Before us is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 28, dated March 28, 1994, 1 convicting appellant of the crimes of double frustrated murder and robbery with homicide, in Criminal Case No. 36069, Criminal Case No. 36070 and Criminal Case No. 36071.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Appellant Allan Jarandilla was charged under the following informations:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Criminal Case No. 36069
"That on or about February 10, 1991, in the Municipality of Barotac Viejo, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a cal. .38 revolver (Squire Bingham) taking advantage of the nighttime, with intent to kill and with trachery (sic) and evident premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot one Bonifacio Jalandoni inflicting upon the latter gunshot wounds on the vital parts of his body, thereby performing all the acts of execution which would have caused the death of Bonifacio Jalandoni as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the accused, that is, by the timely and able medical attendance rendered to the said Bonifacio Jalandoni which prevented his death.
CONTRARY TO LAW." 2
Criminal Case No. 36070
"That on or about February 10, 1991, in the Municipality of Btac. Viejo, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a cal. .38 revolver (Squire Bingham) taking advantage of the nighttime, with intent to kill and with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot one Nilo Prieto inflicting upon the latter gunshot wounds on the vital parts of his body, thereby performing all the acts of execution which would have caused the death of Nilo Prieto as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the accused, that is, by the timely and able medical attendance rendered to the said Nilo Prieto which prevented his death.
CONTRARY TO LAW." 3
Criminal Case No. 36071
"That on or about February 10, 1991, in the Municipality of Btac. Viejo, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a .38 caliber revolver (Squire Bingham), did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away with intent to gain cash money in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency, owned by Peter Paul Aldeguer and to his damage and prejudice in the aforestated amount of P20,000.00; that on the occasion of said robbery, above-named accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot Peter Paul Aldeguer hitting and inflicting upon the latter multiple gunshot wounds on the vital parts of his body which caused his death thereafter.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
CONTRARY TO LAW." 4
At arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty. 5
In the course of trial, the prosecution presented the following witnesses: (l) Nilo Prieto, a victim who testified on the incident in question; (2) Dr. Jessie Uy, who issued a medical certificate describing Prieto’s gunshot wound on the nape, showing that he was shot from behind; (3) Bonifacio Jalandoni, another victim-eyewitness; (4) Dr. Manuel Jarbadan, who examined Jalandoni and stated that he could have been shot from a distance of two to three feet; (5) Dr. Salvador Mallo, who conducted the autopsy on the cadaver of victim Peter Paul Aldeguer, finding that the victim was shot from behind, and (6) Jeane Aldeguer, the mother of Peter Paul Aldeguer, who testified on the expenses her family incurred as a result of the death of her son, and also on the mental anguish she suffered as a result thereof. 6
In turn, the defense presented the following witnesses: (1) Allan Jarandilla, appellant, who denied culpability and attributed the crimes to a certain "Onik" or "Unik", who allegedly shot all three victims; (2) Police Lieutenant Eugenio B. Malik, Station Commander of PNP-Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, who conducted the investigation of the incident; (3) SPO3 Roldan Agsamosam, who corroborated the testimony of Lieutenant Malik and testified that appellant had turned over his service firearm, a .38 caliber revolver, as early as October 8, 1990; (4) NBI Agent Arnaldo S. Bacabac, who testified that the bullets taken from the cadaver of Peter Paul Aldeguer and the jeep of Nilo Prieto were not fired from the service firearm of appellant, as per the NBI ballistics report; (5) Captain Zenaida Sinfuego, a forensic chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory of Camp Delgado, Iloilo City, who testified that Bonifacio Jalandoni tested positive for powder burns; (6) Ruby Tupaz, Clerk of Court of Barotac, Viejo Municipal Circuit Court; and (7) Maria Bautista, a witness who allegedly saw another person board the jeep ridden by the victims and appellant, in Culasi, Ajuy, Iloilo. 7
From the witnesses’ testimonies and documentary evidence on record, the trial court summarized the facts of the case as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"From the foregoing, it has been established by evidence for the prosecution, as well as that of the defense, that in the evening of February 10, 1991, while a jeep driven by Nilo Prieto, with Peter Paul Aldeguer, Bonifacio Jalandoni and accused herein Allan Jarandilla, as passengers, was negotiating an uphill portion of the highway, from Ajuy Iloilo, going towards Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, several shots were fired from a gun, causing injuries to Peter Paul Aldeguer, which caused his untimely death, a wound at the nape of Nilo Prieto, and wounds on the chest and left wrist, of Bonifacio Jalandoni, which could have caused their deaths, were it not for timely medical attendance. The only passenger of the jeep, who was not injured, is, Accused
herein, Allan Jarandilla. As a result of said incident, the money of Peter Paul Aldeguer, which was about P20,000.00 that he won at the cockfight, at Ajuy Iloilo was missing.
Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni, testified, under oath, and pinpointed, to the accused herein, Allan Jarandilla, as their assaillant (sic).
Although Nilo Prieto, before, and at the time, of the incident in question, did not know the name of that companion of Bonifacio Jalandoni who rode in his jeep in the evening of February 10, 1991, the said person was introduced to him, and to Peter Paul Aldeguer, as a policeman from Barotac Viejo, Iloilo.
Bonifacio Jalandoni informed the court, that he has known Allan Jarandilla, for a long time, because their respective wives where even together in selling textiles.
According to Bonifacio Jalandoni, when he heard the gunfires, he even looked back, and shouted, at accused Allan Jarandilla, not to shoot at Peter Paul Aldeguer, and, at that moment he saw Allan Jarandilla holding a .38 caliber revolver. Instead of heeding the pleas of Bonifacio Jalandoni, the accused, even shot the former.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The contention of accused Allan Jarandilla, that he did not shoot the aforenamed victims and took the P20,000.00 from the pocket of Peter Paul Aldeguer, is negated by the testimonies of the victims who were able to live to ‘tell the tale’.
The actuation of the accused Allan Jarandilla, at the time of the incident, in question, tends to show that he intended to kill Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni, after he has already killed and robbed Peter Paul Aldeguer, in order to eliminate the witnesses to his criminal acts.
The allegations of accused Allan Jarandilla that he could not have possibly shot his victims, because he did not have any firearm at that time of the incident, as he has turned over his .38 caliber service revolver to PO3 Agsamosam, before he was transferred to 321st PC Coy, Sara, Iloilo, is not convincing to this court, because he was earlier seen, by Bonifacio Jalandoni and Nilo Prieto, as having a revolver tucked at his waist. Moreover, it is into farfetched, that even after Allan Jarandilla has turned over his .38 caliber service revolver to PO3 Agsamosam at Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, as a policeman, he could have easily secured another firearm, from other sources.
The allegations of Allan Jarandilla that he did not take the money from Peter Paul Aldeguer is likewise considered by the Court as not believable. The record will show that the accused Allan Jarandilla, went into hiding before he placed himself under the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on February 18, 1991 (Exh. 14’) so that it could have been very easy for him to hide the "loot", as well as the gun, which he used in shooting at the aforenamed victims.
Also it is true that Allan Jarandilla did not commit the offenses attributed to him in the aforequoted information, when he placed himself under the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), he could have informed the National Bureau of Investigation that it was a certain "Unik" who committed the same, as he stated in Exhibit" 14", "I will help the National Bureau of Investigation in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting to death of Peter Paul Aldeguer, in the evening of 10; February 1991 in Brgy. Santiago, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo" considering that when he wrote Exhibit "14", he was assisted by Atty. Jose A. Alegario, as a witness to his submission to protective custody. No such evidence was presented by the defense." 8
After trial, the court rendered its decision convicting appellant of the crimes charged. It decreed as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, DECISION is hereby rendered, finding the accused, ALLAN JARANDILLA:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
1) In Criminal Case No. 36069, Guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of Frustrated Murder, with Bonifacio Jalandoni, as his victim, and hereby Sentences him, to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment, ranging from FOUR (4) YEARS & TWO (2) MONTHS, prision correccional, as minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS, prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessory penalty provided by law. To indemnify Bonifacio Jalandoni, in the amount of P20,000.00, and to pay the costs;
2) In Criminal Case No. 36070, Guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of Frustrated Murder, with Nilo Prieto, as his victim, and hereby Sentences him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment, ranging from FOUR (4) YEARS & TWO (2) MONTHS, prision correccional, as minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS, prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessory penalty provided by law, to indemnify Nilo Prieto in the amount of P11,700,00, and to pay the costs;
3) In Criminal Case No. 36071, Guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of Robbery with Homicide, with Peter Paul Aldeguer, as his victim, and hereby Sentences him with reclusion perpetua, considering that at the time of the commission of the offense charged, the capital penalty, of death, has been abolished by the "Cory" Constitution, and not yet re-imposed by law. The afore-named accused is ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased, Peter Paul Aldeguer, in the amounts of P75,000,00, as actual damages, P500,000,00, as indemnity for his life; P500,000,00, as moral damages and P50,000,00, as attorney’s fees, and to pay the costs.
