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EN BANC

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. Nos. 138874-75


Plaintiff-Appellee,
Present:

DAVIDE, JR., C.J.


PUNO,
- versus - PANGANIBAN,
QUISUMBING,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CARPIO,
FRANCISCO JUAN LARRAAGA alias AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
"PACO"; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN CORONA,
ADLAWAN alias "WESLEY"; CARPIO MORALES,
CALLEJO, SR.,
ALBERTO CAO alias "ALLAN
AZCUNA,
PAHAK"; ARIEL BALANSAG, TINGA,
DAVIDSON VALIENTE RUSIA alias NAZARIO, and
"TISOY TAGALOG"; JAMES GARCIA, JJ.
ANTHONY UY alias "WANGWANG";
and JAMES ANDREW UY alias Promulgated:
"MM",
Accused-Appellants. July 21, 2005
x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------x

RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:
At bar are four (4) motions for reconsideration separately filed by

appellants (1) Francisco Juan Larraaga, (2) Josman Aznar, (3) Rowen Adlawan,

Alberto Cao and Ariel Balansag, and (4) James Anthony Uy and James Andrew

Uy, assailing our Decision dated February 3, 2004 convicting them of the crimes

of (a) special complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention

and (b) simple kidnapping and serious illegal detention, the dispositive portion

of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 7,


Cebu City in Criminal Cases Nos. CBU-45303 and 45304
is AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:

(1) In Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, appellants FRANCISCO


JUAN LARRAAGA alias PACO; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN
ADLAWAN alias WESLEY; ALBERTO CAO aliasALLAN PAHAK; ARIEL
BALANSAG; and JAMES ANDREW UY alias MM, are found guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of kidnapping and
serious illegal detention with homicide and rape and are sentenced to
suffer the penalty of DEATH by lethal injection;

(2) In Criminal Case No. CBU-45304, appellants FRANCISCO


JUAN LARRAAGA alias PACO; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN
ADLAWAN alias WESLEY; ALBERTO CAO aliasALLAN PAHAK; ARIEL
BALANSAG; and JAMES ANDREW UY alias MM, are found guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of simple kidnapping and serious
illegal detention and are sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION
PERPETUA;

(3) In Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, appellant JAMES ANTHONY


UY, who was a minor at the time the crime was committed, is likewise
found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of
kidnapping and serious illegal detention with homicide and rape and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA; in
Criminal Case No. CBU-45304, he is declared guilty of simple kidnapping
and serious illegal detention and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
TWELVE (12) years of prision mayor in its maximum period, as MINIMUM,
to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal in its medium period,
as MAXIMUM;

(4) Appellants are ordered to pay jointly and severally the heirs of
Marijoy and Jacqueline, in each case, the amounts of (a) P100,000.00 as
civil indemnity, (b) P25,000.00 as temperate damages, (c) P150,000.00 as
moral damages, and (d) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Three (3) Justices of the Court maintain their position that RA 7659
is unconstitutional insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; nevertheless,
they submit to the ruling of the majority that the law is constitutional and
the death penalty can be lawfully imposed in the case at bar.

In accordance with Article 83 of The Revised Penal Code, as


amended by Section 25 of RA No. 7659, upon the finality of this Decision,
let the records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the
President for the possible exercise of Her Excellencys pardoning power.

SO ORDERED.

Appellants anchor their motions on the following grounds:

A. LARRAAGA

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN BARRING LARRAAGA


AND THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
(NBI) REGIONAL DIRECTOR FLORENCIO VILLARIN
FROM TESTIFYING;

II

THE POLICE PLANTED EVIDENCE ON APPELLANTS;

III

LARRAAGA SUFFICIENTLY PROVED HIS ALIBI;


IV

THE TRIAL COURT PREVENTED THE INTRODUCTION


OF KEY DEFENSE EVIDENCE;

THE CORPSE FOUND IN THE RAVINE WAS NOT THAT


OF MARIJOY; AND

VI

PROSECUTION WITNESS RUSIA WAS A COACHED


WITNESS.[1]

B. AZNAR

THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT


THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF
THE ACCUSED TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

II

THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN (A) DISCHARGING


DAVID RUSSIA AS STATE WITNESS;
AND (B) CONVICTING THE APPELLANTS MAINLY ON
THE BASIS OF THE TESTIMONY OF RUSIA.

III

THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN REJECTING THE


DEFENSE OF APPELLANT AZNAR.

