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Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court
Manila
F I RST DI VI SIO N

G.R. No. 153875

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff-Appellee,

Present:
- versus -

PANGANIBAN, C.J.,
(Chairperson)
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CALLEJO, SR. and
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

ROLANDO DAGANI y REYES

and OTELLO SANTIANO Y


LEONIDA,
Promulgated:
Accused-Appellants.
August 16, 2006
x--------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
For review before the Court is the Decision dated June 20, 2002[1] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of the City of Manila, Branch 12
(RTC), dated February 18, 1993, in Criminal Case No. 89-77467, finding the accusedappellants Otello Santiano y Leonida (Santiano) and Rolando Dagani y Reyes (Dagani) guilty
of the crime of Murder.
The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
That on or about September 11, 1989, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping each other did then and there,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, evident premeditation and treachery,
attack, assault and use of personal violence upon one ERNESTO JAVIER Y FELIX by then and
there shooting him with a .38 caliber revolver, thereby inflicting upon the said ERNESTO
JAVIER Y FELIX mortal gunshot wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of his
death thereafter.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
Upon arraignment, the appellants pleaded not guilty. Trial ensued where the prosecution
adduced evidence to establish the following:
At about 4:45 in the afternoon of September 11, 1989, a group composed of Ernesto Javier
(Javier), Lincoln Miran (Miran), and two other individuals had been drinking at the canteen
located inside the compound of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) along C.M. Recto
Avenue, Tondo, Manila. All of a sudden, appellants, who were security officers of the PNR and
covered by the Civil Service Rules and Regulations, entered the canteen and approached the
group. Appellant Dagani shoved Miran, causing the latter to fall from his chair. Dagani then
held Javier while Santiano shot Javier twice at his left side, killing the latter.

The defense proceeded to prove their version of the facts:


Appellants testified that they were ordered by their desk officer to investigate a commotion
at the canteen. Upon reaching the place, Santiano ordered his co-accused, Dagani, to enter,
while the former waited outside.
Dagani approached Javier who had been striking a bottle of beer on the table. Javier then
pulled out a .22 caliber revolver and attempted to fire at Dagani, but the gun failed to go
off. Then suddenly, while outside the canteen, Santiano heard gunfire and, from his vantage
point, he saw Javier and Dagani grappling for a .22 caliber gun which belonged to
Javier. During the course of the struggle, the gun went off, forcing Santiano to fire a warning
shot. He heard Javiers gun fire again, so he decided to rush into the canteen. Santiano then
shot Javier from a distance of less than four meters.
Appellants invoked the justifying circumstances of self-defense and lawful performance of
official duty as PNR security officers. They also argued that the prosecution failed to
establish treachery and conspiracy.
The RTC rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding both accused Otello Santiano y Leonida and Rolando Dagani y Reyes
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder defined and punished under Art. 248,
RPC, with the presence of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender and granting
them the benefit of [the] Indeterminate Sentence Law, both accused are hereby sentenced
to each suffer an Indeterminate prison term of TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision
mayor as minimum, to EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal x x x.
Both accused are hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of the victim the sum of P50,000.00
as death indemnity, the sum of P31,845.00 as funeral and burial expenses, the sum of
P30,000.00 as and for [sic] attorneys fees and the further sum of P1,000.00 per appearance
of counsel.
Both accused shall be credited with the full extent of their preventive imprisonment. Both
accused are hereby committed to the Director, National Penitentiary, Muntinlupa, Metro
Manila for service of Sentence.
SO ORDERED.[3]
In brief, the RTC held that appellants failed to prove that Javier attempted to squeeze the
trigger of the .22 caliber gun when he pointed it at Dagani; that during the course of the
struggle for the possession of the .22 caliber gun, the danger to the life of the accused
ceased to be imminent; that in grappling for the weapon, Dagani controlled the hands of
Javier and pushed them away from his body; that the appellants failed to produce the two
empty shells as physical evidence of the gunfire allegedly caused by Javier; that no points of
entry or bullet markings on the walls of the canteen were shown; that, in light of these
findings, no unlawful aggression was present on the part of the victim; that the appellants
failed to prove that they were on official duty at the time of the incidence; that, since it was
not established that Javier actually fired his gun, the injury inflicted upon him cannot be
regarded as a necessary consequence of the due performance of an official duty; that the
appellants were acting in conspiracy; that the qualifying circumstance of treachery attended
the killing, considering that Javier had been shot while his hands were being held by Dagani
and as his body was out of balance and about to fall; and that the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender should be appreciated in favor of the appellants.
The appellants appealed to the CA and assigned the following errors:
I

THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING SELF DEFENSE ON THE PART OF
THE ACCUSED.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THE FACT THAT THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANTS WERE IN LAWFUL PERFORMANCE OF AN OFFICIAL DUTY.
III
THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY AND SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE WAS
CONSPIRACY.
IV
THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION WAS ABLE TO
ESTABLISH BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE ACCUSED ARE GUILTY OF MURDER.[4]
The CA rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of conviction is MODIFIED. Appellants are hereby
sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The award for attorneys fees and appearance fees for
counsel are hereby deleted. In all the other aspects, the appealed decision is maintained.
Let the entire records of the case be elevated to the Supreme Court for the mandated
review.
SO ORDERED.[5]
The CA affirmed the findings of fact as well as the salient portions of the RTC Decision, but
deleted the award of attorneys fees and the per appearance fees of counsel since, the
CA reasoned, the instant case is criminal in nature which is under the control of the public
prosecutor, and, additionally, the RTC failed to justify this award in the body of its
Decision. And last, the CA found that the RTC erroneously applied the Indeterminate
Sentence Law since the penalty for Murder, at the time of the incident, was reclusion
perpetua which is an indivisible penalty to be imposed in its entirety, regardless of the
attending mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
A ppe l l ants a re now be fore thi s C ourt su bmi tti n g for re sol uti on t he sa me
ma tte rs arg ue d be fo re t he C A. Throu gh t hei r Ma ni fe st ati on d ate d Fe bru ary
1 1, 20 03 , [ 6 ] ap pel l ant s praye d to di spe nse wi th the fi l i n g of ad di ti onal bri e fs.
As of date , the re cords show that de spi te the e ff orts exe rte d b y the sure t y
an d the re s ponsi bl e l aw offi ce rs to l ocate the a ppe l l ants, the l atte r coul d not
be fou nd a nd h ave j u mpe d b ai l. [ 7 ]
The ap pe al is par tl y me ri tori ous.
A ppe l l ants argue th at the courts a quo mi sap pre ci ate d the facts an d e rre d i n
fi n di ng that the re w as no unl aw f ul agg re ssi on o n the part of the vi cti m. The y
i nsi st t hat the vi cti m, J avie r, had bee n arme d w i th a re vol ve r at the ti me he
w as stru ggl i n g w i th ap pe ll an t Daga ni ; that t he forme r coul d ha ve e asi l y ki l le d
the l atte r; that, gi ve n t he fac t that Javi e r had bee n dri nki ng, i t i s q ui te
p ro ba ble for J avie r to act harshl y and a gg re ssi vel y tow ards pe ace offi ce rs
suc h as the accuse d; [ 8 ] and that Javi e r actual l y fi re d thre e shot s fro m hi s . 22
cal i be r gu n. [ 9 ]
We are not co nvi nce d.

