ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™  
Main Index Law Library Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Jurisprudence
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
 

   
November-2002 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 151801 November 11, 2002 - HAWAIIAN PHILIPPINE COMPANY v. HERNANDO BORRA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154512 November 12, 2002 - VICTORINO DENNIS M. SOCRATES v. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. 126462 November 12, 2002 - NATALIA REALTY INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 133978 November 12, 2002 - JOSE S. CANCIO, JR. v. EMERENCIANA ISIP

  • G.R. Nos. 139240-43 November 12, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO ASPURIA

  • G.R. Nos. 143689-91 November 12, 2002 - SIXTO M. BAYAS and ERNESTO T. MATUDAY v. THE SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146423 November 12, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TEODORO D. DIVINA

  • G.R. No. 147395 November 12, 2002 - ADZHAR I. JAMAANI v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 147806 November 12, 2002 - NERISSA BUENVIAJE ET. AL. v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1569 November 13, 2002 - CARMELITA S. DANAO v. JESUS T. FRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 133763 November 13, 2002 - UNITED HARBOR PILOTS’ ASSO. OF THE PHIL. v. ASSO. OF INTL. SHIPPING LINES

  • G.R. No. 140088 November 13, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PHOEBE ASTUDILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141943-45 November 13, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIOSDADO P. RECEPCION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146100 November 13, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LOTERONO

  • G.R. No. 146468 November 13, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROQUE ABELLANO

  • G.R. Nos. 146521-22 November 13, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NARDITO ALEMANIA

  • G.R. No. 153475 November 13, 2002 - MIGUEL M. LINGATING v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143005 November 14, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JUANITO ESTRADA

  • G.R. No. 143868 November 14, 2002 - OSCAR C. FERNANDEZ v. SPS. CARLOS and NARCISA TARUN

  • A.M. No. 2002-15-SC November 15, 2002 - Re: Habitual Tardiness First Semester 2002

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1663 November 15, 2002 - MAIMONA MANONGGIRING v. JUDGE AMER R. IBRAHIM

  • G.R. Nos. 132484-85 November 15, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JULLIVER DE LEON

  • G.R. No. 141314 November 15, 2002 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY

  • G.R. Nos. 146464-67 November 15, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 148699 November 15, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AM WILSON L. MANIJAS

  • G.R. No. 152332 November 15, 2002 - DR. ROBERTO DE LEON v. EDUARDO CALALO

  • G.R. No. 152886 November 15, 2002 - ROSENDO E. CAPIRAL v. SPS. MAXIMA and DANIEL VALENZUELA

  • A.M. No. P-93-960 November 18, 2002 - TERESITA ROMERO v. ENRIQUETA CASTELLANO

  • G.R. No. 113459 November 18, 2002 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. JOSEFINA LEAL

  • G.R. No. 129235 November 18, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FAUSTINO MORANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130423 November 18, 2002 - VIRGIE SERONA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131421 November 18, 2002 - GERONIMO DADO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 137191 November 18, 2002 - BEN B. RICO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 137454 November 18, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JERRY D. CANTUBA

  • G.R. Nos. 140004-05 November 18, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIO C. NEBRIA

  • G.R. No. 140216 November 18, 2002 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RENATO C. BACUS

  • G.R. No. 140635 November 18, 2002 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO O. TERRIBLE

  • G.R. No. 142244 November 18, 2002 - ATLAS FARMS v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146641-43 November 18, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICA G. CUYUGAN

  • G.R. Nos. 149414-15 November 18, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANGEL AMANTE

  • G.R. No. 151891 November 18, 2002 - MAUYAG B. PAPANDAYAN, JR. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152163 November 18, 2002 - SABDULLAH T. MACABAGO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127060 November 19, 2002 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132389 November 19, 2002 - PEDRO CUPCUPIN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 139492 November 19, 2002 - LAGUNA CATV NETWORK v. HON. ALEX E. MARAAN

  • G.R. No. 142133 November 19, 2002 - METRO TRANSIT ORGANIZATION, INC. ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 143844-46 November 19, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 136762 November 21, 2002 - ASSOCIATED COMMUNICATIONS and WIRELESS SERVICES v. FIDELO Q. DUMLAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138494 November 21, 2002 - LEOSANDRO MELAYO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 139368 November 21, 2002 - ROBIN M. CANO v. PNP CHIEF EDGAR C. GALVANTE, ET AL..

