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SECONDDIVISION

[G.R.No.137268.March26,2001.]
THEPEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,plaintiffappellee,vs.
EUTIQUIACARMEN@MotherPerpetuala,CELEDONIA
FABIE@IsabelFabie,DELIASIBONGA@DedingSibonga,
ALEXANDERSIBONGA@NonoySibonga,andREYNARIO
NUEZ@ReyNuez,accusedappellants.

DECISION

MENDOZA,J :
p

Thisisanappealfromthedecision1oftheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch14,
CebuCity,findingaccusedappellantsEutiquiaCarmen@MotherPerpetuala,
CeledoniaFabie@IsabelFabie,DeliaSibonga@DedingSibonga,
AlexanderSibonga@NonoySibonga,andReynarioNuez@ReyNuez
guiltyofmurderandsentencingthemtosufferthepenaltyofreclusion
perpetuaandtopaytheheirsofthevictimtheamountofP50,000.00as
indemnityaswellasthecosts.
Theinformation2againstaccusedappellantsalleged:
Thatonoraboutthe27thdayofJanuary,1997atabout2:00o'clock
p.m.,intheCityofCebu,Philippines,andwithinthejurisdictionof
thisHonorableCourt,thesaidaccused,connivingandconfederating
togetherandmutuallyhelpingoneanother,withdeliberateintent,
withintenttokill,withtreacheryandevidentpremeditation,didthen
andthereinflictfatalphysicalinjuriesononeRandyLuntayaowhich
injuriescausedthedeathofthesaidRandyLuntayao.

Accusedappellantspleadednotguiltytothecharge,whereupontheywere
tried.
Theprosecutionpresentedevidenceshowingthefollowing:Ataround2
o'clockintheafternoonofJanuary27,1997,HoneyFeAbella,10,andher
friendFrancesClaireRivera,7,wereplayingtakyaninfrontofthehouseof
oneBebingLastimosoinQuiot,Pardo,CebuCity,whensuddenlytheyheard
achildshout,"Tabangma!"("Helpmother!").Thecrycamefromthedirection
ofthehouseofaccusedappellantCarmen,whoisalsoknownintheir

neighborhoodasMotherPerpetuala.ThetwochildrenrantowardsMother
Perpetuala'shouse.3WhatHoneyFesawonwhichshetestifiedincourt,is
summarizedinthedecisionofthetrialcourt,towit:
Whilethere[,]shesawaboy,whosename...she[later]cameto
knowasoneRandyLuntayao,...beingimmersedheadfirstina
drumofwater.AccusedAlexanderSibongawasholdingthewaistof
thebodywhileaccusedReynarioNuezheldthehandsoftheboyat
theback.AccusedEutiquiaCarmen,DeliaSibonga,andCeledonia
Fabiewerepushingdowntheboy'sheadintothewater.Sheheard
theboyshouting"Ma,help"fortwotimes.Later,shesawaccused
ReynarioorReyNueztietheboyonthebenchwithagreenropeas
bigasherlittlefinger...AfterthatEutiquiaCarmenpoured[water
from]aplasticcontainer(galon)...intothemouthoftheboy.Each
timetheboystruggledtoraisehishead,accusedAlexanderSibonga
bangedtheboy'sheadagainstthebench[to]whichtheboywastied
down.Sheevenheardthebangingsoundeverytimetheboy'shead
hitthebench.Forabutfivetimessheheardit.Accordingtothis
witnessafterforcingtheboytodrinkwater,EutiquiaCarmenand
accusedCeledoniaFabiealiasIsabelFabietookturnsinpointingthe
boy'schestwiththeirclenchedfists.AllthetimeReyNuezheld
downtheboy'sfeettothebench.Shealsowitnessed...Celedonia
Fabiedroppedherweight,buttocksfirst,onthebodyoftheboy.
Lateron,EutiquiaCarmenorderedDeliaorDedingSibongatogeta
knifefromthekitchen.EutiquiaCarmenthenslowlyplungedthe
stainlessknifeontheleftsideoftheboy'sbodyandwiththeuseofa
plasticgalloncontainer,thetopportionofwhichwascutout,Eutiquia
Carmen[caught]theblooddrippingfromtheleftsideoftheboy's
body.HoneyFeheardthemoaningcomingfromthetorturedboy.
MuchlatershesawNonoyorAlexanderSibonga,ReynarioNuez,
DeliaSibonga,CeledoniaFabie,andEutiquiaCarmencarrytheboy
intothehouse.4

