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PEOPLE V.

GONZALES, 183 SCRA 309 (1990) The autopsy of Lloyd Peñacerrada's cadaver was performed at about 11:20 a.m. on February 22, 1981;
after completed, a report was made with the following findings:
G.R. No. 80762 March 19, 1990
PHYSICAL FINDINGS
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. 1. Deceased is about 5 ft. and 4 inches in height, body moderately built and on cadaveric
FAUSTA GONZALES, AUGUSTO GONZALES, CUSTODIO GONZALES, SR., CUSTODIO GONZALES, JR., rigidity.
NERIO GONZALES and ROGELIO LANIDA, accused, CUSTODIO GONZALES, SR., accused-appellant.
EXTERNAL FINDINGS
SARMIENTO, J.:
1. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, 9 cm. in length, located at the lower 3rd anterior aspect of
In a decision 1 dated October 31, 1984, the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch XXXVIII (38), in Criminal the arm, right, directed upward to the right axillary pit.
Case No. 13661, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Fausta Gonzales, Augusto Gonzales, Custodia
Gonzales, Custodio Gonzales, Jr., Nerio Gonzales and Rogelio Lanida," found all the accused, except 2. Stab wound, thru and thru, located at the proximal 3rd, forearm right, posterior aspect
Rogelio Lanida who eluded arrest and up to now has remain at large and not yet arrained, guilty beyond with an entrance of 5 cm. in width and 9 cm. in length with an exit at the middle 3rd,
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder as defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. They posterior aspect of the forearm, right, with 1 cm. wound exit.
were sentenced "to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to 3. Stab wound, thru and thru, located at the middle 3rd, posterior aspect of the forearm right,
seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased 1 cm. in width.
victim in the amount of P40,000.00, plus moral damages in the sum of P14,000.00 and to pay the
costs." 2 The victim was Lloyd Peñacerrada, 44, landowner, and a resident of Barangay Aspera, Sara, 4. Incised wound, 4 cm. long, depth visualizing the right lateral border of the sternum, 6th and
Iloilo. 7th ribs, right located 1.5 inches below the right nipple.

Through their counsel, all the accused, except of course Rogelio Lanida, filed a notice of appeal from the 5. Stab wound, 2 cm. in width, 10.5 cm. in depth, directed inward to the thoracic cavity right,
trial court's decision. During the pendency of their appeal and before judgment thereon could be located at the left midclavicular line at the level of the 5th rib left.
rendered by the Court of Appeals, however, all the accused-appellants, except Custodio Gonzales, Sr.,
6. Stab wound, 2 cm. in width, 9.5 cm. in depth directed toward the right thoracic cavity,
withdrew their appeal and chose instead to pursue their respective applications for parole before the
located at the mid left scapular line at the level of the 8th intercostal space.
then Ministry, now Department, of Justice, Parole Division. 3
7. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, located at the base of the left armpit directed toward the
On October 27, 1987, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision 4 on the appeal of Custodio Gonzales, Sr.
left thoracic cavity.
It modified the appealed decision in that the lone appellant was sentenced to reclusion perpetua and to
indemnify the heirs of Lloyd Peñacerrada in the amount of P30,000.00. In all other respect, the decision 8. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, 11 cm. in length, directed toward the left deltoid muscle,
of the trial court was affirmed. Further, on the basis of our ruling in People vs. Ramos, 5 the appellate located at the upper 3rd axilla left.
court certified this case to us for review.6
9. Puncture wound, 3 cm in width, 11.5 cm in length, located at the anterior aspect, proximal
The antecedent facts are as follows: 3rd arm left, directed downward.
At around 9:00 o'clock in the evening of February 21, 1981, Bartolome Paja, the barangay captain of 10. Stab wound, thru and thru, 2.5 cm. in width, and 5 cm. in length, medial aspect, palm
Barangay Tipacla, Ajuy, Iloilo, was awakened from his sleep by the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales. right.
Augusto informed Paja that his wife had just killed their landlord, Lloyd Peñacerrada, and thus would like
to surrender to the authorities. Seeing Augusto still holding the knife allegedly used in the killing and 11. Stabwound, 4 cm.in width, iliac area, right, directed inward with portion of large intestine
Fausta with her dress smeared with blood, Paja immediately ordered a nephew of his to take the and mysentery coming out.
spouses to the police authorities at the Municipal Hall in Poblacion, Ajuy. As instructed, Paja's nephew 12. Stab wound, 4 cm. in width, located at the posterior portion of the shoulder, right,
brought the Gonzales spouses, who "backrode" on his motorcycle, to the municipal building. 7 Upon directed downward to the aspex of the light thoracic cavity.
reaching the Ajuy Police sub-station, the couple informed the police on duty of the incident. That same
night, Patrolman Salvador Centeno of the Ajuy Police Force and the Gonzales spouses went back to 13. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 10 cm. in length, located at the medial portion of the
Barangay Tipacla. Reaching Barangay Tipacla the group went to Paja's residence where Fausta was made medial border of the right scapula.
to stay, while Paja, Patrolman Centeno, and Augusto proceeded to the latter's residence at Sitio
14. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 4.5 cm. in length, located at the posterior aspect of the
Nabitasan where the killing incident allegedly occurred. 8 There they saw the lifeless body of Lloyd
right elbow.
Peñacerrada, clad only in an underwear, sprawled face down inside the bedroom. 9 The group stayed for
about an hour during which time Patrolman Centeno inspected the scene and started to make a rough 15. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 2 cm. in length, located at the posterior portion, middle
sketch thereof and the immediate surroundings. 10 The next day, February 22, 1981, at around 7:00 3rd, forearm, right.
o'clock in the morning, Patrolman Centeno, accompanied by a photographer, went back to the scene of
the killing to conduct further investigations. Fausta Gonzales, on the other hand, was brought back that 16. Lacerated wound at the anterior tantanelle with fissural fracture of the skull.
same day by Barangay Captain Paja to the police substation in Ajuy. When Patrolman Centeno and his INTERNAL FINDINGS:
companion arrived at Sitio Nabitasan, two members of the 321st P.C. Company stationed in Sara, Iloilo,
who had likewise been informed of the incident, were already there conducting their own investigation. 1. Stab wound No. 5, injuring the left ventricle of the heart.
Patrolman Centeno continued with his sketch; photographs of the scene were likewise taken. The body
of the victim was then brought to the Municipal Hall of Ajuy for autopsy. 2. Stab wound No. 6, severely injuring the right lower lobe of the lungs.

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3. Stab wound No. 7, injuring the right middle lobe of the lungs. and Sgt. Reynaldo Palomo of the 321st P.C. Company based in Sara, Iloilo; Jose Huntoria; and Nanie
Peñacerrada, the widow.
4. Stab wound No. 11, injuring the descending colon of the large intestine, thru and thru.
Dr. Jesus Rojas testified that he performed the autopsy on the body of the deceased Lloyd Penacerrada
5. Stab wound No. 12, severely injuring the apex of the right lungs (sic). at around 11:20 a.m. on February 22, 1981 after it was taken to the municipal hall of Ajuy. 17 His findings
CAUSE OF DEATH: revealed that the victim suffered from 16 wounds comprising of four (4) punctured wounds, seven (7)
stab wounds, four (4) incised wounds, and one (1) lacerated wound. In his testimony, Dr. Rojas, while
MASSIVE HEMMORRHAGE DUE TO MULTIPLE LACERATED, STABBED (sic), INCISED AND admitting the possibility that only one weapon might have caused all the wounds (except the lacerated
PUNCTURED WOUNDS. wound) inflicted on the victim, nevertheless opined that due to the number and different characteristics
of the wounds, the probability that at least two instruments were used is high. 18 The police authorities
JESUS D. ROJAS, M.D.
and the P.C. operatives for their part testified on the aspect of the investigation they respectively
Rural Health Physician
conducted in relation to the incident. Nanie Peñacerrada testified mainly on the expenses she incurred
Ajuy, Iloilo 11
by reason of the death of her husband while Barangay Captain Bartolome Paja related the events
The autopsy report thus showed that Dr. Rojas "found sixteen (16) wounds, five (5) of which are fatal surrounding the surrender of the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales to him, the location of the
because they penetrated the internal organs, heart, lungs and intestines of the deceased." 12 houses of the accused, as well as on other matters.

On February 23, two days after the incident, Augusto Gonzales appeared before the police sub-station in By and large, the prosecution's case rested on Huntoria's alleged eyewitness account of the incident.
the poblacion of Ajuy and voluntarily surrendered to Police Corporal Ben Sazon for detention and According to Huntoria, who gave his age as 30 when he testified on July 27, 1982, 19 at 5:00 o'clock in the
protective custody for "having been involved" in the killing of Lloyd Peñacerrada. He requested that he afternoon on February 21, 1981, he left his work at Barangay Central, in Ajuy, Iloilo where he was
be taken to the P.C. headquarters in Sara, Iloilo where his wife, Fausta, was already detained having been employed as a tractor driver by one Mr. Piccio, and walked home; 20 he took a short-cut route. 21 While
indorsed thereat by the Ajuy police force. 13 passing at the vicinity of the Gonzales spouses' house at around 8:00 o'clock in the evening, he heard
cries for help. 22 Curiosity prompted him to approach the place where the shouts were emanating. When
Based on the foregoing and on the investigations conducted by the Ajuy police force and the 321st P.C. he was some 15 to 20 meters away, he hid himself behind a clump of banana
Company, an information for murder dated August 26, 1981, was filed by the Provincial Fiscal of Iloilo trees. 23 From where he stood, he allegedly saw all the accused ganging upon and takings turns in
against the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales. The information read as follows: stabbing and hacking the victim Lloyd Peñacerrada, near a "linasan" or threshing platform. He said he
The undersigned Provincial Fiscal accuses FAUSTA GONZALES and AUGUSTO GONZALES of the clearly recognized all the accused as the place was then awash in moonlight. 24 Huntoria further
crime of MURDER committed as follows: recounted that after the accused were through in stabbing and hacking the victim, they then lifted his
body and carried it into the house of the Gonzales spouses which was situated some 20 to 25 meters
That on or about the 21st day of February, 1981, in the Municipality of Ajuy, Province of Iloilo, away from the "linasan". 25 Huntoria then proceeded on his way home. Upon reaching his house, he
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused with four related what he saw to his mother and to his wife 26 before he went to sleep. 27Huntoria explained that
other companions whose identities are still unknown and are still at large, armed with sharp- he did not immediately report to the police authorities what he witnessed for fear of his life. 28 In
pointed and deadly weapons, conspiring, confederating and helping each other, with October 1981 however, eight months after the extraordinary incident he allegedly witnessed, bothered
treachery and evident premeditation, with deliberate intent and decided purpose to kill, and by his conscience plus the fact that his father was formerly a tenant of the victim which, to his mind,
taking advantage of their superior strength and number, did then and there wilfully, made him likewise a tenant of the latter, he thought of helping the victim's widow, Nanie Peñacerrada.
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab, hack, hit and wound Lloyd D. Peñacerrada, Hence, out of his volition, he travelled from his place at Sitio Nabitasan, in Barangay Tipacla Municipality
with the weapons with which said accused were provided at the time, thereby inflicting upon of Ajuy, to Sara, Iloilo where Mrs. Peñacerrada lived, and related to her what he saw on February 21,
said Lloyd D. Peñacerrada multiple wounds on different parts of his body as shown by autopsy 1981. 29
report attached to the record of this case which multifarious wounds caused the immediate
death of said Lloyd D. Peñacerrada. Except Fausta who admitted killing Lloyd Peñacerrada in defense of her honor as the deceased
attempted to rape her, all the accused denied participation in the crime. The herein accused-appellant,
CONTRARY TO LAW. Custodio Gonzales, Sr., claimed that he was asleep 30 in his house which was located some one kilometer
away from the scene of the crime 31 when the incident happened. He asserted that he only came to know
Iloilo City, August 26, 1981. 14
of it after his grandchildren by Augusto and Fausta Gonzales went to his house that night of February 21,
When arraigned on September 16, 1981, Augusto and Fausta both entered a plea of not guilty. Before 1981 to inform him. 32
trial, however, Jose Huntoria 15 who claimed to have witnessed the killing of Lloyd Peñacerrada,
The trial court disregarded the version of the defense; it believed the testimony of Huntoria.
presented himself to Nanie Peñacerrada, the victim's widow, on October 6, 1981, and volunteered to
testify for the prosecution. A reinvestigation of the case was therefore conducted by the Provincial Fiscal On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Custodia Gonzales, Sr., the lone appellant, contended that the trial
of Iloilo on the basis of which an Amended Information, 16 dated March 3, 1982, naming as additional court erred in convicting him on the basis of the testimony of Jose Huntoria, the lone alleged eyewitness,
accused Custodio Gonzales, Sr. (the herein appellant), Custodio Gonzales, Jr., Nerio Gonzales, and and in not appreciating his defense of alibi.
Rogelio Lanida, was filed. Again, all the accused except as earlier explained, Lanida, pleaded not guilty to
the crime. The Court of Appeals found no merit in both assigned errors. In upholding Huntoria's testimony, the
appellate court held that:
At the trial, the prosecution presented Dr. Jesus Rojas, the Rural Health physician of Ajuy who conducted
the autopsy on the body of the victim; Bartolome Paja, the barangay captain of Barangay Tipacla; . . . Huntoria positively identified all the accused, including the herein accused-appellant, as
Patrolman Salvador Centeno and Corporal Ben Sazon of the Ajuy Police Force; Sgt. (ret) Nicolas Belicanao the assailants of Peñacerrada. (TSN, p. 43, July 27, 1982) The claim that Huntoria would have
difficulty recognizing the assailant at a distance of 15 to 20 meters is without merit,

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considering that Huntoria knew all the accused. (Id., pp. 37-39) If Huntoria could not say who an investigation of the killing mentioned in their criminal complaint 38 four other unnamed persons, aside
was hacking and who was stabbing the deceased, it was only because the assailant were from the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales, to have conspired in killing Lloyd Peñacerrada.
moving around the victim.
Now on the medical evidence. Dr. Rojas opined that it is possible that the sixteen wounds described in
As for the delay in reporting the incident to the authorities, we think that Huntoria's the autopsy report were caused by two or more bladed instruments. Nonetheless, he admitted the
explanation is satisfactory. He said he feared for his life. (Id., pp. 50-51, 65) As stated in People possibility that one bladed instrument might have caused all. Thus, insofar as Dr. Rojas' testimony and
vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 442, 450 (1980): "The natural reticence of most people to get involved in the autopsy report are concerned, Fausta Gonzales' admission that she alone was responsible for the
a criminal case is of judicial notice. As held in People v. Delfin, '. . . the initial reluctance of killing appears not at all too impossible. And then there is the positive testimony of Dr. Rojas that there
witnesses in this country to volunteer information about a criminal case and their were only five wounds that could be fatal out of the sixteen described in the autopsy report. We shall
unwillingness to be involved in or dragged into criminal investigations is common, and has discuss more the significance of these wounds later.
been judicially declared not to affect credibility.'"
It is thus clear from the foregoing that if the conviction of the appellant by the lower courts is to be
It is noteworthy that the accused-appellant self admitted that he had known Huntoria for sustained, it can only be on the basis of the testimony of Huntoria, the self-proclaimed eyewitness.
about 10 years and that he and Huntoria were in good terms and had no misunderstanding Hence, a meticulous scrutiny of Huntoria's testimony is compelling.
whatsoever. (TSN, p. 33, July 18, 1984) He said that he could not think of any reason why
Huntoria should implicate him. (Id., p. 34) Thus, Huntoria's credibility. is beyond question. 33 To recollect, Huntoria testified that he clearly saw all the accused, including the appellant, take turns in
hacking and stabbing Lloyd Peñacerrada, at about 8:00 o'clock in the evening, on February 21, 1981, in
The Court of Appeals likewise rejected the appellant's defense of alibi. 34 The appellate court, however, the field near a "linasan" while he (Huntoria) stood concealed behind a clump of banana trees some 15
found the sentence imposed by the trial court on the accused-appellant erroneous. Said the appellate to 20 meters away from where the crime was being committed. According to him, he recognized the six
court: accused as the malefactors because the scene was then illuminated by the moon. He further stated that
the stabbing and hacking took about an hour. But on cross-examination, Huntoria admitted that he could
Finally, we find that the trial court erroneously sentenced the accused-appellant to 12 years not determine who among the six accused did the stabbing and/or hacking and what particular weapon
and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal. The penalty for murder under was used by each of them.
Article 248 is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. As there was no mitigating
or aggravating circumstance, the imposible penalty should be reclusion perpetua. ATTY. GATON (defense counsel on cross-examination):
Consequently, the appeal should have been brought to the Supreme Court. With regard to
the indemnity for death, the award of P40,000.00 should be reduced to P30,000.00, in Q And you said that the moon was bright, is it correct?
accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court. (E.g., People v. De la Fuente, 126 SCRA 518 A Yes, Sir.
(1983); People v. Atanacio, 128 SCRA 31 (1984); People v. Rado, 128 SCRA 43 (1984); People v.
Bautista, G.R. No. 68731, Feb. 27, 1987).35 Q And you would like us to understand that you saw the hacking and the stabbing, at that
distance by the herein accused as identified by you?
The case, as mentioned earlier, is now before us upon certification by the Court of Appeals, the penalty
imposed being reclusion perpetua. A Yes, sir, because the moon was brightly shining.

After a careful review of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, we find the same insufficient to Q If you saw the stabbing and the hacking, will you please tell this Honorable Court who was
convict the appellant of the crime charged. hacking the victim?

To begin with, the investigation conducted by the police authorities leave much to be desired. Patrolman A Because they were surrounding Peñacerrada and were in constant movement, I could not
Centeno of the Ajuy police force in his sworn statements 36 even gave the date of the commission of the determine who did the hacking.
crime as "March 21, 1981." Moreover, the sketch 37 he made of the scene is of little help. While indicated
ATTY. GATON:
thereon are the alleged various blood stains and their locations relative to the scene of the crime, there
was however no indication as to their quantity. This is rather unfortunate for the prosecution because, The interpretation is not clear.
considering that there are two versions proferred on where the killing was carried out, the extent of
blood stains found would have provided a more definite clue as to which version is more credible. If, as COURT:
the version of the defense puts it, the killing transpired inside the bedroom of the Gonzales spouses, They were doing it rapidly.
there would have been more blood stains inside the couple's bedroom or even on the ground directly
under it. And this circumstance would provide an additional mooring to the claim of attempted rape A The moving around or the hacking or the "labu" or "bunu" is rapid. I only saw the rapid
asseverated by Fausta. On the other hand, if the prosecution's version that the killing was committed in movement of their arms, Your Honor, and I cannot determine who was hacking and who was
the field near the linasan is the truth, then blood stains in that place would have been more than in any stabbing. But I saw the hacking and the stabbing blow.
other place.
ATTY. GATON:
The same sloppiness characterizes the investigation conducted by the other authorities. Police Corporal
Q You cannot positively identify before this Court who really hacked Lloyd Peñacerrada?
Ben Sazon who claimed that accused Augusto Gonzales surrendered to him on February 23, 1981 failed
to state clearly the reason for the "surrender." It would even appear that Augusto "surrendered" just so A Yes sir, I cannot positively tell who did the hacking.
he could be safe from possible revenge by the victim's kins. Corporal Sazon likewise admitted that
Augusto never mentioned to him the participation of other persons in the killing of the victim. Finally, Q And likewise you cannot positively tell this Honorable Court who did the stabbing?
without any evidence on that point, P.C. investigators of the 321st P.C. Company who likewise conducted A Yes sir, and because of the rapid movements.

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Q I noticed in your direct testimony that you could not even identify the weapons used in the hacking and stabbing alleged by Huntoria. And why not him? Is he not after all the oldest (already
because according to you it was just flashing? sexagenarian at that time) and practically the father of the five accused? And pursuing this argument to
the limits of its logic, it is possible, nay even probable, that only four, or three, or two of the accused
A Yes, sir.39 could have inflicted all the five fatal wounds to the exclusion of two, three, or four of them. And
(Emphasis supplied) stretching the logic further, it is possible, nay probable, that all the fatal wounds, including even all the
non-fatal wounds, could have been dealt by Fausta in rage against the assault on her womanhood and
From his very testimony, Huntoria failed to impute a definite and specific act committed, or contributed, honor. But more importantly, there being not an iota of evidence that the appellant caused any of the
by the appellant in the killing of Lloyd Peñacerrada. said five fatal wounds, coupled with the prosecution's failure to prove the presence of conspiracy beyond
reasonable doubt, the appellant's conviction can not be sustained.
It also bears stressing that there is nothing in the findings of the trial court and of the Court of Appeals
which would categorize the criminal liability of the appellant as a principal by direct participation under Additionally, Huntoria's credibility as a witness is likewise tarnished by the fact that he only came out to
Article 17, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code. Likewise, there is nothing in the evidence for the testify in October 1981, or eight long months since he allegedly saw the killing on February 21, 1981.
prosecution that inculpates him by inducement, under paragraph 2 of the same Article 17, or by While ordinarily the failure of a witness to report at once to the police authorities the crime he
indispensable cooperation under paragraph 3 thereof. What then was the direct part in the killing did the had witnessed should not be taken against him and should not affect his credibility,41 here, the
appellant perform to support the ultimate punishment imposed by the Court of Appeals on him? unreasonable delay in Huntoria's coming out engenders doubt on his veracity. 42 If the silence of coming
out an alleged eyewitness for several weeks renders his credibility doubtful, 43 the more it should be for
Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides how criminal liability is incurred.
one who was mute for eight months. Further, Huntoria's long delay in reveiling what he allegedly
Art. 4. Criminal liability — Criminal liability shall be incurred: witnessed, has not been satisfactorily explained. His lame excuse that he feared his life would be
endangered is too pat to be believed. There is no showing that he was threatened by the accused or by
1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different anybody. And if it were true that he feared a possible retaliation from the accused, 44 why did he finally
from that which he intended. volunteer to testify considering that except for the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales who were
2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, already under police custody, the rest of the accused were then still free and around; they were not yet
were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the named in the original information, 45 thus the supposed danger on Huntoria's life would still be clear and
employment of inadequate or ineffectual means. present when he testified.

(Emphasis supplied.) Moreover, Huntoria is not exactly a disinterested witness as portrayed by the prosecution. He admitted
that he was a tenant of the deceased. In fact, he stated that one of the principal reasons why he testified
Thus, one of the means by which criminal liability is incurred is through the commission of a felony. was because the victim was also his landlord.
Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code, on the other hand, provides how felonies are committed.
xxx xxx xxx
Art. 3. Definition — Acts and omissions punishable by law are felonies (delitos).
Q Now, Mr. Huntoria, why did it take you so long from the time you saw the stabbing and
Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa). hacking of Lloyd Peñacerrada when you told Mrs. Peñacerrada about what happened to her
husband?
There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent; and there is fault when the
wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill. A At first I was then afraid to tell anybody else but because I was haunted by my conscience
and secondly the victim was also my landlord I revealed what I saw to the wife of the victim.46
(Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
Thus, the elements of felonies in general are: (1) there must be an act or omission; (2) the act or
omission must be punishable under the Revised Penal Code; and (3) the act is performed or the omission (Emphasis ours.)
incurred by means of deceit or fault.
At this juncture, it may be relevant to remind that under our socioeconomic set-up, a tenant owes the
Here, while the prosecution accuses, and the two lower courts both found, that the appellant has very source of his livelihood, if not existence itself, from his landlord who provides him with the land to
committed a felony in the killing of Lloyd Peñacerrada, forsooth there is paucity of proof as to what act till. In this milieu, tenants like Huntoria are naturally beholden to their landlords and seek ways and
was performed by the appellant. It has been said that "act," as used in Article 3 of the Revised Penal means to ingratiate themselves with the latter. In this instance, volunteering his services as a purported
Code, must be understood as "any bodily movement tending to produce some effect in the external eyewitness and providing that material testimony which would lead to the conviction of the entire family
world." 40 In this instance, there must therefore be shown an "act" committed by the appellant which of Augusto Gonzales whose wife, Fausta, has confessed to the killing of Lloyd Peñacerrada, would, in a
would have inflicted any harm to the body of the victim that produced his death. perverted sense, be a way by which Huntoria sought to ingratiate himself with the surviving family of his
deceased landlord. This is especially so because the need to get into the good graces of his landlord's
Yet, even Huntoria, as earlier emphasized, admitted quite candidly that he did not see who "stabbed" or
family assumed a greater urgency considering that he ceased to be employed as early as May
who "hacked" the victim. Thus this principal witness did not say, because he could not whether the
1981. 47 Volunteering his services would alleviate the financial distress he was in. And Huntoria proved
appellant "hacked or "stabbed" victim. In fact, Huntoria does not know what specific act was performed
quite sagacious in his choice of action for shortly after he volunteered and presented himself to the
by the appellant. This lack of specificity then makes the case fall short of the test laid down by Article 3 of
victim's widow, he was taken under the protective wings of the victim's uncle, one Dr. Biclar, who gave
the Revised Penal Code previously discussed. Furthermore, the fact that the victim sustained only five
him employment and provided lodging for his family. 48 Given all the foregoing circumstances, we can
fatal wounds out of the total of sixteen inflicted, as adverted to above, while there are six accused
not help but dismiss Huntoria as an unreliable witness, to say the least.
charged as principals, it follows to reason that one of the six accused could not have caused or dealt a
fatal wound. And this one could as well be the appellant, granted ex gratia argumenti that he took part

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At any rate, there is another reason why we find the alleged participation of the appellant in the killing of
Lloyd Peñacerrada doubtful — it is contrary to our customs and traditions. Under the Filipino family
tradition and culture, aging parents are sheltered and insulated by their adult children from any possible
physical and emotional harm. It is therefore improbable for the other accused who are much younger
and at the prime of their manhood, to summon the aid or allow the participation of their 65-year
old 49 father, the appellant, in the killing of their lone adversary, granting that the victim was indeed an
adversary. And considering that the appellant's residence was about one kilometer from the scene of the
crime, 50 we seriously doubt that the appellant went there just for the purpose of aiding his three robust
male sons (Custodia Jr., Nerio, and Augusta), not to mention the brother and sister, Rogelio and Fausta,
in the killing of Lloyd Peñacerrada, even if the latter were a perceived enemy.
Finally, while indeed alibi is a weak defense, 51 under appropriate circumstances, like in the instant case
in which the participation of the appellant is not beyond cavil it may be considered as exculpatory.
Courts should not at once look with disfavor at the defense of alibi for if taken in the light of the other
evidence on record, it may be sufficient to acquit the accused. 52
In fine, the guilt of the appellant has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the appellant is
hereby ACQUITTED. Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.

