Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1999 > March 1999 Decisions > G.R. No. 125053 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CHRISTOPHER CAÑA LEONOR:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 125053. March 25, 1999.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CHRISTOPHER CAÑA LEONOR, Accused-Appellant.

D E C I S I O N


DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:


In the decision 1 of 22 March 1996 in Criminal Case No. 95-212, the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque, Branch 274, found accused-appellant Christopher Caña Leonor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of death and to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000 as death indemnity; P44,318 as actual damages; P2 million as moral damages; and P50,000 as attorney’s fees.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

CHRISTOPHER was charged in an information 2 whose accusatory portion reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

That on or about the 15th day of May 1995, in the Municipality of Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to gain and against the will of complainant Ma. Teresa Tarlengco and by means of force, violence and intimidation employed upon the person of said complainant did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously divest her cash money worth P900.00 and Titus wrist watch valued at an undetermined amount, belonging to said Ma. Teresa Tarlengco, to the damage and prejudice of the latter, in the aforementioned amount; that on the occasion of the said Robbery, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, without justifiable reason, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab said Ma. Teresa Tarlengco, thereby inflicting upon the latter serious stab wounds which caused her death.

At his arraignment on 14 June 1995, CHRISTOPHER entered a plea of not guilty. 3

It is undisputed that on 15 May 1995 at the Hermanos Building in General Santos Avenue, Bicutan Extension, Parañaque City, at around 11:30 a.m., CHRISTOPHER stabbed dentist Dr. Maria Teresa Tarlengco, which wound ultimately led to her death. That much is admitted by CHRISTOPHER. The prosecution and the defense differ, however, in the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The prosecution had as witnesses Reynaldo Baquilod, SPO1 Luis F. Galeno, PO3 Mateo Interia, Dr. Ravell Ronald Baluyot, Dr. Edgardo de Guzman, Dr. Paul Pepa, Beverly Vidanes, Dr. John Enrique Franco, Fernando Tarlengco, Geraldine Tarlengco, Joseph Sumalbar, and Asst. Public Prosecutor Elizabeth Yu Guray. The defense presented CHRISTOPHER, Leopoldo Leonor Leonidas, Dr. Alfredo Besa, Renato Leonor, and Alexander Pagubasan.

The Office of the Solicitor General partly summarized the evidence for the prosecution as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

In the morning of May 15, 1995, Dr. Maria Teresa Tarlengco, a dentist by profession, was at her clinic at the third floor of the Hermanos Building, Bicutan, Parañaque, Metro Manila, when a man entered and inquired about the cost of tooth extraction. After Dr. Tarlengco quoted her professional fee, the man, who was later on identified as Christopher Leonor, said that he would come back and then left in a hurry. Minutes later, Leonor came back[,] and Dr. Tarlengco told him to take a seat and wait. Dr. Tarlengco was preparing her dental instruments when Leonor barged in and demanded money. Dr. Tarlengco told Leonor that her money [was] on the table. On hearing this, Leonor stabbed Dr. Tarlengco, grabbed her watch and ran away. Dr. Tarlengco struggled out of the clinic and saw the man running out of the building. Dr. Tarlengco shouted for help.

Reynaldo Baquilod, building security guard, heard Dr. Tarlengco shouting, "tulungan ninyo ako, sinaksak ako ng taong iyon." Baquilod noticed that Dr. Tarlengco was referring to the man "running out of the building, coming from upstairs." Baquilod chased Leonor up to Daang Hari Street where he was joined by traffic policeman Luis Galeno who was alerted by people running after a person with bloodied shirt. When Galeno and Baquilod caught up with Leonor, Baquilod grabbed Leonor’s hand and took therefrom a Titus wristwatch and P900 cash. When queried, Leonor readily answered, "Sir, hindi ko naman gusto po ito. Ginawa ko lang ito dahil kailangan ng pamilya ko." Leonor was brought to the Parañaque Police Block Station. PO3 Interia who was instructed to investigate proceeded to Dr. Tarlengco’s clinic, where they saw, among other[ ] [things], a bloodied balisong (fan knife) at the ground floor of the Hermano’s building. Baquilod turned over the watch and money he took from Leonor to Interia. Thereafter, Galeno and Interia returned to the police station where they were interrogated.

