Criminal Law Digests – October 1999

People v. Marcelino

October 1, 1999

Victims Pineda and Bajos were sent by the governor to investigate reported abuses by para-military groups in the hinterlands. Barangay Chairman Marcelino and some of his Civilian Home Defense (CHDF) cohorts shot to death and incinerated the corpses of said victims.

Issue:

  • Was there treachery?
  • Was conspiracy established to hold other accused equally liable for the murder?

Held: YES

Elements of treachery (1) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate, and (2) the said means of execution was deliberately or consciously adopted.

Victims were deliberately led toward Nabilog by Marcelino when he claimed there was a taxi there waiting for them. When they reached Tampa Creek, said unforwarned victims were suddenly shot to death without chance to defend themselves. Marcelino effectively ordered his men to kill the two by means of a signal (drawing a line across his neck with a finger). The gesture was so conspicuous that even the witness saw it. The group followed the deceased then killed them. Their bodies were set on the ground side-by side, their clothes removed, their personal belongings stolen. Thereafter Marcelino ordered that the bodies be burned in order to conceal their evil deed. These circumstances, taken together, sufficiently established a unity of purpose, community of interest and intent, which were carried out in concert. For conspiracy to exist, there need not be an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the occurrence; it is sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense, the accused had the same purpose and were united in its execution.

 

People v. Narido

October 1, 1999

Accused raped his 11-year-old daughter while they are gathering firewood. On another occasion, his common law wife caught him laying on top of his daughter.

Issue:

W/N said crime is punishable by death? (special circumstance imposing death penalty automatically – victim is under 18 years of age and offender is a parent.)

Held: No.

Guilty only of simple statutory rape and not qualified rape for want of allegation of relationship. Said special circumstances introduced by RA 7659 which sanction automatic imposition of death penalty partake of the nature of qualifying circumstances since these circumstances increase the penalty for rape by one degree. Nonetheless, to be properly appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, it must be specifically pleaded in the information. Information in this case reveals that although the complainant’s minority was alleged, the fact of relationship, albeit proven during the trial, was not so specified.

 

People v. Padama

October 1, 1999

Victim Gatchalian was chased by the two accused, each armed with a knife, and stabbed simultaneously several times. He eventually died of severe blood loss. Said killing arose from a previous incident where victim confronted accused regarding their plan of stealing from the store of the former.

Issue: W/N there was treachery? Yes.

W/N there was evident premeditation? No.

Held:

The conclusion that the killing was attended with treachery or taking advantage of superior strength, as the two accused each armed with bladed weapons and continuously attacking and raining knife thrusts upon the unarmed and unsuspecting victim which caused his eventual death is also not to be disturbed. The evidence shows that the two accused took turns in stabbing the victim while the latter had already fallen down on the pavement.

Proof of the alleged resentment does not constitute conclusive proof of evident premeditation. An expression of hatred does not necessarily imply a resolution to commit a crime; there must be a demonstration of outward acts of a criminal intent that is notorious and manifest.

 

People v. Villablanca

October 1, 1999

Villablanca brothers barged in to the house of victim Pedro Natanio late at night. Pedro and his family were awakened by their chickens flying off the perch. Victim was made to kneel on the floor and then stabbed him on the stomach with a samurai, while the other pointed a gun to his face. Victim rolled to his side and was again stabbed thrice which led to his death.

Issue: W/N there was treachery? Yes.

W/N there was abuse of superior strength? No.

W/N there was conspiracy? Yes.

Held:

Pedro may have been warned of a possible danger to his person. However, what is decisive is that the attack was executed in a manner making it impossible for Pedro to retaliate. When Pedro was made to kneel on the floor, he was unarmed. There was no risk to the accused when they commenced the stabbing. Pedro’s helplessness was bolstered by the fact that he was suffering from a congenital limpness which allowed him to walk only short distances.

There is no evidence that accused took advantage of superior strength. In any event, even if it was present it was absorbed in treachery. Both accused shall suffer the same fate, as there was conspiracy between them. When the other pointed a gun to Pedro, he provided his brother with moral assistance. This is enough to make him a co-conspirator. It is not necessary to show that he actually he hit and killed Pedro to make him liable for his brother’s acts.

 

People v. Vergel

October 4, 1999

Vergel and Duran, both drunk and armed with a gun and a fan knife, fetched and forcibly brought victim on board a tricycle to an apartment. Vergel had carnal knowledge with said victim after he poked the gun at her side and pulled her into a bedroom, while Duran stayed guard near the door of the sala.

Issue: W/N there was rape?

Held: Yes.

It is clear there was rape. The prosecution was able to prove that (1) the accused had carnal knowledge of the complainant (2) because he intimidated her by pointing a gun at her. Failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary the complainant’s submission to the criminal acts of the accused. Such resistance is not an element of the felony. It is enough that the malefactor intimidated the complainant into submission. Not every victim of rape can be expected to act with reason or in conformity with the usual expectation of everyone.