Accused, ALLAN JARANDILLA, shall be credited, in full, of the period during which he was detained, in connection with all the above-entitled cases.
The .38 caliber Squire & Bingham revolver, with Serial No. 659991, is hereby ordered to be returned to the PNP of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, upon the signing by its representative of the corresponding receipt, therefor.
SO ORDERED." 9
Appellant now assigns the following errors:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
A. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT ACCUSED APPELLANT WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHOOTING OF NILO PRIETO AND BONIFACIO JALANDONI;
B. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING ACCUSED APPELLANT SHOT AND ROBBED PETER PAUL ALDEGUER RESULTING TO HIS DEATH AND THEN ROBBED HIM WHEN THIS IS BELIED BY THE PRESENCE OF CASH MONEY FOUND AND RECOVERED FROM THE BODY OF PETER PAUL ALDEGUER;
C. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE FIREARM USED IN THE SHOOTING OF PRIETO AND JALANDONI AS WELL AS IN THE KILLING OF ALDEGUER BELONGED TO THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT;chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
D. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WAS (sic) NOT ACQUITTING APPELLANT DUE TO REASONABLE DOUBTS. 10
Appellant contends that his motive for committing the crimes was not established. He alleges that the presence of money on the body of Peter Paul Aldeguer, and the non-taking of any valuables from Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni rules out robbery. He also contends that he couldn’t have shot any of the victims, as he had turned over his service revolver much earlier than the date of the incident, and the NBI ballistics report on said revolver showed that the slugs taken from Aldeguer and Prieto’s jeep were not fired therefrom. It was a certain "Onik," appellant alleges, who later boarded the jeep and shot the victims. He also claims that it is not true that there was no eyewitness to corroborate his testimony and his claim that it A as this "Onik" who was responsible for the shootings.
For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General counters by invoking the settled rule that the prosecution need not prove motive on the part of appellant, as the latter had been positively identified as the author of the crime by Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni. The presence of money on the body of Peter Paul Aldeguer also does not negate the imputation of robbery, as prior to the shooting, Aldeguer was carrying more money than was found on his cadaver. The fact that appellant turned over his service firearm also does not preclude his chances of obtaining another one, which he used in the commission of the crimes charged. Lastly, the Solicitor General asserts that appellant’s imputation of the crime to one "Onik" is incredible, as there was no proof of the involvement, much less the existence, of such person on the night of the incident.
Based on the foregoing arguments of appellant and of the Solicitor General, we find that the basic issues here involve the credibility of witnesses, and the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution.
Appellant insists on the need to establish a motive for the crime. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, however, it is well-settled that motive is not necessary when there is a clear and positive identification of the perpetrators of the crime. 11 Absence of motive for committing the crime does not preclude conviction therefor where there were reliable witnesses who fully and satisfactorily identified the accused as the perpetrator of the felony. 12 In this case, Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni, both victims and eyewitnesses to the incident, categorically testified that it was appellant who shot them and Peter Paul Aldeguer, causing the latter’s death. 13 Both witnesses showed no apparent ill-motive for testifying against appellant. In fact, Jalandoni referred to appellant as a barrio-mate, a friend, someone with whom the witness was on good terms, as their wives worked together in the same line of business. 14 Absent any indication that the witnesses for the prosecution were moved by improper motive, the presumption is that said witnesses were not so moved, and that their testimonies are entitled to full faith and credit. 15
Appellant claims that the identity of the perpetrator has been placed in doubt. This alleged "doubt", however, was of his own making. According to him, the shootings were carried out by a certain "Unik" or "Onik", a nephew allegedly of Bonifacio Jalandoni. Onik boarded the jeep they were riding, said appellant, when they stopped at a gasoline station in Culasi, Ajuy, Iloilo. While the vehicle was about fifty meters away from Culasi, an altercation between the passengers allegedly took place, followed by the shootings in question. 16
These assertions by appellant are not corroborated by any other witness. Jalandoni himself denies having a nephew by the name of "Unik" or "Onik." 17 None of the principal witnesses testified that there was a fifth passenger on board the jeep that they were riding that night, aside from Prieto, Jalandoni, Aldeguer and appellant. While defense witness Maria Bautista testified that she saw another person board the jeep in Culasi, she also stated that she saw appellant and two other persons inside the jeep at the time. 18 There was no fifth rider in the jeep, contrary to appellant’s averment.
