A resident of Murcia, Negros Occidental, was sentenced to 16 years and one day to 20 years imprisonment for simple arson for setting on fire the house of his neighbor in Purok Lopues, Brgy. Canlandog, Murcia in 2009.
Jimmy Rodriguez Dayanan was also ordered by Judge Eduardo Sayson of the Regional Trial Court Branch 54 in Bacolod City to pay the heirs of his neighbor Errol Alib Lubria, the consequent civil liability representing the value of the burned house and its contents, placed at P100,000 including legal interest at the rate of 60 percent per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid.
Lubria died of gunshot wounds after he was ambushed on April 25, 2010 in Murcia.
Dayanan was arrested by the police on Sept. 14, 2009 a day after he burned down the house of Lubria. Beside the burned house, his brother Golan Dayanan, 49, was found dead with gunshot wound on the right of his chest.
During the investigation, Lubria’s eldest son, Eliver told the police that Golem and Jay-R Dayanan, armed with improvised shotgun arrived at their house after they had dinner. Jimmy Dayanan was unarmed at that time.
Eliver Lubria testified on Feb. 13, 2014 that Golem pointed his gun towards his father Errol Lubria and fired a shot after he (Eliver) tried to grab the weapon, which caused injuries on his left hand and fingers.
He said Jimmy Dayanan, the accused, and his father had a conflict in the cane field where his father was working. He saw the accused light a slipper with a lighter and throw it into the kitchen of their house.
Jimmy Dayanan denied the allegations against him, saying that he was in Purok Antawan, Brgy. Canlandog, Murcia, about 3 kilometers away from the place of the incident. He also denied having a prior conflict with Errol Lubria.
The court ruled that it finds that the prosecution had proven with moral certainty the identity of accused Jimmy Dayanan as the arsonist. He was positively identified by two eye witnesses: Eliver and Maria Liza Lubria.
It said the identification of the accused as the one responsible for the arson was positive and unambiguous. It finds their testimonies straightforward, candid, unshaken by rigid cross examination and unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in its material points. Hence it must be given full faith and credit.
The court, however, said the defense failed to demolish the testimonies and impeach the credibility of the prosecutions’ witnesses. Neither, was there evidence introduced showing dubious reason or improper motive on the part of the eye-witnesses to testify falsely against the accused Jimmy Dayanan and implicate him in the serious offense of arson.
It said the defense of alibi was not corroborated after the accused denied that he was present at the scene of the crime. It is not persuaded by the version of the incident of defense witness Casiano Obrique.
The court said accused Jimmy Dayanan failed to demonstrate with credible and tangible proof his impossibility to be at the crime scene.
In the instant case, the twin and essential ingredient for the offense of arson was established. The same is sufficient to warrant the conviction of the accused. However, with reservation that the special aggravating circumstance that the offender was “motivated by hatred” does not apply for lack of evidence.
The court said those who are criminally liable are also civilly liable.*CGS
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