People vs Colinares (GR No. 72025 June 30, 1988)

People of the Philippines vs Colinares
GR No. 72025 June 30, 1988

Facts: Respondent Carlos Colinares Y Solmerano is the accused for the murder (alleged) of Armando Cardinas Y Luberiano. There are two sides of the story – the prosecution’s and the defense’s. The version of the prosecution states that the victim Armando Cardinas just recently arrived from the Visayas, was the nephew of the spouses Roberto and Trinidad Lopez, residents of Don Fabian Subdivision, Fairview, Quezon City, two of the five testimonial witnesses. That at about 10:00am of Novenmer 29, 1981, a quarrel between the spouses neighbours De Leon and Martinez family ensued in front of their house and some thirty armed persons arrived at their house and mauled and kicked them, that Armando was taken to the barangay service jeep and was later brought to Quirino Memorial Hospital in Quezon City where he was pronounced dead on arrival. On the other hand, the defense’s side was that Colinares was doing his usual job on the said day and don’t even know the identity of the victim. The medico legal report by Col. Gregorio Blanco states that Colinares when the autopsy was done on November 29, 1981 at the funeral parlor, Armando has been dead for an estimate 12 hours already.

Issue: Whether or not the medico legal report could be the basis of the acquittal of conviction of Colinares absent other evidence.

Held: Yes. Aside from the fact that there is no evidence presented to show where the crime took place and who inflicted the fatal wounds sustained, the record is not clear as to the time of the mauling incident and the death of the victim. Roberto Lopez testified that the mauling incident happened on November 28, 1981 between 10-11:00am, Trinidad Lopez testified that it happened on the same day but at 7:30am and Rowena Lopez that it happened at 10am. Another witness for the prosecution Col. Gregorio C. Blanco after qualifying himself as a medico-legal expert testified that the cadaver of the victim was already in rigor mortis (more than 12 hours dead) when he autopsied it at high noon of November 29, 1981. Taking into consideration this unimpeachable testimony of the doctor and the necropsy report which substantially support the doctor’s oral testimony, the death of the victim could be calculated to have occurred at least 12 hours before time of necropsy which is about November 28, 1981 at 12 midnight. Thus, the mauling incident of the victim did not happen or could not have happened because the victim was already dead at that time of the alleged mauling incident. There is no inconsistency between the doctor’s oral testimony and the necropsy report because the time and date of death of the victim appearing on the necropsy report as a/1040H 29 November 1981 pertains to the time and date as reported to the doctor by the authorities concerned since the victim was dead on arrival at 10:40am November 29, 1981 at the Quirino Memorial Hospital, Quezon City.

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