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Aradillos v.

Court of Appeals
G. R. No. 135619; January 15, 2004
Topic: Exempting Circumstances

There are two versions of the incident in this case. The prosecutions
evidence tells us that the accused Gloria rebuked the petitioners Aradillos and
Galabo when she saw them cutting the bamboo bridge in her husbands property.
Petitioners chased her and as they caught up with her, Galabo hit her several
times with a piece of wood and his carpentry bag that caused her to fall down.
While Gloria was staggering down, Aradillos hacked her twice with a carpentry ax
on the right side of her head and on the forehead. She then asked for help from
the Visto family, her neighbors, who brought her to the clinic of Dr. Alvarez in
Matina, Davao. Gloria was confined in the ICU for four days in Davao Medical
On the other hand, petitioners invoke self-defense. They contend that the
victims injuries on the head were the result of the struggle for the possession of
the ax between her and petitioner Aradillos. Petitioners, who are both carpenters,
recounted that on their way home from work, they stopped by the wooden bridge
where they usually pass because of an uprooted idyok tree that obstructed their
passage. Galabo started cutting off the roots of the tree with his carpentry ax. But
upon seeing them, Gloria who had been drinking tuba with her brothers-in-law,
shouted invectives at them and threw stones at Galabo. When Galabo was hit on
his left rib, he ran for cover at a nearby coconut tree. Petitioner Aradillos took over
the cutting of the tree. Gloria continued throwing stones. Then, she approached
Aradillos and grabbed the ax from him. While the two grappled for its possession,
Glorias brothers-in-law were throwing stones at Galabo. In the course of the
struggle between Aradillos and Gloria, the ax hit the latter. Seeing that Gloria was
injured, Aradillos ran away, followed by Galabo. Aradillos passed by his house,
left the ax there, then, went directly to the purok leader, Benjamin Autida, to whom
he surrendered.
The trial court believed the prosecutions account, finding that the nature of
the injuries sustained by Gloria could not have been caused during the struggle
between her and petitioner Aradillos. Thus, the trial court convicted petitioners of
the crime of Frustrated Homicide.
On appeal, in sustaining the trial courts findings, the Court of Appeals noted
that it is unnatural and contrary to ordinary human experience for a woman, alone
and unarmed, to run towards the two male appellants and grapple for the
possession of an axe.
Whether or not the defense of accident of the accused can exempt them from
criminal liability.
No. The defenses account is credible as it is in accord with the natural
course of things. As told by petitioner Aradillos, it was Gloria who went near
Aradillos who was then cutting the roots of the idyok tree, and grabbed the ax,
obviously with the intention of stopping Aradillos from cutting the tree. Not
wanting to let go of the ax, Aradillos held on to it and the two then struggled for its
possession. With both of their hands on the handle, the ax went swaying and
swinging, which accidentally hit Gloria. The injuries sustained by Gloria, in fact,
confirm that it was not intentional. For if it were so, petitioner Aradillos would have
exerted such force that Gloria would have suffered more than what she had
sustained. Worse, she would not have survived at all.
That Gloria and her brothers-in-law were drinking tuba on the day of the
incident; that Gloria stoned Galabo and that Aradillos grappled with Gloria for the
gun as testified to by petitioners. This is strengthened by the fact that it was not
refuted by the prosecution that her brothers-in-law did not come to her aid, and
that after she was injured, she had to seek her neighbors assistance who were
200 meters away instead of her relatives who were just nearby. The Court cannot
fathom why her brothers-in-law did not help Gloria, unless, as testified by
petitioners, Glorias in-laws were drinking tuba prior to the incident and the former
were already intoxicated and therefore could not have been of any assistance to
Nonetheless, Aradillos must be answerable for the injuries he inflicted on
Gloria. He cannot hide behind the defense of accident to escape the
consequences of his act. Under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal
Code, a person, who while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury
by accident without fault or intention of causing it, is exempt from criminal
liability. It cannot be said that Aradillos was performing a lawful act when he
struggled with Gloria for the ax as the latters act of taking hold of the ax was
equivocal, and it cannot be deduced therefrom that he was under the threat of an
unlawful aggression from her. The defense of accident, therefore, cannot exempt
Aradillos from liability.
G.R. No. 74433, September 14, 1987
Topic: Exempting Circumstances
Khingsley Paul Koh and the wife of accused Francisco Abarca, Jenny, had illicit
relationship. The illicit relationship apparently began while the accused was in
Manila reviewing for the 1983 Bar examinations. His wife was left behind in their
residence in Tacloban, Leyte.
On July 15, 1984, the accused was in his residence in Tacloban, Leyte. On the
morning of that date he went to the bus station to go to Dolores, Eastern Samar,
to fetch his daughter. However, he was not able to catch the first trip (in the
morning). He went back to the station in the afternoon to take the 2:00 o'clock trip
but the bus had engine trouble and could not leave. The accused, then proceeded
to the residence of his father after which he went home. He arrived at his
residence at the V & G Subdivision in Tacloban City at around 6:00 o'clock in the
Upon reaching home, the accused found his wife, Jenny, and Khingsley Koh in the
act of sexual intercourse. When the wife and Koh noticed the accused, the wife
pushed her paramour who got his revolver. The accused who was then peeping
above the built-in cabinet in their room jumped and ran away.
The accused went to look for a firearm at Tacloban City. He went to the house of a
PC soldier, C2C Arturo Talbo, arriving there at around 6:30 p.m. He got Talbo's
firearm, an M-16 rifle, and went back to his house at V & G Subdivision. He was
not able to find his wife and Koh there. He proceeded to the "mahjong session" as
it was the "hangout" of Kingsley Koh. The accused found Koh playing mahjong.
He fired at Kingsley Koh three times with his rifle. Koh was hit. Arnold and Lina
Amparado who were occupying a room adjacent to the room where Koh was
playing mahjong were also hit by the shots fired by the accused. Kingsley Koh
died instantaneously of cardiorespiratory arrest due to shock and hemorrhage as
a result of multiple gunshot wounds on the head, trunk and abdomen. Arnold
Amparado was hospitalized and operated on in the kidney to remove a bullet . His
wife, Lina Amparado, was also treated in the hospital as she was hit by bullet
fragments. Arnold Amparado who received a salary of nearly P1,000.00 a month
was not able to work for P1-1/2 months because of his wounds. He spent
P15,000.00 for medical expenses while his wife spent P1,000.00 for the same
On March 17, 1986, the trial court rendered the appealed judgment, finding the
accused, Francisco Abarca guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime
of murder with double frustrated murder.
(1) Yes. We agree with the Solicitor General that Art. 247 applies in the instant
case. There is no question that the accused surprised his wife and her paramour,
the victim in this case, in the act of illicit copulation, as a result of which, he went
out to kill the deceased in a fit of passionate outburst. Article 247 prescribes the
following elements: (1) that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the
act of committing sexual intercourse with another person; and (2) that he kills any
of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter. These elements are
present in this case. The trial court, in convicting the accused-appellant of murder,
therefore erred.

Though quite a length of time, about one hour, had passed between the time the
accused-appellant discovered his wife having sexual intercourse with the victim
and the time the latter was actually shot, the shooting must be understood to be
the continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the accused-appellant. The Revised
Penal Code, in requiring that the accused "shall kill any of them or both of them . .
. immediately" after surprising his spouse in the act of intercourse, does not say
that he should commit the killing instantly thereafter. It only requires that the death
caused be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after
chancing upon his spouse in the basest act of infidelity. But the killing should have
been actually motivated by the same blind impulse, and must not have been
influenced by external factors. The killing must be the direct by-product of the
accused's rage.

(2) No. The accused-appellant did not have the intent to kill the Amparado
couple. Although as a rule, one committing an offense is liable for all the
consequences of his act, that rule presupposes that the act done amounts to a

But the case at bar requires distinctions. Here, the accused-appellant was not
committing murder when he discharged his rifle upon the deceased. Inflicting
death under exceptional circumstances is not murder. We cannot therefore hold
the appellant liable for frustrated murder for the injuries suffered by the

This does not mean, however, that the accused-appellant is totally free from any
responsibility. Granting the fact that he was not performing an illegal act when he
fired shots at the victim, he cannot be said to be entirely without fault. While it
appears that before firing at the deceased, he uttered warning words ("an waray
labot kagawas,") that is not enough a precaution to absolve him for the injuries
sustained by the Amparados. We nonetheless find negligence on his part.
Accordingly, we hold him liable under the first part, second paragraph, of Article
365, that is, less serious physical injuries through simple imprudence or
People vs. Abella
G.R. No. 127803. August 28, 2000
Topic: Mitigating Circumstances

