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[G.R. No. 131808. February 6, 2002.]




For automatic review is the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, finding accused-appellants Roberto Cabillan and Melvin Garcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder and sentencing them to suffer the death penalty.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

The information charging appellants reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

That on or about the 21st day of August, 1996, in Cabanatuan City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said accused conspiring, confabulating and confederating with each other with evident premeditation and treachery, without any just cause and with intent to kill Jose Sta. Romana Sarmenta, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack and shoot said Jose Sta. Romana Sarmenta with a rifle in the head thereby inflicting upon the latter a fatal wound which directly caused his death.


Originally charged with appellants was Rogelio Felipe, who was later discharged to be a state witness.

Upon arraignment on February 6, 1997, Roberto Cabillan pleaded "guilty," while Melvin Garcia pleaded "not guilty." Subsequently, on March 18, 1997, Cabillan withdrew his original plea and changed it to "not guilty."cralaw virtua1aw library

Six (6) witnesses testified for the prosecution.

State witness Rogelio C. Felipe, 18, testified 2 that he and appellants worked as helpers at Atty. Jose Sarmenta’s poultry farm located in Macatbong, Cabanatuan City. Rogelio had been employed in said farm for less than a month prior to the lawyer’s killing.

On August 19, 2001, or two days prior to the incident in question, Rogelio heard Dodong Cabillan ask Atty. Sarmenta if he could borrow his radio. Atty. Sarmenta refused, and told Dodong that he would give him money instead so Dodong could buy his own radio. Atty. Sarmenta never did, however. When Atty. Sarmenta arrived later in the afternoon, he discovered that, contrary to his explicit instructions, Dodong was using his radio. Atty. Sarmenta berated Dodong. The lawyer’s brother Juvaldo joined in the fray and boxed Dodong. Dodong asked permission to leave Atty. Sarmenta’s employ but the lawyer refused.

At around 6:30 that evening, Rogelio overheard appellants say, "If they can get two million pesos they will tie-up somebody." Rogelio was then cooking as the two drank gin, about three meters away. He knew they were talking about Atty. Sarmenta because appellants were angry with their employer.

In the early morning of August 20, 1996, Dodong got Atty. Sarmenta’s long firearm, which was equipped with a telescope, from the lawyer’s cabinet. According to Rogelio, Melvin helped Dodong obtain the gun by destroying the lawanit of Atty. Sarmenta’s room.

The next day, August 21, 1996, at around 6:30 p.m., appellants were again drinking gin near the kitchen. Rogelio was then cooking dinner for Atty. Sarmenta: Rogelio brought the food to Atty. Sarmenta’s room, where the lawyer usually had his dinner. Atty. Sarmenta got the food from Rogelio, brought it inside, and then went outside the room to wash his hands. He then asked Rogelio to clean the toilet.

Rogelio had just finished cleaning the toilet when he suddenly heard a gunshot. Rogelio saw Atty. Sarmenta fall, his head bleeding. He rushed to their sleeping quarters, turned on the light and saw Dodong holding a .22 caliber gun, equipped with a telescope. Dodong was standing and aiming through the screen separating their sleeping quarters from the room where Atty. Sarmenta previously stood, just three meters away. Dodong had inserted the muzzle of the gun in a hole on the screen. The gun was still pointed towards Atty. Sarmenta.

Melvin pushed Rogelio to their bed and pointed a gun at him. Afraid, Rogelio did not dare run.

The killing of Atty. Sarmenta accomplished, appellants went to the victim’s room and pulled the body near the bed. They took the money from his pocket, and his clothes and other personal belongings from the cabinet. Rogelio would later learn from appellants’ friend that they had taken P12,000.00 in cash from the deceased.

Melvin warned Rogelio that they would kill him if he did not go with them. Appellants then hid the shotgun they got from the room and left the caliber .22 rifle with the telescope in the poultry house.

Dodong, Melvin and Rogelio then rode in Atty. Sarmenta’s car, with Dodong driving. In their haste, the car hit a house post, causing a big dent on the right passenger side. The car later bogged down and had to be abandoned somewhere near a bridge in Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija. Appellants pushed the car to a fertilizer store nearby. Rogelio, who had remained inside the car, was then ordered to alight. Dodong called a tricycle driver and gave him P100 to watch over the car until their return. Dodong hailed a taxi and asked that they be taken to Pier 14 at the South Harbor, Manila.

