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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
 

   
August-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 112354 August 4, 1997 - LUVIMINO P. CASUELA v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115903 August 4, 1997 - ROBERTO CORDENILLO v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106194 August 7, 1997 - SANTIAGO LAND DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117188 August 7, 1997 - LOYOLA GRAND VILLAS HOMEOWNERS ASSN. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121275 August 7, 1997 - CENTRO ESCOLAR UNIVERSITY v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122391 August 7, 1997 - FELIPE L. LAODENIO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1303 August 11, 1997 - GLADDY S. BERNABE v. SALVADOR A. MEMORACION

  • G.R. No. 95089 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NICOMEDES FABRO

  • G.R. No. 97898 August 11, 1997 - FLORANTE F. MANACOP v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99355 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO S. SALAZAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108234 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FIDEL RAGAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109617 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111824 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELIZA D. BAGUS

  • G.R. No. 120988 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSEMARIE N. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 121210 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RIZAL SAGUCIO

  • G.R. No. 121983 August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANILLO BAXINELA

  • G.R. No. 123240 August 11, 1997 - STATE INVESTMENT HOUSE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107307 August 11, 1997 - PNCC v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110129 August 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDELCIANO AMACA

  • G.R. No. 110397 August 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO A. BINAMIRA

  • G.R. Nos. 116307-10 August 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUFINO BACALTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127255 August 14, 1997 - JOKER P. ARROYO, ET AL. v. JOSE DE VENECIA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1219 August 15, 1997 - COURT OF APPEALS v. MARCELO ESCALANTE

  • G.R. No. 121466 August 15, 1997 - PMI COLLEGES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 109645 & 112564 August 15, 1997 - ORTIGAS & CO. LTD. PARTNERSHIP v. TIRSO VELASCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110399 August 15, 1997 - SAN MIGUEL CORP. SUPERVISORS, ET AL. v. BIENVENIDO E. LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 111066-67 August 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VILLAMOR ORDOÑA

  • G.R. No. 112180 August 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MILDRED N. VILLAS

  • G.R. No. 115844 August 15, 1997 - CESAR G. VIOLA v. RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117398 August 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANDRES DABBAY

  • G.R. No. 120064 August 15, 1997 - FERDINAND PALOMARES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121377 August 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSEPH GELERA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123290 August 15, 1997 - AURORA DE LEON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1234 August 18, 1997 - CRISTETA ORFILA v. RONA S. QUIROZ

  • G.R. No. 95523 August 18, 1997 - REYNALDO R. GONZALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119252 August 18, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ET AL. v. APOLINARIO B. SANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124520 August 18, 1997 - NILO CHA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1350 August 18, 1997 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. DELIA H. PANGANIBAN

  • G.R. No. 95449 August 18, 1997 - PHILIPPINE-SINGAPORE TRANSPORT SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 98107 August 18, 1997 - BENJAMIN C. JUCO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101832 August 18, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE O. TABALESMA

  • G.R. Nos. 113245-47 August 18, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICARDO DISIPULO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115527 August 18, 1997 - ROSSELINI L. DE LA CRUZ, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117682 August 18, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SILVINO SALARZA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 118815 August 18, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANITA MELGAR-MERCADER

  • G.R. No. 119288 August 18, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119368 August 18, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCELINO ERARDO

  • G.R. No. 119696 August 18, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAZUL GUIAMIL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120256 August 18, 1997 - HERMITO CABCABAN v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123276 August 18, 1997 - MARIO TIU, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108611 August 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE ASTO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. 93-9-1237-RTC August 21, 1997 - LOSS OF COURT EXHIBITS AT RTC, BR. 136, MAKATI CITY

  • Adm. Matter No. 96-11-402-RTC August 21, 1997 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT

  • Adm. Matter No. 97-2-12-MTC August 21, 1997 - ISSUANCE OF SUBPOENA TO PRISONER NICANOR DE GUZMAN, JR.