Dr. Tarlengco was brought to the South Super Highway Medical Center where she underwent an emergency operation for a stab wound on her chest. After the operation, Dr. Tarlengco’s father, with the doctor’s permission, was allowed to talk to his daughter inside the operating room. Although Dr. Tarlengco was gasping for breath, she spoke to her father, viz:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q So were you able to talk with your daughter while in the Operating Room? What did she say, it any, Mr. Tarlengco?

A She said that this man pretended to be a patient.

Q And what else did she say?

A He asked her how much would it cost to pull a tooth and then she said, "Dad, when I quoted my price, he said that he would come back and left in a hurry."cralaw virtua1aw library

Q What else did she say, if any, Mr. Tarlengco?

A "After a minute, he came back, I told him to wait, to sit down first at my Waiting Area because I [had] to still prepare the instruments needed."cralaw virtua1aw library

Q Then, what happened after that?

A She said, "while I was busy preparing my instrument, Dad, this man barged in. He demanded for my money. I told him it [was] on my table. And after telling that, Dad, he stabbed me and then he grabbed my watch and he [ran] away" and she said, "I struggled Dad, to come out of the clinic and when I was on the porch, I saw this man coming [sic] out of the building. I shouted for help, I said "Saklolo, saklolo, sinaksak ako ng taong iyan. Hulihin ninyo."cralaw virtua1aw library

Q Then what else did she say after she narrated to you that incident, Mr. Tarlengco?

A After that, in tears, she said that "Dad, I don’t know, why inspite of getting my money this man stabbed me" and I was numbed at that point of time, I [could not] talk anymore, I [could not] tell anything to her anymore, I just combed her hair with my fingers.

Thereafter, Dr. Tarlengco was brought to a private room where she subsequently died.

Dr. Ronaldo Baluyot, the NBI Medico-legal Officer who conducted the post-mortem examination of the deceased, testified that Tarlengco’s stab wound on the chest could have been caused by single bladed "fan" knife.

Geraldine Tarlengco, who stayed with her sister Dr. Tarlengco while reviewing for the BAR Examination, owned a Titus watch similar to that of her sister. Both watches were given to them by another sister Cecille. On the morning of May 15, 1995, Geraldine saw Dr. Tarlengco strap the watch on her wrist. Geraldine, likewise, saw her sister, Dr. Tarlengco, place in her wallet one 500-peso bill and four 100-peso bills, after showing the same to Geraldine, who earlier was teasing her sister, Dr. Tarlengco, that the reason why she did not buy the dress she wanted to buy at Cinderella’s was because she had no money. If only to prove her sister Geraldine wrong, Dr. Tarlengco showed her money which she took from her wallet. 4

Additionally, Dr. John Enrique Franco, a friend of the victim, testified that he got to talk with Dr. Tarlengco at the hospital. He asked Dr. Tarlengco what happened, and she answered that a man posing as a patient held her up and stabbed her. 5

Joseph B. Sumalbar, Dr. Tarlengco’s fiance, testified that when he learned about his fiancee’s killing, he immediately went to the crime scene and, thereafter, to the Block 7 police station where he confronted the suspected killer, Christopher. Sumalbar recalled his conversation with the latter, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q And what happened after that, when you proceeded to the cell of this suspect?

A I found this man who was halt naked from the waist up. I found this man without any shirt on and he was sitting at the corner and he was trying to avoid me and I asked him. "Bakit mo ginawa iyon?" Sabi niya, "hindi ko po naman gusto. Kailangan ko lamang ng pera."cralaw virtua1aw library

Q When you confronted the accused at Block 7, what else did he say, if any?

A While I was shouting at him, "Hinold-up mo na, sinaksak mo pa. Bakit mo ginawa iyon?" "Hindi ko po naman gusto iyon, mahuhuli na po ako," sabi niya.’’Mahuhuli na po ako kaya ginawa ko iyon."cralaw virtua1aw library

Q Then what else did he say when you confronted him, if any?

