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Criminal Law Case Digests

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G.R. No. 82113 July 5, 1989
PEOPLE vs. CAÑETE

Facts:
That on or about October 20, 1985, at sitio Abaca, Brgy. Cawitan, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to
kill, treachery and taking advantage of darkness, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
assault, attack, stab and hack, one Zacarias Tampipi, with the use of a bolo, with which the accused was
then armed and provided, thereby inflicting upon the victim mortal stab and hack wounds in the
different parts of the body, to wit:

1) Stab wound, 2 inches wide perforating the abdominal cavity with herniation of the large
intestine at the left lateral side of the abdominal region.

2) Hacked wound at the elbow cutting off the head of the humerus extending from the medial to the
lateral side of the elbow joint.

3) Two superficial hacked wounds, 1 inch wide, 2 inches apart from each other at the posterior left
forearm which wounds caused the death of said Zacarias Tampipi shortly thereafter.

The prosecution's evidence upon which the trial court based its finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt
is narrated by it as follows:

The version of the Prosecution, thru witnesses Dra. Rosita Munoz, Dominador Manayon and Norma
Tampipi, is as follows: That on October 20, 1985, Zacarias Tampipi, Dominador Manayon, Bomby
Lastimosa and Tony Pantoja were in the poblacion of Barangay Cawitan, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental to
sell bananas. On their return they all dropped by the house of Zacarias Tampipi in sitio Abaca, upon
invitation of the latter, arriving there at about 8:30 O'clock in the evening. Zacarias Tampipi thereupon
gathered about 4 liters of tuba from his coconut trees and the four of them (Zacarias, Dominador
Manayon, Bomby Lastimosa and Tony Pantoja) had a drinking spree at the open porch of the house of
Zacarias which was about 3 feet and 9 inches high from the ground. While Dominador Manayon, Bomby
Lastimosa and Tony Pantoja were standing on the ground beside the edge of the porch, Zacarias Tampipi
was seated at the nearby corner thereof and his wife Norma was seated across him near the door
leading to the living room. Beside Norma was a small wick lamp which furnished the illumination around
the porch. At about 11:00 o'clock that same night. Accused suddenly appeared from behind and stabbed
Zacarias Tampipi on the left side with a long, sharp bolo, causing the latter to fall to the ground.
Dominador Manayon moved back while Bomby Lastimosa and Tony Pantoja ran away. While Zacarias
Tampipi was already lying on the ground, Accused kept on hacking him with the bolo until he was told to
stop by Dominador Manayon and Norma Tampipi. Then accused left. When Accused was no longer
there, Bomby Lastimosa and Tony Pantoja came back and, together with Dominador Manayon, they
carried Zacarias Tampipi upstairs where he died not long after.

At the time of his death Zacarias Tampipi was only 39 years old and was an overseer of the sugar cane
plantation of Junior Ferraren with a salary of P500.00 a month. His widow, Norma Tampipi, has spent
P4,000.00 for his burial and for the customary 9-days prayer.

Issue:
Whether or not the substantial facts and circumstance were overlooked by the trial court?

HELD:
The stabbing of Zacarias Tampipi by accused was, as the evidence of the
Prosecution shows, sudden and unexpected, without the former having any
expectation of its being done to him nor any warning of its happening.
The unexpected assault (People v. Venture, 80 SCRA 515) or the attack which
was sudden and unexpected (People v. Ursal, 121 SCRA 410) has sufficiently
proved the presence of treachery in the commission of the offense 'as accused
employed means and methods in the execution of the offense which tended
directly and specially to insure its execution without risk to himself arising from
the defense that the victim might have made. (People v. Yap, 125 SCRA 203;
People v. de la Fuente, 126 SCRA 518).
When Zacarias Tampipi was assaulted, he was unarmed entirely defenseless
and the accused, who came from the dark behind the victim, was totally
unexposed to any risk that might have come from him since he was not at all in a
position to fight back. The offense charged against accused was, therefore,
properly categorized as Murder in view of the presence of the qualifying
circumstance of treachery.



