People vs.

Soliman

G.R. No. 11555

January 6, 1917

Facts:

Gabino Soliman, testifying in his own behalf in the course of another criminal case in which he, with
several others, was charged with estafa, swore falsely to certain material allegations of fact. He testified
falsely that a sworn statement offered in evidence in support of the charge of estafa, which was in effect
an extrajudicial confession of his guilt, had not been executed voluntarily, and that its execution had not
been procured by the police by the use of force, intimidation and prolonged torture. The trial judge who
presided in the former case acquitted him on the ground that there was room for reasonable doubt.

It appears that Soliman is however, guilty of perjury as defined and penalized in Section 3 of Act No.
1697. However, since judgment was entered on 23 November 1915, section 3 of Act No. 1697 was
expressly repealed by the enactment of the Administrative Code which was effective on 1 July 1916 and
it has been suggested that the judgment convicting and sentencing the accused under the provisions of
that statute should not be sustained and the repeal of the statute should be held to have the effect of
remitting and extinguishing the criminal responsibility of the accused incurred under the provisions of
the repealed law prior to the enactment of the Administrative Code.

Issues:

1. Whether or not the repeal of Section 3 of Act No. 1697 by the enactment of the Administrative
code had the effect of providing new and distinct penalties for the commission of the crime of
perjury.

2. Whether or not the new penalties are more favorable to the convict in the case at bar than
those imposed by the trial judge.

Ruling:

There can be no doubt that the accused was guilty of the crime of perjury as defined and penalized in
section 3 of Act No. 1697 and that the sentence of six months' imprisonment and P300 fine imposed by
the trial judge was correctly imposed under the provisions of that statute.

We conclude therefore that in any case in which a statute prescribing a penalty for the commission of a
specific offense is repealed, and in which the new statute provides new and distinct penalties for the
commission of such offense, the penalty which must be imposed on one who committed the offense
prior to the enactment of the repealing statute is that one which is more favorable to the convict. (U. S.
vs. Cuna, 12 Phil. Rep., 241.)

It seems important, then, to determine whether the repeal of section 3 of Act No. 1697 by the
enactment of the Administrative Code had the effect of providing new and distinct penalties for the
commission of the crime of perjury, and whether the new penalties are or are not more favorable to the
convict in the case at bar than those imposed by the trial judge.

Section 3 of Act No. 1697, which defined and penalized the crime of perjury, repealed the provisions of
the Penal Code defining and penalizing the crime of perjury, not expressly, but by implication, and we
are of opinion that the repeal of Act No. 1697 revived those provisions of the code. (U. S. vs.
Concepcion, 13 Phil. Rep., 424; U. S. vs. Estraña, 16 Phil. Rep., 520.)

In the absence of the most express language to the contrary it will not be presumed that it was the
intention of the legislator to let false swearing as to a material matter in a court of justice go
unpunished, and such would be the effect of the repeal of section 3 of Act No. 1697, unless we held that
the repeal had the effect of reviving the old statute.

At the common law the repeal of a repealing act revived the former act (6 Co., 199; 1 Gray, 163; 7 W. &
S., 263; 2 Blackstone, 32; 54 N. J. L. J., 175); and the Supreme Court of the United States has held that
the repeal of a repealing law has this effect, unless the language of the repealing statute or some
general statute provides otherwise. (U. S. vs. Otis, 120 U. S., 52 [115].)

Manifestly, with this rule in mind, section 12 of the Administrative Code (Act No. 2657) which is found in
Article III, [Chapter I] dealing with the form and effect of laws in general, provides that "when a law
which expressly repeals a prior law is itself repealed the law first repealed shall not be thereby revived
unless expressly so provided." From which it may fairly be inferred that the old rule continues in force
where a law which repeals a prior law, not expressly but by implication, it itself repealed; and that in
such cases the repeal of the repealing law revives the prior law, unless the language of the repealing
statute provides otherwise.

Applying this rule, we conclude that the express repeal of section 3 of Act No. 1697 by the enactment of
the Administrative Code (Act No. 2657) revived the provisions of the Penal Code touching perjury, which
were themselves repealed, not expressly but by implication, by the enactment of Act No. 1697.

A comparison of the penalties prescribed in the Penal Code for the commission of the acts of which the
accused in the case at bar was convicted, giving him as we should the benefit of the provisions of Act
No. 2142, discloses that the penalty prescribed therein is less than that imposed upon the appellant
under the provisions of section 3 of Act No. 1697, and we conclude from what has been said already
that the penalty imposed by the court below should be revoked and that in lieu thereof the penalty
prescribed in the Penal Code should be imposed upon the convict.

A question has been raised as to whether, admitting that the provisions of the Penal Code touching
perjury have been revived, the accused can be convicted and penalized thereunder, it appearing that at
the time when he testified falsely he was testifying in his own behalf in a criminal case in which he
himself was the accused, on trial for the commission of a grave offense.

In the case of United States vs. Gutierrez (12 Phil. Rep., 529), we said, speaking through Chief Justice
Arellano, that, "Perjury committed by a party in his own cause would not be punishable under Spanish
legislation, because in said legislation no one was a witness in his own cause, and could not therefore
become guilty of giving false testimony in a civil cause in which he was either the plaintiff or the
defendant; but under the procedure in force by virtue of Act No. 190, a party to a suit may testify in his
own behalf, and if he declares falsely under oath as a witness in his own cause, like any other witness,
he incurs the penalty by which false testimony in civil matters is repressed and punished. This court has
so held, it being a settled rule, that the false testimony given by a litigant as a witness constitutes the
crime of giving false testimony inasmuch as such a declaration, according to the new laws in force, may
determine a judgment in his favor and to the prejudice of the adverse party, and that a litigant who, in
sworn testimony given by him as a witness in a civil cause, shall pervert the truth and give false
testimony, incurs as such witness the penalties imposed by article 321 of the Penal Code."

Analogous reasoning leads to a like conclusion as to the criminal liability for perjury of a defendant in a
criminal case testifying falsely in his own behalf. Under the provisions of General Orders No. 58 an
accused person may, if he so desires, testify under oath in his own behalf, and in that event, "if he
declares falsely as a witness in his own cause, like any other witness, he incurs the penalty by which false
testimony" in criminal matters "is repressed and punished."

It has been suggested that such a ruling will have a tendency to expose accused persons to vexatious
criminal prosecutions by prosecuting officers, who, having failed to secure a conviction on the original
charge, may be disposed to institute criminal prosecutions for perjury from a vindictive unwillingness to
let the defendant escape scot free from the meshes of the law. It is said also that the fear of subsequent
prosecution for perjury will tend to embarrass accused persons in their efforts to defend themselves by
testifying in their own behalf. But similar objections may be advanced against the prosecution of any of
the witnesses called for the defense on charges of perjury, and it must not be forgotten that the right of
an accused person to testify under oath in his own behalf is secured to him, not that he may be enabled
to introduce false testimony into the record, but to enable him to spread upon the record the truth as to
any matter within his knowledge which will tend to establish his innocence.

Of course much must be left to the good sense and sound judgment of the prosecuting officer in
determining whether a prosecution for perjury should be instituted against an accused person whose
testimony in his own behalf would seem to be perjured.

Due regard for the situation in which an accused person finds himself when testifying in his own behalf
in a criminal proceeding will restrain a prudent prosecuting officer from the filing of charges of perjury in
every case in which he may have reason to believe that the accused has not adhered strictly to the truth,
in his anxiety to shield himself from punishment. But when, as in the case at bar, an accused person
voluntarily goes upon the witness stand and falsely imputes some other person the commission of a
grave offense, it would seem to be highly proper that he should be called to account in a criminal action
for perjury upon the complaint of the person against whom such false charges are made.

Article 319 of the Penal Code is as follows:

Any person who shall give false testimony in favor of a defendant in a criminal case shall suffer a penalty
ranging from arresto mayor in its maximum degree to prision correccional in its medium degree and a
fine of not less than three hundred and seventy-five and not more than three thousand seven hundred
and fifty pesetas, if the case were for a felony, and the penalty of arresto mayor if it were for a
misdemeanor.

We conclude that the judgment of conviction entered in the court below should be affirmed but that the
sentence imposed therein should be reversed, and that giving the accused the benefit of the provisions
of Act No. 2142, a penalty of 4 months and 1 day of arresto mayor and a fine of P75 with subsidiary
imprisonment as prescribed by law should be imposed upon him in lieu of that imposed by the trial
judge, with the costs of this instance de officio. So ordered
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) vs. Dolefil Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative Inc.
(DARBCI), Esmeraldo A. Dublin, Alicia Savarez, Edna Ureta, et al.,


G.R. No. 137489


May 29, 2002

FACTS:

Sometime in 1997, the CDA received several complaints from certain members of DARBCI, an agrarian
reform cooperative, alleging mismanagement and/or misappropriation of funds by the then incumbent
officers and members of the board of directors of the cooperative. As response to the complaints, CDA
issued an order directing the herein private respondents to file their answer immediately. Before the
private respondents could file their answer, CDA Administrator issued an order freezing the funds of
DARBCI and creating a management committee to manage the affairs of the said cooperative.

The private respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari against the CDA and its officers. The petition
questioned the jurisdiction of the CDA to resolve the complaints against the private respondents,
specifically with respect to the authority of the CDA to issue the freeze order and to create a
management committee that would run the affairs of DARBCI. On February 1998, CDA Chairman placed
the private respondents under preventive suspension, which led to the creation of new management
committee.

Petitioner CDA insists that its authority to conduct hearings or inquiries and the express grant to it of
contempt powers under Section 3, paragraphs (g) and (o) of R. A. No. 6939, respectively, necessarily
vests upon the CDA quasi-judicial authority to adjudicate cooperative disputes.

ISSUE:

Whether or not CDA is vested with quasi-judicial authority to adjudicate cooperative disputes

RULING:

It is a fundamental rule in statutory construction that when the law speaks in clear and categorical
language, there is no room for interpretation, vacillation or equivocation there is only room for
application. From the provision of R.A. No. 6939, the authority of the CDA is to discharge purely
administrative functions which consist of policy-making, registration, fiscal and technical assistance to
cooperatives and implementation of cooperative laws. Nowhere in the said law can it be found any
express grant to the CDA of authority to adjudicate cooperative disputes. At most, Section 8 of the same
law provides that upon request of either or both parties, the Authority shall mediate and conciliate
disputes with a cooperative or between cooperatives however, with a restriction that if no mediation or
conciliation succeeds within three (3) months from request thereof, a certificate of non-resolution shall
be issued by the commission prior to the filing of appropriate action before the proper courts. Being an
administrative agency, the CDA has only such powers as are expressly granted to it by law and those
which are necessarily implied in the exercise.

The CDA is bereft of any quasi-judicial authority to adjudicate intra-cooperative disputes and more
particularly disputes as regards the election of the members of the Board of Directors and officers of
cooperatives. The authority to conduct hearings or inquiries and the power to hold any person in
contempt may be exercised by the CDA only in the performance of its administrative functions under
R.A. No. 6939.

The orders, resolutions, memoranda and any other acts rendered by petitioner Cooperative
Development Authority in CDA-CO Case No. 97-011 are hereby declared null and void ab initio for lack of
quasi-judicial authority of petitioner to adjudicate intra-cooperative disputes; and the petitioner is
hereby ordered to cease and desist from taking any further proceedings.
People vs. Umawid

G.R. No. 208719

June 9, 2014

Facts:

At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon of November 26, 2002, Vicente Ringor was staying with his two (2)-
year old granddaughter, Maureen Joy Ringor, at the terrace of their house. Suddenly, Umawid appeared
and started attacking Vicente with a panabas with neither reason nor provocation. While Vicente was
able to evade Umawid’s blows, the latter nevertheless hit Maureen on her abdomen and back, causing
her instantaneous death. Upon seeing Maureen bloodied, Umawid walked away.

Issues:

Whether or not Maureen’s death is a case of aberratio ictus.

Ruling:

Umawid’s appeal is bereft of merit.

A. The Defense of Insanity

Umawid’s plea of insanity as an exempting circumstance to exonerate himself from criminal liability
rests on Article 12 of the RPC which provides:

Art. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. – The following are exempt from criminal
liability:

1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.

Where the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a felony (delito),
the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus
afflicted, which he shall not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same
court.

xxxx

As case law instructs, the defense of insanity is in the nature of confession and avoidance because an
accused invoking the same admits to have committed the crime but claims that he or she is not guilty
because of such insanity. As there is a presumption in favor of sanity, anyone who pleads the said
defense bears the burden of proving it with clear and convincing evidence. Accordingly, the evidence on
this matter must relate to the time immediately preceding or simultaneous with the commission of the
offense/s with which he is charged.16
Insanity exists when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence while committing the act, i.e., when
the accused is deprived of reason, he acts without the least discernment because there is a complete
absence of power to discern, or there is total deprivation of freedom of the will. Mere abnormality of
the mental faculties is not enough, especially if the offender has not lost consciousness of his acts.
Insanity is evinced by a deranged and perverted condition of the mental faculties and is manifested in
language and conduct. Thus, in order to lend credence to adefense of insanity, it must be shown that
theaccused had no full and clear understanding of the nature and consequences of his or her acts.17

In this case, Umawid solely relied on the testimonies of Dr. Quincina and Dr. Juliana to substantiate his
plea of insanity. Records, however, reveal that Dr. Quincina’s testimony only showed that he evaluated
Umawid’s mental condition in May 2002, February 2003, and March 2003.18 In other words, he only
examined Umawid six (6) months before the latter committed the crimes and three (3) months and four
(4) months thereafter. Notably, he admitted that his findings did not include Umawid’s mental
disposition immediately before or at the very moment when he committed such crimes.19As such, Dr.
Quincina’s testimony cannot prove Umawid’s insanity. Neither would Dr. Juliana’s testimony shore up
Umawid’s cause as the former failed to attest to the latter’s mental condition and even referred him to
another doctor for further evaluation. Given these circumstances, Umawid’s defense of insanity
remained unsubstantiated and, hence, he was properly adjudged by the RTC and the CA as criminally
liable.

With Umawid’s criminal liability having been established, the Court now proceeds to examine whether
or not treachery was correctly appreciated as a qualifying circumstance for the crimes charged.

B. The Qualifying Circumstance of Treachery

Under Article 248 of the RPC, treachery qualifies the killing of a person to the crime of Murder:

Art. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another, shall
be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua, to death if committed with any of the
following attendant circumstances:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or
employing means to weaken the defense, or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity;
(Emphases and underscoring supplied)

xxxx

The concept of treachery in criminal law is well-established –there is treachery when the offender
commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means, methods or forms in the execution
thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the
defense which the offended party might make.20 Based on the foregoing, it may then be deduced that
two (2) conditions must concur for treachery to be appreciated: first, the employment of means of
execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and, second,
the means of execution was deliberate or consciously adopted.21

In this relation, jurisprudence states that an unexpected and sudden attack which renders the victim
unable and unprepared to put up a defense is the essence of treachery.22 Likewise, it has been held
that the killing of a child is characterized by treachery even if the manner of the assault is not shown
because the weakness of the victim due to her tender age results in the absence of any danger to the
accused.23
With these principles in mind, the Court agrees with the findings of the RTC and the CA that treachery
was attendant in the killing of Maureen. The facts of this case show that Umawid suddenly appeared at
the terrace of Vicente’s house and started attacking Vicente with panabas. However, the latter was able
to evade Umawid’s attacks, resulting in Maureen being inadvertently hit and killed in the process. While
it was not shown that Umawid consciously employed treachery so as to insure the death of Maureen,
who was then just two (2) years old at the time, it is well to reiterate that the killing by an adult of a
minor child is treacherous,24 and thus, qualifies Maureen’s killing to Murder.

In the same manner, treachery exists in Umawid’s attack on Jeffrey, albeit the Court disagrees with the
RTC and the CA’s finding that Umawid employed means, methods, and forms that rendered Jeffrey
incapable of raising a credible defense.25 While it is true that treachery may also be appreciated even
when the victim was warned of the danger to his person and what is decisive is that the execution of the
attack made it impossible for the victim to defend himself or to retaliate,26 a review of the factual
circumstances herein would reveal that it was not impossible for Jeffrey to put up a defense against
Umawid’s attacks. In fact, Jeffrey was sufficiently informed of Umawid’s impending assault upon him as
he saw the latter charging at him. Jeffrey even attempted to prevent Umawid from entering the house,
albeit he was unsuccessful in doing so. Despite this, Jeffrey was still capable of mounting a defense
against Umawid’s attacks – but it was simply unfortunate that he chose not to do so when he crouched
and covered his head with his arms. Nevertheless, treachery may still be appreciated on account of
Jeffrey’s minority, considering that he was just 15 years of age when Umawid attacked him. Instructive
on this point is the case of People v. Guzman,27 where it was held that treachery attended the killing of
a 17-year old victim due to his minority.

