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EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-5324. December 28, 1910. ]
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. AGAPITO LASADA, Defendant-Appellant.
Chicote and Miranda for Appellant.
Attorney General Villamor for Appellee.
SYLLABUS
1. CRIMINAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE; PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE; EVIDENCE NECESSARY TO OVERCOME THE
PRESUMPTION. In a criminal prosecution, the law always presumes that the defendant is not guilty of any crime whatever, and this
presumption stands until it is overcome by competent and credible proof.
2. ID.; PROSECUTION MUST PROVE GUILT; REASONABLE DOUBT; ACQUITTAL. It is always incumbent upon the prosecution in
a criminal cause to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, and, if there remains a reasonable doubt of guilt, the
doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused and he must be acquitted.
3. ID.; REASONABLE DOUBT DEFINED. By reasonable doubt is not meant that which of possibility may arise, but it is that doubt
engendered by an investigation of the whole proof and an inability, after such investigation, to let the mind rest easy upon the certainty
of guilt. Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded by the law to convict of a criminal charge, but moral certainty is required as to every
proposition of proof requisite to constitute the offense.
4. ID.; MODES OF IMPEACHING WITNESSES; DUTY AND AUTHORITY OF COURT. One mode is by close cross-examination, to
involved the witness in contradictions as to material facts stated by him. Immaterial discrepancies or differences in the statements of
witnesses do not affect their credibility, unless there is something to show that they originate in willful falsehood. If there are conflicts in
the statements of witnesses, it is the duty of the court to reconciled, the court must adopt the testimony which it believes to be true. In
reaching this conclusion it can take into consideration the character of the witness, his manner and demeanor on the stand, the
consistency or inconsistency of his statements, their probability or improbability, his ability and willingness to speak the truth, his
intelligence and means of knowledge, and his motives to speak the truth or swear to a falsehood.
5. ID.; MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL ON NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE; SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE. A motion for new trial,
based upon newly discovered merely of statements made in an affidavit which are so improbable and unreasonable that they can not
be believed.
DECISION
TRENT, J. :
On December 9, 1908, the provincial fiscal of the Province of Leyte filed a complaint against Agapito Lasada, Santiago Lasada,
Macario Lasada, and Panfilio Closa, charging them for the crime of murder. The case was called for hearing on the 26th of January,
1909. The accused Agapito Lasada, upon his own application, was granted a separate trial, which commenced on that day. On being
arraigned on this charged he plead not guilty. After hearing and considering the proofs and arguments presented the trial court found
this accused, Agapito Lasada, guilty of the crime of homicide and sentenced him to seventeen years four months and one day of
reclusion temporal, to the accessory penalties, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased, and to pay one-fourth of the cost. He appealed
to this court, and his case is the only one before us at this time.
Pedro Sopriengco, a Chinaman and resident of the barrio of Tarragona, municipality of Abuyog, Province of Leyte, left his house about
8 a.m. on March 30, 1908, to visit his coconut grove or rice fields, with the intention of returning early that same afternoon. His body
was found the next day, March 31, about 100 brazas from the bridge which crosses the River Balacoue, within the jurisdiction of his
barrio.
Counsel for the appellant insists: First, that the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of his client of the crime charged; and, second,
that it has not been shown that the wounds inflicted upon the body of the Chinaman were the direct cause of his death. We will
determine the second proposition first:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
That the Chinamans body was found on March 31 at a certain place near the river is not questioned, neither is it questioned that when

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he left home the day before he was enjoying reasonably good health. By order of the justice of the peace Ramon Mandia, a
mediquillo, examined this body on the day it was found, and according to this witnesss testimony, which is not contradicted, the body
presented the following-described wounds and contusions: A contusions on the forehead, apparently made by a blow; a wound in the
right side cause by sharp cutting instrument. This wound was 5 centimeters deep and 4 centimeters long. On the neck and face there
were livid marks. In the opinion of this witness the round in the side would not, necessarily, have caused the death of the Chinaman, but
the blow on the forehead would have caused his death.
Julia Sopriengco, daughter of the deceased, gave about the same description of the wounds on the body as did the mediquillo. The
blow on the forehead was evidently caused by some heavy blunt instrument, and we are fully satisfied that this blow, together with the
other wounds, was the direct cause of the death of this Chinaman.
Agapito Lasada and Santiago Lasada were charged in the Court of First Instance of the Province of Leyte with the crime of lesiones
graves. It was alleged in this complaint that these two men did on the 23d of February, 1906, criminally and maliciously maltreat Pedro
Sopriengco, inflicting upon the person of the said Sopriengco three contusions. The Court of First Instance found Agapito Lasada guilty
to the crime as charged in the complaint and sentenced him to be confined for the period of four months and to indemnify the injured
party in the sum of P50. Lasada appealed to the Supreme Court and this court affirmed the verdict of guilty but reduced the penalty to
twenty-five days imprisonment in the municipal jail of Abuyog, and fixed the amount of the indemnity the same as the trial court. 1 The
certificate, returning the record in this case to the Court of First Instance for the execution of the sentenced, was signed by the clerk on
the 31st of January, 1908, and it must have arrived in the capital of the Province of Leyte some eight or ten days later, and it required a
few days more in sending the order from the capital to Abuyog to the municipal president, directing him to carry the sentence of this
Supreme Court into effect. Agapito Lasada was, in a way, serving this sentence on the 30th of March of that year; in fact he was then
spending his time in the municipality of Abuyog, but was not confined in the municipal jail. He was permitted by the president, Vicente
Tiauzon, to go where he pleased in the town and stayed, at least a part of the time, in the house of Tiauzon. On account of Tiauzon
failing to confine the accused in accordance with the decision of this court, the deceased Chinaman desired to go to the capital of the
province in order to notify the provincial authorities of the noncompliance with the order directing the confinement of Lasada by Tiauzon.
The two principal witnesses for the prosecution were Espiridion Moldes and Benito Resardo, who testified substantially as follows: That
about 5 oclock on the afternoon of the 30th of March, 1908, as they were returning to the barrio of Tarragona, and while they were
washing their feet in the creek of Taguigui, the Chinaman, Pedro Sopriengco, came along; that they asked him to wait and all three of
them would go together, but the Chinaman did not wait, saying that he had to make some collections and went on, leaving the other two
there. A little later, Moldes and Resardo continued their march, looking for the main road. After they had crossed the Balocaue River
it then beginning to get a little dark they heard screams, saying: "Do not kill me." That on hearing these screams they walked a little
faster, turning away from the main road and hiding in the shrubbery; that from the place of their hiding they saw, at a distance of about 4
brazas, Agapito Lasada, Santiago Lasada, Macario Lasada, and Panfilio Closa, the three first named armed with sticks and the lasts
with the dagger, beating Pedro Sopreingco; that the Chinaman was holding him by the hair; that they then heard the accused Agapito
Lasada say, speaking to the Chinaman: "You are efficient in making complaints, now you will not do it again."cralaw virtua1aw library
Lorenzo Gonzaga, another witness for the prosecution, testified that about 4 p.m. on that day he saw the accused, Agapito Lasada,
carrying a club and dressed in caamo clothes, arrive hurriedly at the River Vito, outside the town of Abuyog, and that the accused
crossed this river in his (the witnesss) banca; that after crossing the river the accused continued his march in the direction of
Tarragona, but he did not travel in the usually traveled road.
Lope Margate testified that on returning from the town of Abuyog to the barrio of Tarragona he saw this accused about 8 p.m. on March
30; that the accused was then dressed in caamo clothes and carried a club or stick; that at that time the accused was accompanied by
three men, two of whom he knew, being Santiago Lasada and Panfilio Closa; that these four men, including the accused, entered the
house of Santiago Lasada in that barrio.
Ramon Mandia, another witness for the prosecution, testified that he saw the defendant, Agapito Lasada, on the morning of March 31 a
little after 8 oclock, some distance from the tribunal in that part of the town called Vitug, the municipal building being on the other side
of town, or in that part called Nalibunan; that when he saw the accused on this morning he was dressed in caamo clothes.
The defense sought to establish an alibi, and for this purpose presented Vicente Tiauzon, his son Jose Tiauzon, Ramon Gonzaga,
Espiridion Vera, and Doctor Stallman.
Vicente Tiauzon was at that time municipal president of the town of Abuyog. He testified that the defendant was in his house in the town
on March 30; that he never left the town during that day, nor that night; that he was there serving a sentence, but was not in the
municipal jail on account of his sickness; and that he slept in his (witnesss) house on the night of March 30.
The second witness, Jose Tiauzon, testified that the defendant was in his (witnesss) fathers house and that they dined together there
about 8 p. m. on March 30; that he remembers this because they had quite a conversation on that night.
Ramon Gonzaga testified that he saw the defendant on March 30 in the tribunal and that when he was taking a walk he saw him (the
defendant) in the window of the house of the president about ten minutes after 6 in the evening.
Espiridion Vera stated that he went to the house of the municipal president one night during the latter part of the month of March, but he
could not remember the day. Counsel for the defendant withdrew the testimony of this witness.

