Lejano v. People, G.R. No. 176389, December 14, 2010

FACTS:  Estrelita and her daughters Carmela and Jennifer were brutally slain at their home in Paranaque City. The police arrested a group of suspects, some of whom gave detailed confessions but the trial court smelled a frame-up and ordered them to be discharged.

Four years later in 1995, the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI announced that it had solved the crime. It presented star-witness Jessica M. Alfaro, one of its informers, who claimed that she witnessed the crime. She pointed to accused Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio “Tony Boy” Lejano, Artemio “Dong” Ventura, Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio “Pyke” Fernandez, Peter Estrada, Miguel “Ging” Rodriguez, and Joey Filart as the culprits. She also tagged accused police officer, Gerardo Biong, as an accessory after the fact. Relying primarily on Alfaro’s testimony, on August 10, 1995 the public prosecutors filed an information for rape with homicide against Webb, et al.

Jessica Alfaro’s testimony stated that after she had a shabu session with Webb and company at the parking lot of Ayala Alabang Commercial Center, they drove by convoy to Carmela Vizconde’s house but only Alfaro proceeded to Carmela’s house and the others parked along Aguirre Ave. upon Alfaro’s arrival, she was seen by Carmela and told by the latter that she cannot leave yet but instructed Alfaro to return before midnight as she just got home. Carmela instructed Afaro that she would leave the pedestrian gate and the kitchen gate unlocked. Sometime later, Carmela drove out of her house and was followed by Alfaro who saw Carmela drop off her boyfriend at Aguirre Ave. Alfaro then returned to Webb’s group and informed Webb that Carmela dropped off her boyfriend then Webb’s mood changed for the rest of the evening and they all again returned to the parking lot of Ayala Alabang Commercial Center where they had another shabu session wherein Webb gave out free cocaine. After about 40 to 45 minutes, Webb decided that it was time for them to leave. He said,“Pipilahan natin siya [Carmela] at ako ang mauuna.” Lejano said, “Ako ang susunod” and the others responded “Okay, okay.” Upon arrival at Carmela’s house, Carmela opened the aluminum screen door of the kitchen for them. She and Webb looked each other in the eyes for a moment and, together, headed for the dining area. As she lost sight of Carmela and Webb, Alfaro decided to go out. Lejano asked her where she was going and she replied that she was going out to smoke. After 10 minutes, Alfaro decided to go back in the house where she heard a static like noise which grew louder as she approached the master’s bedroom. As she walked in, she saw Webb on top of Carmela while she lay with her back on the floor. Two bloodied bodies lay on the bed. Lejano was at the foot of the bed about to wear his jacket. Carmela was gagged, moaning, and in tears while Webb raped her, his bare buttocks exposed. Webb gave Alfaro a meaningful look and she immediately left the room. She met Ventura at the dining area. He told her, “Prepare an escape. Aalis na tayo.” Shocked with what she saw, Alfaro rushed out of the house to the others who were either sitting in her car or milling on the sidewalk.

For their part, some of the accused testified, denying any part in the crime and saying they were elsewhere when it took place. Webb’s alibi appeared the strongest since he claimed that he was then across the ocean in the United States of America. He presented the testimonies of witnesses as well as documentary and object evidence to prove this. In addition, the defense presented witnesses to show Alfaro’s bad reputation for truth and the incredible nature of her testimony.

The RTC CONVICTED Webb et al and was AFFIRMED by the CA.

On April 20, 2010, as a result of its initial deliberation in this case, the Court issued a Resolution granting the request of Webb to submit for DNA analysis the semen specimen taken from Carmela’s cadaver, which specimen was then believed still under the safekeeping of the NBI. The Court granted the request pursuant to section 4 of the Rule on DNA Evidence to give the accused and the prosecution access to scientific evidence that they might want to avail themselves of, leading to a correct decision in the case.

Unfortunately, on April 27, 2010 the NBI informed the Court that it no longer has custody of the specimen, the same having been turned over to the trial court. The trial record shows, however, that the specimen was not among the object evidence that the prosecution offered in evidence in the case.

This outcome prompted accused Webb to file an urgent motion to acquit on the ground that the government’s failure to preserve such vital evidence has resulted in the denial of his right to due process citing the case of Brady V. Maryand which acquitted the accused on the ground of lack of due process given the state’s failure to produce either by negligence of willful suppression of the semen as DNA evidence.

ISSUES: (1) Whether or not Webb may be acquitted due to the loss of DNA evidence.

    (2) Whether or not there is sufficient evidence in the absence of DNA evidence to         convict Webb et al.

HELD: (1) NO. Webb may not be acquitted due to the loss of DNA evidence. For one thing, the ruling in Brady v. Maryland that he cites has long be overtaken by the decision in Arizona v. Youngblood, where the U.S. Supreme Court held that due process does not require the State to preserve the semen specimen although it might be useful to the accused unless the latter is able to show bad faith on the part of the prosecution or the police.

For, another, when Webb raised the DNA issue, the rule governing DNA evidence did not yet exist, the country did not yet have the technology for conducting the test, and no Philippine precedent had as yet recognized its admissibility as evidence. Consequently, the idea of keeping the specimen secure even after the trial court rejected the motion for DNA testing did not come up. Indeed, neither Webb nor his co-accused brought up the matter of preserving the specimen in the meantime.

And finally, they raised the DNA issue before the Court of Appeals but merely as an error committed by the trial court in rendering its decision in the case. None of the accused filed a motion with the appeals court to have the DNA test done pending adjudication of their appeal. This, even when the Supreme Court had in the meantime passed the rules allowing such test. Considering the accused’s lack of interest in having such test done, the State cannot be deemed put on reasonable notice that it would be required to produce the semen specimen at some future time. 

(2) NO. Webb et al are ACQUITTED. Webb’s documented alibi (witness testimonies, airline tickets and two immigration checks) altogether impeaches Alfaro’s testimony, not only with respect to him, but also with respect to Lejano, Estrada, Fernandez, Gatchalian, Rodriguez, and Biong. For, if the Court accepts the proposition that Webb was in the U.S. when the crime took place, Alfaro’s testimony will not hold together. Webb’s participation is the anchor of Alfaro’s story. Without it, the evidence against the others must necessarily fall.

