Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Extensively Judicious Memo of Appeal exposes mistakes of MeTC of Pasay, Branch 47

Extensively Judicious Memo of Appeal 
exposes mistakes of MeTC of Pasay, Branch 47


As an exercise of press freedom and as an advocacy to help people understand the judicial processes in the country, as well as to promote Jury System that is the advocacy of this blogger, this copy of the Memorandum of Appeal taken against Branch 47 of Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasay City is being posted.

For all who have the tenacity to read long pleadings, to the fellow lawyers and to those who aspire to become lawyers, let me offer this Memorandum of Appeal for you to study on and to increase legal writing skills.



Republic of the Philippines
NATIONAL CAPITAL JUDICIAL REGION
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
Pasay City
BRANCH 118



PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
                                                             
          -versus-                 Crim. Case No. M-PSY-09-08592-CR-R00-OO
[@ MeTc: Crim. Case No. M-PSY-09-08592-CR]
For : Attempted Homicide

RAMIL FUENTES, et. al.
                     Accused,
x---------------------------------------x



Memorandum of Appeal




All the accused, by the undersigned counsel, respectfully file this Memorandum of Appeal from the Decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 47, dated 6 April 2015 and from its Order denying the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration.



The Positions of
the Appellants-Accused




The first position of the appellants-accused is that if ever there was conviction, only accused Ramil R. Fuentes can be convicted and all the rest of the accused must be acquitted for utter lack of evidence to support the allegations of the private complainant.


The second position of the appellants-accused is that if accused Fuentes were to be convicted, it must only be SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES, considering that he was confined only in the hospital for four (4) days and there is no proof beyond reasonable doubt showing that after four (4) days the private complainant was still incapacitated to labor or was still necessarily being given medical attention.


The third position of the appellants-accused is that if accused Fuentes were to be considered, he should also get the benefit of self-defense or incomplete self-defense.


The fourth position of the appellants-accused is that after it turned out that the maximum crime that could be had is only slight physical injuries, the case should have been dismissed for the failure of the private complainant to pass through the lupon ng tagapamayapa of their barangay considering that both the accused and the complainant lived in the same barangay.


The fifth position of the appellants-accused is that without the admission of accused Ramil R. Fuentes, the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to support the allegations of private complainant Mildfred P. Castro and his witnesses, including Imelda F. Odrada.


And the final position is that the COURT A QUO erred terribly in arriving at a conclusion that all the appellants-accused are guilty of physical injuries in the class that the injuries inflicted caused the illness or incapacity for labor to more then thirty (30) days.



The Discussions


On admission


The conviction of all the accused is not correct for the crime of physical injuries.


This admission of Ramil R. Fuentes can be found in the Transcript of Stenographic Notes (TSNs) of his cross-examination testimonies dated 25 April 2011, particularly Page 19 thereof.


On Page 19 of the 25 April 2011 TSN Fuentes said he had his medical examination of his wounds that he incurred from the steel baton that was whipped on him by complainant Mildfred  P. Castro. As shown by Exhibit “4”, the medical certificate of Fuentes, he was injured by a blunt object on the parietal area of the head and on the front of his head.  All these parts are just covering the brain.


For sure, it is improbable for a punch to injure the frontal and parietal areas of the head.   So that if accused Ramil was injured, it is reasonable to conclude that it was cause by the only instrument that is undisputed to be present during the incident and that instrument was that steel baton with steel ball at the tip.


Those injuries on the frontal and parietal areas of the head of accused Ramil R. Fuentes and the fact that Mildfred P. Castro had injuries on his ear characterized by the tear on the cartilage are a proof beyond reasonable doubt that only the two of them physically confronted with each other and the other accused did not have any hand.


If Mildfred P. Castro was confined for four (4) days at the hospital, it means that his wounds were not caused by a punch or a cane but were consistent with the shape and bluntness of the steel baton and the steel ball on the tip of the baton.


It is noticeable that other than the injuries on the nose of Mildfred P. Castro caused by the punch of Fuentes on the nose, the injuries on his leg that was caused by the kick of Fuentes, and the injuries on his chest caused by the punch of Fuentes on the side portion, the other injuries were those consistent to have been caused by the steel baton and steel ball at the tip thereof.


These injuries support firmly the admission of Fuentes that he was the only one who faced complainant Mildfred P. Castro and that the rest of the co-accused did not in any way participate or did not hurt Mildfred P. Castro.


This is also supported by the fact that the co-accused did not have any injury and did not submit any medical certificate showing injuries.  


