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G.R.No.202867

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
SECONDDIVISION
G.R.No.202867July15,2013
PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,Appellee,
vs.
REGIELABIAGA,Appellant.
DECISION
CARPIO,J.:
TheCase
BeforetheCourtisanappealassailingtheDecision1dated18October2011oftheCourtofAppealsCebu(CA
Cebu)inCAG.R.CEBCRHCNo.01000.TheCACebuaffirmedwithmodificationtheJointDecision2dated10
March2008oftheRegionalTrialCourtofBarotacViejo,Iloilo,Branch66(RTC),inCriminalCaseNo.2001155)
convicting Regie Labiaga alias "Banok" (appellant) of murder and Criminal Case No. 20021777 convicting
appellantoffrustratedmurder.
TheFacts
In Criminal Case No. 20011555, appellant, together with a certain Alias Balatong Barcenas and Cristy
Demapanag(Demapanag),waschargedwithMurderwiththeUseofUnlicensedFirearmunderanInformation3
whichreads:
That on or about December 23, 2000 in the Municipality of Ajuy, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and helping one
another,armedwithunlicensedfirearm,withdeliberateintentanddecidedpurposetokill,bymeansoftreachery
and with evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot
JUDYCONDEaliasJOJOwithsaidunlicensedfirearm,hittingherandinflictinggunshotwoundsonthedifferent
partsofherbreastwhichcausedherdeaththereafter.
CONTRARYTOLAW.
ThesameindividualswerechargedwithFrustratedMurderwiththeUseofUnlicensedFirearminCriminalCase
No.20021777,underanInformation4whichstates:
That on or about December 23, 2000 in the Municipality of Ajuy, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and helping one
another,armedwithunlicensedfirearm,withdeliberateintentanddecidedpurposetokill,bymeansoftreachery
and with evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot
GregorioCondewithsaidunlicensedfirearm,hittinghimontheposterioraspect,middlethirdrightforearm1cm.
In diameter thereby performing all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of Murder as a
consequence,butneverthelessdidnotproduceitbyreasonofcausesindependentofthewilloftheaccusedthat
isbythetimelyandablemedicalassistancerenderedtosaidGregorioCondewhichpreventedhisdeath.
CONTRARYTOLAW.
AliasBalatongBarcenasremainedatlarge.BothappellantandDemapanagplednotguiltyinbothcasesandjoint
trial ensued thereafter. The prosecution presented four witnesses: Gregorio Conde, the victim in Criminal Case
No. 20021777 Glenelyn Conde, his daughter and Dr. Jeremiah Obaana and Dr. Edwin Jose Figura, the
physicians at the Sara District Hospital where the victims were admitted. The defense, on the other hand,
presentedappellant,Demapanag,andthelattersbrother,Frederick.
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Versionoftheprosecution
Theprosecutionsversionofthefactsisasfollows:Ataround7:00p.m.on23December2000,GregorioConde,
and his two daughters, Judy and Glenelyn Conde, were in their home at Barangay Malayuan, Ajuy, Iloilo.
Thereafter,Gregoriosteppedoutside.Glenelynwasintheirstore,whichwaspartoftheirhouse.
Shortly thereafter, appellant, who was approximately five meters away from Gregorio, shot the latter. Gregorio
calledJudyforhelp.WhenJudyandGlenelynrushedtoGregoriosaid,appellantshotJudyintheabdomen.The
twootheraccusedwerestandingbehindtheappellant.Appellantsaid,"sheisalreadydead,"andthethreefled
thecrimescene.
GregorioandJudywererushedtotheSaraDistrictHospital.JudywaspronounceddeadonarrivalwhileGregorio
madeafullrecoveryaftertreatmentofhisgunshotwound.
Dr. Jeremiah Obaana conducted the autopsy of Judy. His report stated that her death was caused by
"cardiopulmonaryarrestsecondarytoCardiacTamponadeduetogunshotwound."5
Dr.JoseEdwinFigura,ontheotherhand,examinedGregorioaftertheincident.HefoundthatGregoriosustained
a gunshot wound measuring one centimeter in diameter in his right forearm and "abrasion wounds hematoma
formation"inhisrightshoulder.6
Versionofthedefense
Appellantadmittedthathewaspresentduringtheshootingincidenton23December2000.Heclaimed,however,
thatheactedinselfdefense.Gregorio,armedwithashotgun,challengedhimtoafight.Heattemptedtoshoot
appellant,buttheshotgunjammed.AppellanttriedtowresttheshotgunfromGregorio,andduringthestruggle,
theshotgunfired.Heclaimedthathedidnotknowifanyonewashitbythatgunshot.
Demapanag claimed that at the time of the shooting, he was in D&D Ricemill, which is approximately 14
kilometersawayfromthecrimescene.ThiswascorroboratedbyFrederick,Demapanagsbrother.
TheRulingoftheRTC
In its Joint Decision, the RTC acquitted Demapanag due to insufficiency of evidence. Appellant, however, was
convictedofmurderandfrustratedmurder.ThedispositiveportionoftheJointDecisionreads:
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the court hereby finds the accused Regie Labiaga @ "Banok" GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the Crime of Murder in Crim. Case No. 20011555 and hereby sentences the said
accusedtoreclusionperpetuatogetherwithaccessorypenaltyprovidedbylaw,topaytheheirsofJudyConde
P50,000.00ascivilindemnity,withoutsubsidiaryimprisonmentincaseofinsolvencyandtopaythecosts.
In Crim. Case No. 20021777, the court finds accused Regie Labiaga @ "Banok" GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubtofthecrimeofFrustratedMurderandherebysentencesthesaidaccusedtoaprisontermrangingfromsix
(6)yearsandone(1)dayofprisionmayorasminimumtoten(10)yearsandone(1)dayofreclusiontemporalas
maximum, together with the necessary penalty provided by law and without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvencyandtopaythecosts.
Accusedsentireperiodofdetentionshallbedeductedfromthepenaltyhereinimposedwhentheaccusedserves
hissentence.
Forlackofsufficientevidence,accusedCristyDemapanagisacquittedofthecrimeschargedinbothcases.The
Provincial Warden, Iloilo Rehabilitation Center, Pototan, Iloilo is hereby directed to release accused Cristy
Demapanagfromcustodyunlessheisbeingheldforsomeothervalidorlawfulcause.
SOORDERED.7
TheRulingoftheCACebu
AppellantimpugnedtheRTCsJointDecision,claimingthat"theRTCgravelyerredinconvictingtheappellantof
thecrimechargeddespitefailureoftheprosecutiontoprovehisguiltbeyondreasonabledoubt."8TheCACebu,
however,upheldtheconvictionformurderandfrustratedmurder.
TheCACebualsomodifiedtheJointDecisionbyimposingthepaymentofmoralandexemplarydamagesinboth
criminal cases. The CACebu made a distinction between the civil indemnity awarded by the RTC in Criminal
CaseNo.20011555andthemoraldamages.TheCACebupointedoutthat:
The trial court granted the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity in Criminal Case No. 20011555. It did not
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award moral damages. Nonetheless, the trial court should have awarded both, considering that they are two
different kinds of damages. For death indemnity, the amount of P50,000.00 is fixed "pursuant to the current
judicialpolicyonthematter,withoutneedofanyevidenceorproofofdamages.Likewise,thementalanguishof
thesurvivingfamilyshouldbeassuagedbytheawardofappropriateandreasonablemoraldamages."9
ThedispositiveportionoftheDecisionoftheCACebureads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is DENIED. The Joint Decision dated March 10,
2008 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATIONS.ThedispositiveportionofthesaidJointDecisionshouldnowreadasfollows:
WHEREFORE,inlightoftheforegoing,thecourtherebyfindstheaccusedRegieLabiaga@"Banok"
GUILTYbeyondreasonabledoubtofthecrimeofMurderinCrim.CaseNo.20011555andhereby
sentences the said accused to reclusion perpetua together with the accessory penalty provided by
