You also claimed no one guided his penis to your vagina he was able to insert his penis to your vagina?
“COURT: (interrupted)
“Q How were he able to insert his penis to your vagina and your ties were closed to each other?
“WITNESS:
“A I cannot tell, sir.
“Q The accused did not hold his penis, then, inserted it in your vagina?
“A He held, sir.
“ATTY. CASTRO:
“Q Is it not you claimed a while ago before the accused inserted his penis to your VAGINA?
“FISCAL:
“Objection, there is no showing it was simultaneous embracing and inserting of the penis with the use of the nad.
“COURT:
“Answer.
“WITNESS:
“A He first placed his penis on top of my vagina and embrace me tightly, sir.
“COURT:
“Q How were he able to insert his penis with the use of his hand?
“WITNESS:
“A I cannot describe, sir.

The physical evidence corroborates Aileen’s testimony. The medico-legal report of Dr. Mary Gwendolyn Luna on the evidence of the non-virgin state of Aileen is the definitive proof that penetration did in fact occur. The examination conducted by Dr. Luna revealed that Aileen’s hymen bore two old, deep lacerations at 5 and 7 o’clock, and superficial lacerations at 3, 6, 9 and 11 o’clock. It is settled that when the victim’s testimony is corroborated by the physician’s finding of penetration, there is sufficient foundation to conclude the existence of the essential requisite of carnal knowledge. Laceration, whether healed or fresh, is the best physical evidence of forcible defloration.

Thus, we are not inclined to deviate from the established rule that testimonies of rape victims, especially child victims, are given full weight and credit. It bears emphasis that the victim in this case was barely twelve (12) years old when she was raped. In a litany of cases, the Court has applied the well settled rule that when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says she has been raped, she says in effect, all that is necessary to prove that rape was committed. We give greater weight to the testimony of a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, especially a minor, for it is most unnatural for a young and immature girl to fabricate a story as sordid as her own defilement, allow a medical examination of her genitalia, subject herself to a public trial and expose herself to public ridicule for no reason other than her thirst for justice.

Mere surmises on the improbability of penetration due to the fact that the feet of the victim were tied at the ankles and appellant is a one-armed man, do not overcome our foregoing rulings in the face of the unfaltering testimony of Aileen and the physical evidence testified to by Dr. Luna.

Furthermore, Aileen’s conduct of simply going home after the commission of the rape should not be taken against her. The non-revelation of the first and succeeding incidents of rape can be attributed to the fear created in her mind by the threats appellant made against her. Rape victims, especially child victims, should not be expected to act the way mature individuals would when placed in such a situation. It is not proper to judge the actions of children who have undergone traumatic experience by the norms of behavior expected from adults under similar circumstances. “The range of emotions shown by rape victims is yet to be captured even by the calculus. It is thus unrealistic to expect uniform reactions from rape victims”. 

In stark contrast to the categorical declarations of Aileen, appellant merely raised denial and alibi as his defenses. Denial and alibi are weak defenses which are unavailing in the face of positive identification by the victim of the appellant as the violator of her honor. Furthermore, appellant’s alibi was shattered by the prosecution’s rebuttal witness, Felisa Soriano, who testified that she never sent the appellant to Baguio to buy Campri leaves on January 15, 1995 since she has children whom she could send to Baguio City to buy the medicine. It is further weakened by the fact that he escaped from detention on March 8, 1995 and was subsequently re-arrested two (2) days later on March 10, 1995. before his arraignment on May 9, 1995.. Such escapade is akin to flight before arrest in the commission of a crime, which signifies an awareness of guilt and a consciousness that he had no tenable defense against the rape charge.

The Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. L-5256, 5292, 5294, 5295 and 5257 alleged that the appellant committed the rape while “armed with a fan knife and a handgun”, thus he is charged with rape qualified by the use of a deadly weapon. It must be stressed that what qualifies the crime of rape is not just the overt act of “being armed with a weapon” but the “use of a deadly weapon” in the commission of the crime, i.e., when a deadly weapon is used to make the victim submit to the will of the offender and not when it is simply shown to be in the possession of the latter.

In this case, complainant Aileen S. Alba testified that appellant brandished the balisong at her and threatened her with death if she did not submit to his lustful desires; and that the balisong was placed beside her and the handgun was above her head while she was being raped. Thus, the threat to kill her was imminent and constant. While the record is bereft of evidence to show how appellant used the handgun other than placing it above the head of Aileen when he raped her, we find that when appellant brandished the balisong at her, it was sufficient to make twelve-year old Aileen submit to appellant’s beastly will.

Although neither the fan knife nor the handgun were presented in court, the production of the weapon used in the commission of the crime is not a condition sine qua non for the discharge of the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt for the same may not have been recovered at all from the assailant. The presentation of the weapon used in the commission of the rape is not essential to the conviction of the accused for it suffices that the testimony of the rape victim is credible. The trial court did not err in finding that the testimony of the offended party is credible and therefore worthy of full faith and credit, sufficient to sustain the conviction of the accused, beyond reasonable doubt.

However, we find that the trial court erred in imposing the penalty of “reclusion perpetua to death”. Rape with the Use of a Deadly Weapon is punishable by two indivisible penalties, i.e.reclusion perpetua to death, under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659. This is called the prescribed penalty which is distinct from the imposable penalty. The imposable penalty is that which is applicable after considering the evidence on the modifying circumstances which mitigate or aggravate criminal liability, provided under Articles 13, 14 and 15 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 63 of the same Code.

Article 63 provides for the applicable rules in cases where the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, thus:

“1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty shall be applied.
“2. When there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be applied.
“3. When the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstance and there is no aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.
“4. When both mitigating and aggravating circumstances attended the commission of the act, the courts shall reasonable allow them to offset one another in consideration of their number and importance, for the purpose of applying the penalty in accordance with the preceding rules, according to the result of such compensation.”

The prosecution failed to establish any aggravating circumstance. While nighttime was alleged in the Informations, it does not appear that it was purposely sought by or afforded some degree of impunity to appellant. The mere fact that the rape was committed at nighttime with nothing more than that does not make nocturnity an aggravating circumstance. Neither can the alleged abuse of superior strength be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance. No proof was offered that superior strength was deliberately taken advantage of.

No mitigating circumstance as provided for in Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code was established.

Hence, pursuant to Article 63 (2) of the Revised Penal Code, the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed upon appellant for each of the five (5) counts of rape.