As viewed from the foregoing, the suddenness and unexpectedness of the attack of appellant and his
two companions rendered Michael defenseless, vulnerable and without means of escape. It appears
that Michael was unarmed and alone at the time of the attack. Further, he was merely seventeen years
of age then. In such a helpless situation, it was absolutely impossible for Michael to escape or to defend
himself against the assault of appellant and his two companions. Being young and weak, Michael is
certainly no match against adult persons like appellant and his two companions. Michael was also
outnumbered since he had three assailants, and, was unarmed when he was stabbed to death.
Appellant and his two companions took advantage of their size, number, and weapon in killing Michael.
They also deliberately adopted means and methods in exacting the cruel death of Michael by first
surrounding him, then grabbing his shoulders and overpowering him. Afterwards, each of them
repeatedly stabbed Michael with a knife at the stomach until the latter fell lifeless to the ground. The
stab wounds sustained by Michael proved to be fatal as they severely damaged the latter’s large
intestine.

The fact that the place where the incident occurred was lighted and many people were walking then in
different directions does not negate treachery. It should be made clear that the essence of treachery is
the sudden and unexpected attack on an unsuspecting victim without the slightest provocation on his
part. This is even more true if the assailant is an adult and the victim is a minor. Minor children, who by
reason of their tender years, cannot be expected to put up a defense. Thus, when an adult person
illegally attacks a minor, treachery exists. As we earlier found, Michael was peacefully walking and not
provoking anyone to a fight when he was stabbed to death by appellant and his two companions.
Further, Michael was a minor at the time of his death while appellant and his two companions were
adult persons.
In this light, there is no reason not to appreciate the qualifying circumstance of treachery in an attack
against a minor, as in this case.

C. Aberratio Ictus; Due Process Considerations

As a final point, the Court observes that Maureen’s death is a case of aberratio ictus, given that the fatal
blow therefor was only delivered by mistake as it was actually Vicente who was Umawid’s intended
target. In this regard, Umawid’s single deed actually resulted in the: (a) Attempted Murder of Vicente;
and (b) Consummated Murder of Maureen. This may be classified as species of complex crime defined
under Article 4829 of the RPC, particularly, a delito compuesto, or a compound crime where a single act
produces two (2) or more grave or less grave felonies.30Based on the foregoing, Umawid should have
been punished for committing the complex crime of Murder and Attempted Murder, pursuant to Article
48 in relation to Article 4(1)31 of the RPC. However, considering that the information in Criminal Case
No. 23-0471 only charged him with the Murder of Maureen, Umawid cannot be convicted of a complex
crime because to do so would be violative of his right to due process.32As held in the case of Burgos v.
Sandiganbayan

In criminal cases, where the life and liberty of the accused is at stake, due process requires that the
accused be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. An accused cannot be
convicted of an offense unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information. To convict him of an
offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would be a violation of this
constitutional right.

All told, the Court hereby finds Umawid guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of Murder in
Criminal Case No. 23-0471 and Frustrated Murder in Criminal Case No. 23-0543, defined and penalized
under Article 248 of the RPC.

In addition, interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be imposed on all damages awarded
from the date of finality of judgement until fully paid, pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence.35

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision dated February 28, 2013 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CR-HC No. 05332is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that interest at the rate of six percent
(6%) per annum shall be imposed on all damages awarded from the date of finality of judgment, until
fully paid.

SO ORDERED.
Intod vs. CA

215 SCRA 52

Facts

February 4, 1979, Sulpicio Intod, Jorge Pangasian, Santos Tubio and Avelino Daligdig went to Salvador
Mandaya's house in Katugasan, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental and asked him to go with them to the
house of Bernardina Palangpangan. There Mandaya and Intod, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig had a
meeting with Aniceto Dumalagan. He told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed due to a
land dispute between them and that Mandaya should accompany the four men, or he would be killed.
They went to Palampangan’s house on the night, all armed with weapons. Mandaya pointed the
bedroom of Palampangan, his companions immediately fired towards it. It turned out that their target
was in another city and her home was then occupied by her son-in-law and his family. No one was in the
room when the accused fired the shots.

The RTC convicted them of attempted murder, which was affirmed by the CA’s decision. Thus they filed
a petition for review. According to them, they cannot be held liable for attempted murder because
Palangpangan’s absences from her room on the night they fired it with weapons made the crime
impossible. On the other hand, the People of the Philippines argues that the crime was not impossible.
Instead, the facts were sufficient to constitute an attempt and to convict Intod for attempted murder.

Issue

Whether or not Intod should be held guilty guilty of attempted murder considering that it is an
impossible crime under Art. 4 (2)

Ruling

Legal impossibility occurs where the intended acts, even if completed, would not amount to a crime. 13
Thus:

Legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances where (1) the motive, desire and expectation is
to perform an act in violation of the law; (2) there is intention to perform the physical act; (3) there is a
performance of the intended physical act; and (4) the consequence resulting from the intended act does
not amount to a crime.

The impossibility of killing a person already dead 15 falls in this category.

On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or
beyond his control prevent the consummation of the intended crime. One example is the man who puts
his hand in the coat pocket of another with the intention to steal the latter's wallet and finds the pocket
empty.

The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he thought his victim would
be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said place and thus, the petitioner failed to
accomplish his end. One American case had facts almost exactly the same as this one. In People vs. Lee
Kong, 18 the accused, with intent to kill, aimed and fired at the spot where he thought the police officer
would be. It turned out, however, that the latter was in a different place. The accused failed to hit him
and to achieve his intent. The Court convicted the accused of an attempt to kill. It held that:

The fact that the officer was not at the spot where the attacking party imagined where he was, and
where the bullet pierced the roof, renders it no less an attempt to kill. It is well settled principle of
criminal law in this country that where the criminal result of an attempt is not accomplished simply
because of an obstruction in the way of the thing to be operated upon, and these facts are unknown to
the aggressor at the time, the criminal attempt is committed.

In the case of Strokes vs. State, 19 where the accused failed to accomplish his intent to kill the victim
because the latter did not pass by the place where he was lying-in wait, the court held him liable for
attempted murder. The court explained that:

It was no fault of Strokes that the crime was not committed. . . . It only became impossible by reason of
the extraneous circumstance that Lane did not go that way; and further, that he was arrested and
prevented from committing the murder. This rule of the law has application only where it is inherently
impossible to commit the crime. It has no application to a case where it becomes impossible for the
crime to be committed, either by outside interference or because of miscalculation as to a supposed
opportunity to commit the crime which fails to materialize; in short it has no application to the case
when the impossibility grows out of extraneous acts not within the control of the party.

In the case of Clark vs. State, 20 the court held defendant liable for attempted robbery even if there was
nothing to rob. In disposing of the case, the court quoted Mr. Justice Bishop, to wit:

It being an accepted truth that defendant deserves punishment by reason of his criminal intent, no one
can seriously doubt that the protection of the public requires the punishment to be administered,
equally whether in the unseen depths of the pocket, etc., what was supposed to exist was really present
or not. The community suffers from the mere alarm of crime. Again: Where the thing intended
(attempted) as a crime and what is done is a sort to create alarm, in other words, excite apprehension
that the evil; intention will be carried out, the incipient act which the law of attempt takes cognizance of
is in reason committed.

In State vs. Mitchell, defendant, with intent to kill, fired at the window of victim's room thinking that the
latter was inside. However, at that moment, the victim was in another part of the house. The court
convicted the accused of attempted murder.

The aforecited cases are the same cases which have been relied upon by Respondent to make this Court
sustain the judgment of attempted murder against Petitioner. However, we cannot rely upon these
decisions to resolve the issue at hand. There is a difference between the Philippine and the American
laws regarding the concept and appreciation of impossible crimes.

In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code, in Article 4(2), expressly provided for impossible crimes and
made the punishable. Whereas, in the United States, the Code of Crimes and Criminal Procedure is silent
regarding this matter. What it provided for were attempts of the crimes enumerated in the said Code.
Furthermore, in said jurisdiction, the impossibility of committing the offense is merely a defense to an
attempt charge. In this regard, commentators and the cases generally divide the impossibility defense
into two categories: legal versus factual impossibility. 22 In U.S. vs. Wilson 23 the Court held that:
. . . factual impossibility of the commission of the crime is not a defense. If the crime could have been
committed had the circumstances been as the defendant believed them to be, it is no defense that in
reality the crime was impossible of commission.

Legal impossibility, on the other hand, is a defense which can be invoked to avoid criminal liability for an
attempt. In U.S. vs. Berrigan, 24 the accused was indicated for attempting to smuggle letters into and
out of prison. The law governing the matter made the act criminal if done without knowledge and
consent of the warden. In this case, the offender intended to send a letter without the latter's
knowledge and consent and the act was performed. However, unknown to him, the transmittal was
achieved with the warden's knowledge and consent. The lower court held the accused liable for attempt
but the appellate court reversed. It held unacceptable the contention of the state that "elimination of
impossibility as a defense to a charge of criminal attempt, as suggested by the Model Penal Code and
the proposed federal legislation, is consistent with the overwhelming modern view". In disposing of this
contention, the Court held that the federal statutes did not contain such provision, and thus, following
the principle of legality, no person could be criminally liable for an act which was not made criminal by
law. Further, it said:

Congress has not yet enacted a law that provides that intent plus act plus conduct constitutes the
offense of attempt irrespective of legal impossibility until such time as such legislative changes in the
law take place, this court will not fashion a new non-statutory law of criminal attempt.

To restate, in the United States, where the offense sought to be committed is factually impossible or
accomplishment, the offender cannot escape criminal liability. He can be convicted of an attempt to
commit the substantive crime where the elements of attempt are satisfied. It appears, therefore, that
the act is penalized, not as an impossible crime, but as an attempt to commit a crime. On the other
hand, where the offense is legally impossible of accomplishment, the actor cannot be held liable for any
crime — neither for an attempt not for an impossible crime. The only reason for this is that in American
law, there is no such thing as an impossible crime. Instead, it only recognizes impossibility as a defense
to a crime charge — that is, attempt.

This is not true in the Philippines. In our jurisdiction, impossible crimes are recognized. The impossibility
of accomplishing the criminal intent is not merely a defense, but an act penalized by itself. Furthermore,
the phrase "inherent impossibility" that is found in Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code makes no
distinction between factual or physical impossibility and legal impossibility. Ubi lex non distinguit nec
nos distinguere debemos.

The factual situation in the case at bar present a physical impossibility which rendered the intended
crime impossible of accomplishment. And under Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, such
is sufficient to make the act an impossible crime.

To uphold the contention of respondent that the offense was Attempted Murder because the absence
of Palangpangan was a supervening cause independent of the actor's will, will render useless the
provision in Article 4, which makes a person criminally liable for an act "which would be an offense
against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment . . ." In that
case all circumstances which prevented the consummation of the offense will be treated as an accident
independent of the actor's will which is an element of attempted and frustrated felonies.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED. the petition is hereby GRANTED, the decision of respondent Court
of Appeals holding Petitioner guilty of Attempted Murder is hereby MODIFIED. We hereby hold
Petitioner guilty of an impossible crime as defined and penalized in Articles 4, paragraph 2, and 59 of the
Revised Penal Code, respectively. Having in mind the social danger and degree of criminality shown by
Petitioner, this Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, together
with the accessory penalties provided by the law, and to pay the costs.

SO ORDERED.
People vs Veneracion

249 SCRA 244

October 12, 1995

Facts

A seven-year-old girl was found dead in August of year 1994. Four alleged suspects were found guilty of
rape and homicide beyond reasonable doubt. Judge Veneracion, who was the presiding judge for that
case, refused to impose the death penalty to the four accused and instead he sentenced them to
reclusion perpetua. In accordance to the Revised Penal Code, under Article 335, crime of Rape and
Homicide are punishable by death however Judge Veneracion refused to act even when the city
prosecutor filed a motion to reconsider that the death penalty be imposed on four accused.

Issue:

Whether or not the defendant has the authority or the discretion to enforce a lesser penalty than what
was stated by law.

Ruling:

Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If judges, under the guise of
religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are
required by law to exercise the duties of their office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of
laws, not of men excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its
authority. Under this system, judges are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it
without fear or favor," 4 resist encroachments by governments, political parties, 5 or even the
interference of their own personal beliefs.

In the case at bench, respondent judge, after weighing the evidence of the prosecution and the
defendant at trial found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with
Homicide. Since the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime for which respondent judge
found the accused guilty was Republic Act No. 7659, he was bound by its provisions.

Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659 provides:

Sec. 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Art. 335.When and how rape is committed. — Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of
a woman under any of the following circumstances:

1. By using force or intimidation.

2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons,
the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the
victim has become insane, the penalty shall be death.

When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion
thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.

When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death. . . .

Clearly, under the law, the penalty imposable for the crime of Rape with Homicide is not Reclusion
Perpetua but Death. While Republic Act 7659 punishes cases of ordinary rape with the penalty of
Reclusion Perpetua, it allows judges the discretion — depending on the existence of circumstances
modifying the offense committed — to impose the penalty of either Reclusion Perpetua only in the
three instances mentioned therein. Rape with homicide is not one of these three instances. The law
plainly and unequivocably provides that "[w]hen by reason or on the occasion of rape, a homicide is
committed, the penalty shall be death." The provision leaves no room for the exercise of discretion on
the part of the trial judge to impose a penalty under the circumstances described, other than a sentence
of death.

We are aware of the trial judge's misgivings in imposing the death sentence because of his religious
convictions. While this Court sympathizes with his predicament, it is its bounden duty to emphasize that
a court of law is no place for a protracted debate on the morality or propriety of the sentence, where
the law itself provides for the sentence of death as a penalty in specific and well-defined instances. The
discomfort faced by those forced by law to impose the death penalty is an ancient one, but it is a matter
upon which judges have no choice. Courts are not concerned with the wisdom, efficacy or morality of
laws. In People vs. Limaco we held that:

[W]hen . . . private opinions not only form part of their decision but constitute a decisive factor in
arriving at a conclusion and determination of a case or the penalty imposed, resulting in an illegality and
reversible error, then we are constrained to state our opinion, not only to correct the error but for the
guidance of the courts. We have no quarrel with the trial judge or with anyone else, layman or jurist as
to the wisdom or folly of the death penalty. Today there are quite a number of people who honestly
believe that the supreme penalty is either morally wrong or unwise or ineffective. However, as long as
that penalty remains in the statute books, and as long as our criminal law provides for its imposition in
certain cases, it is the duty of judicial officers to respect and apply the law regardless of their private
opinions. It is a well settled rule that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, efficacy or morality
of laws. That question falls exclusively within the province of the Legislature which enacts them and the
Chief Executive who approves or vetoes them. The only function of the judiciary is to interpret the laws
and, if not in disharmony with the Constitution, to apply them. And for the guidance of the members of
the judiciary we feel it incumbent upon us to state that while they as citizens or as judges may regard a
certain law as harsh, unwise or morally wrong, and may recommend to the authority or department
concerned, its amendment, modification, or repeal, still, as long as said law is in force, they must apply it
and give it effect as decreed by the law-making body. 8

Finally, the Rules of Court mandates that after an adjudication of guilt, the judge should impose "the
proper penalty and civil liability provided for by the law on the accused." 9 This is not a case of a
magistrate ignorant of the law. This is a case in which a judge, fully aware of the appropriate provisions
of the law, refuses to impose a penalty to which he disagrees. In so doing, respondent judge acted
without or in excess of his jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack of
jurisdiction in imposing the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua where the law clearly imposes the penalty of
Death.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is GRANTED. The case is hereby REMANDED
to the Regional Trial Court for the imposition of the penalty of death upon private respondents in
consonance with respondent judge's finding that the private respondents in the instant case had
committed the crime of Rape with Homicide under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, subject to automatic review by this Court of the decision
imposing the death penalty.

SO ORDERED.
People vs. Barra,

July 10, 2013

Facts:

Barra while armed with a firearm, after gaining entrance into the residence of his victim, with
intent to gain, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously take and steal money from Elmer Lagdaan y Azur; that on the occasion of the said robbery
and for the purpose of enabling him to take and steal the money, the herein accused, with intent to kill,
did then and there feloniously shoot said Elmer Lagdaan, thereby inflicting upon him gunshot wound
which caused his death, to the prejudice of his heirs. On arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty.
Ricardo de la Peña testified that he saw appellant enter the house of Lagdaan, which was lit with a lamp,
and poked a gun to the victim’s right forehead and demanded money. When the victim stated that the
money was not in his possession, appellant shot him. He went home and reported the incident the
following morning. Ely Asor testified he saw appellant in the yard of the victim’s house. He inquired from
appellant if the victim was around. Appellant responded that the victim was not around. Asor went
home. It was while Asor was in his house that he heard a gunshot. It was the following morning that he
learned that the victim died. Asor then proceeded to report the incident. In his defense, appellant
denied the charges against him. The RTC, after taking into consideration all the evidence presented,
found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide. However, on
appeal, the Court of Appeals only found appellant guilty of attempted robbery with homicide.

