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Case Digest #33: PEOPLE VS.

DUCAY
G.R. No. 86939
August 2, 1993
Ponente: Davide, Jr., J.
Facts: The accused-apellants, father and son Santos and Edgardo Ducay, were char
ged
with the complex crime of double murder and multiple frustrated murder. Upon
arraignment, both accused entered a plea of not guilty. In due course, the trial
on the
merits proceeded.
Lina and Edwin Labos, both seriously injured in the incident, were among the wit
nesses
presented by the prosecution. Lina testified that at about 5:00 oclock in the mor
ning of
12 October 1986, Santos Ducay and his son, Edgardo entered her home armed with a
shot
gun and a .45 caliber pistol respectively. They then began shooting at Manuel, L
inas
husband, and Pacita, her mother-in-law. Both were killed. The accused also shot
at her,
Edwin, and Ma. Cristina, her six month old daughter. They three would have been
killed
as well if not for medical assistance. Lina was able to identify the two accused
. Edwin
corroborated Linas testimony.
Erwin Labos, brother of Edwin, also made a statement, duly subscribed and sworn
to,
positively identifying appellant [Santos] as the shooter. However, two days afte
r the
shooting, he executed a supplemental statement alleging that the second assailan
t was a
tall man with curly hair and mestizo features.
The trial court found Santos Ducay guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime c
harged
but acquitted Edgardo Ducay on the ground of reasonable doubt. The trial court
expressed that two murders and three frustrated murders were committed but did n
ot
impose the corresponding penalties because the information to which the accused
pleaded
is only one crime of double murder and multiple frustrated murder. Santos Ducay
then
filed a Partial Motion for Reconsideration/Or New Trial on the ground of newly
discovered evidence in the form of the lab result of a paraffin test. The motion
was
denied for lack of merit. He then filed a Notice of Appeal, thus, the present ca
se.
Issues:
1. Whether the newly discovered evidence in the present case may be used as
grounds for new trial.
2. Whether the supplementary and contemporaneous statements made by Erwin
should have been admitted.
3. Whether the death of several victims from separate shots constitutes separate
offenses.
Held:
1. No. In order for new and material evidence to lead to a new trial the followi
ng
requisites must concur: (1) that the evidence was discovered after the trial; (2
) that
such evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with
the exercise of reasonable diligence; and (3) that such evidence is material, no
t
merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching, and is of such weight that, if
admitted, it will probably change the judgment. In the present case, the results
of
the paraffin test cannot be considered newly discovered evidence as the same
already existed even before the trial commenced. Furthermore, the test is not
conclusive evidence that the appellant did not fire a gun. It is possible to fir
e a
gun and yet be negative for the presence of nitrates, as when one wears gloves o
r
washes his hands. The trial court, therefore, correctly denied the motion for ne
w
trial.
2. No. Firstly, Erwin was not called by the defense as its witness. Whatever
declaration he made to any party, either written or oral, is thus heresay. Besid
es,
the supplementary statement was not under oath while his first statement
implicating the appellant was duly subscribed and sworn to. Moreover, the rule o
n
spontaneous statements as part of the res gestae is stated in Sec. 42, Rule 130
of
the Rules of court: statements made by a person while a startling occurrence is
taking place or immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the
circumstances thereof, may be given in evidence as part of the res gestae
provided that: (1) that the principal act be a startling occurrence; (2) that th
e
statement was made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (3)
that statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately
attending circumstances. The alleged contemporaneous statement was made two
days after the shooting incident. In no way can it be said that Erwin was under
the
stress of an exciting event or condition.
3. Yes. The Court held that the crimes committed were not caused by a single act
nor were any of the crimes committed as a necessary means of committing the
others. In this case, there are as many crimes as there are victims. Though the
information filed was denominated as one for a complex crime, clearly it charges
the accused with five different criminal acts. The appellant and his co-accused
did
not move to quash the information on the ground of multiplicity of charges nor
did they bring any objections to light thereafter. They therefore waived such
defect and should be convicted of all offenses charged in the information.
Case Digest #34: PEOPLE VS. TABACO
G.R. Nos. 100382-100385
March 19, 1997
Ponente: Herosisima, Jr., J
Facts: The accused, Mario Tabaco, a member of the PC, was charged with four coun
ts of
Murder in four related informations, and in a separate information, was charged
with the
complex crime of Homicide and Frustrated Homicide. All cases were consolidated b
efore
Branch 10 of the RTC of Aparri, Cagayan. When asked to give their testimony,
prosecution witnesses and the accused had different accounts of events of the ev
ening of
March 22, 1987. The Court was not impressed by the defense put up by the accused
. It
did, however, believe in the reliability and intrinsic credibility of the prosec
ution
witnesses, there being no competent evidence for them to falsely testify against
the
accused. He was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of all the crimes charged a
gainst
him. For the criminal cases involving the four murder victims, but declared to h
ave been
prosecuted in one Information; the same being a complex crime, Tabaco was senten
ced to
a single penalty of reclusion perpetua, in its maximum period, with all accessor
y
penalties provided by law. Notwithstanding the single penalty, the accused still
interposed the present appeal.