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PEOPLE V. SYLVESTRE AND ATIENZA, 56 PHIL. 353 (1931) dared say anything to him, not even Romana Silvestre, who was about a meter away from her
codefendant. Alarmed at what Martin Atienza had said, the couple left the house at once to
G.R. No. L-35748 December 14, 1931 communicate with the barrio lieutenant, Buenaventura Ania, as to what they had just heard Martin
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, Atienza say; but they had hardly gone a hundred arms' length when they heard cries of "Fire! Fire!"
vs. Turning back they saw their home in flames, and ran back to it; but seeing that the fire had assumed
ROMANA SILVESTRE and MARTIN ATIENZA, defendants-appellants. considerable proportions, Antonia took refuge in the schoolhouse with her 1 year old babe in her arms,
while Nicolas went to the home of his parents-in-law, took up the furniture he had deposited there, and
VILLA-REAL, J.: carried it to the schoolhouse. The fire destroyed about forty-eight houses. Tomas Santiago coming from
the barrio artesian well, and Tomas Gonzalez, teacher at the barrio school of Masocol, and Felipe
Martin Atienza and Romana Silvestre appeal to this court from the judgment of the Court of First
Clemente, an old man 61 years of age, coming from their homes, to the house on fire, saw Martin
Instance of Bulacan convicting them upon the information of the crime of arson as follows: The former as
Atienza going away from the house where the fire started, and Romana Silvestre leaving it.lawphil.net
principal by direct participation, sentenced to fourteen years, eight months, and one day of cadena
temporal, in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 550, Penal Code; and the latter as accomplice, As stated in the beginning, counsel appointed by this court to defend the accused-appellant de oficio,
sentenced to six years and one day of presidio mayor; and both are further sentenced to the accessories prays for the affirmance of the judgment appealed from with reference to defendant Martin Atienza. The
of the law, and to pay each of the persons whose houses were destroyed by the fire, jointly and facts related heretofore, proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the hearing, justify this petition of the de
severally, the amount set forth in the information, with costs. oficio counsel, and establish beyond a reasonable doubt said defendant's guilt of arson as charged, as
principal by direct participation.
Counsel appointed by the court to defend the accused- appellants de oficio, after delivering his
argument, prayed for the affirmance of the judgment with reference to the appellant Martin Atienza, With respect to the accused-appellant Romana Silvestre, the only evidence of record against her are:
and makes the following assignments of error with reference to Romana Silvestre, to wit: That, being married, she lived adulterously with her codefendant Martin Atienza, a married man; that
both were denounced for adultery by Domingo Joaquin, Romana Silvestre's second husband; that in view
1. The lower court erred in convincing Romana Silvestre as accomplice of the crime charged in
of the petition of the accused, who promised to discontinue their life together, and to leave the barrio of
the information.
Masocol, and through the good offices of the municipal president of Paombong, the complaining
2. Finally, the court erred in not acquitting said defendant from the information upon the husband asked for the dismissal of the complaint; that in pursuance of their promise, both of the
ground of insufficient evidence, or at the least, of reasonable doubt. accused went to lived in the barrio of Santo Niño, in the same municipality; that under pretext for some
nipa leaves from her son by her former marriage, Nicolas de la Cruz, who had gone to the barrio of Santo
The following facts were proved at the hearing beyond a reasonable doubt: Niño, Romana Silvestre followed him to his house in the barrio of Masocol on November 23, 1930, and
Romana Silvestre, wife of Domingo Joaquin by her second marriage, cohabited with her codefendant remained there; that her codefendant, Martin Atienza followed her, and stayed with his coaccused in the
Martin Atienza from the month of March, 1930, in the barrio of Masocol, municipality of Paombong, same house; that on the night of November 25, 1930, at about 8 o'clock, while all were gathered
Province of Bulacan. On May 16, 1930, the complaining husband, Domingo Joaquin, filed with the justice together at home after supper, Martin Atienza expressed his intention of burning the house as the only
of the peace for that municipality, a sworn complaint for adultery, supported by affidavits of Gerardo means of taking his revenge on the Masocol resident, who had instigated Domingo Joaquin to file the
Cabigao and Castor de la Cruz (Exhibit B). On the same date, May 16, 1930, the said accused were complaint for adultery against them, which compelled them to leave the barrio of Masocol; that Romana
arrested on a warrant issued by said justice of the peace. On the 20th of the month, they were released Silvestre listened to her codefendant's threat without raising a protest, and did not give the alarm when
on bail, each giving a personal bond of P6,000. Pending the preliminary investigation of the case, the two the latter set fire to the house. Upon the strength of these facts, the court below found her guilty of
defendants begged the municipal president of Paombong, Francisco Suerte Felipe, to speak to the arson as accomplice.
complaint, Domingo Joaquin, urging him to withdraw the complaint, the two accused binding themselves Article 14 of the Penal Code, considered in connection with article 13, defines an accomplice to be one
to discontinue cohabitation, and promising not to live again in the barrio of Masocol; Martin Atienza who does not take a direct part in the commission of the act, who does not force or induce other to
voluntarily signed the promise (Exhibit A). The municipal president transmitted the defendants' petition commit it, nor cooperates in the commission of the act by another act without which it would not have
to the complaining husband, lending it his support. Domingo Joaquin acceded to it, and on May 20, 1930, been accomplished, yet cooperates in the execution of the act by previous or simultaneous actions.
filed a motion for the dismissal of his complaint. In consideration of this petition, the justice of the peace
of Paombong dismissed the adultery case commenced against the accused, and cancelled the bonds Now then, which previous or simultaneous acts complicate Romana Silvestre in the crime of arson
given by them, with the costs against the complainant. committed by her codefendant Martin Atienza? Is it her silence when he told the spouses, Nicolas de la
Cruz and Antonia de la Cruz, to take away their furniture because he was going to set fire to their house
The accused then left the barrio of Masocol and went to live in that of Santo Niño, in the same as the only means of revenging himself on the barrio residents, her passive presence when Martin
municipality of Paombong. Atienza set fire to the house, where there is no evidence of conspiracy or cooperation, and her failure to
About November 20, 1930, the accused Romana Silvestre met her son by her former marriage, Nicolas give the alarm when the house was already on fire?
de la Cruz, in the barrio of Santo Niño, and under pretext of asking him for some nipa leaves, followed The complicity which is penalized requires a certain degree of cooperation, whether moral, through
him home to the village of Masocol, and remained there. The accused, Martin Atienza, who had advice, encouragement, or agreement, or material, through external acts. In the case of the accused-
continued to cohabit with said Romana Silvestre, followed her and lived in the home of Nicolas de la appellant Romana Silvestre, there is no evidence of moral or material cooperation, and none of an
Cruz. On the night of November 25, 1930, while Nicolas de la Cruz and his wife, Antonia de la Cruz, were agreement to commit the crime in question. Her mere presence and silence while they are simultaneous
gathered together with the appellants herein after supper, Martin Atienza told said couple to take their acts, do not constitute cooperation, for it does not appear that they encouraged or nerved Martin
furniture out of the house because he was going to set fire to it. Upon being asked by Nicolas and Atienza to commit the crime of arson; and as for her failure to give the alarm, that being a subsequent
Antonia why he wanted to set fire to the house, he answered that that was the only way he could be act it does not make her liable as an accomplice.
revenged upon the people of Masocol who, he said, had instigated the charge of adultery against him
and his codefendant, Romana Silvestre. As Martin Atienza was at that time armed with a pistol, no one

6
The trial court found the accused-appellant Martin Atienza guilty of arson, defined and penalized in
article 550, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, which reads as follows:
ART. 550. The penalty of cadena temporal shall be imposed upon:
xxx xxx xxx
2. Any person who shall set fire to any inhabited house or any building in which people are
accustomed to meet together, without knowing whether or not such building or house was
occupied at the time, or any freight train in motion, if the damage caused in such cases shall
exceed six thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas.
While the defendant indeed knew that besides himself and his codefendant, Romana Silvestre, there was
nobody in De la Cruz's house at the moment of setting fire to it, he cannot be convicted merely arson
less serious than what the trial court sentenced him for, inasmuch as that house was the means of
destroying the others, and he did not know whether these were occupied at the time or not. If the
greater seriousness of setting fire to an inhabited house, when the incendiary does not know whether
there are people in it at the time, depends upon the danger to which the inmates are exposed, not less
serious is the arson committed by setting fire to inhabited houses by means of another inhabited house
which the firebrand knew to be empty at the moment of committing the act, if he did not know whether
there were people or not in the others, inasmuch as the same danger exists.
With the evidence produced at the trial, the accused-appellant Martin Atienza might have been
convicted of the crime of arson in the most serious degree provided for in article 549 of the Penal Code,
if the information had alleged that at the time of setting fire to the house, the defendant knew that the
other houses were occupied, taking into account that barrio residents are accustomed to retire at the
tolling of the bell for the souls in purgatory, i.e., at 8 o'clock at night.
For all the foregoing considerations, we are of the opinion and so hold, that: (1) Mere passive presence
at the scene of another's crime, mere silence and failure to give the alarm, without evidence of
agreement or conspiracy, do not constitute the cooperation required by article 14 of the Penal Code for
complicity in the commission of the crime witnessed passively, or with regard to which one has kept
silent; and (2) he who desiring to burn the houses in a barrio, without knowing whether there are people
in them or not, sets fire to one known to be vacant at the time, which results in destroying the rest,
commits the crime of arson, defined and penalized in article 550, paragraph 2, Penal Code.
By virtue wherefore, the judgment appealed from is modified as follows: It is affirmed with reference to
the accused-appellant Martin Atienza, and reversed with reference to the accused-appellant Romana
Silvestre, who is hereby acquitted with one-half of the costs de oficio. So ordered.
Avanceña, C.J., Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Villamor, Ostrand, Romualdez, and Imperial, JJ., concur.

7
UNITED STATES V. APOSTOL, 14 PHIL. 92 (1909) paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, when a strict application of the provisions of the code would result in an
excessive penalty, taking into consideration the degree of malice and the injury caused by the crime.
G.R. No. 5126 September 2, 1909
For the reasons above set forth the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed with costs against the
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, appellant. Ten days from date let a confirming judgment be entered, and ten days thereafter let the case
vs. be remanded to the lower court of action.
CATALINO APOSTOL, defendant-appellant.
Without prejudice to the immediate execution of the judgment, let the clerk of this court, as provided in
ARELLANO, C.J.: the said article 2 of the Penal Code, respectfully address a communication to the Honorable, the
The judgment entered in this case by the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija finds that on the 16th of Governor-General of these Islands, giving the result of this decision and the sentence, requesting him,
December, 1907, five individuals, among them being the accused herein, went to the house where Pedro should he so desire, to make use of the prerogative with which he is invested in order to reduce or
Tabilisima, Celestino Vergara, and Tranquilino Manipul were living, and there inquired after some mitigate the penalty imposed. So ordered.
carabaos that had disappeared, and because these above-mentioned inmates answered that they knew Torres, Johnson, Carson, and Moreland, JJ., concur.
nothing about the matter, ordered them to leave the house, but as the three men named above refused
to do so the accused Catalino Apostol, set fire to the hut and the same was burnt down.
In the opinion of the trial court the responsibility of the accused has been fully established by the
testimony of the injured parties. And inasmuch as, according to the same, the act comes within the
provisions of article 549 of the Penal Code, Catalino Apostol was sentenced to sixteen years and one day
of cadena temporal, to the accessories of the law, to indemnify the value of the burnt hut in the sum of
P1, and to pay the costs.
An appeal having been taken to this court, the defense claimed, on behalf of the offender: (1) The
absence of proof of criminal intent; (2) that in view of the fact that the burnt hut was situated in an
uninhabited place, it is not proper to apply article 549, but article 554 of the Penal Code.
Criminal intent as well as the will to commit a crime are always presumed to exist on the part of the
person who executes an act which the law punishes, unless the contrary shall appear. (Art. 1, Penal
Code.)
As to the circumstances connected with the burning of the hut Pedro Tabilisima testified that he and his
friends were in the same; that the accused and his companions arrived at 8 p.m. and questioned them
about carabaos that they said had been stolen from them; that after they replied that they knew
nothing, the former set fire to the house and they jumped out of it; that the witness and two
companions lived in the house; that it was situated in an uninhabited place, surrounded by fields; that
the nearest houses were far away, and cries could not be heard from one house to another; and that the
burnt house was not worth more than P1, because it was a small one, the witness himself having
constructed it.
Celestino Vergara says that several individuals arrived at 8 o'clock at night, asked them for carabaos that
they claimed to have lost, wounded Tranquilino Manipul, who was asleep, and Pedro Tabilisima, forced
them to leave the house, and as they did not want to do so for fear of being assaulted the accused set
fire to the same; they tried to put out the fire as long as they could, but when no longer able jumped out
of the house. The house was in an uninhabited locality, in the fields, the nearest house being a small
store to which the cry of a person night carry, and the neighboring houses could be seen.
Tranquilino Manipul testified in almost the same terms as this last witness. The argument which the
defense advances, based on article 554, which in connection with 553 punishes the setting fire to a
building intended for habitation, in an uninhabited place, does not apply, because the article question
refers to an edifice intended for human habitation in an uninhabited place at a time when the same is
unoccupied. It is article 549, which punishes with the very severe penalties of cadena temporal to cadena
perpetua "those who shall set fire to any edifice, farmhouse, hut, shed, or vessel in port, with knowledge
that one or more persons were within the same," that must be applied.
The law must be applied as laid down in the above quoted excerpt.
But the court, in view of the nature of the crime and considering the circumstances attending the same,
recognizes the extreme severity of the penalty; therefore we apply the remedy afforded it by article 2,

8
UNITED STATES V. CATOLICO, 18 PHIL. 504 (1911) To constitute a crime, the act must, except in certain crimes made such by statute, be accompanied by a
criminal intent, or by such negligence or indifference to duty or to consequences, as, in law, is equivalent
G.R. No. L-6486 March 2, 1911 to criminal intent. The maxim is, actus non facit reum, nisi mens rea — a crime is not committed if the
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, mind of the person performing the act complained of be innocent.
vs. In the case at bar the appellant was engaged in exercising the functions of a court of justice of the peace.
RAFAEL B. CATOLICO, defendant-appellant. He had jurisdictions of the actions before him. He had a right and it was his duty to require the payment
MORELAND, J.: by each appellant of P16, as well as the giving of a proper undertaking with solvent sureties. While, in
dismissing the appeals and delivering the P256 to the plaintiff in the said cases, he may have exceeded
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Cagayan, Hon. Charles his authority as such court and passed beyond the limits of his jurisdiction and power, a question we do
A. Low presiding, convicting the defendant of the crime of malversation of public funds and sentencing not now discuss or decide, it was, so far as appears from the record, at most a pure mistake of judgment,
him to two months' imprisonment, to perpetual disqualification to hold public office or public an error of the mind operating upon a state of facts. Giving the act complained of the signification most
employment of any kind, and to the payment of the costs. detrimental to the appellant, it, nevertheless, was simply the result of the erroneous exercise of the
judicial function, and not an intention to deprive any person of his property feloniously. His act had back
It appears from the proofs of the prosecution that the accused as justice of the peace of Baggao,
of it the purpose to do justice to litigants and not to embezzle property. He acted that honest debts
Province of Cagayan, on the 2d day of October, 1909, had before him sixteen separate civil cases
might be paid to those to whom they were legally and justly due, and not to enrich himself or another
commenced by Juan Canillas against sixteen distinct individuals, each one for damages resulting from a
by criminalmisappropriation. It was an error committed by a court, not an act done by a criminal-minded
breach of contract; that said cases were all decided by the appellant in favor of the plaintiff; that each
man. It was a mistake, not a crime.
one of the defendant in said cases appealed from the decision of the justice of the peace and deposited
P16 as required by law, at the same time giving a bond of P50, each one of which was approved by the It is true that a presumption of criminal intention may arise from proof of the commission of a criminal
court; that on the 12th day of said month the plaintiff in said cases presented a writing to the appellant act; and the general rule is that, if it is proved that the accused committed the criminal act charged, it
as said justice of the peace, alleging that the sureties on the said bonds were insolvent and later will be presumed that the act was done with criminal intention, and that it is for the accused to rebut
demonstrated this to the satisfaction of the appellant; that thereupon the latter ordered the cancellation this presumption. But it must be borne in mind that the act from which such presumption springs must
of the said bonds and, in the same order, required each of the appellants to file another bond within be a criminal act. In the case before us the act was not criminal. It may have been an error; it may have
fifteen days, that, inasmuch as none of the appellants in said causes presented new bonds within the been wrong and illegal in the sense that it would have been declared erroneous and set aside on appeal
time fixed, the plaintiff in said causes applied to the appellant, as said court, for an order declaring final or other proceeding in the superior court. It may well be that his conduct was arbitrary to a high degree,
the judgment entered in each of the said sixteen cases and commanding the execution of the same, at to such a degree in fact as properly to subject him to reprimand or even suspension or removal from
the same time asking that the sums deposited by the defendants in said actions be attached (so called in office. But, from the facts of record, it was not criminal. As a necessary result no presumption of criminal
the record) and delivered to him in satisfaction of said judgments; that the accused acceded to the intention arises from the act.
petition of the plaintiff, ordered said sums attached and delivered same to the plaintiff, at the same time
requiring of the plaintiff a bond of P50 for each attachment, conditioned that he would respond for the Neither can the presumption of a criminal intention arise from the act complained of, even though it be
damages which should result from such attachment. admitted that the crime, if any, is that of malversation of public funds as defined and penalized in Act No.
1740. It is true that that Act provides that "In all prosecutions for violations of the preceding section, the
After this attachment (so called) the attorney for the defendants in the said sixteen cases presented a absence of any of the public funds or property of which any person described in said section has charge,
complaint against the appellant to the Court of First Instance, by virtue of which said court ordered that and any failure or inability of such person to produce all the funds and property properly in his charge on
the plaintiff, Juan Canillas, deliver to the clerk of the Court of First Instance the sums deposited by the the demand of any officer authorized to examine or inspect such person, office, treasury, or depositary
defendants in said actions. Canillas obeyed the order of the court and made the delivery as required. shall be deemed to be prima facie evidence that such missing funds or property have been put to
personal uses or used for personal ends by such person within the meaning of the preceding section."
Upon these facts the Acting Attorney-General recommends the acquittal of the accused. We are in entire
Nevertheless, that presumption is a rebuttable one and constitutes only a prima facie case against the
accord with that recommendation. The case made against the appellant lacks many of the essential
person accused. If he present evidence showing that, in fact, he has not put said funds or property to
elements required by law to be present in the crime of malversation of public funds. The accused did not
personal uses, then that presumption is at an end and the prima facie case destroyed. In the case at bar
convert the money to his own use or to the use of any other person; neither did he feloniously permit
it was necessary for the accused to offer any such evidence, for the reason that the people's own
anybody else to convert it. Everything he did was done in good faith under the belief that he was acting
pleading alleged, and its own proofs presented, along with the criminal charge, facts which showed, of
judicially and correctly. The fact that he ordered the sums, deposited in his hands by the defendants —
themselves, that said money had not been put to personal uses or used for personal ends. In other words,
appellants in the sixteen actions referred to, attached for the benefit of the plaintiff in those actions,
the prosecution demonstrated, both by the allegations in its information filed against the accused and by
after the appeals had been dismissed and the judgments in his court had become final, and that he
its proofs on the trial, that the absence of the funds in question was not due to the personal use thereof
delivered the said sums to the plaintiff in satisfaction of the judgment which he held in those cases, can
by the accused, thus affirmatively and completely negativing the presumption which, under the act
not be considered an appropriation or a taking of said sums within the meaning of Act No. 1740. He
quoted, arises from the absence of the funds. The presumption was never born. It never existed. The
believed that, as presiding officer of the court of justice of the peace, he had a perfect right under the
facts which were presented for the purpose of creating such presumption were accompanied by other
law to cancel the bonds when it was clearly shown to him that the sureties thereon were insolvent, to
facts which absolutely prevented its creation.
require the filing of new undertakings, giving the parties ample time within which to do so, to dismiss the
appeals in case said undertakings were not filed, and to declare the judgment final. He believed that On the other hand, if it be admitted that the crime, if any, is that of estafa, as defined in paragraph 5 of
after said appeals had been dismissed and said judgment had become final, the sums deposited were article 535 of the Penal Code, then the presumption just referred to does not arise. Mere absence of the
subject to be applied in payment of the judgments in the actions in which said sums had been deposited funds is not sufficient proof of conversion. Neither is the mere failure of the accused to turn over the
and that he was acting judicially and legally in making such applications. funds at any given time sufficient to make even a prima facie case. (U. S. vs. Morales, 15 Phil. Rep., 236;
U. S. vs. Dominguez, 2 Phil. Rep., 580.) Conversion must be affirmatively proved, either by direct

9
evidence or by the production of facts from which conversion necessarily follows. (U. Mrs. Maria Socorro Mutuc-Sarmiento owns a bakeshop in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City called
S. vs. Morales, supra.) Nika Cakes and Pastries. She has a driver of her own just as her husband does (Ibid., pp. 4-6).
The judgment of conviction is reversed and the defendant ordered discharged from custody forthwith. At around 5:00 in the afternoon of January 13, 1988, the accused Isabelo Puno, who is the
personal driver of Mrs. Sarmiento's husband (who was then away in Davao purportedly on
Arellano, C. J., Mapa and Trent, JJ., concur. account of local election there) arrived at the bakeshop. He told Mrs. Socorro that her own
PEOPLE V. PUNO, 219 SCRA 85 (1993) driver Fred had to go to Pampanga on an emergency (something bad befell a child), so Isabelo
will temporary (sic) take his place (Id., pp. 8-9).
G.R. No. 97471 February 17, 1993
Mrs. Socorro's time to go home to Valle Verde in Pasig came and so she got into the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Mercedes Benz of her husband with Isabelo on (sic) the wheel. After the car turned right in
vs. (sic) a corner of Araneta Avenue, it stopped. A young man, accused Enrique Amurao, boarded
ISABELO PUNO y GUEVARRA, alias "Beloy," and ENRIQUE AMURAO y PUNO, alias "Enry," accused- the car beside the driver (Id., pp. 9-10).
appellants.
Once inside, Enrique clambered on top of the back side of the front seat and went onto where
REGALADO, J.: Ma. Socorro was seated at the rear. He poke (sic) a gun at her (Id., p. 10).
The primal issue for resolution in this case is whether accused-appellants committed the felony of Isabelo, who earlier told her that Enrique is his nephew announced, "ma'm, you know, I want
kidnapping for ransom under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the information; or a to get money from you." She said she has money inside her bag and they may get it just so
violation of Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974), as they will let her go. The bag contained P7,000.00 and was taken (Id., pp. 11-14).
contended by the Solicitor General and found by the trial court; or the offense of simple robbery
punished by Paragraph 5, Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code, as claimed by the defense. Further on, the two told her they wanted P100,000.00 more. Ma. Socorro agreed to give them
that but would they drop her at her gas station in Kamagong St., Makati where the money is?
In an information dated and filed on May 31, 1989 in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 103, The car went about the Sta. Mesa area. Meanwhile, Ma. Socorro clutched her Rosary and
as Criminal Case No. Q-57404 thereof, appellants were charged with kidnapping for ransom allegedly prayed. Enrique's gun was menacingly storing (sic) at her soft bread (sic) brown, perfumed
committed in the following manner: neck. He said he is an NPA and threatened her (Id., p.15).
That on or about the 13th day of January, 1988 in Quezon City, Philippines and within the The car sped off north towards the North superhighway. There Isabelo, Beloy as he is called,
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being then private individuals, asked Ma. Socorro to issue a check for P100,000.00. Ma. Socorro complied. She drafted 3
conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping each other, did, then and there, checks in denominations of two for P30 thousand and one for P40 thousand. Enrique ordered
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap and carry away one MARIA DEL SOCORRO her to swallow a pill but she refused (Id., pp. 17-23).
SARMIENTO y MUTUC * for the purpose of extorting ransom, to the damage and prejudice of
the said offended party in such amount as may be awarded to her under the provisions of the Beloy turned the car around towards Metro Manila. Later, he changed his mind and turned
Civil Code.1 the car again towards Pampanga. Ma. Socorro, according to her, jumped out of the car then,
crossed to the other side of the superhighway and, after some vehicles ignored her, she was
On a plea of not guilty when arraigned,2 appellants went to trial which ultimately resulted in a judgment finally able to flag down a fish vendors van. Her dress had blood because, according to Ma.
promulgated on September 26, 1990 finding them guilty of robbery with extortion committed on a Socorro, she fell down on the ground and was injured when she jumped out of the car. Her
highway, punishable under Presidential Decree No. 532, with this disposition in the fallo thereof: dress was torn too (Id., pp. 23-26).
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused ISABELO PUNO and On reaching Balintawak, Ma. Socorro reported the matter to CAPCOM (Id., p. 27).
ENRIQUE AMURAO GUILTY as principals of robbery with extortion committed on a highway
and, in accordance with P.D. 532, they are both sentenced to a jail term of reclusion perpetua. Both accused were, day after, arrested. Enrique was arrested trying to encash Ma. Socorro's
P40,000.00 check at PCI Bank, Makati. (tsn, Oct. 18, 1989, pp. 10-13)6
The two accused are likewise ordered to pay jointly and severally the offended private victim
Ma. Socorro M. Sarmiento the sum of P7,000.00 as actual damages and P3,000.00 as As observed by the court below, the defense does not dispute said narrative of complainant, except that,
temperate damages.3 according to appellant Puno, he stopped the car at North Diversion and freely allowed complainant to
step out of the car. He even slowed the car down as he drove away, until he saw that his employer had
Before us now in this appeal, appellants contend that the court a quo erred (1) in convicting them under gotten a ride, and he claimed that she fell down when she stubbed her toe while running across the
Presidential Decree No. 532 since they were not expressly charged with a crime therein; (2) in applying highway.7
Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court since the charge under said presidential decree is not the
offense proved and cannot rightly be used as the offense proved which is necessarily included in the Appellants further testified that they brought the Mercedez Benz car to Dolores, San Fernando,
offense charged.4 Pampanga and parked it near a barangay or police outpost. They thereafter ate at a restaurant and
divided their loot.8 Much later, when he took the stand at the trial of this case, appellant Puno tried to
For the material antecedents of this case, we quote with approval the following counter-statement of mitigate his liability by explaining that he was in dire need of money for the medication of his ulcers.9
facts in the People's brief5 which adopted the established findings of the court a quo, documenting the
same with page references to the transcripts of the proceedings, and which we note are without any On these relatively simple facts, and as noted at the start of this opinion, three theories have been
substantial divergence in the version proffered by the defense. advanced as to what crime was committed by appellants. The trial court cohered with the submission of
the defense that the crime could not be kidnapping for ransom as charged in the information. We
This is a prosecution for kidnapping for ransom allegedly done on January 13, 1988 by the two likewise agree.
accused (tsn, Jan. 8, 1990, p. 7).
10
Prefatorily, it is worth recalling an accepted tenet in criminal law that in the determination of the crime A Because while we were on the way back I (sic) came to my mind that if we reach Balintawak
for which the accused should be held liable in those instances where his acts partake of the nature of or some other place along the way we might be apprehended by the police. So when we
variant offenses, and the same holds true with regard to the modifying or qualifying circumstances reached Santa Rita exit I told her "Mam (sic) we will already stop and allow you to get out of
thereof, his motive and specific intent in perpetrating the acts complained of are invaluable aids in the car." 16
arriving at a correct appreciation and accurate conclusion thereon.
Neither can we consider the amounts given to appellants as equivalent to or in the nature of ransom,
Thus, to illustrate, the motive of the accused has been held to be relevant or essential to determine the considering the immediacy of their obtention thereof from the complainant personally. Ransom, in
specific nature of the crime as, for instance, whether a murder was committed in the furtherance of municipal criminal law, is the money, price or consideration paid or demanded for redemption of a
rebellion in which case the latter absorbs the former, or whether the accused had his own personal captured person or persons, a payment that releases from captivity. 17 It can hardly be assumed that
motives for committing the murder independent of his membership in the rebellious movement in which when complainant readily gave the cash and checks demanded from her at gun point, what she gave
case rebellion and murder would constitute separate offenses. 10 Also, where injuries were inflicted on a under the circumstances of this case can be equated with or was in the concept of ransom in the law of
person in authority who was not then in the actual performance of his official duties, the motive of the kidnapping. These were merely amounts involuntarily surrendered by the victim upon the occasion of a
offender assumes importance because if the attack was by reason of the previous performance of official robbery or of which she was summarily divested by appellants. Accordingly, while we hold that the crime
duties by the person in authority, the crime would be direct assault; otherwise, it would only be physical committed is robbery as defined in Article 293 of the Code, we, however, reject the theory of the trial
injuries. 11 court that the same constitutes the highway robbery contemplated in and punished by Presidential
Decree No. 532.
In the case at bar, there is no showing whatsoever that appellants had any motive, nurtured prior to or
at the time they committed the wrongful acts against complainant, other than the extortion of money The lower court, in support of its theory, offers this ratiocination:
from her under the compulsion of threats or intimidation. This much is admitted by both appellants,
without any other esoteric qualification or dubious justification. Appellant Puno, as already stated, The court agrees that the crime is robbery. But it is also clear from the allegation in the
candidly laid the blame for his predicament on his need for funds for, in his own testimony, "(w)hile we information that the victim was carried away and extorted for more money. The accused
were along the way Mam (sic) Corina was telling me "Beloy, I know your family very well and I know that admitted that the robbery was carried on from Araneta Avenue up to the North
your (sic) not (a) bad person, why are you doing this?" I told her "Mam, (sic), because I need money and I Superhighway. They likewise admitted that along the way they intimidated Ma. Socorro to
had an ulcer and that I have been getting an (sic) advances from our office but they refused to give me produce more money that she had with her at the time for which reason Ma. Socorro, not
any bale (sic). . . ." 12 having more cash, drew out three checks. . . .

