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VOL.

371,DECEMBER7,2001 629
Peoplevs.Damitan
*
G.R.No.140544.December7,2001.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee, vs. ELMER


DAMITANYMANTAWEL,defendantappellant.

CriminalLawMurderJustifying Circumstances Selfdefense When


the accused admits killing a person but pleads selfdefense, the burden of
evidenceshiftstohimtoprovebyclearandconvincingevidencetheelements
ofhisdefense.When the accused admits killing a person but pleads self
defense, the burden of evidence shifts to him to prove by clear and
convincing evidence the elements of his defense. However, appellants
version of the incident was uncorroborated. His bare and selfserving
assertions cannot prevail over the positive identification of the two (2)
principalwitnessesoftheprosecution.Therewasnoevidencetoindicatethat
theprosecutionwitnessesweremovedbyimpropermotivetotestifyagainst
theappellant.Hence,thetestimoniesoftheprosecutionwitnessesareentitled
to full faith and credit. The rule is settled that factual findings of the trial
court are accorded great respect since the trial court is in a much better
positionthananappellatecourttoproperlyevaluatetheevidenceandobserve
directly the witnesses deportment and manner of testifying. The trial court
gavecredencetothetestimoniesoftheprosecutionwitnessesandthereisno
reasontodeparttherefrom.
Same Same Same Same Requisites To constitute aggression, the
personattackedmustfacearealthreattohislifeandtheperilsoughttobe
avoidedisimminentandactual,notimaginary.Selfdefenseasajustifying
circumstance must satisfy the following requirements: (1) unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim (2) reasonable necessity of the means
employed to prevent or repel the aggression and (3) lack of sufficient
provocationonthepartoftheaccusedorthepersondefendinghimself.The
absence of unlawful aggression negates the existence of selfdefense. Here,
there was no unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. To constitute
aggression,thepersonattackedmustfacearealthreattohislifeandtheperil
soughttobeavoidedisimminentandactual,notimaginary.Thevictimwas
facing the horse and fixing its rope when appellant attacked him. Indeed,
therewasnorealdangertoappellantslifeorpersonalsafety.

_______________
*THIRDDIVISION.

630

630 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED

Peoplevs.Damitan

SameSameSameSameIt is a recognized principle that the nature


and number of wounds inflicted on the victim are important indicia to
disproveapleaofselfdefense.Thepresenceoftwo(2)fatalstabwounds
on the breast of victim Cahapon negates selfdefense. The victim was
stabbedbyappellantnotoncebuttwice.Thefirsthittherightbreastofthe
victim while he was facing the horse and fixing its rope, unaware of the
deadly attack from behind. The second stab wound was inflicted while the
victim was already lying down and completely defenseless. The nature,
location and number of wounds inflicted by the accused on the victim belie
and negate the claim of selfdefense. It is a recognized principle that the
natureandnumberofwoundsinflictedonthevictimareimportantindiciato
disproveapleaofselfdefense.
Same Same Aggravating Circumstances Treachery By positioning
himself at the back of the victim and suddenly stabbing the latter from
behind, accused employed means and methods which tended directly and
speciallytoinsuretheexecutionofthecrime,withoutrisktohimselfarising
fromthedefensewhichthevictimmightmake.Verily,themannerofattack
by appellant was sudden and unexpected leaving the victim Cahapon
defenseless. By positioning himself at the back of the victim and suddenly
stabbing the latter from behind, appellant employed means and methods
which tended directly and specially to insure the execution of the crime,
without risk to himself arising from the defense which the victim might
make.Andbystabbingthevictimasecondtimewhenthevictimwasalready
lyingdown,appellantemployedmeanstoinsureoraffordimpunity.
Same Same Mitigating Circumstances Voluntary Surrender The
mitigatingcircumstanceofvoluntarysurrenderispresentwheretheaccused
immediately surrendered himself to the authorities.We agree that the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is present in this case.
Appellantimmediatelysurrenderedhimselftotheauthoritiesandthisfactis
not disputed by the prosecution. However, since the penalty of reclusion
perpetuaimposeduponappellantisanindivisiblepenalty,thesameshallbe
applied regardless of any mitigating circumstance pursuant to Article 63 of
theRevisedPenalCode.

APPEALfromadecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofMalaybalay
City,Bukidnon,Br.8.

ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
TheSolicitorGeneralforplaintiffappellee.
631

VOL.371,DECEMBER7,2001 631
Peoplevs.Damitan

PublicAttorneysOfficeforaccusedappellant.

CARPIO,J.:

Inselfdefense,thebasicrulethattheburdenofprovingtheguiltof
the accused lies on the prosecution is reversed and the burden of
proofisshiftedtotheaccusedtoprovetheelementsofhisdefense.
Itthenbecomesincumbentuponhimtorelyonthestrengthofhis
own evidence and not on the weakness of the evidence of the
prosecution, for even if the latter were 1weak, it could not be
disbelievedafterhehadadmittedthekilling.

TheCase
2
ThisisanappealfromtheDecision dated14September1999ofthe
RegionalTrialCourtofMalaybalay,Branch8,inCriminalCaseNo.
896598 finding Elmer Damitan y Mantawel guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and sentencing him to
sufferthepenaltyofreclusionperpetua.

TheCharge

On 15 June3 1998, Elmer Damitan y Mantawel was charged in an


Information forthecrimeofMurderwhichreads:

That on or about the 27th day of April 1998, in the morning, at Sitio
Likoliko,BarangayButong,MunicipalityofQuezon,ProvinceofBukidnon,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above
namedaccused,withintenttokillbymeansoftreachery,armedwithasharp
bladed weapon, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally
attack, assault and stab LEON CAHAPON, SR., inflicting upon the latter
mortalinjurieswhichcausedtheinstantaneousdeathofLEONCAHAPON,
SR., to the damage and prejudice of the legal heirs of LEON CAHAPON,
SR.insuchamountasmaybeallowedbylaw.
ContrarytoandinviolationofArticle248oftheRevisedPenalCode,as
amendedbyR.A.7659.

_______________

1Peoplevs.Vallador,257SCRA515,524(1996).

2PennedbyJudgeVivencioP.Estrada.

3RecordofCriminalCaseNo.896598,p.14.
632

632 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Damitan

ArraignmentandPlea

Upon arraignment,
4
accused Damitan, assisted by counsel, pleaded
notguilty. Thereafter,trialensued.

TheTrial

TheprosecutionpresentedConradoSuminao,JunineCahaponand
Trinidad Cahapon as witnesses. The defense presented as its sole
witnessaccusedDamitanhimselfwhoadmittedhavingstabbedthe
victim Cahapon but invoked the justifying circumstance of self
defense.

VersionoftheProsecution

TheprosecutionpresentedasitsfirstwitnessConradoSuminao,61
years old, a farmer and a datu chieftain
5
of the Manobo tribe and
residentofButong,Quezon,Bukidnon. Hetestifiedthaton27April
1998,ataroundfiveoclockinthemorning,hewasatthebarriohall
inButongwiththevictimLeonCahapon,apurokleaderinthesitio.
Theyhadagreedthedaybeforetomeetatthebarriohalltotransfer
6
thebasketballcourt. CahaponsgrandsonJunine,whowasridinga
horse,arrivedatthebarriohallandaskedhisgrandfathertofixthe
ropeofthehorse.WhilevictimCahaponwasfixingtheropeofthe
horse, accused Damitan arrived and suddenly stabbed 7
Cahapon
twicewithahuntingknifeaboutten(10)incheslong.
WitnessSuminaowasmoreorlessone(1)meterawayfromthe
victimwhenthestabbingincidenttookplace.Hesawthefirststrike
hitthevictimsrightbreastandthesecondhitthelowerportionof
the first stab wound. Witness Suminao testified that the strike
8
of
Elmer came from behind towards the front of Cahapon. When
victimCahaponfelldownafterthefirststabbing,witness

_______________

4Orderof14July1998,ibid.,p.22.

5TSN,17May1999,pp.35.

6Ibid.,pp.67.

7Ibid.,pp.89&1314.

