G.R. No. L-35133 – 57 SCRA 349 – 156 Phil. 340 – Legal Ethics – Prosecutor Must Recommend Dismissal of Case If There is No Ground To Sustain It
In April 1970, while Elino Bana was sleeping in his house, he was shot by Raymundo Madera. Behind Madera were Marianito Andres and Generoso Andres. Elino Bana died before he could be brought to the hospital but he made a dying statement wherein he positively identified Madera as his shooter. Two of Bana’s sons who were at the house when the shooting happened identified Madera as the shooter as well as the two behind him. The trial court convicted the three for murder. They appealed. Then Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza recommended the conviction of Madera but also recommended the acquittal of Marianito and Generoso.
ISSUE: Whether or not the conviction is correct.
HELD: No, insofar as Marianito and Generoso is concerned – Madera’s guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. But Marianito’s and Generoso’s guilt were not established. Their mere presence behind Madera when the latter shot and killed Bana is not constitutive of their guilt without any showing that they shared the criminal intent of Madera. It must be shown that they had knowledge of the criminal intention of the principal, which may be demonstrated by previous or simultaneous acts which contributes to the commission of the offense as aid thereto whether physical or moral. This was absent in the case at bar.
The Supreme Court lauded the Solicitor General for recommending the acquittal of the two. The Supreme Court also emphasized that the prosecutor’s finest hour is not when he wins a case with the conviction of the accused. His finest hour is still when, overcoming the advocate’s natural obsession for victory, he stands up before the Court and pleads not for the conviction of the accused but for his acquittal. For indeed, his noble task is to prosecute only the guilty and to protect the innocent.