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CRIM LAW I That on or about May 19, 1982 at the town plaza of the Municipality of Rosario,

Province of Cavite, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
For Articles 1-10 the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping and
assisting one another, with treachery and evident premeditation, taking advantage
Article 3. People v Pugay (Nov. 7, 1988) of their superior strength, and with the decided purpose to kill, poured gasoline, a
combustible liquid to the body of Bayani Miranda and with the use of fire did then
Article 4. Intod v Court of Appeals (CA) (215 SCRA 52) and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, burn the whole body of said Bayani
Miranda which caused his subsequent death, to the damage and prejudice of the
Article 6. People v Velenzuela (June 21, 20117)
heirs of the aforenamed Bayani Miranda.
People v Campuhan (329 SCRA 270)
That the crime was committed with the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the
People v Dominguez (Nov. 24 2010) aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and superior strength, and the
means employed was to weaken the defense; that the wrong done in the
Article 8. People v. Azugue (Feb. 26, 1997) commission of the crime was deliberately augmented by causing another wrong,
that is the burning of the body of Bayani Miranda.

Article 3 People v Pugay (Nov. 7, 1988)


CONTRARY TO LAW (p. 1, Records).
G.R. No. L-74324 November 17, 1988
Upon being arraigned, both accused pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. After
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, trial, the trial court rendered a decision finding both accused guilty on the crime of
murder but crediting in favor of the accused Pugay the mitigating circumstance of
vs. lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong, the dispositive portion of which reads
as follows:
FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA, accused-
appellants. WHEREFORE, the accused Fernando Pugay y Balcita and Benjamin Samson y
Magdalena are pronounced guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals by direct
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
participation of the crime of murder for the death of Bayani Miranda, and
Citizens Legal Assistance Office for accused-appellants. appreciating the aforestated mitigating circumstance in favor of Pugay, he is
sentenced to a prison term ranging from twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as
MEDIALDEA, J.: minimum, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and Samson to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua together with the accessories of the law for
For the death of Bayani Miranda, a retardate, FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA and both of them. The accused are solidarily held liable to indemnify the heirs of the
BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA were charged with the crime of MURDER in victim in the amount of P13,940.00 plus moral damages of P10,000.00 and
Criminal Case No. L-175-82 of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) exemplary damages of P5,000.00.
of Cavite, under an information which reads as follows:
Let the preventive imprisonment of Pugay be deducted from the principal penalty.
Cost against both accused. poured its contents on the body of the former. Gabion told Pugay not to do so while
the latter was already in the process of pouring the gasoline. Then, the accused
Samson set Miranda on fire making a human torch out of him.

SO ORDERED (p. 248, Records). The ferris wheel operator later arrived and doused with water the burning body of
the deceased. Some people around also poured sand on the burning body and
Not satisfied with the decision, both accused interposed the present appeal and others wrapped the same with rags to extinguish the flame.
assigned the following errors committed by the court a quo:
The body of the deceased was still aflame when police officer Rolando Silangcruz
1. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN UTILIZING THE STATEMENTS OF ACCUSED- and other police officers of the Rosario Police Force arrived at the scene of the
APPELLANTS IN ITS APPRECIATION OF FACTS DESPITE ITS ADMISSION THAT THE incident. Upon inquiring as to who were responsible for the dastardly act, the
ACCUSED-APPELLANTS WERE NOT ASSISTED BY A COUNSEL DURING THE CUSTODIAL persons around spontaneously pointed to Pugay and Samson as the authors thereof.
INVESTIGATION.
The deceased was later rushed to the Grace Hospital for treatment. In the
2. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE SUPPRESSION BY THE meantime, the police officers brought Gabion, the two accused and five other
PROSECUTION OF SOME EVIDENCE IS FATAL TO ITS CASE. persons to the Rosario municipal building for interrogation. Police officer Reynaldo
Canlas took the written statements of Gabion and the two accused, after which
3. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN LENDING CREDENCE TO THE INCREDIBLE
Gabion was released. The two accused remained in custody.
TESTIMONY OF EDUARDO GABION WHO WAS ONE OF THE MANY SUSPECTS
ARRESTED BY THE POLICE (Accused-appellants' Brief, p. 48, Rollo). After a careful review of the records, We find the grounds relied upon by the
accused-appellants for the reversal of the decision of the court a quo to be without
merit.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
It bears emphasis that barely a few hours after the incident, accused-appellants
The deceased Miranda, a 25-year old retardate, and the accused Pugay were gave their written statements to the police. The accused Pugay admitted in his
friends. Miranda used to run errands for Pugay and at times they slept together. On statement, Exhibit F, that he poured a can of gasoline on the deceased believing that
the evening of May 19, 1982, a town fiesta fair was held in the public plaza of the contents thereof was water and then the accused Samson set the deceased on
Rosario, Cavite. There were different kinds of ride and one was a ferris wheel. fire. The accused Samson, on the other hand, alleged in his statement that he saw
Pugay pour gasoline on Miranda but did not see the person who set him on fire.
Sometime after midnight of the same date, Eduardo Gabion was sitting in the ferris Worthy of note is the fact that both statements did not impute any participation of
wheel and reading a comic book with his friend Henry. Later, the accused Pugay and eyewitness Gabion in the commission of the offense.
Samson with several companions arrived. These persons appeared to be drunk as
they were all happy and noisy. As the group saw the deceased walking nearby, they While testifying on their defense, the accused-appellants repudiated their written
started making fun of him. They made the deceased dance by tickling him with a statements alleging that they were extracted by force. They claimed that the police
piece of wood. maltreated them into admitting authorship of the crime. They also engaged in a
concerted effort to lay the blame on Gabion for the commission of the offense.
Not content with what they were doing with the deceased, the accused Pugay
suddenly took a can of gasoline from under the engine of the ferns wheel and
Thus, while it is true that the written statements of the accused-appellants were they had no previous misunderstanding with Gabion. Clearly, Gabion had no reason
mentioned and discussed in the decision of the court a quo, the contents thereof to testify falsely against them.
were not utilized as the sole basis for the findings of facts in the decision rendered.
The said court categorically stated that "even without Exhibits 'F' and 'G', there is In support of their claim that the testimony of Gabion to the effect that he saw
still Gabion's straightforward, positive and convincing testimony which remains Pugay pour gasoline on the deceased and then Samson set him on fire is incredible,
unaffected by the uncorroborated, self-serving and unrealiable testimonies of Pugay the accused-appellants quote Gabion's testimony on cross-examination that, after
and Samson" (p. 247, Records). telling Pugay not to pour gasoline on the deceased, he (Gabion) resumed reading
comics; and that it was only when the victim's body was on fire that he noticed a
Accused-appellants next assert that the prosecution suppressed the testimonies of commotion.
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 However, explaining this testimony on re-direct examination, Gabion stated:
eyewitness during the trial of the case. They argue that the deliberate non-
presentation of these persons raises the presumption that their testimonies would Q. Mr. Gabion, you told the Court on cross-examination that you were reading
be adverse to the prosecution. comics when you saw Pugay poured gasoline unto Bayani Miranda and lighted by
Samson. How could you possibly see that incident while you were reading comics?
There is no dispute that there were other persons who witnessed the commission of
the crime. In fact there appears on record (pp. 16-17, Records) the written A. I put down the comics which I am reading and I saw what they were doing.
statements of one Abelardo Reyes and one Monico Alimorong alleging the same
Q. According to you also before Bayani was poured with gasoline and lighted
facts and imputing the respective acts of pouring of gasoline and setting the
and burned later you had a talk with Pugay, is that correct?
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 A. When he was pouring gasoline on Bayani Miranda I was trying to prevent
their testimonies would be merely corroborative, their non-presentation does not him from doing so.
give rise to the presumption that evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if
produced. This presumption does not apply to the suppression of merely Q. We want to clarify. According to you a while ago you had a talk with Pugay
corroborative evidence (U.S. vs. Dinola, 37 Phil. 797).<äre||anº•1àw> Besides, the and as a matter of fact, you told him not to pour gasoline. That is what I want to
matter as to whom to utilize as witness is for the prosecution to decide. know from you, if that is true?

Accused-appellants also attack the credibility of the eyewitness Gabion alleging that A. Yes, sir.
not only was the latter requested by the mother of the deceased to testify for the
prosecution in exchange for his absolution from liability but also because his Q. Aside from Bayani being tickled with a stick on his ass, do you mean to say
testimony that he was reading a comic book during an unusual event is contrary to you come to know that Pugay will pour gasoline unto him?
human behavior and experience.
A. I do not know that would be that incident.
Gabion testified that it was his uncle and not the mother of the deceased who asked
him to testify and state the truth about the incident. The mother of the deceased Q. Why did you as(k) Pugay in the first place not to pour gasoline before he did
likewise testified that she never talked to Gabion and that she saw the latter for the that actually?
first time when the instant case was tried. Besides, the accused Pugay admitted that
A. Because I pity Bayani, sir.
Gabion was his friend and both Pugay and the other accused Samson testified that
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
Q. When you saw Pugay tickling Bayani with a stick on his ass you tried group merely wanted to make fun of the deceased. Hence, the respective criminal
according to you to ask him not to and then later you said you asked not to pour responsibility of Pugay and Samson arising from different acts directed against the
gasoline. Did Pugay tell you he was going to pour gasoline on Bayani? 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
A. I was not told, sir. Phil. 1371).
Q. Did you come to know..... how did you come to know he was going to pour The next question to be determined is the criminal responsibility of the accused
gasoline that is why you prevent him? 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
A. Because he was holding on a container of gasoline. I thought it was water
can contained gasoline. The stinging smell of this flammable liquid could not have
but it was gasoline.
escaped his notice even before pouring the same. Clearly, he failed to exercise all
Q. It is clear that while Pugay was tickling Bayani with a stick on his ass, he later the diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable consequence arising from any act
got hold of a can of gasoline, is that correct? 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
A. Yes, sir. 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
Q. And when he pick up the can of gasoline, was that the time you told him not follows:
to pour gasoline when he merely pick up the can of gasoline.
A man must use common sense and exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his
A. I saw him pouring the gasoline on the body of Joe. 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
Q. So, it is clear when you told Pugay not to pour gasoline he was already in the and for acts which no one would have performed except through culpable abandon.
process of pouring gasoline on the body of Bayani? Otherwise his own person, rights and property, all those of his fellow-beings, would
ever be exposed to all manner of danger and injury.
A. Yes, sir (Tsn, July 30, 1983, pp. 32-33).
The proper penalty that the accused Pugay must suffer is an indeterminate one
It is thus clear that prior to the incident in question, Gabion was reading a comic
ranging from four (4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and
book; that Gabion stopped reading when the group of Pugay started to make fun of
two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum. With respect to the accused
the deceased; that Gabion saw Pugay get the can of gasoline from under the engine
Samson, the Solicitor General in his brief contends that "his conviction of murder, is
of the ferris wheel; that it was while Pugay was in the process of pouring the
proper considering that his act in setting the deceased on fire knowing that gasoline
gasoline on the body of the deceased when Gabion warned him not to do so; and
had just been poured on him is characterized by treachery as the victim was left
that Gabion later saw Samson set the deceased on fire.
completely helpless to defend and protect himself against such an outrage" (p. 57,
However, there is nothing in the records showing that there was previous Rollo). We do not agree.
conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and intention between the two accused-
There is entire absence of proof in the record that the accused Samson had some
appellants immediately before the commission of the crime. There was no animosity
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. Both accused shall be jointly and severally liable for the aforesaid amount plus the
For the circumstance of treachery to exist, the attack must be deliberate and the P10,000.00 as moral damages and P5,000.00 as exemplary damages as found by the
culprit employed means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend court a quo.
directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any
defense which the offended party might make. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed with the modifications above-indicated. Costs
against the accused-appellants.
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 SO ORDERED.
would not have committed the act of setting the latter on fire if it were otherwise.
Giving him the benefit of doubt, it call be conceded that as part of their fun-making Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.
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 DIGESTED
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 PEOPLE VS PUGAY
code provides, inter alia, that criminal liability shall be incurred by any person
committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that GR No. L-74324 November 17, 1988 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-
which he intended. appellee, vs. FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA,
accused-appellants Ponente: Medialdea, J.
As no sufficient evidence appears in the record establishing any qualifying
circumstances, the accused Samson is only guilty of the crime of homicide defined SHORT VERSION:
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 Samson and Pugay were charged with the crime of murder.
to commit so grave a wrong as that committed as there is evidence of a fact from
Samson and Pugay, committed the crime with the qualifying circumstance of
which such conclusion can be drawn. The eyewitness Gabion testified that the
treachery and the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation and superior
accused Pugay and Samson were stunned when they noticed the deceased burning
strength.
(Tsn, June 1, 1983, pp. 16-17).
FACTS:
The proper penalty that the accused Samson must suffer is an indeterminate one
ranging from eight (8) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years of
reclusion temporal, as maximum. May 19, 1982, a town fiesta was held in the public plaza of Rosario, Cavite.
Sometime after midnight, Eduardo Gabion was sitting in the ferris wheel and
The lower court held the accused solidarily liable for P13,940.00, the amount spent reading a comic book.
by Miranda's parents for his hospitalization, wake and interment. The indemnity for
death is P30,000.00. Hence, the indemnity to the heirs of the deceased Miranda is Later, Pugay and Samson with several companions arrived at the scene seemingly
increased to P43,940.00. drunk.
The group saw Bayani Miranda and started making fun of him by tickling him with
a piece of wood.

Pugay suddenly took a can of gasoline and poured its contents on Miranda. Gabion Article 4. Intod v Court of Appeals (CA) (215 SCRA 52)
asked Pugay to stop during the process of pouring the gasoline.
G.R. No. 103119 October 21, 1992
Then Samson set Miranda on fire.
SULPICIO INTOD, petitioner,
ISSUE/HELD: vs.

WON Pugay and Samson are guilty of the crime murder. (NO) HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

RATIO:

There was no evidence found that Pugay and Samson planned to kill Miranda. CAMPOS, JR., J.:
Their meeting was accidental and the accused were merely making fun of the Petitioner, Sulpicio Intod, filed this petition for review of the decision of the Court of
deceased-victim. Appeals affirming into the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XIV,
Oroquieta City, finding him guilty of the crime of attempted murder.
Criminal responsibility of Pugay and Samson are counted as individual acts and
they are held liable only for the acts they committed individually. From the records, we gathered the following facts.

Pugay should have known that what he was pouring on Miranda was gasoline In the morning of February 4, 1979, Sulpicio Intod, Jorge Pangasian, Santos Tubio
and Avelino Daligdig went to Salvador Mandaya's house in Katugasan, Lopez Jaena,
because of its smell. He failed to exercise diligence necessary to avoid the
Misamis Occidental and asked him to go with them to the house of Bernardina
consequences of his actions and exposed Miranda to danger and injury.
Palangpangan. Thereafter, Mandaya and Intod, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig had a
meeting with Aniceto Dumalagan. He told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan
Pugay is guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence.
to be killed because of a land dispute between them and that Mandaya should
accompany the four (4) men, otherwise, he would also be killed.
Samson just wanted to set Miranda’s clothes on fire but this doesn’t relieve him of
criminal liability (Art. 4). At about 10:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day, Petitioner, Mandaya,
Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig, all armed with firearms, arrived at Palangpangan's
Samson is guilty of homicide credited with ordinary mitigating circumstance of no house in K atugasan, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. At the instance of his
intention to commit so grave a wrong. companions, Mandaya pointed the location of Palangpangan's bedroom. Thereafter,
Petitioner, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig fired at said room. It turned out, however,
that Palangpangan was in another City and her home was then occupied by her son-
Gabion testified that accused were stunned when they noticed Miranda burning
in-law and his family. No one was in the room when the accused fired the shots. No . . . it was necessary that the execution of the act has been commenced, that the
one was hit by the gun fire. person conceiving the idea should have set about doing the deed, employing
appropriate means in order that his intent might become a reality, and finally, that
Petitioner and his companions were positively identified by witnesses. One witness the result or end contemplated sh all have been physically possible. So long as these
testified that before the five men left the premises, they shouted: "We will kill you conditions were not present, the law and the courts did not hold him criminally
(the witness) and especially Bernardina Palangpangan and we will come back if (sic) liable.
you were not injured".
This legal doctrine left social interests entirely unprotected. The Revised Penal Code,
After trial, the Regional Trial Court convicted Intod of attempted murder. The court inspired by the Positivist School, recognizes in the offender his formidability, and
(RTC), as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, holding that Petitioner was guilty of now penalizes an act which were it not aimed at something quite impossible or
attempted murder. Petitioner seeks from this Court a modification of the judgment carried out with means which prove inadequate, would constitute a felony against
by holding him liable only for an impossible crime, citing Article 4(2) of the Revised person or against property. The rationale of Article 4(2) is to punish such criminal
Penal Code which provides: tendencies.

