PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PEDRO BALIAO EMPANTE @ PETER, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
This is an
appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Oroquieta City, Misamis
Occidental (Branch 12) finding accused-appellant Pedro Baliao Empante guilty of
three counts of rape against his daughter, Elvie Empante, then below 18 years
of age, and sentencing him to death and to indemnify his daughter in the amount
P50,000.00 and to pay her moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00
for each count of rape.
Accused-appellant admits his guilt.
He contends, however, that the trial court erred in sentencing him to
death because it should have appreciated two mitigating circumstances in his
favor, i.e., voluntary confession of guilt and intoxication, and
sentenced him to a lesser penalty.
The facts are as follows:
Accused-appellant Pedro B. Empante is married to Flaviana Intong Empante, by whom he has four children, namely, Elvie, Elmer, Elna, and Eric. Elvie, the eldest, was born on March 6, 1982 (Exh. A). During the time relevant to these cases, accused-appellant worked as a laborer at a quarry in Barangay Unidos, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, while his wife worked as a domestic helper outside Plaridel and went home only on weekends.
In November 1994, Elvie, then only 12 years old and a Grade VI student, was left alone with her father, accused-appellant, in their house at Sitio Napo, Barangay Unidos, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental. For some reason, her mother, brothers, and sister were all out at that time. She was cleaning the living room of their house when she was called by accused-appellant to his room. When Elvie approached him, accused-appellant, without warning, poked a hunting knife (Exh. B) on her right side and told her not to make any noise, otherwise he would kill her. Elvie described the knife as one with a sharp blade and a wooden handle covered by black tape wound around it. Accused-appellant pushed her to the bed as a result of which she fell on her back. Accused-appellant then went on top of her. He removed her shorts and panties with his right hand as he held with his left hand the hunting knife. After removing his shorts, accused-appellant succeeded in violating his daughter. Elvie resisted and tried to prevent accused-appellant from ravishing her by closing her thighs, but her efforts proved futile. Elvie felt pain in her private parts. She was warned not to tell her mother about the incident or accused-appellant would kill both of them. Elvie knew her father to be a violent man. He maltreated her mother and threatened her with a bolo. Hence, when her mother arrived later that day, Elvie did not tell her anything about the incident.1
The family later moved from Sitio Napo to a place near the national highway, also in Barangay Unidos, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental. In the evening of December 24, 1996, Elvie was left at home with only her younger brothers Elmer and Eric, their younger sister being then in the house of their grandmother, Lourdes Intong. Elvie was going to church with her mother to hear midnight mass, but accused-appellant told her to stay home on the pretext that he would be going to work the next morning. Elvie, therefore, prepared to go to sleep. She was made to sleep near the wall, with her father at her left side. Her two young brothers, Eric and Elmer, slept beside their father. Elvie was awakened as she found accused-appellant on top of her. She noticed that her shorts and underwear had been removed and that her father was naked from the waist down. She tried to free herself from her fathers hold and prevent him from ravishing her by closing her thighs, but he was too strong for her. Elvie testified that a hunting knife (Exh. B) was pointed at her side. She knew that he had succeeded in inserting his penis into her vagina because she felt pain in her private parts. As accused-appellant did the sexual act, he kissed Elvie all over the face, neck, and breast, even sucking her lips and telling her to stick out her tongue. So revolted was she by what her father was doing to her that she tried to cover her face with her hands. After satisfying himself, accused-appellant put on his shorts and gave Elvie her panties and shorts to wear. Again Elvie did not tell her mother, who arrived late that night, about the incident because of fear of her father.2 She, however, asked her mother to let her sleep in another room. But when accused-appellant learned that Elvie was not in his room, he got mad and forced the door open. He slapped her, hit her on the back, pinched her side, and then grabbed and dragged her outside. Elvies mother was not home at that time, but when she arrived Elvie told her about her experience. Elvies mother confronted her father and a quarrel ensued between the two.3
