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HOMICIDE

• The defendant’s argument in each of this appeals is that the respective Trial judges
US v PAICAOAN failed to adequately to instruct the jury what constitutes death, the time wherein
criminal liability would attach.
PEOPLE v EULO & PEOPLE v BONILLA
Doctrine : Death is defined as an irreversible cessation of breathing and heartbeat or,
• This is important because death marks the period for which legal actions may be
when these functions are artificially maintained, an irreversible cessation of the started, or ended. When orgrans can be donated or when the marriage is dissolved.
functioning of the entire brain including the brain stem. • Because in the past, in NY death is defined as “irreversible cessation of breathing and
heartbeat”. And not really “brain death” And they define homicide as conduct which
Facts: causes death of a person.
The two cases are all about killings qualified by circumstances to become murder. And the • So defendant’s argue that since there is only brain dead and the victim still breathes,
bone of contention is, when is the precise moment that death occurs? maybe, they are not liable for homicide, yet.
• To prove survivorship, medical and circumstancial evidence is taken in.(ie. Asthmatic
1st case: people vs. Eulo die first of suffocation in fires)
• July 19, 1981, Defendant and his girlfriend went to the firemen’s fair in King’s Park in • But since modern medical machines continue the life support, when can we say that
Suffolk County. The defendant got jealous when he saw an ex-suitor of his girlfriend. death occurred? What circumstances do we look for?
They quarreled. But the defendant drove her home, and after parking for a while • So vital signs like breathing and heartbeat are not indicative of life anymore. In fact
right outside of her parent’s house, they continued arguing until he shot her around we transplant organs when there is still breathing and heartbeat to be viable and
midnight. The gun used was unregistered. intact.
• The victim was rushed to the hospital, and for days a tube was placed in her • And the movement of law towards recognizing the trend of cessation of the brain as
windpipe to enable artificial respiration and intravenous medication was applied to a measure of death ensued. And this is not going against past definitions.
stabilize her blood pressure. Hours after the shooting, she was tested by painful • They have accepted that when the brain ceases to show any activity, the person can
stimuli and EEG(electroencephalogram-for brain activity) which resulted to negative be declared
reaction. For two days she was only breathing by mechanical respirator, and her
heartbeat was sustained by medication. Faced with such odds, the parents consented • The court however recognizes that 3rd parties will never be allowed to decline medical
to organ donations assistance for an ill person, whether a relative or stranger. It must be a personal
• July 23, a second opinion resulted in the dame opinion and at 2:20 pm, she was choice.
pronounced dead. Her kidneys, spleen and lymph nodes were removed. • And regarding the defendant’s contention that the juries were not informed of the
• Then the respirator was removed. And then her breathing immediately stopped definition of death.:
followed by a cessation of the heartbeat. The court can only say that it has no merit, as under the court proceeding, it may be
said that the defendant “caused the death” of the victim. There is causal chain. And
• The defendant was indicted for 2nd degree murder , after a jury trial he was convicted if they blame the organ transplants as the cause of death, this too, is not possible,
of manslaughter. because this is done only after the person is pronounced dead.
• And the only thing that will relieve the defendants of liability is proof of negligence
2nd case: people vs. Bonilla of doctors in their pronouncement. Only if they didn’t follow proper medical
• A policeman found a man lying faceup in a Brooklyn street(NY) with a bullet wound practices.
to the head. The policeman took him to the hospital via the patrol car. • AND IN THIS CASE, it is not shown.
• Shortly after arriving in the hospital, the victim became comatose and was unable to
breathe spontaneously. He was placed in a respirator and medication for for his blood The other arguments of Defendant Eulo were considered, and found to be unpreserved or
pressure. without merit.
• The neurosurgeon, the next day, tested for reflex (painful stimuli) and brain
activity(EEG). No positive response was observed. When the respirator was removed, People v. Fernando Pugay & Benjamin Samson [1988]
no spontaneous breathing ensued. Medialdea, J.