In the morning of 7 March 1992, MARLON, JOSEPH, and an unidentified
companion played three rounds of basketball against the team of JOEY de los
Santos at the vicinity of Dalisay and Lakas Streets, Bacood, Sta. Mesa,
Manila. The Ronquillos won the first two rounds; but the third round ended in a
brawl, which the neighbors quickly pacified. JOEY later went back to Dalisay
Street carrying two pillboxes. A certain Donald Ancheta saw him, took the
pillboxes and turned them over to a policeman.
On 8 March 1992, between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., JOEY and his brother GENER
threw stones at the Ronquillos house, attracting the attention of neighbors, who
forthwith ran after the brothers. JOEY and GENER were overtaken and mauled
before they were released.
Between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. of the same day, WILFREDO Lojero, a certain
Daniel, and the victims were in front of the Ronquillos house in Lakas Street,
trading stories while awaiting a certain Aling Flor. JOSEPHINE del Rosario was
then at the corner of Lakas Street on her way to a friends house when the victims
called her and asked her about her mother, who was a barangay kagawad at
Bacood. They told her that they were waiting for Aling Flor to report to her that
JOEY and GENER threw stones at the Ronquillos house.
Suddenly, a dirty white Ford Fiera without a plate number stopped in front of the
group. There were about ten to thirteen people on board. Among them were JOEY
and GENER, who looked out of the van and pointed at the victims. All the
passengers except for JOEY and GENER alighted. Their faces were covered with
black handkerchiefs, and they were armed. Someone shouted, Pulis ito!
Anotherexclaimed, Walang tatakbo! FELIX ran but stopped when shots were
fired; he was hit with a gun then dragged into the van. WILFREDO Lojero,
however, managed to sneak into the Ronquillos house and was able to see
everything. The other victims were boxed, kicked, and also hit with a gun and
dragged into the van. Before the van sped away, one of the abductors warned
JOSEPHINE, Ikaw huwag kang maingay, wala kang nakita, wala kang narinig.
Meanwhile, at about 6:00 p.m. inside the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), Sta. Ana
compound in Bacood, ELENA Bernardo was waiting for Pastor Cesar Almedina to
seek his advice regarding her son-in-laws problem. Pastor Almedina asked her to
wait, and she did so. She waited until 10:00 p.m. Suddenly the guard switched
off the lights inside the compound. With only the MERALCO light illuminating the
compound from outside, she saw a dirty white Ford Fiera loaded with passengers
enter and park in front of the pastoral house near the path leading to the
basement. JOEY, GENER, all the accused and the victims were inside the
van. Four of the victims were made to alight from the van, while the fifth one lay
on the floor of the vehicle as though dead. The victims were brought to the
basement, which was at the back of the chapel and beneath the choir
office. ELENA followed. Inside the basement the victims were continually
mauled, whipped with a gun, and beaten with steel tubes, lead pipes and other
blunt instruments. One of the victims was tied with wire. Filemon Garcia arrived
with a blowtorch and also entered the basement. ELENA heard the victims beg
for mercy. Unable to endure the sight she sat in front of the chapel and stayed for
30 minutes. Pastor Almedina arrived and told her that they would talk about her
problem at another time. Afterwards the victims were herded back to the
Fiera. They seemed almost dead.
Appellants advanced alibi as their defense. They all claim to have attended
the panata at the Punta Sta. Ana chapel on 8 March 1992 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.,
save for ABELLA whose attendance was excused. ABELLA was a member of the
PNP highway patrol group assigned to Mobile Unit No. 13 in March of 1992. His
tour of duty was from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m.
We cannot equate appellants move to clear their names as voluntary
surrender. For a surrender to be voluntary, it must be spontaneous and should
show the intent of the accused to submit himself unconditionally to the authorities,
either because (1) he acknowledges his guilt or (2) he wishes to save the
government the trouble and expense necessarily included for his search and
In an analogous case, we have held that when the accused goes to a police
station merely to clear his name and not to give himself up, voluntary surrender
may not be appreciated.
Rosario T. De Verav. Geren A. De Vera
G. R. No. 172832; April 7, 2009
Topic: Mitigating Circumstances

Petitioner Rosario T. de Vera accused her spouse Geren A. de Vera (Geren)
and Josephine F. Juliano (Josephine) of Bigamy.

An Information was filed with the RTC on February 24, 2005. On March 1,
2005, the court issued an Order finding probable cause for the accused to stand
trial for the crime of bigamy and for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. In the
afternoon of the same day, Geren surrendered to the court and filed a motion for
reduction of bail. After the accused posted bail, there was no more need for the
court to issue the warrant of arrest.

Upon arraignment, Geren pleaded "Guilty". However, in a Motion dated April
8, 2005, he prayed that he be allowed to withdraw his plea in the meantime in
order to prove the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. The motion was
opposed by petitioner on the ground that not all the elements of the mitigating
circumstance of "voluntary surrender" were present.

Whether or not the Mitigating circumstance of Voluntary surrender may be

Yes.For voluntary surrender to be appreciated, the following requisites should be
present: 1) the offender has not been actually arrested; 2) the offender
surrendered himself to a person in authority or the latter's agent; and 3) the
surrender was voluntary. The essence of voluntary surrender is spontaneity and
the intent of the accused to give himself up and submit himself to the authorities
either because he acknowledges his guilt or he wishes to save the authorities the
trouble and expense that may be incurred for his search and capture. Without
these elements, and where the clear reasons for the supposed surrender are the
inevitability of arrest and the need to ensure his safety, the surrender is not
spontaneous and, therefore, cannot be characterized as "voluntary surrender" to
serve as a mitigating circumstance.
The foregoing circumstances clearly show the voluntariness of the
surrender. Upon learning that the court had finally determined the presence of
probable cause and even before the issuance and implementation of the warrant
of arrest, Geren already gave himself up, acknowledging his culpability. This was
bolstered by his eventual plea of guilt during the arraignment. Thus, the trial court
was correct in appreciating the mitigating circumstance of "voluntary surrender".

We would like to point out that the mere filing of an information and/or the
issuance of a warrant of arrest will not automatically make the surrender
"involuntary". In People v. Oco,the Court appreciated the mitigating circumstance
because immediately upon learning that a warrant for his arrest was issued, and
without the same having been served on him, the accused surrendered to the
police. Thus, it is clear that notwithstanding the pendency of a warrant for his
arrest, the accused may still be entitled to the mitigating circumstance in case he
surrenders, depending on the actual facts surrounding the very act of giving
himself up.
Ricardo Bacabac v. People of the Philippines
G.R. No. 149372; September 11, 2007
Topic: Evident Premeditation

In the evening of December 23, 1990, Hernani Quidato (the victim) was at a
dance hall in San Joaquin, Iloilo City in the company of Eduardo Selibio (Eduardo)
and Melchor Selibio (Melchor). And so were Jonathan Bacabac (Jonathan) and
Edzel Talanquines (Edzel). Jonathan and Edzel left the dance hall. Not long after,
the victim and his companions also left and on their way home, they encountered
Jonathan and Edzel. It appears that the two groups then and there figured in a
On his way home, Jesus Delfin Rosadio (Jesus), who was also at the dance
hall, noticed a commotion. He soon saw that Melchor was "hugging" Edzel, and
later "tying" Jonathan "with his hands." Still later, he saw the victim hit Edzel with a
"stick." He thus told the victim and his companions that Edzel is the son of
Councilor Jose Talanquines, Jr. (Jose), whereupon Eduardo told him (Jesus) to go
away for they might shoot him. Jesus thus left and proceeded to Edzel's residence
to report to his father what he had witnessed. In the meantime, Edzel and
Jonathan managed to flee.
The victim and his companions thereafter headed for home in the course of
which they met Pat. Ricardo Bacabac (herein petitioner), together with Edzel and
Jonathan who are his nephews, and Edzel's father, Jose, his mother, and two
sisters at the corner of M.H. Del Pilar and Sto. Domingo Streets. Petitioner and
Jose were carrying M-16 armalites, while Jonathan and Edzel were carrying a
piece of wood and a revolver, respectively.
Jesus thereupon pointed to the victim and his companions as the ones who
had manhandled Jonathan and Edzel. The victim apologized, explaining that he
and his companions mistook Jonathan and Edzel for other persons. Jesus blurted
out, however, "You are just bragging that you are brave. You are only bullying
small children." Petitioner, at that instant, fired his armalite into the air, while Jose
fired his armalite ("as if spraying his rifle from right to left") at the victim and
Eduardo, even hitting Jonathan in the thigh as he (Jonathan) "was on the move to
strike [the victim] with a piece of wood." Eduardo fell. And so did the victim who
was in a kneeling position, and as he was raising his hands in surrender, Jose
shot him again.Meanwhile, Melchor escaped.
Both the victim and Eduardo died. Two Informations for Murder were filed
with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City against Jose, Edzel, Jonathan,
Jesus, and the herein petitioner.
Whether or not there was conspiracy and thus evident premeditation.
There was implied conspiracy but there was no evident premeditation.
From the mode and manner in which the crimes were perpetrated, the
conduct of petitioner before, during, and after their commission, and the conditions
attendant thereto, conspiracy, which need not be proved by direct evidence, is
deduced. Petitioner's firing of his armalite could not have amounted to none other
than lending moral assistance to his co-accused, thereby indicating the presence
of conspiracy. As the appellate court observed which is quoted with approval:
In the present recourse, when informed that Jonathan and Edzel were being
manhandled and assaulted by male persons, Appellant armed himself with an M-
16 armalite. Jose Talanquines, Jr., the father of Edzel, followed suit and armed
himself with an M-16 armalite gun. Jesus armed himself with a revolver while
Jonathan armed himself with a piece of wood. Jonathan and Edzel were nephews
of the Appellant who resided in the house of Jose Talanquines, Jr. All the Accused
including the Appellant then proceeded posthaste to the corner of M.H. del Pilar
corner Sto. Domingo Streets where the culprits would pass by and waited for the
advent of the culprits. Even as Hernani apologized for his and his companions'
assault of Edzel and Jonathan, Jesus berated Hernani and his companions.
Almost simultaneously, the Appellant fired his gun into the air as Jonathan lunged
at Hernani and his companions to hit them with the piece of wood. Almost
simultaneously, Jose Talanquines, Jr. fired his gun at Hernani and shot Eduardo
hitting them and, in the process, hitting his nephew, Jonathan Bacabac. The
Appellant did not lift a finger when Jose fired at and shot Hernani and Eduardo. He
stood by as Jose shot Hernani anew when the latter on bended knees, raised his
two (2) hands, in surrender. The Appellant and the other Accused then fled from
the scene, with their respective firearms and weapons. The overt act of the
Accused and the Appellant in conjunto, constitute proof of conspiracy.
The Appellant and Jose were armed with high-powered guns. Jesus was
armed with a revolver. The nature of the weapons of the Accused evinced a
common desire to do away with the culprits, not merely to scare them.
What is outrageous is that the Appellant was a policeman. He could very
well have just arrested the culprits as they sauntered by and brought them to the
police station for the requisite investigation and the institution of criminal
complaints, if warranted. He could have dissuaded Jose and Jesus and assured
them that the culprits will be duly investigated and charged if warranted. The
Appellant did not. He armed himself with an M-16 armalite . . . . [T]he three (3)
positioned themselves at the corner of M.H. del Pilar and Sto. Domingo Streets for
the culprits to arrive. Hernani and his companions were doomed. It may be true
that the Appellant did not aim his gun at the deceased but the same is peu de
chose. By his overt acts, in unison with the other Accused and his kinship with
Jonathan and Edzel, We are convinced that he conspired with Jose Talanquines,
Jr. and the other Accused to achieve a common purpose to kill Hernani and
Contrary to petitioner's assertion, the appellate court did not err in
appreciating the presence of conspiracy despite its finding that there was no
evident premeditation. This Court's pronouncement that conspiracy presupposes
the existence of evident premeditationdoes not necessarily imply that the
converse that evident premeditation presupposes the existence of a conspiracy
is true. In any event, a link between conspiracy and evident premeditation is
presumed only where the conspiracy is directly established and not where
conspiracy is only implied, as in the present case.
People v. Ducabo
G.R. No. 175594; September 28, 2007
Topic: Evident Premeditation

Early in the morning, Rolando Gonzales noticed accused-appellant Junjun
Ducabo pacing back and forth across their yard in his own home. He was
sweeping in their lot, while his brother victim Rogelio Gonzales joined him in his
sweeping. They were approximately five meters away from each other when
suddenly, without warning, Ducabo was a meter behind the victim. He
instantaneously shot the victim from behind, causing the victim to die as a result of
the gunshot wound. Ducabo interposed the defense of denial and said that he
would not do this to the victim because they were gangmates in Simeon Street,
Talon Dos, Las Pias City for more than two years, hence, he had no motive to kill
him. He said that the malefactors were Joey Cuaderno and Anicer Mingolio, who
threatened him not to tell the police. Moreover, Ducabo did not report the killing
incident to the police because the police officers arrived instantaneously.