At the pier, Dodong bought three tickets and they all took the boat to Cagayan de Oro City, Dodong’s hometown. Rogelio, Dodong and Melvin stayed at the house of Dodong’s relatives. Two weeks after their arrival, Dodong’s aunt gave Rogelio P1,500.00 and was ordered to leave immediately. Sensing that appellants were going to kill him, Rogelio departed at once. Rogelio bought a ticket for Manila.

After arriving in Manila, he contacted his brother-in-law, Kuya Ding. The latter accompanied him to Batangas City, where Rogelio surrendered to an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor. Rogelio divulged everything he knew about the killing of Atty. Sarmenta. Thereafter, he was taken to the provincial police headquarters at Camp Miguel Malvar, Camp Kumintang, Batangas City, where he executed a four-page sworn statement 3 dated September 4, 1996 before PO3 Oscar Melo Fernandez of the Philippine National Police. From Batangas, he was fetched by Cabanatuan policemen and was detained at a Cabanatuan City, where he executed another sworn statement. 4

Rogelio denied that Dodong promised him a portion of the loot and that he was testifying against appellants for not fulfilling said promise.

Juvaldo Sarmenta, the victim’s brother, corroborated Rogelio’s testimony that in the afternoon of August 19, 1996, his brother berated Dodong for using his (Atty. Sarmenta’s) radio without permission. Atty. Sarmenta even threatened to terminate Dodong’s services and send him back to Manila. Juvaldo denied that he boxed Dodong on that occasion, claiming that his "hands hit [Dodong’s] mouth" when he "pointed at [Dodong]." 5

Atty. Virgilio Mendez, Supervising Senior Agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) based in Cagayan de Oro City, was in charge of the surveillance of this particular criminal investigation and led the team that effected the arrest of appellants. Sometime in the first week of October 1996, one of his informants reported that a group of armed men in Initao, Misamis Oriental, were bragging about having killed a lawyer somewhere in Luzon. He deferred investigation on the raw information until the same informant subsequently presented him with a credit card supposedly obtained from the same group. The credit card was in the name of Jose S. Sarmenta, a lawyer and the supposed victim of his earlier report.

Atty. Mendez made inquiries regarding the matter. As he awaited further information, a certain Joel Sarmenta, son of Jose Sarmenta, went to his office to seek his assistance in the arrest of the persons responsible for the killing of his father. Atty. Mendez then instructed his informant to gather intelligence on the whereabouts of the group. Atty. Mendez was subsequently informed that Dodong had been spotted somewhere in Marawi City. On January 22, 1997, Dodong Cabillan and Melvin Garcia were arrested by the NBI, Dodong in Marawi City and Melvin in Pangantucan, Bulacan. 6

Dr. Jun Concepcion, Senior Medico-legal Officer of the Cabanatuan City Health Office, conducted the autopsy on the victim’s body. His findings are contained in an Autopsy Report 7 dated August 22, 1996, which is quoted herein:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

FINDINGS (pertinent only)

Height: 175 cm. in length

Body was rigid state with several insect (ants) bites all through out.

(+) Lacerated wound, linear, inverted V-shape on the mid-parietal area.

(+) Gunshot wound on the right parieto-temporal area, 3-fingerbreath above the right ear as point of entry with trajectory towards the opposite side left superior portion of the left ear, 4-fingerbreath as point of exit, (through-through), brain substance coming-out from the point of exit.

(+) Ecchymosis (L) peri-orbital area.


(+) Multiple skull fracture with different directions occupying the entire skull.

(+) Hematoma under the scalp.


Intracranial injuries, severe secondary to extracranial multiple injuries.

Approximate date and time of death:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

August 21, 1996 between 7:00 to 8:00 P.M.

Negative for any other evidence of external physical injuries.