Estate of Rogelio G. Ong v. Diaz, G.R. No. 171713, December 17, 2007

FACTS: A complaint for recognition with prayer for support pending litigation was filed by minor Joanne Rodgin, represented by her mother and guardian Jinky Diaz against Rogelio Ong before the RTC. As alleged by Jinky in her complaint, She and Rogelio met at Tarlac City and their friendship developed into love. At this time however, Jinky was married to a foreign national, Hasegawa Katsuo.

On 1994-1998, Jinky and Rogelio cohabited and lived together in Capitol Garden, Tarlac City which produced Joanne Rodjin Diaz who was born on Feb 1998. Rogelio brought Jinky to the hospital and also took the mother and child home after delivery. Rogelio paid all the hospital bills and the baptismal expenses and finally provided for all the minor’s needs- recognizing her as his.
However, on September 1998, Rogelio abandoned the mother and child, stopped supporting the minor and falsely alleged that he is not the father of the child.

After summons were served against Rogelio, he failed to file any responsive pleadings despit repeated motions for extensions prompting the court to declare him in default and allowed Joanne to present evidence ex parte and granted the reliefs prayed for.
Rogelio then filed a motion to lift the order of default and was granted by the court. Rogelio then filed a motion for new trial and was also granted.

The RTC then ruled that Joanne was the Illegitimate child of Rogelio in view of Joanne’s subsisting marriage with Hasegawa Katsuo and ordered Rogelio to pay support in favor of Joanne.

Rogelio filed an appeal with the CA. however, during the pendency of the appeal, Rogelio died and was substituted by the Estate of Rogelio Ong. Subsequently, the CA GRANTED the petition and ordered the case to be REMANDED to the RTC for the ISSUANCE of an order directing the parties to make arrangements for DNA analysis.

The estate now files this petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in remanding the case for DNA testing despite Rogelio’s death.

HELD: NO. Petition DENIED.
SEC. 4. Application for DNA Testing Order. — The appropriate court may, at any time, either motu proprio or on application of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, order a DNA testing. Such order shall issue after due hearing and notice to the parties upon a showing of the following:

(a) A biological sample exists that is relevant to the case;

From the foregoing, it can be said that the death of the petitioner does not ipso facto negate the application of DNA testing for as long as there exist appropriate biological samples of his DNA. As defined above, the term “biological sample” means any organic material originating from a person’s body, even if found in inanimate objects, that is susceptible to DNA testing. This includes blood, saliva, and other body fluids, tissues, hairs and bones.

Thus, even if Rogelio already died, any of the biological samples as enumerated above as may be available, may be used for DNA testing. In this case, petitioner has not shown the impossibility of obtaining an appropriate biological sample that can be utilized for the conduct of DNA testing.

Herrera v. Alba, G.R. No. 148220, June 15, 2005

FACTS:

In May 1998, Armi Alba, mother of minor Rosendo Alba filed a suit against Rosendo Herrera in order for the latter to recognize and support Rosendo as his biological son. Herrera denied Armi’s allegations. In the year 2000, the trial court ordered the parties to undergo a (deoxyribonucleic acid )DNA testing to establish whether or not Herrera is indeed the biological father of Rosendo Alba. However, Herrera questioned the validity of the order as he claimed that DNA testing has not yet garnered widespread acceptance hence any result therefrom will not be admissible in court; and that the said test is unconstitutional for it violates his right against self-incrimination.

ISSUE: Whether or not Herrera is correct.

HELD: No. It is true that in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in Pe Lim vs CA that DNA testing is not yet recognized in the Philippines and at the time when he questioned the order of the trial court, the prevailing doctrine was the Pe Lim case; however, in 2002 there is already no question as to the acceptability of DNA test results as admissible object evidence in Philippine courts. This was the decisive ruling in the case of People vs Vallejo (2002).

In the Vallejo Case, the Supreme Court recognized DNA analysis as admissible evidence. On the other hand, as to determining the weight and probative value of DNA test results, the Supreme Court provides, which is now known as the Vallejo Guidelines:

In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, therefore, courts should consider, among other things, the following data:

how the samples were collected,

how they were handled,

the possibility of contamination of the samples,

the procedure followed in analyzing the samples,

whether the proper standards and procedures were followed in conducting the tests,

and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.

The above test is derived from the Daubert Test which is a doctrine adopted from US jurisprudence (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) The Daubert Test is a test to be employed by courts before admitting scientific test results in evidence. More specifically, the Daubert Test inquires:

Whether the theory or technique can be tested,

Whether the proffered work has been subjected to peer review,

Whether the rate of error is acceptable,

Whether the method at issue enjoys widespread acceptance

In this case, the Supreme Court declared that in filiation cases, before paternity inclusion can be had, the DNA test result must state that the there is at least a 99.9% probability that the person is the biological father.   However, a 99.9% probability of paternity (or higher but never possibly a 100% ) does not immediately result in the DNA test result being admitted as an overwhelming evidence. It does not automatically become a conclusive proof that the alleged father, in this case Herrera, is the biological father of the child (Alba). Such result is still a disputable or a refutable evidence which can be brought down if the Vallejo Guidelines are not complied with.

What if the result provides that there is less than 99.9% probability that the alleged father is the biological father?

Then the evidence is merely corroborative.

Anent the issue of self-incrimination, submitting to DNA testing is not violative of the right against self-incrimination. The right against self-incrimination is just a prohibition on the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication (testimonial evidence) from a defendant, not an exclusion of evidence taken from his body when it may be material. There is no “testimonial compulsion” in the getting of DNA sample from Herrera, hence, he cannot properly invoke self-incrimination.

People v Umanito

FACTS:

Around 9PM, private complainant AAA was accosted by a young male (whom she later knew as Umanito). He waited for her by the creek, and he pointed as knife at her abdomen. He dragged her into the Home Economics Building of Daramuangan Elementary School. He undressed her while still holding the knife. He set her down on a bench, put down the knife, and had sex with her. He dressed up and threatened to kill her if she reported the incident. Six months later, AAA ’ s mother noticed the prominence on her stomach, and it was then that she divulged to her mother the alleged rape. Her mother brought her to the police station. (Umanito’ s alibi: He was at home all day. Re: AAA, he admitted that he courted her but she spurned him. He conjectured that she had a crush on him since she frequently visited him.)