Art. 4(2). CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. — Criminal Responsibility shall be incurred: Under this article, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense
against person or property because: (1) the commission of the offense is inherently
xxx xxx xxx impossible of accomplishment: or (2) the means employed is either (a) inadequate
or (b) ineffectual.
By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or
property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on That the offense cannot be produced because the commission of the offense is
account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means. 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 nature
Petitioner contends that, Palangpangan's absence from her room on the night he
one impossible of accomplishment. There must be either impossibility of
and his companions riddled it with bullets made the crime inherently impossible.
accomplishing the intended act in order to qualify the act an impossible crime.
On the other hand, Respondent People of the Philippines argues that the crime was
Legal impossibility occurs where the intended acts, even if completed, would not
not impossible. Instead, the facts were sufficient to constitute an attempt and to
amount to a crime. Thus:
convict Intod for attempted murder. Respondent alleged that there was intent.
Further, in its Comment to the Petition, respondent pointed out that: 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
. . . The crime of murder was not consummated, not because of the inherent
perform the physical act; (3) there is a performance of the intended physical act;
impossibility of its accomplishment (Art. 4(2), Revised Penal Code), but due to a
and (4) the consequence resulting from the intended act does not amount to a
cause or accident other than petitioner's and his accused's own spontaneous
crime.
desistance (Art. 3., Ibid.) Palangpangan did not sleep at her house at that time. Had
it not been for this fact, the crime is possible, not impossible. The impossibility of killing a person already dead falls in this category.
Article 4, paragraph 2 is an innovation of the Revised Penal Code. This seeks to On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances
remedy the void in the Old Penal Code where: 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 It being an accepted truth that defendant deserves punishment by reason of his
another with the intention to steal the latter's wallet and finds the pocket empty. criminal intent, no one can seriously doubt that the protection of the public requires
the punishment to be administered, equally whether in the unseen depths of the
The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he pocket, etc., what was supposed to exist was really present or not. The community
thought his victim would be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said suffers from the mere alarm of crime. Again: Where the thing intended (attempted)
place and thus, the petitioner failed to accomplish his end. as a crime and what is done is a sort to create alarm, in other words, excite
apprehension that the evil; intention will be carried out, the incipient act which the
One American case had facts almost exactly the same as this one. In People vs. Lee law of attempt takes cognizance of is in reason committed.
Kong, the accused, with intent to kill, aimed and fired at the spot where he thought
the police officer would be. It turned out, however, that the latter was in a different In State vs. Mitchell, defendant, with intent to kill, fired at the window of victim's
place. The accused failed to hit him and to achieve his intent. The Court convicted room thinking that the latter was inside. However, at that moment, the victim was
the accused of an attempt to kill. It held that: in another part of the house. The court convicted the accused of attempted murder.
The fact that the officer was not at the spot where the attacking party imagined The aforecited cases are the same cases which have been relied upon by
where he was, and where the bullet pierced the roof, renders it no less an attempt Respondent to make this Court sustain the judgment of attempted murder against
to kill. It is well settled principle of criminal law in this country that where the Petitioner. However, we cannot rely upon these decisions to resolve the issue at
criminal result of an attempt is not accomplished simply because of an obstruction hand. There is a difference between the Philippine and the American laws regarding
in the way of the thing to be operated upon, and these facts are unknown to the the concept and appreciation of impossible crimes.
aggressor at the time, the criminal attempt is committed.
In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code, in Article 4(2), expressly provided for
In the case of Strokes vs. State, where the accused failed to accomplish his intent to impossible crimes and made the punishable. Whereas, in the United States, the
kill the victim because the latter did not pass by the place where he was lying-in Code of Crimes and Criminal Procedure is silent regarding this matter. What it
wait, the court held him liable for attempted murder. The court explained that: provided for were attempts of the crimes enumerated in the said Code.
Furthermore, in said jurisdiction, the impossi bility of committing the offense is
It was no fault of Strokes that the crime was not committed. . . . It only became merely a defense to an attempt charge. In this regard, commentators and the cases
impossible by reason of the extraneous circumstance that Lane did not go that way; generally divide the impossibility defense into two categories: legal versus factual
and further, that he was arrested and prevented from committing the murder. This impossibility. In U.S. vs. Wilson the Court held that:
rule of the law has application only where it is inherently impossible to commit the
crime. It has no application to a case where it becomes impossible for the crime to . . . factual impossibility of the commission of the crime is not a defense. If the crime
be committed, either by outside interference or because of miscalculation as to a could have been committed had the circumstances been as the defendant believed
supposed opportunity to commit the crime which fails to materialize; in short it has them to be, it is no defense that in reality the crime was impossible of commission.
no application to the case when the impossibility grows out of extraneous acts not
within the control of the party. Legal impossibility, on the other hand, is a defense which can be invoked to avoid
criminal liability for an attempt. In U.S. vs. Berrigan, the accused was indicated for
In the case of Clark vs. State, the court held defendant liable for attempted robbery attempting to smuggle letters into and out of prison. The law governing the matter
even if there was nothing to rob. In disposing of the case, the court quoted Mr. made the act criminal if done without knowledge and consent of the warden. In this
Justice Bishop, to wit: case, the offender intended to send a letter without the latter's knowledge and
consent and the act was performed. However, unknown to him, the transmittal was
achieved with the warden's knowledge and consent. The lower court held the To uphold the contention of respondent that the offense was Attempted Murder
accused liable for attempt but the appellate court reversed. It held unacceptable the because the absence of Palangpangan was a supervening cause independent of the
contention of the state that "elimination of impossibility as a defense to a charge of actor's will, will render useless the provision in Article 4, which makes a person
criminal attempt, as suggested by the Model Penal Code and the proposed federal criminally liable for an act "which would be an offense against persons or property,
legislation, is consistent with the overwhelming modern view". In disposing of this were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment . . ." In that case all
contention, the Court held that the federal statutes did not contain such provision, circumstances which prevented the consummation of the offense will be treated as
and thus, following the principle of legality, no person could be criminally liable for an accident independent of the actor's will which is an element of attempted and
an act which was not made criminal by law. Further, it said: frustrated felonies.

Congress has not yet enacted a law that provides that intent plus act plus conduct WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED. the petition is hereby GRANTED, the decision
constitutes the offense of attempt irrespective of legal impossibility until such time of respondent Court of Appeals holding Petitioner guilty of Attempted Murder is
as such legislative changes in the law take place, this court will not fashion a new hereby MODIFIED. We hereby hold Petitioner guilty of an impossible crime as
non-statutory law of criminal attempt. 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
To restate, in the United States, where the offense sought to be committed is Petitioner, this Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arresto
factually impossible or accomplishment, the offender cannot escape criminal mayor, together with the accessory penalties provided by the law, and to pay the
liability. He can be convicted of an attempt to commit the substantive crime where costs.
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 SO ORDERED.
other hand, where the offense is legally impossible of accomplishment, the actor
cannot be held liable for any crime — neither for an attempt not for an impossible Feliciano, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.
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 Narvasa, C.J., is on leave.
charge — that is, attempt.

This is not true in the Philippines. In our jurisdiction, impossible crimes are
DIGESTED
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 CRIMINAL LAW ICASE DIGESTS
distinction between factual or physical impossibility and legal impossibility. Ubi lex
non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. ARTICLE IV: IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES

The factual situation in the case at bar present a physical impossibility which INTOD
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 VS. CA
impossible crime.
Intod wanted to kill Palangpangan because of a land dispute between them.

10:00pm of that same day, Petitioner, together with his accessories, commenced
in performing their planned crime. Mandaya pointed to the room of Palangpangan
and petitioner andcompany fired at the said room.
FACTS:
It turned out that Palangpangan was in another city, no one was in the room when
Ponente: Justice Campos, JR. 1992
the accused fired shots, and no one was hit by the gun fire.
Petitioner:
Filling of the Case:
Sulpicio Intod
Regional Trial Court convicted Intod of Attempted Murder.
Respondent:
The decision of RTC was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Court of Appeals
ISSUES:
Victim:
Intod filed a petition for review of the affirmation made by the Court of Appeals of
Bernardina Palangpangan the decision held by the Regional Trial Court. Petitioner seeks from this court a
modification of judgment by holding him liable only for an impossible crime.
Accessories:
W/N the act committed by Intod and his accomplices constitutes an Impossible
Pangasian Crime.

Tubio RULING:

Intod’s petition was granted, the crime committed by Intod was modified from
Daligdig
Attempted Murder to an Impossible Crime.
Mandaya
Article 4 Section 2 of the Revised Penal Code States
Events:
:Criminal Liability shall be incurred:. By a person committing an act which would be
an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of
Intod, Pangasian, Tubio, and Daligdig went to Mandaya’s house and asked the
its accomplishment, or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual
latter to come with them in killing Palangpangan or else he would also be killed. means.
The case at far constitutes an inherent impossibility to perform the act due to June 21, 2007
factual or physical impossibility, that is, extraneous circumstances unknown to the
actor beyond his control prevent the consummation of the intended crime.
DECISION
Impossible Crime is recognized and punished here in the Philippines, as compared
to, United States, thus, judgment rendered by the US in similar nature with the case TINGA, J.:
at bar should not applied.
This case aims for prime space in the firmament of our criminal law jurisprudence.
Impossible Crimes constitutes a criminal liability, in order to, punish the criminal Petitioner effectively concedes having performed the felonious acts imputed against
intent him, but instead insists that as a result, he should be adjudged guilty of frustrated
theft only, not the felony in its consummated stage of which he was convicted. The
proposition rests on a common theory expounded in two well-known decisions
Article 6. People v Velenzuela (June 21, 20117) rendered decades ago by the Court of Appeals, upholding the existence of frustrated
theft of which the accused in both cases were found guilty. However, the rationale
ARISTOTEL VALENZUELA y G. R. No. 160188
behind the rulings has never been affirmed by this Court.
NATIVIDAD,
As far as can be told, the last time this Court extensively considered whether an
Petitioner, Present: accused was guilty of frustrated or consummated theft was in 1918, in People v.
Adiao. A more cursory treatment of the question was followed in 1929, in People v.
PUNO, C.J., Sobrevilla, and in 1984, in Empelis v. IAC.This petition now gives occasion for us to
finally and fully measure if or how frustrated theft is susceptible to commission
QUISUMBING, under the Revised Penal Code.

SANTIAGO, I. The basic facts are no longer disputed before us. The case stems from an
Information[6] charging petitioner Aristotel Valenzuela (petitioner) and Jovy
- versus - GUTIERREZ, CARPIO, MARTINEZ, CORONA, CARPIO MORALES,
Calderon (Calderon) with the crime of theft. On 19 May 1994, at around 4:30 p.m.,
AZCUNA, TINGA, CHICO-NAZARIO, GARCIA, VELASCO, and
petitioner and Calderon were sighted outside the Super Sale Club, a supermarket
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES NACHURA, JJ. within the ShoeMart (SM) complex along North EDSA, by Lorenzo Lago (Lago), a
security guard who was then manning his post at the open parking area of the
and HON. COURT OF APPEALS, supermarket. Lago saw petitioner, who was wearing an identification card with the
mark Receiving Dispatching Unit (RDU), hauling a push cart with cases of detergent
Respondents.
of the well-known Tide brand. Petitioner unloaded these cases in an open parking
Promulgated: space, where Calderon was waiting. Petitioner then returned inside the
supermarket, and after five (5) minutes, emerged with more cartons of Tide inside the supermarket. It was while they were eating that they heard the gunshot
Ultramatic and again unloaded these boxes to the same area in the open parking fired by Lago, leading them to head out of the building to check what was
space. transpiring. As they were outside, they were suddenly grabbed by a security guard,
thus commencing their detention.. Meanwhile, petitioner testified during trial that
Thereafter, petitioner left the parking area and haled a taxi. He boarded the cab and he and his cousin, a Gregorio Valenzuela, had been at the parking lot, walking beside
directed it towards the parking space where Calderon was waiting. Calderon loaded the nearby BLISS complex and headed to ride a tricycle going to Pag-asa, when they
the cartons of Tide Ultramatic inside the taxi, then boarded the vehicle. All these saw the security guard Lago fire a shot. The gunshot caused him and the other
acts were eyed by Lago, who proceeded to stop the taxi as it was leaving the open people at the scene to start running, at which point he was apprehended by Lago
parking area. When Lago asked petitioner for a receipt of the merchandise and brought to the security office. Petitioner claimed he was detained at the
petitioner and Calderon reacted by fleeing on foot, but Lago fired a warning shot to security office until around 9:00 p.m., at which time he and the others were brought
alert his fellow security guards of the incident. Petitioner and Calderon were to the Baler Police Station. At the station, petitioner denied having stolen the
apprehended at the scene, and the stolen merchandise recovered.[8] The filched cartons of detergent, but he was detained overnight, and eventually brought to the
items seized from the duo were four (4) cases of Tide Ultramatic, one (1) case of prosecutors office where he was charged with theft. During petitioners cross-
Ultra 25 grams, and three (3) additional cases of detergent, the goods with an examination, he admitted that he had been employed as a bundler of GMS
aggregate value of P12,090.00. Marketing, assigned at the supermarket though not at SM.
Petitioner and Calderon were first brought to the SM security office before they In a Decision promulgated on 1 February 2000, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
were transferred on the same day to the Baler Station II of the Philippine National Quezon City, Branch 90, convicted both petitioner and Calderon of the crime of
Police, Quezon City, for investigation. It appears from the police investigation consummated theft. They were sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of two
records that apart from petitioner and Calderon, four (4) other persons were (2) years of prision correccional as minimum to seven (7) years of prision mayor as
apprehended by the security guards at the scene and delivered to police custody at maximum. The RTC found credible the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and
the Baler PNP Station in connection with the incident. However, after the matter established the convictions on the positive identification of the accused as
was referred to the Office of the Quezon City Prosecutor, only petitioner and perpetrators of the crime.
Calderon were charged with theft by the Assistant City Prosecutor, in Informations
prepared on 20 May 1994, the day after the incident. Both accused filed their respective Notices of Appeal, but only petitioner filed a brief
with the Court of Appeals, causing the appellate court to deem Calderons appeal as
After pleading not guilty on arraignment, at the trial, petitioner and Calderon both abandoned and consequently dismissed. Before the Court of Appeals, petitioner
claimed having been innocent bystanders within the vicinity of the Super Sale Club argued that he should only be convicted of frustrated theft since at the time he was
on the afternoon of 19 May 1994 when they were haled by Lago and his fellow apprehended, he was never placed in a position to freely dispose of the articles
security guards after a commotion and brought to the Baler PNP Station. Calderon stolen.[20] However, in its Decision dated 19 June 2003, the Court of Appeals
alleged that on the afternoon of the incident, he was at the Super Sale Club to rejected this contention and affirmed petitioners conviction. Hence the present
withdraw from his ATM account, accompanied by his neighbor, Leoncio Rosulada. As Petition for Review, which expressly seeks that petitioners conviction be modified to
the queue for the ATM was long, Calderon and Rosulada decided to buy snacks only of Frustrated Theft.
Even in his appeal before the Court of Appeals, petitioner effectively conceded both profoundly influence a multitude of routine theft prosecutions, including
his felonious intent and his actual participation in the theft of several cases of commonplace shoplifting. Any scenario that involves the thief having to exit with the
detergent with a total value of P12,090.00 of which he was charged. As such, there stolen property through a supervised egress, such as a supermarket checkout
is no cause for the Court to consider a factual scenario other than that presented by counter or a parking area pay booth, may easily call for the application of Dio and
the prosecution, as affirmed by the RTC and the Court of Appeals. The only question Flores. The fact that lower courts have not hesitated to lay down convictions for
to consider is whether under the given facts, the theft should be deemed as frustrated theft further validates that Dio and Flores and the theories offered
consummated or merely frustrated. therein on frustrated theft have borne some weight in our jurisprudential system.
The time is thus ripe for us to examine whether those theories are correct and
should continue to influence prosecutors and judges in the future.