Civil indemnity must be awarded to complainant Aileen S. Alba. Civil indemnity, which is mandatory in a finding of rape, is distinct from and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different jural foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion. In accordance with prevailing jurisprudence, we grant civil indemnity of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) in each case.

Moreover, exemplary damages should be awarded. In the recent case of People vs. Yonto we reiterated our ruling in People vs. Catubig that exemplary damages are justified under Article 2230 of the Civil Code if there is an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying. Since the qualifying circumstance of the use of a deadly weapon was present in the commission of the rapes subject of these cases, exemplary damages may be awarded to the offended party. Thus, an award in each case of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages should also be given to the complainant Aileen S. Alba.

WHEREFORE, the Joint Decision dated January 17, 1996, of Branch 38 of the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, finding accused Silverio Montemayor alias “Beriong” guilty beyond reasonable doubt of five (5) counts of rape of Aileen S. Alba with the use of a deadly weapon is hereby AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count and ordered to pay complainant Aileen S. Alba the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, for each of the five (5) rapes, or a total of P625,000.00.

Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. No. 124474 & 139972-78, January 28, 2003 ]PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. SILVERIO MONTEMAYOR ALIAS ‘BERIONG”, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED FOR RAPE IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1964 EVEN IF THE EVIDENCE RELATES TO ANOTHER CRIME.

Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, defines the crime of rape, as follows:

“Article 335. When and how rape is committed. – Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

  1. By using force or intimidation;

  2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

  3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.”

In determining the guilt or innocence of the accused in rape cases, this Court is guided by three principles: (a) an accusation of rape can be made with facility; it is difficult for the complainant to prove but more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove; (b) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (c) the evidence for the prosecution must stand and fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.

To recall, Criminal Cases Nos. 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1969 refer to four charges of rape committed by accused-appellant against his daughter, Mylene Marahay. The other criminal case (Criminal Case No. 1964) involves accused-appellant’s sexual assault on his other daughter, Belinda Marahay.

With regard to Criminal Case No. 1968, alleged to be the first rape committed by accused-appellant on August 24, 1994, Mylene testified as follows:

“Q:That evening of August 24, 1994, can you tell us of any unusual incident that happened, if any?
A:I noticed that my Papa was pinching me, and then he went on top of me.

(Court)
Q:Where were you being pinched by your father?
A:On my arm and on my body.


Q:Which part of your body?
A:Toward my left side.


Q:How many times were you pinched by your father?
A:I don’t know how many times he had pinched me because when I was awakened he was already pinching me.


Q:And when you were awakened, you noticed that your father was already on top of you?
A:When I was awakened, that was the time when he went on top of me.


Proceed.
(Fiscal)
Q:In that particular evening, August 24, 1992, what particularly were you wearing when you went to bed?
A:Dress, shorts and panty.


Q:How about your father, did you notice what was his clothes when he was on top of you?
A:During the day time he was wearing long pants but in the evening he was only wearing short pants.


Q:When he was on top of you that evening of August 24, 1994, what did your father actually do when he was already on top of you?
A:When he placed himself on top of me he kissed me, embraced me and then took off my panty.


Q:When your father kissed, embraced you and took off your panty, what did you do, if any?
A:I struggled by moving but I could not release myself because he was strong.


Q:And after your panty was removed… How was your panty removed by your father?
A:He used his hand to take off my panty up to my knee and from there he just kicked it off from myself by using his foot.


Q:How about your short pants?
A:My short pants and panty were taken off together.


Q:In that manner which you described?
A:Yes, sir.


Q:And when your short pants and panty were already taken off by your father, what did he do next, if any?
A:He placed his penis in my vagina.


Q:How could it be when according to you he was wearing his short pants that evening? What did he do with his short pants?
A:He just placed outside his penis. He just exposed his penis from his shorts.


(Court)
Q:Did he not take off his short pants?
A:He took off his shorts and then he just took off… He just exposed his penis from his brief.


Q:And when his penis was exposed out from his brief what did he do with it?
A:He placed it inside my vagina, or inserted inside my vagina.

Q:And while he was inserting his penis into your vagina you did not resist?
A:I was moving but I could not extricate myself because he was strong.

xxx xxx xxx

(Fiscal)
Q:When you noticed that the penis of your father was already inside your female organ, what did he do with it?
A:He inserted it deep inside.


Q:And once it was deep inside your vagina, what did he do next?
A:He went on pumping or push and pull movement of his body.


Q:For how long did that push and pull take place?
A:I don’t know because I could not see he was just there making push and pull his body.


Q:Did you notice any ejaculation in that movement?
A:I just don’t know because after he went on push and pull movement he pulled his penis out and there was some whitish substance on the mat.


Q:In your reproductive organ did you notice if there was fluid?
A:I just don’t know because he pulled his penis out and placed it on the mat and that was where the fluid came out already.


(Court)
Q:How did you feel when he inserted his male organ to your female organ?
A:It was painful.


Q:And because it was painful what did you do? It was a feeling of like what?
A:Extreme pain. (witness is teary eyed while testifying)


Q:Did you notice something hot, the fluid flowing into your body from the penis?
A:Yes, sir.”

As can be gleaned from the above statements, Mylene clearly described how accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of her and what she felt during those harrowing moments. Her positive and categorical testimony deserves credence.

Corroborating Mylene’s testimony is the accused-appellant himself, who admitted that he sexually assaulted his daughter Mylene while she laid beside him inside the farmhouse. He blamed “the devil” who “possessed” him as he took off the shorts and panty of his eldest daughter. He “forgot all around” him as he inserted his exposed penis into her vagina. He satisfied his lust on his own flesh and blood. He claims, however, that he committed this sexual atrocity only once.

Accused-appellant harps on the fact that the element of force or intimidation was not established. He contends that his daughter did not resist his sexual assault. Nor did she seek help from her sister Belinda, then sleeping nearby.

We are not persuaded. Mylene’s testimony unmistakably shows that she struggled to repel her father’s sexual advances but his strength proved too much for her. Obviously, in cases of incestuous rape, the perpetrator generally takes full advantage of his blood relationship, ascendancy, and influence over his victim, both to commit the sexual assault and to intimidate the victim into silence. The instant case is no exception. There is no question that accused-appellant exercised moral ascendancy over his daughter. Mylene at that time could not rouse her sister from sleep. Mylene also admitted that after accused-appellant raped her, she could not escape from the farmhouse as she was so frightened of him. In fact, she could not tell her mother of her ordeal, mindful of the serious threats to their lives. It was only several days later that she mustered enough courage to inform her mother of what her father did to her.

