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PEOPLE V. EDNA MANGLAN and the resulting homicide is absorbed; (2) if on the other
G.R. No. 170470, 26 September 2006, J. Chico-Nazario hand, the main objective is to kill a particular person who
PRINCIPLE: Article 14, Aggravating Circumstances – By may be in a building or edifice, when fire is resorted to as
means of Inundation, Fire, Etc. the means to accomplish such goal the crime committed is
arson only; and (3) if the object is likewise to kill a particular
Around 4:45 a.m. on 2 January 2001 when Bernado and his person and in fact the offender has done so, but fire is
tanods saw Edna, one hired as a housemaid by Separa with her resorted to as a means to cover up the killing, then there
head turning in different directions, hurriedly leaving the house are two separate and distinct crimes committed homicide /
of her employer at Tondo, Manila. She was seen to have murder or arson.
boarded a pedicab which was driven by a person later identified
as Gruta. She was heard by the pedicab driver to have From the reading of the body of the information, “that on or about
instructed that she be brought to Nipa St., but upon arrival there, 2 January 2001, the said accused with intent to cause damage,
she changed her mind and asked that she be brought instead to did then and there wilfully, unlawfully x x x and deliberately set
Balasan St. where she finally alighted. 30 mins later,Barangay fire upon the two-storey residential house of Separa x x x.
Chairman Bernardos group later discovered that a fire gutted the
house of the employer of the housemaid. When the chairman As stated in the information, accused was charged with having
returned to the Barangay Hall, he received a report form pedicab intentionally burned the house of Separa. Said conflagration
driver Gruta who was also a tanod, that shortly before the likewise spread and destroyed 7 adjoining houses.
occurrence of the fire, he saw a woman (the housemaid) coming Consequently, if proved, as it was proved, at the trial, she may
out of the house. Edna was brought to the Barangay Hall and be convicted, and sentenced accordingly, of the crime of simple
thereafter admitted that she is the one who started the fire arson. Such is the case notwithstanding the error in the
because she had not been paid her salary for about a year and designation of the offense in the information, the
that she wanted to go home to her province but her employer information remains effective insofar as it states the facts
told her just rid a broomstick in going home. (Burned the house constituting the crime alleged therein. What is controlling
by lighting a crumpled newspaper and threw them on top of the is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the
table inside the house). offense charged or the particular law or part thereof
allegedly violate, but the description of the crime charged
The fire resulted in the destruction of the house of Separa and and the particular facts therein recited.
other adjoining houses and the death of Separa Spouses and
their 4 children. There is, thus a need to modify the penalty imposed by the RTC
as Sec. 5 of PD No. 1613 categorically provides that the penalty
RTC Ruling: Edna is guilty of the crime of arson with multiple to be imposed for simple arson is reclusion perpetua to death.
homicide (death penalty) No aggravating alleged in the information, the imposable penalty
CA Ruling: Affirmed with modification on the award of damages. is reclusion perpetua.
ISSUE: Whether or not the accused is guilty as charged. TOPIC: Aggravating Circumstances (Evident Premeditation)
[G.R. No. 132568. February 6, 2002]
There is no crim of arson with multiple homicide. The THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
information in this case erroneously charged with a complex vs. MATT G. CAMPOMANES and EDWIN D.
crime. There 2 laws that govern the crime of arson where death ROSITA, accused-appellants.
results therefrom Article 320 as Mended by RA 7659 and FACTS:
Section 5 PD 1613. On December 30, 1994, at around 10:30 p.m., Aureada, a
security guard at the Rizal Park, was guarding the area around
RPC Art. 320: Destructive Arson: If as a consequence of the the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal when he saw Matt
commission of any of the acts penalized under this Article, death Campomanes, a park photographer, running after Loreto
results, the mandatory of penalty of death shall be imposed Alkonga, also a park photographer.[4] Campomanes caught
Alkonga and grabbed the latters collar, causing both of them to
PD 1613: Sec. 5 (Simple Arson): Where Death results from lose their balance and fall on the ground, about three (3) meters
arson: if by reason of or on the occasion of the arson death away from Aureada.[5] Aureada blew his whistle, but the two,
results, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be instead of stopping, began grappling for Alkongas camera and
imposed. hitting each other using the same.[6] Aureada then saw Edwin
Rosita, another park photographer, arrive. Rosita appeared very
Art. 320 of the RPC as amended, with respect to destructive angry, and brought out a balisong or fan knife, pointing the same
arson, and the provisions of PD No .1613 respecting other cases in the direction of Alkonga.[7] Aureada tried to fire a warning shot
of arson provide only one penalty for the commission of arson, but his rifle misfired. Seeing what Aureada was trying to do,
whether considered destructive or otherwise, where death Rosita instead went after the latter who started running
results therefrom. The raison d’tre is that person is itself the end away.[8] Aureada took his mobile radio and called the park
and death is simply the consequence. Accordingly, in cases security patrol. Then Aureada saw Rosita begin stabbing
where both burning and death occur, in order to determine Alkonga who was sitting on the ground with his arms raised and
what crime/crimes was / were perpetrated whether arson, held by Capomanes.[9] After Rosita stabbed the victim several
murder or arson and homicide/murder, it is to ascertain the times, he, together with Campomanes, ran towards Manila
main objective of the malefactor: (1) if the main objective is Hotel. Shortly thereafter, they were apprehended by the park
the burning of the building or edifice, but death results by security patrol.
reason or on the occasion of arson, the crim is simply arson
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Meanwhile, Aureada brought Alkonga to the Philippine General Q Was that the first time he stabbed Loreto Alkonga after Edwin
Hospital. Thereafter, he went to the headquarters of his security Rosita failed to get to you?
agency near the Rizal Park where he identified the two accused, A Yes, sir.
Rosita and Campomanes, as the perpetrators of the Q That was the first time?
crime.[10]Alkonga died in the hospital at 2:00 a.m. the following A Yes, sir.
day due to multiple stab wounds.[11] ATTY. NOGALES:
Prosecution witness SPO2 Roberto Gutierrez testified that at Q And will you please tell the court the relative position between
about 1:00 a.m. on December 31, 1994, and while he was on (sic) Edwin Rosita and Loreto Alkonga when the first stabbed
duty at the Ermita Police Station, he took the sworn statement Loreto Alkonga?
of Renante Aureada regarding the stabbing of one Loreto A Loreto Alkonga was then sitting at the back of the monument
Alkonga. While making a sworn statement, Aureada identified with arms raised which were being held by Matt Campomanes
Rosita as the one who stabbed Alkonga, and Matt Campomanes and in that situation he was being stabbed by Edwin Rosita.
as the one who held the arms of Alkonga while the latter was Q Now, if you are Edwin Rosita, how will you please
being stabbed.[12] demonstrate to the court how he was stabbing Alkonga?
SPO2 Jose Bagkus was the night shift investigator on duty at A (witness demonstrating by stooping while he was stabbing
the Homicide Division of the Western Police District Loreto Alkonga with his right hand and going at the other side
on December 31, 1994. His testimony corroborated that of and stabbing Loreto Alkonga).[36]
SPO2 Gutierrez on material points, particularly the identification It is clearly deducible from the foregoing that the manner by
by Aureada of Rosita as the one who stabbed Alkonga, and of which the victim was killed was deliberately and consciously
Campomanes as the one who held the arms of the victim while adopted by the accused to ensure the execution of the dastardly
the latter was being stabbed.[13] Aureada gave a sworn act without affording the victim any opportunity to defend himself
supplemental statement of the same tenor in the presence of or to retaliate. In a sitting position with arms restrained by one of
SPO2 Bagkus. the accused, the victim becomes a helpless and defenseless
Anent the second assignment of error, the accused-appellant object of the attack. It is immaterial that the victim initially
contends that it is plain error on the part of the lower court to grappled with Campomanes and was even able to hit the latter
appreciate the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation with the camera. Crucial is the moment when Rosita came with
on the basis of the presence of conspiracy. The Solicitor a bladed weapon, and with the victim in a sitting position with his
General joins in this contention but alleges instead the presence arms raised and held by Campomanes, said victim was
of treachery to qualify the crime. repeatedly stabbed by Rosita. Such manner of killing had been
ISSUE: Whether or not evident premeditation was attendant in declared by this Court in a plethora of cases to be attended by
the commission of the crime to qualify it to murder treachery.
RULING: Evident premeditation may be appreciated as a ---------------------------xxx-----------------------
qualifying circumstance after the following requisites are CRAFT FRAUD OR DISGUISE
sufficiently established: (1) the time when the accused GR. No. 196735, August 03, 2016
determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DANILO
that the accused clung to his determination; and (3) a sufficient FELICIANO, JR., JULIUS VICTOR MEDALLA,
lapse of time between such determination and execution to CHRISTOPHER SOLIVA, WARREN L. ZINGAPAN, AND
allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act. [32] It is true ROBERT MICHAEL BELTRAN PROMULGATED: ALVIR,
that where conspiracy is directly established, with proof of the ACCUSED-APPELLANTS., Respondent.
attendant deliberation and selection of the method, time and LEONEN, J.:
means of executing the crime, the existence of evident FACTS: On December 8, 1994, at around 12:30 to 1:00 in the
premeditation can be taken for granted.[33] However, where no afternoon, seven (7) members of the Sigma Rho fraternity were
such evidence exists, and where conspiracy is merely inferred eating lunch at the Beach House Canteen, near the Main Library
from the acts of the accused in the perpetration of the crime, as of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, when they were
in the case at bar, the above requisites of evident premeditation attacked by several masked men carrying baseball bats and
need to be established.[34] A careful perusal of the records of this lead pipes. Some of them sustained injuries that required
case shows that evident premeditation was not sufficiently hospitalization. One of them, Dennis Venturina, died from his
proven, and thus, may not be appreciated. injuries.
We agree, however, with the Solicitor General that treachery is An information for murder was filed against several members of
present. There are two conditions for the existence of the the Scintilla Juris fraternity and separate informations were also
qualifying circumstance of treachery, viz: (1) the employment of filed against them for the attempted and frustrated murder of
the means of execution that gives the person attacked no Sigma Rho fraternity members.
opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (2) the deliberate LOWER COURT RULING
and conscious adoption of the means of execution. [35] RTC found Alvir, Feliciano Jr., Soliva, Medalla and Zingapan
In the case at bar, eyewitness Aureada testified that when the guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder and attempted
victim was stabbed by Rosita, said victim was in a sitting position murder. Others were acquitted. The case against Guerrero was
with arms raised and held by Campomanes. ordered archived by the court until his apprehension. CA
ATTY. NOGALES: affirmed RTC’s decision.
Q Did you see him (Rosita) actually stab Loreto Alkonga? ISSUE: W/N "masks and/or other forms of disguise" as an
A Yes, sir. aggravating circumstance must be appreciated.
Q How far were you? HELD: In criminal cases, disguise is an aggravating
A 5 meters away, sir. circumstance because, like nighttime, it allows the accused to
COURT: (to the witness)
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remain anonymous and unidentifiable as he carries out his speeches in between. Colonel Edgar Dula Torres, then Deputy
crimes. Superintendent of the Western Police District, arrived and asked
The introduction of the prosecution of testimonial evidence that the leaders for their permit. No permit could be produced.
tends to prove that the accused were masked but the masks fell Colonel Dula Torres thereupon gave them ten minutes to
off does not prevent them from including disguise as an disperse. The loyalist leaders asked for thirty minutes but this
aggravating circumstance. What is important in alleging was refused. Atty. Lozano turned towards his group and said
disguise as an aggravating circumstance is that there was a "Gulpihin ninyo ang lahat ng mga Cory infiltrators." Atty. Nuega
concealment of identity by the accused. The inclusion of added "Sige, sige gulpihin ninyo!" The police then pushed the
disguise in the information was, therefore, enough to sufficiently crowd, and used tear gas and truncheons to disperse them. The
apprise the accused that in the commission of the offense they loyalists scampered away but some of them fought back and
were being charged with, they tried to conceal their identity. threw stones at the police. Eventually, the crowd fled towards
The introduction of evidence which shows that some of the Maria Orosa Street and the situation later stabilized.
accused were not wearing masks is also not violative of their At about 4:00 p.m., a small group of loyalists converged at the
right to be informed of their offenses. Chinese Garden, Phase III of the Luneta. There, they saw Annie
The information charges conspiracy among the accused. Ferrer, a popular movie starlet and supporter of President
Conspiracy presupposes that "the act of one is the act of Marcos, jogging around the fountain. They approached her and
all." This would mean all the accused had been one in their plan informed her of their dispersal and Annie Ferrer angrily ordered
to conceal their identity even if there was evidence later on to them "Gulpihin ninyo and mga Cory hecklers!" Then she
prove that some of them might not have done so. continued jogging around the fountain chanting "Marcos pa rin,
In any case, the accused were being charged with the crime of Marcos pa rin, Pabalikin si Marcos, Pabalikin si Marcos,
murder, frustrated murder, and attempted murder. All that is Bugbugin ang mga nakadilaw!" The loyalists replied "Bugbugin!"
needed for the information to be sufficient is that the elements A few minutes later, Annie Ferrer was arrested by the police.
of the crime have been alleged and that there are sufficient Somebody then shouted "Kailangang gumanti, tayo ngayon!" A
details as to the time, place, and persons involved in the offense commotion ensued and Renato Banculo, a cigarette vendor,
DISPOSITIVE: WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of saw the loyalists attacking persons in yellow, the color of the
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR N). 01158 dated November 26, 2010 is "Coryistas." Renato took off his yellow shirt. He then saw a man
AFFIRMED insofar as the accused-appellants Danilo Feliciano, wearing a yellow t-shirt being chased by a group of persons
Jr., Julius Victor Medalla, Christopher Soliva, Warren L. shouting "Iyan, habulin iyan. Cory iyan!"
Zingapan, and Robert Michael Beltran Alvir are found GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of Murder in. Criminal Case No. Q95- The man in the yellow t-shirt was Salcedo and his pursuers
61133 with the MODIFICATION that they be fouhd GUILTY appeared to be Marcos loyalists. They caught Salcedo and
beyond reasonable doubt of Attempted Murder in Criminal Case boxed and kicked and mauled him. Salcedo tried to extricate
Nos. Q95-61136, Q95-61135, Q95-61134, Q95-61138, and himself from the group but they again pounced on him and
Q95-61137. pummelled him with fist blows and kicks hitting him on various
--------------------------xxx------------------------ parts of his body. Banculo saw Ranulfo Sumilang, an electrician
Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Joel Tan, Richard de los at the Luneta, rush to Salcedo's aid. Sumilang tried to pacify the
Santos, and Joselito Tamayo vs. People of the Philippines maulers so he could extricate Salcedo from them. But the
and Court of Appeals maulers pursued Salcedo unrelentingly, boxing him with stones
