The murder of Ram Revilla is a case that is sensationalized by the media for feeding unverified reports from polluted sources. It is widely read and watched by people especially due to its interesting plot.
A [[trial by publicity]] as they say. 1 As this case was even noted as the “Most Shocking Showbiz News” of 2011 as Ram Revilla is part of influential clans in the Philippines – the Revilla’s and the Magsaysay’s. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has considered the case as “case closed” 2 said by Sr. Supt. Billy Beltran, Chief of Police of Parañaque City after identifying seven (7) suspects as of November 1, 2011 or only 3 days after the crime.
Primary suspects of his death according to the police investigation were his younger siblings. However, a person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and convicted by a court of law. Charges against one of the siblings, Gail Bautista-Furuyama and her husband, Hiro Furuyama has been dropped for lack of evidence. 3
Seven (7) people are now in trial. Although no strong evidence was given that they are in fact the masterminds in the death of the actor. RJ Bautista, Ryan Pastera and four (4) others that was said responsible for the murder are now under the Bureau of Jail and Management (BJMP) custody under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), while Ramona Bautista left the country to be with her Turkish husband, she is now reported to be residing in Turkey, as she was already a permanent resident even since before the murder.
Identity of the assailant
In this case all accused are charged with “conspiracy to murder“. As one after the another alllegedly participated as the mastermind, middleman, or just an accomplice.
In the case of People vs. Rodas 6, it has been ruled that, “It is hornbook doctrine that conspiracy must be proved by positive and convincing evidence, the same quantum of evidence as the crime itself; xxxxxxxx.” Conspiracy cannot be established be mere inferences or conjectures – it is incumbent on the one alleging to prove each of the persons he charged performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the alleged complicity, so as to convinced the investigating prosecutor that there is probable cause that they conspired with one another to commit the crime. 7
The accusatory allegations of the ”amended criminal information” indicting all the accused for the non-bailable offense of murder are as follows:
“The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses, Ramon Joseph Bautista, Michael Jay Nartea alias “MICHAEL”, Roy Francis Tolisora alias “KIKO”, Ramona Bautista alias “MARA”, Glaiza Visda alias “GLAIZA VISTA”¸ Norwin dela Cruz alias “TOTO”, and Ryan Pastera alias “BRYAN” of the crime of murder, committed as follows:
That on or about the 28th day of October 2011, at the City of Parañaque, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, conspiring and confederating together and all of them mutually helping and aiding one another with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, and unlawfully and feloniously attack, shoot with unlicensed firearm and stab with a bladed weapon one RAMGEN JOSE BAUTISTA y MAGSAYSAY, hitting him on the different parts of the body, thereby inflicting upon him serious physical injuries which directly caused his death, the said killing having been attended by the qualifying circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, committed in consideration of a price, reward or promise, and abuse of superior strength, and the attendant ordinary aggravating circumstances of a crime committed in a dwelling during nighttime and employment of disguise which qualify such killing to Murder.”
- In the crime of murder, where treachery is an element of the crime, all the offenders must have at least have knowledge of the employment of treachery at the time of the execution of the act or their cooperation therein.
To prove treachery, the following must be clearly established:
- The employment of such means of execution as would give the person attacked no opportunity for self-defense and retaliation; and
- the deliberate and conscious adoption of the means of execution.
The essence of treachery is “the sudden and unexpected attack by the aggressor on the unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend oneself, ensuring the attack without risk to the aggressor, and without the slightest provocation on the part of the victim.” 8
- However, in the sworn statement of Janelle Manahan, she declared that she was the one shot by a male person wearing a Halloween mask and an army green jacket, in the presence of Ramgen Jose Bautista. Thus, assuming it to be true, that Manahan was ”’first shot”’ before Revilla, it cannot be said that the attacked against Revilla was sudden and unexpected.
In fact, what appears is that Revilla came to the rescue of Manahan negating the requirement of treachery that the attacked against the victim must be done in way that he is deprived of any real chance to defend himself.
- Anent the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation. It was held that there must be evidence between the time when the crime was conceived by him and the time it was actually perpetrated. 9 The premeditation must be evident and not merely suspected. 10
- In the instant case, the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation cannot also be considered since there was neither proof that all accused planned to kill Revilla. Nor was there any proof of the time when the accused determined to commit the crime and the sufficient lapse of time between the determination and the execution to allow them to reflect.
- The aggravating circumstance of taking advantage of superior strength is considered whenever there is notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressors that is plainly and obviously advantageous to the aggressors and purposely selected or taken advantage of to facilitate the commission of the crime. 11
It is taken into account whenever the aggressor purposely used excessive force that is “out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked.” 12 While there is no fixed definition of abuse of superior strength, it is, nevertheless, required that there must be an evidence showing the offender took advantage of his strength over that of the victim to ensure the killing.
In the instant case, there is no evidence, testimonial or documentary, to prove the gross inequality of forces between Revilla and the alleged assailant.
As a matter of fact, there is not a single evidence presented to established the identity of the assailant which is obviously necessary to determine if the said assailant had in fact took advantage of his superior strength.
- Insofar as the allegation of price, reward or promise, there is no clear and direct evidence to prove that all accused had participated in the same. At the most, what the witnesses testified are hearsay evidence.
- The aggravating circumstances of dwelling, nighttime and disguise are not among the circumstances that would qualify the alleged killing to murder. These are not included in the enumerations provided for under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code which punishes the crime of Murder.
Prosecution failed to prove
However, what is clear is that ”some” admitted that they knew something regarding the failed attempts to murder Revilla, but they ”do not have any knowledge” regarding the day when Revilla got murdered.
- First, all witnesses, except the medico-legal officer, failed to discern any ”personal knowledge” in connection with the ‘murder’.
- Second, almost all witnesses when cross-examined by the defense have a lot of inconsistencies in their statements and testimonies.
- Third, in the present case the police and the prosecution are saying that Roy Francis Tolisora and Michael Jay Nartea are the gunmen, but when the seventh witness of the prosecution testified they are now trying to illustrate that RJ Bautista is the hitman.
- http://www.lifesomundane.net/2011/12/ramgen-revilla-case-and-court-of-public.html?m=1 ↩
- http://www.newsinfo. inquirer.net/86549/ram-revilla-murder-case-closed%E2%80%94police ↩
- http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/264888/raps-vs-ramgen-sister-gail-husband-junked ↩
- 121112TSN ↩
- 121112TSN ↩
- People vs Rodas. 531 SCRA 554 ↩
- R.R. Paredes vs. Calilung. 517 SCRA 369. ↩
- People v. Asis, G.R. No. 191194, October 20, 2010 ↩
- People v. Carillo, 77 Phil. 579 ↩
- People v. Yturriaga, 86 Phil. 534 ↩
- Valenzuela v. People, G.R. No. 149988, August 14, 2009, 596 SCRA 1, 10-11. ↩
- People v. Amodia, G.R. No. 173791, April 7, 2009, 584 SCRA 518 citing People v. de Leon, G.R. No. 128436, December 10, 1999, 320 SCRA 495, 505. ↩