G.R. No. 198020, July 10, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOSEPH BARRA, Accused-Appellant.
G.R. No. 198020, July 10, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOSEPH BARRA, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
That on or about 11:00 P.M. of October 9, 2003, at Barangay Tinawagan, Tigaon, Camarines Sur, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, the above-named accused, while armed with a firearm, after gaining entrance into the residence of his victim, with intent to gain, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take and steal money from Elmer Lagdaan y Azur; that on the occasion of the said robbery and for the purpose of enabling him to take and steal the money, the herein accused, with intent to kill, did then and there feloniously shoot said Elmer Lagdaan, thereby inflicting upon him gunshot wound which caused his death, to the prejudice of his heirs. (Emphases deleted.)
- Gunshot wound, point of entry, 0.5 x 0.5 cms, circular, with inverted edges at the mid left frontal area. Hematoma formation is noted at the site of entry.
CAUSE OF DEATH:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
MASSIVE HE[M]ORRHAGE SECONDARY [TO] GUNSHOT WOUND
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused, Joseph Barra GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Homicide as defined and penalized under Article 291(1) of the Revised Penal Code, and sentences him to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA. To pay the surviving heirs of Elmer Lagdaan, the sum of Php50,000.00 as civil indemnity for his death, as actual damages in the amount of Php55,579.80, as moral damages in the sum of Php50,000.00 and to pay the costs.
The accused is entitled to the full credit of his preventive imprisonment if he abides by the disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners during his confinement, otherwise he shall only be entitled to four-fifths (4/5) thereof.13
Regarding the trial court’s finding that accused-appellant is responsible for the death of Lagdaan, WE will not disturb the same as it is well supported by the evidence on record and in accord with prevailing law and jurisprudence. However, WE disagree with its determination of the nature of the crime that accused-appellant committed. Instead of robbery with homicide at its consum[m]ated stage, accused-appellant should have been declared guilty only of attempted robbery with homicide.
As correctly observed by the OSG,14 the only evidence introduced by the government to establish robbery is the statement of De la Peña that when accused-appellant reached the victim’s place, the latter barged into the said residence, poked a gun at the victim’s forehead, demanded money and when the victim refused to accede to his demand, fired a gun and shot the victim. Indeed, no iota of evidence was presented to establish that accused-appellant took away the victim’s money or any property, for that matter.
The fact of asportation must be established beyond reasonable doubt. Since this fact was not duly established, accused-appellant should be held liable only for the crime of attempted robbery with homicide as defined and penalized under Article 297 of the Revised Penal Code which provides –“When by reason of or on occasion of an attempted or frustrated robbery a homicide is committed, the person guilty of such offenses shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, unless the homicide committed shall deserve a higher penalty under the provisions of this Code.”The appellant is guilty of attempted robbery with homicide only when he commenced the commission of robbery directly by overt acts and did not perform all the acts of execution which would produce robbery by reason of some causes or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.
The claim of the defense that accused-appellant should be convicted only of the crime of homicide is bereft of merit. The killing of the victim herein was by reason of or on the occasion of robbery.
The attendant circumstances clearly show accused-appellant’s intent to rob the victim. That motive was manifested by accused-appellant’s overt act of poking a gun at the victim’s forehead demanding money from the latter. When the victim refused to accede to the demand, accused-appellant shot the former. The killing was an offshoot of accused-appellant’s intent to rob the victim. Accused-appellant was bent on resorting to violent means to attain his end. Due to the victim’s failure to give his money, the crime of robbery was, however, not consummated.15 (Citations omitted.)
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the assailed Judgment is hereby MODIFIED as follows -
1) Accused-appellant is adjudged GUILTY of the crime of Attempted Robbery with Homicide and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA,
2) Accused-appellant is directed to pay the heirs of Elmer Lagdaan the following:cralavvonlinelawlibrarya) the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
b) the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
c) the amount of P25,000.00 as temperate damages;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
d) the amount of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
e) the cost of suit.16
[F]indings of facts of the trial court, its calibration and assessment of the probative weight of the testimonial evidence of the parties and its conclusions anchored on its findings are accorded by the appellate court high respect, if not conclusive effect, because of the unique advantage of the trial court in observing at close range the demeanor, conduct and deportment of the said witnesses as they testify, unless the trial court ignored, misunderstood and misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances which if considered will change the outcome of the case. x x x. (Citation omitted.)
Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons – Penalties. – Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person shall suffer:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
- The penalty of from reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed; or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson.
- The taking of personal property is committed with violence or intimidation against persons;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- The property taken belongs to another;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- The taking is animo lucrandi; and
- By reason of the robbery or on the occasion thereof, homicide is committed. (Citation omitted.)
Article 297. Attempted and frustrated robbery committed under certain circumstances. — When by reason or on occasion of an attempted or frustrated robbery a homicide is committed, the person guilty of such offenses shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, unless the homicide committed shall deserve a higher penalty under the provisions of this Code.
The elements of Robbery with Homicide as defined in Art. 297 of the Revised Penal Code are: (1) There is an attempted or frustrated robbery. (2) A homicide is committed.
1Rollo, pp. 2-12; penned by Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar-Padilla with Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Elihu A. Ybañez, concurring.cralawlibrary
2Entitled People of the Philippines v. Joseph Barra y Doe.
3 CA rollo, pp. 46-50; penned by Presiding Judge Noel D. Paulite.cralawlibrary
4 Also referred to as JOSE in some parts of the rollo.cralawlibrary
5 Records, p. 23.cralawlibrary
6 Id. at 27.cralawlibrary
7 Id. at 43.cralawlibrary
8 TSN, January 17, 2005, p. 3.cralawlibrary
9 TSN, May 16, 2005, pp. 3-8.cralawlibrary
10 TSN, August 1, 2005, pp. 2-4.cralawlibrary
11 TSN, June 22, 2007, pp. 4-5.cralawlibrary
12 TSN, August 19, 2008, pp. 9-10.cralawlibrary
13 CA rollo, p. 50.cralawlibrary
14 Office of the Solicitor General.cralawlibrary
15Rollo, pp. 9-10.cralawlibrary
16 Id. at 11-12.cralawlibrary
17 Id. at 13-15.cralawlibrary
18 Id. at 20-24 and 31-33.cralawlibrary
19 457 Phil. 472, 481 (2003).cralawlibrary
20 G.R. No. 178205, July 27, 2009, 594 SCRA 94, 103.cralawlibrary
21 400 Phil. 1221, 1235-1236 (2000).cralawlibrary
22 See People v. Esoy, G.R. No. 185849, April 7, 2010, 617 SCRA 552, 566.cralawlibrary
23People v. Deligero, G.R. No. 189280, April 17, 2013.