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01 People v Murcia (Ayesha)

PEOPLE OF THEPHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs
JESSIE VILLEGAS MURCIA, Accused-Appellant.
March 9, 2010
Perez, J.

FACTS:
Eulogio Quilates (Eulogio) is the owner of a two-storey house in Paringao, Bauang, La Union.
occupants of his house:
sister Felicidad Quilates (Felicidad)
another sister Alicia Manlupig (Alicia)
nephew Herminio Manlupig (Herminio)
appellant, Jessie Murcia, adopted son of Felicidad
around 3:30 p.m. of 24 March 2004, appellant was drinking with his cousin Herminio and
brothers-in-law Joey Viduya and Ricky Viduya (Ricky) in front of their house. Appellant and
Herminio were arguing over the matter of caring for Felicidad while the latter was confined in the
hospital. Appellant was then seen going inside the house to get a bolo. When he emerged from the
house 10mins later, he ran after Herminio but the latter managed to escape unscathed. Appellant
again went back to the house.
Ricky resumed drinking after pacifying appellant and Herminio. He then saw smoke coming from
the room of appellant and as he was about to enter the house, he met appellant at the door.
Appellant apparently tried to stab Ricky but was unsuccessful. Ricky witnessed appellant stab
Felicidad and Alicia.
Herminio also saw the smoke and peeped through the small window of the house; he witnessed
appellant burning some clothes and boxes in the sala. Herminio immediately went inside the house
to save his personal belongings. Upon emerging from the house, Herminio saw his mother, Alicia,
bloodied.
Alicia testified that she was sitting on a chair near the toilet when she saw smoke coming out of
appellants room. Before she could react, appellant came charging at her and stabbed her. She
sustained wounds on her upper thigh, arms, below her breast and on her ear. Alicia was still able to
ask for help, and her daughter-in-law brought her to the hospital.
Eulogio heard a commotion while he was cooking in the second floor of the house. When Eulogio
went down, he already saw smoke coming from the room of appellant. He then saw Felicidad near
the comfort room located outside the house and was bleeding from her mouth. As he was about to
help Felicidad, he met appellant who was then holding a knife. Eulogio immediately ran away.
Upon seeing Herminio, appellant immediately attacked him with a knife. However, Herminio and
Ricky were able to pin appellant down. Before they could retaliate, the barangay captain arrived at
the scene. As a result, eight (8) houses were razed.
INFO
Information dated 6 April 2004, appellant was accused of the crime of arson
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously set fire and burn a residential house knowing
the same to be inhabited by one FELICIDAD M. QUILATES burning and killing said FELICIDAD M.
QUILATES as well as burning and damaging nine (9) other neighboring houses in the process, to the
damage and prejudice of said house-owners in the aggregate amount of THREE MILLION PESOS
(Php3,000,000.00), Philippines Currency, as well as to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of
FELICIDAD QUILATES.
The charge is qualified by the resulting death of Felicidad M. Quilates.
another Information for frustrated homicide (Alicia Manlupig)

DEFENSE
Appellant as lone witness
He stated that while he was having a drinking spree, he saw Felicidad go inside the house to get a
glass of water. He followed her and gave her water. He noticed Felicidad light a gas lamp. He then
went back to his friends and resumed drinking. He got into a heated argument with Herminio. The
latter struck him in the head. He immediately went inside the house to get a weapon. He was able
to get a bolo, went back outside and hit Herminio. The latter ran away and appellant chased him.
Appellant met Alicia and confronted her about the actuations of Herminio. But Alicia cursed him.
Appellant thereafter hit her with the knife. Appellant then fell on the ground and lost consciousness
because, apparently, he was struck by something in the back. Appellant denied setting the house on
fire.

RTC
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of arson as charged and defined under Art. 320 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, extreme penalty of death
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of frustrated homicide as charged and he is hereby
sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of FOUR (4) YEARS of prision correccional as
minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS of prision mayor as maximum

CA affirmed, but reduced the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua

ISSUE: WoN accused is guilty of arson (YES, simple arson)

HELD: guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of arson and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS:
indemnify the heirs of Felicidad Quilates the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages;
P50,000.00 as death indemnity; and P25,000.00 as temperate damages
P10,000.00 as actual damages in favor of the heirs of Felicidad Quilates is deleted
pay Eulogio Quilates the amount of P200,000.00 as temperate damages.
award of P250,000.00 as actual damages in favor of Eulogio Quilates is deleted (because alleged
amount of house, not certain, cant rely solely on Eulogios assumption).

