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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS.

LEODEGARIO BASCUGIN GR 184704, June


30, 2009
Criminal Case Digest / Digested Cases
Rape with Homicide; constant change in plea (from guilty to not guilty, and so on);
When circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction
FACTS:
In an information dated June 21, 1999, BASCUGIN was charged with rape with
homicide committed as follows:
That on or about the 4th day of June, 1999 at about 7:45 oclock in the evening, at
Barangay [XXX], Municipality of Balayan, Province of Batangas, Philippines and
within the Jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed
with a bladed instrument and a hard object, by means of force and intimidation, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of [AAA],
against her will and consent and by reason or on the occasion of the said rape,
accused with intent to kill, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stabbed and hit the
said AAA, thereby inflicting upon the latter multiple stab wounds and other injuries
on the different parts of her body, which caused her instantaneous death.
With the assistance of his counsel de oficio, BASCUGIN pleaded guilty upon
arraignment on August 5, 1999. Since he was facing a charge for a capital offense,
the trial court asked him if his plea was voluntarily given and whether he
understood the consequences of his plea. The case then proceeded to trial.
In the automatic review by the Supreme Court, the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) and BASCUGIN challenged the proceedings in the trial court, specifically the
invalid arraignment of BASCUGIN. They contended that the consultation made by
the counsel de oficio was hasty; and BASCUGIN was not sufficiently apprised of the
nature of his case and the consequences of his plea. Finding merit in the OSGs
stand, the SUPREME COURT remanded the case to the court a quo for appropriate
proceedings.
Upon re-arraignment, he pleaded not guilty. Trial then ensued.
On September 8, 2003, before the prosecution could rest its case, the defense
manifested that BASCUGIN wishes to change his plea of "not guilty" to "guilty." The
trial court set his re-arraignment to September 29, 2003 to allow him more time to
consider his plea. He was then arraigned on September 29, 2003, and he pleaded
guilty to the charge. Then On November 12, 2003, BASCUGIN moved to withdraw
his plea of guilty. This was granted by the trial court in an order dated November 17,
2003. He was re-arraigned on December 1, 2003 and he pleaded "not guilty."
He was still found guilty and sentenced to death. This was affirmed by the CA. The
appellate court concurred with the trial courts finding that there was sufficient
circumstantial evidence pointing to him as the culprit.

BASCUGIN went to the SC alleging that there was insufficient evidence to hold him
guilty BEYOND reasonable doubt as the prosecution relied on circumstantial
evidence.
ISSUE:
Is BASCUGIN guilty beyond reasonable doubt?
HELD:
Yes. The decisive factor in BASCUGINs conviction was his admission to the crime
when he was examined by his lawyer in court. He testified as follows:
xxx
Q: Did you feel any remorse or resentment to what happened with you and [AAA]?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: I noticed also, Mr. Witness, that at the course of the proceedings of this case you
are always changing your plea of not guilty/to guilty. Why is it so, Mr. Witness?
A: Because I am bothered by my conscience and I was always changing my plea but
I feel responsible for what I did, sir.
Q: Do you know fully the consequences of your testimony, Mr. Witness?
A: Yes, sir.
ATTY. CHAVEZ: I have no more questions, Your Honor.
xxx
BASCUGINs confession was freely, intelligently, and deliberately given. Judicial
confession constitutes evidence of a high order. The presumption is that no sane
person would deliberately confess to the commission of a crime unless prompted to
do so by truth and conscience. Admission of guilt constitutes evidence against the
accused pursuant to the following provisions of the Rules of Court.
Furthermore, BASCUGINs confession is consistent with the evidence. We agree
with the trial and appellate courts finding that the chain of events constitutes
circumstantial evidence that is sufficient to support a conviction. From the
testimonies of witnesses and the physical evidence gathered, it was established
that the victim was last seen with BASCUGIN in his tricycle; his tricycle was seen
parked near a waiting shed in the premises of which the victims personal
belongings were later found; his pieces of clothing were found positive for human
blood that matches the victims; and the medico-legal report states that BASCUGIN
had sexual intercourse with the victim.
Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from

which the facts in issue may be established by inference. According to Rule 133,
Section 4 of the Rules, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: (1)
there is more than one circumstance; (2) the inference is based on proven facts;
and (3) the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. In the case at bar, the circumstantial
pieces of evidence enumerated by the trial court all point to BASCUGIN as the
perpetrator beyond reasonable doubt.