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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
 

   
June-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 92462 June 2, 1997 - SANTIAGO GOKING v. ROLANDO R. VILLARAZA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97896 June 2, 1997 - TEKNIKA SKILLS & TRADE SERVICES, INC. v. SECRETARY OF LABOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116748 June 2, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARJORIE CASTILLO

  • G.R. No. 121434 June 2, 1997 - ELENA F. UICHICO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120880 June 5, 1997 - FERDINAND R. MARCOS II v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 76969 June 9, 1997 - INLAND REALTY INVESTMENT SERVICE, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 89369 June 9, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO BERGONIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107259 June 9, 1997 - RAYMUNDO M. DAPITON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108475 June 9, 1997 - GAMALIEL DINIO, ET AL. v. BIENVENIDO E. LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115944 June 9, 1997 - ELVIRA C. GONZALES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118536 June 9, 1997 - LAWIN SECURITY SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 119362 & 120269 June 9, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICARDO O. RABOSA

  • G.R. No. 123905 June 9, 1997 - MARIA CRISTINA FERTILIZER CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124280 June 9, 1997 - FLORA S. REYES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 730 June 10, 1997 - NEED THAT LAW STUDENT PRACTICING UNDER RULE 138-A BE SUPERVISED

  • G.R. No. 96999 June 10, 1997 - CARLOS O. YSMAEL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106812 June 10, 1997 - TAGAYTAY-TAAL TOURIST DEV. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 107302, 107306 & 108559-60 June 10, 1997 - INDUSTRIAL TIMBER CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120074 June 10, 1997 - LEAH P. ADORIO v. LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

  • G.R. No. 120594 June 10, 1997 - ALFONSO TAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123639 June 10, 1997 - ANTONIO M. GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113713 June 11, 1997 - ORIENT EXPRESS PLACEMENT PHIL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116940 June 11, 1997 - PHIL-AM GENERAL INSURANCE CO., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117561 June 11, 1997 - JULIO MARCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118041 June 11, 1997 - PHIMCO INDUSTRIES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118921-22 June 11, 1997 - ERNESTO AUSTRIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120956 June 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO MORENO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1248 June 13, 1997 - MARIEL ECUBE-BADEL v. DAVID DE LA PEÑA BADEL

  • G.R. Nos. 100513 & 111559 June 13, 1997 - SEVERINO ANTONIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102467 June 13, 1997 - EQUITABLE BANKING CORP., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 110817-22 June 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCELINO A. BUGARIN

  • G.R. No. 111088 June 13, 1997 - C & M TIMBER CORP. v. ANGEL C. ALCALA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113103 & 116000 June 13, 1997 - NAPOCOR, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114764 June 13, 1997 - WILFREDO T. PADILLA v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Case No. 4244 June 17, 1997 - BUHANGIN RESIDENTS & EMPLOYEES ASSN., ETC. v. CORAZON NUÑEZ-MALANYAON

  • G.R. No. 100920 June 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOLI SALCEDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109311 June 17, 1997 - ZENAIDA ASUNCION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 110974-81 June 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE MANANSALA

  • G.R. No. 111357 June 17, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113799 June 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BIENVENIDO BAYDO

  • G.R. No. 119337 June 17, 1997 - BAYVIEW HOTEL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120030 June 17, 1997 - ATLAS FERTILIZER CORP., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120553 June 17, 1997 - PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120802 June 17, 1997 - JOSE T. CAPILI v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121787 June 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO GREFALDIA

  • G.R. No. 121964 June 17, 1997 - ABDULIA RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122932 June 17, 1997 - JOY BROTHERS, INC. v. NWPC

  • Adm. Case No. 4431 June 19, 1997 - PRISCILLA CASTILLO VDA. DE MIJARES v. ONOFRE A. VILLALUZ

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1221 June 19, 1997 - ADORACION G. ANGELES v. PABLO C. GERNALE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1240 June 19, 1997 - WILFREDO C. BANOGON v. FELIPE T. ARIAS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1242 June 19, 1997 - ESTHER P. MAGLEO v. ARISTON G. TAYAG

  • G.R. Nos. 93100 & 97855 June 19, 1997 - ATLAS FERTILIZER CORP. v. SECRETARY OF DAR

  • G.R. No. 102612 June 19, 1997 - MANUEL L. QUEZON UNIVERSITY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 102723-24 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO CABALLES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103493 June 19, 1997 - PHILSEC INVESTMENT CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106583 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 108107 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SUSAN PANTALEON