II. III.
In arguing that he should only be convicted of frustrated theft, petitioner cites two To delve into any extended analysis of Dio and Flores, as well as the specific issues
decisions rendered many years ago by the Court of Appeals: People v. Dio and relative to frustrated theft, it is necessary to first refer to the basic rules on the three
People v. Flores. Both decisions elicit the interest of this Court, as they modified trial stages of crimes under our Revised Penal Code.
court convictions from consummated to frustrated theft and involve a factual milieu
that bears similarity to the present case. Petitioner invoked the same rulings in his Article 6 defines those three stages, namely the consummated, frustrated and
appeal to the Court of Appeals, yet the appellate court did not expressly consider attempted felonies. A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for
the import of the rulings when it affirmed the conviction. its execution and accomplishment are present. It is frustrated when the offender
performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence
It is not necessary to fault the Court of Appeals for giving short shrift to the Dio and but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the
Flores rulings since they have not yet been expressly adopted as precedents by this will of the perpetrator. Finally, it is attempted when the offender commences the
Court. For whatever reasons, the occasion to define or debunk the crime of commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of
frustrated theft has not come to pass before us. Yet despite the silence on our part, execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident
Dio and Flores have attained a level of renown reached by very few other appellate other than his own spontaneous desistance.
court rulings. They are comprehensively discussed in the most popular of our
criminal law annotations,[29] and studied in criminal law classes as textbook Each felony under the Revised Penal Code has a subjective phase, or that portion of
examples of frustrated crimes or even as definitive of frustrated theft. 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
More critically, the factual milieu in those cases is hardly akin to the fanciful prior acts, should result in the consummated crime. After that point has been
scenarios that populate criminal law exams more than they actually occur in real breached, the subjective phase ends and the objective phase begins. It has been
life. Indeed, if we finally say that Dio and Flores are doctrinal, such conclusion could held that if the offender never passes the subjective phase of the offense, the crime
is merely attempted. On the other hand, the subjective phase is completely passed constitute the crime. For a crime to exist in our legal law, it is not enough that mens
in case of frustrated crimes, for in such instances, [s]ubjectively the crime is rea be shown; there must also be an actus reus.
complete.
It is from the actus reus and the mens rea, as they find expression in the criminal
Truly, an easy distinction lies between consummated and frustrated felonies on one statute, that the felony is produced. As a postulate in the craftsmanship of
hand, and attempted felonies on the other. So long as the offender fails to complete constitutionally sound laws, it is extremely preferable that the language of the law
all the acts of execution despite commencing the commission of a felony, the crime expressly provide when the felony is produced. Without such provision, disputes
is undoubtedly in the attempted stage. Since the specific acts of execution that would inevitably ensue on the elemental question whether or not a crime was
define each crime under the Revised Penal Code are generally enumerated in the committed, thereby presaging the undesirable and legally dubious set-up under
code itself, the task of ascertaining whether a crime is attempted only would need which the judiciary is assigned the legislative role of defining crimes. Fortunately,
to compare the acts actually performed by the accused as against the acts that our Revised Penal Code does not suffer from such infirmity. From the statutory
constitute the felony under the Revised Penal Code. definition of any felony, a decisive passage or term is embedded which attests when
the felony is produced by the acts of execution. For example, the statutory
In contrast, the determination of whether a crime is frustrated or consummated definition of murder or homicide expressly uses the phrase shall kill another, thus
necessitates an initial concession that all of the acts of execution have been making it clear that the felony is produced by the death of the victim, and
performed by the offender. The critical distinction instead is whether the felony conversely, it is not produced if the victim survives.
itself was actually produced by the acts of execution. The determination of whether
the felony was produced after all the acts of execution had been performed hinges We next turn to the statutory definition of theft. Under Article 308 of the Revised
on the particular statutory definition of the felony. It is the statutory definition that Penal Code, its elements are spelled out as follows:
generally furnishes the elements of each crime under the Revised Penal Code, while
the elements in turn unravel the particular requisite acts of execution and Art. 308. Who are liable for theft. Theft is committed by any person who, with intent
accompanying criminal intent. to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon
things, shall take personal property of another without the latters consent.
The long-standing Latin maxim actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea supplies an
important characteristic of a crime, that ordinarily, evil intent must unite with an Theft is likewise committed by:
unlawful act for there to be a crime, and accordingly, there can be no crime when
1. Any person who, having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to the
the criminal mind is wanting. Accepted in this jurisdiction as material in crimes mala
local authorities or to its owner;
in se, mens rea has been defined before as a guilty mind, a guilty or wrongful
purpose or criminal intent, and essential for criminal liability. It follows that the 2. Any person who, after having maliciously damaged the property of another, shall
statutory definition of our mala in se crimes must be able to supply what the mens remove or make use of the fruits or object of the damage caused by him; and
rea of the crime is, and indeed the U.S. Supreme Court has comfortably held that a
criminal law that contains no mens rea requirement infringes on constitutionally
protected rights. The criminal statute must also provide for the overt acts that
3. Any person who shall enter an inclosed estate or a field where trespass is In Spanish law, animo lucrandi was compounded with apoderamiento, or unlawful
forbidden or which belongs to another and without the consent of its owner, shall taking, to characterize theft. Justice Regalado notes that the concept of
hunt or fish upon the same or shall gather cereals, or other forest or farm products. apoderamiento once had a controversial interpretation and application. Spanish law
had already discounted the belief that mere physical taking was constitutive of
Article 308 provides for a general definition of theft, and three alternative and highly apoderamiento, finding that it had to be coupled with the intent to appropriate the
idiosyncratic means by which theft may be committed. In the present discussion, we object in order to constitute apoderamiento; and to appropriate means to deprive
need to concern ourselves only with the general definition since it was under it that the lawful owner of the thing.[47] However, a conflicting line of cases decided by
the prosecution of the accused was undertaken and sustained. On the face of the the Court of Appeals ruled, alternatively, that there must be permanency in the
definition, there is only one operative act of execution by the actor involved in theft taking[48] or an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the stolen
─ the taking of personal property of another. It is also clear from the provision that property;[49] or that there was no need for permanency in the taking or in its
in order that such taking may be qualified as theft, there must further be present intent, as the mere temporary possession by the offender or disturbance of the
the descriptive circumstances that the taking was with intent to gain; without force proprietary rights of the owner already constituted apoderamiento.[50] Ultimately,
upon things or violence against or intimidation of persons; and it was without the as Justice Regalado notes, the Court adopted the latter thought that there was no
consent of the owner of the property. need of an intent to permanently deprive the owner of his property to constitute an
unlawful taking.
Indeed, we have long recognized the following elements of theft as provided for in
Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code, namely: (1) that there be taking of personal So long as the descriptive circumstances that qualify the taking are present,
property; (2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with including animo lucrandi and apoderamiento, the completion of the operative act
intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that is the taking of personal property of another establishes, at least, that the
that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation transgression went beyond the attempted stage. As applied to the present case, the
of persons or force upon things moment petitioner obtained physical possession of the cases of detergent and
loaded them in the pushcart, such seizure motivated by intent to gain, completed
In his commentaries, Judge Guevarra traces the history of the definition of theft,
without need to inflict violence or intimidation against persons nor force upon
which under early Roman law as defined by Gaius, was so broad enough as to
things, and accomplished without the consent of the SM Super Sales Club, petitioner
encompass any kind of physical handling of property belonging to another against
forfeited the extenuating benefit a conviction for only attempted theft would have
the will of the owner, a definition similar to that by Paulus that a thief handles
afforded him.
(touches, moves) the property of another.[44] However, with the Institutes of
Justinian, the idea had taken hold that more than mere physical handling, there On the critical question of whether it was consummated or frustrated theft, we are
must further be an intent of acquiring gain from the object, thus: [f]urtum est obliged to apply Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code to ascertain the answer.
contrectatio rei fraudulosa, lucri faciendi causa vel ipsius rei, vel etiam usus ejus Following that provision, the theft would have been frustrated only, once the acts
possessinisve. This requirement of animo lucrandi, or intent to gain, was maintained committed by petitioner, if ordinarily sufficient to produce theft as a consequence,
in both the Spanish and Filipino penal laws, even as it has since been abandoned in do not produce [such theft] by reason of causes independent of the will of the
Great Britain. perpetrator. There are clearly two determinative factors to consider: that the felony
is not produced, and that such failure is due to causes independent of the will of the Defendant picked the pocket of the offended party while the latter was hearing
perpetrator. The second factor ultimately depends on the evidence at hand in each mass in a church. The latter on account of the solemnity of the act, although
particular case. The first, however, relies primarily on a doctrinal definition attaching noticing the theft, did not do anything to prevent it. Subsequently, however, while
to the individual felonies in the Revised Penal Code as to when a particular felony is the defendant was still inside the church, the offended party got back the money
not produced, despite the commission of all the acts of execution. from the defendant. The court said that the defendant had performed all the acts of
execution and considered the theft as consummated. (Decision of the Supreme
So, in order to ascertain whether the theft is consummated or frustrated, it is Court of Spain, December 1, 1897.)
necessary to inquire as to how exactly is the felony of theft produced. Parsing
through the statutory definition of theft under Article 308, there is one apparent The defendant penetrated into a room of a certain house and by means of a key
answer provided in the language of the law that theft is already produced upon the opened up a case, and from the case took a small box, which was also opened with a
tak[ing of] personal property of another without the latters consent. key, from which in turn he took a purse containing 461 reales and 20 centimos, and
then he placed the money over the cover of the case; just at this moment he was
U.S. v. Adiao apparently supports that notion. Therein, a customs inspector was caught by two guards who were stationed in another room near-by. The court
charged with theft after he abstracted a leather belt from the baggage of a foreign considered this as consummated robbery, and said: "[x x x] The accused [x x x]
national and secreted the item in his desk at the Custom House. At no time was the having materially taken possession of the money from the moment he took it from
accused able to get the merchandise out of the Custom House, and it appears that he the place where it had been, and having taken it with his hands with intent to
was under observation during the entire transaction. Based apparently on those two appropriate the same, he executed all the acts necessary to constitute the crime
circumstances, the trial court had found him guilty, instead, of frustrated theft. The which was thereby produced; only the act of making use of the thing having been
Court reversed, saying that neither circumstance was decisive, and holding instead frustrated, which, however, does not go to make the elements of the consummated
that the accused was guilty of consummated theft, finding that all the elements of crime." (Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain, June 13, 1882.)
the completed crime of theft are present.In support of its conclusion that the theft
was consummated, the Court cited three (3) decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain, It is clear from the facts of Adiao itself, and the three (3) Spanish decisions cited
the discussion of which we replicate below: therein, that the criminal actors in all these cases had been able to obtain full
possession of the personal property prior to their apprehension. The interval
The defendant was charged with the theft of some fruit from the land of another. As between the commission of the acts of theft and the apprehension of the thieves
he was in the act of taking the fruit[,] he was seen by a policeman, yet it did not did vary, from sometime later in the 1898 decision; to the very moment the thief
appear that he was at th at moment caught by the policeman but sometime later. had just extracted the money in a purse which had been stored as it was in the 1882
The court said: "[x x x] The trial court did not err [x x x ] in considering the crime as decision; and before the thief had been able to spirit the item stolen from the
that of consummated theft instead of frustrated theft inasmuch as nothing appears building where the theft took place, as had happened in Adiao and the 1897
in the record showing that the policemen who saw the accused take the fruit from decision. Still, such intervals proved of no consequence in those cases, as it was
the adjoining land arrested him in the act and thus prevented him from taking full ruled that the thefts in each of those cases was consummated by the actual
possession of the thing stolen and even its utilization by him for an interval of time." possession of the property belonging to another.
(Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain, October 14, 1898.)
In 1929, the Court was again confronted by a claim that an accused was guilty only he had been stopped by four men who had loaded the boxes with the agreement
of frustrated rather than consummated theft. The case is People v. Sobrevilla, where that they were to meet him and retrieve the rifles after he had passed the
the accused, while in the midst of a crowd in a public market, was already able to checkpoint. The trial court convicted accused of consummated theft, but the Court
abstract a pocketbook from the trousers of the victim when the latter, perceiving of Appeals modified the conviction, holding instead that only frustrated theft had
the theft, caught hold of the [accused]s shirt-front, at the same time shouting for a been committed.
policeman; after a struggle, he recovered his pocket-book and let go of the
defendant, who was afterwards caught by a policeman. In rejecting the contention
that only frustrated theft was established, the Court simply said, without further
comment or elaboration:

In doing so, the appellate court pointed out that the evident intent of the accused
We believe that such a contention is groundless. The [accused] succeeded in taking
was to let the boxes of rifles pass through the checkpoint, perhaps in the belief that
the pocket-book, and that determines the crime of theft. If the pocket-book was
as the truck had already unloaded its cargo inside the depot, it would be allowed to
afterwards recovered, such recovery does not affect the [accuseds] criminal liability,
pass through the check point without further investigation or checking.[60] This
which arose from the [accused] having succeeded in taking the pocket-book
point was deemed material and indicative that the theft had not been fully
If anything, Sobrevilla is consistent with Adiao and the Spanish Supreme Court cases produced, for the Court of Appeals pronounced that the fact determinative of
cited in the latter, in that the fact that the offender was able to succeed in obtaining consummation is the ability of the thief to dispose freely of the articles stolen, even
physical possession of the stolen item, no matter how momentary, was able to if it were more or less momentary.[61] Support for this proposition was drawn from
consummate the theft. a decision of the Supreme Court of Spain dated 24 January 1888 (1888 decision),
which was quoted as follows:
Adiao, Sobrevilla and the Spanish Supreme Court decisions cited therein contradict
the position of petitioner in this case. Yet to simply affirm without further comment Considerando que para que el apoderamiento de la cosa sustraida sea determinate
would be disingenuous, as there is another school of thought on when theft is de la consumacion del delito de hurto es preciso que so haga en circunstancias tales
consummated, as reflected in the Dio and Flores decisions. que permitan al sustractor la libre disposicion de aquella, siquiera sea mas o menos
momentaneamente, pues de otra suerte, dado el concepto del delito de hurto, no
Dio was decided by the Court of Appeals in 1949, some 31 years after Adiao and 15 puede decirse en realidad que se haya producido en toda su extension, sin
years before Flores. The accused therein, a driver employed by the United States materializar demasiado el acto de tomar la cosa ajena.
Army, had driven his truck into the port area of the South Harbor, to unload a
truckload of materials to waiting U.S. Army personnel. After he had finished Integrating these considerations, the Court of Appeals then concluded:
unloading, accused drove away his truck from the Port, but as he was approaching a
This court is of the opinion that in the case at bar, in order to make the booty
checkpoint of the Military Police, he was stopped by an M.P. who inspected the
subject to the control and disposal of the culprits, the articles stolen must first be
truck and found therein three boxes of army rifles. The accused later contended that
passed through the M.P. check point, but since the offense was opportunely appellate court noted that [o]bviously, while the truck and the van were still within
discovered and the articles seized after all the acts of execution had been the compound, the petitioner could not have disposed of the goods at once. At the
performed, but before the loot came under the final control and disposal of the same time, the Court of Appeals conceded that [t]his is entirely different from the
looters, the offense can not be said to have been fully consummated, as it was case where a much less bulk and more common thing as money was the object of
frustrated by the timely intervention of the guard. The offense committed, the crime, where freedom to dispose of or make use of it is palpably less
therefore, is that of frustrated theft. restricted,[67] though no further qualification was offered what the effect would
have been had that alternative circumstance been present instead.
Dio thus laid down the theory that the ability of the actor to freely dispose of the
items stolen at the time of apprehension is determinative as to whether the theft is
consummated or frustrated. This theory was applied again by the Court of Appeals
some 15 years later, in Flores, a case which according to the division of the court
that decided it, bore no substantial variance between the circumstances [herein]
Synthesis of the Dio and Flores rulings is in order. The determinative characteristic
and in [Dio].[64] Such conclusion is borne out by the facts in Flores. The accused
as to whether the crime of theft was produced is the ability of the actor to freely
therein, a checker employed by the Luzon Stevedoring Company, issued a delivery
dispose of the articles stolen, even if it were only momentary. Such conclusion was
receipt for one empty sea van to the truck driver who had loaded the purportedly
drawn from an 1888 decision of the Supreme Court of Spain which had pronounced
empty sea van onto his truck at the terminal of the stevedoring company. The truck
that in determining whether theft had been consummated, es preciso que so haga
driver proceeded to show the delivery receipt to the guard on duty at the gate of
en circunstancias tales que permitan al sustractor de aquella, siquiera sea mas o
the terminal. However, the guards insisted on inspecting the van, and discovered
menos momentaneamente. The qualifier siquiera sea mas o menos
that the empty sea van had actually contained other merchandise as well.[65] The
momentaneamente proves another important consideration, as it implies that if the
accused was prosecuted for theft qualified by abuse of confidence, and found
actor was in a capacity to freely dispose of the stolen items before apprehension,
himself convicted of the consummated crime. Before the Court of Appeals, accused
then the theft could be deemed consummated. Such circumstance was not present
argued in the alternative that he was guilty only of attempted theft, but the
in either Dio or Flores, as the stolen items in both cases were retrieved from the
appellate court pointed out that there was no intervening act of spontaneous
actor before they could be physically extracted from the guarded compounds from
desistance on the part of the accused that literally frustrated the theft. However,
which the items were filched. However, as implied in Flores, the character of the
the Court of Appeals, explicitly relying on Dio, did find that the accused was guilty
item stolen could lead to a different conclusion as to whether there could have been
only of frustrated, and not consummated, theft.
free disposition, as in the case where the chattel involved was of much less bulk and
As noted earlier, the appellate court admitted it found no substantial variance more common x x x, [such] as money x x x.
between Dio and Flores then before it. The prosecution in Flores had sought to
In his commentaries, Chief Justice Aquino makes the following pointed observation
distinguish that case from Dio, citing a traditional ruling which unfortunately was not
on the import of the Dio ruling:
identified in the decision itself. However, the Court of Appeals pointed out that the
said traditional ruling was qualified by the words is placed in a situation where [the There is a ruling of the Court of Appeals that theft is consummated when the thief is
actor] could dispose of its contents at once.[66] Pouncing on this qualification, the able to freely dispose of the stolen articles even if it were more or less momentary.
Or as stated in another case, theft is consummated upon the voluntary and that was frustrated, which does not constitute any element of theft, is the use or
malicious taking of property belonging to another which is realized by the material benefit that the thieves expected from the commission of the offense.
occupation of the thing whereby the thief places it under his control and in such a
situation that he could dispose of it at once. This ruling seems to have been based In pointing out the distinction between Dio and Espiritu, Reyes wryly observes that
on Viadas opinion that in order the theft may be consummated, es preciso que se [w]hen the meaning of an element of a felony is controversial, there is bound to
haga en circumstancias x x x arise different rulings as to the stage of execution of that felony.[77] Indeed, we can
discern from this survey of jurisprudence that the state of the law insofar as
frustrated theft is concerned is muddled. It fact, given the disputed foundational
basis of the concept of frustrated theft itself, the question can even be asked
whether there is really such a crime in the first place.

In the same commentaries, Chief Justice Aquino, concluding from Adiao and other
cases, also states that [i]n theft or robbery the crime is consummated after the
accused had material possession of the thing with intent to appropriate the same, IV.
although his act of making use of the thing was frustrated.
The Court in 1984 did finally rule directly that an accused was guilty of frustrated,
There are at least two other Court of Appeals rulings that are at seeming variance and not consummated, theft. As we undertake this inquiry, we have to reckon with
with the Dio and Flores rulings. People v. Batoon involved an accused who filled a the import of this Courts 1984 decision in Empelis v. IAC.[78]
container with gasoline from a petrol pump within view of a police detective, who
followed the accused onto a passenger truck where the arrest was made. While the As narrated in Empelis, the owner of a coconut plantation had espied four (4)
trial court found the accused guilty of frustrated qualified theft, the Court of Appeals persons in the premises of his plantation, in the act of gathering and tying some
held that the accused was guilty of consummated qualified theft, finding that [t]he coconuts. The accused were surprised by the owner within the plantation as they
facts of the cases of U.S. [v.] Adiao x x x and U.S. v. Sobrevilla x x x indicate that were carrying with them the coconuts they had gathered. The accused fled the
actual taking with intent to gain is enough to consummate the crime of theft. scene, dropping the coconuts they had seized, and were subsequently arrested after
the owner reported the incident to the police. After trial, the accused were
In People v. Espiritu, the accused had removed nine pieces of hospital linen from a convicted of qualified theft, and the issue they raised on appeal was that they were
supply depot and loaded them onto a truck. However, as the truck passed through guilty only of simple theft. The Court affirmed that the theft was qualified, following
the checkpoint, the stolen items were discovered by the Military Police running the Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code,[79] but further held that the accused were
checkpoint. Even though those facts clearly admit to similarity with those in Dio, the guilty only of frustrated qualified theft.
Court of Appeals held that the accused were guilty of consummated theft, as the
accused were able to take or get hold of the hospital linen and that the only thing It does not appear from the Empelis decision that the issue of whether the theft was
consummated or frustrated was raised by any of the parties. What does appear,
though, is that the disposition of that issue was contained in only two sentences, that it is the product of the considered evaluation of the relevant legal or
which we reproduce in full: jurisprudential thought. Instead, the passage is offered as if it were sourced from an
indubitable legal premise so settled it required no further explication.
However, the crime committed is only frustrated qualified theft because petitioners
were not able to perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the Notably, Empelis has not since been reaffirmed by the Court, or even cited as
felony as a consequence. They were not able to carry the coconuts away from the authority on theft. Indeed, we cannot see how Empelis can contribute to our
plantation due to the timely arrival of the owner. present debate, except for the bare fact that it proves that the Court had once
deliberately found an accused guilty of frustrated theft. Even if Empelis were
No legal reference or citation was offered for this averment, whether Dio, Flores or considered as a precedent for frustrated theft, its doctrinal value is extremely
the Spanish authorities who may have bolstered the conclusion. There are indeed compromised by the erroneous legal premises that inform it, and also by the fact
evident problems with this formulation in Empelis. that it has not been entrenched by subsequent reliance.

Empelis held that the crime was only frustrated because the actors were not able to Thus, Empelis does not compel us that it is an insurmountable given that frustrated
perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the felon as a theft is viable in this jurisdiction. Considering the flawed reasoning behind its
consequence.[81] However, per Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, the crime is conclusion of frustrated theft, it cannot present any efficacious argument to
frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution, though not persuade us in this case. Insofar as Empelis may imply that convictions for frustrated
producing the felony as a result. If the offender was not able to perform all the acts theft are beyond cavil in this jurisdiction, that decision is subject to reassessment
of execution, the crime is attempted, provided that the non-performance was by
reason of some cause or accident other than spontaneous desistance. Empelis V.
concludes that the crime was
At the time our Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1930, the 1870 Codigo Penal de
frustrated because not all of the acts of execution were performed due to the timely Espaa was then in place. The definition of the crime of theft, as provided then, read
arrival of the owner. However, following Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, these as follows:
facts should elicit the conclusion that the crime was only attempted, especially given
that the acts were not performed because of the timely arrival of the owner, and Son reos de hurto
not because of spontaneous desistance by the offenders.
1. Los que con nimo de lucrarse, y sin volencia o intimidacin en las personas ni
For these reasons, we cannot attribute weight to Empelis as we consider the present fuerza en las cosas, toman las cosas muebles ajenas sin la voluntad de su dueo.
petition. Even if the two sentences we had cited actually aligned with the definitions
2. Los que encontrndose una cosa perdida y sabiendo quin es su dueo se la
provided in Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, such passage bears no reflection
apropriaren co intencin de lucro.
3. Los daadores que sustrajeren o utilizaren los frutos u objeto del dao causado, Hay frustracin cuando los reos fueron sorprendidos por las guardias cuando llevaban
salvo los casos previstos en los artίculos 606, nm. 1.0; 607, nms, 1.0, 2.0 y 3.0; 608, los sacos de harino del carro que los conducia a otro que tenan preparado, 22
nm. 1.0; 611; 613; Segundo prrafo del 617 y 618 febrero 1913; cuando el resultado no tuvo efecto por la intervencin de la policia
situada en el local donde se realiz la sustraccin que impidi pudieran los reos
It was under the ambit of the 1870 Codigo Penal that the aforecited Spanish disponer de lo sustrado, 30 de octubre 1950. Hay "por lo menos" frustracin, si existe
Supreme Court decisions were handed down. However, the said code would be apoderamiento, pero el culpale no llega a disponer de la cosa, 12 abril 1930; hay
revised again in 1932, and several times thereafter. In fact, under the Codigo Penal frustracin "muy prxima" cuando el culpable es detenido por el perjudicado acto
Espaol de 1995, the crime of theft is now simply defined as [e]l que, con nimo de seguido de cometer la sustraccin, 28 febrero 1931. Algunos fallos han considerado la
lucro, tomare las cosas muebles ajenas sin la voluntad de su dueo ser castigado[82] existencia de frustracin cuando, perseguido el culpable o sorprendido en el
momento de llevar los efectos hurtados, los abandona, 29 mayo 1889, 22 febrero
Notice that in the 1870 and 1995 definition of theft in the penal code of Spain, la libre
1913, 11 marzo 1921; esta doctrina no es admissible, stos, conforme a lo antes
disposicion of the property is not an element or a statutory characteristic of the
expuesto, son hurtos consumados.[86]
crime. It does appear that the principle originated and perhaps was fostered in the
realm of Spanish jurisprudence.

