G.R. No. 194235, June 08, 2016
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JAY GREGORIO Y AMAR @ "JAY," ROLANDO ESTRELLA Y RAYMUNDO @ "BONG," DANILO BERGONIA Y ALELENG @ "DANNY," EFREN GASCON Y DELOS SANTOS @ "EFREN," RICARDO SALAZAR Y GO @ "ERIC," AND JOHN DOE, Accused-Appellants.
D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:**
That between the period October 8 to 14, 2002 in Meycauayan, and Guiguinto both in Bulacan, Dingras, Laoag and Badoc, all in Ilocos Norte, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one [an] other, with threats and intimidation, with the use of firearms did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, carry away and deprive JIMMY TING y SY, male, of his liberty against his will for the purpose of extorting money as in fact a demand for money in the amount of Fifty Million Pesos Philippine Currency (P50,000,000.00) was made as a condition for his release that the amount of One Million Seven Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos (P1,780,000.00) ransom money was actually paid.cralawredThe case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 2867-M-2002.
WHEREFORE, finding herein accused Rolando Estrella y Raymundo, Jay Gregorio y Amar and Ricardo Salazar y Go, guilty as principals beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom as charged, they and each of them are hereby sentenced to suffer the capital punishment of death, the Court strongly recommending to the Chief Executive, thru the Department of Justice, the commutation of this penalty meted out on them to life imprisonment only, pursuant to Art. 5 of the Revised Penal Code.Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Finding also herein accused Efren Gascon y delos Santos and Danilo Bergonia y Aleleng guilty merely as accomplices beyond reasonable doubt of the same crime as charged, they and each of them are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without any circumstance, aggravating or mitigating, found attendant in its commission. Being detention prisoners they and each of them shall be credited with the full time during which they had undergone preventive imprisonment, pursuant to the provisions of Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code.
All the above-named five (5) accused are likewise sentenced to indemnify the private offended party and his parents in the amount of P100,000.00 as moral damages subject to the corresponding filing fees as a first lien, and to pay the costs of the proceedings all in proportionate shares among the five (5) of them.
On ground of reasonable doubt accused Rolando Estrella, Jay Gregorio and Efren Gascon are hereby acquitted of the offense of illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions or violations of PD 1866 as charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 2868-M-2002, 2869-M-2002, and 2870-M-2002, which cases are hereby dismissed.15cralawred
WHEREFORE, for the reasons stated, the appealed judgment finding accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of kidnapping for ransom is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that they shall all suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the private offended party in solidum P100,000.00, as moral damages, and P100,000.00, as exemplary damages.In a Resolution issued in July 2010, the Court of Appeals gave due course to accused-appellants' Notice of Appeal and directed that the entire records of the case be elevated to us with dispatch.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM.20cralawredAccused-appellants contend that they were made to believe they were merely escorting Jimmy, a VIP, during his vacation in Ilocos Norte; that Jojo orchestrated the kidnapping to get money and left the unwitting accused-appellants to suffer the consequences; that Jimmy identified accused-appellants as his kidnappers because of accused-appellants' presence in the place where Jimmy was held captive; that the failure of the police officers to recover the missing P1,000,000.00 ransom indicates someone, other than accused-appellants, is guilty of kidnapping Jimmy; and that accused-appellants would not have been so lenient and would have guarded Jimmy with their lives if it was really their intention to secure a ransom for Jimmy's release. Accused-appellants question the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses as said witnesses' testimonies were incredible, being contrary to common observation or experience. Accused-appellants stress that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused based on the principle that it is better to liberate a guilty man than to unjustly keep in prison one whose guilt has not been proven by the required quantum of evidence.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT BY FINDING THE ACCUSED EFREN D. GASCON GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT FOR THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING WITH RANSOM AND MODIFYING HIS PARTICIPATION FROM AN ACCOMPLICE TO A PRINCIPAL.21cralawredAccused-appellant Efren maintains that Jojo was the real culprit who planned Jimmy's abduction and who was able to get away with the ransom. Accused-appellant Efren asserts that he was made to believe he was escorting or accompanying a VIP to Dingras, Ilocos Norte for a vacation, and in good faith, he only dutifully performed his assigned task. In keeping with Filipino custom and tradition, accused-appellant Efren offered his humble abode to Jimmy as a visitor and treated Jimmy as a member of the family. Accused-appellant Efren calls attention to several points in the prosecution's version of events that were allegedly contrary to human nature and experience and negate Jimmy's kidnapping, or at least, accused-appellant Efren's knowledge of the same, to wit: (a) if Jimmy was really a kidnap victim, accused-appellant Efren would not have brought him home at the risk of the safety of accused-appellant Efren's family; (b) Jimmy had freedom of mobility and money at his disposal while he was at accused-appellant Efren's home; (c) accused-appellant Efren's home was surrounded by neighboring houses and accessible to public transport; (d) Jimmy was allowed to choose which vehicle to hire to go home and to transact freely with the car owner; and (e) Marlon, who delivered the ransom, did not even know how much money he was carrying. Raising even more doubts are the facts that none of the persons present during the supposed kidnapping, namely, Girlie, Michelle, or Bhong, testified before the RTC to corroborate Jimmy's testimony; and that there were conflicting reports on the amounts of ransom allegedly paid and recovered from accused-appellants. Lastly, accused-appellant Efren maintains that given the reasonable doubt on his participation in the kidnapping for ransom, then there is also no legal basis for the Court of Appeals to modify accused-appellant Efren's participation in the commission of said crime from accomplice to principal.
Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. - Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death;In prosecuting a case involving the crime of kidnapping for ransom, the following elements must be established: (i) the accused was a private person; (ii) he kidnapped or detained or in any manner deprived another of his or her liberty; (iii) the kidnapping or detention was illegal; and (iv) the victim was kidnapped or detained for ransom.22ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than three days.
2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained, or if threats to kill him shall have been made.
4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the accused is any of the parents, female or a public officer.
The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.
When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is raped, or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed.cralawred
[I]n the face of the clear and categorical word of Jimmy that he was abducted by the herein accused thru force and intimidation, without any reason to lie when he said that they held him captive for one week in a strange barrio in Ilocos he had never gone to before, the defense of said accused that [Jimmy] went with them voluntarily for a vacation in that place not at all fit for such leisure, must necessarily fall by its own weight of improbabilities. And the word of [Jimmy's] mother Lucina Ting and his cousin Marlon delos Santos no doubt has shown that the accused herein kidnapped [Jimmy] for ransom which was actually delivered to them for his release. The Court, however, entertains its doubt if the one-million-peso part of it that strangely was not recovered by the police upon their surprise capture, has redounded to their benefit. Even the P100,000.00 deposited by Mrs. [Lucina] Ting to the ATM account of Jimmy during his captivity was shown withdrawn not necessarily by them without the help of Jimmy who never said that he was made to withdraw it or tell them how to do so from his account. In fact, the ransom that drove them to kidnap Jimmy all turned out for naught, as the smaller portion of it in the amount of P680.00.00 (or P679,000.00 as so accounted by the police) was successfully recovered and necessarily returned to his parents.The Court of Appeals, after reviewing the evidence on record, concluded, thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The law is indeed hard, but even in the case of the herein five (5) accused who are not that hardened but even seemingly amateurish in perpetrating their crime without unnecessary maltreatment to their victim, it is still the law on kidnapping for ransom. Art. 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as well as its amending Republic Act No, 7659, provides, that, "The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person" x x x. The kidnappers found guilty as principal cannot avoid the imposition of this supreme penalty. Like what the Supreme Court has done, however, in the case of People vs. Chua Huy, et al., 87 Phil. 258, those who acted as guards of Jimmy Ting must be held only as accomplices.23cralawred
We have meticulously reviewed the records and we are convinced beyond cavil that the prosecution adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused-appellants conspired to kidnap Jimmy Ting for the purpose of extracting money from his family and that herein accused-appellants are all perpetrators thereof.The statements of Jimmy Ting was (sic) corroborated by his mother Lucina Ting who testified:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Jimmy positively identified the accused-appellants as the culprits. The trial court found his testimony credible. It is doctrinal that findings of trial courts on the credibility of witnesses deserve a high degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing that the trial court had overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which could reverse a judgment of conviction. In fact, in some instances, such findings are even accorded finality. This is so because the assignment of value to a witness' testimony is essentially the domain of the trial court, not to mention that it is the trial judge who has the direct opportunity to observe the demeanor of a witness on the stand which opportunity provides him unique facility in determining whether or not to accord credence to the testimony or whether the witness is telling the truth or not. It is evident from the testimony of Jimmy Ting before the trial court that indeed, the kidnapping or detention did take place and that he was held against his will from October 8-14, 2002. He was able to recount his ordeal, replete with details that he could not have simply concocted.
