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[G.R. No. 121998. March 9, 2000]
On March 18, 1993 Cipriano Supero saw Pedro Torrenueva being held by Florencio
Perame was struck with an iron pipe by Epifanio Cleopas and Teodorico Cleopas with a
piece of wood hitting him in the forehead so he fell on the ground dead. He was then
buried in the well near the house of Demetrio Cleopas, father of the accused. Upon
arraignment, Florencio Pirame and Teodorico Cleopas entered a plea of not guilty.
Epifanio Cleopas was not arraigned, being at large. Thereafter, trial on the merits
ensued. The RTC found Teodorico Cleopas and Florencio Pirame guilty of the crime of
murder punished under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and sentenced each one
of them to suffer an imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA, with the accessories of
the law and to pay the cost. Ordering them to indemnify surviving spouse P50,000 each
and 23,214 for burial and incidental expenses and P50,000 each for moral and
exemplary damages and in all instances without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency. Deducting time for preventive imprisonment.
ISSUE: whether or not the award of moral damages is proper
The Court concurred with the trial courts award of P50,000.00 each from appellant
Florencio Pirame and co-accused Teodorico Cleopas as death indemnity to the victims
heirs, which is in line with current jurisprudence. The amount of P23,214.00 awarded by
the trial court as "burial and incidental expenses" supported by the records. The award
of P50,000.00 from each accused as moral and exemplary damages, however, is
unsupported. The widow of the victim did not testify on any mental anguish or emotional
distress, which she suffered as a result of her husbands death. The absence of any
generic aggravating circumstance attending the crime likewise precludes the award of
exemplary damages.