Blog Archives

Criminal Law Digests – April 2000


G.R. No. 121906.  April 5, 2000.

Qualifying circumstance – alleged in the information

Accused-appellant was sentenced to death after he was convicted of raping his stepdaughter.  He argues that the Information filed against him failed to state that he is the stepfather of the victim, hence, his relationship with the victim may not be considered as a qualifying circumstance to justify the imposition of the death penalty.


The circumstances under the amendatory provisions of Section 11 of Republic Act 7659 the attendance of any which mandates the single indivisible penalty of death, instead of the standard penalty of reclusion perpetua to death prescribed in Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, are in the nature of qualifying circumstances.” Qualifying circumstances must be properly pleaded in the indictment.



G. R. No. 129970.  April 5, 2000.

Police line-ups

Kidnapping with ransom

Accused-appellants were charged and convicted of kidnapping for ransom for abducting an Indian national.  He contends that the identification made by the private complainant in the police line-up is inadmissible because the appellant stood at the line-up without the assistance of counsel, and that the money given to them was not ransom money but was given in exchange for their dropping of the charges of rape against private complainant.


The accused-appellant’s defense is without merit.   Section 12 (1) Art III of the Commission states that “Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.” Thus the prohibition for custodial investigation conducted without the assistance of counsel. Any evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional mandate is inadmissible in evidence. The prohibition however, does not extend to a person in a police line-up because that stage of an investigation is not yet a part of custodial investigation. It has been repeatedly held that custodial investigation commences when a person is taken into custody and is singled out as a suspect in the commission of the crime under investigation and the police officers begin to ask questions on the suspect’s participation therein and which tend to elicit an admission.  The stage of an investigation wherein a person is asked to stand in a police line-up has been held to be outside the mantle of protection of the right to counsel because it involves a general inquiry into an unsolved crime and is purely investigatory in nature. It has also been held that an uncounseled identification at the police line-up does not preclude the admissibility of an in-court identification.

The duration of the detention even if only for a few hours does not alter the nature of the crime committed. The crime of kidnapping is committed by depriving the victim of liberty whether he is placed in an enclosure or simply restrained from going home. As squarely expressed in Article 267, above-quoted the penalty of death is imposable where the detention is committed for the purpose of extorting ransom, and the duration of the detention is not material.



G.R. No. 130508.  April 5, 2000.

Robbery with rape

Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of robbery with rape.


It should be noted that there is no law providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s should be considered as aggravating circumstance. The enumeration of aggravating circumstances under Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is exclusive as opposed to the enumeration in Article 13 of the same code regarding mitigating circumstances where there is a specific paragraph (paragraph 10) providing for analogous circumstances.

It is true that the additional rapes (or killings in the case of multiple homicide on the occasion of the robbery) would result in an “anomalous situation” where from the standpoint of the gravity of the offense, robbery with one rape would be on the same level as robbery with multiple rapes. However, the remedy lies with the legislature. A penal law is liberally construed in favor of the offender and no person should be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the statute.

In view of the foregoing, the additional rape committed by herein accused-appellant should not be considered as aggravating. The penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court is proper.


G.R. Nos. 134536-38.  April 5, 2000.


The allegation of the exact time and date of the commission of the crime are not important in a prosecution for rape. This is because the precise time of the commission of the crime is not an essential element of rape and it has no substantial bearing on its commission.  Rule 110, Section 11 of the Rules of Court provides that it is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise time at which the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of the offense, but the act may be alleged to have been committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was committed as the information or complaint will permit. It is equally settled that a variance of a few months between the time set out in the indictment and that established by the evidence during trial has been held not to constitute an error so serious as to warrant reversal of a conviction solely on that score.


PEOPLE v. ROCHE, et al.

G.R. No. 115182(6 April 2000)

Accused-Appellants were charged and convicted of murder based on testimonies of witnesses which contradicted each other and was inconsistent with the physical evidence. The sole reliable testimony does not show complicity among the appellants before, during, or after the commission of the crime.


  1. On oral testimony of witnesses

A witness whose testimony is perfect in all aspects, without a flaw and remembering even the minutest details which jibe beautifully with one another, lays herself open to suspicion of having been [coached] or having memorized statements earlier rehearsed.

  1. On importance of physical evidence

Physical evidence is a mute but an eloquent manifestation of truth, and it ranks high in our hierarchy of trustworthy evidence. In criminal cases such as murder or rape where the accused stands to lose his liberty if found guilty, this Court has, in many occasions, relied principally upon physical evidence in ascertaining the truth.

  1. On Conspiracy

For conspiracy to exist, proof of an actual planning of the perpetration of the crime is not a conditionprecedent. It may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest.

Conspiracy must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself through clear and convincing evidence, not merely by conjecture. To hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. Hence, conspiracy exists in a situation where at the time the malefactors were committing the crime, their actions impliedly showed unity of purpose among them, a concerted effort to bring about the death of the victim. In a great majority of cases, complicity was established by proof of acts done in concert, i.e., acts which yield the reasonable inference that the doers thereof were acting with a common intent or design. Therefore, the task in every case is determining whether the particular acts established by the requisite quantum of proof do

  1. On being an accomplice

The following requisites must concur in order that a person may be considered an accomplice:

(a) community of design, i.e., knowing that criminal design of the principal by direct participation, he concurs with the latter in his purpose;

(b) he cooperates in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts; and,

(c) there must be a relation between the acts done by the principal and those attributed to the  person charged as accomplice.


People v. Bago

G.R. No. 122290(6 April 2000)

Appellant was accused and convicted of the crime of qualified theft through taking cold-rolled steel from the company which he is employed as a leader in the cutting department.


Clearly,  when all the elements of theft were established, to wit: (1) there was a taking of personal property; (2) the property belongs to another; (3) the taking was without the consent of the owner; (4) the taking was done with intent to gain; and (5) the taking was accomplished without violence or intimidation against the person or force upon things. When  the theft is committed with grave abuse of confidence, accused is guilty of qualified theft.

In the crime of theft, if the value of the thing stolen exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty shall be prision mayor in its maximum period and one year for each additional P10,000.00, but the total penalty shall not exceed twenty years or reclusion temporal. However, if that crime of theft is attended by any of the qualifying circumstances which convert the taking into qualified theft, the penalty next higher by two degrees shall be imposed, that is, at least, reclusion perpetua.


People v. Suza

G.R. No. 130611(6 April 2000)

Appellant was convicted of the crime of robbery with homicide, based on the testimony of a lone eye-witness who saw how he and his co-accused killed the victim, and was sure that they took the victim’s clothes, money and other wares, which she sold.


  1. On the crime of  robbery with homicide.

It is well settled that in order to sustain a conviction for robbery with homicide, it is necessary that the robbery itself be proven conclusively as any other essential element of a crime. In order for the crime of robbery with homicide to exist, it is necessary that it be clearly established that a robbery has actually taken place, and that, as a consequence or on the occasion of such robbery, a homicide be committed. Where the evidence does not conclusively prove the robbery, the killing of the victim would therefore, be classified either as a simple homicide or murder, depending upon the absence or presence of any qualifying circumstance, and not the complex offense of robbery with homicide.

  1. On the aggravating circumstance of use of superior strength

There was a clear and notorious disparity of force between the victim and the aggressors as the former was unarmed and alone. The felons took advantage of their collective strength to overwhelm their comparatively defenseless victim. Thus, it was held that “an attack made by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman constitutes the circumstance of abuse of that superiority which his sex and the weapon used in the act afforded him, and from which the woman was unable to defend herself.


People v. Ramos

G.R. No. 120280 (12 April 2000)

The appellant was convicted of raping his own 10-year old daughter and relies solely on the defense of denial of the said accusation against him.


A rape victim’s testimony is entitled to greater weight when she accuses a close relative of having raped her, as in the case of a daughter against her father. Earlier and long-standing decisions of this Court have likewise held that when a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says all that is needed to signify that the crime has been committed. This is true when made against any man committing the crime; it is more so when the accusing words are said against a close relative.


People v. Aspiras

G.R. No. 121203(12 April 2000)

The appellant is a policeman who was positively identified by a witness to be the killer of the victim, who was gun-downed during a political rally. The witness is alleged to be biased against the appellant since he has a grudge against the latter.


a. As to credibility of a witness

The credibility of a witness could not be affected by an alleged grudge where said witness was not discredited on cross-examination.

  1. As to damages awarded

Only actual expenses supported by receipts shall be granted as actual damages. As to future earnings of the victim, it is computed by multiplying the years for which the victim could have worked with his employer were it not for his death by his annual gross earnings.


People v. Francisco

G.R. 121682(12 April 2000)

Appellant was convicted of the crime of murder qualified by the aggravating circumstance of treachery and pleads the justifying circumstance of defense of relative.


a. On the claim of defense of relative

As correctly pointed out by the trial court, anyone who admits the killing of a person but invokes the defense of relative to justify the same has the burden of proving these elements by clear and convincing evidence. The accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution, for even if the prosecution evidence is weak it cannot be disbelieved if the accused has admitted the killing.

b. On the essence of treachery

There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. In People v. Belaro, the Court explained that the essence of treachery is a swift and unexpected attack on the unarmed victim without the slightest provocation on the part of the victim. Even a frontal attack can, therefore, be treacherous if it is sudden and unexpected and the victim is unarmed.

The swift and unexpected attack by accused-appellant 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 the victim who was unarmed and has no opportunity to defend himself, ineluctably qualified the crime with treachery.


People v. Ballenas

G.R. No. 124299(12 April 2000)

The appellants abducted a 19-year old girl from her dwelling, raped her several times, and stabbed her to death 13 times.


  1. On the aggravating circumstances of nighttime and cruelty

For the court to consider nighttime as an aggravating circumstance, it must have been deliberately taken by the perpetrator to augment the wrong they committed, not being necessary for its completion. It has been held that when the scene of the crime was sufficiently illuminated by a  lamp, nocturnity cannot be appreciated.

The aggravating circumstance of cruelty is present when “the wrong done in the commission of the crime is deliberately augmented by causing other wrong not necessary for its commission”.There is cruelty when the culprit enjoys and delights in making his victim suffer slowly and gradually, causing him unnecessary physical pain in the consummation of the criminal act.

b.   Whether  the accused indeed committed forcible abduction with rape

The accused committed the crime of forcible abduction with rape punished under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 342 and 48 of the same Code. The two elements of forcible abduction are (1) the taking of a woman against her will and (2) with lewd designs. The crime of forcible abduction with rape is a complex crime that occurs when there is carnal knowledge with the abducted woman under 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 or is demented


People v. Rojas

G.R. No. 125292(12 April 2000)

Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of rape, after he was positively identified by his victim in a 20-man police line-up, twice.


Amidst the sea of faces before her, the victim readily pointed out accused-appellant as her attacker. This positive identification of accused-appellant will prevail over the defense of alibi and denial of accused-appellant. Besides, for the defense of alibi to prosper, accused-appellant must show that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the approximate time of its commission.


People v. Razonable

G.R. No. 128085-87(12 April 2000)

Appellant was charged and convicted of murder for hacking to death a neighbor, qualified by treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength. Supreme Court held that the aggravating circumstance were not proven by conclusive evidence.


a. As to evident premeditation

Like treachery,  the requisites of evident premeditation must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. The requisites of evident premeditation are:  a.] the time when the accused determined to commit the crime, b.] an act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination, and c.] sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow them to reflect upon the consequences of their act.

b. As to abuse of superior strength

Abuse of superior strength requires, at base, a deliberate intent on the part of the malefactor to take advantage thereof. Besides the inequality of comparative force between the victim and the aggressor, there must be a situation of strength notoriously selected and made use of by the offender in the commission of the crime.


People v. Orio

G.R. No. 128821(April 12, 2000)

Appellants, both armed with Balisongs attacked and killed their unarmed victim. They were charged and convicted of murder qualified by treachery, evident premeditation, and abuse of superior strength.


  1. As to the aggravating circumstance of  Treachery

There is treachery when the offenders commit any of the crimes against persons employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. In order that alevosia may be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, it must be shown that : a.] the malefactor employed means, method or manner of execution affording the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and b.] the means, method or manner of execution was deliberately or consciously adopted by the offender. However, the fact that both accused-appellants were armed with bladed weapons while their victim was unarmed and defenseless does not make the attack treacherous. Treachery must be proved by clear and convincing evidence or as conclusively as the killing itself.

  1. As to the aggravating circumstance of Evident Premeditation

Mere presumptions and inferences, no matter how logical and probable they might be would not suffice to establish evident premeditation. In the case at bar, there was no evidence of the planning and preparation to kill the victim. In fact, no attempt was ever made to establish the requisites of evident premeditation, viz : a.] the time when the accused determined to commit the crime, b.] an act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination, and c.] sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow them to reflect upon the consequences of their act. In the absence of any evidence of the planning to kill or when the plan was conceived, there is no basis for appreciating evident premeditation.

  1. As to the aggravating circumstance of  Abuse of Superior Strength

Abuse of superior strength, however, attended the killing of Domingo Francisco. Abuse of superior strength requires, at base, a deliberate intent on the part of the malefactor to take advantage thereof. Besides the inequality of comparative force between the victim and the aggressor, there must be a situation of strength notoriously selected and made use of by the offender in the commission of the crime.


People v. Baer

G.R. No. 130333(April 12, 2000)

The appellant is the step grandfather of the victim who at her tender age was repeatedly raped by the appellant. The appellant argued that the victim did not resist his alleged sexual assault, since she did not even scream. As to the amount of force required to constitute rape.


In rape cases, the force applied need not be irresistible. It merely has to be enough to successfully carry out the assailant’s carnal desire. In the present case, appellant did apply sufficient force and intimidation to consummate his lustful desire.


People v. Adoc

G.R. No. 133647(April 12, 2000)

The victim was held by Danny and Tony while Eddie delivered several blows, flowed by Tony stabbing the victim. Appellants questioned their conviction of murder and the liability imposed on each of them, since it is not clear who inflicted the fatal wound. Whether there is conspiracy between the appellants.


Conspiracy exists when two or more person come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. It need not be proved by direct evidence but may be inferred from the acts of the accused. It is sufficient that the accused acted in concert at the time of the commission of the offense, that they had the same purpose or common design, and that they were united in its execution. Coming now to the instant case, the successive acts of the accused – the blow delivered by EDDIE, while DANNY and TONY were holding Ricky; followed immediately by the infliction of a second blow by DANNY; and finally, the stabbing of the victim by TONY – clearly manifest the existence of a common intent among the three accused to commit the crime. Since conspiracy has been established, there is no need to determine who among the accused delivered the fatal blow. All of the accused are liable as principals regardless of the extent and character of their participation, for in conspiracy the act of one is the act of all.


People v. Reyes

G.R. No. 133647(April 12, 2000)

The appellants assails the ruling of the court finding that conspiracy attended their attack to the victim. Whether direct evidence is necessary to prove conspiracy.


Direct proof of previous agreement to commit a crime is not necessary. It may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused which point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest. The actuations of the appellants clearly established a conspiracy. One started the attack with an utterance coupled with the actual stabbing of victim. Finally, the rest of the assailants’ companions ganged up on the helpless victim by successively stabbing and hitting him. All these acts sufficiently prove that they conspired to kill victim.


People v. Antolin

G.R. No. 133880(April 12, 2000)

The appellant was convicted of raping a 23-year old mental retardate with a mind of a 4-year old girl. The appellant questions the credibility of the victim since she is the sole witness against him. What is the importance of credibility of the victim in rape.


In a prosecution for rape the complainant’s credibility becomes the most important issue since her testimony alone is sufficient for a verdict of conviction. It is well established that when the credibility of a witness is questioned, the appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court, considering that it is in a more advantageous position to determine the issue as it heard the witness and observed his deportment during trial. The exceptions to the rule are when such evaluation was reached arbitrarily, or when the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied certain facts or circumstances of weight and substance which could affect the result of the case.


People v. Fraga

G.R. No. 134130-33(April 12, 2000)

The appellant had an altercation before they embarked to go out to sea, after they came back the accused with his CAFGU firearm went to the house of the victim and shot him to death. The appellant raises the defense of self-defense. Whether or not the appellant is entitled to the justifying circumstance of self-defense.


The invocation of self-defense is an admission of the killing and of its authorship. By this admission, the burden of proof shifts to the accused who must now establish with clear and convincing evidence all the elements of this justifying circum, stance, to wit: (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 resorting to self- defense. In proving these elements, the accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence. He can no longer assail the weakness of the evidence against him simply because it cannot be disbelieve after his open admission of responsibility for the killing. Indeed, a plea of self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated where it is not only uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence, but also extremely doubtful by itself. It is an oft- repeated rule that the nature and number of wounds inflicted by the accused are constantly and unremittingly considered as important indicia which disprove a plea for self-defense because they demonstrate a determined effort to kill the victim and not just defend oneself.


People v. Estroco

G.R. No. 111941(April 27 2000)

In order to appreciate allevosia, it must clearly appear that the method of assault adopted by the aggressor was deliberately chosen with a special view to the accomplishment of the act without risk to the assailant from any defense that the party assailed might make. While a victim may have been warned of a possible danger to his person, in treachery, what is decisive is that the attack was executed in such a manner as to make it impossible for the victim to retaliate.


People v. Guiwan

G.R. No. 117324(April 27, 2000)

The victim was the biological daughter of the appellant who was raped several times by the latter and was only able to disclose such bestial acts after two years.


Two important doctrines on rape

  • The moral influence of a father over his daughter suffices to establish rape.
  • At any rate, although a woman may be viewed by the public as unchaste or impure she can still be raped as she is still free to refuse a man’s lustful advances. The victim’s character in rape is immaterial.


People v. Legaspi

G.R. No. 117802(April 27 2000)

What is required to establish the defense of alibi?

Alibi is one of the weakest defenses an accused can invoke, and the courts have always looked upon it with caution, if not suspicion, not only because it is inherently unreliable but likewise because it is rather easy to fabricate. To prosper, alibi must strictly meet the requirements of time and place. Thus, we have consistently ruled that it does not suffice to prove that the accused was somewhere else at the time of the commission of the crime. Similarly, jurisprudence dictates that the element of physical impossibility be clearly shown; The accused must clearly establish that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been physically present at the locus criminis or its immediate vicinity at the time of the commission of the crime.

What constitutes robbery with homicide?

In this specie of offense, the phrase “by reason” covers homicide committed before or after the taking of personal property of another, as long as the motive of the offender (in killing a person before the robbery) is to deprive the victim of his personal property which is sought to be accomplished by eliminating an obstacle or opposition, or to do away with a witness or to defend the possession of stolen property.

What is the proof necessary to establish conspiracy?

Similar to the physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. For this purpose overt acts of the accused may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his co-conspirators by being present at the time of the commission of the crime, or by exerting moral ascendancy over the other co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the conspiracy.


People v. Acuram

G.R. No. 117954(April 27, 2000)

The appellant shot the victim who later died. After charges were filed and his commanding officer was told of the incident, he was ordered not to leave camp, where he surrendered.


Whether the accused is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender

The essence of voluntary surrender is spontaneity and the intent of the accused to give himself up and submit himself unconditionally to the authorities either because he acknowledges his guilt or he wishes to save them the trouble and expense necessarily incurred in his search and capture. In this case, it was appellant’s commanding officer who surrendered him to the custody of the court. Being restrained by one’s superiors to stay within the camp without submitting to the investigating authorities concerned, is not tantamount to voluntary surrender as contemplated by law.


People v. Villa

G.R. No. 129899(April 27, 2000)

The appellant  fired his rifle at the victim causing the latters death. After such incident the appellant surrendered to his commanding officer and pleaded guilty before the court but claimed the defense of temporary insanity. Whether the appellant is entitled to the defense of insanity.


No. The fact that immediately after the incident (accused) thought of surrendering to the law-enforcement authorities is incontestable proof that he knew that what he had done was wrong and that he was going to be punished for it.” Similarly, a feeling of remorse is inconsistent with insanity, as it is a clear indication that he was conscious of his acts, he acknowledged his guilt and was sorry for them.


People v. Castillo

G.R. No. 130188 (April 27, 2000)

The lone witness saw the appellant running out of the house of his cousin, after a shot was heard. His cousin was later found dead. The appellant was convicted of murder.

Whether or not the testimony of the lone witness was sufficient.

No, the witness only testified that the appellant fled the scene of the crime in a rush with a gun. Flight, in most cases, strongly indicates guilt. As a lone circumstantial evidence, however, it does not suffice as plurality of circumstantial evidence is required before guilt beyond reasonable doubt may be inferred from such indirect proof. To fully dispose of this issue, the motive of accused-appellant is a key element in the web of circumstantial evidence.


People v. Bautista

G.R. No. 131840(April 27, 2000)

The appellants were convicted for conspiring to murder the victim. One of the co-conspirators surrendered voluntarily. Whether the liability of each co-conspirator should be always equal.


No. Since the existence of a conspiracy does not prevent the appreciation of a mitigating circumstance exclusively in favor of the co-conspirator to whom such circumstance may relate, to him alone.

What constitutes civil liability arising from a crime?

The civil liability of accused-appellants for indemnity for death and actual and moral damages, however, is solidary and not joint as ruled by the trial court. Moral Damages. Under Art. 2206 of the Civil Code, the spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased are entitled to moral damages “for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased.” The victim’s widow testified that she suffered pain from the death of her husband. Thus, in accordance with recent decisions of this Court, accused-appellants should be awarded the additional amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages. Exemplary Damages. Under Art. 2230 of the Civil Code, “exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances.”


People v. Muyco

G.R. No. 132252(April 27 2000)

As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for loss of earning capacity. In People v. Verde, the non-presentation of evidence to support the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity did not prevent the Court from awarding said damages. The testimony of the victim’s wife as to earning capacity of her murdered husband, who was then 48 years old and was earning P200.00 a day as a tricycle driver, sufficed to establish the basis for such an award.

In that case, Erwin Gesmundo was only 15 years old at the time of his death and was earning a daily wage of P100.00 as a construction worker. As in People v. Verde, this Court is inclined to grant the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity despite the absence of documentary evidence. To be able to claim damages for loss of earning capacity despite the nonavailability of documentary evidence, there must be oral testimony that: (a) the victim was self-employed earning less than the minimum wage under the current labor laws and judicial notice was taken of the fact that in the victim’s line of work, no documentary evidence is available; (b) the victim was employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws.


People v. Sultan

G.R. No. 132470(April 27, 2000)

The victim was abducted by the appellant, who brought her to his house. When they arrived at the appellant’s house the victim was divested of her jewelry and other valuables, afterwhich she was raped several times.  The appellant was convicted of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide. Whether multiple rape can be considered as an aggravating circumstance.


No. In several cases the Court realized that there was no law providing for the additional rape/s or homicide/s for that matter to be considered as aggravating circumstance. It further observed that the enumeration of aggravating circumstances under Art. 14 of the Revised Penal Code is exclusive, unlike in Art. 13 of the same Code which enumerates the mitigating circumstances where analogous circumstances may be considered, hence, the remedy lies with the legislature. Consequently, unless and until a law is passed providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s may be considered aggravating, the Court must construe the penal law in favor of the offender as no person may be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the statute. Under this view, the additional rape committed by accused-appellant is not considered an aggravating circumstance. Applying Art. 63, par. (2), of the Revised Penal Code which provides that “(i)n all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof x x x x 2. (w)hen there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be applied,” the lower penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed on accused-appellant.



Criminal Law Digests

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001