W he n se l f-de fe nse i s i nvo ke d, the burde n of e vi de nce shi ft s to the accuse d to


show t hat t he ki ll i n g w as le gal l y j usti fi e d. Havi ng ow ne d t he ki ll i n g of the
vi cti m, the accuse d shoul d be a ble to p rove to t he sati sf acti on of the C our t
the e le me nts of se l f- de fe nse i n orde r to avai l of thi s exte nu ati n g
ci rc ums tance . He m ust di sch arge thi s b urde n by cle ar a nd con vi nci ng
e vi de nce. W he n succe ssf ul , an othe rw i se fel oni o us de e d w oul d be excuse d,
mai nl y pre di cate d on t he l ack of cri mi nal i nte nt of the accuse d. Se l f- de fe nse
re qui re s t hat t he re be (1 ) an unl aw f ul ag gre ssi on by the pe rson i nj u re d or
ki ll e d by the off e nde r, (2 ) re a sona bl e ne ce ssi ty of the me ans e mpl oye d to
p re ve nt or re pel tha t unl aw f ul agg re ssi on, an d (3 ) l ack of suffi ci e nt
p rov ocati on on the par t of the pe rson de fe ndi ng hi mse l f. Al l t he se con di ti ons
m ust conc ur. [ 1 0 ]
Unl aw f ul agg re ssi on, a pri mordi al e le me nt of se l f- de fe nse , w oul d p re su ppose
an actual , su dde n an d u nexpe cte d attack or i mmi ne nt da nge r on the l i fe a nd
l i mb of a pe rson not a me re thre a te ni ng or i nti mi dati n g atti t ude [ 1 1 ] b ut mos t
i mp orta ntl y, at the ti me the de fe nsi ve acti on w as ta ke n agai n st the
a gg re ssor. [ 1 2 ] To i nvoke sel f-de fe nse succe ssful l y, the re m ust ha ve bee n an
u nl aw ful an d un provoke d attack th at e nda nge re d the li fe of the accuse d, w ho
w as the n fo rce d to i nfl i ct se ve re w oun ds upo n the assai l an t by e mpl oyi n g
re as ona bl e me ans to re si st the att ack. [ 1 3 ]
I n the i nsta nt case , t he asse rti ons that i t w as q ui te p ro ba ble th at J avie r,
d uri ng the course of the strug gl e for the fi re arm, coul d have e asil y ki ll e d the
a ppe l l ants a re unce rtai n a nd spe cul a ti ve. The re i s ag gre ssi o n i n
con te mpl ati o n of the l aw onl y w he n t he one att acke d face s re al an d
i mme di a te t hre at to one s li fe . The pe ri l sou ght to be avoi de d mus t be
i mmi ne nt an d actu al , no t j ust spe cul ati ve . [ 1 4 ]
To su m up the matte r, we quo te t he fi n di ngs of the C A:
The de fe nse w as u nabl e to p rove tha t the re w as unl aw f ul agg re ssi on o n the
p art of J avie r. The y we re un abl e to pre se nt evi de nce that the vi cti m actual l y
fi re d hi s gu n. N o spe nt she l l s f rom the .2 2 cal i be r pi stol w e re fo un d an d no
b ul le ts w e re re cove re d f rom the sce ne of the i nci de nt. J avie r al so te ste d
ne ga ti ve for gun pow de r re si d ue. Mo re ove r, t he tri al cour t fou nd a ppe l l ant
Da gani s acco unt of the i nci de n t to be i ncre di ble an d sel f-se rvi ng. I n sum, t he
de fe nse pre se nte d a bare cl ai m of se l f-de fe nse wi t hout any p roo f of the
exi ste nce of i ts re qui si te s. [ 1 5 ]
Eve n i f i t we re e stabl i she d t hat J avie r fi re d hi s gu n as the ap pel l an ts so
i nsi st, the i mmi ne nce of the da nge r to the i r li ve s ha d al re ad y ce ase d t he
mo me nt Dag ani he l d dow n the vi cti m and grap pl e d for the gu n w i th the
l atte r. Afte r the vi cti m had bee n t hrow n off -bal a nce , the re w as no l onge r any
u nl aw ful a gg re ssi on
th at w oul d have ne ce ssi tate d the act of ki ll i n g. [ 1 6 ] W he n an u nl aw ful
a gg re ssi on th at has be gun no l onge r exi sts, the one w ho re s orts to se l fde fe nse has no ri g ht to ki l l or e ve n to w oun d the forme r ag gre ss or. [ 1 7 ] W he n
J avie r ha d be e n cau ght i n t he str ug gle for the pos se ssi o n of the gu n wi t h
a ppe l l ant Dag ani , the grave pe ri l e nvi sa ge d by ap pe ll a nt Sa nti an o, w hi ch
i mpe l le d hi m to fi re at the vi cti m, ha d the n ce ase d to a re as ona bl e exte nt,
[18]
an d u ndo ubte dl y, S anti a no w e nt be yond the call of se l f-p re se rvati on w he n
he procee de d to i nfl i ct the exce ssi ve and fa tal i nj uri e s on Javi e r, e ve n w he n
the al le ge d unl aw ful a gg re ssi on ha d al re a dy ce ase d. [ 1 9 ]

