G.R. No. 191063, October 09, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ALDRIN M. GALICIA, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
That on or about 11:45 in the morning of June 10, 2004, at N. Gonzales St., cor. F. Platon St., Barangay II, Poblacion, Tanauan City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused conspiring and confederating and mutually helping one another, with treachery and evident premeditation, one of the accused JUN ASUNCION y NOBERO, armed with a firearm, and with deliberate intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unalwfully and feloniously in an unexpected manner, shot Judge Voltaire Rosales, hitting the latter on his head and neck thus causing fatal injuries which resulted to the instantaneous death of said Judge Rosales. Said accused escaped through the use of a motorcycle then driven by the accused ALDRIN GALICIA y MICOSA.
On June 10, 2004, at 9:15 in the morning, [Flores] was tending to a garden of the carinderia located at No. 58 N. Gonzales St., Tanauan, Batangas where she was working, when she noticed two (2) men three to four meters away. x x x
One of them approached her and asked what she was planting. She replied that she does not know the name of the plant. She noticed that the man has big eyes, dark skin and has a prominent jaw (pangahin). He was wearing a black jacket and a helmet which was open in front. The other man remained where he was standing and was wearing a gray jacket. That man was later identified by [Flores] as [Galicia]. Beside him was a black motorcycle which has no plate number and the engine still running. x x x
When [Flores] noticed that it was about to rain, she invited them to come inside the carinderia. As [Flores] entered the diner, she turned her face towards the two men and stared hard. x x x
After a few moments while she was attending to the chores inside the diner, she heard successive gunshots. Immediately she looked out of the window and from her vantage point, she saw a green Pajero 7 to 10 meters away, slowly crossing and swerving to the right toward Platon St. x x x
After the shots were fired, she saw the two men she talked to earlier riding their motorcycle and speeding away. The motorcycle was driven by [Galicia]. Then in a split second, she saw the Pajero hitting the wall at the corner of Platon and N. Gonzales St. x x x
Moments later, policemen arrived and they took pictures of the Pajero as well as the crime scene. x x x
On July 7, 2004, she summoned her courage to disclose what she knew and executed an affidavit before the Tanauan Police Station. She disclosed what she witnessed because her conscience bothered her. x x x
Likewise, on June 10, 2004 in the morning, [Enriquez], an agent of the Surety Commonwealth Insurance Company of Tanauan City, Batangas was walking at N. Gonzales St., Tanauan City headed towards Jollibee when he noticed a black Enduro motorcycle without plate number with two riders cruising the streets. x x x
Suddenly from where [Enriquez] was standing, he saw a green Mitsubishi Pajero pass by. Then he saw the two riders of the motorcycle firing upon somebody inside the vehicle. He saw appellant manning the motorcycle. x x x
After firing the shots, the motorcycle sped away. [Enriquez] later learned that the occupant of the Green Mitsubishi Pajero was Judge Voltair[e] Rosales. He knew him considering his job as bondsman. x x x
At about 11:45 a.m. of June 10, 2004, Judge Voltaire Rosales was killed while on board his Pajero van at N. Gonzales St. Corner F. Platon St., Barangay II, Poblacion, Tanauan, Batangas. At about one o’ clock of the same day, a team of SOCO Investigators from PNP Region 4, Canlubang, Laguna, arrived at the scene of the crime and conducted an investigation. The PNP-SOCO’s investigation revealed that the “assailants (of Judge Voltaire Rosales) were wearing “black bonnets” (Exh. “A”). Nobody questioned by the police investigators could identify the assailants.
On January 24, 2005, seven months after the incident, an Information for Murder was filed against Galicia and one Jun Asuncion in the Regional Trial Court, Tanauan City, Batangas.
The Information alleged thus:The undersigned State Prosecutors of the Department of Justice accuse ALDRIN GALICIA y MICOSA and JUN ASUNCION y NOBERO of the crime of MURDER defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act 7659, committed as follows:Having been arrested, Galicia filed an Application For Bail on the ground that the Prosecution’s evidence against him is not strong.
x x x
CONTRARY TO LAW.
After hearing, the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 145, thru Judge Cesar Santamaria, denied the application for bail.
