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AMADO ALVARADO GARCIA, Petitioner,

vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
For review on certiorari is the Decision 1 dated December 20, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.-CR No. 27544
affirming the Decision2 dated July 2, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 9, Aparri, Cagayan, which found
petitioner Amado Garcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide. Contested as well is the appellate courts
Resolution3 dated March 13, 2006 denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.4
On February 10, 2000, petitioner was charged with murder in an Information that alleges as follows:
The undersigned, Provincial Prosecutor accuses AMADO GARCIA @ Manding of the crime of Murder, defined and
penalized under Article [248] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, committed as
follows:
That on or about September 29, 1999, in the municipality of Aparri, province of Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a bottle, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation
and with treachery, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack, box, club and maul one
Manuel K. Chy, inflicting upon the latter fatal injuries which caused his death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.5
Upon arraignment, petitioner entered a not guilty plea. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
The factual antecedents are as follows:
At approximately 11:00 a.m. on September 26, 1999, petitioner, Fidel Foz, Jr. and Armando Foz had a drinking spree
at the apartment unit of Bogie Tacuboy, which was adjacent to the house of Manuel K. Chy. At around 7:00 p.m., Chy
appealed for the group to quiet down as the noise from the videoke machine was blaring. It was not until Chy
requested a second time that the group acceded. Unknown to Chy, this left petitioner irate and petitioner was heard to
have said in the Ilocano vernacular, "Dayta a Manny napangas makaala caniac dayta." (This Manny is arrogant, I will
lay a hand on him.)6
On September 28, 1999, the group met again to celebrate the marriage of Ador Tacuboy not far from Chys
apartment. Maya Mabbun advised the group to stop singing lest they be told off again. This further infuriated
petitioner who remarked, "Talaga a napangas ni Manny saan ko a pagbayagen daytoy," meaning, "This Manny is
really arrogant, I will not let him live long."7
Yet again, at around 12:00 p.m. on September 29, 1999, the group convened at the house of Foz and Garcia. There,
petitioner, Foz, Jr. and Fred Rillon mused over the drinking session on the 26th and 28th of September and the
confrontation with Chy. Enraged at the memory, petitioner blurted out "Talaga a napangas dayta a day[t]oy a Manny
ikabbut ko ita." (This Manny is really arrogant, I will finish him off today.) 8 Later that afternoon, the group headed to
the store of Adela dela Cruz where they drank until petitioner proposed that they move to Punta. On their way to
Punta, the group passed by the store of Aurelia Esquibel, Chys sister, and there, decided to have some drinks.
At this juncture, petitioner ordered Esquibel to call on Chy who, incidentally, was coming out of his house at the time.
Upon being summoned, the latter approached petitioner who suddenly punched him in the face. Chy cried out, " Bakit
mo ako sinuntok hindi ka naman [inaano]?" (Why did you box me[?] Im not doing anything to you.) 9 But petitioner
kept on assaulting him. Foz attempted to pacify petitioner but was himself hit on the nose while Chy continued to
parry the blows. Petitioner reached for a bottle of beer, and with it, struck the lower back portion of Chys head. Then,
Foz shoved Chy causing the latter to fall.

When Chy found an opportunity to escape, he ran towards his house and phoned his wife Josefina to call the police.
Chy told Josefina about the mauling and complained of difficulty in breathing. Upon reaching Chys house, the
policemen knocked five times but nobody answered. Josefina arrived minutes later, unlocked the door and found Chy
lying unconscious on the kitchen floor, salivating. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The autopsy
confirmed that Chy died of myocardial infarction.
After trial in due course, the RTC of Aparri, Cagayan (Branch 9) found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
homicide. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court renders judgment:
1) Finding AMADO GARCIA guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of HOMICIDE defined and
penalized by Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code and after applying in his favor the provisions of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, hereby sentences him to suffer an indeterminate prison term of TEN (10)
YEARS OF PRISION MAYOR, as minimum, to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS and EIGHT (8) MONTHS of
RECLUSION TEMPORAL as maximum;
2) Ordering him to pay the heirs of Manuel Chy the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS, as
death indemnity; TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND (P200,000.00) PESOS, representing expenses for the wake
and burial; THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P300,000.00) PESOS, as moral damages; and THREE
HUNDRED THIRTY[-]TWO THOUSAND (P332,000.00] PESOS, as loss of earning, plus the cost of this suit.
SO ORDERED.10
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in a Decision dated December 20, 2005, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, appeal is hereby [DENIED] and the July 2, 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Aparri, Cagayan, Branch [9], in Criminal Case No. 08-1185, is hereby AFFIRMED IN TOTO.
SO ORDERED.11
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but his motion was denied in a Resolution dated March 13, 2006.
Hence, the instant appeal of petitioner on the following grounds:
I.
THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT PETITIONER IS
THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR INFLICTING THE SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES SUSTAINED BY THE DECEASED
MANUEL CHY.
II.
THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT FINDING PETITIONER
LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF MANUEL CHY DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE CAUSE OF DEATH IS MYOCARDIAL
INFARCTION, A NON-VIOLENT RELATED CAUSE OF DEATH.
III.
THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT WHICH CONCLUDED
THAT THE HEART FAILURE OF MANUEL CHY WAS DUE TO "FRIGHT OR SHOCK CAUSED BY THE
MALTREATMENT."
IV.

BOTH THE APPELLATE TRIBUNAL AND THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE PETITIONER ON
THE GROUND OF REASONABLE DOUBT.12
In essence, the issue is whether or not petitioner is liable for the death of Manuel Chy.
In his undated Memorandum,13 petitioner insists on a review of the factual findings of the trial court because the judge
who penned the decision was not the same judge who heard the prosecution evidence. He adds that the Court of
Appeals had wrongly inferred from, misread and overlooked certain relevant and undisputed facts, which, if properly
considered, would justify a different conclusion.14
At the onset, petitioner denies laying a hand on Manuel Chy. Instead, he implicates Armando Foz as the author of the
victims injuries. Corollarily, he challenges the credibility of Armandos brother, Fidel, who testified concerning his sole
culpability. Basically, petitioner disowns responsibility for Chys demise since the latter was found to have died of
myocardial infarction. In support, he amplifies the testimony of Dr. Cleofas C. Antonio 15 that Chys medical condition
could have resulted in his death anytime. Petitioner asserts that, at most, he could be held liable for slight physical
injuries because none of the blows he inflicted on Chy was fatal.
The Office of the Solicitor General reiterates the trial courts assessment of the witnesses and its conclusion that the
beating of Chy was the proximate cause of his death.
Upon careful consideration of the evidence presented by the prosecution as well as the defense in this case, we are
unable to consider the petitioners appeal with favor.
The present petition was brought under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, yet, petitioner raises questions of fact. Indeed,
it is opportune to reiterate that this Court is not the proper forum from which to secure a re-evaluation of factual
issues, save where the factual findings of the trial court do not find support in the evidence on record or where the
judgment appealed from was based on a misapprehension of facts. 16 Neither exception applies in the instant case as
would justify a departure from the established rule.
Further, petitioner invokes a recognized exception to the rule on non-interference with the determination of the
credibility of witnesses. He points out that the judge who penned the decision is not the judge who received the
evidence and heard the witnesses. But while the situation obtains in this case, the exception does not. The records
reveal that Judge Conrado F. Manauis inhibited from the proceedings upon motion of no less than the petitioner
himself. Consequently, petitioner cannot seek protection from the alleged adverse consequence his own doing might
have caused. For us to allow petitioner relief based on this argument would be to sanction a travesty of the Rules
which was designed to further, rather than subdue, the ends of justice.
We reiterate, the efficacy of a decision is not necessarily impaired by the fact that the ponente only took over from a
colleague who had earlier presided over the trial. It does not follow that the judge who was not present during the
trial, or a fraction thereof, cannot render a valid and just decision. 17 Here, Judge Andres Q. Cipriano took over the
case after Judge Manauis recused himself from the proceedings. Even so, Judge Cipriano not only heard the
evidence for the defense, he also had an opportunity to observe Dr. Cleofas Antonio who was recalled to clarify
certain points in his testimony. Worth mentioning, too, is the fact that Judge Cipriano presided during the taking of the
testimonies of Fidel Foz, Jr. and Alvin Pascua on rebuttal.
In any case, it is not unusual for a judge who did not try a case in its entirety to decide it on the basis of the records
on hand.18 He can rely on the transcripts of stenographic notes and calibrate the testimonies of witnesses in
accordance with their conformity to common experience, knowledge and observation of ordinary men. Such reliance
does not violate substantive and procedural due process of law.19
The Autopsy Report on the body of Manuel Chy disclosed the following injuries:
POSTMORTEM FINDINGS
Body embalmed, well preserved.
Cyanotic lips and nailbeds.

Contusions, dark bluish red: 4.5 x 3.0 cms., lower portion of the left ear; 4.0 x 2.8 cms., left inferior mastoid region;
2.5 x 1.1 cms., upper lip; 2.7 x 1.0 cms., lower lip; 5.8 x 5.5 cms., dorsum of left hand.
Lacerated wound, 0.8 cm., involving mucosal surface of the upper lip on the right side.
No fractures noted.
Brain with tortuous vessels. Cut sections show congestion. No hemorrhage noted.
Heart, with abundant fat adherent on its epicardial surface. Cut sections show a reddish brown myocardium with an
area of hyperemia on the whole posterior wall, the lower portion of the anterior wall and the inferior portion of the
septum. Coronary arteries, gritty, with the caliber of the lumen reduced by approximately thirty (30%) percent.
Histopathological findings show mild fibrosis of the myocardium.
Lungs, pleural surfaces, shiny; with color ranging from dark red to dark purple. Cut sections show a gray periphery
with reddish brown central portion with fluid oozing on pressure with some reddish frothy materials noted.
Histopathological examinations show pulmonary edema and hemorrhages.
Kidneys, purplish with glistening capsule. Cut sections show congestion. Histopathological examinations show mild
lymphocytic infiltration.1avvphi1
Stomach, one-half (1/2) full with brownish and whitish materials and other partially digested food particles.
CAUSE OF DEATH: - Myocardial Infarction. (Emphasis supplied.)20
At first, petitioner denied employing violence against Chy. In his undated Memorandum, however, he admitted
inflicting injuries on the deceased, albeit, limited his liability to slight physical injuries. He argues that the superficial
wounds sustained by Chy did not cause his death. 21 Quite the opposite, however, a conscientious analysis of the
records would acquaint us with the causal connection between the death of the victim and the mauling that preceded
it. In open court, Dr. Antonio identified the immediate cause of Chys myocardial infarction:
ATTY. TUMARU:
Q: You diagnose[d] the cause of death to be myocardial infarction that is because there was an occlusion in the artery
that prevented the flowing of blood into the heart?
A: That was not exactly seen at the autopsy table but it changes, the hyperemic changes [in] the heart muscle were
the one[s] that made us [think] or gave strong conclusion that it was myocardial infarction, and most likely the cause
is occlusion of the blood vessels itself. (Emphasis supplied.)22
By definition, coronary occlusion23 is the complete obstruction of an artery of the heart, usually from progressive
arteriosclerosis24 or the thickening and loss of elasticity of the arterial walls. This can result from sudden emotion in a
person with an existing arteriosclerosis; otherwise, a heart attack will not occur.25 Dr. Jessica Romero testified on
direct examination relative to this point:
ATTY. CALASAN:
Q: Could an excitement trigger a myocardial infarction?
A: Excitement, I cannot say that if the patient is normal[;] that is[,] considering that the patient [does] not have any
previous [illness] of hypertension, no previous history of myocardial [ischemia], no previous [arteriosis] or
hardening of the arteries, then excitement [cannot] cause myocardial infarction. (Emphasis supplied.)26
The Autopsy Report bears out that Chy has a mild fibrosis of the myocardium 27 caused by a previous heart attack.
Said fibrosis28 or formation of fibrous tissue or scar tissue rendered the middle and thickest layer of the victims heart

less elastic and vulnerable to coronary occlusion from sudden emotion. This causation is elucidated by the testimony
of Dr. Antonio:
ATTY. CALASAN:
Q: You said that the physical injuries will cause no crisis on the part of the victim, Doctor?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And [these] physical injuries [were] caused by the [boxing] on the mouth and[/]or hitting on the nape by a bottle?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: On the part of the deceased, that [was] caused definitely by emotional crisis, Doctor?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And because of this emotional crisis the heart palpitated so fast, so much so, that there was less oxygen being
pumped by the heart?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And definitely that caused his death, Doctor?
A: Yes, sir, it could be.29
In concurrence, Dr. Antonio A. Paguirigan also testified as follows:
ATTY. CALASAN:
Q: I will repeat the question Dr. Antonio testified that the deceased died because of the blow that was inflicted, it
triggered the death of the deceased, do you agree with his findings, Doctor?
A: Not probably the blow but the reaction sir.
Q: So you agree with him, Doctor?
A: It could be, sir.
Q: You agree with him on that point, Doctor?
A: Yes, sir.30
It can be reasonably inferred from the foregoing statements that the emotional strain from the beating aggravated
Chys delicate constitution and led to his death. The inevitable conclusion then surfaces that the myocardial infarction
suffered by the victim was the direct, natural and logical consequence of the felony that petitioner had intended to
commit.
Article 4(1) of the Revised Penal Code states that criminal liability shall be incurred "by any person committing a
felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended." The essential requisites for
the application of this provision are: (a) the intended act is felonious; (b) the resulting act is likewise a felony; and (c)
the unintended albeit graver wrong was primarily caused by the actors wrongful acts.31lawph!l

