PEOPLE vs. FABRO, GR 114261, Feb 10, 2000
Appellant Fabro together with her common-law husband Donald Pilay and Irene Martin, was charged with the crime of "violation of Section 21 (b) Art. IV, in relation to Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act No. 6425. They conspired and sold/delivered to PO2 APDUHAN, who acted as poseur-buyer, one (1) kilo of dried marijuana leaves. Two concerned individuals, Gloria and Emma Borce, reported to Chief Inspector Evasco that a in Baguio City, was engaged in selling marijuana. They added that sales usually took place between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Acting on that report, Chief Inspector Evasco organized two teams to conduct a buy-bust operation. Senior Inspector Mabanag was to be the overall team leader with Batag as his assistant. SPO2 Ellonito Apduhan was designated poseur-buyer in the operation. After briefing the group, Chief Inspector Evasco gave P600.00 as purchase money to Apduhan. The amount consisted of six P100-bills with their serial numbers duly listed down.
As Apduhan, Gloria and Emma drew near Pilay’s residence, appellant met them. Donald Pilay who appeared drunk was inside the house by the main door. Gloria and Emma introduced Apduhan to appellant as a stranger in the place who wanted to buy marijuana. Appellant told them that a kilo would cost them P700.00 but she agreed to Apduhan’s price of P600.00. After Apduhan had ordered a kilo of the contraband, appellant told them to wait a while. Appellant then went to a house just behind her own. After a few minutes, she returned in the company of another woman who was later identified as Irene Martin. Appellant handed the stuff to Apduhan. Her companion, Irene Martin, demanded payment therefor. Apduhan gave her the P600.00. After ascertaining that it was a brick of marijuana, he made the pre-arranged signal of lighting his cigarette. Immediately, the back-up team rushed towards their direction. However, before the team could reach them, Irene Martin ran away. Apduhan held appellant so that she could not escape. Donald Pilay was also arrested.
ISSUE: Whether there is conspiracy in the commission of the crime
RULING: Appellant’s contention that Irene Martin was the real culprit being the source of the contraband does not in any way absolve her of the crime of selling marijuana. While it is true that it was Irene Martin who took the money, appellant was the one who negotiated with the poseur-buyers; fetched her co-accused; carried and handed over the marijuana to Apduhan. The acts of Martin and appellant clearly show a unity of purpose in the consummation of the sale of marijuana. In other words, between Martin and appellant, conspiracy in the commission of the crime was indubitably proven by the prosecution.
Section 21 (b) of R.A. 6425 punishes the mere conspiracy to commit the offense of selling, delivering, distributing and transporting of dangerous drugs. Conspiracy herein refers to the mere agreement to commit the said acts and not the actual execution thereof. While the rule is that a mere conspiracy to commit a crime without doing any overt act is not punishable, the exception is when such is specifically penalized by law, as in the case of Section 21 of Republic Act 6425. Conspiracy as crime should be distinguished from conspiracy as a manner of incurring criminal liability the latter being applicable to the case at bar.
PEOPLE vs. ESPIRITU, et. al., GR 80406; November 20, 1990
PEOPLE vs. FORCA GR 134938 June 8, 2000
On July 12, 1995, FORCA, TESTON, GACO and OSORIO were charged with MURDER before the RTC of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City. Except for FORCA who has remained at large, all the accused pleaded not guilty for conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping each other, with evident premeditation, treachery and abuse of superior strength, with intent to kill and while armed with bladed weapons, attacked, stabbed and hacked with their bladed weapons, one VLADINER DECENA, hitting him in the different vital parts of his body and inflicting upon him multiple stab and hack wounds which cause [sic] cardio-pulmonary arrest which were
Bucol testified that he played basketball with Vladiner Decena. FORCA, TESTON, GACO and OSORIO were already there drinking at a nearby store. After they had finished playing, he and Vladiner watched the butchering of a shark; Vladiner was seated inside a cart, while Bucol stood about ten meters away from him. When Bucol turned to look at his friend, he saw FORCA about to stab Vladiner with a bolo, prompting him to shout "Toto, sasaksakin ka," but nevertheless, Vladiner was stabbed. FORCA stabbed the victim once,then OSORIO held Vladiner’s hair and GACO his armpits, thus allowing FORCA to stab Vladiner two more times. OSORIO and GACO then released Vladiner, and it was at this point that TESTON came forward and hacked him 19 times.
The autopsy report described the cause of death as "cardio-pulmonary arrest secondary to internal and external hemorrhage due to multiple hacking and stab wounds."
ISSUE: Whether there is conspiracy in the commission of the crime
The court found that the accused acted in conspiracy. It held that, in the killing of Vladiner, each of the accused performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination so as to indicate a common purpose and design.
In full agreement with the trial court, the OSG asserts that accused acted in conspiracy. Based on the testimony of Bucol, FORCA stabbed Valdiner, after which GACO held him by the armpits, while OSORIO grabbed his hair. Thereupon, TESTON hacked the victim several times with his bolo. Their various acts clearly show that they were animated by the same purpose and impelled by a common design. The manner in which the accused attacked Vladiner also shows that they acted with abuse of superior strength since they clearly outnumbered the victim who was utterly defenseless. Thus, the trial court was correct in holding the accused liable for the crime of murder.
As shown by their concerted acts, accused clearly harbored and were united in the execution of the same criminal purpose — to end the life of Vladiner Decena. Since conspiracy has been proven, it need not be determined who among the accused delivered the fatal blow. All of the accused are liable as principals regardless of the extent and character of their participation, for in conspiracy the act of one is the act of all.
PEOPLE vs. BAGANO GR 139531, January 31, 2002, 375 SCRA 470
This is an appeal from the Decision of the RTC of Cebu City, finding Reynaldo Bagano alias Pugot and Pablito Cañete guilty of murder. Bagano and Cañete were charged with murder qualified by conspiracy and aggravated by treachery and evident premeditation in an Information dated 3 July 1995. On 1997 the trial court convicted both accused of murder for the killing of Jeremias Montecino and sentenced Bagano, a recidivist, to reclusion perpetua, and Cañete to seventeen reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua.
The court a quo rejected the defense of alibi and denial raised by accused Bagano and Cañete on the basis of the following findings: About 3am, Jeremias Montecino and his wife Merlinda were sleeping in their home, when they were awakened by someone repeatedly calling Jeremias' name. The call came from outside. Jeremias went to the window to see who it was and thereafter left their room to go outside. Merlinda remained in their room, but peering through the window she saw Canete suddenly embrace Jeremias as the latter was opening the gate. Thereupon, Bagano with ice pick in hand stabbed Jeremias on the chest. Jeremias struggled to free himself from Cañete's clasp and ran, but Reynaldo Bagano gave chase. Upon hearing Merlinda's screams for help Bagano withdrew and fled with Canete following him. Merlinda rushed Jeremias to the Cebu City Medical Center but he succumbed to severe hemorrhage secondary to the stab wound on the left side of his chest. He died upon arrival at the hospital.
ISSUE: Whether there conspiracy in the commission of the crime
RULING: Conspiracy is attendant in the commission of the crime. For conspiracy to exist, it is sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense the accused had the same purpose and were united in its execution. Proof of an actual planning of the perpetuation of the crime is not a condition precedent. From the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated, and as can be inferred from their acts, it is evident that Bagano and Cañete were one in their intention to kill Jeremias Montecino. Hence, in accordance with the principle that in conspiracy the act of one is the act of all, the fact that it was Bagano who delivered the fatal blow on Montecino and Cañete's participation was limited to a mere embrace is immaterial. Conspiracy bestows upon them equal liability; hence, they shall suffer the same fate for their acts.
Decision of the court a quo of 15 October 1997 in Crim. Case No. CBU-39045, finding accused-appellants Reynaldo Bagano alias Pugot a.k.a. Reynaldo Friolo and Pablito Cañete guilty of murder is AFFIRMED with the MODICATION that both accused-appellants shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE vs. BANGCADO, GR 132330, Nov. 28, 2000, 346 SCRA 189
At around 8:30 in the evening, Cogasi, Clemente, Adawan and Lino were at the Skyview Restaurant, Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City, drinking and listening to folksongs. Moments later, a group of five (5) arrived and sat one table away from Cogasi and his friends. Among the newcomers was SPO1 Bangcado, and $PO3 Banisa. The rest of their group were not identified.
At that time, members of the police force of Baguio City were conducting Operation Kapkap at the Skyview Restaurant. They however exempted the table of PO3 Cesar Banisa as they knew him to be a fellow policeman.
