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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)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 
 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1279 March 1, 2001 - ALICIA GONZALES-DECANO v. ORLANDO ANA F. SIAPNO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1282 March 1, 2001 - SOFRONIO DAYOT v. RODOLFO B. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 112092 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT NUÑEZ

  • G.R. No. 123069 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO SASPA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126019 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO CALDONA

  • G.R. No. 131637 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODELIO PERALTA

  • G.R. No. 133888 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO NARDO

  • G.R. No. 134330 March 1, 2001 - ENRIQUE M. BELO, ET AL. v. PHIL. NATIONAL BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 135667-70 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESSIE VENTURA COLLADO

  • G.R. No. 138666 March 1, 2001 - ISABELO LORENZANA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 140511 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BALTAZAR AMION

  • G.R. No. 142313 March 1, 2001 - MANUEL CHU, SR., ET AL. v. BENELDA ESTATE DEV’T. CORP.

  • G.R. No. 142527 March 1, 2001 - ARSENIO ALVAREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144678 March 1, 2001 - JAVIER E. ZACATE v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146710-15 & 146738 March 2, 2001 - JOSEPH E. ESTRADA v. ANIANO DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113236 March 5, 2001 - FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113265 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 118680 March 5, 2001 - MARIA ELENA RODRIGUEZ PEDROSA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123788 March 5, 2001 - DOMINADOR DE GUZMAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124686 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROQUE ELLADO

  • G.R. No. 127158 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULIO HERIDA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132353 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO IBO

  • G.R. No. 126557 March 6, 2001 - RAMON ALBERT v. CELSO D. GANGAN

  • G.R. No. 138646 March 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOMER CABANSAY

  • G.R. No. 139518 March 6, 2001 - EVANGELINE L. PUZON v. STA. LUCIA REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT

  • G.R. Nos. 140249 & 140363 March 6, 2001 - DANILO S. YAP v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140884 March 6, 2001 - GELACIO P. GEMENTIZA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143823 March 6, 2001 - JENNIFER ABRAHAM v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126168 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SAMUDIO

  • G.R. No. 129594 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUNNIFER LAURENTE

  • G.R. No. 135945 March 7, 2001 - UNITED RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL v. COMM. ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS

  • G.R. No. 136173 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO ICALLA

  • G.R. Nos. 137481-83 & 138455 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO SALADINO

  • G.R. Nos. 139962-66 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUGENIO MANGOMPIT

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1297 March 7, 2001 - JOSEFINA BANGCO v. RODOLFO S. GATDULA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1329 March 8, 2001 - HERMINIA BORJA-MANZANO v. ROQUE R SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 122611 March 8, 2001 - NAPOLEON H. GONZALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125901 March 8, 2001 - EDGARDO A. TIJING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130378 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNEL MATARO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134279 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY ROGER AUSTRIA

  • G.R. Nos. 135234-38 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO GUNTANG

  • G.R. No. 137649 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO VILLADARES

  • G.R. No. 138137 March 8, 2001 - PERLA S. ZULUETA v. ASIA BREWERY

  • G.R. No. 138774 March 8, 2001 - REGINA FRANCISCO, ET AL v. AIDA FRANCISCO-ALFONSO

  • G.R. No. 140479 March 8, 2001 - ROSENCOR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. v. PATERNO INQUING, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140713 March 8, 2001 - ROSA YAP PARAS, ET AL. v. ISMAEL O. BALDADO

  • G.R. No. 112115 March 9, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140619-24 March 9, 2001 - BENEDICTO E. KUIZON, ET AL. v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO

  • G.R. No. 126099 March 12, 2001 - ROBERTO MITO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128372 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REMEGIO DELA PEÑA

  • G.R. Nos. 130634-35 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANOLITO OYANIB

  • G.R. No. 131889 March 12, 2001 - VIRGINIA O. GOCHAN, ET AL. v. RICHARD G. YOUNG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136738 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN VALEZ

  • G.R. No. 137306 March 12, 2001 - VIRGINIA AVISADO, ET AL. v. AMOR RUMBAUA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140011-16 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUSTAQUIO MORATA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1464 March 13, 2001 - SALVADOR O. BOOC v. MALAYO B. BANTUAS

  • G.R. No. 103073 March 13, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131530 March 13, 2001 - Y REALTY CORP. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136594 March 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL CANIEZO

  • G.R. No. 139405 March 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTURO F. PACIFICADOR

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1530 March 14, 2001 - EDGARDO ALDAY, ET AL. v. ESCOLASTICO U. CRUZ

  • G.R. Nos. 116001 & 123943 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LUISITO GO

  • G.R. No. 130209 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LARRY LAVAPIE, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 130515 & 147090 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANSELMO BARING

  • G.R. Nos. 134451-52 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO FRETA

  • G.R. No. 137036 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HERNANDO DE MESA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138045 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETTA PATUNGAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139300 March 14, 2001 - AMIGO MANUFACTURING v. CLUETT PEABODY CO.