  • G.R. No. 108616 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO PATAWARAN

  • G.R. No. 109224 June 19, 1997 - MEGASCOPE GENERAL SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110226 June 19, 1997 - ALBERTO S. SILVA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112687 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABNER B. EUBRA

  • G.R. No. 113685 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. THEODORE BERNAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114812 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODEL Z. SAHAGUN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115968 June 19, 1997 - RUBIN FERRER, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116394 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEODORO BONOLA

  • G.R. No. 116918 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BONFILO MARTINEZ

  • G.R. No. 117005 June 19, 1997 - CARLITO D. CORPUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117228 June 19, 1997 - RODOLFO MORALES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118335-36 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSELLER ALAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119071 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO ANTIPONA

  • G.R. No. 121429 June 19, 1997 - MARCIA TUMBIGA v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122368 June 19, 1997 - BERNARDO NAZAL, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122389 June 19, 1997 - MIGUEL SINGSON v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122806 June 19, 1997 - TIMES BROADCASTING NETWORK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122866 June 19, 1997 - MELVA NATH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123073 June 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN CAYABYAB

  • G.R. No. 123673 June 19, 1997 - PEDRO C. CALUCAG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123708 June 19, 1997 - CSC, ET AL. v. RAFAEL M. SALAS

  • G.R. No. 124050 June 19, 1997 ccc zz

    MAYER STEEL PIPE CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125008 June 19, 1997 - COMMODITIES STORAGE & ICE PLANT CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125221 June 19, 1997 - REYNALDO M. LOZANO v. ELIEZER R. DE LOS SANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125347 June 19, 1997 - EMILIANO RILLO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125798 June 19, 1997 - HADJI HAMID LUMNA PATORAY v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125955 June 19, 1997 - WILMER GREGO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126361 June 19, 1997 - VICTOR R. MIRANDA, ET AL. v. JESSIE B. CASTILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127311 June 19, 1997 - CONRADO LINDO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127623 June 19, 1997 - DOMINADOR VERGEL DE DIOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116216 June 20, 1997 - NATALIA S. MENDOZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116695 June 20, 1997 - VICTORIA G. GACHON, ET AL. v. NORBERTO C. DEVERA, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118435 June 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO SERZO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 119178 June 20, 1997 - LINA LIM LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119745 June 20, 1997 - POWER COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122079 June 27, 1997 - ANTONIO CONCEPCION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100935 June 30, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE ZABALLERO

  • G.R. No. 102316 June 30, 1997 - VALENZUELA HARDWOOD AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112260 June 30, 1997 - JOVITA YAP ANCOG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115689 June 30, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LINO ARTIAGA

  • G.R. No. 121793 June 30, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ADONIS BALAD

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    G.R. No. 121787   June 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO GREFALDIA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 121787. June 17, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. EDGARDO GREFALDIA, Accused-Appellant.

    Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    PAO for Accused-Appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS; CREDIBILITY; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT; ENTITLED TO GREAT WEIGHT ON APPEAL; EXCEPTION. — The trial factual findings, particularly its assessment of the credibility of witnesses, are entitled to great weight on appeal. The reason therefor is that the trial judge enjoys the peculiar advantage of observing first-hand the deportment of the witnesses while testifying and is, therefore, in a better position to form accurate impressions and conclusions on the basis thereof. Having the opportunity to observe them on the stand, the trial judge is able to "detect that sometimes thin line between fact and prevarication that will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused . . . [and] those tell-tale signs that will affirm the truth or expose the contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply . . .; [or observed] if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked down in confession or gazed steadily with a serenity that has nothing to distort or conceal . . .; [or see] if tears were shed in anger, or in shame, or in remembered pain, or in feigned innocence." Appellate courts will disregard the trial court’s assessment of credibility only if it plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case, or if its assessment or evaluation of the witnesses’ credibility was reached arbitrarily.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ENTITLED TO FULL FAITH AND CREDIT IN THE ABSENCE OF IMPROPER MOTIVE. — It is settled that where there is no evidence and there is nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper motive, the presumption is that the witness was not so actuated; and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. Indeed, if an accused had really nothing to do with the crime, it is against the natural order of events and of human nature and against the presumption of good faith that the prosecution witness would falsely testify against the former. The trial court then committed no error in giving full faith to Vilma’s testimony.

