People v. Ramos : 135204 : April 14, 2004 : J. Sandoval-Gutierrez :
Third Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 135204.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Appellee, v. NARCISO
RAMOS y MATIAS, RAMON SAN ROQUE y DELA CRUZ, EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO y DELA
CRUZ alias LALING, WILLIAM RAMOS alias WILFREDO RAMOS, (provisionally
dismissed), and three (3) other John Does, Accused.
EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO y DELA CRUZ alias LALING,
D E C I S I O N
Appeal by Eulalia San Roque de Francisco y dela Cruz from the
Decision1 dated April 24, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 122, Caloocan City, in
Criminal Case No. C-46010, declaring her guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of murder and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
She was also adjudged to pay the heirs of
P50,000. 00 as civil indemnity.
The Information2 dated December 14, 1993 filed against appellant and her co-accused Narciso
Ramos y Matias alias Narcing, Ramon San Roque y dela Cruz, Wilfredo Ramos and
three (3) other John Does is quoted as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
That on or about the 11thday of February 1993 in
Kalookan City, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above named accused, with deliberate intent to kill, conspiring
together and mutually helping one another, with treachery, evident
premeditation and abuse of superior strength, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously tie up on a santol tree, stab, shoot and burn one
WILLIAM LOMIDA, resulting to the death of the latter.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Upon arraignment on December 15, 1994, appellant, assisted by
counsel, pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.
The case against Wilfredo Ramos was provisionally dismissed.
The other accused, Narciso Ramos and Ramon
San Roque, have remained at large.
During the trial, the prosecution presented the following
Bernie Ambal, Saturnino
Rivera, Mariano Lomida and NBI Special Investigator Laurence M. Nidera.
Their testimonies, woven together,
established the following facts:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
On February 11, 1993 at around 7:00 oclock in the evening,
Bernie Ambal was standing outside his store at 168 De Paro St.,
Narciso Ramos, Ramon San Roque
and three (3) others passed by.
proceeded to the house of William Lomida and appellant, who were then live-in
Narciso and Ramon stood by
the door, while one of their companions, holding an armalite, positioned
himself behind Narciso.
companion, armed with a pistol, stayed on the street, and the third one, also
armed with a pistol, went to the backyard.
At a distance of ten (10) meters away, Ambal saw Narciso pulling out his. 45 caliber pistol and knocking at the door.
Appellant then opened the door and Ramon went inside.
Soon thereafter, William and appellant, accompanied by Narciso,
Ramon, and three (3) others left the house.
As they were passing by the store, Ramon stopped and borrowed Ambals
At that instance, William
suddenly held his arm and whispered, Samahan
mo naman ako, baka kung ano ang gawin sa akin ng mga ito, tutal barkada mo
naman si Ramon. But Ambal was scared and hesitant.
William then requested him to look for
The group headed to Narcisos house, about kilometer away from
Unknown to them, Ambal
Hiding himself behind a
tree fifteen meters away, Ambal saw one of their companions poking his armalite
Then, they tied William to
a santol tree.
He was pleading to
appellant, but she simply turned her back.
Ramon stabbed William twice at the stomach with a 29 bladed knife.
Then Narciso shot William five to seven
times with his. 45 caliber pistol.
William was already dead, Ramon and Wilfredo Ramos untied his body and brought
it to a dumpsite (of used tires) twenty five meters away.
There they placed Williams body atop a pile
of rubber tires.
Ramon poured gasoline
on his body and set it on fire.
Appellant and the others were closely watching.
After thirty minutes, appellant and the men
Ambal immediately reported the
incident to Saturnino Rivera.
proceeded to the dumpsite where they saw the charred body.
According to Ambal, Ramon, appellant and
Narcisos sister are brother and sisters.
Saturnino Rivera declared on the witness stand that he considered
William his best friend.
appellant frequently quarreled and sometimes, he maltreated her.
Saturnino corroborated Ambals testimony
that they went to the scene of the crime and saw the charred body of William;
and that they reported the gruesome incident to the NBI.
Mariano Lomida testified that on February 19, 1993, or eight days
after the incident, appellant suddenly arrived in Atimonan, Quezon looking for
She told Mariano that William
left their house on February 9, 1993 without her knowledge.
P3,000. 00 from him
(Mariano) with a promise to pay on March 27, 1993. But since then, he never saw her again. Mariano further testified that due to the death of his son, he
suffered wounded feelings.
Special Investigator Laurence M. Nidera of the NBI Anti-Organized
Crime Division conducted the investigation.