  • G.R. No. 102985 March 15, 2001 - RUBEN BRAGA CURAZA v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133480 March 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORANTE AGUILUZ

  • G.R. Nos. 135201-02 March 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENCIO FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 141616 March 15, 2001 - CITY OF QUEZON v. LEXBER INCORPORATED

  • G.R. No. 116847 March 16, 2001 - MANUFACTURERS BUILDING v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128083 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO M. HILARIO

  • G.R. No. 128922 March 16, 2001 - ELEUTERIA B. ALIABO, ET AL. v. ROGELIO L. CARAMPATAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129070 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NELLIE CABAIS

  • G.R. No. 131544 March 16, 2001 - EPG CONSTRUCTION CO., ET AL. v. GREGORIO R. VIGILAR

  • G.R. No. 135047 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICARDO CACHOLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137282 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO ALIPAR

  • G.R. Nos. 137753-56 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NILO ARDON

  • A.M. No. 01-1463 March 20, 2001 - EVELYN ACUÑA v. RODOLFO A. ALCANTARA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1306 March 20, 2001 - ROBERT M. VISBAL v. RODOLFO C. RAMOS

  • A.M. No. P-97-1241 March 20, 2001 - DINNA CASTILLO v. ZENAIDA C. BUENCILLO

  • G.R. Nos. 105965-70 March 20, 2001 - GEORGE UY v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 108991 March 20, 2001 - WILLIAM ALAIN MIAILHE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130663 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ANGELES STA. TERESA

  • G.R. Nos. 136862-63 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 139413-15 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ENDRICO GALAS

  • G.R. No. 140356 March 20, 2001 - DOLORES FAJARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140919 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BUTCH BUCAO LEE

  • G.R. No. 142476 March 20, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 144074 March 20, 2001 - MEDINA INVESTIGATION & SECURITY CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127772 March 22, 2001 - ROBERTO P. ALMARIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 133815-17 March 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO LIAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134972 March 22, 2001 - ERNESTO CATUNGAL, ET AL. v. DORIS HAO

  • A.M. No. P-01-1469 March 26, 2001 - ROEL O. PARAS v. MYRNA F. LOFRANCO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1624 March 26, 2001 - REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE RELATIVE TO SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. 28

  • A.M. No. 99-731-RTJ March 26, 2001 - HILARIO DE GUZMAN v. DEODORO J. SISON

  • G.R. Nos. 102407-08 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDMUNDO LUCERO

  • G.R. No. 121608 March 26, 2001 - FLEISCHER COMPANY v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121902 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WALTER MELENCION

  • G.R. No. 125865 March 26, 2001 - JEFFREY LIANG v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 129916 March 26, 2001 - MAGELLAN CAPITAL MNGT. CORP., ET AL. v. ROLANDO M. ZOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 131638-39 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORETO MEDENILLA

  • G.R. No. 131653 March 26, 2001 - ROBERTO GONZALES v. NLRC, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 133475 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO MONTEJO

  • G.R. No. 134903 March 26, 2001 - UNICRAFT INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136790 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL GALVEZ

  • G.R. No. 137268 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUTIQUIA CARMEN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137590 March 26, 2001 - FLORENCE MALCAMPO-SIN v. PHILIPP T. SIN

  • G.R. No. 137739 March 26, 2001 - ROBERTO B. TAN v. PHIL. BANKING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137889 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO DELOS SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 142950 March 26, 2001 - EQUITABLE PCI BANK v. ROSITA KU

  • G.R. Nos. 147066 & 147179 March 26, 2001 - AKBAYAN - Youth, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-7-09-CA March 27, 2001 - IN RE: DEMETRIO G. DEMETRIA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1473 March 27, 2001 - GLORIA O. BENITEZ v. MEDEL P. ACOSTA

  • G.R. No. 123149 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CORNELIO CABUG

  • G.R. No. 131588 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLENN DE LOS SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 137762-65 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO BARES