With respect to the specific intent of appellants vis-a-vis the charge that they had kidnapped the victim, In view of the foregoing the court is of the opinion that the crimes committed is that
we can rely on the proverbial rule of ancient respectability that for this crime to exist, there must be punishable under P.D. 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974) under which
indubitable proof that the actual intent of the malefactors was to deprive the offended party of her where robbery on the highway is accompanied by extortion the penalty is reclusion
liberty, 13 and not where such restraint of her freedom of action was merely an incident in the perpetua.18
commission of another offense primarily intended by the offenders. Hence, as early as United States The Solicitor General concurs, with the observation that pursuant to the repealing clause in Section 5 of
vs. Ancheta, 14 and consistently reiterated thereafter, 15 it has been held that the detention and/or said decree, "P.D. No- 532 is a modification of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, particularly
forcible taking away of the victims by the accused, even for an appreciable period of time but for the Article 267 which are inconsistent with it." 19 Such opinion and complementary submission consequently
primary and ultimate purpose of killing them, holds the offenders liable for taking their lives or such necessitate an evaluation of the correct interplay between and the legal effects of Presidential Decree
other offenses they committed in relation thereto, but the incidental deprivation of the victims' liberty No. 532 on the pertinent Provisions of the Revised Penal Code, on which matter we are not aware that
does not constitute kidnapping or serious illegal detention. any definitive pronouncement has as yet been made.
That appellants in this case had no intention whatsoever to kidnap or deprive the complainant of her Contrary to the postulation of the Solicitor General, Presidential Decree No. 532 is not a modification of
personal liberty is clearly demonstrated in the veritably confessional testimony of appellant Puno: Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code on kidnapping and serious illegal detention, but of Articles 306 and
Q At what point did Mrs. Sarmiento handed (sic) the bag containing the P7,000.00 to your 307 on brigandage. This is evident from the fact that the relevant portion thereof which treats of
nephew? "highway robbery" invariably uses this term in the alternative and synonymously with brigandage, that
is, as "highway robbery/brigandage." This is but in line with our previous ruling, and which still holds
A Santo Domingo Exit. sway in criminal law, that highway robbers (ladrones) and brigands are synonymous. 20
Q And how about the checks, where were you already when the checks was (sic) being Harking back to the origin of our law on brigandage (bandolerismo) in order to put our discussion
handed to you? thereon in the proper context and perspective, we find that a band of brigands, also known as
highwaymen or freebooters, is more than a gang of ordinary robbers. Jurisprudence on the matter
A Also at the Sto. Domingo exit when she signed the checks. reveals that during the early part of the American occupation of our country, roving bands were
Q If your intention was just to robbed (sic) her, why is it that you still did not allow her to stay organized for robbery and pillage and since the then existing law against robbery was inadequate to cope
at Sto. Domingo, after all you already received the money and the checks? with such moving bands of outlaws, the Brigandage Law was passed. 21

A Because we had an agreement with her that when she signed the checks we will take her to The following salient distinctions between brigandage and robbery are succinctly explained in a treatise
her house at Villa (sic) Verde. on the subject and are of continuing validity:

Q And why did you not bring her back to her house at Valle Verde when she is (sic) already The main object of the Brigandage Law is to prevent the formation of bands of robbers. The
given you the checks? heart of the offense consists in the formation of a band by more than three armed persons
for the purpose indicated in art. 306. Such formation is sufficient to constitute a violation of

11
art. 306. It would not be necessary to show, in a prosecution under it, that a member or Erroneous advertence is nevertheless made by the court below to the fact that the crime of robbery
members of the band actually committed robbery or kidnapping or any other purpose committed by appellants should be covered by the said amendatory decree just because it was
attainable by violent means. The crime is proven when the organization and purpose of the committed on a highway. Aside from what has already been stressed regarding the absence of the
band are shown to be such as are contemplated by art 306. On the other hand, if robbery is requisite elements which thereby necessarily puts the offense charged outside the purview and
committed by a band, whose members were not primarily organized for the purpose of intendment of that presidential issuance, it would be absurd to adopt a literal interpretation that any
committing robbery or kidnapping, etc., the crime would not be brigandage, but only robbery. unlawful taking of property committed on our highways would be covered thereby. It is an elementary
Simply because robbery was committed by a band of more than three armed persons, it rule of statutory construction that the spirit or intent of the law should not be subordinated to the letter
would not follow that it was committed by a band of brigands. In the Spanish text of art. 306, thereof. Trite as it may appear, we have perforce to stress the elementary caveat that he who considers
it is required that the band "sala a los campos para dedicarse a robar." 22 (Emphasis supplied). merely the letter of an instrument goes but skin deep into its meaning, 26 and the fundamental rule that
criminal justice inclines in favor of the milder form of liability in case of doubt.
In fine, the purpose of brigandage is, inter alia, indiscriminate highway robbery. If the purpose is only a
particular robbery, the crime is only robbery, or robbery in band if there are at least four armed If the mere fact that the offense charged was committed on a highway would be the determinant for the
participants. 23 The martial law legislator, in creating and promulgating Presidential Decree No. 532 for application of Presidential Decree No. 532, it would not be farfetched to expect mischievous, if not
the objectives announced therein, could not have been unaware of that distinction and is presumed to absurd, effects on the corpus of our substantive criminal law. While we eschew resort to a reductio ad
have adopted the same, there being no indication to the contrary. This conclusion is buttressed by the absurdum line of reasoning, we apprehend that the aforestated theory adopted by the trial court falls far
rule on contemporaneous construction, since it is one drawn from the time when and the circumstances short of the desideratum in the interpretation of laws, that is, to avoid absurdities and conflicts. For, if a
under which the decree to be construed originated. Contemporaneous exposition or construction is the motor vehicle, either stationary or moving on a highway, is forcibly taken at gun point by the accused
best and strongest in the law. 24 who happened to take a fancy thereto, would the location of the vehicle at the time of the unlawful
taking necessarily put the offense within the ambit of Presidential Decree No. 532, thus rendering
Further, that Presidential Decree No. 532 punishes as highway robbery or brigandage only acts of nugatory the categorical provisions of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972? 27 And, if the scenario is one
robbery perpetrated by outlaws indiscriminately against any person or persons on Philippine highways as where the subject matter of the unlawful asportation is large cattle which are incidentally being herded
defined therein, and not acts of robbery committed against only a predetermined or particular victim, is along and traversing the same highway and are impulsively set upon by the accused, should we apply
evident from the preambular clauses thereof, to wit: Presidential Decree No. 532 and completely disregard the explicit prescriptions in the Anti-Cattle Rustling
WHEREAS, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that lawless elements are still Law of 1974? 28
committing acts of depredation upon the persons and properties of innocent and defenseless We do not entertain any doubt, therefore, that the coincidental fact that the robbery in the present case
inhabitants who travel from one place to another, thereby disturbing the peace, order and was committed inside a car which, in the natural course of things, was casually operating on a highway, is
tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and social progress of the people: not within the situation envisaged by Section 2(e) of the decree in its definition of terms. Besides, that
WHEREAS, such acts of depredations constitute . . . highway robbery/brigandage which are particular provision precisely defines "highway robbery/brigandage" and, as we have amply
among the highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries; demonstrated, the single act of robbery conceived and committed by appellants in this case does not
constitute highway robbery or brigandage.
WHEREAS, it is imperative that said lawless elements be discouraged from perpetrating such
acts of depredaions by imposing heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in view Accordingly, we hold that the offense committed by appellants is simple robbery defined in Article 293
of eliminating all obstacles to the economic, social, educational and community progress of and punished under Paragraph 5 of Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code with prision correccional in its
the people. (Emphasis supplied). maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period. Appellants have indisputably acted in conspiracy
as shown by their concerted acts evidentiary of a unity of thought and community of purpose. In the
Indeed, it is hard to conceive of how a single act of robbery against a particular person chosen by the determination of their respective liabilities, the aggravating circumstances of craft 29 shall be appreciated
accused as their specific victim could be considered as committed on the "innocent and defenseless against both appellants and that of abuse of confidence shall be further applied against appellant Puno,
inhabitants who travel from one place to another," and which single act of depredation would be with no mitigating circumstance in favor of either of them. At any rate, the intimidation having been
capable of "stunting the economic and social progress of the people" as to be considered "among the made with the use of a firearm, the penalty shall be imposed in the maximum period as decreed by
highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries," and would accordingly Article 295 of the Code.
constitute an obstacle "to the economic, social, educational and community progress of the people, "
such that said isolated act would constitute the highway robbery or brigandage contemplated and We further hold that there is no procedural obstacle to the conviction of appellants of the crime of
punished in said decree. This would be an exaggeration bordering on the ridiculous. simple robbery upon an information charging them with kidnapping for ransom, since the former offense
which has been proved is necessarily included in the latter offense with which they are charged. 30 For
True, Presidential Decree No. 532 did introduce amendments to Articles 306 and 307 of the Revised the former offense, it is sufficient that the elements of unlawful taking, with intent to gain, of personal
Penal Code by increasing the penalties, albeit limiting its applicability to the offenses stated therein when property through intimidation of the owner or possessor thereof shall be, as it has been, proved in the
committed on the highways and without prejudice to the liability for such acts if committed. case at bar. Intent to gain (animus lucrandi) is presumed to be alleged in an information where it is
Furthermore, the decree does not require that there be at least four armed persons forming a band of charged that there was unlawful taking (apoderamiento) and appropriation by the offender of the things
robbers; and the presumption in the Code that said accused are brigands if they use unlicensed firearms subject of the robbery. 31
no longer obtains under the decree. But, and this we broadly underline, the essence of brigandage under
the Code as a crime of depredation wherein the unlawful acts are directed not only against specific, These foregoing elements are necessarily included in the information filed against appellants which, as
intended or preconceived victims, but against any and all prospective victims anywhere on the highway formulated, allege that they wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnapped and extorted ransom from the
and whosoever they may potentially be, is the same as the concept of brigandage which is maintained in complainant. Such allegations, if not expressly but at the very least by necessary implication, clearly
Presidential Decree No. 532, in the same manner as it was under its aforementioned precursor in the convey that the taking of complainant's money and checks (inaccurately termed as ransom) was
Code and, for that matter, under the old Brigandage Law. 25 unlawful, with intent to gain, and through intimidation. It cannot be logically argued that such a charge

12
of kidnapping for ransom does not include but could negate the presence of any of the elements of
robbery through intimidation of persons. 32
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the trial court is hereby SET ASIDE and another one is rendered
CONVICTING accused-appellants Isabelo Puno y Guevarra and Enrique Amurao y Puno of robbery as
Punished in Paragraph 5 of Article 294, in relation to Article 295, of the Revised Penal Code and
IMPOSING on each of them an indeterminate sentence of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years of prision mayor, as maximum, and jointly and severally pay
the offended party, Maria del Socorro M. Sarmiento, the amounts of P7,000.00 as actual damages and
P20,000.00 as moral damages, with costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Nocon and Campos, Jr., JJ., concur.

13
PEOPLE V. DELIM, 396 SCRA 386 (2003) As soon as Leon and Manuel had left, Randy rushed to the house of his uncle, Darwin Niño, at Sitio
Labayog, informed the latter of the incident the night before and sought his help for the retrieval of
G.R. No. 142773 January 28, 2003 Modesto. Randy was advised to report the matter to the police authorities. However, Randy opted to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, first look for his father. He and his other relatives scoured the vicinity to locate Modesto to no avail. They
vs. proceeded to Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan, around 200 meters away from Modesto's house, to locate
MARLON DELIM, LEON DELIM, MANUEL DELIM alias "BONG" (At Large), ROBERT DELIM (At Large), and Modesto but failed to find him there. On January 25, 1999, Randy and his relatives returned to the
RONALD DELIM alias "BONG", accused-appellants. housing project in Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan to locate Modesto but again failed to find him there. On
January 26, 1999, Randy reported the incident to the police authorities.
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
At around 3:00 in the afternoon of January 27, 1999, Randy, in the company of his relatives, Nida Pucal,
Before the Court on automatic review is the Decision,1 dated January 14, 2000, of the Regional Trial Pepito Pucal, Bernard Osias and Daniel Delim, returned to the housing project in Paldit, Sison,
Court, Branch 46, Urdaneta City, finding accused appellants Marlon Delim, Leon Delim and Ronald Delim Pangasinan and this time they found Modesto under thick bushes in a grassy area. He was already dead.
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentencing them to suffer the supreme The cadaver was bloated and in the state of decomposition. It exuded a bad odor. Tiny white worms
penalty of death. The court also ordered accused-appellants to pay, jointly and severally, the heirs of the swarmed over and feasted on the cadaver. Randy and his relatives immediately rushed to the police
victim the sums of P75,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages. station to report the incident and to seek assistance.
Accused-appellants Marlon, Ronald and Leon, together with Manuel alias "Bong" and Robert, all When informed of the discovery of Modesto's cadaver, the local chief of police and SPO2 Jovencio
surnamed Delim, were indicted for murder under an Information dated May 4, 1999 which reads: Fajarito and other policemen rushed to the scene and saw the cadaver under the thick bushes. Pictures
were taken of the cadaver.5 Rita and Randy divulged to the police investigators the names and addresses
"That on or about January 23, 1999, in the evening at Brgy. Bila, Sison, Pangasinan, and within
of Marlon, Ronald, Robert, Leon and Manuel, whom they claimed were responsible for the death of
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with short firearms
Modesto. Rita and Randy were at a loss why the five malefactors seized Modesto and killed him. Rita and
barged-in and entered the house of Modesto Delim and once inside with intent to kill,
Randy gave their respective sworn statements to the police investigators.6 Police authorities proceeded
treachery, evident premedidation (sic), conspiring with one another, did then and there,
to arrest Marlon, Ronald, Robert, Manuel and Leon but failed to find them in their respective houses.
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously grab, hold, hogtie, gag with a piece of cloth, brought out
The police officers scoured the mountainous parts of Barangays Immalog and Labayog to no avail.
and abduct Modesto Delim, accused Leon Delim and Manuel Delim stayed in the house
guarded and prevented the wife and son of Modesto Delim from helping the latter, thereafter The cadaver was autopsied by Dr. Maria Fe L. De Guzman who prepared her autopsy report, which reads:
with abuse of superior strength stabbed and killed said Modesto Delim, to the damage and
prejudice of his heirs. "SIGNIFICANT EXTERNAL FINDINGS:
CONTRARY to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659."2
- Body - both upper extremities are flexed
Only accused-appellants Marlon (Bongbong), Leon and Ronald, all surnamed Delim, were apprehended.
Accused Robert and Manuel remain at-large. - both lower extremities are flexed

At their arraignment, Marlon, Ronald and Leon, with the assistance of their counsel, pleaded not guilty to - (+) body decomposition
the charge.
At the trial, the prosecution established the following relevant facts3 — - (+) worms coming out from injuries

Marlon, Manuel and Robert Delim are brothers. They are the uncles of Leon Delim and Ronald Delim. - 10 x 10 ml. GSW, pre-auricular area, right
Modesto Manalo Bantas, the victim, was an Igorot and a carpenter. He took the surname Delim after he
was "adopted" by the father of Marlon, Manuel and Robert. However, Modesto's wife, Rita, an illiterate, - 20 x 20 ml. GSW, mandibular areas, right
and their 16-year old son, Randy, continued using Manalo Bantas as their surname. Modesto, Rita and
Randy considered Marlon, Robert, Ronald, Manuel and Leon as their relatives. Manuel and Leon were
- 10 x 10 ml. GSW, maxillary area, right
the neighbors of Modesto. Marlon, Robert and Ronald used to visit Modesto and his family. Modesto
and his family and the Delim kins resided in Barangay Bila, Sison, Pangasinan.
- 10 x 10 ml. GSW, below middle nose, directed upward (POE)
On January 23, 1999, at around 6:30 in the evening, Modesto, Rita and Randy were preparing to have
their supper in their home. Joining them were Modesto and Rita's two young grandchildren, aged 5 and - 30 x 40 ml. GSW, mid parieto — occipital area (POEx)
7 years old. They were about to eat their dinner when Marlon, Robert and Ronald suddenly barged into
the house and closed the door. Each of the three intruders was armed with a short handgun. Marlon - 2 x 1 cms. lacerated wound, right cheek
poked his gun at Modesto while Robert and Ronald simultaneously grabbed and hog-tied the victim. A
piece of cloth was placed in the mouth of Modesto.4Marlon, Robert and Ronald herded Modesto out of - 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, axillary area, left
the house on their way towards the direction of Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan. Rita and Randy were warned
by the intruders not to leave the house. Leon and Manuel, who were also armed with short handguns, - 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, lateral aspect M/3rd left arm
stayed put by the door to the house of Modesto and ordered Rita and Randy to stay where they were.
Leon and Manuel left the house of Modesto only at around 7:00 a.m. the following day, January 24, - 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, lateral aspect D/3rd, left arm
1999.

14
- 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, medial aspect M/3rd, left arm "WHEREFORE, JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION beyond reasonable doubt is hereby rendered
against Ronald Delim, Marlon Delim and Leon Delim (for) the commission of Aggravated
- 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound medial aspect D/3rd, left arm Murder, an offense defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. 7659 and the Court sentences Marlon Delim, Ronald Delim and Leon Delim
- #3; 1 x 1 cm. in line with each other, stabbed would, medial aspect, M/3rd, left forearm to suffer the penalty of DEATH, to be implemented in the manner as provided for by law; the
Court likewise orders the accused, jointly and solidarily, to indemnify the heirs of Modesto
Delim the sum of P75,000.00 as moral damages, plus the amount of P25,000.00 as exemplary
- 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, medial aspect, D/3rd, left forearm
damages.
- 10 x 6 cms. Inflamed scrotum The Branch Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to transmit the entire records of this case to the
Honorable Supreme Court, and to prepare the mittimus fifteen (15) days from date of
- penis inflamed promulgation.
The Jail Warden, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Urdaneta District Jail, Urdaneta
SIGNIFICANT INTERNAL FINDINGS:
City is hereby ordered to transmit the persons of Marlon, Ronald and Leon, all surnamed
Delim to the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City, fifteen days from receipt of this decision.
- no significant internal findings
SO ORDERED."12
CAUSE OF DEATH:
The trial court appreciated treachery as a qualifying circumstance and of taking advantage of superior
strength, nighttime and use of unlicensed firearms as separate of aggravating circumstances in the
- GUN SHOT WOUND, HEAD."7
commission of the crime. Marlon, Ronald and Leon, in their appeal brief, assail the decision alleging that:
The stab wounds sustained by Modesto on his left arm and forearm were defensive wounds. The police "I
investigators were able to confirm that Marlon, Ronald, Robert, Leon and Manuel had no licenses for
their firearms.8 THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF MURDER.
Records of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Baguio City show that Marlon had
pending cases for robbery in the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City in Criminal Case No. 16193-R, and for II
robbery in band in Criminal Cases Nos. 9801 and 9802 pending with the Regional Trial Court in Urdaneta,
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT CONSPIRACY EXISTED IN THE CASE AT BAR.
Pangasinan.9
III
To exculpate themselves, Marlon, Ronald and Leon interposed denial and alibi.10
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO ACCUSED-APPELLANTS'
Ronald claimed that on January 23, 1999, he, his wife and children, his mother, his brothers and sisters
DEFENSE OF ALIBI."13
were in their house at Asan Norte, Sison, Pangasinan about two kilometers away from Modesto's house.
Before resolving the merits of the case at bar, we first resolve the matter of whether the crime charged
He denied having been in the house of Modesto on January 23, 1999 and of abducting and killing him. He
in the Information is murder or kidnapping. During the deliberation, some distinguished members of the
theorized that Rita and Randy falsely implicated him upon the coaching of Melchor Javier who allegedly
Court opined that under the Information, Marlon, Ronald and Leon are charged with kidnapping under
had a quarrel with him concerning politics.
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code and not with murder in its aggravated form in light of the
Leon for his part averred that on January 23, 1999, he was in the house of his sister, Hermelita Estabillo allegation therein that the accused "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously grab(bed), h(e)ld, hog-tie(d),
at No. 55-B, Salet, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte where he had been living since 1997 after leaving Asan Norte, gag(ged), with a piece of cloth, brought out and abduct(ed) Modesto Delim (while) Leon Delim and
Sison, Pangasinan. Since then, he had been working for Sally Asuncion at a hollow-block factory in that Manuel Delim stayed in the house (and) guarded and prevented the wife and son of Modesto Delim from
city where he was a stay-in worker. helping the latter." They submit that the foregoing allegation constitutes the act of deprivation of liberty
of the victim, the gravamen in the crime of kidnapping. They contend that the fact that the Information
Sally Asuncion corroborated Leon's alibi. She testified that Leon Delim never went home to his went further to charge accused with the killing of the victim should be of no moment, the real nature of
hometown in Pangasinan during his employment. His sister, Hermelita Estabillo, likewise averred that on the criminal charge being determined not from the caption or the preamble of the Information nor from
January 23, 1999, his brother was at her house to give her his laundry. She claimed that the distance the specification of the law alleged to have been violated — these being conclusions of law — but by the
between Laoag City and Bila, Sison, Pangasinan can be traversed in six hours by bus. Leon presented a actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. They further submit that since the prosecution
Barangay Certificate to prove that he was a resident of Laoag City from January 1998 up to February failed to prove motive on the part of Marlon, Ronald and Leon to kill Modesto, they are not criminally
1999.11 liable for the death of the victim but only for kidnapping the victim.
Marlon asserted that he was on vacation in Dumaguete City from December 26, 1998 up to January 29, It bears stressing that in determining what crime is charged in an information, the material inculpatory
1999. During his stay there, he lived with his sister, Francisca Delim. Upon his return to Manila on facts recited therein describing the crime charged in relation to the penal law violated are
January 29, 1999, he immediately proceeded to Baguio to visit his cousin. Marlon denied setting foot in controlling. Where the specific intent of the malefactor is determinative of the crime charged such
Bila, Sison, Pangasinan after his sojourn in Dumaguete City. specific intent must be alleged in the information and proved by the prosecution. A decade ago, this Court
The trial court rendered judgment finding accused-appellants guilty of murder. The dispositive portion of held in People v. Isabelo Puno, et al.,14 that for kidnapping to exist, there must be indubitable proof that
the trial court's decision reads: the actual specific intent of the malefactor is to deprive the offended party of his liberty and not where

15
such restraint of his freedom of action is merely an incident in the commission of another offense In the case at bar, the prosecution was burdened to prove the corpus delicti which consists of two things:
primarily intended by the malefactor. This Court further held: first, the criminal act and second, defendant's agency in the commission of the act. 25 Wharton says
that corpus delictiincludes two things: first, the objective; second, the subjective element of crimes.26 In
"x x x Hence, as early as United States vs. Ancheta, and consistently reiterated thereafter, it homicide (by dolo) and in murder cases, the prosecution is burdened to prove: (a) the death of the party
has been held that the detention and/or forcible taking away of the victims by the accused, alleged to be dead; (b) that the death was produced by the criminal act of some other than the deceased
even for an appreciable period of time but for the primary and ultimate purpose of killing and was not the result of accident, natural cause or suicide; and (c) that defendant committed the
them, holds the offenders liable for taking their lives or such other offenses they committed criminal act or was in some way criminally responsible for the act which produced the death.27 To prove
in relation thereto, but the incidental deprivation of the victims' liberty does not constitute the felony of homicide or murder, there must be incontrovertible evidence, direct or circumstantial, that
kidnapping or serious illegal detention."15 the victim was deliberately killed (with malice); in other words, that there was intent to kill. Such
If the primary and ultimate purpose of the accused is to kill the victim, the incidental deprivation of the evidence may consist inter alia in the use of weapons by the malefactors, the nature, location and
victim's liberty does not constitute the felony of kidnapping but is merely a preparatory act to the killing, number of wounds sustained by the victim and the words uttered by the malefactors before, at the time
and hence, is merged into, or absorbed by, the killing of the victim.16 The crime committed would either or immediately after the killing of the victim. If the victim dies because of a deliberate act of the
be homicide or murder. malefactor, intent to kill is conclusively presumed.

What is primordial then is the specific intent of the malefactors as disclosed in the information or criminal The prosecution is burdened to prove corpus delicti beyond reasonable doubt either by direct evidence
complaint that is determinative of what crime the accused is charged with — that of murder or or by circumstantial or presumptive evidence.28
kidnapping. In the case at bar, the prosecution adduced the requisite quantum of proof of corpus delicti. Modesto
Philippine and American penal laws have a common thread on the concept of specific intent as an sustained five (5) gunshot wounds. He also sustained seven (7) stab wounds,29 defensive in nature. The
essential element of specific intent crimes. Specific intent is used to describe a state of mind which exists use by the malefactors of deadly weapons, more specifically handguns and knives, in the killing of the
where circumstances indicate that an offender actively desired certain criminal consequences or victim as well as the nature, number and location of the wounds sustained by said victim are evidence of
objectively desired a specific result to follow his act or failure to act.17 Specific intent involves a state of the intent by the malefactors to kill the victim with all the consequences flowing therefrom.30 As the
the mind. It is the particular purpose or specific intention in doing the prohibited act. Specific intent must State Supreme Court of Wisconsin held in Cupps v. State:31
be alleged in the Information and proved by the state in a prosecution for a crime requiring specific "This rule, that every person is presumed to contemplate the ordinary and natural
intent.18 Kidnapping and murder are specific intent crimes. consequences of his own acts, is applied even in capital cases. Because men generally act
Specific intent may be proved by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. It may be inferred from deliberately and by the determination of their own will, and not from the impulse of blind
the circumstances of the actions of the accused as established by the evidence on record.19 passion, the law presumes that every man always thus acts, until the contrary appears.
Therefore, when one man is found to have killed another, if the circumstances of the
Specific intent is not synonymous with motive. Motive generally is referred to as the reason which homicide do not of themselves show that it was not intended, but was accidental, it is
prompts the accused to engage in a particular criminal activity. Motive is not an essential element of a presumed that the death of the deceased was designed by the slayer; and the burden of
crime and hence the prosecution need not prove the same. As a general rule, proof of motive for the proof is on him to show that it was otherwise."
commission of the offense charged does not show guilt and absence of proof of such motive does not
establish the innocence of accused for the crime charged such as murder. 20 The history of crimes shows The prosecution did not present direct evidence to prove the authors of the killing of Modesto. It relied
that murders are generally committed from motives comparatively trivial.21 Crime is rarely rational. In on circumstantial evidence to discharge its burden of proving the guilt of accused-appellants of murder.
murder, the specific intent is to kill the victim. In kidnapping, the specific intent is to deprive the victim of Circumstantial evidence consists of proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the existence
his/her liberty. If there is no motive for the crime, the accused cannot be convicted for kidnapping.22 In of the main fact may be inferred according to reason and common experience.32 What was once a rule of
kidnapping for ransom, the motive is ransom. Where accused kills the victim to avenge the death of a account respectability is now entombed in Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence which
loved one, the motive is revenge. states that circumstantial evidence, sometimes referred to as indirect or presumptive evidence, is
sufficient as anchor for a judgment of conviction if the following requisites concur:
In this case, it is evident on the face of the Information that the specific intent of the malefactors in
barging into the house of Modesto was to kill him and that he was seized precisely to kill him with the "x x x if (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are
attendant modifying circumstances. The act of the malefactors of abducting Modesto was merely derived have been established; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to
incidental to their primary purpose of killing him. Moreover, there is no specific allegation in the warrant a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt."33
information that the primary intent of the malefactors was to deprive Modesto of his freedom or liberty The prosecution is burdened to prove the essential events which constitute a compact mass of
and that killing him was merely incidental to kidnapping.23 Irrefragably then, the crime charged in the circumstantial evidence, and the proof of each being confirmed by the proof of the other, and all without
Information is Murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and not Kidnapping under Article 268 exception leading by mutual support to but one conclusion: the guilt of accused for the offense
thereof. charged.34 For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances
The threshold issue that now comes to fore is whether or not the prosecution mustered the requisite must be consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that accused is guilty and at the same
quantum of evidence to prove that Marlon, Ronald and Leon are guilty of murder. time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis
except that of guilt.35 If the prosecution adduced the requisite circumstantial evidence to prove the guilt
In criminal prosecutions, the prosecution is burdened to prove the guilt of the accused beyond cavil of of accused beyond reasonable doubt, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused to controvert the
doubt. The prosecution must rely on the strength of its own evidence and not on the weakness of the evidence of the prosecution.
evidence of the accused. The proof against the accused must survive the test of reason; the strongest
suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment.24 In the present case, the prosecution mustered the requisite quantum of circumstantial evidence to prove
that accused-appellants, in confabulation with their co-accused, conspired to kill and did kill Modesto:

16
1. Randy Bantas testified that Marlon and Ronald barged into the house of Modesto, each armed with a Q Again, Mr. Witness, will you point to the person who poked a gun?
handgun. Marlon poked his gun on Modesto while Ronald hog-tied Modesto. They then seized Modesto
and herded him out of his house: A (Witness is pointing to Malon (sic) Delim, one of the accused).

"FISCAL TOMBOC: What were you doing then at that time in your house? Q After bringing your father out from your house, what transpired next?

A We were eating, sir. A Manuel Delim and Leon Delim said, 'Stay in your house,' and guarded us.

Q You said we, who were your companions eating then at that time? COURT: You said your father was taken out, who?

A My father, my mother and the two children and myself, sir. A Marlon, Robert and Ronald, sir.

Q While taking your supper that time, do you recall if there was anything unusual that FISCAL TOMBOC: Where did these three persons bring your father?
happened at that time? A I do not know where they brought my father, sir.
A When we were about to start to eat three armed men entered our house. COURT: Was your father taken inside your house or outside?
Q Do you know these three armed men who entered your house? A Inside our house, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q You said that Marlon poked a gun at your father, is that correct?
Q Who are they, name them one by one? A Yes, sir.
A Marlon Delim, Robert Delim and Ronald Delim. Q What did Ronald and Robert do while Marlon was poking his gun to your father?
Q Are these three persons inside the courtroom now? A Ronald and Robert were the ones who pulled my father out, sir."36
A Two of them, sir. Randy's account of the incident was corroborated by his mother, Rita, who testified:
Q Who are these two who are inside the courtroom? "PROSECUTION TOMBOC: You said during the last hearing that on January 23, 1999 at around
A Marlon and Ronald, sir. 6:30 in the evening while preparing for your supper three (3) armed men entered inside your
house, who were these three (3) men who entered your house?
Q Will you please stand up and point to them?
A I know, Marlon, Bongbong and Robert, sir.
A (Witness is pointing to a person seated on the bench inside the courtroom, who, when
his name was asked answered Marlon Delim. Likewise, witness is pointing unto a person ATTY. FLORENDO: We just make of record that the witness is taking her time to answer, Your
seated on the bench inside the courtroom, who, when his name was asked he answered Honor.
Ronald Delim). PROSECUTOR TOMBOC: You said that Marlon Delim, Robert Delim and Bongbong entered
Q You said that these two armed persons entered your house, what kind of arm were your house, are these three (3) persons who entered your house in Court now?
they carrying at that time? A They are here except the other one, sir.
A Short handgun, sir. Q Will you please step down and point to the persons who entered your house?
Q When these three armed persons whom you have mentioned, armed with short A Witness is pointing to Marlon Delim, Robert Delim is not in Court and Bongbong is
firearms, what did they do then when they entered your house? Ronald Delim.
A They took my father, sir. Q After these three (3) armed men entered your house, what happened then?
Q Who took your father? A My husband was brought out, sir.
A Marlon Delim, Robert Delim and Ronald Delim, sir. Q What is the name of your husband?
Q When these three persons took your father, what did you do then? A Modesto Delim, sir."37
A None, sir. 2. Randy said that when Marlon and Ronald barged into their house, Leon, armed with a handgun, acted
COURT: How did they get your father? as a lookout when he stood guard by the door of the house of Modesto and remained thereat until 7:00
a.m. of the next day:
A They poked a gun and brought him outside the house, sir.
"FISCAL TOMBOC: When your father was pulled out from your house by these three persons,
FISCAL TOMBOC: Who poked a gun? what did you and your mother do while these three persons were taking out of your house?
A Marlon Delim, sir. A We did not do anything because Manuel and Leon Delim guarded us.

