G.R. No. 181753, October 09, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RAMON PLACER, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
That on or about June 24, 2001, at more or less 7:00 o’clock in the evening at barangay Somagongsong, Municipality of Bulan, Province of Sorsogon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, while armed with a bladed weapon, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault and stab one Rosalino Gernale, thereby inflicting mortal/fatal wounds which caused his instantaneous death to the damage and prejudice of his legal heirs.
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
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On June 24, 2001, around 7 P.M., Maria Gernale and her husband, Rosalino Gernale, were on their way home to Brgy. Inararan, Bulan, Sorsogon on board a tricycle. They were in the company of Maria’s father, another female passenger and five (5) young children. While their tricycle was moving, another tricycle carrying appellants Ramon and Virgilio Placer almost hit them. Appellants and Rosalino alighted [from] their respective tricycles and a heated altercation ensued between them. When things had subsided, Gernale and appellants proceeded their separate ways. (TSN, March 24, 2002, p. 9)
Sometime later, Maria realized that appellants were chasing them. The latter were able to overtake the tricycle driven by Rosalino and later blocked its path. Appellants alighted [from] their tricycle and proceeded towards the direction of Rosalino who had also alighted from his tricycle. A confrontation followed and Angelina Gestiada, Rosalino’s sister, tried to pacify appellants. But appellant Ramon Placer did not heed as he stabbed Rosalino in the chest. (Id) Maria who was only about two (2) steps away saw the incident. (TSN, January 7, 2002, p. 10) Rosalino fell towards the direction of his tricycle and just as he was about to fall, this time Virgilio stabbed him in the stomach. (Id)
Thereafter, appellants immediately fled the area on board their tricycle. It was Virgilio who drove the tricycle. Maria frantically shouted for help and Angelina ran towards the house of their nearest relative to ask for assistance. Rosalino was brought to the Bulan Municipal Hospital where he was pronounced dead. (TSN, May 7, 2002, p.7)
Dr. Estrella A. Payoyo, of the Rural Health Unit, Bulan Municipal Hospital, testified that the immediate cause of Rosalino’s death was internal hemorrhage secondary to multiple stab wounds. (TSN, January 7, 2002, p. 16) Dr. Joseph Chavez, the Medical Officer of Bulan Municipal Hospital who prepared the necropsy report testified that the multiple stab wounds inflicted upon Rosalino were fatal and that some vital organs were injured. The possible assault weapon according to Dr. Chavez was a sharp pointed object, more or less 0.5 cm. in width with a gape of 0.5 cm. (TSN, February 11, 2002, pp. 5-7)
Rosalino’s sister, Angelina Gestiada, reported the incident to the police authorities. (Police Blotter, Entry No. 1308, p. 281, June 24, 2001) Angelina accompanied SPO3 June Dominguez and a Barangay Kagawad of Somagongsong to the residence of appellant Virgilio Placer but the latter’s wife informed them that Virgilio was out. When they reached the residence of appellant Ramon Placer, they were informed that the latter had also gone out. SPO2 Eulogio Santos and PO1 Giado discovered the tricycle used by appellants parked some fifty (50) meters away from the house of the father of appellants. (TSN, July 9, 2002, p. 11)
On June 25, 2001, Ramon Placer voluntarily surrendered himself to Brgy. Capt. Rey Loilo of Beguin, Bulan, Sorsogon who then accompanied him to the local police authorities.
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Ramon tried to show that he was informed by Randy Gordola that Virgilio was having an altercation with someone, who turned out to be Rosalino. Ramon rode his bicycle and proceeded to the place mentioned. Ramon saw Rosalino chasing Virgilio with a bolo, but the latter was able to go inside a fence, and Rosalino being pulled by his wife. Rosalino went to his tricycle and drove away. After a while, Rosalino stopped, alighted from his tricycle and returned to the place where he chased Virgilio. Ramon told Rosalino to go home in order to avoid trouble. Rosalino asked Ramon who he was, uttered invectives and attacked the latter. Ramon was surprised and boxed Rosalino on the mouth, causing the latter to fall on the ground. Rosalino stood up and attempted to stab Ramon with a Batangas knife, but the latter was able to grab the Batangas knife and he stabbed Rosalino. Ramon, who could not remember how many times he stabbed Rosalino, then ran towards his house. The following day, Ramon went to the house of Barangay Captain Rey Loilo and requested the latter to accompany him to the police authorities in order to surrender himself and the knife which he used in stabbing somebody.
Appropriana Manchos, an aunt of Ramon and Virgilio, testified that she was inside her house when she heard a commotion. She ran to the place of the commotion, which was about 80-100 meters away from her house, and she saw Ramon being attacked by someone. Ramon retaliated by boxing said person on the mouth, causing the latter to fall down. Said person then stood up holding a bladed weapon and tried to stab Ramon. Ramon was able to get hold of the knife and stabbed said person. Appropriana stated that she did not see Virgilio at the place of the incident.
