People v. Dacillo : 149368 : April 28, 2004 : J. Corona : En Banc :
[G.R. NO. 149368.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v.
DACILLO aliasDODOY AND JOSELITO PACOT y IBARRA (case provisionally dismissed),
FRANCISCO DACILLO aliasDODOY,
D E C I S I O N
Before us on automatic review is the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 31, in Criminal Case No.
45,283-2000 convicting appellant Francisco Dacillo y Timtim aliasDodoy
of the crime of murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of death.
Appellant Dacillo together with Joselito Pacot y Ibarra were
indicted for murder in an information that read:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The undersigned accuses the above-named accused of the crime of
Murder, under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R. A. 7659,
committed as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
That on or about February 6, 2000, in the City of Davao,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-mentioned accused, conspiring, confederating together and helping one
another, with treachery and evident premeditation, and with intent to kill,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attacked, assaulted and stabbed one
Rosemarie B. Tallada with a bladed weapon, thereby inflicting upon the latter
mortal wounds which caused her death.
That the commission of the foregoing offense was attended by the
aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength.
CONTRARY TO LAW.2 cralawred
The case against appellants co-accused, Joselito Pacot, was
provisionally dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence to identify him with
Appellant was arraigned on February 21, 2001 and, assisted by
counsel, pleaded not guilty. Pre-trial was conducted on March 1, 2001 and trial
To establish appellants guilt, the prosecution presented the
following witnesses: Charlita Tallada, the victims mother; Patricia Turlao,
the victims aunt; appellant Dacillos neighbors, Jovelyn Dagmil, Augusto Cesar
Arara, Roche Abregon, Resna Abregon, Allan Castanares, Jupiter Campaner; police
officers SPO2 Rodolfo Taburda and SPO1 Avelino Alcobus, and medico-legal
officer Dr. Danilo P. Ledesma.
The facts, as established by the prosecution witnesses
collective testimonies, follow.
The victim, seventeen-year-old Rosemarie B. Tallada, was last
seen alive at dusk on February 6, 2000, on the bridge near appellants house at
Purok No. 3, New Society Village, Ilang, Davao City.
Around 7:45 p. m. that evening, witness Jovelyn Dagmil, who was
living with her aunt in the house adjacent to appellants, was looking for her
cousin when she saw the victim Rosemarie on the bridge. Because it was
drizzling, she invited Rosemarie inside their house but the latter declined and
told her she was waiting for someone.3 cralawred
After a while, Jovelyn heard a man inside appellants house
calling Psst, psst. .. Thinking the call was meant for her, she turned but
instead saw Rosemarie walking towards and entering appellants house.4 cralawred
Not long after Rosemarie went inside the house, a struggle was
Witnesses Roche and
Resna Abregon, who were in the adjacent house singing with a karaoke machine,
suddenly felt the floor shaking as if a scuffle was going on at the other side
of the wall. The houses were built on stilts above the seashore, adjoining one
another with mere wooden partitions in between. Roche Abregon peeped through a hole on the wall and saw appellant
and another man grappling with a woman who was gagged with a handkerchief.5 When Roche saw appellant choking the woman, she informed her aunt about the
commotion in appellants house but the aunt brushed it aside as a simple family
quarrel.6 For a while they heard the sound of a
woman being beaten up.
became quiet. Later that evening, they saw appellant leaving his house.7 cralawred
The following day, February 7, 2000, at around 8:00 a. m.,
appellant was seen entering his house carrying lumber and screen.8 He was observed going in and out of his house several times, each time
carefully locking the gate as he left.9 At around 9:00 a. m.,
appellant was seen with ready-mixed cement in a plastic pail
and, when asked what he was going to do with the cement, replied that it was
for the sink he was constructing.10 cralawred
Later, appellant entrusted a bag of womans personal belongings
to barangay tanodAllan Castaares and told the latter that it belonged
to his woman companion. He allegedly could not bring it home because his wife
might see them.11 cralawred
By February 11, 2000, neighbors started smelling the rotten odor
of Rosemaries already decomposing body.12 cralawred
At 5:00 p. m. the same day, witnesses Roche, Resna, and Rachel
were gathering seashells under appellants house when they saw droplets of
blood and pus dripping from appellants comfort room.