G.R. No. 108280-83 / 16 November 1995./ Justice Puno in their fists. Somebody gave Sumilang a loyalist tag which
Art. 14 – Aggravating Circumstances – Abuse of Superior Sumilang showed to Salcedo's attackers. They backed off for a
Strength while and Sumilang was able to tow Salcedo away from them.
But accused Raul Billosos emerged from behind Sumilang as
FACTS: another man boxed Salcedo on the head. Accused Richard de
The case before us occurred at a time of great political los Santos also boxed Salcedo twice on the head and kicked
polarization in the aftermath of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. This him even as he was already fallen. Salcedo tried to stand but
was the time when the newly-installed government of President accused Joel Tan boxed him on the left side of his head and ear.
Corazon C. Aquino was being openly challenged in rallies, Accused Nilo Pacadar punched Salcedo on his nape, shouting:
demonstrations and other public fora by "Marcos loyalists," "Iyan, Cory Iyan. Patayin!" Sumilang tried to pacify Pacadar but
supporters of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Tension the latter lunged at the victim again. Accused Joselito Tamayo
and animosity between the two (2) groups sometimes broke into boxed Salcedo on the left jaw and kicked him as he once more
violence. On July 27, 1986, it resulted in the murder of Stephen fell. Banculo saw accused Romeo Sison trip Salcedo and kick
Salcedo, a known "Coryista." him on the head, and when he tried to stand, Sison repeatedly
From August to October 1986, several informations were filed in boxed him. Sumilang saw accused Gerry Neri approach the
court against eleven persons identified as Marcos loyalists victim but did not notice what he did.
charging them with the murder of Salcedo. Salcedo somehow managed to get away from his attackers and
The prosecution established that on July 27, 1986, a rally was wipe off the blood from his face. He sat on some cement steps
scheduled to be held at the Luneta by the Marcos loyalists. and then tried to flee towards Roxas boulevard to the sanctuary
Earlier, they applied for a permit to hold the rally but their of the Rizal Monument but accused Joel Tan and Nilo Pacadar
application was denied by the authorities. Despite this setback, pursued him, mauling Sumilang in the process. Salcedo pleaded
three thousand of them gathered at the Rizal Monument of the for his life exclaiming "Maawa na kayo sa akin. Tulungan ninyo
Luneta at 2:30 in the afternoon of the scheduled day. Led by ako." He cried: "Pulis, pulis. Wala bang pulis?"
Oliver Lozano and Benjamin Nuega, both members of the The mauling resumed at the Rizal Monument and continued
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the loyalists started an along Roxas Boulevard until Salcedo collapsed and lost
impromptu singing contest, recited prayers and delivered consciousness. Sumilang flagged down a van and with the help
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of a traffic officer, brought Salcedo to the Medical Center Manila their superior strength and excessive force and frustrated any
but he was refused admission. So they took him to the Philippine attempt by Salcedo to escape and free himself. They followed
General Hospital where he died upon arrival. Salcedo from the Chinese Garden to the Rizal Monument
Salcedo died of "hemorrhage, intracranial traumatic." He several meters away and hit him mercilessly even when he was
sustained various contusions, abrasions, lacerated wounds and already fallen on the ground. There was a time when Salcedo
skull fractures was able to get up, prop himself against the pavement and wipe
The mauling of Salcedo was witnessed by bystanders and off the blood from his face. But his attackers continued to pursue
several press people, both local and foreign. The press took him relentlessly. Salcedo could not defend himself nor could he
pictures and a video of the event which became front-page news find means to defend himself. Sumilang tried to save him from
the following day, capturing national and international attention. his assailants but they continued beating him, hitting Sumilang
This prompted President Aquino to order the Capital Regional in the process. Salcedo pleaded for mercy but they ignored his
Command and the Western Police District to investigate the pleas until he finally lost consciousness. The deliberate and
incident. A reward of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) was put prolonged use of superior strength on a defenseless victim
up by Brigadier General Alfredo Lim, then Police Chief, for qualifies the killing to murder.
persons who could give information leading to the arrest of the Other aggravating cirumstances discussed:
killers. Several persons, including Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato Treachery as a qualifying circumstance cannot be appreciated
Banculo, cooperated with the police, and on the basis of their in the instant case. There is no proof that the attack on Salcedo
identification, several persons, including the accused, were was deliberately and consciously chosen to ensure the
apprehended and investigated. assailants' safety from any defense the victim could have made.
For their defense, the principal accused denied their True, the attack on Salcedo was sudden and unexpected but it
participation in the mauling of the victim and offered their was apparently because of the fact that he was wearing a yellow
respective alibis. Accused Joselito Tamayo testified that he was t-shirt or because he allegedly flashed the "Laban" sign against
not in any of the photographs presented by the prosecution the rallyists, taunting them into mauling him. As the appellate
because on July 27, 1986, he was in his house in Quezon City. court well found, Salcedo had the opportunity to sense the
Gerry Neri claimed that he was at the Luneta Theater at the time temper of the rallyists and run away from them but he,
of the incident. Romeo Sison, a commercial photographer, was unfortunately, was overtaken by them. The essence of treachery
allegedly at his office near the Luneta waiting for some pictures is the sudden and unexpected attack without the slightest
to be developed at that time. He claimed to be afflicted with provocation on the part of the person being attacked.
hernia impairing his mobility; he cannot run normally nor do The qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation was
things forcefully. Richard de los Santos admits he was at the alleged in the information against Joselito Tamayo. Evident
Luneta at the time of the mauling but denies hitting Salcedo. He premeditation cannot be appreciated in this case because the
said that he merely watched the mauling which explains why his attack against Salcedo was sudden and spontaneous, spurred
face appeared in some of the photographs. Unlike the other by the raging animosity against the so-called "Coryistas." It was
accused, Nilo Pacadar admits that he is a Marcos loyalist and a not preceded by cool thought and reflection.
member of the Ako'y Pilipino Movement and that he attended We find however the existence of a conspiracy among
the rally on that fateful day. According to him, he saw Salcedo appellants. At the time they were committing the crime, their
being mauled and like Richard de los Santos, merely viewed the actions impliedly showed a unity of purpose among them, a
incident. His face was in the pictures because he shouted to the concerted effort to bring about the death of Salcedo. Where a
maulers to stop hitting Salcedo. Joel Tan also testified that he conspiracy existed and is proved, a showing as to who among
tried to pacify the maulers because he pitied Salcedo. The the conspirators inflicted the fatal wound is not required to
maulers however ignored him sustain a conviction. Each of the conspirators is liable for all acts
On December 16, 1988, the trial court rendered a decision of the others regardless of the intent and character of their
finding Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Joel Tan, Richard de los participation, because the act of one is the act of all.
Santos and Joselito Tamayo guilty as principals in the crime of -----------------------------xxx--------------------------
murder qualified by treachery and sentenced them to 14 years G.R. No. 175980 February 15, 2012
10 months and 20 days of reclusion temporal as minimum to 20 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, vs. ADRIANO
years of reclusion temporal as maximum. Annie Ferrer was CABRILLAS, Accused, BENNY CABTALAN, Appellant.
likewise convicted as an accomplice ART. 14. Aggravating Circumstances: Treachery
On appeal, the Court of Appeals, on December 28, 1992, DEL CASTILLO
modified the decision of the trial court by acquitting Annie Ferrer FACTS
but increasing the penalty of the rest of the accused, except for Version of the Prosecution
Joselito Tamayo, to reclusion perpetua. The appellate court Prosecution witness Wilfredo Pacayra (Wilfredo) narrated that
found them guilty of murder qualified by abuse of superior on July 11, 1999 at around 7:00 p.m., he went to the store of
strength, but convicted Joselito Tamayo of homicide because Susan Cabtalan (Susan) to buy salt. While thereat, Benny and
the information against him did not allege the said qualifying Adriano asked him to join them in their drinking spree to which
circumstance. Wilfredo obliged. In the course of their drinking spree, Wilfredo
ISSUE/S: noticed that Benny and Adriano had bolos, locally known as
Whether the aggravating circumstance of abuse of strength is sundang, tucked on their waists. He also heard the two talking
present in this case. about their plan to assault someone that same night. Sensing
HELD: that something wrong would happen, Wilfredo left them and
Yes, it is present. walked home.
As the lower courts found, the victim's assailants were Upon reaching his house, Wilfredo soon noticed Benny and
numerous by as much as fifty in number and were armed with Adriano circling the house of Jesus Cabujat’s (Jesus) daughter,
stones with which they hit the victim. They took advantage of Elena Raypan (Elena), which is just about two arms length away
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from his house. Thereafter, the duo stood on a dark portion of attendant circumstances enumerated in Article 248 of the
the road. Later on, he saw Jesus and his 9-year-old Revised Penal Code, among which is treachery.
granddaughter Jonalyn C. Raypan (Jonalyn) walking towards There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes
the house of Jonalyn’s mother, Elena. Jesus stopped and turned against persons, employing means, methods or forms in the
towards a grassy area to urinate when suddenly, Benny and execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
Adriano emerged from their hiding place. They held Jesus by his execution, without risk to the offender arising from the defense
shoulders and alternately stabbed him. At that moment, Jesus which the victim might make. "The essence of treachery is that
shouted "I am wounded, please help me because I was stabbed the attack comes without a warning and in a swift, deliberate,
by Benny and Adriano." Jesus then fell to the ground while and unexpected manner, affording the hapless, unarmed, and
Benny and Adriano immediately fled from the crime scene. unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape."
For her part, prosecution witness Jonalyn narrated that on the Based on the account of the prosecution’s eyewitnesses, there
night of the incident, she fetched her grandfather Jesus from her is no doubt that treachery was present. It was established that
Ate Susan’s house. She and her grandfather walked side by side Benny and Adriano were in the crime scene prior to the incident.
in going back to their house. However, upon reaching the vicinity They hid in a dark portion of the road and assaulted Jesus with
of their house, her grandfather went across the street to urinate. their bolos while he was urinating with his back to them. They
It was then that she saw Benny and Adriano on the same street. even held him by his shoulders to render him defenseless and
She knew the two because Benny and her father are cousins unable to resist the attack on him by his assailants.
while Adriano and her mother are also cousins. She saw the two All told, Jesus was unaware of the imminent peril to his life and
men take hold of her grandfather’s arms, after which Benny was rendered incapable of defending himself. From the
stabbed her grandfather with a long bolo. She heard her suddenness of the attack upon Jesus and the manner it was
grandfather say "Donie, help me, I am wounded." After that, committed, there is no doubt that treachery indeed attended his
Jonalyn saw Benny go home. killing.
Elena also testified that when she heard her father shouting for The trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses
help, she immediately went outside the house and saw Benny usually remains undisturbed.
releasing her father. As she got nearer to Jesus, Benny and The trial and appellate courts reached the same conclusion that
Adriano ran away. When Elena asked her father as to who the testimonies of eyewitnesses Wilfredo and Jonalyn deserve
stabbed him, the latter replied that it was Benny and Adriano. credence as both narrated in a straightforward manner the
Jesus was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead details of Benny and Adriano’s attack upon Jesus. Benny,
due to multiple stab wounds. His family spent ₱18,500.00 for his however, still disputes the credibility of these witnesses by
wake and burial. At the time of his death, Jesus was earning pointing out that Wilfredo’s testimony that he and Adriano took
₱1,000.00 a week as a farmer. turns in stabbing Jesus differs from that of Jonalyn who stated
A case for murder was accordingly filed against Benny and that while the two assailants attacked Jesus in unison, it was
Adriano and a warrant was issued for their arrest which was, only Benny who inflicted the mortal wounds. The Court,
however, returned unserved since they could no longer be however, finds this inconsistency to pertain merely to the
located. It appears that on July 13, 1999, at around noontime, manner the fatal stab wounds were inflicted on Jesus. The
Benny and Adriano escaped by ferryboat to Catbalogan, Samar. materiality of the assailants’ exact position during their attack on
Two years later, or on July 31, 2001, Benny was arrested in Las the victim is a trivial and insignificant detail which cannot defeat
Piñas City by virtue of an alias warrant of arrest. the witnesses’ positive identification of Benny as one of the
RTC Ruling assailants. Besides, "[i]t is perfectly natural for different
On August 29, 2002, the trial court rendered a Decision witnesses testifying on the occurrence of a crime to give varying
convicting Benny of the crime of murder. The trial court details as there may be some details which one witness may
appreciated the presence of the qualifying circumstance of notice while the other may not observe or remember. In fact,
treachery since the attack upon Jesus who was unarmed and jurisprudence even warns against a perfect dovetailing of
unsuspecting was without any warning. It also found the narration by different witnesses as it could mean that their
existence of the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior testimonies were [fabricated] and rehearsed."
strength as both Benny and Adriano held, subdued and attacked Benny’s assertion that Wilfredo is not a credible witness since
the 69-year-old defenseless Jesus. The trial court further held he surfaced three years after the incident to testify for the
that conspiracy was evident since Benny and Adriano had prosecution also fails to impress. It is worthy to mention that the
common criminal intent and were united in its execution. proceedings in this case was suspended for two years because
CA Ruling Benny and Adriano left Pinabacdao, Samar and the warrant for
The CA affirmed the trial court’s judgment of conviction through their arrest could not be served on them. Also, deference or
its August 29, 2006 Decision. However, it did not anymore reluctance in reporting a crime does not destroy the truth of the
consider the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior charge nor is it an indication of deceit. Delay in reporting a crime
strength as the qualifying circumstance of treachery already or an unusual incident in a rural area is well-known. It is common
absorbed it. for a witness to prefer momentary silence for fear of reprisal from
ISSUE the accused. The fact remains that Wilfredo fulfilled his duty as
Whether treachery attended the killing as to qualify the crime to a good member of society by aiding the family of Jesus when
murder. they were seeking justice. In the absence of other
SC RULING circumstances that would show that the charge was a mere
The appeal lacks merit. concoction and that Wilfredo was impelled by some evil motives,
Treachery attended the killing of Jesus, hence, the crime delay in testifying is insufficient to discredit his testimony.
committed is murder. The fact that Wilfredo and Jonalyn are related to the victim also
Murder is the unlawful killing by the accused of a person, which does not diminish their credibility. While admittedly, Wilfredo is
is not parricide or infanticide, committed with any of the a relative of the husband of Julita, who is the daughter of Jesus,
Page 6 of 21