This is also supported by the fact that it is a presumption of life or natural habit of life that no person will admit any criminal liability unless dictated by truth.


The admission that he was the only one who faced Mildfred P. Castro is shown by the following photograph of the TSN of the cross-examination of accused Fuentes on 25 April 2011.


It is observed that the only prominent tool that was undisputed to have been used to cause injuries was the steel baton and the steel ball on its tip. 


If anything, it can also be observed that accused Fuentes admitted having punched Castro.   Fuentes said he was compelled to punch while Castro was attacking Fuentes with whips of the steel baton and that the punch was meant to prevent Castro from closing in.  These statements of Fuentes are logical to happen under the experience of mankind doctrine.


Actually, it is on record and established during the hearing at the court a    quo that it was accused Fuentes who surrendered the steel baton with steel ball at the tip and the surrender was done by means of submitting the same steel baton to the court a quo as Exhibit “5.” This means that Fuentes was the last holder of the steel baton.   Considering the fact that Fuentes had injuries on the frontal and parietal areas of his head and considering further that these injuries could not be caused by punches, it is now reasonable to conclude that the same steel baton was first in the hands of Mildfred P. Castro, for otherwise Fuentes could have had no injuries on the frontal and parietal areas of his head.   And it is also reasonable to conclude that Fuentes merely grabbed the same steel baton from the possession of Mildfred P. Castro. 


The claim of Mildred P. Castro that accused Querubin Hodreal used a cane in beating him on his forearm cannot merit any belief.  


It is because the normal habit of life dictates that one who uses a cane has imbalance problem or is sick and that the same person cannot use the cane to smash it on another person because the act of smashing removes the only tool for balancing and the act of smashing require force that will be sufficient to make the cane-user fall.


Now, the claim of Mildfred P. Castro that accused Ronnie Frias punched him on the left of his head cannot be supported by his own medical certificate that states that the injuries on the left part of the head was actually a torn ligament of the ear.   


Further, Frias as the accused always gets the benefit of the doubt here.


And finally accused Dacio, as a woman, is impossible to be an aggressor against a tall man in the person of Mildfred P. Castro. 


A woman is always presumed to be physically weak unless the contrary circumstance, like being an extraordinary woman, is shown.  


As it appeared from Castro’s own testimonies, he did not speak of any physical participation of Dacio.   In fact, Castro admitted in his testimonies that Dacio did not have any participation except for shouting at him.


Dacio did not punch Castro because Castro never said so.  Dacio never kicked Castro because Castro never said so.  Dacio never used any beating stick or wood plank because Castro never said so.


Now, if the incredible story of Mildfred P. Castro is to be followed that simultaneously he was being punched by accused Frias and accused Fuentes, it is impossible to happen that Hodreal could still smash on him a cane.  


If Hodreal will still smash Castro with a cane, chances were he cannot hit Castro but hit Frias who according to Castro was punching on his left side or hit Fuentes who according to Castro was punching on his front.   


How can a person with disability in standing be able to smash the cane he used when there was a need to sway back first the cane to get the momentum (buwelo) before smashing the same?  Clearly then, the stories of Mildred P. Castro is difficult to be believe in.


Let the admission of accused Fuentes be examined.   On Page 19 of his 25 April 2011 cross-examination testimonies, Fuentes as the witness said:


IMG_3206.JPG


From the part of the TSN above, it is distinctive that the private prosecutor of Mildred P. Castro stated that Fuentes caused the correction of some portions of his counter-affidavit specifically Paragraphs 24, 25, 26 and 27 thereof, and the purpose was to show that the fight was only between Castro and Fuentes.


The only question of the private prosecutor is that why it was only during the trial at the MeTC of Pasay, Branch 47, that the corrections were made.


And this fact that it was only during the trial at the court a quo that the corrections were made did not mean that the corrections were false.


This admission should have been enough to acquit all the accused except for Ramil R. Fuentes.


          That act of admitting is a courageous act.   It went with penal sanctions that Fuentes was aware that he had to be imprisoned with the admission.   Yet accused Fuentes admitted that he was the only one who had caused Mildred P. Castro those injuries.


          That admission must be more powerful than any statement from the private complainant insisting that it was not only Fuentes but all the accused inflicted harm on him.


          It is unfortunate that the presiding judge who convicted all the accused was not yet the judge when Fuentes made those admissions.       So that, actually, the conclusions of the presiding judge of the court a quo cannot carry any weight of the presumption as to the judgment call on whether a witness was telling the truth or not.