• In the physician’s opinion the bullet caused the entire brain to cease functioning. And Deceased Bayani Miranda was a 25-yr old retardate. He was friends w/accused Fernando
the day after the tests were repeated with the same result. Pugay. Miranda used to run errands for Pugay & they sometimes slept together.
• \The mother was informed and consented to donate the organs, and soon after,
death was pronounced at 9:25pm. And the kidneys and spleen were transplanted. May 19, 1982, Rosario, Cavite
• Town fiesta fair was held in the public plaza. Sometime after midnight, Eduardo
• The defendant was arrested, indicted for 2 degree murder and criminal possession
nd
Gabion was sitting on the ferris wheel, one of the many rides in the plaza, and he
of a weapon. And he was convicted of 1st degree manslaughter and weapons count. was reading a comic book.
• Pugay, Benjamin Samson & several other companions arrived. They were all happy &
Issue: WON death occurs when the person is brain dead. Alternatilvely , When is noisy and they all looked drunk. Miranda passed by & they all started making fun of
the precise point at which a person ceases to live. him. They made him dance by tickling him w/a piece of wood.
YES, when irreversible cessation of breathing and heartbeat or, when these functions • Pugay took a can of gasoline from under the ferris wheel & poured its contents on
are artificially maintained, an irreversible cessation of the functioning of the Miranda’s body. Gabion tried preventing Pugay from doing so. Samson then set
entire brain including the brain stem Miranda on fire.
• Several people tried to extinguish the fire by wrapping Miranda w/rags or pouring burning deceased’s clothes would still cause physical injuries & if his act resulted in a
sand on him. He was later rushed to the hospital where he eventually died. graver offense, he’s still responsible for the consequences as provided for in Art. 4 of
• Gabion, Pugay, Samson & 2 other accused were brought to the municipal bldg for the RPC (criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony
interrogation but Gabion was released later on. although the wrongful act done be different from that w/c he intended). He’s only
liable for homicide w/the MC of praeter intentionem.
Information alleged conspiracy, treachery, evident premeditation & superior strength &
means employed was to weaken defense. 2. WON there was conspiracy. – NO
• No proof of previous conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose & intention bet.the 2
Both Pugay & Samson pleaded not guilty. immediately before the commission of the crime. No animosity either between victim
& accused. Meeting was accidental & the accused’s group merely wanted to make fun
RTC: Guilty of murder as principals by direct participation. Praeter Intentionem MC of Miranda.
appreciated WRT accused Pugay. • Thus, their liabilities will be individual & not collective making them liable only for
their own acts.
Issues & Ratio:
1. WON the RTC erred in finding the accused guilty. – NO. HOLDING: Affirmed w/modification.
• Accused tried to put blame on Gabion. However, Pugay admitted in his statement
that he was the one who poured gasoline on Miranda believing that the can STATE v MINISTER
contained water. Samson on the other hand alleged that Pugay did pour gasoline but FACTS:
he did not know who set Miranda on fire. Their statements did not mention any
participation on Gabion’s part.
 On July 8, 1982, Larry Edmund Minster shot Cheryl Dodgson in the neck
• Accused also tried to claim that their written statements were extracted by force &  Cheryl became quadriplegic
that the police maltreated them. This would be immaterial considering that the  Minster was charged and convicted of attempted first degree murder and use of a
contents of their statements were not the sole basis for the court’s decision. Gabion’s handgun in a crime of violence
testimony would have sufficed even w/o their statements.
• Accused also claim that the prosecution suppressed testimonies of other  On October 3, 1983, 1 year and 87 days after the incident, Cheryl died from injuries
eyewitnesses by deliberately not presenting them. Such is also immaterial the State contends is the direct result of Minster’s actions
considering that these were mere corroborative statements & their non-presentation
doesn’t give rise to the presumption that evidence willfully suppressed would be  Thus, the State charged and indicted Minster with first degree murder
adverse if produced. This presumption doesn’t apply to corroborative evidence.  Circuit Court dismissed the indictment because of the rule that bars prosecution
Besides, the prosecution decides whom to utilize as witness.
