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PEOPLE vs. ANTHONY MANGUERA
Anthony Manguera was sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of death by the RTC Branch 6, of Tanauan, Batangas, for raping and killing Lorna Reanzares. The conviction of Manguera rested largely on the declaration made by the victim shortly before she died.
At about 6:30 o’clock in the evening, at Barangay San Miguel, Municipality of Santo Tomas, Province of Batangas the accused, by means of force and intimidation, feloniously had carnal knowledge of one Lorna Reanzares against her will and consent and by reason or on the occasion of the said rape, accused, armed with a bladed instrument stabbed the said Lorna with the said instrument, thereby inflicting upon the latter stab wounds on the different parts of her body which directly caused her death.
ISSUE: Effects of Aggravating or Mitigating Circumstances on Felonies Penalized by Indivisible Penalties
RULING: The ante mortem statement of Lorna Reanzares, testified to by her brother Romeo Reanzares, is not only admissible in evidence as being an exception to the hearsay rule but also a weighty and telling piece of evidence. A dying declaration is admissible when (a) it concerns the cause and the surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death; (b) it is made when death appears to be imminent, and the declarant is under a consciousness of impending death; (c) the declarant would have been competent to testify had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in which the subject of inquiry involves the declarant’s death.12 Statements uttered by a victim on the verge of death identifying the assailant, given under the conditions heretofore mentioned, are entitled to the highest degree of credence and respect. A person aware of an impending death has been known to be genuinely truthful in his words and extremely scrupulous in his accusations.13 Thus, pronouncements of guilt, not infrequently, have been allowed to rest solely on such dying declarations of deceased victims.14
The defense of alibi has been correctly rejected by the court below. Countless cases have taught that for the defense of alibi to prosper, clear and convincing evidence must establish, among other things, that it would have been impossible for the accused to have been at the crime scene at the time the crime is committed.15 It would indeed be fragile an alibi for an accused to demonstrate such impossibility where the two places are located within the same barangay.
It was error, nevertheless, on the part of the trial court to mete the death penalty even while Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659 prescribes that penalty when by reason, or on the occasion, of the rape the crime of homicide is committed.
Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 22, Republic Act No. 7659, reads: "Art. 47. In what cases the death penalty shall not be imposed; Automatic review of death penalty cases. – The death penalty shall be imposed in all cases in which it must be imposed under existing laws, except when the guilty person is below eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the crime or is more than seventy years of age or when upon appeal or automatic review of the case by the Supreme Court, the required majority vote is not obtained for the imposition of the death penalty, in which cases the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua."(Emphasis supplied)
The first part of the provision is consistent with Article 68 of the same Code which treats minority as a privileged mitigating circumstance and reduces the imposable penalty by one degree if the accused is over fifteen (15) and under eighteen (18) years of age, and by two degrees, if under fifteen (15) but over nine (9) years of age, and the accused acted with discernment.
Anthony Manguera was only fifteen (15) years old at the time of the commission of the crime as so evidenced by his Certificate of Live Birth (Exhibit 5). Thus, pursuant to the provisions of Article 47, as amended, and consonantly with Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty that can only be imposed on appellant for the crime of rape with homicide is reclusion perpetua.
The decision of the RTC Branch 6, of Tanauan, Batangas, finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that (a) the death penalty imposed by the trial court is commuted to reclusion perpetua and (b) the judgment on the civil liability is modified by ordering appellant to pay the amounts of P100,000.00 civil indemnity, P50,000.00 moral damages, and P25,000.00 temperate damages to the heirs of the deceased. Costs de oficio.
People vs De Jesus and Yalong
118 scra 616
Accused appellants, Nilo de Jesus and Wilfredo Yalong were charged with murder for killing Feliciano delos Santos.
The prosecution witness, son of the deceased, claiming that there was conspiracy, testified that he was awakened by a shout of the small boy informing him that his father was engaged in a quarrel. He stated in his testimony that he saw Yalong aiming a gun at his father and when he shouted at him to run the latter had already fired before he could do so, afterwards de Jesus grabbed the gun and also shot his father which felled him and caused his death.
During trial testimony of De Jesus contends that Feliciano invited him to a drink, he saw the deceased sleeping, he bade goodbye and a certain Lito tried to stop him and when he insisted, Lito punched him, when the deceased woke up he also punched him. When he was about to buy cigarettes in the afternoon, the deceased tried to attack him with a knife. Upon seeing Yalong, he also tried to stab him. The latter drew his gun and shot the deceased. He denied having shot the victim.
Yalong contended that he acted in self defense claiming that he killed the deceased because the latter tried to attack him with a knife. When the deceased tried to stab him, he drew his gun from his waist and shot the victim twice. Testimony of Fernando Santos was not given weight evidence showing that it was fabricated.
Issue: Whether the accused acted in self-defense and conspiracy existed between the two accused?
RULING: SC reversed the judgment of DE Jesus and thereby acquitting him. Based on the rescords De Jesus had no participation in the shooting. Yalong having admitted to be the only one who fired his gun at the deceased twice and the testimony of an impartial witness, it shows that De Jesus acted in self-defense. And if conspiracy existed between the two to kill or harm the deceased, appellans would not have chosen to go to the store and shoot the deceased there where people come and go. Likewise only Yalong was armed.
With respect to Yalong, he is entitled to a special mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense inasmuch as there is unlawful aggression on the part of the deceased but he failed to prove that the means employed is reasonably necessary. Thereby making him guilty of homicide.