Elvie went to her grandmothers house, located a few kilometers away, and stayed there, but her father forced her to come home with him.4
On January 16, 1997, Elvies mother left their house to work in Manila after being beaten up by accused-appellant. As a result, Elvie was left with no one to protect her. In the evening of January 18, 1997, she was again molested by her father. She was asleep when accused-appellant went on top of her. When she woke up, she found that her shorts and underwear had already been removed. As before, she tried to hold her father at bay and prevent him from dishonoring her, but she was threatened with a hunting knife (Exh. B). Accused-appellant again was able to have sexual intercourse with her. In anger, she demanded from him, Why do you sexually abuse me? Why not go to others? To this, accused-appellant answered, Why [do I have to] go to others when you are here?5 even as he covered her mouth with his hands to keep her from talking. After accused-appellant was through, he put on his shorts and slept beside her. Elvie could not sleep and kept crying. As her sobbing kept her father awake, he hit her on the back and threatened her with harm if she did not stop.6
Elvie feared that, with her mother gone, her father would make a mistress of her. She went to the house of her grandmother the next morning and told her her story. Her grandmother, Lourdes Intong, lost no time in taking her to the barangay captain who referred them to the police and advised them to take Elvie to the hospital for examination. On the same day, Elvie was examined by Dr. Jona Handumon at the Calamba District Hospital in Calamba, Misamis Occidental. The medico-legal report (Exh. C) of Dr. Handumon contained the following findings:
Date & Time of Examination: January 19, 1997
- NORMAL EXTERNAL GENITALIA
- NULLIPAROUS VAGINA
- BLUNT & ROUNDED POSTERIOR FOURCHETTE
- (+) HEALED LACERATION AT POSTERIOR FOURCHETTE
- INTROITOUS ADMITS 2 FINGERS EASILY
- HYMEN RUPTURED W/ HEALED LACERATIONS AT 2:00 & 7:00 POSITIONS
- CERVIX CLOSED, FIRM
- (+) MUCOID, WHITISH DISCHARGES AT OS
- CORPUS SMALL
- (-) ADNEXAL MASS & TENDERNESS7cräläwvirtualibräry
On June 20, 1997, Elvie filed with the Philippine National Police at Plaridel, Misamis Occidental three criminal complaints for rape which became the basis of informations lodged with the Regional Trial Court of Oroquieta City against accused-appellant.
In Criminal Case No. 1301, it was alleged -
That on or about January 18, 1997 at about 8:00 oclock in the evening at barangay Unidos, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused PEDRO BALIAO EMPANTE alias Peter through threats, force and intimidation and with the use of a hunting knife wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously did then and there lie and succeeded in having carnal knowledge with complainant Elvie Empante, his own daughter, a minor, 15 years of age and against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW, aggravated that the victim is a minor, a 15 year old and the offender is the parent-father of the victim and use of a hunting knife.
Upon being arraigned on May 7, 1997, accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, Atty. Rudy Magsayo, entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, the trial was set by the court on June 6, 1997.
Two more cases were later filed in court against accused-appellant. The information in Criminal Case No. 1304 alleged -
That sometime in November 1994 at 10:00 a.m. at their house at Napo, barangay Unidos, municipality of Plaridel, Province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused Pedro Baliao Empante, through threats, force and intimidation and with the use of a hunting knife willfully, unlawfully and feloniously did then and there have carnal knowledge with Elvie Empante his own daughter, a 12 year old girl against her will and without her consent.
CONTRARY TO LAW, with the qualifying circumstances of minority, Elvie Empante was a 12 year old girl a legitimate daughter of accused and with the used [sic] of a hunting knife.
In Criminal Case No. 1305, the information alleged substantially the same facts except as to the date of the incident which occurred at around 10 p.m. on December 24, 1996.
Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the two charges.