8Ibid.,pp.911.
633

VOL.371,DECEMBER7,2001 633
Peoplevs.Damitan

Suminao held him. Accused Damitan stabbed victim Cahapon


9
for
thesecondtimewhilethelatterwasalreadylyingdown. Thereafter,
DamitansurrenderedhimselftothemilitarydetachmentatBUSCO.
Witness 10Suminao went to the barangay captain to report the
incident.
ProsecutionwitnessJunineCahapon,a13yearoldGrade5pupil
and resident of Sitio Likoliko,
11
Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon is the
grandsonofthevictim. Hetestifiedthathewenttothebarriohall
andrequestedhisgrandfathertofixtheropeofhishorsewhichwas
detached.Hewasaboutoneandahalf(11/2)metersawayfromhis
grandfather when he saw12accused Damitan stab his grandfather at
therightsideofthebreast.
TrinidadCahapon,the60yearoldwidowofthevictim,testified
that she grieved upon learning of her husbands death.
13
Trinidad
spentP27,000.00fortheburialexpensesofherhusband.
ThetestimonyofDr.RomeoEgang,theattendingphysician,was
dispensed with in view of the admission by the defense of victim
CahaponsDeathCertificateasproofofthefactofdeath.Thecause
of death14was Cardiorespiratory arrest, blood loss due to stab
wounds.

VersionoftheDefense

Accused Damitan admitted that he stabbed victim Cahapon but


claimed that he acted in selfdefense. Thereafter, he went to the
military detachment
15
at BUSCO, Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon to
surrender.
AccusedDamitantestifiedthaton25April1998,atfouroclock
intheafternoon,whilehewascookingsupperattheiryard,hesaw

_______________

9Ibid.,p.11.

10Ibid.,p.12.

11Ibid.,pp.2526.

12Ibid.,pp.2728.

13Ibid.,pp.3839.

14ExhibitA,RecordofCriminalCaseNo.2370.p.5TSN,17May1999,pp.23.

15TSN,22June1999,pp.23.

634
634 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Damitan

the victims wife shooing away his chickens to the house of the
victim.Hetoldherthatthechickensbelongedtohimandinfactone
ofthechickenshadatieonitsleg.On26April1998,attwooclock
in the afternoon, accused Damitan saw victim Cahapon catch his
chicken. This prompted accused Damitan to see Datu Suminao to
complainagainstvictimCahaponwhobecameangryandthreatened
theaccused.
On 27 April 1998, at five oclock in the morning, victim
Cahapon went to Damitans house and, in a very harsh tone,
challenged the accused to go down from his house. While accused
Damitan was going down the third step of the ladder, victim
Cahaponboxedhimtwice,causinghimtofallonhisback.Cahapon
knelt on Damitans belly and tried to stab the latter with a knife.
Damitan evaded the strike and was able to wrest the knife from
Cahapon.Then,CahaponwithhistwohandschokedDamitanwho
lost consciousness. Damitan did not realize that he had stabbed
Cahapontwiceuntilthelatterfelldown.Damitanranawaytowards
16
the military detachment at BUSCO to surrender. On cross
examination,DamitantestifiedthatheusedtheknifeofCahaponto
17
stabthelatter.

TrialCourtsRuling

On 14 September 1999, the trial court rendered judgment finding


accused Damitan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Murder,thedispositiveportionofwhichreadsasfollows:

WHEREFORE, the court finds accused Elmer Damitan guilty beyond


reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and (sic) defined and penalized
underthepertinentprovisionsofRepublicActNo.7659,andtherebeingno
ordinary aggravating nor mitigating circumstances present, he is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusionperpetua, and to indemnify the
heirsofhisvictimLeonCahaponthesumofP50,000.00.

_______________

16Ibid.,pp.29.

17Ibid.,p.10.

635

VOL.371,DECEMBER7,2001 635
Peoplevs.Damitan
TheIssues

Hence, the present appeal. Accusedappellant Damitan raised the


followingassignmentoferrors:

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE


DEFENSEINTERPOSEDBYTHEACCUSEDAPPELLANT.

II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED


APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE
CRIMEOFMURDER.

III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING THE


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF VOLUNTARY SURRENDER ON
THEPARTOFTHEACCUSEDAPPELLANT.

