Criminal Law Digests – November 1999
People v. Moroy Gallo
November 16, 1999
Moroy Gallo was convicted by the trial court of murder. He questions the testimony of the witness, Amelita Elarmo because of her relationship with the deceased.
The Supreme Court repeated the well-settled doctrine that mere relationship of a witness to the victim does not render her testimony less worthy of credit, especially where there is no showing of improper motive. The Court also upheld the claim of conspiracy. To establish conspiracy it is not essential that there be previous agreement to commit the crime; it is sufficient that there be a common purpose and design, concerted action and concurrence of the interest and the minds of the parties meet understandingly so as to bring about a deliberate agreement to commit the offense charged, notwithstanding the absence of a formal agreement. The Supreme Court also upheld the trial court’s appreciation of the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength. The armed assailants used their greater number and superior power to overwhelm the unarmed victim.
In addition, since the murder was committed prior to the effectivity of RA 7659, the applicable provision is Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes murder with reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. The imposable penalty which has three periods, namely, minimum (reclusion temporal), medium (reclusion perpetua) and maximum (death), makes Art. 64 of the Revised Penal Code applicable. In this case the prosecution was able to establish the qualifying aggravating circumstances of abuse of superior strength. In the absence of any other generic aggravating and mitigating circumstance, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua, the medium period of the penalty pursuant to Art. 64 of the Penal Code. Scnc
People v. Rosalinda Ariola
November 16, 1999
Elvira Obana, with Rosalinda Ariola were convicted of illegal recruitment in large scale, under Article 38 and 39 of the Labor Code. The 6 accused presented themselves as part of the Manila Booking Agency, and offered jobs in New Guinea. They promised employment upon the payment of recruitment fees. The victims discovered that the office was not actually Manila Booking Agency, and the recruiters were unlicensed.
The crime of illegal recruitment in large scale is committed when three (3) elements concur, namely: (a) The offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers; (b) The offender undertakes either any activity within the meaning of “recruitment and placement” defined under Art. 13, par. (b), of the Labor Code.
ART. 13. Definitions. – x x x x (b) “Recruitment and placement” refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. or any of the prohibited acts enumerated in ART. 34. Prohibited practices. – It shall be unlawful for any individual, entity, licensee, or holder of authority: (a) To charge or accept, directly or indirectly, any amount greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor, or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance; (b) To furnish or publish any false notice or information or document in relation to recruitment or employment; (c) To give any false notice, testimony, information or document or commit any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a license or authority under this Code; (d) To induce or to attempt to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him to another unless the transfer is designed to liberate the worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment; (e) To influence or to attempt to influence any person or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for employment through his agency; (f) To engage in the recruitment or placement of workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality or to the dignity of the Republic of the Philippines; (g) To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor or by his duly authorized representatives; (h) To fail to file reports on the status of employment, placement, vacancies, remittances of foreign exchange earnings, separation from jobs, departures and such other matters or information as may be required by the Secretary of Labor; (i) To substitute or alter employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the periods of expiration of the same without the approval of the Secretary of Labor; (j) To become an officer or member of the Board or any corporation engaged in travel agency or to be engaged directly or indirectly in the management of a travel agency; and, (k) To withhold or deny travel documents from applicant workers before departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under this Code and its implementing rules and regulations.] of the same Code; and (c) The offender committed the same against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group.
People v. Rodrigo Lasola
November 17, 1999
This is a case for automatic review where Rodrigo Lasola was convicted of two counts of rape of an under-aged relative.
The Court reiterated the principle that in cases of qualified rape of an under-aged relative, the prosecution must allege and prove the ordinary elements of 1) sexual congress, 2) with a woman, 3) by force and without consent, and in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty, the additional elements that 4) the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape and 5) the offender is a parent (whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted) of the victim. Well-settled too, is the doctrine that when a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to constitute the commission of the crime, and this rule applies with more vigor when the culprit is a close relative of the victim. The judgement of the lower court was affirmed.
