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GERRY A. SALAPUDDIN vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS et. al. G.R. No. 184681 (Digested Case)

G.R. No. 184681. February 25, 2013


•The present controversy started shortly after the adjournment of the day's session in Congress, a bomb exploded near the entrance of the South Wing lobby of the House of Representatives (HOR) in the Batasan Complex. The blast led to the death and inflicting serious injuries on several persons. 
•explosion was caused by an improvised bomb planted on a motorcycle
•Acting on a confidential information that the person who parked the motorcycle near the South Wing lobby of the HOR was staying with members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and learning that one ASG member, Abu Jandal alias "Bong," has standing warrants of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention
•police officers raided an alleged ASG safehouse. However, due to fire fight bong died.
•Meanwhile, Caidar Aunal (Aunal), Ikram Indama (Ikram) and Adham Kusain (Kusain)16 were arrested.
•On November 17, 2007, Salapuddin went to Camp Crame and voluntarily gave a sworn statement denying any knowledge of the Batasan bombing, asserting that his name was being used by the media only because of his relationship with the persons arrested in connection with the incident: Ikram was his former driver;
•Ikram executed several supplemental affidavits augmenting the statement he previously gave to the authorities. Notably, Ikram, in his first three affidavits, never mentioned Salapuddin’s involvement, let alone implicate him, in the plan to kill Congressman Akbar. Ikram’s narration of events altogether changed in his third supplemental affidavit dated November 20, 2007 (Ikram’s fourth affidavit)
•(Ikram’s fifth affidavit), where he made it appear that after bringing Redwan to Salapuddin’s house in Basilan.
•Based on the affidavits, PNP indorsed a letter requesting the inclusion of Salapuddin, Congressman Hataman, Jim Hataman and Police Officer 1 (PO1) Bayan Judda in the complaints for murder and multiple frustrated murder.


Whether Salapuddin may be held liable based on the admission Ikrams.


            A review of the records, however, show that the only direct material evidence against Salapuddin, as he had pointed out at every conceivable turn, is the confession made by Ikram. While the confession is arguably relevant, this is not the evidence competent to establish the probability that Salapuddin participated in the commission of the crime. On the contrary, as pointed out by the Secretary of Justice, this cannot be considered against Salapuddin on account of the principle of res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet expressed in Section 28, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court:

Sec. 28. Admission by third-party. – The rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another, except as hereinafter provided.
          Clearly thus, an extrajudicial confession is binding only on the confessant. It cannot be admitted against his or her co-accused and is considered as hearsay against them. Tamargo v. Awingan elaborated on the reason for this rule, viz:
        On a principle of good faith and mutual convenience, a man’s own acts are binding upon himself, and are evidence against him. So are his conduct and declarations. Yet it would not only be rightly inconvenient, but also manifestly unjust, that a man should be bound by the acts of mere unauthorized strangers; and if a party ought not to be bound by the acts of strangers, neither ought their acts or conduct be used as evidence against him.
          The exception provided under Sec. 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court to the rule allowing the admission of a conspirator requires the prior establishment of the conspiracy by evidence other than the confession. In this case, there is a dearth of proof demonstrating the participation of Salapuddin in a conspiracy to set off a bomb in the Batasan grounds and thereby kill Congressman Akbar. Not one of the other persons arrested and subjected to custodial investigation professed that Salapuddin was involved in the plan to set off a bomb in the Batasan grounds. Instead, the investigating prosecutors did no more than to rely on Salapuddin’s association with these persons to conclude that he was a participant in the conspiracy, ruling thus:
Respondent Gerry Salapuddin’s participation in the forgoing, cannot be downplayed just because he did not actively take part in the planning. Rather, despite this, it has hands written all over it. The circumstances, the people and place used are all, one way or another, associated with him. It cannot be mere coincidence(Emphasis supplied.)
           This Court, however, has previously stressed that mere association with the principals by direct participation, without more, does not suffice.Relationship, association and companionship do not prove conspiracy. Salapuddin’s complicity to the crime, if this be the case, cannot be anchored on his relationship, if any, with the arrested persons or his ownership of the place where they allegedly stayed while in Manila.
It must be shown that the person concerned has performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. In fact, mere knowledge, acquiescence or approval of the act, without the cooperation or approval to cooperate, is not sufficient to prove conspiracy. There must be positive and conclusive factual evidence indicating the existence of conspiracy,and not simple inferences, conjectures and speculations speciously sustained because "it cannot be mere coincidence."
The investigating prosecutors themselves were aware of the need for other clear and positive evidence of conspiracy besides the confession made by a supposed co-conspirator in charging a person with a crime committed in conspiracy. In discharging the Hataman brothers, the investigating prosecutors ratiocinated:

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