TheCourtsRuling

Wefindtheappealwithoutmerit.
In the first assignment of error, appellant contends that the trial
courtfailedtoappreciatethejustifyingcircumstanceofselfdefense.
Heaversthattheelementsofselfdefensearepresent.Heclaimsthat
therewasunlawfulaggressiononthepartofthevictimCahapon.It
was Cahapon who called him in a very harsh tone and challenged
himtogodownfromhishouse.Whenappellantwasgoingdownthe
ladder,Cahaponallegedlyboxedhim.Thereafter,Cahapontriedto
stabhimwithaknifebuthewasabletodisarmCahaponandthen
they struggled. Appellant further argues that the knife belonged to
thevictimandhemerelypreventedorrepelledtheattackagainsthis
person.
We uphold the trial courts rejection of appellants plea of self
defense.
Whentheaccusedadmitskillingapersonbutpleadsselfdefense,
theburdenofevidenceshiftstohimtoprovebyclearand

636

636 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Damitan

18
convincing evidence the elements of his defense. However,
18
convincing evidence the elements of his defense. However,
appellantsversionoftheincidentwasuncorroborated.Hisbareand
selfservingassertionscannotprevailoverthepositiveidentification
19
ofthetwo(2)principalwitnessesoftheprosecution. Therewasno
evidence to indicate that the prosecution witnesses were moved by
improper motive to testify against the appellant. Hence, the
testimoniesoftheprosecutionwitnessesareentitledtofullfaithand
credit. The rule is settled that factual findings of the trial court are
accorded great respect since the trial court is in a much better
position than an appellate court to properly evaluate the evidence
and observe
20
directly the witnesses deportment and manner of
testifying. The trial court gave credence to the testimonies of the
prosecutionwitnessesandthereisnoreasontodeparttherefrom.
As found by the trial court and this Court, appellant Damitan
went to the barrio hall and suddenly stabbed victim Cahapon from
behind.HewasclearlyidentifiedbyprosecutionwitnessesSuminao
and Juninewhowere very near the victim. Appellant was likewise
notastrangertothetwo(2)prosecutionwitnesses.Suminaoknew
appellantasamemberofthesameManobotribeofwhichSuminao
21
isthedatuchieftain. Appellantwasalsoaneighborofprosecution
witnessJuninewhosehouseisaboutthirtyfive(35)metersfromthe
22
houseofappellant. Junine saw appellant coming 23
from the latters
house and walking towards the barrio hall. Appellant, without
uttering a word, suddenly stabbed victim Cahapon at the right
portionofhisbreast.Thefirststrikecamefrombehindwhilevictim
Cahapon was facing the horse and fixing the rope. Then, appellant
stabbed victim Cahapon for the second time while the latter was
lyingdown.

_______________

18Peoplevs.Bitoon,Sr.,309SCRA209(1999)Peoplevs.Santillana,308SCRA

104(1999).
19Peoplevs.Gailo,316SCRA733(1999).

20Peoplevs.Grefalde,298SCRA337(1998)Peoplevs.Aquino,284 SCRA 369

(1998).
21TSN,17May1999,p.5.

22Ibid.,p.27.

23Ibid.,p.33.

637

VOL.371,DECEMBER7,2001 637
Peoplevs.Damitan

Selfdefenseasajustifyingcircumstancemustsatisfythefollowing
requirements:(1)unlawfulaggressiononthepartofthevictim(2)
reasonablenecessityofthemeansemployedtopreventorrepelthe
aggressionand(3)lackofsufficientprovocationonthepartofthe
24
accusedorthepersondefendinghimself. Theabsenceofunlawful
25
aggression negates the existence of selfdefense. Here, there was
no unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. To constitute
aggression,thepersonattackedmustfacearealthreattohislifeand
the peril 26sought to be avoided is imminent and actual, not
imaginary. The victim was facing the horse and fixing its rope
when appellant attacked him. Indeed, there was no real danger to
appellantslifeorpersonalsafety.
Itisdifficulttobelieveappellantsclaimthattherewasascuffle
between him and the victim Cahapon after Cahapon had boxed
appellantwhilethelatterwasgoingdowntheladder.Therewere
nobruises,contusionsormarksonthebodiesofeitherofthem.
Moreover,thepresenceoftwo(2)fatalstabwoundsonthebreast
ofvictimCahaponnegatesselfdefense.Thevictimwasstabbedby
appellant not once but twice. The first hit the right breast of the
victimwhilehewasfacingthehorseandfixingitsrope,unawareof
thedeadlyattackfrombehind.Thesecondstabwoundwasinflicted
while the victim was already lying down and completely
defenseless.Thenature,locationandnumberofwoundsinflictedby
theaccusedonthevictimbelieandnegatethe

