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G.R. No. 151978. July 14, 2004.

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ARTURO ROMERA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Criminal Procedure; Mitigating Circumstances; Provocation and Passion or Obfuscation; Provocation and passion or
obfuscation are not two separate mitigating circumstances; The rule is that if these two circumstances are based on the
same facts, they should be treated together as one mitigating circumstance.We must stress that provocation and
passion or obfuscation are not two separate mitigating circumstances. Well-settled is the rule that if these two
circumstances are based on the same facts, they should be treated together as one mitigating circumstance. From the
facts established in this case, it is clear that both circumstances arose from the same set of facts aforementioned. Hence,
they should not be treated as two separate mitigating circumstances.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PEDRO PAGAL y MARCELINO and JOSE TORCELINO y
TORAZO, defendants-appellants.
Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Plea of guilty; A plea of guilty admits not only the commission of the crime, but as well
the circumstances surrounding its commission, like conspiracy.By his plea, the appellant admitted not only the
commission of the crime but also the circumstances surrounding its commission, including the allegations of conspiracy.
Same; Same; The mitigating circumstances of passion as obfuscation and sufficient provocation are treated as one when
the provocation which gave rise to obfuscation arose from the same incident.Since the alleged provocation which
caused the obtuscation of the appellants arose from the same incident, that is, the alleged maltreatment and/or illtreatment of the appellants by the deceased, these two mitigating circumstances cannot be considered as two distinct
and separate circumstances but should be treated as one.
Same; Same; Obfuscation not mitigating when crime was calmly meditated before execution.The circumstance of
passion and obfuscation cannot be mitigating in a crime whichas in the case at baris planned and calmly meditated
before its execution.
Same; Same; Provocation to be mitigating must be sufficient and immediately precede the act.The maltreatment that
appellant claim the victim to have committed against them occurred much earlier than the date of the commission of the
crime. Provocation in order to be a mitigating circumstance must be sufficient and immediately preceding the act.
Same; Same; Nocturnity is aggravating when specially sought by the accused.The trial court correctly considered the
aggravating circumstance of nocturnity because the same was purposely and deliberately sought by the appellants to
facilitate the commission of the crime.
Same; Same; Evident premeditation is aggravating in robbery with homicide when aside from the plan to rob there was
also a plan to kill.Evident premeditation will only be aggravating in a complex crime of robbery with homicide if it is
proved that the plan is not only to rob, but also to kill. In the case at bar, a perusal of the written statements of the
appellants before the police investigators show that their original plan was only to rob, and that, they killed the deceased
only when the latter refused to open the kaha de yero, and fought with them.
Same; Same; Disregard of age, rank or sex is not aggrvating in robbery with homicide which is primarily against property
and not against persons.Disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank, age or sex may be
taken into account only in crimes against persons or honor, when in the commission of the crime there is some insult or
disrespect shown to rank, age or sex. It is not proper to consider this aggravating circumstance in crimes against
property. Robbery with homicide is primarily a crime against property and not against persons. Homicide is a mere
incident of the robbery, the latter being the main purpose and object of the criminal. [People vs. Pagal, 79 SCRA
570(1977)]
G.R. No. 131839. January 30, 2002.*
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ARANDE COLINA ADLAWAN @ RANDIE, accusedappellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses; Unless the trial judge plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value
which, if considered might affect the result of the case, his assessment on credibility of witnesses must be respected.
The task of assessing the conflicting versions of the defense and the prosecution is a matter best determined by the trial
court who had the untrammeled opportunity to observe the witnesses demeanor and deportment on the witness stand,
and therefore could better discern if such witnesses were telling the truth or not. Hence, unless the trial judge plainly
overlooked certain facts of substance and value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case, his assessment
on credibility of witnesses must be respected.
Same; Same; Same; Qualifying Circumstance; Treachery; The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack,
depriving the victim of any real chance to defend himself thereby ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressor.
Likewise, the trial court correctly appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery. The essence of treachery is the
sudden and unexpected attack, depriving the victim of any real chance to defend himself, thereby ensuring its
commission without risk to the aggressor. At the time accused-appellant fired the first shot, the deceased was unarmed
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and had his hands raised. The deceased was therefore in no position to put up any defense such as would present a risk
to accused-appellant.
Same; Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstance; Self-defense; Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for selfdefense whether complete or incomplete.The privileged mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense cannot be
appreciated in favor of accused-appellant. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for self-defense, whether
complete or incomplete. From the version of the prosecution, which the Court finds credible, the deceased did not commit
any unlawful aggression towards accused-appellant. On the contrary, it was accused-appellant who was the aggressor
when he shot the deceased who was unarmed and raising his hands.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; It is settled that a person making a defense has no more right to attack an aggressor
when the unlawful aggression has ceased.In the same vein, the circumstance of incomplete defense of a relative is
unavailing. It is settled that a person making a defense has no more right to attack an aggressor when the unlawful
aggression has ceased. In the instant case, accused-appellant was not justified in attacking the deceased as the latter
had his hands raised and was no longer poised to attack accused-appellants father at the time he was shot.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Unlawful aggression requires an actual, sudden and unexpected attack or imminent
danger thereof and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude; Mere apprehension that the supposed aggressor
would shoot the person invoking self-defense is not justified.Furthermore, the acts of the deceased immediately prior to
the shooting did not constitute unlawful aggression. Unlawful aggression requires an actual, sudden and unexpected
attack, or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude. It must be such as to put in
real peril the life of the person defending himself and not a mere imagined threat. In his direct testimony, accusedappellant did not categorically declare that the deceased was aiming the gun at him, or about to shoot him. Right after he
allegedly heard the deceaseds remark, Do you want to follow your father, he immediately lunged at him, twisted the
gun ward his chest and fired. Clearly, therefore, there was no real peril to the life of accused-appellant. In People vs.
Escoto, we held that the mere apprehension that the supposed aggressor would shoot the person invoking self-defense is
not justified. Failing to discharge the burden of proving unlawful aggression, accused-appellants claim of incomplete selfdefense cannot prosper.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Voluntary Surrender; To be considered a mitigating circumstance, voluntary surrender must be
spontaneous.The trial court, however, erred in appreciating the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender in favor
of accused-appellant. To be considered a mitigating circumstance, voluntary surrender must be spontaneous. The conduct
of the accused, and not his intention alone, after commission of the offense, determines the spontaneity of the surrender.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Passion or Obfuscation; Requisites before this mitigating circumstance may be appreciated.
The requisites of this mitigating circumstance are: (1) that there be an act, both unlawful and sufficient to produce such a
condition of mind; and (2) said act which produced the obfuscation was not far removed from the commission of the
crime by a considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover his normal equanimity. [People vs.
Adlawan, 375 SCRA 188(2002)]
No. L-32040. October 25, 1977.*
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO CASTRO, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; There is no treachery where mode of attack was not deliberately adopted to make it difficult for victim to
defend himself.For treachery to be considered as an aggravating circumstance, it must be established that the means,
method or manner of execution of the offense was deliberately and consciously adopted in order to make it impossible or
difficult for the victim to defend himself or to retaliate. In the case at bar, appellant had neither the opportunity nor the
reason to plan or deliberate on the mode of execution of the crime because he undoubtedly acted at the impulse of the
moment. Instinctively, he lifted a hand when he saw his 4-year old son being boxed by a bigger boy. Clearly, the method
of attack he adopted was not consciously chosen to facilitate the execution of the crime without risk to himself. Treachery
must therefore be ruled out.
Same; Evidence; Medical findings negate prosecution's theory that appellant delivered several blows on the 9-year old
victim.Moreover, the lower court's conclusion that appellant dealt successive blows on the deceased finds no basis in
the physical evidence adduced at the trial. Dr. Mateo Dalisay, who treated Ferdinand from November 18 to December 21,
1971, testified that "aside from the fever and inflammation of the right eye, he could not find any other lesion, abrasion
or contusion on the body of the deceased." Dr. Dalisay diagnosed his patient's ailment as conjunctivitis or sore eye.
Likewise, Dr. Jesus Miraflores, to whom the deceased was later referred for medical treatment, declared that "there was
no other lesion on the body of the patient, aside from the fever and the patient's inflamed right eye."
Same; Claim of accused that he merely intended to chastise the victim for boxing his 4-year old son and not to cause
victim's death given credence.Taking into consideration the circumstances under which the appellant's act was
executed, as well as the marked disproportion between the means employed and the ultimate consequence thereof, the
appellant's claim that he merely intended to chastise Ferdinand, and not to do away with him, deserves the fullest
credence. On this premise, the mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong should be
appreciated in his favor.
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Same; Appellant is entitled to mitigating circumstance of passion or obfuscation as he boxed the victim after he saw the
latter box his 4-year old son.The trial court, in brushing aside appellant's claim of passion and obfuscation, opined that
the act of Ferdinand in boxing appellant's 4-year old son was too trivial and insignificant to have produced the passion or
obfuscation contemplated by law. But while the cause would indeed seem trivial and slight, it is nevertheless to be noted
that the appellant's actuation arose from a natural instinct that impels a father to rush to the rescue of a beleaguered
son, regardless of whether the latter be right or wrong. Hence, when the appellant saw his son Ely being boxed by
Ferdinand, a much bigger boy, and that the latter was in the act of delivering another blow, the appellant, momentarily
blinded by anger, lost sight of the fact that his son's adversary was but a 9-year old boy. Clearly, when appellant hit the
deceased, he did so on the impulse of passion and obfuscation. [People vs. Castro, 117 SCRA 1014(1982)]
SYNOPSIS
When he saw his four-year-old son Ely being boxed by Ferdinand Recoco, a much bigger boy nine years of age, appellant
rushed to the place where the boys were and upon seeing that Ferdinand was about to deliver another blow, appellant hit
Ferdinand on the face and pushed him aside causing him to fall flat on his face. That night, Ferdinand developed fever
and inflammation of the right eve, for which ailments he was medically treated and later hospitalized. Thirteen days after
the incident, Ferdinand died. Consequently, appellant was charged with and convicted of murder. The trial court believed
the version of the prosecution that appellant hit Ferdinand with several fist blows and a "karate" chop which negated the
possibility of danger to the accused-appellant, thus concluding that treachery qualified the killing to murder. On appeal,
appellant does not dispute his guilt for the death of Ferdinand but he claims that he is guilty only of simple homicide
because of the presence of extenuating circumstances of defense of his son and lack of intent to commit so grave a
wrong as he merely intended to chastise the deceased.
The Supreme Court held: (a) that treachery must be ruled out because appellant had neither the opportunity nor the
reason to plan or deliberate on the mode of execution of the crime as he undoubtedly acted at the impulse of the
moment; (b) that the lower courts conclusion that appellant dealt successive blows on the deceased finds no basis in the
physical evidence adduced at the trial as the testimonies of the attending physicians strongly corroborate the defense
version that appellant merely delivered one Fat blow on the deceased; (c) that the mitigating circumstance of lack of
intent to commit so grave a wrong should be appreciated in appellants favor considering the circumstances under which
his act was executed, as well as the marked disproportion between the means employed and the ultimate consequence
thereof; (d) that the mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation should likewise be appreciated since appellants
actuation arose from a natural instinct that impels a father to rush to the rescue of a beleaguered son, regardless of
whether the latter be tight or wrong; and (e) that, consequently, appellant is guilty only of homicide, mitigated by the two
mentioned circumstances.
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. PONCIANO ESMEDIA and MENA ESMEDIA, defendants and
appellants.
1. HOMICIDE IN DEFENSE OF AN IMMEDIATE RELATIVE.Any person who, in defending his father against an unlawful
attack, while he still honestly believes him to be in great danger, causes the death of the attacking party, is exempt from
criminal responsibility. (Art. 8, par. 5, Penal Code.)
2. HOMICIDE; AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE.When the victim of homicide is a man 80 years of age, and arrives upon
the scene of an altercation after it has terminated. and is thereupon attacked and killed, the aggravating circumstance
No. 20 of article 10 of the Penal Code must be considered in fixing the penalty, because of the disregard of and lack of
respect for age.
3. ID.; MlTIGATING ClRCUMSTANCE OF LOSS OF REASON AND SELFCONTROL.In order to justify the application of the
mitigating circumstance of loss of reason and self-control during a dispute, the acts of the person injured must have been
the immediate cause of such loss of reason and self-control on the part of the person making the attack. When the victim
arrives on the scene after the trouble has terminated, and is then attacked by the contestants, the aforesaid circumstance
can not be applied in mitigation of the penalty.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DELFIN MUIT, defendant-appellant.
Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Where presentation of additional defense witness would be unnecessary.We find no
reversible error. The reopening of a case for the reception of further evidence lies within the sound discretion of the Trial
Court. Besides, as pointed out by said Court, it is very possible that Jesus Evangelista was merely smitten with jealousy,
and the alleged illicit relationship pure conjecture. Additionally, even if Jesus Evangelista's testimony could prove bias on
the part of Benigno Gubatan, the latter was not the only prosecution witness who testified as to the culpability of
appellant. It should also be noted that Benigno Gubatan, was subjected to rigid cross-examination by the defense
counsel, who was thereby given all the opportunity to impeach the credibility of said declarant.
Same; Same; Due Process; After accused had been fully heard and trial terminated, he has had due process of law;
Additional defense witness may be refused."If an accused has been heard in a court of competent jurisdiction, and
proceeded against under the orderly processes of law, and only punished after inquiry and investigation, upon notice to
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him, with an opportunity to be heard, and a judgment awarded within the authority of a constitutional law, then he has
had due process of law.
Same; Same; Testimony of defense witnesses casts doubt on their presence at the scene of the shooting incident.The
contention that it had ignored and unreasonably rejected the testimonies of defense witnesses Herminigildo Bermido and
Alfredo Martinez is untenable, Bermido's story that he had gone to barrio Tamban, precisely to see the accused in
connection with the purchase of railroad ties; that he had witnessed the shooting incident from a distance and that he
saw the deceased try to hack the accused, but that he left immediately after; that he never mentioned the incident to the
authorities, nor did he approach the accused after the incident, is unnatural behavior and does not inspire belief. Having
gone precisely to meet with the accused he could have shown concern at the very least. Martinez did not witness the
actual incident because he was buying a cigarette but merely corroborated Bermido's story that they had gone to Barrio
Tamban precisely to see the accused. A reading of their declarations, indeed, casts doubt as to their presence near the
scene of the crime. Their version was unconvincing compared to the forthright testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.
Besides, the appraisal by a Trial Court of the credibility of witnesses is entitled to the greatest respect in the absence of
established exceptions.
Same; Same; Judges; Judges may profound clarificatory questions.The alleged bias of the Trial Judge against the
accused is without basis. The clarificatory questions propounded by him during the trial were intended to test the
credibility of witnesses and to extract the truth. That the Trial Judge had ordered the accused transferred to Muntinlupa
after conviction is no manifestation of bias considering that this Tribunal had upheld said action in its Resolution dated
February 21, 1979.
Same; Same; Claim of self-defense is unavailing. There is no reason for deceased to try to hack the accused with his bolo
as the deceased had already begged leave to go out of house of accused to avoid trouble.That was not the sequence of
the occurrence as established by the evidence. The victim did not try to hack the accused with his (victim's) bolo that
hung from his right shoulder. There was no reason for him to physically harm the accused having already decided to leave
the accused's house in order to avoid trouble. He was already out of the front yard of the accused's house, about four
meters more or less from its "lean to", when he was shot at. The fact that the bolo was found lying on the victim's side
out of its scabbard is no proof that the victim had used it. It must have dropped as the accused fell to the ground after
having been hit. What is established by the evidence is that the victim was hit by a bullet at the nape or back portion of
the neck at the first shot. The victim spinned around from left to right involuntarily, at which point he was hit by the
second shot on the left arm and on his chest. The third shot did not hit its mark as it was deflected upward by Gubatan
who jerked the accused's hand skyward. Clearly, therefore, the accused had treacherously shot the victim at the back
thereby disproving the element of unlawful aggression on the victim's part, which the defense seeks to establish as an
essential element of self-defense.
Same; Same; Treachery is present where victim was shot while leaving the house of accused and was hit at the back of
the neck. Treachery has been undeniably proven. The accused was armed with a .45 caliber pistol and made full use of
it. The victim was first hit at the nape or back portion of the neck. He was fired at suddenly and unexpectedly, devoid of
any opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate.
Same; Same; Circumstances of evident premeditation not adequately proved in the case at bar.We agree with the
defense, however, that evident premeditation, as a generic aggravating circumstance, has not been adequately shown.
To properly appreciate that circumstance, it is necessary to establish: (1) the time when the offender determined to
commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that the culprit has clung to his determination; and (3) a sufficient
lapse of time between the determination and the execution to allow him to reflect. As there is dearth of evidence as to
when appellant first conceived of killing the deceased and that he was afforded sufficient time to reflect on the
consequences of his contemplated crime before its final execution, the circumstance of evident premeditation cannot be
appreciated.
Same; Same; Passion or obfuscation should be appreciated where shooting of victim aroused by fit of jealousy due to wild
rumors of amorous relationship of victim with wife of accused.On the other side of the coin, to be appreciated in favor of
the accused are the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender, and passion and obfuscation. There can be no
question that the accused was driven strongly by jealousy because of the rumors regarding the amorous relationship
between his wife and the victim. The feeling of resentment resulting from rivalry in amorous relations with a woman is a
powerful stimulant to jealousy and is sufficient to produce loss of reason and self-control. In other words, it is a powerful
instigator of jealousy and prone to produce anger and obfuscation.
Same; Penalty for murder with two mitigating and no aggravating circumstances.The crime of Murder, under Article 248
of the Revised Penal Code, is punishable by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. Considering the two
mitigating circumstances present, without any aggravating circumstances to offset them, the penalty next lower to that
prescribed is imposable, or, prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium period. [People vs.
Muit, 117 SCRA 696(1982)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ELADIO C. TANGAN, respondents.
G.R. No. 105830. February 23, 2001.*
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ELADIO C. TANGAN, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Prosecution cannot avail at the same time of the remedies of special civil action on
certiorari, petition for review on certiorari or appeal in criminal cases.In the recent case of People v. Velasco and Galvez,
we held that the prosecution cannot avail of the remedies of special civil action on certiorari, petition for review on
certiorari, or appeal in criminal cases. Previous to that, we categorically ruled that the writ of certiorari cannot be used by
the State in a criminal case to correct a lower courts factual findings or evaluation of the evidence.
Criminal Law; Murder; Self-Defense; Incomplete self-defense is not considered as a justifying act but merely a mitigating
circumstance; Absent unlawful aggression, there can never be self-defense, complete or incomplete.Incomplete selfdefense is not considered as a justifying act, but merely a mitigating circumstance; hence, the burden of proving the
crime charged in the information is not shifted to the accused. In order that it may be successfully appreciated, however,
it is necessary that a majority of the requirements of self-defense be present, particularly the requisite of unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim. Unlawful aggression by itself or in combination with either of the other two requisite
suffices to establish incomplete self-defense. Absent the unlawful aggression, there can never be self-defense, complete
or incomplete, because if there is nothing to prevent or repel, the other two requisites of defense will have no basis.
Same; Same; Same; A mere threatening or intimidating attitude is not sufficient.A mere threatening or intimidating
attitude is not sufficient. Likewise, the exchange of insulting words and invectives between Tangan and Generoso
Miranda, no matter how objectionable, could not be considered as unlawful aggression, except when coupled with
physical assault. There being no lawful aggression on the part of either antagonists, the claim of incomplete self-defense
falls. [People vs. Court of Appeals, 352 SCRA 599(2001)]
G.R. No. 77776. June 27, 1990.*
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO AGAPINAY, ALEX AGAPINAY, FORTUNATO
AGAPINAY, DANTE AGAPINAY, DELFIN AGAPINAY, and CIRILO AGAPINAY, accused-appellants.
Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Words of a bystander who said, as the victim was being stabbed by others:
Kill him and we will bury him. does not make former liable as principal by inducement as her words were not the
efficient cause of the commission of crime.With respect to Amor Flores, we agree with the trial judge that he should be
brought to the bar of justice. As regards, however, Julia Rapada, it is the opinion of this Court, and based on the records,
that she can not be held liable (as a principal by inducement). Her words, Kill him and we will bury him amount but to
imprudent utterances said in the excitement of the hour or in the heat of anger (it does not appear whether or not
Rapada held a grudge against the deceased), and not, rather, in the nature of a command that had to be obeyed. It has
been held: x x x A chance word spoken without reflection, a wrong appreciation of a situation, an ironical phrase, a
thoughtless act, may give birth to a thought of, or even a resolution to, crime in the mind of one for some independent
reason predisposed thereto without the one who spoke the word or performed the act having any expectation that his
suggestion would be followed or any real intention that it produce a result. In such case, while the expression was
imprudent and the results of it grave in the extreme, he would not be guilty of the crime committed. Therefore, in
applying the principles laid down to concrete cases it is necessary to remember only that the inducement must be made
directly with the intention of procuring the commission of the crime and that such inducement must be the determining
cause of the crime.
Same; Same; No conspiracy in cases of stabbing made at spur of the moment.We also believe that conspiracy has not
been shown beyond reasonable doubt to hold all six accused as co-principals in the crime of murder. As the lower court
observed, the stabbing happened in the spur of the moment. Conspiracy means, however, an agreement concerning
the commission of a felony and decision to commit it. If the tragedy was a chance stabbing, there can be no conspiracy to
speak of.
Same; Those who stabbed and held arms of victim are guilty as principals; but those who merely pelted him with rocks as
he ran are only accomplices.It is our considered opinion that only Romeo, Delfin, and Fortunato should be held as
principals in the crime of murder. Romeo is guilty, as he admitted in open court, by direct participation, while Delfin and
Fortunato are liable as principals by cooperation. In holding the victim by his arms, both allowed Romeo to inflict upon
him a stab wound. Alex, Dante, and Cirilo, on the other hand, should be held as simple accomplices for their acts of
pelting the victim with rocks. Since the deceased had already sustained two stab wounds, the act of hurling rocks at him
was not indispensable to justify holding them legally liable as principals.
Same; Abuse of superiority, not treachery, exists where victims arms held while being stabbed.The fact that Delfin and
Fortunato Agapinay held Virgilio Paino while Romeo stabbed him, does not demonstrate treachery. Rather, what it proves
is abuse of superiority. It is indeed plain from the records that the trio of Romeo, Delfin, and Fortunato had taken
advantage of their strength to overcome the victim who, at that time, was already injured.
Same; Unlawful aggression by victim must be established for plea of defense of relative or incomplete self-defense to be
appreciated.As we noted, the trial court repudiated the accuseds posturing of defense of relatives, so also do we.
Defense of relatives requires the concurrence of three elements: (1) unlawful aggression; (2) reasonable necessity of
the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) the person defending the relative had no part in provoking the
assailant, should any provocation have been given by the person attacked. Of these three requisites, unlawful
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aggression is said to be the most essential and primary, without which any defense is not possible or justified. Thus: If
there is no unlawful aggression there would be nothing to prevent or repel. In that event, not even incomplete selfdefense can be validly invoked.
Same; Threats or injurious words do not amount to unlawful aggression.The Court is not persuaded that Virgilio Paino
had acted with unlawful aggression that might have provoked the Agapinays deadly wrath. The records show that all that
Virgilio did was to address offensive language to Delfin Agapinay. In one case, this Court held that injurious words or
threats do not amount to unlawful aggression. Assuming that Virgilio did strike Delfin and Romeo Agapinay with a
paddle, the expediente reveals that thereafter and upon having been stabbed in the right arm by Romeo, he, Virgilio, ran
away. It has also been ruled that: Self-defense does not justify the unnecessary killing of an aggressor who is retreating
from the fray.
Same; Where victim uttered bad words, accused entitled to mitigating circumstance of provocation or passion.The
Court finds, however, that the accused should be entitled to the mitigating circumstance of provocation (or vindication of
a grave offense or passion or obfuscation.) since clearly, the deceased uttered offending words (vulva of your mother, if
you are talking as if you have no debts, not like me, I have no debts) that made the Agapinays, especially Romeo, react
violently. While the trial court disregarded this particular piece of evidence, the entire picture seems to indicate that
Virgilio Agapinay did say bad words that made the Agapinays act in retaliation. [People vs. Agapinay, 186 SCRA
812(1990)]
G.R. No. 148912. September 10, 2003.*
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. TIMOTEO ESCARLOS, alias Tomy, appellant.
Criminal Law; Evidence; Self-Defense; When the accused invokes self-defense, the burden of proof is shifted from the
prosecution to the defense.We stress that when the accused invokes self-defense, the burden of proof is shifted from
the prosecution to the defense. Thus, the latter assumes the responsibility of establishing this plea by clear and
convincing evidence. Upon its shoulders rests the duty of proving, to the satisfaction of the trial court, the justifying
circumstance of self-defense.
Same; Same; Same; Essential requisites of Self-Defense.The essential requisites of self-defense are the following: (1)
unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel such
aggression; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-defense. Verily, to invoke selfdefense successfully, there must have been an unlawful and unprovoked attack that endangered the life of the accused,
who was then forced to inflict severe wounds upon the assailant by employing reasonable means no resist the attack.
Same; Same; Same; Same; There is aggression, only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to ones life;
The peril sought to be avoided must be imminent and actual, not just speculative.Unlawful aggression presupposes
actual, sudden, unexpected or imminent dangernot merely threatening and intimidating action. Uncertain, premature
and speculative was the assertion of appellant that the victim was about to stab him, when the latter had merely drawn
out his knife. There is aggression, only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to ones life. The peril
sought to be avoided must be imminent and actual, not just speculative.
Same; Same; Same; Same; When an unlawful aggression that has begun no longer exists, the one who resorts to selfdefense has no right to kill or even to wound the former aggressor.When an unlawful aggression that has begun no
longer exists, the one who resorts to self-defense has no right to kill or even to wound the former aggressor. To be sure,
when the present victim no longer persisted in his purpose or action to the extent that the object of his attack was no
longer in peril, there was no more unlawful aggression that would warrant legal self-defense on the part of appellant.
Undoubtedly, the latter went beyond the call of self-preservation when he proceeded to inflict excessive, atrocious and
fatal injuries on the latter, even when the allegedly unlawful aggression had already ceased.
Same; Same; Same; Same; The number and the location of the wounds inflicted upon the victim were important indicia
disproving self-defense.As correctly held by the trial court, the nature, the number and the location of the wounds
inflicted upon the victim were important indicia disproving self-defense. The claim of appellant that only two of the four
stab wounds were fatal is of no moment, inasmuch as the means he employed was glaringly disproportionate to the
perceived unlawful aggression. He admitted in his testimony that he had stabbed the victim for the third time, even when
the latter was about to fall.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for upholding the justifying circumstance of
self-defense.Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for upholding the justifying circumstance of self-defense.
Unless the victim has committed unlawful aggression against the other, there can be no self-defense, complete or
incomplete, on the part of the latter. If there is nothing to prevent or repel, the other two requisites of self-defense will
have no basis.
Same; Same; Qualifying Circumstances; Treachery; Elements of Treachery.The essence of treachery is the sudden and
unexpected attack by an aggressor without the slightest provocation on the part of the victim, thus depriving the latter of
any real chance to put up a defense, and thereby ensuring the commission of the attack without risk to the aggressor.
Treachery requires the concurrence of two conditions: (1) the employment of a means of execution that gives the person
6

