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People vs.

Natividad
G.R. No. 138017 (February 23, 2001)
FACTS:
Inside the police station of Ramos, Tarlac, appellant Arnulfo Mike Natividad who was the
municipal mayor, shot one Severino L. Aquino in the head at point blank range in front of the
police officers on duty. Four years later, four police officers were asked to, and did, testify
against Natividad and the other accused. The police officers narrated that at around 10:00 in the
evening of February 20, 1989, they personally saw Mayor Natividad who was drunk and very
angry, pointed the gun at the victim who was suspected to be an NPA member and hit him on the
head. Then the Mayor ordered another accused to close the windows of the station, after which
the Mayor shot the victim on the forehead.
After the prosecution presented its evidence, appellant filed a demurrer to evidence but
the same was denied. On August 1, 1997, appellant filed a motion to dismiss based on the
affidavit of desistance executed by all the heirs of Severino L. Aquino. The motion was denied
and the case was reset to August 20 and 22, 1997 for the reception of evidence for the defense.
Despite the ample opportunity given, the appellant still failed to present any evidence on his own
behalf. Subsequently, appellants counsel manifested that the appellant will not take the witness
stand. Thus, without the defense having presented any evidence, the trial court considered the
case submitted for decision on November 23, 1998.
In its assailed Decision dated December 18, 1998, the trial court found accused-appellant
guilty of murder and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The trial court
declared that the combined testimonies of the police officers positively and clearly pointed to the
accused-appellant Natividad the killing of Severino L. Aquino in cold blood.
On his appeal, he argues that the four police officers presented by the prosecution are not
credible witnesses since it took them four (4) years to come forward and testify against him. He
disagrees with the justification of the trial court that the reason for the delay was that the police
officers were afraid of the appellant who was then the mayor of Ramos, Tarlac. Appellant further
argues that the rule that a delay in the revelation of a crime does not affect the credibility of the
informant as a witness, should only apply to laymen and not to police officers. Considering the
avowed duty of police officers to apprehend perpetrators of a crime, the failure of the policewitnesses to arrest the appellant and/or to report the crime to their superiors constituted
Human Rights Case Digest Prepared by: David L. Dumaluan IV

dereliction of duty; hence, they should not be considered credible witnesses or their testimonies
be given weight.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the delay of four (4) years by the police officers in revealing information
regarding the crime impairs their credibility?
HELD:
The rule is ordinarily to the effects that delay by a witness in divulging what he or she
knows about the commission of a crime, such as the identity of the offender, is not by itself a
setback to the evidentiary value of such a witness testimony. In its Brief, the Office of the
Solicitor General opines that the silence of the witnesses for four (4) years was satisfactorily
explained because the records reveal that the witnesses were cowed into silence by appellant who
admittedly was an influential man being then the municipal mayor of the place. The appellant
municipal mayor exercised moral dominance and influence over these police officers. In
addition, he was able to easily intimidate them with his ten (10) bodyguards around him. The
Court cannot accept the distinction proffered by appellant between laypersons and police officers
as witnesses considering the factual circumstances of the case. The accused in this case is no
ordinary person in the place where the crime was committed. The length of the delay is not as
significant as the reason or explanation of the delay, which must be sufficient or well-grounded.
A well-grounded fear of reprisal is a sufficient justification of the delay of the witness in
revealing what he/she had witnessed. There is no showing that the four (4) police officers had
any motive to falsely charge appellant and the other accused of a crime. The presumption is that
witnesses are not actuated by any improper motive absent any proof to the contrary, and that
their testimonies must accordingly be met with considerable, if not conclusive, favor under the
rules of evidence. The witnesses' clear and categorical statements pointing to appellant as the one
who shot the victim are strong and compelling evidence against him. Their testimonies establish
his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE , the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac, Tarlac, Branch 64 in
Criminal Case No. 17717 finding the accused-appellant ARNULFO MIKE NATIVIDAD guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua is hereby AFFIRMED.

Human Rights Case Digest Prepared by: David L. Dumaluan IV

Eliseo V. Aguilar vs. DOJ


G.R. No. 197522 (September 11, 2013)
FACTS:
Petitioner is the father of one Francisco M. Aguilar, alias Tetet. On April 10, 2002, he
filed a criminal complaint for murder against the members of a joint team of police and military
personnel (respondents) who purportedly arrested Tetet and later inflicted injuries upon him,
resulting to his death. Tetet was arrested for alleged acts of extortion and on the suspicion that he
was a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines/National Peoples Army Revolutionary
Movement. Despite his peaceful surrender, he was maltreated by the respondents. In particular,
Tetet was hit on different parts of the body with the butts of their rifles, and his hands were tied
behind his back with a black electric wire. He was then boarded on a military jeep and brought to
the Viga River where he was gunned down by PO1 Dangupon. Petitioners complaint was
corroborated by witnesses Adelaida Samillano and Rolando Corcotchea who stated, among
others, that they saw Tetet raise his hands as a sign of surrender but was still mauled by armed
persons.
In a Resolution dated March 10, 2003, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Occidental Mindoro (Provincial Prosecutor) dismissed petitioners complaint against all
respondents for lack of probable cause. The Provincial Prosecutor held that the evidence on
record shows that the shooting of Tetet by Dangupon was done either in an act of self-defense,
defense of a stranger, and in the performance of a lawful duty or exercise of a right of office. He
further observed that petitioner failed to submit any evidence to rebut Dangupons claim
regarding the circumstances surrounding Tetets killing.
In a Resolution dated November 27, 2008, the DOJ dismissed petitioners appeal and
thereby, affirmed the Provincial Prosecutors ruling. It ruled that petitioner failed to show that
respondents conspired to kill/murder Tetet. With respect to Dangupon, the DOJ held that no
criminal responsibility may be attached to him since his act was made in the fulfillment of a duty
or in the lawful exercise of an office under Article 11(5) of the Revised Penal Code25 (RPC).
Lastly, the DOJ stated that petitioners suppositions and conjectures that respondents salvaged
his son are insufficient to overturn the presumption of innocence in respondents favor.

