PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
FRANCISCO JUAN LARRAÑAGA alias “PACO”; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN ADLAWAN alias “WESLEY”; ALBERTO CAÑO alias “ALLAN PAHAK”; ARIEL BALANSAG, DAVIDSON VALIENTE RUSIA alias “TISOY TAGALOG”; JAMES ANTHONY UY alias “WANGWANG”; and JAMES ANDREW UY alias “MM”, Accused-Appellants.
G.R. Nos. 138874-75
February 3, 2004
At 10:30 in the evening of July 16, 1997, Rusia, Rowen, and Josman met to ride in a white car. Following them were Larrañaga, James Anthony and James Andrew who were in a red car. Josman stopped the white car in front of the waiting shed where the sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong were standing and forced them to ride the car. Rusia taped their mouths while Rowen handcuffed them jointly.
After stopping by a safehouse, the group thereafter headed to the South Bus Terminal where they met Alberto and Ariel, and hired the white van driven by the former. They traveled towards south of Cebu City, leaving the red car at the South Bus Terminal. After parking their vehicles near a precipice, they drank and had a pot session. Later, they started to rape Marijoy inside the vehicle, and thereafter raped Jacqueline. Josman instructed Rowen and Ariel to bring Marijoy to the cliff and push her into the ravine. Still, the body of Jacqueline was never found.
Rusia became a state witness and testified to the foregoing facts. Larrañaga, Josman, Rowen, Alberto, Ariel, and James Anthony were found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with homicide and rape punishable by death. The appellants assailed the said decision, arguing inter alia, that court erred in finding that there was conspiracy.
Was there conspiracy?
YES. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner by which the offense was perpetrated, or may be inferred from the acts of the accused themselves, when such point to a joint design and community of interest.
In this case, the appellants’ actions showed that they had the same objective to kidnap and detain the Chiong sisters. Their concerted actions point to their joint purpose and community of intent. Well settled is the rule that in conspiracy, direct proof of a previous agreement to commit a crime is not necessary. It may be deduced from the mode and manner by which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused themselves. It may be shown by the conduct of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime. The argument of Rowen, Ariel, and Alberto that they were not part of the conspiracy since they were merely present, but did not participate, during the perpetration of the crimes is bereft of merit. To hold an accused guilty as co-principal by reason of conspiracy, he must show an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. There must be intentional participation in the transaction for the furtherance of a common design and purpose. This being the case here, there was conspiracy in the commission of the crime.
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