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Wrongful act Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Baguio City SECOND DIVISION G.R. No.

172896 April 19, 2010 ROO SEGURITAN y JARA, Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. DECISION DEL CASTILLO, J.: In a criminal case, factual findings of the trial court are generally accorded great weight and respect on appeal, especially when such findings are supported by substantial evidence on record.1 It is only in exceptional circumstances, such as when the trial court overlooked material and relevant matters, that this Court will re-calibrate and evaluate the factual findings of the court below. In this case, we hold that the trial court did not overlook such factual matters; consequently, we find no necessity to review, much less, overturn its factual findings. This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated February 24, 2006 in CA-G.R. CR No. 25069 which affirmed with modification the Judgment3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Aparri, Cagayan, Branch 06 in Criminal Case No. VI-892 finding petitioner RooSeguritan y Jara guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide. Likewise impugned is the Resolution4 dated May 23, 2006 which denied the Motion for Reconsideration.5 Factual Antecedents On October 1, 1996, petitioner was charged with Homicide in an Information, 6 the accusatory portion of which reads as follows: That on or about November 25,1995, in the municipality of Gonzaga, province of Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, ROO SEGURITAN y JARA alias Ranio, with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack and box one LucrecioSeguritan, inflicting upon the latter head injuries which caused his death. Contrary to law. During the arraignment, petitioner entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial ensued. The Version of the Prosecution In the afternoon of November 25, 1995, petitioner was having a drinking session with his uncles LucrecioSeguritan (Lucrecio), MelchorPanis (Melchor) and BaltazarPanis (Baltazar), in the house of Manuel dela Cruz in Barangay Paradise, Gonzaga, Cagayan. Petitioner, who was seated beside Lucrecio, claimed that Lucrecioscarabao entered his farm and destroyed his crops. A heated

discussion thereafter ensued, during which petitioner punched Lucrecio twice as the latter was about to stand up. Petitioners punches landed on Lucrecios right and left temple, causing him to fall faceup to the ground and hit a hollow block which was being used as an improvised stove. Lucrecio lost consciousness but was revived with the assistance of Baltazar. Thereafter, Lucrecio rode a tricycle and proceeded to his house in the neighboring barangay of Calayan, Cagayan. Upon his arrival, his wife noticed blood on his forehead. Lucrecio explained that he was stoned, then went directly to his room and slept. At around 9 oclock in the evening, Lucrecios wife and daughter noticed that his complexion has darkened and foamy substance was coming out of his mouth. Attempts were made to revive Lucrecio but to no avail. He died that same night. After the burial of Lucrecio on December 4, 1995, his wife learned of petitioners involvement in her husbands death. Thus, she sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). NBI Medico-Legal Officer Dr. Antonio Vertido (Dr. Vertido) exhumed Lucrecios body and performed the autopsy. Dr. Vertido found hematomas in the scalp located in the right parietal and left occipital areas, a linear fracture in the right middle fossa, and a subdural hemorrhage in the right and left cerebral hemisphere. Dr. Vertido concluded that Lucrecios cause of death was traumatic head injury.7 On May 21, 1996, Melchor executed a sworn statement before the Gonzaga Police Station recounting the events on that fateful day, including the punching of Lucrecio by petitioner. At the time of Lucrecios death, he was 51 years old and earned an annual income of P14,000.00 as a farmer. The Version of the Defense Petitioner denied hitting Lucrecio and alleged that the latter died of cardiac arrest. Petitioner claimed that he suddenly stood up during their heated argument with the intent to punch Lucrecio. However, since the latter was seated at the opposite end of the bench, Lucrecio lost his balance and fell before he could be hit. Lucrecios head hit the improvised stove as a result of which he lost consciousness. Petitioner presented Joel Cabebe, the Assistant Registration Officer of Gonzaga, Cagayan, and Dr. Corazon Flor, the Municipal Health Officer of Sta. Teresita, Cagayan, to prove that Lucrecio died of a heart attack. These witnesses identified the Certificate of Death of Lucrecio and the entry therein which reads: "Antecedent cause: T/C cardiovascular disease."8 Ruling of the Regional Trial Court On February 5, 2001, the trial court rendered a Decision convicting petitioner of homicide. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads: WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide and sentences the accused to an indeterminate sentence of 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal as maximum. The accused is ordered to pay the heirs of the late LucrecioSeguritan the amount of P30,000.00 as actual damages and the amount of P135,331.00 as loss of earning capacity and to pay the costs. SO ORDERED.9

The Decision of the Court of Appeals On appeal, the CA affirmed with modification the Judgment of the RTC. Thus: WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is partly AFFIRMED, WITH MODIFICATION, to read as follows: The Court finds the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide and sentences the accused to an indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor, as minimum, to TWELVE (12) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal, as maximum. The accused RooSeguritan is ordered to pay the heirs of the late LucrecioSeguritan the amount of P 30,000.00 as actual damages, the amount of P135,331.00 as loss of earning capacity, P 50,000.00 as moral damages and to pay the costs. SO ORDERED.10 Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but it was denied by the CA in its Resolution dated May 23, 2006. Issues Thus, this petition for review raising the following issues: I The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts judgment of conviction. II The Court of Appeals erred in convicting the accused of the crime of homicide.11 Our Ruling The petition is denied. Petitioner disputes the conclusion that the fracture on the right middle fossa of the skull, beneath the area where a hematoma developed was due to the blow he delivered because according to the testimony of Dr. Vertido, the fracture may also be caused by one falling from a height. Petitioner also maintains that the punches he threw at Lucrecio had nothing to do with the fatal head injuries the latter suffered. According to him, Lucrecio sustained the head injuries when he accidentally hit the hollow block that was used as an improvised stove, after falling from the opposite end of the bench. Petitioner insists that Lucrecio died due to a fatal heart attack. In fine, petitioner contends that the appellate court, in affirming the judgment of the trial court, overlooked material and relevant factual matters which, if considered, would change the outcome of the case. We are not persuaded.

It is on record that Lucrecio suffered two external injuries and one internal injury in his head. The autopsy report showed that Lucrecio died of internal hemorrhage caused by injuries located at the upper right portion of the head, left side of the center of his head, and a "fracture, linear, right middle fossa, hemorrhage, subdural, right and left cerebral hemisphere." We find no reason to doubt the findings of the trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, that petitioner punched Lucrecio twice causing him to fall to the ground. Melchor categorically testified that petitioner punched Lucrecio twice and as a result, Lucrecio fell to the ground and lost consciousness. Melchor would not have testified falsely against petitioner, who was his nephew. He even hesitated to testify as shown by his execution of a sworn statement just after the autopsy of Lucrecio which revealed that the cause of death was traumatic head injury attributed to petitioner. Melchors eyewitness account of the fist blows delivered by petitioner to Lucrecio and the manner by which the latter fell from the bench and hit his head on the improvised stove is consistent with the autopsy findings prepared and testified to by Dr. Vertido. Thus: x xxx Court: Q: What is the right parietal area? A: This is the right parietal area, sir. (Witness pointing to the upper right portion of the head). : And then the left occipital area, this is left occipital area with a hematoma again measuring 5.0 x 4.0 centimeters, sir. (Witness pointing to the back left part, middle back portion)12 x xxx Fiscal Feril: Q: What about this which reads "Fracture, linear, right middle fossa", where is this injury located? x xxx Court: Q: Will you point that from your head? A: x xx [A]t the base of the brain of the skull, sir. If you look at the head at the cut portion, the fracture is located on the base of the brain, particularly on the right mid-cranial fossa, sir.13 x xxx

Fiscal Feril: Q: Could it be possible that the victim suffered the injuries specifically the fracture while he was falling to the ground, hitting solid objects in the process? A: Well, with regard to the hematomas there is a possibility [that it could be caused by] falling from a height x xx although it produces hematoma, sir. Court: Q: Falling from a height? A: Yes, sir. Fiscal Feril: Q: If an external force is administered to such victim, such as x xx fist blow[s] would it accelerate this force and cause these injuries? A: Definitely it could accelerate, sir.14 We find no merit in petitioners argument that he could not be held liable for the head fracture suffered by Lucrecio. The height from which he stood to deliver the fist blows to Lucrecios head is sufficient to cause the fracture. The testimony of Dr. Vertido also ruled out petitioners contention that Lucrecio died of a heart attack. The fact that Lucrecios cause of death is internal hemorrhage resulting from the head injuries suffered during his encounter with the petitioner and the certainty that he had no heart problem are evident in the following portion of Dr. Vertidos testimony: Atty. Antonio: Q: Did you notice anything unusual in the heart of LucrecioSeguritan? A: Well, with regard to our examination of the heart Your Honor I limit only the examination on the atomic portion, gross findings, when we say gross findings that can be seen by the eyes and so if for example other that the findings on the brain, if I have not seen my injury from the brain then my next examination to contemplate would be to bring a portion of each particular organ to Manila and have it subjected to a hispathologic examination over the microscope. But then we found out that there is an injury to the brain so why should I now perform a hispathologic examination on the heart, when in fact there is already a gross finding on the brain, meaning that the cause of death now is of course, this traumatic injury, sir. Court: Q: Supposed the victim had a heart attack first and then fell down later, can you determine then x xx the cause of death?