    3. ID.; ID.; CIRCUMSTANTIAL; WHEN SUFFICIENT TO PRODUCE CONVICTION. — Section 4. Rule 133 of the Rules of Court lays down the following conditions when circumstantial evidence may be sufficient to convict: 1. there is more than one circumstance; 2. the facts from which the inference are derived are proven; and 3. the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. As jurisprudentially formulated, a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proven constitute "an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the defendant, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person i.e., the circumstances proven must be consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with any other hypothesis except that guilty.

    4. ID.; ID.; ALIBI; WEAKEST OF ALL DEFENSES AND CANNOT PREVAIL OVER POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION OF THE ACCUSED. — Necessarily, the defense of denial and alibi interposed by the accused must fail. Alibi is the weakest of all defenses, for it is easy to fabricate and difficult to disprove; it cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by credible witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime. Moreover, he failed to show that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary


    D E C I S I O N


    DAVIDE, JR., J.:


    Accused-appellant Edgardo Grefaldia seeks the reversal of the decision 1 of 15 November 1994 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Gumaca, Quezon, Branch 61, in Criminal Case No. 3327-G, convicting him of the crime of murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the amount of P50,000.

    The information to which the accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty 2 reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 3rd day of December 1988, at Barangay San Pablo, Municipality of Buenavista, Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with an armalite rifle, caliber 5.56, with trade mark "Elisco", with tampered Serial Number, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot with the said firearm one Jojo Buenaobra, hitting him on the different parts of his body, which directly caused his death.

    That the accused attacked and shot said Jojo Buenaobra suddenly and unexpectedly without giving the said Jojo Buenaobra any opportunity to defend himself or to escape.

    Contrary to law.

    As narrated in the appealed decision this case was but one of the thirteen criminal cases against the accused which were jointly tried. The prosecution presented common evidence for this case and for Criminal Cases Nos. 3199-G (for rape), 3222-G, 3325-G, and 3326-G (all for murder) consisting of the testimony of Vilma Convocar. It likewise submitted the death certificate of the victim, Jojo Buenaobra. 3

    We quote verbatim the trial court’s summary of the evidence for the People as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    On December 3, 1988, at about 7:00 o’clock in the evening, Vilma Convocar and her children with ages 2 years old and six months old, respectively, were inside their one storey house at Bgy. Batabat, Buenavista, Quezon. Her husband, Gilberto Convocar, was outside their house at that time. Suddenly she heard a gunshot and then, she heard her husband shouted "Why did you shoot me?" Then her husband entered the house and she saw that he was shot on the thigh while outside the house. She embraced her husband and asked what happened to him. But accused Grefaldia whose face at that time was covered with black cloth suddenly peeped in their door and told her to put out the gas lamp. She was afraid and she could do nothing so, she obeyed. Then, she was brought downstairs. She was asked to point to them the house of Jessie Buenaobra, her neighbor, which she did due to her fear. She was told to go with them and Grefaldia ordered her to leave her children behind together with her wounded husband in their house. After she pointed the house of Jessie Buenaobra, Grefaldia armed with an armalite proceeded to the house while she was left in the fields together with his companion. Thereafter, she heard three (3) gunshots. She was again told to go with them and when they passed beside the house of Jessie Buenaobra, she saw that the mother and son were already dead. She was brought to the place of Grefaldia at Bgy. San Pablo, Buenavista, Quezon where she was raped by four persons. She was able to recognize the accused Grefaldia as the person whose face was covered with a black cloth because he removed his mask when he raped her. The first person who raped her was Grefaldia followed by his three companions whom she was not able to recognize. She was forced while the others were holding her. It was already midnight when they finished raping her. After that, she was ordered to get dressed up and she was brought to the highway accompanied by them. When they reached the highway, she slipped and she fell on the ground because the bank of the highway is high. They thought that she was running and she told them without facing them that she was running. At that time, she took the chance to run away from the group. When she fell down from the road, Grefaldia shot her and when she rose up, he shot her again but missed her. She knew that it was Grefaldia who shot her because he was the one who went with her to the highway. She ran away and waited in the cogonal area until morning, of the following day. When it was already 5:30 in the morning, she went back to their house where she saw her husband already dead while her older child was near the head of her husband and she found her younger son under the house covered with a plastic fish net. The brother of her husband heard the gunshot and he sought the help of the barangay councilmen but they did not assist or help, and they even told her brother-in-law to be thankful because only one was killed. They are afraid that somebody else might be involved. Accused Grefaldia is living in the adjacent barangay of San Pablo. She recalled that at the time her husband was shot, she saw blood came out from him. They called authorities and it was already daytime when they arrived in their house to investigate. She accompanied the authorities to the house where she was brought. But when they arrived there, the companions of Grefaldia were not there anymore. The authorities searched the house of Edgardo Grefaldia, they found a rolled mat upstairs and inside that mat, they saw Grefaldia, who voluntarily surrendered to the authorities with his gun too. (TSN., January 30, 1990).