G.R. No. 143010. September 30, 2003
MIGUEL DANAFRATA y BAUTISTA petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent

Facts:
At about six o’clock in the evening of October 9, 1994, prosecution witness Reynaldo Francia was
standing in front of his house in Champaca Street, San Roque, Navotas. Then and there he saw
petitioner Miguel Danofrata engage in a slugging match with his wife, Leonor. She struck petitioner with
a plastic chair, while he punched her by way of retaliation. Petitioner then ran home but shortly
afterwards, he rushed outside again, kicking the neighbors he encountered. In turn, without further ado,
three of the neighbors whom he had treated so uncivilly ganged up on him and mauled him, causing
petitioner to run home anew.

Petitioner then armed himself with a knife and went back to the place where he had received a mauling.
He proceeded to the house of one Mang Mario Gonzales, the father of Alfredo “Loloy” Gonzales.
Petitioner then challenged Mang Mario to a fight. At this juncture, petitioner spotted Alfredo, who was
on his way home. Without warning, petitioner stabbed Alfredo in the chest fatally.

Horrified, witness Reynaldo Francia called the police. When the agents of the law arrived, Francia
informed them about the incident and later he gave a written statement to SPO1 Daniel Ferrer.

Petitioner did not wait for the law enforcers to arrive, but immediately made himself scarce.
Prosecution witness Benjamin Bautista, who was then on his way to Gatbonton Street to buy medicine,
saw the petitioner fleeing. Bautista observed that petitioner’s clothing was bloody. He also saw
petitioner drop a bladed weapon, which Bautista picked up and turned over to the police investigator.

Issue:
Whether or not the appellate court is correct in sustaining the trial court’s finding that the petitioner
was entitled to a mitigating circumstance analogous to passion and obfuscation?

Held:
Passion and obfuscation exist when (1) there is an act, both unlawful and sufficient to produce such a
condition of the mind, and (2) the said act which produced the obfuscation was not far removed from
the commission of the crime by a considerable length of time, during which the perpetrator might
recover his normal equanimity. There is passion and obfuscation when the crime was committed due to
an uncontrollable burst of passion provoked by prior unjust or improper acts, or due to a legitimate
stimulus so powerful as to overcome reason.[31] In this case it was established that petitioner and his
wife had a violent altercation and that petitioner was mauled by his neighbors after he kicked some of
them for laughing at him. These events and circumstances prior to the killing of Alfredo Gonzales could
have caused unusual outbursts of passion and emotion on petitioner’s part. These resulted in the tragic
stabbing of the victim thus entitling petitioner to the mitigating circumstance analogous to passion and
obfuscation.

Nor did the Court of Appeals err in sustaining the prison sentence imposed on petitioner by the lower
court. Under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, the imposable penalty for homicide is reclusion
temporal, whose duration in its entirety is from 12 years and 1 day to 20 years. Since there is one
mitigating circumstance, under Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty should be imposed in
its minimum period, or from 12 years and 1 day to 14 years and 8 months of imprisonment. Applying
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty should thus be within the range of prision mayor as the
minimum and reclusion temporal in its minimum period as the maximum. The penalty actually imposed
– 10 years and 1 day as minimum to 14 years and 8 months as maximum is within the parameters set by
the Indeterminate Sentence Law.


PEOPLE vs. CAUYAN
G.R. No. L-33697, April 2, 1984

Facts:
that about 9:30 in the evening of April 7, 1961, Claudia Amat, then 58 years old, was heard by her
husband, Maximo Patron, and her son, Andres Patron, shouting "Huag, pare! tama na, pare!." Andres
Patron, 21 years old, rushed to the stairs of their house where he saw appellant Constancio L. Cauyan
stabbing his mother. When appellant saw him he stabbed Andres on the armpit and other parts of his
body. Whereupon, Andres went to their yard and took a piece of wood with which to defend himself
and his mother. Appellant still holding the knife ran after Andres who fell to the ground. The neighbors
shouted at him to rise up immediately as Cauyan might catch up with him and kill him. Rising up, he
continued to run and shouted for help. Roman Natividad responded by firing his gun in the air to scare
appellant and to alarm the police. As this juncture, Cauyan stopped chasing Andres.

