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PEOPLE v.

DESALISA [229 SCRA 35 (1994)]


Nature: Appeal from a decision of RTC Sorsogon. 1994. FACTS: Emmanuel Desalisa, a 22-yr old farmer, lived w/ his 18-yr old legal wife, Norma, who was then 5 mos pregnant and their 2-yr old daughter in a small nipa hse on a hill at Pinaductan, Sorsogon. The whole neighborhood consists of 3 houses. The other 2 houses are about 150 meters away: the house of his parents-in-law and the house of Carlito Dichoso. The view of the houses is obstructed by the many fruit trees and shrubs prevalent in the area. On Oct 9, 1983, Vicente Dioneda, the father-in-law of the accused, testified that the latter went to their house and left his 2 yr-old. The next day, at about 6 or 7AM, Vicente went to the house of the accused only to find plates scattered on the floor, the kettle w/ cooked rice untouched, and the other rope holding the hammock missing. He went out of the house and noticed the couples pig to be hungry. He thought of feeding it w/ coconut meat from the tree w/c was nearby. He saw the back of the body of his daughter. He called her and touched her back. However, her body swayed. It was only then that he realized that she was hanging from a branch of the jackfruit tree. Her neck was suspended about 4 inches above the ground. Her neck was tied w/ the missing rope of the hammock. There were no eyewitnesses to the incident. Accused-appellant often manhandled his daughter because he suspected her of having a paramour and that the baby in her womb was not his. He believed that one Ariate was courting his wife. Desalisa invokes the defense of denial. He speculates that it was his wife who was jealous. She suspected him of having an affair w/ the daughter of Manoy Charito. HELD: The accused has the opportunity to commit the crime. The house where they lived is up a hill and isolated. The whole neighborhood consists only of 3 houses. No one can go up the hill to visit w/o being known to the neighbor. Moreover, the motive of jealousy is evident for what can be more humiliating to a man aside from a wife being unfaithful to be refused entry to ones very home? Although the accused did not flee after the crime, there is no case law holding that non-flight is conclusive of proof of innocence. The aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation can not be appreciated against accused-appellant absent any proof as to how and when the plan to kill was hatched or what time elapsed before it was carried out. Neither may the aggr circumstance of nighttime be appreciated against him because there is no proof that it was purposely sought or taken advantage of or that it facilitated the commission of the crime. However, the aggr circumstance of uninhabited place is present. The uninhabitedness of a place is determined not by the distance of the nearest house to the scene of the crime but WON there was reasonable possibility of the victim receiving some help in the place of commission. Considering that the killing was done during nighttime and many fruit trees and shrubs obstructed the view of the neighbors and passersby, there was no reasonable possibility for the victim to receive any assistance. Accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of parricide w/ unintentional abortion and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay civil indemnity of PhP50K. Being a single indivisible penalty, reclusion perpetua is imposed regardless of any mitigating or aggr circumstances.