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CONTRARY TO LAW.

Upon their arraignment on 12 May 1997, the petitioners pleaded not guilty. Pre-trial and
[G.R. No. 154182. December 17, 2004] trial were thereafter set.
The petitioners and the prosecution agreed on the authenticity of the prosecutions
documentary evidence. Thus, the prosecution dispensed with the testimonies of witnesses and
formally offered its documentary evidence marked as Exhibits A to V. [3]

EDGAR Y. TEVES and TERESITA Z. TEVES, petitioners, vs. THE


SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent. On 23 February 1998, the petitioners filed their Comment/Objections to the evidence
offered by the prosecution and moved for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence. On 29
[4]

July 1998, the Sandiganbayan admitted Exhibits A to S of the prosecutions evidence but
DECISION rejected Exhibits T, U, and V. It also denied petitioners demurrer to evidence, as well as their
[5] [6]

DAVIDE, JR., C.J. motion for reconsideration. This notwithstanding, the petitioners filed a Manifestation that they
[7]

were, nonetheless, dispensing with the presentation of witnesses because the evidence on
The pivotal issue in this petition is whether a public official charged with violation of record are inadequate to support their conviction.
Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and On 16 July 2002, the Sandiganbayan promulgated a decision (1) convicting petitioners
[8]

Corrupt Practices Act, for unlawful intervention, in his official capacity, in the issuance of a Edgar and Teresita Teves of violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law; (2) imposing upon
license in favor of a business enterprise in which he has a pecuniary interest may be them an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of nine years and twenty-one days as
convicted, together with his spouse, of violation of that same provision premised on his mere minimum to twelve years as maximum; and (3) ordering the confiscation of all their rights,
possession of such interest. interests, and participation in the assets and properties of the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation
Edgar Y. Teves, former Mayor of Valencia, Negros Oriental, and his wife Teresita Z. Center in favor of the Government, as well as perpetual disqualification from public office. The [9]

Teves seeks to annul and set aside the 16 July 2002 Decision of the Sandiganbayan in
[1]
conviction was anchored on the finding that the petitioners possessed pecuniary interest in the
Criminal Case No. 2337 convicting them of violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law for said business enterprise on the grounds that (a) nothing on record appears that Mayor Teves
possessing direct pecuniary interest in the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center in divested himself of his pecuniary interest in said cockpit; (b) as of April 1992, Teresita Teves
Valencia. was of record the owner/licensee of the cockpit; and (c) since Mayor Teves and Teresita
remained married to each other from 1983 until 1992, their property relations as husband and
The indictment reads: [2] wife, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, was that of the conjugal partnership of gains.
Hence, the cockpit is a conjugal property over which the petitioners have pecuniary interest.
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer II, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby accuses This pecuniary interest is prohibited under Section 89(2) of R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as
EDGAR Y. TEVES and TERESITA TEVES of violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, and thus falls under the prohibited acts penalized
otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, committed as follows: in Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law.
The Sandiganbayan, however, absolved the petitioners of the charge of causing the
That on or about February 4, 1992, and sometime subsequent thereto, in Valencia, Negros Oriental, issuance of a business permit or license to operate the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Edgar Y. Teves, a public Center on or about 4 February 1992 for not being well-founded.
officer, being then the Municipal Mayor of Valencia, Negros Oriental, committing the crime-herein
charged in relation to, while in the performance and taking advantage of his official functions, and On 26 August 2002, the petitioners filed the instant petition for review
conspiring and confederating with his wife, herein accused Teresita Teves, did then and there willfully, on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the 16 July 2002 Decision of the Sandiganbayan.
[10]

unlawfully and criminally cause the issuance of the appropriate business permit/license to operate the At first, we denied the petition for failure of the petitioners to sufficiently show that the
Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center in favor of one Daniel Teves, said accused Edgar Y. Sandiganbayan committed any reversible error in the challenged decision as to warrant the
Teves having a direct financial or pecuniary interest therein considering the fact that said cockpit arena exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction. But upon petitioners motion for
[11]

is actually owned and operated by him and accused Teresita Teves. reconsideration, we reinstated the petition.
[12] [13]
The petitioners assert that the Sandiganbayan committed serious and palpable errors in accusation against them in view of the variance doctrine, which finds statutory support in
convicting them. In the first place, the charge was for alleged unlawful intervention of Mayor Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 120 of the Rules of Court.
Teves in his official capacity in the issuance of a cockpit license in violation of Section 3(h) of
the Anti-Graft Law. But they were convicted of having a direct financial or pecuniary interest in The petition is not totally devoid of merit.
the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center prohibited under Section 89(2) of the LGC of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law provides:
1991, which is essentially different from the offense with which they were charged. Thus, the
petitioners insist that their constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against them was transgressed because they were never apprised at any stage of Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already
the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan that they were being charged with, and arraigned and penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are
tried for, violation of the LGC of 1991. The variance doctrine invoked by the respondent is but hereby declared to be unlawful:
a rule of procedural law that should not prevail over their constitutionally-guaranteed right to be
informed of the nature and cause of accusation against them. (h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in
connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by
Second, according to the petitioners, their alleged prohibited pecuniary interest in the the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.
Valencia Cockpit in 1992 was not proved. The Sandiganbayan presumed that since Mayor
Teves was the cockpit operator and licensee in 1989, said interest continued to exist until
1992. It also presumed that the cockpit was the conjugal property of Mayor Teves and his wife, The essential elements set out in the afore-quoted legislative definition of the crime of
and that their pecuniary interest thereof was direct. But under the regime of conjugal violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law are as follows:
partnership of gains, any interest thereon is at most inchoate and indirect.
1. The accused is a public officer;
Also assigned as glaring error is the conviction of Teresita Teves, who is not a public
officer. In the information, only Mayor Teves was accused of having a direct financial or
pecuniary interest in the operation of the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center in Negros 2. He has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or
Oriental. His wife was merely charged as a co-conspirator of her husbands alleged act of while transaction;
in the performance and taking advantage of his official functions, willfully, unlawfully and
criminally caus[ing] the issuance of the appropriate business permit/license to operate the said 3. He either
cockpit arena. Teresita Teves could not be convicted because conspiracy was not established.
Besides, the Sandiganbayan had already absolved the petitioners of this offense.
a. intervenes or takes part in his official capacity in connection with such interest; or
On the other hand, the Sandiganbayan, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor
(OSP), insists that the uncontroverted documentary evidence proved that petitioner Edgar b. is prohibited from having such interest by the Constitution or by any law.
Teves had direct pecuniary interest over the cockpit in question as early as 26 September
1983. That interest continued even though he transferred the management thereof to his wife
There are, therefore, two modes by which a public officer who has a direct or indirect
Teresita Teves in 1992, since their property relations were governed by the conjugal
financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or transaction may violate Section 3(h)
partnership of gains. The existence of that prohibited interest is by itself a criminal offense
of the Anti-Graft Law. The first mode is if in connection with his pecuniary interest in any
under Section 89(2) of the LGC of 1991. It is necessarily included in the offense charged
business, contract or transaction, the public officer intervenes or takes part in his official
against the petitioners, i.e., for violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law, which proscribes
capacity. The second mode is when he is prohibited from having such interest by the
the possession of a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract,
Constitution or any law.
or transaction in connection with which the person possessing the financial interest intervenes
in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or any law from having We quote herein the Sandiganbayans declaration regarding petitioners culpability anent
any interest. The use of the conjunctive word or demonstrates the alternative mode or nature the first mode:
of the manner of execution of the final element of the violation of the provision. Although the
information may have alleged only one of the modalities of committing the offense, the other
[T]hat portion of the Information which seeks to indict the spouses Teves for his causing the issuance
mode is deemed included in the accusation to allow proof thereof. There was, therefore, no
of a business permit/license to operate the Valencia cockpit on or about February 4, 1992 is not well-
violation of the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature or cause of the
founded.
Mayor Edgar Teves could not have issued a permit to operate the cockpit in the year 1992 because as However, the evidence for the prosecution has established that petitioner Edgar Teves,
of January 1, 1992 the license could be issued only by the Sangguniang Bayan. He may have issued the then mayor of Valencia, Negros Oriental, owned the cockpit in question. In his sworn
[18]

permit or license in 1991 or even before that when he legally could, but that is not the charge. The application for registration of cockpit filed on 26 September 1983 with the Philippine
[19]

charge is for acts committed in 1992. [Emphasis supplied].


[14]
Gamefowl Commission, Cubao, Quezon City, as well as in his renewal application dated 6
January 1989 he stated that he is the owner and manager of the said cockpit. Absent any
[20]

The Sandiganbayan found that the charge against Mayor Teves for causing the issuance evidence that he divested himself of his ownership over the cockpit, his ownership thereof is
of the business permit or license to operate the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center is not rightly to be presumed because a thing once proved to exist continues as long as is usual with
well-founded. This it based, and rightly so, on the additional finding that only the Sangguniang things of that nature. His affidavit dated 27 September 1990 declaring that effective January
[21] [22]

Bayan could have issued a permit to operate the Valencia Cockpit in the year 1992. Indeed, 1990 he turned over the management of the cockpit to Mrs. Teresita Z. Teves for the reason
under Section 447(3) of the LGC of 1991, which took effect on 1 January 1992, it is the
[15]
that [he] could no longer devote a full time as manager of the said entity due to other work
Sangguniang Bayan that has the authority to issue a license for the establishment, operation, pressure is not sufficient proof that he divested himself of his ownership over the cockpit. Only
and maintenance of cockpits. Unlike in the old LGC, Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, wherein the the management of the cockpit was transferred to Teresita Teves effective January 1990.
municipal mayor was the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan, under the LGC of 1991,
[16]
Being the owner of the cockpit, his interest over it was direct.
the mayor is not so anymore and is not even a member of the Sangguniang Bayan. Hence, Even if the ownership of petitioner Edgar Teves over the cockpit were transferred to his
Mayor Teves could not have intervened or taken part in his official capacity in the issuance of a wife, still he would have a direct interest thereon because, as correctly held by respondent
cockpit license during the material time, as alleged in the information, because he was not a Sandiganbayan, they remained married to each other from 1983 up to 1992, and as such their
member of the Sangguniang Bayan. [17]

property relation can be presumed to be that of conjugal partnership of gains in the absence of
A fortiori, there is no legal basis to convict Teresita Teves as a co-conspirator in the evidence to the contrary. Article 160 of the Civil Code provides that all property of the marriage
absence of a finding that Mayor Teves himself is guilty of the offense charged. In short, the is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership unless it be proved that it pertains
Sandiganbayan correctly absolved the petitioners of the charge based on the first mode. And exclusively to the husband or to the wife. And Section 143 of the Civil Code declares all the
there is no need to belabor this point. property of the conjugal partnership of gains to be owned in common by the husband and wife.
Hence, his interest in the Valencia Cockpit is direct and is, therefore, prohibited under Section
The Sandiganbayan, however, convicted the petitioners of violation of Section 3(h) of the 89(2) of the LGC of 1991, which reads:
Anti-Graft Law based on the second mode. It reasoned that the evidence overwhelmingly
evinces that Mayor Teves had a pecuniary interest in the Valencia Cockpit, which is prohibited Section 89. Prohibited Business and Pecuniary Interest. (a) It shall be unlawful for any local
under Section 89(2) of the LGC of 1991. government official or employee, directly or indirectly, to:
The information accuses petitioner Edgar Teves, then Municipal Mayor of Valencia,
Negros Oriental, of causing, while in the performance and taking advantage of his official (2) Hold such interests in any cockpit or other games licensed by a local government
functions, and conspiring and confederating with his wife the issuance of the appropriate unit. [Emphasis supplied].
business permit/license to operate the Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center in favor of one
Daniel Teves. The last part of the dispositive portion of the information states that said The offense proved, therefore, is the second mode of violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-
accused Edgar Y. Teves having a direct financial or pecuniary interest therein considering the Graft Law, which is possession of a prohibited interest. But can the petitioners be convicted
fact that said cockpit arena is actually owned and operated by him and accused Teresita thereof, considering that it was not charged in the information?
Teves.
The answer is in the affirmative in view of the variance doctrine embodied in Section 4, in
A careful reading of the information reveals that the afore-quoted last part thereof is relation to Section 5, Rule 120, Rules of Criminal Procedure, which both read:
merely an allegation of the second element of the crime, which is, that he has a direct or
indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction. Not by any
stretch of imagination can it be discerned or construed that the afore-quoted last part of the Sec. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is a variance between
information charges the petitioners with the second mode by which Section 3(h) of the Anti- the offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the offense as charged is
Graft Law may be violated. Hence, we agree with the petitioners that the charge was for included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense
unlawful intervention in the issuance of the license to operate the Valencia Cockpit. There was proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is included in the
no charge for possession of pecuniary interest prohibited by law. offense proved.
Sec. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. An offense charged necessarily includes the imprisonment of not less than six years and one month nor more than fifteen years, perpetual
offense proved when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any
complaint or information, constitutes the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the prohibited interest.
offense proved when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those constituting
the latter. On the other hand, Section 514 of the LGC of 1991 prescribes a lighter penalty; thus:

