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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
September-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 137538 September 3, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. HON. FRANCISCO B. IBAY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1249 September 4, 2001 - PHIL. GERIATRICS FOUNDATION, ET AL. v. LYDIA QUERUBIN LAYOSA

  • A.M. No. P-00-1373 September 4, 2001 - ELIZABETH A. TIONGCO v. ROGELIO S. MOLINA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1501 September 4, 2001 - JOSEPHINE D. SARMIENTO v. ALBERT S. SALAMAT

  • A.M. No. P-01-1502 September 4, 2001 - CRESENCIO N. BONGALOS v. JOSE R. MONUNGOLH and VICTORIA D. JAMITO

  • A.M. No. P-99-1357 September 4, 2001 - SHERWIN M. BALOLOY v. JOSE B. FLORES

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1651 September 4, 2001 - PROSECUTOR LEO C. TABAO v. JUDGE FRISCO T. LILAGAN

  • G.R. No. 125359 September 4, 2001 - ROBERTO S. BENEDICTO and HECTOR T. RIVERA v. THE COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 126859 September 4, 2001 - YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127181 September 4, 2001 - LAND BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132709 September 4, 2001 - CAMILO L. SABIO, ET AL. v. INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134490 September 4, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL BRAGAT

  • G.R. Nos. 135356-58 September 4, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELECIO SAGARINO

  • G.R. No. 138923 September 4, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANITA AYOLA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1344 September 5, 2001 - LYDIO ARCILLA, ET AL. v. LUCIO PALAYPAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128145 September 5, 2001 - J.C. LOPEZ & ASSOCIATES v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133886 September 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. OSCAR PARBA

  • G.R. No. 134101 September 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELINO O. LLANITA

  • G.R. No. 136054 September 5, 2001 - SEVERINA SAN MIGUEL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132714 September 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LALINGJAMAN

  • G.R. Nos. 139064-66 September 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO ARCE

  • G.R. No. 140529 September 6, 2001 - JOSE P. LOPEZ v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141400 September 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EVANGELINE GANENAS

  • Admin. Case. No. 4863 September 7, 2001 - URBAN BANK v. ATTY. MAGDALENO M. PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 114858-59 September 7, 2001 - COLUMBUS PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 126352 September 7, 2001 - GSIS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127261 September 7, 2001 - VISAYAN SURETY & INSURANCE CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129644 September 7, 2001 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131805 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO HERMOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132064 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ISAGANI BAYENG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132320 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO OJERIO

  • G.R. Nos. 135402-03 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IAN GONZAGA

  • G.R. No. 136779 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNEL ASUNCION

  • G.R. No. 142065 September 7, 2001 - LENIDO LUMANOG v. HON. JAIME N. SALAZAR

  • G.R. No. 142875 September 7, 2001 - EDGAR AGUSTILO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144877 September 7, 2001 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. VERONICA AGUIRRE, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1506 September 10, 2001 - GEORGE S. BICBIC v. DHALIA E. BORROMEO

  • G.R. Nos. 104769 & 135016 September 10, 2001 - AFP MUTUAL BENEFIT ASSO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118943 September 10, 2001 - MARIO HORNALES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130362 September 10, 2001 - INT’L FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES (PHIL.) v. MERLIN J. ARGOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138485 September 10, 2001 - DR. v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

  • G.R. No. 141970 September 10, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK v. FLORO T. ALEJO

  • G.R. No. 145588 September 10, 2001 - ESPERIDION LOPEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140398 September 11, 2001 - FRANCISCO DELA MERCED, ET AL. v. GSIS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121877 September 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ERLINDA GONZALES

  • G.R. Nos. 138431-36 September 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIOSCORA M. ARABIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140903 September 12, 2001 - HENRY SY v. COMMISSION ON SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-1-4-03-SC September 13, 2001 - RE: REQUEST FOR LIVE RADIO-TV COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL IN THE SANDIGANBAYAN OF THE PLUNDER CASES AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT JOSEPH E. ESTRADA v. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA and INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • A.M. No. 00-4-188-RTC September 13, 2001 - REQUEST OF MR. OSCAR T. LLAMAS FOR RE-ASSIGNMENT OSCAR T. LLAMAS v. EMMANUEL LACANDOLA AND ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 120009 September 13, 2001 - DOLE PHILIPPINES v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 122095 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DOMINGO DAWISAN

  • G.R. No. 127913 September 13, 2001 - RCBC v. METRO CONTAINER CORP.