Claudia Amat, who suffered four (4) stab wounds, one in the heart, and contusions in the left leg, died
few minutes thereafter. Andres suffered several stab wounds also which could have caused his death
were it not for the timely and able medical assistance given him.

In his defense, appellant testified that it was Andres who first hit him on the head and it was only then
that he drew his knife and stabbed Andres. During their struggle, Andres jumped back and his mother,
Claudia, who was holding him (Andres) was exposed and she was hit instead by the stab blows. Thus,
appellant contends that the knife thrusts at Claudia were accidental; and, with respect to Andres, he
inflicted the wounds in legitimate self-defense.

Issue:
Whether or not the appellate court erred in the rejection of passion and obfuscation as a mitigating
circumstance in favor of appellant?

Ruling:
We fully agree with the appellate court in its rejection of passion and obfuscation as a mitigating
circumstance in favor of appellant Constancio L. Cauyan. In order that the circumstance of passion and
obfuscation can be considered, it is necessary to establish the existence of an unlawful act sufficient to
produce such condition of mind, and it must be shown that the act which produced the passion and
obfuscation is not far removed from the commission of the crime by a considerable length of time,
during which the perpetrator might recover his normal equanimity (People vs. Gervacio, 24 SCRA 960;
People vs. Layson, 30 SCRA 92). In the case at bar, it was not unlawful on the part of Maximo Patron,
husband of the deceased Claudia, when he acted as bondsman for Rev. Father Palilio whom appellant
had criminally charged in court. And, it has not been shown that the act of having bailed Fr. Palilio was
so proximate in point of time to the commission of the crime as to preclude a sober realization of the
wrongfulness of the course of action taken by appellant.
After a careful study of the two versions, we are more inclined to believe as true that given by the
prosecution. As motive for the stabbing, the prosecution contends that the appellant was actuated by
hate and resentment against the Patron family because the father of Andres had bailed out a certain Rev.
Fr. Palilio in connection with a criminal case which the appellant had filed against the priest. But we are
not persuaded by this alleged motive in arriving at the conclusion that Claudia was indeed stabbed in the
manner and under the circumstances given by the prosecution. The evidence is clear from the testimonies
of the witnesses for the prosecution that Claudia was stabbed by appellant at the foot of the stairs of her
house. When her husband, Maximo Patron, rushed to her side upon hearing her cries, Claudia told him
"Ako ay hinarang ni Pareng Asing (referring to Constancio Cauyan) sa makapanaog ng hagdanan at ako'y
pinagsasaksak." When appellant failed to overtake Andres, appellant was heard to have shouted 'Kayo
pala ay hanggang diyan, mga hayop kayo (referring to the Patrons).
Andres Malanas, a barber, testified, among others, that before the stabbing appellant went to his barber
shop and sharpened his knife, and when asked why he was so doing that, appellant answered that it was
necessary to keep the same sharp because he had many enemies.