A: Well, your Honor as I said a while ago I opened up the heart, I examined the heart grossly and there was no findings that would find to a heart attach on its function, the heart was okay and coronaries were not thickened so I said well grossly there was no heart attack.15 x xxx Court: Q: Since you were conducting just a cursory examination of the heart, my question again is that, could you have determined by further examination whether the victim suffered a heart attack before the injuries on the head were inflicted? A: That is why sir, I said, I examined the heart and I found out that there was noting wrong with the heart, and why should I insist on further examining the heart.16 The notation in the Certificate of Death of Lucrecio that he died of a heart attack has no weight in evidence. Dr. Corazon Flor, who signed said document testified that she did not examine the cadaver of Lucrecio. She stated that a circular governing her profession did not require her to conduct an examination of Lucrecios corpse, as long as the informant tells her that it is not a medico-legal case. Renato Sidantes (Renato), the brother-in-law of Lucrecio who applied for the latters death certificate, had no knowledge of the real cause of his death. Thus, Dr. Flor was mistakenly informed by Renato that the cause of Lucrecios death was heart attack. The petitioner belatedly contends that the delay in the autopsy of Lucrecios body and its embalming compromised the results thereof. To substantiate his claim, he quotes the book entitled Legal Medicine authored by Dr. Pedro Solis, viz: "a dead body must not be embalmed before the autopsy. The embalming fluid may render the tissue and blood unfit for toxilogical analyses. The embalming may alter the gross appearance of the tissues or may result to a wide variety of artifacts that tend to destroy or obscure evidence." "the body must be autopsied in the same condition when found at the crime scene. A delay in the performance may fail or modify the possible findings thereby not serving the interest of justice."17 Petitioners reliance on this citation is misplaced. Petitioner failed to adduce evidence that the one month delay in the autopsy indeed modified the possible findings. He also failed to substantiate his claim that the embalming fluid rendered the tissue and blood of Lucrecio unfit for toxilogical analysis. Further, it is settled that courts will only consider as evidence that which has been formally offered.18 The allegation that the results of the autopsy are unworthy of credence was based on a book that was neither marked for identification nor formally offered in evidence during the hearing of the case. Thus, the trial court as well as the appellate court correctly disregarded them. The prosecution was not even given the opportunity to object as the book or a portion thereof was never offered in evidence.19 A formal offer is necessary since judges are required to base their findings of fact and judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties at the trial. To rule otherwise would deprive the opposing party of his chance to examine the document and object to its admissibility. The appellate court will have difficulty reviewing documents not previously scrutinized by the court below.20 Any evidence which a party desires to submit to the courts must be offered formally because a judge must base his findings strictly on the evidence offered by the parties at the trial.21

We are not impressed with petitioners argument that he should be held liable only for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide due to the absence of intent to kill Lucrecio. When death resulted, even if there was no intent to kill, the crime is homicide, not just physical injuries, since with respect to crimes of personal violence, the penal law looks particularly to the material results following the unlawful act and holds the aggressor responsible for all the consequences thereof.22 Accordingly, Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides: Art. 4. Criminal liability Criminal liability shall be incurred: 1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. x xxx Petitioner committed an unlawful act by punching Lucrecio, his uncle who was much older than him, and even if he did not intend to cause the death of Lucrecio, he must be held guilty beyond reasonable doubt for killing him pursuant to the above-quoted provision. He who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused.23 Considering the foregoing discussion, we find that both the trial court and the appellate court correctly appreciated the evidence presented before them. Both courts did not overlook facts and circumstances that would warrant a reevaluation of the evidence. Accordingly, there is no reason to digress from the settled legal principle that the appellate court will generally not disturb the assessment of the trial court on factual matters considering that the latter as a trier of facts, is in a better position to appreciate the same. Further, it is settled that findings of fact of the trial court are accorded greatest respect by the appellate court absent any abuse of discretion.24 There being no abuse of discretion in this case, we affirm the factual findings of the trial court. Penalty and Damages The penalty for Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion temporal the range of which is from 12 years and one day to 20 years. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty next lower in degree is prision mayor the range of which is from six years and one day to 12 years. In this case, we find that the mitigating circumstance of no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed, attended the commission of the crime. Thus, the appellate court correctly imposed the indeterminate penalty of six years and one day of prision mayor, as minimum, to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum. As regards the amount of damages, civil indemnity must also be awarded to the heirs of Lucrecio without need of proof other than the fact that a crime was committed resulting in the death of the victim and that petitioner was responsible therefor.25 Accordingly, we award the sum of P50,000.00 in line with current jurisprudence.26 The award of P135,331.00 for the loss of earning capacity was also in order.27 The prosecution satisfactorily proved that the victim was earning an annual income of P14,000.00 from the harvest of pineapples. Besides, the defense no longer impugned this award of the trial court. However, the other awards of damages must be modified. It is error for the trial court and the appellate court to award actual damages of P30,000.00 for the expenses incurred for the death of

the victim. We perused the records and did not find evidence to support the plea for actual damages. The expenses incurred in connection with the death, wake and burial of Lucrecio cannot be sustained without any tangible document to support such claim. While expenses were incurred in connection with the death of Lucrecio, actual damages cannot be awarded as they are not supported by receipts.28
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In lieu of actual damages, the heirs of the victim can still be awarded temperate damages. When pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proven with certainty, temperate damages may be recovered. Temperate damages may be allowed in cases where from the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be adduced, although the court is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered some pecuniary loss.29 In this regard, the amount of P25,000.00 is in accordance with recent jurisprudence.30 Moral damages was correctly awarded to the heirs of the victim without need of proof other than the fact that a crime was committed resulting in the death of the victim and that the accused was responsible therefor.31 The award of P50,000.00 as moral damages conforms to existing jurisprudence.32 WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 25069 finding petitioner RooSeguritany Jara guilty of homicide and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of six years and one day of prision mayor as minimum, to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as maximum, and to pay the heirs of LucrecioSeguritan the amounts of P50,000.00 as moral damages and P135,331.00 as loss of earning capacity is AFFIRMEDwith MODIFICATION that petitioner is further ordered to pay P25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages, and P50,000.00 as civil indemnity. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 155791. March 16, 2005 MELBA QUINTO, Petitioners, vs. DANTE ANDRES and RANDYVER PACHECO, Respondents. DECISION CALLEJO, SR.,J.: At around 7:30 a.m. on November 13, 1995, eleven-year-old Edison Garcia, a Grade 4 elementary school pupil, and his playmate, Wilson Quinto, who was also about eleven years old, were at Barangay San Rafael, Tarlac, Tarlac. They saw respondents Dante Andres and Randyver Pacheco by the mouth of a drainage culvert. Andres and Pacheco invited Wilson to go fishing with them inside the drainage culvert.1 Wilson assented. When Garcia saw that it was dark inside, he opted to remain seated in a grassy area about two meters from the entrance of the drainage system.2 Respondent Pacheco had a flashlight. He, along with respondent Andres and Wilson, entered the drainage system which was covered by concrete culvert about a meter high and a meter wide, with water about a foot deep.3 After a while, respondent Pacheco, who was holding a fish, came out of the drainage system and left4 without saying a word. Respondent Andres also came out, went back inside, and emerged again, this time, carrying Wilson who was already dead. Respondent Andres laid the boys lifeless body down in the grassy area.5 Shocked at the sudden turn of events, Garcia fled from the scene.6 For his part, respondent Andres went to the house of petitioner Melba Quinto, Wilsons mother, and informed her that her son had died. Melba Quinto rushed to the drainage culvert while respondent Andres followed her.7 The cadaver of Wilson was buried without any autopsy thereon having been conducted. The police authorities of Tarlac, Tarlac, did not file any criminal complaint against the respondents for Wilsons death. Two weeks thereafter, or on November 28, 1995, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigators took the sworn statements of respondent Pacheco, Garcia and petitioner Quinto.8 Respondent Pacheco alleged that he had never been to the drainage system catching fish with respondent Andres and Wilson. He also declared that he saw Wilson already dead when he passed by the drainage system while riding on his carabao. On February 29, 1996, the cadaver of Wilson was exhumed. Dr. Dominic Aguda of the NBI performed an autopsy thereon at the cemetery and submitted his autopsy report containing the following postmortem findings: POSTMORTEM FINDINGS Body in previously embalmed, early stage of decomposition, attired with white long sleeves and dark pants and placed inside a wooden coffin in a niche-apartment style.

Hematoma, 14.0 x 7.0 cms., scalp, occipital region. Abrasion, 4.0 x 3.0 cms., right face, 5.0 x 3.0 cms., left forearm. Laryngo tracheal lumina congested and edematous containing muddy particles with bloody path. Lungs hyperinflated, heavy and readily pits on pressure; section contains bloody froth. Brain autolyzed and liquefied. Stomach partly autolyzed. CAUSE OF DEATH: Asphyxia by drowning; traumatic head injuries, contributory.9 The NBI filed a criminal complaint for homicide against respondents Andres and Pacheco in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, which found probable cause for homicide by dolo against the two. An Information was later filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tarlac, Tarlac, charging the respondents with homicide. The accusatory portion reads: That at around 8 oclock in the morning of November 13, 1995, in the Municipality of Tarlac, Province of Tarlac, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Dante Andres and Randyver Pacheco y Suliven @ Randy, conspiring, confederating, and helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault, and maul Wilson Quinto inside a culvert where the three were fishing, causing Wilson Quinto to drown and die. CONTRARY TO LAW.10 After presenting Garcia, the prosecution presented Dr. Dominic Aguda, who testified on direct examination that the hematoma at the back of the victims head and the abrasion on the latters left forearm could have been caused by a strong force coming from a blunt instrument or object. The injuries in the larynx and trachea also indicated that the victim died of drowning, as some muddy particles were also found on the lumina of the larynx and trachea ("Nakahigopngputik"). Dr. Aguda stated that such injury could be caused when a person is put under water by pressure or by force.11 On cross-examination, Dr. Aguda declared that the hematoma on the scalp was caused by a strong pressure or a strong force applied to the scalp coming from a blunt instrument. He also stated that the victim could have fallen, and that the occipital portion of his head could have hit a blunt object. Dr. Aguda also declared that the 14x7-centimeter hematoma at the back of Wilsons head could have rendered the latter unconscious, and, if he was thrown in a body of water, the boy could have died by drowning. In answer to clarificatory questions made by the court, the doctor declared that the 4x3-centimeter abrasion on the right side of Wilsons face could have also been caused by rubbing against a concrete wall or pavement, or by contact with a rough surface. He also stated that the trachea region was full of mud, but that there was no sign of strangulation.12 After the prosecution had presented its witnesses and the respondents had admitted the pictures showing the drainage system including the inside portions thereof,13 the prosecution rested its case.