At around 9:00 o'clock that evening, Cogasi and his friends left the restaurant to go home. They were residents of La Trinidad, Benguet. As they went behind the restaurant where their Ford Fierra was parked, they noticed SPO1 Bangcado and PO3 Banisa following them. Banisa asked Richard Lino for a light. Then Bangcado and Banisa asked the group if they were willing to be frisked. Since the two (2) police officers were armed with handguns and smelled of liquor, the group agreed to be frisked. Bangcado, with Banisa standing guard behind him with a drawn gun, ordered Adawan, Lino, Cogasi, and Clemente to form a line against the Ford Fierra facing him in that order. Without any warning, Bangcado suddenly fired his gun in quick succession at the four (4) persons lined up against the Ford Fierra. Cogasi saw Adawan and Lino fall down. Cogasi then felt he was hit on the left side of his neck and he also fell down. He managed however to crawl away and run. He woke up to find himself confined in a hospital together with Clemente. There Cogasi learned that Lino and Adawan died from gunshot wounds in their heads. Cogasi himself suffered a gunshot wound at the neck, at the junction of his left jaw near the ear, while Clemente received two (2) gunshot wounds on his right shoulder with one (1) of the bullets being lodged just below his right eye.
ISSUE: Whether there conspiracy in the commission of the crime
RULING: Thus, as to the identity of the gunman, it is apparent that both witnesses were positive only as far as Bangcado was concerned. However, it seems that they only concluded that Banisa participated in the shooting because he was also holding a gun. The failure of the surviving victims to assert with confidence that Banisa also fired his gun raises reasonable doubt as to whether he participated in the shooting.
In the absence of any previous plan or agreement to commit a crime, the criminal responsibility arising from different acts directed against one and the same person is individual and not collective, and that each of the participants is liable only for his own acts. Consequently, Banisa must be absolved from criminal responsibility for the assault on the victims. It is clear that neither the victims nor Banisa could have anticipated Bangcado’s act of shooting the victims since the attack was sudden and without any reason or purpose. Thus, the criminal design of Bangcado had not yet been revealed prior to the killings.
There being no finding of conspiracy with accused-appellant SPO1 Jose Bangcado, PO3 Cesar Banisa is ACQUITTED of all the charges against him and, consequently, is ordered released from custody in connection with herein cases, unless he is held for other lawful causes.
PEOPLE vs. ROEL PUNZALAN, ET. AL. (GR 78853; November 8, 1991)
The accused, Marieta Mendoza, appeals from the decision of the RTC, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 30, San Pablo City, convicting her of the crime of robbery with homicide and imposing on her the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
The accused Marieta is married to accused Domingo Mendoza. Since two years prior to the incident in question became a permanent househelp. Accused Marieta's primary duty was to attend to the needs of Mrs. Lourdes Fule who was then 66 years old, sick with hypertension. To be able to promptly administer to the needs of her mistress, the accused Marieta was made to sleep immediately outside the door of her mistress so that medicines could be given to her as the need arises. The accused Roel Punzalan was one of the houseboys of the Fules since about 4 to 5 months prior to the incident while accused Jose Besida was hired two months prior, at the instance and effort of accused Domingo Mendoza. A week prior to the incident all the accused plotted to rob Mrs. Fule who had a collection of jewelries and certain amount of cash.
On 9 July 1985 accused Domingo Mendoza arrived at 9:00 a.m. and stayed at the servants' quarters of the Fule compound located at corner Del Pilar and Rizal Avenue, Alaminos, Laguna. He was seen in close huddle with the other said accused. He spent the night until the next day of July 10, 1985 . After the master of the house, Judge Conrado Fule left for Manila at about 4:00 p.m. all the accused were seen to be in secret and close conversation. Accused Domingo Mendoza was heard to have uttered "Ituloy na natin wala si Judge Fule". Accused Domingo Mendoza left at 6:30 p.m. that day. At about 7:30 p.m. Gregorio Fule had supper at his mother's house while being served by Nieves Garcia Santos and accused Marieta. After eating, mother and son were talking about their health while the son was fixing the betamax unit. After fixing the betamax, the son, Gregorio Fule left his mother watching a betamax tape together with the accused Marieta, Roel Punzalan, Jose Besida, a child of Marieta and Nieves Garcia Santos. At about 11:30 p.m. of July 10, 1985, accused Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida went out of the house for their servants' quarters while the victim, Lourdes Fule and accused Marieta locked up all the doors to the house. At 12:30 a.m. of July 11, 1985 accused Marieta was seen at the door of the servant's quarters calling (sutsot) for Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida after which the three of the accused went up to the house. Accused Marieta Mendoza knocked on the door of the victim and woke her up on some pretext. When the door was opened by the victim, accused Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida went rushing in and inflicted the injuries and stab wounds on the victim. They put cloth on her mouth to prevent her from making an outcry. When the victim was still lying on her bed bleeding to death, the accused Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida ransacked her drawers and scooped up the jewelries and cash money. At this juncture, accused Domingo Mendoza was waiting in a parked jeep outside the Fule compound. While all these were going on accused Marieta did not do anything to help the victim. She did not also prevent the killing of the victim. When the crime was consummated, the accused Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida told accused Marieta that they would meet at Del Remedio, changed their bloodied clothes at the staircase and under the oliva (sic) tree on the ground of the Fule compound. At 6:00 a.m. accused Marieta woke up June Murillo, another houseboy and Nieves Garcia Santos without telling any of them about anything unusual that transpired previously or what had happened to the victim. Murillo started cleaning the Fule compound until he noticed that the front iron gate of the Fule compound was open. He reported this to accused Marieta and Nieves Garcia Santos and the 3 of them went up to the adjoining house of Gregorio Fule to report the matter. Accused Marieta informed Gregorio Fule that "Napasukan tayo ng magnanakaw". Murillo was instructed to fetch the police. Gregorio Fule saw the bloodstained clothing near the oliva tree and other personal items on the stairs leading to her mothers room. When he went up, he saw the sleeping mat, pillow and blanket of the accused Marieta immediately outside the door of her mother's room and when he was already inside he saw [his] mother already covered with blood, blood was all over the room, in pillows, boxes, etc. The drawer where the valuables were kept was open emptied of the $5,000.00, P70,000.00 cash and P1.5 million worth of assorted jewelries. He went out of his mother's room and confronted accused Marieta on what happened. Accused Marieta responded that she knew nothing allegedly because "Tulog na tulog po ako". The police arrived and an investigation was conducted. Accused Marieta was initially treated as a possible witness until later on when she was suspected of having an involvement in the crime.
Appellant Marieta Mendoza narrated in court a different story.
ISSUE: Whether Medoza was a conspirator in respect of the robbery or the slaying.
RULING: Since there was no direct evidence that appellant Marieta had actually participated in the physical assault and stabbing of the victim Mrs. Lourdes Fule, her conviction rests upon the conclusion of the trial court that she had participated in a conspiracy to commit the robbery in the course of which the homicide had occurred.
The elements consisting either of affirmative acts or failure to act which led the court to conclude that appellant had acted in concert with Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida, may be summarized as follows:
1. She had participated in the discussion among her husband Domingo Mendoza, Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida in the afternoon before the robbery and the killing, when Domingo Mendoza had declared that the time to carry out their plan had arrived with Judge Fule gone;
2. Marieta had unlocked doors and summoned Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida from the servants' quarters and brought them inside Judge Fule's house an hour or so before the robbery and the killing were committed;
3. Appellant Marieta had, by her own testimony, seen Jose Besida enter her room leading to Mrs. Fule's room while Mrs. Fule and others were watching a video film, but failed to report that fact to Mrs. Fule or to anyone else in the household then watching the video film;
4. After hearing the moaning of Mr. Fule through the open bedroom door and after she was aware that Roel Punzalan and another person had left Mrs. Fule's room in the corridor in which Marieta slept, she, per her own testimony, stayed in the floor for four hours without attempting to find out what had happened to Mrs. Fule and without attempting to awaken Nieves Santos or any body else and to raise the alarm;
5. Marieta had not been harmed in any way by Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida although she obviously recognized them; they had not even tied or gagged her to prevent her from raising an alarm.
We believe that the above multiple factors, when considered together, lead to the conclusion, constituting moral certainty, that appellant Marieta had acted in concert with Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida at least in respect of the robbery. It is possible that the conspiracy did not originally extend to the killing of Mrs. Fule, and that such killing was resorted on the spur of the moment to counter unexpected resistance on the part of Mrs. Fule or to prevent any outcry on her part. The general rule, however, is that where conspiracy or action in concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act of all and that the extent of the specific participation of each individual conspirator becomes secondary, each being held liable for the criminal deed(s) executed by another or others.
The simple refusal or failure to flee with her co-accused does not, by itself, necessarily imply that she had never conspired to rob the victim. Taking the totality of the evidence presented against appellant Marieta in the light most favorable to her, her failure to flee may be considered as indication that she had been shocked that what had begun as a plan to rob Mrs. Fule of her jewelry and money culminated in her brutal slaying, and that appellant Marieta sought to disavow the conspiracy to rob which she had initially joined. So viewed, the ultimate issue may be seen to be whether her "disavowal" or disengagement through failure or refusal to flee was sufficient to extinguish or negate criminal liability for the robbery and the killing.
We believe and so hold that such "disavowal" through failure to flee was not sufficient to discharge appellant Marieta from liability for the robbery and the killing. One who joins a criminal conspiracy in effect adopts as his own the criminal designs of his co-conspirators; he merges his will into the common felonious intent. A person who embraces a criminal conspiracy is properly held to have cast his lot with his fellow conspirators and to have taken his chances that things may go awry and that the offended party may resist or third persons may get killed in the course of implementing the basic criminal design. To free himself from such criminal liability, the law requires some overt act on the part of the conspirator, to seek to prevent commission of the second or related felony or to abandon or dissociate himself from the conspiracy to commit the initial felony.