 

People v. Yabut

October 5, 1999

Spouses Yabut on several occasions received money from complainants promising them they will be able to work in Japan. After several cancellation of their scheduled departure, complainants discovered that said spouses were not licensed to engage in recruitment and placement activities. Wife eluded arrest and remains at-large. Husband contends that he was not engaged in recruitment for overseas employment and but only in processing visas. He was acquitted of the crime of estafa.

Issue: W/N accused could be convicted of illegal recruitment in large scale despite his acquittal of the crime of estafa?

Held: Yes.

It is settled that a person who commits illegal recruitment may be charged and convicted separately of illegal recruitment under the Labor Code and estafa Art. 315 of the RPC. The former is mala prohibitum where the criminal intent of the accused is not necessary for conviction, while estafa is mala in se where the criminal intent of the accused is crucial for conviction.

 

People v. Caratay

October 5, 1999

Accused in several occasions had carnal knowledge with his common-law wife’s 13 year-old niece. In one occasion he drugged the lugaw of said victim.

Issue: Was there rape?

Held: Yes.

We have ruled that if the ability to resist is taken away by administering a drug, even though the woman may be conscious, sexual intercourse with her will be rape. Moral character is immaterial in the prosecution and conviction of the accused in a rape case. We have ruled that even prostitutes can be rape victims.

 

People v. Suelto

October 7, 1999

Appellant came home late, and his wife was angry with him because she believed that he came from Sing-A-Long. Quarrel ensued resulting to death of the wife after being shot on the head.

Issue: W/N guilty of parricide?

Held: Yes.

Appellant was the only person with his wife when she was shot in their room. Considering, that his defense was built on the theory that the shooting was purportedly accidental, appellant has the inescapable burden of proving the elements of the exempting circumstance of accident.

 

People v. Floro

October 7, 1999

Witness and victim were walking along a trail on a cassava plantation owned by accused, who suddenly appeared and shot the victim then striked the head several times with the gun.

Issue: W/N guilty of murder?

Held: Yes.

The killing in this case is murder qualified by treachery. The evidence shows that accused suddenly sprang from the cassava plants and shot the victim. The victim was unarmed and unsuspecting of any impending peril to his life and limb at the time he was shot by accused. The swift and unexpected attack by accused rendered the victim helpless.

The rule that treachery may be shown if the victim is attacked from behind does not mean it cannot be appreciated if the attack is frontally launched. The suddenness of the shooting without the slightest provocation from he victim who was unarmed and had no opportunity to defend himself, ineluctably qualified the crime with treachery.

 

People v. Ortiz

October 7, 1999

Accused threw stones on the roof of the victim’s house. After the victim hurled challenge for the stone thrower to come out, the four accused suddenly emerged from the dark. Victim was held by the arms and dragged towards the barangay hall. Accused fired their rifles on the ground to dissuade witnesses from coming to his aid. Later, bursts of gunfire were heard coming from the direction of the barangay hall. Lifeless body of the victim was later found near the barangay hall.

Issue: W/N guilty of murder? W/N there was conspiracy?

Held: Yes.

The only clear circumstance that qualifies the killing to murder in this case is the abuse of superior strength between the victim and his four aggressors, as well as the degree of force and the weapons used by the latter.

Conspiracy among the four assailants was proven by proof beyond reasonable doubt. The accused were together when two of them held the victim, while one was firing his rifle. All of them dragged the latter towards the barangay hall. To establish conspiracy, it is not necessary that there be proof of the previous agreement to commit the crime, it being enough that the malefactors shall have acted in concert pursuant to the same objective. At the very instant the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the crime and decide to pursue it, each and everyone of the conspirators is criminally liable for the crime committed by anyone of them.

 

People v. Apelado

October 11, 1999

Victim Rodolfo de Jesus was overtaken by Jose Apelado and his group while walking in front of a house. His line of way was cut. De Jesus asked him, “What is my fault to you?” He raised his hands and prepared to fight. German hit his lower legs with a piece of wood. He fell down. The three surrounded him. German pulled out a knife and stabbed him at his legs and then at his throat. Apelado hacked him with a bolo using his left hand. De Jesus was hit twice – at the top of his head and nape. Robert thrust an ice pick at his back and side below the armpit. They then ran away and left him sprawled on the ground.

Held:

To establish conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to the previous agreement to commit a crime. It is sufficient that the form and manner in which the attack was accomplished clearly indicate unity of action and purpose. In this instance, the fact that the assailants followed, overtook, surrounded and took turns in inflicting injuries to the victim show a common purpose.

Abuse of superior strength also attended the commission of the crime. This circumstance is appreciated when the aggressors purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. In the case at bar, the aggressors who were all armed first hit the legs of their unarmed victim which caused him to fall kneeling. This was followed by a stab above the knee. Having deprived him of his means to stand or run, they took turns in inflicting mortal wounds on him.

Neither treachery nor evident premeditation was present in the commission of the crime. Treachery is absent as the accused-appellants were not entirely risk free during their attack. As stated, the victim prepared to fight it out with the accused-appellants. Evident premeditation cannot be considered for lack of evidence that accused-appellants preconceived the crime.

