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Subject: Application of Rules of Statutory Construction

Submitted by: Funa, Kal,Kee, Mandalo, Somblingo


On February 14, 1992, Rodrigo Daughterwitch met Leila Deanim at KCC Mall of
Gensan who was a cashier at that time. He was immediately engrossed with her beauty
and grace. Rodrigo decided to court her and because of his unending pursuit, she finally
said the sweetest "yes". After two (2) years of cohabitation the couple decided to get
married in Carmona, Cavite Church. The married couple decided to live in Maitum,
Sarangani Province which happened to be the hometown of Leila. On April 1, 1995
without the knowledge of Leila her husband went to Gensan to attend the Tuna Festival
but he never came back. During the time of her grief and agony because of the
disappearance of her husband, their "kumpare" and happened to be their driver
Matobato, act as her shoulder to lean on during the rough times of her life. Twelve years
had passed but the whereabouts of Rodrigo is still uknown. Believing that Roberto is
dead, Leila decided to marry Matobato. Anabelle Daughterwhich, the mother of Rodrigo
discovered the marriage between Leila and Matobato and angered by Leila's infedelity
towards her son. One time, Anabelle went to the house of Leila and upon arriving, she
saw Leila and Matabato kissing. Anabelle shouted and insulted Leila, saying nasty
words. Leila defended herself that she was faithful to Roberto and that she really loved
him but he was gone. She needed to be with somebody else to comfort her and it was
Matobato who was on her side. Still fighting, Leila was not able to suppress her anger
and raged because of Anabelle's words and decided to attack Anabelle with her knife
and killed her.

Leila Deanim was charged of parricide under Article 246 of the Revised Penal
Code. The prosecution contended that the killing of Anabelle who was the mother-in-law
of Leila constitutes the crime of parricide as expressed by the law. Leila was still legally
married to Rodrigo, as her second marriage to Matobato considered null and void for
absence of judicial declaration of presumptive death. It was further alleged that Leila
failed to execute extensive search to find Roberto. She failed to communicate and ask
the help of police officers and other authorities.

Petitioner Leila denied the charge against her alleging that she is not guilty of
parricide because her marriage with Matobato is valid. Roberto was absent for 12 years
which entitled him to marry again. She alleged that she also looked for Roberto for 12
years, as such, there is already a presumption that Roberto is dead which makes her
subsequent marriage to Matobato valid. Also, she further alleged that only legitimate or
illegitimate mother are included in the crime of parricide, mother-in-law is not included.

Correlating the above testimony, the Court gives merit to the contention of the
petitioner. It ruled that the crime commited is homicide and not parricide. Under Article
246, parricide is commited when;

Art. 246. Parricide- Any person who shall kills his father, mother, or child whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants or descendants or his spouse, shall
be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to

The act of Leila in killing Anabelle does not constitute parricide because as stated in the
article, it is only when the father, mother, or child whether legitimate or illegitimate, or
any of his ascendants or descendants or his spouse is killed that parricide is commited.
In the present case, Anabelle is not Leila's legitimate or illegimate mother. She is the
mother of Roberto which means that she is only Leila's mother-in-law. Therefore, Leila's
act of killing Anabelle is not punishable under the crime of parricide.

The first and fundamental duty of the courts is to apply and law. When the law is clear
and unambiguious, there is no room for construction or interpretation. The law must be
applied in its literal meaning. The clear and explicit language of Article 246 leaves no
room for doubt. The crime of parricide is commited by any person who shall kill his
father, mother, or child whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants or
descendants or his spouse.

Applying the rules of constuction, the express mention of one thing or consequence
implies the exclusion of all others(expressio unius est exclusio ulterius). Article 246
expressly enumerated the persons or victims of the crime which will constitute parricide.
It was not stated in the statute that mother-in-law or relatives by affinity are included. If
the statute enumerates the things upon which is to operate, everything else must
necessarily and by implication be excluded from its operation and effect. Thus, mother-
in-laws are deemed to be excluded in the crime of parricide.

Moreover, penal statutes are to be strictly construed against the government and
liberally in favor of the accused. The plain meaning of Article 246 is most favorable to
the accused. Verily, no other interpretation is justified. Accordingly, petitioner cannot be
convicted of parricide, she is only guily of homicide.