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
 

   
December-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1487 December 1, 2003 - SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF GUINDULMAN v. MANUEL A. DE CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 147677 December 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO PIJO MILADO

  • G.R. Nos. 151111-12 December 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO M. ESCALANTE

  • G.R. No. 151981 December 1, 2003 - DIAMOND MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153219 December 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR P. MOLLEDA

  • G.R. No. 157860 December 1, 2003 - GSIS v. PROVINCE OF TARLAC

  • G.R. No. 149889 December 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUEL BACONGUIS

  • A.C. No. 5718 December 4, 2003 - EDUARDO T. ABAY v. RAUL T. MONTESINO

  • G.R. No. 125560 December 4, 2003 - ELIZA FRANCISCO BAGGENSTOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148228 December 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PAMPING PAINGIN, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 01-2-18-MTC December 5, 2003 - REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED AT THE MTC OF BANI, ALAMINOS AND LINGAYEN, IN PANGASINAN

  • G.R. No. 130876 December 5, 2003 - FRANCISCO ALONSO v. CEBU COUNTRY CLUB

  • A.C. No. 4219 December 8, 2003 - LOTHAR SCHULZ v. MARCELO G. FLORES

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1233 December 8, 2003 - ROSARIO D. ADRIANO v. FRANCISCO D. VILLANUEVA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1638 December 8, 2003 - MANUEL T. MOLINA v. BENEDICTO A. PAZ, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1712 December 8, 2003 - ARMANDO M. MENDOZA v. ELIODORO G. UBIADAS

  • G.R. No. 127473 December 8, 2003 - PHIL AIRLINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129638 December 8, 2003 - ANTONIO T. DONATO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136960 December 8, 2003 - IRON BULK SHIPPING PHIL., CO., LTD. v. REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORP.

  • G.R. No. 144823 December 8, 2003 - GRACIANO P. DELA CHICA, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149250 December 8, 2003 - LEON AND LOLITA ESTACIO v. ERNESTO JARANILLA

  • G.R. No. 149465 December 8, 2003 - DARIA GONZALES VDA. DE TOLEDO v. ANTONIO TOLEDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150903 December 8, 2003 - VICENTE JOSEFA v. ZHANDONG TRADING CORP.

  • G.R. No. 154017 December 8, 2003 - DESAMPARADOS M. SOLIVA v. INTESTATE ESTATE of MARCELO M. VILLALBA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154127 December 8, 2003 - ROMEO C. GARCIA v. DIONISIO V. LLAMAS

  • G.R. No. 154377 December 8, 2003 - LAND CAR, INC. v. BACHELOR EXPRESS, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 157118 December 8, 2003 - ILOILO CITY ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT AND APPEALS, ET AL. v. GEGATO-ABECIA FUNERAL HOMES, INC., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1418 December 10, 2003 - CARMENCITA D. CACATIAN v. RICARDO P. LIWANAG

  • A.M. No. P-03-1757 December 10, 2003 - GRIO LENDING SERVICES v. SALVACION SERMONIA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1758 December 10, 2003 - JOSEFA C. CHUPUNGCO v. BENJAMIN L. CABUSAO

  • G.R. No. 121997 December 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANDRES MASAPOL

  • G.R. No. 123917 December 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZOSIMO MIRANDA

  • G.R. No. 124058 December 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS G. RETUBADO

  • G.R. No. 131794 December 10, 2003 - RUBEN AUGUSTO, ET AL. v. TEODORO K. RISOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133883 December 10, 2003 - SPS. ARTURO AND NICETA SERRANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140618 December 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNARDO SARA

  • G.R. No. 140772 December 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 141140 December 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISPIN PAYOPAY

  • G.R. No. 142305 December 10, 2003 - SINGAPORE AIRLINES LIMITED v. ANDION FERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 144697 December 10, 2003 - RODOLFO ALARILLA, SR., ET AL. v. REYNALDO C. OCAMPO

