SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 111193. January 28, 1997]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FERDINAND SUAREZ, alias "Jojo", LORETO REYES, alias "Dondon" and "Larry"; WILFREDO LARA, alias "Cortal" and "Willy"; MARIA VICTORIA G. SUAREZ; NOLI LICSI, alias "Nio"; VICENTE RODRIGUEZ, alias "Waway"; and MORRIS SANTOS, alias "Wanky", accused,

WILFREDO LARA, accused-appellant.

D E C I S I O N

REGALADO, J.:

In the early hours of December 8, 1987, Arlene Tuyor was awakened by loud knocking sounds on the door of her room. She was a domestic helper at that time, working in the household of Estrellita Guzman at 22 Sta. Teresita Street, Barrio Capitolyo, Pasig, Metro Manila. Also in the house then were the nieces of Estrellita, namely, Maria Prescilla Guzman (Babyruth), Maria Cristina Guzman (Cristy) and Maria Victoria Suarez (Marivic). Babyruth and Marivic had been adopted by Estrellita as her own daughters. Marivic's husband, Ferdinand Suarez (Jojo), and her three children likewise lived in Estrellita's bungalow-type house.

Upon opening the door, Tuyor was surprised to see Ferdinand Suarez, her "Seorito Jojo," surrounded by two men wearing black nylon cloths over their heads and faces. One of the men had a big body frame while the other had a small physique. The men immediately entered her room, tied her up and asked for her money. She was also asked if she knew Jojo. Getting no response from Tuyor, the intruders left her room bringing Suarez with them.

From her room, Tuyor heard the sound of the microwave oven located in the kitchen. She also heard the main door of the house slamming and someone crying in the house. When Tuyor went out of her room, she saw Marivic weeping in the living room. She proceeded to her employer's bedroom and found Estrellita bleeding and lying on her bed. All this time, accused Suarez was just sitting on the chair of the piano. [1]

Estrellita later died due to severe hemorrhage secondary to stab wounds. Post-mortem examinations revealed that she had sustained an elliptical and gaping wound on the right side of her abdomen and another wound of the same nature on the left side of her back. Further examination also disclosed that the deceased suffered an incised wound on her left thumb.[2]

When police investigators arrived at the scene of the crime, they found a half-eaten chicken on the dining table, [3] four pieces of black nylon cloth, [4] pieces of blue and white ropes, [5] three pieces of cloth, [6] and two strands of ordinary wire. [7] They initially surmised that the intruders had forcibly entered the house through its back door located in the kitchen. [8] They arrived at this conclusion after finding a piece of wire inserted in the knob of the kitchen door [9] and its chain lock's anchor detached from the doorjamb. However, the door's dead bolt lock was intact and in perfect condition. [10]

Ferdinand Suarez narrated to Patrolman Pablo Roxas [11] of the Eastern Police District (EPD) at Meralco Avenue, Pasig what he claimed to have experienced on that fateful day, in this wise:

At around 3:00 A.M. of December 8, 1987, he was awakened by someone holding his hands and putting a piece of rag in his mouth. When he opened his eyes, he saw somebody pointing a knife at him and another at his wife. He saw inside their room six men with nylon cloths over their faces. When he was about to resist, one of the men hit him on the face and threatened to kill him, his wife and his children. After they had tied and gagged him and also covered his eyes, the men brought him out to the dining room. He heard the door of Estrellita being pushed open, and then Estrellita shouting.

Afterwards, he was brought to the room shared by Cristy and Babyruth and mauled in front of them. After that, he was brought to the room of Arlene Tuyor. From the maid's room, he was again brought to the dining room where he was tied to one of the chairs of the dining table. From there, he heard the men cooking with the use of the microwave oven in the kitchen. After a while, Estrellita cried loudly and called for Marivic. He later heard the running of the engine of one of their cars and the main door being slammed shut. After the men left at about five o'clock in the morning, he discovered that the trespassers had taken some things in the house such as a television set, a radio, a betamax and other household items.

