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G.R. No. 175602. January 18, 2012.* VOL.

663, JANUARY 18, 2012 273


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PO2 People vs. Valdez
EDUARDO VALDEZ and EDWIN VALDEZ, accused- of fact addressed to the trial court for determination based on the
appellants. evidence on record. The records show that the version of PO2
Valdez was contrary to the established facts and circumstances
Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; The only time when a showing that he and Edwin, then armed with short firearms, had gone
reviewing court was not bound by the trial courts assessment of to the jai alai betting station of Moises to confront Jonathan Rubio,
credibility arises upon a showing of a fact or circumstance of the teller of the betting booth then busily attending to bettors inside
weight and influence that was overlooked and, if considered, could the booth; that because the accused were calling to Rubio to come
affect the outcome of the case.Considering that the CA thereby out of the booth, Moises approached to pacify them, but one of them
affirmed the trial courts findings of fact, its calibration of the threatened Moises: Gusto mo unahin na kita?; that immediately after
testimonies of witnesses and its assessment of their probative weight, Moises replied: Huwag!, PO2 Valdez fired several shots at Moises,
as well as its conclusions, the Court accords high respect, if not causing him to fall to the ground; that PO2 Valdez continued firing
conclusive effect, to the CAs findings. The justification for this is at the fallen Moises; that Ferdinand (another victim) rushed to aid
that trial court was in the best position to assess the credibility of Moises, his brother, but Edwin shot Ferdinand in the head, spilling
witnesses by virtue of its firsthand observation of the demeanor, his brains; that somebody shouted to Joselito (the third victim) to
conduct and attitude of the witnesses under grilling examination. The run; that Edwin also shot Joselito twice in the back; and that Joselito
only time when a reviewing court was not bound by the trial courts fell on a burger machine. The shots fired at the three victims were
assessment of credibility arises upon a showing of a fact or apparently fired from short distances.
circumstance of weight and influence that was overlooked and, if
considered, could affect the outcome of the case. No such fact or Same; Conspiracy; Conspiracy exists when two or more
circumstance has been brought to the Courts attention. It is not trite persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a
to remind that a truth-telling witness is not always expected to give felony and decide to commit the felony.Conspiracy exists when
an error-free testimony because of the lapse of time and the treachery two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
of human memory; and that inaccuracies noted in testimony may even commission of a felony and decide to commit the felony. Proof of the
suggest that the witness is telling the truth and has not been actual agreement to commit the crime need not be direct because
rehearsed. To properly appreciate the worth of testimony, therefore, conspiracy may be implied or inferred from their acts. Herein, both
the courts do not resort to the individual words or phrases alone but lower courts deduced the conspiracy between the accused from the
seek out the whole impression or effect of what has been said and mode and manner in which they perpetrated the killings. We are
done. satisfied that their deduction was warranted. Based on the foregoing,
PO2 Valdez cannot now avoid criminal responsibility for the fatal
Criminal Law; Evidence; Unlawful Aggression; Question of shooting by Edwin of Ferdinand and Joselito. Both accused were
Fact; It is fundamental that the question as to who between the convincingly shown to have acted in concert to achieve a common
accused and the victim was the unlawful aggressor is a question of purpose of assaulting their unarmed victims with their guns. Their
fact addressed to the trial court for determination based on the acting in concert was manifest not only from their going together to
evidence on record.It is fundamental that the question as to who the betting station on board a single motorcycle, but also from their
between the accused and the victim was the unlawful aggressor is a joint attack that PO2 Valdez commenced by firing successive shots at
question
_______________ Moises and immediately followed by Edwins shooting of Ferdinand
* FIRST DIVISION. and Joselito one after the other. It was also significant that they fled
together on board the same motorcycle as soon as they had achieved
their common purpose. To be a conspirator, one did not have to
participate in every detail of the execution; neither did he have to
know the exact part performed by his co-conspirator in the execution
274 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 275
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
of the criminal acts. Accordingly, the existence of the conspiracy lated, these being mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor,
between PO2 Valdez and Edwin was properly inferred and proved but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts
through their acts that were indicative of their common purpose and therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged
community of interest. in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common
Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; Treachery is understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and
the employment of means, methods, or forms in the execution of any enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a
of the crimes against persons which tend to directly and specially crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the
insure its execution, without risk to the offending party arising from elements of the crime charged. Every element of the offense must
the defense which the offended party might make.Treachery is the be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are
employment of means, methods, or forms in the execution of any of necessary to be included therein must be determined by
the crimes against persons which tend to directly and specially insure reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified
its execution, without risk to the offending party arising from the crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in
defense which the offended party might make. It encompasses a wide the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the
variety of actions and attendant circumstances, the appreciation of accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare
which is particular to a crime committed. Corollarily, the defense his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no
against the appreciation of a circumstance as aggravating or independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.
