Sunday, December 04, 2011

Lenido Lumanog, et al. vs. People of the Philippines/Cesar Fortuna vs.People of the Philippines/People of the Philippines vs. SPO2 Cesar Fortuna y Abudo, et al., G.R. Nos. 182555/G.R. No. 185123/G.R. No. 187745, September 7, 2010

Murder; credibility of witness. It is axiomatic that the fact alone that the judge who heard the evidence was not the one who rendered the judgment, but merely relied on the record of the case, does not render his judgment erroneous or irregular. This is so even if the judge did not have the fullest opportunity to weigh the testimonies, not having heard all the witnesses speak or observed their deportment and manner of testifying. Verily, a judge who was not present during the trial can rely on the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the trial as basis of his decision. Such reliance does not violate substantive and procedural due process. The validity of a decision is not necessarily impaired by the fact that its ponente only took over from a colleague who had earlier presided at the trial. 

Evidence; ballistics report. A ballistic report serves only as a guide for the courts in considering the ultimate facts of the case. It would be indispensable if there are no credible eyewitnesses to the crime inasmuch as it is corroborative in nature. The presentation of weapons or the slugs and bullets used and ballistic examination are not prerequisites for conviction. The corpus delicti and the positive identification of accused-appellant as the perpetrator of the crime are more than enough to sustain his conviction. 

Evidence; ballistics report. Even without a ballistic report, the positive identification by prosecution witnesses is more than sufficient to prove accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In the instant case, since the identity of the assailant has been sufficiently established, a ballistic report on the slugs can be dispensed with in proving petitioner’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Lenido Lumanog, et al. vs. People of the Philippines/Cesar Fortuna vs.People of the Philippines/People of the Philippines vs. SPO2 Cesar Fortuna y Abudo, et al., G.R. Nos. 182555/G.R. No. 185123/G.R. No. 187745, September 7, 2010

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