 

People v. Renato

October 11, 1999

Victim Ludovico Romano and his wife Melecia were selling tuba in a makeshift hut, several meters away from the highway. Melecia sat on a bench, while Ludovico squatted on the ground, waiting for customers to arrive. Suddenly, a shot was fired. Melecia hid herself in an irrigation canal while Ludovico stood up and tried to find out where the shot came from. When another shot was fired, Melecia shouted for Ludovico to duck. Ludovico then stood an arm’s length away from the highway. It was too late, Melecia saw accused-appellant Ruben Ronato shoot Ludovico. Victim was rushed to the hospital and died two days later.

Issue: W/N there was treachery? Yes.

Held:

The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack, without the slightest provocation on the part of the person attacked. There is treachery when the attack on the victim was made without giving the latter warning of any kind and thus rendering him unable to defend himself from an assailant’s unexpected attack. What is decisive is that the attack was executed in such a manner as to make it impossible for the victim to retaliate. As testified to by Melecia, the victim was “squatting on the ground” in their makeshift hut when the shooting started. The victim stood up to find out what was happening. On the third time, accused-appellant shot him point blank and in a helpless position.

 

People v. Raganas

October 12, 1999

Accused entered the guardhouse of the Yasay Compound and the office beside it and forthwith proceeded to attack, assault, and stab one Mamerto Lucion, the security guard thereat, who died instantaneously from multiple stab wounds, after which the above-named accused destroyed, cut off, and disconnected the electrical and communication facilities therein such as the radio power supply unit and an intercom set and carried away one cassette recorder.

Issue: W/N accused are guilty of robbery with homicide?

Held: Yes.

In order that circumstantial evidence may be sufficient to convict, the same must comply with these essential requisites, viz.: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inference are derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. All the foregoing requisites are here present. The testimonies of Daayata, Obsioma, and Baba pieced together reveal an unbroken chain of events that leads to but one fair and reasonable conclusion that the appellant, is guilty of the crime charged.

 

People v. Lachica

October 12, 1999

Accused boarded the tricycle of Pascasio as his tricycle was running on the shoulder of the road, he heard somebody inside the tricycle cry out ‘aray’ and felt warm blood spurt from inside the sidecar of the tricycle landing at the back of his right palm. He then stopped the tricycle and accused brought out victim Rodolfo Pamoleras, Jr. and started to stab him while others served as lookout.

Issue: W/N there was conspiracy? Yes.

W/N there was treachery? Yes.

Held:

Conspiracy – The act of Junuario dela Cruz of hiring a tricycle on the pretext of needing to throw something; their strategic seating positions inside the tricycle, depriving the deceased an opportunity to free himself; their respective acts of stabbing the deceased, and their washing the blood off the tricycle all evinced a unity of action and common design to kill the victim. It is not necessary that there be evidence of a previous plan or agreement to embark upon the assault. It is sufficient that their actions indicate a common intent such that the act of one is the act of all.

Treachery – The deceased had no inkling that he would be killed that fateful night. There was no force employed on him when he boarded the tricycle. Neither was there a heated argument with any of the culprits. In fact, they appeared to be in a jubilant mood even as they were singing “Tayo na sa Heaven”. Evidently, from all appearances the deceased was lured into going with the assailants who suddenly stabbed him inside the moving tricycle, giving the latter no opportunity to retaliate or defend himself from the means or method consciously adopted by the felons in taking his life. Qualifying circumstance of treachery suffices to qualify the offense to murder.

 

People v. Manegdeg

October 13, 1999

Accused was seen running through the rice fields towards the house of the victim. At about that time, Federico, his wife Lorie and son Ronel, were inside their house listening to the radio. Federico requested Ronel to switch to another radio station while he will go out to urinate and proceeded to the door. As Federico held the door frame with his hand, he was stabbed by appellant. Prior said incident, accused was requesting Federico’s consent to marry his daughter but to which he replied that is more honorable for his daughter to marry son of accused.

Issue: W/N there was treachery?

Held: Yes.

Circumstances surrounding the killing of the victim Federico Abian clearly indicate the presence of alevosia or treachery, for accused-appellant attacked the victim while he was about to exit his house to urinate, with no inkling whatsoever that he would be attacked. A sudden and unexpected attack, without the slightest provocation on the person of the one attacked, is the essence of treachery. Moreover, the trial court correctly considered the generic aggravating circumstance of dwelling. Where the crime was committed in the place of abode of the victims, the aggravating circumstance of dwelling shall be appreciated against the accused.

 

People v. Gailo

October 13, 1999

Sotela and Mañale went to the store to drink beer. Some minutes later, they were joined in their drinking by Renato Gailo and his elder brother, Ronaldo Gailo, alias “Mukong”. A minor altercation ensued when Ronaldo boxed the victim, but the two were soon pacified and the group resumed their drinking. Ronaldo then invited Sotela and the victim to his house, where allegedly there was a birthday party.

