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4/19/2017 People vs. Baustista : 109800 : March 12, 1996 : Bellosillo, J.

: First Division

[Syllabus]

FIRSTDIVISION

[G.R.No.109800.March12,1996]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, vs. WILFREDO BAUTISTA Y NIELES,


accusedappellant.

DECISION
BELLOSILLO,J.:

WILFREDOBAUTISTAyNIELESappealsfromthedecisionofthecourtaquofindinghimguiltyof
[1]
murder and imposing upon him a prison term of reclusion perpetua. No award for civil indemnity
howeverwasmadeinviewofthereservationoftheheirsofthevictimtofileaseparatecivilaction.
TheInformationallegedthaton2April1992,inPasayCity,accusedappellantWilfredoBautistay
Nieles and the other accused, namely, Gayak Usman y Adzed, Richard Doe, John Doe, Peter Doe,
William Doe, Vincent Doe and Edward Doe, in conspiracy with one another, with treachery, evident
premeditation and taking advantage of superior strength, feloniously shot Alfonso Davila y Velasco
[2]
withafirearmhittinghimatthebackofhisheadwhichcausedhisdeath.
The evidence shows that at ten oclock in the evening of 2 April 1992 victim Alfonso Davila y
Velasco,aflightstewardofthePhilippinesAirlines(PAL),wenttotheInflightCenterofPALattheMIA
Road,PasayCity,toinquireabouthisflightschedule.BeforehiscarcouldenterGate1itwasstopped
byaccusedGayakUsmanyAdzedandothersecurityguardsoftheAsianSecurityandInvestigation
Agencyassignedinthatarea.Usmantoldthevictimthathecouldnotenterthegatebecausehehad
noPALsticker.DavilashowedUsmanhisIDplacedinhiswalletandthrustitonhisface.Thelatter
simplytoldDavilathatheshouldhavepinnedhisIDonhischest.Theverbalconfrontationhowever
continued. At this point, accusedappellant Wilfredo Bautista, another security guard of the Asian
Security and Investigation Agency assigned at the entrance for pedestrian at Gate 1, approached
[3]
UsmanandDavila andremarked,Sir,bakitnanampalkangguardiya?Thevictimretorted,Bakitka
[4]
nakikialam. Itong kausap ko. Accusedappellant then took the shotgun slung on the shoulder of
Usman and stepped back. The argument between Usman and Davila continued. Then accused
appellantwenttothebackofthecarofDavilaandcockedtheshotgun.AshewentnearDavilathe
[5]
lattersaid,Putanginaka.Huwagkangmakikialamdito. Thenaccusedappellantfiredatthevictim
hittinghimontheleftsideofhisheadwhichcausedhisdeath.
Dr.ValentineT.Bernales,NBIMedicoLegalOfficer,conductedapostmortemexaminationofthe
[6]
victim.Hegavethecauseofdeathasgunshotwoundonthehead.
On 22 March 1993 the accused appealed. But for failure of his counsel to file his brief despite
three (3) extensions granted him this Court dismissed his appeal. However, upon motion for
reconsideration,thisCourton3August1994treatedthemotionasappellantsbriefanddirectedthe
SolicitorGeneraltofileappelleesbrief.
Inhismotionforreconsideration,appellantcontendsthatheshouldhaveonlybeenchargedwith
and convicted for homicide and not murder. He submits that the victim slapped with his wallet
containinghisIDappellantsfellowsecurityguardUsman,whowasoneoftheaccusedbeforethetrial
court, which incident caught appellants attention and because of the victims gauche remarks he
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(appellant) lost his composure and shot the victim.Appellant also argues that treachery, conspiracy
and abuse of superior strength were not established by the prosecution because the shooting was
accidentaland/orcommittedunderamistakeoffactthatthevictimwasabouttoreachforaguninside
hiscar.Further,appellantallegesthatifheshouldbemadetoanswerforhisactheshouldonlybe
