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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. 113257   July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 113257. July 17, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOHNNY LASCOTA y CANDONG, Defendant-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    V . Dennis & M. Socrates for Accused-Appellant.

    SYNOPSIS


    Defendant-appellant Johnny Lascota was found guilty of murder by the trial court for the killing of Ramon Amarado Jr. during a dance in Sitio Mamonmon, Iraan, Aborlan, Palawan. In this appeal, appellant primarily contends that if at all he should be liable only for the crime of homicide because there is nothing to support the finding that the assault upon the victim was attended by the qualifying circumstance of treachery.

    The Supreme Court held appellant’s contention untenable. The evidence presented by the prosecution during the trial of the case is sufficient to establish the presence of treachery. The suddenness of the attack upon the victim who was innocently walking out of the dance area and totally oblivious of the impending attack against him coupled with the fact that the victim was unarmed and thus had no opportunity to parry the blow, indubitably demonstrate the treacherous nature of the assault.

    Judgment of conviction affirmed.


    SYLLABUS


    1. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; TREACHERY; THE SUDDENNESS OF THE ATTACK, WITHOUT ANY PROVOCATION ON THE PART OF THE VICTIM COUPLED WITH THE FACT THAT THE VICTIM WAS UNARMED AND THUS HAD NO OPPORTUNITY TO PARRY THE BLOW INDUBITABLY DEMONSTRATE THE TREACHEROUS NATURE OF THE ASSAULT; CASE AT BAR. — There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, method or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack without the slightest provocation on the part of the person being attacked. It is clear from the testimony of eyewitness Daniel Domingo that treachery attended the killing of Ramon. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, Ramon was completely unaware of appellant’s criminal design. The latter casually strode over to him and stabbed him without any warning. The suddenness of the attack, without any provocation on the part of the victim who was innocently walking out of the dance area and totally oblivious of the impending attack against him, coupled with the fact that the victim was unarmed and thus had no opportunity to parry the blow, indubitably demonstrate the treacherous nature of the assault. Ramon never had the chance to defend himself.

    2. ID.; JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; SELF-DEFENSE; UNLAWFUL AGGRESSION IS AN INDISPENSABLE ELEMENT WHETHER THE SELF-DEFENSE IS COMPLETE OR INCOMPLETE; SAID ELEMENT IS ABSENT IN CASE AT BAR. — Appellant’s claim of incomplete self-defense, which, under Art. 69 of the Revised Penal Code would lower the penalty imposable upon appellant by one or two degrees is, likewise, untenable. Other than the unsupported and unpersuasive testimony of appellant, there is no evidence on record that there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. It should be remembered that unlawful aggression is an indispensable element in the justifying circumstance of self-defense, whether complete or incomplete.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; APPELLANT’S INCONSISTENT AND CONFLICTING DEFENSES INDUBITABLY REVEAL THAT HIS CLAIM OF INCOMPLETE SELF-DEFENSE IS A MERE FABRICATION, THE SOLE PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO HAVE THE PENALTY IMPOSED UPON HIM MITIGATED. — Appellant presents inconsistent defenses. Before this Court, appellant claims incomplete self-defense. This means that he admits the commission of the crime but seeks exemption from liability on the ground that he was simply attempting to preserve his own life. However, at the trial, appellant interposed denial as his defense and completely disowned any participation in the crime. Appellant’s conflicting defenses indubitably reveals that his claim of incomplete self-defense is mere fabrication, the sole purpose of which is to have the penalty imposed upon appellant mitigated.

    4. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES; CONCLUSIONS OF THE TRIAL JUDGE WITH REGARD THERETO COMMAND GREAT RESPECT AND CONSIDERATION ESPECIALLY WHEN THE CONCLUSIONS ARE SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE ON RECORD. — We adhere to the sound doctrine that appellate courts accord the highest respect to the assessment of the testimonies of eyewitnesses by the trial court because of its unequaled opportunity to observe on the stand their demeanor and manner of testifying and to detect whether they are telling the truth or not. It is a fundamental legal aphorism that the conclusions of the trial judge on the credibility of witnesses command great respect and consideration especially when the conclusions are supported by the evidence on record. In the case at bar, to counter the aforequoted eyewitness account, the defense presents the sole testimony of appellant, which is not only self-serving but uncorroborated as well.