and Jonalyn is Jesus’s granddaughter, relationship per se does -------------------------------xxx-------------------------------

not evince ulterior motive nor does it ipso facto tarnish the ART. 14. AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE; TREACHERY
credibility of witnesses. "Mere relationship to a party cannot
militate against the credibility of witnesses or be taken as PEOPLE VS. VILLACORTA
destructive of the witnesses’ credibility." What matters is that G.R. No. 186412 Sept. 7, 2011
Wilfredo and Jonalyn positively identified Benny and Adriano as LEONARDo-DE CASTRO, J.:
the assailants of Jesus and that they testified in a straightforward
manner. These indicate that the two are telling the truth. FACTS:
As to the inconsistencies in Elena’s testimony and in her affidavit Villacorta was charged with the crime of murder. The Information
as to who asked her father the identity of the assailants, the stated that Villacorta, armed with a sharpened bamboo stick,
same deserves scant consideration. It is settled that "affidavits with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation, willfully,
or statements taken ex parte are generally considered unlawfully and feloniously attacked, assaulted and stabbed
incomplete and inaccurate. Thus, by nature, they are inferior to Danilo Cruz, thereby inflicting serious wounds which caused
testimony given in court, and whenever there is inconsistency immediate death. Upon arraignment, Villacorta pleaded not
between the affidavit and the testimony of a witness in court, the guilty.
testimony commands greater weight." The trial court therefore
did not err in affording more credence to Elena’s testimony given Immediately after he was stabbed by Villacorta, Cruz was
in open court despite her having previously executed an affidavit rushed to and treated as an out-patient at Tondo Medical
which was inconsistent with her testimony. To stress, "appellate Center. It was only after 22 days that Cruz was admitted to San
courts do not disturb the findings of the trial courts with regard Lazaro Hospital for symptoms of severe tetanus infection, where
to the assessment of credibility of witnesses. The reason for this he died the following day. Dr. Belandres, Head of the Tetanus
is that trial courts have the unique opportunity to observe the Department at the San Lazaro Hospital, testified that, using
witnesses first hand and note their demeanor, conduct, and Cruz’s medical chart and diagnosis, he was able to determine
attitude under grilling examination." that Cruz died of tetanus infection secondary to stab wound. The
Benny’s defense of alibi was properly rejected. prosecution did not present evidence of the emergency medical
"Alibi is the weakest of all defenses since it is easy to concoct treatment Cruz received at the Tondo Medical Center,
and difficult to disprove." For this defense to prosper, proof that subsequent visits by Cruz to Tondo Medical Center or any other
the accused was in a different place at the time the crime was hospital for follow-up medical treatment of his stab wound, or
committed is insufficient. There must be evidence that it was Cruz’s activities within the 22 days.
physically impossible for him to be within the immediate vicinity
of the crime during its commission. RTC: Villacorta guilty of murder, qualified by treachery. He was
Here, Benny did not satisfactorily demonstrate that it was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay
physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the the heirs of Danilo Cruz of P50,000 as civil indemnity plus the
night of its commission. While he denies being at the scene of costs of suit.
the crime when it happened, he claims to be within a reasonably CA: Affirmed in toto the RTC judgment against Villacorta.
near area which is his residence in Barangay Pilaon. The murder Hence, this appeal before the SC.
of Jesus occurred in Barangay Laygayon, which is more or less
3½ kilometers away from the place where Benny claimed he ISSUE: WON Villacorta is guilty of murder, qualified by
was in. Benny testified that the distance between these two treachery
barangays can be covered in an hour’s walk. Thus, even if he
traveled by foot to another barangay, it was still not too far away RULING (NO)
to render it physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene
at the time of its commission. Furthermore, Benny’s alibi is We do not deviate from the foregoing factual findings of the
uncorroborated. "Courts may give credence to alibi only if there RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Nevertheless, there
are credible eyewitnesses who can corroborate the alibi of is merit in the argument proffered by Villacorta that in the event
accused." In contrast, alibi becomes weaker in the face of the he is found to have indeed stabbed Cruz, he should only be held
positive identification made by the witnesses for the prosecution, liable for slight physical injuries for the stab wound he inflicted
as in this case. upon Cruz. The proximate cause of Cruzs death is the tetanus
infection, and not the stab wound. Proximate cause has been
DISPOSITIVE PORTION defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated August 29, 2006 of the Court sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause,
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00039 that affirmed with produces the injury, and without which the result would not have
modifications the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of occurred.
Calbiga, Samar, Branch 33, is AFFIRMED with further
modifications. Appellant Benny Cabtalan is found GUILTY In this case, immediately after he was stabbed by Villacorta in
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and sentenced the early morning of January 23, 2002, Cruz was rushed to and
to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for treated as an out-patient at the Tondo Medical Center. On
parole. He is ordered to indemnify the heirs of Jesus Cabujat the February 14, 2002, Cruz was admitted to the San Lazaro
following: (1) ₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity; (2) ₱50,000.00 as Hospital for symptoms of severe tetanus infection, where he
moral damages; (3) ₱ 30,000.00 as exemplary damages; (4) ₱ died the following day, on February 15, 2002. The prosecution
25,000.00 as temperate damages; and (5) interest on all did not present evidence of the emergency medical treatment
damages awarded at the legal rate of 6% per annum from the Cruz received at the Tondo Medical Center, subsequent visits
finality of this judgment until fully paid. by Cruz to Tondo Medical Center or any other hospital for follow-
Page 7 of 21

up medical treatment of his stab wound, or Cruzs activities commission of the crime without risk to the aggressor. Likewise,
between January 23 to February 14, 2002. even when the victim was forewarned of the danger to his
person, treachery may still be appreciated since what is decisive
There had been an interval of 22 days between the date of the is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the
stabbing and the date when Cruz was rushed to San Lazaro victim to defend himself or to retaliate. Both the RTC and the
Hospital, exhibiting symptoms of severe tetanus infection. If Court of Appeals found that treachery was duly proven in this
Cruz acquired severe tetanus infection from the stabbing, then case, and we sustain such finding. Cruz, the victim, was
the symptoms would have appeared a lot sooner than 22 days attacked so suddenly, unexpectedly, and without provocation.
later. As the Court noted in Urbano, severe tetanus infection has With the aggravating circumstance of treachery, we can
a short incubation period, less than 14 days; and those that sentence Villacorta with imprisonment anywhere within arresto
exhibit symptoms with two to three days from the injury, have menor in the maximum period, i.e., twenty-one (21) to thirty (30)
one hundred percent (100%) mortality. Ultimately, we can only days. Consequently, we impose upon Villacorta a straight
deduce that Cruzs stab wound was merely the remote cause, sentence of thirty (30) days of arresto menor; but given that
and its subsequent infection with tetanus might have been the Villacorta has been in jail since July 31, 2002 until present time,
proximate cause of Cruz's death. The infection of Cruzs stab already way beyond his imposed sentence, we order his
wound by tetanus was an efficient intervening cause later or immediate release.
between the time Cruz was stabbed to the time of his death.
However, Villacorta is not totally without criminal liability.
Villacorta is guilty of slight physical injuries under Article 266(1) WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 30, 2008 of the Court of
of the Revised Penal Code for the stab wound he inflicted upon Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02550, affirming the Decision
Cruz. Although the charge in the instant case is for murder, a dated September 22, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
finding of guilt for the lesser offense of slight physical injuries 170, of Malabon, in Criminal Case No. 27039-MN, is
may be made considering that the latter offense is necessarily REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is entered finding
included in the former since the essential ingredients of slight Villacorta GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
physical injuries constitute and form part of those constituting slight physical injuries, as defined and punished by Article 266
the offense of murder. We cannot hold Villacorta criminally liable of the Revised Penal Code, and sentenced to suffer the penalty
for attempted or frustrated murder because the prosecution was of thirty (30) days arresto menor. Considering that Villacorta has
not able to establish Villacortas intent to kill. The intent must be been incarcerated well beyond the period of the penalty herein
proved in a clear and evident manner to exclude every possible imposed, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to
doubt as to the homicidal (or murderous) intent of the aggressor. cause Villacortas immediate release, unless Villacorta is being
The onus probandi lies not on accused-appellant but on the lawfully held for another cause, and to inform this Court, within
prosecution. The inference that the intent to kill existed should five (5) days from receipt of this Decision, of the compliance with
not be drawn in the absence of circumstances sufficient to prove such order. Villacorta is ordered to pay the heirs of the late
this fact beyond reasonable doubt. When such intent is lacking Danilo Cruz moral damages in the sum of Five Thousand Pesos
but wounds were inflicted, the crime is not frustrated murder but (P5,000.00).
physical injuries only. Evidence on record shows that Cruz was ----------------------------xxx---------------------
brought to Tondo Medical Center for medical treatment PEOPLE V. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ
immediately after the stabbing incident. Right after receiving G.R. No. 139542, 21 June 2001, J. Gonzaga-Reyes
medical treatment, Cruz was then released by the Tondo PRINCIPLE: Article 14, Aggravating Circumstances – Treachery
Medical Center as an out-patient. There was no other evidence
to establish that Cruz was incapacitated for labor and/or On about 2:30 p.m, 31 October 1998, both the families of Noel
required medical attendance for more than nine days. Without Andres and that of Gonzales were on their way to the exit of the
such evidence, the offense is only slight physical injuries. Loyola Memorial Park. At the intersection near the Garden of
Remembrance, while Gonzales was turning left towards the exit
We still appreciate treachery as an aggravating circumstance, it and Andres was headed straight along the road to the exit, their
being sufficiently alleged in the Information and proved during vehicles almost collided. Gonzales continued driving while
trial. The Information specified that accused, armed with a Andres drove behind for some time and cut him off when he
sharpened bamboo stick, with intent to kill, treachery and found the opportunity to do so. Andres then get out of the
evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and vehicle and knocked on the appellants car window.
feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said weapon one
DANILO SALVADOR CRUZ. Treachery exists when an offender Prosecution: Andres calmly told Gonzales to be careful with his
commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, driving and that he was with his family. He saw Gonzales turning
methods or forms which tend directly or especially to ensure its red in anger so he decided to go back to his vehicle when he
execution, without risk to the offender, arising from the defense was blocked by Gonzales son (said anong problema sa erpat ko
that the offended party might make. This definition sets out what kineme). Andres testified that he felt threatened so he
must be shown by evidence to conclude that treachery existed, immediately boarded his vehicle and partially opened the car
namely: (1) the employment of such means of execution as window just wide enough to talk back to Gonzales son.
would give the person attacked no opportunity for self-defense Suddently, one of his passengers said binaril kame. He turned
or retaliation; and (2) the deliberate and conscious adoption of to his wife and saw her bloodied and unconscious. He turned
the means of execution. To reiterate, the essence of qualifying around and saw his son and nephew wounded.
circumstance is the suddenness, surprise and the lack of
expectation that the attack will take place, thus, depriving the Defense: It was Andres who cut Gonzales path by positioning
victim of any real opportunity for self-defense while ensuring the the FX obliquely along his lane. Andres went out from the car
Page 8 of 21

and cursed them (Shutang ina mes, mashonda ka na di ka intended victim might raise. (See above requisites so
marunong magmaneho, bobita ka – ganern). Gonzales stayed treachery will be appreciated). The suddenness of the attack,
inside the car and replied (pasensya na bes, nasilaw ako, the infliction of the wound from behind the victim, the vulnerable
aksidente lang). Andres allegedly go out again of his vehicle position of the victim at the time the attack was made or the fact
and continued shouting and cursing. Dino, son of Gonzales who that the victim was unarmed do not by themselves render the
was riding another car confronted Andres. And when Andres attack treacherous. This is of particular significance in a
went inside his car, this prompted Gonzales to get his gun from case of an instantaneous attack made by the accused
he glove compartment and feeling that his son was threatened whereby he gained an advantageous position over the
he go out of his car ready to shoot. Trisha, her daughter, arrived victim when the latter accidentally fell and was rendered
and pushed Gonzales right away. She hugged her father and in defenceless.
the process held his hand holding the hand. Gonzales wanted
to free his hand and with Trishas substantial body weight The means employed for the commission of the crime or
pushing against him, Gonzales lost his balance and accidentally the mode of attack must be shown to have been
fired. Gonzales stated that he did not know he shot somebody consciously or deliberately adopted by the accused to
until the complainants got out of the vehicle carrying a bloodied insure the consummation of the crim and at the same time
small boy. eliminate or reduce the risk of retaliation from the intended
An information for the complex crime of murder, double
frustrated murder and attempted murder were filed. Accordingly, it has been consistently held by the SC that
chances encounters, impulse killings or crimes committed
RTC: convicted with the following circumstances qualifying the at the spur of the moment or that were preceded by heated
offense: treachery and abuse of superior strength upon the altercations are generally not attended by treachery for lack
person of Andres, but instead hitting Feliber Andres (pregnant of opportunity of the accused to deliberately employ a
wife) on the left back portion of the head, as well as John Andres treacherous mode of attack. Thus, the sudden attack made
and Kevin Ordoo physical injuries (only because of timely by the accused due to his infuriation by reason of the victims
medical attention) provocation was held to be without treachery. Sudden attack
made by the accused preceded by curses and insults by the
Records show that the wife of Andres did not die victim or acts taunting the accused to retaliate or the
instantaneously. She lived to give birth to a baby girl by CS rebellious aggressive behaviour of the victim were held to
and died the following morning but as to medical finding, be without treachery as the victim was sufficiently
the cause of death is gunshot wound. While the other two forewarned of reprisal. For the rules on treachery to apply
was treated for extraction of metallic fragments on their the sudden attack must have been preconceived by the
faces. There is treachery when the offender commits any crime accused, unexpected by the victim and without provocation
against persons, employing means, methods, and forms in the on the part of the latter.
execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which The determining factor on whether or not the commission of the
the offended party might make. To appreciate treachery, two crim is attended by treachery is not the resulting crim committed
conditions must be present: (1) the employment of means but the mode of attack employed in its execution. Treachery is
of execution that give the person attacked no opportunity never presumed. It is required that the manner of attack must
to defend himself or retaliate; and (2) the means of be shown to have been attended by treachery as conclusively
execution were deliberately or consciously adopted. as the crime itself.