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Mr. Stallman, a surgeon in the regular United States Army, testified that he saw the defendant on the 14th of March and various other
times from that time until April 4; that the defendant had beriberi; that when he saw the defendant on the 4th of April he was in a worse
condition with this disease than he was on the 14th of March, and on being asked whether or not the defendant could make a journey
on foot which would require two or three hours walking, he replied that the defendant could walk for three hours by stopping at
intervals, but to do so it would be very difficult; that it would take a person in the condition of the defendant nearly four hours to walk
from the town of Abuyog to the barrio of Tarragona. This witness further testified that he saw the defendant walking around the town
before and after the 4th of April; that he did not treat this defendant for this disease, but his attention was called to it when he went to
the house of the president, and that he examined the defendant twice, first on the 14th of March and the second time on the 4th of April.
If the testimony of the witness for the defense be accepted as true, the judgment must be reversed and the defendant acquitted, but if
the prosecutions witnesses have truthfully stated the facts, the defendant is guilty. To determine this question an analysis of the proofs
is necessary. The law presumes that a defendant is not guilty of any crime, and this presumption stands until it is overturned by
competent and credible proof. It is incumbent upon the prosecution to establish the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt,
and if there remains a reasonable doubt as to his guilt or innocence this doubt must be resolved in his favor and he must be acquitted.
By reasonable doubt in not meant that which of possibility may arise, but it is doubt engendered by an investigation of the whole proof
and an inability, after such investigation, to let the mind rest easy upon the certainly of guilt. Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded
by the law to convict of any criminal charge but moral certainty is required, and this certainly is required as to every proposition of proof
requisite to constitute the offense. There are several modes of impeaching a witness. One mode is by close cross-examination to
involve the witness in contradictions and discrepancies as to material facts stated by him. Immaterial discrepancies or differences in the
statements of witnesses do not affect their credibility, unless there is something to show that they originate in willful falsehood. If there
are conflicts in the statements of different witnesses, it is the duty of the court to reconcile them, if it can be done, for the law presumes
that every witness has sworn the truth. But if the conflicts in the testimony can not be so reconciled as to admit of every witness
swearing the truth, the court must adopt that testimony which it believes to be true; and in reaching this conclusion it can take into
consideration the general character of the witness, his manner and demeanor on the stand while testifying, the consistency or
inconsistency of his statements, their probability or improbability, his ability and willingness to speak the truth, his intelligence and
means of knowledge, his motive to speak the truth or swear a falsehood.
In reaching a conclusion in the case under consideration we are deprived of the advantage of seeing the witnesses, hearing them
testify, and nothing their demeanor on the stand, which are of great assistance in reaching a conclusion when the testimony is so
conflicting.
Counsel for the defendant in his printed brief points out what he considers a number of contradictions in the testimony presented by the
prosecution, and also he gives what he thinks a number of good reasons why this testimony can not be believed.
Benito Resardo and Espiridion Moldes make different statements as to whether or not there were house near the place where they saw
the defendant and his companions maltreating the Chinaman, and also as to whether or not they separated after leaving that place or
continued their journey together. These are immaterial differences. The attention of these witnesses was not specially directed to the
question whether or not there were houses close by, and it is of no importance so far as the truthfulness of their testimony if concerned
whether there were houses close by or whether they continued their journey together. Their attention was directed to what they saw and
they were not thinking about these minor matters. It must be remembered that this trial took place some ten months after the
occurrence and these witnesses were no doubt honestly mistaken as to some of the minor details, such as to where they were on the
following day when the authorities came to investigate the matter and with whom they talked on that day.
Resardo said that he had only testified in this case once. A document was presented to him and he was asked if it was signed by
himself. He said it was. The witness said he was only asked questions in the justice of the peace court. The preliminary investigation, if
any were held, is not made a part of this record. The witness said that he did not testify before the justice of the peace, but explains this
by saying that the justice of the peace only asked him questions. This appears to be a satisfactory explanation on that point. The same
witness stated that he was not related to Julia Sopriengco, the daughter of the deceased Chinaman; but, as the court below said, he
later explained this mistake.
The testimony of Geronimo Barbasan and Justino Mundala, wherein they stated that they, together with Moldes and Resardo, were
invited to the house of Julia Sopriengco and while they were all there the said Julia offered them P200 each on condition that they
would testify that the defendant and his brothers killed her father, is so unreasonable that it can not be believed. This testimony was
flatly denied by Moldes, Resardo, and Julia; in fact Julia and her sister Felisa testified that they were not at home at any time from the
1st of April to the 7th of April. It is not reasonable that Julia would have called these four men together and made this offer in the
presence of all of them, knowing the enmity which existed between Barbasan and Mundala on one side and Moldes of the other.
Vicente Tiauzon, the principal witness for the defense, was evidently deeply interested in this case. He had been directed to confine the
defendant in accordance with a decision of his court. He failed to do so as was keeping the defendant at his own house. According to
Julia Sopriengco, her father had complained to the president about not confining the defendant, so it was to his interest to testify in
favor of the defendant. The same influence was no doubt brought to bear upon his son, Jose Tiauzon.
The other witness, Gonzaga, as we have said, testified that he saw the defendant in the house of the president about ten minutes after
6 on the evening of March 30. This testimony was given some ten months afterwards.
Doctor Stallmens testimony is the strongest in support of the alibi, but he testified that the defendant could have made the trip on foot
from the town of Abuyog to the barrio of Tarragona, which would have taken about three hours. He also testified that he saw the

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defendant walking around the town during those days. The defendant could and, in fact, did walk around in the town during that time
and never was in a condition so that he could not travel. According to the doctor, as we have said, it would have taken the defendant
about three hours to walk to this barrio, but it must be remembered that the cocales or rice fields where the deceased went that day are
between the barrio and the town, and it took the deceased, walking fast, a little less than an hour to walk from his home toward the town
to these cocales.
The Chinaman was killed near the river on that day. Two witnesses saw the defendant and his companions commit this murder. The
testimony of these two witnesses is corroborated by the witnesses Gonzaga and Margate. It is also corroborated to a certain extent by
Mandia. The testimony of all these witnesses is reasonable. The motive on the part of the defendant for killing the deceased is clearly
shown.
The testimony of the witnesses for the defense, who sought to establish an alibi, can not overcome the positive and direct testimony of
the witnesses for the prosecution, especially when we consider the fact that the main witness for the defense, Vicente Tiauzon, was
deeply interested in favor of the defendant. Doctor Stallmans testimony can be accepted as true and then the alibi would not, by any
means, be established, as he stated that the defendant could have made that trip, and it has been clearly established that the
defendant was walking around the town during these days.
The trial judge had an opportunity to see these witnesses, hear them testify, and observe their demeanor on the witness stand. This is
one of the best ways of determining the credibility of a witness. After hearing all these witnesses testify he was convinced beyond a
reasonable doubt that the witnesses for the prosecution testified the truth. In view of these facts we must give great weight to the
findings made by the trial court. We only have the record, and, as we have said, the testimony for the prosecution is reasonable. It is
direct and positive. In view of the clear and explicit findings made by the trial court, and after a careful consideration of the testimony
presented, we are fully satisfied that the defendant is guilty of this crime.
On the 5th of April, 1909, counsel for the defendant presented in this court a motion for the reopening of this cases for the purpose of
presenting newly discovered evidence. This motion is sworn to and accompanied by two affidavits. The first is that of Apolonio Monton,
and according to this affidavit Monton had a conversation with Panfilio Closa in the carcel on the 2d day of March, 1909, and that during
this conservation the said Closa told this witness that he, Closa, and a brother-in-law of his were the men who killed the Chinaman, and
that this defendant and his brothers had nothing to do with this murder. The other affidavit was made by Agapito Suganob, and
according to this affidavit Suganob heard this conversation between Closa and Monton, and heard Closa say to Monton that he, Closa,
and his brother-in-law were the authors of this crime.
Panfilio Closa was charged, along with this defendant and the other accused, in the same complaint, with having killed the Chinaman.
He escaped from jail a very short time after this alleged confession. These parties said nothing about this confession until after Closa
had made good his escape. He was confined in the jail at Tacloban when this trial took place and he could have been presented without
any difficulty as a witness in favor of this defendant, and if his confession were true this could have been ascertained at the time this
trial took placed. No reason is given why Closa made this confession. The statements of these two men in these affidavits are so
improbable and so unreasonable that they can not be believed, especially in view of the fact that they said nothing about this matter
until Closa made his escape. For these reasons this motion is denied.
Three other affidavits were filed on February 10, 1910, but they were not accompanied by any motion asking for a reopening of the
case, or giving any reason why these witnesses were not presented during the trial. So these affidavits can not be considered.
The judgment appealed from is therefore, affirmed, with cost against the Appellant. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres and Johnson, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
MORELAND, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I am so unfortunate as to differ from my associates as to the disposition of this case. I have earnestly endeavored to be reconciled to
their judgment, but without success, having found it impossible to rest easy in the conclusions upon which such judgment is founded.
Differing thus with those in whose judgment I have the profoundest faith, I am constrained to set out my reason for so doing.
After a careful study of this case I am convinced that the guilt of the accused has not been proved. I have the very gravest doubt that he
was able to commit the crime, even if he had the inclination. To say the very least, there is a reasonable doubt of his guilt.
Two witnesses swear that they saw the accused commit the crime. Two others testify that they saw him in the locality where the crime
was committed, about the time of its commission. On the other hand, three witnesses testify that at the time the crime was committed
they saw the accused at a place about 8 miles from the scene of the crime, in another barrio; that he had been there for hours before
and was there hours after; and that it was therefore impossible that he should have been the author of the crime.
It is the admitted proof in the case that, at the time of the commission of the crime for which the accused stands convicted, he, the
accused, was serving a sentence of twenty-five days imprisonment in the municipal jail at Abuyog imposed upon him by the Supreme
Court upon conviction of a misdemeanor; that while serving said sentence he was suffering severely with the disease known as

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beriberi; that while there in that condition, and on the 14th day of March, 1908, he was examined professionally by George P.
Stallman, a regular physician and surgeon of the United States Army, who gave it as his opinion that, by reason of the unsanitary and
uninhabitable condition of said jail, it would probably result injuriously if not fatally to the accused if he should be confined therein; that
he strongly advised against such incarceration; that, by reason of such recommendation, the president of the village of Abuyog
permitted the accused to remain at his home under his personal care and vigilance, feeling that he would not be warranted in exploding
the life of the prisoner to such imminent danger; that it was while the accused was thus serving his sentence in the presidents house
that the said crime was committed.
The said village president, his son, and neighbor were the witnesses before mentioned who testified that at the exact hour of the
commission of the crime at Tarragona, and for hours before and for hours after, the accused was at the house of the said village
president in Abuyog, some 6 or 8 miles from the scene of the crime, so ill of beriberi that it was practically impossible for him to have
made the journey necessary for the commission of the offense.
With these directly opposing declarations before him, the trial court found himself under the necessity of determining who of the
witnesses were telling the truth. It was while thus engaged that he made, in my judgment, the error of which I complain. Under such
circumstances it was the manifest duty of the trial court to take into consideration not only the personal interest and predilections of the
various witnesses, but also the circumstances in which the whole case was found embedded and in which it was completely enveloped.
He was required not only to regard the witnesses from the standpoint of their personal interest and relationships, but also the
reasonableness of the whole case as made by the prosecution under all the evidence. I am constrained to believe that the learned trial
court did not do this. While he considered to some extent the personal predilections of the witnesses and their consequent bias, he
disregarded almost completely the important and weighty circumstances which gave color and consistency to the case as a whole.
Inasmuch as the Supreme Court has followed precisely the course and method adopted by the trial court, my suggestions in this
connection apply to both judgments. I proceed to detail the reasons for my position.
Concerning the testimony of Vicente Tiauzon, the said president, the trial court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The president of Abuyog, Vicente Tiauzon, another witness for the defense who sought to support with his oath the alibi of Agapito
Lasada, in the opinion of the court, is not entitled to any credit whatever. This witness has a decided interest in favoring the alibi in order
to hide the grave dereliction of duty of which he would be responsible otherwise, for, as will be seen presently, Agapito Lasada, at the
time of the commission of the crime, was a prisoner sentenced by the Supreme Court, who ought to have served his sentenced in the
municipal jail of Abuyog, but who, instead, was serving it in the home of his witness, Tiauzon. It is not necessary to do more than note
the answers of the latter to the questions of the fiscal on cross-examination to see instantly the improbability of his testimony and at the
same the partiality of the witness. The same may be said of the other witness of the defense, Jose Tiauzon, son of the president, and
his evidence. The testimony of the other witnesses to the alibi is hardly worth mentioning by reason of its inconsistency and
improbability."cralaw virtua1aw library
This statement requires notice on account of the reasons which the trial court therein gives, as before mentioned, for rejecting
absolutely and entirely the testimony of the defense and refusing to give it any weight or influence whatever. The reasons given for the
rejection of the testimony of the village president, as is readily seen, are two: (1) The interest which the witness had in covering up the
fact that he removed the accused from the municipal jail to his house. (2) A reading of the cross-examination of the witness shows at
once the improbability of his testimony and the partially of the witness.
The first reason, the interest of the witness in covering up the removal of the prisoner, is rendered doubly important and interesting in
view of the fact that the Supreme Court has adopted that as the sole reason for disregarding as utterly worthless the testimony of this
witness, as well as that of his son. This court says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Vicente Tiauzon, the principle witness for the defense, was evidently deeply interested in this case. He had been directed to confine
the defendant in accordance with a decision of this court. He failed to do so and was keeping the defendant at his own house.
According to Julia Sopriengco, her father had complained to the president about not confining the defendant, so it was to his interest to
testify in favor of the defendant. The same influence was no doubt brought to bear upon his son, Jose Tiauzon."cralaw virtua1aw library
In my humble judgment, the reason thus given for rejecting this testimony has no sure foundation and is given under an entire
misconception of the transaction. It is undisputed in this case, as I have before stated, that the accused was, at the time of his sentence
to confinement in the municipal jail, ill of beriberi; that a physician and surgeon of the United States Army, after a personal examination
of the accused and an inspection of the jail in which he was to be confined, gave it as his opinion that, owing to the grave nature of the
illness of the accused and the condition hygienically in which he found the jail, together with fact that, by reason of its dilapidation and
the fact that the rainy season was on, it was practically uninhabitable by a human being, the safety of the accused required that he be
not incarcerated therein; that it was owing to this advice and in accordance therewith that the witness Tiauzon took the accused from
the jail and sheltered him in his house under his own personal custody and vigilance.
While, from a strictly legal point of view, there might possibly be some question as to the propriety of the act of the president in
removing the accused from the jail to his house, something which I doubt very much and do not here discuss, there is, from the other
point of view, still the question whether the municipality, or its officials personally, would not have been responsible to the accused if his
confinement in the jail under the circumstances and conditions described had resulted in serious doubt whether there was anything in
this act of the president which needed to be covered up. It may fairly be assumed, under all the circumstance, that he acted with the
knowledge and consent of the municipal council and that his act tended to relieve the municipality from the possibility, if not probability,
of being asked to respond in damages for injuries resulting from the confinement of the accused in a building which had been