RATIO:
note: Appellant admitted to the crime of frustrated homicide, hence the review is limited to the
crime of arson.
In the prosecution for arson, proof of the crime charged is complete where the evidence
establishes: (1) the corpus delicti, that is, a fire because of criminal agency; and (2) the identity of
the defendant as the one responsible for the crime. In arson, the corpus delicti rule is satisfied by
proof of the bare fact of the fire and of it having been intentionally caused. Even the
uncorroborated testimony of a single eyewitness, if credible, is enough to prove the corpus delicti
and to warrant conviction
The photographs, evidencing the charred remains of the houses, established the
occurrence of the fire.
rules on evidence and principles in jurisprudence have long recognized that the accused may be
convicted through circumstantial evidence
Section 4 of Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides:
Section 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction
if:
(a) There is more than one circumstance;
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
(c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.
While nobody directly saw appellant burn the house, these circumstances would yield to a logical
conclusion that the fire that gutted eight (8) houses was authored by appellant.
Murcia returned inside E. Quilates house after chasing H. Manlupig with a bolo and after
being pacified by R. Viduya and J. Viduya;
during the resumption of their drinking session, R. Viduya and H. Manlupig saw a thick
smoke emanating from E. Quilates house particularly the window of accused-appellant
Murcias room in the ground floor;
Manlupig peeped through the said window and saw accused-appellant Murcia throwing
cartons of clothes into the fire. Meanwhile, E. Quilates, who was then cooking at the second
floor, went downstairs and saw the fire coming from the room occupied by accused-appellant
Murcia in the ground floor;
R. Viduya saw accused-appellant Murcia stabbing F. Quilates and A. Manlupig, among other
persons. E. Quilates saw his sister F. Quilates with blood oozing from her mouth. Accused-
appellant Murcia met him at the ground brandishing a knife at him which prevented him
from helping the wounded F. Quilates and forced him to run away for safety. E. Quilates
other sister, A. Manlupig, was also seen wounded and lying unconscious in the canal; and
houses of E. Quilates and his neighbors were razed by fire and the commission of the crime of
arson resulted in the demise of F. Quilates whose remains were burned beyond recognition
as to credibility of the witnesses: on matters involving the credibility of witnesses, the trial court is
in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses since it has observed firsthand their
demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination.
SC finds no cogent reason to depart from the findings of the lower courts
Court does not discount the fact that there was a fight between appellant and Herminio
which preceded the occurrence of the fire. However, it cannot be presumed that
Herminio will automatically give a false testimony against appellant. His testimony,
having withstood cross-examination, has passed the scrutiny of the lower courts and was
held to be credible.
ARSON
two categories of arson; based on the kind, character and location of the property burned, regardless of
the value of the damage caused
Destructive Arson under Article 320 of RPC: malicious burning of structures, both public and
private, hotels, buildings, edifices, trains, vessels, aircraft, factories and other military,
government or commercial establishments by any person or group of persons
Simple Arson under PD 1316: covers houses, dwellings, government buildings, farms, mills,
plantations, railways, bus stations, airports, wharves and other industrial establishments
A close examination of the records, as well as description of the crime as stated in the information,
reveals that the crime committed is in fact simple arson because the burned properties are residential
houses. Penalty is reclusion perpetua to death. With the repeal RA 9346, reclusion perpetua.

02 People vs Baluntong
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
vs
FERDINAND T. BALUNTONG
March 15, 2010
Carpio Morales, J.

FACTS:

July 31, 1998 (10:30 pm): 12 year old Jovelyn Santos was sleeping in the house of her
grandmother Celerina Solangon at Brgy. Dangay, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.
She was awakened by heat emanating from the walls of the house.
She then roused her cousin Dorecyll and together they went out of the house.
Jovelyn saw Baluntong (appellant) putting dry hay (dayami) around the house near the terrace
where the fire started, but appellant ran away when he saw her and Dorecyll.
Appellants neighbor, Felicitas Sarzona, also saw appellant near Celerinas house after it caught
fire, following which, appellant fled on seeing Jovelyn and Dorecyll.
Felicitas also saw Celerina, who was at a neighbors house before the fire started, enter the
burning house and resurface with her grandsons Alvin and Joshua.
Celerina and Alvin sustained third degree burns which led to their death. Joshua sustained
second degree burns.