    Cross-examined she stated that their barangay is far from the poblacion of Buenavista and that there is no electricity in said place, they use gas lamps. The gas lamp at their house was at their altar and it illumined the inner portion of their house. Her 26 year old husband died because he was shot. She admitted that she just heard a gunshot and she heard her husband shouted. The shot was already made when the person wearing the mask on his face peeped at the door of their house. She was not able to recognize him but she knows him by his features. She did not actually see the person who pulled the trigger and shot her husband but she presumed that it was done by the masked person who peeped at their door after the gunshot. The masked person has a companion whom she failed to identify. That person who peeped through their door asked her to put off the light which she followed because of fear. The person wearing a mask and his companion brought her outside the house. She and her husband were married in 1985 and during their marriage, she does not know of any other persons with whom he has ill feelings or estranged relationship. Her husband was not drunk at that time. The first time she came to know the accused more particularly was when she was brought by him to his house that same evening of the shooting incident, when his face was covered with mask. There were many houses in the vicinity where her house is situated but those were a little bit far because there are mountains in between their houses. She does not know if their place is infested with NPA because she has never seen one (TSN., March 15, 1990).

    On her second cross-examination, she said that her husband was shot outside their residence at 7:00 P.M. of December 3, 1988 and she saw the one who shot her husband because he peeped through their door. She admitted, however, that she did not see him actually shot her husband. She learned that her husband was shot on the thigh because he ran inside their house, and at this point of time, this person covered with a black cloth in his face peeped through their door. She insisted that she recognized this masked person when he brought her along although at the time that he was peeping, she did not recognize him. Grefaldia has a companion who was armed with a bladed weapon. She was required by the person with gun to go along with them to point the house of Jessie. When she left their house, her husband was still alive but he was just looking at her without saying anything and his only wound at that time was on his thigh. She went with the two persons to the residence of Jessie Buenaobra and it was only Grefaldia who had his face covered with black cloth while his companion has none. The face of Grefaldia was covered even upon reaching the residence of Jessie Buenaobra and that was the first time she was able to see Grefaldia closer. She was left behind with the companion of the accused and they were in the plowed field which is adjacent to the house of Jessie Buenaobra. The distance of the house of Buenaobra from her house is 10 meters (TSN., May 29, 1990).