In this case, petitioner was committing a felony when he boxed the victim and hit him with a bottle. Hence, the fact
that Chy was previously afflicted with a heart ailment does not alter petitioners liability for his death. Ingrained in our
jurisprudence is the doctrine laid down in the case of United States v. Brobst32 that:
x x x where death results as a direct consequence of the use of illegal violence, the mere fact that the diseased or
weakened condition of the injured person contributed to his death, does not relieve the illegal aggressor of criminal
responsibility.33
In the same vein, United States v. Rodriguez34 enunciates that:
x x x although the assaulted party was previously affected by some internal malady, if, because of a blow given with
the hand or the foot, his death was hastened, beyond peradventure he is responsible therefor who produced the
cause for such acceleration as the result of a voluntary and unlawfully inflicted injury. (Emphasis supplied.)35
In this jurisdiction, a person committing a felony is responsible for all the natural and logical consequences resulting
from it although the unlawful act performed is different from the one he intended; 36 "el que es causa de la causa es
causa del mal causado" (he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused). 37 Thus, the circumstance
that petitioner did not intend so grave an evil as the death of the victim does not exempt him from criminal liability.
Since he deliberately committed an act prohibited by law, said condition simply mitigates his guilt in accordance with
Article 13(3)38 of the Revised Penal Code.39 Nevertheless, we must appreciate as mitigating circumstance in favor of
petitioner the fact that the physical injuries he inflicted on the victim, could not have resulted naturally and logically, in
the actual death of the victim, if the latters heart was in good condition.
Considering that the petitioner has in his favor the mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to commit so grave a
wrong as that committed without any aggravating circumstance to offset it, the imposable penalty should be in the
minimum period, that is, reclusion temporal in its minimum period,40or anywhere from twelve (12) years and one (1)
day to fourteen years (14) years and eight (8) months. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, 41 the trial court
properly imposed upon petitioner an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years of prisin mayor, as minimum, to
fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal as maximum.
We shall, however, modify the award of damages to the heirs of Manuel Chy for his loss of earning capacity in the
amount of P332,000. In fixing the indemnity, the victims actual income at the time of death and probable life
expectancy are taken into account. For this purpose, the Court adopts the formula used in People v. Malinao:42
Net earning capacity = 2/3 x (80-age of x a reasonable portion of the the victim at the annual net income which time
of this death) would have been received
by the heirs for support.43
Branch 9 of the Aparri, Cagayan RTC took judicial notice of the salary which Manuel Chy was receiving as a sheriff of
the court. At the time of his death, Chy was 51 years old and was earning a gross monthly income of P10,600 or a
gross annual income of P127,200. But, in view of the victims delicate condition, the trial court reduced his life
expectancy to 10 years. It also deducted P7,000 from Chys salary as reasonable living expense. However, the
records are bereft of showing that the heirs of Chy submitted evidence to substantiate actual living expenses. And in
the absence of proof of living expenses, jurisprudence44 approximates net income to be 50% of the gross income.
Accordingly, by reason of his death, the heirs of Manuel Chy should be awarded P1,229,600 as loss of earning
capacity, computed as follows:
Net earning capacity

2/3 x (80-51) x [P127,200 - 1/2 (P127,200)]

2/3 x (29) x P63,600

19 1/3 x P63,600

P1,229,600

We sustain the trial courts grant of funerary expense of P200,000 as stipulated by the parties45 and civil indemnity of
P50,000.46 Anent moral damages, the same is mandatory in cases of murder and homicide, without need of allegation

and proof other than the death of the victim. 47 However, in obedience to the controlling case law, the amount of moral
damages should be reduced to P50,000.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated December 20, 2005 and the Resolution dated March 13, 2006 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R.-CR No. 27544 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the award of moral damages is
reduced to P50,000. Petitioner is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of Manuel K. Chy P50,000 as civil indemnity;
P200,000, representing expenses for the wake and burial; and P1,229,600 as loss of earning capacity.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
FILOMENO URBANO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

This is a petition to review the decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court which affirmed the decision of the
then Circuit Criminal Court of Dagupan City finding petitioner Filomeno Urban guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of homicide.
The records disclose the following facts of the case.
At about 8:00 o'clock in the morning of October 23, 1980, petitioner Filomeno Urbano went to his ricefield at
Barangay Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan located at about 100 meters from the tobacco seedbed of Marcelo
Javier. He found the place where he stored his palay flooded with water coming from the irrigation canal nearby which
had overflowed. Urbano went to the elevated portion of the canal to see what happened and there he saw Marcelo
Javier and Emilio Erfe cutting grass. He asked them who was responsible for the opening of the irrigation canal and
Javier admitted that he was the one. Urbano then got angry and demanded that Javier pay for his soaked palay. A
quarrel between them ensued. Urbano unsheathed his bolo (about 2 feet long, including the handle, by 2 inches
wide) and hacked Javier hitting him on the right palm of his hand, which was used in parrying the bolo hack. Javier
who was then unarmed ran away from Urbano but was overtaken by Urbano who hacked him again hitting Javier on
the left leg with the back portion of said bolo, causing a swelling on said leg. When Urbano tried to hack and inflict
further injury, his daughter embraced and prevented him from hacking Javier.
Immediately thereafter, Antonio Erfe, Emilio Erfe, and Felipe Erfe brought Javier to his house about 50 meters away
from where the incident happened. Emilio then went to the house of Barangay Captain Menardo Soliven but not
finding him there, Emilio looked for barrio councilman Felipe Solis instead. Upon the advice of Solis, the Erfes
together with Javier went to the police station of San Fabian to report the incident. As suggested by Corporal Torio,
Javier was brought to a physician. The group went to Dr. Guillermo Padilla, rural health physician of San Fabian, who
did not attend to Javier but instead suggested that they go to Dr. Mario Meneses because Padilla had no available
medicine.
After Javier was treated by Dr. Meneses, he and his companions returned to Dr. Guillermo Padilla who conducted a
medico-legal examination. Dr. Padilla issued a medico-legal certificate (Exhibit "C" dated September 28, 1981) which
reads:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This is to certify that I have examined the wound of Marcelo Javier, 20 years of age, married,
residing at Barangay Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan on October 23, 1980 and found the
following:
1 -Incised wound 2 inches in length at the upper portion of the lesser palmar prominence, right.

As to my observation the incapacitation is from (7-9) days period. This wound was presented to me
only for medico-legal examination, as it was already treated by the other doctor. (p. 88, Original
Records)
Upon the intercession of Councilman Solis, Urbano and Javier agreed to settle their differences. Urbano promised to
pay P700.00 for the medical expenses of Javier. Hence, on October 27, 1980, the two accompanied by Solis
appeared before the San Fabian Police to formalize their amicable settlement. Patrolman Torio recorded the event in
the police blotter (Exhibit A), to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
Entry Nr 599/27 Oct '80/103OH/ Re entry Nr 592 on page 257 both parties appeared before this
Station accompanied by brgy. councilman Felipe Solis and settled their case amicably, for they are
neighbors and close relatives to each other. Marcelo Javier accepted and granted forgiveness to
Filomeno Urbano who shoulder (sic) all the expenses in his medical treatment, and promising to
him and to this Office that this will never be repeated anymore and not to harbour any grudge
against each other. (p. 87, Original Records.)
Urbano advanced P400.00 to Javier at the police station. On November 3, 1980, the additional P300.00 was given to
Javier at Urbano's house in the presence of barangay captain Soliven.
At about 1:30 a.m. on November 14, 1980, Javier was rushed to the Nazareth General Hospital in a very serious
condition. When admitted to the hospital, Javier had lockjaw and was having convulsions. Dr. Edmundo Exconde who
personally attended to Javier found that the latter's serious condition was caused by tetanus toxin. He noticed the
presence of a healing wound in Javier's palm which could have been infected by tetanus.
On November 15, 1980 at exactly 4:18 p.m., Javier died in the hospital. The medical findings of Dr. Exconde are as
follows:
Date Diagnosis
11-14-80 ADMITTED due to trismus
adm. at DX TETANUS
1:30 AM Still having frequent muscle spasm. With diffi#35, 421 culty opening his mouth. Restless at times. Febrile
11-15-80 Referred. Novaldin 1 amp. inj. IM. Sudden cessa-tion of respiration and HR after
muscular spasm. 02 inhalation administered. Ambo bag resuscita-tion and cardiac massage done
but to no avail.Pronounced dead by Dra. Cabugao at 4:18 P.M. PMC done and cadaver brought
home by rela-. (p. 100, Original Records)
In an information dated April 10, 1981, Filomeno Urbano was charged with the crime of homicide before the then
Circuit Criminal Court of Dagupan City, Third Judicial District.
Upon arraignment, Urbano pleaded "not guilty." After trial, the trial court found Urbano guilty as charged. He was
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate prison term of from TWELVE (12) YEARS of prision mayor, as minimum to
SEVENTEEN (17) years, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal, as maximum, together with
the accessories of the law, to indemnify the heirs of the victim, Marcelo Javier, in the amount of P12,000.00 without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. He was ordered confined at the New Bilibid
Prison, in Muntinlupa, Rizal upon finality of the decision, in view of the nature of his penalty.

The then Intermediate Appellate Court affirmed the conviction of Urbano on appeal but raised the award of indemnity
to the heirs of the deceased to P30,000.00 with costs against the appellant.
The appellant filed a motion for reconsideration and/or new trial. The motion for new trial was based on an affidavit of
Barangay Captain Menardo Soliven (Annex "A") which states:
That in 1980, I was the barrio captain of Barrio Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan, and up to the
present having been re-elected to such position in the last barangay elections on May 17, 1982;
That sometime in the first week of November, 1980, there was a typhoon that swept Pangasinan
and other places of Central Luzon including San Fabian, a town of said province;
That during the typhoon, the sluice or control gates of the Bued irrigation dam which irrigates the
ricefields of San Fabian were closed and/or controlled so much so that water and its flow to the
canals and ditches were regulated and reduced;
That due to the locking of the sluice or control gates of the dam leading to the canals and ditches
which will bring water to the ricefields, the water in said canals and ditches became shallow which
was suitable for catching mudfishes;
That after the storm, I conducted a personal survey in the area affected, with my secretary Perfecto
Jaravata;
That on November 5, 1980, while I was conducting survey, I saw the late Marcelo Javier catching
fish in the shallow irrigation canals with some companions;
That few days there after,or on November l5, l980, I came to know that said Marcelo Javier died of
tetanus. (p. 33, Rollo)
The motion was denied. Hence, this petition.
In a resolution dated July 16, 1986, we gave due course to the petition.
The case involves the application of Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that "Criminal liability shall
be incurred: (1) By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which
he intended ..." Pursuant to this provision "an accused is criminally responsible for acts committed by him in violation
of law and for all the natural and logical consequences resulting therefrom." (People v. Cardenas, 56 SCRA 631).
The record is clear that Marcelo Javier was hacked by the petitioner who used a bolo as a result of which Javier
suffered a 2-inch incised wound on his right palm; that on November 14, 1981 which was the 22nd day after the
incident, Javier was rushed to the hospital in a very serious condition and that on the following day, November 15,
1981, he died from tetanus.
Under these circumstances, the lower courts ruled that Javier's death was the natural and logical consequence of
Urbano's unlawful act. Hence, he was declared responsible for Javier's death. Thus, the appellate court said:
The claim of appellant that there was an efficient cause which supervened from the time the
deceased was wounded to the time of his death, which covers a period of 23 days does not
deserve serious consideration. True, that the deceased did not die right away from his wound, but
the cause of his death was due to said wound which was inflicted by the appellant. Said wound
which was in the process of healing got infected with tetanus which ultimately caused his death.
Dr. Edmundo Exconde of the Nazareth General Hospital testified that the victim suffered lockjaw
because of the infection of the wound with tetanus. And there is no other way by which he could be

infected with tetanus except through the wound in his palm (tsn., p. 78, Oct. 5, 1981).
Consequently, the proximate cause of the victim's death was the wound which got infected with
tetanus. And the settled rule in this jurisdiction is that an accused is liable for all the consequences
of his unlawful act. (Article 4, par. 1, R.P.C. People v. Red, CA 43 O.G. 5072; People v. Cornel 78
Phil. 418).
Appellant's allegation that the proximate cause of the victim's death was due to his own negligence
in going back to work without his wound being properly healed, and lately, that he went to catch fish
in dirty irrigation canals in the first week of November, 1980, is an afterthought, and a desperate
attempt by appellant to wiggle out of the predicament he found himself in. If the wound had not yet
healed, it is impossible to conceive that the deceased would be reckless enough to work with a
disabled hand. (pp. 20-21, Rollo)
The petitioner reiterates his position that the proximate cause of the death of Marcelo Javier was due to his own
negligence, that Dr. Mario Meneses found no tetanus in the injury, and that Javier got infected with tetanus when after
two weeks he returned to his farm and tended his tobacco plants with his bare hands exposing the wound to harmful
elements like tetanus germs.
The evidence on record does not clearly show that the wound inflicted by Urbano was infected with tetanus at the
time of the infliction of the wound. The evidence merely confirms that the wound, which was already healing at the
time Javier suffered the symptoms of the fatal ailment, somehow got infected with tetanus However, as to when the
wound was infected is not clear from the record.
In Vda. de Bataclan, et al. v. Medina (102 Phil. 1181), we adopted the following definition of proximate cause:
xxx xxx xxx
... A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is found in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American
Jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as follows:
... "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." (at pp. 185-186)
The issue, therefore, hinges on whether or not there was an efficient intervening cause from the time Javier was
wounded until his death which would exculpate Urbano from any liability for Javier's death.
We look into the nature of tetanusThe incubation period of tetanus, i.e., the time between injury and the appearance of unmistakable
symptoms, ranges from 2 to 56 days. However, over 80 percent of patients become symptomatic
within 14 days. A short incubation period indicates severe disease, and when symptoms occur
within 2 or 3 days of injury the mortality rate approaches 100 percent.
Non-specific premonitory symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, and headache are
encountered occasionally, but the commonest presenting complaints are pain and stiffness in the
jaw, abdomen, or back and difficulty swallowing. As the progresses, stiffness gives way to rigidity,
and patients often complain of difficulty opening their mouths. In fact, trismus in the commonest
manifestation of tetanus and is responsible for the familiar descriptive name of lockjaw. As more