    5. ID.; ID.; ID.; THE TESTIMONY OF A SINGLE WITNESS IF FOUND CONVINCING AND CREDIBLE BY THE TRIAL COURT, IS SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A FINDING OF GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. — The trial court correctly assessed the issue of credibility in favor of the prosecution. That the prosecution presented only one eyewitness to the crime did not in any way dilute the evidentiary value of his credible testimony. After all, the testimony of a single witness, if found convincing and credible by the trial court, is sufficient to support a finding of guilty beyond reasonable doubt.


    D E C I S I O N


    KAPUNAN, J.:


    On January 2, 1990, five young men went to a dance at the Purok Center in Sitio Mamonmon, Iraan, Aborlan, Palawan, at the invitation of young ladies in that place. The dance was already in progress when the group arrived at around 9:00 in the evening. Before midnight, one of the young men was dead — a victim of senseless violence.

    On June 13, 1990, as a result of the untimely death of the 18-year-old victim, Ramon Amarado, Jr., the following information for murder was filed against appellant Johnny Lascota:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 2nd day of January, 1990, at Sitio Mamonmon, Barangay Iraan, Municipality of Aborlan, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused with evident premeditation and treachery, armed with a bladed weapon and with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with his bladed weapon one RAMON AMARADO, JR., hitting him in a vital part of his body and inflicting upon him a penetrating stab wound in his stomach that resulted to hemorrhage causing shock which was the direct and immediate cause of his death shortly thereafter.

    CONTRARY TO LAW. 1

    With Ramon Amarado, Jr. that fateful night were Danilo Domingo, Allan Fortin, Elmer Manuel and Aldrin Manuel. They came from Barangay Barake, Aborlan, Palawan some three or four kilometers away from Sitio Mamonmon.

    The dance was held beside the Purok Center which was more of a waiting shed than a building. It was made of pawid and light materials. The area beside the Purok Center was enclosed with bamboo posts and around it were chairs for the ladies. In the center of the dance hall was a petromax to illumine the area. 2 Another petromax was placed on the periphery of the dance floor near the gate and the fence. 3

    After dancing to the song they requested, Ramon Amarado, Jr. and Allan Portin left the dance hall. 4 On their way out, appellant approached Ramon and suddenly stabbed him. Ramon fell face down to the ground. 5 Allan who was walking ahead of Ramon, turned around to help him. Likewise, Danilo Domingo, who witnessed the whole incident, and the rest of the group hurried over to Allan and the wounded Ramon. They carried Ramon to the house of one Nestor Tañada where they borrowed a sledge and a carabao. The group boarded Ramon onto the sledge to bring him to the hospital. Ramon, however, died on the way there. Hence, instead of proceeding to the hospital, the group brought the lifeless body of Ramon to his house in the poblacion of Aborlan. 6

    Ramon’s body was autopsied by Dr. Rogelio C. Divinagracia, municipal health officer of Aborlan. The postmortem report prepared by Dr. Divinagracia shows that Ramon sustained a stab wound in the epigastric area which penetrated the liver. Ramon died of shock secondary to massive hemorrhage due to the injury to the liver which was caused by a "sharp pointed and sharp-edge(d) instrument." 7

    Danilo and Allan executed sworn statements before the Aborlan police on January 4, 1990. Both pointed to appellant as the culprit in the killing of Ramon. 8

    During the trial, Danilo Domingo recounted what he had witnessed that fateful night of 2 January 1990. At around 11:00 that evening, while he (Danilo was dancing, he saw Ramon and Allan going out of the dance hall. Allan was walking ahead of Ramon. Danilo then saw appellant coming from outside the dance hall and walking towards Ramon. A towel was wrapped around appellant’s head but Danilo nevertheless recognized him when his face was exposed to the light. He also easily recognized the appellant through the blue striped shirt he (appellant) was wearing that night. When appellant met Ramon, the former suddenly stabbed the latter with a knife. 9

    Danilo was able to identify appellant in this wise:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    ATTY. SOCRATES:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (to witness)

    Q You said, Mr. witness, that the first time you saw the accused Johnny Lascota was on January 2, 1990?

    A Yes, sir.

    Q Who told you that he was known as Tangke?

    A I was informed by the residents whom I know and who knew him.

    Q By residents of that place, the place of Iraan?

    A Yes, sir.

    Q Can you give us the name of some of the residents of Iraan who told you that that person is Tangke?

    A Eunice Base and Mirla Base.

    Q These ladies were there in the dance?

    A Yes, sir, they were the one sponsoring the dance.

