ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™  
Main Index Law Library Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Jurisprudence
Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 









 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
August-1995 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 93117 August 1, 1995 - LOPEZ SUGAR CORPORATION v. SECRETARY OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-92-836 August 2, 1995 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JESUS V. MATAS

  • OCA I.P.I. No. 95-12-P August 3, 1995 - MARILES I. VILLANUEVA v. RODOLFO B. POLLENTES

  • G.R. No. 88326 August 3, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM A. FULINARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102422 August 3, 1995 - ANTONIO CATATISTA, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113290-91 August 3, 1995 - PEDRO O. PALMERIA, SR. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113521-31 August 3, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANOLITO D. ESPINOZA

  • G.R. No. 93628 August 4, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDITHA S. DE GUZMAN

  • G.R. No. 97535 August 4, 1995 - MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY v. LA CAMPANA FOOD PRODUCTS, INC.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-93-983 August 7, 1995 - GUILLERMA DE LOS SANTOS-REYES v. JUDGE CAMILO O. MONTESA

  • G.R. No. 106784 August 7, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLITO SALODAGA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. P-93-800 & P-93-800-A August 9, 1995 - RTC MAKATI MOVEMENT AGAINST GRAFT AND CORRUPTION v. INOCENCIO E. DUMLAO

  • G.R. No. 115132-34 August 9, 1995 - IMELDA R. MARCOS v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-92-880 August 11, 1995 - CENTRUM AGRI-BUSINESS REALTY CORPORATION v. BETHEL KATALBAS-MOSCARDON

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-1243 August 11, 1995 - ANTONIO P. CHIN v. TITO G. GUSTILO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 76801 August 11, 1995 - LOPEZ REALTY, INC., ET AL. v. FLORENTINA FONTECHA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94979 August 11, 1995 - ALFONSO GABALDON CO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97484 August 11, 1995 - SANTIAGO B. SERRANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111289 August 11, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTOR TORRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113793 August 11, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUAN M. GANZAGAN, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-93-931 August 14, 1995 - VICENTE G. RUDAS v. LEONILA R. ACEDO

  • G.R. No. 99840 August 14, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO M. FEDERICO

  • G.R. No. 107994 August 14, 1995 - PHIL. AGRICULTURAL COMM’L. AND IND’L. WORKERS UNION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 108084 August 14, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIMOTEO SABAL

  • G.R. No. 109696 August 14, 1995 - THELMA P. OLEA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113219 August 14, 1995 - ANICETO G. MATEO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113652 August 14, 1995 - VICTORIANO A. CORMERO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113782-84 August 14, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO C. ALIVIADO

  • G.R. No. 114051 August 14, 1995 - DAVID INES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114692 August 14, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABNER MALUNES

  • G.R. No. 115022 August 14, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO D. REYES

  • G.R. No. 117014 August 14, 1995 - HONORIO SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118118 August 14, 1995 - ALFREDO GUIEB v. LUIS M. FONTANILLA

  • G.R. No. 119617 August 14, 1995 - B. STA RITA AND CO., INC., ET. AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91852 August 15, 1995 - TALISAY-SILAY MILLING CO., INC., ET AL. v. ASOCIACION DE AGRICULTORES DE TALISAY-SILAY, INC.

  • G.R. No. 100686 August 15, 1995 - PEPSI COLA DISTRIBUTORS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 111359 August 15, 1995 - CALTEX REGULAR EMPLOYEES v. CALTEX (PHILIPPINES), INC.

  • G.R. No. 110034 August 16, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AVELINO GAZMEN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113995 August 16, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GAMALIEL T. PAYAWAL

  • G.R. No. 93728 August 21, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL HERRERA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107534 August 21, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAUL I. CABINTOY

  • G.R. No. 111091 August 21, 1995 - CLARO J. PRECLARO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117246 August 21, 1995 - BENIGNO MANUEL, ET AL. v. NICODEMO T. FERRER

  • G.R. No. 119891 August 21, 1995 - BEN STA. RITA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1108 August 23, 1995 - MARIANETTE VILLAREAL v. ROLANDO T. RARAMA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-87-104 August 23, 1995 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JOSE M. ESTACION, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-1270 August 23, 1995 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. RENATO A. FUENTES

