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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. 119068   July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 119068. July 31, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DANTE CASTRO, RITO CASTRO, JOEL CASTRO, GEORGE CASTRO and OSCAR CASTRO, Accused-Appellants.

    Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    PAO for Accused-Appellants.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY; TESTIMONY OF WITNESS IN OPEN COURT COMMANDS GREATER WEIGHT THAN AFFIDAVITS. — The testimony of Lourdes Sosia, the victim’s widow, during the trial that all the appellant’s killed her husband prevail as over the afidavit she executed after the incident. It has been held that whenever there is inconsistency between the affidavit and the testimony of a witness in Court, the testimony commands greater weight. Moreover, affidavit taken ex parte are inferior to testimony given in court, the former being almost invariably incomplete and oftentimes inaccurate.

    2. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY; ALIBI; UNAVAILING WHERE ACCUSED WERE POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED. — The alibi put up by Dante Castro and Rito Castro was shuttered to pieces and blown to oblivion when Loreto Garcia and Escobar testified as rebuttal witness declaring that Dante Castro was seen by these two rebuttal witnesses in the afternoon of August 21, 1991 near tho premises of Loreto Garcia’s house, when Escobar was about to fetch water from the artesian well. Dante Castro and Rito Castro failed to refute these declarations of Escobar and Garcia.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; WITHOUT CREDIBLE VALUE WHERE THERE WAS NO IMPOSSIBILITY FOR ACCUSED TO BE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME DURING ITS COMMISSION. — In the defense of alibi put up by Dante and Rito Castro, the court a quo found that the distance between Bacring and Barangay Unag is seven (7) kilometer and can be negotiated by hiking or walking in two (2) hours.

    4. CRIMINAL LAW; JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE; SELF-DEFENSE; NEGATED BY NUMBER OF WOUNDS SUSTAINED BY VICTIM. — The trial court likewise declared that" [t]he claims of self-defense on the the part of Oscar Castro has [sic] no probative value whatsoever. The number of wounds in the body (of the victim), consisting of eight (8) wounds, three hacked wounds, three incised wounds, one abrasion, and one gunshot wound, negate the claim of self-defense. The self-defense put up by Oscar Castro is likewise unavailing. This pretense was not substantiated by a medical certificate.

    5. ID.; CONSPIRACY; MALEFACTORS ACTED IN CONCERT PURSUANT TO THE SAME OBJECTIVE. — The trial court found that conspiracy was attendant in the incident. To establish conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to previous agreement to commit a crime. It is sufficient that the malefactors shall have acted in concert pursuant to the same objective.

    6. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE; OVERCOME BY PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. — The record is replete with evidence showing beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused appellants. Two (2) other prosecution witnesses — Clodualdo Escobar and Elon Farinas — declared that the appellants committed the gruesome crime. Clodualdo Escobar was with the victim and witnessed the whole incident from the moment Oscar Castro hit the victim with a bolo up to the time he was shot by Rito Castro. All told, the constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the accused-appellants Dante, Rito, Joel, George and Oscar all surnamed Castro has been overcome by proof beyond reasonable doubt.

    7. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES INDEMNITY FOR DEATH; PAYMENT ORDER IN CASE AT BAR. — The trial court failed to require the accused-appellants to indemnify the heirs of the victim Alfonso Sosia according to settled jurisprudence. We, therefore, order such indemnity in this decision. The appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that the accused-appellants are ordered, jointly and severally to indemnify the heirs of Alfonso Sosia the amount of P50,000.00, with costs against Accused-Appellants.


    D E C I S I O N


    PADILLA, J.:


    An information, dated 14 November 1991, 1 was filed by Provincial Prosecutor Alejandro A. Pulido of Cagayan charging Dante, Oscar, Rito, Joel, George, all surnamed Castro, Caridad Menor y Castro alias Caring and Genesia Garcia y Castro with the crime of murder, allegedly committed as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The undersigned, Provincial Prosecutor, accuses Dante Castro, Oscar Castro, Rito Castro, Joel Castro, George Castro alias Jong, Caridad Menor y Castro alias Caring, and Genesia Garcia y Castro alias Jining of the crime of Murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about August 22, 1991, in the Municipality of Amulung, Province of Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, Dante Castro, Oscar Castro, Rito Castro, Joel Castro, Caring and Genesia Garcia y Castro alias Jining, armed with long handled bolos (tabas), spear and a gun, conspiring together and helping one another with intent to kill, with evident premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of superior strength did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab, hack and shoot one, Alfonso Sosia, inflicting upon him several injuries on the different parts of his body which caused his death.

