G.R. No. 128286 July 20, 1999
Lessons Applicable: Motive
· April 14, 1994 9:00 am: Salahay arrived at the house of Basao’s uncle, Gabino Maca, in full CAFGU uniform with an M-16 armalite and asked Basao if he could go with him to Carrascal for them to “make money”. They took a jeep from Hinapoyan to Madrid to Cantilan, Surigao del Sur and alighted at the waiting shed by the Caltex Station Crossing. Salahay told Basao to wait for a motorcycle bound for Carrascal while he wnt to the store opposite the waiting shed to buy cigarette. When Basao hailed a motorcycle, Salahay said he still wanted to smoke. Basao was surprised as Salahay looked at the next motorcycle which was about 6 to 8 meters away from him. He then strafed its passengers, Joerlick Faburada and his wife, Dra. Arlyn Faburada, with his armalite using more or less 20 bullets. Dra. Arlyn Faburada, waring a white blouse, was thrown into the streets while Lt. Joerlick Faburada, wearing a type “A” Polo shirt police uniform, was dragged by the motorcycle until it fell to the ground. After shooting, he took 1 .45 caliber pistol, 1 ICOM Radio Handset and 1 PNPA gold ring from the body of Joerlick Faburada worth P37,000. He then instructed Basao to start the motorcycle but he wasn’t able to so they walked to the house of Pastor Pigneo Ampo where Salahay stayed. Basao went back to his uncle’s house before going back to his boarding house.
· April 14, 1994 3:00 pm: Salahay went to Reynaldo Angeles’ apartment to asking him to go with him to Basao’s boarding house. When Basao refused to pawn the ring, Angeles pawned it at M-Lhuillier Pawnshop for P2,100. After, they went to Red Apple Bar for a drinking spree where Salahay told the story of the Faburada spouses. He shot Lt. Faburada for being very strict in enforcing the laws against illegal logging (motive) while his wife crawled to grab the calibre pistol.
· SPO4 Manuel L. Azarcon in response to Rodrigo Eleazar’s report found the bodies and took them to Cantilan Polymedic Hospital where they were declared dead on arrival
· April 27, 1994: PO2 Warlito Cale brought Azarcon 2 letters from Pastor Martin Ampo, Sr. revealing that the ring was pawned by Angeles at the M-Lhuillier Pawnshop in Butuan City. They then proceeded to the M-Lhuillier Pawnshop with Angeles and redeemed the ring.
· April 14, 1994 12:10 pm: Pepe Iligan Y Salahay and Gilbert Basao y Maca
· January 13, 1995: Basao was arrested while Salahay remained at large. Basao entered a plea of “Not Guilty” and a separate trial was conducted against him in Criminal Cases Nos. C-14, C-15, and C-16.
· August 15, 1996: Salahay was arrested
· October 14, 1996: Basao was acquitted since evidence miserably failed to establish the identity. They failed Reynaldo Angeles and Pastor Ampo, Sr. (letter sender who informed SPO4 Manuel L. Azarcon that Reynaldo Angeles was the person who pawned the ring of the late Lt. Joerlick Faburada). Basao’s affidavit during his custodial investigation was inadmissible due to certain constitutional infirmities with respect to his right to counsel, to be informed of such rights and the safeguards enshrined under the Constitution whenever an accused is under custodial investigation.
· October 17, 1996: Salahay entered a plea of “Not Guilty”
o testimonies of:
§ Gilbert Basao
Ø Salahay is a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) assigned at Gacub, Carmen, Surigao del Sur
Ø 1993 to 1994 Salahay used to stay in the house of his uncle, Gabino Maca
§ Reynaldo Angeles
Ø Salahay is engaged in logging activities
Ø Salahay’s wife is the first cousin of the his wife
Ø Basao is his classmate since his elementary grades
Ø he thought that the gold ring came from a good source
o Dr. Luciano Ortega, the physician from Cantilan Polymedic Hospital, issued medical certificates regarding the bodies of the Faburada spouses
· Salahay has used the defense of alibi
o Before he was arrested, he went to Canlubang, Palao Village to work so that he can help his brothers and sisters.
o He only owned a garand rifle
o that he was dropped from the rolls as a CAFGU in the year 1994 due to the pendency of these cases against him, and that he did not surrender to the authorities because he was afraid that he might be shot
· Salahay’s alibi was corroborated by Alfredo Yagao’s testimony, who for 3 years was the Barangay Captain of Hinapoyan, Carmen, Surigao del Sur. He stated that he saw Salahay with 5 CAFGU companions that on April 14, 1994 around 4 p.m. carrying a long firearm.