As the police were getting no leads about the identity of the malefactors, the lawyer of the family of the deceased sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The case was assigned to Atty. Salvador Ranin. Atty. Ranin concluded that the perpetrators could not have entered the house without the aid of somebody inside as the bolt lock of the kitchen door can only be released from within. He had one suspect in mind, that is, Ferdinand Suarez, or Jojo. [12]

Ranin had discovered in the course of his investigation that there were no signs of injuries or rope marks on Suarez and that he was not on good terms with Estrellita when the crime happened. He was even found positive for deception after taking the polygraph test at the NBI. Suarez eventually revealed to Ranin his involvement in the commission of the crime after Ranin told him that he had damaging information to the effect that Suarez had left the house in the evening of December 7, 1987.

In his sworn statement [13] before the NBI, Suarez said that one Loreto Reyes, alias "Dondon" or Larry, approached him during the last week of November, 1987 and talked to him to allow Reyes and his group to rob their house as they badly needed money for the Christmas season. It was only after the group threatened to kill him that Suarez acceded to their demand, on the condition that they would only steal but should not kill him.

On November 29, 1987, Suarez gave to Reyes and his gang the keys to the door of the house, the door of Babyruth's and Cristy's room, and the door of Estrellita's room in order to have them duplicated. He returned to Reyes and the others on December 5, 1987 to receive instructions on what to do. He was told that the group would go to their place in the early morning of December 8, 1987. On the agreed date, at around twelve o'clock noon, Suarez disengaged the bolt lock of the kitchen door and unlocked the door of their rooms as earlier instructed by the gang.

The felons arrived at the house at around two o'clock in the morning and proceeded to Suarez and Marivic' s room. Suarez saw four men with covers on their faces, but he recognized one of them as Reyes through his voice and build. They immediately bound Marivic and when one of the members of the gang was about to tie up Suarez, Reyes stopped him.

After Suarez was dragged out of the room, he told the group who were the occupants of the different rooms in the house. Two men entered the room of Babyruth and Cristy while Reyes and the fourth man went to Estrellita's room. They were able to enter Estrellita's room with the use of their duplicate key and after they had kicked open the door of her room. Estrellita shrieked when they went inside her room.

The two men brought Suarez to his sisters-in-law's room to point out to them what they could get from that room. Afterwards, he was brought to the dining table. From there, he saw the men asking Estrellita for the keys of the gate of the house and the car. After they brought Estrellita back to her room, two of the men brought Suarez to the maid's quarters.

Reyes asked Suarez to cook a chicken he found in the refrigerator. While Suarez was cooking the chicken in the microwave oven, the men took off the covers on their faces, smoked marijuana and drank liquor. They were not able to finish eating the chicken because it was not evenly cooked. When Estrellita shouted the name of Marivic, Rodriguez, one of the companions of Reyes, went to her room. Suarez heard only soft and fading moans from Estrellita after that.

Before they left, the marauders told Suarez not to tell the police or the NBI or else they would kill his mother. They slammed the front door shut and used the car of Estrellita to leave the house at around five o'clock in the morning.

The NBI soon found out that "Dondon" or Larry is Loreto Reyes, a former neighbor of Suarez in San Miguel, Pasig where he used to live before he transferred to his wife's residence at Barrio Capitolyo.[14] Reyes also admitted his participation in the commission of the crime and gave a written statement [15] to the NBI.

He began his confession by implicating Wilfredo Lara in the crime. He said that while he, Arthur Lara, Morris Santos, and Eduardo Lozada were doing nothing in their place in San Miguel, Pasig, Lara approached them and told them that he had some good news. Lara told them that he was asked by Suarez to look for some men who could kill his Auntie Estrellita. Reyes could not believe what he heard, so Lara called Suarez to let him tell the gang about his offer.