The elements of the offense charged in this case, which is unlawful intervention in the SECTION 514. Engaging in Prohibited Business Transactions or Possessing Illegal Pecuniary Interest.
issuance of a cockpit license in violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law, are Any local official and any person or persons dealing with him who violate the prohibitions provided in
Section 89 of Book I hereof shall be punished with imprisonment for six months and one day to six
1. The accused is a public officer; years, or a fine of not less than Three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00), or both such imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court.
2. He has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or
transaction, whether or not prohibited by law; and It is a rule of statutory construction that where one statute deals with a subject in general
terms, and another deals with a part of the same subject in a more detailed way, the two
3. He intervenes or takes part in his official capacity in connection with such interest. should be harmonized if possible; but if there is any conflict, the latter shall prevail regardless
of whether it was passed prior to the general statute. Or where two statutes are of contrary
[23]

tenor or of different dates but are of equal theoretical application to a particular case, the one
On the other hand, the essential ingredients of the offense proved, which is possession of designed therefor specially should prevail over the other. [24]

prohibited interest in violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law, are as follows:
Conformably with these rules, the LGC of 1991, which specifically prohibits local officials
1. The accused is a public officer; from possessing pecuniary interest in a cockpit licensed by the local government unit and
which, in itself, prescribes the punishment for violation thereof, is paramount to the Anti-Graft
Law, which penalizes possession of prohibited interest in a general manner. Moreover, the
2. He has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or latter took effect on 17 August 1960, while the former became effective on 1 January 1991.
transaction; and Being the earlier statute, the Anti-Graft Law has to yield to the LGC of 1991, which is the later
expression of legislative will.[25]

3. He is prohibited from having such interest by the Constitution or any law.


In the imposition on petitioner Edgar Teves of the penalty provided in the LGC of 1991,
we take judicial notice of the fact that under the old LGC, mere possession of pecuniary
It is clear that the essential ingredients of the offense proved constitute or form part of interest in a cockpit was not among the prohibitions enumerated in Section 41 thereof. Such
[26]

those constituting the offense charged. Put differently, the first and second elements of the possession became unlawful or prohibited only upon the advent of the LGC of 1991, which
offense charged, as alleged in the information, constitute the offense proved. Hence, the took effect on 1 January 1992. Petitioner Edgar Teves stands charged with an offense in
offense proved is necessarily included in the offense charged, or the offense charged connection with his prohibited interest committed on or about 4 February 1992, shortly after the
necessarily includes the offense proved. The variance doctrine thus finds application to this maiden appearance of the prohibition. Presumably, he was not yet very much aware of the
case, thereby warranting the conviction of petitioner Edgar Teves for the offense proved. prohibition. Although ignorance thereof would not excuse him from criminal liability, such would
The next question we have to grapple with is under what law should petitioner Edgar justify the imposition of the lighter penalty of a fine of P10,000 under Section 514 of the LGC of
Teves be punished. It must be observed that Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law is a general 1991.
provision, it being applicable to all prohibited interests; while Section 89(2) of the LGC of 1991 Petitioner Teresita Teves must, however, be acquitted. The charge against her is
is a special provision, as it specifically treats of interest in a cockpit. Notably, the two statutes conspiracy in causing the issuance of the appropriate business permit/license to operate the
provide for different penalties. The Anti-Graft Law, particularly Section 9, provides as follows: Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center. For this charge, she was acquitted. But as discussed
earlier, that charge also includes conspiracy in the possession of prohibited interest.
SEC. 9. Penalties for violations. (a) Any public official or private person committing any of the
unlawful acts or omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this Act shall be punished by Conspiracy must be established separately from the crime itself and must meet the same
degree of proof, i.e., proof beyond reasonable doubt. While conspiracy need not be
established by direct evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, her property relation with her husband, her ownership would result in vesting direct prohibited
during, and after the commission of the crime, all taken together, the evidence must interest upon her husband.
reasonably be strong enough to show community of criminal design. [27]

In criminal cases, conviction must rest on a moral certainty of guilt. The burden of proof
[35]

Certainly, there is no conspiracy in just being married to an erring spouse. For a spouse
[28]
is upon the prosecution to establish each and every element of the crime and that the accused
or any person to be a party to a conspiracy as to be liable for the acts of the others, it is is either responsible for its commission or has conspired with the malefactor. Since no
essential that there be intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the furtherance conspiracy was proved, the acquittal of petitioner Teresita Teves is, therefore, in order.
of the common design. Except when he is the mastermind in a conspiracy, it is necessary that
a conspirator should have performed some overt act as a direct or indirect contribution in the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the 16 July 2002 Decision of the Sandiganbayan,
execution of the crime planned to be committed. The overt act must consist of active First Division, in Criminal Case No. 2337 is hereby MODIFIED in that (1) EDGAR Y. TEVES is
participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or of moral assistance to his co- convicted of violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
conspirators. [29]
Practices Act, for possession of pecuniary or financial interest in a cockpit, which is prohibited
under Section 89(2) of the Local Government Code of 1991, and is sentenced to pay a fine
Section 4(b) of the Anti-Graft Law, the provision which applies to private individuals, of P10,000; and (2) TERESITA Z. TEVES is hereby ACQUITTED of such offense.
states:
Costs de oficio.
SEC. 4. Prohibitions on private individuals. SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez,
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to commit any of Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, Chico-Nazario, and Garcia,
the offenses defined in Section 3 hereof. JJ., concur.
Callejo, Sr., J., on leave, but left his oath of concurrence with the dissent of J. Tinga.
We find no sufficient evidence that petitioner Teresita Teves conspired with, or knowingly Tinga, J., dissenting opinion.
induced or caused, her husband to commit the second mode of violation of Section 3(h) of the
Anti-Graft Law.
As early as 1983, Edgar Teves was already the owner of the Valencia Cockpit. Since
then until 31 December 1991, possession by a local official of pecuniary interest in a cockpit DISSENTING OPINION
was not yet prohibited. It was before the effectivity of the LGC of 1991, or on January 1990,
that he transferred the management of the cockpit to his wife Teresita. In accordance therewith
it was Teresita who thereafter applied for the renewal of the cockpit registration. Thus, in her TINGA, J.:
sworn applications for renewal of the registration of the cockpit in question dated 28 January
1990 and 18 February 1991, she stated that she is the Owner/Licensee and
[30] [31]

Operator/Manager of the said cockpit. In her renewal application dated 6 January 1992, she [32]
It is imperative for this Court as guardian of the peoples fundamental liberties, to redeem
referred to herself as the Owner/Licensee of the cockpit. Likewise in the separate Lists of Duly persons inflicted with the classic Kafkaesque nightmare conviction for a crime the indictment
Licensed Personnel for Calendar Years 1991 and 1992, which she submitted on 22
[33] [34]
for which the accused has no knowledge of. I sense that the majority recognizes, albeit tacitly,
February 1991 and 17 February 1992, respectively, in compliance with the requirement of the the absurdity of the convictions challenged in this petition. Thus the proposed quantum
Philippine Gamefowl Commission for the renewal of the cockpit registration, she signed her downgrading of the penalty of accused Edgardo Teves (Teves) from imprisonment of at least
name as Operator/Licensee. nine years, imposed by the Sandiganbayan, to a mere fine. However, I submit that Teves
should be extenuated not as a matter of grace, but as a matter of right in consonance with the
The acts of petitioner Teresita Teves can hardly pass as acts in furtherance of a Constitution.
conspiracy to commit the violation of the Anti-Graft Law that would render her equally liable as
her husband. If ever she did those acts, it was because she herself was an owner of the My submission is ultimately premised on constitutional considerations that Teves cannot
cockpit. Not being a public official, she was not prohibited from holding an interest in cockpit. be convicted of the present charges against him without violating his constitutional right to be
Prudence, however, dictates that she too should have divested herself of her ownership over informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. [1] Furthermore, the
the cockpit upon the effectivity of the LGC of 1991; otherwise, as stated earlier, considering punishment of Teves for a crime of which he was neither legally nor actually informed
constitutes a violation of the constitutional right to due process of law. [2] While the variance unlawfully and criminally cause the issuance of the appropriate business permit/license to operate the
doctrine is a rule of long-standing, its mechanical application cannot supplant the Bill of Rights Valencia Cockpit and Recreation Center in favor of one Daniel Teves, said accused Edgar Y. Teves
which occupies a position of primacy within our fundamental law.[3] I believe that the variance having a direct or pecuniary interest therein considering the fact that said cockpit arena is actually
between the offense charged to Teves, on one hand, and the offense of which the majority owned and operated by him and accused Teresita Teves.
intends to convict him, on the other, is material and prejudicial enough so as to affect his
substantial rights as an accused.[4] CONTRARY TO LAW.[6]
In particular, the Information filed against Teves is deficient for the purpose of convicting
him, as charged, of violating Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or for The Sandiganbayan found that Teves could not have caused the issuance of the permit
violating Section 89(b) of the Local Government Code, as is the wont of the majority. to operate the cockpit in 1992, as alleged in the Information. Hence, the offense through
the First Mode for which Teves was charged was not proved. Still, the Sandiganbayan found
The offense of which Teves is charged is defined under Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and the Teves spouses guilty of violating Section 3(h), through the Second Mode, although it was
Corrupt Practices Act,[5] which states: not at all alleged in the Information. In justifying the conviction, the Sandiganbayan merely
noted that the fact of Teves pecuniary interest in the cockpit was unrebutted, [7] and that
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already Section 89(b) of the Local Government Code barred Teves from holding an interest in a
penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are cockpit. The Sandiganbayan was silent as to why the Teves spouses were convicted of an
hereby declared to be unlawful: offense different from that charged in the Information.
The ponencia fills in the blank, contending that conviction can be had by applying the
xxx variance doctrine encapsulated in Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Criminal
Procedure. According to the majority, the offense proved the violation of Section 3(h) through
(h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in holding the prohibited pecuniary interest, is necessarily included in the offense chargedthe
connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by violation of Section 3(h) through intervening/taking part in an official capacity in connection with
the Constitution or by any law from having any interest. a financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction. However, the majority
would prefer to convict Teves instead and fine him Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) for
As the majority correctly points out, there are two modes by which a public officer who violating Section 89(b) of the Local Government Code, the law which specifically prohibits
has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction Teves from maintaining an interest in a cockpit. The deviation is sought to be justified by noting
may violate Section 3(h). The first is where the public officer, in connection with his financial or that Section 89(b) of the Local Government Code is more specific in application than the
pecuniary interest in a business, contract or transaction, intervenes or takes part in his official general proscription under Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, a law
capacity (First Mode). The second is where the public officer possesses such financial or which happens to antecede the Local Government Code. The ponencia would also do away
pecuniary interest and said possession is prohibited by the Constitution or of any other law with a sentence of imprisonment, imposing instead a fine as earlier adverted to.
(Second Mode). That an accused cannot be convicted of an offense not charged or included in the
The Information clearly charges the Teves spouses with violating Section 3(h) through information is based upon the right to be informed of the true nature and cause of the
the First Mode: accusation against him.[8] This right was long ago established in English law, and is expressly
guaranteed under Section 14(2), Article III of the Constitution. This right requires that the
offense be charged with clearness and all necessary certainty to inform the accused of the
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer II, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby accuses crime of which he stands charged, in sufficient detail to enable him to prepare a defense. [9] The
EDGAR Y. TEVES and TERESITA TEVES of violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, peculiarities attaching to the Information herein preclude his conviction of any offense other
otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, committed as follows: than violation of Section 3(h) through the First Mode.