Appellants Defense: ALIBI

According to hiM, he, on his mother Rosalindas request, went to Caloocan City on July 15, 1998 (16
days before the incident) and stayed there until February 1999. Rosalinda corroborated appellants alibi.

RTC: GUILTY of the complex crime of DOUBLE MURDER WITH FRUSTRATED MURDER;
DEATH

CA: AFFIRMED RTC, but reduced the penalty to RECLUSION PERPETUA in light of RA 9346 and by
additionally awarding exemplary damages to the heirs of the victims, as well as temperate
damages to Joshua representing his hospitalization

ISSUE: Whether or not appellant is guilty of Double Murder with Frustrated Murder (NO; Simple
Arson)

HELD: Baluntong is found GUILTY of SIMPLE ARSON under Sec. 3 (2) of PD 1613 and is sentenced
to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA with no eligibility for parole.

Damages: P50,000 to the heirs (civil indemnity); P16,500 (actual damages for burial expenses); P8,500
(temperate damages for hospitalization expenses); P25,000 (temperate damages to the heirs of Celerina);
P25,000 (temperate damages to Joshua Savariz)

RATIO:

APPELLANTS CONTENTIONS:
Appellant raised doubt on prosecution witness Felicitas claim that she saw appellant fleeing away
from the burning house, it being then 10:30 p.m. and, therefore, dark.
He raises doubt too on Jovelyns claim that she saw appellant, given her failure to ask him to stop
putting dried hay around the house if indeed her claim were true.

SC:
There should be no doubt on prosecution witnesses Felicitas and Jovelyns positive identification of their
neighbor-herein appellant as the person they saw during the burning of the house, given, among other
things, the illumination generated by the fire. (refer to the transcript of the cross-examination)

In determining the offense committed by appellant, the Court referred to PEOPLE vs MALNGAN:

In cases where both burning and death occur, in order to determine what crime/crimes was/were
perpetrated whether arson, murder or arson and homicide/murder, it is de rigueur to ascertain the
main objective of the malefactor:
(a) if the main objective is the burning of the building or edifice, but death results by reason or on the
occasion of arson, the crime is simply arson, and the resulting homicide is absorbed;

(b) if, on the other hand, the main objective is to kill a particular person who may be in a building or
edifice, when fire is resorted to as the means to accomplish such goal the crime committed is murder
only; lastly,

(c) if the objective is, likewise, to kill a particular person, and in fact the offender has already done so,
but fire is resorted to as a means to cover up the killing, then there are two separate and distinct crimes
committed homicide/murder and arson.

Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1613, Amending the Law on Arson, reads:

Section 3. Other Cases of Arson. The penalty of Reclusion Temporal to Reclusion Perpetua shall
be imposed if the property burned is any of the following:
x x x x
2. Any inhabited house or dwelling;

There was no showing that appellants main objective was to kill Celerina and her housemates and
that the fire was resorted to as the means to accomplish the goal.
In her Affidavit executed on August 11, 1998, Felicitas stated that what she knew is that Celerina
wanted appellant, who was renting a house near Celerinas, to move out.
Absent any concrete basis then to hold that the house was set on fire to kill the
occupants, appellant cannot be held liable for double murder with frustrated
murder.
This is especially true with respect to the death of Celerina, for even assuming arguendo that
appellant wanted to kill her to get even with her in light of her alleged desire to drive him out of
the neighboring house, Celerina was outside the house at the time it was set on fire. She merely
entered the burning house to save her grandsons.
As it was not shown that the main motive was to kill the occupants of the house, the crime
would only be arson, the homicide being a mere consequence thereof, hence,
absorbed by arson.
When there is variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information and that
proved, and the offense charged is included or necessarily includes the offense proved, conviction
shall be for the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or the offense charged
which is included in the offense proved.
Under Section 5 of P.D. 1613, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death is imposed when death
results. In the light of the passage of Republic Act No. 9346, the penalty should be reclusion
perpetua.