Apparently, Suarez wanted his aunt killed so that he and his wife could get at once any property that Marivic might inherit from Estrellita upon the latter's demise. In exchange for the job, Suarez would allow them to steal what they wanted from the house, in addition to giving them P100,000.00 after one month from the killing of Estrellita.

They initially planned to carry out the criminal plot on December 5, 1987 but the group of Reyes backed out on the agreed date when they felt unsure about the plan. However, they had duplicates made of the keys to the house, which keys had been left by Suarez under one of Estrellita's cars. The plan finally materialized on December 8, 1987 at about two o'clock in the morning. The persons who were to execute the plan were Noli Licsi, Vicente Rodriguez, Morris Santos, and Reyes. Before they went to Capitolyo, the group took some prohibited drugs and smoked marijuana.

Aided by the sketch of the house provided by Suarez, the group went directly to the back of the house and opened the back door with their duplicate key. As agreed upon earlier, Suarez had released the bolt and chain lock of the said door to facilitate their entry into the house. Once inside, Suarez, who was waiting for them there, instructed them to tie him and his wife. After doing so, they opened the bedrooms of Babyruth, Cristy and Estrellita. The men then tied them up inside their respective rooms. Since Santos and Licsi were the ones who entered Cristy's and Babyruth's room, Reyes could not be sure what they got from those rooms.

Reyes further revealed that before they went into the house, Suarez had earlier loosened the screws of the chain lock on the door of Estrellita's room. So, with their duplicate key and a little push from outside, Reyes and Rodriguez were able to easily enter Estrellita's room. As Estrellita was surprised by the entry of the two men, she instinctively held the knife being brandished by Reyes which thereby cut her thumb. The two men then tied Estrellita.

It was after the gang was able to tie all the occupants of the house that they started taking the betamax, jewelry, computer machine, camera, watches and other things inside the house. Estrellita Guzman pointed out to them where they could find her jewelry. They brought Suarez inside her room so that he could also show them where Estrellita's other jewelry and valuables were, and then they covered her with a blanket.

After taking what they wanted, the scoundrels ate the chicken Suarez had cooked for them and drank the imported liquor he offered. They also smoked marijuana. While they were drinking, Suarez remembered the maid, Tuyor, so he and two men went to her room and staged a show of their mauling Suarez in front of her. They then tied the maid and continued drinking outside. Thereafter, Suarez told the gang to kill Estrellita. Reyes said that Santos and Rodriguez were the ones who stabbed Estrellita because they told him later that each of them stabbed the old lady once.

Before Reyes and the gang left the place, Marivic told them to get their television ranger and to disarrange the things in their room to show that the couple was not spared by the criminals. Suarez ordered them to cut the telephone line and Reyes did so. Then, Suarez told Reyes to pull the chain lock of the kitchen door to make it appear that the door had been forced open from outside. Reyes complied with Suarez instructions. To hide the fact that a duplicate key was used in opening the kitchen door, the perpetrators inserted a wire in the doorknob keyhole of the kitchen door upon the prodding of Suarez.

The intruders left the house at around four o'clock in the morning. In getting out of the house, the gang used the front door and rode in one of the cars of Estrellita. From the statement of Reyes, it appears that the cabal wore black nylon cloths over their heads and faces when they committed the despicable crime.

Atty. Ranin was able to retrieve the duplicate keys used by the gang [16] from the father of Reyes [17] after Reyes had admitted that the keys could be found in his father's house in Montalban. Wilfredo Lara was arrested by the NBI at the house of his parents- in-law in Northern Samar. When brought to the NBI office at Taft Avenue, Manila, he likewise confessed his participation in the crime and gave a sworn statement. [18]

According to Lara, Suarez went to his house at San Miguel, Pasig on December 2, 1987 to ask him if he knew people who would be willing and capable of robbing a house. Lara told him that there were some persons he knew who could do the job and he brought Suarez to the group of Larry Reyes, Noli Licsi, Morris Santos and Vicente Rodriguez at Dr. Pilapil Street, San Miguel, Pasig. When Reyes and Suarez started talking, Lara left the place.

