G.R. No. 152375 : December 16 2011
FACTS: A Complaint for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution, and damages was filed against the respondents before the Sandiganbayan. It was alleged that that respondents illegally manipulated the purchase of the major shareholdings of Cable and Wireless Limited in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (ETPI). In the proceedings for Civil Case 0130, the testimony of Mr. Bane was taken by way of deposition upon oral examination before the consul general of the Philippine Embassy in London. The purpose was for Bane to identify and testify on the facts set forth in his affidavit in order to prove the ownership issue in favor of the petitioner and/or establish the prima facie factual foundation for sequestration of ETPI’s Class A stock. As to Civil Case 009, the petitioner filed a motion to adopt the testimonies of the witnesses in Civil Case 0130, including the deposition of Mr. Bane which was denied by the Sandiganbayan because he was not available for cross-examination. The petitioners did not question the said denial, and instead made its Formal Offer of Evidence. The Bane deposition was not included as part of the exhibit. Thus, they filed a second motion with prayer for re-opening of the case for the purpose of introducing additional evidence and requested the court to take judicial notice of the facts established by the Bane deposition. This was denied by the Sandiganbayan.
ISSUE: Whether or not Bane’s deposition is admissible under the Rules of Court? Yes.
HELD: YES. Before a party can make use of the deposition taken at the trial of a pending action, Section 4, Rule 23 of the Rules of Court does not only require due observance of its sub-paragraphs (a) to (d); it also requires, as a condition for admissibility, compliance with “the rules on evidence.” Thus, even Section 4, Rule 23 of the Rules of Court makes an implied reference to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court before the deposition may be used in evidence. In this case, the deponent Maurice V. Bane was the Executive Vice-President and Treasurer of ETPI from 1974 until his retirement in 1987. Maurice V. Bane had personal knowledge of and involvement in the circumstances leading to the formation of ETPI in 1974, which is crucial to petitioner’s allegation that private respondents’ interest in ETPI rightfully belongs to the Government. To dismiss the Bane deposition as inadmissible based on the tenuous ground that there was no “actual consolidation” of cases is to disregard the obvious fact that the Bane deposition was taken in CIVIL CASE NO. 0009 (Incident Case No. 0130 and G.R. No. 107789) and that all the defendants (now private respondents) in Civil Case No. 0009 were duly notified of the scheduled deposition-taking.
G.R. No. 186227: July 20 2011: 669 Phil. 461
Offense Involved: R.A. 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002)
FACTS: Sometime in 2003, the Task Forcer Regional Anti-Crime Emergency Response (RACER) in Butuan City received a report that a 17 yrs old named Mantalaba was selling shabu. A buy-bust operation was conducted in the evening of October 1, 2003. After this, two informations were filed against Mantalaba which was later on consolidated. During arraignment, Mantalaba pleaded not guilty. Trial ensued and the RTC found Mantalaba guilty beyond reasonable doubt and was penalized of reclusion perpetua to death and fine of 500k for selling shabu, and for illegally possessing shabu. Mantalaba was penalized, in application of the ISL, 6 yrs and 1 day as minimum and 8 yrs as maximum of prision mayor and fine of 300k. CA affirmed in toto the decision of the RTC. Thus, the present appeal.
- Whether or not the lower court erred in convicting accused-appellant of drug trafficking and possession?
- Whether or not lower court erred in disregarding accused-appellant’s minority as privileged mitigating circumstance in fixing the penalty?
- No. Lower court did not err in convicting accused-appellant Mantalaba of drug trafficking and possession. Prosecution was able to establish the evidence of actual sale between him and the poseur-buyer, as well as the chain of custody of the seized shabu. The buy-bust operation was valid, establishing the following: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefore. From the above testimony of the prosecution witness, it was well established that the elements have been satisfactorily met. The seller and the poseur-buyer were properly identified. The subject dangerous drug, as well as the marked money used, were also satisfactorily presented. The testimony was also clear as to the manner in which the buy-bust operation was conducted. Non-compliance by the apprehending/buy-bust team with Section 21 is not fatal as long as there is justifiable ground therefor, and as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. Its non-compliance will not render an accused arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible.
- Yes. Lower court erred in disregarding accused-appellant’s minority as privileged mitigating circumstance in fixing the penalty. The Court of Appeals must have appreciated Mantalaba’s minority as privileged mitigating circumstance in fixing the penalty. Thus, applying the rules stated above, the proper penalty should be one degree lower than reclusion perpetua, which is reclusion temporal, the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority having been appreciated. Necessarily, also applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law (ISLAW), the minimum penalty should be taken from the penalty next lower in degree which is prision mayor and the maximum penalty shall be taken from the medium period of reclusion temporal, there being no other mitigating circumstance nor aggravating circumstance.