EddieLuntayao,fatherofthevictim,testifiedthathehasfivechildren,the
eldestofwhom,Randy,was13yearsoldatthetimeoftheincident.On
November20,1996,Randyhada"nervousbreakdown"whichEddiethought
wasduetoRandyhavingtoskipmealswheneverhetooktheboywithhimto
thefarm.AccordingtoEddie,hissonstartedtalkingtohimselfandlaughing.
OnJanuary26,1997,uponthesuggestionofaccusedappellantReynario
Nuez,EddieandhiswifePerlitaandtheirthreechildren(Randy,Jesrel,7,
andLesyl,1)wentwithaccusedappellantNueztoCebu.Theyarrivedin
Cebuataround1o'clockintheafternoonofthesamedayandspentthenight
inNuez'shouseinTangke,Talisay.
TEAaDC

Thefollowingday,theywenttothehouseofaccusedappellantCarmenin
Quiot,Pardo,5wherealloftheaccusedappellantswerepresent.Eddie
talkedtoaccusedappellantCarmenregardinghisson'scondition.Hewas
toldthattheboywaspossessedbya"badspirit,"whichaccusedappellant

Carmensaidshecouldexorcise.Shewarned,however,thatasthespirit
mighttransfertoEddie,itwasbesttoconductthehealingprayerwithouthim.
AccusedappellantsthenledRandyoutofthehouse,whileEddieandhiswife
andtwodaughterswerelockedinsidearoominthehouse.6
Afterawhile,Eddieheardhissontwiceshout"Ma,tabang!"("Mother,help?").
Eddietriedtogooutoftheroomtofindoutwhatwashappeningtohisson,
butthedoorwaslocked.Afteraboutanhour,theLuntayaosweretransferred
totheprayerroomwhichwaslocatednearthemaindoorofthehouse.7
Afewhourslater,ataround5o'clockintheafternoon,accusedappellants
carriedRandyintotheprayerroomandplacedhimonthealtar.Eddiewas
shockedbywhathesaw.Randy'sfacewasbluishandcontused,whilehis
tonguewasstickingoutofhismouth.ItwascleartoEddiethathissonwas
alreadydead.Hewantedtoseehisson'sbody,buthewasstoppedfrom
doingsobyaccusedappellantEutiquiaCarmenwhotoldhimnottogonear
hissonbecausethelatterwouldberesurrectedat7o'clockthatevening.8
After7o'clockthatevening,accusedappellantCarmenaskedamemberof
hergrouptocallthefuneralparlorandbringacoffinasthechildwasalready
dead.Itwasarrangedthatthebodywouldbetransferredtothehouseof
accusedappellantNuez.Thus,thenight,theLuntayaofamily,accompanied
byaccusedappellantNuez,tookRandy'sbodytoNuez'shouseinTangke,
Talisay.Thefollowingday,January28,1997,accusedappellantNueztold
EddietogowithhimtotheTalisayMunicipalHealthOfficetoreportRandy's
deathandtoldhimtokeepquietortheymightnotbeabletogetthe
necessarypapersforhisson'sburial.Nueztookcareofsecuringthedeath
certificatewhichEddiesigned.9
Ataround3o'clockintheafternoonofJanuary28,1997,accusedappellant
CarmenwenttoTangke,Talisaytoensurethatthebodywasburied.Eddie
andhiswifetoldherthattheypreferredtobringtheirson'sbodywiththemto
Sikatuna,Isabela,NegrosOccidentalbuttheyweretoldbyaccusedappellant
Carmenthatthiswasnotpossibleassheandtheotheraccusedappellants
mightbearrested.Thatsameafternoon,RandyLuntayaowasburiedin
Tangke,Talisay.10
AfterEddieandhisfamilyhadreturnedhometoNegrosOccidental,Eddie
soughtassistancefromtheBomboRadyostationinBacolodCitywhich
referredhimtotheregionalofficeoftheNationalBureauofInvestigation(NBI)
inthecity.OnFebruary3,1997,Eddiefiledacomplaintformurderagainst
accusedappellantNuezandtheothermembersofhisgroup.11Healso
askedfortheexhumationandautopsyoftheremainsofhisson.12Asthe
incidenttookplaceinCebu,hiscomplaintwasreferredtotheNBIofficein
CebuCity.