  • G.R. No. 94723 August 21, 1997 - KAREN E. SALVACION, ET AL. v. CENTRAL BANK OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96176 August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZENAIDA ISLA

  • G.R. No. 110249 August 21, 1997 - ALFREDO TANO, ET AL. v. SALVADOR P. SOCRATES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101829 August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BONIFACIO ZAMORA

  • G.R. No. 102018 August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JERRY GABAYRON

  • G.R. No. 103959 August 21, 1997 - REGALADO SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108183-85 August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONE PALOMAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112513 August 21, 1997 - EDGAR R. DEL CASTILLO v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113032 August 21, 1997 - WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY INC., ET AL. v. RICARDO T. SALAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116294 August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO CHAVEZ

  • G.R. Nos. 116602-03 August 21, 1997 - CARMELITA SARAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120691 August 21, 1997 - BIONIC HEAVY EQUIPMENTS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123053 August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO L. CARIZO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123492 August 21, 1997 - DANILO A. YAP v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126749 August 21, 1997 - ERIBERTO M. SUSON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127896 August 21, 1997 - ADRIANO A. ARELLANO, JR. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109578 August 27, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONALDO FABRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97642 August 29, 1997 - AVON INSURANCE PLC, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123581 August 29, 1997 - RODRIGO B. BANGAYAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115581 August 29, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VACITA LATURA JONES

  • G.R. Nos. 116744-47 August 29, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNARDO PANES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119332 August 29, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JACK V. SORREL

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 121983   August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANILLO BAXINELA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 121983. August 11, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. VITERBO MONTERO, JR., JUANILLO BAXINELA, and SAMUEL BIARE, Accused, JUANILLO BAXINELA, Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Public Attorney’s Office for Accused-Appellant.

    SYNOPSIS


    At about 10:00 o’clock in the morning of September 21, 1986. Ferry Polluna was walking on her way home from the market at Sitio Tacayay, Barangay San Florentino, San Rafael, Iloilo when Viterbo Montero, Jr. shot at the right side of the forehead. Nory Polluna, her daughter, upon seeing her mother from a distance of 50 meters, went out of the house to meet her. She saw the shooting incident. After Ferry Polluna fell to the ground, Juanillo Baxinela ran towards the fallen victim and took her wallet containing cash. Samuel Biare, who acted as look-out, then emerged from his hiding place. Then all the three ran away. Nory Polluna shouted for help. When her father arrived from the ricefield, she told him that Viterbo Montero, Jr. shot her mother. They then placed the victim in a hammock and brought her to the town plaza. Nory then noticed that her mother was already dead.

    The entire incident was also witnessed by Floresto Causing, a vendor of dried and fermented fish. He as walking about 25 meters behind Ferry Polluna when she was shot by Montero.

    The three, Viterbo Montero, Jr. Juanillo Baxinela, and Samuel Biare, were then charged with Robbery with Homicide. Upon arraignment, all the accused pleaded not guilty. After trial had started, Samuel Biare died, while Viterbo Montero, Jr., after having been arraigned and identified by the first prosecution witness, jumped bail. Trial then proceeded against Juanillo Baxinela and against Viterbo Montero, Jr. in absentia.

    The trial court rendered judgment finding accused Baxinela and his co-accused Montero, Jr. guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide and sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

    On appeal, appellant Baxinela interposed the defense of alibi and denial. He claimed that from September 20, 1986 up to the afternoon of September 21, 1986 he was working in the farm of Apolinario Pendilla, and went home only at 10:00 o’clock in the evening of September 21, 1986. He learned of the shooting incident only at about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon of September 21, 1986. He further said that his evidence was substantially corroborated on material points.

    The Supreme Court disbelieved the alibi of appellant Baxinela as the farm where he was allegedly working at the time the crime was committed is only 600 to 700 meters from the place of the incident and was not physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. The two prosecution witnesses positively identified the two appellants as the culprits. In the light of the positive identification by the witnesses who have no motive to falsely testify, appellant’s alibi and denial are rendered worthless. Moreover, the crime was committed in broad daylight, at 10:00 o’clock in the morning.

    Decision affirmed.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT GENERALLY ACCORDED GREAT RESPECT ON APPEAL. — It is a legal truism of legal standing that the court accords great respect to the factual conclusions drawn by the trial court, particularly on the matter of credibility of witnesses, since the trial judge had the opportunity to observe the behavior and demeanor of witnesses while testifying (People v. Soberano, 224 SCRA 467 [1995], unless some material facts have been overlooked or misconstrued as to affect the result (People v. Flores, 243 SCRA 374 [1995]. We find in this case no such material fact, after having conscientiously searched the record, that would impair the correctness of the conclusions of the trial court.