guilty of homicide and entitled to the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender, passion and
[7]
obfuscationand/orincompleteselfdefense.
Theargumentsofaccusedappellantarenotwithoutmerit.Onceaccusedappellanthasadmitted
thathekilledthevictim,theburdenisonhimtoestablishthepresenceofanycircumstancewhichmay
[8]
relievehimfromresponsibilityormitigatetheoffensecommitted. Toprovejustificationtheaccused
mustrelyonthestrengthofhisownevidenceandnotontheweaknessofthatoftheprosecution,for
evenifitbeweak,itcouldnotbedisbelievedaftertheaccusedhasadmittedthekilling.Inapleaof
selfdefense,itmustbeshownthattherewasapreviousunlawfulaggressionthatplacedthelifeofthe
accusedindangerandforcedhimtoinflictmoreorlessseverewoundsuponhisassailant,employing
therefor reasonable means to resist the unprovoked attack of which he was the object. Accused
appellant failed to prove the presence of these circumstances. Instead, he presented inconsistent
allegationsastowhyhekilledthevictim.
Accusedappellantclaimsthatheactedunderamistakeoffactthatthevictimwasabouttogeta
[9]
gunfromhisclutchbaginsidethecar. Atthesametimehealsoarguesthathelosthisequanimity
whenhesawthevictimslaphiscoaccusedsecurityguardandwhenhe(appellant)triedtointervene
hewasalsorudelytreatedbythevictim.
The trial court found that the allegation about the presence of a clutch bag inside the car is not
supported by the evidence. In fact, all the personal belongings of the deceased in his car were
inventoried and the alleged clutch bag was not one of them neither was there a gun or any other
weaponinsidehiscar.Thesefindingsoffactbeargreatweightandconsiderationsupportedasthey
arebytheevidenceonrecord.
Theclaimofappellantthattheactofthevictiminreachingforaclutchbagandslappinghisfellow
security guard constitute unlawful aggression is devoid of merit. The aggression must be real or at
leastimminentandnotmerelyimaginary.Abeliefthatapersonisabouttobeattackedisnotsufficient.
Even an intimidating or threatening attitude is by no means enough. A mere push or shove not
followed by other acts placing in real peril the life or personal safety of the accused is not unlawful
aggression. In the instant case, the victim slapped another person and not accusedappellant. The
slapping could not therefore have given him a well grounded or reasonable belief that he was in
imminentdangerofdeathorgreatbodilyharmtocompelhimtodefendhimselfbykillingthevictim.If
nounlawfulaggressionattributedtothevictimisestablishedtherecanbenoselfdefense,completeor
[10]
incomplete.
Notwithstandingthefailureofaccusedappellanttoproveselfdefense,theCourtfindshimguilty
onlyofhomicideandnotmurderasfoundbythetrialcourt.Notasinglecircumstanceallegedinthe
informationqualifyingthecrimetomurderispresent.
Wefindnoevidentpremeditationinthekillingofthevictim.Therecordsshowthatwhenappellant
went near the victim, who was then arguing with a fellow security guard he got the latters shotgun,
walkedtowardstherearofthecarofthevictim,cockedhisfirearmandsuddenlyshotthelatter.There
wasnoproofofthetimewhentheintenttocommitthecrimewasengenderedinthemindofaccused
appellant,themotiveandallthosefactsandantecedentswhichwhencombinedwouldshowthatthe
crimewasknowinglypremeditatedorthataccusedappellantactednotonlywithapreexistingdesign,
butwiththatcoldanddeepmeditationandtenaciouspersistenceintheaccomplishmentofhiscriminal
[11]
purpose.
Noabuseofsuperioritywasestablished.Thefatalshotwasfiredbyonlyoneoftwo(2)accused,
therebeingnoproofthattheycooperatedtotakeadvantageoftheirsuperiorstrength.Thefactthat

