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People v. Labuguen (G.R. No.

127849)
Facts:
The deceased Bonifacio Angeles was engaged in buying cows and selling
them to the public market. One day, the accused Vivencio Labuguen went to him
and told him that he knows of three big cows for sale and that the place where
they are is near. Believing on such declaration, he took money from his cabinet at
his house amounting to P40,000 and then drove in his motorcycle with the
accused to see the cows. On their way to see the cows, they have been seen
together by several witnesses who later on identified them in court as the victim
and the accused respectively. The accused according to the witness was wearing
a jacket and with a handkerchief tied on his forehead. One of the witnesses, a
driver of a minibus testified that while driving on his way to his destination, he
saw a man behind the talahibs and he noticed that he was wiping something
from his head and right face. It was the same man whom his conductor identified
as the one who stopped their bus and rode on it. His conductor testified further
that he noticed that the mans jacket was soaked with blood including his pants
and that he did not talk when asked where he was headed to and instead just
gave his fare. The conductor even noticed that there was a lot of money on the
breast side pocket of his jacket and that one bill was even falling. The man then
alighted from the minibus after reaching his destination without saying any word.
Later that afternoon, a news broke out that a mans body was found dead in the
middle of the ricefield. He was later on identified as Bonifacio Angeles. Based on
the strength of the testimony of the witnesses, complaint and information were
filed against Vivencio and the Regional Trial Court found him guilty of the crime
of Robbery with Homicide and sentenced with the penalty of death. The case
was brought to the Supreme Court for automatic review.

Issue:
Whether or not the court has correctly appreciated the employment of
generic aggravating circumstance of fraud and craft in the commission of the
crime even if not alleged in the information?
Decision:
Though not alleged in the Information, the generic aggravating
circumstances of fraud and craft were properly appreciated by the trial court.
Craft involves intellectual trickery and cunning on the part of the offender. When
there is a direct inducement by insidious words or machinations, fraud is present.
By saying that he would accompany the victim to see the cows which the latter
intended to buy, appellant was able to lure the victim to go with him.
Under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for Robbery with
Homicide is reclusion perpetua to death Applying Article 63 of the same Code,
the imposable penalty under the premises is death in view of the presence of the
aggravating circumstances of craft and fraud and the absence of any mitigating
circumstance.
Four members of the Court are steadfast in their adherence to the
separate opinion expressed in People vs. Echegaray that Republic Act No. 7659
is unconstitutional insofar as it prescribes the death penalty. However, they bow
to the majority opinion that the aforesaid law is constitutional and therefore, the
penalty prescribe thereunder has to be imposed.