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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
 

   
October-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-02-1548 October 1, 2003 - ROBERT E. VILLAROS v. RODOLFO ORPIANO

  • A.M. Nos. P-03-1697 & P-03-1699 October 1, 2003 - JOCELYN S. PAISTE v. APRONIANO V. MAMENTA

  • G.R. Nos. 133066-67 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO H. LAMBID

  • G.R. No. 137554 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHN MAMARION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148198 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELIZABETH CORPUZ

  • G.R. Nos. 150630-31 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JAIME OLAYBAR

  • G.R. No. 152176 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER D. DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 154130 October 1, 2003 - BENITO ASTORGA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 156034 October 1, 2003 - DELSAN TRANSPORT LINES, INC. v. C & A CONSTRUCTION, INC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1803 October 2, 2003 - VICTOR A. ASLARONA v. ANTONIO T. ECHAVEZ

  • G.R. No. 128882 October 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL AYUDA

  • G.R. No. 145337 October 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEE HOI MING

  • G.R. No. 150382 October 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDDIE BASITE

  • A.C. No. 6061 October 3, 2003 - RAUL C. SANCHEZ v. SALUSTINO SOMOSO

  • A.M. MTJ-00-1311 October 3, 2003 - SILVESTRE H. BELLO III v. AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1547 October 3, 2003 - LEOPOLDO V. CAÑETE v. NELSON MANLOSA

  • A.M. No. P-02-1550 October 3, 2003 - AMELIA L. AVELLANOSA v. JOSE Z. CAMASO

  • G.R. No. 118375 October 3, 2003 - CELESTINA T. NAGUIAT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122134 October 3, 2003 - ROMANA LOCQUIAO VALENCIA, ET AL. v. BENITO A. LOCQUIAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143388 October 6, 2003 - SPS. ROLANDO and ROSITA CRUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146569 October 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHN NEQUIA

  • A.M. Nos. P-03-1744–45 October 7, 2003 - FE ALBANO MADRID v. ANTONIO T. QUEBRAL

  • G.R. No. 135377 October 7, 2003 - DSR-SENATOR LINES, ET AL. v. FEDERAL PHOENIX ASSURANCE CO., INC.

  • G.R. No. 149453 October 7, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL. v. PANFILO M. LACSON

  • G.R. No. 149717 October 7, 2003 - EASTERN ASSURANCE & SURETY CORP. v. LTFRB

  • G.R. No. 155258 October 7, 2003 - CONRADO S. CANO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • A.C. No. 4881 October 8, 2003 - RAU SHENG MAO v. ANGELES A. VELASCO

  • G.R. No. 120864 October 8, 2003 - MANUEL T. DE GUIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136845 October 8, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GUILLERMO FLORENDO

  • G.R. No. 145166 October 8, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO ROMERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146118 October 8, 2003 - SAMUEL SAMARCA v. ARC-MEN INDUSTRIES, INC.

  • G.R. Nos. 148056-61 October 8, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE DE CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 149420 October 8, 2003 - SONNY LO v. KJS ECO-FORMWORK SYSTEM PHIL., INC.

  • G.R. No. 152776 October 8, 2003 - HENRY S. OAMINAL v. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153751 October 8, 2003 - MID PASIG LAND DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154579 October 8, 2003 - MA. LOURDES R. DE GUZMAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • A.M. No. P-96-1179 October 10, 2003 - WINSTON C. CASTELO v. CRISTOBAL C. FLORENDO

  • G.R. No. 110604 October 10, 2003 - BUENAVENTURA S. TENORIO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140917 October 10, 2003 - MENELIETO A. OLANDA v. LEONARDO G. BUGAYONG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1640 October 13, 2003 - SAAD ANJUM v. CESAR L. ABACAHIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122765 October 13, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO L. VARGAS

  • G.R. No. 141942 October 13, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PONCE JAMON

  • G.R. No. 143842 October 13, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANGI L. ADAM

  • G.R. No. 144662 October 13, 2003 - SPS. EFREN AND DIGNA MASON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459 October 14, 2003 - IMELDA Y. MADERADA v. ERNESTO H. MEDIODEA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1674 October 14, 2003 - PABLO B. FRANCISCO v. OLIVIA M. LAUREL