  • G.R. No. 139830 November 21, 2002 - ROLLY ADAME v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139982 November 21, 2002 - JULIAN FRANCISCO ET. AL.. v. PASTOR HERRERA

  • G.R. No. 140731 November 21, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO A. ILO

  • G.R. No. 141344 November 21, 2002 - TEMISTOCLES TAPDASAN, JR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141592 November 21, 2002 - MARCELO CENTENO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141914 November 21, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO G. MONDIJAR

  • G.R. No. 144314 November 21, 2002 - SKIPPERS PACIFIC, INC., ET AL. v. MANUEL V. MIRA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146103 November 21, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GEORGE WAD-AS

  • G.R. No. 146276 November 21, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO C. DUROHOM

  • G.R. No. 146425 November 21, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNOLD NARCISO

  • G.R. No. 147182 November 21, 2002 - EVELYN M. RELUCIO v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 147671 November 21, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENANTE MENDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 148917-18 November 21, 2002 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ABSOLON YONTO y UTOM

  • G.R. No. 149800 November 21, 2002 - RICARDO V. QUINTOS v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137533 November 22, 2002 - TALA REALTY SERVICES CORPORATION v. BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK

  • G.R. No. 144116 November 22, 2002 - CESAR MONTANEZ v. NESTOR MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 146470 November 22, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MILA RAZUL y BASHIED

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1223 November 26, 2002 - SPS. TEOFILA and GREGORIO MAGALLON v. JUDGE ANTONIO F. PARAGUYA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1711 November 26, 2002 - Atty. BENJAMIN RELOVA v. Judge ANTONIO M. ROSALES

  • G.R. No. 120014 November 26, 2002 - FRANCISCO Q. AURILLO v. NOEL RABI

  • G.R. No. 132081 November 26, 2002 - JOEL M. SANVICENTE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 138478 November 26, 2002 - PACIFIC AIRWAYS CORPORATION, ET AL. v. JOAQUIN TONDA

  • G.R. No. 143196 November 26, 2002 - STI DRIVERS ASSOCIATION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143376 November 26, 2002 - LENI O. CHOA v. ALFONSO C. CHOA

  • G.R. Nos. 145339-42 November 26, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARTHUR MENDOZA and DAVE MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 148514 November 26, 2002 - LUCRATIVE REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. RICARDO C. BERNABE JR.

  • G.R. No. 149375 November 26, 2002 - MARVIN MERCADO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 150164 November 26, 2002 - GLORIOSA V. VALARAO v. CONRADO C. PASCUAL and MANUEL C. DIAZ

  • A.M. No. 02-2-12-SC November 27, 2002 - DR. CORA J. VIRATA v. JUDGE FRANCISCO G. SUPNET

  • A.M. No. 00-6-09-SC November 27, 2002 - RE: IMPOSITION OF CORRESPONDING PENALTIES

  • A.M. No. 02-9-24-0 November 27, 2002 - RE: LOSS OF EXTRAORDINARY ALLOWANCE CHECK NO. 1106739 OF JUDGE EDUARDO U. JOVELLANOS

  • G.R. No. 133386 November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO LLANDA

  • G.R. No. 133827 November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COSME L. PASTORETE

  • G.R. Nos. 137766-67 November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ILADIO CARALIPIO

  • G.R. No. 138197 November 27, 2002 - MA. ELIZA C. GARCIA v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139130 November 27, 2002 - RAMON K. ILUSORIO v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 139187-94 (140427-34) November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RICARDO SOLMORO

  • G.R. No. 139472 November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAUL R. GUIMBA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139946 November 27, 2002 - RAMON J. FAROLAN v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140374 November 27, 2002 - JANE C. ABALOS, ET AL. v. PHILEX MINING CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 141365 November 27, 2002 - SPS. FELIPE and FLORA YULIENCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143369 November 27, 2002 - LEOPOLDO C. LEONARDO v. VIRGINIA TORRES MARAVILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144266 November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WILSON ANTONIO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 145727 November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RONILO FERRERA

  • G.R. No. 146553 November 27, 2002 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS v. Sps. WILLIE AND JULIE L. EVANGELISTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153700 November 27, 2002 - ESTRELLA C. PABALAN v. ANASTACIA B. SANTARIN