The oft-cited Salvador Viada adopted a question-answer form in his 1926 Ultimately, Cuello Caln attacked the very idea that frustrated theft is actually
commentaries on the 1870 Codigo Penal de Espaa. Therein, he raised at least three possible:
questions for the reader whether the crime of frustrated or consummated theft had
occurred. The passage cited in Dio was actually utilized by Viada to answer the La doctrina hoy generalmente sustentada considera que el hurto se consuma
question whether frustrated or consummated theft was committed [e]l que en el cuando la cosa queda de hecho a la disposicin del agente. Con este criterio coincide
momento mismo de apoderarse de la cosa ajena, vindose sorprendido, la arroja al la doctrina sentada ltimamente porla jurisprudencia espaola que generalmente
suelo.[83] Even as the answer was as stated in Dio, and was indeed derived from the considera consumado el hurto cuando el culpable coge o aprehende la cosa y sta
1888 decision of the Supreme Court of Spain, that decisions factual predicate quede por tiempo ms o menos duradero bajo su poder. El hecho de que ste pueda
occasioning the statement was apparently very different from Dio, for it appears aprovecharse o no de lo hurtado es indiferente. El delito no pierde su carcter de
that the 1888 decision involved an accused who was surprised by the employees of consumado aunque la cosa hurtada sea devuelta por el culpable o fuere recuperada.
a haberdashery as he was abstracting a layer of clothing off a mannequin, and who No se concibe la frustracin, pues es muy dificil que el que hace cuanto es necesario
then proceeded to throw away the garment as he fled. para la consumacin del hurto no lo consume efectivamente, los raros casos que
nuestra jurisprudencia, muy vacilante, declara hurtos frustrados son verdaderos
Nonetheless, Viada does not contest the notion of frustrated theft, and willingly delitos consumados.[87] (Emphasis supplied)
recites decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain that have held to that effect.[85] A
few decades later, the esteemed Eugenio Cuello Caln pointed out the inconsistent Cuello Calns submissions cannot be lightly ignored. Unlike Viada, who was content
application by the Spanish Supreme Court with respect to frustrated theft. with replicating the Spanish Supreme Court decisions on the matter, Cuello Caln
actually set forth his own thought that questioned whether theft could truly be
frustrated, since pues es muy dificil que el que hace cuanto es necesario para la Judicial interpretation of penal laws should be aligned with what was the evident
consumacin del hurto no lo consume efectivamente. Otherwise put, it would be legislative intent, as expressed primarily in the language of the law as it defines the
difficult to foresee how the execution of all the acts necessary for the completion of crime. It is Congress, not the courts, which is to define a crime, and ordain its
the crime would not produce the effect of theft. punishment.[88] The courts cannot arrogate the power to introduce a new element
of a crime which was unintended by the legislature, or redefine a crime in a manner
This divergence of opinion convinces us, at least, that there is no weighted force in that does not hew to the statutory language. Due respect for the prerogative of
scholarly thought that obliges us to accept frustrated theft, as proposed in Dio and Congress in defining crimes/felonies constrains the Court to refrain from a broad
Flores. A final ruling by the Court that there is no crime of frustrated theft in this interpretation of penal laws where a narrow interpretation is appropriate. The
jurisdiction will not lead to scholastic pariah, for such a submission is hardly Court must take heed of language, legislative history and purpose, in order to strictly
heretical in light of Cuello Calns position. determine the wrath and breath of the conduct the law forbids.[89]

Accordingly, it would not be intellectually disingenuous for the Court to look at the With that in mind, a problem clearly emerges with the Dio/Flores dictum. The ability
question from a fresh perspective, as we are not bound by the opinions of the of the offender to freely dispose of the property stolen is not a constitutive element
respected Spanish commentators, conflicting as they are, to accept that theft is of the crime of theft. It finds no support or extension in Article 308, whether as a
capable of commission in its frustrated stage. Further, if we ask the question descriptive or operative element of theft or as the mens rea or actus reus of the
whether there is a mandate of statute or precedent that must compel us to adopt felony. To restate what this Court has repeatedly held: the elements of the crime of
the Dio and Flores doctrines, the answer has to be in the negative. If we did so, it theft as provided for in Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code are: (1) that there be
would arise not out of obeisance to an inexorably higher command, but from the taking of personal property; (2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the
exercise of the function of statutory interpretation that comes as part and parcel of taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent
judicial review, and a function that allows breathing room for a variety of theorems of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence
in competition until one is ultimately adopted by this Court. against or intimidation of persons or force upon things.[90]

V. Such factor runs immaterial to the statutory definition of theft, which is the taking,
with intent to gain, of personal property of another without the latters consent.
The foremost predicate that guides us as we explore the matter is that it lies in the
While the Dio/Flores dictum is considerate to the mindset of the offender, the
province of the legislature, through statute, to define what constitutes a particular
statutory definition of theft considers only the perspective of intent to gain on the
crime in this jurisdiction. It is the legislature, as representatives of the sovereign
part of the offender, compounded by the deprivation of property on the part of the
people, which determines which acts or combination of acts are criminal in nature.
victim.
For the purpose of ascertaining whether theft is susceptible of commission in the x x x [T]he most fundamental notion in the crime of theft is the taking of the thing to
frustrated stage, the question is again, when is the crime of theft produced? There be appropriated into the physical power of the thief, which idea is qualified by other
would be all but certain unanimity in the position that theft is produced when there conditions, such as that the taking must be effected animo lucrandi and without the
is deprivation of personal property due to its taking by one with intent to gain. consent of the owner; and it will be here noted that the definition does not require
Viewed from that perspective, it is immaterial to the product of the felony that the that the taking should be effected against the will of the owner but merely that it
offender, once having committed all the acts of execution for theft, is able or unable should be without his consent, a distinction of no slight importance.[94]
to freely dispose of the property stolen since the deprivation from the owner alone
has already ensued from such acts of execution. This conclusion is reflected in Chief Insofar as we consider the present question, unlawful taking is most material in this
Justice Aquinos commentaries, as earlier cited, that [i]n theft or robbery the crime is respect. Unlawful taking, which is the deprivation of ones personal property, is the
consummated after the accused had material possession of the thing with intent to element which produces the felony in its consummated stage. At the same time,
appropriate the same, although his act of making use of the thing was without unlawful taking as an act of execution, the offense could only be attempted
frustrated.[91] theft, if at all.

It might be argued, that the ability of the offender to freely dispose of the property With these considerations, we can only conclude that under Article 308 of the
stolen delves into the concept of taking itself, in that there could be no true taking Revised Penal Code, theft cannot have a frustrated stage. Theft can only be
until the actor obtains such degree of control over the stolen item. But even if this attempted or consummated.
were correct, the effect would be to downgrade the crime to its attempted, and not
Neither Dio nor Flores can convince us otherwise. Both fail to consider that once the
frustrated stage, for it would mean that not all the acts of execution have not been
offenders therein obtained possession over the stolen items, the effect of the felony
completed, the taking not having been accomplished. Perhaps this point could serve
has been produced as there has been deprivation of property. The presumed
as fertile ground for future discussion, but our concern now is whether there is
inability of the offenders to freely dispose of the stolen property does not negate
indeed a crime of frustrated theft, and such consideration proves ultimately
the fact that the owners have already been deprived of their right to possession
immaterial to that question. Moreover, such issue will not apply to the facts of this
upon the completion of the taking.
particular case. We are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the taking by the
petitioner was completed in this case. With intent to gain, he acquired physical Moreover, as is evident in this case, the adoption of the rule that the inability of the
possession of the stolen cases of detergent for a considerable period of time that he offender to freely dispose of the stolen property frustrates the theft would
was able to drop these off at a spot in the parking lot, and long enough to load these introduce a convenient defense for the accused which does not reflect any
onto a taxicab. legislated intent,[95] since the Court would have carved a viable means for
offenders to seek a mitigated penalty under applied circumstances that do not
Indeed, we have, after all, held that unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is deemed
admit of easy classification. It is difficult to formulate definite standards as to when
complete from the moment the offender gains possession of the thing, even if he
a stolen item is susceptible to free disposal by the thief. Would this depend on the
has no opportunity to dispose of the same.[92] And long ago, we asserted in People
psychological belief of the offender at the time of the commission of the crime, as
v. Avila:[93]
implied in Dio?
Or, more likely, the appreciation of several classes of factual circumstances such as We thus conclude that under the Revised Penal Code, there is no crime of frustrated
the size and weight of the property, the location of the property, the number and theft. As petitioner has latched the success of his appeal on our acceptance of the Dio
identity of people present at the scene of the crime, the number and identity of and Flores rulings, his petition must be denied, for we decline to adopt said rulings in
people whom the offender is expected to encounter upon fleeing with the stolen our jurisdiction. That it has taken all these years for us to recognize that there can be
property, the manner in which the stolen item had been housed or stored; and quite no frustrated theft under the Revised Penal Code does not detract from the
frankly, a whole lot more. Even the fungibility or edibility of the stolen item would correctness of this conclusion. It will take considerable amendments to our Revised
come into account, relevant as that would be on whether such property is capable Penal Code in order that frustrated theft may be recognized. Our deference to Viada
of free disposal at any stage, even after the taking has been consummated. yields to the higher reverence for legislative intent.

All these complications will make us lose sight of the fact that beneath all the WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Costs against petitioner.
colorful detail, the owner was indeed deprived of property by one who intended to
produce such deprivation for reasons of gain. For such will remain the presumed SO ORDERED.
fact if frustrated theft were recognized, for therein, all of the acts of execution,
DANTE O. TINGA
including the taking, have been completed. If the facts establish the non-completion
of the taking due to these peculiar circumstances, the effect could be to downgrade Associate Justice
the crime to the attempted stage, as not all of the acts of execution have been
performed. But once all these acts have been executed, the taking has been WE CONCUR:
completed, causing the unlawful deprivation of property, and ultimately the
REYNATO S. PUNO
consummation of the theft.
Chief Justice
Maybe the Dio/Flores rulings are, in some degree, grounded in common sense. Yet
they do not align with the legislated framework of the crime of theft. The Revised
Penal Code provisions on theft have not been designed in such fashion as to
accommodate said rulings. Again, there is no language in Article 308 that expressly LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
or impliedly allows that the free disposition of the items stolen is in any way
determinative of whether the crime of theft has been produced. Dio itself did not Associate Justice
rely on Philippine laws or jurisprudence to bolster its conclusion, and the later Flores
was ultimately content in relying on Dio alone for legal support. These cases do not
enjoy the weight of stare decisis, and even if they did, their erroneous appreciation CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
of our law on theft leave them susceptible to reversal. The same holds true of
Empilis, a regrettably stray decision which has not since found favor from this Court. Associate Justice
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ Associate Justice

Associate Justice

CANCIO C. GARCIA

ANTONIO T. CARPIO Associate Justice

Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ Associate Justice

Associate Justice

RENATO C. CORONA ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA

Associate Justice Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES CERTIFICATION

Associate Justice Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA REYNATO S. PUNO

Associate Justice Chief Justice

DIGESTED

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO Saturday, 29 August 2015


CASE DIGEST: Valenzuela v. People, GR No. 160188 or intimidating of persons or force upon things. The court held that theft is
produced when there is deprivation of personal property by one with intent to gain.
Title: Valenzuela v. People, GR No. 160188 Thus, it is immaterial that the offender is able or unable to freely dispose the
property stolen since he has already committed all the acts of execution and the
Subject Matter: Applications of the provisions of Article 6 of the Revised Penal
deprivation from the owner has already ensued from such acts. Therefore, theft
Code; Stages of theft
cannot have a frustrated stage, and can only be attempted or consummated.
Facts:

While a security guard was manning his post the open parking area of a
ARTICLE 6. People v Campuhan (329 SCRA 270)
supermarket, he saw the accused, Aristotel Valenzuela, hauling a push cart loaded
with cases of detergent and unloaded them where his co-accused, Jovy Calderon,
[G.R. No. 129433. March 30, 2000]
was waiting. Valenzuela then returned inside the supermarket, and later emerged
with more cartons of detergent. Thereafter, Valenzuela hailed a taxi and started PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, vs. PRIMO CAMPUHAN Y BELLO, accused.
loading the boxes of detergent inside. As the taxi was about to leave the security
guard asked Valenzuela for the receipt of the merchandise. The accused reacted by DECISION
fleeing on foot, but were subsequently apprehended at the scene. The trial court
convicted both Valenzuela and Calderon of the crime of consummated theft. BELLOSILLO, J.:
Valenzuela appealed before the Court of Appeals, arguing that he should only be
convicted of frustrated theft since he was not able to freely dispose of the articles On 3 April 1990 this Court in People v. Orita[1] finally did away with frustrated
stolen. The CA affirmed the trial court’s decision, thus the Petition for Review was rape[2] and allowed only attempted rape and consummated rape to remain in our
statute books. The instant case lurks at the threshold of another emasculation of the
filed before the Supreme Court.
stages of execution of rape by considering almost every attempt at sexual violation of
Issue: a woman as consummated rape, that is, if the contrary view were to be adopted. The
danger there is that that concept may send the wrong signal to every roaming
Whether or not petitioner Valenzuela is guilty of frustrated theft. lothario, whenever the opportunity bares itself, to better intrude with
climactic gusto, sans any restraint, since after all any attempted fornication would be
Held: considered consummated rape and punished as such. A mere strafing of the citadel
of passion would then be considered a deadly fait accompli, which is absurd.
No. Article 6 of the RPC provides that a felony is consummated when all the
elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present. In the crime
In Orita we held that rape was consummated from the moment the offender had
of theft, the following elements should be present – (1) that there be taking of carnal knowledge of the victim since by it he attained his objective. All the elements
personal property; (2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be of the offense were already present and nothing more was left for the offender to do,
done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of the having performed all the acts necessary to produce the crime and accomplish it. We
owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against ruled then that perfect penetration was not essential; any penetration of the female
organ by the male organ, however slight, was sufficient. The Court further held that
entry of the labia or lips of the female organ, even without rupture of the hymen or before us on automatic review under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended
laceration of the vagina, was sufficient to warrant conviction for consummated rape. by RA 7659.[6]
We distinguished consummated rape from attempted rape where there was no
penetration of the female organ because not all acts of execution were performed as As may be culled from the evidence on record, on 25 April 1996, at around 4 oclock in
the offender merely commenced the commission of a felony directly by overt the afternoon, Ma. Corazon P. Pamintuan, mother of four (4)-year old Crysthel
acts.[3] The inference that may be derived therefrom is that complete or full Pamintuan, went down from the second floor of their house to prepare Milo
penetration of the vagina is not required for rape to be consummated. Any chocolate drinks for her two (2) children. At the ground floor she met Primo
penetration, in whatever degree, is enough to raise the crime to its consummated Campuhan who was then busy filling small plastic bags with water to be frozen into
stage. ice in the freezer located at the second floor. Primo was a helper of Conrado Plata Jr.,
brother of Corazon. As Corazon was busy preparing the drinks, she heard one of her
But the Court in Orita clarified the concept of penetration in rape by requiring entry daughters cry, "Ayo'ko, ayo'ko!"[7] prompting Corazon to rush upstairs. Thereupon,
into the labia or lips of the female organ, even if there be no rupture of the hymen or she saw Primo Campuhan inside her childrens room kneeling before Crysthel whose
laceration of the vagina, to warrant a conviction for consummated rape. While the pajamas or "jogging pants" and panty were already removed, while his short pants
entry of the penis into the lips of the female organ was considered synonymous were down to his knees.
with mere touching of the external genitalia, e.g., labia majora, labia minora,
etc.,[4] the crucial doctrinal bottom line is that touching must be inextricably viewed According to Corazon, Primo was forcing his penis into Crysthels vagina. Horrified, she
in light of, in relation to, or as an essential part of, the process of penile penetration, cursed the accused, "P - t - ng ina mo, anak ko iyan!" and boxed him several times. He
and not just mere touching in the ordinary sense. In other words, the touching must evaded her blows and pulled up his pants. He pushed Corazon aside when she tried
be tacked to the penetration itself. The importance of the requirement of to block his path. Corazon then ran out and shouted for help thus prompting her
penetration, however slight, cannot be gainsaid because where entry into brother, a cousin and an uncle who were living within their compound, to chase the
the labia or the lips of the female genitalia has not been established, the crime accused.[8] Seconds later, Primo was apprehended by those who answered Corazon's
committed amounts merely to attempted rape. call for help. They held the accused at the back of their compound until they were
advised by their neighbors to call the barangay officials instead of detaining him for
Verily, this should be the indicium of the Court in determining whether rape has been his misdeed. Physical examination of the victim yielded negative results. No evident
committed either in its attempted or in its consummated stage; otherwise, no sign of extra-genital physical injury was noted by the medico-legal officer on Crysthels
substantial distinction would exist between the two, despite the fact that penalty- body as her hymen was intact and its orifice was only 0.5 cm. in diameter.
wise, this distinction, threadbare as it may seem, irrevocably spells the difference
between life and death for the accused - a reclusive life that is not even perpetua but Primo Campuhan had only himself for a witness in his defense. He maintained his
only temporal on one hand, and the ultimate extermination of life on the other. And, innocence and assailed the charge as a mere scheme of Crysthel's mother who
arguing on another level, if the case at bar cannot be deemed attempted but allegedly harbored ill will against him for his refusal to run an errand for her. [9] He
consummated rape, what then would constitute attempted rape? Must our field of asserted that in truth Crysthel was in a playing mood and wanted to ride on his back
choice be thus limited only to consummated rape and acts of lasciviousness since when she suddenly pulled him down causing both of them to fall down on the floor.
attempted rape would no longer be possible in light of the view of those who It was in this fallen position that Corazon chanced upon them and became hysterical.
disagree with this ponencia? Corazon slapped him and accused him of raping her child. He got mad but restrained
himself from hitting back when he realized she was a woman. Corazon called for help
On 27 May 1997 Primo Campuhan y Bello was found guilty of statutory rape and from her brothers to stop him as he ran down from the second floor.
sentenced by the court a quo to the extreme penalty of death,[5] hence this case
Vicente, Corazon's brother, timely responded to her call for help and accosted Primo. sexually molested, thus raising the penalty, from reclusion perpetua to death, to the
Vicente punched him and threatened to kill him. Upon hearing the threat, Primo single indivisible penalty of death under RA 7659, Sec. 11, the offended party being
immediately ran towards the house of Conrado Plata but Vicente followed him there. below seven (7) years old. We have said often enough that in concluding that carnal
Primo pleaded for a chance to explain as he reasoned out that the accusation was not knowledge took place, full penetration of the vaginal orifice is not an essential
true. But Vicente kicked him instead. When Primo saw Vicente holding a piece of lead ingredient, nor is the rupture of the hymen necessary; the mere touching of the
pipe, Primo raised his hands and turned his back to avoid the blow. At this moment, external genitalia by the penis capable of consummating the sexual act is sufficient to
the relatives and neighbors of Vicente prevailed upon him to take Primo to constitute carnal knowledge.[10] But the act of touching should be understood here as
the barangay hall instead, and not to maul or possibly kill him. inherently part of the entry of the penis into the labias of the female organ and not
mere touching alone of the mons pubis or the pudendum.
Although Primo Campuhan insisted on his innocence, the trial court on 27 May 1997
found him guilty of statutory rape, sentenced him to the extreme penalty of death, In People v. De la Pea[11] we clarified that the decisions finding a case for rape even if
and ordered him to pay his victim P50,000.00 for moral damages, P25,000.00 for the attackers penis merely touched the external portions of the female genitalia were
exemplary damages, and the costs. 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
The accused Primo Campuhan seriously assails the credibility of Ma. Corazon penis, or an oversized penis which could not fit into the victim's vagina, the Court
Pamintuan. He argues that her narration should not be given any weight or credence nonetheless held that rape was consummated on the basis of the victim's testimony
since it was punctured with implausible statements and improbabilities so that the accused repeatedly tried, but in vain, to insert his penis into her vagina and
inconsistent with human nature and experience. He claims that it was truly in all likelihood reached the labia of her pudendum as the victim felt his organ on the
inconceivable for him to commit the rape considering that Crysthels younger sister lips of her vulva,[12] or that the penis of the accused touched the middle part of her
was also in the room playing while Corazon was just downstairs preparing Milo drinks vagina.[13] Thus, touching when applied to rape cases does not simply mean mere
for her daughters. Their presence alone as possible eyewitnesses and the fact that epidermal contact, stroking or grazing of organs, a slight brush or a scrape of the
the episode happened within the family compound where a call for assistance could penis on the external layer of the victims vagina, or the mons pubis, as in this case.
easily be heard and responded to, would have been enough to deter him from There must be sufficient and convincing proof that the penis
committing the crime. Besides, the door of the room was wide open for anybody to indeed touched the labias or slid into the female organ, and not merely stroked the
see what could be taking place inside. Primo insists that it was almost inconceivable external surface thereof, for an accused to be convicted of consummated rape.[14] As
that Corazon could give such a vivid description of the alleged sexual contact when the labias, which are required to be "touched" by the penis, are by their
from where she stood she could not have possibly seen the alleged touching of the natural situs or location beneath the mons pubis or the vaginal surface, to touch
sexual organs of the accused and his victim. He asserts that the absence of any them with the penis is to attain some degree of penetration beneath the surface,
external signs of physical injuries or of penetration of Crysthels private parts more hence, the conclusion that touching the labia majora or the labia minora of
than bolsters his innocence. the pudendum constitutes consummated rape.