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condemned by a competent physician as wholly unfit to be occupied, especially during the rainy season, by a person suffering from
beriberi. Ones sense of justice cries out against incarcerating the accused in such a place at such a time, suffering as he was from a
terrible and, in many cases, fatal disease; and the law would need to be very explicit indeed if he were to be punished for an act so
humane, so in accord with civilized sentiment, especially when it appears to have been done with the knowledge and approval of the
municipal council.
For these reasons I have great difficulty in appreciating the reason upon which the court bases its assertion that the act of the president
in removing the accused from the municipal jail was of such a heinous character that it needed to be covered up and hidden, even at
the expense of perjury. As a natural consequence I meet the same difficulty in trying to fathom the reasons of the court in utterly
rejecting upon this ground alone the testimony of the president and his family.
It must not be forgotten that the jail, according to the undisputed evidence, was in such a condition of dilapidation that a prisoner
confined therein, who was able walk from 12 to 16 miles and lend effective assistance in killing an able-bodied man, as the accused is
charged to have done, would have been able to escape therefrom easily. Moreover, if the testimony of Doctor Stallman concerning the
physical conditioned of the accused is true, and it is neither disputed nor challenged by any body, he was, in effect, chained to his place
in the village of Abuyog substantially as effective as if he had been manacled and shackled. His chances of escape, under all the
conditions, were so few as to be practically negligible at least, they would have been in nowise decreased by confinement in the jail.
I do not discuss the other reason given by the trial court for rejecting the testimony of this witness, namely, that a reading of his crossexamination would show instantly the improbability of the evidence and the partiality of the witness. Such discussion is unnecessary on
account of the fact that the Supreme Court has itself rejected that reason and has placed itself expressly and solely on the one first
mentioned. It needs only to be said that, after a careful reading of the testimony of the witness, including the cross-examination, I, and I
think the rest of the court also, arrived at the conclusion that, upon its face (and it is in that respect and in that respect only that the trial
court finds fault with it) it bears every appearance of good faith, is thoroughly consistent, entirely probable, and disclosed a complete
absence of partiality. In fact, it is a model of fair, impartial, and consistent testimony on cross-examination.
It must be borne in mind that the trial court did not place his rejection of the testimony of the defendants witnesses in any way or to any
extent on their appearance on the witness stand or their manner and demeanor while testifying. He placed it solely on the two grounds
named: (a) The interest which Tiauzon had in covering up the fact that the accused was at his house instead of in jail, and (b) his
evidence as it appears in the cross-examination. Therefore, that portion of the majority opinion which says "and in reaching this
conclusion it [the trial court] can take into consideration the general character of the witness, his manner and demeanor on the stand
while testifying," as well as that part wherein the court declares that "in reaching a conclusion in the case under consideration we are
deprived of the advantage of seeing the witnesses, hearing them testify, and nothing their demeanor on the stand, which are of great
assistance in reaching a conclusion when the testimony is so conflicting," is apparently inapplicable. The trial court gave specifically the
reasons why he rejected the testimony of defendants witnesses. The reasons stated in the foregoing quotations are not among them.
This court in a criminal case ought not to assign such reasons.
The following observation of this court is also beside the point and for the same reasons:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The trial judge had an opportunity to see these witnesses, hear them testify, and observe their demeanor on the witness stand. This is
one of the best ways of determining the credibility of a witness. After hearing all these witnesses testify he was convinced beyond a
reasonable doubt that the witnesses for the prosecution testified the truth. In view of these facts we must give great weight to findings
made by the trial court. We only have the record, and, as we have said, the testimony for the prosecution is reasonable. It is direct and
positive."cralaw virtua1aw library
We have absolutely no knowledge, from the record, that the witnesses for the prosecution appeared to the trial court better, or fairer
upon the stand than those of the defense. The trial court having assigned his reasons for rejecting the testimony in favor of the defense,
we must assume that he presented them all. I am confident that a careful study of the record leaves the advantage decidedly with the
witnesses for the defense. Neither the trial court nor this court has been able to point out in the testimony of a single witness for
defense a place where there was a contradiction, an attempt to create a false impression, or an appearance of unfairness. If the
witnesses of the defense lied, their testimony carries upon its face no badge of falsity. They need no explanations to excuse
contradiction, or laborious reasoning to dissipate the effect of flagrant misstatements of admitted facts. On the other hand, some of the
leading witnesses for the prosecution made in their declarations admittedly false statements in relation to material facts, thereby
misleading and deceiving the court. This is particularly true of the witness Resardo, whose misstatements we shall presently note, and
the witness Gonzaga, whose statement that he saw the accused on the day of the crime in the vicinity where it was committed carries
certain allegations concerning the appearance and activity of the accused which, as we shall presently see, render such statement
unbelievable.
The trial court spent a considerable portion of the space allotted to his opinion in excusing the various contradictions in which witnesses
for the prosecution involved themselves in giving their testimony. In the testimony of the witness Benito Resardo, one of the witnesses
who testified that he actually saw the accused kill the deceased, appear on cross-examination these questions and
answers:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Q. How many times have you already testified in this case?
"A. This is the first time.

7
"Q. Do you swear that this is the first time that you have testified?
"A. yes, sir.
"Q. Did you not testify before the justice of the peace of Abuyog?
"A. No, sir.
"Q. Do you swear that you did not testify in the court of the justice of the peace of Abuyog?
"A. Yes, sir, I swear.
"Q. Do you swear?
"A. I swear.
After these questions and answers were given, it developed that this witness had in reality testified before the justice of the peace of
Abuyog in this case.
In the testimony of the same witness appear the following questions and answers, the questions being put by the
court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Q. Have you any enmity or resentment against the accused?
"A. No, sir.
"Q. Have you any friendship or relationship with the family of the deceased?
"A. No."cralaw virtua1aw library
The attorney for the accused then asked the witness certain question, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Q. Have you any relationship with Julia Sopriengco?
"A. No, sir.
"Q. Are you not a cousin of Julia Sopriengco?
"A. My father is Filipino; her father is Chinese.
"Q. Is it not true that Julias mother and your father are brother and sister?
"A. No, sir. My father is from Samar."cralaw virtua1aw library
It was later proved in the case and is now an admitted fact that said witness and Julia Sopriengco, daughter of the deceased, are blood
cousins. The trial court, in excusing this witness for his apparent lack of frankness, if not of truth, said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The witness for the prosecution, Benito Resardo, has been censured for the relationship which he bears to the daughter of the
deceased and for having denied such relationship; but it is certain that being called by the court to testify a second time as a witness,
he gave satisfactory explanation by saying that he had denied his relationship with Julia Sopriengco upon the understanding that he
had been asked in relation to the masculine line and not the feminine, and for that reason he said that his father was from Samar, that
is, a Filipino from the Visayas, while the father of Julia is Chinese."cralaw virtua1aw library
The two witness for the prosecution, Resardo and Moldes, two who claim to have seen the defendant in the act of killing the decease,
make different statements as to whether or not there were houses near the place where they saw the defendant engaged in murdering
the Chinaman, and also as to whether or not they separated after leaving that place or continued their journey together. They also differ
as to where when the authorities investigated the crime on the following day. Both the trial court and this court, on appeal, say in
relation to these discrepancies:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"These are immaterial differences. The attention of these witnesses was not specially directed to the question whether or not there were
house close by, and it is of no importance so far as the truthfulness of their testimony is concerned whether there were houses close by
or whether they continued their journey together."cralaw virtua1aw library
This undoubtedly true and I am very far from desiring to present a criticism of testimony based upon trivial differences. However, these
two witnesses were well acquainted with the locality in which the crime was committed, in fact, they lived in that vicinity, and should
have known thoroughly the location of all houses thereabouts. I mention these differences simply for the purpose of emphasizing the
fact that the testimony of the witnesses for the defense, from the record presented, did not apparently receive the same consideration