IV

THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING THE


DEATH PENALTY ON THE APPELLANTS.[2]
C. ADLAWAN, BALANSAG, CAO

PROSECUTION WITNESS RUSIA IS NOT QUALIFIED TO


BE A STATE WITNESS UNDER PARAGRAPHS (D) AND
(E), SECTION 17 OF THE REVISED RULES OF CRIMINAL
PROCEDURE.

II

RUSIAS TESTIMONY AND THAT OF THE OTHER


PROSECUTION WITNESSES WERE INCREDIBLE,
INCONSISTENT, AND UNWORTHY OF BELIEF.

III

BIAS AND PREJUDICE AGAINST THE DEFENSE WERE


GLARINGLY DISPLAYED BY THE COURT A QUO
WHICH GREATLY AFFECTED THE OUTCOME OF THE
CASE.

IV

THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS FOR THE


CRIME CHARGED HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.[3]

D. JAMES ANDREW AND JAMES ANTHONY UY

ACCUSED JAMES ANDREW S. UY WAS, LIKE HIS


YOUNGER BROTHER JAMES ANTHONY S. UY, A MINOR
AT THE TIME THE OFFENSES AT BAR ALLEGEDLY
HAPPENED LAST JULY 16, 1997;
II

THE IDENTITY OF THE DEAD BODY OF THE WOMAN


FOUND IN TAN-AWAN, CARCAR, CEBU LAST JULY 18,
1997 WAS NEVER CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHED THUS
THE NEED FOR ITS EXHUMATION FOR DNA TESTING;[4]

In his supplemental motion for reconsideration dated March 25, 2004,

Larraaga submitted a separate study of Dr. Racquel Del Rosario-Fortun, Forensic

Pathologist, to show that the examination conducted by the prosecution expert

witnesses on the body found in Tan-awan, Carcar is inadequate.

In a similar supplemental motion for reconsideration [5], Aznar submitted to

this Court the Affidavit dated February 27, 2004 of Atty. Florencio Villarin,

Regional Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, Central Visayas, to

show that: (1) the police investigation of this case was flawed; (2) he (Aznar) was

arrested in 1997 not because of his involvement in this case but because he had in

his possession a pack of shabu and firearms; and (3) David Rusia is not a credible

witness.

On July 15, 2004, the Solicitor General filed a consolidated

comment[6] praying that the four (4) motions for reconsideration be denied with

finality, there being no new argument raised. He responded to appellants

assignments of errors by exhaustively quoting portions of our challenged

Decision.
In his consolidated comment[7] to Aznars supplemental motion for

reconsideration, the Solicitor General enumerated the grounds why Atty.

Villarins Affidavit should not be given consideration. On February 15, 2005,

Aznar filed a reply alleging that the Solicitor General read out of context certain

portions of the Affidavit. He argued that the

Affidavit only exposes the flawed investigation of the Chiong case and that, at

the time of his arrest, there was no evidence against him. On March 4, 2005, the

Solicitor General filed a rejoinder stating that Aznars reply actually supports the

undersigned counsels (Solicitor Generals) position that Atty. Villarins Affidavit is

utterly inadequate to prove his innocence or at least even acquit them on

reasonable doubt, thus, it would be useless to call for new trial on the basis of

such Affidavit. On March 29, 2005, Aznar filed a sur-rejoinder insisting that the

Affidavit should be given due consideration.

Except for the motion filed by appellants Uy brothers with respect to James

Andrews alleged minority, we find all the motions bereft of merit.

At the inception, let it be emphasized that the filing of a motion for

reconsideration does not impose on us the obligation to discuss and rule again

on the grounds relied upon by the movant which are mere reiteration of the

issues previously raised and thoroughly determined and evaluated in our

Decision being questioned. In Ortigas and Company Limited Partnership vs. Velasco,
[8]
we ruled that, "this would be a useless formality of ritual invariably involving

merely a reiteration of the reasons already set forth in the judgment or final order

for rejecting the arguments advanced by the movant."

The foregoing principle applies squarely to the motions filed by appellants

Larraaga, Aznar, Adlawan, Cao and Balansag, it being apparent that the points

raised therein are not neoteric matters demanding new judicial determination.

They are mere rehash of the arguments set forth in their respective briefs which

we already considered, weighed and resolved before we rendered the Decision

sought to be reconsidered.

However, in view of the severity of the penalties for the crimes charged,

we deem it necessary to stress once more our basis in convicting appellants.