    2. ID.; ID., ID., ALIBI; TO PROSPER AS A DEFENSE IT MUST HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR ACCUSED TO BE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME DURING ITS COMMISSION. — Alibi to be given full faith and credit must be clearly established and must not leave any doubt as to its plausibility and verity (People v. Sagario, 121 Phil. 1257 [1965], 14 SCRA 468; People v. Manalo, 135 SCRA 84 [1985]). The accused must be able to establish that he was at another place at the time crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the particular moment it was perpetuated (People v. Urgel, 134 SCRA 483 [1985]). Alibi is not credible where prosecution witnesses directly testified on how the assault was committed and positively identified the accused as the offender (People v. Serante, 152 SCRA 510, 525 [1987] and other cases cited).

    3. ID., ID., ID., ID., ID., CASE AT BAR. — As it is an established fact that the farm of Apolinario Pendilla where accused-appellant said he was allegedly working at the time the crime was committed is only 600 to 700 meters away from the place of incident, it is obvious that there was no physical impossibility for accused-appellant to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. In People v. Cristobal (252) SCRA 507; 517 [1996]), the court ruled out alibi when it was proven that the accused was only three kilometers from where the crime was committed, "a manageable distance to travel in a few minutes."cralaw virtua1aw library

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALIBI AND DENIAL; WORTHLESS WHERE THERE WAS POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION OF THE ACCUSED. — In the light of the positive identification by the above witnesses who have no motive to falsely testify, Accused-appellant’s alibi and denial are rendered worthless (People v. Diaz, Et Al., G.R. No. 110829, April 18, 1997 and other cases cited).

    5. ID.; ID.; ID.; TESTIMONY OF WITNESS WITHOUT MOTIVE TO FALSELY TESTIFY, CANNOT PREVAIL OVER DENIALS AND ALIBIS OF ACCUSED. — Causing is not related by blood or I affinity to any of the party litigants. He knew them all as a regular customers. Being an independent witness who has not been shown to have any reason or motive to testify falsely, Causing’s testimony must prevail over the denials and alibis of accused-appellant (People v. Lansing, 248 SCRA 471 [1995]).

    6. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT IMPAIRED BY RELATIONSHIP. — And although Nory Polluna is a daughter of the victim, her relationship to her deceased mother does not automatically impair her credibility. The Court has held that a witness’ relationship to a victim, far from rendering his testimony biased, would even render it more credible as it would be unnatural for a relative who is interested in vindicating the crime to accuse somebody other than the real culprit. Relatives have a definite stake at seeing the guilty person brought before the courts so that justice may be served. It is not to be lightly supposed that relatives of the victim would callously violate their conscience to avenge the death of a dear one by blaming it on persons who are in fact innocent of the crime (People v. Galas, Et Al., G.R. No. 114007, September 24, 1996, and other cases cited).

    7. ID.; ID.; ID.; TESTIMONY OF A 12-YEAR OLD CHILD OF SOUND MIND, CREDIBLE. — Moreover, Nory Polluna was only twelve years old at the time of the incident. It is worth stressing in this regard that children of sound mind are likely to be more observant of incidents which take place within their view than older persons and their testimony is, therefore, likely to be more correct in detail than that of older persons; and where once established that they understood the nature and character of an oath, full faith and credit should be given their testimony (People v. Tanduyan, 236 SCRA 433 [1994]).

    8. ID.; ID.; ID.; IDENTIFICATION MADE BY WITNESS OF ACCUSED DURING BROAD DAYLIGHT, CREDIBLE. — Indeed, the crime was committed in broad daylight, at 10 o’clock in the morning, and the record does not show any circumstances that the visibility was then unfavorable. Where conditions of visibility are favorable, and the witness does not appear to be biased, his assertion as to the identity of the malefactor should normally be accepted (People v. Bongadilla, 234 SCRA 233 [1994]).

    9. ID.; ID.; ID.; NON-FLIGHT OF ACCUSED CANNOT PREVAIL OVER HIS POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION. — Accused-appellant Baxinela’s contention that he had nothing to do with the crime as shown by the fact that he did not attempt to hide from the authorities before, during, and after the incident in question, and that he decided to make himself readily available to the authorities, cannot prevail over the positive testimony of the two eyewitnesses. Accused-appellant’s pretended innocence is clearly non-sequitor to his decision not to flee. It is illogical to hold that non-flight is a conclusive proof of innocence and the argument flies in the face of the definite and clear identification of accused-appellant as one of the culprits. The material factor here is that there is positive identification of accused-appellant as one of the authors of the crime (People v. Precioso, 221 SCRA 748 [1993]).