_______________

24Peoplevs.Emberga,319SCRA304(1999).Peoplevs.Patalinghug,318SCRA

116(1999)Article11(1)oftheRevisedPenalCodeprovides:
Justifyingcircumstances.Thefollowingdonotincuranycriminalliability:

1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following
circumstancesconcur:

First.Unlawfulaggression.
Second.Reasonablenecessityofthemeansemployedtopreventorrepelit.
Third.Lackofsufficientprovocationonthepartofthepersondefendinghimself.

25Peoplevs.Bautista,312SCRA475(1999).

26Peoplevs.Langres,316SCRA769(1999).

638

638 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Damitan

claimofselfdefense.Itisarecognizedprinciplethatthenatureand
number of wounds inflicted on
27
the victim are important indicia to
disproveapleaofselfdefense.
Onthesecondassignederror,appellantarguesthatthemerefact
thevictimwashitatthebackisnotenoughtoconstitutetreachery.
AppellantinsiststhatitwasthevictimCahaponwhoprovokedhim
when Cahapon challenged him to go down from his house.
Appellantcontendsthatifeverheisfoundguilty,heshouldonlybe
liableforthecrimeofHomicideandnotMurder.
Wearenotpersuaded.
The position and manner of the attack on the victim Cahapon
clearly indicate the presence of treachery. Appellant arrived at the
barrio hall and, without a word of warning, suddenly stabbed
Cahapontwice.Cahaponwasthenfixingtheropeofthehorseofhis
grandson and facing the horse when appellant stabbed him from
behind. Thereafter, while the victim was already lying down,
appellantstabbedhimforthesecondtime.
True,thestabwoundswerefrontal,i.e.,attherightportionofthe
breast. However, the evidence clearly established that appellant
stabbed Cahapon from behind. Witness Suminao testified as
follows:

Q NowatwhatpointintimewhereinhewasstabbedbyElmer
Damitanwhilefixingtheropeofthehorseorbeforethattime?
A Hewasstabbedwhilehewasfixingtheropeofthehorse.
Q Sowhenhewasfixingtheropetherefore,hewasfacingthe
horse?
A Yes,maam.
Q AndthenthisElmerDamitanfromwheredidhecomewherein
hestabbedLeonCahapon?
A Fromhishouse.
Q TotheplacewhereLeonCahaponwasstabbedhowfaristhe
houseofElmerDamitan?
A Moreorlessfifteen(15)meters.

_______________

27Peoplevs.Bitoon,Sr.,309SCRA209(1999)Peoplevs.Unarce,270SCRA756

(1997).

639

VOL.371,DECEMBER7,2001 639
Peoplevs.Damitan

Q Sothat,therefore,DatuSuminao,whenLeonCahaponwas
stabbedbyElmerDamitanhisbackwasfacingElmerDamitan?
A Yes,maam.
Q NowhowaboutyouhowfarwereyoufromLeonCahaponwhen
hewasstabbedbyElmerDamitan?
A Moreorlessone(1)meter.
Q Nowwereyoufacingeachother?
A Weweresidebyside.
Q NowhowmanytimesdidElmerDamitanstabLeonCahapon?
A Twice.
Q NowthefirststabofElmerDamitanwasLeonCahaponhit?
A Yes,maam.
Q Wherewashehit?
A Here.(Witness,pointingtohisrightbreast).
Q Howaboutthesecondhitwherewashehit?
A Onthelowerportionofthefirsthit.
Q NowwhenthisLeonCahapon,DatuSuminao,wasstabbedby
PalmerDamitanyousaidthathisbackwasfacingElmerDamitan
andthenwhyisitthathewasstabbedinfrontofhisbreastor
chest?
A BecausethestrikeofElmercamefrombehindtowardsthefront
28
ofLeon.