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1805 October 14, 2003 - TEODORA A. RUIZ v. ROLANDO G. HOW

  • G.R. No. 153157 October 14, 2003 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES v. ARTHUR B. TONGSON

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1697 October 15, 2003 - EUGENIO K. CHAN v. JOSE S. MAJADUCON

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1699 October 15, 2003 - VERNETTE UMALI-PACO, ET AL. v. REINATO G. QUILALA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1808 October 15, 2003 - RADELIA SY, ET AL. v. ANTONIO FINEZA

  • G.R. Nos. 123144, 123207 & 123536 October 15, 2003 - PABLO P. BURGOS, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126119 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. GILDO B. PELOPERO PNP

  • G.R. No. 130662 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO ABON

  • G.R. No. 138364 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 142381 October 15, 2003 - PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142595 October 15, 2003 - RACHEL C. CELESTIAL v. JESSE CACHOPERO

  • G.R. Nos. 148139-43 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HERMENIO CANOY

  • G.R. No. 156273 October 15, 2003 - HEIRS OF TIMOTEO MORENO, ET AL. v. MACTAN-CEBU INT’L. AIRPORT AUTHORITY

  • A.M. No. SCC-00-6-P October 16, 2003 - RE: Ma. Corazon M. Molo

  • A.M. No. P-02-1592 October 16, 2003 - LUZITA ALPECHE v. EXPEDITO B. BATO

  • G.R. No. 141074 October 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NORLY LIBRADO

  • G.R. No. 144881 October 16, 2003 - BETTY T. CHUA v. ABSOLUTE MNGT. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 147650-52 October 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO S. PEPITO

  • G.R. No. 152492 October 16, 2003 - PALMA DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. MUN. OF MALANGAS

  • G.R. Nos. 153991-92 October 16, 2003 - ANWAR BERUA BALINDONG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1475 October 17, 2003 - MANUEL R. AQUINO v. JOCELYN C. FERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 131399 October 17, 2003 - ANGELITA AMPARO GO v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 133759-60 October 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONITO LORENZO

  • G.R. Nos. 148673-75 October 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENCIO R. ABANILLA

  • G.R. No. 150286 October 17, 2003 - ELCEE FARMS, INC., ET AL. v. PAMPILO SEMILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142885 October 22, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM TIU, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1368 October 23, 2003 - JOSE GODOFREDO M. NAUI v. MARCIANO C. MAURICIO, SR.

  • G.R. No. 120409 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAMSON PICKRELL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120670 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HEDISHI SUZUKI

  • G.R. No. 125689 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SATIOQUIA

  • G.R. No. 127153 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SATUR G. APOSAGA

  • G.R. No. 132788 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ISAIAS FERNANDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134485 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR PEREZ

  • G.R. Nos. 134573-75 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE BINARAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136849 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR A. CODERES

  • G.R. No. 138456 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO P. DEDUYO

  • G.R. No. 140247 October 23, 2003 - ALEX ASUNCION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143252 October 23, 2003 - CEBU MARINE BEACH RESORT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146368-69 October 23, 2003 - MADELEINE MENDOZA-ONG v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146608 October 23, 2003 - SPS. CONSTANTE & AZUCENA FIRME v. BUKAL ENTERPRISES AND DEV’T. CORP.

  • G.R. No. 147369 October 23, 2003 - SPS. PATRICK and RAFAELA JOSE v. SPS. HELEN and ROMEO BOYON

  • G.R. No. 147549 October 23, 2003 - JESUS DELA ROSA, ET AL. v. SANTIAGO CARLOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149149 October 23, 2003 - ERNESTO SYKI v. SALVADOR BEGASA

  • G.R. No. 149725 October 23, 2003 - OSCAR MAGNO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. Nos. 150493-95 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CIRILO MACABATA

  • G.R. No. 150946 October 23, 2003 - MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF GLAN, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152135 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCOS GIALOLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152716 October 23, 2003 - ELNA MERCADO-FEHR v. BRUNO FEHR