muscles are involved, rigidity becomes generalized, and sustained contractions called risus
sardonicus. The intensity and sequence of muscle involvement is quite variable. In a small
proportion of patients, only local signs and symptoms develop in the region of the injury. In the vast
majority, however, most muscles are involved to some degree, and the signs and symptoms
encountered depend upon the major muscle groups affected.
Reflex spasm usually occur within 24 to 72 hours of the first symptom, an interval referred to as the
onset time. As in the case of the incubation period, a short onset time is associated with a poor
prognosis. Spasms are caused by sudden intensification of afferent stimuli arising in the periphery,
which increases rigidity and causes simultaneous and excessive contraction of muscles and their
antagonists. Spasms may be both painful and dangerous. As the disease progresses, minimal or
inapparent stimuli produce more intense and longer lasting spasms with increasing frequency.
Respiration may be impaired by laryngospasm or tonic contraction of respiratory muscles which
prevent adequate ventilation. Hypoxia may then lead to irreversible central nervous system
damage and death.
Mild tetanus is characterized by an incubation period of at least 14 days and an onset time of more
than 6 days. Trismus is usually present, but dysphagia is absent and generalized spasms are brief
and mild. Moderately severe tetanus has a somewhat shorter incubation period and onset time;
trismus is marked, dysphagia and generalized rigidity are present, but ventilation remains adequate
even during spasms. The criteria for severe tetanus include a short incubation time, and an onset
time of 72 hrs., or less, severe trismus, dysphagia and rigidity and frequent prolonged, generalized
convulsive spasms. (Harrison's Principle of Internal Medicine, 1983 Edition, pp. 1004-1005;
Emphasis supplied)
Therefore, medically speaking, the reaction to tetanus found inside a man's body depends on the incubation period of
the disease.
In the case at bar, Javier suffered a 2-inch incised wound on his right palm when he parried the bolo which Urbano
used in hacking him. This incident took place on October 23, 1980. After 22 days, or on November 14, 1980, he
suffered the symptoms of tetanus, like lockjaw and muscle spasms. The following day, November 15, 1980, he died.
If, therefore, 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. (People v. Cardenas, supra) 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. (People v. Rellin, 77 Phil. 1038).
Doubts are present. 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. As we ruled in Manila Electric Co. v. Remoquillo, et al. (99 Phil. 118).
"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." (45 C.J. pp.
931-932). (at p. 125)
It strains the judicial mind to allow a clear aggressor to go scot free of criminal liability. At the very least, the records
show he is guilty of inflicting slight physical injuries. However, the petitioner's criminal liability in this respect was
wiped out by the victim's own act. After the hacking incident, Urbano and Javier used the facilities of barangay
mediators to effect a compromise agreement where Javier forgave Urbano while Urbano defrayed the medical
expenses of Javier. This settlement of minor offenses is allowed under the express provisions of Presidential Decree
G.R. No. 1508, Section 2(3). (See also People v. Caruncho, 127 SCRA 16).
We must stress, however, that our discussion of proximate cause and remote cause is limited to the criminal aspects
of this rather unusual case. It does not necessarily follow that the petitioner is also free of civil liability. The wellsettled doctrine is that a person, while not criminally liable, may still be civilly liable. Thus, in the recent case of
People v. Rogelio Ligon y Tria, et al. (G.R. No. 74041, July 29, 1987), we said:
xxx xxx xxx
... While the guilt of the accused in a criminal prosecution must be established beyond reasonable
doubt, only a preponderance of evidence is required in a civil action for damages. (Article 29, Civil
Code). The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only when it includes
a declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. (Padilla v. Court of
Appeals, 129 SCRA 559).
The reason for the provisions of article 29 of the Civil Code, which provides that the acquittal of the
accused on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt does not
necessarily exempt him from civil liability for the same act or omission, has been explained by the
Code Commission as follows:
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also releases him
from civil liability is one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal system. It
has given use to numberless instances of miscarriage of justice, where the
acquittal was due to a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt of
the accused. The reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the civil responsibility is
derived from the criminal offense, when the latter is not proved, civil liability
cannot be demanded.
This is one of those causes where confused thinking leads to unfortunate and
deplorable consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of
demarcation between criminal liability and civil responsibility, and to determine
the logical result of the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and distinct
from each other. One affects the social order and the other, private rights. One is
for the punishment or correction of the offender while the other is for reparation of
damages suffered by the aggrieved party. The two responsibilities are so different
from each other that article 1813 of the present (Spanish) Civil Code reads thus:
"There may be a compromise upon the civil action arising from a crime; but the
public action for the imposition of the legal penalty shall not thereby be
extinguished." It is just and proper that, for the purposes of the imprisonment of
or fine upon the accused, the offense should be proved beyond reasonable
doubt. But for the purpose of indemnity the complaining party, why should the
offense also be proved beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or violation
of every private right to be proved only by a preponderance of evidence? Is the
right of the aggrieved person any less private because the wrongful act is also
punishable by the criminal law?

"For these reasons, the Commission recommends the adoption of the reform
under discussion. It will correct a serious defect in our law. It will close up an
inexhaustible source of injustice-a cause for disillusionment on the part of the
innumerable persons injured or wronged."
The respondent court increased the P12,000.00 indemnification imposed by the trial court to P30,000.00. However,
since the indemnification was based solely on the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt in the homicide case, the
civil liability of the petitioner was not thoroughly examined. This aspect of the case calls for fuller development if the
heirs of the victim are so minded.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned decision of the then Intermediate Appellate
Court, now Court of Appeals, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petitioner is ACQUITTED of the crime of homicide.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
ORLITO VILLACORTA, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
On appeal is the Decision1 dated July 30, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02550, which
affirmed the Decision2 dated September 22, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 170, of Malabon, in
Criminal Case No. 27039-MN, finding accused-appellant Orlito Villacorta (Villacorta) guilty of murder, and sentencing
him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of Danilo Cruz (Cruz) the sum of P50,000.00 as
civil indemnity, plus the costs of suit.
On June 21, 2002, an Information3 was filed against Villacorta charging him with the crime of murder, as follows:
That on or about 23rd day of January 2002, in Navotas, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, armed with a sharpened bamboo stick, with intent to kill, treachery and evident
premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said weapon
one DANILO SALVADOR CRUZ, thereby inflicting upon the victim serious wounds which caused his immediate
death.
When arraigned on September 9, 2002, Villacorta pleaded not guilty.4
During trial, the prosecution presented as witnesses Cristina Mendeja (Mendeja) and Dr. Domingo Belandres, Jr. (Dr.
Belandres).
Mendeja narrated that on January 23, 2002, she was tending her sari-sari store located at C-4 Road, Bagumbayan,
Navotas. Both Cruz and Villacorta were regular customers at Mendejas store. At around two oclock in the morning,
while Cruz was ordering bread at Mendejas store, Villacorta suddenly appeared and, without uttering a word,
stabbed Cruz on the left side of Cruzs body using a sharpened bamboo stick. The bamboo stick broke and was left in
Cruzs body. Immediately after the stabbing incident, Villacorta fled. Mendeja gave chase but failed to catch Villacorta.
When Mendeja returned to her store, she saw her neighbor Aron removing the broken bamboo stick from Cruzs
body.5 Mendeja and Aron then brought Cruz to Tondo Medical Center.6
Dr. Belandres was Head of the Tetanus Department at the San Lazaro Hospital. When Cruz sustained the stab
wound on January 23, 2002, he was taken to the Tondo Medical Center, where he was treated as an out-patient.
Cruz was only brought to the San Lazaro Hospital on February 14, 2002, where he died the following day, on

February 15, 2002. While admitting that he did not personally treat Cruz, Dr. Belandres was able to determine, using
Cruzs medical chart and diagnosis, that Cruz died of tetanus infection secondary to stab wound. 7 Dr. Belandres
specifically described the cause of Cruzs death in the following manner:
The wound was exposed x x spurs concerted, the patient developed difficulty of opening the mouth, spastivity of the
body and abdominal pain and the cause of death is hypoxic encephalopathy neuro transmitted due to upper G.I.
bleeding x x x. Diagnosed of Tetanus, Stage III.8
The prosecution also intended to present Dr. Deverni Matias (Dr. Matias), who attended to Cruz at the San Lazaro
Hospital, but the prosecution and defense agreed to dispense with Dr. Matias testimony based on the stipulation that
it would only corroborate Dr. Belandres testimony on Cruz dying of tetanus.
For its part, the defense presented Villacorta himself, who denied stabbing Cruz. Villacorta recounted that he was on
his way home from work at around two oclock in the morning of January 21, 2002. Upon arriving home, Villacorta
drank coffee then went outside to buy cigarettes at a nearby store. When Villacorta was about to leave the store,
Cruz put his arm around Villacortas shoulder. This prompted Villacorta to box Cruz, after which, Villacorta went
home. Villacorta did not notice that Cruz got hurt. Villacorta only found out about Cruzs death upon his arrest on July
31, 2002.9
On September 22, 2006, the RTC rendered a Decision finding Villacorta guilty of murder, qualified by treachery. The
dispositive portion of said Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the Court finds accused Orlito Villacorta guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime of Murder and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of
Danilo Cruz the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death of said victim plus the costs of suit.10
Villacorta, through his counsel from the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), filed a notice of appeal to assail his conviction
by the RTC.11 The Court of Appeals directed the PAO to file Villacortas brief, within thirty days from receipt of notice.
Villacorta filed his Appellants Brief12 on May 30, 2007; while the People, through the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG), filed its Appellee's Brief13 on October 2, 2007.
On July 30, 2008, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision affirming in toto the RTC judgment of conviction
against Villacorta.
Hence, Villacorta comes before this Court via the instant appeal.
Villacorta manifested that he would no longer file a supplemental brief, as he was adopting the Appellant's Brief he
filed before the Court of Appeals.14 The OSG, likewise, manifested that it was no longer filing a supplemental brief. 15
In his Appellants Brief, Villacorta raised the following assignment of errors:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE
CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE OF
TREACHERY.
III

ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE ACCUSED COMMITTED A CRIME, HE COULD ONLY BE HELD
LIABLE FOR SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES.16
Villacorta assails the credibility of Mendeja, an eyewitness to the stabbing incident. It was Mendeja who positively
identified Villacorta as the one who stabbed Cruz in the early morning of January 23, 2002. Villacorta asserts that
Mendejas account of the stabbing incident is replete with inconsistencies and incredulities, and is contrary to normal
human experience, such as: (1) instead of shouting or calling for help when Villacorta allegedly stabbed Cruz,
Mendeja attempted to run after and catch Villacorta; (2) while, by Mendejas own account, there were other people
who witnessed the stabbing and could have chased after Villacorta, yet, oddly, only Mendeja did; (3) if Cruz was
stabbed so swiftly and suddenly as Mendeja described, then it would have been physically improbable for Mendeja to
have vividly recognized the perpetrator, who immediately ran away after the stabbing; (4) after the stabbing, both
Villacorta and Cruz ran in opposite directions; and (5) Mendeja had said that the bamboo stick, the alleged murder
weapon, was left at her store, although she had also stated that the said bamboo stick was left embedded in Cruzs
body. Villacorta maintains that the aforementioned inconsistencies are neither trivial nor inconsequential, and should
engender some doubt as to his guilt.
We are not persuaded.
To begin with, it is fundamental that the determination by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses, when affirmed
by the appellate court, is accorded full weight and credit as well as great respect, if not conclusive effect. Such
determination made by the trial court proceeds from its first-hand opportunity to observe the demeanor of the
witnesses, their conduct and attitude under grilling examination, thereby placing the trial court in the unique position
to assess the witnesses' credibility and to appreciate their truthfulness, honesty and candor.17
In this case, both the RTC and the Court of Appeals gave full faith and credence to the testimony of prosecution
witness Mendeja. The Court of Appeals rejected Villacortas attempts to impugn Mendejas testimony, thus:
Appellants reason for concluding that witness Mendejas testimony is incredible because she did not shout or call for
help and instead run after the appellant, fails to impress the Court because persons who witness crimes react in
different ways.
"x x x the makings of a human mind are unpredictable; people react differently and there is no standard form of
behavior when one is confronted by a shocking incident.
Equally lacking in merit is appellants second reason which is, other persons could have run after the appellant after
the stabbing incident. As explained by witness Mendeja, the other person whom she identified as Aron was left to
assist the appellant who was wounded. Further, the stabbing occurred at 2:00 oclock in the morning, a time when
persons are expected to be asleep in their house, not roaming the streets.
His [Villacortas] other argument that the swiftness of the stabbing incident rendered impossible or incredible the
identification of the assailant cannot likewise prosper in view of his admission that he was in the store of witness
Mendeja on January 23, 2002 at 2:00 oclock in the morning and that he assaulted the victim by boxing him.
Even if his admission is disregarded still the evidence of record cannot support appellants argument. Appellant and
the victim were known to witness Mendeja, both being her friends and regular customers. There was light in front of
the store. An opening in the store measuring 1 and meters enables the person inside to see persons outside,
particularly those buying articles from the store. The victim was in front of the store buying bread when attacked.
Further, immediately after the stabbing, witness Mendeja ran after the appellant giving her additional opportunity to
identify the malefactor. Thus, authorship of the attack can be credibly ascertained.18
Moreover, Villacorta was unable to present any reason or motivation for Mendeja to fabricate such a lie and falsely
accuse Villacorta of stabbing Cruz on January 23, 2002. We have ruled time and again that where the prosecution
eyewitness was familiar with both the victim and accused, and where the locus criminis afforded good visibility, and
where no improper motive can be attributed to the witness for testifying against the accused, then her version of the
story deserves much weight.19