The se cond e le me nt of se l f- de fe nse de ma nds that t he me an s e mpl oye d to


ne utr al i ze t he u nl aw ful ag gre ssi o n are re as ona ble an d ne ce ssary. I t i s se ttl e d
th at re as ona ble ne ce ssi ty of the me ans e mpl oye d d oe s no t i mpl y ma te ri al
com me nsur abi l i ty be twe e n the me ans of attack an d de fe nse . W ha t the l aw
re qui re s i s rati on al e qui val e nce . [ 2 0 ] The ci rc umst ance s i n the i r e nti re ty w hi ch
su rroun d the gra ppl i n g of the fi re arm by Da gani a nd J avie r, such as the
na tu re and num be r of gu nsho t w oun ds sustai ne d by the vi cti m [ 2 1 ] w hi ch
am oun te d to tw o fatal w ou nds, [ 2 2 ] that
Da gani w as a ble to re strai n the han ds of J avi e r a nd p usht he m aw ay f rom hi s
bo dy, [ 2 3 ] th at Dag ani w as l arge r tha n J avie r an d ha d fi ni she d S pe ci al We apo ns
an d Tac ti cs (SWAT) ha nd- to ha nd comba t trai ni n g, [ 2 4 ] an d J avie r, as ad mi tte d by the appe l l ants, w as
i ne bri ate d at the ti me of t he i nci de nt, [ 2 5 ] do no t j usti fy a ppe l l ant Sa nti a nos act
of fa tal l y shooti n g the vi cti m tw i ce . [ 2 6 ]
Al l thi n gs consi de re d, the ap pel l ant s pl e a of se l f- de fe nse i s not corro borate d
by compe te nt e vi de nce . The ple a of se l f-de fe nse cann ot be j usti fi abl y
e nte rtai ne d w he re i t i s not onl y u ncorro borate d by any se pa rate compe te nt
e vi de nce b ut i s i n i tse l f extre me l y do ubt ful . [ 2 7 ] W he the r the accuse d acte d i n
se l f-de fe nse i s a q ue sti on of fact. Li ke al i bi , t he affi rm ati ve de fe nse of sel fde fe nse i s i nhe re ntl y w e ak be cause , as expe rie nce has de mo nstr ate d, i t is
e asy to fa bri cate and di ffi cul t to di sp rove . [ 2 8 ] Thi s C our t, the re fo re , fi n ds no
re ve rsi bl e error on the part of t he cou rts a q uo i n re j e cti ng t he cl ai m of se l fde fe nse .
A ppe l l ants se t up the de fe nse tha t the y w e re i n the l aw ful pe rformance of
the i r offi ci al d uti e s. The y spe ci fi call y ave r tha t the y ha d bee n orde re d by
the i r de sk offi ce r to p roce e d to the cante e n i n re sp onse to a tel e ph one call
sta ti ng that t he re w as a group cre ati n g trou ble ; that the y we re i n the cal l of
d uty a nd exe rci si ng the i r fu ncti on s and re spo nsi bi l i tie s as me m be rs of the
PN R Ci vi l Se curi ty Offi ce to p re se rve pe ace an d orde r and prote ct the li ve s
an d p ro pe rty i n the PN R C om pou nd; [ 2 9 ] an d th at, i nvoki ng j uri spru de nce, as
se curi ty offi ce rs i n t he pe rfo rma nce of d uty, l i ke t he pol i ce , t he y must st and
the i r g rou nd and ove rcome the op pone nt, a nd the fo rce that may be exe rte d
m ust di ff e r fro m tha t w hi ch ordi nari l y may be off e re d i n sel f-de fe nse . [ 3 0 ]
Ar ti cle 11 of the Re vi se d Pe nal C ode p rovi de s t hat a pe rso n w ho acts i n the
ful fi l l me nt of a duty or i n the l aw ful exe rci se of a ri g ht or offi ce d oe s no t
i ncur any cri mi nal l i abi l i ty. Tw o re q ui si te s m ust conc ur be fo re thi s de fe nse
can prospe r: 1 ) the accuse d must have acte d i n the pe rform ance of a du ty or
i n the l aw ful exe rci se of a ri gh t or offi ce ; and 2) the i nj ury cause d or the
off e nse commi tte d shoul d have bee n t he ne ce ssary conse q ue nce of suc h
l aw ful exe rci se. [ 3 1 ] The se re qui si te s a re a bse nt i n the i nsta nt case .
As foun d by t he C A:
The de fe nse fai l e d to p rove th at the se curi ty offi ce rs w e re i n fact on d uty at
the ti me the y we re at the ca ntee n. The tri al cou rt gave w ei g ht to the fact
th at the ap pe ll a nts w e re u na ble to su bmi t t hei r dai l y ti me re cords to show
th at the y w e re on du ty at the ti me . Ap pel l an ts asse rti on th at the y w e re
orde re d to g o on 2 4-h our d uty w as be l ie d b y PN R Se curi ty I nve sti g ator
Rol an do Mari nays te sti mo ny tha t PN R se curi ty offi ce rs w ork i n tw o 1 2-ho ur
shi fts, fro m 7 :0 0 a. m. to 7 :0 0 p. m. and fro m 7 :0 0 p. m. to 7 :0 0 a. m.