A And he told me that he needed the money. 6

SPO3 Mateo Interia testified that on 16 May 1995, he took the statement of Dr. Tarlengco’s father and executed a Referral 7 to the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal for CHRISTOPHER’s inquest. Interia reported in the referral that CHRISTOPHER was being held for robbery with homicide but forgot to state the property stolen from Dr. Tarlengco. After Mr. Tarlengco reminded Interia of the stolen items, the latter intercalated into the referral a reference to P900 and a Titus wristwatch forming part of the evidence against CHRISTOPHER. 8

Fernando Tarlengco, father of the victim, described the impact of her daughter’s death, viz.:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q In connection with the death of your daughter, Mr. Tarlengco, did your family incur any expenses?

A Not just expenses but more on the agony, the tribulations we are having up to this time. You know, up to this time, we kept on weeping. My father, the grandfather of my daughter, was shocked and in anguish, he also succumbed to death in less than two months, because of what this evil person [had] done to us. My work was affected. My wife’s work is affected. There are times when we are at home, we don’t know what to do anymore We are in total misery. I don’t know why this was done to us by the devil deeds of this person has done to us [sic]." 9

In relation to Dr. Tarlengco’s death, her family spent P8,718 for hospital expenses; about P2,500 to P3,500 charged by Funeraria Malaya where she was brought; P22,500 for her casket; P8,250 paid to Manila Memorial, Inc.; P5,000 for the masses held for Dr. Tarlengco; and about P10,000 for the food served to the guests at Dr. Tarlengco’s wake. 10

CHRISTOPHER, on the other hand, testified that on 15 May 1995, at about 6:00 a.m., he left his town Calauag, Quezon, and boarded a Jam Transit bus bound for Manila, with P800 and a fan knife in his pocket. He was to fetch his family for the town fiesta to be held on 25 May 1995. His head and two of his molar teeth were then aching. He alighted at Alabang and took a bus bound for Bicutan Extension. 11

Upon reaching Bicutan Extension, he looked for a dentist to have his aching teeth pulled. He found Dr. Tarlengco’s dental clinic at the third floor of a certain building in General Santos Avenue. He asked Dr. Tarlengco how much an extraction cost, and was told that the fee was P150 per tooth. CHRISTOPHER negotiated a charge of P100 per tooth, but Dr. Tarlengco rejected the offer. CHRISTOPHER then proceeded to look for another dentist, but before he could make his way out of the clinic, Dr. Tarlengco stopped him and agreed to charge P100 per extraction. CHRISTOPHER was made to sit on the dental chair as Dr. Tarlengco prepared the instruments for the extraction. Just as she was about to inject anesthesia, she remarked that she changed her mind and would charge P150 per tooth pulled. CHRISTOPHER pushed away Dr. Tarlengco’s hand, which angered her. She castigated and cursed CHRISTOPHER for asking for an extraction without being able to pay for it. 12

As CHRISTOPHER was making his way out of the clinic, Dr. Tarlengco cursed and pushed him, at which moment he blacked out. 13 He then sensed that the dentist was in pain, and he saw blood spurting. He realized that he had stabbed the dentist. In shock, CHRISTOPHER stepped back, lost the grip on his fan knife, and ran out of the clinic and out of the building. When he looked back at the clinic, he saw Dr. Tarlengco shouting for help. A security guard, with his shotgun aimed at CHRISTOPHER, ran after the latter. 14

CHRISTOPHER ran to where there were many people. Then he came across Police Officer Galeno, who grabbed him by the hand and asked what happened. He replied, "Sir, nakadisgrasya ako." 15 Galeno warded off the pursuing security guard who insisted on apprehending CHRISTOPHER. Galeno brought CHRISTOPHER to Block 7, Parañaque Police Station, and later, to the Police Headquarters along the Coastal Road in Parañaque. Four policemen, including PO3 Interia, took turns in mauling and kicking him, and one policeman even took money from his wallet. Also, his clothes were confiscated. 16

During the investigation, CHRISTOPHER admitted that he had stabbed Dr. Tarlengco, but denied that he had taken P900 and a Titus wristwatch from the victim. He was surprised when later, he was informed by Assistant Public Prosecutor Elizabeth Yu Guray that he would be charged with robbery with homicide, not homicide only. 17

Leopoldo Leonor Leonidas, CHRISTOPHER’s uncle, revealed that at about noon of 15 May 1995, while he was at home, he received a telephone call from CHRISTOPHER saying that he had stabbed someone. When he asked CHRISTOPHER why he stabbed someone the latter answered, "Aburido ako, Kuya Ding, aburido ako" ("I am troubled, Kuya Ding, I am troubled"). 18