ModestoCajita,headofNBI,RegionVII(Cebu),tookovertheinvestigationof
thecase.HetestifiedthathemetwithEddieLuntayaoandsupervisedthe
exhumationandautopsyofthebodyofRandyLuntayao.13Cajitatestifiedthat
healsometwithaccusedappellantCarmenandafteradmittingthatsheand
theotheraccusedappellantsconducteda"prayoverhealing"sessiononthe
victimonJanuary27,1997,accusedappellantCarmenrefusedtogiveany
furtherstatement.CajitanoticedawoodenbenchinthekitchenofCarmen's
house,which,withCarmen'spermission,hetookwithhimtotheNBIofficefor
examination.Cajitaadmittedhedidnotknowtheresultsoftheexamination.
14

Dr.RonaldoB.Mendez,theNBImedicolegalofficerwhoconductedthe
autopsyonRandyLuntayao,testifiedthathe,thevictim'sfather,andsome
NBIagents,exhumedthevictim'sbodyonFebruary20,1997atTangke
CatholicCemeteryintheTangke,Talisay,Cebu.Heconductedtheautopsyon
thesamedayandlatersubmittedthefollowingreport(Exhs.EandF):15
FINDINGS
Bodyinadvancedstageofdecompositionwearingawhiteshirtand
shortswrappedinprintedblanket(whiteandorange)placedinwhite
woodencoffinandburiedundergroundabout4feetdeep.
Contusion,3.0x4.0cms.chest,anterior,leftside.
Fracture,3rdrib,left,midclavicularline.
Fracture,linear,occipitalbonerightsideextendingtothebasesof
middlecranialfossaerighttoleftdowntotheoccipitalbone,leftside.
Fracture,diastatic,lamboidalsuture,bilateral.
Internalorgansinadvancedstageofdecomposition.
Cranialvaultalmostempty.
CAUSEOFDEATH:[Thevictim]couldhavediedduetotheinternal
effectsofatraumaticheadinjuryand/ortraumaticchestinjury.

Dr.Mendeztestifiedthatthecontusiononthevictim'schestwascausedby
contactwithahardbluntinstrument.Headdedthatthefractureontheribwas
completewhilethatfoundonthebaseoftheskullfollowedaserratedor
unevenpattern.Hesaidthatthelatterinjurycouldhavebeencausedbythe
forciblecontactofthatpartofthebodywithabluntobjectsuchasawooden
bench.16

Oncrossexamination,Dr.Mendezadmittedthathedidnotfindanystab
woundonthevictim'sbodybutexplainedthatthiscouldbeduetothefact
thatatthetimethebodywasexhumedandexamined,itwasalreadyinan
advancedstateofdecompositionrenderingsuchwound,ifpresent,
unrecognizable.17