On the way to the said party, Gailos assaulted the victim. Sotela witnessed Ronaldo stab the victim on the face with a bolo, then Renato stabbed the victim on the back, and Rudy hit the victim with a lead pipe on the neck. A minute later, three other accused arrived, and for five minutes, helped stone the victim, hitting him on the head and body.

Issue: W/N guilty of murder?

Held: Yes.

Said killing was qualified to murder by the use of superior strength, the accused having clearly overpowered the victim in terms of number and weapons used. We reverse, however, to the extent that it appreciated nighttime as an aggravating circumstance. There are two tests for nocturnity to be aggravating – the objective test, under which nocturnity is aggravating because it facilitated the commission of the offense, and the subjective test, under which nocturnity is aggravating because it was purposely sought by the offender in order to facilitate the achievement of his objectives, prevent discovery or evade capture. In the instant case, there is no evidence that nighttime was sought for any of these purposes, or that it aided the accused in the consummation of the murder. Moreover, at the time of the killing, there was sufficient illumination from the moon such that the two eyewitnesses were able to identify the six accused. When the place of the crime is illuminated by light, nighttime is not aggravating.

Neither was treachery proven, as there was no showing that the attack was made swiftly and unexpectedly as to render the victim helpless and unable to defend himself. Neither can we appreciate the presence of evident premeditation, there having been no indication that accused-appellants earlier resolved to kill the victim and clung to such determination for a considerable length of time.

 

People v. Panique

October 13, 1999

Complainant, eldest child of the accused, was left to the care of latter when her mother went to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper. While complainant was asleep, accused laid himself on top of her. When she awoke, she found accused fondling her breasts even as he inserted his penis into her vagina. All she could do was cry, because she was afraid of her father whom she knew was hooked on drugs.

Issue: W/N there was rape?

Held: Yes.

In a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the former’s moral ascendancy and influence over the latter substitutes for violence or intimidation. That ascendancy or influence necessarily flows from the father’s parental authority, which the Constitution the laws recognize, support and enhance, as well as from the children’s duty to obey and observe reverence and respect towards their parents. Such reverence and respect are deeply ingrained in the minds of Filipino children and are recognized by law. Abuse of both by a father can subjugate his daughter’s will, thereby forcing he to do whatever he wants.

The minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender constitute a special qualifying circumstance which should be alleged in the information and proved to warrant the imposition of the death penalty. For this reason, said penalty should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

 

People v. Langres

October 13, 1999

Sindo bothers attended a dance which ended about midnight. They proceeded to the house of their elder brother. They sat on a bench opposite said house while sharing light moments. Restituto greeted PO3 Langres when he came, who instead gave a fistblow on the former without provocation. Victim Teodorico intervened to ask what is his brother’s fault. Accused drew his gun and shot the victim at the forehead.

Issue: W/N there was self-defense?

Held: No.

The presence of unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non. At best, the victim’s brother was discourteous to accused. Even then, such behavior could not be taken as an unlawful aggression to justify the shooting of the victim. The unlawful aggression contemplated under the law must come from the victim himself. Mere belief of an impending attack is not sufficient to constitute unlawful aggression. Neither is an intimidating or threatening attitude. Even a mere push or shove not followed by other acts placing in peril the life or personal safety of the accused is not unlawful aggression. It is noteworthy hat the Sindo brothers were unarmed. They were young men having a jovial, innocuous conversation when appellant passed by. Without such imminent threat on his life, the person invoking self-defense has nothing to repel.

 

People v. Clemente

October 13, 1999

Complainant was selling balut in front of Lanai beerhouse when she met accused. They had sexual intercourse in friend’s house.

Issue: W/N there was rape?

Held: No.

In rape cases alleged to have been committed by force, it is imperative for the prosecution to establish that the element of voluntariness on the part of the victim to be absolutely lacking. Testimony inexorably shows that complainant obviously consented to the sexual act which was done not only once but twice. Glaring too is the fact that by her own admissions that her mouth was not covered and that the accused was not holding or poking the pointed object at her while doing the sexual act, she certainly had every opportunity to make an outcry against the alleged rapist or shout for help had she wanted to. No woman would meekly give in to a sexual intruder where her life is not in serious jeopardy.

 

People v. Bello

October 13, 1999

Accused allegedly raped his daughter in several occasions. His previous plea of not guilty was substituted to a plea of guilty before the date of his scheduled cross-examination. Later, accused moved for the reinstatement of his plea of not guilty but was denied by the trial court.

Held: Case remanded for proper arraignment.

A formal plea of not guilty should be properly entered if an accused admits the truth of some or all the allegations of the information, but interposes excuses or additional facts which, if duly established would exempt or relieve him in whole or in part of criminal responsibility.

 

People v. Aguinaldo

October 13, 1999

Accused allegedly raped his 17 year-old daughter.

Issue: W/N there was rape?

Held: No.