The purported inconsistencies in Mendejas testimony pointed out by Villacorta are on matters that have no bearing
on the fundamental fact which Mendeja testified on: that Villacorta stabbed Cruz in the early morning of January 23,
2002, right in front of Mendejas store.
In the face of Mendejas positive identification of Villacorta as Cruzs stabber, Villacorta could only muster an
uncorroborated denial. Denial, like alibi, as an exonerating justification, is inherently weak and if uncorroborated,
regresses to blatant impotence. Like alibi, it also constitutes self-serving negative evidence which cannot be accorded
greater evidentiary weight than the declaration of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.20
Hence, we do not deviate from the foregoing factual findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Nevertheless, there is merit in the argument proffered by Villacorta that in the event he is found to have indeed
stabbed Cruz, he should only be held liable for slight physical injuries for the stab wound he inflicted upon Cruz. The
proximate cause of Cruzs death is the tetanus infection, and not the stab wound.
Proximate cause has been defined as "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."21
In this case, immediately after he was stabbed by Villacorta in the early morning of January 23, 2002, Cruz was
rushed to and treated as an out-patient at the Tondo Medical Center. On February 14, 2002, Cruz was admitted to the
San Lazaro Hospital for symptoms of severe tetanus infection, where he died the following day, on February 15,
2002. The prosecution did not present evidence of the emergency medical treatment Cruz received at the Tondo
Medical Center, subsequent visits by Cruz to Tondo Medical Center or any other hospital for follow-up medical
treatment of his stab wound, or Cruzs activities between January 23 to February 14, 2002.
In Urbano v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 22 the Court was confronted with a case of very similar factual background
as the one at bar. During an altercation on October 23, 1980, Urbano hacked Javier with a bolo, inflicting an incised
wound on Javiers hand. Javier was treated by Dr. Meneses. On November 14, 1980, Javier was rushed to the
hospital with lockjaw and convulsions. Dr. Exconde, who attended to Javier, found that Javiers serious condition was
caused by tetanus infection. The next day, on November 15, 1980, Javier died. An Information was filed against
Urbano for homicide. Both the Circuit Criminal Court and the Intermediate Appellate Court found Urbano guilty of
homicide, because Javier's death was the natural and logical consequence of Urbano's unlawful act. Urbano
appealed before this Court, arguing that Javiers own negligence was the proximate cause of his death. Urbano
alleged that when Dr. Meneses examined Javiers wound, he did not find any tetanus infection and that Javier could
have acquired the tetanus germs when he returned to work on his farm only two (2) weeks after sustaining his injury.
The Court granted Urbanos appeal.
We quote extensively from the ratiocination of the Court in Urbano:
The issue, therefore, hinges on whether or not there was an efficient intervening cause from the time Javier was
wounded until his death which would exculpate Urbano from any liability for Javier's death.
We look into the nature of tetanus"The incubation period of tetanus, i.e., the time between injury and the appearance of unmistakable symptoms,
ranges from 2 to 56 days. However, over 80 percent of patients become symptomatic within 14 days. A short
incubation period indicates severe disease, and when symptoms occur within 2 or 3 days of injury the mortality rate
approaches 100 percent.
"Non-specific premonitory symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, and headache are encountered occasionally,
but the commonest presenting complaints are pain and stiffness in the jaw, abdomen, or back and difficulty
swallowing. As the disease progresses, stiffness gives way to rigidity, and patients often complain of difficulty opening
their mouths. In fact, trismus is the commonest manifestation of tetanus and is responsible for the familiar descriptive
name of lockjaw. As more muscles are involved, rigidity becomes generalized, and sustained contractions called risus
sardonicus. The intensity and sequence of muscle involvement is quite variable. In a small proportion of patients, only

local signs and symptoms develop in the region of the injury. In the vast majority, however, most muscles are involved
to some degree, and the signs and symptoms encountered depend upon the major muscle groups affected.
"Reflex spasm usually occur within 24 to 72 hours of the first symptoms, an interval referred to as the onset time. As
in the case of the incubation period, a short onset time is associated with a poor prognosis. Spasms are caused by
sudden intensification of afferent stimuli arising in the periphery, which increases rigidity and causes simultaneous
and excessive contraction of muscles and their antagonists. Spasms may be both painful and dangerous. As the
disease progresses, minimal or inapparent stimuli produce more intense and longer lasting spasms with increasing
frequency. Respiration may be impaired by laryngospasm or tonic contraction of respiratory muscles which prevent
adequate ventilation. Hypoxia may then lead to irreversible central nervous system damage and death.
"Mild tetanus is characterized by an incubation period of at least 14 days and an onset time of more than 6 days.
Trismus is usually present, but dysphagia is absent and generalized spasms are brief and mild. Moderately severe
tetanus has a somewhat shorter incubation period and onset time; trismus is marked, dysphagia and generalized
rigidity are present, but ventilation remains adequate even during spasms. The criteria for severe tetanus include a
short incubation time, and an onset time of 72 hrs., or less, severe trismus, dysphagia and rigidity and frequent
prolonged, generalized convulsive spasms. (Harrison's Principle of Internal Medicine, 1983 Edition, pp. 1004-1005;
Emphasis supplied)
Therefore, medically speaking, the reaction to tetanus found inside a man's body depends on the incubation period of
the disease.
In the case at bar, Javier suffered a 2-inch incised wound on his right palm when he parried the bolo which Urbano
used in hacking him. This incident took place on October 23, 1980. After 22 days, or on November 14, 1980, he
suffered the symptoms of tetanus, like lockjaw and muscle spasms. The following day, November 15, 1980, he died.
If, therefore, 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 case 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.23
The incubation period for tetanus infection and the length of time between the hacking incident and the manifestation
of severe tetanus infection created doubts in the mind of the Court that Javier acquired the severe tetanus infection
from the hacking incident. We explained in Urbano that:
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. (People v. Cardenas, supra) 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. (People v. Rellin, 77 Phil. 1038).
Doubts are present. 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. As we ruled in Manila Electric Co. v. Remoquillo, et al. (99 Phil. 118).
"A prior and remote cause cannot be made the basis 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." (45 C.J. pp. 931-932). (at p. 125)24
We face the very same doubts in the instant case that compel us to set aside the conviction of Villacorta for murder.
There had been an interval of 22 days between the date of the stabbing and the date when Cruz was rushed to San
Lazaro Hospital, exhibiting symptoms of severe tetanus infection. If Cruz acquired severe tetanus infection from the
stabbing, then the symptoms would have appeared a lot sooner than 22 days later. As the Court noted in Urbano,
severe tetanus infection has a short incubation period, less than 14 days; and those that exhibit symptoms with two to
three days from the injury, have one hundred percent (100%) mortality. Ultimately, we can only deduce that Cruzs
stab wound was merely the remote cause, and its subsequent infection with tetanus might have been the proximate
cause of Cruz's death. The infection of Cruzs stab wound by tetanus was an efficient intervening cause later or
between the time Cruz was stabbed to the time of his death.
However, Villacorta is not totally without criminal liability.1wphi1 Villacorta is guilty of slight physical injuries under
Article 266(1) of the Revised Penal Code for the stab wound he inflicted upon Cruz. Although the charge in the instant
case is for murder, a finding of guilt for the lesser offense of slight physical injuries may be made considering that the
latter offense is necessarily included in the former since the essential ingredients of slight physical injuries constitute
and form part of those constituting the offense of murder.25
We cannot hold Villacorta criminally liable for attempted or frustrated murder because the prosecution was not able to
establish Villacortas intent to kill. In fact, the Court of Appeals expressly observed the lack of evidence to prove such
an intent beyond reasonable doubt, to wit:
Appellant stabbed the victim only once using a sharpened bamboo stick, hitting him on the left side of the body and
then immediately fled. The instrument used is not as lethal as those made of metallic material. The part of the body
hit is not delicate in the sense that instant death can ensue by reason of a single stab wound. The assault was done
only once. Thus, there is doubt as to whether appellant had an intent to kill the victim, which should be resolved in
favor of the appellant. x x x.26
The intent must be proved in a clear and evident manner to exclude every possible doubt as to the homicidal (or
murderous) intent of the aggressor. The onus probandi lies not on accused-appellant but on the prosecution. The
inference that the intent to kill existed should not be drawn in the absence of circumstances sufficient to prove this
fact beyond reasonable doubt. When such intent is lacking but wounds were inflicted, the crime is not frustrated
murder but physical injuries only.27
Evidence on record shows that Cruz was brought to Tondo Medical Center for medical treatment immediately after
the stabbing incident.1avvphi1 Right after receiving medical treatment, Cruz was then released by the Tondo Medical
Center as an out-patient. There was no other evidence to establish that Cruz was incapacitated for labor and/or
required medical attendance for more than nine days. Without such evidence, the offense is only slight physical
injuries.28
We still appreciate treachery as an aggravating circumstance, it being sufficiently alleged in the Information and
proved during trial.
The Information specified that "accused, armed with a sharpened bamboo stick, with intent to kill, treachery and
evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said
weapon one DANILO SALVADOR CRUZ x x x."
Treachery exists when an offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods or forms
which tend directly or especially to ensure its execution, without risk to the offender, arising from the defense that the
offended party might make. This definition sets out what must be shown by evidence to conclude that treachery
existed, namely: (1) the employment of such means of execution as would give the person attacked no opportunity
for self-defense or retaliation; and (2) the deliberate and conscious adoption of the means of execution. To reiterate,
the essence of qualifying circumstance is the suddenness, surprise and the lack of expectation that the attack will
take place, thus, depriving the victim of any real opportunity for self-defense while ensuring the commission of the

crime without risk to the aggressor.29 Likewise, even when the victim was forewarned of the danger to his person,
treachery may still be appreciated since what is decisive is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the
victim to defend himself or to retaliate.30
Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals found that treachery was duly proven in this case, and we sustain such
finding. Cruz, the victim, was attacked so suddenly, unexpectedly, and without provocation. It was two oclock in the
morning of January 23, 2002, and Cruz, who was out buying bread at Mendejas store, was unarmed. Cruz had his
guard down and was totally unprepared for an attack on his person. Villacorta suddenly appeared from nowhere,
armed with a sharpened bamboo stick, and without uttering a word, stabbed Cruz at the left side of his body, then
swiftly ran away. Villacortas treacherous mode of attack left Cruz with no opportunity at all to defend himself or
retaliate.
Article 266(1) of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. The crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:
1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party from
labor from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period.
The penalty of arresto menor spans from one (1) day to thirty (30) days. 31 The Indeterminate Sentence Law does not
apply since said law excludes from its coverage cases where the penalty imposed does not exceed one (1) year. 32
With the aggravating circumstance of treachery, we can sentence Villacorta with imprisonment anywhere within
arresto menor in the maximum period, i.e., twenty-one (21) to thirty (30) days. Consequently, we impose upon
Villacorta a straight sentence of thirty (30) days of arresto menor; but given that Villacorta has been in jail since July
31, 2002 until present time, already way beyond his imposed sentence, we order his immediate release.
Under paragraph (1), Article 2219 of the Civil Code, moral damages may be recovered in a criminal offense resulting
in physical injuries. Moral damages compensate for the mental anguish, serious anxiety, and moral shock suffered by
the victim and his family as being a proximate result of the wrongful act. An award requires no proof of pecuniary loss.
Pursuant to previous jurisprudence, an award of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) moral damages is appropriate for
less serious, as well as slight physical injuries.33
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 30, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02550, affirming
the Decision dated September 22, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 170, of Malabon, in Criminal Case No.
27039-MN, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is entered finding Villacorta GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of slight physical injuries, as defined and punished by Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code, and
sentenced to suffer the penalty of thirty (30) days arresto menor. Considering that Villacorta has been incarcerated
well beyond the period of the penalty herein imposed, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to cause
Villacortas immediate release, unless Villacorta is being lawfully held for another cause, and to inform this Court,
within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision, of the compliance with such order. Villacorta is ordered to pay the
heirs of the late Danilo Cruz moral damages in the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00).
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff and Appellee,


vs.
ROLLY ADRIANO y SAMSON, LEAN ADRIANO @ DENDEN, ABBA SANTIAGO y ADRIANO, JOHN DOE AND
PETER DOE, Accused,
ROLLY ADRIANO y SAMSON, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION

PEREZ, J.:
This is an appeal of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated 30 May 2011 in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 04028, which
affirmed the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court dated 7 April 2009, convicting accused-appellant Rolly Adriano y
Santos (Adriano) for the crime of Homicide (Crim. Case No. 13159-07) for the killing of Ofelia Bulanan (Bulanan) and
for the crime of Murder (Crim. Case No. 13160-07) for the killing of Danilo Cabiedes (Cabiedes) in "People of the
Philippines v. Rolly Adriano y Sales."
Adriano was charged with two (2) counts of Murder. The two (2) sets of Information read:
Crim. Case No. 13159-07
On or about March 13, 2007, around 8:00 o'clock (sic) in the morning, in Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conniving together, with intent to kill, treachery and
abuse of superior strength, willfully shot several times with assorted firearms Ofelia Bulanan, hitting her on the
different parts of her body, resulting in her death to the damage of her heirs.3
Crim. Case No. 13160-07
On or about March 13, 2007, around 8:00 o'clock (sic) in the morning, in Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conniving together, with intent to kill, treachery and
abuse of superior strength, willfully shot several times with assorted firearms Danilo Cabiedes, hitting him on the
different parts of his body, resulting in his death to the damage of his heirs.4
Version of the Prosecution:
On 13 March 2007, at around 8:00 a.m., Police Officer 1 Matthew Garabiles (POI Garabiles) and P02 Alejandro
Santos (P02 Santos), in civilian clothes, were on their way to Camp Olivas, Pampanga, riding a motorcycle along
Olongapo-Gapan National Road.5
While they were at Barangay Malapit San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, a speeding blue Toyota Corolla (Corolla) with plate no.
WHK 635, heading towards the same direction, overtook them and the car in front of them, a maroon Honda CRV
(CRY) with plate no. CTL 957.6
When the Corolla reached alongside the CRV, the passenger on the front seat of the Corolla shot the CRV and
caused the CRV to swerve and fall in the canal in the road embankment. Four (4) armed men then suddenly alighted
the Corolla and started shooting at the driver of the CRV, who was later identified as Cabiedes. During the shooting, a
bystander, Bulanan, who was standing near the road embankment, was hit by a stray bullet. The four armed men
hurried back to the Corolla and immediately left the crime scene. PO 1 Garabiles and P02 Santos followed the
Corolla but lost track of the latter.7
Later, both Cabiedes and Bulanan died from fatal gunshot wounds: Cabiedes was pronounced dead on arrival (DOA)
at the Good Samaritan General Hospital due to three (3) gunshot wounds on the left side of his chest while Bulanan
died on the spot after being shot in the head.
During the investigation, the police learned that the Corolla was registered under the name of Antonio V. Rivera
(Rivera). Upon inquiry, Rivera admitted that he is the owner of the Corolla but clarified that the Corolla is one of the
several cars he owns in his car rental business, which he leased to Adriano. Later that day, Adriano arrived at
Rivera's shop with the Corolla, where he was identified by P02 Santos and PO 1 Garabiles as one of the four
assailants who alighted from the passenger's seat beside the driver of the Corolla and shot Cabiedes. He was
immediately arrested and brought to the Provincial Special Operations Group (PSOG) headquarters in Cabanatuan
City.8

