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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT


BRANCH 18
BATANGAS CITY
CRIM CASE NO. 17990
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff,
-versusJERRY MARCELO y Alawan,
Accused.
xx

PROSECTUTIONS COMMENT/ OPPOSITION


The Prosecution, unto this Honorable Court, most respectfully states:
The prosecution humbly states and takes the position that it has presented
competent witnesses, clear, convincing and sufficient evidence to prove beyond
reasonable doubt that accused are guilty of committing the crime charged and that
the accused miserably failed to present any evidence that could even raise an iota
of doubt as to their guilt of the offenses charged.
In the case recently decided by the Supreme Court in the case of Lily Sy v. Hon.
Secretary of Justice Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez, Benito Fernandez Go, Berthold
Lim, Jennifer Sy, Glenn Ben Tiak Sy and Merry Sy, (G.R. No. 171579, November
14, 2012), To constitute robbery, the following elements must be established: (1)
The subject is personal property belonging to another; (2) There is unlawful taking
of that property; (3) The taking is with the intent to gain; and (4) There is violence
against or intimidation of any person or use of force upon things.
DISCUSSIONS
A. Lack of Requisite Elements of Robbery
Here, the Information did specify that the robbery with force upon things
was committed in an inhabited house or uninhabited place.
In the case of Modesto Mabunga v. People of the Philippines, on the
same case of robbery with force upon things ruling under Section 3(j) of
Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of Evidence which provides:
SEC. 3 Disputable presumptions.-- The following presumptions are
satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome
by other evidence:

xxx
xxx
xxx
(j) That a person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing
of a recent wrongful act is the taker and the doer of the whole
act; otherwise, that thing which a person possesses, or exercises
acts of ownership over, are owned by him;
The chain of proven circumstances leads to the logical conclusion that the items
unlawfully taken by the accused from its owner, Estrelita Yacat y
Arellano. Accused was last seen by the complainants neighbor, Ruffa Marcelo,
through the testimony of Mrs. Yacat; wherein PO3 Damayan and PO2 Coliat
testified that they were the investigator from Batangas City Police Station and San
Jose Police Station who spotted Jerry on board a ship docked at the pier in Brgy.
Santa Clara, Batangas City. The items unlawfully taken were found in his
possession and voluntarily admitted that he sold the other items he took. Such
possession, which remained without any satisfactory explanation, raises the
presumption that the accused authored the robbery. This presumption remains
unrebutted.

B. Constitutional Rights of the Accused were violated


Accused aver that the accused was not informed of its constitutional rights
when arrested by PO3 Damayan and not assisted by counsel when investigated
and questioned by PO2 Coliat, in violation of his rights under Article III, Section
12 (1) and (2) of the 1987 Constitution, which provides thus:
"Sec.12. (1) Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of
his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent
counsel, preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford
the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These
rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
counsel.
However, the arresting officers, has fully appraised the accused of its
constitutional rights but the elicited confession were not made during custodial
investigation but during the arrest and was done without coercion on the part of the
police. He has also consented to the search done by the arresting officers.
In this case the accused indeed voluntarily surrendered the incriminating
items to the police officers.
Moreover under Section 26 of the Rules of Court, an admission of a party
The act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in
evidence against him.
This rule is based upon the notion that no man would make any declaration
against himself, unless it is true. (People v. Olivo Jr., 349 SCRA 499, 510-511,
January 18, 2001) The testimony of petitioner may, therefore, be received in

evidence against him. Custodial investigation has been defined as any questioning
initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or
otherwise deprived of freedom of action in any significant way (Sebastian Sr.
v. Garchitorena, 343 SCRA 463, 470, October 18, 2000). We have ruled
previously that constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to
a spontaneous statement that is not elicited through questioning by the authorities,
but is given in an ordinary manner. (People v. Mantung, 369 Phil. 1084, 1099, July
20, 1999)
How the presumption under Section 3(j)
understood, United States v. Catimbang24 explains:

Rule

131

is

to

be

According to the modern view convictions in cases of this kind are not
sustained upon a presumption of law as to the guilt of the accused. The conviction
rests wholly upon an inference of fact as to the guilt of the accused.If as a matter of
probability and reasoning based on the fact of possession of the stolen
goods, taken in connection with other evidence, it may fairly be concluded
beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the theft, judgment or
conviction may properly be entered. x x x
In the case of Malacat v. Court of Appeals, (347 Phil. 462) Supreme Court
held that the Constitution proscribes unreasonable searches and seizures of
whatever nature. Without a judicial warrant, these are allowed only under the
following exceptional circumstances: (1) a search incident to a lawful arrest, (2)
seizure of evidence in plain view, (3) search of a moving motor vehicle, (4)
customs search, (5) stop and frisk situations, and (6) consented search.

Moreover as ruled by the Supreme Court in the case of Caballes v. Court of


Appeals, the constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is
a personal right which may be waived. However, it must be seen that the consent to
the search was voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and
search, i.e., the consent was unequivocal, specific, and intelligently given,
uncontaminated by any duress or coercion. The consent to a search is not to be
lightly inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The question
whether a consent to a search was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be
determined from the totality of all the circumstances. Relevant to this
determination are the following characteristics of the person giving consent and the
environment in which consent is given: (1) the age of the defendant; (2) whether he
was in a public or secluded location; (3) whether he objected to the search or
passively looked on; (4) the education and intelligence of the defendant; (5) the
presence of coercive police procedures; (6) the defendant's belief that no
incriminating evidence will be found; (7) the nature of the police questioning; (8)
the environment in which the questioning took place; and (9) the possibly
vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. It is the State which has the

burden of proving, by clear and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was
obtained and that it was freely and voluntarily given.
Admittedly, the evidence for the prosecution is circumstantial.

