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People vs. Domasian G.R.No. 95322 March 1, 1993

Facts :
The accused were Pablito Domasian and Samson Tan, the latter then a resident physician in the hospital of the
victim's parents. The victim was 8-year old Enrico Agra, who was detained by Domasian and brought to a far
place. While they were boarding a tricycle, Domasian was firmly holding Enrico and the boy continued crying.
This aroused the suspicion of the driver, and brought about the recovery of the boy even before the ransom notes
reached the boy's parents.
Upon perusal of the note, Agra's father thought the handwriting was familiar so he compared it with some
records in the hospital. It turned out that it was written by Dr. Tan. Both accused were convicted of conspiracy in
kidnapping Agra.
Constitutional Issues :
1. Domasian contends that he was arrested without warrant, tortured and held incommunicado to extort a
2. Dr. Tan raised that the hospital documents which was compared to the ransom notes were seized without a
search warrant.
Ruling :
1. Domasian never made a confession.
2. The Bill of Rights cannot be invoked against acts of private individuals, being directed only against the
government and its law-enforcement agencies and limitation on official action.

Art. 6. Stages of commission

US vs. Eduave
Facts: The accused rushed upon the girl suddenly and struck her from behind with a sharp bolo, producing a
frightfulgash in the lumbar region and slightly to the side eight and one-half inches long and two inches deep,
severing all ofthe muscles and tissues there.The accused was incensed at the girl for the reason that she had
theretofore charged him criminally before the localofficials with having raped her and with being the cause of
her pregnancy. He was her mothers querido and was living with her as such at the time the crime here charged
was committed
Issues: WON the crime murder or homicide if the girl had been killed, WON the stage of commission is
attempted orfrustrated

Held: The crime committed was MURDER; The attack was made treacherously. Qualified by the circumstance
ofalevosia (Sp. treachery, a-le-vo-SI-a), the accused making a sudden attack upon his victim partly from the rear
anddealing her a terrible blow in the back and side with his bolo. The stage of commission is FRUSTRATED;
Notattempted murder because defendant PERFORMED ALL OF THE ACTS which should have resulted in
theconsummated crime and voluntarily desisted from further acts.

Art. 6: Rape

People vs. Orita

Victim: Cristina Abaya, 19 years old, freshman at St. Josephs College in Borongan, Eastern Samar
At around 1:30 am, after attending a party, Abayan came home to her boarding house. As she knocked at the
door,Orita suddenly held her and poked a knife at her neck. She pleaded for him to let her go but instead of
doing so, Oritadragged her upstairs with him while he had his left arm wrapped around her neck and his right
hand holding andpoking the balisong at the victim. At the second floor, he commanded Christina to look for a
room. Upon finding aroom, Orita held her against the wall while he undressed himself. He then ordered her to
undress. As she took off hershirt, he pulled off her bra, pants and panty, and ordered her to lie on the floor. He
then mounted her and, pointing thebalisong at her neck, ordered he to hold his penis and insert it in her vagina.
In this position, only a portion of hispenis entered her, so he ordered Abayan to go on top of him. With him lying
on his back and Abayan mounting him,still, he did not achieve full penetration and only part of his penis was
inserted in the vagina. At this instance, Abayangot the opportunity to escape Orita because he had both his hands
and the knife on the floor.Abayan, still naked, was chased from room to room with Orita climbing over the
partitions. Abayan, frantic andscared, jumped out of a window and darted for the municipal building and was
finally found by Pat. Donceras andother policemen. Due to darkness though, the failed to apprehend Orita.In the
medico legal, Dr. Ma. Luisa Abude had the following findings: circumscribed hematoma at Ant. neck,
linearabrasions below left breas, multiple pinpoint marks at the back, abrasions on both kness, erythemetous
areas notedsurrounding vaginal orifice, tender; hymen intact; no laceration fresh and old noted; examining finger
can barely enterand with difficulty; vaginal cavity tight, no discharges noted

Issue: Whether or not rape is consummated

Held: Rape was consummated. Perfect penetration is not essential. For the consummation of rape, any
penetration ofthe female organ by the male organ is sufficient to qualify as having carnal knowledge.In the crime
of rape, from the moment the offender has carnal knowledge of the victim, he actually attains his purposeand
from that moment, the essential elements of the offense have been accomplished.

People vs. Campuhan

Primo Campuhan was accused of raping four year old Crysthel Pamintuan. Campuhan was caught by
childsmother on April 25, 1996 at around 4pm in their house. Campuhan, helper of Corazons brother was
allegedly kneeling in front of the child with both their pants downa dn child was crying ayoko, ayoko while
Primo forced his penis into childs vagina

Issue:WON crime is rape?

Held: No. Modified to attempted rape1. Consummated rape: perfect penetration not essential. Slight penetration
is equivalent to rape. Meretouching of external genitalia considered when its an essential part of penetration not
just touching in ordinary sense(People v. Orita). Labia majora must be entered for rape to be consummated
(People v. Escober)
2. Attempted no penetration or didnt reach labia/mere grazing of surface
3. Failed to prove that penetration occurred. Mothers testimony questionable with regards to her position
relative to Primo and child. They failed to establish how she could have seen actual contact in her position4.
Mans instinct is to run when caught. Primo could not have stayed or to satisfy his lust even if .. seeingCorazon
5. Child denied penetration occurred People v. Villamor consummation even when penetration doubted: pains
felt, discoloration of inner lips of vagina or red labia minora or hymenal tags not visible. Now seen in case,
Medico legal officer, though penetration not neededto prove contact, no medical basis to hold that there was
sexual contact. Hymen intact.

Art. 6: Theft

US vs. Adiao
Defendant: Tomas Adiao
Adiao, a customs inspector, took a leather belt valued at P0.80 from the baggage of T. Murakami
Adiao kept the belt in his desk at the Custom House, where it was found by other customs employees
He was charged with the crime of theft in the Municipal Court of the city of Manila
He was found guilty of frustrated theft
He appealed to the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila and the decision of the Municipal Court was
affirmed and he was sentence to pay a fine of P100, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to
pay the costs
The defendant claimed in his appeal that the lower court erred in holding that he was guilty of the crime
oftheft as disclosed by the facts appearing of record

Issue: WON the act of the defendant is frustrated theft

Held: No, the crime cannot properly be classified as frustrated. The defendant has performed all of the acts
ofexecution necessary for the accomplishment of the crime of theft. He has taken possession of the belt and this
already constitutes the crime of theft. The act of making use of the thing having been frustrated, which,
however does not go to make the elements of the consummated crime (Decision of Supreme Court of Spain)
Note: The ponente referred to the decision of Supreme Court of Spain in its decision. It illustrated several
situationsthat constitute consummated theft.

Valenzuela vs. People of the Philippines, GR No. 150917, September 27, 2006
Facts: Petitioner and Jovy Calderon were sighted within the ShoeMart (SM) complex along North EDSA, by
Lorenzo Lago (Lago), a security guard who was then manning his post at the open parking area of the
supermarket. Lago saw petitioner, who was wearing an identification card with the mark "Receiving Dispatching
Unit (RDU)," hauling a push cart with cases of detergent of the well-known "Tide" brand. Petitioner unloaded
these cases in an open parking space, where Calderon was waiting. Petitioner then returned inside the
supermarket, and after five (5) minutes, emerged with more cartons of Tide Ultramatic and again unloaded these
boxes to the same area in the open parking space.

Thereafter, petitioner left the parking area and haled a taxi. He boarded the cab and directed it towards the
parking space where Calderon was waiting. Calderon loaded the cartons of Tide Ultramatic inside the taxi, then
boarded the vehicle. All these acts were seen by Lago, who proceeded to stop the taxi as it was leaving the open
parking area. When Lago asked petitioner for a receipt of the merchandise, petitioner and Calderon reacted by
fleeing on foot, but Lago fired a warning shot to alert his fellow security guards of the incident. Petitioner and
Calderon were apprehended at the scene, and the stolen merchandise recovered.

Petitioner and Calderon were charged and, after trial, convicted of consummated theft. Petitioner appealed,
arguing that he should have been convicted of frustrated theft only. However, his conviction was affirmed.

Issue: Is petitioner guilty of consummated theft?

Held: Yes. An easy distinction lies between consummated and frustrated felonies on one hand, and attempted
felonies on the other. So long as the offender fails to complete all the acts of execution despite commencing the
commission of a felony, the crime is undoubtedly in the attempted stage. Since the specific acts of execution that
define each crime under the Revised Penal Code are generally enumerated in the code itself, the task of
ascertaining whether a crime is attempted only would need to compare the acts actually performed by the
accused as against the acts that constitute the felony under the Revised Penal Code.

In contrast, the determination of whether a crime is frustrated or consummated necessitates an initial concession
that all of the acts of execution have been performed by the offender. The critical distinction instead is whether
the felony itself was actually produced by the acts of execution. The determination of whether the felony was
"produced" after all the acts of execution had been performed hinges on the particular statutory definition of the
felony. It is the statutory definition that generally furnishes the elements of each crime under the Revised Penal
Code, while the elements in turn unravel the particular requisite acts of execution and accompanying criminal

Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code gives a general definition of theft as follows: Theft is committed by any
person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things,
shall take personal property of another without the latter's consent.
For the purpose of ascertaining whether theft is susceptible of commission in the frustrated stage, the question is
again, when is the crime of theft produced? There would be all but certain unanimity in the position that theft is
produced when there is deprivation of personal property due to its taking by one with intent to gain. Viewed
from that perspective, it is immaterial to the product of the felony that the offender, once having committed all
the acts of execution for theft, is able or unable to freely dispose of the property stolen since the deprivation from
the owner alone has already ensued from such acts of execution.

It might be argued, that the ability of the offender to freely dispose of the property stolen delves into the concept
of "taking" itself, in that there could be no true taking until the actor obtains such degree of control over the
stolen item. But even if this were correct, the effect would be to downgrade the crime to its attempted, and not
frustrated stage, for it would mean that not all the acts of execution have not been completed, the "taking not
having been accomplished." Insofar as we consider the present question, "unlawful taking" is most material in
this respect. Unlawful taking, which is the deprivation of one's personal property, is the element which produces
the felony in its consummated stage. At the same time, without unlawful taking as an act of execution, the
offense could only be attempted theft, if at all. With these considerations, we can only conclude that under
Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code, theft cannot have a frustrated stage. Theft can only be attempted or

Art. 6: Robbery
People vs. Lamahang

Aurelio Lamahang was caught opening with an iron bar a wall of a store of cheap goods in Fuentes St. Iloilo.He
broke one board and was unfastening another when a patrolling police caught him. Owners of the store were
sleeping inside store as it was early dawn. Convicted of attempt of robbery

Issue:WON crime is attempted robbery?

Held: No. Attempted trespass to dwelling. Attempt should have logical relation to a particular and concrete
offensewhich would lead directly to consummation. Necessary to establish unavoidable connection & logical &
naturalrelation of cause and effect. Important to show clear intent to commit crime. In case at bar, we can only
infer that hisintent was to enter by force, other inferences are not justified by facts. Groizard: infer only from
nature of acts

Facts: Aurelio Lamahang was caught opening with an iron bar a wall of a store of cheap goods in Fuentes St.
Iloilo. He broke one board and was unfastening another when a patrolling police caught him. Owners of the store
were sleeping inside store as it was early dawn. Convicted of attempt of robbery
Issue: WON crime is attempted robbery?
Held: No. Attempted trespass to dwelling. Attempt should have logical relation to a particular and concrete
offense which would lead directly to consummation. Necessary to establish unavoidable connection & logical &
natural relation of cause and effect. Important to show clear intent to commit crime. In case at bar, we can only
infer that his intent was to enter by force, other inferences are not justified by facts. Groizard: infer only from
nature of acts executed. Acts susceptible of double interpretation cant furnish ground for themselves. Mind
should not directly infer intent. Spain SC: necessary that objectives established or acts themselves obviously
disclose criminal objective.

People vs SalvillaApril 26, 1990Melencho Herrera, JFacts:

Petitioner: Bienvenido Salvilla

April 12, 1986, at about noon time Petitioner, together with Reynaldo, Ronaldo and Simplicio (all
surnamedCanasares), staged a robbery at the New Iloilo Lumber Yard

They were armed with homemade guns and a hand grenade

On their way inside the establishment, they met Rodita Habiero, an employee there who was on her way out for
her meal break, and informed her that it was a hold-up.

They went inside the office and the petitioner pointed his gun at Severino Choco, the owner, and his two
daughters, Maryand Mimmie. They informed Severino that all they needed was money.

Severino asked Mary to get a paper bag wherein he placed P20,000 cash (P5000 acc to the defense) and handed
it to the petitioner.

Simplicio Canasares took the wallet and wristwatch of Severino after which the latter, his 2 daughters and Rodita
werekept inside the office.

According to the appellant, he stopped Severino from getting the wallet and watches.

At about 2:00 of the same day, the appellant told Severino to produce P100,000 so he and the other hostages can
bereleased. Severino told him it would be hard to do that since banks are closed because it was a Saturday

The police and military authorities had surrounded the lumber yard. Major Melquiades Sequio, Station
Commander of the INP of Iloilo City, negotiated with the accused and appealed to them to surrender. The
accused refused to surrender and release the hostages.

Rosa Caram, OIC Mayor of Iloilo City, joined the negotiations. Appellant demanded P100,000, a coaster, and
someraincoats. Caram offered P50,000 instead. Later, the accused agreed to receive the same and to release
Rodita to beaccompanied by Mary in going out of the office. One of the accused gave a key to Mayor Caram and
with the key,Mayor Caram unlocked the door and handed to Rodita P50,000, which Rodita gave to one of the

Rodita was later set free but Mary was herded back to the office.

The police and military authorities decided to assault the place when the accused still wouldnt budge after
moreultimatums. This resulted to injuries to the girls, as well as to the accused Ronaldo and Reynaldo Canasares.
Marysright leg had to be amputated due to her injuries.

The appellant maintained that the money, wallet and watches were all left on the counter and were never touched
bythem. He also claimed that they never fired on the military because they intended to surrender.Issues:

WON the crime of robbery was consummated

WON there was a mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender


Yes. The robbery shall be deemed consummated if the unlawful taking is complete.
Unlawful taking of personal property of another is an essential part of the crime of robbery. The
respondentclaimed that none of the items (money, watches and wallet) were recovered from them. However,
based on theevidence, the money demanded, the wallet and the wristwatch were within the dominion and control
of theappellant and his co-accused and thus the taking was completed.
It is not necessary that the property be taken into the hands of the robber or that he should have actually
carriedthe property away, out of the physical presence of the lawful possessor, or that he should have made his
escapewith it.

No. The surrender of the appellant and his co-accused cannot be considered in their favour to mitigate their
To be mitigating, a surrender must have the following requisites: that the offender had not been actuallyarrested,
that the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or to his agent, and that the surrender wasvoluntary.
The surrender by the appellant and his co-accused hardly meets these requirements. There is novoluntary
surrender to speak of.
Note: The nature of the linked offenses (robbery with serious physical injuries and serious illegal detention) was
also discussed.The detention in the case at bar was not only incidental to the robbery but was a necessary means
to commit the same so thenature of the offense was affirmed.
Judgment appealed is AFFIRMED

G.R. NO. 157057 June 26, 2007

Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court
assailing the Decision1 dated May 22, 2002 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 17995
which affirmed the Decision2 dated July 5, 1994 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Panabo, Davao
(RTC) in Criminal Case No. 91-15 finding Leonidas Epifanio y Lazaro (petitioner) guilty of Frustrated
Murder, and the CA Resolution3 dated January 14, 2003 which denied petitioner's Motion for
The facts of the case, as found by the RTC and the CA, are as follows:
At around 9:00 o'clock in the evening of August 15, 1990, Crisaldo Alberto (Crisaldo) and his cousin,
Allan Perez (Allan), were walking to their respective homes in Kilometer 7, Del Monte, Samal, Davao
after spending time at the house of Crisaldo's father. Since the pavement going to Crisaldo's house
followed a narrow pathway along the local shrubs called banganga, Allan walked ahead of Crisaldo at
a distance of about three (3) meters.4 Suddenly, Crisaldo felt the piercing thrust of a bladed weapon on
his back, which caused him to cry out in pain. He made a quick turnaround and saw his attacker,
petitioner, also known as "Iyo (Uncle) Kingkoy." Petitioner stabbed Crisaldo again but only hit the
latter's left arm.5
When Allan heard Crisaldo's outcry, he rushed to Crisaldo's side and said, "Iyo Kingkoy (Uncle
Kingkoy), why did you stab Saldo?" which caused petitioner to run away.6 Allan then brought Crisaldo
to his father's house where Crisaldo's wounds were wrapped in a blanket. Crisaldo was then brought to
the Peaplata Hospital where he was given first aid and then transferred to the Davao Medical Center
where he stayed for three weeks to recuperate from his wounds.7 The attending physician, Santiago
Aquino, issued a Medical Certificate dated September 4, 1990, with the following findings:
1. Stab wound (R) scapular area (Medial border) at level 5-7th ICS (L) arm Medial aspect M3rd
2. Fracture 7th and 8th rib, posterior, right.
Probable healing time will be 15-30 days barring complication.8
Subsequently, petitioner was charged with Frustrated Murder in Criminal Case No. 91-15. The
Information dated January 4, 1991 reads:
That on or about August 15, 1990, in the Municipality of Samal, Province of Davao, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with treachery and evident
premeditation, with intent to kill, armed with a knife, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and
feloniously attack, assault and stab one Crisaldo Alberto, thereby inflicting upon him wounds which
ordinarily would have caused his death, thus the accused performed all the acts of execution which
would produce the crime of murder, as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by
reason of some causes independent of the will of the accused, that is, by the timely and able medical
assistance rendered to said Crisaldo Alberto, and further causing actual, moral and compensatory
damages to the offended party.
Contrary to law.9
During his arraignment on June 25, 1991, petitioner, with the assistance of counsel, pleaded "not
Petitioner's defense consisted mainly of denial. He claims that at 7:00 o'clock in the morning of August
15, 1990, he went to Anonang, within the Municipality of Kaputian, and harvested coconuts by
climbing the coconut trees; that he went back home at 4:30 in the afternoon and he slept at 8:00 o'clock
in the evening; that while he was sleeping, his wife awakened him because Salvador Epifanio
(Salvador) was asking for help, as somebody was hacked, and he went to the place of incident with
Salvador; that he found out that Crisaldo was already wrapped in cloth and he asked Crisaldo who was
responsible for stabbing him, but he did not answer; that they loaded Crisaldo in the jeep to take him to
the nearby hospital; that he and Salvador took a ride with Crisaldo up to Del Monte where the two of
them alighted and reported the incident to the barangay captain; that the following morning, he went to
Anonang to harvest coconuts; that at around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon when he arrived home,
policemen Barraga and Labrador were in his house and told him that he was the suspect in the stabbing
incident; that he was detained but he was not investigated anymore and was ordered to go home.11
On July 5, 1994, the RTC rendered its Decision12 convicting the petitioner, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, finding the accused, Leonidas Epifanio y Lazaro guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Frustrated Murder punishable under Article 248 in relation to
Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, the Court hereby sentence this accused to an indeterminate
imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor as minimum to TEN (10)
YEARS of prision mayor as maximum together with the accessory penalties provided by law, and to
pay the costs.
Accused is hereby ordered to indemnify Crisaldo Alberto the sum of P6,000.00 by way of damages.
Petitioner appealed his conviction to the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 17995.14 On May 22,
2002, the CA rendered a Decision15 affirming in toto the Decision of the RTC.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration16 but it was denied by the CA in a Resolution17 dated
January 14, 2003.
Petitioner filed the present petition raising a sole issue for resolution, to wit:
Petitioner does not seek the reversal of his conviction but only that it be for the lesser offense of
attempted murder. He contends that there is no evidence that the injuries sustained by Crisaldo were
life-threatening or would have caused his death had it not been for timely medical intervention since
the medical certificate only stated that the healing time of the wounds sustained by Crisaldo was "15-30
days barring complication", with no notation or testimony of the attending physician that any of the
injuries was life-threatening.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on the other hand, contends that the failure to present the
doctor to testify on the nature of the wounds suffered by Crisaldo was not raised as an issue in the RTC;
that petitioner is now barred from raising it in the present petition for review without offending the
basic rules of fair play, justice and due process; that petitioner did not object to the admissibility of the
medical certificate when it was offered in evidence; that the crime is frustrated murder since petitioner
performed "all the acts of execution"; that the three-week length of stay in the hospital of Crisaldo is
not determinative of whether or not the wounds are fatal.
The petition is impressed with merit.
The non-presentation of the doctor to testify on the nature of the wounds, while not raised as an issue in
the RTC, does not bar the petitioner from raising it on appeal. It is a well-settled rule that an appeal in a
criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors,
though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even reverse the trial courts decision on the basis of
grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors.19
It must be stressed that it is not the gravity of the wounds alone which determines whether a felony is
attempted or frustrated, but whether the assailant had passed the subjective phase in the commission of
the offense.
In the leading case of United States v. Eduave,20 Justice Moreland, speaking for the Court,
distinguished an attempted from a frustrated felony. He said that to be an attempted crime, the purpose
of the offender must be thwarted by a foreign force or agency which intervenes and compels him to
stop prior to the moment when he has performed all the acts which should produce the crime as a
consequence, which act it is his intention to perform.21
The subjective phase in the commission of a crime is that portion of the acts constituting the crime
included between the act which begins the commission of the crime and the last act performed by the
offender which, with prior acts, should result in the consummated crime. Thereafter, the phase is
In case of an attempted crime, the offender never passes the subjective phase in the commission of the
crime. The offender does not arrive at the point of performing all of the acts of execution which should
produce the crime. He is stopped short of that point by some cause apart from his voluntary
On the other hand, a crime is frustrated when the offender has performed all the acts of execution
which should result in the consummation of the crime. The offender has passed the subjective phase in
the commission of the crime. Subjectively, the crime is complete. Nothing interrupted the offender
while passing through the subjective phase. He did all that was necessary to consummate the crime;
however, the crime is not consummated by reason of the intervention of causes independent of the will
of the offender.24
In homicide cases, the offender is said to have performed all the acts of execution if the wound inflicted
on the victim is mortal and could cause the death of the victim barring medical intervention or
attendance.25 If one inflicts physical injuries on another but the latter survives, the crime committed is
either consummated physical injuries, if the offender had no intention to kill the victim; or frustrated or
attempted homicide or frustrated murder or attempted murder if the offender intends to kill the
Intent to kill may be proved by evidence of: (a) motive; (b) the nature or number of weapons used in
the commission of the crime; (c) the nature and number of wounds inflicted on the victim; (d) the
manner the crime was committed; and (e) words uttered by the offender at the time the injuries were
inflicted by him on the victim.27
In the present case, the intent to kill is very evident and was established beyond reasonable doubt
through the unwavering testimony of Crisaldo on the manner of execution of the attack as well as the
number of wounds he sustained. Crisaldo was stabbed from behind by petitioner. When Crisaldo turned
around, petitioner continued his assault, hitting Crisaldo on the left arm as the latter tried to defend
himself. The treacherous manner in which petitioner perpetrated the crime is shown not only by the
sudden and unexpected attack upon the unsuspecting victim but also by the deliberate manner in which
the assault was perpetrated.28
Nonetheless, petitioner failed to perform all the acts of execution, because Allan came to the aid of
Crisaldo and petitioner was forced to scamper away. He did not voluntarily desist from stabbing
Crisaldo, but he had to stop stabbing when Allan rushed to help Crisaldo and recognized petitioner.
Thus, the subjective phase of the crime had not been completed.
Moreover, the prosecution failed to present testimonial evidence on the nature of the wounds sustained
by Crisaldo. The Court has discussed the importance of ascertaining the degree of injury sustained by a
victim in People v. Matyaong,29 thus:
In considering the extent of injury done, account must be taken of the injury to the function of the
various organs, and also the danger to life. A division into mortal and nonmortal wounds, if it could be
made, would be very desirable; but the unexpected complications and the various extraneous causes
which give gravity to the simplest cases, and, on the other hand, the favorable termination of some
injuries apparently the most dangerous, render any such classification impracticable. The general
classification into slight, severe, dangerous, and mortal wounds may be used, but the possibility of the
slight wound terminating with the loss of the persons life, and the apparently mortal ending with only a
slight impairment of some function, must always be kept in mind. x x x
The danger to life of any wound is dependent upon a number of factors: the extent of the injury, the
form of the wound, the region of the body affected, the blood vessels, nerves, or organs involved, the
entrance of disease-producing bacteria or other organisms into the wound, the age and constitution of
the person injured, and the opportunities for administering proper surgical treatment. x x x30
No evidence in this case was introduced to prove that Crisaldo would have died from his wound
without timely medical attendance. It is well-settled that where there is nothing in the evidence to show
that the wound would be fatal if not medically attended to, the character of the wound is doubtful;
hence, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused and the crime committed by him may be
declared as attempted, not frustrated, murder.31
Accordingly, the imposable penalty for the crime of attempted murder, following Article 51 of the
Revised Penal Code, is prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium
period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the penalty to be imposed should be
within the range of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period,
and the maximum of the penalty to be imposed should be within the range of prision correccional in its
maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period. Since no generic aggravating or mitigating
circumstance attended the commission of the crime of attempted murder, the penalty should be two (2)
years and four (4) months of prision correccional, as minimum; and eight (8) years of prision mayor, as
Anent the award of P6,000.00 as damages, the Court notes that the receipts showing the expenses
incurred during Crisaldo's hospitalization amounted only to P853.50.32 As a general rule, a party
seeking the award of actual damages must produce competent proof or the best evidence obtainable to
justify such award.33 Only substantiated and proven expenses will be recognized in court. Nonetheless,
in lieu of actual damages, the Court grants temperate damages of P6,000.00, as it cannot be denied that
Crisaldo incurred expenses during his three-week stay in the provincial hospital, although the exact
amount cannot be proved with certainty.34
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 5, 1994 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Panabo, Davao
in Criminal Case No. 91-15 is MODIFIED to the effect that petitioner is found GUILTY of
ATTEMPTED MURDER and is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate imprisonment of 2 years and 4
months of prision correccional, as minimum, and 8 years of prision mayor, as maximum together with
the accessory penalties provided by law; and petitioner is ordered to indemnify Crisaldo Alberto the
sum of P6,000.00 as temperate damages, and costs.