The records show that Mylene was in tears while narrating in court her father’s monstrous acts. Indeed, when the victim says that she has been violated, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed. No woman, especially one of tender age, would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts and thereafter expose herself to a public trial, if she were not motivated solely by the desire to have the culprit apprehended and punished. It is against human nature for a girl to fabricate a story that would expose herself as well as her family to a lifetime of dishonor, especially when her charge could mean the death of her own father.

We disagree, however, with the trial court’s conclusion that accused-appellant must likewise be liable for the three other counts of rape against Mylene. We stress that every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime and each must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

In Criminal Cases Nos. 1965 and 1969, the allegations in the informations declared that Mylene was raped on August 25, 1994, at 7:00 o’clock in the evening and at 3:00 o’clock in the morning. However, Mylene’s testimony regarding the commission of these two other felonies failed to satisfy the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt that would justify the conviction of accused-appellant. We cite the relevant portions of her testimony, as follows:

“Q:That evening of August 25, 1994, were you ever awakened?
A:No, sir.


Q:You slept the whole night of August 25, 1994?
A:No, sir, because on August 25, 1994, something happened.


Q:What was it that happened?
A:Papa did the same thing to me.


xxx xxx xxx


Q:What did your father really do to you?
A:He again used me.


Q:How many times did your father use you that evening of August 25, 1994?
A:Two times.


Q:About what time was that when your father had sexual intercourse with you?
A:About 3:00 o’clock early in the morning of August 25.


xxx xxx xxx

(Court)
Q:That 7:00 o’clock of August 25, what did your father do exactly?
A:He did the same thing.


(Fiscal)
Q:What is that 7:00 o’clock of August 25, evening or morning?
A:Evening.”

Thus, when asked what occurred on the evening of August 25, 1994, Mylene merely replied that her father “did the same thing” to her. When prodded to specify the acts done to her, she stated that her father “used her”. No other detail was evoked from her to show the attendant elements that constitute rape, the crime charged. Such bare statements cannot suffice to establish accused-appellant’s guilt with the required quantum of evidence.

Worse, the prosecution utterly neglected to propound questions to prove that accused-appellant indeed raped the victim in the early morning of August 25, 1994. It is essential on the part of the prosecution to establish, by the necessary quantum of proof, the elements of rape for each indictment. 

In Criminal Case No. 1967, the prosecution based its charge on Mylene’s claim that her father succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her on August 26, 1994, at 3:00 o’clock in the morning. On the witness stand, Mylene merely testified thus:

“Q:What happened next after that assault of 7:00 in the evening of August 25, 1994?
A:Early morning of August 26 about 3:00 in the morning.


Q:Early morning of August 26, this time what did your father actually do to you?
A:He again inserted his penis inside my vagina.”

Again, we find such single statement to be inadequate. The prosecution should have conducted a further inquiry as to the circumstances surrounding the victim’s response. We reiterate that each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime so that each of the other rape charged should be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

From the foregoing findings, accused-appellant can only be convicted of one count of rape against Mylene Marahay, that which has been duly alleged and proved.

We now examine Criminal Case No. 1964. The information alleges that on August 24, 1994, accused-appellant kissed and inserted his finger into the vagina of his daughter Belinda. Thereafter, he had sexual intercourse with her against her will and consent.

Belinda’s testimony says it all, thus:

“Q:What happened, if any, in the evening of August 24, 1994, at about 7:00 o’clock in the evening?
A:I was awakened that he was already on top of me. (witness is crying while testifying)


Q:Who was on top of you?
A:Papa.


Q:When he was on top of you, what was he doing, if any?
A:He had his penis out.


Q:Why, what was he wearing on that time?
A:He was wearing a long pants during the daytime and on the evening he wore short pants.


Q:What did he do when his penis was out?
A:He placed his penis in my vagina.

x x x x x x x x x

Q:What were you wearing at that time?
A:I was wearing a house dress known as duster.


Q:What others?
A:Short pants.


Q:Underwears?
A:Yes, sir.


Q:You were only wearing a duster over your short pants? Only those?
A:Yes, sir.


Q:You were wearing panty?
A:I had.


Q:What happened to your short pants and your panty when your father was on top of you?
A:They were taken off towards my feet.


Q:Can you tell us why is it that your short pants and panty were already towards your feet?
A:Because he (Papa) took them off.


Q:How did he take them off?
A:He used his hands to take them off up to my knees only and from my knees he used his foot already in taking them off.

x x x x x x x x x

Q:What did you do, if any, when your short pants and panty were taken off by your father?
A:I went on crying because I could not do anything.


(Court)
Q:Why were you crying since your hands were free to do anything?
A:I went on struggling but I could not do anything because he was stronger than me and he warned that he will kill us.


Proceed
(Fiscal)
Q:You made mention that at the time when he took out his penis and placed it into your vagina, what else did he do, if any?
A:He inserted his penis in my vagina but only a little as he could not penetrate it because I went on crying so he only inserted his finger.


(Court)
Q:What do you mean by that when you said he used his finger?
A:This one. (witness indicating her pointing finger)


Q:Did you see him using his pointing finger being inserted your vagina?
A:Yes, sir.


Q:You could see that when in fact it was very dark because it’s night time?
A:But I could see it clearly.


Proceed.

(Fiscal)
Q:Considering that it’s night time, how could you say that it was clear to you?
A:The moon was bright at that time.


Q:Yes, there was moonlight but considering that it’s night time of course all the windows of your house were closed, how could the light penetrate inside your house?
A:Because there are holes.


Q:When the pointing finger of your father was already inside in your vagina, what did he do with it?
A:He did it in a push and pull movement with his finger.


Q:For how long?
A:It did not take a long time because he did it in a forceful manner.


Q:What did you feel when he forcibly inserted his finger in a push and pull movement in your vagina?
A:It was painful.


Q:After that push and pull movement with your father’s finger, what did he do next?
A:After the push and pull of his finger he again placed his penis inside my vagina but then I went on crying so he just pulled it out.


(Court)
Q:How did you know that he again inserted his penis in your vagina?
A:Because he pulled down his short pants.


Q:Did he have a brief at that time?
A:Yes, sir.