    10. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALIBI; DESERVE SCANT CONSIDERATION WHEN ESTABLISHED BY ACCUSED HIMSELF AND HIS RELATIVES. — Where an accused’s alibi is established only by himself and his relatives, his denial of culpability deserves scant consideration, especially in the face of affirmative testimony of credible prosecution witnesses (People v. Corpuz, 240 SCRA 204 [1995]).

    11. CRIMINAL LAW; COMPLEX CRIME; ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE; ALL THOSE WHO TOOK PART AS PRINCIPALS IN ROBBERY WILL ALSO BE LIABLE FOR ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE ALTHOUGH THEY DID NOT ACTUALLY TAKE PART IN THE HOMICIDE. — When homicide is committed as a consequence or on the occasion of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be liable as principals of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, although they did not actually take part in the homicide, unless it is clearly shown that they endeavored to prevent the unlawful killing (People v. Balanag, 236 SCRA 475 [1994]). In the case at bar, it has not been shown that accused-appellant tried to prevent the shooting of Ferry Polluna. Instead, as soon as Ferry had fallen to the ground, it was accused-appellant who took her bag containing money.

    12. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; MORAL DAMAGES; P30,000.00 AWARDED IN CRIMINAL OFFENSE RESULTING IN PHYSICAL INJURIES. — The Court sustains the award of P30,000.00 for moral damages. Moral damages compensate for mental anguish, serious anxiety, and moral shock suffered by the victim or his family as the proximate result of the wrongful act, and they are recoverable where a criminal offense results in physical injuries as in the instant case before us which in fact culminated in the death if the victim (People v. Medroso, Jr., 62 SCRA 245, 251 [1975]).


    D E C I S I O N


    MELO, J.:


    This concerns the appeal interposed by accused-appellant Juanillo Baxinela from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of the Sixth Judicial Region (Branch 39, Iloilo City), finding him and his co-accused Viterbo Montero, Jr., who was tried in absentia, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering them to pay jointly and severally the legal heirs of the victim, Ferry Polluna, the amount of P50,000.00 for her wrongful death and another amount of P30,000.00 as moral damages and the costs of suit.

    In the Information filed by the Provincial Fiscal of Iloilo, Viterbo Montero, Jr., Juanillo Baxinela, and Samuel Biare were charged with the crime of Robbery with Homicide, committed as follows:cralawnad

    That on or about September 21, 1986, in the Municipality of San Rafael, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another to better realize their purpose, armed with firearms, and taking advantage of their superior strength and number, and with treachery and evident premeditation and with deliberate intent and decided purpose to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, shoot, hit and wound one Mrs. Ferry Polluna with the firearms with which they were provided, thereby inflicting fatal gunshot wound on the vital part of her body which caused her death immediately thereafter, that on the same occasion, the above-named accused in pursuance of their conspiracy, with intent to gain, take, steal and carry away the wallet of Mrs. Ferry Polluna containing the amount of TWELVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (P12,500.00) PESOS, Philippine currency.

    CONTRARY TO LAW.

    (Decision, Rollo, pp. 20-21.)

    Upon arraignment, all the accused, assisted by their counsel, pleaded not guilty.

    After the trial had started, Samuel Biare died, while Viterbo Montero, Jr., after having been arraigned and identified by the first witness for the prosecution, jumped bail. His bail bond was ordered confiscated by the court a quo. Trial then proceeded against Juanillo Baxinela and also against Viterbo Montero, Jr., in absentia.

    The prosecution presented three witnesses, namely, Dr. Jeanne P. Declarador, Nory Polluna, and Floresto Causing.

    The evidence of the prosecution tends to establish that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    At about 10 o’clock on the morning of September 21, 1986, the deceased, Ferry Polluna, was walking on her way home from the market at Sitio Tacayay, Barangay San Florentino, San Rafael, Iloilo. Nory Polluna, her 12-year old daughter, was at their house watching the road awaiting the arrival of her mother. Upon seeing her mother from a distance of fifty meters, Nory went out to meet her mother.

