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[G.R. No. 93436. March 24, 1995.] deed (Revised Penal Code, Art.

vised Penal Code, Art. 226, Title Eight) and grave


threats (Revised Penal Code, Art. 282, Title Nine). He was
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. convicted of homicide in the instant criminal case (Revised
MELCHOR REAL y BARTOLAY, Accused-Appellant. Penal Code, Art. 249, Title Eight). Inasmuch as homicide and
ill-treatment by deed fall under Title Eight, the aggravating
Public Attorney’s Office for Accused-Appellant. circumstance to be appreciated against him is recidivism
under Article 14[g] rather than reiteracion under Article
14(10) of the Revised Penal Code. There is no reiteracion
SYLLABUS because that circumstance requires that the previous offenses
should not be embraced in the same title of the Code. While
grave threats fall in a title (Title Nine) different from homicide
1. CRIMINAL LAW; QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; (Title Eight), still reiteracion cannot be appreciated because
TREACHERY; NOT PRESENT IN CASE A BAR. —The offense such aggravating circumstance requires that if there is only
committed was homicide. He is entitled to the benefit of the one prior offense, that offense must be punishable by an
doubt as to whether he acted with alevosia when he attacked equal or greater penalty than the one for which the accused
the victim. As a rule, a sudden attack by the assailant, has been convicted. Likewise, the prosecution has to prove
whether frontally or from behind, is treachery if such mode of that the offender has been punished for the previous offense.
attack was coolly and deliberately adopted by him with the There is no evidence presented by the prosecution to that
purpose of depriving the victim of a chance to either fight or effect.
retreat. The rule does not apply, however, where the attack
was not preconceived and he deliberately adopted but was 5. ID.; HOMICIDE; PENALTY. — Appellant is convicted of
just triggered by the sudden infuriation on the part of the homicide, appreciating in his favor the mitigating
accused because of the provocative act of the victim (People circumstance of passion and obfuscation, which is offset by
v. Aguiluz, 207 SCRA 187 [1992]). This is more so, where the the aggravating circumstance of recidivism. Appellant is
assault upon the victim was preceded by a heated exchange sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of TEN (10) YEARS of
of words between him and the accused (People v. Rillorta, prision mayor as minimum to SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS AND
180 SCRA 102 [1989]). In the case at bench, the assault FOUR (4) MONTHS of reclusion temporal as maximum. The
came in the course of an altercation and after appellant had indemnity to be paid to the heirs of the victim is increased to
sharpened his bolo in full view of the victim. Appellant’s act of P50,000.00.
sharpening his bolo can be interpreted as an attempt to
frighten the victim so the latter would leave him alone. It was
simply foolhardy for the victim to continue walking to and fro DECISION
near appellant in a taunting manner while the latter was
sharpening his bolo. The suddenness of the attack does not,
by itself, suffice to support a finding of alevosia where the QUIASON, J.:
decision to attack was made peremptorily and the victim’s
helpless position was accidental (People v. Ardisa, 55 SCRA
245 [1974]). This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 44, Masbate, in Criminal Case No. 1606 finding
2. ID.; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; VINDICATION OF A appellant guilty of murder.
GRAVE OFFENSE, CANNOT BE CLAIMED SIMULTANEOUS
WITH PASSION AND OBFUSCATION BASED ON THE SAME We affirm, with modification, the appealed decision.
FACTS. — Appellant claims that he is entitled to two I
mitigating circumstances: namely, vindication of a grave
offense and passion and obfuscation. The peculiarity of these
two mitigating circumstances is that they cannot be applied at The information against appellant reads as
the same time if they arise from the same facts or motive. If follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
appellant attacked his victim in the proximate vindication of a
grave offense, he cannot successfully claim in the same "That on or about March 11, 1978, in the morning thereof, at
breath that he was also blinded by passion and obfuscation. the Poblacion of the Municipality of Aroroy, Province of
At most, only one of two circumstances could be considered Masbate, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Court, the
in favor of appellant (People v. Yaon, Court of Appeals, 43 said accused with intent to kill, evident premeditation and
O.G. 4142 cited in I Reyes, Revised Penal Code [1981]). The treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously
act of the victim in berating and humiliating appellant was and criminally attack, assault and hack with a sharp bolo one
enough to produce passion and obfuscation, considering that Edgardo Corpuz y Rapsing, hitting the latter on the nape,
the incident happened in a market place within full view and causing an injury which caused the death of the said Edgardo
within hearing distance of many people. Corpuz y Rapsing several days thereafter.chanrobles.com.ph :
virtual law library
3. ID.; AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES; REINCIDENCIA,
DISTINGUISHED FROM REITERACION. — In recidivism or That the accused is a recidivist having been convicted by the
reincidencia, the offender shall have been previously Municipal Court of Aroroy, in the following cases:chanrob1es
convicted by final judgment of another crime embraced in the virtual 1aw library
same title of the Revised Penal Code (Revised Penal Code,
Art. 14[g]. In reiteracion, the offender shall have been Crime Date of Conviction
punished previously for an offense of which the law attaches
an equal or greater penalty or for two or more crimes to 1. Ill treatment by Deed — July 6, 1965
which it attaches a lighter penalty (Revised Penal Code, Art.
14 [10]). Unlike in recidencia, the offender in reiteracion 2. Grave Threats — November 25, 1968
commits a crime different in kind from that for which he was
previously tried and convicted (Guevarra, Penal Sciences and (Rollo, p. 14).
Philippine Criminal Law 129 [1974).
Upon being arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty.
4. ID.; ID.; RECIDIVISM, NOT REITERACION, IN CASE OF
BAR. — Appellant was previously convicted of ill-treatment by After trial, the court convicted appellant and sentenced him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs We agree with appellant that the offense committed was
of the victim the sum of P30,000.00 and costs. homicide. He is entitled to the benefit of the doubt as to
whether he acted with alevosia when he attacked the victim.
Hence, this appeal. As a rule, a sudden attack by the assailant, whether frontally
II or from behind, is treachery if such mode of attack was cooly
and deliberately adopted by him with the purpose of depriving
the victim of a chance to either fight or retreat. The rule does
At about 9:00 A.M. on March 17, 1978, in the public market not apply, however, where the attack was not preconceived
of Aroroy, Masbate, appellant and Edgardo Corpuz, both and deliberately adopted but was just triggered by the sudden
vendors, engaged in a heated argument over the right to use infuriation on the part of the accused because of the
the market table to display their fish. provocative act of the victim (People v. Aguiluz, 207 SCRA
187 [1992]). This is more so, where the assault upon the
Moreno de la Rosa, the Municipal Mayor, who happened to be victim was preceded by a heated exchange of words between
at the public market, tried to pacify them, saying that they him and the accused (People v. Rillorta, 180 SCRA 102
were arguing over trivial matters. [1989]). In the case at bench, the assault came in the course
of an altercation and after appellant had sharpened his bolo in
The two protagonists momentarily kept their peace but after full view of the victim. Appellant’s act of sharpening his bolo
awhile Corpuz raised his voice again and said something to can be interpreted as an attempt to frighten the victim so the
appellant. The latter, in a soft voice, uttered "SOBRA NA INA latter would leave him alone. It was simply foolhardly for the
NA IMO PAGDAOGDAOG" (You are being too oppressive). victim to continue walking to and fro near appellant in a
taunting manner while the latter was sharpening his
When Corpus kept on walking to and fro near the disputed bolo.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
fish table, appellant started to sharpen his bolo while
murmuring to himself. Once Corpus turned around with his The suddenness of the attack does not, by itself, suffice to
back towards appellant, the latter hacked him on the nape. support a finding of alevosia where the decision to attack was
The blow caused Corpus to collapse. He was rushed to a made peremptorily and the victim’s helpless position was
medical clinic. When asked by his wife as to who hacked him, accidental (People v. Ardisa, 55 SCRA 245 [1974]).
he answered "Melchor Real."cralaw virtua1aw library
Appellant also claims that he is entitled to two mitigating
A police investigator went to the clinic to take the dying circumstances: namely, vindication of a grave offense and
declaration of Corpus, who said that it was appellant who passion and obfuscation. The peculiarity of these two
stabbed him. Corpus died two days later.chanrobles.com.ph : mitigating circumstances is that they cannot be applied at the
virtual law library same time if they arise from the same facts or motive.