Mo re ove r, si nce i t w as not e stabl i she d t hat J avi e r fi re d hi s gu n, the i nj ury


i nfl i cte d u pon hi m cann ot be re ga rde d as a ne ce ssary conse q ue nce of
a ppe l l ants d ue pe rfo rma nce of an offi ci al d uty. [ 3 2 ]
As state d, consi de ri n g that the i mmi ne nt or act ual da nge r to the l i fe of the
a ppe l l ants ha d be e n ne utral i ze d w he n Da gani gr ap ple d wi th Javi e r and
re st rai ne d hi s ha nds; th at J avie r ha d be e n throw n off -b al ance ; that Da gani
ha d be e n spe ci all y trai ne d for the se pur pose s; an d th at J avie r ha d be e n
dri nki ng i mme di a tel y pri or to the scuffl e , thi s C ourt hol ds t hat the fat al
i nj uri e s that appe l l ant San ti ano i nfl i cte d on the vi cti m canno t be dee me d to
be ne ce ssar y conse que nce s of the pe rformance of hi s d uty as a PN R se curi t y
offi ce r. [ 3 3 ] W hi l e i t i s re cog ni ze d th at pol i ce offi ce rs i f i n dee d the ap pe ll a nts
can be l i ke ne d to the m m ust sta nd the i r g ro un d an d ove rw he l m t hei r
op po ne nts, i n Pe opl e v. Ule p , [ 3 4 ] thi s C ourt counse le d:
The ri gh t to kil l an off e nde r i s not ab sol ute , and may be use d onl y as a l ast
re sor t, and unde r ci rc ums tance s i ndi cati ng t hat the off e nde r can not
ot he rw i se be ta ke n wi th out bl oods he d. The l aw doe s not cl ot he pol i ce offi ce rs
w i th au thori ty to arbi tr ari l y j udge the ne ce ssi ty to ki l l. I t may be true tha t
pol i ce offi ce rs some ti me s fi nd the msel ve s i n a di le m ma w he n p re ssure d by a
si tu ati on w he re an i mme di ate and de ci si ve , b ut l e gal , acti o n i s nee de d.
How e ve r, i t mus t be stre sse d th at the j ud gme nt a nd di sc re ti on of p ol i ce
offi ce rs i n t he pe rfo rma nce of t hei r d uti e s m ust be exe rci se d nei t he r
ca pri ci ousl y nor o pp re ssi ve l y, bu t wi thi n re aso nabl e li mi ts. I n the abse nce of
a cl e ar and le gal p rovi si on to the contrar y, the y must act i n conformi ty w i th
the di cta te s of a soun d di scre ti o n, and wi thi n the spi ri t and pur pose of the
l aw. We canno t coun te nance tri gge r-ha pp y l aw e nfo rce me nt offi ce rs w ho
i ndi scri mi nate l y e mpl oy fo rce and vi ol e nce u pon the pe rsons the y a re
a pp re he ndi n g. The y must alw ays be ar i n mi nd that al t hou gh t he y a re de al i ng
w i th cri mi nal e le me nts agai ns t w hom soci e ty mus t be prote cte d, the se
cri mi nal s are al so hu man bei n gs w i th hu man ri g hts. [ 3 5 ]
B ut thi s C ourt can not a gre e wi th the fi n di n gs of the courts a quo that the
a ppe l l ants w e re i n conspi rac y.
The RTC si mpl y he l d:
The I nform ati on ci te d cons pi racy of the acc use d. Si nce i t ca n al so be
com mi tte d th ru si mul t ane ous/ conce rte d acti on an d consi de ri n g tha t J avie r
w as sho t by Sa nti a no w hi le be i ng he l d by Daga ni , u nde r j uri spr ude nce ,
cons pi racy i s p re se n t. [ 3 6 ]
The te nor of the fact ual fi ndi ngs of the C A i s e qual l y un sati sfac tory:
Mo re ove r, t he fac ts show tha t J avie r w as shot b y ap pel l an t San ti ano as he
w as be i ng sub due d by appe l l ant Dagani . The tri al court he l d t hat t he ma nne r
of t he at tack w as i ndi cati ve of a j oi nt pu rpose an d de si gn b y the ap pel l ant s.
[37]

C our ts mus t j udge the g ui l t or i nnoce nce of the acc use d base d on facts a nd
no t on me re conj e ctu re s, pre su mp ti ons, or sus pi ci ons. [ 3 8 ] O the r tha n the pl ai n
fact that the vi cti m had bee n sho t by one of the accuse d w hil e bei n g he l d by
a c o -acc use d, the re i s n o othe r e vi de nce tha t the ap pel l an ts we re ani mate d
by the same pur pose or we re move d b y a pre vi o us com mon acco rd. I t fol l ow s

th at the l i abi l i ty of the accuse d m ust be de te rmi ne d on an i ndi vi d ual