8
accorded to that of the prosecution. This court, as well as the trial court, finds itself continually under the necessity of excusing the
evasions of the witnesses for the prosecution, and yet, in spite of that, gives those witnesses full faith and credit, while rejecting utterly
the testimony of the witnesses for the defense, in whose declarations is found nothing which needs excuse. This court says in its
opinion:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Resardo said that he had only testified in this case once. A document was presented to him and he was asked if it was signed by
himself. He said it was. The witness said he was only asked questions in the justice of the peace court. The preliminary investigation, if
any were held, is not made a part of this record. The witness said that he did not testify before the justice of the peace, but explains this
by saying that the justice of the peace only asked him questions. This appears to be a satisfactory explanation on that point. The same
witness stated that he was not related to Julia Sopriengco, the daughter of the deceased Chinaman; but, as the court below said, he
later explained this mistake."cralaw virtua1aw library
But these are not only inconsistencies in the testimony of the witnesses of the prosecution which need to be explained or excused. The
testimony of Mandia, the mediquillo who examined the body of the deceased the day after the tragedy, is entirely at variance with the
sworn declaration of the witnesses Moldes and Resardo. These two witnesses declare that they saw the accused and others strike the
decease in the head with clubs while he was lying on the ground face downward; while Mandia testifies, and this is an act admitted fact,
that there was evidence of only one blow upon the head and that was in the forehead. Confronted with this condition, the prosecution,
in order to escape so patent an inconsistency, obtained from the witness the statement that it was possible that the wound in the
forehead might have been produced from the rear. He said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"As I understand the wound it might have been produced when the deceased had his back turned. I have never studied wounds, but as
I understand it the wound had the appearance of having been made from the rear."cralaw virtua1aw library
It should be remembered that the witness is not a doctor and has no special knowledge of wounds. His evidence as to the position from
which the blow was given is entitled to no more weight that that of the ordinary man. How a person may be struck several times in the
head with a club while he is lying on the ground face downward, show evidence of only one blow and that in the forehead is difficult to
understand.
Moreover, it is admitted that the body of the deceased showed only two injuries one in the forehead made by a club, as we have
said, and one in the right side produced by a dagger. According to the witnesses for the prosecution, the deceased was lying on the
ground face downward, apparently dead or mortally injured, when they first saw him. That his face and forehead were, from their
statements, in contact with the earth is made doubly certain from the fact, as stated by them, that the accused held the deceased by the
cue while he hit him. They say he never moved while they were watching. They saw the dagger wound inflicted. It was done while he
was lying down. Now, either the deceased lay down on his face before he was injured at all or else he was thus laid low by the blow in
the forehead. But if he received the blow in the forehead before he fell then these two witnesses testified mistakenly or falsely when
they said that they saw the accused and his companions deal the deceased several blows in the head with their clubs while he was
thus lying face downward; for, where is the evidence of those blows? It is the undisputed fact (see the majority opinion in this case), as
we have before stated, that the person of the deceased presented only two wounds one a club wound in the forehead, and the other
a dagger wound in the right side. Were those blows, so vividly and graphically described by these two witnesses, wholly imaginary?
Where on the body of the deceased, that silent piece of clay that can not lie, is the evidence of their delivery? Surely those vicious
blows with heavy bludgeons upon the unprotected head of an unresisting man would leave their indelible imprint and tell to all the world
the story of their treacherous delivery! If such blows had really been delivered, that body would have presented the record of them as
inevitably and ineffaceable as though that record had been carved in rock. If, on the other hand, it be said that he received the blow in
the forehead after he fell, we naturally inquire, in the first place, why he fell at all and lay so still, being, up to that moment, wholly
uninjured; in the second place, we should like to know how he could have been struck in the forehead, lying as he was face downward;
and in the third place, why he did his body not disclose evidence of more than one blow? View it as we will, there is something wrong
with the testimony of these two witnesses of the prosecution.
Furthermore, it is the universal testimony of every witness for the prosecution who claims to have seen the accused on the fatal day
that he moved with the ease, celerity, quickness, and rapidity which would naturally characterize a thoroughly sound man engaged in
such an enterprise. Each witness testified that the accused showed no signs of illness or difficulty of movement, but walked not only
easily and naturally but very rapidly. From the condition in which the accused admittedly was at the time, suffering from a disease which
effectually prevented his walking except with extreme difficulty, we know that the story of these witnesses in this respect in untrue. It
would have been utterly impossible for the accused to have walked in the manner described. That the disease with which he was
admittedly afflicted at time would certainly have prevented this, is the undisputed evidence of the case.
I point out these things not to carp or to be hypercritical, but merely to demonstrate that, while no excuse whatever need be offered for
contradictions in the testimony of the witnesses for the defense, their testimony being entirely free therefrom even in minor matters, as
much can not be said of the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution.
But I do not rest my conclusion wholly or even mainly upon the inconsistencies pointed out. I base it rather upon the affirmative
evidence of the defense. To demonstrate this there remains to be pointed out that portion of the evidence of the defense which, in my
judgment, throws the gravest doubt upon the ability of the accused to kill the Chinaman at the place, at the time, and in the manner
alleged. As we have before stated, the accused at the time the crime was committed was suffering severely from the disease known as
beriberi. The distance from the house of the witness Vicente Tiuazon to the place where the Chinaman was found dead, although not
shown definitely by the evidence, is probably about 8 miles. To reach the place from the Tiauzon house one would be compelled to
traverse of foot a wild and broken country, crossing two rivers on the way. There is no other contention that that he made the journey on

9
foot. Doctor Stallman, the witness heretofore mentioned, testified that he saw and personally examined the accused on the 14th day
of March, sixteen days before the commission of the crime. That he was suffering from beriberi. That he again examined him on the 4th
day of April, four days after the commission of the crime, and that the disease had progressed in intensity. That between these two
dates he saw him at various times in the village, sometimes walking; that he walked only with extreme difficulty; that in the condition in
which he was on the 4th of April the defendant "would be able to walk for three hours, but he would be obliged to stop at intervals to
rest." Asked whether or not it would be easy to make a journey of the length, the door replied "it would be extremely difficult. It would
take about four hours for the accused in the state in which I found him on the 4th of April to go from Abuyog to Tarrangona." cralaw
virtua1aw library
In the light of the testimony of Doctor Stallman and the authorities hereafter cited, which demonstrate conclusively the condition in
which the accused was at the time the crime was committed, it would have been extremely improbable, if not practically impossible, that
the accused travel the distance required within the time allotted and commit the crime charged against him so improbable that I have
been wholly unable to bring myself to believe under the evidence that he actually did so.
In this connection, I again call attention to the testimony of the witness Lorenzo Gonzaga, as well as the others who testified as to how
the accused walked on the fatal day. He swore that on the day in question, at about 4 oclock in the afternoon, he ferried the accused
across the Vito River in his banca and that the accused was going in the direction of Tarragona. In this testimony appear the following
questions and answers:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Q. How was the accused walking, fast or slow? - A. Fast.
"Q. Was he walking well when you saw him?
A. He was walking well.
"Q. Did he walk like a well man?
A. He did not appear to have any trouble whatever."cralaw virtua1aw library
In the light of the condition in which the defendant was at the time alleged, this testimony of the witness is little short of absurd.
Beriberi is defined as "an acute disease occurring in certain tropical regions, chiefly in India and Ceylon, characterized by multiple
inflammatory changes in the nerves, producing great muscular debility, a painful rigidity of the limbs, and a condition of general ill health
and malnutrition." The uniform and invariable accompanied of beriberi is the inability to walk naturally, strongly, or rapidly. One medical
authority, speaking of a patient suffering from the disease, says, giving it as a typical case:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The variety in the severity, progress, and duration of beriberi is infinite; but in all cases the essential symptoms are the same greater
or less oedema, especially over the shins; muscular feebleness and hyperaesthesia, especially of the legs; numbness, especially over
the front of the shins; liability to palpitation from cardiac dilation, and to sudden death from the same cause." (Manson, Tropical
Diseases, pp. 224, 226.)
"On the patient being got out bed and started to walk, if he is able to progress at all his gait will be markedly ataxic; but he is not ataxic
merely, for just as with the hands, it will be seen that, in addition to a want of coordinate power, there is great muscular weakness. If he
is laid on the bed and asked to raise his legs, he is perhaps hardly able to get them off the mat, to cross them, or to place one foot on
the top of the other. Very probably he is the subject of marked ankled-drop, so that he drags his toes when he attempts in walking to
advance the foot; he has therefore to raise the foot very high, letting it fall on the ground with a flop when he brings it down again. His
ataxia and his muscular weakness, as well as the partial anesthesia from which he suffers, make hem adopt all sorts of device to assist
him in progression." (Manson, Tropical Disease, pp. 224, 226.)
Another authority puts it thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The first characteristic symptom of the disease is the patients peculiar way of walking, not always easy to describe. The patient
ordinarily becomes tried at the slightest exertion; has a sensation of weakness in the joints, especially of the knees. It requires great
mental effort and all the physical strength of the patient to enable him to lift his feet from the ground and move his legs forward
hence the peculiar way of walking of those suffering from beriberi, as though they were beating time with the feet, the tendency of the
knees to give way, and the common name of the disease, which means "weakness." While the patient can walk at all, instead of lifting
the foot from the ground gradually, he does so with a jerk by stiffening the knees and keeping the same in that position for a while and
then dragging the whole leg forward, first resting on the ground, for this purpose, the big toe and the ball of the foot and immediately
thereafter the rest of the foot. As Van Overbeck of Meijer aptly illustrates it, "they walk as though the legs were wrapped up in soaking
wet cloth." (Diccionario Enciclopedico de Medicina y Cirugia, by Dr. A. Eulenburg, vol. 2, p.48.)
The testimony of Doctor Stallman, taken in connection with the above authorities, demonstrates clearly that it would have been,
practically, little short of impossible for the accused to commit the crime charged, under the circumstances. I do not think that the court
meant, in the following extract from its opinion, to be taken strictly and literally. It says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Doctor Stallmans testimony can be accepted as true and then the alibi would not, by means, be established, as he stated that the
defendant could have made that trip, and it has been clearly established that the defendant was walking around the town during these

10
days."cralaw virtua1aw library
Doctor Stallman does not say, unqualifiedly, that the defendant "could have made that trip." He says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"He would be able to walk for two or three hours, by stopping at intervals. He could walk only with extreme difficulty. I saw him at
various times walking in the streets of Abuyog and noticed that it was very difficult for him to walk. I have said that it was very difficult for
the accused to walk and that I should judge that it would require four hours for him to walk from Abuyog to Tarragona." cralaw virtua1aw
library
It is to be noted that the doctor does not say that the accused could have made that trip at all; that is, that trip which he would have
been obliged to make to commit the crime charged. He says simply that although the accused had great difficulty in walking, still he
could walk from Abuyog to Tarragona if given time enough and if he was permitted to rest at intervals. The question is not was the
accused able to make that trip. The real question is whether, having in mind all the circumstances, including the admitted physical
condition of the accused at the time, it is reasonable to say that he did make the trip. The question is not might he do it, but did he do it.
It is on record in medical journals that men have been known to walk for rods after having been shot straight through the heart.
Nevertheless, no one would hesitate a moment to say that, ordinarily, a person shot through the heart would not be able to walk at all.
So here. It is, perhaps, within the realm of possibility that the accused might have been able to walk the distance and commit that
crime. But I do not think there ought to be a moments hesitation in saying that, under all the circumstances, he did not do so.
I can not bring myself to believe that the accused, afflicted as he was, walked from 12 to 16 mile and took an active part in murdering a
Chinaman. Especially can I not believe so when the exact contrary is proved by the declarations of the three witnesses whose
testimony is not only unimpeached but is richly corroborated by the significant and vital circumstances of the case.
As is natural and proper, much actress is laid upon the motive for committing the crime which the accused is alleged to have had. It is
admitted that he had been convicted of assault and battery against the deceased, and he was, at the time of the murder, engaged in
serving the sentence imposed under such conviction. This may have been a sufficient motive. The attempt, however, to ascribe to the
accused the further motive arising from the alleged fact that the deceased was about to make a complaint to the authorities against the
village president, Vicente Tiauzon, founded upon his failure to confine the accused in the municipal jail, can not be justified, since it
does not appear anywhere in the case that this alleged purpose ever came to the knowledge of the accused. The same may said of the
attempt to impute a further motive growing out of the alleged fact that the deceased had complained to the village president himself that
the accused should be confined in jail instead of being permitted to go at large. There is no proof whatever that this ever came to the
knowledge of the accused. Indeed there is no competent proof that such a complaint was ever made all. The only testimony on that
subject is that referred to in the opinion of the court where the court says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"According to Julia Sopriengco, her father had complained to the president about not confining the defendant, so it was to his interest to
testify in favor of the defendant."cralaw virtua1aw library
So far as can be gleaned from the record, this is pure hearsay evidence, as it would appear that whatever Julia knew in relation to this
matter is what her father told her.
In any event, whatever motive the accused may have had is substantially immaterial. If he was physically unable to make the journey
and effort necessary to commit the murder, that is an end of it, motive or no motive.
There being a reasonable doubt of defendants guilt, he should be acquitted.