attacked no opportunity for self-defense or retaliation; and (2) the deliberate and conscious adoption of the means of
execution.
Same; Same; Same; Same; There is no treachery when the assault is preceded by a heated exchange of words between
the accused and the victim; or when the victim is aware of the hostility of the assailant towards the former.There is no
treachery when the assault is preceded by a heated exchange of words between the accused and the victim; or when the
victim is aware of the hostility of the assailant towards the former. In the instant case, the verbal and physical squabble
prior to the attack proves that there was no treachery, and that the victim was aware of the imminent danger to his life.
Moreover, the prosecution failed to establish that appellant had deliberately adopted a treacherous mode of attack for the
purpose of depriving the victim of a chance to fight or retreat.
Same; Same; Same; Same; A killing done at the spur of the moment is not treacherous.Certainly, the victim knew that
his scuffle with appellant could eventually turn into a violent physical clash. The existence of a struggle before the fatal
blows were inflicted on the victim clearly shows that he was forewarned of the impending attack, and that he was
afforded the opportunity to put up a defense. Indeed, a killing done at the spur of the moment is not treacherous.
Moreover, any doubt as to the existence of treachery must be resolved in favor of the accused.
Same; Same; Same; Evident Premeditation; There is evident premeditation when the execution of a criminal act is
preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out a criminal intent within a space of time sufficient
to arrive at a calm judgment.The trial court correctly ruled that the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation
was not present in the killing. Essentially, there is evident premeditation when the execution of a criminal act is preceded
by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out a criminal intent within a space of time sufficient to arrive
at a calm judgment. Obviously, the acts of appellant in the present case can hardly be described as a product of reflective
thought or deliberate planning towards a decisive resolve to kill the victim. On the contrary, the confrontation that
escalated to a violent brawl was quite spontaneous, casual and incidental. Verily, the brutal killing was not the result of a
previous plot or sinister design to end the life of the victim.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Elements of Evident Premeditation; When there is no showing how and when the plan to kill
was decided or how much time had elapsed before the crime was carried out, there is no evident premeditation.The
elements of evident premeditation are as follows: (a) the time when the accused decided to commit the crime; (b) an
overt act manifestly indicating that the accused clung to the determination to commit the crime; and (c) the lapse of a
period of time, between the determination and the subsequent execution of the crime, sufficient to allow the accused an
opportunity to reflect upon the consequences of the act. As found by the trial court, the prosecution failed to present
sufficient evidence to establish any of the foregoing requisites. To be sure, when there is no showing how and when the
plan to kill was decided or how much time had elapsed before the crime was carried out, there is no evident
premeditation.
Same; Same; Damages; Moral damages cannot be granted in the absence of proof therefor.The trial court awarded
moral damages in the amount of P50,000, but failed to award P50,000 as civil indemnity for the death of the victim. Moral
damages cannot be granted in the absence of proof therefor. Unlike in rape case, this type of award is not automatically
given in murder or homicide. [People vs. Escarlos, 410 SCRA 463(2003)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBER-TO BOYLES and PIO MONTES, defendantsappellants.
Criminal procedure; Plea of guilty; What deemed admitted,A plea of guilty -constitutes an admission of all the material
facts alleged in the information, including the aggravating circumstances alleged, although the offense charged be
capital.
Same; Same; Same; Aggravating circumstance may be disallowed despite plea of guilty.Where despite a plea of guilty
the lower court proceeded to trial due to the gravity of the offense, it is held that although technically an aggravating
circumstance may be deemed to have been accepted by such plea, yet where it is disproven by the evidence, it should be
disallowed in the judgment.
Criminal law; Aggravating circumstances; Nocturnity must have been especially sought for.In default of any showing or
evidence that the peculiar advantages of nighttime was purposely and deliberately sought by the accused, the fact that
the offense was committed at night will not suffice to sustain nocturnidad.
Same; Same; Superior strength deduced from, number of aggressors.Where the armed appellants seized upon their
greater number and greater power to overwhelm the unarmed deceased, it is held that the aggravating circumstances of
superior strength is present.
Same; Mitigating circumstances; Lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong; Refers to particular moment to attack.
Article 13, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code addresses itself to the intention of the offender at the particular
moment when he executes or commits the criminal act; not to his intention during the planning stage. Therefore, when,
as in the case under review the original plan was only to rob, but which plan, on account of the resistance offered by the
7

victim, was compounded into the more serious crime of robbery with homicide, the plea of lack of intention to commit so
grave a wrong cannot be rightly granted. [People vs. Boyles, 11 SCRA 88(1964)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO PACOT Y BABAD, defendant-appellant.
Criminal Law; Frustrated Murder; Mitigating Circumstances; Voluntary Surrender; Voluntary surrender, not mitigating
because while the accused did not try to escape, he did nothing to place himself in the custody of the authorities.
Appellants claim that he is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is without merit. In order that
the same may be properly appreciated in favor of the accused, it must appear that (a) he had not been actually arrested;
(b) he surrendered himself to a person in authority or his agent; and (c) his surrender is voluntary, which circumstances
are not present in this case (People vs. Molo, 88 SCRA 22). For, while appellant did not try to escape, he did nothing to
place himself in the custody of the authorities.
Same; Same; Same; Passion and obfuscation, not appreciated in accuseds favor, as appellants relationship with the
victim, the common-law wife of another person, is illegitimate.The mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation
cannot also be invoked in favor of appellant considering that his relationship with Yolanda, the common-law wife of Noel
Siozon, is illegitimate. The victims did not do anything which were unlawful and sufficient to produce the passion and
obfuscation contemplated by law. Appellants claim that Yolanda kicked him in the genital area was not corroborated; and,
even if true, the same could not have resulted in depriving him of reason that has driven him to kill Yolanda and Dennis,
and to almost kill Diane.
Same; Same; Same; Plea of guilty, properly appreciated in accuseds favor; Death penalty imposed in three criminal cases
reduced to reclusion perpetua for lack of votes.The court properly considered in his favor the mitigating circumstance of
plea of guilty. Thus, the maximum penalty of death was properly imposed in each of the cases where Yolanda and Dennis
were the victims. However, for lack of necessary votes, the death penalties in said cases are both reduced to reclusion
perpetua.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RICARDO ABUEG, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Evidence; Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence. It may be inferred from the acts
of all the accused.Appellant does not deny that he should be responsible for the death of Marciana Maraya. In fact, in
his handwritten letter sent to this Court on August 24, 1981 (p. 80, Rollo) from the New Bilibid Prison, he admitted that
the killing of Maraya was accidental as he was not aware that the victim was behind the lawanit door when he speared
the same. He claims that at most he should be convicted of homicide only and not robbery with homicide since it was his
co-accused Deogracias San Pedro alone who took the clothes and the conspiracy to take the same was not duly
established. Appellant argues that he returned to the victims house, armed with a piece of wood to get even with
Norberto Alcaraz and Diosdado Maraya who beat him but that there was no previous plan or agreement to commit a
robbery. AppeUants claim of absence of conspiracy is without merit. Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence; it
may be inferred from acts of assailants. AppeUant and Deogracias San Pedro went back to the house of the victim each
carrying a piece of wood. With these, they struck the lawanit door with the wood hitting Marciana Maraya inside who was
closing the door. Upon gaining entrance, they destroyed the wooden cabinet and obviously for the purpose of taking the
things therein.
Same; Same; Same; Appellant Abuegs claim that he did not know that his co-accused would steal is belied by evidence
that he demanded money from victims.Appellants claim that he had no previous knowledge that San Pedro would steal
the clothes is belied by his admission that he demanded money from the Marayas and even threatened them with death
if they wouid not give their money.
Same; Same; It is not essential that there be a previous agreement to commit robbery for the crime ofrobbery with
homicide to be committed and for conspiracy thereon to be inferred from their acts of ransacking the cabinets.The acts
of the two accused in destroying the cabinet for the obvious purpose of taking the contents therein show a continuity of
criminal design. Although no previous agreement to commit the robbery has been proven, ;such is not essential. It is
sufficient that the malefactors acted in concert pursuant to the same objective. The tacit and spontaneous cooperation
and coordination by the two accused in breaking the cabinet show the existence of a conspiracy. This is bolstered by the
fact that appellant did not even prevent San Pedro from stealing the clothes and running away with the same.
Evidence; Criminal Law; Ability ofaccused to narrate vividly at the time of trial, two years after the incident in question,
details of the crime and names of persons, negates his claim and that of the psychiatrists report, that he is mentally
defective.The psychological exairiinations were conducted on September 26,1976 while appellant was already detained
at the New Bilibid Prison, about three years after the crime was committed on November 1, 1973. In going over the
records of the case, We find that when appellant testified on September 4,1975, which was almost two years after the
commission of the crirae, he was able to narrate clearly and accurately the incidents that took place. He was able to
recall the place where he and Deogracias San Pedro went before and after the incident. He even remembered the name
of Pat. Wiifredo Perrera as the policeman who arrested him as well as the time of his arrest. Appellant likewise recalled
that they were confined at the Municipal Jail of Rosario, Cavite for two months and two weeks; thereafter, they were
transferred to Trece Martires (pp. 1457, tsn, September 4, 1975). Considering appellants ability to narrate vividly the
8

details of how the crime was committed and the other incidents that transpired thereafter, his assertion that he is
mentally defective must fail.
Same; Same; Moreover, anotherpsychiatric test showed that accused mental level is normal.Aside from this
consideration, it is shown that Dr. Romeo Y. Tating, Chief, Neuro-Psychiatrist Service of the National Bureau of
Investigation conducted a psychiatric evaluation of the appellant when the latter was detained at Camp Sampaguita
Youth Rehabilitation Center, New BiUbid Prison. His findings on appellants physical and neurological examinations
submitted to the court on February 10, 1977, place Ricardo Abueg within normal Umits (pp. 286287, Records).
Same; Same; Lack of intent to kill is mitigating in robbery with homidde as to reduce the penalty from death to only
reclusion perpetua where in ramming the door of the victims open with a piece of wood, accused did not know that a
woman was standing behind the door and she died as a consequence.Finalty, appellant argues that he had no intention
to commit so grave a wrong as that committed because the intention of the two accused in ramming the door with pieces
of wood was but to force it open, and they did not know that Marciana Maraya was behind the door. As this may well be,
We are disposed to agree that under the given facts of this case, the mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit
so grave a wrong may be appreciated in appellants favor. It has not been satisfactoriiy established that in forcing
entrance through the door which was then closed, with the use of pieces of wood, the two accused were aware that
Marciana Maraya was behind the door and would be hurt. Even as they sought to enter the house to retaliate against the
male occupants or commit robbery, there is no clear showing that they ever desired to kill Marciana Maraya. In People
versus Gardon, et al, 104 Phil. 371, it was held that, Considering however the circumstances under which the crime was
committed wherein it does not appear that appellants have deliberately intended to harm their victims though
incidentaUy two of them laid hands on some who apparently wanted to prevent their flight, x x x, the appiication of life
imprisonment would be commensurate to the crime committed x x x. Articie 13, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code,
addresses itseif to the intention of the offender at the particular moment when he executes or comraits the criminal act
(People vs. Boyles, 11 SCRA 88). As the attendant circumstances in this case indicate that the death of Marciana Maraya
was not deliberately intended, the penalty that was imposed by the trial court on the accused-appellant may be lessened.
Same; Same; There is robbery with homicide where death was occasioned during the robbery and regardless of the intent
to merely wreak vengeance for injuries sustained where offenders also robbed the victims.Nevertheless, Ricardo Abueg
remains liable for the crime of robbery with homicide because it is enough that a homicide result by reason of or on the
occasion of the robbery. Even assuming that the two accused, as alleged by them, only sought to wreak vengeance on
the male persons inside the house of the Marayas, this does not exclude the fact that they went further and proceeded to
rob the said family.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. SEVERO FONTABLA Y FORTO, defendant
and appellant.
CRIMINAL LAW; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; VOLUNTARY SURRENDER TO THE AUTHORITIES AND VOLUNTARY
CONFESSION OF GUILT.Article 13, subsection 7, of the Revised Penal Code, considers as mitigating circumstance
voluntary surrender to the authorities as well as voluntary confession of guilt prior to the presentation of the evidence for
the prosecution. Under the law, any of these facts constitutes mitigating circumstance. Although these circumstances are
considered mitigating in the same subsection of article 13, when both are present they should have the effect of
mitigating the penalty as two independent circumstances. If any of them must mitigate the penalty to a certain extent,
when both are present they should produce this effect to a greater extent.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON
y MAGDALENA, accused-appellants.
Remedial Law; Evidence; Criminal Procedure; Suppression of Evidence; The presumption that evidence suppressed would
be adverse if produced does not apply if the evidence suppressed is merely corroborative.Accused-appellants next
assert that the prosecution suppressed the testimonies of other eyewitnesses to the incident. They claim that despite the
fact that there were other persons investigated by the police, only Gabion was presented as an eyewitness during the
trial of the case. They argue that the deliberate nonpresentation of these persons raises the presumption that their
testimonies would be adverse to the prosecution. There is no dispute that there were other persons who witnessed the
commission of the crime. In fact there appears 011 record (pp. 16-17, Records) the written statements of one Abelardo
Reyes and one Monico Alimorong alleging the same facts and imputing the respective acts of pouring of gasoline and
setting the deceased on fire to the accused-appellants as testified to by Gabion in open court. They were listed as
prosecution witnesses in the information filed. Considering that their testimonies would be merely corroborative, their
non-presentation does not give rise to the presumption that evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.
This presumption does not apply to the suppression of merely corroborative evidence (U.S. vs. Diola, 37 Phil. 797).
Besides, the matter as to whom to utilize as witness is for the prosecution to decide.
Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; Criminal Liability; As there was no evidence showing previous conspiracy or unity of
criminal purpose and intention between the two accused immediately before the commission of the crime, the criminal
liability of the two accused is individual and not collective, and each of them is liable only for the act committed by him.
However, there is nothing in the records showing that there was previous conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and
intention between the two accused-appellants immediately before the commission of the crime. There was 110 animosity
9

between the deceased and the accused Pugay or Samson. Their meeting at the scene of the incident was accidental. It is
also clear that the accused Pugay and his group merely wanted to make fun of the deceased. Hence, the respective
criminal responsibility of Pugay and Samson arising from different acts directed against the deceased is individual and not
collective, and each of them is liable only for the act committed by him (U.S. vs. Magcomot, et. al. 13, Phil 386; U.S. vs.
Abiog, et. al 37 Phil 1371).
Same; Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence; Accused Pugay can only be convicted of the crime of Homicide Through
Reckless Imprudence because of his failure to exercise all the diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable
consequence arising from any act committed by his companions.The next question to be determined is the criminal
responsibility of the accused Pugay. Having taken the can from under the engine of the ferris wheel and holding it before
pouring its contents on the body of the deceased, this accused knew that the can contained gasoline. The stinging smell
of this flammable liquid could not have escaped his notice even before pouring the same. Clearly, he failed to exercise all
the diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable consequence arising from any act that may be committed by his
companions who at the time were making fun of the deceased. We agree with the Solicitor General that the accused is
only guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence defined in Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. In U.S.
vs. Maleza, et. al. 14 Phil. 468, 470, this Court ruled as follows: "A man must use common sense, and exercise due
reflection in all his acts; it is his duty to be cautious, careful, and prudent, if not from instinct, then through fear of
incurring punishment. He is responsible for such results as anyone might foresee and for acts which no one would have
performed except through culpable abandon. Otherwise his own person, rights and property, all those of his fellowbeings, would ever be exposed to all manner of danger and injury."
Same; Same; Qualifying Circumstances; Treachery; There is treachery when the attack is deliberate and the culprit
employed means, methods and forms in the execution thereof which tend to insure its execution without risk to himself
arising from the defense which the offended party might make.There is entire absence of proof in the record that the
accused Samson had some reason to kill the deceased before the incident. On the contrary, there is adequate evidence
showing that his act was merely a part of their fun-making that evening. For the circumstance of treachery to exist, the
attack must be deliberate and the culprit employed means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend
directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party
might make.
Same; Criminal Liability; Mitigating Circumstances; Even assuming that accused Samson merely intended to burn the
victims clothes, this will not relieve him from criminal responsibility. Samson is liable for the death of the victim although
it was not his intention to kill the latter, but he shall be credited with the mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to
commit so grave a wrong.There can be no doubt that the accused Samson knew very well that the liquid poured on the
body of the deceased was gasoline and a flammable substance for he would not have committed the act setting the latter
on fire if it were otherwise. Giving him the benefit of doubt, it can be conceded that as of their fun-making he merely
intended to set the deceased's clothes on fire. His act, however, does not relieve him of criminal responsibility. Burning
the clothes of the victim would cause at the very least some kind of physical injuries on his person, a felony defined in the
Revised Penal Code. If his act resulted into a graver offense, as what took place in the instant case, he must be held
responsible therefor. Article 4 of the aforesaid code provides, inter alia, that criminal liability shall be incurred by any
person commiting a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. As no
sufficient evidence appears in the record establishing any qualifying circumstances, the accused samson is only guilty of
the crime of homicide defined and penalized in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. We are disposed to
credit in his favor the ordinary mitigating circumstance of no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed as
there is evidence of a fact from which such conclusion can be drawn. The eyewitnesses Gabion testified that the accused
Pugay and Samson were stunned when they noticed the deceased burning (Tsn, June 1, 1983, pp. 16-17). [People vs.
Pugay, 167 SCRA 439(1988)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANTE DOMINGO y LIMPOT, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Justifying Circumstance; Self-defense; Trial court correctly disregarded accusedappellants claim of self-defense; Elements to prove self-defense; Once an accused had admitted that he inflicted the fatal
injuries on the deceased, it was incumbent upon him, in order to avoid criminal liability, to prove the justifying
circumstance claimed by him with clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence.The trial court correctly disregarded
accused-appellants claim of self-defense. To prove self-defense, the accused must show with clear and convincing
evidence, that: [1] he is not the unlawful aggressor; [2] there was lack of sufficient provocation on his part; and [3] he
employed reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression. Self-defense, like alibi, is a defense which can easily be
concocted. It is well-settled in this jurisdiction that once an accused had admitted that he inflicted the fatal injuries on the
deceased, it was incumbent upon him, in order to avoid criminal liability, to prove the justifying circumstance claimed by
him with clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence. He cannot rely on the weakness of his own evidence, for even if the
evidence of the prosecution were weak it could not be disbelieved after the accused himself had admitted the killing.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The location, number and seriousness of the wounds inflicted on the victim indeed
belied accused-appellants claim of self-defense.In addition, a more telling disparity was exposed in the necropsy report.
The victim suffered four gunshot wounds, three of which were head wounds. One bullet shattered the victims nose. The
second pierced the back of his head. The third hit the victims right mandible, about 1.5 cm. away from the hole of the
victims right ear. The fourth wound was no less superficial as the bullet pierced the victims right shoulder. In contrast,
10

the accused-appellant did not suffer a single scratch. The physical evidence, therefore, negated his claim of self-defense
since he suffered no harm or injury. The location, number and seriousness of the wounds inflicted on the victim indeed
belied accused-appellants claim of self-defense.
Same; Same; Same; Qualifying Circumstance; Treachery; To constitute treachery, two conditions must concur: (1) the
employment of means, methods or manner of execution that would ensure the offenders safety from any defense or
retaliatory act on the part of the offended party; and (2) the offenders deliberate or conscious choice of the means,
method or manner of execution.Treachery attended the commission of the crime. To constitute treachery, two
conditions must concur: [1] the employment of means, methods or manner of execution that would ensure the offenders
safety from any defense or retaliatory act on the part of the offended party; and [2] the offenders deliberate or conscious
choice of the means, method or manner of execution. From the vantage point of Michael Abad, the prosecutions
eyewitness, accused-appellant and his victim were conversing with each other while walking side by side when suddenly,
accused-appellant pulled out his gun and fired at the victim four times. The attack was sudden and the wounds were fatal
thereby effectively preventing the victim from mounting even a token defense.
Same; Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstance; Intoxication; The intoxication of the offender shall be taken into
consideration as a mitigating circumstance when the offender has committed a felony in a state of intoxication, if the
same is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit said felony; Accused-appellant failed to prove he was in a state
of intoxication at the time of the commission of the crime.The intoxication of the offender shall be taken into
consideration as a mitigating circumstance when the offender has committed a felony in a state of intoxication, if the
same is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit said felony. In the instant case, accused-appellant claimed that
prior to the shooting he joined his victim in a drinking spree. Nonetheless, he failed to prove the approximate quantity of
his intake as to sufficiently affect his mental faculties and consequently entitle him to a mitigation of his offense. Accusedappellant failed to prove he was in a state of intoxication at the time of the commission of the crime. On the contrary, the
records showed no disturbance in the reasoning powers of accused-appellant. In fact, from his narration of the events that
transpired prior to and after the shooting, he seemed to be fully aware and cognizant of everything that occurred.
Same; Same; Same; Damages; It is axiomatic that a party seeking the award of actual damages must produce competent
proof or the best evidence obtainable to justify such award.The trial court awarded actual damages in the amount of
P57,245.00. However, only the amount of P10,000.00 for embalming services was duly receipted. It is axiomatic that a
party seeking the award of actual damages must produce competent proof or the best evidence obtainable to justify such
award. Only substantiated and proven expenses, or those that appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with
the death, wake or burial of the victim will be recognized by the court. It will not rely merely on suppositions or
conjectures. Thus, the amount of actual damages is reduced to P10,000.00. [People vs. Domingo, 362 SCRA 338(2001)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. FRANCISCO CAGOCO Y RAMONES (alias
FRANCISCO CAGURO, alias FRANCISCO ADMONES, alias BUCOY, alias FRISCO GUY), defendant and appellant.
CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; LACK OF INTENTION TO COMMIT SO GREAT A WRONG AS THAT COMMITTED; TREACHERY.
Under the circumstances of this case the defendant is liable for the killing of the deceased because his death was the
direct consequence of defendant's felonious act of striking him on the head. If the defendant had not committed the
assault in a treacherous manner, he would nevertheless have been guilty of homicide, although he did not intend to kill
the deceased, and since the defendant did commit the crime with treachery, he is guilty of murder, because of the
presence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FREDDIE BRAA, defendant-appellant.
Criminal law; Murder; Qualifying circumstance; Evident premeditation; Where elements of evident premeditation, were
not present; Case at barThe declaration alone of the prosecution would not stand to support a ruling of evident
premeditation. It must be shown that concrete steps have been taken by the accused to carry out the threat and that he
had sufficient time to reflect and meditate on his planned action, between the moment when he decided to execute it and
when the killing actually happened.
Same; Same; Same; Abuse of superior strength; Existing where accused attacked unarmed 4 feet, 11-inch girl with a
knife.It cannot be disputed that when the accused (a jilted lover) attacked the unarmed 4 feet 11-inch girl with a knife,
the former had abused that superiority which his sex and weapon employed afforded him, and from which the deceased
would be unable to defend herself.
Same; Same; Aggravating circumstances; Dwelling; Considered present where killing took place in the house of the
victim.The aggravating circumstance of dwelling is considered where the killing took place in the house of the
deceased.
Same; Same; Same; Disrespect to sex; Fact that victim is a woman not per se constituting disregard of her sex.The fact
that the victim is a woman does not per se constitute disregard of the respect due her sex that would aggravate a crime.
For this circumstance to be properly considered, it must be proved that in the commission of the crime the accused had
particularly intended to cast insult or commit disrespect to the sex of the victim.
11