The respondents filed a demurer to evidence which the trial court granted on the ground of insufficiency of evidence, per its Order dated January 28, 1998. It also held that it could not hold the respondents liable for damages because of the absence of preponderant evidence to prove their liability for Wilsons death. The petitioner appealed the order to the Court of Appeals (CA) insofar as the civil aspect of the case was concerned. In her brief, she averred that THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE AND IN RULING THAT NO PREPONDERANT EVIDENCE EXISTS TO HOLD ACCUSED-APPELLEES CIVILLY LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF THE VICTIM WILSON QUINTO.14 The CA rendered judgment affirming the assailed order of the RTC on December 21, 2001. It ruled as follows: The acquittal in this case is not merely based on reasonable doubt but rather on a finding that the accused-appellees did not commit the criminal acts complained of. Thus, pursuant to the above rule and settled jurisprudence, any civil action ex delicto cannot prosper. Acquittal in a criminal action bars the civil action arising therefrom where the judgment of acquittal holds that the accused did not commit the criminal acts imputed to them. (Tan v. Standard Vacuum Oil Co., 91 Phil. 672)15 The petitioner filed the instant petition for review and raised the following issues: I WHETHER OR NOT THE EXTINCTION OF RESPONDENTS CRIMINAL LIABILITY, LIKEWISE, CARRIES WITH IT THE EXTINCTION OF THEIR CIVIL LIABILITY. II WHETHER OR NOT PREPONDERANT EVIDENCE EXISTS TO HOLD RESPONDENTS CIVILLY LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF WILSON QUINTO.16 The petitioner avers that the trial court indulged in mere possibilities, surmises and speculations when it held that Wilson died because (a) he could have fallen, his head hitting the stones in the drainage system since the culvert was slippery; or (b) he might have been bitten by a snake which he thought was the prick of a fish fin, causing his head to hit hard on the top of the culvert; or (c) he could have lost consciousness due to some ailment, such as epilepsy. The petitioner also alleges that the trial court erred in ruling that the prosecution failed to prove any ill motive on the part of the respondents to kill the victim, and in considering that respondent Andres even informed her of Wilsons death. The petitioner posits that the trial court ignored the testimony of the Medico-Legal Expert, Dr. Aguda; the nature, location and number of the injuries sustained by the victim which caused his death; as well as the locus criminis. The petitioner insists that the behavior of the respondents after the commission of the crime betrayed their guilt, considering that respondent Pacheco left the scene, leaving respondent Andres to bring out Wilsons cadaver, while respondent Andres returned inside the drainage system only when he saw Garcia seated in the grassy area waiting for his friend Wilson to come out.

The petitioner contends that there is preponderant evidence on record to show that either or both the respondents caused the death of her son and, as such, are jointly and severally liable therefor. In their comment on the petition, the respondents aver that since the prosecution failed to adduce any evidence to prove that they committed the crime of homicide and caused the death of Wilson, they are not criminally and civilly liable for the latters death. The petition has no merit. Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.17 The civil liability of such person established in Articles 100, 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code includes restitution, reparation of the damage caused, and indemnification for consequential damages.18 When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.19 With the implied institution of the civil action in the criminal action, the two actions are merged into one composite proceeding, with the criminal action predominating the civil.20 The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, to reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order.21 The sole purpose of the civil action is the restitution, reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the accused.22 While the prosecution must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime charged, it is required to prove the cause of action of the private complainant against the accused for damages and/or restitution. The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the civil action that the act or omission from where the civil liability may arise does not exist.23 Moreover, a person committing a felony is criminally liable for all the natural and logical consequences resulting therefrom although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.24 "Natural" refers to an occurrence in the ordinary course of human life or events, while "logical" means that there is a rational connection between the act of the accused and the resulting injury or damage. The felony committed must be the proximate cause of the resulting injury. Proximate cause is that cause which in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by an efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred. The proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately, or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor.25 There must be a relation of "cause and effect," the cause being the felonious act of the offender, the effect being the resultant injuries and/or death of the victim. The "cause and effect" relationship is not altered or changed because of the pre-existing conditions, such as the pathological condition of the victim (lascondicionespatologica del lesionado); the predisposition of the offended party (la predisposicion del ofendido); the physical condition of the offended party (la constitucionfisica del herido); or the concomitant or concurrent conditions, such as the negligence or fault of the doctors (la falta de medicos para sister al herido); or the conditions supervening the felonious act such as tetanus, pulmonary infection or gangrene.26 The felony committed is not the proximate cause of the resulting injury when:

(a) there is an active force that intervened between the felony committed and the resulting injury, and the active force is a distinct act or fact absolutely foreign from the felonious act of the accused; or (b) the resulting injury is due to the intentional act of the victim.27 If a person inflicts a wound with a deadly weapon in such a manner as to put life in jeopardy and death follows as a consequence of their felonious act, it does not alter its nature or diminish its criminality to prove that other causes cooperated in producing the factual result. The offender is criminally liable for the death of the victim if his delictual act caused, accelerated or contributed to the death of the victim.28 A different doctrine would tend to give immunity to crime and to take away from human life a salutary and essential safeguard.29 This Court has emphasized that: Amid the conflicting theories of medical men, and the uncertainties attendant upon the treatment of bodily ailments and injuries, it would be easy in many cases of homicide to raise a doubt as to the immediate cause of death, and thereby to open a wide door by which persons guilty of the highest crime might escape conviction and punishment. 30 In People v. Quianzon,31 the Supreme Court held: The Supreme Court of Spain, in a Decision of April 3, 1879, said in a case similar to the present, the following: Inasmuch as a man is responsible for the consequences of his act and in this case, the physical condition and temperament of the offended party nowise lessen the evil, the seriousness whereof is to be judged, not by the violence of the means employed, but by the result actually produced; and as the wound which the appellant inflicted upon the deceased was the cause which determined his death, without his being able to counteract its effects, it is evident that the act in question should be qualified as homicide, etc.32 In the present case, the respondents were charged with homicide by dolo. In People v. Delim,33 the Court delineated the burden of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused for homicide or murder: In the case at bar, the prosecution was burdened to prove the corpus delicti which consists of two things: first, the criminal act and second, defendants agency in the commission of the act. Wharton says that corpus delicti includes two things: first, the objective; second, the subjective element of crimes. In homicide (bydolo) and in murder cases, the prosecution is burdened to prove: (a) the death of the party alleged to be dead; (b) that the death was produced by the criminal act of some other than the deceased and was not the result of accident, natural cause or suicide; and (c) that defendant committed the criminal act or was in some way criminally responsible for the act which produced the death. To prove the felony of homicide or murder, there must be incontrovertible evidence, direct or circumstantial, that the victim was deliberately killed (with malice); in other words, that there was intent to kill. Such evidence may consist inter alia in the use of weapons by the malefactors, the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim and the words uttered by the malefactors before, at the time or immediately after the killing of the victim. If the victim dies because of a deliberate act of the malefactor, intent to kill is conclusively presumed.34 Insofar as the civil aspect of the case is concerned, the prosecution or the private complainant is burdened to adduce preponderance of evidence or superior weight of evidence. Although the evidence adduced by the plaintiff is stronger than that presented by the defendant, he is not entitled to a judgment if his evidence is not sufficient to sustain his cause of action. The plaintiff must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of that of the defendants.35

Section 1, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence provides how preponderance of evidence is determined: Section 1. Preponderance of evidence, how determined. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and circumstance of the case, the witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature of the facts to which they testify, the probability of their testimony, their interest or want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may legitimately appear upon the trial. The court may also consider the number of witnesses, though the preponderance is not necessarily with the greater number.36 In the present case, we rule that, as held by the trial court and the CA, the prosecution failed to adduce preponderant evidence to prove the facts on which the civil liability of the respondents rest, i.e., that the petitioner has a cause of action against the respondents for damages. It bears stressing that the prosecution relied solely on the collective testimonies of Garcia, who was not an eyewitness, and Dr. Aguda. We agree with the petitioner that, as evidenced by the Necropsy Report of Dr. Dominic Aguda, the deceased sustained a 14x7-centimeter hematoma on the scalp. But as to how the deceased sustained the injury, Dr. Aguda was equivocal. He presented two possibilities: (a) that the deceased could have been hit by a blunt object or instrument applied with full force; or (b) the deceased could have slipped, fell hard and his head hit a hard object: COURT: The Court would ask questions. Q So it is possible that the injury, that is the hematoma, caused on the back of the head might be due to the victims falling on his back and his head hitting a pavement? A Well, the 14x7-centimeter hematoma is quite extensive, so if the fall is strong enough and would fall from a high place and hit a concrete pavement, then it is possible. Q Is it possible that if the victim slipped on a concrete pavement and the head hit the pavement, the injury might be caused by that slipping? A It is also possible. Q So when the victim was submerged under water while unconscious, it is possible that he might have taken in some mud or what? A Yes, Sir. Q So it is your finding that the victim was submerged while still breathing? A Yes, Your Honor, considering that the finding on the lung also would indicate that the victim was still alive when he was placed under water.37