People v. Joel Pinca
To properly appreciate the qualifying circumstance of treachery, two conditions must first concur: (1) the offender employed such means, method or manner of execution as to ensure his or her safety from the defensive or retaliatory acts of the victim; and (2) the said means, method or manner of execution was deliberately adopted. The essence of treachery is the deliberateness and the unexpectedness of the attack, which give the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or to escape.
With respect to evident premeditation, there must be clear and convincing proof of the following: (1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime, (2) an act manifestly indicating that he clung to his determination, and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between such determination and the execution that allowed the criminal to reflect upon the consequences of his act.
For voluntary surrender to be appreciated as a mitigating circumstance, the following requisites must concur: (1) the offender has not been actually arrested, (2) the offender surrendered to a person in authority, and (3) the surrender was voluntary. If the only reason for the supposed surrender is to ensure the safety of the accused whose arrest is inevitable, the surrender is not spontaneous and hence not voluntary.
Ordinarily, intoxication may be considered either aggravating or mitigating, depending upon the circumstances attending the commission of the crime. Intoxication has the effect of decreasing the penalty, if it is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit the contemplated crime; on the other hand, when it is habitual or intentional, it is considered an aggravating circumstance. A person pleading intoxication to mitigate penalty must present proof of having taken a quantity of alcoholic beverage prior to the commission of the crime, sufficient to produce the effect of obfuscating reason. At the same time, that person must show proof of not being a habitual drinker and not taking the alcoholic drink with the intention to reinforce his resolve to commit the crime.
People v. Rustico Rivera
The case is a review by the Court of the issue of whether the constitutional presumption of innocence accorded to an accused has been sufficiently overcome by the State enough to sustain the judgment of the trial court finding the indictee guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified rape and thereby imposing upon him the death penalty.
The trial court has correctly imposed the death penalty in the case at bar after taking into account the qaulifying circumstances of minority of the victim and the paternity relationship between appellant and the victim, as provided for in Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. The crime of rape has been established. Alphamia, the victim, is a minor (merely 10 years of age at the time of commission of the offense), and the offender is the father of the victim. These elements have been properly alleged in the information and proven during the trial.
People v. Mateo Balluda
Appellant was convicted for violation of Republic Act No. 6425. He contends that he was neither selling, delivering, nor transporting drugs at the time he was apprehended.
Under the Rules of Evidence, it is disputably presumed that things which a person possesses or over which he exercises acts of ownership, are owned by him. In U.S. vs. Bandoc, the Court ruled that the finding of a dangerous drug in the house or within the premises of the house of the accused is prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi and is enough to convict in the absence of a satisfactory explanation. The constitutional presumption of innocence will not apply as long as there is some logical connection between the fact proved and the ultimate fact presumed, and the inference of one fact from proof of another shall not be so unreasonable as to be a purely arbitrary mandate. The burden of evidence is thus shifted on the possessor of the dangerous drug to explain absence of animus possidendi. In the case under consideration, it is not disputed that appellant was apprehended while carrying a sack containing marijuana. Consequently, to warrant his acquittal, he must show that his act was innocent and done without intent to possess, i.e. without knowledge that what he possessed was a prohibited drug.
The legality of the warrantless search and arrest in the case under scrutiny is also beyond question. It bears stressing that appellant was caught transporting a prohibited drug in flagrante delicto. Consequently, a peace officer or any private person, for that matter, may, without warrant, arrest a person when in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; and the person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant. Hence, the warrantless search in this case, being an incident to a lawful arrest, is in itself lawful.
People v. Pascua Galladan
The accused in this case is invoking alibi as a defense. Significantly, the alibi of accused-appellant cannot prosper. For alibi to be validly invoked, not only must he prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but he must also satisfactorily establish that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at the time of commission. In the instant case, accused-appellant only attempted to prove that he was at a different place when Sgt. Galladan was gunned down. He did not even attempt to establish that it was impossible for him to be at the locus criminis when the offense was committed. For this fact alone, his alibi must fail.
People v. Mario Basco
November 19, 1999
Under Article 14, paragraph 16 of the Revised Penal Code, there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specifically to insure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. “For treachery to be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, two elements must concur: (1) the employment of means of execution which gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (2) the means of execution is deliberately or consciously adopted.”