On December 4, 1987, Lara saw Suarez talking with the same group in front of a store. He overheard them planning the robbery of a house in Barrio Capitolyo on December 8, 1987. On December 7, 1987, he again saw Suarez and the gang when they agreed to consummate their earlier plan. Lara denied that he joined the group that robbed the house in Barrio Capitolyo and added that he never received any share of the loot from them. He did not report the matter to the police for fear of reprisal. He even went to the place of his in-laws at Nabas, Samar to avoid the group.

Based on the foregoing statements and on other evidence submitted by the NBI to the then provincial fiscal of the former municipality of Pasig, an information for the crime of robbery with homicide was filed against Ferdinand Suarez, Loreto Reyes, Wilfredo Lara, Maria Victoria G. Suarez, Noli Licsi, Vicente Rodriguez, and Morris Santos. The case was raffled to Branch 152 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig[19] and docketed as Criminal Case No. 72249.

As stated in the information, which was twice amended, the felony was-allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about the 8th day of December, 1987 in the Municipality of Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together with one Mauro Santos whose true identity and present whereabouts is still unknown and mutually helping and aiding with one another, by means of force, violence and intimidation employed upon the person of one Estrellita Guzman did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry away from the house of said Estrellita Guzman the following articles, to wit:

a. Jewelry

b. Computer machine

c. TC Sony Ranger

d. Radio Cassette

e. Five (5) assorted cameras and other valuables

all in the total amount of P650,000.00 more or less, that on the occasion of the said robbery and for the purpose of enabling them to take, rob and carry away the articles above-mentioned, herein accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping and aiding with one another, armed with bladed weapons, with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab said Estrellita Guzman, thereby causing the latter to sustain fatal injuries which directly caused her death. [20]

Only accused Suarez, Reyes and Lara were brought within the jurisdiction of the lower court as the other accused went into hiding and were able to evade the joint manhunt set up by the police and the NBI. Suarez, Reyes and Lara pleaded not guilty despite their earlier confessions before the NBI. Although they admitted that they signed and placed their thumbmarks on their respective statements, they tried to show during their trial that those statements were procured through coercion, intimidation and violence by the NBI agents and without the assistance of counsel. Accused Suarez reiterated the earlier version he gave to the EPD, while accused Reyes and Lara raised the defense of alibi by claiming that they were respectively at Montalban, Rizal and Samar at the time the crime was committed.

The prosecution however, presented witnesses who were present during the taking of the statements of the accused and they testified that those statements were given freely and voluntarily, and were taken with observance of the constitutional guarantees, during the custodial investigation.

Relying on the extrajudicial confessions of the accused and on the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution, the trial court found the three accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide, and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to solidarily pay to the heirs of the victim P30,000.00 as death indemnity, P420,00.00 for loss of earning capacity, and the costs. [21]

While Suarez and Reyes have already accepted the trial court's verdict, Lara now questions the lower court's decision by challenging the admissibility of their extrajudicial declarations marked as Exhibits O, P and Q. He claims that their extrajudicial confessions were obtained through force and intimidation and without the benefit of an effective counsel. [22]

It is important to note at the outset that this Court has no jurisdiction to review the judgment of conviction imposed upon Suarez and Reyes for they have not filed any notice of appeal for themselves. [23] And while we are cognizant of the rule that the right to claim the inadmissibility of an extrajudicial confession is personal in nature, in the sense that only the confessant whose rights during an investigation were violated can raise an objection, [24] we deem it necessary to discuss in this appeal the circumstances surrounding the execution of Reyes's sworn statement in evaluating appellant Lara's own extra curia declaration. Although an extrajudicial confession is admissible only against the confessant, jurisprudence makes it admissible as corroborative evidence of other facts that tend to establish the guilt of his co-accused. [25]