That on or about February 4, 1992, and sometime subsequent thereto, in Valencia, Negros Oriental, Second Mode Not Necessarily Included in First Mode
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Edgar Y. Teves, a public With due respect, I find unacceptable the general proposition that the Second Mode of
officer, being then the Municipal Mayor of Valencia, Negros Oriental, commiting the crime herein violating Section 3(h) is necessarily included in the First Mode.
charged in relation to, while in the performance and taking advantage of his official functions, and
conspiring and confederating with his wife, herein accuse[d] Teresita Teves, did then and there willfully,
Under Section 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the offense charged prohibited by the Constitution or by any other statute. Thus, while the pecuniary interest of
necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the essential elements or a town mayor who possesses an ownership share in a real estate firm may be cause for
ingredients of the former constitute the latter. Thus, it should be established that liability under the First Mode if the other requisites thereof concur, it is not cause for liability
the Second Mode is constituted of the essential elements of the First Mode. under the Second Mode as such ownership is not prohibited either by the Constitution or by
any other law.
In analyzing the question, the majority makes the following pronouncement:
It should be taken into the account that the proper application of the variance doctrine
The elements of the offense charged in this case, which is unlawful intervention in the issuance of a ordinarily does not run afoul of the Constitution because it is expected that the accused has
cockpit license in violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law, are been given the opportunity to defend himself/herself not only of the offense charged, but also
of the offense eventually proven. This is because the essential elements of the offense proved
are already necessarily included in the offense charged. [11] For the variance doctrine to apply,
1. The accused is a public officer; there must be a commonality of elements within the offense charged and offense proved, to
the extent that an Information detailing the offense charged can be deemed as well as
2. He has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or an Information detailing the offense proven.
transaction, whether or not prohibited by law; and
Hence, the threshold question should be whether violation of Section 3(h) through
the Second Mode is necessarily included in a violation of Section 3(h) through the First Mode.
3. He intervenes or takes part in his official capacity in connection with such interest. An affirmative answer is precluded by the difference in the nature of the pecuniary interest that
respectively lie at the core of the two modes.
On the other hand, the essential ingredients of the offense proved, which is possession of prohibited
interest in violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law, are as follows: Information Deficient To Sustain Conviction for Any Crime Other than the First Mode of
Violation of Section 3(h)
1. The accused is a public officer; An even more crucial reason why Teves should be acquitted pertains to the
particular Information charged against him.
2. He has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or In relation to Tevess pecuniary interest in the cockpit, all the Information alleges is that
transaction; and Teves had a direct financial or pecuniary interest in the cockpit. It does not allege that such
pecuniary interest violates either the Constitution or any other law. It does not even state that
3. He is prohibited from having such interest by the Constitution or any law. maintaining the pecuniary interest in the cockpit is in itself unlawful. Moreover, it does
not make any reference to Section 89(b) of the Local Government Code, more so of the
It is clear that the essential ingredients of the offense proved constitute or form part of those constituting fact that such pecuniary interest is prohibited under the said statute.
the offense charged. Put differently, the first and second elements of the offense charged, as alleged in Even the majority concedes that the Information does not charge the Teves spouses with
the information, constitute the offense proved. Hence, the offense proved is necessarily included in the violating the Second Mode. The ponencia notes that:
offense charged, or the offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved. The variance doctrine
thus finds application to this case, thereby warranting the conviction of petitioner Edgar Teves for the
offense proved.[10] [n]ot by any stretch of imagination can it be discerned or construed that the afore-quoted last part of the
information charges the petitioners with the second mode by which Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law
may be violated. Hence, we agree with the petitioners that the charge was for unlawful intervention in
The essential common ingredient appreciated by the majority is clearly the existence of the issuance of the license to operate the Valencia Cockpit. There was no charge for possession of
direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest. Yet the element of financial or pecuniary pecuniary interest prohibited by law.[12]
interest contemplated under the Second Mode is one prohibited by law, a qualification not
present in the First Mode.
In short, the Information does not give any indication that the Office of the Special
Under the First Mode, the element considered is simply that the public official Prosecutor, which had lodged the charge sheet, was genuinely aware that the fact of Tevess
maintains a financial or pecuniary interest, whether or not prohibited by law. This ownership of the cockpit actually constitutes a violation of a law, or any law for that matter. But
contrasts to the Second Mode, wherein such interest is particularly qualified as one before the Court chalks it up as a lucky break for the government, it should first examine
whether Tevess constitutional rights as an accused would be impaired if he were found guilty that line of argument, considering that the invalidity of the provision would equate to his
of a charge on the basis of an Information clearly predicated on a different ground. absolution from criminal charges that may arise from Section 89(b).
Clearly, the Information is sufficient to convict Teves for the First Mode of violating But the simple fact remains that Teves could not have pursued these plausible defenses
Section 3(h), had the evidence warranted conviction. It amply informs Teves of that particular because Section 89(b) was not put in issue by the Information. Had he raised any matter
charge to the extent that he could adequately prepare a defense in his behalf. However, would relating to Section 89(b) during trial, these would have been deemed irrelevant as it bears no
the same Information similarly suffice to have allowed Teves to defend himself against a relation to the charge at hand. Indeed, the prosecution made no effort to demonstrate that
charge that maintaining the financial/pecuniary interest in the cockpit is itself illegal? Clearly, it Tevess interest in the cockpit was illegal under Section 89(b), as can be gleaned from the
would not and I so maintain. documentary evidence submitted[16] on the basis of which judgment was rendered. [17] Instead,
intensive efforts were exerted by the prosecution to establish that Teves, in his official
Our holding in Esguerra v. People[13] is in point. The accused was charged with estafa capacity, had caused the issuance of a license on or about 4 February 1992 to operate the
under Article 315, paragraph 1-b of the Revised Penal Code, which pertains to cockpit in question. Confronted with the culpable acts alleged in the Information, Teves
misappropriating personal property received by the offender reposed with trust to preserve or accordingly devoted his own defense to disprove the allegation that he had indeed issued the
deliver it to another. However, while the Court of Appeals found that Esguerra could not be licenses for the operation of the cockpit. There is no indication that during the trial, the parties
held liable for Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1-b, he still could be held responsible for or the Sandiganbayan dwelt on the aspect that a municipal mayor may not hold an interest in a
violation of the same Article, but under paragraph 3(2-a), which pertains to false pretenses or cockpit under Section 89(b), which is understandable considering that the Information itself
fraudulent acts committed by making misrepresentations as to his identity or status. [14] The does not proffer aspect as an issue.
Court reversed the conviction, noting that:
Yet the Sandiganbayan anyway based its finding of guilt on Section 89(b), in relation to
It is undisputed that the information contains no allegation of misrepresentation, bad faith or false the Second Mode, despite the fact that the aspect had not been raised, much more the
pretenses, essential element in the crime of which appellant was found guilty by the Court of Appeals. accused afforded the opportunity to offer a defense against such claim. It would be simplistic to
This is so, evidently, because, as already stated, the fiscal and the private prosecutor avowedly were justify the finding by pointing out that the accused had anyway admitted the facts that
prosecuting the accused for the crime of misappropriation and conversion committed with unfaithfulness constitute a violation of Section 89(b). Even if the questions of fact are settled, the accused
and abuse of confidence for which the appellant went to trial and was convicted by the lower court. It is remains entitled to raise a question of law on the scope and reach, if not validity, of Section
true the information states that "the accused, upon representations (not misrepresentations) that the 89(b).
accused had copras ready for delivery to it, took and received" the sum of P4,400.00. Nowhere does it I am not arguing that Section 89(b) is invalid, but I am defending Tevess putative right to
appear in the information that these "representations" were false or fraudulent, or that the accused had no argue in such manner, or to be allowed the opportunity to raise any similarly-oriented
such copra at the time he allegedly made such "representations." The falsity or fraudulentness of the arguments pertaining to the provision. It may run counterintuitive to sustain a legal doctrine
pretense or representation or act being the very constitutive element of the offense, allegation to that extenuates the penalty of the seemingly or obviously guilty, but precisely our Constitution
that effect, either in the words of the law or in any other language of similar import, must be made is a document that is not necessarily attuned to common sense if legal sense dictates
in the information if the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the otherwise. Thus, the Constitution regards every criminally accused as innocent at the onset of
accusation against him is to be preserved. xxx[15] trial, even an accused who murders another person in front of live television cameras to the
horror of millions who witnessed the crime on their television sets. In such an instance,
In the case at bar, the constitutive element of the Second Mode for violating Section 3(h) everybody knows that the accused is guilty, yet a judicial trial still becomes necessary to
is the possession of a pecuniary interest that the public officer is prohibited from having by law. warrant for a conviction conformably to the dictates of due process. [18] It should be kept in mind
Necessarily then, the Information should spell out which law prohibits such financial or that the question of guilt is not merely a factual question of did he/she do it, such being the
pecuniary interest if conviction could be had based on the possession of such interest. Such usual treatment in the court of public opinion. In legal contemplation, it also requires a
fact would be critical in order to afford the accused the opportunity to prepare an intelligent determination of several possible legal questions such as is he/she justified in committing the
defense. Had the Information notified Teves of his possible culpability hinging on Section 89(b) culpable act;[19] is he/she exempt from criminal liability despite committing the culpable
of the Local Government Code, Teves would have had the chance to study the provision and act;[20] or even whether the acts committed actually constitute an offense. It is thus very
prepare accordingly. There are several avenues the defense could have pursued, such as an possible that even if it has been factually established that the accused had committed the acts
examination of relevant jurisprudential precedents regarding Section 89(b) or of its legislative constituting a crime, acquittal may still be legally ordained.
history. Teves could have even conducted a contextual analysis of Section 89(b) in relation to
the rest of the Local Government Code or of other statutes. Indeed, the validity itself of Section Therefore, it was not satisfactory on the part of the Sandiganbayan to have relied merely
89(b) could be fair game for judicial review, and it would be understood if Teves had pursued on the uncontroverted fact that Teves had a financial or pecuniary interest in the cockpit
despite the prohibition under Section 89(b). That was not the charge lodged in the Information, I cannot join the Court in giving imprimatur to a conviction for a crime against which the
nor is it even necessarily included in the offense actually alleged in the Information. The Anti- accused was deprived the opportunity to defend himself. I respectfully DISSENT, and vote to
Graft Courts conclusion of guilt is based on a de novo finding which the accused had neither ACQUIT Edgar and Teresita Teves.
an opportunity to defend against, nor even would have expected as a proper matter of inquiry
considering the silence of the Information or the trial proceedings on the question of Section
89(b).
Even more galling is that nowhere in the Information is it even alleged that
maintaining an interest in a cockpit is actually illegal. Not only is the charge sheet silent
as to which law was violated, but such fact of owning an interest in a cockpit actually
constitutes an offense. For that reason, I am confident that my view does not run counter to
the well settled ruling of the Court in U.S. v. Tolentino[21] that where an offense may be
committed in any several different modes, and the offense is alleged to have been committed
in two or modes specified, it is sufficient to prove the offense committed in any one of them,
provided that it be such as to constitute the substantive offense. [22] The Information was crafted
in such a way that only one particular offense was charged, and the alleged manner through
which such offense was committed did not constitute ground for conviction for another offense.
There may have been stronger basis to uphold the conviction had
the Information alleged that the mere act of possession of the pecuniary interest in the
cockpit was in itself a violation of law, even if which law transgressed was not
denominated in the Information. At least in such a case, Teves would have been put on
guard that the legality of his ownership of the cockpit was a controversial issue and
thus prepared accordingly, even if it would have to entail his having to research as to
which law was actually violated by his ownership. But the Information herein is not so
formulated. It was evidently crafted by persons who had no intention of putting into issue the
illegality of Teves ownership of the cockpit, but arguing instead that Teves illegally abused his
office by issuing a license in connection with such cockpit.
My submission to acquit Edgar Teves necessarily results in the acquittal of his wife,
Teresita. She is charged as a conspirator to the commission of her husbands felonious acts,
and thus the exoneration of her husband should lead to a similar result in her favor. This
observation is made without disputing the finding of the majority that there is no sufficient
evidence that Teresita Teves conspired with her husband to commit a violation of Section 3(h)
of the Anti-Graft Law.
Perhaps there is some reluctance in acquitting a public official accused of malfeasance in
connection with the public office held. Such a result bolsters the general government crusade
against graft and corruption, and is usually popular with the public at large. Still, the most vital
essence of the democratic way of life is the protection of the bedrock guarantees extended by
the Constitution to all persons regardless of rank. These rights cannot be bargained away,
especially when they stand as the sole barrier to the deprivation of ones cherished right to
liberty. A due process violation cannot be obviated by the technical application of a procedural
rule.
G.R. No. 176389 December 14, 2010 officer, Gerardo Biong, as an accessory after the fact. Relying primarily on
Alfaro's testimony, on August 10, 1995 the public prosecutors filed an information
ANTONIO LEJANO, Petitioner, for rape with homicide against Webb, et al.1
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. The Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City, Branch 274, presided over by Judge
Amelita G. Tolentino, tried only seven of the accused since Artemio Ventura and
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x Joey Filart remained at large.2 The prosecution presented Alfaro as its main
witness with the others corroborating her testimony. These included the medico-
G.R. No. 176864 legal officer who autopsied the bodies of the victims, the security guards of
Pitong Daan Subdivision, the former laundrywoman of the Webb’s household,
police officer Biong’s former girlfriend, and Lauro G. Vizconde, Estrellita’s
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
husband.
vs.
HUBERT JEFFREY P. WEBB, ANTONIO LEJANO, MICHAEL A.
GATCHALIAN, HOSPICIO FERNANDEZ, MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ, PETER For their part, some of the accused testified, denying any part in the crime and
ESTRADA and GERARDO BIONG, Appellants. saying they were elsewhere when it took place. Webb’s alibi appeared the
strongest since he claimed that he was then across the ocean in the United
States of America. He presented the testimonies of witnesses as well as
DECISION
documentary and object evidence to prove this. In addition, the defense
presented witnesses to show Alfaro's bad reputation for truth and the incredible
ABAD, J.: nature of her testimony.

Brief Background But impressed by Alfaro’s detailed narration of the crime and the events
surrounding it, the trial court found a credible witness in her. It noted her
On June 30, 1991 Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela, nineteen categorical, straightforward, spontaneous, and frank testimony, undamaged by
years old, and Jennifer, seven, were brutally slain at their home in Parañaque grueling cross-examinations. The trial court remained unfazed by significant
City. Following an intense investigation, the police arrested a group of suspects, discrepancies between Alfaro’s April 28 and May 22, 1995 affidavits, accepting
some of whom gave detailed confessions. But the trial court smelled a frame-up her explanation that she at first wanted to protect her former boyfriend, accused
and eventually ordered them discharged. Thus, the identities of the real Estrada, and a relative, accused Gatchalian; that no lawyer assisted her; that she
perpetrators remained a mystery especially to the public whose interests were did not trust the investigators who helped her prepare her first affidavit; and that
aroused by the gripping details of what everybody referred to as the Vizconde she felt unsure if she would get the support and security she needed once she
massacre. disclosed all about the Vizconde killings.

