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People vs. Santiago 43 Phil.

120 , March 08, 1922


Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs.
GREGORIO SANTIAGO, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of
the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros. Villareal, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL PROCEDURE|CONSTITUTIONAL LAW|SOVEREIGN
POWER|VALIDITY OF ACT No. 2886
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; SECTION 1, ACT No. 2886, CONSTRUED.-
Section 1 of Act No. 2886 which provides that "All prosecutions for public offenses
shall be in the name of the People of the Philippine Islands against the person
charged with the offense," held valid and constitutional.
2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; POWER OF PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE TO
AMEND LAWS.-
The procedural law in criminal matters is not incorporated in the Constitution of
the States, but is left in the hands of the legislatures, and pursuant to the
Constitution of the United States each State has authority to define and punish
crimes and to establish the rules of criminal procedure. This power of the different
States of the North American Union was also granted to its territories such as the
Philippine Islands.
3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DEVELOPMENT OF POWERS OF LEGISLATURE
REVIEWED.-
In accordance with international law and practice, the military government of the
army of occupation was vested with legislative functions and in fact did legislate;
afterwards, complying with the instructions of President McKinley, which were
later ratifiedby Congress (sec. 1 of Act of July 1, 1902) the legislative powers of
the Military Government were transferred to the Philippine Commission; then
under the provisions of section 7 of the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, the
Philippine Assembly was created and it functioned as a colegislative body with the
Philippine Commission; finally, by virtue of the provisions of section 12 of the Act
of Congress of August 29, 1916, known as the Jones Law, the Philippine
Commission gave way to the Philippine Senate, the Philippine Assembly became
the House of Representatives, and thus was formed the present Legislature
composed of two houses which enacted Act No. 2886. The Philippine
Commission and the Philippine Legislature are the successors of the Military
Government that promulgated General Orders No. 58.
4. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; ID.-
The Philippine Legislature is empowered to legislate on matters relating to
criminal procedure by virtue of section 7 of the Jones Law which provides as
follows: "That the legislative authority herein provided shall have power, when not
inconsistent with this Act, by due enactment to amend, alter, modify, or repeal any
law, civil or criminal, continued in force by this Act as it may from time to time see
fit." (See also U. S. V8. Bull, 15 Phil., 7.) Even before the passage by Congress of
the Jones Law (August 29, 1916) the Philippine Commission had enacted Acts
Nos. 194, 440, and 590 which amend General Orders No. 58.
5. SOVEREIGN POWER; DELEGATION TO PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT.-
The right to prosecute and punish crimes is an attribute of sovereignty which
resides in the Federal Government, but for the purpose of punishing crimes, this
power is delegated to subordinate government subdivisions such as territories.
This delegation may be either express, as in the case of the several States of the

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Union and incorporated territories, like Porto Rico and Hawaii, or implied, as in the
case of the Philippines, which is an organized territory though not incorporated
with the Union. (Malcolm, Philippine Constitutional Law, 181—205.)
6. VALIDITY OF ACT No. 2886; PRESUMPTION.-
By virtue of the Philippine Organic Act, since Act No. 2886 was not expressly
repealed by Congress, it must be presumed to have been impliedly approved by
that body.

Docket Number: No. 17584

Counsel: L. Porter Hamilton, Acting Attorney-General Tuason

Ponente: ROMUALDEZ

Dispositive Portion:
The sentence appealed from is hereby affirmed, the appellant
being furthermore sentenced to the accessory penalties prescribed
in article 61 of the Penal Code, and to indemnify the heirs of the
deceased in the sum of P1,000 and to the payment of the costs of
both instances. So ordered.
United States vs. Pablo. 35 Phil. 94 , October 17, 1916
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. ANDRES PABLO, defendant and
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Bataan.
Miranda, J.
Syllabi Class : FALSE TESTIMONY|REPEAL OF ACT No. 1697
Syllabi:
1. FALSE TESTIMONY; REPEAL OF ACT No. 1697;LAW NOW APPLICABLE.-
By the mere interpretation of this court in various decisions, Act No. 1697 was
deemed to have repealed certain articles of the Penal Code relative to false
testimony, notwithstanding that the said Act did not expressly repeal them; and as
the final article and section of the Administrative Code (Act No. 2657), paragraph
2, has totally repealed the said Act No. 1697, without stating that the articles of the
Penal Code relating to false testimony comprised within the term of perjury were
likewise repealed; and if it is undeniable that the community must necessarily
punish perjury or false testimony, and if it is impossible to conceive that crimes of,
this kind may go immune and be freely committed without any punishment at all,
because the liberty to pervert the truth, in sworn testimony for the very reason that
it might save a guilty party from punishment, might also determine the conviction
and punishment of an innocent party, the conclusion is inevitable that there must
be some previous and preexisting law which punishes perjury or false testimony—
a punishment required by good morals and by the law, even in a society of
mediocre culture, in order to avoid incalculable harm and resultant disturbances
which might affect public order.
2. FALSE TESTIMONY; REPEAL OF ACT No. 1697; ID.-
For the reasons above stated and in view of the provisions of Law 2, Title 2, Book
3, of the Novísima Recopilación, the needs of society demand that articles 318 to
324 of the Penal Code be deemed to be in force, inasmuch as the said
Administrative Code, in repealing the said Act on perjury, did not explicitly declare
that the said articles of the Penal Code were likewise repealed.

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Docket Number: No. 11676

Counsel: Alfonso E. Mendoza, Attorney-General Avanceña

Ponente: TORRES
United States vs. Pablo. 35 Phil. 94 , October 17, 1916
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. ANDRES PABLO, defendant and
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Bataan.
Miranda, J.
Syllabi Class : FALSE TESTIMONY|REPEAL OF ACT No. 1697
Syllabi:
1. FALSE TESTIMONY; REPEAL OF ACT No. 1697;LAW NOW APPLICABLE.-
By the mere interpretation of this court in various decisions, Act No. 1697 was
deemed to have repealed certain articles of the Penal Code relative to false
testimony, notwithstanding that the said Act did not expressly repeal them; and as
the final article and section of the Administrative Code (Act No. 2657), paragraph
2, has totally repealed the said Act No. 1697, without stating that the articles of the
Penal Code relating to false testimony comprised within the term of perjury were
likewise repealed; and if it is undeniable that the community must necessarily
punish perjury or false testimony, and if it is impossible to conceive that crimes of,
this kind may go immune and be freely committed without any punishment at all,
because the liberty to pervert the truth, in sworn testimony for the very reason that
it might save a guilty party from punishment, might also determine the conviction
and punishment of an innocent party, the conclusion is inevitable that there must
be some previous and preexisting law which punishes perjury or false testimony—
a punishment required by good morals and by the law, even in a society of
mediocre culture, in order to avoid incalculable harm and resultant disturbances
which might affect public order.
2. FALSE TESTIMONY; REPEAL OF ACT No. 1697; ID.-
For the reasons above stated and in view of the provisions of Law 2, Title 2, Book
3, of the Novísima Recopilación, the needs of society demand that articles 318 to
324 of the Penal Code be deemed to be in force, inasmuch as the said
Administrative Code, in repealing the said Act on perjury, did not explicitly declare
that the said articles of the Penal Code were likewise repealed.

Docket Number: No. 11676

Counsel: Alfonso E. Mendoza, Attorney-General Avanceña

Ponente: TORRES
Pesigan vs. Angeles 129 SCRA 174 , April 30, 1984
Case Title : ANSELMO L. PESIGAN and MARCELINO L. PESIGAN, petitioners, vs. JUDGE
DOMINGO MEDINA ANGELES, Regional Trial Court, Caloocan City Branch 129, acting for
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT of Camarines Norte, now presided over by JUDGE NICANOR
ORIÑO, Daet Branch 40; DRA. BELLA S. MIRANDA, ARNULFO V. ZENAROSA, ET AL.,
respondents.Case Nature : PETITION to review the order of the Regional Trial Court of
Caloocan City. Angeles, J.
Syllabi Class : Appeals|Statutes|Damages|Public Officers|Criminal Law|Public
Officers|Leases|Damages
Division: SECOND DIVISION

Page 3 of 407
Docket Number: No. L-64279

Counsel: Quiazon, De Guzman, Makalintal and Barot, The Solicitor General

1. Appeals; R.A. 5440 superseded Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.—The Pesigans appealed
to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and section 25 of the Interim Rules and
pursuant to Republic Act No. 5440, a 1968 law which superseded Rule 42 of the Rules
of Court.

2. Statutes; Criminal Law; An Executive Order (Exec. Order No. 626-A dated Oct. 25,
1980), prohibiting and penalizing transportation of carabaos from one province to
another cannot be enforced before its publication in the Official Gazette.—We hold that
the said executive order should not be enforced against the Pesigans on April 2,
1982 because, as already noted, it is a penal regulation published more than two months
later in the Official Gazette dated June 14, 1982. It became effective only fifteen days
thereafter as provided in article 2 of the Civil Code and section 11 of the Revised
Administrative Code.

3. Same; Same; Same.—That ruling applies to a violation of Executive Order No. 626-A
because its confiscation and forfeiture provision or sanction makes it a penal
statute. Justice and fairness dictate that the public must be informed of that provision by
means of publication in the Gazette before violators of the executive order can be bound
thereby.

4. _______________
5. *
SECOND DIVISION.

6. 175

VOL. 129, APRIL 30, 1984 1


75
Pesigan vs. Angeles

7. Same; Same; Same.—Indeed, the practice has always been to publish executive orders
in the Gazette. Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that even
bureau “regulations and orders shall become effective only when approved by the
Department Head and published in the Official Gazette or otherwise publicly
promulgated”. (See Commissioner of Civil Service vs. Cruz, 122 Phil. 1015.)

8. Damages; Public Officers; The public officers who confiscated the carabaos acted in
good faith enforcing Exec. Order 626-A. The carabaos, however, have to be returned.—
It results that they have a cause of action for the recovery of the carabaos. The summary
confiscation was not in order. The recipients of the carabaos should return them to the
Pesigans. However, they cannot transport the carabaos to Batangas because they are
now bound by the said executive order. Neither can they recover damages. Doctor
Miranda and Zenarosa acted in good faith in ordering the forfeiture and dispersal of the
carabaos.

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9. ABAD SANTOS, J., Separate opinion;

10. Public Officers; Leases; Damages;Carabaos confiscated without legal basis have to be
returned or their value paid; rentals should also be paid for their use.—The Pesigans are
entitled to the return of their carabaos or the value of each carabao which is not returned
for any reason. The Pesigans are also entitled to a reasonable rental for each carabao
from the twenty six farmers who used them. The farmers should not enrich themselves
at the expense of the Pesigans.

11.
Ponente: AQUINO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the trial court’s order of dismissal and the
confiscation and dispersal of the carabaos are reversed and set
aside. Respondents Miranda and Zenarosa are ordered to restore
the carabaos, with the requisite documents, to the petitioners, who
as owners are entitled to possess the same, with the right to
dispose of them in Basud or Sipocot, Camarines Sur. No costs.
United States vs. Sweet 1 Phil., 18 , September 20, 1901
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, complainant and appellee, vs. PHILIP K. SWEET,
defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from an order of the Court of First Instance of
the city of Manila.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|ID.|
Docket Number: No. 448

Counsel: Theofilus B. Steele, Solicitor-General Araneta

1. .CRIMINAL LAW; JURISDICTION.—An assault committed by a military employee upon


a prisoner of war is a violation of the general penal law, and as such it imposes
criminal responsibility.

1. 2.ID.; ID.—Courts of First Instance have jurisdiction to try offenders charged with
violation of the Penal Code within their territorial limits, regardless of the military
character of the accused.

1. 3.ID.; ID.—The fact that the alleged offense was committed in the execution of orders
of a military superior is a matter of defense and does not affect the jurisdiction of the
court.

Per COOPER, J., concurring:

1. 4.ID.; ID.—An offense charged against a military officer in consequence of an act done
in obedience to an order of his superior in good faith, unless the illegality of the order
is clearly shown on the face, where such offense is against the military law, is not
within the jurisdiction of the courts of the Civil Government.

Ponente: LADD

Dispositive Portion:

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The order of the court below is affirmed with costs to the appellant.
2.
Liang vs. People 355 SCRA 125 , March 26, 2001
Case Title : JEFFREY LIANG (HUEFENG), petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.Case Nature : MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION of a decision of the Supreme
Court.
Syllabi Class : International Law|Diplomatic Immunity|International Organizations|Asian
Development Bank|Words and Phrases
Syllabi:
1. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International Organizations; Asian
Development Bank;The slander of a person, by any stretch, cannot be
considered as falling within the purview of the immunity granted to ADB officers
and personnel—slander cannot be considered as an act performed in an official
capacity.-
After a careful deliberation of the arguments raised in petitioner’s and intervenor’s
Motions for Reconsideration, we find no cogent reason to disturb our Decision of
January 28, 2000. As we have stated therein, the slander of a person, by any
stretch, cannot be considered as falling within the purview of the immunity granted
to ADB officers and personnel. Petitioner argues that the Decision had the effect
of prejudging the criminal case for oral defamation against him. We wish to stress
that it did not. What we merely stated therein is that slander, in general, cannot be
considered as an act performed in an official capacity. The issue of whether or not
petitioner’s utterances constituted oral defamation is still for the trial court to
determine.
2. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Words and Phrases;“International Organization,” Defined.-
The term “international organizations”—“is generally used to describe an
organization set up by agreement between two or more states. Under
contemporary international law, such organizations are endowed with some
degree of international legal personality such that they are capable of exercising
specific rights, duties and powers. They are organized mainly as a means for
conducting general international business in which the member states have an
interest.”
3. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Words and Phrases;“International Public Officials,” Defined.-
International public officials have been defined as: “x x x persons who, on the
basis of an international treaty constituting a particular international community,
are appointed by this international community, or by an organ of it, and are under
its control to exercise, in a continuous way, functions in the interest of this
particular international community, and who are subject to a particular personal
status.”
4. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Words and Phrases;“Specialized Agencies,” Defined.-
“Specialized agencies” are international organizations having functions in
particular fields, such as posts, telecommunications, railways, canals, rivers, sea
transport, civil aviation, meteorology, atomic energy, finance, trade, education and
culture, health and refugees.
5. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International Organizations; The
nature and degree of immunities vary depending on who the recipient is.-

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A perusal of the immunities provisions in various international conventions and
agreements will show that the nature and degree of immunities vary depending on
who the recipient is.
6. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; “Diplomatic Immunities” and “International Immunities,”
Distinguished.+
7. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Methods of Granting Privileges and Immunities to Personnel of
International Organizations.-
Positive international law has devised three methods of granting privileges and
immunities to the personnel of international organizations. The first is by simple
conventional stipulation, as was the case in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and
1907. The second is by internal legislation whereby the government of a state,
upon whose territory the international organization is to carry out its functions,
recognizes the international character of the organization and grants, by unilateral
measures, certain privileges and immunities to better assure the successful
functioning of the organization and its personnel. In this situation, treaty obligation
for the state in question to grant concessions is lacking. Such was the case with
the Central Commission of the Rhine at Strasbourg and the International Institute
of Agriculture at Rome. The third is a combination of the first two. In this third
method, one finds a conventional obligation to recognize a certain status of an
international organization and its personnel, but the status is described in broad
and general terms. The specific definition and application of those general terms
are determined by an accord between the organization itself and the state wherein
it is located. This is the case with the League of Nations, the Permanent Court of
Justice, and the United Nations. The Asian Development Bank and its Personnel
fall under this third category.
8. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International Organizations; The
legal relationship between an ambassador and the state to which he is accredited
is entirely different from the relationship between the international official and
those states upon whose territory he might carry out his functions—the privileges
and immunities of diplomats and those of international officials rest upon different
legal foundations.-
There is a connection between diplomatic privileges and immunities and those
extended to international officials. The connection consists in the granting, by
contractual provisions, of the relatively well-established body of diplomatic
privileges and immunities to international functionaries. This connection is purely
historical. Both types of officials find the basis of their special status in the
necessity of retaining functional independence and freedom from interference by
the state of residence. However, the legal relationship between an ambassador
and the state to which he is accredited is entirely different from the relationship
between the international official and those states upon whose territory he might
carry out his functions. The privileges and immunities of diplomats and those of
international officials rest upon different legal foundations. Whereas those
immunities awarded to diplomatic agents are a right of the sending state based on
customary international law, those granted to international officials are based on
treaty or conventional law. Customary international law places no obligation on a
state to recognize a special status of an international official or to grant him
jurisdictional immunities. Such an obligation can only result from specific treaty
provisions.

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9. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International Organizations; The
present tendency is to reduce privileges and immunities of personnel of
international organizations to a minimum.-
Looking back over 150 years of privileges and immunities granted to the
personnel of international organizations, it is clear that they were accorded a wide
scope of protection in the exercise of their functions—The Rhine Treaty of 1804
between the German Empire and France which provided “all the rights of
neutrality” to persons employed in regulating navigation in the international
interest; The Treaty of Berlin of 1878 which granted the European Commission of
the Danube “complete independence of territorial authorities” in the exercise of its
functions; The Covenant of the League which granted “diplomatic immunities and
privileges.” Today, the age of the United Nations finds the scope of protection
narrowed. The current tendency is to reduce privileges and immunities of
personnel of international organizations to a minimum. The tendency cannot be
considered as a lowering of the standard but rather as a recognition that the
problem on the privileges and immunities of international officials is new. The
solution to the problem presented by the extension of diplomatic prerogatives to
international functionaries lies in the general reduction of the special position of
both types of agents in that the special status of each agent is granted in the
interest of function. The wide grant of diplomatic prerogatives was curtailed
because of practical necessity and because the proper functioning of the
organization did not require such extensive immunity for its officials. While the
current direction of the law seems to be to narrow the prerogatives of the
personnel of international organizations, the reverse is true with respect to the
prerogatives of the organizations themselves, considered as legal entities.
Historically, states have been more generous in granting privileges and
immunities to organizations than they have to the personnel of these
organizations.
10. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; There can be no dispute that international officials are entitled to
immunity only with respect to acts performed in their official capacity, unlike
international organizations which enjoy absolute immunity.-
On the other hand, international officials are governed by a different rule. Section
18(a) of the General Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United
Nations states that officials of the United Nations shall be immune from legal
process in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed by them in
their official capacity. The Convention on Specialized Agencies carries exactly the
same provision. The Charter of the ADB provides under Article 55(i) that officers
and employees of the bank shall be immune from legal process with respect to
acts performed by them in their official capacity except when the Bank waives
immunity. Section 45 (a) of the ADB Headquarters Agreement accords the same
immunity to the officers and staff of the bank. There can be no dispute that
international officials are entitled to immunity only with respect to acts performed
in their official capacity, unlike international organizations which enjoy absolute
immunity.
11. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International Organizations; The
current status of the law does not maintain that states grant jurisdictional immunity
to international officials for acts of their private lives.-
Section 18 (a) of the General Convention has been interpreted to mean that
officials of the specified categories are denied immunity from local jurisdiction for

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acts of their private life and empowers local courts to assume jurisdiction in such
cases without the necessity of waiver. It has earlier been mentioned that
historically, international officials were granted diplomatic privileges and
immunities and were thus considered immune for both private and official acts. In
practice, this wide grant of diplomatic prerogatives was curtailed because of
practical necessity and because the proper functioning of the organization did not
require such extensive immunity for its officials. Thus, the current status of the law
does not maintain that states grant jurisdictional immunity to international officials
for acts of their private lives. This much is explicit from the Charter and
Headquarters Agreement of the ADB which contain substantially similar provisions
to that of the General Convention.
12. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International Organizations; The
inclination is to place the competence to determine the nature of an act as private
or official in the courts of the state concerned.-
It appears that the inclination is to place the competence to determine the nature
of an act as private or official in the courts of the state concerned. That the
prevalent notion seems to be to leave to the local courts determination of whether
or not a given act is official or private does not necessarily mean that such
determination is final. If the United Nations questions the decision of the Court, it
may invoke proceedings for settlement of disputes between the organization and
the member states as provided in Section 30 of the General Convention. Thus,
the decision as to whether a given act is official or private is made by the national
courts in the first instance, but it may be subjected to review in the international
level if questioned by the United Nations.
13. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Asian Development Bank;Officials of international organizations
enjoy “functional” immunities, that is, only those necessary for the exercise of their
functions of the organization and the fulfillment of its purposes; Officials and
employees of the Asian Development Bank are subject to the jurisdiction of the
local courts for their private acts, notwithstanding the absence of a waiver of
immunity.-
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic envoy is
immune from criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State for all acts, whether
private or official, and hence he cannot be arrested, prosecuted and punished for
any offense he may commit, unless his diplomatic immunity is waived. On the
other hand, officials of international organizations enjoy “functional” immunities,
that is, only those necessary for the exercise of the functions of the organization
and the fulfillment of its purposes. This is the reason why the ADB Charter and
Headquarters Agreement explicitly grant immunity from legal process to bank
officers and employees only with respect to acts performed by them in their official
capacity, except when the Bank waives immunity. In other words, officials and
employees of the ADB are subject to the jurisdiction of the local courts for their
private acts, notwithstanding the absence of a waiver of immunity.
14. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Asian Development Bank;The immunity of the Asian
Development Bank is absolute whereas the immunity of its officials and
employees is restricted only to official acts.-
Petitioner cannot also seek relief under the mantle of “immunity from every form of
legal process” accorded to ADB as an international organization. The immunity of
ADB is absolute whereas the immunity of its officials and employees is restricted

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only to official acts. This is in consonance with the current trend in international
law which seeks to narrow the scope of protection and reduce the privileges and
immunities granted to personnel of international organizations, while at the same
time aims to increase the prerogatives of international organizations.
15. International Law; Diplomatic Immunity;International
Organizations; Asian Development Bank;The authority of the Department of
Foreign Affairs, or even the Asian Development Bank for that matter, to certify that
the Bank’s officials and employees are entitled to immunity is limited only to acts
done in their official capacity.-
Considering that bank officials and employees are covered by immunity only for
their official acts, the necessary inference is that the authority of the Department
of Affairs, or even of the ADB for that matter, to certify that they are entitled to
immunity is limited only to acts done in their official capacity. Stated otherwise, it is
not within the power of the DFA, as the agency in charge of the executive
department’s foreign relations, nor the ADB, as the international organization
vested with the right to waive immunity, to invoke immunity for private acts of bank
officials and employees, since no such prerogative exists in the first place. If the
immunity does not exist, there is nothing to certify.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 125865

Counsel: Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & Delos Reyes, Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez
& Gatmaitan, The Solicitor General

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Motions for
Reconsideration filed by petitioner and intervenor Department of
Foreign Affairs are DENIED with FINALITY.Finally, it appears from
the records of this case that petitioner is a senior economist at
ADB and as such he makes country project profiles which will help
the bank in deciding whether to lend money or support a particular
project to a particular country.
.
THE UNITED STATES vs. SING 36 Phil. 978 , October 10, 1917
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. AH SING, defendant and
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu.
Wislizenus, J.
Syllabi Class : OPIUM LAW|ID|
Syllabi:
1. OPIUM LAW; ILLEGAL IMPORTATION, WHEN EXISTS.-
Section 4, Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law) construed as follows: Any person
unlawfully imports or brings any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands when
the prohibited drug is found under this person's control on a vessel which has
come direct from a foreign country and is within the jurisdictional limits of the
Philippine Islands. In such case, a person is guilty of illegal importation of the drug
unless contrary circumstances exist or the defense proves otherwise. United

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States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], Phil., 573), and United States vs. Jose ([1916], 34
Phil., 840), distinguished.
2. OPIUM LAW; ILLEGAL IMPORTATION, WHEN EXISTS.-
Section 4, Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law) construed as follows: Any person
unlawfully imports or brings any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands when
the prohibited drug is found under this person's control on a vessel which has
come direct from a foreign country and is within the jurisdictional limits of the
Philippine Islands. In such case, a person is guilty of illegal importation of the drug
unless contrary circumstances exist or the defense proves otherwise. United
States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], Phil., 573), and United States vs. Jose ([1916], 34
Phil., 840), distinguished.
3. ID; ID.-
Defendant purchased opium in Saigon, brought it on ' 'board a foreign vessel, and
had it under his control when that vessel arrived after direct voyage in the port of
Cebu. Held: To constitute illegal importation of opium from a foreign country into
the Philippine Islands.

Docket Number: No. 13005

Counsel: Antonio Sanz, Acting Attorney-General Paredes

Ponente: MALCOLM

Dispositive Portion:
The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt as charged and the sentence of the trial court
being within the limits provided by law, it results that the judgment
must be affirmed with the costs of this instance against the
appellant. So ordered.
Miquiabas vs. Philippines-Ryukus Command 80 Phil., 262 , February 24, 1948
Case Title : JESUS MIQUIABAS, petitioner, vs. COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINES-
RYUKYUS COMMAND, UNITED STATES ARMY, respondent.Case Nature : ORIGINAL
ACTION in the Supreme Court. Habeas corpus.
Syllabi Class : INTERNATIONAL LAW|JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY
Syllabi:
1. INTERNATIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY; JURISDICTION OF
UNITED STATES OR OTHER FOREIGN NATIONS OVER CERTAIN OFFENSES
COMMITTED WlTHIN CERTAIN PORTIONS.-
The Philippines, being a sovereign nation, has jurisdiction over all offenses
committed within its territory, but it may, by treaty or by agreement, consent that
the United States or any other foreign nation, shall exercise jurisdiction over
certain offenses committed within certain portions of said territory.
2. INTERNATIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY; AGREEMENT WITH
UNITED STATES.-
The agreement of March 14, 1947, between the Republic of the Philippines and
the Government of the United States concerning military bases, enumerates in

Page 11 of 407
Article XIII the offenses over which theUnited States, by consent of the
Philippines, shall have the right to exercise jurisdiction.
3. INTERNATIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY; POET OF MANILA AREA
NOT A BASE OF UNITED STATES.-
The Port of Manila Area is not one of the bases of the United States under the
Agreement of March 14, 1947.
4. INTERNATIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY; CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE NOT
MEMBER OF ARMED FORCES OF UNITED STATES.-
Under the terms of the Agreement of March 14, 1947, a civilian employee cannot
be considered as a member of the armed forces the United States.
5. INTERNATIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY; JURISDICTION, WHEN
NOT WAIVABLE.-
Respondent maintains that petitioner has no cause of action because the
Secretary of Justice had not notified the officer holding the petitioner in custody
whether or not the Philippines desired to retain jurisdiction under Article XXI,
paragraph 3, of the Military Base Agreement. It is sufficient to state that in cases
where the offender is a civilian employee and not a member of the United States
armed forces, no waiver can be made either by the prosecuting attorney or by the
Secretary of Justice, under paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article XIII in connection with
paragraph 3 of Article XXI, of the agreement.
6. INTERNATIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF PHILIPPINES OVER ALL
OFFENSES COMMITTED WlTHIN ITS TERRITORY; CASE AT BAR.-
Petitioner a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the United States armed
forces, allegedly committed an offense by disposing in the Port of Manila Area of
things belonging to the United States Army in violation of the 94th Article of War of
the United States. Held, That the General Court-Martial appointed by respondent
has no jurisdiction to try petitioner for the offense allegedly committed by him and,
consequently, the .judgment rendered by said court sentencing the petitioner to 15
years' imprisonment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction.

Docket Number: No. L-1988

Counsel: Lorenzo Sumulong, Esteban P. Garcia, J. A. Wolfson

Ponente: MORAN
Bernardo vs. People 123 SCRA 365 , July 05, 1983
Case Title : ISIDRO BERNARDO and CAYETANO BERNARDO, petitioners, vs. THE PEOPLE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for certiorari to review the
decision of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Br. VI.
Syllabi Class : Land Titles|Squatting
Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-62114


1. Land Titles; Squatting; P.D. 772 does not apply to pasture lands, but only to
urban communities, particularly to illegal constructions.—Indeed, in the
case of People vs. Echaves, supra, this Court, speaking through Mr.

Page 12 of 407
Justice Ramon C. Aquino, held that Presidential Decree No. 772 does not
apply to pasture lands. x x x The intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is
intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly to illegal
constructions. The Solicitor General in his comment to the petition
manifests that “the intent and purpose of PD 772 is to prohibit and penalize
squatting or similar acts on public and private lands located in. urban
communities. x x x [T]hat no person should be brought within the terms of
a penal statute who is not clearly within them, nor should any act be
pronounced criminal which is not clearly made so by the statute (US vs.
Abad Santos, 36 Phil. 243). x x x Consequently, the decision of the lower
court in Criminal Case No. 3022-M, convicting herein petitioners of the
offense of violation of PD No. 772, is null and void and should, therefore,
be set aside.”
Counsel: Alberto Mala, Jr., The Solicitor General

Ponente: RELOVA

Dispositive Portion:
ACCORDINGLY, this petition for certiorari is GRANTED, the
judgment of conviction is SET ASIDE, and said Criminal Case No.
3022-M is hereby DISMISSED.
People vs. Pimentel 288 SCRA 542 , April 01, 1998
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. OSCAR B. PIMENTEL,
as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 and ANTONIO A. TUJAN,
respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of
Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Constitutional Law|Illegal Possession of Firearms|Presidential
Decree 1866|Double Jeopardy|Criminal Law|Anti-Subversion Law|Ex Post Facto Laws|Statutory
Construction
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Illegal Possession of Firearms;Presidential Decree
1866; Under the first paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. 1866, the mere possession of
an unlicensed firearm or ammunition is the crime itself which carries the penalty of
reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, and the third
paragraph of the same Section makes the use of said firearm and ammunition “in
furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the crimes of rebellion,
insurrection or subversion” a circumstance to increase the penalty to death.-
The above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1866 are plain and simple. Under the
first paragraph of Section 1, the mere possession of an unlicensed firearm or
ammunition is the crime itself which carries the penalty of reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to reclusion perpetua. The third paragraph of the same Section
makes the use of said firearm and ammunition “in furtherance of, or incident to, or
in connection with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion” a
circumstance to increase the penalty to death. Thus, the allegation in the
Information in Criminal Case No. 1789 that the unlicensed firearm found in the
possession of Antonio Tujan, “a member of the communist party of the Philippines
and its front organization,” was used “in furtherance of or incident to, or in
connection with the crime of subversion” does not charge him with the separate

Page 13 of 407
and distinct crime of Subversion in the same Information, but simply describes the
mode or manner by which the violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 was
committed so as to qualify the penalty to death.
2. Criminal Law; Illegal Possession of Firearms;Presidential Decree
1866; There is nothing in P.D. No. 1866, specifically Section 1 thereof, which
decrees categorically or by implication that the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or
subversion are the very acts that are being penalized.-
There is, therefore, only one offense charged in the questioned information, that
is, the illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified by its being used in
furtherance of subversion. There is nothing in P.D. No. 1866, specifically Section
1 thereof, which decrees categorically or by implication that the crimes of
rebellion, insurrection or subversion are the very acts that are being penalized.
This is clear from the title of the law itself which boldly indicates the specific acts
penalized under it: “CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL
POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN, ACQUISITION OR
DISPOSITION, OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES OR
INSTRUMENTS USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION
OR EXPLOSIVES, AND IMPOSING STIFFER PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN
VIOLATIONS THEREOF AND FOR RELEVANT PURPOSES.”
3. Constitutional Law; Double Jeopardy; Requisites.+
4. Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Anti-Subversion Law; Ex Post Facto
Laws; R.A. No. 7636 totally repealing R.A. No. 1700, being favorable to the
accused, should be given retroactive effect.-
While we hold that both the subversion charge under R.A. No. 1700, as amended,
and the one for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in furtherance of
subversion under P.D. No. 1866, as amended, can co-exist, the subsequent
enactment of Republic Act No. 7636 on September 22, 1992, totally repealing
R.A. No. 1700, as amended, has substantially changed the complexion of the
present case, inasmuch as the said repealing law being favorable to the accused-
private respondent, who is not a habitual delinquent, should be given retroactive
effect.
5. Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Anti-Subversion Law; Ex Post Facto
Laws; The legislative intent of totally abrogating the old anti-subversion law is
clear, thus, it would be illogical for courts to try and sentence an accused for an
offense that no longer exists.-
That R.A. No. 7636 should apply retroactively to accused-private respondent is
beyond question. The repeal by said law of R.A. No. 1700, as amended, was
categorical, definite and absolute. There was no saving clause in the repeal. The
legislative intent of totally abrogating the old anti-subversion law is clear. Thus, it
would be illogical for the trial courts to try and sentence the accused-private
respondent for an offense that no longer exists.
6. Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Anti-Subversion Law; Ex Post Facto
Laws; Statutory Construction;Where the repeal of a penal law is total and
absolute and the act which was penalized by a prior law ceases to be criminal
under the new law, the previous offense is obliterated.-
Where, as here, the repeal of a penal law is total and absolute and the act which
was penalized by a prior law ceases to be criminal under the new law, the
previous offense is obliterated. It is a recognized rule in this jurisdiction that a total
repeal deprives the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence persons
charged with violation of the old law prior to the repeal.

Page 14 of 407
7. Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Anti-Subversion Law; Ex Post Facto
Laws; With the enactment of R.A. No. 7636, the charge of illegal possession of
firearm and ammunition, qualified by subversion should be amended to simple
illegal possession of firearm and ammunition since subversion is no longer a
crime.-
With the enactment of R.A. No. 7636, the charge of subversion against the
accused-private respondent has no more legal basis and should be dismissed. As
regards the other charge of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified
by subversion, this charge should be amended to simple illegal possession of
firearm and ammunition since, as earlier discussed, subversion is no longer a
crime.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 100210

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Augusto S. Sanchez & Associates Law Firm

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated
May 27, 1991, in CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, including the orders
dated October 12, 1990 and December 28, 1990 of the Regional
Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148), National Capital Region, in
Criminal Case No. 1789, are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE.The subversion charge against accused-private respondent
Antonio A. Tujan in Criminal Case No. 64079 of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 45, is hereby DISMISSED. The other
Information for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in
furtherance of subversion against the same accused in Criminal
Case No. 1789 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 148,
is DEEMED AMENDED to Simple Illegal Possession of Firearm
and Ammunition. The accusedappellant is hereby ordered
RELEASED IMMEDIATELY from detention for the reason stated
above, unless he is being detained for any other offense.
Pascual, Jr. vs. Board of Medical Examiners 28 SCRA 344 , May 26, 1969
Case Title : ARSENIO PASCUAL, JR., petitioner-appellee, vs. BOARD OF MEDICAL
EXAMINERS, respondent-appellant, SALVADOR GATBONTON and ENRIQUETA
GATBONTON, intervenorsappellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Court of
First Instance of Manila. Montesa, J.
Syllabi Class : Constitutional Law|Bill of Rights|Rights of accused
Syllabi:
1. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Rights of accused; Rights against self-
incrimination; Applies to administrative proceedings.-
The constitutional guarantee against self-incrimination extends to administrative
proceedings which possess a criminal or penal aspect.
2. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Rights of accused; Applies to
administrative hearing against a doctor.-
In an administrative hearing against a medical practitioner for alleged malpractice,
x x x the x x x Board of Medical Examiners cannot, consistently with the self-

Page 15 of 407
incrimination clause, compel the person proceeded against to take the witness
stand without his consent.
3. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Rights of accused; Reason.-
A proceeding for malpractice possesses a criminal or penal aspect in the sense
that the respondent would suffer the revocation of his license as a medical
practitioner, for some an even greater deprivation than forfeiture of property.
4. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Rights of accused; Extends to right not to
take the witness stand.-
The right against self-incrimination extends not only to the right to refuse to
answer questions put to the accused while on the witness stand, but also to
forego testimony, to remain silent and refuse to take the witness stand when
called as a witness by the prosecution.
5. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Rights of accused; Reason.-
The reason is that, the right against self-incrimination, along with other rights
granted an accused, stands for a belief that while crime should not go unpunished
and that the truth must be revealed, such desirable objectives should not be
accomplished according to means or methods offensive to the high sense of
respect accorded the human personality.

Docket Number: No. L-25018

Counsel: Conrado B. Enriquez, Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General
Antonio A. Torres, Solicitor Pedro A. Ramirez, Bausa, Ampil & Suarez

Ponente: FERNANDO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of August 2, 1965 is
affirmed. Without pronouncement as to costs.
People vs. Temblor 161 SCRA 623 , May 28, 1988
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. VICENTE TEMBLOR alias
“RONALD," defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Evidence|Murder|Witnesses|Rule that the trial court’s assessment
of credibility of witnesses while testifying is generally binding on the appellate court|Minor
inconsistencies in the testimony of prosecution witness did not diminish her credibility|Alibi
cannot prevail over the positive identification made by prosecution|witnesses|Motive|Lack of
motive for the killing by appellant|rejected
Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-66884

Criminal Law; Evidence; Murder;Witnesses; Rule that the trial court’s assessment of
credibility of witnesses while testifying is generally binding on the appellate court; Reason.—
The appeal deserves no merit. Was the accused positively identified as the killer of
Cagampang? The settled rule is that the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses
while testifying is generally binding on the appellate court because of its superior advantage in
observing their conduct and demeanor and its findings, when supported by convincingly
credible evidence as in the case at bar, shall not be disturbed on appeal (People vs. Dava, 149
SCRA 582).

Page 16 of 407
Same; Same; Same; Same; Minor inconsistencies in the testimony of prosecution witness
did not diminish her credibility; Reason.—The minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the
eyewitness Victorina Vda. de Cagampang did not diminish her credibility, especially because
she had positively identified the accused as her husband’s assailant, and her testimony is
corroborated by the other witnesses. Her testimony is credible, probable and entirely in accord
with human experience.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification made by
prosecution, witnesses; Rule for alibi to be acceptable as a defense.—Appellant’s self-serving
and uncorroborated alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification made by the prosecution
witnesses who had no base motives to falsely accuse him of the crime. Furthermore, the rule
is that in order for an alibi to be acceptable as a defense, it is not enough that the appellant
was somewhere else when the crime was committed; it must be demonstrated beyond doubt
that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Here it was admitted
that Perol’s house in barrio Camagong, Nasipit is accessible to barrio Talo-ao in Buenavista by
jeep or tricycle via a well-paved road in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. The testimony of the
witnesses who had positively identified him could not be overcome by the defendant’s alibi.
(People vs. Mercado, 97 SCRA 232; People vs. Venancio Ramilo, 146 SCRA 258,)

Same; Same; Same; Motive; Lack of motive for the killing by appellant, rejected;Proof of
motive, not essential when the culprit was positively identified.—Appellant’s alleged lack of
motive for killing

_______________
*
FIRST DIVISION.

624

6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


24 ANNOTATED
People vs. Temblor
Cagampang was rejected by the trial court which opined that the defendant’s knowledge
that Cagampang possessed a firearm was motive enough to kill him as killings perpetrated by
members of the New People’s Army for the sole purpose of acquiring more arms and
ammunition for their group are prevalent not only in Agusan del Norte but elsewhere in the
country. It is known as the NPA’s “agaw armas” campaign. Moreover, proof of motive is not
essential when the culprit has been positively identified (People vs. Tan, Jr., 145 SCRA 615).

Same; Same; Same; Flight of the accused was an implied admission of guilt—The
records further show that the accused and his companion fled after killing Cagampang and
taking his firearm. They hid in the mountains of Agusan del Norte. Their flight was an implied
admission of guilt (People vs. Dante Astor, 149 SCRA 325; People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 422).

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Wilfred D. Asis

Ponente: GRIÑO-AQUINO

Dispositive Portion:

Page 17 of 407
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all
respects, except as to the civil indemnity payable to the heirs of the
deceased Julius Cagampang which is increased to P30,000.00.
People vs. Hassan 157 SCRA 261 , January 22, 1988
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. USMAN HASSAN y AYUN,
respondent.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga
City, Br. XIII. Eisma, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Evidence|Motive
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Guilt of the accused must be established by
proof beyond reasonable doubt.-
We hold that the evidence for the prosecution in its entirety does not satisfy the
quantum of proofbeyond reasonable doubt—required by the Constitution, the law,
and applicable jurisprudence to convict an accused person. The said evidence
denies us the moral certainty which would allow us to pronounce, without
uneasiness of conscience. Usman Hassan y Ayun guilty of the killing of the
deceased Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, and condemn him to life imprisonment and in
effect turning him into a flotsam again in a sea of convicted felons in which he
would be a very young stranger. In evaluating the worth of the testimony of the
lone eyewitness for the prosecution against the denial and alibi of the accused,
value judgment must not be separated from the constitutionally guaranteed
presump- tion of innocence. When the evidence for the prosecution and the
evidence for the accused are weighed, the scales must be tipped in favor of the
latter. This is because of the constitutional presumption of innocence the accused
enjoys as a counterfoil to the awesome authority of the State that is prosecuting
him. The element of doubt, if reasonable in this case, must operate against the
inference of guilt the prosecution would draw from its evidence. That evidence, as
it happens, consists only of the uncorroborated statement of the two policemen
which, as previously observed, is flawed and therefore suspect.
2. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Prosecution’s evidence weak and
unconvincing.-
The testimony of Jose Samson, the lone eyewitness, is weak and unconvincing.
And so with the evidence sought to be introduced by Police Corporal Carpio. We
discover, for example, that the expert testimony of the medico-legal officer of the
National Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Valentin Bernalez, presented by the
prosecution, contradicted, on material points, the testimony of the lone
eyewitness, Jose Samson. While Samson averred on the witness stand that he
saw the assailant stab the deceased “from behind on his chest” only once, the NBI
medicolegal officer identified two stab wounds one “at the front portion of the
chest at the level and third rib, (sic) and another stab wound located at the left arm
posterior aspect.” The same medical expert also concluded from the nature and
location of the chest wound, which was the cause of death, that the same was
“inflicted on the victim while the alleged accused was in front of him.”
3. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Investigation conducted by police investigator
not satisfactory.-
The investigation of this case by the Homicide/Arson Section of the Zamboanga
Southern Police Section, at Zamboanga City, particularly by Police Corporal
Rogelio P. Carpio, leaves much to be desired. For one, we are not satisfied with
the procedure adopted by the police investigators in the identification of the
accused as the assailant. We have no doubt that Usman Hassan was “presented”

Page 18 of 407
alone to Jose Samson by the police investigator and prosecution witness, Police
Corporal Carpio, and his police companions, at the office of the La Merced
Funeral Homes on Zamboanga City. As correctly termed by the very evidence of
the prosecution, the procedure adopted by the police investigators was a
“confrontation” between Jose Samson, Jr. and Usman. Earlier, on direct
examination, Corporal Carpio testified that Usman was alone when he was
brought to Samson for confrontation in the funeral parlor. However, on cross-
examination, Carpio made a turnabout by saying that the accused was identified
by Samson in a “police line-up”; this tergiversation, we daresay, was an
afterthought, more the result of an over or careless cross-examination, augmented
by the leading questions of the trial judge rather than a fastidiousness, if not
sincerity, on the part of the police investigator, to honestly correct erroneous
statements in his examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson and
the accused testified clearly and unequivocably that Usman was alone when
presented to Samson by Carpio. There was no such police line-up as the police
investigator claimed on second thought.
4. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Confrontation and identification of the accused
at the funeral parlor by the lone eyewitness improper and is as tainted as an
uncounselled confession.-
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to confront and identify the
accused alone at the funeral parlor, without being placed in a police line-up, was
“pointedly suggestive, generated confidence where there was none, activated
visual imagination, and, all told, subverted his reliability as eyewitness. This
unusual, coarse, and highly singular method of identification, which revolts against
the accepted principles of scientific crime detection, alienates the esteem of every
just man, and commands neither our respect nor acceptance.” Moreover, the
confrontation arranged by the police investigator between the self-proclaimed
eyewitness and the accused did violence to the right of the latter to counsel in all
stages of the investigation into the commission of a crime especially at its most
crucial stage—the identification of the accused. As it turned out, the method of
identification became just a confrontation. At that critical and decisive moment, the
scales of justice tipped unevenly against the young, poor, and disadvantaged
accused. The police procedure adopted in this case in which only the accused
was presented to witness Samson, in the funeral parlor, and in the presence of
the grieving relatives of the victim, is as tainted as an uncounselled confession
and thus falls within the same ambit of the constitutionally entrenched protection.
For this infringement alone, the accused-appellant should be acquitted.
5. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Motive; Motive essential when there is doubt
as to the identity of the culprit.-
And now as a penultimate observation, we could not help but note the total
absence of motive ascribed to Usman for stabbing Ramon, a complete stranger to
him. While, as a general rule, motive is not essential in order to arrive at a
conviction, because, after all, motive is a state of mind, procedurally, however, for
purposes of complying with the requirement that a judgment of guilty must stem
from proof beyond reasonable doubt, the lack of motive on the part of the accused
plays a pivotal role towards his acquittal. This is especially true where there is
doubt as to the identity of the culprit as when “the identification is extremely
tenuous,” as in this case.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Page 19 of 407
Docket Number: No. L-68969

Ponente: SARMIENTO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby REVERSED, and the
accused Usman Hassan y Ayun is ACQUITTED of the crime
charged. His release from confinement is hereby Ordered, unless
he is held for another legal cause. With costs de oficio.
People vs. Delos Santos 403 SCRA 153 , May 09, 2003
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DANNY DELOS SANTOS Y
FERNANDEZ, appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Br. 21.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Witnesses|Motive|Alibis and Denials|Murder|Aggravating
Circumstances|Treachery|Criminal Procedure|Pleadings and Practice
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Witnesses; Settled is the rule that when it comes to the
credibility of witnesses, appellate courts generally do not overturn the findings of
trial courts.+
2. Criminal Law; Witnesses; Motive; Proof of motive is not indispensable for a
conviction, particularly where the accused is positively identified by an eyewitness
and his participation is adequately established.-
Appellant argues that since the prosecution witnesses testified that there was no
altercation between him and Flores, it follows that no motive to kill can be
attributed to him. This is an inconsequential argument. Proof of motive is not
indispensable for a conviction, particularly where the accused is positively
identified by an eyewitness and his participation is adequately established. In
People vs. Galano, we ruled that in the crime of murder, motive is not an element
of the offense, it becomes material only when the evidence is circumstantial or
inconclusive and there is some doubt on whether the accused had committed it. In
the case before us, no such doubt exits as De Leon and Tablate positively
identified appellant.
3. Criminal Law; Witnesses; Two-month delay is hardly an indicium of a
concocted story—it is but natural for witnesses to avoid being involved in a
criminal proceeding particularly when the crime committed is of such gravity as to
show the cruelty of the perpetrator.-
In a last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses, appellant questions why their statements were taken only on January
29, 1998 when the incident happened on November 6, 1997. The two-month
delay is hardly an indicium of a concocted story. It is but natural for witnesses to
avoid being involved in a criminal proceeding particularly when the crime
committed is of such gravity as to show the cruelty of the perpetrator. Born of
human experience, the fear of retaliation can have a paralyzing effect to the
witnesses. Thus, in People vs. Dacibar, we held that the initial reluctance of
witnesses to volunteer information about a criminal case is of common knowledge
and has been judicially declared as insufficient to affect credibility, especially
when a valid reason exists for such hesitance.
4. Criminal Law; Witnesses; Alibis and Denials; For the defense of alibi to
prosper, it must be convincing enough to preclude any doubt on the physical

Page 20 of 407
impossibility of the presence of the accused at the locus criminis at the time of the
incident.-
As earlier mentioned, appellant’s defenses are mere alibi and denial. He testified
that at the time the crime took place, he was in his auntie’s house in Muson, San
Jose del Monte, Bulacan. When probed by the trial court, he categorically stated
that the house is only 40 meters away from the scene of the crime and may be
traveled in about three or five minutes. For the defense of alibi to prosper, it must
be convincing enough to preclude any doubt on the physical impossibility of the
presence of the accused at the locus criminis at the time of the incident. Certainly,
the required impossibility does not exist here.
5. Criminal Law; Witnesses; Alibis and Denials;Positive identification, where
categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill-motive on the part of the
eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which, if not
substantiated by clear and convincing proof, are negative and self-serving
evidence undeserving of weight in law.-
Weighing the evidence of the prosecution vis-à-vis that of the defense, the scale
of justice must tilt in favor of the former. Time and again, we ruled that positive
identification, where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill-
motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi
and denial which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing proof, are negative
and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. With marked relevance is
the fact that appellant did not present any evidence to show that the prosecution
witnesses, in testifying against him, have improper motive.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; Where the
victim was totally unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind with no
weapon to resist it, the stabbing could only be described as treacherous.-
The prosecution was able to establish that appellant’s attack on Flores was from
behind without any slightest provocation on his part and that it was sudden and
unexpected. This is a clear case of treachery. Where the victim was totally
unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind with no weapon to resist it, the
stabbing could only be described as treacherous. There being treachery,
appellant’s conviction for murder is in order.
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Criminal
Procedure; Pleadings and Practice; Pursuant to the 2000 Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, every Information must state not only the qualifying but also
the aggravating circumstances.-
In the imposition of penalty, we cannot appreciate the aggra- vating circumstance
of cruelty considered by the trial court. Pursuant to the 2000 Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, every Information must state not only the qualifying but also
the aggravating circumstances. This rule may be given retroactive effect in the
light of the well-established rule that statutes regulating the procedure of the
courts will be construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the
time of their passage. The aggravating circumstance of cruelty, not having been
alleged in the Information, may not be appreciated to enhance the liability of
appellant.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 135919

Page 21 of 407
Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated October 2, 1998 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in Criminal
Case No. 3551798, finding appellant Danny delos Santos y
Fernandez guilty of the crime of murder is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION in the sense that he is sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the late Rod
Flores y Juanitas the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity,
P25,0000.00 as temperate damages, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P266,400.00
for loss of earning capacity.
United States vs. Ah Chong. 15 Phil. 488 , March 19, 1910
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. AH CHONG, defendant and
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. Yusay,
J.
Syllabi Class : JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE|SELF-DEFENSE
Syllabi:
1. JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE; MlSTAKE OF FACTS.-
Defendant was a cook and the deceased was a house boy, and both were
employed in the same place and usually slept in the same room. One night, after
the defendant had gone to bed, he was awakened by some one trying to open the
door, and called out twice, "Who is there?" He received no answer, and fearing
that the intruder was a robber, leaped from the bed and again called out: "If you
enter the room I will kill you." At that moment he was struck by a chair which had
been placed against the door. Believing that he was being attacked, he seized a
kitchen knife and struck and fatally wounded the intruder, who turned out to be his
roommate. Thereupon he called to his employers and rushed back into the room
to secure bandages to bind up the wound. Defendant was charged with murder.
While there can be no doubt of defendant's exemption from liability if the intruder
had really been a robber, the question presented is whether, in this jurisdiction, a
person can be held criminally responsible when, by reason of a mistake of f acts,
he does an act for which he would be exempt if the facts were as he supposed
them to be, but would constitute murder if he had known the true state of facts at
the time. Held, That, under such circumstances, there is no criminal liability,
provided that the ignorance or mistake of fact was not due to negligence or bad
faith. In other words, if such ignorance or mistake of facts is sufficient to negative
a particular intent which, under the law, is a necessary ingredient of the offense
charged it destroys the presumption of intent and works an acquittal; except in
those cases where the circumstances demand a conviction under the penal
provisions governing negligence, and in cases where, under the provisions of
article 1 of the Penal Code, a person voluntarily committing an act incurs criminal
liability even though the act be different from that which he intended to commit.

Docket Number: No. 5272

Counsel: Gibb & Gale, Attorney-General Villamor

Page 22 of 407
Ponente: CARSON

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the trial
court should be reversed, and the defendant acquitted of the crime
with which he is charged and his bail bond exonerated, with the
costs of both instances de oficio, So ordered.
People vs. Oanis and Galanta 74 Phil., 257 , July 27, 1943
Case Title : The People of the Philippines, plaintiff and appellee, vs. Antonio Z. Oanis and
Alberto Galanta, defendants and appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija. Pablo, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Justifying Circumstance Defined in "Article 11, No. 5, of
the Revised Penal Code
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder.-
—Appellants Corporal Galanta and Chief of Police Oanis were under instructions
to arrest one, Balagtas, a notorious criminal and an escaped convict, and, if
overpowered, to get him dead or alive. Proceeding to the suspected house,
appellants went into a room and on seeing a man sleeping with his back towards
the door, simultaneously or successively fired at him with their .32 and .45 caliber
revolvers, without 'first making any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. The victim
turned out to be an innocent man, Tecson, and not the wanted criminal. Held:
That under the circumstances, the crime committed by appellants is murder
though specially mitigated by circumstances presently to be mentioned.
2. ID.; Id.; Treachery; Justifying Circumstance Defined in "Article 11, No. 5, of the
Revised Penal Code.-
—As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with
the qualifying circumstance of alevosía. There is, however, a mitigating
circumstance of weight consisting in the incomplete justifying circumstance
defined in article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such legal
provision, a person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the fulfilment of a
duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office. There are two requisites in order
that the circumstance may be taken as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted
in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; and (b) that the
injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due
performance of such dutv or the lawful exercise of sjich right or office. In the
instant case, onlv the first requisite is present—appellants have acted in the per-
formance of a dutv. The second requisite is wanting for the crime by them com-
mitted be the necessarv conreouence of of a due performance of their duty. Their
duty was to arrest. Balagtas, or to get him dead or alive if resistance is offered by
him and they are overpowered. But through impatience or over-anxiety or in their
desire to take chances, they have exceeded in the fulfilment of such dutv bv killing
the person whom they believed to be Balagtas without anv resistance from him
and without making any previous inquiry as to his identity. According to article 69
of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower bv one or two degrees than that
prescribed by law shall, in such case, be imposed.
3. Id.; Id.; Killing at Bar is Intentional and not Merely Accidental.-
—The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal negligence, the killing
being intentional and not accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to

Page 23 of 407
another should be unintentional, it being simply the incident of another act
performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939.) In the words of Viada.
"para que se califique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado
en él malicia ni intención alguna de dañar; existiendo esa intención, deberá
calificarse el hecho del delito que ha producido, por más que no haya sido la
intención del agente el causar un mal de tanta gravedad como el que se produjo."
(Tomo 7, Viada Código Penal Comentado, 5." ed.. pág. 7.) And, as once held by
this court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with,
the idea of reckless imprudence (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil. 232: People vs.
Bindor. 56 Phil.. 16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in the
identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as reckless imprudence
(People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to support a plea of mitigated liability.
4. Id.; Id.; Id.; Arrest of a Notorious Criminal.-
—It is suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" without regard
to his right to life which he has by such notoriety already forfeited. This Court may
approve of this standard of official conduct where the criminal offers resistance or
does something which places his captors in danger of imminent attack. Otherwise,
this court cannot see how, as in the present case, the mere fact of notoriety can
make the life of a criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law.
Notoriety rightly sup-lies a basis for redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it
never can justify precipitate action at the cost of human life. Where, as here, the
precipitate action of the appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no
circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the mind of a
reasonably prudent man, condemnation—not condonation—should be the rule;
otherwise this Court would offer a premium to crime in the shelter of official
actuation.
5. Id.; Id.; Force Which a Peace Offices May Use in Making Arrest.-
—Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as is
reasonably necessary to secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance,
prevent his escape, recapture him if he escapes, and protect himself from bodily
harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil., 738), yet he is never justified in using
unnecessary force or in treating him wanton violence, or in resorting to dangerous
means when the arrest could be affected otherwise (6 C. J. S., par. 13, p. 612).
The doctrine is arrested in a new Rules of Court thus: "No unnecessary of
unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest, and the person arrested
shall not be subject to any greater restraint than is necessary for his detention."
(Rule 109, sec. 2, par. 2) And a peace officer cannot claim exemption from
criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest. (5 C.
J., p. 753 U. S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Balagtas was a
notorious crimial, a life-termer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to the peace
of the community, but these facts alone constitute no justification for killing him
when, in effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance, or in fact no resistance can
be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the principle laid down,
although upon different facts, in United States vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234, 242).
6. Id.; Id.; Case at Bar Distinguished from United States vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil.,
488).-
—In support of the theory of nonliability by reason of honest mistake of fact,
appellants rely on the case of United States vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil., 488). The
maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but this applies only when the mistake is com-
mitted without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after

Page 24 of 407
having gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called
out twice, "who is there," but received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a
robber, he leaped from his bed and called out again, "if you enter the room I will
kill you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair which had been
placed against the door and believing that he was then being attacked, he seized
a kitchen knife and struck and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be
his room-mate. A common illustration of innocent mistake of fact is the case of a
man who was masked as a footpad at night and in a lonely road held up a friend
in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled pistol demanded his money or life. He was
killed by his friend under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the
pistol level at his head was loaded and that his life and property were in imminent
danger at the hands of the aggressor. In these instances, there is an innocent
mistake of fact committed without any fault or carelessness because the accused,
having no time or opportunity to make a further injury, and being pressed by
circumstances to act immediately, had no alternative but to take the fact as they
then appeared to him; and such facts justified his act of killing. In the case,
appeliants, unlike the accused in the instances cited, found no circumstances
whatsoever which would press them to immediate action. The person in the room
being then asleep, appeliants had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his
identity without hazard to themselves, and could even effect a bloodless arrest if
any reasonable effort to that end had been made, as the victim was unarmed,
according to one eyewitness. This, indeed, is the only legitimate course of action
for appellants to follow even if the victim was really Balagtas, as they were
instructed not to kill Balagtas, at sight, but to arrest him, and to get him dead or
alive only if resistance or aggression is oddered him.

Docket Number: No. 47722

Counsel: Antonio Z. Oanis

Ponente: Moran

Dispositive Portion:
For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are
hereby declared guilty of murder with the mitigating circumstance
above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty of from five (5) years of prisión correccional to fifteen (15)
years of reclusión temporal, with the accessories of the law, and to
pay the heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson jointly and severally
an indemnity of P2,000, with costs
People vs. Buan 22 SCRA 1383 , March 29, 1968
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOSE BUAN, accused-
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from an order of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Puno,
J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal law and procedure|Double jeopardy|Quasi of-fense
Syllabi:
1. Criminal law and procedure; Double jeopardy; Quasi of-fense; Subsequent
prosecution for the same act.-
Once convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused
may not be prosecuted again for that same act. The essence of the quasi offense

Page 25 of 407
of criminal negligence under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the
execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be
punishable as a felony. The law penalizes the negligent or careless act, not the
result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into account to
determine the penalty; it does not qualify the substance of the offense. As the
careless act is single, whether the injurious result should affect one person or
several persons, the offense remains one and the same. It can not be split into
different crimes and prosecutions.
2. Criminal law and procedure; Double jeopardy;Acquittal from the charge of
slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, a bar to subsequent
prosecution for serious physical injuries and damage to property through reckless
imprudence.-
The exoneration of appellant by the Municipal Court of the charge of slight
physical injuries through reckless imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for
serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First
Instance of the province where both charges are derived from the consequence of
one and the same vehicular accident. The second accusation places the appellant
in second jeopardy for the same offense.

Docket Number: No. L-25366

Counsel: Solicitor General, Felipe C. Magat, Amado D. Dyoco

Ponente: REYES

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed, and the Court
of First Instance of Bulacan is directed to quash and dismiss the
charge in its Criminal Case No. 5243. No costs. So ordered.
1.
People vs. Pugay 167 SCRA 439 , November 14, 1988
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FERNANDO PUGAY y
BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA, accused-appellants.Case Nature :
APPEAL from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cavite.
Syllabi Class : Remedial Law|Criminal Law|Evidence|Criminal Procedure|Suppression of
Evidence|Murder|Conspiracy|Criminal Liability|Homicide Through Reckless
Imprudence|Qualifying Circumstances|Treachery|Mitigating Circumstances
Syllabi:
1. Remedial Law; Evidence; Criminal Procedure;Suppression of
Evidence; The presumption that evidence suppressed would be adverse if
produced does not apply if the evidence suppressed is merely corroborative.-
Accused-appellants next assert that the prosecution suppressed the testimonies
of other eyewitnesses to the incident. They claim that despite the fact that there
were other persons investigated by the police, only Gabion was presented as an
eyewitness during the trial of the case. They argue that the deliberate
nonpresentation of these persons raises the presumption that their testimonies
would be adverse to the prosecution. There is no dispute that there were other
persons who witnessed the commission of the crime. In fact there appears 011
record (pp. 16-17, Records) the written statements of one Abelardo Reyes and
one Monico Alimorong alleging the same facts and imputing the respective acts of

Page 26 of 407
pouring of gasoline and setting the deceased on fire to the accused-appellants as
testified to by Gabion in open court. They were listed as prosecution witnesses in
the information filed. Considering that their testimonies would be merely
corroborative, their non-presentation does not give rise to the presumption that
evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced. This presumption
does not apply to the suppression of merely corroborative evidence (U.S. vs.
Diola, 37 Phil. 797). Besides, the matter as to whom to utilize as witness is for the
prosecution to decide.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; Criminal Liability; As there was no
evidence showing previous conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and intention
between the two accused immediately before the commission of the crime, the
criminal liability of the two accused is individual and not collective, and each of
them is liable only for the act committed by him.-
However, there is nothing in the records showing that there was previous
conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and intention between the two accused-
appellants immediately before the commission of the crime. There was 110
animosity between the deceased and the accused Pugay or Samson. Their
meeting at the scene of the incident was accidental. It is also clear that the
accused Pugay and his group merely wanted to make fun of the deceased.
Hence, the respective criminal responsibility of Pugay and Samson arising from
different acts directed against the deceased is individual and not collective, and
each of them is liable only for the act committed by him (U.S. vs. Magcomot, et. al.
13, Phil 386; U.S. vs. Abiog, et. al 37 Phil 1371).
3. Criminal Law; Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence; Accused Pugay
can only be convicted of the crime of Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence
because of his failure to exercise all the diligence necessary to avoid every
undesirable consequence arising from any act committed by his companions.-
The next question to be determined is the criminal responsibility of the accused
Pugay. Having taken the can from under the engine of the ferris wheel and
holding it before pouring its contents on the body of the deceased, this accused
knew that the can contained gasoline. The stinging smell of this flammable liquid
could not have escaped his notice even before pouring the same. Clearly, he
failed to exercise all the diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable
consequence arising from any act that may be committed by his companions who
at the time were making fun of the deceased. We agree with the Solicitor General
that the accused is only guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence defined in
Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. In U.S. vs. Maleza, et. al. 14
Phil. 468, 470, this Court ruled as follows: "A man must use common sense, and
exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his duty to be cautious, careful, and
prudent, if not from instinct, then through fear of incurring punishment. He is
responsible for such results as anyone might foresee and for acts which no one
would have performed except through culpable abandon. Otherwise his own
person, rights and property, all those of his fellow-beings, would ever be exposed
to all manner of danger and injury."
4. Criminal Law; Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence; Qualifying
Circumstances; Treachery;There is treachery when the attack is deliberate and
the culprit employed means, methods and forms in the execution thereof which
tend to insure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which
the offended party might make.-

Page 27 of 407
There is entire absence of proof in the record that the accused Samson had some
reason to kill the deceased before the incident. On the contrary, there is adequate
evidence showing that his act was merely a part of their fun-making that evening.
For the circumstance of treachery to exist, the attack must be deliberate and the
culprit employed means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend
directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from
any defense which the offended party might make.
5. Criminal Law; Criminal Liability; Mitigating Circumstances; Even assuming
that accused Samson merely intended to burn the victims clothes, this will not
relieve him from criminal responsibility. Samson is liable for the death of the victim
although it was not his intention to kill the latter, but he shall be credited with the
mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong.-
There can be no doubt that the accused Samson knew very well that the liquid
poured on the body of the deceased was gasoline and a flammable substance for
he would not have committed the act setting the latter on fire if it were otherwise.
Giving him the benefit of doubt, it can be conceded that as of their fun-making he
merely intended to set the deceased's clothes on fire. His act, however, does not
relieve him of criminal responsibility. Burning the clothes of the victim would cause
at the very least some kind of physical injuries on his person, a felony defined in
the Revised Penal Code. If his act resulted into a graver offense, as what took
place in the instant case, he must be held responsible therefor. Article 4 of the
aforesaid code provides, inter alia, that criminal liability shall be incurred by any
person commiting a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different
from that which he intended. As no sufficient evidence appears in the record
establishing any qualifying circumstances, the accused samson is only guilty of
the crime of homicide defined and penalized in Article 249 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended. We are disposed to credit in his favor the ordinary mitigating
circumstance of no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed as
there is evidence of a fact from which such conclusion can be drawn. The
eyewitnesses Gabion testified that the accused Pugay and Samson were stunned
when they noticed the deceased burning (Tsn, June 1, 1983, pp. 16-17).