Moreover, the kidnapping of the victim was really committed for the purpose of extracting ransom. It is apparent in the testimony of Jimmy Ting, who was quite emphatic in identifying the accused and narrating the circumstances surrounding the demand for ransom money.
"x x x x
x x x x
Q: You said they were conversing with each other, would you still recall what language or dialect were they conversing? A: They are conversing in Tagalog. Some of the conversations I can remember is that they were telling me that "Parang mahahatulan ka kapag hindi ka nakipag-cooperate, papatayin ka namin, so huwag kang papalag." Those are some of the statements that I heard. Q: Aside from these conversations when you were cruising North Diversion Road, what other things happened inside? A: Then the commander on the right started to ask the phone number of my parents. Q: Was he able to get the phone number of your parents from you? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: It was the commander who asked you? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: After getting the number of your parents, what did he do? A: First, they called our household and unfortunately my parents was (sic) not yet home. Then, second, they called my Dad thru his cellphone. Q: First call was in your house? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: How did you know that it was your house that was...? A: Because I gave them my household telephone number. Q: Whose cellphone was used in calling your house? A: My cellphone. Q: Who made the call? A: I can hear that the commander on my right started to dial the number, then probably after it rings (sic) I just heard he just passed it on (sic) the front side, the voices coming from the driver's side. Q: After the phone was passed to the driver's side, was there any conversation after that? A: Yes, ma'am. The driver said "Nandiyan ba si Mrs. Ting?" Because I told the commander to look for my Mom because probably she is at home. Because at that time my father was in Taiwan. Q: Aside from what you heard, "Nandiyan ba si Mrs. Ting?," what else did you hear? A: I heard from the driver that "Tatawag na lang kami uli" because I assumed that my mother is not home, so the driver just said "Tatawag na lang kami uli." Q: After that, what happened? A: After that the commander again asked me (sic) the cellphone number of my Dad. So at that time I can only remember the cellphone of my Dad. I cannot remember the cellphone of my Mom. Q: After asking your father's cellphone number, was he able to get it from you? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: What did he do with the number? A: He dialed the number and again he passed the phone to the front at the driver's side. Q: How did you know? A: Because just the same from the start when they dialed at our household I can hear the tones of the phone, dialing at the right side. Then again, I can hear him saying that "Eto na." Q: When he passed it to the driver, what happened next? A: I heard that the driver said "Magandang gabi Mr. Ting, nasa amin ang anak mong si Jimmy Ting." Q: That was the only words that you heard? A: After that I just heard the driver said "Nasaan ka?", then he also said that "Nasa Taiwan ka? Umuwi ka na." Q: After saying that, what happened next? A: After that the conversation was cut. Then the commander started to ask my mother's number. Q: You said earlier that you gave the household number, this time what kind of number was he asking for? A: My mother's number because at that time I cannot remember. So I told the commander just look at the phone book of my phone. Q: Was he able to find your mother's number in your cellphone? A: Yes, sir. Q: Was he able to use that number? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: Was he able to call your mother? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: What transpired between their conversation? A: Again the same thing the commander dialed the number, then he forwarded the phone again to the driver. The conversation I heard was "Magandang gabi Mrs. nasa amin si Jimmy", then I just heard "Maghanda kayo ng pera", worth fifty million (P50M) 'yong pinahahanda. Q: After hearing that, what else transpired? A: After hearing that they just cut off the conversation. I just remember that he said "Tatawag na lang kami uli", then the conversation was cut.