Whether or not evident premeditation attended the killing of the victim as alleged
in the Information.

No. For evident premeditation to be appreciated, the following elements must be
established: (1) the time when the accused decided to commit the crime; (2) an
overt act manifestly indicating that he has clung to his determination; and (3)
sufficient lapse of time between decision and execution to allow the accused to
reflect upon the consequences of his act. Like any other circumstance that
qualifies a killing as murder, evident premeditation must be established by clear
and positive proof; that is, by proof beyond reasonable doubt. The essence of
premeditation is that the execution of the criminal act was preceded by cool
thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent during a
space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment. In the case at bar, the
prosecution failed to show the presence of any of these elements.
People vs. Tubongbanua
G.R. No. 171271, 31 August 2006
Topic: Treachery

The accused was employed as a family driver by Atty. Evelyn Sua Kho.
One Evening the accused drove Atty. Kho to her unit. After giving the bag to
Marissa, the maid, the accused went straight to the kitchen. After playing with her
daughter, Atty. Kho emerged from the bedroom to talk to the accused. Shortly
thereafter, Marissa heard the employer screaming and she saw the accused
stabbing her with a kitchen knife. She tried to stop him, but the accused continued
to stab Atty. Kho. Upon examination of the victims body, Dr. Edgardo Rodriguez
Vida found that she suffered eighteen (18) stab wounds and three (3) incise
wounds aside from other minor injuries. Marian Aquino, legal secretary of the
Lawyers Advocate Circle, where the victim worked, related that prior to the killing
of Atty. Sua-Kho, the accused had confided to her about his grudges against the
victim, such as being given spoiled food, that his meals were being measured, that
he worked long hours of the day and served many bosses. The accused fled the
scene and was arrested in Mindoro while on his way to his home province. The
accused claimed self-defense but his version of the stabbing incident does not
inspire belief. His testimony that it was Atty. Sua-Kho who attacked him is
uncorroborated and improbable. Appellants alleged use of reasonable means to
repel the aggression is also untenable considering the nature and number of
wounds inflicted on the victim which demonstrate a determined effort to kill the
victim and not just defend oneself.
Whether or not accused Tubongbanua is guilty of the crime of murder qualified by
No. Treachery under paragraph 16 of Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code
is defined as the deliberate employment of means, methods, or forms in the
execution of a crime against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to the offender arising from the defense which the intended
victim might raise. For treachery to be present, two conditions must concur: (a) the
employment of means of execution which would ensure the safety of the offender
from defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim, giving the victim no opportunity to
defend himself; and (b) the means, method and manner of the execution were
deliberately and consciously adopted by the offender.
Treachery cannot be presumed; it must be proved by clear and convincing
evidence or as conclusively as the killing itself. In the instant case, there is no
proof on how the attack was commenced. Where no particulars are known as to
the manner in which the aggression was made or how the act which resulted in
the death of the victim began and developed, it can in no way be established from
mere suppositions that the killing was perpetrated by treachery.
Accused Tubongbanua, however, was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime of murder qualified by evident premeditation and with the attendant
aggravating circumstances of taking advantage of superior strength and dwelling.
It was established by the prosecution witnesses the appellants state of mind and
predisposition to avenge the alleged maltreatment by the victim. Both witnesses
testified on appellants ill-plans against his employer the day prior to the crime.
Appellant likewise took advantage of his superior strength to perpetuate the
criminal act. He killed Atty. Sua-Kho by overpowering her and driving the murder
weapon into her body several times, despite her attempts to parry the blows. He
could not have executed the dastardly act without employing physical superiority
over the victim. There is no dispute that Atty. Sua-Kho was killed in her home.
Appellant could have killed her elsewhere but he decided to commit the crime at
her home; thus we appreciate the aggravating circumstance of dwelling.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals with
modification and sentenced the accused to Reclusion Perpetua without the
possibility of parole.
Rivera vs. People
G.R. No. 166326; January 25, 2006
Topic: Treachery

As the victim, Ruben Rodil, went to a nearby store to buy food, accused Edgardo
Rivera mocked him for being jobless and dependent on his wife for support.
Ruben resented the rebuke and thereafter, a heated exchange of words ensued.
In the evening of the following day, when Ruben and his three-year-old daughter
went to the store to buy food, Edgardo, together with his brother Esmeraldo Rivera
and Ismael Rivera, emerged from their house and ganged up on him. Esmeraldo
and Ismael mauled Ruben with fist blows. And as he fell to the ground, Edgardo
hit him three times with a hollow block on the parietal area. Esmeraldo, Ismael and
Edgardo fled to their house only when the policemen arrived. Ruben sustained
injuries and was brought to the hospital. The doctor declared that the wounds
were slight and superficial, though the victim could have been killed had the police
not promptly intervened. The trial court found the accused guilty of the crime of
frustrated murder. An appeal was made by the accused, but the Court of Appeals
affirmed the trial courts decision with modification, changing the crime to
attempted murder and imposed an indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision
correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as maximum.
1) Whether or not there was intent to kill.
2) Whether or not the Court of Appeals was correct in modifying the crime from
frustrated to attempted murder.
3) Whether or not the aggravating circumstance of treachery was properly applied.
1) Yes. The Court declared that evidence to prove intent to kill in crimes against
persons may consist, inter alia, in the means used by the malefactors, the nature,
location and number of wounds sustained by the victim, the conduct of the
malefactors before, at the time, or immediately after the killing of the victim, the
circumstances under which the crime was committed and the motives of the
accused. In the present case, Esmeraldo and Ismael pummeled the victim with fist
blows, while Edgardo hit him three times with a hollow block. Even though the
wounds sustained by the victim were merely superficial and could not have
produced his death, intent to kill was presumed.
2) Yes. Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is an attempt when
the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and
does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by
reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.
Although the wounds sustained by the victim were merely superficial and could
not have produced his death, it does not negate criminal liability of the accused for
attempted murder. The intent to kill was already presumed based on the overt acts
of the accused. In fact, victim could have been killed had the police not promptly
3) Yes. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack, which
gives no opportunity for the victim to repel it or defend himself. In the present
case, the accused attacked the victim in a sudden and unexpected manner as he
was walking with his three-year-old daughter, impervious of the imminent peril to
his life. He was overwhelmed with the assault of the accused and had no chance
to defend himself and retaliate. Thus, there was treachery.
People vs. Taan
G.R. No. 169432; October 30, 2006
Topic: Treachery

The witness Ochinang, a Barangay Kagawad and relative of the deceased
Ricardo Ladaga, was at Mariano Domaoals (Mariano) house in Sitio Obbog, San
Maria, Binalonan, Pangasinan having a "drinking spree" with Mariano, Romeo
Domaoal, Mario Rivera, accused Eduardo Taan, Danilo Marquez, Marlon Ruar
and Romeo Tacadena. At around 4:30 p.m., accused Taan invited the group to
continue their drinking session at his house in Sitio Obbog, Barangay Dumayat of
the same town. Ochinang, Marquez, Tacadena and Ruar accepted the invitation
and on their way to Taans house, they met Ladaga. Surprised, Taan told his
godfather, Tacadena, "this is the one we are looking for, he was the one who
robbed the school." Taan continued to say, "Take him, Ninong, Danny because I
have been looking for that guy." Tacadena and Marquez took hold of Ladaga and
carried him towards a mango tree. To force Ladaga to confess to the crime of
stealing, which he later did, Marquez tied Ladagas hands with a palm leaf while
Taan held the latters legs. Marquez then struck Ladagas forehead with a big
stone. Taan removed Ladagas shirt to wipe the blood off the latters face. At
around 8:00 p.m., Ladaga was brought inside Taans house. Afterwards, Taan
asked Tacadena and Ruar to go home. Between midnight to 1:00 a.m., Marquez,
who had with him a shovel, and Taan, armed with a gun, brought Ladaga to a two
(2) foot-deep irrigation canal at Barangay Canarvacanan. Thereat, Ladaga was
made to lie down and Taan poked a gun in his mouth and fired it four (4) times.
Ochinang, then at the dike of the irrigation canal, about a meter away from the
scene, witnessed the incident and how Taan buried Ladaga in the irrigation canal.
Two days later, Taan summoned Ochinang to dig a deeper burial site for
Ladaga because of the foul odor coming from the original gravesite. Nonetheless,
it was Taan who dug a deeper site which was more or less six (6) meters from the
original site. Taan removed Ladagas body from the original gravesite and
transferred it to the new excavation.
On 14 September 1999, Ochinang reported the matter to the Central
Intelligence Division Group (CIDG), Dagupan City. Thereat, he executed a sworn
statement asserting Taans authorship of the crime and indicating the place where
Ladaga had been buried. Subsequently, Ladagas body was recovered from the
place pointed to by Ochinang.
Accused Eduardo Taan alias Bebot was eventually charged and found
guilty of the crime of murder aggravated by the use of an unlicensed firearm and
was sentenced to death by the Regional Trial Court of Urdaneta City, Branch 46.
The case was transferred to the Court of Appeals pursuant to the Courts ruling
in People v. Efren Mateo. In the Court of Appeals, accused Taan argued that the
RTC erred in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of treachery in the crime.
The CA affirmed the RTCs decision. Hence, this petition by the accused.