  • G.R. No. 132354 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DEOMEDES IGLESIA

  • G.R. Nos. 136840-42 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 137250-51 September 13, 2001 - PABLO MARGAREJO v. HON. ADELARDO ESCOSES

  • G.R. No. 138972-73 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUGENIO B. MARQUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140512 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PETER PELERAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142043 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NELSON BITUON

  • G.R. No. 142430 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONNIE QUINICIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142444 September 13, 2001 - OFELIA D. ARTUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142649 September 13, 2001 - ANTONIO C. SAN LUIS v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 143702 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZALDY MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 129212 September 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO LACUESTA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1575 September 17, 2001 - ISAGANI RIZON v. JUDGE OSCAR E. ZERNA

  • A.M. No. RTJ 99-1498 September 17, 2001 - VICENTE P. LIM v. JUDGE JACINTA B. TAMBAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111584 September 17, 2001 - PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS and SPOUSES SALVADOR Y. CHUA and EMILIA U. CHUA

  • G.R. No. 135644 September 17, 2001 - GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM v. SPOUSES GONZALO and MATILDE LABUNG-DEANG

  • G.R. No. 135912 September 17, 2001 - ODIN SECURITY AGENCY v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138219 September 17, 2001 - GERARDO V. TAMBAOAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 138943-44 September 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HENRY ALMAZAN

  • G.R. No. 141209 September 17, 2001 - ANTONIA HUFANA, ET AL. v. WILLIAM ONG GENATO

  • A. C. No. 5043 September 19, 2001 - ABEDIN L. OSOP v. ATTY. V. EMMANUEL C. FONTANILLA

  • G.R. No. 135936 September 19, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUALBERTO MIRADOR alias "GOLING"

  • G.R. No. 144400 September 19, 2001 - DOMINGO O. IGNACIO v. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1369 September 20, 2001 - GUILLERMA D. CABAÑERO v. JUDGE ANTONIO K. CAÑON

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1371 September 20, 2001 - ATTY. NESCITO C. HILARIO v. JUDGE ROMEO A. QUILANTANG

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1472 September 20, 2001 - SPOUSES HERMINIO, ET Al. v. HON. DEMETRIO D. CALIMAG

  • A.M. No. P-01-1483 September 20, 2001 - EDNA FE F. AQUINO v. ISABELO LAVADIA

  • G.R. No. 116938 September 20, 2001 - LEONILA GARCIA-RUEDA v. REMEDIOS A. AMOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127405 September 20, 2001 - MARJORIE TOCAO and WILLIAM T. BELO v. COURT OF APPEALS and NENITA A. ANAY

  • G.R. No. 130399 September 20, 2001 - PUBLIC UTILITIES DEPARTMENT v. HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA

  • G.R. Nos. 135068-72 September 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAXIMO RAMOS

  • G.R. No. 137674 September 20, 2001 - WILLIAM GO KIM HUY v. SANTIAGO GO KIM HUY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139410 September 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SILVERIO AGUERO

  • G.R. No. 140898 September 20, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE ISHIKAWA AMBA

  • A.M. No. P-99-1289 September 21, 2001 - JUDGE NAPOLEON S. DIAMANTE v. ANTHONY A. ALAMBRA

  • G.R. Nos. 119609-10 September 21, 2001 - PCGG v. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division), ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128876 September 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANOLITO FELIZAR y CAPULI

  • G.R. No. 132384 September 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARLON GADIA

  • G.R. No. 134596 September 21, 2001 - RAYMUND ARDONIO v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 142889 September 21, 2001 - EXECUTIVE LABOR ARBITER RICARDO N. OLAIREZ v. OMBUDSMAN ANIANO A. DESIERTO

  • G.R. No. 145416 September 21, 2001 - GOLDEN HORIZON REALTY CORPORATION v. SY CHUAN

  • A.M. No. 99-6-79-MTC September 24, 2001 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT

  • A.M. No. P-01-1512 September 24, 2001 - TERESITA H. ZIPAGAN v. JOVENCIO N. TATTAO

  • G.R. Nos. 132442-44 September 24, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BERNARDINO ARANZADO

  • G.R. Nos. 135524-25 September 24, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANOLITO AGUSTIN

  • G.R. No. 141897 September 24, 2001 - METRO CONSTRUCTION v. CHATHAM PROPERTIES

  • G.R. No. 144404 September 24, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LEODEGARIO BASCUGUIN Y AGQUIZ