The doctor also admitted that the abrasion on the right side of the victims face could have been caused by rubbing against a concrete wall or pavement: Q The abrasion 4x3 centimeters on the right [side of the] face, would it be caused by the face rubbing against a concrete wall or pavement? A Yes, Sir. Abrasion is usually caused by a contact of a skin to a rough surface. Q Rough surface? A Yes, Your Honor. Q When you say that the trachea region was full of mud, were there no signs that the victim was strangled? A There was no sign of strangulation, Your Honor.38 The trial court gave credence to the testimony of Dr. Aguda that the deceased might have slipped, causing the latter to fall hard and hit his head on the pavement, thus: Q -Could it be possible, Doctor, that this injury might have been caused when the victim fell down and that portion of the body or occipital portion hit a blunt object and might have been inflicted as a result of falling down? A - If the fall if the victim fell and he hit a hard object, well, it is also possible.39 The trial court took into account the following facts: Again, it could be seen from the pictures presented by the prosecution that there were stones inside the culvert. (See Exhibit "D" to "D-3"). The stones could have caused the victim to slip and hit his head on the pavement. Since there was water on the culvert, the portion soaked with water must be very slippery, aside from the fact that the culvert is round. If the victim hit his head and lost consciousness, he will naturally take in some amount of water and drown.40 The CA affirmed on appeal the findings of the trial court, as well as its conclusion based on the said findings. We agree with the trial and appellate courts. The general rule is that the findings of facts of the trial court, its assessment of probative weight of the evidence of the parties, and its conclusion anchored on such findings, affirmed no less by the CA, are given conclusive effect by this Court, unless the trial court ignored, misapplied or misconstrued cogent facts and circumstances which, if considered, would change the outcome of the case. The petitioner failed to show any justification to warrant a reversal of the findings or conclusions of the trial and appellate courts. That the deceased fell or slipped cannot be totally foreclosed because even Garcia testified that the drainage culvert was dark, and that he himself was so afraid that he refused to join respondents Andres and Pacheco inside.41 Respondent Andres had no flashlight; only respondent Pacheco had one.

Moreover, Dr. Aguda failed to testify and explain what might have caused the abrasion on the left forearm of the deceased. He, likewise, failed to testify whether the abrasions on the face and left forearm of the victim were made ante mortem or post mortem. The petitioner even failed to adduce preponderance of evidence that either or both the respondents hit the deceased with a blunt object or instrument, and, consequently, any blunt object or instrument that might have been used by any or both of the respondents in hitting the deceased. It is of judicial notice that nowadays persons have killed or committed serious crimes for no reason at all.42 However, the absence of any ill-motive to kill the deceased is relevant and admissible in evidence to prove that no violence was perpetrated on the person of the deceased. In this case, the petitioner failed to adduce proof of any ill-motive on the part of either respondent to kill the deceased before or after the latter was invited to join them in fishing. Indeed, the petitioner testified that respondent Andres used to go to their house and play with her son before the latters death: Q Do you know this Dante Andres personally? A Not much but he used to go to our house and play with my son after going from her mother who is gambling, Sir. Q But you are acquainted with him, you know his face? A Yes, Sir. Q Will you please look around this courtroom and see if he is around? A (Witness is pointing to Dante Andres, who is inside the courtroom.)43 When the petitioners son died inside the drainage culvert, it was respondent Andres who brought out the deceased. He then informed the petitioner of her sons death. Even after informing the petitioner of the death of her son, respondent Andres followed the petitioner on her way to the grassy area where the deceased was: Q Did not Dante Andres follow you? A He went with me, Sir. Q So when you went to the place where your son was lying, Dante Andres was with you? A No, Sir. When I was informed by Dante Andres that my son was there at the culvert, I ran immediately. He [was] just left behind and he just followed, Sir. Q So when you reached the place where your son was lying down, Dante Andres also came or arrived? A It was only when we boarded the jeep that he arrived, Sir.44 In sum, the petitioner failed to adduce preponderance of evidence to prove a cause of action for damages based on the deliberate acts alleged in the Information.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. No costs. SO ORDERED. Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. Nos. L-28324-5 May 19, 1978 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RAFAEL MARCO, SIMEON MARCO and DULCISIMO BELTRAN, defendants. RAFAEL MARCO, defendant-appellant. Jose P. Bengzon (Counsel de Oficio) for appellant. Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant Solicitor General Felisicimo R. Rosete and Solicitor Teodulo R. Dino for appellee. BARREDO, J.: Appeal by accused Rafael Marco from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Sur in Criminal Case No. 2757, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Rafael Marco, Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco, the dispositive part of which reads thus: WHEREFORE, the Court renders judgment as follows: (1) In Criminal Case No, 2757, the Court finds Rafael Marco, Dulcisimo Beltran, and Simeon Marco, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, qualified by abuse of superior strength' and hereby sentences Rafael Marco, who has neither aggravating circumstance against him or any mitigating circumstance in his favor, to RECLUSION PERPETUA. Simeon Marco and Dulcisimo Beltran, who surrendered voluntarily, are hereby sentenced EACH to an indeterminate penalty consisting of TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor, as minimum, to SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS, and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal as maximum. The Court further sentences the three defendants to pay, jointly and severally, to the heirs of BienvenidoSabelbero, the amount of P6,000.00, to suffer the accessory penalties of the law, and to pay the costs. (Page 69, Record.) Actually, there were two cases filed against appellant in connection with two successive phases of a single occurrence. The two cases were consolidated and tried together. In Criminal Case No. 2757, he was charged together with his son Simeon and one Dulcisimo Beltran with the alleged murder of one BienvenidoSabelbero. 1 In Criminal Case 2758, he was charged together also with his son Simeon with frustrated murder allegedly committed against ConstancioSabelbero, a brother Bienvenido. In this second case, herein appellant was found guilty only a slight physical injuries and sentenced to twelve (12) days of arrestomenor. He did not appeal. Simeon was acquitted. The incident in question took place on November 5, 1964 at about 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon within the vicinity of the market place of Barrio Subang, Pagadian, Zamboangadel Sur. There was a fiesta being celebrated, but it was raining. The details, according to the the are as follows:

ConstancioSabelbero was approached by Simeon Marco who asked him if he was the one who boxed the latter's brother the previous year. Constancio denied. Then Simeon asked if he had cigarettes and when he said he had none, Simeon said, "I have cigarettes; here is my cigarette", as he pulled out a one-foot long hunting knife. Frightened, Constancio ran away and Simeon chased him. As Constancio was passing by the place were appellant Rafael Marco, the father of Simeon, was standing, Rafael struck Constancio with a round cane, hitting him on the left ear and left shoulder. This was the basis of the information in Criminal Case No. 2758, where appellant was convicted of slight physical injuries and his son, Simeon, was acquitted. Vicente, the father of Constancio, happened to be standing in the crowd and heard shout of "Fight! Fight!" He saw Simeon about to stab Constancio, so he grabbed the hand of Simeon that was holding the knife. At this juncture, Rafael Marco approached Vicente armed with a cane and a hunting knife. Sensing danger, Vicente shouted to his son Constancio, who had been hit by Rafael, and his other son Bienvenido, who appeared on the scene, to run away because the Marcos were armed. Constancio was able to run away. So also Vicente.Bienvenido who was being chased by Rafael was stabbed by the latter, and when the parried the blow, he was wounded on the left hand. After being stabbed by Rafael, Bienvenido still tried to run father, but unluckily, his foot got caught in a vine on the ground and he fell, whereupon, out of nowhere, Dulcisimo Beltran, who was accused with herein appellant and who did not appeal his conviction, arrived and stabbed Bienvenido near his anus while he was in the position described in the record thus "(Witness demonstrating with his two hands touching the floor and his both feet (sic) in a forward position)". (p. 24, t.s.n.) Beltran was followed by Simeon, 2 who stabbed Bienvenido on the left breast and the upper part of the left arm. Afterwards, Rafael, Simeon and Beltran ran away. "BienvenidoSabelbero stood up slowly and walked zigzagly towards the store of Pinda and when he arrived in front of the store, he fell to the ground." (p.27, t.s.n.) When Vicente came to know that his son Bienvenido was wounded, he went to the store of Pinda and found him lying there. Vicente asked him what happened, "BienvenidoSebelvero answered that he was wounded because he was ganged up by them and immediately after that he died." (p. 28 t.s.n.) For the purposes of this appeal, the foregoing facts We have gathered from the recorded evidence and which coincide substantially with the findings and basis of tea appealed decision are more or less admitted by appellant in the brief of his counsel de oficio to be more credible version of what happened. Nevertheless, counsel has assigned seven alleged errors of the trial court, although the whole thrust of this appeal revolves around the issue of whether not with what has been proven, as narrated above, to be the participation of appellant in the Phase of the incident that led to the death of Bienvenido appellant, Rafael Marco, may be held liable for murder, as found by the court below. It will be recalled that the whole incident was started by Simeon Marco, the son of Rafael, who approached Constancio and after asking him if he was the one who boxed his (Simeon's) brother the year before, brandished a hunting knife, which caused Constancio to run away. While thus running, he passed by appellant who hit him with a round cane. Such was the first phase of the incident subject of this case. According the trial court for such act of Rafael, he was guilty of slight physical injuries, since "it is safe to assume that at that moment there was no intent to kill any one." As to the second phase, according to the evidence, when Simeon was about to pursue Constancio, Vicente grabbed Simeon's hand that was holding the knife. But when Vicente saw that Rafael who was holding a round cane a and a hunting knife, was approaching them, he shouted Constancio and his other son Bienvenido who was around to run away, which they did, as he himself released Simeon and ran away. Rafael followed Bienvenido and stabbed him, but the latter parried the blow