In the instant case, while the failure to flee may perhaps be regarded as a negative overt act, such "disavowal" came too late, having manifested itself after, and not before or during, the consummation of the robbery and the slaying. In legal contemplation, there was no longer a conspiracy to be repudiated nor an unlawful killing which could have been prevented since the conspiracy and the killing had already materialized. The locus penitentiae, i.e., appellant's opportunity to purge herself of criminal liability, had already passed. Appellant insists that her life was threatened by Roel Punzalan who poked into her back what she believed was a sharp instrument, when she discovered the robbery and assault being carried out. She says that that circumstance effectively prevented her from doing anything to forestall or prevent the perpetration of the crime. The difficulty with this defense is not merely that there is nothing to support it except Marieta's own word. That word, when taken in the context of all the other circumstances, especially her failure to raise the alarm long after the doers of the crime had left, is simply insufficient to nullify the prosecution's case. Appellant's word was not believed by the trial judge. Judge Jaramillo, who was presiding when the defense presented its case and who wrote the decision with the benefit of observing her demeanor in court, was unable to accept appellant's statement that she had been coerced into silence by Roel Punzalan. There is no basis in the record for setting aside this conclusion on the part of the trial judge, a conclusion to which we must accord appropriate deference.
We turn to the appreciation of the qualifying and aggravating circumstances attending the commission of the crime. Marieta assails the finding by the trial court of the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation. However, the record shows not only the time when the accused determined or at least last conferred on the commission of the crime, but also acts which manifestly indicated that the appellant and her co-accused had clung to their determination to commit the crime. An interval of seven (7) or eight (8) hours had taken place between the meeting of the co-accused and Marieta's summoning of Roel Punzalan and Jose Besida into the Fule house, an interval of time sufficient to allow appellant and her co-conspirators to reflect upon the consequences of their acts. The decision of the trial court was AFFIRMED.
PEOPLE vs. RICARDO LASCUNA, ET. AL. (GR 90626; August 18, 1993)
Accused Ricardo Lascuna, Rosita Villena, Celso Algoba and Placido Palangoy were charged on 16 January 1989 with robbery with homicide, rape and physical injuries before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan.
Luisa Villena y Altiche, together with her 8-month-old daughter and brother Honesto Altiche, was in her house on the night of 16 October 1988. Honesto was staying with her since her husband was working abroad. While both Honesto and Luisa were watching a television show at around 7:00 o'clock, the latter's sister-in-law, RositaVillena, knocked on the door of the house. When Luisa opened the door, Rosita came in with her daughter and four strangers, three of whom the former later identified in court as the accused Algoba, Lascuna and Palangoy. The fourth person, identified as Danilo Lagasca, was not present in court. Lascuna and Lagasca were both carrying knives which they poked at Luisa and Honesto while, Algoba and Palangoy started ransacking the house. Luisa and her brother were then gagged and their hands and feet were tied. Both were herded inside the bedroom where Luisa was raped by Lascuna while Honesto was asked to turn his back. Thereafter, Luisa was dragged into the kitchen where she heard her brother, who was still inside the bedroom with Lagasca and Lascuna, start moaning. She then lost consciousness and was left for dead after being strangled with pieces of cloth. Before this, however, Luisa noticed that Rosita Villena was the person giving out instructions to her co-accused. Luisa claims that she was able to recognize the persons who entered her house since they stayed there from 7:00 o'clock in the evening of 16 October 1998 up to 2:00 o'clock in the morning of the following day. Based on what she heard from them, it appears that the accused could not leave earlier because of a checkpoint in the area. It was only after regaining consciousness at around 3:00 o'clock that same morning that Luisa was able to free herself. Upon doing so, she proceeded to the bedroom where she found her brother who was already dead. She also discovered that an instamatic camera, a man's gold ring, a gold wrist watch, assorted clothes, a ladies' gold ring, P400.00 in cash and a pair of toy walkie-talkies were missing. All told, her loss amounted to P4,900.00. Luisa then sought the help of a neighbor, Eduardo Vinuya. Vinuya brought her to his house and, together with his cousin and nephew, later proceeded to her house; upon reaching the house, they discovered its kitchen and living room in disarray. Inside the bedroom, they found the body of Honesto with an electric cord tied around his neck. They immediately reported the crime to the barangay captain of Cofradia and the police authorities. As a result thereof, a police team was dispatched to the scene of the crime. At around 6:00 o'clock that same morning, Luisa Villena was questioned in the police station where she revealed that one of the persons who entered her house was her sister-in-law, Rosita Villena. A police team was thus dispatched to apprehend the latter. While being ferried to the station in the police car, Rosita, when asked who her companions were, implicated Algoba — her live-in partner, Placido and Danilo Lagasca. She then led the policemen to the latter's respective houses. With the exception of Danilo Lagasca who was able to escape, the other accused were apprehended and brought to the police station where they were identified by Luisa. At the station, accused Palangoy was wearing a polo shirt and a pair of pants which were among the items taken from Luisa's house.
RULING:The proper designation is robbery with homicide aggravated by rape. When rape and homicide co-exist in the commission of robbery, it is the first paragraph of Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code which applies, the rape to be considered as an aggravating circumstance. The physical injuries inflicted on Luisa Villena and the killing of Honesto Villena should be merged in the composite, integrated whole — that is, robbery with homicide — it being clear that both the killing and physical injuries were perpetrated with the end in view of removing all opposition to the robbery, suppressing the relevant evidence or both.
Appellant PLACIDO PALANGOY was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as principal, of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide aggravated by rape under the first paragraph of Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with all its accessories, indemnify the heirs of Honesto Altiche.
PEOPLE vs. DE LA CERNA, ET. AL. (GR L-20911, October 30, 1967)
Sixteen persons, among them herein appellants, were indicted by the provincial fiscal in the Court of First Instance of Cotabato for double murder for the fatal shooting of Rafael and Casiano Cabizares, father and son, in Barrio Cebuano, municipality of Tupi, province of Cotabato, on February 3, 1958.
Rafael requested his two brothers ( margarita & romualdo) and his son Gumercindo to accompany him up the hill and carry on their backs the sacks of corn. With Rafael leading, the four proceeded uphill. As the four approached Sulpicio de la Cerna's house on top of the hill and were about to put down the sacks of corn, appellant Sulpicio, who was in the house, fired at and hit Rafael, who fell down. Sulpicio then ordered his companions to burn his house so that they would have an excuse. Wounded was brought to his house. Rafael's mother, Ursula and Segundino were there at the time. Subsequently, appellant Sulpicio and the other accused, stoned the house and trust their bolos thru the bamboo walls and flooring. The accused ordered the women to get out. Marcelo (son) followed the women, and although held by accused Conrado Pardillo and boxed by Serapio Maquiling, he was able to escape to the nearby forest.
Serapio Maquiling then climbed up the window of the kitchen, and with the carbine which he got from appellant Sulpicio de la Cerna, shot at Rafael Cabizares. At this moment, Casiano Cabizares jumped down from the house thru the kitchen door and ran away. Serapio Maquiling followed him and shot the latter at the back, killing him a few meters away from Demetrio's house. Appellant Sulpicio de la Cerna then got back the carbine, climbed up the house and fired once more at Rafael, who was now lying down on the floor, killing him finally. Thereafter, the cadaver of Casiano Cabizares was tied to a bamboo pole, carried by accused Ramon Alquizar and one Wilfredo Malias (at large) and placed near the burned house of Sulpicio de la Cerna, as some of the accused followed while the rest proceeded to Rafael's house.
The prosecution also presented proof that prior to the incident, a land dispute arose between Rafael and some of the accused, and that he had filed complaints5 with the Agrarian Court against the latter.
There being a previous direct conspiracy one day before the killing, evident premeditation is duly established.51 This qualifying circumstance is further buttressed by the following actuations of appellant on February 3, 1958: (1) Upon seeing Rafael near his house, Sulpicio told his companions to get ready since the one they were awaiting was there already. And then he shot at Rafael. (2) As Rafael was being brought to Demetrio's house, Sulpicio ordered his companions to burn his house so they would have an excuse already. (3) With the other appellants, he pursued the wounded Rafael to Demetrio's house where after they had stoned the same and thrust their bolos thru its wallings, they ordered the women folk to leave lest they be killed also; and (4) after Serapio had already shot at Rafael, Sulpicio still fired a third shot, finally killing Rafael. All these still overtly show appellant's determination to end Rafael's life. The killing, therefore, was properly qualify as murder.
However, appellant Sulpicio cannot be held liable for the killing of Casiano Cabizares notwithstanding a conspiracy between him and Serapio Maquiling. The conspiracy was to kill Rafael only and no one else. Nothing was said or agreed upon about the members of Rafael's family. In fact, in executing their plan appellants let the two women inside Demetrio's house leave unhurt and they did no harm to the remaining companions of Rafael in the house. Their target was solely Rafael Cabizares. And the rule has always been that co-conspirators are liable only for acts done pursuant to the conspiracy. For other acts done outside the contemplation of the co-conspirators or which are not the necessary and logical consequence of the intended crime, only the actual perpetrators are liable. Here, only Serapio killed Casiano Cabizares. The latter not even going to the aid of his father Rafael but was fleeing away when shot.
