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People vs.

Ignas GR 140514-15
Facts:
June Ignas was convicted with murder aggravated especially by the
use of an unlicensed firearm and was sentenced to suffer reclusion
perpetua, which later on was upgraded to death by lethal injection,
for unlawfully killing Nemosio Lopate, his wifes paramour. Ignas
contends that the special aggravating circumstance of the use of
unlicensed firearm was improperly appreciated. He asserts that
such must likewise be proved beyond reasonable doubt and that the
prosecution failed to adduce the necessary quantum of proof.
Issue:
As the SC found that Ignas is liable only for the crime of homicide,
the issue now is WON the special aggravating circumstance of use of
unlicensed firearm can be taken against him.
Held:
No.
It is not enough that the special aggravating circumstance of use of
unlicensed firearm be alleged in the information, the matter must
be proven with the same quantum of proof as the killing itself.
Thus, the prosecution must prove: (1) the existence of the subject
firearm; and (2) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed
it does not have the corresponding license or permit to own or
possess the same. The records do not show that the prosecution
presented any evidence to prove that appellant is not a duly
licensed holder of a caliber .38 firearm. The prosecution failed to
offer in evidence a certification from the Philippine National Police
Firearms and Explosives Division to show that appellant had no
permit or license to own or possess a .38 caliber handgun. Nor did
it present the responsible police officer on the matter of licensing
as a prosecution witness. Absent the proper evidentiary proof, this
Court cannot validly declare that the special aggravating
circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm was satisfactorily
established by the prosecution. Hence such special circumstance
cannot be considered for purposes of imposing the penalty in its
maximum period