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-74324

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Citizens Legal Assistance Office

Ponente: MEDIALDEA

Dispositive Portion:
Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed with the modifications above-
indicated. Costs against the accused-appellants.
Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan 369 SCRA 394 , November 19, 2001
Case Title : JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION to declare Republic
Act No. 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder) as amended by RA No.
7659 unconstitutional.
Syllabi Class : Constitutional Law|Criminal Law|Anti-Plunder Law|Pleadings and
Practice|Criminal Procedure|Due Process|Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080)|Statutes|Statutory

Page 28 of 407
Construction|Criminal Law|“Void for Vagueness” Doctrine|Words and Phrases|Due
Process|Overbreadth Doctrine|Facial Challenges|Presumption of Innocence|“Reasonable
Doubt” Standard|Constitutional Law|Death Penalty Law (R.A. 7659)|Public Officers|Graft and
Corruption|Judicial Review|Crimes Mala In Se and Mala Prohibita|Complex Crimes|Transcripts
of Stenographic Notes|Conspiracy|Judicial Legislation|Crimes Mala in Se and Mala
Prohibita|Crimes “Mala in Se” and “Mala Prohibita|” Distinguished|Estoppel|Multiplicity of
Offenses|Bill of Rights
Syllabi:
1. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; The whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of
legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is
presumed to be in harmony with the Constitution.-
Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of
legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is
presumed to be in harmony with the Constitution. Courts invariably train their
sights on this fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is under a constitutional
attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection
for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one
branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and powers of another.
Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial
branch accords to its coordinate branch—the legislature. If there is any
reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts must
assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its
plenary powers, and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for
the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority.
Hence, in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the
fundamental law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution
and forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be adjudged by the courts in
favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure of last resort. In construing
therefore the provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an
interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality.
2. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; Criminal Law; As it is written, the Plunder Law contains
ascertainable standards and well-defined parameters which would enable the
accused to determine the nature of his violation; As long as the law affords some
comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what
conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained.-
As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined
parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his
violation. Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and
condi- tions required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with
reasonable certainty and particularity. x x x As long as the law affords some
comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what
conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. It
must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one
charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the
realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty
that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or
accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or
combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law.

Page 29 of 407
3. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine; A statute is not rendered
uncertain and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of
the employment of terms without defining them; much less do we have to define
every word we use.-
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory
definition of the terms “combination” and “series” in the key phrase “a combination
or series of overt or criminal acts” foundinSec.1,par.(d),andSec.2,and the word
“pattern” in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder
Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him
the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him,
hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process. The rationalization seems
to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely
because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms
without defining them; much less do we have to define every word we use.
Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the
legislature to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not
restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the
words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness or
ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be
gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
4. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; It is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a
statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and
signification, unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special
legal meaning to those words.-
It is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be
interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless
it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to
those words. The intention of the lawmakers— who are, ordinarily, untrained
philologists and lexicographers—to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is
always presumed. Thus, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary contains the
following commonly accepted definition of the words “combination” and “series:”
Combination—the result or product of combining; the act or process of combining.
To combine is to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual
characters. Series—a number of things or events of the same class coming one
after another in spatial and temporal succession.
5. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; Words and Phrases;“Combination,” Explained.-
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of “combination,” it is referring to at least two
(2) acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par.
(d), e.g., raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent
conveyance of assets belonging to the National Government under Sec. 1, par.
(d), subpar. (3).
6. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; Words and Phrases;“Series,” Explained.-
On the other hand, to constitute a “series” there must be two (2) or more overt or
criminal acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par.
(d), say, misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of
which fall under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a

Page 30 of 407
technical or distinctive meaning for “combination” and “series,” it would have taken
greater pains in specifically providing for it in the law.
7. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Statutes; Statutory
Construction; Words and Phrases;“Pattern,” Explained.-
As for “pat-tern,” we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan that this
term issufficientlydefinedinSec.4,inrelationtoSec.1,par.(d),andSec.2.—As for
“pattern,” we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan that this term is
sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2—xxxx
under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a ‘pattern’ consists of at least a combination or series
of overt or criminal acts enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d).
Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is
directed towards a common purpose or goal which is to enable the public officer to
amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must either be
an ‘overall unlawful scheme’ or ‘conspiracy’ to achieve said common goal. As
commonly understood, the term ‘overall unlawful scheme’ indicates a ‘general
plan of action or method’ which the principal accused and public officer and others
conniving with him follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative,
if there is no such overall scheme or where the schemes or methods used by
multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to
attain a common goal.
8. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal Law; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine; Words and Phrases; The “void-for-vagueness” doctrine
has been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect
that a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
prohibited by the statute—it can only be invoked against that specie of legislation
that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a
saving clause or by construction.-
It cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and
sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner
’s reliance on the “void-for-vagueness” doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The
doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the
effect that a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with
sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what
conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that specie of
legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either
by a saving clause or by construction.
9. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal Law; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine; Due Process; When a statute lacks comprehensible
standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning
and differ in its application, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2)
respects—it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the
parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid, and, it leaves law
enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.-
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards
that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ
in its application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in
two (2) respects—it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially
the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law

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enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. But the doctrine does not apply as
against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which
nonetheless specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are
apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The first
may be “saved” by proper construction, while no challenge may be mounted as
against the second whenever directed against such activities. With more reason,
the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is clear and free from
ambiguity, as in this case.
10. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal Law; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine; The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void
for uncertainty is whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as
to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and
practice; The “vagueness” doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of
certainty for the statute to be upheld—not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude.-
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether
the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct
when measured by common understanding and practice. It must be stressed,
however, that the “vagueness” doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of
certainty for the statute to be upheld—not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous
specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are
clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have
been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where,
because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in
advance as in all other statutes.
11. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal Law; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; The
allegations that the Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial
review of its validity.-
Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente
V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations that the
Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity—
The void-forvagueness doctrine states that “a statute which either forbids or
requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence
must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the
first essential of due process of law.” The overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand,
decrees that “a governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which
sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.”
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is
overbroad because of possible “chilling effect” upon protected speech. The theory
is that “[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single
prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected
expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity.” The possible
harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred

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and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of
overly broad statutes. This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal
statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if
facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented
from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law,
the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech. The overbreadth and
vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech cases.
They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes.
12. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal Law; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth Doctrine; Statutory
Construction;Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting
parts and words in the statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of
scientific precision in the law; It will take more than nitpicking to overturn the
wellentrenched presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law.-
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of
the Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is
more imagined than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by
dissecting parts and words in the statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at
the want of scientific precision in the law. Every provision of the law should be
construed in relation and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take
more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of
constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign
ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who
voted for its passage, petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively
deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate committees by reason of
which he even registered his affirmative vote with full knowledge of its legal
implications and sound constitutional anchorage.
13. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Presumption of
Innocence; “Reasonable Doubt” Standard; In a criminal prosecution for
plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the
presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the
State succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that
culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal—the use of the “reasonable
doubt” standard is indispensable to command the respect and confidence of the
community in the application of criminal law.-
The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a
criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in
his favor the presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights,
and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable
doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal. The use of the
“reasonable doubt” standard is indispensable to com- mand the respect and
confidence of the community in the application of criminal law. It is critical that the
moral force of criminal law be not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people
in doubt whether innocent men are being condemned. It is also important in our
free society that every individual going about his ordinary affairs has confidence
that his government cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without
convincing a proper factfinder of his guilt with utmost certainty. This “reasonable
doubt” standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional
law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused against

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conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to
constitute the crime with which he is charged.
14. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Under Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law, what the
prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts
sufficient to form a combination or series which would constitute a pattern and
involving an amount of at least P50,000,000.00.-
The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the
crime suffers from a dismal misconception of the import of that provision. What the
prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts
sufficient to form a combination or series which would constitute a pattern and
involving an amount of at least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each
and every other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by the
accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy to amass,
accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate, supposing that the accused
is charged in an Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50) raids on
the public treasury. The prosecution need not prove all these fifty (50) raids, it
being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable
doubt provided only that they amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.
15. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with
Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law brings the logical conclusion that “pattern of overt or
criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy” inheres in
the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth—such pattern
arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d).-
AreadingofSec.2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion that
“pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or
conspiracy” inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing
hidden wealth. Stated otherwise, such pattern arises where the prosecution is
able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1,
par. (d). Pattern is merely a by-product of the proof of the predicate acts. This
conclusion is consistent with reason and common sense. There would be no other
explanation for a combination or series of overt or criminal acts to stash
P50,000,000.00 or more, than “a scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or
acquire ill-gotten wealth.” The prosecution is therefore not required to make a
deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the
establishment of a series or combination of the predicate acts.
16. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; All the essential elements of plunder can
be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d),
and “pattern” is not one of them; Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does
not define or establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only
operates in furtherance of a remedy, it is only a means to an end, an aid to
substantive law.-
We do not subscribe to petitioner’s stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of
plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to
Sec. 1, par. (d), and “pattern” is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and
opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and unequivocal: SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence.—
For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder xxxx It purports to do no more
than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a criminal case for
plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish
any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in furtherance of a

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remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law. Indubitably, even
without invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for
the prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude
exacted by the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is
flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may simply be
severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily resulting in the demise
of the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than
enough.
17. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Plunder is a malum in se which requires
proof of criminal intent.-
As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is a
malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his
Concurring Opinion—x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in
se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is
noteworthy that the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was
committed “willfully, unlawfully and criminally.” It thus alleges guilty knowledge on
the part of petitioner.
18. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; Death Penalty Law
(R.A. 7659); It is now too late in the day to resurrect the issue of the
constitutionality of R.A. 7659, the same having been eternally consigned by
People v. Echega-ray, 267 SCRA 682 (1997), to the archives of jurisprudential
history.-
To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law
of RA 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say, however, that it is now too
late in the day for him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been
eternally consigned by People vs. Echegaray to the archives of jurisprudential
history. The declaration of this Court therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid
stands as a declaration of the State, and becomes, by necessary effect,
assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.
19. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Public Officers;Graft and
Corruption; The Plunder Law is especially designed to disentangle those ghastly
tissues of grandscale corruption which, if left unchecked, will spread like a
malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our
nation.-
Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of
officials in high places which have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of
graft and corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time as
unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive more and more ingenious ways to bilk
the coffers of the government. Drastic and radical measures are imperative to fight
the increasingly sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and economically
catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is the Plunder Law, especially
designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if
left unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the
moral and institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living
testament to the will of the legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus
secure society against the avarice and other venalities in public office.
20. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; What footnote 4 of U.S. v. Carolene
Products Co., 304 U.S. 144, 152, 82 L. Ed. 1234, 1241 (1938), posits is a double
standard of judicial review—strict scrutiny for laws dealing with freedom of the

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mind or restricting the political process, and deferential or rational basis standard
of review for economic legislation.-
What footnote 4oftheCarolene Products case posits is a double standard of
judicial review: strict scrutiny for laws dealing with freedom of the mind or
restricting the political process, and deferential or rational basis standard of review
for economic legislation. As Justice (later Chief Justice) Fernando explained in
Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Ass’n v. The City Mayor, this simply means that
“if the liberty involved were freedom of the mind or the person, the standard for the
validity of governmental acts is much more rigorous and exacting, but where the
liberty curtailed affects what are at the most rights of property, the permissible
scope of regulatory measures is wider.”
21. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; Strict scrutiny is used today to test the
validity of laws dealing with the regulation of speech, gender, or race and facial
challenges are allowed for this purpose.-
Hence, strict scrutiny is used today to test the validity of laws dealing with the
regulation of speech, gender, or race and facial challenges are allowed for this
purpose. But criminal statutes, like the Anti-Plunder Law, while subject to strict
construction, are not subject to strict scrutiny. The two (i.e., strict construction and
strict scrutiny) are not the same. The rule of strict construction is a rule of legal
hermeneutics which deals with the parsing of statutes to determine the intent of
the legislature. On the other hand, strict scrutiny is a standard of judicial review for
determining the quality and the amount of governmental interest brought to justify
the regulation of fundamental freedoms. It is set opposite such terms as
“deferential review” and “intermediate review.”
22. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; Under deferential review, laws are
upheld if they rationally further a legitimate governmental interest, without courts
seriously inquiring into the substantiality of such interest and examining the
alternative means by which the objectives could be achieved.-
Thus, under deferential review, laws are upheld if they rationally further a
legitimate governmental interest, without courts seriously inquiring into the
substantiality of such interest and examining the alternative means by which the
objectives could be achieved. Under intermediate review, the substantiality of the
governmental interest is seriously looked into and the availability of less restrictive
alternatives are considered. Under strict scrutiny, the focus is on the presence of
compelling, rather than substantial, governmental interest and on the absence of
less restrictive means for achieving that interest.
23. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and Phrases; The
void-for-vagueness doctrine states that “a statute which either forbids or requires
the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first
essential of due process of law”; The overbreadth doctrine decrees that “a
governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily
broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.-
Nor do allegations that the Anti-Plunder Law is vague and overbroad justify a
facial review of its validity. The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that “a statute
which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its
application, violates the first essential of due process of law.” The over-breadth
doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that “a governmental purpose may not be

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achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the
area of protected freedoms.”
24. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and Phrases; A
facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is
overbroad because of possible “chilling effect” upon protected speech, the theory
being that “[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single
prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected
expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity.-
Afacialchallengeisallowedtobemadetoavague statute and to one which is
overbroad because of possible “chilling effect” upon protected speech. The theory
is that “[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single
prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected
expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity.” The possible
harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred
and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of
overly broad statutes.
25. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and Phrases; The
overbreadth and vagueness doctrines have special application only to free speech
cases—they are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes.-
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in
terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is
allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws
against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take
chances as in the area of free speech. The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines
then have special application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing
the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by
Chief Justice Rehnquist, “we have not recognized an ‘overbreadth’ doctrine
outside the limited context of the First Amendment.” In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, the
Court ruled that “claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases
involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words” and,
again, that “overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when
invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected
conduct.” For this reason, it has been held that “a facial challenge to a legislative
act is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must
establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid.”
As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on
its face only if it is vague in all its possible applications. “A plaintiff who engages in
some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the
law as applied to the conduct of others.”
26. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and Phrases; The

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doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools
developed for testing “on their faces” statutes in free speech cases or, as they are
called in American law, First Amendment Cases.-
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical
tools developed for testing “on their faces” statutes in free speech cases or, as
they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to
do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such
statute, the established rule is that “one to whom application of a statute is
constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it
might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its
application might be unconstitutional.” As has been pointed out, “vagueness
challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically
produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process
typically are invalidated [only] ‘as applied’ to a particular defendant.”
Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner’s claim that this Court review the
Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.
27. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; Resort to
the deliberations in Congress will readily reveal that the word “combination”
includes at least two different overt or criminal acts listed in R.A. No. 7080, such
as misappropriation (§1(d)(1)) and taking undue advantage of official position
(§1(d)(6)), while on the other hand, “series” is used when the offender commits the
same overt or criminal act more than once.-
Thus, resort to the deliberations in Congress will readily reveal that the word
“combination” includes at least two different overt or criminal acts listed in R.A.
No. 7080, such as misappropriation (§1(d)(1)) and taking undue advantage of
official position (§1(d)(6)). On the other hand, “series” is used when the offender
commits the same overt or criminal act more than once. There is no plunder if only
one act is proven, even if the ill-gotten wealth acquired thereby amounts to or
exceeds the figure fixed by the law for the offense (now P50,000,000.00). The
overt or criminal acts need not be joined or separated in space or time, since the
law does not make such a qualification. It is enough that the prosecution proves
that a public officer, by himself or in connivance with others, amasses wealth
amounting to at least P50 million by committing two or more overt or criminal acts.
28. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; A “pattern
of overt or criminal acts” is required in §4 to prove “an unlawful scheme or
conspiracy,” and in such a case, it is not necessary to prove each and every
criminal act done in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy so long as those
proven show a pattern indicating the scheme or conspiracy.+
29. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; As
applied to petitioner, the Anti-Plunder Law presents only problems of statutory
construction, not vagueness or overbreadth.-
As thus applied to petitioner, the Anti-Plunder Law presents only problems of
statutory construction, not vagueness or overbreadth. In Primicias v. Fugoso, an
ordinance of the City of Manila, prohibiting the holding of parades and assemblies
in streets and public places unless a permit was first secured from the city mayor
and penalizing its violation, was construed to mean that it gave the city mayor only
the power to specify the streets and public places which can be used for the
purpose but not the power to ban absolutely the use of such places. A
constitutional doubt was thus resolved through a limiting construction given to the
ordinance.

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30. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine; Where the ambiguity is not latent and the legislative
intention is discoverable with the aid of the canons of construction, the “void for
vagueness” doctrine has no application.-
Where, therefore, the ambiguity is not latent and the legislative intention is
discoverable with the aid of the canons of construction, the “void for vagueness”
doctrine has no application.
31. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala In Se and Mala
Prohibita; Plunder is a malum in se, requiring proof of mens rea.-
Plunder is a malum in se, requiring proof of criminal intent. Precisely because the
constitutive crimes are mala in se, the element of mens rea must be proven in a
prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges that
the crime of plunder was committed “willfully, unlawfully and criminally.” It thus
alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner.
32. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala In Se and Mala
Prohibita; The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the
Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite
clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of
the offender is determined by his criminal intent.-
The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal
Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens
rea is an element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is
determined by his criminal intent. It is true that §2 refers to “any person who
participates with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
contributing to the crime of plunder.” There is no reason to believe, however, that
it does not apply as well to the public officer as principal in the crime. As Justice
Holmes said: “We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws
with what they omit, but there is no canon against using common sense in
construing laws as saying what they obviously mean.”
33. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala In Se and Mala
Prohibita; Any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be
deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in
1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to
death, the legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous
offense implies that it is a malum in se.-
Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be
deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in
1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to
death. Other heinous crimes are punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A.
No. 7659. Referring to these groups of heinous crimes, this Court held in People
v. Echegaray: x x x The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a
heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the acts punished are
inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in se and it does not matter
that such acts are punished in a special law, especially since in the case of
plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be absurd to
treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere prosecutions for violations
of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking,
without regard to the inherent wrongness of the acts.

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34. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Complex Crimes;Obviously, the
legislature views plunder as a crime as serious as robbery with homicide or rape
with homicide by punishing it with the same penalty.-
But this is also the case whenever other special complex crimes are created out of
two or more existing crimes. For example, robbery with violence against or
intimidation of persons under Art. 294, par. 5 of the Revised Penal Code is
punished with prision correccional in its maximum period (4 years, 2 months, and
1 day) to prision mayor in its medium period (6 years and 1 day to 8 years).
Homicide under Art. 249 of the same Code is punished with reclusion temporal
(12 years and 1 day to 20 years). But when the two crimes are committed on the
same occasion, the law treats them as a special complex crime of robbery with
homicide and provides the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for its
commission. Again, the penalty for simple rape under Art. 266-B of the Revised
Penal Code is reclusion perpetua, while that for homicide under Art. 249 it is
reclusion temporal (12 years and 1 day to 20 years). Yet, when committed on the
same occasion, the two are treated as one special complex crime of rape with
homicide and punished with a heavier penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
Obviously, the legislature views plunder as a crime as serious as robbery with
homicide or rape with homicide by punishing it with the same penalty.
35. Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory
Construction; Simple statutory construction, not a declaration of
unconstitutionality, is the key to the allegedly vague words of the Anti-Plunder
Law.-
Indeed, simple statutory construction, not a declaration of unconstitutionality, is
the key to the allegedly vague words of the Anti-Plunder Law. And the most basic
rule in statutory construction is to ascertain the meaning of a term from the
legislative proceedings. Verily, in the judicial review of a law’s meaning, the
legislative intent is paramount.
36. Pleadings and Practice; Transcripts of Stenographic Notes; Most of us in
the legal profession are all too familiar with the vagaries of stenographic note-
taking, especially in courtrooms and legislative halls—often, transcripts of
stenographic notes have portrayed lawyers, witnesses, legislators and judges as
blithering idiots, spouting utterly nonsensical jargon and plain inanities in the
course of a proceeding.-
Most of us in the legal profession are all too familiar with the vagaries of
stenographic note-taking, especially in courtrooms and legislative halls. Too often,
lawyers, parties-litigants and even judges find themselves at the mercy of
stenographers who are unfamiliar with certain legal terms; or who cannot hear
well enough or take notes fast enough; or who simply get confused, particularly
when two or more persons happen to be speaking at the same time. Often,
transcripts of stenographic notes have portrayed lawyers, witnesses, legislators
and judges as blithering idiots, spouting utterly nonsensical jargon and plain
inanities in the course of a proceeding. The Record in question is no exception.
37. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; It goes without saying that the legislature is
well within its powers to provide higher penalties in view of the grave evils sought
to be prevented by R.A. 7080.+
38. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; Overbreadth
Doctrine; A statute may be said to be overbroad where it operates to inhibit the
exercise of individual freedoms affirmatively guaranteed by the Constitution, such
as the freedom of speech or religion.+

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39. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; Statutory
Construction; Judicial Review; The power to construe law is essentially
judicial—to declare what the law shall be is a legislative power, but to declare what
the law is or has been is judicial.-
At all events, let me stress that the power to construe law is essentially judicial. To
declare what the law shall be is a legislative power, but to declare what the law is
or has been is judicial. Statutes enacted by Congress cannot be expected to spell
out with mathematical precision how the law should be interpreted under any an
all given situations. The application of the law will depend on the facts and
circumstances as adduced by evidence which will then be considered, weighed
and evaluated by the courts. Indeed, it is the constitutionally mandated function of
the courts to interpret, construe and apply the law as would give flesh and blood to
the true meaning of legislative enactments.
40. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; Statutory
Construction; A law is not a mere composition, but an end to be achieved; and its
general purpose is a more important aid to its meaning than any rule that grammar
may lay down.-
A statute should be construed in the light of the objective to be achieved and the
evil or mischief to be suppressed and should be given such construction as will
advance the purpose, suppress the mischief or evil, and secure the benefits
intended. A law is not a mere composition, but an end to be achieved; and its
general purpose is a more important aid to its meaning than any rule that
grammar may lay down. A construction should be rejected if it gives to the
language used in a statute a meaning that does not accomplish the purpose for
which the statute was enacted and that tends to defeat the ends that are sought to
be attained by its enactment.
41. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; “Void for
Vagueness” Doctrine; To this date, the Supreme Court has not declared any
penal law unconstitutional on the ground of ambiguity.-
Against the foregoing backdrop, I believe petitioner’s heavy reliance on the void-
for-vagueness concept cannot prevail, considering that such concept, while
mentioned in passing in Nazario and other cases, has yet to find direct application
in our jurisdiction. To this date, the Court has not declared any penal law
unconstitutional on the ground of ambiguity. On the other hand, the
constitutionality of certain penal statutes has been upheld in several cases,
notwithstanding allegations of ambiguity in the provisions of law. In Caram
Resources Corp. v. Contreras and People v. Morato, the Court upheld the validity
of BP 22 (Bouncing Checks Law) and PD 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms),
respectively, despite constitutional challenges grounded on alleged ambiguity.
42. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; The prosecution’s burden of proving the
crime of plunder is, in actuality, much greater than in an ordinary criminal case—
the prosecution, in establishing a pattern of overt or criminal acts, must
necessarily show a combination or series of acts within the purview of Section I (d)
of the law, and these acts must still be proven beyond reasonable doubt.-
Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the indicative pattern must be proven
beyond reasonable doubt. To my mind, this means that the prosecution’s burden
of proving the crime of plunder is, in actuality, much greater than in an ordinary
criminal case. The prosecution, in establishing a pattern of overt or criminal acts,
must necessarily show a combination or series of acts within the purview of
Section 1(d) of the law. These acts which constitute the combination or series

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must still be proven beyond reasonable doubt. On top of that, the prosecution
must establish beyond reasonable doubt such pattern of overt or criminal acts
indicative of the overall scheme or conspiracy, as well as all the other elements
thereof.
43. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Regardless of whether plunder is classified
as mala prohibita or in se, it is the prerogative of the legislature—which is
undeniably vested with the authority—to determine whether certain acts are
criminal irrespective of the actual intent of the perpetrator.-
While I simply cannot agree that the Anti-Plunder Law eliminated mens rea from
the component crimes of plunder, my bottom-line position still is: regardless of
whether plunder is classified as mala prohibita or in se, it is the prerogative of the
legislature—which is undeniably vested with the authority—to determine whether
certain acts are criminal irrespective of the actual intent of the perpetrator.
44. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; I join the view that when we speak of
plunder, we are referring essentially to two or more instances of mala in se
constituting one malum prohibitum.-
Without being facetious, may I say that, unlike the act of discharging a gun, the
acts mentioned in Section 1(d)—bribery, conversion, fraudulent conveyance,
unjust enrichment and the like—cannot be committed sans criminal intent. And
thus, I finally arrive at a point of agreement with petitioner: that the acts
enumerated in Section l(d) are by their nature mala in se, and most of them are in
fact defined and penalized as such by the Revised Penal Code. Having said that, I
join the view that when we speak of plunder, we are referring essentially to two or
more instances of mala in se constituting one malum prohibitum. Thus, there
should be no difficulty if each of the predicate acts be proven beyond reasonable
doubt as mala in se,evenifthedefenseoflackofintentbe taken away as the solicitor
general has suggested. In brief, the matter of classification is not really significant,
contrary to what petitioner would have us believe. The key, obviously, is whether
the same burden of proof—proof beyond reasonable doubt—would apply.
45. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; While every law enacted by
Congress enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, and the presumption prevails
in the absence of contrary evidence, when a constitutionally protected right of an
individual is in danger of being trampled upon by a criminal statute, such law must
be struck down for being void.-
Every law enacted by Congress enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, and the
presumption prevails in the absence of contrary evidence. A criminal statute is
generally valid if it does not violate constitutional guarantees of individual rights.
Conversely, when a constitutionally protected right of an individual is in danger of
being trampled upon by a criminal statute, such
lawmustbestruckdownforbeingvoid.
46. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Due Process; The “void-for-vagueness” doctrine is rooted in the basic
concept of fairness as well as the due process clause of the Constitution.-
One of the fundamental requirements imposed by the Constitution upon criminal
statutes is that pertaining to clarity and definiteness. Statutes, particularly penal
laws, that fall short of this requirement have been declared unconstitutional for
being vague. This “void-for-vagueness” doctrine is rooted in the basic concept of
fairness as well as the due process clause of the Constitution. The Constitution
guarantees both substantive and procedural due process as well as the right of
the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

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A criminal statute should not be so vague and uncertain that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess as to its meaning and differ as to its
application.
47. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Three distinct considerations for the Vagueness Doctrine.-
There are three distinct considerations for the vagueness doctrine. First, the
doctrine is designed to ensure that individuals are properly warned ex ante of the
criminal consequences of their conduct. This “fair notice” rationale was articulated
in United States v. Harriss: The constitutional requirement of definiteness is
violated by a criminal statute that fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair
notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute. The underlying
principle is that no man shall be held criminally responsible for conduct which he
could not reasonably understand to be proscribed. Second, and viewed as more
important, the doctrine is intended to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory law
enforcement. Vague laws are invariably “standardless” and as such, they afford
too great an opportunity for criminal enforcement to be left to the unfettered
discretion of police officers and prosecutors. Third, vague laws fail to provide
sufficient guidance to judges who are charged with interpreting statutes. Where a
statute is too vague to provide sufficient guidance, the judiciary is arguably placed
in the position of usurping the proper function of the legislature by “making the
law” rather than interpreting it.
48. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; The doctrine of over-breadth applies generally
to statutes that infringe upon freedom of speech while the “void-for-vagueness”
doctrine applies to criminal laws, not merely those that regulate speech or other
fundamental constitutional rights.-
A view has been proffered that “vagueness and overbreadth doctrines are not
applicable to penal laws.” These two concepts, while related, are distinct from
each other. On one hand, the doctrine of overbreadth applies generally to statutes
that infringe upon freedom of speech. On the other hand, the “void-for-vagueness”
doctrine applies to criminal laws, not merely those that regulate speech or other
fundamental constitutional rights. The fact that a particular criminal statute does
not infringe upon free speech does not mean that a facial challenge to the statute
on vagueness grounds cannot succeed.
49. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Anti-Plunder Law; Words and Phrases; Even men steeped in the
knowledge of the law are in a quandary as to what constitutes plunder.-
I respectfully disagree with the majority that “ascertainable standards and well-
defined parameters” are provided in the law to resolve these basic questions.
Even men steeped in the knowledge of the law are in a quandary as to what
constitutes plunder. The Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan, Justice Francis
Garchitorena, admitted that the justices of said court “have been quarrelling with
each other in finding ways to determine what [they] understand by plunder.”
Senator Neptali Gonzales also noted during the deliberations of Senate Bill No.
733 that the definition of plunder under the law is vague. He bluntly declared: “I
am afraid that it might be faulted for being violative of the due process clause and
the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation of an accused.
Fr. Bernas, for his part, pointed to several problematical portions of the law that
were left unclarified. He posed the question: “How can you have a ‘series’ of

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criminal acts if the elements that are supposed to constitute the series are not
proved to be criminal?”
50. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Anti-Plunder Law; Words and Phrases; To my mind, resort to the
dictionary meaning of the terms “combination” and “series” as well as recourse to
the deliberations of the lawmakers only serve to prove that R.A. No. 7080 failed to
satisfy the strict requirements of the Constitution on clarity and definiteness.-
To my mind, resort to the dictionary meaning of the terms “combination” and
“series” as well as recourse to the deliberations of the lawmakers only serve to
prove that R.A. No. 7080 failed to satisfy the strict requirements of the Constitution
on clarity and definiteness. Note that the key element to the crime of plunder is
that the public officer, by himself or in conspiracy with others, amasses,
accumulates, or acquires “ill-gotten wealth” through a “combination or series of
overt or criminal acts” as described in Section 1(d) of the law. Senator Gonzales,
during the deliberations in the Senate, already raised serious concern over the
lack of a statutory definition of what constitutes “combination” or “series,”
consequently, expressing his fears that Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080 might be
violative of due process.
51. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Anti-Plunder Law; Words and Phrases; The deliberations of the
Bicameral Conference Committee and of the Senate cited by the majority,
consisting mostly of unfinished sentences, offer very little help in clarifying the
nebulous concept of plunder.-
The deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee and of the Senate cited
by the majority, consisting mostly of unfinished sentences, offer very little help in
clarifying the nebulous concept of plunder. All that they indicate is that Congress
seemingly intended to hold liable for plunder a person who: (1) commits at least
two counts of any one of the acts mentioned in Section 1(d) of R.A. No. 7080, in
which case, such person commits plunder by a series of overt criminal acts; or (2)
commits at least one count of at least two of the acts mentioned in Section 1(d), in
which case, such person commits plunder by a combination of overt criminal acts.
Said discussions hardly provide a window as to the exact nature of this crime.
52. Anti-Plunder Law; Complex Crimes; The argument that higher penalties
may be imposed where two or more distinct criminal acts are combined and are
regarded as special complex crimes, i.e., rape with homicide, does not justify the
imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death in case plunder is
committed.-
The argument that higher penalties may be imposed where two or more distinct
criminal acts are combined and are regarded as special complex crimes, i.e., rape
with homicide, does not justify the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua
todeathincase plunder is committed. Taken singly, rape is punishable by reclusion
perpetua; and homicide, by reclusion temporal. Hence, the increase in the penalty
imposed when these two are considered together as a special complex crime is
not too far from the penalties imposed for each of the single offenses. In contrast,
as shown by the examples above, there are instances where the component
crimes of plunder, if taken separately, would result in the imposition of correctional
penalties only; but when considered as forming part of a series or combination of
acts constituting plunder, could be punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. The
disproportionate increase in the penalty is certainly violative of substantive due
process and constitute a cruel and inhuman punishment.

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53. Anti-Plunder Law; Section 1 taken in relation to Section 4 suggests that there
is something to plunder beyond simply the number of acts involved and that a
grand scheme to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth is contemplated
by R.A. No. 7080.-
Granting arguendo that, as asserted by the majority, “combination” and “series”
simplistically mean the commission of two or more of the acts enumerated in
Section 1(d), still, this interpretation does not cure the vagueness of R.A. No.
7080. In construing the definition of “plunder,” Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080 must not
be read in isolation but rather, must be interpreted in relation to the other
provisions of said law. It is a basic rule of statutory construction that to ascertain
the meaning of a law, the same must be read in its entirety. Section 1 taken in
relation to Section 4 suggests that there is something to plunder beyond simply
the number of acts involved and that a grand scheme to amass, accumulate or
acquire ill-gotten wealth is contemplated by R.A. No. 7080. Sections 1 and 2
pertain only to the nature and quantitative means or acts by which a public officer,
by himself or in connivance with other persons, “amasses, accumulates or
acquires ill-gotten wealth.” Section 4, on the other hand, requires the presence of
elements other than those enumerated in Section 2 to establish that the crime of
plunder has been committed because it speaks of the necessity to establish
beyond reasonable doubt a “pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the
overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.”
54. Anti-Plunder Law; That pattern is an essential element of the crime of
plunder is evident from a reading of the assailed law in its entirety—without the
existence of a “pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall scheme or
conspiracy” to acquire ill-gotten wealth, a person committing several or even all of
the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) cannot be convicted for plunder, but may be
convicted only for the specific crimes committed under the pertinent provisions of
the Revised Penal Code or other laws.-
That pattern is an essential element of the crime of plunder is evident from a
reading of the assailed law in its entirety. It is that which would distinguish plunder
from isolated criminal acts punishable under the Revised Penal Code and other
laws, for without the existence a “pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the
overall scheme or conspiracy” to acquire ill-gotten wealth, a person committing
several or even all of the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) cannot be convicted for
plunder, but may be convicted only for the specific crimes committed under the
pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code or other laws.
55. Anti-Plunder Law; Section 4 is not merely a rule of evidence or a rule of
procedure—it is of substantive character because it spells out a distinctive
element of the crime which has to be established.-
For this reason, I do not agree that Section 4 is merely a rule of evidence or a rule
of procedure. It does not become such simply because its caption states that it is,
although its wording indicates otherwise. On the contrary, it is of substantive
character because it spells out a distinctive element of the crime which has to be
established, i.e., an overall unlawful “scheme or conspiracy” indicated by a
“pattern of overt or criminal acts” or means or similar schemes “to amass,
accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth.”
56. Anti-Plunder Law; A careful reading of the law would unavoidably compel a
conclusion that there should be a connecting link among the “means or schemes”
comprising a “series or combination” for the purpose of acquiring or amassing “ill-
gotten wealth.”-

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But that obviously is not the definition of the crime of plunder under R.A. 7080.
There is something more. A careful reading of the law would unavoidably compel
a conclusion that there should be a connecting link among the “means or
schemes” comprising a “series or combination” for the purpose of acquiring or
amassing “ill-gotten wealth.” The bond or link is an “overall unlawful scheme or
conspiracy mentioned in Section 4. The law contemplates a combination or series
of criminal acts in plunder done by the accused “in furtherance of the scheme or
conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth.” It does not
postulate acts committed randomly, separately or independently or sporadically.
Otherwise stated, if the legislature intended to define plunder as the acquisition of
ill-gotten wealth in the manner espoused by the majority, the use in R.A. 7080 of
such words and phrases as “combination” and “series of overt or criminal acts”
xxx “in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy” is absolutely pointless and
meaningless.
57. Anti-Plunder Law; Conspiracy; A person who conspires with the accused in
the commission of only one of the component crimes may be prosecuted as co-
principal for the component crime, or as co-principal for the crime of plunder,
depending on the interpretation of the prosecutor; The unfettered discretion
effectively bestowed on law enforcers by Section 2 of R.A. 7080 in determining the
liability of the participants in the commission of one or more of the component
crimes for plunder undeniably poses the danger of arbitrary enforcement of the
law.-
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080 states that “[a]ny person who participated with the said
public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder
shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the
degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating
circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by
the court.” Both parties share the view that the law as it is worded makes it
possible for a person who participates in the commission of only one of the
component crimes constituting plunder to be liable as co-conspirator for plunder,
not merely the component crime in which he participated. While petitioner
concedes that it is easy to ascertain the penalty for an accomplice or accessory
under R.A. No. 7080, such is not the case with respect to a co-principal of the
accused. In other words, a person who conspires with the accused in the
commission of only one of the component crimes may be prosecuted as co-
principal for the component crime, or as co-principal for the crime of plunder,
depending on the interpretation of the prosecutor. The unfettered discretion
effectively bestowed on law enforcers by the aforequoted clause in determining
the liability of the participants in the commission of one or more of the component
crimes of a charge for plunder undeniably poses the danger of arbitrary
enforcement of the law.
58. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Judicial Legislation; It certainly
would not be feasible for the Court to interpret each and every ambiguous
provision without falling into the trap of judicial legislation.-
The Solicitor General enjoins the Court to rectify the deficiencies in the law by
judicial construction. However, it certainly would not be feasible for the Court to
interpret each and every ambiguous provision without falling into the trap of
judicial legislation. A statute should be construed to avoid constitutional question
only when an alternative interpretation is possible from its language. Borrowing
from the opinion of the court in Northwestern, the law “may be a poorly drafted

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statute; but rewriting it is a job for Congress, if it so inclined, and not for this
Court.” But where the law as the one in question is void on its face for its patent
ambiguity in that it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application,
the Court cannot breathe life to it through the guise of construction.
59. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; The law, in effect, penalizes the accused
on the basis of a proven scheme or conspiracy to commit plunder without the
necessity of establishing beyond reasonable doubt each and every criminal act
done by the accused in the crime of plunder.-
By its language, Section 4 eliminates proof of each and every component criminal
act of plunder by the accused and limits itself to establishing just the pattern of
overt or criminal acts indicative of unlawful scheme or conspiracy. The law, in
effect, penalizes the accused on the basis of a proven scheme or conspiracy to
commit plunder without the necessity of establishing beyond reasonable doubt
each and every criminal act done by the accused in the crime of
plunder.ToquoteFr.Bernasagain:“How can you have a ‘series’ of criminal acts if
the elements that are supposed to constitute the series are not proved to be
criminal?”
60. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala in Se and Mala
Prohibita; Since the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) are mostly defined and
penalized by the Revised Penal Code, and as such, they are by nature mala in se
crime, of which intent is an essential element, accordingly, with more reason that
criminal intent must be established in plunder.-
The acts enumerated in Section 1(d) are mostly defined and penalized by the
Revised Penal Code, e.g. malversation, estafa, bribery and other crimes
committed by public officers. As such, they are by nature mala in se crimes. Since
intent is an essential element of these crimes, then, with more reason that criminal
intent be established in plunder which, under R.A. No. 7659, is one of the heinous
crimes as pronounced in one of its whereas clauses.
61. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala in Se and Mala
Prohibita; Words and Phrases; Crimes “Mala in Se” and “Mala Prohibita,”
Distinguished; The fact that the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) of R.A. 7080
were made criminal by special law does not necessarily make the same mala
prohibita where criminal intent is not essential, although the term refers generally
to acts made criminal by special laws.-
The fact that the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) of R.A. 7080 were made
criminal by special law does not necessarily make the same mala prohibita where
criminal intent is not essential, although the term refers generally to acts made
criminal by special laws. For there is a marked difference between the two.
According to a well-known author on criminal law: There is a distinction between
crimes which are mala in se, or wrongful from their nature, such as theft, rape,
homicide, etc., and those that are mala prohibita, or wrong merely because
prohibited by statute, such as illegal possession of firearms. Crimes mala in se are
those so serious in their effects on society as to call for almost unanimous
condemnation of its members; while crimes mala prohibita are violations of mere
rules of convenience designed to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of
society. (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, Rawle’s3rdRevision)(1)Inactsmala in se, the
intent governs; but in those mala prohibit the only inquiry is, has the law been
violated? (People vs. Kibler, 106 N.Y., 321, cited in the case of U.S. vs. Go Chico,
14 Phil. 132) Criminal intent is not necessary where the acts are prohibited for

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reasons of public policy, as in illegal possession of firearms. (People vs. Conosa,
C.A., 45 O.G. 3953)
62. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Mens rea is a substantive due process
requirement under the Constitution, and this is a limitation on police power.-
Mens rea is a substantive due process requirement under the Constitution, and
this is a limitation on police power. Additionally, lack of mens rea or a clarifying
scienter requirement aggravates the vagueness of a statute.
63. Anti-Plunder Law; Estoppel; The rule on estoppel applies to questions of
fact, not of law.-
The case at bar has been subject to controversy principally due to the
personalities involved herein. The fact that one of petitioner’scounsels was a co-
sponsor of the Plunder Law and petitioner himself voted for its passage when he
was still a Senator would not in any put him in estoppel to question its
constitutionality. The rule on estoppel applies to questions of fact, not of law.
Moreover, estoppel should be resorted to only as a means of preventing injustice.
To hold that petitioner is estopped from questioning the validity of R.A. No. 7080
because he had earlier voted for its passage would result in injustice not only to
him, but to all others who may be held liable under this statute.
64. Anti-Plunder Law; Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine; Where
the law, such as R.A. 7080, is so indefinite that the line between innocent and
condemned conduct becomes a matter of guesswork, the indefiniteness runs afoul
of due process concepts which require that persons be given full notice of what to
avoid, and that the discretion of law enforcement officials, with the attendant
dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, be limited by explicit
legislative standards.-
Undoubtedly, the reason behind the enactment of R.A. 7080 is commendable. It
was a response to the felt need at the time that existing laws were inadequate to
penalize the nature and magnitude of corruption that characterized a “previous
regime.” However, where the law, such as R.A. 7080, is so indefinite that the line
between innocent and condemned conduct becomes a matter of guesswork, the
indefiniteness runs afoul of due process concepts which require that persons be
given full notice of what to avoid, and that the discretion of law enforcement
officials, with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,
be limited by explicit legislative standards. It obfuscates the mind to ponder that
such an ambiguous law as R.A. No. 7080 would put on the balance the life and
liberty of the accused against whom all the resources of the State are arrayed. It
could be used as a tool against political enemies and a weapon of hate and
revenge by whoever wields the levers of power.
65. Criminal Procedure; Multiplicity of Offenses; I vote to grant the petition on
the second ground raised therein, that is, multiplicity of offenses charged in the
amended information.-
With due respect, I vote to grant the petition on the second ground raised therein,
that is, multiplicity of offenses charged in the amended information. Consequently,
the resolution of the Sandiganbayan must be set aside, and the case remanded to
the Ombudsman for the amendment of the information to charge only a single
offense.
66. Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Substantive due process
requires that a criminal statute should not be vague and uncertain; The doctrine of
constitutional uncertainty is also based on the right of the accused to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation.-

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Substantive due process dictates that there should be no arbitrariness,
unreasonableness or ambiguity in any law which deprives a person of his life or
liberty. The trial and other procedures leading to conviction may be fair and
proper. But if the law itself is not reasonable legislation, due process is violated.
Thus, an accused may not be sentenced to suffer the lethal injection or life
imprisonment for an offense understood only after judicial construction takes over
where Congress left off, and interpretation supplies its meaning. The Constitution
guarantees both substantive and procedural due process as well as the right of
the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.
Substantive due process requires that a criminal statute should not be vague and
uncertain. More explicitly—That the terms of a penal statute . . . must be
sufficiently explicit to inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part
will render them liable to penalties, is a well-recognized requirement, consonant
alike with ordinary notions of fair play and the settled rules of law. And a statute
which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its
application, violates the first essential of due process. The doctrine of
constitutional uncertainty is also based on the right of the accused to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation. Fundamental fairness dictates that a
person cannot be sent to jail for a crime that he cannot with reasonable certainty
know he was committing. Statutes defining crimes run afoul of the due process
clause if they fail to give adequate guidance to those who would be law-abiding, to
advise defendants of the nature of the offense with which they are charged or to
guide courts trying those who are accused. In short, laws which create crime
ought to be so explicit that all men subject to their penalties may know what acts it
is their duty to avoid.
67. Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth Doctrine; The
doctrines of overbreadth and void-for-vagueness in Constitutional Law were
developed in the context of freedom of speech and of the press but they apply
equally, if not more so, to capital offenses.-
The doctrines of overbreadth and void-for-vagueness in Constitutional Law were
developed in the context of freedom of speech and of the press. However, they
apply equally, if not more so, to capital offenses. In the present case, what the law
seeks to protect or regulate involves the deprivation of life itself and not merely the
regulation of expression.
68. Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth Doctrine; A
statute is vague or overbroad, in violation of the due process clause, where its
language does not convey sufficiently definite warning to the average person as to
the prohibited conduct.-
In its early formulation, the overbreadth doctrine states that a governmental
purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to regulation may
not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade
the area of protected freedoms. A statute, especially one involving criminal
prosecution, must be definite to be valid. A statute is vague or overbroad, in
violation of the due process clause, where its language does not convey
sufficiently definite warning to the average person as to the prohibited conduct. A
statute is unconstitutionally vague if people of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning.
69. Due Process; Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law;Crimes Mala in Se and
Mala Prohibita; In malversation or bribery under the Revised Penal Code, the

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criminal intent is an important element of the criminal acts, but under the Plunder
Law, it is enough that the acts are committed, thus, even if the accused can prove
lack of criminal intent with respect to crimes mala in se, this will not exonerate him
under the crime mala prohibita, a violation of substantive due process and the
standards of fair play because mens rea is a constitutional guarantee under the
due process clause.-
In the crime of plunder, it is enough that the acts defining malversation or bribery
are described. The court then proceeds to determine whether the acts fall under
the prohibitory terms of the law. Criminal intent no longer has to be proved. The
criminal intent to commit the crime is not required to be proved. The desire to
benefit particular persons does not have to spring from criminal intent under the
special law creating the crime of plunder. In malversation or bribery under the
Revised Penal Code, the criminal intent is an important element of the criminal
acts. Under the Plunder Law, it is enough that the acts are committed. Thus, even
if the accused can prove lack of criminal intent with respect to crimes mala in se,
this will not exonerate him under the crime mala prohibita. This violates
substantive due process and the standards of fair play because mens rea is a
constitutional guarantee under the due process clause.
70. Due Process; Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; I agree with petitioner’s
concern over the danger that the trial court may allow the specifications of details
in an information to validate a statute inherently void for vagueness—an
information cannot rise higher than the statute upon which it is based; It is the
statute, not the accusation under it, that prescribes the rule to govern conduct and
warns against transgression.-
I agree with petitioner’s concern over the danger that the trial court may allow the
specifications of details in an information to validate a statute inherently void for
vagueness. An information cannot rise higher than the statute upon which it is
based. Not even the construction by the Sandiganbayan of a vague or ambiguous
provision can supply the missing ingredients of the Plunder Law. The right of an
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him is
most often exemplified in the care with which a complaint or information should be
drafted. However, the clarity and particularity required of an information should
also be present in the law upon which the charges are based. If the penal law is
vague, any particularity in the information will come from the prosecutor. The
prosecution takes over the role of Congress. The fact that the details of the
charges are specified in the Information will not cure the statute of its
constitutional infirmity. If on its face the challenged provision is repugnant to the
due process clause, specification of details of the offense intended to be charged
would not serve to validate it. In other words, it is the statute, not the accusation
under it, that prescribes the rule to govern conduct and warns against
transgression. No one may be required at peril of life, liberty or property to
speculate as to the meaning of penal statutes. All are entitled to be informed as to
what the State commands or forbids.
71. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; As a basic premise, we have to accept
that even a person accused of a crime possesses inviolable rights founded on the
Constitution which even the welfare of the society as a whole cannot override—the
rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution are not subject to political bargaining
or to the calculus of social interest.-
As a basic premise, we have to accept that even a person accused of a crime
possesses inviolable rights founded on the Constitution which even the welfare of

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the society as a whole cannot override. The rights guaranteed to him by the
Constitution are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social
interest. Thus, no matter how socially-relevant the purpose of a law is, it must be
nullified if it tramples upon the basic rights of the accused. Enshrined in our
Constitution is the ultimate guaranty that “no person shall be deprived of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law.” This provision in the Bill of Rights
serves as a protection of the Filipino people against any form of arbitrariness on
the part of the government, whether committed by the legislature, the executive or
the judiciary. Any government act that militates against the ordinary norms of
justice and fair play is considered an infraction of the due process; and this is true
whether the denial involves violation merely of the procedure prescribed by law or
affects the very validity of the law itself.
72. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Albeit the legislature did not directly lower
the degree of proof required in the crime of plunder, it nevertheless lessened the
burden of the prosecution by dispensing with proof of the essential elements of
plunder.-
.A. No. 7080, as amended, is unconstitutional. Albeit the legislature did not directly
lower the degree of proof required in the crime of plunder from proof beyond
reasonable doubt to mere preponderance of or substantial evidence, it
nevertheless lessened the burden of the prosecution by dispensing with proof of
the essential elements of plunder.
73. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; When Section 4 of R.A. No. 7080
mandates that it shall not be necessary for the prosecution to prove each and
every criminal act done by the accused, the legislature, in effect, rendered the
enumerated “criminal acts” under Section 1(d) merely as means and not as
essential elements of plunder.-
When Section 4 of R.A. No. 7080 mandates that it shall not be necessary for the
prosecution to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused, the
legislature, in effect, rendered the enumerated “criminal acts” under Section 1 (d)
merely as means and not as essential elements of plunder. This is constitutionally
infirmed and repugnant to the basic idea of justice and fair play. As a matter of
due process, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt every
fact necessary to constitute the crime with which the defendant is charged. The
State may not specify a lesser burden of proof for an element of a crime. With
more reason, it should not be allowed to go around the principle by characterizing
an essential element of plunder merely as a “means” of committing the crime. For
the result is the reduction of the burden of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt.
74. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Due Process;Providing a rule of evidence
which does not require proof beyond reasonable doubt to establish every fact
necessary to constitute the crime is a clear infringement of due process.-
Providing a rule of evidence which does not require proof beyond reasonable
doubt to establish every fact necessary to constitute the crime is a clear
infringement of due process. While the principles of the law of evidence are the
same whether applied on civil or criminal trials, they are more strictly observed in
criminal cases. Thus, while the legislature of a state has the power to prescribe
new or alter existing rules of evidence, or to prescribe methods of proof, the same
must not violate constitutional requirements or deprive any person of his
constitutional rights. Unfortunately, under R.A. No. 7080, the State did not only
specify a lesser burden of proof to sustain an element of the crime; it even

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dispensed with proof by not considering the specific “criminal acts” as essential
elements. That it was the clear intention of the legislature is evident from the
Senate deliberation.
75. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; I believe that R.A. No. 7080 should have
provided a cutoff period after which a succeeding act may no longer be attached
to the prior act for the purpose of establishing a pattern.-
Indeed, Congress left much to be desired. I am at a quandary on how many
delictual acts are necessarytogiverisetoa“pattern of overt or criminal acts” in the
crime of plunder. If there is no numerical standard, then, how should the existence
of “pattern” be ascertained? Should it be by proximity of time or of relationship?
May an act committed two decades after the prior criminal act be linked with the
latter for the purpose of establishing a pattern? It must be remembered that
plunder, being a continuous offense, the “pattern of overt or criminal acts” can
extend indefinitely, i.e., as long as the succeeding criminal acts may be linked to
the initial criminal act. This will expose the person concerned to criminal
prosecution ad infinitum. Surely, it will undermine the purpose of the statute of
limitations, i.e., to discourage prosecution based on facts obscured by the
passage of time, and to encourage law enforcement officials to investigate
suspected criminal activity promptly. All these undesirable consequences arise
from the fact that the plunder law fails to provide a period within which the next
criminal act must be committed for the purpose of establishing a pattern. I believe
R.A. No. 7080 should have provided a cut-off period after which a succeeding act
may no longer be attached to the prior act for the purpose of establishing a
pattern. In reiteration, the RICO law defines “pattern” as requiring at least two acts
of racketeering activity... the last of which occurred within ten years . . . after the
commission of the prior act of racket-eering activity. Such limitation prevents a
subsequent racketeering activity, separated by more than a decade from the prior
act of racketeering, from being appended to the latter for the purpose of coming
up with a pattern. We do not have the same safeguard under our law.
76. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; A statute that does not provide adequate
standards for adjudication, by which guilt or innocence may be determined, should
be struck down.-
Lastly, the terms “combination” and “series” are likewise vague. Hence, on the
basis of the law, a conviction of an accused cannot be sustained. A statute that
does not provide adequate standards for adjudication, by which guilt or innocence
may be determined, should be struck down. Crimes must be defined in a statute
with appropriate certainty and definiteness. The standards of certainty in a statute
prescribing punishment for offenses are higher than in those depending primarily
on civil sanctions for their enforcement. A penal statute should therefore be clear
and unambiguous. It should explicitly establish the elements of the crime which it
creates and provide some reasonably ascertainable standards of guilt. It should
not admit of such a double meaning that a citizen may act on one conception of its
requirements and the courts on another.
77. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Considering that without plurality of overt
or criminal acts, there can be no crime of plunder, due process of law demands
that the terms “combination” and “series” be defined with exactitude in the law
itself—no one may be required, at the peril of life, liberty or property to guess at, or
speculate as to, the meaning of a penal statute.-
Considering that without plurality of overt or criminal acts, there can be no crime of
plunder, due process of law demands that the terms “combination” and “series” be

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defined with exactitude in the law itself. Equating these terms with mere “plurality”
or “two or more,” is inaccurate and speculative. For one, a “series” is a group of
usually three or more things or events standing or succeeding in order and having
like relationship to each other. The Special Prosecution Division Panel defines it
as “at least three of the acts enumerated under Section 1(d) thereof.” But it can
very well be interpreted as only one act repeated at least three times. And the
Office of the Solicitor General, invoking the deliberations of the House of
Representatives, contends differently. It defines the term series as a “repetition” or
pertaining to “two or more.” The disparity in the Prosecution and OSG’s positions
clearly shows how imprecise the term “series” is. This should not be
countenanced. Crimes are not to be created by inference. No one may be
required, at the peril of life, liberty or property to guess at, or speculate as to, the
meaning of a penal statute. An accused, regardless of who he is, is entitled to be
tried only under a clear and valid law.
78. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Judicial Legislation; Precision must be
the characteristic of penal legislation—for the Court to define what is a crime is to
go beyond the so-called positive role in the protection of civil liberties or promotion
of public interests; A statute which is so vague as to permit the infliction of capital
punishment on acts already punished with lesser penal-ties by clearly formulated
law is unconstitutional.-
On the argument that this Court may clarify the vague terms or explain the limits
of the over-broad provisions of R.A. No. 7080, I should emphasize that this Court
has no power to legislate. Precision must be the characteristic of penal legislation.
For the Court to define what is a crime is to go beyond the so-called positive role
in the protection of civil liberties or promotion of public interests. As stated by
Justice Frankfurter, the Court should be wary of judicial attempts to impose justice
on the community; to deprive it of the wisdom that comes from self-inflicted
wounds and the strengths that grow with the burden of responsibility. A statute
which is so vague as to permit the infliction of capital punishment on acts already
punished with lesser penalties by clearly formulated law is unconstitutional. The
vagueness cannot be cured by judicial construction.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 148560

Counsel: Agabin, Verzola, Hermoso & Layaoen Law Offices, Jose B. Flaminiano, Saguisag,
Carao & Associates, Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar, The Solicitor General

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080
otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is
CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to declare the law
unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Padilla vs. Dizon 158 SCRA 127 , February 23, 1988
Case Title : ALEXANDER PADILLA, complainant, vs. THE HON. BALTAZAR R. DIZON,
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 113, respondent.Case
Nature : ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT in the Supreme Court.

Page 53 of 407
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Administrative Law|Intent|Central Bank
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Intent; Proof of malice or deliberate intent not essential in
offenses punished by special law which are mala prohibita.-
The respondent judge has shown gross incompetence or gross ignorance of the
law in holding that to convict the accused for violation of Central Bank Circular No.
960, the prosecution must establish that the accused had the criminal intent to
violate the law. The respondent ought to know that proof of malice or deliberate
intent (mens rea) is not essential in offenses punished by special laws, which are
mala prohibita. In requiring proof of malice, the respondent has by his gross
ignorance allowed the accused to go scot free. The accused at the time of his
apprehension at the Manila International Airport had in his possession the amount
of US$355,349.57 in assorted foreign currencies and foreign exchange
instruments (380 pieces), without any specific authority from the Central Bank as
required by law. At the time of his apprehension, he was able to exhibit only two
foreign currency declarations in his possession. These were old declarations
made by him on the occasion of his previous trips to the Philippines.
2. Administrative Law; Circumstances negating respondent's claim that he
rendered the decision in good faith.-
Although lack of malice or wilfull intent is not a valid defense in a case for violation
of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the respondent nonetheless chose to exonerate
the accused based on his defense that the foreign currency he was bringing out of
the country at the time he was apprehended by the customs authorities were
brought into the Philippines by him and his alleged business associates on several
previous occasions when they came to the Philippines, supposedly to be used for
the purpose of investing in some unspecified or undetermined business ventures;
that this money was kept in the Philippines and he precisely came to the
Philippines to take the money out as he and his alleged business associates were
afraid that the "attempted revolution" which occurred on July 6, 1986 might
spread. Such fantastic tale, although totally irrelevant to the matter of the criminal
liability of the accused under the information, was swallowed by the respondent
judge "hook, line and sinker." It did not matter to the respondent that the foreign
currency and foreign currency instruments found in the possession of the accused
when he was apprehended at the airport—380 pieces in all—and the amounts of
such foreign exchange did not correspond to the foreign currency declarations
presented by the accused at the trial. It did not matter to the respondent that the
accused by his own story admitted, in effect, that he was a "carrier" of foreign
currency for other people. The respondent closed his eyes to the fact that the very
substantial amounts of foreign exchange found in the possession of the accused
at the time of his apprehension consisted of personal checks of other people, as
well as cash in various currency denominations (12 kinds of currency in all), which
clearly belied the claim of the accused that they were part of the funds which he
and his supposed associates had brought to and kept in the Philippines for the
purpose of investing in some business ventures. The respondent ignored the fact
that most of the CB Currency declarations presented by the defense at the trial
were declarations belonging to other peeple which could not be utilized by the
accused to justify his having the foreign exchange in his possession. Although
contrary to ordinary human experience and behavior, the respondent judge chose
to give credence to the fantastic tale of the accused that he and his alleged
business associates had brought in from time to time and accumulated and kept in

Page 54 of 407
the Philippines foreign exchange (of very substantial amounts in cash and checks
in various foreign currency denominations) for the purpose of investing in
business even before they knew and had come to an agreement as to the specific
business venture in which they were going to invest. These and other
circumstances which make the story concocted by the accused so palpably
unbelievable as to render the findings of the respondent judge obviously contrived
to favor the acquittal of the accused, thereby clearly negating his claim that he
rendered the decision "in good faith." His actuations in this case amount to grave
misconduct prejudicial to the interest of sound and fair administration of justice.
3. Administrative Law; Central Bank; Circular No. 960 of the Central Bank does
not provide authority for the trial court to release US$3,000.00 to the accused.-
He not only acquitted the accused Lo Chi Fai, but directed in his decision the
release to the accused of at least the amount of US$3,000.00, allowed, according
to respondent, under Central Bank Circular No. 960. This, in spite of the fact that
forfeiture proceedings had already been instituted by the Bureau of Customs over
the currency listed in the information, which according to the respondent should
be respected since the Bureau of Customs "has the exclusive jurisdiction in the
matter of seizure and forfeiture of the property involved in the alleged
infringements of the aforesaid Central Bank Circular." In invoking the provisions of
CB Circular No. 960 to justify the release of US$3,000.00 to the accused, the
respondent judge again displayed gross incompetence and gross ignorance of the
law. There is nothing in the said CB Circular which could be taken as authority for
the tri al court to release the said amount of U.S. Currency to the accused.
According to the above-cited CB Circular, tourists may take out or send out from
the Philippines foreign exchange in amounts not exceeding such amounts of
foreign exchange brought in by them; for the purpose of establishing such
amount, tourists or non-resident temporary visitors bringing with them more than
US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must declare their
foreign exchange at points of entries upon arrival in the Philippines. In other
words, CB Circular No. 960 merely provides that for the purpose of establishing
the amount of foreign currency brought in or out of the Philippines, a tourist upon
arrival is required to declare any foreign exchange he is bringing in at the time of
his arrival, if the same exceeds the amount of US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in
other foreign currencies. There is nothing in said circular that would justify
returning to him the amount of at least US$3,000.00, if he is caught attempting to
bring out foreign exchange in excess of said amount without specific authority
from the Central Bank.
4. Administrative Law; Respondent guilty of gross incompetence, gross
ignorance of the law and grave and serious misconduct; Respondent ordered
dismissed from the service and all leave and retirement benefits and privileges
forfeited.-
Accordingly, the Court finds the respondent Regional Trial Court Judge, Baltazar
R. Dizon, guilty of gross incompetence, gross ignorance of the law and grave and
serious misconduct affecting his integrity and efficiency, and consistent with the
responsibility of this Court for the just and proper administration of justice and for
the attainment of the objective of maintaining the people's faith in the judiciary
(People vs. Valenzuela, 135 SCRA 712), it is hereby ordered that the Respondent
Judge be DISMISSED from the service, All leave and retirement benefits and
privileges to which he may be entitled are hereby forfeited with prejudice to his

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being reinstated in any branch of government service, including government-
owned and/or controlled agencies or corporations.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: Adm. Case No. 3086

Ponente: PER CURIAM

Dispositive Portion:
This resolution is immediately executory.