In convicting the accused, the trial court relied quite heavily on the testimony of The pudendum or vulva is the collective term for the female genital organs that are
Corazon that she saw Primo with his short pants down to his knees kneeling before visible in the perineal area, e.g., mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, the hymen,
Crysthel whose pajamas and panty were supposedly "already removed" and that the clitoris, the vaginal orifice, etc. The mons pubis is the rounded eminence that
Primo was "forcing his penis into Crysthels vagina." The gravamen of the offense of becomes hairy after puberty, and is instantly visible within the surface. The next layer
statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a woman below twelve (12), as provided in Art. is the labia majora or the outer lips of the female organ composed of the outer
335, par. (3), of the Revised Penal Code. Crysthel was only four (4) years old when 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 It can reasonably be drawn from the foregoing narration that Primos kneeling
not have any hair but has many sebaceous glands. Directly beneath the labia position rendered an unbridled observation impossible. Not even a vantage point
majora is the labia minora.[15] Jurisprudence dictates that the labia majora must from the side of the accused and the victim would have provided Corazon an
be entered for rape to be consummated,[16] and not merely for the penis to stroke the unobstructed view of Primos penis supposedly reaching Crysthels external genitalia,
surface of the female organ. Thus, a grazing of the surface of the female organ or i.e., labia majora, labia minora, hymen, clitoris, etc., since the legs and arms of Primo
touching the mons pubis of the pudendum is not sufficient to constitute would have hidden his movements from Corazons sight, not to discount the fact that
consummated rape. Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female Primos right hand was allegedly holding his penis thereby blocking it from Corazons
organ, i.e., touching of either labia of the pudendumby the penis, there can be no view. It is the burden of the prosecution to establish how Corazon could have seen
consummated rape; at most, it can only be attempted rape, if not acts of the sexual contact and to shove her account into the permissive sphere of credibility.
lasciviousness. 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
Judicial depiction of consummated rape has not been confined to the oft-quoted failed in this respect, thus we cannot conclude without any taint of serious doubt
"touching of the female organ,"[17] but has also progressed into being described as that inter-genital contact was at all achieved. To hold otherwise would be to resolve
"the introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum,"[18] or "the the doubt in favor of the prosecution but to run roughshod over the constitutional
bombardment of the drawbridge."[19] But, to our mind, the case at bar merely right of the accused to be presumed innocent.
constitutes a "shelling of the castle of orgasmic potency," or as earlier stated, a
"strafing of the citadel of passion." Corazon insists that Primo did not restrain himself from pursuing his wicked intention
despite her timely appearance, thus giving her the opportunity to fully witness his
A review of the records clearly discloses that the prosecution utterly failed to beastly act.
discharge its onus of proving that Primos penis was able to penetrate Crysthels vagina
however slight. Even if we grant arguendo that Corazon witnessed Primo in the act of We are not persuaded. It is inconsistent with mans instinct of self-preservation to
sexually molesting her daughter, we seriously doubt the veracity of her claim that she remain where he is and persist in satisfying his lust even when he knows fully well
saw the inter-genital contact between Primo and Crysthel. When asked what she saw that his dastardly acts have already been discovered or witnessed by no less than the
upon entering her childrens room Corazon plunged into saying that she saw Primo mother of his victim. For, the normal behavior or reaction of Primo upon learning of
poking his penis on the vagina of Crysthel without explaining her relative position to Corazons presence would have been to pull his pants up to avoid being caught
them as to enable her to see clearly and sufficiently, in automotive lingo, the contact literally with his pants down. The interval, although relatively short, provided more
point. It should be recalled that when Corazon chanced upon Primo and Crysthel, the than enough opportunity for Primo not only to desist from but even to conceal his
former was allegedly in a kneeling position, which Corazon described thus: evil design.

Q: How was Primo holding your daughter? What appears to be the basis of the conviction of the accused was Crysthel's answer
to the question of the court -
A: (The witness is demonstrating in such a way that the chest of the
accused is pinning down the victim, while his right hand is holding Q: Did the penis of Primo touch your organ?
his penis and his left hand is spreading the legs of the victim).
A: Yes, sir.
But when asked further whether his penis penetrated her organ, she readily said, have to conclude that even on the basis of the testimony of Crysthel alone the
"No." Thus - accused cannot be held liable for consummated rape; worse, be sentenced to death.

Q: But did his penis penetrate your organ? Lastly, it is pertinent to mention the medico legal officer's finding in this case that
there were no external signs of physical injuries on complaining witness body to
A: No, sir.[20] conclude from a medical perspective that penetration had taken place. As Dr. Aurea
P. Villena explained, although the absence of complete penetration of the hymen
This testimony alone should dissipate the mist of confusion that enshrouds the does not negate the possibility of contact, she clarified that there was no medical
question of whether rape in this case was consummated. It has foreclosed the basis to hold that there was sexual contact between the accused and the victim.[27]
possibility of Primos penis penetrating her vagina, however slight. Crysthel made a
categorical statement denying penetration,[21] obviously induced by a question In cases of rape where there is a positive testimony and a medical certificate, both
propounded to her who could not have been aware of the finer distinctions should in all respects complement each other; otherwise, to rely on the testimonial
between touching and penetration. Consequently, it is improper and unfair to attach evidence alone, in utter disregard of the manifest variance in the medical certificate,
to this reply of a four (4)-year old child, whose vocabulary is yet as underdeveloped would be productive of unwarranted or even mischievous results. It is necessary to
as her sex and whose language is bereft of worldly sophistication, an adult carefully ascertain whether the penis of the accused in reality entered the
interpretation that because the penis of the accused touched her organ there was labial threshold of the female organ to accurately conclude that rape was
sexual entry. Nor can it be deduced that in trying to penetrate the victim's organ the consummated. Failing in this, the thin line that separates attempted rape from
penis of the accused touched the middle portion of her vagina and entered consummated rape will significantly disappear.
the labia of her pudendum as the prosecution failed to establish sufficiently that
Primo made efforts to penetrate Crysthel.[22] Corazon did not say, nay, not even hint Under Art. 6, in relation to Art. 335, of the Revised Penal Code, rape is attempted
that Primo's penis was erect or that he responded with an erection. [23] On the when the offender commences the commission of rape directly by overt acts, and
contrary, Corazon even narrated that Primo had to hold his penis with his right hand, does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the crime of rape by
thus showing that he had yet to attain an erection to be able to penetrate his victim. 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
Antithetically, the possibility of Primos penis having breached Crysthels vagina is case, hence, the accused should be punished only for it.
belied by the child's own assertion that she resisted Primos advances by putting her
legs close together;[24]consequently, she did not feel any intense pain but just felt The penalty for attempted rape is two (2) degrees lower than the imposable penalty
"not happy" about what Primo did to her.[25] Thus, she only shouted "Ayo'ko, ayo'ko!" of death for the offense charged, which is statutory rape of a minor below seven (7)
not "Aray ko, aray ko!" In cases where penetration was not fully established, the years. Two (2) degrees lower is reclusion temporal, the range of which is twelve (12)
Court had anchored its conclusion that rape nevertheless was consummated on the years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence
victim's testimony that she felt pain, or the medico-legal finding of discoloration in Law, and in the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the maximum
the inner lips of the vagina, or the labia minora was already gaping with redness, or of the penalty to be imposed upon the accused shall be taken from the medium
the hymenal tags were no longer visible.[26] None was shown in this case. Although a period of reclusion temporal, the range of which is fourteen (14) years, eight (8)
child's testimony must be received with due consideration on account of her tender months and (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months, while the minimum
age, the Court endeavors at the same time to harness only what in her story appears shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, which is prision mayor, the
to be true, acutely aware of the equally guaranteed rights of the accused. Thus, we range of which is from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years, in any of its
periods.
[12]
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court a quo finding accused PRIMO "SONNY" People v. Bacalso, G.R. No. 89811, 22 March 1991, 195 SCRA 557;
CAMPUHAN Y BELLO guilty of statutory rape and sentencing him to death and to pay People v. Hangdaan, G.R. No. 90035, 13 September 1991, 201 SCRA 568; People v. De
damages is MODIFIED. He is instead found guilty of ATTEMPTED RAPE and sentenced la Pea, G.R. No. 104947, 30 June 1994, 233 SCRA 573; People v. Clopino, G.R. No.
to an indeterminate prison term of eight (8) years four (4) months and ten (10) days 117322, 21 May 1998, 290 SCRA 432; People v. Quinaola, G.R. No. 126148, 5 May
of prision mayor medium as minimum, to fourteen (14) years ten (10) months and 1999.
[13]
twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal medium as maximum. Costs de oficio. People v. Navarro, G.R. No. 96251, 11 May 1993, 221 SCRA 684.
[14]
In People v. Quinaola (G.R. No. 126148, 5 May 1999) the Court held the word
SO ORDERED. "touching" to be synonymous with the entry by the penis into the labia declaring that
"x x x the crime of rape is deemed consummated even when the mans penis merely
Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, entered the labia or lips of the female organ, or as once said in a case, by the mere
Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur. touching of the external genitalia by the penis capable of sexual act x x x x"
[15]
Mishell, Stenchever, Droegemueller, Herbst Comprehensive Gynecology, 3rd Ed.,
1997, pp. 42-44.
Panganiban, J., in the result. [16]
People v. Escober, G.R. Nos. 122980-81, 6 November 1997, 281 SCRA 498; People
v. Galimba, G.R. Nos. 111563-64, 20 February 1996, 253 SCRA 722; People v. Sanchez,
[1]
G.R. Nos. 98402-04, 16 November 1995, 250 SCRA 14; People v.Lazaro, G.R. No.
People v. Ceilito Orita alias "Lito," G.R. No. 88724, 3 April 1990, 184 SCRA 105.
[2]
99263, 12 October 1995, 249 SCRA 234; People v. Rejano, G.R. Nos. 105669-70, 18
People v. Eriia, 50 Phil. 998 (1927)
[3]
October 1994, 237 SCRA 627; People v. Salinas, G.R. No. 107204, 6 May 1994, 232
See Note 1.
[4]
SCRA 274; People v. Palicte, G.R. No. 101088, 27 January 1994, 229 SCRA 543;
People v. Quinaola, G.R. No. 126148, 5 May 1999.
[5]
People v. Arce, G.R. Nos. 101833-34, 20 October 1993, 227 SCRA 406;
Decision penned by Judge Benjamin T. Antonio, RTC-Br. 170, Malabon, Metro
People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 92269, 30 July 1993, 244 SCRA 776; People v. Tismo, No. L-
Manila (Crim. Case No. 16857-MN)
[6]
44773, 4 December 1991, 204 SCRA 535; People v. Mayoral, G.R. Nos. 96094-95, 13
An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for that
November 1991, 203 SCRA 528, People v. Hangdaan, G.R. No. 90035, 13 September
Purpose the Revised Penal Code, as amended, other Special Penal Laws, and for
1991, 201 SCRA 568; People v. Caballes, G.R. Nos. 93437-45, 12 July 1991, 199 SCRA
Other Purposes, effective on 31 December 1993.
[7]
152; People v. Bacalso, G.R. No. 89811, 22 March 1991, 195 SCRA 557.
"Ayoko," apparently is a contraction of "ayaw ko." "Ayoko, ayoko" means "I dont [17]
People v. Clopino, G.R. No. 117322, 21 May 1998, 290 SCRA 432.
like, I dont like." [18]
[8]
See Note 4.
Corazons brother Vicente Plata responded to her call, as well as others living within [19]
People v. Escober, G.R. Nos. 122980-81, 6 November 1997, 281 SCRA 498.
the compound namely, Criselda Carlos Manalac, Fernando Bondal, Jose Carlos and [20]
TSN, 7 October 1996, p. 20.
Reynoso Carlos. [21]
[9]
In Dulla v. CA (G.R. No. 123164, 18 February 2000) the Court considered the
Accused alleged that the charge of rape was merely concocted by Ma. Corazon
testimony of a child aged three (3) years and ten (10) months old sufficient and
Pamintuan because of his refusal to buy medicine for her, and perform the other credible even if she answered "yes" or "no" to questions propounded to her.
tasks asked of him by her relatives.
[10]
However, the victim therein, who was much younger than Crysthel in the instant
See the following American cases where the doctrine originated: Kenny v. State,
case, demonstrated what she meant when unable to articulate what was done to her,
65 L.R.A. 316; Rodgers v. State, 30 Tex. App. 510; Brauer v. State, 25 Wis. 413, as
even made graphic descriptions of the accuseds penis and demonstrated the push
cited in People v. Oscar, 48 Phil. 528 (1925)
[11]
and pull movement made by the accused. Yet conspicuously, the Court in the Dulla
G.R. No. 104947, 30 June 1994, 233 SCRA 573.
case found the accused guilty only of acts of lasciviousness on the basis of certain
inconsistencies in the testimony of the victim on whether or not petitioner took off Q: And you also made the result of the genital physical examination shows (sic) that
her underwear. there is no injury on any part of the body of the patient, correct, Doctor?
[22]
In People v. Clopino (G.R. No. 117322, 21 May 1998) the Court rejected the
argument of the accused that he should only be convicted of either attempted rape A: Yes sir.
or acts of lasciviousness. It adopted the reasoning of the Solicitor General and
declared that it was impossible for the penis of accused-appellant not to have Q: There was no medical basis for saying that might have a contact between the
touched the labia of the pudendum in trying to penetrate her. However, such logical patient and the accused in this case?
conclusion was deduced in the light of evidence presented that accused-appellant
made determined attempts to penetrate and insert his penis into the victims vagina
A: Yes sir (TSN, 8 October 1996, pp. 3-4)
and even engaged her in foreplay by inserting his finger into her genitalia. The same
inference cannot be made in the instant case because of the variance in the factual
milieu.
[23]
Decisions finding the accused guilty of consummated rape even if the attacker's
penis merely touched the female external genitalia were made in the context of the
presence of an erect penis capable of full penetration, failing in which there can be
no consummated rape (People v. De la Pea, see Note 11)
[24]
See Note 16, p. 21.
[25]
Ibid.
[26]
People v. Villamayor, G.R. Nos. 97474-76, 18 July 1991, 199 SCRA 472;
DIGESTED
People v. Palicte, G.R. No. 101088, 27 January 1994, 229 SCRA 543;
People v. Sanchez, G.R. Nos. 98402-04, 16 November 1995, 250 SCRA 14; People v. Campuhan
Gabris, G.R. No. 116221, 11 July 1996, 258 SCRA 663; People v. Gabayron, G.R. No.
102018, 21 August 1997, 278 SCRA 78. G.R. No. 129433 March 30, 2000

[27]
Q: Will you tell the Court, what do you mean by this No. 1 conclusion appearing in Lessons Applicable: Attempted rape
Exhibit "A" which I quote "no evident sign of extra-genital physical injury noted on
the body of the subject at the time of the examination?" Laws Applicable:

A: That means I was not able to see injuries outside the genital of the victim, sir.
FACTS:
Q: I presumed (sic) that you conducted genital physical examination on the victim in
this case? • April 25, 1996 4 pm: Ma. Corazon P. Pamintuan, mother of 4-year old Crysthel
Pamintuan, went to the ground floor of their house to prepare Milo chocolate drinks
A: Yes sir. for her 2 children. There she met Primo Campuhan, helper of Conrado Plata Jr.,
brother of Corazon, who was then busy filling small plastic bags with water to be
frozen into ice in the freezer located at the second floor.
• Then she heard Crysthel cry, "Ayo'ko, ayo'ko!" so she went upstairs and saw • the possibility of Primo's penis having breached Crysthel's vagina is belied by the
Primo Campuhan inside her children's room kneeling before Crysthel whose pajamas child's own assertion that she resisted Primo's advances by putting her legs close
or "jogging pants" and panty were already removed, while his short pants were down together and that she did not feel any intense pain but just felt "not happy" about
to his knees and his hands holding his penis with his right hand what Primo did to her. Thus, she only shouted "Ayo'ko, ayo'ko!" not "Aray ko, aray
ko!
• Horrified, she cursed "P - t - ng ina mo, anak ko iyan!" and boxed him several
times. He evaded her blows and pulled up his pants. He pushed Corazon aside who • No medical basis to hold that there was sexual contact between the accused and
she tried to block his path. Corazon then ran out and shouted for help thus prompting the victim
Vicente, her brother, a cousin and an uncle who were living within their compound,
to chase the Campuhan who was apprehended. They called the barangay officials
who detained.