    On her third and last cross examination, she testified that she was with the armed men from 7:00 o’clock in the evening until midnight of December 3, 1988. When they took her from their house, they asked her to point the house of Jessie (Jesus) Buenaobra and after pointing said house to them, she heard three gunshots and then they passed by that house, she saw that the mother and son were already dead. After that, she was brought to their house. She knew very well that it was Edgardo Grefaldia who shot the Buenaobras because they were two when they went to their house and there were two other persons who were already at the place where she was brought. She was present when the shooting incident took place in the Buenaobra residence because she was downstairs when Grefaldia went to the house of Jessie Buenaobra and his companion was left behind with her at the plowed field (araduhan), with the instruction from Grefaldia to guard her very well, and after that, she heard three gunshots. After that, Edgardo Grefaldia faced them while they were at the araduhan and when they passed by the house of Jessie Buenaobra, she saw that the mother and the son were already dead. It was only her presumption that the person who was wearing a mask was Edgardo Grefaldia. After said incident, she was brought somewhere in Barangay San Pablo, Buenavista, Quezon and that was her first time to reach that place. That night, they were lighted with flashlight although it was poor lighting then, but sometimes she happened to glance in Grefaldia’s face because of the light coming from that flashlight and after they reached his house, he removed his masked. The road connecting Barangay Batabat and San Pablo is mountainous, there are trees and cogon along the road. There is no electricity yet in that place. There were two other men in the place where she was raped and they were not wearing mask on their faces. These men and the man with mask talked with one another in whispers. The house where she was raped was big and she was brought to the place where they were placing guns, inside said house. She already recognized accused, by his face, his feature and when he was apprehended the following day, he was wearing the same short pants, because the following day, she caused his apprehension. She admitted that she was not well versed with that place of Grefaldia but she remembered that place where they passed that fateful night because she cut into several pieces the woods and dropped those pieces of woods along the way. She also remembered that there was a small house near the house of Edgardo Grefaldia and after that house they passed by the creek and then a mountain and then after the mountain, there was a plain or level ground. On re-direct examination, she claimed that it was only Grefaldia who went inside the house of Jessie, the other one was left behind holding her shoulder and poking a knife at her. Grefaldia was holding a weapon when he entered the house. She saw what was happening because she and the men guarding her was on the lower portion of the place where the house of Jessie Buenaobra is located and there were no plants there which obstructed her sight. She admitted that she did not see who actually shot Buenaobra, it was merely her assumption that it was Edgardo Grefaldia who did it because he was the one who proceeded to the house of Jessie Buenaobra carrying a weapon (TSN., August 14, 1990). 4chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    For its part, the defense presented Alonzo Guerrero, the accused-appellant, and Alejo Larce as its witnesses. We quote verbatim the trial court’s summary of the evidence for the defense as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Alonzo Guerrero, a retired military man, residing at Calauag, Quezon, was assigned for a long time at Buenavista, Quezon in 1965 to 1969 and in 1978. He knew accused to be a good person because when Edgardo Grefaldia was just a young boy, he used to see the accused helping his parents in plowing the field and he was having a hard time carrying the plow. The last time he saw accused was in December 1988 at Calauag, Quezon, maybe December 1, 2 or 3, because he thought it was on the first week of December and accused asked him if he could sleep in their house. Accused had three hours sleep and left at maybe 6:00 o’clock to go home. He appeared as witness voluntarily and he received a subpoena. He is not related to Grefaldia and he just want to prove the truth (TSN., February 24, 1993, pp. 2-6). On additional direct examination on March 30, 1993, he claimed he was certain that it was on December 4, 1988 when Grefaldia arrived in their place at around 3:00 o’clock in the morning because he asked his wife about it. They remembered the date because his wife who was not feeling well at that time had a check up with her doctor on said date. He admitted that accused stayed in their house for a three (3) hours sleep and he did not know accused whereabouts before 3:00 o’clock in the morning and after 6:00 o’clock in the morning when accused left his place. Witness asked accused why he arrived in their house at that hour, Grefaldia told him, he came from Bicol (TSN., March 30, 1993, pp. 2-5).

    Accused, Edgardo Grefaldia, claimed that on December 4, 1988, he had just newly arrived in their house at Bgy. San Pablo, Buenavista, Quezon, at 11:00 o’clock in the morning when he was apprehended by policemen, Pat. Platon and Investigator Advincula. They were accusing him to be the one who killed the people in Brgy. dela Paz but he could not do that because during that time, he was in Bicol. He did not admit the accusation and the policemen did not tell him anything. He was incarcerated. When he was taken from his house, he has no companion except the soldiers because that was the joint effort headed by Captain Salvador and the policemen. The policemen did not show any authority to arrest him. He was arrested on December 4, 1988 and they brought him to Lucena City on February 4, 1989. He stayed at the municipal jail for two (2) months and nobody came to him (TSN., December 8, 1993). Cross-examined, he claimed that he went to Buenavista only in 1981 and followed by December 4, 1988 when he was apprehended more or less 11:00 o’clock in the morning. He arrived in Buenavista at about 10: 00 o’clock in the morning and after an hour of his arrival, policemen came and arrested him. They told him that he committed several crimes. At the time of apprehension, his mother was there. He was told to go out of the house and lie face down on the ground in front of the house. He was incarcerated in the municipal building and his mother was able to follow the following day (TSN., February 16, 1994).

    Alejo Larce, a soldier and resident of Castillas, Sorsogon, claimed that he has known the accused for about two years in 1981. Grefaldia is a resident of Buenavista, Quezon, but he is native of Bgy. Bagalayan, Castillas, Sorsogon. The house of Grefaldia was near their detachment where he was assigned. On December 3 and 4, 1988, Accused was residing at Bgy. Bagalayan, Castillas, Sorsogon. He knew that accused left Castillas, Sorsogon at around 11:00 o’clock on December 4, 1988 to go to Quezon to help his grandmother in farming. He received a subpoena sent by Atty. Julieta Omaña and it was only then that he came to know that Edgardo Grefaldia have some pending cases before this court but he could not recall anymore the year and the month when Atty. Omaña sent him said subpoena. He admitted on cross examination that he did not always see Grefaldia in his house near their detachment and he did not know his whereabouts during that time. He occasionally saw him in the 1988 and he knows that he has been going to Buenavista, Quezon in 1988 (TSN., March 29, 1994). 5

    The trial court considered Vilma’s positive identification of the accused worthy of full faith and credit in view of her unwavering testimony and the absence of any improper motive on her part. It disregarded the defense of alibi in view of such positive identification and accused’s failure to conclusively show the physical impossibility for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time the same was committed.