          Supporting this admission are the very testimonies of Mildfred P. Castro in his direct and cross-examinations.


          In essence, these direct testimonies of Castro show the following statements of his that are material and relevant to the issue of whether or not all co-accused of Fuentes did not commit any act of injuring Castro or did not conspire with Fuentes to cause injuries on Castro and that it was Castro who had the motive of causing harm on all the accused because of the rivalry in the leadership issue in the homeowners association of Central Park Condominiums, to wit:


(1)          From his direct testimony, Mildfred P. Castro stated that he was living at Building 2 of the Central Park Condominiums by saying that he was residing at Central Park Condominium 2;


(2)          From his direct testimony, Mildfred P. Castro stated that about 10:30 a.m. of 29 September 2008 Castro went out of the unit where he was staying, which was Unit 1230 Central Park Condominium II, and he proceeded to the lobby of Building 1 of the same condominiums;


(3)          All the four accused (Fuentes, Frias, Dacio and Hodreal) were at the lobby of the Building 1 of the same condominiums – this means that Fuentes, Frias, Dacio and Hodreal did not have any motive to hurt Mildfred P. Castro, otherwise Fuentes, Frias, Dacio and Hodreal instead went to the unit of Mildfred P. Castro and hurt him there;


(4)          In his direct testimonies, Mildfred P. Castro stated that he and his group are the officers of the homeowners association of Central Park Condominiums Homeowners Association, Inc. and that he even identified the two minutes of the meetings where Castro and others were elected as officers and he was elected further to be the chairman and CEO;


(5)          In the same direct testimonies, Mildfred P. Castro identified all the accused as residents of Building 1 of the Central Park Condominiums and all the accused were claiming to be directors as well of the condominium association – confirming the existence of the rivalry between the group of Mildfred P. Castro and the group of the accused;


(6)          In the same direct testimonies, Mildfred P. Castro stated that there was the inspection of the City Engineers’ Office of Pasay City to be conducted into the buildings of Central Park Condominiums and he said that because of this he went to the lobby of Building 1 of the condominiums;


(7)          Mildfred P. Castro said that when he arrived at the lobby of Building 1, he did not immediately confront the accused that instead he went upstairs to see his allies in their group in this leadership issue;


(8)          Mildfred P. Castro never said he was attacked by any of the accused from the time of Castro’s arrival at the lobby, to the time that Castro went up to look for his companion, and to the time Castro went down, not one accused confronted him and this circumstance means the accused did not have any motive to assault Mildfred P. Castro; and


(9)          It is very clear that the physical confrontation occurred only after the start of the exchange of hate words – which facts cannot be read in the TSN for the direct testimonies of Mildfred P. Castro but can be read in his Complaint-Affidavit that he marked as a series of Exhibit “A”.


By combining all these relevant statements of Mildfred P. Castro, it tacitly confirmed the existence of the motive of jealousy on the part of Mildfred P. Castro.  


These also confirmed the ultimate fact that not one of the accused was interested in assaulting him.  This is because the physical confrontation occurred only after Mildfred P. Castro confronted the accused talking to City Engineers.


With these facts established, it is now reasonable to conclude an ultimate fact that it is improbable to happen that the accused was the first to lay hand or assault with a punch.   Rather, it is more reasonable to conclude that it was Mildfred P. Castro who drew the first blood.


This conclusion is supported by the fact that Fuentes had injuries on the frontal and parietal areas of his head and these injuries cannot be caused by mere punches.   And if Fuentes was injured on these spots, it was caused no less than by the steel baton with steel ball at the tip.   And the fact that it was Fuentes who surrendered the steel baton to the court during his testimonies confirms the truth of the allegation of Fuentes that he merely grabbed from Mildfred P. Castro the same steel baton with steel ball at the tip thereof.


So that when it is now established by reasonable inference from the given statements of Mildfred P. Castro that it was Mildfred P. Castro who laid the first assault, it cannot now be said that Frias was the one who made the first physical assault with a punch on the left of Castro’s head.  Rather, this is a clear show that Castro was lying when he said Frias was the first among the accused to have assaulted him.


Until here, it is shown clearly that the MeTC of Pasay, Branch 47, presiding judge did not have anything to support his conclusion that all the accused made physical assault against Mildfred P. Castro.