(Fiscal)
Q:What did he do with his brief?
A:He did not take off his brief only his short pants and pulled it down and took out his penis outside his brief.


Q:After that what happened next?
A:He placed his penis in my vagina.


Q:How did you feel when he placed his penis in your vagina?
A:I made a backward jerk movement because it was painful.


(Court)
Q:Did you not resist him?
A:I went on struggling but I could not resist because he is stronger than me.

Q:What did you do with your hands?
A:I went on struggling but he made a retort saying, if you tell it to anybody I will kill you all.”[31]

From the above-stated testimony, accused-appellant’s intention to consummate his carnal desire was clear. When he felt too much resistance from the victim upon insertion of his penis into her vagina, he instead forcefully thrust his finger inside his daughter’s vaginal opening. Moments later, he penetrated her again with his male organ and she cried in extreme pain as he pierced through her womanhood.

We give credence to Belinda’s consistent, trustworthy and candid testimony. It is sufficient to warrant a judgment of conviction. Since her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused-appellant may be convicted on the basis thereof.

Thus, insofar as Belinda is concerned, accused-appellant is liable for one count of rape committed on August 24, 1994.

Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, penalizes the crime of rape, as follows:

“The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

x x x x x x x x x

“The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

  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.

x x x x x x x x x”
We have previously declared that the special circumstances introduced by RA No. 7659, including the above-mentioned circumstance, that sanction the automatic imposition of the death penalty, partake of the nature of qualifying circumstances. These circumstances increase the penalty for rape by one degree. However, both the circumstances of minority and relationship must be alleged in the information and proven during trial to warrant the imposition of the death penalty.

While the father-daughter relationship of accused-appellant and the victims, Mylene and Belinda, remains undisputed, the minority of the victims, though alleged, was not satisfactorily established. It is the burden of the prosecution to prove with certainty the fact that the victim was below 18 years of age when the rape was committed in order to justify the imposition of the death penalty.

In the recent case of People vs. Manuel Pruna y Ramirez or Erman Pruna y Ramirez, this Court laid down the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance:

“1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party.

“2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age.

“3. If the certificate of live bright or authentic document is 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 under the following circumstances:

  1. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years old;

  2. 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;

  3. 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.

“4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victim’s mother or relatives concerning the victim’s age, the complainant’s testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.

“5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him.

“6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.”
Thus, although the defense does not contest the age of the victim, it is still essential that the prosecution present independent proof thereof, pursuant to No. 5 of said guidelines. As a matter of fact, the minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. Under Section 44, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence, a birth certificate is the best evidence of a person’s date of birth.[39] In the instant case, the prosecution did not present the certificates of live birth of both Mylene and Belinda or other similar authentic documents to prove their ages. Not even the victims’ mother or the victims themselves, or any other relative qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree, were presented by the prosecution to establish the victims’ ages at the time the crimes were committed. Such failure of the prosecution to discharge its burden constrains this Court to hold that the qualifying circumstance of minority cannot be appreciated in these cases.

In sum, accused-appellant should only be convicted of two counts of simple rape. The penalty for each count should only be reclusion perpetua, not death.

As to damages, it must be stressed that moral damages are awarded in rape cases without need of proof other than the fact of the rape itself because it is assumed that the victim has suffered moral injuries entitling her to such an award. We find the trial court’s award of P50,000.00 as moral damages to each victim in each case to be in order.

The trial court erred in not awarding civil indemnity to the victims in each case, the same being mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape. This Court awards each of the victims the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.

The trial court awarded P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. In line with our ruling in People vs. Catubig, wherein the exemplary damages of P25,000.00 was awarded because the aggravating circumstance of relationship in the commission of rape was duly alleged and established, we reduce the trial court’s award to P25,000.00.

WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision of the RTC, Branch 19, Catarman, Northern Samar, is MODIFIED in the following manner:

  1. In Criminal Cases Nos. 1965, 1967, and 1969, accused-appellant Carlito Marahay y Moraca is ACQUITTED on the ground of reasonable doubt.

  2. In Criminal Case No. 1968, accused-appellant is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of simple rape and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is also ordered to pay the victim, his daughter Mylene Marahay, the amounts of (a) P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) P50,000.00 as moral damages; and (c) P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

  3. In Criminal Case No. 1964, accused-appellant is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of simple rape and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is also ordered to pay the victim, his daughter Belinda Marahay, the amounts of (a) P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) P50,000.00 as moral damages; and (c) P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

SOURCE: [ G. R. Nos. 120625-29, January 28, 2003 ] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. CARLITO MARAHAY Y MORACA, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

The police found no sign of a break-in

ISSUE NO. 2 THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT MARY ANN ARROJADO COULD NOT HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE.

Somewhat inconsistently with his claim that the victim was a suicide, accused-appellant disputes the trial court’s conclusion that only one of those residing in the house could have killed the victim because the police found no sign of a break-in. Accused-appellant says that in the morning of June 1, 1996, he found that the kitchen door leading outside was open.

Accused-appellant’s contention must fail. Accused-appellant admitted that it did not occur to him that an intruder was in the house in the evening of May 31, 1996 because “No person could get inside because the windows were closed and besides the doors were closed.”

Significantly, Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo testified that accused-appellant also said that no person could get inside the house because the doors and the windows were closed. Accused-appellant never told Erlinda that the kitchen door was open that morning. Indeed, Erlinda testified that “it is not possible that somebody would enter the house as the doors were securely locked . . . with additional barrel bolts, and the windows have grills.”

To appreciate treachery, two conditions must be present

Fourth. With respect to the circumstances attending the commission of the crime, the trial court correctly appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery against accused-appellant. To appreciate treachery, two conditions must be present: (1) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate and (2) the means of execution is deliberately or consciously adopted. Both requisites have been established in this case.

Anent the first requisite, Dr. Roldan testified that based on her findings, the victim was not in a position to fight the assailant and that she might have been stabbed while she was asleep. As regards the second requisite, the number and nature of the wounds sustained by the victim lead to no other conclusion than that accused-appellant employed means in killing the victim which tended directly and specially to ensure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the victim might take. Accused-appellant would not have inflicted so many wounds, a total of 10, half of which were fatal, if he had not deliberately adopted such manner of attack. Abuse of superior strength also attended the killing since accused-appellant, a man and armed with a knife, attacked the victim, an unarmed and defenseless woman. However, since abuse of superior strength is absorbed in treachery, there is no need to appreciate it separately as an independent aggravating circumstance.