  • G.R. Nos. 127759-60 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PO3 NOEL FELICIANO

  • G.R. Nos. 134527-28 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SERAPIO REY alias APIONG

  • G.R. Nos. 136867-68 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RODRIGO GALVEZ y JEREZ

  • G.R. No. 137612 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FRANCISCO ANTINERO BERIARMENTE

  • A.C. No. 4497 September 26, 2001 - MR. and MRS. VENUSTIANO G. SABURNIDO v. ATTY. FLORANTE E. MADROÑO

  • A.C. No. 4990 September 26, 2001 - ELENA ZARATE-BUSTAMANTE and LEONORA SAVET CATABIAN v. ATTY. FLORENTINO G. LIBATIQUE

  • G.R. No. 122824 September 26, 2001 - AURORA F. IGNACIO v. VALERIANO BASILIO,

  • G.R. No. 123058 September 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO NAPUD, JR.

  • G.R. No. 129107 September 26, 2001 - ALFONSO L. IRINGAN v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS , ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 129530-31 September 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WILFREDO OLARTE

  • G.R. Nos. 138308-10 September 26, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PABLO SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 142564 September 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HILGEM NERIO y GIGANTO

  • G.R. Nos. 143108-09 September 26, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • Adm. Case. No. 5505 September 27, 2001 - SEVERINO RAMOS v. ATTY. ELLIS JACOBA and ATTY. OLIVIA VELASCO JACOBA

  • G.R. No. 131864-65 September 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SHERJOHN ARONDAIN and JOSE PRECIOSO

  • G.R. Nos. 134963-64 September 27, 2001 - ALFREDO LONG and FELIX ALMERIA v. LYDIA BASA

  • G.R. No. 137676 September 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ATTY. ROBERTO DIONISIO

  • G.R. No. 144035 September 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE M. BASQUEZ

  • A.M. No. P-00-1391 September 28, 2001 - LIBRADA D. TORRES v. NELSON C. CABESUELA

  • G.R. No. 122425 September 28, 2001 - FLORDELIZA H. CABUHAT v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 124535 September 28, 2001 - THE RURAL BANK OF LIPA CITY, ET AL. v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125154 September 28, 2001 - DIGNA VERGEL v. COURT OF APPEALS and DOROTEA-TAMISIN GONZALES

  • G.R. No. 125442 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERNANDO ARELLANO y ROBLES

  • G.R. No. 127232 September 28, 2001 - GOLDENROD v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PATHFINDER HOLDINGS (PHILIPPINES)

  • G.R. No. 127241 September 28, 2001 - LA CONSOLACION COLLEGE, ET AL. v. NLRC , ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134128 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GERARDO DE LAS ERAS y ZAFRA

  • G.R. No. 134928 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FILOMENO BARNUEVO. ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140789-92 September 28, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALIPIO CARBONELL and DIONISIO CARBONELL

  • G.R. No. 145371 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BEN AQUINO and ROMEO AQUINO

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    G.R. No. 129212   September 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO LACUESTA, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 129212. September 14, 2001.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MARIO LACUESTA, RICHARD LACUESTA (at large), ALI LAMELA (at large) and RODNEY LAMELA (at large), Accused.

    MARIO LACUESTA, Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    BELLOSILLO, J.:


    TRAGEDIES, as they happen in our time and age, seem to have inanities for beginnings. As shown in this case, the dreadful death which befell the victim traces its roots to a trivial tale of a fighting cock.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Sometime in late 1994 Danilo Panes borrowed a fighting cock from accused-appellant Mario Lacuesta to be entered in a cockfight in Duenas, Iloilo. On the day of the derby, Danilo took the cock to the poblacion and proudly showed it around. The oblivious cock somehow found its way into the hands of Elmer Piccio who upon recognizing it to be his cock that was earlier stolen, asserted his right to it. As a consequence, Danilo found himself confronted by an incensed Elmer who demanded an explanation why his cock that was earlier stolen was being entered in the derby. Danilo disclaimed any knowledge about the theft of the cock; instead, he pointed to accused-appellant as its owner. Elmer immediately went to the house of accused-appellant and demanded reparation for the theft. But accused-appellant claimed that he just bought it from somebody whom he could no longer remember. Elmer insisted on taking it back home.