b asi s. W hi le no formal ag re e me n t i s ne ce ssary to e sta bl i sh conspi r acy
be cau se cons pi racy m ay be i nfe rre d f ro m the ci rcu msta nce s at te ndi n g the
com mi ssi on of t he cri me , ye t, cons pi racy mu st be esta bl i she d by cl e ar an d
con vi nci ng evi de nce . [ 3 9 ]
Thi s C our t ha s he l d th at e ve n i f al l the mal e factors j oi ne d i n the
ki ll i n g, such ci rcu msta nce al o ne doe s not sati s fy
the re qui re me nt of conspi r acy be cau se the rul e i s that
ne i the r j oi nt nor si mul t ane ous acti on i s pe r se suffi ci e nt p roo f of conspi r acy.
C ons pi racy must be show n to exi st as cle arl y an d convi nci ngl y as the
com mi ssi on of t he off e nse i tse l f. [ 4 0 ] Th us, eve n assu mi n g that Javi e r w as
si mul t ane ousl y at tacke d, thi s doe s not p rove cons pi racy. N o evi de nce w as
p re se nte d to show t hat t he a ppe l l ants pl a nne d to ki l l J avi e r or t hat Da gani s
ove rt acts facil i tate d that all e ge d pl a n. The p rose cu ti on di d not e stabl i sh that
the act of Dagani i n tryi ng to w re stle the gu n from J avie r an d i n the proce ss,
he l d the l atte rs ha nds, w as for the p urpose of e nabl i n g Sa nti an o to shoo t at
J avie r. The prose cuti on h ad the b urde n to show Daga ni s i nte nti on al
p arti ci pati o n to the furt he rance of a comm on
de si g n and pur pose [ 4 1 ] or that hi s acti on w as al l part of a sche me to ki l l
J avie r. Th at Dag ani di d n ot expe ct Sa nti ano to shoot the vi cti m is e stabl i she d
w he n Sa nti an o te sti fi e d t hat Da gani see m[e d] to be sh ocke d, he w as st andi ng
an d l ooki ng at the vi cti m as J avie r gra dual l y fe l l to t he g ro un d. [ 4 2 ] An d si nce
Da gani s con vi cti on can onl y be sustai ne d if the cri me had bee n carri e d ou t
th ro ug h a cons pi racy d ul y prove n, i n vie w of the fai l ure of the p rose cuti o n to
di sc harge th at b urde n, thi s C ourt i s constrai ne d to acq ui t hi m.
A nd t hi s C ourt can not say that tre ache ry at te nde d the att ack. The RTC
de cl a re d:
[T]he C ourt bel i e ve s tha t J avie r w as shot w hi l e hi s b ody w as ou t-bal a nce d
an d ab out to fal l to the ri g ht si de and w hil e hi s han ds w e re be i n g hel d by
Da gani . J avie r, the re fore , w as shot at w he n he has n o me ans to de fe nd
hi mse l f, he nce, the ki ll i ng w as atte nde d b y the qual i fyi ng ci rc ums tance of
t re ache ry. [ 4 3 ]
w hi ch t he C A affi rme d as fol l ow s:
The fi ndi ngs of the co urt a q uo cl e arl y showe d that Javi e r w as be i n g he l d
dow n an d coul d no t eff e cti ve l y use hi s we ap on. As suc h, the tri al court he l d
th at J avie r coul d not be consi de re d to be an arme d ma n as he w as bei n g he l d
dow n an d w as vi rtual l y he l ple ss.
I t has be e n he l d tha t w he n an assa ul t i s m ade wi t h a de adl y w e apon upo n an
u narme d and uns uspe cti n g vi cti m w ho [w as] gi ve n no i mme di a te p rov ocati on
for t he at tack an d un de r condi ti o ns w hi ch ma de i t i mpo ssi bl e for hi m to
e vade the attack, fl ee or ma ke [a] de fe nse , t he act is p ro pe rl y q ual i fi e d as
t re ache ry, and the homi ci de re sul ti n g the re fro m i s cl assi fi e d as m urde r. [ 4 4 ] x x
x
Tre ache ry un de r pa r. 16 of Arti cl e 14 of the Re vi se d Pe nal C ode i s de fi ne d as
the de l i be rate empl o yme nt of me a ns, me thods or forms i n t he exe cuti on of a
cri me agai n st pe rsons w hi ch te n d di re ctl y and spe ci al l y to i nsu re i ts
exe cuti on, w i thou t ri sk to the off e nde r ari si n g fro m the de fe nse w hi ch the
i nte n de d vi cti m mi g ht rai se. Tre ache ry i s pre se nt w he n tw o co ndi ti ons concur,
na me l y: (1 ) th at the me ans, me tho ds an d forms of exe cu ti on e mpl oye d g ave
the pe rson attac ke d no op port uni ty to de fe n d hi mse l f or to re tal i ate ; and (2 )

th at suc h me ans, me tho ds an d forms of exe cuti o n we re de l i be rate l y and


consci o usl y ado pte d b y the accuse d w i tho ut da nge r to hi s pe rson. [ 4 5 ]
Thi s C our t has he l d th at the su dde nne ss of t he at tack, the i nfl i cti on of the
w ou nd f rom be hi nd t he vi cti m, the vul ne ra ble posi ti o n of the vi cti m at t he
ti me the attack w as m ade , or the fac t tha t the vi cti m w as una rme d, do not by
the mse l ve s re nde r the att ack as tre ac he ro us. [ 4 6 ] Thi s i s of parti cul ar
si g ni fi cance i n a case of an i nstan tane ous attack m ade by the accuse d
w he re by he g ai ne d an a dva nta ge ous posi ti o n ove r t he vi cti m w he n the l atte r
acci de nt al l y fe l l and w as re nde re d de fe nse l e ss. [ 4 7 ] The me ans e mpl oye d for
the com mi ssi on of the cri me or the mode of att ack must be sh ow n to have
be e n consci ou sl y or de li be rate l y a dopte d by the accuse d to i nsure t he
cons um mati o n of the cri me an d at t he sa me ti me e li mi na te or re duce the ri sk
of re t al i ati on f rom the i nte n de d vi cti m. [ 4 8 ] For the rul e s on t re ache ry to ap pl y,
the su dde n at tack mus t have be e n pre co ncei ve d by the accuse d, unex pe cte d
by the vi cti m, a nd w i tho ut p rovoc ati on on the part of the l atte r. [ 4 9 ] Tre ache ry
i s ne ve r p re su me d. Li ke the rul e s on conspi rac y, i t i s re q ui re d that t he
ma nne r of att ack mus t be show n to ha ve be e n atte n de d by t re ache ry as
concl usi vel y as the cri me i tse l f. [ 5 0 ]
The p rose cuti o n fai le d to convi nci n gl y prove tha t the assaul t by the
a ppe l l ants ha d be e n de li be rate l y ad opte d as a mode of att ack i nte nde d to
i nsu re the kil l i ng of Javi e r and wi tho ut the l atte r havi ng the op port uni ty to
de fe nd hi mse l f. O the r tha n the ba re fact th at Sa nti a no shot Javi e r w hil e the
l atte r ha d be e n stru ggl i ng wi th Daga ni ove r the posse ssi on of the .2 2 cal i be r
g un, no ot he r fact ha d bee n add uce d to show t hat the ap pe ll a nts consci o usl y
pl a nne d or p re de te rmi ne d the me t hods to i nsure t he
com mi ssi on of the cri me , nor ha d the ri sk of the vi cti m to re tal i ate be e n
e li mi n ate d d uri ng the co urse of the str ug gl e ove r
the w e apon, as the l atte r, th ou gh str ug gl i ng, ha d no t be e n com ple te l y
su bd ue d. As al re ady state d, thi s C ourt must e mphasi ze that the me re
su dde n ne ss of the attack, or the vul ne rabl e posi ti o n of the vi cti m at the ti me
of t he at tack, or ye t e ve n the fact tha t the vi cti m w as una rme d, do n ot by
the mse l ve s make the attack tre ache rous. [ 5 1 ] I t m ust be show n be yond
re as ona bl e do ub t tha t the me ansce mpl oye d gave the vi cti m no op port uni ty to
de fe nd hi mse l f or re tal i ate , an d th at suc h me ans ha d be e n de li be rate l y or
consci o usl y ado pte d w i tho ut da nge r to t he l i fe of the accuse d. [ 5 2 ]
For the se re ason s, the C our t i s i ncl i ne d to look u pon the he l pl e ss posi ti on of
J avie r as me rel y i nci de nt al to the attack, an d tha t the de ci si o n to shoo t J avi e r
w as ma de i n a n i nsta nt. [ 5 3 ]
C onsi de ri n g the rul e t hat t re ache ry can not be i nfe rre d but must be p ro ve d as
ful l y an d convi nci ngl y as the cri me i tsel f, any dou bt as to i ts exi ste nce m ust
be re sol ve d i n favo r of Sa nti an o. Accordi ngl y, for fail u re of the prose cuti o n to
p rove t re ache ry to q ual i fy the kil l i ng to Murde r, ap pe ll a nt Sa nti an o may o nl y
be convi c te d of Homi ci de . [ 5 4 ] The pe nal ty, the re fo re , unde r Arti cl e 24 9 of the
Re vi se d Pe nal C ode , as ame nde d, i s re cl usi on te m poral .
The O ffi ce of the Sol i ci tor Ge ne ral is corre ct i n tha t the courts a
q uo fai l e d to consi de r the ag grava ti ng ci rcu msta nce of taki n g ad van tage of
offi ci al posi ti on u nde r Arti cl e 14 (1 ) of the Re vi se d Pe n al C ode,
si nce the accu se d, a PN Rse curi ty offi ce r cove re d by t he C i vi l Se rvi ce ,
com mi tte d the cri me wi th the ai d
of a g un he had bee n aut hori ze d to carr y as such. [ 5 5 ] C onsi de ri n g tha t the