    Nory then saw accused Viterbo Montero, Jr. shoot her mother with a short firearm hitting her once at the right side of the forehead. Ferry Polluna fell to the ground. Thereupon, Accused-appellant Juanillo Baxinela ran towards the fallen Ferry Polluna and took her wallet containing cash. Nory also saw Samuel Biare, who acted as look-out, on the side of the road near a kapok tree, emerge from his hiding place after Baxinela took the wallet of Ferry Polluna. Then Biare, Viterbo, and accused-appellant Baxinela ran away.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

    Nory Polluna shouted for help and her father, Numeriano Polluna, who was in the ricefield sixty meters away responded. She told him that Viterbo Montero, Jr. shot her mother. Nory, her father, and their neighbors placed Ferry Polluna in a hammock and brought her to the town plaza of San Rafael. Nory, at this time, noticed her mother was already dead. After waiting in vain for a doctor to arrive, they brought the body of Ferry Polluna to the funeral parlor in the nearby town of Barotac Viejo. Nory and her father went home at around 6 o’clock in the evening.

    Nory knew that the wallet of her mother contained money because earlier in the morning, she saw her father give money to her mother intended to pay for the hospitalization expenses of Nory’s grandfather who was in one of the hospitals in Iloilo City.

    The entire incident was also witnessed by Floresto Causing, a vendor of dried and fermented fish. Causing was walking about 25 meters behind Ferry Polluna when she was shot by Viterbo Montero, Jr. He saw Nory Polluna when she was approaching the fallen Ferry Polluna before he proceeded to by-pass the crime scene by taking another route. He feared that he might be set upon by the robbers.

    The Rural Health Physician of San Rafael, Iloilo, Dr. Jean Declarador, conducted an autopsy on the cadaver of Ferry Polluna on September 22, 1986. Her findings, which she confirmed on the witness stand, are embodied in her Medico-Legal Report, as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Post Mortem Examination Findings:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    A. Rigor mortis beginning with blood soaked clothings

    B. Gunshot wound on the right fronto-parietal area of the head causing rounded fracture of the skull and massive brain injury and hemorrhage

    C. Several bone fragme(n)ts were recovered inside the cranial vault. No wound exit noted.

    Case of Death: Cardio-Respiratory Arrest Secondary to massive cerebral hemorrhage and injury secondary to a gunshot wound.

    Upon the other hand, Accused-appellant Juanillo Baxinela’s defense is alibi and denial. He presented Apolinario Pendilla, Ernesto Baylon, and his wife Nema Baxinela as witnesses to corroborate his alibi.

    Their declarations are to the effect that from September 20, 1986 to the afternoon of September 21, 1986, Accused-appellant was at the farm of Apolinario Pendilla at Sitio Tacayay, Barangay San Florentino, San Rafael, Iloilo, which is about 600 to 700 meters away from the place where Ferry Polluna was shot. Accused-appellant was then allegedly helping in harvesting and threshing the palay in said farm, and in carrying the sacks of palay to the road. He went home only at 10 P.M. of September 21, 1986, accompanied by two sons of Apolinario Pendilla. They learned of the shooting incident only at about 3 o’clock or 3:30 o’clock on the afternoon of September 21, 1986.

    It is also said that the family of Numeriano Polluna envied the Biares and the Baxinela families because of their farm.

    The defense claimed that at about 10 o’clock on the morning of September 21, 1986, Nema Baxinela was picking coffee in their yard. She heard Numeriano Polluna and Samuel Biare arguing along the road. Then she saw them grappling for the possession of a short firearm. She saw Ferry Polluna run towards the two in an attempt to separate them. The gun then discharged and Ferry Polluna fell to the ground. Nema shouted for help and later, the brothers of Ferry Polluna arrived. It is said that Nory Polluna, the daughter of the deceased, was not there at that time. And according to Barangay Captain Ernesto Baylon, Nory Polluna was not at the crime scene because she was watching a basketball game at the poblacion.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

    After the incident, Samuel Biare ran away and was chased by Numeriano Polluna. Nema, however, did not tell the policemen about the incident when the latter arrived at the scene and she did not also tell her husband what she had witnessed.

    On April 11, 1994, the trial court rendered judgment convicting accused-appellant Juanillo Baxinela and Viterbo Montero, Jr., the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the accused Juanillo Baxinela and Viterbo Montero, Jr. are hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and are hereby sentenced each to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Both accused are further ordered jointly and severally to pay the legal heirs of Ferry Polluna the amount of P50,000.00 for her wrongful death and another amount of P30,000.00 as moral damages and the costs of the suit.

    Pursuant to the case of People v. Ricardo C. Cortez, G.R. No. 92560, October 15, 1991, the bail bond put up by accused Juanillo Baxinela is cancelled and the accused is hereby placed in confinement at the Iloilo Rehabilitation Center to be transferred to the National Penitentiary pending resolution of appeal in case he appeals.

