People v. Bello : 124871 : May 13, 2004 : J. Puno : En Banc : Decision
[G.R. NO. 124871 : May 13, 2004]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MARIFE BELLO y ROSCO @ Joann Redillo, JOHN DOE @ Eladio M. Consuelo, Jr. and
Boyet, PETER DOE @ Danny Dineros, and RICHARD DOE @ George and/or Cayo, accused,
MARIFE BELLO y ROSCO @ Joann Redillo and JOHN DOE @
Eladio M. Consuelo, Jr. and Boyet, Accused- Appellants.
D E C IS I O N
To support his family, ROLANDO ANDASAN left Cabanatuan
City and landed a job as messenger/collector at the Sunshine Moneychanger in
Pasay City, earning a measly net income of
P2,000.00 per month.
On July 25, 1995, in the course of his
employment, he was mercilessly stabbed 28 times and died.1 cralawred
For his demise, an Information2 for
robbery with homicide was filed against four (4) accused, viz: Marife
Bello y Rosco alias Joann Redillo, Eladio M. Consuelo, Jr. alias Boyet,
Danny Dineros and Cayo or George. It reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
That on or about 25 July 1995, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said accused, conspiring and
confederating together and mutually helping one another, with intent to gain,
did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, by means of
violence, intimidation, force and other unlawful means, take, divest and carry
away from one ROLANDO ANDASAN y LEGASPI
belonging to the Sunshine Money Changer (sic) Shop, to its damage and
prejudice in said amount, and during the occasion of which, repeatedly stab the
latter with a bladed weapon, thereby inflicting upon him fatal wounds, which
directly caused his death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Only accused Marife and Eladio, Jr. were arrested.
Accused Danny and Cayo remain at large.
As there was no eyewitness to the actual commission of the crime,
the prosecution built its case through circumstantial evidence.
The unbroken chain of events was testified
to by prosecution witnesses:
Rafael, OIC of the Sunshine Moneychanger; the employees of Queensland Lodge,
namely: roomboys Mayonito Wayco and Jonathan Deniega, security guard Leonardo
Acosta, accounting clerk Rose Caharian and telephone operator Digna
cab driver Ernesto Ramos;
police investigators SPO3 Danilo Unico, SPO2
Angel Palattao, PO3 Warlito Hermo and PO3 Ronald Cabaliw; NBI medico-legal
officer Ravell Baluyot; and, the victims wife, Zenaida Andasan.
Their testimonies are summarized below.
On July 25, 1995, at about 10:30 a.m., a cab entered the
Queensland Lodge in Pasay City, with accused Marife and Eladio, Jr. on
They alighted in front of
the private garage of room no. 2 and informed Jonathan Deniega, a
roomboy, that they needed a room.
Jonathan led them inside the private garage of room no. 2 and the three
went up a flight of stairs leading to the room.Jonathan ushered them in, turned on the lights, aircondition unit
and television set in the room before leaving.3 Jonathan
then gave a stub to their telephone operator, DIGNA SIAZON, where he
indicated that two customers checked in at room no. 2.
At about 11:00 a.m., accused Marife called up Digna and asked for
an outside line.
Initially, Digna was
unable to grant her request as the telephone lines were busy.
When a similar request was made by accused
Marife at about 1:30 p.m., she was able to give her a line.4 Accused
Marife then called up the Sunshine Moneychanger in Pasay City and talked with
the officer-in-charge, EDUARDO RAFAEL. Identifying herself as Joann
Redillo, accused Marife misrepresented to Eduardo that she came from Japan and
would like to convert her 40 pieces of yen to pesos.She requested that the currency conversion be made in her room
inside the nearby Queensland Lodge as she did not want to carry around a huge
sum of money.
Eduardo agreed to the
arrangement as their office was used to extending such service to the customers
of the lodge.
Eduardo instructed his messenger ROLANDO ANDASAN to
proceed to the lodge and give the lady occupant of room no. 2 the sum of
in exchange for her 40 pieces of yen.
Rolando left the office at about 1:35 p.m. and arrived at the lodge ten
When he asked security
guard LEONARDO ACOSTA where he could find room no. 2, he was instructed
to inquire from a roomboy inside the lodge.5 cralawred
At about that time, ROSE CAHARIAN, an accounting clerk of
the lodge, saw Rolando standing by the hallway.Rolando informed her that he had about a hundred thousand pesos
with him as they have a female guest in room no. 2 who wanted to have her yen
converted into pesos.
Rolando to Digna, the telephone operator, and directed the latter to call up
room no. 2 and announce the presence and purpose of Rolando.
Digna called up room no. 2 and accused
Marife confirmed the currency transaction.6 cralawred
Roomboy MAYONITO WAYCO escorted Rolando and directed him
to wait in the garage while he first went up the room to announce his
Accused Eladio, Jr. opened
the door and instructed Mayonito to let Rolando in.Mayonito returned to the garage, fetched Rolando and ushered him
to the room.