    Although the trial court conceded that there was no eyewitness to the actual shooting of Jojo Buenaobra, it was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty therefor on the basis of circumstantial evidence. It held that the crime committed was murder because of the qualifying circumstance of treachery considering that the victim was only two years old. 6

    The case against accused John Doe was archived until he is arrested and identified.

    The accused erroneously appealed 7 from the decision to the Court of Appeals. 8 The trial court, through oversight, elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which, in turn, certified it to this Court. 9

    In his appeal, the accused urges us to acquit him, raising this lone error:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESS WHICH IS INCONSISTENT, INCREDIBLE THEREFORE NOT SUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN A CONVICTION BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

    The accused maintains that Vilma Convocar could not have positively identified him because she was unfamiliar with his features; besides, the gunman’s face was covered with a black cloth. Her account of the incident likewise failed to meet the quantum of proof required to convict an accused. According to him, Vilma’s testimony "is riddled with material inconsistencies and falsity, [and] [t]he material facts it presented when Jojo Buenaobra was allegedly shot by the accused is unbelievable, illogical and not in conformity with human experience and ordinary course of things." Moreover, Vilma’s claim that it was the accused who shot and killed Jojo is "bereft of merit," for she did no actually see the accused shoot and kill Jojo.

    In the Appellee’s Brief filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, the People argues that the testimony of the chief prosecution witness Vilma provides an unbroken chain of events affording belief and persuasion in establishing the fact that the accused shot and killed Jojo Buenaobra, and that the positive declaration of the prosecution witness cannot be overturned by a mere denial and the weak defense of alibi. Additionally, Vilma was not impelled by ill-motive; hence, her testimony must be given weight and credit.

    We find no merit in this appeal.

    In the main, the issue is the credibility of witness Vilma Convocar. We have said so many times before that the trial court’s factual findings, particularly its assessment of the credibility of witnesses, are entitled to great weight on appeal. The reason therefor is that the trial judge enjoys the peculiar advantage of observing first-hand the deportment of the witnesses while testifying and is, therefore, in a better position to form accurate impressions and conclusions on the basis thereof. 10 Having the opportunity to observe them on the stand, the trial judge is able to "detect that sometimes thin line between fact and prevarication that will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused . . . [and] those tell-tale signs that will affirm the truth or expose the contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply . . .; [or observe] if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked down in confession or gazed steadily with a serenity that has nothing to distort or conceal . . .; [or see] if tears were shed in anger, or in shame, or in remembered pain, or in feigned innocence." 11 Appellate courts will disregard the trial court’s assessment of credibility only if it plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case, 12 or if its assessment or evaluation of the witnesses’ credibility was reached arbitrarily. 13

    The appellant’s Brief specifies no fact or circumstance which the trial court might have overlooked. Neither does it impute upon the trial court abuse of discretion or arbitrariness in its evaluation of Vilma Convocar’s testimony.

    Then too, there is no evidence whatsoever that Vilma was induced or influenced by any improper motive when she testified against the accused. Having suffered excruciatingly painful ordeals when she was raped by the accused and his companions and having lost her husband, Vilma had nothing more in mind than to see to it that justice be done. It is settled that where there is no evidence and there is nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper motive, the presumption is that the witness was not so actuated; and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. 14 Indeed, if an accused had really nothing to do with the crime, it is against the natural order of events and of human nature and against the presumption of good faith that the prosecution witness would falsely testify against the former. 15 The trial court then committed no error in giving full faith to Vilma’s testimony.

    Our review of the record and evaluation of the evidence convince us that Vilma told the truth and that she positively identified the accused. Her answers on direct examination conclusively show such identification. Thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. After putting off the light, what happened next?

    A. I was told to go down the house and I was asked to point to them the house of Jessie Buenaobra.

    Q. Do you know this Jessie Buenaobra?

    A. Yes, sir, he is my neighbor.

    Q. Did you tell them the place of residence of this Jessie Buenaobra?

    A. Yes, sir, because I was afraid.

    Q. And what did you do after you have told them the house of Jessie Buenaobra?

    A. I was told to go with them, so, I went with them and after I have pointed the house of Jessie Buenaobra, he proceeded to the house and I was left in the fields together with one of their companions.

