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008 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,

plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
EMELIO TOLENTINO y ESTRELLA
and
JESUS
TRINIDAD
y
MARAVILLA
G.R. No. 176385
February 26, 2008
TOPIC:
PONENTE: CHICO-NAZARIO, J.

AUTHOR:
NOTES: The award for damages is not the main issue in this case. It did not even
mention Article 2206. However, since Art. 2206 deals with amount of damages for death
caused by a crime of a quasi-delict, this digest will the dealing with such.
Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at
least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In
addition:
(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and
the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be
assessed and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of permanent physical
disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death;
(2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the provisions of Article 291,
the recipient who is not an heir called to the decedent's inheritance by the law of testate or
intestate succession, may demand support from the person causing the death, for a period
not exceeding five years, the exact duration to be fixed by the court;
(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased
may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased.

FACTS:
1.
2.

3.
4.
5.

On 13 February 1998, three separate informations of Murder and two counts of Frustrated Murder were filed before the RTC
against appellants, together with accused Jimmy Trinidad and Arnel Trinidad. The murder case was docketed as Criminal Case
No. 98-0258 while the two frustrated murder cases were docketed as Criminal Cases No. 98-0260 and No. 98-0270.
The RTC appreciated treachery as a qualifying circumstance in the killing of Josita Novelo (Criminal Case No. 98-0258) and in
the stabbing of Antonio Bea (Criminal Case No. 98-0260). In the killing of Josita Novelo, the victim was at her home when
someone called her. When the victim went outside, suddenly Jesus Trinidad held her. Thereafter, Jesus Trinidad and Arnel
Trinidad mauled Josita Novelo. Without warning, Jesus Trinidad shot the helpless victim on the cheek. Said attack was so sudden
and unexpected that the victim had not been given the opportunity to defend herself or repel the aggression. She was unarmed
when she was attacked. Indeed, all these circumstances indicate that the assault on the victim was treacherous.
The stabbing of Antonio Bea was also attended with treachery. While Bea, whose hands were tied behind his back, and the
assailants were walking along the dike, Emelio Tolentino unexpectedly stabbed the victim four times. The victim could not put up
a defense as the attack was swift and he was not in the position to repel the same since his hands were tied.
The RTC also appreciated the presence of the generic aggravating circumstance of dwelling in Criminal Case No. 98-0258.
Evidence shows that Josita Novelo was killed in her own house. Dwelling, however, was not appreciated in Criminal Case No. 980260 considering that the same was not alleged in the information.
On 30 November 2004, the RTC rendered a decision finding appellants guilty of the crimes charged in Criminal Case No. 98-0258
and Criminal Case No. 98-0260 for murder and frustrated murder, respectively. The decretal portion of the RTC decision reads:
CRIM. CASE NO. 98-0258
For: MURDER

WHEREFORE, finding accused EMELIO TOLENTINO y ESTRELLA and JESUS TRINIDAD y MARAVILLA guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, they are hereby sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. They are also ordered to
pay the heirs of the victim, Josita Novelo, the amount of P75,000.00 by way of civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and
another P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.
CRIM. CASE NO. 98-0260
For : FRUSTRATED MURDER
WHEREFORE, finding accused EMELIO TOLENTINO y ESTRELLA and JESUS TRINIDAD y MARAVILLA guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Frustrated Murder, they are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA.
They are also ordered to pay their victim, Antonio Bea the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and
P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
6.
7.

The trial court, however, acquitted appellants of the crime of frustrated murder allegedly committed against Antonio Novelo in
Criminal Case No. 98-0270.
The CA, on 8 November 2006, promulgated its Decision affirming the judgment of the trial court convicting the appellants, with

modifications on the award of civil liabilities, thus:


WHEREFORE, the decision dated November 23, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, of Labo, Camarines Norte finding
accused-appellants Emelio Tolentino y Estrella and Jesus Trinidad y Maravilla GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
murder in Criminal Case No. 98-0258, and frustrated murder in Criminal Case No. 98-0260 is hereby AFFIRMED with the
following modifications, to wit:
(1) In Criminal Case No. 98-0258, accused appellants are hereby sentenced each to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua
and in addition, to pay the heirs of the victim Josita Fernandez Novelo the amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity for her
death; P50,000 as moral damages and P25,000 representing exemplary damages.
(2) In Criminal Case No. 98-0260, accused-appellants are hereby sentenced each to suffer the penalty of imprisonment
ranging from 8 years of prision mayor (minimum), as minimum, to 14 years and 8 months of reclusion temporal
(minimum) as maximum. Moreover, they are ordered to pay the victim Antonio Bea the amount of P25,000 as temperate
damages; P30,000 as moral damages, P30,000 as civil indemnity and P25,000 as exemplary damages.
ISSUE(S): Whether or not award for damages granted by the RTC is proper?
HELD: YES.
RATIO:
In Criminal Case No. 98-0258, it must be borne in mind that the prosecution successfully established the presence of the qualifying
circumstance of treachery in the killing of Josita Novelo. With this, the crime committed by the appellants is murder under Article 285
of the RPC. With the aggravating circumstance of dwelling and no mitigating circumstance, the penalty imposed should be in its
maximum, which is death.
In view, however, of the passage of Republic Act No. 9346, entitled "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the
Philippines," the imposition of the death penalty has been prohibited. Thus, the penalty imposed upon appellants in Criminal case No.
98-0258 should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
As to damages, when death occurs due to a crime, the following may be recovered: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of the
victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; (5) attorney's fees and expenses of litigation;
and (6) interest, in proper cases.
The RTC awarded P75,000.00 in favor of the heirs of Josita Novelo as civil indemnity. The CA reduced the award of civil indemnity to
P50,000.00. Civil indemnity is mandatory and granted to the heirs of the victim without need of proof other than the commission of the
crime. Based on current jurisprudence, the RTC award of civil indemnity ex delicto of P75,000.00 in favor of the heirs of Josita Novelo
is in order.
In Criminal Case No. 98-060, the RTC imposed upon the appellants the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the crime of frustrated
murder. The Court of Appeals modified the penalty to 8 years of prision mayor as minimum to 14 years and 8 months of reclusion
temporal as maximum.
The RTC also correctly awarded moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 in view of the violent death of the victim. This does not
require allegation and proof of the emotional suffering of the heirs. Article 2230 of the Civil Code states that exemplary damages may
be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances, as in this case. To deter future similar
transgressions, the Court finds that an award of P25,000.00 for exemplary damages is proper.
As to the award of actual damages, the prosecution failed to present any receipt to substantiate Antonio Beas hospitalization expenses.
Nonetheless, in light of the fact that Antonio was actually hospitalized and operated upon, this Court deems it prudent to award
P20,000.00 as temperate damages since it cannot be denied that he suffered pecuniary loss. The award of civil indemnity in the amount
of P30,000.00 is in order.
Moreover, Antonio is also entitled to moral damages which this Court hereby awards in the amount of P40,000.00. Although there was
no testimony on the moral damages that he sustained, the medical certificate issued by the hospital indicated that Antonio Bea
sustained serious stab injuries inflicted by appellants. It is sufficient basis to award moral damages as ordinary human experience and
common sense dictate that such wounds inflicted on Antonio Bea would naturally cause physical suffering, fright, serious anxiety,
moral shock, and similar injury.
Finally, the award in the amount of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is also in order considering that the crime was attended by the
qualifying circumstance of treachery. When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an
award of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. This kind of damage is intended to

serve as deterrent to serious wrong-doings, and as a vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured or a
punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct.
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:
DISSENTING/CONCURRING OPINION(S):