Mayonito returned to the
garage and waited.
At about 2 p.m., accused Marife called up telephone operator
Digna and informed her that they were checking out of the room.
Seconds later, Mayonito, who was still
waiting for Rolando in the garage, saw accused Marife emerge from room no.
She inquired about the cost of their
room occupancy and, without waiting for his reply, immediately handed him a
Mayonito called on Jonathan to
arrange for the payment of the bill and handed him the P500 bill.
Jonathan then signaled security guard
Leonardo to hail a cab for accused Marife.
In the meantime, Mayonito stayed in the garage with accused Marife.
While waiting for the bill and the cab, Mayonito inquired from
accused Marife where Rolando was.
dismissed his query and directed him to follow-up instead the preparation of
their bill as she and her companion were in a hurry.Mayonito rushed to the cashier to get the bill, only to be told
that it was already with Jonathan.
Meanwhile, Jonathan returned to accused Marife with the bill.
He waited with her at the garage for about 5
minutes for the arrival of her cab.
she seemed quite impatient to leave, they started to walk towards the gate of
Just then, security guard
Leonardo was able to hail a cab and instructed it to enter the lodge.7 cralawred
Thus, when Mayonito returned to the garage of room no. 2, he saw
accused Marife about to board the cab inside the lodge.
Mayonito instructed cab driver ERNESTO
RAMOS to stay for a while as they still had to inspect room no. 2.
Accused Marife likewise directed Ernesto to
wait for her companion accused Eladio, Jr. who, seconds later, emerged from the
garage but did not board the cab and fled on foot.Accused Marife then ordered Ernesto to follow him.
In the meantime, roomboys Mayonito and Jonathan discovered the
lifeless body of Rolando inside the room, lying beside the bed and covered by
multiple stab wounds and a TV cable wire was tied around his neck.
Mayonito immediately left the room to pursue its former occupants
but he saw accused Marifes cab already on its way out of the lodge and accused
Eladio, Jr. fleeing on foot.
and Jonathan chased after them while shouting at the guard to stop the accused
at the exit.8 Responding, security guard Leonardo grabbed the hand of accused Eladio, Jr. as
he went past by him near the exit, thinking that the latter had not yet paid
However, Eladio, Jr. deftly
freed himself from Leonardos grip and ran inside the nearby Violeta Court
At about the same time,
the cab boarded by accused Marife left the premises of the lodge and followed
accused Eladio, Jr. in the subdivision.
Leonardo was about to pursue them but the guard stationed at the gate of
the subdivision advised him to wait by the entrance as there was no other way
out except through the same gate.
subdivision guard then immediately closed the gate to prevent the cab from
While the two guards were
waiting, Jonathan arrived and informed them that the accused killed Rolando in
room no. 2 and that the policemen had been notified.9 cralawred
Inside the subdivision, accused Eladio, Jr. boarded the cab and
sat beside accused Marife.
asked if there was another way out of the subdivision, Ernesto replied that
there was only one gate.
When the cab
reached the end of the road, the two accused alighted and scaled the wall of
Accused Eladio, Jr.
succeeded but Marife failed to climb over the wall and was left behind.
When Ernesto drove back to the gate of the subdivision, the
security guards stopped him, inspected his cab and saw a brown envelope which
was left by accused Marife at the backseat.
They instructed Ernesto to return to the lodge as a crime had been committed
by his passengers.10 cralawred
Pasay City police operatives rushed to the lodge to investigate
the crime scene.
SPO3 Unico and PO3
Hermo proceeded to the subdivision and pursued the accused.
They found accused Marife in a photo
printing office inside the subdivision.
Pale and trembling, she was holding a blood-stained face towel.11 When interrogated by the policemen, she identified herself as Joann Redillo
and her companion as one Danny Dineros who ran away with the money. The
policemen then brought her back to the lodge for identification by the employees.
At the lodge, the employees identified accused Marife as one of
the persons who occupied room no. 2.
Cab driver Ernesto surrendered to the police authorities the brown
envelope left by Marife in the cab containing a scabbard for a knife and a shirt.
SPO2 Palattao placed the blood-stained towel
he confiscated from accused Marife in the envelope.
PO3 Warlie Hermo and Sgt. Danilo Unico12 investigated room no. 2 and discovered an improvised knife under the mattress,
near Rolandos cadaver.
The cadaver was
then brought to the Rizal Funeral Homes for a medico-legal examination while
accused Marife was taken to the police station for further investigation.13 cralawred
The autopsy conducted by NBI medico-legal officer DR. RAVELL
RONALD BALUYOT revealed that Rolando sustained 28 stab wounds on different
parts of his body; the stab wounds on the chest penetrated the heart and lungs;
the widest width of the wounds, caused by a single bladed weapon, is 3.5 cms.;
and, as the knife found by the policemen in the crime scene was about 3.4 cms.
wide, Dr. Baluyot opined that it may possibly be the weapon that killed the
At the police station, accused Marife was asked about the
possible whereabouts of accused Danny.