Four years later in 1995, the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI announced In contrast, the trial court thought little of the denials and alibis that Webb,
that it had solved the crime. It presented star-witness Jessica M. Alfaro, one of its Lejano, Rodriguez, and Gatchalian set up for their defense. They paled,
informers, who claimed that she witnessed the crime. She pointed to accused according to the court, compared to Alfaro’s testimony that other witnesses and
Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio "Tony Boy" Lejano, Artemio "Dong" Ventura, the physical evidence corroborated. Thus, on January 4, 2000, after four years of
Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio "Pyke" Fernandez, Peter Estrada, Miguel "Ging" arduous hearings, the trial court rendered judgment, finding all the accused guilty
Rodriguez, and Joey Filart as the culprits. She also tagged accused police as charged and imposing on Webb, Lejano, Gatchalian, Fernandez, Estrada, and
Rodriguez the penalty of reclusion perpetua and on Biong, an indeterminate semen specimen that the NBI found on Carmela’s cadaver, thus depriving him of
prison term of eleven years, four months, and one day to twelve years. The trial evidence that would prove his innocence.
court also awarded damages to Lauro Vizconde.3
In the main, all the accused raise the central issue of whether or not Webb,
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, modifying the acting in conspiracy with Lejano, Gatchalian, Fernandez, Estrada, Rodriguez,
penalty imposed on Biong to six years minimum and twelve years maximum and Ventura, and Filart, raped and killed Carmela and put to death her mother and
increasing the award of damages to Lauro Vizconde.4 The appellate court did not sister. But, ultimately, the controlling issues are:
agree that the accused were tried by publicity or that the trial judge was biased. It
found sufficient evidence of conspiracy that rendered Rodriguez, Gatchalian, 1. Whether or not Alfaro’s testimony as eyewitness, describing the crime
Fernandez, and Estrada equally guilty with those who had a part in raping and and identifying Webb, Lejano, Gatchalian, Fernandez, Estrada,
killing Carmela and in executing her mother and sister. Rodriguez, and two others as the persons who committed it, is entitled to
belief; and
On motion for reconsideration by the accused, the Court of Appeals' Special
Division of five members voted three against two to deny the motion,5 hence, the 2. Whether or not Webb presented sufficient evidence to prove his alibi
present appeal. and rebut Alfaro’s testimony that he led the others in committing the
crime.
On April 20, 2010, as a result of its initial deliberation in this case, the Court
issued a Resolution granting the request of Webb to submit for DNA analysis the The issue respecting accused Biong is whether or not he acted to cover up the
semen specimen taken from Carmela’s cadaver, which specimen was then crime after its commission.
believed still under the safekeeping of the NBI. The Court granted the request
pursuant to section 4 of the Rule on DNA Evidence6 to give the accused and the The Right to Acquittal
prosecution access to scientific evidence that they might want to avail Due to Loss of DNA Evidence
themselves of, leading to a correct decision in the case.
Webb claims, citing Brady v. Maryland,7 that he is entitled to outright acquittal on
Unfortunately, on April 27, 2010 the NBI informed the Court that it no longer has the ground of violation of his right to due process given the State’s failure to
custody of the specimen, the same having been turned over to the trial court. The produce on order of the Court either by negligence or willful suppression the
trial record shows, however, that the specimen was not among the object semen specimen taken from Carmela.
evidence that the prosecution offered in evidence in the case.
The medical evidence clearly established that Carmela was raped and,
This outcome prompted accused Webb to file an urgent motion to acquit on the consistent with this, semen specimen was found in her. It is true that Alfaro
ground that the government’s failure to preserve such vital evidence has resulted identified Webb in her testimony as Carmela’s rapist and killer but serious
in the denial of his right to due process. questions had been raised about her credibility. At the very least, there exists a
possibility that Alfaro had lied. On the other hand, the semen specimen taken
Issues Presented from Carmela cannot possibly lie. It cannot be coached or allured by a promise of
reward or financial support. No two persons have the same DNA fingerprint, with
Accused Webb’s motion to acquit presents a threshold issue: whether or not the the exception of identical twins.8 If, on examination, the DNA of the subject
Court should acquit him outright, given the government’s failure to produce the specimen does not belong to Webb, then he did not rape Carmela. It is that
simple. Thus, the Court would have been able to determine that Alfaro committed Based on the prosecution’s version, culled from the decisions of the trial court
perjury in saying that he did. and the Court of Appeals, on June 29, 1991 at around 8:30 in the evening,
Jessica Alfaro drove her Mitsubishi Lancer, with boyfriend Peter Estrada as
Still, Webb is not entitled to acquittal for the failure of the State to produce the passenger, to the Ayala Alabang Commercial Center parking lot to buy shabu
semen specimen at this late stage. For one thing, the ruling in Brady v. from Artemio "Dong" Ventura. There, Ventura introduced her to his friends:
Maryland9 that he cites has long be overtaken by the decision in Arizona v. Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio "Tony Boy" Lejano, Miguel "Ging" Rodriguez,
Youngblood,10 where the U.S. Supreme Court held that due process does not Hospicio "Pyke" Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian, and Joey Filart. Alfaro recalled
require the State to preserve the semen specimen although it might be useful to frequently seeing them at a shabu house in Parañaque in January 1991, except
the accused unless the latter is able to show bad faith on the part of the Ventura whom she had known earlier in December 1990.
prosecution or the police. Here, the State presented a medical expert who
testified on the existence of the specimen and Webb in fact sought to have the As Alfaro smoked her shabu, Webb approached and requested her to relay a
same subjected to DNA test. message for him to a girl, whom she later identified as Carmela Vizconde. Alfaro
agreed. After using up their shabu, the group drove to Carmela’s house at 80
For, another, when Webb raised the DNA issue, the rule governing DNA Vinzons Street, Pitong Daan Subdivision, BF Homes, Parañaque City. Riding in
evidence did not yet exist, the country did not yet have the technology for her car, Alfaro and Estrada trailed Filart and Rodriguez who rode a Mazda pick-
conducting the test, and no Philippine precedent had as yet recognized its up and Webb, Lejano, Ventura, Fernandez, and Gatchalian who were on a
admissibility as evidence. Consequently, the idea of keeping the specimen Nissan Patrol car.
secure even after the trial court rejected the motion for DNA testing did not come
up. Indeed, neither Webb nor his co-accused brought up the matter of preserving On reaching their destination, Alfaro parked her car on Vinzons Street, alighted,
the specimen in the meantime. and approached Carmela’s house. Alfaro pressed the buzzer and a woman came
out. Alfaro queried her about Carmela. Alfaro had met Carmela twice before in
Parenthetically, after the trial court denied Webb’s application for DNA testing, he January 1991. When Carmela came out, Alfaro gave her Webb’s message that
allowed the proceeding to move on when he had on at least two occasions gone he was just around. Carmela replied, however, that she could not go out yet
up to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court to challenge alleged arbitrary since she had just arrived home. She told Alfaro to return after twenty minutes.
actions taken against him and the other accused.11 They raised the DNA issue Alfaro relayed this to Webb who then told the group to drive back to the Ayala
before the Court of Appeals but merely as an error committed by the trial court in Alabang Commercial Center.
rendering its decision in the case. None of the accused filed a motion with the
appeals court to have the DNA test done pending adjudication of their appeal. The group had another shabu session at the parking lot. After sometime, they
This, even when the Supreme Court had in the meantime passed the rules drove back but only Alfaro proceeded to Vinzons Street where Carmela lived.
allowing such test. Considering the accused’s lack of interest in having such test The Nissan Patrol and the Mazda pick-up, with their passengers, parked
done, the State cannot be deemed put on reasonable notice that it would be somewhere along Aguirre Avenue. Carmela was at their garden. She
required to produce the semen specimen at some future time. approached Alfaro on seeing her and told the latter that she (Carmela) had to
leave the house for a while. Carmela requested Alfaro to return before midnight
Now, to the merit of the case. and she would leave the pedestrian gate, the iron grills that led to the kitchen,
and the kitchen door unlocked. Carmela also told Alfaro to blink her car’s
Alfaro’s Story headlights twice when she approached the pedestrian gate so Carmela would
know that she had arrived.
Alfaro returned to her car but waited for Carmela to drive out of the house in her immediately walked out of the garden to her car. She found her other
own car. Alfaro trailed Carmela up to Aguirre Avenue where she dropped off a companions milling around it. Estrada who sat in the car asked her, "Okay ba?"
man whom Alfaro believed was Carmela’s boyfriend. Alfaro looked for her group,
found them, and relayed Carmela’s instructions to Webb. They then all went back After sitting in the car for about ten minutes, Alfaro returned to the Vizconde
to the Ayala Alabang Commercial Center. At the parking lot, Alfaro told the group house, using the same route. The interior of the house was dark but some light
about her talk with Carmela. When she told Webb of Carmela’s male companion, filtered in from outside. In the kitchen, Alfaro saw Ventura searching a lady’s bag
Webb’s mood changed for the rest of the evening ("bad trip"). that lay on the dining table. When she asked him what he was looking for, he
said: "Ikaw na nga dito, maghanap ka ng susi." She asked him what key he
Webb gave out free cocaine. They all used it and some shabu, too. After about wanted and he replied: "Basta maghanap ka ng susi ng main door pati na rin ng
40 to 45 minutes, Webb decided that it was time for them to leave. He said, susi ng kotse." When she found a bunch of keys in the bag, she tried them on the
"Pipilahan natin siya [Carmela] at ako ang mauuna." Lejano said, "Ako ang main door but none fitted the lock. She also did not find the car key.
susunod" and the others responded "Okay, okay." They all left the parking lot in a
convoy of three vehicles and drove into Pitong Daan Subdivision for the third Unable to open the main door, Alfaro returned to the kitchen. While she was at a
time. They arrived at Carmela’s house shortly before midnight. spot leading to the dining area, she heard a static noise (like a television that
remained on after the station had signed off). Out of curiosity, she approached
Alfaro parked her car between Vizconde’s house and the next. While waiting for the master’s bedroom from where the noise came, opened the door a little, and
the others to alight from their cars, Fernandez approached Alfaro with a peeked inside. The unusual sound grew even louder. As she walked in, she saw
suggestion that they blow up the transformer near the Vizconde’s residence to Webb on top of Carmela while she lay with her back on the floor. Two bloodied
cause a brownout ("Pasabugin kaya natin ang transformer na ito"). But Alfaro bodies lay on the bed. Lejano was at the foot of the bed about to wear his jacket.
shrugged off the idea, telling Fernandez, "Malakas lang ang tama mo." When Carmela was gagged, moaning, and in tears while Webb raped her, his bare
Webb, Lejano, and Ventura were already before the house, Webb told the others buttocks exposed.
again that they would line up for Carmela but he would be the first. The others
replied, "O sige, dito lang kami, magbabantay lang kami." Webb gave Alfaro a meaningful look and she immediately left the room. She met
Ventura at the dining area. He told her, "Prepare an escape. Aalis na tayo."
Alfaro was the first to pass through the pedestrian gate that had been left open. Shocked with what she saw, Alfaro rushed out of the house to the others who
Webb, Lejano, and Ventura followed her. On entering the garage, Ventura using were either sitting in her car or milling on the sidewalk. She entered her car and
a chair mounted the hood of the Vizcondes’ Nissan Sentra and loosened the turned on the engine but she did not know where to go. Webb, Lejano, and
electric bulb over it ("para daw walang ilaw"). The small group went through the Ventura came out of the house just then. Webb suddenly picked up a stone and
open iron grill gate and passed the dirty kitchen. Carmela opened the aluminum threw it at the main door, breaking its glass frame.
screen door of the kitchen for them. She and Webb looked each other in the eyes
for a moment and, together, headed for the dining area. As the three men approached the pedestrian gate, Webb told Ventura that he
forgot his jacket in the house. But Ventura told him that they could not get in
As she lost sight of Carmela and Webb, Alfaro decided to go out. Lejano asked anymore as the iron grills had already locked. They all rode in their cars and
her where she was going and she replied that she was going out to smoke. As drove away until they reached Aguirre Avenue. As they got near an old hotel at
she eased her way out through the kitchen door, she saw Ventura pulling out a the Tropical Palace area, Alfaro noticed the Nissan Patrol slow down. Someone
kitchen drawer. Alfaro smoked a cigarette at the garden. After about twenty threw something out of the car into the cogonal area.
minutes, she was surprised to hear a woman’s voice ask, "Sino yan?" Alfaro
The convoy of cars went to a large house with high walls, concrete fence, steel When Alfaro seemed unproductive for sometime, however, they teased her about
gate, and a long driveway at BF Executive Village. They entered the compound it and she was piqued. One day, she unexpectedly told Sacaguing that she knew
and gathered at the lawn where the "blaming session" took place. It was here someone who had the real story behind the Vizconde massacre. Sacaguing
that Alfaro and those who remained outside the Vizconde house learned of what showed interest. Alfaro promised to bring that someone to the NBI to tell his
happened. The first to be killed was Carmela’s mother, then Jennifer, and finally, story. When this did not happen and Sacaguing continued to press her, she told
Carmella. Ventura blamed Webb, telling him, "Bakit naman pati yung bata?" him that she might as well assume the role of her informant. Sacaguing testified
Webb replied that the girl woke up and on seeing him molesting Carmela, she thus:
jumped on him, bit his shoulders, and pulled his hair. Webb got mad, grabbed the
girl, pushed her to the wall, and repeatedly stabbed her. Lejano excused himself ATTY. ONGKIKO:
at this point to use the telephone in the house. Meanwhile, Webb called up
someone on his cellular phone. Q. Atty. Sacaguing, how did Jessica Alfaro become a witness in the
Vizconde murder case? Will you tell the Honorable Court?
At around 2:00 in the morning, accused Gerardo Biong arrived. Webb ordered
him to go and clean up the Vizconde house and said to him, "Pera lang ang xxxx
katapat nyan." Biong answered, "Okay lang." Webb spoke to his companions and
told them, "We don’t know each other. We haven’t seen each other…baka maulit
A. She told me. Your Honor, that she knew somebody who related to her
yan." Alfaro and Estrada left and they drove to her father’s house.12
the circumstances, I mean, the details of the massacre of the Vizconde
family. That’s what she told me, Your Honor.
1. The quality of the witness
ATTY. ONGKIKO:
Was Alfaro an ordinary subdivision girl who showed up at the NBI after four
years, bothered by her conscience or egged on by relatives or friends to come
Q. And what did you say?
forward and do what was right? No. She was, at the time she revealed her story,
working for the NBI as an "asset," a stool pigeon, one who earned her living by
fraternizing with criminals so she could squeal on them to her NBI handlers. She xxxx
had to live a life of lies to get rewards that would pay for her subsistence and
vices. A. I was quite interested and I tried to persuade her to introduce to me
that man and she promised that in due time, she will bring to me the man,
According to Atty. Artemio Sacaguing, former head of the NBI Anti-Kidnapping, and together with her, we will try to convince him to act as a state witness
Hijacking, and Armed Robbery Task Force (AKHAR) Section, Alfaro had been and help us in the solution of the case.
hanging around at the NBI since November or December 1994 as an "asset."
She supplied her handlers with information against drug pushers and other xxxx
criminal elements. Some of this information led to the capture of notorious drug
pushers like Christopher Cruz Santos and Orlando Bacquir. Alfaro’s tip led to the Q. Atty. Sacaguing, were you able to interview this alleged witness?
arrest of the leader of the "Martilyo gang" that killed a police officer. Because of
her talent, the task force gave her "very special treatment" and she became its WITNESS SACAGUING:
"darling," allowed the privilege of spending nights in one of the rooms at the NBI
offices.
A. No, sir. WITNESS SACAGUING:

ATTY. ONGKIKO: A. I said, "hindi puwede yan, kasi hindi ka naman eye witness."