mi ti g ati n g ci rcu msta nce of vol unt ary surre n de r, as d ul y ap pre ci ate d b y the
cour ts a q uo, sh al l be off se t agai ns t the ag grava ti ng ci rcums tance of taki n g
a dvan tage of offi ci al posi ti on, the pe nal ty shoul d be i m pose d i n i ts me di um
pe ri od, p ursu ant to Arti cle 6 4 (4 ) of t he afo re sai d C ode.
A ppl yi n g the I nde te rmi nate Se nte nce L aw , the se nte nce of appe l l ant San ti ano
w i ll consi st of a mi ni mu m tha t i s a nyw he re w i thi n the ful l ran ge of pri si on
ma yor , and a maxi m um w hi ch i s anyw he re wi thi n re cl usi on te m pora l i n i ts
me di u m pe ri od. Thi s C our t he re by fi xe s i t to be fro m ei g ht (8 ) ye ars an d one
(1 ) day of pri si on ma yor as mi ni mum, to fourte e n (1 4 ) ye ars, e i ght (8 )
mo nth s, and o ne (1 ) day of re cl usi on te m poral , as m axi mu m.
As to the aw ard of d ama ge s, p re vai l i ng j uri spru de nce e nti tl e s the he i rs of the
de ce ase d to the amo unt of P 5 0, 00 0 .0 0 as ci vi l i nde mni t y for the de ath of the
vi cti m w i tho ut ne e d of any e vi de nce or proof of da ma ge s. [ 5 6 ]
The C A e rre d i n de l e ti ng the att orne ys fee s an d pe r ap pe arance fee s for l ack
of fac tual ba si s. Al tho ug h the C A i s corre ct i n noti ng th at the RTC fai le d to
j usti fy the se aw ards i n the bo dy of i ts De ci si on, thi s a ppe al ope ns the e nti re
case for re vi e w an d, accordi ngl y, the re co rds show th at the fo re goi n g
am oun ts ha d bee n sti pul ate d by the par tie s, [ 5 7 ] the re by di s pe nsi ng w i th t he
ne e d to p rove the same . [ 5 8 ]
As to moral da ma ge s, how e ve r, the w i dow of the vi cti m, Erli n da J avie r, i s not
e nti tl e d to the same . S he di d not te sti fy on any me n tal an gui sh or e moti o nal
di st re ss w hi ch she suff e re d as a re s ul t of he r hus ban ds de at h. N o ot he r hei rs
of J avi e r te sti fi e d i n the same man ne r. [ 5 9 ]
I nasm uch as the aggr avati n g ci rc umst ance of taki n g adva nta ge of offi ci al
po si ti on atte n de d the kil l i ng, the C ourt aw ards exe mpl ary dam age s i n the
am oun t of P 25 ,0 00 . 00 i n accordance w i th Arti cl e s 22 30 and 22 34 of the Ci vi l
C ode an d pre v ai li n g j uri spr ude nce . [ 6 0 ]
W HE REFO R E, the De ci si on of the C ourt of Appe al s i n C A- G. R. C R N o. 1 53 04
d ate d J une 20 , 20 02 i sMO DI FI ED. Ap pel l an t O te l l o San ti ano y Le oni da i s
fo und GUI LTY be yo nd re as ona bl e do ub t of Homi ci de an d i s se n te nce d to suff e r
the pe nal t y of an i nde te rmi nate se n te nce f rom ei ght (8 ) ye ars an d one (1 )
d ay of pri si o n mayor as mi ni m um to fo urtee n (1 4 ) ye ars, e i ght (8 ) mont hs,
an d one (1 ) d ay of re cl usi on te mp oral as m axi mu m. Ap pe ll a nt Sa nti an o i s
fur the r orde re d to pa y the hei rs of t he vi cti m t he am oun ts of P 50 ,0 00 . 00 as
de at h i nde mni t y, P 3 1, 84 5 .0 0 as fune ral an d buri al expe nse s, P 25 ,0 00 . 00 as
exe mpl ary d ama ge s, P 3 0, 00 0 .0 0 as attorne ys fe e s and P 1 ,0 00 . 00
pe r ap pe arance of cou nse l. A ppe l l ant S anti a no shal l be cre di te d w i th t he ful l
exte nt of hi s p re ve nti ve i mpri son me nt.
A ppe l l ant Rol an do Da gani y Re ye s i s he re by AC Q UI TTED.
SO O RDE RED.
MA. ALI C I A AU STRI A-M ARTI N EZ
Ass oci ate Justi ce
W E C O NC U R:
A RT EMI O V. PAN GAN IB AN
C hi e f J usti ce
C hai r pe rson
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.