Issue:

Whether Barra committed robbery and homicide?

Ruling:

In the case before us, appellant’s intention was to extort money from the victim. By reason of
the victim’s refusal to give up his personal property - his money - to appellant, the victim was shot in the
head, causing his death. We, however, agree with the Court of Appeals that the element of taking was
not complete, making the crime one of attempted robbery with homicide as opposed to the crime
appellant was convicted in the RTC. Appellant is, therefore, liable under Article 297 of the Revised Penal
Code, not under Article 294 as originally held by the RTC. Article 297 of the Revised Penal Code states:

Article 297. Attempted and frustrated robbery committed under certain circumstances. —
When by reason or on occasion of an attempted or frustrated robbery a homicide is committed, the
person guilty of such offenses shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to
reclusion perpetua, unless the homicide committed shall deserve a higher penalty under the provisions
of this Code.

The elements to be convicted under Article 297 were discussed in People v. Macabales, to wit:

The elements of Robbery with Homicide as defined in Art. 297 of the Revised Penal Code are:

(1) There is an attempted or frustrated robbery.

(2) A homicide is committed.
In the present case, the crime of robbery remained unconsummated because the victim refused to give
his money to appellant and no personal property was shown to have been taken. It was for this reason
that the victim was shot. Appellant can only be found guilty of attempted robbery with homicide, thus
punishable under Article 297 of the Revised Penal Code. Since the RTC and the Court of Appeals found
appellant’s crime to be aggravated by disregard of dwelling, the Court of Appeals correctly imposed the
maximum penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Anent the awards of damages by the Court of Appeals, after a careful review of existing rules and recent
jurisprudence, we find the same to be in order and need not be disturbed. However, in conformity with
current policy, we impose on all the monetary awards for damages interest at the legal rate of 6% per
annum from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, the February 11, 2011 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04155 is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the amount of exemplary damages shall be increased to P30,000.00
and all monetary awards for damages shall earn interest at the legal rate of 6% per annum from date of
finality of this Decision until fully paid.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
People vs. Royeras

56 SCRA 666

April 29, 1974

Facts:

Eufrosina Almaden, married, reported to the authorities that she was raped through a sworn statement
affirming the following events: That at around nine o'clock in the morning of October 2, 1967, she was
on her way to her newly constructed house about half a kilometer from her old house when she was
grabbed by Francisco Royeras, a criminal who had killed a person before. He seized her hands and
forcibly managed to bring her to a river bank 5 meters away. Royeras, while pointing a bolo at her and
threatening to kill her, he held his penis and inserted it to her organ. Eufrosina, being a married woman
knew that there was a penetration of her organ.

Eufrosina was later examined by Dr. Arcadio Galapon who affirmed that the results showed that her
vaginal smear was negative for sperm cells hence, ejaculation may have occurred when the penis had
already been pulled out of the organ. He also did not find any external signs of violence and the perineal
examination did not reveal any lacerations and thus, he could not tell whether there was sexual
intercourse because Eufrosina is a married woman and the entry of the penis into her vagina would not
cause any laceration.

Eufrosina filed a complaint for rape against Royeras before the Court of First Instance of Leyte. Royeras
denied the rape charge.The CFI of Leyte nevertheless, convicted him of rape. Hence, this appeal.

Issue:

Whether or not the act performed by Royeras constitutes frustrated rape there being no conclusive
evidence of penetration of the genital organ of the offended party.

Ruling:

We agree with the trial court's finding that the prosecution's evidence is more credible than that
of the defense. Appellant Royeras' version has the flavor of a cock-and-bull story that is difficult to
swallow. Eufrosina's father-in-law lived at a distance of only ten meters from her house. That
circumstance alone would have precluded her from daring to indulge in adulterous relations with
Royeras in the reckless manner recounted by him.

The inveracity of appellant's version was aggravated by the prevarications of Gaudiosa Royeras,
a forty-seven year old housewife who at first denied that she was related to Francisco Royeras who later
admitted that the latter, whose real surname is Buyo, is the nephew of the witness' husband, Emeterio
Royeras. Gaudiosa does not know the difference between two and three.

She brashly claimed to have seen Eufrosina and Royeras drinking tuba on October 2, 1967 and to
have heard her father-in-law shouting "salbaje ka" to Royeras when he jumped out of the window of
Eufrosina's house. The other incidents narrated by Gaudiosa Royeras are so obviously fabricated that
the trial judge told her, before she left the witness stand, that she should tell the truth, that she was not
sincere to the court and that she could be sent to jail for having lied.
In this appeal, Royeras contends that the trial court erred in disregarding the testimony of
Doctor Galapon and in not giving any probative value to the medical certificate that the vaginal smear
was negative for sperm cells (Exhs. A, 2).

The doctor did not testify that no rape was committed. What he affirmed was that he could not
tell whether there was sexual intercourse because Eufrosina is a married woman and the entry of the
penis into her vagina would not cause any laceration.

The absence of sperm cells in the vagina is explained by the circumstance that the ejaculation
occurred when the penis had already been pulled out. That is why semen was found on Eufrosina's
thighs. Ejaculation inside the vagina is not a requisite for the consummation of rape. Mere entry of the
male organ into the female organ consummates the rape. (People vs. Canastre, 82 Phil. 480; People vs.
Oscar, 48 Phil, 527). Such entry was proven in this case.

Royeras contends that the trial court erred in basing its judgment on the uncorroborated
testimony of the complainant. That contention has no merit. Her testimony appears to be veracious.
When a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that
rape has been committed. If the testimony is not improbable, the defendant may be convicted on the
basis of such uncorroborated testimony (U. S. vs. Ramos, 1 Phil. 81; People vs. Dazo and Tingzon 58 Phil.
420).

A meticulous and thoughtful review of the evidence drives home the conclusion that appellant's
guilt, was established beyond reasonable doubt. The Court is convinced that the rape charge was not
fabricated. The conduct of the complainant after the incident shows that she had suffered a grievous
wrong in the hands of Royeras. Aside from the force used against her by Royeras and the threat to kill,
the emotional factor that facilitated the consummation of the rape was the circumstance that he had
already killed a man. The victim surmised that he was capable of killing her if she did not submit to his
lustful desire.

The complaint and information do not qualify the rape as having been committed with the use
of a deadly weapon. The penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court is in accordance with
article 335 of Revised Penal Code.

WHEREFORE, the trial courts judgment is affirmed with the modification that the indemnity should be
raised to five thousand pesos. Costs against the appellant.

SO ORDERED.
De Guzman vs People

G.R. No. 178512

November 26, 2014

FACTS:

The case is a petition for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals dated September 27,
2006 whereby the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of Alfredo De Guzman for frustrated
homicide committed against Alexander Flojo under the judgment rendered on September 10, 2003 by
the Regional Trial Court in Mandaluyong City.

There are two versions of the parties. First is the version of Alexander Flojo wherein the victim
was fetching water below his rented house at about ten o’clock in the evening when the petitioner hit
his nape causing the former to be obligated to go upstairs and fetch the water later on. At about 12:00
to 12:15, the victim went down to continue fetching water and while he was pouring water into a
container, the petitioner stabbed him on his left face and chest. The victim was seen by his son-in-law,
Cirilino Bantaya, bleeding and begging for help so the Cirilino loaded the victim to his motorcycle and
brought him to the hospital, an act that helped the victim survive.

Second is the version of Alfredo De Guzman. The petitioner denied having stabbed the victim.
The former claims that at around midnight on December 25, 1997, he accidentally hit the back of the
victim while he was fixing his motorcycle. This caused Alexander to throw invective words against the
petitioner causing the fistfight ensued between them. Alfredo hit Alexander on the cheek causing blood
to ooze from the victim’s face.

On the petitioner’s appeal, he claimed that he did not inflict the stab wounds insisting that
another person could have inflicted such wounds and that he had caused only slight physical injuries.

ISSUE:

Whether the petitioner should be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of frustrated homicide

RULING:

The appeal lacks merit.

The elements of frustrated homicide are: (1) the accused intended to kill his victim, as
manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault; (2) the victim sustained fatal or mortal wound
but did not die because of timely medical assistance; and (3) none of the qualifying circumstances for
murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code , as amended, is present.7 Inasmuch as the trial and
appellate courts found none of the qualifying circumstances in murder under Article 248 to be present,
we immediately proceed to ascertain the presence of the two other elements.

The petitioner adamantly denies that intent to kill was present during the fistfight between him
and Alexander. He claims that the heightened emotions during the fistfight naturally emboldened both
of them, but he maintains that he only inflicted minor abrasions on Alexander, not the stab wounds that
he appeared to have sustained. Hence, he should be held liable only for serious physical injuries because
the intent to kill, the necessary element to characterize the crime as homicide, was not sufficiently
established. He avers that such intent to kill is the main element that distinguishes the crime of physical
injuries from the crime of homicide; and that the crime is homicide only if the intent to kill is
competently shown.

The essential element in frustrated or attempted homicide is the intent of the offender to kill
the victim immediately before or simultaneously with the infliction of injuries. Intent to kill is a specific
intent that the State must allege in the information, and then prove by either direct or circumstantial
evidence, as differentiated from a general criminal intent, which is presumed from the commission of a
felony by dolo.8 Intent to kill, being a state of mind, is discerned by the courts only through external
manifestations, i.e., the acts and conduct of the accused at the time of the assault and immediately
thereafter. In Rivera v. People,9 we considered the following factors to determine the presence of intent
to kill, namely: (1) the means used by the malefactors; (2) the nature, location, and number of wounds
sustained by the victim; (3) the conduct of the malefactors before, during, or immediately after the
killing of the victim; and (4) the circumstances under which the crime was committed and the motives of
the accused. We have also considered as determinative factors the motive of the offender and the
words he uttered at the time of inflicting the injuries on the victim.

Here, both the trial and the appellate court agreed that intent to kill was present. We concur
with them. Contrary to the petitioner’s submission, the wounds sustained by Alexander were not mere
scuffmarks inflicted in the heat of anger or as the result of a fistfight between them. The petitioner
wielded and used a knife in his assault on Alexander. The medical records indicate, indeed, that
Alexander sustained two stab wounds, specifically, one on his upper left chest and the other on the left
side of his face. The petitioner’s attack was unprovoked with the knife used therein causing such
wounds, thereby belying his submission, and firmly proving the presence of intent to kill. There is also to
be no doubt about the wound on Alexander’s chest being sufficient to result into his death were it not
for the timely medical intervention.

With the State having thereby shown that the petitioner already performed all the acts of
execution that should produce the felony of homicide as a consequence, but did not produce it by
reason of causes independent of his will, i.e., the timely medical attention accorded to Alexander, he
was properly found guilty of frustrated homicide.

We have no cogent reason to deviate from or to disregard the findings of the trial and appellate
courts on the credibility of Alexander’s testimony. It is not disputed that the testimony of a single but
credible and trustworthy witness sufficed to support the conviction of the petitioner. This guideline finds
more compelling application when the lone witness is the victim himself whose direct and positive
identification of his assailant is almost always regarded with indubitable credibility, owing to the natural
tendency of the victim to seek justice for himself, and thus strive to remember the face of his assailant
and to recall the manner in which the latter committed the crime.11 Moreover, it is significant that the
petitioner’s mere denial of the deadly manner of his attack was contradicted by the credible physical
evidence corroborating Alexander’s statements. Under the circumstances, we can only affirm the
petitioner’s conviction for frustrated homicide.

The affirmance of the conviction notwithstanding, we find the indeterminate penalty of “Six (6)
Months and One (1) day of PRISION CORR[R]ECCIONAL as MINIMUM to Six (6) Years and One (1) day of
PRISION MAYOR as MAXIMUM ”12 fixed by the RTC erroneous despite the CA concurring with the trial
court thereon. Under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, an indeterminate sentence is
imposed on the offender consisting of a maximum term and a minimum term.13 The maximum term is
the penalty properly imposed under the Revised Penal Code after considering any attending modifying
circumstances; while the minimum term is within the range of the penalty next lower than that
prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense committed. Conformably with Article 50 of the
Revised Penal Code,14 frustrated homicide is punished by prision mayor, which is next lower to
reclusion temporal, the penalty for homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. There being
no aggravating or mitigating circumstances present, however, prision mayor in its medium period – from
eight years and one day to 10 years – is proper. As can be seen, the maximum of six years and one day
of prision mayor as fixed by the RTC and affirmed by the CA was not within the medium period of prision
mayor. Accordingly, the correct indeterminate sentence is four years of prision correccional, as the
minimum, to eight years and one day of prision mayor, as the maximum.

The RTC and the CA also agreed on limiting the civil liability to the sum of P14,170.35 as
compensatory damages “representing the actual pecuniary loss suffered by [Alexander] as he has duly
proven.”15 We need to revise such civil liability in order to conform to the law, the Rules of Court and
relevant jurisprudence. In Bacolod v. People,16 we emphatically declared to be “imperative that the
courts prescribe the proper penalties when convicting the accused, and determine the civil liability to be
imposed on the accused, unless there has been a reservation of the action to recover civil liability or a
waiver of its recovery.” We explained why in the following manner:

It is not amiss to stress that both the RTC and the CA disregarded their express mandate under
Section 2, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court to have the judgment, if it was of conviction, state: “(1) the
legal qualification of the offense constituted by the acts committed by the accused and the aggravating
or mitigating circumstances which attended its commission; (2) the participation of the accused in the
offense, whether as principal, accomplice, or accessory after the fact; (3) the penalty imposed upon the
accused; and (4) the civil liability or damages caused by his wrongful act or omission to be recovered
from the accused by the offended party, if there is any, unless the enforcement of the civil liability by a
separate civil action has been reserved or waived.” Their disregard compels us to act as we now do lest
the Court be unreasonably seen as tolerant of their omission. That the Spouses Cogtas did not
themselves seek the correction of the omission by an appeal is no hindrance to this action because the
Court, as the final reviewing tribunal, has not only the authority but also the duty to correct at any time
a matter of law and justice.

We also pointedly remind all trial and appellate courts to avoid omitting reliefs that the parties
are properly entitled to by law or in equity under the established facts. Their judgments will not be
worthy of the name unless they thereby fully determine the rights and obligations of the litigants. It
cannot be otherwise, for only by a full determination of such rights and obligations would they be true
to the judicial office of administering justice and equity for all. Courts should then be alert and cautious
in their rendition of judgments of conviction in criminal cases. They should prescribe the legal penalties,
which is what the Constitution and the law require and expect them to do. Their prescription of the
wrong penalties will be invalid and ineffectual for being done without jurisdiction or in manifest grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. They should also determine and set the civil
liability ex delicto of the accused, in order to do justice to the complaining victims who are always
entitled to them. The Rules of Court mandates them to do so unless the enforcement of the civil liability
by separate actions has been reserved or waived.17

Alexander as the victim in frustrated homicide suffered moral injuries because the offender
committed violence that nearly took away the victim’s life. “Moral damages include physical suffering,
mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be
recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act for omission.”18 Indeed,
Article 2219, (1), of the Civil Code expressly recognizes the right of the victim in crimes resulting in
physical injuries.19 Towards that end, the Court, upon its appreciation of the records, decrees that
P30,000.00 is a reasonable award of moral damages.20 In addition, AAA was entitled to recover civil
indemnity of P30,000.00.21 Both of these awards did not require allegation and proof.

In addition, the amounts awarded as civil liability of the petitioner shall earn interest of 6% per annum
reckoned from the finality of this decision until full payment by the accused.

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on September 27, 2006 finding petitioner
Alfredo De Guzman, Jr. GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE, and SENTENCES
him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four years of prision correccional, as the minimum, to eight
years and one day of prision mayor, as the maximum; ORDERS the petitioner to pay to Alexander Flojo
civil indemnity of P30,000.00; moral damages of P30,000.00; and compensatory damages of P14,170.35,
plus interest of 6% per annum on all such awards from the finality of this decision until full payment; and
DIRECTS the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.
People vs. Carandang, et.al.,

GR No. 175926

July 6, 2011

Facts:

In the afternoon of April 5, 2001, the drug enforcement unit of La Loma Police Station received a request
for assistance from the sister of accused Milan regarding a drug deal about to take place in their house.
The station commander delegated tasks to interrogate the sister of Milan and to proceed to the house in
Calavite Street. At around 4:00pm, the police went to the house and declared their presence. In the
house were the accused Henry Milan, Jackman Chua and Restituto Carandang. Upon hearing the police
arrival, Milan shut the door. PO2 Alonzo and SPO2 Red pushed the door open. Suddenly gunshots were
fired by Carandang which hit Alonzo and Red. SPO1 Monteclavo was likewise hit but was only injured.
Chua uttered to Milan “Sugurin mo na!”. Reinforcements came at 4:30 pm. Negotiations ensued. Milan
was brought to the hospital together with Monteclavo. Chua and Carandang remained in the house for
several hours.