Renato Leonor, CHRISTOPHER ‘s father, testified that he went to see his son at his detention cell but could hardly recognize him because he was bloodied. He remembered that CHRISTOPHER complained of toothache before he left for Manila. 19

Dr. Alfredo Besa, a dentist, examined CHRISTOPHER three hours before the former took the stand. Unassisted by any "dental aid" or nurse, he determined that two of CHRISTOPHER’s teeth were due for extraction 20 and, at the condition they were in, were probably aching as early as a year before. Citing his experience, Dr. Besa claimed that people complaining of toothache are usually irritable, although he admitted that none of his patients complaining from a toothache has ever killed a person or even brought a fan knife to his clinic. In fact, he never heard of any patient with a toothache who killed a dentist. He recalled one instance when a patient boxed him after he unintentionally hurt the patient while pulling a tooth.chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

These were the evidence before the trial court which merited CHRISTOPHER’s conviction. CHRISTOPHER urges us to modify the judgment by (1) convicting him of the crime of homicide, and not of robbery with homicide, and (2) appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstances of lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as that committed, sufficient provocation, passion and obfuscation, voluntary surrender, and voluntary confession.

CHRISTOPHER claims that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses are fraught with inconsistencies and contradictions, and are therefore obvious concoctions and manufactured evidence. He points out that Baquilod failed to mention in his sworn statement, given to the police immediately after the incident, that he retrieved a Titus wristwatch and P900 worth of peso bills from CHRISTOPHER. Baquilod likewise testified that Dr. Tarlengco shouted for help because she was stabbed; she made no mention of having been robbed. Then, too, SPO1 Galeno stated in his sworn statement that Dr. Tarlengco was only stabbed.

CHRISTOPHER contends further that the testimonies of Baquilod, Galeno, Interia, Sumalbar, and Yu Guray that he admitted to them on separate occasions his commission of the offense charged are inadmissible because the admission was not in writing, was not made with the assistance of a counsel, and was not preceded by a warning as to the consequences of the admission. In any event, their testimonies are hearsay evidence. Additionally, he stresses the possible bias of Yu Guray considering that she caused the filing against him of the information for robbery with homicide.

In the Appellee’s Brief, the Solicitor General refutes CHRISTOPHER’s claims, asserting that the robbery was duly and satisfactorily established by the dying declaration of Dr. Tarlengco to her father, corroborated by the testimonies of Baquilod and Galeno. That Dr. Tarlengco failed to exclaim that she was robbed when she shouted for help from her clinic’s balcony is of no moment, since she later told Dr. Franco and her father of the complete events that transpired. Galeno’s failure to mention in his sworn statement that money and a wristwatch were retrieved from CHRISTOPHER does not negate his claim to that effect, because he later stated that fact in his testimony. The settled rule is that testimonies in open court are superior to affidavits taken ex parte. That Interia inserted the stolen items in the Police Referral does not diminish the truth of the allegation of robbery, since it appears that the intercalation was intended to make the Referral accurate.

The core issues raised involve the credibility of witnesses. One of the highly revered dicta in our jurisdiction is that this Court will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court in passing on the credibility of opposing witnesses unless there appears in the record some facts or circumstances of weight and influence that have been overlooked which, if considered, will affect the result of the case. The reason therefor is founded on practical and empirical considerations. The trial judge is in a better position to decide questions of credibility, since he has personally heard the witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. 21 Nevertheless, in view of the gravity of the charge and the penalty imposed, we spared no effort to meticulously review the evidence to determine whether CHRISTOPHER had indeed committed the offense charged and the prosecution’s evidence proved it beyond reasonable doubt.

CHRISTOPHER admitted that he stabbed Dr. Tarlengco. The burden of evidence, therefore, shifted to him; he had to prove a justifying 22 or exempting 23 circumstance to avoid criminal liability. He miserably failed to do so.