  • G.R. Nos. 154796-97 October 23, 2003 - RAYMUNDO A. BAUTISTA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155692 October 23, 2003 - PHIVIDEC INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. CAPITOL STEEL CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155717 October 23, 2003 - ALBERTO JARAMILLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1586 October 24, 2003 - THELMA C. BALDADO v. ARNULFO O. BUGTAS

  • G.R. No. 119775 October 24, 2003 - JOHN HAY PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE COALITION, ET AL. v. VICTOR LIM, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119847 October 24, 2003 - JENNY ZACARIAS v. NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137597 October 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON S. NAVARRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141615 October 24, 2003 - MAC ADAMS METAL ENGINEERING WORKERS UNION-INDEPENDENT, ET AL. v. MAC ADAMS METAL ENGINEERING, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144439 October 24, 2003 - SOUTHEAST ASIA SHIPPING CORP. v. SEAGULL MARITIME CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148120 October 24, 2003 - RODRIGO QUIRAO, ET AL. v. LYDIA QUIRAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148597 October 24, 2003 - GRACE F. MUNSAYAC-DE VILLA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152285 October 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE OBESO

  • G.R. Nos. 152589 and 152758 October 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 153828 October 24, 2003 - LINCOLN L. YAO v. NORMA C. PERELLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139181 October 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY AQUINO

  • G.R. No. 143817 October 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO BAJAR

  • A.C. No. 5829 October 28, 2003 - DANIEL LEMOINE v. AMADEO E. BALON, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1581 October 28, 2003 - MA. CORAZON M. ANDAL v. NICOLAS A. TONGA

  • G.R. No. 134563 October 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FRANCISCO DALA

  • G.R. No. 138933 October 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JERRYVIE D. GUMAYAO

  • G.R. No. 150540 October 28, 2003 - DIMALUB P. NAMIL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 155206 October 28, 2003 - GSIS v. EDUARDO M. SANTIAGO

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    G.R. No. 143817   October 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO BAJAR

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 143817. October 27, 2003.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ALEJANDRO BAJAR, Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    PER CURIAM:


    For the killing of his father-in-law, Aquilio Tiwanak, appellant Alejandro Bajar was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death in the 17 July 2000 Decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 18, in Criminal Case No. 99-942.

    Alejandro was charged under an amended information whose accusatory portion reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 16th day of August 1999, at about 8:00 o’clock in the evening, at sitio Mohon, Barangay Mambayaan, Municipality of Balingasag, Province of Misamis Oriental, Republic of the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, then armed with a sharp bolo, with intent to kill, and with evident premeditation, and treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab one 85 year old Aquilio Tiwanak, Accused’s father-in-law, hitting him on the different parts of his body, which caused his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of Aquilio Tiwanak in such amounts as may be allowed by law.

    The aggravating circumstances of dwelling, taking advantage of superior strength, disregard of the respect due the victim on account of his age, habitual intoxication and relationship attended the commission of the crime.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    CONTRARY to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation [to] Article 14, paragraphs 3 and 15, and Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code. 2

    Upon his arraignment on 8 February 2000, Alejandro pleaded not guilty, and trial thereafter ensued. The prosecution presented as witnesses Alejandro’s wife, Lolita Bajar, and their two children, Ana Bajar Rabor and Alma Luna Bajar, to testify on the events surrounding the commission of the crime.

    On 16 August 1999, Ana Bajar Rabor, a resident of Wao, Bukidnon, visited her parents in their house in Sitio Mohon, Mambayaan, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. 3 At around 3:00 p.m. of that day, her father Alejandro arrived home already very drunk. At 5:00 p.m., Ana’s mother, Lolita Bajar, suggested that since her father was very drunk, she should sleep at the house of her maternal grandfather, the victim Aquilio, 4 just one hundred meters away from the house of Lolita. 5

    That night, at around 8:00 p.m., Ana was listening to the radio while lying on the floor of the bedroom in his grandfather’s house. With her were her 1-year-old daughter, Maybe Ann; her 11-year-old sister, Alma Bajar; and her 2-year-old niece, May Joy Labandia. 6 She was lying on the side of a wall that separated the bedroom from the sala. This wall was made of bamboo splits with holes or gaps in between such that she could clearly see her grandfather lying on his bed in the sala. 7 A gas lamp lit up the bedroom, while another hung on the wall near the foot of the bed of her grandfather. 8

    The scenario was broken by the voice of Alejandro, who was still obviously very drunk, inquiring whether his wife was in the house. While speaking his demand, he pushed the main door to gain entry into the house, but he was not able to enter. Aquilio answered that his wife was in their (Alejandro’s) house. Alejandro accused Aquilio of lying and of hiding his daughter. Aquilio told Alejandro to go home. 9 Silence thereafter ensued.

