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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs.

REYNALDO BARRIGA
G.R. NO. 178545
September 29, 2008

Facts:

On March 10, 1995, appellant Reynaldo Barriga and an old man went to see Helen, the common-
law wife and fiancee of the victim Eduardo Villabrille, at her house, seemingly to inquire about a
lot for sale owned by a certain Miss Rosal. After talking with Miss Rosal, appellant asked Helen
for the location of Eduardo's house, to which she answered the first house with color yellow.

On March 20, 1995, a witness saw appellant going over the fence of her house and peeping
through the jalousie window to spy on Eduardo, who was then watching television in her house.

On March 23, 1995, Eduardo, riding on his bicycle, proceeded to his mother's house to pasture
his cows and water his newly planted mangoes. After a while, Helen heard four successive
gunshots coming from the direction of the house of Eduardo's uncle. She hurriedly went out and
saw Eduardo being chased by three persons armed with short firearms. Helen recognized one of
the pursuers as Leo Barriga (Leo), the brother of appellant, for they used to play together in his
house during their school days. She saw Eduardo jump over a fence and fall on the ground. Then
Leo approached Eduardo, poked a gun at his head, and fired. She heard Leo tell his companions
that Eduardo was already dead. Appellant picked up the three assailants in his motorcycle.
Eduardo died the next day.

The trial court found appellant guilty of the crime of murder. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
decision of the RTC. The appellate court, however, held that the qualifying circumstance of
treachery was not clearly established. But it found that evident premeditation attended the killing
of Eduardo.

Issue:

Whether the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, abuse of superior


strength, and with the aid of armed men attended the commission of the crime.

Held:

The essence of evident premeditation is that the execution of the criminal act is preceded by cool
thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent within a space of time
sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.

The qualifying circumstance of treachery was not clearly established since none of the witnesses
saw how the shooting was started. For treachery to be appreciated, it must be present and seen by
the witness right at the inception of the attack. Where no particulars are known as to how the
killing began, its perpetration with treachery cannot merely be supposed.

Abuse of superior strength cannot likewise be appreciated for it was not alleged in the
information. Even if alleged, it cannot qualify the killing of Eduardo. This aggravating
circumstance necessitates the showing of the relative disparity in physical characteristics, usually
translating into the age, gender, the physical size and the strength of the aggressor and the victim.
There is no proof that assailants utilized any notorious inequality to their advantage. In other
words, mere superiority in number is not enough to constitute superior strength.

However, both the RTC and the Court of Appeals failed to appreciate the qualifying
circumstance of the commission of the crime with the aid of armed men. The information alleged
that the accused were armed with short firearms. There is ample evidence on record establishing
the presence of this circumstance. Under paragraph 1, Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the
aid of armed men qualifies a killing to murder. Since treachery was not proven beyond
reasonable doubt, the qualifying circumstance of killing with the aid of armed men could not be
absorbed in treachery.

Judgment is affirmed with modifications.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. NOEL CUASAY


G.R. NO. 182548
October 17, 2008

Facts:

On October 15, 1997, the victim Eduardo Ansuli and three other persons were playing mahjong
at the wake of a certain Rosalina Petalpo. Barangay tanods were also present at the wake, about
three meters from the mahjong table. At the table, accused-appellant Noel Cuasay and a certain
Johnson Suarez were seated at the right side of Ansuli, watching the game. While Ansuli was
picking a mahjong tile, accused-appellant suddenly stabbed Ansuli with a Swiss-type knife,
hitting the latter on the right breast. Accused-appellant thereafter fled towards the residence of
the barangay captain while Ansuli ran to his house. Around 6:00 a.m. of the following day,
Ansuli's dead body was found by the side of the road, approximately 50 meters from the location
of the wake. In the same morning, the barangay captain surrendered accused-appellant to the
authorities.

Accused-appellant claimed killing Ansuli in self-defense. He alleged that the victim suspected
him of stealing PhP 20 and because of that, the victim boxed him three times. The victim
allegedly verbally abused him. Accused-appellant claimed that the victim called him patay
gutom at pulubi and boxed him at the right shoulder. Thus, he stabbed the victim with his fan
knife then ran to the house of the barangay captain.

The lower court convicted the accused-appellant of the crime of murder, which the Court of
Appeals affirmed with modification.

Issue:
Whether accused-appellant should be acquitted based on self-defense, or convicted for homicide
only because of the mitigating circumstance of passion or obfuscation that resulted in incomplete
self-defense.

Held:

Accused-appellant failed to prove the requisites of self-defense. He failed to prove that there was
unlawful aggression on the part of the victim.

Accused-appellant's alternative claim of passion or obfuscation likewise deserves no credit. To


be entitled to this mitigating circumstance, the following elements must be present: (1) there
should be an act both unlawful and sufficient to produce such condition of mind; and (2) the act
that 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.
There was no evidence of unlawful aggression or any act on the part of the victim that could
have caused accused-appellant to act with passion or obfuscation.

Judgment is affirmed with modification.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. LEOSON DELA CRUZ Y ECHECHE


G.R. NO. 172697
June 7, 2007

Facts:

In the morning of November 20, 1999, appellant, Leoson dela Cruz, gained entry to the
subdivision where the victims, Atty. Pelagio Ricalde and his wife Juliana, lived by presenting to
the guard-on-duty a fake I.D. Upon reaching the house of Pelagio, appellant told Rebecca,
Pelagio's daughter, that her father had told him to go there. After a brief conversation, Pelagio
escorted dela Cruz out toward the garage gate. However, the latter suddenly stabbed him in the
back and kept on stabbing him until he lost his balance. Juliana rushed to her husband's rescue
and begged the appellant, "Leo, tama na, tama na, tama na." Dela Cruz dropped the knife and
ran towards the garage. As Juliana was attending to her husband, dela Cruz suddenly reappeared
and stabbed her repeatedly at the back with a letter opener. Juliana died as a result of the injuries
she suffered. Pelagio survived the stabbing after receiving prompt medical attention.

The trial court found appellant guilty of murder and frustrated murder. The CA affirmed the
decision with modifcation.

Issue:

Whether or not treachery, evident premeditation and dwelling attended the commission of the
crimes.
Held:

Treachery is present because the suddenness of appellant's attack on the victims ensured the
commission of the crimes, giving them no opportunity to defend themselves. At the time of the
attack, Pelagio was talking with appellant on the way out. Pelagio did not have the slightest idea
he was going to be stabbed and had no chance to defend himself. In Juliana's case, she was by
her fallen husband when appellant reappeared with a letter opener. The attack on her was
instantaneous, and Juliana was not ready to fight back thinking appellant had left.

As to the presence of evident premeditation, only the attack on Pelagio was evidently
premeditated. The same cannot be said on the assault on Juliana. To prove evident premeditation,
the prosecution is burdened to prove the confluence of the following elements: (1) the time when
the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that he has clung to
such determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between the determination and execution to
allow the offender to reflect upon the consequence of his act. The Court stresses the importance
of the requirement in evident premeditation of sufficiency of time between the criminal act and
the resolution to carry out the criminal intent, affording such opportunity to coolly and serenely
think and deliberate on the meaning and the consequences of what appellant had planned to do,
an interval long enough for the conscience and better judgment to overcome the evil desire and
scheme.

Finally, dwelling aggravated the commission of the crimes. Appellant's greater perversity was
revealed when he deliberately entered the victims' domicile, at the pretext of soliciting help from
its owners. The garage, where the incidents took place, is undoubtedly an integral part of the
victims residence.

Judgment is affirmed.

ERNESTO GARCES vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


G.R. NO. 173858
July 17, 2007

Facts:

AAA was on her way to the chapel when the petitioner, Ernesto Garces, and four of his co-
accused suddenly appeared and approached her. Rosendo Pacursa covered her mouth with his
hands and told her not to shout or she will be killed. He then brought her inside a nearby tobacco
barn while his four companions stood guard outside. Inside the barn, Pacursa started kissing
AAA. She fought back but to no avail. Thereafter, Pacursa succeeded in having carnal
knowledge of her. After a while, they heard people shouting and calling the name of AAA. At
this point, petitioner Ernesto Garces entered the barn, covered AAAs mouth, then dragged her
outside. He also threatened to kill her if she reported the incident.
Upon reaching the house of Florentino Garces, petitioner released AAA. Shortly thereafter,
AAA's relatives found her crying and her hair disheveled. They brought her home. When asked
what happened, AAA could not answer because she was in a state of shock. After a while, she
was able to recount the incident.

Rosendo Pacursa denied that he raped the victim, while his co-accused presented alibis as their
defense. The trial court found Pacursa guilty of Forcible Abduction with Rape while petitioner
Garces was found guilty as an accessory to the crime. The other co-accused were acquitted for
insufficiency of evidence. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision with modification.

Issue:

Whether the aggravating circumstances of night-time and uninhabited place attended the
commission of the crime.

Held:

Nocturnity is aggravating when it is deliberately sought to prevent the accused from being
recognized or to ensure his unmolested escape. The mere fact that the rape was committed at
nighttime does not make nocturnity an aggravating circumstance. In the instant case, other than
the fact that the crime was committed at night, there is no other evidence that the peculiar
advantage of nighttime was purposely and deliberately sought by the accused.

The aggravating circumstance of uninhabited place cannot likewise be appreciated in the absence
of evidence that the accused actually sought an isolated place to better execute their purpose. The
records do not show that solitude was purposely sought or taken advantage of to facilitate the
commission of the crime.

Petition denied.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. DANTE NUEVA Y SAMARO


G.R. NO. 173248
November 3, 2008

Facts:

In the evening of December 29, 2000, the victim, Virgilio Revollido, Jr., was seen by a witness
being chased by an unidentified person (John Doe) along 4th Avenue East, Caloocan City. The
victim passed in front of the appellant, Dante Nueva, and Porpirio Maribuhok who were then
standing near the corner of 4th Avenue. At that point, the appellant held the victim's left hand
and led him to the other side of the road. There, Porpirio took a piece of wood and hit the victim
on the head. The appellant continued to box the victim until John Doe came. John Doe
immediately stabbed the victim at the back. The appellant, who was then at the victim's front,
then pulled out a knife and likewise stabbed the victim. Afterwards, the three accused escaped.
The victim died subsequently.

Of the three accused, only the appellant was apprehended; the others remained at large. The
lower court convicted the accused-appellant of the crime of murder, which the Court of Appeals
affirmed with modification.

Issue:

Whether the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, and taking


advantage of superior strength attended the commission of the crime.

Held:

A review of the evidence points to the conclusion that no treachery existed. Treachery is not
presumed. The circumstances surrounding the murder must be proved as indubitably as the crime
itself. To constitute treachery, two conditions must concur: (1) the employment of means,
methods or manner of execution that would ensure the offender's safety from any defense or
retaliatory act on the part of the offended party; and (2) the offender's deliberate or conscious
choice of the means, method or manner of execution.

Abuse of superior strength attended the killing of the victim. To take advantage of superior
strength means to use purposely excessive force, or force out of proportion to the means of
defense available to the person attacked. The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior
strength depends on the age, size and strength of the parties. It is present whenever there is
inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressor so that the superiority of strength is
notoriously advantageous for the latter who took advantage of this superiority in committing the
crime.

Evident premeditation was not proven. For evident premeditation to be appreciated, the
following elements must be established: (1) the time when the accused determined to commit the
crime; (2) an overt act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination; and
(3) sufficient lapse of time between decision and execution to allow the accused to reflect on the
consequences of his act.

Judgment is affirmed with modifications.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. CESARIO OSIANAS, ET AL.


G.R. NO. 182548
September 30, 2008

Facts:

On October 20, 1989, at around 6:00 p.m., in Sitio Calapayan, Barangay San Rafael, Hinoba-an,
Negros Occidental, Jose Cuizon, his son Ronilo Cuizon, and his brother Raymundo Cuizon were
sleeping in the house of Jose's daughter, Teresita Cuizon-Cuerpo, who was also asleep with her
two children. Suddenly, there was a loud knocking on the door and shouts calling for Jose to rise
and come out. When asked, the persons knocking at the door said they were members of the New
Peoples Army and that they will burn the house down if the door was not opened. Jose opened
the door. Teresita then saw accused-appellants, together with the other seven accused who were
all armed with improvised shotguns, short firearms, knives, and double-bladed weapons. They
barged in, hog-tied the hands of Jose, Ronilo and Raymundo and brought them out of the house
allegedly for questioning.

The next day, October 21, 1989, the dead bodies of Jose, Ronilo and Raymundo were found in
Sitio Sangke, Talacagay, around two kilometers away from Barangay Hinoba-an.

The trial court convicted the accused-appellants, Cesario Osianas, et al. of the crime of murder,
which the Court of Appeals affirmed with modifications.

Issue:

Whether the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, and abuse of


superior strength attended the commission of the crime.

Held:

There is no question that the victims bodies, when found, had their hands still tied shows without
doubt that they were killed when they were tied, so that, the qualifying aggravating circumstance
of treachery was present.

The other qualifying circumstances alleged in the Information, evident premeditation and abuse
of superior strength, cannot be appreciated in the case at bar. The following elements must be
established in order that evident premeditation may be appreciated: (1) the time when the
accused decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt act manifestly indicating that he has clung to
his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between decision and execution to allow the
accused to reflect upon the consequences of his act. The essence of premeditation is that the
execution of the criminal act was preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to
carry out the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment. It was
not shown that the accused-appellants meditated and reflected upon their decision to kill the
victim. The premeditation to kill must be plain, notorious and sufficiently proven by evidence of
outward acts showing the intent to kill.

As regards the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength, this Court has held that
such is already absorbed in treachery, and therefore cannot be separately considered.

Judgment is affirmed with modification.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ARMANDO RODAS, ET AL.


G.R. NO. 75881
August 28, 2007

Facts:

On August 9, 1996, the victim Titing Asenda was at Milaub, Denoyan, Zamboanga del Norte, to
help his brother, Danilo Asenda, in the harvesting of the latter's corn. On the same day, at around
8:00 in the evening, a benefit dance at Milaub was being held. Among those roaming in the
vicinity of the dance hall were Alberto Asonda and Ernie Anggot. They stopped and hung out
near the fence to watch the affair. Titing Asenda was standing near them. They saw Charlito
Rodas, Armando Rodas, Jose Rodas, Jr., and Jose Rodas, Sr. surround Titing Asenda. Suddenly,
without a word, Charlito Rodas, armed with a hunting knife, stabbed Titing at the back.
Armando Rodas then clubbed Titing with a chako hitting him at the left side of the nape.
Thereafter, Jose Rodas, Sr. handed to Jose Rodas, Jr. a bolo which the latter used in hacking
Titing. Alberto Asonda and Ernie Anggot tried to help Titing but Armando Rodas prevented
them by pointing a gun at them. Titing died instantly from his injuries.

The lower court convicted the accused-appellants of the crime of murder, which the Court of
Appeals affirmed in toto.

Issue:

Whether evident premeditation, nocturnity and abuse of superior strength attended the killing.

Held:

For evident premeditation to be appreciated, the following elements must be established: (1) the
time when the accused decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt act manifestly indicating that
he has clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between decision and
execution to allow the accused to reflect upon the consequences of his act. The essence of
premeditation is that the execution of the criminal act was preceded by cool thought and
reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to
arrive at a calm judgment. In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to show the presence of any
of these elements.

The aggravating circumstance of nocturnity cannot be considered against appellants. This


circumstance is considered aggravating only when it facilitated the commission of the crime, or
was especially sought or taken advantage of by the accused for the purpose of impunity. The
essence of this aggravating circumstance is the obscurity afforded by, and not merely the
chronological onset of, nighttime.

The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength attended the killing. There was
glaring disparity of strength between the victim and the four accused. The victim was unarmed
while the accused were armed with a hunting knife, chako and bolo. It is evident that the accused
took advantage of their combined strength to consummate the offense. This aggravating
circumstance, though, cannot be separately appreciated because it is absorbed in treachery.

Judgment is affirmed with modification.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. RENE ROSAS


G.R. NO. 177825
October 24, 2008

Facts:

On September 15, 1995, appellant, Rene Rosas, was allegedly standing beside the post near a
store across the street. Thereafter, the victim, Nestor Estacio, arrived alone on board his
motorcycle. The victim stopped in front of the Salcedo Newsstand to buy a newspaper without
switching off his motorcycles engine. Before he could drive off, appellant, who was coming
from the left side behind the victim, shot the latter with a pistol at close range. After the victim
fell on the ground, more gunshots were heard, which gunshots were fired at the victim to make
sure that he was dead. After the shooting, appellant jumped into a motorcycle and escaped. On
August 5, 1998, appellant was arrested.

The lower court convicted the accused-appellant of the crime of murder, which the Court of
Appeals affirmed with modification.

Issue:

Whether the qualifying circumstance of treachery should be appreciated when it is not alleged
with specificity in the Information.

Held:

Qualifying circumstances need not be preceded by descriptive words such as qualifying or


qualified by to properly qualify an offense. Section 8 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure does
not require the use of such words to refer to the circumstances which raise the category of an
offense. It is not the use of the words qualifying or qualified by that raises a crime to a higher
category, but the specific allegation of an attendant circumstance which adds the essential
element raising the crime to a higher category. It is sufficient that the qualifying circumstances
be specified in the Information to apprise the accused of the charges against him to enable him to
prepare fully for his defense, thus precluding surprises during trial.

Not only was treachery sufficiently alleged, it was likewise proven beyond reasonable doubt by
the evidence on record. It is a well-entrenched rule that treachery is present 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 insure its execution, without risk to himself arising
from the defense which the offended party might make. The essence of treachery is that the
attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected attack, affording the
hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape.

Judgment is affirmed.

PEOPLE vs. REYNALDO VILLANUEVA Y MARQUEZ


G.R. NO. 172697
September 25, 2007

Facts:

In the morning of January 21, 2000, appellant, Reynaldo Villanueva, then 31 years old, killed his
niece Angelica Villanueva, aged 8, by boxing her on the head and kicking her several times on
the different parts of her body. Appellant also mauled his nephews Rexie Villanueva and Enrique
Villanueva, Jr., aged 5 and 2, respectively.

Angelica died of massive brain edema, cerebral contusion, subdural hemorrhage due to mauling.
Rexie sustained injuries, which could have resulted to massive brain edema and his subsequent
death, were it not for the medical intervention. Enrique, Jr. suffered a broken mouth and was
confined at the Baguio General Hospital (BGH) for four days. Consequently, appellant was
charged with murder for the death of Angelica, frustrated murder for the serious injuries suffered
by Rexie, and attempted murder for the injuries inflicted on Enrique, Jr.

Appellant pleaded insanity. He claimed that he did not know that he killed his niece Angelica
and that he mauled his nephews Rexie and Enrique, Jr. A doctor testified that appellant is
suffering from a mental disorder classified as schizophrenia, paranoid, episodic with interepisode
residual symptoms characterized by intermittent episodes of psychotic signs and symptoms.

The trial court found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, frustrated murder, and
attempted murder, which the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification.

Issue:

Whether appellant should be acquitted on the ground of insanity.

Held:

The defense failed to prove that appellant was completely deprived of intelligence in committing
the dastardly acts. Proof of the existence of some abnormalities in the mental faculties will not
exempt the accused from culpability, if it was shown that he was not completely deprived of
freedom and intelligence. Appellant's recollection of the events prior to the crimes and his
emotions afterwards indicate that he was sane before, during, and after the commission of the
crimes.

The CA correctly appreciated appellant's mental disorder as a mitigating circumstance under


Article 13(9) of the Revised Penal Code. There is no dispute that appellant has a history of
mental illness. He was diagnosed to be suffering from Schizophrenia, Paranoid, Episodic with
Interepisode Residual Symptoms which began in 1985 and was characterized by intermittent
episodes of psychotic signs and symptoms since then until appellant's examination on June 21,
2000. Such illness diminished the exercise of appellant's will power without however depriving
him of the consciousness of his acts.

Judgment affirmed with modifications.

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