law, to pay the heirs of Judy Conde P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages
andP25,000.00asexemplarydamages,withoutsubsidiaryimprisonmentincaseofinsolvencyand
topaythecosts.
In Crim. Case No. 20021777 the court finds accused Regie Labiaga @ "Banok" GUILTY beyond
reasonabledoubtofthecrimeofFrustratedMurderandherebysentencesthesaidaccusedtosuffer
the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to
fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, together with the
accessory penalty provided by law, to pay Gregorio Conde P25,000.00 as moral damages and
P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to
pay the costs Accused(s) entire period of detention shall be deducted from the penalty herein
imposedwhentheaccusedserveshissentence.
For lack of sufficient evidence, accused Cristy Demapanag is acquitted of the crime(s) charged in
both cases. The Provincial Warden, Iloilo Rehabilitation Center, Pototan, Iloilo is hereby directed to
release accused Cristy Demapanag from custody unless he is being held for some other valid or
lawfulcause.
SOORDERED.
SOORDERED.10
Hence,thisappeal.
TheRulingoftheCourt
Our review of the records of Criminal Case No. 20021777 convinces us that appellant is guilty of attempted
murderandnotfrustratedmurder.WeupholdappellantsconvictioninCriminalCaseNo.20011555formurder,
but modify the civil indemnity awarded in Criminal Case No. 20011555, as well as the award of moral and
exemplarydamagesinbothcases.
Justifyingcircumstanceofselfdefense
Appellants feeble attempt to invoke selfdefense in both cases was correctly rejected by the RTC and the CA
Cebu.ThisCourt,inPeoplev.Damitan,11explainedthat:
Whentheaccusedadmitskillingapersonbutpleadsselfdefense,theburdenofevidenceshiftsto
him to prove by clear and convincing evidence the elements of his defense. However, appellants
versionoftheincidentwasuncorroborated.Hisbareandselfservingassertionscannotprevailover
thepositiveidentificationofthetwo(2)principalwitnessesoftheprosecution.12
Appellants failure to present any other eyewitness to corroborate his testimony and his unconvincing
demonstration of the struggle between him and Gregorio before the RTC lead us to reject his claim of self
defense. Also, as correctly pointed out by the CACebu, appellants theory of selfdefense is belied by the fact
that:
xxxTheappellantdidnotevenbothertoreporttothepoliceGregoriosallegedunlawfulaggressionandthatit
wasGregoriowhoownedthegun,asappellantclaimed.And,whenappellantwasarrestedthefollowingmorning,
hedidnotalsoinformthepolicethatwhathappenedtoGregoriowasmerelyaccidental.13
Appellants claim that he did not know whether Gregorio was hit when the shotgun accidentally fired is also
implausible.
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Incontrast,wefindthattheCondesaccountoftheincidentispersuasive.BoththeCACebuandtheRTCfound
thatthetestimoniesoftheCondeswerecredibleandpresentedinaclearandconvincingmanner.ThisCourthas
consistently put much weight on the trial courts assessment of the credibility of witnesses, especially when
affirmedbytheappellatecourt.14InPeoplev.Mangune,15westatedthat:
Itiswellsettledthattheevaluationofthecredibilityofwitnessesandtheirtestimoniesisamatterbestundertaken
by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses first hand and to note their
demeanor,conduct,andattitudeundergrillingexamination.Theseareimportantindeterminingthetruthfulness
of witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face of conflicting testimonies. For, indeed, the
emphasis,gesture,andinflectionofthevoicearepotentaidsinascertainingthewitnesscredibility,andthetrial
courthastheopportunitytotakeadvantageoftheseaids.16
Since the conclusions made by the RTC regarding the credibility of the witnesses were not tainted with
arbitrarinessoroversightormisapprehensionofrelevantfacts,thesamemustbesustainedbythisCourt.
AttemptedandFrustratedMurder
Treachery was correctly appreciated by the RTC and CACebu. A treacherous attack is one in which the victim
wasnotaffordedanyopportunitytodefendhimselforresisttheattack.17Theexistenceoftreacheryisnotsolely
determined by the type of weapon used. If it appears that the weapon was deliberately chosen to insure the
executionofthecrime,andtorenderthevictimdefenseless,thentreacherymaybeproperlyappreciatedagainst
theaccused.18
Intheinstantcase,theCondeswereunarmedwhentheywereshotbyappellant.Theuseofa12gaugeshotgun
against two unarmed victims is undoubtedly treacherous, as it denies the victims the chance to fend off the
offender.
Wenote,however,thatappellantshouldbeconvictedofattemptedmurder,andnotfrustratedmurderinCriminal
CaseNo.20021777.
Article6oftheRevisedPenalCodedefinesthestagesinthecommissionoffelonies:
Art. 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies. Consummated felonies as well as those which are
frustratedandattempted,arepunishable.
Afelonyisconsummatedwhenalltheelementsnecessaryforitsexecutionandaccomplishmentarepresentand
it is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a
consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the
perpetrator.
Thereisanattemptwhentheoffendercommencesthecommissionofafelonydirectlybyovertacts,anddoes
notperformalltheactsofexecutionwhichshouldproducethefelonybyreasonofsomecauseoraccidentother
thanhisownspontaneousdesistance.
InSerranov.People,19wedistinguishedafrustratedfelonyfromanattemptedfelonyinthismanner:
1.) In a frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts of execution which should produce the
felony as a consequence whereas in an attempted felony, the offender merely commences the
commissionofafelonydirectlybyovertactsanddoesnotperformalltheactsofexecution.
2.)Inafrustratedfelony,thereasonforthenonaccomplishmentofthecrimeissomecauseindependent
ofthewilloftheperpetratorontheotherhand,inanattemptedfelony,thereasonforthenonfulfillmentof
thecrimeisacauseoraccidentotherthantheoffendersownspontaneousdesistance.20
Infrustratedmurder,theremustbeevidenceshowingthatthewoundwouldhavebeenfatalwereitnotfortimely
medicalintervention.21Iftheevidencefailstoconvincethecourtthatthewoundsustainedwouldhavecausedthe
victims death without timely medical attention, the accused should be convicted of attempted murder and not
frustratedmurder.
In the instant case, it does not appear that the wound sustained by Gregorio Conde was mortal. This was
admittedbyDr.EdwinFigura,whoexaminedGregorioaftertheshootingincident:
ProsecutorConEl:
Q:WhenyouexaminedthepersonofGregorioConde,canyoutellthecourtwhatwasthesituationofthepatient
whenyouexaminedhim?
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A:Hehasagunshotwound,butthepatientwasactuallyambulatoryandnotindistress.
xxxx
Court(tothewitness)
Q:Thenatureoftheseinjuries,notserious?
A:Yes,YourHonor,notserious.Hehasalsoabrasionwoundshematomaformationattheanterioraspectright
shoulder.22
SinceGregoriosgunshotwoundwasnotmortal,weholdthatappellantshouldbeconvictedofattemptedmurder
andnotfrustratedmurder.UnderArticle51oftheRevisedPenalCode,thecorrespondingpenaltyforattempted
murder shall be two degrees lower than that prescribed for consummated murder under Article 248, that is,
prisioncorreccionalinitsmaximumperiodtoprisionmayorinitsmediumperiod.Section1oftheIndeterminate
SentenceLawprovides:
xxxthecourtshallsentencetheaccusedtoanindeterminatesentencethemaximumtermofwhichshallbethat
which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the Revised Penal
Code,andtheminimumwhichshallbewithintherangeofthepenaltynextlowertothatprescribedbytheCode
fortheoffense.
1 w p h i1