The lower court treated the confessions of the three accused as interlocking confessions sufficient to corroborate and bolster the truth of each accused's own incriminating statements. This doctrine of interlocking confessions has been accepted and recognized in numerous decisions of this Court as an exception to the res inter alios acta rule and the hearsay rule. [26] Reyes' confession is thus admissible against Lara to show the probable involvement of the latter in the perpetration of the crime. Where the confession is used as circumstantial evidence to show the probability of participation by an accused co-conspirator, that confession is receivable as evidence against him. [27]

But while herein appellant does not deny the validity and operation of the above rule in his situation, he maintains that his co-accused ' s confessions must comply with the requirements found in Section 12, Article III of the Constitution before they can be considered probative of his guilt. [28] We see no need to rule on the admissibility of Suarez' statement because Lara was never mentioned or implicated therein. What interests us is that of Reyes, since appellant Lara claims alleged violence, torture and maltreatment suffered by him and Reyes at the hands of the NBI agents.

After a thorough review of the records of the case, we agree with the lower court' s factual finding and conclusion that the extrajudicial confessions of accused Reyes and appellant Lara were freely and voluntarily given and that their retraction and claims of violence and coercion were merely belated contrivances and efforts at exculpation. Their claim that they were forced to sign their respective statements was sufficiently refuted by the witnesses for the prosecution who were present on the day and time the duo gave and signed their sworn statements. [29]

Once the prosecution has shown that there was compliance with the constitutional requirement on pre-interrogation advisories, a confession is presumed to be voluntary and the declarant bears the burden of proving that his confession is involuntary and untrue. [30] The burden is on the accused to destroy this presumption. [31] A confession is admissible until the accused successfully proves that it was given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat, or promise of reward or leniency. [32]

The sworn statements signed by accused Reyes and appellant Lara state that they had been informed of their rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Reyes stated that he had been assisted by counsel during the custodial investigation and appellant Lara confirmed that he was assisted by a lawyer when he waived his constitutional rights. Additionally, several witnesses for the People testified before the lower court that the constitutional mandates were observed during their investigation. Reyes and Lara were not even able to show any evil or dubious motive corrosive of the credibility of these witnesses whom the court a quo found more worthy of belief than the witnesses for the defense.

Accused failed to submit any evidence, apart from their own testimony, that violence and intimidation had been inflicted upon them to extort their sworn confessions. They never complained to Prosecutor Capistrano nor to anyone else about the physical beatings that they claim had been inflicted upon them. They did not ask for medical assistance and there was no proof that any such request was denied. Although Reyes submitted a medical certificate to attest to supposed injuries, the court below did not believe it and accepted it merely to prove its existence. [33]

Extrajudicial confessions independently made without collusion, almost identical with each other in their essential details which could have been known only to the declarants, and corroborated by other evidence against the person or persons implicated to show the probability of the latter' s actual participation in the commission of the crime, are thus impressed with features of voluntariness in their execution. [34] Also, the failure of an accused to complain to the swearing officer [35] or to file charges against the persons who allegedly maltreated him, although he had all the chances to do so, manifests voluntariness in the execution of the confession. [36]

We find no merit in herein appellant' s contention that Atty. Saunar was not Reyes' own choice as counsel for the interrogation. While the initial choice of the lawyer in cases where a person under custodial investigation cannot afford the services of a lawyer is naturally lodged in the police investigators, the accused really has the final choice as he may reject the counsel chosen for him and ask for another one. A lawyer provided by the investigators is deemed engaged by the accused where he never raised any objection against the former's appointment during the course of the investigation and the accused thereafter subscribes to the veracity of his statement before the swearing officer. [37]

Here, while the lawyers of the accused were provided by the NBI, the accused never signified their desire to have a lawyer of their own choice. Thus, we also disagree with appellant' s claim that the lawyer who assisted him in his waiver came in only after he had executed his waiver. His own statement shows that he waived his rights in the presence and with the advice of Atty. Rodolfo Dahiroc.