Carandang claims that he had no firearm during the incident and that he was only in the house of Milan
to talk about his cellphone’s SIM card. According to him, it was the police officers who fired all the shots.

P/Sr. Insp. Grace Eustaquio, Forensic Chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory, later testified that the
paraffin test on Chua yielded a negative result for gunpowder nitrates, but that performed on
Carandang produced a positive result. She was not able to conduct a paraffin test on Milan, who just
came from the operating room when she saw him.

Issue:

Whether or not there was conspiracy among the appellants in the present case.

Ruling:

In the case at bar, the conclusion that Milan and Chua conspired with Carandang was
established by their acts (1) before Carandang shot the victims (Milans closing the door when the police
officers introduced themselves, allowing Carandang to wait in ambush), and (2) after the shooting
(Chuas directive to Milan to attack SPO1 Montecalvo and Milans following such instruction). Contrary to
the suppositions of appellants, these facts are not meant to prove that Chua is a principal by
inducement, or that Milans act of attacking SPO1 Montecalvo was what made him a principal by direct
participation. Instead, these facts are convincing circumstantial evidence of the unity of purpose in the
minds of the three. As co-conspirators, all three are considered principals by direct participation.
Appellants attempt to instill doubts in our minds that Chua shouted sugurin mo na to Milan,
who then ran towards SPO1 Montecalvo, must fail. SPO1 Estoress positive testimony[44] on this matter
prevails over the plain denials of Milan and Chua. SPO1 Estores has no reason to lie about the events he
witnessed on April 5, 2001. As part of the team that was attacked on that day, it could even be expected
that he is interested in having only the real perpetrators punished.

Furthermore, we have time and again ruled that factual findings of the trial court, especially
those affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are conclusive on this Court when supported by the evidence on
record.[45] It was the trial court that was able to observe the demeanors of the witnesses, and is
consequently in a better position to determine which of the witnesses are telling the truth. Thus, this
Court, as a general rule, would not review the factual findings of the courts a quo, except in certain
instances such as when: (1) the conclusion is grounded on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (2) the
inference is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) there is no
citation of specific evidence on which the factual findings are based; (7) the finding of absence of facts is
contradicted by the presence of evidence on record; (8) the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary
to the findings of the trial court; (9) the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant and
undisputed facts that, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; (10) the findings of
the Court of Appeals are beyond the issues of the case; and (11) such findings are contrary to the
admissions of both parties.[46]

Neither can the rapid turn of events be considered to negate a finding of conspiracy. Unlike
evident premeditation, there is no requirement for conspiracy to exist that there be a sufficient period
of time to elapse to afford full opportunity for meditation and reflection. Instead, conspiracy arises on
the very moment the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the subject felony.[47]

As held by the trial court and the Court of Appeals, Milans act of closing the door facilitated the
commission of the crime, allowing Carandang to wait in ambush. The sudden gunshots when the police
officers pushed the door open illustrate the intention of appellants and Carandang to prevent any
chance for the police officers to defend themselves. Treachery is thus present in the case at bar, as what
is decisive for this qualifying circumstance is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the
victims to defend themselves or to retaliate.[48]

The trial court correctly sentenced appellants to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua in
Criminal Case Nos. Q-01-100061 and Q-01-100062. The penalty for murder under Article 248[49] of the
Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua to death. Applying Article 63[50] of the same Code, since there
was no other modifying circumstance other than the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the penalty
that should be imposed is reclusion perpetua.

In Criminal Case No. Q-01-100063, the Court of Appeals correctly modified the penalty for the
frustrated murder of SPO1 Montecalvo. Under Article 50[51] in connection with Article 61, paragraph
2[52] of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for frustrated murder is one degree lower than reclusion
perpetua to death, which is reclusion temporal. Reclusion temporal has a range of 12 years and 1 day to
20 years. Its medium period, which should be applied in this case considering that there is no modifying
circumstance other than the qualifying circumstance of treachery, is 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17
years and 4 months the range of the maximum term of the indeterminate penalty under Section 1[53] of
the Indeterminate Sentence Law. The minimum term of the indeterminate penalty should then be
within the range of the penalty next lower to reclusion temporal, and thus may be any term within
prision mayor, the range of which is 6 years and 1 day to 12 years. The modified term of 6 years and 1
day of prision mayor as minimum, to 14 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as maximum, is
within these ranges.

The civil liabilities of appellants should, however, be modified in accordance with current
jurisprudence. Thus, in Criminal Case Nos. Q-01-100061 and Q-01-100062, the award of P50,000.00 as
civil indemnity for each victim must be increased to P75,000.00.[54] In cases of murder and homicide,
civil indemnity of P75,000.00 and moral damages of P50,000.00 are awarded automatically, without
need of allegation and proof other than the death of the victim.[55] Appellants are furthermore
solidarily liable to each victim for P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, which is awarded when the crime
was committed with an aggravating circumstance, be it generic or qualifying.[56] However, since
Carandang did not appeal, he is only solidarily liable with Milan and Chua with respect to the amounts
awarded by the Court of Appeals, since the Court of Appeals Decision has become final and executory
with respect to him. The additional amounts (P25,000.00 as civil indemnity and P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages) shall be borne only by Milan and Chua, who are hereby held liable therefor solidarily.

In Criminal Case No. Q-01-100063, the solidary liability of Milan and Chua for moral damages to
SPO1 Wilfredo Montecalvo is likewise increased to P40,000.00, in accordance with prevailing
jurisprudence.[57] An award of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages is also warranted.[58] The additional
amounts (P20,000.00 as moral damages and P20,000.00 as exemplary damages) are likewise to be
solidarily borne only by Milan and Chua.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01934 dated May 10, 2006 is
hereby AFFIRMED, with the following MODIFICATIONS:

1. In Criminal Case Nos. Q-01-100061 and Q-01-100062, appellants Henry Milan and Jackman
Chua are held solidarily liable for the amount of P25,000.00 as civil indemnity and P30,000.00 as
exemplary damages to the heirs of each of the victims, PO2 Dionisio S. Alonzo and SPO2 Wilfredo P. Red,
in addition to the amounts to which they are solidarily liable with Restituto Carandang as held in CA-G.R.
CR.-H.C. No. 01934. Thus, to summarize the rulings of the lower courts and this Court:

a. The heirs of SPO2 Wilfredo Red are entitled to the following amounts:

i. P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 of which shall be solidarily borne by Carandang,
Milan and Chua, while P25,000.00 shall be the solidary liability of Milan and Chua only;

ii. P50,000.00 as moral damages to be solidarily borne by Carandang, Milan and Chua;

iii. P149,734.00 as actual damages to be soldarily borne by Carandang, Milan and Chua;

iv. P2,140,980.00 as indemnity for loss of earning capacity to be solidarily borne by
Carandang, Milan and Chua; and

v. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages to be solidarily borne by Milan and Chua only;

b. The heirs of PO2 Dionisio Alonzo are entitled to the following amounts:

i. P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 of which shall be solidarily borne by
Carandang, Milan and Chua, while P25,000.00 shall be the solidary liability of Milan and Chua only;
ii. P50,000.00 as moral damages to be solidarily borne by Carandang, Milan and Chua;

iii. P139,910.00 as actual damages to be solidarily borne by Carandang, Milan and
Chua;

iv. P2,269,243.62 as indemnity for loss of earning capacity to be solidarily borne by
Carandang, Milan and Chua;

v. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages to be solidarily borne by Milan and Chua only;

2. In Criminal Case No. Q-01-100063, appellants Henry Milan and Jackman Chua are held
solidarily liable for the amount of P20,000.00 as moral damages and P20,000.00 as exemplary damages
to SPO1 Wilfredo Montecalvo, in addition to the amounts to which they are solidarily liable with
Restituto Carandang as held in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01934. Thus, to summarize the rulings of the lower
courts and this Court, SPO1 Wilfredo Montecalvo is entitled to the following amounts:

i. P14,000.00 as actual damages to be solidarily borne by Carandang, Milan and Chua;

ii. P40,000.00 as moral damages, P20,000.00 of which shall be solidarily borne by
Carandang, Milan and Chua, while P20,000.00 shall be the solidary liability of Milan and Chua only;

iii. P20,000.00 as exemplary damages to be solidarily borne by Milan and Chua only;
and

iv. P20,000.00 as reasonable attorneys fees, to be solidarily borne by Carandang, Milan
and Chua.

3. Appellants are further ordered to pay interest on all damages awarded at the legal rate of
Six Percent (6%) per annum from date of finality of this judgment.

SO ORDERED.
People of the Philippines vs Romeo Tuson

G.R. No. 106345-46

September 16, 1996

Facts:

Sometime in October 1990 accused-appellant Romeo Tuson and his first cousin, Loreto Villarin
were engaged in a fight over gambling matters. The brothers Loreto and Ceferino Villarin were drunk
from a party when Loreto was shot in the neck by the accused thereafter shooting his brother in the
face while trying to rescue him. Tucson fled after the incident.

With the timely medical assistance rendered by Dr. Marida Arend Arugay of the East Avenue
Medical Center, Ceferino’s life was saved; but Loreto was declared dead.The accused claims he shot the
brothers in self-defense. Hence, he admitted that he went hiding for nine days before surrendering to
the police on October 20, 1990.

Romeo Tuson was charged with murder and frustrated murder before the Regional Trial Court
of Quezon City, Branch 88. The RTC finds accused Romeo Tuson guilty of the crime charged.

Issue:

Whether or not the trial court erred in not appreciating in his favor the justifying circumstance
of self-defense?

Ruling:

In the course of the trial, the court below found out that, not only was the evidence of the
defense weak, but that the prosecutions was sufficient to support the charges against the accused.

Tuson admitted having shot the brothers Villarin, albeit in self-defense. For such a defense to be
appreciated in favor of the accused, the trial court must be satisfied that the three elements necessary
to justify the acts complained of attended their commission. First, there must be unlawful aggression on
the part of the victim. Second, the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression must be
reasonably necessary. Finally, the person defending himself must not have provoked the victim into
committing the act of aggression.[7]

As correctly found by the trial court, there was no unlawful aggression in this case. The victims
allegedly shouted threats and banged on the door of Tuson, but these acts hardly constitute unlawful
aggression considering that the latter was within the security of his home, which was surrounded by
neighbors who also happened to be close relatives. By Tusons own account, Loreto barged into their
house and commanded him to stand up, which is far from threatening. The peril feared could have
emanated only from the firearm which Loreto allegedly carried at the time, and yet, this too was vague,
even on the basis of Tusons testimony. He said that when he approached Loreto, Ceferino who was
outside shouted he has a gun.[8] It does not make sense for Ceferino to announce to their intended
victim that they had a gun. It would seem more plausible that Ceferino uttered the statement as a
warning to his brother.
With the finding of absence of unlawful aggression, the crimes charged can never be justified,
for there is nothing to prevent or repel even if there is lack of sufficient provocation on the part of
Tuson. To make matters worse, he fled immediately after the incident and went into hiding for more
than a week. These could not possibly be the actuations of a man claiming to be innocent of any
wrongdoing. To do so under the pretext of fear of retribution from other members of the victims
family[9] would not only be craven but also irrational, considering that his wife and two children were
left behind.

The evidence for the prosecution, on the other hand, is solid and convincing. Ceferino was not
only an eyewitness to the slaying of his brother Loreto but was himself a victim. His narration of the
circumstances surrounding the shooting is supported by the separate testimonies of their wives and
nephew. While it is true that they were tipsy on the night in question, he denied that they went to
Tusons house and shouted there. In fact, Loreto was simply in his underwear,[10] ready to sleep, when
nature called. The U-shaped construction of their so-called compound, with the common toilet adjacent
to Romeos house directly opposite Loretos, required anyone waiting to use the lavatory to pass Tusons
house.[11] When Loreto thus passed his cousins shanty which was elevated like the rest, Tuson, who
was standing by the door, suddenly and without provocation shot him at near-point-blank range.

Hernani Villeta, Evelyn Villarin, and Rosalinda Villarin, heard this first shot. Hernani and Evelyn
immediately rushed out to investigate the matter just in time to see Tuson shooting Ceferino as Loreto
lay sprawled on the ground. The bullets which were fired at Loreto and Ceferino had downward
trajectories which conformed with the relative positions of the assailant and his targets at the time of
shooting. The congruence between the testimonial and the physical evidence leads to the inevitable
conclusion that the witnesses for the prosecution were the ones telling the truth.

Finally, it must be determined if the crimes committed were indeed murder and frustrated
murder. The trial court considered treachery as the sole qualifying circumstance, contrary to accused-
appellants claim that the court also included nocturnity. From the prosecutions evidence, it appears that
Loreto was totally unarmed and half-dressed when unexpectedly shot by Tuson from the door of his
elevated house. A little while later, the latter shouted Ikaw pa! then shot Ceferino who was likewise
unarmed. Proof of intent to kill is evident in the way Loreto was shot in the neck and Ceferino in the
face. Only timely medical attention spared Ceferinos life.

For treachery to be considered against the accused, two conditions must concur, namely, that
the means, methods, and forms of execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to
defend himself or to retaliate, and that such means, methods, and forms of execution were deliberately
and consciously adopted by the accused[12] without danger to his person. These two requisites were
evidently present in the instant case. The suddenness of the attack against the unarmed victims clearly
indicate treachery.

The Court notes, however that the court a quo imposed an erroneous indeterminate sentence
with regard to Criminal Case No. Q-90-15934. Accordingly, the judgment of conviction appealed from is
hereby modified as follows:

WHEREFORE premises considered, this Court finds accused ROMEO TUSON Y JABIDO GUILTY of the
crime charged in the two (2) informations, and hereby sentences him to suffer a penalty of reclusion
perpetua for the murder of Loreto Villarin in Criminal Case No. Q-90-15933, the death penalty having
been abolished, and imprisonment of ten (10) years of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17)
years and four months of reclusion temporal as maximum for the frustrated murder of Ceferino Villarin
in Criminal Case No. Q-90-15934; to pay the heirs of deceased LORETO VILLARIN, in the amount of
P8,900.00 for burial expense, P30,000.00 for actual and moral damages and P50,000.00 as indemnity for
the death; and to Ceferino Villarin the amount of P15,000.00 for moral damages, and to pay the cost.

SO ORDERED.

WHEREFORE, except for the modification above as to the penalty imposed, the decision appealed from
is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
People v. Florague

G.R. No. 134779

July 6, 2001

Facts:

On August 13, 1995 at Brgy. Gana, La Union, accused-appellant Herson Florague Estalilla,
together with accused Christopher Florague and Leonardo Alcantara, conspiring, confederating, and
mutually helping one another, with deliberate intent to kill, with treachery and abuse of superior
strength did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot one Egilberto
Estalilla with the use of caliber .38 handgun inflicting upon him gunshot wounds which directly caused
his death, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the victim.

This is an appeal from the Decision of the RTC Branch 67, La Union, insofar as it finds accused-appellant
Herson Florague Estalilla guilty of murder and sentences him to suffer the penalty reclusion perpetua
and to indemnify the heirs of the victim, in the amount of 400,000.

Issue:

Whether or not the the justifying circumstance of self-defense be given credence in this case

Ruling:

The lower court erred in convicting the accused based on flimsy circumstantial evidence.

First. Accused-appellant admitted that he was responsible for the shooting of Egilberto Estalilla,
but claimed that the gun went off and hit the victim as he and the latter grappled for possession of the
firearm which allegedly belonged to accused-appellant. As accused-appellant thus invokes self-defense,
the burden of proof is on him to show by clear and convincing evidence (1) that he was not the unlawful
aggressor; (2) that there was lack of sufficient provocation on his part; and (3) that he employed
reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression. Proof of unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim is indispensable since the theory of self-defense is based on the necessity on the part of the
person being attacked to prevent or repel the aggression.

In this case, there is doubt that the victim was the aggressor inasmuch as no reliable evidence
was presented by the defense to prove that the victims gun was returned to him after he turned
over the same to Nick Tirado.