Defendant contended that the shooting happened in a matter of The SC affirmed the recommendation of the OSG that the
seconds and that is was preceded by a heated argument shooting was not attended by treachery and accordingly the
between the parties. It is argued that the shooting could not crime committed for the death of the wife of Andres is homicide
have been attended by treachery. There was no time for and not murder. The encounter between the two parties was a
Gonzales to consciously and deliberately employ the mode of chance encounter. They were total strangers before their
attack against Andres, nor any against the victim, to insure its vehicles almost collided at an intersection inside the memorial
execution and at the same time to eliminate any form of park. Unfortunately, heated exchange of remarks that followed
retaliation from the alleged intended victim (of which the OSG the near collision was fanned by a short temper, which in the
agreed that there is no attendant of treachery and that he is only case of Gonzales, was augmented by the improvident use of
liable for homicide and frustrated homicide as regards the other firearm. From the readings of the TSN, it was Andres who
victims as the children sustained head injuries which could lead provoked the altercation by tailing to the vehicle of
to their death if not treated immediately) (No mitigating as there Gonzales after the near collision towards the exit until he
is no voluntary surrender – inconsistent with his testimony). had the chance to cut him off to scold him for his failure to
observe traffic rules. Andres statement that he calmly
ISSUE: Whether or not there is an attendant of treachery in approached Gonzales was belied by the witnesses. When
appreciating the case against the Gonzales. he met Dino, while walking back to his car, Andres shouted
onto the former, and as a result, Gonzales alighted the
The appeal has merit. Treachery under par. 16 of Article 14 vehicle and fired a single shot.
is defined as the deliberate employment of means methods
or forms in the execution of a crime against persons which The SC did not find any conclusive evidence to appreciate
tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without treachery. The pictures indicate that Gonzales fired at the FX at
risk to the offender arising from the defense which the an angle away from Andres and that Gonzales was not aiming
Page 9 of 21

at anybody in particular. It is clear that the shot was fired away by Joaquin Vinuya; and that they were at the corner of Tomas
from Andres. The bullet hit his wife near her temple above the Morato Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City on their way to
left eye indicating that she was facing left towards her husband the JUSMAG Compound along Tomas Morato Street when
when the shot was fired. Therefore belying any attempt to shoot gunmen who were on board an old model Toyota Corolla car
Andres. The fact that Gonzales fired his gun from behind suddenly fired at his car, thereby killing Col. Rowe and seriously
the victim does not by itself amount to treachery. There is wounding his driver, Joaquin Vinuya. The car that was used by
no evidence in record that Gonzales positioned himself the gunmen was followed by a Mitsubishi Lancer car when it
behind the victim to gain advantage over him when he fired sped away from the site of the ambush. The same Toyota
the shot. On the contrary, the evidence before us reveals Corolla car was later recovered on the same day by a team from
that the position of the appellants car was not of his own the Philippine Constabulary (PC), at No. 4 Windsor Street, San
doing but it became so when Andres overtook his car and Francisco Del Monte in Quezon City.
cut off his path. Upon further investigation of the case, the CIS agents
established through a confidential intelligence information the
The Trial Courts finding that the loading of the gun, the cocking involvement of appellant Donato Continente, an employee of the
of the hammer and finally the pulling of the trigger constitute a U.P. Collegian in U.P. Diliman, Quezon City, in the ambush.
deliberate effort on the part of Gonzales to use the gun as a After accosting appellant Continente inside the said U.P.
means of treacherous attack is patently erroneous. A single campus, the CIS team took him to Camp Crame in Quezon City
and continuous attack cannot be divided into stages to for questioning. During the interrogation in the presence of Atty.
make it appear that treachery was involved. The entire Bonifacio Manansala in Camp Crame on June 17, 1989,
incident happened in a matter of minutes. It was an error to appellant Continente admitted to his participation in the ambush
divide the assault in stages to arrive at the conclusion that the of Col. James Rowe and his driver as a member of the
mode of attack was consciously employed by Gonzales. He surveillance unit under the Political Assassination Team of the
prepared the gun before getting out of his car, had loaded it CPP-NPA. Among the documents confiscated from appellant
when he was still at home, and ready to fire when he alighted Continente by the CIS agents, and for which a receipt dated
his car. There was no time for him to reflect on the mode of June 16, 1989 was prepared and issued by Sgt. Reynaldo dela
attack since he just picked up his gun and alighted from his Cruz, was a letter addressed to "Sa Kinauukulan". At the dorsal
car and shot at the FX a few seconds after Dino and Andres right hand side of the letter appear the acronyms "STR PATRC"
started shouting at each other. which allegedly mean "Sa Tagumpay ng Rebolusyon" and
"Political Assassination Team, Regional Command".
The Court does not also agree that the weapon used by Another confidential intelligence information established the
itself is determinative of treachery unless it is shown, and participation of appellant Juanito Itaas in the said ambush of Col.
it is not herein shown, that the appellant deliberately used James Rowe and his driver on April 21, 1989. Appellant Itaas,
the gun to insure the commission of the crim and to render who was a known member of the Sparrow Unit of the NPA based
the unarmed victim defenceless. The encounter between in Davao City was arrested in Davao City and was brought to
them was a chance encounter. Th shooting was clearly a spur Manila for investigation. CIS investigated and took down the
of the moment or impulsive decision made by Gonzales statements of appellant Itaas who disclosed during the
preceded by a heated altercation at the instance of Andres. investigation that he was an active member of the Sparrow Unit
As regards to the injuries sustained by the two children, the of the NPA based in Davao City and confessed, in the presence
crime committed are two counts of slight physical injuries (there of Atty. Filemon Corpuz who apprised and explained to him his
is no intent to kill). The mitigating circumstances of voluntary constitutional rights, that he was one of those who fired at the
surrender, passion and obfuscation, incomplete self defense of gray Mitsubishi Galant car of Col. James Rowe. The said
a relative and lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong were not appellant identified the Toyota Corolla car that the assailants
convincingly proved and none can be considered in the rode on April 21, 1989 and the gray Mitsubishi Galant car of Col.
imposition of penalties. Rowe.
Meanwhile, it appears that the ambush on Col. James Rowe and
SC: Triacl court decision is modified. Andres is guilty of his driver was witnessed by a certain Meriam Zulueta. Zulueta
homicide and sight physical injuries for the other two victims. was about to cross the Tomas Morato Street on her way to the
-----------------------------xxx-------------------------- JUSMAG Compound in Quezon City to attend a practicum in the
CASE TITLE: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff- JUSMAG Mess Hall when she heard several gunshots. Upon
appellee, vs. DONATO B. CONTINENTE and JUANITO T. looking at the direction where the gunshots emanated, she saw
ITAAS, JOHN DOE, PETER DOE, JAMES DOE, PAUL DOE persons on board a maroon car firing at a gray car at a distance
and SEVERAL OTHER DOES (at large), accused, DONATO of more or less one (1) meter at the corner of Tomas Morato
B. CONTINENTE and JUANITO T. ITAAS, accused- Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City. Zulueta returned to
appellants. the side of the street to seek for cover but could not find any so
CASE No.: G.R. Nos. 100801-02. August 25, 2000 she docked and covered her head with her bag while
TOPIC: TREACHERY continuously looking at the persons who were firing at the gray
PONENTE: JUSTICE DE LEON car. She recognized appellant Juanito Itaas when the latter was
FACTS: On April 21, 1989 at around 7:00am, the car of U.S. presented for identification in Camp Crame as the person,
Col. James N. Rowe, Deputy Commander, Joint U. S. Military directly behind the driver of the maroon car, whose body was
Assistance Group (JUSMAG), was ambushed at the corner of half exposed while he was firing at the gray car with the use of
Tomas Morato Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City. Initial along firearm. The shooting incident lasted for about five (5)
investigation by the Central Intelligence Service (CIS), shows seconds only after which the maroon car made a U-turn to
that on the date and time of the ambush, Col. James Rowe, was Timog Avenue toward the direction of Quezon Boulevard while
on board his gray Mitsubishi Galant car which was being driven being followed by a white Mitsubishi Lancer car.
Page 10 of 21

Zulueta also recognized appellant Donato Continente whom she

had encountered on at least three (3) occasions at a carinderia Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides:
outside the JUSMAG Compound. Her first encounter with
appellant Continente was at around three o'clock in the ART. 248. Murder.-- Any person who, not falling within the
afternoon on April 17, 1989 when she went out of the JUSMAG provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of
Compound to a carinderia nearby. She mistook the said murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death if
appellant for a tricycle driver who was simply walking around the committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
premises. She saw appellant Continente in the same carinderia
again on the following day, April 18, 1989, and she was even 1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with
teased by her companions that he was her escort. On April 19, the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the
1989, Zulueta saw appellant Continente for the third time inside defense or means or persons to insure or afford impunity.
the same carinderia while the latter was merely standing. She
came to know the identity of appellant Continente when 2. In consideration of a price, reward or promise.
Continente was presented to her in Camp Crame for
identification. She thought that he was the tricycle driver whom 3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck,
she had seen in the carinderia near the JUSMAG Compound. stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall
Zulueta likewise recognized the driver of the white Mitsubishi of an airship, or by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of
Lancer car as the same person whom she had encountered on any other means involving great waste and ruin.
two occasions. Zulueta disclosed that in the morning of April 19,
1989, the white Mitsubishi Lancer car was parked along the side 4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the
of Tomas Morato Street which was near the corner of Scout preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano,
Madrinas Street. Her attention was caught by the driver of the destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.
car, who was then reading a newspaper, when the latter
remarked "Hoy pare, ang sexy. She-boom!" as she was walking 5. With evident premeditation.
along the street toward the JUSMAG Compound. On April 20,
1989, she saw the same person inside the white Mitsubishi 6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the
Lancer car which was then parked along the side of Tomas suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or
Morato Street while she was again on her way to attend corpse."
practicum in the JUSMAG Compound. She learned of the
identity of the driver as a certain Raymond Navarro, who is The shooting of Col. James Rowe and his driver, Joaquin
allegedly a member of the NPA, from the pictures shown her by Vinuya, was attended by treachery. There is treachery when the
the CIS investigators in Camp Crame. offender commits any of the crimes against person, employing
Joaquin Vinuya testified that he was employed by the JUSMAG, means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend
as driver, and assigned to Col. James Rowe. On April 21, 1989, directly and especially to ensure its execution, without risk to
he fetched Col. Rowe from his house in Potsdam Street, himself arising from any defense which the offended party might
Greenhills, Mandaluyong to report for work in JUSMAG. While make. The evidence clearly shows that the mode of execution
he was making a right turn at the intersection of Timog Avenue was deliberately adopted by the perpetrators to ensure the
toward Tomas Morato Street, he noticed four (4) people on commission of the crime without the least danger unto
board a red car, two (2) of whom suddenly opened fire at the car themselves arising from the possible resistance of their victims.
that he was driving hitting him in the process. The shooting Appellant Itaas and his companions, who were all armed with
incident happened very fast and that he had no opportunity to powerful firearms, waited for the car of Col. Rowe which was
recognize the persons inside the red car. Despite the incident, being driven by Joaquin Vinuya at the corner of Timog Avenue
Vinuya managed to drive the car to the JUSMAG Compound. and Tomas Morato Street in Quezon City. Without any warning,
Upon arrival at the JUSMAG Compound, he found out that Col. appellant Itaas and his companions suddenly fired at the said
James Rowe, who was sitting at the back seat of the car, was car upon reaching the said place. Hence, the crime committed
also hit during the shooting incident. for the killing of Col. James Rowe during the said ambush is
Col. James Rowe and Joaquin Vinuya were initially brought to murder.
the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City for treatment.
Subsequently, they were transferred to the Clark Air Base AS TO CONSPIRACY AND LIABILITY:
Hospital in Pampanga but then Capt. Rowe was already dead.
Vinuya was treated in the Clark Air Base Hospital in Pampanga At the outset, in the case at bench, the SC reversed the finding
for four (4) days for the injuries he sustained on his head, of conspiracy by the RTC. Accordingly, appellant Donato
shoulder, and on the back portion of his left hand. Thereafter, he Continente is liable for the crimes charged in these criminal
was taken back to JUSMAG Compound in Quezon City to cases only as an accomplice under Article 18 of the Revised
recuperate. Penal Code. In order that a person may be considered an
For the foregoing, 2 informations were filed against Itaas and accomplice in the commission of a criminal offense, the following
Continente for the crimes of murder and frustrated murder. The requisites must concur: (a) community of design, i.e., knowing
RTC rendered its decision finding both appellants Juanito Itaas the criminal design of the principal by direct participation, he
and Donato Continente guilty beyond reasonable doubt of both concurs with the latter in his purpose; (b) he cooperates in the
crimes. Continente and Itaas separately instituted the instant execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts; and
appeal. (c) there must be a relation between the acts done by the
ISSUE/s: Whether treachery can be appreciated as an principal and those attributed to the person charged as
aggravating circumstance in this case. accomplice. The prosecution failed to establish, either directly or
RULING: YES. by circumstantial evidence, that appellant Donato Continente
Page 11 of 21