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-3-89-RTC August 23, 1995 - IN RE: REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE RTC BRANCH 16

  • G.R. No. 79968 August 23, 1995 - PETER RODRIGUEZ v. PROJECT 6 MARKET SERVICE COOPERATIVE, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 88278 August 23, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DONALD BALLAGAN

  • G.R. No. 101690 August 23, 1995 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 105455 August 23, 1995 - EXCELSA INDUSTRIES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110401 August 23, 1995 - EDGARDO GUEVARA, ET AL. v. HERMINIO I. BENITO

  • G.R. Nos. 113513-14 August 23, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY CONTE

  • G.R. Nos. 114061 & 113842 August 23, 1995 - KOREAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114841-42 August 23, 1995 - ATLANTIC GULF AND PACIFIC COMPANY OF MANILA, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114920 August 23, 1995 - PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 115987 August 23, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO REOVEROS

  • G.R. No. 116132-33 August 23, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AURELIO U. DELOVINO

  • G.R. No. 121234 August 23, 1995 - HUBERT J. P. WEBB v. RAUL E. DE LEON

  • Adm. Matter No. P-92-768 August 28, 1995 - CASIANO WENCESLAO v. RESTITUTO MADRAZO

  • G.R. No. 104664 August 28, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELYBOY O. SO

  • G.R. No. 111386 August 28, 1995 - METAL FORMING CORPORATION v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

  • G.R. No. 115407 August 28, 1995 - MIGUEL P. PANDERANGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118531 August 28, 1995 - JULIANA D. DEL ROSARIO v. JOB MADAYAG

  • G.R. No. 107762 August 29, 1995 - ALBERTO S. ACENAS II v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113161 August 29, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LOMA O. GOCE

  • G.R. No. 96125 August 31, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AMBROSIO RONQUILLO

  • G.R. No. 111017 August 31, 1995 - BLISS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 110034   August 16, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AVELINO GAZMEN, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 110034. August 16, 1995.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. AVELINO GAZMEN, ELEUTERIO GAZMEN (acquitted), Accused, AVELINO GAZMEN, Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Public Attorney’s Office for Accused-Appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; JUDGMENT; DECISION OF A JUDGE WHO DID NOT TRY THE CASE IS NOT BY THAT REASON ALONE ERRONEOUS; CASE AT BAR. — Accused-appellant makes an issue of the fact that the judge who penned the decision was not the judge who heard and tried the case and concludes therefrom that the findings of the former are erroneous. Accused-appellant’s argument does not merit a lengthy discussion. It is well-settled that the decision of a judge who did not try the case is not by that reason alone erroneous. It is true that the judge who ultimately decided the case had not heard the controversy at all, the trial having been conducted by then Judge Emilio L. Polig, who was indefinitely suspended by this Court. Nonetheless, the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial were complete and were presumably examined and studied by Judge Baguilat before he rendered his decision. It is not unusual for a judge who did not try a case to decide it on the basis of the record. The fact that he did not have the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses during the trial but merely relied on the transcript of their testimonies does not for that reason alone render the judgment erroneous. (People v. Jaymalin, 714 SCRA 685, 692 [1992]). Although it is true that the judge who heard the witnesses testify is in a better position to observe the witnesses on the stand and determine by their demeanor whether they are telling the truth or mouthing falsehood, it does not necessarily follow that a judge who was not present during the trial cannot render a valid decision since he can rely on the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the trial as basis of his decision. Accused-appellant’s contention that the trial judge did not have the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses since he was not the same judge who conducted the hearing is also untenable. While it is true that the trial judge who conducted the hearing would be in a better position to ascertain the truth or falsity of the testimonies of the witnesses, it does not necessarily follow that a judge who was not present during the trial cannot render a valid and just decision since the latter can also rely on the transcribed stenographic notes taken during the trial as the basis of his decision. (People v. De Paz, 212 SCRA 56, 63 [1992]).

