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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. 121902   March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WALTER MELENCION

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 121902. March 26, 2001.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WALTER MELENCION alias TETING, Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    BELLOSILLO, J.:


    This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the 12 April 1995 Decision of the court a quo 1 which declared Eulalio Autida y Bantilan also known as Eutiquio Autida alias Yoly and Walter Melencion y Orapa alias Teting guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder by conspiracy aggravated by abuse of superior strength and treachery. The trial court sentenced both accused to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, including its accessory penalties, and to pay the heirs of their victim the sum of P6,000.00 as actual damages and P50,000.00 as moral damages without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    This petition is now being reviewed only insofar as the accused Walter Melencion is concerned as he alone has appealed to us. His co-accused Eulalio Autida did not file a notice of appeal.

    The facts: On 2 July 1992 Lorenzo Bautista went to the barangay market of Sto. Niño, Danao, Bohol, to fetch his wife Juanita who was peddling goods in the market. Before Lorenzo left, he asked his brother-in-law and neighbor Tiburcio Cabil to watch over his house.

    At around 8 o’clock in the evening Lorenzo returned home with Juanita. He got his scythe and left the house to gather tuba while Juanita went inside their store, which was attached to their front porch. In the meantime, Tiburcio went to the comfort room to relieve himself. It was located outside the house about five (5) meters away from the kitchen. Its walls were made of thatched coconut leaves. In lieu of a door shutter a sack covered its opening to protect its occupant from being seen outside.

    When Lorenzo returned he headed towards the bangera 2 at the kitchen sink to drink water. The kitchen sink was made of split bamboos with about 2-1/2-inch spacing in-between and light filtered through from the lamp hanging in the kitchen. At this moment, Tiburcio who was still inside the comfort room saw Eulalio Autida and Walter Melencion both carrying long arms enter the yard of Lorenzo. They were followed by two (2) other persons, not familiar to Tiburcio, who distanced themselves from Eulalio and Walter to crouch beneath a banana tree. Eulalio positioned himself by the bangera while Walter held his firearm in a forth-arm position, as if ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. 3 Then a shot rang out. Eulalio shot Lorenzo. Eulalio, Walter, and their two (2) other companions calmly walked towards the poblacion of Danao.

    After assuring himself that the intruders had already left, Tiburcio went to the kitchen and found Lorenzo lying on the floor beside the bangera with blood oozing from his face and left ear. Tiburcio heard Juanita call out to her husband Lorenzo, "What was that shoot (sic) about?" not knowing that he was already dead. Tiburcio did not enlighten her; instead, he ran towards his home fearful and in shock.

    Meanwhile, Felimon Bantilan, a neighbor of Lorenzo, was taking supper with his family when he heard a shot from the direction of Lorenzo’s house. Felimon immediately took his flashlight, went down his house, and flashed its light to see what was going on. About seven (7) meters away from where he was, he saw four (4) people pass by, two (2) of them carrying long arms, heading towards the Poblacion of Danao. One of them he recognized as Walter Melencion.

    The police was called as news traveled fast that Lorenzo had been shot. Tiburcio returned to the Bautista home to join the milling crowd. However he did not tell anyone about what he had seen even as Juanita Bautista volunteered to the police that Tiburcio might have witnessed the shooting incident.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The following morning, a post-mortem examination of the deceased was conducted by the Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Ma. Portia Mortejo Datahan. In her report dated 4 July 1992 she stated that the entire right side of the face of Lorenzo Bautista showed signs of gunpowder tattooing and declared the cause of death as mutilated gunshot wound, with cardio-respiratory arrest, hypovolemic shock, and intra-cranial injuries as secondary causes. 4

    In August 1992, bothered by his conscience, Tiburcio emerged from his silence and revealed to his sister Juanita the identities of the assailants. On 13 November 1992 he went to the Danao Chief of Police Victorio Adlaon Dispo and executed an affidavit to this effect on 13 November 1992, followed by a supplemental affidavit dated 16 November 1992. Filemon Bantilan had earlier executed an affidavit narrating what he had witnessed on the night Lorenzo Bautista was shot, and corroborated Tiburcio’s statements. 5

    During the preliminary investigation, a subpoena was issued ordering Eulalio Autida, Walter Melencion, "John Doe" and "Peter Doe" to submit counter-affidavits and evidence. 6 Repeated service of the subpoena on Eulalio Autida at his residence yielded no result. 7 The subpoena was returned to the court with the information that Eulalio Autida could no longer be found within Danao, Chief of Police Dispo’s area of responsibility. 8