G.R. No. L-5848 April 30, 1954

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
SY PIO, alias POLICARPIO DE LA CRUZ, defendant-appellant.
Exequiel Zaballero, Jr. for appellant.
Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Florencio Villamor for appellee.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila finding the defendant-
appellant herein Sy Pio, alias Policarpio de la Cruz, guilty of frustrated murder against the person of
Tan Siong Kiap, and sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate sentence of 6 years, 1 month, and 11
days of prision mayor, to 14 years, 8 months, and 1 day of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the
offended party Tan Siong Kiap in the sum of P350, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and to pay the costs. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeals, but that court certified
it to this Court under the provisions of section 17 (4) of Republic Act No. 296, on the ground that the
crime charged was committed on the same occasion that the defendant-appellant had committed crime
of murder, with which the defendant-appellant was also charged.
The evidence for the prosecution shows that early in the morning of September 3, 1949, the defendant-
appellant entered the store at 511 Misericordia, Sta Cruz, Manila. Once inside he started firing a .45
caliber pistol that he had in his hand. The first one shot was Jose Sy. Tan Siong Kiap, who was in the
store and saw the accused enter and afterwards fire a shot at Jose Sy, asked the defendant-appellant,
"What is the idea?" Thereupon defendant-appellant turned around and fired at him also. The bullet fired
from defendant-appellant's pistol entered the right shoulder of Tan Siong Kiap immediately ran to a
room behind the store to hide. From there he still heard gunshot fired from defendant-appellant's pistol,
but afterwards defendant-appellant ran away.
Tan Siong Kiap was brought to the Chinese General Hospital, where his wound was treated. He stayed
there from September 3 to September 12, 1949, when he was released upon his request and against the
physician's advice. He was asked to return to the hospital for further treatment, and he did so five times
for a period of more than ten days. Thereafter his wound was completely healed. He spent the sum of
P300 for hospital and doctor's fees.
The defendant-appellant shot two other persons in the morning of September 3, 1949, before shooting
and wounding Tan Siong Kiap; one was Ong Pian and the other Jose Sy. On September 5 information
was received by the Manila Police Department that defendant-appellant was in custody of the
Constabulary in Tarlac, so a captain of the Manila police by the name of Daniel V. Lomotan proceeded
to Tarlac. There he saw the defendant-appellant and had a conversation with him. On this occasion
defendant-appellant and had a conversation with him. On this occasion defendant-appellant admitted to
Lomotan that his victims were Tan Siong Kiap, Ong Pian, and Jose Sy. The Constabulary in Tarlac also
delivered to Lomotan the pistol used by the defendant-appellant, marked Exhibit C, and its magazine,
Exhibit C-1, both of which the Constabulary had confiscated from the defendant-appellant. The
defendant-appellant was thereupon delivered to the custody of Lomotan, and the latter brought him to
Manila, where his statement was taken down in writing. This declaration was submitted at the time of
the trial as Exhibit D, and it contains all the details of the assaults that defendant-appellant 3 against the
persons of Tan Siong Kiap, Ong Pian, and Jose Sy. This written statement was taken down on a
typewriter and afterwards signed by the defendant-appellant in both his Chinese and Filipino names,
the latter being Policarpio de la Cruz.
According to the declaration of the defendant-appellant, some months prior to September 3, 1949, he
was employed as an attendant in a restaurant belonging to Ong Pian. Defendant-appellant's wife by the
name of Vicenta was also employed by Ong Pian's partner, Eng Cheng Suy. Prior to September 3 the
relatives of his wife had been asking the latter for help, because her father was sick. Defendant-
appellant asked money from Ong Pian, but the latter could only give him P1. His wife was able to
borrow P20 from her employer, and this was sent to his wife's parents in Cebu. Afterwards defendant-
appellant was dismissed from his work at the restaurant of Ong Pian, and he became a peddler. Ong
Pian presented a list of the sums that defendant-appellant had borrowed from him, and these sums were
deducted from the salary of his wife. Defendant-appellant did not recognize these sums as his
indebtedness, and so he resented Ong Pian's conduct.
As to Tan Siong Kiap, the confession states that a few days before September 3, 1949, defendant-
appellant had been able to realize the sum of P70 from the sales of medicine that he peddled. He laid
his money in a place in his room, but the following morning he found that it had disappeared from the
place in which he had placed it. Tan Siong Kiap and Jose Sy, upon the discovery of the loss of money,
told defendant-appellant that he must have given the money to his wife, and that nobody had stolen it.
After this incident of the loss, the defendant-appellant used to hear Tan Siong Kiap and Jose Sy and
other Chinamen say that the money had not been actually stolen, but that he lost it in gambling.
Because of these accusations against him, he nurtured resentment against both Tan Siong Kiap and Jose
So early in the morning of September 3, while a Chinaman by the name of Ngo Cho, who the possessor
of a caliber .45 pistol, was away from his room, defendant-appellant got his pistol and tucked it in his
belt. With this pistol he went to the restaurant at 822 Ongpin, and there shot Ong Pian. After shooting
him, he proceeded to 511 Misericordia, in store where Jose Sy and Tan Siong Kiap were, and there he
fired at them. Then he escaped to Legarda Street, in Sampaloc, where he borrowed P1 from his
relatives. From there he went to Malabon, to the house of his mother, to whom he told he had killed
two persons and from he asked money.
The foregoing is the substance of the written declaration made by the defendant-appellant in Exhibit D
on September 6, 1949. At the time of the trial, however, he disowned the confession and explained that
he signed it without having read its contents. He declared that it was not he who shot the three victims,
but it was one by the name of Chua Tone, with whom he had previously connived to kill the three other
victims. He introduced no witnesses, however, to support his denial. Neither did he deny that he
admitted before Captain Lomotan having killed the three persons, or having been found in Tarlac in
possession of the caliber .45 pistol, Exhibit C, and its magazine, Exhibit C-1. In his cross-examination
he admitted many of the incidents mentioned in the confession, especially the cause of his resentment
against his victims Ong Pian, Jose Sy, and Tan Siong Kiap.
The trial court refused to believed his testimony, and therefore, found him guilty of the crime charged.
On this appeal counsel for the defendant-appellant claims that the trial court erred in not finding that
Tan Siong Kiap received the shot accidentally from the same bullet that had been fired at Jose Sy, and
in finding that defendant-appellant has committed a crime distinct and separate from that of murder for
the slaying of Jose Sy. We find no merit in this contention. According to the uncontradicted testimony
of the offended party Tan Siong Kiap, when the latters saw defendant-appellant firing shots he asked
him why he was doing so, and the defendant-appellant, instead of answering him, turned around and
fired at him also. It is not true, therefore, that the shot which hit him was fired at Sy.
It is also contended that the evidence is not sufficient to sustain the judgment of conviction. We also
find no merit in this contention. The evidence submitted to prove the charge consists of: the
uncontradicted testimony of the victim himself; the admissions made verbally by the defendant-
appellant before Captain Lomotan in Tarlac; the fact that the defendant-appellant had escaped and was
found in Tarlac; his possession of the .45 caliber pistol coupled with the fact, attested to by the
testimony of the physician who examined and treated the wounds of Tan Siong Kiap, that the wounds
found in his person must have been caused by the caliber .45 bullet; and, lastly, the confession of the
defendant-appellant himself, Exhibit D, which he was not able to impugn. As against this mass of
evidence, defendant-appellant has only made a very unbelievable story that it was not he but another
that had committed the crime charged. His admissions at the time of the trial regarding the incidents, as
well as the cause of his having assaulted his victims, coincide exactly with the reasons given in his
written confession. This shows that he had made the confession himself, for nobody but himself could
have known the facts therein stated. The claim that the offense has not been proved beyond reasonable
doubt must be dismissed.
The defendant-appellant lastly claims that the lower court also erred in sentencing him to pay an
indemnity of P350. The offended party testified that he actually spent P300 for hospital and doctor's
fees, and that he was confined in the hospital for nine days. The above facts stand uncontradicted. This
assignment of error must also be dismissed.
It is lastly contended that the defendant-appellant should be found guilty only of less serious physical
injuries instead of the crime of frustrated murder as defendant-appellant admitted in his confession in
the open court that he had a grudge against the offended party, and that he connived with another to kill
the latter. The intent to kill is also evident from his conduct in firing the shot directly at the body of the
offended party.
But while intent to kill is conclusively proved the wound inflicted was not necessarily fatal, because it
did not touch any of the vital organs of the body. As a matter of fact, the medical certification issued by
the physician who examined the wound of the offended party at the time he went to the hospital, states
that the wound was to heal within a period of fourteen days, while the offended party actually stayed in
the hospital for nine days and continued receiving treatment thereafter five time for the period of more
than ten days, or a total of not more than thirty days. The question that needs to be determined,
therefore, is: Did the defendant-appellant perform all the acts of execution necessary to produce the
death of his victim?
In the cases of U.S. vs. Eduave, 36 Phil., 209, People vs. Dagman, 47 Phil., 768 and People vs.
Borinaga, 55 Phil., 433, this Court has held that it is not necessary that the accused actually commit all
the acts of execution necessary to produce the death of his victim, but that it is sufficient that he
believes that he has committed all said acts. In the case of People vs. Dagman, supra, the victim was
first knocked down by a stone thrown at him, then attacked with a lance, and then wounded by bolos
and clubs wielded by the accused, but the victim upon falling down feigned death, and the accused
desisted from further continuing in the assault in the belief that their victim was dead. And in the case
of People vs. Borinaga, supra, the accused stabbed his intended victim, but the knife with which he
committed the aggression instead of hitting the body of the victim, lodged in the back of the chair in
which he was seated, although the accused believed that he had already harmed him. In both these
cases this Court held that of the crime committed was that of frustrated murder, because the subjective
phase of the acts necessary to commit the offense had already passed; there was full and complete
belief on the part of the assailant that he had committed all the acts of execution necessary to produce
the death of the intended victim.
In the case at bar, however, the defendant-appellant fired at his victim, and the latter was hit, but he was
able to escape and hide in another room. The fact that he was able to escape, which appellant must have
seen, must have produced in the mind of the defendant-appellant that he was not able to his his victim
at a vital part of the body. In other words, the defendant-appellant knew that he had not actually all the
acts of execution necessary to kill his victim. Under these circumstances, it can not be said that the
subjective phase of the acts of execution had been completed. And as it does not appear that the
defendant-appellant continued in the pursuit, and as a matter of fact, he ran away afterwards a
reasonable doubt exist in our mind that the defendant-appellant had actually believed that he has
committed all the acts of execution or passed the subjective phase of the said acts. This doubt must be
resolved in favor of the defendant-appellant.
We are, therefore, not prepared to find the defendant-appellant guilty of frustrated murder, as charged
in the information. We only find him guilty of attempted murder, because he did not perform all the
acts of execution, actual and subjective, in order that the purpose and intention that he had to kill his
victim might be carried out.
Therefore, the judgment appealed from should be, as it is hereby, modified and the defendant-appellant
is found guilty of the crime of attempted murder, and the sentence imposed upon him reduced to an
indeterminate penalty of from 4 years, 2 months, and 1 day of prision correccional to 10 years of
prision mayor. In all other respects the judgment is affirmed. With costs against the defendant-

202 SCRA 655


1. Respondents (Ravelo et al.) were convicted by the RTC of murder

of Reynaldo Gaurano (Criminal Case 1187) sentencing them reclusion
perpetua plus fine of P25,000; and frustrated murder of Joey
Lugatiman (Criminal Case 1194) sentencing them of 8 years and 1 day
up to 10 years imprisonment.

2. Respondents appealed to CA contending that the court erred in

finding them guilty of frustrated murder in Criminal Case 1194 for
absence of proof of intent to kill which is essential element of
frustrated murder.


W/N respondents' conviction of frustrated murder in Criminal Case

1194 is proper


The Court is of the view that accused-appellants are not guilty of

frustrated murder but only of the crime of slight physical injuries.

Wherefore the appealed judgments in both cases are affirmed and

modified. The accused-appellants are sentenced:

a. To serve penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay P50,000 in

Criminal Case 1187.
b. To serve penalty if arresto menor in Criminal Case 1194


Conviction of the respondents of frustrated murder is improper. For

there to have a frustrated murder, the offender must perform all
acts of execution that would produce the felony as a consequence but
did not produce such because of reasons independent of the
perpetrator's will, however in this case, the respondents did not do
or even at least commence criminal act by overt acts with direct
connection with crime of murder.
Also, in a crime of murder or an attempt or frustration, the
offender must also have the intent or actual design to kill which
must be manifested by external acts The facts and evidence do not
show anything from which the intent to kill could be deduced to
warrant conviction for frustrated murder. A mere statement of the
accused stating Lugatiman would be killed is insufficient proof of
such intent.

People v. Kalalo

Appellant Marcelo Kalalo and Isabela Holgado had litigation over a
parcel of land situated in Calumpang San Luis Batangas. Marcelo
filed a complaint against Isabela in the CFI Batangas, but by virtue
of motion filed by Isabela, his first and second complaints were
dismissed respectively. Marcelo cultivated such land in question but
when harvest time came Isabela reaped all the planted good thereon.
Isabela and his brother Arcadio Holgado (one of the deceased)
decided to order the land plowed. When it came to Marcelo's
knowledge about the plowing of the Holgados, He together with his
brothers Felipe and Juan, bro-in-law Gregorio Ramos and Alejandro
Garcia, mother and aunt Fausta and Alipia Abrenica (all herein
appellants) proceeded to place as well. They are armed with bolos
and thus ordered the laborers of Isabela to stop plowing. When
Isabela, Marcelino Panaligan (another deceased) and other companion
arrived at place with food for the laborers, after knowing the cause
of suspension for plowing ordered the laborers to ditch again. At
this juncture Marcelo approached Arcadio and Felipe, Juan and
Gregorio approached Marcelino. At the remark of the Kalalos' mother
saying "What is detaining you?" they all simultaneously stuck with
their bolos Arcadio and Marcelino inflicting wounds which caused
their death. Marcelo took the revolver from Palanigan's body and
fired 4 shots at Hilarion Holgado who was fleeing then from the
scene. The appellants attempted to prove that the fight which
resulted in the death of 2 deceased was provoked by Marcelino when
he fired a gun shot to Marcelo. The trial court did not give any
credit to the testimony of the appellants stating that the
improbabilities of the defenses of the accused. It held on 3
separate criminal cases guilty the defendants for the murder of
Marcelino Palanigan (1st case) and Arcadio Holgado (2nd case) and
Illegal charge of firearm (3rd case). Co-accused Fausta, Alipia,
Gregorio and Alejandro were acquitted with the charges therein.

Whether the appellants guilty of murder or of simple homicide on 3

The Supreme Court held that under Art.248 RPC which defines murder,
the circumstance of "abuse of superior strength" if present, raises
homicide to the category of murder. However, said circumstance may
not properly be taken into consideration into the 2 cases at bar,
either qualifying or as a generic circumstance, if it is borne in
mind that the deceased were also armed (with bolo and revolver). The
risk was even for the contending parties and their strength was
almost balanced because a revolver is as effective as, if not more
so than 3 bolos. Thus, the SC finds these 2 cases constitute 2
homicides not murder.
As to the 3rd case, when Marcelo Kalalo fired 4 successive gun shots
at Hilarion, the fact that Marcelo not having contented himself
firing once and the circumstance that immediately before doing so ,
he and other appellants had already killed Arcadio and Marcelino,
shows that he was bent on killing Hilarion. He performed everything
necessary on his part to commit the crime that he determined to
commit but he failed by reason of causes independent of his will,
either of poor aim or because he intended victim succeeded in
dodging the shots. None of which found its mark. The Supreme Court
ruled that such act constitutes attempted homicide


G.R. No. 141066. February 17, 2005

Facts: In 1989, spouses Adronico and Evangeline Ladonga became Alfredo Oculams regular customers in his
pawnshop business. Sometime in May 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained a P9,075.55 loan from him,
guaranteed by United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) Check No. 284743, post dated to July 7, 1990 issued by
Adronico; sometime in the last week of April 1990 and during the first week of May 1990, the Ladonga spouses
obtained an additional loan of P12,730.00, guaranteed by UCPB Check No. 284744, post dated to July 26, 1990
issued by Adronico; between May and June 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained a third loan in the amount of
P8,496.55, guaranteed by UCPB Check No. 106136, post dated to July 22, 1990 issued by Adronico; the three
checks bounced upon presentment for the reason CLOSED ACCOUNT; when the Ladonga spouses failed to
redeem the check, despite repeated demands, he filed a criminal complaint against them. While admitting that
the checks issued by Adronico bounced because there was no sufficient deposit or the account was closed, the
Ladonga spouses claimed that the checks were issued only to guarantee the obligation, with an agreement that
Oculam should not encash the checks when they mature; and, that petitioner is not a signatory of the checks and
had no participation in the issuance thereof. The RTC rendered a joint decision finding the Ladonga spouses
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22. Petitioner brought the case to the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of petitioner.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner who was not the drawer or issuer of the three checks that bounced but her
co-accused husband under the latters account could be held liable for violations of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 as

Held: The conviction must be set aside. Article 8 of the RPC provides that a conspiracy exists when two or
more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. To be held
guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, the accused must be shown to have performed an overt act in
pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. The overt act or acts of the accused may consist of active
participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or may consist of moral assistance to his co-
conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the criminal plan. In the present case, the prosecution
failed to prove that petitioner performed any overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. Apparently, the
only semblance of overt act that may be attributed to petitioner is that she was present when the first check was
issued. However, this inference cannot be stretched to mean concurrence with the criminal design. Conspiracy
must be established, not by conjectures, but by positive and conclusive evidence. Conspiracy transcends mere
companionship and mere presence at the scene of the crime does not in itself amount to conspiracy. Even
knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to constitute one as a party to a conspiracy,
absent any active participation in the commission of the crime with a view to the furtherance of the common
design and purpose

G.R. No. 93028 July 29, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
MARTIN SIMON y SUNGA, respondent.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Ricardo M.Sampang for accused-appellant.