Although Serapio got the carbine from Sulpicio, the latter cannot be considered a principal by indispensable cooperation or an accomplice. There is no evidence at all that Sulpicio was aware Serapio would use the rifle to kill Casiano. Presumably, he gave the carbine to Serapio for him to shoot Rafael only as per their agreement. Neither is there concrete proof that Sulpicio abetted the shooting of Casiano. Sulpicio might have been liable if after the shooting of Rafael, Serapio returned the carbine to him but upon seeing Casiano fleeing, immediately asked again for the carbine and Sulpicio voluntarily gave it to him. Serapio's criminal intention then would be reasonably apparent to Sulpicio and the latter's giving back of the rifle would constitute his assent thereto. But such was not the case. Sulpicio, therefore, must be acquitted for the killing of Casiano Cabizares.
We find therefore all five appellants guilty as co-principals in the murder of Rafael Cabizares.
The aggravating circumstance of treachery, applicable against appellant Sulpicio de la Cerna only, is offset by his voluntary surrender after the incident. This mitigating circumstance however can not benefit the remaining appellants who did not voluntarily surrender. For all the appellants, therefore, the penalty for Rafael Cabizares' murder must be imposed in the medium period. For the killing of Casiano Cabizares, appellant Sulpicio de la Cerna must be acquitted.
The judgment appealed from is modified as follows:(a) Appellants Sulpicio de la Cerna, Godofredo Rotor, Antonio Bautista, Severino Matchoca and Teodoro Libumfacil are hereby found guilty as principals for the murder of Rafael Cabizares and sentenced to each suffer reclusion perpetua, to indemnify, jointly and severally, the heirs of Rafael Cabizares the sum of P6,000.00 and to pay the costs;(b) Appellant Sulpicio de la Cerna is hereby acquitted for the murder of Casiano Cabizares.
PEOPLE vs. LAWAS (GR L-7618-20, July 20’55[Unrep])
People vs. Timbol (GR L-47471-73, August 4, 1944)
PEOPLE vs. BULAN (GR 143404, June 8, 2005, 459 SCRA 550)
This case was certified by the Court of Appeals (CA) to this Court for review, in view of its finding in its Decision that appellants Jose Bulan and his son, Allan Bulan, are guilty of murder as principals by indispensable cooperation punishable by reclusion perpetua to death, and not merely as accomplices as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Virac, Catanduanes, Branch 42.
On the night of June 6, 1994, a dance was taking place at Brgy Datag. Alberto Mariano, a barangay tanod in said barangay was assigned the task of seeing to it that anybody who entered the gate to the dance hall at the plaza must have a ribbon. Appellant Allan Bulan came to the dance and entered the gate without the required ribbon. Alberto Mariano followed appellant Allan Bulan into the dance hall and asked him why he entered the gate without a ribbon. Instead of answering Alberto’s question, Allan boxed him on the head. Accused Estemson Bulan, Allan’s brother, who had entered the dance hall, likewise, boxed Alberto. Estemson then held Alberto, while Allan boxed the latter on the chest. Perlita Mariano, Alberto’s sister, who was present at the dance, embraced her brother as Allan and Estemson unceasingly pummeled him. The other barangay tanods Ceferino Ceballo and Juan Boribor, and a barangay kagawad, Dante Ereso, stopped Allan and Estemson from further beating Alberto. After being pacified by the barangay officials, Allan and Estemson left the dance hall. Alberto, on the other hand, went back to where he originally stood to resume his duty. His sister Perlita stood beside him. One Edwin Solo, a policeman, suddenly came into the dance hall and dragged Alberto into the street just outside the entrance. Perlita embraced Alberto as he was dragged outside the barangay plaza. Appellants Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan were waiting for Alberto and immediately held the latter by his shoulders. Jose held Alberto’s right shoulder while Allan held his left shoulder. Perlita was still embracing her brother but she was pulled away from. Accused Estemson Bulan suddenly appeared behind Alberto and stabbed him twice in the back with a small bolo. Perlita screamed for help. However, despite the fact that there were people at the entrance gate, nobody came to help Alberto and Perlita. After stabbing Alberto, Estemson immediately escaped, while Jose and Allan dragged the fatally wounded Alberto away from the barangay plaza to the store of Valentin Talion, which was forty meters away from the scene of the stabbing. They dropped Alberto face down on the ground in front of Valentin’s store and then left, running towards the direction of [the] barangay plaza. Perlita, who followed Jose and Allan as they dragged her brother, kept on shouting for help but nobody came to help them. After Jose and Allan left, Perlita returned to the barangay plaza and sought help from her relatives who were at the dance. She, likewise, sought the help of the barangay officials present and informed them that Alberto was already dead. Minutes later, Nelson Rubio, a policeman, went to the place where Alberto lay. When the policeman tried to lift Alberto, the small bolo which was used in stabbing Alberto and which remained embedded in his back, fell to the ground.
ISSUE: Whether or not the appellants are guilty of the crime charged as principals by direct participation as ruled by the CA, or, as ruled by the RTC, mere accomplices to the crime of murder.
RULING: Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a crime and decide to commit it. Direct proof is not essential to prove conspiracy; it may be established by acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime charged, from which it may be logically inferred the existence of a common purpose to commit the same. The prosecution must prove conspiracy by the same quantum of evidence as the felony charged itself. Indeed, proof of previous agreement among the malefactors to commit the crime is not essential to prove conspiracy. It is not necessary to show that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim; what is primordial is that all the participants performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to indicate a common purpose or design to bring out the victim’s death. Once conspiracy is established, it is unnecessary to prove who among the conspirators inflicted the fatal injury. If conspiracy is proved, all the conspirators are criminally liable for the crime charged and proved. The act of one is the act of all.
In this case, the appellants were waiting outside the dance hall near the gate when Edwin Solo brought the victim towards them, onto the street. Jose held the victim by the right shoulder, while Allan held him by the left. Estemson suddenly appeared from behind the victim and stabbed the latter at the back with a small bolo. The appellants continued holding the victim as Estemson stabbed him yet again. Even as Estemson fled, the appellants dragged the victim from the gate, towards the store, where they dropped the victim’s body and fled from the scene. Allan then left Catanduanes and hid in Pasay City where he was arrested by the NBI on August 7, 1994.
Considering the foregoing, the Court affirms the finding of the CA that the appellants are guilty as principals by direct participation in the killing of Alberto Mariano.
PEOPLE vs. YU GR 155030, May 18, 2004, 428 SCRA 437
Prosecution witness PO2 Larry Buriel narrated that at around 10:00am his superior officer, Pol Spt Eduardo Acierto of the CIDG-Detection and Special Operation’s Office (DSOO) at Camp Crame, received a telephone call from a confidential agent informing him that a certain George, later identified as accused Jorge Paloma, was looking for a buyer of shabu worth P1.740 million. Spt Acierto called on his men to form a five-man team to conduct a buy-bust operation, with P/Insp. Francisco as team leader, PO2 Buriel as poseur-buyer, and three other members as arresting officers. Upon instruction PO2 Buriel met with the confidential agent at about 11:00 a.m. of the same day, and they proceeded to McDonald’s Restaurant at B.F. Homes Paranaque where they met George. There, the confidential agent introduced PO2 Buriel to George as the buyer of three kilos of shabu. George told them that the proposed drug deal would take place at around 4:00 pm of Sept 1 within the vicinity of Petron Gasoline Station. At around 1:30pm of Sept1, 2000, the 5man team was dispatched by P/Supt. Acierto to the Petron gasoline station at Sta. Cruz. PO2 Buriel and the confidential agent stood beside their car while the other members of the team positioned themselves strategically within the vicinity. At around 4:00 p.m., a taxi arrived with 4 passengers including George, his wife Nelsie Pentecotes. George then told PO2 Buriel to wait for a while because the shabu would be delivered by a certain Ferdie and Rose. A few minutes later, a green Honda Accord, with appellant Rose Yu behind the wheel, parked beside the car of PO2 Buriel. Only six inches separated the two vehicles. Rose Yu did not alight from the vehicle. Accused Ferdinand "Ferdie" Castillo thereafter arrived at the scene carrying a plastic bag with Robinsons’ Department Store markings. He went directly to the green Honda Accord and placed the plastic bag inside the vehicle. Thereafter, Ferdie approached PO2 Buriel and the confidential agent to inquire whether they had the money. In response, PO2 Buriel showed him a plastic bag containing 2 pieces of 1 thousand peso bills on top of 16 bundles of boodle money. Ferdie then went back to the Honda Accord where PO2 Buriel overheard him telling Rose Yu that he already saw the money. Ferdie then took the Robinsons’ plastic bag inside the green vehicle and handed it over to PO2 Buriel. After giving Ferdie the money, PO2 Buriel took the Robinsons’ plastic bag which when opened contained three transparent plastic bags with crystalline granules. Satisfied that he already had the incriminating substance, PO2 Buriel flashed the pre-arranged signal and together with the other members of the team arrested Rose, George, Ferdie,& Nelsie Pentecotes.