    Suddenly, Ana heard a sound and saw that Alejandro was able to enter the house through the kitchen door. He was carrying a bolo and approaching her grandfather. She saw her father hack her grandfather, who was lying on the bed. She got up, ran towards the sala, and saw her father still hacking his grandfather. She yelled for her father to stop. While he was being stabbed and attacked, Aquilio stood up to embrace his son-in-law. Ana shouted for help as she held down the hand which her father used to wield the bolo. 10 Alma witnessed these two last scenes. She saw her sister Ana trying to stay the hand of their father which held the bolo, and Aquilio embracing Alejandro while being hacked by the latter. 11

    Lolita, having heard the cries of her daughter, came to her father’s house. There, she saw Aquilio embracing Alejandro. She then instructed Ana to hold on to Alejandro while she looked for a piece of wood with which to hit him. With the piece of wood she found, she struck Alejandro’s head three times. Alejandro fainted. By this time, Aquilio slowly sank down to the floor 12 and drew his last breath. 13 Lolita forthwith went outside to seek the help of neighbors. Ana’s uncle, Tating Aganap, arrived and later brought two policemen, who handcuffed Alejandro. 14

    Lolita also testified that she spent P30,000 for her father Aquilio’s burial expenses. She felt sad about the demise of her father and described how her sorrow could not be quantified by monetary consideration. To prove the age of her father, 15 Lolita presented the latter’s Identification Card from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, 16 which indicated that he was born on 12 May 1914. 17 Aquilio was then 85 years old.

    The prosecution’s last witness was Dr. Angelita Enopia, the Health Officer of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. She confirmed the findings she made on the postmortem examination she conducted on the cadaver of Aquilio 18 and on the death certificate she issued. 19 She claimed that Aquilio suffered three big wounds: one on the maxilliary area on the right cheek which was slanting towards the mouth, one on the anterior chest left side downwards to the armpit, and one straight to the scapular area at the back. She opined that the injuries were probably caused by a sharp object such as a bolo or a knife. 20

    The defense presented Alejandro as its lone witness. Alejandro testified that on the date and time in question, he left his two daughters, Ana and Alma, and his two grandchildren, Mary Joy and Ann-Ann, at his house. He proceeded to his father-in-law’s house to look for his wife. Upon arrival, he greeted Aquilio with respect: "Pa, good evening." The latter replied that Lolita was not there and invited him (Alejandro) to go up and see for himself. Alejandro went up, and not finding his wife, said: "She is not here Pa." Aquilio angrily retorted: "Everytime you are drunk you come here to ask me. "Aquilio then suddenly clubbed Alejandro on the head with a 2 x 3 coco lumber he saw near the door. 21

    Alejandro then touched his head, and saw blood on his hand. He felt dizzy. Seeing that Aquilio was about to attack him again, he drew out his hunting knife and defended himself by moving his hand from the right to left. He felt he hit something before he lost consciousness. He regained consciousness at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and discovered that a policeman brought him there for the treatment of his head wound. 22 He was found to have sustained "sutured wound 4 cm. left temporo-occipital area; lacerated wound 3 cm. left lateral neck area and confluent abrasion 3 pts. 1 x 1 cm. 2 x 1 cm. and 1 x 1 cm., left knee," with seven days healing period. 23

    Alejandro was later brought to the Balingasag Municipal Jail, where he was visited by his two children and wife. On their respective visits, they informed him that Aquilio was already dead. He cried when he learned the news, and begged for his wife’s forgiveness. 24