for murder where the death of the victim occurred after 1 year and 1 day
• Accused also tried to attack Gabion’s credibility as a witness claiming that Miranda’s
after the blow was struck
mom talked to him in exchange for his absolution from liability. They further allege
that it was contrary to human behavior & experience for him to read a comic book  The State (plaintiff) contends that the Court should abrogate the rule because it is
while an unusual event was taking place. Gabion testified that it was his uncle who now archaic given medical advances in life-saving techniques
asked him to testify. Miranda’s mom likewise testified that she only saw Gabion for  On the other hand, Minster contends that:
the first time when the case was tried. Even Pugay admitted that Gabion was his  There remains legitimate justification for the rule’s continues application
friend & both accused admitted that they had no previous misunderstanding w/the  Even if change is warranted, it should be left in the hands of the legislature
witness. Thus, Gabion had no reason to testify falsely. No truth either in allegations and not of the Court
that Gabion’s act was contrary to human behavior. He was reading a comic book but
he stopped when Pugay & co. began making fun of Miranda. Also, it was while Pugay
was in the process of pouring gasoline on the body of Miranda that he tried to warn ISSUE: W/N THE COURT SHOULD ABROGATE THE 1YEAR AND 1DAY RULE BARRING
him not to do so. PROSECUTION FOR MURDER
• Pugay’s criminal responsibility – He failed to exercise necessary diligence to avoid HOLDING: NO. The decision to change is more properly addressed by the legislature
every undesirable consequence. He should have known that the can contained and not by the Court
gasoline considering the stinging smell of the flammable liquid. Court held in US v REASONING:
Maleza that man must use common sense & exercise due reflection in all his acts. 2. There are a number of sound justifications for retaining the rule:
It’s his duty to be cautious, careful & prudent if not from instinct then thru fear of
incurring punishment. He’s responsible for results that anyone might foresee & for a. Abrogation may result in an imbalance between the adequate protection of
acts w/c no one would have performed except thru culpable abandon. society and justice for the accused
• Samson’s responsibility – His act of setting Miranda on fire cannot be characterized  Torment and possible persecution of a person who may
w/treachery there being absence of proof that he had reason to kill deceased. have at one time or another injured another
Evidence show that they were just making fun of the deceased. For treachery to be b. There is still a need for a limitation on the causation
appreciated, attack must be deliberate & means/methods/forms employed tend to  Question of will there ever be a time when the Court may
directly & specially insure its execution w/o risk to offender arising from any defense declare that the bridge between the blow and the death has
the offended party might make. No doubt that he knew that gasoline was poured on now been irreparably broken?
Miranda as evidenced by his act of setting victim on fire. But he only intended to put c. Abrogation may lead to injustice:
his clothes on fire as part of their fun-making. But he’s still liable considering that
 “If there is one thing that criminal law must be if it is to be
recognized as just, it must be specific and definitive”
 “In case of life, law ought to be certain

3. A person charged with attempted first degree murder can be sentenced to life
imprisonment, where the judge takes into account the seriousness of the injury to,
or the possible subsequent death of, the victim. The fact that the person may be
sentenced to death for murder is not a sufficient reason to rescind a common law
rule which has existed for over seven years

4. There is a great difference of opinion surrounding the appropriate course of action:


 People v. Stevenson and State v. Young:
a. Retention
b. Compromise by extending the span of time (e.g. to 3 years and 1 day)
c. Change the rule from being an irrebuttable presumption to a
rebuttable one with a higher burden of proof required
d. Simply abolish the rule and leave it to the jury to decide
causation

4. Observable trend is towards an abrogation by the legislature instead of by the judiciary


 Of the 13 jurisdictions that enacted the rule into statute, only 4 retain
the rule today
 The 9 abrogated through legislative action
 In addition, in 2 more jurisdictions, the judiciary held that the
legislature abrogated the rule by failing to include it in the
comprehensive revision of the state’s Criminal Code
 In contrast, only 5 jurisdictions abrogated through the judiciary

5. Recent decisions have affirmed the viability of the rule (In re J.N. and
State v. Zerban), and the rule remains extant in 26 states

ALTHOUGH the Court recognizes the cogency of the State’s arguments about
advances in medical technology, it believes that it should be the legislature
which mandates any change in the rule. Judgment affirmed

MURDER

PEOPLE v CAGOCO
♦ Another reason why the death of Jazmin cannot be considered as a murder is
that the complaint is drawn, the principal offense therein charged is arson, the
United States vs. Burns homicide being stated merely as one of the incidental consequences thereof.