Upon motion for inhibition filed by Galicia, the case was re-raffled and assigned to Branch 58 of the same Regional Trial Court, which conducted the trial and convicted Galicia in its Decision subject of the appeal.
The prosecution presented as witnesses the following PNP SOCO Investigators, namely: Police Supt. Ligaya Sim Cabal of the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory, Calamba City, Laguna; Gregorio de Guzman, Chief Inspector and Team Leader of the SOCO team dispatched to the crime scene; Jerome Quiasao, Chief Forensic Photographer and Operating Officer, PNP Regional Crime Laboratory, Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna; and Jupri Delantar, the forensic chemical officer of the Batangas Provincial Crime Laboratory. The Prosecution also presented Antonio Vertido, medico-legal officer of the NBI, Southern Tagalog Region and two civilians, namely: [Flores] and [Enriquez].
The medico-legal officer and the PNP-SOCO Investigators testified on post-crime matters. Civilian witnesses [Flores] and [Enriquez], who claimed to be within the area where the crime was committed, testified on facts which they allegedly and purportedly observed.
On the other hand, Galicia presented himself and the following as his witnesses, namely: Lourdes Rosales, Teresita Mabilangan-Lucido and Katherine Sison Ramilo.
In essence, the defense witnesses testified that Galicia could not have committed the crime charged because on the day and time of the incident, he was attending the wake of his grandfather Armando Lucido in Brgy. Pantay Matanda, Tanauan City, who testified that Armando Lucido died on June 7, 2004 and was in state at his house in Pantay Matanda, Tanauan City from June 8, 2004 until June 11, 2004 when his remains were brought to Cabanatuan City, where his wife and children reside, for final interment.
x x x
Witness Lourdes Rosales, the Barangay Chairwoman of the place where the incident happened, testified in essence that on June 11, 2004 at around 6 p.m., she was asked by her cousin Carmelita Yabut, the owner of the carinderia where [Flores] works, to go to their house to talk to [Flores]. When she arrived at the house, she saw policemen who wanted to talk to [Flores] but the latter refused to talk to them. As a Barangay Chairwoman, she asked [Flores] to talk to the policemen so they will not keep coming back and to tell them the truth of what happened. Finally, [Flores] was convinced to talk to the policemen with the barangay chairwoman accompanying her. During the interview by the policemen, [Flores] said that “she did not see the incident and also did not see the perpetrator.”
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court renders judgment finding the accused ALDRIN GALICIA GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA. Consequently, he is hereby ordered to indemnify the victim the amount of Php50,000.00 as civil damages.
Considering that the Court has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of accused Jun Asuncion who has remained at large, let an alias warrant of arrest be issued against him.
A. Testimony of Flores:11
B. Testimony of Enriquez:12
- She pointed to “Galicia” as the man driving the motorcycle while the other man approached her in the garden at back x x x. However, she contradicted herself and said that she asked the first man who approached her, this time pointing to Galicia who was in court, to go inside the carinderia (canteen) since it was raining x x x;
- She also declared that after she heard the gunshots, she looked out of the window of the carinderia and saw Judge Rosales’ Pajero moving slowly then hitting the wall at the corner of Gonzales and Platon Streets. [Flores] testified that she did not know how the Pajero was fired upon, how the firing began, and how it ended, and she did not see the persons who fired the gun; and
- She also declared in court that the two assailants were wearing helmets. The portion of the helmet going down the right and left sides of their faces to the chin measured two inches wide, thereby the impossibility of recognizing the face.