    Q. And after one of the members of the group proceeded to the house of Jessie Buenaobra, what happened?

    A. I heard a gunshot and after that, I was again told to go with them, and we passed by the house of Jessie Buenaobra and I saw that the mother and son were already dead.

    x       x       x


    Q. You said that there were people who brought you out of your house and brought you to the ricefields, do you know those people who accompanied you there?

    A. I did not recognize the other one because it was Grefaldia who was always holding me.

    Q. Do you mean to say that it was somebody else who entered the house of Jessie Buenaobra?

    A. It was Edgardo Grefaldia who proceeded to the house of Jessie Buenaobra and I was left with his companions.

    Q. Did you notice if Edgardo Grefaldia has a gun when he went to the place of Jessie Buenaobra?

    A. He has sir.

    Q. What kind of gun?

    A. An armalite, sir.

    Q. How did you know that it was an armalite?

    A. Because I used to see that kind of gun in the possession of authorities or soldiers.

    Q. So, you mean to say that after Edgardo Grefaldia entered the house of Jessie Buenaobra, you heard three gunshots, is that right?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And how did you know that the mother of Jessie Buenaobra and the son was already dead after that incident?

    A. Because we passed by beside the house of Jessie Buenaobra.

    x       x       x


    Q. Where did you proceed after you were taken by Edgardo Grefaldia?

    A. I was brought to their place.

    Q. And where is this place?

    A. Brgy. San Pablo, Buenavista, Quezon, sir.

    Q. And while you were in the house of Edgardo Grefaldia, will you please tell us what happened?

    A. I was raped there by four persons.

    Q. Who was the first person who raped you?

    A. Edgardo Grefaldia, sir.

    Q. Was this Edgardo Grefaldia still having a mask when he raped you? Or he had already removed it?

    A. None anymore.

    Q. So, that was the time when you actually recognized him and came face to face without having a mask at that time?

    A. Yes, sir. 16

    On cross examination, Vilma further testified on her identification of the accused and clarified her narration of the circumstances attending the shooting incident:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ATTY. VERZO:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. Mrs. Witness, you said that you merely passed by and by passing, you saw this Buenaobra dead, you have not seen who actually shot this Buenaobra, is it not?

    A. I know very well that it was Edgardo Grefaldia because they were two when they went to our house and there were another two persons who were already there at the place where I was brought.

    Q. Mrs. Witness, is it not that when the shooting incident took place in the residence of Buenaobra happened, you were not there?

    A. I was there downstairs when this Edgardo Grefaldia went to the house of Jessie Buenaobra and his companions were left behind with me at the field (araduhan), with the instruction from Edgardo Grefaldia that I should be guarded very well and after that, I heard three gunshots, and after that, Edgardo Grefaldia faced us while we were at the farm (araduhan), and when we passed by the house of Jessie Buenaobra, I saw that the mother and son were already dead, Ma’am.

    Q. Mrs. Witness, is it not a fact Mrs. Witness, that those persons who alleged (sic) shot the Buenaobras, were wearing black mask, is it not?

    A. It was only Edgardo Grefaldia who had a mask.

    Q. It is merely your assumption that those persons, that the person who was wearing a mask is Edgardo Grefaldia?

    A. Yes, Ma’am.

    Q. Mrs. Witness, you said that, after the incident, you were brought to a place, somewhere in Barangay San Pablo, Buenavista, Quezon?

    A. Yes, Ma’am.

    x       x       x


    Q. And, that night there was no light?

    A. That night we were lighted with flashlight although it was a poor lighting then, but sometimes I happened to glance in his face because of the light coming from that flashlight and after we reached his house, he removed his mask, Ma’am.

    x       x       x


    Q. Mrs. Witness, in what particular stage of the alleged rape did you recognize this Edgardo Grefaldia?

    PROSECUTOR ALTAMIRA:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    If Your Honor please, that was answered already. The answer was, when they reached the house, he already removed the mask.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Do not make your cross-examination lengthy. Alright, the witness may answer.

    WITNESS:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    A. I already recognized him, Ma’am, by his face, by his feature and when he was apprehended the following day, he was wearing the same short pants, Ma’am, because the following day, I caused him to be apprehended.

    On re-direct examination, Vilma further declared:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    PROSECUTOR ALTAMIRA:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q. Were you able to find out if there are other persons inside the house, aside from Edgardo Grefaldia and his other companions?