Appeal from a judgement of the COFI of Samar This is in strict conformity with the facts proved, inasmuch as the immediate
purpose of the accused was to accomplish the destruction of the automobile of
Facts: Pedro de la Cruz. Arson, then, is the principal offense of which the accused is
♦ COFI of Samar found Frank E. Burns guilty of the crime of arson. He was guilty; and arson of necessity involves the use of the element fire as the means
sentenced to twenty years of cadena temporal of its consummation. This being admitted, it follows that the use of fire cannot
♦ At about 11 o'clock p.m., on the 5th of September, 1918, a fire broke out in the be treated as a qualifying factor sufficient to raise the offense of homicide to
basement of the resident of Pedro de la Cruz in the municipality of Pambujan, murder, it being manifestly illegitimate to make use of the same factor in
Province of Samar connection with both crimes.
♦ The occupants of the house were able to escape except for a 14 year old
servant named Cipriano jazmin who was burned to death. Aside from the of WON the aggravating circumstances noted by the court can be appreciated? No
Pedro dela Cruz the fire also consumed the houses of Sy Quico, Pedro Tan,
Isidro Morales, Dionisio Mijos, Manuel Merino, Felipe Luca, Pablo Madeja, ♦ The aggravating circumstances are unimportant, inasmuch as the penalty for
Romana Morales, Sergio Soccoro and Paulo Morillo. arson, under article 549 of the Penal Code, must at nay rate be imposed in the
♦ Frank E. Burns, stands convicted as the responsible author, being supposedly maximum degree on account of the concurrence of the other crime of homicide.
moved by resentment towards Pedro de la Cruz as a competitor in the operation
of his automobile for hire. WON the accused should only be sentenced under article 550, No. 2. NO
♦ Principal witness of the prosecution is Casimiro Breva. Burns told Breva to
stand guard in the street. The prosecution also presented Primitivo Balanquit ♦ The final sentence of the amended complaint, must be examined. It is there
as their witness. There were some inconsistencies in the statements of Breva said that the offense which is the subject of the complaint was committed "in
but the court decided to give weight to his testimony because it was delivered in violation of article 550, No. 2, in relation with article 89 . . . of the Penal Code."
a straightforward, natural style. ♦ Article 550 of the Penal Code punishes the setting of fire to an inhabited house,
♦ In his defense Burns he presented witnesses that would support his alibi that he without the incendiary knowing whether such house is occupied or not at the
was sleeping and when just awakened by the commotion of the fire. time. The offense committed by Burns does not properly fall under that article
♦ The complaint charges the accused with the crime of arson, committed in the because it clearly appears from the proof that when the fire was set the accused
night time by setting fire to an automobile in the lower part of an inhabited well knew that the house was the home of Pedro de la Cruz and that his family
house, to with, the resident of Pedro de la Cruz, availing himself of his were sleeping therein. The offense therefore falls under article 549 which
knowledge that the inmates were then asleep. As a consequence, it is alleged contemplates a person who sets on fire a building, knowing it to be occupied at
that said automobile was consumed as well as the house above it, and in the the time by one or more persons. As the offense denounced in article 549 is a
burning of this house one of its inmates, to wit, Cipriano Jazmin, perished, graver offense than that denounced in article 550, No. 2, and carries a much
being burned to death by the fire. heavier penalty, the question arises whether the allegation in the complaint, to
the effect that the crime was in violation of article 550, No. 2, constitutes any
WON the accused is guilty of murder or homicide? Murder impediment to the sentencing of the accused, under article 549, for the form of
the crime which was in fact committed.
