G.R. No. 178145, July 07, 2014
REYNALDO S. MARIANO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
That on or about the 12th day of September, 1999, in the municipality of Angat, Province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with the use of the motor vehicle he was then driving, with evident premeditation, treachery and abuse of superior strength, hit, bump and run over with the said motor vehicle one Ferdinand de Leon, thereby inflicting upon him serious physical injuries which ordinarily would have caused the death of the said Ferdinand de Leon, thus performing all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime of murder as a consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes independent of his will, that is, by the timely and able medical assistance rendered to said Ferdinand de Leon.
Contrary to law.1
At about 6:30 in the evening of September 12, 1999, Ferdinand de Leon was driving his owner type jeep along Barangay Engkanto, Angat, Bulacan. With him were his wife, Urbanita, and their two-year old son, as they just came from a baptismal party. Luis de Leon, an uncle of Ferdinand, also came from the baptismal party and was driving his owner type jeep. Accused-appellant Reynaldo Mariano was driving his red Toyota pick-up with his wife, Rebecca, and their helper, Rowena Años, as passengers. They had just attended a worship service in Barangay Engkanto.
The Toyota pick-up overtook the jeep of Ferdinand de Leon and almost bumped it. Ferdinand got mad, overtook the pick-up and blocked its path. Reynaldo Mariano stopped the pick-up behind the jeep. Ferdinand alighted from his jeep and approached Reynaldo. Ferdinand claimed that he and Reynaldo had an altercation. However, Reynaldo insisted that he just stayed inside the pick-up and kept quiet while Ferdinand hurled invectives at him. Urbanita tried to pacify Ferdinand and sought the assistance of Luis de Leon. Luis intervened and told Ferdinand and Reynaldo “magpasensiyahan na lamang kayo at pagpasensiyahan mo si Ferdinand.” Ferdinand and Reynaldo heeded the advice of Luis and they went their separate ways.
Instead of proceeding to his house in Norzagaray, Ferdinand decided to drop by his mother’s house in San Roque, Angat to pick up some items. He parked his jeep in front of the house of his mother and alighted therefrom. However, he was bumped by a moving vehicle, thrown four (4) meters away and lost consciousness. Urbanita shouted, “Mommy, Mommy, nasagasaan si Ferdie.” She identified the fast moving vehicle that bumped Ferdinand as the same red Toyota pick-up driven by Reynaldo.
On the other hand, Reynaldo and his wife, Rebecca, tried to show that the jeep of Ferdinand stopped on the road in front of the house of the latter’s mother about five (5) to six (6) meters away from their pick-up. Reynaldo stopped the pick-up as he saw an oncoming vehicle, which he allowed to pass. Thereafter, Reynaldo made a signal and overtook the jeep of Ferdinand. However, Ferdinand suddenly alighted from his jeep, lost his balance and was sideswiped by the overtaking pick-up. Reynaldo did not stop his pick-up and he proceeded on his way for fear that the bystanders might harm him and his companions. After bringing his companions to their house in Marungko, Angat, Bulacan, Reynaldo proceeded to Camp Alejo S. Santos in Malolos, Bulacan to surrender and report the incident.
Ferdinand was brought to the Sto. Niño Hospital in Bustos, Bulacan, where he stayed for two and a half days and incurred medical expenses amounting to P17,800.00 On September 15, 1999, Ferdinand was transferred to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, where he stayed until September 25, 1999 and incurred medical expenses amounting to P66,243.25. He likewise spent P909.50 for medicines, P2,900.00 for scanning, P8,000.00 for doctor’s fee and P12,550.00 for the services of his caregivers and masseur from September 12 to October 31, 1999. Ferdinand suffered multiple facial injuries, a fracture of the inferior part of the right orbital wall and subdural hemorrhage secondary to severe head trauma, as evidenced by the certification issued by Dr. Hernando L. Cruz, Jr. of St. Luke’s Medical Center. Urbanita, received the amount of P50,000.00 from Reynaldo Mariano by way of financial assistance, as evidenced by a receipt dated September 15, 1999.2
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, this Court hereby finds the accused Reynaldo Mariano GUILTY for the lesser offense of Frustrated Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 50 thereof and is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of three (3) years and four (4) months of Prision Correccional as minimum to six (6) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor as maximum and is hereby directed to pay the complainant, Ferdinand de Leon, the amount of P196,043.25 less P50,000.00 (already given) as actual damages, P100,000.00 as moral damages, and the costs of the suit.