ON DAMAGES:
Since the trial court awarded the duly proven actual damages of P16,500.00 representing burial
expenses, the award of compensatory damages of P50,000.00 does not lie. It is gathered from the
evidence, however, that Alvin was hospitalized for 5 days, hence, an award of P8,500.00 as
temperate damages for the purpose would be reasonable.
As for the award to Alvin of moral damages, the records do not yield any basis therefor.
The appellate court awarded exemplary damages to the heirs of the victims, clearly referring to
the deceased Celerina and Alvin. Absent proof of the presence of any aggravating circumstances,
however, the award does not lie.
When death occurs due to a crime, the grant of civil indemnity requires no proof other than the
death of the victim. The heirs of Celerina are thus entitled to an award of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity ex delicto. And so are Alvins.
The appellate courts award of temperate damages of P25,000.00 to Joshua is in order.

03 US vs. Go Foo Suy and Go Jancho (Erika)
Sept. 5, 1913
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee,
vs.
GO FOO SUY and GO JANCHO, defendants and appellants.
Trent, J.

QUICK NOTE: There were two fires. One in No. 30 and one in No. 26. It turns out that the one in No. 26,
where the accused lived, were started by them in order to get the insurance money for their goods, as they
were merchants of dry goods who have been experiencing losses.

FACTS:
On the night of Feb. 24, 1912, house No. 30 on Calle Norte America in Cebu City was partially
destroyed by fire
The main subject of this case, however, is the fire in the house beside it, house No. 26, where a
fire broke out while the fire in 30 was in progress for a considerable time (Note: the cause of the
fire in 30 was not stated)
30 and 26 are separated by a passageway with a width near the street of about 3
meters and in the rear (where the fire in 30 was) of 9 meters
Both buildings are made entirely of strong materials
The accused were the occupants of 26; they rented the entire building from its owner, one
Filomena Burgos
They have a dry goods store and at the same time occupied the upper portion as living
quarters
The accused also had their own tenants occupying parts of the building
There were three portions of 26 that caught fire:
1) In the bodega (where some rolls of sauale [sawali] on the floor were afire; there were two bottles
which had contained petroleum as well as a broken match box on the floor near the burning sauale)
2) In the trastienda (office) (where bolts of cloth stored on impromptu shelves made of boxes piled on
above the other were afire
3) The room of a woman (specifically her bed), Antipas Paquipo, who was the wife of a Chinaman (an
empty bottle which had contained petroleum and a small kerosene lamp, also empty, were found
underneath he bed)
a. Photograph of the bed showed that only the matting which formed its bottom and the furnishings
were burned
The accused claim that very shortly after the alarm of the fire in 30, they all left 26 for the plaza
and never went back to 26
They claim that the fire was probably started by strangers after they left
Prosecution witnesses, however, state that the fire in 26 started when the one in 30 was no longer
in danger of spreading
That shortly before the fire in 26 started, the accused were seen inside the building
gathering up their (accounting) books and papers
(Even the accused admit that there was no fire when they left the house)
COMPLAINT:
Against accused-appellants, as well as Go Juat Chion, Go Cho Jim, and Go Quip (also occupants
of the house)
o First 2 acquitted, last 1 still at large
CFI OF CEBU:
Two accused-appellants guilty of FRUSTRATED ARSON under Art. 549 of the Old Penal
Code (setting fire to a building which they knew at the time to be occupied by one or more
persons)
8 years and 1 day of cadena temporal + accessory penalties + 1/5 of the costs

ISSUE: W/N the accused are guilty of frustrated arson (Yes)

HELD: However, they are guilty not under Art. 549 but Art. 550, par. 2, in connection with Art. 551,
because it is not probable that any person in 26 was caught unawares when the fire broke out (in view of
the considerable tie which intervened between the discovery of the fire in 30 and its discover in 26, and
considering the noise which must have been made by the crowd which assisted in putting the fire out in
30) and so they could not have been inside the house. As such, the accused cannot be charged with the
knowledge thereof.