Complainant’s claim that she bled implies that there must have been laceration of her sex organ. When physical evidence runs counter to testimonial evidence, conclusions as to physical evidence must prevail. Physical evidence is that mute but eloquent manifestation of truth which rate high in our hierarchy of trustworthy evidence.

 

People v. Agunos

October 13, 1999

Accused raped complainant while her husband was away serving as a poll watcher.

Issue: W/N there was rape?

Held: Yes.

Force and violence in rape cases need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied. The record shows that amidst complainant’s pleas and struggles, accused pinned complainant’s hand behind her back, covered her mouth with his hand and pulled her underwear to her knee before spreading hr legs apart with such force that her undergarments were ripped. It appears that accused remained unfazed when complainant slapped him and struggled to point the beam of the flashlight at him not only to take a look at her assailant but apparently to deter him from consummating his bestial desires.

 

People v. Gaballo

October 13, 1999

Two construction workers heard a girl scream for a distance, then saw her being hugged and pulled by accused towards the ipil trees. When they reached the place, they saw the girl in school uniform lying face down. They also saw the accused sitting down, who immediately ran away. Unfortunatey, they were not able to apprehend the unidentified man.

Issue: W/N there was treachery?

Held: Yes.

Treachery is appreciated when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to ensure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party might make. We ruled that the killing of children, who by reason of their tender years cannot be expected to put up a defense, is considered attended with treachery even if the manner of attack is not precisely shown.

 

People v. Costelo

October 13, 1999

Accused Conde grabbed victim Remy by the neck, then stabbed her at the mouth and at the back. When Remy was able to escape from Conde, she ran towards Costelo, who pushed her towards Conde, who again squeezed Remy’s mouth and dragged her. Pablo, who suddenly appeared, sat on her chest and stabbed her more than fifteen times. Costelo held Remy on the shoulders in a stooping position while the latter was being stabbed by Pablo.

Issue: W/N there was treachery?

W/N there was conspiracy?

Held: Yes.

That the locus criminis was a heavily populated area where others could thus intervene is not significant at all. The essence of treachery is that the attack was deliberate and without warning. The defense or retaliation contemplated here must come from the victim, not from anyone else. Treachery was irrefutably indicated in the method by which the assailants waited for the victim to pass by before suddenly attacking her and preventing her escape. At any rate, no help was forthcoming because anyone inclined to lend assistance was intimidated.

Direct proof is not essential, for conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused prior to, during or subsequent to the incident. Such acts must point to a joint purpose, concert of action or community of interest. Hence, the victim need not be actually hit by each of the conspirators for the act of one of them is deemed the act of all. In this case, conspiracy was shown because Conde grabbed and stabbed the victim while Costelo impeded her escape and shoved her towards Pablo, who in turn straddled her on the ground and stabbed her. Their prior act of waiting for the victim outside her house affirms the existence of conspiracy, for ti speaks of a common design and purpose.

 

People v. Celis

October 20, 1999

Complainant Racquel arrived from Manila at Magundanao and boarded the passenger jeep driven by accused appellants Roque and Carlos. Upon reaching the terminal, Racquel discovered that there was no more tricycle trip going to San Antonio. Accused invited Racquel to sleep in their house, who agreed after the initial hesitation because she is not familiar with the area. She was raped in several occasions, once in a makeshift hut and twice in a school building.

Issue:  W/N there was a rape?

Held: Yes.

For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation employed be so great or of such character as could not be resisted. It is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the purpose which the appellant had in mind. When Racquel was dragged to the makeshift hut by Carlos, he told her to cooperate with him or she would be shot. These threats were enough to implant fear in the mind of the complainant, who was alone and helpless. Roque, in turn, managed to have sexual intercourse with complainant by flashing a knife in her face. Threatening the victim with a knife, a deadly weapon, is sufficient to cow the victim. It constitutes an element of rape.

 

People v. Motos

October 20, 1999

Accused invited 7 year-old Jenalyn and her younger sister in his room. Vicitim Jenalyn fell asleep beside her sister, who was playing with a doll. Jenalyn woke up after feeling pain and saw accused on top of her. She was asked to take a bath but was later rushed to the hospital by her parents due to her continuous bleeding.

Held:

Neither does the complaint allege, nor does the evidence introduced show, any qualifying circumstance in the commission of the offense that can make the offense fall within the category of rape punishable by death. The only penalty that can be properly decreed is the lower indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua.

 

People v. Tabion

October 20, 1999

Accused in several occasions, raped his 16- year old daughter while his wife is away. She could not resist the accused because she was afraid of him and of his threat to kill her and her family.

Issue: W/N there was rape?

Held: Yes.

In the incestuous rape of a minor, proof of force and violence exerted by the aggressor is not essential. The moral and physical ascendancy of the father over his daughter-victim is sufficient to cow her into submission to his bestial desires. Fear oftentimes overwhelms the victim. In the instant case, the appellant enhanced his physical supremacy over his daughter by holding the knife to her neck. In the face of such brutal intimidation, she knuckled under, thus enabling him to satisfy his incestuous lust.