♦ Complaint charges facts sufficient to constitute the commission of two grave ♦ The SC has held before that it is not the technical name given by the fiscal in
and entirely distinct crimes, the perpetration of which has been fully proved, the title or preliminary part of the information that determines the character of
namely, arson under article 549 of the Penal Code and homicide under article the crime but the facts alleged in the body of the information, and that,
404 of the same code, both of which crimes resulted from a single act. In this therefore, an accused person may be convicted of a crime which is more serious
situation the penalty for the more serious crime must, under article 89 of the than that named in the title or preliminary part, if such crime is covered by the
Penal Code, be imposed in its maximum degree facts alleged in the body of the information and its commission is established by
♦ General Rule: complaint shall charge only one offense; Exception: when the law the evidence
prescribes a single punishment for various allied offenses.
♦ When the Penal Code declares that homicide committed by means of fire shall The judgment of the trial court, in so far as it finds the accused guilty of arson will be
be deemed to be murder, it is intended that there should be an actual design to affirmed, but the sentence will be modified by substituting the penalty of cadena
kill and that the use of fire should be purposely adopted as a means to that perpetua, with the accessories prescribed in article 54 of the Penal Code, for the penalty
end. There can be no murder in the absence of design to take life. In the case of cadena temporal, with the corresponding accessories.
before us the accused is not shown to have entertained personal malice against
Cipriano Jazmin, nor did he have designs against the title of any person. It is PEOPLE v PATERNO
true that, according to Casimiro Breva, just before the match was applied the
accused used language which showed that his mind was advertent to the fact
that lives would be endangered by the setting of fire to the automobile, as when
he said "Let those die who ought to die." But those words must be taken as
indicative of a spirit of reckless bravado rather than of a determinate purpose to
take life.
PEOPLE v WHISENHUNT
People vs. Whisenhunt The defendant appealed assigining errors in the lower court for :
(The chop chop lady massacre) I. convicting accused of the crime charged.
Nov. 14, 2001 II. that the prosecution was able to present enough circumstantial evidence to
support the conclusion of guilt.
This is a direct appeal from the decision of the RTC Pasig City which states: III. In rejecting, disregarding and/ or not giving credence to the defense of the
That Stephen Mark Whisenhunt is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder defined and accused.
penalized under Art. 248 RPC. He is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua with accessory penalty of actual funeral expenses of P100,000, P3m for moral Issues:
damages, P1m, for exemplary damages and attorney’s fees of P150,000. WON Evidence was enough
• Yes, Demetrio Ravelo’s narrative is both convincing and consistent in all material
Facts: points. It bears the ring of truth and sincerity He is considered a credible witness.
• Nov. 19, 1993, Whisenhunt charged with the murder of Elsa Santos Castillo. • And the Court has consistently highly respected the factual findings of the Trial
• The information reads: Sept. 24, 1993, San Juan, MM, Whisenhunt willfully, Court.
unlawfully and feloniously with intent to kill and taking advantage of superior • Physical evidence damned him: taken to be mute by highly trustworthy more than a
strength, attack and assault , and use personal violence against Elsa “Elsie” Castillo, hundred eyewitnesses..
stabbing her with a bladed weapon in different parts of the body. Thereby mortally • It proved to be an unbroken chain of circumstantial evidence.
wounding herto cause her immediate death. Afterwhich outraged and scoffed at her • In any case the rule of conviction from circumstantial evidence 1.) that there be
corpse by then and there chopping off her head and other body parts. more than one circumstantial evidence 2.)the inference must be proven by facts 3.)
• The case facts were largely based on prosecution star witness, Demetrio Ravelo, the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond reasonable doubt
Whisenhunt’s driver. of guilt.