She opined that he might be hiding in his rented house in Bacoor, Cavite
and volunteered to lead the operatives to his house.
They arrived in Cavite at past 3 p.m. of the same day but found
the house of Danny uninhabited.
According to the neighbors, Danny and his family left at about 2:30 that
afternoon, bringing with them all their belongings.Marife then suggested that Danny might be hiding in their
hometown in Samar.
From Cavite, the
group thus proceeded to Samar.
aunt, a neighbor of Danny in Samar, informed them that she had not seen
The police operatives also
learned that the name Joann Redillo given to them by accused Marife was a mere
alias and that her real name was Marife Bello.15 The
group then decided to return to the Pasay City police station where Marife was
Subsequently, on October 25, 1995, accused Eladio, Jr. was
arrested by the NBI operatives at the house of his legal wife in Pasay City.
According to REMEDIOS VALDEZ, the owner of Sunshine
Moneychanger, accused Eladio, Jr. worked for her from May until September 1994
He was thus
familiar with their offices arrangement with the Queensland Lodge to service
its guests who may want to convert their foreign currency into pesos and have
the peso equivalent delivered to the hotel room.During this time, accused Marife who was then cohabiting with
accused Eladio, Jr. would frequent their office at least twice a week to visit
her paramour.16 cralawred
On September 23, 1994, accused Eladio, Jr. misrepresented to them
that a client called up and requested for the conversion of yen to pesos and
the delivery of the peso equivalent to the client. For this spurious
transaction, accused Eladio, Jr. received
P213,000.00 from their cashier
for delivery to the alleged client but he absconded with the money and never
Remedios filed an estafa case
ZENAIDA ANDASAN, widow of the victim Rolando, testified
about the damages she suffered and expenses incurred by reason of Rolandos
Rolando, born on May 13, 1952,
was buried in July, 1995 in Cabanatuan City; the cost of transporting the
deceased to and burial in Cabanatuan City, duly supported by receipts, was
she suffered anxiety and pain over the loss of her husband as she was left to
take care of their two (2) kids;
Rolando used to give her monthly support in the amount of P2,000
when he visits them in Cabanatuan City.17 cralawred
After the prosecution rested its case, the two (2) accused
foisted separate defenses.
accused Marife admitted that she participated in the perpetration of the crime,
albeit under duress, accused Eladio, Jr. raised the defenses of denial and
ACCUSED MARIFE admitted that she was present at every
stage of the crime from the time it was planned until its consummation.
She alleged however that she joined the
conspirators under duress as Danny threatened to kill her if she refused to
Her account of the events
that transpired is as follows:
cohabited with accused Eladio, Jr. for a year and bore him a child.
They parted ways in May 1995 after she gave
birth and it was two months later when she saw accused Eladio, Jr. again.
On July 25, 1995, at about 8 a.m., she was staying in the house
of her friend in Bacoor, Cavite when accused Danny arrived.
He asked her to act as godmother to his
child who would be baptized that day.
She acquiesced and went with him to his house also in Bacoor, Cavite.
When they arrived at his house at about 9 a.m., she was surprised
to find only accused George Rebello, alias Cayo, and her former paramour
accused Eladio, Jr. waiting for them.
Accused Danny then told her that no baptism would be held that day.
It was just their scheme to get her to go
with him as they wanted her to do something for them.When she inquired what it was, Danny dismissed her query and
assured her she would know later.
After learning about the ploy, her first reaction was to leave
but accused Cayo and Danny angrily twisted her arm and prevented her from
She remained seated in the
living room with Dannys wife while the three accused momentarily locked
themselves in the bedroom and talked.
She begged Dannys wife to let her go but the latter refused.
Accused Danny then emerged from the bedroom and brought her back
to the room with the other accused.
Danny then told her that they would have to go some place which he would
divulge later on.
Frightened, she asked
where they would bring her but Danny got mad at her persistence, cursed her and
told her to shut up if she did not want to get hurt.She cried and begged them to release her.
Her pleas fell on deaf ears.
Accused Danny and Cayo then dragged her out
of the house.
They walked for about 10
meters towards the Panapaan highway.
She was unable to seek help from the other people along the road as
Danny and Cayo were twisting her arm.
When they reached the highway, a red cab driven by accused Eladio, Jr.
Danny pushed her to the
backseat and he and Cayo sat on either side of her.She cried as she was afraid but the accused just laughed at
When she cursed Danny, he slapped
Everytime she struggled, Danny and
Cayo would twist her arm.
threatened to kill her inside the cab if she did not stop resisting.