• Physical examination yielded negative results as Crysthel ‘s hymen was intact

• Campuhan: Crysthel was in a playing mood and wanted to ride on his back when
she suddenly pulled him down causing both of them to fall down on the floor. Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
• RTC: guilty of statutory rape, sentenced him to the extreme penalty of death Manila

• Thus, subject to automatic review FIRST DIVISION


ISSUE: W/N it was a consummated statutory rape
G.R. No. 180914 November 24, 2010
HELD: NO. MODIFIED. 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 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
medium as minimum, to fourteen (14) years ten (10) months and twenty (20) days of vs.
reclusion temporal medium as maximum. Costs de oficio. DOMINGO DOMINGUEZ, JR., alias "SANDY," Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

• People v. De la Peña: labia majora must be entered for rape to be consummated LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
• Primo's kneeling position rendered an unbridled observation impossible
On appeal is the Decision1 dated July 31, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
• Crysthel made a categorical statement denying penetration but her vocabulary is G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02131 which affirmed with modifications the
Decision2 dated February 6, 2006 of Branch 65 of the Regional Trial Court
yet as underdeveloped
(RTC) of Bulan, Sorsogon, convicting accused-appellant Domingo Dominguez,
• Corazon narrated that Primo had to hold his penis with his right hand, thus Jr., also known as "Sandy," of three counts of rape and two counts of
attempted rape of his minor daughter.
showing that he had yet to attain an erection to be able to penetrate his victim
Consistent with our ruling in People v. Cabalquinto3 and People v. The qualifying aggravating circumstances of minority and relationship are
Guillermo,4 this Court withholds the real name of the private offended party present considering that the victim is 12 years of age and the accused is the
and her immediate family members as well as such other personal father.6
circumstances or any other information tending to establish or compromise her
identity. The initials AAA represent the private offended party, the initials BBB Criminal Case No. 02-550 [Amended Information]
refer to her mother, and the initials CCC stand for one of her relatives.
That in the second week of August 2001 at more or less 1:00 o’clock in the
Accused-appellant was indicted for four counts of rape and one count of afternoon, at barangay Anibong, municipality of Magallanes, province of
attempted rape, all qualified by his relationship with and the minority of the Sorsogon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
private offended party. The criminal informations read: above-named accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, that is by
taking advantage of his moral ascendancy being the father of the victim [AAA],
Criminal Case No. 02-548 [Amended Information] a minor, 12 years of age, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said victim against her will and
That on or about July 20, 2001 at more or less 7:00 o’clock in the evening, at without her consent, to her damage and prejudice.
barangay Anibong, municipality of Magallanes, province of Sorsogon,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- The qualifying aggravating circumstances of minority and relationship are
named accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, that is by taking present considering that the victim is 12 years of age and the accused is the
advantage of his moral ascendancy being the father of the victim [AAA], a father.7
minor, 12 years of age, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
have sexual intercourse with the said victim against her will and without her Criminal Case No. 02-551 [Amended Information]
consent, to her damage and prejudice.
That in the second week of September 2001 at more or less 1:00 o’clock in the
The qualifying aggravating circumstances of minority and relationship are afternoon, at barangay Anibong, municipality of Magallanes, province of
present considering that the victim is 12 years of age and the accused is the Sorsogon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
father.5 above-named accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, that is by
taking advantage of his moral ascendancy being the father of the victim [AAA],
Criminal Case No. 02-549 [Amended Information] a minor, 12 years of age, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said victim against her will and
That on the 4th week of July 2001 at more or less 1:00 o’clock in the without her consent, to her damage and prejudice.
afternoon, at barangay Anibong, municipality of Magallanes, province of
Sorsogon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the The qualifying aggravating circumstances of minority and relationship are
above-named accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, that is by present considering that the victim is 12 years of age and the accused is the
taking advantage of his moral ascendancy being the father of the victim [AAA], father.8
a minor, 12 years of age, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said victim against her will and Criminal Case No. 02-552
without her consent, to her damage and prejudice.
That on or about November 20, 2001 at more or less 1:00 o’clock in the
afternoon, at barangay Anibong, municipality of Magallanes, province of
Sorsogon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the Magallanes which was in the month of July 2001. Her small siblings were
above-named accused, with lewd designs, did then and there, willfully, already asleep and she was about to go to sleep also, when she noticed her
unlawfully and feloniously, commence the commission of the crime of Rape father (the accused) already beside her. Her father (accused) undressed her
directly by overt acts upon the person of [AAA], a minor, 12 years of age, while he also undressed himself, and as he was about to mount her for the
through force and intimidation taking advantage of his moral ascendancy being purpose of raping her, her mother arrived and inquired why she was naked.
the father, to wit: by undressing the victim, thereby removing all her clothing Because of fear of bodily harm brought about by the threat coming from the
apparel with the intention of having carnal knowledge, against her will and accused who was then holding a bolo, the victim did not say anything. She
without her consent, but said accused did not however perform all the acts of positively identified her father (the accused) inside the courtroom when asked
execution which should have produced the crime of rape, as a consequence, to do so by the public prosecutor. The accused failed to consummate the rape
by reason of some causes or accident other than his own spontaneous during the first incident.
desistance, that is because somebody saw them, and said acts produced
psychological and emotional trauma to said [AAA], to her damage and The second rape happened after a week from the first attempt, which could be
prejudice. between the fourth week of July or first week of August 2001 because the
victim stated that it was no longer in the month of July 2001. It happened in a
The qualifying aggravating circumstances of minority and relationship are coconut farm in Anibong, Magallanes, Sorsogon. The victim was asked by her
present considering that the victim is 12 years of age and the accused is the father to accompany him in getting coconut leaves because they are going to
father.9 weave it in their house. When the two (2) of them reached the place, her father
(accused) undressed her and thereafter undressed himself also and made her
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to all charges. A pre- lie down then inserted his penis into her vagina. She felt weak and pain all
trial conference10 followed and, thereafter, the criminal charges were jointly over her body including her vagina which she felt to be swollen at that time.
tried. She tried to struggle but she was helpless, particularly so, that the accused
was also armed with a bolo at that time. After the bestial act was
consummated they proceeded home bringing with them the coconut leaves
The prosecution presented four witnesses, namely, the private offended party,
that they gathered. She did not tell anyone about the incident because of fear
AAA;11 her mother, BBB;12 her relative who claimed to be an eyewitness to the
sexual abuse, CCC;13 and the medico-legal who physically examined her for of the accused and the thought that they might not believe her.
signs of sexual abuse, Dr. Irene V. Ella.14 The documentary exhibits of the
prosecution consisted of the Medico-Legal Report15 dated November 23, 2001 The third incident of rape happened two (2) weeks after the second incident,
issued by Dr. Ella; the Certificate of Live Birth of AAA16issued by the Office of which was sometime in the month of August 2001. While the fourth incident of
the Municipal Civil Registrar, Magallanes, Sorsogon; and the Marriage rape happened three (3) weeks after the third incident which was sometime in
Contract of AAA’s parents.17 The defense, on the other hand, presented the the month of September 2001. The fifth and last incident of rape happened
testimony of accused-appellant.18 according to the victim sometime in the 20th of November 2001. All the 3rd,
4th and 5th incidents of rape happened in the same coconut farm although in
the different places of the farm. The same pattern of execution was adopted by
Based on the combined testimonies of the witnesses and documentary
the accused. He would ask the victim to go with him to the coconut farm to
evidence for the prosecution, the RTC accounted the prosecution’s version of
the facts as follows: gather coconut leaves, and once they reached the place the accused would
undress the victim then undress himself also and have sexual intercourse with
her against her will. The victim could not refuse or disobey the command of the
The evidence for the prosecution shows and as narrated in open court by the accused (her father) because he will scold and threaten her with punishment if
victim herself [AAA]; that the first incident of rape happened before the fiesta of she would not go with him. She could not also tell her mother about it because
of fear. At the time of the first and second rapes the victim was only 12 years afternoon; it was her first sexual experience and her private part bled; she
old. She was already 13 years old when the third, fourth, and fifth incidents of could not refuse to go with her father to the coconut plantation because of fear
rape happened. Her date of birth was January 3, 1989. of punishment if she will not go with him, her mother could not go against her
father; she did not tell her mother about the rape for fear that she might not
During the fifth incident of rape on November 20, 2001 the accused and the believe her, because the culprit is her own father who is her own blood; during
victim [were] again in the same coconut farm in order to get coconut leaves. the second incident she threw her panty away because it was already stained
Both of them were already naked and the accused was about to mount the with blood and just used her shorts; the third incident of rape (second
victim when they were seen by prosecution eyewitness [CCC] who shouted at consummated rape) happened in the same coconut plantation; the accused
them, that’s why the accused fled leaving the victim behind. Because of what told her brother to fetch the carabao, when they were already alone the
happened the victim was able to gain enough courage to tell her mother and to accused raped her and after he was through with her they gathered coconut
report the incident to the barangay captain of their place, thus leading to the leaves and when her brother together with the carabao arrived later, they
apprehension of the accused.19(Citations omitted.) loaded them on the carabao and proceeded home; during the 3rd incident
there was no more bleeding of her vagina unlike the second she did not throw
The RTC pointed out that on cross-examination, AAA again narrated her panty after the rape, she used it again; she did not tell her mother, not
straightforwardly how, when, and where she was sexually abused by her own even her friends nor her teacher nor her lola about the rape because of fear
that they might laugh at her; the fourth incident of rape (3rd consummated
father:
rape) happened in the same coconut plantation under the same pattern of
execution with the accused succeeding in inserting his penis into her vagina;
On cross-examination the credibility of the victim was even enhanced by her the fifth and last incident of attempted rape happened on November 20, 2001
consistent and very candid answers to the very important questions in the same coconut farm when [CCC] saw her and her father (accused) both
propounded on her by the defense counsel. This notwithstanding some minor naked; because of what happened the victim gained courage to open up to her
lapses on her part, which can be explained by her tender age and lack of lola and reported the incident to their barangay captain, knowing that [CCC]
exposure to a usually pressure packed court atmosphere. The minor-victim will support her accusation; that even if her father will be meted out the penalty
was consistent in her claim that accused Domingo Dominguez is her natural of death she will not withdraw the case against her father and will insist in her
father; that she was raped by him; that nobody forced her to file these cases accusation that she was raped by him.20 (Citation omitted.)
against her own father; that they are seven (7) children in the family; that the
first attempted rape happened in the year 2001 before the fiesta in Magallanes
The RTC also summed up the corroborating evidence for the prosecution as
at around 7:00 o’clock in the evening; their house is situated on a hill where
follows:
there is no electricity and they are only using kerosene lamp in their house;
there are no rooms in their house and usually sleep in one place; at the time of
the first attempted rape she and her five small siblings together with her father The aforequoted testimony of the offended party, [AAA], was amply supported
were the only ones present in their house; her mother went to her lola’s house by the medical findings and the testimony made in open court by the medico-
in order to get a viand; while she was attending to her five small siblings legal officer who physically examined her, Dr. Irene V. Ella, MHO –
making them sleep the accused undressed her; when her mother arrived she Magallanes, Sorsogon.
was already naked but her father (the accused) made an alibi that he was just
dressing her up because they were going to the market; when her mother Dr. Ella declared, that the minor victim was brought to her office by the
asked her about it she did not give any answer; nothing happened during that Barangay Captain of Anibong and the Municipal Social Welfare Development
time because of the timely arrival of her mother; the first consummated rape Officer of Magallanes, Mrs. Mercadero, for physical examination based on the
(the second incident) happened in the coconut farm in Anibong, Magallanes, alleged complaint of rape. Based on the result of the physical examination, it
Sorsogon, which is far from their house at around 1:00 o’clock in the was found out that the vaginal canal of the victim admits 1 cm. in diameter test
tube with no resistance. Meaning, that something has been inserted on it for Accused Domingo Dominguez, Jr. admitted during his testimony on direct
several times that’s why the vaginal canal admits very easily a 1 cm. in examination, that he is the father of the victim [AAA]; that his wife is [BBB]; that
diameter test tube with no resistance. Accordingly, a girl without sexual they have seven (7) children; three of them were girls, the eldest is x x x while
experience would show some resistance if you insert on her vagina a 1 cm. in the youngest is [AAA]; his main occupation is that of a farmer who works in the
diameter test tube. Another finding was that the labia majora/minora was rice field; all his children are in school and he provides for their education and
slightly gaping indicative of a sexual experience on the part of the victim. daily sustenance; that he loves his children and just wanted to discipline them
Normally, a girl without any experience in sex or sexual abuse would show a but he was placed into this kind of situation; he cannot afford to do to [AAA]
closely adherent labia majora/minora which is the covering of the vaginal the charges that were filed against him; he cannot say whether he still loves
canal. The medico legal officer concluded, that the above findings confirmed [AAA] considering that he is presently incarcerated; he had no bad record in
penile penetration for several times. Her basis is the laxity of the vaginal wall the barangay and had never been charged of a similar case before; he
and the easy insertion of the 1 cm. test tube. Accordingly, if the penetration likewise scold his two other daughters if they commit a wrong.
only happened once it will not cause such laxity or it might cause a laxity but
not as manifest as what was reflected in her findings. On cross-examination, the accused further stated, that he spanks or maltreats
his children whenever they commit mistakes as a form of discipline; that
The claim of the offended party, [AAA], that the last attempt to rape her was whenever he physically maltreats or disciplines his children they suffer injuries,
committed by her father (accused) on November 20, 2001 at around 1:00 although he do[es] it only when he is angry; sometime when he arrived from
o’clock in the afternoon was supported by the very candid and credible work and nobody is around he gets mad; that his children [have] developed
testimony of prosecution eyewitness [CCC] who declared that on November that fear of him because of his way of disciplining them even his wife is afraid
20, 2001 at more or less 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon he was at the forest of of him; he claims that all the charges filed against him were fabricated by
Anibong, Magallanes, looking for snails when he chanced upon father and members of his family because they wanted to show other people that he is
daughter, Sandy (accused) and [AAA], standing close to each other totally bad, but he denied having done those criminal acts; that [AAA] filed this case
naked.1avvphi1 [AAA] was crying while Sandy was standing. He did not go against him because he scolded her; that if he really planned to rape
near them because of fear of Sandy who had a bolo with him, so he left the somebody he could have done it to other persons but not to [AAA]; in 1999,
place and went home. He related the incident to his cousin x x x. Both Sandy [AAA] was about ten (10) years old and [had] many male friends who are her
and [AAA] saw him when he chanced upon them. classmates but had no boyfriend.22 (References to case records deleted.)

On cross-examination, the aforenamed witness was able to clarify further his In its Decision dated February 6, 2006, the RTC found accused-appellant
position when he stated, that he was about 3 to 4 meters away from the two guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of qualified rape in Criminal
when he first saw them standing both naked. He took two steps forward closer Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550 and 02-551, and two counts of attempted rape in
to them that’s why he was able to confirm that it was his Manoy Sandy Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552. The dispositive portion of said RTC
(Domingo Dominguez, Jr./Accused) and his daughter [AAA] who were judgment reads as follows:
standing. [AAA] was shouting for help but the witness could not come to her
aid because of fear of Sandy who was carrying a bolo. What was made clear WHEREFORE, premises considered, the GUILT of accused Domingo
however from the testimony of said witness was the fact, that he did not Dominguez, Jr. alias "Sandy" having been established beyond reasonable
witness any sexual intercourse between the two thus implying in all probability doubt, sentence is hereby pronounced against him as follows:
that the rape was just in its attempted stage.21 (Citations omitted.)
a) In Criminal Case No. 02-548, above-named accused who is found
The RTC then summarized the evidence for the defense, based on the denial guilty only of Attempted Rape, defined and penalized under Article 6 of
and alibi of accused-appellant, as follows: the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of 10 years and 1 day of Prision Mayor to 20 In his appeal before the Court of Appeals, accused-appellant cited the
years of Reclusion Temporal, present the aggravating circumstances following assignment of errors:
of minority and relationship without any mitigating circumstance;
I
b) In Criminal Case No. 02-549, above-named accused having been
found guilty of Qualified Rape is sentenced to indivisible penalty of The trial court gravely erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the
death, to indemnify [AAA] in the amount of Php75,000.00 as indemnity crime of attempted rape in Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552.
ex delicto; another Php75,000.00 as moral damages and another
Php50,000.00 as exemplary damages, with no subsidiary
II
imprisonment in case of insolvency;
Granting arguendo that the accused-appellant is guilty of attempted
c) In Criminal Case Nos. 02-550 and 02-551, above-named accused is rape in Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552, the penalty imposed
likewise found guilty of Qualified Rape in each case and sentenced to was not proper.
an indivisible penalty of death for each count of Qualified Rape, to
indemnify [AAA] in the amount of Php150,000.00 as indemnity ex
delicto; another Php150,000.00 as moral damages; and another III
Php100,000.00 as exemplary damages, with no subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency; The trial court gravely erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the
crime of rape in Criminal Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550 and 02-551
d) In Criminal Case No. 02-552, above-named accused is likewise thereby imposing upon him the supreme penalty of death.
found guilty of Attempted Rape, defined and penalized under Article 6
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and is sentenced to an Accused-appellant asserted his innocence and asked for his acquittal from all
indeterminate penalty of 10 years and 1 day of Prision Mayor to 20 the charges.
years of Reclusion Temporal, present the aggravating circumstances
of minority and relationship without any mitigating circumstance. On the two counts of attempted rape, accused-appellant claimed that the
prosecution failed to show any overt act which would prove his intent to rape
The period of preventive imprisonment already served by the accused shall be AAA. AAA’s claims during her testimony that accused-appellant was "about to
credited in the service of his sentences pursuant to Article 29 of the Revised rape her" or "about to go on top of her" were it not for the timely arrival of her
Penal Code, as amended. mother, BBB, in Criminal Case No. 02-548, or were it not for the fortunate
appearance of a relative, CCC, in Criminal Case No. 02-552, were allegedly so
The above-mentioned penalties shall be served by the accused in the order of vague that one cannot make a clear conclusion whether the accused-appellant
succession provided for in Article 70 of the same Code.23 (Emphases ours.) really intended to rape AAA.