was privy to any conspiracy to carry out the ambush on Col. for his wounds for only four (4) days at the Clark Air Base
James Rowe and his driver on that fateful morning of April 21, Hospital in Pampanga after which he was brought back to the
1989. The evidence adduced disclose that the participation of JUSMAG Compound in Quezon City to recuperate. Hence, the
appellant Continente was made only after the plan or decision crime committed as against him is only attempted murder.
to ambush Col. Rowe was already a fait accompli. Continente
was merely assigned to the vicinity of the JUSMAG Compound In view of the foregoing, appellant Juanito Itaas should be held
in Tomas Morato Street, Quezon City, before the shooting liable for the crimes of murder and attempted murder for his
incident to gather certain data, specifically the number of people direct participation in the killing of Col. James Rowe and in the
and volume of vehicles in the area, the measurement of the wounding of his driver Joaquin Vinuya, respectively. Due to the
streets, and the distance of the JUSMAG Compound from absence of any mitigating nor aggravating circumstance in both
Tomas Morato Street. Subsequently, Continente reported his cases, the penalty to be imposed on appellant Itaas is reclusion
findings to Freddie Abella and that thereafter the latter had taken perpetua for the murder of Col. James Rowe and the medium
over the activity. Significantly, appellant Continente was not period of prision mayor for the attempt on the life of Joaquin
even present at the scene of the crime on April 21, 1989. Vinuya. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law in the latter
case, the maximum of the penalty to be imposed on appellant
The error of the trial court in its appreciation of appellant Itaas is the medium period of prision mayor and the minimum
Continente's participation in the crimes charged lies in its shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that
apparent confusion regarding the distinction between a prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense, that is,
conspirator and an accomplice. In view of its effect on the liability prision correccional.
of appellant Continente, the distinction between the two
concepts as laid down by this Court in the case of People vs. de On the other hand, being an accomplice to the crimes of murder
Vera, et al. needs to be reiterated, thus: “Conspirators and and attempted murder, the penalty to be imposed on appellant
accomplices have one thing in common: they know and agree Donato Continente shall be the medium periods of reclusion
with the criminal design. Conspirators, however, know the temporal and prision correccional, respectively. Applying the
criminal intention because they themselves have decided upon Indeterminate Sentence Law in both cases, the maximum of the
such course of action. Accomplices come to know about it after penalty to be imposed on appellant Continente as an
the principals have reached the decision, and only then do they accomplice to the crime of murder is the medium period of
agree to cooperate in its execution. Conspirators decide that a reclusion temporal and the minimum shall be prision mayor,
crime should be committed; accomplices merely concur in it. while the maximum of the penalty to be imposed on the said
Accomplices do not decide whether the crime should be appellant as an accomplice to the crime of attempted murder is
committed; they merely assent to the plan and cooperate in its the medium period of prision correccional and the minimum shall
accomplishment. Conspirators are the authors of the crime; be arresto mayor.
accomplices are merely their instruments who perform acts not
essential to the perpetration of the offense.” DISPOSITIVE PORTION: WHEREFORE, the appealed
Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 88, in Criminal
With respect to appellant Juanito Itaas, however, the trial court Cases Nos. Q-89-4843 and Q-89-4844 is hereby MODIFIED, as
correctly found that the evidence against him which consist of follows:
his written confession and the straightforward and credible
testimony of prosecution eyewitness Meriam Zulueta, even if In Criminal Case No. Q-89-4843, appellants Juanito Itaas and
taken independently, are sufficient to convict him. Appellant Donato Continente are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
Itaas categorically admitted in his written confession that he and of the crime of murder, as principal and as accomplice,
his companions fired at the gray Mitsubishi car of Col. James respectively. Appellant Itaas, as principal, is hereby sentenced
Rowe at the corner of Timog Avenue and Tomas Morato Street to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua. Appellant
in Quezon City. Moreover, prosecution witness Meriam Zulueta Continente as accomplice, is hereby sentenced to suffer
positively identified appellant Itaas as one of the persons she imprisonment for twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as
saw on board a car who fired at a gray car at the same time and minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of
place where Col. Rowe and his driver were ambushed. reclusion temporal, as maximum. Both appellants Itaas and
Continente are ORDERED to pay jointly and severally the
With respect to the liability of appellant Itaas for the wounding of amount of P50,000.00 to the heirs of the victim, Col. James
Joaquin Vinuya, it appears that the said victim sustained injuries Rowe, by way of civil indemnity.
on his scalp, on the left shoulder and on the back portion of the
left hand from the ambush. Under Article 6 of the Revised Penal In Criminal Case No. Q-89-4844, appellants Juanito Itaas and
Code, as amended, a felony is frustrated when the offender Donato Continente are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
performs all the acts of execution which would produce the of the crime of attempted murder, as principal and as
felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not accomplice, respectively. Appellant Itaas, as principal, is hereby
produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the sentenced to suffer imprisonment for six (6) years of prision
perpetrator. The evidence adduced by the prosecution, correccional, as minimum, to nine (9) years and six (6) months
particularly the opinion of Dr. Jose Santiago in his testimony, is of prision mayor, as maximum. Appellant Continente, as
not sufficient to establish the crime of frustrated murder. This accomplice, is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of six
Court notes that the wounds sustained by the victim are not fatal (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two (2) years and
wounds but merely superficial wounds. The records disclose four (4) months of prision correccional, as maximum. SO
that Joaquin Vinuya managed to drive the car of Col. Rowe ORDERED.
toward the JUSMAG Compound which is 200 meters away from ---------------------------------xxx-----------------------------
the site of the ambush. It also appears that Vinuya was treated
Page 12 of 21

TOPIC: Aggravating Circumstances (Treachery) two (2) security guards, prosecution eyewitness SG Bobis
[G.R. No. 128900. July 14, 2000] included, to accompany him to his home in Greenmeadows
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. Subdivision, Quezon City, after which they proceeded to the San
ALBERTO S. ANTONIO, SPO4 JUANITO N. NIETO and SPO1 Juan Police Station. With them was SPO4 Nieto, a member of
HONORIO CARTALLA, JR., accused-appellants. the San Juan Police Force. They remained at Antonios
FACTS: residence for several hours, during which time Antonio made
The victim, Arnulfo Arnie Tuadles, a former professional phone calls and summoned his lawyer. At around 3:00 oclock in
basketball player, succumbed instantaneously to a single the afternoon, Antonio, accompanied by SPO4 Nieto, placed
gunshot wound right between the eyes, inflicted with deadly himself and his gun in the custody of San Juan Mayor Jinggoy
precision by the bullet of a .9mm caliber Beretta pistol. Estrada and the police authorities. Later, the two security guards
Convicted of murder by the trial court as the killer is Alberto and SPO4 Nieto were driven back to the club where they waited
Ambet S. Antonio, a one-time chairman of the Games and for the police investigators. Sometime thereafter, SG Bobis
Amusement Board (GAB). It was during his stint as such that he narrated the events and executed his statement at the police
and Tuadles became socially acquainted. They somehow lost station, a statement which he would repudiate three (3) days
touch, but later became reacquainted when they both started later.
frequenting the International Business Club (IBC), located along On November 18, 1996, an Information was filed against
Wilson Street in San Juan, Metro Manila, which houses Antonio for the crime of murder. Also charged as accessories
amenities such as a dining room, music bar and were SPO4 Nieto and SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, Jr.
gameroom. Often, the two would meet with other members and ISSUE: Whether or not treachery attended the commission of
friends to play cards in the gameroom at the second floor of the the offense charged
club. Their preferred games were poker or pusoy dos, ordinary RULING:
poker or Russian poker. Their bets always ran into the tens of There was no treachery in this case.
thousands of pesos. There is no basis for the trial courts conclusion that accused
The tragic events began to unravel in the final hours of Antonio consciously and deliberately adopted his mode of attack
November 1, 1996. Antonio, Tuadles, and a certain Danny to insure the accomplishment of his criminal design without risk
Debdani, then president of the IBC, had agreed to meet at the to himself.[34] It ruled that treachery qualified the killing to
club for another poker session, their third night in a row. Antonio murder. The trial court did not explain the basis for the
arrived at the club first, followed by Tuadles at around qualification except for a terse citation that there was a sudden
midnight. Debdani, however, failed to appear, so after waiting attack and the victim had no opportunity to defend himself or to
for sometime, Antonio and Tuadles decided to play pusoy dos, retaliate. As stated by counsel for appellant, out of the 71-page
a game for two (2) players only. They continued playing until decision, typed single space, the trial court devoted only a few
morning, pausing only when either of them had to visit the sentences to the issue of treachery.
restroom. They stopped playing at around 9:00 oclock in the It is not only the sudden attack that qualifies a killing into
morning of November 2, 1996, to eat breakfast. murder. There must be a conscious and deliberate adoption of
When it came time to tally their scores and collect the winnings the mode of attack for a specific purpose.
from the loser, an argument arose. It is at this point where the All the evidence shows that the incident was an impulse killing. It
prosecution and the defense presented two very different was a spur of the moment crime.
scenarios. The prosecution alleged and sought to prove that in The precedents are many. They are consistent. Among them:
the course of an argument, without warning or cause, Antonio Mere suddenness of attack is not enough to constitute treachery
pulled his gun from behind his back and shot Tuadles at very where accused made no preparation or employed no means,
close range, thus employing treacherous means to accomplish method and form of execution tending directly and specially to
the nefarious deed. The pivotal evidence presented by the insure the commission of a crime and to eliminate or diminish
prosecution was the testimony of one Jose Jimmy T. Bobis, a risk from defense which the victim may take.[35]
security guard who testified as to how the shooting of Tuadles A sudden and unexpected attack would not constitute alevosia
occurred. where the aggressor did not consciously adopt a mode of attack
On the other hand, the defense hinged its opposing arguments intended to perpetrate the homicide without risk to himself.[36]
on the testimony of accused Antonio himself, who testified that A sudden and unexpected attack constitutes the absence of
their argument was caused by Tuadles refusal to pay Antonios alevosia where it did not appear that the aggressor had
winnings. In the middle of a heated altercation where they consciously adopted a mode of attack intended to facilitate the
traded expletives, Tuadles suddenly grabbed Antonios gun from perpetration of the homicide without risk to himself, as where the
atop a sidetable. Fearing for his life, Antonio claimed that he appellant followed the victims when the latter refused appellant's
reached for Tuadles hand and they grappled for possession of invitation to have some more alcoholic drinks.[37]
the gun. As they wrestled, a single shot roared, Tuadles fell face The mere suddenness of attack does not, of itself suffice for a
down to the floor, and Antonio was left too stunned to recall who finding of alevosia if the mode adopted by the accused does not
had actually pulled the trigger. In fine, Antonio alleged that the positively tend to prove that they thereby knowingly intended to
shooting was accidental, and his only motivation was to defend insure the accomplishment of their criminal purpose without any
himself. He also refuted the testimony of the prosecutions risk to themselves arising from the defense that might be
eyewitness, averring that SG Bobis could not have seen the offered.[38]
actual shooting since he (Bobis) and co-accused SPO4 Juanito The aggravating circumstance of treachery is not present when
Nieto, who were alerted by Antonios yells, reached the scene decision to attack was arrived at on the spur of the moment. [39]
when Tuadles had already been shot and was lying on the floor. The annotations are similarly consistent. It is not enough that the
While Tuadles lay bloodied and still, no one remembered to call means, methods, or form of execution of the offense was without
an ambulance or check if he was still alive. Instead, and there is danger to the offender arising from the defense or retaliation that
no dispute in these succeeding events, Antonio convinced the might be made by the offended party. It is further required, for
Page 13 of 21

treachery to be appreciable, that such means, method or form employed is adopted consciously and deliberately. One who, in
was deliberated upon or consciously adopted by the the heat of passion, loses his reason and self-control, cannot
offender.[40] Such deliberate or conscious choice was held non- consciously employ a particular means, method or form of attack
existent where the attack was the product of an impulse of the in the execution of the crime.[49] Thus, the killing of Tuadles by
moment.[41] appellant Antonio was not attended by treachery.
The trial court's ruling that the mere suddenness of an attack That the treachery, which was alleged in the information and
makes the killing a murder because of treachery is not favorably considered by the trial court to elevate the killing to
consistent with the decisions of this Court. [42] Conscious murder, was not proven by convincing evidence[50] is advocated
deliberation or conscious adoption of the mode of attack has to by the Solicitor General in the Appellee's Brief. He agreed with
be proved beyond reasonable doubt. For it is likewise an Appellant Antonio's contention on the matter:
established principle that the quantum of evidence to prove a On the basis of the evidence at hand, appellee is constrained to
person's being guilty of a crime is also required to prove agree with this particular submission of Antonio. Antonio and
treachery. The same degree of proof to dispel any reasonable Tuadles engaged in pusoy dos. In the beginning, they were
doubt is required before any conclusion may also be reached heard laughing and kidding each other (nagtatawanan at
respecting the attendance of treachery, whether as qualifying or nagkakantiyawan).Later, the banter turned into verbal
aggravating, in a criminal case.[43] There is no such proof in this altercation.
case. Under the circumstances, Tuadles became aware of the
There is no dispute that prior to the shooting, appellant Antonio incipient violence. Hence, Tuadles could have braced himself
and Tuadles spent several hours having fun playing "pusoy with the aggression of Antonio. There is no treachery when the
dos." The situation turned ugly, however, when Tuadles could killing results from a verbal altercation or spat between the victim
not pay to appellant Antonio his alleged winnings. An argument and the assailant such that the victim must have been
arose, with appellant Antonio and Tuadles standing face to face forewarned of the impending danger. In this case, Bobis testified
three (3) feet away from each other, a fact attested to by the that he saw Antonio and Tuadles facing each other before
defense and even by the prosecution eyewitness himself. Antonio raised his hand and shot Tuadles on the forehead. The
Accordingly to SG Bobis, Tuadles and Antonio were proximate distance of three feet between Tuadles and Antonio
arguing. Antonio even called out: Sarge! Sarge! Sarge! Just immediately before the fatal shooting allowed and gave Tuadles
before the shooting, Bobis heard Antonio saying: Putang ina ka opportunity to defend himself.[51]
kasi. The argument precluded the presence of treachery. If Consequently, Antonio can only be convicted of the lesser crime
Antonio had consciously adopted means and methods to kill of homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal code.
Tuadles, there was no reason to call for a Sergeant or any --------------------------xxx-------------------------
eyewitness for that matter. TREACHERY
To the point is our ruling in the case of People v. G.R. Nos. 111206-08 October 6, 1995
Alacar,[44] where we held that there was no treachery where the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-
attempt to kill resulted from a verbal altercation. More recently, appellee, vs.CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, JR., accused-appellant.
in People v. Salvador, we pronounced that:
There would be no treachery when the victim was placed on FACTS: In 1991, Jussi Olavi Leino was taking Maureen Hultman
guard, such as when a heated argument preceded the attack, or to her home at Makati. Roland John Chapman went with them.
when the victim was standing face to face with his assailants When they entered the village, Maureen asked Leino to stop
and the initial assault could not have been about a block away from her house, as she wanted to walk the
unforseen.[45] (Underscoring Ours) rest of the way for she did not want her parents to know that she
Even if it could be said that the attack was sudden, there would was going home that late. Leino offered to walk with her while
still be no treachery. In People v. Chua,[46] we reiterated our Chapman stayed in the car and listened to the radio.
consistent view that: While Leino and Maureen were walking, a light-colored
While the killing itself appears to have occurred on sudden Mitsubishi box-type Lancer car, driven by accused Claudio
impulse, it was preceded by acts of appellant showing hostility Teehankee, Jr., came up from behind them and stopped on the
and a heated temper that indicated an imminent attack and middle of the road. Accused alighted from his car, approached
should have put the deceased on guard. them, and asked: “Who are you? (Show me your) I.D.” When
Thus, treachery could not be appreciated where the victim was Leino handed his I.D., the accused grabbed and pocketed the
forewarned and could have anticipated the aggression of the I.D., without bothering to look at it.
accused. Since the sudden shooting of Tuadles was preceded Chapman saw the incident. He stepped down on the sidewalk
by a heated verbal altercation between Tuadles and appellant and asked accused: “Why are you bothering us?” Accused
Antonio, as admitted by both prosecution and defense, then it pushed Chapman, dug into his shirt, pulled out a gun and fired
cannot be concluded that the shooting was committed with at him. Chapman felt his upper body, staggered for a moment,
treachery. and asked: “Why did you shoot me?” Chapman crumpled on the
It is also clear that appellant Antonio did not set out or plan to sidewalk. Leino knelt beside Chapman to assist him but accused
kill Tuadles in the first place. His criminal act was an offshoot of ordered him to get up and leave Chapman alone. Accused then
their argument which neither of them had foreseen. Hence, turned his ire on Leino. He pointed gun at him and asked: “Do
there was no treachery because treachery requires that the you want a trouble?” Leino said “no” and took a step backward.
mode of attack must have been thought of by the offender and The shooting initially shocked Maureen. When she came to her
must have sprung from an unforeseen occurrence.[47] senses, she became hysterical and started screaming for help.
It was Antonio's sudden anger and heated passion which drove She repeatedly shouted: “Oh, my God, he’s got a gun. He’s
him to pull his gun and shoot Tuadles. Said passion, however, gonna kill us. Will somebody help us?” All the while, accused
cannot co-exist with treachery. In passion, the offender loses his was pointing his gun to and from Leino to Maureen, warning the
reason and control. In treachery, on the other hand, the means latter to shut up. Accused ordered Leino to sit down on the
Page 14 of 21