The death penalty may be imposed only if the information has alleged and the evidence has proven both the age of the victim and her relationship to the victim.

 

People v. Maramara

October 20, 1999

A quarrel transpired between the friend of the accused and the victim in a benefit dance. Accused shot to death victim after a rumble occurred.

Issue: W/N accused is guilty of murder?

Held: No. Guilty of Homicide only

The use of a firearm is not sufficient indication of treachery. In the absence of any convincing proof that accused-appellant consciously and deliberately adopted the means by which he committed the crime in order to ensure its execution, the Court must resolve doubt in favor of the accused. Accused cannot be held liable only for death caused in a tumultuous affray because he joined the fray purportedly to pacify the protagonist before shooting the victim.

 

People v. Arizala

October 20, 1999

Accused stabbed to death Sgt. Cara.

Issue: W/N accused is guilty of murder? Yes.

W/N there was self-defense? Yes.

Held:

Even if deceased hurled incentives at him and moved as if to draw something from his waist, we are unable to establish a finding of unlawful aggression on the victim’s part. Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude and the accused must present proof of positively strong act of real aggression. Though deceased was in uniform, the latter did not have a firearm or a holster for the same, and none was retrieved from the scene of the crime.

Deceased was killed with treachery. Not only was it not proven that there was provocation on the part of the hapless victim but the attack at the back of the victim was made in such a manner that would make it difficult for the deceased to offer an effective defense against his aggressor.

 

People v. Paranzo

October 26, 1999

Held:

Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, states:

“Art. 335…When and how rape is committed…Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

1……By using force or intimidation;

2……When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

3……When the woman is under twelve years of age, even though neither of the circumstances mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be present.”

Circumstances 1, 2 and 3 are alternative circumstances…When the rape is committed by using force or intimidation, the victim does not have to be less than twelve (12) years of age…It is only required that the proper complaint and information for rape must clearly describe the specific circumstance which would make the carnal knowledge of a woman qualify as rape under Article 335. In addition, in rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness provided such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and otherwise consistent with human nature and the course of things.

 

People v. Garigadi

October 26, 1999

Defendant was convicted of rape and sentenced. He contends that the testimony of the complainant was unsubstantiated, and contradictory.

Held:

The testimony of Gloridel was clear and convincing. Her declaration that accused-appellant inserted his penis into her vagina was made in a straightforward and unshaken manner. Errorless and accurate to the last detail testimony cannot be expected of Gloridel, who was seven (7) years of age at the time of the trial. The alleged inconsistencies and lapses pointed by accused-appellant to discredit Gloridel’s testimony, e.g. that accused-appellant merely fondled her or inserted his finger in her vagina, are all minor and trivial details which do not touch upon the commission of the offense. These lapses, to THE court’s mind, serve to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of a witness because they erase any suspicion of coached or rehearsed testimony. The Court noted that a child of tender age cannot be expected to understand every question asked of her in the course of examination. Ample margin of error and understanding should be accorded to young witnesses who, much more than adults, would be gripped with tension due to the novelty of the experience of testifying before a court.

 

People v. Lazaro

October 26, 1999

The accused was found guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. In his appeal the accused-appellant raises the sole assignment of error that the trial court erred in finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition qualified by homicide.

Held:

In cases involving illegal possession of firearms under P.D. 1866 “Codifying the Laws on Illegal/Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition, of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives or Instruments Used in the Manufacture of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives, and Imposing Stiffer Penalties for Certain Violations Thereof and for Relevant Purposes”, as amended, the prosecution has the burden of proving the elements thereof, viz.: (a) the existence of the subject firearm; and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the same.

Republic Act No. 8294 has since amended P.D. No. 1866 by reducing the penalties for simple and aggravated forms of illegal possession and considering the use of an unlicensed firearm simply as an aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide. The law now provides:

“Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. – The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low powered firearm such as rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower, ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided, That no other crime was committed.

The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine of Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger than .38 caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber .40, .41, .45 and also lesser caliber firearms but considered powerful such as caliber .357 and caliber .22 center-fire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by burst of two or three: Provided, however, That no other crime was committed by the person arrested. If homicide or murder is committed with the use of unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.

Thus in People v. Molina, it was held:”Fortunately for appellants, however, RA 8294 has now amended the said decree and considers the use of an unlicensed firearm simply as an aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide, and not as separate offense.”

 

People v. Arquillos Tabuso

October 26, 1999

Arquillos Tabuso was found guilty of murder. In the service of his sentence, he is entitled to the provision of Article 29 [Period of Preventive imprisonment deducted from term of imprisonment. – Offenders or accused who have undergone preventive imprisonment shall be credited in the service of their sentence consisting of deprivation of liberty, with the full time during which they have undergone preventive imprisonment, if the detention prisoner agrees voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners xxx.] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

Held:

Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement on the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. In a number of cases, this Court ruled that similar to the physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The mere presence of a person at the scene of the crime does not make him a co-conspirator. Assumed intimacy between two persons of itself does not give that much significance to the existence of criminal conspiracy. Conspiracy certainly transcends companionship. Settled is the rule that to establish conspiracy, evidence of actual cooperation rather than mere cognizance or approval of an illegal act is required.