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WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused RAMON PLACER and VIRGILIO PLACER having been found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659, are hereby sentenced as follows:
a) RAMON PLACER being the principal by direct participation involved in the actual killing of ROSALINO GERNALE (deceased), to him is imposed the indivisible penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA regardless of the presence of mitigating circumstance of VOLUNTARY SURRENDER (Art. 63, Revised Penal Code), with all the accessory penalties;
b) VIRGILIO PLACER having been found to be liable as an ACCOMPLICE, to him is imposed the lesser indeterminate penalty of 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor, as minimum, to 14 years, 10 months and 20 days of reclusion temporal, as maximum, absent any mitigating or aggravating circumstance (par. (1), Art. 64, Revised Penal Code, as amended)
c) To indemnify the heirs of the late Rosalino Gernale jointly and solidarily in the amount of P25,000.00 as actual damages; P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for his death; and another P50,000.00 as moral damages; and to pay the costs.
The period of preventive imprisonment already served by accused Virgil[i]o and Ramon both surnamed Placer, shall be credited in the service of their sentences pursuant to Article 29 of the R.P.C., as amended.
x x x. The test for the presence of unlawful aggression under the circumstances is whether the aggression from the victim put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself; the peril must not be an imagined or imaginary threat. Accordingly, the accused must establish the concurrence of three elements of unlawful aggression, namely: (a) there must be a physical or material attack or assault; (b) the attack or assault must be actual, or, at least, imminent; and (c) the attack or assault must be unlawful.
Unlawful aggression is of two kinds: (a) actual or material unlawful aggression; and (b) imminent unlawful aggression. Actual or material unlawful aggression means an attack with physical force or with a weapon, an offensive act that positively determines the intent of the aggressor to cause the injury. Imminent unlawful aggression means an attack that is impending or at the point of happening; it must not consist in a mere threatening attitude, nor must it be merely imaginary, but must be offensive and positively strong (like aiming a revolver at another with intent to shoot or opening a knife and making a motion as if to attack). Imminent unlawful aggression must not be a mere threatening attitude of the victim, such as pressing his right hand to his hip where a revolver was holstered, accompanied by an angry countenance, or like aiming to throw a pot.
Article 248. Murder. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death, if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.
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* Vice Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., who is on sick leave of absence, pursuant to Special Order No. 1545 (Revised).
1Rollo, pp. 4-16; penned by Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon (retired), with Associate Justice Rosmari D. Carandang and Associate Justice Mariflor P. Punzalan-Castillo concurring.
2 Records, p. 1.
3 Id. at 42-43.
4 CA rollo, pp. 111-123.
5 Supra note 1.
6 Records, pp. 195-196.
7 CA rollo, p. 108.
8 Id. at 109-110.
9 Id. at 133.
10 Id. at 104, 126-132.
11 Id. at 134.
12 Id. at 138.
13 Supra note 1.
14 CA rollo, pp. 74-82.
15 Article 11 (1), Revised Penal Code.
16Mahawan v. People, G.R. No. 176609, December 18, 2008, 574 SCRA 737, 746.
17 Calim v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140065, February 13, 2001, 351 SCRA 559, 571.
18 G.R. No. 172606, November 23, 2011, 661 SCRA 159, 167-168.
19 TSN, January 7, 2002, pp. 2-8; July 9, 2002, pp. 2-8; May 7, 2002, pp. 2-7.
20 Article 14, paragraph 16, Revised Penal Code.
21People v. Bermudez, G.R. No. 129033, June 25, 1999, 309 SCRA 124, 138.
22Mendoza v. People, G.R. No. 173551, October 4, 2007, 534 SCRA 668, 696.
23 People v. Ocumen, G.R. Nos. 120493-94/117692, December 2, 1999, 319 SCRA 539, 563; People v. Antonio, G.R. No. 128900, July 14, 2000, 335 SCRA 646, 671-672.
24People v. Antonio, supra, 671.
25 TSN, March 25, 2002, p. 9.
26 TSN, May 7, 2002, pp. 30-31.
27 TSN, February 11, 2002, p. 9.
28 Records, p. 12.
29 Article 249. Homicide. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in the next preceding article, shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be punished by reclusion temporal.
30 Article 13, paragraph 7, Revised Penal Code; see also People v. Ignacio, G.R. No. 134568, February 10, 2000, 325 SCRA 375, 384; People v. Antonio, G.R. No. 128900, July 14, 2000, 335 SCRA 646, 668.
31 Records, p. 112.
32 Id. at 9, 15-16.
34 People v. Lagrana, No. L-68790, January 23, 1987, 147 SCRA 281, 285.
35 Article 64 (2), in relation to Article 76, of the Revised Penal Code.
36 Article 76 of the Revised Penal Code requires that the legal period of duration of divisible penalties shall be considered as divided into three parts, forming three periods, the minimum, the medium, and the maximum.