The remaining factual issue is whether CHRISTOPHER killed Dr. Tarlengco by reason or on the occasion of a robbery 24 with the use of violence against or intimidation of a person. One could be convicted of robbery with homicide only if the robbery itself was proved as conclusively as any other essential element of the crime. The taking with intent to gain of personal property belonging to another, by means of violence against or intimidation of any person or by using force upon things, constitutes robbery.25cralaw:red

Geraldine Tarlengco and Joseph Sumalbar identified the items recovered from CHRISTOPHER as belonging to Dr. Tarlengco. These testimonies indicate the CHRISTOPHER stole personal property belonging to Dr. Tarlengco, consistent with the disputable presumption that a person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act is the taker and the doer of the whole act. 26 While CHRISTOPHER denied that Dr. Tarlengco’s watch and money were recovered from him, the independent and corroborative testimonies of police officer Galeno and guard Baquilod prove otherwise. The trial court found the testimonies of these two witnesses more credible, and we see no reason to depart from its conclusion. CHRISTOPHER also pointed out that the intercalation of stolen items in Interia’s referral report to the Prosecutor indicated the fabrication of robbery charges against him. But the intercalation was sufficiently explained as an honest mistake, especially considering that Interia had specified in the report, in an entry appearing before the intercalation, that the charge against CHRISTOPHER was robbery with homicide.

It is indisputable then that CHRISTOPHER took Dr. Tarlengco’s belongings. The unexplained possession of stolen articles gives rise to a presumption of theft unless it is proved that the owner of the articles was deprived of her possessions by violence or intimidation, in which case, the presumption becomes one of robbery. 27 The prosecution proved in this case that there was violence and intimidation in the taking of Dr. Tarlengco’s property.

Most crucial for the prosecution is the testimony of Mr. Fernando Tarlengco, the victim’s father, because he stated the most incriminating piece of evidence — the dying declaration of Dr. Tarlengco. While, generally, a witness can testify only to those facts which are derived from his own perception, 28 a recognized exception thereto is the reportage in open court of the declaration of a dying person made under the consciousness of an impending death where that person’s death is the subject of inquiry in the case. 29 To be admissible, a dying declaration must (1) refer to the cause and circumstances surrounding the declarant’s death; (2) be made under the consciousness of an impending death; (3) be made freely and voluntarily without coercion or suggestion of improper influence; (4) be offered in a criminal case in which the death of the declarant is the subject of inquiry; and (5) the declarant must have been competent to testify as a witness had he been called upon to testify.

Dr. Tarlengco’s dying declaration complied with the above requisites. She talked about the incident which led to her condition. The declaration was a first-hand account of the incident, bereft of opinion or conjecture. The account was made in a criminal case where her death was part of the subject of inquiry. And, most important, she was convinced that she was about to die; thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Atty. Revilla:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q Could you tell this Court what was her condition when you saw her inside the operating room?

Witness Tarlengco:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

A I asked her how she was and she said, "Dad, I have a feeling I can no longer endure this."cralaw virtua1aw library

Atty. Revilla:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q So, what else happened in the operating room while you were talking to her, Mr. Tarlengco?

A I told her to fight for her life. I asked her to open her eyes, keep herself awake, and in my desire to help her awake, I asked her what happened.

x       x       x


Atty. Revilla:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q Then what else happened while you were in the operating room, after that, Mr. Tarlengco?

Witness Tarlengco:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

A On that condition, she was really very very cold and gasping and complaining of pain and gasping for breath . . . 30

Dr. Tarlengco narrated to her father that a man who pretended to be her patient demanded money from her. After she surrendered her money to him, the latter stabbed her and took her watch as she lay injured.

The dying declaration thus established not only that a robbery was committed, there being violence and intimidation against Dr. Tarlengco, but that homicide was perpetrated on the occasion of said robbery.

Lastly, we find no mitigating circumstance in this case, CHRISTOPHER claims that he did not intend to commit so grave a wrong as the act committed; that there was sufficient provocation by the offended party immediately preceding the offense; that he acted upon an impulse so powerful as to have produced in him passion and obfuscation; that he voluntarily surrendered to a person in authority; and that he voluntarily confessed having committed homicide.

Lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong does not mitigate in homicide cases where the accused used a deadly weapon in inflicting mortal wounds on vital organs of the victim, 31 as in this case.

The provocation sufficient to mitigate an offense must be proportionate to the gravity of the retaliatory act. 32 The events which led to the stabbing were described by CHRISTOPHER as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q Mr. Leonor, you said, while she was about to inject anaesthesia, you said Dra. Tarlengco changed the price from P100.00 to P150.00. Then, you parried her hand. Is that correct?