To support the foregoing discussions and statements above, the bases therefor is the direct-examination of Mildfred P. Castro, in toto:


Q.          Mr. Castro, are you the same Mildfred Castro, the private complainant In this case?

A.          Yes, sir.


Q.          Where do you live?

A.          Unit 1230 Central Park Condominium II George st. Pasay City, sir.


Q.          Since when have you been living there?

A.          Since 2006, sir.


Q.          Do you remember having executed a complaint affidavit with respect to this case before the prosecutor’s office?

A.          Yes, sir.

Q.          I’m showing to you a complaint affidavit marked as Exhibit “A” during the Pre-trial (Counsel handed the same to the witness). Will you go over this And tell us if this is the complaint affidavit you are referring to?

A.          Yes, sir.


Atty. Sabarre interrupted:              
                        
Your Honor, can I go over the records and see if that is the same complaint Affidavit (Defense counsel referring to the record)

Court:  Next question, Atty. Machica.

Atty. Machica to the Witness:

Q.          Do you know a certain association by the name of Central Park Condominium Homeowners Association Incorporated?

A.          Yes, sir.


Q.          What is this association all about?

A.          The association of the unit owners and tenants of Central Park, sir.


Q.          Are you a member of this association?

A.          Yes, sir.  Not only a member but CEO and Chairman.


Q.          What is your basis in saying that you are a CEO and Chairman of Central Park Condominium Association?

A.          I have two minutes of board meetings, one is electing me as director and the other one is electing me as CEO and Chairman, sir.


Q.          I’m showing you a minutes of the meeting of the board of directors of the association dated May 24, 2008 (Counsel handed the same to the Witness) will you go over this document and tell us if this is the minutes of the election as director of the condominium association?

A.          Yes, sir. This is the minutes electing me as one of the directors.

Court:                               You want to mark it?

Atty. Machica:               We would like to mark a photocopy of the minutes, your Honor, after comparison by the counsel for the accused (Private Prosecutor handed the same to the defense counsel). As our Exhibit “B,” your Honor.

Court:                 Mark it as Exhibit “B”

Inter:                  You have provisional marking Exhibit “B” the medical certificate…

Atty. Machica:               “Iuurong naming”

Court interrupted:       No, no you just mark it after the last exhibit.

Inter:    So, mark it “C” (Marking the same)


Atty. Machica to the Witness:

Q.        I have here another minutes of the meeting dated May 24, 2008, this time about the election of the officer of the association (Counsel handed the same to the witness). Will you go over this and tell us if this is the minutes of the meeting reflecting your election as CEO and Chairman?

A.          This is the minutes electing me as CEO and Chairman, sir.

Atty. Machica:               We also like to have it marked, your Honor, after comparison with the Photocopy (Private prosecutor handed the same to the defense counsel). The photocopy be marked as our Exhibit “D.”

Court:                 Marked it.

Inter:                  (Marking the same)

Atty. Machica to the witness:

Q.          Do you know one of the accused in this case by the name of Querubin Benjie Hodreal Jr.?

A.          Yes, sir.

Q.          Why do you know him?

A.          He is one of the residents in Central Park I and claiming to be one of the directors and officers of the association and he is the one who attacked me, sir.

Atty. Sabarre interrupted:    

Your Honor, please would like to remind the witness that he would and only answer the question, not to narrate, your honor.

Court:  As prayed for by the defense counsel, you should not answer in a narrative form.


Atty. Machica to the witness:

Q.          Will you be able to tell us if this Mr. Hodreal is present in this court?

A.          Yes, sir.


Q.          Will you kindly point to him?

A.          Yes, sir (witness pointed to a person who were ask by the court stood up And answer by the name of Querubin Hodreal Jr.)


Q.          How about this accused Tish Dacio, do you know this person?

A.         Yes, sir.


Q.          And why do you know him?

A.          He is also a resident of Central Park I and also claims to be one of the Directors of the association, sir.


Q.          If she is present in this court now, will you kindly point to her?

A.       Yes sir, (Witness pointed to a person who when asked by the court, she stood up and answered by the name Tish Dacio).


Q.          How about the accused Ramil Fuentes, do you know this person?

A.         Yes sir.

Q.          Why do you know him?

A.          He is also a resident of Central Park, sir.


Q.          Will you be able to point to him, if he is present in this court?

A.       Yes sir, (Witness pointed to a person who when asked by the court stood up and answered by the name Ramil Fuentes).


Q.          And this accused Ronnie Frias , do you know this person?

A.          Yes sir.


Q.          And why do you know him?

A.          He is also a resident of Central Park sir.


Q.          Can you point to him if he is in court right now?

A.          Yes sir, (Witness pointed to a person who when asked by the court stood Up and answered by the name of Ronnie Frias).