  • A.M. No. P-02-1649 November 29, 2002 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ELIZABETH T. IBAY

  • A.M. Nos. RTJ-01-1639 & 00-9-427-RTC November 29, 2002 - JUDITH B. ERMITANIO v. MA. THERESA DELA TORRE-YADAO

  • G.R. Nos. 141489–90 November 29, 2002 - SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, ET AL. v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 133386   November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO LLANDA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 133386. November 27, 2002.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROMEO LLANDA (At Large), Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    QUISUMBING, J.:


    For automatic review is the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court of Ozamiz City, Branch 15, dated May 27, 1996, in Criminal Case No. 1535, convicting appellant Romeo Llanda of murder and imposing on him the death penalty.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On October 7, 1994, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Misamis Occidental charged appellant with murder in an information, which states:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 3rd day of September, 1994, at about 6:30 o’clock in the evening, in barangay Casilak-San Agustin, municipality of Tudela, province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, armed with a caliber .38 pistol, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treacherously, attack, assault and shot CORNELIO E. CORONADO, thereby hitting the victim on his head, which caused his instantaneous death.

    CONTRARY TO LAW. 2

    When arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. But before trial could commence, appellant escaped while being escorted to Tudela, Misamis Occidental. 3 Hence, the trial proceeded in absentia.

    The prosecution’s version, as culled from the records, shows that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    At around 6:30 p.m. of September 3, 1994, the victim Cornelio Coronado was having supper with his son Jessie, his daughter-in-law Juliet, daughter Nena, and his three (3) grandchildren at their house in Kasilak, 4 San Agustin, Tudela, Misamis Occidental, 5 when suddenly a shot rang out. Nena Coronado peeped through the slits between the coco slabs of which their kitchen wall was made of, and she saw appellant in the act of shooting her father. 6 She was familiar with appellant because he had been their neighbor for six (6) years. 7 The bullet from the appellant’s gun passed through a slit between the coco slabs and struck the victim at the right side of the head, causing him to fall on the floor. 8 Nena then saw appellant strutting around their house armed with a pistol and a bolo. 9 Appellant was shirtless, sported tattered denims, had black gloves on, and had a towel around his head.

    Immediately after the fatal shot, the victim’s son, Jessie, 10 rushed downstairs. Through the slits of the bamboo walling of the lower portion of the Coronados’ house, 11 he witnessed appellant walking around their house, carrying a handgun and a bolo. 12 Jessie saw that appellant had a towel wrapped around his head, was stripped to the waist, and had gloves on. 13 He hacked the window of the Coronados’ house with his bolo before walking away. 14 After he left, Jessie rushed to the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment at Canibungan, Daku, 15 Clarin, Misamis Occidental, to report the incident. 16

    Jessie Coronado testified as to the possible motive behind the killing. He declared that on August 25, 1994, appellant’s father, Santos Llanda, had a quarrel with the victim over a parcel of land owned by a certain Nicanor Caramba. 17 In the evening of that same day, an unidentified person took a potshot at Jessie. Jessie then reported the incident to the Barangay Captain and a certification was issued to him. 18

    Prosecution witness Miguel Cueva, a CAFGU member, was then on duty at the CAFGU detachment in Canibungan. He testified that at sometime past 6:30 o’clock in the evening of September 3, 1994, Jessie Coronado arrived, followed shortly by his wife, Juliet, to report the fatal shooting of their father. 19 The CAFGU members proceeded to question Jessie, after which they proceeded to the Coronados’ house. They then brought the victim’s corpse to the barangay hall. 20 Cueva then issued Jessie a certification to the effect that he reported the victim’s death to them. 21 The CAFGU members, however, did not arrest appellant as they had no warrant of arrest. 22

    Appellant raised the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that the perpetrator of the crime was the victim’s son, Jessie himself.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    For the defense, Juan Otom testified that at around 5:00 P.M. of September 3, 1994, the victim requested him to husk his coconut harvest. 23 The two then went to the Coronados’ nipa hut to ask permission from Cornelio’s son, Jessie, who was the gatherer. 24 There, father and son had a heated argument 25 and in the course thereof, Jessie strangled his father and pressed him to the floor. 26 Otom then departed from the scene but as he left, he heard Nena Coronado shout, "Manoy! Manoy! Don’t kill father!." 27 He then heard a shot and on looking back, saw Jessie leaving the scene with a gun. 28 He told no one about the incident except appellant’s father. 29