He took the statements of Bernie Ambal, Saturnino Rivera and Mariano
Upon the arrest of appellant
and Narciso Ramos by the Capital Command (CAPCOM) of the Philippine National
Police, they were turned over to the NBI.
After the prosecution rested its case, appellant filed a demurrer
to evidence but was denied.
appellant jumped bail.
On the basis of
the evidence presented by the prosecution, the case was submitted for decision.
On April 24, 1998, the trial court rendered a Decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, finding the accused
Eulalia San Roque de Francisco y dela Cruz alias Laling GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder as charged in the Information and
hereby sentences her to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetuawith accessory penalties as provided by the law
and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the sum of
SO ORDERED.3 cralawred
Appellant appeared during the promulgation of the Decision.
In her brief, appellant raised the following assignments of
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
ACCUSED EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO Y DELA CRUZ alias LALING CONSPIRED AND
CONFEDERATED WITH HER CO-ACCUSED IN PERPETRATING THE CRIME OF MURDER, WHEN THE
FACT OF SUCH CONSPIRACY HAS NOT BEEN SATISFACTORILY PROVEN TO EXIST BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT DURING THE TRIAL OF THE CASE.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECIDING THE
CASE AGAINST THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE WEAK EVIDENCE OF THE
PROSECUTION, CONSIDERING THAT THE PROSECUTION HAS FAILED TO PROVE ALL THE
NECESSARY ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME AND THE CORPUS DELICTI.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE
ACCUSED GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF MURDER BY THE MERE FACT THAT SHE FAILED TO
APPEAR AFTER THE CASE WAS REVIVED SUCH FAILURE HAVING BEEN APPRECIATED BY THE
TRIAL COURT AS A CLEAR INDICATION OF HER GUILT.
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED AN ERROR IN
FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF MURDER ON THE BASIS ALONE OF THE
TESTIMONY OF THE SOLE WITNESS IN THIS CASE, WITHOUT BEING SUPPORTED THEREBY BY
We shall discuss the above assignments of error jointly.
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
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 temporal,4 in its maximum period to death, if
committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
1. With treachery,
taking advantage of superior strength, with the aim of armed men, or employing
means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford
2. In consideration of a
price, reward or promise.
3. By means of
inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel,
derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, or by means of motor
vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin.
4. On occasion of any of
the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake,
eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.
5. With evident premeditation.
6. With cruelty, by
deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging
or scoffing at his person or corpse.
In convicting the appellant of murder, the trial court gave full
faith and credence to the testimony of prosecution lone eyewitness, Bernie
An extract from his testimony is
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY PROS. MANAQUIL:
x x x
QAnd in the evening of
that date, could you recall at about 7:00 in the evening of February 11, 1993, if
there was any unusual incident that happened?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWill you please tell us
what was that unusual incident all about that you observed and noticed?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ANarciso Ramos, Ramon San
Roque and three men of Narciso Ramos got the victim and Eulalia San Roque was
also with the group.
QWho was taken?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe victim, your Honor.
QWhat is the name of the
AWilliam Lomida was taken
by these people.
QFrom where the accused
picked up by these people?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ALomida was taken from
the house where Eulalia San Roque and William Lomida were living.
QWilliam Lomida is the
victim in this case.
Now, how is he
related to Eulalia San Roque?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey are not
They are live-in partners.
QNow, how far from the
store where this house of William Lomida and Eulalia San Roque is located?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AMore or less, ten meters
QIs it located in front of
the store, on the left side or at the back of the store?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe house of Eulalia is
alongside of our house.
QWhat part of your store
where you were at the time you saw these people picked up Lomida?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI was outside the store
QAfter the accused picked
up the victim, what happened or where did they go?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWilliam Lomida, the
victim, was brought to the house of Narciso Ramos.
x x x
x x x
QSo the persons whom you
saw got Lomida were Narciso Ramos, Ramon San Roque, William Ramos alias
Wilfredo Ramos and three men of Narciso Ramos and Eulalia San Roque?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, your Honor.
x x x
QNow, you said that the accused
brought William Lomida to the house of Narciso Ramos. How far is this house of Narciso Ramos located in relation to
the store, your store?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAbout half kilometer
x x x
QNow, when the victim was
brought to the house of Narciso Ramos, what happened next?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe victim was tied to a
QWhere is this santol tree
where the victim Lomida was tied?
far is this from the house of Narciso Ramos?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWho tied the victim?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ARamon San Roque,
Wilfredo Ramos and the three others unidentified men.
QAfter the accused tied
William Lomida on a santol tree, what happened next?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ARamon San Roque stabbed
QAnd with what kind of
weapon was used by Ramon San Roque?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AA bladed 29.