    2. ID.; EVIDENCE; TESTIMONIES; CREDIBILITY THEREOF NOT AFFECTED BY ALLEGED INCONSISTENCIES CONTAINED THEREIN, NOT MATERIAL TO THE OFFENSE CHARGED; CASE AT BAR. — The test to determine the value of the testimony of a witness is whether or not such is in conformity with knowledge and consistent with the experience of mankind (People v. Morre, 217 SCRA 219 [1993]). Further, the credibility of witnesses can also be assessed on the basis of the substance of their testimony and the surrounding circumstances (People v. Gonzales, 210 SCRA 44 [1992]). A critical evaluation of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses reveals that their testimony accords with the aforementioned tests, and carries with it the ring of truth and perforce, must be given full weight and credit. The attempt of accused-appellant to impugn the testimony of the prosecution witnesses is feeble and inconsequential. Accused-appellant points out that the declaration of Danilo Bautista to the effect that Eleuterio Gazmen was armed with a gun is inconsistent with the testimony of Rosemarie Galamay that Eleuterio was armed only with a pipe and a stone. Further, Accused-appellant likewise directs our attention to the testimony of Danilo Bautista that the Gazmens did not fire a single shot which contradicts the testimony of Rosemarie Galamay that accused-appellant fired his gun and hit the left arm of one Juanito Macasaddu. The alleged inconsistencies are not material to the offense charged and of which accused-appellant was found guilty. Danilo Bautista testified that he witnessed the events while he was standing in front of the house of one Eddie Velancio which, according to him "is not very near the house of Rosemarie Galamay." At such a distance, it was not improbable for him to receive a false impression of the weapon carried by Eleuterio, especially so in the agitation of an impending tragedy or probable bloodshed. It is to be expected that the testimony of witnesses regarding the same incident may be inconsistent in some aspects because different persons may have different impressions or recollection of the same incident. We have also said, no less frequently, that inconsistencies among witnesses testifying on the same incident may be expected because different persons may have different impressions or recollections of the same incident. One may remember a detail more clearly than another. Witnesses may have seen that same detail from different angles or viewpoints. That same detail may be minimized by one but considered important by another. Nevertheless, these disparities do not necessarily taint the witnesses’ credibility as long as their separate versions are substantially similar or agree on the material points. (People v. Fabros, 214 SCRA 694, 697-698 [1992]) The most honest witnesses may make mistakes sometimes but such innocent lapses do not necessarily impair their credibility; the testimony of a witness must be considered and calibrated in its entirety and not by truncated portions thereof or isolated passages therein (People v. Dabon, 216 SCRA 656 [1992]). More so, as in the case at bench where the inconsistencies in the testimony of the witnesses concern minor details, having nothing to do with the integrity of the witness (People v. Ocampo, 218 SCRA 609 [1993]), and may be disregarded if they do not impair the essential veracity of his testimony (People v. Colcol, Jr., 219 SCRA 107). The main substance of the testimony of Danilo Bautista that he saw accused-appellant set fire to the house of Rosemarie Galamay remains untouched and unaffected by the alleged inconsistency in his testimony and, therefore, must be accepted.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; LACK OF IMPROPER MOTIVE ON THE PART OF THE WITNESSES TO FALSELY TESTIFY AGAINST THE ACCUSED ENTITLES TESTIMONY TO FULL FAITH AND CREDIT; CASE AT BAR. — There is no reason to withhold full faith and credit to the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. Accused-appellant having failed to prove any improper motive on the part of these witnesses for testifying against him, their testimony shall be entitled to full faith and credit (People v. Tolentino, 218 SCRA 337 [1993]). Considering that Rosemarie was the offended party, as it was her house set afire by accused-appellant, her natural interest in securing the conviction of the guilty would deter her from implicating persons other than the culprit otherwise the latter would thereby escape punishment and gain immunity (People v. Villalobos, 209 SCRA 304).

    4. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; DEFENSE OF ALIBI; CANNOT PREVAIL OVER THE POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION OF THE ACCUSED BY THE WITNESSES; CASE AT BAR. — We need not tarry long on the defense of alibi put up by accused-appellant that he accompanied his father to a hospital for treatment at the time of the commission of the crime. Alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witnesses (People v. Suitos, 220 SCRA 419). Accused-appellant was positively identified by Rosemarie Galamay and Danilo Bautista as the culprit who set fire to the house of Rosemarie. Moreover, Eleuterio Gazmen, Accused-appellant’s father, categorically declared on the witness stand that he was accompanied by one Canor Reboredo when he was treated at the hospital.