Thus,appellantshouldserveanindeterminatesentencerangingfromtwo(2)years,four(4)monthsandone(1)
dayofprisioncorreccionalinitsmediumperiodtoeight(8)yearsandone(1)dayofprisionmayorinitsmedium
period.
Awardofdamages
Inlightofrecentjurisprudence,wedeemitpropertoincreasetheamountofdamagesimposedbythelowercourt
in both cases. In Criminal Case No. 20011555, this Court hereby awards P75,000.00 as civil indemnity23 and
P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.24 The award of P50,000.00 as moral damages in the foregoing case is
sustained.AppellantisalsoliabletopayP40,000.00asmoraldamagesandP30,000.00asexemplarydamages,
inrelationtoCriminalCaseNo.20021777.
WHEREFORE,weAFFIRMthe18October2011DecisionoftheCourtofAppealsCebuinCAG.R.CEBCRHC
No. 01000 with MODIFICATIONS. In Criminal Case No. 20021777, we find that appellant Regie Labiaga is
GUILTY of Attempted Murder and shall suffer an indeterminate sentence ranging from two (2) years, four (4)
monthsandone(1)dayofprisioncorreccionalasminimum,toeight(8)yearsandone(1)dayofprisionmayor
asmaximum,andpayP40,000.00asmoraldamagesandP30,000.00asexemplarydamages.InCriminalCase
No. 20011555, appellant shall pay P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and
P30,000.00asexemplarydamages.
SOORDERED.
ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice
WECONCUR:
MARIANOC.DELCASTILLO
AssociateJustice
JOSEC.MENDOZA*
AssociateJustice