    In its decision of 17 July 2000, the trial court found Alejandro guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged against him, with treachery as the qualifying circumstance. It concluded that his uncorroborated and unsubstantiated self-defense theory was self-serving and could not stand over the positive, categorical, spontaneous, and straightforward declarations of his daughters and wife on how Aquilio was killed. It was convinced that "no wife in her right mind would testify in a heinous crime against her husband, and no daughter in her right mind would testify in a heinous crime against her father, unless the crime charged is true." 25 Considering the presence of the generic aggravating circumstances of dwelling, disregard of the respect due to the victim by reason of his age, relationship, and habitual intoxication, the trial court sentenced Alejandro to suffer the penalty of death and to pay the heirs of the victim P30,000 as burial expenses; P50,000 as death indemnity; and P25,000 as exemplary damages.

    The case is now before us on automatic review. 26

    In his Brief, Alejandro claims that all the elements of self-defense are present in this case and that he is, therefore, entitled to an acquittal. There was lack of sufficient provocation on his part, as he respectfully greeted Aquilio and mildly asked him about the whereabouts of his wife. Hence, he was surprised when Aquilio very angrily answered him and suddenly clubbed him on the head with a piece of wood, causing wounds on his head. It was when he saw that Aquilio was about to club him again that he took out his hunting knife, which was the only weapon available to him to parry the imminent blows by Aquilio. There was, therefore, reasonable necessity of the means he employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Alejandro assails the appreciation of treachery as a qualifying circumstance in that the alleged eyewitness Ana could not have seen how the attack commenced. Ana admitted that she was not with Aquilio or beside him when he (Alejandro) allegedly entered the house through the kitchen door and stabbed the unsuspecting Aquilio. In fact, she claimed that she was lying on the bedroom floor, with her feet toward the door, about a meter from the wall which divided her room from the sala where her grandfather lay. Even if the wall had gaps, she was still four to five meters from her grandfather’s bed. 27 Further, her testimony on cross-examination was unclear about whether she witnessed the approach of Alejandro, or whether she only saw how Alejandro, later on, thrust his hunting knife to parry Aquilio’s attack. Treachery was, therefore, not proved because there was no direct evidence that the commencement of the alleged attack on Aquilio was sudden and unexpected. In addition, even if treachery was present, it was not specifically alleged in the information as qualifying the killing of the victim into the crime of murder. Hence, it could only be appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance.

    Alejandro also maintains that, other than the fact that Aquilio was then 85 years old, no specific fact or circumstance was proved showing disregard of age. In the same vein, there was no clear proof that his alleged intoxication was habitual or intentional.

    The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters with these propositions: (1) the uncorroborated plea of self-defense was inconsistent with the established evidence on record; and (2) the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the aggravating circumstances of intoxication, dwelling, disrespect of the victim on account of his age, and relationship were properly appreciated. The OSG argues that treachery was properly, validly, and sufficiently alleged in the information. Citing People v. Aquino, 28 it claims that the words "aggravating/qualifying," "qualifying," "qualified by," "aggravating or aggravated by" need not be expressly stated as long as the particular attendant circumstances are specified in the information. Besides, Alejandro failed to raise during the trial this alleged defect in the information. Such was a clear indication that the information properly forewarned him that treachery attended Aquilio’s killing. The OSG then prays for the affirmance in toto of the questioned decision of the trial court.

    We affirm Alejandro’s conviction.

    Settled is the rule that when the credibility of witnesses is in issue, appellate courts generally defer to the findings of the trial court, considering that the latter is in a better position to decide the question after having heard the witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when the evaluation was reached arbitrarily or when the trial court overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which, if considered, would affect the result of the case. Not one of these exceptions is present in this case. 29

    We affirm, therefore, the trial court’s imprimatur of credence to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Lolita, Ana and Alma (all surnamed Bajar), who corroborated each other’s testimonies on material points. Ana clearly saw through the gaps in the bamboo walls and by going to the sala how her father stealthily entered her grandfather’s house, surreptitiously approached his sleeping grandfather, and surprised the latter to wakefulness by his bolo hackings. Lolita heard and then responded to Ana’s shouts for help. Seeing how Ana was trying to prevent her father from further attacking her grandfather, Lolita helped her by clubbing her husband’s head with a piece of coconut lumber. Ana and Alma corroborated their mother’s account on this matter.

