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Urbano v.

On October 23, 1980, petitioner Filomeno Urbano was on his way to his ricefield. He found the
place where he stored palay flooded with water coming from the irrigation canal. Urbano went to
the elevated portion to see what happened, and there he saw Marcelino Javier and Emilio Efre
cutting grass. Javier admitted that he was the one who opened the canal. A quarrel ensued, and
Urbano hit Javier on the right palm with his bolo, and again on the leg with the back of the bolo.
On October 27, 1980, Urbano and Javier had an amicable settlement. Urbano paid P700 for the
medical expenses of Javier. On November 14, 1980, Urbano was rushed to the hospital where he
had lockjaw and convulsions. The doctor found the condition to be caused by tetanus toxin
which infected the healing wound in his palm. He died the following day. Urbano was charged
with homicide and was found guilty both by the trial court and on appeal by the Court of
Appeals. Urbano filed a motion for new trial based on the affidavit of the Barangay Captain who
stated that he saw the deceased catching fish in the shallow irrigation canals on November 5. The
motion was denied; hence, this petition.
Whether the wound inflicted by Urbano to Javier was the proximate cause of the latters death
A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is... "that cause, which, in natural and continuous
sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which
the result would not have occurred."And more comprehensively, "the proximate legal cause is
that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion,
all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection
with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a
natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the
person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent and intelligent person, have
reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person
might probably result therefrom."
If the wound of Javier inflicted by the appellant was already infected by tetanus germs at the
time, it is more medically probable that Javier should have been infected with only a mild cause
of tetanus because the symptoms of tetanus appeared on the 22nd day after the hacking incident
or more than 14 days after the infliction of the wound. Therefore, the onset time should have
been more than six days. Javier, however, died on the second day from the onset time. The more
credible conclusion is that at the time Javier's wound was inflicted by the appellant, the severe
form of tetanus that killed him was not yet present. Consequently, Javier's wound could have
been infected with tetanus after the hacking incident. Considering the circumstance surrounding
Javier's death, his wound could have been infected by tetanus 2 or 3 or a few but not 20 to 22
days before he died.
The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural, and logical consequence of
the wounds inflicted upon him by the accused. And since we are dealing with a criminal
conviction, the proof that the accused caused the victim's death must convince a rational
mind beyond reasonable doubt. The medical findings, however, lead us to a distinct possibility
that the infection of the wound by tetanus was an efficient intervening cause later or between the
time Javier was wounded to the time of his death. The infection was, therefore, distinct and
foreign to the crime.
There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote cause and its subsequent infection, for
failure to take necessary precautions, with tetanus may have been the proximate cause of Javier's
death with which the petitioner had nothing to do. "A prior and remote cause cannot be made the
be of an action if such remote cause did nothing more than furnish the condition or give rise to
the occasion by which the injury was made possible, if there intervened between such prior or
remote cause and the injury a distinct, successive, unrelated, and efficient cause of the injury,
even though such injury would not have happened but for such condition or occasion. If no
danger existed in the condition except because of the independent cause, such condition was not
the proximate cause. And if an independent negligent act or defective condition sets into
operation the instances which result in injury because of the prior defective condition, such
subsequent act or condition is the proximate cause."

Facts: Sulpicio Intod and 3 other men went to Salvador Mandayashouse to ask him to go with
them to the house of Bernardina Palangpangan. The group had a meeting with Aniceto
Dumalagan who told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed because of a land
dispute between them and that Mandaya should accompany the 4 men otherwise he would also
be killed. At 10:00 p.m. of that same day, Intod and companions, all armed with firearmsarrived
at Palangpangans house. Thereafter, petitioner fired at the said room. It turned out the
Palangpangan was in another city and her home was then occupied by her son-in-law and his
family. No one was in the room when the accused fired. No one was hit by the gunfire. The RTC
convicted Intod of attempted murder. Petitioner Intod seeks a modification of the judgment on
the ground that he is only liable for an impossible crime {Art. 4(2)}. Petitioner contends that,
Palangpangan's absence from her room on the night he and his companions riddled it with bullets
made the crime inherently impossible. On the other hand, Respondent People of the Philippines
argues that the crime was not impossible instead the facts were sufficient to constitute an attempt
and to convict Intod for attempted murder. Respondent likewise alleged that there was intent.
Further, In its Comment to the Petition, respondent pointed out that xxx. The crime of murder
was not consummated, not because of the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment (Art 4
(2), RPC), but due to a cause of accident other that petitioners and his co-accuseds own
spontaneous desistance (Art. 3) Palangpangan did not sleep at her house at that time. Had it not
been for this fact, the crime is possible, m not impossible.

