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PEOPLE v. ZOSIMO AGUILA Y ATIENZA

This case has been cited 30 times or more.

2011-04-12
DEL CASTILLO, J.
is crucial in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime where only the participants therein can testify to its occurrence.  In this regard, a restatement of a consistent ruling is in order.  The rule is that "the findings of fact of trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings, are accorded high respect if not conclusive effect."[17]  This is especially true if such findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, thereby making such findings generally binding upon this Court.
2010-02-16
VELASCO JR., J.
In rejecting Leozar's contention that there was no treachery and in affirming the factual findings of the RTC, the appellate court held that the prosecution sufficiently established all the elements of treachery as enumerated in People v. Aguila[17] and People v. Recepcion.[18] Moreover, citing People v. Agudez,[19] it ratiocinated that the use of the samurai with a 24-inch blade which inflicted the fatal wound and the location of the wound at the neck of Vincent demonstrated the deliberate and treacherous nature of the assault.
2009-10-28
PERALTA, J.
Finally, we also do not agree with the DOJ Secretary's finding that since Sardia's affidavit was also belatedly executed, the same is not credible. As we have said, witnesses are usually reluctant to volunteer information about a criminal case or are unwilling to be involved in or dragged into criminal investigations due to a variety of valid reasons.[40] Fear of reprisal and the natural reluctance of a witness to get involved in a criminal case are sufficient explanations for a witness' delay in reporting a crime to authorities.[41] The DOJ ruling -- that fear could not have been the reason, because as early as 1998 Sardia had already filed a complaint for attempted murder against Sapiandante, which was already dismissed -- is merely speculative.
2009-06-18
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
In addition, the award of exemplary damages is in order because of the presence of the qualifying circumstance of minority of the victim and relationship. When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code.[27]  This kind of damage is intended to serve as deterrent to serious wrongdoings, as a vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured, or as punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct.[28]
2009-03-31
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
As to the award of moral and exemplary damages, the CA correctly held accused-appellants jointly and severally liable to pay the heirs of Rolando Sevilla for the same. Moral damages are awarded despite the absence of proof of mental and emotional suffering of the victim's heirs. As borne out by human nature and experience, a violent death invariably and necessarily brings about emotional pain and anguish on the part of the victim's family.[30] If a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. This kind of damage is intended to serve as deterrent to serious wrongdoings and as vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured, or as a punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct.[31] However, consistent with recent jurisprudence on heinous crimes where the imposable penalty is death but reduced to reclusion perpetua pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346, the award of moral damages should be increased from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00[32] while the award of exemplary damages should be increased from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00.[33]
2009-03-17
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The above arguments are untenable. In his testimony, Enrico Cebuhano clearly stated that the men who entered his home removed their masks when he was brought downstairs. Why they did so was known only to them. It is possible that they thought that there was no one in the vicinity who could identify them, or that they wanted Enrico to see who they were so as to intimidate him. It is also possible that they felt secure because there were 14 of them who were all armed. In any event, what is important is that the trial court found Enrico Cebuhano's testimony to be both credible and believable, and that he was able to positively identify appellants herein, because the men who entered his home removed their masks, x x x. It is significant to note that Chua Ong Ping Sim and Raymond were brutally killed as a result of the kidnapping. It is difficult to believe that Robert and Yao San would point to appellants and their cohorts as their kidnappers if such were not true. A witness' relationship to the victim of a crime makes his testimony more credible as it would be unnatural for a relative interested in vindicating a crime done to their family to accuse somebody other than the real culprit.[56] Relationship with a victim of a crime would deter a witness from indiscriminately implicating anybody in the crime. His natural and usual interest would be to identify the real malefactor and secure his conviction to obtain true justice for the death of a relative.[57]
2008-12-04
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The award of P50,000.00 for civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages is in accord with the prevailing jurisprudence.[42]
2008-11-27
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Denial is inherently a weak defense, as it is negative and self-serving. It cannot prevail over the positive identification and testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.[60]
2008-10-29
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Denial is inherently a weak defense as it is negative and self-serving. Corollarily, alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to prove.[46] Denial and alibi must be proved by the accused with clear and convincing evidence otherwise they cannot prevail over the positive testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.[47] For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.[48]
2008-10-17
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Denial is inherently a weak defense as it is negative and self-serving. Corollarily, alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to prove. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.[75]
2008-08-29
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.
It is a settled rule that factual findings of the trial courts, including their assessment of the witnesses' credibility, are entitled to great weight and respect by the Supreme Court, particularly when the CA affirmed such findings.[26] After all, the trial court is in the best position to determine the value and weight of the testimonies of witnesses.[27] The absence of any showing that the trial court plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case, or that its assessment was arbitrary, impels the Court to defer to the trial court's determination according credibility to the prosecution evidence.
2008-08-06
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The fact that the killing was done in broad daylight, in the presence of many people and that Lobos saw his assailants approaching, do not negate treachery. We have held that these circumstances do not abrogate treachery as long as the attack was executed in such a manner as to make it impossible for the victim to retaliate or to defend himself.[32] As earlier discussed, both arms of Lobos were immediately held by appellant Lacaba to prevent him from retaliating and, at the same time, to facilitate his stabbing by appellant Goleas. In such a helpless situation, it was impossible for Lobos to repel the attack or escape.
2008-06-27
YNARES-SATIAGO, J.
Factual findings of the trial courts, including their assessment of the witness' credibility are entitled to great weight and respect by the Supreme Court particularly when the Court of Appeals affirmed such findings.[6] The Court will not alter the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses because of its unique opportunity to observe the manner and demeanor of witnesses while testifying. [7] We find no cogent reason to depart from this rule.
2008-06-25
QUISUMBING, J.