Herein accused-appellant Martin Simon y Sunga was charged on November 10, 1988 with a violation of Section 4,
Article II of Republic Act
No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, under an indictment alleging that on or
about October 22, 1988, at Barangay Sto. Cristo, Guagua, Pampanga, he sold four tea bags of marijuana to a Narcotics
Command (NARCOM) poseur-buyer in consideration of the sum of P40.00, which tea bags, when subjected to
laboratory examination, were found positive for marijuana. 1
Eventually arraigned with the assistance of counsel on March 2, 1989, after his rearrest following his escape from
Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga where he was temporarily detained, 2 he pleaded not guilty. He voluntarily
waived his right to a pre-trial conference, 3 after which trial on the merits ensued and was duly concluded.
The evidence on record shows that a confidential informant, later identified as a NARCOM operative, informed the
police unit at Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga, of the illegal drug activities of a certain "Alyas Pusa" at Sto.
Cristo, Guagua, Pampanga. Capt. Francisco Bustamante, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Narcotics Regional Unit in
the camp, then formed a buy-bust team composed of Sgt. Buenaventura Lopez, Pfc. Virgilio Villaruz and
Sgt. Domingo Pejoro, all members of the same unit. After securing marked money from Bustamante, the team,
together with their informant, proceeded to Sto. Cristo after they had coordinated with the police authorities
andbarangay officers thereof. When they reached the place, the confidential informer pointed out appellant to Lopez
who consequently approached appellant and asked him if he had marijuana. Appellant answered in the affirmative and
Lopez offered to buy two tea bags. Appellant then left and, upon returning shortly thereafter, handed to Lopez two
marijuana tea bags and Lopez gave him the marked money amounting to P40.00 as payment. Lopez then scratched his
head as a
pre-arranged signal to his companions who were stationed around ten to fifteen meters away, and the team closed in
on them. Thereupon, Villaruz, who was the head of the back-up team, arrested appellant. The latter was then brought
by the team to the 3rd Narcotics Regional Unit at Camp Olivas on board a jeep and he was placed under custodial
investigation, with Sgt. Pejoro as the investigator. 4
Pfc. Villaruz corroborated Lopez' testimony, claiming that he saw the deal that transpired between Lopez and the
appellant. He also averred that he was the one who confiscated the marijuana and took the marked money from
appellant. 5
Sgt. Domingo Pejoro, for his part, declared that although he was part of the buy-bust team, he was stationed farthest
from the rest of the other members, that is, around two hundred meters away from his companions. He did not actually
see the sale that transpired between Lopez and appellant but he saw his teammates accosting appellant after the latter's
arrest. He was likewise the one who conducted the custodial investigation of appellant wherein the latter was apprised
of his rights to remain silent, to information and to counsel. Appellant, however, orally waived his right to counsel. 6
Pejoro also claimed having prepared Exhibit "G", the "Receipt of Property Seized/Confiscated" which appellant
signed, admitting therein the confiscation of four tea bags of marijuana dried leaves in his possession. Pejoro likewise
informed the court below that, originally, what he placed on the receipt was that only one marijuana leaf was
confiscated in exchange for P20.00. However, Lopez and Villaruz corrected his entry by telling him to put "two",
instead of "one" and "40", instead of "20". He agreed to the correction since they were the ones who were personally
and directly involved in the purchase of the marijuana and the arrest of appellant. 7
Dr. Pedro S. Calara, a medical officer at Camp Olivas, examined appellant at 5:30 p.m. of the day after the latter's
apprehension, and the results were practically normal except for his relatively high blood pressure. The doctor also did
not find any trace of physical injury on the person of appellant. The next day, he again examined appellant due to the
latter's complaint of
gastro-intestinal pain. In the course of the examination, Dr. Calara discovered that appellant has a history of peptic
ulcer, which causes him to experience abdominal pain and consequently vomit blood. In the afternoon, appellant came
back with the same complaint but, except for the gastro-intestinal pain, his physical condition remained normal. 8
As expected, appellant tendered an antipodal version of the attendant facts, claiming that on the day in question, at
around 4:30 p.m., he was watching television with the members of his family in their house when three persons,
whom he had never met before suddenly arrived. Relying on the assurance that they would just inquire about
something from him at their detachment, appellant boarded a jeep with them. He was told that they were going to
Camp Olivas, but he later noticed that they were taking a different route. While on board, he was told that he was a
pusher so he attempted to alight from the jeep but he was handcuffed instead. When they finally reached the camp, he
was ordered to sign some papers and, when he refused, he was boxed in the stomach eight or nine times by Sgt.
Pejoro. He was then compelled to affix his signature and fingerprints on the documents presented to him. He denied
knowledge of the P20.00 or the dried marijuana leaves, and insisted that the twenty-peso bill came from the pocket of
Pejoro. Moreover, the reason why he vomited blood was because of the blows he suffered at the hands of Pejoro. He
admitted having escaped from the NARCOM office but claimed that he did so since he could no longer endure the
maltreatment to which he was being subjected. After escaping, he proceeded to the house of his uncle, Bienvenido
Sunga, at San Matias, Guagua, reaching the place at around 6:30 or 7:30 p.m. There, he consulted a quack doctor and,
later, he was accompanied by his sister to the Romana Pangan District Hospital at Floridablanca, Pampanga where he
was confined for three days. 9
Appellant's brother, Norberto Simon, testified to the fact that appellant was hospitalized at Floridablanca, Pampanga
after undergoing abdominal pain and vomiting of blood. He likewise confirmed that appellant had been suffering from
peptic ulcer even before the latter's arrest. 10 Also, Dr. Evelyn Gomez-Aguas, a resident physician of Romana Pangan
District Hospital, declared that she treated appellant for three days due to abdominal pain, but her examination
revealed that the cause for this ailment was appellant's peptic ulcer. She did not see any sign of slight or serious
external injury, abrasion or contusion on his body. 11
On December 4, 1989, after weighing the evidence presented, the trial court rendered judgment convicting appellant
for a violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty
of life imprisonment, to pay a fine of twenty thousand pesos and to pay the costs. The four tea bags of marijuana dried
leaves were likewise ordered confiscated in favor of the Government. 12
Appellant now prays the Court to reverse the aforementioned judgment of the lower court, contending in his
assignment of errors that the latter erred in (1) not upholding his defense of "frame-up", (2) not declaring Exhibit "G"
(Receipt of Property Seized/Confiscated) inadmissible in evidence, and (3) convicting him of a violation of the
Dangerous Drugs Act. 13
At the outset, it should be noted that while the People's real theory and evidence is to the effect the appellant actually
sold only two tea bags of marijuana dried leaves, while the other two tea bags were merely confiscated subsequently
from his possession, 14 the latter not being in any way connected with the sale, the information alleges that he sold
and delivered four tea bags of marijuana dried leaves. 15 In view thereof, the issue presented for resolution in this
appeal is merely the act of selling the two tea bags allegedly committed by appellant, and does not include the
disparate and distinct issue of illegal possession of the other two tea bags which separate offense is not charged
herein. 16
To sustain a conviction for selling prohibited drugs, the sale must be clearly and unmistakably established. 17 To sell
means to give, whether for money or any other material consideration. 18 It must, therefore, be established beyond
doubt that appellant actually sold and delivered two tea bags of marijuana dried leaves to Sgt. Lopez, who acted as the
poseur-buyer, in exchange for two twenty-peso bills.
After an assiduous review and calibration of the evidence adduced by both parties, we are morally certain that
appellant was caught in flagrante delicto engaging in the illegal sale of prohibited drugs. The prosecution was able to
prove beyond a scintilla of doubt that appellant, on October 22, 1988, did sell two tea bags of marijuana dried leaves
to Sgt. Lopez. The latter himself creditably testified as to how the sale took place and his testimony was amply
corroborated by his teammates. As between the straightforward, positive and corroborated testimony of Lopez and the
bare denials and negative testimony of appellant, the former undeniably deserves greater weight and is more entitled
to credence.
We are aware that the practice of entrapping drug traffickers through the utilization of poseur-buyers is susceptible to
mistake, harassment, extortion and abuse. 19 Nonetheless, such causes for judicial apprehension and doubt do not
obtain in the case at bar. Appellant's entrapment and arrest were not effected in a haphazard way, for a surveillance
was conducted by the team before the
buy-bust operation was effected. 20 No ill motive was or could be attributed to them, aside from the fact that they are
presumed to have regularly performed their official duty. 21 Such lack of dubious motive coupled with the
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty, as well as the findings of the trial court on the credibility
of witnesses, should prevail over the self-serving and uncorroborated claim of appellant of having been
framed, 22 erected as it is upon the mere shifting sands of an alibi. To top it all, appellant was caught
red-handed delivering prohibited drugs, and while there was a delimited chance for him to controvert the charge, he
does not appear to have plausibly done so.
When the drug seized was submitted to the Crime Laboratory Service of the then Philippine Constabulary-Integrated
National Police (PC-INP) at Camp Olivas for examination, P/Cpl. Marlyn Salangad, a forensic chemist
therein, 23 confirmed in her Technical Report No. NB-448-88 that the contents of the four tea bags confiscated from
appellant were positive for and had a total weight of 3.8 grams of marijuana. 24 Thus, the corpus delicti of the crime
had been fully proved with certainty and conclusiveness. 25
Appellant would want to make capital of the alleged inconsistencies and improbabilities in the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses. Foremost, according to him, is the matter of who really confiscated the marijuana tea bags
from him since, in open court, Pejoro asserted that he had nothing to do with the confiscation of the marijuana, but in
the aforementioned "Receipt of Property Seized/Confiscated," he signed it as the one who seized the same. 26
Suffice it to say that whether it was Villaruz or Pejoro who confiscated the marijuana will not really matter since such
is not an element of the offense with which appellant is charged. What is unmistakably clear is that the marijuana was
confiscated from the possession of appellant. Even, assuming arguendo that the prosecution committed an error on
who actually seized the marijuana from appellant, such an error or discrepancy refers only to a minor matter and, as
such, neither impairs the essential integrity of the prosecution evidence as a whole nor reflects on the witnesses'
honesty. 27 Besides, there was clearly a mere imprecision of language since Pejoro obviously meant that he did not
take part in the physical taking of the drug from the person of appellant, but he participated in the legal seizure or
confiscation thereof as the investigator of their unit.
Next, appellant adduces the argument that the twenty-peso bills allegedly confiscated from him were not powdered for
finger-printing purposes contrary to the normal procedure in buy-bust operations. 28 This omission has been
satisfactorily explained by Pfc. Virgilio Villaruz in his testimony, as follows:
Q: Is it the standard operating procedure of your unit that in conducting such
operation you do not anymore provide a powder (sic) on the object so as to
determine the thumbmark or identity of the persons taking hold of the object?
A: We were not able to put powder on these denominations because we are lacking
that kind of material in our office since that item can be purchased only in Manila
and only few are producing that, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: Is it not a fact that your office is within (the) P.C. Crime Laboratory, CIS, as well
as the office of NICA?
A: Our office is only adjacent to those offices but we cannot make a request for that
powder because they, themselves, are using that in their own work, sir. 29
The foregoing explanation aside, we agree that the failure to mark the money bills used for entrapment purposes can
under no mode of rationalization be fatal to the case of the prosecution because the Dangerous Drugs Act punishes
"any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in
transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions." 30 The dusting of said bills
with phosphorescent powder is only an evidentiary technique for identification purposes, which identification can be
supplied by other species of evidence.
Again, appellant contends that there was neither a relative of his nor any barangay official or civilian to witness the
seizure. He decries the lack of pictures taken before, during and after his arrest. Moreover, he was not reported to or
booked in the custody of any barangay official or police authorities. 31 These are absurd disputations. No law or
jurisprudence requires that an arrest or seizure, to be valid, be witnessed by a relative, a barangay official or any other
civilian, or be accompanied by the taking of pictures. On the contrary, the police enforcers having caught appellant
in flagrante delicto, they were not only authorized but were also under the obligation to effect a warrantless arrest and
Likewise, contrary to appellant's contention, there was an arrest report prepared by the police in connection with his
apprehension. Said Booking Sheet and Arrest Report 32 states, inter alia, that "suspect was arrested for selling two tea
bags of suspected marijuana dried leaves and the confiscation of another two tea bags of suspected marijuana dried
leaves." Below these remarks was affixed appellant's signature. In the same manner, the receipt for the seized
property, hereinbefore mentioned, was signed by appellant wherein he acknowledged the confiscation of the marked
bills from him. 33
However, we find and hereby declare the aforementioned exhibits inadmissible in evidence. Appellant's conformance
to these documents are declarations against interest and tacit admissions of the crime charged. They were obtained in
violation of his right as a person under custodial investigation for the commission of an offense, there being nothing in
the records to show that he was assisted by counsel. 34 Although appellant manifested during the custodial
investigation that he waived his right to counsel, the waiver was not made in writing and in the presence of
counsel, 35 hence whatever incriminatory admission or confession may be extracted from him, either verbally or in
writing, is not allowable in evidence. 36 Besides, the arrest report is self-serving and hearsay and can easily be
concocted to implicate a suspect.
Notwithstanding the objectionability of the aforesaid exhibits, appellant cannot thereby be extricated from his
predicament since his criminal participation in the illegal sale of marijuana has been sufficiently proven. The
commission of the offense of illegal sale of prohibited drugs requires merely the consummation of the selling
transaction 37 which happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. 38 In the present case, and in
light of the preceding discussion, this sale has been ascertained beyond any peradventure of doubt.
Appellant then asseverates that it is improbable that he would sell marijuana to a total stranger. 39 We take this
opportunity to once again reiterate the doctrinal rule that drug-pushing, when done on a small scale as in this case,
belongs to that class of crimes that may be committed at any time and in any place. 40 It is not contrary to human
experience for a drug pusher to sell to a total stranger, 41 for what matters is not an existing familiarity between the
buyer and seller but their agreement and the acts constituting the sale and delivery of the marijuana leaves. 42 While
there may be instances where such sale could be improbable, taking into consideration the diverse circumstances of
person, time and place, as well as the incredibility of how the accused supposedly acted on that occasion, we can
safely say that those exceptional particulars are not present in this case.
Finally, appellant contends that he was subjected to physical and mental torture by the arresting officers which caused
him to escape from Camp Olivas the night he was placed under custody. 43 This he asserts to support his explanation
as to how his signatures on the documents earlier discussed were supposedly obtained by force and coercion.
The doctrine is now too well embedded in our jurisprudence that for evidence to be believed, it must not only proceed
from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of
mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. 44 The evidence on record is bereft of any support for
appellant's allegation of maltreatment. Two doctors, one for the prosecution 45 and the other for the
defense, 46 testified on the absence of any tell-tale sign or indication of bodily injury, abrasions or contusions on the
person of appellant. What is evident is that the cause of his abdominal pain was his peptic ulcer from which he had
been suffering even before his arrest. 47 His own brother even corroborated that fact, saying that appellant has had a
history of bleeding peptic ulcer. 48
Furthermore, if it is true that appellant was maltreated at Camp Olivas, he had no reason whatsoever for not divulging
the same to his brother who went to see him at the camp after his arrest and during his detention there. 49 Significantly,
he also did not even report the matter to the authorities nor file appropriate charges against the alleged malefactors
despite the opportunity to do so 50 and with the legal services of counsel being available to him. Such omissions
funnel down to the conclusion that appellant's story is a pure fabrication.
These, and the events earlier discussed, soundly refute his allegations that his arrest was baseless and premeditated for
the NARCOM agents were determined to arrest him at all costs. 51 Premeditated or not, appellant's arrest was only the
culmination, the final act needed for his isolation from society and it was providential that it came about after he was
caught in the very act of illicit trade of prohibited drugs. Accordingly, this opinion could have concluded on a note of
affirmance of the judgment of the trial court. However, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, was further amended by
Republic Act No. 7659 effective December 31, 1993, 52 which supervenience necessarily affects the original
disposition of this case and entails additional questions of law which we shall now resolve.
The provisions of the aforesaid amendatory law, pertinent to the adjudication of the case at bar, are to this effect:
Sec. 13. Sections 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 of Art. II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, are hereby amended to read as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of
Prohibited Drugs. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging
from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any
person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to
another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as
a broker in any of such transactions.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 17. Section 20, Article IV of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous
Drugs Act of 1972, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 20. Application of Penalties, Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds or
Instrument of the Crime. The penalties for offenses under Sections 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9
of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act shall be
applied if the dangerous drugs involved is in any of the following quantities:
xxx xxx xxx
5. 750 grams or more of indian hemp or marijuana
xxx xxx xxx
Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalty
shall range from prision correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the
1. Considering that herein appellant is being prosecuted for the sale of four tea bags of marijuana with a total weight
of only 3.8 grams and, in fact, stands to be convicted for the sale of only two of those tea bags, the initial inquiry
would be whether the patently favorable provisions of Republic Act
No. 7659 should be given retroactive effect to entitle him to the lesser penalty provided thereunder, pursuant to Article
22 of the Revised Penal Code.
Although Republic Act No. 6425 was enacted as a special law, albeit originally amendatory and in substitution of the
previous Articles 190 to 194 of the Revised Penal Code, 53 it has long been settled that by force of Article 10 of said
Code the beneficient provisions of Article 22 thereof applies to and shall be given retrospective effect to crimes
punished by special laws. 54 The execution in said article would not apply to those convicted of drug offenses since
habitual delinquency refers to convictions for the third time or more of the crimes of serious or less serious
physical injuries, robo, hurto, estafa or falsification. 55
Since, obviously, the favorable provisions of Republic Act No. 7659 could neither have then been involved nor
invoked in the present case, a corollary question would be whether this court, at the present stage, can
sua sponte apply the provisions of said Article 22 to reduce the penalty to be imposed on appellant. That issue has
likewise been resolved in the cited case of People vs. Moran, et al., ante., thus:
. . . . The plain precept contained in article 22 of the Penal Code, declaring the retroactivity of penal
laws in so far as they are favorable to persons accused of a felony, would be useless and nugatory if
the courts of justice were not under obligation to fulfill such duty, irrespective of whether or not the
accused has applied for it, just as would also all provisions relating to the prescription of the crime
and the penalty.
If the judgment which could be affected and modified by the reduced penalties provided in Republic Act No. 7659 has
already become final and executory or the accused is serving sentence thereunder, then practice, procedure and
pragmatic considerations would warrant and necessitate the matter being brought to the judicial authorities for relief
under a writ of habeas corpus. 56
2. Probably through oversight, an error on the matter of imposable penalties appears to have been committed in the
drafting of the aforesaid law; thereby calling for and necessitating judicial reconciliation and craftsmanship.
As applied to the present case, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, as now further amended, imposes the penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to P10,000,000.00 upon any person who shall
unlawfully sell, administer, deliver, give away, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug. That
penalty, according to the amendment to Section 20 of the law, shall be applied if what is involved is 750 grams or
more of indian hemp or marijuana; otherwise, if the quantity involved is less, the penalty shall range from prision
correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity.
In other words, there is here an overlapping error in the provisions on the penalty of reclusion perpetua by reason of
its dual imposition, that is, as the maximum of the penalty where the marijuana is less than 750 grams, and also as the
minimum of the penalty where the marijuana involved is 750 grams or more. The same error has been committed with
respect to the other prohibited and regulated drugs provided in said Section 20. To harmonize such conflicting
provisions in order to give effect to the whole law, 57 we hereby hold that the penalty to be imposed where the
quantity of the drugs involved is less than the quantities stated in the first paragraph shall range from prision
correccional to reclusion temporal, and not reclusion perpetua. This is also concordant with the fundamental rule in
criminal law that all doubts should be construed in a manner favorable to the accused.
3. Where, as in this case, the quantity of the dangerous drug is only 3.8 grams, hence covered by the imposable range
of penalties under the second paragraph of Section 20, as now modified, the law provides that the penalty shall be
taken from said range "depending upon the quantity" of the drug involved in the case. The penalty in said second
paragraph constitutes a complex one composed of three distinct penalties, that is, prision correccional,prision
mayor, and reclusion temporal. In such a situation, the Code provides that each one shall form a period, with the
lightest of them being the minimum, the next as the medium, and the most severe as the maximum period. 58
Ordinarily, and pursuant to Article 64 of the Code, the mitigating and aggravating circumstances determine which
period of such complex penalty
shall be imposed on the accused. The peculiarity of the second paragraph of Section 20, however, is its specific
mandate, above quoted, that the penalty shall instead depend upon the quantity of the drug subject of the criminal
transaction. 59 Accordingly, by way of exception to Article 77 of the Code and to subserve the purpose of Section 20
of Republic Act No. 7659, each of the aforesaid component penalties shall be considered as a principal imposable
penalty depending on the quantity of the drug involved. Thereby, the modifying circumstances will not altogether be
disregarded. Since each component penalty of the total complex penalty will have to be imposed separately as
determined by the quantity of the drug involved, then the modifying circumstances can be used to fix the proper
period of that component penalty, as shall hereafter be explained.
It would, therefore, be in line with the provisions of Section 20 in the context of our aforesaid disposition thereon that,
unless there are compelling reasons for a deviation, the quantities of the drugs enumerated in its second paragraph be
divided into three, with the resulting quotient, and double or treble the same, to be respectively the bases for allocating
the penalty proportionately among the three aforesaid periods according to the severity thereof. Thus, if the marijuana
involved is below 250 grams, the penalty to be imposed shall be prision correccional; from 250 to 499 grams, prision
mayor; and 500 to
749 grams, reclusion temporal. Parenthetically, fine is imposed as a conjunctive penalty only if the penalty is
reclusion perpetua to death. 60
Now, considering the minimal quantity of the marijuana subject of the case at bar, the penalty of prision
correccional is consequently indicated but, again, another preliminary and cognate issue has first to be resolved.
4. Prision correccional has a duration of 6 months and 1 day to 6 years and, as a divisible penalty, it consists of three
periods as provided in the text of and illustrated in the table provided by Article 76 of the Code. The question is
whether or not in determining the penalty to be imposed, which is here to be taken from the penalty of prision
correccional, the presence or absence of mitigating, aggravating or other circumstances modifying criminal liability
should be taken into account.
We are not unaware of cases in the past wherein it was held that, in imposing the penalty for offenses under special
laws, the rules on mitigating or aggravating circumstances under the Revised Penal Code cannot and should not be
applied. A review of such doctrines as applied in said cases, however, reveals that the reason therefor was because the
special laws involved provided their own specific penalties for the offenses punished thereunder, and which penalties
were not taken from or with reference to those in the Revised Penal Code. Since the penalties then provided by the
special laws concerned did not provide for the minimum, medium or maximum periods, it would consequently be
impossible to consider the aforestated modifying circumstances whose main function is to determine the period of the
penalty in accordance with the rules in Article 64 of the Code.
This is also the rationale for the holding in previous cases that the provisions of the Code on the graduation of
penalties by degrees could not be given supplementary application to special laws, since the penalties in the latter
were not components of or contemplated in the scale of penalties provided by Article 71 of the former. The suppletory
effect of the Revised Penal Code to special laws, as provided in Article 10 of the former, cannot be invoked where
there is a legal or physical impossibility of, or a prohibition in the special law against, such supplementary application.
The situation, however, is different where although the offense is defined in and ostensibly punished under a special
law, the penalty therefor is actually taken from the Revised Penal Code in its technical nomenclature and, necessarily,
with its duration, correlation and legal effects under the system of penalties native to said Code. When, as in this case,
the law involved speaks of prision correccional, in its technical sense under the Code, it would consequently be both
illogical and absurd to posit otherwise. More on this later.
For the nonce, we hold that in the instant case the imposable penalty under Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by
Republic Act No. 7659, is prision correccional, to be taken from the medium period thereof pursuant to Article 64 of
the Revised Penal Code, there being no attendant mitigating or aggravating circumstance.
5. At this juncture, a clarificatory discussion of the developmental changes in the penalties imposed for offenses under
special laws would be necessary.
Originally, those special laws, just as was the conventional practice in the United States but differently from the
penalties provided in our Revised Penal Code and its Spanish origins, provided for one specific penalty or a range of
penalties with definitive durations, such as imprisonment for one year or for one to five years but without division into
periods or any technical statutory cognomen. This is the special law contemplated in and referred to at the time laws
like the Indeterminate Sentence Law 61 were passed during the American regime.
Subsequently, a different pattern emerged whereby a special law would direct that an offense thereunder shall be
punished under the Revised Penal Code and in the same manner provided therein. Inceptively, for instance,
Commonwealth Act No. 303 62 penalizing non-payment of salaries and wages with the periodicity prescribed therein,
Sec. 4. Failure of the employer to pay his employee or laborer as required by section one of this Act,
shall prima facie be considered a fraud committed by such employer against his employee or laborer by
means of false pretenses similar to those mentioned in article three hundred and fifteen, paragraph four,
sub-paragraph two (a) of the Revised Penal Code and shall be punished in the same manner as therein
provided. 63
Thereafter, special laws were enacted where the offenses defined therein were specifically punished by the penalties
as technically named and understood in the Revised Penal Code. These are exemplified by Republic Act No. 1700
(Anti-Subversion Act) where the penalties ranged from arresto mayor to
death; 64 Presidential Decree No. 1612 (Anti-Fencing Decree) where the penalties run from arresto mayor toprision
mayor; and Presidential Decree
No. 1866 (illegal possession and other prohibited acts involving firearms), the penalties wherefor may involveprision
mayor, reclusion temporal, reclusion perpetua or death.
Another variant worth mentioning is Republic Act No. 6539
(Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972) where the penalty is imprisonment for not less than 14 years and 8 months and not
more than 17 years and 4 months, when committed without violence or intimidation of persons or force upon things;
not less than 17 years and 4 months and not more than 30 years, when committed with violence against or
intimidation of any person, or force upon things; and life imprisonment to death, when the owner, driver or occupant
of the carnapped vehicle is killed.
With respect to the first example, where the penalties under the special law are different from and are without
reference or relation to those under the Revised Penal Code, there can be no suppletory effect of the rules for the
application of penalties under said Code or by other relevant statutory provisions based on or applicable only to said
rules for felonies under the Code. In this type of special law, the legislative intendment is clear.
The same exclusionary rule would apply to the last given example, Republic Act No. 6539. While it is true that the
penalty of 14 years and
8 months to 17 years and 4 months is virtually equivalent to the duration of the medium period of reclusion
temporal, such technical term under the Revised Penal Code is not given to that penalty for carnapping. Besides, the
other penalties for carnapping attended by the qualifying circumstances stated in the law do not correspond to those in
the Code. The rules on penalties in the Code, therefore, cannot suppletorily apply to Republic Act No. 6539 and
special laws of the same formulation.
On the other hand, the rules for the application of penalties and the correlative effects thereof under the Revised Penal
Code, as well as other statutory enactments founded upon and applicable to such provisions of the Code, have
suppletory effect to the penalties under the former Republic Act
No. 1700 and those now provided under Presidential Decrees Nos. 1612 and 1866. While these are special laws, the
fact that the penalties for offenses thereunder are those provided for in the Revised Penal code lucidly reveals the
statutory intent to give the related provisions on penalties for felonies under the Code the corresponding application to
said special laws, in the absence of any express or implicit proscription in these special laws. To hold otherwise would
be to sanction an indefensible judicial truncation of an integrated system of penalties under the Code and its allied
legislation, which could never have been the intendment of Congress.
In People vs. Macatanda, 65 a prosecution under a special law (Presidential Decree No. 533, otherwise known as the
Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974), it was contended by the prosecution that Article 64, paragraph 5, of the Revised
Penal Code should not apply to said special law. We said therein that
We do not agree with the Solicitor General that P.D. 533 is a special law entirely distinct from and
unrelated to the Revised Penal Code. From the nature of the penalty imposed which is in terms of the
classification and duration of penalties as prescribed in the Revised Penal Code, which is not for
penalties as are ordinarily imposed in special laws, the intent seems clear that P.D. 533 shall be
deemed as an amendment of the Revised Penal Code, with respect to the offense of theft of large
cattle (Art. 310) or otherwise to be subject to applicable provisions thereof such as Article 104 of the
Revised Penal Code . . . . Article 64 of the same Code should, likewise, be applicable, . . . .
(Emphasis supplied.)
More particularly with regard to the suppletory effect of the rules on penalties in the Revised Penal Code to Republic
Act No. 6425, in this case involving Article 63(2) of the Code, we have this more recent pronouncement:
. . . Pointing out that as provided in Article 10 the provisions of the Revised Penal Code shall be
"supplementary" to special laws, this Court held that where the special law expressly grants to the
court discretion in applying the penalty prescribed for the offense, there is no room for the
application of the provisions of the Code . . . .
The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended by P.D. No. 1623, contains no explicit grant of discretion
to the Court in the application of the penalty prescribed by the law. In such case, the court must be guided
by the rules prescribed by the Revised Penal Code concerning the application of penalties which distill the
"deep legal thought and centuries of experience in the administration of criminal laws." (Emphasis
ours.) 66
Under the aforestated considerations, in the case of the Dangerous Drugs Act as now amended by Republic Act No.
7659 by the incorporation and prescription therein of the technical penalties defined in and constituting integral parts
of the three scales of penalties in the Code, 67 with much more reason should the provisions of said Code on the
appreciation and effects of all attendant modifying circumstances apply in fixing the penalty. Likewise, the different
kinds or classifications of penalties and the rules for graduating
such penalties by degrees should have supplementary effect on Republic Act No. 6425, except if they would result in
absurdities as will now be explained.
While not squarely in issue in this case, but because this aspect is involved in the discussion on the role of modifying
circumstances, we have perforce to lay down the caveat that mitigating circumstances should be considered and
applied only if they affect the periods and the degrees of the penalties within rational limits.
Prefatorily, what ordinarily are involved in the graduation and consequently determine the degree of the penalty, in
accordance with the rules in Article 61 of the Code as applied to the scale of penalties in Article 71, are the stage of
execution of the crime and the nature of the participation of the accused. However, under paragraph 5 of Article 64,
when there are two or more ordinary mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance, the penalty shall be
reduced by one degree. Also, the presence of privileged mitigating circumstances, as provided in Articles 67 and 68,
can reduce the penalty by one or two degrees, or even more. These provisions of Articles 64(5), 67 and 68 should not
apply in toto in the determination of the proper penalty under the aforestated second paragraph of section 20 of
Republic Act No. 6425, to avoid anomalous results which could not have been contemplated by the legislature.
Thus, paragraph 5 of Article 61 provides that when the law prescribes a penalty in some manner not specially
provided for in the four preceding paragraphs thereof, the courts shall proceed by analogy therewith. Hence, when the
penalty prescribed for the crime consists of one or two penalties to be imposed in their full extent, the penalty next
lower in degree shall likewise consist of as many penalties which follow the former in the scale in Article 71. If this
rule were to be applied, and since the complex penalty in this
case consists of three discrete penalties in their full extent, that is,
prision correccional, prision mayor and reclusion temporal, then one degree lower would be arresto
menor,destierro and arresto mayor. There could, however, be no further reduction by still one or two degrees, which
must each likewise consist of three penalties, since only the penalties of fine and public censure remain in the scale.
The Court rules, therefore, that while modifying circumstances may be appreciated to determine the periods of the
corresponding penalties, or even reduce the penalty by degrees, in no case should such graduation of penalties reduce
the imposable penalty beyond or lower than prision correccional. It is for this reason that the three component
penalties in the second paragraph of Section 20 shall each be considered as an independent principal penalty, and that
the lowest penalty should in any event be prision correccional in order not to depreciate the seriousness of drug
offenses. Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat. Such interpretation is to be adopted so that the law
may continue to have efficacy rather than fail. A perfect judicial solution cannot be forged from an imperfect law,
which impasse should now be the concern of and is accordingly addressed to Congress.
6. The final query is whether or not the Indeterminate Sentence Law is applicable to the case now before us.
Apparently it does, since drug offenses are not included in nor has appellant committed any act which would put him
within the exceptions to said law and the penalty to be imposed does not involve reclusion perpetua or death,
provided, of course, that the penalty as ultimately resolved will exceed one year of imprisonment. 68 The more
important aspect, however, is how the indeterminate sentence shall be ascertained.
It is true that Section 1 of said law, after providing for indeterminate sentence for an offense under the Revised Penal
Code, states that "if the offense is punished by any other law, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be
less than the minimum term prescribed by the same." We hold that this quoted portion of the section indubitably refers
to an offense under a special law wherein the penalty imposed was not taken from and is without reference to the
Revised Penal Code, as discussed in the preceding illustrations, such that it may be said that the "offense is punished"
under that law.
There can be no sensible debate that the aforequoted rule on indeterminate sentence for offenses under special laws
was necessary because of the nature of the former type of penalties under said laws which were not included or
contemplated in the scale of penalties in Article 71 of the Code, hence there could be no minimum "within the range
of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense," as is the rule for felonies therein. In the
illustrative examples of penalties in special laws hereinbefore provided, this rule applied, and would still apply, only
to the first and last examples. Furthermore, considering the vintage of Act No. 4103 as earlier noted, this holding is
but an application and is justified under the rule of contemporanea expositio. 69
We repeat, Republic Act No. 6425, as now amended by Republic Act No. 7659, has unqualifiedly adopted the
penalties under the Revised Penal Code in their technical terms, hence with their technical signification and effects. In
fact, for purposes of determining the maximum of said sentence, we
have applied the provisions of the amended Section 20 of said law to arrive at prision correccional and Article 64 of
the Code to impose the same in the medium period. Such offense, although provided for in a special law, is now in
effect punished by and under the Revised Penal Code. Correlatively, to determine the minimum, we must apply the
first part of the aforesaid Section 1 which directs that "in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the
Revised Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence
the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly
imposed under the rules of said Code, and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to
that prescribed by the Code for the offense." (Emphasis ours.)
A divergent pedantic application would not only be out of context but also an admission of the hornbook maxim
that qui haeret in litera haeret in cortice. Fortunately, this Court has never gone only skin-deep in its construction of
Act. No. 4103 by a mere literal appreciation of its provisions. Thus, with regard to the phrase in Section 2 thereof
excepting from its coverage "persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life imprisonment," we
have held that what is considered is the penalty actually imposed and not the penalty imposable under the law, 70 and
that reclusion perpetua is likewise embraced therein although what the law states is "life imprisonment".
What irresistibly emerges from the preceding disquisition, therefore, is that under the concurrence of the principles of
literal interpretation, which have been rationalized by comparative decisions of this Court; of historical interpretation,
as explicated by the antecedents of the law and related contemporaneous legislation; and of structural interpretation,
considering the interrelation of the penalties in the Code as supplemented by Act No. 4103 in an integrated scheme of
penalties, it follows that the minimum of the indeterminate sentence in this case shall be the penalty next lower to that
prescribed for the offense. Thereby we shall have interpreted the seeming ambiguity in Section 1 of Act No. 4103 in
such a way as to harmonize laws with laws, which is the best mode of interpretation. 71
The indeterminate Sentence Law is a legal and social measure of compassion, and should be liberally interpreted in
favor of the accused. 72 The "minimum" sentence is merely a period at which, and not before, as a matter of grace and
not of right, the prisoner may merely be allowed to serve the balance of his sentence outside of his confinement. 73 It
does not constitute the totality of the penalty since thereafter he still has to continue serving the rest of his sentence
under set conditions. That minimum is only the period when the convict's eligibility for parole may be considered. In
fact, his release on parole may readily be denied if he is found unworthy thereof, or his reincarceration may be ordered
on legal grounds, even if he has served the minimum sentence.
It is thus both amusing and bemusing if, in the case at bar, appellant should be begrudged the benefit of a minimum
sentence within the range of arresto mayor, the penalty next lower to prision correccional which is the maximum
range we have fixed through the application of Articles 61 and 71 of the Revised Penal Code. For, with fealty to the
law, the court may set the minimum sentence at 6 months of arresto mayor, instead of 6 months and 1 day of prision
correccional. The difference, which could thereby even involve only one day, is hardly worth the creation of an
overrated tempest in the judicial teapot.
ACCORDINGLY, under all the foregoing premises, the judgment of conviction rendered by the court a quo against
accused-appellant Martin Simon y Sunga is AFFIRMED, but with the MODIFICATION that he should be, as he
hereby is, sentenced to serve an indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as the minimum, to six (6)
years of prision correccional, as the maximum thereof.