The doctor concluded that the assailant must have fired the fatal shot at close range from the victim. The absence of powder burns on the body indicates that the shot was fired at least 24 inches from the muzzle of the gun to the bullet’s point of entry. From a sketch he drew, it was indicated that the bullet entered above the right ear and exited at the left superior portion of the left ear. 8

Samuel and Joel Sarmenta, sons of the deceased, testified on matters relating to appellants’ civil liability. Samuel testified that their father was 63 years of age at the time of his death. His untimely demise caused the family grief and anger. 9

The victim earned during his lifetime annual income consisting of P220,000.00 from the practice of law, and a gross of P380,000.00 from his poultry farm. Their father’s wake, which lasted about 7 or 8 days, was held at the Funeraria Ilagan in Cabanatuan City and at the Funeraria Paz in Quezon City. He was buried on August 28, 1996 at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina. For the wake in Cabanatuan City, the family incurred expenses amounting to P10,000.00. For that in Quezon City, a memorial plan worth P16,000.00 covered the expenses. "Incidental expenses" amounted to P40,000.00. Finally, it was discovered that P30,000.00 in cash and a caliber .22 Magnum worth P20,000.00 were missing from the residence after the incident transpired. 10

Appellants testified on their own behalf. Both pointed to Rogelio Felipe as the killer of Atty. Sarmenta.

According to Dodong, 21, he had been working with Melvin and Rogelio at the farm of Atty. Sarmenta for only four (4) days when the latter was shot. He claimed that on that fateful day he was ordered by Rogelio to turn off the light in their room. Atty. Sarmenta was then standing in front of the kitchen sink, washing dishes. Thereafter, he saw Rogelio shoot Atty. Sarmenta with a caliber .22 rifle. Rogelio threatened him and Melvin with the same rifle. He ordered Dodong to go to the kitchen and get the victim’s money. Rogelio then pulled the dead body of Atty. Sarmenta into the latter’s room. He instructed Melvin to enter the room and get their employer’s clothes from the cabinet. Next, he ordered the two to board the car and directed Melvin to drive. When Dodong told his companions he wanted to go home, Rogelio and Melvin said they would come with him. Rogelio said that Cagayan de Oro City was a faraway place and that they will not be arrested there. Rogelio thus purchased tickets for the boat to Cagayan de Oro City with the money taken from the body of Atty. Sarmenta.

Dodong claimed that he wanted to surrender to the authorities but his uncle reminded him that he could be killed. One week after their arrival in Cagayan de Oro City, Rogelio left them. Another week later, Dodong and Melvin parted ways. Dodong proceeded to Misamis Oriental and then to Marawi City to evade arrest only to be apprehended later by NBI agents. 11

Melvin Garcia, 24, had been working at the poultry farm for about two months when Atty. Sarmenta was killed. On the evening of August 21, 1996, Melvin was outside the poultry house feeding the dogs when he heard a shot rang from his employer’s house. When he went inside, he saw Rogelio holding two guns, a caliber .38 and caliber .22 rifle. Rogelio immediately pointed the guns at Melvin and Dodong, telling them, "Don’t run [or] I will kill you." Rogelio told him that he shot Atty. Sarmenta. Rogelio instructed him to drag the body into the bedroom, after which he and Dodong were ordered to get inside the car. Inside the car, Rogelio asked Dodong whether "his place was near or far." Rogelio said they should all go to his place. Dodong agreed.

Melvin denied that he ever talked about killing Atty. Sarmenta. He said that the latter was a kind employer. He was not aware of any problems between Dodong and Atty. Sarmenta prior to the incident. Neither did he harbor any grudge against the latter. He claimed that he did not report Rogelio’s participation in the killing because he was afraid of him. 12

On July 23, 1997, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

WHEREFORE, finding the accused Roberto Cabillan alias "Dodong" and Melvin M. Garcia alias "Rommel Garcia" alias "Robin Garcia" alias "Junior" guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, punishable under [Art] 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the Court hereby sentences them to suffer the penalty of DEATH.

Further, the accused are further ordered to pay indemnity to the heirs of the deceased offended party in the sum of P50,000.00 as moral damages; P40,000, representing burial and actual expenses; and P1,000,000.00 as exemplary damages.


The Court affirms the decision of the trial court finding appellants guilty for the killing of Atty. Sarmenta.