The trial court correctly held that there was no proof of evident premeditation since the requisites therefor, to wit, (a) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating that the accused had clung to his determination; and (c) sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the consequence of his act, have not been established in this case.

Nor can the generic aggravating circumstance of dwelling be appreciated against accused-appellant since the latter and the victim lived in the same house.

The aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence, however, is present in this case. For this aggravating circumstance to exist, it is essential to show that the confidence between the parties must be immediate and personal such as would give the accused some advantage or make it easier for him to commit the criminal act. The confidence must be a means of facilitating the commission of the crime, the culprit taking advantage of the offended party’s belief that the former would not abuse said confidence. In this case, while the victim may have intimated her fear for her safety for which reason she entrusted her jewelry and bank book to Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo, her fears were subsequently allayed as shown by the fact that she took back her personal effects from Erlinda. Thinking that accused-appellant would not do her any harm, because he was after all her first cousin, the victim allowed accused-appellant to sleep in the same room with her father and left the bedroom doors unlocked.

The murder in this case took place after the effectivity of R.A. No. 7659 on December 31, 1993 which increased the penalty for murder from reclusion temporal maximum to death to reclusion perpetua to death. In view of the presence of the aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence and in accordance with Art. 63(1) of the Revised Penal Code, the trial court should have imposed the penalty of death on accused-appellant. However, on December 1, 2000, the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect, requiring that every complaint or information state not only the qualifying but also the aggravating circumstances. This provision may be given retroactive effect in the light of the well settled rule that “statutes regulating the procedure of the court will be construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent.” The aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence not having been alleged in the information, the same therefore could not be appreciated to raise accused-appellant’s sentence to death.

In accordance with the ruling in People v. Lucas that the penalty of reclusion perpetua remains indivisible notwithstanding the fixing of its duration from twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years, the trial court erred in imposing on accused-appellant the penalty of 30 years of reclusion perpetua. In line with the ruling in Lucas, accused-appellant should suffer the entire extent of forty (40) years of reclusion perpetua.

Consistent with current case law, the civil indemnity for the crime of murder should be reduced from P60,000.00 to P50,000.00, while the award of moral damages in the amount of P80,000.00 should be reduced to P50,000.00.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Roxas City, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellant Salvador Arrojado is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua in its entire duration and to its full extent. Furthermore, he is ordered to pay the heirs of the victim Mary Ann Arrojado the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and the further sum of P50,000.00 as moral damages and the costs.

SO ORDERED.

Source: [ G.R. No. 130492, January 31, 2001 ]PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. SALVADOR ARROJADO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. Tags: Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

Testimony does not deserve consideration because of her own admission

Third. Accused-appellant contends that Thelma Arrojado’s testimony does not deserve consideration because, by her own admission, the victim’s sister Asuncion asked her to testify on accused-appellant’s complaints against the victim’s treatment of him. He also claims that it was inconsistent for Erlinda to testify, on the one hand, that the victim was “loving, friendly, and reasonable” and, on the other, to say that she was strict and domineering. Accused-appellant cites the testimony of the victim’s brother, Buenaventura Arrojado, that before her death the victim denied having any quarrel with accused-appellant.

To be sure, the evaluation of the trial court of the credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal unless it is shown that it overlooked certain facts or circumstances of substance that, if considered, could have affected the outcome of case. This is because the trial court is in a better position to decide the question of credibility having heard the witnesses and observed their deportment during the trial. In this case, accused-appellant’s contention that the testimonies of Thelma Arrojado and Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo are incredible is without merit. Thelma Arrojado’s admission that the victim’s sister Asuncion had asked her to testify does not impair her credibility. Thelma was candid enough to say that at first she was hesitant to testify because accused-appellant is also her relative. But she denied having been coached on what to say, stating that she only testified as to “what Salvador Arrojado said to me” which is that he could not bear the victim’s maltreatment.

As for Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo, she said that she suspected accused-appellant but she did not want to say anything until she had proof. She testified also that so far as she knew, only accused-appellant harbored a grudge against the victim, and that accused-appellant himself told her so. With regard to Erlinda’s seemingly inconsistent description of the victim, suffice it to say that the victim’s treatment of accused-appellant does not necessarily reflect her attitude and behavior toward other people.

Anent the testimony of the victim’s brother, Buenaventura Arrojado, that the victim denied having any quarrel with accused-appellant when he called her up two weeks before her death, it is possible that the victim did not want to bother her brother who was after all too far (since he lived in Manila) to be of much help. It is only to be expected that Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo and Thelma Arrojado, who lived near accused-appellant and the victim, have a much more accurate assessment of the real relationship between accused-appellant and the victim. Buenaventura Arrojado testified that it was Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo who told him of the alleged quarrel between the victim and accused-appellant.

In sum, the following circumstances point to accused-appellant as the perpetrator of the crime:

  1. Accused-appellant, the victim, and the latter’s father were the only ones living in the house in which the crime was committed in the evening of May 31, 1996.
  2. No one from the outside can gain entry since all doors of the house were locked and the windows had grills.
  3. Accused-appellant had access to the victim’s bedroom because the bedroom doors were left unlocked so that the victim could check on her father’s condition during the night. Accused-appellant sleeps in the same bedroom as the victim’s father.
  4. The murder weapon was a kitchen knife readily accessible to the occupants of the house. As the Solicitor General observed, common sense dictates that if an outsider entered the house with the intent to kill the victim, he would have brought his own weapon to ensure the execution of his purpose.
  5. None of the victim’s belongings was missing or disturbed, indicating that the motive for the crime was not gain but revenge.
  6. Judging from the number and severity of the wounds (10 stab wounds, half of which were fatal), the killer felt deep-seated resentment and anger toward the victim. Accused-appellant had admitted those feelings to Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo and Thelma Arrojado.
  7. Aside from accused-appellant, no one was known to harbor a grudge against the victim.
  8. As the Solicitor General also pointed out, accused-appellant’s behavior in the morning of June 1, 1996 was inconsistent with someone who had just found his cousin and employer, a person he claims to get along with, dead By his testimony, he did not even go inside the room to check on her condition on the lame excuse that he was afraid. He also did not inform his neighbors about the incident for the equally flimsy reason that he did not know them nor did he go to the police.

Under Rule 133, §4 of the Rules on Evidence, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inference are derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. As the foregoing discussion shows, these requisites have been established in this case.