qualifying is also varied and dependent on each particular instance. Same; Evidence; A practical consequence of the non-
Such variety generates the actual need for the State to specifically allegation of a detail that aggravates his liability is to prohibit the
aver the factual circumstances or particular acts that constitute the introduction or consideration against the accused of evidence that
criminal conduct or that qualify or aggravate the liability for the tends to establish that detail.A practical consequence of the non-
crime in the interest of affording the accused sufficient notice to allegation of a detail that aggravates his liability is to prohibit the
defend himself. introduction or consideration against the accused of evidence that
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Information; Pleadings tends to establish that detail. The allegations in the information are
and Practice; The real nature of the criminal charge is determined controlling in the ultimate analysis. Thus, when there is a variance
not from the caption or preamble of the information, or from the between the offense charged in the information and that proved, and
specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the
which are mere conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved
facts in the complaint or information.The real nature of the included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged included in
criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the offense proved. In that regard, an offense charged necessarily
the information, or from the specification of the provision of law includes the offense proved when some of the essential elements or
alleged to have been violated, which are mere conclusions of law, ingredients of the former, as alleged in the information, constitute the
but by the actual recital of the facts in the complaint or information. latter; an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense
In People v. Dimaano, 469 SCRA 647 (2005), the Court elaborated: proved when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or
For complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the name form part of those constituting the latter.
of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the Criminal Law; Penalties; Pursuant to Article 249 of the
acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name Revised Penal Code, the penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal.
of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the Pursuant to Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for
offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. What is homicide is reclusion temporal. There being no circumstances modi-
controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the
offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly vio-
276 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 277
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
fying criminal liability, the penalty is applied in its medium period The accused came to the Court to seek acquittal. On May
(i.e., 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months). Under
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the indeterminate 9, 2007, however, accused Edwin Valdez filed a motion to
sentence is taken from prision mayor, and the maximum from the withdraw appeal, which the Court granted on October 10,
medium period of reclusion temporal. Hence, the Court imposes the 2007, thereby deeming Edwins appeal closed and
indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to terminated.2 Hence, the Court hereby resolves only the
17 years of reclusion temporal as maximum for each count of appeal of PO2 Eduardo Valdez.
homicide. Antecedents
APPEAL from a decision of the Court of Appeals. The Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. charged the two accused in the RTC with three counts of
murder for the killing of Ferdinand Sayson, Moises Sayson,
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Jr., and Joselito Sayson, alleging:
Public Attorneys Office for accused-appellants.
Criminal Case No. 00-90718
BERSAMIN, J.: That on or about the 1st day of March, 2000, in Quezon City,
The sufficiency of the allegations of the facts and Philippines, the above-named accused conspiring together,
circumstances constituting the elements of the crime charged confederating with and mutually helping each other, with intent to
kill, qualified with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of
is crucial in every criminal prosecution because of the ever- superior strength did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
present obligation of the State to duly inform the accused of feloniously, assault, attack and employ personal violence upon the
the nature and cause of the accusation. person of one FERDINAND SAYSON y DABOCOL by then and
The accused were tried for and convicted of three counts there shooting him with a gun, hitting him on his head, thereby
inflicting upon him serious and mortal wound which was the direct
of murder on January 20, 2005 by the Regional Trial Court and immediate cause of his death, to the damage and prejudice of the
(RTC), Branch 86, in Quezon City. They were penalized heirs of the said FERDINAND SAYSON y DABOCOL.