Same; Same; Mitigating circumstances; Provocation by the victim; Not present where injuries of the accused found to be
self-inflicted.The defense of previous provocation, said to consist in the victim's act of assaulting the accused with a
knife and eventually wounding him, was overruled by the trial court, not only for being improbable but also because it
was contradicted by the testimonies of witnesses that the injuries found on the body of the accused were self-inflicted.
Same: Same: Same; Lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong; Inflicting of five stab wounds in rapid succession negates
defense of lack of intention to cause so serious an injury.Intention is a mental process, an internal act, a state of mind,
that generally can be determined or deduced f rom the acts of the offender and the effects resulting therefrom. In the
case at bar, the inflicting by the accused of five (5) stab wounds caused in rapid succession brings forth in bold relief the
intention of the accused to snuff out the life of the deceased, and definitely negates any pretense of intention to cause so
serious an injury.
Same; Same; Same; Voluntary surrender; Where voluntary surrender was considered in the case at bar.While it is true
that the warrant for the arrest of the accused was dated March 7, 1967 and the police authorities were able to take
custody of the accused only on March 81, 1967, there is nothing in the record to show that the warrant had actually been
served on him, or that it had been returned unserved for failure of the server to locate said accused. Upon the other hand,
there is direct evidence that the accused voluntarily presented himself to the police on March 31, 1967. And the fact that
it was effected sometime after the warrant of arrest had been issued does not in the least detract f rom the voluntary
character of the surrender in the absence of proof to the contrary. [People vs. Braa, 30 SCRA 307(1969)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALFONSO PAJENADO @ OSOY, EDILBERTO PAJENADO,
CECILIO PAJENADO, CARLITO PAJENADO, and ANICETO TOLING, defendants-appellants.
Criminal law; Murder; Justifying circumstances; Fulfillment of duty or lawful exercise of right or office; Requisites.A
person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office.
There are two requisites in order that the circumstance may be taken as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted in the
performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office; and (b) that the injury or offense committed by the
necessary consequence of the due performance of such duty or the lawful exercise of such right or office.
Same; Same; Same; Fulfillment of duty; Where accused not a person clothed with authority performing a lawful duty;
Effect of.The claim of the accused that he was a barrio policeman of Dapdap at the time of the incident is not worthy of
belief as his appointment as such by the Municipal Mayor of Las Navas, Samar on February 24, 1964 is null and void
inasmuch as the municipal mayor does not possess the power to appoint barrio policemen, such power being vested in
the barrio captain pursuant to the provisions of Section 14(e) and (i) of Republic Act No. 3590. Further, the barrio captain
categorically stated that the accused Aniceto Toling is not a policeman of the said barrio.
Same; Same; Qualifying circumstances; Treachery; Adoption by accused of means to insure himself from any risk of
defense victim may take; Case at bar.There was treachery because the five accused suddenly intercepted the victim
while he was on his way to the house of his cousin. The appellants resorted to a mode of attack which insured the
consummation of the crime without any risk to themselves. The victim was unarmed and he had no time to defend
himself in view of the suddenness of the assault and the fact that he was drunk at the time. Alevosia qualifies the killing
as murder.
Same; Same; Same; Abuse of superior strength; Abuse of superior strength necessarily included in treachery.It is not
necessary to resolve whether there was abuse of superior strength because the circumstance, if present, would be
absorbed in treachery.
Same; Same; Mitigating circumstances; Lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong; Lack of intention not appreciated
where offense committed characterized by treachery.The five accused claim that the weapons used are mere pieces of
wood, and the fact that only seven blows were dealt the deceased by the five of them, only two of which turned out to be
fatal, shows that the tragic and grievous result was far from their minds. The record shows, however, that the offense
committed was characterized by treachery and the accused left the scene of the crime only after the victim had fallen
down. Hence, the mitigating circumstance of lack of intention cannot be appreciated in their favor.
Same; Conspiracy; Community of design; Case at bar.Conspiracy may be inferred from the conduct of the five accused.
They emerged between the houses of Pajac and Gutaba. All of them were armed with pieces of wood. The accused
Pajenado had with him a flashlight which he focused on the eyes of the victim while they were all beating him. All of them
fled after the victim fell down due to the blows inflicted upon him. It is evident that they had community of design.
Same; Motive; Necessity of evidence of motive where evidence of indentification of accused doubtful.It is true that no
motive has been shown why the accused would beat the victim to death, but this Court has repeatedly held that motive is
pertinent only when there is doubt as to the identity of the culprit, something which does not obtain in the case at bar as
the five accused were positively identified by prosecution witnesses to be the assailants of the victim.
Same; Flight; Running away from scene of crime indicative of guilt.To run away from the scene of a crime is indicative of
guilt.
12

Same; Justifying circumstances; Accused should rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that
of the prosecution.It is incumbent upon the accused, in order to avoid criminal liability, to prove the justifying
circumstance claimed by him on the strength of his own evidence without relying on the weakness of that of the
prosecution, for even if the evidence of the prosecution were weak it could not he disbelieved after the accused himself
had admitted the killing.
Same; Credibility of witnesses; Inconsistencies in statements of witnesses on trivial details of no effect on probative value
of said statements.The inconsistency refers to a trivial detail. It cannot destroy the probative value of the consistent
testimony of the witnesses on how the five accused assaulted the deceased.
Same; Same; Relationship; Mere relationship not sufficient to affect probative value of testimony of witnesses.Mere
relationship is not sufficient to discard the testimony of credible witnesses have testified merely by reason of relationship
or alleged interest in the ease, other than a desire to see that justice is done. [People vs. Pajenado, 69 SCRA 172(1976)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. MAGDALENA CALISO, defendant and
appellant.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE; ABUSE OF CONFIDENCE.There is abuse of confidence where a
domestic servant in charge of a child, poisons and causes the death of the child.
2. ID. ; ID. ; DWELLING.The circumstance of the crime having been committed in the dwelling of the offended party
can not be considered an aggravating circumstance where both the victim and the accused lived in one and the same
house when the crime was committed.
3. ID. ; ID. ; TREACHERY.Treachery, being inherent in the crime of murder committed by means of poisoning, can not
aggravate the penalty provided for such crime.
4. ID; MlTIGATING ClRCUMSTANCE; PASSION OR OBFUSCATION.Passion and obfuscation can not mitigate the penalty
where the accused was actuated more by a spirit of lawlessness and revenge than by any sudden impulse of natural and
uncontrollable fury. [People vs. Caliso, 58 Phil. 283(1933)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CANDIDO ENRIQUEZ ET AL., defendants
and appellants.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; CONSPIRACY; RESPONSIBILITY OF PERSONS ENGAGED.Where several individuals
conspire to do grave bodily harm to another, and homicide or murder results from their acts of aggression, all who
participated in the conspiracy are liable for the killing, in this case murder, although the actual intention was only to beat
up the victim.
2. ID.; MURDER; MlTIGATING ClRCUMSTANCE THAT OFFENDER HAD NO INTENTION TO COMMIT so GRAVE A WRONG.
As murder in this jurisdiction results from the presence of qualificative circumstances based for the most part upon the
manner in which the crime is committed, and not upon the state of mind of the accused, it is permissible upon a
conviction for murder to allow the mitigating circumstance that the offender had no intention to commit so grave a
wrong.
THE UNITED STATES, complainant and appellee, vs. ARTHUR FITZGERALD, defendant and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; INTOXICATION; PRESUMPTION.In the absence of proof to the
contrary it will be presumed that intoxication is not habitual, and the fact that the accused was drunk at the time of the
commission of the crime must then be considered as a mitigating circumstance.
2. ID.; ID.; DEGREE OF INTENT.Where it appears that the accused fired a loaded revolver at the deceased and killed
him it must be presumed that he intended the natural consequences of his act, and he is not entitled to the benefit of the
mitigating circumstance established by paragraph 3, article 9, of the Penal Code.
3. ID.; ID.; PROVOCATION.Where it appears that the homicide was immediately preceded by an affray between the
deceased and the defendant, but there is no evidence as to now the quarrel arose, the defendant is not entitled to the
benefit of the mitigating circumstance of provocation.
4. ID.; ID.; PASSION AND OBFUSCATION.Where it appears that the homicide was immediately preceded by an affray
between the deceased and the defendant, the anger inherent in such a contest can not be considered as constituting the
mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DIEGO OPERO Y COSIPAG, et al., accused; DIEGO
OPERO Y COSIPAG, defendant-appellant.

13

Criminal Law; Robbery with homicide is committed regardless of which of the two precedes the other where there is a
close link between the killing and the robbery.Appellants theory finds no basis in the law or in jurisprudence. It has
been repeatedly held that when direct and intimate connection exists between the robbery and the killing, regardless of
which of the two precedes the other, or whether they are committed at the same time, the crime committed is the special
complex crime of robbery with homicide.
Same; Where death supervenes by reason or on the occasion of a robbery it is immaterial that death was caused by mere
accident, i.e., the victim who was hogtied swallowed the pandesal stuffed in her mouth.It may not avail appellant to
contend that the death was by mere accident for even if it were so, which is not eyen beyond doubt for the sliding of the
pandesal into the neckline to produce asphyxiation could reasonably have been anticipated, it is a settled doctrine that
when death supervenes by reason or on the occasion of the robbery, it is immaterial that the occurrence of death was by
mere accident. What is important and decisive is that death results by reason or on the occasion of the robbery. These
Spanish doctrines were cited by this Court in People vs. Mangulabnan, et al., 99 Phil. 992.
Same; The death of robbery victim by accident can, however, be considered as a mitigating circumstance.If the
circumstances would indicate no intention to kill, as in the instant case where evidently, the intention is to prevent the
deceased from making an outcry, and so a pandesal was stuffed into her mouth, the mitigating circumstance of not
having intended to commit so grave may be appreciated. The stuffing of the pandesal in the mouth would not have
produced asphyxiation had it not slid into the neckline, caused by the victims own movements, according to Dr.
Singian.
Same; Art. 49 of the Revised Penal Code on Penalty to be imposed . . . where the crime committed is different from that
intended applies only to cases where the crime befalls on a person different from the intended victim.In the instant
case, the intended victim, not any other person, was the one killed, as a result of an intention to rob, as in fact appellant
and his co-accused, did rob the deceased. As stated earlier, what may be appreciated in appellants favor is only the
mitigating circumstance of not having intended to commit so grave a wrong as that committed, under paragraph 3 of
Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, an entirely different situation from that contemplated under paragraph 1, Article 49
of the same Code, where as already explained, the different felony from that intended, befalls someone different from the
intended victim, as when the person intended to be killed is a stranger to the offender, but the person actually killed is
the offenders father, thereby making the intended felony which is homicide di [People vs. Opero, 105 SCRA 40(1981)]
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff, vs. AUGUSTUS HICKS, defendant.
1. MURDER; "ALEVOSA;" PREMEDITATION; PENALTY.Where the act of causing the violent death of a woman has
already been qualified by the specific circumstance of treachery (alevosa), if premeditation is also present therein it can
only produce the effect of a generic aggravating circumstance which, together with another of the same class, requires
the imposition in the maximum degree of the penalty which the law fixes for the crime.
2. ID. ; Loss OF REASON AND SELF-CONTROL.The causes which produce in the mind loss of reason and self-control,
and which lessen criminal responsibility, are those which originate from lawful sentiments, not such as arise from vicious,
unworthy, and immoral passions; therefore, in the present case it is not proper to consider that mitigating circumstance 7
of article 9 of the Penal Code was present.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MABINI GARACHICO and ROGELIO DE LA CRUZ,
defendants-appellants.
Evidence; The extrajudicial confessions taken on separate occasions from the two accused and sworn before the
municipal judge who discussed the matter with them were not involuntarily executed.De la Cruz and Garachico, with
their affidavits, were brought to the municipal judge of Mansalay, Judge Adelita Sucgang. Although the statement of de la
Cruz was written in Tagalog, the same was translated to him in Visayan by Judge Sucgang who was herself a Visayan. De
la Cruz was asked whether the statement was true or not. And he answered that the same is correct. Again, de la Cruz
was asked by Judge Sucgang whether he was willing to sign his name. He answered that he was willing, but since he does
not know how to write, he affixed his thumbmark to his written statement which was witnessed by the clerk of Judge
Sucgang and by a person who was then present in the office of the judge. De la Cruz was also asked by the municipal
judge whether he was threatened, intimidated or was promised some reward in making the statement and he answered
that he was not. After the judge was satisfied with the answers of de la Cruz, she administered the oath to him. The same
procedure was adopted by the municipal judge with respect to Garachico in connection with his affidavit.
Same; Failure to file charges against policemen who allegedly maltreated the accused indicates defense of maltreatment
in execution of extra-judicial confessions a mere afterthought.The allegation of the accused de la Cruz that the
extrajudicial statement is inadmissible in evidence because he was maltreated when he executed the same is devoid of
merit. In the case of People v. Ty Sui Wong, this Court ruled that failure to file charges against the alleged tormentors of
the accused shows that the claim of maltreatment was a mere afterthought. In the case at bar, no such charge was filed
against the policeman who allegedly maltreated the accused de la Cruz. Hence the conclusion is that he was not really
maltreated.

14

Same; Motive of the killingaccused harbored ill-feeling toward the victim who suspected them of having stolen his
chickensdoes not indicate insistence of a criminal design as to give rise to inference of evident premeditation.The
lower court committed an error. The extrajudicial statements of the accused merely furnished the motive that prompted
the two accused to kill Moral. The motive of the killing does not indicate the insistence of a criminal design. Although in
the affidavit of the accused, there is a statement that at 5:00 oclock in the afternoon of January 29, 1969, they waited for
Moral at Bud-buran river because they knew that he was going to have his carabaos drink and that they agreed to take
revenge on Moral and to kill him the moment they see him, there is an entire absence of evidence showing that they
meditated and reflected on their intention between the time it was conceived and the time the crime was actually
perpetrated.
Same; Criminal Law; Lapsed of 30 minutes between determination to kill and its execution not sufficient to give rise to
evident premeditation.To authorize the finding of evident premeditation, it must appear not only that the accused had
made a decision to commit the crime prior to the moment of its execution but that this decision was the result of
meditation, calculation or reflection or persistent attempt. In the case at bar, the lapse of thirty minutes between the
determination and the execution of the crime is not sufficient time for the accused to reflect upon the consequences of
their act. There being no evidence to prove that accused meditated and reflected on their purpose, the killing of both
Raymundo Moral and Concordia Mariveles was not attended by the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation.
Same; Same; Accused having taken the carabaos, other belongings after killing the spouses are also guilty of robbery.
The records of the case show that after the apprehension of the accused de la Cruz, he was immediately questioned by
Chief Quejado. De la Cruz admitted to Quejado that he and his co-accused Garachico killed the spouses and that they
took the five carabaos, one radio and two trunks of clothes of the spouses. When de la Cruz was asked where they kept
the stolen things he pointed to the place where they kept the loot. Patrolman Taado, who was with Chief Quejado, was
sent by the latter to accompany the accused de la Cruz to the place where the stolen carabaos and articles were hidden
and to recover them. Pat. Taado recovered the two trunks and one radio from the house where both accused were living.
De la Cruz also pointed to Pat. Taado where the carabaos were tethered. Taado found the carabaos (3 tethered, 2 loose
without ropes) a short distance from the house where the trunks and radio were recovered.
Same; Same; Treachery may be present even if killing was made while victim was facing the accused who hacked him
with their bolos.The contention of the accused that there was no treachery when they killed Moral because they were
facing each other is untenable. Treachery should be taken into account even if the deceased was face to face with his
assailant at the time the blow was delivered, where it appears that the attack was not preceded by a dispute and the
offended party was unable to prepare himself for his defense. In the case at bar, although the accused and the victim
were face to face with each other, the records reveal that the attack was not preceded by a dispute. It was shown that
upon seeing Moral, both accused hacked him with their bolos simultaneously thus Moral was unable to prepare for his
defense. This Court has consistently ruled that if the slayer makes a sudden and unexpected attack with a deadly weapon
on an unarmed and unsuspecting victim under conditions which make it impossible for the party assailed to flee or make
defense before the fatal blow is delivered, the act should be qualified as alevosia.
Same; Same; Abuse of superior strength is absorbed by treachery.However, in the case at bar, the lower court erred in
appreciating abuse of superior strength as a separate aggravating circumstance. Taking advantage of superior strength is
absorbed in treachery.
Same; Same; Nocturnity should not be appreciated where sun has not yet set when killings took place.As testified to by
eyewitness Diego Vicente, the sun had not yet set when the incident occurred. Therefore, it was not yet night time when
the killing of Moral occurred. And even granting that it was already night time when the crime of robbery with homicide
was accomplished, still, nocturnity was merely an accidental circumstance. It was not specially sought by the accused to
facilitate the commission of the crime. Neither was it taken advantage of by the accused to insure its commission with
impunity.
Same; Same; Abuse of superior strength and dwelling are present in the killing of a woman (wife of other victim) who is
52 years old in her house by two robust young men.The circumstances of abuse of superior strength and dwelling
aggravated the killing of Concordia Mariveles. The existence of abuse of superior strength is evident from the notorious
disparity between the relative strength of the victim, an old woman, 52 years of age and the two accused who were
young and strong and in the manner in which the killing was made, that of giving a karate blow on her and strangling her
to death, thus showing that the accused cooperated in such a way as to secure advantage of their physical strength.
Same; Same; Dwelling not inherent in robbery with homicide.It has been consistently ruled by this Court that dwelling is
not inherent in the crime of robbery with homicide. Hence, dwelling must be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance.
Same; Same; No voluntary surrender present where one accused tried to hide and the other one escaped on being
surrounded by the police.If it is really true that they had the intention to surrender to the authorities, they could have
done so without the chief of police and his men surrounding them in the Budburan river while they were bathing in the
river. After the killing, the two accused hid the body of Moral in the bushes quite far from the place where they killed him.
The following morning after the commission of the crime, upon the information that the accused were somewhere in the
vicinity of Budburan, Chief Quejado and his men scoured the area and found the two accused bathing in the river. Instead
of surrendering peacefully, the accused Garachico was able to escape but the accused de la Cruz was apprehended. If de
15

la Cruz had his way, he would have escaped but the policemen were faster. Garachico made good his escape and
remained in hiding until his capture in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, about two months after the killing and robbery of the
spouses.
Same; Same; Supreme Court will not interfere with the observation of trial court on demeanor of witnesses.The rule is
that the appellate court will not interfere with the observation of the lower court as to the manner the witnesses testified
because the trial judge has the opportunity to see the witnesses, hear them testify and observe their demeanor on the
witness stand.
Same; Same; Self-defense negated by total failure of the two accused to mention any of its elements in their respective
confessions.This contention is untenable. In their extrajudicial statements, both accused admitted that they killed Moral
and made absolutely no mention of aggression or provocation by the victim Raymundo Moral before the two accused
killed him. The testimonies in open court of the two accused that they killed Moral in self-defense as the latter assaulted
them with his bolo cannot prevail over their extrajudicial statements. Considering that said statements were given
spontaneously at the time when the facts relating to the incident in question were still fresh in their memory and before
they could have an opportunity to concoct or fabricate a story of the incident, the said statements certainly deserve
credence.
Same; Same; Hiding the corpse of the victim, wiping and hiding their bolos and flight not compatible with self-defense.
The conduct of de la Cruz and Garachico immediately after they committed the crime is incompatible with the reaction of
one who killed another in legitimate self-defense. After the two accused killed Moral, they hid his body in bushes at a
distance from where they hacked him to death; they wiped their bolos after killing Moral with banana leaves to remove
the blood stain; they threw away the bolo of the deceased in the cogonal area; and they did not voluntarily surrender but,
instead, were captured, in the case of de la Cruz, a day after the killing while taking a bath in the Budburan river, while
Garachico successfully escaped the police and was apprehended in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, about two months after
the killing. All these actuations show that both accused did not act in self-defense.
Same; Same; Location and nature of wounds may indicate self-defense is not credible as a defense.The wounds inflicted
upon the victim by the two accused who were not wounded at all, sufficiently disprove their allegation that they acted in
self-defense.
Same; Same; Lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong will not be appreciated where accused killed the victim after
she berated them for having hacked her husband. Intention is determined as of the time of killing not at the planning
stage.Article 13, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code addresses itself to the intention of the offender at the particular
moment when he executes or commits the criminal act; not to his intention during the planning stage. Therefore, if the
original plan, as alleged by the accused, was merely to ask for forgiveness from Morals wife but which plan, on account
of the fact that Morals wife scolded them and threatened to report them to the authorities, led to her killing, the plea of
lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong cannot be appreciated as a mitigating circumstance. The records show that
the accused held Morals wife until she fell to the floor, whereupon they strangled her by means of a piece of rope tied
around her neck till she died. The brute force employed by the accused completely contradicts the claim that they had no
intention to kill the victim.
Same; Same; Obfuscation and passion not appreciated in robbery with homicide.The facts of record show that both
accused are guilty of robbery with homicide. As such, the accused cannot claim passion and obfuscation as a mitigating
circumstance.
Criminal Law; Although two persons were killed and robbed, accused are guilty of only one crime of robbery with
homicide.Although two persons were killed on the occasion of the robbery, the accused are nevertheless guilty of only
one crime of robbery with homicide. The juridical concept of robbery with homicide does not limit the taking of human life
to one single victim. If more than one were killed by reason or on the occasion of the robbery, this circumstance does not
authorize punishment for separate independent offense or offenses. All the homicides or murders are merged in the
composite, integrated whole that is robbery with homicide so long as all the killings were perpetrated by reason or on the
occasion of the robbery. In the case at bar, there is no doubt that after the killing of Moral, the purpose of the accused in
going to his house was to rob the place with whatever things they could lay their hands on, but finding Morals wife in the
house whose presence constituted an obstacle to their purpose, they had to kill her. [People vs. Garachico, 113 SCRA
131(1982)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FLOREMAR RETUBADO, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Parricide; Evidence; Defense that accused was asleep at the time of the death of the child is untenable.
The accuseds defense that he was asleep at the time of the death of the child is untenable. The prosecution witnesses,
namely, Arcadia Retubado, Vicentica Robleca and Nicanora Codeniera, categorically and positively declared that they
actually saw the accused deliver the fistic blows on the child who was inside the hammock and/or the resulting injuries
inflicted on the latter. The severity of the blows delivered was confirmed by the findings of the NBI Medico-Legal expert,
Dr. Tomas Refe, that the cause of the childs death was skull fracture, traumatic and who testified in open court that
such injury could have been caused by a fistic blow applied with tremendous force.
16