    D E C I S I O N


    MELO, J.:


    Avelino and Eleuterio GAZMEN were charged with the crime of Arson, under Section 3, No. 2, in relation to Section 4, No. 3 and 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1613, in an In formation reading as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about November 5, 1989, in the Municipality of Baggao, Province of Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, Avelino Gazmen y Maggay and Eleuterio C. Gazmen, conspiring together and helping each other, with malice aforethought, with intent to destroy and to cause damage and motivated by hatred resentment which they entertained against Rosemarie T. Galamay, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully; and feloniously set fire on the house of the said Rosemarie T. Galamay knowing that the said house was occupied by the said Rosemarie T. Galamay and her family at that time, thereby setting the said house into flames and partially razing it to ashes, to the damage and prejudice of the said owner, Rosemarie T. Galamay in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P.20,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency.

    CONTRARY TO LAW.

    (pp. 3, Rollo.)

    After trial, the lower court convicted Avelino Gazmen but acquitted Eleuterio Gazmen in a decision dated February 23, 1993, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, finding the accused Avelino Gazmen guilty beyond all reasonable doubt of the crime of arson penalized under Section 3, P.D. No. 1613, is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua; to pay Rosemarie Galamay P140.00 as actual damages, and to pay the costs of the suit. Eleuterio Gazmen is hereby acquitted for insufficiency of evidence.

    (pp. 19-20, Rollo.)

    Avelino Gazmen has now interposed the instant appeal upon his perception, expressed in the most general of statements in his lone assigned error, that the court below erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged.

    The facts of the case, as correctly summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General and as borne out by the evidence, are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon of November 5, 1989, Rosemarie Galamay, a resident of Barsat, Baggao, Cagayan, was at home resting in the company of her husband Arnold Galamay and their two children. Sensing that there was trouble going on outside, she peeped through the window and saw Juanito Macasaddu arguing with appellant. The protagonists were around five (5) meters away from each other, with their fathers, Manuel Macasaddu and Eleuterio Gazmen, standing near them. (pp. 2-3, tsn., June 10, 1991)

    The altercation became more heated such that Juanito and appellant traded sling shots but in the process, it was Eleuterio who got hit on the forehead.

    Appellant then ran home closely followed by his father while the Macasaddus just stayed behind. Appellant returned to the scene, holding a handgun, while his father carried a stone and a pipe. Father and son gave chase to the Macasaddus who sought refuge inside the house of Rosemarie. (pp. 3-4, Ibid.)

    Not wanting to be involved, Rosemarie asked the Macasaddus to get out of her house but Juanito told her that they would get out as soon as the Gazmens stopped chasing them. The Gazmens, meanwhile, stood guard outside. Later, appellant opened the window and upon seeing Juanito, he shot the latter, hitting him at the left arm. This prompted Rosemarie to get out and call for the assistance of the barangay captain. But she was stopped by the Gazmens. Appellant poked a gun at her and shouted, "you are also one of them." Rosemarie replied, "No pare, that is why I am proceeding to the house of the barangay captain so that he will be the one to get those people outside from my house." (pp. 4-5, Ibid.)

    Appellant then left and returned with a plastic container filled with gasoline. He poured the contents thereof on the rooftop of Rosemarie’s house and lit it up. However, the fire was immediately put out. (p. 15, tsn., Ibid.) Appellant went around the house and again set on fire the eaves of the roof. Thereafter, he threw the container on top of the roof, with its gasoline contents spilling all over. (pp. 10-11, tsn., Ibid.)

    The people around could not stop appellant from burning the house since the latter menacingly pointed his gun at those who wanted to help the Galamays. Eleuterio made no effort to stop his son from burning the house, but even egged him on by shouting "you burn them." (p. 12, tsn., Ibid.) Rosemarie frantically asked the Macasaddus to get out of the house which was already burning. Juanito and Manuel jumped out of the window and they were chased by the Gazmens. (p. 6, tsn., Ibid.)

    Rosemarie shouted for help and some of her neighbors responded by putting out the fire. They climbed the roof and removed the top roof to prevent the fire from spreading. (p. 11, tsn., Ibid.)

    (pp. 2-5, Appellee’s Brief.)

    Accused-appellant makes an issue of the fact that the judge who penned the decision was not the judge who heard and tried the case and concludes therefrom that the findings of the former are erroneous. Accused-appellant’s argument does not merit a lengthy discussion. It is well-settled that the decision of a judge who did not try the case is not by that reason alone erroneous.