Appellant contends that the trial court’s finding of conspiracy was based on presumptions, not on solid facts indubitably indicating a common design. Specifically, she points out that it was unbelievable for PO2 Buriel to overhear her conversation with accused Castillo in regard to the drug deal since PO2 Buriel not only failed to establish his distance to appellant and accused Castillo but even assuming that the conversation actually took place as alleged by the prosecution, it does not demonstrate concurrence of will or unity of action or purpose that could be a basis for their collective responsibility. Moreover, there is doubt that the drugs came from the appellant since the testimony of PO2 Buriel was ambiguous.
RULING: Conspiracy is deemed to arise when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy is not presumed. Like the physical acts constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, all taken together. However, the evidence therefor must reasonably be strong enough to show a community of criminal design.
In the case at bar, appellant was not a passive spectator who was mistakenly implicated of committing a crime. She definitely took an active participation in the sale of the shabu. She was positively identified as the driver of the Honda Accord who conversed and gave instructions to accused Ferdie regarding the transaction. The act of accused Ferdie in placing the plastic bag, which contained the illegal drugs, and in shuttling back and forth between Rose Yu and the poseur buyer to ask instructions and other details could lead to no other conclusion except that there existed a prior understanding and community of interest between the conspirators. Without doubt, appellant’s participation in the criminal activity was not of minor importance but, by all indications, crucial to the consummation of the offense. In unison with accused Jorge Palomar who mediated between the poseur-buyer and his co-accused, setting the time and place where the sale of shabu would take place, and accused Ferdie Castillo who actively and directly took part in the said sale, appellant actively participated in the crime, ever conscious of her role in the scheme of things with the end in view of consummating the same.
An accepted badge of conspiracy is when the accused by their acts aimed at the same object, one performing one part and another performing another so as to complete it with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their acts though apparently independent were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments.5 The instant case clearly demonstrates this principle.
The court found appellant Rose Yu, together with accused Jorge Paloma y Dugayo a.k.a. George and Ferdinand Castillo y Hije a.k.a. Ferdie, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, sentencing them to reclusion perpetua, and ordering them to pay the fine of P5,000,000.00 plus the costs in proportionate shares.
PEOPLE vs. BELLO (GR 124871, May 13, 2004, 428 SCRA 388)
To support his family, ROLANDO ANDASAN left Cabanatuan City and landed a job as messenger/collector at the Sunshine Moneychanger in Pasay City, earning a measly net income of P2,000.00 per month. On July 25, 1995, in the course of his employment, he was mercilessly stabbed 28 times and died.
Only accused Marife and Eladio, Jr. were arrested. Accused Danny and Cayo remain at large.
At about 10:30 a.m., a cab entered the Queensland Lodge in Pasay City, with accused Marife and Eladio, Jr. on board. They alighted in front of the private garage of room no. 2 and informed Jonathan Deniega, a roomboy, that they needed a room. Jonathan led them. He then gave a stub to their telephone operator, DIGNA SIAZON, where he indicated that two customers checked in at room no. 2. Accused Marife called up Digna and asked for an outside line. Marife then called up the Sunshine Moneychanger in Pasay City and talked with the officer-in-charge, EDUARDO RAFAEL. Identifying herself as Joann Redillo, accused Marife misrepresented to Eduardo that she came from Japan and would like to convert her 40 pieces of yen to pesos. She requested that the currency conversion be made in her room inside the nearby Queensland Lodge as she did not want to carry around a huge sum of money. Eduardo instructed his messenger ROLANDO ANDASAN to proceed to the lodge and give the lady occupant of room no. 2 the sum of P114,000.00 in exchange for her 40 pieces of yen. ROSE CAHARIAN, an accounting clerk of the lodge, saw Rolando standing by the hallway. Rolando informed her that he had about a hundred thousand pesos with him as they have a female guest in room no. 2 who wanted to have her yen converted into pesos. Rose escorted Rolando to Digna, the telephone operator, and directed the latter to call up room no. 2 and announce the presence and purpose of Rolando. Digna called up room no. 2 and accused Marife confirmed the currency transaction. Roomboy MAYONITO WAYCO escorted Rolando and directed him to wait in the garage while he first went up the room to announce his presence. Accused Eladio, Jr. opened the door and instructed Mayonito to let Rolando in. Mayonito returned to the garage and waited. At about 2 p.m., accused Marife called up telephone operator Digna and informed her that they were checking out of the room. Seconds later, Mayonito, who was still waiting for Rolando in the garage, saw accused Marife emerge from room no. 2 While waiting for the bill and the cab, Mayonito inquired from accused Marife where Rolando was. She dismissed his query and directed him to follow-up instead the preparation of their bill as she and her companion were in a hurry. Mayonito rushed to the cashier to get the bill, only to be told that it was already with Jonathan.
Meanwhile, Jonathan returned to accused Marife with the bill. He waited with her at the garage for about 5 minutes for the arrival of her cab. As she seemed quite impatient to leave, they started to walk towards the gate of the lodge. Just then, security guard Leonardo was able to hail a cab and instructed it to enter the lodge. Mayonito instructed cab driver ERNESTO RAMOS to stay for a while as they still had to inspect room no. 2. Accused Marife likewise directed Ernesto to wait for her companion accused Eladio, Jr. who, seconds later, emerged from the garage but did not board the cab and fled on foot. Accused Marife then ordered Ernesto to follow him. In the meantime, roomboys Mayonito and Jonathan discovered the lifeless body of Rolando inside the room, lying beside the bed and covered by blood-stained bedsheets. He sustained multiple stab wounds and a TV cable wire was tied around his neck. Mayonito immediately left the room to pursue its former occupants but he saw accused Marife’s cab already on its way out of the lodge and accused Eladio, Jr. fleeing on foot. Eladio, Jr. deftly freed himself from Leonardo’s grip and ran inside the nearby Violeta Court Subdivision. At about the same time, the cab boarded by accused Marife left the premises of the lodge and followed accused Eladio, Jr. in the subdivision. When the cab reached the end of the road, the two accused alighted and scaled the wall of the subdivision. Accused Eladio, Jr. succeeded but Marife failed to climb over the wall and was left behind.When Ernesto drove back to the gate of the subdivision, the security guards stopped him, inspected his cab and saw a brown envelope which was left by accused Marife at the backseat. They instructed Ernesto to return to the lodge as a crime had been committed by his passengers.
Appellant Marife avers that her alleged conspiracy with the other accused was not sufficiently established by circumstantial evidence as there was no showing that she had the same purpose and united with the other accused in the execution of the crime. She alleges that her mere presence in the crime scene is not per se a sufficient indicium of conspiracy. She insists that she acted against her will due to the irresistible force employed by her co-accused.
RULING: Conspiracy exists where the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the crime and decide to pursue it. Conspiracy is predominantly a state of mind as it involves the meeting of the minds and intent of the malefactors. Consequently, direct proof is not essential to establish it. The existence of the assent of minds of the co-conspirators may be inferred from proof of facts and circumstances which, taken together, indicate that they are parts of the complete plan to commit the crime.
In the case at bar, the records clearly reveal that appellant Marife was part of the plan to rob the moneychanger. This plan was mapped out in accused Danny’s house in Cavite by appellants, together with accused Danny and Cayo. The four drove in a cab from Cavite to Baclaran. As the robbery will be set up inside a motel room, only appellants Marife and Eladio, Jr. boarded a tricycle and checked in the lodge so as not to arouse suspicion. A number of employees of the Queensland Lodge and the cab driver testified on the conduct of appellant Marife inside the lodge on that fateful day: the roomboys identified her and Eladio, Jr. as the ones who alighted from the tricycle and checked into room no. 2; contrary to her account, the employees did not notice that appellant Marife was nervous, crying or trembling due to fear when she entered the lodge; appellant Marife asked the telephone operator thrice that day for an outside line; using an alias, she called up the moneychanger twice to set up the robbery; appellants were the last to see the victim alive; after they accomplished their criminal design, appellant Marife rushed out of the room, personally paid for the bill and asked for a cab; the roomboys noticed that she was nervous and in a hurry to leave; after she boarded the cab, she ordered the driver to wait for her companion; she and Eladio, Jr. then fled from the lodge while the roomboys were inspecting their room; both sought refuge in a subdivision; and, finally, they tried to scale the wall of the subdivision in an attempt to get away. All these chain of events and the conduct of appellant Marife lead to no other conclusion than that she conspired with her co-accused to commit the crime.
