In a Resolution dated 13 February 2015 , Assistant State Prosecutor Susan T. Villanueva resolved the complaints filed by the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNPCIDU) and private complainant Tomas Pastor ("TOMAS") against Respondents Domingo De Guzman III, a.k.a. “SANDY” and Dahlia Guerrero Pastor (DAHLIA) in connection with the killing of Ferdinand Pastor y Salas, a.k.a. "ENZO" and the wounding of Paolo Salazar ("SALAZAR"). The complaints are anchored on the extra-judicial statements made by PO2 Edgar Angel y Ybanes ("PO2 ANGEL") implicating both Respondents SANDY and DAHLIA as the masterminds in the plan to kill ENZO by contracting him to be the gunman for a fee of one hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00).
It may be recalled that ASP Villanueva issued an earlier Resolution finding probable cause for murder against PO2 ANGEL despite his recantation of the said statements. The Resolution states that "recantations do not necessarily cancel an earlier declaration"; that like any other testimony, the test of credibility must be utilized to determine which of the contradictory testimonies represents the truth; and that "these qualifications can only be arrived at during a full-blown trial on the merits and not during preliminary investigation". Premised on the said Resolution finding value on the statements of PO2 ANGEL, as well as giving weight to the evidence on record, the Assistant State Prosecutor resolved that "there is probable cause to hold [R]espondent SANDY for trial for murder and probable cause to hold [R]espondent DAHLIA for trial for parricide in the killing of ENZO on the ground of conspiracy".
While it may be true that there is no direct evidence pointing to both Respondents as direct participants, ASP Villanueva determined that there is interlocking circumstantial evidence that would point to their connivance in the commission of the crime, to wit: (a) even before PO2 ANGEL had implicated both Respondents, Chona Domen, housemaid of the victim, had already executed an affidavit detailing what she knows about the illicit relationship of the Respondents. For purposes of establishing conspiracy, and absent any evidence, motive plays an important role. This is strengthened by PO2 ANGEL's statement that the reason why he was contracted to kill ENZO was because the latter constantly beats his wife and that Respondent SANDY wants to relieve her of this burden; (b) both Respondents made known their decision to pursue the plan to kill ENZO when they met PO2 ANGEL at Pier I on 11 June 2014, and told him to execute it the following day; (c) Respondent SANDY provided the means for the execution of the plan; (d) Respondent DAHLIA supplied the information on the exact location of ENZO, giving easy access for PO2 ANGEL to consummate the crime; (e) PO2 ANGEL was instructed by Respondent SANDY to kill TOMAS if he is with ENZO. The Resolution took note of the fact that TOMAS and his wife were at the house of ENZO and Respondent DAHLIA on that fateful night, and that he had expressed his desire to accompany him to Clark, Pampanga. Who could have supplied such vital information, if not Respondent DAHLIA who was with them at that time? and (f) Respondent DAHLIA's unexplained absence can be taken against her in the determination of probable cause, since flight is indicative of guilt.
As to the Memorandum of Authorities submitted by Respondent DAHLIA's counsel, ASP Villanueva held that per the DOJ Revised Manual for Prosecutors, the same is a prohibitive pleading and cannot take place of a counter-affidavit.
With respect to the CCTV footage submitted by Respondent SANDY, the Assistant State Prosecutor ruled that it will be material only in so far as his arrest for illegal possession of firearms is concerned; and that it does not prove his innocence in the crimes charged.
Hence, all the foregoing circumstances lead to a reasonable inference of Respondents SANDY and DAHLIA's probable participation in the crimes of murder and parricide, respectively.
In view of the foregoing, the following actions were recommended, and approved by the Prosecutor General:
- The Informations for violation of Article 246 (Parricide) and Article 248 (Murder) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) be filed against Respondents DAHLIA and SANDY, respectively; and
- The complaint for violation of Article 250 (Frustrated Murder), RPC be dismissed without prejudice for insufficiency of evidence.