Source: [ G.R. No. 130492, January 31, 2001 ]PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. SALVADOR ARROJADO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. Tags: Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao

Only one of those residing in the house could have killed the victim?

Second. Somewhat inconsistently with his claim that the victim was a suicide, accused-appellant disputes the trial court’s conclusion that only one of those residing in the house could have killed the victim because the police found no sign of a break-in. Accused-appellant says that in the morning of June 1, 1996, he found that the kitchen door leading outside was open.

Accused-appellant’s contention must fail. Accused-appellant admitted that it did not occur to him that an intruder was in the house in the evening of May 31, 1996 because “No person could get inside because the windows were closed and besides the doors were closed.”

Significantly, Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo testified that accused-appellant also said that no person could get inside the house because the doors and the windows were closed. Accused-appellant never told Erlinda that the kitchen door was open that morning. Indeed, Erlinda testified that “it is not possible that somebody would enter the house as the doors were securely locked . . . with additional barrel bolts, and the windows have grills.”

Source:

[ G.R. No. 130492, January 31, 2001 ]PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. SALVADOR ARROJADO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

The victim’s wounds were inflicted after she had already committed suicide to make it appear that she was murdered?

First. Accused-appellant claims that most of the victim’s wounds were inflicted after she had already committed suicide to make it appear that she was murdered. He says that he saw only one wound in the victim’s stomach, while Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo said she saw only two wounds, one on the victim’s neck and the other in her abdomen. These are wound nos. 1 and 10 in the postmortem examination. Of these two, the stomach wound was fatal, according to Dr. Roldan. Accused-appellant says that the other wounds may have been inflicted on the victim between the time the body was brought out of the house in the morning and the time Dr. Roldan examined the same at around 1:30 o’clock in the afternoon of June 1, 1996 at the De Jesus funeral parlor.


Accused-appellant’s contention has no merit. That accused-appellant only saw one wound while Erlinda Magdaluyo saw two wounds on the victim does not necessarily mean that the other wounds were inflicted upon the victim afterwards. The two might have simply missed seeing the other wounds. In accused-appellant’s case, it may be because he did not go inside the room but only viewed the body from a distance. On the other hand, while Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo went near the victim, she said she did not see if there were wounds on the victim’s chest because the latter was dressed. But Dr. Roldan, who conducted a postmortem examination, testified that the victim actually sustained ten wounds. Between the cursory examination of the victim by accused-appellant and Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo and Dr. Roldan’s exhaustive examination, there is no doubt that the latter’s findings are entitled to credence.

Accused-appellant also argues that the varying depths of wound nos. 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9 (10 cm., 10.5 cm., 5 cm., 5.5 cm., and 4 cm.) despite the fact that they had the same surface length of 3 cm. could only mean that after the victim was found dead, she was again stabbed with a knife or knives other than the one (Exh. C) found beside her.

The contention is without merit. The variance in depth does not necessarily mean that more than one weapon was used. As has been stated:

It is not possible to determine the depth of penetration of a stab wound with any degree of accuracy, inasmuch as effusion of blood into the tissues, changes in the position of the viscera, or numerous other circumstances may alter the conditions existing at the time when the wound was inflicted. Consequently, the depth of the track at autopsy may be different from the actual penetration of the instrument at the time of the stabbing. Moreover, it is not always possible to correlate the depth of the wound with the blade of the stabbing instrument. For example, a short blade of two inches can penetrate four inches into a soft area like the thigh or through the anterior abdominal wall because the force of the thrust may dent the tissues appreciably and thus deepen the wound. Conversely, a long blade may not be thrust into its full length, and the wound may be shorter than the blade. For these reasons attempts to correlate the depth of the track and the length of the weapon should be made with caution.

Dr. Roldan in fact testified that the kitchen knife, marked as Exh. C, could have caused all the wounds sustained by the victim. She also testified that the stab wounds could have all been inflicted in the span of one minute.[30] Having examined no less than 100 victims of violence, Dr. Roldan’s conclusions should be given credence.

Moreover, with the exception of wound no. 10, all the wounds were described by Dr. Roldan as “gaping.” As stated in Forensic Medicine:

. . . An ante-mortem wound gapes; there is eversion of the edges; a large amount of blood is present, this is coagulated and infiltrating the wound; and there is swelling and signs of inflammation and repair. In a post-mortem wound there is no gaping. The bleeding is slight, if any, and it does not infiltrate the wound.

This belies accused-appellant’s theory that the victim committed suicide and that it was only after she was found dead that she was again stabbed to make it appear that she had been killed.

Nor were the bloodstains which PO2 Orly Baril and Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo found on the victim’s hands necessarily evidence of the victim’s suicide. The bloodstains could have come from the wounds sustained by her rather than from her attempt to kill herself.

Accused-appellant also insists the victim committed suicide because she was feeling despondent over her remaining single, her lack of regular employment which made her dependent on the support of her siblings, and the responsibility of taking care of her father who had become an invalid. He cites Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo’s testimony that the victim entrusted her jewelry and bank book to her four days before she died.

Erlinda, however, testified that the victim did this because she had a premonition that accused-appellant might harm her, and not because of any intimation that she (the victim) would kill herself.

Contrary to the claim of accused-appellant that the victim was a depressed person with a low sense of self-worth, Erlinda Arrojado Magdaluyo described the victim as “a jolly person” who had many friends who go to her house. Moreover, according to Erlinda, the victim, while not earning a fixed income, was not without means of livelihood. The victim was good at cooking and took orders from neighbors. Erlinda also disclosed that on the very day the victim was found dead, she and the victim had plans to go out for relaxation. This negates any theory that the victim committed suicide.

Source: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. SALVADOR ARROJADO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT G.R. No. 130492, January 31, 2001 Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

When is the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees proper?

In a Supreme Court case, the following damages were awarded:

“xxx

The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

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Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale.