    A. No more, sir.

    Q. When Edgardo Grefaldia went inside the house and his companions, did you notice if there . . . if they were carrying firearms?

    A. It was only Edgardo Grefaldia who went inside the house of Jessie, the other one was left behind and he was holding my shoulder and he was poking a knife on me.

    Q. But Edgardo Grefaldia was holding a weapon when he entered the house?

    A. Yes, sir. 17

    We have, therefore, no doubt that Vilma positively identified accused Edgardo Grefaldia and that, as correctly ruled by the trial court, there are sufficient circumstantial evidence to uphold the conviction of the accused.

    Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court lays down the following conditions when circumstantial evidence may be sufficient to convict:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. There is more than one circumstance;

    2. The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and

    3. The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

    As jurisprudentially formulated, a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proven constitute "an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the defendant, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person, i.e., the circumstances proven must be consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with any other hypothesis except that of guilty." 18

    We agree with the trial court that the following circumstances proven by the prosecution indubitably point to the accused as the author of the crime:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. the fact that the masked man who was clearly and positively identified by Vilma Convocar as the accused Grefaldia ordered her to point to the house of Jesus Buenaobra;

    2. that after she pointed to the house of Jesus Buenaobra, the masked Grefaldia armed with an armalite proceeded to said house and she heard three (3) gunshots;

    3. that immediately after she heard the gunshots, the masked accused returned, ordered her to go with them, and as they passed the house of Jesus Buenaobra she saw the mother and son already dead;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    4. the fact that policemen Platon and Advincula apprehended accused Grefaldia with an armalite in his house at about 11:00 o’clock in the morning of December 4, 1988 — several hours after the shooting in the house of the Buenaobras in the evening of December 3, 1988.

    Necessarily, the defense of denial and alibi interposed by the accused must fail. Alibi is the weakest of all defenses, for it is easy to fabricate and difficult to disprove; it cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by credible witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime. Moreover, he failed to show that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. 19

    WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of Branch 61 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon in Criminal Case No. 3327-G is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

    Costs against Accused-Appellant.

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Francisco, J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Original Record (OR), 26-35; Rollo, 42-51. Per Judge Proceso K. de Gala.

    2. OR, 6.

    3. Rollo, 42-43; OR, 26-27.

    4. Rollo, 43-46; OR, 27-30.

    5. Rollo, 46-48; OR, 30-32.

    6. Citing People v. Valerio, 112 SCRA 208, 231 [1982].

    7. OR, 37.

    8. Should have been to this Court per Section 5(2)(d), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution; Section 3 (c), Rule 122, Rules of Court.

    9. CA-Rollo, 44.

    10. People v. De Leon, 245 SCRA 538, 545 [1995].

    11. People v. De Guzman, 188 SCRA 407, 410-411 [1990]. See also People v. De Leon, supra note 13, at pp. 545-546; People v. Delovino, 247 SCRA 637, 647 [1995].

    12. People v. Pascual, 208 SCRA 393, 399 [1992]; People v. Simon, 209 SCRA 148, 156 [1992]; People v. Florida, 214 SCRA 227, 236 [1992]; People v. Taneo, 218 SCRA 494, 505 [1993].

    13. National Power Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 223 SCRA 649, 655 [1993].

    14. People v. Castor, 216 SCRA 410, 419 [1992]; People v. Taneo, 218 SCRA 494, 509 [1993]; People v. Genobia, 234 SCRA 699, 708 [1994]; People v. Villegas, G.R. No. 118653, 23 September 1996;

    15. People v. Rostata, Jr., 218 SCRA 657, 674 [1993], citing People v. Balili, 92 SCRA 552 [1979].

    16. TSN, 30 January 1990, 6-9. Underscoring supplied for emphasis.

    17. Id., 9.

    18. People v. Tiozon, 198 SCRA 368, 381 [1991]; People v. Alvero, Jr., 224 SCRA 16, 27 [1993]; People v. De la Cruz, 229 SCRA 754, 764-765 [1994]; People v. Diaz, G.R. No. 117323, 4 October 1996.

    19. People v. Buka, 205 SCRA 567, 584 [1992]; People v. Casinillo, 213 SCRA 777, 791 [1992]; People v. Florida, 214 SCRA 227, 239 [1992]; People v. Alshaika, G.R. No. 113224, 11 September 1996; People v. Balamban, G.R. No. 119591, 21 November 1996.

    G.R. No. 121787   June 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO GREFALDIA


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