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Topic Mitigating Circumstances; Vindication of a Wrong

Case No. G.R. No. 149372. September 11, 2007

Case Name Bacabac vs People
Ponente Carpio-Morale, J.

For such mitigating circumstance to be credited, the act should be, following Article 13, paragraph
5 of the Revised Penal Code, committed in the immediate vindication of a grave offense to the one
committing the felony (delito), his spouse, ascendants, descendants, legitimate, natural or adopted
brothers or sisters, or relatives by afnity within the same degree.

Dec. 23, 1990 (evening): 2 groups of people were at a dance hall in Purok 4, San Joaquin, Iloilo
City. Group 1: Hernani (victim), Eduardo, and Melchor; Group 2: Jonathan and Edzel
On their way home, the 2 groups had a misunderstanding. Jesus, who was also at the dance hall,
witnessed this:
- Saw that Melchor "hugging" Edzel, and "tying" Jonathan "with his hands."
- Also saw the victim hit Edzel with a "stick."
- He told Group 1 that Edzel is the son of Councilor Jose Talanquines, Jr.
- Eduardo told Jesus to go away for they might shoot him - Jesus thus left and went to
Edzel's residence to report to his father what he had witnessed.
Edzel and Jonathan managed to flee.
Group 1 headed back home but they again encountered Group 2. This time, Group 2 was with
their uncle Ricardo Bacabac (a policeman), and Edzel's father, Jose, his mother, and 2 sisters.
- Bacabac and Jose were carrying M-16 armalites, while Jonathan and Edzel were carrying
a piece of wood and a revolver, respectively.
Jesus pointed to Group 1 and told Group 2 companions that they were the ones who manhandled
Jonathan and Edzel. The victim apologized, explaining that he and his companions mistook
Jonathan and Edzel for other persons. Jesus blurted out: "You are just bragging that you are brave.
You are only bullying small children."
Bacabac fired his armalite into the air. Jose also fired his armalite, but directed at Group 1, "as if
spraying his rifle from right to left"
- He hit Jonathan in the thigh as he moved to strike the victim with a piece of wood.
- Eduardo and the victim fell. As the victim was raising his hands in surrender, Jose shot
him again.
Melchor escaped. The victim, Eduardo, and Jonathan were brought to the hospital.
- Victim pronounced dead on arrival
- Eduardo died 2 hours later
RTC convicted Bacabac, Jose, Edzel, Jonathan, and Jesus of murder qualified by treachery.
However, there was a mitigating circumstance:
- Immediate vindication for Jose and Jesus
- Voluntary surrender for Bacabac
Bacabac argued that there was no conspiracy to kill:
- He merely fired a warning shot into the air to respond to a public disturbance, to avert
further acts of violence, in pursuance of his duty as police officer to keep peace in the
- There was no unity of purpose and execution. Witnesses said after Jose fired, Bacabac
merely stood there, doing and saying nothing. Bacabac said he was stunned by the events.
- Bacabac immediately reported the incident to their office.
- His actions were not something a co-conspirator would do.
- RTC gave credence to an improbable and unnatural scenario where the men let their
daughters and wife become exposed to danger.


W/N the mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication absolves Bacabac of liability

W/N there was conspiracy and treachery between Bacabac and Joses company

Issue Ratio
W/N the mitigating NO.
circumstance of immediate
vindication absolves him of 1. Bacabacs invocation of the mitigating circumstance of immediate
liabilit vindication of a grave offense fails because for it to be credited, the
act should be committed in the immediate vindication of a grave
offense to the one committing the felony, his spouse, ascendants,
descendants, legitimate, natural or adopted brothers or sisters, or
relatives by affinity within the same degree [RPC Article 13 (5)].
2. The offense committed on Edzel was "hitting" his ear with a stick
(according to Jesus), a bamboo pole (according to Edzel). By Edzel's
own clarification, "he was hit at his ear, not on his head" . THIS IS NOT
3. Edzel is petitioner's nephew, hence, not a relative by affinity "within
the same degree".
W/N there was conspiracy YES.
and treachery between 1. Bacabacs failure to assist the victims after the shooting reinforces the
Bacabac and Joses company conspiracy between him and his co-accused to harm the victims. That
it was he who first officially reported the shooting to the police station
would not make him any less of a conspirator.
2. A conspirator who wants to free himself from criminal liability usually
performs an overt act to dissociate or detach himself from the felony
while the commission of the felony is in progress:
- He only reported the shooting after it had taken place
- Voluntary surrender and non-flight do not conclusively
prove innocence.
3. Once conspiracy is established, the act of one is the act of all even if
not all actually hit and killed the victim.
4. There was also treachery because the victim and his companions had
no chance to defend themselves. They were not armed, the attack
was unexpected, and the victim already surrendered.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the appellate courts decision is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner. SO ORDERED.