The records show that the version of PO2 Valdez was contrary to the established facts and circumstances showing that he and Edwin, then armed with short firearms, had gone to the jai alai betting station of Moises to confront Jonathan Rubio, the teller of the betting booth then busily attending to bettors inside the booth; that because the accused were calling to Rubio to come out of the booth, Moises approached to pacify them, but one of them threatened Moises; Gusto mo unahin na kita?; that immediately after Moises replied: Huwag!, PO2 Valdez fired several shots at Moises, causing him to fall to the ground; that PO2 Valdez continued firing at the fallen Moises; that Ferdinand (another victim) rushed to aid Moises, his brother, but Edwin shot Ferdinand in the head, spilling his brains; that somebody shouted to Joselito (the third victim) to run; that Edwin also shot Joselito twice in the back; and that Joselito fell on a burger machine. The shots fired at the three victims were apparently fired from short distances.
The two accused were tried for three counts of murder by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 86, in Quezon City. On January 20, 2005, after trial, the RTC convicted them as charged, prescribed on each of them the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count, and ordered them to pay to the heirs of each victim actual damages, civil indemnity, and moral damages.
The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the RTC on July 18, 2006, subject to the modification of damages.
The two accused then came to the SC on final appeal, but on May 9, 2007, Edwin Valdez filed a motion to withdraw appeal, which the Court granted on October 10, 2007, thereby deeming Edwin’s appeal closed and terminated.
On January 18, 2012, the Court promulgated its judgment on the appeal of PO2 Eduardo Valdez, finding him guilty of three counts of homicide, instead of three counts of murder, and meting on him for each count of homicide the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years of reclusion temporal as maximum.
Subsequently, Edwin sent to the Court Administrator a letter which he pleaded for the application to him of the judgment promulgated on January 18, 2012 on the ground that the judgment would be beneficial to him as an accused.
Whether the accused Edwin Valdez is entitled to the appealed judgment?
Yes, based on Section 11(a), Rule 122 of the Rules of Court, which relevantly provides which provides the Effect of appeal by any of several accused. – An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter.
Although it is only the appellant who persisted with the present appeal, the well-established rule is that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for review of all its aspects, including those not raised by the parties. The records show that Rodriguez had withdrawn his appeal due to financial reasons. However, Section 11 (a) of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that “an appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellant court is favorable and applicable to the latter.”