Manaban vs. CA and People of the Philippines

Ramonito Manaban, petitioner vs.
Court of Appeals and People of the Philippines, respondent.
G.R. No. 150723
July 11, 2006

At around 1:25 oclock in the morning of October 11, 1996, the victim, Joselito Bautista, who was a member
of the UP Police Force, took his daughter, Frinzi, who complained of difficulty in breathing, to the UP Health
Center. The doctors gave him prescriptions and so he went to BPI Kalayaan to withdraw some money from its
Automated Teller Machine (ATM). When Bautista could not withdraw money, he started kicking and pounding
the machine which caught the attention of herein petitioner. Bautista said that the machine captured his card
and that he did not get the money he badly needed. Manaban said that the PIN entered was incorrect that is
why the card was captured. Angered by what Manaban said, Bautista then continued kicking and pounding the
machine. The former advised the latter to call the customer service which Bautista did but still kicked the
machine. Failing to pacify the victim, petitioner fired a warning shot, and according to him fired the second
one hitting, and eventually, killing Bautista. Manaban said that he feared that Bautista would pull his gun first
and might kill him so he fired his gun and shot Bautista.
The trial court found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide. This decision
was later affirmed by the Court of Appeals with modification respect only to the award of loss of earning
This case is then submitted before this court for review.
1. Whether or not the justifying circumstance of self-defense is applicable.
2. Whether or not the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender and obfuscation are present.

1. Under paragraph 1, Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code, the three requisites to prove self-defense as a
justifying circumstance which may exempt an accused from criminal liability are: (1) unlawful aggression on
the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the aggression;
and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused or the person defending himself. Unlawful
aggression is an actual physical assault or at least a threat to attack or inflict physical injury upon a person. A
mere threatening or intimidating attitude is not considered unlawful aggression, unless the threat is offensive
and menacing, manifestly showing the wrongful intent to cause injury. There must be an actual, sudden,
unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, which puts the defendants life in real peril. In this case,
there was no unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. The allegation of Manaban that Bautista was about
to draw his gun when he turned his back at Manaban is mere speculation. Aggression presupposes that the
person attacked must face a real threat to his life and the peril sought to be avoided is imminent and actual,
not imaginary. Absent such actual or imminent peril to ones life or limb, there is nothing to repel and there
is no justification for taking the life or inflicting injuries on another.
2. It is undisputed that Manaban called the police to report the shooting incident. When the police arrived,
Manaban surrendered his service firearm and voluntarily went with the police to the police station for
investigation. Thus, Manaban is entitled to the benefit of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.

On obfuscation, we find that the facts of the case do not entitle Manaban to such mitigating circumstance.
The threat was only in the mind of Manaban and is mere speculation which is not sufficient to produce
obfuscation which is mitigating.41 Besides, the threat or danger was not grave or serious considering that
Manaban had the advantage over Bautista because Manaban was already pointing his firearm at Bautista when
the latter turned his back. The defense failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence the cause that
allegedly produced obfuscation.



PUNO, J., Chairman,

- versus - CALLEJO, SR.,
TINGA, and

Respondent. October 19, 2004
x------------------------------------ --------------x



Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of

Appeals (CA) in People v. Exequiel Senoja, docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 26564,
affirming with modification the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baler,
Aurora, Branch 96, in Criminal Case No. 2259, for homicide.

The Case For the People

As culled by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its comment on the petition,
the case stemmed from the following:

1. On April 16, 1997, petitioner Exequiel Senoja, Fidel Senoja, Jose Calica, and
Miguel Lumasac were drinking gin in the hut of Crisanto Reguyal in Barangay Zarah,
San Luis, Aurora. An angry Leon Lumasac suddenly arrived at the said place, holding a
bolo in his right hand and looking for his brother Miguel. Petitioner and Jose tried to
pacify Leon. But when petitioner approached Leon, the latter tried to hack him so he
embraced Leon and Jose took Leons bolo. Then, Leon and petitioner talked things out
and later reconciled (pp. 2-4, TSN, November 16, 1998; pp. 2-4, TSN, August 30, 2002;
p. 2, TSN, April 21, 1998; p. 5, TSN, March 14, 2001; p. 2, CA Decision).

2. Subsequently, Leon walked out of Crisantos hut followed by

petitioner. Suddenly, about ten meters from the hut, petitioner stabbed Leon at the
back. When Leon turned around, petitioner continued stabbing him until he fell to the
ground. Then, petitioner ran towards the barangay road and threw away the kolonial
knife he used in stabbing Leon. The latter died on the spot (pp. 2-6, TSN, November 22,
2000; p. 5, TSN, August 30, 2002; p. 3, CA Decision).

