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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)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-1996 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 91935 March 4, 1996 - RODOLFO QUIAMBAO v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106043 March 4, 1996 - CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY LANDLESS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109645 March 4, 1996 - ORTIGAS AND COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP v. TIRSO VELASCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115365 March 4, 1996 - ESMENIO MADLOS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118126 March 4, 1996 - TRANS-ASIA SHIPPING LINES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-921 March 5, 1996 - AMPARO A. LACHICA v. ROLANDO A. FLORDELIZA

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1009 March 5, 1996 - ALBERTO NALDOZA v. JUAN LAVILLES, JR.

  • G.R. No. 111501 March 5, 1996 - PHIL. FUJI XEROX CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 113930 March 5, 1996 - PAUL G. ROBERTS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115548 March 5, 1996 - STATE INVESTMENT HOUSE INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1039 March 6, 1996 - FE ALBANO MADRID v. RAYMUNDO RAMIREZ

  • G.R. Nos. 112858-59 March 6, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RALPHY ALCANTARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120193 March 6, 1996 - LUIS MALALUAN v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Case No. CBD-174 March 7, 1996 - GIOVANI M. IGUAL v. ROLANDO S. JAVIER

  • G.R. No. 66555 March 7, 1996 - LEONCIO MEJARES, ET AL. v. JUAN Y. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 95353-54 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PAULINO PAT

  • G.R. No. 109390 March 7, 1996 - JGB and ASSOCIATES v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112445 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLOS V. PATROLLA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 113710 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERDINAND V. JUAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116011 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RHODESA B. SILAN

  • G.R. No. 117650 March 7, 1996 - SULPICIO LINES v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120905 March 7, 1996 - RENATO U. REYES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95260 March 8, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO C. PRADO

  • G.R. No. 110983 March 8, 1996 - REYNALDO GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Case No. 2024 March 11, 1996 - SALVADOR T. CASTILLO v. PABLO M. TAGUINES

  • G.R. No. 108625 March 11, 1996 - ALLIANCE OF DEMOCRATIC FREE LABOR ORGANIZATION v. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113194 March 11, 1996 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119381 March 11, 1996 - MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION v. JOSE BRILLANTES

  • G.R. No. 96882 March 12, 1996 - EUTIQUIANO PAGARA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109800 March 12, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO N. BAUTISTA

  • G.R. No. 114388 March 12, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO TRILLES, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-4-156 March 13, 1996 - IN RE: FERNANDO P. AGDAMAG

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1344 March 13, 1996 - VERONICA GONZALES v. LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

  • G.R. No. 101332 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLARO BERNAL

  • G.R. No. 101699 March 13, 1996 - BENJAMIN A. SANTOS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 104088-89 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE JAIN, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 108743 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNALDO B. DONES

  • G.R. No. 112193 March 13, 1996 - JOSE E. ARUEGO, JR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112546 March 13, 1996 - NORTH DAVAO MINING CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119073 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO DIAZ

  • G.R. No. 120223 March 13, 1996 - RAMON Y. ALBA v. DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101070 March 14, 1996 - BALAYAN COLLEGES, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102062 March 14, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CAMILO FERRER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104685 March 14, 1996 - SABENA BELGIAN WORLD AIRLINES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119706 March 14, 1996 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 73592 March 15, 1996 - JOSE CUENCO BORROMEO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94494 March 15, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO C. LAPURA

  • G.R. No. 103695 March 15, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105819 March 15, 1996 - MARILYN L. BERNARDO v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 106229-30 March 15, 1996 - LEOVIGILDO ROSALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108001 March 15, 1996 - SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111651 March 15, 1996 - OSMALIK S. BUSTAMANTE, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115106 March 15, 1996 - ROBERTO L. DEL ROSARIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114988 March 18, 1996 - CATALINO BONTIA, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 117667 March 18, 1996 - INLAND TRAILWAYS v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • Adm. Matter No. 94-5-42-MTC March 20, 1996 - QUERY OF JUDGE DANILO M. TENERIFE

