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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. 96176   August 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZENAIDA ISLA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 96176. August 21, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ZENAIDA ISLA, Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor-General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Herrera Law Office for accused appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE, NOTHING BUT PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF EVERY FACT ESSENTIAL TO CONSTITUTE THE OFFENSE WITH WHICH THE ACCUSED IS CHARGED MUST BE ESTABLISHED BY THE PROSECUTION; CASE AT BAR. — It is a well-settled tenet that the presumption of innocence is founded upon the basic principles of justice and is a substantial part of the law. Thus, it cannot be overcome by mere suspicion or conjecture i.e. a probability that the accused committed the crime or that he had the opportunity to do so. More so, to overcome the presumption of innocence, nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact essential to constitute the offense with which the accused is charged must be established by the prosecution. Indeed, in the case at bench, the evidence presented dismally failed to pierce the shield of presumptive innocence, as the prosecution merely relied on hearsay evidence. As can be gleaned from the facts the testimony of the father of the victim and that of the other prosecution witnesses were merely hearsay as they were not personally aware of the facts surrounding the alleged kidnapping of Maritess Organez. They all just averred that they were informed or matters were merely related to them, which, taken as a whole, could not legally sustain a conviction.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    2. ID.; ID.; THE MOMENT THERE IS A MOVE OF THE INVESTIGATOR TO ELICIT ADMISSIONS OR EVEN PLAIN INFORMATION FROM THE SUSPECT WHICH MAY APPEAR INNOCENT OR INNOCUOUS AT THE TIME, THE SUSPECT SHOULD BE ASSISTED BY COUNSEL, UNLESS HE WAIVES HIS RIGHT, BUT THE WAIVER SHOULD BE MADE IN WRITING AND IN THE PRESENCE OF COUNSEL; CASE AT BAR. — The law does not distinguish between preliminary questions during custodial investigation, as any question asked of a person while under detention, is considered as a question asked while under custodial investigation. In Gamboa v. Cruz, we ruled that the moment there is a move of the investigator to elicit admissions or even plain information from the suspect which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time, the suspect should be assisted by counsel, unless he waives his right, but the waiver should be made in writing and in the presence of counsel. This legal tenet was reiterated in the case of People v. Ayson and other cases. In the case at bar, when P/Cpl. Marasigan started his investigation without providing appellant with counsel of her choice, the former violated her rights as enshrined in the Constitution. It was only after he conducted an investigation on appellant that P/Cpl. Marasigan summoned Atty. Domingo Joaquin of the citizens Legal Assistance Office and detailed at the Western Police District as inquest lawyer, to assist the appellant in giving a confession.

    3. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE; MERE SPECULATIONS AND PROBABILITIES CANNOT SUBSTITUTE FOR PROOF REQUIRED TO ESTABLISH THE GUILT OF AN APPELLANT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. — The fact is that the whereabouts of the victim during that time was unknown. There was no testimony from the witnesses that the victim was indeed actually and unlawfully taken, it was only Amador Organez who testified that he was informed by his wife and brother-in-law that his daughter was missing. Such testimony nonetheless proves nothing except that the child was missing. This can not be equated with the allegation that she was kidnapped. All told, the trial court’s findings were merely based on possibilities and suspicions. Worth repeating is the legal principle that mere speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish the guilt of an appellant beyond reasonable doubt.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary


    D E C I S I O N


    HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:


    In an Information filed by Asst. Fiscal Leoncia Dimagiba on April 4, 1987, Zenaida Isla was charged with the crime of Kidnapping, the accusatory portion of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "That on or about April 4, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, being a private individual, conspiring and confederating together with another whose true name, identity and present whereabouts are still unknown and mutually helping each other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap one MARITES ORGANEZ, a minor female child, six and one half years of age, daughter of Amador Organez y Republica, for the purpose of selling her to another, and thus depriving the said minor child of her liberty." 1

    The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 96176 and was raffled off to Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.cralawnad

    At her arraignment on January 14, 1988, appellant entered a plea of not guilty. Trial on the merits commenced and on December 20, 1989, the court a quo promulgated its decision finding her guilty as charged. The adjudicatory portion thereof reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused, ZENAIDA ISLA Y ARCEO (sic) is sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT, to pay the heirs of Maritess Organez the sum of THIRTY THOUSAND (P30,000.) PESOS and to pay the costs." 2

    The factual antecedents of this case, as culled from the records, are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Arriving home one late afternoon of April 4, 1987, Amador Organez was informed by his wife that their six (6) year old daughter, Maritess, was missing. Upon inquiry, Cristy Manalastas, one of his neighbors, told Amador that a pregnant woman was seen near the vicinity of his house. This was corroborated by two other neighbors, namely, Julie and Baby Wycoco. Amador searched for the pregnant woman at Tondo. She chanced upon Shirley Martinez whose child was also missing. Shirley related to Amador that, after one, Zenaida Isla, who was her former classmate, visited her in her house, her child disappeared. Amador, continued his search in Caloocan and met Lola Danding whose grandchild was also missing. She told Amador that it was appellant who took her granddaughter when the latter went to her house.