To be an effective counsel, a lawyer need not challenge all the questions being propounded to his client. The presence of a lawyer is not intended to stop an accused from saying anything which might incriminate him but, rather, it was adopted in our Constitution to preclude the slightest coercion as would lead the accused to admit something false. [38] The counsel, however, should never prevent an accused from freely and voluntarily telling the truth. [39] Hence, absent any showing that the lawyers who assisted the accused were remiss in their duties, it can be safely concluded that the custodial investigation of Reyes and Lara were regularly conducted. [40]

Even disregarding for a moment Reyes' extrajudicial declaration, appellant Lara can still be held accountable under his own sworn statement. Well-entrenched is the rule that it is not necessary that an eyewitness should testify to having seen the accused committing the crime or had seen him under circumstances indicating his having committed the crime, before the accused may be held liable under his confession. [41] This is how much weight and credence our jurisprudence gives to a confession. The Rules of Court [42] provide that "(t)he declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or any offense necessarily included therein, may be given in evidence against him. "

Of course, when the confession is made outside of court proceedings, it must be accompanied by evidence of the corpus delicti to be sufficient for conviction. [43] If it is made freely and voluntarily, a confession constitutes evidence of a high order since it is supported by the strong presumption that no sane person or one of a normal mind will deliberately and knowingly confess himself to be the perpetrator of a crime unless prompted by truth and conscience. [44]

Withal, appellant Lara did not appeal in vain. Although he himself admitted his role in the crime of robbery with homicide, we deem it just and equitable to delineate in this decision his exact criminal liability even though he failed to clearly raise it before us.

We reject the prosecution' s theory and the trial court ' s conclusion that appellant acted as a lookout during the commission of the special complex crime. The prosecution did not present any evidence showing that he took part in the planning or execution of the crime nor any proof indicating that he profited from the fruits of the crime, or of acts indicative of confederacy on his part.

The pictures of the reenactment depicting Lara' s role in the commission of the crime [45] cannot be utilized as evidence of his participation as a principal therein as that reenactment was conducted without any lawyer assisting appellant. We have held that reenactments are covered by the right against self- incrimination.[46] Atty. Ranin himself admitted on the witness stand that no lawyer assisted Lara during the reenactment because he could not find any available lawyer at that time who could act as his counsel. [47]

From Reyes and appellant's confessions, which we believe bear the mark of truth and credibility, it can only be inferred that Lara merely introduced the group of Reyes to Suarez. With such a nominal role, we cannot conscientiously declare that Lara was a co-conspirator or a principal by inducement or indispensable cooperation in the crime of robbery with homicide.

Where the accused does not fall under any of the three concepts of principals defined in Article 17 of the Revised Penal Code, he may only be considered guilty as an accomplice. [48] And where there is no showing of conspiracy or confabulation on his part, and the extent of the accused's participation in the crime is uncertain, he should be given the benefit of the doubt and be declared as a mere accomplice therein. [49] We are sufficiently persuaded to declare appellant as a mere accomplice in the crime charged.

WHEREFORE, the penalty imposed upon accused-appellant Wilfredo Lara is hereby MODIFIED and he is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum.

The death indemnity awarded by the court a quo is hereby INCREASED to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) in line with present case law and policy, to be assessed against the accused and herein appellant in accordance with Article 110 of the Revised Penal Code.

In all other respects, the judgment of the lower court is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Romero, Puno, Mendoza and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.



[1] TSN, September 2, 1988, 21-23; September 14, 1988, 19-28, 30.

[2] Exhibit A.

[3] Exhibit I-7.

[4] Exhibit T- I .

[5] Exhibits U-2 and U-3.

[6] Exhibit JJ-I.

[7] Exhibits II-1 and KK-1.

[8] TSN, October 3, 1988, 17-19, 32; October 7, 1988, 43-44.

[9] Exhibit D-22-b.

[10] Exhibit D-21 -a.

[11] Exhibits F and G, duly affirmed by Suarez during his testimony on November 16, 1989, 3-5.