Appellant admitted hacking Corpus but claimed that he did so If appellant attacked his victim in the proximate vindication of
out of humiliation and anger when the victim threw his fish in a grave offense, he cannot successfully claim in the same
the presence of so many people. breath that he was also blinded by passion and obfuscation.
At most, only one of two circumstances could be considered
Q. When Edgardo Corpus was lambasting you in the presence in favor of appellant (People v. Yaon, Court of Appeals, 43
of the public, what did you do, how did you feel? O.G. 4142 cited in I Reyes, Revised Penal Code [1981]).

A. I got angry. The act of the victim in berating and humiliating appellant
was enough to produce passion and obfuscation, considering
Q. And what did you do? that the incident happened in a market place within full view
and within hearing distance of many people.
A. So I hacked him.
The trial court held, and the Solicitor General agreed, that the
Q. Was he hit? attendant aggravating circumstance was reiteracion and not
reincidencia as alleged in the information. The trial court and
A. Yes, Sir. the Solicitor General are in error.

Q. In what part of his body was he hit? According to the information charging appellant of murder
and the evidence, the accused was previously convicted of ill-
A. At the right neck. treatment by deed on July 6, 1965 and grave threats on
November 25, 1968.
Q. Did you admit to the authorities that it was you who
hacked Edgardo Corpus? In recidivism or reincidencia, the offender shall have been
previously convicted by final judgment of another crime
A. Yes, sir. embraced in the same title of the Revised Penal Code
(Revised Penal Code, Art. 14[g]). In reiteracion, the offender
On cross-examination, he again admitted his guilt. shall have been punished previously for an offense to which
the law attaches an equal or greater penalty or for two or
Q. And when this Edgardo Corpus turn (sic) his back, you more crimes to which it attaches a lighter penalty (Revised
immediately hacked him on his neck? Penal Code, Art. 14[10]). Unlike in reincidencia, the offender
in reiteracion commits a crime different in kind from that for
A. Yes, sir (TSN, July 9, 1986, pp. 6-8; Underlining supplied). which he was previously tried and convicted (Guevarra, Penal
III Sciences and Philippine Criminal Law 129 [1974]).