17
COURT: Where, in your house? A Nida Pucal, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q Who else?
FISCAL TOMBOC: From that very time that your father was pulled out by these three persons A Pepito Pucal, Bernard Osias and Daniel Delim, sir.
Marlon, Robert and Ronal (sic), where were Leon and Manuel then?
COURT: When you found your father, what was his condition?
A They were at the door, sir.
A He was dead, sir.
COURT: Why do you know that they were guarding you?
COURT: Go ahead.
A Because they were at the door, sir.
FISCAL TOMBOC: You said that he was already dead, what was his appearance then when you
FISCAL TOMBOC: What was their appearance that time when these two persons were saw him dead?
guarding you, these Leon and Manuel?
A He has bad odor, sir, in the state of decompsition (sic)."39
A They were armed, sir.
The testimony of Randy was corroborated by Dr. de Guzman who testified that the cadaver of Modesto
Q What do you mean by armed? was in a state of decomposition, with tiny white worms crawling from his wounds, and that his penis and
scrotum were inflamed. The victim sustained five gunshot wounds and defensive wounds on the left arm
A They have gun, sir. and forearm:
Q What kind of firearm? "PROS. TOMBOC:
A Short firearm, sir. Q Will you please tell the Honorable Court your findings, Doctora?
Q By the way, where are these Leon and Manuel now, if you know? WITNESS:
A Leon is here, sir. A First finding: Upon seeing the cadaver, this is the position of the body, both upper
Q About Manuel? extremities are flexed and both lower extremities are flexed (Nakakukot).

A None, sir. Q How many days had already elapsed when you autopsied the cadaver of the victim,
Doctora?
Q Will you please stand up and point at Leon, Mr. Witness?
A Four (4) days upon the recovery of the body, sir.
A (Witness pointed to a person seated on the bench inside the courtroom, who when his
name was asked, answered, Leon Delim)."38 Q And what was your findings Doctora?

3. Rita and Randy were ordered by Leon not to leave the house as Ronald and Marlon left the house with A The body was already under the state of decomposition, sir, with foul odor and there
Modesto in tow. Rita and Randy were detained in their house up to 7:00 a.m. of January 24, 1999 to were so many worms coming out from the injuries, there were tiny white worms, sir.
prevent them from seeking help from their relatives and police authorities. Q What else did you observe Doctora?
4. Randy likewise testified that on January 27, 1999, at about 3:00 p.m., the cadaver of Modesto was A Upon seeing the cadaver I asked the relative to refer it to the NBI sir. Actually the victim
found under the thick bushes in a grassy area in the housing project located about 200 meters away from was an igorot (sic) and they have tradition that they will bury immediately. Whether they like
the house of Modesto. The cadaver exuded bad odor and was already in the state of decomposition: it or not I should do it, sir.
"Q So what did you do then on January 27, where did you look for your father? Q What else Doctora?
A The same place and at 3:00 o'clock P.M., we were able to find my father. A And the penis was inflammed (sic), the scrotum was also inflammed (sic), sir.
COURT: Where? And for the head injuries there was 10 x 10 ml. GSW pre-auricular area, right; there was also
A At the housing project at Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan, sir. 20 ml x 20 ml. GSW, mandibular area, right; I cannot also determine the exit.

FISCAL TOMBOC: Do you have companions at that time when you were able to look for your Q So there were two (2) gunshot wounds (GSW) Doctora?
father on January 27, 1999 at 3:00 o'clock P.M.? A Yes sir.
A Yes, sir. And there was also 10 x 10 ml. GSW, maxillary area, right; there was also 10 x 10 ml. GSW,
Q Who? below middle nose, directed upward (POE); and there was also 30 x 40 ml. GSW, mid parieto-
occipital area (POEx).
A My Aunt, sir.
Q How many all in all are the gunshot wound?
Q What is the name of your Aunt?
A Five (5) sir.

18
And also there was 2 x 1 cms. Lacerated wound, right cheek; 1 x 1 cm. stabbed Q In what place did you look for the brothers Delim?
wound, axillary area, left; 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, lateral aspect M/3rd, left arm;
1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound lateral aspect D/3rd, left arm; 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, A Within the vicinity, sir.
medial aspect M/3rd, left arm; 1 x 1 cm. stabbed wound, medial aspect D/3rd, left Q In what place?
arm; and #3; 1 x 1 cm. in line with each other, stabbed wound, medial aspect,
M/3rd, left forearm. A Brgy. Bila and the place where the crime was committed in Brgy. Bila and the place
where the cadaver was found in Paldit, sir.
Q How many stabbed wound are there Doctora?
Q Where did you look for the Delim brothers?
A There were seven (7) stabbed wounds, sir.
A Nearby barangays, Immalog, sir.
Q Those stabbed wounds were defensive wounds, Doctora?
Q Wherelse (sic)?
A Yes sir."40
A Labayog, Sison, sir.
The state of decomposition of the cadaver, with tiny white worms swarming and feasting on it and the
distention of his scrotum and penis are evidence that the cadaver was in the stage of putrefaction and Q Wherelse?
that the victim had been dead for a period ranging from three to six days.41 Admittedly, there are variant
A In mountainous part of Immalog, part of Tuba Benguet, sir.
factors determinative of the exact death of the victim. An equally persuasive authority states:
Q What was the result?
"Chronological Sequence of Putrefactive Changes Occurring in Tropical Region:
A Negative result, sir."43
Time Since Death Condition of the Body 6. Leon was the neighbor of Modesto and Rita while Marlon and Ronald used to go to the house of
Modesto and Rita:
48 hours Ova of flies seen. Trunk bloated. Face discolored and swollen. Blisters present.
Moving maggots seen "COURT: These Leon and Manuel Delim are they known to you prior to that day, January 23,
1999?
72 hours Whole body grossly swollen and disfigured. Hair and nails loose. Tissues soft
A Yes, sir, I know them.
and discolored."42
Q Why do you know Manuel and Leon prior to January 23, 1999?
The lapse of two or three to four days from the seizure of the victim in the evening of January 23, 1999
to the discovery of his cadaver which was already in the state of putrefaction in the afternoon of January A They are my neighbors, sir.
27, 1999, about 200 meters away from his house, is consistent with and confirmatory of the contention
Q How about Marlon, Robert and Bongbong do you know them before January 23, 1999?
of the prosecution that the victim was killed precisely by the very malefactors who seized him on January
23, 1999. A I know them, sir.
5. When police authorities went to the residences of all the malefactors, the latter had flown the coop Q Why do you know them?
and were nowhere to be found:
A They used to go to our house, sir.
"COURT: In connection with this case, you investigated the wife and son of Modesto Delim?
Q I noticed that Marlon, Bongbong, Robert, Manuel and Leon are all Delims and your
A Yes, sir. husband's name is Modesto Delim are they related with each other?
Q In the course of the investigation did you come to know who were the suspects? A Yes, sir."44
A Yes, sir, she elaborated that the suspects were their neighbors, Marlon Delim and his The sudden disappearance of Marlon, Ronald and Leon from their houses in Barangay Bila, Sison is
brothers, sir. strong circumstantial evidence of their guilt for the death of Modesto. Although flight after the
commission of an offense does not create a legal presumption of guilt, nevertheless, the same is
Q What are the names of the brothers?
admissible in evidence against them and if not satisfactorily explained in a manner consistent with their
A Manuel Delim, Leon Delim I cannot remember the others, sir. innocence, will tend to show that they, in fact, killed Modesto.45

Q By reason of that information were you able to apprehend any of them for It is true that the prosecution failed to prove motive on the part of the malefactors to abduct and kill
investigation? Modesto. Indeed, Randy and Rita testified that they were not aware of any misunderstanding or grudge
between Modesto on the one hand and Marlon, Ronald and Leon and their co-accused on the other
A No, sir. before the incident, or any motivation on the part of the three malefactors to cause harm to Modesto.
Q Why? Nonetheless, it cannot thereby be concluded that a person or persons other than Marlon, Ronald and
Leon were criminally responsible for the death of the victim. It is a matter of judicial notice that
A Because when we were dispatched by the Chief of Police no Delim brothers could be nowadays persons have killed or committed serious crimes for no reason at all.46 In this case, the
found, they all left the place, sir. inscrutable facts are that Marlon and Ronald, each of whom was armed with a handgun, forcibly took

19
Modesto from his house at the gunpoint, hog-tied, put a piece of cloth in his mouth and after Ronald and committed in one place and part in another, each person concerned in the commission of either part is
Marlon had left the house with Modesto in tow, Rita heard three gunshots or so and the cadaver of liable as principal. No matter how wide may be the separation of the conspirators, if they are all engaged
Modesto was found concealed under the bushes and already in a state of putrefaction in the afternoon in a common plan for the execution of a felony and all take their part in furtherance of the common
of January 27, 1999. Modesto sustained several gunshot wounds and died because of a gunshot wound design, all are liable as principals. Actual presence is not necessary if there is a direct connection
on the head. The criminal acts and the connection of Marlon, Ronald and Leon with said acts having been between the actor and the crime.57
proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt, the act itself furnishes the evidence, that to its
perpetration there was some causes or influences moving the mind.47 The remarkable tapestry Ronald, Marlon and Leon, however, assail the testimonies of Randy and Rita alleging that the same were
intricately woven by the prosecution should not be trashed simply because the malefactors had no marred by inconsistencies.
motive to kill Modesto. 1. Randy initially stated that he did not know where the assailants brought his father. Later
Ranged against the evidence of the prosecution, the burden of evidence shifted on Marlon, Ronald and however, Randy claimed that the malefactors proceeded to the direction of Paldit, Sison,
Leon to rebut the same and explain what happened to the victim after taking him from his house in the Pangasinan;
evening of January 23, 1999. They may have freed the victim shortly after taking him, or the victim may 2. Rita on the other hand identified Leon, Marlon and Ronald as those who barged into their
have been able to escape and that thereafter a person or some other persons may have killed him. house. She later changed her testimony and declared that it was Robert, together with
However, Marlon, Ronald and Leon failed to give any explanation. Instead, they merely denied having Marlon and Ronald who barged into the house;
seized and killed the victim and interposed alibi as their defense.
3. Rita likewise testified that two men stood outside the house guarding them. Later, she
Leon is equally guilty for the death of Modesto because the evidence on record shows that he conspired testified that after the three men brought out the victim, the two other accused entered the
with accused-appellants Marlon and Ronald and accused Robert and Manuel in killing the victim. house and guarded them there;
There is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a felony and decide to commit 4. Rita claimed that she went out to look for her husband the next day, or on January 25,
it.48 Conspiracy must be proven with the same quantum of evidence as the felony itself, more specifically 1999, and she was accompanied by her son Randy. However, Randy testified that he was
by proof beyond reasonable doubt. Conspiracy is not presumed. It may be proved by direct evidence or alone when he looked for his father from January 24 to 26, 1999.58
by circumstantial evidence. Conspiracy is deducible from the acts of the malefactors before, during and
after the commission of the crime which are indicative of a joint purpose, concerted action and We do not agree with Marlon, Ronald and Leon. Case law has it that the findings of facts of the trial
concurrence of sentiment.49 To establish conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to the court, its calibration of the collective testimonies of witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight
existence of a previous agreement to commit a crime.50 It is sufficient if, at the time of the commission of thereof and its conclusions culled from its findings are accorded by the appellate court great respect, if
the crime, the accused had the same purpose and were united in its execution. If conspiracy is not conclusive effect, because of its unique advantage of observing at close range the demeanor,
established, the act of one is deemed the act of all. It matters not who among the accused actually shot deportment and conduct of the witnesses as they give their testimonies before the court.
and killed the victim.51 This is based on the theory of a joint or mutual agency ad hoc for the prosecution
In the present case, the trial court gave credence and full probative weight to the testimonies of the
of the common plan:
witnesses of the prosecution. Moreover, there is no evidence on record that Randy and Rita were moved
"x x x The acts and declarations of an agent, within the scope of his authority, are considered by any improper or ill motive in testifying against the malefactors and the other accused; hence, their
and treated as the acts and declarations of his principal. 'What is so done by an agent, is done testimonies must be given full credit and probative weight.59 The inconsistencies in the testimonies of
by the principal, through him, as his mere instrument.' Franklin Bank of Baltimore v. Rita and Randy do not render them incredible or their testimonies barren of probative weight. It must be
Pennsylvania D. & M. Steam Navigation Co., 11 G. & J. 28, 33 (1839). 'If the conspiracy be borne in mind that human memory is not as unerring as a photograph and a person's sense of
proved to have existed, or rather if evidence be given to the jury of its existence, the acts of observation is impaired by many factors including the shocking effect of a crime. A truth-telling witness is
one in furtherance of the common design are the acts of all; and whatever one does in not always expected to give an error-free testimony considering the lapse of time and the treachery of
furtherance of the common design, he does as the agent of the co-conspirators.' R. v. human memory. What is primordial is that the mass of testimony jibes on material points, the slight
O'Connell, 5 St.Tr. (N.S.) 1, 710."52 clashing of statements dilute neither the witnesses' credibility nor the veracity of his
testimony.60 Variations on the testimony of witnesses on the same side with respect to minor, collateral
In the eyes of the law, conspirators are one man, they breathe one breath, they speak one voice, they or incidental matters do not impair the weight of their united testimony to the prominent
wield one arm and the law says that the acts, words and declaration of each, while in the pursuit of the facts.61 Inconsistencies on minor and trivial matters only serve to strengthen rather than weaken the
common design, are the acts, words and declarations of all.53 credibility of witnesses for they erase the suspicion of rehearsed testimony. 62
In the case at bar, Marlon, Ronald and Leon arrived together in the house of Modesto, each armed with a Moreover, the testimony of a witness should be construed in its entirety and not in truncated terms and
handgun. Marlon and Ronald barged into said house while Leon stood guard by the door thereof. After the true meaning of answers to isolated questions propounded to a witness is to be ascertained by due
Marlon and Ronald had left with Modesto in tow, Leon stood by the door and warned Randy and Rita not consideration of all the questions propounded to the witness and his answers thereto.63
to leave the house. Leon stood guard by the door of the house until 7:00 a.m. of January 24, 1999 when
he left the house. The overt acts of all the malefactors were so synchronized and executed with precision Randy's testimony that he did know where the malefactors brought his father is not inconsistent with his
evincing a preconceived plan or design of all the malefactors to achieve a common purpose, namely the testimony that Ronald and Marlon brought his father towards the direction of Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan.
killing of Modesto. Irrefragably, the tasks assigned to Leon in the commission of the crime were — (a) to Randy may not have known the destination of accused-appellants but he saw the direction to which they
act as a lookout; (b) to ensure that Rita and Randy remain in their house to prevent them from seeking went. While it may be true that when asked to identify the three who barged into their house, Rita
assistance from police authorities and their relatives before their mission to kill Modesto shall have been pointed to Leon as one of them, however, Rita had been consistent throughout her testimony that those
a fait accompli as well as the escape of Marlon and Ronald.54 Patently, Leon, a lookout for the group, is who barged into their house were Ronald and Marlon. Leon's counsel never cross-examined Rita and
guilty of the killing of Modesto.55 Leon may not have been at the situs criminis when Modesto was killed impeached her testimony on her identification of Leon as one of those who barged into their house to
by Marlon and Ronald nevertheless he is a principal by direct participation.56 If part of a crime has been

20
give her an opportunity to explain her perceived inconsistency conformably with Rule 132, Section 13, of following elements: (a) the employment of means of execution which gives the person attacked no
the Revised Rules of Evidence which reads: opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; (b) the means of execution is deliberately or consciously
adopted.70 Although the victim may have been defenseless at the time he was seized but there is no
"Before a witness can be impeached by evidence that he has made at other times statements evidence as to the particulars of how he was assaulted and killed, treachery cannot be appreciated
inconsistent with his present testimony, the statements must be related to him, with the against the accused.71 In this case, the victim was defenseless when seized by Marlon and Ronald.
circumstances of the times and places and the persons present, and he must be asked However, the prosecution failed to present any witness or conclusive evidence that Modesto was
whether he made such statements, and if so, allowed to explain them. If the statements be in defenseless immediately before and when he was attacked and killed. It cannot be presumed that
writing they must be shown to the witness before any question is put to him concerning although he was defenseless when he was seized the victim was in the same situation when he was
them."64 attacked, shot and stabbed by the malefactors. To take advantage of superior strength means to
Hence, the presentation of the inconsistent statements made by Rita is insufficient for the desired purposely use force that is out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person
impeachment of her.65 As to whether Rita and Randy were together in looking for Modesto or Leon attacked.72 What is primordial, this Court held in People v. Rogelio Francisco73 is that the assailants
merely stood guard by the door of the house or entered the house are inconsequential. The fact is that deliberately took advantage of their combined strength in order to consummate the crime. It is necessary
Leon stood guard throughout the night to prevent Rita and Randy from seeking assistance for the seizure to show that the malefactors cooperated in such a way as to secure advantage from their superiority in
and killing of Modesto. strength.74 In this case, the prosecution failed to adduce evidence that Marlon and Ronald deliberately
took advantage of their numerical superiority when Modesto was killed. The barefaced facts that the
This Court is convinced, as the trial court was, that the respective testimonies of Randy and Rita bear the malefactors outnumbered Modesto and were armed while Modesto was not does not constitute proof
earmarks of truth and sincerity. Despite intense and grueling cross-examination, they responded with that the three took advantage of their numerical superiority and their handguns when Modesto was shot
consistency upon material details that could only come from a firsthand knowledge of the shocking and stabbed.75
events which unfolded before their eyes. The Court thus finds no cogent reason to disregard the findings
of the trial court regarding their credibility. In sum then, we believe that Marlon, Ronald and Leon are guilty only of Homicide defined in and
penalized by Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code with reclusion temporal in its full period.
Marlon, Ronald and Leon contend that the trial court committed a reversible error in not giving credence
and probative weight to their evidence to prove their defense of alibi. They aver that their collective Although the special aggravating circumstance of the use of unlicensed firearms was proven during the
evidence to prove their defense is strong. trial, there is no allegation in the Information that Marlon, Ronald and Leon had no license to possess the
firearm. Lack of license to possess a firearm is an essential element of the crime of violation of PD 1866
We do not agree. Case law has it that the defense of alibi is one of the weakest of defenses in criminal as amended by Republic Act No. 8294, or as a special aggravating circumstance in the felony of homicide
prosecution because the same is easy to concoct between relatives, friends and even those not related or murder.76 Neither can dwelling, although proven, aggravate the crime because said circumstance was
to the offender.66 It is hard for the prosecution to disprove. For alibi to merit approbation by the trial not alleged in the Information as required by Rule 110, Section 8, of the Revised Rules of
court and this Court, Marlon, Ronald and Leon are burdened to prove with clear and convincing evidence Court.77 Although this rule took effect on December 1, 2000, after the commission of the offense in this
that they were in a place other than the situs criminis at the time of the commission of the crime; that it case, nonetheless it had been given retroactive effect considering that the rule is favorable to the
was physically impossible for them to have committed the said crime.67 They failed to discharge their accused.78
burden. Moreover, Rita and Randy positively and spontaneously identified Marlon, Ronald and Leon as
the culprits. The house of Ronald, where he claimed he was when the crime was committed, was only There being no modifying circumstances in the commission of homicide, Marlon, Ronald and Leon should
two kilometers away from the house of Modesto and can be negotiated by a tricycle. Leon failed to be meted an indeterminate penalty, the minimum of which shall be taken from the entirety of prision
adduce any documentary evidence to prove his employment by Sally Asuncion. The barefaced fact that mayor, ranging from 6 years and one day to 12 years and the maximum period of which shall be taken
he was a resident of Laoag City does not constitute proof that he was in Laoag City on the day of the from the medium period of reclusion temporal, ranging from 14 years, 8 months and one day to 17 years
commission of the crime. With respect to Marlon, he failed to adduce evidence aside from his self- and 4 months.
serving testimony that he resided in, left Dumaguete City and arrived in Manila on January 29, 1999. Consequently, the award for damages in favor of the heirs of the victim should be modified. The sum of
The trial court convicted Marlon, Ronald and Leon of murder with the qualifying circumstance of P75,000.00 awarded as moral damages should be reduced to P50,000.00 in accordance with prevailing
treachery in the killing of Modesto. The trial court likewise appreciated nighttime and abuse of superior jurisprudence.79 The amount of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is in order.80 In addition, civil
strength and the use of unlicensed firearms as separate aggravating circumstances. The Office of the indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 should be awarded without need of proof, likewise in
Solicitor General contends that indeed treachery was attendant in the killing of Modesto. Hence, Marlon, consonance with prevailing jurisprudence.81
Ronald and Leon are guilty of murder defined in and penalized by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision of the trial court is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.
The Court however finds that Marlon, Ronald and Leon are guilty only of homicide defined in and Accused-appellants Marlon Delim, Ronald Delim and Leon Delim are hereby found guilty beyond
penalized by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. reasonable doubt of the felony of Homicide defined in and penalized by Article 249 of the Revised Penal
Code. There being no modifying circumstances in the commission of the crime, each of accused-
Qualifying circumstances such as treachery and abuse of superior strength must be alleged and proved appellants is hereby meted an indeterminate penalty of from ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision
clearly and conclusively as the crime itself. Mere conjectures, suppositions or presumptions are utterly mayor in its maximum period as minimum to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of
insufficient and cannot produce the effect of qualifying the crime.68 As this Court held: "No matter how reclusion temporal in its medium period as maximum. Accused-appellants are hereby ordered to pay,
truthful these suppositions or presumptions may seem, they must not and cannot produce the effect of jointly and severally, to the heirs of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 by way of civil indemnity, the
aggravating the condition of defendant."69Article 14, paragraph 16 of the Revised Penal Code provides amount of P50,000.00 by way of moral damages and the amount of P25,000.00 by way of exemplary
that there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing damages.
means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. For SO ORDERED.
treachery to be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, the prosecution is burdened to prove the

21
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona,
Carpio-Morales and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Vitug, J., see separate opinion.
Ynares-Santiago, J., joins the dissenting opinion of J. Vitug.
Gutierrez, J., joins Justice Vitug in his dissenting opinion.

22
PEOPLE V. TEMBLOR, 161 SCRA 623 (1988) killing, insufficient. However, during the trial, the accused was positively identified by the widow who
recognized him because she was less than a meter away from him inside the store which was well lighted
G.R. No. L-66884 May 28, 1988 inside by a 40-watt flourescent lamp and by an incandescent lamp outside. Her testimony was
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, corroborated by another prosecution witness — a tricycle driver, Claudio Sabanal — who was a long-
vs. time acquaintance of the accused and who knew him as "Ronald." He saw the accused in the store of
VICENTE TEMBLOR alias "RONALD," defendant-appellant. Cagampang at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening of December 30, 1980. He heard the gunshots coming
from inside the store, and saw the people scampering away.
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
Dr. Alfredo Salonga who issued the post-mortem examination report certified that the victim sustained
The accused-appellant Vicente Temblor alias "Ronald" was charged with the crime of murder in Criminal three (3) gunshot wounds.
Case No. 1809 of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Agusan del Norte and Butuan
City for shooting to death Julius Cagampang. The information alleged: Rebutting the accused's alibi, the prosecution presented a Certification of the Nasipit Lumber Company's
Personnel Officer, Jose F. Tinga (Exh. D), and the NALCO Daily Time Record of Silverio Perol (Exh. D),
That on or about the evening of December 30, 1980 at Talo-ao, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, showing that Perol was not at home drinking with the accused and his father, but was at work on
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused conspiring, December 30, 1980 from 10:50 o'clock in the evening up to 7:00 o'clock in the morning of December 31,
and confederating with one another with Anecito Ellevera who is at large, did then and there 1980. The accused did not bother to overcome this piece of rebuttal evidence.
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with treachery and with intent to kill, attack, assault and
shoot with firearms one Julius Cagampang, hitting the latter on the vital parts of the body In this appeal, the appellant alleges that the court a quo erred:
thereby inflicting mortal wounds, causing the direct and instantaneous death of the said Julius 1. in finding that he was positively identified by the prosecution witness as the killer of the
Cagampang. deceased Julius Cagampang; and
CONTRARY TO LAW: Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. 2. in rejecting his defense of allbi.
Upon arraignment on June 8, 1982, he entered a plea of not guilty. After trial, he was convicted and The appeal deserves no merit. Was the accused positively Identified as the killer of Cagampang? The
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties thereof under Articles settled rule is that the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses while testifying is generally
41 and 42 of the Revised Penal Code, and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of P12,000 binding on the appellate court because of its superior advantage in observing their conduct and
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. He appealed. demeanor and its findings, when supported by convincingly credible evidence as in the case at bar, shall
The evidence of the prosecution showed that at about 7:30 in the evening of December 30, 1980, while not be disturbed on appeal (People vs. Dava, 149 SCRA, 582).<äre||anº•1àw>
Cagampang, his wife and their two children, were conversing in the store adjacent to their house in The minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the eyewitness Victorina Vda. de Cagampang did not
Barangay Talo-ao, Buenavista, Province of Agusan del Norte, the accused Vicente Temblor alias Ronald, diminish her credibility, especially because she had positively Identified the accused as her husband's
arrived and asked to buy a half-pack of Hope cigarettes. While Cagampang was opening a pack of assailant, and her testimony is corroborated by the other witnesses. Her testimony is credible, probable
cigarettes, there was a sudden burst of gunfire and Cagampang instantly fell on the floor, wounded and and entirely in accord with human experience.
bleeding on the head. His wife Victorina, upon seeing that her husband had been shot, shouted her
husband's name "Jul" Two persons, one of whom she later Identified as the accused, barged into the Appellant's self-serving and uncorroborated alibi cannot prevail over the positive Identification made by
interior of the store through the main door and demanded that she brings out her husband's firearm. the prosecution witnesses who had no base motives to falsely accuse him of the crime. Furthermore, the
"Igawas mo ang iyang armas!" ("You let out his firearm!") they shouted. The accused fired two more rule is that in order for an alibi to be acceptable as a defense, it is not enough that the appellant was
shots at the fallen victim. Terrified, Victorina hurried to get the "maleta" (suitcase) where her husband's somewhere else when the crime was committed; it must be demonstrated beyond doubt that it was
firearm was hidden. She gave the suitcase to the accused who, after inspecting its contents, took her physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Here it was admitted that Perol's house in
husband's .38 caliber revolver, and fled. barrio Camagong, Nasipit is accessible to barrio Talo-ao in Buenavista by jeep or tricycle via a well-paved
road in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. The testimony of the witnesses who had positively Identified him
In 1981, some months after the incident, Victorina was summoned to the Buenavista police station by could not be overcome by the defendant's alibi. (People vs. Mercado, 97 SCRA 232; People vs. Venancio
the Station Commander Milan, where she saw and Identified the accused as the man who killed her Ramilo, 146 SCRA 258.)
husband.
Appellant's alleged lack of motive for killing Cagampang was rejected by the trial court which opined that
The accused's defense was an alibi. He alleged that from 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of December 30, the defendant's knowledge that Cagampang possessed a firearm was motive enough to kill him as killings
1980, he and his father had been in the house of Silverio Perol in Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan perpetrated by members of the New People's Army for the sole purpose of acquiring more arms and
del Norte, where they spent the night drinking over a slaughtered dog as "pulutan," until 8:00 o'clock in ammunition for their group are prevalent not only in Agusan del Norte but elsewhere in the country. It is
the morning of the following day, December 31, 1980. known as the NPA's "agaw armas" campaign. Moreover, proof of motive is not essential when the culprit
The accused and his companion, admittedly members of the dreaded NPA (New People's Army) were not has been positively Identified (People vs. Tan, Jr., 145 SCRA 615).
apprehended earlier because they hid in the mountains of Malapong with other members- followers of The records further show that the accused and his companion fled after killing Cagampang and taking his
the New People's Army. Temblor surrendered to Mayor Dick Carmona of Nasipit during the mass firearm. They hid in the mountains of Agusan del Norte. Their flight was an implied admission of guilt
surrender of dissidents in August, 1981. He was arrested by the Buenavista Police at the Buenavista (People vs. Dante Astor, 149 SCRA 325; People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 422).
public market on November 26, 1981 and detained at the Buenavista municipal jail.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all respects, except as to the civil indemnity
The accused capitalized the fact that the victim's widow, Victorina, did not know him by name. That payable to the heirs of the Julius Cagampang which is increased to P30,000.00.
circumstance allegedly renders the Identification of the accused, as the perpetrator of her husband's

23
SO ORDERED. and that all these happened in front of the fruit stand a — distance of about 6 to 7 meters from the side
of the road.
Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
Samson described the assailant as wearing a white, short-sleeved t-shirt and maong pants, but "he did
PEOPLE V. HASSAN, 157 SCRA 261 (1988) not see if the aggressor was wearing shoes," that the assailant stabbed Ramon with a knife but "he did
G.R. No. L-68969 January 22, 1988 not exactly see what kind of knife it was, and he did not see how long the knife was He said he brought
the wounded Ramon to the Zamboanga City General Hospital in a tricycle.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs. On cross-examination, Samson testified:
USMAN HASSAN y AYUN, respondent. xxx xxx xxx
SARMIENTO, J.: Q When you rushed Ramon Pichel, Jr. to the hospital you came to know that he was already
This is a pauper's appeal of the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City, Ninth Judicial dead, is that correct?
Region Branch XIII, dated January 25, 1984, which "finds the accused USMAN HASSAN y AYUN guilty A Yes, sir, I learned that he was already dead.
beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the Crime of MURDER, and there being neither aggravating nor
mitigating circumstance attending the commission of the crime, and pursuant to Paragraph No. 1 of Q In the hospital, were you investigated by the police?
Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code, hereby imposes upon the said accused the penalty of RECLUSION
PERPETUA and all its accessory penalties; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim Ramon Pichel, Jr. A They just asked the description of that person as to his attire and his appearance.
y Uro the amount of P12,000.00 and to pay the costs." 2 Q And it was while in the hospital that you told them the description of the one who stabbed
Usman Hassan was accused of murder for stabbing to death Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, 24, single, and a Ramon Pichel, Jr.?
resident of Zamboanga City. 3 At the time of his death on July 23,1981, the deceased was employed as A Yes, Sir.
manager of the sand and gravel business of his father. On the other hand, Hassan was an illiterate, 15-
year-old pushcart cargador. 4 Q And the body of Ramon Pichel, Jr., was brought to the Funeraria La Merced?