STATEMENT OF FACTS:
Indicted for committing a crime of Robbery, defined and penalized under
Article 229(a) 2 of the Revised Penal Code, the prosecution charged the accused
Jerry Marcelo y Alawan, on an information dated April 1, 2013.
The complainant in this case, Estrelita Yacat y Arellano testified that she
lived in a rented house in Sitio Uluhan, Galamay-Amo, San Jose, Batangas. On
March 31, 2013 at around 1:00 in the afternoon, she arrived at her rented house in
Sitio Uluhan after having stayed in Cabuyao, Laguna for three weeks. And found
that her house was robbed by using force over the receptacle of the back door of
the house. She reported the incident to her landlady PCI Anacleta Cultura, who told
her that it was the latters boy, named Jerry, herein accused, who probably was
the person responsible for the incident. Mrs. Yacat and PCI Cultura together with
several police officers from PNP Batangas City Police Station were able to find
Jerry on board a ship docked at the pier in Brgy. Santa Clara, Batangas City. PO3
Damayan and PO2 Coliat testified that they were the investigator from Batangas
City Police Station and San Jose Police Station, respectively, and that they have no
personal knowledge as to the identity of the accused.
To constitute robbery, the following elements must be established: (1) The subject is
personal property belonging to another; (2) There is unlawful taking of that property; (3) The taking is
with the intent to gain; and (4) There is violence against or intimidation of any person or use of force
upon things. Lily Sy v. Hon. Secretary of Justice Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez, Benito Fernandez Go,
Berthold Lim, Jennifer Sy, Glenn Ben Tiak Sy and Merry Sy, G.R. No. 171579, November 14, 2012.
Section 15, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 15. Demurrer to evidence. After the prosecution has rested its case, the court may
dismiss the case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence: (1) on its own initiative after giving the
prosecution an opportunity to be heard; or (2) on motion of the accused filed with prior leave of court.
If the court denies the demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the accused may
adduce evidence in his defense. When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of
court, the accused waives the right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment
on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution.

The constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous


statement not elicited through questioning by the authorities but given in an ordinary manner
whereby the accused readily admitted having committed the crime. People vs. Hermoso, 343 SCRA
567, 579 (2000)

While courts have consistently looked upon alibi with suspicion not
only because it is inherently weak and unreliable as a defense, but
because it can easily be fabricated,19 the basic rule is for the

prosecution, upon which lies the onus, to establish all the elements
of a crime to thereby hold him guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Such burden does not shift as it remains with the prosecution.
Tasked with the burden of persuasion, the prosecution must thus
rely on the strength of its evidence and not on the weakness of the
defense.20
rll

Admittedly, the evidence for the prosecution is circumstantial. The


alleged robbery was discovered when the employees of the BFP
reported for work on October 2, 1994 and noticed that the hasp of
the office door was broken and the typewriter was missing.
On the sole basis of the presumption laid down under above-quoted
Section 3(j) of Rule 131 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, the
appellate court affirmed the conviction of appellant.
A presumption is an assumption of fact that the law requires to be
made from another fact or group of facts found or otherwise
established in the action.21 It is an inference as to the existence of a
fact not actually known, arising from its usual connection with
another which is known, or a conjecture based on past experience
as to what course of human affairs ordinarily take.22
rll

A presumption has the effect of shifting the burden of proof to the


party who would be disadvantaged by a finding of the presumed
fact. The presumption controls decision on the presumed fact unless
there is counterproof that the presumed fact is not so.23
rll

In criminal cases, however, presumptions should be taken with


caution especially in light of serious concerns that they might water
down the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt.As special
considerations must be given to the right of the accused to be
presumed innocent, there should be limits on the use of
presumptions against an accused.
Although possession of stolen property within a limited time from
the commission of the theft or robbery is not in itself a crime, it
being possible to possess the same and remain innocent, such
possession may be sufficient for the formation of an inference that
the possessor is the thief unless the evidence satisfactorily proves
that the property was acquired by the accused by legal means.

How the presumption under Section 3(j) Rule 131 is to be


understood, United States v. Catimbang24 explains:
According to the modern view convictions in cases of this kind are
not sustained upon a presumption of law as to the guilt of the
accused. The conviction rests wholly upon an inference of fact as to
the guilt of the accused.If as a matter of probability and reasoning
based on the fact of possession of the stolen goods, taken in
connection with other evidence, it may fairly be concluded
beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the theft,
judgment or conviction may properly be entered. x x x
The inference of guilt is one of fact and rests upon the common
experience of men. But the experience of men has taught them that
an apparently guilty possession may be explained so as to rebut
such an inference and an accused person may therefore put witness
on the stand or go to the witness stand himself to explain his
possession, and any reasonable explanation of his possession,
inconsistent with his guilty connection with the commission of the
crime, will rebut the inference as to his guilt which the prosecution
seeks to have drawn from his guilty possession of the stolen goods.
It is in this sense that it is sometimes said that the unexplained
possession of recently stolen goods will sustain a conviction of the
crime of larceny.25 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
rllbrr

Before an inference of guilt arising from possession of recently


stolen goods can be made, however, the following basic facts need
to be proven by the prosecution: (1) that the crime was committed;
(2) that the crime was committed recently; (3) that the stolen
property was found in the possession of the defendant; and (4)
that the defendant is unable to explain his possession
satisfactorily.26
rll

For purposes moreover of conclusively proving possession, the


following considerations have to be emphasized: (1) the possession
must be unexplained by any innocent origin; (2) the possession
must be fairly recent; and (3) the possession must be
exclusive.27