[12] TSN, November 21, 1988, 10-17.

[13] Exhibit O.

[14] TSN., November 21, 1988, 18; November 16, 1989, 18.

[15] Exhibit P.

[16] Exhibit R-5.

[17] Exhibit R-2.

[18] Exhibit Q.

[19] Presided over by Judge Manuel A. Patron.

[20] Original Record, 74-75.

[21] Original Record, 547.

[22] Appellant's Brief, 2; Rollo, 129.

[23] People vs. Medrano, et al., G.R. No. 55831, May 30, 1983, 122 SCRA 586; Section 11, Rule 122, Rules of Court.

[24] People vs. Balisteros, et al., G.R. No. 110289, October 7, 1994, 237 SCRA 499; People vs. Marabueno, et al., G.R. No. 87179, December 14, 1994, 239 SCRA 197.

[25] People vs. Cabiltes, et al., G.R. No. L-18010, September 25, 1968, 25 SCRA 112; People vs. Simbajon, et al., G.R. Nos. L-18073-75, September 30, 1965, 15 SCRA 83.

[26] See People vs. Durante, et al., 47 Phil. 654 (1925); People vs. Badilla, et al., 48 Phil. 718 (1926); People vs. Seranilla, et al., G.R. No. 54090, May 9, 1988, 161 SCRA 193.

[27] People vs. Alvarez, et al., G.R. No. 88451, September 5, 1991, 201 SCRA 364.

[28] Appellant's Brief, 15; Rollo, 143.

[29] TSN July 27, 1990, 7; August 15, 1990, 20; August 24, 1990, 3, 6, 54.

[30] People vs. Solis, et al., G.R. Nos. 78732-33, February 14, 1990, 182 SCRA 182; People vs. Estevan, G.R. No. 69676, June 4, 1990, 186 SCRA 34.

[31] People vs. Prudente, et al., G.R. No. L-45292, December 26, 1984, 133 SCRA 651.

[32] People vs. Parojinog, et al., G.R. No. 95850, November 18, 1991, 203 SCRA 673; People vs. Dasig, et al., G.R. No. 100231, April 28, 1993, 221 SCRA 549.

[33] Original Record, 403.

[34] See People vs. Alvis, et al., G.R. No. L-39049, June 24, 1983, 122 SCRA 815; People vs. Tintero, G.R. No. L-30435, February 15, 1982, 111 SCRA 714.

[35] People vs. Gamet, et al., G.R. No. 55029, June 29, 1982, 114 SCRA 870.

[36] People vs. Ong, et al., G.R. No. L-37908, October 23, 1981, 108 SCRA 267.

[37] See People vs. Parojinog, supra.

[38] People vs. Layuso, G.R. No. 69210, July 5, 1989, 175 SCRA 47.

[39] People vs. Aquino, G.R. No. 87084, June 27, 1990, 186 SCRA 851.

[40] See People vs. Alvarez, et al., G.R. No. 88451, September 5, 1991, 201 SCRA 364.

[41] People vs. Bernales, et al., G.R. No. L-30966, December 14, 1969, 94 SCRA 604; People vs. Urminita, G.R. No. L-33314, December 14, 1979, 94 SCRA 666; People vs. Jimenez, et al., G.R. Nos. L-36613-14, July 24, 1981, 105 SCRA 721.

[42] Section 33, Rule 130, Rules of Court.

[43] Section 33, Rule 133, id.

[44] U.S. vs. De los Santos, 24 Phil. 329 (1913); People vs. Flores, G.R. No. L-30169, February 16, 1982, 112 SCRA 10.

[45] Exhibits BB and CC.

[46] People vs. Olvis, G.R. No. 71092, September 30, 1987, 154 SCRA 513.

[47] TSN, January 11, 1989, 23-24.

[48] People vs. Ubia, et al., 97 Phil. 515 (1955).

[49] People vs. Clemente, et al., G.R. No. L-23463, September 28, 1967, 21 SCRA 261.