He then guided her hand to his waistline and
let her touch the wooden handle of a knife tucked in his pants.
Accused Danny then threatened to use the
knife on her if she refused to cooperate.18 cralawred
The cab stopped in Baclaran.
Accused Cayo alighted and hailed a tricycle.Accused Danny then dragged Marife out of the cab, pushed her into
the tricycle and sat beside her.
then proceeded to the Queensland Lodge in Pasay City, with Eladio, Jr. and Cayo
following them in the cab.
However, only the tricycle entered the premises of the
It stopped in front of the garage
of room no. 2.
A roomboy approached
accused Marife and Danny and guided them to room no. 2.
The roomboy turned on the lights, television
and aircondition and then left.
ordered Marife to seat at the corner.
He removed the knife tucked in his pants and told her to obey everything
he ordered her to do.
He then handed
her the telephone and directed her to ask the operator for an outside
Initially, she failed to get a
line but eventually she was able to get connected to the manager of a
As per instruction
of accused Danny, she introduced herself as Joann Redillo and explained that
she wanted to have her 40 pieces of yen converted into pesos.
Eddie agreed and asked her to call again so
he can prepare the money.
When she hung up, she pleaded with accused Danny to let her
Danny slapped her across the face
and told her she could leave only after she has finished what he wanted her to
At about 1 p.m., Marife again called up Eddie.
When she mistakenly told Eddie to deliver
the money at Winners Hotel, accused Danny slapped her and scolded her for
giving the wrong instructions.
directed her to hang up and tell Eddie that she would call again later.
In anger, Danny twisted her arm.
She apologized for her mistake and begged him to release her for the
sake of her child.
Danny ignored her
When she repeatedly inquired
where accused Eladio, Jr. and Cayo were, Danny told her that the two were also
in on the plan and she could not rely on them for help.
At about 1:30 p.m., accused Marife placed her last phone call to
Eddie. She directed him to have the money delivered to room no. 2 of the
After a couple of minutes, the
messenger from the moneychanger arrived.
She did not see his features as the room was dark.
After accused Danny let him into the room,
he poked a knife at the messenger and demanded to know where the money
Whereupon, the messenger pulled up
his shirt and showed the money to accused Danny who pulled it out of the
threw a punch at accused Danny.
Accused Marife shouted for help
but no one heard her as the television was loud.Danny then threatened to kill her if she did not stop shouting
and ordered her to lie face down on the floor.
She complied and did not witness the succeeding events that transpired.
She heard a commotion.
Then there was
Accused Danny then ordered her
to stand up and told her she can already leave.When she stood up, she saw the messenger lying on the floor which
accused Danny covered him with a blanket.
She rushed out of the room.
A roomboy approached her and inquired if she was already leaving and if
she needed a cab.
He also asked her why
she was crying.
She did not respond to
the last question but merely said that she needed a vehicle.
When a cab arrived inside the lodge, she
However, the roomboy ran
after her and demanded that she first pay her bill.She pulled out an envelope from her pocket and took out a
As her cab approached the gate of the lodge, she saw a man
chasing her but she did not pay any attention to him as she was not in her
right frame of mind.
Then, she saw
accused Danny fleeing on foot.
repeatedly ordered the cab driver to chase him and ran over him.
The driver followed Danny inside the Violeta
When Danny saw the
cab, he boarded it and handed the driver several bills.
The driver then ordered accused Marife to
alight from the cab before it sped away.
Left on her own, accused Marife entered a house in the
subdivision where she was subsequently found and arrested by the police
She was puzzled why they were
arresting her as she had not done anything wrong, but the policemen directed
her to go with them to the police station.
During the investigation, she volunteered to accompany the
investigators to the house rented by accused Danny in Cavite.19 They arrived in Cavite at about 2:30 p.m. that day only to find the house
rented by Danny abandoned and in complete disarray.The investigators then discovered a blood-stained face towel in
Dannys house and confiscated it.
They returned to the Pasay City police station at about 4 p.m.
where the police officers showed her a brown envelope containing a knife and a
She confirmed to the
officers that she saw these things in the lodge but denied that she was in
Later on, Marife suggested to the investigators that Danny may be
hiding in his house in Samar.
claimed to know where accused Danny resided in Samar as they were neighbors in
That evening, she and
six (6) other policemen left for Samar but they failed to locate accused
They interviewed a neighbor, the
aunt of accused Marife, who told them that Danny had not been to that
They returned to the Pasay City
police station where she refused to give any statement to the police officers
as she was not in her right frame of mind.
Later, she wrote her own statement regarding the stabbing incident and
gave it to her brother.20 cralawred
For his part, ACCUSED ELADIO, JR. had a completely
the wife of his cousin, testified that accused Marife and Eladio, Jr., together
with their child, stayed in their house in Paranaque on June 22, 1995.