    ATTY. SOCRATES:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (to witness)

    Q And they introduce to you the accused?

    A No, sir.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (to witness)

    Q When did they inform you about the name of Tangke, was it before the incident or after the incident?

    A Before the incident I was informed that his name is Tangke.

    ATTY. SOCRATES:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (to witness)

    Q Was there any special reason to point out this accused to you?

    A No special reason. I just inquired from them these persons who are ahead of us and they said one of them is Tangke and beside my other companion know him, I was the one who asked them.

    Q Could it be possible that you only learned that his name is Tangke with your companions?

    A Yes, sir, my companions also knew him.

    x       x       x 10

    For his part, Allan Fortin testified that he was the first to leave the dance hall. Ramon followed him afterwards. Suddenly, while they were walking he heard a "thud" and when he looked back, he saw the bloodied Ramon lying face down on the ground. At the same time, Allan saw appellant running outside the fence surrounding the dance hall carrying a "stainless" knife about six (6) inches (one dangkal) long. 11

    The prosecution also presented the victim’s father, Ramon Amarado, Sr. who was the barangay captain of Barake, Aborlan. According to Ramon, Sr., appellant killed his son out of anger at him because whenever appellant went to Barake, he would cause trouble and it was Ramon, Sr. who would always restrain and discipline him. Ramon, Sr. further testified that they spent P6,000.00 for his son’s wake and funeral. 12

    Interposing denial, the defense presented only appellant as witness. Appellant did not deny being at the dance when the stabbing incident occurred but strongly contends that he was not the one who stabbed and killed Ramon Amarado, Jr. Appellant claimed that the incident was precipitated by a misunderstanding regarding requests for music pieces. As soon as he arrived at the dance hall, appellant requested the person in charge to play a certain number. After that piece, the request made by Ramon, Allan, and their companions was played. As the latter group danced, appellant stood at one side of the hall. When they finished dancing, Ramon’s group, consisting of around seven persons, approached appellant. Ramon wanted to know why appellant’s request was granted when he had just arrived. Appellant replied that Ramon should ask the person in charge of the music. This angered Ramon who pulled out his bolo from his jacket. Allan did the same. Upon seeing the weapons, appellant moved back, but when he leaned on the fence, the latter gave way. When he found himself outside the fence, he ran away. 13

    On 12 July 1993, the Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 47, 14 rendered the decision disposing of Criminal Case No. 8784 as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, based on the evidence adduced, the Court hereby finds the herein accused, JOHNNY LASCOTA, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder as charged and proven in this case pursuant to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and sentences him to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased actual, moral and exemplary damages in the sum of P50,000.00; and to pay the costs.

    With this conviction of the heinous crime of Murder, the accused has become a maximum security prisoner. As such, he is hereby ordered immediately shipped to the National Penitentiary, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, to serve his sentence there.

    IT IS SO ORDERED. 15

    Appellant is now before this Court alleging that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the crime, and that the trial court erred (a) in finding him guilty of murder despite the absence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery and (b) in failing to appreciate the privileged mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense in his favor. 16

    Appellant contends that, if at all he should be found guilty of killing Ramon Amarado, Jr., he should be liable only for the crime of homicide 17 because there is nothing to support the finding that the assault upon said victim was sudden, unexpected, or done with impunity. He alleges that prosecution eyewitness Danilo Domingo could not have seen how he allegedly attacked the victim because Danilo’s eyes were focused on Ramon. 18 Neither could Allan be expected to witness the killing because the alleged attack was done behind his back. 19

    Appellant’s contentions lack merit.

    There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, method or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. 20 The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack without the slightest provocation on the part of the person being attacked. 21

    In the case at bar, appellant’s claim is belied by the straightforward testimony of the eyewitness Danilo Domingo, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    Q At about 11:00 o’clock in the evening of January 2, 1990, do you remember if there was any unusual thing that occurred?

    A Yes, sir.

    Q What was that unusual incident?

    A Ramon Amarado, Jr. was stabbed.

    Q And who did you see stabbed Ramon Amarado, Jr.

    A Tangke.

    Q And what was Ramon Amarado, Jr. doing when he was stabbed by Johnny Lascota alias Tangke?

    A He was going out from the dance hall.

    Q Who was his companion in going out when he was stabbed by Tangke?

    A Alan Porten (sic).

    Q Who else?

    A They were the only one (sic).

    Q What were you doing when you saw alias Tangke stabbed Ramon Amarado, Jr.?