Same; Same; Same; Same; Admissions made by the accused immediately after the commission of the offense all tend to
show that he was wide awake and in full possession of his normal senses when he killed his child.Not to be disregarded
were the admissions made by the accused immediately after the commission of the offense which all tend to show that
he was wide awake and in full possession of his normal senses when he killed his child. First, immediately after Arcadia
went to assist the child, she asked the accused why he boxed the latter. The accused replied angrily that death is the
prize for a child who cried too much. Second, when his mother-in-law asked him the same question, the accused told her
not to intervene and order him around because the child is his. And third, he admitted to Nicanora Codeniera that he
boxed his child while inside the hammock. He even inquired from Nicanora whether a person may be imprisoned for
killing his own child. Despite all these incriminating statements, the accused did not bother to refute them while testifying
in his defense. The most he did was to make a bare denial of the testimony of Nicanora to the effect that he did admit
having boxed his child while inside the hammock.
Same; Same; Same; In the absence of credible evidence to support the charge of bias and prejudice, it is presumed that
the prosecution witnesses would not have imputed to the appellant the crime of which he was charged unless he was
guilty thereof.The accused also assails the prosecution witnesses for being biased and prejudiced against him. The only
evidence adduced by him in support of this claim is his testimony that his mother-in-law was always against his marriage
with her daughter and even wanted that they live separately. Assuming that this contention is true, there is nothing in the
records showing that the mother-in-law is that wicked to impute to her son-in-law the killing of his own child for the sole
purpose of seeing him ultimately separated from her daughter. Likewise, his allegation that his wifes testimony is biased
has no factual basis. On the contrary, the accused testified that he did not know of any ulterior motive why his wife
testified against him, as he had no quarrel or misunderstanding with his wife immediately preceding the incident. The
same holds true with Nicanora Codeniera. No proof whatsoever was adduced to prove that this witness had some motive
to falsely testify against the accused. Consequently, in the absence of credible evidence to support the charge of bias and
prejudice, it is presumed that the prosecution witnesses would not have imputed to the appellant the crime of which he
was charged unless he was guilty thereof.
Same; Same; Same; Exempting Circumstance; Claim for benefit of the exempting circumstances of temporary insanity or
total absence of discernment untenable.Lastly, the accused asserts that the court a quo erred in not giving him the
benefit of the exempting circumstances of temporary insanity or total absence of discernment assuming, arguendo, that
he was awake when he killed his child since no motive at all was shown on his part to commit the crime charged. This
claim is also untenable. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, the accused did not invoke said defense during
the trial, much less present evidence in support thereof. His defense then was that he was asleep during the incident and
surmised that the baby may have died of colic, or simply held his breath.
Same; Same; Same; Voluntary Surrender; Fact that accused did not escape after killing his child cannot be considered
voluntary surrender to the authorities.The third assignment of error is likewise devoid of merit. The fact alone that the
accused did not escape after killing his child but remained inside the hut where the crime was committed cannot be
considered voluntary surrender to the authorities. The police officers arrived at the scene of the crime not upon his
behest but because they were called by his wife, Arcadia, and his mother-in-law, Vicentica. Moreover, when questioned by
the police regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of his child, the accused replied that he did not know
anything about it as he was then asleep.
Same; Same; Same; Treachery; The killing of a child is murder even if the manner of attack was not shown.Treachery
attended the killing of the 5-month old Raul. In People vs. Valerio, Jr., L-4116, February 25, 1982, 112 SCRA 231, this Court
en banc, speaking through Mme. Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, said: Treachery, as alleged in the Information, must
be considered qualifying and must be appreciated against the accused. The killing of a child is murder even if the manner
of attack was not shown. The qualifying circumstances of treachery or alevosia exists in the commission of the crime of
murder when an adult person illegally attacks a child of tender years and causes his death.
Same; Same; Same; Superior strength; Abuse of superior strength absorbed in treachery.Clearly, there was abuse of
superior strength by the accused over the defenseless child, but the same cannot be appreciated as an additional
aggravating circumstance, it being absorbed in treachery.
Same; Same; Same; Disregard of Age; Circumstance of disregard of age is included in that of treachery.The
circumstance of disregard of age cannot also be considered because it has neither been proved nor admitted by the
accused that in committing the crime he had intended to offend or insult the age of the victim. (People vs. Mangsant, 65
Phil. 548). Besides, this circumstance is included in that of treachery.
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. SEGUNDO FIRMO, defendant and appellant.
CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE.One who kills another because of abuse is nevertheless guilty of homicide, it not having been
proven that there was reasonable necessity for the means employed to prevent or repel aggression. The wound was
inflicted not in self-defense, properly speaking, but rather in retaliation of the abuses perpetrated on the person of the
accused, Under such conditions, however, the mitigating circumstance that sufficient provocation or threat on the part of
the offended party immediately preceded the act can properly be considered.
The People of the Philippines, plaintiff and appellee, vs. Vicente Nabora, defendant and appellant.
17

Criminal Law; Homicide; Provocation as Mitigating Circumstance, When Considered.The provocation, to constitute a
mitigating circumstance, must, in the language of the law, be "sufficient", that is, adequate to excite the person to
commit the wrong and must accordingly be proportionate to its gravity.
JESUS ESTACIO Y ESTRELLA, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, THIRD DIVISION, respondent.
Constitutional Law; Right to counsel and to remain silent; Defect in petitioners waiver of his right to remain silent and to
assistance by counsel cured and the requirement laid down in the Galit case substantially complied with; Case at bar.
But while it is true that petitioners waiver of his right to remain silent and to assistance by counsel was not made in the
presence of counsel, the defect was cured and the requirement laid down in the Galit case was substantially complied
with when Estacios lawyer, one Atty. Madarietta, arrived at the closing stage of the interrogation, read the statement and
talked to Estacio before the latter signed it.
Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Confession; Repudiation by petitioner of his confession on ground that it was extracted
through force and intimidation negated by the fact that the confession contained details which only petitioner could have
known. The repudiation by petitioner of his confession on the ground that it was extracted through force and
intimidation is negated by the fact that the confession contained details which only petitioner could have known.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Where the narration of the defendant tends to explain his conduct or shift the blame to
others, this is a circumstance that may be demonstrative of voluntariness rather than of compulsion. x x x According
to our jurisprudence, details disclosed in the confession which could have been known only by the declarant indicate the
voluntariness in executing the same (People v. Bautista, 92 SCRA 465). Voluntariness in the execution of and details
narrated in the extra-judicial confession render the claim by the appellant of duress in its execution incredible. (People v.
Limoso, 91 SCRA 364). And in People v. Villa, 93 SCRA 716, We held that the confessions of the accused cannot be totally
ignored even if they repudiated all of them on the ground of alleged extraction by force and intimidation, because the
narrations contained in them coincide with the narration given by the eye witnesses. And where the narration of the
defendant tends to explain his conduct or shift the blame to others, this is a circumstance that may be demonstrative of
voluntariness rather than of compulsion.
Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Petitioners culpability as a co-conspirator in the defraudation of the bank amply demonstrated
and established by the evidence on record. Anent petitioners claim that respondent Sandiganbayan erred when it held
that he (Estacio) was part of the conspiracy, suffice it to say that petitioners culpability as a co-conspirator in the
defraudation of the bank was amply demonstrated and established by the evidence on record. His presence at the
Ramada Hotel where he and his co-conspirators discussed the mechanics of their sinister plot and each conspirators role
defined, and his execution of his role thereafter, unquestionably demonstrates his conspiratorial designs.
Same; Mitigating Circumstance; Voluntary Surrender; Requisites before the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender may be appreciated. Finally, petitioners claim of voluntary surrender, was correctly disregarded by the court
a quo. We held in People v. Hanasan, 29 SCRA 534 that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender may properly
be appreciated in favor of the accused when the following requisites concur: (a) the offender has not been actually
arrested; (b) the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or to an agent of a person in authority; and (c) the
surrender was voluntary.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Foregoing requisites are not present in the case at bar. The foregoing requisites are not
present in the case at bar. The evidence on record discloses that petitioner went to the National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI) on February 16, 1982 upon the instruction of his superior and not of his own accord. Neither did he go to the NBI to
place himself at the disposal of the authorities. [Estacio vs. Sandiganbayan, 183 SCRA 12(1990)]
The United States, plaintiff and appellee, vs. Emilio Carrero, defendant and appellant.
1.Homicide; Self-Defense.Unless preceded by an unlawful aggression, which is a main and essential justification for selfdefense, the plea of exemption from criminal liability can not be considered under the law because the concurrence of the
other two requisites expressly stated in article 8, No. 4, of the Penal Code depend upon the aggression.
2.Id.; Id.When an aggression is in retaliation for an insult, injury, or threat it can not be considered as a defense but as a
punishment inflicted on the author of the provocation, and in such a case the most that courts could do would be to
consider the same as an extenuating circumstance, but never as a cause of complete exemption from liability.
3.Id.; Id.A simple threat, though made with a weapon, or in the belief of an immediate aggression, is not sufficient to
determine the exemption of self-defense; it is indispensable that the intent of the aggressor be ostensibly revealed by his
hostile attitude and other external acts constituting a real, material, unlawful aggression.
4.Id.; Mitigating Circumstances; Penalty.When in the commission of the crime of homicide two mitigating circumstances
have occurred which, together with the privileged circumstance stated in paragraph 2 of article 9 of the Penal Code,
deserve special consideration, no aggravating circumstance being present, the penalty to be imposed is the lowest one of
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the third degree in the general scaleprision correccionalin accordance with the provisions of article 85. paragraph 2.
and article 81, rule 5, of said code.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. DOMINGO DEGUIA, FLORENTINO DEGUIA, and
FRANCISCO DEGUIA, defendants and appellants.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF UNINHABITED PLACE.The aggravating circumstance of
uninhabited place can not be considered against the defendants although the house nearest to the dwelling of the victim
was about a kilometer away, if the defendants did not select the place either to better attain their object without
interference or to secure themselves against detection and punishment.
2. ID.; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF PROVOCATION.Where the ownership of the two jack fruits in question was not
proven, the act of the deceased of accusing the defendant of having stolen the two jack fruits which were then in the
latter's sled and in summarily taking the same from the sled into his house [People vs. Deguia, 88 Phil., 520(1951)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANGEL REYES Y ALCANTARA, defendant-appellant.
Criminal law; Witnesses; Plea that accused accidentally shot the victim is not credible where shooting was preceded by
threatening words and accused, after the shooting, still aimed gun at the deceased.His testimony that he accidentally
shot the victim defies belief because the shooting of the victim was preceded by his threatening words. Besides, had it
really been accidental, then the natural tendency of the accused would have bean to immediately give help to his
unfortunate victim and even to plead and express his regret to the mother of the deceased. But such was not the case.
After shooting the victim, the accused still aimed his gun at the prostrate body on the floor, which prevented the mother
of the victim from going to the side of her son.
Same; Same; Firearms; A revolver is not prone to accidental firing.Furthermore, as pointed out by the Solicitor General
in his brief, appellants claim of accidental shooting is negated by the following facts: (1) a revolver is not prone to
accidental firing if it were simply being handed over to the deceased because of the nature of its mechanism, unless it
was already first cocked and pressure was exerted on the trigger in the process of allegedly handing it over. If it were
uncocked, then considerable pressure had to be applied on the trigger to fire the revolver; x x x (2) even assuming for the
sake of argument as correct the appellants pretense of merely handing the firearm over to the deceased, the barrel or
muzzle is never pointed to a person, a basic firearms safety rule which appellant should know as a police officer; the
proper handling of the gun dictates the handing over of the same, butt first. x x x Moreover, after his arrest the appellant
refused to give any statement to the police. Such conduct of the appellant strongly argues against his claim of accidental
shooting. He could have easily explained the matter to the police. But he did not.
Same; Same; Discrepancy of testimonies on collateral matters serve merely to heighten witnesses credibility.The
discordance in their testimonies on collateral matters heightens their credibility and shows that their testimonies were not
coached nor rehearsed. Far from being evidence of falsehood they could justifiably be regarded as a demonstration of
their good faith.
Same; Same; Mere relationship of witnesses to victim of crime does not impair positive and clear testimony given by
them .Relationship to the victim alone does not impair the positive and clear testimony of witnesses.
Same; Same; Murder; Treachery; There is treachery where victim was shot while seated, stooping and smoking,
completely unaware that he will be shot.The victim was unarmed at the time he was shot, seated on a chair at the
investigators table, stooping and smoking, completely unaware of the impending attack.
Same; Same; Abuse of public position; There is abuse of public position where police officer in the course of investigation
of a charge against him for grave threats shot the complainant in a treacherous manner.Appellant was in civilian clothes
at the time he was apprehended by policemen of Precinct 4. He identified himself as a policeman of the MPD belonging to
Precinct 8. Because of his position he was not relieved of his service firearm which he had on his person in spite of the
fact that the charge against him was grave threats. At the investigation room of Precinct 4, appellant had the run of the
place, in a manner of speaking, again because of his position. In the course of the investigation being conducted by Det.
Domingo Gomez, appellant had the effrontery and arrogance to sit on top of the table of the investigator, at the edge
thereof, in utter disregard of the respect due the investigator, let alone the elementary rules of courtesy. From this
position, appellant, with his service firearm, shot the deceased who was then seated on a chair of the investigators table,
stooping and smoking. Instead of upholding the law, appellant broke it; instead of using his service firearm for good, he
used it for evil. Clearly, his crime is graver and his responsibility greater.
Same; Same; Provocation; Obfuscation; Provocation and obfuscation cannot be considered two distinct circumstances
when they arose from the same incident.Since the provocation which caused the obfuscation of the appellant did not
come from the deceased but from the latters mother, Conchita Flores, the same may not be appreciated in favor of
appellant. Besides, it may be pointed out that in the present case, provocation and obfuscation cannot be considered as
two distinct and separate circumstances but should be treated as one, having arisen from the same incident.

19

Same; Same; Voluntary surrender; Voluntary surrender to be appreciated as mitigating should be spontaneous; it does not
exist where immediately after shooting incident, accused was arrested by police.A surrender to be voluntary must be
spontaneous, showing the intent of the accused to submit himself unconditionally to the authorities. Here, the accused
after shooting the deceased was immediately disarmed and placed under arrest. There is, therefore, no voluntary
surrender to speak of.
Same; Same; Lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong cannot be appreciated where accused used a deadly weapon to
kill victim.His clear intention to kill the deceased maybe inferred from the fact that he used a deadly weapon and fired
at the deceased almost point blank, thereby hitting him in the abdomen and causing death.
Same; Same; Intoxication not appreciated where medical report states accused not intoxicated.It suffices to state that
the medical certificate shows that appellant was not intoxicated.
Same; Damages; Award of exemplary damages justified where crime committed with abuse of public position.Likewise,
in view of our finding that the crime was committed with abuse of public position, the award of exemplary damages is
also justified. [People vs. Reyes, 69 SCRA 474(1976)]
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CLEMENTE AMPAR, defendant and appellant.
CRIMINAL LAW; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF VINDICATION OF A GRAVE OFFENSE.During a fiesta, the accused, a man
70 years of age, asked one Patobo for some roast pig. Patobo's answer was; "There is no more. Come here and I will make
roast pig of you." With this as the provocation, a little later while the said Patobo was squatting down, the accused came
up behind him and struck him on the head with an ax, causing death the following day. The lower court took into
consideration the mitigating circumstance that the act was committed in the immediate vindication of a grave offense to
the one committing the felony. The offense which the accused was endeavoring to vindicate would to an average person
be considered as a mere trifle. But since to this defendant, an old man, it evidently was a serious matter to be made the
butt of a joke in the presence of so many guests, it is proper to give the defendant the benefit of this mitigating
circumstance.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALFREDO REGULACION alias Pedoy, defendantappellant.
Evidence; Criminal Law; Accused who admits the killing must plant his case convincingly on the strength of his own
evidence.As the accused-appellant, Alfredo Regulacion, admitted having shot the deceased Cayetano Sosing, it was
incumbent upon him to establish clearly and sufficiently that he did the act in self-defense and should plant his case on
the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution.
Same; Same; Claim of self-defense belied by the facts that physicians findings show that accused was shot from behind
and bullet trajectory is downwards when deceased was much smaller than accused.Dr. Leovegildo Mijares, who treated
the wounds of the accused after the shooting incident complained of, testified that the accused was shot from behind,
and the course of the bullet was downwards, so that the deceased could not have shot the accused who is bigger and
taller, in the manner described by the accused.
Same; Same; Treachery is negated by prosecutions evidence that deceased was armed and was forewarned of the
approach of the accused.The crime committed, however, is only homicide, in the absence of circumstances that would
qualify the killing to murder. The findings of the trial court that the killing was treacherous because the deceased was not
in a position to defend himself as he was unarmed is not supported by conclusive proof. Romualdo Acebuche declared for
the prosecution that the deceased, Cayetano Sosing, was armed on the night in question.
Same; Same; Same.At any rate, the deceased was forewarned of the coming of the accused and was given ample
opportunity to prepare for the aggression so that the circumstance of treachery, necessary to elevate the crime to murder
is wanting.
Criminal Law; Premeditation is negated by evidence that meeting of accused and deceased was by chance.Evident
premeditation has not also been established because the meeting of the accused and the deceased in the house of
Manuel Balanguit was a chance encounter and not purposely sought after. Romualdo Acebuche, a witness for the
prosecution, declared that when he went home from the house of the accused, the latter insisted on escorting him home
to Rawis. Then, while on their way, Manuel Balanguit asked the driver of the jeep to drop him at his house, but the
accused objected, saying that both of them shall accompany Romualdo Acebuche home. Manuel Balanguit pleaded with
the accused that he be allowed to go home or at least inform his wife where he was going since his wife was jealous and
pregnant and about to give birth, but the accused was adamant. The accused finally consented after they agreed that he
be the one to inform the wife of Manuel Balanguit where they were going. So, Romualdo Acebuche told the driver of the
jeep to turn back. They did not know that the deceased Cayetano Sosing was in the house of Manuel Balanguit at the
time. Had they known, Manuel Balanguit said that he would not have insisted on going back.
Same; As the deceased has previously uttered remarks that slurred the honor of appellants daughter, he is entitled to
mitigating circumstance of vindication of a grave offense.The accused-appellant is also entitled to the mitigating
20

circumstance of having acted in proximate vindication of a grave offense committed by the deceased against the honor of
his daughter when the deceased said: Oh, come on, let your daughter dance with Padi Nanong. Anyway, my nephew is
already thru with your daughter and someday well be in-laws. It is not denied that the appellant was embarrassed, to
say the least, by the utterance of these words. In fact, he threw a glass half-filled with beer at the deceased and they
would have fought had not their companions separated them. No doubt, the accused-appellant sought to vindicate the
honor of his family and appease his self respect when he killed the deceased.
Same; Penalty for homicide with one mitigating circumstance.The crime of homicide is punishable by reclusion
temporal. There being one mitigating circumstance and no aggravating circumstance to offset it, the penalty should be
imposed in its minimum period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the accused-appellant should be sentenced to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of from eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14)
years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum. [People vs. Regulacion, 121 SCRA 40(1983)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO ESPINA, accused-appellant.
Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; It is the prosecutions prerogative to determine who should be presented as witnesses on
the basis of its own assessment of their necessity.Then too, the non-presentation of Eufronia Pagas as a prosecution
witness is not damaging to the case of the prosecution. In Eufronias affidavit, she declared that after Rogelio Espina,
Samson Abuloc and the deceased went out of her house, she heard three gunshots but bothered not to go outside
because of fear. Evidently, Eufronia Pagas is not an eyewitness and her testimony would not do much for the prosecution.
At any rate, it is the prosecutions prerogative to determine who should be presented as witnesses on the basis of its own
assessment of their necessity. Hence, its choice of witnesses cannot be successfully challenged by accused-appellant.
Witnesses; A witness who is a friend and a second cousin of the accused, he is expected to be familiar with his voice;
Light from the stars or the moon, an oven, or a wick lamp or gasera can give ample illumination to enable a person to
identify or recognize another.Neither do we find improbable the testimony of Samson Abuloc that he recognized the
voice of accused-appellant. Being a friend and a second cousin of accused-appellant, he is expected to be familiar with
his voice. So also, we find no reason to doubt the testimony of Abuloc that he was able to identify the pistol used by
accused-appellant as well as witnessed the stabbing of the victim at the back. Not only was Abuloc only three to four
meters away from accused-appellant, the prosecution was likewise able to establish that the moonlight illuminating the
locus criminis afforded the witness a clear view of the shooting incident. The Court has previously held that the light from
the stars or the moon, an oven, or a wick lamp or gasera can give ample illumination to enable a person to identify or
recognize another. Under the circumstances, therefore, Abuloc could not have failed to recognize accused-appellant who
is not only his barkada but a second cousin as well.
Same; It is doctrinally settled that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best
undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses first hand and to note their
demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination.It is doctrinally settled that the assessment of the credibility
of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to
observe the witnesses first hand and to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination. In the case
at bar, the trial court did not err in giving credence to the version of the prosecution. The facts and circumstances alleged
to have been overlooked by the trial court are not material to the case and will not affect the disposition thereof.
Criminal Law; Murder; Hearsay Rule; Dying Declarations; Res Gestae; An alleged dying declaration of the victim should
not be admitted as an ante mortem statement where the prosecution failed to show that the subject declaration was
made under the consciousness of an impending death; Where the declaration of the deceased pointing to the accused as
the culprit was made shortly after a startling occurrence and under the influence thereof, the victim evidently without any
opportunity to contrive, the same may be admitted as part of the res gestae.The alleged dying declaration of the victim
should not have been admitted as an ante mortem statement, considering that the prosecution failed to show that the
subject declaration was made under the consciousness of an impending death. Prosecution witness Celmar testified that
on the way to the hospital, the victim told him that it was accused-appellant who shot him. Though the victim eventually
died two days after he was shot, there is nothing in the records that would show that the victim was under the impression
that he was going to die. However, the declaration of the deceased pointing to accused-appellant as the culprit is
admissible as part of res gestae. Having been made shortly after a startling occurrence and under the influence thereof,
the victim evidently had no opportunity to contrive.
Same; Same; Witnesses; Delay in revealing the identity of the perpetrator of a crime does not necessarily impair the
credibility of a witness, especially where such witness gives a sufficient explanation.The delay of Felix Celmar in
revealing the declaration of accused-appellant does not make Celmars testimony unworthy of belief. Delay in revealing
the identity of the perpetrator of a crime does not necessarily impair the credibility of a witness, especially where such
witness gives a sufficient explanation. In the case at bar, such delay was amply explained by the witness. Celmar testified
that it took him four months to reveal what he knew because he thought he would not be utilized as witness for the
prosecution. Moreover, after the incident, he had to leave for his work in Albay.
Same; Same; Illegal Possession of Firearms; The amendatory provision of Republic Act No. 8294, amending Presidential
Decree No. 1866, not being favorable to the accused, cannot be applied to the accused, lest it acquires the character of
an ex post facto law.The third paragraph, Section 1, of R.A. No. 8294 (which took effect on July 6, 1997), amending P.D.
21