Issues:
1. Whether the testimony of prosecution witnesses should be given credit over th
e
accuseds denials.
2. Whether the death of several victims from a successive burst of gunfire from
an
automatic weapon constitutes a complex crime.
Held:
1. Yes. Time and again, the Court has ruled that when the issue hinges on the
credibility of witnesses vis--vis the accuseds denials, the trial courts findings
with respect thereto are generally not disturbed on appeal, unless there appears
in
the record some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been
overlooked or the significance of which has been misinterpreted. After careful
examination of the records, the Court found no ground or reason to set aside or
disturb the trial courts assessment of the credibility of eyewitnesses when they
testified pointing to accused-appellant as the assailant in the shooting.
2. No. The case at bar does not make up a complex crime because the death of the
five persons and the injuries inflicted upon each of the other two persons were
not
caused by one simple act. Although the burst of shots was caused by one single
act of pressing the trigger, by design, the person firing has only to keep press
ing
and it would fire continually. Hence, it is not the act of pressing the trigger
which
should produce the several felonies, but the number of bullets. Consequently, th
e
four murders which resulted from a burst of gunfire cannot be considered a
complex crime. The accused-appellant must therefore be held liable for each
death he has caused and sentenced accordingly to four sentences of reclusion
perpetua.
Case Digest #35: PEOPLE VS. VICTOR
G.R. No. 75154-55
February 6, 1990
Ponente: Melencio-Herrera, J.
Facts: This case is an appeal from the joint decision of the RTC of Argao, Cebu
finding
Ceferino Guneda and Roberto Montebon guilty of Robbery with Homicide, Roger Vict
or
guilty of simple Robbery, and Roberto Montebon guilty of Illegal Possession of F
irearms.
In the present case, only accused Guneda appealed the decision of the RTC. Guned
a
assailed the extra-judicial confessions made by his co-accused as inadmissible.
Issue: Whether the extra-judicial confessions may be admitted in the present cas
e.
Held: Yes. Section 27, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court refers to the extra-judici
al
statement or admission of a conspirator. When such statement is confirmed at a t
rial, it
ceases to be hearsay. It becomes instead, a judicial admission being testimony o
f an
eyewitness admissible in evidence against those it implicates. The extra-judicia
l
confession of Roger Victor was re-iterated and affirmed by him in open court, du
ring the
trial. Thus, such confession partakes of the nature of a judicial testimony admi
ssible in
evidence not only to the declarant but even against his co-accused.
Case Digest #36: PEOPLE VS. GUILLEN
G.R. No. L-1477
January 18, 1950
Ponente: Per Curiam, J.
Facts: The accused, Julio Guillen, was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of t
he crime
of murder and multiple frustrated murder after his attempt to assassinate the Pr
esident of
the Philippines, Manuel Roxas on March 10, 1947.
During the 1946 Presidential Elections, Guillen voted for the opposing candidate
.
According to the accused, he was disappointed with the latter for failing to red
eem and
fulfill promises made by President Roxas during the elections. Consequently, the
accused
determined to assassinate the president and found the opportunity to do so at a
popular
meeting by the Liberal Party at Plaza de Miranda. Guillen stood on the chair he
had been
sitting on and hurled a grenade at the president as the latter had just closed h
is speech. A
general who was on the platform saw the smoking grenade and kicked it away from
the
platform towards an open space where he thought the grenade was likely to do the
least
harm. The grenade exploded in the middle of a group of persons standing close to
the
platform and grenade fragment seriously injured Simeon Varela, who died the next
day
due to the mortal wounds, and several other persons. Guillen was arrested and re
adily
admitted responsibility.
Issue: Whether the accused was guilty only of homicide through reckless impruden
ce in
regard to the death of Simeon Valera and of less serious physical injuries in re
gard to the
other injured persons.
Held: No. The facts do not support the contention of the counsel for the appella
nt. In
throwing the grenade at the president with the intention of killing him, the app
ellant acted
with malice and is therefore liable for all the consequences of his wrongful act
. As
provided by Article 4 of the RPC, criminal liability is incurred by any person c
ommitting
a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended
. In
criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it be
ing simply
the incident of another act performed without malice. As held by this Court, a d
eliberate
intent to do an unlawful act is willfully done, a mistake in the identity of the
intended
victim cannot be considered reckless imprudence.
The sentence of the trial court is affirmed by unanimous vote and the death sent
ence shall
be executed in accordance with Article 81 of the RPC.
Case Digest #37: ILAGAN VS. CA
G.R. No. 110617
December 29, 1994
Ponente: Regalado, J.