They immediately reported it to their aunt
who in turn instructed her husband to get a stick and poke the sacks covering the
comfort room. However, the husband instead climbed up the house and was greeted
by the stink emanating from the corner where he saw a tomb-like structure. They
immediately reported the matter to barangayofficials who called the
At about 10:00 p. m.,
policemen arrived at appellants house,
accompanied by his wife, and forcibly opened the lock. They proceeded to where
the tomb was located.
When cracked open, the tomb revealed the decomposing body of a
The corpse was brought to the Rivera Funeral Parlor where it was
identified by the victims mother Charlita Tallada and aunt Patricia Turlao as
that of Rosemarie, through the keloid scar on her forearm.
Dr. Danilo Ledesma conducted an autopsy on Rosemaries remains.
His necropsy report revealed that Rosemarie
died from a stab wound in the abdomen. The report further disclosed that she
suffered contusions in the anterior chest wall and her right hand; an incised wound
on her left middle finger; a stab wound on the left side of the face and fractures
on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6thand 7thribs on her side.15 cralawred
Dr. Ledesma testified that the wounds suffered by Rosemarie
indicated that she put up a struggle and the wounds were inflicted before her
In his defense, appellant admitted complicity in the crime but
minimized his participation. Appellant alleged that he only held down Rosemaries
legs to prevent her from struggling and, after the latter was killed by another
man he identified as Joselito Pacot, he encased the corpse in cement.
He claimed that Pacot, a co-worker at Davao Union Cement
was looking for a house where he and his girlfriend
Rosemarie could spend the night. He offered his brothers house which was under
his care. In the evening of February 6, 2000, he and Joselito Pacot brought
Rosemarie to the house at Purok No. 3, New Society Village, Ilang, Davao City.
After accompanying the couple there, he went home to take
Later that evening, he returned
to the house with the bottle of Sprite Pacot had ordered. When he arrived,
Pacot and Rosemarie were already grappling with each other and Pacot was strangling
He told Pacot to stop but
instead of heeding him, the latter ordered him to close the door. Pacot told
appellant that he was going to be implicated just the same so he closed the
door as ordered and helped Pacot (hold) the feet of the woman as her feet
kept hitting the walls.17 cralawred
The two men stopped only when Rosemarie was already motionless.
Pacot wanted to dump the body into the sea but appellant told him it was low
tide. Appellant then suggested that they entomb the body in cement for which Pacot
Pacot left the house at dawn the following day, February 7,
At past 10:00 a. m.,
brought the concrete mixture and cast the dead body in cement.
After finishing the job in the afternoon of
that day, appellant reported for work at DUCC.
When the body was discovered in the evening of February 11, 2000,
appellant immediately left for Cebu City, arriving there the next day, February
12, 2000. He stayed in Cebu City until his arrest the following year.
On May 31, 2001, the trial court rendered judgment finding
appellant guilty of murder and imposed upon him the supreme penalty of death:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Francisco Dacillo GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER for the death of Rosemarie
Tallada, as defined and penalized under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as
Considering the aggravating
circumstance of recidivism with no mitigating circumstance to offset the same,
he is hereby sentenced to the extreme penalty of DEATH,
He is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of the offended party
in the amount of
P50,000. 00, plus the sum of P50,000. 00 as moral
damages, and the sum of P50,000. 00 as exemplary damages.
His immediate confinement to the national penitentiary is hereby
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.18 cralawred
Thus, this automatic review.
In his brief, appellant raises the following errors allegedly
committed by the trial court:
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN
FINDING THE APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF MURDER.
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN
AWARDING THE HEIRS OF THE OFFENDED PARTY THE AMOUNT OF PHP50,000. 00, WHICH
APPEARS AS PAYMENT FOR ACTUAL DAMAGES.19 cralawred
Appellant admitted that he had a hand in the killing of Rosemarie
but attempted to downgrade his participation in the crime by claiming he only
held Rosemaries legs as Pacot was strangulating her.
The rule is that any admission made by a
party in the course of the proceedings in the same case does not require proof
to hold him liable therefor. Such admission may be contradicted only by showing
that it was made through palpable mistake or no such admission was in fact made.
There was never any such disclaimer by
Moreover, despite appellants self-serving, exculpatory statement
limiting his involvement in the crime, all circumstances pointed to his guilt.
