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People v.

Rogelio Deopante
G.R. No. 102772
30 October 1996
J. Panganiban

*Appeal from decision of RTC of Pasig dated September 6, 1991, convicting accused Rogelio
Deopante of murder with a sentence of reclusion perpetua

FACTS:

On January 10, 1991, Dante Deopante was having a conversation with his friend in Pasig City,
Renato Molina when accused-appellant came across their direction. Seeing that the accused-
appellant was fast approaching and was drawing out an open fan knife (balisong) from his right
back pants pocket, Renato immediately called out to Dante to flee the place; he and Dante went
into different directions. Appellant ran after Dante and overpowered him in a basketball court
where they grappled each other. When appellant was in the dominant position, he stabbed Dante
twice with his fan knife and fled the scene leaving Dante mortally wounded. Dante was rushed
to Rizal Medical Center. Patrolman Crispin Pio received info that appellant was the one who
stabbed Dante and later obtained sworn statement from Nestor Deopante indicating the
appellant stabbed the victim. After Pio and 2 other police officers when to appellants house
informing appellant of the allegation against him. Appellant went with the police officers and
maintained his innocence throughout the investigation while police recovered a fan knife from
the appellant and was sent for examination.

Prosecution presented six witnesses: Dr. Emmanuel Arana who testified the results of the
autopsy where he said that the fan knife sent to him for examination could have been used in
stabbing a person since it showed minute traces of human blood; Manolo Angeles and Renato
Molina who were eyewitnesses; Patrolman Crispin Pio who received the report of stabbing and
recovered the fan knife; Alfonso Reyes, the barangay captain of Brgy. Kapasigan, Pasig City who
testified that Dante made a personal complaint to him that appellant threatened to kill him and
that he kept a logbook of all the incidents that happened in the barangay. Prosecution argued
that victim was killed with evident premeditation.

Defense claimed that the fatal injuries inflicted by appellant were done in self-defense. They
presented three witnesses: the accused himself, his longtime friend Benito Carrasco and his son,
Vladimir. According to them, while the appellant was allegedly on his way home, he was seen by
his nephew Dante and Renato who were allegedly drunk and suddenly boxed him. He ran away
but was pursued by Dante and was overtaken by him. The victim pulled out a knife which
appellant allegedly wrested away from Dante. He does not know whether he stabbed him or not.
Appellant presented a medical certificate as evidence that he sustained injuries on the little finger
if his right hand and abrasion on his right leg, left knee and left hand. Appellant claimed that he
placed behind bars Dante for being a drug addict when he was still a policeman.
On cross examination, appellant testified that he was a former policeman of Pasig Police
Department but was discharged for having been absent without leave, by reason of a complaint
filed against him by Manolo Angeles before the National Police Commission and in which case,
Dante was presented as a witness.

RTC finds the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime murder as charged and was
imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua, there being no other generic aggravating or mitigating
circumstance adduced; and is to pay 500,000 for costs.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not the entry in the barangay chairman’s blotter is a basis in holding the
commission of the offense with evident premeditation

2. Whether or not voluntary surrender and physical defect are mitigating circumstances

3. Whether or not RTC erred in not considering appellant’s claim of self-defense.

4. Whether or not RTC erred in not considering the flaws and inconsistencies of the
prosecution’s witnesses and its biased character and wanting of credibility.

5. Whether or not Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code be applied in the imposition of
penalty.

RULING:

1. Yes. The entry in the barangay chairman’s blotter is a basis in holding the commission of
the offense with evident premeditation. Elements of evident premeditation include: the
time when the accused decided to commit the crime, an overt act manifestly indicating
that the accused had clung to his determination to commit the crime; and a sufficient
lapse of time between the decision to commit the crime and the execution thereof.
Considering the evidence and the events leading to the killing, the court does not agree
on the appellants claim. The first and third elements were proven by the testimony of the
barangay captain, the report made by the victim and the record of the report in the
logbook were established the time when appellant decided to commit the crime. The
period between the said report and the killing constituted a sufficient lapse of time
between determination to commit crime and execution. Second element was proven by
the testimony of Renato, who was present from the inception to the culmination of the
assault.
2. No. Voluntary surrender and physical defect are not mitigating circumstances. In order to
appreciate voluntary surrender, the same must be shown to have been “spontaneous and
made in such a manner that it shows the intent of the accused to surrender
unconditionally to authorities.” Appellant did not surrender to police. Evidence shows
that it was the police who came to the factory looking for him. Also, his severed left hand
does not mean that he should be automatically credited with the mitigating
circumstances because he was not limited in his means of action or defense. In fact, he
managed to attack and stab the victim.
3. No. RTC did not err in not considering appellant’s claim of self-defense. Appellant failed
to prove unlawful aggression. The self-serving allegation of the appellant does not inspire
belief when contrasted with the positive and categorical eyewitnesses accounts of Molina
and Angeles that appellant ran after and stabbed the victim. The latter’s testimonies are
corroborated by the number and extent of the stab wounds sustained by the victim.
4. No. Jurisprudence teaches us that the findings of the trial court judge who tried the case
and heard the witnesses are not disturbed unless there are substantial facts and
circumstances which might have been overlooked and which, if properly considered,
might affect the result of the case. The trial judge’s evaluation of the credibility of
witnesses deserves utmost respect in the absence of arbitrariness. Both are disinterested
witnesses. The appellant is the full blood uncle of Angeles’ wife and would not dare incur
the wrath of his wife and family while Renato resides nearby in the same locality as the
accused and is the childhood friend of the victim.
5. No. Art.69 of the RPC cannot be applied to the case at hand for incomplete self-defense
for it only applies where a majority of the conditions required to justify a criminal act or
exempt from liability are present. Unlawful aggression is indispensable in self-defense. In
the instant case, there it was conclusively shown that appellant was the aggressor.
People v. Galas
G.R. No. 114007
24 September 1996
J. Davide, Jr.

*Appeal from RTC’s decision finding Gonzalo Galas, Josue Galas, Noe Galas, Dimas Acma and
Maximo Delgado guilty with the crime of murder

FACTS:

Federico Gamayon, a farmer died on December 23, 1985 in Narra, Palawan due to six hack
wounds and two stab wounds inflicted on various parts of his body. Held account for his death
are the accused. Prosecution commenced by the filing of criminal complaint for murder in the
MTC of Palawan and was amended to charge the accused with lesser homicide; thus, they were
released upon approval of bail bonds. The Provincial Fiscal recommended the filing of an
information of murder due to presence of the qualifying circumstances of evident premeditation
and abuse of superior strength on April 8, 1986.

The accused conspired, confederated together and mutually helped one another kill, with
evident premeditation and treachery and by use of superior strength. Bail bonds were forfeited.
Judge Guerra directed the issuance of alias warrant of arrest. On December 15, 1988, Gonzalo
Galas was turned over to the court uncleared if he voluntarily surrendered or was arrested. May
9, 1989, Gonzalo Galas was arraigned and plead not guilty. Court further issued another alias
warrant for the other accused. After reinvestigation, Provincial Prosecutor Sesinio Belen filed a
Motion to Admit Amended Information which now charges the accused with Homicide.
Prosecutor Belen alleged that the reinvestigation disclosed no evidence of evident premeditation
nor treachery an the victim even had the opportunity to wound accused Gonzalo Galas. On March
22, 1990 accused Josue Galas, Noe Galas, Dimas Acma and Maximo Delgado filed a motion to lift
the order of arrest and of the forfeiture of their bail bonds. RTC denied for lack of merit the
prosecution’s motion to admit the Amended Information and arraigned accused on the basis of
the information for murder. Each pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution established the following facts:


On December 23, 1995, Fedrico Gamayon and his son Crisanto who was riding a carabao and a
6-year old nephew Joemar, who was riding on the sled were on their way home to Tinagong
Dagat from Narra, Palawan where they had sold copra. When they were in the house of accused
Gonzalo Galas, Federico was called by Gonzalo. When Federico approached Gonzalo, the latter
suddenly hacked Federico with a bolo. Federico fell to the ground then accused Josue Galas, Noe
Galas, Dimas Acma and Maximo Delgado “ganged up” on Federico, according to Crisanto. Josue
hacked Federico with a bolo while Noe, Dimas and Maximo were armed with pieces of wood.
Crisanto could not do anything to help his father because he was afraid and ran to his uncle for
help, but the latter was not in the house. He did not return to the crime scene until the next day
after the incident. According to autopsy by Dr. Dominador Hubo, the municipal health officer,
Federico’s cause of death was cardio respiratory arrest secondary to multiple hack and stab
wound and internal and external hemorrhage. As to the accused’s motive, Crisanto intimated
that Gonzalo was angry because Federico demanded from payment from Gonzalo for hiring his
carabao for one year, with the payment supposed to be in kind: ten sacks of palay.

Gonzalo claims that he was challenged to a fight by Federico and when he approached Federico,
the latter stabbed him with a bolo. They hacked each other, Federico fell. Gonzalo went home to
ask for help to get to the doctor. The medical certificate issued to him indicates that he was
wounded on the right arm and on the left part of his abdomen. On their part, accused Josue and
Noe Galas declared that on the date and time Federico was killed, they were in Aborlan, Palawan
which is five km away from the scene of the crime. They only knew the incident the day after it
happened. Maximo Delgado testified that on December 23, 1985 he was in his house in Narra,
Palawan about half a kilometer away from Gonzalo’s home. He was summoned by Gonzalo’s wife
and one Joel Buncag to help bring Gonzalo to the hospital. He denied having inflicted any injury
upon Frederico. Dimas Akma testified that on December 23, 1985 at 9:00 pm, he was at the house
of one Decena which is approximately three kilometers away from the crime scene and he just
finished threshing palay for Sergio Gabileo and were roasting chicken for a little get-together.
The accused also presented witnesses: Joel Buncag, Policarpio Gabello and Sergio Gabileo. RTC
found all the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder with a penalty of
reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the victim the sum of P150,000 (30k each) as
actual, moral and exemplary damages, with costs. Accused filed notice of appeal.

ISSUE:
1. W/N RTC acted with grave abuse of disretion amounting to loss of jurisdiction in relying
entirely on the manifestly perjured testimony of the two supposed eyewitnesses for the
prosecution and in disregarding evidence favorable to the accused

2. W/N RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to loss of jurisdiction in not
according accused their constitutional right to be presumed innocent and to an impartial
tribunal

RULING:

1. No. One of the main witnesses, Joemar Deocadiz was five years old during the time. His
age does not disqualify him as a witness. Sec 20, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides
that any child, regardless of age can be competent witness if they meet the following
criteria: capacity of observation, capacity of recollection and capacity of communication.
Joemar was clear on the facts he observed surrounding the death of Federico which
according to him took place on a date nearing Christmas. The accused’s claim that if the
other witness, Crisanto Gamayon were really there, he would have questionably helped
his father instead of merely standing still. Crisanto’s testimony that he was afraid
sufficiently refutes this objection. Under circumstances, the 16-year old Crisanto and 5-
year old Joemar could not be expected to act like adults, in full possession of their mental,
emotional and psychological faculties.
2. The accused insist that Gonzalo alone killed Federico in self-defense and assuming that
self-defense was not found to be established, an impartial tribunal could not but rule that
the crime committed was not murder, but only homicide. In Appellee’s brief filed by the
OSG, the People agree with the RTC except as to its order that each accused has to pay
30,000 to the heirs of the victim since it is not in accord with Article 110 of the RPC. They
should be solidarily liable in the amount of P50,000. With regards to the accused’s
witnesses, their testimonies were given only after the lapse of 5 years. It is doctrinally
settled that alibi cannot prevail over and is worthless in the face of the positive
identification by prosecution witnesses. There is no convincing evidence that proves that
the wounds sustained by Federico were inflicted by two persons with the use of two
different weapons to justify a conclusion that anyone of Gonzales’ accused.