    On 16 December 1992 a warrant for the arrest of Eulalio Autida, Walter Melencion, and their two (2) other companions was issued. 9 Thereafter Melencion was arrested while Autida was arrested only on 3 March 1993. He was found in Talibon, Bohol, staying in the house of his elder brother Rosendo Autida. 10

    Eulalio Autida denied participation in the killing and interposed alibi as a defense. He claimed that in the evening of 2 July 1992 he was in the house of Mayor Otelio Doroy Mutuc helping with the household chores. With him were Gerardo Trazo and Walter Melencion who was butchering a goat and a few chickens for the visitors of the mayor scheduled to arrive that evening. 11 Eulalio had been staying at Mayor Mutuc’s house since the middle of May 1992 until June 1992 asking the mayor for a recommendation to work at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as forest ranger/forest guard. In turn, Eulalio ran errands for the mayor and did household work. In August of 1992 he left the mayor’s house to work in Concepcion, Danao, as a forest guard and planter of the DENR tree planting project. He was contracted to work for five (5) days a month from August to September. Thereafter, he joined his brother Rosendo Autida in Talibon, Bohol, where he was arrested.

    Walter likewise denied the charge. He recounted that on 2 July 1992, at around 5:45 in the evening, he went to the house of Doring Auxtero per instruction of Mayor Mutuc to invite Doring to the latter’s house. 12 He had been living in the mayor’s house since the middle of June, helping out in the household chores. 13 Eulalio Autida and Gerardo Trazo were his roommates. At around 6:00 o’clock p.m. Walter returned to the mayor’s house to gather and chop wood as firewood. He was assisted by Eulalio. 14 The wood was intended for the birthday party of the mayor’s daughter at the end of the month. 15

    On 12 April 1995 the trial court convicted the accused Eulalio Autida and Walter Melencion of murder attended by conspiracy and aggravated by abuse of superior strength and treachery. The trial court ruled that the defense of denial and alibi interposed by both accused could not hold water in the light of Tiburcio’s as well as Filemon’s positive identification of the accused as the assailants.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Walter Melencion as sole appellant, questions the credibility of Tiburcio noting that the amount of time he spent inside the comfort room was extraordinarily long since he entered it when Lorenzo left to gather tuba and was still inside even after Lorenzo had returned. Moreover, Accused-appellant argues that the opening of the comfort room was covered by a sack which could not have allowed Tiburcio, in a squatting position, to see anyone outside.

    Accused-appellant likewise assails the credibility of the testimony of Filemon Bantilan as his reaction when he supposedly heard the gunshot was unusual since a person who hears a gun fired near him usually has two (2) possible reactions: first, to seek cover; second, to turn off the lights as it was nighttime when he spotted the intruders near his house. Accused-appellant further deems it suspect that Filemon Bantilan did not exhibit fear when he saw the persons whom he presumed to be the source of the gunshot as it was against one’s instinct of self-preservation and protection.

    Accused-appellant also questions the veracity of the testimony of Dr. Portia Montejo Batahan arguing that gunpowder burns could not have been found on the face of Lorenzo Bautista. If the assailant was standing before the bangera while Lorenzo was drinking thereat, as claimed, the nozzle of the gun could not have been close to the face of Lorenzo Bautista as to produce gunpowder burns.

    As for the testimony of Danao Chief of Police Victorio Adlaon Dispo, Accused-appellant contends that it should not be given credit as it was unclear whether he went to investigate at the place of the victim on 2 July 1992 or on 3 July 1992. In fine, Accused-appellant questions the credibility of all prosecution witnesses and prays that their testimonies be set aside.

    The Court accords great respect to the factual findings of the trial court, which is in a better position than the appellate court to properly evaluate testimonial evidence, absent any palpable error or arbitrariness in their findings. 16 Two (2) vital circumstances however exhort us to appraise the testimonies of the witnesses anew: (a) accused-appellant’s continued stay in the barrio after the occurrence of the crime while his co-accused Eulalio Autida sought refuge at another province; and, (b) accused-appellant’s act of pursuing the instant appeal when his co-accused Eulalio Autida did not. These circumstances, to our mind, befog the accuracy of accused-appellant’s conviction and calls to order an examination of the records and the principles of law applied.

    The trial court anchored its conviction of accused-appellant on its finding of conspiracy between him and his co-accused Eulalio Autida in the commission of murder. It found the testimonies of witnesses Tiburcio Cabil and Filemon Bantilan sufficient to demonstrate a previous agreement between the two (2) accused to commit the crime and a determined act to accomplish it, i.e., they entered the yard of the victim with firearms on hand, Eulalio Autida delivering the shot that killed the victim, while Walter Melencion carried his long arm in a forth-arm position as if ready to shoot.