    Thus, we agree with the trial court’s observation that Alejandro’s uncorroborated self-defense theory could not stand against the positive, categorical, spontaneous, and straightforward declarations of his daughters and wife. A plea of self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated, especially when uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence or when it is extremely doubtful by itself. 30

    By invoking self-defense, Alejandro had the burden of proving the existence of the following essential requisites: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused. This he miserably failed to do. In fact, the records clearly establish that he was the aggressor. Without unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, there can be no viable self-defense. 31

    Besides, Alejandro’s version of their family tragedy invites only misgiving. His allegation that Aquilio suddenly clubbed him with a piece of coco lumber he saw on the side of the door is not only doubtful. It was also refuted as fictitious by the prosecution witnesses’ testimony that it was Lolita who looked for a piece of wood to thwart him from what seemed a continuous attack on Aquilio. His alleged use of the hunting knife was likewise disproved by the prosecution witnesses who testified to having seen him use a bolo to attack the defenseless Aquilio.

    Since an unsubstantiated self-defense is similar in many respects to a bare denial, we can say that as between categorical testimonies that ring of truth on one hand, and an unsubstantiated self-defense on the other, the former is generally held to prevail. 32 The veracity of this legal principle is enhanced in this case by the fact that the wife and children of Alejandro were the ones who testified against him.

    We shall now discuss the trial court’s appreciation of the different aggravating circumstances.

    For treachery to be appreciated, the offender must have employed means, methods, or forms in the execution of any of the crimes against persons that tend directly and especially to ensure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. 33 Two elements must concur: (1) the means of execution employed gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (2) the means of execution was deliberately or consciously adopted. 34

    Treachery was proved by Ana’s testimony. She narrated that there was an ensuing silence after Aquilio told Alejandro to go home. It was apparent that Aquilio resumed his interrupted sleep. Even Ana was undisturbed by the exchange of words, for she remained in the bedroom lying down and ready to sleep. Aquilio and his grandchildren had no inkling that Alejandro would trespass his dwelling by entering through the kitchen door. Aquilio was completely unaware of the impending attack and, ultimately, his doom. And suddenly, Alejandro hacked him on the face as he was lying down resting on his bed. The means, method, and form of the attack in this case were, therefore, consciously adopted and effectively forestalled Aquilio from employing a defense against his attacker.

    Contrary to appellant’s contention, treachery as a qualifying circumstance was sufficiently alleged in the information. The information against Alejandro states in part that he, "then armed with a sharp bolo, with intent to kill, and with evident premeditation, and treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab one 85-year-old Aquilio Tiwanak, Accused’s father-in-law, hitting him on the different parts of his body, which caused his instantaneous death." The information sufficiently warned him of the circumstance of treachery which, once proved, qualifies the crime of murder. The first paragraph of its accusatory portion, quoted above, satisfies the requirement of the Rules that qualifying circumstances be specifically alleged in the information in order to comply with the constitutional right of the accused to be properly informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. 35 The purpose is to allow the accused to prepare fully for his defense to prevent surprises during trial. What properly informs the accused of the nature of the crime charged is the specific allegation of the circumstances mentioned in the law that raise the crime to a higher category.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In People v. Aquino, 36 the Court clarified and resolved, for the guidance of the bench and the bar, the issue of how to allege or specify qualifying or aggravating circumstances in the information. We explained therein that it is the specific allegation of the attendant circumstance, and not the use of the words aggravating or qualifying circumstances, that raises a crime to higher category. Thus, the words qualifying, qualified by, aggravating, or aggravated by need not be expressly stated as long as the particular attendant circumstances are specified in the information. We reiterate our pronouncements in said case that Sections 8 and 9 37 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure merely require that the information allege, specify, or enumerate the attendant circumstances mentioned in the law that qualify or aggravate the offense.

    Aside from treachery, the prosecution was able to prove three aggravating circumstances, to wit, dwelling, relationship, and disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of age.