    The embarrassment that accused-appellant suffered triggered the unexpected. At about 11:00 o’clock in the evening of 3 August 1994 an exhausted Danilo hastily alighted from the passenger jeepney that brought him home. Danilo had just come with Nestor Mata from a whole-day seminar for barangay officials at the poblacion. They were joined in the jeepney by Elnora Latumbo who earlier missed the last public utility vehicle that was to take her home. While the three (3) were walking home after getting down from the jeepney Elnora begged to be excused to answer the call of nature and took cover behind a mango tree along the way. She pleaded with her two (2) companions to slow down a little bit so she could catch up with them.

    As soon as Elnora left her two (2) male companions to relieve herself, a volley of shots was heard. Instantly, Nestor fell to the ground. When Danilo looked back, he saw in a fleeting moment the faces of the attackers — accused-appellant Mario Lacuesta, his brother Richard, and their cousins Ali 1 and Rodnie Lamela, each armed with a twelve (12)-gauge pugakhang. Danilo sought cover among the tall rice stalks. His right arm was oozing with blood. He was in fear. The four (4) assailants were just five (5) arms length away. They were inching their way towards Nestor and then turned his motionless body to face up and beamed their flashlights at his face. Then Danilo heard accused-appellant dejectedly say, "he is not the one" (referring to the bloodied Nestor), afterwhich they abandoned Nestor on the road.

    After the four (4) gunmen left, Danilo ran to the house of Oscar Villanueva for help. Oscar responded immediately by attending to Nestor hoping that he was still alive, but Nestor had already expired. Oscar was followed by his son Arnold. After an hour, Oscar returned to Danilo and took the latter to the Pototan Provincial Hospital for treatment. Danilo stayed in the hospital for five (5) days after which he transferred residence to far-away Mandurriao, Iloilo, for fear of reprisal. Meanwhile, Nestor succumbed to the three (3) gunshot wounds on his head.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Accordingly, criminal complaints for the death of Nestor Mata and the wounding of Danilo Panes were instituted against accused-appellant Mario Lacuesta together with Richard Lacuesta, Ali Lamela and Rodnie Lamela. After conducting a preliminary investigation, the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dingle-Dueñas, Iloilo, issued an Order finding probable cause for murder and frustrated murder against all the accused. 2 Forthwith, the corresponding Informations were filed against the four (4) accused and warrants for their arrest were issued. Accused-appellant Mario Lacuesta surrendered himself, posted bail and was accordingly released, while the three (3) other accused, Richard Lacuesta, Ali Lamela and Rodnie Lamela, evaded arrest. Up to now they have not submitted to the jurisdiction of the Court.

    Subsequently, upon agreement of the prosecution and the defense, the cases for murder and frustrated murder were jointly tried and decided.

    The case against accused-appellant was built around the testimonies of Danilo and Elnora. Danilo narrated that the story behind Nestor’s death began from an ordinary confrontation in the cockpit until it ended in a tragedy in a deserted road in the evening of 3 August 1994. 3

    Elnora corroborated Danilo’s testimony that while she was about to relieve herself by the roadside she saw accused-appellant fire at Nestor while Ali shot Danilo. Richard and Rodnie were brandishing their pugakhangs. According to Elnora, she recognized all the accused because they had their flashlights on and the moon was bright that night. She also testified that she witnessed how the accused-appellant and his companions moved the body of Nestor, and that immediately after the assailants left, she went home and hid under her bed as she was traumatized by what she had just witnessed. 4

    Accused-appellant Mario Lacuesta disclaimed having taken part in the killing of Nestor and the wounding of Danilo. Mario asserted that in the evening of 3 August 1994 he was at home drinking with Dominador Lara about a kilometer away from the crime scene. According to Mario, as it was the first day of his harvest, he invited Dominador, a tuba gatherer, for a few rounds of tuba. Their drinking spree lasted through the night; in fact, they broke up at two o’clock the following morning with both of them heavily intoxicated. Mario insisted that he learned of the shooting incident from Oscar Villanueva who told him casually about it in the afternoon of the following day while fetching water from their communal well. 5

    Dominador Lara, Mario’s alleged drinking buddy, supported his alibi. According to Dominador, on 3 August 1994 while he was traversing the riverbank, Accused-appellant invited him to the former’s house to celebrate the first day of his harvest. They had a gallon of tuba and two (2) whole chickens, all to themselves. As he was too drunk to go home, he spent the night with Mario at the palayas 6 and went home early the following morning unaware of the diablerie that had befallen their, barangay. 7