Whether or not the courts are correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstance
of treachery in the crime of murder against accused Taan.
Yes. In qualifying the crime to murder, the trial court correctly appreciated the
circumstance of treachery. For treachery to be considered, two (2) elements must
concur: (a) the employment of means of execution that give the person attacked
no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (b) the means of execution were
deliberately or consciously adopted. Treachery clearly attended the killing as
Ladaga, pinned down by Taan, was tipsy when he was killed, and thus was
enfeebled and did not have full control of his senses. Previously, Ladagas hands
had been tied and his forehead had been struck with a stone. With Marquez
carrying a shovel and Taan armed with a gun, the unarmed, weakened Ladaga
was clearly defenseless. The essence of treachery is that the attack comes
without warning and in a swift, deliberate and unexpected manner, affording the
hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or to escape.
INSIGNE, accused, ARTEMIO CASELA, accused-appellant.
G.R. No. 173243; March 23, 2007
Topic: Treachery

On 6 January 2003, Casela was placed under the custody of law. His co-
accused Insigne, however, remains at large. Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded
not guilty. The prosecution espoused the following version of the incident, as
established by the testimony of Makabenta:
At around 10:00 o'clock in the evening of 2 January 2003, Makabenta, the
victim Rain and three (3) other friends started their drinking spree in Barangay
Sawang, Carigara, Leyte. Later, at around 3:00 o'clock the following morning,
Rain excused himself from the ongoing drinking session in order to buy
cigarettes from Naglor Videoke in the next barangay as all the stores in Barangay
Sawang were already closed. When the victim did not return, Makabenta decided
to go to Naglor Videoke himself. As he approached that establishment, located
within the premises of the public market of Barangay Baybay, Makabenta saw
Rain being attacked by Insigne and appellant as Rain was about to ride his
bike. Makabenta was about three (3) meters away from Rain when he witnessed
the latter being successively stabbed by both malefactors. Although Rain was
able to run away after the initial assault, he was pursued by Insigne and appellant.
In the course of the chase, Makabenta testified, Insigne was able to grab the back
neckline of Rain's shirt, turning the latter towards him as the two accused
proceeded to deliver more stabbing blows Rain until Rain fell to the ground.
Afraid to get involved, witness Makabenta left the scene and reported the incident
to the nearest police station. Thereafter, he returned to Barangay Sawang and told
their friends about what had transpired, including the fact that Rain had died.
Dr. Profetana, who conducted the post-mortem examination of the victim,
testified that she found four (4) stab wounds on the victim. The first wound,
directed backwards, was fatal as it likely hit the heart. The second one was
likewise fatal, hitting vital organs such as the lungs and heart. The third stab
wound was also fatal, hitting the liver. The fourth wound, which only lacerated the
victim's arm, was not fatal. She identified the cause of death to be hypovolemic
shock secondary to blood loss. Thus, the victim died due to the decrease in the
volume of blood secondary to bleeding caused by the multiple wounds he
sustained on the anterior chest.
In his defense, appellant Casela avers that he had no participation in the
attack on Rain. He testified that at about 1:00 o'clock in the morning of 3 January
2003, he was at Naglor Videoke Bar on a drinking spree with Insigne. Rain
allegedly entered the bar, immediately approached their table and asked who their
other companions were. Appellant maintained that he did not reply to the Rain's
query because it was public knowledge that there was a feud between the families
of Rain and Insigne, and this being so, he was apprehensive that trouble might
erupt inside the bar. Thereafter, according to appellant, Insigne stepped out of the
bar and he followed suit. As appellant headed home, about three (3) stores away
from the videoke bar, he turned back and saw Insigne stabbing Rain who was
holding his bicycle. Appellant purportedly yelled at Insigne to stop but his advice
was not heeded, thus appellant ran home. Appellant alleged that the only person
in the vicinity at the time of the incident was his younger sister, who was on her
way to fetch him. He asserted that Makabenta was not then present.
Appellant also presented SPO4 Teofilo Lucelo (SPO4 Lucelo) to refute the
assertions of Makabenta that he had reported the incident to the police and,
consequently, to cast doubt on his claim that he had personally witnessed the
events that led to the death of Rain.
Finding that the prosecution had proven the guilt of appellant for the crime of
murder beyond reasonable doubt, the RTC rendered judgment against appellant.
With the appreciation of the aggravating circumstances of conspiracy, treachery
and nighttime, and without any mitigating circumstance, appellant was sentenced
to suffer the penalty of death and to pay damages.
With the death penalty imposed on appellant, the case was elevated to this
Court on automatic review. However, pursuant to this Court's ruling in People v.
Mateo, the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals.
The CA affirming with modification appellant's conviction. The CA held that
the penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion
perpetua to death. Having discounted the appreciation of conspiracy and nighttime
as generic aggravating circumstances, the crime in the case at bench was not
aggravated, and there being no mitigating circumstance, in accordance with
Article 61, the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed.
The trial court and the appellate court, in convicting appellant of murder,
ruled that the killing was qualified by treachery. There is treachery when the
offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods,
or forms in the execution thereof which tend to directly and specially ensure the
execution of the crime without risk to himself arising from the defense which the
offended party might make. To establish treachery, two elements must concur: (1)
that at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself,
and (2) that the offender consciously adopted the particular means of attack
employed. 40 The RTC made the following observations on the matter
With the number, location and nature of the wounds sustained by the victim
Ronaldo Rain, there is apparent treachery in the execution of the dastardly acts
by the perpetrators. The victim was unarmed and totally defenseless, without any
opportunity to defend himself or retaliate against the accused, could be gleaned
from the fact that accused Artemio Casela, Jr. and Felibert Insigne did not suffer
even a single scratch on their body after the stabbing incident.
The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by an
aggressor without the slightest provocation on the part of the victim, depriving the
latter of any real chance to defend himself, thereby ensuring its commission
without risk to the aggressor. In this case, treachery was already present when
appellant and Insigne, armed each with a bolo, approached the victim and
suddenly stabbed him. Rain did not have the faintest idea that he was vulnerable
to an attack, considering that he was boarding his bicycle, oblivious of the sinister
intent of appellant and Insigne. The fact that the victim was facing his malefactors
at the time of the latter's attack did not erase its treacherous nature. Even if the
assault were frontal, there was treachery if it was so sudden and unexpected that
the victim had no time to prepare for his defense. Even more, the fact that
appellant and Insigne chased the victim to inflict more stabbing blows after the
latter had already been gravely wounded clearly exhibits the treacherous nature of
the killing of the victim.
People of the Philippines v. Guzman
G.R. No. 169246, January 26, 2007
Topic: Treachery

Ronald testified that he stopped by and ate at a carinderia. After eating, he
noticed Guzman/appellant and two other persons having a drinking spree in a
nearby grocery store. He also saw Michael walking towards the direction of the
same grocery store. When Michael was passing in front of the grocery store,
appellant and his two companions suddenly approached and surrounded Michael.
Appellant positioned himself at the back of Michael while his two companions
stood in front of Michael. Suddenly, they grabbed the shoulders of Michael and
overpowered the latter. One of appellant's companions, whom he described as a
male with long hair, drew out a knife and repeatedly stabbed Michael at the
stomach. Afterwards, the appellant's other companion, whom he described as a
male with flat top hair, took the knife from the companion with long hair, and also
stabbed Michael at the stomach. Later, appellant went in front of Michael, took the
knife from the companion with flat top hair, and likewise stabbed Michael at the
stomach. [Grabe noh?! Ang saklap!] Appellant also kicked Michael when the latter
was already lying on the ground. He witnessed this stabbing incident at a distance
of five arms' length. Michael died. This testimony was corroborated by several
witnesses (Edgardo and Danilo [father]).
Guzman, on the contrary, testified he was inside his store when he heard
shouts outside. He saw Danilo and Ronald pulling out a certain de Guzman
(Jesus) from the latter's tricycle. Danilo and Ronald punched de Guzman but the
latter retaliated. Thereafter, a rumble ensued. Minutes later, Michael passed by his
store rushed to Danilo and pacified the latter. Edgardo, one of the participants
therein, threw stones at Michael. At this point, a certain Querubin arrived and tried
to join the fracas. Michael, however, blocked Querubins way..The two wrestled
and then Querubin stabbed Michael.
RTC: Convict Gumzan of murder. It sustained the "clear, direct and positive"
testimony of the prosecution witnesses who all declared that they saw appellant
stab Michael. CA: Affirmed RTC.
On appeal, Guzman claimed that the stabbing incident occurred in a place
that was properly lighted. There were many people in the area then walking in
different directions. He claims that if he and his two companions wanted to ensure
that no risk would come to them, then they could have chosen another time and
place to attack Michael hence, no treachery.
Whether or not there was treachery.
Yes. Treachery is a sudden and unexpected attack under the circumstances
that renders the victim unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the
suddenness and severity of the attack. It is an aggravating circumstance that
qualifies the killing of a person to murder. Two essential elements/conditions are
required in order that treachery may be appreciated: (1) The employment of
means, methods or manner of execution that would ensure the offender's safety
from any retaliatory act on the part of the offended party, who has, thus no
opportunity for self-defense or retaliation; (2) deliberate or conscious choice of
means, methods or manner of execution. Further, it must always be alleged in the
information and proved in trial in order that it may be validly considered.
In the instant case, treachery was alleged in the Information against
appellant. Moreover, all the essential elements/conditions of treachery were
established and proven during the trial.
After attending a worship service at the Iglesia ni Kristo church in his
barangay, Michael proceeded home. While Michael was casually walking,
appellant and his two companions, who were drinking nearby, suddenly
approached and surrounded Michael. Appellant positioned himself at the back of
Michael while his two companions stood in front of Michael. In an instant, they
grabbed the shoulders of Michael and overpowered the latter. One of the
appellant's companions, whom the prosecution witnesses described as a male
with long hair, drew out a knife and repeatedly stabbed Michael on the stomach.
Unsatisfied, the appellant's other companion, whom the prosecution witnesses
described as a male with flat top hair, took the knife and stabbed Michael on the
stomach. As the finale, appellant went in front of Michael, took the knife and also
stabbed Michael on the stomach. When Michael fell on the ground, appellant
kicked him at the body. Upon noticing that the bloodied Michael was no longer
moving, appellant and his two companions fled the scene.
As viewed from the foregoing, the suddenness and unexpectedness of the
attack of appellant and his two companions rendered Michael defenseless,
vulnerable and without means of escape. It appears that Michael was unarmed
and alone at the time of the attack. Further, he was merely seventeen years of
age then. In such a helpless situation, it was absolutely impossible for Michael to
escape or to defend himself against the assault of appellant and his two
companions. Being young and weak, Michael is certainly no match against adult
persons like appellant and his two companions. Michael was also outnumbered
since he had three assailants, and, was unarmed when he was stabbed to death.
Appellant and his two companions took advantage of their size, number, and
weapon in killing Michael. They also deliberately adopted means and methods in
exacting the cruel death of Michael by first surrounding him, then grabbing his
shoulders and overpowering him. Afterwards, each of them repeatedly stabbed
Michael with a knife at the stomach until the latter fell lifeless to the ground. The
stab wounds sustained by Michael proved to be fatal as they severely damaged
the latter's large intestine.
The fact that the place where the incident occurred was lighted and many
people were walking then in different directions does not negate treachery. It
should be made clear that the essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected
attack on an unsuspecting victim without the slightest provocation on his part.
This is even more true if the assailant is an adult and the victim is a minor. Minor
children, who by reason of their tender years, cannot be expected to put up a
defense. Thus, when an adult person illegally attacks a minor, treachery
exists. As we earlier found, Michael was peacefully walking and not provoking
anyone to a fight when he was stabbed to death by appellant and his two
companions. Further, Michael was a minor at the time of his death while appellant
and his two companions were adult persons.
N.B. Re premeditation: RTC and the Court of Appeals were correct in
disregarding the same against appellant. The essence of evident premeditation as
an aggravating circumstance is that the execution of the criminal act was
preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the
criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment. It
implies a deliberate planning of the crime before executing it. It must also be
shown how and when the plan to kill was hatched or what time elapsed before it
was carried out. Further, there must be proof that the accused meditated and
reflected on his intention between the time when the crime was conceived by him
and the time it was actually perpetrated. In the case at bar, there is no evidence to
show that appellant and his two companions had previously planned and reflected
in killing Michael. When appellant and his two companions saw Michael on that
fateful night, they immediately pounced on him. The thought of killing Michael
came into the minds of appellant and his two companions only when they saw
Michael walking on the road. Indeed, the killing of Michael was sudden and
People v. Nabong
G. R. No. 172324; April 3, 2007
Topic: Treachery