    Dwelling aggravates a felony where the crime was committed in the dwelling of the offended party, who has not given any provocation. It is considered aggravating primarily because of the sanctity of privacy the law accords to human abode. He who goes to another’s house to hurt him or do him wrong is more guilty than he who offends him elsewhere. 38 Aquilio did not provoke Alejandro; it was Alejandro who rudely and drunkenly interrupted the quiet and restful evening Aquilio was enjoying. He even attempted to enter the house without being invited and without the door being opened for him. Clearly, because of his drunken condition, he was not welcome. After Aquilio told him to go home, a certain quietude descended into the night, a lull which Alejandro used as a cover to pursue his plan to kill Aquilio. He doubly violated the sanctity of Aquilio’s abode when he trespassed it by entering through the kitchen door and then killing Aquilio.

    Anent the generic aggravating circumstance of disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of age, it is considered present when the offended person, by reason of his age, could be the father of the offender. 39 This is obvious in this case. Not only was Aquilio, by reason of his age, considered old enough to be the father of Alejandro (who incidentally declared in open court that he was 58 years old), 40 he was also the latter’s father-in-law. The presence of this aggravating circumstance by reason of their age difference is, therefore, reinforced by their actual relationship by affinity. Further, it is ingrained in Philippine culture that those advanced in age are respected especially in the provinces.

    Suffice it is to say that the alternative circumstance of relationship was correctly appreciated, the victim being the father-in-law of the Appellant.

    With regard to the alternative circumstance of intoxication, which the trial court treated as aggravating, we find that it has not been shown to be habitual or intentional as required by Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code. Lolita testified "that her husband would drink liquor once a week but was not a frequent drinker." She also admitted that on that fateful day, there was a fiesta celebration at Barangay Mambayaan. 41 As Alejandro insists, it was but natural for him to drink liquor during fiesta celebrations. In the absence of clear and positive proof that Alejandro’s intoxication was habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit the crime, it is improper to consider the same as an aggravating circumstance. Neither can intoxication be considered mitigating in the instant case, there being no proof that the appellant was so drunk that his will-power was impaired or that he could not comprehend the wrongfulness of his acts. 42

    Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death. With the attendance of the generic aggravating circumstances of dwelling, disregard of the respect due to the offended party by reason of age, and relationship without any mitigating circumstance to offset them, the imposition of the death penalty is justified pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. 43

    On the matter of damages, we agree with Alejandro’s contention that the trial court erred in awarding P30,000 as burial expenses for lack of receipts to prove the same. It is necessary for a party seeking the award of actual damages to produce competent proof or the best evidence obtainable to justify such award. Only substantiated and proven expenses, or those that appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death, wake, or burial of the victim will be recognized in court. Nonetheless, in line with new jurisprudence, 44 we shall award temperate damages in the amount of P25,000 to the victim’s heirs, since they clearly incurred funeral expenses.

    We observe that no moral damages was decreed by the trial court. Lolita testified that no monetary consideration could equal a daughter’s loss of her father. In recent jurisprudence, 45 we held that the award of moral damages is mandatory in cases of murder and homicide, without need of allegation and proof other than the death of the victim. We therefore award moral damages in favor of Aquilio’s heirs in the amount of P50,000. We reiterate what we said in People v. Panado:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Unlike in the crime of rape, we grant moral damages in murder or homicide only when the heirs of the victim have alleged and proved mental suffering. However, as borne out by human nature and experience, a violent death invariably and necessarily brings about emotional pain and anguish on the part of the victim’s family. It is inherently human to suffer sorrow, torment, pain and anger when a loved one becomes the victim of a violent or brutal killing. Such violent death or brutal killing not only steals from the family of the deceased his precious life, deprives them forever of his love, affection and support, but often leaves them with the gnawing feeling that an injustice has been done to them. For this reason, moral damages must be awarded even in the absence of any allegation and proof of the heirs’ emotional suffering. Verily Hilda and her son Louie Gee would forever carry the emotional wounds of the vicious killing of a husband and a father. With or without proof, this fact can never be denied; since it is undisputed, it must be considered proved. 46

    We affirm the award of P50,000 as death indemnity, and the award of P25,000 as exemplary damages by virtue of the attendance of three aggravating circumstances, pursuant to Article 2230 of the Civil Code.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    WHEREFORE, the 17 July 2000 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 18, in Criminal Case No. 99-942 is hereby AFFIRMED with modifications. Appellant ALEJANDRO BAJAR is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death. The awards of P50,000 as civil indemnity and P25,000 as exemplary damages in favor of the heirs of the victim AQUILIO TIWANAK are affirmed. The award for burial expenses is deleted; however, in lieu thereof, an award of 25,000 as temperate damages is hereby adjudged, payable to the heirs of the victim. The appellant is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of the victim moral damages in the amount of P50,000.