RATIO:
Chief of police stated that there was no wind during that night
Two nipa shacks located on the opposite side of 30 were not damaged
The only openings in the side of 26 nearest 30 were 2 windows; at least 1 opened into the
trastienda BUT was closed up to the time the fire was discovered in the said room; pieces of
paper in the said window were not touched by the fire
The accused claim that the fire in the trastienda caught from the fire in the bodega by
passing through the partition between the 2 rooms
But there was no evidence of the flames passing from one room to another; no signs of
fire on the partition
As to the windows in the upper floor opening to the rear, the window nearest 30 was closed while
the other was open when a photograph was taken; the bed of Antipas was near this window)
Although it cannot be known whether the window was open or not when the fire
occurred, even assuming that it was, sparks from 30 would have had to cross the
passageway of 9 meters, as well as the additional space between the nearest wall of 26
and the window near the other side, in order to reach 26
The fire in 30 had no inclination to spread and the houses with highly inflammable
material (nipa) were much nearer than the bed in question and the sparks of the fire
could have reached the said houses without impediment but they were not touched by the
fire in 30
Its highly improbable that sparks from 30 entered the window and set fire to the bed
In addition, evidence of incendiarism (empty kerosene receptacles) were found in the
room where the bed was
As for the bodega, the accused claim that some unknown person found access to the bodega
through its door and set fire to it
The SC, however, gave weight to the testimony of one Cuico (owner of one of the nipa
huts near 30) who testified that while he was assisting the fire in 30, he saw smoke
issuing from the bodega of 26 and had to break open the door to the bodega in order to
get inside it (thus, the door to the bodega was not opened when the fire started, unlike
what the accused claim)
The fire in any of the three rooms in 26 did not damage the building itself in the slightest
The building itself was not insured but the accused had an insurance of P25K on their stock of
goods (valued between P5K and P8K)
Their business operations over a period of approx. 18 mos prior to the fire had resulted in a loss
of at least P4K
SC: Here we have a fire of incendiary origin and a very powerful motive for starting it.
Accused contend that the offense should fall under Art. 561, which provides: if the burned things
shall be the exclusive property of the incendiary, he shall suffer a penalty of arresto mayor in its
maximum to prision correccional in its minimum, if the arson shall have been committed with
intent to defraud or cause damage to another
However, as ruled by the SC of Spain: setting fire to the contents of a building constitutes
the consummated crime of setting fire to the building; it is therefore immaterial that the
contents belonged to the accused while the building belonged to a third person
Still, the SC disagrees with the CFIs application of Art. 549. An essential element of arson under
Art. 549 is knowledge on the part of the wrongdoer that the building was occupied at the time by
one or more persons (see HELD above)
AS FOR THE PENALTY: The damage did not exceed 6,250 pesetas
The crime is aggravated by nocturnity; penalty imposed in the maximum: 10 years and 1
day of presidio mayor

04 People v De Leon
March 4, 2009
People of the Philippines, appelle
vs
Carlito De Leon, Bien De Leon, Cornelio Aka Nelio Cabildo and Filoteo De Leon, appellants

FACTS:
Apr 5, 1986, 8:30pm: Aquilina Mercado Rint (Aquilina) and her sister Leonisa Mercado
(Leonisa), together with their nephew Narciso Mercado Jr., (Junior) were inside a hut owned
by their father Rafael Mercado (Rafael) on a tumana in Polillo, San Josef, Pearanda, Nueva
Ecija. The loud and insistent barking of their dog prompted Aquilina to peep through the window
and saw five men approaching the premises whom she recognized as Gaudencio Legaspi and
appellants. Aquilina and Leonisa hurriedly went out of the hut and hid behind a pile of wood
nearby while Junior was dispatched to call for help.
From their hiding place (7m away), they saw appellants surround the hut and set to fire the cogon
roofing. While the hut was burning, Leonisa grabbed a flashlight from her sister and focused the
same at the group in order to see them more clearly. Upon seeing a light focused on them,
Gaudencio ordered the others to leave and the men immediately fled the premises. By the time
Junior arrived with his uncles, the hut was already razed to the ground.
Hut valued at P3,000
A pair of earrings, some beddings, rice, P1,500.00 in cash and plenty of wood were also lost in the
fire
Prior to the incident: appellants had been to the premises, destroyed the plants, the fence and a
hut which was first built therein. They also physically attacked Rafael and issued threats that if he
would not give up his claim on the land, something untoward would happen to him. Rafael filed
several cases for Malicious Mischief, Forcible Entry and Serious Physical Injuries against them
Appellants denied the charge
Carlito: on day of incident, he was working in Cavite where he had been staying for a year with
his family; that his uncle Gaudencio was originally in possession of the tumana; that his uncle
used to plant vegetables and make charcoal therein until 1975 when he took over upon the latters
request; that when Gaudencio passed away in 1987 (prior to arraignment, thats why he was not
included in the info), he applied for a patent over the tumana with the Bureau of Lands; that
there was actually no structure on the premises because Rafaels attempt to build a hut was foiled
by his helper, Nelio.
admitted on cross-examination that on Mar 12, 1986 he destroyed the first hut
constructed by Rafael when the prosecution confronted him with evidence which showed
that he was found guilty of Malicious Mischief filed by Rafael
Nelio: on the day of the incident, appellants were in their respective homes and could not have
gone to the tumana to commit the crime as charged; that the burnt parts depicted in the pictures
presented by the prosecution were actually parts of tree trunks turned to charcoal; and that the
cogon and bamboo shown in the pictures were materials brought by Rafael into the landholding
during the latters unsuccessful attempt to build a hut on the tumana
Bien: also denied the charges against him and attributed the same to complainants desire to grab
the tumana which rightfully belongs to his mother; that since 1982, he has been living in Rizal,
Nueva Ecija (35 km away).
Filoteo: corroborated the claims made by his co-appellants.
Info: Gaudencio Legaspi, Carlito de Leon, Bien de Leon, Cornelio Cabildo and Filoteo de Leon - arson.
TC: Guilty of arson indeterminate prison term of 10Y and 1D of prision mayor, as min, to 14 Y and 1D of
reclusion temporal as max; 3,000: value of burned hut
CA: affirmed with modification; reclusion perpetua; P2,000 as temperate damages and P20,000 as
exemplary damages