G.R. No. L-1481

January 28, 1949

THE
PEOPLE
vs.
EUGENIO
ABENDAN
EUGENIO ABENDAN, appellant.

OF
and

THE

PEDRO

DE

PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
GUZMAN

Iluminado
Rupisan-Mabalot
for
First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Jose G. Bautista for appellee.

(alias MORO), defendants.


appellant.

PARAS, J.:
The appellant, Eugenio Abenda, was convicted in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan of the crime of murder and sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from 12 years, prision mayor, toreclusion perpetua, to indemnify the heirs of Enrique
Doria in the sum of P2,000, and to pay one-half of the costs, Pedro de Guzman was accused jointly with appellant but, upon motion of
the fiscal, the information was provisionally dismissed before the trial as to Pedro de Guzman who was when still at large.
According to the theory of the prosecution, the appellant, chief of police of Manaoag, Pangasinan, during the Japanese occupation,
asked Roberto Delfin and Olegario Samson to come to the municipal building on October 28, 1944. After the two had arrived, the
appellant, considered a terror of the town, ordered them to bring out Enrique Doria from the municipal jail wherein he was then
detained. As this order was not carried out in view of the resistance on the part of Enrique Doria, the appellant and one of his municipal

10

11
policemen, Pedro de Guzman, themselves entered the jail and, after tying Doria's hands, took the latter out and boarded him in the
carretela parked in front of the municipal building. With the five of them in the carretela which was bound for the cemetery, they stopped
by the house of Simeon Arzadon, gate-keeper of the cemetery, from whom the appellant asked Olegario Samson to get the key of the
cemetery's gate.
Arriving at the cemetery at 3.30 p. m., the appellant and Pedro de Guzman tied Enrique Doria to an acasia tree. After Simeon Arzadon
and Olegario Samson had brought the necessary tools which they were ordered by the appellant to get, the two were asked to dig a
grave into which the appellant and Pedro de Guzman pushed Enrique Doria who fell face downward. Upon order of the appellant,
Roberto Delfin, Olegario Samson and Simeon Arzadon started to pour earth over the grave. As Enrique Doria was still alive and tried to
get up, the appellant and Pedro de Guzman bound Enrique's feet with a rope and forced him to lie in the grave. Because Enrique was
still trying to stand up. Pedro struck him on the neck with a crowbar, after which the appellant and Pedro stepped upon him and , when
Doria still showed life, the appellant and Pedro took turns in chopping off Doria's ears. As soon as the grave was filled with earth upon
order of the appellant and Pedro, everybody left.
The appellant denies having taken Enrique Doria to the cemetery and having caused his death in the manner related by the witnesses
for the prosecution; and as a defense he alleges that Enrique Doria was taken to the Japanese garrison on the date in question, upon
receipt by the appellant of a written order from the Japanese delivered by Pedro de Guzman, a noted spy having considerable influence
over the Japanese in the locality; that appellant made representations for the return of Enrique Doria to the municipal jail, but the
Japanese told him that Enrique was to be liquidated for being a bad man; that he left the garrison for the municipal building in the same
carretela in which he, Pedro de Guzman and Enrique Doria rode to the garrison, without knowing what was to happen to Enrique
thereafter; that he was later informed by Pedro de Guzman that the latter had killed Enrique Doria.
We are constrained to accept the theory of the defense. The appellant, a college student of the Siliman University, was a member of the
USAFFE who was sent to and fought in Bataan. Placed by the Japanese in the Capas Concentration Camp, the appellant was able to
escape and to continue resistance against the Japanese. Prevailed to surrender, however, he was made chief of police, although he all
the time remained in contact with the guerrillas. There is uncontradicted evidence to the effect that the appellant was instrumental in the
release of many persons arrested and detained by the Japanese, and that Enrique Doria was wanted by the guerrillas, and this
circumstance is alleged by the appellant as one reason why he detained Enrique in jail and why he wanted the Japanese to return
Enrique to appellant's custody.
While the prosecution failed to present as a witness the driver of the carretela that the appellant allegedly used in bringing Enrique
Doria to the cemetery, and while Roberto Delfin and Olegario Samson could not even remember his identity, the appellant nevertheless
put in the witness stand the driver of the carretela used by him in taking Enrique Doria to the Japanese garrison and in returning from
the latter place to the municipal building; and said driver (Liberato Pablo) corroborated appellant's testimony.
The truthfulness of Simeon Arzadon, Olegario Samson and Roberto Delfin is doubtful, since they had very reason to be hostile to the
appellant. The appellant ordered the detention of Olegario Samson and Roberto Delfin because of certain criminal charges, Simeon
Arzadon had been investigated by the appellant for theft of cement belonging to the municipality of Manaoag. Indeed, the appellant
once slapped and kicked Roberto Delfin in view of his admission that he had committed illegal acts. Moreover, it is improbable that ht
appellant would have utilized said individuals in perpetration a heinous crime, without a showing that they were of his confidence.
Upon the other hand, it is not improbable that Pedro de Guzman, who admittedly had connection with the Japanese garrison, was
responsible for the death of Enrique Doria; and his disappearance lends support to that probability. As a matter of fact, the prosecution
has implicated him in this case as a co-principal. And where there are two likelihoods, that which is consistent with the presumption of
innocence will be adopted.
Even admitting, however, that the appellant was responsible for the death of Enrique Doria, appellant's participation must have had
connection with his undisputed guerrilla activities, since Enrique was, according also to uncontradicted evidence, wasted by the
guerrillas. Hence, he would properly come under the benevolent provisions of the Amnesty Act. Indeed, the appellant had previously
applied for amnesty; and if he failed it was only because he refused to accept the condition that he had first to admit the killing of
Enrique Doria.
The appealed judgment is therefore reversed and the appellant, Enrique Abendan, acquitted with costs de oficio. So ordered.
Moran, C. J., Feria, Pablo, Perfecto, Bengzon, Briones, and Montemayor JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
TUASON, J., dissenting:
I dissent. The evidence which is set out and ably discussed in the appealed decision is so conclusive and airtight as to satisfy the most
fastidious mind. The witness were all simple folks and gave simple, flawless narration of the murder. None of them, especially the
sexton, have been shown to have sufficient reason to lie. On the question of exonerating circumstances there was no angle in the case
from which the killing could be justified, excused, or the penalty mitigated. On the contrary, in perpetrating unnecessary cruelty, burying
the deceased alive, the accused forfeited all claims to sympathy and leniency and made himself deserving of the several punishment.
I reiterate what I said in my dissenting opinion in Barrioquinto et al., vs. Fernandez et al., supra, p. 642:
Amnesty presupposes the commission of a crime. When an accused says that he has not commit a crime he cannot have any
use for amnesty. It is also self-evident that where the amnesty proclamation imposes certain conditions, as in this case, it is

11

12
incumbent upon the accused to prove the existence of those conditions. A petition for amnesty is in the nature of a plea of
confession and avoidance. The pleader has to confess the allegations against him before he is allowed to set out such facts
as, if true, would defeat the action. It is a rank inconsistency for one to justify an act, or seek forgiveness for an act of which,
according to him, he is not responsible. It is impossible for an court or commission to verify the presence of the essential
conditions which should entitle the applicants to exemption from punishment, when the accused and his witness say that he
did not commit a crime. In the nature of things, only the accused and his witnesses could prove that the victim collaborated
with the enemy; that the killing was perpetrated in furtherance of the resistance movements; that no personal motive
intervened in the commissions of the murder , etc., etc. These, or some of these, are matters of belief and intention which only
the accused and his witnesses could explain.
Murders, rapes and other common crimes committed by guerrillas, even though in furtherance of the resistance movement, are not
proper subject of an amnesty and the amnesty proclamation covering theses offenses must be regarded in the nature of a pardon.
(Villa vs. Allen, 2 Phil., 436.).
This brings us to the differences between legislative immunity and a pardon. they substantial. The latter carries an imputation
of guilt; acceptance a confession of it. The former has no such imputation or confession. It id tantamount to the silence of the
witness. It is noncommittal. It is the unobtrusive act of the law given protection against a sinister use of his testimony, not like a
pardon , requiring him to confess his guilt in order to avoid a conviction of it. (Burdick vs. United States, 236 U.S., 79; 59 L.
ed., 476, 482.).
At the English common law, where the pardon is obtained before issue joined, it must be pleaded as other matters in
confession and avoidance, under particular jurisdiction. (Villa vs. Allen, supra.)

[G.R. No. 119220. September 20, 1996]


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NILO SOLAYAO accused-appellant.
DECISION
ROMERO, J.:
Accused-appellant Nilo Solayao was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Naval, Biliran, Branch 16, with the crime of illegal
possession of firearm and ammunition[1]defined and penalized under Presidential Decree No. 1866.
The lone prosecution witness, SPO3 Jose Nio, narrated that at about 9:00 o'clock in the evening of July 9, 1992, with CAFGU
members Teofilo Llorad, Jr. and Cecilio Cenining, he went to Barangay Caulangohan, Caibiran, Biliran. They were to conduct an
intelligence patrol as required of them by their intelligence officer to verify reports on the presence of armed persons roaming around
the barangays of Caibiran.[2]
From Barangay Caulangohan, the team of Police Officer Nio proceeded to Barangay Onion where they met the group of
accused-appellant Nilo Solayao numbering five. The former became suspicious when they observed that the latter were drunk and that
accused-appellant himself was wearing a camouflage uniform or a jungle suit. Accused-appellant's companions, upon seeing the
government agents, fled.[3]
Police Officer Nio told accused-appellant not to run away and introduced himself as "PC," after which he seized the dried
coconut leaves which the latter was carrying and found wrapped in it a 49-inch long homemade firearm locally known as
"latong." When he asked accused-appellant who issued him a license to carry said firearm or whether he was connected with the
military or any intelligence group, the latter answered that he had no permission to possess the same. Thereupon, SPO3 Nio
confiscated the firearm and turned him over to the custody of the policeman of Caibiran who subsequently investigated him and
charged him with illegal possession of firearm.[4]
Accused-appellant, in his defense, did not contest the confiscation of the shotgun but averred that this was only given to him by
one of his companions, Hermogenes Cenining, when it was still wrapped in coconut leaves. He claimed that he was not aware that
there was a shotgun concealed inside the coconut leaves since they were using the coconut leaves as a torch. He further claimed that
this was the third torch handed to him after the others had been used up.[5] Accused-appellant's claim was corroborated by one Pedro
Balano that he indeed received a torch from Hermogenes Cenining which turned out to be a shotgun wrapped in coconut leaves.[6]
On August 25, 1994, the trial court found accused-appellant guilty of illegal possession of firearm under Section 1 of Presidential
Decree No. 1866 and imposed upon him the penalty of imprisonment ranging from reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion
perpetua. The trial court, having found no mitigating but one aggravating circumstance of nighttime, sentenced accused-appellant to
suffer the prison term of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties provided by law.[7] It found that accused-appellant did not

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contest the fact that SPO3 Nino confiscated the firearm from him and that he had no permit or license to possess the same. It
hardly found credible accused-appellant's submission that he was in possession of the firearm only by accident and that upon reaching
Barangay Onion, he followed four persons, namely, Hermogenes Cenining, Antonio Sevillano, Willie Regir and Jovenito Jaro when he
earlier claimed that he did not know his companions.[8]
Accused-appellant comes to this Court on appeal and assigns the following errors:
"I.