  • G.R. No. 137989 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SONNY MATIONG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1357 March 28, 2001 - MONFORT HERMANOS AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. ROLANDO V. RAMIREZ

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1574 March 28, 2001 - GORGONIO S. NOVA v. SANCHO DAMES II

  • G.R. No. 100701 March 28, 2001 - PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHIL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101442 March 28, 2001 - JOSE ANGELES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 110012 March 28, 2001 - ANASTACIO VICTORIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112314 March 28, 2001 - VICENTE R. MADARANG v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117964 March 28, 2001 - PLACIDO O. URBANES, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122216 March 28, 2001 - ALJEM’S CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126751 March 28, 2001 - SAFIC ALCAN & CIE v. IMPERIAL VEGETABLE OIL CO.

  • G.R. No. 126959 March 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERVANDO SATURNO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136965 March 28, 2001 - UNIVERSITY OF THE PHIL. v. SEGUNDINA ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 137660 March 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLOS L. ALCANTARA

  • G.R. No. 137932 March 28, 2001 - CHIANG YIA MIN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138474 March 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FORTUNATO BALANO

  • G.R. Nos. 139571-72 March 28, 2001 - ROGER N. ABARDO v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 140153 March 28, 2001 - ANTONIO DOCENA, ET AL. v. RICARDO P. LAPESURA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141307 March 28, 2001 - PURTO J. NAVARRO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142007 March 28, 2001 - MANUEL C. FELIX v. ENERTECH SYSTEMS INDUSTRIES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143173 March 28, 2001 - PEDRO ONG, ET AL. v. SOCORRO PAREL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144169 March 28, 2001 - KHE HONG CHENG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131836 March 30, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELITA SINCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137564 March 30, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINADOR DOMENDED

  • G.R. No. 137648 March 30, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PADILLA

  • G.R. No. 140311 March 30, 2001 - DENNIS T. GABIONZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

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    G.R. No. 134279   March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY ROGER AUSTRIA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 134279. March 8, 2001.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RICKY ROGER AUSTRIA y SACATANE, Defendant-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    KAPUNAN, J.:


    Accused-appellant Ricky Roger Austria was charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila with Murder in an information reading:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about June 21, 1995, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, attack, assault and use personal violence upon one AGUSTIN ABAD y ARAGUEZ, by then and there stabbing him on the chest, thereby inflicting upon him serious stab wounds which are necessarily fatal and mortal and which were the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Contrary to law. 1

    Arraigned on August 9, 1995, Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the above charges. Trial ensued thereafter.

    The prosecution presented as its only eyewitness thirteen-year old Rowena Junio.

    On June 21, 1995, at around 10:00 in the evening, in Bagong Barangay, Zamora, Pandacan, Manila, Rowena went to a store in the plaza to buy ice. Failing to buy any, Rowena started walking back home. On the way, she saw three (3) men accost another man, who they took to a narra tree. Rowena heard one of the three men instruct the man brought to the narra tree to bring out something. Suddenly, Accused-appellant hit the man with a piece of wood and simultaneously stabbed him. A lamppost lighting the area enabled Rowena to see accused-appellant’s face when the latter looked to see if anyone else was around. 2

    SPO2 Rodolfo Rival of the Homicide Division of the Western Police District Command (WPDC), Manila, conducted an investigation of the incident. SPO2 Rival testified that at around 10:45 in the evening of June 21, 1995, SPO2 Danilo Caballero of the Pandacan Police Station reported the presence of a dead male person at Bagong Barangay, Zamora, Pandacan, Manila. SPO2 Rival examined the crime scene where he found the victim’s remains lying on its back at the grassy portion of the sidewalk beside the estero. The body had a lone stab wound on the mid-chest and a deep-cut wound on the face. There were also splotches of blood on the ground at the first gate of Bagong Barangay.

    SPO2 Rival interviewed several persons regarding the incident but none of them gave any "good information." On June 22, 1995, however, Rowena Junio went to the station and gave her statement identifying accused-appellant as the one who stabbed the victim. 3

    Dr. Manuel Lagonera, medico-legal officer of the Western Police District, conducted an autopsy on the body of the victim. Dr. Lagonera testified that the victim, who was identified as Agustin Abad, 4 sustained one penetrating stab wound located at the right anterior thorax, and that the proximate cause of death was shock secondary to stab wounds. The depth of the stab wound was 12 centimeters, piercing the heart of the victim. From the nature of the wound, he concluded that the weapon used by the assailant was consistent with a sharp-pointed, sharp-edged instrument, and that the assailant could have been fronting the victim. Death was immediate. 5 Dr. Lagonera’s findings are contained in his Autopsy Report. 6