Neither can we give credit to appellant Marife’s claim of duress and irresistible fear. Her story simply does not add up. First, the records show that she had close relations with all her co-accused: she has a child with appellant Eladio, Jr.; she and her co-accused all resided in Cavite; accused Danny Dineros asked her to be the godmother of his child; she knew where Danny resided in Cavite and they both hail from Samar; and, even Marife’s aunt in Samar was acquainted with Danny. Indeed, her claim of irresistible force from her co-accused is difficult to fathom as it would be easier to instill fear on a stranger than on a friend or close relation. Second, while appellant Marife claims that she was mostly in tears during the time she was abducted by her co-accused, none of the employees of the lodge noticed any manifestation of fear or coercion on her part. Third, her claim of duress and irresistible fear is negated by her failure to escape or ask for succor during her alleged abduction despite several opportunities to do so. She could have asked help from the people she saw along the road when they left Danny’s house in Cavite and while she was allegedly being dragged towards the cab; from the tricycle driver who drove them to the lodge; from the roomboys who stayed with her in the garage after the stabbing incident, while she was waiting for her bill and cab; and, from the cab driver who picked her up from the lodge. She could have escaped after the stabbing incident when she went out of the room alone and conversed with the roomboy. An innocent victim of circumstances would have waited for and eagerly grabbed the first chance to escape or seek help; but not appellant Marife. Fourth, she escaped from the lodge, fled to the nearby subdivision and tried to scale its wall with appellant Eladio, Jr. who, moments before, was supposed to be her aggressor. Finally, even at the time she was arrested, she stuck to her alias and identified herself as Joann Redillo to the police authorities. Hence, apart from her biased testimony, the records are bereft of evidence to corroborate and bolster her claim of coercion. The more logical and inescapable conclusion is that she was part of the conspiracy. Plainly, her conduct all throughout the incident reveals that she was united in purpose with her co-accused in the execution of the crime.
On the whole, the incriminating circumstantial evidence against the appellants sufficiently proves their complicity.
Circumstantial evidence is that which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may be established by inference.25 Resort to circumstantial evidence is, in the nature of things, a necessity as crimes are usually committed clandestinely and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. To require direct testimony would, in many cases, result in freeing criminals and deny proper protection to society.26 Thus, the guilt of an accused may be established through circumstantial evidence provided that the requisites are present, viz: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the inferences must be based on proven facts; (3) the combination of all the circumstances produces a conviction beyond doubt as to the guilt of the accused.27
In the case at bar, while no witness testified to the actual stabbing and robbing of the victim, the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution supports a judgment of conviction. Appellants asked roomboy Jonathan for a room; Jonathan escorted them to room no. 2, prepared the room for them by turning on the lights, television and airconditioning unit before ushering them in. The telephone operator received a request for an outside line from the lady occupant of room no. 2 thrice that day. Eduardo, the manager of the moneychanger, got phone calls from the lady occupant of room no. 2 who identified herself as Joann Redillo; the caller pretended that she just arrived from Japan and asked her yen be converted to pesos. Eduardo gave his messenger, the victim Rolando Andasan, the amount of P114,000.00 to be delivered to the lady occupant of room no. 2. Rolando arrived at the lodge and explained his purpose to the employees therein. Rolando was a familiar face in the lodge which had an internal arrangement with the moneychanger to extend currency conversion services upon the request of their guests. Appellant Eladio, Jr. used to be employed as a messenger of the moneychanger and knew about the office’s internal arrangement with the lodge. Roomboy Mayonito escorted Rolando to room no. 2 for the currency transaction; when appellant Eladio, Jr. opened the door to Mayonito, the latter informed him about the presence of Rolando in the garage; appellant Eladio, Jr. gave the go signal for Rolando to come up to the room; Mayonito returned to the garage, fetched Rolando and escorted him to room no. 2; again, it was appellant Eladio, Jr. who opened the door and let Rolando in. That was the last time Rolando was seen alive and the money was no longer to be found.
After accomplishing their criminal design, appellants emerged from the room, hurriedly paid their bill and left. The roomboys discovered the cadaver of Rolando in the room which sustained several stab wounds. Appellants fled and scaled the wall of the subdivision. The police authorities recovered a knife under the bed of room no. 2 which fitted the scabbard left by appellant Marife in the cab, together with a bloodied face towel. The width of this knife is compatible with the width of the stab wounds sustained by the victim.
Thus, while no person actually witnessed the appellants rob and kill the victim, the confluence of the incriminating circumstances enumerated above clearly shows that the appellants had motive and opportunity to kill the victim when he resisted the robbery. As the victim was last seen alive with them, coupled with their conduct that fateful day and their possession of the deadly weapon, there can be no other reasonable conclusion than that the appellants authored the crime. To be sure, their conviction is essentially based on this unbroken chain of events as testified to by the prosecution witnesses and not on the uncounselled interrogation of appellant Marife by the police authorities.
Appealed Decision is AFFIRMED with modification. Appellants MARIFE BELLO y ROSCO and ELADIO M. CONSUELO, JR. are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals in the crime of robbery with homicide and, in the absence of any aggravating circumstance, are sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.. No costs.
PEOPLE vs BUNTAG (GR 123070, April 14 2004, 427 180)
A German national and a tourist, checked in at the Alona Ville Beach Resort,Panglao, Bohol. Herma Clarabal Bonga-manager assigned Otte to Room No. 9 and gave the room key. Otte took his dinner at the resort’s restaurant. Bonga talked to him regarding the disco. At about 10:00 p.m., Bonga went to the disco party where she saw Otte seated at one of the tables. She noticed that he had some companions whom she failed to recognize. At 2:00 a.m. Mihangos and Guigue,who were at the disco, decided to call it a night and walked home, with their respective bicycles. At the crossing they saw a man lying on the road but did not recognize him. They walked past the prostrate man. When they were about twenty-five meters away from the body by the road, they met Casiano Buntag and Diego Bongo, their barriomates. Suddenly, Buntag and Bongo jointly and simultaneously lunged at them. Afraid for their lives, Mihangos and Guigue fled and sought refuge in the house of Guigue’s uncle. They left their bicycles behind. They retrieved their bicycles, but Buntag and Bongo were no longer there. The police station of Panglao, Bohol, received a report by radio call about a man, believed to be dead, lying at the side of the crossroad near the Alona Beach. The man died due to a stab wound. Mihangos and Guigue narrated how they found the body at around 2:00 a.m. that day, as well as their encounter with Bongo and Buntag. Buntag gave a statement on February 13, 1992 to a police investigator. He stated that at 1:00 a.m. on February 9, 1992, he was walking back home from the disco place where he caught up with Diego Bongo and Otte at the crossing of Alona Beach. He saw Bongo poke a knife at Otte. Bongo then ordered him to box Otte but he refused, and moved back about three meters. Bongo himself then boxed Otte three times on the face. When Otte fell to the ground, Bongo stabbed him on the chest. Buntag also stated that he then ran back home, but Bongo followed him and cautioned him not to reveal the incident to anybody or else he would be implicated.
ISSUE: whether or not the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that they conspired to kill the victim Otte and that they, in fact, killed him
We agree with the appellants that the prosecution failed to adduce direct evidence that they conspired to kill Otte and that they, in fact, stabbed and killed the victim. However, we find and so hold, after an incisive review of the records, that the prosecution adduced sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove the guilt of the appellants beyond reasonable doubt.
Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a crime and decide to commit it. Direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy, and may be inferred from the collective acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime. Conspiracy can be presumed from and proven by acts of the accused themselves when the said acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of interests. It is not necessary to show that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim. Conspiracy renders all the conspirators as co-principals regardless of the extent and character of their participation because in contemplation of law, the act of one conspirator is the act of all.3
The crime charged may also be proved by circumstantial evidence, sometimes referred to as indirect or presumptive evidence. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient on which to anchor a judgment of conviction if the following requisites are established: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been established; and, (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to warrant a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.39
In People v. Delim, we held, thus: The prosecution is burdened to prove the essential events which constitute a compact mass of circumstantial evidence, and the proof of each being confirmed by the proof of the other, and all without exception leading by mutual support to but one conclusion: the guilt of the accused for the offense charged. For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances must be consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that accused is guilty and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. If the prosecution adduced the requisite circumstantial evidence to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused to controvert the evidence of the prosecution.
AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS. Appellants are found guilty, as principals, of homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. There being no modifying circumstances attendant to the crime, each of the appellants are sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty from ten (10) years of prision mayor, in its medium period, as minimum, to sixteen (16) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum.
