People vs. Salvador
G.R. No.201443, April 10, 2013
On April 7, 2002, at around 7:30 p.m., Albert rode his Toyota Prado with Plate No. UTJ-112 and drove out of the Coliseum’s parking lot. Ahead was a white Honda Civic car, while behind was a Toyota Hi-Ace van. Upon reaching Imelda Avenue, the Hi-Ace overtook the Civic. Albert was about to follow suit, but the Hi-Ace suddenly stopped and blocked the Civic. Six men with long firearms alighted from the Hi-Ace. Jubert and Morey approached the Civic, which was just about two to two and a half meters away from Albert, pointed their guns at the driver, who turned out to be Pinky, and motioned for her to step out of the car and ride the Hi-Ace. Two men ran after the "watch-your-car" boy in a nearby parking lot, but Albert no longer noticed if the two still returned to the Hi-Ace. Roger and Robert came near the Prado and gestured for Albert to likewise alight from the vehicle and ride the Hi-Ace.
Albert and Pinky were handcuffed together and made to wear dark sunglasses. The men took Albert’s wallet containing Php9,000.00, his driver’s license and other documents. They also took his Patek Philippe watch which costs Php400,000.00. Albert and Pinky stayed in the house and were fed food mostly bought from Jollibee until they were rescued on April 12, 2002.
Albert and Pinky were brought to Camp Crame between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. of April 12, 2002. Some time after lunch, a police line-up with about 15 men was presented. Albert identified seven persons, to wit, Marcelo, Ricky, Jubert, Morey, Jose, Robert and Roger, as among his abductors. Around an hour later, Betty arrived and introduced herself as the owner of the house. She inquired why the police officers were shooting at her house. She was invited by the police to Camp Crame to answer queries anent why a crime was committed in her house. While in Camp Crame, Albert and Pinky identified her as the person who brought them food while they were detained in the safehouse. Betty was thus arrested.
Whether or not the accused-appellants conspired in the commission of the crime.
Yes. The SC believes that the Court of Appeals correctly found that the essential elements comprising the crime of kidnapping for ransom were present and that the accused-appellants conspired in its commission. In the case at bar, Monico’s assistance extended to Albert when the latter descended the basement stairs and Betty’s visit to the safehouse to bring food could not automatically be interpreted as the acts of principals and conspirators in the crime of kidnapping for ransom.
In a conspiracy to commit the crime of kidnapping for ransom, the place where the victim is to be detained is logically a primary consideration. In the case of Betty and Monico, their house in Lumbang Street, Amparo Subdivision has a basement. It can be reasonably inferred that the house fitted the purpose of the kidnappers. Albert's detention was accomplished not solely by reason of the restraint exerted upon him by the presence of guards in the safehouse, but by the circumstance of being put in a place where escape became highly improbable. In other words, Betty and Monico were indispensable in the kidnapping of Albert because they knowingly and purposely provided the venue to detain Albert. The spouses' ownership of the safehouse, Monico's presence therein during Albert's arrival on the evening of April 7, 2002 and Betty's visits to bring food reasonably indicate that they were among those who at the outset planned, and thereafter concurred with and participated in the execution of the criminal design.