People v. Mabalato


People v. Mabalato

G.R. No. 227195

July 29, 2019


                RTC and CA convicted Allan Canatoy for the crime of Murder. On September 4, 2002, Barbas was inside her room at Ziega Apartment, Barangay Talamban, Cebu City. At around 9:30 in the morning, Tan, a tenant in the same apartment, saw two meh enter the apartment's gate. Afterwards, Soliman who was staying in the room adjacent to Barbas, heard two men utter "Ayo, Ayo" in front of Barbas' room and told the latter that they have something to deliver. Barbas told them to leave it beside the door but they insisted for her to come out so that she could acknowledge the item. After a short while, Tan and Soliman heard Barbas shouting "Ay!" three times. Soliman went out of the room and saw two men fleeing from Barbas' room towards the gate. Soliman called after them who looked back but then continued to run. Tan, who was on the terrace, also shouted "Hoy!" at the two men who likewise looked back. Both Soliman and Tan later identified the two men as Canatoy and Mabalato. Soliman and Tan then checked Barbas' room and they found her lying face down, bathed in her own blood. They saw a bloodied knife and grey t-shirt near Barbas' body. Tan recalled that one of the two men whom she saw enter the apartment's gate was wearing a grey t-shirt, but when she later saw him again fleeing from Barbas' room, he was already wearing a white shirt. Thereafter, Go, Barbas' boyfriend, as well as members of the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) and several police officers arrived. The police recovered, among others, the knife used in killing Barbas from the crime scene. Dr. Sator, a medico-legal officer, examined Barbas' body and stated in his report that Barbas suffered incise wounds and one fatal stab wound at the left shoulder, which pierced the aorta and the right lung, thereby causing hemorrhage.


                Whether or not the CA erred in convicting the accused-appellant.


                No. First, although the records show that there was no eyewitness to the actual killing of Barbas, the testimonies of Soliman and Tan on collateral facts of the crime, were properly given ample weight by the trial court and the CA. It is settled, that direct evidence is not indispensable for conviction in criminal cases and that circumstantial evidence may be enough to support a court's decision of guilt. Second, the extrajudicial confessions of Mabalato and Cartuciano were admissible in evidence and were credible. In their Briefs, they claimed that these confessions were inadmissible in evidence as, among others, they were prepared in advance and were extracted by the police officers through violence, intimidation, torture and false representation.


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