The trial court erred in admitting in evidence the homemade firearm.

"II. The trial court erred in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of nighttime in the imposition of the maximum penalty against
the accused-appellant."[9]
This Court, in the case of People v. Lualhati[10] ruled that in crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the
burden of proving the elements thereof, viz: (a) the existence of the subject firearm and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or
possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the same.
In assigning the first error, accused-appellant argued that the trial court erred in admitting the subject firearm in evidence as it was
the product of an unlawful warrantless search. He maintained that the search made on his person violated his constitutional right to be
secure in his person and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Not only was the search made without a warrant but it
did not fall under any of the circumstances enumerated under Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which
provides, inter alia:
"A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense."
Hence, the search being unlawful, the homemade firearm confiscated from him is inadmissible in evidence for being "the fruit of
the poisonous tree."[11] As such, the prosecution's case must necessarily fail and the accused-appellant acquitted.
Accused-appellant's arguments follow the line of reasoning in People v. Cuizon, et al.[12] where this Court declared: " emphasis
is to be laid on the fact that the law requires that the search be incident to a lawful arrest, in order that the search itself may likewise be
considered legal. Therefore, it is beyond cavil that a lawful arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings. Were a
search first undertaken, then an arrest effected based on evidence produced by the search, both such search and arrest would be
unlawful, for being contrary to law."
Under the circumstances obtaining in this case, however, accused-appellant's arguments are hardly tenable. He and his
companions' drunken actuations aroused the suspicion of SPO3 Nio's group, as well as the fact that he himself was attired in a
camouflage uniform or a jungle suit[13] and that upon espying the peace officers, his companions fled. It should be noted that the peace
officers were precisely on an intelligence mission to verify reports that armed persons were roaming around the barangays of Caibiran.
[14]

The circumstances in this case are similar to those obtaining in Posadas v. Court of Appeals[15] where this Court held that "at the
time the peace officers identified themselves and apprehended the petitioner as he attempted to flee, they did not know that he had
committed, or was actually committing the offense of illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions. They just suspected that he was
hiding something in the buri bag. They did not know what its contents were. The said circumstances did not justify an arrest without a
warrant."
This Court, nevertheless, ruled that the search and seizure in the Posadas case brought about by the suspicious conduct
of Posadas himself can be likened to a "stop and frisk" situation. There was a probable cause to conduct a search even before an
arrest could be made.
In the present case, after SPO3 Nino told accused-appellant not to run away, the former identified himself as a government agent.
The peace officers did not know that he had committed, or was actually committing, the offense of illegal possession of
firearm. Tasked with verifying the report that there were armed men roaming around in the barangays surrounding Caibiran, their
attention was understandably drawn to the group that had aroused their suspicion. They could not have known that the object wrapped
in coconut leaves which accused-appellant was carrying hid a firearm.
[16]

As with Posadas, the case at bar constitutes an instance where a search and seizure may be effected without first making an
arrest. There was justifiable cause to "stop and frisk" accused-appellant when his companions fled upon seeing the government
agents. Under the circumstances, the government agents could not possibly have procured a search warrant first.
Thus, there was no violation of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. Nor was there error on
the part of the trial court when it admitted the homemade firearm as evidence.

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As to the question of whether or not the prosecution was able to prove the second element, that is, the absence of a license or
permit to possess the subject firearm, this Court agrees with the Office of the Solicitor General which pointed out that the prosecution
failed to prove that accused-appellant lacked the necessary permit or license to possess the subject firearm.[17]
Undoubtedly, it is the constitutional presumption of innocence that lays such burden upon the prosecution. The absence of such
license and legal authority constitutes an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession of firearm, and every ingredient or
essential element of an offense must be shown by the prosecution by proof beyond reasonable doubt.[18]
In People v. Tiozon,[19] this Court said:
"It is true that People vs. Lubo, 101 Phil. 179 and People vs. Ramos, 8 SCRA 758 could be invoked to support the view that it is
incumbent upon a person charged with illegal possession of a firearm to prove the issuance to him of a license to possess the firearm,
but we are of the considered opinion that under the provisions of Section 2, Rule 131 of the Rules of Court which provide that in
criminal cases the burden of proof as to the offense charged lies on the prosecution and that a negative fact alleged by the prosecution
must be proven if 'it is an essential ingredient of the offense charged,' the burden of proof was with the prosecution in this case to prove
that the firearm used by appellant in commtting the offense charged was not properly licensed.
It cannot be denied that the lack or absence of a license is an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession of a firearm. The
information filed against appellant in Criminal Case No. 3558 of the lower court (now G.R. No. 27681) specifically alleged that he had
no 'license or permit to possess' the .45 caliber pistol mentioned therein. Thus is seems clear that it was the prosecution's duty not
merely to allege that negative fact but to prove it. This view is supported by similar adjudicated cases. In U.S. vs. Tria, 17 Phil. 303, the
accused was charged with 'having criminally inscribed himself as a voter knowing that he had none of the qualifications required to be a
voter. It was there held that the negative fact of lack of qualification to be a voter was an essential element of the crime charged and
should be proved by the prosecution. In another case (People vs. Quebral, 68 Phil. 564) where the accused was charged with illegal
practice of medicine because he had diagnosed, treated and prescribed for certain diseases suffered by certain patients from whom he
received monetary compensation, without having previously obtained the proper certificate of registration from the Board of Medical
Examiners, as provided in Section 770 of the Administrative Code, this Court held that if the subject of the negative averment alike, for
instance, the act of voting without the qualifications provided by law is an essential ingredient of the offense charged, the prosecution
has the burden of proving the same, although in view of the difficulty of proving a negative allegation, the prosecution, under such
circumstance, need only establish a prima facie case from the best evidence obtainable. In the case before Us, both appellant and the
Solicitor General agree that there was not even a prima facie case upon which to hold appellant guilty of the illegal possession of a
firearm. Former Chief Justice Moran upholds this view as follows:
'The mere fact that the adverse party has the control of the better means of proof of the fact alleged, should not relieve the party making
the averment of the burden of proving it. This is so, because a party who alleges a fact must be assumed to have acquired some
knowledge thereof, otherwise he could not have alleged it. Familiar instance of this is the case of a person prosecuted for doing an act
or carrying on a business, such as, the sale of liquor without a license. How could the prosecution aver the want of a license if it had
acquired no knowledge of that fact? Accordingly, although proof of the existence or non-existence of such license can, with more
facility, be adduced by the defendant, it is nevertheless, incumbent upon the party alleging the want of the license to prove the
allegation. Naturally, as the subject matter of the averment is one which lies peculiarly within the control or knowledge of the accused
prima facie evidence thereof on the part of the prosecution shall suffice to cast the onus upon him.' (6 Moran, Comments on the Rules
of Court, 1963 edition, p. 8)."
Finally, the precedents cited above have been crystallized as the present governing case law on this question. As this Court
summed up the doctrine in People v. Macagaling:[20]
"We cannot see how the rule can be otherwise since it is the inescapable duty of the prosecution to prove all the ingredients of the
offense as alleged against the accused in an information, which allegation must perforce include any negative element provided by the
law to integrate that offense. We have reiterated quite recently the fundamental mandate that since the prosecution must allege all the
elements of the offense charged, then it must prove by the requisite quantum of evidence all the elements it has thus alleged."
In the case at bar, the prosecution was only able to prove by testimonial evidence that accused-appellant admitted before Police
Officer Nio at the time that he was accosted that he did not have any authority or license to carry the subject firearm when he was
asked if he had one.[21] In other words, the prosecution relied on accused-appellant's admission to prove the second element.
Is this admission sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of illegal possession of firearm which is that
accused-appellant does not have the corresponding license? Corollary to the above question is whether an admission by the accusedappellant can take the place of any evidentiary means establishing beyond reasonable doubt the fact averred in the negative in the
pleading and which forms an essential ingredient of the crime charged.
This Court answers both questions in the negative. By its very nature, an "admission is the mere acknowledgment of a fact or of
circumstances from which guilt may be inferred, tending to incriminate the speaker, but not sufficient of itself to establish his guilt." [22] In
other words, it is a "statement by defendant of fact or facts pertinent to issues pending, in connection with proof of other facts or

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circumstances, to prove guilt, but which is, of itself, insufficient to authorize conviction." [23] From the above principles, this Court can
infer that an admission in criminal cases is insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt thecommission of the crime charged.
Moreover, said admission is extra-judicial in nature. As such, it does not fall under Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Revised Rules of
Court which states:
"An admission, verbal or written, made by a party in the course of the trial or other proceedings in the same case does not require
proof."
Not being a judicial admission, said statement by accused-appellant does not prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element
of illegal possession of firearm. It does not even establish a prima facie case. It merely bolsters the case for the prosecution but does
not stand as proof of the fact of absence or lack of a license.
This Court agrees with the argument of the Solicitor General that "while the prosecution was able to establish the fact that the
subject firearm was seized by the police from the possession of appellant, without the latter being able to present any license or permit
to possess the same, such fact alone is not conclusive proof that he was not lawfully authorized to carry such firearm. In other words,
such fact does not relieve the prosecution from its duty to establish the lack of a license or permit to carry the firearm by clear and
convincing evidence, like a certification from the government agency concerned."[24]
Putting it differently, "when a negative is averred in a pleading, or a plaintiff's case depends upon the establishment of a negative,
and the means of proving the fact are equally within the control of each party, then the burden of proof is upon the party averring the
negative."[25]
In this case, a certification from the Firearms and Explosives Unit of the Philippine National Police that accused-appellant was not
a licensee of a firearm of any kind or caliber would have sufficed for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second
element of the crime of illegal possession of firearm.
In view of the foregoing, this Court sees no need to discuss the second assigned error.
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the court a quo is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellant Nilo Solayao is
hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence and ordered immediately released unless there are other legal grounds for his
continued detention, with costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, (Chairman), Puno, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Mendoza, J., on leave.

G.R. No. 110107 January 26, 1995


PEOPLE
OF
vs.
DOLORES LORENZO Y CORSINO, accused-appellant.