Both accused were then unemployed and their
plan was for accused Marife to seek overseas employment.
Four (4) days later, accused Marife left her
house to look for work but she never returned, leaving behind accused Eladio, Jr.
with their child.
Efforts to locate her
Accused Eladio, Jr.
temporarily left the child to her sister while he looked for work.21 cralawred
ACCUSED ELADIO, JR. then transferred to the house of his
cousin, Nestor Marcos, in Carmona, Cavite.
On that fateful day of July 25, 1995, he cleaned the house, watched
television and had a drinking spree in Nestors house with his cousins.
His testimony was corroborated by one
Lourdes Bacongga who visited Nestors house on said date and stayed there from
9 a.m. until 6 p.m.22 cralawred
Accused Eladio, Jr. charged that accused Marife and the other
prosecution witnesses falsely implicated him in the crime of which he had no
knowledge or participation.
he know their fugitive co-accused Danny Dineros and Cayo.
He claimed that his innocence regarding the
conspiracy is supported by the letter sent to him while he was detained in the
NBI by accused Marife who was then confined at the Pasay City jail.
sa pangalan ng panginoong Jesus sanay nasa mabuti kang kalagayan.
Pagkabasa mo nitong sulat Boy, wag kang
mag-alala nasa akin lahat ang buhay ng kaso mo.Pinipiga nila ako.
Anut-ano man ang mangyari hindi ko pwedeng idiin ang taong alam ko na
walang alam sa krimeng binibintang nila sa iyo.Ako na lang ang magsasalita, ingat ka ng lang lagi, okey lang ako
dito ang sarap nga ng buhay ko dito.
Magkikita rin tayo alam kong itratransfer ka dito sa Pasay City
Huwag kang matakot or mag-alala.
Ako naman ang magsasalita.
ididiin dahil pareho tayong walang alam sa mga nangyari.
Huwag mo laging kalimutang magdasal.
Di niya tayo pababayaan.
Hanggang dito na lang ang sulat ko.
Take care coz I care a lot, I love you and
we miss you so much.
Accused Eladio, Jr. testified that he again met Marife and was reconciled
with her in November 1995 when he was transferred to the Pasay City jail.
During the time they were in jail, accused
Marife never told him what really happened that fateful day.
He only came to know about Marifes
involvement in the crime when she testified at the trial.
He charged that her testimony implicating
him in the crime was a lie as he did not even know their co-accused Danny and
He claimed that Marife changed
her mind and later on implicated him as she was under duress, as shown by her
second letter to him on January 6, 1996 after her court testimony.
My dear husband, Im sorry for what
I cant understand my
feelings, I love you, I really love you.
My dear, I dont know why about myself.
From now on, please
dont talk to me.
Im sick about my
I love my mother, sisters and
brothers, specially my daughter.
my baby please understand my situation.
This is my first and last letter to you.Im very sorry papa.
you remember Im everything your self.
Oh! My god, papa dont talk to me all my remembering to each other, like
please forgive me.
Im sorry my dear
for all my sins.
Take care coz
I care a lot.Your love one Mama.
After trial, the court found the accused guilty as charged and
imposed on them the maximum penalty of death as they were found to be part of
an organized or syndicated crime group under Article 62 (1) (a) of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended.
WHEREFORE, accused Marife Bello y Rosco and Eladio M.
Consuelo, Jr. are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals in the
commission of the crime of robbery with homicide, as charged in the aforequoted
Information; and because of the aggravating circumstance of their having collaborated,
confederated and mutually helped one another for the purpose of gain in the
preparation of the offense, they are each sentenced to suffer the penalty of
Both accused are also ordered,
jointly and severally, to return to or reimburse the Sunshine Money Changer the
P114,000.00 as restitution or reparation of the damage caused;
and to pay Zenaida Andasan, the surviving wife of the deceased Rolando Andasan,
P50,000.00 as indemnification for consequential damages;
P50,000.00 as compensation for the
death of her husband;
as indemnity for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased;
and P40,000.00 as moral damages.
Accused Bello and Consuelo are likewise required to shoulder the
costs of the suit.
SO ORDERED.23 cralawred
On automatic appeal, the two accused filed separate Briefs.
In assailing the Decision of the trial court, appellant MARIFE
assigns the following errors:
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT
ACCUSED-APPELLANT MARIFE BELLO WAS IN CONSPIRACY WITH THE OTHER ACCUSED.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING
ACCUSED-APPELLANT MARIFE BELLO VIA CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HAVING
ACCUSED-APPELLANT MARIFE BELLO ACQUITTED BASED ON FACTS EXTRACTED FROM HER
DURING THE CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION AND WAS TAKEN IN VIOLATION OF HER
For his part, appellant ELADIO, JR. contends that the
trial court erred in convicting him for:
(1) his identity as a co-conspirator was not established beyond
reasonable doubt as appellant Marife herself identified accused Danny Dineros
as her companion in room no. 2 on that fateful day, and; (2) the trial court
failed to give weight to his alibi which was duly corroborated by Lourdes
The trial court rejected the appellants defenses and we find no
reason to disturb its guilty verdict.