PEOPLE vs. QUIROL GR 149259, October 2005, 473 SCRA 509
In celebration of a fiesta in Apas, Lahug, Cebu City, a “benefit disco dance” was held. Appellants, Juanito and Mario Quirol, and the two victims, Benjamin Silva and Roel Ngujo, attended. Policeman PO3 Jed Daloso, a third accused who remains at large, was also there. At the dance, Juanito, Mario and Jed were together and drank all through the night with some friends. Jed was later seen in a drunken state chasing people around while Juanito was seen toying with a Batangas knife. The dance ended just prior to 4 a.m. and prosecution principal witness Wilson Cruz testified that it was about that time when he was asked by Benjamin and Roel to accompany them in escorting some ladies home. Wilson told them to go ahead and that he would just follow. Wilson was behind them at a distance of 7 to 10 fathoms when the group passed by the house of Jed. From his vantage point, Wilson saw Jed stop the two victims in front of his house and frisk them. The ladies, perhaps not wanting to be delayed, went ahead. Thereafter, Wilson saw Jed bind Benjamin and Roel together with a pair of handcuffs and lead them towards the control tower of the old airport of Lahug, Cebu City. There, the three were met by Juanito and Mario and together they proceeded to the airport runway. Wilson, hidden behind a bush, could hear Benjamin plead for his life. Jed took out his .38 caliber service revolver and shot Benjamin at point-blank range on the head. As Benjamin fell, Roel was dragged down to his knees since he was handcuffed to Benjamin. Mario then held Roel while Juanito started stabbing him using a Batangas knife. Jed finished it by shooting Roel. At around 7 a.m. that same morning, Juanito went to collect his wages at the house of Galileo Banate, a construction foreman for whom the former was working. Galileo observed Juanito to be somewhat in an inebriated state, and so when Juanito asked permission to sleep on the floor, Galileo acceded. Juanito was so sleepy that he unconsciously dropped his Batangas knife. Galileo later saw it beside him on the floor, picked it up and kept it as there were children around who could play with it. When he later gave Juanito his wages, he forgot to return the knife. Four days later, at the construction site, Mario arrived with a policeman and picked up Juanito. Before leaving the construction site, Juanito asked his knife back from Galileo. Galileo retrieved the knife from his house and turned it over to the policeman. A subsequent examination on the knife revealed that it had human bloodstains on it.
RULING: We sustain the finding of conspiracy. Conspiracy need not be proven by direct evidence of prior agreement to commit the crime. Neither is its necessary to show that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim. What has to be shown is that all the participants performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to unmistakably indicate a common purpose and design. The conspiracy in the instant case was sufficiently proven by Jed meeting with appellants at the old airport tower and walking together with them towards the runway where appellants and Jed performed acts in unison with each other as to unmistakably reveal a common purpose and design.
PEOPLE vs. HAPA GR 125698, July 19, 200 361 SCRA 361
Accused Francisco Hapa, Claro Feratero, Amador Españo and Conrado Entereso attended the dance in town fiesta in Sorsogon. At about 2:30 in the morning of June 14, 1977, the people at the dance started to wane and head for home, including prosecution witness Delfina Gratil. Upon arrival at her house, which was fifteen (15) meters away from the dance hall, Delfina proceeded to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. She opened the window of the kitchen for a breath of fresh air. She saw Leoniso Hermo being held in each arm by 2 persons. Accused Francisco, was wearing a jacket and was standing in front of the victim. The fourth person stood guard behind the victim. Delfina heard Franciso, “Where is your house, you are our target?” The victim replied, “What is my fault?” Francisco: “you are our target.” Thereafter, accused dragged the victim toward the fence of Delfina’s house. Accused Francisco pulled a bladed instrument from his jacket and made a “downward and forward thrusts” against Leoniso Hermo (hereafter Leoniso). Delfina saw that Leoniso was in pain as he clutched his breast. Thereafter, Delfina tried to go out of her house and shout for help. Many people arrived, including special police Jose Hadap who apprehended Conrado Entereso and brought him to Delfina’s house for interrogation. In the course of the interrogation, a sharp instrument was found in his possession. When asked why he had that in his possession, Conrado replied that it was his “because he has a target.” He denied stabbing Leoniso and pointed to Francisco as the one who stabbed the victim. Other witnesses corroborated Delfina’s testimony. They saw three (3) persons, whom he recognized as Francisco, Amador, and Conrado, running towards the house of Conrado Hadap. Francisco was carrying a jacket and a five and one half (5 ½) inches bladed instrument, while Amador was holding a fork and Conrado was armed with a dagger. The other accused Claro was also armed with a bladed instrument.
RULING: The evidence clearly established the existence of conspiracy. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Direct proof of conspiracy is rarely found, for criminals do not write down their lawless plans and plots. The agreement to commit a crime, however, may be deduced from the mode and manner of the commission of the offense or inferred from acts that point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of intent. It did not matter if it was only accused-appellant Francisco who inflicted the mortal wound, as the act of one was the act of all, and each incurred the same criminal liability. The Court AFFIRMS the appealed decision of the RTC guilty beyond reasonable doubt of MURDER
PEOPLE vs. COMADRE, GR 153559, June 8, 2004 431 SCRA 366
At around 7:00 pm, Robert Agbanlog, Jimmy Wabe, Gerry Bullanday, Rey Camat and Lorenzo Eugenio were having a drinking spree. They noticed appellants Antonio Comadre, George Comadre and Danilo Lozano walking. The three stopped in front of the house. While his companions looked on, Antonio suddenly lobbed a grenade, exploded ripping a hole in the roof of the house. Robert Agbanlog, Jimmy Wabe, Gerry Bullanday, Rey Camat and Lorenzo Eugenio were hit by shrapnel and slumped unconscious on the floor. They were all rushed to the San Jose General Hospital in Lupao, Nueva Ecija for medical treatment. However, Robert Agbanlog died before reaching the hospital.
RULING: Similar to the physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Settled is the rule that to establish conspiracy, evidence of actual cooperation rather than mere cognizance or approval of an illegal act is required. A conspiracy must be established by positive and conclusive evidence. It must be shown to exist as clearly and convincingly as the commission of the crime itself. Mere presence of a person at the scene of the crime does not make him a conspirator for conspiracy transcends companionship.
The evidence shows that George Comadre and Danilo Lozano did not have any participation in the commission of the crime and must therefore be set free. Their mere presence at the scene of the crime as well as their close relationship with Antonio are insufficient to establish conspiracy considering that they performed no positive act in furtherance of the crime. Neither was it proven that their act of running away with Antonio was an act of giving moral assistance to his criminal act. The ratiocination of the trial court that “their presence provided encouragement and sense of security to Antonio,” is devoid of any factual basis. Such finding is not supported by the evidence on record and cannot therefore be a valid basis of a finding of conspiracy.
Time and again we have been guided by the principle that it would be better to set free ten men who might be probably guilty of the crime charged than to convict one innocent man for a crime he did not commit. There being no conspiracy, only Antonio Comadre must answer for the crime.
Under the Article 48 (complex crimes), when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period irrespective of the presence of modifying circumstances, including the generic aggravating circumstance of treachery in this case. Applying the aforesaid provision of law, the maximum penalty for the most serious crime (murder) is death. The trial court, therefore, correctly imposed the death penalty.
Antonio Comadre is convicted of the complex crime of Murder with Multiple Attempted Murder and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death. Appellants Gregorio Comadre and Danilo Lozano are ACQUITTED for lack of evidence to establish conspiracy, and they are hereby ordered immediately RELEASED from confinement unless they are lawfully held in custody for another cause.
Li vs People , gr 127962
A petty argument evolved into a street brawl. After the dust had settled, Christopher Arugay lay dying from multiple stab wounds, while his neighbor, Kingstone1 Li ("Li"), staggered injured, with hack wounds on his head. Shortly before his death, Arugay was watching television at home with his sisters. Peering through the window, they saw Li and Eduardo Sangalang taking a bath completely naked. The two were facing the house of the Arugays. An incensed Arugay went out the house where he was met by Li, now wearing briefs and carrying a baseball bat. Li struck Arugay on the head with the bat, causing Arugay to fall. Li ran back to his house. Li re-emerged, this time with a knife. Li then stabbed Arugay once. Arugay hit Li with the bolo. Li passed out.Upon regaining consciousness, Li tried to crawl back to his house but Ronald Tan hit him at the back of his left ear with a baseball bat. At this point in time, Eduardo Sangalang, who was then also present stabbed the deceased several times at least six times.
RULING: A conviction premised on a finding of conspiracy must be founded on facts, not on mere inferences and presumption. It is worth noting that while conspiracy was alleged in the Information against Li, the prosecution devoted its efforts to prove that Li had actually inflicted the stab wounds on Sangalang, tagging him as a direct participant in the crime. Thus, there seems to be no evidence that would directly establish the fact that Li and Sangalang had come into an agreement to commit a common felony. Any conclusion that there was a conspiracy will have to be drawn inferentially, as the RTC did.
It is not necessary to prove a previous agreement to commit a crime if there is proof that the malefactors have acted in concert and in pursuance of the common objectives. Direct proof is not essential to show conspiracy since it is by its nature often planned in utmost secrecy and it can seldom be proved by direct evidence.52 Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused themselves when such point to a joint purpose and design. Complicity may be determined by concert of action at the moment of consummating the crime and the form and manner in which assistance is rendered to the person inflicting the fatal wound.Moreover, it appears that the fight involved two distinct phases. The first phase commenced when Li, without sufficient provocation, assaulted Arugay with the baseball bat. Li’s participation in this phase, albeit as a solitary actor, was indubitably established. Sangalang’s participation, much less his physical presence during this phase, was not established at all. In the second phase, Sangalang was the main actor. Li was incapacitated by then. Clearly, the existence of conspiracy should be ruled out.