sidewalk. Leino obeyed and made no attempt to move away. time between the initial encounter and the shooting was short
Accused stood 2-3 meters away from him. Maureen continued and unbroken. The shooting of Chapman was thus the result of
to be hysterical. She could not stay still. She strayed to the side a rash and impetuous impulse on the part of the accused rather
of accused’s car. Accused tried but failed to grab her. Maureen than a deliberate act of will. Mere suddenness of the attack on
circled around accused’s car, trying to put some distance the victim would not, by itself, constitute treachery. Hence,
between them. The short chase lasted for a minute or two. absent any qualifying circumstance, the accused should only be
Eventually, accused caught Maureen and repeatedly enjoined held liable for Homicide for the shooting and killing of Chapman.
her to shut up and sit down beside Leino. Maureen finally sat As to the wounding of Leino and the killing of Hultman, treachery
beside Leino on the sidewalk. clearly attended the commission of the crimes. The evidence
For a moment, the accused turned his back from the two. He shows that after shooting Chapman in cold blood, the accused
faced them again and shot Leino. Leino was hit on the upper ordered Leino to sit on the pavement. Maureen became
jaw, fell backwards on the sidewalk, but did not lose hysterical and wandered to the side of appellant’s car. When the
consciousness. Leino heard another shot and saw Maureen fall accused went after her, Maureen moved around his car and tried
beside him. He lifted his head to see what was happening and to put some distance between them. After a minute or two, the
saw accused return to his car and drive away. Leino struggled accused got to Maureen and ordered her to sit beside Leino on
to his knees and shouted for help. He noticed at least 3 people the pavement. While seated, unarmed and begging for mercy,
who saw the incident. the two were gunned down by the accused . Clearly, the
As a result of the incident, 3 separate criminal cases were filed accused purposely placed his two victims in a completely
against accused Claudio Teehankee, Jr. Initially, he was defenseless position before shooting them. There was an
charged with: MURDER for the killing of ROLAND CHAPMAN, appreciable lapse of time between the killing of Chapman and
and two (2) FRUSTRATED MURDER for the shooting and the shooting of Leino and Hultman – a period which the accused
wounding of JUSSI LEINO and MAUREEN HULTMAN. When used to prepare for a mode of attack which ensured the
Hultman subsequently died after 97 days of confinement at the execution of the crime without risk to himself.
hospital and during the course of the trial, the Information for DISPOSITIVE: IN VIEW WHEREOF, we hereby AFFIRM WITH
Frustrated Murder was amended to MURDER. MODIFICATIONS the Decision of the trial court, dated
Accused relied on the defense of denial and alibi. December 22, 1992, thus:
ISSUE: W/N THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT (1) In Criminal Case No. 91-4605, finding accused
THE KILLING OF CHAPMAN AND HULTMAN AND THE Claudio J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt
SHOOTING OF LEINO WAS ATTENDED BY TREACHERY. of the crime of Homicide for the shooting of Roland John
HELD: Chapman, and sentencing said accused to suffer an
The accused claims that treachery was not present in the killing indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years
of Hultman and Chapman, and the wounding of Leino for it was and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to fourteen
not shown that the gunman consciously and deliberately (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion
adopted particular means, methods and forms in the execution temporal as maximum, and to pay the heirs of the said
of the crime. The accused asserts that mere suddenness of deceased the following amounts: Fifty Thousand
attack does not prove treachery. (P50,000.00) pesos as indemnity for the victim's death; and,
The 3 Informations charged the accused with having committed One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos as moral damages.
the crimes with treachery and evident premeditation. Evident (2) In Criminal Case No. 91-4606, finding accused
premeditation was correctly ruled out by the trial court for, Claudio J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt
admittedly, the shooting incident was merely a casual encounter of the crime of Murder, qualified by treachery, for the
or a chance meeting on the street since the victims were shooting of Maureen Navarro Hultman, and sentencing him
unknown to the accused and vice-versa. It, however, to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua, and to pay
appreciated the presence of the qualifying circumstance of the heirs of the said deceased the following amounts: Fifty
treachery. Thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as indemnity for her death;
On the other hand, the prosecution failed to prove treachery in Two Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four Hundred
the killing of Chapman. Prosecution witness Leino established Sixty-One Pesos and Eighty-Three Centavos
the sequence of events leading to the shooting. He testified that (P2,350,461.83) as actual damages; Five Hundred Sixty-
for no apparent reason, the accused suddenly alighted from his Four Thousand Fourty-Two Pesos and Fifty-Seven
car and accosted him and Maureen Hultman who were then Centavos (P564,042.57) for loss of earning capacity of said
walking along the sidewalk. deceased; One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral
Appellant questioned who they were and demanded for an I.D. damages; and Two Million (P2,000,000.00) pesos as
After Leino handed him his I.D., Chapman appeared from exemplary damages.
behind Leino and asked what was going on. Chapman then (3) In Criminal Case No. 91-4807, finding accused
stepped down on the sidewalk and inquired from appellant what Claudio J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt
was wrong. There and then, the accused pushed Chapman, of the crime of Frustrated Murder, qualified by treachery, for
pulled a gun from inside his shirt, and shot him. The gun attack the shooting of Jussi Olavi Leino, and sentencing him to
was unexpected. “Why did you shoot me?” was all Chapman suffer the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years of prision
could utter. Concededly, the shooting of Chapman was carried mayor as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
out swiftly and left him with no chance to defend himself. Even months of reclusion temporal as maximum, and to pay the
then, there is no evidence on record to prove that the accused said offended party the following amounts: (P30,000.00)
consciously and deliberately adopted his mode of attack to pesos as Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) pesos as indemnity
insure the accomplishment of his criminal design without risk to for his injuries; One Hundred Eighteen Thousand Three
himself. The accused acted on the spur of the moment. Their Hundred Sixty-Nine pesos and Eighty-Four Centavos
meeting was by chance. They were strangers to each other. The (P118,369.84) and equivalent in Philippine Pesos of
Page 15 of 21

U.S.$55,600.00, both as actual damages; One Million Gimena was inside her mouth, appellant kept looking and
(P1,000,000.00) pesos as moral damages; and, Two Million pointing his handgun at them.
(P2,000,000.00) pesos as exemplary damages. Thereafter, Gimena got on top of Estrella (gisakyan) and did the
(4) In all three cases, ordering said accused to pay sexual act (kayatan). She felt excruciating pain. Gimena made
each of the three (3) offended parties the sum of One Million push-and-pull movements for around 10 minutes. Appellant
Pesos (P1,000,000.00; or a total of Three Million looked on and said, "why did it take you long to penetrate?"
[P3,000,000.00] pesos] for attorney's fees and expenses of While Gimena was making the push-and-pull movements,
litigation; and appellant held the legs of Estrella to keep them apart.
(5) To pay the costs in all three (3) cases. After Gimena had sexual intercourse with Estrella, she sat down.
-------------------------------xxx-------------------------------- Not long after, appellant said: "You do it again." Gimena said
People of the Philippines vs. Rene Siao that he could not do it again because he was already very tired.
G.R. No. 126021 / 03 March 2000./ Justice Gonzaga-Reyes But appellant pointed the pistol at Gimena's temple. Gimena
Art. 14 – Aggravating Circumstances – Ignominy obeyed the order of appellant because the pistol was pointed at
him. They were made to lay side by side while appellant kept on
FACTS: pointing the pistol at them. Gimena, who was behind Estrella
The Office of the Solicitor General summarized the evidence for made a push-and-pull movements so that his organ would reach
the prosecution in this wise: her private part.
Joy Raymundo and private complainant Estrella Raymundo are After the side by side position, they were made to assume the
cousins. They worked as house maids of appellant's family. dog position (patuwad). Appellant commanded her to do it but
Reylan Gimena was also a helper of appellant's family. Estrella she refused because she was already tired. Appellant pointed
was then a 14-year old "probinsiyana" from Palompon, Leyte. the pistol at her, so she obeyed his order. Gimena said: "I will
On May 27, 1994, at about 3:00 p.m., in the Siao residence not do that because I am already tired." At that, appellant pointed
located at 417-A Basak Brotherhood, Cebu City, appellant the pistol at Gimena. Thus, Gimena copulated with Estrella in
ordered Reylan Gimena, a houseboy of the Siaos, to pull the manner dogs perform the sexual intercourse. Gimena
Estrella to the room of the women. Gimena dragged her toward shouted for help. Somebody knocked on the door and they
the women's quarters and once inside, appellant pushed her to heard the voice of Teresita Pañares, the older sister of appellant.
the wooden bed (naomog). Appellant pointed a pistol colored Appellant ignored Pañares and kept on pointing the pistol at
white at Gimena and the face of Estrella. Estrella and Gimena, as he looked at them with wide-open eyes
Producing a candle and a bottle of sprite, appellant asked (siga). Shortly, appellant told them to go to the boy's room. They
Estrella to choose one among a pistol, candle or a bottle of complied with his order tearfully, after he followed them laughing
sprite. He also told Gimena "Reylan, birahi si Ester." (Reylan do all the while. Appellant then warned them: "If you will tell the
something to Ester.) Appellant lighted the candle and dropped police, I will kill your mothers.".
the melting candle on her chest. Estrella chose a bottle of sprite At around 6:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day, Estrella
because she was afraid of the pistol. She was made to lie down and Joy Raymundo sought permission to go home. On their way
on her back on the bed with her head hanging over one end. home, they met an old man who saw Estrella crying. The old
Whereupon, appellant poured sprite into her nostrils as she was man took them to his house. After the incident was reported to
made to spread her arms. While appellant dropped the bottle of the police, Senior Police Officer Reynaldo Omaña conducted
sprite into her nostrils, he pointed the gun at her face. Estrella the investigation and arrested Gimena, who was identified by
felt dizzy and her eyesight became blurred. She tried to fold her Esrtrella as the one who raped her on orders of appellant. The
arms to cover her breasts but appellant ordered Gimena to hold police officers looked for appellant to shed light on the reported
her hands. rape. But they could not locate him.”
Appellant then tied her feet and hands with an electric cord or To sum up, Ester Raymundo and Reylan Gimena were forced
wire as she was made to lie face down on the bed. After that, and intimidated at gunpoint by accused-appellant Rene Siao to
appellant untied her hands and feet but tied her back with the have carnal knowledge of each other. Rene Siao called Reylan
same wire. Gimena inside the women's quarter. After Rene Siao closed the
As appellant pointed his pistol at her, he ordered Estrella to door, he told Reylan, "Reylan, birahi si Ester". Since Reylan was
remove her pants and T-shirt, she sat on the bed and did as she at a loss as to what to do, Rene Siao commanded Ester at
was told and when she was naked, appellant commanded her gunpoint to "suck (um-um) the penis" of Reylan Gimena. Both
to take the initiative (ikaw ang mauna sa lalaki.) She did not Reylan and Ester performed the sexual act because they were
understand what appellant meant. At this point, appellant poked afraid they will be killed. Thereafter, accused-appellant
the gun at her temple. commanded Reylan to rape Ester in three (3) different positions,
Appellant then commanded Gimena to remove his shorts. But pointing the handgun at them the whole time.
Gimena refused. Gimena did not remove his shorts but let his (Yung defense ni Rene Siao, magulo. Basta tungkol sa
penis out. nawawalang watch. Medyo unrelated. Ito yung kinuwento ni Sir
Appellant spread the arms of Estrella and made her lie down sa class, yung prosecution’s version)
spread. She felt dizzy and shouted for help twice. Appellant ISSUE/S:
ordered Gimena to rape Estrella. At first Gimena refused to heed Whether the aggravating circumstance of ignominy is present in
the command of appellant to rape Estrella (birahi) because, this case.
according to Gimena, he has a sister. Appellant said that if they HELD:
would not obey, he would kill both of them. Yes, it is present in this case.
Appellant told Gimena, "Reylan, do something (birahi) to Ester!" Accused-appellant was held guilty of rape with the use of a
Estrella was made to suck the penis of Gimena at gunpoint. She deadly weapon, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua to
complied with the order of appellant and when the penis of death. But the trial court overlooked and did not take into
account the aggravating circumstance of ignominy and
Page 16 of 21