His declaration faltered in the face of the testimonies of eyewitnesses
positively identifying him as one of the two men who were with Rosemarie when
she was killed. Witness Roche Abregon pointed to appellant as the one who strangled
He was established to be
inside the house at the time the witnesses heard a woman being battered.
Thus, assuming for the sake of argument that
Pacot was the mastermind, appellants admission that he participated in its
commission by holding Rosemaries legs made him a principal by direct
Two or more persons taking part in the commission of a crime are considered
principals by direct participation if the following requisites are present:
1. they participatedin the criminal
2. they carried out their plan and personally
took partin its execution by acts which directly tended to the same
Both requisites were met in this case. Two or more persons are
said to have participated in the criminal resolution when they were in
conspiracy at the time of the commission of the crime. To establish conspiracy,
it is not essential that there be proof of the previous agreement and decision
to commit the crime, it being sufficient that the malefactors acted in concert
pursuant to the same objective.21 cralawred
The prosecution was able to prove appellants participation in
the criminal resolve by his own admission that, right after he was told by
Pacot to close the door, he held down Rosemaries legs.
He was pinpointed as the one who throttled the
victim. He admitted that they only stopped when they were sure that Rosemarie was
The two men planned how
to dispose of the victims body; it was in fact appellants idea to pour
concrete on the body, prevailing over Pacots suggestion to just dump the body
into the sea.
It was appellant himself
who encased the body in cement and made sure that there were no leaks from
which foul odor could emanate.
He was a
conspirator in the killing and, whether or not he himself did the strangling or
the stabbing, he was also liable for the acts of the other accused.
It is well-settled that a person may be convictedfor the
criminal act of another where, between them, there is conspiracy or unity of
purpose and intention in the commission of the crime charged.22 Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence of prior agreement on the
commission of the crime as the same can be inferred from the conduct of the
accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime showing that they
acted in unison with each other pursuant to a common purpose or design.23 cralawred
We are convinced beyond doubt of the joint and concerted effort
between appellant and the man he identified as Pacot in the killing of
Appellant likewise contends that the trial court erred in ruling
that the presence of the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength
qualified the killing to murder. He contends that the qualifying circumstance
of abuse of superior strength was not specifically alleged in the information.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.
cursory reading of the information reveals that appellant was sufficiently
informed of the charges against him, including the use of superior strength in
killing the hapless and defenseless female victim.
The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength
necessitates a showing of the relative disparity in the physical
characteristics of the aggressor and the victim such as age, gender, physical
size and strength.
We agree with the
trial court that the killing of Rosemarie was committed with abuse of superior
strength. As found by the court a quo, two grown-up men against a young fragile
woman whose ability to defend herself had been effectively restrained revealed
a shocking inequality of physical strength.
The victim was much weaker in constitution and could not have possibly
defended herself from her stronger assailants.24 Such disparity was manifest in the contusions in the chest and hands, wounds on
the fingers, a stab wound on the left side of the face and multiple fractures in
the ribs of the victim.25 The abuse of superior strength was obvious in the way Rosemarie was mercilessly
beaten to a pulp.
The killing of Rosemarie was thus correctly qualified to murder
by the abuse of superior strength, a circumstance specifically pleaded in the
information and proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The Court, however, finds that the trial court erred in imposing
the death penalty on the ground that appellant admitted during re-cross
examination that he had a prior conviction for the death of his former live-in
partner. The fact that appellant was a recidivist was appreciated by the trial
court as a generic aggravating circumstance which increased the imposable
penalty from reclusion perpetuato death.
In order to appreciate recidivism as an aggravating circumstance,
it is necessary to allege it in the information and to attach certified true
copies of the sentences previously meted out to the accused.26 This is in accord with Rule 110, Section 8 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure which states:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
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
is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or
subsection of the statute punishing it. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
The aggravating circumstance of recidivism was not alleged in the
information and therefore cannot be appreciated against appellant. Hence the
imposable penalty should be reduced toreclusion perpetua.