Padilla vs. Court of Appeals 269 SCRA 402 , March 12, 1997
Case Title : ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA @ ROBINHOOD PADILLA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF
APPEALS and PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for review
on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Criminal Law|Warrant of Arrest|Searches and
Seizures|Evidence|Constitutional Law
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Procedure; Warrant of Arrest; Arrest Without Warrant When
Lawful.-
Warrantless arrests are sanctioned in the following instances: “Sec. 5. Arrest
without warrant; when lawful.—A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) When
an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it. (c) When the
person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment
or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case
is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to
another.
2. Criminal Procedure; Warrant of Arrest; It must be stressed that “presence”
does not only require that the arresting person sees the offense but also when he
hears the disturbances created thereby and proceeds at once to the scene.-
Paragraph (a) requires that the person be arrested (i) after he has committed or
while he is actually committing or is at least attempting to commit an offense, (ii) in
the presence of the arresting officer or private person. Both elements concurred
here, as it has been established that petitioner’s vehicle figured in a hit and run—
an offense committed in the “presence” of Manarang, a private person, who then
sought to arrest petitioner. It must be stressed at this point that “presence” does
not only require that the arresting person sees the offense, but also when he
“hears the disturbance created thereby AND proceeds at once to the scene.”
3. Criminal Procedure; Warrant of Arrest; A suspect cannot defeat the arrest
which has been set in motion in a public place for want of a warrant as the police
was confronted by an urgent need to render aid or take action.-

Page 56 of 407
It is appropriate to state at this juncture that a suspect, like petitioner herein,
cannot defeat the arrest which has been set in motion in a public place for want of
a warrant as the police was confronted by an urgent need to render aid or take
action. The exigent circumstances of—hot pursuit, a fleeing suspect, a moving
vehicle, the public place and the raining nighttime—all created a situation in which
speed is essential and delay improvident. The Court acknowledges police
authority to make the forcible stop since they had more than mere “reasonable
and articulable” suspicion that the occupant of the vehicle has been engaged in
criminal activity. Moreover, when caught in flagrante delicto with possession of an
unlicensed firearm (Smith Wesson) and ammunition (M-16 magazine), petitioner’s
warrantless arrest was proper as he was again actually committing another
offense (illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions) and this time in the
presence of a peace officer.
4. Criminal Procedure; Warrant of Arrest; The arresting police officers acted
upon verified personal knowledge and not on unreliable hearsay information.-
Besides, the policemen’s warrantless arrest of petitioner could likewise be justified
under paragraph (b) as he had in fact just committed an offense. There was no
supervening event or a considerable lapse of time between the hit and run and the
actual apprehension. Moreover, after having stationed themselves at the Abacan
bridge in response to Manarang’s report, the policemen saw for themselves the
fast approaching Pajero of petitioner, its dangling plate number (PMA 777 as
reported by Manarang), and the dented hood and railings thereof. These formed
part of the arresting police officer’s personal knowledge of the facts indicating that
petitioner’s Pajero was indeed the vehicle involved in the hit and run incident.
Verily then, the arresting police officers acted upon verified personal knowledge
and not on unreliable hearsay information.
5. Criminal Procedure; Warrant of Arrest; Any objection, defect or irregularity
attending an arrest must be made before the accused enters his plea.-
tion, defect or irregularity attending an arrest must be made before the accused
enters his plea. Petitioner’s belated challenge thereto aside from his failure to
quash the information, his participation in the trial and by presenting his evidence,
placed him in estoppel to assail the legality of his arrest. Likewise, by applying for
bail, petitioner patently waived such irregularities and defects.
6. Criminal Procedure; Searches and Seizures; Well-settled instances when a
warrantless search and seizure of property is valid.-
The five (5) well-settled instances when a warrantless search and seizure of
property is valid, are as follows: 1. warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest
recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and by prevailing
jurisprudence, 2. seizure of evidence in “plain view,” the elements of which are:
(a). a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police
are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b). the evidence was
inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are; (c).
the evidence must be immediately apparent; and (d). “plain view” justified mere
seizure of evidence without further search, 3. search of a moving vehicle. Highly
regulated by the government, the vehicle’s inherent mobility reduces expectation
of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly
reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a
criminal activity, 4. consented warrantless search, and 5. customs search.
7. Criminal Law; P.D. 1866; Two requisites to establish crimes involving illegal
possession of firearm.-

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The crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, two requisites must be
established, viz.: (1) the existence of the subject firearm and, (2) the fact that the
accused who owned or possessed the firearm does not have the corresponding
license or permit to possess.
8. Criminal Law; Evidence; The Court has ruled that either the testimony of a
representative of or a certification from the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office
(FEO) attesting that a person is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to
prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of illegal possession of
firearm.-
In several occasions, the Court has ruled that either the testimony of a
representative of, or a certification from, the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office
(FEO) attesting that a person is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to
prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of illegal possession of
firearm. In People vs. Tobias, we reiterated that such certification is sufficient to
show that a person has in fact no license. From the foregoing discussion, the fact
that petitioner does not have the license or permit to possess was overwhelmingly
proven by the prosecution. The certification may even be dispensed with in the
light of the evidence that an M-16 rifle and any short firearm higher than a .38
caliber pistol, akin to the confiscated firearms, cannot be licensed to a civilian, as
in the case of petitioner.
9. Criminal Law; Constitutional Law; To justify nullification of the law, there
must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution not a doubtful and
argumentative implication.-
Moreover, every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. The
burden of proving the invalidity of the statute in question lies with the appellant
which burden, we note, was not convincingly discharged. To justify nullification of
the law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a
doubtful and argumentative implication, as in this case. In fact, the constitutionality
of P.D. 1866 has been upheld twice by this Court. Just recently, the Court
declared that “the pertinent laws on illegal possession of firearms [are not]
contrary to any provision of the Constitution.”

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 121917

Counsel: Raval and Lokin, Robert A. Padilla, Philip Jurado, R.A.V. Saguisag, Gina C. Garcia,
The Solicitor General

Ponente: FRANCISCO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of
Appeals sustaining petitioner’s conviction by the lower court of the
crime of simple illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions is
AFFIRMED EXCEPT that petitioner’s indeterminate penalty is
MODIFIED to “ten (10) years and one (1) day, as minimum, to
eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day, as
maximum.
People vs. Balag-ey 427 SCRA 384 , April 14, 2004

Page 58 of 407
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. GATUDAN BALAG-EY and EDWIN
ALIONG y SUNGOT, appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Baguio City, Br. 6.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Dangerous Drugs Act|Illegal
Sale|Elements|Evidence|Conspiracy|Illegal Possession|Witnesses|Buy-Bust
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal Sale;Elements; The prevailing
doctrine is that “possession of prohibited drugs” is a necessary element in the
offense of selling them.-
The prevailing doctrine is that “possession of prohibited drugs” is a necessary
element in the offense of selling them, except where the seller is also found in
possession of another quantity of prohibited drugs not covered by or included in
the sale and which are probably intended for some future dealings or use by the
seller.
2. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal
Sale;Evidence; Conspiracy; Section 21 is one of the few instances when the law
specifically punishes mere conspiracy.-
The aforecited Section 21 punishes an attempt or a conspiracy, among others, in
the “[s]ale, administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous
drugs.” This is one of the few instances when the law specifically punishes mere
conspiracy.
3. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal Sale;Evidence; In a prosecution
for the sale of dangerous drugs, it is material and indispensable that the following
are shown.-
In a prosecution for the sale of dangerous drugs, it is material and indispensable
(1) to prove that the accused sold and delivered the prohibited drug to another, as
well as to present in court the corpus delicti as evidence; and (2) to prove that the
accused knew that what was sold and delivered was a dangerous drug. The
attempt to sell the drugs may be established by overt acts showing that the
accused knowingly commenced the commission of the crime.
4. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal Possession; Elements; The
elements of this offense are the following.-
Even the charge of illegal possession of prohibited drugs was not established
beyond reasonable doubt. The elements of this offense are the following: (1) the
accused is in possession of an item or object, which is identified to be a prohibited
drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and
consciously possessed the drug.
5. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal
Possession; Evidence; Witnesses; Buy-Bust; Well-established is the rule that
the presentation of a confidential informant in a buy-bust operation is not always
required.-
Well-established is the rule that the presentation of a confidential informant in a
buy-bust operation is not always required, especially when the sale was actually
witnessed and adequately proved by other prosecution witnesses. This rule
admits of exceptions, however, as when the appellant vehemently denies selling
prohibited drugs; and when there are material inconsistencies in the testimonies of
the arresting officers. For like reason, the presentation of the buy-bust money and
proof of its actual payment—pieces of evidence that are otherwise not
indispensable—become necessary if the constitutional presumption of innocence
is to be overcome.

Page 59 of 407
Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 141532

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office, Anatalio B. Cabacungan, Bartolome
L. Baldas, Jr.

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED, and the assailed
Decision REVERSED. Appellants Gatudan Balag-ey and Edwin
Aliong y Sungot are hereby ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt. Let
them be immediately released from their place of confinement,
unless there is any other legal or valid cause to detain them
further. The director of the Bureau of Corrections shall report to this
Court, within ten (10) days from notice of this judgment, on his
action in obedience to this directive. No costs.

Ladonga vs. People 451 SCRA 673 , February 17, 2005


Case Title : EVANGELINE LADONGA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of
Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22)|Conspiracy
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22);Article 10 of the RPC is
composed of two clauses—the first providing that offenses which in the future are
made punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of the RPC,
while the second makes the RPC supplementary to such laws; The first clause
should be understood to mean only that the special penal laws are controlling with
regard to offenses therein specifically punished, and the second clause contains
the soul of the article, the main idea and purpose of the article being embodied in
the provision that the “code shall be supplementary” to special laws, unless the
latter should specifically provide the contrary.—Article 10 of the RPC reads as
follows: ART. 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code.-
Offenses which are or in the future may be punishable under special laws are not
subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such
laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary. The article is
composed of two clauses. The first provides that offenses which in the future are
made punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of the RPC,
while the second makes the RPC supplementary to such laws. While it seems that
the two clauses are contradictory, a sensible interpretation will show that they can
perfectly be reconciled. The first clause should be understood to mean only that
the special penal laws are controlling with regard to offenses therein specifically
punished. Said clause only restates the elemental rule of statutory construction
that special legal provisions prevail over general ones. Lex specialis derogant

Page 60 of 407
generali. In fact, the clause can be considered as a superfluity, and could have
been eliminated altogether. The second clause contains the soul of the article.
The main idea and purpose of the article is embodied in the provision that the
“code shall be supplementary” to special laws, unless the latter should specifically
provide the contrary.
2. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22);Conspiracy; In the
absence of contrary provision in B.P. Blg. 22, the general provisions of the RPC
which, by their nature, are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily,
including the provisions on conspiracy.-
B.P. Blg. 22 does not expressly proscribe the suppletory application of the
provisions of the RPC. Thus, in the absence of contrary provision in B.P. Blg. 22,
the general provisions of the RPC which, by their nature, are necessarily
applicable, may be applied suppletorily. Indeed, in the recent case of Yu vs.
People, the Court applied suppletorily the provisions on subsidiary imprisonment
under Article 39 of the RPC to B.P. Blg. 22. The suppletory application of the
principle of conspiracy in this case is analogous to the application of the provision
on principals under Article 17 in U.S. vs. Ponte. For once conspiracy or action in
concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act of all the
conspirators, and the precise extent or modality of participation of each of them
becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are principals.
3. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22);Conspiracy; To be held
guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, the accused must be shown to
have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity; Mere
presence when the check was issued does not necessarily lead to an inference of
concurrence with the criminal design to issue a bad check.-
Article 8 of the RPC provides that “a conspiracy exists when two or more persons
come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to
commit it.” To be held guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, the
accused must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or
furtherance of the complicity. The overt act or acts of the accused may consist of
active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or may consist of
moral assistance to his co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement
the criminal plan. In the present case, the prosecution failed to prove that
petitioner performed any overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. As
testified to by the lone prosecution witness, complainant Alfredo Oculam,
petitioner was merely present when her husband, Adronico, signed the check
subject of Criminal Case No. 7068. With respect to Criminal Case Nos. 7069-
7070, Oculam also did not describe the details of petitioner’s participation. He did
not specify the nature of petitioner’s involvement in the commission of the crime,
either by a direct act of participation, a direct inducement of her co-conspirator, or
cooperating in the commission of the offense by another act without which it would
not have been accomplished. Apparently, the only semblance of overt act that
may be attributed to petitioner is that she was present when the first check was
issued. However, this inference cannot be stretched to mean concurrence with the
criminal design.
4. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22);Conspiracy; Even
knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to
constitute one as a party to a conspiracy, absent any active participation in the
commission of the crime with a view to the furtherance of the common design and
purpose.-

Page 61 of 407
Conspiracy must be established, not by conjectures, but by positive and
conclusive evidence. Conspiracy transcends mere companionship and mere
presence at the scene of the crime does not in itself amount to conspiracy. Even
knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to
constitute one as a party to a conspiracy, absent any active participation in the
commission of the crime with a view to the furtherance of the common design and
purpose.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 141066

Counsel: Singco & Cagara Law Offices, The Solicitor General

Ponente: AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed
Decision, dated May 17, 1999, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR No. 20443 affirming the Decision, dated August 24, 1996, of
the Regional Trial Court (Branch 3), Bohol, in Criminal Case Nos.
7068, 7069 and 7070 convicting the petitioner of violation of B.P.
Blg. 22 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner
Evangeline Ladonga is ACQUITTED of the charges against her
under B.P. Blg. 22 for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt
beyond reasonable doubt. No pronouncement as to costs.

People vs. Sabalones 294 SCRA 751 , August 31, 1998


Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROLUSAPE SABALONES
alias “Roling,” ARTEMIO TIMOTEO BERONGA, TEODULO ALEGARBES and EUFEMIO
CABANERO, accused, ROLUSAPE SABALONES alias “Roling” and ARTEMIO TIMOTEO
BERONGA, accusedappellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Cebu City, Br. 7.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Witnesses|Custodial Investigations|Extrajudicial
Confessions|Murder|Evidence|Hearsay Evidence|Res Inter Alios Acta|Aberratio Ictus|Error in
Personae|Words and Phrases|Alibi|Flight|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery|Frustrated
Murder|Damages
Division: FIRST DIVISION

1. Criminal Law; Witnesses; The Supreme Court will not interfere with the trial court’s
assessment of the credibility of the witnesses, absent any indication or showing that the
trial court has overlooked some material facts or gravely abused its discretion, especially
where such assessment is affirmed by the Court of Appeals.—Wellentrenched is the
tenet that this Court will not interfere with the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of
the witnesses, absent any indication or showing that the trial court has overlooked some
material facts or gravely abused its discretion, especially where, as in this case, such
assessment is affirmed by the Court of Appeals. “As this Court has reiterated often
enough, the matter of assigning values to declarations at the witness stand is best and

Page 62 of 407
most competently performed or carried out by a trial judge who, unlike appellate
magistrates, can weigh such testimony in light of the accused’s behavior, demeanor,
conduct and attitude at the trial.”

2. Same; Same; Factual findings of the lower courts, the trial court and the Court of
Appeals are, as a general rule, binding and conclusive upon the Supreme Court.—We
stress that “factual findings of the lower courts, the trial court and the Court of Appeals
are, as a general rule, binding and conclusive upon the Supreme Court.” We find nothing
in the instant case to justify a reversal or modification of the findings of the trial court and
the Court of Appeals that appellants committed two counts of murder and three counts of
frustrated murder.

3. Same; Same; The normal reaction of a person is to direct his sights towards the source
of a startling shout or occurrence.—Hence, they were able to see and identify the
appellants, having had a good look at them after the initial burst of shots. We stress that
the nor-

4. ____________________
5. *
FIRST DIVISION.

6. 752

7 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


52 ANNOTATED
People vs. Sabalones
7. mal reaction of a person is to direct his sights towards the source of a startling shout or
occurrence. As held in People v. Dolar, “the most natural reaction for victims of criminal
violence is to strive to see the looks and faces of their assailants and to observe the
manner in which the crime is committed.”

8. Same; Same; The headlights of a car or a jeep are sufficient to enable eyewitnesses to
identify malefactors at the distance of 4 to 10 meters.—Even assumingarguendo that the
lampposts were not functioning at the time, the headlights of the jeep and the car were
more than sufficient to illuminate the crime scene. The Court has previously held that the
light from the stars or the moon, an oven, or a wick lamp or gaseracan give ample
illumination to enable a person to identify or recognize another. In the same vein, the
headlights of a car or a jeep are sufficient to enable eyewitnesses to identify appellants
at the distance of 4 to 10 meters.

9. Same; Custodial Investigations; Extrajudicial Confessions; Any allegation of violation of


rights during custodial investigation is relevant and material only to cases in which an
extrajudicial admission or confession extracted from the accused becomes the basis of
their conviction.—In the first place, it is well to stress that appellants were convicted
based primarily on the positive identification of the two survivors, Edwin Santos and
Rogelio Presores, and not only on the extrajudicial statement, which merely corroborates
the eyewitness testimonies. Thus, said arguments have no relevance to this case. As
the Court held inPeople vs. Tidula: “Any allegation of violation of rights during custodial

Page 63 of 407
investigation is relevant and material only to cases in which an extrajudicial admission or
confession extracted from the accused becomes the basis of their conviction.”

10. Same; Same; Same; Extrajudicial confessions, especially those which are adverse to
the declarant’s interests are presumed voluntary, and in the absence of conclusive
evidence showing that the declarant’s consent in executing the same has been vitiated,
such confession shall be upheld.—In any case, we sustain the trial court’s holding, as
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that the extrajudicial statement of Beronga was
executed in compliance with the constitutional requirements. “Extrajudicial confessions,
especially those which are adverse to the declarant’s interests are presumed voluntary,
and in the absence of conclusive evidence showing that the declarant’s
11. 753

VOL. 294, AUGUST 31, 1998 7


53
People vs. Sabalones
12. consent in executing the same has been vitiated, such confession shall be upheld.”

13. Same; Same; Same; Murder; Evidence; Hearsay Evidence; Res Inter Alios Acta; The
extrajudicial confession of an accused is binding only upon himself and is not admissible
as evidence against his coaccused, it being mere hearsay evidence as far as the other
accused are concerned, except when the confession is used as circumstantial evidence
to show the probability of participation of the co-accused in the killing of the victims or
when the confession of the co-accused is corroborated by other evidence.—The well-
settled rule is that the extrajudicial confession of an accused is binding only upon himself
and is not admissible as evidence against his co-accused, it being mere hearsay
evidence as far as the other accused are concerned. But this rule admits of exception. It
does not apply when the confession, as in this case, is used as circumstantial evidence
to show the probability of participation of the co-accused in the killing of the victims or
when the confession of the co-accused is corroborated by other evidence.

14. Same; Murder; Witnesses; Minor and inconsequential flaws in the testimony of
witnesses strengthen rather than impair their credibility.—Appellants also allege that the
prosecution account had inconsistencies relating to the number of shots heard, the
interval between gunshots and the victims’ positions when they were killed. These,
however, are minor and inconsequential flaws which strengthen, rather than impair, the
credibility of said eyewitnesses. Such harmless errors are indicative of truth, not
falsehood, and do not cast serious doubt on the veracity and reliability of complainant’s
testimony.

15. Same; Same; Aberratio Ictus; Error in Personae;Mistake in the identity of the victim
carries the same gravity as when the accused zeroes in on his intended victim.—In any
event, the trial court was not engaging in conjecture in so ruling. The conclusion of the
trial court and the Court of Appeals that the appellants killed the wrong persons was
based on the extrajudicial statement of Appellant Beronga and the testimony of Jennifer
Binghoy. These pieces of evidence sufficiently show that appellants believed that they
were suspected of having killed the recently slain Nabing Velez, and that they expected

Page 64 of 407
his group to retaliate against them. Hence, upon the arrival of the victims’ vehicles which
they mistook to be carrying the
16. 754

7 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


54 ANNOTATED
People vs. Sabalones
17. avenging men of Nabing Velez, appellants opened fire. Nonetheless, the fact that they
were mistaken does not diminish their culpability. The Court has held that “mistake in the
identity of the victim carries the same gravity as when the accused zeroes in on his
intended victim.”

18. Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases;Where the case involves the killing of
persons other than the intended victims, the same is better characterized as error in
personae or mistake in the identity of the victims, rather than aberratio ictus which
means mistake in the blow, characterized by aiming at one but hitting the other due to
imprecision in the blow.—Be that as it may, the observation of the solicitor general on
this point is well-taken. The case is better characterized as error in personae or mistake
in the identity of the victims, rather than aberratio ictuswhich means mistake in the blow,
characterized by aiming at one but hitting the other due to imprecision in the blow.

19. Same; Same; Alibi; The established doctrine requires the accused to prove not only that
he was at some other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but that it was
physically impossible for him at the time to have been present at the locus criminis or its
immediate vicinity.—Appellants decry the lower courts’ disregard of their defense of alibi.
We disagree. As constantly enunciated by this Court, the established doctrine requires
the accused to prove not only that he was at some other place at the time of the
commission of the crime, but that it was physically impossible for him at the time to have
been present at the locus criminis or its immediate vicinity. This the appellants miserably
failed to do.

20. Same; Same; Same; The defense of alibi cannot overcome the positive identification of
the accused.—The defense of alibi cannot overcome the positive identification of the
appellants. As aptly held by this Court in People v. Nescio: “Alibi is not credible when the
accused-appellant is only a short distance from the scene of the crime. The defense of
alibi is further offset by the positive identification made by the prosecution witnesses.
Alibi, to reiterate a wellsettled doctrine, is accepted only upon the clearest proof that the
accused-appellant was not or could not have been at the crime scene when it was
committed.”

21. 755

VOL. 294, AUGUST 31, 1998 7


55
People vs. Sabalones

Page 65 of 407
22. Same; Same; Flight; It is well-established that “the flight of an accused is competent
evidence to indicate his guilt, and flight, when unexplained, is a circumstance from which
an inference of guilt may be drawn.”—Appellants rationalized that Sabalones was forced
to jump bail in order to escape two groups, who were allegedly out to get him, one of
Nabing Velez and the other of Major Tiempo. Their ratiocination is futile. It is well-
established that “the flight of an accused is competent evidence to indicate his guilt, and
flight, when unexplained, is a circumstance from which an inference of guilt may be
drawn.” It must be stressed, nonetheless, that appellants were not convicted based on
legal inference alone but on the overwhelming evidence presented against them.

23. Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The requisites of treachery were


evidently present when the accused, swiftly and unexpectedly, fired at the victims who
were inside their vehicles and were in no position and without any means to defend
themselves.—We agree with the appellate court that accused-appellants are guilty of
murder for the deaths of Glenn Tiempo and Alfredo Nardo. The allegation of treachery
as charged in the Information was duly proven by the prosecution. “Treachery is
committed when two conditions concur, namely, that the means, methods, and forms of
execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to
retaliate; and that such means, methods and forms of execution were deliberately and
consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person.” These requisites
were evidently present when the accused, swiftly and unexpectedly, fired at the victims
who were inside their vehicles and were in no position and without any means to defend
themselves.

24. Same; Frustrated Murder; Damages; There is no basis, statutory or jurisprudential, for
the award of a fixed amount to victims of frustrated murder, hence, they are entitled only
to the amounts of actual expenses duly proven during the trial.—Although the Court of
Appeals was silent on this point, the trial court correctly ordered the payment of P50,000
as indemnity to the heirs of each of the two murdered victims. In light of current
jurisprudence, this amount is awarded without need of proof other than the fact of the
victim’s death. The trial court and the CA, however, erred in awarding indemnity of
P20,000 each to Nelson Tiempo, Rogelio Presores and Rey Bolo. There is no basis,
statutory or jurisprudential, for the award of a fixed amount to victims of frustrated
murder. Hence, they
25. 756

SUPREME COURT REPORTS 7


ANNOTATED 56
People vs. Sabalones
26. are entitled only to the amounts of actual expenses duly proven during the trial.

27.
Docket Number: G.R. No. 123485

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Jesus Pono, Pedro Albino

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Page 66 of 407
Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED and the assailed Decision is
AFFIRMED. However, the penalties are hereby MODIFIED as
follows:

United States vs. Bautista 6 Phil., 581 , November 03, 1906


Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. FRANCISCO BAUTISTA ET AL.,
defendants and appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Manila.
Syllabi Class : TREASON|CONSPIRACY
Docket Number: No. 2189

Counsel: Aguedo Velarde, Pineda & Escueta, Solicitor-General Araneta


1. TREASON; CONSPIRACY; INSURRECTION.—The fact that one accused, of
"conspiracy" to overthrow the Government has actually and voluntarily accepted
appointment by the conspirators as an officer of armed forces, raised or to be raised for
the furtherance of the designs of the conspirators, may be taken into consideration as
evidence of the. criminal connection of the accused with the conspiracy.
Ponente: CARSON

Dispositive Portion:
After ten days let judgment be entered in accordance herewith,
when the record will be returned to the trial court for execution. So
ordered.
People vs. Vengco 127 SCRA 242 , January 31, 1984
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EDUARDO VENGCO
Y DAVID alias “Edwin”, ROGELIO ENCARNACION Y DE LOS SANTOS alias “Roger Pusa”,
ROMEO SOLIBA Y REDOBLA alias “Romy”, CONSTANTINO LENESES Y MARILLANO alias
Alexander Remonte y Marillano alias “Alex Remonte”, and LEON DAVID alias “Junior”,
defendants, CONSTANTINO LENESES Y MARILLANO alias “ALEXANDER REMONTE Y
MARILLANO” alias ALEX REMONTE, defendant-appellant., THE PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EDGARDO VENGCO Y DAVID alias “Edwin”, ROGELIO
ENCARNACION Y DE LOS SANTOS alias “Roger Pusa”, ROMEO SOLIBA Y REDOBLA alias
“Romy”, CONSTANTINO LENESES Y MARILLANO alias Alexander Remonte y Marillano alias
“Alex Remonte”, and LEON DAVID alias “Junior”, defendants, LEON DAVID alias “Junior”,
defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Manila, Br. XX.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Witnesses|Alibi|nature of
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; Absent a showing of improper motive by
witnesses for testifying against an accused, the fact that they are neighbors,
friends or relatives of the victim does not render their clear and positive testimony
less worthy of full faith and credit.-
We have consistently held that when there is no showing of improper motive on
the part of witnesses for testifying against an accused, the fact that they are
neighbors, friends or relatives of the victim does not render their clear and positive
testimony less worthy of full faith and credit. Purita Delgado saw her “Kuya

Page 67 of 407
Charlie” leaning on the wall by the window of the house of her Ate During about a
meter away, being ganged up by appellants and their companions, when she
peeped through the window. The place was bright because of the two mercury
lamps in front of the house. Go Hong, husband of Ate During, immediately went to
the assistance of the victim after the assailants had ran way.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; Accused’s flight from place of crime to
another and hiding himself until he was arrested, are circumstances highly
indicative of guilt.-
As found by the lower court, a circumstance highly indicative of the guilt is the fact
that soon after the commission of the crime, Leon David left Manila for Cavite
where he hid himself until he was arrested on February 2, 1970. His explanation
for hiding that he was afraid of Edwin Vengco does not impress Us because if he
was really innocent, as he claimed to be, he would not have gone into hiding and
would even tell the authorities what transpired that evening. The truth is, he would
have no reason to be afraid of anyone, including Edwin Vengco who has no
reason to go after him, he having done nothing wrong against him. On the
contrary, he was not afraid to shout at Vengco and his companions not to assault
the victim and later to testify in court with respect to their participation in the
incident.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; Testimony of only one witness, if credible
and positive and if it satisfies the court beyond reasonable doubt, is sufficient to
convict.-
The testimonies of prosecution witnesses have not been shown to suffer from any
inconsistency and/or contradiction. In fact, the testimony of only one witness, if
credible and positive and if it satisfies the court beyond reasonable doubt, is
sufficient to convict. (People vs. Argana, 10 SCRA 311).
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; Alibi, nature of;Positive identification of
appellant as one of the perpetrators of the crime dwindles the defense of alibi.-
Alibi, which is the defense of Constantino Leneses, is weak since it is easy to
concoct. Courts view it with caution and accept it only when proved by positive,
clear and convincing evidence. The positive identification of appellant Leneses as
one of the perpetrators of the crime dwindles the defense of alibi.
5. Criminal Law; Murder; Crime of murder qualified by abuse of superior
strength.-
The crime committed is murder, qualified by abuse of superior strength. The
People’s evidence relative to the commission of the crime, the manner of its
perpetration and the circumstance of abuse of superior strength is not disputed.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy, inferred from conduct, though no actual
meeting among the persons is proven.-
The conspiracy among therein appellants and their companions is easily
discernible from their conduct. The way in which they assaulted Charlie Celadena
and their conduct sometime before and immediately after the stabbing, clearly
show that they had agreed to kill him. The rule is that “if it is proven that two or
more persons aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same
unlawful object, each doing a part so that their acts, although apparently
independent, were in fact connected and cooperative, indicating a closeness of
personal association and concurrence of sentiment, a conspiracy may be inferred
though no actual meeting among them is proven (Underhill, Criminal Evidence,
4th Ed. by Niblack, pp. 1402-3; People vs. Carbonel, 48 Phil. 868, 875)”. (Cited in
People vs. Velez, 58 SCRA 21, 31).

Page 68 of 407
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Generic aggravating circumstances of nighttime,
evident premeditation and treachery, not proved; Mitigating circumstances, not
present; Penalty of reclusion perpetua.-
WE agree with the trial court that “no generic aggravating circumstance was
sufficiently proved by the prosecution, the elements of nighttime, evident
premeditation and treachery, not having been established by its evidence. On the
other hand, no mitigating circumstance was shown by the evidence of the
defense. The medium of the penalty prescribed for the offense should be imposed
on the accused. The penalty to be imposed is reclusion perpetua, it being the
medium of the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death for
murder.”

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-31657, No. L-32264

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Tagalo, Gozar & Associates, Ricafort, Laxamana & Nacpil
Law Office

Ponente: RELOVA

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is AFFIRMED, with
the modification that appellants pay, jointly and severally, the heirs
of the deceased in the sum of P30,000.00. (People vs. de la
Fuente, G.R. Nos. L-63251-52, Dec. 29, 1983)
People vs. Valdez 159 SCRA 152 , March 25, 1988
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DANILO VALDEZ and SIMPLICIO
ORODIO alias “Kamlon”, appellants.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, La Union, Br. 26.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Evidence|Conspiracy
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Evidence; Findings of trial court on credibility of witnesses are
respected and given great weight.-
The trial court found the testimony of witnesses Esmenia and Dionisio as positive,
credible and reliable. We find no reason to disagree with the finding of the trial
court. It is commonplace that “the findings of the trial court as to the credibility of
the witnesses are to be given great weight and a high degree of respect by the
appellate court”. There is nothing in the record to show that the prosecution
witnesses were moved by any improper motive to accuse falsely the accused-
appellants—one a relative and the other an old acquaintance—of so grave a
crime as murder.
2. Criminal Law; Evidence; Delay of witness in reporting the identities of the
accused to the authorities does not affect her credibility.-
The circumstance that Esmenia waited for thirteen (13) days after her son’s
assassination before reporting the identities of the accused to the authorities, was
not unnatural in itself. She explained the delay by saying that she was afraid to
talk about the killing and that she had seen the accused loitering frequently
around the Maquilings’ house, carrying a gun, after the burial of her son. The trial
court observed that Esmenia’s fear—“was not imaginary because the night that

Page 69 of 407
she reported the identities of the accused their house was stoned by unidentified
persons. The delay was satisfactorily explained. In People vs. Martinez, 127
SCRA 260, it was held that delay of witness for several months, because .of fear,
in reporting the incident to the police does not affect credibility. ‘Fear of likely
retaliation by the several accused who were still at large has been considered as
a justified reason for the witnesses’ delay in coming forward with their testimony’
(People vs. Sampang, 16 SCRA 531; People vs, Equal, 14 SCRA 89)." This
explanation does not appear incredible in itself and certainly such a delay of
thirteen (13) days, under the circumstances of this case, does not warrant a
conclusion that her testimony as to the identities of the killers of her son was false.
In People v. Martinez, the Court held that the failure of a witness to reveal
immediately the identities of the accused does not militate against his credibility.
3. Criminal Law; Evidence; Conspiracy; Prosecution’s evidence more than
adequate to sustain the finding of conspiracy between Danilo Valdez and Simplicio
Orodio.-
We hold that the prosecution’s evidence was more than adequate to sustain the
finding of the trial court of a conspiracy between Danilo Valdez and Simplicio
Orodio. Conspiracy being present, it does not matter that the prosecution had
failed to show who as between the two actually pulled the trigger of the shotgun
that killed Eleno Maquiling. Both Danilo Valdez and Simplicio Orodio are liable as
co-conspirators since any act of a co-conspirator becomes the act of the other
regardless of the precise degree of participation in the act.
4. Criminal Law; Evidence; Qualifying circumstances of treachery and evident
premeditation correctly appreciated.-
The trial court correctly appreciated the presence of treachery and evident
premeditation. The accused had purposely sought nocturnity and hid themselves
behind the bamboo groves located close by the victim’s house and had fired at
Eleno Maquiling suddenly, without any warning, from behind obviously to ensure
the success of their deadly purpose without any risk to themselves and without
any possibility of retaliation. Three (3) days before his assassination, Eleno was
already apprehensive for his life when he disclosed to his father, Juanito
Maquiling, his quarrel with Danilo Valdez and Simplicio Orodio over the latter’s
thievery and robbery. Clearly, the accused had planned to kill Eleno some days
before the fateful night of 7 June 1977; the shotgun blast at the back of Eleno was
not the result of a spur of the moment decision.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-75390

Ponente: FELICIANO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the trial court
finding Danilo Valdez and Simplicio Orodio guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder is hereby AFFIRMED. In
view of the abolition of capital punishment under the 1987
Constitution, and in view of the presence of two (2) aggravating
circumstances not offset by any mitigating circumstance, the
applicable penalty is reclusion perpetua.

Page 70 of 407
People vs. Escober 157 SCRA 541 , January 29, 1988
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JUAN ESCOBER y
GERALDE, MACARIO PUNZALAN, JR., y GUEVARRA, RICHARD DOE, PETER DOE AND
JUAN DOE, accused. JUAN ESCOBER y GERALDE and MACARIO PUNZALAN, JR., y
GUEVARRA, accused-appellants., JUAN ESCOBER y GERALDE, petitioner, vs. HON. OSCAR
LEVISTE, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH XCVII, QUEZON CITY
and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Br. 97. Leviste, J.
Syllabi Class : Constitutional Law|Criminal
Procedure|Judgment|Evidence|Confession|Robbery|Crime of Robbery duly established
Syllabi:
1. Constitutional Law; Judgment; Every decision of a court of record shall
clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based; Decision at
bar falls short of this standard.-
Section 9, Article X of the 1973 Constitution directed that: “Every decision of a
court of record shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is
based x x x.” The above-quoted decision falls short of this standard. The
inadequacy stems primarily from the respondent judge’s tendency to generalize
and to form conclusions without detailing the facts from which such conclusions
are deduced. Thus, he concluded that the material allegations of the Amended
Information were the facts without specifying which of the testimonies or exhibits
supported this conclusion. He rejected the testimony of accused-appellant
Escober because it was allegedly replete with contradictions without pointing out
what these contradictions consist of or what “vital details” Escober should have
recalled as a credible witness. He also found the crime to have been attended by
the aggravating circumstances of cruelty, nighttime, superior strength, treachery,
in band, “among others,” but did not particularly state the factual bases for such
findings.
2. Constitutional Law; Judgment; Primordial objective of the court is the
essentiality of justice and fairness.-
Speed in the administration of justice, however, is not the sole concern of courts
and judges. More than this is the essentiality of justice and fairness which is the
primordial objective of the courts. Respondent judge lamentably disregarded the
latter for the former.
3. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Exculpatory statements from alleged co-
conspirators which ordinarily considered polluted deserves credence; No
conclusive proof that the gun-firing is a mere ritual.-
These exculpatory statements although emanating from alleged co-conspirators
and therefore may ordinarily be considered “polluted,” deserve credence.
Punzalan’s statement, it must be observed, is not even responsive to the question
being asked. The spontaneous and candid manner by which it was given lends
credence to his statement that Abuyen/Alorte wanted Escober killed. This
statement, together with the statement of Abuyen/Alorte that he himself fired at
Escober although the latter was not hit, unwittingly corroborates Escober’s version
that the gun was aimed at him. That Escober was not thereby hit should not be
taken as conclusive proof that the gun-firing was a mere ritual because the same
could be easily occasioned by a poor aim and/or the hurried manner of its
execution.
4. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; No reason why Abuyen/Alorte should absolve
Escober of any complicity in the crime.-

Page 71 of 407
On the other hand, We see no reason why Abuyen/Alorte should absolve Escober
of any complicity in the crime if this were not the truth. The usual practice is for a
conspirator to exculpate himself and pass on the blame to a co-conspirator,
particularly in a case such as this where the crime charged is indeed very grave
and serious. However undesirable a person may seem, there may be left in him a
sense of justice and fairness. Without passing judgment on Abuyen/Alorte, We
believe that it was this sense of justice and fairness that moved him to disclose
the truth in his extra-judicial confession. Same; Same; Fact that accused was at
the scene of the crime at the time of commission is not by itself sufficient to
establish his criminal liability.—“The fact that the accused was at the scene of the
crime at the time of its commission is not, by itself, sufficient to establish his
criminal liability. To hold the accused guilty as co-principal in the crime charged,
the existence of conspiracy between the accused and the actual killers, must be
shown, and the same degree of proof required for establishing the crime is
required to support a finding of the presence of the conspiracy, i.e., it must be
shown to exist as clearly and convincingly as the commission of the crime itself.”
5. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Prosecution must rely on the strength of its
own evidence and not on the weakness of the defense.-
The prosecution evidence is glaringly wanting in this regard. It failed to prove
beyond reasonable doubt that [1] Escober had knowledge of the criminal design
and [2] that his acts during the commission of the crime, such as the opening of
the gate and having been behind Abuyen after the gunshot, were performed
pursuant to said nefarious plot. This being the case, the prosecution’s reliance on
the alleged inconsistencies in Escober’s testimony regarding his actuations during
the incident at bar can not improve its case. To convict on this basis is repugnant
to the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent until the
contrary is proved and its corollary rule that the prosecution must rely on the
strength of its own evidence and not on the weakness of the defense.
6. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Convictions can never rest on mere
suspicions however grave and serious.-
Indeed, the accidents of Escober being on duty during the commission of the
crime and his having opened the gate to persons who turned out to be robbers
and killers make him an easy suspect. A less discerning mind could have been
blinded by these suspicions and compassion for the two hapless victims. But
convictions can never rest on mere suspicions, however, grave and serious.
7. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Confession;Uncounselled extrajudicial
confession inadmissible in evidence; Right to counsel waivable but waiver must be
done with the assistance of counsel otherwise void.-
Noteworthy is the fact that except for an additional question in Escober’s extra-
judicial statement, the latter carried the same quoted prefatory statement. This, to
our mind, indicates the lack of zeal and initiative on the part of the investigating
officers to fully and truly inform Punzalan of his rights to remain silent and to
counsel during the custodial investigation. The identical manner by which the
police sought to inform Escober and Punzalan of their constitutional rights shows
a blatant disregard for individual comprehensive ability arising from differences in
intelligence level, educational background and personal experiences. No effort
was exerted to see to it that Punzalan really understood what was being told,
considering his low educational attainment of Grade 2 Elementary level. The so-
called “informing” done by the police in the case at bar was nothing more than a
superficial and mechanical act, performed not so much to attain the objectives of

Page 72 of 407
the fundamental law as to give a semblance of compliance thereto. Besides, the
phraseology used by the police respecting the appointment of counsel de oficio for
Punzalan was misleading. It gives the impression that the services of a counsel de
oficio can be availed of by Punzalan only during the court proceedings, not during
the custodial investigation. Not having been fully and truly informed of his right to
counsel, the waiver appearing in Punzalan’s extrajudicial statement cannot be
considered intelligently made. For this reason, aside from the fact that it was done
without the assistance of counsel, said waiver is not valid. Needless to say, the
extrajudicial confession is inadmissible in evidence.
8. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Lack of preliminary investigation should be
raised before the Trial Court.-
With respect to Punzalan not having been represented by counsel during the
preliminary investigation, suffice it to say that such irregularity which amounts to
an absence of preliminary investigation, should have been raised before the trial
court. Philippine jurisprudence is uniform and consistent in ruling that: ‘The
question of absence of a proper preliminary investigation is also better inquired
into by the Court below. When so raised, this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice
Claudio Teehankee, has held that the trial Court is called upon ‘not to dismiss the
information but hold the case is abeyance and conduct its own investigation or
require the fiscal to hold a reinvestigation. As stressed in People vs. Casiano, 1
SCRA 478 (1961), this is the proper procedure since the ‘absence of such
investigation did not impair the validity of the Information or otherwise render it
defective. Much less did it affect the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance.’ The
right to a preliminary investigation, being waivable does not argue against the
validity of the proceedings, the most that could have been done being to remand
the case in order that such investigation could be conducted. “‘x x x the proper
forum before which absence of preliminary investigation should be ventilated is
the Court of First Instance, not this Court. Reason is not wanting for this view.
Absence of preliminary investigation does not go to the jurisdiction of the court but
merely to the regularity of the proceedings. It could even be waived. Indeed, it is
frequently waived. These are matters to be inquired into by the trial court, not an
appellate court.’”
9. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Robbery; Crime of Robbery duly
established; Punzalan ‘s flight from the scene of the crime with his companions
and his failure to report to the police demonstrate his knowledge of the plan.-
Prosecution witnesses Vicente Chua and Lina Chua had established the fact of
robbery and we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Punzalan knew of
such plan. It is incredible that his three companions would fetch him on the pretext
of drinking beer and just bring him along to the scene of crime, thereby risking
another eyewitness to the perpetration thereof. Punzalan’s flight from the scene of
the crime with his companions and his failure, if he were truly innocent, to report to
the police what he knew about the crime after reading it in the newspapers further
demonstrate his knowledge of the plan.
10. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Special complex crime of robbery with
homicide; Rule is established that whenever a homicide has been committed as a
consequence of or on the occasion of a robbery, all those who took part as
principals in the special complex crime of robbery with homicide although they did
no actually take part in the homicide unless they endeavored to prevent the
homicide.-

Page 73 of 407
While it has been established that Punzalan’s participation in the crime was to act
as a look-out, and as such, he did not participate in the killing of the two helpless
victims, he cannot evade responsibility therefor. Well-established is the rule in this
jurisdiction that whenever a homicide has been committed as a consequence of or
on the occasion of a robbery, all those who took part as principals in the
commission of the robbery are also guilty as principals in the special complex
crime of robbery with homicide although they did not actually take part in the
homicide unless it clearly appeared that they endeavored to prevent the homicide.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: No. L-69564, No. L-69658

Ponente: FERNAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision dated January 10, 1984 in Criminal
Case No. Q-22896 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City is
hereby SET ASIDE. Accused-appellant Juan Escober y Ger-alde is
hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and
his immediate release from confinement is ordered, unless
detained for some other crimes. Accused-appellant Macario
Punzalan, Jr. y Guevarra is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable
doubt as principal in the complex crime of Robbery with Homicide
and is accordingly sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the victims in the amount of
P60,000.00.
People vs. Elijorde 306 SCRA 188 , April 21, 1999
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GILBERT ELIJORDE y DE
LA CRUZ and REYNALDO PUNZALAN y ZACARIAS alias “KIRAT,” accused-appellants.Case
Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan,
Br. 76.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Conspiracy|Principals|Murder|Accomplices|Requisites|Aggravating
Circumstances|Treachery|Words and Phrases|Evident Premeditation
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Principals; To hold an accused guilty as a co-
principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt
act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity.-
Indeed, with respect to accused Reynaldo Punzalan, the Court cannot assert with
moral certainty that he is guilty of murder. To convict him as a principal by direct
participation in the instant case, it is necessary that conspiracy between him and
his co-accused Elijorde be proved. That, precisely, is wanting in the present case.
Conspiracy must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself through clear and
convincing evidence, not merely by conjecture. To hold an accused guilty as a co-
principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt
act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. Hence, conspiracy exists in a
situation where at the time the malefactors were committing the crime, their
actions impliedly showed unity of purpose among them, a concerted effort to bring
about the death of the victim. In a great majority of cases, complicity was
established by proof of acts done in concert, i.e., acts which yield the reasonable

Page 74 of 407
inference that the doers thereof were acting with a common intent or design.
Therefore, the task in every case is determining whether the particular acts
established by the requisite quantum of proof do reasonably yield that inference.
2. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Principals; Murder; The act of a co-accused of
kicking the victim prior to the actual stabbing by the other accused does not of
itself demonstrate concurrence of wills or unity of purpose and action.-
On the basis of the above testimony, the only involvement of Punzalan was
kicking Hierro at the back before the latter was pursued and stabbed by accused
Elijorde. After kicking the victim, Punzalan remained where he was and did not
cooperate with Elijorde in pursuing Hierro to ensure that the latter would be killed.
There is no other evidence to show unity of purpose and design between
Punzalan and Elijorde in the execution of the killing, which is essential to establish
conspiracy. His act of kicking Hierro prior to the actual stabbing by Elijorde does
not of itself demonstrate concurrence of wills or unity of purpose and action. For it
is possible that the accused Punzalan had no knowledge of the common design, if
there was any, nor of the intended assault which was committed in a place far
from where he was. The mere kicking does not necessarily prove intention to kill.
The evidence does not show that Punzalan knew that Elijorde had a knife and that
he intended to use it to stab the victim.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Accomplices; Requisites;The cooperation that the
law punishes is the assistance knowingly or intentionally rendered which cannot
exist without previous cognizance of the criminal act intended to be executed.-
Neither can Punzalan be considered an accomplice in the crime of murder. In
order that a person may be considered an accomplice in the commission of the
offense, the following requisites must concur: (a) community of design, i.e.,
knowing that criminal design of the principal by direct participation, he concurs
with the latter in his purpose; (b) he cooperates in the execution of the offense by
previous or simultaneous acts; and, (c) there must be a relation between the acts
done by the principal and those attributed to the person charged as accomplice.
The cooperation that the law punishes is the assistance knowingly or intentionally
rendered which cannot exist without previous cognizance of the criminal act
intended to be executed. It is therefore required in order to be liable either as a
principal by indispensable cooperation or as an accomplice that the accused must
unite with the criminal design of the principal by direct participation. There is
nothing on record to show that accused Punzalan knew that Elijorde was going to
stab Hierro, thus creating serious doubt on Punzalan’s criminal intent.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; In the absence of a previous plan or
agreement to commit a crime, the criminal responsibility arising from different acts
directed against one and the same person is individual and not collective, and that
each of the participants is liable only for his own acts.-
In the absence of a previous plan or agreement to commit a crime, the criminal
responsibility arising from different acts directed against one and the same person
is individual and not collective, and that each of the participants is liable only for
his own acts. Consequently, accused Punzalan must be absolved from all
responsibility for the killing of Hierro. It may be emphasized that at the time
accused Elijorde intervened in the assault, Punzalan had already desisted from
his own acts of aggression. He did nothing in fact to assist Elijorde in the
immediate commission of the murder. Moreover, the act of kicking by Punzalan
prior to the actual stabbing by Elijorde was evidently done without knowledge of

Page 75 of 407
the criminal design on the part of the latter as that design had not yet been
revealed prior to the killing of Hierro.
5. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; Words and
Phrases; Treachery exists when the offender commits any of the crimes against
person, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend
directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from
any defense which the offended party might make.-
With regard to the principal accused Gilbert Elijorde, the trial court correctly ruled
that treachery attended the killing of Hierro thus qualifying the crime to murder.
Treachery exists when the offender commits any of the crimes against person,
employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly
and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any
defense which the offended party might make. The fact that a verbal confrontation
accompanied by physical assault by the group of Elijorde preceded the actual
killing did not negate the treacherous character of the stabbing which resulted in
the death of Hierro. After the first physical assault which sent Hierro retreating and
seeking shelter in the house of a friend, the victim did not expect that the accused
would persist in inflicting harm upon him who, unaware of the impending danger,
proceeded home with his friends. Unfortunately, however, Elijorde was waiting for
the deceased and pursued him to his end. After stabbing Hierro at the back, and if
only to ensure the success of his criminal design, accused Elijorde persistently
chased his unarmed quarry until he finally overpowered his victim and delivered
the fatal stab on his chest.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Evident
Premeditation; Where there is no showing that the accused prior to the night of
the commission of the crime resolved to kill the victim nor proof that such killing
was the result of meditation, calculation or resolution on his part, evident
premeditation cannot be appreciated against him.-
We likewise agree with the trial court when it disregarded the aggravating
circumstances of evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength alleged in
the Information. No sufficient evidence exists to show that the requisites of evident
premeditation were present, to wit: (a) the time when the offender decided to
commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating that he had clung to his
determination to commit it; and, (c) a sufficient lapse of time between the
determination and the execution to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of
his act and for his conscience to overcome the resolution of his will had he desired
to hearken to its warnings. Where there is no showing that the accused Elijorde
prior to the night of the commission of the crime resolved to kill the victim nor
proof that such killing was the result of meditation, calculation or resolution on his
part, evident premedi-tation cannot be appreciated against him. Moreover, the
time interval of three (3) minutes between the first and the second assault on
Hierro is too brief to have enabled Elijorde to ponder over what he intended to do
with Hierro.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 126531

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Page 76 of 407
Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is MODIFIED.
Accused GILBERT ELIJORDE y DE LA CRUZ is found GUILTY of
MURDER and is accordingly sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
Accused REYNALDO PUNZALAN y ZACARIAS is ACQUITTED of
the crime charged and is ordered RELEASED FROM CUSTODY
IMMEDIATELY unless legally held for another cause. In this
regard, the Director of Prisons is directed to report to the Court his
compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof.
Accused ELIJORDE is solely held responsible for the payment to
the heirs of the victim Eric Hierro the amounts of P50,000.00 for
civil indemnity, P35,000.00 for actual damages and P50,000.00 for
moral damages.
People vs. Fabro 325 SCRA 285 , February 10, 2000
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BERLY FABRO y
AZUCENA, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Baguio City, Br. 6.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Dangerous Drugs Act|Evidence|Witnesses|Conspiracy|Criminal
Procedure|Informations|Pleadings and Practice
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence;Witnesses; A writing or
document made contemporaneously with a transaction in which are evidenced
facts pertinent to an issue, when admitted as proof of these facts, is ordinarily
regarded as more reliable proof and of greater probative value than oral testimony
of a witness as to such’ facts based upon memory and recollection.-
As between a writing or document made contemporaneously with a transaction in
which are evidenced facts pertinent to an issue, when admitted as proof of these
facts, is ordinarily regarded as more reliable proof and of greater probative value
than oral testimony of a witness as to such facts based upon memory and
recollection. The reason behind this is obvious, human memory is fallible and its
force diminishes with the lapse of time. Hence, as between Villaseñor’s testimony
and her written report, the latter is considered as the more accurate account as to
the amount of marijuana examined.
2. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence;Failure to present the
marked money is of no great consequence—the Dangerous Drugs Law punishes
the mere act of delivery of prohibited drugs after the offer to buy by the entrapping
officer has been accepted by the prohibited drug seller.-
The prosecution’s failure to present the marked money used in buying marijuana
from appellant did not cause a dent on the prosecution’s case. Such failure was
on account of Irene Martin’s flight after taking the money used in the sale. It must
be stressed, however, that failure to present the marked money is of no great
consequence. The Dangerous Drugs Law punishes the mere act of delivery of
prohibited drugs after the offer to buy by the entrapping officer has been accepted
by the prohibited drug seller. Rather, of importance are the facts that the
prohibited drug given or delivered by the accused was presented before the court
and that the accused was clearly identified as the offender by the prosecution
eyewitness. Stated differently, the buy-bust money is not indispensable to the

Page 77 of 407
conviction of an accused provided that the prosecution has adequately proven the
sale of the dangerous drug.
3. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Conspiracy;Conspiracy as crime
should be distinguished from conspiracy as a manner of incurring criminal liability.-
It is clear that Section 21 (b) of R.A. 6425 punishes the mere conspiracy to
commit the offense of selling, delivering, distributing and transporting of
dangerous drugs. Conspiracy herein refers to the mere agreement to commit the
said acts and not the actual execution thereof. While the rule is that a mere
conspiracy to commit a crime without doing any overt act is not punishable, the
exception is when such is specifically penalized by law, as in the case of Section
21 of Republic Act 6425. Conspiracy as crime should be distinguished from
conspiracy as a manner of incurring criminal liability the latter being applicable to
the case at bar.
4. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Criminal
Procedure; Informations; Pleadings and Practice;What is controlling are the
actual recital of facts in the body of the information and not the caption or
preamble of the crime.-
In any event, such error in the information is not fatal. The body of the information
states that the crime for which the petitioner is charged is as follows: “the above-
named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding one another, did
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell and/or deliver to PO2 Elonito
Apduhan, who acted as poseur buyer, one (1) kilo of dried marijuana leaves . . .” It
has been our consistent ruling that what is controlling are the actual recital of facts
in the body of the information and not the caption or preamble of the crime.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 114261

Counsel: The Solicitor General, ABS & Associates

Ponente: KAPUNAN

Dispositive Portion:
Having considered the assignments of error and finding no basis
which, from any aspect of the case, would justify us in interfering
with the findings of the trial court, it results that the appealed
decision must be AFFIRMED in toto.
People vs. Bello 428 SCRA 388 , May 13, 2004
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARIFE BELLO y ROSCO
@ “Joann Redillo,” JOHN DOE @ “Eladio M. Consuelo, Jr.” and “Boyet,” PETER DOE @
“Danny Dineros,” and RICHARD DOE @ “George” and/or “Cayo,” accused, MARIFE BELLO y
ROSCO @ “Joann Redillo” and JOHN DOE @ “Eladio M. Consuelo, Jr.” and “Boyet,” accused-
appellants.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City, Br. 116.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Conspiracy|Circumstantial Evidence|Requisites|Alibi|Words and
Phrases|Witnesses|Robbery with Homicide|Syndicated or Organized Crime Group
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Conspiracy is predominantly a state of mind as it
involves the meeting of the minds and intent of the malefactors.-

Page 78 of 407
Conspiracy exists where the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the
crime and decide to pursue it. Conspiracy is predominantly a state of mind as it
involves the meeting of the minds and intent of the malefactors. Consequently,
direct proof is not essential to establish it. The existence of the assent of minds of
the co-conspirators may be inferred from proof of facts and circumstances which,
taken together, indicate that they are parts of the complete plan to commit the
crime.
2. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; A person’s claim of irresistible force from her co-
accused is difficult to fathom as it would be easier to instill fear on a stranger than
on a friend or close relation.-
Neither can we give credit to appellant Marife’s claim of duress and irresistible
fear. Her story simply does not add up. First, the records show that she had close
relations with all her co-accused: she has a child with appellant Eladio, Jr.; she
and her co-accused all resided in Cavite; accused Danny Dineros asked her to be
the godmother of his child; she knew where Danny resided in Cavite and they
both hail from Samar; and, even Marife’s aunt in Samar was acquainted with
Danny. Indeed, her claim of irresistible force from her co-accused is difficult to
fathom as it would be easier to instill fear on a stranger than on a friend or close
relation.
3. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Circumstantial Evidence;Requisites; Resort to
circumstantial evidence is, in the nature of things, a necessity as crimes are
usually committed clandestinely and under conditions where concealment is highly
probable.-
Circumstantial evidence is that which proves a fact or series of facts from which
the facts in issue may be established by inference. Resort to circumstantial
evidence is, in the nature of things, a necessity as crimes are usually committed
clandestinely and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. To
require direct testimony would, in many cases, result in freeing criminals and deny
proper protection to society. Thus, the guilt of an accused may be established
through circum- stantial evidence provided that the requisites are present, viz.: (1)
there is more than one circumstance; (2) the inferences must be based on proven
facts; (3) the combination of all the circumstances produces a conviction beyond
doubt as to the guilt of the accused.
4. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Circumstantial Evidence;Where the victim was
last seen alive with the accused, coupled with their conduct that fateful day and
their possession of the deadly weapon, there can be no other reasonable
conclusion than that the accused authored the crime.-
Thus, while no person actually witnessed the appellants rob and kill the victim, the
confluence of the incriminating circumstances enumerated above clearly shows
that the appellants had motive and opportunity to kill the victim when he resisted
the robbery. As the victim was last seen alive with them, coupled with their
conduct that fateful day and their possession of the deadly weapon, there can be
no other reasonable conclusion than that the appellants authored the crime. To be
sure, their conviction is essentially based on this unbroken chain of events as
testified to by the prosecution witnesses and not on the uncounselled interrogation
of appellant Marife by the police authorities.
5. Criminal Law; Alibi; Words and Phrases; Alibi is a Latin word which means
elsewhere or in another place.-
On the other hand, the alibi proffered by appellant Eladio, Jr. does not hold. Alibi
is a Latin word which means elsewhere or in another place. Where the defense of

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alibi is raised, the accused must show that he was at some other place when the
crime was committed at such length of time that it was impossible for him to have
been at the locus criminis; or that the distance is such as to preclude the
possibility or probability for the accused to be at the crime scene at the time it was
committed; or that it would have been physically impossible for the accused, by
reason of illness or physical condition to be at the place where the crime was
committed. It is doctrinally settled that alibi is the weakest defense that can be put
up by an accused, especially where there is direct testimony of an eyewitness,
duly corroborated by another.
6. Criminal Law; Alibi; Witnesses; The settled rule is that where there is positive
testimony of eyewitnesses regarding the presence of the accused at the locus
criminis on the date and time the crime was committed, a negative defense of alibi
is undeserving of weight or credence.-
Interestingly, while a different version was offered by appellant Marife as to the
exact participation of Eladio, Jr. in the crime (i.e., that he merely drove the cab
from Danny’s house to Baclaran but it was accused Danny who checked in the
room with appellant Marife and killed the victim in the course of the robbery),
Marife’s testimony nonetheless placed appellant Eladio, Jr. at the house of
accused Danny during the planning of the conspiracy, all the way to the entrance
of the lodge that fateful day, contrary to his claim that he was in Cavite that entire
fateful day. These eyewitnesses’ accounts regarding appellant Eladio, Jr.’s
complicity in the crime and presence at the locus criminis effectively shattered his
proferred alibi. The settled rule is that where there is positive testimony of
eyewitnesses regarding the presence of the accused at the locus criminis on the
date and time the crime was committed, a negative defense of alibi is undeserving
of weight or credence.
7. Criminal Law; Robbery with Homicide; Even though the original plan may
have been to simply rob the victim and while one of the accused may not have
actually participated in the horrendous killing, the conspirators are equally liable as
co-principals for all the planned or unanticipated consequences of their criminal
design.-
In sum, we find that the defenses raised by the appellants are clouded with
improbability and uncertainty. As the conspiracy among the accused was
sufficiently established by the prosecution, the appellants are equally guilty of the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide for in conspiracy, the act of one is
the act of all. Thus, although the original plan may have been to simply rob the
victim and while appellant Marife may not have actually participated in the
horrendous killing, the conspirators are equally liable as co-principals for all the
planned or unanticipated consequences of their criminal design.
8. Criminal Law; Robbery with Homicide; Syndicated or Organized Crime
Group; Words and Phrases; The essence of a syndicated or organized crime
group is that the accused formed part of a group organized for the general
purpose of committing crimes for gain.-
Be that as it may, we find that the trial court erred in holding that the appellants
were part of a syndicated or organized crime group under Article 62 (1) (a) of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended, which merits the imposition of the maximum
penalty of death. While the appellants and their co-accused confederated and
mutually helped one another for the purpose of gain, it was neither alleged nor
proved that they formed part of a group organized for the general purpose of

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committing crimes for gain which is the essence of a syndicated or organized
crime group.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 124871

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office, Eduardo N. Potot

Ponente: PUNO

Dispositive Portion:
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the appealed Decision is AFFIRMED with
modification. Appellants MARIFE BELLO y ROSCO and ELADIO
M. CONSUELO, JR. are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as
principals in the crime of robbery with homicide and, in the
absence of any aggravating circumstance, are sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua. They are ordered to jointly and
severally reimburse the Sunshine Moneychanger the amount of
P114,000.00 as restitution for the damage caused, and to pay
Zenaida Andasan, widow of the victim Rolando Andasan, the total
amount of Seven Hundred Thirty-One Thousand, Nine Hundred
Ninety-Nine and 98/100 (P731,999.98), broken down as follows:
P50,000.00 as actual damages; P50,000.00 as compensation for
the death of her husband Rolando; P591,999.98 as indemnity for
loss of Rolando’s earning capacity; and, P40,000.00 as moral
damages. No costs.
Li vs. People 427 SCRA 217 , April 14, 2004
Case Title : KINGSTON(E) LI y NUÑEZ, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and
the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision
of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Br. 148.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Homicide|Evidence|Witnesses|Conspiracy|Principles
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Witnesses; Time and again, we have
upheld the primacy of physical evidence over biased and uncorroborated
testimony of witnesses.-
Time and again, we have upheld the primacy of physical evidence over biased
and uncorroborated testimony of witnesses. We have held: . . . Physical evidence
is a mute but eloquent manifestation of truth, and it ranks high in our hierarchy of
trustworthy evidence. In criminal cases such as murder or rape where the
accused stands to lose his liberty if found guilty, this Court has, in many
occasions, relied principally upon physical evidence in ascertaining the truth . . .
[W]here the physical evidence on record ran counter to the testimonial evidence of
the prosecution witnesses, we ruled that the physical evidence should prevail.
2. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Conspiracy; A conviction premised on a
finding of conspiracy must be founded on facts, not on mere inferences and
presumption.-
Proving conspiracy is a dicey matter, especially difficult in cases such as the
present wherein the criminal acts arose spontaneously, as opposed to instances
wherein the participants would have the opportunity to orchestrate a more

Page 81 of 407
deliberate plan. Spontaneity alone does not preclude the establishment of
conspiracy, which after all, can be consummated in a moment’s notice—through a
single word of assent to a proposal or an unambiguous handshake. Yet it is more
difficult to presume conspiracy in extemporaneous outbursts of violence; hence,
the demand that it be established by positive evidence. A conviction premised on
a finding of conspiracy must be founded on facts, not on mere inferences and
presumption.
3. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Conspiracy;Direct proof is not essential
to show conspiracy.-
It is not necessary to prove a previous agreement to commit a crime if there is
proof that the malefactors have acted in concert and in pursuance of the common
objectives. Direct proof is not essential to show conspiracy since it is by its nature
often planned in utmost secrecy and it can seldom be proved by direct evidence.
Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused themselves when such
point to a joint purpose and design. Complicity may be determined by concert of
action at the moment of consummating the crime and the form and manner in
which assistance is rendered to the person inflicting the fatal wound.
4. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Conspiracy; An implied conspiracy must
still be based on facts established by positive and conclusive evidence.-
An implied conspiracy must still be based on facts established by positive and
conclusive evidence. Even if conspiracy per se is not criminal, as it rarely is in this
jurisdiction, the weight of factual evidence necessary to prove conspiracy is the
same as required to establish criminal liability—proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Suppositions based on mere presumptions and not on solid facts do not constitute
proof beyond reasonable doubt.
5. Criminal Law; Principles; The general principle in criminal law is that all
doubts should be resolved in favor of the accused.-
The general principle in criminal law is that all doubts should be resolved in favor
of the accused. Consequently, when confronted with variant though equally
plausible versions of events, the version that is in accord with the acquittal or the
least liability of the accused should be favored.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 127962

Counsel: King, Capuchino, Tan & Associates, The Solicitor General

Ponente: TINGA

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED.
Petitioner Kingstone Li is ACQUITTED of the charge of Homicide
for lack of evidence beyond reasonable doubt. However, he is
found GUILTY of the crime of SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES, as
defined and punished by Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code,
and accordingly sentenced to suffer the penalty of arresto menor in
the medium period of ten (10) to twenty (20) days. Con- sidering
that petitioner has been incarcerated well-beyond the period of the
penalty herein imposed, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons is

Page 82 of 407
ordered to cause petitioner’s IMMEDIATE RELEASE, unless
petitioner is being lawfully held for another cause, and to INFORM
this Court, within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision, of the
compliance with such order.
People vs. Bagano 375 SCRA 470 , January 31, 2002
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. REYNALDO BAGANO alias
Pugot a.k.a. REYNALDO FRIOLO and PABLITO CAÑETE, accused-appellants.Case Nature :
APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Br. 8.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Evidence|Witnesses|Treachery|Conspiracy
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses; A witness’ relationship to a
victim of a crime would even make his or her testimony more credible as it would
be unnatural for a relative who is interested in establishing the crime to accuse
somebody other than real culprit.-
As the widow of the victim and lone witness to the crime, Merlinda Montecino
would not impute the killing of her husband on accused-appellants if she was not
certain that they were his tormentors. She had no reason to. A witness’
relationship to a victim of a crime would even make his or her testimony more
credible as it would be unnatural for a relative who is interested in establishing the
crime to accuse somebody other than the real culprit.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Treachery;Elements of Treachery.-
The elements of treachery are: (a) the employment of means of execution that
gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and, (b)
the deliberate and conscious adoption of the means of execution.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Conspiracy; For conspiracy to exist, it is
sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense the accused had the
same purpose and were united in its execution.-
Conspiracy is attendant in the commission of the crime. For conspiracy to exist, it
is sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense the accused had the
same purpose and were united in its execution. Proof of an actual planning of the
perpetuation of the crime is not a condition precedent. From the mode and
manner in which the offense was perpetrated, and as can be inferred from their
acts, it is evident that Bagano and Cañete were one in their intention to kill
Jeremias Montecino.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 139531

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court aquo of 15 October 1997
in Crim. Case No. CBU-39045, finding accused-appellants
Reynaldo Bagano alias Pugot a.k.a. Reynaldo Friolo and Pablito
Cañete guilty of murder is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION
that both accused-appellants shall suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. They are also ordered, in addition to P50,000.00 as

Page 83 of 407
indemnity for death and P4,660.00 for burial expenses awarded by
the trial court, to pay jointly and severally the heirs of Jeremias
Montecino P50,000.00 more for moral damages. Costs against
both accused-appellants.
People vs. Bangcado 346 SCRA 189 , November 28, 2000
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SPO1 JOSE BANGCADO
and PO3 CESAR BANISA, accused-appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Br. 3.
Syllabi Class : Criminal
Law|Murder|Evidence|Witnesses|Flight|Motive|Compromise|Aggravating
Circumstance|Treachery|Abuse of Public Position|Damages
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses;Positive identification of
witnesses prevails over the simple denial of the accused.-
The rule is that positive identification of witnesses prevails over the simple denial
of the accused. It cannot be doubted that Clemente and Cogasi had a good view
of the faces of the accused.From the testimonies of various witnesses, including
PO3 Jimmy Baybay, one of the policemen who conducted Operation Kapkap, the
Skyview Restaurant was well-lighted. Banisa himself testified that although the
lighting may be “somewhat dim,” he could still recognize a person from a distance
of four (4) meters. This is relevant considering that the two (2) groups were seated
only one (1) table apart. Thus, Cogasi and his friends were able to recognize their
assailants as the persons who came out from the Skyview Restaurant.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses; To prosper, alibi must be so
convincing as to preclude any doubt that the accused could not have been
physically present at the crime scene at the time of the incident.-
The accusedappellants raise the defense of alibi which is inherently weak. To
prosper, alibi must be so convincing as to preclude ally doubt that the accused
could not have been physically present at the crime scene at the time of the
incident. The alibis of the accused clearly show upon examination that this could
not have been so.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses;Witnesses are to be weighed,
not numbered, in determining the credibility of witnesses and the value of each
piece of evidence; The testimony of a single witness, if credible and positive, is
sufficient to convict.-
Although Clemente admitted to be suffering from blurred vision, Cogasi’s positive
identification of appellants could be sufficient to establish their identities. Indeed,
there is no law that requires that the testimony of a single witness must be
corroborated except, of course, when expressly mandated. Witnesses are to be
weighed, not numbered, in determining the credibility of witnesses and the value
of each piece of evidence. In fact, the testimony of a single witness, if credible and
positive, is sufficient to convict, and must be given full faith and credence when no
reason to falsely testify is shown.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Flight; Like the defense of alibi, non-flight
cannot prevail against the weight of positive identification of the accused.-
While flight of an accused is competent evidence to establish prima facie his guilt,
there is no law or principle that non-flight per se is proof, let alone conclusive
proof, of innocence. Much like the defense of alibi, nonflight cannot prevail against
the weight of positive identification of the accused.