x x x xAccused-appellants question the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. However, the familiar and well-entrenched doctrine is that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses lies within the area and competence of the trier of facts, in this case, the trial court and, to a certain extent, the Court of Appeals. This doctrine is based on the time-honored rule that the matter of assigning values to declarations on the witness stand is best and most commonly performed by the trial judge who, unlike appellate magistrates, is in the best position to assess the credibility of the witnesses who appeared before his/her sala as he/she had personally heard them and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial.25 We further elucidated in People v. Eduarte26 that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Q: While on your way home, what happened, if any? A: While on my way home I received a call from my daughter Girlie and (sic) told me that her brother Jimmy was abducted by an (sic) armed men. Q: What did you do upon learning that your son was abducted by armed men? A: I was shocked. I don't know what to do. I called my husband and told him what happened. Q: What did your husband tell you upon learning that your son was abducted? A: Because at that time he was in Taiwan. He was not here. He told me that he will call up his friends to assist me and help me. Q: What else did he tell you? A: He said we have to wait for the kidnappers to call me. Q: Did the kidnapper contact you or call you? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: Where did they contact you? A: At the same day about 10:00 o'clock in the evening. Q: What did they use in contacting you? In calling you? A: They used the cellphone of my son. Q: How did you know that it was the cellphone of your son? A: It appears in my cellphone and telephone number. Q: The one who called you to your cellphone, was it a female? A: He is a male, ma'am. Q: What did that male person tell you? A: They told me that they have my son and they are demanding us P50,000,000.00 for the release of my son. Q: What was your reply to the demand of P50,000,000? A: I don't have that big money. At that moment I have P90,000.00 on my hand and I offered it to him. Q: Did the one who call (sic) you accept the P90,000.00 available? A: No, ma'am. Q: What did he tell you? A: They just told me to raise the money and they will call up the next day. Q: Did he call the next day? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: What did he tell you this time? A: They are asking me if I prepared the money, P50,000,000.00. Q: What was your reply? A: I don't have that big money. I only have at that time P300,000.00. Q: What was the reaction of the one who called you to that P300,000.00? A: They are insisting for the P50,000,000.00 ransom. Q: What did he tell you? A: He told me to find the money or to raise money, P50,000,000.00. Q: Did the one who called you the other day call you again? The next day? A: Yes, the same person. Q: What was, how many times did that person call you? A: Always everyday, from October 8 to October 14. Q: What was the tenor of your conversation, or what was the subject all about? A: Always asking me the money, the ransom money. Q: In the amount of - ? A: P50,000,000.00. Q: Were you able to raise that P50,000,00.00? A: No, ma'am. Q: How much were you able to raise? A: I almost raised around P1,680,000.00. Q: When you told the one who called you that you were only able to raise the amount of P1,680,000.00, what did he tell you? A: They told me to make ready the money and they will call up again, and will give instruction for the pay off. Q: When was that? A: That was on October 14. Q: Were you able to give that amount of P1,680,000.00 to the kidnapper? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: Were you the one who actually delivered that amount? A: No, ma'am. Q: Why? A: At that time I was nervous and I cannot drive. I told the kidnapper if possible I let my nephew Marlon to bring the money. Q: Could you tell the full name of Marlon? A: Marlon delos Santos ma'am. Q: Did the kidnapper accede to your request that it will be Marlon, your nephew, who will deliver the amount? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: What did you do after talking with that person or the one negotiating? A: I told him that Marlon delos Santos will be the one to bring the money and the kidnappers told me that they will call up again for the final instruction. Q: How much all in all were you able to give to the kidnappers for the release of your son? A: P1,780,000.00, ma'am. Q: And you said earlier that on October 14 you were only able to raise P1.680M, where is that difference of P100,000.00? A: On October 10, they called up and told me to deposit P50,000.00 on the ITM (sic) of my son and another one, P50,000.00, on October 14 for the ITM (sic) of my son. Q: Were you able to deposit P50,000.00 on October 10 to the ITM (sic) account of Jimmy Ting? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: How about the other P50,000.00 on October 14, were you able to deposit it? A: Yes, ma'am. Q: Do you have any proof that indeed you deposited the total amount of P100,000.00? A: I asked the bank to give me the ATM Statement of account of Jimmy Ting. Q: When did you secure a copy of that bank statement? A: After the rescue of my son, ma'am.
x x x x
Based on the foregoing statements, it was clearly established that efforts have been made to raise and deliver the ransom. The elements of kidnapping as embodied under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, having been sufficiently proven, and the appellants, being private individuals, having been clearly identified by the kidnap victim, this Court affirms the finding of appellants' guilt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom.24 (Citations omitted.)cralawred
Basic is the rule that factual findings of trial courts, including their assessment of the witnesses' credibility, are entitled to great weight and respect by this Court, particularly when the Court of Appeals affirms the findings.We apply the foregoing general rule to the instant case absent any compelling reason to deviate from the factual findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, especially the credibility and probative weight accorded to the prosecution witnesses' testimonies. Neither the RTC nor the Court of Appeals overlooked, misinterpreted, or misapplied a material fact that would have changed the outcome of the case. To the contrary, the prosecution witnesses' testimonies presented a cohesive, detailed, and convincing account of Jimmy's kidnapping for ransom. At least two prosecution witnesses corroborated one another on every turn of events from October 8 to October 15, 2002: from Jimmy's actual abduction, to the ransom negotiation, to the ransom payout, and to Jimmy's rescue and accused-appellants' apprehension by the PACER teams.