    In legal parlance, conspiracy is attendant when two (2) or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. It is not necessary that direct proof of previous agreement to commit the felony be submitted as the same may be inferred from the circumstances attending the commission of the crime. Proof of concerted action on the part of the accused demonstrating a common design and objective is sufficient. However, conspiracy must be established by the same quantum of evidence as any other ingredient of the offense, i.e., by proof beyond reasonable doubt. Such evidence must show intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the furtherance of the common design or purpose.cralaw : red

    The witnesses for the prosecution recounted the events presumably according to what they actually saw and heard that fateful night without reservation nor prevarication. The time that Tiburcio Cabil spent in the comfort room is irrelevant, if not inconsequential, when compared to his straightforward narration of the circumstances behind Lorenzo Bautista’s death. Neither does the condition of the comfort room detract from the veracity of his statement as it was clarified that its walls were made of thatched coconut leaves which allowed him to see outside. 17 The possibility of a close-range attack did not necessarily discredit Tiburcio’s testimony since the municipal health officer who conducted the post-mortem examination did not discount the possibility that the assailant might have been in front of the bangera outside the kitchen. Dr. Ma. Portia Mortejo Datahan in fact noted that the kitchen was low enough for a tall attacker to have come close and shoot Lorenzo Bautista. 18

    As for Filemon Bantilan’s unnatural reaction to the gunshots, it may be said that people react differently to a given stimulus or type of situation, and there is no standard form of behavioral response when one is confronted with a strange, startling or frightful experience. 19

    The testimonies of Tiburcio Cabil and Filemon Bantilan may prove satisfactorily the culpability of accused Eulalio Autida but not necessarily that of accused-appellant Walter Melencion. The records abound with evidence clearly pointing to Eulalio Autida as the lone gunman. But too deficient and weak is the chain of events leading to the conclusion that accused-appellant had by a previous agreement and concerted action conspired with his co-accused Eulalio Autida to kill Lorenzo Bautista.

    Walter Melencion’s probable participation in the crime as co-conspirator of Eulalio Autida is grounded only on three (3) circumstances: first, he and Eulalio simultaneously entered the yard of the victim with long arms; second, he stood beside Eulalio Autida with his firearm in a forth-arm position as if ready to shoot; and third, he was seen with three (3) other unidentified individuals coming from the direction of the gunshot with a long firearm, which Chief of Police Victorio Adlaon Dispo claimed was identified by Tiburcio Cabil during his investigation as a short firearm. 20

    The above circumstances are too inadequate to establish a conspiracy between accused-appellant Walter Melencion and his co-accused Eulalio Autida. To hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by conspiracy, there must be a sufficient and unbroken chain of events that directly and definitely links the accused to the commission of the crime without any space for baseless suppositions or frenzied theories to filter through. It must be established that the two (2) pursued their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful objective, each performing his assigned task so that their acts, though apparently independent from each other, were in fact related, connected and cooperative, thus indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of sentiment. 21

    We cannot draw any inference from the facts that accused-appellant Walter Melencion consciously shared Eulalio Autida’s frame of mind and adhered to his objective. Although accused-appellant carried his weapon in a forth-arm position, it is clearly unclear whether he raised it in the accomplishment of a common goal or for some other purpose. There is even no showing that accused-appellant cocked his firearm in preparation to shoot, much less aimed it in the direction of Lorenzo Bautista. What is extant on record only is Tiburcio’s claim that Walter raised his firearm in a forth-arm position "as if he was about to shoot," which to our mind was a statement that evinced some uncertainty on the action taken by the latter. It could be that accused-appellant acted as a second to Eulalio Autida in case the latter failed to hit his target. But this is purely speculative and an obvious departure from the established facts. Conspiracy cannot be established by mere conjectures but by positive and conclusive evidence.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    We cannot hypothesize likewise on the events and incidents that transpired immediately after the shot rang out. It was claimed that accused-appellant left the vicinity with three (3) unidentified men one of whom could have been Walter Melencion. But there is no evidence whatsoever that he left the place as he supposedly thought that his mission had already been accomplished. Nor did he persist from executing any act that might have contributed to the efforts of Eulalio Autida as the records are silent in this point.

