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People vs PO3 Fallorina

G.R. No. 137347


March 4, 2004

Facts:
At about 2:30 p.m. of September 26, 1998, Vincent Jorojoro, an eleven-year old
minor and the third child of Vicente and Felicisima Jorojoro, residing at Sitio Militar,
Brgy. Bahay Toro, Project 8, Quezon City, asked permission from his mother
Felicisima if he could play outside. She agreed. Together with his playmate Whilcon
Buddha Rodriguez, Vincent played with his kite on top of the roof of an abandoned
carinderia beside the road.
Beside the carinderia was a basketball court, where a fourteen-year old witness
Ricardo Salvo and his three friends, were playing basketball. Ricardo heard the
familiar sound of a motorcycle coming from the main road across the basketball
court. Cognizant to Ricardo of the appellant, PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina, a Philippine
National Police (PNP) officer, detailed in the Traffic Management Group (TMG), knew
that he abhorred kids playing on the roof, since one of his friends was previously
been scolded by the appellant before.
Ricardo called on Vincent and Whilcon to come down from the roof. When PO3
Fallorina saw them, the former stopped his motorcycle, he shouted and badmouthed
at them. After hearing the shouts of the appellant, Whilcon rushed to jump off from
the roof while Vincent was lying on his stomach on the roof flying his kite. When he
heard the appellants shouts, Vincent stood up and looked at the latter. As soon as
Vincent turned his back, ready to get down from the roof, suddenly, the appellant
pointed the .45 caliber pistol towards the direction of Vincent and fired a shot.
Vincent fell from the roof, lying prostrate near the canal beside the abandoned
carinderia and the basketball court.
The appellant approached Vincent and carried the latters hapless body in a waiting
tricycle and brought him to the Quezon City General Hospital. Vincent was
pronounced dead on arrival caused by a single gunshot wound in the head.

Issues:

(a) Whether or not the appellant is exempt from criminal liability?

(b) Whether or not the appellant can offset the aggravating circumstance of taking
advantage of public position from a mitigating circumstance of his voluntary
surrender?
Held:
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) cites that the basis for exemption from a
criminal liability under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), is
the complete absence of intent and negligence on the part of the accused. For the
accused to be guilty for a felony, it must be committed either with criminal intent or
with fault or negligence.

Thusly, the elements of exempting circumstances are (1) a person is performing a


lawful act; (2) with due care; (3) he causes an injury to another by mere accident;
and (4) without any fault or intention of causing it.

In the case at bar, the Court a quo erred in inequitably appreciating exculpatory and
inculpatory facts and circumstances which should have been considered in favor of
the accused. The court also failed to appreciate the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender in favor of the accused since it was only after three days that
the appellant gave himself up and surrendered his service firearm. And lastly, the
court considered the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage of his position
by the accused.

On January 19, 1999, the trial court rendered judgment convicting the appellantaccused of murder, qualified by treachery and aggravated by abuse of public
position. The trial court did not appreciate in favor of the appellant the mitigating
circumstances of voluntary surrender.

The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 95, found the accused PO3
Ferdinand Fallorina y Fernando GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
murder defined and penalized by Article 248 of the RPC, as amended by the
Republic Act No. 7659, and in view of the presence of the aggravating circumstance
of taking advantage by the accused of his public position (par. 1, Art. 14, RPC).
Hence, the accused is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of late Vincent Jorojoro,
Jr. the amounts of actual damages of P49,174.00 (paid for funeral services);
P50,000.00 for moral damages; P25,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P50,000.00
as death indemnity. The court a quo sentenced the appellant to suffer the Death
Penalty.