The four accused, Celino Nabong (Nabong), Alvin Laguit (Laguit), Nolfe Ladiao
(Ladiao) and Arnel Miraflor (Miraflor), were all construction workers employed as
steelmen by EEI, a construction firm, and assigned at its OCW-RCBC Plaza
Project located at Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Reynaldo Patenio, a steelman of
EEI construction and a co-worker of the accused, testified that on the fateful night
of 23 March 1999, at about 9:00 oclock in the evening, he and the four accused,
together with their co-workers were inside the workers barracks at the OCW-
RCBC Plaza when they decided to go out for a drinking session. They walked
from their barracks and at about 9:15 p.m. reached a nearby videoke bar in
Amorsolo Street in Makati City, just across the Makati Medical Center. There,
each of them consumed six bottles of Colt 45 beer. By 11:30 p.m., they stopped
drinking when the videoke bar closed for the night. Their coworkers left ahead of
the group. The four accused proceeded to Ayala Avenue and stopped at a vacant
lot in front of the Makati Medical Center, where concrete pipes used for
construction were lying around. Reynaldo Patenio, who decided to call it a day,
also stepped out of the videoke bar and was just about five meters away from the
four accused, when they invited him to join them. When Reynaldo Patenio joined
the group, they taunted him and made fun of him by pushing him around like a ball
being tossed from one man to another. Patenio was able to extricate himself from
the group and was about to leave when he heard one of the accused saying loudly
"Huwag nayan, lagas nayan," which was directed at a woman who was then
boarding a jeepney. The word "lagas" means old in the Visayan dialect. At about
the same time, AAA was walking towards the center island near the corner of
Buendia Avenue and Ayala Avenue with her officemate Minerva Arguelles Frias.
Laguit and Ladiao, who were then standing by the corner of Ayala Avenue and
Buendia Avenue, spotted the two women. Therefrom, Laguit and Ladiao crossed
the street and waited at the island for the two women. Minerva Arguelles Frias
then boarded a bus, leaving AAA alone with Laguit and Ladiao. Laguit took his
shirt off and was laughing while waving his shirt in the air. Ladiao, who was
between Laguit and AAA, had a smirk on his face. Nabong then appeared from
the dark portion of the vacant lot holding a "kabilya," a 7-inch pointed metal bar,
sort of an improvised iced pick, and approached Laguit, Ladiao and AAA. Nabong
suddenly stabbed AAA on the right thigh using the pointed metal bar.
Simultaneously, Ladiao jumped at AAA and covered her mouth. The victim
slumped on the pavement while Ladiao, Laguit, Nabong and Miraflor crowded
around the woman. Miraflor, upon seeing what his companions were doing,
hurriedly left and went to the barracks. Patenio also left the scene and went back
to the barracks about the same time Miraflor did.

Whether or not the trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in appreciating
treachery since the evidence is bereft of proof that appellants plotted to carry out
the attack on the victim.

Appellants contention is unmeritorious. The essence of treachery is a deliberate
and sudden attack, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no
chance to resist or to escape.20 Thus, this Court has ruled that even frontal attack
can be treacherous when it is sudden and unexpected and the victim is
unarmed.21 Treachery can still be appreciated even when the victim was
forewarned of the danger to his/her person.22 What is decisive is that the
execution of the attack made it impossible for the victim to defend himself/herself
or to retaliate.23 In the present case, the victim did not even have sufficient
warning of the danger that was looming, since the attack against her came from
behind and was so sudden and unexpected, thus giving the victim no time to flee
or to prepare her defense or enable her to offer the least resistance to the sudden
People v. Centeno
G.R. No. L-33284; April 20, 1989
Topic: Treachery

It all started, innocuously enough, with a drinking spree. On that afternoon of
December 1, 1968, Rolando Santos was enjoying himself with some friends and
plenty of beer that he eventually could not carry. Within the hour, he would be
dead of a massive brain hemorrhage. The venue would be the municipal building
itself. And the police chief himself, together with one of his policemen, would be
accused of murdering him. How Santos died is the question we have to settle. The
prosecution says he was killed with karate blows dealt by the accused-appellant.
The defense denies this. It says Santos drunkenly staggered and fell and hit his
head and bled to death. The trial court believed the prosecution and convicted the
police chief while absolving his co-accused. Rolando Centeno is now before us
on appeal of his conviction.
Whether or not there was treachery in the killing of Rolando Santos.
Yes. Murder it was indeed with the qualifying circumstance of treachery. There
was alevosia because Santos was suddenly attacked from behind when in his
weakened and intoxicated condition, coupled with the fact that his arm was then
being held by Reyes, he could not defend himself. The accused-appellant had
employed means aimed at achieving his purpose without risk to himself from any
defense the victim could have made. Even assuming there was abuse of superior
strength, on which issue we do not have to rule here, this aggravating
circumstance is deemed absorbed by treachery. As for the mitigating
circumstances claimed by the defense, the Court holds that they cannot be
allowed. The derogatory statement made by Santos which so irritated Centeno did
not constitute such a grave provocation as to warrant the lessening of his penalty
for reacting as he did in punishing the victim to death. Neither can Centeno argue
now that he had not intended to commit so grave a wrong as the actual killing of
Santos as he knew, or should have known, that the karate chops on the nape of
the neck would have a lethal effect upon the defenseless and drunken victim.
There being no generic aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the term of
imprisonment was correctly fixed at reclusion perpetua, the medium penalty for
murder. The civil indemnity is, however, increased to P30,000.00 consistent with
present policy. It was not only Rolando Santos who was intoxicated when he died
at 22 on December 1, 1968. There was another kind of drunkenness that afflicted
the chief of police, who misused his power and lawlessly took a life.
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is AFFIRMED except as to the civil
indemnity, which is increased to P30,000.00. Costs against the accused-appellant.
It is so ordered.
People of the Philippines vs. Bonifacio Abadies
G.R. No. 135975; August 14, 2002
Topic: Treachery

On December 24, 1995, Cecilio Roldan, his wife Cynthia, their son Ronald
and neighbor Salve Aligway were celebrating Christmas Eve at the balcony of
their house at Barangay Cadaohan, Ormoc City. At 2:00 a.m. of Christmas day,
Cynthia saw appellant Bonifacio Abadies, her husband's uncle, approached
Cecilio from behind. Without warning, accused-appellant shot Cecilio with a short
firearm about 8 inches in length.
Cecilio was hit on the upper back and slumped to the floor. Salve Aligway
rushed to his side. Cynthia saw Abadies rushing towards the back of their house
since the balcony was lighted.
Jose Manuel Roldan, Cecilio's brother who lived next door, heard the
gunshot. He immediately went out of his house and saw Abadies, his uncle,
carrying a firearm and hurriedly entering his own house, about ten meters away.
Jose Manuel rushed toward his brother's house fearing that he had been hurt. He
recalled that in the morning of the previous day, Abadies had threatened to kill
Cecilio Roldan because of a recent misunderstanding between them. Jose Manuel
arrived at Cecilio's house and found the latter wounded. Cecilio was rushed to the
Ormoc District Hospital, where he eventually died.
According to the victim's widow, accused-appellant harbored a grudge
against her husband because he was unable to give him the additional amount of
P10,000.00 for the lease of a rice land owned by a certain Langkoy Fran in the
month of December 1995, a few weeks before the shooting incident transpired.
Whether or not treachery was established in the case at bar.
YES. Murder is the unlawful killing of any person when qualified by any of
the circumstances listed under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. Treachery
or alevosia, aptly alleged in the information, is one such qualifying
circumstance. Given the prevailing facts of the case, we agree with the trial court
that the killing of Cecilio Roldan was attended by alevosia.
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against
persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend
directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the
defense which the offended party might make.
The qualifying circumstance of treachery attended the killing as the two
conditions for the same are present, i.e.,
(1) that at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend
himself, and
(2) that the offender consciously adopted the particular means, method or
form of attack employed by him. The essence of treachery is the swift and
unexpected attack on the unarmed victim without the slightest provocation on his
In the case at bar, Cecilio Roldan was in the comforts of his home. He was
eating, drinking and thoroughly engrossed in the gaiety of the yuletide season,
while engaged in light banter with his wife and a neighbor. Suddenly and without
warning, he was shot from behind by accused-appellant, his uncle.
People v. Sapigao
G.R. No. 144975; June 18, 2003
Topic: Treachery