US vs. ARTHUR FITZGERALD
Between 11 and 12 o'clock on the night of November 15, 1902, for some reason which does not appear, hard words passed between the defendant, Arthur Fitzgerald, and the deceased, Charles Marsh, followed by a heated dispute. This took place in the distillery situated near the government building in the city of Iloilo. On this account another American, Samuel Brown, ordered the two to leave the premises, stating that he would not allow such conduct there. Marsh then stepped into the interior patio, but Fitzgerald refused to go out. Brown then seized him and pushed him toward the door, and told him to go to the ice plant near by. The accused, however, refused to go, and, remaining in the distillery, continued to insult Marsh, who thereupon returned, and, approaching the accused, struck him a blow which knocked him down. Fitzgerald, however, immediately arose, and saying, "I will show you sons of b — s," ran toward the ice plant in search of a revolver which he had, and immediately returned, shouting, "Who's the boss now?" Just at this time Marsh stepped out of the distillery. He had scarcely walked 15 feet when, hearing the accused utter these words, he turned to look at him. Just at this moment the accused fired at him with the revolver. The bullet took effect in the left side, just below the nipple. The wound received was necessarily for a mortal character, and Marsh died in less than two hours. The bullet had pierced the diaphragm and traversed the left kidney, and remained embedded in the left lumbar region next to the vertebral column, according to the statement of the physician who held the post-mortem examination.
After this attack the accused turned toward two other Americans who were in the distillery, named Walter W. Dun and Emoy B. Withers, and fired another shot at them, but without effect. Then shouting, "Where is the other son of a b --," he commenced to search for some one, apparently for Brown. He happened to run across the fireman and aimed his revolver at him, but the fireman seized him by the arm, and another workman there who came running up on hearing the noise succeeded in taking the revolver from the accused, who then returned to his house, where he was later arrested.
RULING: The judge found the accused guilty and condemned him to sixteen years of reclusion temporal in Bilibid Prison, Manila, or in any other prison designated by law, with the corresponding accessories, and to the costs of the trial. Against this judgment the accused appealed. Notwithstanding the denial and exculpatory allegations of the accused, his guilt as principal by direct participation of the violent death of Charles Marsh is unquestionable, for this fact is proven in the record by the testimony of several witnesses who saw what occurred, and even heard the threatening words uttered by the accused.
We can not consider the presence of the other mitigating circumstance set up by the defense — that is, that there was provocation or threats on the part of the deceased. It has not been proven that this circumstance was present, for it has been impossible to determine the origin of the affray; nor can we consider the circumstance of passion and obfuscation, because, although it is true that the accused was knocked down, this was the result of the quarrel and fight between the two. When men quarrel and come to blows we can not say that one of them, with respect to the other, acted under the impulse of passion and the loss of self-control, as this circumstance must be the result of powerful motives which impel the defendant to commit the act.
Finally, we can not consider that in the commission of the crime there were present any of the circumstances which exempt the defendant from criminal responsibility, in view of the heated dispute and the insults which were bandied between the defendant and the deceased. Furthermore, the law does not consider drunkenness as a complete defense, but merely as a mitigating circumstance, because one under the influence of liquor can not be regarded as entirely bereft of sense and reason.
For the reason stated, and considering the concurrence of one mitigating circumstance only, without any aggravating circumstance to offset its effects, we are of the opinion that the judgment appealed should be reversed, and that the defendant should be condemned to twelve years and one day of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of absolute, temporal disqualification during its full extent, and subjection to the vigilance of the authorities during the period of the penalty and for an equal period thereafter, to count from time of the termination thereof, and the payment of 1,000 pesos to the heirs of the deceased and to the costs of both instances. So ordered.

KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. ABDILA SILONGAN, ET. AL.
G.R. No. 137182, Apirl 24, 2003

Facts: On March 16, 1996, businessman Alexander Saldaña went to Sultan Kudarat with three other men to meet a certain Macapagal Silongan alias Commander Lambada. They arrived in the morning and were able to talk to Macapagal concerning the gold nuggets that purportedly being sold by the latter. The business transaction was postponed and continued in the afternoon due to the death of Macapagal’s relative and that he has to pick his brother in Cotabato City.
Then at around 8:30 PM, as they headed to the highway, Macapagal ordered the driver to stop. Suddenly, 15 armed men appeared. Alexander and his three companions were ordered to go out of the vehicle, they were tied up, and blindfolded. Macapagal and Teddy were also tied and blindfolded, but nothing more was done to them. Alexander identified all the abductors including the brothers of Macapagal.
The four victims were taken to the mountain hideout in Maguindanao. The kidnappers demanded P15, 000,000 from Alexander’s wife for his release, but the amount was reduced to twelve million. The victims were then transferred from one place to another. They made Alexander write a letter to his wife for his ransom. But on several occasions, a person named Mayangkang himself would write to Alexander’s wife. The two other victims managed to escape but Alexander was released after payment of ransom. The trial court convicted Macapagal and his companions of the crime of Kidnapping for Ransom with Serious Illegal Detention.

Issue: Whether it is necessary that there is actual payment of ransom in the crime of Kidnapping.

Held: No, it is necessary that there is actual payment of ransom in the crime of Kidnapping. For the crime to be committed, at least one overt act of demanding ransom must be made. It is not necessary that there be actual payment of ransom because what the law requires is merely the existence of the purpose of demanding ransom. In this case, the records are replete with instances when the kidnappers demanded ransom from the victim. At the mountain hideout where Alexander was first taken, he was made a letter to his wife asking her to pay ransom of twelve million. Also Mayangkang himself wrote more letters to his family threatened the family to kill Alexander if the ransom was not paid.


People vs. Astudillo, GR No. 141518, April 29, 2003

---- Effects of Aggravating or Mitigating Circumstances on Felonies by Indivisible Penalties

FACTS: Brothers Clarence, Crisanto and Hilario Astudillo, went to house of Alberto Damian who was celebrating the eve of his birthday. Clarence greeted Alberto and thereafter asked the victim, Silvestre Aquino, who was one of the visitors, to go with him. Silvestre acceded and the two walked towards Floras' Store, where they were later joined by Crisanto and Hilario. While at the store, Crisanto and Silvestre had an argument.
Prosecution eyewitnesses Manuel Bareng and Eduardo Bata, 12 and 11 years of age, respectively, were selling balut in front of Floras' Store. They saw Clarence stab Silvestre with a bolo while Crisanto and Hilario held him by the wrists. Clarence delivered several stab blows at the back and on the chest of the victim until the latter fell to the ground. Thereafter, the three appellants fled on board a tricycle. Silvestre was rushed to the Municipal Health Office of Bangued, Abra, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