The quality of justice and the majesty of the law shine ever brightest when they are applied with more A Yes, sir,
jealousy to the poor, the marginalized, and the disadvantaged. Usman Hassan, the herein accused-
Q Can you recall what time was that?
appellant, belongs to this class. At the time of the alleged commission of the crime, he was poor,
marginalized, and disadvantaged. He was a flotsam in a sea of violence, following the odyssey of his A I do not know what time was that.
widowed mother from one poverty-stricken area to another in order to escape the ravages of internicine
war and rebellion in Zamboanga del Sur. In the 15 years of Hassan's existence, he and his family had to Q And it was all La Merced Funeraria that the police brought to you the accused?
evacuate to other places for fear of their lives, six times. His existence in this world has not even been A...
officially recorded; his birth has not been registered in the Registry of Births because the Samal tribe, to
which he belongs, does not see the importance of registering births and deaths. Q For Identification?

Usman was convicted on the bases of the testimony of a lone eyewitness for the prosecution and the A Yes, sir.
sloppiness of the investigation conducted by the police investigator, Police Corporal Rogelio Carpio of the
Q And he was alone when you Identified him?
Homicide and Arson Section of the Zamboanga City Police Station, who also testified for the prosecution.
A Yes he was alone.
We rule that Usman Hassan's guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt and that Usman Hassan
must, therefore, be set free. Q Aside from working with the Pichel family in their sand and gravel business, do you have
any blood relationship with them?
The lone eyewitness for the prosecution is Jose Samson, 24 years old when he testified, married, and a
resident of Zamboanga City. On the day of the killing, he was employed at the sand and gravel business A Yes. sir. 6
of the father of the deceased but was jobless at the time of his examination-in-chief on February 3, 1982.
(Emphasis supplied)
He testified that he was with Ramon Pichel, Jr. at about 7:00 o'clock in the evening of July 23, 1981; that
he was a backrider in the motorcycle of Ramon when they went to buy mangoes at Fruit Paradise near xxx xxx xxx
the Barter Trade Zone in Zamboanga City that while he was selecting mangoes, he saw a person stab What comes as a surprise is that Samson's statement 7 which was taken only on July 25, 1981, two days
Ramon who was seated at his red Honda motorcycle which was parked about two or three meters from after the stabbing, and sworn to only on July 27, 1981, also two days after it was taken, or four days after
the fruit stand where he Samson) was selecting mangoes; that he saw the assailant stab Ramon "only the killing, was never presented or mentioned by the prosecution at all. The information was practically
once" and that after the stabbing, the assailant ran towards the PNB Building. When asked at the cross- forced out of Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, a witness for the People, during his cross-
examination if he knew the assailant, Samson said, "I know him by face but I do not know his name." 5 examination. 8 The sworn statement contained the following questions and answers:
This sole eyewitness recounted the stabbing thus: "While Ramoncito Pichel, Jr. was holding the xxx xxx xxx
motorcycle with both of his hands, the assailant come from behind, held his left hand and stabbed him
from behind on his chest while the victim was sitting on the motorcycle." He claimed that he was able to Q-14. What and please narrate it to me briefly in your own words, the incident you are
see the assailant because it was very bright there that Ramon was facing the light of a petromax lamp, referring?

24
A-14. While I was busy selecting some mangoes, I saw unidentified person whom I can The version of the sole eyewitness appearing in his statement 10 is substantially the same as that
recognize by face if seen again embraced my companion Ramon Pitcher Jr. while the latter embodied in the "Case Report," Exhibit it "C", by Police Corporal Carpio, also admitted a s Exhibit "2."
was aboard his motorcycle parked within the area. That this person without much ado, and This exhibit for the prosecution confirms the sworn statement of witness Samson that an unidentified
armed with a knife suddenly stabbed him (Ramon). That by coincidence to this incident, our person, whom he recognized only by face, appeared and without any provocation, the latter embraced
eye met each other and immediately thereafter, he fled the area toward the Philippine the victim and stabbed the same allegedly with a knife." The rest of the Case Report: is also significant in
National Bank (PNB). That this unidentified person was sporting a semi-long hair, dressed in that it confirms the confrontation between the accused and Jose Samson in the funeral parlor arranged
White Polo-Shirt (Short sleeve), maong pants height to more or less 5'5, Dark Complexion. by the police Investigator and prosecution witness, Corporal Carpio.
That as this unidentified person fled the area I immediately came to aid my companion,
Ramon Pitcher, Jr., and rushed him to Zamboanga General Hospital, on board a Tricycle. That xxx xxx xxx
may companion (Ramon) did not whispered (sic) any words to me for he was in serious From this end, a follow-up was made within the premises of the Old Barter Trade, wherein
condition and few minutes later, he expired. the person of USMAN HASSAN Y AYUN, of Paso Bolong, this City, was arrested in connection
Q-15. Was tills unidentified person was with companion when he attack (sic) Ramon Pitcher with the above stated incident. That this Officer and companions arrested this person Usman
Jr.? due to his physical appearance, which was fully described by victim's companion. Jose
Samson. During his arrest, a knife, measuring to more or less seven (7) inches in blade was
A-15. He was alone Sir. confiscated in his possession. The person of Usman Hassan was brought along at the La
Merced Funeral Homes for a confrontation with victims companion, Jose Samson and in this
Q-16. Can you really Identified (sic) this person who attacked and stabbed your companion, confrontation, Jose Samson positively Identified said Usman Hassan as the very person who
Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening in question? stabbed the victim.
A-16. Yes, Sir, Usman Hassan, on the other hand, denied the charges levelled against hub and admitted
Q-17. Do you still remember that confrontation we made at the Office of La Merced Funeral ownership of said knife; claiming among other things that he used said knife for slicing
Homes, wherein you were confronted with one Usman Hassan, whom this Officer brought mangoes. 11
along? xxx xxx xxx
A-17. Yes, Sir. We hold that the evidence for the prosecution in its entirety does not satisfy the quantum of proof —
Q-18. Was he the very person, who attacked and stabbed your companion, Ramon Pitcher, beyond reasonable doubt — required by the Constitution, the law, and applicable jurisprudence to
Jr.? convict an accused person. The said evidence denies us the moral certainty which would allow us to
pronounce, without uneasiness of conscience. Usman Hassan y Ayun guilty of the killing of the deceased
A-18. Yes, Sir, he was the very person who attacked and stabbed my companion, Ramon Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, and condemn him to life imprisonment and in effect turning him into a flotsam
Pitcher, Jr., that evening in question. again in a sea of convicted felons in which he would be a very young stranger.
Q-19. Why? In evaluating the worth of the testimony of the lone eyewitness for the prosecution against the denial
and alibi of the accused, value judgment must not be separated from the constitutionally guaranteed
A-19. Because his face and other physical appearance were fully noted by me and this I
presumption of innocence.
cannot forget for the rest of my life.
When the evidence for the prosecution and the evidence for the accused are weighed, the
Q-20. Before this incident, was there any altercation that had ensued while in the process of
scales must be tipped in favor of the latter. This is because of the constitutional presumtion of
buying some mangoes in that area?
innocence the accused enjoys as a counter-foil to the awesome authority of the State that is
A-20. None Sir. prosecuting him.

Q-21. Were you able to note what kind of knife used by said Usman Hassan in stabbing your The element of doubt, if reasonable in this case, must operate against the inference of guilt
companion, Ramon Pitcher Jr.? the prosecution would draw from its evidence. That evidence, as it happens, consists only of
the uncorroborated statement of the two policemen which, as previously observed, is flawed
A-21: None Sir, and therefore suspect. 12
Q-22. Well, I have nothing more to ask of you, do you have anything more to say, add or alter The testimony of Jose Samson, the lone eyewitness, is weak and unconvincing. And so with the evidence
in this statement? sought to be introduced by Police Corporal Carpio. We discover, for example, that the expert testimony
A-22. No more Sir. of the medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Valentin Bernalez, presented by
the prosecution, contradicted, on material points, the testimony of the one eyewitness, Jose Samson.
Q-23. Are you willing to give a supplemental statement if needed in the future? While Samson averred on the witness stand that he saw the assailant stab the deceased "from behind on
his chest" 13 only once, the NBI medico-legal officer Identified two stab wounds, one at the front portion
A-23. Yes, Sir. 9
of the chest at the level and third rib, (sic) and another stab wound located at the left arm posterior
(Emphasis supplied) aspect." 14 The same medical expert also concluded from the nature and location of the chest wound,
which was the cause of death, that the same was inflicted on the victim while the alleged accused was in
xxx xxx xxx front of him." 15

25
The investigation of this case by the Homicide/Arson Section of the Zamboanga Southern Police dismissed this sin of omission by saying that the knife could have been cleaned or the bloodstain could
Sector, 16 at Zamboanga City, particularly by Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, leaves much to be desired. have been taken away. 24 This presumption of the deadly weapon's having been "cleaned" of bloodstains
For one, we are not satisfied with the procedure adopted by the police investigators in the Identification is tantamount to pronouncing the accused of being guilty.
of the accused as the assailant. We have no doubt that Usman Hassan was "presented" alone 17 to Jose
Samson by the police investigator and prosecution witness, Police Corporal Carpio, and his police Our doubt about the guilt of the accused is further deepened by a resolution, 25 in a separate case, 26 of
companions, at the office of the La Merced Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City. As correctly termed by Assistant City Fiscal of Zamboanga City and deputized Tanod bayan Prosecutor Pablo Murillo, which
the very evidence 18 of the prosecution, the procedure adopted by the police investigators was a clearly reveals that on July 24, 1981, a day after the killing of Ramon Pichel, Jr., a similar stabbing took
confrontation" between Jose Samson, Jr. and Usman. Earlier, on direct examination, Corporal Carpio place at Plaza Pershing near the place of the earlier incident, with the suspect in that frustrated homicide
testified that Usman was alone when he was brought to Samson for confrontation in the funeral parlor. case being a certain Benhar Isa, 'a notorious and a deadly police character" in Zamboanga City, with a
However, on cross-examination, Carpio made a turnabout by saying that the accused was Identified by long record of arrests. In that resolution, Fiscal Murillo said the same Benhar Isa was tagged as 'also a
Samson in a "police line-up;" this tergiversation we dare say, was an afterthought, more the result of an suspect in the stabbing of Ramon Pichel, Jr. to death and the stabbing of Pastor Henry Villagracia at the
over or careless cross-examination, augmented by the leading questions 19 of the trial judge rather than a Fruit Paradise, this City." The said resolution further states that "with regards to this incident or
fastidiousness if not sincerity, on the part of the police investigator, to honestly correct erroneous witnesses ever testified for fear of possible reprisals." 27
statements in his examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson and the accused testified The trial of Usman Hassan began on October 27, 1981. Benhar Isa himself was killed by a policeman on
clearly and unequivocably that Usman was alone when presented to Samson by Carpio. There was no August 28, 1981, while he (Isa) "was apparently under the influence of liquor armed with a knife (was)
such police line-up as the police investigator, to honestly correct erreoneous statements in his molesting and extorting money from innocent civilians' and "making trouble." 28 The records of the case
examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson and the accused testified clearly and at bar do not show any attempt on the part of Corporal Carpio, or any other police officer, to investigate
unequivocably that Usman was alone when presented to Samson by Carpio. There was no such police or question Benhar Isa in connection with the killing of Pichel, Jr. Was it fear of the notorious police
investigator claimed on second thought. character that made the police officers disregard the possible connection between the slaying of Ramon
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to confront and Identify the accused alone at the and that of the person (Harun Acan y Arang of the Ministry of National Defense) 29 who was allegedly
funeral parlor, without being placed in the police line-up, was "pointedly suggsestive, generated stabbed by Benhar Isa a day after the killing of Ramon Jr.? And yet questioning Isa might have provided
confidence where there was none, activated visual imagination, and, all told, subserted his reliability as that vital link to the resolution of Usman's guilt or innocence. But why should the police officers
eyewitness. This unusual, coarse, and highly singular method of Identification, which revolts against the investigate Isa when Usman Hassan was already in custody and could be an available fall guy? Usman
accepted principles of scientific crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just man, and commands Hassan, instead, became a victim of a grave injustice. Indeed, Usman Hassan is too poor to wage a legal
neither our respect nor acceptance." 20 fight to prove his innocence. And he is so marginalized as to claim and deserve an honest-to-goodness,
thorough, and fair police investigation with all angles and leads pursued to their logical, if not scientific,
Moreover, the confrontation arranged by the police investigator between the self-proclaimed conclusions. Sadly circumstanced as he is, the authority of the State was too awesome for him to
eyewitness and the accused did violence to the right of the latter to counsel in all stages of the counteract.
investigation into the commission of a crime especially at its most crucial stage — the Identification of
the accused. The appealed decision made much ado of the admission by Usman "that he was arrested at the former
barter trade, which is a place just across the place of the stabbing at the Fruit Paradise." 30 The trial judge
As it turned out, the method of Identification became just a confrontation. At that critical and decisive found it "therefore strange that on the very evening of the stabbing incident he was still at the barter
moment, the scales of justice tipped unevenly against the young, poor, and disadvantaged accused. The trade area by 8:00 o'clock in the evening when he usually comes to the city proper at about 6:00 o'clock
police procedure adopted in this case in which only the accused was presented to witness Samson, in the in the morning and goes home at past 5:00 o'clock and sometimes 6:00 o'clock in the
funeral parlor, and in the presence of the grieving relatives of the victim, is as tainted as an uncounselled afternoon." 31 Usman's explanation — that, at around 7:00 o'clock P.M., he was waiting for
confession and thus falls within the same ambit of the constitutionally entrenched protection. For this transportation to take him home — was found by the trial court as 'flimsy and weak since he did not
infringement alone, the accused-appellant should be acquitted. explain why he had to go home late that evening." 32 But the whole trouble is nobody asked him. The
trial judge did not propound any single question to the accused, and only three to his mother on
Moreover, aside from this slipshod Identification procedure, the rest of the investigation of the crime innocuous matters, by way of clarification, if only to put on record what the mother and son could
and the preparation of the evidence for prosecution were done haphazardly, perfunctorily, and articulate with clarity. Taking into account their poverty and illiteracy, the mother and son needed as
superficially. Samson was not investigated thoroughly and immediately after the incident. As previously much, if not more, help, than the trial judge extended to the prosecution witnesses during their
mentioned, his statement was taken by the investigator only two days after the murder of Ramon Pichel, examination by asking them clarificatory and mostly leading questions. In that sense and to that extent,
Jr. and sworn only two days after it had been taken. Similarly, there is nothing in the record to show that the accused was disadvantaged.
the fruit vendor—from whom Samson and the deceased were buying mangoes that fateful evening and
who certainly must have witnessed the fatal stabbing—was investigated, or why he was not investigated. A fact that looms large, though mutely to testify on the innocence of the accused but the importance of
Nor is any explanation given as to why the companion 21 of the accused at the time Corporal Carpio which was brushed away by the trial judge was the presence of the accused near the scene (about 100 to
arrested him (accused) 'sitting on a pushcart " 22 at about 8:00 P.M. (around 7:00 P.M., according to 150 meters away) soon after the stabbing (he testified at around 7:00 P.M. although Police Corporal
Usman) of that same evening near the scene of the crime, was not also investigated when he could have Carpio stated it was 8:00 P.M.) where he was found sitting on his pushcart with a companion. If he were
been a material witness of the killing or of the innocence of the accused. In addition, the knife and its the assailant, he would have fled. But the trial court instead indulged in conjecture, foisting the
scabbard, 23Confiscated by Carpio from Usman (tucked on the right side of his waist") at the time of his probability that the accused 'was lulled by a false sense of security in returning to the place (of the
arrest, were not even subjected to any testing at all to determine the presence of human blood which stabbing), when no police officers immediately responded and appeared at the scene of the crime,"
could be typed and compared with the blood type of the deceased. A crime laboratory test — had Carpio adding 'there are numerous cases in the past where criminals return to the scene of their crimes, for
or the prosecuting fiscal, or even the trial judge, insisted on it — would have revealed whether or not the reasons only psychologist can explain." 33 It must have escaped the trial court's attention that Usman has
knife in question (confiscated from the accused by Carpio one hour after the alleged commission of the no criminal record, and, therefore, he could not be generally classed with criminals. In the second place,
crime) had indeed been the weapon used to kill Ramon. The police investigator instead nonchalantly the trial court's rationalization ignores the biblical truism recognized by human nature and endorsed

26
with approval by this Court that "(T)he wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are as bold Yap (Chairman), Paras and Padilla, JJ., concur.
as a lion." 34
And now as a penultimate observation, we could not help but note the total absence of motive ascribed
to Usman for stabbing Ramon, a complete stranger to him. While, as a general rule, motive is not
essential in order to arrive at a conviction, because, after all, motive is a state of mind, 35 procedurally,
however, for purposes of complying with the requirement that a judgment of guilty must stem from
proof beyond reasonable doubt, the lack of motive on the part of the accused plays a pivotal role
towards his acquittal. This is especially true where there is doubt as to the Identity of the culprit 36 as
when 'the Identification is extremely tenuous," 37 as in this case.
We can not end this travail without adverting to the cavalier manner in which the trial court disregarded
the claimed young age of Usman Hassan.
The defense claims that the accused Usman Hassan is a minor, basing such claim on the
testimony of Lahunay Hassan, the mother of said accused, who declared that her son Usman
Hassan, who is one of her four (4) children, was born in the year 1967. She testified that she
was just told by a person coming from their place about the year of the birth of her son
Usman. However on cross-examination, Lahunay Hassan cannot even remember the date or
year of birth of her other children. The failure of Lahunay Hassan to remember the date or
year of birth of her children is of course understandable, considering that she is unschooled
and she belongs to a tribe that does not register births, deaths or marriages, however, it is
strange that she only took pains to find out the year of birth of her son Usman. For this
reason, the Court granted a motion of the defense on September 13, 1982, to have the herein
accused examined by a competent dentist to determine his age. However, the findings of the
dentist of Zamboanga General Hospital which is marked as Exhibit "5" shows the following:
"age cannot be determined accurately under present mouth conditions. Approximately, he
can be from 14 to 21 years of age." This simply means that the herein accused could either be
14 years of age or 21 years of age, or any age in between those aforestated years. From the
observation of this court, the accused Usman Hassan was about 18 years of age at the time he
committed this crime and this observation is based on his personal appearance, his size and
facial features and other personal characteristics, hence he can not be classified as a youthful
offender under Article. 189 of Presendential Decree No. 603, as ammended by Presedential
Decree No. 1179. In the case of U.S. vs. Mallari, 29 Phil. 13 and People vs. Reyes and
Panganiban, CA 48 O.G. 1022, cited in the Edition, Page 680, it was ruled by the Supreme
Court that "In cases where the age of the culprit is at issue as a basis for claiming an
exempting mitigating circumstance, it is incumbent upon the accused to establish that
circumstance ad any other elements of defense. 38
Considering that the age of the accused could exempt him from punishment or cause the suspension of
his sentence under Articles 12 and 80, respectively of the Revised Penal Code, if found guilty, more
meticulousness and care should have been demanded of medical or scientific sources, and less reliance
on the observation of the judge as had happened in this case. The preliminary findings of the dentist that
the accused could be anywhere between fourteen to twenty one years, despite the difficulty of arriving
at an accurate determination due to Hassan's mouth condition, would have placed the trial judge on
notice that there is the probability that the accused might be exempted from criminal liability due to his
young age. All the foregoing indicates that the accused had not been granted the concern and
compassion with which the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged so critically deserve. It is when judicial
and police processes and procedures are thoughtlessly and haphazardly observed that cries of the law
and justice being denied the poor are heard. In any event, all this would not be of any moment now,
considering the acquittal of the accused herein ordered.
WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby REVERSED, and the accused Usman Hassan y Ayun is ACQUITTED of
the crime charged. His release from confinement is hereby Ordered, unless he is held for another legal
cause. With costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

27
UNITED STATES V. AH CHONG, 15 PHIL. 488 (1910) walk at about 10 o'clock, and Celestino and Mariano stopped at their room at No. 28, Pascual going on to
his room at No. 27. A few moments after the party separated, Celestino and Mariano heard cries for
G.R. No. L-5272 March 19, 1910 assistance and upon returning to No. 27 found Pascual sitting on the back steps fatally wounded in the
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, stomach, whereupon one of them ran back to No. 28 and called Liuetenants Jacobs and Healy, who
vs. immediately went to the aid of the wounded man.
AH CHONG, defendant-appellant. The defendant then and there admitted that he had stabbed his roommate, but said that he did it under
CARSON, J.: the impression that Pascual was "a ladron" because he forced open the door of their sleeping room,
despite defendant's warnings.
The evidence as to many of the essential and vital facts in this case is limited to the testimony of the
accused himself, because from the very nature of these facts and from the circumstances surrounding No reasonable explanation of the remarkable conduct on the part of Pascuals suggests itself, unless it be
the incident upon which these proceedings rest, no other evidence as to these facts was available either that the boy in a spirit of mischief was playing a trick on his Chinese roommate, and sought to frightened
to the prosecution or to the defense. We think, however, that, giving the accused the benefit of the him by forcing his way into the room, refusing to give his name or say who he was, in order to make Ah
doubt as to the weight of the evidence touching those details of the incident as to which there can be Chong believe that he was being attacked by a robber.
said to be any doubt, the following statement of the material facts disclose by the record may be taken Defendant was placed under arrest forthwith, and Pascual was conveyed to the military hospital, where
to be substantially correct: he died from the effects of the wound on the following day.
The defendant, Ah Chong, was employed as a cook at "Officers' quarters, No. 27," Fort Mc Kinley, Rizal The defendant was charged with the crime of assassination, tried, and found guilty by the trial court of
Province, and at the same place Pascual Gualberto, deceased, was employed as a house boy simple homicide, with extenuating circumstances, and sentenced to six years and one day presidio
or muchacho. "Officers' quarters No. 27" as a detached house situates some 40 meters from the nearest mayor, the minimum penalty prescribed by law.
building, and in August, 19087, was occupied solely as an officers' mess or club. No one slept in the
house except the two servants, who jointly occupied a small room toward the rear of the building, the At the trial in the court below the defendant admitted that he killed his roommate, Pascual Gualberto,
door of which opened upon a narrow porch running along the side of the building, by which but insisted that he struck the fatal blow without any intent to do a wrongful act, in the exercise of his
communication was had with the other part of the house. This porch was covered by a heavy growth of lawful right of self-defense.
vines for its entire length and height. The door of the room was not furnished with a permanent bolt or
lock, and occupants, as a measure of security, had attached a small hook or catch on the inside of the Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that —
door, and were in the habit of reinforcing this somewhat insecure means of fastening the door by placing The following are not delinquent and are therefore exempt from criminal liability:
against it a chair. In the room there was but one small window, which, like the door, opened on the
porch. Aside from the door and window, there were no other openings of any kind in the room. xxx xxx xxx

On the night of August 14, 1908, at about 10 o'clock, the defendant, who had received for the night, was 4 He who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided there are the following attendant
suddenly awakened by some trying to force open the door of the room. He sat up in bed and called out circumstances:
twice, "Who is there?" He heard no answer and was convinced by the noise at the door that it was being
(1) Illegal aggression.
pushed open by someone bent upon forcing his way into the room. Due to the heavy growth of vines
along the front of the porch, the room was very dark, and the defendant, fearing that the intruder was a (2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it.
robber or a thief, leaped to his feet and called out. "If you enter the room, I will kill you." At that moment
he was struck just above the knee by the edge of the chair which had been placed against the door. In (3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
the darkness and confusion the defendant thought that the blow had been inflicted by the person who Under these provisions we think that there can be no doubt that defendant would be entitle to complete
had forced the door open, whom he supposed to be a burglar, though in the light of after events, it is exception from criminal liability for the death of the victim of his fatal blow, if the intruder who forced
probable that the chair was merely thrown back into the room by the sudden opening of the door open the door of his room had been in fact a dangerous thief or "ladron," as the defendant believed him
against which it rested. Seizing a common kitchen knife which he kept under his pillow, the defendant to be. No one, under such circumstances, would doubt the right of the defendant to resist and repel such
struck out wildly at the intruder who, it afterwards turned out, was his roommate, Pascual. Pascual ran an intrusion, and the thief having forced open the door notwithstanding defendant's thrice-repeated
out upon the porch and fell down on the steps in a desperately wounded condition, followed by the warning to desist, and his threat that he would kill the intruder if he persisted in his attempt, it will not
defendant, who immediately recognized him in the moonlight. Seeing that Pascual was wounded, he be questioned that in the darkness of the night, in a small room, with no means of escape, with the thief
called to his employers who slept in the next house, No. 28, and ran back to his room to secure bandages advancing upon him despite his warnings defendant would have been wholly justified in using any
to bind up Pascual's wounds. available weapon to defend himself from such an assault, and in striking promptly, without waiting for
There had been several robberies in Fort McKinley not long prior to the date of the incident just the thief to discover his whereabouts and deliver the first blow.
described, one of which took place in a house in which the defendant was employed as cook; and as But the evidence clearly discloses that the intruder was not a thief or a "ladron." That neither the
defendant alleges, it was because of these repeated robberies he kept a knife under his pillow for his defendant nor his property nor any of the property under his charge was in real danger at the time when
personal protection. he struck the fatal blow. That there was no such "unlawful aggression" on the part of a thief or "ladron"
The deceased and the accused, who roomed together and who appear to have on friendly and amicable as defendant believed he was repelling and resisting, and that there was no real "necessity" for the use
terms prior to the fatal incident, had an understanding that when either returned at night, he should of the knife to defend his person or his property or the property under his charge.
knock at the door and acquiant his companion with his identity. Pascual had left the house early in the The question then squarely presents it self, whether in this jurisdiction one can be held criminally
evening and gone for a walk with his friends, Celestino Quiambao and Mariano Ibañez, servants responsible who, by reason of a mistake as to the facts, does an act for which he would be exempt from
employed at officers' quarters No. 28, the nearest house to the mess hall. The three returned from their criminal liability if the facts were as he supposed them to be, but which would constitute the crime of
28
homicide or assassination if the actor had known the true state of the facts at the time when he "voluntary" implies and includes the words "con malicia," which were expressly set out in the definition
committed the act. To this question we think there can be but one answer, and we hold that under such of the word "crime" in the code of 1822, but omitted from the code of 1870, because, as Pacheco insists,
circumstances there is no criminal liability, provided always that the alleged ignorance or mistake or fact their use in the former code was redundant, being implied and included in the word "voluntary."
was not due to negligence or bad faith. (Pacheco, Codigo Penal, vol. 1, p. 74.)
In broader terms, ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance or mistake of fact is sufficient to Viada, while insisting that the absence of intention to commit the crime can only be said to exempt from
negative a particular intent which under the law is a necessary ingredient of the offense charged (e.g., in criminal responsibility when the act which was actually intended to be done was in itself a lawful one,
larcerny, animus furendi; in murder, malice; in crimes intent) "cancels the presumption of intent," and and in the absence of negligence or imprudence, nevertheless admits and recognizes in his discussion of
works an acquittal; except in those cases where the circumstances demand a conviction under the penal the provisions of this article of the code that in general without intention there can be no crime. (Viada,
provisions touching criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the provisions of article 1 of the Penal vol. 1, p. 16.) And, as we have shown above, the exceptions insisted upon by Viada are more apparent
Code one voluntarily committing a crime or misdeamor incurs criminal liability for any wrongful act than real.
committed by him, even though it be different from that which he intended to commit. (Wharton's
Criminal Law, sec. 87 and cases cited; McClain's Crim. Law, sec. 133 and cases cited; Pettit vs. S., 28 Tex. Silvela, in discussing the doctrine herein laid down, says:
Ap., 240; Commonwealth vs. Power, 7 Met., 596; Yates vs. People, 32 N.Y., 509; Isham vs. State, 38 Ala., In fact, it is sufficient to remember the first article, which declared that where there is no
213; Commonwealth vs. Rogers, 7 Met., 500.) intention there is no crime . . . in order to affirm, without fear of mistake, that under our code
The general proposition thus stated hardly admits of discussion, and the only question worthy of there can be no crime if there is no act, an act which must fall within the sphere of ethics if
consideration is whether malice or criminal intent is an essential element or ingredient of the crimes of there is no moral injury. (Vol. 2, the Criminal Law, folio 169.)
homicide and assassination as defined and penalized in the Penal Code. It has been said that since the And to the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, as, for example in its
definitions there given of these as well as most other crimes and offense therein defined, do not sentence of May 31, 1882, in which it made use of the following language:
specifically and expressly declare that the acts constituting the crime or offense must be committed with
malice or with criminal intent in order that the actor may be held criminally liable, the commission of the It is necessary that this act, in order to constitute a crime, involve all the malice which is
acts set out in the various definitions subjects the actor to the penalties described therein, unless it supposed from the operation of the will and an intent to cause the injury which may be the
appears that he is exempted from liability under one or other of the express provisions of article 8 of the object of the crime.
code, which treats of exemption. But while it is true that contrary to the general rule of legislative
And again in its sentence of March 16, 1892, wherein it held that "considering that, whatever may be the
enactment in the United States, the definitions of crimes and offenses as set out in the Penal Code rarely
civil effects of the inscription of his three sons, made by the appellant in the civil registry and in the
contain provisions expressly declaring that malice or criminal intent is an essential ingredient of the
parochial church, there can be no crime because of the lack of the necessary element or criminal
crime, nevertheless, the general provisions of article 1 of the code clearly indicate that malice, or
intention, which characterizes every action or ommission punished by law; nor is he guilty of criminal
criminal intent in some form, is an essential requisite of all crimes and offense therein defined, in the
negligence."
absence of express provisions modifying the general rule, such as are those touching liability resulting
from acts negligently or imprudently committed, and acts done by one voluntarily committing a crime or And to the same effect in its sentence of December 30, 1896, it made use of the following language:
misdemeanor, where the act committed is different from that which he intended to commit. And it is to
be observed that even these exceptions are more apparent than real, for "There is little distinction, . . . Considering that the moral element of the crime, that is, intent or malice or their absence
except in degree, between a will to do a wrongful thing and indifference whether it is done or not. in the commission of an act defined and punished by law as criminal, is not a necessary
Therefore carelessness is criminal, and within limits supplies the place of the affirmative criminal intent" question of fact submitted to the exclusive judgment and decision of the trial court.
(Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, s. 313); and, again, "There is so little difference between a disposition That the author of the Penal Code deemed criminal intent or malice to be an essential element of the
to do a great harm and a disposition to do harm that one of them may very well be looked upon as the various crimes and misdemeanors therein defined becomes clear also from an examination of the
measure of the other. Since, therefore, the guilt of a crime consists in the disposition to do harm, which provisions of article 568, which are as follows:
the criminal shows by committing it, and since this disposition is greater or less in proportion to the harm
which is done by the crime, the consequence is that the guilt of the crime follows the same proportion; it He who shall execute through reckless negligence an act that, if done with malice, would
is greater or less according as the crime in its own nature does greater or less harm" (Ruth. Ints. C. 18, p. constitute a grave crime, shall be punished with the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum
11); or, as it has been otherwise stated, the thing done, having proceeded from a corrupt mid, is to be degree, to prision correccional in its minimum degrees if it shall constitute a less grave crime.
viewed the same whether the corruption was of one particular form or another.
He who in violation of the regulations shall commit a crime through simple imprudence or
Article 1 of the Penal Code is as follows: negligence shall incur the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum degrees.

Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and ommissions punished by law. In the application of these penalties the courts shall proceed according to their discretion,
without being subject to the rules prescribed in article 81.
Acts and omissions punished by law are always presumed to be voluntarily unless the
contrary shall appear. The provisions of this article shall not be applicable if the penalty prescribed for the crime is
equal to or less than those contained in the first paragraph thereof, in which case the courts
An person voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor shall incur criminal liability, even shall apply the next one thereto in the degree which they may consider proper.
though the wrongful act committed be different from that which he had intended to commit.
The word "malice" in this article is manifestly substantially equivalent to the words "criminal intent," and
The celebrated Spanish jurist Pacheco, discussing the meaning of the word "voluntary" as used in this the direct inference from its provisions is that the commission of the acts contemplated therein, in the
article, say that a voluntary act is a free, intelligent, and intentional act, and roundly asserts that without absence of malice (criminal intent), negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any criminal liability
intention (intention to do wrong or criminal intention) there can be no crime; and that the word on the actor.

29
The word "voluntary" as used in article 1 of the Penal Code would seem to approximate in meaning the punished as a criminal unless his intent is wrong. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs. 286
word "willful" as used in English and American statute to designate a form of criminal intent. It has been to 290.)
said that while the word "willful" sometimes means little more than intentionally or designedly, yet it is
more frequently understood to extent a little further and approximate the idea of the milder kind of legal Compelled by necessity, "the great master of all things," an apparent departure from this doctrine of
malice; that is, it signifies an evil intent without justifiable excuse. In one case it was said to mean, as abstract justice result from the adoption of the arbitrary rule that Ignorantia juris non
employed in a statute in contemplation, "wantonly" or "causelessly;" in another, "without reasonable excusat ("Ignorance of the law excuses no man"), without which justice could not be administered in our
grounds to believe the thing lawful." And Shaw, C. J., once said that ordinarily in a statute it means "not tribunals; and compelled also by the same doctrine of necessity, the courts have recognized the power of
merely `voluntarily' but with a bad purpose; in other words, corruptly." In English and the American the legislature to forbid, in a limited class of cases, the doing of certain acts, and to make their
statutes defining crimes "malice," "malicious," "maliciously," and "malice aforethought" are words commission criminal without regard to the intent of the doer. Without discussing these exceptional cases
indicating intent, more purely technical than "willful" or willfully," but "the difference between them is at length, it is sufficient here to say that the courts have always held that unless the intention of the
not great;" the word "malice" not often being understood to require general malevolence toward a lawmaker to make the commission of certain acts criminal without regard to the intent of the doer is
particular individual, and signifying rather the intent from our legal justification. (Bishop's New Criminal clear and beyond question the statute will not be so construed (cases cited in Cyc., vol. 12, p. 158, notes
Law, vol. 1, secs. 428 and 429, and cases cited.) 76 and 77); and the rule that ignorance of the law excuses no man has been said not to be a real
departure from the law's fundamental principle that crime exists only where the mind is at fault, because
But even in the absence of express words in a statute, setting out a condition in the definition of a crime "the evil purpose need not be to break the law, and if suffices if it is simply to do the thing which the law
that it be committed "voluntarily," willfully," "maliciously" "with malice aforethought," or in one of the in fact forbids." (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 300, and cases cited.)
various modes generally construed to imply a criminal intent, we think that reasoning from general
principles it will always be found that with the rare exceptions hereinafter mentioned, to constitute a But, however this may be, there is no technical rule, and no pressing necessity therefore, requiring
crime evil intent must combine with an act. Mr. Bishop, who supports his position with numerous mistake in fact to be dealt with otherwise that in strict accord with the principles of abstract justice. On
citations from the decided cases, thus forcely present this doctrine: the contrary, the maxim here is Ignorantia facti excusat ("Ignorance or mistake in point of fact is, in all
cases of supposed offense, a sufficient excuse"). (Brown's Leg. Max., 2d ed., 190.)
In no one thing does criminal jurisprudence differ more from civil than in the rule as to the
intent. In controversies between private parties the quo animo with which a thing was done is Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every crime, any such mistake of fact as shows
sometimes important, not always; but crime proceeds only from a criminal mind. So that — the act committed to have proceeded from no sort of evil in the mind necessarily relieves the actor from
criminal liability provided always there is no fault or negligence on his part; and as laid down by Baron
There can be no crime, large or small, without an evil mind. In other words, punishment is the Parke, "The guilt of the accused must depend on the circumstances as they appear to him."
sentence of wickedness, without which it can not be. And neither in philosophical speculation (Reg. vs. Thurborn, 1 Den. C., 387; P. vs. Anderson, 44 Cal.., 65; P. vs. Lamb, 54 Barb., 342; Yates vs. P., 32
nor in religious or mortal sentiment would any people in any age allow that a man should be N. Y., 509; Patterson vs. P., 46 Barb., 625; Reg. vs. Cohen, 8 Cox C. C., 41; P. vs. Miles, 55 Cal., 207, 209;
deemed guilty unless his mind was so. It is therefore a principle of our legal system, as Nalley vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 387.) That is to say, the question as to whether he honestly, in good faith, and
probably it is of every other, that the essence of an offense is the wrongful intent, without without fault or negligence fell into the mistake is to be determined by the circumstances as they
which it can not exists. We find this doctrine confirmed by — appeared to him at the time when the mistake was made, and the effect which the surrounding
circumstances might reasonably be expected to have on his mind, in forming the intent, criminal or other
Legal maxims. — The ancient wisdom of the law, equally with the modern, is distinct on this wise, upon which he acted.
subject. It consequently has supplied to us such maxims as Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit
rea, "the act itself does not make man guilty unless his intention were so;" Actus me incito If, in language not uncommon in the cases, one has reasonable cause to believe the existence
factus non est meus actus, "an act done by me against my will is not my act;" and others of of facts which will justify a killing — or, in terms more nicely in accord with the principles on
the like sort. In this, as just said, criminal jurisprudence differs from civil. So also — which the rule is founded, if without fault or carelessness he does believe them — he is legally
guiltless of the homicide; though he mistook the facts, and so the life of an innocent person is
Moral science and moral sentiment teach the same thing. "By reference to the intention, we unfortunately extinguished. In other words, and with reference to the right of self-defense
inculpate or exculpate others or ourselves without any respect to the happiness or misery and the not quite harmonious authorities, it is the doctrine of reason and sufficiently
actually produced. Let the result of an action be what it may, we hold a man guilty simply on sustained in adjudication, that notwithstanding some decisions apparently adverse, whenever
the ground of intention; or, on the dame ground, we hold him innocent." The calm judgment a man undertakes self-defense, he is justified in acting on the facts as they appear to him. If,
of mankind keeps this doctrine among its jewels. In times of excitement, when vengeance without fault or carelessness, he is misled concerning them, and defends himself correctly
takes the place of justice, every guard around the innocent is cast down. But with the return according to what he thus supposes the facts to be the law will not punish him though they
of reason comes the public voice that where the mind is pure, he who differs in act from his are in truth otherwise, and he was really no occassion for the extreme measures. (Bishop's
neighbors does not offend. And — New Criminal Law, sec. 305, and large array of cases there cited.)
In the spontaneous judgment which springs from the nature given by God to man, no one The common illustration in the American and English textbooks of the application of this rule is the case
deems another to deserve punishment for what he did from an upright mind, destitute of where a man, masked and disguised as a footpad, at night and on a lonely road, "holds up" his friends in
every form of evil. And whenever a person is made to suffer a punishment which the a spirit of mischief, and with leveled pistol demands his money or his life, but is killed by his friend under
community deems not his due, so far from its placing an evil mark upon him, it elevates him the mistaken belief that the attack is a real one, that the pistol leveled at his head is loaded, and that his
to the seat of the martyr. Even infancy itself spontaneously pleads the want of bad intent in life and property are in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. No one will doubt that if the
justification of what has the appearance of wrong, with the utmost confidence that the plea, facts were such as the slayer believed them to be he would be innocent of the commission of any crime
if its truth is credited, will be accepted as good. Now these facts are only the voice of nature and wholly exempt from criminal liability, although if he knew the real state of the facts when he took
uttering one of her immutable truths. It is, then, the doctrine of the law, superior to all other the life of his friend he would undoubtedly be guilty of the crime of homicide or assassination. Under
doctrines, because first in nature from which the law itself proceeds, that no man is to be such circumstances, proof of his innocent mistake of the facts overcomes the presumption of malice or
criminal intent, and (since malice or criminal intent is a necessary ingredient of the "act punished by law"

30
in cases of homicide or assassination) overcomes at the same time the presumption established in article were not rationally necessary, particularly because the instrument with which he killed was
1 of the code, that the "act punished by law" was committed "voluntarily." the one which he took from his assailant, and was capable of producing death, and in the
darkness of the house and the consteration which naturally resulted from such strong
Parson, C.J., in the Massachusetts court, once said: aggression, it was not given him to known or distinguish whether there was one or more
If the party killing had reasonable grounds for believing that the person slain had a felonious assailants, nor the arms which they might bear, not that which they might accomplish, and
design against him, and under that supposition killed him, although it should afterwards considering that the lower court did not find from the accepted facts that there existed
appear that there was no such design, it will not be murder, but it will be either manslaughter rational necessity for the means employed, and that it did not apply paragraph 4 of article 8
or excusable homicide, according to the degree of caution used and the probable grounds of of the Penal Code, it erred, etc." (Sentence of supreme court of Spain, February 28, 1876.)
such belief. (Charge to the grand jury in Selfridge's case, Whart, Hom., 417, 418, Lloyd's report (Viada, Vol. I, p. 266.) .
of the case, p.7.) QUESTION XIX. A person returning, at night, to his house, which was situated in a retired part
In this case, Parker, J., charging the petit jury, enforced the doctrine as follows: of the city, upon arriving at a point where there was no light, heard the voice of a man, at a
distance of some 8 paces, saying: "Face down, hand over you money!" because of which, and
A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B rushing rapidly toward him, with an almost at the same money, he fired two shots from his pistol, distinguishing immediately the
outstretched arms and a pistol in his hand, and using violent menaces against his life as he voice of one of his friends (who had before simulated a different voice) saying, "Oh! they have
advances. Having approached near enough in the same attitude, A, who has a club in his killed me," and hastening to his assistance, finding the body lying upon the ground, he cried,
hand, strikes B over the head before or at the instant the pistol is discharged; and of the "Miguel, Miguel, speak, for God's sake, or I am ruined," realizing that he had been the victim
wound B dies. It turns out the pistol was loaded with powder only, and that the real design of of a joke, and not receiving a reply, and observing that his friend was a corpse, he retired from
B was only to terrify A. Will any reasonable man say that A is more criminal that he would the place. Shall he be declared exempt in toto from responsibility as the author of this
have been if there had been a bullet in the pistol? Those who hold such doctrine must require homicide, as having acted in just self-defense under the circumstances defined in paragraph
that a man so attacked must, before he strikes the assailant, stop and ascertain how the pistol 4, article 8, Penal Code? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of Malaga did not so find, but
is loaded — a doctrine which would entirely take away the essential right of self-defense. And only found in favor of the accused two of the requisites of said article, but not that of the
when it is considered that the jury who try the cause, and not the party killing, are to judge of reasonableness of the means employed to repel the attack, and, therefore, condemned the
the reasonable grounds of his apprehension, no danger can be supposed to flow from this accused to eight years and one day of prison mayor, etc. The supreme court acquitted the
principle. (Lloyd's Rep., p. 160.) accused on his appeal from this sentence, holding that the accused was acting under a
justifiable and excusable mistake of fact as to the identity of the person calling to him, and
To the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, cited by Viada, a few of which are
that under the circumstances, the darkness and remoteness, etc., the means employed were
here set out in full because the facts are somewhat analogous to those in the case at bar.
rational and the shooting justifiable. (Sentence supreme court, March 17, 1885.) (Viada, Vol. I,
QUESTION III. When it is shown that the accused was sitting at his hearth, at night, in p. 136.)
company only of his wife, without other light than reflected from the fire, and that the man
QUESTION VI. The owner of a mill, situated in a remote spot, is awakened, at night, by a large
with his back to the door was attending to the fire, there suddenly entered a person whom he
stone thrown against his window — at this, he puts his head out of the window and inquires
did not see or know, who struck him one or two blows, producing a contusion on the
what is wanted, and is answered "the delivery of all of his money, otherwise his house would
shoulder, because of which he turned, seized the person and took from his the stick with
be burned" — because of which, and observing in an alley adjacent to the mill four
which he had undoubtedly been struck, and gave the unknown person a blow, knocking him
individuals, one of whom addressed him with blasphemy, he fired his pistol at one the men,
to the floor, and afterwards striking him another blow on the head, leaving the unknown lying
who, on the next morning was found dead on the same spot. Shall this man be declared
on the floor, and left the house. It turned out the unknown person was his father-in-law, to
exempt from criminal responsibility as having acted in just self-defense with all of the
whom he rendered assistance as soon as he learned his identity, and who died in about six
requisites of law? The criminal branch of the requisites of law? The criminal branch of
days in consequence of cerebral congestion resulting from the blow. The accused, who
the Audiencia of Zaragoza finds that there existed in favor of the accused a majority of the
confessed the facts, had always sustained pleasant relations with his father-in-law, whom he
requisites to exempt him from criminal responsibility, but not that of reasonable necessity for
visited during his sickness, demonstrating great grief over the occurrence. Shall he be
the means, employed, and condemned the accused to twelve months of prision
considered free from criminal responsibility, as having acted in self-defense, with all the
correctional for the homicide committed. Upon appeal, the supreme court acquitted the
circumstances related in paragraph 4, article 8, of the Penal Code? The criminal branch of
condemned, finding that the accused, in firing at the malefactors, who attack his mill at night
the Audiencia of Valladolid found that he was an illegal aggressor, without sufficient
in a remote spot by threatening robbery and incendiarism, was acting in just self-defense of
provocation, and that there did not exists rational necessity for the employment of the force
his person, property, and family. (Sentence of May 23, 1877). (I Viada, p. 128.)
used, and in accordance with articles 419 and 87 of the Penal Code condemned him to twenty
months of imprisonment, with accessory penalty and costs. Upon appeal by the accused, he A careful examination of the facts as disclosed in the case at bar convinces us that the defendant
was acquitted by the supreme court, under the following sentence: "Considering, from the Chinaman struck the fatal blow alleged in the information in the firm belief that the intruder who forced
facts found by the sentence to have been proven, that the accused was surprised from open the door of his sleeping room was a thief, from whose assault he was in imminent peril, both of his
behind, at night, in his house beside his wife who was nursing her child, was attacked, struck, life and of his property and of the property committed to his charge; that in view of all the
and beaten, without being able to distinguish with which they might have executed their circumstances, as they must have presented themselves to the defendant at the time, he acted in good
criminal intent, because of the there was no other than fire light in the room, and considering faith, without malice, or criminal intent, in the belief that he was doing no more than exercising his
that in such a situation and when the acts executed demonstrated that they might endanger legitimate right of self-defense; that had the facts been as he believed them to be he would have been
his existence, and possibly that of his wife and child, more especially because his assailant was wholly exempt from criminal liability on account of his act; and that he can not be said to have been
unknown, he should have defended himself, and in doing so with the same stick with which guilty of negligence or recklessness or even carelessness in falling into his mistake as to the facts, or in
he was attacked, he did not exceed the limits of self-defense, nor did he use means which

31
the means adopted by him to defend himself from the imminent danger which he believe threatened his These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully supported by the evidence, particularly by the
person and his property and the property under his charge. testimony of Irene Requinea. Appellants gave, however, a different version of the tragedy. According to
Appellant Galanta, when he and chief of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked Brigida where
The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the trial court should be reversed, and the Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place, and upon further inquiry as to the whereabouts of
defendant acquitted of the crime with which he is charged and his bail bond exonerated, with the costs Anselmo Balagtas, she said that he too was sleeping in the same room. Oanis went to the room thus
of both instance de oficio. So ordered. indicated and upon opening the curtain covering the door, he said: "If you are Balagtas, stand up."
Johnson Moreland and Elliott, JJ., concur. Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, and Irene woke up and as the former was about to sit up in bed. Oanis
Arellano, C.J., and Mapa, J., dissent. fired at him. Wounded, Tecson leaned towards the door, and Oanis receded and shouted: "That is
Balagtas." Galanta then fired at Tecson.
PEOPLE V. OANIS, 74 PHIL. 257 (1943)
On the other hand, Oanis testified that after he had opened the curtain covering the door and after
G.R. No. L-47722 July 27, 1943 having said, "if you are Balagtas stand up." Galanta at once fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, while
the latter was still lying on bed, and continued firing until he had exhausted his bullets: that it was only
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
thereafter that he, Oanis, entered the door and upon seeing the supposed Balagtas, who was then
vs.
apparently watching and picking up something from the floor, he fired at him.
ANTONIO Z. OANIS and ALBERTO GALANTA, defendants-appellants.
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their testimonies are certainly incredible not only
MORAN, J.:
because they are vitiated by a natural urge to exculpate themselves of the crime, but also because they
Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the accused Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto are materially contradictory. Oasis averred that be fired at Tecson when the latter was apparently
Galanta, chief of police of Cabanatuan and corporal of the Philippine Constabulary, respectively, were, watching somebody in an attitudes of picking up something from the floor; on the other hand, Galanta
after due trial, found guilty by the lower court of homicide through reckless imprudence and were testified that Oasis shot Tecson while the latter was about to sit up in bed immediately after he was
sentenced each to an indeterminate penalty of from one year and six months to two years and two awakened by a noise. Galanta testified that he fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, when the latter
months of prison correccional and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased in the was rushing at him. But Oanis assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying on bed. It
amount of P1,000. Defendants appealed separately from this judgment. is apparent from these contradictions that when each of the appellants tries to exculpate himself of the
crime charged, he is at once belied by the other; but their mutual incriminating averments dovetail with
In the afternoon of December 24, 1938. Captain Godofredo Monsod, Constabulary Provincial Inspector and corroborate substantially, the testimony of Irene Requinea. It should be recalled that, according to
at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, received from Major Guido a telegram of the following tenor: "Information Requinea, Tecson was still sleeping in bed when he was shot to death by appellants. And this, to a certain
received escaped convict Anselmo Balagtas with bailarina and Irene in Cabanatuan get him dead or extent, is confirmed by both appellants themselves in their mutual recriminations. According, to Galanta,
alive." Captain Monsod accordingly called for his first sergeant and asked that he be given four men. Oanis shot Tecson when the latter was still in bed about to sit up just after he was awakened by a noise.
Defendant corporal Alberto Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo, Venancio Serna and D. Fernandez, And Oanis assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying in bed. Thus corroborated,
upon order of their sergeant, reported at the office of the Provincial Inspector where they were shown a and considering that the trial court had the opportunity to observe her demeanor on the stand, we
copy of the above-quoted telegram and a newspaper clipping containing a picture of Balagtas. They were believe and so hold that no error was committed in accepting her testimony and in rejecting the
instructed to arrest Balagtas and, if overpowered, to follow the instruction contained in the telegram. exculpatory pretensions of the two appellants. Furthermore, a careful examination of Irene's testimony
The same instruction was given to the chief of police Oanis who was likewise called by the Provincial will show not only that her version of the tragedy is not concocted but that it contains all indicia of
Inspector. When the chief of police was asked whether he knew one Irene, a bailarina, he answered that veracity. In her cross-examination, even misleading questions had been put which were unsuccessful, the
he knew one of loose morals of the same name. Upon request of the Provincial Inspector, the chief of witness having stuck to the truth in every detail of the occurrence. Under these circumstances, we do not
police tried to locate some of his men to guide the constabulary soldiers in ascertaining Balagtas' feel ourselves justified in disturbing the findings of fact made by the trial court.
whereabouts, and failing to see anyone of them he volunteered to go with the party. The Provincial
Inspector divided the party into two groups with defendants Oanis and Galanta, and private Fernandez The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was sleeping in his room with his back towards
taking the route to Rizal street leading to the house where Irene was supposedly living. When this group the door, Oanis and Galanta, on sight, fired at him simultaneously or successively, believing him to be
arrived at Irene's house, Oanis approached one Brigida Mallare, who was then stripping banana stalks, Anselmo Balagtas but without having made previously any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. And the
and asked her where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place and upon further inquiry also said question is whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held responsible for the death thus caused to
that Irene was sleeping with her paramour. Brigida trembling, immediately returned to her own room Tecson. It is contended that, as appellants acted in innocent mistake of fact in the honest performance of
which was very near that occupied by Irene and her paramour. Defendants Oanis and Galanta then went their official duties, both of them believing that Tecson was Balagtas, they incur no criminal liability.
to the room of Irene, and an seeing a man sleeping with his back towards the door where they were, Sustaining this theory in part, the lower court held and so declared them guilty of the crime of homicide
simultaneously or successively fired at him with their .32 and .45 caliber revolvers. Awakened by the through reckless imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that, under the circumstances of the
gunshots, Irene saw her paramour already wounded, and looking at the door where the shots came, she case, the crime committed by appellants is murder through specially mitigated by circumstances to be
saw the defendants still firing at him. Shocked by the entire scene. Irene fainted; it turned out later that mentioned below.
the person shot and killed was not the notorious criminal Anselmo Balagtas but a peaceful and innocent
In support of the theory of non-liability by reasons of honest mistake of fact, appellants rely on the case
citizen named Serapio Tecson, Irene's paramour. The Provincial Inspector, informed of the killing,
of U.S. v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488. The maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but this applies only when the
repaired to the scene and when he asked as to who killed the deceased. Galanta, referring to himself and
mistake is committed without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after having
to Oanis, answered: "We two, sir." The corpse was thereafter brought to the provincial hospital and
gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called out twice, "who is there," but
upon autopsy by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by a .32 and a .45 caliber
received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from his bed and called out again.,
revolvers were found on Tecson's body which caused his death.
"If you enter the room I will kill you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair which had
been placed against the door and believing that he was then being attacked, he seized a kitchen knife

32
and struck and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his room-mate. A common illustration As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with the qualifying circumstance
of innocent mistake of fact is the case of a man who was marked as a footpad at night and in a lonely of alevosia. There is, however, a mitigating circumstance of weight consisting in the incomplete justifying
road held up a friend in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled, pistol demanded his money or life. He was circumstance defined in article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such legal provision, a
killed by his friend under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the pistol leveled at his head person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a
was loaded and that his life and property were in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. In right or office. There are two requisites in order that the circumstance may be taken as a justifying one:
these instances, there is an innocent mistake of fact committed without any fault or carelessness (a) that the offender acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; and (b) that
because the accused, having no time or opportunity to make a further inquiry, and being pressed by the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due performance of such duty or
circumstances to act immediately, had no alternative but to take the facts as they then appeared to him, the lawful exercise of such right or office. In the instance case, only the first requisite is present —
and such facts justified his act of killing. In the instant case, appellants, unlike the accused in the appellants have acted in the performance of a duty. The second requisite is wanting for the crime by
instances cited, found no circumstances whatsoever which would press them to immediate action. The them committed is not the necessary consequence of a due performance of their duty. Their duty was to
person in the room being then asleep, appellants had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his arrest Balagtas or to get him dead or alive if resistance is offered by him and they are overpowered. But
identity without hazard to themselves, and could even effect a bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort through impatience or over-anxiety or in their desire to take no chances, they have exceeded in the
to that end had been made, as the victim was unarmed, according to Irene Requinea. This, indeed, is the fulfillment of such duty by killing the person whom they believed to be Balagtas without any resistance
only legitimate course of action for appellants to follow even if the victim was really Balagtas, as they from him and without making any previous inquiry as to his identity. According to article 69 of the
were instructed not to kill Balagtas at sight but to arrest him, and to get him dead or alive only if Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall, in such
resistance or aggression is offered by him. case, be imposed.
Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as is reasonably necessary to For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are hereby declared guilty of murder with
secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance, prevent his escape, recapture him if he the mitigating circumstance above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of
escapes, and protect himself from bodily harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil, 738), yet he is never justified from five (5) years of prision correctional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with the accessories
in using unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton violence, or in resorting to dangerous means of the law, and to pay the heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson jointly and severally an indemnity of
when the arrest could be effected otherwise (6 C.J.S., par. 13, p. 612). The doctrine is restated in the new P2,000, with costs.
Rules of Court thus: "No unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest, and the
person arrested shall not be subject to any greater restraint than is necessary for his detention." (Rule Yulo, C.J., Bocobo, Generoso and Lopez Vito, A., concur.
109, sec. 2, par. 2). And a peace officer cannot claim exemption from criminal liability if he uses
unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest (5 C.J., p. 753; U.S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be
true that Anselmo Balagtas was a notorious criminal, a life-termer, a fugitive from justice and a menace
to the peace of the community, but these facts alone constitute no justification for killing him when in
effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance or in fact no resistance can be offered, as when he is asleep.
This, in effect, is the principle laid down, although upon different facts, in U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234,
242).
It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" without regard to his right
to life which he has by such notoriety already forfeited. We may approve of this standard of official
conduct where the criminal offers resistance or does something which places his captors in danger of
imminent attack. Otherwise we cannot see how, as in the present case, the mere fact of notoriety can
make the life of a criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law. Notoriety rightly supplies a
basis for redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it never can justify precipitate action at the cost of
human life. Where, as here, the precipitate action of the appellants has cost an innocent life and there
exist no circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the mind of a reasonably
prudent man, condemnation — not condonation — should be the rule; otherwise we should offer a
premium to crime in the shelter of official actuation.
The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal negligence, the killing being intentional and
not accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it being
simply the incident of another act performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939). In the
words of Viada, "para que se celifique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado en el
malicia ni intencion alguna de dañar; existiendo esa intencion, debera calificarse el hecho del delito que
ha producido, por mas que no haya sido la intencion del agente el causar un mal de tanta gravedad como
el que se produjo." (Tomo 7, Viada Codigo Penal Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And, as once held by this
Court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with the idea of reckless
imprudence (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor, 56 Phil., 16), and where such unlawful
act is wilfully done, a mistake in the identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as reckless
imprudence (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to support a plea of mitigated liability.