ISSUE: W/N appellants are guilty of arson? (YES) (W/N the CA erred in their ruling? (NO))

HELD: Instant appeal DENIED. CA AFFIRMED.

RATIO:
Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1613 amending the law on arson provides:
Sec. 3. Other Cases of Arson. The penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed
if the property burned is any of the following:
2. Any inhabited house or dwelling;,
-Section 4 of the same law provides that if the crime of arson was committed by a syndicate, i.e., if
it is planned or carried out by a group of three or more persons, the penalty shall be imposed in its
maximum period.
elements of arson are: (a) there is intentional burning; and, (b) what is intentionally burned is an
inhabited house or dwelling.
The appellate court correctly found that the prosecution was able to prove beyond
reasonable doubt the presence of the two essential elements of the offense
Although intent may be an ingredient of the crime of arson, it may be inferred from the acts of the
accused. There is a presumption that one intends the natural consequences of his act; and when
it is shown that one has deliberately set fire to a building, the prosecution is not bound to produce
further evidence of his wrongful intent. If there is an eyewitness to the crime of arson, he can give
in detail the acts of the accused. When this is done the only substantial issue is the credibility of
the witness.
In the instant case, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, found the
testimonies of witnesses Aquilina and Leonisa worthy of credence, thus:
The inconsistencies and contradictions presented in the case at bench do not detract from
the fact that Rafaels house was intentionally burned by accused-appellants who were
positively identified by witnesses Aquilina and Leonisa. In the face of these positive
declarations, accused-appellants puerile attempt to discredit them crumples into dust.
It is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that factual findings of the trial court on the credibility of
witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the highest respect and will not be disturbed on
appeal in the absence of any clear showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some
facts or circumstances of weight and substance that would have affected the result of the case.
Having seen and heard the witnesses themselves and observed their behavior and manner of
testifying, the trial judge was in a better position to determine their credibility
The testimony of Aquilina that she witnessed the burning of her fathers hut by
appellants is positive and categorical
Positive identification, where categorical and consistent, without any showing of ill-motive on the
part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which, if not
substantiated by clear and convincing proof, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving
of weight in law. The appellants had not shown that it was physically impossible for
them to be present at the time and place of the crime.
Thus, we find no reason to disturb the trial courts reliance on the testimony of the prosecution
witnesses.
Proof of the corpus delicti is indispensable in the prosecution of arson, as in all kinds of criminal
offenses. Corpus delicti means the substance of the crime; it is the fact that a crime has actually
been committed. In arson, the corpus delicti is generally satisfied by proof of the bare occurrence
of the fire, e.g., the charred remains of a house burned down and of its having been intentionally
caused. Even the uncorroborated testimony of a single eyewitness, if credible, may be enough to
prove the corpus delicti and to warrant conviction.
The corpus delicti has been satisfactorily proven in the instant case.
The appellate court correctly imposed the penalty in its maximum period, i.e., reclusion perpetua
considering the presence of the special aggravating circumstance. The crime was committed
by a syndicate since it was carried out by a group of three or more persons.