Accusedappellantsdidnottestify.Instead,thedefensepresented:(a)Ritsel
Blase,anallegedeyewitnesstotheincident(b)MariaLilinaJimenez,
VisitacionSeniega,andJosefinaAbing,allegedformer"patients"ofaccused
appellantCarmen(c)Dr.MilagrosCarloto,themunicipalhealthofficerof
Talisay,Cebuand(d)Atty.SalvadorSolimaoftheCebuCityProsecutor's
Office.
RitselBlase,21,testifiedthatsince1987shehadbeenwiththegroupof
accusedappellantCarmen,whomshecallsMotherPerpetuala.She
recountedthatataround2o'clockintheafternoonofJanuary27,1997,while
shewasinthehouseofaccusedappellantCarmen,shesawEddieLuntayao
talkingwiththelatterregardingthetreatmentofhisson.Theboywaslaterled
tothekitchenandgivenabathpriorto"treatment."Afterwaterwaspouredon
theboy,hebecameunrulypromptingaccusedappellantCarmentodecide
nottocontinuewiththe"treatment,"buttheboy'sparentsallegedlyprevailed
uponhertocontinue.Astheboycontinuedtoresist,accusedappellant
CarmentoldaccusedappellantsDeliaSibongaandCeledoniaFabietohelp
her(Carmen)laytheboyonabench.Asthechildresistedallthemore,Eddie
Luntayaoallegedlytoldthegrouptotietheboytothebench.Accused
appellantDeliaSibongagotholdofanylonropewhichwasusedtotiethe
childtothebench.ThenCarmen,DeliaSibongaandFabieprayedoverthe
child,butasthelatterstartedhittinghisheadagainstthebench,Carmen
askedNueztoplacehishandsundertheboy'sheadtocushiontheimpact
ofthebloweverytimethechildbroughtdownhishead.Tostoptheboyfrom
struggling,accusedappellantFabieheldtheboy'slegs,whileaccused
appellantNuezheldhisshoulders.Afterprayingovertheboy,thelatterwas
releasedandcarriedinsidethehouse.AccusedappellantAlexanderSibonga,
whohadarrived,helpedcarrytheboyinside.Afterthis,Blasesaidsheno
longerknewwhathappenedinsidethehouseasshestayedoutsidetofinish
thelaundry.18
BlasetestifiedthattheparentsofRandyLuntayaowitnessedthe"prayover"
oftheirsonfrombeginningtoend.ShedeniedthataccusedappellantsFabie
andDeliaSibongastruckthevictimonhischestwiththeirfists.Accordingto
her,neitherdidaccusedappellantCarmenstabtheboy.Sheclaimedthat
Randywasstillalivewhenhewastakeninsidethehouse.19
ThedefensepresentedMariaLiliaJimenez,20,VisitacionSeniega,39,and
JosefinaAbing,39,whotestifiedthataccusedappellantCarmenhadcured
themoftheirillnessesbymerelyprayingoverthemandwithoutapplyingany
formofphysicalviolenceonthem.20
MilagrosCarloto,MunicipalHealthOfficerofTalisay,Cebu,wasalso
presentedbythedefensetotestifyonthedeathcertificatesheissuedin
whichsheindicatedthatRandyLuntayaodiedofpneumonia.Accordingto
her,EddieLuntayaocametoherofficeonJanuary28,1997toaskforthe
issuanceofadeathcertificateforhissonRandyLuntayaowhohadallegedly
sufferedfromcoughandfever.21

Oncrossexamination,Dr.Carlotoadmittedthatsheneversawthebodyof
thevictimasshemerelyreliedonwhatshehadbeentoldbyEddieLuntayao.
Shesaidthatitwasamidwife,Mrs.RevinaLaviosa,whoexaminedthe
victim'sbody.22
Thelastwitnessforthedefense,AssistantCityProsecutorSalvadorSolima,
waspresentedtoidentifytheresolutionhehadprepared(Exh.8)23onthere
investigationofthecaseinwhichherecommendedthedismissalofthe
chargeagainstaccusedappellants.Histestimonywasdispensedwith,
however,astheprosecutionstipulatedonthemattersSolimawasgoingto
testifywiththequalificationthatSolima'srecommendationwasdisapproved
byCityProsecutorPrimoMiro.24
TheprosecutionrecalledEddieLuntayaotothestandtorebutthetestimonies
ofRitselBlaseandDr.MilagrosCarloto.Eddiedeniedhavingwitnessedwhat
accusedappellantsdidtohisson.Hereiteratedhisearlierclaimthatafter
accusedappellantshadtakenRandy,heandhiswifeandtwodaughterswere
lockedinsidearoom.HedisputedBlase'sstatementthathissonwasstill
alivewhenhewasbroughtintotheprayerroom.Hesaidhesawthathisson's
headslumpedwhilebeingcarriedbyaccusedappellants.25
AsforthetestimonyofDr.Carloto,Eddieadmittedhavingtalkedwithher
whenheandaccusedappellantNuezwenttoherofficeonJanuary28,
1997.However,hedeniedhavingtoldherthathissonwassufferingfrom
feverandcoughashetoldherthatRandyhadanervousbreakdown.Hetook
exceptiontoDr.Carloto'sstatementthathewasalonewhenhewenttoher
officebecauseitwasNuezwhoinsistedthathe(Eddie)accompanyhimin
ordertosecurethedeathcertificate.26
OnNovember18,1998,thetrialcourtrenderedadecision,thedispositive
portionofwhichstates:
WHEREFORE,inviewoftheforegoingfactsandcircumstances,
[the]accusedareallfoundguiltybeyondreasonabledoubtofthe
crimeofMurderandarehereby[sentenced]tosufferthepenaltyof
RECLUSIONPERPETUA,withtheaccessorypenaltiesofthelawto
indemnifyjointlyandseverallytheheirsofthedeceasedRandy
LuntayaointhesumofP50,000.00andtopaythecosts.The
accused,are,however,creditedinfullduringthewholeperiodof
theirdetentionprovidedtheywillsignifyinwritingthattheywillabide
byalltherulesandregulationsofthepenitentiary.27