Considerable weight must be accorded to the testimony of state witness Rogelio Felipe, who positively identified Dodong as the assailant of Atty. Sarmenta. Rogelio established Dodong’s motives for killing the victim, who scolded him for the unauthorized use of the radio. He also saw Dodong, aided by Melvin, get the gun from the victim’s room. He caught Dodong immediately after the shooting still pointing the gun at where the victim previously stood. The trial court described Rogelio’s testimony as "unrehearsed, straight-forward, truthful and unembellished [by] any exaggerations." 14 During the trial, the court remarked that the witness was "testifying casually but intelligently." 15

By contrast, the trial court did not give credence to the testimony of appellant Dodong Cabillan:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

. . . Dodong failed to hurdle the test of sincerity, having told one thing as the truth and only to retract the same and substitute the same as the real truth. It is difficult to tell, therefore, when he is telling the truth and when he is not. . . . His capacity for prevarications has rendered his testimony unbelievable and untrustworthy. On at least three occasions, Dodong has been proved to his face as telling a lie: once, when he was berated and scolded by the victim in the presence of [the victims] brother Ubaldo Sarmenta when he lied about how he got hold of the radio earlier refused him by the victim; then, when asked by Atty. Mendez, he pointed to Melvin Garcia alias "Junior." as the perpetrator of the heinous killing; and, then, again, when in open court he declared under oath, that it was the witness Rogelio who was the lone perpetrator of the crime.

It is difficult to believe for the 18-year-old Rogelio to have masterminded this killing. Here were Dodong and Melvin, six years the senior of Rogelio, . . . would they allow themselves to be just ordered around by the budding 18-year-old? Towards this end, the two accused failed to show convincing proof of Rogelio’s capability to boss them around. On the contrary, Dodong has been pictured by prosecution witness Ubaldo Sarmenta as bossing the two[,] of [sic] Rogelio and Felipe. 16

The evaluation of testimonial evidence by the trial court is accorded great respect precisely for its chance to observe first hand the demeanor of the witness on the stand, a matter which is important in determining whether what has been said should be taken to the truth or falsehood. 17 Their findings are generally sustained by the appellate courts unless the trial court overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight or substance which will alter the assailed decision or affect the result of the case. 18

Special credence is also accorded to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses who are law enforcers, 19 such as District Agent-in-Charge of the NBI at Iligan City Atty. Mendez. The sworn statements of arresting officers in open court, who have no motive or reason to falsely testify in regard to a serious charge against the accused, are worthy of credit. 20 Atty. Mendez’s testimony corroborates that of Rogelio Felipe, thereby, further strengthening the prosecution’s case.

Like the trial court, this Court rejects appellants’ defense pointing to Rogelio Felipe as the lone perpetrator of the killing of Atty. Sarmenta. The trial court correctly observed that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

They merely presented the lame, uncorroborated and illogical defense of accusing the lone eyewitness as the perpetrator of this crime.

Neither did any of them narrate in detail the act of Rogelio in supposedly killing the victim. No motive for Rogelio to kill the victim was advanced by the defense. How easy for the two of them to gang up on Rogelio at anytime during and after the commission of the crime. In Cagayan de Oro City, how easy for, say Dodong, to inform on Rogelio and point him to the police as the author of the killing of their patron. . . . 21

The fact that the three fled to Dodong’s hometown and stayed with his aunt in Cagayan de Oro City buttresses the finding that it was Dodong, not Felipe, who was calling the shots. As pointed out by the trial court, "if indeed Rogelio was the aggressive one and applying the pressure upon the two accused, surely, Rogelio[,] who is a complete stranger to Mindanao[,] would least choose to go there to seek refuge." 22

Conspiracy between Dodong and Melvin was sufficiently established. The testimony of Rogelio shows that Melvin’s participation included destroying the lawanit where the gun was hidden, pulling the lifeless body of Atty. Sarmenta into his room, and hiding the guns. Melvin also poked a gun at Rogelio and threatened to kill him if he refused to join them. These acts conclusively show that Melvin shared a community of purpose with Dodong to kill Atty. Sarmenta. Where the acts of the accused collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design toward the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident, and all the perpetrators will be liable as principals. 23

Treachery was also adequately proven as against appellant Dodong Cabillan. There is treachery when the following conditions concur: (a) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate, and (b) the means of execution was deliberately or consciously adopted. 24 There is treachery in this case where the accused obtained the gun from the victim’s room, situated himself in the next room, waited until the accused turned his back to wash his hands before suddenly and unexpectedly shooting the victim through a screen window. Appellant Cabillan deliberately and consciously adopted the means to ensure his criminal purpose and positioned himself at a vantage point providing the least risk to himself, before shooting the victim who had no opportunity to anticipate the imminence of his attack. The suddenness of the attack without the slightest provocation from the victim who was unarmed and had nary an opportunity to repel the aggression or defend herself, ineluctably qualifies the crime with alevosia.25cralaw:red

The same cannot be said in the case of appellant Melvin Garcia. The circumstances which consist in the material execution of the act, or in the means employed to accomplish it, serves to aggravate the liability only of those persons who had knowledge of them at the time of the execution of the act or their cooperation therein. 26 There is no evidence that Melvin knew the manner by which Dodong was supposed to kill Atty. Sarmenta.