Finally, as evident premeditation has been taken to qualify the offense to murder, treachery may be appreciated as an ordinary aggravating circumstance, to support the award of exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000. In People v. Aguila, [34] we emphasized that exemplary damages of P25,000 are recoverable if there was present an aggravating circumstance, whether qualifying or ordinary, in the commission of the crime. [35]
2008-04-18
REYES, R.T., J.
Elementary is the rule that when the findings of the trial court have been affirmed by the appellate court, the said findings are generally binding upon this Court.[22]
2008-04-09
REYES, R.T., J.
The trial court observed that AAA's and BBB's testimonies bear the hallmarks of truth.  Their testimonies are "spontaneous, convincing and highly-credible."[45] We find no cogent reason not to apply here the oft-repeated rule that the matter of assigning values to the declaration of witnesses on the stand is a matter best left to the discretion of the trial court.  The trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply; or the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the sincere or the flippant or sneering tone, the heat, the calmness, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien.[46]  This doctrine assumes greater significance when the determination of the trial court on the credibility of a witness has been affirmed by the appellate court.[47]
2008-03-28
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
However, in addition to these damages, exemplary damages should also be awarded to the heirs of the victim, since the qualifying circumstance of treachery was proven by the prosecution.[42] When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code.[43] This kind of damage is intended to serve as a deterrent to serious wrongdoings and as a vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured, or as a punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct.[44]
2007-11-28
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The rule is that the findings of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded respect if not conclusive effect.[42] This is more true if such findings were affirmed by the appellate court. When the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally binding upon this Court.[43]
2007-11-28
TINGA, J,
trial court has the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of a witness and is in the best position to discern whether they are telling the truth. This rule holds true especially when the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court.[30]
2007-09-12
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The rule is that the findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings, are accorded high respect if not conclusive effect.[41]  This is more true if such findings were affirmed by the appellate court.  When the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally binding upon this Court.[42]
2007-09-11
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Also affirmed is the ruling of the trial court and the Court of Appeals imposing upon the appellants the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Also in order is the award of moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00.[21]  However, the award of civil indemnity in the amount of P60,000.00 needs to be reduced to  P50,000.00 in accordance with the prevailing jurisprudence.[22]   The award of exemplary damages is likewise in order, since the qualifying circumstance of treachery was proven.[23]  When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code.[24]  This kind of damage is intended to serve as deterrent to serious wrongdoings, and as a vindication for undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured or as punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct.[25]
2007-08-28
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
It is to be noted that the Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the RTC. In this regard, it is settled that when the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally conclusive and binding upon this Court.[22] We find no compelling reason to deviate from their findings.
2007-08-28
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The rule is that the findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded high respect if not conclusive effect.[26] This is more true if such findings were affirmed by the appellate court. When the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally binding upon this Court.[27]
2007-08-17
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Unblemished testimony cannot always be expected from witnesses.[17] This is especially applicable when they are called to recount the details of a grisly event that happened before their eyes. Minor disagreements in their testimony do not at all crush the veracity of the evidence in its entirety, nor should they reflect adversely on the witnesses' credibility, as they erase suspicion that the testimonies were rehearsed or concocted.[18] Inconsistencies on minor and trivial matters serve to strengthen rather than destroy the credibility of witnesses to a crime.[19] Provided that their testimonies agree on substantial matters, as in this case, the inconsequential contradictions do not dilute the witnesses' credibility.
2007-07-10
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Denial is inherently a weak defense as it is negative and self-serving. It cannot prevail over the positive identification and testimonies of witnesses unless buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability. Corollarily, alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.[44]
2007-06-25
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Denial is inherently a weak defense, as it is negative and self-serving. It cannot prevail over the positive identification and testimony of witnesses unless buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability. Corollarily, alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the accused was when the crime happened and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of the access between the two places.[34]
2007-04-24
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
Also affirmed is the ruling of the RTC and the Court of Appeals imposing upon the appellant the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering the appellant to pay the heirs of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. However, in addition to these damages, exemplary damages should also be awarded to the heirs of the victim since the qualifying circumstance of treachery was proven by the prosecution.[19] When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code.[20] This kind of damage is intended to serve as deterrent to serious wrongdoings, and as a vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured or a punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct.[21]
2007-04-23
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
We find the evidence of the prosecution to be more credible than that adduced by petitioner. When it comes to credibility, the trial court's assessment deserves great weight, and is even conclusive and binding, if not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence. The reason is obvious. Having the full opportunity to observe directly the witnesses' deportment and manner of testifying, the trial court is in a better position than the appellate court to evaluate properly testimonial evidence.[60] It is to be noted that the Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the RTC. In this regard, it is settled that when the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally conclusive and binding upon this Court. We find no compelling reason to deviate from their findings.[61]
2007-03-27
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
Although Policarpio testified that he was together with the appellant before the victim was killed, which testimony allegedly runs contrary to the declaration of Maribel that Policarpio and the victim were together before the incident, the same is only a minor inconsistency which does not detract from the fact that it was appellant who killed Eleuterio. Besides, witnesses cannot be expected to give a flawless testimony all the time. This is even more true if they are called to testify on details of a harrowing and frightening event which unfolded before their eyes.[9] Thus, even if witnesses may have erred in some aspects of their testimonies, the same do not necessarily impair their testimonies nor corrode their credibility.[10]
2007-03-20
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
It is doctrinal that the trial court's evaluation of the credibility of a witness and his/her testimony is accorded the highest respect because of the latter's untrammeled opportunity to observe directly the demeanor of a witness and thus, to determine whether he/she is telling the truth.[32] It is also settled that when the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally conclusive and binding upon this Court.[33]