Accused-appellant interposed his appeal from the judgment of the RTC to the Accused-appellant also noted that should his conviction for the crime of
Court of Appeals. On April 11, 2006, the trial court transmitted the records of attempted rape be sustained, the trial court committed an error in the
the cases to the appellate court. Accused-appellant filed his Brief24 on imposition of the proper penalty. With the abrogation of the death penalty, the
November 21, 2006 while the plaintiff-appellee, represented by the Office of imposable penalty for the crime of rape committed in the attempted stage,
the Solicitor General (OSG), filed its Brief25 on March 21, 2007.
which must be two degrees lower than that of the penalty imposed for the WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision dated February 6, 2006 is AFFIRMED
crime intended to be committed, should be prision mayor. with the following MODIFICATIONS:

Anent the three counts of qualified rape, accused-appellant denied the (1) In Criminal Cases Nos. 02-549; 02-550; and 02-551, the penalty of
accusations and questioned the motive of AAA in charging him with said death imposed on the accused-appellant for each count of qualified
crime. Accused-appellant pointed out that it was implausible that AAA would rape is hereby reduced to reclusion perpetua, pursuant to Republic
not tell her mother and siblings about the alleged rapes. It was also incredible Act No. 9346 without eligibility for parole. The award of exemplary
that AAA would still accompany accused-appellant repeatedly to the coconut damages for each count of qualified rape committed, is reduced to
farm despite her having been previously sexually assaulted by him, with AAA ₱25,000.00.
knowing that their seclusion was another opportunity for accused-appellant to
sexually assault her again. Accused-appellant averred that AAA’s unexplained (2) In Criminal Cases Nos. 02-548 and 02-552, the accused-appellant
silence and continuous acquiescence to the sexual abuses supposedly is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of acts of lasciviousness
committed against her made her accusations dubious. and is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6)
months of arresto mayor as minimum penalty to six (6) years of prision
Plaintiff-appellee, on the other hand, claimed that accused-appellant was correccional as maximum penalty for each count of the acts of
properly convicted in Criminal Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550, and 02-551 for three lasciviousness committed. The accused-appellant is likewise ordered
counts of qualified rape. Citing settled jurisprudence, plaintiff-appellee argued to pay private complainant the amount of ₱30,000.00 as moral
that the appreciation by the trial court of all the evidence on the rape charges damages and ₱25,000.00 as exemplary damages for each count of
deserved great weight and respect. AAA’s consistent, candid, and the acts of lasciviousness committed.27
straightforward narrations that she was raped for several times by her own
father were duly supported by the medico-legal findings of sexual abuse. Thereafter, accused-appellant appealed his convictions before us.
Accused-appellant’s bare denials and ascription of ill motive on AAA’s part in
filing the criminal charges were allegedly untenable.
In a Minute Resolution28 dated February 4, 2008, we required the parties to file
their respective supplemental briefs. The parties, however, manifested that
In Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552, however, plaintiff-appellee posited they had exhausted their arguments before the Court of Appeals and, thus,
that accused-appellant should be held criminally liable for two counts of acts of would no longer file any supplemental brief.29
lasciviousness instead of attempted rape. Plaintiff-appellee noted that the most
significant element of attempted rape is the intent of the offender to penetrate We sustain the findings of the Court of Appeals and affirm accused-appellant’s
the sexual organ of his victim.26In the aforesaid cases, accused-appellant was conviction in Criminal Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550, and 02-551 for three counts
able to do nothing more than undress AAA and himself.
of qualified rape.

After its review of the evidence, the Court of Appeals affirmed accused-
Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code provides that the crime of rape is
appellant’s conviction in Criminal Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550, and 02-551 for committed by a man having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the
three counts of qualified rape; while it modified the RTC judgment in Criminal following circumstances: (1) through force, threat or intimidation; (2) when the
Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552 and convicted accused-appellant for two counts
offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; (3) by means
of acts of lasciviousness. The appellate court also modified the penalties and
of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and (4) when the
damages imposed against accused-appellant as follows:
offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though
none of the circumstances mentioned above be present. In People v.
Orillosa,30 we held that in incestuous rape of a minor, actual force or Q: Who is that "he" who told you to accompany him?
intimidation need not be employed where the overpowering moral influence of
the father would suffice. A: My father.

In this case, the prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that the Q: Now when you reached the place, what happened?
accused-appellant, through force, threat or intimidation, had carnal knowledge
of his daughter, AAA, who was then only 12 to 13 years old. A: He undressed me and after undressing me he also undressed
himself.
AAA recounted in sufficient detail the rape incidents as follows:
Q: You were at that coconut plantation, only the two of you?
[Criminal Case No. 02-549]
A: Yes, ma’am.
Q: Now after that incident, was it repeated?
Q: After you were undressed and after he also undressed himself,
A: Yes, ma’am. what happened next?

Q: And when did it happen? A: His penis was inserted inside my vagina.

A: That second time happened after a week. Q: Were you made to lie down?

Q: A week after the first incident? A: Yes, ma’am.

A: Yes, ma’am. Q: Now, what did you feel when his penis [was] inserted [into] your
vagina?
Q: Where did it happen?
A: I felt weak and I felt pain in all of my body and even my vagina felt
A: In a coconut farm. pain and I felt it is swollen.

Q: In what place? Q: Now, did you see your father holding anything at that time?

A: Anibong, Magallanes, Sorsogon. A: There was.

Q: Now why were you in that farm at that time? Q: What was that?

A: He told me to accompany him to get coconut leaves because we A: It was also a bolo because we were about to get coconut leaves.
were going to weave it in our house.
Q: Now did you not struggle or fight him back? Q: The same coconut farm where the second incident took place?

A: Yes, I tried to struggle. A: Yes, ma’am.

xxxx Q; And how did it happen?

Q: Now, after your father inserted his penis in your private organ, what A: The same, he undressed me and he undressed himself and he
happened next? made me [lie] down.

A: After that we proceeded home because we brought home the Q: Now why were you with him on that particular date?
coconut leaves that we gathered.
A: The same, I helped him in getting coconut leaves.
Q: Now did you not tell anyone about the incident?
Q: Now why did you go with him considering the second incident of
A: None. rape that happened to you?

Q: Why not? A: Of course, because he was threatening me that I went with him.

A: I was afraid and that they might not believe me.31 Q: What did he exactly tell you that made you fear [him]?

[Criminal Case No. 02-550] A: Because he scolded us why we were not going with him.

Q: Now [AAA], after that second incident, was it again repeated for the Q: Now when he undressed himself and you were also undressed,
third time? what happened next?

A: Yes, ma’am. A: He again inserted his penis inside my vagina.

Q: Do you remember the date when it was repeated? Q: And afterwards, what happened next?

A: I cannot recall the exact date but I could remember that it was two A: We proceeded home and again we brought with us the coconut
(2) weeks after the second incident and I was free then because I leaves.
didn’t have any classes.
Q: Did you not tell your mother or anyone about the third incident that
Q: Now where did it happen? happened?

A: At the coconut farm also. A: Yes, ma’am.


Q: Why not? Q: And what did you feel at that time?

A: Because I was still afraid.32 A: I felt weak and my body felt pain.

[Criminal Case No. 02-551] Q: By the way [AAA], do you know how old were you at that time of
the first incident?
Q: Now after this third incident, [AAA], do you still remember of
another incident that took place? A: Yes, ma’am.

A: Yes, ma’am. Q: How old were you then?

Q: And do you still remember when it happened? A: Twelve.

A: Yes, ma’am. Q: The second time, how old were you?

Q: When? A: Twelve.

A: Three (3) weeks after the third incident. Q: Until the fourth time, you were still 12 years old when the incident
happened?
Q: Now where did it happen?
A: During the third time I was already 13 years old.
A: The same place, coconut farm.
Q: Now after your father inserted his penis on your vagina the fourth
Q: Now why were you with him at that time? incident, what happened next?

A: Still to gather coconut leaves. A: We again gathered coconut leaves in order to bring to our house.33

Q: So when you reached the place, what happened? The birth certificate of AAA shows that she was born on January 3, 1989.
Medical examination revealed AAA’s old hymenal laceration and the
examining physician concluded penile penetration for several times. These
A: The same happened, he undressed me and he also undressed
support AAA’s claim that she was repeatedly raped when she was only 12 to
himself.
13 years old.
Q: And what happened next after both of you were already
We also affirm the convictions of accused-appellant in Criminal Case Nos. 02-
undressed?
548 and 02-552, for two counts of acts of lasciviousness and not for attempted
rape.
A: He again inserted his penis to my vagina.
The Court of Appeals aptly cited Perez v. Court of Appeals34 in which we ruled: A: Yes, ma’am.

[A] careful review of the records of the case shows that the crime committed Q: And what happened at that time?
by petitioner was acts of lasciviousness not attempted rape.
A: The first incident happened before the Fiesta of Magallanes during
Under Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, there is an attempt when the which my siblings, small ones, were already asleep and I was also
offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and about to go to sleep and then I suddenly noticed that my father was
does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by beside me and then he undressed me and he also undressed himself
reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. and when he was about to rape me my mother arrived and she asked
In the crime of rape, penetration is an essential act of execution to produce the me why I was naked. I was afraid then.
felony. Thus, for there to be an attempted rape, the accused must have
commenced the act of penetrating his sexual organ to the vagina of the victim Q: Now what did you observe in the person of your father at that time
but for some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance, that he undressed you?
the penetration, however slight, is not completed.
A: Because he was about to rape me.
There is no showing in this case that petitioner’s sexual organ had ever
touched complainant’s vagina nor any part of her body. x x x.35 (Emphasis Q: Why were you afraid of your father at that time?
ours.)1avvphi|
A: Of course, because he was threatening me and I was before
We also reiterated in Perez our pronouncements in People v. Caingat,36 that
already afraid of him.
the offender’s acts of lying on top of the victim, embracing and kissing her,
mashing her breasts, inserting his hand inside her panty, and touching her
sexual organ, which were interrupted were it not for the timely arrival of the Q: And how did he threaten you?
victim’s mother, do not constitute the crime of attempted rape, absent any
showing that the offender actually commenced to force his penis into the A: That he was going to kill everyone of us.
victim’s sexual organ, and that said acts rather constitute the crime of acts of
lasciviousness punishable under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code. Q: Now at the time of the incident, did you see him holding anything?

In Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552, there is a similar dearth of evidence A: There was.
that accused-appellant was able to commence penetration of his penis into
AAA’s vagina. What the evidence on record established was that during these Q: And what was that?
two occasions, accused-appellant was only able to undress himself and his
daughter before the arrival of BBB and CCC. As AAA testified:
A: Bolo.37 (Emphasis supplied.)
[Criminal Case No. 02-548]
[Criminal Case No. 02-552]
Q: Can you still remember the first incident that happened?
Q: Now after that fourth incident, do you still remember of any other A: During that time I was only using shorts and my shorts [were]
incident? already taken off but I had [a] shirt [on] my body.

A: Yes, ma’am. Q: How about your panty, was it still on your body?

Q: And do you still remember when did it happen? A: Yes, ma’am.

A: November 20, 2001. xxxx

Q: Fifth? Q: Now at that time, when [CCC] witnessed you and your father, was
your father still wearing an upper apparel?
A: Yes, ma’am.
A: Only upper apparel.
Q: Are you sure?
Q: What about his underwears and his shorts?
A: Yes, ma’am.
A: He was only wearing brief[s] but his shorts [were] already taken off.
Q: Where did it happen?
Q: Was your father able to mount on your top?
A: The same place, coconut farm.
A: No, he was about to go on top of me.
Q: And why were you at that time also with him?
Q: Now when [CCC] witnessed you and your father in that position,
A: We were still going to get coconut leaves. what happened next?

Q: And after reaching the coconut plantation, what happened next? A: My father hid from [CCC] and what I did was to leave the place. So
what [CCC] did was to go home.38(Emphases supplied.)
A: He undressed me and he undressed himself also.
We cannot simply assume in Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552 that
accused-appellant was intending to rape AAA simply because accused-
Q: Then after both of you were already undressed, what happened
appellant undressed himself and AAA during these two instances, plus the fact
next?
that accused-appellant did rape AAA on three other occasions. Such a
presumption hardly constitutes proof beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
A: When he was about to go on top of me he suddenly saw [CCC] and attempted rape. The gauge in determining whether the crime of attempted
I saw also [CCC]. What he did was to flee. rape had been committed is the commencement of the act of sexual
intercourse, i.e., penetration of the penis into the vagina, before the
Q: Both of you were already undressed from top to your drawers? interruption.
As the Court of Appeals found, it has been established beyond reasonable and physical dominion of the father is sufficient to cow the victim into
doubt in Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552 that accused-appellant submission to his beastly desires.43 AAA sufficiently explained that fear of her
committed the crime of acts of lasciviousness. father’s authority and shame kept her from revealing to others her ghastly
ordeal at the hands of her own father. Moreover, AAA’s fear of physical harm if
The elements of acts of lasciviousness, punishable under Article 336 of the she defied her father was real. By accused-appellant’s own admission, on
Revised Penal Code, are: cross examination, he had used physical force to discipline his children
whenever he was angry or mad.44
(1) That the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness;
We find no reason to doubt AAA’s credibility, and accord great weight and
respect to the findings of the trial and appellate courts that her testimonies are
(2) That it is done under any of the following circumstances:
consistent, candid, and straightforward. Accused-appellant’s bare denial, as
opposed to AAA’s positive testimonies, and accused-appellant’s
a. By using force or intimidation; or uncorroborated allegation of ill motive on AAA’s part in filing the criminal
charges, are bereft of evidentiary value.
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise
unconscious; or Jurisprudence has decreed that the issue of credibility of witnesses is "a
question best addressed to the province of the trial court because of its unique
c. When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and position of having observed that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the
witnesses' deportment on the stand while testifying which opportunity is denied
(3) That the offended party is another person of either sex.39 to the appellate courts"45 and "[a]bsent any substantial reason which would
justify the reversal of the trial court's assessments and conclusions, the
All elements are present in Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552. reviewing court is generally bound by the former's findings, particularly when
no significant facts and circumstances are shown to have been overlooked or
disregarded which when considered would have affected the outcome of the
Lewdness is defined as an "obscene, lustful, indecent, and lecherous" act
case."46 This rule is even more stringently applied if the appellate court
which signifies that form of immorality carried on a wanton manner. 40 It is
concurred with the trial court.
morally inappropriate, indecent, and lustful for accused-appellant to undress
himself and his own daughter (who was completely capable of dressing or
undressing herself), while his wife was away and his other children were In People v. Nieto,47 we stressed further that the bare denial and
asleep; or doing the same acts in an isolated coconut farm where only the two uncorroborated alibi of the accused cannot overcome his positive identification
of them were present. by the victim and straightforward recounting of his commission of a crime:

We find completely understandable AAA’s silence and apparent assent to the It is an established jurisprudential rule that a mere denial, without any strong
sexual abuses of her father for a period of time. No standard form of behavior evidence to support it, can scarcely overcome the positive declaration by the
can be anticipated of a rape victim following her defilement, particularly a child victim of the identity and involvement of appellant in the crimes attributed to
who could not be expected to fully comprehend the ways of an adult. 41 More him. The defense of alibi is likewise unavailing. Firstly, alibi is the weakest of
importantly, in incestuous rape cases, the father’s abuse of the moral all defenses, because it is easy to concoct and difficult to disprove. Unless
ascendancy and influence over his daughter can subjugate the latter’s will substantiated by clear and convincing proof, such defense is negative, self-
thereby forcing her to do whatever he wants.42 Otherwise stated, the moral serving, and undeserving of any weight in law. Secondly, alibi is unacceptable
when there is a positive identification of the accused by a credible witness.
Lastly, in order that alibi might prosper, it is not enough to prove that the The appellate court also correctly ordered accused-appellant to pay the victim
accused has been somewhere else during the commission of the crime; it for each count of qualified rape, the amount of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos
must also be shown that it would have been impossible for him to be anywhere (₱75,000.00) as civil indemnity and another Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos
within the vicinity of the crime scene.48 (₱75,000.00) as moral damages, consistent with current jurisprudence on
qualified rape. However, the exemplary damages in the amount of Twenty-
This is even more particularly true in rape cases where the accused and the Five Thousand Pesos (₱25,000.00) should be increased to Thirty Thousand
victim are father and daughter, respectively. We declared in People v. Pesos (₱30,000.00) in line with recent case law.51
Mendoza49 that:
We likewise affirm the penalty imposed by the Court of Appeals upon accused-
It is well-settled that denial is essentially the weakest form of defense and it appellant for his conviction on two counts of acts of lasciviousness in Criminal
can never overcome an affirmative testimony particularly when it comes from Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552. Under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code,
the mouth of a credible witness. Accused-appellant’s bare assertion that the crime of acts of lasciviousness is punishable by prision correccional. With
private complainant was just "using" him to allow her to freely frolic with other the alternative circumstance of relationship taken as an aggravating
men, particularly with a certain Renato Planas, begs the credulity of this Court. circumstance in the commission of the crime, the penalty prescribed by law
This is especially true in the light of our consistent pronouncement that "no shall be imposed in its maximum period following Article 64(3) of the said
decent and sensible woman will publicly admit being a rape victim and thus Code, or four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years.
run the risk of public contempt - the dire consequence of a rape charge – Applying the indeterminate sentence law, the said penalty shall constitute the
unless she is, in fact, a rape victim." More in point is our pronouncement in maximum term while the minimum term shall be within the range of the penalty
People v. Canoy, to wit: next lower in degree to that of the penalty provided by law which is arresto
mayor or one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months. Thus, accused-
appellant is hereby sentenced to suffer, for each count of acts of
… It is unthinkable for a daughter to accuse her own father, to submit herself
lasciviousness, the penalty of imprisonment for six (6) months of arresto
for examination of her most intimate parts, put her life to public scrutiny and
mayor, as minimum, to six (6) years of prision correccional, as maximum.
expose herself, along with her family, to shame, pity or even ridicule not just
for a simple offense but for a crime so serious that could mean the death
sentence to the very person to whom she owes her life, had she really not The award by the Court of Appeals of moral damages to AAA in the amount of
have been aggrieved. Nor do we believe that the victim would fabricate a story Thirty Thousand Pesos (₱30,000.00), for each count of acts of lasciviousness,
of rape simply because she wanted to exact revenge against her father, is appropriate, in the same way that moral damages are awarded to victims of
appellant herein, for allegedly scolding and maltreating her. 50 rape even without need of proof because of the presumption that the victim
has suffered moral injury, rests on settled jurisprudence.52 We also deem that
Finally, we adopt the penalties imposed by the Court of Appeals upon AAA is further entitled to an award of civil indemnity in the amount of Twenty
Thousand Pesos (₱20,000.00), for each count of acts of lasciviousness.53 The
accused-appellant, but modify the damages awarded in AAA’s favor.
amount of exemplary damages should also be increased from the Twenty-Five
Thousand Pesos (₱25,000.00) awarded by the Court of Appeals, to Thirty
Given the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346, the Court of Appeals properly Thousand Pesos (₱30,000.00), for each count of acts of lasciviousness,
reduced the penalty of death and, instead, imposed upon accused-appellant considering the presence of the aggravating circumstance of relationship in the
the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole for each count of commission of the crime. Exemplary damages should be awarded "in order to
his three convictions for qualified rape in Criminal Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550, deter fathers with perverse tendencies and aberrant sexual behavior from
and 02-551. preying upon their young daughters."54
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision dated July 31, 2007 of WE CONCUR:
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02131, which affirmed with
modifications the Decision dated February 6, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court, RENATO C. CORONA
Branch 65, of Bulan, Sorsogon, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, to Chief Justice
read as follows: Chairperson