Appellant Marife avers that her alleged conspiracy with the other
accused was not sufficiently established by circumstantial evidence as there
was no showing that she had the same purpose and united with the other accused
in the execution of the crime.
alleges that her mere presence in the crime scene is not per se a
sufficient indicium of conspiracy.
She insists that she acted against her will due to the irresistible
force employed by her co-accused.
We are not persuaded.
Conspiracy exists where the plotters agree, expressly or
impliedly, to commit the crime and decide to pursue it.24 Conspiracy is predominantly a state of mind as it involves the meeting of the
minds and intent of the malefactors.
Consequently, direct proof is not essential to establish it.
The existence of the assent of minds of the
co-conspirators may be inferred from proof of facts and circumstances which,
taken together, indicate that they are parts of the complete plan to commit the
In the case at bar, the records clearly reveal that appellant
Marife was part of the plan to rob the moneychanger.
This plan was mapped out in accused Dannys
house in Cavite by appellants, together with accused Danny and Cayo.
The four drove in a cab from Cavite to
As the robbery will be set up
inside a motel room, only appellants Marife and Eladio, Jr. boarded a tricycle
and checked in the lodge so as not to arouse suspicion.
A number of employees of the Queensland
Lodge and the cab driver testified on the conduct of appellant Marife inside
the lodge on that fateful day:
roomboys identified her and Eladio, Jr. as the ones who alighted from the
tricycle and checked into room no. 2; contrary to her account, the employees
did not notice that appellant Marife was nervous, crying or trembling due to
fear when she entered the lodge; appellant Marife asked the telephone operator
thrice that day for an outside line;
using an alias, she called up the moneychanger twice to set up the
appellants were the last to
see the victim alive;
accomplished their criminal design, appellant Marife rushed out of the room,
personally paid for the bill and asked for a cab;the roomboys noticed that she was nervous and in a hurry to
after she boarded the cab, she
ordered the driver to wait for her companion;
she and Eladio, Jr. then fled from the lodge while the roomboys were
inspecting their room;
refuge in a subdivision; and,
they tried to scale the wall of the subdivision in an attempt to get away.
All these chain of events and the conduct
of appellant Marife lead to no other conclusion than that she conspired with
her co-accused to commit the crime.
Neither can we give credit to appellant Marifes claim of duress
and irresistible fear.
Her story simply
does not add up.
First, the records
show that she had close relations with all her co-accused:
she has a child with appellant Eladio, Jr.;
she and her co-accused all resided in Cavite;
accused Danny Dineros asked her to be the godmother of his child;
she knew where Danny resided in Cavite and
they both hail from Samar;
Marifes aunt in Samar was acquainted with Danny.Indeed, her claim of irresistible force from her co-accused is
difficult to fathom as it would be easier to instill fear on a stranger than on
a friend or close relation.
while appellant Marife claims that she was mostly in tears during the time she
was abducted by her co-accused, none of the employees of the lodge noticed any
manifestation of fear or coercion on her part.
Third, her claim of duress and irresistible fear is negated by her
failure to escape or ask for succor during her alleged abduction despite
several opportunities to do so.
could have asked help from the people she saw along the road when they left
Dannys house in Cavite and while she was allegedly being dragged towards the
from the tricycle driver who drove
them to the lodge;
from the roomboys
who stayed with her in the garage after the stabbing incident, while she was
waiting for her bill and cab;
the cab driver who picked her up from the lodge.She could have escaped after the stabbing incident when she went
out of the room alone and conversed with the roomboy.An innocent victim of circumstances would have waited for and
eagerly grabbed the first chance to escape or seek help; but not appellant
Fourth, she escaped from the
lodge, fled to the nearby subdivision and tried to scale its wall with
appellant Eladio, Jr. who, moments before, was supposed to be her
Finally, even at the time
she was arrested, she stuck to her alias and identified herself as Joann
Redillo to the police authorities.
Hence, apart from her biased testimony, the records are bereft of evidence
to corroborate and bolster her claim of coercion. The more logical and
inescapable conclusion is that she was part of the conspiracy.
Plainly, her conduct all throughout the
incident reveals that she was united in purpose with her co-accused in the execution
of the crime.
On the whole, the incriminating circumstantial evidence against
the appellants sufficiently proves their complicity.