    Costs de oficio.

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Ynares-Santiago, J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Per Judge Edgardo T. Lloren. Original Record (OR), 121-131; Rollo, 15-25.

    2. OR, 39.

    3. TSN, 2 March 2000, 15.

    4. Id., 15-16.

    5. TSN, 24 March 2000, 8.

    6. TSN, 2 March 2000, 4-5, 17.

    7. Id., 18-20, 27, 29.

    8. Id., 19.

    9. Id., 5-7.

    10. Id., 7-8, 22-23.

    11. TSN, 2 March 2000, 41-44.

    12. Id., 8-9, 24; TSN, 24 March 2000, 8-10, 25.

    13. Exh. "E."cralaw virtua1aw library

    14. TSN, 2 March 2000, 9-10.

    15. TSN, 24 March 2000, 22.

    16. Exh. "B."cralaw virtua1aw library

    17. TSN, 24 March 2000, 6.

    18. Exh. "F," OR, 18.

    19. Exh. "E," OR, 19.

    20. TSN, 29 March 2000, 50-57.

    21. TSN, 14 April 2000, 4-8, 20.

    22. Id., 8-10.

    23. Exh. "1," OR, 112.

    24. TSN, 14 April 2000, 11-13.

    25. OR, 127; Rollo, 21.

    26. Pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, entitled An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for that Purpose the Revised Penal Code, as Amended, Other Special Penal Laws, and for Other Purposes, which took effect on 31 December 1993; see also People v. Simon, G.R. No. 93028, 29 July 1994, 234 SCRA 555.

    27. Rollo, 64.

    28. G.R. Nos. 144340-42, 6 August 2002.

    29. People v. Panganiban, G.R. Nos. 138439-41, 25 June 2001, 359 SCRA 509, 519.

    30. People v. De la Cruz, 353 Phil. 363 (1998); People v. Pacantara, G.R. No. 140896, 7 May 2002.

    31. People v. Recto, G.R. No. 129069, 17 October 2001, 367 SCRA 390, 402.

    32. See People v. Arofo, G.R. No. 139433, 11 April 2002; People v. Ugang, G.R. No. 144036, 7 May 2002.

    33. People v. Aquino, G.R. No. 145371, 28 September 2001, 366 SCRA 266, 281.

    34. People v. Solayao, G.R. No. 137043, 12 December 2001, 372 SCRA 162, 169.

    35. People v. Lab-eo, G.R. No. 133438, 16 January 2002, 373 SCRA 461, 473.

    36. Supra note 28.

    37. These Sections read:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Section 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.

    Section 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.

    38. People v. Bumidang, G.R. No. 130630, 4 December 2000, 346 SCRA 807, 818; People v. Perreras, G.R. No. 139622, 31 July 2001, 362 SCRA 202. 212-213.

    39. U.S. v. Esmedia, 17 Phil. 260 (1910), cited in Luis B. REYES, 1 THE REVISED PENAL CODE 334, 13th ed. (1993).

    40. TSN, 14 April 2000, 3.

    41. TSN, 24 March 2000, 27.

    42. People v. Bañez, G.R. No. 125849, 20 January 1999, 301 SCRA 248.

    43. Art. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. —

    x       x       x


    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.

    44. People v. De los Santos, G.R. No. 135919, 9 May 2003.

    45. People v. Carillo, supra; People v. Panela, G.R. No. 124475, 29 November 2000, 346 SCRA 308; People v. G.R. No. 133439, 26 December 2000, 348 SCRA 679.

    46. People v. Panado, supra, at 690-691.

    G.R. No. 143817   October 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO BAJAR


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