Associate Justice Associate Justice


MI NI TA V. C HI C O - N AZ A RI O
Ass oci ate Justi ce
C E RTI FI C ATI O N
Pursu ant to Se cti on 13 , Arti cle VI II of the C onsti tu ti on, i t i s he re by ce rti fi e d
th at the concl usi o ns i n the abo ve De ci si on we re re ac he d i n consul t ati on
be fo re the case w as assi g ne d to the w ri te r of the opi ni o n of the C ourts
Di vi si on.
A RT EMI O V. PAN GAN IB AN
C hi e f J usti ce
[1]

Pe nne d by Associ a te J usti ce Jua n Q. Enri que z, J r. , wi th As soci ate J usti ce s


Eu ge ni o S. L abi tori a a nd Mari a no C . De l C asti ll o, concu rri ng, C A rol l o , p p.
2 03 -2 10 .
[2]
Re cords, p. 1.
[3]
C A rol l o , pp. 8 8 -89 .
[4]
I d. at 1 21 .
[5]
I d. at 2 09 .
[6]
Rol l o , pp. 6 -7.
[7]
I d. at 3 -87 .
[8]
C A rol l o , pp. 1 21 -1 22 .
[9]
I d. at 1 23 -12 4.
[10]
Pe opl e v. De l a Cru z , 40 0 P hi l. 8 72 , 8 78 (2 0 00 ); C abusl a y v. Pe opl e , G. R.
N o. 1 29 87 5 , Se pte mbe r 3 0, 20 05 , 47 1 SC RA 2 41 , 2 53 .
[11]
Pe opl e v. De l a Cru z , supr a note 10 ; Tol e do v. Pe opl e , G. R. N o.
1 58 05 7 , Se pte mbe r 2 4, 20 04 , 43 9 SC RA 9 4, 10 9; Pe opl e v. Escarl os , 4 57 Phi l .
5 80 , 59 6 (20 03 ).
[12]
Pe opl e v. De l a Cru z , supr a note 10 .
[13]
Pe opl e v. Escarl os , su pra no te 1 1, at 5 95 ; Pe opl e v. Sar mie nt o , G. R. N o.
1 26 14 5 , Apri l 3 0, 20 01 , 35 7 SC RA 44 7, 4 57 .
[14]
Pe opl e v. Escarl os , su pra no te 1 1, at 5 96 ; Pe opl e v. Dami ta n , 42 3 P hi l.
1 13 , 12 3 (20 01 ).
[15]
C A rol l o , p. 2 06 .
[16]
Pe opl e v. Escarl os , su pra no te 1 1, at 5 97 ; Pe opl e v. C al abroso , 3 94 Phi l .
6 58 , 67 0 (20 00 ); Pe opl e v. Ma al at , 34 1 P hi l. 2 00 , 2 06 (1 9 97 ).
[17]
Pe opl e v. Escarl os , su pra no te 1 1, at 5 97 ; Pe opl e v. Ra banal , 4 02 Phi l .
7 09 , 71 5 (20 01 ).
[18]
Pe opl e v. Escarl os , su pra no te 1 1, at 5 97 ; Pe opl e v. Ge ne bl azo , 4 14 Phi l .
1 03 , 11 0 (20 01 ).
[19]
Pe opl e v. Escarl os , i d.
[20]
C ab usl ay v. Pe opl e , su pra no te 1 0, at 2 62 .
[21]
Se e Se noj a v. Pe o ple , G. R. N o. 1 60 34 1, O ctobe r 1 9, 20 04 , 44 0 SC RA 6 95 ,
7 08 ; Pe opl e v. Escarl os , supr a note 11 , at 59 7; Pe opl e v. Ub al do , 4 19 Phi l .
7 18 , 73 0 (20 01 ); Pe opl e v. B asad re , G. R. N o. 13 18 51 , Fe br uary 2 2, 2 00 1, 35 2
SC RA 5 73 , 5 85 ; Pe opl e v. More , 3 78 Phi l . 11 53 , 1 16 1 (1 99 9 ); Pe opl e v. Re al ,
3 67 Phi l . 52 4, 53 5 -53 6 (19 99 ).
[22]
C A rol l o , p. 51 .
[23]
I d. at 75 .
[24]
I d.
[25]
I d. at 12 0.
[26]
Se e Pe opl e v. Escarl os , supr a note 11 ; Pe opl e v. De l a C ru z, supr a note 10 ,
at 87 9; Pe opl e v. B abor , 33 0 P hi l. 9 23 , 9 30 -9 31 (1 99 6 ).
[27]
Tole d o v. Pe opl e , su pra no te 1 1, at 1 10 .