            RTC rendered judgment against Umanito and sentenced him to suffer reclusion perpetua. Umanito’s appeal was transferred to the CA for intermediate review (as per Mateo ruling), and CA affirmed RTC. Umanito seeks acquittal on reasonable doubt, with the belated filing of the case and AAA ’ s questionable credibility as grounds. He also said that AAA filed the complaint only upon her mother’s insistence; this supports his claim that AAA had sex with another (a married man). Also, he claimed that there were several inconsistencies in her assertions.

ISSUE:

Whether or not DNA Evidence may be received to prove the accused’s guilt?

HELD:

YES. 

CASE IS REMANDED TO THE RTC FOR RECEPTION OF DNA EVIDENCE. The fact that AAA bore a child because of the purported rape may provide the definitive key to Umanito ’ s absolution, since it can now be determined with reasonable certainty WON he is the father of her child. AAA and her child are directed to submit themselves to DNA testing under the aegis of the New Rule on DNA Evidence (AM No. 06-11-5-SC) which took effect on 15 Oct 2007 (a few days before promulgation of this case).

            DNA print / identification technology is now recognized as a uniquely effective means to link a suspect to a crime, or to absolve one erroneously accused, where biological evidence is available. The groundwork for acknowledging the strong weight of DNA testing was first laid out in Tijing v. CA . Herrera v. Alba discussed DNA analysis as evidence and traced the development of its admissibility in our jurisdiction. Tecson v. COMELEC said that in case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to establish, DNA testing could be resorted to.

            The determination of WON Umanito is the father (through DNA testing) is material to the fair and correct adjudication of his appeal. Under Sec. 4 of AM No. 06-11-5-SC, the courts are authorized, after due hearing and notice, motu proprio to order a DNA testing. However, since SC is not a trier of facts, it would be more appropriate that the case be remanded to RTC for reception of evidence.

The hearing should be confined to ascertaining the feasibility of DNA testing with due regard to the standards set. RTC should order the DNA testing if it finds it to be feasible in this case. RTC shall determine the institution to undertake the testing, and the parties are free to manifest their comments on the choice. After the DNA analysis is obtained, it shall be incumbent upon the parties who wish to avail of the same to offer the results in accordance with the rules of evidence, which shall be assessed by RTC in keeping with Sections 7 (Assessment of probative value of DNA evidence) and 8 (Reliability of DNA testing methodology). RTC is also enjoined to observe confidentiality and preservation of DNA evidence.

            To facilitate the execution of this resolution, although the parties are primarily bound to bear the expenses for DNA testing, such costs may be advanced by SC if needed.

Parel v. Prudencio, G.R. No. 146556, April 19, 2006

Facts:

Respondent Prudencio filed a complaint for recovery of possession and damages against petitioner with the RTC Baguio alleging that: he is the owner of a two-storey residential house, that such property was constructed solely from his own funds and declared in his name under Tax Declaration No. 47048, he commenced the construction of said house in 1972 until its completion three years later, when the second floor of said house became habitable in 1973, he allowed petitioner’s parents, Florentino and Susan, to move therein and occupy the second floor while the construction of the ground floor was on-going to supervise the construction and to safeguard the materials; when the construction of the second floor was finished in 1975, respondent allowed petitioner’s parents and children to transfer and temporarily reside thereat; it was done out of sheer magnanimity as petitioner’s parents have no house of their own and since respondent’s wife is the older sister of Florentino, petitioner’s father; in November 1985, respondent wrote Florentino a notice for them to vacate the said house as the former was due for retirement and he needed the place to which petitioner’s parents heeded when they migrated to U.S. in 1986; however, without respondent’s knowledge, petitioner and his family unlawfully entered and took possession of the ground floor of respondent’s house; petitioner’s refusal to vacate the house despite repeated demands prompted respondent to file the instant action for recovery of possession. He contended that: his parents are the co-owners of the said residential house, i.e., the upper story belongs to respondent while the ground floor pertains to petitioner’s parents; he is occupying the ground floor upon the instruction of his father, Florentino, with respondent’s full knowledge; his parents spent their own resources in improving and constructing the said two-storey house as co-owners thereof; the late Florentino was an awardee of the land on which the house stands and as a co-owner of the house, he occupied the ground floor thereof; the demand to vacate was respondent’s attempt to deprive petitioner’s parents of their rights as co-owner of the said house; that respondent had filed ejectment case as well as criminal cases against them involving the subject house which were all dismissed. RTC rendered a decision stating that the house is co-owned by Florentino Parel and herein plaintiff Simeon Prudencio and as such the plaintiff cannot evict the defendant as heirs of the deceased Florentino Parel from said property, nor to recover said premises from herein defendant. Aggrieved, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which reversed the ruling and and declared respondent as the sole owner of the subject house and ordered petitioner to surrender possession of the ground floor thereof to respondent immediately. Hence this instant appeal.

Issue:

WON Rule 132, Sec. 34 or Rule 133, Sec. 7 of the Rules of Court applies in the case at bar.

Held:

The latter applies.

Respondent had shown sufficient evidence to support his complaint for recovery of possession of the ground floor of the subject house as the exclusive owner thereof and also was religiously paying the taxes therein. While tax receipts and declarations are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership, they constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. The house which petitioner claims to be co-owned by his late father had been consistently declared for taxation purposes in the name of respondent, and this fact, taken with the other circumstances above-mentioned, inexorably lead to the conclusion that respondent is the sole owner of the house subject matter of the litigation. Respondent having established his claim of exclusive ownership of the subject property, it was incumbent upon petitioner to contravene respondent’s claim. The burden of evidence shifted to petitioner to prove that his father was a co-owner of the subject house. In the case of Jison vs. CA, he records show that although petitioner’s counsel asked that he be allowed to offer his documentary evidence in writing, he, however, did not file the same. Thus, the CA did not consider the documentary evidence presented by petitioner. Section 34 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides:

Section 34. Offer of evidence. – The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.

A formal offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and his judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties to the suit. It is a settled rule that the mere fact that a particular document is identified and marked as an exhibit does not mean that it has thereby already been offered as part of the evidence of a party.