x x x x
Factual findings of the trial court are entitled to respect and are not to be disturbed on appeal, unless some facts and circumstances of weight and substance, having been overlooked or misinterpreted, might materially affect the disposition of the case. In the case under consideration, we find that the trial court did not overlook, misapprehend, or misapply any fact or value for us to overturn the findings of the trial court. Prevailing jurisprudence uniformly holds that findings of fact of the trial court, particularly when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding upon this Court. (Citations omitted.)cralawred
The purpose of the offender in extorting ransom is a qualifying circumstance which may be proved by his words and overt acts before, during and after the kidnapping and detention of the victim. Neither actual demand for nor actual payment of ransom is necessary for the crime to be committed. Ransom as employed in the law is so used in its common or ordinary sense; meaning, a sum of money or other thing of value, price, or consideration paid or demanded for redemption of a kidnapped or detained person, a payment that releases from captivity. It may include benefits not necessarily pecuniary which may accrue to the kidnapper as a condition for the release of the victim. (Citations omitted.)cralawredIt is clear in the present case that accused-appellants kidnapped Jimmy so that they could collect ransom in exchange for Jimmy's release. Jimmy, ¦while blindfolded on board the Tamaraw FX, overheard accused-appellants demanding ransom from his parents. Lucina negotiated with accused-appellants to bring down the amount of ransom. Accused-appellants gave instructions on how the ransom payout was to be done. Marlon delivered the ransom per accused-appellants' instructions. Accused-appellants Jay, Rolando, and Ricardo were actually present at the time and place of payout. Members of the PACER Manhunt Team witnessed the ransom payout take place between Marlon and accused-appellant Ricardo. Hence, regardless of the actual amount of ransom subsequently agreed upon, delivered, and/or recovered, it had been sufficiently established that accused-appellants' motive for kidnapping Jimmy was to extort ransom from Jimmy's family.
There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Direct proof of previous agreement to commit a crime is not necessary. Conspiracy may be shown through circumstantial evidence, deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused themselves when such lead to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest. Conspiracy must be proven as convincingly as the criminal act itself - like any element of the offense charged, conspiracy must be established by proof beyond reasonable doubt. For a co-conspirator to be liable for the acts of the others, there must be intentional participation in the conspiracy with a view to further a common design. Except for the mastermind, it is necessary that a co-conspirator should have performed some overt act-actual commission of the crime itself, active participation as a direct or indirect contribution in the execution of the crime, or moral assistance to his co-conspirators by being present at the commission of the crime or by exerting moral ascendancy over the other co-conspirators.We quote with approval the justification of the Court of Appeals for its finding of conspiracy:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In this case, the ascertained facts abovementioned and the encashment of the contract payment check obtained through the falsified certificate of inspection prove the commission of the crime. Wandag's guilt has been proven with moral certainty. As co-conspirators of Wandag, petitioners are equally guilty, for in a conspiracy, every act of one of the conspirators in furtherance of a common design or purpose of such a conspiracy is the act of all. (Citations omitted.)cralawred
However, We do not agree with the trial court that [accused-appellants] Danilo Bergonia y Aleleng and Efren Gascon y delos Santos are liable only as accomplices for they merely acted as guards. If We are to examine closely the statements of the victim, at the time of this abduction, there were six persons inside the vehicle including the victim himself. After they exited a toll gate, the vehicle stopped and another man joined them on board the vehicle. The day following his rescue, Jimmy Ting was able to identify five of the six persons who were responsible for his abduction at the PACER Office. Only one was not around, Jojo Salazar, who was referred to as John Doe in this case. This only goes to show that they all conspired to kidnap the victim. Hence, they are all equally liable as principals in the commission thereof. We do not subscribe to the tale of the [accused-appellants] that they merely associated with one Jojo Salazar and that they were made to believe that they would only be escorting a very important person who is on his way to Ilocos for a vacation. Such postulations are merely feeble attempts to escape liability. For one, if indeed [accused-appellant] Efren Gascon had no idea that Jimmy Ting was being held against his will, why would he tell the latter that he is going to help him escape?Based on the prosecution's evidence, each of the accused-appellants, plus Jojo, had intentional, direct, and substantial participation in Jimmy's kidnapping for ransom. Jimmy's abduction, his being taken to and holed up in a house in Ilocos Norte under guard, the ransom demand and negotiation, and finally, the ransom payout, which all happened in a span of six days, took planning and coordination among accused-appellants and Jojo. Accused-appellant Efren, in particular, was among the four men who abducted Jimmy in Meycauayan, Bulacan on October 8, 2002. Accused-appellant Efren also kept guard over Jimmy for six days in Dingras, Ilocos Norte. Therefore, accused-appellant Efren could not be a mere accomplice as his presence at the scene/s of the crime was definitely more than just to give moral support; his presence and company were indispensable and essential to the perpetration of the kidnapping for ransom.30ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
x x x x
Undoubtedly, in perpetrating the kidnapping for ransom, conspiracy existed among herein accused-appellants. Viewed in its totality, the individual participation of each of them pointed to a joint purpose and criminal design. Jojo Salazar held the victim at gunpoint while the latter was waiting for the mechanics to finish fixing the flat tire of his car and forced him to ride a Tamaraw FX.