3. Dr. Pura Deveza Valenzuela-Uy, San Luis Municipal Health Officer, examined
the cadaver of Leon and found multiple lesions on his body and five fatal wounds on his
chest. Dr. Uy issued a medico-legal report and death certificate (Exhibits A and B, pp.
13-14, Records; pp. 3-5, TSN, November 20, 1997).[3]

On August 13, 1997, an Information was filed charging petitioner Exequiel Senoja with
homicide, the accusatory portion of which reads:

That on April 16, 1997 at around 11 oclock in the morning in Barangay Zarah, San
Luis, Aurora, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
accused, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, with intent to kill,
attack, assault, and use personal violence upon the person of one Leon Lumasac by then
and there stabbing him with a bladed weapon locally known as kolonyal at the
different parts of his body thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal stab wounds which
were the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.


The petitioner admitted killing the victim but invoked the affirmative defense of self-
defense. His version of the fatal incident is set forth in his petition at bar:
1. On April 16, 1997 at about 11 oclock in the morning, Crisanto Reguyal, Fidel
Senoja, Jose Calica, Miguel Lumasac, and Exequiel Senoja were in the hut of Crisanto
Reguyal in Barangay Zarah, San Luis, Aurora, drinking gin;

2. Leon Lumasac suddenly arrived holding a bolo and hacked the doorpost of
Crisantos hut, angrily demanding for his brother, Miguel Lumasac, whom he suspected
of drying up the ricefield he was plowing;

3. At this time, Miguel Lumasac was no longer inside the hut but fetching water;

4. To prevent Leon Lumasac from entering the hut, Exequiel Senoja (appellant) and
Jose Calica stood by the door while simultaneously trying to pacify Leon Lumasac;

5. Exequiel Senoja with a knife then went outside and tried to pacify Leon
Lumasac but the latter angered by the gestures of the former tried to hack Exequiel

6. To avoid any injury, Exequiel Senoja embraced Leon which gave an opportunity
to disarm the duo. Jose Calica got the bolo of Leon and threw it away while Fidel
Senoja took the colonial knife of Exequiel;

7. Jose Calica and Fidel Senoja were able to pacify Leon Lumasac so they invited
him to get inside the hut. Inside the hut, Leon Lumasac tried to box Fidel Senoja for
siding with his brother, Miguel, but was prevented by Exequiel Senoja who held Leons

8. After a while, Leon Lumasac left but returned and angrily demanded for his
bolo. Jose Calica gave his own bolo with a sabbard to replace the bolo of Leon which
he threw away;

9. With Jose Calicas bolo in him, Leon Lumasac left but only after leaving a threat
that something will happen to Exequiel Senoja for siding with his brother;

10. After walking for about 10 meters away from the hut, Leon Lumasac turned
around and saw Exequiel Senoja on his way home following him;

11. Leon Lumasac walked back to meet Exequiel Senoja and upon reaching him, the
former suddenly and treacherously hacked the latter at the left side of his head and right

12. Unable to evade the treacherous attack by Leon Lumasac who persisted in his
criminal design, Exequiel Senoja drew his colonial knife and stabbed Leon Lumasac
in self-defense, inflicting upon him multiple wounds which caused his death.[5]
On June 7, 2002, the trial court rendered judgment against the petitioner, finding him
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds accused Exequiel Senoja GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide for the death of victim Leon
Lumasac and hereby sentences him, applying Article 64, paragraph 1 of the Revised
Penal Code and Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, (a) to suffer the penalty of
twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4)
months of reclusion temporal as maximum; (b) to pay the heirs of the victim the amount
of Fifteen (sic) Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00) by way of civil indemnity; and (c) to
pay the costs.


In due course, the petitioner appealed the decision to the CA which rendered judgment
affirming, with modification, the decision of the RTC. The petitioner now seeks relief
from this Court, contending that:

The Honorable Court of Appeals failed to appreciate vital facts which, if considered,
would probably alter the result of this case on appeal finding appellants plea of self-
defense credible.[7]

The petitioner faults the CA for its analysis of his testimony, as follows:
The injuries suffered by the petitioner at the left side of his head and right thigh was
confirmed by Dr. Rodolfo Eligio in open court. The relative positions of the wounds
clearly show that the drunken Leon Lumasac brandished and executed several hacking
blows against Exequiel Senoja before he was stabbed, neutralized and finished by the
latter. It would be physically and highly improbable for the victim if he was
treacherously hit at the left buttock and as he turned around to face the petitioner, the
latter stabbed him successively and without let-up hitting him 9 times resulting in 9 fatal
wounds. This did not give a chance to the victim to retaliate and inflict those wounds
upon the aggressor. The victim used Mr. Jose Calicas bolo which was secured by its
scabbard. Unless earlier drawn, it would be impossible for the victim to use it in
defending himself from the surprise attack and stabbing at a lightning fashion inflicting nine (9) fatal
wounds. Time element was the essence of this encounter which, as narrated by the Honorable Court,
after the assailant poked the victim at the left side of the buttock with the use of the colonial knife he
stabbed him successively until he fell down dead. Under these circumstances, how could Exequiel
Senoja suffered (sic) those hacking (sic) wounds inflicted by the victim using Calicas bolo? In all
indications, it was Leon Lumasac who attacked his adversary first but lost in the duel considering that
he was older than Exequiel Senoja and drunk. Clearly, therefore, it was Leon Lumasac who was the
aggressor both in the first and second phases of the incident and Exequiel Senoja was compelled to
defend himself.

A closer scrutiny of the attending circumstances which resulted in this stabbing incident
shows that Exequiel Senoja has no compelling reasons to kill his godfather. On that
same occasion, Mr. Exequiel Senoja was with the brother of the victim, Miguel
Lumasac, which only shows that there was no pre-existing grudge between these
families. And still, what titillates our imagination is the fact that Miguel Lumasac, who
was then with the group drinking gin at the hut of Crisanto Reguyal did not clearly
impute this crime to petitioner. On the contrary, when he was presented to the witness
stand, he was very evasive in answering the questions profounded by the prosecutors if
he wanted the petitioner to be imprisoned. Miguel Lumasac could have told the real
truth that Senoja murdered his brother.[8]

The CA declared that, based on the evidence on record:

As seen from appellants testimony, Leon Lumasacs actions can be divided into two (2)
phases: the first phase, when Leon entered Crisanto Reguyals hut, up to the time he and
the appellant reconciled. The second phase was when Leon left to go home. In phase
one where Leon entered Reguyals hut, Leon was the aggressor but his aggression was
mostly directed to his brother Miguel who was not inside the hut anymore, although it
was also partly directed at the appellant and even at Fidel Soneja (sic). But Leons
aggression against the appellant and Fidel Senoja ceased since, as appellant testified,
when Leon tried to box Fidel Senoja and he (appellant) told Leon Huwag po, Huwag
po, Leon was pacified.

In the second phase, when Leon left the hut to go home, his aggression had already

It is uncontroverted that the appellant followed the victim when the latter went out of the
hut to go home. Appellants testimony is that when he was two meters outside the hut,
Leon turned around to face him saying if youre not only my godson in a threatening
way, then approached and hacked him (with Calicas bolo) inflicting wounds on the left
side of his head and his right thigh, thus, he (appellant) attacked the victim with
the kolonial knife he was holding. That appellant suffered such injuries was
corroborated by the testimony of Dr. Rodolfo Eligio.[9]

The petition is denied.

Paragraph 1, Article 11, of the Revised Penal Code provides:

ART. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur any criminal liability:

1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following
circumstances concur;

First. Unlawful aggression;

Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;

Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

The affirmative defense of self-defense may be complete or incomplete. It is complete

when all the three essential requisites are present; it is incomplete if only unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim and any of the two essential requisites were
present. In fine, unlawful aggression on the part of the victim is a condition sine qua
non to self-defense, complete or incomplete. Whether or not the accused acted in self-
defense is a question of fact. Like alibi, the affirmative defense of self-defense is
inherently weak because, as experience has demonstrated, it is easy to fabricate and
difficult to disprove.[10]

The right of self-defense proceeds from necessity and limited by it. The right begins
where necessity does, and ends where it ends.[11] There is,
however, a perceptible difference between necessity and self-defense, which is that, self-
defense excuses the repulse of a wrong; necessity justifies the invasion of a
right. Hence, it is essential to self-defense that it should be a defense against a present
unlawful attack.[12]

Life can be taken under the plea of necessity, when necessary for the preservation of the
life on the party setting up the plea. Self-defense is an act to save life; hence, it is right
and not a crime.[13] There is a need for one, indeed, for it is a natural right for one to
defend oneself when confronted by an unlawful aggression by another. It is a settled
rule that to constitute aggression, the person attacked must be confronted by a real threat
on his life and limb; and the peril sought to be avoided is imminent and actual, not
merely imaginary. Absent such an actual or imminent peril to ones life or limb, there is
nothing to repel; there is no necessity to take the life or inflict injuries on another.[14]

But then what is the standard to use to determine whether the person defending himself
is confronted by a real and imminent peril to his life or limb? We rule that the test
should be: does the person invoking the defense believe, in due exercise of his reason,
his life or limb is in danger? After all, the rule of law founded on justice and
reason: Actus no facit remin, nisi mens sit rea. Hence, the guilt of the accused must
depend upon the circumstances as they reasonably appear to him.[15]

Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent

danger thereof, not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude.[16] Hence, when an
inceptual/unlawful aggression ceases to exist, the one making a defense has no right to
kill or injure the former aggressor.[17] After the danger has passed, one is not justified
in following up his adversary to take his life. The conflict for blood should be avoided if
possible.[18] An assault on his person, he cannot punish when the danger or peril is
over. When the danger is over, the right of self-defense ceases. His right is defense, not

When the accused offers the affirmative defense of self-defense, he thereby admits
killing the victim or inflicting injuries on him. The burden of evidence is shifted on the
accused to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, that he killed the victim or
inflicted injuries on him to defend himself. The accused must rely on the strength of his
own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution because if the evidence
of the prosecution were weak, the accused can no longer be acquitted.[20]

We agree with the CA that, as gleaned, even from the testimony of the petitioner, there
were two separate but interrelated incidents that culminated in the petitioners stabbing
and killing of the victim Leon Lumasac. The first was the arrival of the victim, who was
armed with a bolo, in the hut of Crisanto Reguyal, looking for his brother Miguel
Lumasac, whom he was angry at. The victim hacked the wall of the house in
anger. The petitioner, who was armed with a knife, tried to pacify the victim. The
victim attempted to hack the petitioner; nevertheless, the latter embraced and managed
to pacify the victim. Forthwith, Jose Calica took thebolo of the victim and threw it
away. For his part, Fidel Senoja took the petitioners knife. As it was, the victim was
already pacified. He and the petitioner were already reconciled.[21] Fidel even gave
back the knife to the petitioner.

The second incident took place when the victim demanded that Calica return his bolo as
he wanted to go home already. Because he had thrown away the victims bolo, Calica
was, thus, impelled to give his own. The victim then warned the petitioner three times,
May mangyayari sa iyo, kung hindi ngayon, bukas, and left the hut. When the victim
had already gone about ten meters from the hut, the petitioner followed the victim. The
victim turned around and told the petitioner, Kung hindi lang kita inaanak. The
victim then hacked the petitioner, hitting the latter on the left side of his head and
thigh. Believing that the victim would attack him anew, the petitioner stabbed the victim
frontally several times.[22] He also stabbed the victim on the left buttock. The
petitioner could not recall how many times he stabbed the victim and what parts of the
latters body had been hit.

The first episode inside the hut had been completed with the protagonist, the victim, and
the petitioner reconciled. The second episode commenced inside the hut and continued
outside, and ended with the petitioner stabbing the victim several times.

The trial and the appellate courts gave no credence and probative weight to the
testimony of the petitioner. So do we.

First. The findings of fact of the trial court and its conclusions based on the said
findings are accorded by this Court high respect, if not conclusive effect, especially
when affirmed by the CA. This is because of the unique advantage of the trial court of
having been able to observe, at close range, the demeanor and behavior of the witnesses
as they testify. This rule, however, is inapplicable if the trial court ignored, overlooked,
or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances which, if considered, will alter or
reverse the outcome of the case. We have reviewed the records and found no
justification for a reversal of the findings of the trial court and its conclusions based

Second. The victim sustained six hack wounds and one lacerated wound. This is
gleaned from the Necropsy Report of Dr. Pura Uy, to wit:

FINDINGS: The victim lies in supine position, stocky in built; his clothing completely
soaked with fresh blood.

(+) stab wound 2 inches below the L nipple 4 inches deep running medially to the
anterior median line.
(+) stab wound 2 inches to the L of the anterior median line at the level of the L
nipple 5 inches deep running posteriorly.
(+) stab wound 1 inch above the L nipple 4 inches deep running inferomedially.
(+) stab wound 2 inches to the left of the anterior median line 4 inches deep
running inferoposteriorly.
(+) stab wound 1 inch to the right of the anterior median line at the level of the
second right intercostal space 0.5 inch in depth.
(+) stab wound inch to the right of the anterior median line at the level of the
xyphoid process 3 inches deep running superiorly.
(+) stab wound at the level of the L nipple L anterior axillary line 4 inches in
depth running superiorly to the left armpit.
(+) hack wound at the left armpit 3 inches long injuring the muscles and the blood
(+) lacerated wound on the left palm almost cutting off the proximal phalanx of
the left thumb.[23]

Five of the wounds of the victim on his chest were fatal.[24] The victim also sustained a
stab wound on the left buttock. According to the doctor, it was unlikely for the victim to
have survived even with medical attention.[25] After the doctor made her initial autopsy
and submitted her report, she noted that the victim sustained a stab wound of about two
inches deep at the left buttock, thus:

Q In this medico-legal report, you indicated that the cause of death of the
victim is Hypovolemic shock 2 to multiple stab wounds, chest. Will you
please explain this?
A Ito pong nakalagay o dahilan ng pagkamatay ng biktima sa sobrang
natapon na dugo gawa ng maraming saksak na tinamo ng biktima sa kanyang
dibdib ang nagbigay ng daan sa kanyang kamatayan.

Q Will you please tell us, Dr. Uy, if there is one amont (sic) these lesions
that is located at the back of the victim?
A I forgot to tell you that a day after I submitted the report, the funeral
parlor which attended the victim has called my attention because of the wound at
the back of the victim and I attended immediately to see these lesions at the
home of the victim. I reviewed for (sic) these lesions and I saw one lesion
located at the left buttock of the victim.

Q What is the nature of the injury?

A Stab wound, about two inches deep.

Q By the nature of the lesion, is it not fatal?

A It is not that fatal.

Q In your expert opinion, by the nature of the wound sustained by the

victim, what could have been the relative position of the victim in relation to his
A Based on my examination, I think the victim and the assailant were
facing each other. Masyadong malapit.

Q How many fatal wounds have (sic) the victim sustained in his chest?
A Five fatal stab wounds on the chest.[26]

Considering the number, nature and location of the wounds sustained by the victim, the
petitioners plea of self-defense is incredible.[27] It bears stressing that the petitioner
resolutely denied stabbing the victim at the buttock and insisted that he stabbed the
victim frontally:

Q As a matter of fact, he sustained an injury at the back of his buttock (pigi)

and when he faced you, you stabbed him again several times?
A That is not true, Sir.

Q But you are admitting that you stabbed him several times frontally?
A Yes, Sir, because I am (sic) defending myself.

Q You also stabbed him in his left armpit?

A I dont know, Sir.

Q But you knew that you stabbed him in his buttock?

A No, Sir.

Q After stabbing him several times and felt that he was already dead, you
already left the place?
A Yes, Sir.[28]

The testimony of the petitioner is belied by the physical evidence on record. The settled

rule is that physical evidence is evidence of the highest order; it speaks more eloquently

than a hundred witnesses.[29]

Third. The petitioner threw away his knife and failed to surrender it to the policemen;
neither did he inform the policemen that he killed the victim in self-defense. The
petitioners claim that the victim was armed with a bolo is hard to believe because he
even failed to surrender the bolo.[30]

Fourth. The petitioners version of the events that transpired immediately before he
stabbed the victim does not inspire belief. He claims that when he saw the victim
emerged from the hut, the victim walked towards the petitioner saying, Kung hindi
lang kita inaanak, but hit and hacked the latter on the left buttock.[31] As gleaned from
his statement, the victim was not disposed, much less determined to assault the
petitioner. And yet, the petitioner insists that without much ado, the victim,
nevertheless, hit him on the head and on the thigh with his bolo.

Fifth. According to the petitioner, the victim warned him three times before leaving the
hut, May mangyayari sa iyo, kung hindi ngayon, bukas. The petitioner testified that
shortly before the victim uttered these words, the latter even touched the blade of
thebolo to see if it was sharp.[32] The petitioner was, thus, aware of the peril to his life
if he followed the victim. The petitioner, nevertheless, followed the victim and left the
hut after the victim had gone barely ten meters. He should have waited until after the
victim had already gone far from the hut before going home to avoid any untoward

Sixth. The petitioner presented his brother-in-law Ruben Dulay to corroborate his
testimony that the victim stabbed the petitioner and that this impelled the latter to stab
the former. But the testimony of Dulay contradicted the testimony of the petitioner:

Q When Exequiel Senoja stabbed Leon Lumasac several times, he immediately

fell to the ground and was fatal[ly] wounded, immediately died because of several
stabs and lay (sic) down?
A I did not see that scene because Exequiel Senoja stabbed Leon Lumasac, I turn
(sic) back upon seeing Leon Lumasac hack Exequiel Senoja, I turn (sic) back
because I was afraid then. When I turn (sic) back I saw them embracing each other,

Q And that is the time when Exequiel Senoja stabbed Leon Lumasac?
A I did not see the stabbing. What I only saw was that they were embracing each
other, Sir.

Q So you are now changing your answer, you actually saw Exequiel Senoja
stabbing Leon Lumasac several times, after he was hack[ed] by Leon Lumasac?
A I did not see that Exequiel Senoja stab Leon Lumasac, Sir.[33]

Seventh. The bare fact that the petitioner sustained a five-centimeter wound at the
left temporal region and an eight-centimeter hack wound on the anterior portion of his
right thigh does not preclude the fact that he was the unlawful aggressor; nor buttress his
plea that he acted in self-defense. The petitioner failed to inform the doctor that he
sustained the wounds to defend himself. Moreover, the doctor testified that the wounds
the petitioner sustained were slight:

Pros. Ronquillo:

Q Does (sic) the wound at the right anterior thigh vertical, diagonal or
A I did not place it, Sir.

Q So, you dont know?

A It is vertical, Sir, but I did not place it on the record. And the hack wound
on the temporal region is oblique.

Q Were the injuries only slight?

A Yes, Sir.
Q So, it is (sic) possible that these injuries were self-inflicted?
A Probably, Sir, but I cannot comment on that.

Q You said that the patient was under the influence of alcohol?
Would you say that the patient was then so drunk at that time?
A When I saw him at that time, he was moderately drunk.[34]

The doctor gave the petitioner due medications for 30 minutes and the petitioner
then went home:

Q How did it happen that you were able to kill the victim in this case Mr.
Leon Lumasac?
A Because when I went out, he hacked me, Sir.

Q Were you hit by the hack made by the victim in this case?
A Yes, Sir.

Q Where?
A Here, Sir.

And Witness is pointing to his left head.

Q Where else?
A (His) right thigh.

Q In what place did this incident happen?

A In the hut of Tata Santos, Sir.

Q What is his real name?

A Crisanto Reguyal, Sir.[35]

If, as claimed by the petitioner, the victim stabbed him frontally, it is incredible that
the victim was able to hack the anterior part of his right thigh.

Eighth. The testimony of the petitioner that the victim stabbed him outside the hut
on the left side of his head and the anterior portion of his right thigh is belied by his
testimony on direct examination that the victim stabbed him while still inside the hut of
Q How did it happen that you were able to kill the victim in this case Mr.
Leon Lumasac?
A Because when I went out, he hacked me, Sir.

Q Were you hit by the hack made by the victim in this case?
A Yes, Sir.

Q Where?
A Here, Sir.

And Witness is pointing to his left head.

Q Where else?
A (His) right thigh.

Q In what place did this incident happen?

A In the hut of Tata Santos, Sir.

Q What is his real name?

A Crisanto Reguyal, Sir.[36]

But then, after the said incident, the petitioner and the victim had reconciled. We
agree with the following findings of the appellate court:

The question that must be resolved is whether or not the victim was the unlawful
aggressor as the appellants testimony pictures him to be. The Court rules in the
negative. The victim had already left the hut and was ten (10) meters away from it.
There is no showing that the victim, who was drunk, was aware that appellant was
following him, or that the appellant called out to him so that he (the victim) had to turn
around and notice him. It is clear that at that point in time, the victim was simply
walking toward his home; he had stopped being an aggressor. It was the appellant who,
smarting from the earlier incident in the hut where Leon told him hindi ka tatagal, sa
loob ng tatlong araw mayroong mangyayari sa iyo, kung hindi ngayon, bukas repeated
three times, wanted a confrontation. Appellant stabbed or poked the victim in the left
buttock resulting in the non-fatal wound, and when the latter turned around, successively
stabbed and hacked the victim in the armpit and chest until he fell. In all, the victim
suffered nine (9) wounds.

It is the well-considered finding of this Court that while Leon Lumasac had ceased being
the aggressor after he left the hut to go home, accused Exequiel Senoja was now the
unlawful aggressor in this second phase of their confrontation. It bears mentioning that
appellant contradicted himself with respect for (sic) the reason why he left the
hut. First, it was to pacify Leon and the second reason was that he was going home.