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CA dismissed the petitioners petition for review on certiorari, finding no grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the DOJ in sustaining the Provincial Prosecutors ruling. It found no
evidence to show that Tetet was deliberately executed by respondents
ISSUE:
Whether or not the CA erred in finding that the DOJ did not gravely abuse its discretion
in upholding the dismissal of petitioners extralegal killing complaint against respondents.
HELD:
Records bear out that Dangupon admitted that he was the one who shot Tetet which
eventually caused the latters death. The Provincial Prosecutor, however, relieved him from
indictment based mainly on the finding that the aforesaid act was done either in self-defense,
defense of a stranger or in the performance of a lawful duty or exercise of a right of office,
respectively pursuant to paragraphs 1, 2, and 5, Article 1137 of the RPC. The DOJ affirmed the
Provincial Prosecutors finding, adding further that Dangupon, as well as the other respondents,
enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence.
These findings are patently and grossly erroneous. Records bear out facts and
circumstances which shows the elements of murder. The dismissal of the murder charge against
Dangupon is sustained in view of his presumption of innocence. Jurisprudence holds that when
the accused admits killing the victim, but invokes a justifying circumstance, the constitutional
presumption of innocence is effectively waived and the burden circumstance shifts to the
accused. The burden is upon the accused to prove clearly and sufficiently the elements of selfdefense, being an affirmative allegation, otherwise the conviction of the accused is inescapable.
Therefore, due to the ostensible presence of the crime charged and considering that
Dangupons theories of self-defense/defense of a stranger and lawful performance of ones duty
and the argument on presumption of innocence are, under the circumstances, not compelling
enough to overcome a finding of probable cause, the Court finds that the DOJ gravely abused its
discretion in dismissing the case against Dangupon. Consequently, the reversal of the CA ruling
with respect to the latter is in order.

Human Rights Case Digest Prepared by: David L. Dumaluan IV

Eduardo E. Kapunan Jr. vs. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 148213-17 (March 13, 2009)
FACTS:
On 12 January 1998, private respondents Feliciana C. Olalia and Perolina G. Alay-ay
filed a letter-complaint before the Department of Justice charging petitioner Eduardo E.
Kapunan, Jr., petitioner Oscar E. Legaspi, and other officers and men of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the complex crime of kidnapping
with murder of Alay-ay and Olalia. Olalia and Alay-ay were both found dead with their bodies
riddled with bullets on 13 November 1986.
On 26 February 1998, Kapunan, Jr., filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him
before the Panel, alleging that his criminal liability had been totally extinguished by the amnesty
granted to him under Proclamation No. 347, entitled Granting Amnesty to Rebels, Insurgents,
and All Other Persons Who Have or May Have Committed Crimes Against Public Order, Other
Crimes Committed in Furtherance of Political Ends, and Violations of the Article of War, and
Creating a National Amnesty Commission."
The petitioners elevated their case to the CA after the Department of Justice (DOJ)
thumbed down their defense of amnesty. In a Joint Decision dated 29 December 1999, the
Special Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition. The appellate court
refused to rule on the applicability of amnesty to Kapunan and Legaspi on the ground that this
matter involves evaluation of evidence which is not within its jurisdiction to resolve in a petition
for certiorari.
ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioners are immune from prosecution for the Alay-ay/Olalia slayings
by reason of a general grant of amnesty issued by President Fidel V. Ramos to rebels, insurgents
and other persons who had committed crimes in furtherance of political ends.
HELD:
The Court dismissed the consolidated petitions of Reform the Armed Forces
Movement (RAM) members Eduardo E. Kapunan, Jr. and Oscar E. Legaspi and affirmed the
rulings of the Court of Appeals. The CA had held that the general grant of amnesty issued by
President Ramos to rebels, insurgents, and other persons who had committed crimes in

Human Rights Case Digest Prepared by: David L. Dumaluan IV

furtherance of political ends does not give petitioners immunity from prosecution for the OlaliaAlay- ay slayings.
The Court was satisfied that there is prima facie evidence for the prosecution of Kapunan
and Legaspi for the Olalia-Alay- ay murders. It did not find merit in the petitioners arguments
that they are exempt from prosecution since the amnesty grant purportedly had extinguished their
criminal liability.
The Court held that the amnesty grant to Kapunan extends to acts constituting only one
crime which was rebellion. The limited scope of the amnesty granted to Legaspi is even more
apparent as it only covered offenses connected with his participation in the 1987 and 1989 coup
attempts against the administration of then President Corazon C. Aquino. Thus, any inquiry
whether he is liable for the prosecution in connection with the Olalia-Alay- ay killings will
necessarily rely not on the list of acts or crimes enumerated in sec. 1 of Proclamation No. 347,
but on the definition of rebellion and its component acts.

Human Rights Case Digest Prepared by: David L. Dumaluan IV