The cases were thereafter tried together beginning June 6, 1997. The prosecution presented Elvie as its first witness. On June 16, 1997, accused-appellant, through his counsel, asked the court to allow him to change his plea from not guilty to guilty. His motion was denied on the grounds that the prosecution had already started presenting its evidence and that the purpose [of the accused-appellant in] changing his plea was to be given a lighter penalty of reclusion perpetua and not that of death x x x x8
On the third day of trial on June 20, 1997, accused-appellant again asked the court to allow him to change his plea, assuring the court that his plea would be unconditional and that he would accept whatever penalty the court would impose on him. The trial court then asked several questions from accused-appellant to determine if he understood the consequences of a plea of guilty. Having been satisfied that the plea of guilty was freely, knowingly, and voluntarily being made, the trial court ordered accused-appellant re-arraigned by having the informations read to him in the Cebuano-Visayan dialect, which he understood, after which he pleaded guilty to all counts of rape.9
The trial court then directed the prosecution to complete the presentation of its evidence. Aside from Elvie, the prosecution presented Lourdes Intong, Elvies grandmother and accused-appellants mother-in-law. Lourdes Intong testified that at about 7 a.m. on January 19, 1997, Elvie went to her house and told her that she had been sexually abused by her father several times. Lourdes confirmed that she accompanied Elvie to the hospital where Elvie was examined and to the local authorities with whom Elvie filed her complaints against accused-appellant. Lourdes testified that, while accused-appellant was in detention pending investigation, he talked to her and asked for her forgiveness, but she told him to ask for forgiveness from Elvie. For this reason, accused-appellant sent relatives to talk to Elvie since the latter refused to see or talk to him personally. In addition, accused-appellant wrote Elvie three letters in which he asked for forgiveness so that he will be given a lighter sentence for his crimes. The letters could not be presented in court as they had been destroyed by Elvie who did not then realize they could be used in evidence.10
After the prosecution had rested its case, accused-appellant was presented as the sole witness by the defense. Accused-appellant admitted having raped his daughter, claiming, however, that he was drunk at the time. He denied that he used a hunting knife to threaten his daughter and claimed that he only threatened her verbally. He alleged that he did not have any hunting knife and that the hunting knife (Exh. B) presented in court, which Elvie and her grandmother claim to have found in a closet (aparador) in his house when he was detained, belonged to the brother of his mother-in-law, Pablo Calunod.11
On June 30, 1997, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed upon his own daughter Elvie Empante who was then below eighteen (18) years old in all the three criminal cases, the Court hereby sentences accused PEDRO BALIAO EMPANTE:
1. In Criminal Case No. 1301, to
suffer the penalty of death and to indemnify Elvie Empante the amount of
and to pay her the additional sum of P50,000.00 for moral damages;
2. In Criminal Case No. 1304, to
suffer the penalty of death and to indemnify Elvie Empante the amount of
and to pay her the additional sum of P50,000.00 for moral damages; and
3. In Criminal Case No. 1305, to
suffer the penalty of death and to indemnify Elvie Empante the amount of
and to pay her the additional sum of P50,000.00 for moral damages.
The records of the three criminal cases including the transcripts of stenographic notes are hereby ordered forwarded to the Honorable Supreme Court for automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659.
With costs against the accused.
Accused-appellant does not seek a reversal of the findings of the trial court. In his lone assignment of error, he argues that -
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING THE EXTREME PENALTY OF DEATH DESPITE THE PLEA OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR HUMANITARIAN CONSIDERATION AS WELL AS THE PLEA OF GUILTY AND THE DEFENSE OF INTOXICATION WHICH MITIGATE HIS LIABILITY DESERVES A PENALTY OF RECLUSION PERPETUA ONLY.
After reviewing the evidence in these cases, the Court finds no reason to alter, much less to reverse, the decision of the trial court. The evidence establishes beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of accused-appellant. The testimony of complainant is plain, straightforward, and positive. Although in rape cases it is sufficient for the offended party to state that she has been raped, in the cases at bar, complainants testimony is filled with details which can only enhance its credibility. With clarity and candor, complainant recounted the manner in which she was raped on the three occasions stated in the informations. Her testimony was in fact corroborated even by accused-appellant.
The defense points out an alleged contradiction between what she said during trial (that accused-appellant was not drunk when he raped her)12 and what she said in her sworn statement before the police (that accused-appellant smelled of liquor on January 18, 1997 when he raped her).13 We are not persuaded. It may be that accused-appellant had taken some liquor and, for that reason, smelled of alcohol, but he was not drunk or inebriated. In any event, the inconsistency concerns a minor matter and does not affect the credibility of complainants testimony. To the contrary it serves to strengthen her credibility as it shows that her testimony is not contrived.14
Nor is there any reason to suspect complainant of any ill motive. She complained against her father because of what he had done to her. Complainant testified:
Q. Now before you filed these present cases against your father, had you considered that by filing these cases you are exposing yourself to shame, dishonor and humiliation?
Objection! Witness is incompetent, Your Honor.