As for appellants injuries, it is clear that they were sustained in the course of the
victims attempt to defend himself as shown by the lacerated wound on the victims left
palm, a defensive wound. [37]
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. The assailed
Decision of the Court of Appeals isAFFIRMED.
G.R. NO. 158053 June 21, 2007
EDWIN RAZON y LUCEA, Petitioner,
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals' (CA) Resolution
dated January 31, 20011 in CA-G.R. CR No. 22211 entitled "People of the Philippines v. Edwin Razon y Lucea" and
the CA Resolution dated April 14, 20032 which denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
The facts as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) are summarized as follows:
PO1 Francisco Chopchopen (Chopchopen) was walking towards Upper Pinget Baguio City, at around midnight of
August 1, 1993, when a taxicab driven by Edwin Razon y Lucea (Razon) stopped beside him. Razon told Chopchopen
that he was held up by three men at Dreamland Subdivision. Chopchopen then asked Razon to go with him to the
place of the incident to check if the persons who held him up were still there. Razon was hesitant at first but
eventually went with Chopchopen to said area about 100 meters up the road. While walking about eight meters off the
road, Chopchopen noticed a person lying on the ground and partially hidden by a big stone. Upon closer look,
Chopchopen saw that the person's shirt was soaked in blood and that he was hardly breathing. Lying beside the man
was a wooden cane. Chopchopen asked Razon to help him bring the person to the hospital. On the way, Chopchopen
asked Razon if he was the one who stabbed the victim. Razon answered no. Soon they met a police mobile patrol
driven by SPO2 Samuel Bumangil (Bumangil) who followed them to Baguio General Hospital. The victim, who was
later identified as Benedict Kent Gonzalo (Gonzalo), was pronounced dead on arrival. 3 He was 23 years old and a
polio victim.4
Upon questioning, Razon told Bumangil that he was held up by three men, which included Gonzalo whom he stabbed
in self-defense. Razon brought out a fan knife and told Bumangil that it was the knife he used to stab Gonzalo. A later
search of the cab however yielded another weapon, a colonial knife with bloodstains which was found under a
newspaper near the steering wheel. At the police station, Razon admitted having stabbed Gonzalo but insisted that he
did so in self-defense.5
An autopsy conducted on the body of the victim showed that he sustained three stab wounds, to wit: a stab wound
measuring 2.5 cms. found
in the front and lower quadrant of the abdomen, directed inward towards the mid-line and slightly upward entering the
abdominal wall and perforating the small intestines, pancreas and the abdominal aorta, having an approximate depth
of 12 cm.; a stab wound on the left arm measuring 5 cm. with one end blunt and the other end sharp having an
approximate depth of about 1 cm.; and a stab wound on the right buttock 1.3 cm. long with a depth of about 4 cm. The
stab wound on the abdomen killed Gonzalo, as it penetrated the small intestines, pancreas and the abdominal aorta,
causing massive hemorrhage and loss of blood. Abrasions and contusions were also found on the body of Gonzalo,
located on the left ear lobe, on the chest, on the left anterolateral side, on the mid-posterior aspect and on the lumbar
region of the back.6
Razon for his part asserted that he acted in self-defense. He claimed that around 11:30 p.m. on August 1, 1993, three
men boarded his cab from the Philippine Rabbit bus station along Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio who asked to be
brought to Dreamland Subdivision in Pinget for the total sum of P90.00. Upon reaching their destination and while
Razon was turning the cab around, Gonzalo, who was seated behind the driver's seat, declared a hold-up and poked a
Batangas knife (veinte nueve) at the right side of the base of Razon's neck. The two other passengers were shocked but
Gonzalo told them to get their knives, stab Razon and grab his right hand. Razon however was able to grab the knife
and release his right hand from Gonzalo's two companions. Gonzalo's companions then went out of the cab and picked
up stones. Gonzalo followed and Razon ran after them. Gonzalo was swinging his cane and it hit Razon on his right
leg. Razon then thought of his knife inside the cab and he went to get it and confronted the
three by swinging his knife from left to right. Gonzalo's companions ran away and Razon went back to his cab and
Not finding credence in Razon's claim of self-defense, RTC Branch 60 of Baguio City convicted him of homicide as
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused, Edwin Razon y Lucea, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of HOMICIDE. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance, he is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty of 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as minimum, to 14 years 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as
He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr. the amount of P12,770.00 by way of actual
damages; P50,000.00 by way of moral damages; and P10,000.00 by way of attorney's fees.
Razon filed a notice of appeal, 9 and the CA required him, through his counsel Atty. Rigoberto D. Gallardo (Atty.
Gallardo) to file an appellant's brief. 10 Two motions for extension of time were filed by Atty. Gallardo. 11 Instead of
filing the brief, however, Atty. Gallardo filed a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for the Accused-Appellant on January
7, 1999, claiming that Razon had consistently shown his disinterest in the case by not attending much needed
conferences.12 The CA ordered Atty. Gallardo to file another motion to withdraw with Razon's conformity; thus Atty.
Gallardo filed a motion dated February 1, 1999, with a signature, purportedly that of Razon's. 13 Later, the CA
received a Manifestation dated February 17, 1999, stating that Atty. Gallardo's firm could not secure Razon's signature
to signify his conformity to Atty. Gallardo's withdrawal as his counsel, Atty. Gallardo thus requested that he be
relieved of his responsibilities as counsel
even without Razon's conformity.14
Due to the inconsistency of the manifestations of Atty. Gallardo in his motions dated February 1, 1999 and February
17, 1999, the CA issued a Resolution directing Razon to manifest the authenticity of his signature appearing on the
February 1, 1999 motion to withdraw as counsel filed by Atty. Gallardo. The CA also required Razon to cause the
entry of appearance of a new counsel within 5 days from notice.15
On August 27, 1999, the CA granted Atty. Gallardo's motion to withdraw as counsel and directed Razon anew to cause
the entry of appearance of his new counsel or manifest whether he wanted the CA to appoint a counsel de oficio to
defend him, within five days from notice with warning that failure to comply with said Resolution shall cause the
dismissal of his appeal.16
On February 22, 2000, the CA again issued a Resolution which noted the Judicial Records Division (JRD) report that
no compliance had been filed by Razon with the resolution dated August 27, 1999; considered the right of the accused
to be represented by counsel as waived; and directed the JRD, in the interest of justice, to resend the notice to file brief
to Razon.17 On February 28, 2000, the CA issued another notice to file brief, this time addressed to and received by
Razon himself.18 On July 12, 2000, the CA issued a Resolution requiring Razon to show cause why his appeal
should not be dismissed for failure to file the required brief despite notice thereof. 19
With the failure of Razon to comply with the said directives, the CA on January 31, 2001, issued the herein assailed
Resolution dismissing his appeal as follows:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is deemed ABANDONED and DISMISSED on authority of Section 8, Rule 124 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.20
On July 25, 2001, the CA received a Motion for Reconsideration filed by Razon stating that he could not read and
understand English and that Atty. Gallardo was negligent of his duties to him, as said lawyer filed his withdrawal of
appearance even without his (Razon's) knowledge and conformity. 21
The CA denied Razon's motion for reconsideration through its Resolution dated April 14, 2003, thus: 22
1. Indeed the instant motion for reconsideration was filed out of time in violation of Section 16, Rule 124 of the same
Rules for the appellant admitted that on March 6, 2001 he received this Court's Resolution dated January 31, 2001
dismissing his appeal but the record shows that he filed the subject motion four months later or only on July 19, 2001
to be exact.
2. Our dismissal is warranted by Section 8 of Rule 124 and circumstances showing that it was not only his previous
counsel that was lax and negligent but the appellant as well...
3. The appellant had ignored Our directives and the option given him to have the services of a counsel de oficio.23
Petitioner now comes before this Court claiming that the CA erred in declaring his appeal as abandoned and
dismissed.24 He claims that he is not bound by the actions of Atty. Gallardo who was negligent of his duties to him;
Atty. Gallardo failed to file the required appeal brief before the CA despite the many extensions given him; worse,
Atty. Gallardo filed a motion to withdraw his appearance as petitioner's counsel without petitioner's knowledge; it was
only when he received the CA Resolution dated January 31, 2001 that he learned of the withdrawal of Atty. Gallardo
as his counsel, and it was only then that Atty. Gallardo advised him to get another lawyer; petitioner received the
records of the case from Atty. Gallardo, only on March 9, 2001; petitioner failed to comply with the CA resolutions
because he could not understand the same due to his educational deficiency; and given the chance to ventilate his
appeal, petitioner would be absolved of the charge against him as he truly acted in self defense. 25
For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contended that petitioner himself is guilty of negligence; the
CA gave him ample opportunity to secure the services of counsel or manifest his desire to have a counsel de
oficioappointed by the court, but petitioner ignored said directives; petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the CA's
Resolution dated January 31, 2001 was also filed out of time; and Sec. 8, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court provides that
the appellate court may dismiss an appeal if the appellant fails to file his brief within the time prescribed by the said
Petitioner filed a Reply and both parties filed their memoranda reiterating their respective arguments. 27
Sifting the arguments raised, it is clear that only two questions need to be answered: (1) whether the CA erred in
dismissing petitioner's appeal for failure to file appellant's brief; and (2) whether petitioner acted in self-defense in
killing Gonzalo.
The Court answers both questions in the negative.
The first issue. Whether the CA erred in dismissing petitioner's appeal for failure to file appellant's brief.
While appeal is an essential part of our judicial system, a party must strictly comply with the requisites laid down by
the Rules of Court on appeals, mindful of the fact that an appeal is purely a statutory right. Procedural rules are
designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases. Both courts and litigants are therefore enjoined to abide strictly by the
rules. While there are instances when the Court allows a relaxation in the application of the rules, such liberality is not
intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. Liberality in the interpretation and
application of the rules applies only in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. 28
Indeed, the CA may dismiss an appeal for failure to file appellant's brief on time. It is given the discretion which must
be exercised in accordance with the tenets of justice and fair play, having in mind the circumstances obtaining in each
In this case, the CA gave petitioner sufficient opportunity to file his appellant's brief. Instead of complying, however,
petitioner chose to ignore the many directives of the CA and now puts the blame on his former counsel Atty. Gallardo,
who was allegedly guilty of gross negligence.
Even if the Court were to admit that Atty. Gallardo was negligent, the rule is that negligence of counsel binds the
client. The only exception is when the negligence of said counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client is
deprived of his day in court. 30 No such excepting circumstance can be said to be present in this case because as
properly observed by the appellate court, petitioner himself was guilty of negligence. 31
As borne by the records, the CA issued a Resolution on April 15, 1999 requiring petitioner to manifest within five
days from receipt thereof the authenticity of his signature appearing in the motion to withdraw as counsel filed by
Atty. Gallardo dated February 1, 1999, and to inform the CA of his new counsel. 32 On August 27, 1999, the CA
granted Atty. Gallardo's motion to withdraw as counsel and required petitioner anew to cause the entry of appearance
of his new counsel or manifest whether he desires the CA to appoint a counsel de oficio to defend him, with a warning
that failure to comply with the said resolution shall cause the dismissal of his appeal. On February 28, 2000, the CA
issued another notice to file brief, this time addressed to Razon himself. 33 In a Resolution dated July 12, 2000, the
CA required Razon to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed for failure to file the required brief. 34 On
January 31, 2001, or almost three years after the notice of appeal was filed, the CA finally issued a resolution
dismissing petitioner's appeal.35
Despite the many notices given him, Razon still failed to comply with the CA's directives. He also took a long time to
file his motion for reconsideration of the CA's January 31, 2001 Resolution because while he admittedly received a
copy of the said resolution on March 6, 2001, he only filed his motion for reconsideration on July 19, 2001 or more
than four months later.
It is thus clear that petitioner was guilty of neglect. He was aware of his conviction and of the requirement of filing an
appellant's brief.36 Yet he had no urgency in filing the same, even with the CA's explicit orders. His excuse that his
educational deficiency prevented him from complying with the CA's resolutions deserves scant consideration. He was
able to secure the services of counsel to file for him a petition before this Court. Had he exerted earlier the kind of
effort he put in getting a new counsel, or had he simply notified the court of his desire to have a counsel de
oficio assigned to him, then he would not have to contend with the predicament he is presently in. For the resolution
of the CA dismissing his appeal on the ground of abandonment, petitioner has no one else to blame but himself.
The second issue. Whether petitioner acted in self-defense.
While the CA did not rule on the merits of the case, it is best not to remand the case to the CA. All the records and
evidence necessary for the determination of the innocence or guilt of the petitioner are before this Court. Thus, for a
complete and full disposition of the case and to avert further delay in the disposition of the same, the Court shall
hereby resolve the case on the merits.37
It is settled that when an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, the
accused assumes the burden to establish his plea by credible, clear and convincing evidence; otherwise, conviction
would follow from his admission that he killed the victim. 38 Self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated when
uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence or when it is extremely doubtful by itself. 39 Indeed, in
invoking self-defense, the burden of evidence is shifted and the accused claiming self-defense must rely on the
strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution.40
Here, petitioner admitted having inflicted the wound which killed Gonzalo. 41 The burden is therefore on him to show
that he did so in self-defense. As correctly found by the RTC, however, petitioner failed to prove the elements of self-
To escape liability, the person claiming self-defense must show by sufficient, satisfactory and convincing evidence
that: (1) the victim committed unlawful aggression amounting to actual or imminent threat to the life and limb of the
person claiming self-defense; (2) there was reasonable necessity in the means employed to prevent or repel the
unlawful aggression; and (3) there was lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person claiming self-defense or
at least any provocation executed by the person claiming self-defense was not the proximate and immediate cause of
the victim's aggression.42
The condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self-defense is the element of unlawful
aggression.43There can be no self-defense unless the victim committed unlawful aggression against the person who
resorted to self-defense.44 Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden and unexpected attack or imminent
danger thereof and not just a threatening or intimidating attitude. 45 In case of threat, it must be offensive, strong and
positively showing the wrongful intent to cause injury. 46 For a person to be considered the unlawful aggressor, he
must be shown to have exhibited external acts clearly showing his intent to cause and commit harm to the other. 47
Petitioner claims that Gonzalo, who was seated behind him in the taxicab, declared a hold-up and poked a knife at the
base of his neck. Granting that this is true, what transpired next, changed the nature of the roles played by petitioner
and Gonzalo.
As correctly found by the trial court:
Without scrutinizing Razon's assertion that he was held up, and assuming the same to be true, there was, indeed
unlawful aggression when Gonzalo poked a knife on Razon's neck. But, when Razon, in a Herculean feat, was able to
grab the knife from Gonzalo and freed his right hand from the hold of Gonzalo's two companions, the aggression no
longer existed. In fact, Gonzalo's two companions, went out of the taxicab and Gonzalo himself went out also towards
the canal of the road. At this point, Razon could have started his taxicab and left the place because he was left alone in
the taxicab. But he did not. He went after Gonzalo and his two companions and started swinging the knife he grabbed
from Gonzalo. He even had time to go back to the taxicab and get his own knife and then went back to the three men.
He then was holding two knives. There was no proof that Gonzalo's companions were able to throw stones at him or
the taxicab to indicate perhaps, that his three passengers who intended to hold him up continued their unlawful
When Gonzalo and his two companions went out of the taxicab, and Razon followed them outside, Razon became the
aggressor. The wounds sustained by Gonzalo would clearly show that he was attacked by Razon. 48
Such findings are well supported by the records. During his direct testimony, Razon admitted that he followed the
three men, including Gonzalo, after they got out of the cab. Then he went back to his cab to get his knife. 49 On cross-
examination, Razon admitted the same thing, and added the following:
Q. And you said that you swung the knife from left to right, is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you were able to hit Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr.?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. So you admitted that the injuries sustained by Benedict Kent Gonzalo in front of his abdomen was due to
your act of swinging the knife from left to right in front of him?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And tell the Court if this is the one that you used, this colonial knife, previously marked as Exh. "A."
A. This is the one, sir.
Q. Yes, you testified the last time that you have to go back to your taxi cab and get this knife marked as Exh. "A"?
A. Yes, sir.50 (Emphasis supplied)
On re-cross, Razon further admitted that:
Q. And you went near the canal where Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr. was?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the two others were already running away?
A. They were still there at that time.
Q. Do you know that Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr. was a victim of polio?
A. No, sir.
Q. But he did not run unlike the other two?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. He was in the canal which is lower than the road, is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Witness is demonstrating the height of the canal about one foot, Your Honor.
You have to go near him and go down the canal also, is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. That's where you swung your knife left and right towards Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr.?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr. did not try to run away from you?
A. When I went up to get my taxi, that was the time he run away, sir.51 (Emphasis supplied)
Petitioner unequivocally admitted that after the three men went out of his taxicab, he ran after them and later went
back to his cab to get his colonial knife; then he went down the canal to swing his knife at the victim, wounding and
killing him in the process. Such can no longer be deemed as self-defense.
It is settled that the moment the first aggressor runs away, unlawful aggression on the part of the first aggressor ceases
to exist; and 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. 52 Retaliation is not the same as self-defense. In
retaliation, the aggression that was begun by the injured party already ceased when the accused attacked him, while in
self-defense the aggression was still existing when the aggressor was injured by the accused. 53
Even assuming that some danger did in fact exist, the imminence of that danger had already ceased the moment
petitioner was able to disarm the victim by wresting the knife from the latter. After the former had successfully seized
the weapon, and he as well as his companions went out of the cab, there was no longer any unlawful aggression to
speak of that would have necessitated the need to kill the victim. 54
The defense employed by petitioner also cannot be said to be reasonable. The means employed by a person claiming
self-defense must be commensurate to the nature and the extent of the attack sought to be averted, and must be
rationally necessary to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression. 55 The nature or quality of the weapon; the physical
condition, the character, the size and other circumstances of the aggressor as well as those of the person who invokes
self-defense; and the place and the occasion of the assault also define the reasonableness of the means used in self-
In this case, the deceased was a polio victim, which explains the presence of the wooden cane at the scene of the
crime.57 Petitioner also admitted that when he went after Gonzalo, he had in his possession two knives, the Batangas
knife he wrested from the hold-uppers and the colonial knife which he took from his cab. 58
Other circumstances also render petitioner's claim of self-defense as dubious and unworthy of belief. The nature and
location of the victim's wounds manifest petitioner's resolve to end the life of the victim. 59 Here, the wound that
killed Gonzalo was 12 cm. deep which was directed inward and
slightly upward, entering the abdominal cavity, perforating the small intestines and penetrating the pancreas and the
abdominal aorta.60 Petitioner also did not inform the authorities at the earliest opportunity that he wounded Gonzalo
in self-defense;61 neither did he surrender right away the colonial knife which he used in stabbing the victim. He
only invoked self-defense when he could no longer conceal his deed. As testified to by Chopchopen, Razon was
hesitant at first to go to the place where he was allegedly held up. 62 Then when Chopchopen discovered the body of
Gonzalo and while they were bringing him to the hospital, he asked Razon if he was the one who stabbed Gonzalo, to
which Razon answered in the negative.63 He only admitted to having stabbed the victim at the police station after he
was investigated by police officers.64
Petitioner's claim that he also suffered injuries brought by the attack on him by the victim is belied by the testimonies
of police officers Chopchopen and Bumangil who said that they did not see any injury on Razon on the night in
With petitioner's failure to prove self-defense, the inescapable conclusion is that he is guilty of homicide as correctly
found by the RTC.
As to the damages awarded by the RTC, however, the Court finds that certain modifications need to be made. While
not assigned as errors, it is the duty of the Court to correct such errors as may be found in the judgment appealed
from, since an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review. 66
The Court notes that the RTC failed to award the heirs of Gonzalo, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for his
death.67Civil indemnity is automatically imposed upon the accused without need of proof other than the fact of
commission of murder or homicide.68
Anent actual damages, the Court resolves to delete the same and in lieu thereof imposes temperate damages in the
amount of P25,000.00. This is consistent with the ruling of the Court in People v. Werba,69 citing People v.
Villanueva70 which held that in instances where actual expenses amounting to less than P25,000.00 are proved
during the trial, the award of temperate damages of P25,000.00 is justified in lieu of the actual damages of a lesser
amount.71 In this case, Gonzalo's heirs were only able to present receipts amounting to P4,925.00.72
As to moral damages, the RTC correctly awarded the amount of P50,000.00, as the prosecution was able to show that
the father of the victim, Benedicto Gonzalo, Sr., suffered mental and emotional anguish due to the untimely death of
his son. Gonzalo Sr., who was 74 years old at the time of his testimony, said that he had special affection for his son,
not only because he was the youngest among all his children, but also because he was a polio victim. He said that he
could not eat and sleep thinking that his son could not have put up a fight due to his physical disability. 73 Indeed,
moral damages may be awarded in favor of the heirs of a victim upon sufficient proof of mental anguish, serious
anxiety, wounded feelings and similar
The RTC also did not err in awarding P10,000.00 as attorney's fees to the heirs of the victim. As provided for in Art.
2208 (11)75 of the Civil Code, attorney's fees may be awarded where the court deems it just and equitable that
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered. In this case the award of attorney's fees is proper as it is
borne by the records that the family of the victim hired the services of a private lawyer to prosecute the case. 76
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 60, Baguio City, in Criminal Case No. 12245-R,
entitled "People of the Philippines v. Edwin Razon y Lucea" is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION to the effect
that petitioner is ordered to pay the heirs of Benedict Kent Gonzalo, Jr. the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity
and P25,000.00 as temperate damages in addition to P50,000.00 as moral damages and P10,000.00 as attorney's fees.