The following is a prcis of the issues submitted by appellants in their

motions:

This Court erred

first, in according credence to Rusias testimony;

second, in rejecting appellants alibi;

third, in holding that the trial court did not violate their right to due

process when it excluded the testimony of other defense witnesses; and


fourth, in holding that the body found in Tan-awan, Carcar was not that of

Marijoy.

In deciding a criminal case, the policy of the courts is always to look at the

case in its entirety. The totality of the evidence presented by both the prosecution

and the defense are weighed, thus, averting general conclusions from isolated

pieces of evidence. This means that an appeal of a criminal case opens its entire

records for review.[9]

Appellants vigorously contend that we should not have sustained Rusias

testimony hook, line and sinker, owing to his tainted record and

reputation. However, it must be stressed that Rusias testimony was not viewed

in isolation. In giving credence to Rusias testimony, the trial court took into

consideration the physical evidence and the corroborative testimonies of other

witnesses. Thus, we find no reason why we should not uphold the trial courts

findings.

We reiterate our pronouncement in our Decision that what makes Rusias

testimony worthy of belief is its striking compatibility with the physical

evidence. Physical evidence is one of the highest degrees of proof. It speaks more

eloquently than all witnesses put together. [10] The presence of Marijoys ravished

body in a deep ravine at Tan-awan, Carcar with tape on her mouth and

handcuffs on her wrists certainly


bolstered Rusias testimony on what actually took place from Ayala Center to

Tan-awan. Indeed, the details he supplied to the trial court are of such nature

and quality that only a witness who actually saw the commission of the crimes

could furnish. Reinforcing his testimony is its corroboration by several other

witnesses who saw incidents of what he narrated. Rolando Dacillo and Mario

Minoza witnessed Jacquelines two failed attempts to escape from appellants

near Ayala Center. Benjamin Molina and Miguel Vergara recognized Rowen as

the person who inquired from them where he could find a vehicle for hire on the

evening of July 16, 1997. Alfredo Duarte saw Rowen when he bought barbeque

and Tanduay at Nenes Store while the white van, driven by Cao, was waiting on

the side of the road and he heard voices of quarreling male and female

emanating from the van. And lastly, Manuel Camingao and Rosendo

Rio testified on the presence of Larraaga and Josman at Tan-awan, Carcar at

dawn of July 17, 1997. All these bits and pieces of story form part of Rusias

narration. Now, with such strong anchorage on the physical evidence and the

testimonies of disinterested witnesses, why should we not accord credence to

Rusias testimony? Even assuming that his testimony standing alone might

indeed be unworthy of belief in view of his character, it is not so when

considered with the other evidence presented by the prosecution.

II
Appellants likewise claimed that we should have not sustained the trial

courts rejection of their alibi. Settled is the rule that the defense of alibi is

inherently weak and crumbles in the light of positive declarations of truthful

witnesses who testified on affirmative matters. [11] Being evidence that is negative

in nature and self-serving, it cannot attain more credibility than the testimonies

of prosecution witnesses who testify on clear and positive evidence. [12] On top of

its inherent weakness, alibi becomes less plausible as a defense when it is

corroborated only by relatives or close friends of the accused. [13]

This case presents to us a balance scale whereby perched on one end is

appellants alibi supported by witnesses who were either their relatives, friends or

classmates, while on the other end is the positive identification of the herein

appellants by the prosecution witnesses who were not, in any way, related to the

victims. With the above jurisprudence as guide, we are certain that the balance

must tilt in favor of the latter.


Besides, a thorough examination of the evidence for the prosecution shows
that the appellants failed to meet the requirements of alibi, i.e., the requirements
of time and place.[14] They failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence
that it was physically impossible for them to be at the Ayala Center, Cebu City
when the Chiong sisters were abducted. What is clear from the evidence is that
Rowen, Josman, Ariel, Alberto, James Anthony and James Andrew were all
within the vicinity of Cebu City on July 16, 1997.