 

People v. Romano Manlapaz

October 26, 1999

Accused-appellant admits that he was a passenger of the jeep of the victim, Israel Lacson but denies that participated in the commission of the crime. He insists that when he boarded the jeep he sat himself at the back of the jeepney as there were already several passengers on board at that time. He argues that he was not clearly, convincingly and positively identified as the perpetrator of the crime charged. Prosecution witness allegedly did not have ample opportunity to see the faces of the alleged malefactors; and in fact did not actually see who fired the gun.

Held:

This Court has ruled on countless occasions that the trial court is in the best position to determine facts and to assess the credibility of witnesses as it is in a unique position to observe the witnesses’ deportment while testifying which opportunity the appellate court is denied on appeal; this Court will respect the findings and conclusions of the trial court provided that they are supported by substantial evidence on record.

The crime of robbery with homicide is a special complex crime punishable under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code with reclusion perpetua to death. Considering the absence of any modifying circumstance, the penalty imposable in the present case is reclusion perpetua. [Article 63, Revised Penal Code.]

 

People v. William Batoon

October 26, 1999

At issue in this case is the credibility of the victim, Regina. In a prosecution for rape, the complainant’s candor is the single most important issue. This must be primarily resolved by the trial court because it is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. Accordingly, the trial court’s findings are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal unless it overlooked or misapplied some facts which could have affected the result of the case. A painstaking review of the records of the case show that the appellant has failed to controvert the clear, candid, and straightforward testimony of the complainant.

 

People v. Rolando Espiritu

October 27, 1999

Forcible abduction, as defined and penalized under Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code, is the taking of a woman against her will and with lewd designs, or of a girl below 12 years of age. When the accused forcibly took away the victim, for the purpose of raping her, as in fact he did rape her, lewd and unchaste designs existed since the commencement of the crime. Consequently, when accused raped Aharan, he committed the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape. The trial court correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua, for the crime of forcible abduction with rape, in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.

 

People v. Armando de Labajan

October 27, 1999

It is well-settled that where there is no evidence, and nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution were actuated by any improper motive, the presumption is that they were not so actuated and their testimonies are thus entitled to full faith and credence.” “It is doctrinally settled that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court, because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination.

 

People v. Graciano Bolivar

October 28, 1999

Renato Balbon, Joel Soberano and Graciano Bolivar were found by the lower court to be conspirators in committing murder and frustrated murder against the victims Hugo Callao and Damaso Suelan. The case against Bolivar was dismissed, since he died of cardio-respiratory arrest during the trial. This is in line with the ruling in the case of People v. Bayotas, where the Court ruled that the death of the accused pending appeal extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. The evidence on record is likewise insufficient to convict Barrion as a principal by inducement.

Held:

Article 17 of the Revised Penal Code provides that principals are those who “directly force or induce others” to commit an offense. “One is induced to commit a crime either by a command (precepto) or for a consideration (pacto), or by any other similar act which constitutes the real and moving cause of the crime and which was done for the purpose of inducing such criminal act and was sufficient for that purpose. Where the circumstances of force, fear, price, promise or reward are not present, the question that may arise is whether the command given by a person to the author of the crime amounts to a criminal inducement. The inducement exists whenever the act performed by the physical author of the crime is determined by the influence of the inducer over the mind of him who commits the act whatever the source of such influence. Thus, the inciting words must have great dominance and influence over the person who acts; they ought to be direct and as efficacious, or powerful as physical or moral coercion or violence itself.

A conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner by which the offense was perpetrated, however, a conspiracy must be established by positive and conclusive evidence. It cannot be based on mere conjectures but must be established as a fact.

 

People v. Jeronico Lobino

October 28, 1999

Appellant was convicted for murdering his common-law wife.   He contends he would not stab her without any apparent reasons, and that he attacked her because he could no longer stand her going home late at night and her sarcastic remarks whenever her attention was called to what she was doing. He contends he should have been credited with the mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation.

Held:

The Court disagrees. The requisites of passion and obfuscation are:

  1. That there be an act, both unlawful and sufficient to produce such a condition of mind;
  2. That said act which produced the obfuscation was not far removed from the commission of the crime by a considerable length of time during which the perpetrator might recover his normal equanimity.

It has been held that there is passional obfuscation when the crime was committed due to an uncontrollable burst of passion provoked by prior unjust or improper acts, or due to a legitimate stimulus so powerful as to overcome reason. The obfuscation must originate from lawful feelings. The turmoil and unreason which naturally result from a quarrel or fight should not be confused with the sentiment or excitement in the mind of a person injured or offended to such a degree as to deprive him of his sanity and self-control, because the cause of this condition of mind must necessarily have preceded the commission of the offense.

 

People v. Elpidio Hernando

October 28, 1999

Spouses Elpidio and Elena Hernando were convicted to reclusion perpetua for estafa. On different dates, they issued checks to Johnny Sy which were dishonored upon presentment to the bank. Accused spouses asserted that the checks had been issued merely an evidence of their indebtedness to the complainant. In this case, all the checks that bounced were issued and drawn by Elpidio Hernando’s wife, Elena Aban Hernando…The checks, all payable to cash, were personally delivered and negotiated to Johnny Sy by Elpidio. Though he was not the drawer of the checks, accused Elpidio coaxed the complainant to exchange the checks with cash by guaranteeing that the checks were good checks and funded…In all the transactions, Elpidio was present and personally received the money…Though Elena was not present during the negotiation of the checks, except for the first transaction, she issued and signed the checks.

Held:

To constitute estafa, the act of postdating or issuing a check in payment of an obligation must be the efficient cause of defraudation and, as such, it should be either prior to or simultaneous with the act of fraud…The offender must be able to obtain money or property from the offended party because of the issuance of the check or that the person to whom the check was delivered would not have parted with his money or property had there been no check issued to him…Stated otherwise, the check should have been issued as an inducement for the surrender by the party deceived of his money or property and not in payment of a pre-existing obligation.” In this kind of estafa by postdating or issuing a bad check, deceit and damage are essential elements of the offense and have to be established with satisfactory proof to warrant conviction.

Estafa, under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4885, has the following elements:..(1) postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued; (2) lack of sufficiency of funds to cover the check; and (3) damage to the payee thereof.

 

People v. Romeo Tizon

October 28, 1999

The Rules of Court have set exacting standards to be strictly complied with by the trial court in the arraignment of an accused. Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, in part, provides:

“Section 1. Arraignment and plea; how made. – (a) The accused must be arraigned before the court where the complaint or information has been filed or assigned for trial. The arraignment must be made in open court by the judge or clerk by furnishing the accused a copy of the complaint or information with the list of witnesses, reading the same in the language or dialect known to him and asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. The prosecution may, however, call at the trial witnesses other than those named in the complaint or information.

“(b) The accused must be present at the arraignment and must personally enter his plea. Both arraignment and plea shall be made of record, but a failure to enter of record shall not affect the validity of the proceedings.

“(c) If the accused refuses to plead, or makes a conditional plea of guilty, a plea of not guilty shall be entered for him.

“x x x x x x x x x

“Section 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. – When the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence in his behalf.”

These rules are mandatory, affording, such as they do, the proper understanding of the all-important constitutional mandate regarding the right of an accused to be so informed of the precise nature of the accusation leveled against him so essential in aptly putting up his defense. The searching inquiry, which must be recorded , requires the court to make it indubitably certain that the accused is fully apprised of the consequences of his plea of guilt.

In sum, the searching inquiry under Section 3, Rule 116 must focus on: (1) the voluntariness of the plea, and (2) a complete comprehension of the legal effects of the plea, so that the plea of guilt is based on a free and informed judgment. So indispensable is this requirement that a plea of guilt to a capital offense can be held null and void where the trial court has inadequately discharged the duty of conducting the prescribed “searching inquiry.”

 

People v. Armando Sarabia

October 29, 1999

The appellant invokes the justifying circumstance of self-defense in the charge of murder against him.   Having invoked such circumstance, he is deemed to have admitted having killed the victim and the burden of proof shifts to him to establish and prove the elements of self-defense : (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it, and (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

It has also been held by this Court that, “unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self-defense.” For unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not merely a threatening or intimidating and the appellant must present proof of positively strong act of real aggression. Absent such unlawful aggression, there can be no self-defense.

If evident premeditation is also proven, it shall be considered as a generic aggravating circumstance. “The essential elements for evident premeditation to be appreciated are: (1) the time when the appellant decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt act showing that the appellant clung to their determination to commit the crime; and (3) the lapse of a sufficient period of time between the decision and the execution of the crime, to allow the appellant to reflect upon the consequences of the act.

 

People v. Eduardo Altabano

October 29, 1999

The appellant raises in his defense an alibi. Firmly settled is the doctrine “that for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time the crime was committed but that it was likewise physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the alleged crime.” In the case under scrutiny, appellants failed to prove and demonstrate the physical impossibility of their being at the scene of the crime at the approximate time of its commission. Moreover, “defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the eyewitness who had no untoward motive to falsely testify.”

Conspiracy was correctly established in this case and as such, “all the conspirators are liable as co-principals regardless of the manner and extent of their participation since in contemplation of law, the act of one would be the act of all.”

In analyzing the facts, the Court also found that evident premeditation could not be appreciated against appellants. Although the defamatory words uttered by the victim against Corazon Caro-Lascano must have spawned the grudge of appellants towards the victim, the evidence for the prosecution has not established all the elements of evident premeditation, to wit: (1) the time the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act indicating that the offender had clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between the determination to commit the crime and the execution thereof to allow the offender to reflect upon the consequences of his act.

 

Source:

Criminal Law Digests

Ateneo Central 2001

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About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Digests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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