· RTC: relied on Basao’s testimony held that Salahay is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of 2 counts of Murder and 1 count of Robbery.
· Pursuant to Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, criminal cases nos. C-15 and C-16 was forwarded to the Supreme court of the Philippines for automatic review within 20 days but not earlier that 15 days after the promulgation of these judgments.
ISSUE: W/N Salahay is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
HELD: YES. RTC AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION penalty of reclusion perpetua
· Although alibi, like denial, is inherently weak and can be easily fabricated, it could also serve as basis for an acquittal if it could really be shown by clear and convincing evidence that it was indeed physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at that time. – failed to prove
· Alfredo Yagao offered conflicting statements before the court
· It is a well-entrenched doctrine that an accused’s flight from the scene of the crime and his act of hiding himself until he was arrested are circumstances highly indicative of his guilt. For a truly innocent person would normally grasp the first opportunity to defend himself and to assert his innocence over a crime imputed against him.
· For the death of Lt. Joerlick Faburada, subject of Criminal Case No. C-16, and Dra. Arlyn Faburada, subject of Criminal Case No. C-15, the crime committed was murder qualified by treachery or alevosia.
o unexpected and sudden attack under circumstances which render the victim unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness and severity of the attack, constitutes alevosia
o Alevosia is taken into account, even if the deceased was face to face with his assailant(s), when the attack was so sudden and unexpected that the victim was not in a position to offer an effective defense
· For even assuming that accused-appellant only intended to kill Lt. Joerlick Faburada, the treacherous nature of the attack was made in continuous aggression that cannot be broken up to constitute a separate, distinct and independent attack. The settled rule is that in order to appreciate treachery in continuous aggression, the same must be shown present at the inception of the attack. Treachery may be taken into account even if the victim of the attack was not the person whom the accused intended to kill.
· Assuming that the real object of the assault is Lt. Faburada and that the death of Arlyn was purely accidental as a result of the firing of M-16 rifle, it does not modify the nature of the crime nor lessen accused-appellant’s criminal liability under Article 4 paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code
o 1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.”
· Disagree with the finding of the trial court that the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation attended the killing of the Faburada spouses. This aggravating circumstance cannot be used to increase the penalty as the prosecution failed to show when accused-appellant meditated and reflected upon his decision to kill the victim and the intervening time that elapsed before this plan was carried out.
· While the motive for the commission of the crime may be duly established it does not constitute sufficient ground to consider the existence of evident premeditation. Motive may be used to indicate the time when the offender determined to commit the crime and the outward act manifestly indicating that the culprit has clung to such determination. However, the fact of motive alone is not sufficient to prove the most important element, the third element, proof that sufficient lapse of time between the determination and the execution intervened to allow the offender to reflect on the consequences of his act.
· To warrant a finding of evident premeditation, it must appear not only that the accused decided to commit the crime prior to the moment of its execution but also that this decision was the result of meditation, calculation, reflection, or persistent attempt
· The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength alleged in the aforementioned two Informations for the death of the spouses Faburada is already absorbed in the qualifying circumstance of alevosia or treachery so the same need not be appreciated separately
· Cruelty as an aggravating circumstance cannot be appreciated in the absence of any showing that herein accused-appellant, for his pleasure and satisfaction, caused the victim to suffer slowly and painfully and inflicted on him unnecessary physical and moral pain.
· The specific aggravating circumstance of “with insult or in disregard of the rank of the offended party” alleged in Criminal Cases Nos. C-15 and C-16 is, likewise, unavailing in both cases. Not shown that it is deliberately intended to disregard or insult the respect due them on account of their rank, age, or sex.
· Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, the absence of any aggravating or mitigating circumstance justifies the application of a lesser penalty- penalty of reclusion perpetua, not death
· Although the crimes of robbery and theft under the Revised Penal Code have in common the elements of (a) unlawful taking; (b) with intent to gain; (c) taking of personal property; and (d) the property taken belongs to another, they differ in the manner in which they are asported. Considering that the victim was already heavily wounded when his personal properties were taken, there was no need to employ violence against or intimidation upon his person. Thus, in Criminal Case No. C-14, accused-appellant can only be held guilty of the separate offense of theft under Article 308, penalized under Article 309 of the Revised Penal Code.