Verily,themannerofattackbyappellantwassuddenandunexpected
leaving the victim Cahapon defenseless. By positioning himself at
thebackofthevictimandsuddenlystabbingthelatterfrombehind,
appellant employed means and methods which tended directly and
speciallytoinsuretheexecutionofthecrime,withoutrisktohimself
29
arising from the defense which the victim might make. And by
stabbingthevictimasecondtimewhenthevictimwasalreadylying
down,appellantemployedmeanstoinsureoraffordimpunity.
Treachery qualified the killing of Cahapon to murder and
pursuanttoArticle248oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamendedby
R.A.

_______________

28TSN,17May1999,pp.810.

29Par.16,Article14,RevisedPenalCode.

640

640 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Damitan

7659, the penalty for the crime of Murder is reclusion perpetua to


death.Therebeingnoaggravatingcircumstance,thetrialcourtwas
correct in sentencing appellant Damitan to suffer the penalty of
reclusionperpetua.
Onthethirdassignederror,appellantcontendsthatthemitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender should have been appreciated
bythetrialcourt.Hearguesthatafterthestabbingincident,hewent
tothemilitarydetachmentatBUSCOtovoluntarilysurrender.
Weagreethatthemitigatingcircumstanceofvoluntarysurrender
ispresentinthiscase.Appellantimmediatelysurrenderedhimselfto
the authorities and this fact is not disputed by the prosecution.
However, since the penalty of reclusion
30
perpetua imposed upon
appellant is an indivisible penalty, the same shall be applied
regardlessofanymitigatingcircumstancepursuanttoArticle63of
31
theRevisedPenalCode.
Finally,anappealinacriminalproceedingthrowsthewholecase
openforreviewanditbecomesthedutyoftheCourttocorrectany
errorintheappealedjudgment,whetheritismadethesubjectofan
32
assignment of error or not. In finding appellant Damitan guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, the trial court
properlyawardedtheheirsofthevictimtheamountofP50,000.00
ascivilindemnity.Theruleissettledthatcivilindemnityexdelicto
canbeawardedforthwithtotheheirsofthevictimbyproofaloneof
33
such fact of death. The trial court was likewise correct in not
awarding actual damages there being no proof presented to justify
suchanaward,exceptthebaretestimonyofthe

_______________

30Peoplevs.Quitlong,292SCRA360(1998).

31Peoplevs.Mengote,305SCRA380(1999)ART.63.Rulesfortheapplicationof

indivisiblepenalties.In all cases in which the law, prescribes a single indivisible


penalty,itshallbeappliedbythecourtsregardlessofanymitigatingnoraggravating
circumstancesthatmayhaveattendedthecommissionofthedeed,xxx.
32People vs. Juachon, 319 SCRA 761 (1999) People vs. Court of Appeals, 308

SCRA687(1999).
33People vs. Basco,318 SCRA 615 (1999) People vs. Borreros, 306 SCRA 680

(1999).

641

VOL.371,DECEMBER7,2001 641
Peoplevs.Damitan
34
victims widow that she spent P27,000.00 as burial expenses.
However,wefindtheawardofP50,000.00asmoraldamagesproper
considering that the victims
35
heir suffered grief. Thus, in line with
prevailing jurisprudence, the award of P50,000.00 as moral
damagesisgrantedtotheheirsofthevictimLeonCahapon,Sr.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that appellant Elmer
DamitanyMantawelisfurtherorderedtopaytheheirsofthevictim
LeonCahapon,Sr.theamountofP50,000.00asmoraldamages.
SOORDERED.

Melo (Chairman), Vitug, Panganiban and Sandoval


Gutierrez,JJ.,concur.

Judgmentaffirmedwithmodification.

Notes.Number of wounds alone is not the criterion for the


appreciationofcrueltyasanaggravatingcircumstance,neithercanit
be inferred from the mere fact that the victims dead body was
dismembered.(Peoplevs.Ilaoa,233SCRA231[1994])
Thenumberofwoundsdoesnotpersegiverisetocrueltythe
test is whether the accused deliberately and sadistically augmented
the wrong by causing another wrong not necessary for its
commission, or inhumanely increased the victims suffering, or
outragedorscoffedathispersonorcorpse.(Peoplevs.Lopez,342
SCRA431[2000])

o0o

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34Peoplevs.Robles,Jr.,305SCRA273(1999)Peoplevs.Rosario,246SCRA658

(1995).
35Peoplevs.Tanzon,320SCRA762 (1999) People vs. Recones,310 SCRA 809

(1999).

642

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