    The defense in a bid to discredit the testimonies of Danilo and Elnora presented Gil Catalan and Rene Lambuson as witnesses. Rene Lambuson, who claimed to be the conductor of the jeepney that brought home the barangay councilmen from the poblacion that night of 3 August 1994, insisted that Elnora was not aboard his vehicle thereby implying that she could not have witnessed the crime. 8

    On the other hand, Gil Catalan, barangay captain of the community where the parties to this incident resided, testified that on the day of the slaying he attended the seminar for barangay officials together with his nine (9) barangay kagawads at the poblacion. As they were later joined by officials of two (2) other barangays they decided to hire a jeepney to take them home. There were two (2) other women from their barangay who joined them but he was certain that neither of them was Elnora Latumbo. He identified the two (2) women as Ruby Porras and Lorna Lapastora, the barangay secretary. He however admitted that he did not know much less meet Elnora prior to the incident.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    An hour after Gil Catalan reached home, Kagawad Oscar Villanueva went to his house and reported that both Nestor and Danilo had been shot. Together with Oscar, Gil proceeded to the scene of the shooting. There they saw the lifeless body of Nestor lying prostrate on the ground. Gil summoned the relatives of Nestor and instructed them to take Danilo to the hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, according to Gil, he did some sleuthing himself but this did not bear fruit. No witness was available and, according to Danilo himself, he was not able to recognize their attackers as it was very dark. 9

    The trial court was far from convinced by Accused-Appellant. According to the court, the defense failed to elicit credence and belief. Thus, for the death of Nestor Mata accused-appellant was convicted of murder qualified by treachery and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Additionally, he was ordered to indemnify the heirs of Nestor Mata P22,482.40 as actual damages and P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.

    As to the wounding of Danilo Panes, the trial court found the accused guilty only of attempted murder as no evidence was introduced to prove that Danilo would have died from his wounds without timely medical attendance. The court a quo ratiocinated that inasmuch as Danilo fled the crime scene immediately after "he was hit by the first shot, the subjective phase was not therefore complete.’’ 10 Accused-appellant was accordingly sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from four (4) years and two (2) months as minimum, to ten (10) years as maximum, and to pay Danilo Panes P1,815.00 as actual damages. Incidentally, the court a quo did not give the specific nomenclature of the penalties it imposed.

    In his brief, Accused-appellant Mario Lacuesta assails the trial court for rejecting his alibi and convicting him of murder and attempted murder. He pins his hopes for a reversal on the argument that based solely on the testimonies of prosecution witnesses his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, despite his valiant effort to discredit witnesses Danilo and Elnora, his pleas do not warrant a reversal.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    We emphasize anew the well-settled principle that great weight is accorded to conclusions reached by trial courts on the question of credibility of witnesses, and unless it is shown that they failed to take into consideration matters of significance bearing materially on the outcome, their determination is to be left undisturbed. 11 In the present case, the court a quo was thoroughly and morally convinced as to the truth and credibility of the testimonies of Danilo and Elnora. We see no reason to disturb such finding.

    It need not be stressed that accused-appellant was too well-known to Danilo to raise any serious doubt as to whether he erred in his identification. Danilo used to be a friend of accused-appellant and until the killing and his eventual transfer to Mandurriao, Iloilo, lived in the same neighborhood as all of the accused. Elnora, for her part, frequently visited her sister who lived in the same barangay and was likewise familiar with the assailants.

    Moreover, a close perusal of the records confirms the correctness of the decision reached. For one, the argument that accused-appellant could not be at the locus criminis in the evening of 3 August 1994 as he was at home drinking with a friend is not persuasive. Alibi is a weak defense and is quite irreconcilable with the positive identification of the eyewitnesses to the crime. 12 For alibi to prosper, it must be shown that the accused was at a place far removed from the scene of the crime such that it was well-nigh impossible for him to have participated in the slaying. 13 In the case at bar, Accused-appellant himself admitted that his house was barely a kilometer away from the locus criminis and the distance could be negotiated in a matter of minutes. 14 Verily, his defense that he was at home which was just one (1) kilometer away while Nestor and Danilo were being peppered with bullets, does not satisfactorily show that it was physically impossible for him to have participated in the shooting.