She is already fifteen years old. She knows what is right and wrong. Proceed.
Q. And yet you pursued these cases?
A. Yes, sir.
A. Because I wanted my father to be imprisoned [for] what he had done to me.
Q. Now if the law provides that by the act of your father he would be penalized [with] the penalty of death, what will be your feeling?
A. He did not even [take] pity on me, his own daughter.15cräläwvirtualibräry
There is no reason to doubt the veracity of Elvies testimony. As we recently held in People vs. Calayca:
We believe that a teenage unmarried lass would not ordinarily file a rape charge against anybody, much less her own father, if it were not true. For it is unnatural for a young and innocent girl to concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts, and thereafter subject herself to a public trial if she has not, in fact, been a victim of rape and deeply motivated by a sincere desire to have the culprit apprehended and punished.16cräläwvirtualibräry
Moreover, it is hardly necessary to say that the evaluations of trial courts of the testimonies of witnesses are entitled to great respect because of their opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses in determining whether they are telling the truth.17 In these cases, the trial court said in its decision:
Aware of its duty to exercise as it did exercise the greatest degree of care and caution in scrutinizing the testimony of the complainant in these rape cases and to render judgment of conviction only when the complainants sincerity and candor are free from suspicion, the Court after having thoroughly observed the demeanor and conduct of complainant Elvie Empante on the witness stand, is fully convinced of the guilt of the accused Pedro Baliao Empante in the three criminal cases. The testimony of the complainant in describing the manner by which she was sexually abused by no less than her own legitimate father is so clear, positive and convincing to admit any doubt that the accused committed the crime charged in at least three occasions for having carnal knowledge of a woman (his daughter Elvie Empante) x x x by using force or intimidation (Article 335, paragraph 1, Revised Penal Code) with the use of a hunting knife.18cräläwvirtualibräry
Above all, whatever doubt there might be as to accused-appellants guilt should be dispelled by his admission that he had indeed raped complainant. His only reservations are with respect to minor details which are inconsequential in determining his guilt and the penalty to be imposed upon him, to wit:
1. He did not threaten complainant using a hunting knife when he raped her but only verbally did so.19cräläwvirtualibräry
2. He could not recall the exact time he raped his daughter on December 24, 1996 and January 18, 1997 because he was drunk on both occasions.20 But he admitted that he was awakened at dawn on December 25, 1996 by the sobbing of his daughter who told him that he had raped her, although he denied hitting Elvie on the back to stop her from crying.21cräläwvirtualibräry
3. He denied that he forbade Elvie from sleeping in the other room or in her grandmothers house. He claimed that it was his daughter herself who insisted on sleeping beside him.22cräläwvirtualibräry
The prosecution presented the hunting knife (Exh. B) which complainant said her father had threatened her with. There is really no need to pass upon accused-appellants claim. For even if no knife was used by accused-appellant, his admission that he was able to rape his daughter by threatening her is sufficient considering the moral ascendancy that he has over his child.23
Accused-appellant also claimed that he was drunk on the three occasions when he raped his daughter, but denied that he is a habitual drinker.24 He also claimed to have been so intoxicated that he did not know what he was doing.25
The trial judge correctly rejected the claim of intoxication as a mitigating circumstance.26 For even if accused-appellant was intoxicated and he is not a habitual drinker, to be considered mitigating, the intoxication must be shown to have so impaired his willpower that he did not know what he was doing or could not comprehend the wrongfulness of his acts.27 In these cases, not only did complainant deny that her father was drunk when he raped her, but the fact that accused-appellant himself could recall details of the rape incidents (i.e., time of the day as regards the November 1994 incident, the manner he raped his daughter, what his daughter was wearing, how he forced and threatened her to submit to his desires)28 is the best proof that he knew what he was doing on those occasions.
Indeed, accused-appellant himself said that his plea of guilty was unconditional. His plea was an admission of everything alleged in the informations. The trial judge took care that the safeguards for its admission, as provided in Rule 116, Section 3 of the Rules of Court and in existing jurisprudence, were observed. The transcript of stenographic notes taken at the proceedings held on June 20, 1997 shows this and leaves no room for doubt that accused-appellants plea was not improvidently given:
I respectfully appear for the prosecution.
Appearing as counsel for the accused, ready.