  • G.R. No. 145217 December 10, 2003 - PEPITO SIBUYO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. Nos. 147387 & 152161 December 10, 2003 - RODOLFO C. FARIÑAS, ET AL. v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 148575-76 & 152882-83 December 10, 2003 - ABDUSAKUR M. TAN, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 149164-73 December 10, 2003 - COMELEC v. DOLORES L. ESPAÑOL

  • G.R. Nos. 154442-47 December 10, 2003 - SALIPONGAN L. DAGLOC v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154829 December 10, 2003 - ARSENIO A. LATASA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156228 December 10, 2003 - MA. TERESA VIDAL, ET AL. v. MA. TERESA O. ESCUETA

  • G.R. Nos. 159418-19 December 10, 2003 - NORMA DE JOYA v. JAIL WARDEN OF BATANGAS CITY, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5623 December 11, 2003 - LUTHGARDA F. FERNANDEZ v. FIDEL M. CABRERA II

  • A.C. No. 5834 December 11, 2003 - TERESITA D. SANTECO v. LUNA B. AVANCE

  • A.C. No. 5858 December 11, 2003 - ROGELIO R. SANTOS, SR. v. RODOLFO C. BELTRAN

  • A.C. No. 6052 December 11, 2003 - OLIVER OWEN L. GARCIA, ET AL. v. LEONARD DE VERA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123924 December 11, 2003 - HEIRS OF MIGUEL FRANCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137909 December 11, 2003 - FIDELA DEL CASTILLO Vda. DE MISTICA v. SPS. BERNARDINO and MARIA PAULINA GERONA-NAGUIAT

  • G.R. Nos. 137949-52 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ESTEBAN DOMACYONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 139474-75 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO PABILLARE, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140411-13 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AVELINO LATAG

  • G.R. No. 141332 December 11, 2003 - LIGAYA S. NOVICIO v. ALMA AGGABAO

  • G.R. No. 142505 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO FELIPE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143596 December 11, 2003 - TOMAS C. LEYNES v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144053 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSEPH DIZON

  • G.R. No. 145417 December 11, 2003 - FLORENCIO M. DE LA CRUZ v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 145523-24 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO RATA

  • G.R. Nos. 146107-09 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO ALMEIDA

  • G.R. No. 146173 December 11, 2003 - CECILIA YAMBAO v. MELCHORITA C. ZUÑIGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146188 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO ROTE

  • G.R. No. 147793 December 11, 2003 - BOAZ INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORP., ET AL. v. WOODWARD JAPAN, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147950 December 11, 2003 - CALIFORNIA BUS LINES, INC. v. STATE INVESTMENT HOUSE, INC.

  • G.R. Nos. 148424-27 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CARAANG

  • G.R. Nos. 148869-74 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REMARIO PALMA

  • G.R. No. 149227 December 11, 2003 - LA SALETTE COLLEGE, ET AL. v. VICTOR C. PILOTIN

  • G.R. Nos. 152683-84 December 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO ILAO

  • G.R. No. 153859 December 11, 2003 - FILIPINAS SYSTEMS, INC., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154715 December 11, 2003 - NEW GOLDEN CITY BUILDERS & DEV’T. CORP, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155018 December 11, 2003 - PHILADELPHIA AGAN v. HEIRS OF SPS. ANDRES and DIOSDADO NUEVA

  • G.R. No. 156819 December 11, 2003 - ALICIA E. GALA, ET AL. v. ELLICE AGRO-INDUSTRIAL CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158371 December 11, 2003 - SONIA R. LORENZO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1726 December 12, 2003 - LUCAS M. MANAGUELOD v. FERNANDO M. PACLIBON

  • G.R. No. 139791 December 12, 2003 - MANILA BANKERS LIFE INSURANCE CORP. v. EDDY NG KOK WEI

  • A.M. No. 2003-7-SC December 15, 2003 - RE: NOEL V. LUNA

  • G.R. No. 149666 December 19, 2003 - SANGCAD S. BAO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1760 December 30, 2003 - NOEL G. WABE v. LUISITA P. BIONSON

  • G.R. No. 135270 December 30, 2003 - RAMON ARCILLA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 149889   December 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUEL BACONGUIS

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 149889. December 2, 2003.]

    THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. RUEL BACONGUIS y INSON, Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    CARPIO MORALES, J.:


    On automatic review is the Decision of July 11, 2001 promulgated by the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 18, convicting Ruel Baconguis y Inson (appellant) of murder and sentencing him to death.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    To the charge of murder allegedly committed as follows,

    That on or about June 23, 2000 at 2:04 early in the morning at Phase 3, Block 21, Lot 9, Villa Trinitas Subd., Bugo, Cagayan de Oro City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with treachery and with intent to kill, attacked one Roberto C. Mercado with the use of an undetermined caliber of a gun thereby inflicting mortal wounds which is the cause of his immediate death.

    Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to RA 7659, as amended. 1

    appellant pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on July 27, 2000. 2

    Culled from the evidence for the prosecution is its following version of the case:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    On June 23, 2000, at around 2:40 a.m., while Lydia Mercado-Lledo was sleeping in her 3-bedroom one storey house, she was awakened by the sound of a gunshot. She immediately looked out of her bedroom window and saw to her right a tall man some five meters away from her 3 leave her house and jump over the 2 – 3 meters high bamboo fence. 4 Before the man who was wearing khaki short pants and a white T-shirt jumped, he turned his face to the left, thus enabling her to see his slim face and tall nose. 5

    Lydia soon heard someone moaning. She thus repaired to the sala where she found her younger brother, taxi-driver 24-year old Roberto Mercado (the victim), sprawled and bleeding on the floor. He was brought to the hospital but he died on the way due to severe hemorrhage resulting from a gunshot wound at the left chest. Aside from the chest, the victim also suffered gunshot wounds on his left forearm. 6

    The investigating officers found that the description of the man seen leaving Lydia’s house matched that of herein appellant Ruel Baconguis who was a suspect in several cases of theft and robbery.

    In the afternoon of the incident, the police arrested appellant in the house of his in-laws at Purok 2-B, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. 7 At about noon of the following day or on June 24, 2000, appellant was paraffin-tested and was found positive for gunpowder nitrates on both hands. 8

    Lydia was accordingly informed by her other brother, policeman Adolfo Mercado, that the suspect had been arrested. In the early afternoon of June 24, 2000, she was brought to the cell of the police station where appellant was detained and was informed that the lone detainee therein was the suspect. 9 On seeing appellant, she declared that he was the man she saw leaving her house and jumping over the fence. 10

    The defense, on the other hand, denied the accusation.

    Proffering alibi, appellant claimed that on the night of June 22, 2000, he took a walk along Limketkai with his common-law-wife Liezel Sacala, child, mother-in-law and sister-in-law after which they returned to the house of his in-laws; and at the time of the incident, he was fast asleep. 11

    Liezel corroborated appellant’s claim, adding that on the night of the incident she woke up twice to give milk to their 2-year old baby, and appellant never left the house following their return from the walk. 12

    Crediting Lydia’s positive identification of appellant as the man she saw leaving her house and jumping over the fence and the results of the paraffin test, the trial court convicted appellant by the decision on review, 13 the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, finding accused RUEL BACONGUIS y INSON GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER punishable under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to R.A. 7659, and after taking into account the presence of one generic aggravating circumstance of dwelling, without any mitigating, the said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH by lethal injection. He is further directed to indemnify the heirs the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS as damages for the death of the victim, another FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS as exemplary damages, actual expenses in the amount of THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND PESOS, plus to pay the costs. Pursuant to section 22 of R.A. 7659 and section 10 of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court, let the entire record of this case be forwarded to the Supreme Court for automatic review.cralawlibrary : red

    SO ORDERED. 14

    In his brief, appellant proffers the following assignment of errors:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I.


    THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT .

    II.


    THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE TESTIMONIES OF THE ACCUSED AND DEFENSE WITNESSES AND IN RELYING HEAVILY ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES .

    III.


    THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE FACT THAT THE ACCUSED WAS NOT ASSISTED BY A LAWYER DURING THE CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION IN VIOLATION OF HIS BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT .

    IV.


    THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE PRESENCE OF THE GENERIC AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF DWELLING DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT WAS NOT ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATION . (Emphasis supplied)

    Appellant questions his arrest as bereft of a valid warrant. Having, however, submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court when he entered his plea 15 and actively participated in the trial of the case, any infirmity in his arrest was deemed cured. 16

    Appellant likewise questions his subjection to custodial interrogation without the assistance of counsel. There was, however, nothing inculpatory or exculpatory obtained from him by the police during his custodial investigation.

    While it cannot be denied that accused-appellant was deprived of his right to be informed of his rights to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel, he has not shown that, as a result of his custodial interrogation, the police obtained any statement from him — whether inculpatory or exculpatory — which was used in evidence against him. The records do not show that he had given one or that, in finding him guilty, the trial court relied on such statement . . . In other words, no uncounseled statement was obtained from accused-appellant which should have been excluded as evidence against him. 17

    It bears noting that the evidence relied upon by the prosecution is circumstantial.

    It is settled that for circumstantial evidence to suffice to convict, the following requisites must be met: 1) there is more than one circumstance; 2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and 3) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. 18

    The first circumstance which the prosecution sought to prove is that appellant was seen leaving the house where the victim lay bleeding of gunshot wounds not long after a gunshot was heard.

    Prosecution witness Lydia identified appellant, then alone in the detention cell, and in open court as the person she saw leaving the house.

    The value of the in-court identification made by Lydia, however, is largely dependent upon the out-of-court identification she made while appellant was in the custody of the police. In People v. Teehankee, Jr., 19 this Court held that corruption of out-of-court identification contaminates the integrity of in-court identification during the trial of the case.cralawlibrary : red

    In resolving the admissibility of and relying on out-of-court identification of suspects, courts have adopted the totality of circumstances test where they consider the following factors, viz: (1) the witness’ opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the witness’ degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the identification; and, (6) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. 20 (Emphasis supplied)

    The totality of circumstances test has been fashioned to assure fairness as well as compliance with constitutional requirements of due process in regard to out-of-court identification. 21

    Applying the above-said test, there are nagging doubts if Lydia had a good opportunity to view the man she saw leaving her house. For by her claim, after hearing a gunshot, she stood up and "opened" the 3-panel jalousied and grilled bedroom window upon which she saw a tall, slim man who was about 5 meters away at the "right side of the window" ; 22 and the man turned his face to the left, glancing at the terrace 23 which terrace she could not see from where she was, but which was lighted by an 18-watt" [n]ot quite dim" but "more yellow" bulb "attached to the road (sic)." 24

    If Lydia could not see the terrace 25 which was five meters away from where she was, how could the suspect, who was by her account also five meters away from the terrace, glance at the terrace by merely turning his whole face to the left, given the logical location of the terrace to be obliquely behind (to his right) him.

    If before appellant jumped he was, by Lydia’s claim, about three meters away from the light bulb "attached to the road" which light illuminated the terrace, how could Lydia have clearly seen the face of the man turning his face to the left?

    As for the circumstances surrounding the identification process, they were clearly tainted by improper suggestion. While there is no law requiring a police line-up as essential to a proper identification, as even without it there could still be proper identification as long as the police did not suggest the identification to the witness, 26 the police in the case at bar did even more than suggest to Lydia.

    Thus, by Lydia’s own account, the following transpired after she arrived at the cell where appellant was detained.

    Pros. Nolasco: On June 24, that is the following day, where were you?

    A I was in our house.

    Q In the afternoon or morning?

    A In the morning, Adolfo Mercado went to my house and informed me that they already arrested a suspect last June 23.

    Q And what did you do with that information?

    A At 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon, June 24, I went together with my brother to Puerto Police Station.

    Q What did you do?

    A They let me see the suspect.

    Q Were you able to see the suspect?

    A Yes, sir.

    Q What was your reaction upon seeing the suspect?