    Filemon Bantilan’s testimony cannot help the cause of the prosecution. His claim that he saw the accused-appellant coming from the direction of the gunshot did not prove conspiracy as mere presence in the locus criminis does not establish it. There is absolutely no showing that accused-appellant fired the shot that hit Lorenzo or participated in killing him.

    The fact is that only one (1) shot was fired and it came from the gun of accused Eulalio Autida. The shot hit the victim who suffered only one (1) bullet wound from which he died. In other words, the perpetration of the crime was executed to its very end without any aid, physical or constructive, from Accused-Appellant. As we have repeatedly held, when several accused are charged they can be held equally guilty regardless of their degree of participation in the offense only when their very cooperation added to its strength, emboldened the actual killer, or contributed to the success of the common design. 22 In the instant case, there is no iota of proof manifesting that Eulalio Autida could not have pursued his objective without the presence or support of accused-appellant Walter Melencion. Instead, the evidence shows that Eulalio Autida committed the crime single-handedly. Where the facts can be consistent with the non-participation of accused-appellant, conspiracy must be rejected. 23

    The defense of denial and alibi is intrinsically weak and unreliable which can easily be fabricated. However, the rule is firmly entrenched that a judgment of conviction must be predicated on the strength of the evidence for the prosecution and not on the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Accusation cannot be made synonymous with guilt. It is incumbent on the prosecution to demonstrate that culpability lies and the freedom of the accused can be forfeited only if the requisite quantum of proof necessary for conviction exists. In the absence thereof, we must acquit. To paraphrase a dictum of ancient respectability, which this Court has adopted with approval and consistency, it is better to let the guilty go scot-free than to convict an innocent person.

    WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court a quo insofar as it found accused-appellant Walter Melencion y Orapa alias Teting guilty of murder aggravated by abuse of superior strength and treachery and imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of Lorenzo Bautista actual and moral damages is REVERSED and SET ASIDE for insufficiency of evidence and failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Consequently, Accused-appellant Walter Melencion y Orapa is immediately released from custody unless held for another legitimate cause.

    The Director of Prisons is DIRECTED to implement this Decision immediately without delay and to report to this Court the action taken hereon within five (5) days from receipt hereof.chanrob1es virtua1 law library

    SO ORDERED.

    Mendoza, Quisumbing, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Decision penned by Judge Pacito A. Yape, RTC-Br. 3, Tagbilaran City.

    2. A big pot made of earthenware used in the provinces to keep water and other food provisions.

    3. TSN, 13 July 1993, p. 2.

    4. Post-mortem Examination Report, Records, Exh. "E."cralaw virtua1aw library

    5. Affidavit of Felimon Bantilan dated 10 November 1993, Exh. "C."cralaw virtua1aw library

    6. The 12 December 1992 subpoena was signed by Clerk of Court Oscar F. Commendador, and witnessed by Judge Avelino N. Purucan, 18th MCTC of Dagohoy-Danao, Bohol; Records, p. 27.

    7. TSN, 25 July 1993, pp. 16-17.

    8. Ibid.

    9. Records, p. 40.

    10. TSN, 26 July 1993, p. 16.

    11. TSN, 27 July 1993, p. 7.

    12. TSN, 20 July 1993, p. 2.

    13. Id., p. 3.

    14. Id., p. 5

    15. Ibid.

    16. People v. Benito, G.R. No. 128072, 19 February 1999, citing People v. Victor, G.R. No. 127903, 9 July 1998.

    17. TSN, 14 July 1993, pp. 13-14.

    18. TSN, 21 July 1993, p. 13.

    19. People v. Luzorata, G.R. No. 122478, 24 February 1998, 286 SCRA 487; People v. Matubis, G.R. No. 109774, 27 March 1998, 288 SCRA 210.

    20. TSN, 21 July 1993, p. 26.

    21. People v. Woolcock, G.R. No. 110658, 22 May 1995, 244 SCRA 235; People v. Miranday, G.R. No. 111581, 23 March 1995, 242 SCRA 620, citing People v. Galit, G.R. No. 97432, 1 March 1994, 230 SCRA 186; People v. Viray, G.R. No. 72892, 7 January 1987, 147 SCRA 146.

    22. People v. De Roxas, G.R. No. 106783, 15 February 1995, 241 SCRA 369, citing People v. Peralta, No. L-19069, 24 October 1968, 25 SCRA 759; People v. Miranday, see Note 19, citing People v. Rojas, Nos. L-46960-62, 8 January 1987, 147 SCRA 169.

    23. People v. Furugganan, G.R. Nos. 90191-96, 28 January 1991, 193 SCRA 471.

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




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