No. 1866, provides that If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an
unlicensed firearm shall be used as an aggravating circumstance. This amendment, however, cannot be applied in the
present case. It bears stressing that when the offenses at bar were perpetrated on September 30, 1992, the unlicensed
firearm used in taking the life of another was not yet a special aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide. Not
being favorable to the accused, the amendatory provision cannot be applied to accused-appellant, lest it acquires the
character of an ex post facto law.
Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; As the treachery employed by the accused in shooting the victim is
actually a circumstance that qualified the killing to murder, treachery cannot be offset by a mitigating circumstance.The
trial court erred in treating alevosia merely as a generic aggravating circumstance, more so in offsetting the same by the
generic mitigating circumstance of having committed the crime in immediate vindication of a grave offense. The
treachery employed by accused-appellant in shooting the victim is actually a circumstance that qualified the killing to
murder. Such being the case, treachery cannot be offset by a mitigating circumstance.
Same; Same; Justifying Circumstances; Vindication of a Grave Offense; The act of the victim of urinating on the accused
in front of guests undoubtedly insulted and humiliated the accused, a circumstance coming within the purview of a grave
offense under Article 13, paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal Code, and for which the mitigating circumstance of acting in
immediate vindication of a grave offense should be appreciated in favor of the accused.The trial court correctly
appreciated the mitigating circumstance of having acted in immediate vindication of a grave offense. As the evidence on
record show, accused-appellant was urinated on by the victim in front of the guests. The act of the victim, which
undoubtedly insulted and humiliated accused-appellant, came within the purview of a grave offense under Article 13,
paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, this mitigating circumstance should be appreciated in favor of accusedappellant [People vs. Espina, 361 SCRA 701(2001)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JUNE IGNAS y SANGGINO, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Pleadings and Practice; Criminal Procedure; Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure; Although the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect only on 1 December 2000, or long before the
commission of the crime in the instant case, as a procedural rule favorable to the accused, it should be given
retrospective application; Absent specific allegations of the attendant aggravating circumstances in the information, it is
error to consider the same in adjudging the accused guilty of murder.The 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
requires that the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be specifically alleged in the information. Although the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect only on December 1, 2000 or long after the fatal shooting of Nemesio
Lopate, as a procedural rule favorable to the accused, it should be given retrospective application. Hence, absent specific
allegations of the attendant circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, and nocturnity in the amended
information, it was error for the trial court to consider the same in adjudging appellant guilty of murder. As worded, we
find that the amended information under which appellant was charged and arraigned, at best indicts him only for the
crime of homicide. Any conviction should, thus, fall under the scope and coverage of Article 249 of the Revised Penal
Code.
Same; Same; Witnesses; Familiarity with the physical features, particularly those of the face, is actually the best way to
identify a person.We note that at the heart of the prosecutions case is the familiarity of Annie Bayanes and Marlon
Manis with appellant. Absent this familiarity, the prosecutions theory that circumstantial evidence shows that appellant
killed Nemesio would collapse like a house of cards. It was precisely this familiarity with appellant, which enabled said
witnesses to recognize him as the person tucking a gun in his waistband and walking away from the fallen victim.
Bayanes had known appellant for some ten (10) years before the incident and even described him as a good man. She
was only five or six meters away from the scene of the crime and was able to fully look at the face of the person tucking a
gun in his pants and walking away. Familiarity with the physical features, particularly those of the face, is actually the best
way to identify the person. That the only illumination in the area came from the taillight of a parked vehicle and the lights
on the roof of the bagsakan does not discredit her account. We have held that moonlight, starlight, kerosene lamps, a
flashlight, and lights of passing vehicles may be adequate to provide illumination sufficient for purposes of recognition
and identification. Under the circumstances of these cases, this Court believes that Bayanes was in the position and had a
fair opportunity to identify appellant as the person leaving the crime scene with a gun tucked in his waist.
Same; Same; Same; In the rural areas, people tend to be more familiar with their neighbors, a familiarity that may extend
to body movements, which cannot easily be effaced from memory.Her testimony was buttressed by that of witness
Marlon Manis. A former neighbor of appellant, he had known appellant since 1993. He was a frequent customer at
appellants bakery. In the rural areas, people tend to be more familiar with their neighbors. This familiarity may extend to
body movements, which cannot easily be effaced from memory. Hence, Manis testimony that he could recognize
appellant even just from his build and manner of walking is not improbable. His declaration that he was some twenty-five
(25) meters away from the person walking away from the victim does not make recognition far-fetched. Once a person
has gained familiarity with another, identification is an easy task, even from that distance.
Same; Same; Same; Offer of Evidence; Evidence should only be considered for the purpose it was formally offered.
Evidence should only be considered for the purpose it was formally offered. As the Solicitor General points out, the
statements of Bayanes and Manis were not offered to positively identify appellant as the assailant, but to provide
circumstantial evidence concerning Nemesios assailant, tending to prove that appellant did shoot the victim. Thus, the
22

court a quo committed no reversible error in giving weight and credence to the testimonies of Bayanes and Manis for the
stated purposes therefor.
Same; Same; Same; Judicial Notice; There is no rule that the suspect in a crime should immediately be named by a
witness; The Court has taken judicial notice that when their townmates are involved in a criminal case, most people turn
reticent.As to Bayacsan, he candidly admitted in court that he considered appellant his friend and he wanted to protect
him and hence, he only disclosed appellants admission to him when the police started questioning him. There is no rule
that the suspect in a crime should immediately be named by a witness. Different people react differently to a given
situation and there is no standard form of human behavior when one is confronted with a strange, startling, or frightful
experience. The Court understands the natural reluctance or aversion of some people to get involved in a criminal case.
More so where, as in these cases, a townmate of Bayanes and Bayacsan is involved. We have taken notice that when
their townmates are involved in a criminal case, most people turn reticent. Hence, the failure of Bayanes and Bayacsan to
immediately volunteer information to the police investigators will not lessen the probative value of their respective
testimonies. The delay, having been satisfactorily explained, has no effect on their credibility.
Same; Same; Same; Ample margin should be accorded a witness who is tension-filled with the novelty of testifying before
a court.We have likewise closely scrutinized the testimony of Mona Barredo regarding the alleged admission by
appellant to her that he killed the victim. We find nothing flip-flopping about her testimony. Instead, we find a witness
who admitted she was nervous that she might not be able to answer all the questions. Said nervousness was
engendered by her erroneous belief that to be a credible witness, she must have personal knowledge of the crime. Even
the most candid witnesses make mistakes and may give some contradictory or inconsistent statements, but such honest
lapses need not necessarily affect their credibility. Ample margin should be accorded a witness who is tension-filled with
the novelty of testifying before a court.
Same; Same; Res Gestae; Requisites.The requisites of res gestae are: (1) the principal act or res gestae must be a
startling occurrence; (2) the statement is spontaneous or was made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise a
false statement, and the statement was made during the occurrence or immediately prior or subsequent to thereto; and
(3) the statement made must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances. All these
elements are present in appellants verbal admission to Barredo that he killed the victim when he went to the latters
house half an hour after the fatal shooting of Nemesio.
Same; Same; Circumstantial Evidence; Requisites.Prosecutions evidence here is admittedly circumstantial. But in the
absence of an eyewitness, reliance on circumstantial evidence is inevitable. Resort thereto is essential when the lack of
direct evidence would result in setting a felon free. Circumstantial evidence suffices to convict if the following requisites
are met: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3)
the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Where an eyewitness saw the accused with a gun, seconds after the gunshot and after the
victim fell to the ground, the reasonable conclusion is that said accused killed the victim.The foregoing circumstances
clearly show that appellant had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to commit the crime at the place and time in
question. Simply put, the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution has successfully overcome the claim of
innocence by appellant. Under the proved circumstances, Appellants defense of alibi is untenable. More so, in this
situation where prosecution witness Bayanes unflinchingly declared that she saw appellant standing behind the victim,
tucking a gun in his pants, moments after the latter was shot. As we held in People v. Salveron, and reiterated in People v.
Sesbreo, where an eyewitness saw the accused with a gun, seconds after the gunshot and after the victim fell to the
ground, the reasonable conclusion is that said accused killed the victim.
Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Use of Unlicensed Firearm; 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 itselfthe 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.We find merit in the appellants contentions. 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.
Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstances; Vindication of a Grave Offense; Words and Phrases; The word immediate in the
English text is not the correct translation of the controlling Spanish text of the Revised Penal Code, which uses the word
proximathe Spanish text, on this point, allows a lapse of time between the grave offense and the actual vindication;
The lapse of two (2) weeks between the discovery by the accused of his wifes infidelity and the killing of her supposed
23

paramour could no longer be considered proximate.According to the OSG, for the mitigating circumstance of vindication
of a grave offense to apply, the vindication must be immediate. This view is not entirely accurate. The word
immediate in the English text is not the correct translation of the controlling Spanish text of the Revised Penal Code,
which uses the word proxima. The Spanish text, on this point, allows a lapse of time between the grave offense and the
actual vindication. Thus, in an earlier case involving the infidelity of a wife, the killing of her paramour prompted
proximatelythough not immediatelyby the desire to avenge the wrong done, was considered an extenuating
circumstance in favor of the accused. The time elapsed between the offense and the suspected cause for vindication,
however, involved only hours and minutes, not days. Hence, we agree with the Solicitor General that the lapse of two (2)
weeks between his discovery of his wifes infidelity and the killing of her supposed paramour could no longer be
considered proximate. The passage of a fortnight is more than sufficient time for appellant to have recovered his
composure and assuaged the unease in his mind. The established rule is that there can be no immediate vindication of a
grave offense when the accused had sufficient time to recover his serenity. Thus, in this case, we hold that the mitigating
circumstance of immediate vindication of a grave offense cannot be considered in appellants favor.
Same; Same; Same; Passion and Obfuscation; Requisites; The rule is that the mitigating circumstances of vindication of a
grave offense and passion and obfuscation cannot be claimed at the same time, if they arise from the same facts or
motive.We likewise find the alleged mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation inexistent. The rule is that the
mitigating circumstances of vindication of a grave offense and passion and obfuscation cannot be claimed at the same
time, if they arise from the same facts or motive. In other words, if appellant attacked his victim in proximate vindication
of a grave offense, he could no longer claim in the same breath that passion and obfuscation also blinded him. Moreover,
for passion and obfuscation to be well founded, the following requisites must concur: (1) there should be an act both
unlawful and sufficient to produce such condition of mind; and (2) the act which produced the obfuscation was not far
removed from the commission of the crime by a considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover
his moral equanimity. To repeat, the period of two (2) weeks which spanned the discovery of his wifes extramarital
dalliance and the killing of her lover was sufficient time for appellant to reflect and cool off. [People vs. Ignas, 412 SCRA
311(2003)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO PALABRICA y BARCUMA, accused-appellant.
Criminal Procedure; Appeals; Automatic review in death penalty cases despite the absence of the accused is mandatory.
The preliminary question is whether we can render a decision considering that accused-appellant is still at large. As
stated at the beginning, review of the trial courts decision is required under the ruling in People vs. Esparas which held
that automatic review in death penalty cases despite the absence of the accused is mandatory considering that nothing
less than life is at stake and any court decision must be as error free as possible.
Same; Same; If such review shows that accused-appellant is guilty, his conviction must be affirmed either in toto or with
modification, just as his acquittal must be declared if a review shows he is innocent.We find no good reason to withhold
judgment pending the rearrest of accused-appellant after reviewing the decision of the trial court. Rule 122, Section 10 of
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure in fact provides for automatic review and judgment (emphasis added).
Consequently, if such review shows that accused-appellant is guilty, his conviction must be affirmed either in toto or with
modification, just as his acquittal must be declared if a review shows he is innocent. There is no sense in holding that the
automatic review of the decision must proceed even if the accused has absconded short of pronouncing his guilt in the
event the evidence warrants affirmance of the decision of the trial court. Accordingly, we shall proceed with the
disposition of this appeal.
Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Qualifying Circumstance; Treachery; The weapon used and the nature of the injuries
inflicted x x x establish that accused-appellant deliberately adopted the particular mode of attack to ensure the
commission of the offense with impunity.There was treachery in the commission of the crime as shown by the following:
(1) the employment of means of execution which gave the deceased no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate and
(2) the deliberate and conscious adoption by accused-appellant of the means of execution. The deceased Silvano was
unsuspecting when attacked as he was waiting for his turn at the billiard table when accused-appellant stabbed him after
saying, So you are here! The suddenness of the assault rendered the deceased unable to defend himself. Moreover, the
weapon used and the nature of the injuries inflicted, showing that accused-appellant aimed at a vital spot of the
deceaseds body, establish that accused-appellant deliberately adopted the particular mode of attack to ensure the
commission of the offense with impunity. [People vs. Palabrica, 357 SCRA 533(2001)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. FELIX VENTURA y QUINDOY and ARANTE FLORES y VENTURA,
appellants.
Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Evident Premeditation; The essence of evident premeditation is that the
execution of the criminal act must be preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the
criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.The essence of evident premeditation is
that the execution of the criminal act must be preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out
the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment. For it to be appreciated, the following
must be proven beyond reasonable doubt: (1) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime; (2) an act
manifestly indicating that the accused clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between such
determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the circumstances of his act.
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Same; Same; Same; Unless shown to be customary, appellants act of arming themselves with a gun and knife constitutes
direct evidence of a careful and deliberate plan to carry out a killing.Undoubtedly, the accounts of appellants evince not
only their resolve to kill Jaime, but the calm and methodical manner by which they sought to carry out his murder. As
pointed out by the Solicitor General, unless shown to be customary, appellants act of arming themselves with a gun and
a knife constitutes direct evidence of a careful and deliberate plan to carry out a killing.
Same; Constitutional Law; Right Against Self-Incrimination; While appellants could not have been compelled to be
witnesses against themselves, they waived this right by voluntarily taking the witness stand.That evident premeditation
was established through the testimonies of appellants and not by those of the prosecution witnesses is of no moment.
While appellants could not have been compelled to be witnesses against themselves, they waived this right by voluntarily
taking the witness stand. Consequently, they were subject to cross-examination on matters covered by their direct
examination. Their admissions before the trial court constitute relevant and competent evidence which the trial court
correctly appreciated against them.
Same; Justifying Circumstances; Defense of a Relative; Unlawful Aggression; Unlawful aggression is primary and
indispensable requisite without which defense of a relative, whether complete or otherwise, cannot be validly invoked.
To successfully claim that he acted in defense of a relative, the accused must prove the concurrence of the following
requisites: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the person killed or injured; (2) reasonable necessity of the means
employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression; and (3) the person defending the relative had no part in provoking
the assailant, should any provocation have been given by the relative attacked. Of these, the requisite of unlawful
aggression is primary and indispensable without which defense of relative, whether complete or otherwise, cannot be
validly invoked. Not one of the foregoing requisites of defense of a relative is present. From all accounts, it was appellants
who initiated the unlawful aggression, and it was the victim Jaime who acted in self defense. Hence, neither the justifying
circumstance of defense of a relative nor the special mitigating circumstance of incomplete defense of a relative may be
appreciated in appellant Flores favor.
Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Conspiracy; Where conspiracy has been adequately proven, all the conspirators are
liable as co-principals regardless of the extent and character of their participation because, in contemplation of law, the
act of one is the act of all.There is a conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Where conspiracy has been adequately proven, as in these cases, all the
conspirators are liable as co-principals regardless of the extent and character of their participation because, in
contemplation of law, the act of one is the act of all. By stabbing Jaime Bocateja pursuant to their pre-conceived plot,
appellants commenced the commission of murder directly by overt acts. Despite their efforts, however, they failed to
inflict a mortal wound on Jaime, hence, their liability only for attempted murder.
Same; Same; Abuse of Superior Strength; To take advantage of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force
out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked.To take advantage of superior strength
means to purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. The
appreciation of this aggravating circumstance depends on the age, size and strength of the parties, and is considered
whenever there is a notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressor, assuming a superiority of
strength notoriously advantageous to the aggressor, which is selected or taken advantage of by him in the commission of
the crime.
Same; Same; Same; Abuse of superiority is determined by the excess of the aggressors natural strength over that of the
victim, considering the momentary position of both and the employment of means weakening the defense, although not
annulling it.Unlike in treachery, where the victim is not given the opportunity to defend himself or repel the aggression,
taking advantage of superior strength does not mean that the victim was completely defenseless. Abuse of superiority is
determined by the excess of the aggressors natural strength over that of the victim, considering the momentary position
of both and the employment of means weakening the defense, although not annulling it. Hence, the fact that Aileen
attempted to fend off the attack on her and her husband by throwing nearby objects, such as an electric cord, at
appellant Flores does not automatically negate the possibility that the latter was able to take advantage of his superior
strength.
Same; Same; Same; An attack made by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman
constitutes the circumstances of abuse of that superiority which his sex and the weapon used in the act afforded him, and
from which the woman was unable to defend herself.This Court in a very long line of cases has consistently held that an
attack made by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman constitutes the circumstance of
abuse of that superiority which his sex and the weapon used in the act afforded him, and from which the woman was
unable to defend herself. Thus, in People v. Molas, where the accused was convicted of murder for stabbing to death two
women and an eight year old boy, this Court discoursed: While treachery was not appreciated as a qualifying
circumstance against Molas, the killing of the three victims was raised to murder by the presence of the qualifying
circumstance of abuse of superior strength. There was abuse of superior strength when Molas inflicted several mortal
wounds upon Soledad. Molas, besides being younger and stronger, was armed with a weapon which he used in seriously
wounding her. That circumstance was also present when he hacked eight-year old Abelaro and also Dulcesima who,
besides being a woman of lesser strength was unarmed.
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Same; Justifying Circumstances; Self-Defense; One claiming self-defense must prove by clear and convincing evidence
both unlawful aggression on the part of the person killed or injured and reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent or repel the unlawful aggression. As a third requisite, he must also prove lack of sufficient provocation on his part.
As for appellant Flores claim of self-defense, it cannot be sustained. As in defense of a relative, one claiming self
defense must prove by clear and convincing evidence both unlawful aggression on the part of the person killed or injured
and reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression. As a third requisite, he
must also prove lack of sufficient provocation on his part. None of these requisites was shown to be present.
Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Evident Premeditation; Jurisprudence is to the effect that evident premeditation may
be considered as present, even if a person other than the intended victim was killed, if it is shown that the conspirators
were determined to kill not only the intended victim but also anyone who may help him put a violent resistance.The
trial court, citing People v. Dueno, did not consider evident premeditation as having aggravated the killing of Aileen since
she was not the intended victim of appellants conspiracy. Upon further scrutiny, however, this Court finds that this
aggravating circumstance should have been appreciated in connection with Aileens murder. Jurisprudence is to the effect
that evident premeditation may be considered as present, even if a person other than the intended victim was killed, if it
is shown that the conspirators were determined to kill not only the intended victim but also anyone who may help him put
a violent resistance.
Same; Same; Conspiracy; Co-conspirators are liable for such other crimes which could be foreseen and are the natural
and logical consequences of the conspiracy.While appellants original objective may have only been the killing of Jaime,
the trial court correctly held both of them responsible for the murder of Aileen. Co-conspirators are liable for such other
crimes which could be foreseen and are the natural and logical consequences of the conspiracy.
Same; Same; Dwelling; Dwelling is considered aggravating because of the sanctity of privacy that the law accords to
human abode.Dwelling is considered aggravating because of the sanctity of privacy that the law accords to human
abode. Thus, it has been said that the commission of the crime in anothers dwelling shows greater perversity in the
accused and produces greater alarm. Here, dwelling was correctly appreciated since the crimes were committed in the
place of abode of the victims who had not given immediate provocation.
Same; Same; Nocturnity; In determining nocturnity, two tests are employed in the alternative: (1) the objective test,
under which nighttime is aggravating because the darkness facilitated the commission of the offense; and (2) the
subjective test, under which nighttime is aggravating because the darkness was purposely sought by the offender.In
determining nocturnity, two tests are employed in the alternative: (1) the objective test, under which nighttime is
aggravating because the darkness facilitated the commission of the offense; and (2) the subjective test, under which
nighttime is aggravating because the darkness was purposely sought by the offender. Applying these tests to the
established factual circumstances, this Court concludes that nocturnity was correctly appreciated in connection with both
crimes. While the bedroom where the crimes occurred was well-lit, the evidence shows that, in furtherance of their
murderous intent, appellants deliberately took advantage of nighttime, as well as the fact that the household members
were asleep, in order to gain entry into the Bocateja residence. Indeed, their own testimony indicates that while they
were already outside the Bocateja house at around 11:00 p.m., they purposely waited until 2:00 a.m. before breaking into
the residence so as not to call the attention of the Bocatejas and/or their neighbors. It is thus clear that appellants
deliberately took advantage of the darkness of the night, not to mention the fact that the Bocatejas were fast asleep, to
conceal their actions and to facilitate and insure that their entry into the victims home would be undetected.
Same; Justifying Circumstances; Passion and Obfuscation; While jealousy may give rise to passion or obfuscation, for the
appreciation of this mitigating circumstance it is necessary that the act which produced the obfuscation was not far
removed from the commission of the crime by a considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover
his normal equanimity.While jealousy may give rise to passion or obfuscation, for the appreciation of this mitigating
circumstance it is necessary that the act which produced the obfuscation was not far removed from the commission of
the crime by a considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover his normal equanimity. In the
same vein, while immediate vindication should be construed as proximate vindication in accordance with the
controlling Spanish text of the Revised Penal Code, still this mitigating circumstance cannot be considered where
sufficient time elapsed for the accused to regain his composure. [People vs. Ventura, 433 SCRA 389(2004)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ, JR., accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; The suddenness of the attack, the infliction of the wound
from behind the victim, the vulnerable position of the victim at the time the attack was made or the fact that the victim
was unarmed do not by themselves render the attack as treacherous.Treachery under par. 16 of Article 14 of the
Revised Penal Code is defined as the deliberate employment of means, methods or forms in the execution of a crime
against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to the offender arising from the
defense which the intended victim might raise. For treachery to be appreciated two elements must concur: 1) the
employment of means of execution that would insure the safety of the accused from retaliatory acts of the intended
victim and leaving the latter without an opportunity to defend himself; and 2) the means employed were deliberately or
consciously adopted by the offender. The suddenness of the attack, the infliction of the wound from behind the victim, the
vulnerable position of the victim at the time the attack was made or the fact that the victim was unarmed do not by
26

themselves render the attack as treacherous. This is of particular significance in a case of an instantaneous attack made
by the accused whereby he gained an advantageous position over the victim when the latter accidentally fell and was
rendered defenseless. The means employed for the commission of the crime or the mode of attack must be shown to
have been consciously or deliberately adopted by the accused to insure the consummation of the crime and at the same
time eliminate or reduce the risk of retaliation from the intended victim.
Same; Same; Same; Same; The determining factor on whether or not the commission of a crime is attended by treachery
is not the resulting crime committed but the mode of attack employed in its execution.This Court has also had occasion
to state that whether or not the attack succeeds against its intended victim or injures another or whether the crime
committed is graver than that intended is immaterial, as long as it is shown that the attack is attended by treachery, the
said qualifying circumstance may still be considered by the court. Thus, the determining factor on whether or not the
commission of a crime is attended by treachery is not the resulting crime committed but the mode of attack employed in
its execution.
Same; Same; Same; Same; A single and continuous attack cannot be divided into stages to make it appear that treachery
was involved.The trial courts finding that the loading of the gun, the cocking of the hammer and finally the pulling of
the trigger constitute a deliberate effort on the part of appellant to use the gun as a means of a treacherous attack is
patently erroneous. A single and continuous attack cannot be divided into stages to make it appear that treachery was
involved. The entire incident happened in a matter of minutes, as testified to by witnesses, and as noted by the trial
court. It was error to our mind for the trial court to divide the assault in stages to arrive at the conclusion that the mode of
attack was consciously employed by the appellant. Contrary to the finding of the trial court that the appellant prepared
the gun before getting out of his car, the appellant testified that he loaded his gun before he left the house and that it
was ready to fire when he alighted his car. There was no time for him to reflect on the mode of attack since he just picked
up his gun and alighted from his car and shot at the FX a few seconds after Dino and Noel Andres started shouting at
each other. We note further that the trial court pointed out that from the fact that the appellant prepared his gun to shoot,
this was an indication of the deliberate employment of the gun as a means to kill; i.e. that the use of an automatic, pistol
shows that the shooting was attended by treachery.
Same; Same; Same; Same; The weapon used, by itself, is not determinative of treachery, unless it is shown that the
accused deliberately used the gun to insure the commission of the crime and to render the unarmed victim defenseless.
We do not agree that the weapon used, by itself, is determinative of treachery, unless it is shown, and it is not herein
shown, that the appellant deliberately used the gun to insure the commission of the crime and to render the unarmed
victim defenseless. As discussed above, the encounter between the appellant and the Andresses was a chance encounter
and the appellants gun was in the glove compartment of his car even before he left his house. The shooting was clearly a
spur of the moment or impulsive decision made by the appellant preceded by a heated altercation at the instance of the
private complainant. Jurisprudence teaches us that under the circumstances, treachery is not obtaining.
Same; Physical Injuries; The intent to kill determines whether the crime committed is physical injuries or homicide and
such intent is made manifest by the acts of the accused which are undoubtedly intended to kill the victim.As regards
the injuries sustained by the two children we find that the crime committed are two counts of slight physical injuries. The
intent to kill determines whether the crime committed is physical injuries or homicide and such intent is made manifest
by the acts of the accused which are undoubtedly intended to kill the victim. In a case wherein the accused did not know
that a person was hiding behind a table who was hit by a stray bullet causing superficial injuries requiring treatment for
three days, the crime committed is slight physical injuries. In case of doubt as to the homicidal intent of the accused, he
should be convicted of the lesser offense of physical injuries.
Same; Mitigating Circumstances; Passion and Obfuscation; Requisites; Provocation must be sufficient to excite a person to
commit the wrong committed and that the provocation must be commensurate to the crime committed; The aggressive
behavior of the complainant towards the accused and his son may be demeaning or humiliating but it is not sufficient
provocation to shoot at the complainants vehicle.The mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation is also not
obtaining. For this mitigating circumstance to be considered, it must be shown that: (1) an unlawful act sufficient to
produce passion and obfuscation was committed by the intended victim; (2) that the crime was committed within a
reasonable length of time from the commission of the unlawful act that produced the obfuscation in the accuseds mind;
and that (3) the passion and obfusca-tion arose from lawful sentiments and not from a spirit of lawlessness or revenge.
Noel Andres act of shouting at the appellants son, who was then a nurse and of legal age, is not sufficient to produce
passion and obfuscation as it is claimed by the accused. Besides, the appellants son, Dino was shouting back at Noel
Andres. It was not a case wherein the appellants son appeared helpless and oppressed that the appellant lost his reason
and shot at the FX of Noel Andres. The same holds true for the appellants claim of provocation on the part of Noel
Andres. Provocation must be sufficient to excite a person to commit the wrong committed and that the provocation must
be commensurate to the crime committed. The sufficiency of provocation varies according to the circumstances of the
case. The aggressive behavior of Noel Andres towards the appellant and his son may be demeaning or humiliating but it
is not sufficient provocation to shoot at the complainants vehicle.
Same; Same; Incomplete Defense of Relative; The mitigating circumstance of incomplete defense of a relative is
unavailing where the act of complainant in cursing and shouting at the accused and his son do not amount to art unlawful
aggression against them.The plea for the appreciation of the mitigating circumstance of incomplete defense of a
27