sentenced accused-appellant to the single indivisible penalty of In a bid to exculpate himself, accused-appellant presents a
reclusion perpetua. It has been held that where the accused in totally different version of the story. Accused-appellant sought
committing the rape used not only the missionary position, i.e. to establish by his story that since Ester was caught stealing
male superior, female inferior but also the dog position as dogs money and the personal belongings of the people in the
do, i.e. entry from behind, as was proven like the crime itself in household she had motive to implicate accused-appellant in
the instant case, the aggravating circumstance of ignominy such a serious charge. We cannot see how a 14-year old girl
attended the commission thereof. from the rural area could fabricate such charges borne out of a
However, the use of a weapon serves to increase the penalty. desire for revenge.
Since the use of a deadly weapon increases the penalty as On the contrary, this theory of accused-appellant backfires on
opposed to a generic aggravating circumstance which only him because it appears that due to the thefts allegedly
affects the period of the penalty, said fact should be alleged in committed by Ester, Rene Siao decided to vent his ire by
the information, because of the accused's right to be informed subjecting her to a perverted form of punishment and using
of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Reylan as an instrument thereof. As to the charge of accused-
Considering that the complaint (which was later converted into appellant that the father of Ester tried to extort a huge sum of
the Information) failed to allege the use of a deadly weapon, money from the accused-appellant's family so that the case
specifically, that herein accused-appellant was armed with a against him will be dropped, we agree with the trial court that
gun, the penalty to be reckoned with in determining the penalty this contention is largely self-serving as it is uncorroborated.
for rape would be reclusion perpetua, the penalty prescribed for -------------------------xxx----------------------
simple rape under Article 335, as amended by R.A. No. 7659. G.R. No. 145993 June 17, 2003
Simple rape is punishable by the single indivisible penalty of PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, vs. RUFINO
reclusion perpetua, which must be applied regardless of any MALLARI y ILAG, Appellant.
mitigating or aggravating circumstance which may have ART. 14. Aggravating Circumstances: By means of motor
attended the commission of the deed. Hence, the penalty of vehicle
reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court is correct. DAVIDE, JR.
NOTE: (Re: Rape) Version of the Prosecution
Third, accused-appellant contends that the testimonies of the Liza Galang testified that on 7 July 1996 at around 4:00 p.m.,
prosecution witnesses do not conform to common experience her common-law husband Joseph admonished Rufino and his
due to the following reasons: Reylan Gimena ejaculated three brothers Ino and Felix Mallari not to drive fast while passing by
times in a span of less than 30 minutes; the rape took place Joseph’s house. Rufino and his brothers, who were then hot-
within earshot and near the presence of other people; Ester and tempered, challenged Joseph to a fight. The latter just ignored
Reylan did not make a dash for freedom during the ten minutes the challenge; and, instead he and his own brothers Radi and
it took Rene Siao to follow them from the women's quarter to the Manny asked apology from Rufino.
male's quarter where the latter wanted them to resume their Later that afternoon, while Joseph and Liza were watching a
copulation; a barangay tanod was present at the place of the basketball game at the barangay basketball court, Rufino and
alleged rape at about 4:00 p.m.; the private complainant his brothers, who were then carrying bladed weapons, arrived
reported the incident to an old man she chanced upon on her and attempted to stab Joseph; but Joseph was able to run away.
way home. When they were not able to catch up with him, Rufino boarded
Again, the points raised by accused-appellant are trite and of no and drove the truck parked near the basketball court and
consequence. First of all, the important consideration in rape is continued chasing Joseph until the truck ran over the latter,
not the emission of semen but the penetration of the female which caused his instantaneous death.
genitalia by the male organ. Well-settled is the rule that Liza further testified that at the time of his death, Joseph was 37
penetration, however slight, and not ejaculation, is what years old. He was a foreman in a construction firm with a daily
constitutes rape. Thus, this factor could not affect the case for income of ₱350 and also a carpenter and mason with a daily
the prosecution. Second, accused-appellant's argument that it income of ₱250. She spent less than ₱20,000 for the coffin,
is impossible to commit a rape in house where there are many tomb, funeral, and other expenses during the wake of Joseph.
occupants is untenable. We have held in a number of cases that Edgar Bawar, a friend of Joseph, testified that at 6:24 p.m. on 7
lust is no respecter of time and place. It is not impossible to July 1996, while Joseph was watching a basketball game,
perpetrate a rape even in a small room. Rape can be committed Rufino and his brothers Ino and Felix, who were carrying bladed
in a house where there are many other occupants. Third, Ester weapons, arrived and chased Joseph. Joseph ran away, and
and Reylan could not be expected to flee or even to attempt to Rufino pursued him with the truck. Upon catching up with him,
flee under the circumstances. Undoubtedly, considering that Rufino bumped Joseph, as a result of which the latter died on
Ester was only fourteen-years old and a newly employed the spot.
housemaid, while Reylan Gimena a seventeen-year old Dr. Erwin Escal testified that the cause of death of Joseph, as
houseboy, they were easily intimidated and cowed into stated in the Medico-Legal Report, was "[c]rushing injury on the
submission by accused-appellant, who aside from being their head secondary to vehicular accident." Joseph’s head was
"amo" or employer, was menacingly threatening to kill them or deformed with multiple skull fractures and lacerations and brain
their family with a gun if they did not do as he commanded them tissue evisceration.
to do. Thus, it was not improbable for them not to attempt to RTC RULING
escape when as accused-appellant perceived they had an The trial court gave full credence to the testimonies of
opportunity to do so. Moreover, while most victims will prosecution witnesses Liza Galang and Edgar Bawar that
immediately flee from their aggressors, others become virtually Rufino deliberately bumped Joseph. Appreciating the qualifying
catatatonic because of the mental shock they experience. It was circumstance of use of motor vehicle, it convicted Rufino of
also not improbable for them to report the incident to an old man murder and sentenced him to suffer the death penalty.
they met on the road as there was no on else to turn to. ISSUE
Page 17 of 21

Whether Rufino deliberately bumped Joseph with the truck he per hour, a four-meter distance could easily be covered by the
was driving. truck in a split second, and there would be no time for the driver
SC RULING to blow the horn before the impact. Much less could there be
The antecedent events show that, indeed, Rufino deliberately time for a person on the road to pick up a stone and hurl the
ran over Joseph. At around 4:00 p.m. of 7 July 1996, when same to an oncoming truck. Thus, it is simply impossible that
Rufino passed by Joseph’s house while driving the truck, he got Joseph was able to hurl a stone at the truck before he was run
angry when Joseph admonished him not to drive at high speed over.
in front of Joseph’s house. Rufino, already in a fighting mood, Neither can we believe Rufino’s testimony that he first saw
challenged Joseph to a fight, but the latter just ignored it. To put Joseph on the road when the truck was just four meters away
an end to the argument, Joseph and his brothers apologized to from him. According to Rufino, the road was clear because only
Rufino. Joseph and the truck he was driving were on the road.
Apparently, Rufino was not appeased by the apology and From Rufino’s own testimony, it appears that his view was
continued to harbor ill-feelings against Joseph. Rufino got the unobstructed. He could have seen Joseph from afar and could
chance to vent his anger not long thereafter. At around 5:30 therefore have avoided bumping the latter had he really wanted
p.m., while Joseph was watching a basketball game at the to.
basketball court located beside Rufino’s house, Rufino and his Obviously, the stone-throwing incident was concocted by the
brothers Ino and Felix, carrying with them bladed weapons, defense as a last ditch effort to have Rufino absolved from his
attempted to stab Joseph. But before they could do it, Joseph criminal act. Unlike the prosecution witnesses who executed
was able to run away. They chased Joseph, but were unable to their sworn statements on the morning after the subject incident,
catch up with him. Instead of giving up on his evil design, Rufino Rufino’s sworn statement was executed only on 15 August 1996,
went back to the basketball court, boarded the truck parked or more than one month after the incident. Thus, Rufino had
nearby, and resumed his pursuit of Joseph. Upon seeing Joseph enough time to reflect and come up with a plot. Unfortunately for
on the road, Rufino hit him with the truck. him, the story he concocted is so incredible that we are not
We note that the testimonies of Liza and Edgar were consistent inclined to believe it.
with their respective sworn statements, which they gave to the In view of the foregoing, we affirm the trial court’s finding that
police investigator in the morning of 8 July 1996. Considering Rufino deliberately bumped Joseph with the truck he was
that less than twenty-four hours had elapsed from the time of the driving.
bumping incident, Liza and Edgar could not have concocted a Rufino’s culpability having been resolved, we now come to the
story to pin down Rufino for the death of Joseph. Thus, there is penalty to be imposed. The trial court imposed the death penalty
no reason to doubt the veracity of the sworn statements and the on the ground that the qualifying circumstance of use of motor
testimonies of Liza and Edgar. vehicle is present. Rufino, however, argues that the use of a
Moreover, the defense has not shown any reason why Edgar, motor vehicle was only incidental, considering that he resorted
who corroborated Liza’s testimony about the incident, would to it only to enable him to go after Joseph after he failed to catch
perjure himself to pin down Rufino. Absent any evidence up with the latter. The fallacy of this argument is obvious.
showing any reason or motive for the prosecution witnesses to The evidence shows that Rufino deliberately used his truck in
perjure, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive pursuing Joseph. Upon catching up with him, Rufino hit him with
exists, and their testimonies are thus worthy of full faith and the truck, as a result of which Joseph died instantly. It is
credit. therefore clear that the truck was the means used by Rufino to
In comparison, Rufino and Myrna gave inconsistent testimonies. perpetrate the killing of Joseph.
Myrna wanted the court to believe that her husband was in no Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, a person who kills
way at fault by stating that Rufino was driving at a slow pace, another "by means of a motor vehicle" is guilty of murder. Thus,
while Rufino himself declared that he was driving at a speed of the use of motor vehicle qualifies the killing to murder. The
eighty kilometers per hour. Myrna’s attempt to cover up the penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death. Since the
misdeed of her husband is obvious; hence, the integrity of her penalty is composed of two indivisible penalties, we shall apply
declarations becomes questionable. Article 63(3) of the Revised Penal Code, which reads:
Rufino himself made inconsistent statements. At first, in the 3. When the commission of the act is attended by some
course of the direct examination, Rufino declared that prior to mitigating circumstances and there is no aggravating
the bumping incident he saw Joseph pass by his house, walking circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.
in a zigzag manner. This testimony was an attempt to give In the present case, the aggravating circumstances of evident
credence to his allegation that Joseph was drunk, which was premeditation and treachery, which were alleged in the
why he threw stones at the truck for no reason at all. But when information, were not proved. What was proved was the
he was asked during his cross-examination about his altercation mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender through the
with Joseph earlier that fateful day, Rufino made a complete testimonies of Rufino and Myrna, which were not rebutted by the
turnaround and declared that he saw Joseph for the first time at prosecution.
the place where he was run over. We have held that for voluntary surrender to be appreciated as
Moreover, the testimonies of Rufino and Myrna do not inspire a mitigating circumstance, the following requisites must concur:
belief for being improbable and not in accord with human (1) the offender had not been actually arrested; (2) the offender
experience. It is axiomatic that for testimonial evidence to be surrendered himself to a person in authority or to an agent of a
credible, it should come not only from the mouth of a credible person in authority; and (3) the surrender was voluntary. A
witness, but should also be credible, reasonable, and in accord surrender is considered voluntary if it is spontaneous and shows
with human experience. the intention of the accused to submit himself unconditionally to
According to Rufino, he saw Joseph when the truck was four the authorities because he either acknowledges his guilt or
meters away from the latter and he blew his horn three times. wishes to save the government the trouble and expense
This is altogether unbelievable. At a speed of eighty kilometers
Page 18 of 21

necessarily included for his search and capture. All these originally intended. Even if it be assumed that the real intention
requisites are present in this case. of accused-appellant was to surrender the victim to the police
In view of the absence of an aggravating circumstance and the for mauling him, his act of pursuing the victim, who was a
presence of one mitigating circumstance, reclusion perpetua, passenger of the motorela, resulted in the injuries of the driver
not death, should be the penalty to be imposed on Rufino. and the other passenger of the motorela. Appellant himself
DISPOSTIVE PORTION testified that when he followed the motorela, he was "very near"
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial and that he saw the deceased Achumbre jump out on the right
Court, Branch 25, of Biñan, Laguna, in Criminal Case No. 9621- side of the motorela but he went ahead; he allegedly "tried to
B convicting appellant RUFINO MALLARI y ILAG of the crime of evade, but he was so near." Upon seeing that Achumbre was
murder is hereby AFFIRMED with the following modifications: trying to jump out of the motorela, accused-appellant should
1. The penalty is reduced from death to reclusion perpetua; have known that by closely following, pushing and bumping the
2. The award of exemplary damages in the amount of ₱50,000 motorela, he could injure the passengers, which is what
is reduced to ₱25,000, and the awards of actual and moral happened in this case. Moreover, accused-appellant ignored the
damages are reduced to ₱9,200 and ₱50,000, respectively; and pleas of Rosita Requerme, the other passenger and wife of the
3. Appellant Rufino Mallari y Ilag is further ordered to pay the driver of the motorela, for him to stop bumping and pushing the
heirs of Joseph Galang an indemnity ex delictoin the amount of motorela. Instead, he persisted resulting in the motorela turning
₱50,000. on its side and in the opposite direction. Verily, the act of
Costs de oficio. SO ORDERED. accused-appellant in relentlessly pursuing the motorela is a
-----------------------------xxx-------------------------------- manifestation of his intention to perpetrate the crime.
MOTOR VEHICLE The indictment against accused-appellant is murder attended by
the use of motor vehicle. The use of a motor vehicle qualifies the
PEOPLE v. ENGUITO killing to murder if the same was perpetrated by means thereof.
G.R. No. 128812 February 28, 2000 Appellant's claim that he merely used the motor vehicle, Kia
GONZAGA-REYES, J.: Ceres van, to stop the victim from escaping is belied by his
actuations. By his own admission, he testified that there was a
FACTS police mobile patrol near the crossing. Accused-appellant could
have easily sought the assistance of the police instead of taking
on September 22, 1991 at about 3:00 o'clock early dawn at the law into his own hands. Moreover, accused-appellant
Marcos Bridge, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the already noticed the deceased trying to jump out of the motorela
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused but he still continued his pursuit. He did not stop the vehicle after
with intent to kill and with treachery and with evident hitting the deceased who was hit when he (Achumbre) was at
premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and the railing of the Marcos bridge. Accused-appellant further used
feloniously chased, bumped and hit the motorela which Wilfredo the vehicle in his attempt to escape. He was already more than
S. Achumbre was riding with his Ceres Kia automobile bearing one (1) kilometer away from the place of the incident that he
Plate No. 722 and as a consequence thereof, the motorela was stopped his vehicle upon seeing the police mobile patrol which
dragged and fell on the road causing the driver (Felipe was following him.
Requerme) and its passenger Rosita Requerme to sustain
serious bodily injuries while the deceased Wilfredo S. Achumbre The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender cannot be
was able to run towards the railings at Marcos Bridge but appreciated. Evidence shows that accused-appellant was
accused with intent to kill him hit instantaneously immediately further pursued by the police. Appellant himself testified that he
rammed and hit him with his driven vehicle cutting his right leg stopped his vehicle just after the police mobile stopped but
and thereafter ran over him thereby causing mortal harm on his admitted having "stopped farther than the police mobile". The
body which was the direct and immediate cause of his foregoing notwithstanding, the existence or non-existence of a
instantaneous death. the wrong done in the commission of the mitigating circumstance in the case at bar will not affect the
crime was deliberately augmented by causing other wrong not penalty to be imposed pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised
necessary for its commission. Upon arraignment, accused, Penal Code. The crime committed by accused-appellant is the
assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. complex crime of murder with less serious physical injuries.
Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for a
RTC rendered judgment finding accused guilty beyond complex crime shall be the maximum period of the penalty for
reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide with Less Serious the most serious crime. The crime was committed in 1992 where
Physical Injuries. CA found that since the prosecution's the penalty for the crime of murder, which is the most serious
evidence showed that accused killed the victim by means of crime, was reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death
motor vehicle, he should be guilty of the crime of murder and not under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. The death penalty
of homicide. being the maximum period of the penalty for murder should be
imposed for the complex crime of murder with less serious
ISSUE: WON accused should be guilty of crime of murder physical injuries considering that under Article 63, an indivisible
aggravated by means of motor vehicle penalty cannot be affected by the presence of any mitigating or
aggravating circumstance.
The basic rule in criminal law is that a person is responsible for
all the consequences of his unlawful or wrongful act although WHEREFORE, the decision convicting accused-appellant
such consequences were different from those which he Thadeos Enguito of the complex crime of Murder with Less
Page 19 of 21