Not even Larraaga who claimed to be in Quezon City satisfied the


required proof of physical impossibility. During the hearing, it was shown that it
takes only one (1) hour to travel by plane from Manila to Cebu and that there are
four (4) airline companies plying the route. One of the defense witnesses
admitted that there are several flights from Manila to Cebu each morning,
afternoon and evening. Indeed, Larraagas presence in Cebu City on July 16,
1997 was proved to be not only a possibility but a reality. Four (4) witnesses
identified Larraaga as one of the two men talking to Marijoy and Jacqueline on
the night of July 16, 1997. Shiela Singson testified that on July 16, 1997, at
around 7:20 in the evening, she saw Larraaga approach Marijoy and Jacqueline
at the West Entry of Ayala Center. The incident reminded her of Jacquelines
prior story that he was Marijoys admirer. Shiela confirmed that she knows
Larraaga since she had seen him on five (5) occasions. Analie Konahap also
testified that on the same evening of July 16, 1997, at about 8:00 oclock, she saw
Marijoy and Jacqueline talking to two (2) men at the West Entry of Ayala
Center. She recognized the two (2) men as Larraaga and Josman, having seen
them several times at Glicos, a game zone, located across her office at the third
level of Ayala Center. Williard Redobles, the security guard then assigned at
Ayala Center, corroborated the foregoing testimonies of Shiela and Analie. In
addition, Rosendo Rio, a businessman from Cogon, Carcar, declared that he saw
Larraaga at Tan-awan at about 3:30 in the morning of July 17, 1997. The latter
was leaning against the hood of a white van. [15] And over and above all, Rusia
categorically identified Larraaga as one of the participes criminis.

Taking the individual testimonies of the above witnesses in relation with


that of Rusia, we are convinced that Larraaga was indeed in Cebu City at the
time of the commission of the crimes and was one of the principal perpetrators
thereof.

At this juncture, it bears mentioning that this case is not the first time

that Larraaga was charged with or complained of pruriently assaulting young

female students in Cebu. Months before the abduction of Marijoy and Jackie, the

parents of a certain Rochelle Virtucio, complained about Larraagas attempt to


snatch their young daughter and drag her in a black, stylish Honda Civic. It

happened just near the gate of Rochelles school, thus, showing his

impudence. We quote a portion of the transcript of stenographic notes dated

September 23, 1998, thus:

ATTY. HERMOSISIMA:
Your Honor please, this is a . Inspector Era handed to this representation
a copy of a Letter dated September 25, 1996, addressed to the Student
Affairs Office, University of San Carlos,P. del Rosario Street, Cebu
City, and this is signed by Leo Abayan and Alexander Virtucio and
noted by Mrs. Aurora Pacho, Principal, University of San Carlos, Girls
High School, and for the record, I will read the content:

TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN:

We the parents and guardians of Rochelle Virtucio, a first


year high school student of your University of San Carlos-
Girls High School, are writing your good office about an
untoward incident involving our daughter and another
student of your school.

xxxxxx

That last Monday at around 5:00 PM, Rochelle and other


classmates, Michelle Amadar and Keizaneth Mondejar,
while on their way to get a ride home near the school
campus, a black Honda Civic with five young male
teenagers including the driver, suddenly stopped beside
them, and simultaneously one of them, which was later
identified as FRANCISCO JUAN LARRANAGA, a
BSHRM I student of your school, grabbed Rochelle by her
hand to try to get Rochelle to their vehicle. She resisted
and got away from him. Sensing some people were
watching what they were doing, they hurriedly sped away.

We are very concerned about Rochelles safety. Still now,


she is suffering the shock and tension that she is not
supposed to experience in her young life. It is very hard
for us parents to think about what shed been through.[16]

The presence of such complaint in the record of this case certainly does not

enhance Larraagas chance of securing an acquittal.

III

Larraaga and Aznar bewail our refusal to overturn the trial courts

exclusion of Professor Jerome Bailen and Atty. Florencio Villarin, NBI, Regional

Director, as defense witnesses. Professor Bailen was properly excluded. First, he

is not a finger-print expert but an archaeologist. And second, his report consists

merely of the results of his visual inspection of the exhibits already several

months old. Anent Atty. Villarins failure to testify before the trial court, suffice it

to say that his belated Affidavit, which Aznar submitted via his supplemental

motion for reconsideration dated May 5, 2004, raises nothing to change our

findings and conclusions. What clearly appears in said Affidavit is a man trying

to impress people that he was the one responsible for solving the Chiong case

and for that, he deserves a promotion. The trial court, at the onset, must have

seen such immateriality in his intended testimony. Indeed, we agree with the

Solicitor Generals observation that such Affidavit is neither helpful nor

encouraging to Aznars cause. We quote his keen reflection on the matter:


xxxxxx

Third. Atty. Villarins affidavit, in paragraphs 19 and 20 thereof,


acknowledged that the body found in the Carcar ravine was that of
Marijoy. This assertion immediately conflicts with accused-
appellant Aznars claim in his Motion for Reconsideration that the
corpse was not Marijoys. Surely, something is amiss in accused-
appellant Aznars recollection of his defense.

