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Salvanera v. People
Petitioner Salvanera was charged with murder along with Abutin, Lungcay and Tampelix. Petitioner Salvanera was the alleged mastermind. The prosecution moved for the discharge of accused Abutin and Tampelix, to serve as state witnesses, but the motion was denied. On appeal, the CA discharged accused Abutin and Tampelix from the Information to become state witnesses. On contrary, the petitioner contends that the testimony of an accused sought to be discharged to become a state witness must be substantially corroborated, not by a co-accused likewise sought to be discharged, but by other prosecution witnesses who are not the accused in the same criminal case. Petitioner argues that prosecution witnesses Parane and Salazar, who are not accused, do not have personal knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Thus, they could not testify to corroborate the statement of Abutin and Tampelix that petitioner is the mastermind.
Whether or not accused Feliciano Abutin and Domingo Tampelix should be discharged as state witness.
Yes. In the discharge of an accused in order that he may be a state witness, two among other conditions that should be present are (1) there is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of said accused; (2) The testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points. However, to require the two witnesses Parane and Salazar to corroborate the testimony of Abutin and Tampelix on the exact same points is to render nugatory the other requisite that "there must be no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of the state witness." The corroborative evidence required by the Rules does not have to consist of the very same evidence as will be testified on by the proposed state witnesses. It is enough that the testimony of a co-conspirator is corroborated by some other witness or evidence. In the case at bar, the Court is satisfied from a reading of the records that the testimonies of Abutin and Tampelix are corroborated on important points by each other’s testimonies and the circumstances disclosed through the testimonies of the other prosecution witnesses, and "to such extent that their trustworthiness becomes manifest.