Page 84 of 407
5. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Motive; Motive is not essential to convict
when there is no doubt as to the identity of the culprit.-
Accused-appellants insist that they had no motive to shoot the victims and/or the
complaining witnesses. However, even, the absence of a known motive, the
timehonored rule is that motive is not essential to convict when there is no doubt
as to the identity of the culprit. Lack of motive does not preclude conviction when
the crime and the participation of the accused therein are definitely shown,
particularly when we consider how nowadays, it is a matter of judicial knowledge
that persons have killed or committed serious offense for no reason at all.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Compromise; An offer of compromise from
an unauthorized person cannot amount to an admission of the party himself; For a
compromise to amount to an implied admission of guilt, the accused should be
present or at least had authorized the compromise.-
But an offer of compromise from an unauthorized person cannot amount to an
admission of the party himself. Although the Court has held in some cases that an
attempt of the parents of the accused to settle the case is an implied admission of
guilt, we believe that the better rule is that for a compromise to amount to an
implied admission of guilt, the accused should be present or at least had
authorized the compromise.
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Aggravating Circumstance; Treachery; It
is settled that qualifying circumstances cannot be presumed but must be
established by clear and convincing evidence as conclusively as the killing itself;
Two elements must concur for treachery to be considered.-
Accusedappellants deny the existence of treachery, nighttime and abuse of public
position to aggravate the commission of the crimes. It is settled that qualifying
circumstances cannot be presumed but must be established by clear and
convincing evidence, as conclusively as the killing itself. The defense alleges that
there is no evidence that accused-appellants made some preparation to kill the
victim in such a manner as to insure the execution of the crime or to make it
impossible or hard for the person attacked to defend himself. For treachery to be
considered, two (2) elements must concur: (a) the employment of means of
execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or
retaliate; and, (b) the means of execution were deliberately or consciously
adopted.
8. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Aggravating Circumstance; Abuse of
Public Position; If the accused could have perpetrated the crime without
occupying his position, then there is no abuse of public position.-
For public position to be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance, the public
official must use his influence, prestige and ascendancy which his office gives him
in realizing his purpose. If the accused could have perpetrated the crime without
occupying his posit ion, then there is no abuse of public position. Hence, that
aggravating circumstance cannot be appreciated here.
9. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Damages; Fact that the prosecution did not
present documentary evidence to support its claim for damages for loss of earning
capacity of the deceased does not preclude recovery of the damages; Testimonial
evidence is sufficient to establish a basis for which the court can make a fair and
reasonable estimate of the damages for the loss of earning capacity.-
The heirs are also entitled to damages for the loss of earning capacity of the
deceased Leandro Adawan. The fact that the prosecution did not present
documentary evidence to support its claim for damages for loss of earning

Page 85 of 407
capacity of the deceased does not preclude recovery of the damages. Testimonial
evidence is sufficient to establish a basis for which the court can make a fair and
reasonable estimate of the damages for the loss of earning capacity. Moreover, in
fixing the damages for loss of earning capacity of a deceased victim, the Court
can, consider the nature of its occupation, his educational attainment and the
state of his health at the time of his death.
10. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Damages; Moral damages vis-a-vis
compensatory damages or civil indemnity are different from each other and should
thus be awarded separately.-
Under present case law, the award of P50,000.00 for civil indemnity is mandatory
upon the finding of the fact of murder. Moral damages, vis-a-vis compensatory
damages or civil indemnity, are different from each other and should thus be
awarded separately. Thus, as explained in People v. Victor, the indemnity
authorized by our criminal law as civil liability ex delicto for the offended party, in
the amount authorized by the prevailing judicial policy and aside from other
established actual damages, is itself equivalent to actual or compensatory
damages in civil law. It is not to be considered as moral damages thereunder, the
latter being based on different jural foundations and assessed by the court in the
exercise of sound discretion.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 132330

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Danilo L. Bolislis, Federico Mandapat, Jr.

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court a quo in Crim. Cases
Nos. 11619-R to 11622-R imposing reclusion perpetua for the two
(2) counts of murder and the indeterminate prison term of prision
mayor in its medium period to reclusion temporal in its medium
period for two (2) counts of frustrated murder on both
accusedappellants SPO1 Jose Bangcado and PO3 Cesar Banisa
is MODIFIED as follows:There being no finding of conspiracy with
accused-appellant SPO1 Jose Bangcado, PO3 Cesar Banisa is
ACQUITTED of all the charges against him and, consequently, is
ordered released from custody in connection with herein cases,
unless he is held for other lawful causes.
People vs. Ramos 427 SCRA 299 , April 14, 2004
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. NARCISO RAMOS y MATIAS,
RAMON SAN ROQUE y DELA CRUZ, EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO y DELA CRUZ
alias LALING, WILLIAM RAMOS alias WILFREDO RAMOS, (provisionally dismissed), and
three (3) other John Does, accused. EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO y DELA CRUZ
alias “LALING,” appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Kalookan City, Br. 122.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Evidence|Witnesses|Conspiracy|Qualifying
Circumstances|Treachery
Syllabi:

Page 86 of 407
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses; The testimony of a single
witness if positive and credible is sufficient to support a conviction.-
There is thus no doubt in our minds that this lone eyewitness is credible. While his
testimony is uncorroborated, still it sustains the conviction of appellant. In People
vs. Toyco, 349 SCRA 385, 399 (2000), we held: “It is axiomatic that truth is
established not by the number of witnesses but by the quality of their testimonies.
The testimony of a single witness if positive and credible is sufficient to support a
conviction even in charge of murder.”
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Conspiracy; The presence of conspiracy
among the accused can be proven by their conduct before, during or after the
commission of the crime showing that they acted in unison with each other,
evincing a common purpose or design.-
In determining the existence of conspiracy, it is not necessary to show that all the
conspirators actually hit and killed the victim. The presence of conspiracy among
the accused can be proven by their conduct before, during or after the
commission of the crime showing that they acted in unison with each other,
evincing a common purpose or design. There must be a showing that appellant
cooperated in the commission of the offense, either morally, through advice,
encouragement or agreement or materially through external acts indicating a
manifest intent of supplying aid in the perpetration of the crime in an efficacious
way. In such case, the act of one becomes the act of all, and each of the accused
will thereby be deemed equally guilty of the crime committed.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Qualifying Circumstances;Treachery; Definition.-
The killing of the victim was attended by treachery. Treachery exists “when the
offender commits a crime against persons, employing means, methods or forms in
the execution thereof which tend directly and specifically to insure its execution,
without risk to himself arising from any defense or retaliatory act which the victim
might make.” Here, appellant and her co- accused tied William to a santol tree
before they stabbed and shot him to death, thus, insuring the execution of the
crime without risk to themselves. Obviously, he could not retaliate. This
aggravating circumstance qualifies the crime to murder.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 135204

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Romeo S. Salinas

Ponente: SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated April 24, 1998 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 122, Caloocan City, in Criminal Case
No. C-46010, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in the
sense that appellant EULALIA SAN ROQUE DE FRANCISCO is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of 10 years and 1 day of prision
mayor, as minimum, to reclusion perpetua, as maximum. She is
ordered to pay the victim’s heirs (a) P50,000.00 as civil indemnity;
(b) P25,000.00 as temperate damage; (c) P50,000.00 as moral
damages and (d) P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Page 87 of 407
People vs. Lamahang 61 Phil., 703 , August 03, 1935
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. AURELIO
LAMAHANG, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of
First Instance of Iloilo. Paredes, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; ATTEMPT TO COMMIT AN INDETERMINATE CRIME.-
The attempt which the Penal Code punishes is that which has a logical relation to
a particular, concrete offense; that, which is the beginning of the execution thereof
by overt acts of the perpetrator leading directly to its realization and
consummation. The attempt to commit an indeterminate offense, inasmuch as its
nature in relation to its objective is ambiguous, is not a juridical fact from the
standpoint of the Penal Code.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; ID.-
It is not sufficient, for the purpose of imposing penal sanction, that an act
objectively performed should constitute a mere beginning of execution; it is
necessary to establish its unavoidable relation, like the logical and natural relation
of the cause and its effect, to the deed which, upon its consummation, will ripen
into one of the crimes defined and punished by the Code; it is necessary to prove
that such beginning of execution, if carried to its complete termination following its
natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor by the voluntary
desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a concrete
offense.
3. CRIMINAL LAW; ATTEMPTED ROBBERY.-
In order that a simple act of entering by means of force or violence another
person's dwelling may be considered as attempted robbery, it must be shown that
the offender clearly intended to take possession, for the purpose of gain, of some
personal property belonging to another. In the present case, there is no evidence'
in the record from which such purpose of the accused may reasonably be inferred.
4. CRIMINAL LAW; ID.-
From the fact established and stated in the decision, that the accused on the day
in question was making an opening by means of an iron bar on the wall of T. Y.'s
store, it may only be inferred as a logical conclusion that his evident intention was
to enter by means of force said store against the will of its owner. That his final
objective, once he succeeded in entering the store, was to rob, to cause physical
injury to its occupants, or to commit any other offense, there is nothing in the
record to justify a concrete finding.
5. CRIMINAL LAW; ATTEMPTED TRESPASS TO DWELLING.-
The fact under consideration does not constitute attempted robbery but attempted
trespass to dwelling (People vs. Tayag and Morales, 59 Phil., 606, and decisions
of the Supreme Court of Spain therein cited). The accused may be convicted and
sentenced for an attempt to commit this crime, in accordance with the weight of
the evidence and the allegations contained in the information.

Docket Number: No. 43530

Counsel: Honesto K. Bausa, Solicitor-General Hilado

Ponente: RECTO

Page 88 of 407
Dispositive Portion:
Wherefore, the sentence appealed from is revoked and the
accused is hereby held guilty of attempted trespass to dwelling,
committed by means of force, with the aforesaid aggravating and
mitigating circumstances and sentenced to three months and one
day of arresto mayor, with the accessory penalties thereof and to
pay the costs.
People vs. Dio 130 SCRA 151 , June 29, 1984
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HERNANDO DIO,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of the decision of the Circuit Criminal
Court, 7th Judicial District.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Attempted robbery with homicide|Penalty|Indeterminate Sentence
Law
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Attempted robbery with homicide;Where the killing of the
victim was merely incidental to and an offshoot of the plan to carry out the robbery,
which, however, was not consummated, because of resistance by the deceased,
the crime committed is only attempted robbery with homicide.-
The appellant claims in his first assignment of error that he should not have been
convicted of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide because the
robbery was not consummated. He states that there was only an attempted
robbery. The Solicitor General states: “x x x We are constrained to agree with
defense’ contention. The evidence adduced show that the appellant and his
companion were unsuccessful in their criminal venture of divesting the victim of
his wrist watch so as to constitute the consummated crime of robbery. Indeed, as
adverted to earlier, when the victim expired, the ‘Seiko’ watch was still securely
strapped to his wrist (p. 59, t.s.n., Jan. 11, 1973). The killing of Crispulo Alega
may be considered as merely incidental to and an offshoot of the plan to carry out
the robbery, which however was not consummated because of the resistance
offered by the deceased. Consequently, this case would properly come under the
provision of Art. 297 of the Revised Penal Code. x x x “We likewise agree with the
contention of counsel in his second assigned error that the evidence presented by
the prosecution did not show the attendance of any aggravating circumstance in
the commission of the crime and neither did the court a quo make any finding in
this respect (pp. 7-8, appellant’s brief).” (Id., p. 6.)
2. Criminal Law; Attempted robbery with homicide;Penalty; Indeterminate
Sentence Law; Penalty for attempted robbery with homicide absent mitigating nor
aggravating circumstances.-
The crime committed by the appellant is attempted robbery with homicide and the
penalty prescribed by law is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion
perpetua. Since there was no attendant mitigating nor aggravating circumstance,
the penalty should be applied in its medium period, i.e. 18 years, 8 months and 1
day to 20 years. The Indeterminate Sentence Law has also to be applied.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: No. L-36461

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Luis R. Feria

Page 89 of 407
Ponente: ABAD SANTOS

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court is hereby modified;
the appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
special complex crime of attempted robbery with homicide and he
is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 10 years and 1
day of prision mayor as minimum to 20 years of reclusion temporal
as maximum, to indemnify the heirs of Crispulo Alega in the
amount of P30,000.00, and to pay one-half of the costs.
People vs. Trinidad 169 SCRA 51 , January 09, 1989
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EMELIANO TRINIDAD,
accused-appellantCase Nature : APPEAL from the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of
Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Br. 7.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Evidence|Defenses|Alibi|Attempted Murder
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; The term point-blank has no reference to
the distance between the gun and the target, it merely refers to the “aim directed
straight toward a target."-
Nor is there basis for TRINIDAD to contend that the absence of gunpowder burns
on the deceased victims negates TAN’s claim that they were shot “point-blank.”
Actually, this term refers merely to the “aim directed straight toward a target”
(Webster’s Third New International Dictionary) .and has no reference to the
distance between the gun and the target. And in point of fact, it matters not how
far the assailant was at the time he shot the victims, the crucial factor being
whether he did shoot the victim or not.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Defenses; Alibi; Evidence;Witnesses, Credibility of;
Appellant’s defense of alibi cannot prevail over the straightforward, detailed and
unshaken testimony of the prosecution witness.-
TRINIDAD’s defense of alibi is inherently weak and cannot prevail over the
straightforward and detailed descriptive narration of TAN, TAN’s testimony
remained unshaken even during cross-examination. No ill motive has been
attributed to him to prevaricate the truth. He was in the vehicle where the killing
transpired, was a witness to the actual happening, and was a victim himself who
managed narrowly to escape death despite the weaponry with which TRINIDAD
was equipped.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Attempted Murder; Where the wounds inflicted on the
victim is not sufficient to cause his death, the crime is only attempted murder, the
accused not having performed all the acts of execution that would have brought
about the death of the victim.-
The defense is correct, however, in contending that in the Frustrated Murder case,
TRINIDAD can only be convicted of Attempted Murder. TRINIDAD had
commenced the commission of the felony directly by overt acts but was unable to
perform all the acts of execution which would have produced it by reason of
causes other than his spontaneous desistance, such as, that the jeep to which
TAN was clinging was in motion, and there was a spare tire which shielded the
other parts of his body. Moreover, the wound on his thigh was not fatal and the
doctrinal rule is that where the wound inflicted on the victim is not sufficient to
cause his death, the crime is only Attempted Murder, the accused not having

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performed all the acts of execution that would have brought about death (People
vs. Pilones, L-32754–5, July 21, 1978, 84 SCRA 167; People vs. Garcia, L-40106,
March 13, 1980, 96 SCRA 497).

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 79123–25

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Citizens Legal Assistance Office

Ponente: MELENCIO-HERRERA

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the guilt of the accused Emeliano Trinidad for the
crimes of Murder (on two counts) and Attempted Murder, having
been proven beyond reasonable doubt, his conviction is hereby
AFFIRMED and he is hereby sentenced as follows:
People vs. Campuhan 329 SCRA 270 , March 30, 2000
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PRIMO CAMPUHAN Y
BELLO, accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Malabon, Metro Manila, Br. 170.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Rape|Words and Phrases|Attempted Rape|Presumption of
Innocence|Witnesses|Evidence
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Rape; Words and Phrases; Touching when applied to rape
cases does not simply mean mere epidermal contact, stroking or grazing of
organs, a slight brush or a scrape of the penis on the external layer of the victim’s
vagina, or the mons pubis—there must be sufficient and convincing proof that the
penis indeed touched the labias or slid into the female organ, and not merely
stroked the external surface thereof, for an accused to be convicted of
consummated rape.-
In People v. De la Peña we clarified that the decisions finding a case for rape
even if the attacker’s penis merely touched the external portions of the female
genitalia were made in the context of the presence or existence of an erect penis
capable of full penetration. Where the accused failed to achieve an erection, had a
limp or flaccid penis, or an oversized penis which could not fit into the victim’s
vagina, the Court nonetheless held that rape was consummated on the basis of
the victim’s testimony that the accused repeatedly tried, but in vain, to insert his
penis into her vagina and in all likelihood reached the labia of her pudendum as
the victim felt his organ on the lips of her vulva, or that the penis of the accused
touched the middle part of her vagina. Thus, touching when applied to rape cases
does not simply mean mere epidermal contact, stroking or grazing of organs, a
slight brush or a scrape of the penis on the external layer of the victim’s vagina, or
the mons pubis, as in this case. There must be sufficient and convincing proof that
the penis indeed touched the labias or slid into the female organ, and not merely
stroked the external surface thereof, for an accused to be convicted of
consummated rape. As the labias, which are required to be “touched” by the
penis, are by their natural situs or location beneath the mons pubis or the vaginal
surface, to touch them with the penis is to attain some degree of penetration

Page 91 of 407
beneath the surface, hence, the conclusion that touching the labia majora or the
labia minora of the pudendum constitutes consummated rape.
2. Criminal Law; Rape; Words and Phrases; Attempted Rape; Acts of
Lasciviousness; “Pudendum” or “Vulva,” “Mons Pubis,” “Labia Majora,” “Labia
Minora, “ Explained; Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female
organ, i.e. touching of either labia of the pudendum by the penis, there can be no
consummated rape—at most, it can only be attempted rape, if not acts of
lasciviousness.-
The pudendum or vulva is the collective term for the female genital organs that
are visible in the perineal area, e.g., mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, the
hymen, the clitoris, the vaginal orifice, etc. The mons pubis is the rounded
eminence that becomes hairy after puberty, and is instantly visible within the
surface. The next layer is the labia majora or the outer lips of the female organ
composed of the outer convex surface and the inner surface. The skin of the outer
convex surface is covered with hair follicles and is pigmented, while the inner
surface is a thin skin which does not have any hair but has many sebaceous
glands. Directly beneath the labia majora is the labia minora. Jurisprudence
dictates that the labia majora must be entered for rape to be consummated, and
not merely for the penis to stroke the surface of the female organ. Thus, a grazing
of the surface of the female organ or touching the mons pubis of the pudendum is
not sufficient to constitute consummated rape. Absent any showing of the slightest
penetration of the female organ, i.e., touching of either labia of the pudendum by
the penis, there can be no consummated rape; at most, it can only be attempted
rape, if not acts of lasciviousness.
3. Criminal Law; Rape; To the mind of the Supreme Court, the case at bar
merely constitutes a “shelling of the castle of orgasmic potency,” or a “strafing of
the citadel of passion.”-
Judicial depiction of consummated rape has not been confined to the oft-quoted
“touching of the female organ,” but has also progressed into being described as
“the introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum,” or “the
bombardment of the drawbridge.” But, to our mind, the case at bar merely
constitutes a “shelling of the castle of orgasmic potency,” or as earlier stated, a
“strafing of the citadel of passion.”
4. Criminal Law; Rape; Presumption of Innocence;Witnesses; It is the burden
of the prosecution to establish how the witness could have seen the sexual
contact and to shove her account into the permissive sphere of credibility—to hold
otherwise would be to resolve the doubt in favor of the prosecution but to run
roughshod over the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent.-
It can reasonably be drawn from the foregoing narration that Primo’s kneeling
position rendered an unbridled observation impossible. Not even a vantage point
from the side of the accused and the victim would have provided Corazon an
unobstructed view of Primo’s penis supposedly reaching Crysthel’s external
genitalia, i.e., labia majora, labia minora, hymen, clitoris, etc., since the legs and
arms of Primo would have hidden his movements from Corazon’s sight, not to
discount the fact that Primo’s right hand was allegedly holding his penis thereby
blocking it from Corazon’s view. It is the burden of the prosecution to establish
how Corazon could have seen the sexual contact and to shove her account into
the permissive sphere of credibility. It is not enough that she claims that she saw
what was done to her daughter. It is required that her claim be properly
demonstrated to inspire belief. The prosecution failed in this respect, thus we

Page 92 of 407
cannot conclude without any taint of serious doubt that intergenital contact was at
all achieved. To hold otherwise would be to resolve the doubt in favor of the
prosecution but to run roughshod over the constitutional right of the accused to be
presumed innocent. Same; Same; It is inconsistent with man’s instinct of self-
preservation to remain where he is and persist in satisfying his lust even when he
knows fully well that his dastardly acts have already been discovered or witnessed
by no less than the mother of his victim.—It is inconsistent with man’s instinct of
self-preservation to remain where he is and persist in satisfying his Just even
when he knows fully well that his dastardly acts have already been discov- ered or
witnessed by no less than the mother of his victim. For, the normal behavior or
reaction of Primo upon learning of Corazon’s presence would have been to pull
his pants up to avoid being caught literally with his pants down. The interval,
although relatively short, provided more than enough opportunity for Primo not
only to desist from but even to conceal his evil design.
5. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Although a child’s testimony must be
received with due consideration on account of her tender age, the Supreme Court
still endeavors to harness only what in her story appears to be true, acutely aware
of the equally guaranteed rights of the accused.-
Antithetically, the possibility of Primo’s penis having breached Crysthel’s vagina is
belied by the child’s own assertion that she resisted Primo’s advances by putting
her legs close together; consequently, she did not feel any intense pain but just
felt “not happy” about what Primo did to her. Thus, she only shouted “Ayo’ko,
ayo’ko! not “Aray ko, aray ko!” In cases where penetration was not fully
established, the Court had anchored its conclusion that rape nevertheless was
consummated on the victim’s testimony that she felt pain, or the medico-legal
finding of discoloration in the inner lips of the vagina, or the labia minora was
already gaping with redness, or the hymenal tags were no longer visible. None
was shown in this case. Although a child’s testimony must be received with due
consideration on account of her tender age, the Court endeavors at the same time
to harness only what in her story appears to be true, acutely aware of the equally
guaranteed rights of the accused. Thus, we have to conclude that even on the
basis of the testimony of Crysthel alone the accused cannot be held liable for
consummated rape; worse, be sentenced to death.
6. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; In cases of rape where there is a positive
testimony and a medical certificate, both should in all respects complement each
other; otherwise, to rely on the testimonial evidence alone, in utter disregard of the
manifest variance in the medical certificate, would be productive of unwarranted or
even mischievous results.-
In cases of rape where there is a positive testimony and a medical certificate, both
should in all respects complement each other; otherwise, to rely on the testimonial
evidence alone, in utter disregard of the manifest variance in the medical
certificate, would be productive of unwarranted or even mischievous results. It is
necessary to carefully ascertain whether the penis of the accused in reality
entered the labial threshold of the female organ to accurately conclude that rape
was consummated. Failing in this, the thin line that separates attempted rape from
consummated rape will significantly disappear.
7. Criminal Law; Rape; Attempted Rape; Rape is attempted when the offender
commences the commission of rape directly by overt acts, and does not perform
all the acts of execution which should produce the crime of rape by reason of
some cause or accident other than his spontaneous desistance.-

Page 93 of 407
Under Art. 6, in relation to Art. 335, of the Revised Penal Code, rape is attempted
when the offender commences the commission of rape directly by overt acts, and
does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the crime of rape
by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.
All the elements of attempted rape—and only of attempted rape—are present in
the instant case, hence, the accused should be punished only for it.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 129433

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court a quo finding accused
PRIMO “SONNY” CAMPUHAN Y BELLO guilty of statutory rape
and sentencing him to death and to pay damages is MODIFIED.
He is instead found guilty of ATTEMPTED RAPE and sentenced to
an indeterminate prison term of eight (8) years four (4) months and
ten (10) days of prision mayor medium as minimum, to fourteen
(14) years ten (10) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion
temporal medium as maximum. Costs de oficio.
People vs. Listerio 335 SCRA 40 , July 05, 2000
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES plaintiff-appellee, vs. AGAPITO LISTERIO y
PRADO and SAMSON DELA TORRE y ESQUELA, accused. AGAPITO LISTERIO y PRADO,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati
City, Br. 62.
Syllabi Class : Witnesses|Criminal Law|Criminal Procedure|Conspiracy|Murder|Aggravating
Circumstances|Treachery|Abuse of Superior Strength|Evident Premeditation|Alibi|Frustrated
Felonies|Words and Phrases|“Subjective Phase” and “Objective Phase|” Explained|Physical
Injuries|Appeals
Syllabi:
1. Witnesses; It is well settled that witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered,
such that the testimony of a single, trustworthy and credible witness could be
sufficient to convict an accused.-
It is well settled that witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered, such that the
testimony of a single, trustworthy and credible witness could be sufficient to
convict an accused. More explicitly, the well entrenched rule is that “the testimony
of a lone eyewitness, if found positive and credible by the trial court is sufficient to
support a conviction especially when the testimony bears the earmarks of truth
and sincerity and had been delivered spontaneously, naturally and in a
straightforward manner. It has been held that witnesses are to be weighed not
numbered; hence, it is not at all uncommon to reach a conclusion of guilt on the
basis of the testimony of a single witness.”
2. Witnesses; The trial judge is the best and the most competent person who can
weigh and evaluate the testimony of witnesses.-
The trial court found Marlon Araque’s version of what transpired candid and
straightforward. We defer to the lower court’s findings on this point consistent with

Page 94 of 407
the oft-repeated pronouncement that: “the trial judge is the best and the most
competent person who can weigh and evaluate the testimony of witnesses. His
firsthand look at the declarant’s demeanor, conduct and attitude at the trial places
him in a peculiar position to discriminate between the true and the false.
Consequently appellate courts will not disturb the trial court’s findings save only in
cases where arbitrariness has set in and disregard for the facts important to the
case have been overlooked.”
3. Witnesses; Relatives of the victim have a natural knack for remembering the
faces of the attackers and they, more than anybody else, would be concerned with
obtaining justice for the victim by the felons being brought to the face of the law.-
That Marlon was able to recognize the assailants can hardly be doubted because
relatives of the victim have a natural knack for remembering the faces of the
attackers and they, more than anybody else, would be concerned with obtaining
justice for the victim by the felons being brought to the face of the law. Indeed,
family members who have witnessed the killing of a loved one usually strive to
remember the faces of the assailants. Marlon’s credibility cannot be doubted in
this case because as a victim himself and an eyewitness to the incident, it can be
clearly gleaned from the foregoing excerpts of his testimony that he remembered
with a high degree of reliability the identity of the malefactors.
4. Witnesses; It is settled that if the accused had nothing to do with the crime, it
would be against the natural order of events to falsely impute charges of
wrongdoing upon him.-
There is no showing that he was motivated by any ill-feeling or bad blood to
falsely testify against accused-appellant. Being a victim himself, he is expected to
seek justice. It is settled that if the accused had nothing to do with the crime, it
would be against the natural order of events to falsely impute charges of
wrongdoing upon him.
5. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Direct proof of conspiracy is rarely found for
criminals do not write down their lawless plans and plots.-
It must be remembered that direct proof of conspiracy is rarely found for criminals
do not write down their lawless plans and plots. Conspiracy may be inferred from
the acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime
which indubitably point to and are indicative of a joint purpose, concert of action
and community of interest. Indeed—A conspiracy exists when two or more
persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide
to commit it. To establish the existence of a conspiracy, direct proof is not
essential since it may be shown by facts and circumstances from which may be
logically inferred the existence of a common design among the accused to commit
the offense charged, or it may be deduced from the mode and manner in which
the offense was perpetrated.
6. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Conspiracy transcends mere companionship—it
denotes an intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the
furtherance of the common design and purpose.-
Conspiracy transcends mere companionship, it denotes an intentional
participation in the transaction with a view to the furtherance of the common
design and purpose. “Conspiracy to exist does not require an agreement for an
appreciable period prior to the occurrence. From the legal standpoint, conspiracy
exists if, at the time of the commission of the offense, the accused had the same
purpose and were united in its execution.” In this case, the presence of accused-

Page 95 of 407
appellant and his colleagues, all of them armed with deadly weapons at the locus
criminis, indubitably shows their criminal design to kill the victims.
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; There is
treachery where the manner in which the stab wounds were inflicted on the
deceased were clearly meant to kill without posing any danger to the malefactors
considering their locations and the fact that they were caused by knife thrusts
starting below going upward by assailants who were standing behind the victim.-
It must be noted in this regard that the manner in which the stab wounds were
inflicted on the deceased were clearly meant to kill without posing any danger to
the malefactors considering their locations and the fact that they were caused by
knife thrusts starting below going upward by assailants who were standing behind
the victim. Treachery is present when the offender commits any of the crimes
against persons employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof
which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself
arising from the defense which the offended party might make. That circumstance
qualifies the crime into murder.
8. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Abuse of Superior
Strength; The fact that the accused and his companions were not only
numerically superior to the victims but also because all of them, armed with bladed
weapons and lead pipes, purposely used force out of proportion to the means of
defense available to the persons attacked shows abuse of superior strength.-
The commission of the crime was also attended by abuse of superior strength on
account of the fact that accused-appellant and his companions were not only
numerically superior to the victims but also because all of them, armed with
bladed weapons and lead pipes, purposely used force out of proportion to the
means of defense available to the persons attacked. However, this aggravating
circumstance is already absorbed in treachery.
9. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Evident
Premeditation; In the light of the finding of conspiracy, evident premeditation
need not be further appreciated, absent concrete proof as to how and when the
plan to kill was hatched or what time had elapsed before it was carried out.-
Although alleged in the information, evident premeditation was not proved by the
prosecution. In the light of the finding of conspiracy, evident premeditation need
not be further appreciated, absent con- crete proof as to how and when the plan to
kill was hatched or what time had elapsed before it was carried out.
10. Criminal Law; Alibi; Alibi is generally considered with suspicion and always
received with caution because it can be easily fabricated.-
In stark contrast to the evidence pointing to him as one of the assailants of the
victims, accused-appellant proffers the defense of alibi. At the risk of sounding
trite, it must be remembered that alibi is generally considered with suspicion and
always received with caution because it can be easily fabricated. For alibi to serve
as a basis for acquittal, the accused must establish that: a.] he was present at
another place at the time of the perpetration of the offense; and b.] it would thus
be physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime.
11. Criminal Law; Frustrated Felonies; Words and Phrases; “Subjective
Phase” and “Objective Phase,” Explained; It is not the gravity of the wounds
inflicted which determines whether a felony is attempted or frustrated but whether
or not the subjective phase in the commission of an offense has been passed.-
The reasoning of the lower court on this point is flawed because it is not the
gravity of the wounds inflicted which determines whether a felony is attempted or

Page 96 of 407
frustrated but whether or not the subjective phase in the commission of an offense
has been passed. By subjective phase is meant “[t]hat portion of the acts
constituting the crime included between the act which begins the commission of
the crime and the last act performed by the offender which, with the prior acts,
should result in the consummated crime. From that time forward, the phase is
objective. It may also be said to be that period occupied by the acts of the
offender over which he has control—that period between the point where he
begins and the point where he voluntarily desists. If between these two points the
offender is stopped by reason of any cause outside of his own voluntary
desistance, the subjective phase has not been passed and it is an attempt. If he is
not so stopped but continues until he performs the last act, it is frustrated.”
12. Criminal Law; Frustrated Felonies; Frustrated and Attempted Felonies,
Distinguished; Requisites.-
It must be remembered that a felony is frustrated when: 1.] the offender has
performed all the acts of execution which would produce the felony; 2.] the felony
is not produced due to causes independent of the perpetrator’s will. On the other
hand, in an attempted felony: 1.] the offender commits overt acts to commence
the perpetration of the crime; 2.] he is not able to perform all the acts of execution
which should produce the felony; and 3.] his failure to perform all the acts of
execution was due to some cause or accident other than his spontaneous
desistance.
13. Criminal Law; Frustrated Felonies; The essential element which
distinguishes attempted from frustrated felony is that, in the latter, there is no
intervention of a foreign or extraneous cause or agency between the beginning of
the commission of the crime and the moment when all the acts have been
performed which should result in the consummated crime.-
The distinction between an attempted and frustrated felony was lucidly
differentiated thus in the leading case of U.S. v. Eduave: A crime cannot be held
to be attempted unless the offender, after beginning the commission of the crime
by overt acts, is prevented, against his will, by some outside cause from
performing all of the acts which should produce the crime. In other words, to be an
attempted crime the purpose of the offender must be thwarted by a foreign force
or agency which intervenes and compels him to stop prior to the moment when he
has performed all of the acts which should produce the crime as a consequence,
which acts it is his intention to perform. If he has performed all the acts which
should result in the consummation of the crime and voluntarily desists from
proceeding further, it cannot be an attempt. The essential element which
distinguishes attempted from frustrated felony is that, in the latter, there is no
intervention of a foreign or extraneous cause or agency between the beginning of
the commission of crime and the moment when all the acts have been performed
which should result in the consummated crime; while in the former there is such
intervention and the offender does not arrive at the point of performing all of the
acts which should produce the crime. He is stopped short of that point by some
cause apart from his voluntary desistance. To put it another way, in case of an
attempt the offender never passes the subjective phase of the offense. He is
interrupted and compelled to desist by the intervention of outside causes before
the subjective phase is passed. On the other hand, in case of frustrated crimes,
the subjective phase is completely passed. Subjectively the crime is complete.
Nothing interrupted the offender while he was passing through the subjective
phase. The crime, however, is not consummated by reason of the intervention of

Page 97 of 407
causes independent of the will of the offender. He did all that was necessary to
commit the crime. If the crime did not result as a consequence it was due to
something beyond his control.
14. Criminal Law; Frustrated Felonies; Murder;Physical Injuries; Intent to kill
determines whether the infliction of injuries should he punished as attempted or
frustrated murder, homicide, parricide or consummated physical injuries.-
In relation to the foregoing, it bears stressing that intent to kill determines whether
the infliction of injuries should be punished as attempted or frustrated murder,
homicide, parricide or consummated physical injuries. Homicidal intent must be
evidenced by acts which at the time of their execution are unmistakably calculated
to produce the death of the victim by adequate means. Suffice it to state that the
intent to kill of the malefactors herein who were armed with bladed weapons and
lead pipes can hardly be doubted given the prevailing facts of the case. It also can
not be denied that the crime is a frustrated felony not an attempted offense
considering that after being stabbed and clubbed twice in the head as a result of
which he lost consciousness and fell, Marion’s attackers apparently thought he
was already dead and fled.
15. Criminal Procedure; Appeals; An appeal in a criminal case throws the whole
case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though
unassigned in the appealed judgment.-
An appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review and the
reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment
or even reverse the trial court’s decision on the basis of grounds other than those
that the parties raised as errors. With the foregoing in mind, we now address the
question of the proper penalties to be imposed.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 122099

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Patricio L. Boncayao

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with the
following MODIFICATIONS:After finality of this Decision, the
records shall be remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Makati
City, which is directed to render judgment based on the evidence
against Samson dela Torre y Esquela.
People vs. Eriña 50 Phil. 998 , January 20, 1927
Case Title : THE-PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, paintiff and appellee, vs. JULIAN
ERIÑIA Y VINOLLA, defendant and appellant.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE OF A CHILD.-
The crime of rape may be committed upon a child of the age of 3 years and 11
months. APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila. Diaz, J.

Docket Number: No. 26298

Page 98 of 407
Counsel: Hermogenes Caluag, Attorney-General Jaranilla

Ponente: OSTRAND

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment appealed from is modified and the defendant-
appellant is hereby found guilty of the crime of frustrated rape and
is sentenced to suffer twelve years of prisión mayor, with the
accessory penalties prescribed by law, and with the costs in both
instances. So ordered.
People vs. Orita 184 SCRA 105 , April 03, 1990
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CEILITO ORITA alias
“Lito,” defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Borongan, Eastern Samar, Br. 2.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Rape|Court
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Rape; Court; Findings of fact of the trial court on credibility of
witnesses should be accorded the highest respect.-
We find no cogent reason to depart from the well-settled rule that the findings of
fact of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses should be accorded the highest
respect because it has the advantage of observing the demeanor of witnesses
and can discern if a witness is telling the truth (People v. Samson, G.R. No.
55520, August 25, 1989).
2. Criminal Law; Rape; Perfect penetration is not essential for the consummation
of rape.-
Clearly, in the crime of rape, from the moment the offender has carnal knowledge
of his victim, he actually attains his purpose and, from that moment also all the
essential elements of the offense have been accomplished. Nothing more is left to
be done by the offender, because he has performed the last act necessary to
produce the crime. Thus, the felony is consummated. In a long line of cases
(People v. Oscar, 48 Phil. 527; People v. Hernandez, 49 Phil. 980; People v.
Royeras, G.R. No. L-31886, April 29, 1974, 56 SCRA 666; People v. Amores,
G.R. No. L-32996, August 21, 1974, 58 SCRA 505), We have set the uniform rule
that for the consummation of rape, perfect penetration is not essential. Any
penetration of the female organ by the male organ is sufficient. Entry of the labia
or lips of the female organ, without rupture of the hymen or laceration of the
vagina is sufficient to warrant conviction. Necessarily, rape is attempted if there is
no penetration of the female organ (People v. Tayaba, 62 Phil. 559; People v.
Rabadan, et al., 53 Phil. 694; United States v. Garcia, 9 Phil. 434) because not all
acts of execution was performed. The offender merely commenced the
commission of a felony directly by overt acts. Taking into account the nature,
elements and manner of execution of the crime of rape and jurisprudence on the
matter, it is hardly conceivable how the frustrated stage in rape can ever be
committed.
3. Criminal Law; Rape; The accused may be convicted of rape on the basis of
the credible testimony of the victim.-
The fact is that in a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted even on
the sole basis of the victim’s testimony if credible (People v. Tabago, G.R. No.
69778, November 8, 1988, 167 SCRA 65; People v. Aragona, G.R. No. L-43752,

Page 99 of 407
September 19, 1985, 138 SCRA 569; People v. Taduyo, G.R. Nos. L-37928-29,
September 29, 1987, 154 SCRA 349). Moreover, Dr. Zamora’s testimony is
merely corroborative and is not an indispensable element in the prosecution of
this case (People v. Alfonso, supra).

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 88724

Counsel: The Office of the Solicitor General, C. Manalo

Dispositive Portion:
ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby
MODIFIED. The accused Ceilito Orita is hereby found guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentenced to
reclusion perpetua as well as to indemnify the victim in the amount
of P30,000.00.
People vs. Caballero 400 SCRA 424 , April 02, 2003
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ARMANDO CABALLERO,
RICARDO CABALLERO, MARCIANO CABALLERO, JR., and ROBITO CABALLERO, accused.
ARMANDO CABALLERO, RICARDO CABALLERO, and MARCIANO CABALLERO, JR.,
appellants.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of
San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Br. 57.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Conspiracy|Treachery|Frustrated Homicide|Attempted
Crime|Words and Phrases|Frustrated Crime|Intent to Kill|Alibi
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; Direct proof of person in agreement to
commit a crime is not necessary; It is not enough that at the time of the
commission of a crime, all the malefactors have the same purpose and are united
in their execution; Once established, all the conspirators are criminally liable as
co-principals regardless of the degree of participation of each of them for in
contemplation of the law, the act of one is the act of all.-
The trial court correctly found that all the appellants conspired to kill Eugene and
assault Arnold; hence, they are criminally liable for the death of Eugene and for
the injuries sustained by Arnold. Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code provides that
there is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a felony and
decide to commit it. Conspiracy is always predominantly mental in composition
because it consists primarily of a meeting of minds and intent. Conspiracy must be
proved with the same quantum of evidence as the crime itself, that is, by proof
beyond reasonable doubt. However, direct proof is not required. Conspiracy may
be proved by circumstantial evidence. Conspiracy may be proved through the
collective acts of the accused, before, during and after the commission of a felony,
all the accused aiming at the same object, one performing one part and another
performing another for the attainment of the same objective, their acts though
apparently independent were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating
closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of
sentiments. The overt act or acts of the accused may consist of active
participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or may consist of moral
assistance to his co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the
criminal plan. Direct proof of a person in agreement to commit a crime is not

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necessary. It is enough that at the time of the commission of a crime, all the
malefactors had the same purpose and were united in their execution. Once
established, all the conspirators are criminally liable as co-principals regardless of
the degree of participation of each of them for in contemplation of the law, the act
of one is the act of all.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; Co-conspirators are criminally liable only
for acts done pursuant to the conspiring on how and what are the necessary and
logic consequence of the intended crime.-
Criminal conspiracy must always be founded on facts, not on mere inferences,
conjectures and presumptions. Mere knowledge, acquiescence to or approval of
the act without cooperation or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to constitute
one party to a conspiracy absent the intentional participation in the act with a view
to the furtherance of the common objective and purpose. Moreover, one is not
criminally liable for his act done outside the contemplation of the conspirators. Co-
conspirators are criminally liable only for acts done pursuant to the conspiring on
how and what are the necessary and logic consequence of the intended crime.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; All appellants by their simultaneous
collective acts before and after the commission of the crimes were united in one
common objective, to kill Eugene, and cause injuries to Arnold for trying to
intervene and prevent bloodshed; Hence, all the appellants are criminally liable for
the death of Eugene and for the injuries of Arnold.-
In this case, when appellant Armando asked Eugene at the store of Wilma
whether the latter was going to buy something from the store, Eugene was
peeved and remonstrated that he and Armando had no quarrel between them.
Appellant Armando was likewise irked at the reaction of Eugene because from the
store, appellant Armando stationed himself by the gate of the Mondragon
Compound near the sari-sari store of Wilma. Appellants Ricardo, Marciano, Jr.
and Robito joined their brother, appellant Armando at the gate. Appellant Ricardo
and accused Robito were armed with knives. When Eugene passed by the gate to
the compound, appellant Armando pulled Eugene to the gate but when the latter
resisted, all the appellants ganged up on Eugene. Appellant Armando took the
wooden support of the clothesline and hit Eugene with it. Eugene was stabbed
three times on his chest even as he tried to parry the thrusts. When Arnold rushed
to the situs criminis to pacify the appellants and accused Robito, appellant
Ricardo stabbed him on the left side of his body. The other appellants and
accused Robito joined appellant Ricardo and ganged up on Arnold. They stabbed
Arnold anew twice on his forearm. Teresito Mondragon, the father-in-law of
appellant Ricardo intervened and forthwith, all the appellants, including accused
Robito returned to the Mondragon Compound. Patently, all the appellants by their
simultaneous collective acts before and after the commission of the crimes were
united in one common objective, to kill Eugene, and cause injuries to Arnold for
trying to intervene and prevent bloodshed. Hence, all the appellants are criminally
liable for the death of Eugene and for the injuries of Arnold. It does not matter who
among the appellants stabbed Eugene or inflicted injuries on Arnold. The act of
one is the act of the others.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Treachery; Even a frontal attack is treacherous if it is
sudden and the victim is unarmed; The essence of treachery is a swift and
unexpected attack on the unarmed victim.-
In Criminal Case No. RTC-1218, the appellants are guilty as co-principals by
direct participation of murder, qualified by treachery. In order that treachery may

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be considered as a qualifying circumstance, the prosecution is burdened to prove
that: . . . . (1) the employment of means of execution that give the person attacked
no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (2) the means of execution
was deliberately or consciously adopted. Even a frontal attack is treacherous if it
is sudden and the victim is unarmed. The essence of treachery is a swift and
unexpected attack on the unarmed victim. In this case, Eugene was unarmed. He
had no inkling that he would be, waylaid as he sauntered on his way to his
girlfriend Susana’s house. On the other hand, appellant Armando was armed with
a wooden pole while appellant Ricardo and accused Robito were armed with
knives. The attack on the hapless Eugene was swift and unannounced.
Undeniably, the appellants killed Eugene with treachery.
5. Criminal Law; Frustrated Homicide; Elements.-
In Criminal Case No. RTC-1219, the appellants are guilty of frustrated murder
under Article 248 in relation to Article 6, first paragraph of the Revised Penal Code
which reads: A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its
execution and accomplishment are present; and it is frustrated when the offender
performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a
consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes
independent of the will of the perpetrator. The essential elements of a frustrated
felony are as follows: Elements: 1. The offender performs all the acts of execution;
2. All the acts performed would produce the felony as a consequence; 3. But the
felony is not produced; 4. By reason of causes independent of the will of the
perpetrator.
6. Criminal Law; Attempted Crime; Words and Phrases; To be an attempted
crime, the purpose of the offender must be thwarted by a foreign force or agency
which intervenes and compels him to stop prior to the moment when he has
performed all the acts which should produce the crime as a consequence, which
act it is his intention to perform.-
In the leading case of United States v. Eduave, Justice Moreland, speaking for the
Court, distinguished an attempted from frustrated felony. He said that to be an
attempted crime the purpose of the offender must be thwarted by a foreign force
or agency which intervenes and compels him to stop prior to the moment when he
has performed all the acts which should produce the crime as a consequence,
which act it is his intention to perform.
7. Criminal Law; Attempted Crime; In an attempted crime, the offender does not
arrive at the point of performing, all of the acts of execution which should produce
the crime; He stopped short of that point by some cause apart from his voluntary
desistance.-
The subjective phase in the commission of a crime is that portion of the acts
constituting the crime included between the act which begins the commission of
the crime and the last act performed by the offender which, with prior acts, should
result in the consummated crime. Thereafter, the phase is objective. In case of an
attempted crime, the offender never passes the subjective phase in the
commission of the crime. The offender does not arrive at the point of performing
all of the acts of execution which should produce the crime. He is stopped short of
that point by some cause apart from his voluntary desistance.
8. Criminal Law; Frustrated Crime; Words and Phrases; A crime is frustrated
when the offender has performed all the acts of execution which should result in
the consummation of the crime.-

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On the other hand, a crime is frustrated when the offender has performed all the
acts of execution which should result in the consummation of the crime. The
offender has passed the subjective phase in the commission of the crime.
Subjectively, the crime is complete. Nothing interrupted the offender while passing
through the subjective phase. He did all that is necessary to consummate the
crime. However, the crime is not consummated by reason of the intervention of
causes independent of the will of the offender. In homicide cases, the offender is
said to have performed all the acts of execution if the wound inflicted on the victim
is mortal and could cause the death of the victim barring medical intervention or
attendance.
9. Criminal Law; Intent to Kill; Elements.-
If one inflicts physical injuries on another but the latter survives, the crime
committed is either consummated physical injuries, if the offender had no intention
to kill the victim or frustrated or attempted homicide or frustrated murder or
attempted murder if the offender intends to kill the victim. Intent to kill may be
proved by evidence of: (a) motive; (b) the nature or number of weapons used in
the commission of the crime; (c) the nature and number of wounds inflicted on the
victim; (d) the manner the crime was committed; and (e) words uttered by the
offender at the time the injuries are inflicted by him on the victim.
10. Criminal Law; Intent to Kill; Appellants performed all the acts of execution
but the crime was not consummated because of the timely medical intervention.-
In this case, appellant Armando was armed with a wooden pole. Appellant
Ricardo and accused Robito used knives. Dr. Quisumbing, who attended to and
operated on Arnold, testified that the stab wound sustained by Arnold on the left
side of his body was mortal and could have caused his death were it not for the
timely and effective medical intervention. x x x It cannot be denied that the
appellants had the intention to kill Arnold. The appellants performed all the acts of
execution but the crime was not consummated because of the timely medical
intervention.
11. Criminal Law; Alibi; Alibi as a defense is inherently weak for it is easy to
fabricate and difficult to disprove.-
Equally barren of merit is appellants' defense of alibi. Alibi as a defense is
inherently weak for it is easy to fabricate and difficult to disprove. To merit
approbation, the appellants were burdened to prove with clear and convincing
evidence that at the time the crimes were committed, they were in a place other
than the situs of the crimes such that it was physically impossible for them to have
committed said crimes. The appellants dismally failed in this respect. They
testified that they were at the house of appellant Ricardo, which was conveniently
near the place where Eugene was killed and Arnold was assaulted. Moreover, the
records show that Marciano, Jr. was treated for his superficial injuries on August
4, 1996, a day after the incident. This belies the claim of appellants Ricardo and
Armando that they were allegedly in the hospital at the time of the incident.
12. Criminal Law; Alibi; Abuse of superior strength, concurring with treachery is
absorbed by treachery.-
The trial court imposed the death penalty on appellants in Criminal Case No.
RTC-1218 on its finding that treachery and abuse of superior strength were
attendant in the killing of Eugene. The Solicitor General does not agree with the
trial court and contends that abuse of superior strength was absorbed by
treachery; hence, should not be considered as a separate aggravating
circumstance in the imposition of the penalty on the appellants. The Court agrees

Page 103 of 407


with the Solicitor General. Abuse of superior strength, concurring with treachery is
absorbed by treachery.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 149028-30

Counsel: Public Attorney’s Office, Ulpiano S. Madamba, Emiliano S. Mariano

Ponente: CALLEJO, SR.

Dispositive Portion:
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Regional
Trial Court of San Carlos City (Negros Occidental), Branch 57, in
Criminal Cases Nos. RTC-1217 up to RTC-1219 is AFFIRMED
with the following MODIFICATIONS:
United States vs. Adiao. 38 Phil. 754 , October 08, 1918
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. TOMAS ADIAO, defendant and
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila. V.
del Rosario, J.
Syllabi Class : THEFT|
Syllabi:
1. THEFT; WHEN CONSUMMATED OR FRUSTRATED.-
One A., a Customs' inspector, abstracted a leather belt valued at eighty centavos
from the baggage of a Japanese and secreted the belt in his desk in the Custom
House, where it was found by other Customs employees. Held: That since the
offender had performed all of the acts of execution necessary for the
accomplishment of the felony, he is guilty of the consummated crime of theft.
2. THEFT; ID.-
The decisions of the supreme court of Spain of October 14, 1898, December 1,
1897, and June 13,1882, cited and approved.

Docket Number: No. 13785

Counsel: Victoriano Yamzon, Attorney-General Paredes

Ponente: MALCOLM

Dispositive Portion:
Judgment is reversed and the defendant and appellant is
sentenced to three months and one day of arresto mayor, with the
costs of all instances against him. The merchandise in question,
attached to the record as Exhibit A, shall be returned to the lawful
owner, T. Murakami. So ordered.
People vs. Hernandez 49 Phil. 980 , October 14, 1925
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs.
DOMINGO HERNANDEZ, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of
the Court of First Instance of Manila. Diaz, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|
Syllabi:

Page 104 of 407


1. CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE.-
The rupturing of the hymen is not indispensable to a conviction of the
consummated crime of rape; entry of the labia of the female organ without rupture
or laceration is generally held to be sufficient.

Docket Number: No. 23916

Counsel: Cirilo B. Santos, Acting Attorney-General Reyes

Ponente: OSTRAND

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment appealed from is therefore modified by finding the
defendant guilty of the consummated crime of rape and, in view of
the aggravating circumstances mentioned in the information, the
penalty imposed upon the defendant is hereby increased to
seventeen years, four months and one day of reclusión temporal,
with the accessory penalties prescribed by law. In all other
respects the judgment is affirmed with the costs against the
appellant. So ordered.
Urbano vs. Intermediate Appellate Court 157 SCRA 1 , January 07, 1988
Case Title : FILOMENO URBANO, petitioner, vs. HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION to review the
decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Proximate Cause|Death must be the direct|natural and logical
consequence of the wounds inflicted|Criminal Liability
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Proximate Cause; Definition of proximate cause in Vda. de
Bataclan, et al. vs. Medina adopted.-
In Vda. de Bataclan, et al. v. Medina (102 Phil. 1181), we adopted the following
definition of proximate cause: “x x x A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is
found in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American Jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-
appellants in their brief. It is as follows: “x x x ‘that cause, which, in natural and
continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the
injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.’ And more
comprehensively, the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the
injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a
natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection
with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting
the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under
such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an
ordinarily prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the
moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result
therefrom.” (at pp. 185-186)
2. Criminal Law; Proximate Cause; Death must be the direct, natural and
logical consequence of the wounds inflicted; Based on Medical findings, the
infection was an efficient intervening cause distinct and foreign to the crime.-
The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural, and logical
consequence of the wound inflicted upon him by the accused. (People v.
Cardenas, supra). And since we are dealing with a criminal conviction, the proof

Page 105 of 407


that the accused caused the victim’s death must convince a rational mind beyond
reasonable doubt. The medical findings, however, lead us to a distinct possibility
that the infection of the wound by tetanus was an efficient intervening cause later
or between the time Javier was wounded to the time of his death. The infection
was, therefore, distinct and foreign to the crime.
3. Criminal Law; Proximate Cause; Tetanus may have been the proximate
cause of Javier’s death with which petitioner had nothing to do.-
Doubts are present. There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote
cause and its subsequent infection, for failure to take necessary precautions, with
tetanus may have been the proximate cause of Javier’s death with which the
petitioner had nothing to do.
4. Criminal Law; Criminal Liability; Petitioner at the very least is guilty of Slight
Physical Injury.-
It strains the judicial mind to allow a dear aggressor to go scot free of criminal
liability. At the very least, the records show he is guilty of inflicting slight physical
injuries. However, the petitioner’s criminal liability in this respect was wiped out by
the victim’s own act. After the hacking incident, Urbano and Javier used the
facilities of barangay mediators to effect a compromise agreement where Javier
forgave Urbano while Urbano defrayed the medical expenses of Javier. This
settlement of minor offenses is allowed under the express provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 1508, Section 2(3).
5. Criminal Law; Criminal Liability; A person while not criminally liable may still
be civilly liable; a well-settled doctrine.-
We must stress, however, that our discussion of proximate cause and remote
cause is limited to the criminal aspects of this rather unusual case. It does not
necessarily follow that the petitioner is also free of civil liability. The well-settled
doctrine is that a person, while not criminally liable, may still be civilly liable.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-72964

Ponente: GUTIERREZ, JR.

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The
questioned decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court, now
Court of Appeals, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petitioner is
ACQUITTED of the crime of homicide. Costs de oficio.
ntod vs. Court of Appeals 215 SCRA 52 , October 21, 1992
Case Title : SULPICIO INTOD, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for review of the
decision of the Court of Appeals. Purisima, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Impossible crime
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; To be impossible, the act intended by the
offender must be by its nature one impossible of accomplishment.-
That the offense cannot be produced because the commission of the offense is
inherently impossible of accomplishment is the focus of this petition. To be
impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must be by its

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nature one impossible of accomplishment. There must be either (1) legal
impossibility, or (2) physical impossibility of accomplishing the intended act in
order to qualify the act as an impossible crime.
2. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; Legal impossibility occurs where the
intended acts even if completed, would not amount to a crime.-
Legal impossibility occurs where the intended acts, even if completed, would not
amount to a crime. Thus: Legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances
where (1) the motive, desire and expectation is to perform an act in violation of the
law; (2) there is intention to perform the physical act; (3) there is a performance of
the intended physical act; and (4) the consequence resulting from the intended act
does not amount to a crime.
3. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; Factual impossibility occurs when
extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his control prevent the
consummation of the intended crime.-
On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances
unknown to the actor or beyond his control prevent the consummation of the
intended crime. One example is the man who puts his hand in the coat pocket of
another with the intention to steal the latter’s wallet and finds the pocket empty.
4. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; There is a difference between the Philippine
and the American laws regarding the concept and appreciation of impossible
crimes.-
The aforecited cases are the same cases which have been relied upon by
Respondent to make this Court sustain the judgment of attempted murder against
Petitioner. However, we cannot rely upon these decisions to resolve the issue at
hand. There is a difference between the Philippine and the American laws
regarding the concept and appreciation of impossible crimes.
5. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code,
in Article 4(2) expressly provided for impossible crimes and made them
punishable.-
In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code, in Article 4(2), expressly provided for
impossible crimes and made them punishable. Whereas, in the United States, the
Code of Crimes and Criminal Procedure is silent regarding this matter. What it
provided for were attempts of the crimes enumerated in the said Code.
Furthermore, in said jurisdiction, the impossibility of committing the offense is
merely a defense to an attempt charge. In this regard, commentators and the
cases generally divide the impossibility defense into two categories: legal versus
factual impossibility.
6. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; In American law, there is no such thing as
an impossible crime.-
To restate, in the United States, where the offense sought to be committed is
factually impossible of accomplishment, the offender cannot escape criminal
liability. He can be convicted of an attempt to commit the substantive crime where
the elements of attempt are satisfied. It appears, therefore, that the act is
penalized, not as an impossible crime, but as an attempt to commit a crime. On
the other hand, where the offense is legally impossible of accomplishment, the
actor cannot be held liable for any crime–—neither for an attempt nor for an
impossible crime. The only reason for this is that in American law, there is no such
thing as an impossible crime. Instead, it only recognizes impossibility as a defense
to a crime charge–—that is, attempt.

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7. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; In our jurisdiction, impossible crimes are
recognized.-
This is not true in the Philippines. In our jurisdiction, impossible crimes are
recognized. The impossibility of accomplishing the criminal intent is not merely a
defense, but an act penalized by itself. Furthermore, the phrase “inherent
impossibility” that is found in Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code makes no
distinction between factual or physical impossibility and legal impossibility. Ubi lex
non distinguit nec nos distinguiere debemos.
8. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; Factual impossibility of the commission of
the crime is not a defense.-
x x x Factual impossibility of the commission of the crime is not a defense. If the
crime could have been committed had the circumstances been as the defendant
believed them to be, it is no defense that in reality the crime was impossible of
commission.
9. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; Legal impossibility is a defense which can
be invoked to avoid criminal liability for an attempt.-
Legal impossibility, on the other hand, is a defense which can be invoked to avoid
criminal liability for an attempt.
10. Criminal Law; Impossible crime; The factual situation in the case at bar
presents a physical impossibility which rendered the intended crime impossible of
accomplishment.-
The factual situation in the case at bar presents a physical impossibility which
rendered the intended crime impossible of accomplishment. And under Article 4,
paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, such is sufficient to make the act an
impossible crime.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 103119

Counsel: Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: CAMPOS, JR.