Q.          Will you kindly tell us, where were you and what are doing on September 29, 2008 at around 10:30 in the morning?

A.          I went to Central Park lobby I and I was looking for the officers of the Association, sir.

Q.          Why were you looking for the officers of the association?

A.          Two days before the incident, we had a meeting with mayor Trinidad, sir.

Atty. Sabarre interrupted:

              Objection, your Honor, we would like that the answer be stricken off because it is not responsive to the question.

Court:                 Any comment Atty. Machica?

Atty. Machica:               May I recall the question, your Honor.


Court:                 Proceed.

Atty. Machica to the Witness:

Q.          Why do you have to meet the officers of the association of Central Park?

A.       To meet and welcome the team coming from the City Engineering’s Office sent by Mayor Peewee Trinidad for Central Park Inspection, sir.


Court to the Witness:

Q.          What happened next?

A.          I noticed at the hallway, there were lots of people and there’s a commotion, your Honor.


Atty. Machica to the Witness:

Q.          What did you do after noticing those people having a commotion?

A.       Initially, I ask the OIC security of what’s happening, sir.


Q.       And what was the response?

A.          And he answered that they are from the City Engineering’s Office, sir.


Q.          So, were you able to formally meet this City Engineering’s Office Officials?

A.          Because there were lots of people, I avoided the people and I went to the Second floor….

Court interrupted:

Before you answer that, why was there a commotion, if you know?

Witness:            For what I knew they are looking for my team and Mel Odrada, the President of our association, your Honor.

Court:                 Go on.

Atty. Machica:


Q.          I think he was interrupted with my question.

Atty. Machica to the witness:

Q.          So, were you able to formally meet this officers from the city Engineering’s Office?


No sir, because I have avoided the people, so I immediately went to second floor because there are lots of people already.


          Now, to see the incoherence and illogical statements made by Mildfred P. Castro regarding how the mauling occurred, the testimonies of Castro are hereby presented, to wit:


Atty. Machica to the witness (Mildfred P. Castro):

Q:          On Paragraph 7 of your affidavit, you mentioned that Ramil Fuentes shouted at you and you answered back “Hindi ako Nakikialam, Hindi ako Interesado d’yan.” Will you tell us what happened after that?


A.          After I transferred my attention to the person who was standing in the adjacent hallway, sir.


Q.          What happened after you transferred your attention to that person?

A.          I tried to talk to that person but I wasn’t able (to do so) because suddenly a person punched me hitting my left side of my head, sir.


Q.          And who is this person?

A.         Mr. Ronnie Frias, sir.


Q.          And can you recall how many times Ronnie Frias hit you?

A.         I could not remember because I was punched more than twice at the same spot, Sir.


Q.          How about Ramil Fuentes who earlier shouted at you, what did he do at that time?

A.       After Ronnie Frias punched me several times, Ramil Fuentes joined him, sir.


Q.          So, what did you do when these two persons are now simultaneously mauling You?

Court interrupted:

You have no objection with the terms mauling?

Atty. Sabarre:                 

Yes your Honor.

Court: What is the participation of the accused Ramil Fuentes?

Witness:            He joined Ronnie Frias in punching me, your Honor.

Atty. Machica to the witness:

Q.          Did they stop punching you?

Atty. Sabarre interrupted:

             Objection your Honor. Leading, your Honor.

Court:  Reform your question.

Atty. Machica to the witness:

Q.         When did they stop punching you?

A.         At the time , they did not stop , sir.


Q.          Why?

A.          When I tried to shield their punches, I also tried to evade them by stepping backward because the hallway is too narrow, sir.



Only slight physical injuries


If at all, the conviction should only be for a crime of SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES.


And it is stressed that even if the case should only be slight physical injuries, it is only accused Ramil R. Fuentes who can be convicted.


It is undisputed that private complainant Mildfred P. Castro was confined only for four (4) days in the hospital as it was written in his medical certificate.  


But after Castro went out of the hospital, it is doubtful if he still had sickness or he was incapacitated to labor on the fifth (5th)  day, sixth (6th) day, seventh (7th) day or eighth (8th) day, and so forth.   


In fact, neither Castro nor his doctor testified that he still had sickness or was still incapacitated to labor on the sixth (6th) day.


While it may be true that the doctor testified that she required Castro to take a rest of thirty (30) days, to rest does not mean to say he was ill or was incapacitated to do work. 