Infindingaccusedappellantsguiltyofmurder,thetrialcourtstated:
Killingapersonwithtreacheryismurderevenifthereisnointentto
kill.Whendeathoccurs,itispresumedtobethenatural
consequenceofphysicalinjuriesinflicted.Sincethedefendantdid
committhecrimewithtreachery,heisguiltyofmurder,becauseof
thevoluntarypresenceofthequalifyingcircumstanceoftreachery
(Peoplev.Cagoco,58Phil.530).Alltheaccusedinthecaseatbar

hadcontributeddifferentactsinmercilesslyinflictinginjuriestothe
victim.Forhavingimmersedtheheadofthevictimintothebarrelof
water,allthehereinaccusedshouldbeheldresponsibleforallthe
consequenceseveniftheresultbedifferentfromthatwhichwas
intended(Art.4,par.1,RPC).ItispointedoutthatinP.v.Cagoco,
58Phil.524,eveniftherewasnointenttokill[,]ininflictingphysical
injurieswithtreachery,theaccusedinthatcasewasconvictedof
murder.Inmurderqualifiedbytreachery,itisrequiredonlythatthere
istreacheryintheattack,andthisistrueeveniftheoffenderhasno
intenttokillthepersonassaulted.Undertheguiseofaritualor
treatment,theaccusedshouldnothaveintentionallyimmersed
upsidedowntheheadofRandyLuntayaointoabarrelofwater
bangedhisheadagainstthebenchpoundedhischestwithfists,or
plungedakitchenknifetohissidesothatbloodwouldcomeoutfor
theseactswouldsurelycausedeathtothevictim....
Onewhocommitsanintentionalfelonyisresponsibleforallthe
consequenceswhichmaynaturallyandlogicallyresulttherefrom,
whetherforeseenorintendedornot.Ordinarily,whenaperson
commitsafelonywithmalice,heintendstheconsequencesofhis
feloniousact.Inviewofparagraph1ofArt.4,apersoncommittinga
felonyiscriminallyliablealthoughtheconsequencesofhisfelonious
actsarenotintendedbyhim....
xxxxxxxxx
Intentispresumedfromthecommissionofanunlawfulact.The
presumptionofcriminalintentmayarisefromtheproofofthecriminal
actanditisfortheaccusedtorebutthispresumption.Inthecaseat
bar,thereisenoughevidencethattheaccusedconfederatedwith
oneanotherininflictingphysicalharmtothevictim(anillegalact).
Theseactswereintentional,andthewrongdoneresultedinthe
deathoftheirvictim.Hence,theyareliableforallthedirectand
naturalconsequencesoftheirunlawfulact,eveniftheultimateresult
hadnotbeenintended.28

Hence,thisappeal.Accusedappellantsallegethatthetrialcourterredin
convictingthemofmurder.29
First.Itwouldappearthataccusedappellantsaremembersofacultandthat
thebizarreritualperformedoverthevictimwasconsentedtobythevictim's
parents.Withthepermissionofthevictim'sparents,accusedappellant
Carmen,togetherwiththeotheraccusedappellants,proceededtosubjectthe
boytoa"treatment"calculatedtodrivethe"badspirit"fromtheboy'sbody.
Unfortunately,thestrangeprocedureresultedinthedeathoftheboy.Thus,
accusedappellantshadnocriminalintenttokilltheboy.Theirliabilityarises
fromtheirrecklessimprudencebecausetheyoughtthattoknowtheiractions
wouldnotbringaboutthecure.Theyare,therefore,guiltyofreckless
imprudenceresultinginhomicideandnotofmurder.

Art.365oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamended,statesthatreckless
imprudenceconsistsinvoluntarily,butwithoutmalice,doingorfailingtodoan
actfromwhichmaterialdamageresultsbyreasonofinexcusablelackof
precautiononthepartofthepersonperformingsuchact.Comparedto
intentionalfelonies,suchashomicideormurder,whattakestheplaceofthe
elementofmaliceorintentiontocommitawrongorevilisthefailureofthe
offendertotakeprecautionsduetolackofskilltakingintoaccounthis
employment,oroccupation,degreeofintelligence,physicalcondition,and
othercircumstancesregardingpersons,time,andplace.
Theelementsofrecklessimprudenceareapparentintheactsdoneby
accusedappellantswhich,becauseoftheirlackofmedicalskillintreatingthe
victimofhisallegedailment,resultedinthelatter'sdeath.Asalreadystated,
accusedappellants,noneofwhomisamedicalpractitioners,belongtoa
religiousgroup,knownastheMissionariesofOurLadyofFatima,whichis
engagedinfaithhealing.