G.R. No. 155094 January 30, 2007

FACTS: On 16 March 1996, at around 10:00 o'clock in the evening, Arnel Tanael was on his way to the
house of Romulo Cario. He passed in front of the house of [petitioner] Manuel Oriente and saw the latter
and his companions having a drinking spree at the terrace of the petitioner's house. He arrived at Romulo's
house where the latter was drinking beer alone. Thereafter, Romulo went out of the house to buy
cigarettes. While watching television in the house of Romulo, Arnel Tanael heard two gunshots. Hence, he
rushed outside the house to check on what the gunshots were all about.

Peeping through potted plants perched on top of a neighbor's fence Tanael saw Romulo Cario, Manuel
Oriente, the latter's daughter, Marilou Lopez and her husband, Paul Lopez and one Rogelio Gascon
arguing. He heard Paul Lopez telling Romulo Cario, "Ikaw Cario, ang liit-liit mo, ang yabang mo!" Then
Tanael saw Marilou coming out from their house with a lead pipe and handed it over to Paul. Paul then hit
Romulo with a lead pipe at his right arm. Accused-appellant got the lead pipe from Paul and hit Romulo on
his left eyebrow. Romulo reeled and fell down. Upon seeing Romulo fall down, Arnel got confused, hence,
he went back inside the house and switched off the light and turned the television off. He went outside
again and saw Romulo moaning. At this point, Paul Lopez was already poking a gun at Romulo, then pulled
the trigger twice but the gun did not fire. Arnel then shouted, "Putang ina ninyo, bakit niyo ginagawa iyan sa
bayaw ko, bakit ninyo ginaganito siya, ano ba ang kasalanan niya sa inyo." Oriente and his company did
not say anything. Romulo Cario was brought by Arnel to the East Avenue Medical Center where Romulo,
two hours after, passed away.

The accused pleaded self-defense, arguing that the victim was the one who shot the gun and that he was
only defending himself and his family when he hit the victim. The RTC rendered a Decision convicting the
petitioner of the crime of Homicide. CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE: Whether accused may claim self-defense.

HELD: No. The petitioner emphasizes that the victim, allegedly a troublemaker in the vicinity, was drunk,
fired his gun twice, and then proceeded towards the petitioner and his companions. The Court is not

When self-defense is invoked, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused to show that the killing was
legally justified. Having owned the killing of the victim, the accused should be able to prove to the
satisfaction of the Court the elements of self-defense in order to avail of this extenuating circumstance. He
must discharge this burden by clear and convincing evidence. When successful, an otherwise felonious
deed would be excused, mainly predicated on the lack of criminal intent of the accused.

Self-defense requires that there be (1) an unlawful aggression by the person injured or killed by the
offender, (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel that unlawful aggression, and
(3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. All these conditions must
concur. There can be no self-defense, whether complete or incomplete, unless the victim had committed
unlawful aggression against the person who resorted to self-defense.

Unlawful aggression, a primordial element of self-defense, would presuppose an actual, sudden and
unexpected attack or imminent danger on the life and limb of a person not a mere threatening or
intimidating attitude but most importantly, at the time the defensive action was taken against the
aggressor. To invoke self-defense successfully, 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.

The testimonies of the defense witnesses, including the accused, that Cario threatened the persons
gathered in front of Oriente's house with a gun is quite difficult to believe in view of the admissions of the
same defense witnesses, including the accused, that Cario was able to get up from the ground after being
hit and ran away with gun in hand. A person who was already threatening to kill with a gun and who was
then hit with a piece of wood in a serious manner, can be reasonably expected to make use thereof. Here,
the defense makes a rather unusual claim that Cario simply ran away and did not use the gun he was
holding while running.

People vs. Boholst-Caballero [61 SCRA 180 (1974)]

Post under case digests, Criminal Law at Posted by Schizophrenic Mind

Facts: Cunigunda Boholst Caballero seeks reversal of

the judgment of the CFI of Ormoc City finding her guilty of
parricideshe allegedly killed her husband, Francisco
Caballero, using a hunting knife. The couple was married in 1956
and had a daughter. They had frequent quarrels due to the
husband's gambling and drinking and there were times when
he maltreated and abused his wife. After more than a year,
Francisco abandoned his family. In 1958, Cunigunda went
caroling with her friends and when she was on her way home
she met her husband who suddenly held her by the collar and
accused her of going out for prostitution. Then he said he
would kill her, held her by the hair, slapped her until her nose
bled then pushed her towards the ground. She fell to the ground,
he knelt on her and proceeded to choke her. Cunigunda,
having earlier felt a knife tucked in Francisco's belt line while
holding unto his waist so she wouldn't fall to the ground,
grabbed the hunting knife and thrust it into her husband's left
side, near the belt line just above the thigh. He died 2 days
after the incident due to the stab wound. Then she ran home
and threw the knife away. The next day, she surrendered
herself to the police along with the torn dress that she wore
the night before.

Issue: Whether or not Cunigunda, in stabbing her husband,

acted in legitimate self-defense

Held: Yes, she did. Acquitted.

1. Burden if proof of self-defense rests on the accused. In this
case, the location and nature of the stab wound confirms that the
said victim, the husband, was the aggressor.

With her husband kneeling over her and choking her, accused
had no other choice but to pull the knife tucked in his belt line
and thrust it into his side.

The fact that the blow landed in the vicinity where the knife
was drawn from is a strong indication of the truth of the
testimony of the accused. Based on the re-enactment of the
incident, it was natural for her to use her right hand to lunge
the knife into husband's left side.

2. Three requisites of legitimate self-defense are present

Unlawful aggression. The husband resorting to pushing her

to the ground then choking her just because she was out
caroling at night constitutes unlawful aggression, There was
imminent danger of injury.

Reasonable necessity of means employed. While being

choked, Cunigunda had no other recourse but to take hold of
the knife and plunge it into husband's side in order to protect
herself. Reasonable necessity does not depend upon the
harm done but on the imminent danger of such injury.

Lack of sufficient provocation. provocation is sufficient when

proportionate to the aggression. In this case, there was no
sufficient provocation on the part of the accused (Cunigunda)
to warrant the attack of her husband. All that she did to provoke
an imaginary commission of a wrong in the mind of her
husband was to be out caroling at night.

People vs. Alconga

Post under case digests, Criminal Law at Posted by Schizophrenic Mind

Facts: On May 27, deceased Silverio Barion, the banker of

the card game, was playing black jack against Maria De Raposo.
De Raposo and Alconga were partners in the game, they had
one money. Alconga was seated behind Barion and he gave
signs to De Raposo. Barion, who was suffering losses in the
game, found this out and he expressed his anger at Alconga.
The two almost fought outright this was stopped.

The two met again on May 29. when Alconga was doing his
job as ahome guard. While the said accused was seated on a
bench in the guardhouse, Barion came along and said Coroy,
this is your breakfast followed by a swing of his pingahan,
a bamboo stick. Alconga avoided the blow by falling to the ground
under the bench with the intention to crawl out of the
guardhouse. A second blow was given by Barion but failed to
hit the accused, hitting the bench instead. Alconga managed
to go out of the guardhouse by crawling on his abdomen.
While Barion was about to deliver the 3rd blow, Alconga fired
at him with his revolver, causing him to stagger and hit the
ground. The deceased stood up, drew forth his dagger and
directed a blow to the accused who was able to parry the
attack using his bolo. A hand to handfight ensued. The
deceased, looking already beaten and having sustained
several wounds ran away. He was followed by the accused
and was overtaken after 200 meters.

A second fight took place and the deceased received a mortal

bolo blow, the one which slasehde the cranium. The deceased
fell face downward besides many other blows delivered.
Alconga surrendered.

Issue: Whether or not self-defense can be used as a defense

by Alconga

Held: No. Self-defense cannot be sustained. Alconga guilty of


The deceased ran and fled w/o having to inflicted so much a

scratch to Alconga, but after, upon the other hand, having
been wounded with one revolver shot and several bolo
slashes the right of Alconga to inflict injury upon him has
ceased absolutely/ Alconga had no right to pursue, no right to
kill or injure. He could have only attacked if there was reason
to believe that he is still not safe. In the case at bar, it is
apparent that it is Alconga who is the superior fighter and his
safety was already secured after the first fight ended. There
was no more reason for him to further chase Barion. The
second fight will be treated differently and independently.
Under the first fight, self-defense would have been valid, but
that is not the case in the second fight. In the second fight,
there was illegal aggression on the part of Alconga and as a
result, he is found guilty of Homicide with no mitigating
circumstance (MC) of Provocation

Note Provocation in order to be an MC must be sufficient

andimmediately preceding the act. It should be proportionate
to the act committed and adequate to stir one to its
G.R. No. L-35524 March 18, 1932
JULIAN SUMICAD, defendant-appellant.
Felipe K. Medina for appellant.
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.
This appeal has been brought to reverse a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Occidental
Misamis, finding the appellant, Julian Sumicad, guilty of the offense of homicide and sentencing him to undergo
imprisonment for twelve years and one day, reclusion temporal, and requiring him to indemnify the family of the
deceased in the amount of P1,000, as well as to pay the costs of prosecution.
On February 23, 1931, the accused, a resident of Buenavoluntad, in the municipality of Plaridel, Occidental Misamis,
was engaged with others in the gratuitous labor of hauling logs for the construction of a chapel in the barrio above-
mentioned. At about 5.30 o'clock in the afternoon on the day mentioned, when the laborers were resting from the work
of the day, one Segundo Cubol happened to pass the place where the accused was sitting. Prior to this date the accused
had rendered five and one-half days service to Cubol, and as the latter passed, the accused said to him, "Segundo, pay
me for the five and one-half days work for which you owe me." Cubol replied, "What debt!," an exclamation which
was followed by an insulting expression. At the same time he struck the accused with his fist. The accused arose from
the log upon which he was sitting and moved backward, trying to escape, but Cubol pursued him and continued
striking him with his fists. As the accused receded he found himself cornered by a pile of logs, the wings of which
extended out on either side, effectually preventing any further retreat. As Cubol pressed upon him, the accused drew
his bolo and delivered a blow on Cubol's right shoulder. Upon this Cubol lunged at the accused with the evident
intention of wresting the bolo from the accused. To prevent this the accused struck two other blows with the bolo,
inflicting two deep cuts on Cubol's forehead above the left eye. One of these blows broke through the cranium. The
other made a cut extending from the left eyebrow to the nose and upper lip. Upon finding a seat on a log nearby. A
witness, named Francisco Villegas, who came up in a moment, after learning something about the matter, asked Cubol
whether he had struck the accused blows with his fist. Cubols replied that he had. The witness Villegas then turned to
the accused, who was standing a short distance away, and told him to put up his bolo and go to the poblacion. Acting
upon this suggestion the accused immediately repaired to the office of the justice of the peace and surrendered himself
to the authorities. Cubol lived only an hour or so, and died from the effect of the wounds received. In one of the
pockets of the deceased a knife was found, and the accused testified that, when he struck the deceased with his bolo,
the latter was attempting to draw a knife from his pocket.
The accused was 25 years of age when this case was tried, has a height of 5 feet and 1- inches, and weight of 105
pounds. The deceased appears to have been taller, larger and stronger man. The evidence shows that the deceased was
quarrelsome and in the habit of making frequent trouble by fighting in the places where he happened to be present
with others. In the local courts he had been convicted and sentenced to jail for assault and battery in two different
cases. In another case he was convicted of the offense of inflicting minor physical injuries, being sentenced to
imprisonment for one month and one day. In still another case he had been convicted of theft and sentenced to
imprisonment for the same period of one month and one day. The proof leaves no reason to doubt that the deceased
was hot-tempered and that he had the reputation of being a trouble maker. It is a safe inference from this proof and
there is nothing to the contrary, that the deceased was with good reason considered by his neighbors to be a
dangerous man.
From the facts above stated it is evident that the quarrel which resulted in the death of Segundo Cubol was of his own
making, and that the accused was not materially to blame in bringing about the trouble. Two of the elements of self-
defense were therefore clearly present, namely, that the deceased was the aggressor and that there was lack of
sufficient provocation on the part of the accused. The only further question that can therefore arise in discussion the
criminal liability of the accused is whether there was reasonable necessity for the means employed by him to prevent
or repel the aggression to which he was subjected. Upon this point it will be noted that, when the aggression was
begun by the deceased, the accused retreated until he was cornered in the angle of a pile of logs. His further retreat
was this effectually cut off both in the rear and at the sides. In response to the blows which the deceased delivered
with his fists, the accused first delivered a cut on the left shoulder of the deceased; but, if we rightly interpret the
transcript of the record on this point , the sanitary officer who exclaimed the body of the deceased meant to say that
this wound alone could not have resulted in death. This we consider to be the decisive turning point in the case. Upon
receiving that cut the deceased should have been admonished that further aggression on his part would be met by
determined resistance and that any further advance would be at grave peril to himself. Instead of acting upon this
warning, the deceased pressed forward in the attempt to possess himself of the bolo, the only means of defense then at
the command of the accused.
Under these circumstances what might the accused have been reasonably expected to do. Was he to surrender the
weapon to his assailant, a larger and stronger man than himself, who was now infuriated by the blood that had been
drawn from his shoulder? Or was he justified in keeping the weapon in his hands and, as an ultimate resort, in using it
as a means for his own defense? Our reply is that he was justified in pursuing the latter alternative; for it would
probably have been an act of suicide to permit that weapon to pass into the hands of his assailant. In judging a
question of this kind the reputation of the deceased for violence is pertinent, for it tends to show that when the fatal
blows were struck the accused had reasonable grounds for believing that he was in grave peril to life or limb.
It is undoubtedly well established in jurisprudence that a man is not, as a rule, justified in taking the life of one who
assaults him with his fist only, without the use of a dangerous weapon. The person assaulted must, in such case, either
resist with the arms that nature gave him or with other means of defense at his disposal, short of taking life. But that
rule contemplates the situation where the contestants are in the open and the person assaulted can exercise the option
of running away. It can have no binding force in the case where the person assaulted has retreated to the wall, as the
saying is, and uses in a defensive way the only weapon at his disposal. One is not required, when hard pressed, to
draw fine distinctions as to the extent of the injury which a reckless and infuriated assailant might probably inflict
upon him (Browell vs. People, 38 Mich., 732). And it was not incumbent on the accused in this case, when assailed by
a bully of known violent disposition, who was larger and stronger than himself. On the contrary, under the
circumstances stated, he had the right to resist the aggression with the bolo, and if he unfortunately inflicted a fatal
blow, it must be considered to have been given in justifiable self-defense. Upon this point it may be recalled that the
deceased, when asked about the circumstances of the homicide, admitted that he himself was the aggressor; and it is
noteworthy that he used no word placing blame upon the accused.
We are of the opinion that all the elements necessary to constitute justifiable self-defense were present in this case and
the accused should have been acquitted.
The judgment appealed from will therefore be reversed and the appellant absolved from the information, with costs of
both instances de oficio. So ordered.
Malcolm, Romualdez, Villa-Real and Imperial, JJ., concur.
Johnson, J., reserves his vote.

Separate Opinions
AVANCEA, C.J., dissenting:
I dissent. In my opinion, there is but an incomplete self-defense here. The defendant's act in wounding the deceased
with a bolo so as to bring about the latter's death, was not a reasonably necessary means of defending himself against
the other's attack, which was but a matter of fisticuffs. The Supreme Court of Spain has held this doctrine in many
cases; e. g., where the deceased attacked the defendant with his fists (November 29, 1883; May 3, 1888; and May 9,
1911); where the deceased, for no particular reason, threw himself upon the defendant, caught him by the throat, and
tried to choke him (November 4, 1910); where the deceased boxed the accused, knocking him down, and keeping him
underneath (November 28, 1910); and where the deceased attacked the accused with an umbrella (April 22, 1896). In
all these cases it was not held that the defendant acted with full justification in self-defense. Our own reports contain
ruling of the like tenor; in the earliest case, the deceased attacked the accused with a piece of bamboo (U.S. vs. De
Castro, 2 Phil., 67), and in the latest, he attacked the defendant with his fists (G.R. No. 34750). 1 In neither was it held
that a complete case of self-defense had been made out. Nor is the defendant's case improved by the consideration that
he aimed the first blow at the deceased's arm, and delivered the last two blows, which caused death, after had
attempted to wrench away the bolo; for, having received the first blow on the arm, the deceased was justified in acting
as he did, in the reasonable belief that the defendant would continue the attack with that weapon.


Case of People of the R.P. vs. Genosa

G.R.No. 135981 15January2004

That Marivic Genosa, the Appellant on the 15November1995, attacked and wounded his husband, which
ultimately led to his death. According to the appellant she did not provoke her husband when she got home
that night it was her husband who began the provocation. The Appellant said she was frightened that her
husband would hurt her and she wanted to make sure she would deliver her baby safely. In fact, The Appelant
had to be admitted later at the Rizal Medical Centre as she was suffering from eclampsia and hypertension,
and the baby was born prematurely on December 1, 1995.

The Appellant testified that during her marriage she had tried to leave her husband at least five (5) times, but
that Ben would always follow her and they would reconcile. The Apellant said that the reason why Ben was
violent and abusive towards her that night was because 'he was crazy about his recent girlfriend, Lulu

The Appellant after being interviewed by specialists, has been shown to be suffering from Battered Woman
The appellant with a plea of self defense admitted the killing of her husband, she was then found guilty of
Parricide, with the aggravating circumstance of treachery, for the husband was attacked while asleep.


Can Marivic Genosa be granted the Justifying circumstance of Self-defense, and can she be held liable
for the aggravating circumstance of treachery?

No, Since self- defense since the existence of Battered woman syndrome, which the appellant has been shown
to be suffering in the relationship does not in itself establish the legal right of the woman to kill her abusive
partner. Evidence must still be considered in the context of self-defense.
In the present case, however, according to the testimony of the appellant there was a sufficient time interval
between the unlawful aggression of the husband and her fatal attack upon him. She had already been able to
withdraw from his violent behavior and escape to their children's bedroom. During that time, he apparently
ceased his attack and went to bed. The reality or even the imminence of the danger he posed had ended
altogether. He was no longer in a position that presented an actual threat on her life or safety.

Without continuous aggression there can be no self-defense. And absence of aggression does not warrant
complete or incomplete self-defense.

No, There is treachery when one commits any of the crimes against persons by employing means, methods or
forms in the execution thereof without risk to oneself arising from the defense that the offended party might

The circumstances must be shown as indubitably as the killing itself; they cannot be deduced from mere
inferences, or conjectures, which have no place in the appreciation of evidence. Besides, equally axiomatic
is the rule that when a killing is preceded by an argument or a quarrel, treachery cannot be appreciated as a
qualifying circumstance, because the deceased may be said to have been forewarned and to have anticipated
aggression from the assailant.

In the present case, however it was not conclusively shown, that the appellant intentionally chose a specific
means of successfully attacking her husband without any risk to herself from any retaliatory act that he
might make. To the contrary, it appears that the thought of using the gun occurred to her only at about the
same moment when she decided to kill her spouse. In the absence of any convincing proof that she
consciously and deliberately employed the method by which she committed the crime in order to ensure its
execution, the doubt should be resolved in her favor.


The conviction of Appellant Marivic Genosa for parricide is hereby AFFIRMED. However, there being two (2)
mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance attending her commission of the offense, her
penalty is REDUCED to six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum; to 14 years, 8 months and 1
day of reclusion temporal as maximum.


When can BWS (Battered Woman Syndrome) as self defense be appreciated?

Where the brutalized person is already suffering from BWS, further evidence of actual physical assault at
the time of the killing is not required. Incidents of domestic battery usually have a predictable pattern. To
require the battered person to await an obvious, deadly attack before she can defend her life "would amount
to sentencing her to 'murder by installment.' Still, impending danger (based on the conduct of the victim in
previous battering episodes) prior to the defendant's use of deadly force must be shown. Threatening
behavior or communication can satisfy the required imminence of danger. Considering such circumstances
and the existence of BWS, self-defense may be appreciated.