The transcript of stenographic notes (TSNs) of the doctor’s testimonies do not show any statement that the doctor explicitly stated that the word “rest” really meant that the private complainant was ill or incapacitated to labor for the period of thirty (30) days that he should rest.


In fact, the private complainant physically walked and presumably took a ride in going to the Office of the City Prosecutor to file his complaint for attempted homicide.   The stamp “received” on the Complaint showed that it was filed on the fifteen (15) day after the alleged mauling incident.  That means, if he swore before the administering officer, he must have been in good health condition.


If on the fifteenth (15th) day Mildfred P. Castro came out of the condominium unit where he lived and went to the Office of the City Prosecutor to file his complaint against all the accused, that fact constituted sufficient doubt as to whether or not on that day the private complainant was ill or was incapacitated to labor.


Moreover, the doctor who testified for the private complainant did not testify that an advice to rest also meant that the private complainant was ill or incapacitated to labor during those days that Mildfred P. Castro was to take rest. 


THESE FACTS should be sufficient to constitute REASONABLE DOUBT on the issue of whether Mildfred P. Castro was ill or incapacitated to labor for thirty (30) days.


And because the actual confinement of the private complainant was only four (4) days at the hospital, it meant that ONLY the four (4) days that he was confined at the hospital are the days that can be considered as him being ill or incapacitated to labor.


If indeed the accused were proved to have caused those injuries, it is now undisputed that there was reasonable doubt whether the private complainant was ill or was incapacitated to labor for more than nine (9) days.


Accordingly, the doctrine of in dubio pro reo applies here with vigor to favor the accused.


Further, the law, Article 263, Paragraph 4, says:


4. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the physical injuries inflicted shall have caused the illness or incapacity for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.


The law does not say of the number of days of “medical attention” as the basis to designate the offense as to what type of physical injuries.


What the law says is “shall have caused the illness or incapacity for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.”


There is no room for vagueness in criminal law.  


And when there is doubt, as in the case at bar, again, the same shall be resolved in favor of the accused. 


To stress, what is found by the court is that private complainant Mildfred Castro was hospitalized only for four (4) days.  


Because of the big doubt, these four (4) days are the only number of days that can be said that the private complainant was incapacitated to labor.


Further, there is no proof presented that Mildfred P. Castro was also incapacitated to labor after he was released from the hospital.  


Because there is no proof and because there is this certification by the doctor that the private complainant needed thirty (30) days of medical attention, the totality of the circumstance does not evoke a conclusion beyond reasonable doubt that the private complainant was incapacitated to labor for more than five (5) days or for thirty-one (31) days.


Ergo, applying strictly the law, the only offense that the accused can be convicted is SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES.


The law on slight physical injuries under Article 266 reads:


Art. 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. — The crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:

1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period.

2. By arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 20 pesos and censure when the offender has caused physical injuries which do not prevent the offended party from engaging in his habitual work nor require medical assistance.

3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 50 pesos when the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without causing any injury.




On self-defense or
incomplete self defense


And if the aspect of self-defense is factored in as commanded by the Revised Penal Code, even accused Fuentes has to be acquitted.


But if he will be credited only with incomplete self-defense, the penalty will be watered down.  And if the mitigating circumstance of admission of guilt, the same penalties shall be subject further to reduction, depending on the applicability thereof.


And were it not for the admission of Ramil R. Fuentes that he was the only accused who have caused injuries and that his co-accused did not inflict any harm on private complainant Mildfred P. Castro, the prosecution has no evidence sufficient to support the vague, dubious and unsupported narration of stories made by Castro.


As discussed above, it has been established that Mildfred P. Castro was the aggressor and he assaulted Fuentes with a steel baton having steel ball at the tip thereof.


The establishment that it was Castro who was the aggressor came after it has been established that: (a) no accused except for Ramil Fuentes incurred injuries; (b) the injuries incurred by accused Fuentes are caused by heavy blunt objects on the frontal and parietal areas of the head; (c) these types of injuries cannot be caused by any punch and the same wounds are most possible to be consistent with the wounds that can be cause by the steel ball at that tip of the metal baton; (d) the last holder of the metal baton was accused Ramil R. Fuentes and he surrendered the same to the court a quo as Exhibit “5”; and (e) Mildfred P. Castro had injuries on the nose, the left part of the chest and the leg.