Q. Why not? ATTY. ONGKIKO:

WITNESS SACAGUING: Q. And what was the reply of Ms. Alfaro?

A. Because Jessica Alfaro was never able to comply with her promise to WITNESS SACAGUING:
bring the man to me. She told me later that she could not and the man
does not like to testify. A. Hindi siya nakakibo, until she went away.

ATTY. ONGKIKO: (TSN, May 28, 1996, pp. 49-50, 58, 77-79)

Q. All right, and what happened after that? Quite significantly, Alfaro never refuted Sacaguing’s above testimony.

WITNESS SACAGUING: 2. The suspicious details

A. She told me, "easy lang kayo, Sir," if I may quote, "easy lang Sir, But was it possible for Alfaro to lie with such abundant details some of which
huwag kayong…" even tallied with the physical evidence at the scene of the crime? No doubt, yes.

COURT: Firstly, the Vizconde massacre had been reported in the media with dizzying
details. Everybody was talking about what the police found at the crime scene
How was that? and there were lots of speculations about them.

WITNESS SACAGUING: Secondly, the police had arrested some "akyat-bahay" group in Parañaque and
charged them with the crime. The police prepared the confessions of the men
A. "Easy lang, Sir. Sir, relax lang, Sir, papapelan ko, papapelan ko na they apprehended and filled these up with details that the evidence of the crime
lang ‘yan." scene provided. Alfaro’s NBI handlers who were doing their own investigation
knew of these details as well. Since Alfaro hanged out at the NBI offices and
xxxx practically lived there, it was not too difficult for her to hear of these evidentiary
details and gain access to the documents.
ATTY. ONGKIKO:
Not surprisingly, the confessions of some members of the Barroso "akyat bahay"
gang, condemned by the Makati RTC as fabricated by the police to pin the crime
Q. All right, and what was your reaction when Ms. Alfaro stated that
on them, shows how crime investigators could make a confession ring true by
"papapelan ko na lang yan?"
matching some of its details with the physical evidence at the crime scene. they needed time to work in the dark trying to open the front door. Some
Consider the following: passersby might look in and see what they were doing.

a. The Barroso gang members said that they got into Carmela’s house by Alfaro had to adjust her testimony to take into account that darkened garage
breaking the glass panel of the front door using a stone wrapped in cloth to light. So she claimed that Ventura climbed the car’s hood, using a chair, to turn
deaden the noise. Alfaro could not use this line since the core of her story was the light off. But, unlike the Barroso "akyat-bahay" gang, Webb and his friends
that Webb was Carmela’s boyfriend. Webb had no reason to smash her front did not have anything to do in a darkened garage. They supposedly knew in
door to get to see her. advance that Carmela left the doors to the kitchen open for them. It did not make
sense for Ventura to risk standing on the car’s hood and be seen in such an
Consequently, to explain the smashed door, Alfaro had to settle for claiming that, awkward position instead of going straight into the house.
on the way out of the house, Webb picked up some stone and, out of the blue,
hurled it at the glass-paneled front door of the Vizconde residence. His action And, thirdly, Alfaro was the NBI’s star witness, their badge of excellent
really made no sense. From Alfaro’s narration, Webb appeared rational in his investigative work. After claiming that they had solved the crime of the decade,
lavvphil

decisions. It was past midnight, the house was dark, and they wanted to get the NBI people had a stake in making her sound credible and, obviously, they
away quickly to avoid detection. Hurling a stone at that glass door and causing a gave her all the preparations she needed for the job of becoming a fairly good
tremendous noise was bizarre, like inviting the neighbors to come. substitute witness. She was their "darling" of an asset. And this is not pure
speculation. As pointed out above, Sacaguing of the NBI, a lawyer and a ranking
b. The crime scene showed that the house had been ransacked. The rejected official, confirmed this to be a cold fact. Why the trial court and the Court of
confessions of the Barroso "akyat-bahay" gang members said that they tried to Appeals failed to see this is mystifying.
rob the house. To explain this physical evidence, Alfaro claimed that at one point
Ventura was pulling a kitchen drawer, and at another point, going through a At any rate, did Alfaro at least have a fine memory for faces that had a strong
handbag on the dining table. He said he was looking for the front-door key and effect on her, given the circumstances? Not likely. She named Miguel "Ging"
the car key. Rodriguez as one of the culprits in the Vizconde killings. But when the NBI found
a certain Michael Rodriguez, a drug dependent from the Bicutan Rehabilitation
Again, this portion of Alfaro’s story appears tortured to accommodate the Center, initially suspected to be Alfaro’s Miguel Rodriguez and showed him to
physical evidence of the ransacked house. She never mentioned Ventura having Alfaro at the NBI office, she ran berserk, slapping and kicking Michael,
taken some valuables with him when they left Carmela’s house. And why would exclaiming: "How can I forget your face. We just saw each other in a disco one
Ventura rummage a bag on the table for the front-door key, spilling the contents, month ago and you told me then that you will kill me." As it turned out, he was not
when they had already gotten into the house. It is a story made to fit in with the Miguel Rodriguez, the accused in this case.13
crime scene although robbery was supposedly not the reason Webb and his
companions entered that house. Two possibilities exist: Michael was really the one Alfaro wanted to implicate to
settle some score with him but it was too late to change the name she already
c. It is the same thing with the garage light. The police investigators found that gave or she had myopic vision, tagging the wrong people for what they did not
the bulb had been loosened to turn off the light. The confessions of the Barroso do.
gang claimed that one of them climbed the parked car’s hood to reach up and
darken that light. This made sense since they were going to rob the place and 3. The quality of the testimony
There is another thing about a lying witness: her story lacks sense or suffers from Carmela to drive out in her own car. And she trailed her up to Aguirre Avenue
inherent inconsistencies. An understanding of the nature of things and the where she supposedly dropped off a man whom she thought was Carmela’s
common behavior of people will help expose a lie. And it has an abundant boyfriend. Alfaro’s trailing Carmela to spy on her unfaithfulness to Webb did not
presence in this case. make sense since she was on limited errand. But, as a critical witness, Alfaro
had to provide a reason for Webb to freak out and decide to come with his
One. In her desire to implicate Gatchalian, Fernandez, Estrada, Rodriguez, and friends and harm Carmela.
Filart, who were supposed to be Webb’s co-principals in the crime, Alfaro made it
a point to testify that Webb proposed twice to his friends the gang-rape of Four. According to Alfaro, when they returned to Carmela’s house the third time
Carmela who had hurt him. And twice, they (including, if one believes Alfaro, her around midnight, she led Webb, Lejano, and Ventura through the pedestrian gate
own boyfriend Estrada) agreed in a chorus to his proposal. But when they got to that Carmela had left open. Now, this is weird. Webb was the gang leader who
Carmela’s house, only Webb, Lejano, Ventura, and Alfaro entered the house. decided what they were going to do. He decided and his friends agreed with him
to go to Carmela’s house and gang-rape her. Why would Alfaro, a woman, a
Gatchalian, Fernandez, Estrada, and Rodriguez supposedly stayed around stranger to Webb before that night, and obviously with no role to play in the
Alfaro’s car, which was parked on the street between Carmela’s house and the gang-rape of Carmela, lead him and the others into her house? It made no
next. Some of these men sat on top of the car’s lid while others milled on the sense. It would only make sense if Alfaro wanted to feign being a witness to
sidewalk, visible under the street light to anyone who cared to watch them, something she did not see.
particularly to the people who were having a drinking party in a nearby house.
Obviously, the behavior of Webb’s companions out on the street did not figure in Five. Alfaro went out of the house to smoke at the garden. After about twenty
a planned gang-rape of Carmela. minutes, a woman exclaimed, "Sino yan?" On hearing this, Alfaro immediately
walked out of the garden and went to her car. Apparently, she did this because
Two. Ventura, Alfaro’s dope supplier, introduced her for the first time in her life to she knew they came on a sly. Someone other than Carmela became conscious
Webb and his friends in a parking lot by a mall. So why would she agree to act as of the presence of Webb and others in the house. Alfaro walked away because,
Webb’s messenger, using her gas, to bring his message to Carmela at her home. obviously, she did not want to get involved in a potential confrontation. This was
More inexplicably, what motivated Alfaro to stick it out the whole night with Webb supposedly her frame of mind: fear of getting involved in what was not her
and his friends? business.

They were practically strangers to her and her boyfriend Estrada. When it came But if that were the case, how could she testify based on personal knowledge of
to a point that Webb decided with his friends to gang-rape Carmela, clearly, there what went on in the house? Alfaro had to change that frame of mind to one of
was nothing in it for Alfaro. Yet, she stuck it out with them, as a police asset boldness and reckless curiosity. So that is what she next claimed. She went back
would, hanging in there until she had a crime to report, only she was not yet an into the house to watch as Webb raped Carmela on the floor of the master’s
"asset" then. If, on the other hand, Alfaro had been too soaked in drugs to think bedroom. He had apparently stabbed to death Carmela’s mom and her young
clearly and just followed along where the group took her, how could she sister whose bloodied bodies were sprawled on the bed. Now, Alfaro testified that
remember so much details that only a drug-free mind can? she got scared (another shift to fear) for she hurriedly got out of the house after
Webb supposedly gave her a meaningful look.
Three. When Alfaro went to see Carmela at her house for the second time,
Carmella told her that she still had to go out and that Webb and his friends Alfaro quickly went to her car, not minding Gatchalian, Fernandez, Estrada,
should come back around midnight. Alfaro returned to her car and waited for Rodriguez, and Filart who sat on the car or milled on the sidewalk. She did not
speak to them, even to Estrada, her boyfriend. She entered her car and turned
on the engine but she testified that she did not know where to go. This woman Surprisingly, White failed to note Biong, a police officer, entering or exiting the
who a few minutes back led Webb, Lejano, and Ventura into the house, knowing subdivision on the early morning of June 30 when he supposedly "cleaned up"
that they were decided to rape and harm Carmela, was suddenly too shocked to Vizconde residence on Webb’s orders. What is more, White did not notice
know where to go! This emotional pendulum swing indicates a witness who was Carmela arrive with her mom before Alfaro’s first visit that night. Carmela
confused with her own lies. supposedly left with a male companion in her car at around 10:30 p.m. but White
did not notice it. He also did not notice Carmela reenter the subdivision. White
4. The supposed corroborations actually discredited Alfaro’s testimony about the movements of the persons
involved.
Intending to provide corroboration to Alfaro’s testimony, the prosecution
presented six additional witnesses: Further, while Alfaro testified that it was the Mazda pick-up driven by Filart that
led the three-vehicle convoy,17 White claimed it was the Nissan Patrol with
Dr. Prospero A. Cabanayan, the NBI Medico-Legal Officer who autopsied the Gatchalian on it that led the convoy since he would not have let the convoy in
bodies of the victims, testified on the stab wounds they sustained14 and the without ascertaining that Gatchalian, a resident, was in it. Security guard White
presence of semen in Carmela’s genitalia,15 indicating that she had been raped. did not, therefore, provide corroboration to Alfaro’s testimony.1avv phi 1