Petitioner insists that although his documentary evidence were not formally offered, the same were marked during the presentation of the testimonial evidence, thus it can properly be taken cognizance of relying in Bravo, Jr. v. Borja, which is wrong as in Bravo Jr., the court allowed evidence on minority by admitting the certified true copy of the birth certificate attached to a motion for bail even if it was not formally offered in evidence. This was due to the fact that the birth certificate was properly filed in support of a motion for bail to prove petitioner’s minority which was never challenged by the prosecution and it already formed part of the records of the case. The rule referred to in the Bravo case was Section 7 of Rule 133 of the Rules of Court, and not Section 34 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which is the one applicable to the present case. Section 7 states that:

Section 7. Evidence on motion.- When a motion is based on facts not appearing of record, the court may hear the matter on affidavits or depositions presented by the respective parties, but the court may direct that the matter be heard wholly or partly on oral testimony or depositions.

Even assuming arguendo that the documentary evidence of petitioner should be considered in his favor, the evidence showing that respondent had filed civil and criminal cases against petitioner which were dismissed as well as the alleged Special Power of Attorney of petitioner’s parents whereby they authorized petitioner to stay in the ground floor of the house, did not establish co-ownership of Florentino and respondent of the subject house; all witnesses failing to state thast there was co-ownership in the property.

MELCHOR y Go v. Loouko, G.R. No. 147923, 147962, 154035, October 26, 2007

Facts: 

Petitioner Go and respondent Looyuko were business associates. Respondent is the registered owner of businesses collectively known as the Noah’s Ark Group of Companies. Go was the business manager or chief operating officer of the group of companies. Sometime in 1997, the business associates had a falling out that spawned numerous civil lawsuits. Among these actions are Civil Case No. 67921 and Criminal Case No. 98-1643 from which arose several incidents which eventually became subject of these consolidated petitions.

G.R. No. 147923 assails the September 11, 2000 CA Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 58639, which upheld the December 16, 1999 Makati City RTC Order denying the requested inhibition of RTC Judge Nemesio Felix and the March 8, 2000 Order which denied the recall of the December 16, 1999 Order and which likewise required the prosecution to make a formal offer of evidence. Also challenged is the March 27, 2001 CA Resolution denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.

The third, G.R. No. 154035, assails the January 31, 2002 CA Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 62296, which affirmed the Makati City RTC May 9, 2000 Order in Criminal Case No. 98-1643, denying petitioner’s prayer to defer submission of the formal offer of evidence and at the same time granting leave to respondent to file demurrer to evidence, and the September 22, 2000 Orde denying reconsideration of the May 9, 2000 Order. Likewise challenged is the June 3, 2002 CA Resolution of the CA disallowing petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.

The second, G.R. No. 147923, and third, G.R. No. 154035, petitions under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court arose from Criminal Case No. 98-1643 entitled People of the Philippines v. Alberto T. Looyuko for Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code before the Makati City RTC, Branch 56.

In G.R. No. 154035, we consolidated the three petitions having originated from the same criminal case involving the same parties with interrelated issues. Although the latter petition raises the issue of the existence of a business partnership and propriety of the conduct of the inventory of assets and properties of Noah’s Ark Sugar Refinery in Civil Case No. 67921, all the foregoing actions trace their beginnings from the same factual milieu.

Criminal Case No. 98-1643 – Dismissed because Looyuko died

On May 21, 1998, petitioner filed People of the Philippines v. Alberto T. Looyuko, an Affidavit Complaint before RTC Makati, charging respondent with Estafa under Revised Penal Code. Petitioner alleged that respondent misappropriated and converted in his name petitioner’s 41,376 China Banking Corporation (CBC) shares of stock. Petitioner averred that he entrusted the stock certificates to respondent for the latter to sell. 

After respondent pleaded “Not Guilty,” and after the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses among them, Go and Amalia de Leon, an employee of CBC, who testified that certificates of stocks in Go’s name were cancelled and new certificates were issued in Looyuko’s name. Earlier, subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum were issued to Peter Dee, President of CBC, Atty. Arsenio Lim, Corporate Secretary of CBC, and Gloria Padecio. The trial court also felt no need for the testimonies of Dee, Lim, and Padecio and ordered the prosecution to offer its evidence.

Petitioner filed a MR and asked that the prosecution be allowed to present its last witness from Amsteel Securities, Inc., Bohn Bernard J. Briones. The RTC granted the motion. However, at the conclusion of Briones’ testimony, the prosecution moved to subpoena Alvin Padecio which was vehemently objected to by the defense. The trial court denied the motion. The prosecution thereafter opted to ask for ten days to formally offer its documentary evidence. The trial court granted the request.

Instead of filing its formal offer of evidence, the prosecution filed an Urgent MR, then a Supplemental Motion with Manifestation, and a Second Supplemental Motion with Manifestation, all praying that the testimony of Alvin Padecio be allowed.

For his part, respondent filed a Motion to Declare the Prosecution as Having Waived its Right to Make a Formal Offer of Evidence. Hence, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion to Withdraw the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration with Motion for Inhibition.

Subsequently, the trial court denied petitioner’s motion for inhibition; petitioner’s motion to declare the prosecution to have waived its right to file formal offer of evidence; and gave the prosecution a last chance to submit its formal offer of documentary evidence within ten days from notice.

Petitioner moved to defer compliance with the submission of its formal offer of documentary evidence pending petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the trial court’s Order denying petitioner’s motion for inhibition. The RTC denied petitioner’s motion and granted the prosecution a last opportunity to submit its formal offer of documentary evidence within five days from notice.

Frustrated, petitioner adamantly reiterated his motion for inhibition in a Manifestation/Motion praying that the trial court reconsider its Order directing the prosecution to formally offer its documentary evidence in deference to the petition for certiorari it intends to file with the CA, where it would assail the two Orders denying the inhibition of the judge.

Subsequently, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 before the CA. It again sought the reversal of the orders denying his motion for inhibition. 

Meanwhile, before the RTC hearing the criminal case, respondent filed an Omnibus Motion  to declare petitioner to have rested his case on the basis of the prosecution’s testimonial evidence and to grant respondent leave to file his demurrer to evidence. The RTC denied the Omnibus Motion. Petitioner timely filed a Motion for Reconsideration/Manifestation, which was denied. Respondent filed his demurrer to evidence incorporating in it his offer of evidence.

Petitioner filed another petition for certiorari before the CA seeking to reverse the orders of the trial court declaring petitioner to have waived his right to formally offer his documentary evidence and allowing respondent to file a demurrer to evidence.

While these motions were being considered by the trial court, petitioner filed an administrative case Judge Nemesio S. Felix. It charged Judge Felix with Partiality, relative to Criminal Case No. 98-1643.