    On July 18, 1987, the police authorities from Malabon went to Amador’s house and informed him that appellant had been arrested. Amador then went to the Malabon Police Headquarters where appellant told him to proceed to San Simon, Pampanga to fetch his child. On that same day, Amador went to Pampanga together with six Malabon policemen, Lola Danding, appellant, and Mrs. Loring whose child was also missing. After coordinating with the police authorities of Pampanga, they proceeded to the town of Sta. Monica, to meet Maura "Orang" Mabalot.

    Upon reaching the house of Maura, the police authorities showed her a picture of Maritess and she identified the child in the picture as the same child who was with appellant when the latter went to her house in April, 1987. She also related that during the said visit, appellant told her that she was looking for someone to adopt the child known as Maritess. Appellant, upon hearing Maura’s statement reacted by telling the group that she sold the child at Angeles City. Thereafter, the same group went to a dry goods store at the Angeles City Market. The owner of the said store answered positively when the policemen inquired if a child was sold to her but, upon verification, the child was not Maritess. Then the group checked on another child, who was sold but again upon verification, did not turn out to be Maritess.

    Subsequently, appellant was brought back to the Malabon Police Department but was transferred to the Western Police District of Manila. On July 21, 1987, appellant was investigated before P/Cpl. Pablito Marasigan, an investigator at the WPD General Assignment Section. Thereafter, she executed an extrajudicial statement wherein she admitted that she took Maritess Organez and brought her to Teofilo Ablaza for adoption. Said extrajudicial statement was executed with Atty. Domingo Joaquin of the Citizen’s Legal Assistance Office (CLAO), Department of Justice, beside her.

    Appellant on the other hand, denied the charges hurled against her. She claimed that she has no knowledge of the contents of the sworn statement attributed to her which is marked as Exhibit "B" nor had she read it. She alleged that she was lured into signing the said document when Marasigan promised to release her after affixing her signature thereat. More so, she alleged that when she affixed her signature in the document, she was not assisted by a counsel as Atty. Domingo Joaquin of CLAO arrived at the police station after the document was already prepared and finished. 3

    In this appeal, appellant interposes the following as errors of the court a quo:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The trial court gravely erred in finding the accused guilty of kidnapping, inasmuch as:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. The decision was basically based on hearsay evidence:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    2. The findings of the trial court (sic) heavily speculations (sic), surmises and irrelevant or immaterial matters;

    3. The alleged extrajudicial confession is inadmissible in evidence, being extracted in violation of the constitutional rights of the accused (sic)." 4

    As the errors are interrelated, we shall refute them jointly.

    Appellant seeks the reversal of the decision of the trial court on the ground that it is based on hearsay, speculations, surmises and irrelevant matters; and that the extrajudicial confession of the accused is inadmissible in evidence against her.

    It is a well-settled tenet that the presumption of innocence is founded upon the basic principles of justice and is a substantial part of the law. Thus, it cannot be overcome by mere suspicion or conjecture i.e. a probability that the accused committed the crime or that he had the opportunity to do so. 5 More so, to overcome the presumption of innocence, nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact essential to constitute the offense with which the accused is charged must be established by the prosecution. 6

    Indeed, in the case at bench, the evidence presented dismally failed to pierce the shield of presumptive innocence, as the prosecution merely relied on hearsay evidence. As can be gleaned from the facts the testimony of the father of the victim and that of the other prosecution witnesses were merely hearsay as they were not personally aware of the facts surrounding the alleged kidnapping of Maritess Organez. They all just averred that they were informed or matters were merely related to them, which, taken as a whole, could not legally sustain a conviction. Consider that only the following circumstances were relied upon by the trial court in convicting herein appellant, viz.:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a) that aside from Maritess Organez, three (3) other children were allegedly taken; by the appellant; 7

    b) that the appellant was allegedly the pregnant woman who was seen in the vicinity of the house of Amador Organez, as she was identified by parents and grandparents of the other missing children; 8

    c) the notoriety of appellant among her classmates and friends; 9

    d) the loss of the child Maritess was testified to by her father, Amador Organez; 10

    e) the admission of appellant of having allegedly found and sold Marites for adoption; 11

    f) the notoriety of appellant as a snatcher of young children as against her mere denial and her claim that she did not read her admission Exhibit "B" ; 12

    g) the denial of appellant was merely considered as a last ditch effort to escape the possible consequences of her act. 13