[Accused-appellant] Efren Gascon and Jojo Salazar sandwiched him in the car and transported him to a house where he was detained for six (6) days. [Accused-appellant] Rolando Estrella negotiated with the victim's mother for the ransom payment. Further, the other named [accused-appellants] set out to the designated place of ransom payment. These acts were complementary to one another and were geared toward the attainment of a common ultimate objective. That objective was to extort a ransom of P50 million (which was later reduced to P1.780 million through bargaining by the victim's mother) in exchange for the victim's freedom.29 (Citations omitted.)cralawred
1. P100,000.00 as civil indemnity,All monetary awards shall earn six percent (6%) interest per annum from the fmality of this Decision until fully paid.
2. P100,000.00 as moral damages, and
3. P100,000.00 as exemplary damages.cralawred
** Per Special Order No. 2354 dated June 2, 2016.
1Rollo, pp. 2-27; penned by Associate Justice Franchito N. Diamante with Associate Justices Josefina Guevara-Salonga and Francisco P. Acosta concurring.
2 CA rollo, pp. 16-33; penned by Judge Crisanto C. Concepcion.
3 An Act To Impose The Death Penalty On Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending For That Purpose The Revised Penal Code, As Amended, Other Special Penal Laws, And For Other Purposes.
4 Records, pp. 3-4.
5 Id. at 142-146.
6 TSN, April 3, 2003, p. 10.
7 Id. at 18.
8 Id. at 20-24.
9 This John Doe was one of the kidnappers who pushed Jimmy inside the Tamaraw FX, sat at the front passenger side of the Tamaraw FX and who was one of the four kidnappers who left for Manila in the morning of October 9, 2002 (TSN April 3, 2003, pp 21-23)
10 TSN, April 3, 2003, pp. 32-33.
11 TSN, May 15, 2003, p. 9.
12 TSN, October 14, 2003, pp. 16-17.
13 Elmer Valenzuela and Fernando Gascon were not included as suspects as they were later released or discharged.
14 TSN, September 4, 2003, p. 8.
15 CA rollo, pp. 32-33.
16Rollo, pp. 26-27.
17 Id. at 35-36.
18 Office of the Solicitor General's Manifestation (rollo, pp. 55-59); Accused-appellants' Manifestation (In Lieu of Supplemental Brief) (rollo, pp. 63-66).
19Rollo, pp. 67-81.
20 CA rollo, p.45.
21Rollo, p. 67.
22People v. Lugnasin, G.R. No. 208404, February 24, 2016.
23 CA rollo, pp. 29-31.
24Rollo, pp. 16-22.chanrobleslaw
25Magno v. People, 516 Phil. 72, 81 (2006).
26 603 Phil. 504, 512-513 (2009).
27 454 Phil. 194, 234-235 (2003).
28 569 Phil. 383, 399-400 (2008).
29Rollo, pp. 22-25.
30Cf. People v. Gambao, 718 Phil. 507 (2013), wherein one of the accused-appellants, Thian Perpenian, was declared a mere accomplice in the kidnapping for ransom as she only arrived at the place where the kidnapped victim was being kept after the actual abduction, chose to keep silent about the kidnapping, and even stayed the night.
31 TSN, August 2, 2005, p. 12.
32 TSN, September 4, 2003, p. 8.
33People v. Taneo, 348 Phil. 277, 297 (1998).
34Ureta v. People, 436 Phil. 148, 160 (2002).
35 Republic Act No. 9346, otherwise known as "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines."
36People v. Lugnasin, supra note 22.