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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
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 123074   July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 123074. July 4, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. FERNANDO FERNANDEZ y MAGNO, ALIAS "FERNAN" and JOEL SANTIAGO y RUSTIA, Accused, FERNANDO FERNANDEZ y MAGNO, Accused-Appellant.

    Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    PAO for accused appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; POLICE OFFICER’S EXTRAJUDICIAL STATEMENT IMPLICATING AN ACCUSSED, HEARSAY. — Accused-appellant’s contention that the trial court erred in considering PO3 San Pedro’s testimony regarding Santiago’s declarations implicating Fernandez is correct. The implicatory statements of Santiago, it must be noted, were not given during the trial of accused-appellant, who was thus deprived of the right of cross-examining and confronting his accuser. Thus, Santiago’s statements on this matter, as related to the trial court by PO3 San Pedro, are mere hearsay, which even if not objected to, as in this case, nevertheless do not deserve credence (People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547, 554 [1992]).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION OF ACCUSED BY WITNESS WITHOUT ANY MOTIVE TO FALSELY TESTIFY, CREDIBLE. — The office of the Solicitor General, citing People v. Barba (203 SCRA 436, 452 [1991]), correctly points out that the positive identification of accused-appellant by Dr. Delfin Tolentino who is untainted by any motive to falsely testify, sufficiently established the guilt of accused- appellant, for the law does not require that positive identification be corroborated to obtain conviction. The People submits that it does not matter that it was only after such declaration that the police were able to get a lead on Fernandez. Indeed, and most helpfully, the police got valuable information from their interview with Dr. Delfin Tolentino which led to the successful solution of the crime.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; TESTIMONY OF AN 82 YEAR OLD WITNESS, CREDIBLE. — There was no proof that Dr. Delfin Tolentino who was 82 years old at the time of the incident, did not possess the proper mental and physical faculties as to make him a less than credible witness. The record shows Dr. Delfin Tolentino saw the malefactors. Dr. Delfin Tolentino’s categorial, clear, and consistent answers during the intensive cross-examination all the more indicated that he possessed all the faculties required of a qualified witness, that he was telling the truth, and that his declarations and answers established, beyond reasonable doubt, the identity of the perpetrators of the crime.

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE LOWER COURT, GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL. — The Court sees no ground to reverse the trial court’s judgment in regard to accused-appellant guilt. It is settled doctrine that in matters such as credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of trial courts, unless material and substantial facts have gone unnoticed by the latter, the reason being the trial court, having had the first-hand opportunity to observe the witnesses’ deportment and manner of testifying during the trial, is in a better position to assess their credibility (People v. Eduardo Ligotan y Fabella, G.R. 119219, September 30, 1996).

    5. CRIMINAL LAW; COMPLEX CRIME; ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE; PHYSICAL INJURIES COMMITTED, ABSORBED THEREIN. — The trial court committed an error in convicting accused-appellant of the crime of robbery with homicide and physical injuries. The appealed judgment should be modified in that the crime committed by accused-appellant should simply be robbery with homicide, since the physical injuries committed during or on occasion of the robbery are absorbed therein, regardless of the number of homicides and physical injuries committed (People v. Pamintuan, 222 SCRA 716, 722 [1993].chanrobles virtual lawlibrary


    D E C I S I O N


    MELO, J.:


    Accused-appellant Fernando Fernandez y Magno appeals the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of the Third Judicial Region, Branch 6 stationed at Malolos, Bulacan in its Criminal Case No. 753-M-91, finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide and physical injuries and consequently sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000 as civil indemnity, P400,000 as actual damages, and P100,000 as moral damages.

    The Information filed against Fernandez and his co-accused Joel Santiago charged:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 10th day of April, 1991, in the municipality of Baliuag, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, armed with chisel and screw driver, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to gain and by means of force, violence, intimidation, take, rob and carry away with them one (1) Sony Betamax worth P9,000.00, assorted jewelries worth P300,000.00 and cash amounting to P100,000.00, belonging to Sps. Dr. Delfin Tolentino and Eugenia Lindain-Tolentino, to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the total amount of P409,000.00; and on the occasion of the commission of the said robbery, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, and with intent to kill one Eugenia Lindain-Tolentino, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident premeditation and treachery, attack, assault and stab with the said chisel and screw driver the said Eugenia Lindain-Tolentino, hitting the latter on her body thereby causing her serious physical injuries which directly caused her death and also causing physical injuries to Dr. Delfin Tolentino which required medical attendance for some period of time.