    As correctly pointed out by the appellant in her brief, the first point of the trial court in regarding the involvement of appellant in three other kidnapping cases, marks a grave inconsistency of the said court. While considering the three other cases of kidnapping as relevant and material to this case, the trial court, during the hearings, declared the same to be immaterial, as can be seen from the records, viz.:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "FISCAL PATAG (to witness):chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: After she was turned over to you, you mentioned that you investigated her in connection with three cases and one of them, (sic) what is the second case?chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

    COURT: Why don’t you just go to this case?

    FISCAL PATAG: Because it has a relationship.

    COURT: That is immaterial and beside the point." 14

    Needless to say, these three other kidnapping cases has no relationship whatsoever to the case at bar, nor does the existence thereof, prove the guilt or the innocence of appellant. Suffice it to say, no evidence was presented to establish these three other cases or its relevance to the present case, except the brief testimony of P/Cpl. Marasigan, which in itself, does not establish the culpability of appellant in those three other cases. Thus, the issues involved in the three other cases are irrelevant collateral matters which are inadmissible in evidence. More so, the trial court resorted to speculations when it assumed that appellant was involved in these other cases.

    With regard to the identity of the pregnant woman seen in the vicinity of the victim’s residence, it must be remembered that the only witness who testified on this matter was Amador Organez. His testimony can be considered as merely based on hearsay as he admitted that this information was merely relayed to him by his neighbors, namely: Cristy Manalastas, Julie and Baby Wycoco. Obviously, Amador Organez was not personally aware of the presence of the pregnant woman.

    While it may be true that the prosecution may not be compelled to present a witness or witnesses, it is undeniable that the non-presentation of a witness is tantamount to suppression of evidence, 15 especially if the prosecution witnesses already presented, have no personal knowledge of the facts which could establish the elements of the crime charged.

    Hence, the non-presentation of witnesses, Cristy Manalastas, Julie and Baby Wycoco who allegedly saw the pregnant woman, raises serious doubt as to the truthfulness of the testimony of Mr. Organez.

    It is also noteworthy that the alleged victim, Maritess Organez, was neither presented by the prosecution, although it appears that she has been recovered. This can be gleaned from the records which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "FISCAL: As of this date do you know whether this Maritess was recovered by her father?

    x       x       x


    WITNESS: I heard that Maritess was returned to the parents, sir.

    FISCAL: From whom did you received that information that Maritess Organez was recovered by her father?

    x       x       x


    WITNESS: From San Simon, sir.

    Q: When?

    A: About one month ago, sir." 17

    The failure of the prosecution to present the victim herself, gives rise to the presumption that the alleged victim would have testified on matters which would be adverse to the prosecution.

    With regard to the notoriety of appellant, as concluded by the trial court, the same is again based on surmises and speculations as a perusal of the records failed to show that a witness was ever presented to establish this assertion. If at all, it was only Amador Organez who testified on this matter, based upon the information of others.

    The fact is that the whereabouts of the victim during that time was unknown. There was no testimony from the witnesses that the victim was indeed actually and unlawfully taken. It was only Amador Organez who testified that he was informed by his wife and brother-in-law that his daughter was missing. Such testimony nonetheless proves nothing except that the child was missing. This can not be equated with the allegation that she was kidnapped.

    All told, the trial court’s findings were merely based on possibilities and suspicions. Worth repeating is the legal principle that mere speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish the guilt of an appellant beyond reasonable doubt. 18

    Appellant correctly assails the trial court for depending upon her sworn statement dated August 1, 1987 as the basis for her conviction. The said document was procured in violation of her Constitutional rights.

    As can be gleaned from the records, appellant was already in the custody of the police authorities as early as July 18, 1987. 19 She was turned over to the elements of the Western Police District only on July 11, 1987. 20 The Malabon police detained appellant, who was then pregnant, for three days, without filing any formal charge, before she was turned over to the Western Police District.