The only injury attributable to Li is the contusion on the victim’s right arm that resulted from Li striking Arugay with a baseball bat. When there is no evidence of actual incapacity of the offended party for labor or of the required medical attendance, the offense is only slight physical injuries.Careful scrutiny of the evidence reveals that the criminal culpability of Kingstone Li in the death of Christopher Arugay was not established beyond reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, the person who is responsible for the death apparently remains at large. Yet absent any clear showing of conspiracy, as in this case, Kingstone Li cannot answer for the crime of Eduardo Sangalang.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED. Petitioner Kingstone Li is ACQUITTED of the charge of Homicide for lack of evidence beyond reasonable doubt. However, he is found GUILTY of the crime of SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES.
Teves vs. Sandiganbayan GR 154182
The pivotal issue in this petition is whether a public official charged with violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for unlawful intervention, in his official capacity, in the issuance of a license in favor of a business enterprise in which he has a pecuniary interest may be convicted, together with his spouse, of violation of that same provision premised on his mere possession of such interest.
Accused Edgar Y. Teves, Mayor of Valencia, Negros Oriental, while in the performance and taking advantage of his official functions, and conspiring and confederating with his wife, Teresita Teves, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally cause the issuance of the appropriate business permit/license to operate the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center in favor of one Daniel Teves, said accused Edgar Y. Teves having a direct financial or pecuniary interest therein considering the fact that said cockpit arena is actually owned and operated by him and accused Teresita Teves. The evidence for the prosecution has established that petitioner Edgar Teves owned the cockpit in question he turned over the management of the cockpit to Mrs. Teresita Z. Teves for the reason that [he] could no longer devote a full time as manager of the said entity due to other work pressure.
RULING: Petitioner Teresita Teves must, be acquitted. The charge against her is conspiracy in causing “the issuance of the appropriate business permit/license to operate the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center.” For this charge, she was acquitted. But as discussed earlier, that charge also includes conspiracy in the possession of prohibited interest.
Conspiracy must be established separately from the crime itself and must meet the same degree of proof, i.e., proof beyond reasonable doubt. While conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime, all taken together, the evidence must reasonably be strong enough to show community of criminal design. Certainly, there is no conspiracy in just being married to an erring spouse. For a spouse or any person to be a party to a conspiracy as to be liable for the acts of the others, it is essential that there be intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the furtherance of the common design. Except when he is the mastermind in a conspiracy, it is necessary that a conspirator should have performed some overt act as a direct or indirect contribution in the execution of the crime planned to be committed. The overt act must consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or of moral assistance to his co-conspirators.
We find no sufficient evidence that petitioner Teresita Teves conspired with, or knowingly induced or caused, her husband to commit the second mode of violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law. The acts of petitioner Teresita Teves can hardly pass as acts in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit the violation of the Anti-Graft Law that would render her equally liable as her husband. If ever she did those acts, it was because she herself was an owner of the cockpit. Not being a public official, she was not prohibited from holding an interest in cockpit. Prudence, however, dictates that she too should have divested herself of her ownership over the cockpit upon the effectivity of the LGC of 1991; otherwise, as stated earlier, considering her property relation with her husband, her ownership would result in vesting direct prohibited interest upon her husband.
In criminal cases, conviction must rest on a moral certainty of guilt. The burden of proof is upon the prosecution to establish each and every element of the crime and that the accused is either responsible for its commission or has conspired with the malefactor. Since no conspiracy was proved, the acquittal of petitioner Teresita Teves is, therefore, in order.
SIM vs. CA, GR 159280, May 18, 2004 228 SCRA 459 – implied conspiracy
Augusto Sim, Jr. and co-accused Elison Villaflor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of estafa . conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud Jay Byron Ilagan in the following manner, to wit: the said accused by means of false manifestations which they made to said Jay Byron Ilagan to the effect that they are selling one (1) colored green Nissan Pathfinder pick-up with motor number PD27-555735 bearing Plate No. BCF-620 in the amount of P480,000.00 registered in the name of Henry Austria, and by means of other similar deceits, induced and succeeded in inducing said Jay Byron Ilagan to give and deliver, as in fact he gave and delivered to said accused the amount of P480,000.00 on the strength of said manifestations and representations, said accused well knowing that the same were false and fraudulent, as the said car is a stolen car and they are not the owner, and were made solely, to obtain, as in fact they did obtain the amount of P480,000.00 which amount once in their possession, with intent to defraud, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted to their own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of said Jay Byron Ilagan in the aforesaid amount of P350,000.00, Philippine currency.
On the first assignment of error, petitioner argues that there is no conspiracy between him and co-accused. He points that it was only co-accused Elison Villaflor who dealt with private complainant. The latter had not even met him before he was allegedly forced to sign the amicable agreement. Petitioner further alleges that contrary to the findings of the appellate court, there is no convincing evidence to show that petitioner performed any previous or simultaneous act with Elison in committing the offense against private complainant. The witnesses presented by the prosecution did not show or prove that petitioner directly participated in the commission of the offense or performed an act which would show community of purpose with Elison.
ISSUE: Whether there was conspiracy between petitioner and Elison Villaflor in defrauding private complainant Jay Byron Ilagan
RULING: Even in the absence of direct evidence of prior agreement to commit the crime, conspiracy may be deduced from the acts of the perpetrators before, during and after the commission of the crime, which are indicative of a common design, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments.14 Conspiracy is deemed implied when the malefactors have a common purpose and were united in its execution. Spontaneous agreement or active cooperation by all perpetrators at the moment of the commission of the crime is sufficient to create joint criminal responsibility.15
In Erquiaga v. Court of Appeals,16 we ruled that conspiracy, as a rule, has to be established with the same quantum of proof as the crime itself and shown as clearly as the commission of the crime. However, conspiracy need not be shown by direct evidence, but may take the form of circumstances which, if taken together, would conclusively show that the accused came to an agreement to commit a crime and decided to carry it out with their full cooperation and participation.
As correctly pointed out by the appellate court, petitioner’s actions in relation to the fraudulent sale of the Nissan Pathfinder to private complainant clearly established conspiracy as alleged in the information, which acts transcend mere knowledge or friendship with co-accused Elison.17 Notwithstanding the fact that it was only Elison who dealt with or personally transacted with private complainant until the time the sale was consummated, by his own testimony petitioner admitted all the acts by which he actively cooperated and not merely acquiesced in perpetrating the fraud upon private complainant.18 That petitioner is a conspirator having joint criminal design with Elison is evident from the fact that as between them, both knew that petitioner was the person selling the vehicle under the false pretense that a certain Henry Austria was the registered owner.19 Petitioner, together with Elison, clearly deceived private complainant in order to defraud him in the amount of P480,000.00, to the latter’s damage and prejudice. In addition, the acts of petitioner in deliberately misrepresenting himself to private complainant as having the necessary authority to possess and sell to the latter the vehicle so that he could collect from him P480,000.00 only to renege on that promise and for failure to reimburse the said amount he collected from private complainant, despite demand, amount to estafa punishable under Art. 315, par. 2 (a).
The Court of Appeals, in affirming the findings of fact of the trial court, aptly observed:20
That conviction under the afore-cited provision is more proper is evident from the trial court’s finding that appellant Augusto Sim, Jr. from the very beginning was aware that the subject vehicle was not his nor given to him in payment of debt as he made appellant Villaflor to believe. Nonetheless, appellant Villaflor was not absolved from liability, having actively conspired with appellant Augusto Sim, Jr. to convince private complainant to purchase the Pathfinder upon their false pretense and representation that said vehicle was being sold by its real owner, Henry Austria, the name appearing in the registration papers and deed of sale under circumstances clearly showing their knowledge that the status of said vehicle is dubious or anomalous, as in fact it turned out to be a "hot car" or had been stolen/carnapped from its true owner. The totality of the evidence indicates a common or joint design, purpose and objective of the accused-appellants to defraud private complainant who parted with his money upon the belief that there is no problem regarding the ownership of the Pathfinder sold to him by the appellants.
The trial court rejected the argument of the defense that it was private complainant who supposedly had the vehicle and its registration papers checked at Camp Crame before buying the same. It pointed out that verification would have been difficult considering that the motor and chassis numbers in the registration papers are correct but the name of the owner appearing therein is false.
Elison’s false pretense in holding out that he had authorization from the owner to sell the 1997 Nissan Pathfinder was made in conjunction with petitioner’s fraudulent misrepresentation that he was legally entitled to possess the aforesaid vehicle. The evidence shows that petitioner and Elison acted in conspiracy to deceive private complainant into buying a stolen Nissan Pathfinder, thereby defrauding the latter in the amount of P480,000.00, and upon their false pretense and representation as to the real status of the vehicle, i.e., that said unit is in fact being sold by its true owner Henry Austria and that Augusto Sim, Jr. in whose name the checks were issued had the authority or right to sell the same. After a few months, the vehicle sold was apprehended and impounded by police authorities for being stolen or carnapped which resulted in pecuniary damage to private complainant who had demanded the return of his money from petitioner and Elison.21 The evidence of the prosecution satisfactorily established the fraudulent acts and representations which induced private complainant to part with his money for which he suffered damage and loss when the vehicle sold to him by petitioner and Elison was recovered by its true owner through operatives of the police anti-carnapping group.