THE

PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


For having allegedly killed her husband on 30 July 1990, accused-appellant Dolores Lorenzo y Corsino, a policewoman, was charged
with the crime of parricide in an information 1 filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Tuguegarao, Cagayan, on 30 March 1992. The
information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 2060-92-TUG and raffled to Branch 5. The accusatory portion thereof reads as follows:
That on or about July 30, 1990, in the Municipality of Tuguegarao, Province of Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the said accused, PO1 Dolores C. Lorenzo, armed with a bolo and a fan knife, with intent to kill,
with evident premeditation and with treachery did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault,

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stab, hack and chop one, Agapito Lorenzo, her own husband, inflicting upon him several injuries on the different
parts of his body which caused his death.
That in the commission of the offense, the aggravating circumstance of cruelty was present.
After due trial, the trial court promulgated on 24 February 1993 2 its judgment finding the appellant guilty of the crime of parricide and
sentencing her to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000.00.
At the trial, the prosecution presented barangay captain Isabelo Liban and SPO1 Jose Eclipse as its witnesses. The defense presented
the appellant herself and Romeo Racheta. The versions of both the prosecution and the defense are summarized by the trial court as
follows:
The prosecution's evidence tells the following story:
Agapito Lorenzo and accused Dolores Lorenzo were spouses residing in Looban, Barangay 12,
Balzain, Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Among their neighbors are Barangay Captain Isabelo Liban,
Romeo Racheta and Robert Santos.
In the evening of July 30, 1990, SPO1 Jose Eclipse of the Tuguegarao PNP Station was in Balzain,
Tuguegarao, Cagayan because that was his post for the night. At about a little past 10:00 o'clock
that evening, a tricycle driver went to Policeman Eclipse and reported to him a stabbing incident in
said Barangay 12;
Policeman Eclipse rushed to the reported crime scene. On his way, he met PO1 Dolores Lorenzo,
a policewoman of his own Station who immediately surrendered to him a blood-stained bolo and a
fan knife and told him, "I killed my husband".
The two proceeded to where the victim was. In front of the store of Barangay Captain Isabelo
Liban, Policeman Eclipse saw Agapito sprawled on the ground with blood all over his body.
Policeman Eclipse called for Barangay Captain Liban to come out of his house. In the presence
and within the hearing of said barangay official, Policewoman Lorenzo again said, "I'm surrendering
because I killed my husband".
Policeman Eclipse ordered somebody to get a tricycle to bring the lifeless body of Agapito Lorenzo
to a funeral parlor while he and Policewoman Lorenzo went to the Tuguegarao PNP Station.
Policeman Eclipse turned over Policewoman Lorenzo together with the bolo and knife to the Desk
Officer, SPO3 Urbano Aquino. Eclipse then orally made his report to the Desk Officer which was
noted down in the Police Blotter.
The defense painted another picture of the incident. It's theory is that it was not Policewoman
Lorenzo but a certain Robert Santos who killed Agapito. Here is the defense's version of the
incident.
In the afternoon of July 30, 1990, Agapito Lorenzo and his neighbor Robert Santos were in the
former's house passing the time over a bottle of beer grande. When Policewoman Lorenzo arrived
home from work, Agapito, in the presence of Robert Santos, met her with the following intemperate
questions: "Your mother's cunt, why do you arrive only now? Where did you come from? To avoid
further scandal, Policewoman Lorenzo just keep quiet, went to change her clothes and proceeded
to the kitchen to prepare supper. Finding nothing to cook, she asked permission from her husband
to go to market.
Policewoman went to market and then immediately went back home to cook what she bought.
While cooking in the kitchen, she heard a heated exchange of words between Robert Santos and
her husband in the sala of their house pertaining to some bullets and a hand grenade which the
latter gave Robert Santos.
Policewoman Lorenzo went to the sala to pacify the quarelling men only to meet Robert Santos
running out of the house with a bolo and being chased by Agapito Lorenzo who was holding a knife
in his hand and whose clothes were splattered with blood. When Agapito overtook Robert, a
struggle for the possession of the bolo ensued between the two men.

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While wrestling, Agapito dropped his knife. Policewoman Lorenzo picked it up and tried to stab
Robert with it but she was so overwhelmed by nervousness that she collapsed into
unconsciousness. Seconds later on, she regained consciousness and found herself beside her
dying husband.
Policewoman Lorenzo stood and picked up the knife and bolo. It was at this precise time when
Policeman Eclipse arrived at the scene of the incident.
Policewoman Lorenzo gave the knife and bolo to Policeman Eclipse. The Policeman invited her to
go with him to the Tuguegarao PNP Station. She obliged. When the two arrived at the police
station, Policeman Eclipse, in the presence of Policewoman Lorenzo, reported to the Desk Officer
that the latter killed her husband. Since the policewoman had not yet fully recovered her
composure, she did not say anything. 3
The trial court gave full faith and credit to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. It found nothing on record which showed that
their impartiality had been vitiated or compromised or that they had any motive to falsely impute upon the appellant the commission of
the crime. It further declared that when the appellant surrendered the knife and bolo to SPO1 Eclipse and volunteered the information
that she killed her husband, she made an extrajudicial confession and nothing more was needed to prove her culpability. 4 The trial
court held that the confession was admissible for it was not made in violation of paragraph 1, Section 12, Article III of the
Constitution. 5 The appellant was neither under police custody nor under investigation in connection with the killing of her husband.
The trial court rejected the story of the defense and characterized it as "palpably a put-up scenario . . . . [A] story which runs against the
grain of ordinary reality, controverts logic and assails common sense." 6
First, accused Policewoman Lorenzo testified that it is not true that she confessed to Policeman Eclipse in the
presence of Barangay Captain Liban that she killed her husband. If her denial is true, why did she not correct or even
protest when Policeman Eclipse reported to the Desk Officer that she confessed having killed her husband? Why did
she not even try to correct the entry in the police blotter containing said inculpatory report? On the contrary, by some
inexplicable quirk, she even let the cat out when she presented in evidence Exhibit "1".
Second, accused put forth the theory of her defense: it was not she but Robert Santos who did her husband in. This
theory is shot. If this is true, why did she not tell it to Policeman Eclipse and Barangay Captain Liban at the scene of
the crime? Why did she withhold such a very vital information when she was brought to the Tuguegarao PNP Station
shortly after the incident? But the biggest "why" is: Why did not the accused, wife of the slain man and policewoman
at that, file a criminal case against Robert Santos?
The accused's explanation was: she was still uncomposed when she turned over the knife and bolo to Policeman
Eclipse and even when she was in the police station. She did not also file a case against Robert Santos because she
found herself the suspect and later on the accused.
These reasons do not cut ice. They are for the birds. No one with an ordinary intelligence would buy such reasons.
Third, the accused never filed a counter-affidavit during the preliminary investigation of this case. Not that a counteraffidavit is obligatory but that it afforded the accused the best opportunity to explain her innocence and to identify the
"real killer" of her husband. Why did she not grab this chance as normal people in the same situation would
have done?
Fourth, accused version is simply implausible. According to Policewoman Lorenzo, when she saw her husband
Agapito chasing Robert out of the house, Agapito's clothes were already bloodied. Since there is no proof at all that
Robert ever sustained any wound, the implication is that Agapito was already hacked and stabbed by Robert inside
the former's house.
It is therefore, difficult to believe that Agapito who already sustained several wounds could chase Robert and even
harder to imagine that he wrestled with Robert for the possession of the latter's bolo. But why, it may be asked,
should Agapito still try to divest Robert of his bolo when he (Agapito) was holding a knife which he could have easily
used against the latter during the alleged clinching between the two?
Finally, it is very unnatural for "assailant" Robert to have left his bolo before running away from the scene of the
crime. This is a concoction to provide an explanation for the possession of the accused of a knife and a bolo.
Fifth, the version of accused and her witness Romeo Racheta are even at variance at a very vital point. Thus,
Policewoman Lorenzo said that when Agapito was able to overtake Robert in front of the store of Barangay Captain

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Liban, the two struggled for the possession of the bolo of Robert. Witness Racheta however said that when
Agapito chased Robert, he caught up with him when he was already cornered. When Robert could no longer run
anywhere else, he turned around, faced Agapito and hacked and stabbed him many times. Such inconsistency in the
version of the two defense witnesses cannot but heighten one's conviction that the defense theory is a conjured one. 7
The appellant appealed from the judgment to this Court and in her brief 8 contends that the trial court erred in:
I. . . . GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF PROSECUTION WITNESSES ISABELO LIBAN AND SPO1
JOSE ECLIPSE.
II. . . . NOT HOLDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED WAS NOT PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT." 9
She discusses these jointly and, in support thereof, she asseverates that the testimonies of Liban and Eclipse are inconsistent on
material points, for while Liban declared in court and stated in his sworn statement that he (Liban) came out of his house and heard the
appellant confess to Eclipse that she killed her husband, Eclipse testified that Liban did not come out of his house. One of them, she
continues, did not tell the truth and argues that a testimony on her alleged confession, which would be devoid of any evidentiary value
without corroboration.
She pleads that this Court discredit both Liban and Eclipse because the testimony of Liban was improbable while that of Eclipse "was
not so firm and resolute as to what was actually allegedly told him by the accused." At one time, while testifying, he declared that the
appellant told him that she "accidentally injured her husband," but on another, he testified that the appellant told him that she "killed her
husband." 10 Also, as shown in the entry in the police blotter, 11 Eclipse was reported to have disclosed that the appellant "voluntarily
surrendered and asked him to bring her to the police station because she allegedly killed her husband named Agapito Lorenzo, Jr.
together with Robert Santos who first stabbed him"; yet, in his testimony in court he pinned down only the appellant and mentioned
nothing about Santos. Furthermore, she charges the prosecution with suppression of evidence in not presenting as a witness another
police officer who Eclipse said accompanied him to the scene of the crime and who used a vehicle which they rode in going to the
police
station. 12
Meeting squarely the ratiocinations of the trial court in describing the story of the defense as a "probably put-up scenario," the appellant
asserts that it was error for the trial court to hold her failure to correct the entry in the police blotter against her since there is nothing in
the records which clearly shows that she heard Eclipse making the report to the desk officer and that she saw the entry. The appellant
also contends that the trial court erred when it made capital of her alleged failure to file a criminal complaint against Robert Santos
since it was the police's duty to arrest and prosecute Robert Santos, Eclipse having known of Robert Santos' killing of her husband.
Besides, she was in detention all throughout and suffering from trauma. She avers that the trial court erred when it held against her the
failure to file her counter-affidavit, since that was not obligatory and her non-filing was in accord with her constitutional right to remain
silent. Finally, she contends that the conclusions drawn by the trial court in its evaluation of her testimony and that of her witnesses are
mere speculations.
The appellee agrees with the findings of fact and conclusions of the trial court and prays that the challenged decision be affirmed.
The pith of the assigned errors and the focus of the appellant's arguments is the issue of the witnesses' credibility. It is a wellentrenched rule that when such is the issue, appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court considering that the
latter is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner
of testifying during the trial, unless certain facts of value have been plainly overlooked which, if considered, might affect the result of the
case. 13 The trial court has the singular opportunity to observe and consider certain potent aids in understanding and weighing the
testimony of witnesses, such as the emphasis, gesture, and inflection of the voice of the witnesses while they are on the witness stand.
As these are not incorporated into the record, the appellate court cannot avail of them and must therefore rely on the good judgment of
the trial court. 14 The appellant has not convinced us that the trial court plainly overlooked proved facts or circumstances which, if
considered, may affect the result of this case. We thus accept its assessment of the evidence as correct and consider it binding, there
being no showing that it was reached arbitrarily. 15 Our own evaluation thereof yields no cause for the application of the exception to the
settled rule.
We agree with the trial court that prosecution witness SPO1 Jose Eclipse told the truth when he declared under oath that the appellant
surrendered to him a blood-stained bolo and a fan knife and told him that she killed her husband. Eclipse happened to be on his way to
the scene of the stabbing incident which was reported to him by a tricycle driver while he was in the performance of his official duty at
his assigned post in Barangay Balzain, Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Eclipse and the appellant both belonged to the same police unit, the
PNP at the Tuguegarao station. There is nothing in the records, and more specifically in the cross-examination of Eclipse and the direct
examination of the appellant, which suggests, even remotely, that Eclipse had any improper motive to implicate a fellow police officer in
the commission of a serious crime or the slightest bias against the appellant which would blemish his objectivity and truthfulness.