Fourth. Atty. Villarin confirmed in paragraph 24 of his affidavit


that accused-appellant Francisco Larranaga was a suspect in the
subject crimes. Evidently, this statement completely supports this
Honorable Courts findings in its Decision dated February 3, 2004.

Fifth. In paragraph 30 of Atty. Villarins affidavit, he stated


that: The arrest of Juzman Aznar was the major breakthrough in
the investigation of the case because witnesses came out and
identified Juzman Aznar as one of those allegedly seen talking to
the victims on the night they disappeared. Hence, accused-
appellant Aznar was in the beginning already a first-grade suspect
in the Chiong sisters celebrated abduction and killing.

Sixth. Atty. Villarin admitted in paragraph 36 of his affidavit


that: x x x I did not take this against [Supt. Labra] for preempting
our next move to get Juzman Aznar as we were already placing
him under surveillance because I knew [Supt. Labra] did it in his
honest desire to help solve the crime x x x. Clearly, this statement
is not an indictment of the investigation that the police undertook
in the subject crimes.

Seventh. Paragraphs 37 to 40 are nothing but personal tirades


against alleged influence peddling by Mrs. Thelma Chiong, mother
of the victims, and the purportedly undue promotions of the
lawyers and police officers who unearthed the evidence against
accused-appellants and successfully prosecuted the latter. In
executing the affidavit, it appears that Atty. Villarin would want
to impress that he, rather than those promoted, deserved the
promotion.

Eighth. Atty. Villarins inability to testify in the criminal cases


was not due solely to the prosecutions action. Whether he ought to
testify or not was an argument openly discussed in court. Hence,
for the resulting inability, Atty. Villarin has no one to blame but the
defense lawyers who did everything to make a mockery of the
criminal proceedings.

And lastly, there is nothing in Atty. Villarins affidavit of the


quality of a smoking gun that would acquit accused-appellants of
the crimes they have been convicted. For he did not finish the
police investigation of the subject crimes; this is the long and short
of his miniscule role in the instant case. Indeed, judging by the
substance of his affidavit, he would not be testifying in case a
new trial is held on anything that has not been said and rejected
heretofore, except his own unsubstantiated opinions (i.e. not facts
as required by evidentiary rules), his self-congratulatory remarks,
and his unmitigated frustration over failing to get a promotion
when almost everyone else did.[17]

Neither can we entertain at this late stage Dr. Fortuns separate study to show

that the examination conducted on the body found in Tan-awan, Carcar is

inadequate. Such study cannot be classified as newly-discovered evidence

warranting belated reception. Obviously, Larraaga could have produced it

during trial had he wished to.

IV

Knowing that the prosecutions theory highly rests on the truth of Rusia
testimony, appellants endeavor to destroy it by claiming that the body found at
the foot of a deep ravine in Tan-awan, Carcar was not that of Marijoy. We must
reiterate the reasons why we cannot give our assent to such argument. First,
Inspector Edgardo Lenizo,[18] a fingerprint expert, testified that the fingerprints of
the corpse match those of Marijoy.[19] Second, the packaging tape and the handcuff
found on the dead body were the same items placed on Marijoy and Jacqueline
while they were being detained. [20] Third, the body had the same clothes worn by
Marijoy on the day she was abducted. [21] And fourth, the members of the Chiong
family personally identified the corpse to be that of Marijoy [22] which they
eventually buried. They erected commemorative markers at the ravine, cemetery
and every place which mattered to Marijoy. As a matter of fact, at this very
moment, appellants still fail to bring to the attention of this Court any person
laying a claim on the said body. Surely, if the body was not that of Marijoy, other
families who had lost someone of similar age and gender as Marijoy would have
surfaced and claimed the body. The above circumstances only bolster Rusias
narration that Rowen and Ariel pushed Marijoy into the deep ravine, following
Josmans instruction "to get rid" of her.

On the issue raised by appellants Uy brothers that James Andrew was only

seventeen (17) years and two hundred sixty two (262) days old at the time the

crimes were committed, the records bear that on March 1, 1999, James Andrews

birth certificate was submitted to the trial court as part of the Formal Offer of

Additional Evidence,[23] with the statement that he was eighteen (18) years old.

On March 18, 1999, appellants filed a Manifestation of Erratum correcting in part

the Formal Offer of Additional Evidence by alleging that James Andrew was

only seventeen (17) years old.[24]

Now, James Andrew begs leave and prays that this Court admits at this

stage of the proceedings his (1) Certificate of Live Birth issued by the National

Statistics Office, and (2) Baptismal Certificate. He prays that his penalty be

reduced, as in the case of his brother James Anthony.