    Contrary to law."cralaw virtua1aw library

    On 10 February 1992, the accused, assisted by counsel, were arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Defense counsel waived pre-trial for the accused and moved for continuous trial which commenced on 2 March 1992 and terminating on 15 February 1994 when both prosecution and defense submitted the case for resolution.

    On 10 May 1994, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 02 of Tuguegarao, Cagayan rendered a decision, 2 the dispositive part of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, finding the accused Oscar Castro, Dante Castro, Rito Castro, Joel Castro and George Castro guilty beyond all reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder as penalized under Art. 248, of the Revised Penal Code, they are hereby sentenced separately of [sic] the following penalties:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. To Oscar, an indeterminate sentence of 10 years and 1 day of prision mayor to 18 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal medium;

    2. To Dante Castro, Rito, Castro, Joel Castro and George Castro, reclusion perpetua;

    3. Genesia Castro and Caridad Castro are acquitted of the murder charge.

    4. All the accused except Caridad and Genesia Castro are hereby ordered to pay the cost of the suit.

    SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The facts, as summarized by the Solicitor General in his brief, are as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "In the morning of August 22, 1991, Clodualdo Escobar went to Barangay Bacring, Amulung, Cagayan to supervise the cultivation and preparation of his agricultural property, consisting of 25 hectares (TSN, March 2, 1992, pp. 14-15).

    Escobar and his tenant and overseer Alfonso Sosia, who was carrying a harrow borrowed from Romulo Garcia, were on their way to the farm when they met appellants Oscar Castro, Joel Castro, Rito Castro, Dante Castro and George Castro. Genesia Castro and Caridad Castro were also with the group (pp. 17-18, Ibid.).

    Escobar was ahead of Sosia by a distance of four (4) to five (5) meters. Appellant Oscar Castro, the leader of the group asked Escobar and Sosia where they were going (Ibid.). Fear gripped Escobar, because appellants Oscar, Rito and Joel were all carrying boloes. Without waiting for an answer, appellant Oscar hit the left hand of Sosia who was behind Escobar. Escobar was at that time moving backward, facing all the appellants (p. 19, Ibid.). After Sosia was hit, he tried to shield himself with the harrow he was carrying. Then came a series of stab and hacking blows from appellants Dante and George. George hacked the shoulder of Sosia, while Dante stabbed the right forearm of Sosia with a long bolo (Ibid., p. 20).

    Appellant George was at the back of Sosia at the left side of Dante when he delivered the stab blow. Dante and George came from the back of the house of Ernesto Garcia when they hit Sosia. George was carrying a yellow sack, where he got a handgun which he gave to his uncle Rito, who immediately fired it and shot the lying Sosia (p. 21, Ibid.).

    All the appellants triumphantly shouted "nangabak kamin (meaning: We won.) (Ibid, p. 22). For fear that Rito might shoot him, Escobar retreated twenty-five (25) meters away. On the other hand, Caridad Castro used a spear to block Lourdes Castro [sic] who was calling for help. Genesia Castro meanwhile was shouting, "Adda pay ni Lakay Escobar, patayen yo pay" (meaning: Here is oldman Escobar, kill him also (Ibid., pp. 23-25).

    After Sosia fell, he was placed in a hammock and brought to Tuguegarao, Cagayan for treatment but died on the way. The body was brought to the house of one Rodolfo Farinas at Bayabat, Cagayan. The incident was reported to the 111th Philippine Constabulary detachment at Bayabat, Cagayan (Ibid., pp. 29-30)." 3

    In their brief, appellants attempted to show that the testimony of Lourdes Sosia * (victim’s wife) during the trial and the affidavit she executed on 27 August 1991 were contrived and devised. Appellants aver that in an interview by SPO1 Pedrito Catil of Lourdes Sosia on 22 August 1991, right after the incident in question took place, the latter informed the police investigator that it was only Oscar Castro who was the assailant of her husband Alfonso Sosia. According to appellants, such statement which was made on the same day the incident happened, should have been regarded by the trial court as part of the res gestae for it was made after a startling occurrence before she had time to concoct lies or to fabricate an account.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    According to appellants, all the requisites for the admission of said statement as part of the res gestae under the Rules of Court are present in this case, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(a) That the principal fact, the res gestae, be a startling occurrence;

    (b) that the statements were made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and

    (c) that the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances." 4

    Appellants further allege that the testimony in court of Lourdes Sosia implicating all the other appellants in the crime charged is not the product of a natural and spontaneous reaction or response.