The court has then serious doubts as to the culpability of accused Josue Galas, Noe Galas,
Dimas Acma and Maximo Delgado. Their acquittal is inevitable for failure of the
prosecution to overcome the presumption of innocence which is guaranteed in Section
14, Article III of the Constitution.

The fate of accused Gonzalo Galas is entirely different. He admitted that he killed Federico
and interposed self-defense to justify his act. His claim of self-defense claim hardly merits
even a semblance of sympathy. The claim of the prosecution that it was not possible that
Federico inflicted the injuries on Gonzalo because the former was unable to pull out his
bolo from its scabbard does not inspire belief. There is no evidence that Gonzalo’s wounds
were self-inflicted and the speculation of the prosecution that they would have been
inflicted by his co-accused remains speculative. The best evidence that Federico was
unable to use his bolo was his bolo and its scabbard; yet they were not presented. Gonzalo
was held liable for the crime of homicide. Reclusion perpetua was imposed since no
mitigating circumstances have been proven and is entitled to the benefits of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law.

*Appeal partly granted and judgement appealed modified. Josue Galas, Noe Galas, Dimas
Acma and Maximo Delgado are hereby detention unless some other lawful cause
warrants their further detention. Gonzalo Galas is convicted of homicide.
PEOPLE vs GENEBLAZO
G.R. No. 133580
21 July 2001
J. Buena

*Appeal of Maximino Geneblazo of the RTC’s decision convicting him of murder and sentencing him to
reclusion perpetua

FACTS:

Alex Obien, testified that on January 15, 1988, at around 12:00 midnight he and Domingo Opalsa were
walking along Quezon Street, Calauag, Quezon, bound for home when Maximino Geneblazo and around
six unknown companions stoned them. Obien and Opalsa retaliated by also throwing stones at Geneblazo
and company. However, upon seeing that Geneblazo was about to draw his knife, they ran away.
Maximino Geneblazo caught up with Domingo Opalsa and stabbed the latter twice – the first stab landed
on the left side of the body in the area of the armpit, while the second landed on the left side of the face.
SPO1 Emmanuel Quiogue was at home on the night in question. He heard a commotion outside. Peeping
out the window he saw some men throwing stones at each other. He got his gun and went outside.
Noticing the chase which ensued, he went after the men. At the scene of the incident, SPO1 Quiogue saw
two men almost locked in an embrace. He fired his gun but the two did not draw apart so he stood
between them so as to separate them. One of the men fell to the ground while the person who was left
standing stabbed him. Only his finger was hit. He recognized the person who stabbed him as Maximino
Geneblazo. Thereafter SPO1 Quiogue, Obien and Barangay Captain Torres of Pinagtalyeran brought
Opalsa to St. Peter’s Hospital where the latter was pronounced dead on arrival. Crime Committed: Murder

Contention of the State:


The accused committed unlawful aggression, Geneblazo attacked and stabbed Domingo Opalsa
suddenlyand unexpectedly without giving the latter any opportunity to defend himself or to escape which
caused hisdeath.

Contention of the Accused:


Accused-appellant Maximino Geneblazo alleges that he killed the victim Domingo Opalsa in self-defense.

ISSUE:
W/N RTC erred in convicting the accused-appellant for the crime of murder having appreciated the
qualifying circumstance of treachery

W/N self-defense interposed by the accused-appellant is a justifying circumstance

RULING:
Court finds that homicide, not murder was committed since the prosecution failed to prove that the
qualifying circumstance of treachery was present in this case. Treachery must be proven as clearly and as
cogently as the crime itself.

For self-defense to prosper, it must be established that: (1) there was unlawful aggression by the victim;(2)
that the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression was reasonable; and (3) that there was lack
of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. It is quite apparent that it was not
the victim who committed the unlawful aggression but the accused-appellant himself. Unlawful
aggression contemplates an actual, sudden and unexpected attack, or imminent danger thereof, and not
merely a threatening or intimidating attitude -- there has to exist a real danger to the life or personal
safety of the person claiming self-defense.