In examining the crime scene, the Nueva Ecija Provincial Crime Laboratory Office recovered one (1) deformed fired
bullet from a .45 caliber firearm and five (5) cartridges from a .45 caliber firearm.9
Version of the Defense
Adriano testified that on 13 March 2007, at about 6:00 a.m., at the time of the incident, he was at his house in
Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga, washing the clothes of his child. After doing the laundry, he took his motorcycle to a
repair shop and left it there.10
At about 8:00 a.m., Adriano went to the house of his friend, Ruben Mallari (Mallari), to ask for a lighter spring needed
to repair his motorcycle. After having coffee in Mallari' s house, Adriano went home and brought his child to his
mother. On his way to his mother's house, he met his brother-in-law, Felix Aguilar Sunga (Sunga). After leaving his
child at his mother's house, Adriano went to the cockpit arena to watch cockfights, where he saw his friend, Danilo
Dizon (Dizon). After the fights, he left the cockpit at about 2:00 p.m. and went home and took a rest.11
After resting, Adriano picked-up his motorcycle and proceeded to a store and stayed there. At around 5 :00 p.m., he
went back home. After a while, he received a call from a certain Boyet Garcia (Garcia), who borrowed the Corolla
from him, which he rented from Rivera.12
At 8:00 p.m., he met with Garcia to get the Corolla back. After dropping Garcia off, Adriano went to Rivera to return
the Corolla, where he was arrested by police officers, thrown inside the Corolla's trunk, and brought to a place where
he was tortured.13
The other defense's witnesses, Lucita Tapnio (Tapnio), Mallari, Sunga, and Dizon corroborated Adriano's
testimony.14
When arraigned, Adriano pleaded not guilty. The other accused, Lean Adriano alias "Denden," Abba Santiago y
Adriano, John Doe, and Peter Doe remained at large.
During trial, the prosecution presented eight (8) witnesses: (1) PO1 Garabiles, (2) P02 Santos, (3) Police Senior
Inspector Roger V. Sebastian, (4) SP02 Alejandro Eduardo, (5) P02 Jay Cabrera, (6) P03 Antonio dela Cruz, (7)
Adelaida Cabiedes, widow of Cabiedes, and (8) Ricky Flores.
On the other hand, the defense presented Adriano, Tapnio, Sunga, Mallari, and Dizon as witnesses.
Ruling of the Lower Courts
After trial, the RTC convicted Adriano. The RTC rejected Adriano's defense of alibi on the ground that it was not
supported by clear and convincing evidence. According to the RTC, Adriano's alibi cannot prevail over the testimonies
of credible witnesses, who positively identified Adriano as one of the perpetrators of the crime. Also, contrary to the
allegations of the defense, the RTC gave full credence to the testimony of prosecution witnesses, POI Garabiles and
P02 Santos. The RTC determined that the defense failed to show proof that will show or indicate that PO1 Garabiles
and P02 Santos were impelled by improper motives to testify against Adriano. The RTC found as proven the
assessment of damages against the accused. Thus did the RTC order Adriano to pay the heirs of Cabiedes the
amount of P222,482.00 based on the following: (1) One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Pl00,000.00) as funeral
expenses; (2) Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00) as expenses for the food served during the burial; (3) Twelve
Thousand Four Hundred Eighty Two Pesos (1!12,482.00) as groceries used and served during the wake; and Sixty
Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00) for the parts and service repair of the CRV.15
The dispositive portion of the R TC Decision dated 7 April 2009 reads:
WHEREFORE, finding accused ROLLY ADRIANO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder, as charged, for the
death of Danilo Cabiedes, there being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance that attended the commission of the
crime, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Accused Rolly Adriano is also ordered to

indemnify the heirs of Danilo Cabiedes in the amount of Php 50,000.00 and to pay the sum of Php 222,482.00 as
actual damages.
And finding ROLLY ADRIANO also guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Homicide, as charged, for the death of Ofelia
Bulanan, likewise, there being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance that attended the commission of the
offense, he is further sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from Eight (8) years and One (1)
day of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to Seventeen (17) years and Four (4) months of reclusion temporal
medium, as maximum, and to indemnify the heirs of Ofelia Bulanan in the amount of Php 50,000.00.16
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Adriano alleged that the R TC erred when it failed to appreciate his defense of
alibi, as well as the testimonies of the other defense's witnesses. Adriano contended that the RTC erred when it gave
credence to the testimony of the prosecution witnesses which are inconsistent and contradictory. In detail, Adriano
referred to the following particulars: 1) whether the culprits started shooting when the victim's vehicle was still in
motion; 2) which side of the vehicle did the shooters alight from; 3) the identity of the culprit who triggered the fatal
shot; 4) whether the trip of PO1 Garabiles and P02 Santos going to Camp Olivas, Pampanga was official business; 5)
the precise distance of the assailants' vehicle from that of the two (2) eyewitnesses; and 6) the precise minutes of the
shooting incident.
The Court of Appeals rejected Adriano's attempt to becloud the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. According to
the Court of Appeals, the prosecution witnesses' positive identification of Adriano as one of the perpetrators of the
crime cannot be overcome by minor inconsistencies in their testimony. The Court of Appeals ruled that these trivial
differences in fact constitute signs of veracity.
On the defense of alibi, the Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the R TC that Adriano's claim that he was in
Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga at the time of the incident does not convince because it was not impossible for
Adriano to be physically present at the crime scene, in Barangay Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, which can be
reached by car in less than an hour.17 The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, Br. 36, in
Crim. Case Nos. 13159-07 and 13160-07 is AFFIRMED subject to the Modification that the award of Fifty Thousand
Pesos (Php50,000.00) as civil indemnity to the heirs of Danilo Cabiedes is INCREASED to Seventy-Five Thousand
Pesos (Php75,000.00). In addition, the Accused-Appellant is ORDERED to pay the heirs of Danilo Cabiedes the
amount of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (Php75,000.00) as moral damages; and the heirs of Ofelia Bulanan the
amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php50,000.00) as moral damages.
SO ORDERED.18
Our Ruling
In cases of murder, the prosecution must establish the presence of the following elements:
1. That a person was killed.
2. That the accused killed him.
3. That the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Art. 248.
4. The killing is not parricide or infanticide.
In the case at bar, the prosecution has established the concurrence of the elements of murder: (1) the fact of death of
Cabiedes and Bulanan; (2) the positive identification of Adriano as one of perpetrators of the crime; and (3) the
attendance of treachery as a qualifying aggravating circumstance and use of firearms and abuse of superior strength
as generic aggravating circumstances.

Death of Cabiedes
The present case is a case of murder by ambush. In ambush, the crime is carried out to ensure that the victim is
killed and at the same time, to eliminate any risk from any possible defenses or retaliation from the victim19
ambush exemplifies the nature of treachery.
Paragraph 16 of Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) defines treachery as the direct employment of means,
methods, or forms in the execution of the crime against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to the offender arising from the defense which the offended party might make. In order for
treachery to be properly appreciated, two elements must be present: (1) at the time of the attack, the victim was not in
a position to defend himself; and (2) the accused consciously and deliberately adopted the particular means,
methods or forms of attack employed by him.20 The "essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by
an aggressor on the unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any chance to defend himself and thereby ensuring
its commission without risk of himself."21
Clearly, treachery is present in the case at bar as the victims were indeed defenseless at the time of the attack.
Adriano, together with the other accused, ambushed Cabiedes by following the unsuspecting victim along the
national highway and by surprise, fired multiple shots at Cabiedes and then immediately fled the crime scene,
causing Cabiedes to die of multiple gunshot wounds. When the Corolla swerved into the CRV's lane, Cabiedes was
forced to swiftly turn to the right and on to the road embankment, finally falling into the canal where his CRY was
trapped, precluding all possible means of defense. There is no other logical conclusion, but that the orchestrated
ambush committed by Adriano, together with his co-accused, who are still on the loose, was in conspiracy with each
other to ensure the death of Cabiedes and their safety. The means of execution employed was deliberately and
consciously adopted by Adriano so as to give Cabiedes no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate.22
All these circumstances indicate that the orchestrated crime was committed with the presence of the aggravating
circumstances of treachery, which absorbs the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength, and use of
firearms. Indeed, Cabiedes had no way of escaping or defending himself.
Death of Bulanan
We refer back to the settled facts of the case. Bulanan, who was merely a bystander, was killed by a stray bullet. He
was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Stray bullets, obviously, kill indiscriminately and often without warning, precluding the unknowing victim from repelling
the attack or defending himself. At the outset, Adriano had no intention to kill Bulanan, much less, employ any
particular means of attack. Logically, Bulanan's death was random and unintentional and the method used to kill her,
as she was killed by a stray a bullet, was, by no means, deliberate. Nonetheless, Adriano is guilty of the death of
Bulanan under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code,23 pursuant to the doctrine of aberratio ictus, which imposes
criminal liability for the acts committed in violation of law and for all the natural and logical consequences resulting
therefrom. While it may not have been Adriano's intention to shoot Bulanan, this fact will not exculpate him. Bulanan'
s death caused by the bullet fired by Adriano was the natural and direct consequence of Adriano's felonious deadly
assault against Cabiedes.
As we already held in People v. Herrera24 citing People v. Hilario,25 "[t]he fact that accused killed a person other
than their intended victim is of no moment." Evidently, Adriano's original intent was to kill Cabiedes. However, during
the commission of the crime of murder, a stray bullet hit and killed Bulanan. Adriano is responsible for the
consequences of his act of shooting Cabiedes. This is the import of Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code. As held in
People v. Herrera citing People v. Ural:
Criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act be different from that which
is intended. One who commits an intentional felony is responsible for all the consequences which may naturally or
logically result therefrom, whether foreseen or intended or not. The rationale of the rule is found in the doctrine, 'el
que es causa de la causa es causa del mal causado ', or he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil
caused.26

As regards the crime(s) committed, we reiterate our ruling in People v. Nelmida.27 In the aforesaid case, we ruled
that accused-appellants should be convicted not of a complex crime but of separate crimes of two counts of murder
and seven counts of attempted murder as the killing and wounding of the victims were not the result of a single act
but of several acts.28 The doctrine in Nelmida here is apt and applicable.
In Nelmida, we distinguished the two kinds of complex crime: compound crime, when a single act constitutes two or
more grave or less grave felonies, and complex crime proper, when an offense is a necessary means for committing
the other. Moreover, we also made a distinction that "when various victims expire from separate shots, such acts
constitute separate and distinct crimes,"29 not a complex crime.
As borne by the records, the Nueva Ecija Provincial Crime Laboratory Office recovered six (6) cartridges of bullets
from a .45 caliber firearm. This does not indicate discharge by a single burst. Rather, separate shots are evidenced.
One or more of which, though fired to kill Cabiedes, killed Bulanan instead. There is thus no complex crime. The
felonious acts resulted in two separate and distinct crimes.
Finally, we ask, may treachery be appreciated in aberratio ictus?
Although Bulanan's death was by no means deliberate, we shall adhere to the prevailing jurisprudence pronounced in
People v. Flora,30 where the Court ruled that treachery may be appreciated in aberratio ictus. In Flora, the accused
was convicted of two separate counts of murder: for the killing of two victims, Emerita, the intended victim, and
Ireneo, the victim killed by a stray bullet. The Court, due to the presence of the aggravating circumstance of
treachery, qualified both killings to murder. The material facts in Flora are similar in the case at bar. Thus, we follow
the Flora doctrine.
Also, contrary to the defense's allegation that Bulanan' s death was not established, a perusal of the records would
reveal that Bulanan's fact of death was duly established as the prosecution offered in evidence Bulanan's death
certificate.31
On the alibi as defense, time and again, we have ruled alibis like denials, are inherently weak and unreliable because
they can easily be fabricated.32 For alibi to prosper, the accused must convincingly prove that he was somewhere
else at the time when the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime
scene.33 In the case at bar, Adriano claimed he was in Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga at the time of incident.
Adriano's claim failed to persuade. As admitted, Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga was only less than an hour away
from the crime scene, Barangay Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. Hence, it was not physically impossible for Adriano
to be at the crime scene at the time of the incident.
It is likewise uniform holding that denial and alibi will not prevail when corroborated not by credible witnesses but by
the accused's relatives and friends.1wphi1 Therefore, the defense's evidence which is composed of Adriano's
relatives and friends cannot prevail over the prosecution's positive identification of Adriano as one of the perpetrators
of the crime.
The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua to death. In the case at bar,
as the circumstance of abuse of superior strength concurs with treachery, the former is absorbed in the latter. There
being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance present, the lower penalty should be imposed, which is reclusion
perpetua, in accordance with Article 63, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code.
To recover actual or compensatory damages, basic is the rule that the claimant must establish with a reasonable
degree of certainty, the actual amount of loss by means of competent proof or the best evidence obtainable.34
Documentary evidence support the award of actual damages in this case. The RTC computed the amount of actual
damages as P222,482.00. However, a perusal of the records reveals that the amount of award of actual damages
should be P232,482.00 as duly supported by official receipts.35 Therefore, we hereby increase the award of actual
damages from P222,482.00 to P232,482.00.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No.
04028 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Appellant-appellant ROLL Y ADRIANO y SAMSON is found GUILTY