  • G.R. No. 102360 March 20, 1996 - ROSITA DOMINGO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111656 March 20, 1996 - MANUEL MANAHAN, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116665 March 20, 1996 - MELQUIADES D. AZCUNA, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-1-07-RTC March 21, 1996 - JDF ANOMALY IN THE RTC OF LIGAO, ALBAY

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-10-06-SCC March 27, 1996 - IN RE: DEMASIRA M. BAUTE

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1071 March 28, 1996 - ELIZABETH ASUMBRADO v. FRANCISCO R. MACUNO

  • G.R. No. 104386 March 28, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR L. LEVISTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121424 March 28, 1996 - IN RE: MAURO P. MAGTIBAY v. VICENTE VINARAO

  • G.R. No. 90215 March 29, 1996 - ERNESTO ZALDARRIAGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94594 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO REDULOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 96178-79 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO ESMAQUILAN

  • G.R. No. 97785 March 29, 1996 - PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99259-60 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EMILIO D. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 103525 March 29, 1996 - MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104296 March 29, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. Nos. 106083-84 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. QUINTIN T. GARRAEZ

  • G.R. No. 106600 March 29, 1996 - COSMOS BOTTLING CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109312 March 29, 1996 - PLACIDO MIRANDA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 109614-15 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ADRONICO GREGORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112346 March 29, 1996 - EVELYN YONAHA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112457-58 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO CARTUANO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 112678 March 29, 1996 - EDUARDO M . ESPEJO v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112708-09 March 29, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112718 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VLADIMIR L. CANUZO

  • G.R. Nos. 113519-20 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO F. PANLILIO

  • G.R. Nos. 114263-64 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHN JENN PORRAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115988 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEO V. LIAN

  • G.R. No. 116734 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LARRY B. LAURENTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116792 March 29, 1996 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117055 March 29, 1996 - SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 117618 March 29, 1996 - VIRGINIA MALINAO v. LUISITO REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118509 March 29, 1996 - LIMKETKAI SONS MILLING INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118870 March 29, 1996 - NERISSA Z. PEREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119193 March 29, 1996 - NEMENCIO GALVEZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120715 March 29, 1996 - FERNANDO R. SAZON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121527 March 29, 1996 - MARCELO L. ONGSITCO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  




     
     

    G.R. No. 95260   March 8, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO C. PRADO

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 95260. March 8, 1996.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WILFREDO PRADO y CABRERA, Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Aniceto L. Madronio, Sr. for Accused-Appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE TRIAL COURT; RULE; CASE AT BAR. — The fact of appellant’s sale of the motorcycle as well as his having received the P5,000.00 from Gomez is established by the prosecution evidence, particularly Gomez’s testimony and the receipt, Exhibit "B", where appellant’s signature appears. We defer to the trial court’s determination of the credibility of Gomez’s testimony. The trial court, having had the opportunity of observing the demeanor and behavior of the witnesses while testifying, more than the reviewing tribunal, is in a better position to gauge their credibility and properly appreciate the relative weight of the often conflicting evidence for both parties.

    2. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES; LACK OF IMPROPER MOTIVE ON THE PART OF THE WITNESS TO FALSELY TESTIFY AGAINST THE ACCUSED ENTITLES HIS TESTIMONY TO FULL FAITH AND CREDIT. — We must add that the defense has not shown any improper motive on the part of Gomez to testify against the accused. Where there is no evidence, and nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by any improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is thus entitled to full faith and credit.