Facts: On July 21, 1992, eight informations were filed with the RTC charging Ger
uncio
Ilagan, Claro Pion and Rosendo Pion as co-conspirators in the crime of estafa. mov
ed
to quash the informations on the ground of duplicity of offenses. The same was d
ismissed
by the trial court. They appealed the CA but it held that the petitioners conten
tions are
without merit. Petitioners argued that despite the number of aggrieved parties,
they
committed only one offense of estafa, and solely against respondent corporation.
Issue: Whether the offenses separately charged in the eight informations actuall
y
constitute only one offense offense.
Held: No. The crime of estafa committed against the corporation, those committed
against the lot buyers are definitely separate felonies. They were dictated by d
ifferent
criminal intents, committed under different modes of commission provided by the
law on
estafa, perpetrated by different acts, consummated on different occasions, and c
aused
injury to different parties.
Case Digest#38: PEOPLE VS. FELOTEO
G.R. No. 124212
June 5, 1998
Ponente: Puno, J.
Facts: Wilfredo Feloteo was found guilty by the trial court of Murder and Illega
l
Possession of Firearms and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua and 20 years
respectively.
In the evening of May 6, 1993, the victim, Sonny Sotto, and his two friends were
walking
along the highway after a few drinks earlier that day and were on their way home
in a
lively mood. At one point, the accused appeared at the opposite side of the road
and
walked past the victims two friends. The two recognized the accused as he was a
barriomate.
The three friends did not pay much attention to the accused as they were playing

habulan. Without uttering a word, the accused aimed the armalite at Sotto and pul
led the
trigger. Sotto was hit above the chest and fell to the ground, face down. The tw
o friends
scampered away to find help while the accused fled. Sotto was later found dead.
The armalite belonged to SPO2 Roman Adion who said the accused stole the gun fro
m
him. Accused denied this, saying his purpose for carrying the gun was to bring i
t to SPO2
Adion as the latter went somewhere after leaving the gun at the house where the
accused
was.
Accused then walked past the victims group at around 7pm. The group zigzagged as
they walked. In jest, accused said to victim, Boots, dont get near me, Ill shoot yo
u. He
pointed the gun and pulled the trigger, allegedly unaware that it was loaded. It
fired and
hit Sotto. The accused was apprehended the next day by SPO2 Adion.
On appeal, accused denied that qualifying circumstance of treachery was present.
Issue:
1. Whether there was treachery.
2. Whether the accused should suffer the two penalties.
Held:
1. Yes. Par. 16, Article 14 of the RPC, the qualifying circumstance of treachery
is
present when the offender employs means, methods, or forms of execution which
tend directly and especially to insure its execution without risk to himself ari
sing
from any defensive or retaliatory act which the victim might take. The Court
rejected accuseds claim that the attack was frontal so the deceased would have
seen it coming and was warned, albeit jokingly, that he would be shot. It is a
settled rule that treachery can exist even if the attack is frontal if it is sud
den and
unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to repel or defend himself.
2. No. Illegal Possesssion of firearms shoud only be an aggravating circumstance
in
light of the amendments to PD 1866 by RA 8294. However, the penalty of
reclusion perpetua of appellant is not affected since RA 7659 or the Death Penal
ty
Law was enacted only on December 31, 1993, after the crime was committed in
May of the same year.
Case Digest #39: REODICA VS. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 125066
July 8, 1998
Ponente: Davide,Jr., J.
Facts: Isabelita Reodica was allegedly recklessly driving a van and hit Bonsol c
ausing
him physical injuries and damage to property amonting to P8,542.00. Three days a
fter the
accident, a complaint was filed before the fiscals office against the petitioner.
She was
charged with Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Slight Phy
sical
Injury. After pleading not guilty, trial ensued. RTC of Makati rendered the deci
sion
finding petitioner guilty of the offense charged and sentencing her to 6 months
arresto
mayor and a fine of P13,542.00. Petitioner appealed before the CA which re-affir
med the
lower courts decision.
Issues:
1. Whether the present case constitutes a complex crime.
2. Whether the duplicity of the information may be questioned for the first time
on
appeal.
3. Whether the RTC of Makati has jurisdiction over the case.
Held:
1. No. Article 48 of the RPC on penalty for complex crimes provides that when a
single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offe
nse
is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious
crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period. Both
offenses cannot constitute a complex crime because reckless imprudence resulting
to slight physical injuries is neither a grave nor less grave felony. Therefore,
each
felony should be filed as a separate complaint subject to distinct penalties.
2. No. Section 3 of Rule 120 of the Rules of Court provides that when two or mor
e
offenses are charged in a single complaint and the accused fails to object again
st it
before the trial, the court may convict the accused of as many offenses as charg
ed
and impose a penalty for each of them. Complainant failed to make the objection
before the trial, in effect, the right to object has been considered waived.
3. No. Jurisdiction of the court is determined by the duration of the penalty an
d the
fine imposed as prescribed by law to the offense charged. Reckless imprudence
resulting to slight physical injuries and reckless imprudence resulting to damag
e
to property is within the jurisdiction of the MTC. The case was dismissed due to
lack of jurisdiction of the RTC of Makati and the decision of the CA was set
aside.