    Contrary to law.

    Malolos, Bulacan, April 30, 1991.

    (pp. 5, 17, Rollo)

    Initially, only Santiago was apprehended, and after trial was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. A partial decision dated December 23, 1991 convicting him was promulgated on February 3, 1992. Herein accused-appellant Fernandez remained at-large and was arrested by elements of the Philippine National Police-Baliuag only on January 28, 1993 (p. 18, Ibid.).

    On February 3, 1993, Fernandez, assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty to the charge. After trial, the regional trial court rendered its now appealed decision.

    Accused-appellant anchors his appeal on his lone and shot-gun type of argument that the trial court erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide (p. 152, Ibid.).

    The facts, as determined by the trial court and duly supported by evidence, show that on April 10, 1991, at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, a man pretending to be having difficulty breathing and wanting treatment rang the door bell at the residence of Dr. Delfin Tolentino and his wife Eugenia Lindain-Tolentino at Vergel de Dios St., Baliuag, Bulacan. Because of the man’s persistence, the doctor let him in. Once inside, the otherwise sickly man overpowered Dr. Tolentino, covered his eyes with masking tape and gagged him. The doctor, however, got a good look at the man’s face before his eyes were covered. He would later positively identify the intruder as accused-appellant Fernando Fernandez (pp. 19-20, Ibid.).

    Accused-appellant then forced Dr. Tolentino down on the floor, took his watch and tied both his hands and feet. A second person entered the room. The doctor was told to keep quiet, otherwise he would be killed. Both men entered the room where Dr. Tolentino’s wife was staying. The doctor heard his wife saying "Joel, ano ba?", but nothing was heard from her thereafter. After about twenty minutes, they returned and carried the doctor upstairs. After the masking tape over his eyes was removed, Dr. Tolentino was told to open the vault. Both men then ransacked its contents, taking jewelry, cash, certificates of title, and stock certificates. Dr. Tolentino testified that as he was only about two feet away from the safe, and with Fernandez in front of him and Santiago to his right, he could see them both very clearly. When the door bell rang, both men hurriedly left. Dr. Tolentino locked the door and telephoned his son, Dr. Nilo Tolentino. When his son and a helper arrived, Dr. Tolentino was brought down to the clinic where he later learned that his wife was killed (p. 19, Ibid.).

    Dr. Nilo Tolentino testified that when he came to their house after the call from his father, he saw the latter upstairs. The cabinets were ransacked. He also noticed a pool of blood in front of the stereo and television cabinets and drops of blood leading to the examination room. There, he saw the lifeless body of his mother. He called the police immediately and his father related to him what had happened. In court, he identified pictures showing his father’s injuries and the lifeless body of his mother. He also testified that they spent around P300,000 for the wake and burial of his mother (pp. 19-20, Ibid.).

    PO3 Eladio San Pedro, the investigator assigned to the case, testified that Santiago admitted his participation in the killing of Eugenia and that Fernandez was the one who stabbed her after she called for help. PO3 San Pedro also testified that they were able to recover the Sony Betamax machine from the house of a certain Rogelio Abesamis while a search of Santiago’s house yielded the chisel used in killing Eugenia and some bloodied clothes (p. 20, Ibid.).

    Another witness, Rene Julian, stated that he was the owner of the tricycle which Fernandez used to drive for a living. This witness testified that early on the morning of April 10, 1991, Fernandez took the tricycle from its garage. Later that afternoon, between 1:30 and 2 o’clock, he saw the tricycle parked in front of Dr. Tolentino’s house. At around 7:05 o’clock that evening, Accused-appellant returned the tricycle and personally handed over P50 as "boundary" for the day (p. 20, Ibid.).

    Dr. Benito Caballero testified that Eugenia Lindain-Tolentino sustained twenty-four stab wounds on different parts of the body, which could have been inflicted by more than one person with the use of sharp, pointed objects, probably two, due to the different sizes of the wounds (p. 21, Ibid.).

    Accused-appellant Fernandez admitted that he took the tricycle from Rene Julian’s garage early on the morning of April 10, 1991. However, having had a quarrel with his wife, he was in no mood to drive it, and so he instead asked his brother, Freddie, to drive it for him. Thus, his alibi is that at around 6 o’clock on that same morning, he took a NELBUSCO bus bound for Isabela, and that he was already some distance away from the scene of the crime when it happened. His wife, Amelia, and his mother, Emma, tried to corroborate accused-appellant’s testimony as to the fact of the quarrel and his stay in Isabela (p. 21, Ibid.).