    3. ID.; ID.; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY; CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE; SUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN A CONVICTION IN CASE AT BAR. — Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. We find that the following circumstances are sufficient to convict appellant of the offense of carnapping with homicide: (1) Samuel Moulic was last seen alive at around 10 o’clock in the morning of May 12, 1992 riding his tricycle with unidentified passengers along the highway at Barangay Mabilao, San Fabian, Pangasinan. At around noon of the same day, appellant was seen by Elpidio Rivera pushing the same tricycle earlier driven by Samuel Moulic. Rivera was later hired by appellant to tow the vehicle to Damotis. (2) The following day, on May 13, 1987, the body of Samuel was found along the boundary of Bigabiga and Rabon, San Fabian, Pangasinan bearing several stab wounds. (3) Appellant sold the sidecar to Benito Buenavista on May 15, 1987. (4) Appellant offered the motorcycle for sale on May 18, 1987, and eventually sold it to Edgardo Gomez. Appellant signed a receipt for the amount paid to him by Gomez. These circumstances clearly make "an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion which points to the defendant, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person."cralaw virtua1aw library

    4. ID.; ID.; PRESUMPTIONS; IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPLANATION OF HOW ONE HAS COME INTO THE POSSESSION OF STOLEN EFFECTS BELONGING TO A PERSON WOUNDED AND TREACHEROUSLY KILLED HE MUST NECESSARILY BE CONSIDERED THE AUTHOR OF THE AGGRESSION AND DEATH OF THE SAID PERSON AND OF THE ROBBERY COMMITTED ON HIM. — While there is no direct evidence on the killing of Samuel Moulic, we apply the following presumption, enunciated in People v. Kagui Malasugui, (63 Phil. 221 [1936]) thus: "In the absence of an explanation of how one has come into the possession of stolen effects belonging to a person wounded and treacherously killed, he must necessarily be considered the author of the aggression and death of the said person and of the robbery committed on him.

    5. CRIMINAL LAW; CARNAPPING WITH HOMICIDE; PENALTY TO BE IMPOSED. — R.A. No. 6539 punishes the special complex crime of carnapping with homicide. Under Section 14 of the republic act, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof. The crime was committed on May 12, 1987 when the imposition of the death penalty was proscribed by the 1987 Constitution; thus, reclusion perpetua is the imposable penalty.


    D E C I S I O N


    KAPUNAN, J.:


    This is an appeal from the decision dated June 28, 1990 of the Regional Trial Court, Dagupan City, Branch 41, in Criminal Case No. D-8070, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and hereby imposes upon the accused the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to indemnify the heirs of the victim Samuel Moulic, the sum of P30,000.00 as actual damages and to pay the cost. 1

    The information against the appellant and two other accused, Peter Aquino and John Doe reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 12th day of May, 1987, in the municipality of Mangaldan, Province of Pangasinan, New Republic of the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and helping one another, with intent to gain and by means of violence and intimidation against person, did then there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away one (1) motorized tricycle bearing plate no. AC-8801 worth P20,000.00 belonging to Jovencio Moulic, to his damaged and prejudice; and on the occasion of the carnapping, said accused armed with bladed weapon and with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously maul, attack and stab Samuel Moulic, driver thereof, inflicting upon him the following injuries:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    — contusion-hematoma all over facial area

    — both lips swollen and black

    — fractured skull, parieto-occipital area, blood oozing and

    brain tissues coming out on examination

    — contusion all over extremeties (upper & lower)

    — contusion over chest and abdomen

    — stab wound 4-5 inches depth mid-portion lumbar area

    — stab wound 2-3 inches in depth thoraco-lumbar area

    — stab wounds 2-3 inches depth at 12th thoracic area

    — stab wound 2-3 inches (R) side 12th thoracic area

    which caused his death as a consequence, to the damaged and prejudice of his heirs.

    Contrary to Republic Act No. 6539 in relation to Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. 2 Appellant pleaded not guilty upon an arraignment. His two co-accused remain at large.