relative is also unmeritorious since the act of Andres in cursing and shouting at the appellant and his son do not amount
to an unlawful aggression against them, Dino Gonzalez.
Same; Same; Lack of Intent to Commit So Grave a Wrong; The mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit so
grave a wrong obtains when there is a notable disparity between the means employed by the accused to commit a wrong
and the resulting crime committed; The intention of the accused at the time of the commission of the crime is manifested
from the weapon used, the mode of attack employed and the injury sustained by the victim.The plea for the
appreciation of the mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong is likewise devoid of merit. This
mitigating circumstance is obtaining when there is a notable disparity between the means employed by the accused to
commit a wrong and the resulting crime committed. The intention of the accused at the time of the commission of the
crime is manifested from the weapon used, the mode of attack employed and the injury sustained by the victim. The
appellants use of a gun, although not deliberately sought nor employed in the shooting, should have reasonably placed
the appellant on guard of the possible consequences of his act. The use of a gun is sufficient to produce the resulting
crimes committed.
Same; Complex Crimes; Homicide; Slight Physical Injuries; Where the offenses committed by the act of the accused of
firing a single shot are one count of homicide, a grave felony, and two counts of slight physical injuries, a light felony, the
rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes, which requires two or more grave and/or less grave felonies, will
not apply.The rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes under Art. 48 of the Revised Penal Code are not
applicable in this case. Art. 48 applies if a single act constitutes two or more grave and less grave felonies or when an
offense is a necessary means of committing another; in such a case, the penalty for the most serious offense shall be
imposed in its maximum period. Art. 9 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Art. 25 defines grave felonies as those to
which the law attaches the capital punishment or afflictive penalties from reclusion perpetua to prision mayor; less grave
felonies are those to which the law attaches a penalty which in its maximum period falls under correctional penalties; and
light felonies are those punishable by arresto menor or fine not exceeding two hundred pesos. Considering that the
offenses committed by the act of the appellant of firing a single shot are one count of homicide, a grave felony, and two
counts of slight physical injuries, a light felony, the rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes, which requires
two or more grave and/or less grave felonies, will not apply.
Same; Damages; Even if there is no evidence as to the victims actual income at the time of her death, in view of her
temporary separation from work because of her pregnancy, the Court does not consider it reversible error for the trial
court to have pegged her earning capacity to that of the salary of a government nurse under the salary standardization
law, as a fair or reasonable assessment of her earning capacity at the time of her death.The pecuniary award granted
by the trial court for actual damages was duly established by the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as supported
by the original receipts for hospitalization and other medical expenses presented in evidence by the prosecution. The
award for loss of earning capacity is likewise sustained for the reason that while Feliber Andres was pregnant and was
unemployed at the time of death, it is not disputed that she was a registered nurse and had earning capacity. Noel Andres
also testified that he and his wife had plans to go back to Saudi Arabia to work after Feliber had given birth to their
second baby. While there is no evidence as to Felibers actual income at the time of her death, in view of her temporary
separation from work because of her pregnancy, we do not consider it reversible error for the trial court to peg her
earning capacity to that of the salary of a government nurse under the salarystandardization law, as a fair estimate or
reasonable assessment of her earning capacity at the time of her death. It would be grossly inequitous to deny her
spouse and her minor children damages for the support that they would have received, considering clear evidence on
record that she did have earning capacity at the time of her death. [People vs. Gonzalez, Jr., 359 SCRA 352(2001)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. JUAN ALANGUILANG, defendant and
appellant.
CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; PASSION AND OBFUSCATION.This case of parricide does not show any modifying
circumstance. The obfuscation alleged by the defense cannot be taken into consideration. In order that the circumstance
of obfuscation can be considered, it is necessary to establish the existence of an act both unlawful and sufficient to
produce such a condition of mind; and that said act which produced the obfuscation was not far removed from the
commission of the crime by a considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover his equanimity.
This requisite is not proven in the record.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. SIMPLICIO AGITO, defendant and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; FAILURE TO DESIGNATE THE SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW VIOLATED; EFFECT OF; CASE AT
BAR.There is no need of actually designating the offense charged in the caption of the information for what is important
is not the designation but the facts alleged therein, As this Court has aptly said: "The crime of which defendant stands
accused is that described by the facts stated in the information and not that designated by the fiscal in the preamble
thereof. The designation of the crime by name in the caption of the information is a conclusion of law on the part of the
fiscal. It is not necessary, for the protection of the substantial right of the accused, nor for the effective preparation of his
defense, that he be informed of the technical name of the crime of which he stands charged" (People vs. Cosare, 95 Phil.,
656). In the case at bar, while the information does not designate the specific provision of the law which has been
violated, or does not actually allege that the accused has committed a violation of the Motor Vehicle Law, yet it is clear
that the facts as described therein are such that one cannot be mistaken that they constitute a violation of that law for
28

actually it alleges that because of the reckless or unreasonable fast driving of appellant an accident occurred resulting in
the death of the victims therein mentioned. Hence, the trial court did not err when it imposed upon the accused the
penalty prescribed in paragraph 6, subsection 2, of article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides that "When, by
imprudence or negligence and with violation of the Automobile Law, the death of a person shall be caused, in which case
the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods."
2. CRIMINAL LAW; OFFENSES COMMITTED THROUGH IMPRUDENCE AND NEGLIGENCE; IMPOSITION OF PENALTY,
DISCRETIONARY UPON COURT.In the imposition of the' penalties prescribed for offenses committed through imprudence
and negligence, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article 64 of the
Revised Penal Code.
El Pueblo de Filipinas, querellante y apelado, contra Rufino Lupera, acusado y apelante.
1.Derecho Penal; Traicin; Participacin Activa por el Acusado en la comision de las astrocidates como adherencia al
Enemigo."The adherence of the accused to the enemy is more than amply proven by the very nature of the overt acts
themselves. Seen always armed and always in the company of Japanese soldiers, displaying unusual vigor in leading the
arrest and the tying of the people arrested, and zeal in the investigation of those arrested for their guerrilla activities, all
these show not only mere adherence but the complete and full transformation of the accused into a loyal and active
disciple of Nippon, especially if we take into consideration his waning years and the great physical handicaps and
infirmities of his deformed and wasted limbs. Indeed, he had gone a long way in ingratiating himself with the cruel
enemy, and his path had been strawn with the anguish and suffering of those whom he had chosen to betray." [People vs.
Lupera, 83 Phil., 120(1949)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, vs. CELESTINO GARILLO Y ORJEL alias CELING (deceased) and
FEDERICO FERNANDEZ Y ARELLANO Alias PUTOL, accused.
Criminal Law; Robbery with homicide; Conspiracy; Knowledge by the accused of the plan to rob and participation in its
commission by previous and simultaneous acts proves conspiracy; When homicide takes place as a consequence of or on
occasion of a robbery, all those who took part in the robbery are guilty as principals of the crime of robbery with
homicide, unless proof is presented that the accused tried to prevent the killing.The evidence thus presented proves
conspiracy and that the accused Federico Fernandez not only knew of the plan to rob Lim Tao Sing, but also participated
in its commission by previous and simultaneous acts (by acting as look-out or guard outside) which lent to the
accomplishment of the criminal intent. Although the said accused may not have foreseen the killing of the victim and did
not take part in its execution, he is, nevertheless, guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide. The rule is that when
homicide takes place as a consequence of or on occasion of a robbery, all those who took part in the robbery shall be
guilty as principals of the crime of robbery with homicide, unless there is proof that they have tried to prevent the killing.
Here, there is nothing in the record which would show that the accused Fernandez ever attempted to prevent the
homicide.
Same; Same; Aggravating circumstances; Evident premeditation; Evident premeditation not considered aggravating in
crimes of robbery as it is inherent in the crime; Reasons.Evident premeditation, however, is not considered as an
aggravating circumstance in crimes of robbery because the same is inherent in the crime, especially where it is
committed by various persons since there must be an agreement and the plotters have to meditate and reflect on the
manner of carrying out the crime and they have to act coordinately in order to succeed. In the crime of robbery with
homicide, there should be evident premeditation to kill, besides stealing, in order that it can be considered as an
aggravating circumstance. In the instant case it has not been proven that the accused, before committing the crime,
planned and decided, not only to steal, but also to kill Lim Tao Sing. Hence, evident premeditation cannot be considered
as an aggravating circumstance in this case.
Same; Same; Same; Abuse of superior strength; Aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength cannot be
appreciated against the accused in the absence of proof of the physical strength of aggressors and the victim and that
the assailants took advantage of their combined strength to consummate the offense.Abuse of superior strength cannot
also be appreciated in the instant case in the absence of proof of the relative physical strength of the aggressors and the
victim and that the assailants took advantage of their combined strength in order to consummate the offense.
Same; Same; Same; Treachery; Treachery is absent when the attack against the victim was made upon an impulse of the
moment as a sequence of unexpected turn of events; case at bar.Treachery is likewise absent in this case since the
attack was made upon the impulse of the moment, as a sequence of the unexpected turn of events. It appears that while
Tangkad, Celing, Gauden, and Berto were in the second floor, used by Lim Tao Sing as his sleeping quarters, the gun held
by Gauden hit a table and misfired. As a result, Lim Tao Sing rose from his bed holding a bolo. So, some of the accused
stabbed him.
Same; Same; Same; Nocturnity; Nocturnity is present when the accused purposely sought nighttime to commit the crime;
Nocturnity is offset by the mitigating circumstance that appellant suffers from physical defect which restricts his means of
action, defense or communication with his fellow beings.But, nocturnity is present since the accused purposely sought
the cover of darkness of the night in committing the crime. However, this aggravating circumstance is offset by the
mitigating circumstance that appellant suffers some physical defect which thus restricts his means of action, defense, or
29

communication with his fellow beings, to wit: appellants right hand is missing as a consequence of an accident involving
kuwitis which occurred on New Years eve of 1966. [People vs. Garillo, 84 SCRA 537(1978)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. ANACLETO NAZARIO, defendant and appellant.
Appeal from the decision of the Manila Court of First Instance finding appellant guilty of robbery in an inhabited house and
sentencing him to imprisonment for six months and one day prisin correccional to six years and one day, prisin mayor.
Appellant is deaf and dumb. On this f act his counsel constructs here the argument that possibly he did not know the
import of his plea of guilt. Held: Appellant is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of being deaf and dumb, (Art. 13, No.
8, Rev. Penal Code) which in addition to the plea of guilty would call for application of the rule that "when there are two or
more mitigating circumstances * * * the court shall impose the penalty next lower to that prescribed by law, in the period
that it may deem applicable." (Art. 64. No. 5, Rev. Penal Code). Therefore, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law this
appellant should be and is hereby sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 4 months and 1 day of arresto mayor nor
more than 4 years 2 months and 1 day of prisin correccional.
Decision affirmed with modification. [People vs. Nazario, 97 Phil. 990(1955)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. JUAN FRANCISCO, defendant and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; MOTIVE, WHEN UNNECESSARY.It is not necessary to prove motive in case the
commission of the crime is established as required by law.
2. ID.; ID.; EVIDENCE; HUSBAND AND WIFE; INCOMPETENCY TO TESTIFY FOR OR AGAINST EACH OTHER; REASONS FOR.
"The reasons given by law text-writers and courts why neither a husband nor wife shall in any case be a witness against
the other except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committed by one against the other have been stated thus: First,
identity of interests; second, the consequent danger of perjury; third, the policy of the law which deems it necessary to
guard the security and confidences of private life even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and which rejects
such evidence because its admission would lead to domestic disunion and unhappines; and, fourth, because, where a
want of domestic tranquility exists, there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of the other."
(70 C. J., 119.)
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCEPTIONS; REASONS FOR.The rule that the husband and wife cannot testify for or against
each other, as all other general rules, has its own exceptions, both in civil actions between the spouses and in criminal
cases for offenses committed by one against the other. Like the rule itself, the exceptions are backed by sound reasons
which, in the excepted cases, outweigh those in support of the general rule. For instance, where the marital and domestic
relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved nor peace and tranquility which may be
disturbed, the reason based upon such harmony and tranquility fails. In such a case identity of interests disappears and
the consequent danger of perjury based on that identity is non-existent. Likewise, in such a situation, the security and
confidences of private life which the law aims at protecting will be nothing but ideals which, through their absence,
merely leave a void in the unhappy home.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; WAIVER; CASE AT BAR.The defendant, who was accused of killing his son, testifying in his own
behalf, not only limited himself to denying that he was the killer, but went further and added what was really a new
matter consisting in the imputation of the crime upon his wife. Held: That in giving such testimony, the husband must, in
all fairness, be held to have intended all its natural and necessary consequences. By his said act, the husbandhimself
exercising the very right which he would deny to his wife upon the ground of their marital relationsmust be taken to
have waived all objection to the latter's testimony upon rebuttal, even considering that such objection would have been
available at the outset.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; WAIVER, CASES OF, ENUMERATED BY COURTS AND TEXT-WRITERS NOT EXCLUSIVE.For obvious
reasons neither text-writers nor the courts have attempted to make an enumeration of all possible cases of waiver. In the
very nature of things, it would be impossible to make a priori such a complete enumeration and to say that it is exclusive.
So long as the Legislature itself does not make its own statutory and exclusive specification of cases of such waiver, no
complete and exclusive enumeration can, nor should, be attempted by the courts, for in the absence of such legislation
the cases of waiver will be as indefinite in number as indefinite are and always will be the varying and unpredictable
circumstances surrounding each particular case.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; REBUTTAL EVIDENCE SECURED TO BOTH STATE AND ACCUSED.The right to present rebuttal evidence
is secured to the State, no less than to the accused, by Rule 115, section 3, paragraph (c), the provision further
authorizing the court, in furtherance of justice, to permit one or the other party to offer "new additional evidence bearing
upon the main issue in question."
7. ID.; ID.; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; ILLNESS DIMINISHING WILLPOWER; CASE AT BAR.Whether the accused be
considered simpleton or an eccentric, or the case one of those well-nigh inexplicable phenomena in human conduct
where the judge finds himself at a loss to discover an edequate motivation for the proven acts of the accused,indulging
all reasonable intendments in favor of appellant, it was held that when he committed the crime charged against him he
must have been suffering from some illness (of the body, the mind, the nerves, or the moral faculty) as is contemplated in
30

paragraph 9 of article 13 of the Revised Penal Code as a mitigating circum-stance, namely, "such illness of the offender as
would diminish the exercise of the will-power of the offender without however depriving him of consciousness of his acts."
[People vs. Francisco, 78 Phil. 694(1947)]
[No. L-1085. Enero 9, 1948]
EL PUEBLO DE FILIPINAS, querellante y apelado, contra FRANCISCO BALNEG, Y SILVESTRE EBARNE, acusados
y apelantes. [People vs. Balneg, 79 Phil. 805(1948)] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS FRANSISCO
BALNEG SPANISH TEXT ONLY
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. VlCENTE QUESADA y BERNAL, defendant and
appellant.
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PLEA OF GUILTY; THREE REQUIREMENTS.Article 13, paragraph 7, of the Revised Penal
Code, requires that the plea of guilty, to be entertained, be made (1) in open court; (2) spontaneously; and (3) prior to the
presentation of the evidence for the prosecution (People vs. De la Pea, 66 Phil., 451; People vs. Co Chang, 60 Phil., 293;
People vs. De la Cruz, 63 Phil., 874). Since in the case at bar appellant committed the felonious act on March 22, 1956,
and when arraigned on May 14, 1956 he pleaded not guilty, and it was only on August 11, 1957, or about 1 year, 3
months and 7 days after that he felt contrite and rependant by changing his former plea of not guilty to that of guilty, his
plea of guilty was obviously not spontaneous, and was apparently done not because of his sincere desire to repent but
because of his fear of eventual conviction. If it was his desire to repent and reform, he could have pleaded guilty at the
very first opportunity when his arraignment was first set.
2. ID.; ID.; EFFECT WHEN MADE AFTER PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE.Confession of guilt constitutes a cause for the
mitigation of the penalty, because it is an act of repentance and respect for the law; it indicates a moral disposition in the
accused favorable to his reform. These benefits are not deserved by the accused who submits to the law only after the
presentation of some evidence for the prosecution, believing that in the end the trial will result in his conviction (People
vs. De la Cruz, supra). [People vs. Quesada y Bernal, 107 Phil. 1068(1960)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CARLOS DE LA PEA Y LACSAMANA, defendant
and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; THEFT; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE or VOLUNTARY CONFESSION ; REQUISITE so THAT THIS
MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE MAY BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.The rule laid down in this jurisdiction is that, in order
that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary confession of guilt may be taken into consideration as such, it is necessary
that it be made in open court, at the first opportunity, that is, before the competent court that is to try the case of the
person making such confession. Confessions made under the circumstances of the appellant do not constitute, in the
eyes of the law, a mitigating circumstance for the reasons stated in the cases of People vs. Hermino (36 Off. Gaz., 2216) ;
People vs. Bawasanta (36 Off. Gaz., 2237) ; and People vs. Sy Chay (37 Off. Gaz., 3206).
2. ID.; ID.; RECIDIVISM; PENALTY.The penalty prescribed by law (arts. 308 and 309, subsec. 6, of the Revised Penal
Code) for the crime committed by the appellant, is that of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, that is,
from one month and one day to four months, the maximum period of which is from three months and one day to four
months. Inasmuch as the information filed against the appellant alleged facts clearly showing that he is a recidivist for the
fifth time during the last ten years, he necessarily incurs the maximum of said penalty. This is so because the only
mitigating circumstance that might compensate said aggravating circumstance, which is that of plea of guilty, cannot be
taken into consideration for the reasons already stated.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ADDITIONAL PENALTY; NATURE OF THIS PENALTY.The additional penalties imposed for habitual
delinquency by virtue of the provisions of article 62 of the Revised Penal Code, are neither cruel nor unusual. It has
already been so held in the cases of People vs. Madrano (53 Phil., 860); and People vs. Montera (55 Phil., 933).
Consequently, there is no necessity of again passing upon the same question, the reasons stated in the above-cited cases
being sufficient to decide said question in the negative. [People vs. Lacsamana, 66 Phil. 451(1938)]
THE.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. LOPE HERMINO y LIMOSA (alias LOPE
GERMINO), defendant and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; RECIDIVISM; FINAL CHARACTER OF JUDGMENTS.Judgments ordinarily do not become final until
after the expiration of the period of fifteen days allowed the accused to interpose an appeal. Under the law, there can be
no recidivism except when the accused, at the time of his trial for one crime, shall have been previously convicted by final
judgment of another crime embraced in the same title of the Code (art. 14, subsec. 9, of the Revised Penal Code). When
the appellant committed his last crime, he was a recidivist only for the third time.
2. ID.; CONFESSION OF GUILT.The appellant confessed his crime after the prosecution had presented its evidence, at
least in the municipal court where the case originated. It cannot be stated that the appeal taken by him to the Court of
First Instance again restored the case to its original state for the very reason that the law requires a trial de novo, that is,
that there had been no presentation of evidence before he confessed or admitted his crime, because a trial de novo gives
the impression and necessarily implies the existence of a previous trial. The confession, in order to constitute a mitigating
31

circumstance, must not only be spontaneous but also be made prior to the presentation of the evidence for the
prosecution (art. 13, subsec. 7, Revised Penal Code).
3. ID.; ID.; REASON FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THIS MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE.The reason for the existence of said
mitigating circumstance is that it reveals to a certain extent an act of repentance, a moral disposition favorable to his
reform and submission to the law. This reason cannot be said to exist in the appellant's case because he wished neither to
acknowledge his crime nor to repent when his first opportunity came, that is, during the trial granted him in the municipal
court.
4. ID.; HABITUAL DELINQUENCY.Following the doctrine laid down in the cases of People vs. Santiago (55 Phil., 266);
People vs. De la Rama (G. R. No. 43744, 62 Phil., 972) ; People vs. Venus (63 Phil., 435); and People vs. Tapel (63 Phil.,
464), the appellant cannot be a habitual delinquent by reason of his having been a recidivist for the fourth time, but only
for the third time, and deserves, therefore, the least additional penalty prescribed in article 62, subsection 5, paragraph
(a), or prisin correccional in its medium and maximum periods.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARIANO OANDASAN (Bulala Sur, Aparri, Cagayan),
defendantappellant.
Criminal law; Mitigating circumstance; Plea of not guilty; Effect of change of plea; Rule; Reason; Exception.It is to be
conceded right at the outset that if an accused, charged with an offense cognizable by the municipal court, pleads not
guilty therein, and on appeal to the court of first instance, changes his plea to that of guilty upon rearraignment, he
should not be entitled to the mitigating circumstance of confession of guilt. The philosophy behind this rule is obvious.
For, the spontaneous willingness of the accused to admit the commission of the offense charged, which is rewarded by
the mitigating circumstance, is absent (People v. Fortuno, 73 Phil. 597). Indeed, if the rule were otherwise, an accused,
who naturally nourishes the hope of acquittal, could deliberately plead not guilty in the municipal court, and upon
conviction and on appeal to the court of first instance, plead guilty just so he can avail himself of the benefit of a
mitigating circumstance. This cannot be countenanced. The accused should not be allowed to speculate.
However, if an accused is charged with an offense cognizable by the court of first instance, and pleads not guilty before
the municipal court at its preliminary investigation, and after the elevation of the case to. the court of f irst instancethe
court of competent jurisdictionhe pleads guilty upon arraignment before this latter court, the plea of not guilty upon
arraignment at the preliminary investigation in the municipal court is no plea at all. Hence, the accused could claim his
plea of guilty therein as a mitigating circumstance pursuant to Article 13 (7) of the Revised Penal Code.
Same; Incomplete self-defense; When considered a privileged mitigating circumstance; Penalty; Case at bar.In the case
at bar, the accused saw the deceased Quirino Duldulao chasing the former's son. When the accused approached Duldulao
and asked him why he (Duldulao) was doing so, Duldulao hit the accused with a wooden club on the left shoulder. The
accused drew a sharp-pointed knife he had with him. Then, the deceased clubbed the accused on the head, which
prompted the latter to stab Duldulao on the front. As the Court see it, the only element absent to exempt the accused
totally f rom criminal liability under Article 11 (1), Revised Penal Code, is "reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent or repel" the unlawful aggression.
By the facts, the accused deserves the benefit of Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code. And then, in view of the pleavating
circumstance, the accused is also entitled, as Article 64 (5) of the same code commands, to a "penalty next lower to that
prescribed law, inthe period that the court may deem applicable, according to the number and nature of such
circumstances." From all this, the accused is entitled to a two-degree reduction of penalty.
The crime of homicide is penalized by Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. The penalty therein prescribed is reclusion
temporal. Two degrees lower is prision correccional, the penalty imposable by law in the period that the courts may deem
applicable, "according to the number and nature" of the mitigating circumstances. With the mitigating circumstances
attendant, the penalty imposable upon the accused should be fixed within the medium period at two (2) years, four (4)
months, and one (1) day.
Calling the Indeterminate Sentence Law into operation -whose applicability is based "upon the penalty actually imposed
in accordance with law and not upon that which may be imposed in the discretion of the court," (People v. Dimalanta, 92
Phil. 239),the minimum of the penalty then should be within the range of the penalty next lower in degree, i.e., arresto
mayor, which is hereby fixed at four (4) months. Hence, he is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of four (4)
months of arresto mayor as minimum, to two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as
maximum, with the accessories of the law.
Criminal procedure; Right to a preliminary investigation; Nature of the grant.We cannot just sweep away defendant's
right to a preliminary investigation. It is a statutory grant. It cannot be withheld. To do so would be to transgress
constitutional due process. Def endant is thus entitled to know if probable cause existed to require elevation of his case to
the court of first instance. Because, absent a probable cause, the case against him must be dismissed.