(1) In Criminal Case Nos. 02-549, 02-550 and 02-551, accused PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. DIOSDADO M. PERALTA*
Domingo Dominguez, Jr. is hereby held GUILTY beyond reasonable Associate Justice Associate Justice
doubt for three counts of qualified rape and that, for each count, he is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without
eligibility for parole, and ordered to pay the private offended party civil JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
indemnity in the amount of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos Associate Justice
(₱75,000.00), moral damages also in the amount of Seventy-Five
Thousand Pesos (₱75,000.00), and exemplary damages in the CERTIFICATION
amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (₱30,000.00);
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the
(2) In Criminal Case Nos. 02-548 and 02-552, accused Domingo conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the
Dominguez, Jr. is hereby held GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
two counts of acts of lasciviousness and that, for each count, he is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for six (6) RENATO C. CORONA
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to six (6) years of prision Chief Justice
correccional, as maximum, and ordered to pay the private offended
party civil indemnity in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos
(₱20,000.00), moral damages in the amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos
(₱30,000.00), and exemplary damages in the amount of Thirty
Article 8. People v. Azugue (Feb. 26, 1997)
Thousand Pesos (₱30,000.00); and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BUENAFE AZUGUE y
(3) Accused Domingo Dominguez, Jr. is further ordered to pay the AMADOR, accused-appellant.
private offended party interest on all damages awarded at the legal
rate of Six Percent (6%) per annum from date of finality of this
DECISION
judgment.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
No costs.
The accused alleges alibi and attacks the credibility of the prosecutions lone
SO ORDERED. witness. As these defenses are addressed essentially to the trial courts discretion and
because the accused failed to discredit the court a quos findings thereon, necessarily
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO the appeal must fail.
Associate Justice
This is an appeal from the Decision[1] dated January 8, 1993 of the Regional Trial prejudice to its refiling if and when evidence is available to the prosecution. Morito
Court, 6th Judicial Region, Branch 15,[2] stationed in Roxas City, convicting accused Salvador was never arrested and remains at large.So the case proceeded only in
Buenafe Azugue of murder and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. regard to accused-appellant.
The Amended Information[3] filed by Asst. City Prosecutor Salvador B. Dellota
before the trial court on November 20, 1990 reads as follows:
The Facts
The undersigned Asst. City Prosecutor accuses MORITO SALVADOR y ADONAY,
BUENAFE AZUGUE, residents of Brgy. Cogon, Roxas City, and BERTITO BETURIN y The facts of the case as summarized by the trial court[5] are as follows:
ALBALADEJO, a resident of Brgy. Cogon, Roxas City, but presently detained in the City
Jail of Roxas City, of the crime of MURDER, defined and penalized under Art. 248 of
From the evidence adduced by both parties it was duly established that around 7:00
the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
oclock in the evening of October 27, 1990 at Brgy. Cogon, City of Roxas, the victim,
Joebe Arrobang, was stabbed by accused, Morito Salvador, causing his death. He was
That on or about the 27th day of October, 1990 in the City of Roxas, Philippines, and brought to St. Anthony Hospital for medical attendance. Nevertheless, he died. Dr.
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, Gervacio Diaz, attending physicial, issued a certificate of his death.
confederating, and mutually helping one another, without justifiable cause and with
treachery and evident premeditation, with intent to kill one Joebe Arrobang, did then
Considering that a medico legal examination is a function of the City Health Office,
and there wilfully (sic), unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab and wound
the victim, Joebe Arrobang, was referred to Dr. Rafael Almalbis, Jr., then one of the
with a knife the said Joebe Arrobang, thereby inflicting upon him a mortal wound
City Health Officer, (sic) City of Roxas, for Post Mortem Examination. The latter
which caused his death.
conducted a Post Mortem Examination on the cadaver of the victim at Funeraria de
Jesus and issued his findings as follows:
That as a direct consequence of the unlawful act of all the accused, the heirs of the
said Joebe Arrobang suffered actual, moral and other damages in the amount of
I -- Rigor Mortis:
Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), Philippine Currency.

II. -- External Findings:


Contrary to law, with the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the accused having
employed means, methods or forms in the execution of the crime which tended
directly and specially to ensure its execution, without risk to themselves arising from 1 -- Thru and thru stab wound:
the defense which the deceased might have made, for immediately after the
deceased had alighted from the jeep which got stuck on the mud, the accused Morito Point of entrance -- stab wound located at the right flunk of the abdomen at the level
Salvador suddenly and without any warning, stabbed the deceased with the said of the umbilicus about 6 cm. above the antero-superior iliac crest, measuring 3 cm. in
knife while being held on both arms by the accused Bertito Beturin and Buenafe length traversing toward the opposite side of the abdomen and exit at the lateral
Azugue, and the generic aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation. side, measuring 3/4 cm. in width.

Accused Buenafe Azugue, assisted by counsel de parte Federico Billones, was Eveseration (sic) of small intestine
arraigned on August 12, 1992, and pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. [4] The
case against Accused Bertito Beturin was dismissed by the trial court without CAUSE OF DEATH:
SHOCK, 2nd to internal hemorrhage due to stab wound of the abdomen. Capiz, on October 7, (1990) to harvest palay. They returned to Barangay Cogon, Roxas
City, only on October 30, 1990.
The sole prosecution witness to the incident against herein accused was Porferio
Delmo, a fish vendor, who testified that around four oclock in the afternoon of To emphasize that it was not herein accused who stabbed the victim but Morito
October 27, 1990, while he was riding in a public utility jeep from Barangay Punta Salvador who acted alone, Mrs. Merlinda Fajartin, sister of accused, Morito Salvador,
Cogon, it suddenly stopped because its rear tire got stuck in the mud. The victim, Jolly offered a different version of the incident.She testified that around 6:30 in the
(sic) Arrobang, being the conductor, alighted from the jeep to verify its evening of October 27, 1990, he (sic) heard Joebe Arrobang shouting in the street
cause.Thereupon, herein accused, Buenafe Azugue, held the victim on both forearms facing the house of Morito Salvador and challenging the latter to come out if he is
while in face to face with the victim and immediately, his co-accused, Morito brave.Upon hearing said voice, she went downstairs and she saw Joebe Arrobang
Salvador, from behind, stabbed the victim, hitting him on his right hips. The victim carrying a bench which was usually used in a passenger jeep to set (sic) extra
shouted I was stabbed while herein accused and Morito Salvador ran away from the passengers ready to hit his opponent. Suddenly, his (sic) brother, Morito appeared on
scene going towards the direction of Barangay Punta Cogon. He did not alight from the side of the victim, stabbed him and run away. She was stunned on what she
the jeep anymore after seeing two (2) men helped the victim. However, he rode in saw. Since then, they did not know the whereabouts of his brother up to the
the same jeep which brought the victim to the hospital. present. She further testified that at the time of the incident, her brother, Morito,
had no companion. Neither there was any passenger jeepney around as claimed by
Porferio Delmo positively saw herein accused as the one who held the victim on both the prosecution.[6]
forearms after which his co-accused, Morito Salvador, stabbed the victim because he
was two (2) armslength from them.Besides, he knew the two (2) accused even before
the incident happened. The Trial Courts Ruling

According to the Defense On January 8, 1993, the trial court rendered its decision, the decretal portion of
which is as follows:

The defenses version, as gleaned by the trial court from the testimony of WHEREFORE, the court finds the accused, Buenafe Azugue y Amador, guilty beyond
witnesses, reads: reasonable doubt for the crime of murder penalized under Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code. There being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, said accused is
Accused, Buenafe Azugue, interposed a defense of alibi. He testified that in the sentenced to suffer a penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the heirs of Joebe
morning of October 27, 1990, he went to Barangay Ilas Norte, Municipality of Dao, Arrobang the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity by reason of such death.
Province of Capiz, together with Wilfredo Buenvenida, (sic) his father-in-law. He
returned to his place of residence at Barangay Cogon only on October 28, 1990. Thus, Said accused being detained, the whole period of his detention shall be deducted in
at the time of the incident he was not in Barangay Cogon, Roxas City, but in Barangay full from the whole period of his imprisonment provided he had abided with the rules
Ilas Norte, Dao. imposed upon him as a detention prisoner otherwise he shall be deducted only four-
fifths of the whole period of his detention in accordance with Article 29 of the
His father-in-law, Wilfredo Buenvenida, (sic) partially corroborated the alibi of herein Revised Penal Code as amended.
accused. He claims that he and the accused, Buenafe Azugue, left for Ilas Norte, Dao,
With the conviction and penalty herein imposed, no bail is allowed on the accused court a quo, or almost two (2) years from October 27, 1990, when the crime was
herein pending finality of this judgment. committed. What made his testimony highly incredible was the fact that all those
time he was the neighbor of the private complainant.[9] Appellant, therefore, impugns
Costs against the accused.[7] the credibility of the prosecutions only eyewitness.
After a thorough scrutiny of the entire records of this case, the Court found that
the trial court correctly gave credence to the eyewitness testimony of prosecution
The Issues witness Porferio Delmo. He gave a straightforward and unequivocal account of the
stabbing incident worthy of belief, viz.:

In his brief, the appellant assigned the following errors:[8] Q: Now, prior to the stabbing of Juvy Arrobang, where did he come from
when you saw him?
I
xxxxxxxxx
The trial court erred in giving weight and credence to the incredible testimony A: When the jeepney stopped, Juvy Arrobang jumped off from the jeep.
of the lone prosecution witness Porferio Delmo.
Q: Why did Juvy Arrobang jumped (sic) off from the jeep?
II A: He jumped off from the jeep to find out what happened why the
jeepney stopped because Juvy Arrobang was the conductor of the
The trial court erred in disregarding the defense of alibi of accused-appellant jeepney that I was riding at that time.
which was corroborated by that of Buenavenida.
Q: After he was able to alight from the jeep what else had happened?
A: Somebody approached him and held him.
The Courts Ruling
Q: Do you know the person who held Juvy Arrobang?
A: Yes, sir.
First Issue: Credibility of Witness and Sufficiency of Prosecutions Evidence
Q: If the person that held Juvy Arrobang is inside the courtroom kindly
identify him if he is now in court?
The accused-appellant Buenafe Azugue contends that the evidence presented A: (Witness standing from the witness stand and pointed to a man wearing
by the prosecution was not enough to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. This an orange t-shirt as the person whom he saw held Juvy Arrobang).
contention is based largely on appellant Azugues submission that the only eyewitness
presented by the prosecution never gave a statement to the police authorities nor Q: Do you know the name of this fellow you just pointed before the court
presented himself before the Office of the City prosecutor. In fact, he was not listed this morning?
as one of the witnesses both in the Information and the Amended Information. The
A: Yes, sir.
first time that he gave a statement relative to the stabbing incident that resulted in
the death of Joebe Arrobang was on October 19, 1992, when he testified before the
Q: And who (sic) is the name of this fellow that you have just pointed to xxxxxxxxx
the court?
Q: And how far were you from that fellow, Morito Salvador when you saw
A: Buenafe Asugue (sic). him stabbed (sic) Juvy Arrobang?
Q: Why did (sic) you know him? A: About two armslength.[10]
A: I know (sic) him even before the incident and also that I used to pass at The fact that prosecution witness Porferio Delmo did not make a statement
Barangay Cogon. regarding the stabbing before the police authorities or city prosecutor is of no
moment. Delmo sufficiently clarified this lapse during the trial. He explained that,
Q: When you saw this Buenafe Asugue (sic) held (sic) the arms of the
since the other passengers of the jeepney during that fateful dusk had reported the
deceased Juvy Arrobang, how did he do it. Kindly demonstrate before
incident already, there was no need for him to make his own statement. [11] This does
the court? I reform the question. Where did this Buenafe Asugue (sic)
not diminish the veracity of his court testimony. Appellants attack against
hold the victim? prosecution witness Delmos credibility for being a neighbor of the deceased is
xxxxxxxxx misplaced. Delmo was not shown to have any ill motive in testifying against accused-
appellant. In fact, even the stronger tie of family relationship with the victim will not
A: (Witness holding both arms of the interpreter demonstrating how the necessarily taint testimony. This Court teaches that x x x the clear and positive
two was holding the arms of Juvy Arrobang at the time and the testimony of witnesses is not devalued or impaired by the mere fact of relationship to
accused and the victim were facing (each other), face to face. the victim, when there is no showing of improper motive on the part of said
Q: While accused Buenafe Asugue (sic) was holding both arms of the witness.[12] Moreover, the lapse of two years from the stabbing to Porferio Delmos
victim, Juvy Arroabang, (sic) what else had happened? testimony does not necessarily impugn its accuracy. One who witnesses a stabbing
that occurred a mere two armslength away, involving two people he already knew
A: Somebody came near to the victim. may be expected to remember the details of the extraordinary occurrence, including
the identity of the principal actor therein.
xxxxxxxxx
In deciding this appeal, the Court reiterates the well-settled principle that:
Q: From what direction did this fellow you saw come from?
A: That person who came nearer came from behind. x x x when the question is raised as to whether to believe the version of the
prosecution or that of the defense, the trial courts choice is generally viewed as
xxxxxxxxx
correct and entitled to the highest respect because it is more competent to conclude
Q: After this fellow whom you saw came nearer x x x what else did he do? so, having had the opportunity to observe the witnesses demeanor and deportment
on the witness stand, and the manner in which they gave their testimonies, and
A: I saw him stabbed Juvy Arrobang. therefore could better discern if such witnesses were telling the truth; the trial court
Court: is thus in the best position to weigh conflicting testimonies. Therefore, unless the trial
judge plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value which, if considered,
Q: To whom do you refer to (by) him? might affect the result of the case, his assessment on credibility must be
respected.[13]
A: Morito Salvador stabbed Juvy Arrobang.
Thus, as aptly stated by the court a quo: to testify falsely against (him). For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must
show that he was at such other place for such a period of time that it was physically
The court finds the testimony of Porferio Delmo, sole prosecution witness, as worthy impossible for him to have been at the place where the crime was committed at the
of belief. The accused, Buenafe Azugue, was positively identified by said eye-witness time of its commission.[17] In the instant case, the appellant failed to satisfy this
(sic) who was just two (2) armslength from the victim. No dubious or evil motive requirement of time and place. The difference in the testimony of appellant Azugue
whatsoever has been proved which would cause or compel him to falsely testify and his witness Buenavenida regarding the time they allegedly went and stayed at
against said accused. It is much a matter of judicial acceptance that a witness would Ilas Norte, Dao, Capiz plainly showed that both of them made up a
not falsely impute to an accused a serious criminal offense if it is not the untarnished story. Furthermore, Buenavenida himself testified that the crime scene was
truth. The categorical identification made by this witness should be given full faith approximately a mere one hour away traveling by jeep.[18] Hence, it was not even
and credit especially in the total absence of any ill motive, grudge or animosity on his physically impossible for appellant to have gone to Ilas Norte, Dao, Capiz and return
part. to Barangay Cogon to commit his foul deed. The Solicitor General correctly observed
that:
xxxxxxxxx
As can be gleaned from the testimonies of appellant and his father-in-law, there are
From the demeanor of prosecution (sic) sole witness as he testifies, the court finds glaring inconsistencies which logically lead to the conclusion that their testimonies
his testimony credible and worthy of full faith and credit. There is no showing that were mere concoctions and fabrications.
said witness had any motive to testify falsely against the accused.[14]
On direct examination, appellant said:

Second Issue: Is Alibi Proper? Q: On October 27, in the morning of October 27 up to October 28 on the
following day, was there an occasion that you have gone home to
Roxas City?
The appellant raises the defense of alibi propped up by his allegation that in the
A: Yes, sir. (TSN, November 23, 1992, p. 16)
morning of October 27, 1990, he went to Barangay Ilas Norte, Municipality of Dao,
Province of Capiz, together with Wilfredo Buenavenida, his father-in-law. He returned
to his place of residence at Barangay Cogon only on October 28, 1990. Thus, at the Clearly, appellant stated that he went back to Brgy. Punta Cogon, Roxas City on
time of the incident he was not in barangay Cogon, Roxas City, but in Barangay Ilas October 28, 1990, which contradicts his father-in-laws statement that they went back
Norte, Dao. (TSN, November 23, 1992, pp. 2-8)[15] His version was corroborated by on October 30, 1990.
defense witness Wilfredo Buenavenida. The latter testified that he and the accused,
Buenafe Azugue, left for Ilas Norte, Dao, Capiz on october (sic) 7, 1992 to harvest While both appellant and Buenvenida (sic) gave their testimonies on the same date,
palay. They returned only on October 30, 1990. (TSN, November 23, 1992, pp. 2-8)[16] in the morning of November 23, 1992, with Buenvenida testifying ahead of appellant,
and the latter heard in toto the testimony of the former, yet their testimonies were
Appellants defense of alibi is unworthy of credence. It is an oft-repeated rule inconsistent, which indicates that both were not telling the truth.[19]
that alibi is one of the weakest defenses an accused can invoke, and courts have
always looked upon it with caution, if not suspicion, not only because it is inherently Based on the foregoing discussion, the testimony of Merlinda Fajartin, which
unreliable but likewise because it is rather easy to fabricate. It cannot prevail over the seeks to place the crime scene in another location and to limit the perpetrator to her
positive identification of the accused by the prosecutions witness who has no motive brother alone who is at large, is discredited. It is not at all farfetched that Merlinda
concocted her version of the crime so that accused-appellant Azugue, a friend and on his person. In fact, the victim Arrobang was defenseless during the attack as his
co-conspirator of her brorther, would thereby be acquitted. Thus, her testimony is hands were restrained by the accused-appellant to facilitate the stabbing x x
simply unworthy of belief and serious consideration by the Court. x.[23] Therefore, the trial court correctly appreciated treachery which qualified the
killing to murder.
WHEREFORE, appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The trial courts Decision convicting
Conspiracy Attended the Commission of the Crime appellant Buenafe Azugue y Amador of murder and imposing on him the penalty
of reclusion perpetua and the payment to the victims heirs of civil indemnity in the
amount of P50,000.00 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
The evidence on record reveals that the accused-appellant Buenafe Azugues
participation in the killing is limited to his having held both hands of the victim Joebe SO ORDERED.
Arrobang.Nonetheless, the mere fact that the accused-appellant did not actually stab
the victim x x x does not negate the appellants being part of a conspiracy to kill the Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo, and Francisco, JJ., concur.
latter.[20] We reiterate that (i)n a conspiracy, it is not necessary to show that all the
conspirators actually hit and killed the victim. What is important is that all
participants performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as
unmistakably to indicate a common purpose or design in bringing about the death of
the victim.[21]
In this case, accused-appellant Azugues active cooperation in face to face
holding and immobilizing the arms of the victim who while in this helpless position
was then stabbed fatally from the back with a knife by the other conspirator Morito
Salvador clearly and unmistakably showed both appellant Azugue and Salvador acted
together with one purpose and design, to kill the victim. Hence, the appellant is
liable, by legislative and judicial fiat, as if he himself dealt the fatal blow.

Treachery

Jurisprudence teaches us that to appreciate treachery two (2) conditions must


be present, to wit: (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.[22] These conditions are amply
present in the instant case. Azugue and Salvadors previously discussed cooperative
actions, where one immobilized the victim Arrobang while the other did the stabbing,
coupled with their swift surprise attack on the victim, left the latter with no
opportunity to put up a defense against such an unexpected, vicious and fatal assault

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