with his left hand. And as Bienvenido was trying to to run farther, unluckily, his feet got entangled with some vines and he fell down. Whereupon, Beltran, who came from nowhere, stabbed him near the anus, followed by Simeon who Stabbed him on the left side of the breast. Upon these facts, the People maintain that appellant is as guilty as Simeon and Beltran of the killing of Bienvenido, the theory being that there was obvious conspiracy among there The trouble with the evidence of the prosecution is that it is vague and incomplete. For instance, as to the first phase of the incident, the relative Positions and distances from each other Of the three Protagonist, Simeon, Constancio and Rafael are not revealed. How far Rafael was from Simeon and Constancio when Simeon sort of threatened him with a knife is not clear. Neither is it shown how Rafael happened to be in the path of Constancio when the latter was running away from Simeon, such that Rafael was able to hit him with a cane. In this situation, We do not feel safe in concluding that there was concerted connection between the act of Simeon, on the one hand, and that of Rafael, on the other. Thus, the trial court was correct in acquitting Simeon and holding Rafael guilty only of slight physical injuries instead of frustrated murder as charged. Likewise, in regard to the second phase of the incident, We are at a loss as to what Bienvenido was actually doing and what participation he had at the early stages of the incident, when Vicente shouted him to run away. 3 The pertinent portion of testimony of the lone eye-witness, DominadorCarbajosa, is as follows: Q Then what happened? A Then Vicente Sabelvero held the arm of Simeon Marco and at the same time Vicente Sabelvero shouted to his sons, Constancio and BienvenidoSabelvero to run away because they were all armed. Q This Vicente Sebolvero you mentioned, how is he related to Constancio and BienvenidoSabelvero? A Vicente Sabelvero is the father. Q Do you know if ConstancioSabelvero and BienvenidoSabelvero ran away? A Yes, they ran away. Q This BienvenidoSabelvero, where was he when this incident happened? A He was only a few meters away, Q What happened to him? A He was overtaken by Rafael Marco and he was stabbed by Rafael Marco. Q Who stabbed him'? A Rafael Marco.

Q Will you tell the Honorable Court what part of the body of BienvenidoSabelvero did Rafael Marco stab? A BienvenidoSabelvero was able to parry the thrust which was directed to his left side and he was not wounded and instead in parrying the thrust he was wounded on the hand. Q Do you know what kind of weapon did Rafael Marco use in injuries upon BienvenidoSabelvero? A I know. Q What kind of weapon? A Flamingco or hunting knife. Q Then after Rafael Marco inflicted injuries upon BienvenidoSabelvero, what to BienvenidoSabelvero? A While BienvenidoSabelvero was trying to run away his feet were wrapped by the having of the cover crop and he fell down and right at that time Beltran approached him and dabbed BienvenidoSabelvero near his anus ATTY. ORGANO (Addressing the Court) If Your Honor please I would like to make it of that the witness indicated to a portion above his body which is above the anus. (To the witness) Q What was the position of BienvenidoSebolvero when this Dulcisimo Beltran stabbed him? A In this manner.(Witness demonstrating with his two hands touching the floor and his both feet in a forward position). Q Then when Dulcisimo Beltran stabbed him in that position, what happened next? A While BienvenidoSebolvero was in that position, he was stabbed by Simeon Marco on the left breast and because he was able to parry the weapon he was wounded on the upper part of his left hand. Q This Dulcisimo Beltran whom you said stabbed BienvenidoSebolvero, do you know what was his weapon? A I know.

Q What was his weapon? A Bayonet. Q This Dulcisimo Beltran, according to you, stabbed BienvenidoSebolvero near the buttock?.... ATTY. PIELAGO Misleading, Your Honor. COURT This witness testified that this BienvenidoSebolvero was stabbed near the anus. (To the witness) Q This Dulcisimo Beltran whom you said also stabbed Bienvenido (Beltran), is he here in court? A Yes, sir. Q Please point to him? A That one. (Witness pointing to accused Dulcisimo Beltran). Q This Simeon Marco whom you said stabbed BienvenidoSebolvero on the left breast and hand is he here in court? A Yes, sir. Q Where is he? A That one. (Witness pointing to accused Simeon Marco). Q Do you know what kind of weapon did Simeon Marco use in stabbing the left arm of BienvenidoSebolvero? A I know. Q What kind of weapon? AA bayonet. (to the direct examiner) Proceed. ATTY. ORGANO

(continuing) Q Presenting to you this weapon . . . . (counsel hands over the same to the witness). . . . Will you tell the Honorable Court whether this is the very weapon used by Simeon Marco in stabbing BienvenidoSebolvero? A It is shorter than this one. Q Now, during that time that Rafael Marco, Simeon Marco and Dulcisimo Beltran were inflicting injuries on the body of BienvenidoSebolvero, what did the father of BienvenidoSebolvero do? Where were they at that time? A ConstancioSebolvero and the father ran away and they have not seen the incident. Q Do you remember if the father of BienvenidoSebolvero ever ran afterwards? A No, sir. Q Now, that happened to BienvenidoSebolvero after Rafael Marco, Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco stabbed him? A They ran away and after they ran away, BienvenidoSebolvero stood up slowly and walked zigzagly towards the store of Pinda and when he arrived in front of the store he fell down to the ground. (Pp. 23-27, t.s.n.) The nearest indication of Bienvenido's position vis-a-vis those Of the Marcos and Beltran at the moment that Vicente was holding the hand of Simeon appears only in the cross-examination of Garbajosa, when he said that "BienvenidoSabelvero, was nearer to the three accused" than either Vicente or Constancio, which makes the whole matter more confusing. As matters stand, Our problem is to determine whether or not the act of Rafael in stabbing Bienvenido is a separate one from the stabbing of said deceased by the two other accused who did not appeal, Simeon Marco and Dulcisimo Beltran. To be sure, the acts of each of the three of them followed one after the other in rather fast succession, as if propelled by a common and concerted design, but this circumstance alone does not prove criminal conspiracy. In order that mere simultaneity or near simultaneity of the acts of several accused may justify the conclusion that they had conspired together, the inference must be ineludible. It would seem that there must have been some bad blood between the Sabelveros and the Marcos but Vicente categorically denied that there was any misunderstanding between them and although Constancio suggested that there was, he was quick in adding that the same had been patched up. This makes commonality of intent on the part of the three accused not necessarily existent. As already stated, Simeon and Beltran did not appeal from the decision of the trial court which credited them with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary and imposed on them the penalty of only Ten (10) Years and One (1) Day of prision mayor, as minimum, to Seventeen (17) Years, Four (4)

Months and One (1) Day of reclusion temporal as maximum. And indeed there can be no doubt as to the homicidal character of their assault on Bienvenido. In the case of herein appellant, while it is true that he somehow started the by trying to stab Bienvenido, and did cause him injury on the left hand, there is no clear evidence connecting his act with those of Beltran and Simeon. As We have noted earlier, Beltran came out of nowhere and it is not shown that Rafael saw him before the latter stabbed Bienvenido near the anus. On the other hand, the most that We can gather from Carbajosa's testimony is that Simeon was being held by Vicente, when Rafael tried to chase Bienvenido. In any event, if Rafael had any intention to really kill Bienvenido, he did not have to await for Simeon and Beltran to do it. Bienvenido had fallen to the ground, and that was the chance to finish with him. But here is precisely where the prosecution's evidence is incomplete. The distance and relative position of Rafael from where Bienvenido fell are not indicated. What appears instead is that Beltran and Simeon were the ones who stabbed him fatally. What Rafael did or where he was after Bienvenido fell and while Beltran and Simeon were assaulting has not been shown. We find the following ratiocination of appellant's counsel de oficio to be well taken: 2. The evidence on record does not show beyond reasonable doubt that appellant acted in conspiracy with the two other accused in the actual killing of the decedent. This Honorable Court has established the rule that conspiracy, although implied or indirect, must, nonetheless, be positively and convincingly proved and established (People vs. Aplegido, 76 Phil. 571). Only recently, this Honorable Tribunal said, through the pen of Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, that: ... As a facile device by which an accused may be ensnared and kept within the penal fold, conspiracy requires conclusive proof if we are to maintain in full subbed the substance of the time-honored principle of criminal law requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt before conviction ... (People vs. Tividad,, L-21469, June 30, 1967; 20 SCRA 549, 554; emphasis supplied). The Court also laid down the following norm in the said case of People vs. Tividad: ... It is undubitably clear from the record that the accused did not attack the deceased simultaneously. Even if they did, this would not of itself indicate the existence of a conspiracy among them as simultaneity per se is not a badge of conspiracy, absent the requisite concurrence of wills. It is not sufficient that the attack is joint and simultaneous; it is that the assailants are animated by one and the same purpose (U.S. vs. Magcomot, 13 Phil 386, 389; People vs. Caballero , 53 Phil. 584, 595-596). Evidently, in a situation where the as were not simultaneous but successive, greater proof is demanded to establish concert of crime design. The evidence for the prosecution was that the assaults on the were out by a successively (Id., pp. 55455; emphasis supplied) As happened in the Tividad case, the facts established by the evidence hem show that appellant did not attack the document simultaneously and in concert with the two other accuse From the testimony of DominadorCarbajosa, it will be seen that: (1) it was the appellant who went after the decedent first. And the situation at that moment was this: Simeon Marco was chasing ConstancioSebelvero while appellant, on the