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If there was any bias, it should have been, logically, in favor of the appellant because of esprit de corps. Eclipse did not allow that
sentiment to compromise his official and public duty as a peace officer. It is settled that the absence of evidence as to an improper
motive strongly tends to sustain the conclusion that none existed and that the testimony is worthy of full faith and credit, for, indeed, if
an accused had nothing to do with the crime, it would be against the natural order of events and of human nature and against the
presumption of good faith for a prosecution witness to falsely testify against the accused. 16
The appellant's emphasis on the inconsistency in the testimony of Eclipse as to what she actually told him, i.e., that she "injured" her
husband or "killed" him, is misplaced; the latter word was used when the court asked him for the precise term used by the appellant. 17
Nor is there merit to the claim that Isabelo Liban's testimony must corroborate Eclipse's testimony or the confession of the appellant
since without such corroboration Eclipse's testimony would have no probative value. This theory could only be a product of a
misunderstanding of Section 3, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court which provides:
Sec. 3. Extrajudicial confession, not sufficient ground for conviction. An extrajudicial confession made by an
accused, shall not be sufficient ground for conviction, unless corroborated by evidence of corpus delicti.
Note that what must be corroborated is the extrajudicial confession and not the testimony of the person to whom the confession is
made, and the corroborative evidence required is not the testimony of another person who heard the confession but the evidence
of corpus delicti. Except when expressly required by law, 18 the testimony of a single person, if credible and positive and if it satisfies the
court as to the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, is sufficient to convict. 19 In determining the value and credibility of
evidence, witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered.20
As to the corroborative evidence of corpus delicti, the appellant herself does not question its presence because she knows that it has
been overwhelmingly established in this case. Corpus delicti is the body (material substance) upon which a crime has been
committed, e.g., the corpse of a murdered man or the charred remains of a house burned down. In a derivative sense, it means the
substantial fact that a crime was committed. It is made up of two elements: (a) that a certain result has been proved, for example a man
has died or a building has been burned, and (b) that some person is criminally responsible for the act. Section 3, Rule 133 of the Rules
of Court does not mean that every element of the crime charged must be clearly established by independent evidence apart from the
confession. It means merely that there should be some evidence tending to show the commission of the crime apart from the
confession. Otherwise, the utility of the confession as a species of proof would vanish if it were necessary, in addition to the confession,
to adduce other evidence sufficient to justify conviction independently of such confession. Otherwise stated, the other evidence need
not, independently of the confession, establish the corpus delicti beyond a reasonable doubt. 21
Since the corroboration of Isabelo Liban's testimony was unnecessary, we need not discuss its intrinsic merits, more especially on its
alleged inconsistencies vis-a-vis the testimony of Eclipse which inconsistencies we, nevertheless, find to be on minor matters. Minor
inconsistencies do not affect the credibility of witnesses; on the contrary, they even tend to strengthen rather than weaken their
credibility because they erase any suspicion of rehearsed testimony. 22
The claim of suppression of evidence has no merit. The testimony of the other policeman whom Eclipse requested to get a vehicle
could only be corroborative in some respects but not of the fact of the surrender of the blood-stained bolo and fan knife and of the
appellant's telling Eclipse that she killed her husband since it was explicitly shown that he was with Eclipse at the precise time of the
surrender. The prosecutor and the defense counsel asked no further questions of Eclipse to elicit more on the presence of the other
policeman. In any event, even if the latter were present, his testimony would only be corroborative. Furthermore, it has never been
shown that the said policeman was not available to the defense. The presumption laid down in Section 3(e), Rule 131 of the Rules of
Court that "evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced" does not apply when the testimony of the witness not produced
would only be corroborative, or when the said witness is available to the defense because then the evidence would have the same
weight against one party as against the other. 23
We do not, however, agree with the trial court's characterization of the appellant's declaration that she killed her husband as
an extrajudicial confession. It is only an admission. It is clear from Sections 26 and 33, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court that there is a
distinction between an admission and a confession. These sections reads as follows:
Sec. 26. Admission of a party. The act, declaration or admission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in
evidence against him.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 33. Confession. The declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or of any
offense necessarily included therein, may be given in evidence against him.

19

20
In a confession. there is an acknowledgment of guilt. Admission is usually applied in criminal cases to statements of fact by the
accused which do not directly involve an acknowledgment of guilt of the accused or of the criminal intent to commit the offense with
which he is charged. 24 Wharton 25 defines confession as follows:
A confession is an acknowledgment in express terms, by a party in a criminal case, of his guilt of the crime charged,
while an admission is a statement by the accused, direct or implied, of facts pertinent to the issue, and tending, in
connection with proof of other facts, to prove his guilt. In other words, an admission is something less than a
confession, and is but an acknowledgment of some fact or circumstance which in itself is insufficient to authorize a
conviction, and which tends only to establish the ultimate fact of guilt.
Underhill 26 distinguishes a confession from an admission as follows:
A confession is defined as an acknowledgment of guilt of the crime charged or of the facts which constitute the crime;
but it is an admission and not a confession if the facts acknowledged raise an inference of guilt only when considered
with other facts.
While Wigmore 27 says:
A confession is an acknowledgment in express words, by the accused in a criminal case, of the
truth of the guilty fact charged or of some essential part of it. 28
Nevertheless, whether it was a confession or an admission, it was admissible against the appellant and, having been duly proved,
together with the other facts and circumstances, the burden of the evidence was shifted to the appellant to disprove, by strong
evidence, that she made the admission or, admitting it, to prove that she was not guilty of killing her husband. As earlier shown, the trial
court
characterized
her
story
as
"palpably
a
put-up
scenario
. . . . [A] story which runs against the grain of ordinary reality, controverts logic and assails common sense." The five reasons
enumerated by it to support this conclusion are founded on or are inferred from facts duly established by the prosecution or are
otherwise solidly based on common experience, logic, and common sense.
The trial court had stated that if indeed the appellant never confessed to Eclipse that she killed her husband, she should have protested
when Eclipse reported to the desk officer that she had confessed to the killing of her husband or she should have attempted to correct
the entry in the police blotter containing this inculpatory report. The appellant demonstrated her penchant for falsehood when, in order
to refute this statement, she asserted in her brief that nothing in the record clearly shows that she heard Eclipse making the report and
that she read the entry in the police blotter. She conveniently forgot that on cross-examination she admitted having heard Eclipse
making the report but claiming that she did not protest because she was not in her right senses and was in a state of shock at the time.
Thus:
Prosecutor Saguncio:
Q Did the desk officer ever talk to you?
A No, sir.
Q So it was only PFC Eclipse who talked to the desk officer?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Within your hearing and you heard PFC Eclipse talked to the desk officer?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And what did PFC Eclipse report to the desk officer?
A The one that is appearing in the excerpt of the police blotter, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Court:

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Q When you said that you heard Pat. Eclipse reported to the desk officer you meant to say that you heard him telling the
police officer that you killed your husband Agapito Lorenzo, Jr. together with Robert Santos who first stabbed him, is that not so?
A Yes, sir.
Court:
Proceed.
Pros. Saguncio:
Q You heard this and you did not make any comment?
A Yes, sir, but because at this time I was not in my right senses because I was then shocked at that time.

29

The appellant's failure to assert, at any part of the entire event, from the time she went with Eclipse to the police station up to the time
she was committed to jail and even thereafter until she took the witness stand, that it was not she who killed her husband only serves to
reinforce and strengthen this Court's respect for the trial court's finding that her story that "it was not she but Robert Santos who did her
husband in, "is shot." We find it incredible that a peace officer and a wife of the victim would not forthwith denounce or reveal the
identity of the assailant if it were true that it was not she who killed her husband. This Court has held that the testimony of the accused
is not credible where he has adopted an attitude of indifference relative to the crime he is accused of and where he failed to inform the
police authorities and the fiscal during the investigation that it was not he but somebody else who committed the murder. 30
Even granting for the sake of argument that the appellant only surrendered a blood-stained bolo and a fan knife but did not admit that
she killed her husband, we find in this case several circumstances whose concordant combination and cumulative effect 31 point to the
appellant, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty party. These circumstances are the following:
1. A tricycle driver reported to Eclipse a stabbing incident and the latter immediately proceeded to where it took place;
2. Eclipse met the appellant who had with her a blood-stained bolo and a fan knife;
3. The appellant surrendered to Eclipse the blood-stained bolo and the fan knife;
4. The appellant's husband lay dead nearby with nine chop wounds, thirteen stab wounds, and nine incised wounds on different
parts of his body, with abrasions and multiple contusions as well; 32
5. Eclipse accompanied the appellant to the police station and, in her presence, the former reported to the desk officer that she
surrendered to him and told him that she had killed her husband; the desk officer then entered this report in the police blotter;
6. Although the appellant heard the report, she did not protest to Eclipse or except to the report; and
7. The appellant never asked the police authorities to investigate Robert Santos for his complicity in the killing of her husband;
despite the unhampered opportunities for her to denounce Santos as the alleged killer of her husband, she implicated Santos only
when she testified on 21 January 1993, 33or after the lapse of nearly two and one-half years after the incident.
These circumstances constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion that points to the appellant, to
the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person. The requirements then of Section 4, Rule 133 34 of the Rules of Court on the sufficiency
of circumstantial evidence to convict the appellant are present. 35
To be appreciated in the appellant's favor, however, is the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. The penalty for parricide
under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua to death, which are both indivisible penalties. In the light of the
mitigating circumstance, the proper penalty which should be imposed upon the appellant should be reclusion perpetua, pursuant to
Rule 3, Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code.
The challenged decision is then in accordance with the facts and the applicable laws.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan in Criminal Case No. 2060-92TUG is AFFIRMED.
Costs against the appellant.

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22
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

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