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However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.
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Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.

xxx”

From the case of SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners, xxx

Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

A case on the law on WARRANTS; Search warrant and Warrant of arrest

The facts are as follows:
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On March 31, 2015, before the Regional Trial Court of Calapan City, Branch 40 (RTC), Police Superintendent Jaycees De Sagun Tolentino (Tolentino) filed two (2) separate applications for search warrants against Maderazo, Nestor Alea (Alea), Daren Mabansag (Mabansag) and Lovely Joy Alcantara (Alcantara). In his search warrant applications, Tolentino alleged that he has been informed by barangay officials, Loida Tapere Roco (Roco) and Rexcel Lozano Rivera (Rivera), that Maderazo, along with Alea, Mabansag and Alcantara, is keeping an undetermined quantity of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia, and firearms of unknown caliber and ammunitions inside his residence in Barangay Lazareto, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

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According to Roco and Rivera, at 6 o’clock in the morning of March 31, 2015, they learned that members of the Calapan City Police Station will be serving a warrant of arrest against Maderazo for attempted murder. When they reached the house which Maderazo is renting, the latter was already arrested. As barangay officials, Roco and Rivera decided to talk to Maderazo, who admitted to them that he is keeping inside the subject house approximately 40 grams of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and a firearm. Tolentino allegedly verified said informations through casing and surveillance.
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On March 31, 2015, after the preliminary investigation of witnesses Roco and Rivera, under oath, Executive Judge Tomas C. Leynes (Judge Leynes) issued Search Warrant No. 09-2015 for violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 and Search Warrant No. 10-2015 for violation of R.A. No. 10591. On even date, both search warrants were served in the subject house in Barangay Lazareto, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. By virtue of the search warrants, police officers recovered heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets which were suspected to be containing shabu, various drug paraphernalia, a .38 caliber revolver, live ammunitions, mobile phones, computer laptop, cash, among others, from the premises.
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Maderazo, Alea, and Mabansag were, subsequently, charged with illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession of firearm respectively docketed as Criminal Case Nos. CR-15-12, 201, CR-15-12, 202, and CR-15-12, 203.
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On July 1, 2015, Maderazo filed the Motion to Quash, arguing that Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015 were issued without probable cause; thus, all items seized by virtue of their enforcement were inadmissible in evidence. He claimed that Tolentino did not have personal knowledge of Maderazo’s supposed possession of illegal drugs and an unlicensed firearm, because the police officer merely relied on Roco and Rivera’s statements. Maderazo insisted that Tolentino lied when he stated that the Calapan City Police conducted prior surveillance and casing because the same could not have possibly happened, considering that he was already under police custody in the morning of March 31, 2015, and the house subject of the search was cordoned off.
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Maderazo further asserted that nothing in the records show how and when Tolentino conducted the casing and surveillance. The statements of Roco and Rivera cannot also be given probative value, since the information that Maderazo has in his custody illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and an unlicensed firearm were not derived from their own perception but allegedly from Maderazo’s own admission.
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Thereafter, Maderazo requested for certified true copy of the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the proceedings conducted on March 31, 2015 regarding the application for Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. Subsequently, Maderazo manifested that instead of the TSN, he was only given copies of Roco, Rivera, and Cueto’s respective sworn statements which bear exactly the same questions and answers, except for their personal circumstances.
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On August 14, 2015, the trial court rendered its Order denying the motion to quash. The dispositive portion of its Order reads:
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ACCORDINGLY, the Omnibus Motion to Quash Search Warrant(s) and to Suppress Evidence filed by all the accused, through counsel, is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

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Maderazo moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied in its September 21, 2015 Order.
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Thus, before the appellate court, Maderazo filed a petition for certiorari alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court when it denied the motion to quash search warrants.

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On April 26, 2017, the CA granted the petition for certiorari, and nullified and set aside Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. It, likewise, held that the items allegedly seized in the house being rented by Maderazo by virtue of the said search warrants are inadmissible in evidence against him since the access therein by the police officers used void search warrants.
Aggrieved, petitioner raised the lone issue of whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Judge Leynes committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Orders dated August 14, 2015 and September 21, 2015 in Criminal Case Nos. CR-15-12-201 to 203, denying respondent’s motion to quash the subject search warrants.
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Maderazo asserted that there was no probable cause for the issuance of Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. He added that Judge Leynes did not personally examine P/Supt. Tolentino and his witnesses through searching questions and answers. He alleged that there was no TSN of the supposed personal examination of the judge attached to the records of the case. He asserted that the sworn statements of Roco, Rivera, and Cueto were not based on their personal knowledge but on the alleged admission of Maderazo.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), meanwhile, countered that while there may be no actual TSNs of the proceedings, the sworn statements of witnesses Roco, Rivera and Cueto are actual written records of the preliminary examination conducted by Judge Leynes. It insisted that the admission of Maderazo constituted probable cause which was determined by Judge Leynes after personally examining the witnesses.
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The petition has no merit.
The rules pertaining to the issuance of search warrants are enshrined in Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution:
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Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

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The purpose of the constitutional provision against unlawful searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property, and unlawful invasion of the sanctity of the home, by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction, and to give remedy against such usurpations when attempted.

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Corollarily, Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 126 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure provide for the requisites for the issuance of a search warrant, to wit:
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SEC. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. — A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witness he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.
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SEC. 5. Examination of complainant; record. — The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.

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To paraphrase this rule, a search warrant may be issued only if there is probable cause in connection with a specific offense alleged in an application based on the personal knowledge of the applicant and his witnesses. This is the substantive requirement for the issuance of a search warrant. Procedurally, the determination of probable cause is a personal task of the judge before whom the application for search warrant is filed, as he has to examine the applicant and his or her witnesses in the form of “searching questions and answers” in writing and under oath.


Thus, in Oebanda, et al. v. People, the Court held that, in determining the existence of probable cause in an application for search warrant, the mandate of the judge is for him to conduct a full and searching examination of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. The searching questions propounded to the applicant and the witnesses must depend on a large extent upon the discretion of the judge. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule as to how a judge may conduct his examination, it is axiomatic that the said examination must be probing and exhaustive and not merely routinary, general, peripheral or perfunctory.

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He must make his own inquiry on the intent and factual and legal justifications for a search warrant. The questions should not merely be repetitious of the averments stated in the affidavits/deposition of the applicant and the witnesses.

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Attacking a court decision

The attack against the validity of the decision is entirely bereft of merit and justification.

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For sure, every party-litigant has the right to an impartial and disinterested tribunal. In view of this right, every party may seek the inhibition or disqualification of a judge who does not appear to be wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent in handling a case. Nonetheless, the invocation of the right is always weighed against the duty of the judge to decide cases without fear of repression.