33
QUIZON V. JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, G.R. NO. L-6641, 28 JULY 1955 animo especifico de dañar"(Cuello Calon, Der. Penal [6th Ed.] Vol. II, p. 869; Sent. of Tribunal Supreme of
Spain, 21 Dec. 1909; 12 Feb. 1921).
G.R. No. L-6641 July 28, 1955
El elemento interno de este delito require, ademas de la voluntad de ejecutar el hecho
FRANCISCO QUIZON, petitioner, dañoso y de la conciencia de su ilegitimidad, el animo de perjudicar, la intencion de dañar. Si
vs. no existe semejante animo el hecho no constituey delito. (II Cuello Calon, p.870-871).
THE HON. JUSTICE OF THE PEACE OF BACOLOR, PAMPANGA, ET AL., respondents.
The necessity of the special malice for the crime of malicious mischief is contained in the requirement of
REYES, J. B. L., J.: Art. 327 of our Revised Penal Code, already quoted, that the offender "shall deliberately cause to the
On December 19, 1952, the respondents Chief of Police of Bacolor, Pampanga, filed a criminal complaint property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding chapter", i.e., not
against the herein petitioner, Francisco Quizon, with the Justice of the Peace Court of said municipality punishable as arson. It follows that, in the very nature of things, malicious mischief can not be
charging Quizon with the crime of damage to property through reckless imprudence, the value of the committed through negligence, since culpa (negligence) andmalice ( or deliberateness) are essentially
damage amounting to P125.00. Quizon filed a motion to quash on the ground that, under Article 365 of incompatible. Hence, the Supreme Court of Spain in its decisions of 12 Feb. 1912, 7 Oct. 1931, 13 Nov.
the Revised Penal Code, the penalty which might be imposed on the accused would be a fine or from 1934 and 5 Oct. 1942, has expressly recognized that this crime is one of those that can not be committed
P125.00 to P375.00, which is in excess of the fine that may be imposed by the justice of the peace court. by imprudence or negligence.
The Justice of the Peace forwarded the case to the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, but the latter The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless imprudence" is not a
returned it to him for trial on the merits, holding that the justice of the peace court had jurisdiction. The crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of criminal
defendant appealed from this ruling of the Court of First Instance to this Court on the question of law liability" is too broad to deserve unqualified assent . There are crimes that by their structure can not be
raised. committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious mischief, etc. In truth, criminal
Section 44 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 (Republic Act No. 296) provides in part as follows: negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere quasi offense, and dealt with separately from
willful offenses. It is not a mere question of classification or terminology. In international crimes, the act
Original jurisdiction.—Courts of First Instance shall have original jurisdiction: itself is punished; in negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or
condition behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible.
(f) In all criminal cases in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for more than six
Much of the confusion has arisen from the common use of such descriptive phrases as "homicide
months, or a fine of more than two hundred pesos:
through reckless imprudence," and the like; when the strict technical offense is, more accurately,
Section 87 of said Acts reads as follows:. "reckless imprudence resulting in homicide"; or "simple imprudence causing damages to property".

Original jurisdiction to try criminal cases.—Justices of the peace and judges of municipal Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating only to reduce the
courts of chartered cities shall have original jurisdiction over: penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack
of intent to commit so grave a wrong as the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would
(c) All criminal cases arising under the laws relating to: require that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion to the penalty prescribed for each
(6) Malicious mischief;. crime when committed willfully. For each penalty for the willful offense, there would then be a
corresponding penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the
In the cases of People vs. Palmon, 86 Phil., 350; People vs. Peñas Y Ferrer and Rey y Rochas, 86 Phil., 596; penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum, to prision correccional minimum, if the
andNatividad, et al. vs. Robles, 87 Phil.,, 834, it was held that in the cases provided for in Section 87 (c) of willful act would constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all
the Judiciary Act of 1948 above quoted, the jurisdiction given to justices of the peace and judges of the the way from prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty for
municipal courts is not exclusive but concurrent with the courts of first instance, when the penalty to be criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime, but is set in relation to a whole class,
imposed is more than six months imprisonment or a fine of more than P200.00. or series, of crimes.
The question, therefore , is whether the justice of the peace court has concurrent jurisdiction with the It is difficult to believe that the Legislature, in giving Justices of the Peace jurisdiction to try cases of
court of First Instance when the crime charged is damage to property through reckless negligence or malicious mischief, did so in total disregard of the principles and considerations above outlined. Our
imprudence if the amount of the damage is P125. conclusion is that "malicious mischief" as used in Section 87, par. 6, of the Judiciary Act, has exclusive
reference to the willful and deliberate crimes described in Arts. 327 to 331 of our Revised Penal Code,
We believe that the answer should be in the negative. To hold that the Justice of the Peace Court has
and to no other offense.
jurisdiction to try cases of damage to property through reckless negligence, because it has jurisdiction
over cases of malicious mischief, is to assume that the former offense is but a variant of the latter. This A further reason for this restrictive interpretation of the term "malicious mischief" used in section 87 of
assumption is not legally warranted. the Judiciary Act, is that the same constitutes an exception to the general jurisdiction of the Justice of the
Peace Courts in criminal cases, which had always stood prior to the said Act at offenses punishable with
Article 327 of the Revised Penal Code is as follows:
not more than 6 months' imprisonment or a fine of not more than P200.00 or both. To this traditional
ART. 327. Who are liable for malicious mischief.—Any person who shall deliberately cause to jurisdiction, the Judiciary Act added eight (8) specific exceptions in the form of felonies triable in said
the property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding courts without reference to the penalty imposable; and malicious mischief is one of these exceptions,
chapter shall be guilty of malicious mischief. while imprudence resulting in damage to property is not one of them.

It has always been regarded of the essence of this felony that the offender should have not only the For the foregoing reasons, we declare that the jurisdiction over the offense in question lies exclusively in
general intention to carry out the felonious act (a feature common to all willful crimes) but that he the Court of First Instance. Hence, the writ of certiorari is granted and the order of remand to the Justice
should act under the impulse of a specific desire to inflict injury to another; "que en el hecho concurra of the Peace Court is reversed and set aside. Without pronouncement as to costs.

34
Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador and Concepcion, JJ., concur. PDS and submit the same to the personnel office of the City of Malabon before five o’clock that
afternoon. He then instructedMendoza to copy the entries in the previous copy of his PDS which he filed
VENANCIO M. SEVILLA V. PEOPLE, G.R. NO. 194390, 13 AUGUST 2014 with the personnel office. After the PDS was filled up and delivered to him by Mendoza, Sevilla claims
G.R. No. 194390 August 13, 2014 that he just signed the same without checking the veracity of the entries therein. That he failed to notice
that, in answer to the question of whether he has any pending criminal case, Mendoza checked the box
VENANCIO M. SEVILLA, Petitioner, corresponding to the "no" answer.
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. The defense likewise presented the testimony of Edilberto G. Torres (Torres), a former City Councilor.
Torres testified that Sevilla was not yet given an office space in the Malabon City Hall on July 2, 2001;
REYES, J.: that when the members of Sevilla’s staff would then need to use the typewriter, they would just use the
typewriter inside Torres’ office. Torres further claimed that he saw Mendoza preparing the PDS of Sevilla,
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to
the latter having used the typewriter in his office.
annul and set aside the Decision2 dated February 26, 2009 and the Resolution3 dated October 22, 2010 of
the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 27925, finding Venancio M. Sevilla (Sevilla) guilty of falsification Ruling of the Sandiganbayan
of public documents through reckless imprudence punished under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
(RPC). On February 26, 2009, the Sandiganbayan rendered a Decision,8 the decretal portion of which reads:

Antecedent Facts WHEREFORE, accused VENANCIO M. SEVILLA is found GUILTY of Falsification of Public
Documents Through Reckless Imprudence and pursuant to Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code
Sevilla, a former councilor of Malabon City, was charged with the felony of falsification of public hereby imposes upon him in the absence ofany modifying circumstances the penalty of four
document, penalized under Article 171(4) of the RPC, in an Information,4 which reads: (4) months of arresto mayoras minimum to two (2) years ten (10) months and twenty one
(21) days of prision correccional as maximum, and to pay the costs.
That on or about 02 July 2001, or for sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the City of
Malabon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named There is no pronouncement as to civil liability as the facts from which it could arise do[es] not
accused, Venancio M. Sevilla, a public officer, being then a memberof the [S]angguniang appear to be indubitable.
[P]anlunsod of Malabon City, having been elected a [c]ouncilor thereof, taking advantage of
his official position and committing the offense in relation to duty, did then and there wilfully, SO ORDERED.9
unlawfully, and feloniously make a false statement in a narration of facts, the truth of which The Sandiganbayan found that Sevilla made an untruthful statement in his PDS, which is a public
he is legally bound to disclose, by stating in his C.S. Form 212, dated 02 July 2001 or Personal document,and that, in so doing, he took advantage of his official position since he would not have
Data Sheet, an official document, which he submitted to the Office of the Secretariat, accomplished the PDS if not for his position as a City Councilor. That being the signatory of the PDS,
Malabon City Council and, in answer to Question No. 25 therein, he stated that no criminal Sevilla had the responsibility to prepare, accomplish and submit the same. Further, the Sandiganbayan
case is pending against him, when in fact, as the accused fully well knew, he is an accused in pointed out that there was a legal obligation on the part of Sevilla to disclose in his PDS that there was a
Criminal Case No. 6718-97, entitled "People of the Philippines versus Venancio Sevilla and pending case against him. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan ruled that the prosecution was able to
Artemio Sevilla", for Assault Upon AnAgent Of A Person In Authority, pending before the establish all the elements of the felony of falsification of public documents.
Metropolitan Trial Court of Malabon City, Branch 55, thereby perverting the truth.
Nevertheless, the Sandiganbayan opined that Sevilla cannot be convicted of falsification of public
CONTRARY TO LAW.5 document under Article 171(4)10 of the RPC since he did not act with maliciousintent to falsify the
Upon arraignment, Sevillaentered a plea of not guilty. Trial on the merits ensued thereafter. aforementioned entry in his PDS. However, considering that Sevilla’s PDS was haphazardly and recklessly
done, which resulted in the false entry therein, the Sandiganbayan convicted Sevilla of falsification of
The prosecution alleged that on July 2, 2001, the first day of his term as councilor of the City of Malabon, public document through reckless imprudence under Article 36511 of the RPC. Thus:
Sevilla made a false narration in his Personal Data Sheet (PDS).6 That in answer to the question of
whether there is a pending criminalcase against him, Sevilla marked the box corresponding to the "no" Moreover, the marking of the "no" box to the question on whether there was a pending criminal case
answer despite the pendency of a criminal case against him for assault upon an agent ofa person in against him was not the only defect in his PDS. As found by the Office of the Honorable Ombudsman in
authority before the Metropolitan Trial Court ofMalabon City, Branch 55. its Resolution, in answer to question 29 inthe PDS, accused answered that he had not been a candidate
in any localelection (except barangay election), when in fact he ran and served ascouncilor of Malabon
Based on the same set of facts, anadministrative complaint, docketed as OMB-ADM-0-01-1520, was from 1992 to 1998. Notwithstanding the negative answer in question 29, in the same PDS, in answer to
likewise filed against Sevilla. In its Decision dated March 26, 2002, the Office of the Ombudsman found question 21, he revealed that he was a councilor from 1992 to 1998. Not to give premium to a negligent
Sevilla administratively liable for dishonesty and falsification of official document and dismissed him act, this nonetheless shows that the preparation of the PDS was haphazardly and recklessly done.
from the service. In Sevilla v. Gervacio,7the Court, in the Resolution dated June 23, 2003, affirmed the
findings of the Office of the Ombudsman as regards Sevilla’s administrative liability. Taking together these circumstances, this Court is persuaded that accused did not act with malicious
intent to falsify the document in question but merely failed to ascertain for himself the veracity of
On the other hand, Sevilla admitted that he indeed marked the box corresponding to the "no" answer narrations in his PDS before affixing his signature thereon. The reckless signing of the PDS without
vis-à-visthe question on whether he has any pending criminal case. However, heaverred that he did not verifying the data therein makes him criminally liable for his act. Accused is a government officer, who
intend to falsify his PDS. He claimed that it was Editha Mendoza (Mendoza), a member of his staff, who prior to his election as councilor in 2001, had already served as a councilor of the same city. Thus, he
actually prepared his PDS. should have been more mindful of the importance of the PDS and should have treated the said public
document with due respect.
According to Sevilla, on July 2, 2001,since he did not have an office yet, he just stayed in his house.
Ataround two o’clock in the afternoon, he was informed by Mendoza that he needs to accomplish his

35
Consequently, accused is convictedof Falsification of Public Document through Reckless Imprudence, as of intent to commit so grave a wrong as the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would
defined and penalized in Article 171, paragraph 4, in relation to Article 365, paragraph 1, of the Revised require that the corresponding penalty should befixed in proportion to the penalty prescribed for each
Penal Code. x x x.12 crime when committed willfully. For each penalty for the willful offense, there would then be a
corresponding penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the
Sevilla’s motion for reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution13 dated October penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum, to prision correccional[medium], if the
22, 2010. willful act would constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all
Hence, this appeal. the way from prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty for
criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime, but is set in relation to a whole class,
In the instant petition, Sevilla asserts that the Sandiganbayan erred in finding him guilty of the felony of or series, of crimes.(Emphasis supplied)
falsification of public documents through reckless imprudence. He claims that the Information that was
filed against him specifically charged him with the commission of an intentional felony, i.e.falsification of This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasicrimes is to state that their commission
public documents under Article 171(4) of the RPC. Thus, he could not be convicted of falsification of results in damage, either to person or property.15 (Citations omitted and emphasis ours)
public document through reckless imprudence under Article 365 of the RPC, which is a culpable felony, Further, in Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation v. People,16 the Court clarified that:
lest his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him be
violated. Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal negligence "is treated as a mere quasi offense, and
dealt with separately from willful offenses. It is not a question ofclassification or terminology. In
Issue intentional crimes, the act itselfis punished; in negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is
Essentially, the issue for the Court’s resolution is whether Sevilla can be convicted of the felony of the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerousrecklessness, lack of care or foresight, the
falsification of public document through reckless imprudence notwithstanding that the charge against imprudencia punible. Much of the confusion has arisen from the common use of such descriptive phrase
him in the Information was for the intentional felony of falsification of public document under Article as ‘homicide through reckless imprudence’, and the like; when the strict technical sense is, more
171(4) of the RPC. accurately, ‘reckless imprudence resulting in homicide’; or ‘simple imprudence causing damages to
property’."
Ruling of the Court
There is need, therefore, to rectify the designation of the offense without disturbing the imposed
The appeal is dismissed for lack of merit. penaltyfor the guidance of bench and bar in strict adherence to precedent.17 (Emphasis ours) Thus, the
proper designation ofthe felony should be reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public
At the outset, it bears stressing that the Sandiganbayan’s designation of the felony supposedly
documents and not falsification of public documentsthrough reckless imprudence.
committed by Sevilla is inaccurate. The Sandiganbayan convicted Sevilla of reckless imprudence,
punished under Article 365 of the RPC, which resulted into the falsification of a public document. Having threshed out the proper designation of the felony committed by Sevilla, the Court now weighs
However, the Sandiganbayan designated the felony committed as "falsification of public document the merit of the instant appeal. Sevilla’s appeal is anchored mainly on the variance between the offense
through reckless imprudence." The foregoing designation implies that reckless imprudence is not a crime charged in the Information that was filed against him and that proved by the prosecution. The rules on
in itself but simply a modality of committing it. Quasi-offenses under Article 365 of the RPC are distinct variance between allegation and proof are laid down under Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of
and separatecrimes and not a mere modality in the commission of a crime. Court, viz:
In Ivler v. Modesto-San Pedro,14 the Court explained that: Sec. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. – When there is variance between
the offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the offense as charged is
Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are distinct species of crime,
included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense
separately defined and penalized under the framework of our penal laws, is nothing new. As early as the
proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which isincluded in the
middle of the last century, we already sought to bring clarity to this field by rejecting in Quizon v. Justice
offense proved.
of the Peace of Pampangathe proposition that "reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a
way of committing it x x x" on three points of analysis: (1) the object of punishment in quasi-crimes (as Sec. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. – An offense charged necessarily includes the
opposed to intentional crimes); (2) the legislative intent to treat quasi crimes as distinct offenses (as offense proved when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the
opposed to subsuming them under the mitigating circumstance of minimal intent) and; (3) the different complaint or information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the
penalty structures for quasi-crimes and intentional crimes: offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those
constituting the latter.
The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless imprudence" is not a
crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of criminal Accordingly, in case of variance between the allegation and proof, a defendant may be convictedof the
liability is too broad to deserve unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their structure cannot be offense proved when the offense charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved.
committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, maliciousmischief, etc. In truth, criminal
negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere quasi offense, and dealt with separately from There is no dispute that a variance exists between the offense alleged against Sevilla and that proved by
willful offenses. It is not a mere question of classification or terminology. In intentional crimes, the act the prosecution – the Information charged him with the intentional felony of falsification of public
itself is punished; in negligence or imprudence, what isprincipally penalized is the mental attitude or document under Article 171(4) of the RPC while the prosecution was able to prove reckless imprudence
condition behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible.x resulting to falsification ofpublic documents. Parenthetically, the question that has to be resolved then is
xx whether reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public document is necessarily included in the
intentional felony of falsification ofpublic document under Article 171(4) of the RPC.
Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating only to reduce the
penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack The Court, in Samson v. Court of Appeals,18 has answered the foregoing question in the affirmative. Thus:

36
It is however contended that appellant Samson cannot be convicted of the crime of estafathrough the Sandiganbayan correctly imposed upon Sevilla the penalty of four ( 4) months of arresto mayor as
falsification by imprudence for the reason that the information filed against him charges only a willful act minimum to two (2) years ten ( 10) months and twenty one (21) days of prision correccional as
of falsification and contains no reference to any act of imprudence on his part. Nor can it be said, counsel maximum.
argues, that the alleged imprudent act includes or is necessarily includedin the offense charged in the
information because a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is inconsistent with the idea of negligence. WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision
dated February 26, 2009 and the Resolution dated October 22, 2010 of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal
xxxx Case No. 27925 are hereby AFFIRMED.
While a criminal negligent act is nota simple modality of a wilful crime, as we held in Quizon v. Justice of SO ORDERED.
the Peace of Bacolor, x x x, but a distinct crime in itself, designated asa quasi offense, in our Penal Code,
it may however be said that a conviction for the former can be had under an information exclusively
charging the commission of a wilful offense, upon the theory that the greater includes the lesser offense.
This is the situation that obtains in the present case. Appellant was charged with willful falsification but
from the evidence submitted by the parties, the Court of Appeals found thatin effecting the falsification
which made possible the cashing of checks inquestion, appellant did not act with criminal intent but
merely failed to take proper and adequate means to assure himself of the identity of the real claimants
as an ordinary prudent man would do. In other words, the information alleges acts which charge willful
falsification but which turned out to be not willful but negligent. This is a case covered by the rule when
there is a variance between the allegation and proof, and is similar to some of the cases decided by this
Tribunal.19(Emphasis ours)
Thus, Sevilla’s claim that his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him was violated when the Sandiganbayan convicted him of reckless imprudence resulting to
falsification of public documents, when the Information only charged the intentional felony of
falsification of public documents, is untenable. To stress, reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of
public documents is an offense that is necessarily included in the willful act of falsification of public
documents, the latter being the greater offense. As such, he can be convicted of reckless imprudence
resulting to falsification of public documents notwithstanding that the Information only charged the
willful act of falsification of public documents.
In this regard, the Court’s disposition in Sarep v. Sandiganbayan20 is instructive.1âwphi1 In Sarep, the
petitioner therein falsified his appointment paper which he filed with the CSC. An Information was then
filed against him for falsification of public document. Nevertheless, the Court convicted the accused of
reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public document upon a finding that the accused therein
did not maliciously pervert the truth with the wrongful intent of injuring some person. The Court,
quoting the Sandiganbayan’s disposition, held that:
We are inclined, however, to credit the accused herein with the benefit of the circumstance that he did
not maliciously pervert the truth with the wrongful intent of injuring some person (People vs. Reyes, 1
Phil. 341). Since he sincerely believed that his CSC eligibility based on his having passed the Regional
CulturalCommunity Officer (Unassembled) Examination and educational attainment were sufficient to
qualify him for a permanent position, then he should only be held liable for falsification through reckless
imprudence (People vs. Leopando, 36 O.G. 2937; People vs. Maleza, 14 Phil. 468; People vs. Pacheco, 18
Phil. 399).
Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes criminal negligence or quasi-offenses, furnishes
the middle way between a wrongful act committed with wrongful intent, which gives rise to a felony,
and a wrongful act committed without any intent which may entirely exempt the doer from criminal
liability. It is the duty of everyone to execute his own acts with due care and diligence in order that no
prejudicial or injurious results may be suffered by others from acts that are otherwise offensive (Aquino,
R.P.C. Vol. III, 1976, Ed., p. 1884). What is penalized is the mental attitude orcondition behind the acts of
dangerous recklessness and lack of care or foresight although such mental attitude might have produced
several effects or consequences (People vs. Cano, L 19660, May 24, 1966).21
Anent the imposable penalty, under Article 365 of the RPC, reckless imprudence resulting in falsification
of public document is punishable by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its
medium period. In this case, taking into account the pertinent provisions of Indeterminate Sentence Law,

37
PEOPLE V. CARMEN, 355 SCRA 267 (2001) Eddie Luntayao, father of the victim, testified that he has five children, the eldest of whom, Randy, was
13 years old at the time of the incident. On November 20, 1996, Randy had a "nervous breakdown"
G.R. No. 137268 March 26, 2001 which Eddie thought was due to Randy having to skip meals whenever he took the boy with him to the
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, farm. According to Eddie, his son started talking to himself and laughing. On January 26, 1997, upon the
vs. suggestion of accused-appellant Reynario Nuñez, Eddie and his wife Perlita and their three children
EUTIQUIA CARMEN @ Mother Perpetuala, CELEDONIA FABIE @ Isabel Fabie, DELIA SIBONGA @ Deding (Randy, Jesrel, 7, and Lesyl, 1) went with accused-appellant Nuñez to Cebu. They arrived in Cebu at
Sibonga, ALEXANDER SIBONGA @ Nonoy Sibonga, and REYNARIO NUÑEZ @ Rey Nuñez, accused- around 1 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day and spent the night in Nuñez's house in Tangke,
appellants. Talisay.

MENDOZA, J.: The following day, they went to the house of accused-appellant Carmen in Quiot, Pardo,5 where all of the
accused-appellants were present. Eddie talked to accused-appellant Carmen regarding his son's
This is an appeal from the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Cebu City, finding accused- condition. He was told that the boy was possessed by a "bad spirit," which accused-appellant Carmen
appellants Eutiquia Carmen @ Mother Perpetuala, Celedonia Fabie @ Isabel Fabie, Delia Sibonga @ said she could exorcise. She warned, however, that as the spirit might transfer to Eddie, it was best to
Deding Sibonga, Alexander Sibonga @ Nonoy Sibonga, and Reynario Nuñez @ Rey Nuñez guilty of conduct the healing prayer without him. Accused-appellants then led Randy out of the house, while
murder and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the Eddie and his wife and two daughters were locked inside a room in the house.6
victim the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity as well as the costs.
After a while, Eddie heard his son twice shout "Ma, tabang!" ("Mother, help!"). Eddie tried to go out of
The information2 against accused-appellants alleged: the room to find out what was happening to his son, but the door was locked. After about an hour, the
Luntayaos were transferred to the prayer room which was located near the main door of the house.7
That on or about the 27th day of January, 1997 at about 2:00 o'clock p.m., in the City of Cebu,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, conniving A few hours later, at around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, accused-appellants carried Randy into the prayer
and confederating together and mutually helping one another, with deliberate intent, with room and placed him on the altar. Eddie was shocked by what he saw. Randy's face was bluish and
intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there inflict fatal contused, while his tongue was sticking out of his mouth. It was clear to Eddie that his son was already
physical injuries on one Randy Luntayao which injuries caused the death of the said Randy dead. He wanted to see his son's body, but he was stopped from doing so by accused-appellant Eutiquia
Luntayao. Carmen who told him not to go near his son because the latter would be resurrected at 7 o'clock that
evening.8
Accused-appellants pleaded not guilty to the charge, whereupon they were tried.
After 7 o'clock that evening, accused-appellant Carmen asked a member of her group to call the funeral
The prosecution presented evidence showing the following: At around 2 o'clock in the afternoon of
parlor and bring a coffin as the child was already dead. It was arranged that the body would be
January 27, 1997, Honey Fe Abella, 10, and her friend Frances Claire Rivera, 7, were playing takyan in
transferred to the house of accused-appellant Nuñez. Thus, that night, the Luntayao family, accompanied
front of the house of one Bebing Lastimoso in Quiot, Pardo, Cebu City, when suddenly they heard a child
by accused-appellant Nuñez, took Randy's body to Nunez's house in Tangke, Talisay. The following day,
shout, "Tabang ma!" ("Help mother!"). The cry came from the direction of the house of accused-
January 28, 1997, accused-appellant Nuñez told Eddie to go with him to the Talisay Municipal Health
appellant Carmen, who is also known in their neighborhood as Mother Perpetuala. The two children ran
Office to report Randy's death and told him to keep quiet or they might not be able to get the necessary
towards Mother Perpetuala's house.3 What Honey Fe saw on which she testified in court, is summarized
papers for his son's burial. Nuñez took care of securing the death certificate which Eddie signed.9
in the decision of the trial court, to wit:
At around 3 o'clock in the afternoon of January 28, 1997, accused-appellant Carmen went to Tangke,
While there[,] she saw a boy, whose name . . . she [later] came to know as one Randy
Talisay to ensure that the body was buried. Eddie and his wife told her that they preferred to bring their
Luntayao, . . . being immersed head first in a drum of water. Accused Alexander Sibonga was
son's body with them to Sikatuna, Isabela, Negros Occidental but they were told by accused-appellant
holding the waist of the body while accused Reynario Nuñez held the hands of the boy at the
Carmen that this was not possible as she and the other accused-appellants might be arrested. That same
back. Accused Eutiquia Carmen, Delia Sibonga, and Celedonia Fabie were pushing down the
afternoon, Randy Luntayao was buried in Tangke, Talisay.10
boy's head into the water. She heard the boy shouting "Ma, help" for two times. Later, she
saw accused Reynario or Rey Nuñez tie the boy on the bench with a green rope as big as her After Eddie and his family had returned home to Negros Occidental, Eddie sought assistance from the
little finger. . . . After that Eutiquia Carmen poured [water from] a plastic container (galon) . . . Bombo Radyo station in Bacolod City which referred him to the regional office of the National Bureau of
into the mouth of the boy. Each time the boy struggled to raise his head, accused Alexander Investigation (NBI) in the city. On February 3, 1997, Eddie filed a complaint for murder against accused-
Sibonga banged the boy's head against the bench [to] which the boy was tied down. She even appellant Nuñez and the other members of his group.11 He also asked for the exhumation and autopsy of
heard the banging sound everytime the boy's head hit the bench. For about five times she the remains of his son.12 As the incident took place in Cebu, his complaint was referred to the NBI office
heard it. According to this witness after forcing the boy to drink water, Eutiquia Carmen and in Cebu City.
accused Celedonia Fabie alias Isabel Fabie took turns in pounding the boy's chest with their
clenched fists. All the time Rey Nuñez held down the boy's feet to the bench. She also Modesto Cajita, head of NBI, Region VII (Cebu), took over the investigation of the case. He testified that
witnessed . . . Celedonia Fabie dropped her weight, buttocks first, on the body of the boy. he met with Eddie Luntayao and supervised the exhumation and autopsy of the body of Randy
Later on, Eutiquia Carmen ordered Delia or Deding Sibonga to get a knife from the kitchen. Luntayao.13 Cajita testified that he also met with accused-appellant Carmen and after admitting that she
Eutiquia Carmen then slowly plunged the stainless knife on the left side of the boy's body and and the other accused-appellants conducted a "pray-over healing" session on the victim on January 27,
with the use of a plastic gallon container, the top portion of which was cut out, Eutiquia 1997, accused-appellant Carmen refused to give any further statement. Cajita noticed a wooden bench
Carmen [caught] the blood dripping from the left side of the boy's body. Honey Fe heard the in the kitchen of Carmen's house, which, with Carmen's permission, he took with him to the NBI office
moaning coming from the tortured boy. Much later she saw Nonoy or Alexander Sibonga, for examination. Cajita admitted he did not know the results of the examination.14
Reynario Nuñez, Delia Sibonga, Celedonia Fabie, and Eutiquia Carmen carry the boy into the Dr. Ronaldo B. Mendez, the NBI medico-legal officer who conducted the autopsy on Randy Luntayao,
house.4 testified that he, the victim's father, and some NBI agents, exhumed the victim's body on February 20,