G.R. No. 186417: July 27 2011: 670 Phil. 397
Offense Involved: Kidnapping and illegal detention with Rape
FACTS: On or on about midnight of December 2, 2000, AAA was dancing with her elder sister, BBB in the plaza. AAA went out of the dancing hall to buy candies in a nearby store. While making her way back through the crowd, a man grabbed her hand, his arm wrapped her shoulders, with a knife’s point thrust at her right side. Mirandilla held AAA in detention for thirty-nine (39) days in separate cells situated in the city. He carnally abused her while holding a gun and/or a knife for twenty-seven (27) times, employing force and intimidation. At least once, Mirandilla put his penis in AAA’s mouth against her will while employing intimidation, threats, and force. AAA was able to escape one afternoon. She was able to reach the house of one Evelyn Guevarra who brought her to the police station on January 11, 2001. Guevarra bathed AAA and the police gave AAA food. When the police presented to her pictures of suspected criminals, she recognized Mirandilla’s face. Mirandilla was charged before the RTC of Legazpi City with kidnapping with rape, four counts of rape, and rape through sexual assault. Mirandilla denied the charges against him. He insisted that he and AAA were live-in partners and that their sexual encounters were consensual. The RTC convicted him of the offenses charged. The CA affirmed with modification the RTC ruling convicting Mirandilla. It found him guilty of the special complex crime of kidnapping with rape (instead of kidnapping as ruled by the RTC), four counts of rape, and one count of rape by sexual assault. Mirandilla appealed.
- Whether or not the Court of Appeals properly convicted Mirandilla of the special complex crime of kidnapping with rape, four counts of rape, and one count of rape by sexual assault?
- No. The Court of Appeals did not properly convicted Mirandilla The proper offense is special complex crime of kidnapping and illegal detention with rape. AAA was able to prove each element of rape committed under Article 266-A, par. 1(a) of the Revised Penal Code, that (1) Mirandilla had carnal knowledge of her, (2) through force, threat, or intimidation. She was also able to prove each element of rape by sexual assault under Article 266-A, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code: (1) Mirandilla inserted his penis into her mouth, (2) through force, threat, or intimidation. Likewise, kidnapping and serious illegal detention is provided for under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code which states that any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death if the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than three days. However, no matter how many rapes had been committed in the special complex crime of kidnapping with rape, the resultant crime is only one kidnapping with rape. This is because these composite acts are regarded as a single indivisible offense as RA 7659 punishes these acts with only one single penalty.
G.R. No. 178321: October 05 2011: 674 Phil. 444
Offense Involved: Rape with Homicide
FACTS: At around 6 PM of June 6, 2000, AAA and Jennifer Patawaran-Rosal, were walking along the rice paddies on their way to apply for work at a canteen near the National Highway in Sampaloc, San Rafel, Bulacan. Suddenly, appellant, who was holding an ice pick and a lead pipee, waylaid them and forcibly brought them to a grassy area at the back of a concrete wall. Thereafter, appellant struck AAA in the head with the lead pipe causing her to feel dizzy and to fall down. When Jennifer saw this, she cried out for help but appellant also hit her on the head with the lead pipe, knocking her down. Appellant stabbed Jennifer several times with the ice pick and covered her body with thick grass. Appellant then turned to AAA wherein he hit her in the head and stabbed her on the face. While AAA was in such defenseless position, appellant raped her. Thereafter, accused covered her with grass. At that point, AAA passed out. After gaining consciousness, AAA asked for help from her uncle and she was brought to the hospital where she stayed for more than 3 weeks. Appellant denied the charges against him. He testified that he was at home cooking dinner around the time the crimes were committed. RTC found appellant guilty of the 2 crimes. He was sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua for the murder of Jennifer and Reclusion Perpetua for the rape he committed to AAA.
- Whether or not lower court erred in finding accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the death of Jennifer and for the Rape AAA?
- Accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt for Rape with Homicide and Rape. The prosecution in this case was able to prove both the rape of AAA and the killing of Jennifer both perpetrated by appellant, he is liable for rape with homicide under 266-B. The facts established showed that the constitutive elements of rape with homicide were consummated. the foremost consideration in the prosecution of rape is the victim’s testimony and not the findings of the medico-legal officer. In fact, a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape; the victim’s testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict.