Criminal Law Digests – October – November 2000
PEOPLE V. SANTIAGO
GRNO.129371 OCT. 4, 2000
Appellant was convicted of murder for shooting the victim after a prior street altercation that erupted when the parties’ vehicles collided.
Only Homicide. No treachery. Treachery must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, or as conclusively as the killing itself. When the witnesses did not see how the attack was carried out and cannot testify how it began, the trial court cannot presume from the circumstances of the case that there was treachery. Treachery cannot be considered where the lone witness did not see the commencement of the assault. Since the lone witness failed to witness the initial attack inflicted upon the victim, treachery cannot be considered a qualifying circumstance.
All the elements of evident premeditation must also be proven. Premeditation to kill must be plain notorious and sufficiently proven by the evidence of outward acts showing the intent to kill. A 15-minute interval is not sufficient time for the accused to coolly reflect on their plan to kill the victim. In one case, 30 minutes was held also insufficient time between determination to commit and the execution is insufficient for full meditation on the consequences of the act.
Liability of one whose participation in crime was limited to driving for the killers is only that of an accomplice. The lack of complete evidence of conspiracy, which creates the doubt whether he has acted as principal or an accomplice, implies the court to resolve the question in favor of the accused.
PEOPLE V. BAWANG
GRNo.-131942 October 5, 2000
A case of incestuous rape.
The fact that the hymen is intact does not prove absence of sexual intercourse and the presence of laceration does not prove defloration. The hymen may be lacerated due to some other causes not sexual intercourse.
The qualifying circumstance provided by RA7658 for the imposition of death penalty is present in the information–minority and relationship having been averred. However, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove the victim was below 18 when the rape was committed in order to justify the imposition of the death penalty. In this case, no evidence was given–not even a Certificate of Live Birth.
PEOPLE V. LOPEZ
GRNo.-132168 October 10, 2000
An old woman was hacked to death by appellant because of a land dispute.
There was treachery. Accused suddenly and unexpectedly grabbed the hair of the deceased and simultaneously hacked her to death. The deceased had no inkling whatsoever of the murderous intent of the accused. The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without warning and in a swift, deliberate and unexpected manner, affording the unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist, to avoid or escape.
Abuse of superiority was proved. She was unarmed. The accused was a 22-year old male, in the prime of his life, and armed with a deadly weapon. Since aloveosia is already appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, abuse of superiority is absorbed therein.
The fact that the victim has 7 hacking wounds does not conclusively demonstrate cruelty. The number of wounds does not per se give rise to cruelty. The test is whether the accused deliberately and sadistically augmented the wrong by committing another wrong not necessary for its commission, or inhumanely increased the victim’s suffering, or outraged or scoffed at his person or corpse. Records are bereft of evidence showing the accused continued to hack the victim when she was already dead. Passion or obfuscation to be appreciated must arise from lawful sentiments. The act of victim demanding the family of appellant to vacate her land was not unlawful or unjust. The exercise of a lawful right cannot be a proper source of obfuscation that may be considered a mitigating circumstance.
PEOPLE V. BALMORIA
GRNo.-134539 November 15, 2000
A case of rape of an eight-year old.
It is not uncommon for young girls to conceal for some time the assault against their virtue because of the threat on their lives. A young girl, unlike a mature woman, can not be expected to have the courage and intelligence to immediately report a sexual assault committed against her especially when a death threat hangs ver her head. We cannot reject the testimony of victim on the ground that her 3 other companions were not awakened by her groans while she was being raped. It is not impossible to commit rape in a small room even if there are several persons in it.
PEOPLE V. MOYONG
GRNo.-135413-15 November 15, 2000
The hotel guests and manager were stabbed to death in a room. Appellant was caught while fleeing the establishment with stained clothes.
A conviction based on circumstantial evidence is proper if:1)there is more than just one circumstance in attendance;2)the facts from which inferences can be derived are adequately proven;3)the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. These circumstances must be consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty of the crime sought to be established and can lead to no rational assumption that may be congruent with the innocence of the accused. Since no eyewitness was presented and no evidence was shown on how the killings transpired the aggravating and qualifying circumstances cannot be appreciated.
PEOPLE V. PACANA
G.R. No.97472-73 Nov.20, 2000
A case of murder and frustrated murder.
If the accused was positively identified by the victim himself who harbored no ill motive against the former, the defense of alibi must fail. In any even the proof of motive is not indispensable for conviction when there is positive identification. Motive assumes significance only when there is no showing of who the perpetrator of the crime might be. An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not effect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter. Hence, the reduction of the indeterminate penalty for the frustrated murder case shall affect not only the appellant but also those who withdrew their appeal.
PEOPLE v. CASTURIA
G.R. No.-122819 Nov 20, 2000
Appellant was convicted of murder.
For conspiracy to exist it does not require an appreciable period lapsed prior to the occurence. It is sufficient that the form and manner in which the attack was accomplished clearly indicate unity of action and purpose. The accused act of mauling the victim and thereafter handling the bolo to his brother who hacked the victim.
PEOPLE V. ALVAREZ
G.R. No.-121769 November 22, 2000
Appellant was convicted of murder after shooting the victim with a bardog–a locally made shotgun.
It is well-settled that the testimony of a self-confessed accomplice or co-conspirator imputing the blame for the killing and implicating his co-accused cannot by itself and without corroboration, be considered as proof to a moral certainty that the latter had committed or participated in the commission of the crime. Thus, it is required that the testimony be substantially corroborated by other evidence in all its material points. The reason for the above cited rule is that the testimony of a co-conspirator proceeds from a polluted source. It must be received with caution because, as is usual with human nature, a culprit, confessing a crime, is likely to put to blame as far as possible on others rather than himself.
The settled rule is that testimony of a witness ma be believed in part and disbelieved in part as the corroborative evidence or improbabilities of the case may require. There was treachery. Victim was unaware of the evil design of the accused and his group who concealed themselves behind colon grasses. Being unarmed, he could not offer resistance nor attempt to escape from their sudden and unexpected attack. Conspiracy was present, the assailants one after the other shot at the victim.
PEOPLE v. VELASQUEZ
G.R. No.-137383-84 Nov. 23, 2000
Appellant used a toy gun in abducting and raping the victim.
The mere fact that Karen did not attempt to escape when the opportunity resented itself should not be construed as a manifestation of consent and does not necessarily negate her charge of rape or taint her credibility considering the accused employed force and intimidation. A complainant’s act in immediately reporting the commission of rape is a factor in strengthening her credibility.
Appellant imputes no ill motive towards the victim to falsely accuse him. In the absence of such motive, it is presumed that no such motive exists. To support a conviction for rape, the court may rely solely on the testimony of the victim provided such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. By its nature, rape is committed with the least possibility of being seen by the public.
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001