Emmanuel Sapigao and his brother Gem Sapigao were on their way on board a
motorcycle, driven by Gem Sapigao, towards Zone III of the barangay to collect a
"compadre's contribution" for the Christmas party. When the two brothers reached
the place fronting the residence of barangay captain Arturo Mamerto, Sr., his
nephew Reynaldo Sapigao and Elpidio Mamerto blocked their path. Minutes later,
Reynaldo Sapigao, then holding a carbine rifle, began firing at them. Alarmed, the
brothers jumped off the motorcycle. Gem Sapigao promptly parked the vehicle on
one side of the street, and the two scampered for safety. Emmanuel hid behind a
concrete wall, approximately ten to twelve meters away, while Gem Sapigao hid in
the nearby house of a certain Shirley Pisalvo. From their hiding places, the
brothers saw Reynaldo running and shouting, "Uncle, uncle, sinugod si Kapitan."
Almost immediately, they then saw Elpidio Mamerto, Verson Mamerto, and Robert
Obillo, all armed trooping into the house of the barangay captain obviously in
response to Reynaldo's call. Elpidio Mamerto and Robert Mamerto were both
holding M-16 armalite rifles. Verson Mamerto had a carbine. The barangay
captain, Arturo Mamerto, Sr., was armed with a Caliber .45 pistol. Emmanuel
Sapigao heard Arturo Mamerto giving instructions to the group to shoot anyone
who would come near the abandoned motorcycle. Momentarily, Emmanuel
Sapigao saw from his hidden perch his cousin Lauro Sapigao passed by in an
owner-type jeepney. About half an hour later, Lauro Sapigao, together with
George Cabanilla and Puroy Valdez, returned and stopped near the abandoned
motorcycle. Emmanuel wanted to warn Lauro but he was too afraid of being seen.
Moments after they alighted from the jeepney, the group composed of Elpidio
Mamerto, Arturo Mamerto, Sr., Verson Mamerto, Robert Obillo, Amador Sapigao,
Jose Sapigao, Reynaldo Sapigao, Francis Sapigao and Samuel Sapigao rained
fire on Lauro Sapigao. Gem Sapigao saw Jose Sapigao fire the first shot. Amador
Sapigao approached the fallen Lauro Sapigao, got hold of the latter's Caliber .45
and, with it, again shot the hapless victim. One of those in the group shouted
"One is gone, many more will follow."

Terrified at what they had seen, the two brothers, Emmanuel and Gem, ran
towards the rice field and proceeded to the north where they flagged down a
tricycle, which took them to the Asingan police station. Fearing for their lives, the
two subsequently went into hiding. It was only two months later when they finally
decided to report the incident to the National Bureau of Investigation office in San
Fernando, La Union.

On 14 July 1999, following an investigation, an accusatory information for murder
was filed against the several accused. On 12 January 2000, the information was
amended to state that the killing was committed with the use of unlicensed
rearms. Except for Elpidio Mamerto, the eight other accused remained at large
and yet to be brought to justice. Elpidio was convicted of the crime of murder.

Whether or not the aggravating circumstance of treachery was correctly

No. Apparent from the testimony of the witnesses was the bad blood between the
families of the victim and the perpetrators of the crime. Emmanuel Sapigao ran
against, but lost to, appellant Arturo Mamerto, Sr., for the position of barangay
captain of Carusocan. Mariano Sapigao, Jr., brother of Emmanuel and Gem
Sapigao, was incarcerated in Muntinlupa for the murder of the son of Romeo
Torralba, a nephew of appellant Elpidio and Arturo Mamerto. Elpidio Mamerto had
accompanied the police in raiding the house of witnesses Emmanuel and Gem
Sapigao in connection with the murder case which led to the filing of charges of
Illegal Possession of Firearms and Assault against the brothers before the
Regional Trial Court of Urdaneta City. It was appellant, as barangay kagawad, and
his brother, Arturo Mamerto, as barangay chairman, who monitored the
movements of the brothers. The incident that fateful night of 24th of December
1998, from all indications, was not an isolated occurrence but that it was another
scenario in a deep-seated history of violence between two warring factions in
barangay Asingan. Reynaldo Sapigao, upon seeing Emmanuel and Gem Sapigao,
called his cousins and shouted, "Uncle, Uncle, sinugod si kapitan," apparently
convinced that the two brothers had come to do them harm. At Reynaldo's alarm
call, the cohorts immediately converged, each with a firearm, in a defensive
posture, as if expecting and readying for an armed attack from Emmanuel and
Gem Sapigao. Lauro Sapigao later stopped near the abandoned motorcycle to
possibly render succor to his cousins. No less than Emmanuel and Gem Sapigao
had admitted that Lauro was also armed at that time. It was more likely than not
that he somehow anticipated an armed encounter. These circumstances render
doubtful the attendance of treachery in the killing of Lauro Sapigao.
G.R. No. 80102; January 22, 1990
Topic: Cruelty/Alternative Circumstance

Sometime in September 1985, thirteen-year old Mauricia, then working as a
housemaid, was fetched by her father from her place of work at 1171 Batanes
Street, Sampaloc, Manila. Mauricia asked appellant where they were going, but
the latter simply did not answer. Father and daughter boarded a jeepney and
alighted in a dark place which Mauricia found unfamiliar. Mauricia was then
brought to a dark room where her father tied both her hands and feet to a bed,
undressed her, lighted a cigarette and burnt her face with it, kissed her, fondled
her private parts, and finally, pointing a knife approximately eight (8) inches long at
her neck, consummated the sexual act. All throughout the forced sexual
intercourse, appellant was laughing. He then threatened to kill Mauricia if she
revealed the incident to anyone.
Despite such warning, Mauricia told her paternal grandfather about her terrible
experience. Her grandfather, angered, confronted the appellant, but the latter only
threatened to harm the old man. About six months after the alleged rape took
place, Mauricia decided to report the incident to the police.
In March 1986, Mauricia Lucas filed a complaint accusing appellant, her own
natural father, with rape. Upon arraignment, with the assistance of counsel,
accused pleaded "not guilty." Trial ensued, whereupon the lower court rendered a
decision finding appellant guilty of the crime charged with the aggravating
circumstances of relationship and cruelty.
Whether or not the aggravating circumstances of relationship and cruelty both
existed in the present case.
Yes. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding
appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, aggravated by the
circumstances of relationship and cruelty (ensanamiento).
The alternative circumstance of relationship is taken into consideration
when, as in this case, the victim is the descendant of the offender [Art. 15,
Revised Penal Code]. In crimes against chastity, relationship is aggravating. The
gravity of a crime attended by abuse of relationship was emphasized in the case
of People v. Porras [58 Phil. 578, 579 (1933)], which likewise involved the rape of
a daughter by the father, wherein it was held that: "[t]he crime in this case was so
monstrous that no punishment which is in the power of this or any other human
tribunal to decree, could possibly be a sufficient expiation of the offense." In this
case We find that, indeed, appellant abused the filial trust reposed in him by his
daughter in order to carry out the crime to his every advantage. He personally
fetched the victim, his daughter, at her place of work, took her to the scene of the
crime, and forced himself sexually.
Likewise, cruelty attended the commission of the crime. There is cruelty
when the offender enjoys and delights in making his victim suffer slowly and
gradually, causing unnecessary physical pain in the consummation of the offense
[People v. Gatcho, G.R. No. L-27241, February 28, 1981, 103 SCRA 207; People
v. Dayug, 49 Phil. 423 (1926)]. Cruelty is present in this case where appellant tied
the victim to a bed, burnt her face with a lighted cigarette while raping her and
laughed as he did all these.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED. SO
G. R. No. 144598; February 6, 2004
Topic: Alternative Circumstances

After having a drinking spree, Duetes, Quijada, Dequina, Mariaca and the
appellant Foncardas (the group) proceeded to a store to smoke and while the time
away. Soon after, the victim also came to buy some coke from the store and a
balut from a balut vendor nearby. Quijada then approached and talked to the
victim while the rest of the group just watched and smoked. Duetes also
approached the victim and sat behind the two. Not long after, Quijada was heard
shouting something in the Visayan dialect, allegedly angered by the victim's not
acceding to his demands for money.
The group thereafter mauled the victim. The mauling of the victim continued
even as Quijada left the scene momentarily. When Quijada returned bearing a
piece of wood about two and half feet long, appellant and Duetes who were
standing behind the victim, held the latter, rendering him helpless, as Quijada
struck the victim's nape with the piece of wood. The victim fell down after being
struck. Duetes then told Mariaca, who was merely looking at his companions, to
run. Mariaca did as he was told and immediately ran away from the scene.
Seeing that a person was struck by a piece of wood, garbage collectors
Quirino Cabag (Cabag), Ronil Viilano, Roman Tajo, and the driver of the garbage
truck, who were 50 meters away, shouted at the assailants and approached them.
Quijada thereupon told his companions to move away from the victim, who was
already sprawled helplessly on the ground. Quijada continued to strike at the
victim's head, however. When the garbage collectors were about 7 meters away,
appellant, Duetes and Dequia scampered away even as Quijada continued to
assault the victim with the piece of wood. Before the garbage collectors could
apprehend him, however, Quijada speedily left the scene of the crime.
Dutetes, Quijada and Dequina remained at large and only appellant was
arraigned. The trial court convicted Foncardas of the crime of murder. Hence, this

Whether or not the alternative circumstance of intoxication may be
appreciated as a mitigating circumstance in favour of the appellant.