Appellants do not dispute their guilt, the existence of conspiracy or even the presence of treachery. Indeed, they merely aim to reduce the penalty of death imposed upon them. In their lone assignment of error, they contend that" [t]he trial court erred in imposing the maximum penalty of death where it appears that the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation is not present in the commission of the crime charged." 27 The Court agrees with appellants.

To warrant a finding of evident premeditation, the prosecution must prove: (1) the time when the accused decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt act showing that the accused clung to their determination to commit the crime; and (3) the lapse of sufficient period between the decision and the execution of the crime, to allow the accused to reflect upon the consequences of his act. 28 It must appear that the accused decided to commit the crime prior to the moment of execution, and that the decision was the result of meditation, calculation, reflection or persistent attempt. 29 Evident premeditation must be established with equal certainty and clearness as the criminal act itself, it must be based on external acts that are evident, not merely suspected, and which indicate deliberate planning. 30

The Court agrees with appellants that evident premeditation was not proven beyond reasonable doubt, the first requisite, i.e., the time when the accused decided to commit the crime, being absent.

Although Rogelio overheard the two planning over a bottle of gin, it is not clear whether Melvin actually agreed to the killing of Atty. Sarmenta. Initially, Rogelio testified:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q: Insofar (sic) as you know, does Melvin Garcia has (sic) any interest to plan the killing with Dodong?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What made you come into (sic) conclusion?

A: Because I heard them conversing, planning to kill Atty. Sarmenta, sir.

Q: Between the two of them, who initiated the killing of Atty. Sarmenta?

A: Dodong Cabillan, sir.

Q: What is the reaction of Melvin Garcia to that particular proposal?

A: He gave his conformity, sir. 31

When further queried on the plot, Rogelio said that the plan involved only the taking of money from, and not the killing of, the victim.


Q: You made mention that the P2,000,000.00, do you still affirm the statement in your sworn statement that according to Cabillan, if he gets P2,000,000.00 he will tie one person.

Q: They were planning to take the amount of P2,000,000.00 from whom?

A: From Atty. Sarmenta, sir.

Q: Are they referring to Atty. Sarmenta to be the person who will be tied?

A: Atty. Sarmenta, sir.

Q: There was nothing in the plan for the killing of the good Atty. Sarmenta?

A: None, sir.

Q: Will you agree if we say that the real intention of the accused is merely to rob the good Attorney of the P2,000.000.00?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did Cabillan state that he was going to share Melvin Garcia with [sic] the P2,000,000.00?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What is the reaction of Melvin Garcia?

A: He said they will be able to get the P2,000,000.00 they will leave and divide that amount, sir. 32 [Emphasis ours.]

In addition, Rogelio admitted that he merely inferred the plan to kill Atty. Sarmenta when Dodong obtained the rifle. He clarified that Dodong never said anything about killing the deceased should the latter resist.


Q: According to you, the 2 accused have no intention to kill Atty. Sarmenta, do you know of any reason why they killed Atty. Sarmenta?

A: There is, sir.

Q: What?

A: Because they got the firearm from the room of Atty. Sarmenta, sir.

Q: Under the circumstances prevailing in that place, can they get the P2,000,000.00 or can they get the money without killing Atty. Sarmenta?

A: No, sir.

Q: So you want the court to understand that Atty. Sarmenta was killed because they want to get the P2,000,000.00 or any other amount?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: So, you merely relied on that particular conclusion when you saw Cabillan got the rifle, is that correct?

A: Yes sir.

Q: But Cabillan never said that they will [sic] going to kill Atty. Sarmenta if the good attorney will resist?

A: No, sir. 33 [Emphasis ours.]

Thus, while the prosecution may have established the time when appellants decided to commit a crime — perhaps, robbery — it failed to prove the time when appellants decided to commit the crime of murder of which they are charged.