    In support of his lone assigned error, Accused-appellant Fernandez contends that the trial court gave undue weight to the statements of co-accused Joel Santiago and to the testimony of Dr. Delfin Tolentino. Accused-appellant argues that Santiago’s declarations as relayed to the trial court by PO3 San Pedro, should not have been considered as Santiago was not called as a witness in the case and thus could not have been cross-examined on such matter. Accused-appellant likewise faults the trial court for lending credence to the positive identification given by Dr. Delfin Tolentino inasmuch as the doctor’s perceptions are not very clear since he was already eighty-two years old at the time of the incident. Furthermore, it is said, Dr. Delfin Tolentino may have pointed to accused-appellant only because of the prior statements of Santiago before the police authorities implicating the accused-appellant (pp. 152-154, Ibid.).

    The Court finds the appeal unmeritorious, although obviously accused-appellant’s contention that the trial court erred in considering PO3 San Pedro’s testimony regarding Santiago’s declarations implicating Fernandez is correct. The implicatory statements of Santiago, it must be noted, were not given during the trial of accused-appellant, who was thus deprived of the right of cross-examining and confronting his accuser. Thus, Santiago’s statements on this matter, as related to the trial court by PO3 San Pedro, are mere hearsay, which even if not objected to, as in this case, nevertheless do not deserve credence (People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547, 554 [1992]). However, this is not sufficient to exonerate Accused-Appellant. The Office of the Solicitor General, citing People v. Barba (203 SCRA 436, 452 [1991]), correctly points out that the positive identification of accused-appellant by Dr. Delfin Tolentino who is untainted by any motive to falsely testify, sufficiently established the guilt of accused-appellant, for the law does not require that positive identification be corroborated to obtain conviction (p. 82, Rollo). The People submits that it does not matter that it was only after such declaration that the police were able to get a lead on Fernandez. Indeed, and most helpfully, the police got valuable information from their interview with Dr. Delfin Tolentino which led to the successful solution of the crime.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    Likewise, there was no proof that Dr. Delfin Tolentino, at the time of the incident, did not possess the proper mental and physical faculties as to make him a less than credible witness. The record shows Dr. Delfin Tolentino saw who the malefactors were:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. How far or how near were you then from that person who wants to consult you as physician at that time that you saw that person?

    A. Probably 3-4 feet, Sir.

    (p. 17, TSN, March 22, 1993)

    Q. Before you were actually over-powered, your eyes were covered with masking tape, were you able to recognize that person who according to you consulted you for medical treatment?

    A. Yes, Sir. He was very near to me and I was able to see him very well.

    Q. If that person is present in court, can you identify him, point to him?

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Q. Please look around before this courtroom and tell us if that person is present?

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Interpreter:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Witness pointed to a detention prisoner, in uniform and who when asked of his name, answered Fernando Fernandez.

    (pp. 18-19, Ibid.)

    Q. At the time they were trying to open the safe, how far or how near were you from them?

    A. They were just very near me, probably around 1 to 2 feet, Sir.

    Q. Can you tell us who was the person who first attempted to open the safe?

    A. At first, Fernando Fernandez, Sir (Witness pointing to accused Fernando Fernandez).

    Q. And what was the other person doing then when this Fernando Fernandez was first trying open the safe or vault?

    A. He was just standing beside me, Sir.

    (pp. 23-24, Ibid.)

    Verily, Dr. Delfin Tolentino’s categorical, clear, and consistent answers during the intensive cross-examination all the more indicated that he possessed all the faculties required of a qualified witness, that he was telling the truth, and that his declarations and answers established, beyond reasonable doubt, the identity of the perpetrators of the crime:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. Now, Mr. Witness, you testified a while ago that a person tried to enter your clinic posing as a patient; now, where was the person whom you said tried to pose as a patient when you first saw him on April 10, 1991?

    A. He was just outside the clinic, Sir.

    Q. And, you were inside the clinic, Mr. Witness?

    A. And, he was outside the clinic.

    Q. Was your clinic made of concrete materials?

    A. Mixed materials, Sir.

    Q. Was there any window at that time, Mr. Witness?

    A. Yes, Sir. That is how I saw Fernando Fernandez, through the window.

    Q. And, the window is made of glass, Mr. Witness?

    A. Yes, Sir, but the window was opened.

    Q. Was there any cover in that window to protect the occupant inside the clinic from sunlight?

    A. There was none, Sir.

    Q. And, you said that person who posed as a patient was how far from you, Mr. Witness?

    A. Probably around 2 to 3 feet, Sir.

    Q. And after you conversed with that person outside the clinic, Mr. Witness, you decided to open the door of your clinic, is that correct?