AI cannot say how long,
QHow many times did you
see Ramon San Roque stabbed the victim with the 29?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAbout two times, sir.
QAnd did you see if Lomida
was hit with that two stab thrust?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe was stabbed on the
QWhat happened after Ramon
San Roque stabbed the victim?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe victim, William
Lomida nangisay and then Narciso Ramos came near the victim and shot
QHow many times?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAbout 5 to 7 shots.
QAnd did you see if the
victim was hit?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AIt seems that the shots
were directed to his face because he was bloodied all over his face.
QWith what kind of
firearm, if you remember?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWhen the investigator
showed me some guns, I noticed that the one gun that Narciso Ramos used was a. 45 caliber.
QWas it magazine or
QAfter Narciso Ramos shot
the victim 7 times on the head, what happened next?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWhen the group made sure
that the victim was dead already, they untied him and brought the body where
there was a pile of tires, piles of pieces of rubber tires.
QBy the way, at the time
when the victim was shot by Narciso Ramos and stabbed by Ramon San Roque, where
was Willy Ramos, Narciso Ramos and Eulalia San Roque?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey were just there
standing and afterwards, turned their back around.
x x x
QHow far was Eulalia San
Roque from Lomida when Lomida was shot by Narciso Ramos and stabbed by Ramon
AThis place up to that
Distance of about 8 meters.
QAnd what was Eulalia
doing at the time when the victim was stabbed and shot?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AShe turned her back and
face the kitchen of the house of Narciso Ramos.
QDid she not try to
intervene, this Eulalia, being the live-in partner of William Lomida or did not
exert effort to pacify?
x x x
QJust turning her back,
what else that she did, being live-in partner of William Lomida?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AShe did not do anything
QAfter the victim was
stabbed and shot, he was untied from the santol tree. Who untied him?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AIt was Ramon San Roque,
Willy Ramos and the three others.
QWilly refers to Wilfredo
QWhere was Eulalia at the
AShe was still there
QNow, you said after the
victim was untied from the santol tree, he was brought to where pieces of
rubber tires were piled, recycled, how far is this from the santol tree where
the victim was tied?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAbout 25 meters.
QNow, after the accused
brought the victim to the piles of recycled tires, what happened next?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ARamos San Roque got a
can and poured something on the body of the victim and then, lighted it up.
QWhat happened to the body
of the victim, William Lomida?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe body was burned.
QAt the time when this
Ramon San Roque poured something on the body of the victim and then lighted the
same, where were Wilfredo Ramos, Eulalia San Roque and Narciso Ramos and the other
AThere were They were
there in front of the burning body.
QHow long did the fire
AIt took a long time,
about more than one hour.
QAfter one hour, what
AThey left the
The group left the place.
QWhat happened to the
AThe tires also burned.
QAnd where was the body of
Lomida in relation to the tires?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe body of the victim
was almost burned and when we went back to the place, the shape of the charred
was still there.
The same of human
The foregoing testimony clearly shows that Ambal, being then
present at the locusof the crime,
was able to identify the appellant and the other accused as the persons who
Ambal narrated the
incidents leading to the victim's death with clarity and lucidity that they
could not have been fabricated or concocted.
The records show that throughout the trial, he remained steadfast in his
There is thus no doubt in
our minds that this lone eyewitness is credible. While his testimony is uncorroborated, still it sustains the
conviction of appellant.
In People v. Toyco ,6 we held:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
It is axiomatic that truth is established not by the number of
witnesses but by the quality of their testimonies. The testimony of a single witness if positive and credible is
sufficient to support a conviction even in charge of murder.
We are not persuaded by appellants contention that the
prosecution failed to adduce sufficient evidence to establish the existence of
conspiracy among the accused.
vigorously contends that she did not participate in the killing of the victim.
In determining the existence of conspiracy, it is not necessary
to show that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim.7 The presence of conspiracy among the accused can be proven by their conduct
before, during or after the commission of the crime showing that they acted in
unison with each other, evincing a common purpose or design.
There must be a showing that appellant
cooperated in the commission of the offense, either morally, through advice,
encouragement or agreement or materially through external acts indicating a
manifest intent of supplying aid in the perpetration of the crime in an
In such case, the act
of one becomes the act of all, and each of the accused will thereby be deemed
equally guilty of the crime committed.8 cralawred
The series of events in this case convincingly show that
appellant and her co-accused acted in unison and cooperated with each other in
killing William Lomida.
the one who opened the door and allowed the other accused to enter the
She joined them in bringing the victim
to the residence of Narciso Ramos, her brother-in-law.