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theydidnotconspiretokillthedeceasedimpliesthattheydidnotjointlyexploittheirsuperiorstrength.
[12]

Treachery was conspicuous in its absence. The victim knew of the oncoming danger when
appellantapproachedhimandtookUsmansshotgun.Thatwaswhythevictimaskedappellant,Bakit
[13]
kanakikialam.Itongkausapko. Andashecockedhisgunandwalkedtowardsthevictimthelatter
[14]
evenremarked,Putanginaka.Huwagkangmakikialamdito. Thecircumstancethatanattackwas
suddenandunexpectedtothepersonassaulteddidnotconstitutetheelementofalevosianecessary
to raise homicide to murder, where it did not appear that the aggressor consciously adopted such
modeofattacktofacilitatetheperpetrationofthekillingwithoutrisktohimself.Treacherycannotbe
appreciated if the accused did not make any preparation to kill the deceased in such manner as to
insure the commission of the killing or to make it impossible or difficult for the person attacked to
[15]
retaliateordefendhimself. Whenitdoesnotappearthattheshootingwaspremeditatednorthatthe
accused had consciously chosen a method of attack directly and especially to facilitate the
perpetrationofthehomicidewithoutdangertohimself,andhisdecisiontoshootthevictimseemedto
besosuddenandthepositionofboththevictimandtheaccusedwasentirelyaccidental,treachery
[16]
cannotbeimputedtotheappellant. Moreover,thereisnotreacherywhenthekillingresultedfroma
verbal altercation between the victim and the assailant such that the victim must have been
[17]
forewarnedoftheimpendingdanger.
We cannot appreciate the circumstance of passion and obfuscation invoked by appellant to
[18]
mitigate his criminal liability. The obfuscation must originate from lawful feelings. The turmoil and
unreason which naturally result from a quarrel or fight should not be confused with the sentiment or
excitementinthemindofapersoninjuredoroffendedtosuchadegreeastodeprivehimofhissanity
and selfcontrol, because the cause of this condition of mind must necessarily have preceded the
[19]
commission of the offense. However, the voluntary surrender of accusedappellant to a police
authorityfour(4)daysafterthecommissionofthecrimeasfoundbythetrialcourtmaybeconsidered
[20]
attenuating.
Under Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code, homicide is punishable by reclusion temporal, the
rangeofwhichistwelve(12)yearsandone(1)daytotwenty(20)years.ApplyingtheIndeterminate
SentenceLawandappreciatingthemitigatingcircumstanceofvoluntarysurrenderwhichisnotoffset
byanyaggravatingcircumstance,themaximumofthepenaltyshallbetakenfromtheminimumperiod
ofreclusiontemporal,therangeofwhichistwelve(12)yearsandone(1)daytofourteen(14)years
andeight(8)months,whiletheminimumshallbetakenfromthepenaltynextlowerindegreewhichis
prisionmayor,inanyofitsperiods,therangeofwhichissix(6)yearsandone(1)daytotwelve(12)
years.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is MODIFIED and accusedappellant WILFREDO
BAUTISTA y NIELES is declared GUILTY of HOMICIDE, not murder, and sentenced to an
indeterminateprisontermofsix(6)years,four(4)monthsandten(10)daysofprisionmayorminimum
asminimum,totwelve(12),yearssix(6)monthsandtwenty(20)daysofreclusiontemporalminimum
asmaximum.Inviewofthereservationtofileseparatecivilaction,nocivilindemnityisawarded.
SOORDERED.
Padilla(Chairman),Vitug,andKapunan,JJ.,concur.

[1]
DecisionpennedbyJudgeAlfredoJ.Gustilo,RTCBr.116,PasayCity.
[2]
Rollo,p.8.
[3]
TSN,19June1992,p.103July1992,p.650.

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4/19/2017 People vs. Baustista : 109800 : March 12, 1996 : Bellosillo, J. : First Division
[4]
Sir,whydoyouslapasecurityguard?xxxWhydoyouinterfree?Thisis(theperson)IamtalkingtoTSN,3July1992,
p.2.
[5]
Sonofawhore.DonotinterferehereId.,p.11.
[6]
Records,p.114.
[7]
Rollo,pp.4859.
[8]
Peoplev.BoholstCaballero,No.L23249,25November1974,61SCRA180.
[9]
Rollo,p.55.
[10]
Peoplev.Galit,G.R.No.97432,1March1994,230SCRA486.
[11]
Aquino,RamonC.,TheRevisedPenalCode,1987ed.,Vol.I,p.353.
[12]
Peoplev.Ybaez,No.L30421,28March1974,56SCRA210.
[13]
SeeNote3.
[14]
SeeNote4.
[15]
Peoplev.Unay,97Phil.969(1955)Peoplev.Namit,38Phil.926(1918).
[16]
Peoplev.Abalos,84Phil.771(1949).
[17]
Peoplev.Alacar,G.R.Nos.6472526,20July1992,211SCRA580.
[18]
Peoplev.SilangCruz,53Phil635(1929).
[19]
Peoplev.Giner,6Phil.406(1906).
[20]
Peoplev.YeclaandCahilig,68Phil.740(1939).

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