Sub-issue: W/N the damages were correctly awarded? (Yes both)
Held and Ratio:
Appellate court likewise correctly awarded temperate damages in the amount of P2,000.
Exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000 is likewise appropriate in view of the presence of
the special aggravating circumstance,

Tumana: (1) wide, level highland (above water level); (2) rich land (esp. on river bankc, used as
farmlands, etc.) (3) field

05 taguinod v people (2011) - Chrissa
ROBERT TAGUINOD,
v
People of the Philippines

FACTS:
May 26, 2002: at the parking area of the Rockwell Powerplant Mall:
Pedro Ang (private complainant) was driving his Honda CRV from the 3rd basement, while
Robert Taguinod (petitioner) was driving his Suzuki Vitara (Vitara) from the 2nd basement
parking.
At the queue at the corner to pay the parking fees, the Vitara tried to overtake, which resulted
the touching of their side view mirrors.
private complainant's wife and daughter alighted from the CRV and confront the petitioner
who appeared to be hostile, hence, the private complainant instructed his wife and daughter
to go back to the CRV.
the Vitara accelerated and moved backward as if to hit them. CRV, was able to pay ahead at a
different lane.
When the CRV was at the upward ramp leading to the exit, the Vitara bumped the CRV's rear
portion and pushed the CRV until it hit the stainless steel railing located at the exit portion of
the ramp.
CRV sustained damage at the back bumper spare tires and the front bumper, the repair of which
amounted to P57,464.66. The insurance company shouldered the said amount, but the private
complainant paid P18,191.66
MeTC: Vitara/ Taguinod guilty of malicious mischief
pay complainant Pedro Ang the amount of P18,191.66, representing complainant's
participation in the insurance liability on the Honda CRV, the amount of P50,000.00 as
moral damages, and the amount of P25,000.00 as attorney's fees; and to pay the costs.
RTC: affirm, modify
1. penalty of 30 days imprisonment;
2. moral damages is reduced to P20,000.00; and
3. attorney's fee is reduced to P10,000.00.

ISSUE:
WON evidence presented by prosecution was self-serving/ witnesses not credible (no)
WON malicious mischief (yes)
WON entitled to moral damages (yes), atty fees (no)

RATIO:
1. factual findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the
highest respect and will not be disturbed

2. prosecution was able to prove the guilt of petitioner beyond reasonable doubt.
The elements of the crime of malicious mischief under Article 327 RPC
(1) That the offender deliberately caused damage to the property of another;
(2) That such act does not constitute arson or other crimes involving destruction;
(3) That the act of damaging another's property be committed merely for the sake of damaging it.
DELIBERATE
collision of the two side view mirrors is proof enough to establish the existence of the
element of hate, revenge and other evil motive To petitioner, he was wronged when the
CRV overtook (the facts say vitara overtook.. labo) his Vitara while proceeding toward the booth
to pay and side view mirrors collided.
The hood of his Vitara was also pounded, and he was badmouthed by the complainant's wife
and daughter when they alighted from the CRV to confront him for the collision of the side view
mirrors. These circumstances motivated the accused to push upward the ramp complainant's
CRV until it reached the steel railing of the exit ramp.(corroborated by the Incident Report by SO
Robert Cambre, Shift-In-Charge of the Power Plant Mall, and Police Report)
the hitting of the back portion of the CRV by the petitioner was clearly deliberate
petitioner's version: CRV which moved backward and deliberately hit the Vitara- not believable
considering the steepness or angle of the elevation
NOT ARSON, etc
Second, the act of damaging the rear bumper of the CRV does not constitute arson or other crimes
involving destruction.
SAKE OF DAMAGE
Lastly, when the Vitara bumped the CRV, the petitioner was just giving vent to his anger and hate as a
result of a heated encounter between him and the private complainant.

3. is entitled to the award of moral damages under Article 2220 of the New Civil Code because the injury
contemplated by the law which merits the said award was clearly established.
lost sleep, private complainant's claim that his wife felt dizzy after the incident and had to be
taken to the hospital
However, anent the award of attorney's fees, the same was not established.