    Let a warrant of arrest be issued against the accused Viterbo Montero, Jr.

    Judgment is likewise rendered against the property bond put up by the accused Viterbo Montero, Jr. through his bondsmen Francisco Magno, Rogelio Albelar and Pedro Albelar and Gil Azuelo in the amount of P50,000.00.

    SO ORDERED.

    (Rollo, pp. 39-40.)

    Accused-appellant Baxinela is now before us imputing to the trial court the lone assigned error that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    THE COURT A QUO MANIFESTLY ERRED IN RENDERING A VERDICT OF CONVICTION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE GUILT OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS NOT PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT (Rollo p. 60.)

    Accused-appellant contends that his evidence, although anchored on denial and alibi, was substantially corroborated on material points; that what matters most is the fact that he was able to account for his exact whereabouts when the incident took place; that the court a quo committed reversible error in not giving full faith and credence to the corroborating testimony of his witnesses; and that his evidence gained commensurate strength in view of the unfortified evidence of the prosecution. It is argued that one should not harbor mental prejudice against a defendant who invokes the defense of denial and alibi.

    These arguments boil down to the issue of credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution and for the defense.

    It is a legal truism of long standing that the Court accords great respect to the factual conclusions drawn by the trial court, particularly on the matter of credibility of witnesses, since the trial judge had the opportunity to observe the behavior and demeanor of witnesses while testifying (People v. Soberano, 244 SCRA 467 [1995]), unless some material facts have been overlooked or misconstrued as to affect the result (People v. Flores, 243 SCRA 374 [1995]). We find in this case no such material fact, after having conscientiously searched the record, that would impair the correctness of the conclusions of the trial court.

    Indeed, the trial court gave credence to the testimony of the two prosecution eyewitness, the same being clear and convincing; and when lengthily cross-examined by the counsel for the accused, the witnesses did not waver. Their testimony simply shows that they were present when the crime was perpetrated by the accused (Decision, Rollo, p. 28). The trial court did not believe Barangay Captain Baylon’s declaration that Nory Polluna was not at the scene of the crime at the time it was committed for she was allegedly watching a basketball game at the Poblacion, because, so the trial judge said, this witness, upon the court’s close observation, was a biased one and he is the uncle of the wife of accused-appellant (Rollo, p. 28.)

    The alibi of accused-appellant that he was not at the scene of the incident when it happened because from September 20, 1986 up to the afternoon of September 21, 1986 he was working in the farm of Apolinario Pendilla and went home only at 10 o’clock on the evening of September 21, 1986 was correctly rejected by the trial court.

    Alibi to be given full faith and credit must be clearly established and must not leave any doubt as to its plausibility and verity (People v. Sagario, 121 Phil. 1257 [1965], 14 SCRA 468; People v. Manalo, 135 SCRA 84 [1985]). The accused must be able to establish that he was at another place at the time the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the particular moment it was perpetuated (People v. Urgel, 134 SCRA 483 [1985]). Alibi is not credible where prosecution witnesses directly testified on how the assault was committed and positively identified the accused as the offender (People v. Deus, 136 SCRA 660 [1985]; People v. Rosario and Rosario, 134 SCRA 496 [1985]; People v. Serante, 152 SCRA 510, 525 [1987]).

    As it is an established fact that the farm of Apolinario Pendilla where accused-appellant said he was allegedly working at the time the crime was committed is only 600 to 700 meters from the place of the incident, it is obvious that there was no physical impossibility for accused-appellant to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. In People v. Cristobal (252 SCRA 507; 517 [1996]), the Court ruled out alibi when it was proven that the accused was only three kilometers from where the crime was committed, "a manageable distance to travel in a few minutes."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The two prosecution witnesses — Nory Polluna, who was 12 years old at the time of the incident and a daughter of the deceased Ferry Polluna; and Floresto Causing, the dried fish and "bagoong" vendor — testified on how the crime was committed by accused-appellant and positively identified the two culprits. Nory declared:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. What were you doing there in your house on September 21, 1986 in that particular time?

    A. I was waiting for my mother.

    Q. Your mother, Ferry Polluna?

    A. Yes, sir.

    x       x       x


    A. My mother went marketing.

    x       x       x


    Q. What did you do when you saw your mother arrive?

    A. I went to her.

    FISCAL:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    You said you went to your mother, at the time you went to your mother, how far is your mother from your house?