other hand, was approaching Vicente Sebelbero. The latter had just shouted to his two sons to run away when the appellant overtook the document and stabbed at hint Accused Dulcisimo Beltran, it will be noted, was not yet a participant. (2) After the appellant wounded the decedent on the hand, the latter continued running. There is no evidence however, that appellant continued running after him (3) While running, the decadent ripped and fell down. Accused Dulcisimo Beltran just came from nowhere and stabbed the decedent near the anus. It will be noted from the time appellant wounded the document on the hand up to the time Dulcisimo Beltran stabbed him at the back, an appreciable length of time elapse There is no evidence just how far Beltran was from the respondent when the latter felt Neither is there evidence that the decadent was running in the direction of Beltran The evidence is only that Dulcisimo Beltran came upon the document who had fallen to the ground and nabbed him. (4) After Dulcisimo Beltran had stabbed the decedent Simeon Marco, who earlier had been chasing ConstancioSebelbero came also and stabbed the decedent. From DominadorCarbajosa's testimony, it appears that there was no appreciable lapse of time between the stabbing by Dulcisimo Beltran and that by Simeon Marco. (5) There is no showing that appellant joined his two other accused during or after their stabbing of the respondent Carbajosa merely stated that after the stabbing, "they ran away" (session of Sept. 13, 1965; t.s.n., p. 27) From the foregoing, this Honorable Court will that the stabbing of the decedent by the three accused (including appellant) was not simultaneous. Rather, it was successive, with appellant inflicting the first blow. And, Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco were nowhere around yet. It was only after the decedent fell down that the latter two came and successively stabbed him. The manner in which the incident occurred indicates that there was no pre-conceived plan among the three accused to kill the decedent. It strongly suggests, on the other hand, that Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco participated suddenly, unexpectedly and without any previous agreement. Another interesting point to observe is that there is absolutely no showing that appellant knew of the criminal intentions of Dulcisimo Beltran or Simeon Marco as to the decedent. There is no proof that appellant chased the decedent in the direction of Simeon Marco or Dulcisimo Beltran. It was not even shown that appellant knew that Dulcisimo Beltran was around at the start. As to Simeon Marco, it will be remembered that when the appellant started after the decedent, Simeon Marco was running after ConstancioSebelbero. Hence, appellant could not have intentionally chased the decedent in the direction of Simeon Marco. Besides, as previously pointed out already, there is no evidence showing that appellant ran after or chased the decedent at all. DominadorCarbajosa said only that appellant overtook the decedent who was just nearby and then stabbed at him (Session of Sept. 13, 1965; t.s.n., p. 23). Likewise, there is no evidence that after the decedent ran again, the appellant continued going after him. Neither is there any showing that after the decedent was able to run away from the appellant with only a slight would on the hand, the latter shouted to Dulcisimo Beltran or Simeon Marco for assistance. As the facts were related by the star prosecution witness.Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco just came upon the fallen decedent and stabbed him. There is no showing that Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco fell upon the decedent in response to shout or cries from the appellant. Lastly, there is no proof that while Simeon Marco and Dulcisimo Beltran were stabbing the decedent, appellant gave them any inciting or encouraging words, or that he even joined them.

The point appellant wants to established with all the foregoing considerations is that the prosecution utterly failed to established the guilty knowledge and assent of appellant concerning the criminal design of Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco. And the established rule is that: xxxxxxxxx ... a person may be convicted for the criminal act of another where, between them there has been conspiracy or unity of purpose and intention in the commission of the crime charged. In other words, the accused must be shown to have had guilty participation in the criminal design entertained by the slayer, and this presupposes knowledge on his part of such criminal design. It is not enough that there be a relation between the acts done by the principal and those attributed to the person charged as co-principal or accomplice; it is furthermore, necessary that the latter, with knowledge of the former's criminal intent, should cooperate with moral or material aid in the consummation of the crime ... (People vs. Ibaez, 77 Phil. 664, 665-666; emphasis supplied). The trial court, therefore, seriously erred in holding appellant responsible together with Dulcisimo Beltran and Simeon Marco for the death of the decedent on the basis of incorrect conspiracy. 3. Appellant cannot be held liable for the death of decedent under death of the Revised Penal Code. Article 4, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code provides that, "criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony (delito)although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended." Under this provision, one who commits an intentional felony is responsible for all the consequences which may naturally and logically result thereto whether form or intended or not. (I Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, 6th ed., p. 62). It cannot be denied that the stabbing of the decedent by the appellant which caused a slight wound on the former's hand was intentionally made; hence, felony. However, the ensuing death of the decedent was not the direct, natural and logical consequence of the wound inflicted by the appellant. There was an active intervening cause, which was no other than the sudden and appearance and participation of Simeon Marco and Beltran. And there is authority that if the consequences produced have resulted from a distinct act or fact absolutely from the criminal case the offender is not responsible for such consequence.(People vs. Rellin, 77 Phil. 1038; I Reyes, 75).(Pp. 18-22, Appellant's brief pp. 53-57, Record.) All circumstances considered, We are not convinced beyond reasonable doubt that appellant was in any conspiracy with Simeon and Beltran to kill Bienvenido or any of the Sabelberos. In the absence of clear and convincing the We can only speculate as to why appellant did not join his son, Simeon, and Beltran in attacking Bienvenido after he had fallen to the ground. Either the two were too fast for him and were thus able to act ahead of him or that he voluntarily desisted from further pursuing the deceased after hitting him on the left hand. In line with the presumption of innocence which We are constitutionally bound to accorded. We are constrained to hold that he had no homicidal intent. He can be held criminally responsible only for the wound on the back of the left hand of the deceased which is described as a "stab wound, 2-1/2 inches wide at the back of the left hand" by witness Felix S. Toledo, the Sanitary Inspector, who examined the corpse. And there being no evidence as to the

period of incapacity or medical attendance consequence to said wound, appellant is guilty only of slight physical injuries. (Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, Vol. II, p. 1258, 1961 ed.) IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby modified, and in its stead appellant is found guilty only of slight physical injuries and hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of twenty (20) days of arrestomenor, and to pay the costs. Fernando (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Santos, JJ., concur. Antonio, J., took no part. Footnotes

IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. 95322 March 1, 1993 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PABLITO DOMASIAN AND DR. SAMSON TAN, accused-appellant. The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Silvestre L. Tagarao for appellant PablitoDomasian. Lino M. Patajo for appellant Dr. Samson Tan. CRUZ, J.: The boy was detained for only about three hours and was released even before his parents received the ransom note. But it spawned a protracted trial spanning all of 8 years and led to the conviction of the two accused. 1 The victim was Enrico Paulo Agra, who was 8 years old at the time of the incident in question. The accused were PablitoDomasian and Samson Tan, the latter then a resident physician in the hospital owned by Enrico's parents. They were represented by separate lawyers at the trial and filed separate briefs in this appeal. The evidence of the prosecution showed that in the morning of March 11, 1982, while Enrico was walking with a classmate along Roquestreet in the poblacion of Lopez, Quezon, he was approached by a man who requested his assistance in getting his father's signature on a medical certificate. Enrico agreed to help and rode with the man in a tricycle to Calantipayan, where he waited outside while the man went into a building to get the certificate. Enrico became apprehensive and started to cry when, instead of taking him to the hospital, the man flagged a minibus and forced him inside, holding him firmly all the while. The man told him to stop crying or he would not be returned to his father. When they alighted at Gumaca, they took another tricycle, this time bound for the municipal building from where they walked to the market. Here the man talked to a jeepney driver and handed him an envelope addressed to Dr. Enrique Agra, the boy's father. The two then boarded a tricycle headed for San Vicente, with the man still firmly holding Enrico, who continued crying. This aroused the suspicion of the driver, Alexander Grate, who asked the man about his relationship with the boy. The man said he and the boy were brothers, making Grate doubly suspicious because of the physical differences between the two and the wide gap between their ages. Grate immediately reported the matter to two barangay tanods when his passengers alighted from the tricycle. Grate and the tanodswent after the two and saw the man dragging the boy. Noticing that they were being pursued, the man told Enrico to run fast as their pursuers might behead them. Somehow, the man

managed to escape, leaving Enrico behind. Enrico was on his way home in a passenger jeep when he met his parents, who were riding in the hospital ambulance and already looking for him. 2 At about 1:45 in the afternoon of the same day, after Enrico's return, Agra received an envelope containing a ransom note. The note demanded P1 million for the release of Enrico and warned that otherwise the boy would be killed. Agra thought the handwriting in the note was familiar. After comparing it with some records in the hospital, he gave the note to the police, which referred it to the NBI for examination. 3 The test showed that it bad been written by Dr. Samson Tan. 4On the other hand, Enrico was shown a folder of pictures in the police station so be could identify the man who had detained him, and he pointed to the picture of PablitoDomasian. 5Domasian and Tan were subsequently charged with the crime of kidnapping with serious illegal detention in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon. 6 The defense of both accused was denial and alibi. Domasian claimed that at the time of the incident he was watching a mahjong game in a friend's house and later went to an optical clinic with his wife for the refraction of his eyeglasses. 7Dr. Tan for his part said he was in Manila. 8 After trial Judge Enrico A. Lanzanas found both accused guilty as charged and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetuaand all accessory penalties. They were also required to pay P200,000.00 to Dr. and Mrs. Enrique Agra as actual and moral damages and attorney's fees. In the present appeal, the accused-appellants reiterate their denial of any participation in the incident in question. They belittle the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and submit that their own witnesses are more believable. Tan specifically challenges the findings of the NBI and offers anew the opposite findings of the PC/INP showing that he was not the writer of the ransom note. He maintains that in any case, the crime alleged is not kidnapping with serious illegal detention as no detention in an enclosure was involved. If at all, it should be denominated and punished only as grave coercion. Finally, both Domasian and Tan insist that there is no basis for the finding of a conspiracy between them to make them criminally liable in equal degree. First, on the credibility of the witnesses. This is assessed in the first instance by the trial judge, whose finding in this regard is received with much respect by the appellate court because of his opportunity to directly observe the demeanor of the witnesses on the stand. In the case at bar, Judge Lanzanas relied heavily on the testimony of the victim himself, who positively identified Domasian as the person who detained him for three hours. The trial court observed that the boy was "straight-forward, natural and consistent" in the narration of his detention. The boy's naivete made him even more believable. TirsoFerreras, Enrico's classmate and also his age, pointed to Domasian with equal certainty, as the man who approached Enrico when they were walking together that morning of March 11, 1982. Grate, the tricycle driver who suspected Enrico's companion and later chased him, was also positive in identifying Domasian. All these three witnesses did not know Domasian until that same morning and could have no ill motive in testifying against him. By contrast, Eugenia Agtay, who testified for the defense, can hardly be considered a disinterested witness because she admitted she had known Domasian for 3 years. The defense asks why Domasian openly took Enrico to several public places if the intention was to kidnap and detain him. That is for Domasian himself to answer. We do no have to probe the reasons for the irrational conduct of an accused. The more important question, as we see it, is why Domasian detained Enrico in the first place after pretending he needed the boy's help. That is also for Domasian to explain. As for Enrico's alleged willingness to go with Domasian, this was manifested only at the beginning, when he believed the man sincerely needed his assistance. But he was soon