People v. Bates (G.R. No. 139907)
Facts:
Around 2:00 in the afternoon of November 28, 1995, Edgar Fuentes,
Simon Fuentes and Jose Boholst left Barangay Esperanza, Ormoc City to deliver
copra to a certain Fely Rodado at Barangay Green Valley, Ormoc City. After
delivering copra around 5:00 in the afternoon, the three men headed back to
Barangay Esperanza. While they were along a trail leading to the house of
Carlito Bates, the latter suddenly emerged from the thick banana plantation
surrounding the trail, aiming his firearm at Jose Boholst who was then walking
ahead of his companions. Jose grabbed Carlito’s right hand and elbow and tried
to wrest possession of the firearm. While the two were grappling for possession,
the gun fired, hitting Carlito who immediately fell to the ground. At that instant,
Marcelo Bates and his son Marcelo Bates, Jr., brother and nephew of Carlito,
respectively, emerged from the banana plantation each brandishing a bolo. They
immediately attacked Jose hacking him several times. Jose fell to the ground
and rolled but Marcelo and his son kept on hacking him. Marcelo, then, turned to
Simon and Edgar and shouted “huwes de kutsilyo”. Upon hearing the same,
Simon and Edgar ran.
Upholding the prosecution evidence, the trial court rendered its Judgment,
finding Marcelo Bates guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder.
Issue:
Whether or not Marcelo could validly invoke the mitigating circumstance of
passion and obfuscation?
Decision:
Passion and obfuscation may not be properly appreciated in favor of
appellant. To be considered as a mitigating circumstance, passion or
obfuscation must arise from lawful sentiments and not from a spirit of
lawlessness or revenge or from anger and resentment. In the present case,
clearly, Marcelo was infuriated upon seeing is brother, Carlito, shot by Jose.
However, a distinction must be made between the first time that Marcelo hacked
Jose and the second time that the former hacked the latter. When Marcelo
hacked Jose right after seeing the latter shoot at Carlito, and if appellant
refrained from doing anything else after that, he could have validly invoked the
mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation. But when, upon seeing his
brother Carlito dead, Marcelo went back to Jose, who by then was already prostrate on the ground and hardly moving, hacking
Jose again was a clear case
of someone acting out of anger in the spirit of revenge.

People vs. Espina
Facts:
Romeo Bulicatin, Rogelio Espina, Samson Abuloc who were having a drinking spree
and playing cards during an association meeting, when accused-appellant Romeo
Espina arrived, Bulicatin asked three (3) bottles of “kulafu” wine from him and he
acceded by buying three (3) bottles of “kulafu” wine from the store of Eufronia
Pagas. Later on that afternoon, Bulicatin again demanded another bottle of
“kulafu” wine from accused- appellant but this time, the latter refused to give in to
the demand. Bulicatin then proceeded to where accused-appellant was playing
cards and without any warning, urinated on the latter and clipped him under his
arms. Accused-appellant got angry. He however did not engage Romeo in any
altercation but instead went home.
Later on in the evening, while the trio were still having a drinking spree, they heard
accused-appellant calling Bulicatin from outside, saying, “Borgs, get out because I
have something to say.” The trio came down from the house. Rogelio and Samson
were ordered to lie on the ground, Bulicatin was still at the stairway and when he
turned his back towards accused-appellant, the latter shot him, hitting him at the
back. Bulicatin ran away but he was chased by accused-appellant who fired two (2)
more shots at him.
On appeal he alleged that the court erred by overlooking and misinterpreting some
significant facts in convicting him.
Issues:
1. Are appellants’ contentions tenable?
2. Is appellant entitled to any mitigating circumstance?
Ruling:
The court held that, contrary to the claim of accused-appellant, the trial court did
not overlook his contention that he could not have committed the offenses charged
because at the time of the incedent, he was unconscious due to a stab wound. In
fact, the trial court treated the same as a defense of denial and alibi. Indeed, these
defenses cannot prevail over the categorical and positive identification of accused-
appellant by prosecution witness Abuloc who was not shown to have any ill motive
to testify falsely against him.
Moreover, it is doctrinally settled that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses
and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its
unique opportunity to observe the witnesses first hand and to note their demeanor,
conduct and attitude under grilling examination. In the case at bar, the trial court
did not err in giving credence to the version of the prosecution. The facts and
circumstances alleged to have been overlooked by the trial court are not material to
the case and will not affect the disposition thereof.
The trial court however correctly appreciated the mitigating circumstance of having
acted in immediate vindication of a grave offense. As the evidence on record show,
accused-appellant was urinated on by the victim in front of the guests. The act of
the victim, which undoubtedly insulted and humiliated accused-appellant, came
within the purview of a “grave offense” under Article 13, paragraph 5, of the
Revised Penal Code. Thus, this mitigating circumstance should be appreciated in favor of accused-appellant. Nevertheless the
decision of the lower court was
affirmed with modifications, his sentenced was reduced to prision mayor.