The logic is that if Fuentes incurred injuries that are consistent with the possible kind of wounds that could be caused by the steel ball at the tip of the retractable steel baton, it means that it was not him who had the initial hold over the baton.   And if no other person had injuries but Mildfred P. Castro, it means that he was the one who had the physical confrontation with Fuentes.   And if Fuentes was the one who surrendered the steel baton with steel ball, then it follows that that Fuentes only grabbed the same from Mildfred P. Castro.


And if it was established that Fuentes merely grabbed the steel baton from Mildfred P. Castro, then Fuentes was reasonably telling the truth when he said that as he picked up the steel baton from the floor that was the time that Mildfred P. Castro was hit on the ear cause his lobe or ligament to be torn.  


From the undisputed facts that the accused did not seek Mildfred P. Castro but that it was Castro who sought the accused at the lobby of Building 1 of Central Park Condominiums, and the further fact that Fuentes incurred injuries on the frontal and parietal areas of his head where the injuries cannot be caused by punches but consisted with the steel ball, it is reasonable to conclude that it was Mildfred P. Castro who was the aggressor and the one who started the physical fight.


Faced with the circumstance where accused Ramil was being assaulted with a steel baton with steel ball on the tip, what should Fuentes do?  Shall he run away?  He cannot run because at his back and sides were full of people gathered there at the lobby because of the presence of the city engineers and the residents of Building 1 of condominium.


So that there was no other way for Ramil R. Fuentes to save his self but to punch Mildfred P. Castro and wrestle away the steel baton.


Consequently, it can now be reasonably established that accused Ramil Fuentes was justified in using his punches to defend himself from the aggressor


          And it is also undisputed that there was no provocation on the part of Ramil R. Fuentes.


          The elements of a complete self defense are: (a) Unlawful aggression; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the aggression; and (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.


          Here, it is beyond question that it has been established that there was unlawful aggression on the part of Mildfred P. Castro.   Aside from the discussions above, what further proved that Mildfred P. Castro was the aggressor is the statement of his own witness Imelda Odrada.


If there was one statement that could be believed in Imelda’s statement, it was that when she said that the security guards prevented Mildred P. Castro during the commotion.  It means that whoever if it was Castro who was being prevented by the security guards, it means that Castro was the attacker and not any of the accused.


This means that Mildfred P. Castro was the attacker and not the accused.  Otherwise, the security guards could have prevented the accused.


          In punching Mildfred P. Castro, that act of punching was also a reasonable necessity of the means employed by Ramil Fuentes to stop the aggression because there was no way for Fuentes to run away.


          It is also undisputed that there was no sufficient provocation on the part of Ramil Fuentes.


It could be said otherwise.   The first proof of self-defense is the fact that the accused were all just there present where the inspection was to be done. 


The second proof is that the incident did not start when the private complainant did not arrive at the inspection area.  


The third proof is that when the private complainant left, the accused did not pursue or chase him to inflict more harm on him.  The fourth proof is that the inspection by engineers continued as proved by the minutes of inspection.


          Ergo, the justifying circumstance of self-defense is complete and undisputedly established.


          Now, even if the self-defense is incomplete, the same is sufficient to reduce by two degrees the penalties.


          And if the mitigating circumstance of admission of the crime is added, the penalty will be reduced further.



Lupon tagapamayapa


Now that it has been established that the maximum crime that can be had is slight physical injuries and that the accused and the accuser resided in the same barangay, they were obliged to pass through the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa of the barangay.


The law on lupon does not distinguish whether the application shall be before the filing of the case before the Office of the Prosecutor or after the court found out that the offense is covered by the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa.


So that if the Court concludes after the trial that the case is covered by the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, the court should have not promulgated a decision but refer first the matter to the barangay.


In this case, it is very clear that the offense is covered by the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa law.


The law must be complied with by the courts.


Prosecution did not
have evidence to
convict the accused



The fifth position of the appellants-accused is that without the admission of accused Ramil R. Fuentes, the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to support the allegations of private complainant Mildfred P. Castro and his witnesses, including Imelda F. Odrada.


          As discussed above, the testimonies of Mildfred P. Castro were not supported with evidence in order to support his claims that indeed all the accused were guilty.


          So that in this discussion, the discussions about the testimonies of Mildfred P. Castro under the sub-title “On Admission” are hereto adopted.


          And in addition thereto, the testimonies of witness Imelda Odrada are being discussed.


With due respect, it is erroneous for the Honorable Court to declare that witness Imelda Odrada is believable upon the reason that she was an incumbent officer.