JOSEPORTUGALPEREZ
AssociateJustice

ESTELAM.PERLASBERNABE
AssociateJustice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.
ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson
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CERTIFICATION
PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution,andtheDivisionChairperson'sAttestation,Icertifythatthe
conclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriterof
theopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.
MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
*

DesignatedActingMemberperSpecialOrderNo.1484dated9July2013.

1 Rollo, pp. 218. Penned by Acting Executive Justice Pampio A. Abarintos, with Justices Edgardo B.

Peralta,Jr.andGabrielT.Ingles,concurring.
2CACeburollo,pp.3239.PennedbyJudgeRogelioJ.Amador.
3Records(CriminalCaseNo.20011555),p.1.
4Records(CriminalCaseNo.20021777),p.1.
5Records(CriminalCaseNo.20011555),p.7.
6TSN,29September2005,p.6.
7CACeburollo,pp.3839.
8Id.at26.
9Rollo,p.15,citingPeoplev.Mayingque,G.R.No.179709,6July2010,624SCRA123.
10Id.at1718.
11423Phil.113(2001).
12Id.at121.
13Rollo,p.13.
14Ingalv.People,571Phil.346(2008).
15G.R.No.186463,14November2012,685SCRA578.
16Id.at589,citingPeoplev.Dion,G.R.No.181035,4July2011,653SCRA117,133.
17Peoplev.Albarido,420Phil.235(2001).
18Peoplev.Gonzalez,Jr.,411Phil.893(2001).
19G.R.No.175023,5July2010,623SCRA322.
20Id.at337338,citingPalaganasv.People,533Phil.169(2006).
21Peoplev.Costales,424Phil.321(2002),citingPeoplev.DelaCruz,353Phil.362(1998)andPeoplev.

Zaragosa,58O.G.4519.
22TSN,29September2005,pp.46.
23Peoplev.Lucero,G.R.No.179044,6December2010,636SCRA533.
24Id.
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