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is hereby
GRANTED, the decision of respondent Court of Appeals holding
Petitioner guilty of Attempted Murder is hereby MODIFIED. WE
hereby hold Petitioner guilty of an impossible crime as defined and
penalized in Articles 4, paragraph 2, and 59 of the Revised Penal
Code, respectively. Having in mind the social danger and degree of
criminality shown by Petitioner this Court sentences him to suffer
the penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, together with the
accessory penalties provided by the law, and to pay the costs.
Quinto vs. Andres 453 SCRA 511 , March 16, 2005
Case Title : MELBA QUINTO, petitioner, vs. DANTE ANDRES and RANDYVER PACHECO,
respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of
Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Actions|Criminal Procedure|Judgments|Words and Phrases|Judicial Notice
Syllabi:

Page 108 of 407


1. Actions; Criminal Procedure; When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be
deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the
civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action
prior to the criminal action.-
Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. The civil liability of
such person established in Articles 100, 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code
includes restitution, reparation of the damage caused, and indemnification for
consequential damages. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for
the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed
instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action,
reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the
criminal action. With the implied institution of the civil action in the criminal action,
the two actions are merged into one composite proceeding, with the criminal
action predominating the civil.
2. Actions; Criminal Procedure; The prime purpose of the criminal action is to
punish the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or
similar offense, to isolate him from society, to reform and rehabilitate him or, in
general, to maintain social order; The sole purpose of the civil action is the
restitution, reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the
damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the
accused.-
The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter
him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from
society, to reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order. The
sole purpose of the civil action is the restitution, reparation or indemnification of
the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the
delictual or felonious act of the accused. While the prosecution must prove the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime charged, it is required
to prove the cause of action of the private complainant against the accused for
damages and/or restitution.
3. Actions; Criminal Procedure; Judgments; The civil action based on delict
shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the civil
action that the act or omission from where the civil liability may arise does not
exist.-
The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil
action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if
there is a finding in a final judgment in the civil action that the act or omission from
where the civil liability may arise does not exist.
4. Actions; Criminal Procedure; Words and Phrases; A person committing a
felony is criminally liable for all the natural and logical consequences resulting
therefrom although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended-
“natural” refers to an occurrence in the ordinary course of human life or events,
while “logical” means that there is a rational connection between the act of the
accused and the resulting injury or damage.—A person committing a felony is
criminally liable for all the natural and logical consequences resulting therefrom
although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. “Natural”
refers to an occurrence in the ordinary course of human life or events, while
“logical” means that there is a rational connection between the act of the accused
and the resulting injury or damage. The felony committed must be the proximate

Page 109 of 407


cause of the resulting injury. Proximate cause is that cause which in natural and
continuous sequence, unbroken by an efficient intervening cause, produces the
injury, and without which the result would not have occurred. The proximate legal
cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately, or by setting
other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events,
each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor.
5. Actions; Criminal Procedure; Judicial Notice; It is of judicial notice that
nowadays persons have killed or committed serious crimes for no reason at all.-
It is of judicial notice that nowadays persons have killed or committed serious
crimes for no reason at all. However, the absence of any ill-motive to kill the
deceased is relevant and admissible in evidence to prove that no violence was
perpetrated on the person of the deceased. In this case, the petitioner failed to
adduce proof of any ill-motive on the part of either respondent to kill the deceased
before or after the latter was invited to join them in fishing.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 155791

Counsel: Public Attorney’s Office, David P. Briones

Ponente: CALLEJO, SR.

Dispositive Portion:
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for
lack of merit. No costs.
People vs. Valledor 383 SCRA 653 , July 03, 2002
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ENRICO A. VALLEDOR,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Puerto
Princesa City, Br. 47.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Exempting Circumstance|Insanity
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Exempting Circumstance;Insanity; The law
presumes all acts to be voluntary and it is improper to presume that acts were
done unconsciously.-
In considering a plea of insanity as a defense, the starting premise is that the law
presumes all persons to be of sound mind. Otherwise stated, the law presumes all
acts to be voluntary, and it is improper to presume that acts were done
unconsciously.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Exempting Circumstance;Insanity; A man may act
crazy but it does not necessarily and conclusively prove that he is legally so; What
is decisive is his mental condition at the time of the perpetration of the offense.-
Accused-appellant’s acts prior to the stabbing incident to wit: crying; swimming in
the river with his clothes on; and jumping off the jeepney; were not sufficient to
prove that he was indeed insane at the time of the commission of the crime. As
consistently held by this Court, “A man may act crazy but it does not necessarily
and conclusively prove that he is legally so.” Then, too, the medical findings
showing that accused-appellant was suffering from a mental disorder after the
commission of the crime, has no bearing on his liability. What is decisive is his
mental condition at the time of the perpetration of the offense. Failing to discharge

Page 110 of 407


the burden of proving that he was legally insane when he stabbed the victims, he
should be held liable for his felonious acts.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 129291

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Benjamin B. Padon

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch
47, is MODIFIED as follows:
People vs. Narvaez 121 SCRA 389 , April 20, 1983
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MAMERTO NARVAEZ,
defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of the Court of First Instance of
South Cotabato, Br. I.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Lease|Evidence|Penalty|Damages
Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: Nos. L-33466-67

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Gonzalo B. Callanta (counsel de oficio)

Ponente: MAKASIAR

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT OF ONLY TWO (2) HOMICIDES,
MITIGATED BY THE PRIVILEGED EXTENUATING
CIRCUMSTANCE OF INCOMPLETE SELF-DEFENSE AS WELL
AS BY TWO (2) GENERIC MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES OF
VOLUNTARY SURRENDER AND OBFUSCATION, WITHOUT
ANY AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE, APPELLANT IS
HEREBY SENTENCED TO SUFFER AN IMPRISONMENT OF
FOUR (4) MONTHS OF ARRESTO MAYOR, TO INDEMNIFY
EACH GROUP OF HEIRS OF DAVIS FLEISCHER AND OF
FLAVIANO RUBIA IN THE SUM OF FOUR THOUSAND
(P4,000.00) PESOS, WITHOUT SUBSIDIARY IMPRISONMENT
AND WITHOUT ANY AWARD FOR MORAL DAMAGES AND
ATTORNEY’S FEES.CONSIDERING THAT APPELLANT HAS
BEEN UNDER DETENTION FOR ALMOST FOURTEEN (14)
YEARS NOW SINCE HIS VOLUNTARY SURRENDER ON
AUGUST 22, 1968, HIS IMMEDIATE RELEASE IS HEREBY
ORDERED. NO COSTS.

Criminal Law; The act of the victims of ordering and actually fencing off the house and rice
mill of the accused constitutes unlawful aggression against property rights.—The actuation of
deceased Fleischer in angrily ordering the continuance of the fencing would

Page 111 of 407


_______________
*
EN BANC.

390

3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


90 ANNOTATED
People vs. Narvaez
have resulted in the further chiselling of the walls of appellant’s house as well as the
closure of the access to and from his house and rice mill—which were not only imminent but
were actually in progress. There is no question, therefore, that there was aggression on the part
of the victims: Fleischer was ordering, and Rubia was actually participating in the fencing. This
was indeed aggression, not on the person of appellant, but on his property rights.

Same; Lease; Where the landlord had given his tenant up to December 31, 1968 within
which to vacate the land, the former should have allowed the latter the peaceful enjoyment of
the leased and not fenced-off and chiselled the estate and house of the latter before the said
time. In so doing the landlord committed an unlawful aggression.—In any case, Fleischer had
given him up to December 31, 1968 (Exh. 10, p. 2, Defense Exhibits) within which to vacate the
land. He should have allowed appellant the peaceful enjoyment of his properties up to that time,
instead of chiselling the walls of his house and closing appellant’s entrance and exit to the
highway.

Same; Same; Same; Property.—Conformably to the foregoing provisions, the deceased


had no right to destroy or cause damage to appellant’s house, nor to close his accessibility to
the highway while he was pleading with them to stop and talk things over with him. The assault
on appellant’s property, therefore, amounts to unlawful aggression as contemplated by law.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same.—In the case at bar, there was an actual physical
invasion of appellant’s property which he had the right to resist, pursuant to Art. 429 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines.

Same; Shooting of the victims by the appellant from the window of his house while the
former were proceeding with the fencing off of appellant’s rented estate despite the latter’s plea
to stop the same is disproportionate to the physical aggression of the victims.—The
reasonableness of the resistance is also a requirement of the justifying circumstance of self
defense or defense of one’s rights under paragraph 1 of Article 11, Revised Penal Code. When
the appellant fired his shotgun from his window, killing his two victims, his resistance was
disproportionate to the attack.

Same; Appellant who was sleeping when the victims chiselled his house and fenced off his
estate and who asked them to stop doing
391

VOL. 121, APRIL 20, 1983 3


91
People vs. Narvaez

Page 112 of 407


so is not guilty of sufficient provocation when he shot the victims who ignored his plea.—
WE find, however, that the third element of defense of property is present, i.e., lack of sufficient
provocation on the part of appellant who was defending his property. As a matter of fact, there
was no provocation at all on his part, since he was asleep at first and was only awakened by the
noise produced by the victims and their laborers. His plea for the deceased and their men to
stop and talk things over with him was no provocation at all.

Same; Treachery cannot be appreciated where provocation came from the deceased.—
The crime committed is homicide on two counts. The qualifying circumstance of treachery
cannot be appreciated in this case because of the presence of provocation on the part of the
deceased.

Same; Treachery is not present where the slayer acted instantaneously.—Moreover, in


order to appreciate alevosia, “it must clearly appear that the method of assault adopted by the
aggressor was deliberately chosen with a special view to the accomplishment of the act without
risk to the assailant from any defense that the party assailed might have made. This cannot be
said of a situation where the slayer acted instantaneously x x x” (People vs. Cañete, 44 Phil.
481).

Same; Evidence; Laborer employed by victim is an obviously biased witness.—


Moreover, the obvious bias of witness Crisanto Ibañez, as a laborer of the deceased Davis
Fleischer, neutralizes his credibility.

Same; Where there is no evidence of planning or preparation to kill, evident premeditation


cannot be appreciated.—Since in the case at bar, there was no direct evidence of the planning
or preparation to kill the victims nor that the accused premeditated the killing, and clung to his
premeditated act, the trial court’s conclusion as to the presence of such circumstance may not
be endorsed. Evident premeditation is further negated by appellant pleading with the victims to
stop the fencing and destroying his house and to talk things over just before the shooting.

Same; There is passion/obfuscation where the accused awoke to find out that his house is
being chiselled and fenced off.—Likewise, WE find that passion and obfuscation attended the
commission of the crime. The appellant awoke to find his house being damaged and
392

3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


92 ANNOTATED
People vs. Narvaez
its accessibility to the highway as well as of his rice mill bodega being closed. Not only was
his house being unlawfully violated; his business was also in danger of closing down for lack of
access to the highway. These circumstances, coming so near to the time when his first house
was dismantled, thus forcing him to transfer to his only remaining house, must have so
aggravated his obfuscation that he lost momentarily all reason causing him to reach for his
shotgun and fire at the victims in defense of his rights. Considering the antecedent facts of this
case, where appellant had thirty years earlier migrated to this so-called “land of promise” with
dreams and hopes of relative prosperity and tranquility, only to find his castle crumbling at the
hands of the deceased, his dispassionate plea going unheeded—all these could be too much
for any man—he should be credited with this mitigating circumstances.

Page 113 of 407


Same; Penalty; Where there is incomplete self-defense the accused is entitled to a penalty
lower by one or two degrees. The same may be further reduced where there are two mitigating
circumstances.—Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code prescribes the penalty for homicide
as reclusion temporal. Pursuant to Article 69, supra, the penalty lower by one or two degrees
shall be imposed if the deed is not wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of the
conditions required to justify the same. Considering that the majority of the requirements for
defense of property are present, the penalty may be lowered by two degrees, i.e., to prision
correccional. And under paragraph 5 of Article 64, the same may further be reduced by one
degree, i.e.,arresto mayor, because of the presence of two mitigating circumstances and no
aggravating circumstance.

Same; Damages; Civil liability of accused shall be reduced where the victims contributed to
the gravity of the reaction of the accused.—The civil liability of the appellant should be modified.
In the case of Zulueta vs. Pan American World Airways (43 SCRA 397), the award for moral
damages was reduced because the plaintiff contributed to the gravity of defendant’s reaction. In
the case at bar, the victims not only contributed but they actually provoked the attack by
damaging appellant’s properties and business. Considering appellant’s standing in the
community, being married to a municipal councilor, the victims’ actuations were apparently
designed to humiliate him and destroy his reputation. The records disclose that his wife,
councilor Feliza Narvaez, was also charged in these two cases and detained without bail
despite the absence of evidence linking her to the killings. She was dropped as a defendant
only upon motion of the prosecution dated October 31, 1968.

393

VOL. 121, APRIL 20, 1983 3


93
People vs. Narvaez

Same; Same; Inordinate desire of owners/officers of a company with large landholdings


already to acquire more lands thereby uprooting land settlers should be taken to account in
reducing the civil liability of the accused for homicide.—Moreover, these cases arose out of an
inordinate desire on the part of Fleischer and Company, despite its extensive landholdings in a
Central Visayan province, to extend its accumulation of public lands to the resettlement areas of
Cotabato. Since it had the capability—financial and otherwise—to carry out its land
accumulation scheme, the lowly settlers, who uprooted their families from their native soil in
Luzon to take advantage of the government’s resettlement program, but had no sufficient
means to fight the big landowners, were the ones prejudiced. Thus, the moral and material
suffering of appellant and his family deserves leniency as to his civil liability.

Same; R.A. 5465 which abolished subsidiary imprisonment for non-payment of civil
indemnity is favorable to the accused and is given retroactive effect.—Furthermore, Article 39 of
the Revised Penal Code requires a person convicted of prision correccional or arresto
mayor and fine who has no property with which to meet his civil liabilities to serve a subsidiary
imprisonment at the rate of one (1) day for each P2.50. However, the amendment introduced by
Republic Act No. 5465 on April 21, 1969 made the provisions of Art. 39 applicable to fines only
and not to reparation of the damage caused, indemnification of consequential damages and
costs of proceedings. Considering that Republic Act 5465 is favorable to the accused who is not

Page 114 of 407


a habitual delinquent, it may be given retroactive effect pursuant to Article 22 of the Revised
Penal Code.

Gutierrez, J., separate opinion; dissenting in part:

Criminal Law; Defense of property to be available in prosecutions for murder or homicide


must be coupled with an attack on the person defending it which is not present in the case at
bar.—Defense of property is not of such importance as the right to life and defense of property
can only be invoked when it is coupled with some form of attack on the person of one entrusted
with said property. The defense of property, whether complete or incomplete, to be available in
prosecutions for murder or homicide must be coupled with an attack by the one getting the
property on the person defending it.

Same; Same.—In the case now before Us, there is absolutely no evidence that an attack
was attempted, much less made upon the per-
394

3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


94 ANNOTATED
People vs. Narvaez
son of appellant. The mere utterance “No, gademit, proceed, go ahead” is not the unlawful
aggression which entitles appellant to the plea of self-defense. I agree with the majority opinion
that the crime is homicide but without any privileged mitigating circumstance.

People vs. Boholst-Caballero 61 SCRA 180 , November 25, 1974


Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CUNIGUNDA
BOHOLST-CABALLERO, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Leyte, Ormoc City branch. Estenzo, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal law|Self-defense|Unlawful aygresxion|Lack of sufficient provocation
Syllabi:
1. Criminal law; Self-defense; Basis of law on self-defense.-
The law on self-defense embodied in any penal system in the civilized world finds
justification in man's natural instinct to protect, repel, and save his person or rights
from impending danger or peril; it is based on that impulse of self-preservation
born to man and part of his nature as a human being.
2. Criminal law; Self-defense; Basis of law on self-defense according to the
Classicists and Positivists.-
To the Classicists in penal law, lawful defense is grounded on the impossibility on
the part of the State to avoid a present unjust aggression and protect a person
unlawfully attacked, and therefore it is inconceivable for the State to require that
the innocent succumb to an unlawful aggression without resistance; while to the
Positivists, lawful defense is an exercise of a right, an act of social justice done to
repel the attack of an aggressor.
3. Criminal law; Self-defense; Requisites.-
Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code provides that anyone who acts in defense of
his person or rights does not incur any criminal liability provided that the following
circumstances concur: (1) Unlawful aggression; (2) reasonable necessity of the

Page 115 of 407


means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the
part of the person defending himself.
4. Criminal law; Self-defense; Requisites must be proved by clear and
convincing evidence.-
He who seeks justification for his act must prove by clear and convincing evidence
the presence of the statutory circumstances, the rationale being that having
admitted the wounding or killing of his adversary which is a felony, he is to be held
criminally liable for the crime unless he establishes to the satisfaction of the court
the fact of legitimate self-defense.
5. Criminal law; Self-defense; Unlawful aygresxion;Where the location of the
wound inflicted on the victim confirms the said victim ax the unlawful awjressor;
Case at bar.-
With her husband kneeling over her as she lay on her back on the ground and his
hand choking her neck, the accused had no other recourse but to pull out the knife
inserted at the left side of her husband’s belt and plunge it at his body hitting the
left back portion just below the waist, described by the attending physician as the
left lumbar region. The fact that the blow landed in the vicinity from where the
knife was drawn is a strong indication of the truth of the accused’s testimony, for
as she lay on the ground with her husband bent over her it was quite natural for
her right hand to get hold of the knife tucked in the left side of the man’s belt and
thrust it at that section of the body nearest to her hand at the moment.
6. Criminal law; Self-defense; Reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent unlawful aggression; Reasonable necessity of the means employed rests
upon the imminent danger of injury; Case at bar.-
The second element, that is, reasonable necessity for the means employed, is
likewise present. The accused who being strangled and choked by a furious
aggressor and rendered almost unconscious by the strong pressure on her throat
had no other recourse but to get hold of any weapon within her reach to save
herself from impending death. Reasonable necessity of the means employed in
self-defense does not depend upon the harm done but rests upon the imminent
danger of such injury. The knife tucked in her husband’s belt afforded the accused
the only reasonable means with which she could free and save herself from being
strangled and choked to death.
7. Criminal law; Self-defense; Lack of sufficient provocation; Imaginary
commission of a wrong not a sufficient provocation; Case at bar.-
Provocation is sufficient when it is proportionate to the aggression, that is,
adequate enough to impel one to attack the person claiming self-defense. The
accused did not give sufficient provocation to warrant the aggression or attack on
her person by her husband. While it was understandable for the accused to be
angry at his wife for finding her on the road in the middle of the night, however, he
was not justified in inflicting bodily punishment with an intent to kill by choking his
wife’s throat. All that the accused did was to provoke an imaginary commission of
a wrong in the mind of her husband, which is not a sufficient provocation under
the law of self-defense.
8. Criminal law; Where there are directly conflicting versions of the incident object
of the accusation, duty of the Court to look for other circumstances to determine
the truth as between the conflicting versions.-
Where there are directly conflicting versions of the incident object of the
accusation, the Court in its search for the truth perforce has to look for some facts
or circumstances which can be used as valuable aids in evaluating the probability

Page 116 of 407


or improbability of a testimony, for after all the element of probability is always
involved in weighing testimonial evidence, so much so that when a court as a
judicial fact-finder pronounces judgment that a set of facts constitute the true
happening it does so not of its own personal knowledge but as the result of an
evaluating process of the probability or improbability of a fact sought to be proved.
9. Criminal law; Absence of motive important in determining the truth as between
conflicting versions of the incident object of the accusation.-
Although it is the general rule that the presence of motive in the killing of a person
is not indispensable to a conviction especially where the identity of the assailant is
duly established by other competent evidence or is not disputed, nonetheless, the
absence of such motive is important in ascertaining the truth as between two
antagonistic theories or versions of the killing.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-23249

Counsel: Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Florencio Villamor,
Attorney Concepcion F. Torrijos, Accused-appellant

Ponente: MUNOZ PALMA

Dispositive Portion:
IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE CONSIDERATIONS, We find that
accused-appellant acted in the legitimate defense of her person,
and We accordingly set aside the judgment of conviction and
ACQUIT her with costs de oficio.
People vs. Alconga and Bracamonte 78 Phil. 366 , April 30, 1947
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. DIOSCORO
ALCONGA and ADOLFO BRACAMONTE, defendants. DIOSCORO ALCONGA, appellant.Case
Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo. Vega, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|HOMICIDE|SELF-DEFENSE
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE;FLIGHT OF ADVERSARY.-
An accused was no longer acting in self-defense when he pursued and killed a
fleeing adversary, though originally the unlawful aggressor, there being then no
more aggression to defend against, the same having ceased from the moment the
deceased took to his heels.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE;PROVOCATION, AS
MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE.-
Provocation given by an adversary at the commencement and during the first
stage of a fight, cannot be considered as a mitigating circumstance, where the
appellant pursued and killed the former while fleeing and the deceased, as in the
case at bar, from the moment he fled after the first stage of the fight to the
moment he died, did not give any provocation for appellant to pursue, much less
further to attack him.
3. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE; ID.-
Provocation in order to be a mitigating circumstance must be sufficient and
immediately preceding the act. "It should be proportionate to the act committed
and adequate to stir one to its commission."

Page 117 of 407


4. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE; NEED OF PROOF.-
Sufficient provocation, being a matter of defense, should, like any other, be
affirmatively proven by the accused.
5. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE;ILLEGAL AGGRESSION,
DEFINED.-
"Illegal aggression" is equivalent to assault or at least threatened assault of an
immediate and imminent kind.

Docket Number: No. L-162

Counsel: Jose Avanceña, Assistant Solicitor General Kapunan, jr., Solicitor Barcelona

Ponente: HILADO, MORAN, PERFECTO

Dispositive Portion:
As thus modified, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed.
So ordered.We vote to acquit appellant.
.
People vs. Sumicad 56 Phil. 643 , March 18, 1932
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. JULIAN
SUMICAD, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of
First Instance of Occidental Misamis. Rich, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|HOMICIDE
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE.-
While a man is not, as a rule, justified in taking the life of one who assails him
without the use of a dangerous weapon, this rule contemplates the situation where
the contending parties are in the open and the person assaulted can exercise the
option of retreating, Such rule is not applicable to the case where the person
assaulted has no way of escape. In such situation the one who is assaulted can
use a weapon in any way reasonably necessary to his protection from the
aggressor.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; CASE AT BAR.-
The deceased here was a bully of known violent character and, although himself
unarmed, he attempted to take from the accused a bolo, the only means of
defense possessed by the latter. The court observed that under the circumstances
it would have been an act of suicide on the part of the accused to allow the bolo to
pass into the hands of his antagonist.

Docket Number: No. 35524

Counsel: Felipe K. Medina, Attorney-General Jaranilla

Ponente: STREET

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment appealed from will therefore be reversed and the
appellant absolved from the information, with costs of both
instances de oficio. So ordered.
People vs. Sumicad 56 Phil. 643 , March 18, 1932

Page 118 of 407


Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. JULIAN
SUMICAD, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of
First Instance of Occidental Misamis. Rich, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|HOMICIDE
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; SELF-DEFENSE.-
While a man is not, as a rule, justified in taking the life of one who assails him
without the use of a dangerous weapon, this rule contemplates the situation where
the contending parties are in the open and the person assaulted can exercise the
option of retreating, Such rule is not applicable to the case where the person
assaulted has no way of escape. In such situation the one who is assaulted can
use a weapon in any way reasonably necessary to his protection from the
aggressor.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; CASE AT BAR.-
The deceased here was a bully of known violent character and, although himself
unarmed, he attempted to take from the accused a bolo, the only means of
defense possessed by the latter. The court observed that under the circumstances
it would have been an act of suicide on the part of the accused to allow the bolo to
pass into the hands of his antagonist.

Docket Number: No. 35524

Counsel: Felipe K. Medina, Attorney-General Jaranilla

Ponente: STREET

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment appealed from will therefore be reversed and the
appellant absolved from the information, with costs of both
instances de oficio. So ordered.
People vs. Luague and Alcansare 62 Phil. 504 , November 07, 1935
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs.
NATIVIDAD LUAGUE and WENCESLAO ALCANSARE, defendants and appellants.Case
Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros. Bejasa,
J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|ID|ATTEMPTED RAPE|SELF-DEFENSE
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; ATTEMPTED RAPE; SELF-DEFENSE; DEFENSE OF
HONOR.-
Aside from the right to life on which rests the legitimate defense of our person, we
have the right to property acquired by us, and the right to honor which is not the
least prized of our patrimony. (1 Viada, 172, 173, 5th edition.)
2. CRIMINAL LAW; ATTEMPTED RAPE; SELF-DEFENSE; ID.-
The attempt to rape a woman constitutes an aggression sufficient to put her in a
state of legitimate defense inasmuch as a woman's honor cannot but be esteemed
as a right as precious, if not more, than her very existence; and it is evident that a
woman who, thus imperiled, wounds, nay kills the offender, should be afforded
exemption from criminal liability since such killing cannot be considered a crime
from the moment it became the only means left for her to protect her honor from
so great an outrage. (1 Viada, 301, 5th edition.)

Page 119 of 407


3. ID; ATTEMPTED RAPE; SELF-DEFENSE; BASIS OF THE PRESUMPTIONS
OF FACT.-
The basis of the presumptions of fact is probability. The courts have to content
themselves with the latter when truth is beyond their reach. In the case at bar, the
acts which one of the witnesses for the prosecution claims to have done are so
out of the ordinary conduct of men as to be devoid of probability. Occasionally,
indeed, there are those who behave strangely, but this is the exception and not
the rule.
4. ID; ATTEMPTED RAPE; SELF-DEFENSE; INTENTION OF ATTAINING AN
END WITH ADEQUATE MEANS.-
The theory of the prosecution that the accused husband and his wife had
conspired to kill P is overcome by the very facts which the prosecution itself has
attempted to prove. If such conspiracy had really existed, the accused spouses
would have been fully prepared to carry it into execution, because rational beings
differ from those who are not in that when they embark on anything, they make
the means equal to its realization. The prosecution has tried to prove, however,
that on the occasion in question the accused were not armed, and that the
weapon with which the accused wife wounded P belonged to the latter, which
weapon she borrowed on that occasion for a certain personal purpose.

Docket Number: No. 43588

Counsel: Vicente E. Calanog, Solicitor-General Hilado

Ponente: RECTO

Dispositive Portion:
In résumé, we are of the opinion that we should, as we do hereby
hold that the accused Natividad Luague in wounding Paulino
Disuasido to death, acted in legitimate selfdefense, and that the
other accused Wenceslao Alcansare had no participation in said
act; wherefore, reversing the appealed judgment, we hereby acquit
both accused, and order their immediate release, if in confinement,
with costs de oficio.
People vs. Jaurigue and Jaurigue 76 Phil. 174 , February 21, 1946
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. NICOLAS
JAURIGUE and AVELINA JAURIGUE, defendants. AVELINA JAURIGUE, appellant.Case
Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the court of First Instance of Laguna. Amador, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|HOMICIDE|EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCES |MITIGATING
CIRCUMSTANCES|VOLUNTARY SURRENDER|AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCES ; DEFENSE
OF HONOR.-
The attempt to rape a woman constitutes an unlawful aggression sufficient to put
her in a state of legitimate defense, inasmuch as a woman's honor cannot but be
esteemed as a right as precious, if not more, than her very existence; and it is
evident that a woman who, thus imperiled, wounds, nay kills the offender, should
be afforded exemption from criminal liability, since such killing cannot be
considered a crime from the moment it became the only means left for her to
protect her honor from so great an outrage.

Page 120 of 407


2. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCES ; CASE AT
BAR.-
When the deceased sat by the side of defendant and appellant on the same
bench, near the door of the barrio chapel and placed his hand on the upper
portion of her right thigh, without her consent, the said chapel was lighted with
electric lights, and there were already several people, about ten of them, inside
the chapel, including her own father and the barrio lieutenant; there was and there
could be no possibility of her being raped. And when she gave A. C. a thrust at the
base of the left side of his neck, inflicting upon him a mortal wound 4½ inches
deep, causing his death a few moments later, the means employed by her in the
defense of her honor was evidently excessive. Held: That she cannot be legally
declared completely exempt from criminal liability.
3. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; MITIGATING
CIRCUMSTANCES; VOLUNTARY SURRENDER;OBFUSCATION.-
The fact that defendant and appellant immediately and voluntarily and
unconditionally surrendered to the barrio lieutenant, admitting having stabbed the
deceased, and agreed to go to her house shortly thereafter and to remain there
subject to the order of the said barrio lieutenant, an agent of the authorities, and
the further fact that she had acted in the immediate vindication of a grave offense
committed against her a few moments before, and upon such provocation as to
produce passion and obfuscation, or temporary loss of reason and self-control,
should be considered as mitigating circumstances in her favor.
4. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; LACK OF
INTENTION TO COMMIT so GRAVE A WRONG AS THAT ACTUALLY
COMMITTED.-
It appearing that defendant and appellant merely wanted to punish the offending
hand of thedeceased with her knife, as shown by the fact that she inflicted upon
him only one single wound, the mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to
commit so grave a wrong as that actually committed should be considered in her
favor.
5. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; AGGRAVATING
CIRCUMSTANCES; COMMISSION OF OFFENSE IN CONSECRATED PLACE.-
The aggravating circumstance that the killing was done in a place dedicated to
religious worship, cannot be legally considered, where there is no evidence to
show that the defendant and appellant had murder in her heart when she entered
the chapel the fatal night.

Docket Number: CA-No. 384

Counsel: Jose Ma. Recto, Assistant Solicitor General Enriquez and Solicitor Palma

Ponente: DE JOYA

Dispositive Portion:
The law prescribes the penalty of reclusión temporal for the crime
of homicide; and if it should be reduced by two degrees, the
penalty to be imposed in the instant case is that of prisión
correccional; and pursuant to the provisions of section 1 of Act No.
4103 of the Philippine Legislature, known as the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, herein defendant and appellant should be

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sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from arresto mayor
in its medium degree, to prisión correccional in its medium degree.
Consequently, with the modification of the judgment appealed
from, defendant and appellant Avelina Jaurigue is hereby
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from two months
and one day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two years, four
months, and one day of prisión correccional, as maximum, with the
accessory penalties prescribed by law, to indemnify the heirs of the
deceased Amado Capiña, in the sum of P2,000, and to suffer the
corresponding subsidiary imprisonment, not to exceed 1/3 of the
principal penalty, in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
Defendant and appellant should also be given the benefit of ½ of
her preventive imprisonment, and the knife marked Exhibit B
ordered confiscated. So ordered.
United States vs. Bumanglag. 14 Phil. 644 , December 23, 1909
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. RAFAEL BUMANGLAG ET AL.,
defendants.—GREGORIO BUNDOC, appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte. Chanco, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE|HOMICIDE|MITIGATING
CIRCUMSTANCES
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE;HOMICIDE; PLEA OF
SELFDEFENSE.-
Unless the accused was first unlawfully attacked, it is not proper to admit the plea
of self-defense and exempt him from criminal responsibility; it is necessary, in
order that such defense shall be effective, that the same shall be proven as well
as the crime charged.
2. CRIMINAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE;HOMICIDE; MITIGATING
CIRCUMSTANCES;PENALTY.-
The presence of the mitigating circumstance specified in article 9, paragraph 7,
and that especially established by article 11 of the Penal Code, and the absence
of aggravating circumstances which might neutralize the former, requires the
imposition of the penalty immediately inferior to that prescribed by law and in the
properly corresponding grade, considering the number and character of the
circumstances, all in accordance with article 81, rule 5, of said code.

Docket Number: No. 5318

Counsel: Iñigo Bitanga, Attorney-General Villamor

Ponente: TORRES
Toledo vs. People 439 SCRA 94 , September 24, 2004
Case Title : NOE TOLEDO y TAMBOONG, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of
Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Self-Defense|Exempting Circumstances|Elements of Self-defense
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Self-Defense; There is no such defense as accidental self-
defense in the realm of criminal law.-

Page 122 of 407


The petitioner is proscribed from changing in this Court, his theory of defense
which he adopted in the trial court and foisted in the CA—by claiming that he
stabbed and killed the victim in complete self-defense. The petitioner relied on
Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code in the trial and appellate
courts, but adopted in this Court two divergent theories—(1) that he killed the
victim to defend himself against his unlawful aggression; hence, is justified under
Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code; (2) that his bolo accidentally
hit the victim and is, thus, exempt from criminal liability under Article 12,
paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code. It is an aberration for the petitioner to
invoke the two defenses at the same time because the said defenses are
intrinsically antithetical. There is no such defense as accidental self-defense in the
realm of criminal law.
2. Criminal Law; Self-Defense; Self-defense under Article 11, paragraph 1 of the
Revised Penal Code necessarily implies a deliberate and positive overt act of the
accused to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression of another with the use of
reasonable means.-
Self-defense under Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code necessarily
implies a deliberate and positive overt act of the accused to prevent or repel an
unlawful aggression of another with the use of reasonable means. The accused
has freedom of action. He is aware of the consequences of his deliberate acts.
The defense is based on necessity which is the supreme and irresistible master of
men of all human affairs, and of the law. From necessity, and limited by it,
proceeds the right of self-defense. The right begins when necessity does, and
ends where it ends.
3. Criminal Law; Self-Defense; Exempting Circumstances; The basis of
exempting circumstances under Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code is the
complete absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or the absence of
negligence on the part of the accused.-
The basis of exempting circumstances under Article 12 of the Revised Penal
Code is the complete absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or the
absence of negligence on the part of the accused. The basis of the exemption in
Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code is lack of negligence and
intent. The accused does not commit either an intentional or culpable felony. The
accused commits a crime but there is no criminal liability because of the complete
absence of any of the conditions which constitute free will or voluntariness of the
act. An accident is a fortuitous circumstance, event or happening; an event
happening wholly or partly through human agency, an event which under the
circumstances is unusual or unexpected by the person to whom it happens.
4. Criminal Law; Self-Defense; Exempting Circumstances; Self-defense, under
Article 11, paragraph 1, and accident, under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised
Penal Code, are affirmative defenses which the accused is burdened to prove,
with clear and convinving evidence.-
Self-defense, under Article 11, paragraph 1, and accident, under Article 12,
paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, are affirmative defenses which the
accused is burdened to prove, with clear and convincing evidence. Such
affirmative defenses involve questions of facts adduced to the trial and appellate
courts for resolution.
5. Criminal Law; Self-Defense; Exempting Circumstances; By admitting killing
the victim in self-defense or by accident without fault or without intention of

Page 123 of 407


causing it, the burden is shifted to the accused to prove such affirmative
defenses.-
By admitting killing the victim in self-defense or by accident without fault or without
intention of causing it, the burden is shifted to the accused to prove such
affirmative defenses. He should rely on the strength of his own evidence and not
on the weakness of that of the prosecution. If the accused fails to prove his
affirmative defense, he can no longer be acquitted.
6. Criminal Law; Self-Defense; Exempting Circumstances; Elements of Self-
defense; To prove self-defense, the petitioner was burdened to prove the
essential elements thereof, namely: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim; (2) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the petitioner; (3)
employment by him of reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression.-
To prove self-defense, the petitioner was burdened to prove the essential
elements thereof, namely: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2)
lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the petitioner; (3) employment by him
of reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression. Unlawful aggression is a
condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstances of self-defense, whether
complete or incomplete. Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden, and
unexpected attack, or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or
intimidating attitude.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 158057

Counsel: Public Attorney’s Office, The Solicitor General

Ponente: CALLEJO, SR.

Dispositive Portion:
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. The
assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs
against the petitioner.
Cano vs. People 413 SCRA 92 , October 07, 2003
Case Title : CONRADO CANO y SAMPANG, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of
Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Homicide|Evidence|Self-defense|Elements for self-defense to
prosper
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Self-defense;Elements for self-defense
to prosper; If no unlawful aggression has been proved no self-defense may be
successfully pleaded whether complete or incomplete.-
For self-defense to prosper, petitioner must prove by clear and convincing
evidence the following elements: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim;
(2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3)
lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. Although
all the three elements must concur, self-defense must rest firstly on proof of
unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. If no unlawful aggression has been
proved, no self-defense may be successfully pleaded, whether complete or

Page 124 of 407


incomplete. In other words in self-defense, unlawful aggression is a primordial
element. It presupposes an actual, sudden and unexpected attack or imminent
danger on the life and limb of a person—not a mere threatening or intimidating
attitude—but most importantly, at the time the defensive action was taken against
the aggressor.
2. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Self-defense; To prove self-defense, the
actual wounding of the person defending himself is not necessary.-
As regards the finding that petitioner suffered only one hand wound, it should be
stressed that the superficiality of the nature of the wounds inflicted on the accused
does not, per se, negate self-defense. Indeed, to prove self-defense, the actual
wounding of the person defending himself is not necessary. It is sufficient that the
aggression be attempted so as to give rise to the right to prevent it. The act of a
person armed with a bladed weapon pursuing another constitutes unlawful
aggression because it signifies the pursuer’s intent to commit an assault with this
weapon.
3. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Self-defense;Elements of the third
requisite of self-defense.-
This third requisite of self-defense is present: (1) when no provocation at all was
given to the aggressor; (2) when, even if provocation was given, it was not
sufficient; (3) when even if the provocation was sufficient, it was not given by the
person defending himself; or (4) when even if a provocation was given by the
person defending himself, it was not proximate and immediate to the act of
aggression.
4. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Self-defense;When the question is
raised who between the accused and the offended party gave provocation, the
circum-stances of subjective, objective and social character may be considered in
reaching a definite conclusion.-
Petitioner borrowed the permit of the victim and had it photocopied without the
latter’s permission two (2) days before the incident. The victim and his wife
resented this. However, this can hardly be considered a provocation sufficient to
merit so deadly an assault with a bladed weapon. Moreover, the act was neither
immediate nor proximate. What, in fact, appears on record is the bellicose
temperament of the victim and his spouse who, despite the advice of their Aunt
Maria Cano to calm down, still persisted in confronting petitioner. When the
question is raised who between the accused and the offended party gave
provocation, the circumstances of subjective, objective and social character may
be considered in reaching a definite conclusion. Thus an accused, to prove
provocation in connection with his plea of self-defense, may show that the victim,
as in this case, had a quarrelsome and irascible disposition.
5. Criminal Law; Homicide; Evidence; Self-defense;Petitioner’s act of killing the
victim was attended by a justifying circumstance for which no criminal and civil
liability can attach; If a person charged with homicide successfully pleads self-
defense, his acquittal by reason thereof will extinguish his civil liability.-
All told, evidence shows that petitioner acted in lawful self-defense. Hence, his act
of killing the victim was attended by a justifying circumstance, for which no
criminal and civil liability can attach. Article 11 (1) of the Revised Penal Code
expressly provides that anyone who acts in lawful self-defense does not incur any
criminal liability. Likewise, petitioner is not civilly liable for his lawful act. The only
instance when a person who commits a crime with the attendance of a justifying
circumstance incurs civil liability is when he, in order to avoid an evil or injury,

Page 125 of 407


does an act which causes damage to another, pursuant to subdivision 4 of Article
11 of the Revised Penal Code. Otherwise stated, if a person charged with
homicide successfully pleads self-defense, his acquittal by reason thereof will
extinguish his civil liability.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 155258

Counsel: Oscar R. Ferrer, The Solicitor General

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the judgment appealed
from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Conrado Cano y
Sampang is ACQUITTED of the crime charged against him and his
immediate release from custody is ordered unless there is another
cause for his continued detention.
People vs. Dijan 383 SCRA 15 , June 05, 2002
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CRISPULO DIJAN y
MACAJIYA, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Marikina City, Br. 272.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Justifying Circumstances|Defense of
Strangers|Requisites|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Justifying Circumstances;Defense of
Strangers; Requisites; Once unlawful aggression is found to have ceased, the
one making the defense of a stranger would likewise cease to have any
justification for killing, or even just wounding, the former aggressor.-
A party who invokes the justifying circumstance of “defense of a stranger” has the
burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence the exculpatory cause that
can save him from conviction. In order to successfully put up this defense an
accused must show (1) the existence of unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim; (2) the reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;
and (3) that the accused has not been induced by revenge, resentment, or other
evil motive. The unlawful aggression must be a continuing circumstance or must
have been existing at the time the defense is made. Once unlawful aggression is
found to have ceased, the one making the defense of a stranger would likewise
cease to have any justification for killing, or even just wounding, the former
aggressor.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Justifying Circumstances;Defense of
Strangers; Certainly, the nature and number of wounds inflicted by an accused on
the victim should be significant indicia in determining the plausibility of the defense
plea.-
The number of wounds sustained by the victim would itself likewise negate
accused-appellant’s claim of defense of a stranger. The autopsy conducted on the
corpse would show that the deceased sustained fourteen injuries consisting of
nine stab wounds, three punctured wounds, an incised wound and an abrasion.

Page 126 of 407


Certainly, the nature and number of wounds inflicted by an accused on the victim
should be significant indicia in determining the plausibility of the defense plea.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating
Circumstances;Treachery; Requisites; The essence of treachery is the sudden
and unexpected attack by an aggressor on an unsuspecting victim, depriving the
latter of any real chance to defend himself and thereby ensuring its commission
with no risk to the aggressor.-
The Court, however, finds the evidence of the prosecution to be wanting in
respect to the qualifying circumstance of treachery. The essence of treachery is
the sudden and unexpected attack by an aggressor on an unsuspecting victim,
depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself and thereby ensuring its
commission with no risk to the aggressor. The conditions that must concur in
order that treachery may be appreciated are: (a) the employment of means of
execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to
retaliate; and (b) that the means of execution are deliberately and consciously
adopted. These elements must be proven as indubitably as the killing itself and
cannot be deduced from conjecture.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 142682

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: VITUG

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that accused-appellant is only
found GUILTY of HOMICIDE and sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty of nine (9) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as
minimum, to fifteen (15) years and eleven (11) months and three
(3) days of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and is ordered to pay
the heirs of the victim Alvaro Hilario civil indemnity of Fifty
Thousand (P50,000.00) pesos and actual damages of Thirty-four
Thousand Two Hundred (P34,200.00) Pesos. The award by the
trial court of moral and exemplary damages are deleted. Costs
against appellant.
People vs. Ricohermoso 56 SCRA 431 , March 29, 1974
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PIO RICOHERMOSO,
SEVERO PADERNAL, JUAN PADERNAL, ROSENDO PERPEÑAN, MACARIO MONTEREY
and RITO MONTEREY, defendants, JUAN PADERNAL and SEVERO PADERNAL, defendants-
appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Circuit Criminal Court of Lucena City.
Molina, J.
Syllabi Class : Procedural law|Criminal law|Appeals|Avoidance of greater
injury|Conspiracy|Treachery
Syllabi:
1. Procedural law; Appeals; Effect of withdrawal of appeal.-
The appellants filed their brief on February 6, 1970. Later, Severo Padernal
withdrew his appeal. The withdrawal was granted in the resolution dated

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November 3, 1970. That withdrawal strengthened the case for the prosecution or
the appellee and rendered inoperative appellants’ version of the case. Severo
Padernal in effect accepted as correct the prosecution’s version of the tragic
incident and the trial court’s finding that he conspired with Ricohermoso and his
son, Juan, to kill Geminiano de Leon.
2. Criminal law; Avoidance of greater injury;Conspiracy; Circumstances
showing existence of conspiracy.-
Appellant Juan Padernal invokes the justifying circumstance of avoidance of a
greater evil or injury in explaining his act of preventing Marianito de Leon from
shooting Ricohermoso and Severo Padernal. His reliance on that justifying
circumstance is erroneous. The act of Juan Padernal in preventing Marianito de
Leon from shooting Ricohermoso and Severo Padernal, who were the aggressors,
was designed to insure the killing of Geminiano de Leon without any risk to his
assailants. Juan Padernal was not avoiding any evil when he sought to disable
Marianito. Padernal’s malicious intention was to forestall any interference in the
felonious assault made by his father and brother-in-law on Geminiano. That
situation is unarguably not the case envisaged in par. 4 of article 11 of the
Revised Penal Code. x x x Considering the trio’s behavior and appellant Juan
Padernal’s close relationship to Ricohermoso and Severo Padernal, the
ineluctable conclusion is that he acted in conspiracy with them. He coordinated
and timed his seizure of Marianito with the assault of Ricohermoso and Severo
Padernal on Geminiano. It is doubtful if the assailants could have consummated
the killing of Geminiano, without their suffering any injury, if Marianito had not
been rendered helpless by appellant Juan Padernal.
3. Criminal law; Treachery; Circumstances showing existence of treachery.-
The circumstances surrounding the killing of Geminiano de Leon disclose alevosia
or treachery. His hands were raised and he was pleading for mercy with Severo
Padernal, when Ricohermoso struck him on the neck with a bolo. The fact that an
exchange of words preceded the assault would not negate the treacherous
character of the attack. Geminiano did not expect that Ricohermoso would renege
on his promise to give him palay and that he would adopt a bellicose attitude.
Juan Padernal’s role of weakening the defense, by disabling Marianito de Leon,
was part and parcel of the means of execution deliberately resorted to by the
assailants to insure the assassination of Geminiano de Leon without any risk to
themselves.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: Nos. L-30527-28

Counsel: Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio A. Torres,
Trial Attorney Lolita C. Dumlao, Rogerio S. T. Cadag

Ponente: AQUINO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the lower court as to appellant
Juan Padernal is affirmed with costs against him.
Ty vs. People 439 SCRA 220 , September 27, 2004

Page 128 of 407


Case Title : VICKY C. TY, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.Case
Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Exempting Circumstances|Defense of Uncontrollable
Fear|Justifying Circumstances|State of Necessity|Bouncing Checks Law|Evidence|Penalty
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Defense of Uncontrollable
Fear; Requisites for the defense of acting under an uncontrollable fear to be
invoked.-
The only question of law raised—whether the defense of uncontrollable fear is
tenable to warrant her exemption from criminal liability—has to be resolved in the
negative. For this exempting circumstance to be invoked successfully, the
following requisites must concur: (1) existence of an uncontrollable fear; (2) the
fear must be real and imminent; and (3) the fear of an injury is greater than or at
least equal to that committed.
2. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Defense of Uncontrollable
Fear; A person invoking uncontrollable fear must show that the compulsion was
such that it reduced him to a mere instrument acting not only without will but
against his will as well.-
It must appear that the threat that caused the uncontrollable fear is of such gravity
and imminence that the ordinary man would have succumbed to it. It should be
based on a real, imminent or reasonable fear for one’s life or limb. A mere threat
of a future injury is not enough. It should not be speculative, fanciful, or remote. A
person invoking uncontrollable fear must show therefore that the compulsion was
such that it reduced him to a mere instrument acting not only without will but
against his will as well. It must be of such character as to leave no opportunity to
the accused for escape.
3. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; State of Necessity; Requisites to
exempt the actor from liability under par. 4, Art. II of the Revised Penal Code.-
The law prescribes the presence of three requisites to exempt the actor from
liability under this paragraph: (1) that the evil sought to be avoided actually exists;
(2) that the injury feared be greater than the one done to avoid it; (3) that there be
no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it.
4. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; State of Necessity; If the evil
sought to be avoided is merely expected or anticipated or may happen in the
future, this defense is not applicable.-
In the instant case, the evil sought to be avoided is merely expected or
anticipated. If the evil sought to be avoided is merely expected or anticipated or
may happen in the future, this defense is not applicable. Ty could have taken
advantage of an available option to avoid committing a crime. By her own
admission, she had the choice to give jewelry or other forms of security instead of
postdated checks to secure her obligation.
5. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; State of Necessity; For the
defense of state of necessity to be availing, the greater injury feared should not
have been brought about by the negligence or imprudence, more so, the willful
inaction of the actor.-
For the defense of state of necessity to be availing, the greater injury feared
should not have been brought about by the negligence or imprudence, more so,
the willful inaction of the actor. In this case, the issuance of the bounced checks
was brought about by Ty’s own failure to pay her mother’s hospital bills.

Page 129 of 407


6. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law; Evidence; It is presumed, upon the
issuance of the checks, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the same
was issued for valuable consideration.-
As to the issue of consideration, it is presumed, upon issuance of the checks, in
the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the same was issued for valuable
consideration. Section 24 of the Negotiable Instruments Law creates a
presumption that every party to an instrument acquired the same for a
consideration or for value. In alleging otherwise, Ty has the onus to prove that the
checks were issued without consideration. She must present convincing evidence
to overthrow the presumption.
7. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law; Evidence; The law punishes the mere
act of issuing a bouncing check, not the purpose for which it was issued nor the
terms and conditions relating to its issuance.-
The law punishes the mere act of issuing a bouncing check, not the purpose for
which it was issued nor the terms and conditions relating to its issuance. B.P. 22
does not make any distinction as to whether the checks within its contemplation
are issued in payment of an obligation or to merely guarantee the obligation. The
thrust of the law is to prohibit the making of worthless checks and putting them
into circulation. As this Court held in Lim v. People of the Philippines, “what is
primordial is that such issued checks were worthless and the fact of its
worthlessness is known to the appellant at the time of their issuance, a required
element under B.P. Blg. 22.”
8. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law; Evidence;Knowledge of insufficiency
of funds legally presumed from the dishonor of the checks for insufficiency of
funds.-
Such knowledge is legally presumed from the dishonor of the checks for
insufficiency of funds. If not rebutted, it suffices to sustain a conviction.
9. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law; Evidence; The gravamen of the
offense is the issuance of a bad check, hence, malice and intent in the issuance
thereof is inconsequential.-
The knowledge of the payee of the insufficiency or lack of funds of the drawer with
the drawee bank is immaterial as deceit is not an essential element of an offense
penalized by B.P. 22. The gravamen of the offense is the issuance of a bad
check, hence, malice and intent in the issuance thereof is inconsequential.
10. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law; Penalty;Administrative Circular 12-
2000, adopting the rulings in Vaca v. Court of Appeals and Lim v. People,
authorizes the non-imposition of the penalty of imprisonment in B.P. 22 cases
subject to certain conditions.-
We agree with the Court of Appeals in deleting the penalty of imprisonment,
absent any proof that petitioner was not a first-time offender nor that she acted in
bad faith. Administrative Circular 12-2000, adopting the rulings in Vaca v. Court of
Appeals and Lim v. People, authorizes the non-imposition of the penalty of
imprisonment in B.P. 22 cases subject to certain conditions.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 149275

Counsel: Marvin L. Herrera, The Solicitor General

Page 130 of 407


Ponente: TINGA

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is
DENIED and the assailed Decision of
the Court of Appeals, dated 31 July
2001, finding petitioner Vicky C. Ty
GUILTY of violating Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22 is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATIONS. Petitioner Vicky C.
Ty is ORDERED to pay a FINE
equivalent to double the amount of
each dishonored check subject of the
seven cases at bar with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency in
accordance with Article 39 of the
Revised Penal Code. She is also
ordered to pay private complainant,
Manila Doctors’ Hospital, the amount
of Two Hundred Ten Thousand Pesos
(P210,000.00) representing the total
amount of the dishonored checks.
Costs against the petitioner.

People vs. Oanis and Galanta 74 Phil., 257 , July 27, 1943
Case Title : The People of the Philippines, plaintiff and appellee, vs. Antonio Z. Oanis and
Alberto Galanta, defendants and appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija. Pablo, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Justifying Circumstance Defined in "Article 11, No. 5, of
the Revised Penal Code
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder.-
—Appellants Corporal Galanta and Chief of Police Oanis were under instructions
to arrest one, Balagtas, a notorious criminal and an escaped convict, and, if
overpowered, to get him dead or alive. Proceeding to the suspected house,
appellants went into a room and on seeing a man sleeping with his back towards
the door, simultaneously or successively fired at him with their .32 and .45 caliber
revolvers, without 'first making any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. The victim
turned out to be an innocent man, Tecson, and not the wanted criminal. Held:
That under the circumstances, the crime committed by appellants is murder
though specially mitigated by circumstances presently to be mentioned.
2. ID.; Id.; Treachery; Justifying Circumstance Defined in "Article 11, No. 5, of the
Revised Penal Code.-
—As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with
the qualifying circumstance of alevosía. There is, however, a mitigating
circumstance of weight consisting in the incomplete justifying circumstance
defined in article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such legal
provision, a person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the fulfilment of a

Page 131 of 407


duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office. There are two requisites in order
that the circumstance may be taken as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted
in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; and (b) that the
injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due
performance of such dutv or the lawful exercise of sjich right or office. In the
instant case, onlv the first requisite is present—appellants have acted in the per-
formance of a dutv. The second requisite is wanting for the crime by them com-
mitted be the necessarv conreouence of of a due performance of their duty. Their
duty was to arrest. Balagtas, or to get him dead or alive if resistance is offered by
him and they are overpowered. But through impatience or over-anxiety or in their
desire to take chances, they have exceeded in the fulfilment of such dutv bv killing
the person whom they believed to be Balagtas without anv resistance from him
and without making any previous inquiry as to his identity. According to article 69
of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower bv one or two degrees than that
prescribed by law shall, in such case, be imposed.
3. Id.; Id.; Killing at Bar is Intentional and not Merely Accidental.-
—The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal negligence, the killing
being intentional and not accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to
another should be unintentional, it being simply the incident of another act
performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939.) In the words of Viada.
"para que se califique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado
en él malicia ni intención alguna de dañar; existiendo esa intención, deberá
calificarse el hecho del delito que ha producido, por más que no haya sido la
intención del agente el causar un mal de tanta gravedad como el que se produjo."
(Tomo 7, Viada Código Penal Comentado, 5." ed.. pág. 7.) And, as once held by
this court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with,
the idea of reckless imprudence (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil. 232: People vs.
Bindor. 56 Phil.. 16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in the
identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as reckless imprudence
(People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to support a plea of mitigated liability.
4. Id.; Id.; Id.; Arrest of a Notorious Criminal.-
—It is suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" without regard
to his right to life which he has by such notoriety already forfeited. This Court may
approve of this standard of official conduct where the criminal offers resistance or
does something which places his captors in danger of imminent attack. Otherwise,
this court cannot see how, as in the present case, the mere fact of notoriety can
make the life of a criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law.
Notoriety rightly sup-lies a basis for redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it
never can justify precipitate action at the cost of human life. Where, as here, the
precipitate action of the appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no
circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the mind of a
reasonably prudent man, condemnation—not condonation—should be the rule;
otherwise this Court would offer a premium to crime in the shelter of official
actuation.
5. Id.; Id.; Force Which a Peace Offices May Use in Making Arrest.-
—Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as is
reasonably necessary to secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance,
prevent his escape, recapture him if he escapes, and protect himself from bodily
harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil., 738), yet he is never justified in using
unnecessary force or in treating him wanton violence, or in resorting to dangerous

Page 132 of 407


means when the arrest could be affected otherwise (6 C. J. S., par. 13, p. 612).
The doctrine is arrested in a new Rules of Court thus: "No unnecessary of
unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest, and the person arrested
shall not be subject to any greater restraint than is necessary for his detention."
(Rule 109, sec. 2, par. 2) And a peace officer cannot claim exemption from
criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest. (5 C.
J., p. 753 U. S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Balagtas was a
notorious crimial, a life-termer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to the peace
of the community, but these facts alone constitute no justification for killing him
when, in effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance, or in fact no resistance can
be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the principle laid down,
although upon different facts, in United States vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234, 242).
6. Id.; Id.; Case at Bar Distinguished from United States vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil.,
488).-
—In support of the theory of nonliability by reason of honest mistake of fact,
appellants rely on the case of United States vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil., 488). The
maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but this applies only when the mistake is com-
mitted without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after
having gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called
out twice, "who is there," but received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a
robber, he leaped from his bed and called out again, "if you enter the room I will
kill you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair which had been
placed against the door and believing that he was then being attacked, he seized
a kitchen knife and struck and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be
his room-mate. A common illustration of innocent mistake of fact is the case of a
man who was masked as a footpad at night and in a lonely road held up a friend
in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled pistol demanded his money or life. He was
killed by his friend under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the
pistol level at his head was loaded and that his life and property were in imminent
danger at the hands of the aggressor. In these instances, there is an innocent
mistake of fact committed without any fault or carelessness because the accused,
having no time or opportunity to make a further injury, and being pressed by
circumstances to act immediately, had no alternative but to take the fact as they
then appeared to him; and such facts justified his act of killing. In the case,
appeliants, unlike the accused in the instances cited, found no circumstances
whatsoever which would press them to immediate action. The person in the room
being then asleep, appeliants had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his
identity without hazard to themselves, and could even effect a bloodless arrest if
any reasonable effort to that end had been made, as the victim was unarmed,
according to one eyewitness. This, indeed, is the only legitimate course of action
for appellants to follow even if the victim was really Balagtas, as they were
instructed not to kill Balagtas, at sight, but to arrest him, and to get him dead or
alive only if resistance or aggression is oddered him.

Docket Number: No. 47722

Counsel: Antonio Z. Oanis

Ponente: Moran

Dispositive Portion:

Page 133 of 407


For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are
hereby declared guilty of murder with the mitigating circumstance
above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty of from five (5) years of prisión correccional to fifteen (15)
years of reclusión temporal, with the accessories of the law, and to
pay the heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson jointly and severally
an indemnity of P2,000, with costs.
Pomoy vs. People 439 SCRA 439 , September 29, 2004
Case Title : ROWENO POMOY, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of
the Court of Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Constitutional Law|Exempting
Circumstances|Accident|Elements|Self-defense Inconsistent with Accident|Presumption of
Innocence
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Accident;Elements; The
elements of accident are as follows: (1) the accused was at the time performing a
lawful act with due care; (2) the resulting injury was caused by mere accident; and
(3) on the part of the accused, there was no fault or no intent to cause the injury.-
The elements of accident are as follows: 1) the accused was at the time
performing a lawful act with due care; 2) the resulting injury was caused by mere
accident; and 3) on the part of the accused, there was no fault or no intent to
cause the injury. From the facts, it is clear that all these elements were present. At
the time of the incident, petitioner was a member—specifically, one of the
investigators—of the Philippine National Police (PNP) stationed at the Iloilo
Provincial Mobile Force Company. Thus, it was in the lawful performance of his
duties as investigating officer that, under the instructions of his superior, he
fetched the victim from the latter’s cell for a routine interrogation.
2. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; The participation of petitioner, if
any, in the victim’s death was limited only to acts committed in the course of the
lawful performance of his duties as an enforcer of the law—the removal of the gun
from its holster, the release of the safety lock, and the firing of two successive
shots—all of which led to the death of the victim—were sufficiently demonstrated
to have been consequences of circumstances beyond the control of petitioner.-
The participation of petitioner, if any, in the victim’s death was limited only to acts
committed in the course of the lawful performance of his duties as an enforcer of
the law. The removal of the gun from its holster, the release of the safety lock, and
the firing of the two successive shots—all of which led to the death of the victim—
were sufficiently demonstrated to have been consequences of circumstances
beyond the control of petitioner. At the very least, these factual circumstances
create serious doubt on the latter’s culpability.
3. Criminal Law; Self-defense Inconsistent with Accident; Self-defense is
inconsistent with the exempting circumstances of accident, in which there is intent
to kill—on the other hand, self-defense necessarily contemplates a premeditated
intent to kill in order to defend oneself from imminent danger; Apparently, the fatal
shots did not occur out of any conscious or premeditated effort to overpower,
maim, or kill the victim for the purpose of self-defense against any aggression;
rather, they appeared to be spontaneous and accidental result of both parties’
attempts to possess the firearm.-

Page 134 of 407


Self-defense is inconsistent with the exempting circumstance of accident, in which
there is no intent to kill. On the other hand, self-defense necessarily contemplates
a premeditated intent to kill in order to defend oneself from imminent danger.
Apparently, the fatal shots in the instant case did not occur out of any conscious
or premeditated effort to overpower, maim or kill the victim for the purpose of self-
defense against any aggression; rather, they appeared to be the spontaneous and
accidental result of both parties’ attempts to possess the firearm.
4. Constitutional Law; Presumption of Innocence;Well-established is the
principle that factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, are binding on the highest court of the land—however, when facts are
misinterpreted and the innocence of the accused depends on a proper
appreciation of the factual conclusions, the Supreme Court may conduct a review
thereof.-
Well- established is the principle that the factual findings of the trial court, when
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding on the highest court of the land.
However, when facts are misinterpreted and the innocence of the accused
depends on a proper appreciation of the factual conclusions, the Supreme Court
may conduct a review thereof. In the present case, a careful reexamination
convinces this Court that an “accident” caused the victim’s death. At the very
least, the testimonies of the credible witnesses create a reasonable doubt on
appellant’s guilt. Hence, the Court must uphold the constitutional presumption of
innocence.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 150647

Counsel: Ferdinand M. Negre, The Solicitor General

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed
Decision REVERSED. Petitioner is ACQUITTED.

People vs. Ulep 340 SCRA 688 , September 20, 2000


Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SPO1 ERNESTO ULEP,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Kidapawan, Cotabato, Br. 17.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Justifying Circumstances|Fulfillment of
Duty|Policemen|Self-Defense|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery|Mitigating
Circumstances|Voluntary Surrender
Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 132547

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Henry V. Mudanza

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Page 135 of 407


Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appealed Judgment is MODIFIED. Accused-
appellant SPO1 ERNESTO ULEP is found guilty of HOMICIDE,
instead of Murder, and is sentenced to an indeterminate prison
term of four (4) years, two (2) months and ten (10) days of prision
correccional medium as minimum, to six (6) years, four (4) months
and twenty (20) days of prision mayor minimum as maximum. He
is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of Buenaventura Wapili in
the amount of P50,000.00, and to pay the costs.

Criminal Law; Murder; Justifying Circumstances; Where the accused had admitted the
killing of the victim, he assumes the burden of proving legal justification therefor.—Preliminarily,
having admitted the killing of Wapili, accused-appellant assumed the burden of proving legal
justification therefor. He must establish clearly and convincingly how he acted in fulfillment of his
official duty and/or in complete self-defense, as claimed by him; otherwise, he must suffer all the
consequences of his malefaction. He has to rely on the quantitative and qualitative strength of
his own evidence, not on the weakness of the prosecution; for even if it were weak it could not
be disbelieved after he had admitted the killing.

Same; Same; Same; Fulfillment of Duty;Requisites.—Before the justifying circumstance of


fulfillment of a duty under Art. 11, par. 5, of The Revised Penal Code may be successfully
invoked, the accused must prove the presence of two (2) requisites, namely, that he acted in the
performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or an office, and that the injury caused
or the offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due performance of duty or the
lawful exercise of such right or office. The second requisite is lacking in the instant case.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Policemen; A police officer is not required to afford the victim
the opportunity to fight back, and neither is he ex-pected—when hard pressed and in the heat of
such an encounter at close quarters—to pause for a long moment and reflect coolly at his peril,
or to wait after each blow to determine the effects thereof.—Accused-appellant and the other
police officers involved originally set out to perform a legal duty: to render police assistance, and
restore peace and order at Mundog Subdivision where the victim was then running amuck.
There were two (2) stages of the incident at Mundog Subdivision. During the first stage, the
victim threatened the safety of the police officers by menacingly advancing towards them,
notwithstanding accused-appellant’s previous warning shot and verbal admonition to the victim
to lay down his weapon or he would be shot. As a police officer, it is to be expected that
accused-appellant would stand his ground. Up to that point, his decision to respond with a
barrage of gunfire to halt the victim’s further advance was justified under

_______________
*
EN BANC.

689

VOL. 340, SEPTEMBER 20, 2000 6


89
People vs. Ulep

Page 136 of 407


the circumstances. After all, a police officer is not required to afford the victim the
opportunity to fight back. Neither is he expected—when hard pressed and in the heat of such an
encounter at close quarters—to pause for a long moment and reflect coolly at his peril, or to wait
after each blow to determine the effects thereof.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; A policeman cannot be exonerated from overdoing his
duty—sound discretion and restraint dictate that he should cease firing at the victim the moment
he sees the latter fall to the ground, and not proceed to shoot the victim in the head.—However,
while accused-appellant is to be commended for promptly responding to the call of duty when
he stopped the victim from his potentially violent conduct and aggressive behavior, he cannot be
exonerated from overdoing his duty during the second stage of the incident—when he fatally
shot the victim in the head, perhaps in his desire to take no chances, even after the latter
slumped to the ground due to multiple gunshot wounds sustained while charging at the police
officers. Sound discretion and restraint dictated that accused-appellant, a veteran policeman,
should have ceased firing at the victim the moment he saw the latter fall to the ground. The
victim at that point no longer posed a threat and was already incapable of mounting an
aggression against the police officers. Shooting him in the head was obviously unnecessary.