U.S. vs. Malabanan
Facts:
Felino Malaran, a prisoner, reported to the foreman Pedro Pimentel that Esteban
Malabanan had taken some bread out of a tin can that was in the jail; Malabanan
being resentful at this and also because he had received a severe blow with a cane
from Malaran, attacked the latter with a small knife, and wounded him in the chest,
the right arm, and in the back. Raymundo Enriquez, another assistant jailer, tried to
separate them and prevent the accused from further attacking Malaran, but he was
also wounded in the abdomen, and in consequence of said wound Enriquez died
eleven days thereafter. Quintin de Lemos, another assistant jailer, who also tried to
stop Malabanan, was wounded in the chin. Foreman Paulino Canlas, ordered the
opening of the door of the cell where the prisoners were confined, and Malabanan
upon seeing him tried to attack him; thereupon Canlas took hold of a stick to defend
himself and to take away from Malabanan the knife he held. Malabanan was later
subdued, he was convicted of Homicide and was sentenced to twelve more years of
imprisonment. Judgement was appealed.
Issue:
Whether the mitigating circumstance of Sufficient Provocation or Threat is
attendant in the case at bar?
Ruling:
No. The court held that, notwithstanding the allegations he made in his defense and
his denial that the knife held by him which caused the death of Raymundo Enriquez
belonged to him, there is no question as to his responsibility as the convicted author
of the violent death of Raymundo Enriquez, who, as has been seen, did not give the
accused any reason for attacking him but merely approached while the latter was
attacking Felino Malaran in order to separate them and prevent the accused from
continuing his assault, for fear a homicide might ensue, to which Malabanan
responded with a cut in the right side near the abdomen of Enriquez.
In the commission of this homicide there is no mitigating nor aggravating
circumstance to be considered, and as to whether or not the accused was illtreated
or provoked prior to his assaulting jailer Malaran, a question which will be
considered in the case for lesiones graves(grievous bodily harm), such a
circumstance cannot be dealt with in the present proceedings instituted by reason
of the violent death of Enriquez, who was seriously wounded simply because he
intervened for the purpose of separating Malabanan, the aggressor, from Malaran,
his victim; therefore, the proper penalty should be imposed in its medium degree.


People vs Pagal
Facts:
Pedro Pagal and Jose Torcelino (accused) were employees Gau Guan (victim).
Allegedly Gau Guan maltreated them during their employment with the latter. One
night Pedro and Jose robbed and stabbed their employer with an ice pick and took
the valuables of the victim. They were both convicted of murder and were
sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of death. Hence this automatic review by
the S.C., when the case was called for arraignment, counsel de oficio for the
accused informed said court of their intention to enter a plea of guilty provided that
they be allowed afterwards to prove the mitigating circumstances of sufficient
provocation or threat on the part of the offended party immediately preceding the
act, and that of having acted upon an impulse so powerful as to produce passion
and obfuscation.
Issue:
Whether Pedro and Jose are entitled to the above mentioned mitigating
circumstances?
Ruling:
No. The court held that the appellants 'contention is devoid of merit. Firstly, since
the alleged provocation which caused the obfuscation of the appellants arose from
the same incident, that is, the alleged maltreatment and/or ill-treatment of the
appellants by the deceased, these two mitigating circumstances cannot be
considered as two distinct and separate circumstances but should be treated as
one. Secondly, the circumstance of passion and obfuscation cannot be mitigating in
a crime which as in the case at bar is planned and calmly meditated before its
execution. Thirdly, the maltreatment that appellants claim the victim to have
committed against them occurred much earlier than the date of the commission of
the crime. Provocation in order to be a mitigating circumstance must be sufficient
and immediately preceding the act. We hold that the trial court did not commit any
error in not appreciating the said mitigating circumstances in favor of the
appellants.
The sentenced of the accused is lowered to reclusion perpetua due to the mitigating
circumstance of Plea of Guilty.

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