Appellant’s denial of the offense, coupled with the unsupported story that seeks to shift guilt to another shadowy figure, must be buttressed by strong evidence of his non-culpability to merit credibility. 19 There being none, appellant’s denial is deemed to be negative and self-serving evidence unworthy of credence, 20 which cannot prevail in the face of his positive identification as the culprit. 21
Appellant further asserts that the offender’s motive for the shootings could not have been robbery, as money was still found on the body of Peter Paul Aldeguer, and nothing was taken from Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni. This contention lacks persuasiveness. At the trial, Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni testified that Peter Paul Aldeguer had won a total of about P23,000.00 in the cockpit of Ajuy, Iloilo on the day he was shot. 22 Prieto also positively testified that immediately after the shootings, he saw appellant holding Peter Paul Aldeguer by the collar as his other hand searched through Aldeguer’s pockets, presumably for the latter’s winnings. 23 Hence, even if the blood-soaked amount of around P3,000.00 had been found on the body of Aldeguer, the loss of some P20,000.00 from the victim’s possession is directly attributable to the robber’s handiwork. That robber, according to the testimony of eyewitnesses, is none other than the gunman who shot Aldeguer. Robbery as a motive explains the shooting.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Lastly, appellant reasons that he could not have shot the victims because he had returned his service revolver prior to the incident, and that the ballistics test showed that the slugs taken from Aldeguer’s cadaver and Prieto’s jeep were not fired from said revolver. However, the prosecution witnesses never stated that the .38 caliber revolver which they saw tucked in appellant’s waist on the night of the incident was his service revolver. They merely observed that there was such a weapon on appellant’s person. 24 Thus, the previous return of appellant’s service firearm to the PNP of Iloilo prior to the incident would not serve to exonerate him from culpability.
Nilo Prieto was found to have sustained a gunshot wound in the nape, which clearly shows that he was shot from behind. 25 The location of his wound likewise shows that the gunman intended to kill him. The report of the medical examiner attests to this, as he concluded that without timely medical attention, Prieto’s wound could have caused his death. 26 As for Bonifacio Jalandoni, he was found to have been shot in the back of the chest and on the left wrist. 27 The gunshot wound on his chest clearly indicates a deliberate attempt to kill him. The medical report on Jalandoni’s gunshot wounds and the testimony of the examining physician, however, do not categorically state that this victim would have died were it not for the intervention of medical assistance. 28
Both Prieto and Jalandoni testified that the shootings were carried out in a sudden and unexpected manner, without warning, with neither Prieto, Jalandoni nor the deceased Aldeguer expecting the attack. 29 Hence, the shooting of Prieto, Jalandoni and Aldeguer was attended by treachery. The attack being sudden and unexpected, they had no chance to defend themselves, particularly Prieto and Aldeguer, who were shot from behind as they sat at the front seat of the jeep. There was no warning, not even a declaration of a "holdup", as the gunman fired successive shots at his victims. Thus, the unexpected and sudden attack on the victims from behind rendered them unable and unprepared to defend themselves. Such suddenness was meant to ensure the safety of the gunman as well as the success of the attack. This clearly constituted alevosia. 30 This qualified the crimes committed by appellant to murder, although frustrated and attempted only insofar as Prieto and Jalandoni, respectively, were concerned. As for the aggravating circumstances of nighttime and evident premeditation alleged in the informations filed against appellant, we find no sufficient proof of the existence of these modifying circumstances.
Considering that Nilo Prieto survived, appellant must be held liable for frustrated murder only, as ruled by the trial court. Due to timely medical assistance, Prieto was saved from death. Otherwise he would have died from gunshot wounds inflicted by appellant. This finding of the medical examiner was never controverted. In a frustrated felony, the perpetrator performs all acts necessary to produce the crime but, for some reason other than his own spontaneous desistance, such as prompt medical aid in the case at bar, the felony is not consummated. 31
Concerning Bonifacio Jalandoni’s injuries, appellant must be held liable for attempted murder only, for as pointed out by the examining physician, "he may or may not (have) succumb(ed)" to the gunshot wounds, indicating that said wounds alone could not have necessarily caused the death of Jalandoni. 32 A felony is attempted when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance, 33 such as the absence of lethal or mortal wounds.
