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PERSONS CRIMINALLY LIABLE IN GRAVE AND LESS GRAVE FELONIES PRINCIPALS

PRINCIPALS BY INDISPENSABLE COOPERATION


G.R. No. L-67948

May 31, 1988

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NAPOLEON MONTEALEGRE, defendant-appellant.
Ponente: CRUZ, J.
Facts:
Edmundo Abadilia sought the help of Pfc. Renato Camantigue in apprehending the defendant and Vicente
Capalad, who were smoking marijuana at the time in the restaurant. Camantigue approached the two and
collared them.
While Camantigue was holding the two, the defendant with his right hand and Capalad with his left hand,
Capalad suddenly and surreptitiously pulled out a knife from a scabbard tucked in the right side of his waist
and started stabbed Camantigue in the back.
Camantigue let loose the defendant to draw the gun from his holster but the defendant restrained
Camantigue's hand by holding it with both hands to prevent the Camantigue from defending himself.
The three fell to the floor while struggling. Capalad ran to escape. Camantigue fired and continued pursuit
outside the restaurant. He then abandoned the chase and asked to be brought to a hospital. Neither
Camantigue nor Capalad survived, both expiring the following day. Capalad was later found slumped in the
alley with a bullet wound in his chest. Camantigue died from seven stab wounds affecting major internal
organs.
The defendant was able to the confusion. He was later apprehended on board a vehicle bound for Baclaran.
He gave his name as Alegre but later admitted he was the fugitive being sought.
The lower court convicted the defendant guilty of murder, as qualified by treachery, with assault upon a
person in authority.
ISSUE
Whether or not the
defendant was correctly
considered a co-principal in
the crime

HELD
Yes

RATIO
The defendant was correctly considered a co-principal for
having collaborated with Capalad in the killing of the police
officer. The two acted in concert, with Capalad actually stabbing
Camantigue seven times and the defendant holding on to the
victim's hands to prevent him from drawing his pistol and
defending himself. While it is true that the defendant did not
himself commit the act of stabbing, he was nonetheless equally
guilty thereof for having prevented Camantigue from resisting
the attack against him. The defendant was a principal by
indispensable cooperation under Article 17, par. 3, of the
Revised Penal Code.
The requisites of this provision are: (1) participating in the criminal
resolution, that is, there is either anterior conspiracy or unity of criminal
purpose and intention immediately before the commission of the crime
charged; and (2) cooperation in the commission of the offense by
performing another act without which it would not have been
accomplished.

SC sustained the view of the prosecution that although there


was no evidence correspondence of a prior agreement between
Capalad and the defendant, their subsequent acts should prove

the presence of such conspiracy.


Also, the defendant performed an act holding the decedent
without which the crime would not have been accomplished.
This makes him a principal by indispensable cooperation.

Decision: The appealed judgment is AFFIRMED as above modified, without any pronouncement as to costs.
Narvasa, Gancayco, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.