InUnitedStatesv.Divino,30theaccused,whowasnotalicensedphysician,
inanattempttocurethevictimofulcersinherfeet,wrappedapieceof
clothingwhichhadbeensoakedinpetroleumaroundthevictim'sfeetand
thenlightedtheclothing,therebycausinginjuriestothevictim.TheCourtheld
theaccusedliableforrecklessimprudenceresultinginphysicalinjuries.Itwas
notedthattheaccusedhadnointentiontocauseanevilbutrathertoremedy
thevictim'sailment.
Inanothercase,Peoplev.Vda.deGolez,31theCourtruledthattheproper
chargetofileagainstanonmedicalpractitioner,whohadtreatedthevictim
despitethefactthatshedidnotpossessthenecessarytechnicalknowledge
orskilltodosoandcausedthelatter'sdeath,washomicidethroughreckless
imprudence.
Thetrialcourt'srelianceontherulethatcriminalintentispresumedfromthe
commissionofanunlawfulactisuntenablebecausesuchpresumptiononly
holdsintheabsenceofprooftothecontrary.32Thefactsofthecase
indubitablyshowtheabsenceofintenttokillonthepartoftheaccused
appellants.Indeed,thetrialcourt'sfindingscanbesustainedonlyifthe
circumstancesofthecaseareignoredandtheCourtlimitsitselftothetime
whenaccusedappellantsundertooktheirunauthorized"treatment"ofthe
victim.Obviously,suchanevaluationofthecasecannotbeallowed.
Consequently,treacherycannotbeappreciatedforintheabsenceofintentto
kill,thereisnotreacheryorthedeliberateemploymentofmeans,methods,
andmannerofexecutiontoensurethesafetyoftheaccusedfromthe
defensiveorretaliatoryattackscomingfromthevictim.33Viewedinthislight,
theactswhichthetrialcourtsawasmanifestationsoftreacheryinfactrelate
toeffortsbyaccusedappellantstorestrainRandyLuntayaosothattheycan
effectthecureonhim.

Ontheotherhand,thereisnomeritinaccusedappellants'contentionthatthe
testimonyofprosecutioneyewitnessHoneyFeAbellaisnotcredible.The
CourtismorethanconvincedofHoneyFe'scredibility.Hertestimonyisclear,
straightforward,andisfarfromhavingbeencoachedorcontrived.Shewas
onlyafewmetersawayfromthekitchenwhereaccusedappellants
conductedtheir"prayover"healingsessionnottomentionthatshehada
goodvantagepointasthekitchenhadnoroofnorwallsbutonlyapantry.Her
testimonywascorroboratedbytheautopsyfindingsofDr.Mendezwho,
consistentwithHoneyFe'stestimony,notedfracturesonthethirdleftriband
onthebaseofthevictim'sskull.WithregardtoDr.Mendez'sfailuretofind
anystabwoundinthevictim'sbody,hehimselfhadexplainedthatsuchcould
beduetothefactthatatthetimetheautopsywasconducted,thecadaver
wasalreadyinanadvancedstateofdecomposition.RandyLuntayao's
cadaverwasexhumed24daysafterithadbeenburied.Consideringthe
lengthoftimewhichhadelapsedandthefactthatthecadaverhadnotbeen
embalmed,itwasverylikelythatthesofttissueshadsodecomposedthat,as
Dr.Mendezsaid,itwasnolongerpossibletodeterminewhethertherewasa
stabwound.Asfortheotherpointsraisedbyaccusedappellantstodetract
thecredibilityofHoneyFe'stestimony,thesameappeartobeonlyminorand
trivialatbest.
Accusedappellant'scontendthatthefailureoftheprosecutiontopresentthe
testimonyofFrancesClaireRiveraaswellastheknifeusedinstabbing
RandyLuntayaoputsindoubttheprosecution'sevidence.Wedonotthinkso.
Thepresentationoftheknifeinevidenceisnotindispensable.34
Finally,accusedappellantsmakemuchofthefactthatalthoughthecasewas
triedunderJudgeRenatoC.Dacudao,thedecisionwasrenderedbyJudge
GalicanoArriesgadowhotookoverthecaseaftertheprosecutionandthe
defensehadrestedtheircases.35However,thefactthatthejudgewhowrote
thedecisiondidnothearthetestimoniesofthewitnessesdoesnotmakehim
lesscompetenttorenderadecision,sincehisrulingisbasedontherecords
ofthecaseandthetranscriptofstenographicnotesofthetestimoniesofthe
witnesses.36
Second.Thequestionnowiswhetheraccusedappellantscanbeheldliable
forrecklessimprudenceresultinginhomicide,consideringthattheinformation
chargesthemwithmurder.Weholdthattheycan.
Rule120oftheRevisedRulesofCriminalProcedureprovidesinpertinent
parts:
SacTAC