Appellant was previously convicted of ill-treatment by deed


Before us, appellant argues that the crime committed was (Revised Penal Code, Art. 266, Title Eight) and grave threats
only homicide and not murder and that he is entitled to two (Revised Penal Code, Art. 282, Title Nine). He was convicted
mitigating circumstances: namely, passion and obfuscation of homicide in the instant criminal case (Revised Penal Code,
and vindication of a grave offense. Art. 249, Title Eight). Inasmuch as homicide and ill-treatment
by deed fall under Title Eight, the aggravating circumstance
to be appreciated against him is recidivism under Article bolo in full view of the victim. Appellant’s act of sharpening his bolo can be
14[g] rather than reiteracion under Article 14(10) of the interpreted as an attempt to frighten the victim so the latter would leave him
Revised Penal Code.chanrobles.com : virtual law library alone. It was simply foolhardy for the victim to continue walking to and fro
near appellant in a taunting manner while the latter was sharpening his bolo.
There is no reiteracion because that circumstance requires
that the previous offenses should not be embraced in the CRIME WITHOUT FRUSTRATED STAGE
same title of the Code. While grave threats fall in a title (Title
Nine) different from homicide (Title Eight), still reiteracion ARISTOTEL VALENZUELA y NATIVIDAD, petitioner,
cannot be appreciated because such aggravating vs.
circumstance requires that if there is only one prior offense, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and HON. COURT OF APPEALS NACHURA,
that offense must be punishable by an equal or greater respondents.
penalty than the one for which the accused has been G. R. No. 160188 June 21, 2007
convicted. Likewise, the prosecution has to prove that the
offender has been punished for the previous offense. There is FACTS:
no evidence presented by the prosecution to that effect. • On 19 May 1994, at around 4:30 p.m., petitioner and Calderon
were sighted outside the Super Sale Club, a supermarket within the
Appellant is convicted of homicide, appreciating in his favor ShoeMart (SM) complex along North EDSA, by Lorenzo Lago (Lago), a security
the mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation, which guard who was then manning his post at the open parking area of the
is offset by the aggravating circumstance of recidivism. supermarket. Lago saw petitioner, who was wearing an identification card
with the mark "Receiving Dispatching Unit (RDU)," hauling a push cart with
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court is AFFIRMED cases of detergent of the well-known "Tide" brand. Petitioner unloaded
with the MODIFICATION that appellant is convicted of the these cases in an open parking space, where Calderon was waiting. Petitioner
crime of homicide and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty then returned inside the supermarket, and after five (5) minutes, emerged
of TEN (10) YEARS of prision mayor as minimum to with more cartons of Tide Ultramatic and again unloaded these boxes to the
SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS and FOUR (4) MONTHS of reclusion same area in the open parking space.
temporal as maximum. The indemnity to be paid to the heirs • Thereafter, petitioner left the parking area and haled a taxi. He
of the victim is increased to P50,000.00.chanrobles.com.ph : boarded the cab and directed it towards the parking space where Calderon
virtual law library was waiting. Calderon loaded the cartons of Tide Ultramatic inside the taxi,
then boarded the vehicle. All these acts were eyed by Lago, who proceeded
SO ORDERED. to stop the taxi as it was leaving the open parking area. When Lago asked
petitioner for a receipt of the merchandise, petitioner and Calderon reacted
Padilla, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo and Kapunan, JJ., concur. by fleeing on foot, but Lago fired a warning shot to alert his fellow security
guards of the incident. Petitioner and Calderon were apprehended at the
scene, and the stolen merchandise recovered. The filched items seized from
People vs Real the duo were four (4) cases of Tide Ultramatic, one (1) case of Ultra 25
G.R. No. 93436 / 242 SCRA 671 grams, and three (3) additional cases of detergent, the goods with an
March 24, 1995 aggregate value of P12,090.00.
• In a Decision promulgated on 1 February 2000, the Regional Trial
Facts: Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 90, convicted both petitioner and
At about 9:00 A.M. on March 17, 1978, in the public market of Aroroy, Calderon of the crime of consummated theft. They were sentenced to an
Masbate, appellant and Edgardo Corpuz, both vendors, engaged in a heated indeterminate prison term of two (2) years of prision correccional as
argument over the right to use the market table to display their fish. Moreno minimum to seven (7) years of prision mayor as maximum.
de la Rosa, the Municipal Mayor, who happened to be at the public market, • Valenzuela appealed before the Court of Appeals, arguing that he
tried to pacify them, saying that they were arguing over trivial matters. The should only be convicted of frustrated theft since he was not able to freely
two protagonists momentarily kept their peace but after a while Corpuz dispose of the articles stolen.
raised his voice again and said something to appellant. When Corpus kept on • Decision dated 19 June 2003,the Court of Appeals rejected this
walking to and fro near the disputed fish table, appellant started to sharpen contention and affirmed petitioner’s conviction, thus the Petition for Review
his bolo while murmuring to himself. Once Corpus turned around with his was filed before the Supreme Court.
back towards appellant, the latter hacked him on the nape which the blow
caused Corpus to collapse and was rushed to a medical clinic. A police ISSUE: Whether or not the crime committed has a frustrated stage.
investigator went to the clinic to take the dying declaration of Corpus, who
said that it was appellant who stabbed him. Corpus died two days later. HELD: NO.
• The petition was DENIED.
Issue: • Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code provides that a felony is
Whether or not Treachery was employed in the case at bar. consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and
accomplishment are present.
Ruling:
Yes. As a rule, a sudden attack by the assailant, whether frontally or from • Article 308 states that, in the crime of theft, the following
behind, is treachery if such mode of attack was cooly and deliberately elements should be present: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2)
adopted by him with the purpose of depriving the victim of a chance to that said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent
either fight or retreat. It is agreeable that the offense committed was to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; and (5)
homicide. He is entitled to the benefit of the doubt as to whether he acted that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or
with alevosia when he attacked the victim. As a rule, a sudden attack by the intimidation of persons or force upon things.
assailant, whether frontally or from behind, is treachery if such mode of
attack was cooly and deliberately adopted by him with the purpose of • The Court held that theft is produced when there is deprivation of
depriving the victim of a chance to either fight or retreat. The rule does not personal property by one with intent to gain. Thus, it is immaterial that the
apply, however, where the attack was not preconceived and deliberately offender is able or unable to freely dispose the property stolen since he has
adopted but was just triggered by the sudden infuriation on the part of the already committed all the acts of execution and the deprivation from the
accused because of the provocative act of the victim (People v. Aguiluz, 207 owner has already ensued from such acts. Therefore, theft cannot have a
SCRA 187 [1992]). This is more so, where the assault upon the victim was frustrated stage, and can only be attempted or consummated.
preceded by a heated exchange of words between him and the accused
(People v. Rillorta, 180 SCRA 102 [1989]). In the case at bench, the assault
came in the course of an altercation and after appellant had sharpened his