with reclusion perpetua for each count, and ordered to pay CONTRARY TO LAW.3
to the heirs of each victim P93,000.00 as actual damages, Criminal Case No. 00-90719
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, and P50,000.00 as moral
That on or about the 1st day of March, 2000, in Quezon City,
damages. Philippines, the above-named accused conspiring together,
On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the RTC on confederating with and mutually helping each other, with intent to
July 18, 2006, subject to the modification that each accused kill, qualified with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of
pay to the heirs of each victim P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, superior strength did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloni-
_______________
P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate 2 Id., p. 57.
3 Id., p. 3.
damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, plus costs
of suit.1
_______________
1 Rollo, pp. 2-18; penned by Associate Justice Renato C. Dacudao
(retired), with Associate Justice Rosmari D. Carandang and Associate
Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa (retired) concurring.
278 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 279
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
ously, assault, attack and employ personal violence upon the person themselves at the party (pp. 3-5, TSN, November 29, 2000; pp. 3-6,
of one MOISES SAYSON, JR. y DABOCOL by then and there TSN, February 6, 2001; pp. 3-4, TSN, July 31, 2001).
shooting him several times with a gun, hitting him on his face and At about 10:00 oclock in the evening, the celebration was
chest, thereby inflicting upon him serious and mortal wound which interrupted with the arrival of Eduardo and Edwin, who alighted
was the direct and immediate cause of his death, to the damage and from a motorcycle in front of the jai alai fronton. Eduardo and
prejudice of the heirs of the said MOISES SAYSON, JR. y Edwin asked the jai alai teller, Jonathan Rubio (Jonathan), to come
DABOCOL. out. Jonathan was then attending to customers who were buying jai
CONTRARY TO LAW.4 alai tickets. Moises approached Eduardo and Edwin and tried to
Criminal Case No. 00-90720 reason with them. Estrella saw Eduardo and Edwin armed with guns.
She tried to prevent Moises from going near Edwin and Eduardo.
That on or about the 1st day of March, 2000, in Quezon City, Moises did not heed his mothers warning. He went out and advised
Philippines, the above-named accused conspiring together, Eduardo and Edwin not to force Jonathan to go out of the fronton.
confederating with and mutually helping each other, with intent to Estrella then heard one of the accused-appellants threaten Moises
kill, qualified with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of with the words Gusto mo unahin na kita? Moises replied huwag.
superior strength did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and Successive shots were thereafter heard. Moises fell and was
feloniously, assault, attack and employ personal violence upon the continuously fired upon even after he was sprawled on the ground.
person of one JOSELITO SAYSON y DABOCOL by then and there Ferdinand immediately approached the scene to help his brother
shooting him with a gun, hitting him on his back, thereby inflicting Moises. Ferdinand, however was shot on the left temporal portion of
upon him serious and mortal wound which was the direct and his head and fell. Somebody told Joselito to run away, but he was hit
immediate cause of his death, to the damage and prejudice of the at the back while running. Joselito fell on a burger machine (pp. 7-
heirs of the said JOSELITO SAYSON y DABOCOL. 11, TSN, November 29, 2000; pp. 6-10, TSN, February 6, 2001; pp.
CONTRARY TO LAW.5 5-10, TSN, July 31, 2001; pp. 2-6, September 5, 2001).