beyond reasonable doubt of MURDER (Criminal Case No. 13160-07) for the killing of DANILO CABIEDES and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant ROLLY ADRIANO y SAMSON is
ordered to pay the heirs of DANILO CABIEDES the amount of Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as civil
indemnity, Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as moral damages, Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) as
exemplary damages, and Two Hundred Thirty Two Thousand Four Hundred Eighty Two Pesos {P232,482.00) as
actual damages.
Accused-appellant ROLLY ADRIANO y SAMSON is also found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
MURDER (Criminal Case No. 13159-07) for the killing of OFELIA BULANAN and is hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant ROLLY ADRIANO y SAMSON is ordered to pay the heirs of OFELIA
BULANAN in the amount of the amount of Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as civil indemnity, Seventy
Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as moral damages, Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages,
and Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages.
All monetary awards shall earn interest at the rate of 6o/o per annum from the date of finality until fully paid.
SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
vs.
NOEL T. SALES, Appellant.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
A father ought to discipline his children for committing a misdeed. However, he may not employ sadistic beatings and
inflict fatal injuries under the guise of disciplining them.
This appeal seeks the reversal of the December 4, 2006 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C.
No. 01627 that affirmed the August 3, 2005 Joint Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 63 of
Calabanga, Camarines Sur in Criminal Case Nos. RTC03-782 and RTC03-789, convicting appellant Noel T. Sales
(appellant) of the crimes of parricide and slight physical injuries, respectively. The Information3 for parricide contained
the following allegations:
That on or about the 20th day of September, 2002, at around or past 8:00 oclock in the evening at Brgy. San Vicente,
Tinambac, Camarines Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
with evident premeditation and [in] a fit of anger, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously hit [several]
times, the different parts of the body of his legitimate eldest son, Noemar Sales, a 9-year old minor, with a [piece of]
wood, measuring more or less one meter in length and one [and] a half inches in diameter, [thereby] inflicting upon
the latter mortal wounds, which cause[d] the death of the said victim, to the damage and prejudice of the latters heirs
in such amount as may be proven in court.
ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.4
On the other hand, the Information5 in Criminal Case No. RTC03-789 alleges that appellant inflicted slight physical
injuries in the following manner:
That on or about the 20th day of September, 2002, at around or past 8:00 oclock in the evening, at Brgy. San
Vicente, Tinambac, Camarines Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
[accused] assault[ed] and hit with a piece of wood, one Noel Sales, Jr., an 8-year old minor, his second legitimate
son, thereby inflicting upon him physical injuries which have required medical attendance for a period of five (5) days
to the damage and prejudice of the victims heirs in such amount as may be proven in court.

ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.6


When arraigned on April 11, 2003 and July 1, 2003, appellant pleaded not guilty for the charges of parricide 7 and
slight physical injuries8 respectively. The cases were then consolidated upon manifestation of the prosecution which
was not objected to by the defense.9 During the pre-trial conference, the parties agreed to stipulate that appellant is
the father of the victims, Noemar Sales (Noemar) and Noel Sales, Jr. (Junior); that at the time of the incident,
appellants family was living in the conjugal home located in Barangay San Vicente, Tinambac, Camarines Sur; and,
that appellant voluntarily surrendered to the police.10
Thereafter, trial ensued.
The Version of the Prosecution
On September 19, 2002, brothers Noemar and Junior, then nine and eight years old, respectively, left their home to
attend the fluvial procession of Our Lady of Peafrancia without the permission of their parents. They did not return
home that night. When their mother, Maria Litan Sales (Maria), looked for them the next day, she found them in the
nearby Barangay of Magsaysay. Afraid of their fathers rage, Noemar and Junior initially refused to return home but
their mother prevailed upon them. When the two kids reached home at around 8 oclock in the evening of September
20, 2002, a furious appellant confronted them. Appellant then whipped them with a stick which was later broken so
that he brought his kids outside their house. With Noemars and Juniors hands and feet tied to a coconut tree,
appellant continued beating them with a thick piece of wood. During the beating Maria stayed inside the house and
did not do anything as she feared for her life.
When the beating finally stopped, the three walked back to the house with appellant assisting Noemar as the latter
was staggering, while Junior fearfully followed. Maria noticed a crack in Noemars head and injuries in his legs. She
also saw injuries in the right portion of the head, the left cheek, and legs of Junior. Shortly thereafter, Noemar
collapsed and lost consciousness. Maria tried to revive him and when Noemar remained motionless despite her
efforts, she told appellant that their son was already dead. However, appellant refused to believe her. Maria then told
appellant to call a quack doctor. He left and returned with one, who told them that they have to bring Noemar to a
hospital. Appellant thus proceeded to take the unconscious Noemar to the junction and waited for a vehicle to take
them to a hospital. As there was no vehicle and because another quack doctor they met at the junction told them that
Noemar is already dead, appellant brought his son back to their house.
Noemars wake lasted only for a night and he was immediately buried the following day. His body was never
examined by a doctor.
The Version of the Defense
Prior to the incident, Noemar and Junior had already left their residence on three separate occasions without the
permission of their parents. Each time, appellant merely scolded them and told them not to repeat the misdeed since
something untoward might happen to them. During those times, Noemar and Junior were never physically harmed by
their father.
However, Noemar and Junior again left their home without their parents permission on September 16, 2002 and
failed to return for several days. Worse, appellant received information that his sons stole a pedicab. As they are
broke, appellant had to borrow money so that his wife could search for Noemar and Junior. When his sons finally
arrived home at 8 oclock in the evening of September 20, 2002, appellant scolded and hit them with a piece of wood
as thick as his index finger. He hit Noemar and Junior simultaneously since they were side by side. After whipping his
sons in their buttocks three times, he noticed that Noemar was chilling and frothing. When Noemar lost
consciousness, appellant decided to bring him to a hospital in Naga City by waiting for a vehicle at the crossroad
which was seven kilometers away from their house.
Appellant held Noemar while on their way to the crossroad and observed his difficulty in breathing. The pupils of
Noemars eyes were also moving up and down. Appellant heard him say that he wanted to sleep and saw him

pointing to his chest in pain. However, they waited in vain since a vehicle never came. It was then that Noemar died.
Appellant thus decided to just bring Noemar back to their house.
Appellant denied that his son died from his beating since no parent could kill his or her child. He claimed that Noemar
died as a result of difficulty in breathing. In fact, he never complained of the whipping done to him. Besides, appellant
recalled that Noemar was brought to a hospital more than a year before September 2002 and diagnosed with having
a weak heart.
On the other hand, Maria testified that Noemar suffered from epilepsy. Whenever he suffers from epileptic seizures,
Noemar froths and passes out. But he would regain consciousness after 15 minutes. His seizures normally occur
whenever he gets hungry or when scolded.
The death of Noemar was reported to the police by the barangay captain. 11 Thereafter, appellant surrendered
voluntarily.12
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
In a Joint Decision,13 the trial court held that the evidence presented by the prosecution was sufficient to prove that
appellant was guilty of committing the crimes of parricide and slight physical injuries in the manner described in the
Informations. In the crime of parricide, the trial court did not consider the aggravating circumstance of evident
premeditation against appellant since there is no proof that he planned to kill Noemar. But the trial court appreciated
in his favor the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender and lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong. The
dispositive portion of said Joint Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the prosecution having proven the guilt of Noel Sales, beyond reasonable
doubt, he is found guilty of parricide in Crim. Case No. RTC03-782 and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. He is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of Noemar Sales, the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity;
P50,000.00 as moral damages; P25,000,00 as exemplary damages and to pay the costs.
Furthermore, accused Noel Sales is also found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of slight physical injuries
in Crim. Case No. RTC03-789 and sentenced to suffer the penalty of twenty (20) days of Arresto Menor in its
medium period.
Accused Noel Sales is likewise meted the accessory penalties as provided under the Revised Penal Code.
Considering that herein accused has undergone preventive imprisonment, he shall be credited in the service of his
sentence with the time he has undergone preventive imprisonment in accordance with and subject to the conditions
provided for in Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.
SO ORDERED.14
Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal15 which was given due course in an Order16 dated September 21, 2005.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
However, the appellate court denied the appeal and affirmed the ruling of the trial court. The dispositive portion of its
Decision17 reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is DENIED. The assailed decision dated August 3, 2005 in Criminal
Case Nos. RTC03-782 and RTC03-789 for Parricide and Slight Physical Injuries, respectively, is AFFIRMED.
Pursuant to Section 13(c), Rule 124 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, appellant may appeal this case to
the Supreme Court via a Notice of Appeal filed before this Court.
SO ORDERED.18

Issues
Hence, appellant is now before this Court with the following two-fold issues:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIMES CHARGED.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE DEFENSE
WITNESSES.19
Our Ruling
The appeal is without merit.
The Charge of Parricide
Appellant admits beating his sons on September 20, 2002 as a disciplinary measure, but denies battering Noemar to
death. He believes that no father could kill his own son. According to him, Noemar had a weak heart that resulted in
attacks consisting of loss of consciousness and froth in his mouth. He claims that Noemar was conscious as they
traveled to the junction where they would take a vehicle in going to a hospital. However, Noemar had difficulty in
breathing and complained of chest pain. He contends that it was at this moment that Noemar died, not during his
whipping. To substantiate his claim, appellant presented his wife, Maria, who testified that Noemar indeed suffered
seizures, but this was due to epilepsy.
The contentions of appellant fail to persuade. The imposition of parental discipline on children of tender years must
always be with the view of correcting their erroneous behavior. A parent or guardian must exercise restraint and
caution in administering the proper punishment. They must not exceed the parameters of their parental duty to
discipline their minor children. It is incumbent upon them to remain rational and refrain from being motivated by anger
in enforcing the intended punishment. A deviation will undoubtedly result in sadism.
Prior to whipping his sons, appellant was already furious with them because they left the family dwelling without
permission and that was already preceded by three other similar incidents. This was further aggravated by a report
that his sons stole a pedicab thereby putting him in disgrace. Moreover, they have no money so much so that he still
had to borrow so that his wife could look for the children and bring them home. From these, it is therefore clear that
appellant was motivated not by an honest desire to discipline the children for their misdeeds but by an evil intent of
venting his anger. This can reasonably be concluded from the injuries of Noemar in his head, face and legs. It was
only when Noemars body slipped from the coconut tree to which he was tied and lost consciousness that appellant
stopped the beating. Had not Noemar lost consciousness, appellant would most likely not have ceased from his
sadistic act. His subsequent attempt to seek medical attention for Noemar as an act of repentance was nevertheless
too late to save the childs life. It bears stressing that a decent and responsible parent would never subject a minor
child to sadistic punishment in the guise of discipline.
Appellant attempts to evade criminal culpability by arguing that he merely intended to discipline Noemar and not to kill
him. However, the relevant portion of Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code states:
Art. 4. Criminal liability. Criminal liability shall be incurred:
1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.
xxxx

In order that a person may be criminally liable for a felony different from that which he intended to commit, it is
indispensible (a) that a felony was committed and (b) that the wrong done to the aggrieved person be the direct
consequence of the crime committed by the perpetrator.20 Here, there is no doubt appellant in beating his son
Noemar and inflicting upon him physical injuries, committed a felony. As a direct consequence of the beating suffered
by the child, he expired. Appellants criminal liability for the death of his son, Noemar, is thus clear.
Appellants claim that it was Noemars heart ailment that caused his death deserves no merit. This declaration is selfserving and uncorroborated since it is not substantiated by evidence. While Dr. Salvador Betito, a Municipal Health
Officer of Tinambac, Camarines Sur issued a death certificate indicating that Noemar died due to cardio-pulmonary
arrest, the same is not sufficient to prove that his death was due mainly to his poor health. It is worth emphasizing
that Noemars cadaver was never examined. Also, even if appellant presented his wife, Maria, to lend credence to his
contention, the latters testimony did not help as same was even in conflict with his testimony. Appellant testified that
Noemar suffered from a weak heart which resulted in his death while Maria declared that Noemar was suffering from
epilepsy. Interestingly, Marias testimony was also unsubstantiated by evidence.
Moreover, as will be discussed below, all the elements of the crime of parricide are present in this case.
All the Elements of Parricide are present in the case at bench.
We find no error in the ruling of the trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, that appellant committed the crime
of parricide.
Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code defines parricide as follows:
Art. 246. Parricide. Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of
his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of
reclusion perpetua to death.
"Parricide is committed when: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by the accused; (3) the deceased is the
father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other descendant, or the
legitimate spouse of accused."21
In the case at bench, there is overwhelming evidence to prove the first element, that is, a person was killed. Maria
testified that her son Noemar did not regain consciousness after the severe beating he suffered from the hands of his
father. Thereafter, a quack doctor declared Noemar dead. Afterwards, as testified to by Maria, they held a wake for
Noemar the next day and then buried him the day after. Noemars Death Certificate22 was also presented in evidence.
There is likewise no doubt as to the existence of the second element that the appellant killed the deceased. Same is
sufficiently established by the positive testimonies of Maria and Junior. Maria testified that on September 20, 2002,
Noemar and his younger brother, Junior, were whipped by appellant, their father, inside their house. The whipping
continued even outside the house but this time, the brothers were tied side by side to a coconut tree while appellant
delivered the lashes indiscriminately. For his part, Junior testified that Noemar, while tied to a tree, was beaten by
their father in the head. Because the savagery of the attack was too much for Noemars frail body to endure, he lost
consciousness and died from his injuries immediately after the incident.
As to the third element, appellant himself admitted that the deceased is his child. While Noemars birth certificate was
not presented, oral evidence of filial relationship may be considered. 23 As earlier stated, appellant stipulated to the
fact that he is the father of Noemar during the pre-trial conference and likewise made the same declaration while
under oath.24 Maria also testified that Noemar and Junior are her sons with appellant, her husband. These
testimonies are sufficient to establish the relationship between appellant and Noemar.
Clearly, all the elements of the crime of parricide are obtaining in this case.
There is Mitigating Circumstance of Voluntary Surrender but not Lack of Intention to Commit so Grave a Wrong