A Opo. Tinabig ko po. [Yes, sir. I pushed it aside.]

Q What hand of Dra. Tarlengco did you parry?

A The one handling the rounded instrument. Right hand, Sir.

Q When you parried her right hand, you were already sitting at the dental chair? Right?

A Opo.

Q After you parried the hand of Dra. Tarlengco, she cursed you, right?

A No, sir. I just said "why did you change the price?" and I stood up. That was the time she cursed me.

Q When she cursed you, did Dra. Tarlengco hit you with an instrument?

A No, Sir. She just got mad.

Q Did she slap you on your face?

A No, Sir. She just pushed me.

Q And she did not box you anywhere in any portion of your body?

A No, Sir.

Q And she likewise did not kick you in any part of your body?

A She just told me bad words. 33

CHRISTOPHER is thus claiming that a push and "bad words" justify retaliation with a knife. Such claim is undeserving of belief and does not entitle CHRISTOPHER to the benefit of the mitigating circumstance of prior provocation by the offended party.

CHRISTOPHER could not have been provoked by passion or obfuscation as, according to him, he momentarily blacked out and instantly found his fan knife embedded in Dr. Tarlengco’s chest. To be blinded by passion and obfuscation is to lose self-control, 34 not consciousness. Moreover, courts cannot appreciate passion and obfuscation unless there is a clear showing that there was causes naturally tending to produce such powerful excitement as to deprive the accused of reason and self-control. 35 As we discussed earlier, the events leading to the stabbing precluded any natural tendency to produce a powerful excitement in CHRISTOPHER.

CHRISTOPHER did not voluntarily surrender either to a person in authority or to any other person. While he was being pursued by Security Guard Baquilod, he intentionally went to where there were many people, presumably to confuse Baquilod. Fortunately, Police Officer Galeno was able to grab him by the hand and prevented him from further eluding justice. There is nothing in the record which can lead us to conclude that he surrendered to anyone.

Neither was there voluntary confession in the instant case. The mitigating circumstance contemplated by law is a plea of guilty made spontaneously and unconditionally in open court before the presentation of evidence for the prosecution. 36 CHRISTOPHER made no such plea.

What remains to be resolved is the penalty to be imposed. The penalty for robbery with homicide is reclusion perpetua to death. 37 There being no evidence of aggravating or mitigating circumstance against or in favor of CHRISTOPHER, the lower of the two indivisible penalties shall be imposed, 38 without the benefit of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. 39 We likewise believe that the awards in favor of Dr. Tarlengco’s family of moral damages of P2 million and attorney’s fees of P500,000 are excessive. We reduce them to P50,000 and P25,000, respectively.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the decision of Branch 274 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque in Criminal Case No. 95-212 is hereby MODIFIED. As modified, Accused-appellant CHRISTOPHER CAÑA LEONOR is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of robbery with homicide, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the victim, Dr. Teresa Tarlengco, P50,000 as indemnity for death; P44,318 as actual damages; P50,000 as moral damages; and P25,000 as attorney’s fees, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

Costs against Accused-Appellant.

SO ORDERED.

Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. Per Judge Amelita G. Tolentino, Original Record (OR), 1409-1430; Rollo, 21-42.

2. Rollo, 6.

3. OR, 17.

4. Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee, 2-8; Rollo, 162-168.

5. TSN, 23 August 1995, 95.

6. TSN, 30 August 1995, 69-70.

7. Exh. "R," OR, 493.

8. TSN, 23 August 1995, 42, 50-56.

9. TSN, 30 August 1995, 28.

10. Id., 30-35.

11. TSN, 6 September 1995, 15-23.

12. Id., 23-34.

13. He described his situation thus: "nagdilim ang paningin ko."cralaw virtua1aw library

14. TSN, 6 September 1995, 34-36.

15. Roughly this translates to," I caused harm."cralaw virtua1aw library

16. TSN, 6 September 1995, 36-39, TSN, 13 September 1995, 6-13, 17-18.

17. TSN, 13 September 1995, 13, 23.

18. TSN, 27 September 1995, 8-9.

19. TSN, 16 October 1995, 46-53.

20. See Exh. "56" ; OR, 987.

21. People v. Conde, 252 SCRA 681, 688 [1996].

22. REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 11.

23. Id., Art. 12.

24. REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 294(I).

25. People v. Barhs, 231 SCRA 426, 442 [1994].

26. RULES OF COURT, Rule 131, Section 3(j).

27. 7 VICENTE J. FRANCISCO, THE REVISED RULES OF COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES, PART II, 103 (1997).