Citing the administrative case he filed against Judge Felix, petitioner filed a Second Motion for Voluntary Inhibition before the trial court. The trial court denied the second motion. His Motion for Reconsideration was opposed by respondent.

Issue:

WON CA ered when it failed to apply the law and established jurisprudence on the matter by issuing the questioned Resolutions thereby affirming the questioned Orders of the Court a quo which were issued with grave abuse of discretion.

Held:

The petition in G.R. No. 147962 is GRANTED. The February 12, 2001 and April 24, 2001 Resolutions of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 62438 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction is LIFTED. The Petition for Certiorari of respondent Looyuko in CA-G.R. SP No. 62438 is DISMISSED for lack of merit, and the Orders dated September 25, 2000, December 19, 2000, and December 29, 2000 of the Pasig City RTC, Branch 69 are AFFIRMED. The Pasig City RTC, Branch 69 is hereby ordered to proceed with the case with dispatch.

The petition in G.R. No. 147923 is DENIED and the September 11, 2000 Decision and March 27, 2001 Resolution of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 58639 are AFFIRMED.

The petition in G.R. No. 154035 is GRANTED. The January 31, 2002 Decision and June 3, 2002 Resolution of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 62296 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Likewise, the Orders dated May 9, 2000 and September 22, 2000 of the Makati City RTC in Crim. Case No. 98-1643 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

Makati RTC is ordered to dismiss Crim. Case No. 98-1643 as Looyuko died, without prejudice to the filing of a separate civil action by petitioner Go.

Relevant Ratio:

Grave abuse of discretion in the denial of additional witnesses

The trial court gravely abused its discretion in patently and arbitrarily denying the prosecution the opportunity to present four witnesses in the instant criminal case. 

First, the testimonies of Dee and Lim from CBC would bolster and tend to prove whatever fact the prosecution is trying to establish. Truth to tell, only the testimony of de Leon corroborates petitioner’s testimony on the alleged transfer from petitioner’s name to that of respondent of the certificates of stock. More light can be shed on the transaction with the additional testimony of Dee and Lim.

Second, the superfluity of a testimony vis-à-vis what has already been proven can be determined with certainty only after it has been adduced. Verily, the testimonies of petitioner Go and de Leon on the issue of the transfer cannot be said to have truly proven and been corroborated with certainty as they are.

Third, the trial court cannot invoke its discretion under Sec. 6 of Rule 134, Rules of Court given that only two witnesses were presented when it denied the testimony of the three (3) witnesses. Sec. 6 of Rule 134 pertinently provides:

SEC. 6. Power of the court to stop further evidence. –– The court may stop the introduction of further testimony upon any particular point when the evidence upon it is already so full that more witnesses to the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be additionally persuasive. But this power should be exercised with caution.

The above proviso clearly grants the trial court the authority and discretion to stop further testimonial evidence on the ground that additional corroborative testimony has no more persuasive value as the evidence on that particular point is already so full. Indeed, it was only petitioner Go, whose testimony may be considered self-serving who testified on the issue of the transfer. Certainly, the additional testimony of de Leon on the issue of the transfer cannot be considered as so adequate that additional corroborative testimony has no more persuasive value. Besides, the discretion granted by the above proviso has the clear caveat that this power should be exercised with caution, more so in criminal cases where proof beyond reasonable doubt is required for the conviction of the accused.

Fourth, in consonance with the immediate preceding discussion, petitioner Go’s testimony on the alleged partnership is not confirmed and supported by any other proof with the exclusion of the testimony of Gloria Padecio. Certainly, it is imperative for the prosecution to prove by clear and strong evidence that the alleged partnership exists; otherwise, respondent Looyuko is entitled to exoneration as the element of trust is important in estafa by abuse of confidence. Corroborative testimony is a necessity given the nature of the criminal case.

Likewise, the trial court gravely abused its discretion in denying the prosecution to present the testimony of Alvin Padecio considering that Briones of Amsteel Securities, Inc. did not provide some details on the transfer. Alvin Padecio, petitioner claims, is the person who can shed light on these matters, more particularly if one considers the fact that he is the son of respondent Looyuko.

Based on the foregoing findings, we hold that the trial court whimsically, arbitrarily, and gravely abused its discretion amounting to a denial of the prosecution of its day in court.

Office of the Ombudsman v. Zaldarriaga, G.R. No. 175349, June 22, 2010

FACTS: Respondent was a Municipal Treasurer. COA conducted an audit examination of accountabilities of respondent’s cash and accounts covering November 1997 to November 1998. Audit report showed a deficiency of P4.7M. Respondent was asked to restitute but he failed. He requested State Auditor for a bill of particulars. COA failed to clarify the basis. COA filed a Letter-Complaint against respondent before the Ombudsman. Meanwhile, the Provincial Treasurer also conducted its own investigation but its findings did not indicate any shortage but, instead, pointed out that had the mayor, treasurer, and accountant observed the COA Rules, the irregularity would not have been committed.

Two years later, COA conducted another audit examination covering November 1998 to May 2000. Report showed a zero balance during the last examination conducted (paragraph above). Respondent then sought for dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the latest COA report indicated that there was no shortage.

Ombudsman still dismissed respondent from service for dishonesty, saying his failure to account when audited and his alleged lack of cooperation with the Audit Team constitute substantial evidence of dishonesty. Also, Ombudsman did not give much credence (1) to the second report, reasoning it was conducted two years from November 1998; (2) that of the three assigned state auditors, it was only one signed the second report; and (3) on conclusion that there was no shortage in the second report may be because petitioner restituted the missing funds after discovery. CA found for reversed.

ISSUE: Did the CA err in holding that the Ombudsman’s dismissal was not based on sufficient evidence?

HELD: NO, CA did not err. Petitioner maintains that the zero-balance reflected in the second report, prepared two years after the first audit, cannot negate the finding of cash shortage, considering that second report is defective.

The petition is bereft of merit. In administrative cases, the quantum of evidence necessary to find an individual administratively liable is substantial evidence. S5, R133 is explicit: xxx

Substantial evidence does not necessarily mean preponderant proof as in civil cases, but such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion or evidence commonly accepted by reasonably prudent men in the conduct of their affairs.