NO. Neither could appellant's alleged intoxication be appreciated as a
mitigating circumstance. To be mitigating, it is necessary that appellant present
proof of having taken a quantity of alcoholic beverage prior to the commission of
the crime sufficient to produce the effect of obfuscating reason. At the same time,
he must prove that he is not a habitual drinker and that he did not take the
alcoholic drink purposely to reinforce his resolve to commit the crime In the
absence then of clear and positive proof as to appellant's state of intoxication, this
Court cannot consider appellant's drinking beer as a mitigating circumstance.
In fine, appellant is indeed guilty of murder, penalized under Article 248 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7569. There being
neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty of reclusion
perpetua was correctly imposed by the trial court, pursuant to Article 63(2) of the
Revised Penal Code.
G.R. No. 140669-75 & 140691; April 20, 2001
Topic: Cruelty/Alternative Circumstances

Private complainant Maria Fe Oquindo testified that on 21 March 1991 she
awoke to see accused-appellant, her "stepfather," standing in front of her with only
his brief on. He told her to remove her panty but she refused. Scolding her for her
disobedience, accused-appellant got a pillow and placed it over her face. He laid
on top of her, removed her panty, inserted his penis into her vagina, and then
moved himself up and down. She felt severe pain. The incident happened in their
house at 004-A Calabasa Street, Tambakan, Pulanglupa, Las Pias, Metro
On 22 March 1991, also in the same place, accused-appellant fondled the
young girl's breast and kissed her many times against her will. He did not persist
and he threatened her not to tell on him.
On 01 March 1993, while Maria Fe was playing inside the house, accused-
appellant called her and ordered her to lie down. Afraid, she obeyed. Accused-
appellant then removed her panty, laid on top of her, and succeeded in taking her.
She was threatened not to mention the incident to anyone or, if she did, he would
kill her mother. At the time, only the victim and accused-appellant were in the
On 11 January 1996, Maria Fe, along with her mother, sister and
"stepfather," was in Batangas for a vacation. While she was playing with her
cousins, she was told by accused-appellant to get back inside the house. She
refused. Accused-appellant twisted her arms and pulled her in. He told her to lie
down. She tried to fight back but accused-appellant pushed her down, removed
her panty and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her. After a while, she
felt a sticky substance coming from accused-appellant. When told to wash, she
saw white sticky substance coming out of her.
On the mid-afternoon of 26 February 1996, back from vacation, Maria Fe
was subjected to a like ordeal. She was in their house playing when accused-
appellant asked for a massage. The witness obliged. While giving the massage,
he suddenly embraced her and made her lie on the floor. He went on top of, and
consummated his evil design on, her.
On 14 March 1996, Maria Fe was at her aunt's place located just behind
their own house when she was again called by accused-appellant ostensibly to
take a bath. He ordered her to remove her panty. When she refused, accused-
appellant berated her. He twisted her arms and made her lie down. He removed
her panty, laid on top of her and again satisfied his lust.
On 27 June 1996, about two o'clock in the afternoon, while Maria Fe was
playing just outside their house, accused-appellant instructed her to bring him a
glass of water. Just as she was about to hand the glass of water, accused-
appellant pulled her down. She tried to push him away but, as usual, her
resistance proved futile. After the sexual congress, she fled out of the house. She
was still fixing her panty when one Nora Caales saw her. Caales asked what
had happened. She pretended to have just urinated. Suspicious, Caales
informed Mely Anda, Maria Fe's aunt, of the incident. When confronted, Maria Fe
confessed all that had happened to her in the hands of her "stepfather."
Maria Fe testified that she was even much younger when she was first
abused by accused-appellant. She kept things to herself because she was afraid
that her mother, Julieta Amadore, would feel more for accused-appellant than she
would for her. True to her fears, when she finally revealed the incident to her
mother, she was told - "Siguro, kagustuhan mo ito." With the help of a neighbor,
she finally filed a complaint against her "stepfather."
Julieta Amadore, for her part, denied having been told of any of the incidents
by her daughter Maria Fe.
Accused-appellant denied all the accusations against him, stating that their
house is only 12 x 10 feet in area and that Maria Fe had her own room. He
claimed that, throughout, he and Maria Fe had a "smooth relationship," and that
the only reason he could think of why the cases were filed against him was the
misunderstanding that once arose when he scolded her after she had refused to
be sent on an errand.
The trial court concluded that the accused Rodrigo Amadore y Obina is
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of five counts of rape, attempted rape and
violation of Section 5 RA 7610 in relation to Article 336 of the Revised Penal

Whether or not the Court a quo gravely erred in imposing the death penalty for
each of the five counts of rape.

Yes. The relationship between accused-appellant and his victim and the latter's
minority are qualifying circumstances that must be correctly alleged and proved in
order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty. Apparently, the victim is not
the "stepdaughter" of accused-appellant as has been so stated in the informations
but is the daughter of his common-law spouse by the latter's marital relation with
another. A stepdaughter is a daughter of one's legal spouse by a previous
marriage. Except for the information in one of the criminal cases, the minority of
the victim has, too, not been alleged. The Court has successively ruled that the
circumstances under the provisions of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, the
attendance of any of which mandates the penalty of death, are in the nature of
qualifying circumstances and the absence of the proper averment thereof in the
complaint negates the imposition of that extreme penalty.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. In Criminal Cases No. 96-0468, No. 96-0470 to No. 96-0472,
accused-appellant Rodrigo Amadore y Obina is found guilty of simple rape in each
of said cases, and he is thus sentenced to suffer a total of FOUR terms of
Reclusion Perpetua.Criminal Case No. 96-0469 is DISMISSED for lack of
jurisdiction on the part of the court a quo. In Criminal Case No. 96-0473, accused-
appellant is found guilty only of acts of lasciviousness, and he is meted an
indeterminate sentence of from 3 months and four days of arresto mayor, as
minimum, to three years, 2 months and fourteen days of Prision Correctional
medium, as maximum. In Criminal Case No. 96-0474, the conviction of accused-
appellant for attempted rape, the crime charged in the information, is AFFIRMED
but the sentence imposed by the court a quo is modified by hereby imposing,
instead, an indeterminate sentence of from three years, ten months and one day
of prision correccional as minimum, to nine years and one day of prision mayor
medium, as maximum.
Licayco vs. People
G.R. No. 169425; March 4, 2008
Topic: Cruelty/Alternative Circumstances

On 16 February 1992, victim Rufino Guay (Rufino), along with his friends,
Jeffrey and a certain Joel Dumangeng (Joel) attended a wedding at Mabbalat,
Kiangan, Ifugao. Petitioner, together with his friends, Paul and Oliver, were also
present at the same wedding. After the wedding reception, Rufino, Jeffrey and
Joel went to Natamas Store at the Kiangan Public Market and ordered two bottles
of gin. While the three were drinking gin at the said store, petitioner, Paul and
Oliver arrived and likewise ordered bottles of gin.
Rufino, Jeffrey and Joel dropped by at Famorcas Store. Petitioner and his
brother, Aron, as well as Paul and Oliver, were also present therein. While Jeffrey
was talking to the stores owner, Larry Famorca (Larry), a brawl suddenly occurred
between Rufino and Aron. As a consequence thereof, Rufino fell to the ground.
Aron thereafter placed himself on top of Rufino and punched the latter several
times. Jeffrey approached the two and tried to pacify them. Paul entered the
scene and punched Jeffrey on the head. Thereupon, a scuffle followed.
Officers Danglay, Buyayo and Baguilat were on their way home from the
Kiangan Police Station when they heard some individuals calling for police
assistance regarding the commotion. The three officers rushed to the scene. Upon
arriving thereat, they saw petitioner holding a six-inch double-bladed knife and
walking towards Rufino and Aron who were then wrestling with each other. Officer
Buyayo, then wearing only civilian clothes and unarmed, approached petitioner
and held the latters back collar to prevent him from joining the fray. Petitioner
turned around, faced Officer Buyayo, and tried to stab the latter but he missed.
Officer Buyayo retreated. The officers introduced themselves to petitioner as
policemen and pleaded with him to put down the knife. Petitioner ignored the
officers pleas.

Afterwards, petitioner approached Rufino, who was then wrestling with Paul,
and stabbed Rufino in different parts of the body. Officer Baguilat fired a warning
shot while Officer Danglay immediately pounced on petitioner and disarmed the
latter. Petitioner was brought to the Kiangan Police Station while Rufino was taken
to a nearby hospital where he later died due to stab wounds.
Petitioner further claims that he was intoxicated during the incident; that this
fact was affirmed by Officers Danglay and Baguilat in their court testimonies; that
his intoxication was not subsequent to any plan to commit a felony because the
encounter between him and Rufino was merely accidental and there was no
previous agreement to harm Rufino; that prior to the incident, he met old friends
and had a drink with them; that such is a mere custom or practice among Filipinos;
and that his intoxication is not habitual.

Whether or not intoxication can be considered as a mitigating circumstance.

For intoxication to be considered as a mitigating circumstance, it must be
shown that the intoxication impaired the willpower of the accused and that he did
not know what he was doing or could not comprehend the wrongfulness of his
acts.The person pleading intoxication must prove that he took such quantity of
alcoholic beverage, prior to the commission of the crime, as would blur his reason.

In the case at bar, there is no plausible evidence showing that the quantity of
liquor taken by petitioner was of such quantity as to affect his mental faculties. On
the contrary, the fact that petitioner could recall the details that transpired during
and after his drinking session with friends is the best proof that he knew what he
was doing during the incident. His vivid narration that he had a confrontation with
Rufino, Jeffrey and Joel during the drinking session; that Daniel approached and
told him that Aron was being mauled; that he immediately went to the scene and
saw Aron being beaten by Rufino and Jeffrey; that he pushed Jeffrey away from
Aron; that he was allegedly beaten by the companions of Jeffrey; and that he
fought back but was allegedly overpowered --- all point to the conclusion that
petitioner had complete control of his mind during the incident.

Petitioner cannot avail himself of the mitigating circumstance of intoxication
merely on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses that he was drunk during
the incident. Such testimonies do not warrant a conclusion that the degree of
petitioners intoxication had affected his faculties. There must be convincing proof
of the nature and effect of his intoxication which petitioner failed to adduce in the
present case.
People v. Fernandez
G. R. No. 62116; March 22, 1990
Topic: Ignominy

Before the Court is Federico Conrado's appeal from the decision of the Trial
court in Criminal Case No. L-2593 convicting the accused and his co-accused of
the crime of rape.

Assisted by counsel, the accused Fernandez and Conrado, uncle and nephew
respectively, pleaded not guilty on arraignmentand underwent trial.
Teofilo Malong employed Rebecca Soriano as a househelper since September
1981. Residing in Teofilo's house were his wife and daughters Amelita and Ma.
Theresa. Rebecca Soriano testified that on 13 January 1982 at about 2:00 o'clock
in the afternoon, and after she had just finished taking a bath and still naked, the
two (2) accused, both in short pants, surreptitiously entered the bathroom. To
prevent her from making an outcry, a piece of cloth was tightly tied around her
neck, after which she was forcibly laid down. Conrado held her hands behind her
while Fernandez sexually abused her. She declared that, immediately after
Fernandez had raped her, Conrado in turn went on top of her and likewise
succeeded in having sexual congress with her against her will. She added that,
thereafter, Fernandez got a handful of mud near the bathroom and placed it on
her vagina. Thereupon, she ran to the upper floor of the house to report the tragic
incident to Amelita Malong.