28. RULES OF COURT, Rule 130, Sec. 36.

29. Id., Sec. 37.

30. TSN, 30 August 1995, 13, 15.

31. People v. Dayrit, 108 Phil. 100 [1960]; I RAMON C. AQUINO, THE REVISED PENAL CODE 260 (1997) (hereafter AQUINO).

32. AQUINO, 262.

33. TSN, 25 September 1995, 13-14.

34. AQUINO, 270.

35. Id.

36. REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 13 (7), AQUINO, 292.

37. Id., Art. 294 (1).

38. Id., Art. 63 (2).

39. INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW, Sec. 2, People v. Isleta, 264 SCRA 374, 390 [1996]; People v. Herbieto, 269 SCRA 472, 485 [1997].




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  • G.R. No. 127801 March 3, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SAMUEL YU VALDEZ

  • G.R. No. 130347 March 3, 1999 - ABELARDO VALARAO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134096 March 3, 1999 - JOSEPH PETER S. SISON v. COMELEC

  • A.M. No. P-99-1286 March 4, 1999 - CONCEPCION L. JEREZ v. ARTURO A. PANINSURO

  • G.R. No. 108027 March 4, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISTINA M. HERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 111676 March 4, 1999 - SILVINA TORRES VDA. DE CRUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117213 March 4, 1999 - ARMANDO DE GUZMAN v. MARIANO ONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122539 March 4, 1999 - JESUS V. TIOMICO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123936 March 4, 1999 - RONALD SORIANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132648 March 4, 1999 - GSIS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133563 March 4, 1999 - BRIDGET BONENG v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 123792 March 8, 1999 - MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125537 March 8, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. JOSE MAGLANTAY

  • A.C. CBD No. 167 March 9, 1999 - PRUDENCIO S. PENTICOSTES v. DIOSDADO S. IBAÑEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-99-1175 March 9, 1999 - VICTORINO CRUZ v. REYNOLD Q. YANEZA

  • G.R. No. 108532 March 9, 1999 - PABLITO TANEO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115741 March 9, 1999 - HEIRS OF JOAQUIN ASUNCION v. MARGARITO GERVACIO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121587 March 9, 1999 - SOLEDAD DY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126123 March 9, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO PLATILLA

  • G.R. No. 128721 March 9, 1999 - CRISMINA GARMENTS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-94-1106 March 10, 1999 - ADALIA B. FRANCISCO v. ROLANDO G. LEYVA

  • Adm. Matters No. RTJ-98-1423 March 10, 1999 - ROMAN CAGATIN, ET AL. v. LEONARDO N. DEMECILLO

  • G.R. No. 95815 March 10, 1999 - SERVANDO MANGAHAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120163 March 10, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DATUKON BANSIL

  • G.R. No. 120971 March 10, 1999 - TAGGAT INDUSTRIES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123426 March 10, 1999 - NAT’L. FEDERATION OF LABOR v. BIENVENIDO E. LAGUESMA

  • G.R. No. 126874 March 10, 1999 - GSIS v. ANTONIO P. OLISA

  • G.R. No. 127123 March 10, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSEPH LAKINDANUM

  • G.R. No. 129442 March 10, 1999 - FEDERICO PALLADA, ET AL. v. RTC OF KALIBO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129824 March 10, 1999 - DE PAUL/KING PHILIP CUSTOMS TAILOR, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-99-1293 March 11, 1999 - EMILIO DILAN, ET AL. v. JUAN R. DULFO

  • G.R. No. 95326 March 11, 1999 - ROMEO P. BUSUEGO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106518 March 11, 1999 - ABS-CBN SUPERVISORS EMPLOYEES UNION MEMBERS v. ABS-CBN BROADCASTING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108440-42 March 11, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE MERCADO

  • G.R. No. 109721 March 11, 1999 - FELIX A. SAJOT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109979 March 11, 1999 - RICARDO C. SILVERIO, SR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119157 March 11, 1999 - GOLDEN THREAD KNITTING INDUSTRIES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125590 March 11, 1999 - BIOMIE S. OCHAGABIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127004 March 11, 1999 - NAT’L. STEEL CORP. v. RTC OF LANAO DEL NORTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127663 March 11, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO VALDEZ