Here, the evidence lacked that degree of certainty because the entries in the two audit examinations yielded conflicting results. In the first report, the alleged shortage is 4.7M. However, in the succeeding report was reflected that there was no balance during the last (the first) audit. These discrepancies cannot be ignored. Evidence of shortage is imperative to hold respondent. Here, the evidence could not be relied upon. The second report puts into question the reliability of the first. Whether the zero balance as appearing in the second audit report was correct or inadvertently indicated, the credibility and accuracy of the two reports were already tarnished. A separate and more thorough audit would be required to dispel any uncertainties and to arrive at respondent’s true and correct accountability. The shortage of funds was clearly not indubitably established. Until such audit is conducted, the two audit reports cannot be used to prove or disprove any shortage in respondent’s cash and accounts.

Even in administrative cases, a degree of moral certainty is necessary to support a finding of liability. In the instant case, the evidence submitted to conclude that respondent was administratively liable is sorely wanting.

Espineli v. People, G.R. No. 179535, June 9, 2014

FACTS: Victim Berbon of DZMM, was shot by unidentified malefactors who immediately fled on board a waiting car. Meanwhile, NBI arrested one Romeo Reyes for Illegal Possession of Deadly Weapon. Reyes confided he has vital information regarding the Berbon shooting. Reyes said he saw Espineli, accused herein and one Sotero Paredes board a red car, both were armed and that accused told Paredes “ayaw ko nang abutin pa ng bukas yang si Berbon.”  Reyes posted bail but later jumped bail and was never again heard of. NBI Agent Segunial testified on these facts during the trial. Trial court: convicted Espineli for murder; CA modified: homicide. Petitioner posits that the CA should not have affirmed the conviction by RTC as the latter erred: xxx 2. [in convicting] [petitioner] based on unproven, inadmissible (argued that conviction was based on Reyes statement implicating him which was hearsay here for lack of opportunity to cross) circumstantial evidence. Accused emphasizes that as found by the courts below, there was no direct evidence linking him to the crime; therefore, he wants the review of the sufficiency of the circumstantial evidence upon which his conviction was based. OSG, representing the People, concurs with accused and recommends acquittal.

ISSUE:  Were the circumstantial evidence in this case sufficient to convict?

HELD: YES. Truly, “direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only basis from which a court may draw its finding of guilt.” The rules allow a trial court to rely on circumstantial evidence to support its conclusion of guilt. Circumstantial evidence, defined: that evidence “which indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact-finder draws from the evidence established. S4, R133; circumstantial evidence sufficiency to convict; requisites: i) there is more than one circumstance; ii) the facts from which the inference is derived are proven; and iii) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.” Conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld provided that the circumstances proved constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion that points to the accused, to the exclusion of all others as the guilty person.

Here, circumstances found by CA as forming an unbroken chain leading to one fair and reasonable conclusion that petitioner, to the exclusion of all others, is the guilty person are the following:

1. In the morning of December 15, 1996, petitioner was heard telling his co-accused Sotero Paredes (Sotero) “ayaw ko nang abutin pa ng bukas yang si Berbon” before boarding a red car. Sotero was holding an armalite while petitioner was armed with a .45 caliber pistol;

2. The said red car was identified by prosecution witness Rodolfo to be the same car he sold to Sotero in September 1996;

3. The victim Alberto was fatally shot later in the day by unidentified gunmen who thereafter immediately fled riding a red car; and

4. Post-mortem examination showed multiple gunshot wounds which indicate that they were inflicted using high-powered guns, possibly an armalite rifle and .22 caliber pistol.

The circumstantial evidence relied upon by the Court of Appeals sufficiently support petitioner’s conviction. Several reasons deserve our acceptance of the circumstances upon which petitioner’s conviction was based, to wit:

First, NBI Agent Segunial testified that he had investigated Reyes and reduced into writing the latter’s statement (to the effect mentioned in the facts) (Accused says this is hearsay; HELD: NO. Independently Relevant Statement)

Second, the identification through photograph by Rodolfo of the car as the car he sold to Sotero.

Third, Victim was shot and killed and the gunmen immediately fled riding a red car which was identified as the same car previously sold by Rodolfo to Sotero.

Fourth, Doctor findings that the victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and that the same were caused by high-powered guns, served as corroborative evidence and contributed in a significant way in establishing the level of proof that the law requires in convicting petitioner.

Lastly, petitioner’s escape from detention while the case was pending can also be considered as another circumstance since it is a strong indication of his guilt.

The incriminating circumstances, when taken together, constitute an unbroken chain of events enough to arrive at the conclusion that petitioner was responsible for the killing of the victim. Homicide in view of the prosecution’s failure to prove any of the alleged attendant circumstances of abuse of superior strength and nighttime.

People v. Abdulah, G.R. No. 182518, January 20, 2009

Facts:

It was six in the evening more than a decade and a half ago, or on November 6, 1992, when the events leading to this case began to unfold. One of the victims, Evelyn Aguirre, was then visiting in the house of the other victim, her daughter Romelyn Diolago, at Victoria St., Intramuros, Manila. With her in the house were her other daughters, Leny and Jovy Aguirre (another victim), and her granddaughter, Cristy-Lyn. At that time, Romelyn was at a night club working. Appellant Mohamad Bong Abdulah, Romelyns brother-in-law, and a companion, entered the house and asked for the latter.[3]

Informed of Romelyns whereabouts, Bong decided to fetch Romelyn at the club. He dragged Evelyn from the house, out of the alley leading to the house, and to a black car. His companion, Latip Mangsungayan, poked a .38 caliber gun at Jovy, dragged her and pushed her inside the car. Three other companions of Bong were already in the car, a certain Racid alias Lumang Kulog, Bagyo alias Muhammad, and Dhats Kamama. Bong then belted out to the neighbors who got curious over the commotion, Kung anong nakikita ninyo, walang magsasalita, totodasin ko lahat, walang makikialam, totodasin ko kayong lahat! Bong then drove the car and sped off. Evelyn and Jovy never returned to the house. That was the last time they were seen alive. 

The following day, November 7, 1992, three female dead bodies were found by the police at the grassy area of the apartment road in Maharlika Village, Taguig, Metro Manila. The bodies had stab wounds, and the necks had ligature marks. The cadavers were then brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for autopsy. On November 15, 1992, prompted by a news report, the relatives of the victims went to Taguig, and there identified the dead bodies as those of Evelyn, Romelyn and Jovy. 