November 7, 1935
G.R. No. L-43588
Vicente E. Calanog for appellants.
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee.
Recto, J.:
The spouses Wenceslao Alcansare and Natividad Luague having been charged with homicide in the Court of
First Instance of Occidental Negros and sentenced, the former to the penalty of from eight years and one day
of prision mayor, as the minimum, to fourteen years, eight months and one day of reclusion temporal, as the
maximum, with the accessories of the law, and the latter to that of from six years and one day of prision
mayor, as the minimum, to twelve years and one day of reclusion temporal, as the maximum, with the
accessory penalties of the law, both to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of Paulino Disuasido in the
sum of one thousand pesos, with costs, appealed to this court for a review of the judgment rendered against
them, praying that the same reversed and that they be acquitted.
Upon examination of the appeal, it appears: that in the morning of February 18, 1935, while the accused
Natividad Luague was in her house situated in Lupuhan, barrio of Agpagi, municipality of Calatrava,
Occidental Negros, with only her three children of tender age for company, her husband and co-accused
Wenceslao Alcansare having gone to grind corn in Juan Garings house several kilometers away, Paulino
Disuasido came and began to make love to her; that as Natividad could not dissuade him from his purpose,
she started for the kitchen where Paulino followed her, notwithstanding her instance that she could by no
means accede to his wishes, for Paulino, bent on satisfying them at all costs, drew and opened a knife and,
threatening her with death, began to embrace her and to touch her breasts; that in preparing to lie with her,
Paulino had to leave the knife on the floor and the accused, taking advantage of the situation, picked up the
weapon and stabbed him in the abdomen; and that Paulino, feeling himself wounded, ran away jumping
through the window and falling on some stones, while the accused set forth immediately for the poblacion to
surrender herself to the authorities and report the incident.
Natividad Luagues act in mortally wounding Paulino Disuasido, unaided her husband and co-accused
Wenceslao Alcansare, and in the circumstances above set out, constitutes the exempting circumstance
defined in article 11, subsection 1, of the Revised Penal Code, because, as stated by a commentator of note,
aside from the right to life on which rest the legitimate defense of our person, we have the right to party
acquired by us, and the right to honor which is not the least prized of mans patrimony. (1 Viada, 172, 173,
5th edition.) Will the attempt to rape a woman constitute an aggression sufficient to put her in a state of
legitimate defense? asks the same commentator. We think so, he answer, inasmuch as a womans honor
cannot but be esteemed as a right as precious, if not more, cannot her very existence; this offense, unlike
ordinary slander by word or deed susceptible of judicial redress, in an outrage which impresses an indelible
blot on the victim, for, as the Roman Law says: quum virginitas, vel castitas, corupta restitui non
protest (because virginity or chastity, once defiled, cannot be restored). It is evident that a woman who,
imperiled, wounds, nay kills the offender, should be afforded exemption from criminal liability provided by
this article and subsection since such killing cannot be considered a crime from the moment it became the
only means left for her to protect her honor from so great an outrage. (1 Viada, 301, 5th edition.)
Similar to the present question was the one determined the Supreme Court of Spain in a decision of February
21, 1911: This court in due homage to the principles of morality and in strict observance of the provision of
law justly interpreted, has always held that one of the rights referred to in article 8, subsection 4, of the
Penal Code, is that which assists a woman in defense of her honor when an attempt is made to repel the
aggression or to avoid in time the imminent danger of its consummation; and in view of this, it must be
conceded upon the findings of the trial court, that the accused Maria Sanchez Caistro acted in legitimate
self-defense, because the conduct of Diego Cardenas, who made love to her, in blowing in at midnight,
knocking at the door and demanding admittance and against Marias refusal, insisting in his purpose and
threatening to break open the door, in the light of prior events and the circumstances of the case, implies the
imminence of an affront against honor, involving an actual and certain danger to the person so threatened,
while at the same time the fact that she was alone that no help was forthcoming; her founded fear that the
door might give way and the dreaded evil wrought, her consequent helplessness on the advent of that crisis,
and her natural desire to attest openly her conjugal fidelity by foiling all suspicious aspersions, show the
reasonableness of the defensive measures availed of by her and warrant her complete exemption from
liability, inasmuch as, aside from all these, it does not appear from the decision that said accused had
previously committed any act deserving of censure or marring the just motive which obviously induced her to
repel, as she did, a violence unprovoked by her. Thus viewed, all the requisites of the exempting
circumstance above mentioned are present and should be taken into consideration, etc. (1 Viada, 304, 5th
The theory the prosecution, which we consider a trifle unsubstantial is as follows: The accused Wenceslao
Alcansare, thinking that Paulino importuned his wife with unchaste advances, out of jealousy, decided to get
rid of him. His chance to bring about his plan can when, in the morning of the crime, Paulino happened to
pass in front of the house of the spouses with his friend Olimpio Libosada. The accused wife invited Paulino to
drop in, which the letter and his friend did. The spouses met them at the threshold. The accused wife asked
Paulino whether he had a knife and as the latter answered in the affirmative, she asked him to lend it to lend
it to her because she wanted to cut her nails, to which Paulino willingly acceded, while the accused wife was
cutting her nails, she asked Paulino where he came from and the latter answered, turning his head around,
that he came from the house of one Inting, whereupon the accused wife slashed him in the abdomen.
Paulino tried to return the blow but the accused husband picked up a stone and struck him in the forehead.
Wounded in the abdomen and in the forehead, Paulino fled therefrom.
The government presented three witnesses to establish this theory. Pablo Alvarez, barrio lieutenant of
Cabugahan, testified that on his way to communal the day before the crime, he met the accused wife who
told him that she had wanted to see him and ask his help because her husband, who was jealous of Paulino,
was maltreating her and he was furthermore resolved to assault Paulino at sight. On the following day,
Alvarez, in his way to Bacacay, dropped in the house of the accused spouses to inquire whether they had
tobacco seeds and, as they answered him in the negative, he went his way. He had hardly left the place
when Paulino and Olimpio arrived, the accused wife inviting the former to drop in. Paulino and Olimpio went
to the threshold of the house and the accused spouses, in turn, went down, and the four engaged in a
conversation which, to Alvarez, seemed a friendly one. The witness left and when he returned to the place
sometime later, he was informed that Paulino had been stabbed.
The accused were from the barrio of Agpagi and not from Cabugahan where the witness was
the barriolieutenant. Had the accused wife gone to complain against the alleged conduct of her husband, she
would have sought the lieutenant of Agpagi, her barrio. The accused wife, by reporting the incident directly
to the municipal authorities without seeking the intervention of any barrio lieutenant, showed that she knew
where to go in a difficulty.
Were it true that the accused husband, prompted by jealousy, designed to do away with Paulino, it would
have been because he observed that his wife somehow returned Paulinos attentions, for otherwise he would
not have indulge in tragic cogitations. From any point of view, however, it is quite incomprehensible why the
wife would take upon herself and the husband would charge her with, the execution of the plan. The
observation is no less true if the spouses plotted in common for it would have been patently disgraceful and
cowardly of the husband to thrust its execution upon the wife at the hazard of her life, and liberty to shield
his own, in the event of prosecution; and there is the husband was thus minded. Under the theory of the
prosecution, whether the accused husband doubted his wifes fidelity or was sure of it, in connection with
Paulinos attentions, the natural thing in either case would be for him, unaided by his wife, to avenge the
affront or punish the offender. In the case at bar, we must assume that, if the motive attributed to him by
the prosecution were true, the accused would have acted, as would the great majority of men in identical
The witness Alvarez, himself testified that he was informed the day before by the wife of the accused
husband that the latter would get even with Paulino at the first opportunity. The witness saw them together
in the morning of the crime and he should have surmised that the announced tragedy might take place.
Rather than foil it, as an agent of the law, if for no other reason, he went his way unconcerned, as if nothing
serious was impending.
We find his conduct, or that which he claims to have followed, so extremely strange to be considered true.
When the truth is beyond our reach, as is often the case, we have to be contented with the probable. This is
the basis of the so-called presumptions of fact. The acts which this witness claims to have done are so out of
ordinary conduct of men as to be devoid of probability. Occasionally, indeed, there are those who behave
strangely, but this is the exception and not the rule.
In addition to this, the theory of the prosecution that the accused husband and his wife had conspired to kill
Paulino is overcome by the very facts which the prosecution itself has attempted to prove. If such conspiracy
had really existed, the accused spouses would have been fully prepared to carry it into execution, because
rational beings differ from those who are not in that when they embark on anything, they make the s equal
to its realization. However, these amused, on the on, had neither a rusty bolo nor an outworn club to cope
with Paulino. The weapon with which Paulino was first wounded was his own knife which, according to the
prosecution, the accused wife had to borrow from him on the pretext that she wanted to cut her nails, and
later a stone which the accused husband casually picked up from the ground. Yarns of this kind make good
material for fables.
Angel Emia, the other government witness who testified at the trial that he saw the crime attributed to the
two accused by the prosecution, made a previous statement wherein he disclaimed knowledge of who had
stabbed Paulino. Required to explain the contradiction, he bungled in his attempt. The trial judge erred in
giving him credit. Olimpio Libosada, another government witness, likewise affirmed that he had seen all that
bad transpired, claiming that he then accompanied Paulino, It seem strange, however, that in the two
statements made by Paulino before his death he did not state that he was accompanied by Libosada or by
any other person in the morning of the crime. It likewise happens that the conduct of this witness, according
to his own testimony, appears to be inconsistent because he did nothing to defend and help Paulino, his
friend and companion, in that most critical moment, and did not report the crime to the authorities,
disappearing from the scene all of a sudden with a very frivolous excuse that he was afraid to be
implicated. Furthermore, after discarding the testimony of Angel Emia, there is nothing to corroborate that
of Olimpio Libosada which, by its inherent weakness, cannot be alone and unsubstantiated by other reliable
incriminatory circumstances, support a judgment of conviction.
As to the two statements, Exhibit C and D, styled, ante mortem by the Solicitor-General, the trial court
properly disregarded because them there is no evidence of record that Paulino had made them under a sense
of impending death and with no hope of recovery.
The trial judge gave unusual importance to the testimony of the two policemen who testified that they made
an ocular inspection of the scene of the crime and found no bloodstain in the kitchen of the house of the
accused spouses. This, according to the trial judge, destroys the theory of the defense that Paulino was
stabbed in said kitchen by the accused wife when he tried to lie with her through intimidation and violence.
We are of the opinion that the trial judge erred on this point as he did on others. It appears that the said
policemen did not also find any bloodstain on the threshold of the house of the accused spouses where,
according to the prosecution, the aggression took place. Therefore, said testimony contradicts the defense no
less than it does the prosecution.
In resume, we are of the opinion that we should, as we do hereby hold that the accused Natividad Luague in
wounding Paulino Disuasido to death, acted in legitimate self-defense, and that the other accused Wenceslao
Alcansare had no participation in said act; wherefore, reversing the appealed judgment, we hereby acquit
both accused, and order their immediate release, if in confinement, with costs de oficio.

People v. De La Cruz (Crim1)

People of the Philippines v. Pablo De La Cruz
People of the Philippines, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Pablo De La Cruz, Defendant Appellant

En Banc
Doctrine: Neither excessive fines nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment
Keywords: excessive fines
Date: April 17, 1953
Ponente: Justice Bengzon

In the morning of October 14, 1950, Eduardo Bernardo, Jr. went to the De La Cruz's store in Sampaloc,
Manila, and purchased from him a six-ounce tin of "Carnation" milk for thirty centavos.
As the purchase had been made for Ruperto Austria, who was not in good terms with Pablo de la Cruz the
matter reached the City Fiscal's office and resulted in this criminal prosecution, because Executive Order
No. 331 (issued by authority of Republic Act No. 509) fixed 20 centavos as the maximum price for that kind
of commodity.
Republic Act No. 509 provides in part as follows:
SEC. 12. Imprisonment for a period of not less two months nor more than twelve years or a fine of not less
than two thousand pesos nor more than ten thousand pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person
who sells any article, goods, or commodity in excess of the maximum selling price fixed by the president; . .
In addition to the penalties prescribed above, the persons, corporations, partnerships, or associations
found guilty of any violation of this Act or of any rule or regulations issued by the president pursuant to this
Act shall be barred from the wholesome and retail business for a period of five years for a first offense, and
shall be permanently barred for the second or succeeding offenses.
Having retailed a can of milk at ten centavos more than the ceiling price, Pablo de la Cruz was sentenced,
after trial, in the court of first instance of Manila, to imprisonment for five years, and to pay a fine of five
thousand pesos plus costs. He was also barred from engaging in wholesale and retail business for five


1. WON the trial judge erred in imposing a punishment wholly disproportionate to the offence
2. WON the trial judge erred in not invalidating RA No. 509 in so far as it prescribed excessive
1. Is imprisonment for two months or fine of two thousand pesos too excessive for a merchant
who sells goods at prices beyond the ceilings established in the Executive Order?
2. Is five years and five thousand pesos, cruel and unusual for a violation that merely netted a
ten-centavo profit to the accused?

Held: We may decrease the penalty, exercising that discretion vested in the courts by the same statutory
enactment. Wherefore, reducing the imprisonment to six months and the fine to two thousand pesos, we
hereby affirm the appealed decision in all other respects.

The constitution directs that "Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment
The prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments is generally aimed at the form or character of the
punishment rather than its severity in respect of duration or amount, and apply to punishment which never
existed in America of which public sentiment has regarded as cruel or obsolete (15 Am. Jur., p. 172), for
instance those inflicted at the whipping post, or in the pillory, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel,
disemboweling, and the like (15 Am. Jur., supra, Note 35 L.R.A. p. 561).
Fine and imprisonment would not thus be within the prohibition.
However, there are respectable authorities holding that the inhibition applies as well to punishments that
although not cruel and unusual in nature, may be so severe as to fall within the fundamental restriction. (15
Am. Jur., p. 178)
For the purposes of this decision, we may assume, without actually holding, that too long a prison term
might clash with the Philippine Constitution. But that brings up again two opposing theories
we are told the prohibition applies to legislation only, and not to the courts' decision imposing penalties
within the limits of the statute (15 Am. Jur., "Criminal Law" sec. 526).
the section would violate the Constitution, if the penalty is excessive under any and all circumstances, the
minimum being entirely out of proportion to the kind of offenses prescribed
Is imprisonment for two months or fine of two thousand pesos too excessive for a merchant who sells
goods at prices beyond the ceilings established in the Executive Order?
NO. because in overstepping the price barriers Dela Cruz might derive, in some instances, profits
amounting to thousands of pesos
The prison term must be so disproportionate to the offense committed as to shock the moral sense of all
reasonable men as to what is right and proper under the circumstances (lb.).
authorities are not lacking to the effect that the fundamental prohibition likewise restricts the judge's power
and authority
The second theory would contrast the penalty imposed by the court with the gravity of the particular crime
or misdemeanor, and if notable disparity results, it would apply the constitutional brake, even if the statute
would, under other circumstances, be not extreme or oppressive.
Is five years and five thousand pesos, cruel and unusual for a violation that merely netted a ten-centavo
profit to the accused?
In our opinion the damage caused to the State is not measured exclusively by the gains obtained by the
accused, inasmuch as one violation would mean others, and the consequential breakdown of the beneficial
system of price controls.

People vs. Jaurigue [C.A. No. 384, February 21, 1946]

Post under case digests, Criminal Law at Posted by Schizophrenic Mind
Facts: Inside the chapel of the 7th day Adventist Church, Amado
Capina sat beside the appellant and with the greatest of
impudence, placed his hand on the upper part of her right thigh.
On observing this highly improper and offensive conduct,
Avelina Jaurigue, conscious of her personal dignity and honor,
pulled out a fan knife and stabbed Amado once at the base of
the left side of the neck

Amado Capina died from the wound a few minutes later.

Appellant Avelina Jaurigue was subsequently tried and

convicted of the crime of Homicide.

Issue: Whether or not appellant Jaurige acted in the legitimate

defense of her honor and that she should be completely
absolved of all criminal responsibility

Held: No. The judgment of conviction is affirmed.

The attempt to rape a woman constitutes an unlawful aggression

sufficient to put her in a state of legitimate defense inasmuch as
a woman's honor cannot but be esteemed as a right as
precious, if not more than her very existence; and it is evident
that a woman who, thus imperiled, wounds, nay kills the
offender, should be afforded exemption from criminal liability,
since such killing cannot be considered a crime from the
moment it became the only means left for her to protect her
honor from so great an outrage (1 Viada, Codigo Penal, 5th
ed., p. 301; People vs. Luague and Alcansare, 62 Phil.,
504). .

As long as there is actual danger of being raped, a woman

isjustified in killing her aggressor in the defense of her honor.

When the deceased sat by the side of the appellant on the

same bench, near the door of the barrio chapel and placed
his hand on the upper portion of her



This is a plea for self- defense of the accused Rafael

Bumanglag who was convicted of homicide and sentenced reclusion

The night of Jan 2, 1909, Rafael Bumanglag missed 40 bundles

of palay which were kept in his granary. He found them in an
enclosed field at a distance of about 100 meters from his granary.
The next day, eager to find who the culprit is he waited in the
field with 3 other men. Guillermo Ribis attempted to carry away with
him the palay but Bumanglag assaulted the presumed thief with sticks
and stabbing weapons. Ribis attacked him viciously with a bolo.
Bumanglag, upon finding that he was likely to be killed by the
robber because of his great strength, called for assistance. His
three companions rushed forward and joined in the struggle. Ribis
fell on the ground mortally injured and soon died.

Immediately after the death of Ribis, the accused and his

companions went to the nearest police headquarter and reported the

ISSUE: W/n Bumanglag is criminally liable in protecting his property

that caused the death of Guillermo Ribis?

HELD: There is a strong doubt on the appellant's legal

responsibility for the crime charged. Therefore, the judgment of the
trial court modified and penalty reduced.

REASON: The accused was closely pressed by an attacking man with a

bolo, who was superior in strength, justified the fear of a grievous
bodily harm and that danger was imminent. A person may repel force
in defense of his habitation or property, as well as in defense of
his person, against one who manifestly intends and endeavors by
violence or surprise to commit a known felony upon either, and if
need be, may kill his adversary. Therefore, there was not only an
unlawful aggression against the defendant but also there was a
wrongful invasion of his habitation and an attempt to commit a
felony against his property.

People vs. Narvaez, 121 SCRA 389 (1983)

FACTS: Mamerto Narvaez has been convicted of murder (qualified by treachery) of David Fleischer and
Flaviano Rubia. On August 22, 1968, Narvaez shot Fleischer and Rubia during
the time the two were constructing a fence that would prevent Narvaez from getting into his house and rice mill.
The defendant was taking a nap when he heard sounds of construction and
found fence being made. He addressed the group and asked them to stop destroying his house and asking if
they could talk things over. Fleischer responded with "No, gadamit, proceed, go
ahead." Defendant lost his "equilibrium," and shot Fleisher with his shotgun. He also shot Rubia who was
running towards the jeep where the deceased's gun was placed. Prior to the
shooting, Fleischer and Co. (the company of Fleischer's family) was involved in a legal battle with the defendant
and other land settlers of Cotabato over certain pieces of property. At the time
of the shooting, the civil case was still pending for annulment (settlers wanted granting of property to Fleisher
and Co. to be annulled). At time of the shooting, defendant had leased his
property from Fleisher (though case pending and ownership uncertain) to avoid trouble. On June 25, defendant
received letter terminating contract because he allegedly didn't pay rent.
He was given 6 months to remove his house from the land. Shooting was barely 2 months after letter. Defendant
claims he killed in defense of his person and property. CFI ruled that
Narvaez was guilty. Aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation offset by the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender. For both murders, CFI sentenced him to reclusion perpetua, to indemnify the heirs, and to
pay for moral damages.

1. Whether or not CFI erred in convicting defendant-appellant despite the fact that he acted in defense of his

No. The courts concurred that the fencing and chiselling of the walls of the house of the defendant was indeed a
form of aggression on the part of the victim. However, this
aggression was not done on the person of the victim but rather on his rights to property. On the first issue, the
courts did not err. However, in consideration of the violation of property rights, the courts referred to Art. 30 of the
civil code recognizing the right of owners to close and fence their land.

Although is not in dispute, the victim was not in the position to subscribe to the article because his ownership of
the land being awarded by the government was still pending, therefore putting ownership into question. It is
accepted that the victim was the original aggressor.

2. WON the court erred in convicting defendant-appellant although he acted in defence of his rights.
Yes. However, the argument of the justifying circumstance of self-defense is applicable only if the 3 requirements
are fulfilled. Art. 11(1) RPC enumerates these requisites:

Unlawful aggression. In the case at bar, there was unlawful aggression towards appellant's property rights.
Fleisher had given Narvaez 6 months and he should have left him in peace before time was up, instead of
chiseling Narvaez's house and putting up fence. Art. 536 of the Civil Code also provides that possession may not
be acquired through force or intimidation; while Art. 539 provides that every possessor has the right to be
respected in his possession
Reasonable necessity of means employed to prevent or repel attack. In the case, killing was disproportionate to
the attack.
Lack of sufficient provocation on part of person defending himself. Here, there was no provocation at all since he
was asleep

Since not all requisites present, defendant is credited with the special mitigating circumstance of incomplete
defense, pursuant to Art. 13(6) RPC. These mitigating circumstances are: voluntary surrender and passion and
obfuscation (read p. 405 explanation) Crime is homicide (2 counts) not murder because treachery is not
applicable on account of provocation by the deceased. Also, assault was not deliberately chosen with view to kill
since slayer acted instantaneously. There was also no direct evidence of planning or preparation to kill. Art. 249
RPC: Penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal. However, due to mitigating circumstances and incomplete
defense, it can be lowered three degrees (Art. 64) to arrestomayor.

3. WON he should be liable for subsidiary imprisonment since he is unable to pay the civil indemnity due to the
offended party.

No. He is not liable to be subsidiarily imprisoned for nonpayment of civil indemnity. RA 5465 made the provisions
of Art. 39 applicable to fines only and not to reparation of damage caused, indemnification of consequential
damages and costs of proceedings. Although it was enacted only after its conviction, considering that RA 5465 is
favorable to the accused who is not a habitual delinquent, it may be given retroactive effect pursuant to Art. 22 of
the RPC.

Judgment: Defendant guilty of homicide but w/ mitigating circumstances and extenuating circumstance of
incomplete self defense. Penalty is 4 months arresto mayor and to indemnify
each group of heirs 4,000 w/o subsidiary imprisonment and w/o award for moral damages. Appellant has already
been detained 14 years so his immediate release is ordered.

Gutierrez, dissenting. Defense of property can only be invoked when coupled with form of attack on person
defending property. In the case at bar, this was not so. Appellant should then be sentenced to prision mayor.
However, since he has served more than that, he should be released.