    The prosecution evidence establish the following facts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    On May 12, 1987, Samuel Moulic, a tricycle driver, was playing his route using a Honda motorcycle with plate no. AC-8801 and sidecar, owned by his brother Jovencio. 3 When Samuel failed ti return home that night, his family reported him missing to the police. 4 They reported that Samuel was last seen driving his tricycle with unidentified passengers at about 10 o’clock in the morning along the highway at Barangay Mabilao, San Fabian, Pangasinan. 5

    The following day, May 13, his body bearing several stab wounds was found along of Bigabiga and Rabon, San Fabian Pangasinan. 6

    On May 18, 1987, appellant and Eusebio Miranda went to the residence of Miranda’s cousin, Edgardo Gomez in Pogo, Bauang, La Union. Appellant offer to sell to Gomez a Honda motorcycle with plate no. AC-8801. Gomez express willingness to buy the motorcycle but requested that he be shown his registration papers. Appellant however, could not produce the papers. 7

    The following day, May 19, appellant again went to Gomez’s residence. He offered to leave the motorcycle with Gomez for P5,000.00, with the balanced of the purchase price of P8,000.00 payable upon appellants return with the motorcycle’s registration papers. Gomez agreed. 8

    Thereafter, appellant, Gomez and Miranda went to the office of a certain Atty. Armovit in Bauang, where they executed a document stating that Gomez had purchased a motorcycle from "Willy C. Prado of Banaoang East, Mangaldan, Pangasinan, "having given P5,000.00 to appellant as partial payment. 9 Witness to the execution of the document were Miranda and a certain R.B. Buenafe, secretary of Atty. Armovit. Below the phrase "Received by:" appellant affixed his signature. 10 On May 25, 1987, appellant again went to see Gomez asking for P700.00 allegedly to use in processing the motorcycle’s registration papers. 11 On June 10, 1987, appellant informed Gomez that he could no longer produce the papers because these burned. 12 After conversing for some time, appellant and Gomez went to the house of Miranda. They rode the Honda motorcycle in going there. 13 Upon returning later to Gomez’s residence, appellant said that he forgot his wallet at Miranda’s house. On the pretext of going back to Miranda’s house to retrieve his wallet, appellant borrowed the motorcycle. Appellant did not return the motorcycle. 14 Police found the motorcycle the following day parked at a gasoline station in Agoo. 15 Subsequently, the tricycle’s sidecar, already attached to another motorcycle, was found in the possession of Benito Buenavista of Tabora, La Union, who bought the sidecar from appellant on may 15, 1987 for P800.00. 16 During the investigation of the killing of Samuel Moulic, witness Elpidio Rivera, a tricycle driver, appeared. He asserted that while plying his route — Rabon, San Fabian Pangasinan to Damotis, Rosario, La Union — he was hired by a man to tow the tricycle to Damotis around noon of May 12, 1987. The tricycle had ran out of gasoline. 17 From Rivera’s description of the man, the National Bureau of Investigation made a carthographic sketch. 18 Rivera later identified the man as Appellant.

    On the basis of the foregoing facts, the trial court convicted the Appellant.

    In this appeal, appellant raises the following assignment of errors:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I — THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED BASED ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE;

    II — THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED AS PRINCIPAL, AND NOT AS ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT ONLY; and

    III — THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF DEFENSE WITNESS LETICIA ARAOS. 19

    We shall first consider the second and third assigned error.

    In his defense, appellant claims that he "just acted as agent of Peter Aquino and George in selling the motorcycle." 20 He alleges that he was acquainted with Peter and George because they frequented the Trans-Manila Tobacco Corporation in Agoo, La Union where he worked as a security guard. He informed Peter and George that Gomez wanted to buy a motorcycle, and they said that they have a second-hand motorcycle for sale. He subsequently accompanied Peter and George to Gomez residence. He Received P150.00 from Aquino for having brokered the sale of the motorcycle to Gomez

    The trial court did not give weight and credence to appellant’s stating thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The contention of the accused that it was Peter Aquino and George who sold the motorcycle to Edgardo Gomez is not credible because of this persons were the vendors of the motorcycle to Gomez, why should the accused Prado sign the receipt to show the partial payment of P5,000.00, Exhibit ‘B?