    Defense witness Protacio Prayles 30 was, in turn, presented to prove appellant’s alibi. 31 Prayles declared that at around 4:00 P.M. of September 3, 1994, he was at the Canibungan, Daku, Clarin market with appellant and six other persons. 32 They left the market at 6:30 P.M. and arrived at Barangay Kasilak at around 7:00 P.M. He then heard the sound of a woman weeping. The sound seemed to emanate from the Coronados’ house. 33 Prayles proceeded there and saw the victim lying lifeless in the arms of Nena Coronado. 34 When he asked Nena who shot her father, she gave no answer. 35 He then proceeded to the barangay captain to report the matter to the authorities. 36

    Victor Tactacon, a barangay kagawad, also took the stand for the defense. Tactacon declared that at around 7:00 P.M. of September 3, 1994, appellant, with three other persons, came to his house to report that there had been a killing at the Coronados’ house. Tactacon directed them to the military detachment while he and two others proceeded to the Coronados’. 37 There they saw the victim’s corpse. Jessie pointed at appellant as the assailant, 38 so Tactacon barred appellant from entering the Coronados’ house. Tactacon stated that appellant cried in protest at being suspected as the assailant. 39 Tactacon then issued a certification to appellant’s father that he found no evidence to support the claim of the Coronados that appellant hacked different parts of their house with a bolo. 40

    Finally, the defense presented the testimony of Nereo Betito, provincial jail guard, who declared that at one of the hearings, Jessie Coronado admitted to him that although he suspected appellant as his father’s killer, he did not clearly see the shooting because it happened from a distance. 41

    The trial court found the prosecution’s version more worthy of credence and convicted appellant. Its fallo reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, finding the accused Romeo Llanda guilty beyond reasonable doubt of killing the victim Cornelio Coronado, qualified by treachery and aggravated by dwelling, this Court sentences him to death, and to indemnify the heirs P50,000.00. With costs.

    SO ORDERED. 42

    Hence, this automatic review.

    On November 17, 1998, we ordered the arrest of appellant, who was still at large and directed the Philippine National Police Station Commander in Ozamiz City and/or Chief Superintendent Lucas Managuelod, CIDG Director of Camp Crame, Quezon City to serve the said warrant of arrest. 43 On June 29, 2000, the warrant of arrest was returned to this Court unserved, 44 as appellant continues to elude the authorities.

    Notwithstanding appellant’s fugitive status, we shall proceed to review the case as it involves the imposition of the death penalty. Automatic review by this Court is mandatory, for this constitutionally vested power includes the bounden duty to review all death penalty cases. 45

    Before us, appellant assigns the following errors:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I


    THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF TREACHERY AND DWELLING AGAINST THE ACCUSED WHICH WAS NOT PROVEN BY THE PROSECUTION.

    II


    THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF MURDER AS DEFINED AND PENALIZED UNDER ART. 248 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE AS AMENDED BY RA 7659 INSTEAD OF THE CRIME OF HOMICIDE. 46

    The core issues in the instant case concern (1) the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence to sustain a conviction for murder; and (2) the propriety of the death sentence imposed.

    Appellant through counsel argues that the lower court erred in finding him guilty with moral certainty of the crime of murder, aggravated by the circumstances of treachery and dwelling. He theorizes that the trial court had no sufficient reason to discredit his denial and alibi, much less to believe the prosecution witnesses who pointed at him as the perpetrator of the crime.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    For the appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that the prosecution has established the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt. 47 The OSG stresses that the prosecution’s evidence overwhelmingly points to appellant as the malefactor. Even the mere perusal of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses clearly shows that they dovetail on every material circumstance, says the OSG, particularly with respect to the positive identification of appellant as the person who shot the victim on that fateful night of September 3, 1994.

    The assailed decision shows that the trial court anchored its judgment of conviction for murder primarily on the testimonies of the victim’s immediate family, namely: Jessie, Nena, and Juliet Coronado. Their testimonies were found by the court below to be credible and their respective accounts of the event consistent. Before us now, appellant points to no convincing, much less compelling, reason to discredit or discard their testimonies. Nor could he show any motive why the prosecution witnesses should falsely and maliciously impute so serious a crime to him.