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The motion by the litigant for the inhibition or disqualification of a judge is regulated by the Rules of Court. Section 1, first paragraph, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court stipulates that a judge or judicial officer shall be mandatorily disqualified to sit in any of the instances enumerated therein, namely: where he, or his wife or child is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise; or where he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity; or where he is related to counsel within the fourth degree; or where he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel; or where he has presided in any inferior court, and his ruling or decision is the subject of review. The second paragraph of the rule concerns voluntary inhibition, and allows the judge, in the exercise of his sound discretion, to disqualify himself from sitting in a case “for just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above.” The exercise of discretion for this purpose is a matter of conscience for him, and is addressed primarily to his sense of fairness and justice.

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The grounds for the mandatory inhibition of the Members of the Court, which are analogous to those mentioned in Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, are embodied in Section 1, Rule 8 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, quoted as follows:
Section 1. Grounds for inhibition. — A Member of the Court shall inhibit himself or herself from participating in the resolution of the case for any of these and similar reasons:

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(a) The Member of the Court was the ponente of the decision or participated in the proceedings in the appellate or trial court;
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(b) The Member of the Court was counsel, partner, or member of a law firm that is or was the counsel in the case subject to Section 3(c) of this rule;
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(c) The Member of the Court or his or her spouse, parent or child is pecuniarily interested in the case;
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(d) The Member of the Court is related to either party in the case within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity;
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(e) The Member of the Court was executor, administrator, guardian or trustee in the case; and
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(f) The Member of the Court was an official or is the spouse of an official or former official of a government agency or private entity that is a party to the case, and the Justice or his or her spouse has reviewed or acted on any matter relating to the case.
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A Member of the Court may in the exercise of his or her sound discretion, inhibit himself or herself for a just or valid reason other than any of those mentioned above.
The inhibiting Member must state the precise reason for the inhibition.
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The grounds for seeking the inhibition of the Members of the Court must be stated in the motion. Yet, in now seeking the inhibition of all the Members of the Third Division who have ruled on the appeal, respondents neither advert to any of the grounds for mandatory inhibition nor point to the bias or partiality of said Members. Their motion only suggests that the earlier voluntary inhibition by Justice Velasco would not deter him from wielding undue influence over the remaining Members of the Third Division because he remained their Chairman.
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The suggestion assaults not only Justice Velasco’s character but also the character of the remaining Members of the Third Division. The assault is both unfair, and even worse, presumptuous. Indeed, Justice Velasco, following his self-disqualification, had nothing more to do with the case. At any rate, respondents ignore that the remaining Members of the Third Division would not be influenced by a disqualified Member upon matters involved in the case in which the latter no longer takes part.

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Moreover, respondents’ calling now for the inhibition of the Members of the Third Division only after they had rendered their decision adversely was no longer a viable remedy. Under Section 2, Rule 8 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, the granting of any motion for the inhibition of a Division or a Member of the Court after a decision on the merits of the case had been rendered is forbidden except if there is some valid or just reason (such as a showing of graft and corrupt practice, or such as a valid ground not earlier apparent).
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Respondents’ motion to refer the case to the Court En Banc is equally unworthy of consideration. In this regard, the grounds to justify a referral of any case to the Banc are long recognized. Section 3, Rule 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court specifically enumerates the matters and cases that the Court En Banc shall act on, viz.:
SEC. 3. Court en banc matters and cases. — The Court en banc shall act on the following matters and cases:
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(a) cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, executive order, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question;

(b) criminal cases in which the appealed decision imposes the death penalty or reclusion perpetua;

(c) cases raising novel questions of law;

(d) cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls;
(e) cases involving decisions, resolutions, and orders of the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit;
(f) cases where the penalty recommended or imposed is the dismissal of a judge, the disbarment of a lawyer, the suspension of any of them for a period of more than one year, or a fine exceeding forty thousand pesos;
(g) cases covered by the preceding paragraph and involving the reinstatement in the judiciary of a dismissed judge, the reinstatement of a lawyer in the roll of attorneys, or the lifting of a judge’s suspension or a lawyer’s suspension from the practice of law;
(h) cases involving the discipline of a Member of the Court, or a Presiding Justice, or any Associate Justice of the collegial appellate courts;
(i) cases where a doctrine or principle laid down by the Court en banc or by a Division may be modified or reversed;
(j) cases involving conflicting decisions of two or more divisions;
(k) cases where three votes in a Division cannot be obtained;
(l) Division cases where the subject matter has a huge financial impact on businesses or affects the welfare of a community;
(m) subject to Section 11 (b) of this rule, other division cases that, in the opinion of at least three Members of the Division who are voting and present, are appropriate for transfer to the Court en banc;
(n) cases that the Court en banc deems of sufficient importance to merit its attention; and
(o) all matters involving policy decisions in the administrative supervision of all courts and their personnel.
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None of the aforecited matters and cases is applicable to this case, for respondents did not show in their motion how, if at all, this case came under any of the matters and cases listed in Section 3, Rule 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court.
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Respondents did not also demonstrate how the Third Division could have contravened the procedures for handling the appeal set in the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court. Their insistence that Justice Martires and Justice Gesmundo had not studied the case prior to the deliberations and voting held on August 16, 2017 was speculative, if not outrightly false. The truth is that the four deciding Members of the Third Division deliberated and unanimously voted on the result. The fifth Member, Justice Caguioa, was absent because he was then on leave, but his absence did not render the deliberation and voting irregular. Far to the contrary, the deliberation and voting conformed to Section 4, second paragraph, Rule 8 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, which reads:

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Section 4. x x x
xxx xxx xxx
When a Member of the Division is on leave, he/she shall no longer be replaced as long as there is a quorum of at least three (3) members, and said absent Member who participated in the deliberation of the case shall be allowed to leave his or her vote pursuant to Section 4 of Rule 12.
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Worthy to stress is that the Court is composed of 15 Members who are assigned to the three Divisions. The assignment of the Members to the Divisions pursuant to the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court is based on seniority and on the vacancies to be filled. All the decisions promulgated and actions taken in Division cases rest upon the concurrence of at least three Members of the Division who actually take part in the deliberations and vote. The decisions or resolutions of each Division are not any less the decisions or resolutions of the Court itself. In short, the Court En Banc is not appellate in respect of the Divisions, for each Division is like the Court En Banc itself, not the inferior to the Court En Banc.

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Lastly, respondents point to the initial dismissal of the appeal. However, such initial dismissal no longer matters considering that the Court already reconsidered it and reinstated the appeal as a consequence. As such, the decision on the merits promulgated herein was entirely valid and effective.

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Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto

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