    It is true that the judge who ultimately decided the case had not heard the controversy at all, the trial having been conducted by then Judge Emilio L. Polig, who was indefinitely suspended by this Court. Nonetheless, the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial were complete and were presumably examined and studied by Judge Baguilat before he rendered his decision. It is not unusual for a judge who did not try a case to decide it on the basis of the record. The fact that he did not have the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses during the trial but merely relied on the transcript of their testimonies does not for that reason alone render the judgment erroneous.

    (People v. Jaymalin, 214 SCRA 685, 692 [1992])

    Although it is true that the judge who heard the witnesses testify is in a better position to observe the witnesses on the stand and determine by their demeanor whether they are telling the truth or mouthing falsehood, it does not necessarily follow that a judge who was not present during the trial cannot render a valid decision since he can rely on the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the trial as basis of his decision.

    Accused-appellant’s contention that the trial judge did not have the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses since he was not the same judge who conducted the hearing is also untenable. While it is true that the trial judge who conducted the hearing would be in a better position to ascertain the truth or falsity of the testimonies of the witnesses, it does not necessarily follow that a judge who was not present during the trial cannot render a valid and just decision since the latter can also rely on the transcribed stenographic notes taken during the trial as the basis of his decision.

    (People v. De Paz, 212 SCRA 56, 63 [1992])

    At any rate, the test to determine the value of the testimony of a witness is whether or not such is in conformity with knowledge and consistent with the experience of mankind (People v. Morre, 217 SCRA 219 [1993]). Further, the credibility of witnesses can also be assessed on the basis of the substance of their testimony and the surrounding circumstances (People v. Gonzales, 210 SCRA 44 [1992]). A critical evaluation of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses reveals that their testimony accords with the aforementioned tests, and carries with it the ring of truth and perforce, must be given full weight and credit.

    The attempt of accused-appellant to impugn the testimony of the prosecution witnesses is feeble and inconsequential. Accused-appellant points out that the declaration of Danilo Bautista to the effect that Eleuterio Gazmen was armed with a gun is inconsistent with the testimony of Rosemarie Galamay that Eleuterio was armed only with a pipe and a stone. Further, Accused-appellant likewise directs our attention to the testimony of Danilo Bautista that the Gazmens did not fire a single shot which contradicts the testimony of Rosemarie Galamay that accused-appellant fired his gun and hit the left arm of one Juanito Macasaddu. The alleged inconsistencies are not material to the offense charged and of which accused-appellant was found guilty.

    Danilo Bautista testified that he witnessed the events while he was standing in front of the house of one Eddie Velancio which, according to him "is not very near the house of Rosemarie Galamay" (p. 15, tsn., May 16, 1991). At such a distance, it was not improbable for him to receive a false impression of the weapon carried by Eleuterio, especially so in the agitation of an impending tragedy or probable bloodshed. It is to be expected that the testimony of witnesses regarding the same incident may be inconsistent in some aspects because different persons may have different impressions or recollection of the same incident.

    We have also said, no less frequently, that inconsistencies among witnesses testifying on the same incident may be expected because different persons may have different impressions or recollections of the same incident. One may remember a detail more clearly than another. Witnesses may have seen that same detail from different angels or viewpoints. That same detail may be minimized by one but considered important by another. Nevertheless, these disparities do not necessarily taint the witnesses’ credibility as long as their separate versions are substantially similar or agree on the material points.

    (People v. Fabros, 214 SCRA 694, 697-698 [1992])

    The most honest witnesses may make mistakes sometimes but such innocent lapses do not necessarily impair their credibility; the testimony of a witness must be considered and calibrated in its entirety and not by truncated portions thereof or isolated passages therein (People v. Dabon, 216 SCRA 656 [1992]). More so, as in the case at bench where the inconsistencies in the testimony of the witnesses concern minor details, having nothing to do with the integrity of the witness (People v. Ocampo, 218 SCRA 609 [1993]), and may be disregarded if they do not impair the essential veracity of his testimony (People v. Colcol, Jr., 219 SCRA 107). The main substance of the testimony of Danilo Bautista that he saw accused-appellant set fire to the house of Rosemarie Galamay remains untouched and unaffected by the alleged inconsistency in his testimony and, therefore, must be accepted.