Accordingly, appellant Dodong Cabillan is liable for Murder, having performed the killing by means of treachery. Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, prescribes for said crime the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death. Under Article 63 of the same Code, where the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties and where there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, the lesser penalty shall be applied — in this case, reclusion perpetua.

On the other hand, the qualifying circumstance of treachery is absent in the case of appellant Melvin Garcia. He can, therefore, be held liable only for Homicide, for which Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code imposes the penalty of reclusion temporal. Article 64 of the same Code provides that where the penalties prescribed by law contain three periods and where there are neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstances, the court shall impose the penalty prescribed by law in its medium period. Applying said provision, the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period or 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months should be imposed upon appellant Garcia. Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, said penalty shall constitute the maximum term, while the minimum shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense, i.e., prision mayor or 6 years and 1 day to 12 years.

Turning now to appellants’ civil liability, jurisprudence provides that appellants are liable to the heirs of the deceased for indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00, 34 as well as P50,000.00 in moral damages. 35 The award of P40,000.00 in actual expenses should be reduced. Records reveal that the prosecution was able to produce only two receipts to establish their claim: the Statement of Account 36 representing payments made to the Provident Memorial Plan the gross price of which is P16,200.00, and a receipt 37 from the Funeraria Ilagan in Cabanatuan for charges amounting to P10,000.00, or a total of P26,200.00 only. Neither was the actual value of the loss of earning capacity sufficiently established. The victim’s son merely provided estimations of the deceased’s annual income and no other evidence was offered to corroborate the same. Finally, the award of exemplary damages must be deleted, as there are no aggravating circumstances that attended the commission of the crime. 38

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is MODIFIED. Appellant Roberto Cabillan alias "Dodong" is found guilty of Murder, as defined and punished by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Melvin M. Garcia alias Rommel Garcia alias Robin Gamboa alias "Jr.," is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Homicide, as defined and punished by Article 249 of the same Code and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of eight (8) years of prision mayor as minimum to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal in its medium period as maximum.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

Appellants severally are ordered to pay the heirs of Atty. Jose Sta. Romana Sarmenta indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00, actual damages in the amount of P26,200.00, and moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00.


Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., Gutierrez and Carpio, JJ., concur.


1. Records, p. 1.

2. TSN, February 19, 1997, pp. 2-10; TSN, February, 20, 1997, pp. 1-19; TSN, February 26, 1997, pp. 3-6; TSN, March 5, 1997, pp. 2-6; TSN, March 18, 1997, pp. 3-9.

3. Exhibit "E."cralaw virtua1aw library

4. Exhibit "F."cralaw virtua1aw library

5. TSN, March 18, 1997, pp. 10-15.

6. TSN, April 17, 1977, pp. 2-14.

7. Exhibits "A" and "B."cralaw virtua1aw library

8. TSN, February 11, 1997, pp. 1-10.

9. TSN, January 14, 1997, pp. 3-11.

10. TSN, April 23, 1997, pp. 3-9.

11. TSN, June 4, 1997, pp. 2-8.

12. TSN, June 5, 1997, pp. 2-7; TSN, June 10, 1997, pp. 2-25.

13. Rollo, p. 41.

14. Id., at 37.

15. TSN, March 18, 1997, p. 6.

16. Rollo, p. 37.

17. People v. Lopez, 302 SCRA 669 (1999).

18. People v. Banela, 301 SCRA 84 (1999).

19. People v. Atad, 266 SCRA 262 (1997).

20. People v. Doro, 282 SCRA 1 (1997).

21. Rollo, p. 38.

22. Id., at 37.

23. People v. Antonio, 303 SCRA 414 (1999).

24. People v. Valles, 267 SCRA 103 (1997).

25. 270 SCRA 713 (1997).


27. Rollo, p. 81.

28. People v. Toradio Silvano, G.R. 125923, January 31, 2001.

29. People v. Eribal, 305 SCRA 341 (1999).

30. People v. Sison, 312 SCRA 792 (1999).

31. TSN, March 18, 1997, p. 3.

32. Id., at 3-4.

33. Id., at 4.

34. People v. Carino, G.R. No. 129960, August 28, 2001.

35. Ibid.

36. Exhibit "N."cralaw virtua1aw library

37. Exhibit "O."cralaw virtua1aw library


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