    The accused denies the exhibit B-1 his signature. Exhibit ‘H-1’ and ‘1-1’[sample signatures of appellant taken during his cross-examination] found at the back page of pages 44 and 88 of the record, are signatures of the accused admitted ‘B-1’ ‘H-1’ and ‘1-1’ are the same and this court has no doubt that the signatures are made by one and the same person.

    Edgardo Gomez is the principal witness as to the sale because he claims he brought it from Prado. Why should Gomez deny his purchase from Peter AQUINO and one George if he bought the motorcycle from them? There is no reason for Gomez to lie against Prado. And there is no evidence shown by Prado why Gomez should perjure against him.

    The fact of appellants sale of the motorcycle as well as his having Received the P5,000.00 from Gomez is established by the prosecution evidence, particularly Gomez’s testimony and the receipt, Exhibit "B," where appellants signature appears. We defer to the trial court’s determination to the credibility of Gomez’s testimony. The trial court, having had the opportunity of observing the demeanor and behavior of the witnesses while testifying, more than the reviewing tribunal, is in a better position to gauge their credibility and properly appreciate the relative weight of the often conflicting evidence for both parties. 21 We must add that the defense has not shown any improper motive on the part of Gomez to testify against the accused. Where there is no evidence, and nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by any improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is thus entitled to full faith and credit. 22 Appellant buttressed his defense with the testimony of his landlady Leticia Araso, and now contends that the trial court erred in not giving it credence.

    Araso testified that on May 18, 1987, Peter Aquino, a certain Mario Corpuz and George went to his place looking for appellant, and they told her they had a motorcycle and appellant would accompany them in offering it for sale.

    When the testimonies of the prosecution and defense witnesses conflict, the issue essentially is the credibility of these witness. 23 The trial court did not give credence to Araso’s testimony. in fact, it did not even merit the attention of the trial court which did not mention the same in its decision. After having carefully studied the transcripts of the testimonies of the witnesses, we must again defer to the trial court’s evaluation to the credibility of Araso’s testimony.

    Now the first assigned error.

    Resort to circumstantial evidence is essential when to insist on direct testimony would result in setting felons free and deny proper protection to the community. 24 In People v. Ramos, 25 the court emphasized that circumstantial evidence is not a "weaker" form of evidence vis-a-vis direct evidence, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    It ought to be noted that our rules make no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence of circumstances from which the existence of a fact maybe inferred. No greater degree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstantial than when it is direct, for in either case, the trier of fact must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused (Robinson v. State, 18 Md. App. 678, 308 A2d 734 [1973]).

    Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the interferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

    We find that the following circumstances are sufficient to convict appellant of the offense of carnapping with homicide:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) Samuel Moulic was last seen alive at around 10 o’clock in the morning of May 12, 1992 riding his tricycle with unidentified passengers along the highway of Barangay Mabilao, San Fabian, Pangasinan.

    At around noon at the same day, appellant was seen by Elpidio Rivera pushing the same tricycle earlier being driven by Samuel Moulic. Rivera was later hired by appellant to tow the vehicle to Damotis.

    (2) the following day, on May 13, 1987, The body of Samuel was found along the boundary of Bigabiga and Rabon, San Fabian, Pangasinan bearing several stab wounds.

    (3) Appellant sold the sidecar to Benito Buenavista on may 15, 1987.

    (4) appellant offered the motorcycle for sale on May 18, 1987, and eventually sold it to Edgardo Gomez. Appellant signed a receipt for the amount paid to him by Gomez.