SECTION4.
Judgmentincaseofvariancebetweenallegation
andproof.Whenthereisvariancebetweentheoffensechargedin
thecomplaintorinformationandthatproved,andtheoffenseas
chargedisincludedinornecessarilyincludestheoffenseproved,the

accusedshallbeconvictedoftheoffenseprovedwhichisincludedin
theoffensecharged,oroftheoffensechargedwhichisincludedin
theoffenseproved.
SECTION5.
Whenanoffenseincludesorisincludedinanother.
Anoffensechargednecessarilyincludestheoffenseprovedwhen
someoftheessentialelementsoringredientsoftheformer,as
allegedinthecomplaintorinformation,constitutethelatter.Andan
offensechargedisnecessarilyincludedintheoffenseproved,when
theessentialingredientsoftheformerconstituteorformpartofthose
constitutingthelatter.

InSamsonv.CourtofAppeals,37theaccusedwerechargedwith,and
convictedof,estafathroughfalsificationofpublicdocument.TheCourtof
Appealsmodifiedthejudgmentandheldoneoftheaccusedliableforestafa
throughfalsificationbynegligence.Onappeal,itwascontendedthatthe
appealscourterredinholdingtheaccusedliableforestafathrough
negligencebecausetheinformationchargedhimwithhavingwilfully
committedestafa.Inoverrulingthiscontention,theCourtheld:
Whileacriminalnegligentactisnotasimplemodalityofawillful
crime,asweheldinQuizonv.JusticeofthePeaceofBacolor,G.R.
No.L6641,July28,1955,butadistinctcrimeinitself,designatedas
aquasioffenseinourPenalCode,itmayhoweverbesaidthata
convictionfortheformercanbehadunderaninformationexclusively
chargingthecommissionofawillfuloffense,uponthetheorythatthe
greaterincludesthelesseroffense.Thisisthesituationthatobtains
inthepresentcase.Appellantwaschargedwithwillfulfalsification
butfromtheevidencesubmittedbytheparties,theCourtofAppeals
foundthatineffectingthefalsificationwhichmadepossiblethe
cashingofthechecksinquestion,appellantdidnotactwithcriminal
intentbutmerelyfailedtotakeproperandadequatemeanstoassure
himselfoftheidentityoftherealclaimantsasanordinaryprudent
manwoulddo.Inotherwords,theinformationallegesactswhich
chargewillfulfalsificationbutwhichturnedouttobenotwillfulbut
negligent.Thisisacasecoveredbytherulewhenthereisavariance
betweentheallegationandproof....
Thefactthattheinformationdoesnotallegethatthefalsificationwas
committedwithimprudenceisofnomomentforherethisdeficiency
appearssuppliedbytheevidencesubmittedbyappellanthimselfand
theresulthasprovenbeneficialtohim.Certainly,havingallegedthat
thefalsificationhasbeenwillful,itwouldbeincongruoustoallegeat
thesametimethatitwascommittedwithimprudenceforachargeof
criminalintentisincompatiblewiththeconceptofnegligence.

InPeoplev.Fernando,38theaccusedwaschargedwith,andconvictedof,
murderbythetrialcourt.Onappeal,thisCourtmodifiedthejudgmentand
heldtheaccusedliableforrecklessimprudenceresultinginhomicideafter
findingthathedidnotactwithcriminalintent.

