Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2008 > March 2008 Resolutions > [G.R. No. 179377 : March 26, 2008] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE VERSUS FERNANDO VIGAR Y BAKAL AND JAMES AUSTERO, APPELLANTS. :




SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 179377 : March 26, 2008]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE VERSUS FERNANDO VIGAR Y BAKAL AND JAMES AUSTERO, APPELLANTS.

Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated 26 March 2008:

G.R. No. 179377 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee versus FERNANDO VIGAR y BAKAL AND JAMES AUSTERO, appellants.

Before us is appellants' motion for reconsideration of our 19 November 2007 Resolution where we ruled:
xxxx

Considering the facts of the case and the issues involved, the Court further resolves to DISMISS the appeal, there being no reversible error in the result of the challenged decision and no novel issues involved to warrant the exercise of this Court's discretionary appellate jurisdiction.

WHEREFORE, the Court ADOPTS the findings of fact and conclusions of law in the 30 March 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 1783, finding appellants Fernando Vigar y Bakal and James Austero guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, and AFFIRMS said Decision.[1]
In their motion for reconsideration, appellants contend that the testimonies of prosecution witnesses reveal material inconsistencies that cast serious doubts as to the veracity of the prosecution's version of the stabbing incident. Appellants aver that the prosecution witnesses' inconsistent account of the actual number of perpetrators could in no way establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.[2]

After taking a second look at this case, we find such contentions without merit. Again, we find no reversible error in the decision of the Court of Appeals sufficient to overturn it. We adopt its guilty verdict against appellants.

The Court of Appeals has aptly ruled that prosecution witness Raymund delos Reyes categorically testified that he saw three (3) persons waiting at the store, not two (2) persons as contended by appellants. The third person, whose name he cannot remember was situated near the light (Tabi po ng ilaw).[3]

We also quote with approval the following findings of the Court of Appeals:
True, [the testimony of Rosalie Ocera, the victim's sister,] mentioned four (4) malefactors, Concededly, this is inconsistent with Raymund's account. Nonetheless, this inconsistency is not so material and substantial as to affect the credibility of the said witnesses. It is understandable considering the suddenness and rapidity of the occurrence. The difference in the number of assailants is of no consequence considering that under such circumstances, it is not expected that witnesses would have a clear account of the details of the incident, such as the number of attackers. [Citations omitted.]

Moreover, the divergent testimonies on the number of assailants did not detract from Raymund and Rosalie'[s] unwavering declarations that accused-appellants were the malefactors. The vital fact remains that both categorically stated that Rene [Ocera] was attacked and stabbed by accused-appellants. Their testimonies coincide on this essential fact -that Rene was held by [appellant] James [Austero] while he was stabbed in the chest by Ruben [Escobio]; and that he was stabbed at the back by [appellant] Fernando [Vigar]. [Emphasis supplied.]

Not only are the accounts of the eyewitnesses credible; their testimonies were likewise corroborated by the physical evidence, x x x[4]
Aside from appellants' contention that the inconsistent account on the number of malefactors was insufficient to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, appellants have not raised any substantial argument in their motion. for reconsideration why we should vacate the finding of the Court of Appeals that they were positively identified by prosecution witnesses as the malefactors.

WHEREFORE, the Court resolves to DENY the motion for reconsideration with FINALITY, no substantial argument having been adduced to warrant the reconsideration sought.

SO ORDERED.


Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUDICHI YASAY-NUNAG
Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Rollo, p. 26.

[2] Id. at 39-40.

[3] Id. at 14-15.

[4] Id. at 15-16.



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