Circumstantial evidence is that which proves a fact or series of
facts from which the facts in issue may be established by inference.25 Resort to circumstantial evidence is, in the nature of things, a necessity as
crimes are usually committed clandestinely and under conditions where
concealment is highly probable.
require direct testimony would, in many cases, result in freeing criminals and
deny proper protection to society.26 Thus, the guilt of an accused may be established through circumstantial
evidence provided that the requisites are present, viz:
there is more than one circumstance;
the inferences must be based
on proven facts;
the combination of all the circumstances
produces a conviction beyond doubt as to the guilt of the accused.27 cralawred
In the case at bar, while no witness testified to the actual
stabbing and robbing of the victim, the circumstantial evidence adduced by
the prosecution supports a judgment of conviction.
Appellants asked roomboy Jonathan for a
room; Jonathan escorted them to room no. 2, prepared the room for them by
turning on the lights, television and airconditioning unit before ushering them
in. The telephone operator received a request for an outside line from the lady
occupant of room no. 2 thrice that day.
Eduardo, the manager of the moneychanger, got phone calls from the lady
occupant of room no. 2 who identified herself as Joann Redillo;
the caller pretended that she just arrived
from Japan and asked her yen be converted to pesos.Eduardo gave his messenger, the victim Rolando Andasan, the amount
P114,000.00 to be delivered to the lady occupant of room no. 2.
Rolando arrived at the lodge and explained
his purpose to the employees therein.
Rolando was a familiar face in the lodge which had an internal
arrangement with the moneychanger to extend currency conversion services upon
the request of their guests.
Eladio, Jr. used to be employed as a messenger of the moneychanger and knew
about the offices internal arrangement with the lodge.
Roomboy Mayonito escorted Rolando to room
no. 2 for the currency transaction; when appellant Eladio, Jr. opened the door
to Mayonito, the latter informed him about the presence of Rolando in the
garage; appellant Eladio, Jr. gave the go signal for Rolando to come up to the
room; Mayonito returned to the garage, fetched Rolando and escorted him to room
no. 2; again, it was appellant Eladio, Jr. who opened the door and let Rolando
That was the last time Rolando was
seen alive and the money was no longer to be found.
After accomplishing their criminal design, appellants emerged
from the room, hurriedly paid their bill and left.The roomboys discovered the cadaver of Rolando in the room which
sustained several stab wounds.
Appellants fled and scaled the wall of the subdivision.
The police authorities recovered a knife
under the bed of room no. 2 which fitted the scabbard left by appellant Marife
in the cab, together with a bloodied face towel.The width of this knife is compatible with the width of the stab
wounds sustained by the victim.
Thus, while no person actually witnessed the appellants rob and kill
the victim, the confluence of the incriminating circumstances enumerated above
clearly shows that the appellants had motive and opportunity to kill the victim
when he resisted the robbery.
victim was last seen alive with them, coupled with their conduct that fateful
day and their possession of the deadly weapon, there can be no other reasonable
conclusion than that the appellants authored the crime.
To be sure, their conviction is essentially
based on this unbroken chain of events as testified to by the prosecution
witnesses and not on the uncounselled interrogation of appellant Marife by the
On the other hand, the alibi proffered by appellant Eladio, Jr.
does not hold.
Alibi is a Latin word
which means elsewhere or in another place.28 Where the defense of alibi is raised, the accused must show that he was at some
other place when the crime was committed at such length of time that it was
impossible for him to have been at the locus criminis; or that the
distance is such as to preclude the possibility or probability for the accused
to be at the crime scene at the time it was committed; or that it would have
been physically impossible for the accused, by reason of illness or physical
to be at the place where the
crime was committed.
It is doctrinally
settled that alibi is the weakest defense that can be put up by an accused,
especially where there is direct testimony of an eyewitness, duly corroborated
In the case at bar, while appellant Eladio, Jr. insists that he
was in his cousins house in Cavite that day, the employees of the lodge, all
strangers to him and had no motive to distort the truth or falsely implicate
him, categorically identified him as one of the occupants of room no. 2.
Roomboys Jonathan and Mayonito identified
the appellants as the occupants of room no. 2.
They had every opportunity to remember the appellants on that fateful
day due to several encounters: the appellants asked roomboy Jonathan for a
room; Jonathan escorted them to room no. 2, prepared the room for them by
turning on the lights, television and airconditioning unit before ushering them
in; roomboy Mayonito accompanied the victim Rolando to the room for the
currency transaction; it was appellant Eladio, Jr. who opened the door to
Mayonito who informed him about the presence of Rolando in the garage; Mayonito
returned to the garage, fetched Rolando and escorted him to room no. 2;
again, it was appellant Eladio, Jr. who
opened the door and let Rolando in;
minutes later, after the stabbing incident, appellant Marife went down
to the garage and asked Mayonito to prepare her bill and get a cab for
Jonathan handed her the bill and
waited with her for about 5 minutes until her cab arrived;
the roomboys and security guard of the lodge
pursued appellants Marife and Eladio, Jr. when they fled from the crime scene.