The entry of James Andrews birth in the Birth Certificate is not legible, thus it is

extremely difficult for us to determine the veracity of his claim. However,

considering that minority is a significant factor in the imposition of penalty, we

find it proper to require the Solicitor General (a) to secure from the Local Civil
Registrar of Cotobato City, as well as the National Statistics Office, a clear and

legible copy of James Andrews Birth Certificate, and thereafter, (b) to file

an extensive comment on the motion for reconsideration filed by James Andrew

and James Anthony Uy, solely on James Andrews claim of minority.

Insofar as James Anthony is concerned, we maintain his conviction and

penalty, there being nothing in his motion which warrants a reconsideration of

our Decision.

In resolving the instant motions, we have embarked on this painstaking

task of evaluating every piece and specie of evidence presented before the trial

court in response to appellants plea for the reversal of their conviction. But, even

the element of reasonable doubt so seriously sought by appellants is an ignis

fatuus which has eluded any intelligent ratiocination of their submissions. Verily,

our conscience can rest easy on our affirmance of the verdict of the trial court, in

light of appellants clear culpability which demands retribution.

WHEREFORE, the motions for reconsideration filed by appellants

Francisco Juan Larraaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Cao and Ariel

Balansag are hereby DENIED. The Solicitor General is DIRECTED (a) to secure

from the Local Civil Registrar of Cotobato City, as well as the National Statistics

Office, a clear and legible copy of James Andrews Birth Certificate,

and (b) within ten (10) days therefrom, to file an extensive comment on the

motion for reconsideration filed by James Andrew and James Anthony Uy, solely
on James Andrews claim of minority. The motion is likewise DENIED insofar as

James Anthony Uy is concerned.

SO ORDERED.

HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.


Chief Justice

REYNATO S. PUNO ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN


Associate Justice Associate Justice

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ ANTONIO T. CARPIO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ RENATO C. CORONA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA DANTE O. TINGA


Associate Justice Associate Justice
MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby


certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Court.

HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.


Chief Justice

[1]
As summarized by the Solicitor General, Rollo at 1881. It was filed on March 4, 2004.
[2]
Rollo at 1517. It was filed on March 5, 2004.
[3]
Id. at 1480. It was filed on March 3, 2004.
[4]
Id. at 1789. It was filed on March 23, 2004.
[5]
Dated May 5, 2004, Id., at 1841-1845.
[6]
Id., at 1879-1924.
[7]
It was filed on January 12, 2005.

[8]
G.R. No. 109645, March 4, 1996, 254 SCRA 234.
[9]
Obosa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 114350, January 16, 1997,266 SCRA 281.
[10]
People. v. Bardaje, G.R. No. L-29271. August 29, 1980, 99 SCRA 3881 ; G.R. Nos. 76416 and 94312, July 5,
1999;. People v. Bermas, G.R. Nos. 76416 and 94312, July 5, 1999, 309 SCRA 741; People v. Sacabin, G.R.
No. L-36638, June 28,1974, 57 SCRA 707; People v. Demeterio, G.R. No. L-48255, September 30, 1983, 124
SCRA 914.
[11]
People vs. Rollon, G.R. No. 131915, September 3, 2003, 410 SCRA 295.
[12]
Ibid.
[13]
People v. Datingginoo, G.R. No. 95539, June 14, 1993, 223 SCRA 331; People v. Abatayo, G.R. No. 139456.
July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 562.
[14]
People vs. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 108180, February 8, 1994, 229 SCRA 754.
[15]
TSN, September 15, 1998 at 26-47.
[16]
At 43-46.
[17]
Consolidated Comment of the Office of the Solicitor General, at 2-4.
[18]
Inspector Lenizo finished Law and Criminology. He worked for the crime laboratory of the Philippine National
Police where he was trained in finger-print examination and where he conducted around 500 finger-print
examinations, 30 of which involved dead persons. At the time he testified, Inspector Lenizo was head of the
Fingerprint Identification Branch of the PNP Crime Laboratory, Region 7.
[19]
TSN, September 22, 1998 at 31-40.
[20]
See also TSN, September 23, 1998 at 13, 20.
[21]
TSN, August 18, 1998 at 62; August 19, 1998 at 115; September 23, 1998 at 13, 20.
[22]
TSN, August 18, 1998 at 62; August 19, 1998 at 57, 60.
[23]
Rollo, at 1894.
[24]
Id., at 1948.