Normal E. White, Jr., was the security guard on duty at Pitong Daan Subdivision Justo Cabanacan, the security supervisor at Pitong Daan Subdivision testified
from 7 p.m. of June 29 to 7 a.m. of June 30, 1991. He got a report on the that he saw Webb around the last week of May or the first week of June 1991 to
morning of June 30 that something untoward happened at the Vizconde prove his presence in the Philippines when he claimed to be in the United States.
residence. He went there and saw the dead bodies in the master’s bedroom, the He was manning the guard house at the entrance of the subdivision of Pitong
bag on the dining table, as well as the loud noise emanating from a television Daan when he flagged down a car driven by Webb. Webb said that he would see
set.16 Lilet Sy. Cabanacan asked him for an ID but he pointed to his United BF Homes
sticker and said that he resided there. Cabanacan replied, however, that Pitong
Daan had a local sticker.
White claimed that he noticed Gatchalian and his companions, none of whom he
could identify, go in and out of Pitong Daan Subdivision. He also saw them along
Vinzons Street. Later, they entered Pitong Daan Subdivision in a three-car Cabanacan testified that, at this point, Webb introduced himself as the son of
convoy. White could not, however, describe the kind of vehicles they used or Congressman Webb. Still, the supervisor insisted on seeing his ID. Webb
recall the time when he saw the group in those two instances. And he did not grudgingly gave it and after seeing the picture and the name on it, Cabanacan
notice anything suspicious about their coming and going. returned the same and allowed Webb to pass without being logged in as their
Standard Operating Procedure required.18
But White’s testimony cannot be relied on. His initial claim turned out to be
inaccurate. He actually saw Gatchalian and his group enter the Pitong Daan But Cabanacan's testimony could not be relied on. Although it was not common
Subdivision only once. They were not going in and out. Furthermore, Alfaro for a security guard to challenge a Congressman’s son with such vehemence,
testified that when the convoy of cars went back the second time in the direction Cabanacan did not log the incident on the guardhouse book. Nor did he, contrary
of Carmela’s house, she alone entered the subdivision and passed the to prescribed procedure, record the visitor’s entry into the subdivision. It did not
guardhouse without stopping. Yet, White who supposedly manned that make sense that Cabanacan was strict in the matter of seeing Webb’s ID but not
guardhouse did not notice her. in recording the visit.
Mila Gaviola used to work as laundry woman for the Webbs at their house at BF Lolita De Birrer was accused Biong’s girlfriend around the time the Vizconde
Homes Executive Village. She testified that she saw Webb at his parents’ house massacre took place. Birrer testified that she was with Biong playing mahjong
on the morning of June 30, 1991 when she got the dirty clothes from the room from the evening of June 29, 1991 to the early morning of June 30, when Biong
that he and two brothers occupied at about 4.a.m. She saw him again pacing the got a call at around 2 a.m. This prompted him, according to De Birrer, to leave
floor at 9 a.m. At about 1 p.m., Webb left the house in t-shirt and shorts, passing and go to BF. Someone sitting at the backseat of a taxi picked him up. When
through a secret door near the maid’s quarters on the way out. Finally, she saw Biong returned at 7 a.m. he washed off what looked like dried blood from his
Webb at 4 p.m. of the same day.19 fingernails. And he threw away a foul-smelling handkerchief. She also saw Biong
take out a knife with aluminum cover from his drawer and hid it in his steel
On cross-examination, however, Gaviola could not say what distinguished June cabinet.21
30, 1991 from the other days she was on service at the Webb household as to
enable her to distinctly remember, four years later, what one of the Webb boys The security guard at Pitong Daan did not notice any police investigator flashing
did and at what time. She could not remember any of the details that happened a badge to get into the village although Biong supposedly came in at the unholy
in the household on the other days. She proved to have a selective photographic hour of two in the morning. His departure before 7 a.m. also remained unnoticed
memory and this only damaged her testimony. by the subdivision guards. Besides, if he had cleaned up the crime scene shortly
after midnight, what was the point of his returning there on the following morning
Gaviola tried to corroborate Alfaro’'s testimony by claiming that on June 30, 1991 to dispose of some of the evidence in the presence of other police investigators
she noticed bloodstains on Webb's t-shirt.20 She did not call the attention of and on-lookers? In fact, why would he steal valuable items from the Vizconde
anybody in the household about it when it would have been a point of concern residence on his return there hours later if he had the opportunity to do it earlier?
that Webb may have been hurt, hence the blood.
At most, Birrer’s testimony only established Biong’s theft of certain items from the
Besides, Victoria Ventoso, the Webbs' housemaid from March 1989 to May 1992, Vizconde residence and gross neglect for failing to maintain the sanctity of the
and Sgt. Miguel Muñoz, the Webbs' security aide in 1991, testified that Gaviola crime scene by moving around and altering the effects of the crime. Birrer’s
worked for the Webbs only from January 1991 to April 1991. Ventoso further testimony failed to connect Biong's acts to Webb and the other accused.
testified that it was not Gaviola's duty to collect the clothes from the 2nd floor
bedrooms, this being the work of the housemaid charged with cleaning the Lauro Vizconde testified about how deeply he was affected by the loss of her
rooms. wife and two daughters. Carmella spoke to him of a rejected suitor she called
"Bagyo," because he was a Parañaque politician’s son. Unfortunately, Lauro did
What is more, it was most unlikely for a laundrywoman who had been there for not appear curious enough to insist on finding out who the rejected fellow was.
only four months to collect, as she claimed, the laundry from the rooms of her Besides, his testimony contradicts that of Alfaro who testified that Carmela and
employers and their grown up children at four in the morning while they were Webb had an on-going relation. Indeed, if Alfaro were to be believed, Carmela
asleep. wanted Webb to come to her house around midnight. She even left the kitchen
door open so he could enter the house.
And it did not make sense, if Alfaro’s testimony were to be believed that Webb,
who was so careful and clever that he called Biong to go to the Vizconde 5. The missing corroboration
residence at 2 a.m. to clean up the evidence against him and his group, would
bring his bloodied shirt home and put it in the hamper for laundrywoman Gaviola There is something truly remarkable about this case: the prosecution’s core
to collect and wash at 4 a.m. as was her supposed habit. theory that Carmela and Webb had been sweethearts, that she had been
unfaithful to him, and that it was for this reason that Webb brought his friends to Webb claims that in 1991 his parents, Senator Freddie Webb and his wife,
her house to gang-rape her is totally uncorroborated! Elizabeth, sent their son to the United States (U.S.) to learn the value of
independence, hard work, and money.22 Gloria Webb, his aunt, accompanied
For instance, normally, if Webb, a Congressman’s son, courted the young him. Rajah Tours booked their flight to San Francisco via United Airlines.
Carmela, that would be news among her circle of friends if not around town. But, Josefina Nolasco of Rajah Tours confirmed that Webb and his aunt used their
here, none of her friends or even those who knew either of them came forward to plane tickets.
affirm this. And if Webb hanged around with her, trying to win her favors, he
would surely be seen with her. And this would all the more be so if they had Webb told his friends, including his neighbor, Jennifer Claire Cabrera, and his
become sweethearts, a relation that Alfaro tried to project with her testimony. basketball buddy, Joselito Orendain Escobar, of his travel plans. He even invited
them to his despedida party on March 8, 1991 at Faces Disco along Makati
But, except for Alfaro, the NBI asset, no one among Carmela’s friends or her Ave.23 On March 8,1991, the eve of his departure, he took girlfriend Milagros
friends’ friends would testify ever hearing of such relationship or ever seeing Castillo to a dinner at Bunchums at the Makati Cinema Square. His basketball
them together in some popular hangouts in Parañaque or Makati. Alfaro’s claim buddy Rafael Jose with Tina Calma, a blind date arranged by Webb, joined them.
of a five-hour drama is like an alien page, rudely and unconnectedly inserted into They afterwards went to Faces Disco for Webb's despedida party. Among those
Webb and Carmela’s life stories or like a piece of jigsaw puzzle trimmed to fit into present were his friends Paulo Santos and Jay Ortega.24
the shape on the board but does not belong because it clashes with the
surrounding pieces. It has neither antecedent nor concomitant support in the b. The two immigration checks
verifiable facts of their personal histories. It is quite unreal.
The following day, March 9, 1991, Webb left for San Francisco, California, with
What is more, Alfaro testified that she saw Carmela drive out of her house with a his Aunt Gloria on board United Airlines Flight 808.25 Before boarding his plane,
male passenger, Mr. X, whom Alfaro thought the way it looked was also Webb passed through the Philippine Immigration booth at the airport to have his
Carmela’s lover. This was the all-important reason Webb supposedly had for passport cleared and stamped. Immigration Officer, Ferdinand Sampol checked
wanting to harm her. Again, none of Carmela’s relatives, friends, or people who Webb’s visa, stamped, and initialed his passport, and let him pass through.26 He
knew her ever testified about the existence of Mr.X in her life. Nobody has come was listed on the United Airlines Flight’s Passenger Manifest.27
forward to testify having ever seen him with Carmela. And despite the gruesome
news about her death and how Mr. X had played a role in it, he never presented On arrival at San Francisco, Webb went through the U.S. Immigration where his
himself like anyone who had lost a special friend normally would. Obviously, Mr. entry into that country was recorded. Thus, the U.S. Immigration Naturalization
X did not exist, a mere ghost of the imagination of Alfaro, the woman who made Service, checking with its Non-immigrant Information System, confirmed Webb's
a living informing on criminals. entry into the U.S. on March 9, 1991. Webb presented at the trial the INS
Certification issued by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,28 the
Webb’s U.S. Alibi computer-generated print-out of the US-INS indicating Webb's entry on March 9,
1991,29 and the US-INS Certification dated August 31, 1995, authenticated by the
Among the accused, Webb presented the strongest alibi. Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, correcting an earlier August 10, 1995
Certification.30
a. The travel preparations
c. Details of U.S. sojourn
In San Francisco, Webb and his aunt Gloria were met by the latter’s daughter, stayed with his aunt Imelda Pagaspas. He stayed there until he left for the
Maria Teresa Keame, who brought them to Gloria’s house in Daly City, Philippines on October 26, 1992.
California. During his stay with his aunt, Webb met Christopher Paul Legaspi
Esguerra, Gloria’s grandson. In April 1991, Webb, Christopher, and a certain d. The second immigration checks
Daphne Domingo watched the concert of Deelite Band in San Francisco.31 In the
same month, Dorothy Wheelock and her family invited Webb to Lake Tahoe to As with his trip going to the U.S., Webb also went through both the U.S. and
return the Webbs’ hospitality when she was in the Philippines.32 Philippine immigrations on his return trip. Thus, his departure from the U.S. was
confirmed by the same certifications that confirmed his entry.53 Furthermore, a
In May 1991, on invitation of another aunt, Susan Brottman, Webb moved to Diplomatic Note of the U.S. Department of State with enclosed letter from Acting
Anaheim Hills, California.33 During his stay there, he occupied himself with Director Debora A. Farmer of the Records Operations, Office of Records of the
playing basketball once or twice a week with Steven Keeler34 and working at his US-INS stated that the Certification dated August 31, 1995 is a true and accurate
cousin-in-law’s pest control company.35 Webb presented the company’s logbook statement. And when he boarded his plane, the Passenger Manifest of Philippine
showing the tasks he performed,36 his paycheck,37 his ID, and other employment Airlines Flight No. 103,54 certified by Agnes Tabuena55 confirmed his return trip.
papers. On June 14, 1991 he applied for a driver's license38 and wrote three
letters to his friend Jennifer Cabrera.39 When he arrived in Manila, Webb again went through the Philippine Immigration.
In fact, the arrival stamp and initial on his passport indicated his return to Manila
On June 28, 1991, Webb’s parents visited him at Anaheim and stayed with the on October 27, 1992. This was authenticated by Carmelita Alipio, the immigration
Brottmans. On the same day, his father introduced Honesto Aragon to his son officer who processed Webb’s reentry.56 Upon his return, in October 1992, Paolo
when he came to visit.40 On the following day, June 29, Webb, in the company of Santos, Joselito Erondain Escobar, and Rafael Jose once again saw Webb
his father and Aragon went to Riverside, California, to look for a car. They bought playing basketball at the BF's Phase III basketball court.
an MR2 Toyota car.41 Later that day, a visitor at the Brottman’s, Louis Whittacker,
saw Webb looking at the plates of his new car.42 To prove the purchase, Webb e. Alibi versus positive identification
presented the Public Records of California Department of Motor Vehicle43 and a
car plate "LEW WEBB."44 In using the car in the U.S., Webb even received traffic
The trial court and the Court of Appeals are one in rejecting as weak Webb’s
citations.45
alibi. Their reason is uniform: Webb’s alibi cannot stand against Alfaro’s positive
identification of him as the rapist and killer of Carmela and, apparently, the killer
On June 30, 1991 Webb, again accompanied by his father and Aragon,46 bought as well of her mother and younger sister. Because of this, to the lower courts,
a bicycle at Orange Cycle Center.47 The Center issued Webb a receipt dated Webb’s denial and alibi were fabricated.
June 30, 1991.48 On July 4, 1991, Independence Day, the Webbs, the Brottmans,
and the Vaca family had a lakeside picnic.49
But not all denials and alibis should be regarded as fabricated. Indeed, if the
accused is truly innocent, he can have no other defense but denial and alibi. So
Webb stayed with the Brottmans until mid July and rented a place for less than a how can such accused penetrate a mind that has been made cynical by the rule
month. On August 4, 1991 he left for Longwood, Florida, to stay with the spouses drilled into his head that a defense of alibi is a hangman’s noose in the face of a
Jack and Sonja Rodriguez.50 There, he met Armando Rodriguez with whom he witness positively swearing, "I saw him do it."? Most judges believe that such
spent time, playing basketball on weekends, watching movies, and playing assertion automatically dooms an alibi which is so easy to fabricate. This quick
billiards.51 In November 1991, Webb met performing artist Gary Valenciano, a stereotype thinking, however, is distressing. For how else can the truth that the
friend of Jack Rodriguez, who was invited for a dinner at the Rodriguez’s
house.52 He left the Rodriguez’s home in August 1992, returned to Anaheim and
accused is really innocent have any chance of prevailing over such a stone-cast act of Webb hurling a stone at the front door glass frames even when they were
tenet? trying to slip away quietly—just so she can accommodate this crime scene
feature. She also had Ventura rummaging a bag on the dining table for a front
There is only one way. A judge must keep an open mind. He must guard against door key that nobody needed just to explain the physical evidence of that bag
slipping into hasty conclusion, often arising from a desire to quickly finish the job and its scattered contents. And she had Ventura climbing the car’s hood, risking
of deciding a case. A positive declaration from a witness that he saw the accused being seen in such an awkward position, when they did not need to darken the
commit the crime should not automatically cancel out the accused’s claim that he garage to force open the front door—just so to explain the darkened light and
did not do it. A lying witness can make as positive an identification as a truthful foot prints on the car hood.
witness can. The lying witness can also say as forthrightly and unequivocally,
"He did it!" without blinking an eye. Further, her testimony was inherently incredible. Her story that Gatchalian,
Fernandez, Estrada, Rodriguez, and Filart agreed to take their turns raping
Rather, to be acceptable, the positive identification must meet at least two Carmela is incongruent with their indifference, exemplified by remaining outside
criteria: the house, milling under a street light, visible to neighbors and passersby, and
showing no interest in the developments inside the house, like if it was their turn
First, the positive identification of the offender must come from a credible to rape Carmela. Alfaro’s story that she agreed to serve as Webb’s messenger to
witness. She is credible who can be trusted to tell the truth, usually based on Carmela, using up her gas, and staying with him till the bizarre end when they
past experiences with her. Her word has, to one who knows her, its weight in were practically strangers, also taxes incredulity.
gold.
To provide basis for Webb’s outrage, Alfaro said that she followed Carmela to the
And second, the witness’ story of what she personally saw must be believable, main road to watch her let off a lover on Aguirre Avenue. And, inexplicably,
not inherently contrived. A witness who testifies about something she never saw although Alfaro had only played the role of messenger, she claimed leading
runs into inconsistencies and makes bewildering claims. Webb, Lejano, and Ventura into the house to gang-rape Carmella, as if Alfaro
was establishing a reason for later on testifying on personal knowledge. Her
swing from an emotion of fear when a woman woke up to their presence in the
Here, as already fully discussed above, Alfaro and her testimony fail to meet the
house and of absolute courage when she nonetheless returned to become the
above criteria.
lone witness to a grim scene is also quite inexplicable.
She did not show up at the NBI as a spontaneous witness bothered by her
Ultimately, Alfaro’s quality as a witness and her inconsistent, if not inherently
conscience. She had been hanging around that agency for sometime as a stool
unbelievable, testimony cannot be the positive identification that jurisprudence
pigeon, one paid for mixing up with criminals and squealing on them. Police
acknowledges as sufficient to jettison a denial and an alibi.
assets are often criminals themselves. She was the prosecution’s worst possible
choice for a witness. Indeed, her superior testified that she volunteered to play
the role of a witness in the Vizconde killings when she could not produce a man f. A documented alibi
she promised to the NBI.
To establish alibi, the accused must prove by positive, clear, and satisfactory
And, although her testimony included details, Alfaro had prior access to the evidence57 that (a) he was present at another place at the time of the perpetration
details that the investigators knew of the case. She took advantage of her of the crime, and (b) that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene
familiarity with these details to include in her testimony the clearly incompatible of the crime.58
The courts below held that, despite his evidence, Webb was actually in under international practice, is the official record of travels of the citizen to whom
Parañaque when the Vizconde killings took place; he was not in the U.S. from it is issued. The entries in that passport are presumed true.60
March 9, 1991 to October 27, 1992; and if he did leave on March 9, 1991, he
actually returned before June 29, 1991, committed the crime, erased the fact of The U.S. Immigration certification and computer print-out, the official
his return to the Philippines from the records of the U.S. and Philippine certifications of which have been authenticated by the Philippine Department of
Immigrations, smuggled himself out of the Philippines and into the U.S., and Foreign Affairs, merely validated the arrival and departure stamps of the U.S.
returned the normal way on October 27, 1992. But this ruling practically makes Immigration office on Webb’s passport. They have the same evidentiary value.
the death of Webb and his passage into the next life the only acceptable alibi in The officers who issued these certifications need not be presented in court to
the Philippines. Courts must abandon this unjust and inhuman paradigm. testify on them. Their trustworthiness arises from the sense of official duty and
the penalty attached to a breached duty, in the routine and disinterested origin of
If one is cynical about the Philippine system, he could probably claim that Webb, such statement and in the publicity of the record.61
with his father’s connections, can arrange for the local immigration to put a March
9, 1991 departure stamp on his passport and an October 27, 1992 arrival stamp The Court of Appeals of course makes capital of the fact that an earlier
on the same. But this is pure speculation since there had been no indication that certification from the U.S. Immigration office said that it had no record of Webb
such arrangement was made. Besides, how could Webb fix a foreign airlines’ entering the U.S. But that erroneous first certification was amply explained by the
passenger manifest, officially filed in the Philippines and at the airport in the U.S. U.S. Government and Court of Appeals Justice Tagle stated it in his dissenting
that had his name on them? How could Webb fix with the U.S. Immigration’s opinion, thus:
record system those two dates in its record of his travels as well as the dates
when he supposedly departed in secret from the U.S. to commit the crime in the While it is true that an earlier Certification was issued by the U.S. INS on August
Philippines and then return there? No one has come up with a logical and 16, 1995 finding "no evidence of lawful admission of Webb," this was already
plausible answer to these questions. clarified and deemed erroneous by no less than the US INS Officials. As
explained by witness Leo Herrera-Lim, Consul and Second Secretary of the
The Court of Appeals rejected the evidence of Webb’s passport since he did not Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., said Certification did not pass through
leave the original to be attached to the record. But, while the best evidence of a proper diplomatic channels and was obtained in violation of the rules on protocol
document is the original, this means that the same is exhibited in court for the and standard procedure governing such request.
adverse party to examine and for the judge to see. As Court of Appeals Justice
Tagle said in his dissent,59the practice when a party does not want to leave an The initial request was merely initiated by BID Commissioner Verceles who
important document with the trial court is to have a photocopy of it marked as directly communicated with the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, USA,
exhibit and stipulated among the parties as a faithful reproduction of the original. bypassing the Secretary of Foreign Affairs which is the proper protocol
Stipulations in the course of trial are binding on the parties and on the court. procedure. Mr. Steven Bucher, the acting Chief of the Records Services Board of
US-INS Washington D.C. in his letter addressed to Philip Antweiler, Philippine
The U.S. Immigration certification and the computer print-out of Webb’s arrival in Desk Officer, State Department, declared the earlier Certification as incorrect and
and departure from that country were authenticated by no less than the Office of erroneous as it was "not exhaustive and did not reflect all available information."
the U.S. Attorney General and the State Department. Still the Court of Appeals Also, Richard L. Huff, Co-Director of the Office of Information and privacy, US
refused to accept these documents for the reason that Webb failed to present in Department of Justice, in response to the appeal raised by Consul General
court the immigration official who prepared the same. But this was unnecessary. Teresita V. Marzan, explained that "the INS normally does not maintain records
Webb’s passport is a document issued by the Philippine government, which on individuals who are entering the country as visitors rather than as immigrants:
and that a notation concerning the entry of a visitor may be made at the
Nonimmigrant Information system. Since appellant Webb entered the U.S. on a In our criminal justice system, what is important is, not whether the court
mere tourist visa, obviously, the initial search could not have produced the entertains doubts about the innocence of the accused since an open mind is
desired result inasmuch as the data base that was looked into contained entries willing to explore all possibilities, but whether it entertains a reasonable, lingering
of the names of IMMIGRANTS and not that of NON-IMMIGRANT visitors of the doubt as to his guilt. For, it would be a serious mistake to send an innocent man
U.S..62 to jail where such kind of doubt hangs on to one’s inner being, like a piece of
meat lodged immovable between teeth.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals expressed marked cynicism over the
accuracy of travel documents like the passport as well as the domestic and Will the Court send the accused to spend the rest of their lives in prison on the
foreign records of departures and arrivals from airports. They claim that it would testimony of an NBI asset who proposed to her handlers that she take the role of
not have been impossible for Webb to secretly return to the Philippines after he the witness to the Vizconde massacre that she could not produce?
supposedly left it on March 9, 1991, commit the crime, go back to the U.S., and
openly return to the Philippines again on October 26, 1992. Travel between the WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the Decision dated
U.S. and the Philippines, said the lower courts took only about twelve to fourteen December 15, 2005 and Resolution dated January 26, 2007 of the Court of
hours. Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. 00336 and ACQUITS accused-appellants Hubert
Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio Lejano, Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio Fernandez,
If the Court were to subscribe to this extremely skeptical view, it might as well Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada and Gerardo Biong of the crimes of which they
tear the rules of evidence out of the law books and regard suspicions, surmises, were charged for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable
or speculations as reasons for impeaching evidence. It is not that official records, doubt. They are ordered immediately RELEASED from detention unless they are
which carry the presumption of truth of what they state, are immune to attack. confined for another lawful cause.
They are not. That presumption can be overcome by evidence. Here, however,
the prosecution did not bother to present evidence to impeach the entries in Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Director, Bureau of Corrections,
Webb’s passport and the certifications of the Philippine and U.S.’ immigration Muntinlupa City for immediate implementation. The Director of the Bureau of
services regarding his travel to the U.S. and back. The prosecution’s rebuttal Corrections is DIRECTED to report the action he has taken to this Court within
evidence is the fear of the unknown that it planted in the lower court’s minds. five days from receipt of this Decision.