Last time we move[d] to withdraw the plea of not guilty entered by the accused but [it was] denied by this honorable court. In view of the denial we reiterate our motion that the accused is willing to enter a plea of guilty and he is willing to withdraw his plea of not guilty to that of guilty.
So, you are asking the court to reconsider the previous ruling denying the plea of guilty of the accused.
COURT TO ACCUSED:
Q In the previous hearing you ask the court that you be allowed to enter a plea of guilty and replace that of not guilty previously entered by you. However, during the discussions on that motion you had in mind the possibility that the penalty be only reclusion perpetua and not death. For that reason the plea of guilty to the crime charged becomes conditional and moreover the prosecution has already started the presentation of its evidence and so the court denied your motion to withdraw your plea of not guilty and replace that with the plea of guilty.
Q Now, you are again reiterating your motion for you to enter a plea of guilty and consequently you are asking the reconsideration of the order of the court denying your motion. Now the court is asking, would that plea of guilty be [conditional]?
A No more.
Q Do you know the consequence of your change of plea from that of not guilty to that of guilty?
Q Do you know that because of your plea of guilty the court may impose a death penalty?
Q Despite the fact that . . . now, with your plea of guilty, the court may attend to the death penalty, you are still insisting to proceed with your move to enter a plea of guilty?
A Yes, I will proceed with my plea of guilty.
Q Why have you change[d] your mind and insist to enter now a plea of guilty when before you have entered the plea of not guilty?
A Because at that time I still plan to talk first with my wife.
Q At that time where was your wife?
A She is in Manila.
Q This time where is your wife?
A She is still in Manila.
Q And so you have not yet talk to your wife?
A No, I have not yet talk[ed] to my wife but this is already my decision.
x x x
Q Did you ask your mother-in-law to intercede for you and to request your wife to forgive you?
Q Now, what was the reaction of your wife on that particular request through the telephone?
A That she can still forgive me being my wife as a human being but the case is now with the government already.
Q Did your wife through the telephone conversation tell your mother-in-law that your wife submits to whatever the law provides?
Q And because you were informed by your mother-in-law the result of the telephone conversation with your wife, what have you finally decided?
A I am now going to admit and enter the plea of guilty and I will entrust everything to the Lord.
Q The court would like to know your version of the case considering that this is a heinous crime attached to it is the capital punishment of death, are you willing to testify on how come that this incident happened?
Q So, you are going to testify in this case?
Q You will be allowed by the court because that is your right?
Q Despite the fact that you have already entered a plea of guilty?
Q The Court would allow you to testify in your behalf for the court to determine the appropriate penalty that may imposed upon you?
Q The court however will proceed with the presentation of the evidence of the prosecution to establish your guilt even if you have manifested to enter a plea of guilty for the purpose again of the court to determine the appropriate penalty for you to be punished?
A Yes, sir.
The prosecution would like to ask the accused if he is admitting in these three cases. I would like to ask permission that the following questions be propounded to the accused: whether said accused is admitting his guilt in these three cases [of] rape [he] committed [against his] daughter. I would like to emphasize Crim. Case Nos. 1301, 1304 & 1305.
May I ask the counsel for the accused on the comment on the manifestation of the handling prosecutor.
A Yes, your honor, he is willing to [admit to] these three cases.
The handling prosecutor may ask now the accused concerning the matter brought out by him despite the statement given by the counsel that the accused is willing to admit the three cases.
Q Mr. [Empante], would you also admit that you rape[d] your daughter in these three cases 1301, 1304 and 1305?
Q You heard your daughter testifying, do you admit that all the testimonies of your daughter is true?
Thus, accused-appellant entered his plea of guilty freely, voluntarily, and with full understanding of its consequences and should be bound by it.
Accused-appellant asseverates that his plea of guilty mitigates his liability. The contention has no merit. To be considered a mitigating circumstance, a plea of guilty must be made spontaneously by the accused, in open court, prior to the presentation of evidence for the prosecution.30 In the cases at bar, accused-appellant at first pleaded not guilty and only confessed his guilt after the prosecutions first witness was nearly finished with her testimony. Such a belated act of remorse or contrition31 cannot be considered spontaneous or timely within the contemplation of the law.32
Be that as it may, as we recently held in People vs. Mengote33 and People vs. Robles,34 even if the plea of guilty entered by accused-appellant satisfied the requisites laid down by law, it would not serve to mitigate his liability for qualified rape and justify the imposition of a lighter penalty. Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, states:
When and how rape is committed. - Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
1. By using force or intimidation;
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has become insane, the penalty shall be death.