    It is then argued by appellants that while admittedly all the appellants (Except Oscar Castro) invoked the defense of alibi — usually a weak defense — the same should not be looked upon with disfavor in this case, as the same was amply corroborated on material points by the defense’s witnesses. In short, according to appellants, the presumption of innocence standing in their favor has not been adequately overcome by the prosecution.

    Appellant’s arguments are not impressed with merit.

    The testimony of Lourdes Sosia, the victim’s widow, during the trial that all the appellants killed her husband prevails over the affidavit she executed after the incident. It has been held that whenever there is inconsistency between the affidavit and the testimony of a witness in court, the testimony commands greater weight. 5 Moreover, affidavits taken ex parte are inferior to testimony given in court, the former being almost invariably incomplete and oftentimes inaccurate. 6

    The record is replete with evidence showing beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the Accused-Appellants. Two (2) other prosecution witnesses — Clodualdo Escobar and Elon Farinas — declared that the appellants committed the gruesome crime. Clodualdo Escobar was with the victim and witnessed the whole incident from the moment Oscar Castro hit the victim with a bolo up to the time the victim was shot by Rito Castro.

    The defense of alibi put up by the appellants is not worthy of belief and fails to convince us. We agree with the trial court’s finding, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Now, coming to the individual alibi put up by Dante Castro, Rito Castro, Joel Castro and George Castro, suffice it to state, that the defenses of alibi put up by the four male accused are unconvincing and unworthy of belief. Take the case of Dante Castro and Rito Castro. These two accused alleged that they went to Barangay Unag, Amulung, Cagayan, in the morning of August 21, 1991. True it is, that Eduardo Tabbu declared that he saw the two accused in the morning of August 21, 1991, at the house of Anita Tabbu and Ricardo Aglibar, but there is no proof that they slept in the house of the Aglibars on the night of August 21, 1991. Even granting that Dante Castro and Rito Castro really went to Barangay Unag in the morning of August 21 to plow the field of Ricardo Aglibar who was sick, but this does not prove that they slept in the latter’s house on August 21, 1991. Anita Tabbu or Ricardo Aglibar should have been called upon to testify that said accused did not go home to Bacring in the afternoon or night of August 21, and stayed in said barangay up to August 24, when the two accused allegedly went home.

    The alibi put up by Dante Castro and Rito Castro was shuttered to pieces and blown to oblivion when Loreto Garcia and Escobar testified as rebuttal witnesses declaring that Dante Castro was seen by these two rebuttal witnesses in the afternoon of August 21, 1991 near the premises of Loreto Garcia’s house, when Escobar was about to fetch water from the artesian well. Dante Castro and Rito Castro failed to refute these declarations of Escobar and Garcia.

    Loreto Garcia’s testimony carries great weight considering that Dante Castro, Rito Castro and Oscar Castro are the nephews of Loreto Garcia, because Genesia Garcia-Castro, mother of Dante, Oscar and Rito, is the sister of Loreto Garcia.

    The alibi of Joel Castro that he was sick, suffering from cold and fever on August 22, 1991, would not also hold water. If really Joel Castro was sick, then Laboreto Peana, the councilman in their place, should not have sent Joel Castro to call for the barangay captain. Neither Laboreto Peana or Jose Peana stated that Joel Castro was sick. Even assuming that Joel Castro was sick and that he forced himself to report the incident to the barangay captain, what would prevent said accused from being at the scene of the crime where Alfonso Sosia was killed since he could walk and roam around.

    The pretensions of George Castro that after Alfonso Sosia fired at him, he went to the house of his Auntie Betty Donato y Castro and stayed there up to 3:00 P.M. deserves scant consideration because Betty Donato was not called upon to testify. The fact alone that George Castro failed to report to his auntie what happened to him, that is, that Socia fired at him seriously impaired and weakened his claim of alibi.: 7

    In the defense of alibi put up by Dante and Rito Castro, the court a quo found that the distance between Bacring and Barangay Unag is seven (7) kilometers and can be negotiated by hiking or walking in two (2) hours. Moreover, such alibi was completely shattered when rebuttal prosecution witnesses Loreto Garcia and Clodualdo Escobar testified that Dante Castro was seen by them in the afternoon of 21 August 1991 at the premises of Garcia’s house when Escobar was about to fetch water from the artesian well. These declarations were not refuted by the appellants Dante and Rito Castro.