The conclusion that Imelda Odrada was an incumbent officer is not supported by documents.    The alleged two minutes of meeting of her group including Mildfred P. Castro do not suffice to prove that Odrada was indeed a legitimate member or officer of the homeowners.


In the face of the truth that the accused presented HLURB documents proving that the accused were the legitimate officers of the homeowners association of Central Park Condominiums Homeowners Association, Inc. (CPCHAI), Mildfred P. Castro and Odrada must have filed documents to prove their legitimacy as homeowners association officers.


So that it is very clear, Imelda Odrada cannot be a credible witness.


The documentary evidence submitted by the accused, the letter from the Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board (HLURB), the letter from the City Engineer’s Office, the minutes of the engineering inspection, the fact that the engineering inspection went on without the private complainant, the fact that the group of Imelda Odrada did not submit any document coming from the HLURB and that their alleged minutes of the meeting was not even submitted, all these combined for a totality of circumstances to prove that all the accused were the legitimate officers of Central Park Condominium Homeowners Association, Inc. (CPCHAI).


Moreover, the inconsistencies of the testimonies of Imelda Odrada and their inconsistencies against her affidavit are more than glaring to make her an incredible witness.


If there was one statement that could be believed in Imelda’s statement, it was that when she said that the security guards prevented Mildred P. Castro.


This means that Mildfred P. Castro was the attacker and not the accused.  Otherwise, the security guards could have prevented the accused.


One thing more, Judge Glenn Santos was not yet the judge when Imelda Odrada testified.  It was then acting Judge Eliza Yu who was the judge.   So that the new judge cannot avail of the doctrine that his judgment call as to a witness is telling the truth or not cannot be accepted.   It was only Judge Yu who could say so.   In his case, Judge Santos’ basis is only a transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) where the emotions and the manner of the delivery of the testimonies cannot be seen.


More so, the fact that Imelda Odrada falsified that she was an incumbent officer of CPCHAI or that she did not support her claims with documents from the HLURB when the documents are easy to be secured from the HLURB discredited her credibility all the more. 


How could Imelda Odrada be believed in if she falsified the basis of her claim that she was an officer so that the Court would grant her the weight of truth to say that she must be telling the truth because she was an incumbent officer?


As a review, the testimonies of Mildfred P. Odrada are hereby reviewed.


Except for the finding by the Honorable Court that there was no intention to kill, the Court erred in giving credit to the claims of Castro about how he was injured, who injured him, and how the incident began.


First, the Honorable Judge Santos was not yet the judge when Castro testified.  So that he did not see how Castro testified, comported and stammered during his testimonies.


Moreover, the Honorable Judge must have noted the admission of Castro that it was him instead of the accused who was prevented by the security guard.  This means that he was the attacker.


The fact that it was not established by Castro that he was a legitimate officer of CPCHAI because they did not submit sufficient documents to prove such and because the owner of the unit where he resided was stipulated upon that no authority was given to Castro to represent the condo owner to CPCHAI, Castro cannot claim to have a right to be there when Pasay City Engineer’s men were to inspect the condominium.


And because it is reasonable to conclude that he had no right to be there at the inspection of the condominium, this circumstance now support very well the contention of the accused that Castro brought with him that retractable steel baton and assaulted the accused.  


With this, the claims of Castro that Ronnie Frias was the first to punch him in the head and that all the other accused joined the fray cannot now be believed in.  This is very clear.


In fact, if the testimonies of Castro are examined closely, his claims about where he was hit in the parts of his body did not match the kind and position of the injuries listed in the medical certificate.


The Prayer



          WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court to REVERSE the court a quo’s decision and order denying the motion for reconsideration.


Other reliefs just and equitable are also prayed for.   18 January 2016.  Manila for Pasay City.


Causing Sabarre Castro pELAGIO
Unit 1, No. 2368 J.B. Roxas Street corner Leon Guinto Street, Malate, Manila
Emails: totocausing@yahoo.com, berteni.causing@gmail.com; Tel/Fax No.: +632-3105521


By:



BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING, CE
IBP No. 972694/ 04-12-2015 / Manila IV
PTR No. 4889732 / 04-12-2015 / Manila
Roll No. 60944/MCLE No. IV – 0007338 issued 10 August 2012

Cc:

OFFICE OF CITY PROSECUTOR
Hall of Justice, Pasay City

ATTY. DAVE O. MACHICA – Private Prosecutor
8th Floor, Sagittarius Bldg., HV dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City


EXPLANATION


          Copies were served on the parties and filed by registered mails due to lack of personnel and lack of time.



BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING





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