• He narrated that the two were estranged from their marriage partners, and that they • And in this case the successfully proven facts(stated above) and the factual
were lovers and worked for the Apex Motor Corporation. Up until Elsa had to quit evidence of the disposed body parts and things in the roadside as well as
because of the rumors of illicit affair between the two. forensic results, all led to the necessary conclusion that Elsa was last seen
• of all his narration these were proven.: That on Sept 23, he was the one who at the condo and that the inescapable fact that Elsa was stabbed in his room
fetched Elsa to go to the condominium in San Juan where Whisenhunt was at. That and that this was the cause of death.
on Sept. 24 the maid was looking for the missing kitchen knife, which Whisenhunt
actually had in his room all along. He also told of the plea of Whisenhunt to help him WON the “bangungot” claim of the defendant as the cause of death can be taken in
and his actual help to throw the body parts along the road to Whisenhunt’s family • No. Defendant counters that the autopsy did not test for Bangungot.
mansion in Bagac.,Bataan on Sept. 25. His help included the putting od the parts in • His counsel(who used to be the NBI’s medico-legal) took the stand to testify that the
black garbage bags and stowing them on the car trunk, and his drive to Laguna and autopsy results were inconclusive.
Bataan, stopping occasionally to throw some parts or things. • But the court did not believe him as he might have been biased for his client.
• Some of the circumstancial eveidence narrated was not really proven like, the black • They instead believed Dr. Mendez who was the one who actually autopsied the body.
garbage bags he delivered to Whisenhunt. And the purchase of the big traveling • And the logical sense that if indeed it was bangungot, why then the need to cut up
bags with rollers to store the body on the way to its disposal, also gave the the body, if not to hide the evidence
circumstances of the facts.
• He reported it to their fiscal, Diaz, who referred them to the NBI. WON the arrest without a warrant would render the arrest void.
• He gave his statement to Atty. Sacaguing the head of Anti-organized crime division No. it is a well taken principle that this objection must be given before his plea. Otherwise
of the NBI. it is waived.
• His story was verified as they traced the body parts and personal effects along the
roads to Laguna and Bataan, which they clooected and was autopsied by Dr. Mendez WON the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength as alleged in the
of the NBI. And the cause of death is found to be stab wounds. (one in the right information present
breast puncturing the lung, 2 in the left breast penetrating the diaphragm.. etc.) NO. the lower courts were wrong in this. Tthe use of superior strength was not clearly
• Atty. Sacaguing also interviewed the appellant(with contusions in some body parts) established in the crime. And the fact that a woman was the victim does not establish
and checked the car used for the disposal. The car was smelly, suspiciously of blood. this. And his picture shows that he has a small frame.
• Then the room in the condominium was also checked by Forensic biologist, and
resulted in samples of hair and blood type B f similar to that of Elsa’s. And yet, even if he escaped the qualifying circumstance of superior strength he wasn’t
able to escape another qualifying circumstance: that of Outraging and Scoffing at the
• The Whisenhunt family corroborated the alibis given by Stephen Whisenhunt. It corpse.
ranged from his aunt and mother seeing him alone in his room in the San Juan condo
on the day of the murder. That Elsa wasn’t at the condo at that time. Their arrival WON the qualifying circumstance of Outraging and Scoffing at the corpse can be
time at Bagac was also negated by the family, saying it was much earlier. And that accepted
Stephen had fun at Bagac, jetskiing(suffering injuries from it and from falling down • YES, the lower court was right. He not only beheaded Elsa but he also dismembered
the stairs) and being with the family. And lastly, the blood type b supposedly came her body parts, that a viewer cannot help but feel utter pity for the sub-human
from Whisenhunts’ sis-in-law during her menstruation when she stayed in the condo. manner of disposing her remains.
• The defendant argues that he had previously received jealous and threatening letters • This was alleged and proven in the trial.
from Elsa’a husband, that he didn’t know of her death until the NBI arrested him. • This is in Art 248, par. 6. as qualifying circumstance .
DECISION
• The sentence for murder of Reclusion PErpetua, qualified is affirmed except that
the damages are modified.
• The funeral expenses as testified by Elsa’s sister to be 50,000 is thereby
reduced to 50,000.
• The moral damages although must necessarily be larger from the extraordinary
grief of the family is too much at P3m, thereby reduced to P1m.
• Attorney’s fees affirmed.
• But an additional civil indemnity be given to Elsa’s heirs, fixed by jurisprudence
to be at P50,000.