    A reading of the testimony of Danilo and Rosemarie readily discloses that the further contention of accused-appellant that the testimony of Rosemarie that accused-appellant fired at Juanito Macasaddu, hitting his left arm is inconsistent with the testimony of Danilo that accused-appellant did not fire a single shot, is totally bereft of evidentiary support. It is obvious that their testimony refer to different time frames of the incident. The testimony of Danilo pertains to the time when the accused were chasing the Macasaddus.

    Danilo Bautista

    Q Were they pointing their firearms at the time they were chasing the two?

    A Yes, sir.

    Q They did not fire any single shot at the two Juanito and Manuel?

    A No, sir. (p. 16, tsn.)

    On the other hand, the testimony of Rosemarie relates to the time when the Macasaddus were taking refuge in the house of Rosemarie.

    Rosemarie Galamay

    Q While the Macasaddus were inside your house, what else transpired, if any?

    A Avelino opened our window and he shot Juanito Macasaddu, sir.

    Q And what part of the body of Juanito Macasaddu what shot?

    A Left arm, sir (p. 4, tsn., June 10, 1991).

    Accused-appellant’s defense that the Galamays fabricated the charges against him and his father in order that the criminal charges he filed against Arnold Galamay (the husband of Rosemarie) for arson be settled, is manifestly flimsy. The following observation of the trial court rightly disposes of said defense.

    The assertion of Avelino Gazmen and Eleuterio Gazmen that they were implicated by the Galamays was because they (Galamays) would want the criminal case filed against them settled, is to the mind of the court far-fetched. It is so because the Gazmens were the first one who were charged by the Galamays of Arson. The burning of the house of the Galamays happened at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of November 5, 1989, while the burning of the house of Avelino happened in the evening at around 9 o’clock. When the Galamays executed their statements on November 6, 1989, before the Baggao INP, the culprits who burned the house of Avelino Gazmen were not yet known. It was only on November 20, 1989, that Avelino Gazmen and Eleuterio Gazmen gave their statements to the Baggao INP.

    (p. 17, Rollo.)

    There is no reason to withhold full faith and credit to the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. Accused-appellant having failed to prove any improper motive on the part of these witnesses for testifying against him, their testimony shall be entitled to full faith and credit (People v. Tolentino, 218 SCRA 337 [1993]). Considering that Rosemarie was the offended party, as it was her house set afire by accused-appellant, her natural interest in securing the conviction of the guilty would deter her from implicating persons other than the culprit otherwise the latter would thereby escape punishment and gain immunity (People v. Villalobos, 209 SCRA 304).

    We need not tarry long on the defense of alibi put up by accused-appellant that he accompanied his father to a hospital for treatment at the time of the commission of the crime. Alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witnesses (People v. Suitos, 220 SCRA 419). Accused-appellant was positively identified by Rosemarie Galamay and Danilo Bautista as the culprit who set fire to the house Rosemarie. Moreover, Eleuterio Gazmen, Accused-appellant’s father, categorically declared on the witness stand that he was accompanied by one Canor Reboredo when he was treated at the hospital.

    Q. Who was your companion when you went to have your injury treated?

    A. Canor Reboredo, one of the councilmen in that Barangay and Sgt. Tingkay.

    (p. 5, tsn., March 31, 1992)

    Finally, Accused-appellant presses forth the argument that, since his co-accused, his father Eleuterio, was acquitted for insufficiency of evidence, he should likewise be acquitted. Accused-appellant’s argument is unsound. The evidence against him is overwhelming. Two prosecution witnesses, Rosemarie Galamay and Danilo Bautista, positively and categorically testified that accused-appellant poured gasoline on the roof of the house of Rosemarie, and thereafter ignited it. On the other hand there is no evidence that Eleuterio participated in the act of burning the house of the Galamays.

    The trial court not having committed any of the errors imputed to it, the appealed decision should be upheld.

    WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against Accused-Appellant.

    SO ORDERED.

    Feliciano, Romero and Vitug, JJ., concur.

    G.R. No. 110034   August 16, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AVELINO GAZMEN, ET AL.


    Back to Home | Back to Main

     

    QUICK SEARCH

    cralaw

       

    cralaw



     
      Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
    ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™
     
    RED