On the other hand, we have time and again held that appellate courts accord the highest
respect to the assessment made by the trial court on the credibility of witnesses because of its
unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct,
and attitude under grueling examination. In this case, the trial court found:

Summing up the testimony of accused Herson Florague, the Court gathers that he tried to
establish self-defense without directly admitting that he caused the eventual death of the victim
after a brief altercation. However, he failed to satisfy this Court of his defense.
The Supreme Court has time and again enunciated that for self-defense to prosper, the evidence
must be persuasive (People v. Eduarte, 187 SCRA 291). Likewise, it must be positively shown
that there was a previous unlawful and unprovoked attack on the person of the accused that
placed him in danger, thereby forcing him to repel the attack and to inflict more or less severe
wounds upon his assailant employing reasonable means therefor to resist the same (People v.
Madali, 188 SCRA 69). Although he claims that the victim went to his house and immediately
shot at him two (2) times but did not hit him, there is an indication that the victim did not intend
to shoot him to death. This is evidenced by the fact that the victim had a chance to kill Herson
when he poked the gun at Hersons forehead but he did not do so. This may be due to the fact
that the victim only wanted to scare the accused but had no real intention to kill the latter.
Likewise, witness for the defense Flordeliza Florague, sister of the accused, stated that when she
saw Gilbert holding his gun, it was pointed downward. This Court is not convinced by the
testimony of the witness that the gun went off during the scuffle after Herson managed to twist
the victims arm towards his back and then he ran away. This does not explain the three (3)
gunshot wounds suffered by the victim all inflicted on his back and the fact that the victim was
found sprawled in the west shoulder of the National Highway, some meters away from the place
where the scuffle took place. Moreover, as testified by the doctor who conducted the autopsy,
the victim could have fallen down immediately after the first shot was fired because it would
have mortally wounded the victim. In addition, the accused immediately took flight indicating
that he is guilty of the offense charged. His act of surrendering to the police authorities after he
found out about the criminal charge only has the effect of reducing the imposable penalty.

It is settled that unless the trial judge overlooked certain facts of substance and value which, if
considered, might affect the result of the case, appellate courts will not disturb the credence, or
lack of it, accorded by the trial court to the testimonies of witnesses.[36] We see no reason to
depart from the general rule in this case.

To begin with, self-defense and accidental shooting cannot both be raised by the accused as a
defense. If accused-appellant was acting in self-defense, then he could only have deliberately
used the gun to repel the alleged aggression. Then the gun could not have been fired
accidentally. On the other hand, if the shooting was accidental, then it was immaterial whether
accused-appellant employed reasonable means to repel the alleged aggression.[37] Be that as it
may, let it be assumed that what accused-appellant meant is that he engaged the victim in
combat to defend himself against the latters aggression and that, in the course thereof, the gun
which the latter was holding accidentally went off and hit him. The evidence, however, falls
short of that required to discharge the burden of proof on accused-appellant. Accused-
appellants allegation is belied by the physical evidence.

First, accused-appellant testified that the gun accidentally fired only once.[38] The
medical report, shows however, that Egilberto Estalilla sustained three gunshot wounds, one of
which was fatal.

Second, accused-appellant claimed that the victim was with lying face down on the
ground and his hand twisted behind his back when the gun, which was pointed downwards
when the gun went off.[39] This is contradicted by the findings of Dr. Llavore, who found that
gunshot wound no. 1 was located on the chest of the victim with the exit wound being on the
left anterior aspect of the chest.[40] This belies accused-appellants testimony that the gun was
pointed downwards at the back of the victim when it went off. Moreover, if the gun was pointed
downwards, then the trajectory of the bullet would have been at an acute angle going
downwards. But Dr. Llavore testified that the angle of the bullet was almost horizontal, [41]
while the trajectory of the bullets on gunshot wound nos. 2 and 3 was upwards.[42] The gun
could not, therefore, have been pointed downwards.

Third, Dr. Llavore testified that the distance between the victim and his assailant was
beyond 24 inches.[43] It is thus clear that the gunshot wounds sustained by the victim were not
inflicted at close range, as accused-appellant would lead this Court to believe. The possibility is
that the gun although belonging to the victim, had been held by accused-appellant even from
the beginning. It will be recalled that, according to Nick Tirado, a witness for accused appellant,
the victim gave his gun to him (Nick Tirado) although Nick claims the victim later got back the
gun from him. The probability is that the victim did not really get back his gun and that accused-
appellant somehow got it and used it against the victim. Hence the finding of Dr. Llavore that
the victim was shot from a distance of more than 24 inches.

As accused-appellant failed to establish his defense by clear and convincing evidence, he was
correctly held criminally liable for the killing of Egilberto Estalilla.

Second. We do not agree with the trial court, however, that treachery attended the commission of the
crime and that accused-appellant must be convicted of the crime of murder. For treachery to exist, the
following must be established: (1) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked
no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (2) the deliberate and conscious adoption of the
means of execution.[44] It cannot be denied that the victim in this case sustained several gunshot
wounds at the back. However, proof that the fatal wounds were located at the back of the deceased
does not, sufficient to justify itself, compel a finding of treachery.[45] There must be a clear showing
that the mode of attack was employed to reduce, if not eliminate, the danger arising from the defense
that the victim might offer. Absent any particulars on the manner in which the aggression was
commenced, treachery cannot be reasonably appreciated to qualify the killing in this case to
murder.[46] The manner of attack not having been proven in this case, accused-appellant should be
given the benefit of the doubt and the crime committed should be considered only as homicide under
Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code.

In addition, accused-appellant must be credited with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender. Although a warrant of arrest had in fact been issued against him, accused-appellant
had not been arrested when he surrendered to the group of Police Chief Inspector Marlou
Cortez Chan (Exhs. 2, 2-A, and 2-B).[48]

Accordingly, the penalty to be imposed should be reduced to reclusion temporal as provided by
Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code. Considering the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender appreciated in favor of accused-appellant, the penalty to be imposed shall be in its
minimum period in accordance with Art. 64(2) of the Revised Penal Code, or in the case of
reclusion temporal, from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
months. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the penalty to be imposed
shall be the penalty next lower in degree, or prision mayor in any of its periods.

As regards the question of damages, however, we find the trial courts award of P400,000.00 as
indemnity, in accordance with our rulings[50] on this question, to be excessive. Accused-appellant
should only be made to pay the amount of P50,000.00 for civil indemnity and P50,000.00 for moral
damages.
WHEREFORE, the decision, dated June 26, 1998, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 67, Bauang, La Union
is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellant is found guilty of homicide and is
sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as
minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and to pay
the heirs of Egilberto Estalilla the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and a further sum of P50,000.00
as moral damages.

SO ORDERED.
DELA CRUZ VS. PEOPLE

G.R. No. 189405

November 19, 2014

FACTS:

On January 1, 2005, at around 2:30 in the afternoon, petitioner went to the office of Sykes Asia, Inc.
located at the 25th Floor of Robinson’s Summit Center, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. When petitioner was
already inside the building, he went to the work station of the deceased victim, Jeffrey Wernher L.
Gonzales, who, by the configuration of the eyewitness Antonette Managbanag’s sketch, was seated
fronting his computer terminal, with his back towards the aisle. As petitioner approached Jeffrey from
the back, petitioner was already holding a gun pointed at the back of Jeffrey’s head. At the last second,
Jeffrey managed to deflect the hand of petitioner holding the gun, and a short struggle for the
possession of the gun ensued thereafter. Petitioner won the struggle and remained in possession of the
said gun then pointed the same at Jeffrey’s face, pulled the trigger four (4) times, the fourth shot finally
discharging the bullet that hit Jeffrey in the forehead, eventually killing him. Finally, after shooting
Jeffrey, petitioner fled the office.

The foregoing facts were denied by the petitioner contending that he acted in self-defense presenting a
different version of fact alleging that Jeffrey pulled a gun from his chair and tried to shoot petitioner but
failed, an assault which may have caused petitioner to fear for his life. The RTC and CA find petitioner
guilty.

Issue:

Whether or not the justifying circumstance of self-defense be given credence in this case.

Ruling:

There is no question that petitioner authored the death of the deceased-victim, Jeffrey. What is
leftfor determination by this Court is whether the elements of self-defenseexist to exculpate petitioner
from the criminal liability for Homicide.

The essential requisites of self-defense are the following: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of
the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression; and (3)
lackof sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-defense.10 In other words, there
must have been an unlawful and unprovoked attack that endangered the life of the accused, who was
then forced to inflict severe wounds upon the assailant by employing reasonable means to resist the
attack.

Considering that self-defense totally exonerates the accused from any criminal liability, it is well
settled thatwhen he invokes the same, it becomes incumbent upon him to prove by clear and convincing
evidence that he indeed acted in defense of himself.12 The burden of proving that the killing was
justified and that he incurred no criminal liability therefor shifts upon him.13 As such, he must rely on
the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution for, even if the
prosecution evidence is weak, it cannot be disbelieved after the accused himself has admitted the
killing.
Measured against this criteria, wefind that petitioner's defense is sorely wanting. Hence, his petition
must be denied.

First. The evidence on record does not support petitioner's contention that unlawful aggression
was employed by the deceased-victim, Jeffrey, against him.

Unlawful aggression is the most essential element of self-defense. It presupposes actual,
sudden, unexpected or imminent danger — not merely threatening and intimidating action.15
There is aggression, only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to his life.16
The peril sought to be avoided must be imminent and actual, not merely speculative.17 In the
case at bar, other than petitioner’s testimony, the defense did not adduce evidence to show
that Jeffrey condescendingly responded to petitioner’s questions or initiated the confrontation
before the shooting incident; that Jeffrey pulled a gun from his chair and tried to shoot
petitioner but failed — an assault which may have caused petitioner to fear for his life.

Even assuming arguendo that the gun originated from Jeffrey and an altercation transpired, and
therefore, danger may have in fact existed, the imminence of that danger had already ceased
the moment petitioner disarmed Jeffrey by wresting the gun from the latter. After petitioner
had successfully seized it, there was no longer any unlawful aggression to speak of that would
have necessitated the need to kill Jeffrey. As aptly observed by the RTC, petitioner had every
opportunity to run away from the scene and seek help but refused to do so, thus:

In this case, accused and the victim grappled for possession of the gun. Accused admitted that
he wrested the gun from the victim. From that point in time until the victim shouted "guard,
guard", then took the fire extinguisher, there was no unlawful aggression coming from the
victim. Accused had the opportunity to run away. Therefore, even assuming that the aggression
with use of the gun initially came from the victim, the fact remains that it ceased when the gun
was wrested away by the accused from the victim. It is settled that when unlawful aggression
ceases, the defender no longer has any right to kill or wound the former aggressor, otherwise,
retaliation and not self-defense is committed (Peo Vs. Tagana, 424 SCRA 620). A person making
a defense has no more right to attack an aggressor when the unlawful aggression has ceased
(PeoVs. Pateo, 430 SCRA 609).

Accused alleged that the victim was about to smash the fire extinguisher on his (accused’s)
headbut he parried it with his hand holding the gun. This is doubtful as nothing in the records is
or would be corroborative of it. In contrast, the two (2) Prosecution witnesses whose credibility
was not impeached, both gave the impression that the victim got the fire extinguisher to
shieldhimself from the accused who was then already in possession of the gun.18

Thus, when an unlawful aggression that has begun no longer exists, the one who resorts to self-
defense has no right to kill or even wound the former aggressor.19 To be sure, when the
present victim no longer persisted in his purpose or action to the extent that the object of his
attack was no longer in peril, there was no more unlawful aggression that would warrant legal
self-defense on the part of the offender.20 Undoubtedly, petitioner went beyond the call of self-
preservation when he proceeded to inflict excessive, atrocious and fatal injuries on Jeffrey, even
when the allegedly unlawful aggression had already ceased.

Clearly, petitioner's allegation that when he approached Jeffrey, the latter pulled a gun from his
chair and tried to shoot him, is not corroborated by separate competent evidence. Pitted
against the testimony of prosecution witnesses, Managbanag and Pelaez, it pales incomparison
and loses probative value. We have, on more thanone occasion, ruled that the plea of self-
defense cannot be justifiably entertained where it is not only uncorroborated by any separate
competent evidence but also extremely doubtful in itself.22

In addition, other than petitioner’s testimony, there is dearth of evidence showing that the
alleged unlawful aggression on the part of Jeffrey continued when he blocked the path of
petitioner while the latter tried to run away to avoid further confrontation with Jeffrey. We also
agree with the findings of the RTC that there was no proof evincing that Jeffrey aimed and
intended to smash the big fire extinguisher on petitioner’s head. Alternatively, the prosecution
witnesses maintained an impression that Jeffrey used the same to shield himself from petitioner
who was then in possession of the gun, a deadly weapon.

Petitioner’s contention that Jeffrey’s unlawful aggression was continuous and imminent is, therefore,
devoid of merit. Given that the criteria of unlawful aggression is indubitably absent in the instant case,
the severe wounds inflicted by petitioner upon Jeffrey was unwarranted and, therefore, cannot be
considered a justifying circumstance under pertinent laws and jurisprudence.

Second. Even assuming that the unlawful aggression emanated from the deceased victim,
Jeffrey, the means employed by petitioner was not reasonably commensurate to the nature and extent
of the alleged attack, which he sought to avert. As held by the Court in People v. Obordo

Even assuming arguendo that there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, accused-
appellant likewise failed to prove that the means he employed to repel Homer's punch was
reasonable. The means employed by the person invoking self-defense contemplates a rational
equivalence between the means of attack and the defense. Accused appellant claimed that the
victim punched him and was trying to get something from his waist, so he (accused-appellant)
stabbed the victim with his hunting knife. His act of immediately stabbing Homer and inflicting a
wound on a vital part ofthe victim's body was unreasonable and unnecessary considering that,
as alleged by accused-appellant himself, the victim used his bare fist in throwing a punch at
him.25

Indeed, the means employed by a person resorting to self-defense must be rationally necessary
to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression. The opposite was, however, employed by petitioner,
as correctly pointed out by the RTC, thus:

The victim was holding the fire extinguisher while the second was holding the gun. The gun and
the discharge thereof was unnecessary and disproportionate to repel the alleged aggression
with the use of fire extinguisher. The rule is that the means employed by the person invoking
self-defense contemplates a rational equivalence between the means of attack and the defense
(Peo vs. Obordo, 382 SCRA 98).

It was the accused who was in a vantage position as he was armed with a gun, as against the
victim who was armed, so to speak, with a fire extinguisher, which is not a deadly weapon.
Under the circumstances, accused’s alleged fear was unfounded. The Supreme Court has ruled
that neither an imagined impending attack nor an impending or threatening attitude is sufficient
to constitute unlawful aggression (Catalina Security Agency Vs. Gonzales-Decano, 429 SCRA
628). It is a settled rule that to constitute aggression, the person attacked must be confronted
by a real threat on his lifeand limb; and the peril sought to be avoided is imminent and actual,
not merely imaginary (Senoja v. Peo., 440 SCRA 695).26
If petitioner had honestly believed that Jeffrey was trying to kill him, he should have just run,
despite any obstruction, considering that he was already in possession of the gun. He could have
also immediately sought help from the people around him, specifically the guard stationed at
the floor where the shooting incident happened. In fact, he could have reported the incident to
the authorities as soon as he had opportunity to do so, if it was indeed an accident or a cry of
self-preservation. Yet, petitioner never did any of that.

We find it highly specious for petitioner to go through the process of tussling and hassling with
Jeffrey, and inthe end, shooting the latter on the forehead, not only once, but four times, the
last shot finally killing him, if he had no intention to hurt Jeffrey. Thus:

Moreover, the Prosecution’s eyewitnesses were consistent in declaring that while there was
prior struggle for the possession of the gun, it was nevertheless accused who was holding the
gun at the time of the actual firing thereof (TSN, p. 30, October 10, 2005; TSN, p. 14, October 17,
2005). Witness Managbanag even alleged that while the victim (Jeffrey), who was in possession
of the fire extinguisher, and the accused were pushing each other, accused pointed the gun at
the victim. She heard three (3) clicks and on the 4th , the gun fired (TSN, p. 12, October 10,
2005). Under the circumstances, it cannot be safely said that the gun was or could have been
fired accidentally. The discharge of the gun which led to the victim’s death was no longer made
in the course of the grapple and/or struggle for the possession of the gun.27

The observation of the RTC dispels any doubt that the gun may have been shot accidentally to
the detriment of Jeffrey. The fire was neither a disaster nor a misfortune of sorts. While
petitioner may nothave intended to kill Jeffrey at the onset, at the time he clicked the trigger
thrice consecutively, his intent to hurt (or even kill) Jeffrey was too plain to be disregarded. We
have held in the pastthat the nature and number of wounds are constantly and unremittingly
considered important indicia which disprove a plea of self-defense.28 Thus, petitioner’s
contention that an accident simultaneously occurred while hewas in the act of self-defense is
simply absurd and preposterous at best. There could nothave been an accident because the
victim herein suffered a gunshot wound on his head, a vital part of the body and, thus,
demonstrates a criminal mind resolved to end the life of the victim.