    A I was so mad because the person whom I saw at that time was the same person. 27

    x       x       x


    Atty. Azis [defense counsel]: You said that at about 8:00 o’clock of the same morning there were operative[s] from the Puerto Police Station and you said they investigated you about the incident?cralawlibrary : red

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q Who among the police officer[s]?

    A PO3 [Eddie] Akut, PO3 Ruben and PO3 Achas.

    Q You only described to them what you saw, the description of the suspect?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q About his being slim built?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q You could not determine whether he is a fair skin[ned] or dark person?

    A I could not determine.

    Q In fact you could not determine whether there is mark on his face?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q You said that on June 24, 2000 you were informed that there was already a suspect arrested by the police?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q But you were not or you did not accompany the police officer where that suspect was arrested?

    A No ma’am.

    Q So it was not you who pointed to the suspect in order for him to be arrested?

    A No ma’am.

    Q And when you went to the Puerto Police Station they introduced to you the suspect?

    A Yes ma’am.

    Q When did you first know his name?

    A From my brother.

    Q When?

    A When he went to the house on June 24 in the morning.

    Q Where did you see the suspect inside the police station?

    A He was still inside the cell when they let me see.

    Q In other words, when you saw him he was inside the cell?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q But he was alone at the time?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q And the police officer pointed to you that that is Ruel Baconguis?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q And after pointing to you they told you that he was the suspect?

    A Yes, ma’am.

    Q And because of that, you were convinced that he was the one?chanrobles.com.ph : red

    A I was convinced because his face is the same person whom I saw [jump] over the fence. 28 (Emphasis and Italics supplied)

    A showup, such as what was undertaken by the police in the identification of appellant by Lydia, has been held to be an underhanded mode of identification for "being pointedly suggestive, generating confidence where there was none, activating visual imagination, and, all told, subverting their reliability as an eyewitness." 29 Lydia knew that she was going to identify a suspect, whose name had priorly been furnished by her brother-policeman, when she went to the police station. And the police pointed appellant to her, and told her that he was the suspect, while he was behind bars, alone. 30

    The unusual, coarse and highly singular method of identification, which revolts against accepted principles of scientific crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just man, and commands neither respect nor acceptance. 31

    In People v. Acosta, 32 this Court rejected the identification by a witness of the accused while the latter was alone in his detention cell. There, this Court held that the identification of the suspect, which was tainted by the suggestiveness of having the witness identify him while he was incarcerated with no one else with him with whom he might be compared by the witness, was less than objective to thus impair the trustworthiness of their identification. 33

    Under the circumstances attendant to the identification of appellant, this Court is not prepared to hold that the prosecution had established that appellant was the man seen leaving the house-scene of the crime soon after a gunshot was heard.

    As for the positive paraffin findings on appellant, it is well settled that nitrates are also found in substances other than gunpowder. 34 Thus, in a number of cases, 32 the Court acquitted the accused despite the finding of gunpowder nitrates on his hand, noting that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    [S]cientific experts concur in the view that the result of a paraffin test is not conclusive. While it can establish the presence of nitrates or nitrites on the hand, it does not always indubitably show that said nitrates or nitrites were caused by the discharge of firearm. The person tested may have handled one or more of a number of substances which give the same positive reaction for nitrates or nitrites, such as explosives, fireworks, pharmaceuticals, and leguminous plants such as peas, beans, and alfalfa. A person who uses tobacco may also have nitrate or nitrite deposits on his hands since these substances are present in the products of combustion of tobacco. The presence of nitrates, therefore, should be taken only as an indication of a possibility but not of infallibility that the person tested has fired a gun. 33

    In fact, prosecution witness Police Superintendent Liza Madeja Sabong, who conducted the paraffin test on appellant, testified that a person who fires a gun can transfer gunpowder from his hands to someone standing very near him even if the second person did not fire a gun himself. 34

    But even assuming arguendo that appellant’s being positive for gunpowder may be credited as circumstantial evidence indicating his culpability, that is only one circumstance, and since no other circumstance was established by the prosecution, the first requirement for circumstantial evidence to warrant conviction of appellant has not been met.