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) summarized After shooting the Sayson brothers, Eduardo and Edwin escaped
the States evidence of guilt as follows: from the scene of the crime (p. 10, TSN, February 6, 2001).6
On March 1, 2000, at around 8:00 oclock in the evening, In turn, the appellants brief filed by the Public
Estrella Sayson, (Estrella) was at the canteen (which also includes a Attorneys Office (PAO) rendered the version of the
jai alai betting station) located at 77 Corregidor Street, Bago accused, to wit:
Bantay, Quezon City. Estrella was preparing for the celebration of
the birthday of her second husband, Wilfredo Lladones, which was xxx [A]t about 10:00 oclock in the evening, Heidi dela Cruz (a
held later in the evening. Estrellas son, the deceased Moises Sayson, barbecue vendor) and Noel Valad-on (a tricycle driver) saw accused
a former policeman, and his wife, Susan Sayson (Susan) owned the Edwin Valdez alight from a bus. The latter bought P100.00 worth of
said canteen and managed the betting station. At about 9:00 oclock barbecue from Heidi then proceeded towards home. He was walking
in the evening, Estrellas other sons Joselito Sayson (Joselito) and along Corregidor Street when Heidi saw Jun Sayson (Moises), then
Ferdinand Sayson (Ferdinand) arrived at the canteen to greet their holding a gun, block his (Edwins) way. Jun Sayson poked a gun at
stepfather. Estrellas family and other visitors ate and enjoyed accused Edwin, shouting, Putang-ina mo, papatayin kita. The latter
_______________ raised both his hands and said Wag kuya Jun, maawa ka.
4 Id., p. 3. _______________
5 Id. 6 Id., p. 5.
280 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 281
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
Accused Eduardo Valdez (a policeman), then carrying his 6-year acy between the accused; and contends that the State did not
old child, was walking when his way was likewise blocked but this
time, by the siblings Joselito and Ferdinand as well as their establish the qualifying circumstance of treachery.10
stepfather. Joselito twisted one of his (Eduardos) hands at his back Ruling
while his (Joselitos) stepfather held the other. Ferdinand fired a gun
but accused Eduardo was able to evade. Joselito, who was The Court affirms the convictions, but holds PO2 Valdez
positioned behind Eduardo, was hit. He slumped and bled. He asked guilty only of three counts of homicide due to the failure of
Heidi to inform his family that he was hit. Heidi ran away. She saw the informations to allege the facts and circumstances
Jun (Moises) and accused Edwin grappling. Thereafter, she heard
gunshots. constituting treachery.
Accused Eduardo ducked during the firing. He pretended to be First of all, PO2 Valdez insists that the States witnesses
dead. Ferdinand stopped firing. Accused Eduardos son approached (Susan Sayson, Marites Sayson and Estrella Sayson) did not
him crying. Accused thereafter, brought his son home, took his really see the events as they transpired; and that they wrongly
service firearm and on his way back to the scene of the incident when identified the two accused as the persons who had shot and
he met General Jesus Almadin, his commanding officer (CO). He
reported the incident and sought for advice. He was told to take a killed the victims; and that the victims were themselves the
rest and go back on (sic) the following day. He accompanied his CO aggressors.
to Camp Crame. He surrendered his firearm to Sr./Insp. Rodolfo The CA rejected PO2 Valdezs insistence, holding thus:
Araza of the CIU. Accused Edwin Valdez likewise surrendered
(TSN dated 05 February 2003; pp. 3-9; 12 March 2003, pp. 2-16; In their Brief, the accused-appellants desperately attempted to
11 August 2003, pp. 2-18, 1 September 2003, pp. 3-10; 15 October discredit the testimonies of witnesses Susan, Marites and Estrella.
2003, pp. 2-8; 03 December 2003, pp. 2-4; 18 February 2004, pp. 2- They claimed that a perusal of Estrellas testimony would cast doubt
9; 24 March 2004, pp. 3-9; 10 April 2004, pp. 2-7; 07 June 2004, on her statement that she actually witnessed the shooting incident.
