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Aggravating Cases

People of the Philippines vs Dominador Cachola et al
420 SCRA 520 Criminal Law Qualifying Circumstance; Treachery
Aggravating Circumstance; Ignominy Accomplices; Elements
At around 6pm on December 28, 1999, in Bauang, La Union, two armed
men entered the house of Jessie Barnachea, then 12 years old. Jessie
was able to hide under a bed. The two malefactors then shot Carmelita
Barnachea (mother of Jessie), Felix Barnachea (brother of Jessie),
Rubenson Abance (cousin of Jessie), and Victorino Lolarga (uncle of
Jessie). After being shot, Victorinos penis was also cut by the
Witnesses say that after the commotion inside the house, the two
malefactors boarded a get away jeep which was earlier guarded by
masked lookouts. The neighbors immediately radioed the police and
the get away jeep was later apprehended. On board the said jeep were
the two malefactors (Dominador Cachola and Ernesto Amay) and six
other men namely: Nestor Marquez, Benjamin Laegen, Rodolfo Sagun,
Rodemir Guerzo, Mellke Ignacio, and Nelson Echabaria.
Two hours after the incident, Jessie identified Cachola and Amay as the
shooters. He said he recognized them because the two were unmasked
when they entered the house. The next day, Jessie again identified
Cachola and Amay in a police line-up. And on another day, Jessie again
identified Cachola and Amay through photographs.
Eventually, Cachola and Amay were convicted for murder. The other 6
were convicted as accomplices to the crime. The court, in convicting
the accused for murder, reasoned that treachery is present and that on
the killing of Victorino, ignominy is present because his penis was cut
1. Whether or not ignominy was properly appreciated by the trial court
as an aggravating circumstance.
2. Whether or not the 6 other co-accused are accomplices.
1. No. The fact that Victorinos penis was cut off does not immediately
give rise to the aggravating circumstance of ignominy. In the first
placed, it must be so alleged in the Information (this was not so in this
case). Secondly, for ignominy to be appreciated, it is required that the
offense be committed in a manner that tends to make its effect more
humiliating, thus adding to the victims moral suffering. Where the
victim was already dead when his body or a part thereof was

dismembered, ignominy cannot be taken against the accused. Here,

Victorinos penis was cut off after he was already dead.
2. No. The 6 other accused are not proven to be accomplices to the
crime. To hold a person liable as an accomplice, two elements must
(1) community of design, which means that the accomplice knows of,
and concurs with, the criminal design of the principal by direct
participation; and
(2) the performance by the accomplice of previous or simultaneous
acts that are not indispensable to the commission of the crime.
In the present case, neither element were proven. The mere presence
of the six appellants in the company of appellants Cachola and Amay
on board a jeep is not evidence of their knowledge of, or assent to, the
criminal design to perpetuate the massacre. That they were found to
be with appellants Cachola and Amay almost two hours after the
commission of the crime does not constitute previous or simultaneous
Note that witnesses testified that the men guarding the get away jeep
were masked. There is no solid proof that the 6 other accused found to
be with Cachola and Amay were the same masked men at the time of
the incident. No one identified them in court hence there is reasonable
doubt in their favo

G.R. No. 169246 January 26, 2007
FACTS: After attending a worship service at the Iglesia ni Kristo church in his barangay, Michael
proceeded home. While Michael was casually walking along the corner of Sto. Nino Street and
Mactan Street, appellant and his two companions, who were drinking nearby, suddenly
approached and surrounded Michael. Appellant positioned himself at the back of Michael while
his two companions stood in front of Michael. In an instant, they grabbed the shoulders of Michael
and overpowered the latter. One of the appellant's companions, whom the prosecution witnesses
described as a male with long hair, drew out a knife and repeatedly stabbed Michael on the
stomach. Unsatisfied, the appellant's other companion, whom the prosecution witnesses
described as a male with flat top hair, took the knife and stabbed Michael on the stomach. As the
finale, appellant went in front of Michael, took the knife and also stabbed Michael on the stomach.
When Michael fell on the ground, appellant kicked him at the body. Upon noticing that the
bloodied Michael was no longer moving, appellant and his two companions fled the scene. The
appellant was convicted by the trial court with the crime of murder. On appeal, appellant contends
that even if he were held liable for the death of Michael, there was no treachery which will qualify
the killing as murder. According to him, there is no evidence to show that appellant and his two
companions had deliberately and consciously adopted their mode of attack to ensure its
execution without risk to themselves. The stabbing incident occurred in a place that was properly
lighted. There were many people in the area then walking in different directions. He claims that if

he and his two companions wanted to ensure that no risk would come to them, then they could
have chosen another time and place to attack Michael.
ISSUE: Can treachery be properly appreciated in the instant case?
HELD: Yes. Treachery is a sudden and unexpected attack under the circumstances that renders
the victim unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness and severity of
the attack. It is an aggravating circumstance that qualifies the killing of a person to murder. Article
14, paragraph (16) of the Revised Penal Code states the concept and essential elements of
treachery as an aggravating circumstance. There is treachery when the offender commits any of
the crimes against the person, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof
which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the
defense which the offended party might make.
As can be gleaned from the foregoing, two essential elements/conditions are required in order
that treachery may be appreciated: (1) The employment of means, methods or manner of
execution that would ensure the offender's safety from any retaliatory act on the part of the
offended party, who has, thus no opportunity for self-defense or retaliation; (2) deliberate or
conscious choice of means, methods or manner of execution. Further, it must always be alleged
in the information and proved in trial in order that it may be validly considered.
In the instant case, treachery was alleged in the Information against appellant. Moreover, all the
essential elements/conditions of treachery were established and proven during the trial. The
suddenness and unexpectedness of the attack of appellant and his two companions rendered
Michael defenseless, vulnerable and without means of escape. It appears that Michael was
unarmed and alone at the time of the attack. Further, he was merely seventeen years of age then.
In such a helpless situation, it was absolutely impossible for Michael to escape or to defend
himself against the assault of appellant and his two companions. Being young and weak, Michael
is certainly no match against adult persons like appellant and his two companions. Michael was
also outnumbered since he had three assailants and was unarmed when he was stabbed to
death. Appellant and his two companions took advantage of their size, number, and weapon in
killing Michael. They also deliberately adopted means and methods in exacting the cruel death of
Michael by first surrounding him, then grabbing his shoulders and overpowering him. Afterwards,
each of them repeatedly stabbed Michael with a knife at the stomach until the latter fell lifeless to
the ground. The stab wounds sustained by Michael proved to be fatal as they severely damaged
the latter's large intestine.
The fact that the place where the incident occurred was lighted and many people were walking
then in different directions does not negate treachery. It should be made clear that the essence of
treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack on an unsuspecting victim without the slightest
provocation on his part. This is even more true if the assailant is an adult and the victim is a
minor. Minor children, who by reason of their tender years, cannot be expected to put up a
defense. Thus, when an adult person illegally attacks a minor, treachery exists