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26US vs.

40 PHIL 385

Accused Baluyot ran for Governor of Bataan but lost to the deceased Lerma.
After 2 years of such defeat, the accused(Baluyot) encountered series of
unfortunate events, which he attributed Lerma having played a significant part of

He was being prosecuted for estafa in Manila (loan in PNB)

He was being asked to resign in his position(as National Guard Captain)
He was temporarily relieved from his position during the pendency of his case

He then went back to Bataan obtained a revolver in Orion, shipped a piano to

Manila for his wife and then proceeded to Balanga. He intended to meet Gov.Lerma,
but he was asked to wait for him in the recorders office along with Aranjuez, police
chief of Limay. Lerma then arrived and first met with Baluyot in his office, sensing
that their acquaintance would be longer than what was expected Lerma asked a
moment to talk to Aranjuez which Baluyot allowed willingly. Minutes later Aranjuez
left the Governors office and asked Baluyot to return to the office of the Governor.
After a number of seconds(disputed length of time) a fire was shot by Baluyot which
injured Lerma in the right shoulder, Aranjuez, alarmed by the first shot saw Baluyot
pointing the gun at Lerma who was then trying to escape his aggressor. Aranjuez
said he clearly saw Baluyot shooting Lerma while the latter was in his attempt to
escape, Lerma was again wounded in the right shoulder area. Lerma then ran
towards the closet which he kept closed by leaning on the door. Then Baluyot, who
failed in his attempts to open the door, fired a shot at the door which in turn his
Lerma in the head the bullet exited through the latters left eye.

Baluyot then successfully opened the door while Lerma shot out of the door
unconscious. He died 2 hours after the last shot was fired. Baluyot surrendered to
the constabulary who was already outside the building where the shooting took

Baluyot was charged with murder by the CFI of Bataan, qualified by:

treachery(the victim being unarmed and defenseless){citing the case

of Us vs. Elicanal}
premeditation(conversation between Magajes and Baluyot, implication
that Baluyot was blaming his archenemy and intending that Lerma
would pay), and
crime committed against a public authority in discharge of his
duty(Lerma being in his office when he was assaulted){citing the case
of US vs. Gil because both case have similar facts}

Gonzales(the recorder), Aranjuez(police chief of Limay), Guzman(the

provincial assessor) all testified against Baluyot, proved that Baluyot and Lerma
40 PHIL 385
were alone in the Governors office, that Baluyot fired 3 shots and that Lerma was
unarmed(although there were differences in their claims as to when the shots were
fired). He was sentenced to death and was orderd to pay 1000.00 for indemnity.

The defenses contentions were:

The shooting was done due to passion and obfuscation(Baluyot

claimed that Lerma knew about his estafa case, that Lerma implied
that he had done something to get Baluyot discharged from his office
because Lermas friend Velez was removed from office because of
Baluyot, also Lerma allegedly imply that he knew the judge in charge
of his estafa case and he heard that Baluyot was going to jail for four
years, therefore Baluyot must rethink his plans of residing in Cebu )
He did not intend to commit so great a wrong
That the third shot was an accident as he was trying to open the
door(Baluyots interview with Reyes, a reporter, proved otherwise as
the former admitted he fired the third shot at the door with the
intention to shoot Lerma as he was crying a loud for help, allowing
Baluyot to picture Lermas position behing the door)

Atty. General stated that there were two crimes; 1) murder 2) assaul a person
in authority.

Baluyot appealed to the SC with the following claims:

He was not given ample opportunity to defend himself (on the contrary
he was given a lot of consideration by allowing the defense to
postpone the hearing several time because of his request for more
time and his change of counsel{from expediente Manuel Banzon to
Vicente Sotto} also neiter of his counsel requested for more time, nor
did the defense submit any witnesse to be subpoenaed)
He sought for the disqualification of the presiding judge(Carlos
Imperial) because he attended the funeral of Lerma, which the court
rendered unmeritorious.
He was not allowed to withdraw his earlier pleading of not guilty(there
was no record for such action)

Dissenting opinion of ARAULLO:

The accused should only be charged with homicide, and that the crime was
NOT done with treachery as the facts supporting the claim that it was done with
treachery were NOT undisputed as they were supposed to be.

Claims about when the first Shot was made: (with reference at the time Baluyot re-
entered the Governors office)
40 PHIL 385
Guzman-2 sec
Aranjuez-9-10 sec
Guzman-9-11 secs

Having such doubt in the statements of the witnesses above, and computing
the time it takes for Baluyot to walk from the recorders office to Lermas office, to
converse with Lerma(as claimed to have been heard by both Guzman and
Gonzales ). It may be assumed that the claim of Baluyot that such conversation,
about his estafa case and him being discharged from his office, between him and
Lerma MAY BE TRUE that the facts anchored that it was done with treachery,
therefore qualifying the crime as murder, are in this case DISPUTED. Thus his
judgment was modified finding Baluyot guilty of HOMICIDE and was sentenced to
death by cadena perpetua with accessory penalties.