pp. 2-25).7 The accused-appellants claimed that Estrella Sayson did not actually
see who allegedly threatened her son Moises with the words Gusto
The RTC convicted the two accused of three counts of mo unahin na kita? The accused-appellants also claimed that
murder and sentenced them to suffer reclusion perpetua for Estrella also failed to see who shot Moises. They likewise assailed
each count of murder.8 the testimonies of Susan and Marites as being incredible. They said
that Susan testified that she was in a state of shock after the incident
On appeal, the CA affirmed the convictions.9 and that she could not speak; yet she was still able to give her
Issues statement on the same day the incident allegedly happened. The
accused-appellants also said that Marites testified that she was only
In this appeal, PO2 Valdez assails the credibility of the about five (5) meters away from them (accused-appellants) when
States witnesses by pointing to inconsistencies and they alighted from their motorcycle; but that, interestingly, she
weaknesses in their testimonies; challenges the finding of only learned from her husband Joselito that the accused-appellants
conspir-
_______________ were looking for a certain Jonathan.
7 Id., pp. 6-7. We are not persuaded. In her testimony, Estrella satisfactorily
8 Id., pp. 7-8. explained her purported failure to see who between the accused-
_______________
9 Id., p. 17. 10 Id., p. 11.
282 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 283
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
appellants threatened Moises with the words Gusto mo unahin It is not trite to remind that a truth-telling witness is not
kita? and who shot her son Moises, by pointing out that she was
then facing Moises because she was preventing him from always expected to give an error-free testimony because of
approaching the accused-appellants, who were armed with short the lapse of time and the treachery of human memory; and
firearms. Estrella categorically stated that she saw the accused- that inaccuracies noted in testimony may even suggest that
appellants alight from their motorcycle on March 1, 2000. She could the witness is telling the truth and has not been rehearsed.14
not have been mistaken about the identity of the accused-appellants To properly appreciate the worth of testimony, therefore, the
for the simple reason that they are her neighbors and that their (the courts do not resort to the individual words or phrases alone
accused-appellants) father is her cumpadre. When the incident
happened, the accused-appellants were about eight (8) to ten (10) but seek out the whole impression or effect of what has been
meters away from where she and her son Moises were standing. She said and done.15
also saw with her own eyes how her son Moises fell after she heard Secondly, PO2 Valdez argues that the three victims were
successive bursts of gunshots (approximately [9] shots) coming from themselves the aggressors who had attacked to kill him and
where the accused-appellants were standing.11
his brother. He narrated during the trial that he dodged the
Considering that the CA thereby affirmed the trial courts bullet fired from the gun of Ferdinand (one of the victims),
findings of fact, its calibration of the testimonies of witnesses causing the bullet to fatally hit Joselito (another victim); that
and its assessment of their probative weight, as well as its he played dead to avoid being shot at again, and walked
conclusions, the Court accords high respect, if not conclusive away with his terrified son only after the way was clear for
effect, to the CAs findings.12 The justification for this is that them to leave; and that he heard gunshots while Edwin and
trial court was in the best position to assess the credibility of Jun (the third victim) grappled for control of a gun, and
witnesses by virtue of its firsthand observation of the assumed that the gunshots had hit and killed Jun and
demeanor, conduct and attitude of the witnesses under Ferdinand.16
grilling examination. The only time when a reviewing court The argument of PO2 Valdez is bereft of factual merit.
was not bound by the trial courts assessment of credibility
arises upon a showing of a fact or circumstance of weight It is fundamental that the question as to who between the
and influence that was overlooked and, if considered, could accused and the victim was the unlawful aggressor is a
affect the outcome of the case.13 No such fact or question of fact addressed to the trial court for determination
_______________
circumstance has been brought to the Courts attention. No. 150433, January 20, 2006, 479 SCRA 209, 219-220; Bricenio v.
_______________ People, G.R. No. 154804, June 20, 2006, 491 SCRA 489, 495; People
11 Rollo, pp. 13-14 (bold emphases are in the original text). v. Taan, G.R. No. 169432, October 30, 2006, 506 SCRA 219, 230;
12 People v. Darilay, G.R. Nos. 139751-752, January 26, 2004, 421 People v. Cabugatan, G.R. No. 172019, February 12, 2007, 515 SCRA
SCRA 45, 54. 537, 547; People v. De Guzman, G.R. No. 177569, November 28,
13 People v. Santiago, G.R. Nos. 137542-43, January 20, 2004, 420 2007, 539 SCRA 306.
SCRA 248, 256; People v. Abolidor, G.R. No. 147231, February 18, 14 People v. Ebrada, G.R. No. 122774, September 26, 1998, 296
2004, 423 SCRA 260; People v. Pacheco, G.R. No. 142887, March 2, SCRA 353, 365.