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Q. And, after you opened the door of your clinic, you said your eyes were immediately covered by masking tape?

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Q. And, from that time on until you said the vault was opened by you, your eyes were covered by masking tape?

    A. When I opened the safe, they removed the cover already and they put my eyeglasses.

    Q. By the way, Mr. Witness, when you were conversing with that person whom you said posed as a patient, you were not wearing your eyeglasses at that time, Mr. Witness?

    A. I was wearing my eyeglasses already.

    Q. Now, Mr. Witness, can you still see me clearly?

    A. Yes, Sir, very clear, I can see you. You have your eyeglasses, you are "gwapo" .

    Atty. Vargas:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Thank you.

    Court:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Make it of record that the distance between the witness and the defense counsel is about 2 meters, more or less, as stipulated by the parties.

    (pp. 38-41, Ibid.)

    Q. Now, Mr. Witness, when you said you were in your room, the masking tape that covers your eyes were removed?

    A. Removed, Sir and they put my eyeglasses on.

    Q. And, at that time, where was Joel Santiago?

    A. At my right side, Sir. Fernando was in front of me.

    Q. But when the masking tape was removed, the first person you saw was Joel Santiago, is that correct, Mr. Witness?

    A. No, Sir, Fernando Fernandez.

    Q. Now, how far was Fernando Fernandez from you Mr. Witness?

    A. It is only around two (2) feet, Sir.

    Q. Was his face towards you or his back towards you?

    A. He was in front of me; he was facing me.

    Q. Now, how about Joel Santiago, what was he doing at that time, Mr. Witness?

    Prosecutor:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The question is vague, Your Honor.

    Atty. Vargas:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . at the time you were in front of your safe and the masking tape was removed?

    A. They were ransacking the contents of the safe and they got what they wanted.

    Q. So, you said they were ransacking the safe; you mean the 2 persons Mr. Witness?

    A. Fernando Fernandez was the one who removed the tape of my eyes, Sir.

    Q. So, Fernando Fernandez was at your back at that time?

    A. No, Sir. He was in front; I was in front. He could remove it like that.

    Q. And, after that, they went to your safe?

    A. Yes, Sir. We were already in front of the safe.

    Q. How far were you from the safe when the masking tape was removed?

    A. Probably around 2 feet or more than one foot.

    Q. And, Fernando Fernandez, how far was he from the safe?

    A. Only around 2 feet, Sir.

    Q. And, you said they were ransacking the safe how far were you from the safe?

    A. Around 2 feet, Sir.

    Q. When they were ransacking the safe?

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Q. The safe was in front of you Mr. Witness?

    A. Yes, Sir almost.

    Q. So, when they were ransacking the safe, their backs were towards you?

    A. No, Sir. Fernando was just in front of me and Joel was on my right side, very near, that is why I could see both of them very clearly.

    Q. How long were you able to see the accused Fernando Fernandez, Mr. Witness?

    Prosecutor:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    On that particular moment, while they were ransacking the safe?

    Court:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Specify.

    Atty. Vargas:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . at the time the masking tape was removed from your eyes?

    A. Probably around 15 minutes, Sir.

    (pp. 45-48, Ibid.)

    The Court thus sees no ground to reverse the trial court’s judgment in regard to accused-appellant’s guilt. It is settled doctrine that in matters such as credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of trial courts, unless material and substantial facts have gone unnoticed by the latter, the reason being the trial court, having had the first-hand opportunity to observe the witnesses’ deportment and manner of testifying during the trial, is in a better position to assess their credibility (People v. Eduardo Ligotan y Fabella, G.R. No. 119219, September 30, 1996). However, the trial court committed an error in convicting accused-appellant of the crime of robbery with homicide and physical injuries. The appealed judgment should be modified in that the crime committed by accused-appellant should simply be robbery with homicide, since the physical injuries committed during or on occasion of the robbery are absorbed therein, regardless of the number of homicides and physical injuries committed (People v. Pamintuan, 222 SCRA 716, 722 [1993]).

    WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is AFFIRMED, except with the modification that accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide.

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Davide, Jr., J., did not take in the deliberation, was on sick leave.

    G.R. No. 123074   July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ


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