The police theorized that appellant killed the victims to avenge the death of his brother Rex, Romelyns live-in partner. The police further believed that appellant must have been convinced of the familys involvement in the death of Rex, considering that Rexs killer was the former boyfriend of Romelyn and hailed from the same hometown as the family. 

Three separate Informations for murder were filed against appellant

Appellant and his cohorts remained at large for several years. In 1998, appellant was finally brought to trial in these murder cases, following his apprehension and detention for violation of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1866, of the elections gun ban, and of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425. On arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. 

In his defense, appellant asserted that he was mistakenly identified as Muhammad Abdulah, because he is Musa Dalamban. He was arrested not for the murder of the victims but for violation of special laws. He further denied knowing any of the victims, claiming that, at the time the murder happened, he was in Cotabato City working as a helper of Guapal Saliling in the latters wood business.

However the trial court rendered its Decision finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of murder. 

On direct appeal, CA, as aforesaid, affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. Thus, we now finally review the trial and the appellate courts uniform findings.

Issue: WON the circumstantial evidence present was sufficient to convict herein accused?

Held: YES! 

We affirm with modifications. The Court notes that the basis of the trial and the appellate courts in convicting the appellant of three counts of murder is circumstantial evidence, given the absence of any direct evidence as to who actually killed the victims. 

Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides that, for the same to be sufficient for conviction, 

(1) there must be more than one circumstance; 

(2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and 

(3) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. 

A judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain leading to one fair and reasonable conclusion that the defendants are guilty, to the exclusion of any other conclusion.The circumstances proved must be concordant with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty and, at the same time, inconsistent with any hypothesis other than that of guilt. As a corollary to the constitutional precept that the accused is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, a conviction based on circumstantial evidence must exclude each and every hypothesis consistent with his innocence.

Here, the circumstances proven during the trial are that 

  1. appellant and several companions went to the house of Romelyn in Intramuros, Manila; 
  2. On arrival, appellant asked for the whereabouts of Romelyn; 
  3. Appellant then forcibly dragged the victims Evelyn and Jovy from Romelyns house to the alley leading to the house and pushed them inside a parked black car; 
  4. one of appellants companions poked a gun at Jovy; 
  5. appellant then warned the onlookers to not interfere with them and to be silent over what was happening; 
  6. appellant drove the car and sped off; 
  7. the day after Evelyn and Jovy were taken, their dead bodies, together with that of Romelyn, were recovered in Taguig, Metro Manila; and 
  8. their bodies had stab wounds, and the necks had ligature marks.

Appellant was also positively identified by the prosecution witnesses, Leny Aguirre, Evelyns daughter, who was in the house when appellant arrived, and Sabina Badilla, a neighbor, who saw the commotion. 

Appellants defenses of denial and alibi in this case are not worthy of belief, given that he failed to show that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the time and place of the crime. Established is the rule that denial and alibi, if not substantiated by clear and convincing proof, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. 

In this case, nevertheless, we find appellant liable only for the death of Evelyn and Jovy, there being no evidence to show that he also abducted Romelyn. While the prosecution witnesses testified that appellant intended to proceed to the club where Romelyn worked, no evidence was produced that he, in fact, reached the club and fetched Romelyn from there.

People v. Licayan y Sucano, G.R. No. 144422, February 28, 2002

Facts:

Five-year old Rowena C. Bangcong, the only girl among her siblings, was beaten, raped and killed. Her bruised and battered body which was flung with a hard object, that caused lacerated wounds, abrasions hematomas and submerging the victim into a swamp that caused her death as well. Victim was discovered the following morning after a massive search.

Accused Aldrin Licaya y Sucano was charged with Rape with Homicide

Appellant Aldrin Licayan and Bernard Agcopra were friends from way back. After years of absence, appellant went to Agcopra who had a machine shop in BarangayInobulan, Salay, Misamis Oriental, to apply for work as a grinder of engine valves. On this occasion, they drank rum to celebrate their reunion. Romeo Bangcong, who was also Agcopras friend, joined them later in their drinking bout. 

The group continued drinking in the house of Wenny Rajal also in Barangay Inobulan, Salay, Misamis Oriental. After consuming two bottles of Beer Grande, they bought a case of the same drink, which they brought to the house of Romeo. When they arrived, Romeos wife Rosalinda and his children, Rey Oriente, Raymundo and five-year old Rowena were there. Agcopra did not stay long and did not drink beer anymore. He went with Romeo to the barangay captain leaving appellant in Romeos house. When Romeo returned to his house, appellant was embracing and kissing Rowena, justifying it by saying that he missed his daughter.

Appellant kept on embracing Rowena. Rowena asked that she be allowed to watch television at neighbor Dorbits house fifteen meters away. An hour later, Romeo told Rey Oriente to fetch Rowena. Thereafter, appellant also left, saying that he would look for Agcopra. When the boy reached Dorbits house, he saw appellant there with Rowena. Appellant told Rowena: Day, come here because your father asked you to go home so you can eat your supper. Appellant then held the hand of Rowena and dragged her into a dark area. Rey Oriente, however, did not go with appellant and his sister, thinking that they were heading for the Bangcong house.

When Romeo got tired of waiting for Rowena, he went to the Dorbit house to inquire about her. Rey Oriente told him what happened, which caused him to cry. Neighbors were alerted and immediately formed a posse to look for the girl. While searching for Rowena, they spotted appellant when they trained a flashlight to him. Appellant ran towards the rice field. The posse chased him, but failed to catch him when he jumped into  the deep River. When appellant passed by a group of men who offered him a drink, his clothes were wet and his body was muddy. He had no slippers. That same night, appellant was arrested by the police.

The following morning, the dead and naked body of Rowena was found at the swamps, where appellant told Rogelio Dahilan, Jr., one of the searchers, she would be. Photographs were taken of the girl.

As stated earlier, after the prosecution had rested its case and formally offered its evidence, accused-appellant escaped detention and has remained at large despite efforts to apprehend him. Once an accused escapes from prison or confinement, he loses his standing in court and is deemed to have waived any right to seek relief from the court unless he surrenders or submits to the jurisdiction of the court.

Upon arraignment, accused pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. The case thereafter proceeded to trial.