Same; Same; Same; Self-Defense;Elements.—Likewise, the evidence at hand does not


favor his claim of self-defense. The elements in order for self-defense to be appreciated are: (a)
unlawful aggression on the part of the person injured or killed by the accused; (b) reasonable
necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and, (c) lack of sufficient provocation on
the part of the person defending himself.

Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The situation that the victim, at the
time the accused shot him in the head, was prostrate on the ground is of no moment when
considering the presence of treachery where the decision to kill was made in an instant and the
victim’s helpless position was merely incidental to his having been previously shot by accused in
the performance of his official duty.—This Court disagrees with the conclusion of the court a
quo that the killing of Wapili by accused-appellant was attended by treachery, thus qualifying the
offense to murder. We discern nothing from the evidence that the assault was so sudden and
unexpected and that accused-appellant deliberately adopted a mode of attack intended to
insure the killing of Wapili, without the victim having the opportunity to defend himself. On the
contrary, the victim could not have been taken by surprise as he was given more than sufficient
warning
690

6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


90 ANNOTATED
People vs. Ulep
by accused-appellant before he was shot, i.e.,accused-appellant fired a warning shot in the
air, and specifically ordered him to lower his weapons or he would be shot. The killing of Wapili
was not sought on purpose. Accused-appellant went to the scene in pursuance of his official
duty as a police officer after having been summoned for assistance. The situation that the
victim, at the time accused-appellant shot him in the head, was prostrate on the ground is of no
moment when considering the presence of treachery. The decision to kill was made in an
instant and the victim’s helpless position was merely incidental to his having been previously
shot by accused-appellant in the performance of his official duty.

Page 137 of 407


Same; Same; Same; Same; Considering the rule that treachery cannot be inferred but
must be proved as fully and convincingly as the crime itself, any doubt as to its existence must
be resolved in favor of the accused.—There is treachery when the offender commits any of the
crimes against persons, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which
tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense
which the offended party might make. Considering the rule that treachery cannot be inferred but
must be proved as fully and convincingly as the crime itself, any doubt as to its existence must
be resolved in favor of accused-appellant. Accordingly, for failure of the prosecution to prove
treachery to qualify the killing to murder, ac-cused-appellant may only be convicted of homicide.

Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstances;Incomplete Justification; Incomplete justification is


a special or privileged mitigating circumstance, which, not only cannot be offset by aggravating
circumstances but also reduces the penalty by one or two degrees than that prescribed by
law.—Incomplete justification is a special or privileged mitigating circumstance, which, not only
cannot be offset by aggravating circumstances but also reduces the penalty by one or two
degrees than that prescribed by law. Undoubtedly, the instant case would have fallen under Art.
11, par. 5 of The Revised Penal Code had the two (2) conditions therefor concurred which, to
reiterate: first, that the accused acted in the performance of a duty or the lawful exercise of a
right or office; and second, that the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence
of the due performance of such duty or the lawful exercise of such right or office. But here, only
the first condition was fulfilled. Hence, Art. 69 is applicable, although its requirement “that the
majority of such conditions be present,” is immaterial since there are only two (2) conditions that
may be taken into account under Art. 11, par. 5. Article 69 is obviously in favor of the accused
as it provides for a penalty lower than that prescribed by law when the crime committed is not
wholly justifiable. The intention of the legislature, obvi-
691

VOL. 340, SEPTEMBER 20, 2000 6


91
People vs. Ulep
ously, is to mitigate the penalty by reason of the diminution of either freedom of action,
intelligence, or intent, or of the lesser perversity of the offender.

Same; Same; Same; Voluntary Surrender;The mitigating circumstance of voluntary


surrender is appreciated where the accused immediately after the killing of the victim reported to
the police headquarters and voluntarily surrendered himself—We likewise credit in favor of
accused-appellant the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. The police blotter of
Kidapawan Municipal Police Station shows that immediately after killing Wapili, accused-
appellant reported to the police headquarters and voluntarily surrendered himself.

Same; Same; Policemen; The law does not clothe police officers with authority to arbitrarily
judge the necessity to kill—it must be stressed that the judgment and discretion of police officers
in the performance of their duties must be exercised neither capriciously nor oppressively, but
within reasonable limits.—The right to kill an offender is not absolute, and may be used only as
a last resort, and under circumstances indicating that the offender cannot otherwise be taken
without bloodshed. The law does not clothe police officers with authority to arbitrarily judge the
necessity to kill. It may be true that police officers sometimes find themselves in a dilemma
when pressured by a situation where an immediate and decisive, but legal, action is needed.
However, it must be stressed that the judgment and discretion of police officers in the

Page 138 of 407


performance of their duties must be exercised neither capriciously nor oppressively, but within
reasonable limits. In the absence of a clear and legal provision to the contrary, they must act in
conformity with the dictates of a sound discretion, and within the spirit and purpose of the law.
We cannot countenance trigger-happy law enforcement officers who indiscriminately employ
force and violence upon the persons they are apprehending. They must always bear in mind
that although they are dealing with criminal elements against whom society must be protected,
these criminals are also human beings with human rights.

People of the Phil. vs. Beronilla, et al. 96 Phil. 566 , February 28, 1955
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. MANUEL
BERONILLA, FILIPINO VELASCO, POLICARPO PACULDO, and JACINTO ADRIATICO,
defendants and appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Abra. Bocar, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|GUERRILLA AMNESTY PROCLAMATION
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; CRIMES COMMITTED UPON ORDERS OF SUPERIOR
OFFICERS; LACK OF CRIMINAL INTENT.-
Where the accused
2. CRIMINAL LAW; GUERRILLA AMNESTY PROCLAMATION; DOUBTS AS
TO WHETHER CASE FALLS WITHIN PROCLAMATION SHALL BE RESOLVED
IN FAVOR OF ACCUSED.-
Where the evidence on record regarding the date of liberation of the area is
contradictory, the accused should not be denied their claim to the benefits of the
Guerrilla Amnesty Proclamation No. 8 (42 Off. Gaz., 2072) on the ground that the
slaying of the deceased took place after actual liberation of the area from enemy
control and occupation, because "any reasonable doubt as to whether a given
case falls within the amnesty proclamation shall be resolved in favor of the
accused." (People vs. Gajo, 46 Off. Gaz., (No. 12) p. 6093.)
3. CRIMINAL LAW; GUERRILLA AMNESTY PROCLAMATION; ID.-
The concurrence of personal hatred and collaboration with the enemy as motives
for the liquidation of persons accused of and convicted of treason, espionage, or
aiding and abetting of the enemy does not operate to exclude the case from the
benefits of the Guerrilla Amnesty Proclamation.

Docket Number: No. L-4445

Counsel: Agripino A. Brillantes, Valera, Eufemio, Bernardez, Prospero C. Sanidad, Claro M.


Recto, Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag, Solicitors Jaime R. de los Angeles, Martiniano P. Vivo

Ponente: REYES

Dispositive Portion:
For the reasons stated, the judgment appealed from is reversed
and the appellants are acquitted, with costs de oficio.
abuena vs. Sandiganbayan 268 SCRA 332 , February 17, 1997
Case Title : LUIS A. TABUENA, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, and THE
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents., ADOLFO M. PERALTA, petitioner, vs. HON.
SANDIGANBAYAN (First Division), and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by
the OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, respondents.Case Nature : PETITIONS for
review of a decision of the Sandiganbayan.

Page 139 of 407


Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Due Process|Administrative Law|Courts|Malversation|Criminal
Procedure|Right to be Informed|Justifying Circumstances|Obedience to Lawful Order of
Superior|Conspiracy|Due Process|Words and Phrases|Judges|Supreme Court|Constitutional
Law|Waiver|Judgments|Dissenting Opinions|Public Officers|Accountability of Public
Officers|Doctrine of Mistake of Fact|President
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Malversation; Criminal Procedure;Right to be
Informed; Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence and
even if the mode charged differs from the mode proved, the same offense of
malversation is involved and conviction thereof is proper.-
We do not agree with Tabuena and Peralta on this point. Illuminative and
controlling is “Cabello v. Sandiganbayan” where the Court passed upon similar
protestations raised by therein accused-petitioner Cabello whose conviction for
the same crime of malversation was affirmed, in this wise: “x x x even on the
putative assumption that the evidence against petitioner yielded a case of
malversation by negligence but the information was for intentional malversation,
under the circumstances of this case his conviction under the first mode of
misappropriation would still be in order. Malversation is committed either
intentionally or by negligence. The dolo or the culpa present in the offense is only
a modality in the perpetration of the felony. Even if the mode charged differs from
the mode proved, the same offense of malversation is involved and conviction
thereof is proper. x x x.
2. Criminal Law; Malversation; Criminal Procedure;Right to be
Informed; While a criminal negligent act is not a simple modality of a willful crime,
but a distinct crime, designated as a quasi-offense in the Penal Code, it may
however be said that a conviction for the former can be had under an information
exclusively charging the commission of a willful offense, upon the theory that the
greater includes the lesser offense.-
In Samson vs. Court of Appeals, et al., we held that an accused charged with
willful or intentional falsification can validly be convicted of falsification through
negligence, thus: ‘While a criminal negligent act is not a simple modality of a willful
crime, as we held in Quizon vs. Justice of the Peace of Bacolor, G.R. No. L-6641,
July 28, 1995, but a distinct crime in our Penal Code, designated as a quasi
offense in our Penal Code, it may however be said that a conviction for the former
can be had under an information exclusively charging the commission of a willful
offense, upon the theory that the greater includes the lesser offense. This is the
situation that obtains in the present case. Appellant was charged with willful
falsification but from the evidence submitted by the parties, the Court of Appeals
found that in effecting the falsification which made possible the cashing of the
checks in question, appellant did not act with criminal intent but merely failed to
take proper and adequate means to assure himself of the identity of the real
claimants as an ordinary prudent man would do. In other words, the information
alleges acts which charge willful falsification but which turned out to be not willful
but negligent. This is a case covered by the rule when there is a variance between
the allegation and proof, and is similar to some of the cases decided by this
Tribunal.
3. Criminal Law; Malversation; Good faith is a valid defense in a prosecution for
malversation for it would negate criminal intent on the part of the accused.-
Going now to the defense of good faith, it is settled that this is a valid defense in a
prosecution for malversation for it would negate criminal intent on the part of the

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accused. Thus, in the two (2) vintage, but significant malversation cases of “US v.
Catolico” and “US v. Elviña,” the Court stressed that: “To constitute a crime, the
act must, except in certain crimes made such by statute, be accompanied by a
criminal intent, or by such negligence or indifference to duty or to consequences
as, in law, is equivalent to criminal intent. The maxim is actus non facit reum, nisi
mens sit rea—a crime is not committed if the mind of the person performing the
act complained of is innocent.”
4. Criminal Law; Malversation; Justifying Circumstances; Obedience to
Lawful Order of Superior; As a recipient of a directive coming from the highest
official of the land no less, good faith should be read on a subordinate government
official’s compliance, without hesitation nor any question, with said order.-
In so far as Tabuena is concerned, with the due presentation in evidence of the
MARCOS Memorandum, we are swayed to give credit to his claim of having
caused the disbursement of the P55 Million solely by reason of such
memorandum. From this premise flows the following reasons and/or
considerations that would buttress his innocence of the crime of malversation.
First, Tabuena had no other choice but to make the withdrawals, for that was what
the MARCOS Memorandum required him to do. He could not be faulted if he had
to obey and strictly comply with the presidential directive, and to argue otherwise
is something easier said than done. Marcos was undeniably Tabuena’s superior—
the former being then the President of the Republic who unquestionably exercised
control over government agencies such as the MIAA and PNCC. In other words,
Marcos had a say in matters involving inter-government agency affairs and
transactions, such as for instance, directing payment of liability of one entity to
another and the manner in which it should be carried out. And as a recipient of
such kind of a directive coming from the highest official of the land no less, good
faith should be read on Tabuena’s compliance, without hesitation nor any
question, with the MARCOS Memorandum. Tabuena therefore is entitled to the
justifying circumstance of “Any person who acts in obedience to an order issued
by a superior for some lawful purpose.” The subordinate-superior relationship
between Tabuena and Marcos is clear. And so too, is the lawfulness of the order
contained in the MARCOS Memorandum, as it has for its purpose partial payment
of the liability of one government agency (MIAA) to another (PNCC).
5. Criminal Law; Malversation; Justifying Circumstances; Obedience to
Lawful Order of Superior; Even if the order is illegal if it is patently legal and the
subordinate is not aware of its illegality, the subordinate is not liable, for then there
would only be a mistake of fact committed in good faith.-
Thus, even if the order is illegal if it is patently legal and the subordinate is not
aware of its illegality, the subordinate is not liable, for then there would only be a
mistake of fact committed in good faith. Such is the ruling in “Nassif v. People.”
6. Criminal Law; Malversation; Justifying Circumstances; Obedience to
Lawful Order of Superior; The subordinate who, in following an order of a
superior, failed to observe all auditing procedures of disbursement, cannot escape
responsibility for such omission but where he acted in good faith, his liability
should only be administrative or civil in nature, not criminal.-
But this deviation was inevitable under the circumstances Tabuena was in. He did
not have the luxury of time to observe all auditing procedures of disbursement
considering the fact that the MARCOS Memorandum enjoined his “immediate
compliance” with the directive that he forward to the President’s Office the P55
Million in cash. Be that as it may, Tabuena surely cannot escape responsibility for

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such omission. But since he was acting in good faith, his liability should only be
administrative or civil in nature, and not criminal.
7. Criminal Law; Malversation; Justifying Circumstances; Obedience to
Lawful Order of Superior; The good faith of a subordinate in having delivered the
money to the President’s office, in strict compliance with the President’s
memorandum, is not at all affected even if it later turns out that the intended payee
never received the money.-
It must be stressed that the MARCOS Memorandum directed Tabuena “to pay
immediately the Philippine National Construction Corporation, thru this office, the
sum of FIFTY FIVE MILLION . . . .,” and that was what Tabuena precisely did
when he delivered the money to Mrs. Gimenez. Such delivery, no doubt, is in
effect delivery to the Office of the President inasmuch as Mrs. Gimenez was
Marcos’ secretary then. Furthermore, Tabuena had reasonable ground to believe
that the President was entitled to receive the P55 Million since he was certainly
aware that Marcos, as Chief Executive, exercised supervision and control over
government agencies. And the good faith of Tabuena in having delivered the
money to the President’s office (thru Mrs. Gimenez), in strict compliance with the
MARCOS Memorandum, was not at all affected even if it later turned out that
PNCC never received the money.
8. Criminal Law; Malversation; Conspiracy; No criminal liability can be imputed
to a subordinate who, pursuant to the President’s directive, delivers money which
is subsequently malversed where no conspiracy is established between him and
the real embezzlers.-
Even assuming that the real and sole purpose behind the MARCOS Memorandum
was to siphon-out public money for the personal benefit of those then in power,
still, no criminal liability can be imputed to Tabuena. There is no showing that
Tabuena had anything to do whatsoever with the execution of the MARCOS
Memorandum. Nor is there proof that he profited from the felonious scheme. In
short, no conspiracy was established between Tabuena and the real embezzler/s
of the P55 Million. In the cases of “US v. Acebedo” and “Ang v. Sandiganbayan,”
both also involving the crime of malversation, the accused therein were acquitted
after the Court arrived at a similar finding of non-proof of conspiracy.
9. Criminal Law; Malversation; Compliance to a patently lawful order is rectitude
far better than contumacious disobedience.-
This is not a sheer case of blind and misguided obedience, but obedience in good
faith of a duly executed order. Indeed, compliance to a patently lawful order is
rectitude far better than contumacious disobedience. In the case at bench, the
order emanated from the Office of the President and bears the signature of the
President himself, the highest official of the land. It carries with it the presumption
that it was regularly issued. And on its face, the memorandum is patently lawful for
no law makes the payment of an obligation illegal. This fact, coupled with the
urgent tenor for its execution constrains one to act swiftly without question.
Obedientia est legis essentia.
10. Criminal Law; Malversation; Due Process;Criminal Procedure; An appeal
in a criminal case throws the whole case open to review, and it becomes the duty
of the appellate court to correct such errors as may be found in the judgment
appealed from whether they are made the subject of assignments of error or not.-
But what appears to be a more compelling reason for their acquittal is the violation
of the accused’s basic constitutional right to due process. “Respect for the
Constitution,” to borrow once again Mr. Justice Cruz’s words, “is more important

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than securing a conviction based on a violation of the rights of the accused.” While
going over the records, we were struck by the way the Sandiganbayan actively
took part in the questioning of a defense witness and of the accused themselves.
Tabuena and Peralta may not have raised this as an error, there is nevertheless
no impediment for us to consider such matter as additional basis for a reversal
since the settled doctrine is that an appeal throws the whole case open to review,
and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct such errors as may be
found in the judgment appealed from whether they are made the subject of
assignments of error or not.
11. Criminal Law; Malversation; Due Process; Words and
Phrases; “Confrontation,” “Probing,” and “Insinuation,” Explained.-
Confrontation.—Confrontation consists of confronting the witness with damaging
facts which he cannot deny and which are inconsistent with his evidence. It is a
destructive technique, but when it fails to destroy it may still succeed in
weakening. Probing.—Probing consists of inquiring thoroughly into the details of
the story to discover the flaws. Insinuation.—Insinuation consists of leading or
forcing the witness by adding facts at one point and modifying details at another,
to give a version of his evidence which is more favorable to the other side. The
Technique of Advocacy, by John H. Munkman, pp. 66-67; p. 75; pp. 91-92.
12. Criminal Law; Malversation; Due Process; Judges;The “cold neutrality of
an impartial judge” requirement of due process is certainly denied the accused
when the court assumes the dual role of magistrate and advocate.-
This Court has acknowledged the right of a trial judge to question witnesses with a
view to satisfying his mind upon any material point which presents itself during the
trial of a case over which he presides. But not only should his examination be
limited to asking “clarificatory” questions, the right should be sparingly and
judiciously used; for the rule is that the court should stay out of it as much as
possible, neither interfering nor intervening in the conduct of the trial. Here, these
limitations were not observed. Hardly in fact can one avoid the impression that the
Sandiganbayan had allied itself with, or to be more precise, had taken the cudgels
for the prosecution in proving the case against Tabuena and Peralta when the
Justices cross-examined the witnesses, their cross-examinations supplementing
those made by Prosecutor Viernes and far exceeding the latter’s questions in
length. The “cold neutrality of an impartial judge” requirement of due process was
certainly denied Tabuena and Peralta when the court, with its overzealousness,
assumed the dual role of magistrate and advocate.
13. Criminal Law; Malversation; Due Process;Supreme Court; Constitutional
Law; As between a mere apprehension of a “dangerous precedent” and an actual
violation of constitutionally enshrined rights, it is definitely the latter that merits the
Supreme Court’s immediate attention.-
Furthermore, as between a mere apprehension of a “dangerous precedent” and
an actual violation of constitutionally enshrined rights, it is definitely the latter that
merits our immediate attention. For the most dangerous precedent arises when
we allow ourselves to be carried away by such fears so that it becomes lawful to
sacrifice the rights of an accused to calm the fearful. In our eagerness to bring to
justice the malefactors of the Marcos regime, we must not succumb to the
temptation to commit the greatest injustice of visiting the sins of the wrongdoers
upon an innocent.
14. Due Process; Judges; The trial judges in this jurisdiction are judges of both
the law and the facts, and they would be negligent in the performance of their

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duties if they permitted a miscarriage of justice as a result of a failure to propound
a proper question to a witness which might develop some material fact upon which
the judgment of the case should turn.-
There is no showing at all that the extensive participation by the Justices of the
Sandiganbayan in questioning the appellants and their witness indicated
prejudgment of guilt, bias, hatred, or hostility against the said appellants. On the
contrary, the quoted portions of the questions propounded by the Justices
manifest nothing but a sincere desire to ferret out the facts to arrive at the truth
which are crucial in the determination of the innocence or guilt of the appellants.
These Justices, as trial magistrates, have only exercised one of the inherent rights
of a judge in the exercise of judicial function. What this Court stated eighty-three
years ago in United States v. Hudieres needs repeating: It is very clear, however,
from a review of the whole proceedings that the only object of the trial judge in
propounding these questions was to endeavor as far as possible to get at the truth
as to the facts to which the witnesses were testifying. The right of a trial judge to
question the witnesses with a view to satisfying his mind upon any material point
which presents itself during the trial of a case over which he presides is too well
established to need discussion. The trial judges in this jurisdiction are judges of
both the law and the facts, and they would be negligent in the performance of their
duties if they permitted a miscarriage of justice as a result of a failure to propound
a proper question to a witness which might develop some material fact upon
which the judgment of the case should turn. So in a case where a trial judge sees
that the degree of credit which he is to give the testimony of a given witness may
have an important bearing upon the outcome, there can be no question that in the
exercise of a sound discretion he may put such questions to the witness as will
enable him to formulate a sound opinion as to the ability or willingness of the
witness to tell the truth.
15. Due Process; Judges; Waiver; Rights may be waived unless the waiver is
contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs, or is
prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law.-
Even granting arguendo that the conduct of the Justices constituted such a
violation, the appellants are forever estopped from raising that issue on ground of
waiver. This Court would risk an accusation of undue partiality for the appellants
were it to give them premium for their torpor and then reward them with an
acquittal. Such waiver is conclusively proven in these cases. From the quoted
portions of the testimonies of the witnesses for the appellants, it is clear that their
counsel did not object to, or manifest on record his misgivings on, the active
participation of the Justices in the examination (or cross-examination) of the
witnesses. Nothing could have prevented the counsel for the appellants from
doing so. Then, too, as correctly pointed out in the ponencia, they made no
assignment of error on the matter. In our jurisdiction, rights may be waived unless
the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs,
or is prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law.
16. Due Process; Judges; Waiver; I submit that the right to an impartial trial is
waivable.-
In the cases below, the perceived violation, if at all it existed, was not of the
absolute totality of due process, but more appropriately of the right to an impartial
trial, which is but an aspect of the guarantee of due process. I submit that the right
to an impartial trial is waivable.

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17. Criminal Law; Malversation; Justifying Circumstances; Obedience to
Lawful Order of Superior; When then President Marcos ordered immediate
payment, he should not have been understood as to order suspension of the
accepted budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules on the matter—he must only
be understood to order expeditious compliance with the requirements to facilitate
immediate release of the money.-
Being responsible accountable officers of the MIAA, they were presumed to know
that, in light of “the undeferred portion of the repayment” of PNCC’s advances in
the amount of P63.9 million, the MIAA’s unpaid balance was only P34.5 million.
They also ought to know the procedure to be followed in the payment of
contractual obligations. First and foremost there were the submission by the
PNCC of its claims with the required supporting documents and the approval of
the claims by the appropriate approving authority of MIAA. When then President
Marcos ordered immediate payment, he should not have been understood as to
order suspension of the accepted budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules on the
matter. Parenthetically, it may be stated here that although President Marcos was
a dictator, he was reported to be, and even projected himself as, a “faithful”
advocate of the rule of law. As a matter of fact, he did not hesitate to issue a
decree, letter of instruction, or any presidential issuance in anticipation of any
planned actions or activities to give the latter the facade or semblance of legality,
wisdom, or propriety. When he made the order to appellant Tabuena, President
Marcos must only be understood to order expeditious compliance with the
requirements to facilitate immediate release of the money. There was no way for
Tabuena to entertain any fear that disobedience to the order because of its
unlawfulness or delay in the execution of the order due to compliance with the
requirements would cause his head or life. He offered no credible evidence for
such fear. This Court should not provide one for him. That Tabuena served Mr.
Marcos until the end of the latter’s regime and even beyond only proved a loyalty
not based on fear but on other considerations.
18. Criminal Law; Malversation; It is one thing to be ordered to pay a due and
demandable obligation, it is another to make such payment to someone other than
the lawful obligee and worse, when the subordinate is forced to breach official
channels to comply with the order.-
In the case at bar, Tabuena was allegedly ordered by President Marcos to pay the
PNCC from MIAA’s fund, thus ostensibly meeting the first requirement but not the
others. For there is a qualification which significantly changes the picture. The
payment was to be in cash and immediately made through the Office of the
President. It is to be pointed out that it is one thing to be ordered to pay a due and
demandable obligation; it is another to make such payment to someone other than
the lawful obligee and worse, when the subordinate is forced to breach official
channels to comply with the order.
19. Criminal Law; Malversation; Judgments;Dissenting Opinions; The
corroborative value of a dissenting opinion is minimal—precisely, it supports a
position contrary to, and obviously unacceptable to the majority.-
The ponente cites a dissenting opinion of Justice Isagani A. Cruz in Development
Bank of the Philippines v. Pandogar to uphold his ponencia. Need we remind our
respected colleague that the corroborative value of a dissenting opinion is
minimal? Precisely, it supports a position contrary to, and obviously unacceptable
to the majority.

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20. Criminal Law; Malversation; The Sandiganbayan’s finding that the accused
converted and misappropriated the P55 million cannot simply be brushed aside
upon the accused’s claim that the money was delivered in good faith to the Office
of the President under the mistaken assumption that the President was entitled to
receive the same.-
The Sandiganbayan’s finding that petitioners converted and misappropriated the
P55 million cannot simply be brushed aside upon petitioners’ claim that the money
was delivered in good faith to the Office of the President under the mistaken
assumption that the President was entitled to receive the same. They rely on the
case of People v. Fabian, which declared that “(g)ood faith in the payment of
public funds relieves a public officer from the crime of malversation.” But the very
same decision also cites Article 217 to the effect that malversation may be
committed by an accountable public officer by negligence if he permits any other
person to take the public funds or property in his custody. It is immaterial if
petitioners actually converted or misappropriated MIAA’s funds for their own
benefit, for by their very negligence, they allowed another person to appropriate
the same.
21. Administrative Law; Public Officers;Accountability of Public
Officers; Rank may have its privileges but certainly a blatant disregard of law and
administrative rules is not one of them—it must be etched in the minds of public
officials that the underside of privileges is responsibilities.-
The fact that no conspiracy was established between petitioners and the true
embezzlers of the P55 million is likewise of no moment. The crime of
malversation, as defined under Article 217 of the Code, was consummated the
moment petitioners deliberately turned over and allowed the President’s private
secretary to take custody of public funds intended as payment of MIAA’s
obligations to the PNCC, if obligation there was at all. That petitioner Tabuena
who was then General Manager of MIAA personally and knowingly participated in
the misfeasance compounds the maleficence of it all. Rank may have its
privileges but certainly a blatant disregard of law and administrative rules is not
one of them. It must be etched in the minds of public officials that the underside of
privileges is responsibilities.
22. Courts; Judges; Due Process; The true test for the appropriateness or
inappropriateness of court queries is not their quantity but their quality, that is,
whether the defendant was prejudiced by the trial court’s actions.-
The numerous questions asked by the court a quo should have been scrutinized
for any possible influence it may have had in arriving at the assailed decision. The
true test for the appropriateness or inappropriateness of court queries is not their
quantity but their quality, that is, whether the defendant was prejudiced by such
questioning. To repeat, petitioners did not feel prejudice by the trial court’s
actions; otherwise, they would have raised this issue in the instant petition.
23. Criminal Law; Doctrine of Mistake of Fact; This Court has never applied the
doctrine of mistake of fact when negligence can be imputed to the accused.-
For the same reason, the majority cannot rely on the doctrine of mistake of fact as
ground to acquit petitioners. It found as a fact that “x x x Tabuena acted under the
honest belief that the P55 million was a due and demandable debt x x x.” This
Court has never applied the doctrine of mistake of fact when negligence can be
imputed to the accused. In the old, familiar case of People vs. Ah Chong, Mr.
Justice Carson explained that ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance or
mistake of fact is sufficient to negative a particular intent which under the law is a

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necessary ingredient of the offense charged (e.g., in larceny animus furandi, in
murder, malice, etc.), cancels the presumption of intent and works an acquittal,
except in those cases where the circumstances demand a conviction under the
penal provisions touching criminal negligence. Hence, Ah Chong was acquitted
when he mistook his houseboy as a robber and the evidence showed that his
mistake of fact was not due to negligence. In the case at bar, the negligence of
the petitioners screams from page to page of the records of the case. Petitioners
themselves admitted that the payments they made were “out of the ordinary” and
“not based on normal procedure.”
24. Criminal Law; Constitutional Law; Justifying Circumstances; Obedience
to Lawful Order of Superior; President; One of the gospels in constitutional law
is that the President is powerful but is not more paramount than the law, and in
criminal law, our catechism teaches us that it is loyalty to the law that saves, not
loyalty to any man.-
In effect, petitioners’ shocking submission is that the President is always right, a
frightening echo of the antedeluvian idea that the King can do no wrong. By
allowing the petitioners to walk, the majority has validated petitioners’ belief that
the President should always be obeyed as if the President is above and beyond
the law. I cannot accept this dangerous ruling even if I look at it through the eyes
of faith. One of the gospels in constitutional law is that the President is powerful
but is not more paramount than the law. And in criminal law, our catechism
teaches us that it is loyalty to the law that saves, not loyalty to any man. Let us not
bid goodbye to these sacrosanct principles.
25. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances;Obedience to Lawful Order of
Superior; The defense of “obedience to a superior’s order” is already obsolete.-
The defense of “obedience to a superior’s order” is already obsolete. Fifty years
ago, the Nazi war criminals tried to justify genocide against the Jews and their
other crimes against humanity by alleging they were merely following the orders of
Adolf Hitler, their adored fuehrer. However, the International Military Tribunal at
Nuremberg in its Judgment dated October 1, 1946, forcefully debunked this Nazi
argument and clearly ruled that “(t)he true test x x x is not the existence of the
order but whether moral choice was in fact possible.”
26. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; Allowing the petitioners to walk
deprives this Court of the moral authority to convict any subaltern of the martial
law dictator who was merely “following orders.”-
Resurrecting this internationally discredit Nazi defense will, I respectfully submit,
set a dangerous precedent in this country. Allowing the petitioners to walk
deprives this Court of the moral authority to convict any subaltern of the martial
law dictator who was merely “following orders.” This ludicrous defense can be
invoked in all criminal cases pending not only before this Court but more so before
inferior courts, which will have no legal option but to follow this Court’s doctrine.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 103501-03, G.R. No. 103507

Counsel: Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako, Estebal & Associates Law Firm, The Solicitor
General

Ponente: FRANCISCO

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Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, herein petitioners Luis A.
Tabuena and Adolfo M. Peralta are hereby ACQUITTED of the
crime of malversation as defined and penalized under Article 217
of the Revised Penal Code. The Sandiganbayan Decision of
October 12, 1990 and the Resolution dated December 20, 1991
are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
1.
People vs. Tabugoca 285 SCRA 312 , January 28, 1998
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CRESENCIO TABUGOCA,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a joint decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Ilagan, Isabela, Branch 18.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Rape|Exempting
Circumstances|Insanity|Evidence|Witnesses|Penalty
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Rape; Exempting Circumstances;Insanity; A person accused
of a crime who pleads the exempting circumstance of insanity has necessarily the
consequent burden of proving it.-
We have held that the law presumes every man to be sane. A person accused of
a crime who pleads the exempting circumstance of insanity has necessarily the
consequent burden of proving it. Further, in order that insanity may be taken as an
exempting circumstance, there must be complete depreciation of intelligence in
the commis- sion of the act or that the accused acted without the least
discernment. Mere abnormality of his mental faculties does not preclude
imputability.
2. Criminal Law; Rape; Exempting Circumstances;Insanity; Failure to
remember is in itself no proof of the mental condition of the accused when the
crime was performed.-
Accused-appellant has utterly failed to overthrow the presumption of sanity. The
defense did not present any expert witness, any psychiatric evaluation report, or
any psychological findings or evidence regarding his mental condition at the time
of the commission of the offenses. Accused-appellant’s charade of amnesia is
evidently a desperate gambit for exculpation. Yet, amnesia, in and of itself, is no
defense to a criminal charge unless it is shown by competent proof that the
accused did not know the nature and quality of his action and that it was wrong.
Failure to remember is in itself no proof of the mental condition of the accused
when the crime was performed.
3. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Witnesses; It is a settled decisional rule that
delay in reporting a rape case committed by a father against his daughter due to
threats is justified.-
The failure of complainant Jacqueline to immediately report the incident to the
authorities does not necessarily cast doubt on the credibility of the charge in
Criminal Case No. 2386. It is a settled decisional rule that delay in reporting a
rape case committed by a father against his daughter due to threats is justified. In
the numerous cases of rape that have reached this Court, we find that it is not
uncommon for young girls to conceal, for some time, the assaults on their honor
because of the rapist’s threat on their lives.
4. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Witnesses; In many instances, rape victims
simply suffer in silence.-

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In many instances, rape victims simply suffer in silence. With more reason would
a girl ravished by her own father keep quiet about what befell her. Furthermore, it
is unfair to judge the action of children who have undergone traumatic
experiences by the norms of behavior expected of mature individuals under the
same circumstances.
5. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Witnesses; No young Filipina of decent
repute would falsely and publicly admit that she had been ravished and abused
considering the social stigma thereof.-
Mere disciplinary chastisement is not strong enough to make daughters in a
Filipino family invent a charge that would only bring shame and humiliation upon
them and their own family and make them the object of gossip among their
classmates and friends. It is unbelievable that Jacqueline would fabricate a
serious criminal charge just to get even with her father and to empathize with her
sister. The sisters would not contrive stories of defloration and charge their own
father with rape unless these stories are true. For that matter, no young Filipina of
decent repute would falsely and publicly admit that she had been ravished and
abused considering the social stigma thereof.
6. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Witnesses; A rape victim’s testimony is
entitled to greater weight when she accuses a close relative of having raped her,
as in the case of a daughter against her father.-
Thus, the unfounded claim of evil motives on the part of the victims would not
destroy the credibility reposed upon them by the trial court because, as we have
held, a rape victim’s testimony is entitled to greater weight when she accuses a
close relative of having raped her, as in the case of a daughter against her father.
Furthermore, the testimony of the victim who was only twelve years old at the time
of the rape as to the circumstances thereof must be given weight, for it is an
accepted rule that testimonies of rape victims who are young and of tender age
are credible.
7. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; It is axiomatic in criminal law that in order to
sustain a conviction for rape, full penetration of the female genital organ is not
required.-
It is axiomatic in criminal law that in order to sustain a conviction for rape, full
penetration of the female genital organ is not required. It is enough that there is
proof of the entrance of the male organ within the labia of the pudendum of the
female organ. Penetration of the penis by entry into the lips of the vagina, even
without rupture or laceration of the hymen, suffices to warrant conviction for rape.
The rupture of the hymen or laceration of any part of the woman’s genitalia is not
indispensable to a conviction for rape. Thus, a finding that the victim’s hymen is
intact and has no sign of laceration does not negate a finding that rape was
committed.
8. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; In incestuous rape, it is not necessary that
actual force and intimidation be employed.-
In direct refutation of appellant’s theory, we once again declare that in incestuous
rape, it is not necessary that actual force and intimidation be employed. It is
sufficient that the accused exercised a pervasive influence and con- trol over the
victim. Even if there was no violence employed in the sexual congress, the moral
influence of appellant over the complainant suffices to constitute it into the crime
of rape.

Page 149 of 407


9. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Being the victims’ father, accused-appellant
had that moral ascendancy and influence over his daughters which, in itself, was
sufficient to intimidate and force them to submit to his desires.-
Thus two forms of intimidation under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code were
recognized in Matrimonio, that is (1) threats and (2) overpowering moral influence.
Accused-appellant exercised such moral influence over herein complainants.
Being the victims’ father, accused-appellant had that moral ascendancy and
influence over his daughters which, in itself, was sufficient to intimidate and force
them to submit to his desires. The fact that no resistance was offered by Jinky did
not in any way qualify the coitus as freely consented to by her. Judging accused-
appellant’s threats and intimidation in the context of Jinky’s understanding at the
time of the rape, it can readily be concluded that her will to resist was overcome
by her father’s strong parental authority.
10. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Intimidation must be viewed in light of the
victim’s perception and judgment at the time of rape and not by any hard-and-fast
rule.-
Parenthetically, we digress to observe that for rape to exist it is not necessary that
the intimidation employed be so great or of such character as could not be
resisted. It is only necessary that the intimidation be sufficient to consummate the
purpose which the accused had in mind. Intimidation must be viewed in light of the
victim’s perception and judgment at the time of rape and not by any hard and fast
rule. It is therefore enough that it produces fear—fear that if the victim does not
yield to the bestial demands of the accused, something would happen to her at
the moment or thereafter, as when she is threatened with death if she reports the
incident. Intimidation would also explain why there are no traces of struggle which
would indicate that the victim fought off her attacker.
11. Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; It is hard to believe that a daughter would
simply give in to her father’s lascivious designs had not her resistance been
overpowered.-
The insistence of accused-appellant that Jinky consented to his advances is
downright ridiculous. It is hard to believe that a daughter would simply give in to
her father’s lascivious designs had not her resistance been overpowered. If Jinky
had consented to the sexual intercourse, she would have kept it to herself and not
denounce it immediately as rape. Jinky’s crying during the sexual act, and her
evasion of her father’s advances the following day, belie his pretense that she
voluntarily participated in the intercourse. There is no showing whatsoever that
complainant Jinky is a sexually perverted woman or one of extremely loose
morals.
12. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalty; With respect to simple rape, whether in the
original codal provision or after the amendments thereto, the penalty being the
single indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua is not affected by the presence of
ordinary mitigating or aggravating circumstances.-
On the matter of the imposable penalties in the crime of rape when attended by
modifying circumstances, it is opportune to make some clarifications in light of
succeeding amendments to Article 335 of the Code. With respect to simple rape,
whether in the original codal provision or after the amendments thereto, the
penalty being the single indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua is not affected by
the presence of ordinary mitigating or aggravating circumstances. However, under
the amendments introduced by Republic Act No. 4111 consisting of the so-called
“qualified” form of rape committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or

Page 150 of 407


more persons, or when an attempted or frustrated rape is accompanied by
homicide, for which the penalty is reclusion perpetua to death, the presence of
generic mitigating or aggravating circumstances will determine whether the lesser
or the higher penalty will be imposed.
13. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalty; In crimes against chastity, such as rape,
relationship was always aggravating.-
Now, it used to be the accepted doctrine that in crimes against chastity, such as
rape, relationship was always aggravating. However, among the “qualifying”
circumstances introduced by Republic Act No. 7659 is the situation when the
victim is under eighteen years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant,
step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil
degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. Obviously, in such
a factual milieu, relationship having been used as an element in that “qualified”
form of rape, the same circumstance cannot be used again to aggravate the
penalty to be imposed on the offender.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 125334

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: PER CURIAM

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of Branch 18 of the Regional Trial
Court of Ilagan, Isabela, in Criminal Cases Nos. 2386 and 2387 is
hereby AFFIRMED, with the modification that accused-appellant
Cresencio Tabugoca is further ordered (1) in Criminal Case No.
2386, to pay Jacqueline Tabugoca the additional amounts of
P25,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages; and (2) in Criminal Case No. 2387, to pay Jinky
Tabugoca the further amount of P25,000.00 by way of exemplary
damages.Two members of the Court voted to impose on appellant
the penalty of reclusion perpetua.In accordance with Article 83 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic
Act No. 7659, upon the finality of this decision, let the records of
this case be forwarded immediately to the Office of the President of
the Philippines for possible exercise of the pardoning power.
People vs. Madarang 332 SCRA 99 , May 12, 2000
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FERNANDO MADARANG y
MAGNO, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Burgos, Pangasinan, Br. 70.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Exempting Circumstances|Insanity|Evidence|Expert
Testimony|Schizophrenia|Words and Phrases|Parricide
Division: FIRST DIVISION

1. Criminal Law; Law is designed for rational beings as it is based on our inherent sense of
right which is inseparable from reason.—What distinguishes man from beast is his
intellect. Man’s action is guided and controlled by his mind. Law is designed for rational

Page 151 of 407


beings as it is based on our inherent sense of right which is inseparable from reason.
Thus, when man’s reasoning is so distorted by disease that he is totally incapable of
distinguishing right from

2. _______________
3. *
FIRST DIVISION.

4. 100

1 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


00 ANNOTATED
People vs. Madarang
5. wrong, he loses responsibility before the law. In the case at bar, we are asked to resolve
whether or not the accused, invoking insanity, can claim exemption from liability for the
crime he committed.

6. Same; Exempting Circumstances;Insanity; In all civilized na-tions, an act done by a


person in a state of insanity cannot be punished as an offense—no purpose of criminal
law is served by punishing an insane accused because by reason of his mental state, he
would have no control over his behavior and cannot be deterred from similar behavior in
the future.—In all civilized nations, an act done by a person in a state of insanity cannot
be punished as an offense. The insanity defense is rooted on the basic moral
assumption of criminal law. Man is naturally endowed with the faculties of understanding
and free will. The consent of the will is that which renders human actions laudable or
culpable. Hence, where there is a defect of the understanding, there can be no free act
of the will. An insane accused is not morally blameworthy and should not be legally
punished. No purpose of criminal law is served by punishing an insane accused because
by reason of his mental state, he would have no control over his behavior and cannot be
deterred from similar behavior in the future.

7. Same; Same; Same; In the Philippines, the courts have established a more stringent
criterion for insanity to be exempting as it is required that there must be complete
deprivation of intelligence in committing the act.—In the Philippines, the courts have
established a more stringent criterion for insanity to be exempting as it is required that
there must be a complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act, i.e., the
accused is deprived of reason; he acted without the least discernment because there is
a complete absence of the power to discern, or that there is a total deprivation of the will.
Mere abnormality of the mental faculties will not exclude imputability.

8. Same; Same; Same; Evidence; Expert Testimony; Establishing the insanity of an


accused requires opinion testimony which may be given by a witness who is intimately
acquainted with the accused, by a witness who has rational basis to conclude that the
accused was insane based on the witness’ own perception of the accused, or by a
witness who is qualified as an expert, such as a psychiatrist.—The issue of insanity is a
question of fact for insanity is a condition of the mind, not susceptible of the usual means
of proof. As no man can
9. 101

Page 152 of 407


VOL. 332, MAY 12, 2000 1
01
People vs. Madarang
10. know what is going on in the mind of another, the state or condition of a person’s mind
can only be measured and judged by his behavior. Establishing the insanity of an
accused requires opinion testimony, which may be given by a witness who is intimately
acquainted with the accused, by a witness who has rational basis to conclude that the
accused was insane based on the witness’ own perception of the accused, or by a
witness who is qualified as an expert, such as a psychiatrist. The testimony or proof of
the accused’s insanity must relate to the time preceding or coetaneous with the
commission of the offense with which he is charged.

11. Same; Same; Same; Schizophrenia; Words and Phrases; Medical books describe
schizophrenia as a chronic mental disorder characterized by inability to distinguish
between fantasy and reality and often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions.—In
the case at bar, the appellant was diagnosed to be suffering from schizophrenia when he
was committed to the NCMH months after he killed his wife. Medical books describe
schizophrenia as a chronic mental disorder characterized by inability to distinguish
between fantasy and reality and often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions,
Formerly called dementia pracecox, it is the most common form of psychosis.
Symptomatically, schizophrenic reactions are recognizable through odd and bizarre
behavior apparent in aloofness or periods of impulsive destructiveness and immature
and exaggerated emotionality, often ambivalently directed. The interpersonal
perceptions are distorted in the more serious states by delusions and hallucinations. In
the most disorganized form of schizophrenic living, withdrawal into a fantasy life takes
place and is associated with serious thought disorder and profound habit deterioration in
which the usual social customs are disregarded. During the initial stage, the common
early symptom is aloofness, a withdrawal behind barriers of loneliness, hopelessness,
hatred and fear. Frequently, the patient would seem preoccupied and dreamy and may
appear “faraway.” He does not empathize with the feelings of others and manifests little
concern about the realities of life situations. The schizophrenic suffers from a feeling of
rejection and an intolerable lack of self-respect. He withdraws from emotional
involvement with other people to protect himself from painful relationships. There is
shallowness of affect, a paucity of emotional responsiveness and a loss of spontaneity.
Frequently, he becomes neglectful of personal care and cleanliness. A variety of
subjective experiences, associated with or influenced by mounting anxiety and fears
precede the earliest be-
12. 102

1 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


02 ANNOTATED
People vs. Madarang
13. havioral changes and oddities. He becomes aware of increasing tension and confusion
and becomes distracted in conversation manifested by his inability to maintain a train of
thought in his conversations. Outwardly, this will be noticed as blocks or breaks in
conversations. The schizophrenic may not speak or respond appropriately to his

Page 153 of 407


companions. He may look fixedly away, or he may appear to stare, as he does not
regularly blink his eyes in his attempt to hold his attention.

14. Same; Same; Same; Evidence; Although the accused was diagnosed with schizophrenia
a few months after the stabbing incident, the evidence of insanity after the fact of
commission of the offense may be accorded weight only if there is also proof of
abnormal behavior immediately before or simultaneous to the commission of the
crime.— None of the witnesses presented by the appellant declared that he exhibited
any of the myriad symptoms associated with schizophrenia immediately before or
simultaneous with the stabbing incident. To be sure, the record is bereft of even a single
account of abnormal or bizarre behavior on the part of the appellant prior to that fateful
day. Although Dr. Tibayan opined that there is a high possibility that the appellant was
already suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the stabbing, he also declared that
schizophrenics have lucid intervals during which they are capable of distinguishing right
from wrong. Hence the importance of adducing proof to show that the appellant was not
in his lucid interval at the time he committed the offense. Although the appellant was
diagnosed with schizophrenia a few months after the stabbing incident, the evidence of
insanity after the fact of commission of the offense may be accorded weight only if there
is also proof of abnormal behavior immediately before or simultaneous to the
commission of the crime. Evidence on the alleged insanity must refer to the time
preceding the act under prosecution or to the very moment of its execution.

15. Same; Parricide; It cannot be said that jealousy is not a sufficient reason to kill a
pregnant spouse—our jurisprudence is replete with cases where lives had been
terminated for the flimsiest reasons.—In the case at bar, we find the evidence adduced
by the defense insufficient to establish his claim of insanity at the time he killed his wife.
There is a dearth of evidence on record to show that the appellant was completely of
unsound mind prior to or coetaneous with the commission of the crime. The arguments
advanced by the appellant to prove his insanity are speculative and non-sequitur. For
16. 103

VOL. 332, MAY 12, 2000 1


03
People vs. Madarang
17. one, his claim that he has absolutely no recollection of the stabbing incident amounts to
a mere general denial that can be made with facility. The fact that Avelina and her
nephew were frightened at the sight of the appellant holding a bolo after he killed his
wife does not, by any stretch of imagination, prove that the appellant has lost his grip on
reality on that occasion. Neither is the appellant’s seemingly non-repentant attitude
immediately after he stabbed his wife an indicium of his alleged insanity. Even criminals
of stable mental condition take this non-remorseful stance. Similarly, that the appellant
and his wife were never seen quarreling prior to that fateful day does not by itself prove
the appellant’s unstable mental condition. Neither can it be said that jealousy is not a
sufficient reason to kill a pregnant spouse. Our jurisprudence is replete with cases where
lives had been terminated for the flimsiest reason.

18. Same; Same; Insanity; Evidence; In criminal prosecutions involving insanity as a


defense, the accused is tried on the issue of insanity alone and if found to be sane, a

Page 154 of 407


judgment of conviction is rendered without trial on the issue of guilt as he had already
admitted committing the crime.—An accused invoking the insanity defense pleads not
guilty by reason thereof. He admits committing the crime but claims that he is not guilty
because he was insane at the time of its commission. Hence, the accused is tried on the
issue of sanity alone and if found to be sane, a judgment of conviction is rendered
without any trial on the issue of guilt as he had already admitted committing the crime.
As the appellant, in the case at bar, failed to establish by convincing evidence his
alleged insanity at the time he killed his wife, we are constrained to affirm his conviction.

19.
Docket Number: G.R. No. 132319

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: PUNO

Dispositive Portion:
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the trial court convicting the
appellant of the crime of parricide is AFFIRMED in toto.
People vs. Bonoan 64 Phil. 87 , February 17, 1937
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CELESTINO
BONOAN Y CRUZ, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Manila. Jaranilla, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|MURDER
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; INSANITY, AS A DEFENSE.-
In the Philippines, the burden, to be sure, is on the prosecution to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, but sanity is presumed,
and "* * * when a defendant in a criminal case interposes the defense of mental
incapacity, the burden of establishing that fact rests upon him * * *." (U. S. vs.
Martinez [1916], 34 Phil., 305, 308, 309; U. S. vs. Hontiveros Carmona [1910], 18
Phil., 62; People vs. Bascos [1922], 44 Phil., 204.) We affirm and reiterate this
doctrine.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; ID.-
In order to ascertain a person's mental condition at the time of the act, it is
permissible to receive evidence of the condition of his mind a reasonable period
both before and after that time. Direct testimony is not required (Wharton,
CriminalEvidence, p. 684; State vs. Wright, 134 Mo., 404; 35 S. W., 1145; State
vs. Simms, 68 M., 205; Rinkard vs. State, 157 Ind., 234; 62 N. E., 14; People vs.
Tripler, I Wheeler, Crim. Cas., 48), nor are specific acts of derangement essential
(People vs. Tripler, supra) to establish insanity as a defense.
3. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; ID.-
Mind can only be known by outward acts. Thereby, we read the thoughts, the
motives and emotions of a person and come to determine whether his acts
conform to the practice of people of sound mind. To prove insanity, therefore,
circumstantial evidence, if clear and convincing, suffice (People vs. Bascos,
supra).
4. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; ID.-
Courts should be careful to distinguish insanity in law from passion or eccentricity,
mental weakness or mere depression resulting from physical ailment. The State

Page 155 of 407


should guard against sane murderers escaping punishment through a general
plea of insanity. In the case at bar, however, we are not concerned with
connecting two or more attacks of insanity to show the continuance thereof during
the intervening period or periods but with the continuity of a particular and isolated
attack, beginning with the demonstration of symptoms thereof prior to the
commission of the crime charged, and ending with a positive diagnosis of insanity
immediately following the commission of the act complained of.
5. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR THE
PROSECUTION.-
To prove motive and premeditation and, indirectly, mental normalcy of the
accused at the time of the commission of the crime, the prosecution called on
policeman D. A. who testified as to certain statements made to him by the
defendant-appellant after his arrest. A detective corroborated the policeman's
testimony. That such kind of evidence is not necessarily proof of the sanity of the
accused during the commission of the offense, is clear from what Dr. Sydney
Smith, Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine, University of Edinburgh, said in his
work on Forensic Medicine (3d ed. [London], p. 382), that in the type of dementia
præcox, "the crime is usually preceded by much complaining and planning. In
these people, homicidal attacks are common, because of delusions that they are
being interfered with sexually or that their property is being taken,"

Docket Number: No. 45130

Counsel: Paulino Sevilla, Fernando Arce, Gaudencio Garcia, Undersecretary of Justice


Melencio

Ponente: LAUREL

Dispositive Portion:
In view of the foregoing, we are of the opinion that the defendant-
appellant was demented at the time he perpetrated the serious
offense charged in the information and that consequently he is
exempt from criminal liability. Accordingly, the judgment of the
lower court is hereby reversed, and the defendant-appellant
acquitted, with costs de oficio in both instances. In conformity with
paragraph 1 of article 12 of the Revised Penal Code, the defendant
shall be kept in confinement in the San Lazaro Hospital or such
other hospital for the insane as may be designated by the Director
of the Philippine Health Service, there to remain confined until the
Court of First Instance of Manila shall otherwise order or decree.
So ordered.
People vs. Taneo 58 Phil. 255 , March 31, 1933
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs.
POTENCIANO TANEO, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of
the Court of First Instance of Leyte. Hontiveros, J.
Syllabi Class : PARRICIDE|INVOLUNTARY ACTS OF ACCUSED
Syllabi:
1. PARRICIDE; INVOLUNTARY ACTS OF ACCUSED;EXEMPTION FROM
CRIMINAL LIABILITY.-

Page 156 of 407


By virtue of the facts stated in the decision, Held: That the defendant acted while
in a dream and his acts, with which he is charged, were not voluntary in the sense
of entailing criminal liability.

Docket Number: No. 37673

Counsel: Carlos S. Tan, Attorney-General Jaranilla

Ponente: AVANCEÑA

Dispositive Portion:
In view of all these considerations, and reversing the judgment
appealed from, the court finds that the defendant is not criminally
liable for the offense with which he is charged, and it is ordered
that he be confined in the Government insane asylum, whence he
shall not be released until the director thereof finds that his liberty
would no longer constitute a menace, with costs de' oficio. So
ordered.
People vs. Formigones 87 Phil. 658 , November 29, 1950
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. ABELARDO
FORMIGONES, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court
of First Instance of Camarines Sur. Palacio, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|PARRICIDE
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; IMBECILITY AS EXEMPTING
CIRCUMSTANCE; REQUISITES.-
In order that a person could be regarded as an imbecile within the meaning of
article 12 of the Revised Penal Code so as to be exempt from criminal liability, he
must be deprived completely of reason or discernment and freedom of the will at
the time of committing the crime.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; ID.-
A man who could feel the pangs of jealousy and take violent measures to the
extent of killing his wife whom he suspected of being unfaithful to him, in the belief
that in doing so he was vindicating his honor, could hardly be regarded as an
imbecile.
3. CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; FEEBLEMINDEDNESS AND ACT IN A FIT OF
JEALOUSY AS MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES.-
Feeblemindedness of the accused warrants the finding in his favor of the
mitigating circumstance provided for in either paragraph 8 or paragraph 9 of article
13 of the Revised Penal Code and the fact that the accused evidently killed his
wife in a fit of jealousy, he is, likewise, entitled to the mitigating circumstance in
paragraph 6 of the same article—that of having acted upon an impulse so
powerful as naturally to have produced passion or obfuscation.
4. CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; PENALTY.-
The penalty applicable for parricide under article 246 of the Revised Penal Code
is composed only of two indivisible penalties, to wit, reclusión perpetua to death.
Altho the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstance
without any aggravating circumstance to offset them, article 63 of the said code is
the one applicable and must be applied.

Page 157 of 407


5. CRIMINAL LAW; PARRICIDE; ATTENTION OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
INVITED TO THE CASE.-
When the court believes that the appellant is entitled to a lighter penalty the case
should be brought to the attention of the Chief Executive who, in his discretion
may reduce the penalty to that next lower to reclusión perpetua to death or
otherwise apply executive clemency in the manner he sees fit.

Docket Number: No. L-3246

Counsel: Luis Contreras, Solicitor General Felix Bautista Angelo, Solicitor Felix V. Makasiar

Ponente: MONTEMAYOR, PADILLA

Dispositive Portion:
Following the attitude adopted and the action taken by this same
court in the two cases above cited, and believing that the appellant
is entitled to a lighter penalty, this case should be brought to the
attention of the Chief Executive who, in his discretion may reduce
the penalty to that next lower to reclusión perpetua to death or
otherwise apply executive clemency in the manner he sees fit.
People vs. Valledor 383 SCRA 653 , July 03, 2002
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ENRICO A. VALLEDOR,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Puerto
Princesa City, Br. 47.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Exempting Circumstance|Insanity
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Exempting Circumstance;Insanity; The law
presumes all acts to be voluntary and it is improper to presume that acts were
done unconsciously.-
In considering a plea of insanity as a defense, the starting premise is that the law
presumes all persons to be of sound mind. Otherwise stated, the law presumes all
acts to be voluntary, and it is improper to presume that acts were done
unconsciously.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Exempting Circumstance;Insanity; A man may act
crazy but it does not necessarily and conclusively prove that he is legally so; What
is decisive is his mental condition at the time of the perpetration of the offense.-
Accused-appellant’s acts prior to the stabbing incident to wit: crying; swimming in
the river with his clothes on; and jumping off the jeepney; were not sufficient to
prove that he was indeed insane at the time of the commission of the crime. As
consistently held by this Court, “A man may act crazy but it does not necessarily
and conclusively prove that he is legally so.” Then, too, the medical findings
showing that accused-appellant was suffering from a mental disorder after the
commission of the crime, has no bearing on his liability. What is decisive is his
mental condition at the time of the perpetration of the offense. Failing to discharge
the burden of proving that he was legally insane when he stabbed the victims, he
should be held liable for his felonious acts.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 129291

Page 158 of 407


Counsel: The Solicitor General, Benjamin B. Padon

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch
47, is MODIFIED as follows:
United States vs. Tañedo. 15 Phil. 196 , February 12, 1910
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CECILIO TAÑEDO, defendant
and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac.
Moir, J.
Syllabi Class : JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE
Syllabi:
1. JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE; CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY.-
If life is taken by misfortune or accident while the actor is in the performance of a
lawful act executed with due care and without intention of doing harm, there is no
criminal liability.
2. JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE; BURDEN OF PROOF.-
When the accused, under the plea of accidental killing, offers testimony tending to
prove the substance of his plea, the burden is upon the State to show beyond a
reasonable doubt that the killing was intentional.

Docket Number: No. 5418

Counsel: O'Brien & De Witt, Solicitor-General Harvey

Ponente: MORELAND

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment of conviction is, therefore, reversed, the defendant
acquitted, and his discharge from custody ordered, costs de oficio.
So ordered.
People vs. Bindoy 56 Phil. 15 , August 28, 1931
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs. DONATO
BINDOY, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Occidental Misamis. Rich, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; ACCIDENTAL HOMICIDE.-
In struggling with another who sought to wrench away his bolo, the defendant
accidentally wounded a bystander, who died in consequence. Had the defendant
tried to wound his adversary and instead had hit the bystander, he would, of
course, have had to answer for his criminal act (art. 1, par. 3, Penal Code); but in
view of the evidence, Held: That the injury was accidental and the defendant
should be acquitted.

