Conspiracy negated where accused arrives only after fight has begun

The lone prosecution witness, Tessie Asenita, testified that accused-appellant and Eder Ballabare were not originally with Edito's group when they attacked Moreto Miason and Juan Tacadao. By her account accused-appellant and Eder Ballabare arrived only after the fight between Edito's group, on the one hand, and the Tacadao brothers, on the other, had begun. The accused-appellant may have simply joined in the melee without necessarily any previous agreement to assault Juan and Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. Even the trial court stated in its decision that it "is more disposed to believe that the encounter resulted in the accidental presence of the native Palawano, Moreto Miason, in front of the house of Tessie Asenita, who was mauled by the brother of Eder Ballabare regarding the disposal of almaciga gathered" and that "if the incident eventually involved the Tacadao brothers, it was more probable [that] the group of the accused resented the intervention of Juan Tacadao in preventing further mauling of the native Palawano who was their friend and companion." The same degree of proof necessary to prove crime is required to establish conspiracy. For lack of sufficient evidence showing conspiracy accused-appellant must be absolved from liability for the killing of Juan Tacadao and held liable only for the killing of Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. [G.R. No. 108871. November 19, 1996]