Besides, petitioner’s failure to inform the police of the unlawful aggression on the part of Jeffrey
and to surrender the gun that he used to kill the victim militates against his claim of self-
defense.29

In view of the foregoing, we find it illogical to discuss further the third element of self-defense
since it is recognized that unlawful aggression is a conditio sine qua nonfor upholding the
justifying circumstance of self-defense.30 If there is nothing to prevent or repel, the other two
requisites of self-defense will have no basis.31 Hence, there is no basis to entertain petitioner’s
argument that a privileged mitigating circumstance of selfdefense is applicable in this case,
because unless the victim has committed unlawful aggression against the other, there can be no
self-defense, complete or incomplete, on the part of the latter.

Anent petitioner’s argument that the RTC erred when it failed to consider as suppression of evidence
the prosecution’s alleged deliberate omission to present the testimonies of the security guards-on-duty
at the time of the shooting incident, the same fails to persuade. We concur with the decision of the CA
on this point, to wit:
Having admitted the killing of the victim, the burden of evidence that he acted in self-defense, shifted to
accused-appellant Dela Cruz. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness
of the prosecution’s evidence, for, even if the latter were weak, it could not be disbelieved after his
open admission of responsibility for the killing.

The security guards on duty at the time of the subject incident were at the disposal of both the
prosecution and the defense. The defense did not proffer proof that the prosecution prevented the
security guards from testifying. There is therefore no basis for it to conclude that the prosecution is
guilty of suppression of evidence.

The defense could have easily presented the security guards if it is of the opinion that their [the security
guards] testimonies were vital and material to the case of the defense. It could have compelled the
security guards on duty to appear before the court. xxx.33

It is worthy to note that the question of whether petitioner acted in self-defense is essentially a question
of fact.34 It is the peculiar province of the trial court to determine the credibility of witnesses and
related questions of fact because of its superior advantage in observing the conduct and demeanor of
witnesses while testifying.35 This being so and in the absence of a showing that the CA and the RTC
failed to appreciate facts or circumstances of such weight and substance that would have merited
petitioner's acquittal, this Court finds no compelling reason to disturb the ruling of the CA that
petitioner did not act in self-defense.36

In this regard, we do not subscribe to petitioner’s contention that since the incident transpired in
Jeffrey’s office, and the witnesses presented by the prosecution are known officemates of Jeffrey, the
witnesses are expected to testify in favor of Jeffrey and against petitioner. Ascorrectly pointed out by
respondent, there appears no motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses to falsely testify against
petitioner.37 The fact that they are officemates of Jeffrey does not justify a conclusion that Managbanag
and Pelaez would concoct or fabricate stories in favorof Jeffrey for the mere purpose of implicating
petitioner with such a serious crime, especially since they are testifying under oath.

All told, we find no basis to doubt ordispute, much less overturn, the findings of the RTC and the CA that
the elements of homicide are present in the instant case as amply shown by the testimonies of the
prosecution eyewitnesses, and they constitute sufficient proof of the guilt of petitioner beyond cavil or
doubt.

Nevertheless, with regard to the appreciation of the aggravating circumstance of use of an unlicensed
firearm, we deviate from the findings of the CA. A perusal of the Information will show that the use of
unlicensed firearm was expressly alleged in the killing of Jeffrey. This allegation was further proved
during trial by the presentation of the Certification from the PNP Firearms and Explosives Division, dated
November 11, 2005, certifying that petitioner is not a licensed/registered firearm holder of any kind and
calibre, per verification from the records of the said Division. Accordingly, under Paragraph 3 of Section
1 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8294, amending Section 1 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1866, such use of
an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance, to wit:

If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed
firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
Under Article 249 of the RPC, the penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal. There being an
aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm, the penalty imposable on petitioner should be in
its maximum period.38 Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the petitioner shall be sentenced to
an indeterminate penalty of from ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor maximum, as the
minimum penalty, to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal
maximum, as the maximum penalty.

As to the award of civil indemnity, moral damages, and damages for loss of earning capacity in
favor ofprivate respondent, we sustain the findings of the CA in so far as they are in accordance with
prevailing jurisprudence. In addition, we find the grant of exemplary damages in the present case in
order, since the presence of special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm has been
established.39 Based on current jurisprudence, the award of exemplary damages for homicide is
P30,000.00.40

Finally, pursuant to this Court’s ruling in Nacar v. Gallery Frames,41 an interest of six percent
(6%) per annum on the aggregate amount awarded for civil indemnity and damages for loss of earning
capacity shall be imposed, computed from the time of finality of this Decision until full payment thereof.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The May 7, 2009 Decision and August 19, 2009 Resolution of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 89257, finding petitioner Sherwin Dela Cruz guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Homicide, are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS, to wit:

(1) Petitioner shall be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from ten (10) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor maximum, as the minimum penalty, to seventeen (17) years, four (4)
months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal maximum, as the maximum penalty;

(2) Petitioner is likewise ORDERED to pay the heirs of the victim the following:

a. the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity;

b. the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages;

c. the amount of P25,000.00 as temperate damages;

d. the amount of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages;

e. the amount of P3,022,641.71 as damages for loss of earning capacity;

f. for the civil indemnity and the damages for loss of earning capacity, an interest of six
percent (6%) per annum, computed from the time of finality of this Decision until full
payment thereof; and

g. the costs of the litigation.

SO ORDERED.
People of the Philippines vs. Warriner

G.R. No. 208678

June 16, 2014

Facts:

Until the early morning of January 20, 2007, the victim, Lou Anthony Sta. Maria, in bonding with
his friends, stayed in a bar’s Patio, in Malate, Manila. Lou Anthony remarked to his friend, Claudinick the
alleged dagger look of the other table including the accused, Jefferson Warriner. While Claudinick
shrugged the matter off, Lou Anthony approached and confronted the members of the other group.
After he returned to his table, Claudinick approached the other group and apologized for his friend’s
actuations. Jeffrey and Valentino, friends of Jefferson accepted the apology.Thirty-minutes after, Jeffrey
embraced Claudinick and bid that they would already go home. Without any warning, however,
Jefferson hit Lou Anthony’s head with a gun, and as the latter was about to rise from his seat and face
his assailant, Jefferson shot Lou Anthony in the forehead that caused his death. Jefferson’s group
immediately fled from the crime scene.

Jefferson admitted that he shot the victim, but invoked self-defense. He claimed that before his
group left the bar, Valentino went to the restroom while Jeffrey went to the cashier to pay their bill.
Jefferson approached the table of Lou Anthony, as he wanted to settle their earlier altercation. Lou
Anthony, however grabbed Jefferson by his collar and uttered offensive words. Alarmed, Jefferson
instinctively reached for his gun and then shot Lou Anthony. The Regional Trial Court, as affirmed by the
Court of Appeals, rendered its judgment Jefferson guilty of the crime of murder. Hence, the accused
filed a petition for consideration of self-defense.

Issue:

Whether or not self-defense can be given due credence over the case at bar

Ruling:

The appeal is bereft of merit.

The settled rule is that "the findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of
the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on
the findings are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect. This dictum would be more true if the
findings were affirmed by the CA, since it is settled that when the trial court’s findings have been
affirmed by the appellate court, these findings are generally binding upon this Court."20 "The
justification for this is that [the] trial court was in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses
by virtue of its firsthand observation of the demeanor, conduct and attitude of the witnesses under
grilling examination."21 While jurisprudence admits of exceptions to this principle, no such exception
attends the present case.

Clearly, Jefferson was correctly convicted of murder, qualified by treachery, given the presence
of the following elements of the crime: (1) that a person was killed; (2) that the accused killed that
person; (3) that the killing was attended by treachery; and (4) that the killing is not infanticide or
parricide.
There is no dispute that it was Jefferson who killed the victim.1âwphi1 During the trial, Jefferson
admitted to have inflicted the gunshot wound which led to Lou Anthony’s eventual demise. While
Jefferson claimed to have merely defended himself given the "dagger looks" and "violent tendencies"
which were exhibited by his victim, the trial and appellate courts correctly ruled on the weakness of
such claim.

The animosity that transpired between the groups of Jefferson and Lou Anthony could not have
justified the assailant’s act of killing the victim. The law sets strict parameters for self-defense to be
successfully invoked in criminal prosecutions, as it requires the following elements: (1) unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel
such aggression; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-
defense.23 Whenever self-defense is invoked in court, the burden shifts to the appellant to prove the
elements of such claim.

Jefferson failed to discharge such burden. The records indicate the absence of an unlawful
aggression which could be ascribed to Lou Anthony. It is settled that not every form or degree of
aggression justifies a claim of self-defense. As the Court emphasized in People v. Nugas

The test for the presence of unlawful aggression under the circumstances is whether the
aggression from the victim put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself;
the peril must not be an imagined or imaginary threat. Accordingly, the accused must establish the
concurrence of three elements of unlawful aggression, namely: (a) there must be a physical or material
attack or assault; (b) the attack or assault must be actual, or, at least, imminent; and (c) the attack or
assault must be unlawful.26 (Citations omitted and emphasis ours)

From the prosecution and defense witnesses’ testimonies, it was clear that Lou Anthony did not
perform any act that put Jefferson’s life or safety in actual or imminent danger. The perceived violent
and aggressive attitude of Lou Anthony did not sufficiently demonstrate through acts that confirmed
Jefferson’s fear for a real peril. While it was established that Lou Anthony approached his assailant’s
table and confronted them for alleged dagger looks, he neither uttered threats nor inflicted physical
harm upon Jefferson’s group and instead voluntarily returned to his table after the confrontation. Such
was also the situation at the time that Jefferson inflicted the fatal wound upon Lou Anthony. It was then
evident that Jefferson was the aggressor rather than the object of the victim’s alleged aggression.
Jurisprudence holds that "if no unlawful aggression attributed to the victim is established, self-defense is
unavailing, for there is nothing to repel.

Given the manner by which the victim was killed by Jefferson, both the RTC and CA were
likewise correct in holding that the victim’s killing was attended by treachery, a circumstance which
qualified the crime to murder. "The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without a warning and
in a swift, deliberate, and unexpected manner, affording the hapless, unarmed, and unsuspecting victim
no chance to resist or escape. Otherwise stated, an unexpected and sudden attack which renders the
victim unable and unprepared to put up a defense is the essence of treachery.

From the records, any animosity between the two groups had waned following Claudinick’s
offer of apology, which was readily accepted by the group of Jefferson. Defense witness Valentino even
testified that Jefferson replied to the apology by saying, "Sige, okay lang."29 No further exchange
transpired between the two groups until Jefferson’s group approached Lou Anthony’s group, on the
pretext that the former was already leaving the bar. Given the circumstances, the sudden attack of
Jefferson upon Lou Anthony by hitting him hard with a gun was clearly without warning and unexpected
on the part of the victim, who was then merely seated with his companions. The strike upon Lou
Anthony caused him to fall, and even before he could stand up to face his assailant, Jefferson shot him
in the forehead. Clearly, the victim had no chance to hold a defense against Jefferson. Considering the
circumstances, he could not have anticipated the fatal attack. Not even their earlier confrontation could
have warned him against such a severe assault. As correctly observed by the RTC:

Little did the victim know what was coming. He was there to relish some good times with his Jollibee
crew members. He may have provoked the group of Jefferson by earlier tapping their table to confront
them with the "dagger looks" but that was all. Apologies were extended in the interim which the group
appeared to have accepted. Time slowly ticked away, as more liquor was consumed. When everyone
thought the group of the accused was about to go home, Jefferson had apparently hatched a surprise
attack against Lou Anthony. He was whipped on the head and then shot before he could even defend
himself.

Given the foregoing, the qualifying circumstance of treachery was correctly appreciated in
determining Jefferson’s criminal liability. The CA correctly found Jefferson guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of murder, and then imposed upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The crime
of murder qualified by treachery is penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended,
with reclusion perpetua to death. Considering that there was no aggravating or mitigating circumstance
that attended the commission of the crime, reclusion perpetua was the appropriate penalty.31 It must,
however, be emphasized that Jefferson shall not be eligible for parole, pursuant to Section 332 of
Republic Act No. 9346. Furthermore, both the civil indemnity and moral damages awarded to the
surviving heirs of the deceased should be increased to P75,000.00, to conform to prevailing
jurisprudence. 33 WHEREFORE, the Decision dated February 24, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR-H.C. No. 04766 finding accused-appellant Jefferson Warriner y Nicdao guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of murder is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole, and the awards of civil indemnity and moral damages
are each increased to P75,000.00.

SO ORDERED.
Cabanlig vs Sandiganbayan

G.R. No. 148431

July 28, 2005

Facts:

The police captured three suspects; Magat, Reyes and Valino, for the robbery occurred in Nueva
Ecija. The police recovered most of the stolen items. However, a flower vase and a small radio were still
missing. Valino informed Ruperto Cabanlig on where to locate the missing items. Around 6:30 in the
evening, five fully armed policemen in uniform Cabanlig, Padilla, Mercado, Abesamis and Esteban
escorted Valino to Brgy. Sinasahan, Nueva Ecija to recover the missing items. The policemen and Valino
were aboard a police vehicle. Inside the police vehicle, Valino grabbed Mercado’s M16 armalite and
jumped out of the vehicle. Cabanlig who was the facing the rear of the vehicle, saw Valino’s act of taking
away the M16 armalite. Cabanlig acted immediately, without any warning, he shot Valino. The
Sandiganbayan convicted Cabanlig of homicide.

Issue:

Whether the Sandiganbayan erred in ruling that the defense of fulfillment of duty put by
Cabanlig was incomplete

Ruling:

The petition has merit. We rule for Cabanligs acquittal.

Applicable Defense is Fulfillment of Duty

We first pass upon the issue of whether Cabanlig can invoke two or more justifying
circumstances. While there is nothing in the law that prevents an accused from invoking the justifying
circumstances or defenses in his favor, it is still up to the court to determine which justifying
circumstance is applicable to the circumstances of a particular case.

Self-defense and fulfillment of duty operate on different principles. Self-defense is based on the
principle of self-preservation from mortal harm, while fulfillment of duty is premised on the due
performance of duty. The difference between the two justifying circumstances is clear, as the requisites
of self-defense and fulfillment of duty are different.

The elements of self-defense are as follows:

a) Unlawful Aggression;

b) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;

c) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.[11]

On the other hand, the requisites of fulfillment of duty are:

1. The accused acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office;
2. The injury caused or the offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due
performance of duty or the lawful exercise of such right or office.[12]

A policeman in the performance of duty is justified in using such force as is reasonably necessary
to secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance, prevent his escape, recapture him if he
escapes, and protect himself from bodily harm. In case injury or death results from the policemans
exercise of such force, the policeman could be justified in inflicting the injury or causing the death of the
offender if the policeman had used necessary force. Since a policemans duty requires him to overcome
the offender, the force exerted by the policeman may therefore differ from that which ordinarily may be
offered in self-defense. However, a policeman is never justified in using unnecessary force or in treating
the offender with wanton violence, or in resorting to dangerous means when the arrest could be
affected otherwise.

Unlike in self-defense where unlawful aggression is an element, in performance of duty,
unlawful aggression from the victim is not a requisite. In People v. Delima, a policeman was looking for a
fugitive who had several days earlier escaped from prison. When the policeman found the fugitive, the
fugitive was armed with a pointed piece of bamboo in the shape of a lance. The policeman demanded
the surrender of the fugitive. The fugitive lunged at the policeman with his bamboo lance. The
policeman dodged the lance and fired his revolver at the fugitive. The policeman missed. The fugitive
ran away still holding the bamboo lance. The policeman pursued the fugitive and again fired his
revolver, hitting and killing the fugitive. The Court acquitted the policeman on the ground that the killing
was done in the fulfillment of duty.

The fugitives unlawful aggression in People v. Delima had already ceased when the policeman killed him.
The fugitive was running away from the policeman when he was shot. If the policeman were a private
person, not in the performance of duty, there would be no self-defense because there would be no
unlawful aggression on the part of the deceased. It may even appear that the public officer acting in the
fulfillment of duty is the aggressor, but his aggression is not unlawful, it being necessary to fulfill his
duty.

While self-defense and performance of duty are two distinct justifying circumstances, self-
defense or defense of a stranger may still be relevant even if the proper justifying circumstance in a
given case is fulfillment of duty. For example, a policemans use of what appears to be excessive force
could be justified if there was imminent danger to the policemans life or to that of a stranger. If the
policeman used force to protect his life or that of a stranger, then the defense of fulfillment of duty
would be complete, the second requisite being present.