Docket Number: No. 34665

Page 159 of 407


Counsel: Florentino Saguin, Attorney-General Jaranilla

Ponente: VlLLAMOR

Dispositive Portion:
In view of the evidence before us, we are of opinion and so hold,
that the appellant is entitled to acquittal according to article 8, No.
8, Penal Code. Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is
reversed, and the accused Donato Bindoy is hereby acquitted with
costs de oficio. So ordered.
People vs. Concepcion 386 SCRA 74 , August 01, 2002
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SPO1 RODOLFO
CONCEPCION y PERALTA, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Tarlac City, Br. 65.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Exempting Circumstances|Treachery
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Exempting Circumstances;Requisites to be entitled
to the exempting circumstance of accident.-
The existence of accident must be proved by the appellant to the satisfaction of
the court. For this to be properly appreciated in appellant’s favor, the following
requisites must concur: (1) that the accused was performing a lawful act with due
care; (2) that the injury is caused by mere accident; and (3) that there was no fault
or intent on his part to cause the injury.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Treachery; Conditions to be present to constitute
treachery.-
To constitute treachery (alevosia), two conditions must be present: (1) the
employment of means of execution that give the person attacked no opportunity to
defend himself or to retaliate; and (2) the means of execution were deliberately or
consciously adopted.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Treachery; Failure to specify treachery as a
circumstance qualifying the killing to murder, under the present Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, treachery has to be considered a generic aggravating
circumstance only.-
We note that treachery, though stated in the information, was not alleged with
specificity as qualifying the killing to murder. Following People vs. Alba, G.R. No.
130523, January 29, 2002, 375 SCRA 69, the information should state not only
the designation of the offense and the acts and omissions constituting it, but
should also specify the qualifying and aggravating circumstances. Since the
information in this case failed to specify treachery as a circumstance qualifying the
killing to murder, under the present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
treachery has to be considered a generic aggravating circumstance only.
Consequently, the crime committed by appellant is homicide and not murder.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Pursuant to the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
that took effect on December 1, 2000, every complaint or information must state
not only the qualifying but also the aggravating circumstances.-
We find that the trial court misappreciated as an aggravating circumstance the fact
that appellant was a policeman on duty at the time of the killing. The information
charging appellant bears no mention of this aggravating circumstance. Pursuant
to the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure that took effect on December 1, 2000,
every complaint or information must state not only the qualifying but also the

Page 160 of 407


aggravating circumstances. This provision may be given retroactive effect in the
light of the well-settled rule that statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will
be construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of
their passage. The aggravating circumstance of abuse of official position, not
having been alleged in the information, could thus not be appreciated to increase
appellant’s liability.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 136844

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: QUISUMBING

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Tarlac,
Branch 65, in Criminal Case No. 9776, convicting appellant
Rodolfo Concepcion of the crime of murder, is hereby AFFIRMED
with MODIFICATION. Appellant is found guilty of the crime of
homicide and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of eight (8)
years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum and fourteen
(14) years, eight (8) months, and one (1) day of reclusion temporal
as maximum. He is also ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the
amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity, P50,000 as moral damages,
P848,000 as lost earnings, P10,000 as attorney’s fees, and the
costs.
People vs. Agliday 367 SCRA 273 , October 16, 2001
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RICARDO AGLIDAY y
TOLENTINO, appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of
San Carlos City, Pangasinan, Br. 57.
Syllabi Class : Witnesses|Criminal Law|Exempting Circumstances|Accident|Elements|Words
and Phrases
Syllabi:
1. Witnesses; Long settled is the rule in criminal jurisprudence that when the
issue is one of credibility of witnesses, an appellate court will normally not disturb
the factual findings of the trial court.-
Long settled is the rule in criminal jurisprudence that when the issue is one of
credibility of witnesses, an appellate court will normally not disturb the factual
findings of the trial court. That is, unless the lower court has reached conclusions
that are clearly unsupported by evidence, or unless it has overlooked some facts
or circumstances of weight and influence which, if considered, would affect the
results.
2. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Accident;The exemption from
criminal liability under the circumstance showing accident is based on the lack of
criminal intent.-
Both the trial court and the solicitor general rejected this defense on the basis of
the eyewitness testimonies of Conchita and Rey. Under Article 12 (paragraph 4)
of the Code, criminal liability does not arise in case a crime is committed by “[a]ny
person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by mere

Page 161 of 407


accident without fault or intention of causing it.” The exemption from criminal
liability under the circumstance showing accident is based on the lack of criminal
intent.
3. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Accident;Elements; For an
accident to become an exempting circumstance, the act has to be lawful—the act
of firing a shotgun at another is not a lawful act.-
Before the accused may be exempted from criminal liability by reason of Article 12
(paragraph 4), the following elements must concur; (1) a person is performing a
lawful act (2) with due care, and (3) he causes an injury to another by mere
accident and (4) without any fault or intention of causing it. For an accident to
become an exempting circumstance, the act has to be lawful. The act of firing a
shotgun at another is not a lawful act.
4. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Accident;Words and
Phrases; An accident is an occurrence that “happens outside the sway of our will,
and although it comes about through some act of our will, lies beyond the bounds
of humanly foreseeable consequences”—it connotes the absence of criminal
intent.-
An accident is an occurrence that “happens outside the sway of our will, and
although it comes about through some act of our will, lies beyond the bounds of
humanly foreseeable consequences.” It connotes the absence of criminal intent.
Intent is a mental state, the existence of which is shown by a person’s overt acts.
In the case at bar, appellant got his shotgun and returned to the kitchen to shoot
his son, who had intervened in the quarrel between the former and Conchita. It
must also be pointed out that the firearm was a shotgun that would not have fired
off without first being cocked. Undoubtedly, appellant cocked the shotgun before
discharging it, showing a clear intent to fire it at someone.
5. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Accident;Words and
Phrases; Reckless imprudence consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do,
without malice, an act from which material damage results by reason of an
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to
perform such act.-
Reckless imprudence consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice,
an act from which material damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of
precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act. Past
jurisprudential cases of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide were as
follows: (1) exhibiting a loaded revolver to a friend, who got killed by the accidental
discharge arising from negligent handling; (2) discharging a firearm from the
window of one’s house and killing a neighbor who, at just that moment, leaned
over a balcony front; and (3) firing a .45 caliber pistol twice in the air to stop a fist
fight; and, as the fight continued, firing another shot at the ground but, after the
bullet ricocheted, hitting a bystander who died thereafter.
6. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances; Accident;A deliberate intent to do
an unlawful act is inconsistent with reckless imprudence.-
Intent is not lacking in the instant case. Appellant’s external acts prove malice or
criminal intent. A deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is inconsistent with
reckless imprudence.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 140794

Page 162 of 407


Counsel: The Solicitor General, Carlito M. Soriano

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED and the assailed
Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against appellant.
People vs. Lising 285 SCRA 595 , January 30, 1998
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO “RAMBO”
LISING, RODOLFO MANALILI, FELIMON GARCIA, ENRICO DIZON and ROBIN MANGA,
accused-appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 88.
Syllabi Class : Constitutional Law|Evidence|Criminal Law|Custodial Investigations|Extrajudicial
Confessions|Evidence|Words and Phrases|“Interlocking Confessions|”
Explained|Witnesses|Affidavits|Conspiracy|Exempting Circumstances|Irresistible Force or
Uncontrollable Fear|Error in Personam|Murder
Syllabi:
1. Constitutional Law; Custodial Investigations;Extrajudicial
Confessions; Evidence; A man’s act, conduct and declarations wherever made,
provided they be voluntary, are admissible against him, for the reason that it is fair
to presume that they correspond with the truth and it is his fault if they are not.-
Extrajudicial statements are as a rule, admissible as against their respective
declarants, pursuant to the rule that the act, declaration or omission of a party as
to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him. This is based upon the
presumption that no man would declare anything against himself, unless such
declarations were true. A man’s act, conduct and declarations wherever made,
provided they be voluntary, are admissible against him, for the reason that it is fair
to presume that they correspond with the truth and it is his fault if they are not.
2. Constitutional Law; Custodial Investigations;Extrajudicial
Confessions; Evidence; Words and Phrases; “Interlocking Confessions,”
Explained; An extrajudicial statement is evidence only against the person making
it; Exceptions.-
The rule that an extrajudicial statement is evidence only against the person
making it, also recognizes various exceptions. One such exception worth noting is
the rule that where several extrajudicial statements had been made by several
persons charged with an offense and there could have been no collusion with
reference to said several confessions, the facts that the statements are in all
material respects identical, is confirmatory of the confession of the co-defendants
and is admissible against other persons implicated therein. They are also
admissible as circumstantial evidence against the person implicated therein to
show the probability of the latter’s actual participation in the commission of the
crime and may likewise serve as corroborative evidence if it is clear from other
facts and circumstances that other persons had participated in the perpetration of
the crime charged and proved. These are known as “interlocking confessions.”
3. Evidence; Witnesses; Well-established is the rule that the trial court’s
evaluation of the credit-worthiness of the testimony given before it by witnesses
should be accorded great respect.-
Nonetheless, the trial court’s decision, in convicting all the accused was based not
on the aforesaid extrajudicial statements of the accused alone but mainly on the

Page 163 of 407


eyewitness account of the two witnesses, Froilan Olimpia and Raul Morales,
which the trial court gave weight and credence as bearing the “chime of truth and
honesty.” Wellestablished is the rule that the trial court’s evaluation of the
creditworthiness of the testimony given before it by witnesses should be accorded
great respect. Froilan Olimpia, a security guard of the Rotonda Wine Station, an
establishment adjacent to the Dayrit’s Ham and Burger House witnessed the
abduction of Cochise and Beebom in front of the said restaurant.
4. Evidence; Witnesses; Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony
referring to minor details and not upon the basic aspect of the crime do not impair
the witnesses’ credibility.-
It has been held that incon- sistencies and discrepancies in the testimony referring
to minor details and not upon the basic aspect of the crime do not impair the
witnesses’ credibility. These inconsistencies even tend to strengthen, rather than
weaken, the credibility of witnesses as they negate any suspicion of a rehearsed
testimony.
5. Evidence; Witnesses; The initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer
information about a criminal case and their unwillingness to be involved in the
criminal investigation is of common knowledge and has been judicially declared as
insufficient to affect credibility.-
Raul Morales himself admitted later on that there were omissions in his sworn
statement made before the CAPCOM because he was afraid of his employer
Lising and his companions. Understandably, he was reluctant to volunteer all the
information about the killing for fear that he would suffer the same fate of Cochise
and Beebom. The initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer information about a
criminal case and their unwillingness to be involved in the criminal investigation is
of common knowledge and has been judicially declared as insufficient to affect
credibility. Besides, at that time, Raul Morales was merely concerned with bringing
out his story without really paying particular attention to the details. He related that
his employer Lising and companions brought a man and a woman to their
warehouse and killed them both. He saw Cochise’s face on the papers and
recognized him to be the man whom Lising’s group killed. Morales only mentioned
Lising and Garcia’s names in his sworn statement because they were the only
ones known to him. Such omission and discrepancies should not be taken against
him.
6. Evidence; Witnesses; Affidavits; There is no rule of evidence to the effect
that omission of certain particulars in an affidavit or sworn statement would estop
an affiant in making an elaboration thereof during the trial.-
It bears emphasis that a sworn statement or an affidavit does not purport to be a
complete compendium of the details of the event narrated by the affiant. It is a
matter of judicial experience that a sworn statement being taken ex parte is almost
always incomplete and often inaccurate. Thus, discrepancies between the
statements of the affiant in his sworn statement and those made on the witness
stand do not necessarily discredit him. There is no rule of evidence to the effect
that omission of certain particulars in an affidavit or sworn statement would estop
an affiant in making an elaboration thereof during the trial. Whenever there is an
inconsistency between the affidavit and testimony of the witness, the latter
commands greater weight.
7. Evidence; Witnesses; When it comes to the issue of credibility of the
witnesses, appellate courts give much weight and respect to the findings of the
trial court.-

Page 164 of 407


By and large, the defenses raised by the accused do not persuade us. When it
comes to the issue of credibility of the witnesses, appellate courts give much
weight and respect to the findings of the trial court since the trial court is in the
better position to examine real evidence as well as observe the demeanor of the
witnesses. With the eyewitnesses’ account of Froilan Olimpia and Raul Morales,
the culpability of the accused for the crimes charged have been established.
8. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Words and Phrases;Conspiracy is a unity of
purpose and intention in the commission of a crime.-
Conspiracy is a unity of purpose and intention in the commission of a crime.
Where two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of
a felony and decide to commit it then conspiracy exists. While direct evidence is
not necessary, conspiracy may be inferred from and proven by acts of the
accused themselves when during and after said acts point to a joint purpose and
design, concerted action and community of interest.
9. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances;Irresistible Force or
Uncontrollable Fear; A person invoking irresistible force or uncontrollable fear
must show that the force exerted was such that it reduced him to a mere
instrument who acted not only without will but against his will.-
To be exempt from criminal liability, a person invoking irresistible force or
uncontrollable fear must show that the force exerted was such that it reduced him
to a mere instrument who acted not only without will but against his will. That
compulsion must be of some character as to leave the accused no opportunity for
self-defense in equal combat or for escape.
10. Criminal Law; Exempting Circumstances;Irresistible Force or
Uncontrollable Fear; Conspiracy;Where conspiracy is established, the precise
modality or extent of participation of each individual conspirator becomes
secondary.-
Where conspiracy is established, the precise modality or extent of participation of
each individual conspirator becomes secondary since the act of one is the act of
all. The degree of actual participation in the commission of crime is immaterial.
11. Criminal Law; Error in Personam; One who performs a criminal act should
be held liable for the act and for all its consequences although the victim was not
the person whom the fellow intended to injure.-
In any case, assuming the remote possibility, the mistake in the identity of the
victims does not exonerate Manalili pursuant to the rule that one who performs a
criminal act should be held liable for the act and for all its consequences although
the victim was not the person whom the fellow intended to injure.
12. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; The inaction of an accused where he
could have prevented the killings only reveal his complicity to the crime.-
We are reminded of the rule that the conviction must not rest on the weakness of
the defense but on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. In the instant case,
apart from its interlocking sworn statements of appellants, Raul Morales’ positive
testimony that he saw Manalili enter the bodega, and stand beside Beebom, while
Cochise was being killed, convinces us with moral certainty that Manalili is equally
guilty of the crimes charged. His presence in the warehouse clearly belies his
claim that from the motel, he left for Manila already. As against the positive
testimony and identification, mere denials of the accused cannot prevail to
overcome conviction by the court. The inaction of Manalili where he could have
prevented the killings only reveal his complicity to the crime. Manalili is certainly

Page 165 of 407


part of a complete whole without whom there would be no Cochise-Beebom
double murder case.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 106210-11

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Buscano & Associates Law Office, Pareto B. Pataksil, Emerito
M. Salva & Associates, Navarrete & Mondragon Law Office, Tranquilino F. Meris Law Office,
R.J. Dilag & Associates, Roldan, Tabobo, Corteza Law Offices, Fausto S. Arce

Ponente: KAPUNAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, this Court hereby renders judgment as follows:
United States vs. Caballeros 4 Phil., 350 , March 29, 1905
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, complainant and appellee, vs. APOLONIO CABALLEROS
ET AL., defendants and appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Cebu.
Docket Number: No. 1352

Counsel: Hipólito Magsalin, Solicitor-General Araneta

1. .COERCION.—Held upon the evidence that the defendant Baculi was exempt from
responsibility under article 8, paragraph 9 of the Penal Code.

1. 2.EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSIONS.—Extrajudicial confessions not made voluntarily


can not be received in evidence. (Act No. 619, sec. 4.)

1. 3.FAILURE TO REPORT A CRIME.—Failure to report to the authorities the commission


of a crime is not an offense punished by the Penal Code.

1.
Ponente: MAPA

Dispositive Portion:
By virtue, then, of the above considerations, and with a reversal of
the judgment appealed from, we acquit the defendants, appellants,
with the costs de oficio in both instances. So ordered.
People vs. Fronda 222 SCRA 71 , May 14, 1993
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RUDY FRONDA,
defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Aparri, Cagayan, Br. 10.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Criminal Liability|Principal by Indispensable
Cooperation|Accomplice|Exempting Circumstance|Uncontrollable Fear|Murder
Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 102361-62

Page 166 of 407


Criminal Law; Criminal Liability;Principal by Indispensable Cooperation; In the absence of
evidence to show that the accused acted in conspiracy with the NPA armed group in killing the
victims nor that his acts were of such importance that without which the crime could not have
been committed nor that he participated in the killing, said accused cannot be held liable as
principal by indispensable cooperation.—Paragraph 3, Article 17, of the Revised Penal Code
considers as principals by indispensable cooperation “those who cooperate in the commission
of the offense by another act without which it could not have been accomplished”. Its requisites
are (1) participation of the subject accused in the criminal resolution and (2) performance by him
of another act indispensable to the accomplishment of the crime. The acts performed by
appellant are not, by themselves, indispensable to the killing of the brothers Balaan. As
aforesaid to be considered as a principal by indispensable cooperation, there must be direct
participation in the criminal design by another act without which the crime could not have been
committed. We note that the prosecution failed to present any evidence tending to establish
appellant’s conspiracy with the evil designs of the members of the NPA armed group. Neither
was it established that appellant’s acts were of such importance that the crime would not have
been committed without him or that he participated in the actual killing. Under the
circumstances, appellant cannot therefore be considered as a principal by indispensable
cooperation.

_______________
*
THIRD DIVISION.

72

7 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


2 ANNOTATED
People vs. Fronda
The trial court, therefore, erred when it found appellant guilty as a principal by
indispensable cooperation.

Same; Same; Accomplice; The act of the accused in joining the armed men in going to the
mountains and his failure to object to their unlawful orders or show any reluctance in obeying
the same made him criminally liable as an accomplice.—However, appellant’s act of joining the
armed men in going to the mountains, and his failure to object to their unlawful orders, or show
any reluctance in obeying the same, may be considered as circumstances evincing his
concurrence with the objectives of the malefactors and had effectively supplied them with
material and moral aid, thereby making him as an accomplice.

Same; Same; Same; An accomplice is one who, being aware of the criminal intent of the
principal, knowingly or intentionally cooperates by supplying material or moral aid for the
efficacious execution of the crime.—Article 18 of the Revised Penal Code provides that an
accomplice is one who, not being a principal, “cooperates in the execution of the offense by
previous or simultaneous acts”. Under this provision, a person is considered as an accomplice if
his role in the perpetration of the crime is of a minor character. To be convicted as such, it is
necessary that he be aware of the criminal intent of the principal and thereby cooperates
knowingly or intentionally by supplying material or moral aid for the efficacious execution of the
crime.

Page 167 of 407


Same; Exempting Circumstance;Uncontrollable Fear; The fact that the accused was seen
being handed by and receiving a hunting knife from one of the armed men, as well as, his
inexplicable failure to report the incident to the authorities for more than three (3) years negates
the existence of uncontrollable fear, such acts being indicative of his conscious concurrence
with the acts of the assailants.—Appellant cannot claim the exempting circumstance of
uncontrollable fear (Art. 12, par. 6, RPC). Fear in order to be valid should be based on a real,
imminent or reasonable fear for one’s life or limb (People vs. Abanes, 73 SCRA 44, [1976]). In
the case at bar, records indicate that appellant was seen being handed by and receiving from
one of the armed men a hunting knife. Also, as aforesaid, appellant was not able to explain his
failure to report the incident to the authorities for more than three (3) years. These
circumstances, among others, establish the fact that appellant consciously concurred with the
acts of the assailants.

Same; Same; Same; For this circumstance to be appreciated, it must be shown that the
compulsion is of such character that the accused is left with no opportunity to escape or self-
defense in equal combat.—In
73

VOL. 222, MAY 14, 1993 7


3
People vs. Fronda
order that the circumstance of uncontrollable fear may apply, it is necessary that the
compulsion be of such a character as to leave no opportunity to escape or self-defense in equal
combat. (People vs. Loreno, 130 SCRA 311, [1984]) Appellant had the opportunity to escape
when he was ordered by the armed men to go home after bringing the victims to the mountains.
He did not. Instead he joined the armed men when required to bring a spade with which he was
ordered to dig the grave.

Same; Murder; The crime committed is murder, qualified by abuse of superior strength.—It
is manifest that the group of assailants was composed of seven (7) armed men, and two (2)
civilians including appellant Fronda. It had been repeatedly held that the number of assailants, if
armed, may be considered as a qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength. x x x The
assailants took advantage of their numbers in order to ensure that the brothers Balaan who are
said to be former members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines would not be able to put up
any defense. The crime thus committed is murder.

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Juan T. Antonio

Ponente: BIDIN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the trial court is hereby MODIFIED to the extent above
indicated and AFFIRMED in all other aspects. Costs against appellant.
United States vs. Vicentillo. 19 Phil. 118 , March 18, 1911
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. ISIDRO ViCENTILLO, defendant
and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Leyte.
Low, J.
Syllabi Class : MUNICIPAL PRESIDENTS

Page 168 of 407


Syllabi:
1. MUNICIPAL PRESIDENTS; ARRESTS WlTHOUT WARRANT.-
The Case of U. S. vs. Fortaleza (12 Phil. Rep., 472), followed as to the authority of
a municipal president to make an arrest without a warrant for an offense
committed in his presence, the municipal president being held to have all the
usual powers of a public officer for the making of arrests without warrant.
2. MUNICIPAL PRESIDENTS; ARRAIGNMENT AS SOON AS "PRACTICABLE."-
Held, That under all the circumstances of this case, as set forth in the opinion, the
defendant, after having arrested the complaining witness without a warrant,
brought him before a justice of the peace as soon as "practicable" thereafter,
notwithstanding the fact that three days were expended in doing so.
3. MUNICIPAL PRESIDENTS; PRESUMPTION AS TO NECESSITY FOR
ARREST.-
In the absence of all evidence to the contrary, this court will not presume that, in a
particular case of defiance of local authority by the unlawful violation of a local
ordinance even where the offense thus committed is, in itself, trivial and
unimportant, it may not have been necessary or at least expedient to make an
arrest and bring the offender forthwith before the proper judicial officer.

Docket Number: No. 6082

Counsel: C. W. Ney, Attorney-General Villamor

Ponente: CARSON

Dispositive Portion:
The judgment of the lower court convicting and sentencing the def
fendant must be reversed and he is hereby acquitted of the offense
with which he is charged, with the costs in both instances de oficio.
So ordered
People vs. Bandian 63 Phil. 530 , September 30, 1936
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs.
JOSEFINA BANDIAN, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Oriental Misamis. Roxas, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|ID|INFANTICIDE AND ABANDONMENT OF A MINOR
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; INFANTICIDE AND ABANDONMENT OF A MINOR; WHEN
PUNISHABLE.-
Infanticide and abandonment of a minor, to be punishable, must be committed
willfully or consciously, or at least it must be the result of a voluntary, conscious
and free act or omission. Even in cases where said crimes are committed through
mere imprudence, the person who commits them, under said circumstance, must
be in the full enjoymentof his mental faculties, or must be conscious of his acts, in
order that he may be held liable.
2. ID,; EXEMPTION FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY.-
The law exempts from criminal liability any person who acts under the
circumstances in which the appellant acted in this case, by giving birth to a child in
a thicket and later abandoning it, not because of imprudence or any other cause
than that she was overcome by severe dizziness and extreme debility, with no

Page 169 of 407


fault or intention on her part. She has in her favor the fourth and seventh
exempting circumstances.

Docket Number: No. 45186

Counsel: Jose Rivera Yap, Solicitor-General Hilado

Ponente: DIAZ
People vs. Ventura 433 SCRA 389 , July 05, 2004
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. FELIX VENTURA y QUINDOY and
ARANTE FLORES y VENTURA, appellants.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision
of the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Br. 50.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Aggravating Circumstances|Evident Premeditation|Constitutional
Law|Right Against Self-Incrimination|Justifying Circumstances|Defense of a Relative|Unlawful
Aggression|Conspiracy|Abuse of Superior Strength|Self-Defense|Dwelling|Nocturnity|Passion
and Obfuscation
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Evident Premeditation; The
essence of evident premeditation is that the execution of the criminal act must be
preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the
criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.-
The essence of evident premeditation is that the execution of the criminal act must
be preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the
criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment. For it
to be appreciated, the following must be proven beyond reasonable doubt: (1) the
time when the accused determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly
indicating that the accused clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of
time between such determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the
circumstances of his act.
2. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Evident Premeditation; Unless
shown to be customary, appellants’ act of arming themselves with a gun and knife
constitutes direct evidence of a careful and deliberate plan to carry out a killing.-
Undoubtedly, the accounts of appellants evince not only their resolve to kill Jaime,
but the calm and methodical manner by which they sought to carry out his murder.
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, unless shown to be customary, appellants’
act of arming themselves with a gun and a knife constitutes direct evidence of a
careful and deliberate plan to carry out a killing.
3. Criminal Law; Constitutional Law; Right Against Self-Incrimination; While
appellants could not have been compelled to be witnesses against themselves,
they waived this right by voluntarily taking the witness stand.-
That evident premeditation was established through the testimonies of appellants
and not by those of the prosecution witnesses is of no moment. While appellants
could not have been compelled to be witnesses against themselves, they waived
this right by voluntarily taking the witness stand. Consequently, they were subject
to cross-examination on matters covered by their direct examination. Their
admissions before the trial court constitute relevant and competent evidence
which the trial court correctly appreciated against them.
4. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; Defense of a Relative; Unlawful
Aggression; Unlawful aggression is primary and indispensable requisite without

Page 170 of 407


which defense of a relative, whether complete or otherwise, cannot be validly
invoked.-
To successfully claim that he acted in defense of a relative, the accused must
prove the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) unlawful aggression on the
part of the person killed or injured; (2) reasonable necessity of the means
employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression; and (3) the person
defending the relative had no part in provoking the assailant, should any
provocation have been given by the relative attacked. Of these, the requisite of
“unlawful aggression” is primary and indispensable without which defense of
relative, whether complete or otherwise, cannot be validly invoked. Not one of the
foregoing requisites of defense of a relative is present. From all accounts, it was
appellants who initiated the unlawful aggression, and it was the victim Jaime who
acted in self defense. Hence, neither the justifying circumstance of defense of a
relative nor the special mitigating circumstance of incomplete defense of a relative
may be appreciated in appellant Flores’ favor.
5. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances;Conspiracy; Where conspiracy
has been adequately proven, all the conspirators are liable as co-principals
regardless of the extent and character of their participation because, in
contemplation of law, the act of one is the act of all.-
There is a conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement
concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Where conspiracy
has been adequately proven, as in these cases, all the conspirators are liable as
co-principals regardless of the extent and character of their participation because,
in contemplation of law, the act of one is the act of all. By stabbing Jaime Bocateja
pursuant to their pre-conceived plot, appellants commenced the commission of
murder directly by overt acts. Despite their efforts, however, they failed to inflict a
mortal wound on Jaime, hence, their liability only for attempted murder.
6. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Abuse of Superior
Strength; To take advantage of superior strength means to purposely use
excessive force out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person
attacked.-
To take advantage of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force
out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. The
appreciation of this aggravating circumstance depends on the age, size and
strength of the parties, and is considered whenever there is a notorious inequality
of forces between the victim and the aggressor, assuming a superiority of strength
notoriously advantageous to the aggressor, which is selected or taken advantage
of by him in the commission of the crime.
7. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Abuse of Superior
Strength; Abuse of superiority is determined by the excess of the aggressor’s
natural strength over that of the victim, considering the momentary position of both
and the employment of means weakening the defense, although not annulling it.-
Unlike in treachery, where the victim is not given the opportunity to defend himself
or repel the aggression, taking advantage of superior strength does not mean that
the victim was completely defenseless. Abuse of superiority is determined by the
excess of the aggressor’s natural strength over that of the victim, considering the
momentary position of both and the employment of means weakening the
defense, although not annulling it. Hence, the fact that Aileen attempted to fend off
the attack on her and her husband by throwing nearby objects, such as an electric

Page 171 of 407


cord, at appellant Flores does not automatically negate the possibility that the
latter was able to take advantage of his superior strength.
8. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Abuse of Superior
Strength; An attack made by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and
defenseless woman constitutes the circumstances of abuse of that superiority
which his sex and the weapon used in the act afforded him, and from which the
woman was unable to defend herself.-
This Court in a very long line of cases has consistently held that an attack made
by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman
constitutes the circumstance of abuse of that superiority which his sex and the
weapon used in the act afforded him, and from which the woman was unable to
defend herself. Thus, in People v. Molas, where the accused was convicted of
murder for stabbing to death two women and an eight year old boy, this Court
discoursed: While treachery was not appreciated as a qualifying circumstance
against Molas, the killing of the three victims was raised to murder by the
presence of the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength. There was
abuse of superior strength when Molas inflicted several mortal wounds upon
Soledad. Molas, besides being younger and stronger, was armed with a weapon
which he used in seriously wounding her. That circumstance was also present
when he hacked eight-year old Abelaro and also Dulcesima who, besides being a
woman of lesser strength was unarmed.
9. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; Self-Defense; One claiming self-
defense must prove by clear and convincing evidence both unlawful aggression on
the part of the person killed or injured and reasonable necessity of the means
employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression. As a third requisite, he must
also prove lack of sufficient provocation on his part.-
As for appellant Flores’ claim of self-defense, it cannot be sustained. As in
defense of a relative, one claiming self defense must prove by clear and
convincing evidence both unlawful aggression on the part of the person killed or
injured and reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the
unlawful aggression. As a third requisite, he must also prove lack of sufficient
provocation on his part. None of these requisites was shown to be present.
10. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances;Evident
Premeditation; Jurisprudence is to the effect that evident premeditation may be
considered as present, even if a person other than the intended victim was killed,
if it is shown that the conspirators were determined to kill not only the intended
victim but also anyone who may help him put a violent resistance.-
The trial court, citing People v. Dueno, did not consider evident premeditation as
having aggravated the killing of Aileen since she was not the intended victim of
appellants’ conspiracy. Upon further scrutiny, however, this Court finds that this
aggravating circumstance should have been appreciated in connection with
Aileen’s murder. Jurisprudence is to the effect that evident premeditation may be
considered as present, even if a person other than the intended victim was killed,
if it is shown that the conspirators were determined to kill not only the intended
victim but also anyone who may help him put a violent resistance.
11. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances;Conspiracy; Co-conspirators
are liable for such other crimes which could be foreseen and are the natural and
logical consequences of the conspiracy.-
While appellants’ original objective may have only been the killing of Jaime, the
trial court correctly held both of them responsible for the murder of Aileen. Co-

Page 172 of 407


conspirators are liable for such other crimes which could be foreseen and are the
natural and logical consequences of the conspiracy.
12. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances;Dwelling; Dwelling is
considered aggravating because of the sanctity of privacy that the law accords to
human abode.-
Dwelling is considered aggravating because of the sanctity of privacy that the law
accords to human abode. Thus, it has been said that the commission of the crime
in another’s dwelling shows greater perversity in the accused and produces
greater alarm. Here, dwelling was correctly appreciated since the crimes were
committed in the place of abode of the victims who had not given immediate
provocation.
13. Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances;Nocturnity; In determining
nocturnity, two tests are employed in the alternative: (1) the objective test, under
which nighttime is aggravating because the darkness facilitated the commission of
the offense; and (2) the subjective test, under which nighttime is aggravating
because the darkness was purposely sought by the offender.-
In determining nocturnity, two tests are employed in the alternative: (1) the
objective test, under which nighttime is aggravating because the darkness
facilitated the commission of the offense; and (2) the subjective test, under which
nighttime is aggravating because the darkness was purposely sought by the
offender. Applying these tests to the established factual circumstances, this Court
concludes that nocturnity was correctly appreciated in connection with both
crimes. While the bedroom where the crimes occurred was well-lit, the evidence
shows that, in furtherance of their murderous intent, appellants deliberately took
advantage of nighttime, as well as the fact that the household members were
asleep, in order to gain entry into the Bocateja residence. Indeed, their own
testimony indicates that while they were already outside the Bocateja house at
around 11:00 p.m., they pur- posely waited until 2:00 a.m. before breaking into the
residence so as not to call the attention of the Bocatejas and/or their neighbors. It
is thus clear that appellants deliberately took advantage of the darkness of the
night, not to mention the fact that the Bocatejas were fast asleep, to conceal their
actions and to facilitate and insure that their entry into the victims’ home would be
undetected.
14. Criminal Law; Justifying Circumstances; Passion and Obfuscation; While
jealousy may give rise to passion or obfuscation, for the appreciation of this
mitigating circumstance it is necessary that the act which produced the
obfuscation was not far removed from the commission of the crime by a
considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover his normal
equanimity.-
While jealousy may give rise to passion or obfuscation, for the appreciation of this
mitigating circumstance it is necessary that the act which produced the
obfuscation was not far removed from the commission of the crime by a
considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might recover his normal
equanimity. In the same vein, while “immediate” vindication should be construed
as “proximate” vindication in accordance with the controlling Spanish text of the
Revised Penal Code, still this mitigating circumstance cannot be considered
where sufficient time elapsed for the accused to regain his composure.

Division: EN BANC

Page 173 of 407


Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 148145-46

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: PER CURIAM

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment in Criminal Case No. 00-20693 is
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellants Felix Ventura
and Arante Flores are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of attempted murder qualified by evident pre- meditation
with the aggravating circumstances of dwelling and nighttime and
are hereby SENTENCED to an indeterminate penalty of Six (6)
Years of Prision Correccional as minimum to Twelve (12) Years of
Prision Mayor as maximum.Appellants are solidarily ORDERED to
pay the victim, Jaime Bocateja, the amounts of: (a) Twenty
Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) as temperate damages; (b) Twenty
Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as moral damages; and (c)
Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as exemplary
damages.The judgment in Criminal Case No. 00-20692 is likewise
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellants Felix Ventura and
Arante Flores are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
murder qualified by abuse of superior strength with the aggravating
circumstances of evident premeditation, dwelling and nighttime and
are SENTENCED to the supreme penalty of DEATH.Appellants
are solidarily ORDERED to pay the heirs of Aileen Bocateja the
amounts of: (a) Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as civil
indemnity; (b) One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) as
actual damages; (c) Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as moral
damages; and (d) Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as
exemplary damages.Upon the finality of this Decision, and
pursuant to Art. 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Sec. 25 of R.A. No. 7659, let the records of the cases be
immediately forwarded to the President of the Philippines for the
exercise, at her discretion, of her power to pardon appellants Felix
Ventura and Arante Flores.
People vs. Ural 56 SCRA 138 , March 27, 1974
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DOMINGO URAL,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Zamboanga del Sur. Ericta, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal law|Criminal liability|Aggravating circumstances|Mitigating
circumstances
Syllabi:
1. Criminal law; Criminal liability; Offender criminally liable although
consequence of his felonious act not intended by him.-
This case is covered by article 4 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that
“criminal liability shall be incurred by a person committing a felony (delito)
although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.” The
presumption is “that a person intends the ordinary consequences of his voluntary
act.”

Page 174 of 407


2. Criminal law; Criminal liability; Reason.-
The rationale of the rule in article 4 is found in the doctrine that “el que es causa
de la causa es causa del mal causado” (he who is the cause of the cause is the
cause of the evil caused).
3. Criminal law; Criminal liability; Fact that victim did not receive proper medical
attendance no effect on criminal responsibility of offender.-
There is a rule that “an individual who unlawfully inflicts wounds upon another
person, which result in the death of the latter, is guilty of the crime of homicide,
and the fact that the injured person did not receive proper medical attention does
not affect the criminal responsibility.”
4. Criminal law; Aggravating circumstances;Advantage taken by the offender
of his public position; Case at bar.-
The accused took advantage of his public position. He could not have maltreated
the victim if he was not a policeman on guard duty. Because of his position, he
had access to the cell where the victim was confined. The prisoner was under his
custody. “The policeman, who taking advantage of his public position maltreats a
private citizen, merits no judicial leniency. The methods sanctioned by medieval
practice are surely not appropriate for an enlightened democratic civilization.
While the law protects the police officer in the proper discharge of his duties, it
must at the same time just as effectively protect the individual from the abuse of
the police.”
5. Criminal law; Mitigating circumstances; Lack of intent to commit so grave a
wrong; case at bar.-
The trial court failed to appreciate the mitigating circumstance “that the offender
had no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed.” It is manifest
from the proven facts that the accused had no intent to kill the victim. His design
was only to maltreat him may be because in his drunken condition he was making
a nuisance of himself inside the detention cell. When the accused realized the
fearful consequences of his felonious act, he allowed the victim to secure medical
treatment at the municipal dispensary.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-30801

Counsel: Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio A. Torres,
Solicitor Vicente P. Evangelista, Vicente Cerilles, Emeliano Deleverio

Ponente: AQUINO

Dispositive Portion:
Finding no error in the trial court’s judgment, the same is affirmed
with costs against the appellant.
People vs. Amil 32 SCRA 95 , March 25, 1970
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHlLIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARCELO AMIT,
defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Ilocos Norte. Callanta, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal law|Mitigating circumstances|Lack of intention to commit so grave a
wrong|Rape with homicide
Syllabi:

Page 175 of 407


1. Criminal law; Mitigating circumstances; Lack of intention to commit so
grave a wrong; When considered in favor of the accused.-
The lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed because of its
nature, must necessarily be judged in. the light of the acts committed by the
accused and the circumstances under which they were committed. Should they
show a great disproportion between the means employed to accomplish the
criminal act—on the one hand—and its consequences—on the other—the
mitigating circumstance under consideration must be considered in favor of the
accused. It cannot be appreciated where the acts employed by the accused were
reasonably sufficient to produce the result that they actually produced—death of
the victim.
2. Criminal law; Rape with homicide; Penalty imposed regardless of presence
of mitigating circumstances.-
The penalty of death prescribed in the last paragraph of Article 335 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 2632 and 4111 for the crime of
rape with homicide being an indivisible penalty, it has to be imposed regardless of
the presence of mitigating circumstances, especially in a case where the crime
was committed with the aggravating circumstances of nighttime and abuse of
superior strength (first paragraph, Article 63, Revised Penal Code).

Docket Number: No. L-29066

Counsel: Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Solicitor Dominador L. Quiros, Emilia Vidanes-
Balaoing (Counsel de Officio)

Ponente: PEK CURIAM

Dispositive Portion:
MODIFIED AS ABOVE INDICATED, the judgment appealed from
is affirmed in all other respects. With costs.
People vs. Regato 127 SCRA 287 , January 31, 1984
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MIGUEL REGATO and
JOSE SALCEDA, defendants-appellants.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of the judgment
of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, Br. IV.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Criminal Law|New Trial|Evidence
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Procedure; New Trial; A forgotten affidavit of a co-accused cannot
be made the basis of a new trial.-
Basis of the motion for new trial is the affidavit of appellant Miguel Regato that his
two companions in the commission of the crime were Loreto Ramirez and Ernesto
Mutsamuel (not Jose Salceda). On this point, suffice it to say that this affidavit of a
convicted co-accused is a forgotten evidence and not a newly discovered one.
Appellants Regato and Salceda were duly represented by counsel from
arraignment until the promulgation of judgment and all the while this proferred
evidence (affidavit of Regato) was already in existence and available to the
defense. After their conviction by the trial court, Regato would now want to free
Salceda. At any rate, the statement of Regato in the affidavit is highly
unbelievable and bears no earmark of sincerity. It is belied by the positive
declarations of eyewitnesses to the crime.

Page 176 of 407


2. Criminal Law; Robbery with homicide is committed even the killing took place
after the money was already in the possession of the accused.-
It is true that the shooting of Victor Flores took place after the money had been
taken and it was only when Flores called them “robbers” that Ramirez shot him.
As aptly stated by the lower court, “it is clear that the killing was done by reason or
on the occasion of the robbery, so that the accused are guilty of the special
complex crime of robbery with homicide.” (p. 18, Decision of lower court).
3. Criminal Law; Intention is a mental process. Lack of intention to commit so
grave a wrong cannot be appreciated where acts of accused sufficient to produce
the result intended.-
Likewise, We find no merit in the contention that there was lack of intent to commit
so grave a wrong as that committed. Intention is a mental process and is an
internal state of mind. The intention must be judged by the action, conduct and
external acts of the accused. What men do is the best index of their intention. In
the case at bar, the aforesaid mitigating circumstance cannot be appreciated
considering that the acts employed by the accused were reasonably sufficient to
produce the result that they actually made—the death of the victim.
4. Criminal Law; Gaining entrance by pretending to buy cigarettes constipates
craft.-
Craft involves intellectual trickery or cunning on the part of the accused. Herein
appellants, in order to enter the house of Flores, shouted from the outside that
they wanted to buy cigarettes, which induced the inmates to open the door for
them. As held in People vs. Napili, 85 Phil. 521, gaining entrance by pretending to
buy cigarettes or drink water constitutes craft.
5. Criminal Law; Evidence; Conspiracy shown by acts of the accused.-
By and large, the conspiracy among appellants and Ramirez in the commission of
the crime is evident upon the facts as proven. Their acts, collectively and
individually executed, have demonstrated the existence of a common design
towards the accomplishment of unlawful purpose and objective. The shooting and
death of Victor Flores bear a direct relation and intimate connection between the
robbery and the killing which occurred during and on the occasion of the robbery.
Whether the latter be prior or subsequent to the former, there is no doubt that the
complex crime of robbery with homicide has been committed.
6. Criminal Law; Evidence; Alibi, its requisites.-
On the other hand, appellants’ alibi must fall. In the first place, Regato’s submittal
that he should have been convicted of simple robbery only, instead of robbery with
homicide, is an admission of his presence at the scene of the crime contrary to his
testimony that he was in his house that evening of November 22, 1969 attending
to novena prayers for his late father-in-law. Secondly, to establish an alibi, it is not
enough to prove that appellants were at some other place when the crime was
committed but must, likewise, demonstrate that it was physically impossible for
them to have been at the place of commission at such time. The distance between
the place of the commission of the offense to the place where appellants were
supposed to be at the time is only 1½ kilometers, and these places are connected
with passable roads that could have facilitated the easy negotiation by the
appellants between their respective homes and the scene of the crime.
Appellants’ evidence on this point is not sufficient to overcome the positive
identification made by the prosecution witnesses—Felicisima Flores and
Godofredo Flores.

Page 177 of 407


Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: No. L-36750

Counsel: Solicitor General, Jose S. Armonio

Ponente: RELOVA

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is AFFIRMED, except
as to the penalty, which is hereby modified to reclusion perpetua.
.
People vs. Pagal 79 SCRA 570 , October 25, 1977
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PEDRO PAGAL y
MARCELINO and JOSE TORCELINO y TORAZO, defendants-appellants.Case Nature :
APPEAL from a judgment of the Circuit Criminal Court of Manila. Pamaran, J.
Syllabi Class : Criminal law|Criminal procedure|Plea of guilty
Syllabi:
1. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Plea of guilty; A plea of guilty admits not
only the commission of the crime, but as well the circumstances surrounding its
commission, like conspiracy.-
By his plea, the appellant admitted not only the commission of the crime but also
the circumstances surrounding its commission, including the allegations of
conspiracy.
2. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; The mitigating circumstances of passion as
obfuscation and sufficient provocation are treated as one when the provocation
which gave rise to obfuscation arose from the same incident.-
Since the alleged provocation which caused the obtuscation of the appellants
arose from the same incident, that is, the alleged maltreatment and/or ill-treatment
of the appellants by the deceased, these two mitigating circumstances cannot be
considered as two distinct and separate circumstances but should be treated as
one.
3. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Obfuscation not mitigating when crime was
calmly meditated before execution.-
The circumstance of passion and obfuscation cannot be mitigating in a crime
which—as in the case at bar—is planned and calmly meditated before its
execution.
4. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Provocation to be mitigating must be
sufficient and immediately precede the act.-
The maltreatment that appellant claim the victim to have committed against them
occurred much earlier than the date of the commission of the crime. Provocation
in order to be a mitigating circumstance must be sufficient and immediately
preceding the act.
5. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Nocturnity is aggravating when specially
sought by the accused.-
The trial court correctly considered the aggravating circumstance of nocturnity
because the same was purposely and deliberately sought by the appellants to
facilitate the commission of the crime.

Page 178 of 407


6. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Evident premeditation is aggravating in
robbery with homicide when aside from the plan to rob there was also a plan to
kill.-
Evident premeditation will only be aggravating in a complex crime of robbery with
homicide if it is proved that the plan is not only to rob, but also to kill. In the case
at bar, a perusal of the written statements of the appellants before the police
investigators show that their original plan was only to rob, and that, they killed the
deceased only when the latter refused to open the “kaha de yero”, and fought with
them.
7. Criminal law; Criminal procedure; Disregard of age, rank or sex is not
aggrvating in robbery with homicide which is primarily against property and not
against persons.-
Disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank, age or sex
may be taken into account only in crimes against persons or honor, when in the
commission of the crime there is some insult or disrespect shown to rank, age or
sex. It is not proper to consider this aggravating circumstance in crimes against
property. Robbery with homicide is primarily a crime against property and not
against persons. Homicide is a mere incident of the robbery, the latter being the
main purpose and object of the criminal.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: No. L-32040

Counsel: Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General Crispin V. Bautista
and Solicitor Leonardo I. Cruz, Ciriaco Lopez, Jr.

Ponente: CONCEPCION, JR.

Dispositive Portion:
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the trial court is modified, and
the appellants Pedro Pagal y Marcelino and Jose Torcelino y
Torazo are hereby sentenced to suffer each the penalty of
reclusion perpetua. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial
court is affirmed. With costs against the appellants.
Romera vs. People 434 SCRA 467 , July 14, 2004
Case Title : ARTURO ROMERA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of
Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Mitigating Circumstances|Provocation and Passion or
Obfuscation|Provocation and passion or obfuscation are not two separate mitigating
circumstances
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Procedure; Mitigating Circumstances;Provocation and Passion
or Obfuscation; Provocation and passion or obfuscation are not two
separate mitigating circumstances; The rule is that if these two circumstances
are based on the same facts, they should be treated together as one mitigating
circumstance.-
We must stress that provocation and passion or obfuscation are not two separate
mitigating circumstances. Well-settled is the rule that if these two circumstances

Page 179 of 407


are based on the same facts, they should be treated together as one mitigating
circumstance. From the facts established in this case, it is clear that both
circumstances arose from the same set of facts aforementioned. Hence, they
should not be treated as two separate mitigating circumstances.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 151978

Counsel: Felix D. Lacubtan

Ponente: QUISUMBING

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated January 11, 2002 of the Court
of Appeals affirming the Order of the Regional Trial Court of
Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 24, is MODIFIED as far as the
penalty imposed is concerned. Petitioner ARTURO ROMERA is
hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6)
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2)
months of prision correccional, as maximum. He is also ORDERED
to pay the private offended party P19,361.15 as actual damages,
and P10,000.00 as attorney’s fees. Costs de oficio.
United States vs. Ampar. 37 Phil. 201 , November 26, 1917
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CLEMENTE AMPAR, defendant
and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Occidental Negros. Romualdez, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|
Syllabi:
1. CRIMINAL LAW; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF VINDICATION OF A
GRAVE OFFENSE.-
During a fiesta, the accused, a man 70 years of age, asked one Patobo for some
roast pig. Patobo's answer was; "There is no more. Come here and I will make
roast pig of you." With this as the provocation, a little later while the said Patobo
was squatting down, the accused came up behind him and struck him on the head
with an ax, causing death the following day. The lower court took into
consideration the mitigating circumstance that the act was committed in the
immediate vindication of a grave offense to the one committing the felony. The
offense which the accused was endeavoring to vindicate would to an average
person be considered as a mere trifle. But since to this defendant, an old man, it
evidently was a serious matter to be made the butt of a joke in the presence of so
many guests, it is proper to give the defendant the benefit of this mitigating
circumstance.

Docket Number: No. 12883

Counsel: Filemon A. Cosio, Acting Attorney-General Paredes

Ponente: MALCOLM

Page 180 of 407


Dispositive Portion:
Judgment of the trial court sentencing the defendant and appellant
to seventeen years four months and one day of cadena temporal,
with the accessory penalties provided by law, to indemnify the
heirs of the deceased, Modesto Patobo, in the amount of one
thousand pesos, and to pay the costs is affirmed, with the costs of
this instance against the appellant. So ordered.
People vs. Parana 64 Phil. 331 , March 31, 1937
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. PRIMO PARANA,
defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance
of Occidental Negros. Lopez Vito, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|MURDER
Docket Number: No. 45373

Counsel: Lorenzo Sumulong, Solicitor-General Tuason

1. .CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER;INTENTION TO KILL.—Upon the facts stated in the


decision, Held: That it has been established in this case, beyond all doubt, that it was
the intention of the appellant to kill the deceased, judging not only from the condition of
the weapon with which he had provided" himself, but also by the manner and
circumstances under which he committed the aggression.

1. 2.ID.; ID.; TREACHERY.—The acts of the appellant upon commencing the execution of
his design to kill the deceased constitute treachery, inasmuch as they tended to avoid
every risk to himself arising from the defense which the deceased might make (U.
S. vs. McMann, 4 Phil., 561; U. S. vs. Pendleton, 7 Phil., 457; U. S.vs. Mercoleta, 17
Phil., 317; U. S. vs. Cabañog, 34 Phil., 620).

1. 3.ID.; ID.; ID.—The treacherous character of the means employed in the aggression
does not depend upon the result thereof but upon the means itself, in connection with
the aggressor's purpose in employing it. Otherwise the crime of attempted or frustrated
murder would not be punishable (People vs. Reyes, 47 Phil., 635). For this reason the
law does not require that the treacherous means insure the execution of the
aggression, without risk to the person of the aggressor arising from the defense which
the offended party might make, it being sufficient that it tend to this end.
332

3 PHILIPPINE REPORTS
32 ANNOTATED
People vs. Parana

1. 4.ID.; ID.; ID.—Even considering the incident at the moment the deceased turned
around and saw the appellant in the attitude of stabbing him, this court also finds
therein the elements of treachery inasmuch as the aggression, under the
circumstances, was so sudden that the deceased, who carried a revolver in his belt,
had no chance to defend himself with it.

1. 5.ID.; ID.; ID.—Considering the incident at the moment the appellant mounted astride of
the deceased, who defended himself only with his feet and hands without having been

Page 181 of 407


able to use the revolver carried by him in his belt, when said appellant, in such
situation, inflicted the wound which caused the death of the deceased, he likewise
acted with treachery on the ground that, under the circumstances, he was not running,
as in fact he did not run, any risk arising from the defense which the deceased might
make.

1. 6.ID.; ID.; ID.—Whether the beginning and the end of the aggression be considered
singly, or the development thereof be considered as a whole, it is evident that the
aggravating circumstance of treachery was present.

1. 7.ID.; ID.; ID.—The aggravating circumstance that the appellant is a recidivist must be
taken into consideration. The mitigating circumstance that he had acted in the
immediate vindication of a grave offense committed against him a few hours before,
when he was slapped by the deceased in the presence of many persons, must likewise
be taken into consideration. Although this offense, which engenders perturbation of
mind, was not so immediate, this court is of the opinion that the influence thereof, by
reason of its gravity and the circumstances under which it was inflicted, lasted until the
moment the crime was committed. Lastly, the other mitigating circumstance that the
appellant had voluntarily surrendered himself to the agents of the authorities must be
considered.
1.
Ponente: AVANCEÑA, CONCEPCION

Dispositive Portion:
For the f oregoing considerations, this court finds the appellant
guilty of the crime of murder qualified by treachery, and, taking into
consideration the presence of one aggravating and two mitigating
circumstances in the commission of the crime, and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, Act No. 4103, he is sentenced to the
penalty of from ten years of prisión mayor, as the minimum, to
seventeen years, four months and one day of reclusión temporal,
as the maximum, affirming the appealed sentence in all other
respects, with the costs. So ordered.I believe that the appellant
should be convicted of simple homicide with the aggravating
circumstance of recidivism, he having been previously convicted by
final judgment of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga in
criminal case 2143 for the crime of homicide on July 20, 1921,
which circumstance is compensated by the mitigating circumstance
of immediate vindication of a grave offense. Considering the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender in his favor, he
should be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from six
years and one day, prisión mayor, to twelve years and one day,
reclusión temporal, with the accessory penalties provided, the
indemnity, and the costs.
People vs. Diokno and Diokno 63 Phil. 601 , October 26, 1936
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff and appellee, vs.
EPIFANIO DIOKNO and ROMAN DIOKNO, defendants and appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL
from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Laguna. Santos, J.
Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW|HOMICIDE
Syllabi:

Page 182 of 407


1. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; CIRCUMSTANCES MODIFYING CRIMINAL
LIABILITY; ABUSE OF SUPERIOR STRENGTH.-
The circumstance of abuse of superior strength, qualifying the crime of murder,
which the trial court found to have been proven, has not been established beyond
a reasonable doubt. In the case of United States vs. Devela (3 Phil., 625), this
court said that "the mere fact that the number of the assailants is superior to that
of those attacked by them is not sufficient to constitute the aggravating
circumstance of abuse of superiority."
2. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; EVIDENT PREMEDITATION.-
Neither is the existence of the other circumstance qualifying murder, that is,
evidentpremeditation, proven beyond a reasonable doubt because, even
assuming that both the accused went to San Pablo, Laguna, each carrying the
knife used by him in attacking Y. H., it being customary for the people of said
province to carry it, it cannot be inferred with certainty from the mere fact that they
carried knives that their intention in going to San Pablo was to look for the
deceased in order to kill him.
3. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; ID.-
In order that premeditation may be considered either as an aggravating
circumstance or as a qualifying circumstance, it must be evident, that is, the
intention to kill must be manifest and it must have been planned in the mind of the
offender and carefully meditated. It is not enough that it arose at the moment of
the aggression.
4. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES.-
The presence of the fifth mitigating circumstance of article 13 of the Revised
Penal Code, that is, immediate vindication of a grave offense to said accused,
may be taken into consideration in favor of the two accused. There was no
interruption from the time the offense was committed to the vindication thereof.
The herein accused belong to a family of old customs to whom the elopement of a
daughter with a man constitutes a grave offense to their honor and causes
disturbance of the peace and tranquillity of the home and at the same time
spreads uneasiness and anxiety in the minds of the members thereof.
5. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; ID.-
The fact that the accused saw the deceased run upstairs when he became aware
of their presence, as if he refused to deal with them after having gravely offended
them, was certainly a stimulus strong enough to produce in their mind a fit of
passion which blinded them and led them to commit the crime with which they are
charged, as held by the Supreme Court of Spain in similar cases in its decisions of
February 3, 1888, July 9, 1898, February 8, 1908, May 25, 1910, July 3, 1909,
and in other more recent ones.

Docket Number: No. 45100

Counsel: Ramon Diokno, Gabriel N. Trinidad, Solicitor-General Hilado

Ponente: VlLLA-REAL, LAUREL

Dispositive Portion:
Considering the act committed by the appellants a manifest
murder, and not homicide, due to the presence of the qualifying
circumstance of abuse of superior strength, and it being a fact that

Page 183 of 407


the mitigating circumstances stated in the majority opinion were
present in the commission thereof, I am of the opinion that the
penalty that should be imposed upon them, under article 64, rule 5,
of the Revised Penal Code, is from ten years and one day of
prisión mayor to seventeen years and four months of reclusión
temporal, said penalty being next lower to that prescribed for the
crime of murder, or at least, the indeterminate penalty of f rom five
years of prisión correccional to ten years and one day of prisión
mayor, in accordance with Act No. 4103. With due respect to the
majority opinion, I dissent therefrom and vote as herein stated.
People vs. Torpio 431 SCRA 9 , June 04, 2004
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DENNIS TORPIO y ESTRERA,
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City,
Leyte, Br. 35.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Evidence|Treachery|Evident Premeditation
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; It is axiomatic that qualifying and
aggravating circumstances like treachery and evident premeditation must be
proven with equal certainty as the commission of the crime charged.-
It is axiomatic that qualifying and aggravating circumstances, like treachery and
evident premeditation, must be proven with equal certainty as the commission of
the crime charged. Such circumstances cannot be presumed; nor can they be
based on mere surmises or speculations. In case of doubt, the same should be
resolved in favor of the accused.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Treachery; There must be evidence
showing that the mode of attack was consciously or deliberately adopted by the
culprit to make it impossible or difficult for the person attacked to defend himself or
retaliate; The essence of treachery is the swift and unexpected attack without the
slightest provocation by the victim.-
There is treachery when the offender employs means, methods or forms in the
execution of the crime which tends directly and specially to insure its execution
without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might
make. There must be evidence showing that the mode of attack was consciously
or deliberately adopted by the culprit to make it impossible or difficult for the
person attacked to defend himself or retaliate. Further, the essence of treachery is
the swift and unexpected attack without the slightest provocation by the victim.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Evident Premeditation; Requisites to
warrant a finding of evident premeditation.-
To warrant a finding of evident premeditation, the prosecution must establish the
confluence of the following requisites: . . . (a) the time when the offender [was]
determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating that the offender
clung to his determination; and (c) a sufficient interval of time between the
determination and the execution of the crime to allow him to reflect upon the
consequences of his act.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Evident Premeditation; There is no
evident premeditation when the fracas was the result not of a deliberate plan but
of rising tempers or when the attack was made in the heat of anger.-
According to Manuel, the father of the appellant, the latter told him, “I have to kill
somebody, ‘Tay, because I was boxed.” To the Court’s mind, this utterance is not
sufficient to show that the crime was a product of serious and determined

Page 184 of 407


reflection. The interval between the time when the appellant made this statement
and when he actually stabbed Anthony was not sufficient or considerable enough
as to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act. There was no
sufficient interregnum from the time the appellant was stabbed by the victim, when
the appellant fled to their house and his arming himself with a knife, and when he
stabbed the victim. In a case of fairly recent vintage, we ruled that there is no
evident premeditation when the fracas was the result, not of a deliberate plan but
of rising tempers, or when the attack was made in the heat of anger.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 138984

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: CALLEJO, SR.

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated March 18, 1999 of the Regional
Trial Court of Ormoc City, Branch 35, in Criminal Case No. 5217-0
is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS. The appellant Dennis
Torpio y Estrera is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code and is
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty from six (6) years of
prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum. He is
further ordered to pay the heirs of the said victim, the amounts of
Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000) as civil indemnity, Twenty-Five
Thousand Pesos (P25,000) as temperate damages and Fifty
Thousand Pesos (P50,000) as attorney’s fees.
eople vs. Muit 117 SCRA 696 , October 21, 1982
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DELFIN MUIT,
defendant-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur, Br. I.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Evidence|Due Process|Judges
Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-48875

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Luis General, Jr.

1. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; Where presentation of additional defense witness would


be unnecessary.—We find no reversible error. The reopening of a case for the reception
of further evidence lies within the sound discretion of the Trial Court. Besides, as pointed
out by said Court, it is very possible that Jesus Evangelista was merely smitten with
jealousy, and the alleged illicit relationship pure conjecture. Additionally, even if Jesus
Evangelista's testimony could prove bias on the part of Benigno Gubatan, the latter was
not the only prosecution witness who testified as to the culpability of appellant. It should
also be noted that Benigno Gubatan, was subjected to rigid cross-examination by the
defense counsel, who was thereby given all the opportunity to impeach the credibility of
said declarant.

Page 185 of 407


2. Same; Same; Due Process; After accused had been fully heard and trial terminated, he
has had due process of law; Additional

3. ________________
4. *
FIRST DIVISION.

5. 697

VOL. 117, OCTOBER 21, 1982 6


97
People vs. Muit
6. defense witness may be refused.—"If an accused has been heard in a court of
competent jurisdiction, and proceeded against under the orderly processes of law, and
only punished after inquiry and investigation, upon notice to him, with an opportunity to
be heard, and a judgment awarded within the authority of a constitutional law, then he
has had due process of law.

7. Same; Same; Testimony of defense witnesses casts doubt on their presence at the
scene of the shooting incident.—The contention that it had ignored and unreasonably
rejected the testimonies of defense witnesses Herminigildo Bermido and Alfredo
Martinez is untenable, Bermido's story that he had gone to barrio Tamban, precisely to
see the accused in connection with the purchase of railroad ties; that he had witnessed
the shooting incident from a distance and that he saw the deceased try to hack the
accused, but that he left immediately after; that he never mentioned the incident to the
authorities, nor did he approach the accused after the incident, is unnatural behavior and
does not inspire belief. Having gone precisely to meet with the accused he could have
shown concern at the very least. Martinez did not witness the actual incident because he
was buying a cigarette but merely corroborated Bermido's story that they had gone to
Barrio Tamban precisely to see the accused. A reading of their declarations, indeed,
casts doubt as to their presence near the scene of the crime. Their version was
unconvincing compared to the forthright testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.
Besides, the appraisal by a Trial Court of the credibility of witnesses is entitled to the
greatest respect in the absence of established exceptions.

8. Same; Same; Judges; Judges may profound clarificatory questions.—The alleged bias
of the Trial Judge against the accused is without basis. The clarificatory questions
propounded by him during the trial were intended to test the credibility of witnesses and
to extract the truth. That the Trial Judge had ordered the accused transferred to
Muntinlupa after conviction is no manifestation of bias considering that this Tribunal had
upheld said action in its Resolution dated February 21, 1979.

9. Same; Same; Claim of self-defense is unavailing. There is no reason for deceased to try
to hack the accused with his bolo as the deceased had already begged leave to go out
of house of accused to avoid trouble.—That was not the sequence of the occurrence as
established by the evidence. The victim did not try to hack the accused with his (victim's)
bolo that hung from his right shoulder. There
10. 698

Page 186 of 407


6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
98 ANNOTATED
People vs. Muit
11. was no reason for him to physically harm the accused having already decided to leave
the accused's house in order to avoid trouble. He was already out of the front yard of the
accused's house, about four meters more or less from its "lean to", when he was shot at.
The fact that the bolo was found lying on the victim's side out of its scabbard is no proof
that the victim had used it. It must have dropped as the accused fell to the ground after
having been hit. What is established by the evidence is that the victim was hit by a bullet
at the nape or back portion of the neck at the first shot. The victim spinned around from
left to right involuntarily, at which point he was hit by the second shot on the left arm and
on his chest. The third shot did not hit its mark as it was deflected upward by Gubatan
who jerked the accused's hand skyward. Clearly, therefore, the accused had
treacherously shot the victim at the back thereby disproving the element of unlawful
aggression on the victim's part, which the defense seeks to establish as an essential
element of self-defense.

12. Same; Same; Treachery is present where victim was shot while leaving the house of
accused and was hit at the back of the neck.—Treachery has been undeniably proven.
The accused was armed with a .45 caliber pistol and made full use of it. The victim was
first hit at the nape or back portion of the neck. He was fired at suddenly and
unexpectedly, devoid of any opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate.

13. Same; Same; Circumstances of evident premeditation not adequately proved in the case
at bar.—We agree with the defense, however, that evident premeditation, as a generic
aggravating circumstance, has not been adequately shown. To properly appreciate that
circumstance, it is necessary to establish: (1) the time when the offender determined to
commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that the culprit has clung to his
determination; and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between the determination and the
execution to allow him to reflect. As there is dearth of evidence as to when appellant first
conceived of killing the deceased and that he was afforded sufficient time to reflect on
the consequences of his contemplated crime before its final execution, the circumstance
of evident premeditation cannot be appreciated.

14. Same; Same; Passion or obfuscation should be appreciated where shooting of victim
aroused by fit of jealousy due to wild rumors of amorous relationship of victim with wife
of accused.—On the other side of the coin, to be appreciated in favor of the accused are
the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender, and passion and
15. 699

VOL. 117, OCTOBER 21, 1982 6


99
People vs. Muit
16. obfuscation. There can be no question that the accused was driven strongly by jealousy
because of the rumors regarding the amorous relationship between his wife and the
victim. The feeling of resentment resulting from rivalry in amorous relations with a

Page 187 of 407


woman is a powerful stimulant to jealousy and is sufficient to produce loss of reason and
self-control. In other words, it is a powerful instigator of jealousy and prone to produce
anger and obfuscation.

17. Same; Penalty for murder with two mitigating and no aggravating circumstances.—The
crime of Murder, under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, is punishable byreclusion
temporal in its maximum period to death. Considering the two mitigating circumstances
present, without any aggravating circumstances to offset them, the penalty next lower to
that prescribed is imposable, or, prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion
temporal in its medium period.

18.
Ponente: MELENCIO-HERRERA

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, modifying the judgment appealed from, the
accused Delfin Muit, is hereby sentenced to suffer the
indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years of prision mayor, as
minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion
temporal, as maximum, with the judgment being affirmed in all
other respects.Costs against the accused-appellant, Delfin Muit.
People vs. Germina 290 SCRA 146 , May 19, 1998
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ELPIDIO GERMINA y
MALDO, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Valenzuela, Metro Manila.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery|Mitigating
Circumstances|Passion|Voluntary Surrender
Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 120881

1. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; It is true that in a host of


cases, the Supreme Court has found fatal assaults from behind as earmarks of
treachery but this should not be mistaken as a hard and fast rule—the peculiarities of
each case must be taken into account and carefully calibrated.—It is true that in a host
of cases, this Court has found fatal assaults from behind as earmarks of treachery,
among which are “People vs. Muyano” and “People vs. Apolonia” cited by the Solicitor
General in the appellee’s brief. This should not be mistaken, however, as a hard and fast
rule. The peculiarities of each case must be taken into account, carefully calibrated, and
the cases of “People vs. Flores” relied upon by appel-

2. _______________
3. *
SECOND DIVISION.

4. 147

VOL. 290, MAY 19, 1998 1


47

Page 188 of 407


People vs. Germina
5. lant and “People vs. Nemeria” are illuminative examples of a contrary finding.

6. Same; Same; Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstances; Passion; Passion cannot co-exist
with treachery because in passion, the offender loses his control and reason while in
treachery the means employed are consciously adopted—one who loses his reason and
self-control could not deliberately employ a particular means, method or form of attack in
the execution of the crime.—What appears to be the coup de grace to a finding of
treachery in this case is the appreciation by the trial court of the mitigating circumstance
of passion. Passion cannot co-exist with treachery because in passion, the offender
loses his control and reason while in treachery the means employed are consciously
adopted. One who loses his reason and self-control could not deliberately employ a
particular means, method or form of attack in the execution of the crime.

7. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same;Voluntary Surrender; Voluntary surrender may
be appreciated where the surrender was spontaneous and unconditional; Passion may
be considered where it clearly arose from lawful sentiments or legitimate feelings.—We
end the discussion on treachery by emphasizing that its presence under the attendant
facts has not been proven as fully and convincingly as the crime itself. The doubt must,
therefore, be resolved in favor of appellant. But while the trial court may have erred on
this issue, its findings as to the presence of the mitigating circumstances of voluntary
surrender and passion, nonetheless, deserve affirmance. Voluntary surrender was
correctly appreciated because it appeared spontaneous and unconditional, as
appellant’s claim that he voluntarily gave himself up to SPO2 Marteja right after shooting
Raymund remains undisputed. Passion also existed as it clearly arose from lawful
sentiments or legitimate feelings. The trial court’s observation on this point is worth
reiterating: “x x x he [appellant] committed the serious crime due to the
maltreatment/physical injuries inflicted by the victim on his mentally retarded brother,
that triggered his anger which diminish (sic)/weaken (sic) the exercise of his power, x x
x.”

8.
Counsel: The Solicitor General, Ricardo C. Valmonte

Ponente: MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused-appellant ELPIDIO
GERMINA y MALDO is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of homicide and is thus sentenced to suffer the
indeterminate penalty of six (6) years of prision correccional
maximum as minimum, to ten (10) years of prision mayor medium
as maximum. The Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) indemnity
and the Fifty One Thousand Seven Hundred Pesos (P51,700.00)
funeral expenses awarded to the victim’s heirs by the trial court are
AFFIRMED. No costs.
People vs. Gonzalez, Jr. 359 SCRA 352 , June 21, 2001
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ,
JR., accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Marikina City, Br, 272.