In an effort to reduce the imposed penalty of death to reclusion perpetua (life
imprisonment), without disproving the charges against them, the two (2) accused
assigned as error the appreciation of the CFI of the presence of aggravating
circumstance of Cruelty or Ignominy:

Whether or not the appreciation of the trial court of the aggravating circumstance
of Cruelty or Ignominy is correct.

The trial court is correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of
ignominy because of the greater perversity displayed by the offenders. The
testimony of the examining physician that he did not find mud on the victim's
private organ, does not necessarily belie the latter's asseveration that the accused
"plastered" (in the words of the lower court) mud on her private part. It is
worthwhile mentioning that the victim was examined and treated by Dr. Claudio at
3:55 p.m. or about almost two (2) hours after the rape was committed.Given this
circumstance, the absence of mud in the victim's private part when she was
examined by the physician, may be attributed to the possibility that the mud
washed or fell off even before the victim left the house for her physical
examination. We cannot but agree with the trial court's finding that the offense was
aggravated by ignominy. We are of the opinion, however that the word "cruelty"
used in the dispositive portion of the judgment, to describe analternative
aggravating circumstance, is unnecessary. The act of "plastering" mud on the
victim's vagina right after she was raped, is adequately and properlydescribed as
"ignominy" rather than "cruelty or ignominy."
People v. Ladjaalam
G. R. No. 136149-51; September 19, 2000
Topic: Special Aggravating Circumstances

PO3 Allan Marcos Obut filed an application for the issuance of a search warrant
against appellant, his wife and some John Does which was granted on the same
day. After it was issued, a briefing was conducted inside the office of the Anti-
Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Zamboanga City Police Office in connection with the
service of the search warrant.After the briefing, more than thirty (30) policemen
headed by Police Superintendent Edwin Soledad proceeded to the house of
appellant and his wife at Folio Hondo on board several police vehicles. Before
they could reach appellant's house, three (3) persons sitting at a nearby store ran
towards the house shouting, '[P]olice, raid, raid'.When the policemen were about
ten (10) meters from the main gate of the house, they were met by a rapid burst of
gunfire coming from the second floor of the house. There was also gunfire at the
back of the house.
SPO1 Mirasol, SPO2 Lacastesantos, PO3 Rivera, and PO3 Dela Pea who
were with the first group of policemen saw appellant fire an M14 rifle towards
them. They all knew appellant.
Gaganting, Mirasol, Lacastesantos, Gregorio, and Obut entered the door of
the extension building. Gaganting opened the main (steel) gate of the house. The
other members of the team then entered. Lacastesantos and Mirasol entered the
house through the main door and went inside the sala of the ground floor while
other policemen surrounded the house.Mirasol and SPO1 Cesar Rabuya arrested
appellant at the back of his house after a brief chase.
At the second floor, Lacastesantos saw an M14 riflewith magazine on top of
the sofa at the sala on the second floor. He counted seventeen (17) live
ammunition inside the magazine. He saw two (2) more M14 rifle magazines on
that sofa, one with twenty (20) live ammunition and another with twenty-one (21)
live ammunition. He likewise saw three (3) M16 rifle magazinesin a corner at the
second floor.
The trial court convicted appellant of three crimes: (1) maintenance of a drug
den, (2) direct assault with attempted homicide, and (3) illegal possession of

Whether or not appellant is liable for the separate offense of illegal possession of

No. Citing People v. Jayson, the OSG argues that the foregoing provision does
not cover the specific facts of this case. Since another crime direct assault with
multiple unlawful homicide was committed, appellant cannot be convicted of
simple illegal possession of firearms under the second paragraph of the aforecited
provision. Furthermore, since there was no killing in this case, possession cannot
be deemed as an aggravating circumstance under the third paragraph of the
provision. Based on these premises, the OSG concludes that the applicable law is
not RA 8294, but PD 1866 which, as worded prior the new law, penalizes simple
illegal possession of firearms even if another crime is committed at the same time.
Applying a different interpretation, the trial court posits that appellant should
be convicted of illegal possession of firearms, in addition to direct assault with
multiple attempted homicide. It did not explain its ruling, however. Considering that
it could not have been ignorant of the proviso in the second paragraph, it seemed
to have construed "no other crime" as referring only to homicide and murder, in
both of which illegal possession of firearms is an aggravating circumstance. In
other words, if a crime other than murder or homicide is committed, a person may
still be convicted of illegal possession of firearms. In this case, the other crime
committed was direct assault with multiple attempted homicide; hence, the trial
court found appellant guilty of illegal possession of firearms.
We cannot accept either of these interpretations because they ignore the
plain language of the statute. A simple reading thereof shows that if an unlicensed
firearm is used in the commission of any crime, there can be no separate offense
of simple illegal possession of firearms. Hence, if the "other crime" is murder or
homicide, illegal possession of firearms becomes merely an aggravating
circumstance, not a separate offense. Since direct assault with multiple attempted
homicide was committed in this case, appellant can no longer be held liable for
illegal possession of firearms.
Moreover, penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. In this
case, the plain meaning of RA 8294's simple language is most favorable to herein
appellant. Verily, no other interpretation is justified, for the language of the new
law demonstrates the legislative intent to favor the accused. Accordingly,
appellant cannot be convicted of two separate offenses of illegal possession of
firearms and direct assault with attempted homicide. Moreover, since the crime
committed was direct assault and not homicide or murder, illegal possession of
firearms cannot be deemed an aggravating circumstance.
We reject the OSG's contention that PD 1866, as worded prior to its
amendment by RA 8294, should be applied in this case. When the crime was
committed on September 24, 1997, the original language of PD 1866 had already
been expressly superseded by RA 8294 which took effect on July 6, 1997. In other
words, no longer in existence was the earlier provision of PD 1866, which justified
a conviction for illegal possession of firearms separate from any other crime. It
was replaced by RA 8294 which, among other amendments to PD 1866,
contained the specific proviso that "no other crime was committed."
Furthermore, the OSG's reliance on People v. Jayson is misplaced. True,
this Court sustained the conviction of appellant for illegal possession of firearms,
although he had also committed homicide. We explained however, that "the
criminal case for homicide [was] not before us for consideration."
Just as unacceptable is the interpretation of the trial court. We find no
justification for limiting the proviso in the second paragraph to murder and
homicide. The law is clear: the accused can be convicted of simple illegal
possession of firearms, provided that "no other crime was committed by the
person arrested." If the intention of the law in the second paragraph were to refer
only to homicide and murder, it should have expressly said so, as it did in the third
paragraph. Verily, where the law does not distinguish, neither should we.

Vicente Agote v. Hon. Manuel F. Lorenzo and People of the Philippines
G.R. No. 142675. July 22, 2005
Topic: Special Aggravating Circumstances

Petitioner Vicente Agote was charged to have violated Presidential Decree
No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms) and COMELEC Resolution No. 2826
(Gun Ban) for having in possession one (1) .38 cal. Rev. with four (4) live bullets in
a public place during the election period without having secured the necessary
license and authority from the COMELEC. During the pendency of the
case, Republic Act No. 8294was approved into law. Eventually, the trial court
rendered judgment of conviction in both cases wherein separate penalties were
imposed respectively. Petitioner moved for reconsideration, claiming that the
penalty for illegal possession of firearms under P.D. No. 1866 had already been
reduced by the subsequent enactment of Republic Act No. 8294, which the trial
court subsequently denied. He then filed a petition before the Court of Appeals
which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 2991-UDK, but was likewise dismissed.
Whether or not such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as a special
aggravating circumstance.

No. Section 1 of RA 8294 substantially provides that any person who shall
unlawfully possess any firearm or ammunition shall be penalized, unless no other
crime was committed. It further provides that such use of an unlicensed firearm
shall be considered only as an aggravating circumstance in cases of homicide or
murder. Since the crime committed was in violation of COMELEC Resolution No.
2826 or the Gun Ban, illegal possession of firearms cannot be deemed an
aggravating circumstance.
Celino vs CA
G. R. No. 170502; June 29, 2007
Topic: Special Aggravating Circumstances

Two separate informations were filed before the RTC charging petitioner with
violation of the gunban and illegal possession of firearms. Petitioner filed a Motion
to Quash contending that he "cannot be prosecuted for illegal possession of
firearms (R.A. 8294) . . . if he was also charged of having committed another
crime of [sic] violating the Comelec gun ban under the same set of facts. The trial
court denied the motion to quash on the ground that "the other offense charged . .
. is not one of those enumerated under R.A. 8294 . . . ." RA 8294 provides,
"xxxxx...If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm,
such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating
circumstance." "If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of or incident to, or
in connection with the crime of rebellion or insurrection, sedition, or attempted
coup d'etat, such violation shall be absorbed as an element of the crime of
rebellion, or insurrection, sedition, or attempted coup d'etat." The denial was
affirmed on appeal. Hence this petition, where petitioner contends that the mere
filing of an information for gun ban violation against him necessarily bars his
prosecution for illegal possession of firearms.
Whether the mere filing of an information for gun ban violation against him
necessarily bars his prosecution for illegal possession of firearm because of the
provision of the law that "Provided, however, That no other crime was committed
by the person arrested."
Ruling against the petitioner, the High Court explained that he can be convicted of
illegal possession of firearms, provided no other crime was committed by the
person arrested. The word committed taken in its ordinary sense, and in light of
the Constitutional presumption of innocence, necessarily implies a prior
determination of guilt by final conviction resulting from successful prosecution or
voluntary admission. Citing the case of People v. Valdez (1999), the Supreme
Court ruled that all pending cases involving illegal possession of firearm should
continue to be prosecuted and tried if no other crimes expressly indicated in
Republic Act No. 8294 are involved x x x. In sum, when the other offense
involved is one of those enumerated under R.A. 8294, any information for illegal
possession of firearm should be quashed because the illegal possession of
firearm would have to be tried together with such other offense, either considered
as an aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide, or absorbed as an
element of rebellion, insurrection, sedition or attempted coup detat. Conversely,
when the other offense involved is not one of those enumerated under R.A. 8294,
then the separate case for illegal possession of firearm should continue to be