disabused. His initial confidence gave way to fear when Domasian, after taking him so far away from the hospital where he was going, restrained and threatened him if he did not stop crying. Domasian's alibi cannot stand against his positive identification by Enrico, Grate and Ferreras, let alone the contradictions made by his corroborating witness, Dr. Irene Argosino, regarding the time he was in the optical clinic and the manner of his payment for the refraction. 9Tan's alibi is not convincing either. The circumstance that he may have been in Manila at the time of the incident does not prove that he could not have written the ransom note except at that time. Concerning the note, Rule 132, Section 22, of the Rules of Court provides as follows: The handwriting of a person may be proved by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting of such person and has seen the person write, or has seen writing purporting to be his upon which the witness has acted or been charged and has thus acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person. Evidence respecting the handwriting may also be given by a comparison, made by the witness or the court with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge. Two expert witnesses were presented in the case at bar, one from the NBI, 10who opined that the ransom note and the standard documents were written by one and the same person, and another from the PC/INP 11who expressed a contrary conclusion. The trial court chose to believe the NBI expert because his examination and analysis "was more comprehensive than the one conducted by the PC/INP handwriting expert, who virtually limited his reliance on the perceived similarities and dissimilarities in the pattern and style of the writing, thereby disregarding the basic principle in handwriting identification that it is not the form alone nor anyone feature but rather a combination of all the qualities that identify." We have held that the value of the opinion of a handwriting expert depends not upon his mere statements of whether a writing is genuine or false, but upon the assistance he may afford in pointing out distinguishing marks, characteristics and discrepancies in and between genuine and false specimens of writing which would ordinarily escape notice or detection from an unpracticed observer. 12The test of genuineness ought to be the resemblance, not the formation of letters in some other specimens but to the general character of writing, which is impressed on it as the involuntary and unconscious result of constitution, habit or other permanent course, and is, therefore itself permanent. 13 Presented with the conflicting opinions of the witnesses in the case at bar, the Court feels that the scales should tilt in favor of the prosecution. Significantly, the NBI opinion was bolstered by the testimony of Agra, who believed that the ransom note was written by Tan, with whose handwriting he was familiar because they had been working in the hospital for four years and he had seen that handwriting every day in Tan's prescriptions and daily reports. 14 Cesar v. Sandiganbayan15is not applicable because that case involved a forgery or the deliberate imitation of another person's signature. In the case before us, there was in fact an effort to disguise the ransom note writer's penmanship to prevent his discovery. As for the nature of the crime committed, Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code provides as follows: Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetuato death:

1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than five days. 2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority. 3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained; of if threats to kill him shall have been made. 4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, female or a public officer. The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person; even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense. Contrary to Tan's submission, this crime may consist not only in placing a person in an enclosure but also in detaining him or depriving him in any manner of his liberty. 16In the case at bar, it is noted that although the victim was not confined in an enclosure, he was deprived of his liberty when Domasian restrained him from going home and dragged him first into the minibus that took them to the municipal building in Gumaca, thence to the market and then into the tricycle bound for San Vicente. The detention was committed by Domasian, who was a private individual, and Enrico was a minor at that time. The crime clearly comes under Par. 4 of the above-quoted article. Tan claims that the lower court erred in not finding that the sending of the ransom note was an impossible crime which he says is not punishable. His reason is that the second paragraph of Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides that criminal liability shall be incurred "by any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means." As the crime alleged is not against persons or property but against liberty, he argues that it is not covered by the said provision. Tan conveniently forgets the first paragraphs of the same article, which clearly applies to him, thus: Art. 4. Criminal liability. Criminal liability shall be incurred: 1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. xxxxxxxxx Even before the ransom note was received, the crime of kidnapping with serious illegal detention had already been committed. The act cannot be considered an impossible crime because there was no inherent improbability of its accomplishment or the employment of inadequate or ineffective means. The delivery of the ransom note after the rescue of the victim did not extinguish the offense, which had already been consummated when Domasian deprived Enrico of his liberty. The sending of the ransom note would have had the effect only of increasing the penalty to death under the last paragraph of Article 267 although this too would not have been possible under the new Constitution. On the issue of conspiracy, we note first that it exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it, whether they act through physical volition of one or all, proceeding severally or collectively. 17

It is settled that conspiracy can be inferred from and proven by the acts of the accused themselves when said acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of interests. 18In the instant case, the trial court correctly held that conspiracy was proved by the act of Domasian in detaining Enrico; the writing of the ransom note by Tan; and its delivery by Domasian to Agra. These acts were complementary to each other and geared toward the attainment of the common ultimate objective, viz., to extort the ransom of P1 million in exchange for Enrico's life. The motive for the offense is not difficult to discover. According to Agra, Tan approached him six days before the incident happened and requested a loan of at least P15,000.00. Agra said he had no funds at that moment and Tan did not believe him, angrily saying that Agra could even raise a million pesos if he really wanted to help. 19The refusal obviously triggered the plan to kidnap Enrico and demand P1 million for his release. The constitutional issues raised by Domasian do not affect the decision in this case. His claim that he was arrested without warrant and then tortured and held incommunicado to extort a confession from him does not vitiate his conviction. He never gave any confession. As for the allegation that the seizure of the documents used for comparison with the ransom note was made without a search warrant, it suffices to say that such documents were taken by Agra himself and not by the NBI agents or other police authorities. We held in the case of People vs. Andre Marti, 20that the Bill of Rights cannot be invoked against acts of private individuals, being directed only against the government and its law-enforcement agencies and limitation on official action. We are satisfied that Tan and Domasian, in conspiracy with each other, committed the crime of kidnapping as defined and penalized under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code and so deserve the penalty imposed upon them by the trial court. WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED, with costs against the accused-appellants. Let a copy of this decision be sent to the Commission on Human Rights for investigation of the alleged violation of the constitutional rights of PablitoDomasian. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 103119 October 21, 1992 SULPICIO INTOD, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. CAMPOS, JR., J.: Petitioner, SulpicioIntod, filed this petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 affirming in toto the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XIV, Oroquieta City, finding him guilty of the crime of attempted murder. From the records, we gathered the following facts. In the morning of February 4, 1979, SulpicioIntod, Jorge Pangasian, Santos Tubio and AvelinoDaligdig went to Salvador Mandaya's house in Katugasan, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental and asked him to go with them to the house of BernardinaPalangpangan. Thereafter, Mandaya and Intod, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig had a meeting with AnicetoDumalagan. He told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed because of a land dispute between them and that Mandaya should accompany the four (4) men, otherwise, he would also be killed. At about 10:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day, Petitioner, Mandaya, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig, all armed with firearms, arrived at Palangpangan's house in Katugasan, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. At the instance of his companions, Mandaya pointed the location of Palangpangan's bedroom. Thereafter, Petitioner, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig fired at said room. It turned out, however, that Palangpangan was in another City and her home was then occupied by her son-in-law and his family. No one was in the room when the accused fired the shots. No one was hit by the gun fire. Petitioner and his companions were positively identified by witnesses. One witness testified that before the five men left the premises, they shouted: "We will kill you (the witness) and especially BernardinaPalangpangan and we will come back if (sic) you were not injured". 2 After trial, the Regional Trial Court convicted Intod of attempted murder. The court (RTC), as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, holding that Petitioner was guilty of attempted murder. Petitioner seeks from this Court a modification of the judgment by holding him liable only for an impossible crime, citing Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code which provides: Art. 4(2).CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. Criminal Responsibility shall be incurred: xxxxxxxxx 2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means. Petitioner contends that, Palangpangan's absence from her room on the night he and his companions riddled it with bullets made the crime inherently impossible.

