Republic of Philippines
SUPREME COURT

Manila
 

En Banc  

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
                                Appellee,

                 - versus -                                                                                  G.R. Nos. 138874-75


FRANCISCO JUAN LARRAŅAGA, et. al.,
                         Accused-Appellants. 

x -------------------------------------------------------- x

SUPPLEMENT TO
MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION

          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questions the certainty of the findings of police witness Jude Mendoza considering his apparent lack of expertise, the outdated and limited tests he was familiar with, and the irregular procedure he employed.

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* Based on the testimony of Mr. Jude Mendoza, it seems that his qualifications, skills and knowledge as a forensic serologist are limited. As we discussed earlier, the tests he performed (specifically the so called Florence test) are outdated. He admitted to not taking the precaution of wearing gloves during his examination of the clothing and the evidence he examined was not packaged properly to further tests. He also implied in his testimony that there are (only) 4 blood types from which the identity of the origin of the cloth stain can be determined. He was referring to the ABO blood group which by no mean the only one used in forensic serology because by itself it gives very little useful information. He also claimed to have seen "at least one spermatozoa" (sic, spermatozoon is single, spermatozoa is plural) but did not explain how he visualized it under the microscope without the benefit of stains. Because his finding cannot be verified in the absence of a fixed and stained slide with the spermatozoa, I have doubts as to its validity considering that the interval between the alleged date of the incident (July 17th) and the date of the submission of the panty (July 25th) is long and the spermatozoa were supposed to have been seen in fluid reconstituted from the starchy panty stains. In other words, under such adverse conditions I doubt if intact unstained spermatozoa could still be visualized.

          * 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 

PAGE 3
lacerations in terms of whether they are recent or old (healed) injuries.

          * 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 heart),  

PAGE 4
          4. Dr. Fortun likewise commented on the failure of the police to properly preserve the samples which should be the basis of future confirmatory tests.

          * 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.

PAGE 5
          Dr. Fortun has assured the movant that if this Court wishes, she is willing to appear and testify in order to shed light on her findings. Copy of the report is hereto attached as Annex "1".

          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. Another point worthy of a second look is the questionable testimony of police witness Edgardo Lenizo,1 

                    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.

                    8.2. 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
____________________
1   TSN dated 22 September 1998, pages 22 to 34.

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that the Comelec (Commission of Elections) Voter's Registration of Marijoy Chiong was already attached to the letter-request hence it is clear that the police already had a pre-determined ending to the supposed fingerprint testing. 

                    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.

          9. 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 respectfully prayed 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.

(NOTE: For the benefit of our foreign readers, blue wordings is what COMELEC stands for ...the webmaster).

PAGE 7
                                                                          ARROYO CHUA & CAEDO 
                                                                                                        Law Offices

                     signed: SEDFREY ORDOŅEZ                                   G/F Cedar Mansion 2       
                             
Unit 2301-B West Tower                                Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center          
                              Tektite Bldg. Exchange Rd.  
                          Pasig City 1605 
                              Ortigas Center Pasig 1605                             BY:
                          
    PTR No. 1998126/Q.C./1-6-04
                             
IBP Life No. 00192
                             Roll No. SC March 1949                     signed: W
ILLIAM T. CHUA
                                                                                                         Roll No. 32769
                                                                                                         IBP No. 607016/Q.C./1-12-04
                                                                                                         PTR No. 0397117/Pasig/1-07-04

                                                                                           signed: SANDRA MARIE OLASO-CORONEL
                                                                                                         Roll No. 40316
                                                                                                         IBP No. 607019/RIZAL/1-12-04
                                                                                                         PTR No. 0397111/Pasig/1-07-04

          Copy Furnished:

          by personal service---
           
OFFICE OF THE
          SOLICITOR GENERAL
          134 Amorsolo Street
          Legaspi Village
          Makati City 1229

 

          by Registered Mail due to
               distance---

          CHAVEZ MIRANDA                                                  Atty. ERIC S. CARIN
          ASEOCHE                                                                  Room 308 Doņa Emilia Bldg.
          Law Office                                                                   Osmeņa Blvd., Lapu-lapu St.
          7/F Kalaw-Ledesma Bldg.                                          6000 Cebu City
          117 Gamboa St., Legaspi
          Vill. 1229 Makati City                                                   Atty. FERDINAND C. BAYLON
                                                                                                5th Floor DOJ Agencies Bldg.
                                                                                                NIA Road cor. East Avenue
                                                                                                1104 Diliman, Quezon City

PAGE 8
                                             
AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE
 
  
          CLARO C. PANUELOS, a Para-Legal of the Arroyo Chua & Caedo Law Offices; with address at G/F Cedar Mansion 2 JM Escriva (formerly Amber) Drive, Ortigas Center Pasig 1600, after having been sworn in accordance with law, hereby deposes and states that he served a copy of the following pleading:

                                SUPPLEMENT TO THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION  

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
          Law Office
          7/F Kalaw-Ledesma Building
          117 Gamboa St., Legaspi Vill.
          1129 Makati City

          Atty. ERIC S. CARIN
          Room 308 Doņa Emilia Bldg.
          Osmeņa Blvd., Lapu-Lapu St.
          6000 Cebu City

          Atty. FERDINAND C. BAYLON
          5th Floor DOJ Agencies Bldg.
          NIA Road cor. East Avenue
          1104 Diliman, Quezon City

          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
                                                                                                                           Affiant

          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
                                                                         Notary Public until 31 Dec 2005
                                                                         PTR No. 0397112/Pasig?1-07-2004

Doc. No. 451
Page No, 92
Book No. 1
Series of 2004. 

NOTE:   THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
        DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR  CLEARER APPRECIATION.              

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