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042. Rivera vs.

People
GR No. 166326/ 25 January 2006/ First Division/ Petition for Review on Certiorari R45
Esmeraldo, Ismael, Edgardo Rivera - petitioners
People of the Philippines - respondent
Decision by J. Callejo, Sr., Digest by Joeyboy Lacas

Short version: Rodil, complainant, had a heated verbal altercation with co-acccused Edgardo
Rivera. The following day, when Rodil went to a store to buy food, Edgardo along with his
brothers Ismael and Esmeraldo, ganged up on Rodil. Ismael and Esmeraldo mauled Rodil with
fist blows, while Edgardo hit Rodil three times with a hollow block on the parietal area.
Fortunately, policemen arrived which forced the Rivera brothers to flee. Rodil was then brought
to the hospital. An Infomation was filed in RTC Cavite, charging the Rivera brothers of
attempted murder.

Facts: Ruben Rodil and the Rivera brothers are neighbors. One fine day, a heated verbal
altercation ensued between Rodil and Edgardo Rivera. The following day, Rodil went to a store
near his house in Imus Cavite, tagging along his three year old daughter. Suddenly, in an
unexpected manner, the Rivera brothers (Esmeraldo, Ismael and Edgardo) emerged from their
house and ganged up on Rodil.

Ismael and Esmeraldo mauled Rodil with fist blows which caused the latter to fall to the
ground. While in that helpless position, Ruben was hit three times with a hollow block on the
parietal area by Edgardo. When policemen on board a mobile car arrived, the Rivera brothers
fled to their house. Rodil was then brought to the hospital for treatment. According to the
medical certificate, Rodil sustained only a superficial wound in the parietal area.

An Infomation was filed in RTC Cavite, charging the Rivera brothers of attempted
murder. RTC rendered judgment finding all the accused guilty of FRUSTRATED murder.
However, the CA modified the RTC decision, finding all the accused guilty of ATTEMPTED
murder. Hence, the accused filed to the SC the instant petition for review under R45, insisting
that the prosecution failed to prove intent to kill on their part. More importantly, accused aver
that based on the medical certificate, Rodil only suffered a superficial wound in the parietal
area; hence, accused should be criminally liable only for physical injuries.

Issues
a. W/N prosecution was able to prove intent to kill on the part of the accused? YES
b. W/N the accused should be held liable for attempted murder, and not merely physical
injuries? YES (topical)

Ruling: Petition for review is denied for lack of merit.

Ratio
a. Prosecution was able show that the accused had the intent to kill the victim. Evidence to
prove intent to kill may consist in the means used, the nature, location and number of wounds
sustained by the victim. In the case at bar, Esmeraldo and Ismael pummeled Rodil with fist
blows. Even as Rodil fell to the ground, unable to defend himself, Edgardo still hit him on the
parietal area of the head three times with a hollow block.

b. Accused are criminally liable for attempted murder. That the head wounds sustained by Rodil
were merely superficial and could not have produced his death does not negate the criminal
liability for attempted murder.

Article 6 RPC defines an attempt to commit a felony: There is an attempt when the offender
commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts
of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than
his own spontaneous desistance.

An overt or external act is defined as some physical activity or deed, indicating the intention
to commit a particular crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out
to its complete termination following its natural course, without being frustrated by external
obstacles nor by the spontaneous desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily
ripen into a concrete offense...It is necessary that the overt act should have been the ultimate
step towards the consummation of the design. The act done need not constitute the last
proximate one for completion. It is necessary, however, that the attempt must have a causal
relation to the intended crime. The overt acts must have an immediate and necessary relation
to the offense.

In the case at bar, the accused, who acted in concert, commenced the felony of murder by
mauling the victim and hitting him three times with a hollow block, just narrowly missing the
middle portion of Rodils head.

Voting: Panganiban, Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez and Chico-Nazario, concur.