In People v. Lagata, a jail guard shot to death a prisoner whom he thought was attempting to
escape. The Court convicted the jail guard of homicide because the facts showed that the prisoner was
not at all trying to escape. The Court declared that the jail guard could only fire at the prisoner in self-
defense or if absolutely necessary to avoid the prisoners escape.

In this case, Cabanlig, Padilla, Abesamis, Mercado and Esteban were in the performance of duty
as policemen when they escorted Valino, an arrested robber, to retrieve some stolen items. We uphold
the finding of the Sandiganbayan that there is no evidence that the policemen conspired to kill or
summarily execute Valino. In fact, it was not Valino who was supposed to go with the policemen in the
retrieval operations but his two other cohorts, Magat and Reyes. Had the policemen staged the escape
to justify the killing of Valino, the M16 Armalite taken by Valino would not have been loaded with
bullets. Moreover, the alleged summary execution of Valino must be based on evidence and not on
hearsay. Undoubtedly, the policemen were in the legitimate performance of their duty when Cabanlig
shot Valino. Thus, fulfillment of duty is the justifying circumstance that is applicable to this case. To
determine if this defense is complete, we have to examine if Cabanlig used necessary force to prevent
Valino from escaping and in protecting himself and his co-accused policemen from imminent danger.

Fulfillment of Duty was Complete, Killing was Justified

The Sandiganbayan convicted Cabanlig because his defense of fulfillment of duty was found to
be incomplete. The Sandiganbayan believed that Cabanlig exceeded the fulfillment of his duty when he
immediately shot Valino without issuing a warning so that the latter would stop.[21]

We disagree with the Sandiganbayan.

Certainly, an M16 Armalite is a far more powerful and deadly weapon than the bamboo lance
that the fugitive had run away with in People v. Delima. The policeman in People v. Delima was held to
have been justified in shooting to death the escaping fugitive because the policeman was merely
performing his duty.

In this case, Valino was committing an offense in the presence of the policemen when Valino
grabbed the M16 Armalite from Mercado and jumped from the jeep to escape. The policemen would
have been justified in shooting Valino if the use of force was absolutely necessary to prevent his
escape.[22] But Valino was not only an escaping detainee. Valino had also stolen the M16 Armalite of a
policeman. The policemen had the duty not only to recapture Valino but also to recover the loose
firearm. By grabbing Mercados M16 Armalite, which is a formidable firearm, Valino had placed the lives
of the policemen in grave danger.

Had Cabanlig failed to shoot Valino immediately, the policemen would have been sitting ducks.
All of the policemen were still inside the jeep when Valino suddenly grabbed the M16 Armalite.
Cabanlig, Mercado and Esteban were hemmed in inside the main body of the jeep, in the direct line of
fire had Valino used the M16 Armalite. There would have been no way for Cabanlig, Mercado and
Esteban to secure their safety, as there were no doors on the sides of the jeep. The only way out of the
jeep was from its rear from which Valino had jumped. Abesamis and Padilla who were in the drivers
compartment were not aware that Valino had grabbed Mercados M16 Armalite. Abesamis and Padilla
would have been unprepared for Valinos attack.

By suddenly grabbing the M16 Armalite from his unsuspecting police guard, Valino certainly did
not intend merely to escape and run away as far and fast as possible from the policemen. Valino did not
have to grab the M16 Armalite if his sole intention was only to flee from the policemen. If he had no
intention to engage the policemen in a firefight, Valino could simply have jumped from the jeep without
grabbing the M16 Armalite. Valinos chances of escaping unhurt would have been far better had he not
grabbed the M16 Armalite which only provoked the policemen to recapture him and recover the M16
Armalite with greater vigor. Valinos act of grabbing the M16 Armalite clearly showed a hostile intention
and even constituted unlawful aggression.
Facing imminent danger, the policemen had to act swiftly. Time was of the essence. It would
have been foolhardy for the policemen to assume that Valino grabbed the M16 Armalite merely as a
souvenir of a successful escape. As we have pointed out in Pomoy v. People:

Again, it was in the lawful performance of his duty as a law enforcer that petitioner tried to
defend his possession of the weapon when the victim suddenly tried to remove it from his
holster. As an enforcer of the law, petitioner was duty-bound to prevent the snatching of his
service weapon by anyone, especially by a detained person in his custody. Such weapon was
likely to be used to facilitate escape and to kill or maim persons in the vicinity, including
petitioner himself.

The Sandiganbayan, however, ruled that despite Valinos possession of a deadly firearm,
Cabanlig had no right to shoot Valino without giving Valino the opportunity to surrender. The
Sandiganbayan pointed out that under the General Rules of Engagement, the use of force should be
applied only as a last resort when all other peaceful and non-violent means have been exhausted. The
Sandiganbayan held that only such necessary and reasonable force should be applied as would be
sufficient to conduct self-defense of a stranger, to subdue the clear and imminent danger posed, or to
overcome resistance put up by an offender.

The Sandiganbayan had very good reasons in steadfastly adhering to the policy that a law
enforcer must first issue a warning before he could use force against an offender. A law enforcers
overzealous performance of his duty could violate the rights of a citizen and worse cost the citizens life.
We have always maintained that the judgment and discretion of public officers, in the performance of
their duties, must be exercised neither capriciously nor oppressively, but within the limits of the law.[24]
The issuance of a warning before a law enforcer could use force would prevent unnecessary bloodshed.
Thus, whenever possible, a law enforcer should employ force only as a last resort and only after issuing a
warning.

However, the duty to issue a warning is not absolutely mandated at all times and at all cost, to
the detriment of the life of law enforcers. The directive to issue a warning contemplates a situation
where several options are still available to the law enforcers. In exceptional circumstances such as this
case, where the threat to the life of a law enforcer is already imminent, and there is no other option but
to use force to subdue the offender, the law enforcers failure to issue a warning is excusable.

In this case, the embattled policemen did not have the luxury of time. Neither did they have
much choice. Cabanligs shooting of Valino was an immediate and spontaneous reaction to imminent
danger. The weapon grabbed by Valino was not just any firearm. It was an M16 Armalite.

The M16 Armalite is an assault rifle adopted by the United Sates (US) Army as a standard
weapon in 1967 during the Vietnam War. The M16 Armalite is still a general-issue rifle with the US
Armed Forces and US law enforcement agencies. The M16 Armalite has both semiautomatic and
automatic capabilities. It is 39 inches long, has a 30-round magazine and fires high-velocity .223-inch
(5.56-mm) bullets. The M16 Armalite is most effective at a range of 200 metersbut its maximum
effective range could extend as far as 400 meters. As a high velocity firearm, the M16 Armalite could be
fired at close range rapidly or with much volume of fire. These features make the M16 Armalite and its
variants well suited for urban and jungle warfare. The M16 Armalite whether on automatic or
semiautomatic setting is a lethal weapon. This high-powered firearm was in the hands of an escaping
detainee, who had sprung a surprise on his police escorts bottled inside the jeep. A warning from the
policemen would have been pointless and would have cost them their lives.
For what is the purpose of a warning? A warning is issued when policemen have to identify
themselves as such and to give opportunity to an offender to surrender. A warning in this case was
dispensable. Valino knew that he was in the custody of policemen. Valino was also very well aware that
even the mere act of escaping could injure or kill him. The policemen were fully armed and they could
use force to recapture him. By grabbing the M16 Armalite of his police escort, Valino assumed the
consequences of his brazen and determined act. Surrendering was clearly far from Valinos mind.

At any rate, Valino was amply warned. Mercado shouted hoy when Valino grabbed the M16
Armalite. Although Cabanlig admitted that he did not hear Mercado shout hoy, Mercados shout should
have served as a warning to Valino. The verbal warning need not come from Cabanlig himself.

The records also show that Cabanlig first fired one shot. After a few seconds, Cabanlig fired four
more shots. Cabanlig had to shoot Valino because Valino at one point was facing the police officers. The
exigency of the situation warranted a quick response from the policemen.

According to the Sandiganbayan, Valino was not turning around to shoot because two of the
three gunshot wounds were on Valinos back. Indeed, two of the three gunshot wounds were on Valinos
back: one at the back of the head and the other at the left lower back. The Sandiganbayan, however,
overlooked the location of the third gunshot wound. It was three inches below the left clavicle or on the
left top most part of the chest area based on the Medico Legal Sketch showing the entrances and exits
of the three gunshot wounds.

The doctors who testified on the Autopsy and Necropsy Reports admitted that they could not
determine which of the three gunshot wounds was first inflicted. However, we cannot disregard the
significance of the gunshot wound on Valinos chest. Valino could not have been hit on the chest if he
were not at one point facing the policemen.

If the first shot were on the back of Valinos head, Valino would have immediately fallen to the
ground as the bullet from Cabanligs M16 Armalite almost shattered Valinos skull. It would have been
impossible for Valino to still turn and face the policemen in such a way that Cabanlig could still shoot
Valino on the chest if the first shot was on the back of Valinos head.

The most probable and logical scenario: Valino was somewhat facing the policemen when he
was shot, hence, the entry wound on Valinos chest. On being hit, Valino could have turned to his left
almost falling, when two more bullets felled Valino. The two bullets then hit Valino on his lower left back
and on the left side of the back of his head, in what sequence, we could not speculate on. At the very
least, the gunshot wound on Valinos chest should have raised doubt in Cabanligs favor.

Cabanlig is thus not guilty of homicide. At most, Cabanlig, Padilla, Abesamis, Mercado and Esteban are
guilty only of gross negligence. The policemen transported Valino, an arrested robber, to a retrieval
operation without handcuffing Valino. That no handcuffs were available in the police precinct is a very
flimsy excuse. The policemen should have tightly bound Valinos hands with rope or some other sturdy
material. Valinos cooperative demeanor should not have lulled the policemen to complacency. As it
turned out, Valino was merely keeping up the appearance of good behavior as a prelude to a planned
escape. We therefore recommend the filing of an administrative case against Cabanlig, Padilla,
Abesamis, Mercado and Esteban for gross negligence.

WHEREFORE, we REVERSE the decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 19436 convicting
accused RUPERTO CONCEPCION CABANLIG of the crime of homicide. We ACQUIT RUPERTO
CONCEPCION CABANLIG of the crime of homicide and ORDER his immediate release from prison, unless
there are other lawful grounds to hold him. We DIRECT the Director of Prisons to report to this Court
compliance within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
People vs. Dungo

G.R. No. 89420

July 31, 1991

Facts:

On March 16, 1987 in the Municipality of Apalit, Province of Pampanga, at around 2:00 to 3:00
in the afternoon Rosalino Dungo went to the place where Mrs. Belen Macalino Sigua was holding office
at the Department of Aggrarian Reform (DAR), to have a brief talk with her. After they talk, the accused
drew a knife from the envelope he was carrying and stab Mrs. Sigua several times in the different parts
of her body thereby inflicting upon her fatal wounds which directly caused the death of the victim. After
the crime happened the accused went to Manila.

The accused, in his defense, tried to show that he was insane at the time the crime happened
and he claimed that he was not aware of the stabbing or of the death of the victim. He undergo several
examination to determine if he was sane or in the state of lucid interval at the time of the commission of
the crime. He was confined at the Mental Hospital, as per order of the trial court.

Issue:

Whether or not the accused was insane during the commission of the crime charged.

Ruling:

For insanity to relieve the person of criminal liability, it is necessary that there be a complete
deprivation of intelligence in committing the act, that he acts w/o the least discernment and that there
be complete absence or deprivation of the freedom of the will. Under Philippine jurisdiction, there's no
definite test or criterion for insanity. However, the definition of insanity under Sec 1039* of the Revised
Administrative Code can be applied. In essence, it states that insanity is evinced by a deranged and
perverted condition of the mental faculties, which is manifested in language or conduct. An insane
person has no full and clear understanding of the nature and consequence of his act.

Evidence of insanity must refer to the mental condition at the very time of doing the act.
However, it is also permissible to receive evidence of his mental condition for a reasonable period
before and after the time of the act in question. The vagaries of the mind can only be known by outward
acts. It is not usual for an insane person to confront a specified person who may have wronged him. But
in the case at hand, the accused was able to Mrs. Sigua. From this, it can be inferred that the accused
was aware of his acts. This also established that the accused has lucid intervals.

Moreover, Dr. Echavez testified to the effect that the appellant could have been aware of the
nature of his act at the time he committed it when he shouted (during laboratory examination) that he
killed Mrs. Sigua. This statement makes it highly doubtful that the accused was insane when he
committed the act. The fact that the accused was carrying an envelope where he hid the fatal weapon,
that he ran away from the scene of the incident after he stabbed the victim several times, that he fled to
Manila to evade arrest, indicate that he was conscious and knew the consequences of his acts in
stabbing the victim.
People vs Pajares

Facts:

The appellant, Leandro Pajares was trying to appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court after
being charged with murder and frustrated homicide. The victim, Diosdado Viojan was assaulted and hit
by a baseball bat at the back of his head which resulted to his death while Renato R. Perez, who was at
that time together with the deceased and was walking right behind him was mauled and was hit at the
back with a baseball bat, which resulted in a mortal and fatal wound but was able to prevent casual
death because of immediate medical attention. According to the statement of Renato R. Perez, there
were five other people who was conspiring and plotting the crime with intent to kill, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack him.

The Appellant, affirms that the court has austerely erred him by imposing the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. Pajares claims that in accordance to the Constitution, his penalty is inhuman and tantamount
to a harsh punishment. He also presented the entry in the Police Blotter for what happened to his
younger brother, Roberto Pajares, who was attacked by the deceased’s group and that the said act was
insulting and afferent to Pajares and his family and that during the time when he committed the crime
the appellant was only nineteen years old.

Issue:

Whether or not the clubbing done to Diosdado Viojan was justified under paragraph 5 of Article 13 of
the Revised Penal Code, as an explanatory to the offense committed to his family.

Whether or not the penalty imposed by the court should have been seventeen years, four months and
one day, in consideration of the fact that the appellant was only 19 years old at the time of the offense.

Ruling:

Appellant Pajares asserts that the trial court gravely erred in imposing the penalty of reclusion
perpetua upon him. He avers that such a penalty is tantamount to a cruel, degrading or inhuman
punishment which is prohibited by the Constitution. Appellant points out that hours before the clubbing
incident, Roberto Pajares, appellant's younger brother, was mauled by the group of Diosdado Viojan as
cited by the lower court referring to the entry in the Police Blotter and the sworn statement of Roberto
Pajares. The mauling of the latter is a big insult and truly offending to the appellant and his family.
Hence, the clubbing of Diosdado Viojan by herein appellant was a vindication of the grave offense
committed against his family. a mitigating circumstance under paragraph 5 of Article 13 of the Revised
Penal Code. Considering further that the appellant was just nineteen (19) years old at the time he
committed the offense the penalty imposed by the court a quo should have been seventeen (17) years,
four (4) months and one (1) day (Brief for the Appellant, Rollo, pp. 52-58).

The appeal is devoid of merit.

In convicting herein appellant of the crime of murder, qualified by treachery, the trial court
relied heavily on the testimony of prosecution witness Renato Perez which it found to be credible.
According to the lower court, the latter "gave his account on what was done to them by the accused and
his companions in a simple, candid, straightforward manner" (RTC Decision. Rollo, p. 36).
It is doctrinally entrenched that the evaluation of the testimony of witnesses by the trial court is
received on appeal with the highest respect because it is the trial court that has the opportunity to
observe them on the stand and detect if they are telling the truth or lying in their teeth (People v.
Santito, Jr., G.R. No. 91628, August 22, 1991 [201 SCRA 87]). The appellate court can only read in cold
print the testimony of the witnesses which commonly is translated from the local dialect into English. In
the process of converting into written form the statement of living human beings, not only fine nuances
but a world of meaning apparent to the judge present, watching and listening, may escape the reader of
the written translated words (People v. Arroyo, G.R. No. 99258, September 13, 1991 [201 SCRA 616]).

Appellant's sole defense is alibi. According to him, he was inside the store of Alex Blas, watching
television, when the incident occurred, Alex Blas even advised him to go home so as not to be involved
in the incident. However, the latter was not presented to corroborate appellant's testimony. Alibi is the
weakest defense an accused can concoct. In order to prosper, it must be so convincing as to preclude
any doubt that the accused could have been physically present at the place of the crime or its vicinity at
the time of the commission (People v. Lacao, Sr., G.R. No. 94320, September 4. 1991 (201 SCRA 317]). In
the case at bar, appellant was within the vicinity of the scene of the crime at the time of its commission.

Furthermore, appellant was Positively identified by Renato Perez as the perpetrator of the
crime. In the face of the clear and positive testimony of the prosecution witness regarding the
participation of the accused in the crime, the accused's alibi dwindles into nothingness. The Positive
identification of the accused by the witness as the perpetrator of the crime cannot be overcome by the
mere denial of the accused. Such positive identification of the accused that he killed the victim
establishes the guilt of the accused beyond moral certainty (People v Arroyo, supra).