Serious Physical Injuries and sentencing him to the penalty of and expressed his full trust in him. Upon hearing this, accused-
reclusion perpetua is hereby AFFIRMED with the appellant shed tears and embraced Demetrio. Then accused-
MODIFICATION that accused-appellant is ordered to pay the appellant said, May problema ako, Rio. Demetrio asked what it
heirs of deceased Wilfredo Achumbre the amount of P50,000.00 was, and accused-appellant told him that Elsa was
as civil indemnity; P1,680,000.00 for loss of earning capacity; P dead. Demetrio asked, Bakit mo siya pinatay? Accused-
16,300.00 as actual damages; P 50,000.00 as moral damages; appellant answered that he did not kill Elsa, rather she died
and to further pay the spouses Felipe and Rosita Requerme the of bangungot.
amount of P20,000.00 as moral damages. Demetrio suggested that Elsas body be autopsied, but accused-
---------------------------xxx-------------------------- appellant said that he had already beheaded her. He asked
PEOPLE V. STEPHEN MARK WHISENHUNT Demetrio if he wanted to see the decapitated body, but the latter
G.R. No. 123819, 14 November 2001, J. Ynares- Santiago refused. The two of them went to Shoppesville at the Greenhills
PRINICIPLE: Article 14, Aggravating Circumstances – Shopping Center and bought a big bag with a zipper and rollers,
Cruelty colored black and gray.[15] Demetrio noticed that accused-
appellant seemed nervous and his eyes were teary and
Accused and victim (Elsie) were lovers. They met at the Apex bloodshot.
Motor Corp. where accused was the manager while Elsie was When they returned to the condominium, accused-appellant
the assistant personnel manager. Both of them were married asked Demetrio to help him wrap the body in the black garbage
but they were estranged from their respective spouses. In April bags. Demetrio entered accused-appellants bathroom and
1993, Elsie resigned from Apex to avoid nasty rumors about her found the dismembered hands, feet, trunk and head of a
illicit affairs with the accused. It appears however that she woman. He lifted the severed head by the hair and, when he
continued her affair with the accused even after she resigned lifted it, he saw Elsas face. He placed this in a black trash
from Apex. On 23 September 1993, an Apex employee bag. He helped accused-appellant place the other body parts in
assigned to drive the accused, reported for work at 8:30 a.m. at three separate garbage bags. They packed all the garbage bags
the latters condominium in Annapolis Greenhills. Accused in the bag with the zipper and rollers, which they had bought in
ordered him to fetch Elsie at her parents house in Blumentritt. Shoppesville. Then, they brought the bag down and loaded it in
At 2 p.m., Elsie told the driver to go to the Apex office in the trunk of accused-appellants car. After that, they boarded the
Mandaluyong to deliver the paper bag to Amy Serrano, the car. Demetrio took the wheel and accused-appellant sat beside
Personnel Manager. He proceeded to the Apex Office and then him in front.[16]
returned to Platinum. Accused asked him to stay because he It was almost 2:00 p.m. when Demetrio and accused-appellant
had to drive Elsa home at 10 p.m. He waited until a little past left the condominium. Accused-appellant told Demetrio to drive
10 p.m. when he had not heard from the accused, he told Lucy, around Batangas and Tagaytay City. After leaving Tagaytay,
the housemaid, the he was going home. they entered the South Luzon Expressway and headed towards
Sta. Rosa, Laguna. When they were near Puting Kahoy and
The following day, Demetrio again reported at accused- Silangan, accused-appellant told Demetrio to turn into a narrow
appellants unit. At around noon, Lucy asked if he had seen a road. Somewhere along that road, accused-appellant ordered
kitchen knife which was missing. He then overheard Lucy ask Demetrio to stop the car. Accused-appellant alighted and told
accused-appellant who told her that the kitchen knife was in his Demetrio to get the bag in the trunk. Accused-appellant took the
bedroom. Demetrio saw accused-appellant go inside the room plastic bags inside the bag and dumped them by the
and, shortly thereafter, hand the knife to Lucy. At 3:40 p.m., roadside. Then, accused-appellant returned the empty bag in
Lucy told Demetrio to buy cigarettes for accused-appellant. He the trunk and boarded the car. He called Demetrio and
went out to buy the cigarettes and gave them to Lucy. At 5:00 said, Tayo na Rio, tuloy na tayo sa Bataan. It was already 6:30
p.m., accused-appellant told Demetrio to go home. On p.m.
September 25, 1993, Demetrio reported at the Platinum Demetrio drove to the Sta. Rosa exit gate, along the South
Condominium at around 8:00 a.m. He was allowed by accused- Luzon Expressway, through EDSA and towards the North Luzon
appellant to go to Apex to follow up his salary. While he was Expressway. They stopped at a gasoline station to refuel. They
there, Amy Serrano asked him if Elsa was still in accused- then took the San Fernando, Pampanga exit, and were soon en
appellants condominium unit. Although Demetrio did not see route to the Whisenhunt family mansion in Bagac, Bataan .
Elsa there, he answered yes. Amy gave him black plastic Before reaching Bagac, accused-appellant ordered Demetrio to
garbage bags which he turned over to accused-appellant upon stop the car on top of a bridge. Accused-appellant told Demetrio
his return to the condominium. The latter then ordered him to to get off and to throw a bag into the river. Later, they passed
drive Lucy to Cubao and to go home to get some clothes, since another bridge and accused-appellant again told Demetrio to
they were leaving for Bagac, Bataan. On the way to Cubao, Lucy pull over. Accused-appellant alighted and threw Elsas clothes
told Demetrio that she was going home. He dropped her off in over the bridge. On the way, Demetrio noticed that accused-
front of the Farmers Market. Thereafter, he proceeded to his appellant took something from a bag, tore it to pieces and threw
house in Fairview, Quezon City, to pick up some clothes, then it out of the window. When they passed Pilar, Bataan, accused-
returned to the condominium at around 10:00 a.m. appellant threw Elsas violet Giordano bag. As they reached the
Accused-appellant asked him to check the fuel gauge of the road boundary of Bagac, accused-appellant wrung a short-
car. He was told to go to Apex to get a gas slip and then to gas sleeved dress with violet and green stripes, and threw it on a
up. At around noon, he went back to the condominium. He had grassy lot. It was about midnight when accused-appellant and
lunch outside at Goodah, then returned to accused-appellants Demetrio arrived at the mansion. Demetrio was unable to sleep
unit and stayed in the servants quarters. While Demetrio was that night, as he was scared that he might be the next victim.
in the servants quarters watching television, accused-appellant The next morning, at 11:00 a.m., accused-appellant ordered
came in. He asked Demetrio how long he wanted to work for Demetrio to clean the trunk of the car, saying, Rio, linisan mo
him. Demetrio replied that he was willing to work for him forever, ang sasakyan para ang compartment hindi babaho. At 1:00
Page 20 of 21

p.m., accused-appellant and Demetrio started off for Manila. As In the case at bar, the following circumstances were successfully
they passed a place called Kabog-kabog, he saw accused- proven by the prosecution without a shadow of doubt, to wit: that
appellant take out an ATM card. Accused-appellant burned the Elsa Santos Castillo was brought to accused-appellants
middle of the card, twisted it and threw it out of the window. They condominium unit on September 23, 1993; that on September
arrived at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue at 2:30 24, 1993, accused-appellants housemaid was looking for her
p.m. Demetrio asked accused-appellant if he can get off since kitchen knife and accused-appellant gave it to her, saying that it
he wanted to go home to Fairview. Before Demetrio left, was in his bedroom; that on September 25, 1993, accused-
accused-appellant told him, Rio, you and your family can go on appellant and Demetrio Ravelo collected the dismembered body
a vacation. I will give you money. Accused-appellant then gave parts of Elsa from the bathroom inside accused-appellants
Demetrio P50.00 for his transportation going to Fairview. bedroom; that accused-appellant disposed of the body parts by
When Demetrio got home, he immediately told his family what a roadside somewhere in San Pedro, Laguna; that accused-
happened. His wife told him to report the incident to Fiscal Joey appellant also disposed of Elsas personal belongings along the
Diaz. Demetrio and his wife went to the house of Fiscal Diaz in road going to Bagac, Bataan; that the mutilated body parts of a
Fairview to talk to him. And thereafter went to NBI. female cadaver, which was later identified as Elsa, were found
In his defense, he first learned of Elsa’s death when he was by the police and NBI agents at the spot where Demetrio
arrested by the NBI on September 28, 1993. He denied having pointed; that hair specimens found inside accused-appellants
anything to do with her death, saying that he had no reason to bathroom and bedroom showed similarities with hair taken from
kill her since he was in love with her. Sometime during his Elsas head; and that the bloodstains found on accused-
relationship with Elsa, he claimed having received in the mails appellants bedspread, covers and in the trunk of his car, all
two anonymous letters. The first one reads: Salamat sa matched Elsas blood type.
pagpapahiram mo ng sasakyan at driver. Pero masyado kang Accused-appellant makes capital of the fact that the Medico-
pakialamero, Steve. Walanghiya ka. Para kang Legal Officer, Dr. Mendez, did not examine the pancreas of the
demonyo. Pinakialaman mo ang di sa yo. Lintik lang ang walang deceased notwithstanding Demetrios statement that, according
ganti. Matitiyempuhan din kita. Putang ina mo. The second to accused-appellant, Elsa died ofbangungot, or hemorrhage of
letter says: Steve, Ang kay Pedro kay Pedro. Kapag the pancreas. Because of this, accused-appellant insists that
pinakialaman ay kay San Pedro ang tungo. Mahal mo ba ang the cause of death was not adequately established. In any
pamilya mo? Iniingatan mo ba ang pangalan event, the foregoing does not detract from the established fact
mo? Nakakasagasa ka na. Upon Elsa’s knowledge, she got that Elsas body was found mutilated inside accused-appellants
very upset and said that the letters came from Fred, her bathroom. This clearly indicated that it was accused-appellant
estranged husband. who cut up Elsas body to pieces.Naturally, accused-appellant
would be the only suspect to her killing.
RTC Ruling: Accused was convicted of the crime of murder As already stated above, Demetrios testimony was
(Demetrio as credible witness). convincing. Accused-appellant attempts to refute Demetrios
ISSUE: Whether or not the accused is guilty as charged. statements by saying that he had repeatedly reprimanded the
Findings of the trial court pertaining to the credibility of witnesses latter for discourteous and reckless driving, and that he had
command great weight and respect since it had the opportunity already asked the latter to tender his resignation. Thus,
to observe their demeanor while the testified in court. Perhaps accused-appellant claims that Demetrio imputed Elsas death on
more damning to accused-appellant is the physical evidence him in order to get back at him. This Court finds the cruel
against him. The findings of the forensic biologist on the treatment by an employer too flimsy a motive for the employee
examination of the hair samples and bloodstains all confirm to implicate him in such a gruesome and hideous crime. Rather
Elsas death inside accused-appellants bedroom. On the other than entertain an accusation of ill-motive and bad faith on
hand, the autopsy report revealed that Elsa was stabbed at least Demetrio Ravelo, this Court views his act of promptly reporting
three times on the chest. This, taken together with Demetrios the incident to his family and, later, to the authorities, as a
testimony that accused-appellant kept the kitchen knife inside genuine desire to bring justice to the cruel and senseless slaying
his bedroom on September 24, 1993, leads to the inescapable of Elsa Santos Castillo, whom he knew well.
fact that accused-appellant stabbed Elsa inside the bedroom or The court do not agree with the trial court that the prosecution
bathroom. sufficiently proved the qualifying circumstance of abuse of
Physical evidence is a mute but eloquent manifestation of truth, superior strength. Abuse of superiority is present whenever
and it ranks high in the hierarchy of our trustworthy evidence. there is inequality of forces between the victim and the
For this reason, it is regarded as evidence of the highest order. It aggressor, assuming a situation of superiority of strength
speaks more eloquently than a hundred witnesses. notoriously advantageous for the aggressor and selected or
While it may be true that there was no eyewitness to the death taken advantage of by him in the commission of the crime. From
of Elsa, the confluence of the testimonial and physical evidence viewing the photograph of accused-appellant that he has a
against accused-appellant creates an unbroken chain of rather small frame. Hence, the attendance of the qualifying
circumstantial evidence that naturally leads to the fair and circumstance of abuse of superior strength was not adequately
reasonable conclusion that accused-appellant was the author of proved and cannot be appreciated against accused-appellant.
the crime, to the exclusion of all others. The rules on evidence However, the other circumstance of outraging and scoffing
and jurisprudence sustain the conviction of an accused through at the corpse of the victim was correctly appreciated by the
circumstantial evidence when the following requisites trial court. The mere decapitation of the victims head
concur: (1) there must be more than one circumstance; (2) the constitutes outraging or scoffing at the corpse of the victim,
inference must be based on proven facts; and (3) the thus qualifying the killing to murder. In this case, accused-
combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond appellant not only beheaded Elsa. He further cut up her body
doubt of the guilt of the accused. like pieces of meat. Then, he strewed the dismembered parts of
her body in a deserted road in the countryside, leaving them to
Page 21 of 21

rot on the ground. The sight of Elsas severed body parts on the
ground, vividly depicted in the photographs offered in evidence,
is both revolting and horrifying. At the same time, the viewer
cannot help but feel utter pity for the sub-human manner of
disposing of her remains.
Even if treachery was not present in this case, the crime would
still be murder because of the dismemberment of the dead
body. One of the qualifying circumstances of murder under
Article 248, par. 6, of the Revised Penal Code is outraging or
scoffing at (the) person or corpse of the victim.
SC: Accused is guilty as charged.

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