38
1997 at Tangke Catholic Cemetery in the Tangke, Talisay, Cebu. He conducted the autopsy on the same their fists. According to her, neither did accused-appellant Carmen stab the boy. She claimed that Randy
day and later submitted the following report (Exhs. E and F):15 was still alive when he was taken inside the house.19
FINDINGS The defense presented Maria Lilia Jimenez, 20, Visitacion Seniega, 39, and Josefina Abing, 39, who
testified that accused-appellant Carmen had cured them of their illnesses by merely praying over them
Body in advanced stage of decomposition wearing a white shirt and shorts wrapped in printed and without applying any form of physical violence on them.20
blanket (white and orange) placed in white wooden coffin and buried underground about 4
feet deep. Milagros Carloto, Municipal Health Officer of Talisay, Cebu, was also presented by the defense to testify
on the death certificate she issued in which she indicated that Randy Luntayao died of pneumonia.
Contusion, 3.0 x 4.0 cms. chest, anterior, left side. According to her, Eddie Luntayao came to her office on January 28, 1997 to ask for the issuance of a
Fracture, 3rd rib, left, mid-clavicular line. death certificate for his son Randy Luntayao who had allegedly suffered from cough and fever.21

Fracture, linear, occipital bone right side extending to the bases of middle cranial On cross-examination, Dr. Carloto admitted that she never saw the body of the victim as she merely
fossae right to left down to the occipital bone, left side. relied on what she had been told by Eddie Luntayao. She said that it was a midwife, Mrs. Revina Laviosa,
who examined the victim's body.22
Fracture, diastatic, lamboidal suture, bilateral.
The last witness for the defense, Assistant City Prosecutor Salvador Solima, was presented to identify the
Internal organs in advanced stage of decomposition. resolution he had prepared (Exh. 8)23 on the re-investigation of the case in which he recommended the
dismissal of the charge against accused-appellants. His testimony was dispensed with, however, as the
Cranial vault almost empty.
prosecution stipulated on the matters Solima was going to testify with the qualification that Solima's
CAUSE OF DEATH: [The victim] could have died due to the internal effects of a traumatic head recommendation was disapproved by City Prosecutor Primo Miro.24
injury and/or traumatic chest injury.
The prosecution recalled Eddie Luntayao to the stand to rebut the testimonies of Ritsel Blase and Dr.
Dr. Mendez testified that the contusion on the victim's chest was caused by contact with a hard blunt Milagros Carloto. Eddie denied having witnessed what accused-appellants did to his son. He reiterated
instrument. He added that the fracture on the rib was complete while that found on the base of the skull his earlier claim that after accused-appellants had taken Randy, he and his wife and two daughters were
followed a serrated or uneven pattern. He said that the latter injury could have been caused by the locked inside a room. He disputed Blase's statement that his son was still alive when he was brought into
forcible contact of that part of the body with a blunt object such as a wooden bench.16 the prayer room. He said he saw that his son's head slumped while being carried by accused-appellants.25

On cross-examination, Dr. Mendez admitted that he did not find any stab wound on the victim's body As for the testimony of Dr. Carloto, Eddie admitted having talked with her when he and accused-
but explained that this could be due to the fact that at the time the body was exhumed and examined, it appellant Nuñez went to her office on January 28, 1997. However, he denied having told her that his son
was already in an advanced state of decomposition rendering such wound, if present, unrecognizable.17 was suffering from fever and cough as he told her that Randy had a nervous breakdown. He took
exception to Dr. Carloto's statement that he was alone when he went to her office because it was Nuñez
Accused-appellants did not testify. Instead, the defense presented: (a) Ritsel Blase, an alleged eyewitness who insisted that he (Eddie) accompany him in order to secure the death certificate.26
to the incident; (b) Maria Lilina Jimenez, Visitacion Seniega, and Josefina Abing, alleged former "patients"
of accused-appellant Carmen; (c) Dr. Milagros Carloto, the municipal health officer of Talisay, Cebu and; On November 18, 1998, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
(d) Atty. Salvador Solima of the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances, [the] accused are all found
Ritsel Blase, 21, testified that since 1987 she had been with the group of accused-appellant Carmen, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and are hereby [sentenced] to suffer
whom she calls Mother Perpetuala. She recounted that at around 2 o'clock in the afternoon of January the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, with the accessory penalties of the law; to indemnify
27, 1997, while she was in the house of accused-appellant Carmen, she saw Eddie Luntayao talking with jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased Randy Luntayao in the sum of P50,000.00; and
the latter regarding the treatment of his son. The boy was later led to the kitchen and given a bath prior to pay the costs. The accused, are, however, credited in full during the whole period of their
to "treatment." After water was poured on the boy, he became unruly prompting accused-appellant detention provided they will signify in writing that they will abide by all the rules and
Carmen to decide not to continue with the "treatment," but the boy's parents allegedly prevailed upon regulations of the penitentiary.27
her to continue. As the boy continued to resist, accused-appellant Carmen told accused-appellants Delia
In finding accused-appellants guilty of murder, the trial court stated:
Sibonga and Celedonia Fabie to help her (Carmen) lay the boy on a bench. As the child resisted all the
more, Eddie Luntayao allegedly told the group to tie the boy to the bench. Accused-appellant Delia Killing a person with treachery is murder even if there is no intent to kill. When death occurs,
Sibonga got hold of a nylon rope which was used to tie the child to the bench. Then Carmen, Delia it is presumed to be the natural consequence of physical injuries inflicted. Since the
Sibonga, and Fabie prayed over the child, but as the latter started hitting his head against the bench, defendant did commit the crime with treachery, he is guilty of murder, because of the
Carmen asked Nuñez to place his hands under the boy's head to cushion the impact of the blow voluntary presence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery (P v. Cagoco, 58 Phil. 530). All
everytime the child brought down his head. To stop the boy from struggling, accused-appellant Fabie the accused in the case at bar had contributed different acts in mercilessly inflicting injuries to
held the boy's legs, while accused-appellant Nuñez held his shoulders. After praying over the boy, the the victim. For having immersed the head of the victim into the barrel of water, all the herein
latter was released and carried inside the house. Accused-appellant Alexander Sibonga, who had arrived, accused should be held responsible for all the consequences even if the result be different
helped carry the boy inside. After this, Blase said she no longer knew what happened inside the house as from that which was intended (Art. 4, par. 1, RPC). It is pointed out that in P. v. Cagoco, 58
she stayed outside to finish the laundry.18 Phil. 524, even if there was no intent to kill[,] in inflicting physical injuries with treachery, the
accused in that case was convicted of murder. In murder qualified by treachery, it is required
Blase testified that the parents of Randy Luntayao witnessed the "pray-over" of their son from beginning
only that there is treachery in the attack, and this is true even if the offender has no intent to
to end. She denied that accused-appellants Fabie and Delia Sibonga struck the victim on his chest with
kill the person assaulted. Under the guise of a ritual or treatment, the accused should not
have intentionally immersed upside down the head of Randy Luntayao into a barrel of water;
39
banged his head against the bench; pounded his chest with fists, or plunged a kitchen knife to limits itself to the time when accused-appellants undertook their unauthorized "treatment" of the victim.
his side so that blood would come out for these acts would surely cause death to the victim. . Obviously, such an evaluation of the case cannot be allowed.
..
Consequently, treachery cannot be appreciated for in the absence of intent to kill, there is no treachery
One who commits an intentional felony is responsible for all the consequences which may or the deliberate employment of means, methods, and manner of execution to ensure the safety of the
naturally and logically result therefrom, whether foreseen or intended or not. Ordinarily, accused from the defensive or retaliatory attacks coming from the victim.33 Viewed in this light, the acts
when a person commits a felony with malice, he intends the consequences of his felonious which the trial court saw as manifestations of treachery in fact relate to efforts by accused-appellants to
act. In view of paragraph 1 of Art. 4, a person committing a felony is criminally liable although restrain Randy Luntayao so that they can effect the cure on him.
the consequences of his felonious acts are not intended by him. . . .
On the other hand, there is no merit in accused-appellants' contention that the testimony of prosecution
.... eyewitness Honey Fe Abella is not credible. The Court is more than convinced of Honey Fe's credibility.
Her testimony is clear, straightforward, and is far from having been coached or contrived. She was only a
Intent is presumed from the commission of an unlawful act. The presumption of criminal few meters away from the kitchen where accused-appellants conducted their "pray-over" healing
intent may arise from the proof of the criminal act and it is for the accused to rebut this session not to mention that she had a good vantage point as the kitchen had no roof nor walls but only a
presumption. In the case at bar, there is enough evidence that the accused confederated with pantry. Her testimony was corroborated by the autopsy findings of Dr. Mendez who, consistent with
one another in inflicting physical harm to the victim (an illegal act). These acts were Honey Fe's testimony, noted fractures on the third left rib and on the base of the victim's skull. With
intentional, and the wrong done resulted in the death of their victim. Hence, they are liable regard to Dr. Mendez's failure to find any stab wound in the victim's body, he himself had explained that
for all the direct and natural consequences of their unlawful act, even if the ultimate result such could be due to the fact that at the time the autopsy was conducted, the cadaver was already in an
had not been intended.28 advanced state of decomposition. Randy Luntayao's cadaver was exhumed 24 days after it had been
Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellants allege that the trial court erred in convicting them of murder.29 buried. Considering the length of time which had elapsed and the fact that the cadaver had not been
embalmed, it was very likely that the soft tissues had so decomposed that, as Dr. Mendez said, it was no
First. It would appear that accused-appellants are members of a cult and that the bizarre ritual longer possible to determine whether there was a stab wound. As for the other points raised by accused-
performed over the victim was consented to by the victim's parents. With the permission of the victim's appellants to detract the credibility of Honey Fe's testimony, the same appear to be only minor and
parents, accused-appellant Carmen, together with the other accused-appellants, proceeded to subject trivial at best.
the boy to a "treatment" calculated to drive the "bad spirit" from the boy's body. Unfortunately, the
strange procedure resulted in the death of the boy. Thus, accused-appellants had no criminal intent to Accused-appellants contend that the failure of the prosecution to present the testimony of Frances
kill the boy. Their liability arises from their reckless imprudence because they ought that to know their Claire Rivera as well as the knife used in stabbing Randy Luntayao puts in doubt the prosecution's
actions would not bring about the cure. They are, therefore, guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in evidence. We do not think so. The presentation of the knife in evidence is not indispensable.34
homicide and not of murder. Finally, accused-appellants make much of the fact that although the case was tried under Judge Renato
Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, states that reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, C. Dacudao, the decision was rendered by Judge Galicano Arriesgado who took over the case after the
but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results by reason of prosecution and the defense had rested their cases.35 However, the fact that the judge who wrote the
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing such act. Compared to intentional decision did not hear the testimonies of the witnesses does not make him less competent to render a
felonies, such as homicide or murder, what takes the place of the element of malice or intention to decision, since his ruling is based on the records of the case and the transcript of stenographic notes of
commit a wrong or evil is the failure of the offender to take precautions due to lack of skill taking into the testimonies of the witnesses.36
account his employment, or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition, and other Second. The question now is whether accused-appellants can be held liable for reckless imprudence
circumstances regarding persons, time, and place. resulting in homicide, considering that the information charges them with murder. We hold that they
The elements of reckless imprudence are apparent in the acts done by accused-appellants which, can.
because of their lack of medical skill in treating the victim of his alleged ailment, resulted in the latter's Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides in pertinent parts:
death. As already stated, accused-appellants, none of whom is a medical practitioner, belong to a
religious group, known as the Missionaries of Our Lady of Fatima, which is engaged in faith healing. SEC. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is variance
between the offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the
In United States v. Divino,30 the accused, who was not a licensed physician, in an attempt to cure the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall
victim of ulcers in her feet, wrapped a piece of clothing which had been soaked in petroleum around the be convicted of the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense
victim's feet and then lighted the clothing, thereby causing injuries to the victim. The Court held the charged which is included in the offense proved.
accused liable for reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries. It was noted that the accused had no
intention to cause an evil but rather to remedy the victim's ailment. SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. An offense charged necessarily
31
includes the offense proved when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the
In another case, People v. Vda. de Golez, the Court ruled that the proper charge to file against a non- former, as alleged in the complaint or information, constitute the latter. And an offense
medical practitioner, who had treated the victim despite the fact that she did not possess the necessary charged is necessarily included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the
technical knowledge or skill to do so and caused the latter's death, was homicide through reckless former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.
imprudence.
In Samson v. Court of Appeals,37 the accused were charged with, and convicted of, estafa through
The trial court's reliance on the rule that criminal intent is presumed from the commission of an unlawful falsification of public document. The Court of Appeals modified the judgment and held one of the
act is untenable because such presumption only holds in the absence of proof to the contrary.32 The facts accused liable for estafa through falsification by negligence. On appeal, it was contended that the
of the case indubitably show the absence of intent to kill on the part of the accused-appellants. Indeed,
the trial court's findings can be sustained only if the circumstances of the case are ignored and the Court
40
appeals court erred in holding the accused liable for estafa through negligence because the information
charged him with having wilfully committed estafa. In overruling this contention, the Court held:
While a criminal negligent act is not a simple modality of a willful crime, as we held in Quizon
v. Justice of the Peace of Bacolor, G.R. No. L-6641, July 28, 1955, but a distinct crime in itself,
designated as a quasi offense in our Penal Code, it may however be said that a conviction for
the former can be had under an information exclusively charging the commission of a willful
offense, upon the theory that the greater includes the lesser offense. This is the situation that
obtains in the present case. Appellant was charged with willful falsification but from the
evidence submitted by the parties, the Court of Appeals found that in effecting the
falsification which made possible the cashing of the checks in question, appellant did not act
with criminal intent but merely failed to take proper and adequate means to assure himself of
the identity of the real claimants as an ordinary prudent man would do. In other words, the
information alleges acts which charge willful falsification but which turned out to be not
willful but negligent. This is a case covered by the rule when there is a variance between the
allegation and proof. . . .
The fact that the information does not allege that the falsification was committed with
imprudence is of no moment for here this deficiency appears supplied by the evidence
submitted by appellant himself and the result has proven beneficial to him. Certainly, having
alleged that the falsification has been willful, it would be incongruous to allege at the same
time that it was committed with imprudence for a charge of criminal intent is incompatible
with the concept of negligence.
In People v. Fernando,38 the accused was charged with, and convicted of, murder by the trial court. On
appeal, this Court modified the judgment and held the accused liable for reckless imprudence resulting in
homicide after finding that he did not act with criminal intent.
Third. Coming now to the imposable penalty, under Art. 365, reckless imprudence resulting in homicide
is punishable by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period. In this
case, taking into account the pertinent provisions of Indeterminate Sentence Law, the accused-
appellants should suffer the penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years
and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum.
As to their civil liability, accused-appellants should pay the heirs of Randy Luntayao an indemnity in the
amount of P50,000.00 and moral damages also in the amount of P50,000.00.39 In addition, they should
pay exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00 in view of accused-appellants' gross negligence in
attempting to "cure" the victim without a license to practice medicine and to give an example or
correction for the public good.40
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Cebu City, is AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that accused-appellants are hereby declared guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in
homicide and are each sentenced to suffer an indeterminate prison term of four (4) months of arresto
mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum. In
addition, accused-appellants are ORDERED jointly and severally to pay the heirs of Randy Luntayao
indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00, moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00, and exemplary
damages in the amount of P30,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur
Quisumbing, J., on leave.

41
PEOPLE V. PUGAY, 167 SCRA 439 (1988) 3. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN LENDING CREDENCE TO THE INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY OF
EDUARDO GABION WHO WAS ONE OF THE MANY SUSPECTS ARRESTED BY THE POLICE
G.R. No. L-74324 November 17, 1988 (Accused-appellants' Brief, p. 48, Rollo).
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, The antecedent facts are as follows:
vs.
FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA, accused-appellants. The deceased Miranda, a 25-year old retardate, and the accused Pugay were friends. Miranda used to
run errands for Pugay and at times they slept together. On the evening of May 19, 1982, a town fiesta
MEDIALDEA, J.: fair was held in the public plaza of Rosario, Cavite. There were different kinds of ride and one was a ferris
For the death of Bayani Miranda, a retardate, FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA and BENJAMIN SAMSON y wheel.
MAGDALENA were charged with the crime of MURDER in Criminal Case No. L-175-82 of the Court of First Sometime after midnight of the same date, Eduardo Gabion was sitting in the ferris wheel and reading a
Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Cavite, under an information which reads as follows: comic book with his friend Henry. Later, the accused Pugay and Samson with several companions
That on or about May 19, 1982 at the town plaza of the Municipality of Rosario, Province of arrived. These persons appeared to be drunk as they were all happy and noisy. As the group saw the
Cavite, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named deceased walking nearby, they started making fun of him. They made the deceased dance by tickling him
accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping and assisting one another, with with a piece of wood.
treachery and evident premeditation, taking advantage of their superior strength, and with Not content with what they were doing with the deceased, the accused Pugay suddenly took a can of
the decided purpose to kill, poured gasoline, a combustible liquid to the body of Bayani gasoline from under the engine of the ferns wheel and poured its contents on the body of the former.
Miranda and with the use of fire did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, burn Gabion told Pugay not to do so while the latter was already in the process of pouring the gasoline. Then,
the whole body of said Bayani Miranda which caused his subsequent death, to the damage the accused Samson set Miranda on fire making a human torch out of him.
and prejudice of the heirs of the aforenamed Bayani Miranda.
The ferris wheel operator later arrived and doused with water the burning body of the deceased. Some
That the crime was committed with the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the people around also poured sand on the burning body and others wrapped the same with rags to
aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and superior strength, and the means extinguish the flame.
employed was to weaken the defense; that the wrong done in the commission of the crime
was deliberately augmented by causing another wrong, that is the burning of the body of The body of the deceased was still aflame when police officer Rolando Silangcruz and other police
Bayani Miranda. officers of the Rosario Police Force arrived at the scene of the incident. Upon inquiring as to who were
responsible for the dastardly act, the persons around spontaneously pointed to Pugay and Samson as the
CONTRARY TO LAW (p. 1, Records). authors thereof.
Upon being arraigned, both accused pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. After trial, the trial court The deceased was later rushed to the Grace Hospital for treatment. In the meantime, the police officers
rendered a decision finding both accused guilty on the crime of murder but crediting in favor of the brought Gabion, the two accused and five other persons to the Rosario municipal building for
accused Pugay the mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong, the interrogation. Police officer Reynaldo Canlas took the written statements of Gabion and the two accused,
dispositive portion of which reads as follows: after which Gabion was released. The two accused remained in custody.
WHEREFORE, the accused Fernando Pugay y Balcita and Benjamin Samson y Magdalena are After a careful review of the records, We find the grounds relied upon by the accused-appellants for the
pronounced guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals by direct participation of the crime reversal of the decision of the court a quo to be without merit.
of murder for the death of Bayani Miranda, and appreciating the aforestated mitigating
circumstance in favor of Pugay, he is sentenced to a prison term ranging from twelve (12) It bears emphasis that barely a few hours after the incident, accused-appellants gave their written
years of prision mayor, as minimum, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum, statements to the police. The accused Pugay admitted in his statement, Exhibit F, that he poured a can of
and Samson to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua together with the accessories of the gasoline on the deceased believing that the contents thereof was water and then the accused Samson
law for both of them. The accused are solidarily held liable to indemnify the heirs of the victim set the deceased on fire. The accused Samson, on the other hand, alleged in his statement that he saw
in the amount of P13,940.00 plus moral damages of P10,000.00 and exemplary damages of Pugay pour gasoline on Miranda but did not see the person who set him on fire. Worthy of note is the
P5,000.00. fact that both statements did not impute any participation of eyewitness Gabion in the commission of
the offense.
Let the preventive imprisonment of Pugay be deducted from the principal penalty.
While testifying on their defense, the accused-appellants repudiated their written statements alleging
Cost against both accused. that they were extracted by force. They claimed that the police maltreated them into admitting
SO ORDERED (p. 248, Records). authorship of the crime. They also engaged in a concerted effort to lay the blame on Gabion for the
commission of the offense.
Not satisfied with the decision, both accused interposed the present appeal and assigned the following
errors committed by the court a quo: Thus, while it is true that the written statements of the accused-appellants were mentioned and
discussed in the decision of the court a quo, the contents thereof were not utilized as the sole basis for
1. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN UTILIZING THE STATEMENTS OF ACCUSED-APPELLANTS IN ITS the findings of facts in the decision rendered. The said court categorically stated that "even without
APPRECIATION OF FACTS DESPITE ITS ADMISSION THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS WERE Exhibits 'F' and 'G', there is still Gabion's straightforward, positive and convincing testimony which
NOT ASSISTED BY A COUNSEL DURING THE CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION. remains unaffected by the uncorroborated, self-serving and unrealiable testimonies of Pugay and
Samson" (p. 247, Records).
2. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE SUPPRESSION BY THE PROSECUTION
OF SOME EVIDENCE IS FATAL TO ITS CASE.
42
Accused-appellants next assert that the prosecution suppressed the testimonies of other eyewitnesses A. Because I pity Bayani, sir.
to the incident. They claim that despite the fact that there were other persons investigated by the police,
only Gabion was presented as an eyewitness during the trial of the case. They argue that the deliberate Q. When you saw Pugay tickling Bayani with a stick on his ass you tried according to you to
non- presentation of these persons raises the presumption that their testimonies would be adverse to ask him not to and then later you said you asked not to pour gasoline. Did Pugay tell you he
the prosecution. was going to pour gasoline on Bayani?

There is no dispute that there were other persons who witnessed the commission of the crime. In fact A. I was not told, sir.
there appears on record (pp. 16-17, Records) the written statements of one Abelardo Reyes and one Q. Did you come to know..... how did you come to know he was going to pour gasoline that is
Monico Alimorong alleging the same facts and imputing the respective acts of pouring of gasoline and why you prevent him?
setting the deceased on fire to the accused-appellants as testified to by Gabion in open court. They were
listed as prosecution witnesses in the information filed. Considering that their testimonies would be A. Because he was holding on a container of gasoline. I thought it was water but it was
merely corroborative, their non-presentation does not give rise to the presumption that evidence wilfully gasoline.
suppressed would be adverse if produced. This presumption does not apply to the suppression of merely
Q. It is clear that while Pugay was tickling Bayani with a stick on his ass, he later got hold of a
corroborative evidence (U.S. vs. Dinola, 37 Phil. 797).<äre||anº•1àw> Besides, the matter as to whom to
can of gasoline, is that correct?
utilize as witness is for the prosecution to decide.
A. Yes, sir.
Accused-appellants also attack the credibility of the eyewitness Gabion alleging that not only was the
latter requested by the mother of the deceased to testify for the prosecution in exchange for his Q. And when he pick up the can of gasoline, was that the time you told him not to pour
absolution from liability but also because his testimony that he was reading a comic book during an gasoline when he merely pick up the can of gasoline.
unusual event is contrary to human behavior and experience.
A. I saw him pouring the gasoline on the body of Joe.
Gabion testified that it was his uncle and not the mother of the deceased who asked him to testify and
state the truth about the incident. The mother of the deceased likewise testified that she never talked to Q. So, it is clear when you told Pugay not to pour gasoline he was already in the process of
Gabion and that she saw the latter for the first time when the instant case was tried. Besides, the pouring gasoline on the body of Bayani?
accused Pugay admitted that Gabion was his friend and both Pugay and the other accused Samson A. Yes, sir (Tsn, July 30, 1983, pp. 32-33).
testified that they had no previous misunderstanding with Gabion. Clearly, Gabion had no reason to
testify falsely against them. It is thus clear that prior to the incident in question, Gabion was reading a comic book; that Gabion
stopped reading when the group of Pugay started to make fun of the deceased; that Gabion saw Pugay
In support of their claim that the testimony of Gabion to the effect that he saw Pugay pour gasoline on get the can of gasoline from under the engine of the ferris wheel; that it was while Pugay was in the
the deceased and then Samson set him on fire is incredible, the accused-appellants quote Gabion's process of pouring the gasoline on the body of the deceased when Gabion warned him not to do so; and
testimony on cross-examination that, after telling Pugay not to pour gasoline on the deceased, he that Gabion later saw Samson set the deceased on fire.
(Gabion) resumed reading comics; and that it was only when the victim's body was on fire that he
noticed a commotion. However, there is nothing in the records showing that there was previous conspiracy or unity of criminal
purpose and intention between the two accused-appellants immediately before the commission of the
However, explaining this testimony on re-direct examination, Gabion stated: crime. There was no animosity between the deceased and the accused Pugay or Samson. Their meeting
Q. Mr. Gabion, you told the Court on cross-examination that you were reading comics when at the scene of the incident was accidental. It is also clear that the accused Pugay and his group merely
you saw Pugay poured gasoline unto Bayani Miranda and lighted by Samson. How could you wanted to make fun of the deceased. Hence, the respective criminal responsibility of Pugay and Samson
possibly see that incident while you were reading comics? arising from different acts directed against the deceased is individual and not collective, and each of
them is liable only for the act committed by him (U.S. vs. Magcomot, et. al. 13, Phil. 386; U.S. vs. Abiog,
A. I put down the comics which I am reading and I saw what they were doing. et. al. 37 Phil. 1371).
Q. According to you also before Bayani was poured with gasoline and lighted and burned later The next question to be determined is the criminal responsibility of the accused Pugay. Having taken the
you had a talk with Pugay, is that correct? can from under the engine of the ferris wheel and holding it before pouring its contents on the body of
the deceased, this accused knew that the can contained gasoline. The stinging smell of this flammable
A. When he was pouring gasoline on Bayani Miranda I was trying to prevent him from doing
liquid could not have escaped his notice even before pouring the same. Clearly, he failed to exercise all
so.
the diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable consequence arising from any act that may be
Q. We want to clarify. According to you a while ago you had a talk with Pugay and as a matter committed by his companions who at the time were making fun of the deceased. We agree with the
of fact, you told him not to pour gasoline. That is what I want to know from you, if that is Solicitor General that the accused is only guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence defined in
true? Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. In U.S. vs. Maleza, et. al. 14 Phil. 468, 470, this Court
ruled as follows:
A. Yes, sir.
A man must use common sense and exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his duty to be
Q. Aside from Bayani being tickled with a stick on his ass, do you mean to say you come to cautious, careful, and prudent, if not from instinct, then through fear of incurring punishment.
know that Pugay will pour gasoline unto him? He is responsible for such results as anyone might foresee and for acts which no one would
A. I do not know that would be that incident. have performed except through culpable abandon. Otherwise his own person, rights and
property, all those of his fellow-beings, would ever be exposed to all manner of danger and
Q. Why did you as(k) Pugay in the first place not to pour gasoline before he did that actually? injury.

43
The proper penalty that the accused Pugay must suffer is an indeterminate one ranging from four (4)
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as
maximum. With respect to the accused Samson, the Solicitor General in his brief contends that "his
conviction of murder, is proper considering that his act in setting the deceased on fire knowing that
gasoline had just been poured on him is characterized by treachery as the victim was left completely
helpless to defend and protect himself against such an outrage" (p. 57, Rollo). We do not agree.
There is entire absence of proof in the record that the accused Samson had some reason to kill the
deceased before the incident. On the contrary, there is adequate evidence showing that his act was
merely a part of their fun-making that evening. For the circumstance of treachery to exist, the attack
must be deliberate and the culprit employed means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which
tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which
the offended party might make.
There can be no doubt that the accused Samson knew very well that the liquid poured on the body of
the deceased was gasoline and a flammable substance for he would not have committed the act of
setting the latter on fire if it were otherwise. Giving him the benefit of doubt, it call be conceded that as
part of their fun-making he merely intended to set the deceased's clothes on fire. His act, however, does
not relieve him of criminal responsibility. Burning the clothes of the victim would cause at the very least
some kind of physical injuries on his person, a felony defined in the Revised Penal Code. If his act
resulted into a graver offense, as what took place in the instant case, he must be held responsible
therefor. Article 4 of the aforesaid code provides, inter alia, 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.
As no sufficient evidence appears in the record establishing any qualifying circumstances, the accused
Samson is only guilty of the crime of homicide defined and penalized in Article 249 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended. We are disposed to credit in his favor the ordinary mitigating circumstance of no
intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed as there is evidence of a fact from which such
conclusion can be drawn. The eyewitness Gabion testified that the accused Pugay and Samson were
stunned when they noticed the deceased burning (Tsn, June 1, 1983, pp. 16-17).<äre||anº•1àw>
The proper penalty that the accused Samson must suffer is an indeterminate one ranging from eight (8)
years of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
The lower court held the accused solidarily liable for P13,940.00, the amount spent by Miranda's parents
for his hospitalization, wake and interment. The indemnity for death is P30,000.00. Hence, the indemnity
to the heirs of the deceased Miranda is increased to P43,940.00.
Both accused shall be jointly and severally liable for the aforesaid amount plus the P10,000.00 as moral
damages and P5,000.00 as exemplary damages as found by the court a quo.
Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed with the modifications above-indicated. Costs against the accused-
appellants.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.

44