Since accused is at large after he escaped detention while the case was still pending but after the prosecution had presented its evidence, let a warrant for his arrest, or alias warrant of his arrest issue.  Once arrested let his custodian ship his person to the National Penitentiary without delay as provided by law, there to await the result of the review of this case by the Highest Tribunal of the land.

Accused-appellant was found guilty. 

On automatic review, accused-appellant faults the trial court with a lone assignment of error, to wit

Issue: WON prosecution has sufficiently presented proof beyond reasonable doubt to convict herein accused and sustaining conviction by extrajudicial confession

Held: YES! 

That accused-appellants admissions indeed partake of an extra-judicial confession, the same would still be admissible not only on account of the foregoing considerations but also because it is corroborated by evidence of corpus delicti

Under Rule 133, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, an extra-judicial confession shall not be sufficient ground for conviction, unless corroborated by evidence of corpus delicti. 

which is defined as the body of the crime and, in its primary sense, means a crime has actually been committed. Applied to a particular offense, it is the actual commission by someone of the particular crime charged. In this case, aside from the admission made by accused-appellant, the bruised and battered body of the victim herself recovered at the exact spot described by accused-appellant conclusively established the corroborating evidence of corpus delicti.

Furthermore, the admission is replete with details on the whereabouts of the victim who at that time had not yet been found, thereby ruling out the probability that it was involuntarily made. The voluntariness of a confession may be inferred from its language such that if, upon its face, the confession exhibits no suspicious circumstances tending to cast doubt upon its it integrity, it being replete with details – which could only be supplied by the accused – reflecting spontaneity and coherence, it may be considered voluntary. 

Contrary to accused-appellants claim, he was in fact seen grabbing and dragging the struggling victim from the house where she was watching television by Rey Oriente, the victims elder brother. 

While accused-appellant indeed did not admit to anyone that he raped and killed Rowena, the prevailing circumstances overwhelmingly point to his guilt. As stated earlier, direct evidence is not always necessary to identify the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. A witness may not have actually seen the very act of commission of a crime, but he may nevertheless identify the accused as the assailant as when the latter is the person last seen with the victim immediately before and right after the commission of the crime. 

*** Added info just in case she’ll ask. 

Accused-appellants escape should be considered a waiver of his right to be present at the trial and the inability of the court to notify him of the subsequent hearings will not prevent the court from continuing with the trial because the escapee is deemed to have received notice. 

The fact of escape made accused-appellants failure to attend unjustified because he has, by escaping, placed himself beyond the pale and protection of the law. Thereafter, the trial court had the duty to rule on the evidence presented by the prosecution against the accused and to render its judgment accordingly. It should not wait for the fugitives appearance or re-arrest, for the State as much as the accused has an interest in and is entitled to a speedy trial and disposition of the case.

In the case at bar, accused-appellant was convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence of the commission of the crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a court may draw its conclusions and findings of guilt. 

The rules on evidence and case law sustain the conviction of the accused through circumstantial evidence when the following requisites concur: 

1.] there must be more than one circumstance; 

2.] the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; 3.] the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.

In assaying the probative value of circumstantial evidence, four basic guidelines must be observed:

1) it should be acted upon with caution;

2) all the essential facts must be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt;

3) the facts must exclude every other theory but that of guilt; and

4) the facts must establish such a certainty of guilt of the accused as to convince the judgment beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is the one who committed the offense.

The peculiarity of circumstantial evidence is that the guilt of the accused cannot be deduced from scrutinizing just one particular piece of evidence. It is more like a puzzle which when put together reveals a convincing picture pointing towards the conclusion the accused is the author of the crime.[14]

The following circumstances pointed out by the trial court lead to the inevitable conclusion that the accused-appellant perpetrated the crime:

First, before 1:00 A.M. of June 25, 1999, accused drank rhum with Bernard Agcopra, an automotive mechanic with whom he applied for work. June 26th was anti-vesperas of the fiesta of Inobulan, Salay, Mis. Or. Having consumed the rhum, the duo decided to take a motorbike to Bernard Agcopras shop in order to test accuseds skill in grinding engine vale[s]. At Agcopra shop, they drank some more rhum where they were joined by Romeo Bangcong. At 5:00 P.M., the three proceeded to the house of the owner of the overhauled engine. While there, Agcopraordered two bottles of beer grande, and after consuming these the group bought one case of the same beer grande. The 3 brought this to the house of Romeo Bangcong which is not far away.

Second, the three, accused, Bernard Agcopra and Romeo Bangcong, reached Romeos house. In the house then were Romeos wife and children, Rosalina and Rowena, 5 years old. Accused was drunk. But no sooner than they arrived that accused and Romeo started drinking the case of beer grande that they had brought. Bernard Agcopra begged off. He went home. When ReyOriente Bangcong, one of Romeos children and elder brother of Rowena, arrived from school that afternoon of June 25th, which was Friday, he saw accused drinking with his father and while so doing he kissed and embraced Rowena, justifying it by saying that he missed his daughter. This happened in the presence of the Bangcong family. At about 6:00 oclock, Rowena asked her fathers permission to view t.v. at the nearby house of Dorbit, to which Romeo gave his permission. About an hour after that Romeo told Rey Oriente to fetch his sister at Dorbits

Third, arriving at Dorbits house, Rey saw accused telling Rowena Day come here because your father asked you to go home so that you can eat your supper. Accused was holding the hand of Rowena and was dragging her. Soon Romeo Bangcong also arrived at Dorbits house looking for Rowena.

Fourth, the Bangcongs neighbors organized a search party. One group spotted accused 20 meters away. He ran toward the direction of the rice field. They chased him but they failed to overtake him as he jumped into the Inobulan River which is 5 arms length wise but deep. The searchers lost him.

Fifth, at about 4:00 oclock of June 26th accused told Jun-jun Dahilan who in turn told the searchers the location of the body of Rowena. Referring to the place they found the dead and naked body of the victim there.

Sixth, with muddy pants, wet and without slippers accused emerged at the place where Wilson Salvaa and companions were drinking at about 9:30 P.M. of June 25th. He wore [a] stripe[d] blue shirt. He accepted the offer to drink and then proceeded away from them.

Seventh, accused was the last person with whom Rowena was last seen.

In the instant case, Rogelio Dahilan, Jr. testified that accused-appellant indeed told him where the victims body can be found. What is more, the victims body was actually recovered at the location pointed by accused-appellant.