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death.
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
2. when the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities.
3. when the rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent, any of the children or other relatives within the third degree of consanguinity.
4. when the victim is a religious or child below seven (7) years old.
5. when the offender knows that he is afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) disease.
6. when committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement agency.
7. when by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has suffered permanent physical mutilation.
As held in People vs. Garcia,35 the seven (7) circumstances enumerated in this provision are special qualifying circumstances, the presence of any of which takes the case out of the purview of simple rape and effectively qualifies the same by increasing the penalty one degree higher. Qualified rape is thus punishable by the single indivisible penalty of death, which must be applied regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance which may have attended the commission of the deed.36
In these cases, the informations charged accused-appellant with having committed the crime of rape qualified against complainant, under 18 years old, who is his daughter. As the charges were proven beyond reasonable doubt, the imposition of the death penalty is required.
Four (4) Members of the Court, although maintaining their adherence to the separate opinions expressed in People vs. Echegaray37 that Republic Act No. 7659 insofar as it prescribes the penalty of death is unconstitutional, nevertheless submit to the ruling of the majority that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty should accordingly be imposed.
With respect to
the monetary liability of accused-appellant, the trial courts award of
for indemnity in each case should be increased to P75,000.00 in line
with prevailing jurisprudence. The award of P50,000.00 for moral damages
is correct and should be maintained, it being assumed that the victim has
suffered moral injuries entitling her to such an award.38
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Oroquieta City (Branch 12) is AFFIRMED with the modification that
accused-appellant is ORDERED to indemnify complainant Elvie Empante in each
case the amount of
P75,000.00 and to pay her P50,000.00 as moral
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659 amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, upon finality of this decision, let the record of these cases be forthwith forwarded to His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, for his reference in case he decides to exercise his prerogative of mercy.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
7 Records, Criminal Case No. 1301, p. 3; Records, Criminal Case No. 1304, p. 7; Records, Criminal Case No. 1305, p. 11.
8 RTC Decision, p. 3; Rollo, p. 23.
9 TSN, June 20, 1997, p. 6.
10 Id., pp. 9-18.
11 TSN, June 24, 1997, p. 9.
12 TSN, June 6, 1997, pp. 45-48.
13 Records, Criminal Case No. 1301, p. 10.
14 People vs. Padilla, G.R. No. 126124, January 20, 1999.
15 TSN, June 6, 1997, pp. 37-38.
16 G.R. No. 121212, January 20, 1999.
17 People vs. Dela Paz, G.R. No. 118316, November 24, 1998.
18 RTC Decision, p. 8; Rollo, p. 28.
19 TSN, June 24, 1997, pp. 8-9.
20 Id., pp. 16, 18.
21 Id., pp. 12-16.
22 Id., pp. 18-19.
23 People vs. Matrimonio, 215 SCRA 613 (1992).
24 Id. , pp. 7-8.
25 Id. , pp. 8, 11-12, 16, 21-22.
26 RTC Decision, p. 10; Rollo, p. 30.
27 People vs. Baez, G.R. No. 125849, January 20, 1999.
28 See TSN, June 24, 1997, pp. 8, 10-11, 16-18, 20-21.
29 Id ., pp. 2-7. (Emphasis supplied)
30 Revised Penal Code, Article 13, par. 7; Luis B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Vol. I, p. 302 (1993).
31 Appellants Brief, p. 13; Rollo, p. 62.
32 People vs. Ramos, G.R. No. 129439, September 25, 1998.
33 G.R. No. 130491, March 25, 1999.
34 G.R. No. 124300, March 25, 1999.
35 281 SCRA 463, 489 (1997).
36 People vs. Ponayo, 261 SCRA 61, 67 (1996); People vs. Mengote, supra.
37 267 SCRA 682 (1997).
38 See People vs. Alba, G.R. Nos. 131858-59, April 14, 1999; People vs. Prades, G.R. No. 127569, July 30, 1998; People vs. Victor, G.R. No. 127903, July 9, 1998.