While her co-accused dragged the helpless
victim, tied him to a santol tree, stabbed him twice by a bladed knife, and
shot him 5 to 7 times, appellant merely watched intensely.
She even turned her back as the lifeless
body of the victim was being burned.
And after attaining their purpose, she fled with the other accused.
The above circumstances clearly show the common purpose and
concerted efforts on the part of appellant and her co-accused. We agree with
the trial court in concluding that their acts were indications of a criminal
conspiracy to commit the crime of murder.
The only remaining question is whether the crime was attended by
The killing of the victim was attended by treachery. Treachery
exists when the offender commits a crime against persons, employing means,
methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specifically
to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense or
retaliatory act which the victim might make.9 Here, appellant and her co-accused tied William to a santol tree before they
stabbed and shot him to death, thus, insuring the execution of the crime
without risk to themselves.
he could not retaliate. This aggravating circumstance qualifies the crime to
However, we cannot sustain the trial courts appreciation of the
aggravating circumstance of superior strength as this is absorbed in treachery.10 cralawred
It bears stressing that this crime of murder was committed on February
11, 1993.11 The law
applicable is Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code then penalizing murder with
reclusion temporalin its maximum
period to death.
Under Article 64 (1)
of the Revised Penal Code, in cases in which the penalties prescribed by law
contain three periods, whether it be a single divisible penalty or composed of
three different penalties, and there are neither aggravating nor mitigating
circumstances that attended the commission of the crime, the penalty prescribed
by law in its medium period shall be imposed.
The range of the imposable penalty, i. e.,
reclusion temporalin its maximum period to death, is 17 years, 4
months and 1 day to death.
Indeterminate Sentence Law, and there being no aggravating or mitigating
circumstance that attended the commission of the crime, the maximum period is
the medium of the imposable penalty, which is reclusion perpetua.
minimum period is one degree lower, or prision
mayorin its maximum period to reclusion temporalin its medium period, the range of which is 10 years and 1 day to
17 years and 4 months.
period of the penalty imposable is anywhere within this range, or 10 years and
Hence, appellant should be
sentenced to 10 years and 1 day of prision
mayor, as minimum, to reclusion perpetua, as maximum.
Regarding damages, the trial court correctly awarded
as civil indemnity to the victims heirs.
When death occurs as a result of a crime, appellant should be ordered to
pay the heirs of the victim P50,000. 00 as civil indemnity, without need of
any evidence or proof of damages.12 cralawred
We likewise award temperate damages, in lieu of actual
Here, the prosecution failed
to present any proof of the expenses incurred by the victims heirs.
However, as they actually incurred funeral
expenses, we award
P25,000. 00 by way of temperate damages.13 cralawred
Anent moral damages, we award the victims heirs the amount of
P50,000. 00.14 For verily, moral damages are not intended to enrich the victims heirs; rather
they are awarded to allow them to obtain means for diversion that could serve
to alleviate their moral and psychological sufferings.15 Mariano Lomida, victims father, equivocally described how he suffered untold
wounded feelings for the loss of his son.
We also award the victims heirs
P25,000. 00 as exemplary
This is pursuant to our ruling
in People v. Catubig
16 that if a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either
qualifying or generic, an award of
as exemplary damages is justified.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated April 24, 1998 of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 122, Caloocan City, in Criminal Case No.
C-46010, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in the sense that appellant
EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO is sentenced to suffer the penalty of 10 years
and 1 day of prision mayor, as
minimum, to reclusion perpetua, as
She is ordered to pay the
victims heirs (a)
P50,000. 00 as civil indemnity; (b) P25,000. 00
as temperate damages; (c) P50,000. 00 as moral damages and (d) P25,000. 00
as exemplary damages.
Costs de oficio.
Vitug, (Chairman), Corona andCarpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
Judge Remigio E. Zari, Rollo at 12-15.
Section 6 of
Republic Act No. 7659 (enacted on January 1, 1994) amended the prescribed
penalty to reclusion perpetua
February 13, 1996 at 3-17.
G. R. No.
138609, January 17, 2001, 349 SCRA 385, 399, citing People v. Benito,
SCRA 468 (1999).
10 People v. Ampo-an,
G. R. No. 75366, July
4, 1990, 187 SCRA 173, 189; People v. Manzanares,
G. R. No. 82696, September 8, 1989, 177 SCRA 427.
was committed before Republic Act No. 7659 which took effect on January 1,
G. R. No.
137842, August 23, 2001, 363 SCRA 621, cited in People v. Berdin
Back to Home | Back to Main