Third.Comingnowtotheimposablepenalty,underArt.365,reckless
imprudenceresultinginhomicideispunishablebyarrestomayorinits
maximumperiodtoprisioncorreccionalinitsmediumperiod.Inthiscase,
takingintoaccountthepertinentprovisionsofIndeterminateSentenceLaw,
theaccusedappellantsshouldsufferthepenaltyoffour(4)monthsofarresto
mayor,asminimum,tofour(4)yearsandtwo(2)monthsofprision
correccional,asmaximum.
Astotheircivilliability,accusedappellantsshouldpaytheheirsofRandy
LuntayaoanindemnityintheamountofP50,000.00andmoraldamagesalso
intheamountofP50,000.00.39Inaddition,theyshouldpayexemplary
damagesintheamountofP30,000.00inviewofaccusedappellants'gross
negligenceinattemptingto"cure"thevictimwithoutalicensetopractice
medicineandtogiveanexampleorcorrectionforthepublicgood.40
WHEREFORE,thedecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch14,Cebu
City,isAFFIRMEDwiththeMODIFICATIONthataccusedappellantsare
herebydeclaredguiltyofrecklessimprudenceresultinginhomicideandare
eachsentencedtosufferanindeterminateprisontermoffour(4)monthsof
arrestomayor,asminimum,tofour(4)yearsandtwo(2)monthsofprision
correccional,asmaximum.Inaddition,accusedappellantsareORDERED
jointlyandseverallytopaytheheirsofRandyLuntayaoindemnityinthe
amountofP50,000.00,moraldamagesintheamountofP50,000.00,and
exemplarydamagesintheamountofP30,000.00.
SOORDERED.

cDAEIH

Bellosillo,BuenaandDeLeon,Jr.,JJ.,concur.
Quisumbing,J.,isonleave.
Footnotes

1.

PerJudgeGalicanoN.Arriesgado.

2.

Records,pp.12.

3.

TSN(HoneyFeAbella),pp.1215,Dec.23,1997.

4.

Decision,p.2Rollo,p.17.

5.

TSN(EddieLuntayao),pp.57,Jan.21,1998TSN(RonaldoMendez),
p.19,Jan.20,1998.

6.

TSN(EddieLuntayao),pp.78,19,Jan.21,1998TSN,pp.1112,July
27,1998.

7.

Id.,pp.89id.,pp.1315.

8.

TSN(EddieLuntayao),pp.910,Jan.21,1998.

9.

TSN(EddieLuntayao),pp.1012,Jan.21,1998.

10.

Id.,pp.1112.

11.

TSN(EddieLuntayao),p.12,Jan.21,1998Exh.IRecords,pp.110
114.

12.

Exh.CRecords,p.110B.

13.

TSN(ModestoCajita)pp.4,78,20,Feb.3,1998.

14.

Id.,pp.810,1415,17.

15.

Records,pp.110DandE.

16.

TSN(RonaldoMendez),pp.7,913,Jan.20,1998.

17.

Id.,pp.15,19.

18.

TSN(RitselBlase),pp.311,2223,March3,1998.

19.

Id.,pp.1011.

20.

TSN(MariaLiliaJimenez),pp.1517Feb.27,1998TSN(Visitacion
Seniega),pp.35,Feb.27,1998andTSN(JosefinaAbing),pp.89,Feb.
27,1998.

21.

TSN(MilagrosCarloto),pp.45,Feb.25,1998.

22.

Id.,pp.79,1518.

23.

Records,pp.4748.

24.

TSN(SalvadorSolima),pp.23,July27,1998.

25.

TSN(EddieLuntayao),pp.47,July27,1998.

26.

Id.,pp.23.

27.

Decision,p.13Rollo,p.28.

28.

Decision,pp.911Rollo,pp.2426.

29.

Rollo,p.69.

30.

12Phil.175(1908).

31.

108Phil.855(1960).

32.

Peoplev.SiaTebBan,54Phil.52(1929).

33.

SeePeoplev.Suplito,314SCRA493(1999)Peoplev.Gatchalian,
300SCRA1(1998).

34.

Peoplev.DelaCruz,G.R.No.118967,July14,2000.

35.

Appellant'sBrief,pp.1415Rollo,pp.7071.

36.

Peoplev.Ulzoron,286SCRA741(1998).

37.

103Phil.277(1958)Cabellav.Sandiganbayan,197SCRA94(1991).

38.

49Phil.75(1926).

39.

CIVILCODE,ARTS.2206(3)and2219(1)SeePeoplev.Silva,321
SCRA647(1999)Peoplev.Silvestre,307SCRA60(1999).

40.

CIVILCODE,ARTS.2229and2231SeePeoplev.Medroso,Jr.,62
SCRA245(1975).