Regarding Peter Paul Aldeguer’s death, the taking by appellant of the money of the victim qualified the crime into robbery with homicide.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Robbery with homicide is a special complex crime against property. Homicide is incidental to the robbery which is the main purpose of the criminal. In charging robbery with homicide, the onus probandi is to establish: (a) the taking of personal property with the use of violence or intimidation against a person; (b) the property belongs to another; (c) the taking is characterized with animus lucrandi; and (d) on the occasion of the robbery or by reason thereof, the crime of homicide, which is used in the generic sense, was committed. 34
In the case at bar, Nilo Prieto testified that he saw appellant search through the pockets of Peter Paul Aldeguer as he lay unconscious. Thereafter, police investigators found the sum of around P3,000.00 on Aldeguer’s body, a far cry from the P23,000.00 he had earlier won. From these established circumstances, there can be no other conclusion than that appellant robbed Aldeguer, who was shot to death on the occasion of the robbery.
As to the damages awarded, we find that the trial court erred in awarding the heirs of Peter Paul Aldeguer the amounts of P500,000.00 as death indemnity, P500,000.00 as moral damages, and P50,000.00 as attorney’s fees. Pursuant to current jurisprudence, these amounts awarded by the trial court must be lowered. The trial court also erred in the imposition of prison terms for appellant’s crimes against Nilo Prieto and Bonifacio Jalandoni. These must be adjusted accordingly, in line with the law on penalties.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, MODIFYING the decision of the trial court dated March 28, 1994, and finding appellant Allan Jarandilla:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1) In Criminal Case No. 36069, guilty of the crime of Attempted Murder committed against Bonifacio Jalandoni, and sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment, ranging from prision correccional in its medium period, as minimum, to prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum, with the accessory penalties provided by law, and to indemnify Bonifacio Jalandoni in the amount of P20,000.00, and to pay the costs;
2) In Criminal Case No. 36070, guilty of the crime of Frustrated Murder against Nilo Prieto, and sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment, ranging from prision mayor in its medium period, as minimum, to reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum, with the accessory penalties provided by law, and to indemnify Nilo Prieto in the amount of P 11,700.00, and to pay the costs;
3) In Criminal Case No. 36071, guilty of the crime of Robbery with Homicide against Peter Paul Aldeguer, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify the heirs of Peter Paul Aldeguer in the amounts of P75,000.00 as actual damages, P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and to pay the costs.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Bellosillo, Mendoza, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ.
1. Rollo, pp. 124-153.
2. Id. at 10.
3. Id. at 12.
4. Id. at 14.
5. Records, p. 31.
6. Rollo, pp. 127-138.
7. Id.,. at 138-147; TSN, January 19, 1993, pp. 1-6.
8. Id. at 147-151.
9. Id. at 151-153.
10. Id. at 104-105.
11. People v. Villamor, 284 SCRA 184,195 (1998).
12. People v. Ballesteros, 285 SCRA 438,445 (1998).
13. TSN, September 30, 1991, pp. 15-19; TSN, October 1, 1991, pp. 20-24.
14. TSN, October 1, 1991, pp. 14, 27, 30, 38.
15. People v. Nava, 306 SCRA 15, 22 (1999).
16. TSN, February 10, 1992, pp. 11 - 18.
17. TSN, November 24, 1992, p. 2.
18. TSN, January 19, 1993, pp. 4-6.
19. People v. Maglente, 306 SCRA 546, 575 (1999).
20. People v. Guevarra, 306 SCRA 111, 125 (1999).
21. People v. Andaya, 306 SCRA 202, 215 (1999).
22. TSN, September 30, 1991, pp. 22-23; TSN, October 1, 1991, p. 20.
23. Id. at 17-18.
24. Id. at 16; TSN, October 1, 1991, pp. 21-22.
25. Id. at 4.
26. Id. at 5, 9-10.
27. TSN, October 1, 1991, p. 4.
28. Id. at 5-6.
29. TSN, September 30, 1991, p. 16; TSN, October 1, 1991, p. 21.
30. People v. Borreros, 306 SCRA 680, 692 (1999).
31. People v. De la Cruz, 291 SCRA 164, 186 (1998).
32. TSN, October 1, 1991, p. 6.
33. Article 6, Revised Penal Code.
34. People of the Philippines v. Elmer Salas y David, GR. No. 115192, March 7, 2000, pp. 10-11.