10

[28]

Se noj a v. Pe opl e , su pra no te 2 1, at 7 03 ; Pe opl e v. N oay , 35 7 P hi l. 2 95 ,


3 08 (1 9 98 ).
[29]
C A rol l o , p. 1 24 .
[30]
I d. at 12 5, ci ti ng , e . g. , Pe opl e v. Moj i ca , 4 2 Phi l . 78 4.
[31]
Pe opl e v. C at bag an , G. R. N os. 14 94 30 -3 2, Fe bru ary 2 3, 20 04 , 42 3 SC RA
5 35 , 55 3; Pe opl e v . Pe ral ta , 4 03 Phi l . 72 , 8 9 (20 01 ); Pe opl e v. Ul e p , 39 5 P hi l.
7 8, 87 (2 0 00 ); Pe opl e v. Be l be s , 3 89 Phi l . 50 0, 50 9 (20 0 0 ).
[32]
C A rol l o , p. 2 07 .
[33]
Se e Pe opl e v. C atba ga n , supr a note 31 , at 55 4.
[34]
S upr a note 31 .
[35]
I d. at 92 .
[36]
C A rol l o , p. 8 8.
[37]
I d. at 20 7-2 08 .
[38]
Se e Pe opl e v. Le gas pi , 38 7 P hi l. 1 08 (2 00 0 ).
[39]
C ri sosto mo v. San di ga nba yan , G. R. N o. 15 23 98 , Apri l 1 4, 20 05 , 45 6 SC RA
4 5, 73 ; Pe opl e v. A gda , 1 97 Phi l . 30 6, 31 4 (19 8 2 ).
[40]
C ri sosto mo v. San di ga nba yan , su pra no te 3 9, at 7 3 -74 ; Pe opl e v. Dori co ,
1 53 Phi l . 45 8, 47 5 (19 7 3 ).
[41]
C ri sosto mo v. San di ga nba yan , su pra no te 3 9, at 7 4.
[42]
TSN, Hearing of June 18, 1990, p. 10.
[43]
C A rol l o , p p. 87 -8 8.
[44]
I d. at 20 8.
[45]
Pe opl e v. C arat ao , 45 1 P hi l. 5 88 , 6 06 -6 07 (2 00 3 ); Pe opl e v. Gon zal e z, J r. ,
4 11 Phi l . 89 3, 91 5 (20 0 1 ); Pe opl e v. C ab odoc , 3 31 Phi l . 49 1, 51 0
(19 9 6 ); Pe opl e v. Mal a ba go , 33 3 P hi l. 2 0, 34 (1 99 6 ).
[46]
Pe opl e v. Go nz ale z , J r. , supr a.
[47]
I d. ; Pe opl e v. C ada g , 11 2 P hi l. 3 14 , 3 19 (1 9 61 ); Pe opl e v. Ardi sa , 1 54 Phi l .
2 29 , 24 3 (19 74 ); Pe opl e v. Ge ni al , G. R. N o. 1 05 69 2, De ce m be r 7, 19 93 , 2 28
SC RA 2 83 , 2 91 .
[48]
Pe opl e v. Go nz ale z, J r ., su pra note 4 5, at 9 15 -91 6; Pe opl e v. C arat ao ,
su pra no te 4 5, at 6 07 ; L uce s v. Pe opl e , 4 43 Phi l . 63 6, 64 6 (20 0 3 ).
[49]
Pe opl e v. Go nz ale z, J r ., su pra note 4 5, at 9 16 ; Si son v. Pe opl e , 3 20 Phi l .
1 12 , 13 5 (19 95 ); Pe opl e v. A bap o , G. R. N os. 9 36 32 -3 3, De ce mbe r 2 8, 19 94 ,
2 39 SC RA 46 9, 47 9.
[50]
Pe opl e v. Go nz ale z, J r. , supr a note 45 , at 91 7; Pe opl e v. Ma nal o , G. R. N o.
L-5 51 77 , Fe br uary 27 , 1 98 7, 1 48 SC RA 9 8, 1 08 .
[51]
Pe opl e v. Go nz ale z, J r. , supr a note 45 .
[52]
Pe opl e v. C arat ao , supr a note 45 , at 60 7; Pe opl e v. Go nz ale z, J r. , supr a
no te 4 5; Pe opl e v. C ab odoc , su pra no te 4 5, at 5 10 -5 11 ; Pe opl e v. Mal ab ago ,
su pra no te 4 5.
[53]
Se e Pe opl e v. Ule p , su pra no te 3 1, at 8 8.
[54]
Pe opl e v. C arat ao , supr a note 45 , at 60 8; Pe opl e v. F ern ande z , 4 34 Phi l .
2 24 , 23 9 (20 02 ).
[55]
Se e Pe opl e v. Ta bi on , G. R. N o. L-3 26 29 , O ctobe r 23 , 1 97 9 , 9 3 SC RA 5 66 ,
5 72 ; Pe opl e v. Ma dri d , 8 8 Phi l . 1, 1 5 (19 51 ); AN TO NI O L. GR EGO RI O ,
F UN DAMEN TAL S O F C RI MI N AL L AW RE VI EW 11 4 (19 9 7 ).
[56]
Pe opl e v. Mal i na o , G. R. N o. 1 28 14 8, Fe bru ary 1 6, 20 04 , 42 3 SC RA 34 ,
5 3; Pe opl e v. Sol a mi l l o, 45 2 P hi l. 2 61 , 2 81 (2 0 03 ).
[57]
TSN , A pri l 20 , 1 99 0, p p. 1-2 ; TSN , A pri l 30 , 1 99 0, p p. 1-2 ; Exhi bi t X; RTC
De ci si on, C A rol l o , p. 5 9; Formal O ff e r of Evi de nce of the Prose cuti o n
d ate d A pri l 26 , 1 99 0, p. 6 .
[58]
Mo re ove r, u nde r Arti cl e 22 08 of the Ci vi l C ode, att orne ys fee s ma y be
re cove re d w he n exe m pl ary da mage s ha ve be e n aw arde d. See , e. g. , N ue va
Es paa v . Pe opl e , G. R. N o. 1 63 35 1, J une 21 , 20 05 , 4 60 SC RA 54 7, 5 60 .
[59]
Pe opl e v. I bae z , 4 55 Phi l . 13 3, 16 6 -16 7 (20 03 ).

11

[60]

N ue va Esp aa v. Pe ople , supr a note 58 , at 55 8; Pe opl e v. Mal i na o , supr a


no te 5 6, at 5 5.

12