    The killing of Nestor Mata was clearly one for murder qualified by treachery considering that he was shot from behind while walking home unaware of the impending tragedy lurking ahead. In criminal law, the suddenness of an assault on an unsuspecting victim who had no opportunity to parry the attack qualifies the killing to murder. 15

    The wounding of Danilo Panes, as the trial court correctly found, constituted attempted murder. As neither of the two (2) wounds inflicted on Danilo’s right arm was mortal, i.e., sufficient to cause death, Accused-appellant failed to perform the last act necessary to produce the consummated crime of murder. 16chanrob1es virtua1 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Br. 38, Iloilo City, finding accused-appellant MARIO LACUESTA guilty of MURDER for the death of Nestor Mata and ATTEMPTED MURDER for the wounding of Danilo Panes for which he was accordingly sentenced to reclusion perpetua for MURDER, and an indeterminate prison term of four (4) years and two (2) months as minimum to ten (10) years as maximum, and ordering him to pay the heirs of the deceased Nestor Mata P22,482.40, and Danilo Panes P1,815.00 as actual damages is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that the award of civil indemnity in favor of the heirs of Nestor Mata in the amount of P50,000.00 is increased to P75,000.00 conformably with prevailing jurisprudence. 17 In addition, the minimum prison term imposed on accused-appellant should be properly denominated prision correccional medium, while the maximum of ten (10) years should be denominated prision mayor medium. Costs against Accused-Appellant.

    It appearing that accused Richard Lacuesta, Ali Lamela and Rodnie Lamela have not been arrested, let alias warrants for their arrest be issued immediately, returnable to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, Iloilo City, so that they can be tried and sentenced accordingly.chanrob1es virtua1 law library

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Endnotes:



    1. Also spelled in the records as "Ally."cralaw virtua1aw library

    2. Original Records, p. 16.

    3. TSN, 16 June 1995, pp. 145.

    4. TSN, 20 September 1995, pp. 1-38.

    5. TSN, 20 March 1996, pp. 1-13.

    6. The tern roughly means an "extension of the house;" Rollo, p. 80.

    7. TSN, 21 December 1995, pp. 1-22.

    8. TSN, 6 December 1995, pp. 1-22.

    9. TSN, 10 November 1995, pp. 1-20.

    10. Decision penned by Judge David A. Alfeche, Jr., RTC — Br. 38, Iloilo City, pp. 86 - 87.

    11. Uriarte v. People, G.R. No. 137344, 30 January 2001; People v. Celis, G.R. Nos. 125307-09, 20 October 1999, 317 SCRA 79; People v. Maramara, G.R. No. 110994, 29 October 1999, 317 SCRA 222; People v. Perez, G.R. Nos. 124366-67, 19 May 1999, 307 SCRA 276.

    12. People v. Hilario, G.R. No. 128083, 16 March 2001; People v. Yamson-Dumancas, G.R. Nos. 133527-28, 13 December 1999, 320 SCRA 584; People v. Altabano, G.R. No. 121344, 29 October 1999, 317 SCRA 708; People v. Garma, 338 Phil. 232 (1997); People v. Datun, GR. No. 118080, 7 May 1992, 272 SCRA 380.

    13. People v. Laut, G.R. No. 137751, 1 February 2001; People v. De Labajan, G.R. Nos. 129968-69, 27 October 1999, 317 SCRA 566; People v. Lopez, G.R. No. 119380, 19 August 1999, 312 SCRA 684; People v. Domingo, G.R. No. 104955, 17 August 1999, 312 SCRA 487.

    14. Accused-appellant admitted that he could traverse the distance in five (5) to ten (10) minutes.

    15. People v. Endino and Galgarin, G.R. 133026, 20 February 2001; People v. Molina, G.R. No. 125397, 10 August 1999, 312 SCRA 131; People v. Lagarteja, G.R. No. 127095, 22 June 1998, 291 SCRA 142.

    16. Araneta, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, Nos. L-43527 and 43745, 3 July 1990, 187 SCRA 122.

    17. People v. Bangcado, G.R. No. 132330, 28 November 2000, where the Court held: "It is submitted that the heirs of victims of murder, which is also a heinous crime, should not receive less than what victims of rape receive as civil indemnity. If the civil indemnity is automatically imposed upon the accused without need of proof other than the fact of the commission of the offense, an the more reason should the same minimum amount be imposed on those convicted of murder, as more often than not the victims who are killed leave behind grieving families who are dependent upon them for support. Thus, indemnity of P75,000.00 should therefore be reckoned for each count of murder committed by Accused-Appellant."

    G.R. No. 129212   September 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO LACUESTA, ET AL.


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