32

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. SEBASTIAN S. LAMBINO, defendant and
appellant.
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION; RIGHT TO, How WAIVED.The right to a preliminary
investigation may be waived and that the accused may waive it expressly or impliedly, And in the case of People vs.
Magpale, 70 Phil. 176, this Court held that "the right was waived by failure to claim it before the accused pleaded."
2. ID.; PLEA OF GUILTY; WITHDRAWAL OF PLEA, DISCRETIONARY UPON COURT.The withdrawal of a plea of guilty in
order to interpose a motion to quash or substitute therefor a plea of not guilty, at any time before judgment, is not a
matter of strict right to the accused but of sound discretion to the trial court. Obviously, an accused should not be allowed
to gamble with his plea of guilty by withdrawing it after he learned the penalty imposed upon him.
3. ID.; ID.; EFFECT OF ENTERING THE PLEA.By the plea of guilty, the accused admits all the facts alleged in the
information and, by that plea, he is precluded from showing that he has not committed them.
4. ID.; ID.; WHEN PLEA CAN.NOT BE CONSIDERED MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE.Where a plea of guilty was entered
after the witness for the prosecution had sufficiently proved the guilt of the accused, it cannot be given consideration as a
mitigating circumstance.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANTONIO BUEZA, defendant-appellant.
Murder; Witnesses; Positive identification need not only mean the identification by the use of the visual sense.The Court
of Appeals correctly observed that "positive identification need not only mean the identification by the use of the visual
sense. It also includes other human senses with which one could perceive" as Nilda Nasayao definitely recognized the
voice of her husband while the latter was being killed. By the voice and sounds produced, one can very well imagine what
was going on at that distance after Juanito Rosela was dragged and assaulted by the two (2) assailants.
Same: Same; Confession; No probative value if taken without a competent and independent counsel present to assist the
appellant.The accused admitted that he killed the victim and he outlined the details of the commission of the crime in
an extrajudicial confession executed on March 21, 1983 at Garchitorena, Camarines Sur. The extrajudicial confession,
however, has no probative value as it was taken without a competent and independent counsel present to assist the
appellant. The Constitution clearly provides that the right to counsel cannot be waived except in writing and in the
presence of counsel. (Article III, Section 12 (1), Constitution).
Same; Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstance; Requisites for confession of guilt to be mitigating; Case at bar.Moreover,
the Court of Appeals ruled that for this mitigating circumstance to be present, the requisites are (1) the offender
spontaneously confessed his guilt; (2) the confession of guilt was made in open court; (3) the confession of guilt was
made prior to the presentation of evidence for the prosecution. (People v. Crisostomo, 160 SCRA 47 [1988]). The Court of
Appeals stated that none of the requisites mentioned were satisfactorily complied by the accused. Although the accused
admitted having killed Juanito Rosela in self-defense in his extrajudicial confession, this allegation was never proved nor
even raised during the trial. When arraigned, he did not plead guilty to the offense charged (People v. Pampanga, 139
SCRA 339 [1985]) but instead, insisted that he was not informed of the nature of the offense lodged against him. In his
testimony, the accused kept on denying the whereabouts of the victim (T.S.N., June 22, 1984, p. 11) which "signifies a
stubborn refusal to admit guilt" as observed by the Court of Appeals. Under the above circumstances, the accused is
clearly not entitled to this mitigating circumstance of voluntary confession. [People vs. Bueza, 188 SCRA 683(1990)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and. appellee vs. MORO SABILUL, defendant and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE; PLEA OF GUILTY.An accused may , not enter a conditional plea of guilty in the
sense that he admits his guilt provided that a certain penalty be imposed upon him. In such a case, the information
should first be amended or modified with the consent of the fiscal if the facts of the case so warrant. Otherwise, by
entering a plea of guilty the defendant admits all the material allegations of the information.
2. ID.; ID.; DUTY OF COURT.Findings of fact of a court must have basis and support. And in a case as serious as
murder, the court should not content itself with a plea of guilty, especially by a Non-Christian whom it considers to be
hopelessly ignorant, but should receive evidence to satisfy itself that the crime had really been committed, and the
circumstances surrounding its commission.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DIOSDADO COMENDADOR, accused-appellant.
Criminal Procedure; Criminal Law; A request for the imposition of a lesser penalty on making a plea of guilty does not
make the plea conditional.In the case at bar, while it is true that accused-appellant requested for a lesser penalty, such
does not make his plea of guilty conditional. It remains to be an admission of the facts alleged in the information charging
robbery with homicide. At most, said plea for a lesser penalty is an appeal to emotion as it does not assail, restrict or
qualify the information. It does not even specify the penalty desired to be imposed. Unlike in People vs. Sabilul, 93 Phil.
567, the case cited by accused-appellant in support of his contention, the plea for the lesser penalty of destierro qualifies
33

the information for murder to that crime described under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: death under
exceptional circumstances, as the plea therein specifies a certain penalty to be imposed.
Same; Same; Constitutional Law; Extrajudicial confession executed after the New Constitution took effect is admissible
despite argument that accused was not informed of his right to counsel, where he failed to take the witness stand despite
assistance by two legal counsel and genuineness of the confession was duly proved.In the case at bar, the extra-judicial
confession given by the accused was made on October 27, 1973 (after the effectivity of the New Constitution).
Nevertheless, since the confession itself indicates on its face that the accused was advised of his right to remain silent
and also of his right to counsel but he not only waived both rights but also failed to contradict, deny or rebut the same by
failing to take the witness stand although he was assisted by two defense counsel, We find no legal impediment or
obstacle in admitting the said confession after its genuineness and authenticity had been duly proven. The second
assignment of error of accused-appellant is, therefore, without merit.
Evidence; When circumstantial evidence adequate to prove guilt of accused.As this Court said in People vs. Servillano
Ma., Modesto, et al., 25 SCRA 36: A rule of ancient respectability now molded into tradition is that circumstantial
evidence suffices to convict only if the following requisites concur: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts
from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce
a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
Same; Criminal Law; Meaning of corpus delicti.It should be remembered that the rule that an accused person cannot
be convicted upon a mere confession without some independent proof indicating that a crime has been committed, does
not mean that every element of the crime must be made out by proof apart from the confession, but merely that there
should be some evidence apart from the confession, tending to show that a crime has been committed, as for example, in
a case of homicide, there should be some proof of the fact of death, as by the production of the dead body. The rule
requiring independent proof of corpus delicti is merely intended to guard against conviction upon false confession.
Same; Same; Death Certificate and necropsy report need not be submitted to prove fact of death, a fact which can also
be established by testimonial evidence.In the case at bar, despite the failure of the death certificate and the necropsy
report to serve as evidence, the fact of death of Jungie Zaragosa is conclusively shown by the testimonies of the father,
Edilberto Zaragosa, and the other prosecution witnesses: Dolores Reponte and Dioscoro Panda-an. They all declared on
the witness stand that they saw the body of the deceased having marks that indicate foul play. In addition thereto,
prosecution witness Panda-an identified in court the death weapon he saw about 13 feet from the body of the deceased
as well as the photographs of the deceased at the scene of the crime which he requested a photographer to take. All
these prove that a crime had in fact been committed.
Same; Criminal Procedure; Criminal Law; A plea of guilty to a capital offense cannot constitute admission of aggravating
circumstances which were not shown to exist from the evidence adduced.Notwithstanding the plea of guilty, however,
which as a rule, constitutes also an admission of all the aggravating circumstances set forth in the information, We hold
that the three aggravating circumstances listed therein, namely: 1. craft; 2. uninhabited place; 3. abuse of confidence or
obvious ungratefulness, are not supported by the evidence.
Criminal Law; Craft cannot be appreciated when the accused who acted as guide did not decide to kill his victim
beforehand.The accused may have been actually familiar with Cebu City as he was a resident of Sumon, Tuburan, Cebu.
He may also have been motivated with good intentions to act as guide at the start of the trip from Cadiz City but only
decided to kill the victim upon reaching the forest area at Sitio Apid, Cantabaco, Toledo City. And there is no showing that
the accused merely pretended to be familiar with Cebu City.
Same; Fact that body of victim was found a few hours after his death negates truth of allegation of uninhabited place.
The aggravating circumstance of uninhabited place which is alleged in the information in that (t)he accused deliberately
lured the victim in such a place with the pretense to visit his wife fully knowing that the victim is not acquainted with the
place to ensure the commission of the offense should not also be appreciated against said accused because the
evidence shows that the body of the victim was found a few hours after his death, a fact indicating that the place is not
unpeopled.
Same; For abuse of confidence to be appreciated, it must be a relationship existing between the accused and his victim.
As to the aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence or obvious ungratefulness based on the allegation that (h)e
was given food and shelter by the laborer and was also treated by the victim for being their farm laborer, the contention
of the accused-appellant that such aggravating circumstance should not be considered against him is meritorious. For this
circumstance to be taken and appreciated, it is necessary that there exists a relation of trust and confidence between the
accused and the one against whom the crime was committed and the accused made use of such relation to commit the
crime. Inasmuch as the relation of trust and confidence that exists in this case is between the accused-appellant and the
father of the deceased, and that the deceased was then residing apart from his father as he was working in Zamboanga
City, there is no immediate and personal relationship between accused-appellant and the deceased. Hence, abuse of
confidence or obvious ungratefulness is not warranted or justified under the premises. [People vs. Comendador, 100 SCRA
155(1980)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. WILSON PAROHINOG, accused-appellant.
34

Criminal Law; After prosecution in a murder charge had rested its case, a change of plea to guilty to homicide will be
improper if the evidence had made out a case of murder.In this case Wilson Parohinog was accused of murder. After the
prosecution had rested its case he was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser offense of homicide. The change of plea at
that stage would have been highly improper and irregular if the evidence for the prosecution had made out a case of
murder against him for then both the trial court and the prosecuting fiscal would be helping the accused to avoid
receiving a more severe penalty. Attributing good faith to both the trial court and the prosecuting fiscal, the plea of guilty
to the lesser offense of homicide must have been allowed only because the evidence for the prosecution had proved that
homicide, not murder, had been committed. In fact, a reading of the trial courts decision shows this to be the case.
Same; Trial judge should apply the Indeterminate Sentence Law where proper.In closing we have to point to the fact
that the trial court in convicting the accused of murder imposed a straight penalty of 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of
reclusion temporal. The penalty for murder is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. It found no aggravating
circumstance but appreciated one mitigating circumstance. The minimum period of the penalty is, therefore, applicable,
i.e., 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal. However, the Indeterminate Sentence Law should have been
applied. [People vs. Parohinog, 96 SCRA 373(1980)]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BENJAMIN ONG y KHO, and BIENVENIDO QUINTOS y
SUMALJAG, defendants-appellants.
Criminal law; Kidnapping; Circumstances negating allegation of kidnapping for ransom.The following circumstances
negate the allegation of kidnapping for ransom: a) vehement denial thereof by the accused; b) non-production in court of
the alleged ransom note; c) unreliability of extrajudicial statement adverting to the ransom because of maltreatment of
witness; d) inconsistency in the testimonies respecting the drawing up of the ransom note; and, finally, e) the fact that
the body of the victim was buried along with many precious articles in his person.
Same; Same; Kidnapping is not present where the detention of the victim was only incident to his intended murder.It
seems clear that the weight of authority is in favor of the proposition that where the victim was taken from one place to
another, solely for the purpose of killing him and not for detaining him for any length of time or for the purpose of
obtaining ransom for his release, the crime committed is murder, and not the complex crime of kidnapping with murder.
This ruling is entirely consistent with the law. Art. 267 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes a person who shall kidnap or
detain another, and the penalty becomes capital where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of
extorting ransom from the victim or any other person.
Same; Aggravating circumstances; Treachery; There is treachery where victim was tied and gagged before being stabbed.
Treachery (alevosia) qualified the killing to murder. Undisputed facts show that Henry Chuas hands were tied and his
mouth was gagged with a flannel cloth before he was stabbed twice with an icepick and buried in a shallow grave near a
creek. These facts portray well that the tied hands of the victim rendered him defenseless and helpless thereby allowing
the accused to commit the crime without risk at all to their person.
Same; Conspiracy; Treachery may be taken against the other conspirators although they did not take part in the stabbing.
The accused, however, were quick to insist that treachery should not be taken against them because they did not do
the actual stabbing (which was done by Fernando Tan). Easily, the weakness of this claim can be discerned. Conspiracy,
connivance and unity of purpose and intention among the accused were present throughout in the execution of this
crime. The four participated in the planning and execution of the crime and were at the scene in all its stages. They
cannot escape the consequence of any of their acts even if they deviated in some detail from what they originally thought
of. Conspiracy implies concert and design and not participation in every detail of execution. Thus, treachery should be
considered against all persons participating or cooperating in the perpetration of the crime.
Same; Aggravating circumstances; Nighttime; When nighttime is not absorbed by the aggravating circumstance of
treachery.Inasmuch as the treachery consisted in the fact that the victims hands were tied at the time they were
beaten, the circumstance of nighttime is not absorbed in treachery, but can be perceived distinctly therefrom, since the
treachery rests upon an independent factual basis. A special case therefore is present to which the rule that nighttime is
absorbed in treachery does not apply.
Same; Same; Uninhabited place; Taking of victim in an abandoned subdivision is aggravating.The purposive selection of
an uninhabited place (despoblado) is likewise clear from the evidence. The killing was done in Barrio Makatipo,
Novaliches, Caloocan City, an isolated place that resembled that of an abandoned subdivision. The place was ideal not
merely for burying the victim but also for killing him for it was a place where the possibility of the victim receiving some
help from third persons was completely absent. The accused sought the solitude of the place in order to better attain
their purpose without interference, and to secure themselves against detection and punishment.
Same; Same; Abuse of confidence; Abuse of confidence is not present where there is no special relation of confidence
between the accused and the victim.Nowhere in the records does it appear that Henry Chua reposed confidence upon
the person of Benjamin Ong. If any, Henry Chua was simply not afraid of Benjamin Ong, having told and bragged to the
latter about his violent exploits in the past and threatened him with bodily harm in case of failure to pay. He knew that he
was far stronger than Benjamin Ong in terms of influence and money. He thought that Benjamin Ong would fear him. The
35

fact that Henry Chua invited Ong for nightclubbing that fatal evening and accommodated him in his car on their way
home from the nightclub does not mean that Henry Chua had confidence in him. There was no special relation of
confidence between them. He knew that Benjamin owed him a substantial amount and that its settlement had long been
overdue which fact irritated him very much. Benjamin Ong and Henry Chua were together that night in the nightclub as
well as in the car not because of said confidence. It was simply because Benjamin Ong had some accounts to settle with
him.
Same; Same; Motor vehicle; Case at bar, use of motor vehicle aggravates the commission of the crime of murder.The
Biscayne car of Benjamin Ong was used in trailing the victims Mustang car from Wigwam Nightclub up to the time that it
was overtaken and blocked. It carried the victim on the way to the scene of the killing; it contained at its baggage
compartment the pick and shovel used in digging the grave; it was the fast means of fleeing and absconding from the
scene. Again, the motor vehicle facilitated the stark happening. It has been held that the use of a motor vehicle is
aggravating in murder where the said vehicle was used in transporting the victim and the accused.
Same; Same; Cruelty; Cruelty is not present where the accused did not intend the victim to suffer.Cruelty
(ensanamiento), as an aggravating circumstance, cannot be considered here. The brief of the Acting Solicitor General
agrees with that of the accused in denying the attendance of cruelty as an aggravating circumstance. Indeed, as it
appears from the record, the group intended merely to kill the victim, bury him, and flee from the locale of the fearful
crime. For cruelty to exist, it must be shown that the accused enjoyed and delighted in making their victim suffer slowly
and gradually, causing him unnecessary physical or moral pain in the consummation of the criminal act.
Same; Same; Evident premeditation; Circumstances showing attendance of evident premeditation.Concededly, the
qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation (premeditation conocida) attended the commission of the crime. What
else can better portray this circumstance than the frequent meetings of the four accused at the Barrio Fiesta Restaurant
in order to discuss, lay out the plan, and secure the different paraphernalia consisting of the rope, icepick, flannel cloth,
flashlight and shovel. Added to this is the careful selection of an ideal site for the grissly happening. Similarly, the plan
to go to Taipeh and Hongkong immediately after the incident pictures the presence of evident premeditation. The accused
meditated and tenaciously persisted in the accomplishment of the crime and were not prompted merely by the impulse of
the moment.
Same; Same; Mitigating circumstances; Plea of guilty; Plea of guilty considered mitigating although accused disputes
some of the aggravating circumstances alleged in the information.Although the confession was qualified and
introduction of evidence became necessary, the qualification did not deny the defendants guilt and, what is more, was
subsequently fully justified. It was not the defendants fault that aggravating circumstances were erroneously alleged in
the information and mitigating circumstances omitted therefrom. If such qualification could deprive the accused of the
benefit of plea of guilty, then the prosecution could nullify this mitigating circumstance by counteracting it with
unfounded allegations of aggravating circumstances.
Same; Aggravating circumstances; Passion and obfuscation; Case at bar, circumstances showing attendance of passion
and obfuscation.We hold that the accused Benjamin Ong is likewise entitled to the mitigating circumstance that is
analogous to passion and obfuscation (Art. 13, par. 10, Revised Penal Code), based on the following facts stated in his
brief:
a) Henry Chua and his companions went to the office of Benjamin Ong. In a loud voice, with angry gestures, and in the
presence of his subordinates and fellow employees, Henry Chua demanded payment, and threatened bodily harm to him
and his family.
b) Henry Chua went as far as to threaten the life of Benjamin Ong unless his obligation to Chua was paid. If you
treasure your life you better pay first.
c) Because of this incident, he, Benjamin Ong, was humiliated. d) His brother-in-law, Chua Pak, told him that he was
holding a very responsible position in the company and so he should not be involved in any scandal.
e) He was discredited and degraded in front of my brother-inlaw. He was so embarrassed, he finally tendered his
resignation from the company.
f) Because of the threat of Henry Chua, the accused tried to get money from all sources but he was not successful. The
allotted time was so short. To relieve him of the pressure brought to bear upon him to pay his gambling debt, he even
thought of embezzling money belonging to the company in which he worked.
g) Because of his inability to raise money to be paid to Henry Chua, he became deeply depressed. He felt: I was
being turned into a criminal.
h) He begged Henry Chua to give him more time to raise the money. Nagmamakaawa na ako sa kanya. This was the
night before Henry Chua was killed. If Henry Chua had granted him time the whole plan to kill Henry Chua might not
materialize. But Henry Chua, while not relenting, but perhaps in utter contempt and disdain of Benjamin Ong instead
decided to transfer from Amihan to Wigwam because he wanted to be entertained by a hostess.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANILO BADILLA y ONES ALIAS DODONG, accusedappellant.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Plea of guilty to capital case; Trial court duty bound to explain to the accused who
pleads guilty on arraignment to an offense penalized by death, the nature of the accusation and effect of the attendant
36

circumstances alleged in the information, and to take the testimony of witnesses thereon; Purpose.In this regard, We
agree with the view of the Office of the Solicitor General, representing the People, that it is the court who is duty bound to
explain to the accused who pleads guilty on arraignment to a charge which carries the penalty of capital punishment, the
nature of said accusation and the effect of the attendant circumstances alleged in the Information, as well as to take the
testimony of witnesses regarding said matters (People vs. Hondolero, 72 SCRA 422; People vs. Rodolfo Gonzales, 101
SCRA 246) Indeed, it is worth repeating that these tasks must be carried out faithfully by the trial court not only to
forestall an improvident plea of guilty but also to ascertain the precise degree of appellants culpability (People vs. del
Rosario, 68 SCRA 242).
Same; Same; Same; Requirement in case of plea of guilty to a capital case does not call simply for the courts questioning
the accused if he had been advised by his counsel, but the trial court should inquire exactly what was the advise given to
the accused and what the latter actually understood would be the result of his plea of guilty to the charge and the
consequences thereof.Said requisites which are set forth and prescribed in abundant jurisprudence have not been
complied with in the instant case. The court below did not even bother to ascertain from the accused just what were the
explanations given to him by his lawyer regarding the effects of the plea which the accused would make and which he
eventually entered at the time of his arraignment. What need to be here again emphasized is that, it is not enough to
simply question the accused if he had been advised by his counsel but more than thisthe trial court should inquire what
exactly was the advice given to the accused and more importantly, what the latter actually understood would be the
result of his plea of guilty to the charge preferred against him and the consequences thereof.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GOMEZ SALIGAN, defendant-appellant.
Arraignment and plea; Plea of Guilty; Duty of trial judges when accused pleads guilty.Trial judges are enjoined to refrain
from accepting with alacrity an accuseds plea of guilty, for while justice demands a speedy administration, judges are
duty bound to be extra solicitous in seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty he understands fully the meaning of
his plea and the import of an inevitable conviction.
Same; Same; Recommends taking of testimony notwithstanding plea of guilty.Because there is no law prohibiting the
taking of testimony after a plea of guilty, where a grave offense is charged, this Court has deemed such taking of
testimony the prudent and proper course to follow for the purpose of establishing the guilt and the precise degree of
culpability of the defendant.
Same; Same; An unidentified extrajudicial confession is no more admissible than improperly admitted plea of guilty.
Having rejected the judicial confession of guilt of the defendant (his plea of guilty) on the ground that the manner of his
arraignment does not exclude the possibility of improvidence in its entry, we can do no less with regard to his
extrajudicial confession, the same not having been properly identified nor shown to have been freely and voluntarily
executed.
Same; Same; Absence of record cannot give rise to presumption of valid arraignment.The barrenness of the record
cannot give rise to the presumption that the trial court had accepted the defendants plea of guilty in accordance with
law. For, as we have held in People vs. Busa (51 SCRA 317), a judgment meting out the penalty of death is valid only if the
record is susceptible of a fair and reasonable examination by this Court.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALBERTO ABREA y ARANCON, defendant-appellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Plea of guilty, not improvident; Prosecution required, after plea of guilty of the accused, to present
evidence to substantiate allegations in the information.The trial judge faithfully followed the prescribed procedure in
capital cases where the accused pleaded guiltywhich is to require the prosecution to present evidence so as to
substantiate the allegations in the information and thus guard against improvident admissions of guilt.
Same; Same; Plea of guilty; Plea of guilty does not mean admission of material allegations in the information by the
accused including qualifying and/or aggravating circumstances; Purpose of automatic review in capital cases.The
Solicitor General argues that when the appellant pleaded guilty he admitted the material allegations in the information
including the circumstances qualifying and/or aggravating the crime and consequently he can not now disclaim that he
committed the crime without evident premeditation. We do not agree. The precise purpose of the automatic review in
capital cases is to open the entire record for scrutiny so that a human life will not be lost thru a miscarriage of justice by
misappreciation of the evidence.
Same; Same; Qualifying Circumstances; Treachery; Where victim was stabbed from behind and attack against him by the
accused was sudden and unexpected, treachery is appreciated against him.The evidence on record is sufficiently
convincing to show that the appellant is indeed guilty of murder qualified by treachery. He stabbed his victim from behind
and the attack was sudden and unexpected.
Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Evident premeditation; Where no evidence exists to show when the plan to kill
the victim was hatched by the accused, evident premeditation is not present.He (counsel de oficio) claims that there
was no evident premeditation and he is right for there is nothing in the record which We have examined to show when the
plan to kill the victim was hatched.
37