    Accused-appellant, 26, married, and a resident of 1901 Interior 60, Zamora Street, Pandacan, Manila, denied killing Agustin Abad. He claimed that at the time of the incident on June 21, 1995, he was at his house with his parents and sons trying to put his six-month old child to sleep. He said Agustin was his neighbor who lived a block away from their house. Accused-appellant had known Agustin since childhood and saw him frequently.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    He alleged that he learned of the stabbing incident that same night at around 10:00 p.m. Somebody near accused-appellant’s house shouted that Agustin had been stabbed. Accused-appellant went to the scene where he saw the victim wounded but still alive. He did not recognize the victim as Agustin since the latter’s face was too bloodied. He stayed at the scene for about five (5) minutes. A certain Roberto, a neighbor and an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, was also there and took the victim’s wallet. Accused-appellant learned from his sister that Agustin was the victim only when he was in the police station. 7

    On April 28, 1998, the trial court rendered a decision convicting accused-appellant of Murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Ricky Roger Austria y Sacatane (sic), guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with all the accessory penalties provided by law, and to pay the costs. Moreover, the accused is ordered to pay actual, moral and nominal damages in the sums of P13,000.00, P50,000.00 and P25,000.00 respectively, and an additional sum of P50,000.00 for the death of the victim, with interest thereon at the legal rate from the date of the filing of this case, July 3, 1995, until fully paid.

    SO ORDERED. 8

    Accused-appellant now appeals his conviction, and the Court grants him acquittal on the ground of reasonable doubt.

    Accused-appellant has pointed to inconsistencies in the testimony of the alleged eyewitness, Rowena Junio, regarding her acquaintance with accused-appellant that cast doubt on accused-appellant’s guilt.

    First, Rowena stated that she saw accused-appellant for the first time only during the stabbing incident.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    By the way, the accused was not the first time you met [sic], when you saw him during the stabbing incident?chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    A: That was my [sic] first time I saw him. 9

    The Court also notes that the witness repeated this declaration when asked how long she has known Accused-Appellant. She replied that she had only met him on that tragic occasion:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: How long have you known Ricky?

    A: I only met him on that occasion, when I saw his face.

    Q: Now, Madam Witness, you said that you know him only when you saw his face, is that correct?

    A: Yes, Sir.

    Q: In sort, [sic] you have not known him for a long time, is that correct Madam Witness?

    A: Yes, Sir. 10

    However, when confronted with the Affidavit 11 she executed the day after the incident, Rowena contradicted herself and claimed she had known accused-appellant for a long time.

    Q: I want to invite your attention to the affidavit that you executed, paragraph 11 and tell me if that is the statement that you made?

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Read it.

    A: (Witness reading the statement, pp. 11) "Ito bang si Ricky ay matagal mo nang kilala?

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Read the answer.

    A: "Sa mukha po ay matagal ko na siyang kilala"

    ATTY. ASKALI:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    So, "matagal mo nang kilala." So, it is not. . . . . . . .

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Wait, wait, what did you mean by that, when you said "Matagal mo na siyang kilala sa mukha" ?

    A: Because he is from that place and I used to see him.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    When you saw the face of the accused in the evening of June 21, 1995, during the stabbing indident [sic], that was not the first time you saw him?

    A: Yes, your honor. 12

    Rowena was also inconsistent concerning her residence. When asked to state her personal circumstances, she said that she was residing at 1953 Zamora, Pandacan, Manila. 13 She also testified that she was born there and had been staying there since childhood.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Q: How long have you been living with [sic] this address, Mr. [sic] Witness, 1953 [Zamora Street, Pandacan, Manila].

    A: I was born in that place.

    Q: So from childhood you have been staying at 1953 Zamora Street, Pandacan, Manila. Is that correct?

    A: Yes, sir. 14

    However, in other parts of her testimony, she said that she was not from the area but was merely visiting, and that she did not know anyone there.

    Q: How long have you been residing in the said area, in that place in Pandacan, Manila?

    A: I only visited the place, Ma’m [sic]. 15

    x       x       x


    ATTY. ASKALI:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Madam Witness, you said that you are not living permanently in that place at Pandacan, you only visited the place, is that correct?chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    A: Yes, sir.

    Q: Where do you live before you visited the place?

    A: I only visited the place and there was also a wake.

    Q: And when you said wake, who died Madam Witness?