Interestingly, while a different version was offered by appellant
Marife as to the exact participation of Eladio, Jr. in the crime (i.e., that
he merely drove the cab from Dannys house to Baclaran but it was accused Danny
who checked in the room with appellant Marife and killed the victim in the
course of the robbery),
Marifes testimony nonetheless placed appellant Eladio,
Jr. at the house of accused Danny during the planning of the conspiracy, all
the way to the entrance of the lodge that fateful day, contrary to his claim
that he was in Cavite that entire fateful day. These eyewitnesses accounts
regarding appellant Eladio, Jr.s complicity in the crime and presence at the locus
criminis effectively shattered his proferred alibi.
The settled rule is that where there is
positive testimony of eyewitnesses regarding the presence of the accused at the
locus criminis on the date and time the crime was committed, a negative
defense of alibi is undeserving of weight or credence.29 cralawred
In sum, we find that the defenses raised by the appellants are
clouded with improbability and uncertainty.
As the conspiracy among the accused was sufficiently established by the
prosecution, the appellants are equally guilty of the special complex crime of
robbery with homicide for in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.30 Thus, although the original plan may have been to simply rob the victim and
while appellant Marife may not have actually participated in the horrendous
killing, the conspirators are equally liable as co-principals for all the
planned or unanticipated consequences of their criminal design.
Be that as it may, we find that the trial court erred in holding
that the appellants were part of a syndicated or organized crime group under
Article 62 (1) (a) of the Revised Penal Code,31 as
amended, which merits the imposition of the maximum penalty of death.
While the appellants and their co-accused
confederated and mutually helped one another for the purpose of gain, it was
neither alleged nor proved that they formed part of a group organized for
the general purpose of committing crimes for gain which is the essence of a
syndicated or organized crime group.32 cralawred
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the appealed Decision is AFFIRMED with
modification. Appellants MARIFE BELLO y ROSCO and ELADIO M. CONSUELO,
JR. are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals in the crime of robbery
with homicide and, in the absence of any aggravating circumstance, are
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
They are ordered to jointly and severally
reimburse the Sunshine Moneychanger the amount of
restitution for the damage caused, and to pay Zenaida Andasan, widow of the
victim Rolando Andasan, the total amount of Seven Hundred Thirty-One Thousand,
Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine and 98/100 ( P731,999.98),
broken down as
P50,000.00 as actual
compensation for the death of her husband Rolando; P591,999.98 as indemnity for loss of Rolandos earning
and, P40,000.00 as
Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona,
Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, and TINGA, JJ., concur.
1 NBI medico-legal officer Ravell Ronald R. Baluyot, TSN, November 28, 1995, pp.
3 Jonathan Deniega, TSN, November 21, 1995, pp. 27-48.
4 Digna Siazon, TSN, December 14, 1995, pp. 2-15.
5 Leonardo Acosta, TSN, November 21, 1995, pp. 3-26.
6 Rose Caharian, TSN, November 23, 1995, pp. 2-10.
7 Jonathan Deniega, TSN, November 21, 1995, pp. 27-48.
8 Mayonito Wayco, TSN, November 20, 1995, pp. 24-53.
9 Leonardo Acosta, TSN, November 21, 1995, pp. 3-26.
10 Ernesto Ramos, TSN, November 22, 1995, pp. 2-22.
11 SPO2 Angel Palattao, TSN, December 5, 1995, pp. 2-31.
12 Together with SPO3 William Masiglat, SPO2 Angel Palattao and PO3 Michael Manarang.
13 PO3 Warlie Hermo, TSN, December 5, 1995, pp. 32-33.
14 TSN, November 28, 1995, pp. 2-31.
15 SPO2 Angel Palattao, TSN, December 5, 1995, pp. 2-31.
16 Remedios Valdez, TSN, December 12, 1995, pp. 2-10.
17 TSN, November 22, 1995, pp. 22-27.
18 TSN, January 8, 1996, pp. 4-29.
19 TSN, January 9, 1996, pp. 2-33.
20 TSN, January 10, 1996, pp. 2-42.
21 TSN, January 17, 1996, pp. 3-25.
22 TSN, January 15, 1996, pp. 2-13.
23 Penned by Judge Alfredo J. Gustilo, RTC, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch
116, Pasay City, in Criminal Case No. 95-7427; Rollo, pp. 28-40.
24 Article 8, Revised Penal Code; People v. Bautista, 92 SCRA 465 (1979).
25 People v. Songcuan, 176 SCRA 354 (1989).
27 Section 4, Rule 133, Revised Rules of Court.
28 Blacks Law Dictionary, 4th edition, 1951.
31 x x x
The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the offense was
committed by any one person who belongs to an organized/syndicated crime group.
An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of two or
more persons collaborating, confederating or mutually helping one another for
purposes of gain in the commission of any crime.
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