- versus - G.R. Nos. 138874-75
Accused-Appellant FRANCISCO JUAN LARRAŅAGA, by undersigned counsel, respectfully makes the following additional arguments in support of his 2 March 2004 "Motion for Reconsideration cum Request for Oral Argument" to wit:
1. In connection with the movant's arguments regarding the mishandling of evidence by the police, the separate study conducted by University of the Philippines' expert forensic pathologist Dr. Racquel Del Rosario-Fortun Is worthy of note.
2. To begin with, Dr. Fortun questions the certainty of the findings of police witness Jude Mendoza considering his apparent lack of expertise, the outdated and limited tests he was familiar with, and the irregular procedure he employed.
* Mr. Mendoza's test on the clothing stains for the presence or absence of blood are really not that vital since it is known for a fact that these items were on the body which definitely bore bleeding wounds. If it is suspected that the assailant(s) was (were) also injured then the blood stains could be linked to him (them) but then the test done should be more specific and sensitive such as DNA analysis.
3. Also, Dr. Fortun questioned the validity of the inference of rape considering the inadequate examination performed by the police medico-legal officer and the obviously erroneous procedure followed.
* The alleged presence of semen on the panty together with the postmortem findings of genital lacerations imply that forcible sexual sex took place (i.e. rape) however these findings may also be seen after consensual sex. Also, these findings by themselves do not indicate who or how many assailants there were. Dr. Sator testified that there could have been multiple assailants involved because of deep lacerations but this is an unjustified conclusion. Dr. Sator also did not describe the
* It is unfortunate that no swabs from the body were taken because according to Dr, Sator embalming had already taken place. The postmortem interval was only 3 days and common embalming procedures do not usually involve washing the vagina, hence the procedure should have been attempted at least. Actually, ideally the body should not have been embalmed at all prior to the autopsy. If the medico-legal officer were in complete control of the situation, he should have taken charge right from the beginning supervising the recovery at the scene, transporting the body to the morgue, removing the clothes, the tape around the head, handcuffs, and other evidence. Based on reports, the funeral parlor mortician performed many of these procedures. Curiously, the death certificate was marked "OK for embalming" with Dr. Sator's signature and the date July 25, 1997. The autopsy was performed on July 20, 1997 with the body already embalmed.
* The photographs of the body taken at the rnorgue and submitted as exhibits could have been more professionally done. They only showed the right side of the body with cloth over the genital region. Standard forensic autopsy photos include shots of the face, front, back and sides without any cover but with a scale (ruler).
According to the autopsy report,
the cause of death is "shock
and hemorrhage due to physical injuries to the head, trunk and
extremities." More specifically, based on the findings, death was
likely to have been caused by blunt force injuries of the head with skull
fractures, subdural hemorrhage and probable associated brain lacerations
and/or contusions. The pulmonary
lacerations may be significant also but they were not adequately
described. It is not clear if embalming artifacts can be ruled out
(insertion of a long metal tube in the abdomen used to introduce embalming
fluid could produce postmortem
lacerations), Other internal injuries could have been
present but not included in the report. No tissues were
also taken for histopathologic examination which is a standard procedure
in a forensic autopsy. Incidentally, the court transcripts and the autopsy
report erroneously indicate "coronary sutures" in the skull as a
fracture site. Dr. Sator apparently was referring to "coronal sutures
which separated as a result of blunt impact (coronary pertains to the
* The alleged seminal stains on the panty might still be subjected to DNA analysis if no significant degradation or contamination occurred yet I have doubts though if testing is still possible at this point. When it was presented in court the garment was not properly packaged and preserved and large defects were already present at the crotch where Mr. Mendoza took samples for his analysis. xxx
5. Another question raised by Dr. Fortun is the apparent inconsistency in the testimony of state witness Davidson Valiente Rusia vis-a-vis the physical. evidence that the body found in the ravine had handcuffs and that the same was apparently attached to a branch.
* One disturbing finding obtained from the reports and examination of the pictures is the presence of handcuffs on the left wrist of the body and apparently also around a branch of a fallen tree adjacent to it. If it can be confirmed that indeed the other cuff was fastened to the branch then the implication is that after the victim was thrown, somebody must have been at the site were it fell and then handcuffed the body to the tree. It would have been impossible for the cuff to have hooked the branch and locked by itself during the fall. This point can be pursued further because Mr. Davidson Rusia's testimony did not mention that the victim was handcuffed when she was allegedly thrown or that somebody cuffed her where she fell.
6. Indeed, these independent findings confirm the questions raised by Professor Jerome Bailen regarding the doubtful, or at the very least, inconclusive nature of the findings of the police.
7. It is precisely because there is uncertainty in the true identity of the body found in the ravine that the accused moves for its exhumation. Indeed, justice for the Chiong family and for the accused requires that this Court take a more definitive action to ascertain whether or not, as claimed by the police, the said body is that of Marijoy Chiong.
8.1. Lenizo testified that on 20 July 1997 at 8:30am, he received a letter-request from his superior to conduct a fingerprint examination of the unidentified dead lady found in a ravine in Carcar on 18 July 1997, a Friday. The letter was also dated 20 July 1997, meaning that the same must have been written before 8:30am of that day, a Sunday.
Lenizo testified that at the time he went to the Tupaz Funeral Homes in
compliance with the directive to conduct fingerprint examination, he did
not have an inkling of who the victim was, However, he admitted that
8.3 More incredible is the fact that the police was able to immediately secure the said Voter's Registration from the Comelec on a Saturday! This would be the only logical conclusion since the body was found only that Friday and the request was made immediately that Sunday.
Clearly, there is evidence that from the beginning of the investigation by
the police, they were determined to "solve"' Cebu's "trial of
the century" at all costs, even that of truth and justice.
WHEREFORE premises considered it is
that the following additional points, including the proposed testimony of
Dr. Racquel Fortun, be considered in determining the merits of the 2
March 2004 Motion for Reconsideration
submitted by the herein accused.
Movant likewise reiterate his earlier prayer to be heard. on oral argument by the Court En Banc.
Pasig City for Manila; 25 March 2004.
signed: SANDRA MARIE OLASO-CORONEL
by personal service---
by Registered Mail due to
in Case No. G.R. Nos. 138874-75, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Francisco Juan Larraņaga, et. al.," pending before the Supreme Court, by registered mail to:
CHAVEZ MIRANDA ASEOCHE
Atty. ERIC S. CARIN
Atty. FERDINAND C. BAYLON
as shown by the attached registry receipt from the Post Office of _________, with instructions to the Post Master to return the same to sender if it remains unclaimed after ten (10) days.
Pasig City, March 26, 2004
signed: CLARO C. PANUELOS
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this March 26, 2004 affiant exhibiting his Community Tax Certificate No. 12113913 issued in Pasig on 1-15-2004.
signed: MARIA BERNADETTE SARDILLO
THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR CLEARER APPRECIATION.