    The established rule is that where the question is one of credibility of witnesses, reviewing courts generally will not disturb the finding of the trial court, unless it can be shown that the latter overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case. 48 The matter of assigning values to declarations on the witness stand is best done by the trial judge who, unlike appellate magistrates, can weigh first-hand the testimony of a witness in the light of his demeanor, conduct and attitude, and is thereby placed in a more competent position to discriminate between the true and the false. 49 In the present case, we see no error committed by the trial court in giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, absent any evidence to indicate that the witnesses against the accused have been actuated by any improper motive, and absent any compelling reason to conclude otherwise. 50

    In contrast, the testimony of the defense witnesses, in our considered view, hardly deserves serious consideration. As found by the trial court, the defense evidence, grounded mainly on the testimony of Juan Otom, appears highly incredible. 51 On this assessment, we see no reason to take exception. Perusal of the records, particularly, of Otom’s testimony implicating Jessie Coronado as the assailant, strains one’s credulity. For one, he admitted that he and appellant’s father were very close friends and neighbors, 52 confirming in effect his bias for the appellant. His actuation after the incident raises doubt and disbelief, considering that he told no one about the alleged shocking incident except appellant’s father. 53 The trial court aptly observed that Otom testified "without conviction." 54 And that appears the best that could be politely said of his testimony.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    As to the testimonies of other defense witnesses, their attempts to exonerate appellant is far from persuasive. Witnesses Prayles and Tactacon tried to show that appellant could not be the assailant since he was the one who reported the victim’s death to the CAFGU detachment. That is, obviously, non sequitur. Moreover, Prayles is also a biased witness; he admitted to be a good friend and neighbor of appellant’s father. 55 The lame attempt of Prayles to establish an alibi in appellant’s favor pales in contrast to the positive testimonies of the victim’s immediate kin which were clear, candid, and straightforward in identifying appellant as the perpetrator of the crime.

    The defense of alibi is looked upon by courts with caution, for not only is it inherently unreliable, it is rather easy to fabricate. 56 For alibi to prosper, it is not enough that an accused prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene when the crime was committed. Appellant’s defense failed on this score. He did not show that the distance from Canibungan, Daku, Clarin, Misamis Occidental to Kasilak, San Agustin, Tudela, Misamis Occidental was so great, or that the facility of access so difficult, as to render it physically impossible for appellant to have been at the locus criminis at the time of the incident.

    Appellant’s flight before his trial is most telling. He escaped just after his arraignment, despite the presence of police escort, on the way back to Tudela. Flight of an accused, when unexplained, is a circumstance from which an inference of guilt might be drawn, for a truly innocent person would normally grasp the first available opportunity to defend himself and to assert his innocence of the crime imputed to him. 57

    In brief, we entertain no doubt that, based on the evidence, the appellant shot and killed the victim, Cornelio Coronado. It now behooves us to determine whether attendant circumstances that qualified and aggravated the offense were properly appreciated by the trial court.

    Appellant’s counsel argues that treachery could not have qualified the killing to murder, in view of the prior altercation that took place between the victim and appellant’s father over a parcel of land. Appellant insists that this fact should have forewarned the victim’s family to take precautions, as land disputes in the rural areas are a major cause of violence.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    To constitute treachery, two conditions must be present, to wit: (1) the employment of means of execution that give the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (2) the means of execution were deliberately or consciously adopted. 58 Here, the evidence shows that the victim was shot suddenly. He was totally unprepared for the unexpected attack, as he was eating his supper at the time of the incident. Considering the circumstances of the case, we concur with the trial court that appellant purposely adopted the means of attack to insure the execution of the crime without risk to him. We are thus constrained to agree with the trial court’s finding that treachery attended the killing. Hence, appellant is guilty of murder, not just homicide.

    In imposing the death penalty, however, the trial court ruled that dwelling aggravated the offense. But the information against appellant is mute on this circumstance. Pursuant to Sections 8 and 9, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, 59 promulgated December 1, 2000, the information should state not only the designation of the offense and the acts and omissions constituting it but shall also specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. As the Rules now stand, dwelling cannot be considered as aggravating since it is not alleged in the information. 60 Being favorable to the appellant, Section 8 should be applied retroactively, though the offense was committed way back on September 3, 1994.

    Under Article 248 61 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death. There being no aggravating nor mitigating circumstance, the imposable penalty under Art. 63 62 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua.