    These circumstance clearly make ‘unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion which points to the defendant, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person. 26 While there is no direct evidence on the killing of Samuel Moulic, we apply the following presumption, enunciated in People v. Kagui Malasugui, 27 thus: "In the absence of an explanation of how one has come into the possession of stolen effects belonging to a person wounded and treacherously killed, he must necessarily be considered the author of the aggression and death of the said person and of the robbery committed on him." 28 R.A no. 6539 punishes the special complex crime of carnapping with homicide. under section 14 of the republic act, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof. The crime was committed on May 12, 1987 when the imposition of the death penalty was proscribed by the 1987 Constitution; thus, reclusion perpetua is the imposable penalty. 29

    To the trial court’s award of P30,000.00 as moral damages and P10,000.00 as actual damages, we add P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, consonant with present case law. 30 WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of Regional Trial Court finding WILFREDO PRADO y CABRERA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of carnapping with homicide as defined and punished under Section 14 of Republic ACT No. 6539, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and ordering him to pay the heirs of Samuel Moulic P30,000.00 as moral damages and P10,000.00 as actual damages and P10,000.00 as actual damages is hereby AFFIRMED, with the sole modification that civil indemnity for the death of the victim in the amount of P50,000.00.

    SO ORDERED.

    Padilla, Bellosillo, Vitug and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 25.

    2. Records, pp. 29-30.

    3. TSN, December 6, 1988, p. 3.

    4. TSN, May 4, 1988, p. 2; TSN, January 30, 1989, p. 2.

    5. Exhibit "1-A", Integrated National Police Blotter Volume VI Entry No. 1555, Page No. 291, May 12, 1987, 2220H.

    6. TSN, August 16, 1988, p. 9; TSN, October 11, 1988, p. 3; TSN, January 30, 1989, p. 2; Exhibit "1-B", INP Blotter Volume VI Entry No. 1558, Page No. 292, May 14, 1987, 0200H.

    7. TSN, June 13, 1988, pp. 3-5.

    8. Id., at 6.

    9. Id., at 7.

    10. Exhibit "B," Exhibit "B-1."cralaw virtua1aw library

    11. See Note 7, supra, p. 7.

    12. Id., at 11.

    13. Ibid.

    14. Id., at 13-14.

    15. TSN, August 16, 1988, p. 10.

    16. TSN, May 4, 1988, p. 4; TSN, August 16, 1988, p. 10.

    17. TSN, August 16, 1988, p. 2.

    18. Exhibit "E"

    19. Brief for Accused-Appellant, p. 2, Rollo, p. 34.

    20. Id. 5.

    21. People v. Vivas, 232 SCRA 238 (1994); People v. Sendon, 209 SCRA 597 (1992).

    22. People v. Jose, G.R. No. 107106, November 24, 1995; People v. Dela Cruz, 229 SCRA 754 (1994); People v. Simon, 209 SCRA 145 (1992).

    23. People v. Decena, 235 SCRA 67 (1994); People v. Magallanes, 218 SCRA 109 (1993).

    24. People v. Fuertes, 229 SCRA 289 (1994).

    25. G.R. No. 104497, January 18, 1995.

    26. People v. Tiozon, 198 SCRA 368 (1991); People v. Genobia, 234 SCRA 699 (1994).

    27. 63 Phil. 221 (1936).

    28. Also People v. Lorenzo, 200 SCRA 207 (1991); U.S. v. Divino, 18 Phil. 425 (1991); See People v. Ramos, supra., citing U.S. v. Merin, 2 Phil. 88 (1903).

    29. See People v. Canayan, G.R. No. 73257-58, June 16, 1995; People v. Parica, G.R. No. 80611, April 21, 1995; People v. Yabut, 226 SCRA 715 (1993).

    30. People v. Pacapac, G.R. No. 90623, September 7, 1995; People v. Compil, G.R. No. 95028, May 15, 1995; People v. Logronio, 214 SCRA 519 (1992); People v. Sison, 189 SCRA 643 (1990).

    G.R. No. 95260   March 8, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO C. PRADO




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