    A: The grandfather of the accused.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Who died, do you know?

    A: I do not know, your honor. I merely accompanied my mother. It’s my mother who attend the deceased [sic].

    Q: So you are very knew [sic] in that place you do not know anyone there, is that correct?

    A: Yes, Sir. 16

    The prosecution failed to clarify these inconsistencies in Rowena’s testimony.

    The Office of the Solicitor General submits, however, that Rowena Junio’s acquaintance with appellant is irrelevant considering that she personally identified him to be the same person whose face appeared under the illumination of the lamp right after the stabbing of the victim. If at all, any inconsistency in the narration by the witness only bolsters her credibility since it would show that her statements were unrehearsed and spontaneous. 17

    We disagree. The inconsistencies in Rowena Junio’s testimony do not refer to incidental or collateral matters. The basis of her identification of accused-appellant as the victim’s assailant was precisely her purported familiarity with Accused-Appellant. She did not pick him out of a police line-up nor did she provide the police with a description of the assailant. She pointed to accused-appellant because she allegedly knew him prior to the killing. If the witness was not at all familiar with accused-appellant, the prosecution’s whole case collapses for such familiarity was its very foundation.

    In the face of doubts regarding the familiarity of the witness with the alleged assailant, the distance of the witness from the scene and the visibility conditions thereat assume greater significance. Rowena was purportedly some eight (8) meters from the scene of the killing, 18 which was illuminated by a flickering lamp. She testified:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: What about in the place of the incident? Is it also well lighted, Madam Witness?

    A: The light in the lamp post was flicking on and off because it was defective. 19

    The prosecution did not show, however, whether the intensity of the defective lamp was sufficient to enable the witness to see accused-appellant’s face, considering her distance from the scene.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Accused-appellant invoked alibi, which he failed to corroborate with other evidence. Nevertheless, this circumstance would not sustain his conviction.

    As a rule, alibis should be considered with suspicion and received with caution, not only because they are inherently weak and unreliable, but also because they can easily be fabricated. But equally fundamental is the axiom that evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the defense. A conviction in a criminal case must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt. The prosecution cannot use the weakness of the defense to enhance its cause. And, where the prosecution’s evidence is weak or just as equally tenuous, alibi need not be inquired into. 20

    The prosecution has also failed to establish any motive on the part of the accused-appellant to kill the deceased. While generally, the motive of the accused is immaterial and does not have to be proven, proof of the same becomes relevant and essential when, as in this case, the identity of the assailant is in question. 21

    We conclude with the following quote from People v. Bautista: 22

    Considering the apparent unreliability of the evidence proffered by the prosecution, this Court is constrained to rule for an acquittal. In all criminal cases, all doubts should be resolved in favor of the accused on the principle that it is better to liberate a guilty man than to unjustly keep in prison one whose guilt has not been proven by the required quantum of evidence. Conviction, it is said, must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt that we find here to be wanting.

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila is REVERSED. Accused-appellant Ricky Roger Austria y Sacatane is hereby ACQUITTED on the ground of reasonable doubt. The Director of Prisons is directed to forthwith cause his release unless he is held for some other lawful cause and to inform the Court accordingly within ten (10) days from notice.

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Records, p. 1.

    2. TSN, September 21, 1995, pp. 2-6.

    3. TSN, December 13, 1996, pp. 2-4.

    4. Exhibit "D," Certificate of Identification of Dead Body.

    5. TSN, May 31, 1996, pp. 2-5.

    6. Exhibit "B."cralaw virtua1aw library

    7. TSN, April 3, 1998, pp. 2-11.

    8. Rollo, pp. 13-14. Emphasis in the original.

    9. TSN, September 21, 1995, p. 7.

    10. Id., at 10.

    11. Exhibit "A."cralaw virtua1aw library

    12. TSN, September 21, 1995, pp. 10-11.

    13. Id., at 2.

    14. TSN May 31, 1996, p. 7.

    15. TSN, September 21, 1995, p. 4.

    16. Id., at 9.

    17. Rollo, p. 64.

    18. TSN, September 21, 1995, p. 6.

    19. TSN, May 31, 1996, p. 9.

    20. People v. Milan, 311 SCRA 461 (1999). See also People of the Philippines v. PO1 Aspalan Maing, G.R. No. 122112, May 12, 2000, and People v. Manambit, 271 SCRA 344 (1997).

    21. People v. Bautista, 308 SCRA 620 (1999).

    22. Ibid.

    G.R. No. 134279   March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY ROGER AUSTRIA




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