The trial court correctly appreciated the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender in favor of appellant since the
evidence shows that he went to the police station a day after the barangay captain reported the death of Noemar. The
presentation by appellant of himself to the police officer on duty in a spontaneous manner is a manifestation of his
intent "to save the authorities the trouble and expense that may be incurred for his search and capture" 25 which is the
essence of voluntary surrender.
However, there was error in appreciating the mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong.
Appellant adopted means to ensure the success of the savage battering of his sons. He tied their wrists to a coconut
tree to prevent their escape while they were battered with a stick to inflict as much pain as possible. Noemar suffered
injuries in his face, head and legs that immediately caused his death. "The mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to
commit so grave a wrong as that actually perpetrated cannot be appreciated where the acts employed by the
accused were reasonably sufficient to produce and did actually produce the death of the victim."26
The Award of Damages and Penalty for Parricide
We find proper the trial courts award to the heirs of Noemar of the sums of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, and
P50,000.00 as moral damages. However, the award of exemplary damages of P25,000.00 should be increased to
P30,000.00 in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence.27 "In addition, and in conformity with current policy, we also
impose on all the monetary awards for damages an interest at the legal rate of 6% from the date of finality of this
Decision until fully paid."28
As regards the penalty, parricide is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. The trial court imposed the penalty of
reclusion perpetua when it considered the presence of the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender and lack
of intent to commit so grave a wrong. However, even if we earlier ruled that the trial court erred in considering the
mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong, we maintain the penalty imposed. This is
because the exclusion of said mitigating circumstance does not result to a different penalty since the presence of only
one mitigating circumstance, which is, voluntary surrender, with no aggravating circumstance, is sufficient for the
imposition of reclusion perpetua as the proper prison term. Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides in part as
follows:
Art. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. - x x x
In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be
observed in the application thereof:
xxxx
3. When the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstance and there is no aggravating
circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.
xxxx
The crime of parricide is punishable by the indivisible penalties of reclusion perpetua to death. With one mitigating
circumstance, which is voluntary surrender, and no aggravating circumstance, the imposition of the lesser penalty of
reclusion perpetua and not the penalty of death on appellant was thus proper.29
The Charge of Slight Physical Injuries
The victim himself, Junior testified that he, together with his brother Noemar, were beaten by their father, herein
appellant, while they were tied to a coconut tree. He recalled to have been hit on his right eye and right leg and to
have been examined by a physician thereafter.30 Maria corroborated her sons testimony.31
Juniors testimony was likewise supported by Dr. Ursolino Primavera, Jr. (Dr. Primavera) of Tinambac Community
Hospital who examined him for physical injuries. He issued a Medical Certificate for his findings and testified on the

same. His findings were (1) muscular contusions with hematoma on the right side of Juniors face just below the eye
and on both legs, which could have been caused by hitting said area with a hard object such as a wooden stick and,
(2) abrasions of brownish color circling both wrist with crust formation which could have been sustained by the patient
due to struggling while his hands were tied. When asked how long does he think the injuries would heal, Dr.
Primavera answered one to two weeks.32 But if applied with medication, the injuries would heal in a week.33
We give full faith and credence to the categorical and positive testimony of Junior that he was beaten by his father
and that by reason thereof he sustained injuries. His testimony deserves credence especially since the same is
corroborated by the testimony of his mother, Maria, and supported by medical examination. We thus find that the
RTC correctly held appellant guilty of the crime of slight physical injuries.1awphil
Penalty for Slight Physical Injuries
We likewise affirm the penalty imposed by the RTC. Dr. Primavera testified that the injuries sustained by Junior
should heal in one week upon medication. Hence, the trial court correctly meted upon appellant the penalty under
paragraph 1, Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code which provides:
ART. 266. Slight Physical Injuries and maltreatment. The crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:
1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for
labor from one to nine days or shall require medical attendance during the same period.
xxxx
There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance present in the commission of the crime, the penalty shall be in
its medium period. The RTC was thus correct in imposing upon appellant the penalty of twenty (20) days of arresto
menor in its medium period.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01627 that
affirmed the Joint Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 63 of Calabanga, Camarines Sur in Criminal Case
Nos. RTC03-782 and RTC03-789, convicting Noel T. Sales of the crimes of parricide and slight physical injuries is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS that the award of exemplary damages is increased to P30,000.00. In addition, an
interest of 6% is imposed on all monetary awards from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.
SO ORDERED.

SULPICIO INTOD, petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

CAMPOS, JR., J.:


Petitioner, Sulpicio Intod, filed this petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 affirming in toto the
judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XIV, Oroquieta City, finding him guilty of the crime of attempted murder.
From the records, we gathered the following facts.
In the morning of February 4, 1979, Sulpicio Intod, Jorge Pangasian, Santos Tubio and Avelino Daligdig went to
Salvador Mandaya's house in Katugasan, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental and asked him to go with them to the
house of Bernardina Palangpangan. Thereafter, Mandaya and Intod, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig had a meeting

with Aniceto Dumalagan. He told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed because of a land dispute
between them and that Mandaya should accompany the four (4) men, otherwise, he would also be killed.
At about 10:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day, Petitioner, Mandaya, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig, all armed
with firearms, arrived at Palangpangan's house in Katugasan, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. At the instance of
his companions, Mandaya pointed the location of Palangpangan's bedroom. Thereafter, Petitioner, Pangasian, Tubio
and Daligdig fired at said room. It turned out, however, that 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 the shots. No one
was hit by the gun fire.
Petitioner and his companions were positively identified by witnesses. One witness testified that before the five men
left the premises, they shouted: "We will kill you (the witness) and especially Bernardina Palangpangan and we will
come back if (sic) you were not injured". 2
After trial, the Regional Trial Court convicted Intod of attempted murder. The court (RTC), as affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, holding that Petitioner was guilty of attempted murder. Petitioner seeks from this Court a modification of the
judgment by holding him liable only for an impossible crime, citing Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code which
provides:
Art. 4(2). CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. Criminal Responsibility shall be incurred:
xxx xxx xxx
2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it
not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment of
inadequate or ineffectual means.
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 alleged that there was
intent. Further, in its Comment to the Petition, respondent pointed out that:
. . . The crime of murder was not consummated, not because of the inherent impossibility of its
accomplishment (Art. 4(2), Revised Penal Code), but due to a cause or accident other than
petitioner's and his accused's own spontaneous desistance (Art. 3., Ibid.) Palangpangan did not
sleep at her house at that time. Had it not been for this fact, the crime is possible, not impossible. 3
Article 4, paragraph 2 is an innovation
Code where:

of the Revised Penal Code. This seeks to remedy the void in the Old Penal

. . . it was necessary that the execution of the act has been commenced, that the person conceiving
the idea should have set about doing the deed, employing appropriate means in order that his
intent might become a reality, and finally, that the result or end contemplated shall have been
physically possible. So long as these conditions were not present, the law and the courts did not
hold him criminally liable. 5
This legal doctrine left social interests entirely unprotected. 6 The Revised Penal Code, inspired by the Positivist
School, recognizes in the offender his formidability, 7 and now penalizes an act which were it not aimed at something
quite impossible or carried out with means which prove inadequate, would constitute a felony against person or
against property. 8 The rationale of Article 4(2) is to punish such criminal tendencies. 9
Under this article, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against person or property because:
(1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment: or (2) the means employed is either (a)
inadequate or (b) ineffectual. 10

That the offense cannot be produced because the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of
accomplishment is the focus of this petition. To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must
be by its nature one impossible of accomplishment. 11 There must be either impossibility of accomplishing the
intended act 12 in order to qualify the act an impossible crime.
Legal impossibility occurs where the intended acts, even if completed, would not amount to a crime. 13 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. 14
The impossibility of killing a person already dead 15 falls in this category.
On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his
control prevent the consummation of the intended crime. 16 One example is the man who puts his hand in the coat
pocket of another with the intention to steal the latter's wallet and finds the pocket empty. 17
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.
One American case had facts almost exactly the same as this one. In People vs. Lee Kong, 18 the accused, with
intent to kill, aimed and fired at the spot where he thought the police officer would be. It turned out, however, that the
latter was in a different place. The accused failed to hit him and to achieve his intent. The Court convicted the
accused of an attempt to kill. It held that:
The fact that the officer was not at the spot where the attacking party imagined where he was, and
where the bullet pierced the roof, renders it no less an attempt to kill. It is well settled principle of
criminal law in this country that where the criminal result of an attempt is not accomplished simply
because of an obstruction in the way of the thing to be operated upon, and these facts are
unknown to the aggressor at the time, the criminal attempt is committed.
In the case of Strokes vs. State, 19 where the accused failed to accomplish his intent to kill the victim because the
latter did not pass by the place where he was lying-in wait, the court held him liable for attempted murder. The court
explained that:
It was no fault of Strokes that the crime was not committed. . . . It only became impossible by
reason of the extraneous circumstance that Lane did not go that way; and further, that he was
arrested and prevented from committing the murder. This rule of the law has application only where
it is inherently impossible to commit the crime. It has no application to a case where it becomes
impossible for the crime to be committed, either by outside interference or because of
miscalculation as to a supposed opportunity to commit the crime which fails to materialize; in short
it has no application to the case when the impossibility grows out of extraneous acts not within the
control of the party.
In the case of Clark vs. State, 20 the court held defendant liable for attempted robbery even if there was nothing to
rob. In disposing of the case, the court quoted Mr. Justice Bishop, to wit:
It being an accepted truth that defendant deserves punishment by reason of his criminal intent, no
one can seriously doubt that the protection of the public requires the punishment to be
administered, equally whether in the unseen depths of the pocket, etc., what was supposed to exist
was really present or not. The community suffers from the mere alarm of crime. Again: Where the
thing intended (attempted) as a crime and what is done is a sort to create alarm, in other words,
excite apprehension that the evil; intention will be carried out, the incipient act which the law of
attempt takes cognizance of is in reason committed.