    The trial court likewise declared that" [t]he claims of self-defense on the part of Oscar Castro has [sic] no probative value whatsoever. The number of wounds in the body (of the victim), consisting of eight (8) wounds, three hacked wounds, three incised wounds, one abrasion, and one gunshot wound, negate the claim of self-defense." The self-defense put up by Oscar Castro is likewise unavailing. This pretense was not substantiated by a medical certificate. The firearm which was used in shooting Alfonso Sosia was not immediately surrendered to the police authorities but thrown in a cogonal area. Oscar Castro claims that at first he did not volunteer to surrender the firearm because of fear that he would be implicated. This claim is devoid of any logic when one considers that he readily surrendered the bolo which he used in hacking and stabbing Alfonso Sosia. We agree with the conclusion of the trial court that it is patently clear that there was suppression of the handgun as a piece of evidence because if the fingerprints taken from the firearm were similar to the fingerprints of Rito Castro who, according to the prosecution’s evidence was the one who fired the gun, then Rito Castro would surely be charged with Illegal Possession of Firearm.

    The trial court found that conspiracy was attendant in the incident. To establish conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to previous agreement to commit a crime. It is sufficient that the malefactors shall have acted in concert pursuant to the same objective.

    As aptly observed by the trial court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "There is proof that the Castros are a very closely knit family. They live in the same barangay and their houses are almost adjacent to each other. Although it may be true that only Escobar and Oscar Castro are wrangling or quarelling over Lot 30, and this involves also Alfonso Socia due to his closeness to Escobar, with the latter intending to transfer the possession of Lot 30 to Alfonso Sosia, nevertheless, the oft-repeated saying: ‘that blood is thicker than water’ applies. In the Tagalog adage: ‘Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay sakit ng buong katawan,’ equally applies. Simply stated, the problem of Oscar Castro is the problem of the whole Castro Clan." 8

    In conclusion, the court below declared:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Was there conspiracy in the killing of Alfonso Socia? Art. 8, par. 2 of the Penal Code, defines conspiracy, as when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. To establish conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to previous agreement to commit a crime. It is sufficient that the malefactors shall have acted in concert pursuant to the same objective. (PP. v. San Luis, 86 Phil. 485; PP. v. Timbol, GR No. 47473; PP. v. Tian, 77 Phil. 1090). In the following cases there was implied conspiracy where four brothers attacked a victim (PP. v. Khaw Dy, 109 Phil. 649). Where five defendants converged upon the scene of the crime at the same time (PP. v. Licuana, 88 Phil. 789) where the five defendants were closely related to one another and had a common grievance to redress.

    In the case at bar, brothers, nephews and sons converged in one place attacked, stabbed, hacked and shot Alfonso Socia are clear evidence of implied conspiracy." 9

    All told, the constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the accused-appellants Dante, Rito, Joel, George and Oscar all surnamed Castro has been overcome by proof beyond reasonable doubt.

    However, the trial court failed to require the accused-appellants to indemnify the heirs of the victim Alfonso Sosia according to settled jurisprudence. 10 We, therefore, order such indemnity in this decision.

    One last observation.

    It appears from the wording of the information that the provincial prosecutor was less than meticulous in preparing the same. It is noted that the names of the accused in the first paragraph of the information are not the same as those in the second paragraph. Although the divergence is not material in this case, accuracy is always demanded in preparation of informations for violation of penal laws since slight errors may, in certain cases, cause the government to lose its case.

    WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that the accused-appellants are ordered, jointly and severally to indemnify the heirs of Alfonso Sosia the amount of P50,000.00, with costs against Accused-Appellants.

    SO ORDERED.

    Bellosillo, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

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

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 4

    2. Ibid., pp. 48-76.

    3. Rollo, pp. 182-184.

    * Alternatively spelled "Socia" in some parts of the records.

    4. Rollo, p. 134.

    5. People v. Ponayo, 235 SCRA 226; citing People v. Loveria, 187 SCRA 47.

    6. People v. Parangan, 231 SCRA 681.

    7. Rollo, p. 68-69.

    8. Rollo, p. 71.

    9. Rollo, p. 72.

    10. People v. Bravo, G.R. No. 101191, 18 October 1993, 227 SCRA 285.

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


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