Regarding the award of
P50,000 as civil indemnity to the
heirs of the victim, appellant claims that said amount was awarded by the trial
court as payment for actual damages. This claim is misleading. As aptly pointed
out by the Solicitor General, the amount was granted by the trial court by way
of indemnity ex delictoto compensate for the death of the victim which
prevailing jurisprudence fixes at P50,000.27 The award of such indemnity requires no proof other than the death of the
victim and the accuseds responsibility therefor.28 cralawred
The award of
P50,000 as moral damages is proper, supported
as it was by the testimony of Charlita Tallada, the victims mother, that
Rosemaries death caused her immeasurable pain.29 cralawred
In addition, the Court awards
P25,000 in temperate
damages, said amount being awarded in homicide or murder cases when no evidence
of burial and funeral expenses is presented in the trial court.30 cralawred
With regard to the award of exemplary damages, the Civil Code of
the Philippines provides:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
corrective damages are imposed, by way of example of correction for the public
good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.
offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed
when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances.
Such damages are separate and distinct from
fines and shall be paid to the offended party.
In People v. Catubig ,31 we explained that:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The term aggravating circumstances used by the Civil Code, the
law not having specified otherwise, is to be understood in its broad or generic
The commission of an offense has
a two-pronged effect, one on the public as it breaches the social order and the
other upon the private victim as it causes personal sufferings, each of which
is addressed by, respectively, the prescription of heavier punishment for the
accused and by an award of additional damages to the victim.
The increase of the penalty or a shift to a
graver felony underscores the exacerbation of the offense by the attendance of
aggravating circumstances, whether ordinary or qualifying, in its
Unlike the criminal
liability which is basically a State concern, the award of damages, however, is
likewise, if not primarily, intended for the offended party who suffers
It would make little sense for
an award of exemplary damages to be due the private offended party when the
aggravating circumstance is ordinary but to be withheld when it is qualifying.
Withal, the ordinary or qualifying nature of
an aggravating circumstance is a distinction that should only be of consequence
to the criminal, rather than to the civil, liability of the offender.
In fine, relative to the civil aspect of the
case, an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying, should
entitle the offended party to an award of exemplary damages within the
unbridled meaning of Article 2230 of the Civil Code.
Thus, the award of exemplary damages is warranted under Art. 2230
of the Civil Code in view of the presence of the aggravating circumstance of
abuse of superior strength.
of exemplary damages is also justified under Art. 2229 of the Civil Code in
order to set an example for the public good.32 For this purpose, we believe that the amount of
P25,000 may be
assailed judgment in Criminal Case No. 45,283-2000 of the Regional Trial Court
of Davao City, Branch 31, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant
Francisco Dacillo y Timtim aliasDodoy is declared guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of murder as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code. There being neither aggravating nor mitigating
circumstances, appellant is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetuaand
is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of Rosemarie Tallada the sum of
as civil indemnity, P50,000 as moral damages, P25,000 as temperate damages and P25,000 as
Costs de oficio.
C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales,
Azcuna, and TINGA, JJ., concur.
Penned by Judge Wenceslao E. Ibabao.
TSN, March 12, 2001 pp. 32-34.
TSN, March 15, 2001, pp. 98-99.
TSN, April 2, 2001, pp. 134-137.
TSN, March 12, 2001, p. 40.
TSN, April 2, 2001, pp. 215-217.
TSN, April 25, 2001, p. 244.
TSN, April 2, 2001, pp. 138-141.
Exhibits B, C and D, TSN, April 2, 2001, pp. 168-171.
Exhibit J, Folder of exhibits, p. 10.
TSN, April 2, 2001, pp. 194-197, 203.
TSN, May 2, 2001, pp. 280-283.
Reyes, The Revised Penal Code Annotated, 15th
ed. 2001, citing People v. Ong Chiat Lay,
60 Phil. 788, 790 ; People v. Tamayo
Phil. 38, 45-46 .
21 People v. San Luis
, 86 Phil. 485, 497 ; People v. Carpio
191 SCRA 108, 118 ; People v. Cruz, Jr.,
191 SCRA 127, 135 ;
People v. Sazon,
189 SCRA 700, 713 .
22 People v. Talla,
181 SCRA 133, 148 .
Exhibit J, Folder of exhibits, p. 10.
26 People v. Martinada,
194 SCRA 36, 45 .
TSN, March 5, 2001, p. 12.
363 SCRA 621, 625 .
Back to Home | Back to Main