2004, 424 SCRA 164, 174; People v. Genita, Jr., G.R. No. 126171, 15 People v. Gailo, G.R. No. 116233, October. 13, 1999, 316 SCRA
March 11, 2004, 425 SCRA 343, 349; People v. Tonog, Jr., G.R. No. 733, 748.
144497, June 29, 2004, 433 SCRA 139, 153-154; Perez v. People, G.R. 16 Rollo, pp. 6-7.
284 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 285
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
based on the evidence on record.17 The records show that the all witnesses put together,22 the congruence between the
version of PO2 Valdez was contrary to the established facts testimonial recollections and the physical evidence rendered
and circumstances showing that he and Edwin, then armed the findings adverse to PO2 Valdez and Edwin conclusive.
with short firearms, had gone to the jai alai betting station of Thirdly, conspiracy exists when two or more persons
Moises to confront Jonathan Rubio, the teller of the betting come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony
booth then busily attending to bettors inside the booth; that and decide to commit the felony.23 Proof of the actual
because the accused were calling to Rubio to come out of the agreement to commit the crime need not be direct because
booth, Moises approached to pacify them, but one of them conspiracy may be implied or inferred from their acts.24
threatened Moises: Gusto mo unahin na kita?; that Herein, both lower courts deduced the conspiracy between
immediately after Moises replied: Huwag!, PO2 Valdez fired the accused from the mode and manner in which they
several shots at Moises, causing him to fall to the ground; perpetrated the killings. We are satisfied that their deduction
that PO2 Valdez continued firing at the fallen Moises; that was warranted.
Ferdinand (another victim) rushed to aid Moises, his brother, Based on the foregoing, PO2 Valdez cannot now avoid
but Edwin shot Ferdinand in the head, spilling his brains; that criminal responsibility for the fatal shooting by Edwin of
somebody shouted to Joselito (the third victim) to run; that Ferdinand and Joselito. Both accused were convincingly
Edwin also shot Joselito twice in the back; and that Joselito shown to have acted in concert to achieve a common purpose
fell on a burger machine. The shots fired at the three victims of assaulting their unarmed victims with their guns. Their
were apparently fired from short distances. acting in concert was manifest not only from their going
The testimonial accounts of the States witnesses entirely together to the betting station on board a single motorcycle,
jibed with the physical evidence. Specifically, the medico- but also from their joint attack that PO2 Valdez commenced
legal evidence showed that Ferdinand had a gunshot wound by firing successive shots at Moises and immediately
in the head;18 that two gunshot wounds entered Joselitos followed by Edwins shooting of Ferdinand and Joselito one
back and the right side of his neck;19 and that Moises after the other. It was also significant that they fled together
suffered a gunshot wound in the head and four gunshot on board the same motorcycle as soon as they had achieved
wounds in the chest.20 Also, Dr. Wilfredo Tierra of the NBI their common purpose.
Medico-Legal Office opined that the presence of marginal To be a conspirator, one did not have to participate in
abrasions at the points of entry indicated that the gunshot every detail of the execution; neither did he have to know the
wounds were inflicted at close range.21 Given that physical exact part performed by his co-conspirator in the execution
evidence was of the highest order and spoke the truth more of the
eloquently than _______________
_______________
22 People v. Bardaje, No. L-29271, August 29, 1980, 99 SCRA 388,
17 Garcia v. People, G.R. No. 144699, March 10, 2004, 425 SCRA 399; People v. Nepomuceno, Jr., G.R. No. 127818, November 11,
221, 228. 1998, 298 SCRA 450, 463.