Page 189 of 407


Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery|Physical
Injuries|Mitigating Circumstances|Passion and Obfuscation|Requisites|Incomplete Defense of
Relative|Lack of Intent to Commit So Grave a Wrong|Complex Crimes|Homicide|Slight Physical
Injuries|Damages
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The
suddenness of the attack, the infliction of the wound from behind the victim, the
vulnerable position of the victim at the time the attack was made or the fact that
the victim was unarmed do not by themselves render the attack as treacherous.-
Treachery under par. 16 of Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is defined as the
deliberate employment of means, methods or forms in the execution of a crime
against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without
risk to the offender arising from the defense which the intended victim might raise.
For treachery to be appreciated two elements must concur: 1) the employment of
means of execution that would insure the safety of the accused from retaliatory
acts of the intended victim and leaving the latter without an opportunity to defend
himself; and 2) the means employed were deliberately or con- sciously adopted by
the offender. The suddenness of the attack, the infliction of the wound from behind
the victim, the vulnerable position of the victim at the time the attack was made or
the fact that the victim was unarmed do not by themselves render the attack as
treacherous. This is of particular significance in a case of an instantaneous attack
made by the accused whereby he gained an advantageous position over the
victim when the latter accidentally fell and was rendered defenseless. The means
employed for the commission of the crime or the mode of attack must be shown to
have been consciously or deliberately adopted by the accused to insure the
consummation of the crime and at the same time eliminate or reduce the risk of
retaliation from the intended victim.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The
determining factor on whether or not the commission of a crime is attended by
treachery is not the resulting crime committed but the mode of attack employed in
its execution.-
This Court has also had occasion to state that whether or not the attack succeeds
against its intended victim or injures another or whether the crime committed is
graver than that intended is immaterial, as long as it is shown that the attack is
attended by treachery, the said qualifying circumstance may still be considered by
the court. Thus, the determining factor on whether or not the commission of a
crime is attended by treachery is not the resulting crime committed but the mode
of attack employed in its execution.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; A single and
continuous attack cannot be divided into stages to make it appear that treachery
was involved.-
The trial court’s finding that the loading of the gun, the cocking of the hammer and
finally the pulling of the trigger constitute a deliberate effort on the part of appellant
to use the gun as a means of a treacherous attack is patently erroneous. A single
and continuous attack cannot be divided into stages to make it appear that
treachery was involved. The entire incident happened in a matter of minutes, as
testified to by witnesses, and as noted by the trial court. It was error to our mind
for the trial court to divide the assault in stages to arrive at the conclusion that the
mode of attack was consciously employed by the appellant. Contrary to the finding
of the trial court that the appellant prepared the gun before getting out of his car,

Page 190 of 407


the appellant testified that he loaded his gun before he left the house and that it
was ready to fire when he alighted his car. There was no time for him to reflect on
the mode of attack since he just picked up his gun and alighted from his car and
shot at the FX a few seconds after Dino and Noel Andres started shouting at each
other. We note further that the trial court pointed out that from the fact that the
appellant prepared his gun to shoot, this was an indication of the deliberate
employment of the gun as a means to kill; i.e. that the use of an automatic, pistol
shows that the shooting was attended by treachery.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The weapon
used, by itself, is not determinative of treachery, unless it is shown that the
accused deliberately used the gun to insure the commission of the crime and to
render the unarmed victim defenseless.-
We do not agree that the weapon used, by itself, is determinative of treachery,
unless it is shown, and it is not herein shown, that the appellant deliberately used
the gun to insure the commission of the crime and to render the unarmed victim
defenseless. As discussed above, the encounter between the appellant and the
Andresses was a chance encounter and the appellant’s gun was in the glove
compartment of his car even before he left his house. The shooting was clearly a
spur of the moment or impulsive decision made by the appellant preceded by a
heated altercation at the instance of the private complainant. Jurisprudence
teaches us that under the circumstances, treachery is not obtaining.
5. Criminal Law; Physical Injuries; The intent to kill determines whether the
crime committed is physical injuries or homicide and such intent is made manifest
by the acts of the accused which are undoubtedly intended to kill the victim.-
As regards the injuries sustained by the two children we find that the crime
committed are two counts of slight physical injuries. The intent to kill determines
whether the crime committed is physical injuries or homicide and such intent is
made manifest by the acts of the accused which are undoubtedly intended to kill
the victim. In a case wherein the accused did not know that a person was hiding
behind a table who was hit by a stray bullet causing superficial injuries requiring
treatment for three days, the crime committed is slight physical injuries. In case of
doubt as to the homicidal intent of the accused, he should be convicted of the
lesser offense of physical injuries.
6. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances; Passion and
Obfuscation; Requisites; Provocation must be sufficient to excite a person to
commit the wrong committed and that the provocation must be commensurate to
the crime committed; The aggressive behavior of the complainant towards the
accused and his son may be demeaning or humiliating but it is not sufficient
provocation to shoot at the complainant’s vehicle.-
The mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation is also not obtaining. For
this mitigating circumstance to be considered, it must be shown that: (1) an
unlawful act sufficient to produce passion and obfuscation was committed by the
intended victim; (2) that the crime was committed within a reasonable length of
time from the commission of the unlawful act that produced the obfuscation in the
accused’s mind; and that (3) “the passion and obfusca- tion arose from lawful
sentiments and not from a spirit of lawlessness or revenge.” Noel Andres’ act of
shouting at the appellants son, who was then a nurse and of legal age, is not
sufficient to produce passion and obfuscation as it is claimed by the accused.
Besides, the appellant’s son, Dino was shouting back at Noel Andres. It was not a
case wherein the appellant’s son appeared helpless and oppressed that the

Page 191 of 407


appellant lost his reason and shot at the FX of Noel Andres. The same holds true
for the appellant’s claim of provocation on the part of Noel Andres. Provocation
must be sufficient to excite a person to commit the wrong committed and that the
provocation must be commensurate to the crime committed. The sufficiency of
provocation varies according to the circumstances of the case. The aggressive
behavior of Noel Andres towards the appellant and his son may be demeaning or
humiliating but it is not sufficient provocation to shoot at the complainant’s vehicle.
7. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances;Incomplete Defense of
Relative; The mitigating circumstance of incomplete defense of a relative is
unavailing where the act of complainant in cursing and shouting at the accused
and his son do not amount to art unlawful aggression against them.-
The plea for the appreciation of the mitigating circumstance of incomplete defense
of a relative is also unmeritorious since the act of Andres in cursing and shouting
at the appellant and his son do not amount to an unlawful aggression against
them, Dino Gonzalez.
8. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances; Lack of Intent to Commit So
Grave a Wrong; The mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit so grave
a wrong obtains when there is a notable disparity between the means employed
by the accused to commit a wrong and the resulting crime committed; The
intention of the accused at the time of the commission of the crime is manifested
from the weapon used, the mode of attack employed and the injury sustained by
the victim.-
The plea for the appreciation of the mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to
commit so grave a wrong is likewise devoid of merit. This mitigating circumstance
is obtaining when there is a notable disparity between the means employed by the
accused to commit a wrong and the resulting crime committed. The intention of
the accused at the time of the commission of the crime is manifested from the
weapon used, the mode of attack employed and the injury sustained by the victim.
The appellant’s use of a gun, although not deliberately sought nor employed in the
shooting, should have reasonably placed the appellant on guard of the possible
consequences of his act. The use of a gun is sufficient to produce the resulting
crimes committed.
9. Criminal Law; Complex Crimes; Homicide; Slight Physical Injuries; Where
the offenses committed by the act of the accused of firing a single shot are one
count of homicide, a grave felony, and two counts of slight physical injuries, a light
felony, the rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes, which requires
two or more grave and/or less grave felonies, will not apply.-
The rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes under Art. 48 of the
Revised Penal Code are not applicable in this case. Art. 48 applies if a single act
constitutes two or more grave and less grave felonies or when an offense is a
necessary means of committing another; in such a case, the penalty for the most
serious offense shall be imposed in its maximum period. Art. 9 of the Revised
Penal Code in relation to Art. 25 defines grave felonies as those to which the law
attaches the capital punishment or afflictive penalties from reclusion perpetua to
prision mayor; less grave felonies are those to which the law attaches a penalty
which in its maximum period falls under correctional penalties; and light felonies
are those punishable by arresto menor or fine not exceeding two hundred pesos.
Considering that the offenses committed by the act of the appellant of firing a
single shot are one count of homicide, a grave felony, and two counts of slight
physical injuries, a light felony, the rules on the imposition of penalties for complex

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crimes, which requires two or more grave and/or less grave felonies, will not
apply.
10. Criminal Law; Damages; Even if there is no evidence as to the victim’s actual
income at the time of her death, in view of her temporary separation from work
because of her pregnancy, the Court does not consider it reversible error for the
trial court to have pegged her earning capacity to that of the salary of a
government nurse under the salary standardization law, as a fair or reasonable
assessment of her earning capacity at the time of her death.-
The pecuniary award granted by the trial court for actual damages was duly
established by the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as supported by the
original receipts for hospitalization and other medical expenses presented in
evidence by the prosecution. The award for loss of earning capacity is likewise
sustained for the reason that while Feliber Andres was pregnant and was
unemployed at the time of death, it is not disputed that she was a registered nurse
and had earning capacity. Noel Andres also testified that he and his wife had
plans to go back to Saudi Arabia to work after Feliber had given birth to their
second baby. While there is no evidence as to Feliber’s actual income at the time
of her death, in view of her temporary separation from work because of her
pregnancy, we do not consider it reversible error for the trial court to peg her
earning capacity to that of the salary of a government nurse under the salary—
standardization law, as a fair estimate or reasonable assessment of her earning
capacity at the time of her death. It would be grossly inequitous to deny her
spouse and her minor children damages for the support that they would have
received, considering clear evidence on record that she did have earning capacity
at the time of her death.
11. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; The
accused’s conscious use of a firearm with pre-loaded multiple missile bullets
against a defenseless man who was totally unaware of the danger to his life, as
the events moved fast and he did not even hear the shot, constitutes treachery.-
Treachery under Article 14, paragraph 6 of the Revised Penal Code is defined as
the deliberate employment of means, methods or forms in the execution of a
crime against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its execution
without risk to the offender arising from the defense which the intended victim
might raise. For treachery to be appreciated, two elements must concur: (1) the
employment of means of execution that would insure the safety of the accused
from retaliatory acts of the intended victim and leaving the latter without an
opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (2) the means of execution
employed were deliberately or consciously adopted by the offender. The means
employed for the commission of the crime or the mode of attack must be shown to
have been consciously or deliberately adopted by the accused to insure the
consummation of the crime and at the same time eliminate or reduce the risk of
retaliation by the victim. At the time of the shooting, the complainant was having a
tiff with accused’s son. He knew that the complainant was not armed and there
was no imminent and grave danger to the life of his son. His conscious use of a
firearm with pre-loaded multiple missile bullets against a defenseless man who
was totally unaware of the danger to his life, as the events moved fast and he did
not even hear the shot constitutes treachery. Accused insured the success of the
crime without risk to himself arising from defense or retaliation. The complainant
could not defend himself from such firepower, much less retaliate. He was without

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any firearm. Even if the attack was frontal, it was sudden and the victim was
unarmed.
12. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; Whether
or not the attack succeeds against its intended victim or injures another, or
whether the crime committed is graver than that intended is immaterial, as long as
it is shown that the attack is attended by treachery, the qualifying circumstance
may still be considered.-
Whether or not the attack succeeds against its intended victim or injures another,
or whether the crime committed is graver than that intended is immaterial, as long
as it is shown that the attack is attended by treachery, the qualifying circumstance
may still be considered.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 139542

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Pastelero Law Office

Ponente: GONZAGA REYES

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is hereby MODIFIED.
The appellant is hereby found guilty of homicide for the death of
Feliber Andres and is sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of 8
years and 1 day of prision mayor in its medium period, as
minimum, to 14 years 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal in
its medium period, as maximum. For each count of the slight
physical injuries committed against Kenneth Andres and Kevin
Valdez, the appellant is hereby sentenced to 20 days of arresto
menor.IN VIEW WHEREOF, I vote to affirm the decision of the trial
Court finding accused guilty of MURDER, qualified by treachery
and aggravated by the use of firearm for the killing of Feliber
Andres and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua, with the
accessory penalties of the law.For each count of frustrated
homicide committed against Kenneth Andres and Kevin Valdez,
the accused must be sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of ten
(10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to
seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, as
maximum; to indemnify the offended parties Kenneth Andres and
Kevin Valdez in the amount of P20,000.00 each.
United States vs. Hicks. 14 Phil. 217 , September 23, 1909
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff, vs. AUGUSTUS HICKS, defendant.Case Nature :
REVIEW of a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cotabato. Springer, J.
Syllabi Class : MURDER|"ALEVOSÍA|PREMEDITATION
Syllabi:
1. MURDER; "ALEVOSÍA; PREMEDITATION; PENALTY.-
Where the act of causing the violent death of a woman has already been qualified
by the specific circumstance of treachery (alevosía), if premeditation is also
present therein it can only produce the effect of a generic aggravating

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circumstance which, together with another of the same class, requires the
imposition in the maximum degree of the penalty which the law fixes for the crime.
2. MURDER; Loss OF REASON AND SELF-CONTROL.-
The causes which produce in the mind loss of reason and self-control, and which
lessen criminal responsibility, are those which originate from lawful sentiments,
not such as arise from vicious, unworthy, and immoral passions; therefore, in the
present case it is not proper to consider that mitigating circumstance 7 of article 9
of the Penal Code was present.

Docket Number: No. 4971

Counsel: Solicitor-General' Harvey, Jose Robles Lahesa

Ponente: TORRES
People vs. Bates 400 SCRA 95 , March 28, 2003
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARCELO BATES,
accused-appellant. MARCELO BATES, JR. (At-Large), accused.Case Nature : APPEAL from a
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City, Br. 35.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Justifying Circumstances|Self-
Defense|Requisites|Witnesses|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery|Mitigating
Circumstances|Passion or Obfuscation|Penalties
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Justifying Circumstances;Self-
Defense; Requisites; When an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self-
defense, it is incumbent upon him to prove by clear and convincing evidence that
he acted in self-defense.-
Appellant claims self-defense. Under Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code,
anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights do not incur any criminal
liability provided that the following circumstances concur: First, unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim; second, reasonable necessity of the means
employed to prevent or repel it; and third, lack of sufficient provocation on the part
of the person defending himself. It is a settled rule that when an accused admits
killing the victim but invokes self-defense, it is incumbent upon him to prove by
clear and convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense; and as the burden of
the evidence is thus shifted to him, he must rely on the strength of his own
evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution.
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Justifying Circumstances;Self-Defense; When
unlawful aggression ceases, the defender has no longer any right to kill or wound
the former aggressor, otherwise retaliation and not self-defense is committed.-
After scrutiny of the evidence presented, we agree with the trial court that self-
defense was not established by appellant. He testified that he initially inflicted only
a single hack wound on the neck of Jose causing the latter to fall to the ground.
He then went to the aid of his brother Carlito but upon finding that he was already
dead, he went back to where Jose fell. Appellant admitted that at that time, Jose
was in a lying position still alive but hardly moving. Under such a situation, Jose
could have hardly put up any defense, much less, make an aggressive move
against appellant. Despite Jose’s condition, appellant repeatedly hacked Jose.
Granting that Jose was the one who first committed unlawful aggression,
appellant was no longer justified in further inflicting wounds upon Jose because at
that time, the latter was already lying helpless on the ground. At that moment,

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unlawful aggression on the part of Jose had ceased. It is a settled rule that when
unlawful aggression ceases, the defender has no longer any right to kill or wound
the former aggressor, otherwise, retaliation and not self-defense is committed.
Hence, the fact that unlawful aggression on the part of Jose already ceased when
Marcelo repeatedly hacked him rules out the possi- bility of self-defense, whether
complete or incomplete. Thus, the first assigned error is without merit.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; The issue of credibility is a question best
addressed to the province of the trial court because of its unique position of having
observed that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses’ deportment
on the stand while testifying which opportunity is denied to the appellate courts.-
In his second assigned error, appellant questions the credibility of the prosecution
witnesses. We have time and again, held that the issue of credibility is a question
best addressed to the province of the trial court because of its unique position of
having observed that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses’
deportment on the stand while testifying which opportunity is denied to the
appellate courts; and absent any substantial reason which would justify the
reversal of the trial court’s assessments and conclusions, the reviewing court is
generally bound by the former’s findings, particularly when no significant facts and
circumstances were shown to have been overlooked or disregarded which when
considered would have affected the outcome of the case. In the present case, the
trial court found the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses to be more credible
than those of the defense witnesses.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; Discrepancies and inconsistencies in the
testimonies of witnesses referring to minor details, and not in actuality touching
upon the central fact of the crime, do not impair their credibility.-
Appel-lant points out inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses
Edgar and Concepcion. However, it is more apparent than real. Edgar and
Concepcion witnessed the crime at different stages of its execution. The failure of
Edgar and Concepcion to see each other at the crime scene can be gathered from
their testimonies that at the time Concepcion arrived at the scene of the crime,
Edgar, together with his brother Simon, already left. Granting that there was
indeed an inconsistency in the testimonies of Edgar and Concepcion such is only
a minor flaw that does not affect their credibility. Both did not detract from the
main fact at issue and were consistent in positively identifying appellant and his
son as the ones who killed Jose. Discrepancies and inconsistencies in the
testimonies of witnesses referring to minor details, and not in actuality touching
upon the central fact of the crime, do not impair their credibility.
5. Criminal Law; Murder; Witnesses; The prosecution is imbued with the
discretion to choose whom to present as witnesses—the prosecution need not
present each and every witness but only as may be needed to meet the quantum
of proof necessary to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.-
As to the failure of the prosecution to present other witnesses, the rule is settled
that the prosecution is imbued with the discretion to choose whom to present as
witnesses. The prosecution need not present each and every witness but only as
may be needed to meet the quantum of proof necessary to establish the guilt of
the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The testimonies of the other witnesses
may, therefore, be dispensed with for being merely corroborative in nature. This
Court has ruled that the non-presentation of corroborative witnesses would not
constitute suppression of evidence and would not be fatal to the prosecution’s
cause. Hence, the non-presentation of Violeta Fuentes, Simon Fuentes and Junior

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Comesyon as witnesses for the prosecution is not fatal to its cause nor may it be
considered suppression of evidence, as their testimonies would merely
corroborate the earlier testimonies of Edgar and Concepcion.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The rule
that a sudden attack by the assailant, whether frontally or from behind, is
treachery does not apply where the sudden attack was not preconceived and
deliberately adopted but was just triggered by the sudden infuriation on the part of
the accused because of the provocative act of the victim, or where their meeting
was purely accidental.-
In the present case, the only evidence presented by the prosecution to prove that
there was treachery was the testimony of Edgar Fuentes that while Jose and
Carlito were grappling, he saw appellant and his son emerge from the thick
banana plantation and attack Jose with the bolos they were carrying. This, alone,
does not prove treachery. In People vs. Albao, we held that: As a rule a sudden
attack by the assailant, whether frontally or from behind, is treachery, if such
mode of attack was coolly and deliberately adopted by him with the purpose of
depriving the victim of a chance to either fight or retreat. The rule does not apply,
however, where the sudden attack was not preconceived and deliberately adopted
but was just triggered by the sudden infuriation on the part of the accused
because of the provocative act of the victim, or where their meeting was purely
accidental.
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Mitigating Circumstances;Passion or
Obfuscation; To be considered a mitigating circumstance, passion or obfuscation
must arise from lawful sentiments and not from a spirit of lawlessness or revenge
or from anger and resentment.-
Passion and obfuscation may not be properly appreciated in favor of appellant. To
be considered as a mitigating circumstance, passion or obfuscation must arise
from lawful sentiments and not from a spirit of lawlessness or revenge or from
anger and resentment. In the present case, clearly, Marcelo was infuriated upon
seeing his brother, Carlito, shot by Jose. However, a distinction must be made
between the first time that Marcelo hacked Jose and the second time that the
former hacked the latter. When Marcelo hacked Jose right after seeing the latter
shoot at Carlito, and if appellant refrained from doing anything else after that, he
could have validly invoked the mitigating circumstance of passion and
obfuscation. But when, upon seeing his brother Carlito dead, Marcelo went back
to Jose, who by then was already prostrate on the ground and hardly moving,
hacking Jose again was a clear case of someone acting out of anger in the spirit
of revenge.
8. Criminal Law; Murder; Penalties; While Section 21 of RA No. 7656 amended
Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code by fixing the duration of reclusion perpetua
from 20 years and 1 day to 40 years, reclusion perpetua remains to be an
indivisible penalty in the absence of a clear legislative intent to alter its original
classification as an indivisible penalty—in applicable cases, “reclusion perpetua”
should simply be imposed without specifying its duration.-
For the guidance of both the bench and bar, it must be mentioned that the trial
court committed an error in imposing the penalty of “forty (40) years of reclusion
perpetua”. We reiterate our earlier pronouncements in a number of cases that
while Section 21 of RA No. 7659 amended Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code
by fixing the duration of reclusion perpetua from 20 years and 1 day to 40 years,
reclusion perpetua remains to be an indivisible penalty in the absence of a clear

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legislative intent to alter its original classification as an indivisible penalty. Hence,
in applicable cases such as the present case, “reclusion perpetua” should simply
be imposed without specifying its duration.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 139907

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc
City, Branch 35, is MODIFIED. Appellant Marcelo Bates is hereby
found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide and
is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years
and one (1) day of prision mayor as the minimum to twelve (12)
years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as the maximum; and
is ordered to pay the Heirs of Jose Boholst the amounts of
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the latter’s death, P50,000.00 for
moral damages and P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
United States vs. De la Cruz. 22 Phil. 429 , March 29, 1912
Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. HILARIO DE LA CRUZ, def
endant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Manila. Lobingier, J.
Syllabi Class : HOMICIDE
Syllabi:
1. HOMICIDE; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF PASSION AND
OBFUSCATION.-
Held: That the commission of the offense of which defendant was convicted was
marked with the extenuating circumstance defined in subsection 7 of article 9, in
that defendant "acted upon an impulse so powerful as naturally to have produced
passion and obfuscation," the evidence disclosing that in the heat of passion he
killed the deceased, who had theretoforebeen his querida (concubine or lover),
upon discovering her in flagrante in carnal communication with a mutual
acquaintance.
2. HOMICIDE; U. S. vs. HICKS DISTINGUISHED.-
The facts in this case distinguished from those in the case of U. S. vs. Hicks (14
Phil. Rep., 217), wherein the defendant was held not to be entitled to the benefits
of the provisions of the above-mentioned article of the code.
3. HOMICIDE; ID.-
In the former case the cause of the alleged "passion and obfuscation" of the
aggressor was the convict's vexation, disappointment and anger engendered by
the refusal of the woman to continue to live in illicit relations with him, which she
had a perfect right to do, his reason for killing her being merely that she had
elected to leave him and with his full knowledge to go and live with another. In the
case at bar the impulse upon which the defendant acted, and which naturally
produced "passion and obfuscation," was not that the woman declined to have

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illicit relations with him, but the sudden revelation that she was untrue to him, and
his discovery of her in flagrante in the arms of another.

Docket Number: No. 7094

Counsel: F. C. Fisher, Acting Attorney-General Harvey

Ponente: CARSON

Dispositive Portion:
Modified by a finding that the commission of the crime was marked
with the extenuating circumstance set out in subsection 7 of article
9, and by the reduction of the penalty of fourteen years eight
months and one day of reclusión temporal to twelve years and one
day of reclusión temporal, the judgment of conviction and the
sentence imposed by the trial court should be and are hereby
affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellant.
eople vs. Coronel, et al. 17 SCRA 509 , June 30, 1966
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. SEVERO CORONEL,
ET AL., def endants. SEVERO CORONEL, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : REVIEW of
a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal imposing the death penalty,
Syllabi Class : Criminal procedure|Mitigating circumstances|Rebellion|Effect of plea of guilty
Syllabi:
1. Criminal procedure; Effect of plea of guilty; Where crime committed was
robo con homicidio and not rebellion.-
When an accused pleads guilty, he admits the truth of all the allegations in the
information. Where the crime charged in the information is that of “Robbery with
Multiple Homicide” and there is no showing therein that the said crime was
committed in the furtherance of the rebellion movement, the criminal liability of the
accused must necessarily be for the offense subject of the information.
2. Mitigating circumstances; When plea of guilty is not mi-tigating.-
A plea of guilty entered during the continuation of the trial may not be considered
to mitigate the liability of the accused.
3. Rebellion; Robbery is not essential to the commission of rebellion.-
Robbery is one offense which definitely cannot be countenanced and sanctioned
as one of those crimes which may be considered as necessary and essential to
the commission of the political crime of rebellion.

Docket Number: No. L-19091

Counsel: Ramon T. Oben, Solicitor General A.A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General A.G.
Ibarra, Solicitor C.B. Bautista

Ponente: REGALA

Dispositive Portion:
Wherefore, the decision under review is modified in that the
penalty imposed is changed to life imprisonment. The decision is
affirmed in all other respects.
eople vs. Pinca 318 SCRA 270 , November 17, 1999

Page 199 of 407


Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOEL PINCA y HUARDE,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Tagbilaran City, Br. 1.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Witnesses|Murder|Aggravating Circumstances|Treachery|Evident
Premeditation|Mitigating Circumstances|Voluntary Surrender|Alternative
Circumstances|Intoxication|Death Penalty|Judicial Review
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Witnesses; The issues of which witnesses and whose
testimonies are to be believed are best addressed by the trial judge, who had the
unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor,
conduct and attitude on the witness stand.-
The issues of which witnesses and whose testimonies are to be believed are best
addressed by the trial judge, who had the unique opportunity to observe the
witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude on the
witness stand. Undeniably, these are significant factors in evaluating a witness’
honesty, sincerity and credibility; and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face
of conflicting testimonies. Because of his direct observations of the entire
proceedings, the trial judge is in the best position to determine reasonably whose
testimonies to accept and which witnesses to believe or disbelieve.
2. Criminal Law; Witnesses; The trial court’s assessment of the credibility of
witnesses and their testimonies is generally entitled to great respect and will not
be disturbed on appeal; Exceptions.-
The trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is
generally entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal, unless (1) it
is found to be clearly arbitrary or unfounded; (2) some substantial fact or
circumstance that could materially affect the disposition of the case was
overlooked, misunderstood or misinterpreted; (3) the trial judge gravely abused
his or her discretion; or (4) the judge who penned the appealed decision was not
the same one who had presided over the trial and heard the witnesses testify.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Treachery; The
essence of treachery is the deliberateness and the unexpectedness of the attack,
which give the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or to
escape.-
For treachery to be considered a qualifying circumstance, two conditions must
concur: (1) the offender employed such means, method or manner of execution as
to ensure his or her safety from the defensive or retaliatory acts of the victim; and
(2) the said means, method or manner of execution was deliberately adopted. The
essence of treachery is the deliberateness and the unexpectedness of the attack,
which give the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or
to escape.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances;Evident
Premeditation; Elements.-
For evident premeditation to be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance,
there must be clear and convincing proof of the following: (1) the time when the
offender determined to commit the crime, (2) an act manifestly indicating that he
clung to his determination, and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between such
determination and the execution that allowed the criminal to reflect upon the
consequences of his act.
5. Criminal Law; Murder; Mitigating Circumstances;Voluntary Surrender; If
the only reason for the supposed surrender is to ensure the safety of the accused

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whose arrest is inevitable, the surrender is not spontaneous and hence not
voluntary.-
For voluntary surrender to be appreciated as a mitigating circumstance, the
following requisites must concur: (1) the offender has not been actually arrested,
(2) the offender surrendered to a person in authority, and (3) the surrender was
voluntary. If the only reason for the supposed surrender is to ensure the safety of
the accused whose arrest is inevitable, the surrender is not spontaneous and
hence not voluntary.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Mitigating Circumstances;Voluntary Surrender; The
act of a suspect of going to the police station only “to clear his name” does not
show any intent to surrender unconditionally to the authorities.-
Appellant’s actions after the incident are not marks of voluntary surrender.
Denying to the police any personal knowledge of the crime, he even tried to
distance himself from the place of the incident by going to Tagbilaran City. It was
only when he learned that he had become a suspect and that the police were
looking for him even in Tagbilaran that he finally went to the police station, but
only “to clear his name.” Such acts do not show any intent to surrender
unconditionally to the authorities.
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Alternative Circumstances;Intoxication; A person
pleading intoxication to mitigate penalty must present proof of having taken a
quantity of alcoholic beverage prior to the commission of the crime, sufficient to
produce the effect of obfuscating reason, while, at the same time, he must show
proof of not being a habitual drinker and not taking the alcoholic drink with the
intention to reinforce his resolve to commit the crime.-
Intoxication may be considered either aggravating or mitigating, depending upon
the circumstances attending the commission of the crime. Intoxication has the
effect of decreasing the penalty, if it is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to
commit the contemplated crime; on the other hand, when it is habitual or
intentional, it is considered an aggravating circumstance. A person pleading
intoxication to mitigate penalty must present proof of having taken a quantity of
alcoholic beverage prior to the commission of the crime, sufficient to produce the
effect of obfuscating reason. At the same time, that person must show proof of not
being a habitual drinker and not taking the alcoholic drink with the intention to
reinforce his resolve to commit the crime.
8. Criminal Law; Murder; Alternative Circumstances;Intoxication; Under
normal circumstances, a glass of beer is not so intoxicating as to diminish a man’s
rational capacity.-
Appellant cannot simply rely on those statements of the prosecution. He himself
must present convincing proof of the nature and the effect of his intoxication. What
appears undisputed in the records, however, is that he had a glass of beer prior to
the murder incident. Under normal circumstances, a glass of beer is not so
intoxicating as to diminish a man’s rational capacity. It was not proven at all that
such amount of alcohol blurred his reason. This element is essential for
intoxication to be considered mitigating.
9. Criminal Law; Death Penalty; Judicial Review; It is a well-established rule
that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law [or
part of it] to be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is raised by the
parties, and that when it is raised, if the record also presents some other ground
upon which the court may rest its judgment, that course will be adopted and the

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constitutional question will be left for consideration until a case arises in which a
decision upon such question will be unavoidable.-
The Court does not find the resolution of this issue the very lis mota of the case.
Absent any aggravating circumstance in appellant’s commission of murder, the
death penalty as prescribed under RA 7659 cannot be imposed upon him. In other
words, the determination of the constitutional question is not essential to the
disposition of his appeal. “It is a well established rule that a court should not pass
upon a constitutional question and decide a law [or part of it] to be unconstitutional
or invalid, unless such question is raised by the parties, and that when it is raised,
if the record also presents some other ground upon which the court may rest its
judgment, that course will be adopted and the constitutional question will be left
for consideration until a case arises in which a decision upon such question will be
unavoidable.”

Docket Number: G.R. No. 129256

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Free Legal Assistance Group

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED,
with the MODIFICATION that Appellant Joel Pinca y Huarde shall
serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua, not death, and shall pay
the heirs of Conrado Angcahan P50,000 as indemnity ex delicto
and P4,600 as actual damages. No pronouncement as to costs.

1.
People vs. Amaguin 229 SCRA 166 , January 10, 1994
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. WILLIE AMAGUIN, GILDO
AMAGUIN and CELSO AMAGUIN, accused. WILLIE AMAGUIN and GILDO AMAGUIN,
accused-appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a deicision of the then Court of first Instant of
Iloilo City, Br. 2, Adil, J.
Syllabi Class : Evidence|Criminal Law|Witnesses|Single
Witness|Alibi|Denial|Murder|Conspiracy|Accomplice|Aggravating circumstances
Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 54344-45

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Sixto P. Demaisip

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo finding the accused-appellants WILLIE
AMAGUIN and GILDO AMAGUIN guilty in Crim. Cases Nos. 8041 and 8042 is MODIFIED as
follows:

Page 202 of 407


1.
People vs. Dulos 237 SCRA 141 , September 26, 1994
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EFREN DULOS, defendant-
appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City,
Br. 13.
Syllabi Class : Courts|Murder|Jurisdiction|Military Courts|Appeals|Evidence|Aggravating
Circumstances|Treachery|Mitigating Circumstances
Syllabi:
1. Courts; Jurisdiction; Military Courts; P.D. 1850 allows civil courts to assume jurisdiction
over criminal offenses and over the persons of military men where they were discharged from
active military service without military jurisdiction having duly attached before their separation.-
In his first assigned error, accused-appellant contends that the trial court did not acquire
jurisdiction to try him, hence, the decision rendered against him should be declared null and
void. He vigorously claims that as a member of the 12th MSSU AFP (Military Southern Support
Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines), he should be tried by the military courts pursuant
to Presidential Decree No. 1850, and not by civil courts. While it is true that the foregoing
provision vests exclusively upon courts-martial trial of criminal offenses committed by members
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, whether or not done in the actual performance of their
official duties, accused-appellant’s case falls under the exception contained in the proviso of the
section which allows civil courts to assume jurisdiction over criminal offenses and over the
person of the accused where the latter was discharged from active military service without
military jurisdiction having duly attached on him before his separation.
2. Courts; Jurisdiction; Appeals; When the question of jurisdiction over the person was not
raised in the trial, the same cannot be belatedly raised on appeal.-
Besides, records reveal that the issue of jurisdiction was not raised by the accused-appellant in
the trial court. Such being the case, raising it at this point would be useless and futile. It is well
settled that when the question of jurisdiction over the person was not raised in the trial, the
same cannot be belatedly raised on appeal.
3. Courts; Evidence; Findings of the trial court as to credibility of witnesses are accorded great
weight and respect by the appellate court.-
In the second and third assigned errors, accused-appellant questions the findings of fact of the
court a quo. However, as we have consistently ruled in a long line of cases, findings of the trial
court as to credibility of witnesses are accorded great weight and respect by the appellate court.
Unless there is a showing that the trial court had overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied
some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that would have altered the outcome of the
case, the appellate court will not disturb the factual findings of the lower court.
4. Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; There is treachery where the victim was
shot while he was on his knees, with his hands up, pleading for mercy.-
There is treachery when the victim is shot, albeit frontally, with his hands raised to show that he
would not fight, or because of fright, or to try to ward off the shots that were to come. This
circumstance constitutes treachery because the victim was clearly in a defenseless position. In
the case at bench, the prosecution eyewitnesses Susan Almazar and Alice Tipudan,
categorically testified that when the accused-appellant fired his first shot, Paul Tamse was on
his knees with his hands up pleading for mercy. Evidently, the victim was in a defenseless
position when accused-appellant shot him. While the victim was already lying prostrate on the
ground in prone position, accused-appellant pumped one more bullet on his back. This
constituted treachery and qualified the offense to murder.
5. Murder; Mitigating Circumstances; Voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated where there
was no conscious effort on the part of the accused to voluntarily surrender.-
The generic mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated in accused-
appellant’s favor. In order that voluntary surrender may be appreciated, it is necessary that “it

Page 203 of 407


must be spontaneous and made in such manner that it shows the intent of the accused to
surrender unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or
because he wishes to save them the trouble and expenses necessarily incurred in his search
and capture.” Here, there was no conscious effort on the part of accused-appellant to voluntarily
surrender to the military authorities when he went to Camp Siongco, Dinaig, Maguindanao after
the fateful incident. As he himself admitted in his testimony, he was not placed under custody by
the military authorities as he was free to roam around as he pleased.
6. Murder; Mitigating Circumstances; There is no voluntary surrender where an accused
merely surrendered the gun he used in the killing, without surrendering his person to the
authorities.-
Likewise, his claim that he surrendered his 0.45 caliber pistol to a certain Major Bermones, one
of his guests at the Old Imperial Hotel, is not substantiated by evidence. Assuming that the gun
was surrendered, that fact cannot be appreciated in his favor. This Court in the case of People
v. Palo held that where an accused merely surrendered the gun he used in the killing, without
surrendering his person to the authorities, there is no voluntary surrender.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 107328

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Midpantao L. Adil

Ponente: KAPUNAN

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED and the appeal
DISMISSED.

Page 204 of 407


Page 205 of 407
2.
People vs. Crisostomo 160 SCRA 47 , April 15, 1988
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee vs. EUGENIO
CRISOSTOMO, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from the decision of the Court of
First Instance of Bulacan, Br. 2.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Murder|Evidence|Sarne|Treachery|Drunkenness|Voluntary
Surrender|Voluntary plea of guilty|Requisitea
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Appellant’s verion effectively admitted having shot the
victim Romeo Geronimo.+
2. Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Although Dr. Santos is not an expert witness, as a
physician and health officer he is certainly qualified to give an opinion as to the cause of death
of the victim.-
Dr. Santos, who was then the municipal health officer of Hagonoy, Bulacan, categorically
testified that the cause of death of the deceased was a through and through gunshot wound
which was caused by a bullet. Although he may not be an expert witness, as a physician and
health officer he is certainly qualified to give an opinion as to the cause of death of the victim.
He externally examined the body of the deceased on the same night of the incident and found
no other sign of external violence except the gunshot wound. Under such circumstances, one
need not be an expert to render an opinion that the said gunshot wound was the cause of death
of the victim.
3. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Death certificate and notes issued by municipal health officer
are prima facie evidence of the cause of death of the victim.-
The death certificate and the notes issued by Dr. Santos after his external examination of the
body of the victim establish the cause of death of the deceased contrary to the contention of the
appellant. In this jurisdiction such death certificate and notes issued by said municipal health
officer in the regular performance of his duty are facie evidence of the cause of death of the
victim.
4. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Treachery; When is there treachery; Suddeness of the
attack does not of itself suffice to support the findings of aleuosia.-
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing
means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.
The suddennees of the attack does not, of itself, suffice to support the findings of alevosia.
There must be evidence that the mode of attack was consciously adopted by the appellant to
make it impossible or hard for the person attacked to defend himself or retaliate.
5. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Treachery; Alevosia has been fully established in the
present case.-
In the present case, the appellant admitted that he had a previous altercation with the victim
wherein he was hit by the deceased with a bottle because of certain differences they had in a
billiard hall although he claimed to have resumed friendly relations with the victim thereafter.
Nevertheless, at the time of the incident, the appeUant went through the motion of inviting the
victim to join him in a drinking spree which the victim declined and then suddenly, without any
ceremony, he shot the victim while his (the victim’s) back was turned. The appellant used a gun,
a lethal weapon to insure his design to kill the victim. He fired at him at a short distance aiming
at a vital spot of his body. The victim was unarmed. From the environmental circumstances of
the case, alevosia has been fully established.
6. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Drunkenness; Intoxication is a mitigating circumstance if the
same is not habitual or intentional, otherwise, it is an aggravating circumstance.-
Under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code, intoxication of the offender shall be taken into
consideration as a mitigating circumstance when the offender committed a felony in a state of

Page 206 of 407


intoxication, if the same is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit said felony.
Otherwise when habitual or intentional, it shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
7. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Drunkenness; Appellant’s aUegation that he was drunk
when he committed the offense is self-serving and uncorroborated.-
The allegation of the appellant that he was drunk when he committed the offense is self-serving
and uncorroborated. Besides, appellant admitted that at that time he was only dizzy, and that he
was on the way to another drinking spree. Obviously he had not drunk enough. He remembers
the details of the shooting, the time it started and ended, how much wine he imbibed and the
persons who were with him. He realized the gravity of the offense he committed so he fled and
hid from the authorities. He sought sanctuary in the chapel of Sto. Rosario. boarded a tricycle
going to the poblacion and took a La Mallorca bus to Manila. All these are acts of a man whose
mental capacity has not been impaired.
8. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Voluntary Surrender; Reguisites of voluntary surrender;
Accused entitled to the mitigating circumstanee.-
The requisites of voluntary surrender are: (a) that the offender had not actually been arrested;
(b) that the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority of the latter’s agent; and (c)
that the surrender was voluntary. The testimony of the appellant is not disputed by the
prosecution that while in hiding, upon the advice of his parents, he voluntarily surrendered on
January 4,1968, so he was detained in the municipal jail of Hagonoy. The Court agrees that the
appellant is entitled to this mitigating circumstance.
9. Criminal Law; Murder; Sarne; Voluntary plea of guilty; Requisitea; Accused not entitled
to this mitigating circumstance.-
However, he cannot be credited with the mitigating circumstance of a plea of guilty to a lesser
offense of the charge of homicide as invoked under the sixth assigned error. The requisites of
the mitigating circumstance of voluntary plea of guilty are: (1) that the offender spontaneously
confessed his guilt; (2) that the confession of guilt was made in open court, that is, before the
competent court that is to try the case; and (3) that the confession of guilt was made prior to the
presentation of evidence for the prosecution, In the present case the appellant offered to enter a
plea of guilty to the lesser offense of homicide only after some evidence of the prosecution had
been presented. He reiterated his ofFer after the prosecution rested its case. This is certainly
not mitigating.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-32243

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Jose Ma. Abola

Ponente: GANCAYCO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, with the above modification as to the penalty and indemnity, the decision
appealed from is AFFIRMED in aU other respects, with costs against accused-appellant.

1.
People vs. Jose 37 SCRA 450 , February 06, 1971
Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JAIME JOSE Y
GOMEZ, ET AL., defendants. JAIME JOSE Y GOMEZ,BASILIO PINEDA,JR., alias “BOY,”
EDGARDO AQUINO Y PAYUMO and ROGELIO CAÑAL Y SEVILLA, defendants-

Page 207 of 407


appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from and automatic review of a decision of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal. San Diego, J .
Syllabi Class : Remedial law|Criminal law|Evidence|Forcible abduction|Rape|Res
gestae|Extrajudicial statements|Criminal procedure|Constitutional law|Plea of guilty|Penalty
Syllabi:
1. Remedial law; Evidence; Forcible abduction; When evidence is clear and overwhelming.-
The evidence is clear and overwhelming that all the appellants participated in the forcible
abduction. Miss De la Riva declared on the witness stand, as well as in her sworn statements,
that they helped one another in dragging her into the car against her will; that she did not know
them personally; that while inside the car, Jose and Aquino, between whom she was seated,
toyed with her body, the former forcing his lips on hers, and the latter touching her thighs and
raising her skirt; that meaningful and knowing glances were in the meanwhile being exchanged
among the four; and that all of them later took turns in ravishing her at the Swanky Hotel. This
testimony, whose evidenciary weight has not in the least been overthrown by the defense, more
than suffices to establish the crimes charged in the amended complaint. In the light thereof,
appellants’ protestation that they were not motivated by lewd designs must be rejected as
absolutely without factual basis.
2. Remedial law; Evidence; Rape; Absence of spermatozoa.-
The absence of spermatozoa does not disprove the consummation of rape, the important
consideration being, not the emission of semen, but penetration.
3. Remedial law; Evidence; When self injuries are disproved by evidences.-
It is difficult to imagine that any sane woman, who is single and earning as much as Miss De la
Riva did, would inflict injuries on her genital organ by puncturing the same with a sharply-
pointed instrument in order to strike back at four strangers who allegedly would not pay her the
sum of P900.00 due her for a striptease act. Besides, Dr. Brion testified that the insertion of
such an instrument in the genital organ would not result in the kind of injuries he found in the
mucosa of the cervix.
4. Remedial law; Evidence; Res gestae; When victim confided to her mother immediately the
incident upon arrival.-
Other evidence and considerations exist which indubitably establish the commission of
successive rapes by the four appellants. Upon Miss De la Riva’s arrival at her house in the
morning of June 26, 1967, she immediately told her mother, “Mommy, Mommy, I have been
raped. All four of them raped me.” This utterance, which is part of the res gestae, commands
strong probative value, considering that it was made by the complainant to her mother who, in
cases of this nature, was the most logical person in whom a daughter would confide the truth. x
x x Equally important is complainant’s public disclosure of her tragedy, which led to the
examination of her private parts and lay her open to risks of future public ridicule and diminution
of popularity and earnings as a movie actress.
5. Remedial law; Evidence; Extrajudicial statements; When extrajudicial statements were
taken in the presence of several people and subscribed and sworn to before the City Fiscal of
Quezon City.-
We are not convinced that the statements were involuntarily given, or that the details recited
therein were concocted by the authorities. The statements were given in the presence of several
people and subscribed and sworn to before the City Fiscal of Quezon City, to whom neither of
the aforesaid appellants intimated the use of inordinate methods by the police. They are replete
with details which could hardly be known to the police; and although it is suggested that the
authorities could have secured such details from their various informers, no evidence at all was
presented to establish the truth of such allegation.
6. Remedial law; Criminal procedure; Constitutional law; Article III, Section 1, paragraph 17
of the Constitution, Rule 112, Section 11, Rule 113, Section 18 and Rule 115, Section 1 of the
Rules of Court, construed.-

Page 208 of 407


The provision of the Constitution of the Philippines in point is Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 1,
par. 17 of which provides: “In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall x x x enjoy the right to
be heard by himself and counsel x x x.” While the said provision is identical to that in the
Constitution of the United States, in this jurisdiction the term criminal prosecutions was
interpreted by this Court, in U.S. vs. Beecham, 23 Phil. 258 (1912), in connection with a similar
provision in the Philippine Bill of Rights (Section 5 of Act of Congress of July 1, 1902) to mean
proceedings before the trial court from arraignment to rendition of the judgment. Implementing
the said constitutional provisions, We have provided in Section 1, Rule 115 of the Rules of Court
that “In all criminal prosecutions the defendant shall be entitled x x x (b) to be present and
defend in person and by attorney at every stage of the proceedings, that is, from the
arraignment to the promulgation of the judgment.” The only instances where an accused is
entitled to counsel before arraignment, if he so requests, are during the second stage of the
preliminary investigation (Rule 112, Section 11) and after the arrest (Rule 113, Section 18). The
rule in the United States need not be unquestionably adhered to in this jurisdiction, not only
because it has no binding effect here, but also because in interpreting a provision of the
Constitution the meaning attached thereto at the time of the adoption thereof should be
considered. And even there the said rule is not yet quite settled, as can be deduced from the
absence of unanimity in the voting by the members of the United States Supreme Court in all
the three above-cited cases.
7. Criminal law; Plea of guilty; Plea of guilty is mitigating and constitutes an admission of all
the material facts alleged in the information; When the presence of the accused in court is not
necessary.-
Pineda contends that because the charge against him and his co-appellants is a capital offense
and the amended complaint cited aggravating circumstances, which, if proved, would raise the
penalty to death, it was the duty of the court to insist on his presence during all stages of the
trial. The contention is untenable. While a plea of guilty is mitigating, at the same time it
constitutes an admission of all the material facts alleged in the information, including the
aggravating circumstances, and it matters not that the offense is capital, for the admission (plea
of guilty) covers both the crime and its attendant circumstances qualifying and/or aggravating
the crime. Because of the aforesaid legal effect of Pineda’s plea of guilty, it was not incumbent
upon the trial court to receive his evidence, much less to require his presence in court.
8. Criminal law; Penalty; Imposition of four death penalty.-
The Supreme Court is of the opinion that in view of the existence of conspiracy among the
accused arid of its finding as regards the nature and number of crimes committed, as well as of
the presence of aggravating circumstances, four death penalties should be imposed in the
premises.
9. Criminal law; When statements during the trial do not constitute a claim of ownership over
the car used in the commission of the crime; Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code construed.-
Considering that the car in question is registered in the name of Mrs. Dolores Gomez, who, in
the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, must be considered as the lawful owner thereof;
that the only basis of the court a quo in concluding that the said car belongs to appellant Jose
were the latter’s statements during the trial of the criminal case to that effect; that the said
statements were not, however, intended to be, nor could constitute, a claim of ownership over
the car adverse to his mother, but were made simply in answer to questions propounded in
court for the sole purpose of establishing the identity of the defendant who furnished the car
used by the appellants in the commission of the crime; that the chattel mortgage on the car and
its assignment in favor of the intervenor were made several months before the date of the com-
mission of the crimes charged, which circumstance forecloses the possibility of collusion to
prevent the State from confiscating the car; that the final judgment in the replevin case can only
be executed by delivering the possession of the car to the intervenor for foreclosure of the
chattel mortgage; and that Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code bars the confiscation and

Page 209 of 407


forfeiture of an instrument or tool used in the commission of the crime if such “be the property of
a third person not liable for the offense,” it is the sense of this Court that the order of the court
below for the confiscation of the car in question should be set aside and that the said car should
be ordered delivered to the intervenor for foreclosure as decreed in the judgment of the Court of
First Instance of Manila in the replevin case.

Docket Number: No. L-28232

Counsel: Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo and Solicitor Augusto M. Amores, Baizas,
Alberto & Associates, Andreciano F. Caballero and Lota, Paraiso, Garcia & Dueñas, Mabanag,
Eliger & Associates, Sycip, Salazar, Luna, Manalo & Feliciano, Antonio Coronel Law Office,
Roberto J. Ignacio

Ponente: PER CURIAM

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the judgment under review is hereby modified as follows: appellants Jaime G.
Jose, Basilio Pineda, Jr., and Edgardo P. Aquino are pronounced guilty of the complex crime of
forcible abduction with rape, and each and every one of them is likewise convicted of three (3)
other crimes of rape. As a consequence thereof, each of them is hereby sentenced to four (4)
death penalties; all of them shall, jointly and severally, indemnify the complainant in the sum of
P10,000.00 in each of the four crimes, or a total of P40,000; and each shall pay one-fourth (1/4)
of the costs.Insofar as the car used in the commission of the crime is concerned, the order of
the court a quo for its confiscation is hereby set aside; and whoever is in custody thereof is
hereby ordered to deliver its possession to intervenor Filipinas Investment & Finance
Corporation in accordance with the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila in Civil
Case No. 69993 thereof.

2.
People vs. Montinola 360 SCRA 631 , July 09, 2001
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs. WILLIAM MONTINOLA,
accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo
City, Br. 25.
Syllabi Class : Remedial Law|Criminal Law|Appeals|Robbery with Homicide|Mitigating
Circumstances|Plea of Guilty
Syllabi:
1. Remedial Law; Appeals; It is the Supreme Court and not the Court of Appeals that has
appellate jurisdiction over all criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua
or higher; As to judgments imposing reclusion perpetua the appeal to the Court shall be made
by filing a notice of appeal with the trial court.-
WILLIAM’s notice of appeal has not escaped our attention. He therein stated that he was
appealing the trial court’s judgment to the Court of Appeals. It must be noted that it is the
Supreme Court, and not the Court of Appeals, that has appellate jurisdiction over all criminal
cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. As to judgments in which
death penalty is imposed, such as the judgment in Criminal Case No. 47169, no notice of
appeal is necessary, as the same is subject to automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659. But as to judgments imposing reclusion
perpetua, such as that in Criminal Case No. 47168, the appeal to this Court shall be by filing a
notice of appeal with the trial court.

Page 210 of 407


2. Remedial Law; Appeals; Where cases have been consolidated and jointly tried, and only
one decision is rendered sentencing the accused to death in one and to reclusion perpetua in
the others, he would be deemed to have appealed from the judgment in the latter cases.-
“WILLIAM’s notice of appeal from the judgment in Criminal Cases Nos. 47168-69, albeit
erroneous since it was directed to the Court of Appeals, may nevertheless be given due course.
For even without that or even if he did not appeal from said judgment, we would nevertheless
review the same conformably with our ruling in People vs. Alitagtag, as affirmed in People vs.
Contreras. We ruled therein that where cases have been consolidated and jointly tried, and only
one decision is rendered sentencing the accused to death in one and to reclusion perpetua in
the others, he would be deemed to have appealed from the judgment in the latter cases.
3. Criminal Law; Robbery with Homicide; Illegal Possession of Firearms; There could be no
separate conviction for illegal possession of firearm if homicide or murder is committed with the
use of an unlicensed firearm,-
In recent cases, we ruled that there could be no separate conviction for illegal possession of
firearm if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm; instead, such
use shall be considered merely as an aggravating circumstance in the homicide or murder
committed. Hence, insofar as the new law will be advantageous to WILLIAM as it will spare him
from a separate conviction for illegal possession of firearm, it shall be given retroactive effect.
4. Criminal Law; Robbery with Homicide; The special aggravating circumstance of use of an
unlicensed firearm mentioned in Article 296 of the Revised Penal Code has been held to be
applicable only to cases of robbery in band under Article 295 of the same Code.-
It may not be amiss to state that the special aggravating circumstance of use of an unlicensed
firearm mentioned in Article 296 of the Revised Penal Code has been held to be applicable only
to cases of robbery in band under Article 295 of the same Code. It was not appreciated in fixing
the penalty for robbery with homicide under Article 294 even if committed by a band with the
use of unlicensed firearms (the element of band was considered merely as an ordinary
aggravating circumstance).
5. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances; Plea of Guilty; To be entitled to such mitigating
circumstance, the accused must have voluntarily confessed his guilt before the court prior to the
presentation of the evidence for the prosecution; Requirements before a plea of guilty may be
appreciated as mitigating circumstance.-
To be entitled to such mitigating circumstance, the accused must have voluntarily confessed his
guilt before the court prior to the presentation of the evidence for the prosecution. The following
requirements must therefore concur; (1) the accused spontaneously confessed his guilt; (2) the
confession of guilt was made in open court, that is, before a competent court trying the case;
and (3) the confession of guilt was made prior to the presentation of evidence for the
prosecution.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 131856-57

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: DAVIDE, JR.

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the Joint Judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 25, in
Criminal Cases Nos. 47168 and 47269 is AFFIRMED with MODICATIONS as follows:

Page 211 of 407


1.
People vs. Dawaton 389 SCRA 277 , September 17, 2002
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, vs. EDGAR DAWATON, accused.Case
Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Baler, Aurora, Br.
96.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Criminal Procedure|Treachery|Mitigating Circumstances|Voluntary
Surrender|Plea of Guilty
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Treachery; There is treachery when the attack is upon an unconscious victim
who could not have put any defense whatsoever, or a person who was dead drunk and sleeping
on a bench and had no chance to defend himself-
There is treachery when the attack is upon an unconscious victim who could not have put up
any defense whatsoever, or a person who was dead drunk and sleeping on a bench and had no
chance to defend himself. Clearly, the attack was not only sudden but also deliberately adopted
by the accused to ensure its execution without risk to himself.
2. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances; Voluntary Surrender; Elements for voluntary
surrender to be appreciated.-
The following elements must be present for voluntary surrender to be appreciated: (a) the
offender has not been actually arrested; (b) the offender surrendered himself to a person in
authority, and, (c) the surrender must be voluntary.
3. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances; Voluntary Surrender; A surrender to be
voluntary must be spontaneous, showing the intent of the accused to submit himself
unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or because he
wishes to save them the trouble and expense necessarily included in his search and capture;
Voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated where the evidence adduced shows that it was the
authorities who came looking for the accused.-
Resorting to sophistry, the accused argues that he was not arrested but “fetched” as he
voluntarily went with the policemen when they came for him. This attempt at semantics is futile
and absurd. That he did not try to escape or resist arrest after he was taken into custody by the
authorities did not amount to voluntary surrender. A surrender to be voluntary must be
spontaneous, showing the intent of the accused to submit himself unconditionally to the
authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or because he wishes to save them the
trouble and expense necessarily included in his search and capture. It is also settled that
voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated where the evidence adduced shows that it was the
authorities who came looking for the accused.
4. Criminal Law; Mitigating Circumstances; Intoxication of the offender shall be considered
as a mitigating circumstance when the offender commits a felony in a state of intoxication, if the
same is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit the felony.-
Nonetheless, we hold that the trial court erred in not appreciating the alternative circumstance of
intoxication in favor of the accused. Under Art. 15 of The Revised Penal Code, intoxication of
the offender shall be considered as a mitigating circumstance when the offender commits a
felony in a state of intoxication, if the same is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit
said felony. Otherwise, when habitual or intentional, it shall be considered as an aggravating
circumstance.
5. Criminal Procedure; Plea of Guilty; An offer to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense
cannot be considered as an attenuating circumstance under the provisions of Art. 13 of the
Revised Penal Code because to be voluntary the plea of guilty must be to the offense charged.-
The accused argues that trial court erred in imposing the death penalty despite the attendance
of mitigating and alternative circumstances in his favor. He avers that he is entitled to the
mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty. We disagree. While the accused offered to plead guilty

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to the lesser offense of homicide, he was charged with murder for which he had already entered
a plea of not guilty. We have ruled that an offer to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense
cannot be considered as an attenuating circumstance under the provisions of Art. 13 of The
Revised Penal Code because to be voluntary the plea of guilty must be to the offense charged.
6. Criminal Procedure; Plea of Guilty; Consent of the offended party and the prosecutor
required before an accused may be allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense necessarily
included in the offense charged.-
Furthermore, Sec. 2, Rule 116, of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure requires the consent
of the offended party and the prosecutor before an accused may be allowed to plead guilty to a
lesser offense necessarily included in the offense charged. We note that the prosecution
rejected the offer of the accused.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 146247

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the court a quo finding the accused EDGAR
DAWATON guilty of MURDER qualified by treachery is AFFIRMED with the modification that
the penalty is reduced from death to reclusion perpetua. The accused is ordered to pay the
heirs of Leonides Lavares P50,000.00 in civil indemnity and P50,000.00 in moral damages.

1.
People vs. Antonio 335 SCRA 646 , July 14, 2000
Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALBERTO S. ANTONIO,
SPO4 JUANITO N. NIETO and SPO1 HONORIO CARTALLA, JR., accused-appellants.Case
Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Br. 156.
Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Evidence|Witnesses|Justifying Circumstance|Self-
Defense|Mitigating Circumstance|Voluntary Surrender|Aggravating
Circumstance|Treachery|Accessory
Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Evidence; Witnesses; Inconsistencies between the declaration of the affiant
in his sworn statements and those in open court do not necessarily discredit said witness.-
It is a matter of judicial experience that affidavits or statements taken ex parte are generally
considered incomplete and inaccurate. Thus, by nature, they are inferior to testimony given in
court, and whenever there is inconsistency between the affidavit and the testimony of a witness
in court, the testimony commands greater weight. Moreover, inconsistencies between the
declaration of the affiant in his sworn statements and those in open court do not necessarily
discredit said witness. Thus, the trial court followed precedents in giving more credence to SG
Bobis’ testimony given in open court despite his having executed an earlier statement which
was inconsistent with his testimony.
2. Criminal Law; Evidence; Witnesses; The initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer
information about a criminal case and their aversion to be involved in criminal investigations due
to fear of reprisal is not uncommon and this fact has been judicially declared not to adversely
affect the credibility of witnesses.-

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We find no reason to discredit the trial court’s finding that the reasons given by SG Bobis
sufficiently explained the conflicting declarations he made in his two (2) sworn statements and in
his court testimony. Therefore, he cannot be impeached as an eyewitness. This Court also
recognizes that the initial reticence of witnesses to volunteer information about a criminal case
and their aversion to be involved in criminal investigations due to fear of reprisal is not
uncommon, and this fact has been judicially declared not to adversely affect the credibility of
witnesses.
3. Criminal Law; Evidence; Justifying Circumstance; Self-Defense; The rule is that where
an accused admits having killed the victim but invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability,
he assumes the burden of proof to establish his plea of self-defense by clear, credible and con-
vincing evidence; Elements of Self-Defense.-
Well-entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that where an accused admits having killed the
victim but invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, he assumes the burden of proof to
establish his plea Of self-defense by clear, credible and convincing evidence. To successfully
interpose self-defense, appellant Antonio must clearly and convincingly prove: (1) unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim; (2) the reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent or repel the attack; and (3) the person defending himself must not have provoked the
victim into committing the act of aggression.
4. Criminal Law; Evidence; Justifying Circumstance; Self-Defense; For unlawful aggression
to be appreciated there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent damage
thereof and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude.-
Appellant Antonio never said that Tuadles aimed or pointed the gun at him. There is no
evidence, apart from appellant Antonio’s uncorroborated testimony, that Tuadles made an
attempt to shoot him. Hence, there is no convincing proof that there was unlawful aggression on
the part of Tuadles. For unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual,
sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or
intimidating attitude. The burden of proving unlawful aggression lay on appellant Antonio, but he
has not presented incontrovertible proof that would stand careful scrutiny before any court.
Lacking this requirement, appellant Antonio’s claim of self-defense cannot be appreciated. He
cannot even claim it as an extenuating circumstance.
5. Criminal Law; Evidence; Justifying Circumstance; Self-Defense; When he fails to prove
by clear and convincing evidence the positiveness of that justifying circumstance having
admitted the killing, conviction of the accused, is inescapable.-
When an accused invokes self-defense or claims that it was an accident to escape criminal
liability, he admits having caused the death of the victim. And when he fails to prove by clear
and convincing evidence the positiveness of that justifying circumstance, having admitted the
killing, conviction of the accused is inescapable. Appellant Antonio had to rely on the strength of
his evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence for, even if the latter were
weak, his invoking self-defense is already an open admission of responsibility for the killing. As
it was, appellant Antonio’s testimony is not only uncorroborated by independent and competent
evidence, but also doubtful by itself for being ambivalent and self-serving.
6. Criminal Law; Evidence; Mitigating Circumstance; Voluntary Surrender; Elements of.-
Having admitted responsibility for the killing of Tuadles, appellant Antonio claims the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender. On this score, we find merit in his claim considering that all
the elements in order that voluntary surrender may be appreciated were attendant in his case.
First, he had not been actually arrested; Second, he surrendered himself to a person in
authority; and Third, his surrender was voluntary. It is of no moment that appellant Antonio did
not immediately surrender to the authorities, but did so only after the lapse of about six (6)
hours. In the case of People v. Bautista, the voluntary surrender of the accused to a police
authority four (4) days after the commission of the crime was considered attenuating. There is
no dispute that appellant Antonio voluntarily surrendered to the mayor, a person in authority,

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before he was arrested, hence the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender should be
considered in appellant Antonio’s favor.
7. Criminal Law; Evidence; Aggravating Circumstance; Treachery; For treachery to be
appreciable, such means, method or form was deliberated upon or consciously adopted by the
offender; Such deliberate or conscious choice was held non-existent where the attack was the
product of an impulse of the moment.-
It is not enough that the means, methods, or form of execution of the offense was without
danger to the offender arising from the defense or retaliation that might be made by the
offended party. It is further required, for treachery to be appreciable, that such means, method
or form was deliberated upon or consciously adopted by the offender. Such deliberate or
conscious choice was held non-existent where the attack was the product of an impulse of the
moment.
8. Criminal Law; Evidence; Aggravating Circumstance; Treachery; Treachery could not be
appreciated where the victim was forewarned and could have anticipated the aggression of the
accused.-
Thus, treachery could not be appreciated where the victim was forewarned and could have
anticipated the aggression of the accused. Since the sudden shooting of Tuadles was preceded
by a heated verbal altercation between Tuadles and appellant Antonio, as admitted by both
prosecution and defense, then it cannot be concluded that the shooting was committed with
treachery.
9. Criminal Law; Evidence; Aggravating Circumstance; Treachery; Treachery requires that
the mode of attack must have been thought of by the offender and must have sprung from an
unforeseen occurrence.-
It is also clear that appellant Antonio did not set out or plan to kill Tuadles in the first place. His
criminal act was an offshoot of their argument which neither of them had foreseen. Hence, there
was no treachery because treachery requires that the mode of attack must have been thought
of by the offender and must have sprung from an unforeseen occurrence.
10. Criminal Law; Accessory; Definition of.-
The Revised Penal Code in Article 19 defines an accessory as one who has knowledge of the
commission of the crime, yet did not take part in its commission as principal or accomplice, but
took part in it subsequent to its commission by any of three modes: (1) profiting himself or
assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime; (2) concealing or destroying the body
of the crime, or the effects or instruments thereof in order to prevent its discovery; and (3)
harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principals of the crime, provided the
accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or when the offender is guilty of treason,
parricide, murder, or an attempt to take the life of the Chief Executive, or is known to be
habitually guilty of some other crime.
11. Criminal Law; Accessory; Public officer must have acted with abuse of his public
functions, and the crime committed by the principal is any crime, provided it is not a light felony.-
Under paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Revised Penal Code, there are two (2) classes of
accessories, one of which is a public officer who harbors, conceals or assists in the escape of
the principal. Such public officer must have acted with abuse of his public functions, and the
crime committed by the principal is any crime, provided it is not a light felony. Appellant SPO4
Nieto is one such public officer, and he abused his public function when he failed to effect the
immediate arrest of accused Antonio and to conduct a speedy investigation of the crime
committed.
12. Criminal Law