    The prosecution having failed to discharge its burden of proving the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt, he must be acquitted.

    WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Cagayan de Oro City finding appellant RUEL BACONGUIS y INSON guilty of murder is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE and appellant is ACQUITTED thereof. He is ordered IMMEDIATELY RELEASED from confinement unless he is being held for some other legal cause.

    The Director of Prisons is DIRECTED to forthwith implement this Decision immediately and to inform this Court within five days from receipt hereof of the date appellant shall have actually been released from confinement.chanrobles.com.ph : law library

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna and Tinga, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Information, Rollo at 8.

    2. Records at 27.

    3. TSN, September 19, 2000 at 28.

    4. Id.

    5. Id. at 18.

    6. Exhibit "A", Records at 163; TSN, September 14, 2000 at 6–13.

    7. TSN, May 7, 2001 at 78–79.

    8. Exhibit "E", Chemistry Report No. C-55-2000, Records at 166.

    9. TSN, September 19, 2000 at 33–34.

    10. Ibid.

    11. TSN, May 7, 2001 at 78–79, 98–99.

    12. TSN, March 14, 2001 at 64-71; TSN, March 19, 2001 at 35-38.

    13. Decision, Rollo at 19-33.

    14. Id. at 33.

    15. Records at 27.

    16. People v. Lapitaje, G.R. No. 132042, February 19, 2003; People v. Lagarto, G.R. No. 118828, February 29, 2000, 326 SCRA 693, 749; People v. Nitcha, G.R. No. 113517, January 19, 1995, 240 SCRA 283, 294; People v. Nazareno, G.R. No. 103964, August 1, 1996, 260 SCRA 256; People v. Llenaresas, G.R. No. 100462, September 29, 1995, 248 SCRA 629; People v. Manzano, G.R. No. 108293, September 15, 1995, 248 SCRA 239.

    17. People v. Escordial, G.R. Nos. 138934-35, January 16, 2002, 373 SCRA 585, 606.

    18. Rule 133, Sec. 4, Revised Rules of Court.

    19. People v. Teehankee, Jr., G.R. Nos. 111206-08, October 6, 1995, 249 SCRA 54.

    20. Id. at 95.

    21. People v. Gamer, G.R. No. 115984, February 29, 2000, 326 SCRA 660, 672.

    22. TSN, September 19, 2000 at 27–31.

    23. Id. at 29.

    24. Id. at 29–30.

    25. Id. at 27–28.

    26. People v. Perez, G.R. No. 142556, February 5, 2003; People v. Piedad, G.R. No. 131923, December 5, 2002; Tapdasan v. People, G.R. No. 141344, November 21, 2002; People v. Lubong, G.R. No. 132295, May 31, 2000, 332 SCRA 672; People v. Salazar, G.R. No. 109943, September 20, 1995, 248 SCRA 460.

    27. TSN, September 19, 2000 at 22-24.

    28. Id. at 32-34.

    29. People v. Escordial, supra at 612; People v. Niño, G.R. No. 121629, May 19, 1998, 290 SCRA 155; People v. Salguero, G.R. No. 89117, June 19, 1991, 198 SCRA 357; People v. Cruz, G.R. No. L-24424, March 30, 1970, 32 SCRA 181.

    30. TSN, September 19, 2000 at 34.

    31. People v. Cruz, supra, at 186; Natividad v. Court of Appeals, supra.

    32. People v. Acosta, G.R. No. 70133, July 2, 1990, 187 SCRA 39; vide People v. Cruz, supra.

    33. Id. at 43.

    34. People v. Teehankee, supra at 103.

    32. People v. De Guzman, G.R. No. 116730, November 16, 1995, 250 SCRA 118; People v. Abellanosa, G.R. No. 121195, November 27, 1996, 264 SCRA 722.

    33. People v. Melchor, G.R. No. 124301, May 18, 1999, 307 SCRA 177, 187–188.

    34. TSN, October 9, 2000 at 12-13.

    G.R. No. 149889   December 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUEL BACONGUIS


    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