Issue: Is petitioner is liable only for an impossible crime?

Held: Under Article 4(2) of the RPC, the act performed by theoffender cannot produce an
offense against person or property because: 1) the commission of the offense is inherently
impossible ofaccomplishment; or 2) the means employed is either a) inadequate or b) ineffectual.

To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offendermust be by its nature one
impossible of accomplishment. There must be either 1) legal impossibility, or 2) physical
impossibility of accomplishing the intended act in order to qualify the act as an impossible crime.

Legal impossibility occurs where the intended act, even if complete would not amount to a
crime. Thus: 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 perform the
physical act; 3) there is a performance of the intended physical act; and 4) the consequence
resulting from the intended act does not amount to a crime. The impossibility of killing a person
already dead falls in this category.

On the other had, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances 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 cot pocket of another with the intention to steal the latters wallet
and finds the pocket empty.

The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he thought his victim
would be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said place and thus, the petitioner
failed to accomplish his end.

The factual situation in the case at bar presents a physical impossibility which render the
intended crime impossible ofaccomplishment. And under Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised
Penal Code, such is sufficient to make the act an impossible crime.



A petition for review oncertiorari filed by petitioner Gemma T. Jacinto seeking the reversal
of the Decision of the Court of Appealsaffirming petitioner's conviction of the crime of Qualified
Theft, and its Resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

Baby Aquino handed petitioner Gemma Jacinto a Banco De Oro (BDO) Check in the amount of
P10,000.00. The check waspayment for Baby Aquino's purchases from Mega Foam Int'l., Inc.,
and petitioner was then the collector of MegaFoam. Somehow, the check was deposited in the
Land Bank account of Generoso Capitle, the husband of Jacqueline Capitle; the latter is the sister
of petitioner and the former pricing, merchandising and inventory clerk of Mega Foam.Later,
Rowena Ricablanca, another employee of Mega Foam, received a phone call from an employee
of Land Bank,who was looking for Generoso Capitle. The reason for the call was to inform
Capitle that the subject BDO checkdeposited in his account had been dishonored. Ricablanca
then called and relayed the message through accusedAnita Valencia, a former employee/collector
of Mega Foam, because the Capitles did not have a phone; but theycould be reached through
Valencia, a neighbor and former co-employee of Jacqueline Capitle at Mega Foam.Valencia then
told Ricablanca that the check came from Baby Aquino, and instructed Ricablanca to ask Baby
Aquinoto replace the check with cash. Valencia also told Ricablanca of a plan to take the cash
and divide it equally intofour: for herself, Ricablanca, petitioner Jacinto and Jacqueline Capitle.
Ricablanca, upon the advise of Mega Foam'saccountant, reported the matter to the owner of
Mega Foam, Joseph Dyhengco.Thereafter, Joseph Dyhengco talked to Baby Aquino and was
able to confirm that the latter indeed handedpetitioner a BDO check for P10,000.00 as payment
for her purchases from Mega Foam. Baby Aquino furthertestified that petitioner Jacinto also
called her on the phone to tell her that the BDO check bounced. Verificationfrom company
records showed that petitioner never remitted the subject check to Mega Foam. However,
BabyAquino said that she had already paid Mega Foam P10,000.00 cash as replacement for the
dishonored check.Dyhengco filed a Complaint with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
and worked out an entrapmentoperation with its agents. Ten pieces of P1,000.00 bills provided
by Dyhengco were marked and dusted withfluorescent powder by the NBI. Thereafter, the bills
were given to Ricablanca, who was tasked to pretend that shewas going along with Valencia's
plan.Ricablanca, petitioner, her husband, and Valencia then boarded petitioner's jeep and went on
to Baby Aquino'sfactory. Only Ricablanca alighted from the jeep and entered the premises of
Baby Aquino, pretending that shewas getting cash from Baby Aquino. However, the cash she
actually brought out from the premises was theP10,000.00 marked money previously given to
her by Dyhengco. Ricablanca divided the money and uponreturning to the jeep, gave P5,000.00
each to Valencia and petitioner. Thereafter, petitioner and Valencia werearrested by NBI agents, who
had been watching the whole time.A case was filed against the three accused, Jacinto, Valencia and
Capitle. RTC rendered its Decisionfinding themGUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of QUALIFIED THEFT and sentenced eachimprisonment of FIVE (5) YEARS, FIVE (5) MONTHS
AND ELEVEN (11) DAYS,as minimum, to SIX(6) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS AND
TWENTY (20) DAYS,as maximum.The three appealed to the CA and the decision of the trial
court wasMODIFIED, in that:(a) thesentence against accused Gemma Jacinto stands; (b) the
sentence against accused Anita Valencia isreduced to 4 monthsarresto mayor medium, and (c) The
accused Jacqueline Capitle is acquitted. Hence,the present Petition for Review on
Certiorari filed by petitioner alone,