    A. About fifty meters.

    Q. Were you able to go near your mother?

    A. No, sir.

    Q. Why did you not go near your mother?

    A. She was shot.

    Q. Who shot your mother?

    A. Viterbo Montero, Jr. shot my mother.

    x       x       x


    Q. Did you actually see the accused Viterbo Montero, Jr. shot your mother?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Was your mother hit?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Where was your mother hit?

    A. Here (witness is pointing to her right forehead).

    (tsn., March 15, 1988, pp. 3-4.)

    After declaring that her mother was shot only once by Viterbo Montero, Jr. (Ibid., p. 4), Nory Polluna continued her testimony, describing clearly the participation of accused-appellant Juanillo Baxinela and accused Samuel Biare in the commission of the crime. She declared:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. What happened to your mother after you said she was hit by that shot of Viterbo Montero, Jr.?

    A. She fell down the ground.

    x       x       x


    A. I saw Juanillo Baxinela ran to where my mother was and pick up her wallet.

    x       x       x


    FISCAL:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    My question is that, what happened after Juanillo Baxinela had picked up that wallet or bag which you demonstrated to this court?

    A. The three of them ran away.

    Q. You said three of them ran away, who was the other one aside from Viterbo Montero, Jr. and Juanillo Baxinela?

    A. Samuel Biare . . .

    x       x       x


    A. Samuel Biare stayed on the roadside behind the Duldol tree (Kapuk tree).

    Q. After the three of them ran away, what did you do?

    A. I shouted for help.

    (tsn., March 15, 1988, p. 5.)

    Floresto Causing, the second eyewitness to the crime presented by the prosecution identified the perpetrators thereof and described how the crime was committed by them, thusly:chanrobles virtuallawlibrary

    Q. At about 10:00 in the morning of September 21, 1986, do you recall where were you at that time?

    A. Yes, sir.

    x       x       x


    A. At Brgy. San Florentino, San Rafael selling fish.

    x       x       x


    Q. You said you are at Sityo Tacayay, Brgy. San Florentino on September 21, 1986 selling dried fish and bagoong. On this particular time, did you notice any of the two witnesses or any incident that happened?

    A. Yes, sir?

    x       x       x


    A. I saw Mrs. Polluna shot by Viterbo Montero, Jr.

    Q. Where were you in relation to Mrs. Polluna when you saw her shot by the accused Viterbo Montero, Jr.?

    A. I was following her.

    Q. What happened to her because you said she was shot by Viterbo Montero, Jr.?

    A. She fell down the ground.

    x       x       x


    Q. And what happened after Mrs. Ferry Polluna fell on the ground after she was shot by Viterbo Montero, Jr.?

    A. I saw Juanillo Baxinela take the wallet of Mrs. Polluna.

    x       x       x


    Q. In that particular time of September 21, 1986, when you saw the accused Viterbo Montero, Jr. shot Mrs. Polluna and also you saw Juanillo Baxinela picked up the wallet of Mrs. Polluna, can you tell the court if you saw also the person of Samuel Biare?

    A. Yes, sir.

    x       x       x


    A. He was standing.

    x       x       x


    A. About two meters away.

    Q. Aside from these three accused and Mrs. Polluna whom you were following, did you see other persons or person?

    A. The daughter of Mrs. Polluna was approaching her.

    Q. What happened after Juanillo Baxinela had picked up the wallet of the victim after she was shot by Viterbo Montero, Jr.?

    A. I have not seen anything because I pass in another way.

    x       x       x


    A. Because it is dangerous to pass in that route I am afraid, I might be the next victim.

    (tsn., July 4, 1988, pp. 3-5.)

    In the light of the positive identification by the above witnesses who have no motive to falsely testify, Accused-appellant’s alibi and denial are rendered worthless (People v. Lansing, 248 SCRA 471 [1995]; People v. Amania, 248 SCRA 486 [1995]; People v. Lopez, 249 SCRA 610 [1995]; People v. Diaz, Et Al., G.R. No. 110829, April 18, 1997).

    Causing is not related either by blood or affinity to any of the party litigants. He knew them all as his regular customers. Being an independent witness who has not been shown to have any reason or motive to testify falsely, Causing’s testimony must prevail over the denials and alibis of accused-appellant (People v. Lansing, supra).