7. Effect of Webb’s alibi to others SO ORDERED.

Webb’s documented alibi altogether impeaches Alfaro's testimony, not only with
respect to him, but also with respect to Lejano, Estrada, Fernandez, Gatchalian,
Rodriguez, and Biong. For, if the Court accepts the proposition that Webb was in
the U.S. when the crime took place, Alfaro’s testimony will not hold together.
Webb’s participation is the anchor of Alfaro’s story. Without it, the evidence
against the others must necessarily fall.

CONCLUSION
RULE 111 information also seeks to recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or
exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay additional filing fees based on
Prosecution of Civil Action the amounts alleged therein. If the amounts are not so alleged but any of these
damages are subsequently awarded by the court, the filing fees based on the
Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. — (a) When a criminal action is amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the judgment.
instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet
party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with
institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. the court trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both
actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing
The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made consolidation of the civil and criminal actions. (cir. 57-97)
before the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances
affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. Section 2. When separate civil action is suspended. — After the criminal action
has been commenced, the separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be
When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by instituted until final judgment has been entered in the criminal action.
way of moral, nominal, temperate, or exemplary damages without specifying the
amount thereof in the complaint or information, the filing fees thereof shall If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted,
constitute a first lien on the judgment awarding such damages. the latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment
on the merits. The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the
Where the amount of damages, other than actual, is specified in the complaint or criminal action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the
information, the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated
upon the filing thereof in court. with the criminal action in the court trying the criminal action. In case of
consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil action shall be deemed
automatically reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to the right of
Except as otherwise provided in these Rules, no filing fees shall be required for
the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the offended party
actual damages.
in the criminal case and of the parties to present additional evidence. The
consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the
accused in the criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the
During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of
subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (1a)
prescription of the civil action which cannot be instituted separately or whose
proceeding has been suspended shall be tolled. (n)
(b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed
to include the corresponding civil action. No reservation to file such civil action
The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil
separately shall be allowed.
action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if
there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission
Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions, the offended party from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. (2a)
shall pay in full the filing fees based on the amount of the check involved, which
shall be considered as the actual damages claimed. Where the complaint or
Section 3. When civil action may proceeded independently. — In the cases conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been filed
provided for in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action
the independent civil action may be brought by the offended party. It shall at any time before the prosecution rests. (6a)
proceed independently of the criminal action and shall require only a
preponderance of evidence. In no case, however, may the offended party Section 7. Elements of prejudicial question. — The elements of a prejudicial
recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal question are: (a) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or
action. (3a) intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b)
the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may
Section 4. Effect of death on civil actions. — The death of the accused after proceed. (5a)
arraignment and during the pendency of the criminal action shall extinguish the
civil liability arising from the delict. However, the independent civil action
instituted under section 3 of this Rule or which thereafter is instituted to enforce
liability arising from other sources of obligation may be continued against the
estate or legal representative of the accused after proper substitution or against RULE 112
said estate, as the case may be. The heirs of the accused may be substituted for
the deceased without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator
Preliminary Investigation
and the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.
Section 1. Preliminary investigation defined; when required. — Preliminary
The court shall forthwith order said legal representative or representatives to
investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient
appear and be substituted within a period of thirty (30) days from notice.
ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and
the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.
A final judgment entered in favor of the offended party shall be enforced in the
manner especially provided in these rules for prosecuting claims against the
Except as provided in section 7 of this Rule, a preliminary investigation is
estate of the deceased.
required to be conducted before the filing of a complaint or information for an
offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four (4) years, two (2)
If the accused dies before arraignment, the case shall be dismissed without months and one (1) day without regard to the fine. (1a)
prejudice to any civil action the offended party may file against the estate of the
deceased. (n)
Section 2. Officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigations. —
Section 5. Judgment in civil action not a bar. — A final judgment rendered in a
The following may conduct preliminary investigations:
civil action absolving the defendant from civil liability is not a bar to a criminal
action against the defendant for the same act or omission subject of the civil
action. (4a) (a) Provincial or City Prosecutors and their assistants;

Section 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. — A petition for (b) Judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
suspension of the criminal action based upon the pendency of a prejudicial Courts;
question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the prosecutor or the court
(c) National and Regional State Prosecutors; and
(d) Other officers as may be authorized by law. documents relied upon for his defense. The counter-affidavits shall be
subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided in paragraph (a) of this
Their authority to conduct preliminary investigations shall include all crimes section, with copies thereof furnished by him to the complainant. The
cognizable by the proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions. (2a) respondent shall not be allowed to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of a
counter-affidavit.
Section 3. Procedure. — The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in the
following manner: (d) If the respondent cannot be subpoenaed, or if subpoenaed, does not
submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the investigating
(a) The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be officer shall resolve the complaint based on the evidence presented by
accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as the complainant.
well as other supporting documents to establish probable cause. They
shall be in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) (e) The investigating officer may set a hearing if there are facts and
copies for the official file. The affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be
before any prosecutor or government official authorized to administer present at the hearing but without the right to examine or cross-examine.
oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, before a notary public, each of They may, however, submit to the investigating officer questions which
who must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is may be asked to the party or witness concerned.
satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits.
The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from submission of the
(b) Within ten (10) days after the filing of the complaint, the investigating counter-affidavits and other documents or from the expiration of the
officer shall either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue with the period for their submission. It shall be terminated within five (5) days.
investigation, or issue a subpoena to the respondent attaching to it a
copy of the complaint and its supporting affidavits and documents. (f) Within ten (10) days after the investigation, the investigating officer
shall determine whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the
The respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted respondent for trial. (3a)
by the complainant which he may not have been furnished and to copy
them at his expense. If the evidence is voluminous, the complainant may Section 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its review. — If the
be required to specify those which he intends to present against the investigating prosecutor finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall
respondent, and these shall be made available for examination or prepare the resolution and information. He shall certify under oath in the
copying by the respondent at his expense. information that he, or as shown by the record, an authorized officer, has
personally examined the complainant and his witnesses; that there is reasonable
Objects as evidence need not be furnished a party but shall be made ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is
available for examination, copying, or photographing at the expense of probably guilty thereof; that the accused was informed of the complaint and of
the requesting party. the evidence submitted against him; and that he was given an opportunity to
submit controverting evidence. Otherwise, he shall recommend the dismissal of
(c) Within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena with the complaint the complaint.
and supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall submit his
counter-affidavit and that of his witnesses and other supporting
Within five (5) days from his resolution, he shall forward the record of the case to investigation; and (e) the order of cancellation of his bail bond, if the resolution is
the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman for the dismissal of the complaint.
or his deputy in cases of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the
exercise of its original jurisdiction. They shall act on the resolution within ten (10) Within thirty (30) days from receipt of the records, the provincial or city
days from their receipt thereof and shall immediately inform the parties of such prosecutor, or the Ombudsman or his deputy, as the case may be, shall review
action. the resolution of the investigating judge on the existence of probable cause. Their
ruling shall expressly and clearly state the facts and the law on which it is based
No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating and the parties shall be furnished with copies thereof. They shall order the
prosecutor without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city release of an accused who is detained if no probable cause is found against him.
prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy. (5a)

Where the investigating prosecutor recommends the dismissal of the complaint Section 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. — (a) By the Regional Trial Court.
but his recommendation is disapproved by the provincial or city prosecutor or — Within ten (10) days from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge
chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy on the ground that a shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting
probable cause exists, the latter may, by himself, file the information against the evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly
respondent, or direct any other assistant prosecutor or state prosecutor to do so fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a
without conducting another preliminary investigation. warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been
arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the
If upon petition by a proper party under such rules as the Department of Justice preliminary investigation or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant
may prescribe or motu proprio, the Secretary of Justice reverses or modifies the to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the
resolution of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, he shall judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5)
direct the prosecutor concerned either to file the corresponding information days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30)
without conducting another preliminary investigation, or to dismiss or move for days from the filing of the complaint of information.
dismissal of the complaint or information with notice to the parties. The same rule
shall apply in preliminary investigations conducted by the officers of the Office of (b) By the Municipal Trial Court. — When required pursuant to the second
the Ombudsman. (4a) paragraph of section 1 of this Rule, the preliminary investigation of cases falling
under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court
Section 5. Resolution of investigating judge and its review. — Within ten (10) in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court may be conducted
days after the preliminary investigation, the investigating judge shall transmit the by either the judge or the prosecutor. When conducted by the prosecutor, the
resolution of the case to the provincial or city prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman procedure for the issuance of a warrant or arrest by the judge shall be governed
or his deputy in cases of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the by paragraph (a) of this section. When the investigation is conducted by the
exercise of its original jurisdiction, for appropriate action. The resolution shall judge himself, he shall follow the procedure provided in section 3 of this Rule. If
state the findings of facts and the law supporting his action, together with the the findings and recommendations are affirmed by the provincial or city
record of the case which shall include: (a) the warrant, if the arrest is by virtue of prosecutor, or by the Ombudsman or his deputy, and the corresponding
a warrant; (b) the affidavits, counter-affidavits and other supporting evidence of information is filed, he shall issue a warrant of arrest. However, without waiting
the parties; (c) the undertaking or bail of the accused and the order for his for the conclusion of the investigation, the judge may issue a warrant of arrest if
release; (d) the transcripts of the proceedings during the preliminary he finds after an examination in writing and under oath of the complainant and
his witnesses in the form of searching question and answers, that a probable
cause exists and that there is a necessity of placing the respondent under record of the case. However, the court, on its own initiative or on motion of any
immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice. party, may order the production of the record or any its part when necessary in
the resolution of the case or any incident therein, or when it is to be introduced as
(c) When warrant of arrest not necessary. — A warrant of arrest shall not issue if an evidence in the case by the requesting party. (8a)
the accused is already under detention pursuant to a warrant issued by the
municipal trial court in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, or if the Section 9. Cases not requiring a preliminary investigation nor covered by the
complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule or is for an Rule on Summary Procedure. —
offense penalized by fine only. The court shall then proceed in the exercise of its
original jurisdiction. (6a) (a) If filed with the prosecutor. — If the complaint is filed directly with the
prosecutor involving an offense punishable by imprisonment of less four
Section 7. When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. — When a person is (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day, the procedure outlined in
lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a section 3(a) of this Rule shall be observed. The prosecutor shall act on
preliminary investigation, the complaint or information may be filed by a the complaint based on the affidavits and other supporting documents
prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an inquest has been submitted by the complainant within ten (10) days from its filing.
conducted in accordance with existing rules. In the absence or unavailability of
an inquest prosecutor, the complaint may be filed by the offended party or a (b) If filed with the Municipal Trial Court. — If the complaint or information
peace office directly with the proper court on the basis of the affidavit of the is filed directly with the Municipal Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial
offended party or arresting officer or person. Court for an offense covered by this section, the procedure in section
3(a) of this Rule shall be observed. If within ten (10) days after the filing
Before the complaint or information is filed, the person arrested may ask for a of the complaint or information, the judge finds no probable cause after
preliminary investigation in accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a waiver personally evaluating the evidence, or after personally examining in
of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in the writing and under oath the complainant and his witnesses in the form of
presence of his counsel. Notwithstanding the waiver, he may apply for bail and searching question and answers, he shall dismiss the same. He may,
the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its inception. however, require the submission of additional evidence, within ten (10)
days from notice, to determine further the existence of probable cause. If
After the filing of the complaint or information in court without a preliminary the judge still finds no probable cause despite the additional evidence, he
investigation, the accused may, within five (5) days from the time he learns of its shall, within ten (10) days from its submission or expiration of said period,
filing, ask for a preliminary investigation with the same right to adduce evidence dismiss the case. When he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant
in his defense as provided in this Rule. (7a; sec. 2, R.A. No. 7438) of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused had already been
arrested, and hold him for trial. However, if the judge is satisfied that
Section 8. Records. — (a) Records supporting the information or complaint. — there is no necessity for placing the accused under custody, he may
An information or complaint filed in court shall be supported by the affidavits and issue summons instead of a warrant of arrest. (9a)
counter-affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together with the other
supporting evidence and the resolution on the case.

(b) Record of preliminary investigation. — The record of the preliminary


investigation, whether conducted by a judge or a fiscal, shall not form part of the
PEOPLE vs. WEBB On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, with a
modification on Biong’s penalty to six years minimum and twelve years maximum,
G.R. No. 176389 plus increased awards of damages to Lauro Vizconde. A motion for reconsideration
G.R. No. 176864 on the same court was also denied, hence the present appeal on the Supreme
December 14, 2010 Court.

APPELLEE: People of the Philippines On April 20, 2010, the Court granted the request of Webb to submit the
APPELLANTS:Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio Lejano, Machael A. Gatchalian, semen specimen taken from Carmela’s cadaver on DNA analysis, believing it is
Hospicio Fernandez, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada, and Gerardo Biong under the safekeeping of the NBI. The NBI, however, denied that the specimen is
under their custody and that it was turned over to the trial court. The trial court on
Abad, J.: the other hand, denied the claim that the specimen was under their care. This
prompted Webb to file an urgent motion to acquit denying Webb of his right to due
CASE: process.

On June 30, 1991, Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela and Jennifer ISSUE/HELD:
were brutally murdered in their home in Parañaque. In an intense investigation, a
group of suspects were initially arrested by the police, but were eventually 1.) Whether or not Webb was indeed denied of due process on the premise that the
discharged due to suspicions of frame up. Later in 1995, The National Bureau of semen specimen was lost under the care of the government and must immediately
Investigation announced the resolution of the crime as they presented a star be acquitted? NO.
witness Jessica M. Alfaro who pointed at the accused (herein appellants) Webb
et.al. as the main culprits. She also included police officer Gerardo Biong as an 2.) WON Alfaro’s testimony is entitled to belief? NO.
accessory to the crime. Relying on Alfaro’s testimony, information for rape with
homicide was filed by the public prosecutors against appellants. 3.) WON Webb’s evidences are proven sufficient enough to rebut Alfaro’s
testimony? NO.
Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City Branch 274 presided over by Judge
Tolentino took over the case. With Alfaro’s detailed narration of the events of the 4.) WON Biong acted to cover up the crime after its commission, thus making
crime, the court found her testimony credible, noting that her delivery are himself an accessory to the crime? NO.
spontaneous and straightforward. On January 4, 2000, trial court rendered
judgment finding accused (herein appellants) guilty as charged, imposing them the WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SET ASIDE the Decision dated December 15,
penalty of reclusion perpetua while Biong, as an accessory to the crime, was given 2005 and Resolution dated January 26, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-
an indeterminate prison term of eleven years, four months and one day to twelve H.C. 0336 and Acquits accused-appellants Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio Lejano,
years. Damages were also awarded to Lauro Vizconde. Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio Fernandez, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada and
Gerardo Biong of the crimes of which they were charged for failure of the
prosecution to prove their guild beyond reasonable doubt. They are ordered
immediately RELEASED from detention unless they are confined for another lawful evidence, and he left for Philippines on October 26, 1992. Supreme Court accused
cause. the trial and court of appeals as having a mind that is made cynical by the rule
drilled into his head that a defense of alibi is a hangman’s noose in the faces of a
1.) Webb cited Brady v. Maryland, and claimed that he is entitled to outright witness sweaking “I saw him do it.” A judge, according to the SC, must keep an open
acquittal on the ground of violation of his right to due process given the State’s mind, and must guard against slipping into hasty conclusion arising from a desire to
failure to produce on order of the Court either by negligence or willfull suppression quickly finish the job of deciding a case. For positive identification to be credible,
the semen specimen taken from Carmela. Webb is not entitled to acquittal for two criteria must be met; 1.) the positive identification of the offender must come
failure to produce the semen specimen at such stage. Brady v. Maryland was from a credible witness 2.) the witness’ story of what she personally saw must be
overtaken by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona v. Youngblood which held believable, not inherently contrived. For alibi to be credible and established on the
that due process does not require the State to preserve the semen specimen other hand, it must be positive, clear, and documented. It must show that it was
although it might be useful to the accused unless the latter is able to show bad faith physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Webb was able to
on the part of the prosecution or the police. Further, during the previous appeals establish his alibi’s credibility with his documents. It is impossible for Webb, despite
made on CA, the appellants expressed lack of interest in having a DNA test done, his so called power and connections to fix a foreign airlines’ passenger manifest.
and so the State cannot be deemed put on reasonable notice that it may be Webb’s departure and arrival were authenticated by the Office of the US Attorney
required to be produced some future time. General and the State Department.

2.) Alfaro’s testimony, was found doubtful. Testified by Atty. Sacaguing, he


claimed that Alfaro was an asset of the NBI since 1994. When the officers one day
teased her about being dormant, she became piqued and suddenly claimed that she
know someone who knows about the massacre. But when the said “someone” was
not presented, she told Sacaguing that she might as well assume the role of her
informant. Alfraro never refuted such testimony. It is possible for Alfaro to lie even
with such intricate details, given that she practically lived in the NBI office.
Moreover, the media is all over the case that everything is thoroughly reported.
Generally, her story lacks sense or suffers from inherent inconsistencies.

3.) Among the accused, it was Webb who presented the strongest alibi. His travel
preparations were confirmed by Rajah Tours and the Philippine immigration,
confirming that he indeed left for San Francisco, California with his Aunt Gloria on
March 9, 1991 on board United Airlines Flight 808. His passport was stamped and
his name was listed on the United Airlines Flight’s Passenger Manifest. Upon
reaching US, the US Immigration recorded his entry to the country. Moreover,
details of his stay there, including his logs and paychecks when he worked,
documents when he purchased a car and his license are presented as additional
Teves vs . Sandiganbayan We find no sufficient evidence that petitioner Teresita Teves conspired with, or
G.R. No. 154182 December 17, 2004 knowingly induced or caused, her husband to commit the second mode of violation of
Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law.
Facts:
That on or about February 4, 1992, and sometime subsequent thereto, in Valencia, The acts of petitioner Teresita Teves can hardly pass as acts in furtherance of a
Negros Oriental, Philippines, accused Edgar Y. Teves, a public officer, being then conspiracy to commit the violation of the Anti-Graft Law that would render her equally
the Municipal Mayor of Valencia, Negros Oriental, committing the crime-herein liable as her husband. If ever she did those acts, it was because she herself was an
charged in relation to, while in the performance and taking advantage of his official owner of the cockpit. Not being a public official, she was not prohibited from holding
functions, and conspiring and confederating with his wife, herein accused Teresita an interest in cockpit. Prudence, however, dictates that she too should have divested
Teves, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally cause the issuance of herself of her ownership over the cockpit upon the effectivity of the LGC of 1991;
the appropriate business permit/license to operate the Valencia Cockpit and otherwise, as stated earlier, considering her property relation with her husband, her
Recreation Center in favor of one Daniel Teves, said accused Edgar Y. ownership would result in vesting direct prohibited interest upon her husband.
Teves having a direct financial or pecuniary interest therein considering the fact that
said cockpit arena is actually owned and operated by him and accused Teresita In criminal cases, conviction must rest on a moral certainty of guilt. The burden of
Teves. proof is upon the prosecution to establish each and every element of the crime and
that the accused is either responsible for its commission or has conspired with the
Issue: malefactor. Since no conspiracy was proved, the acquittal of petitioner Teresita
whether a public official charged with violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. Teves is, therefore, in order.
3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for
unlawful intervention, in his official capacity, in the issuance of a license in favor of a
business enterprise in which he has a pecuniary interest may be convicted, together
with his spouse, of violation of that same provision premised on his mere possession
of such interest.

Held:
Petitioner Teresita Teves must, however, be acquitted. Conspiracy must be
established separately from the crime itself and must meet the same degree of
proof, i.e., proof beyond reasonable doubt. While conspiracy need not be established
by direct evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before,
during, and after the commission of the crime, all taken together, the evidence must
reasonably be strong enough to show community of criminal design.

Certainly, there is no conspiracy in just being married to an erring spouse. For a


spouse or any person to be a party to a conspiracy as to be liable for the acts of the
others, it is essential that there be intentional participation in the transaction with a
view to the furtherance of the common design. Except when he is the mastermind in
a conspiracy, it is necessary that a conspirator should have performed some overt
act as a direct or indirect contribution in the execution of the crime planned to be
committed. The overt act must consist of active participation in the actual commission
of the crime itself or of moral assistance to his co-conspirators.