Whether or not a worthless check can be the object of theft.

As may be gleaned from the aforementioned Articles of the Revised Penal Code,the personal
property subject of thetheft must have some value, as the intention of the accused is
to gainfrom the thing stolen. This isfurther bolstered by Article 309, where the law provides that
the penalty to be imposed on the accused isdependent on the value of the thing stolen.In this
case, petitioner unlawfully took the postdated check belonging to Mega Foam, but the same was
apparentlywithout value, as it was subsequently dishonored. Thus, the question arises on whether
the crime of qualified theftwas actually produced. The Court must resolve the issue in the
negative.Intod v. Court of Appealsis highly instructive and applicable to the present case. In
Intod (see doctrines laid out inIntod), the Court went on to give an example of an offense that
involved factual impossibility,i.e., a man puts hishand in the coat pocket of another with the
intention to steal the latter's wallet, but gets nothing since the pocket is empty.


FACTS :On January 22, 2002, Danilo Cruz went to a sari-sari store to buy bread. Out of
nowhere, Orlito Villacorta appeared and thereafter stabbed the left part of the body of Cruz with
a sharpened bamboo stick. After that, Villacorta fled.
Cruz was helped by bystanders and he was brought to a nearby hospital where he was treated as
out-patient. He was discharged on the same day but on February 14, 2002, or 21 days after the
stabbing incident, he returned to the same hospital where he was treated for severe tetanus. The
next day on February 15, 2002, Cruz died. The medical report states that Cruz died of tetanus
infection secondary to stab wound.
The trial court as well as the Court of Appeals convicted Villacorta for murder.
ISSUE: Whether or not Villacorta is guilty of murder.
HELD: No. In this case, the proximate cause of the death is not the stabbing done by Villacorta
upon Cruz. There was an efficient intervening cause which appeared between the time of the
stabbing and the time of the death of Cruz.
In explaining this, the Supreme Court took into consideration the fact that severe tetanus (the
kind of tetanus which causes immediate death) has an incubation period of 14 days or less. In
this case, the stabbing made by Vilalcorta could not have caused the tetanus infection as 22 days
already lapsed from the time of the stabbing until the date of death of Cruz. Something else
caused the tetanus other than the stabbing in short, Cruz acquired the tetanus 14 days or less
before February 15, 2003 and not on the date of stabbing.
The court explained further:

The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural, and logical consequence of the
wounds inflicted upon him by the accused. And since we are dealing with a criminal conviction,
the proof that the accused caused the victims death must convince a rational mind beyond
reasonable doubt. The medical findings, however, lead us to a distinct possibility that the
infection of the wound by tetanus was an efficient intervening cause later or between the time
[Cruz] was wounded to the time of his death. The infection was, therefore, distinct and foreign to
the crime.
Villacorta is however guilty of slight physical injuries based on the facts. Neither is he guilty of
attempted nor frustrated murder, his intent to kill was not proven by the prosecution.