People v. Emberga
G.R. 116616 Nov. 26, 1999
The victim supposedly attacked the Emberga brothers with a knife. The accused then threw rocks at the victim causing the latter to drop his knife. The accused then grabbed the knife and stabbed the victim 25 times. They were then charged with murder aggravated by treachery & cruelty. Accused plead defense of a relative and self defense.
Both were guilty of homicide only. Treachery cannot be presumed but must be proven which was not done here. As for the aggravating circumstance of cruelty, such is unavailing. The mere fact that the wounds were in excess of what was indispensably necessary does not imply cruelty.
Self defense and defense of a relative may not be availed of. The alleged unlawful aggression on the part of the victim was not proven by clear & convincing evidence. Assuming there was an attack, the means used to repel the attack were not reasonably necessary since the victim already dropped the knife after the accused threw rocks and could no longer threaten the accused.
People v. Suba
November 29, 1999
The accused raped his niece twice. He was caught in the act by the victim’s brother on the second time and was reported to the police. Charged with rape, he denied the charge against him. No sperm was found in the victim’s vagina.
Guilty. Trial courts assessment as to the credibility of witnesses is to be accorded great weight. Both the victim and her brother positively identified the accused as the rapist.
The absence of spermatozoa in the vagina does not negate the commission of rape. There may be a valid explanation for such absence, as when the sperm was washed away or the accused failed to ejaculate.
People v. Paraiso
November 29, 1999
Accused, with 1 John Doe, Forced their way into the house of the victim. The victim’s 4 children were herded into 1 room while the accused ransacked the house for cash and other valuables. Before leaving, the accused stabbed the victim who died. He was charged of robbery with homicide aggravated by dwelling, superior strength and disregard of sex. Accused raised the defense of alibi.
Guilty. The defense of alibi is no good when the witnesses have positively identified the accused. The fact that the witnesses did not identify him immediately to the police is not a defense either. There is no standard behavior for persons confronted with a shocking incident. One may either report the crime immediately or after a long lapse of time.
The aggravating circumstance of dwelling is appreciated since robbery may be committed without trespassing the sanctity of the home. He who goes to another’s house to hurt or do wrong is guiltier than he who offends elsewhere.
Superior strength is also present since there was a notorious inequality between the accused who were both armed males and the unarmed female victim.
Disregard of sex is not an aggravating circumstance here since it only applies to crimes against honor and persons.
People v. Capco, Agpoon et al
November 29, 1999
The accused were charged with robbery with homicide and physical injuries for robbing one Alberto S. Flores of P30,000.00 in cash and, on the occasion thereof, shot him to death as well as inflicted physical injuries on his son Bolivar J. Flores. All 4 accused were found guilty.
Accused Agpoon should be acquitted for failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the crime.
Well-settled is the rule that for evidence to be believed it must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible itself. Agpoon was implicated on the sole testimony of Bolivar who contradicted himself in Court. Besides, Agpoon’s 3 co-accused also retracted their statements that Agpoon was with them went they barged into the store of the victims. Supposedly, Agpoon loitered outside the store after the crime was committed. The Court state that it is contrary to human experience for a criminal to choose to remain at the crime scene within a considerable period of time when he could see his companions escape.
People v. Ocumen
GR 120493-94 & 117692
Ocumen was accused of murder & frustrated murder. He was at a wedding party & argued with 2 guests. He pulled out a knife and chased the 2 but went amok and stabbed 2 other people instead. One man died while his other victim, a 14-yr. old girl, lived.
Guilty of homicide and frustrated homicide only. There was no treachery here. The fact that both victims were unarmed does not amount to treachery. An altercation precedes both incidents.
But, the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength must be considered since his 2nd victim was an unarmed 14-yr. old, 4’11” girl.
People v. Barellano
November 29, 1999
The victim was drinking tuba with friends when the accused walked up to the victim from behind and shot him in the head. The victim fell to the ground and was shot again in the head. Charged with murder, the accused raised the defense of alibi.
Guilty. The accused was positively identified by witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime. Treachery was present since the victim was approached from behind, was unarmed and totally defenseless.
Criminal Law Digests