    A I was still dancing.

    Q And how did Tangke stab Ramon Amarado, Jr.?

    A I just saw Tangke walked towards Ramon Amarado, Jr. and I saw him stabbed Ramon Amarado, Jr.

    Q And how were you able to see that?

    A While Ramon Amarado, Jr. was going out my eyes was (sic) focused at them.

    Q And where was Tangke came? (sic)

    A Tangke came from outside meeting them.

    Q You said that Alan Porten and Ramon Amarado, Jr. was (sic) going out the dance hall, who was ahead going out?

    A Alan Porten was ahead followed by Ramon Amarado, Jr.

    Q How far were you from Ramon Amarado, Jr. when he was stabbed by alias Tangke?

    A More or less 8 meters away, sir.

    Q And what light did you use in the dance hall?

    A Petromax, sir.

    Q Where was that Petromax placed?

    A At the middle of the dance hall.

    Q Now you said that alias Tangke, whose right name is Johnny Lascota met Ramon Amarado, Jr. and Alan Porten and when he was in front of Ramon Amarado, Jr., he stabbed Ramon Amarado, Jr., how did you see that it was Johnny Lascota who stabbed Ramon Amarado, Jr.?

    A While Johnny Lascota was walking meeting Alan Porten and Ramon Amarado, Jr., I saw him with a towel wrapped over his head but his face was exposed and facing the light at that time and I identified the stripe T-shirt blue (sic) that is why I saw him stabbed Ramon Amarado, Jr.

    x       x       x 22 (Emphasis ours.)

    It is clear from the aforequoted testimony that treachery attended the killing of Ramon. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, Ramon was completely unaware of appellant’s criminal design. The latter casually strode over to him and stabbed him without any warning. 23 The suddenness of the attack, without any provocation on the part of the victim who was innocently walking out of the dance area and totally oblivious of the impending attack against him, coupled with the fact that the victim was unarmed and thus had no opportunity to parry the blow, 24 indubitably demonstrate the treacherous nature of the assault. Ramon never had the chance to defend himself.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    We adhere to the sound doctrine that appellate courts accord the highest respect to the assessment of the testimonies of eyewitnesses by the trial court because of its unequaled opportunity to observe on the stand their demeanor and manner of testifying and to detect whether they are telling the truth or not. 25 It is a fundamental legal aphorism that the conclusions of the trial judge on the credibility of witnesses command great respect and consideration especially when the conclusions are supported by the evidence on record. 26 In the case at bar, to counter the aforequoted eyewitness account, the defense presents the sole testimony of appellant, which is not only self-serving but uncorroborated as well.

    Indeed, the trial court correctly assessed the issue of credibility in favor of the prosecution. That the prosecution presented only one eyewitness to the crime did not in any way dilute the evidentiary value of his credible testimony. After all, the testimony of a single witness, if found convincing and credible by the trial court, is sufficient to support a finding of guilty beyond reasonable doubt. 27

    Appellant’s claim of incomplete self-defense, which, under Art. 69 of the Revised Penal Code would lower the penalty imposable upon appellant by one or two degrees is, likewise, untenable. Other than the unsupported and unpersuasive testimony of appellant, there is no evidence on record that there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. It should be remembered that unlawful aggression is an indispensable element in the justifying circumstance of self-defense, whether complete or incomplete. 28

    Appellant presents inconsistent defenses. Before this Court, appellant claims incomplete self-defense. This means that he admits the commission of the crime but seeks exemption from liability on the ground that he was simply attempting to preserve his own life. 29 However, at the trial, appellant interposed denial as his defense and completely disowned any participation in the crime. He testified thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    Q While you were there in that dance, do you remember of any unusual incident that happened?

    A Yes, Sir.

    Q What was that?

    A Ramon Amarado was stabbed, Sir.

    Q Do you know who stabbed Ramon Amarado?

    A I don’t, Sir.

    Q This Ramon Amarado you are referring to is it Ramon Amarado, Jr., the victim in this case?

    A Yes, Sir.

    Q Mr. Witness, Mr. Johnny Lacosta, you are charged here for the crime of having stabbed and caused the death of Ramon Amarado, Jr., what can you say about that?

    A That’s not true, Sir.

    Q Why do you say that’s not true?

    A Because I was not the one who stabbed and killed Ramon Amarado, Jr., Sir.

    Q You are saying you were not the one who stabbed and killed Ramon Amarado, Jr., do you know of any reason why you are charged here?

