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CASE DIGEST

Case: People vs Yturriaga 86 Phil 534


G. R. No.: L-2816
Date: May 31, 1950
Ponente: TUASON, J.

FACT:
The accused was an appointed Municipal Mayor of Bonbon, Province of Samar by the
President Roxas. On August 3, 1974, the accused raided a house thought to be, at that time,
occupied by gambling individuals. However, when the occupants of the house saw the accused,
everybody fled the said area only to catch a single person by which the accused grabbed by hand.
The deceased then was walking down the same street as the raided house together with his 12
year old daughter. The evidence are disagrees with what actually transpired during this event but
the accused openly admitted into shooting the deceased with a revolver or a pistol treacherously,
as treachery is defined by the Revised Penal Code. It also appears that the deceased, Jose Balite,
was a political rival of the accused.
The accused, during arraignment, pleaded guilty in committing the crime. It appears that
he surrendered voluntarily to the Philippine Constabulary. The court accepted the plea guilty of
the accused and passed on judgement of reclusion perpetua towards the accused. However, the
counsel of the accused was not satisfied of the said decision and moved a motion to set aside
their guilty plea with prayer that "if the said circumstance of voluntary surrender, which is a
matter of record, cannot be taken into consideration, then on behalf of the accused the
undersigned requests that the plea of guilty be set aside and that this case be set for trial at the
first opportunity."
The defense counsel argues that except for the aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation, their client was pleading guilty to the charge. At this point, the prosecution then
asked if the accused was taking advantage of his position as Municipal Mayor to commit the
crime. Before the defense could respond, the court intervened by pointing out that the only
question that needs to be answered was whether the aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation and mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender were present in the
commission of the crime.
The higher court reviewed the presence or absence of mitigating and aggravating
circumstances and the refusal of the lower court to allow him to prove or disprove some of them.
To answer the question of evident premeditation, the court solely decided on the speech of the
accused made on February 1947 which are described as recitation that contains the phrase “I will
kill him because I have also a man whom I confided.” Which the higher court did not take as
evidence of evident premeditation. Thus, dismissing the said evidence as a manifestation of
evident premeditation, the court now only considers the voluntary surrender and admission of
guilt as mitigating circumstances.

In conclusion, with no aggravating circumstances to consider and with two mitigating


circumstances taken in, the higher court modified the decision of the lower court’s sentence from
reclusion perpetua to eight years and one day of prision mayor, as minimum, and 14 years, eight
months and one day of reclusion perpetua, as maximum, and to pay the heirs of the deceased an
indemnity of P6,000, and the costs.

Issue:

Whether or not aggravating circumstances was present in this case or not.

Ruling:

No. The prosecution’s evidence for evident premeditation was solely based on the speech
of the accused on a previous date indicating that he will kill the deceased. However, taking into
consideration that the speech was made 6 months prior to the said crime, it does not necessarily
establish evident premeditation. According to the Revised Penal Code, to establish evident
premeditation, the prosecution must prove:

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 execution, to allow him to
reflect upon the consequences of his act and to allow his conscience to overcome the
resolution of his will.

Thus, in any case, the premeditation must be evident and not merely a suspicion. This is
what the prosecution failed to establish and thus such notion was dismissed. Also, since the
argument of the presence of aggravating circumstance was dismissed, this left the case with only
the mitigating circumstance of the admission of guilt towards the crime and the voluntary
surrender of the accused, the sentence was justly lowered.

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