- In his Sinumpaang Salaysay taken on September 8, 2004 taken by PO3 Johnson Melgar , he declared that on June 10, 2004 at about 12:00 p.m noontime, he was walking along F. Platon Street towards N. Gonzales Street, when at a distance of about 15 meters from the intersection, he saw a black Enduro motorcycle stop;
- In his testimony before the Honorable Court on February 15, 2007, [Enriquez] testified that on June 10, 2004 at about 11:45 AM to 12:00 o’ clock noon, he was walking along N. Gonzales Street when he saw a black Enduro motorcycle;
- [Enriquez] testified that he was very familiar with F. Platon and N.Gonzales Streets in Tanauan City because he often passed these streets;
- On cross-examination, however, when he was confronted with these material contradictions, [Enriquez] could only offer an explanation that he signed his Sinumpaang Salaysay x x x without reading the same x x x and that at that time when he signed the said Sinumpaang Salaysay, “he was so confused that he did not know anymore what to do x x x. He was still confused at the time his Sinumpaang Salaysay x x x was filed at the fiscal’s office x x x. Even at the time he signed Exhibit “00” during the hearing of this instant case before the lower court on February 15, 2007, Ramil Enriquez declared that he was still confused;
- While he was about 15 meters away from the intersection of N. Gonzales and F. Platon Streets, he saw an “Enduro” motorcycle. When questioned further on cross-examination, [Enriquez] declared that he is not a motorcycle enthusiast and, in fact, does not know anything about this “Enduro” motorcycle;
- What is more telling is when [Enriquez] testified that there was no word “Enduro” on the motorcycle that he saw x x x. With all these factors, it is highly improbable for the witness to say that what he saw at a distance of 15 meters away was an “Enduro” motorcycle;
- In his Sinumpaang Salaysay, [Enriquez] declared that “the one who was driving the motorcycle (who he later pointed to as “Galicia”) had a slim body, brown complexion, 5’7” or 5’8” in height, and wearing black jacket and camouflaged pants.
On cross-examination, however, he testified that the one driving the motorcycle was wearing a long-sleeved grey jacket and long camouflaged pants, and that the jacket covered his entire body and his hands, while the pants covered his entire legs. With his long-sleeved jacket and long camouflaged pants, it would be physically impossible to see the color and complexion of the one driving the motorcycle. To state that his complexion is brown is simply a lie. Later, [Enriquez] relented in his testimony and said that what he testified was a speculation, assumption and conclusion; and
- [Enriquez] also declared that the one driving the motorcycle is 5’7” or 5’8” in height. On cross-examination, however, he testified that the driver remained sitting and that he never alighted from the motorcycle.
1 CA rollo, pp. 155-175; Penned by Associate Justice Mariflor P. Punzalan Castillo with Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Associate Justice Rosmari D. Carandang concurring.
2 Id. at 102-120.
3 Records, Vol. I, pp. 1-3.
4 Id. at 1.
5 Id. at 97.
6 CA rollo, pp. 133-135; Appellee’s Brief.
7 Id. at 66-68; Brief for Accused-Appellant.
8 Id. at 102-120.
9 People v. Barde, G.R. No. 183094, 22 September 2010, 631 SCRA 187, 209.
10People v. Valdez, G.R. No. 175602, 18 January 2012, 663 SCRA 272, 282 citing People v. Darilay, G.R. Nos. 139751-752, 26 January 2004, 421 SCRA 45, 54.
11 CA rollo, pp. 67-71.
12 Id. at 83-87.
13People v. Meris, 385 Phil. 667, 683 (2000).
14 406 Phil. 530, 540 (2001).
15 TSN, 24 November 2005, pp. 9-11.
16 Id. at 8.
17 Id. at 65-66 and TSN 8 December 2005, pp. 5-6.
18 TSN 24 November 2005, pp. 20-22.
19 Id. at 23-26.
20 Records, Vol. I, p. 247; Autopsy Report BTNO-04-221, Exhibit “M” to “M-1.”
21People v. Villadares, supra note at 14 at 537 citing People v. Cortes, G.R. No. 129693, 24 January 2000, 323 SCRA 131.
22 G.R No. 170834, 29 August 2008, 563 SCRA 723, 735.
23People v. Sia, 421 Phil. 784, 800 (2001).
24 See Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, Vol. 1, 1976 ed., page 341 citing cases. See also People v. Dueno, 179 Phil. 14, 29 (1979).
25 An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines approved on 24 June 2006.
26 People v. Halil Gambao, et al., G.R. No. 172707, 1 October 2013.
27 People v. Cabote, 420 Phil. 867, 879 (2001).
28 Supra note 26.
29 People v. Campos, G.R. No. 176061, 4 July 2011, 653 SCRA 99, 116 citing People v. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 174371, 11 December 2008, 573 SCRA 708, 721-722.