    With respect to damages, we find the award of civil indemnity of P50,000 in order. However, pursuant to current jurisprudence, the heirs of the victim are entitled to another P50,000 as moral damages, without need of further proof. 63

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Ozamiz City, Branch 15, in Criminal Case No. 1535, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant ROMEO LLANDA is declared guilty of murder, but his sentence is hereby reduced to reclusion perpetua. Appellant is also ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages, together with the costs.

    Let a warrant issue for the prompt arrest of appellant. Also, let copies of this decision be furnished the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Director-General of the Philippine National Police for their appropriate action.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Bellosillo, Acting C.J., Vitug, Mendoza, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

    Davide, Jr., C.J. and Puno, J., on official leave.

    Panganiban, J., I reiterate my Separate Opinion in People v. Raquino (315 SCRA 670) that before the Court reviews a death sentence, it must first await the rearrest and custody of an appellant who has absconded.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 77-81.

    2. Id. at 10.

    3. Records, p. 106.

    4. Sometimes spelled as "Casilak" in the records.

    5. TSN, August 17, 1995, pp. 3, 6-9; TSN, August 30, 1995, pp. 4-5.

    6. TSN, August 17, 1995, pp. 11-12.

    7. Id. at 5.

    8. TSN, August 30, 1995, p. 6.

    9. Supra note 6.

    10. Sometimes spelled "Jesse" in the records.

    11. TSN, August 24, 1995, pp. 6-7.

    12. Id. at 8.

    13. Id. at 9.

    14. Id. at 8-9.

    15. Also spelled "Canibongan, Dako" in the records.

    16. TSN, August 17, 1995, pp. 12-13.

    17. Supra note 11 at 11.

    18. Ibid.

    19. TSN, August 31, 1995, p. 4.

    20. Id. at 5-7.

    21. Id. at 10-11.

    22. Id. at 12.

    23. TSN, October 11, 1995, pp. 3-4.

    24. Id. at 5.

    25. Id. at 5-6.

    26. Id. at 6.

    27. Ibid.

    28. Id. at 6-7.

    29. Id. at 17.

    30. Sometimes spelled as "Prailes" .

    31. TSN, October 20, 1995, p. 4.

    32. Id. at 5.

    33. Id. at 6.

    34. Ibid.

    35. Id. at 7.

    36. Ibid.

    37. TSN, January 15, 1996, pp. 3-4.

    38. Id. at 5.

    39. Id. at 12.

    40. Id. at 6.

    41. TSN, February 1, 1996, pp. 2-4.

    42. Rollo, p. 24.

    43. Id. at 32.

    44. Id. at 57.

    45. People v. Del Rosario, 348 SCRA 603, 609 (2000).

    46. Rollo, p. 67.

    47. Id. at 96.

    48. People v. Hubilla, Jr., 252 SCRA 471, 478 (1996).

    49. People v. Reynaldo, 291 SCRA 701, 712 (1998).

    50. People v. Solis, 291 SCRA 529, 539 (1998).

    51. Rollo, p. 23.

    52. TSN, October 11, 1995, p. 10.

    53. Id. at 17.

    54. Supra note 51.

    55. TSN, October 20, 1995, p. 16.

    56. People v. Cortes, 226 SCRA 91, 99-100 (1993).

    57. People v. Solis, 291 SCRA 529, 540 (1998); People v. Maderas, 350 SCRA 504, 512 (2001).

    58. People v. Mabuhay, 185 SCRA 675, 680 (1990). See L. REYES, I THE REVISED PENAL CODE, 429 (13th ed. 1993).

    59. SEC. 8. Designation of the offense. — The complaint or information shall state the designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it.

    SEC. 9. Cause of the accusation. — The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.

    60. People v. Perreras, G.R. No. 139622, July 31, 2001, p. 11.

    61. ART. 248. Murder. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua, to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense, or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity;

    x       x       x


    62. ART. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. — In all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed.

    In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed. of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty shall be applied.

    2. When there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be applied.

    x       x       x


    63. People v. Cabacan, G.R. No. 130965, August 22, 2002, p. 9.

    G.R. No. 133386   November 27, 2002 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO LLANDA


    Back to Home | Back to Main

     

    QUICK SEARCH

    cralaw

       

    cralaw



     
      Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
    ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™
     
    RED