18 Exhibits K and L. 23 Art. 8, 2nd Par., Revised Penal Code; Aradillos v. Court of Appeals,
19 Exhibit D. G.R. No. 135619, January 15, 2004, 419 SCRA 514, 527; People v.
20 Exhibits Q and R. Ogapay, No. L-28566, August 21, 1975, 66 SCRA 209, 214.
21 TSN, May 23, 2000, pp. 3-13; September 12, 2000, pp. 2-7. 24 People v. Cabrera, G.R. No. 105992, February 1, 1995, 241 SCRA
28, 34.
286 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 287
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
criminal acts.25 Accordingly, the existence of the conspiracy complaint or information.28 In People v. Dimaano,29 the
between PO2 Valdez and Edwin was properly inferred and Court elaborated:
proved through their acts that were indicative of their For complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the
common purpose and community of interest.26 name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the
And, fourthly, it is unavoidable for the Court to statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the
pronounce PO2 Valdez guilty of three homicides, instead of offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the
commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was
three murders, on account of the informations not sufficiently committed. What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor
alleging the attendance of treachery. the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part
Treachery is the employment of means, methods, or thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law made
forms in the execution of any of the crimes against persons by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the
which tend to directly and specially insure its execution, particular facts therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of
must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of
without risk to the offending party arising from the defense common understanding to know what offense is intended to be
which the offended party might make.27 It encompasses a charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No
wide variety of actions and attendant circumstances, the information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and
appreciation of which is particular to a crime committed. clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every element of
Corollarily, the defense against the appreciation of a the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and
circumstance as aggravating or qualifying is also varied and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be
determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the
dependent on each particular instance. Such variety generates specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a
the actual need for the State to specifically aver the factual crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature
circumstances or particular acts that constitute the criminal of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably
conduct or that qualify or aggravate the liability for the crime prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has
in the interest of affording the accused sufficient notice to no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the
defend himself. offense. [emphasis supplied]
It cannot be otherwise, for, indeed, the real nature of the The averments of the informations to the effect that the
criminal charge is determined not from the caption or two accused with intent to kill, qualified with treachery,
preamble of the information, or from the specification of the evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength did xxx
provision of law alleged to have been violated, which are assault, attack and employ personal violence upon the
mere conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of the facts victims by then and there shooting [them] with a gun, hitting
in the
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[them] on various parts of their bodies which [were] the
25 People v. De Jesus, G.R. No. 134815, May 27, 2004, 429 SCRA direct and immediate cause of [their] death[s] did not suffi-
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384, 404; People v. Masagnay, G.R. No. 137364, June 10, 2004, 431 28 Lacson v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 128096, January 20, 1999,
SCRA 572, 580. 301 SCRA 298, 327.
26 People v. Natipravat, No. L-69876, November 13, 1986, 145 SCRA 29 G.R. No. 168168, September 14, 2005, 469 SCRA 647, 666-667.
483, 492; People v. Bausing, G.R. No. 64965, July 18, 1991, 199
SCRA 355, 364; People v. Merabueno, G.R. No. 87179, December 14,
1994, 239 SCRA 197, 203-204.
27 Article 14 (16), Revised Penal Code.
288 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 289
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez

ciently set forth the facts and circumstances describing how commit a crime given in the law some technical and specific
name, but did he perform the acts alleged in the body of the
treachery attended each of the killings. It should not be information in the manner therein set forth. If he did, it is of
difficult to see that merely averring the killing of a person by no consequence to him, either as a matter of procedure or of
shooting him with a gun, without more, did not show how substantive right, how the law denominates the crime which
the execution of the crime was directly and specially ensured those acts constitute. The designation of the crime by name in
without risk to the accused from the defense that the victim the caption of the information from the facts alleged in the
might make. Indeed, the use of the gun as an instrument to body of that pleading is a conclusion of law made by the fiscal.