The trial court correctly ruled that the crime was attended by treachery. There is treachery, the
law says, when the offender adopts means, methods or forms in the execution of the felony which
ensure its commission without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might
make (People v. Cuyo, G.R. No. 76211, April 30, 1991 [196 SCRA 447]). As found by the trial court,
appellant Pajares hit Diosdado Viojan with a baseball bat from behind without any warning thereby
precluding any possible retaliation from the victim.

Having established the guilt of herein appellant. the next question is whether or not the
mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication of a grave offense can be appreciated in his favor.
While it may be true that appellant's brother Roberto Pajares was mauled by the companions of the
deceased at about 11:30 a.m. of October 11, 1985 as show in the entry in the Police Blotter (Exhibits "A"
to "A-3", Original Records of Criminal Case No. 85-40579. pp. 30-33) and by appellant's brother himself
(Exhibits "G", "Q" and "A" Nos. 7-9, Ibid., p. 219), it must be emphasized that there is a lapse of about
ten (10) hours between said incident and the killing of Diosdado Viojan. Such interval of time was more
than sufficient to enable appellant to recover his serenity (People v. Benito, G.R. No. L-32042, December
17, 1976 [74 SCRA 271]). Hence, the mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication of a grave offense
cannot be appreciated in his favor.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with modification that the
indemnity is increased to P50,000.00 in accordance with the policy of this Court on the matter.

SO ORDERED.
People vs. Lingatong

G.R. No. 34019

January 29, 1990


Facts:

The defendant-appellant, Reynaldo Lingatong was charged with the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua for
the crime of Murder against Eugenio Jamero. The deceased Eugenio Jamero was acting as M.C. or
announcer at a PTA dance held at the school building of Capaya-an, Lubod, Surigao del Norte. At Pedro
Lingatong’s provocation Jamero had grappled with him. All of a sudden Reynaldo Lingatong came from
behind of Jamero, drew his bolo, and thrust it on his side and suddenly walked away. Nemesio Jamero a
policeman of Tubod, repaired to the scene and took a statement of the victim which was presented as a
dying declaration. Eugenio Jamero was then carried to the gate of the schoolhouse where they waited
for a jeep wherein they brought him to the municipal building for treatment, but he died on the way.

Nothing shows from the record that the accused voluntary surrendered before the officers and admitted
before the open court that he was fetched by certain officers due to the acts he committed.

Issue:

Whether or not the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is present in the case

Ruling:

There was no reasonable necessity for the means employed by the appellant in defending his
brother Pedro Lingatong. Record does not show that while Pedro and Eugenio were still grappling with
each other, that the latter was armed. As a matter of fact, there was no necessity of defending Pedro at
all since the life of Pedro Lingatong was not in danger.

Appellant cites as his second assigned error, the finding of the lower court that the crime
committed is murder and not homicide. Suffice it to state in this regard that the qualifying circumstance
of treachery is present in the case at bar, for the appellant stabbed the victim while the latter was
grappling with another, thus rendering him practically helpless and unable to put up any defense.

Lastly, the appellant assails the lower court \for holding that the penalty is reclusion perpetua
even with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, and no aggravating circumstance to offset
it.

The lower court erred in holding that voluntary surrender was present. Aside from the self-
serving testimony of the appellant and his brother Pedro that they "surrendered" (pp. 208 & 216, t.s.n.,
Vol. III) no competent evidence exists to show that the appellant surrendered to the authorities. On the
contrary, as per appellant's own admission in his sworn statement, Exhs. I & 1-1, he was "arrested by the
agent of the law because he thrusted Eugenio Jamero with a small sharp pointed bolo" (pp. 17 & 18,
rec.), and in his testimony in open court, he admitted that he was fetched from his house by Sgt. Clarito
Navarro and Pat. Nemesio Jamero (p. 216, t.s.n., Ibid). In order that voluntary surrender may be
appreciated, "it is necessary that the same be spontaneous in such manner that it shows the intent of
the accused to surrender unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or
because he wishes to save them the trouble and expenses necessarily incurred in his search and
capture" (People vs. Sakam, 61 Phil., 27, 34; and People vs. Namoc, L-11827, November 23, 1959). There
being neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance attending the crime, the penalty should,
therefore be in its medium period, that is, reclusion perpetua.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision of the trial court dated May 24, 1971 is hereby AFFIRMED in all
respects, with costs against the appellant with the modification that the indemnity in favor of the heirs
of the deceased Eugenio Jamero be increased to P30,000.

SO ORDERED.
People vs. Formigones

No. L-3246 / 87 Phil. 658

November 29, 1950

Facts:

In the month of November, 1946, the defendant Abelardo Formigones, with his wife, Julia
Agricola and their five children went to live in the house of his half-brother, Zacarias Formigones, in the
barrio of Binahian, municipality of Sipocot, Camarines Sur. After the family of Abelardo was settled
in the house, Zacarias not only frequented said house but also used to sleep there nights.

On December 28, 1946, late in the afternoon, Julia Agricola was sitting at the head of the stairs
of the house. The defendant, without any previous quarrel or provocation whatsoever, took his bolo
from the wall of the house and stabbed his wife, Julia, in the back, resulting in her death not long after.
The defendant admitted that he killed his wife for the reason that he often saw her in company of his
brother Zacharias. The defendant was found guilty of parricide by the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the
amount of P2, 000 and to pay the costs. When already in the provincial jail, Abelardo behaved like an
insane person, that sometimes he would remove his clothes and go to stark naked in the presence of his
fellow prisoners. It was then attributed that the defendant suffers from being feebleminded or eccentric
or to a morbid mental condition.

Issue:

Whether or not the appellant, having such condition when he did the crime, may enjoy reduced
penalty to that of the next lower to what was adjudicated by the lower court.

Ruling:

Jurisprudence dictated that the appellant in this case was guilty of parricide and thus, judgment
of the lower court was then affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that in the affirmation of the judgment of the lower court convicting the
defendant to reclusion perpetua, whereas, notwithstanding of the numerous mitigating circumstances
found to exist in the crime committed, inasmuch as the penalty for parricide as fixed by Article 246 of
The Revised Penal Code is composed of two indivisible penalties, namely reclusion perpetua to death,
paragraph 3 of Article 63 shall be applied. Thus, the penalty could not be reduced to the next lower to
that imposed by law. Believing that the defendant in this case is entitled to lighter penalty, this case
should be brought to the attention of the Chief Executive who, in his discretion may reduce the penalty
to that next lower to reclusion perpetua to death or otherwise apply executive clemency in the manner
he sees fit.
People vs. Formigones

87 Phil 658

November 2, 1950

FACTS:

Defendant Abelardo Formigones was living on his farm in Bahao, Libmanan, municipality of Sipocot,
Camarines Sur, with his wife, Julia Agricola, and his five children. To work as harvesters of palay, they
moved to live with his brother Zacarias. One late afternoon, Julia Agricola was sitting at the head of the
stairs of the house when the accused, without any previous quarrel or provocation whatsoever, took his
bolo from the wall of the house and stabbed his wife in the back, resulting in her death not long
thereafter. Irene Formigones, their eldest daughter, witnessed and testified to the stabbing of her
mother by her father.

Signing a written statement, Abelardo admitted that he killed his wife. The motive was admittedly that
of jealousy because according to his statement he used to have quarrels with his wife for the reason that
he often saw her in the company of his brother Zacarias; that he suspected that the two were
maintaining illicit relations because he noticed that his wife had become indifferent to him (defendant).

Abelardo pleaded guilty during the preliminary investigation then pleaded not guilty during the trial
where he did not testify. His counsel presented the testimony of two guards who said that Abelardo
was acting strange as if he was insane.

The appeal is based merely on the theory that the appellant is an imbecile and therefore exempt from
criminal liability under article 12 of the Revised Penal Code. The trial court rejected this same theory.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Abelardo Formigones is imbecile and therefore exempt from criminal liability
under Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code.

RULING:

The appeal is based merely on the theory that the appellant is an imbecile and therefore exempt
from criminal liability under article 12 of the Revised Penal Code. The trial court rejected this same
theory and we are inclined to agree with the lower court. According to the very witness of the
defendant, Dr. Francisco Gomez, who examined him, it was his opinion that Abelardo was suffering only
from feeblemindedness and not imbecility and that he could distinguish right from wrong.

In order that a person could be regarded as an imbecile within the meaning of article 12 of the
Revised Penal Code so as to be exempt from criminal liability, he must be deprived completely of reason
or discernment and freedom of the will at the time of committing the crime. The provisions of article 12
of the Revised Penal Code are copied from and based on paragraph 1, article 8, of the old Penal Code of
Spain. Consequently, the decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain interpreting and applying said
provisions are pertinent and applicable. We quote Judge Guillermo Guevara on his Commentaries on the
Revised Penal Code, 4th Edition, pages 42 to 43:
The Supreme Court of Spain held that in order that this exempting circumstances may be taken
into account, it is necessary that there be a complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act,
that is, that the accused be deprived of reason; that there be no responsibility for his own acts; that he
acts without the least discernment;1 that there be a complete absence of the power to discern, or that
there be a total deprivation of freedom of the will. For this reason, it was held that the imbecility or
insanity at the time of the commission of the act should absolutely deprive a person of intelligence or
freedom of will, because mere abnormality of his mental faculties does not exclude imputability.

The Supreme Court of Spain likewise held that deaf-muteness cannot be equaled to imbecility or
insanity.

The allegation of insanity or imbecility must be clearly proved. Without positive evidence that
the defendant had previously lost his reason or was demented, a few moments prior to or during the
perpetration of the crime, it will be presumed that he was in a normal condition. Acts penalized by law
are always reputed to be voluntary, and it is improper to conclude that a person acted unconsciously, in
order to relieve him from liability, on the basis of his mental condition, unless his insanity and absence
of will are proved.

As to the strange behaviour of the accused during his confinement, assuming that it was not
feigned to stimulate insanity, it may be attributed either to his being feebleminded or eccentric, or to a
morbid mental condition produced by remorse at having killed his wife. From the case of United States
vs. Vaquilar (27 Phil. 88), we quote the following syllabus:

Testimony of eye-witnesses to a parricide, which goes no further than to indicate that the
accused was moved by a wayward or hysterical burst of anger or passion, and other testimony to the
effect that, while in confinement awaiting trial, defendant acted absentmindedly at times, is not
sufficient to establish the defense of insanity. The conduct of the defendant while in confinement
appears to have been due to a morbid mental condition produced by remorse.

After a careful study of the record, we are convinced that the appellant is not an imbecile.
According to the evidence, during his marriage of about 16 years, he has not done anything or
conducted himself in anyway so as to warrant an opinion that he was or is an imbecile. He regularly and
dutifully cultivated his farm, raised five children, and supported his family and even maintained in school
his children of school age, with the fruits of his work. Occasionally, as a side line he made copra. And a
man who could feel the pangs of jealousy to take violent measure to the extent of killing his wife whom
he suspected of being unfaithful to him, in the belief that in doing so he was vindicating his honor, could
hardly be regarded as an imbecile. Whether or not his suspicions were justified, is of little or no import.
The fact is that he believed her faithless.

But to show that his feeling of jealousy had some color of justification and was not a mere
product of hallucination and aberrations of a disordered mind as that an imbecile or a lunatic, there is
evidence to the following effect. In addition to the observations made by appellant in his written
statement Exhibit D, it is said that when he and his wife first went to live in the house of his half brother,
Zacarias Formigones, the latter was living with his grandmother, and his house was vacant. However,
after the family of Abelardo was settled in the house, Zacarias not only frequented said house but also
used to sleep there nights. All this may have aroused and even partly confirmed the suspicions of
Abelardo, at least to his way of thinking.
The appellant has all the sympathies of the Court. He seems to be one of those unfortunate
beings, simple, and even feebleminded, whose faculties have not been fully developed. His action in
picking up the body of his wife after she fell down to the ground, dead, taking her upstairs, laying her on
the floor, and lying beside her for hours, shows his feeling of remorse at having killed his loved one
though he thought that she has betrayed him. Although he did not exactly surrender to the authorities,
still he made no effort to flee and compel the police to hunt him down and arrest him. In his written
statement he readily admitted that he killed his wife, and at the trial he made no effort to deny or
repudiate said written statement, thus saving the government all the trouble and expense of catching
him, and insuring his conviction.

Although the deceased was struck in the back, we are not prepared to find that the aggravating
circumstance of treachery attended the commission of the crime. It seems that the prosecution was not
intent or proving it. At least said aggravating circumstance was not alleged in the complaint either in the
justice of the peace court or in the Court of First Instance. We are inclined to give him the benefit of the
doubt and we therefore declined to find the existence of this aggravating circumstance. On the other
hand, the fact that the accused is feebleminded warrants the finding in his favor of the mitigating
circumstance provided for in either paragraph 8 or paragraph 9 of article 13 of the Revised Penal Code,
namely that the accused is "suffering some physical defect which thus restricts his means of action,
defense, or communication with his fellow beings," or such illness "as would diminish the exercise of his
will power." To this we may add the mitigating circumstance in paragraph 6 of the same article, — that
of having acted upon an impulse so powerful as naturally to have produced passion or obfuscation. The
accused evidently killed his wife in a fit of jealousy.

With the presence of two mitigating circumstances without any aggravating circumstance to
offset them, at first we thought of the possible applicability of the provisions of article 64, paragraph 5
of the Revised Penal Code for the purpose of imposing the penalty next lower to that prescribed by
article 246 for parricide, which is reclusion perpetua to death. It will be observed however, that article
64 refers to the application of penalties which contain three periods whether it be a single divisible
penalty or composed of three different penalties, each one of which forms a period in accordance with
the provisions of articles 76 and 77, which is not true in the present case where the penalty applicable
for parricide is composed only of two indivisible penalties. On the other hand, article 63 of the same
Code refers to the application of indivisible penalties whether it be a single divisible penalty, or two
indivisible penalties like that of reclusion perpetua to death. It is therefore clear that article 63 is the one
applicable in the present case.

Paragraph 2, rule 3 of said article 63 provides that when the commission of the act is attended
by some mitigating circumstance and there is no aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be
applied. Interpreting a similar legal provision the Supreme Court in the case of United States vs. Guevara
(10 Phil. 37), involving the crime of parricide, in applying article 80, paragraph 2 (rule 3 of the old Penal
Code) which corresponds to article 63, paragraph 2 (rule 3 of the present Revised Penal Code), thru
Chief Justice Arellano said the following:

And even though the court should take into consideration the presence of two mitigating
circumstances of a qualifying nature, which it can not afford to overlook, without any aggravating one,
the penalty could not be reduced to the next lower to that imposed by law, because, according to a
ruling of the court of Spain, article 80 above-mentioned does not contain a precept similar to that
contained in Rule 5 of article 81 (now Rule 5, art. 64 of the Rev. Penal Code.) (Decision of September 30,
1879.)
Yet, in view of the excessive penalty imposed, the strict application of which is inevitable and
which, under the law, must be sustained, this court now resorts to the discretional power conferred by
paragraph 2 of article 2 of the Penal Code; and.

Therefore, we affirm the judgment appealed from with costs, and hereby order that a proper
petition be filed with the executive branch of the Government in order that the latter, if it be deemed
proper in the exercise of the prerogative vested in it by the sovereign power, may reduce the penalty to
that of the next lower.

Then, in the case of People vs. Castañeda (60 Phil. 604), another parricide case, the Supreme
Court in affirming the judgment of conviction sentencing defendant to reclusion perpetua, said that
notwithstanding the numerous mitigating circumstances found to exist, inasmuch as the penalty for
parricide as fixed by article 246 of the Revised Penal Code is composed of two indivisible penalties,
namely, reclusion perpetua to death, paragraph 3 of article 63 of the said Code must be applied. The
Court further observed:

We are likewise convinced that appellant did not have that malice nor has exhibited such moral
turpitude as requires life imprisonment, and therefore under the provisions of article 5 of the Revised
Penal Code, we respectfully invite the attention of the Chief Executive to the case with a view to
executive clemency after appellant has served an appreciable amount of confinement.

In conclusion, we find the appellant guilty of parricide and we hereby affirm the judgment of the
lower court with the modification that the appellant will be credited with one-half of any preventive
imprisonment he has undergone. Appellant will pay costs.

Following the attitude adopted and the action taken by this same court in the two cases above
cited, and believing that the appellant is entitled to a lighter penalty, this case should be brought to the
attention of the Chief Executive who, in his discretion may reduce the penalty to that next lower to
reclusion perpetua to death or otherwise apply executive clemency in the manner he sees fit.