    A I don’t know, Sir.

    Q Can you possibly relate to the Honorable Court what transcribed in connection with the stabbing of Ramon Amarado, Jr.?

    A Yes, Sir.

    Q What started the whole thing?

    A It started when I went to the dance. Upon arrival I requested for a number and my request was granted.

    Q Did you dance in what you asked for?

    A Yes, Sir.

    Q After the piece you requested was over, what happened?

    A After that the request made by Ramon Amarado, Alan Portem and their companions was announced.

    Q What did they do when their request was announced?

    A They danced, Sir.

    Q How about you what did you do?

    A I stood at one side, Sir.

    Q When the dance of the group of Ramon Amarado, Jr. was finished, what happened, if any?

    A After they finished dancing the group of Ramon Amarado, Jr. came near me.

    Q You said the group, can you mention the names of that group?

    A I cannot mention all of them, Sir.

    Q Can you name some of them?

    A Ramon Amarado, Jr., Alan Portem, Elmer Manuel, the younger brother of Elmer Manuel.

    Q How many were they all together?

    A About seven or eight, Sir.

    Q When that group approached you what did they do, if any?

    A Ramon Amarado asked me why my request was granted when I just arrived?

    Q What did you tell them?

    A I told him not to ask me but the one who is in charge of that dance.

    Q When you answered that way, what happened, if any?

    A Ramon Amarado, Jr. became angry, Sir.

    Q When he became angry what happened next, if any?

    A He pulled out his bolo and also Alan Portem.

    Q You said he pulled out his bolo, where did he pull out that bolo?

    A Inside his jacket, Sir. From the chest.

    Q Did you see that bolo pulled out by Ramon Amarado?

    A Yes, Sir.

    Q How long was it?

    A About like this, Sir.

    Witness demonstrating a length of about one and a half feet.

    ATTY. SOCRATES:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q How about Alan Portem what did he do?

    A He was also already holding a bolo, Sir.

    Q When they were holding that bolo did they say anything to you? I will reform the question, Your Honor.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Alright.

    ATTY. SOCRATES:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q When you saw Alan Portem and Ramon Amarado, Jr. already armed with a bolo what did you do, if any?

    A I moved back, Sir.

    Q When you moved back, what happened?

    A I was able to lean on the fence and it was destroyed.

    Q What did you do after that, if any?

    A I was already outside of the fence and then I ran away.

    x       x       x 30

    Appellant’s conflicting defenses indubitably reveals that his claim of incomplete self-defense is mere fabrication, the sole purpose of which is to have the penalty imposed upon appellant mitigated.

    WHEREFORE, the decision finding appellant Johnny Lascota guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder for the killing of Ramon Amarado, Jr. and imposing on him the penalty of reclusion perpetua and the payment of an indemnity of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Hermosisima, Jr., J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 6.

    2. TSN, September 26, 1990, pp. 26-28.

    3. Exhibit "B," Original Records, p. 45.

    4. TSN, March 22, 1991, p. 7.

    5. TSN, September 26, 1990, pp. 6-8.

    6. Id., at 9-12.

    7. Exhibit C, Original Records, p. 50.

    8. Exhibits "A" & "D," Original Records, pp. 49, 51.

    9. TSN, September 26, 1990, pp. 6-9.

    10. Id., at 15-16.

    11. TSN, March 22, 1991, pp. 7-11.

    12. TSN, September 26, 1990, pp. 37-38.

    13. TSN, July 4, 1991, pp. 6, 9-14.

    14. Presided by Judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr.

    15. Rollo, p. 5.

    16. Id., at 54.

    17. Appellant’s Brief, p. 10.

    18. Id., at 6.

    19. Id., at 7.

    20. People v. Torres, 247 SCRA 212 (1995).

    21. People v. Abapo, 239 SCRA 469 (1994).

    22. TSN, September 26, 1990, pp. 6-8.

    23. Appellee’s Brief, p. 15.

    24. TSN, September 26, 1990, p. 20.

    25. People v. Magalong, 244 SCRA 117 (1995).

    26. People v. Asoy, 251 SCRA 682 (1995).

    27. People v. Camat, 256 SCRA 52 (1996).

    28. De Luna v. Court of Appeals, 244 SCRA 758 (1995).

    29. People v. Tamparong, Jr., 249 SCRA 584 (1995).

    30. TSN, July 4, 1991, pp. 8-14.

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


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