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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs.

BENJAMIN CASAS y VINTULAN, Accused-


Appellant.

G.R. No. 212565 February, 2015

Facts:

Benjamin Casas was charged with the crime of Murder and Attempted Homicide under
Articles 248 and 249 of the Revised Penal Code. The Regional Trial Court convicted him of the
crimes charged. The record shows that Casas went to a certain TAHO factory looking for a
certain Jesus. Failing to find Jesus, he brandished a knife and stuck it into a pail used in making
TAHO. As a result, Eligio, an employee of the factory confronted Casas and told him to get rid of
the knife. Thereafter , Eligio and Casas had a fist fight. Consequently, Casas was able to regain
and stabbed Eligio twice while the latter was fleeing. While Casas was in pursuit of Eligio, he ran
into Joel who tried to help Eligio with the use of bamboo pole. However, Joel slipped and lay
prostrate on the floor. There and then, Casas stabbed him twice who eventually died. Casas
interpose self-defense to justify his action of stabbing both Joel and Eligio alleging that Joel
challenged him into a fight that he stabbed Eligio to protect himself.

Issue:

Whether or not the conviction of Casas for the crimes of Murder and Attempted
Homicide proper.

Held:

No for the crime of Murder and Yes for the crime of Homicide. The court affirmed the
conviction of Casas of Attempted Homicide but found the charge of Murder improper. Casas
should only be guilty of the crime Homicide on killing Joel.

The court first rule on the existence of criminal liability. There can be no self-defense
unless the victim committed unlawful aggression against the person who resorted self-defense.
It was Casas who was actually the aggressor, as he was the one who wielded a knife, brought it
to bear on Eligio, then on Joel as he lay prostrate, and again on Eligio as he was fleeing. The
initial fistfight between Eligio and Casas does not indicate the unlawful aggression was
employed by the former against the latter considering that Eligio had already yielded from the
brawl and in fact proceeded to flee. The moment the fist aggressor runs away, unlawful
aggression on the part of the first aggressor ceases to exist. The core element of unlawful
aggression was not proven, thus Casas claim on self-defense falters and his criminal liability
stands.

The court however disagrees that Casas should be convicted of the crime Murder with
respect to the death of Joel due to the prosecutions failure to prove the existence of treachery.
The essence of treachery is the sudden, unexpected, and unforeseen attack on the victim,
without the slightest provocation on the latter’s part. The victim must not have known the peril
he was exposed to at the moment of the attack. Should it appear however, that the victim was
forewarned of the danger he was in and instead of fleeing from it he met it and was killed as a
result, then the qualifying circumstance of treachery cannot be appreciated. He knew that
Casas was armed with a knife and had just used the same on Eligio. Joel chose to intervene and
even armed himself with a bamboo pole. It is rather obvious that Joel was aware of the danger
he is about to face. Hence, there can no treachery. As such, Casas is only guilty of the crime of
Homicide and Attempted Homicide.