    And although Nory Polluna, is a daughter of the victim, her relationship to her deceased mother does not automatically impair her credibility. The Court has held that a witness’ relationship to a victim, far from rendering his testimony biased, would even render it more credible as it would be unnatural for a relative who is interested in vindicating the crime to accuse somebody other than the real culprit. Relatives have a definite stake at seeing the guilty person brought before the courts so that justice may be served. It is not to be lightly supposed that relatives of the victim would callously violate their conscience to avenge the death of a dear one by blaming it on persons who are in fact innocent of the crime (People v. Galas, Et Al., G.R. No. 114007, September 24, 1996, citing People v. Vicente, 225 SCRA 361, 368-369 [1993]; People v. Dominguez, 217 SCRA 170, 175 [1993]; and People v. Boniao, 217 SCRA 653, 671 [1993]).

    Moreover, Nory Polluna was only 12 years old at the time of the incident. It is worth stressing in this regard that children of sound mind are likely to be more observant of incidents which take place within their view than older persons and their testimony is, therefore, likely to be more correct in detail than that of older persons; and where once established that they understood the nature and character of an oath, full faith and credit should be given their testimony (People v. Tanduyan, 236 SCRA 433 [1994]).

    Indeed, the crime was committed in broad daylight, at 10 o’clock in the morning, and the record does not show any circumstance that the visibility was then unfavorable. Where conditions of visibility are favorable, and the witness does not appear to be biased, his assertion as to the identity of the malefactor should normally be accepted (People v. Bongadilla, 234 SCRA 233 [1994]).

    Accused-appellant Baxinela’s contention that he had nothing to do with the crime as shown by the fact that he did not attempt to hide from the authorities before, during, and after the incident in question, and that he decided to make himself readily available to the authorities, cannot prevail over the positive testimony of the eyewitnesses. Accused-appellant’s pretended innocence is clearly non-sequitur to his decision not to flee. It is illogical to hold that non-flight is a conclusive proof of innocence and the argument flies in the face of the definite and clear identification of accused-appellant as one of the culprits. The material factor here is that there is positive identification of accused-appellant as one of the authors of the crime (People v. Precioso, 221 SCRA 748 [1993]).

    Accused-appellant’s contention that the lower court should have given credence to the story of the defense that Nory was not at the scene of the incident and that Ferry Polluna was accidentally shot when she went between her husband, Numeriano Polluna, and Samuel Biare, who were then grappling for possession of a short firearm does not persuade the Court.

    Firstly, the trial court, upon observing Barangay Captain Ernesto Baylon, found him biased and thus debunked his testimony to the effect that the victim’s daughter and principal eyewitness to the incident, Nory Polluna, was at the town plaza of San Rafael, Iloilo, watching a basketball game when the crime was committed.

    Secondly, the testimony of Nema Baxinela, wife of accused-appellant, that Ferry Polluna was accidentally shot to death during a grappling dispute between her husband Numeriano Polluna and Samuel Biare is uncorroborated. There is even no explanation why Nema did not immediately inform the police authorities of this vital circumstance which would exculpate her husband. Obviously, this tale is an afterthought.

    And thirdly, where an accused’s alibi is established only by himself and his relatives, his denial of culpability deserves scant consideration, especially in the face of affirmative testimony of credible prosecution witnesses (People v. Corpuz, 240 SCRA 204 [1995]).

    When homicide is committed as a consequence or on the occasion of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be liable as principals of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, although they did not actually take part in the homicide, unless it is clearly shown that they endeavored to prevent the unlawful killing (People v. Balanag, 236 SCRA 475 [1994]). In the case at bar, it has not been shown that accused-appellant tried to prevent the shooting of Ferry Polluna. Instead, as soon as Ferry had fallen to the ground, it was accused-appellant who took her bag containing money.

    At the time of its commission in 1986, robbery with homicide was still punishable with reclusion perpetua, notwithstanding the aggravating circumstance attending the commission of the crime (Ibid., p. 486).

    The Court sustains the award of P30,000.00 for moral damages. Moral damages compensate for mental anguish, serious anxiety, and moral shock suffered by the victim or his family as the proximate result of the wrongful act, and they are recoverable where a criminal offense results in physical injuries as in the instant case before us which in fact culminated in the death of the victim (People v. Medroso, Jr., 62 SCRA 245, 251 [1975]).

    WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Court hereby AFFIRMS in toto the decision appealed from. No special pronouncement is made as to costs.chanrobles.com : virtual law library

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Francisco and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

    G.R. No. 121983   August 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANILLO BAXINELA


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