Same; Same; Penalty; Death penalty upon accused cannot be altered, accused being a quasi-recidivist; Case at bar.But
the absence of evident premeditation cannot alter the imposition of the death penalty. For the appellant is a quasirecidivist and Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code mandates the imposition of the maximum period of the penalty
prescribed by law for the new felony. [People vs. Abrea, 112 SCRA 83(1982)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. APOLONIO APDUHAN, JR. alias JUNIOR, ET AL.,
defendants, APOLONIO APDUHAN, JR. alias JUNIOR, defendant-appellant.
Revised Penal Code; Robbery with homicide; Interrelation among articles 294, 295 and 296 of the Revised Penal Code;
Case at bar.Art. 294 enumerates five classes of robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons and prescribes
the corresponding penalties. The case at bar falls under art. 294 (1) which defines robbery with homicide and fixes the
penalty from reclusion perpetua to death.
Article 295 provides, inter alia, that when the offenses described in subdivisions 3, 4, and 5 of art. 295 are committed by
a band, the proper penalties must be imposed in the maximum periods. The circumstance of band is therefore qualifying
only in robbery punished by subdivisions 3, 4, and 5 of art. 294. Consequently, art. 295 is inapplicable to robbery with
homicide, rape, intentional mutilation, and lesiones graves resulting in insanity, imbecility, impotency or blindness. If the
foregoing classes of robbery which are described in art. 294 (1) and (2) are perpetrated by a band, they would not be
punishable under art, 295, but then cuadrilla would be a generic aggravating under art. 14 of the Code (People v.
Casunuran, L-7654, Aug. 16, 1956; People v. Leyesa, L-7842, Aug. 30, 1956). Hence, with the present wording of art. 295
there is no crime as "robbery with homicide in band." If robbery with homicide is committed by a band, the indictable
offense would still be denominated as "robbery with homicide" under art. 294 (1), but the element of band, as stated
above, would be appreciated as an ordinary aggravating circumstance.
Article 296 defines "band", creates the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm, and provides the
criminal liability incurred by the members of the band. The ascertainment of the definite function and range of
applicability of this article in relation to articles 294 and 295 is essential in the disposition of the case at bar.
After a perceptive analysis of the provisions of art. 296, we reach the considered opinion that the said article is
exclusively linked and singularly applicable to the immediately antecedent provision of art. 295 on robbery in band, as the
latter article, in turn, is explicitly limited in scope to subdivisions 3, 4, and 5 of art. 294. Consequently, although the use of
unlicensed firearm is a special aggravating circumstance under art. 296, as amended by Rep. Act 12 (People v. Bersamin,
88 Phil. 292), it cannot be appreciated as such in relation to robbery with homicide, described and penalized under
paragraph 1 of art. 294.
Same; Penalty for robbery committed by a band; Meaning of the phrase "all the malefactors"; When "use of unlicensed
firearm" may be appreciated as special aggravating circumstance".As previously stated, art. 295 provides that if any of
the classes of robbery described in subdivisions 3, 4, and 5 of art. 294 is committed by a band, the offender shall be
punished by the maximum period of the proper penalty. Correspondingly, the immediately following provisions of art. 296
define the term "band", prescribe the collective liability of the members of the band, and state that "when any of the
arms used in the commission of the offense be an unlicensed firearm, the penalty to be imposed upon all the malefactors
shall be the maximum of the corresponding penalty provided by law." Viewed from the contextual relation of articles 295
and 296, the word "offense" mentioned in the above-quoted portion of the latter article logically means the crime of
robbery committed by a band, as the phrase "all the malefactors" indubitably refers to the members of the band and the
phrase "the corresponding penalty provided by law" relates to the offenses of robbery described in the last three
subdivisions of art. 294 which are all encompassed within the ambit of art. 295. Evidently, therefore, art. 296 in its
entirety is designed to amplify and modify the provision on robbery in band which is nowhere to be found but in art. 295
in relation to subdivisions 3, 4, and 5 of art. 294. Verily, in order that the aforesaid special aggravating circumstance of
use of unlicensed firearm may be appreciated to justify the imposition of the maximum period of the proper penalty, it is
a condition sine qua non that the offense charged be robbery committed by a band within the contemplation of art. 295.
To reiterate, since art. 295 does not apply to subdivisions 1 and 2 of art. 294, then the special aggravating factor in
question, which is solely applicable to robbery in band under art. 295, cannot be considered in fixing the penalty
imposable for robbery with homicide under art. 294(1), even if the said crime was committed by a band with the use of
unlicensed firearms.
The special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm, however, was initially applicable to all the subdivisions
of art. 294 since the -said Rep. Act No. 12 also amended art. 295 to include within its scope all the classes of robbery
described in art. 294. With the then enlarged coverage of art, 295, art. 296, being corollary to the former, was perforce
made applicable to robbery with homicide (art. 294[1]). Thus, in People v. B-ersamin (See note 3), this Court, in passing,
opined: "The use of unlicensed firearm is a special aggravating circumstance applicable only in cases of robbery in band
(Art. 296, Revised Penal Code, as amended by section 3, Republic Act No. 12)."
Same; Effect of the enactment of Republic Act 373.In the said case of Bersamin, this Court declared in effect that in
robo con homicidio the use of unlicensed firearm is not a special aggravating circumstance when the said offense is not
committed by a band. Inferentially, had the robbery with homicide in Bersamin been perpetrated by a band, the use of
unlicensed firearm would have been appreciated. This implied pronouncement would have been justified under art. 296 in
38

relation to art. 295, as amended by Rep. Act 12. But the aforesaid inference lost all legal moorings in 1949 with the
enactment of Rep. Act 373 which excluded subdivisions 1 and 2 of art. 294 from the coverage of art. 295. Since art. 296,
as repeatedly emphasized above, is corollary to art. 295, the diminution of the latter's scope correspondingly reduced the
former's extent of applicability. In other words, the passage of the foregoing amendment did not only jettison the first two
subdivisions of art. 294 from the periphery of art. 295 but also removed the said subdivisions (which pertain, inter alia, to
the offense of robbery with homicide) from the effective range of art. 296.
Same; When "intoxication" is deemed a mitigating circumstance.Under the last paragraph of article 15 of the Revised
Penal Code, intoxication is mitigating when it is not habitual or intentional, that is, not subsequent to the plan to commit
the crime. However, to be mitigating the accused's state of intoxication must be proved (Aquino, The Revised Penal Code,
vol. II, p. 399). Once intoxication is established by satisfactory evidence (People v. Noble, 77 Phil. 93), then, in the
absence of proof to the contrary, it is presumed to be nonhabitual or unintentional (U.S. v. Fitzgerald, 2 Phil. 419). In
People v. Noble (See note 7) the defendant testified that before the murder he took a bottle of wine and drank little by
little until he got drunk. The policeman who arrested the accused testified that the latter smelled wine and vomited. The
Court held that the evidence presented was not satisfactory to warrant a mitigation of the penalty. Intoxication was
likewise not competently proved in a case (People v. Pardo, 79 Phil. 568) where the only evidence was that the defendant
had a gallon of tuba with him at the time he committed the crime.
Same; Effect of plea of gililty.While an unqualified plea of guilty is mitigating, it, at the same time, constitutes an
admission of all the material facts alleged in the information, including the aggravating circumstances therein recited
(People v. Egido, 90 Phil. 762; People v. Santos and Vicente, 105 Phil. 40). In such case, the prosecution need not prove
the said circumstance since the accused, by his plea of guilty, has already supplied the requisite proof (People v. Acosta,
98 Phil. 642; People v. Rapirap, 102 Phil. 863).
Same; Circumstances of "band" and "abuse of superior strength", distinguished.The circumstances of band and abuse
of superiority are separate and distinct legal concepts. The element of band is appreciated when the offense is committed
by more than three armed malefactors actors regardless of the comparative strength of the victim or victims. Hence, the
indispensable components of cuadrilla are (1) at least four malefactors and (2) all of the four malefactors are armed. On
the other hand, the gravamen of abuse of superiority is the taking advantage by the culprits of their collective strength to
overpower their relatively weaker victim or victims. Hence, in the latter aggravating factor, what is taken into account is
not the number of aggressors nor the fact that they are armed, but their relative physical might vis-a-vis the offended
party.
Same; When "dwelling" is considered aggravating circumstance; Case at bar.The settled rule is that dwelling is
aggravating in robbery with violence or intimidation of persons (U.S. v. Leyba, 8 Phil. 671; People v. Sebastian, 85 Phil.
602; People v. Napili, 85 Phil. 521), like the offense at bar. The rationale behind this pronouncement is that this class of
robbery could be committed without the necessity of transgressing the sanctity of the home. Morada is inherent only in
crimes which could be committed in no other place than in the house of another, such as trespass and robbery in an
inhabited house (Aquino, Vol. I, p. 286). This Court in People v. Pinca (L-16595, Feb. 28, 1962), citing People v. Valdez (64
Phil. 860), ruled that the "circumstances (of dwelling and scaling) were certainly not inherent in the crime committed,
because, the crime being robbery with violence or intimidation against persons (specifically, robbery with homicide) the
authors thereof could have committed it without the necessity of violating or scaling the domicile of their victim." Cuello
Calon opines that the commission of the crime in another's dwelling shows greater perversity in the accused and
produces greater alarm (Cited in Aquino, supra, p. 287).
Same; When "nocturnidad" is deemed an aggravating circumstance.Nocturnity is aggravating when it is purposely and
deliberately sought by the accused to facilitate the commission of the crime (People v. Alcala, 48 Phil. 739; People v.
Matbagon, 60 Phil. 887; People v. Corpus, et al., L-10104, Jan. 28, 1961) or to prevent their being recognized or to insure
unmolested escape (U.S. v. Billedo, 32 Phil. 575; People v. Perez and De Leon, 32 Phil. 163). Nocturnidad must concur with
the intent and design of the offender to capitalize on the intrinsic impunity afforded by the darkness of night (People v.
Boyles, L-15308, May 29, 1964).
Same; Duty of a judge when an accused desires to enter a plea of guilty.Trial judges must refrain from accepting with
alacrity an accused's plea of guilty, for while justice demands a speedy administration, judges are duty bound to be extra
solicitous in seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty he understands fully the meaning of his plea and the import
of an inevitable conviction. [People vs. Apduhan, Jr., 24 SCRA 798(1968)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. JOSE VILLAMORA ET AL., defendants. JOSE
VILLAMORA, FRANCISCO BARAUEL and PEDRO RENTORIA, appellants.
1. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; EVIDENCE; UNBELIEVABLE DEFENSE.When three persons conspire to criminally assault X,
it would be absurd to uphold the plea that one of the assailants merely hit X during the fight in order to prevent him from
wounding his other coconspirators.
2. ID.; ID.; WHEN EVIDENT PREMEDITATION DOES NOT EXIST.There is no evident premeditation when the attack
seems to have been decided on the spur of the moment. And there was "no lapse of a substantial interval of time clearly
39

sufficient in a judicial sense to afford a full opportunity for meditation and reflection; and sufficient to allow the
conscience of the actor to overcome the resolution of his will if he desires to hearken to its warnings."
The People of the Philippines, plaintiff-appellee, vs. Moro Macbul, defendant-appellant.
1.Criminal Law; Theft; Recidivism Is Inherent in Habitual Delinquency; There Is no Habitual Delinquency Where Two
Previous Convictions Were More than Ten Years Apart. While appellant's contention, that recidivism should not have
been taken into account because it is inherent in habitual delinquency, is correct, as this court has held in the case of
People vs. Tolentino (1 Off. Gaz., 682), it is beside the point here because the error committed by the trial court lies not so
much in its having considered recidivism as an aggravating circumstance for the purpose of penalizing habitual
delinquency, as in its having considered appellant as a habitual delinquent at all, it appear ing from the information that
his two previous convictions were more than ten years apart. "A person shall be deemed to be habitually delinquent, if
within a period of ten years from the date of his release or last conviction of the crimes of robo, hurto, estafa, or
falsification, he is found guilty of any of said crimes a third time or oftener." Therefore, appellant's first conviction, which
took place in November, 1928, cannot be taken into account because his second conviction took place in August, 1942, or
fourteen years later. Hence within the purview of the Habitual Delinquency Law appellant has only one previous
conviction against him, namely, that of 1942.
2.Id.; Id.; Extreme Poverty and Necessity as a Mitigating Circumstance.The trial court considered extreme poverty and
necessity as a mitigating circumstance falling within No. 10 of article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, which authorizes the
court to consider in favor of an accused "any other circumstance of a similar nature and analogous to those above
mentioned." The trial court predicates such consideration upon its finding that the accused, on account of extreme
poverty and of the economic difficulties brought about by the present cataclysm, was forced to pilfer the two sacks of
papers mentioned in the information from the Customhouse Building, which he sold for P2.50, in order to be able to buy
something to eat for various minor children of his. (The stolen goods were subsequently recovered.) The Solicitor General
interposes no objection to the consideration of such circumstance as mitigating under No. 10 of article 13. This court
approves it, recognizing the immanent principle that the right to life is more sacred than a mere property right. That is not
to encourage or even countenance theft but merely to dull somewhat the keen and pain-producing edges of the stark
realities of life.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. RODRIGO AGUSTIN, JULITO RIZARDO, SILVERIO
APOLINARIO, CONRADO APOLINARIO, ARSENIO AGUSTIN, PEDRO BETUDIO, PEDRO AGUSTIN, DIOSDADO
APOLINARIO, ADRIANO APOLINARIO, and TRANQUILINO BETUDIO, de-fendants, JULITO RIZARDO, SILVERIO
APOLINARIO, CONRADO APOLINARIO, DIOSDADO APOLINARIO and ADRIANO APOLINARIO, defendants and appellants.
Mitigating circumstances; When lack of instruction is mitigating.The condition of lack of instruction cannot be taken as a
mitigating circumstance, because it has not been established that illiteracy was coupled with such a low degree of
intelligence that the malefactors did not fully realize the consequence of their criminal act (People vs. Ripas, 95 Phil. 63;
People vs. Gorospe, L-10644, Feb. 19, 1959; People vs. Magpantay, L-19133, Nov. 29, 1964).
Same; When poverty is mitigating.Extreme poverty may mitigate a crime against property, such as theft (People vs.
Macbul, 74 Phil. 436), but not a crime of violence such as murder.
Same; When voluntary surrender is not mitigating; Case at bar.The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender may
not be appreciated in favor of appellants as they did not surrender. S.A. testified that he was arrested in the market, while
the three others stated that they went to see the chief of police, not for the purpose of surrendering, but because the
latter had called for them for reasons which they did not know.
Same; Treachery is qualifying in murder; It absorbs abuse of superior strength.The circumstance of treacherywhich
qualifies the killing to murdermust be taken against appellants, considering the suddenness of the attack, launched by
them from a hidden position. This circumstance absorbs abuse of superiority (People vs. Tiongson, L-1866-67, Nov. 28,
1964).
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JIMMY MONAGA, JESUS BARRIDO, and BENHUR
BANABAN, accused, BENHUR BANABAN, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Assumption of lone penal responsibility for the crime by one accused merely an afterthought.The
rejection by the trial court of the testimony of Danilo Banaban that he alone is responsible for the death of Herminio
Balderas is in accord with the physical facts. x x x Indeed, the assumption of penal responsibility by Danilo Banaban
appears to be an afterthought.
Same; Same; Evidence; Hearsay Rule; Rule on declaration against interest does not apply where declarant was available
as witness and in fact testified in court.As the rule provides, the declaration to be submitted in evidence as an
exception to the hearsay rule, must be that of a person, either deceased, outside of the Philippines, or unable to testify. In
the instant case, however, Danilo Banaban was available as a witness and was, in fact, presented in court and testified for
the appellant.
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Same; Same; Conspiracy; Unity of purpose and community of design among appellant and his co-accused clearly inferred
from acts of accused proven by evidence, although absent evidence of agreement of direct conspiracy.While there may
be no evidence of agreement of direct conspiracy, the unity of purpose and community of design among the appellant
and his co-accused in the killing of Herminio Balderas is clearly inferred from the acts of the accused proven by evidence.
Same; Same; Same; When conspiracy exists; Conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence of acts charged.A
conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to
commit it, whether they act through the physical volition of one or all, proceeding severally or collectively. It is also a
settled law that conspiracies need not be established by direct evidence of acts charged, but may and generally must be
proved by a number of indefinite acts, conditions and circumstances which vary according to the purpose to be
accomplished. The very existence of a conspiracy is generally a matter of inference deduced from certain acts of the
persons accused, done in pursuance of an apparent criminal or unlawful purpose in common between them. The
existence of the agreement, or joint assent of the minds need not be proved directly.
Same; Same; Identification of accused, positive; Absence of motive of prosecution witnesses to testify falsely against
appellant.The appellant and his co-accused have been positively identified as the assailants of the deceased Herminio
Balderas and there is no convincing proof that the prosecution witnesses had a reason to testify falsely against the
appellant. On the other hand, the appellant had a motive to kill the deceased Herminio Balderas. It appears that the
carabao of the appellant was taken away by the deceased for ransom and when the carabao died, the deceased promised
to pay the appellant the value thereof. However, he failed to fulfill his promise when it became due.
Same; Same; Alibi; Positive identification of appellant by prosecution witnesses as one of the perpetrators of the crime
prevails over defense of alibi.With respect to the alibi of the appellant that he was in Sitio Dulang, Barrio Sto. Rosario,
Ajuy, about 4 kilometers away from the scene of the crime, watching the palay of Isaac Cacho and that he learned of the
victims death only the following morning when his wife came and told him that their son Danilo had killed a person,
suffice it to state that the appellant was positively identified as one of the perpetrators of the crime and there is no
convincing proof that it was impossible for the appellant to be at the scene of the crime when it was committed.
Same; Same; Witnesses; Credibility; Assessment of facts by the lower court on the issue of credibility of witnesses given
due respect.On the whole, the issues raised by the appellant in his appeal involves the credibility of witnesses and the
settled longstanding rule, where the issues raised hinge on the credibility of witnesses, is for the appellate tribunal to give
due respect to the assessment of the facts made by the lower court, said court having had the opportunity not only of
receiving the evidence, but also of observing the witnesses while testifying. This rule should not be overturned unless
there is a showing that in making the disputed factual finding, the trial court had overlooked or failed to consider certain
facts of weight and importance that could have materially affected the conclusion reached in the case. In the instant
case, there is no positive reason that would justify a reversal of the judgment appealed from.
Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstances; Accused entitled to the mitigating circumstance analogous to vindication of a
grave offense; Case at bar.It results that the trial court did not err in finding the appellant Benhur Banaban guilty of the
crime of Murder. The appellant, however, is entitled to the mitigating circumstance analogous to, if not the same as,
vindication of a grave offense committed by the deceased when the latter took away the carabao of the appellant and
held it for ransom, and thereafter, failed to fulfill his promise to pay its value after the carabao had died. [People vs.
Monaga, 118 SCRA 466(1982)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. GONA (Mansaca), defendant and
appellant.
HOMICIDE; MISTAKE AS TO VICTIM.As a result of a quarrel, the defendant endeavored to kill D, but by mistake, killed M,
Held, that his mistake in killing one man instead of another did not relieve him from criminal responsibility and could not
even be considered a mitigating circumstance.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. DY POL, defendant and appellant.
CRIMINAL LAW; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; LACK OF IRREPARABLE MATERIAL DAMAGE CAUSED TO THE OFFENDED
PARTY.The mitigating circumstance invoked by the appellant, which is that the crime committed by the accused has
caused no irreparable material damage to the offended party, is not recognized by the Revised Penal Code. Neither is it
among those which may be considered as similar in nature and analogous to those expressly recognized, in accordance
with article 13, subsection 10, and therefore it cannot correctly be taken into consideration.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARIO RABUYA Y GALLETO @MARIO NERI @ MEDEL @
NELI @ MAR @ ELMER BUSTRILLO @-MARIO GALLARDO @ MARIO BUSTRILLO, defendant-appellant.
Criminal Procedure; There was no improvident plea of guilty where the same was made while the prosecution had already
shown the guilt of the accused.True it is that when an accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court must assure
itself that he is fully aware of the implications of said plea and that, to this end, it may or should take some evidence to
be reasonably certain that no injustice is done to him. (People v. Alincastre, L-29891, Aug. 30, 1971, 40 SCRA 391.) We
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believe that the trial court complied with its duty in accepting the plea of guilty and that the appellant had full knowledge
of its consequences when he voluntarily entered the plea in the light of the following circumstances: (1) the change of
plea was made with the assistance of counsel; (2) the trial court declared a recess to enable the accused and his counsel
to confer in respect of the change of plea; (3) the trial court explicitly told the accused that as a consequence of his plea
of guilty he will be punished by death or life imprisonment; and (4) the evidence for the prosecution had already shown
its guilt independently of his plea.
Same; An accused who enters a plea of guilty also admits aggravating circumstances alleged in the information.
Appellant questions the appreciation of the aggravating circumstances alleged in the information in the imposition of the
death penalty. Elementary is the rule that a plea of guilty constitutes an admission of all the material facts alleged in the
information, including the aggravating circumstances recited therein. (See People vs. Valera and Imperial, G.R. No. L37016, May 31, 1979) But the plea of guilty notwithstanding the prosecution had sufficiently established the aggravating
circumstances recited in the information.
Same; Plea of guilty not mitigating when made after prosecution has introduced evidence of guilt of accused.Appellant
claims his plea of guilty should be taken as a mitigating circumstance although it was not made prior to the presentation
of the evidence for the prosecution on the ground that it was an act of repentance and respect for the law, indicating a
moral disposition favorable to his reform. In support thereof, it is asserted that none of the witnesses ever declared
having seen the accused take actual part in the commission of the crime. We agree with the Solicitor General that this
claim is without merit. For as stated in the Peoples brief: when appellant suddenly stood up and manifested his desire to
plead guilty, it was already after the prosecution had almost finished with the presentation of its evidence consisting of
the testimonies of eight witnesses who identified material documentary evidence in the course of their testimonies.
Same; Fact that accused did not resist arrest cannot be considered as a mitigating circumstance analogous to voluntary
surrender.As regard appellants having allegedly yielded to arrest without the slightest attempt at resistance, again this
circumstance, even if true, is not one of the mitigating circumstances recognized by law. What the law considers as
mitigating is the voluntary surrender of the accused before his arrest, showing either an acknowledgment of his guilt or
an intention to save the authorities the trouble and ex-pense that would be incurred in his search and capture (People vs.
Conwi, 71 Phil. 595), even if he did not resist arrest nor struggle to free himself from custody. (People vs. Siojo, 61 Phil.
307; People vs. Yuman, 61 Phil. 786).
Penalty; Accused should only be sentenced to life imprisonment.I vote for the imposition of life imprisonment because
of the more than ten years that he has already suffered since his conviction by the trial court. [People vs. Rabuya y
Galleto, 94 SCRA 123(1979)]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. DOMINGO SALAZAR alias DARQUEZ, defendant
and appellant.
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PLEA OF GUILTY; EFFECT OF.A plea of guilty is an admission of all the material facts alleged
in the information (U.S. vs. Burlado, 42 Phil., 72; People vs. Acosta, 51 O.G., 1930-1933, March 23, 1956). A plea of guilty
when formally entered on arraignment is sufficient to sustain conviction of the offense charged without the introduction of
further evidence, upon the theory that the defendant himself has supplied the necessary proof by his plea of guilty (U.S.
vs. Jawad, 37 Phil., 305).
2. CRIMINAL LAW; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE; OBFUSCATION ARISING FROM JEALOUSY.The mitigating circumstance
of obfuscation arising from jealousy cannot be invoked in favor of the accused whose relationship with his common-law
wife was illegitimate. (U.S. vs. Hicks, 14 Phil., 217; People vs. Olgado et al., L-4406, March 31, 1952).
3. ID.; ID.; RUNNING AMUCK.The Revised Penal Code enumerates the circumstances which mitigate criminal liability,
and the condition of running amuck is not one of them. In so far as the final laws are applicable, they must be applied
alike to all criminals be they Christians, Moros or Pagans.
4. ID.; ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF MINDANAO AND SULU.Section 106 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu
gives to the Court ample discretion to determine the penalty to be imposed on a Moro who commits a crime and is
convicted, considering the circumstances of the case, the degree of his instruction and the nature of the crime
committed, the Court being justified in imposing the penalty which would best serve the interest of justice. [People vs.
Salazar, 105 Phil. 1058(1959)]

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