    A perusal of the records shows that, while appellant was at the Western Police District, Police Corporal Pablito Marasigan immediately conducted an investigation, without providing her with counsel of her choice, or advising her of her constitutional rights. The testimony of P/Cpl. Marasigan is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Q: How long(sic) a time after the accused was turned over that the investigation was conducted, before you start your custodial investigation?

    A: The investigation was immediately conducted on July 21, 1987.

    x       x       x


    Q: And when you start(sic) your preliminary questions, she was alone?

    A: Yes. sir.

    Q: Just after your preliminary questions were asked, did you reduce that in writing?

    A: No. sir." 21

    The law does not distinguish between preliminary questions and questions during custodial investigation, as any question asked of a person while under detention, is considered as a question asked while under custodial investigation.

    In Gamboa v. Cruz, 22 we ruled that the moment there is a move of the investigator to elicit admissions or even plain information from the suspect which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time, the suspect should be assisted by counsel, unless he waives his right, but the waiver should be made in writing and in the presence of counsel. This legal tenet was reiterated in the case of People v. Ayson and other cases. 23

    So, in the case at bar, when P/Cpl. Marasigan started his investigation without providing appellant with counsel of her choice, the former violated her rights as enshrined in the Constitution. 24 It was only after he conducted an investigation on appellant that P/Cpl. Marasigan summoned Atty. Domingo Joaquin of the Citizens Legal Assistance Office and detailed at the Western Police District as inquest lawyer, to assist the appellant in giving a confession. This is the testimony of Atty. Joaquin:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Q: After you were summoned by Marasigan,(sic) then what did you do?

    A: When I arrived at the General Assignment Section of the Western Police District, I was briefed or informed by P/Cpl. Marasigan that he was investigating the suspect Zenaida Isla and the suspect intend to give an extrajudicial confession."25cralaw:red

    On this basis, there is reason to believe appellant’s assertion that Atty. Joaquin did not assist her during the investigation, inasmuch as the statement was already finished and prepared before he arrived at the police station. The testimony of appellant, in this regard, reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Q: Now, Atty. Joaquin testified here that he assisted you in this investigation(sic) as a matter of fact he affixed his signature in the left side of this Document, what can you say about that?chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

    A: He did not assist me because when this papers was given to me, that was already finish." 26

    Furthermore, appellant was given a false promise that she will have her liberty after affixing her signature in the document prepared by P/Cpl Marasigan. Her testimony reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Q: But before you affixed your signature, why did you not read this?

    A: Because they told me if I will sign, I will be released.

    Q: So that you affixed your signature here in Exh. B without reading the entire Exh. B, is that what you mean?

    A: Yes, sir." 27

    Clearly then, policeman Marasigan resorted to unlawful means to extract a confession upon appellant, which effectively vitiated her consent. Consequently, the sworn statement is inadmissible in evidence. 28

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant is hereby acquitted of the crime charged.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Padilla, Bellosillo, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 13.

    2. Decision in Criminal Case No. 96176, p. 4.

    3. TSN, July 26, 1989, pp. 3-4.

    4. Appellant’s Brief, p. 5; Rollo, p. 54.

    5. People v. Godoy, 250 SCRA 676 [1995].

    6. People v. Camba, 232 SCRA 280 [1994].

    7. Decision, p. 3; Rollo, p. 15.

    8. Ibid.

    9. Ibid.

    10. Id., p. 4.

    11. Id.

    12. Id.

    13. Id.

    14. TSN, January 10, 1989, p. 4.

    15. People v. Camalog, 169 SCRA 816 (1989).

    17. TSN, March 29, 1988, pp. 6-7.

    18. People v. Jumao-as, 230 SCRA 70 (1994).

    19. TSN, April 5, 1989, p. 6.

    20. TSN, January 10, 1989, p. 4.

    21. TSN, January 10, 1989, pp. 18-19.

    22. 162 SCRA 642 [1988].

    23. 175 SCRA 216 [1989]; People v. Logronio, 214 SCRA 579 [1992]; and People v. De Jesus, 213 SCRA 345 [1992].

    24. People v. Saludar, 188 SCRA 189 [1990]; People v. Olvis, 154 SCRA 513 [1987].

    25. TSN, March 16, 1989, p. 4.

    26. TSN, July 26, 1989, p. 4.

    27. Ibid.

    28. People v. Saludar, 188 SCRA 189; People v. Kidagun, 188 SCRA 763.

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


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