In the designation of the crime the accused never has a real
kill was not per se treachery, for there are other instruments interest until the trial has ended. For his full and complete
that could serve the same lethal purpose. Nor did the use of defense he need not know the name of the crime at all. It is of
the term treachery constitute a sufficient averment, for that no consequence whatever for the protection of his substantial
term, standing alone, was nothing but a conclusion of law, not rights. The real and important question to him is, Did you
an averment of a fact. In short, the particular acts and perform the acts alleged in the manner alleged? not Did you
circumstances constituting treachery as an attendant commit a crime named murder. If he performed the acts
alleged, in the manner stated, the law determines what the
circumstance in murder were missing from the informations. name of the crime is and fixes the penalty therefor. It is the
To discharge its burden of informing him of the charge, province of the court alone to say what the crime is or what it is
the State must specify in the information the details of the named. xxx. (emphasis supplied)
crime and any circumstance that aggravates his liability for A practical consequence of the non-allegation of a detail
the crime. The requirement of sufficient factual averments is that aggravates his liability is to prohibit the introduction or
meant to inform the accused of the nature and cause of the consideration against the accused of evidence that tends to
charge against him in order to enable him to prepare his establish that detail. The allegations in the information are
defense. It emanates from the presumption of innocence in controlling in the ultimate analysis. Thus, when there is a
his favor, pursuant to which he is always presumed to have variance between the offense charged in the information and
no independent knowledge of the details of the crime he is that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or
being charged with. To have the facts stated in the body of necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be
the information determine the crime of which he stands convicted of the offense proved included in the offense
charged and for which he must be tried thoroughly accords charged, or of the offense charged included in the offense
with common sense and with the requirements of plain proved.31 In that regard, an offense charged necessarily
justice, for, as the Court fittingly said in United States v. Lim includes the offense proved when some of the essential
San:30 elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the
From a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, it is of no information, constitute the latter; an offense charged is
concern to the accused what is the technical name of the crime of necessarily included in the offense proved when the essential
which he stands charged. It in no way aids him in a defense on the ingredients of
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merits. xxx. That to which his attention should be directed, and 31 Section 4, Rule 120, Rules of Court.
in which he, above all things else, should be most interested, are
the facts alleged. The real question is not did he
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30 United States v. Lim San, 17 Phil. 273 (1910).
290 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 663, JANUARY 18, 2012 291
People vs. Valdez People vs. Valdez
the former constitute or form part of those constituting the
latter.32 Judgment modified.
We now fix the penalty for each count of homicide.
Pursuant to Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, the
penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal.33 There being no Notes.The presence of unlawful aggression is a
circumstances modifying criminal liability, the penalty is condition sine qua non for self-defense to be warranted.
applied in its medium period (i.e., 14 years, 8 months and 1 (Ronquillo vs. People, 614 SCRA 704 [2010])
day to 17 years and 4 months). Under the Indeterminate The essence of treachery is the unexpected and sudden
Sentence Law, the minimum of the indeterminate sentence is attack on the victim which renders the latter unable and
taken from prision mayor, and the maximum from the unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness
medium period of reclusion temporal. Hence, the Court and severity of the attack; This criterion applies whether the
imposes the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision attack is frontal or from behind. (People vs. Roxas, 628
mayor as minimum to 17 years of reclusion temporal as SCRA 378 [2010])
maximum for each count of homicide. o0o
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals
promulgated on July 18, 2006 is MODIFIED by finding PO2
Eduardo Valdez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three
counts of HOMICIDE, and sentencing him to suffer for each
count the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision
mayor as minimum to 17 years of reclusion temporal as
maximum; and to pay to the respective heirs of the late
Ferdinand Sayson, Moises Sayson, Jr., and Joselito Sayson
the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as
moral damages, and P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
The accused shall pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Corona (C.J., Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Del
Castillo and Villarama, Jr., JJ., concur.
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32 Section 4, Rule 120, Rules of Court.
33 Article 249. Homicide.Any person who, not falling within the
provisions of Article 246, shall kill another without the attendance of any
of the circumstances enumerated in the next preceding article, shall be
deemed guilty of homicide and be punished by reclusion temporal.