On the other hand, Respondent People of the Philippines argues that the crime was not impossible. Instead, the facts were sufficient to constitute an attempt and to convict Intod for attempted murder. Respondent alleged that there was intent. Further, in its Comment to the Petition, respondent pointed out that: . . . The crime of murder was not consummated, not because of the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment (Art. 4(2), Revised Penal Code), but due to a cause or accident other than petitioner's and his accused's own spontaneous desistance (Art. 3.,Ibid.) Palangpangan did not sleep at her house at that time. Had it not been for this fact, the crime is possible, not impossible. 3 Article 4, paragraph 2 is an innovation 4 of the Revised Penal Code. This seeks to remedy the void in the Old Penal Code where: . . . it was necessary that the execution of the act has been commenced, that the person conceiving the idea should have set about doing the deed, employing appropriate means in order that his intent might become a reality, and finally, that the result or end contemplated shall have been physically possible. So long as these conditions were not present, the law and the courts did not hold him criminally liable. 5 This legal doctrine left social interests entirely unprotected. 6 The Revised Penal Code, inspired by the Positivist School, recognizes in the offender his formidability, 7 and now penalizes an act which were it not aimed at something quite impossible or carried out with means which prove inadequate, would constitute a felony against person or against property. 8 The rationale of Article 4(2) is to punish such criminal tendencies. 9 Under this article, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against person or property because: (1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment: or (2) the means employed is either (a) inadequate or (b) ineffectual. 10 That the offense cannot be produced because the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment is the focus of this petition. To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must be by its nature one impossible of accomplishment. 11 There must be either impossibility of accomplishing the intended act 12in order to qualify the act an impossible crime. Legal impossibility occurs where the intended acts, even if completed, would not amount to a crime. 13 Thus: Legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances where (1) the motive, desire and expectation is to perform an act in violation of the law; (2) there is intention to perform the physical act; (3) there is a performance of the intended physical act; and (4) the consequence resulting from the intended act does not amount to a crime. 14 The impossibility of killing a person already dead 15 falls in this category. On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his control prevent the consummation of the intended crime. 16 One example is the man who puts his hand in the coat pocket of another with the intention to steal the latter's wallet and finds the pocket empty. 17 The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he thought his victim would be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said place and thus, the petitioner failed to accomplish his end. One American case had facts almost exactly the same as this one. In People vs. Lee Kong, 18 the accused, with intent to kill, aimed and fired at the spot where he thought the police officer would be. It turned out, however, that the latter was in a different place. The accused failed to hit him and to achieve his intent. The Court convicted the accused of an attempt to kill. It held that: The fact that the officer was not at the spot where the attacking party imagined where he was, and where the bullet pierced the roof, renders it no less an attempt to kill. It is well settled principle of criminal law in this country that where the criminal result of an attempt is not accomplished simply because of an obstruction in the way of the thing to be operated upon, and these facts are unknown to the aggressor at the time, the criminal attempt is committed.

In the case of Strokes vs. State, 19 where the accused failed to accomplish his intent to kill the victim because the latter did not pass by the place where he was lying-in wait, the court held him liable for attempted murder. The court explained that: It was no fault of Strokes that the crime was not committed. . . . It only became impossible by reason of the extraneous circumstance that Lane did not go that way; and further, that he was arrested and prevented from committing the murder. This rule of the law has application only where it is inherently impossible to commit the crime. It has no application to a case where it becomes impossible for the crime to be committed, either by outside interference or because of miscalculation as to a supposed opportunity to commit the crime which fails to materialize; in short it has no application to the case when the impossibility grows out of extraneous acts not within the control of the party. In the case of Clark vs. State,20 the court held defendant liable for attempted robbery even if there was nothing to rob. In disposing of the case, the court quoted Mr. Justice Bishop, to wit: It being an accepted truth that defendant deserves punishment by reason of his criminal intent, no one can seriously doubt that the protection of the public requires the punishment to be administered, equally whether in the unseen depths of the pocket, etc., what was supposed to exist was really present or not. The community suffers from the mere alarm of crime. Again: Where the thing intended (attempted) as a crime and what is done is a sort to create alarm, in other words, excite apprehension that the evil; intention will be carried out, the incipient act which the law of attempt takes cognizance of is in reason committed. In State vs. Mitchell, 21defendant, with intent to kill, fired at the window of victim's room thinking that the latter was inside. However, at that moment, the victim was in another part of the house. The court convicted the accused of attempted murder. The aforecited cases are the same cases which have been relied upon by Respondent to make this Court sustain the judgment of attempted murder against Petitioner. However, we cannot rely upon these decisions to resolve the issue at hand. There is a difference between the Philippine and the American laws regarding the concept and appreciation of impossible crimes. In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code, in Article 4(2), expressly provided for impossible crimes and made the punishable. Whereas, in the United States, the Code of Crimes and Criminal Procedure is silent regarding this matter. What it provided for were attempts of the crimes enumerated in the said Code. Furthermore, in said jurisdiction, the impossibility of committing the offense is merely a defense to an attempt charge. In this regard, commentators and the cases generally divide the impossibility defense into two categories: legal versus factual impossibility. 22 In U.S. vs. Wilson23 the Court held that: . . . factual impossibility of the commission of the crime is not a defense. If the crime could have been committed had the circumstances been as the defendant believed them to be, it is no defense that in reality the crime was impossible of commission. Legal impossibility, on the other hand, is a defense which can be invoked to avoid criminal liability for an attempt. In U.S. vs. Berrigan,24 the accused was indicated for attempting to smuggle letters into and out of prison. The law governing the matter made the act criminal if done without knowledge and consent of the warden. In this case, the offender intended to send a letter without the latter's knowledge and consent and the act was performed. However, unknown to him, the transmittal was achieved with the warden's knowledge and consent. The lower court held the accused liable for attempt but the appellate court reversed. It held unacceptable the contention of the state that "elimination of impossibility as a defense to a charge of criminal attempt, as suggested by the Model Penal Code and the proposed federal legislation, is consistent with the overwhelming modern view". In disposing of this contention, the Court held that the federal statutes did not contain such provision, and thus, following the principle of legality, no person could be criminally liable for an act which was not made criminal by law. Further, it said: Congress has not yet enacted a law that provides that intent plus act plus conduct constitutes the offense of attempt irrespective of legal impossibility until such time as such legislative changes in the law take place, this court will not fashion a new non-statutory law of criminal attempt.

To restate, in the United States, where the offense sought to be committed is factually impossible or accomplishment, the offender cannot escape criminal liability. He can be convicted of an attempt to commit the substantive crime where the elements of attempt are satisfied. It appears, therefore, that the act is penalized, not as an impossible crime, but as an attempt to commit a crime. On the other hand, where the offense is legally impossible of accomplishment, the actor cannot be held liable for any crime neither for an attempt not for an impossible crime. The only reason for this is that in American law, there is no such thing as an impossible crime. Instead, it only recognizes impossibility as a defense to a crime charge that is, attempt. This is not true in the Philippines. In our jurisdiction, impossible crimes are recognized. The impossibility of accomplishing the criminal intent is not merely a defense, but an act penalized by itself. Furthermore, the phrase "inherent impossibility" that is found in Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code makes no distinction between factual or physical impossibility and legal impossibility. Ubilex non distinguitnecnosdistingueredebemos. The factual situation in the case at bar present a physical impossibility which rendered the intended crime impossible of accomplishment. And under Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, such is sufficient to make the act an impossible crime. To uphold the contention of respondent that the offense was Attempted Murder because the absence of Palangpangan was a supervening cause independent of the actor's will, will render useless the provision in Article 4, which makes a person criminally liable for an act "which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment . . ." In that case all circumstances which prevented the consummation of the offense will be treated as an accident independent of the actor's will which is an element of attempted and frustrated felonies. WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED. the petition is hereby GRANTED, the decision of respondent Court of Appeals holding Petitioner guilty of Attempted Murder is hereby MODIFIED. We hereby hold Petitioner guilty of an impossible crime as defined and penalized in Articles 4, paragraph 2, and 59 of the Revised Penal Code, respectively. Having in mind the social danger and degree of criminality shown by Petitioner, this Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, together with the accessory penalties provided by the law, and to pay the costs. SO ORDERED.

INTOD VS. COURT OF APPEALS,215 SCRA 52

FACTS: SulpicioIntod and 3 other men went to Salvador Mandayas house to ask him to go with them to the house of BernardinaPalangpangan. The group had a meeting with AnicetoDumalagan who told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed because of a land dispute between them and that Mandaya should accompany the 4 men otherwise he would also be killed. At 10:00 p.m. of that same day, Intod and companions, all armed with firearms arrived at Palangpangans house. Thereafter, petitioner fired at the said room. It turned out the Palangpangan was in another city and her home was then occupied by her son-inlaw and his family. No one was in the room when the accused fired. No one was hit by the gunfire. The RTC convicted Intod of attempted murder. Petitioner Intod seeks a modification of the judgment on the ground that he is only liable for an impossible crime {Art. 4(2)}. Petitioner contends that, Palangpangan's absence from her room on the night he and his companions riddled it with bullets made the crime inherently impossible. On the other hand, Respondent People of the Philippines argues that the crime was not impossible instead the facts were sufficient to constitute an attempt and to convict Intod for attempted murder. Respondent likewise alleged that there was intent. Further, In its Comment to the Petition, respondent pointed out that xxx. The crime of murder was not consummated, not because of the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment (Art 4 (2), RPC), but due to a cause of accident other that petitioners

and his co-accuseds own spontaneous desistance (Art. 3) Palangpangan did not sleep at her house at that time. Had it not been for this fact, the crime is possible, m not impossible. ISSUE: Is petitioner is liable only for an impossible crime? HELD: [i]Under Article 4(2) of the RPC, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against person or property because: 1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment; or 2) the means employed is either a) inadequate or b) ineffectual. To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must be by its nature one impossible of accomplishment. There must be either 1) legal impossibility, or 2) physical impossibility of accomplishing the intended act in order to qualify the act as an impossible crime. Legal impossibility occurs where the intended act, even if complete would not amount to a crime. Thus: legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances where 1) the motive, desire and expectation is to perform an act in violation of the law; 2) there is intention to perform the physical act; 3) there is a performance of the intended physical act; and 4) the consequence resulting from the intended act does not amount to a crime. The impossibility of killing a person already dead falls in this category. On the other had, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his control prevent the consummation of the intended crime. One example is the man who puts his hand in the cot pocket of another with the intention to steal the latters wallet and finds the pocket empty. The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he thought his victim would be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said place and thus, the petitioner failed to accomplish his end. The factual situation in the case at bar presents a physical impossibility which render the intended crime impossible of accomplishment. And under Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, such is sufficient to make the act an impossible crime.

Stages of execution