  • G.R. No. 132250 March 11, 1999 - ROSALIA P. SALVA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 123982 March 15, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO K. JOYNO

  • G.R. No. 134188 March 15, 1999 - NUR G. JAAFAR v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 61508 March 17, 1999 - CITIBANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111704 March 17, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GEORGE DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 115693 March 17, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SILVERIANO BOTONA

  • G.R. No. 119347 March 17, 1999 - EULALIA RUSSELL, ET AL. v. AUGUSTINE A. VESTIL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120751 March 17, 1999 - PHIMCO INDUSTRIES v. JOSE BRILLANTES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125311 March 17, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ONYOT MAHINAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129695 March 17, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO TABONES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130380 March 17, 1999 - HEIRS OF GAUDENCIO BLANCAFLOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115006 March 18, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MARCOS

  • G.R. No. 119756 March 18, 1999 - FORTUNE EXPRESS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127542 March 18, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CHENG HO CHUA

  • G.R. No. 128682 March 18, 1999 - JOAQUIN T. SERVIDAD v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 97-6-182-RTC March 19, 1999 - RE: REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN RTC, BRANCH 68

  • G.R. No. 96262 March 22, 1999 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. EMBROIDERY AND GARMENTS INDUSTRIES (PHIL.)

  • G.R. No. 116738 March 22, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO DOMOGOY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126286 March 22, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER VAYNACO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126714 March 22, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO MARCELO

  • G.R. No. 127523 March 22, 1999 - LEONCIA ALIPOON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-99-1296 March 25, 1999 - DANIEL CRUZ v. CLERK OF COURT, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-99-1297 March 25, 1999 - LUDIVINA MARISGA-MAGBANUA v. EMILIO T. VILLAMAR V

  • G.R. No. 96740 March 25, 1999 - VIRGINIA P. SARMIENTO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103953 March 25, 1999 - SAMAHANG MAGBUBUKID NG KAPDULA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112088 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONALDO ALMADEN

  • G.R. Nos. 116741-43 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDWIN MONTEFALCON

  • G.R. No. 117154 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO A. BORROMEO

  • G.R. No. 119172 March 25, 1999 - BELEN C. FIGUERRES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120505 March 25, 1999 - AIUP, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 122966-67 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR S. ALOJADO

  • G.R. No. 123160 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLOS BATION

  • G.R. No. 124300 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENANTE ROBLES

  • G.R. No. 125053 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CHRISTOPHER CAÑA LEONOR

  • G.R. Nos. 126183 & 129221 March 25, 1999 - LUZVIMINDA DE LA CRUZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126916 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOLINO BACONG MANAGAYTAY

  • G.R. No 127373 March 25, 1999 - ENERGY REGULATORY BOARD, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127662 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO V. ERIBAL

  • G.R. No. 127708 March 25, 1999 - CITY GOVERNMENT OF SAN PABLO, ET AL. v. BIENVENIDO V. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128386 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUDITO ALQUIZALAS

  • G.R. No. 130491 March 25, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO MENGOTE

  • G.R. No. 130872 March 25, 1999 - FRANCISCO M. LECAROZ, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131108 March 25, 1999 - ASIAN ALCOHOL CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132980 March 25, 1999 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. GLADYS C. LABRADOR

  • G.R. No. 133107 March 25, 1999 - RCBC v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-96-1082 & 98-10-135-MCTC March 29, 1999 - MARCELO CUEVA v. OLIVER T. VILLANUEVA

  • A.M. No. P-94-1015 March 29, 1999 - JASMIN MAGUAD, ET AL. v. NICOLAS DE GUZMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93291 March 29, 1999 - SULPICIO LINES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113150 March 29, 1999 - HENRY TANCHAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122827 March 29, 1999 - LIDUVINO M. MILLARES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125129 March 29, 1999 - JOSEPH H. REYES v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 129058 March 29, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PAULINO SEVILLENO

  • G.R. No. 131124 March 29, 1999 - OSMUNDO G. UMALI v. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123540 March 30, 1999 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DELFIN AYO