In State vs. Mitchell, 21 defendant, with intent to kill, fired at the window of victim's room thinking that the latter was
inside. However, at that moment, the victim was in another part of the house. The court convicted the accused of
attempted murder.
The aforecited cases are the same cases which have been relied upon by Respondent to make this Court sustain the
judgment of attempted murder against Petitioner. However, we cannot rely upon these decisions to resolve the issue
at hand. There is a difference between the Philippine and the American laws regarding the concept and appreciation
of impossible crimes.
In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code, in Article 4(2), expressly provided for impossible crimes and made the
punishable. Whereas, in the United States, the Code of Crimes and Criminal Procedure is silent regarding this matter.
What it provided for were attempts of the crimes enumerated in the said Code. Furthermore, in said jurisdiction, the
impossibility of committing the offense is merely a defense to an attempt charge. In this regard, commentators and
the cases generally divide the impossibility defense into two categories: legal versus factual impossibility. 22 In U.S.
vs. Wilson 23 the Court held that:
. . . factual impossibility of the commission of the crime is not a defense. If the crime could have
been committed had the circumstances been as the defendant believed them to be, it is no defense
that in reality the crime was impossible of commission.
Legal impossibility, on the other hand, is a defense which can be invoked to avoid criminal liability for an attempt. In
U.S. vs. Berrigan, 24 the accused was indicated for attempting to smuggle letters into and out of prison. The law
governing the matter made the act criminal if done without knowledge and consent of the warden. In this case, the
offender intended to send a letter without the latter's knowledge and consent and the act was performed. However,
unknown to him, the transmittal was achieved with the warden's knowledge and consent. The lower court held the
accused liable for attempt but the appellate court reversed. It held unacceptable the contention of the state that
"elimination of impossibility as a defense to a charge of criminal attempt, as suggested by the Model Penal Code and
the proposed federal legislation, is consistent with the overwhelming modern view". In disposing of this contention,
the Court held that the federal statutes did not contain such provision, and thus, following the principle of legality, no
person could be criminally liable for an act which was not made criminal by law. Further, it said:
Congress has not yet enacted a law that provides that intent plus act plus conduct constitutes the
offense of attempt irrespective of legal impossibility until such time as such legislative changes in
the law take place, this court will not fashion a new non-statutory law of criminal attempt.
To restate, in the United States, where the offense sought to be committed is factually impossible or accomplishment,
the offender cannot escape criminal liability. He can be convicted of an attempt to commit the substantive crime
where the elements of attempt are satisfied. It appears, therefore, that the act is penalized, not as an impossible
crime, but as an attempt to commit a crime. On the other hand, where the offense is legally impossible of
accomplishment, the actor cannot be held liable for any crime neither for an attempt not for an impossible crime.
The only reason for this is that in American law, there is no such thing as an impossible crime. Instead, it only
recognizes impossibility as a defense to a crime charge that is, attempt.
This is not true in the Philippines. In our jurisdiction, impossible crimes are recognized. The impossibility of
accomplishing the criminal intent is not merely a defense, but an act penalized by itself. Furthermore, the phrase
"inherent impossibility" that is found in Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code makes no distinction between factual or
physical impossibility and legal impossibility. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos.
The factual situation in the case at bar present a physical impossibility which rendered the intended crime impossible
of accomplishment. And under Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, such is sufficient to make the act an
impossible crime.
To uphold the contention of respondent that the offense was Attempted Murder because the absence of
Palangpangan was a supervening cause independent of the actor's will, will render useless the provision in Article 4,
which makes a person criminally liable for an act "which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not
for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment . . ." In that case all circumstances which prevented the
consummation of the offense will be treated as an accident independent of the actor's will which is an element of
attempted and frustrated felonies.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED. the petition is hereby GRANTED, the decision of respondent Court of
Appeals holding Petitioner guilty of Attempted Murder is hereby MODIFIED. We hereby hold Petitioner guilty of an
impossible crime as defined and penalized in Articles 4, paragraph 2, and 59 of the Revised Penal Code,
respectively. Having in mind the social danger and degree of criminality shown by Petitioner, this Court sentences him
to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, together with the accessory penalties provided by the law,
and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.
GEMMA T. JACINTO, Petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Gemma T. Jacinto seeking the reversal of the
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 23761 dated December 16, 2003, affirming petitioner's
conviction of the crime of Qualified Theft, and its Resolution 2 dated March 5, 2004 denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.
Petitioner, along with two other women, namely, Anita Busog de Valencia y Rivera and Jacqueline Capitle, was
charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 131, with the crime of Qualified Theft,
allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about and sometime in the month of July 1997, in Kalookan City, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one another, being then
all employees of MEGA FOAM INTERNATIONAL INC., herein represented by JOSEPH DYHENGCO Y CO, and as
such had free access inside the aforesaid establishment, with grave abuse of trust and confidence reposed upon
them with intent to gain and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and deposited in their own account, Banco De Oro Check No. 0132649 dated
July 14, 1997 in the sum of P10,000.00, representing payment made by customer Baby Aquino to the Mega Foam
Int'l. Inc. to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the aforesaid stated amount of P10,000.00.
CONTRARY TO LAW.3
The prosecution's evidence, which both the RTC and the CA found to be more credible, reveals the events that
transpired to be as follows.
In the month of June 1997, Isabelita Aquino Milabo, also known as Baby Aquino, handed petitioner Banco De Oro
(BDO) Check Number 0132649 postdated July 14, 1997 in the amount of P10,000.00. The check was payment for
Baby Aquino's purchases from Mega Foam Int'l., Inc., and petitioner was then the collector of Mega Foam. 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.
Meanwhile, Rowena Ricablanca, another employee of Mega Foam, received a phone call sometime in the middle of
July from one of their customers, Jennifer Sanalila. The customer wanted to know if she could issue checks payable
to the account of Mega Foam, instead of issuing the checks payable to CASH. Said customer had apparently been
instructed by Jacqueline Capitle to make check payments to Mega Foam payable to CASH. Around that time,
Ricablanca also received a phone call from an employee of Land Bank, Valenzuela Branch, who was looking for
Generoso Capitle. The reason for the call was to inform Capitle that the subject BDO check deposited in his account
had been dishonored.
Ricablanca then phoned accused Anita Valencia, a former employee/collector of Mega Foam, asking the latter to
inform Jacqueline Capitle about the phone call from Land Bank regarding the bounced check. Ricablanca explained
that she had to call and relay the message through Valencia, because the Capitles did not have a phone; but they
could 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 Aquino
to replace the check with cash. Valencia also told Ricablanca of a plan to take the cash and divide it equally into four:
for herself, Ricablanca, petitioner Jacinto and Jacqueline Capitle. Ricablanca, upon the advise of Mega Foam's
accountant, 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 handed petitioner
a BDO check for P10,000.00 sometime in June 1997 as payment for her purchases from Mega Foam. 4 Baby Aquino
further testified that, sometime in July 1997, petitioner also called her on the phone to tell her that the BDO check
bounced.5 Verification from company records showed that petitioner never remitted the subject check to Mega Foam.
However, Baby Aquino said that she had already paid Mega Foam P10,000.00 cash in August 1997 as replacement
for the dishonored check.6
Generoso Capitle, presented as a hostile witness, admitted depositing the subject BDO check in his bank account,
but explained that the check came into his possession when some unknown woman arrived at his house around the
first week of July 1997 to have the check rediscounted. He parted with his cash in exchange for the check without
even bothering to inquire into the identity of the woman or her address. When he was informed by the bank that the
check bounced, he merely disregarded it as he didnt know where to find the woman who rediscounted the check.
Meanwhile, Dyhengco filed a Complaint with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and worked out an
entrapment operation with its agents. Ten pieces of P1,000.00 bills provided by Dyhengco were marked and dusted
with fluorescent powder by the NBI. Thereafter, the bills were given to Ricablanca, who was tasked to pretend that
she was going along with Valencia's plan.
On August 15, 2007, Ricablanca and petitioner met at the latter's house. Petitioner, who was then holding the
bounced BDO check, handed over said check to Ricablanca. They originally intended to proceed to Baby Aquino's
place to have the check replaced with cash, but the plan did not push through. However, they agreed to meet again
on August 21, 2007.
On the agreed date, Ricablanca again went to petitioners house, where she met petitioner and Jacqueline Capitle.
Petitioner, her husband, and Ricablanca went to the house of Anita Valencia; Jacqueline Capitle decided not to go
with the group because she decided to go shopping. It was only petitioner, her husband, Ricablanca and Valencia
who then boarded petitioner's jeep and went on to Baby Aquino's factory. Only Ricablanca alighted from the jeep and
entered the premises of Baby Aquino, pretending that she was getting cash from Baby Aquino. However, the cash
she actually brought out from the premises was the P10,000.00 marked money previously given to her by Dyhengco.
Ricablanca divided the money and upon returning to the jeep, gave P5,000.00 each to Valencia and petitioner.
Thereafter, petitioner and Valencia were arrested by NBI agents, who had been watching the whole time.
Petitioner and Valencia were brought to the NBI office where the Forensic Chemist found fluorescent powder on the
palmar and dorsal aspects of both of their hands. This showed that petitioner and Valencia handled the marked
money. The NBI filed a criminal case for qualified theft against the two and one Jane Doe who was later identified as
Jacqueline Capitle, the wife of Generoso Capitle.
The defense, on the other hand, denied having taken the subject check and presented the following scenario.
Petitioner admitted that she was a collector for Mega Foam until she resigned on June 30, 1997, but claimed that she
had stopped collecting payments from Baby Aquino for quite some time before her resignation from the company.
She further testified that, on the day of the arrest, Ricablanca came to her mothers house, where she was staying at
that time, and asked that she accompany her (Ricablanca) to Baby Aquino's house. Since petitioner was going for a
pre-natal check-up at the Chinese General Hospital, Ricablanca decided to hitch a ride with the former and her
husband in their jeep going to Baby Aquino's place in Caloocan City. She allegedly had no idea why Ricablanca
asked them to wait in their jeep, which they parked outside the house of Baby Aquino, and was very surprised when
Ricablanca placed the money on her lap and the NBI agents arrested them.
Anita Valencia also admitted that she was the cashier of Mega Foam until she resigned on June 30, 1997. It was
never part of her job to collect payments from customers. According to her, on the morning of August 21, 1997,
Ricablanca called her up on the phone, asking if she (Valencia) could accompany her (Ricablanca) to the house of
Baby Aquino. Valencia claims that she agreed to do so, despite her admission during cross-examination that she did
not know where Baby Aquino resided, as she had never been to said house. They then met at the house of
petitioner's mother, rode the jeep of petitioner and her husband, and proceeded to Baby Aquino's place. When they

arrived at said place, Ricablanca alighted, but requested them to wait for her in the jeep. After ten minutes,
Ricablanca came out and, to her surprise, Ricablanca gave her money and so she even asked, "What is this?" Then,
the NBI agents arrested them.
The trial of the three accused went its usual course and, on October 4, 1999, the RTC rendered its Decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds accused Gemma Tubale De Jacinto y Latosa, Anita
Busog De Valencia y Rivera and Jacqueline Capitle GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
QUALIFIED THEFT and each of them is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment 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.
SO ORDERED.7
The three appealed to the CA and, on December 16, 2003, a Decision was promulgated, the dispositive portion of
which reads, thus:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the trial court is MODIFIED, in that:
(a) the sentence against accused Gemma Jacinto stands;
(b) the sentence against accused Anita Valencia is reduced to 4 months arresto mayor medium.
(c) The accused Jacqueline Capitle is acquitted.
SO ORDERED.
A Partial Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing CA Decision was filed only for petitioner Gemma Tubale Jacinto,
but the same was denied per Resolution dated March 5, 2004.
Hence, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner alone, assailing the Decision and Resolution of
the CA. The issues raised in the petition are as follows:
1. Whether or not petitioner can be convicted of a crime not charged in the information;
2. Whether or not a worthless check can be the object of theft; and
3. Whether or not the prosecution has proved petitioner's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.8
The petition deserves considerable thought.
The prosecution tried to establish the following pieces of evidence to constitute the elements of the crime of qualified
theft defined under Article 308, in relation to Article 310, both of the Revised Penal Code: (1) the taking of personal
property - as shown by the fact that petitioner, as collector for Mega Foam, did not remit the customer's check
payment to her employer and, instead, appropriated it for herself; (2) said property belonged to another the check
belonged to Baby Aquino, as it was her payment for purchases she made; (3) the taking was done with intent to gain
this is presumed from the act of unlawful taking and further shown by the fact that the check was deposited to the
bank account of petitioner's brother-in-law; (4) it was done without the owners consent petitioner hid the fact that
she had received the check payment from her employer's customer by not remitting the check to the company; (5) it
was accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor of force upon things the check
was voluntarily handed to petitioner by the customer, as she was known to be a collector for the company; and (6) it
was done with grave abuse of confidence petitioner is admittedly entrusted with the collection of payments from
customers.

However, as may be gleaned from the aforementioned Articles of the Revised Penal Code, the personal property
subject of the theft must have some value, as the intention of the accused is to gain from the thing stolen.
This is further bolstered by Article 309, where the law provides that the penalty to be imposed on the accused is
dependent on the value of the thing stolen.
In this case, petitioner unlawfully took the postdated check belonging to Mega Foam, but the same was apparently
without value, as it was subsequently dishonored. Thus, the question arises on whether the crime of qualified theft
was actually produced.
The Court must resolve the issue in the negative.
Intod v. Court of Appeals9 is highly instructive and applicable to the present case. In Intod, the accused, intending to
kill a person, peppered the latters bedroom with bullets, but since the intended victim was not home at the time, no
harm came to him. The trial court and the CA held Intod guilty of attempted murder. But upon review by this Court, he
was adjudged guilty only of an impossible crime as defined and penalized in paragraph 2, Article 4, in relation to
Article 59, both of the Revised Penal Code, because of the factual impossibility of producing the crime. Pertinent
portions of said provisions read as follows:
Article 4(2). Criminal Responsibility. - Criminal responsibility shall be incurred:
xxxx
2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the
inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment of inadequate to ineffectual means.
(emphasis supplied)
Article 59. Penalty to be imposed in case of failure to commit the crime because the means employed or the aims
sought are impossible. - When the person intending to commit an offense has already performed the acts for the
execution of the same but nevertheless the crime was not produced by reason of the fact that the act intended was
by its nature one of impossible accomplishment or because the means employed by such person are essentially
inadequate to produce the result desired by him, the court, having in mind the social danger and the degree of
criminality shown by the offender, shall impose upon him the penalty of arresto mayor or a fine ranging from 200 to
500 pesos.
Thus, the requisites of an impossible crime are: (1) that the act performed would be an offense against persons or
property; (2) that the act was done with evil intent; and (3) that its accomplishment was inherently impossible, or the
means employed was either inadequate or ineffectual. The aspect of the inherent impossibility of accomplishing the
intended crime under Article 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code was further explained by the Court in Intod10 in this wise:
Under this article, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against persons or property because:
(1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment; or (2) the means employed is either (a)
inadequate or (b) ineffectual.
That the offense cannot be produced because the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of
accomplishment is the focus of this petition. To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must
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 acts, even if completed, would not amount to a crime.
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The impossibility of killing a person already dead falls in this category.
On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his
control prevent the consummation of the intended crime. x x x 11

In Intod, the Court went on to give an example of an offense that involved factual impossibility, i.e., a man puts his
hand in the coat pocket of another with the intention to steal the latter's wallet, but gets nothing since the pocket is
empty.
Herein petitioner's case is closely akin to the above example of factual impossibility given in Intod. In this case,
petitioner performed all the acts to consummate the crime of qualified theft, which is a crime against property.
Petitioner's evil intent cannot be denied, as the mere act of unlawfully taking the check meant for Mega Foam showed
her intent to gain or be unjustly enriched. Were it not for the fact that the check bounced, she would have received
the face value thereof, which was not rightfully hers. Therefore, it was only due to the extraneous circumstance of the
check being unfunded, a fact unknown to petitioner at the time, that prevented the crime from being produced. The
thing unlawfully taken by petitioner turned out to be absolutely worthless, because the check was eventually
dishonored, and Mega Foam had received the cash to replace the value of said dishonored check.1avvphi1
The fact that petitioner was later entrapped receiving the P5,000.00 marked money, which she thought was the cash
replacement for the dishonored check, is of no moment. The Court held in Valenzuela v. People12 that under the
definition of theft in Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code, "there is only one operative act of execution by the actor
involved in theft the taking of personal property of another." Elucidating further, the Court held, thus:
x x x Parsing through the statutory definition of theft under Article 308, there is one apparent answer provided in the
language of the law that theft is already "produced" upon the "tak[ing of] personal property of another without the
latters consent."
xxxx
x x x when is the crime of theft produced? There would be all but certain unanimity in the position that theft is
produced when there is deprivation of personal property due to its taking by one with intent to gain. Viewed from that
perspective, it is immaterial to the product of the felony that the offender, once having committed all the acts of
execution for theft, is able or unable to freely dispose of the property stolen since the deprivation from the owner
alone has already ensued from such acts of execution. x x x
xxxx
x x x we have, after all, held that unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is deemed complete from the moment the
offender gains possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same. x x x
x x x Unlawful taking, which is the deprivation of ones personal property, is the element which produces the felony in
its consummated stage. x x x 13
From the above discussion, there can be no question that as of the time that petitioner took possession of the
check meant for Mega Foam, she had performed all the acts to consummate the crime of theft, had it not
been impossible of accomplishment in this case. The circumstance of petitioner receiving the P5,000.00 cash as
supposed replacement for the dishonored check was no longer necessary for the consummation of the crime of
qualified theft. Obviously, the plan to convince Baby Aquino to give cash as replacement for the check was hatched
only after the check had been dishonored by the drawee bank. Since the crime of theft is not a continuing offense,
petitioner's act of receiving the cash replacement should not be considered as a continuation of the theft. At most, the
fact that petitioner was caught receiving the marked money was merely corroborating evidence to strengthen proof of
her intent to gain.
Moreover, the fact that petitioner further planned to have the dishonored check replaced with cash by its issuer is a
different and separate fraudulent scheme. Unfortunately, since said scheme was not included or covered by the
allegations in the Information, the Court cannot pronounce judgment on the accused; otherwise, it would violate the
due process clause of the Constitution. If at all, that fraudulent scheme could have been another possible source of
criminal liability.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated December
16, 2003, and its Resolution dated March 5, 2004, are MODIFIED. Petitioner Gemma T. Jacinto is found GUILTY of
an IMPOSSIBLE CRIME as defined and penalized in Articles 4, paragraph 2, and 59 of the Revised Penal Code,
respectively. Petitioner is sentenced to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arrresto mayor, and to pay the costs.

SO ORDERED.