RULING: The trial court correctly rejected the appellants' self-defense theory. It is evident that appellants' collective and individual act of holding the victim's wrists and delivering several stab blows demonstrated the existence of their common design to kill the victim. Direct proof of an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and the decision to commit it is not necessary. Conspiracy, as in the instant case, can be inferred from the acts of the three appellants which clearly manifest a concurrence of wills and a common intent or design to commit a crime.
As regards the generic aggravating circumstance of use of motor vehicle, the trial court erred in appreciating the same inasmuch as the prosecution failed to show that the tricycle was deliberately used by the appellants to facilitate the commission of the crime or that the crime could not have been committed without it. The use of motor vehicle is not aggravating where the use thereof was merely incidental.
The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender was correctly appreciated in favor of appellants. To benefit an accused, the following requisites must be proven, namely: (1) the offender has not actually been arrested; (2) the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority; and (3) the surrender was voluntary. A surrender to be voluntary must be spontaneous, showing the intent of the accused to submit himself unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt, or he wishes to save them the trouble and expense necessarily incurred in his search and capture.
In the case at bar, appellants voluntarily surrendered to the authorities on the same night of the incident when they learned that the authorities were looking for them. What matters is that they spontaneously, voluntarily and unconditionally placed themselves at the disposal of the authorities. This act of respect for the law indicates a moral disposition favorable to their reform.
Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, Murder is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. With no generic aggravating circumstance and one generic mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, the penalty imposable on the appellants, in accordance with Article 63 (3) of the Revised Penal Code, should be the minimum period, which is reclusion perpetua.

People vs. Anthony Manguera, 398 SCRA 618, GR 139906, March 5, 2003

---- Effects of Aggravating or Mitigating Circumstances on Felonies by Indivisible Penalties

FACTS: Just after sunset, a neighbor of Lorna Reanzares, while walking on her way, thought that she heard Lorna screaming, "Inay, Inay," from a nearby coconut plantation. Worried, the neighbor, Josephine Managa, proceeded to the Reanzares residence to inquire if Lorna was already home. When Romeo Reanzares, Lorna’s older brother, informed her that Lorna had not as yet arrived, Josephine told him of what she had heard from the nearby plantation. When they went to the site, Romeo asked Josephine to point to the exact location where she had heard the cries. Suddenly, Romeo heard Lorna call, "Kuya, kuya, tulungan mo ako." He ran towards the spot where the voice was emanating from and found Lorna lying naked, her panties and shorts pulled down to her left ankle. Romeo inquired from his sister what had happened. Lorna replied "Kuya, ginahasa ako." When asked who was responsible for it, Lorna replied "Si Nognog, si Nognog." "Nognog who," Romeo pressed on, and Lorna answered, "Anthony Manguera." Moments later, Lorna, visibly weak, told her brother "Kuya, parang hindi ko na kaya. May saksak ako sa likod." Romeo turned her sister’s back and saw that it was bloodied with stab wounds. He covered her with her torn clothes and brought her to a vehicle brought by their father who meanwhile followed them to the plantation. When queried whether Anthony Manguera was with her on her way home, she answered, "No, he was waiting for me ("inaabangan") and raped me and stabbed me." Lorna died on the way to the Municipal Health Office.

RULING: Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 22, Republic Act No. 7659, reads:
"Art. 47. In what cases the death penalty shall not be imposed; Automatic review of death penalty cases. – The death penalty shall be imposed in all cases in which it must be imposed under existing laws, except when the guilty person is below eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the crime or is more than seventy years of age or when upon appeal or automatic review of the case by the Supreme Court, the required majority vote is not obtained for the imposition of the death penalty, in which cases the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua."(Emphasis supplied)
The first part of the provision is consistent with Article 68 of the same Code which treats minority as a privileged mitigating circumstance and reduces the imposable penalty by one degree if the accused is over fifteen (15) and under eighteen (18) years of age, and by two degrees, if under fifteen (15) but over nine (9) years of age, and the accused acted with discernment. The accused was only fifteen (15) years old at the time of the commission of the crime. Thus, pursuant to the provisions of Article 47, as amended, and consonantly with Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty that can only be imposed on appellant for the crime of rape with homicide is reclusion perpetua.

People vs. Silongan, et. al., 401 SCRA 459, GR 137182, April 24, 2003

---- Effects of Aggravating or Mitigating Circumstances on Felonies by Indivisible Penalties

FACTS: The said accused, in the company with other unidentified persons, conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding one another, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap ALEXANDER SALDANA, AMERICO REJUSO, JR., ERVIN TORMIS and VICTOR CINCO for the purpose of demanding ransom in the amount of Twelve Million Pesos (P 12,000,000.00), detaining and depriving Alexander Saldana of his personal liberty up to September 24, 1996.
The accused and his companion pretended to have business with Saldana concerning the gold nuggets that they are selling. While on their way to the place where they will have their business, making sure that it was night time, the accused contacted his companions and ambushed the car where Saldana was riding with the accused. They held Saldana in their hide out. They went back to the town but as they learned that the military was looking for Saldana, they went back to their mountain hide out. Mayangkang released Alexander Saldaña to the military in exchange for a relative who was caught delivering a ransom note to Alexander's family. However, only eight of the accused were brought to trial, namely, Abdila, Macapagal, and Teddy, all surnamed Silongan, Akmad Awal, Rolly Lamalan, Sacaria Alon, Jumbrah Manap, and Ramon Pasawilan.

RULING: The essence of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention as defined and penalized in Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code is the actual deprivation of the victim's liberty coupled with proof beyond reasonable doubt of an intent of the accused to effect the same. It is thus essential that the following be established by the prosecution: (1) the offender is a private individual; (2) he kidnaps or detains another, or in any other manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (3) the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) in the commission of the offense, any of the four circumstances enumerated in Article 267 be present. But if the kidnapping was done for the purpose of extorting ransom, the fourth element is no longer necessary.
There is no mistaking the clear, overwhelming evidence that the appellants abducted Alexander Saldaña and his companions at gunpoint and deprived them of their freedom. That the appellants took shifts guarding the victims until only Alexander was left to be guarded and in transferring Alexander from one hideout to another to prevent him from being rescued by the military establish that they acted in concert in executing their common criminal design.
Appellants Jumbrah Manap, Abdila Silongan, Rolly Lamalan, Sacaria Alon, and Macapagal Silongan are illiterate is not sufficient to lower the penalty. Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code is specific. It states that "(i)n all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed." Hence, while illiteracy is generally mitigating in all crimes, such circumstance, even if present, cannot result in a reduction of the penalty in this case.
Considering that it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the abduction of Alexander Saldaña, Americo Rejuso, Jr., Ervin Tormis, and Victor Cinco were for the purpose of extorting ransom, the trial court correctly imposed the death penalty.

People vs. Oraza, 83 Phil. 633

---- Effects of Aggravating or Mitigating Circumstances on Felonies by Divisible Penalties w/ Three Periods (Article 64)

FACTS: Appellant Julian Oraza was prosecuted physical injuries for inflicting upon the offended party Hilario Sison injuries which required medical attendance and took sixty days to heal, and which, during the afore-said period o f time, incapacitated said offended party for the work on which he was theretofore habitually engaged. When first arraigned, he pleaded not guilty, but later, with leave of the court, this plea was withdrawn and, upon rearraignment, he pleaded guilty. After said second plea, and with the permission of the court, he proceeded to prove surrendered to the authorities after the commission of the crime and that he was a little bit drunk at the time he committed it, his drunkenness not being habitual. The lower court, considering his plea of guilty as well as the other mitigating circumstances sentenced him to four months of arresto mayor and to pay the costs, at the same time reserving to the offended party the right to claim damages in a separate civil action. From this decision, the defendant appealed, alleging that the penalty is excessive, and that, furthermore, the lower court erred in making the reservation in favor of the offended party claim damages in a separate civil action, inasmuch as nowhere in the complaint is any claim for damages made, aside from the reserve the offended party was made after the defendant had pleaded guilty to the information.

RULING: As regards the penalty imposed the same is clearly not excessive. Counsel for the appellants in his brief, admits that the penalty of arresto mayor is within the range provided by law only that consideration the number of mitigating circumstances, namely three, and that the injuries inflicted upon the offended party healed in sixty days and not in ninety days which is the maximum period mentioned in article 263, paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposed should have been only two months, which is the minimum of the penalty next lower to that prescribed law. This contention, we find to be unfounded. There is no warrant or reason for making any fine distinctions based on the period within which injuries inflicted upon an offended party may have actually healed, — that is, whether there are within the minimum, medium or maximum period or number of days mentioned in the article of the Revised Penal Code involved. In the present case it is sufficient that the same came under the provisions of article 263, paragraph 4, of the code inasmuch as the period of incapacity and healing of the injuries was more than thirty days but not more than ninety days.
Once the penalty next lower to that prescribed by law is applied because of the presence of two or more mitigating circumstances, the period, — whether it be in the maximum, medium or minimum — should and must be left entirely to the discretion of the trial court, according to the very terms of article 64, paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal Code, which provides that "the court shall impose the penalty next lower to that prescribed by law, in the Period that it may deem applicable, according to the number of such circumstances. (5 Viada, 5th ed, p. 577.)

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