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is MODIFIED and accused-appellant Reynaldo Mariano is found guilty of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries and is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of two (2) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year, seven (7) months and eleven (11) days of prision correccional, as maximum, and to indemnify Ferdinand de Leon in the amount of P58,402.75 as actual damages and P10,000.00 as moral damages.
Reynaldo tried to show that he stopped his pick-up five (5) to six (6) meters behind the jeep of Ferdinand, as he allowed an oncoming vehicle to pass. Thereafter, he overtook the jeep of Ferdinand. However, the fact that Ferdinand’s body was thrown four (4) meters away from his jeep showed that Reynaldo was driving his pick-up at a fast speed when he overtook the jeep of Ferdinand. It is worthy to note that Reynaldo admitted that he has known Ferdinand and the latter’s family since 1980 because they have a store where he used to buy things. As aptly observed by the OSG, Reynaldo should have foreseen the possibility that Ferdinand would alight from his jeep and go inside the house of his mother where the store is also located.
x x x x
As aptly observed by the court a quo, only a vehicle that is moving beyond the normal rate of speed and within the control of the driver’s hands could have caused Ferdinand’s injuries. The very fact of speeding is indicative of imprudent behavior, as a motorist must exercise ordinary care and drive at a reasonable rate of speed commensurate with the conditions encountered, which will enable him or her to keep the vehicle under control and avoid injury to others using the highway. As held in People v. Garcia:“A man must use common sense, and exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his duty to be cautious, careful, and prudent, if not from instinct, then through fear of incurring punishment. He is responsible for such results as anyone might foresee and for acts which no one would have performed except through culpable abandon. Otherwise his own person, rights and property, all those of his fellow-beings, would ever be exposed to all manner of danger and injury.”Thus, had Reynaldo not driven his pick-up at a fast speed in overtaking the jeep of Ferdinand, he could have easily stopped his pick-up or swerved farther to the left side of the road, as there was no oncoming vehicle, when he saw that Ferdinand alighted from his jeep and lost his balance, in order to avoid hitting the latter or, at least, minimizing his injuries.7
x x x can be found in the fact that in quasi-offenses penalized under Article 365, the carelessness, imprudence or negligence which characterizes the wrongful act may vary from one situation to another, in nature, extent, and resulting consequences, and in order that there may be a fair and just application of the penalty, the courts must have ample discretion in its imposition, without being bound by what We may call the mathematical formula provided for in Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code. On the basis of this particular provision, the trial court was not bound to apply paragraph 5 of Article 64 in the instant case even if appellant had two mitigating circumstances in his favor with no aggravating circumstance to offset them.
Article 263. Serious physical injuries. — Any person who shall wound, beat, or assault another, shall be guilty of the crime of serious physical injuries and shall suffer:
1. The penalty of prision mayor, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the injured person shall become insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind;
2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have lost the use of speech or the power to hear or to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a hand, a foot, an arm, or a leg or shall have lost the use of any such member, or shall have become incapacitated for the work in which he was therefor habitually engaged;
3. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have become deformed, or shall have lost any other part of his body, or shall have lost the use thereof, or shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance of the work in which he as habitually engaged for a period of more than ninety days;
4. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the physical injuries inflicted shall have caused the illness or incapacity for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.
If the offense shall have been committed against any of the persons enumerated in Article 246, or with attendance of any of the circumstances mentioned in Article 248, the case covered by subdivision number 1 of this Article shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods; the case covered by subdivision number 2 by prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period; the case covered by subdivision number 3 by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods; and the case covered by subdivision number 4 by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.
The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not be applicable to a parent who shall inflict physical injuries upon his child by excessive chastisement.
* Vice Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes, who is on Wellness Leave, per Special Order No. 1715 dated July 1, 2014.
1Rollo, p. 58.
2 Id. at 41-43.
3 Id. at 58-70.
4 Id. at 70.
5 Id. at 40-53; penned by Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon (retired), with the concurrence of Association Justice Regalado E. Maambong (retired/deceased) and Associate Justice Lucenito N. Tagle (retired).
6 Id. at 52.
7Rollo, pp. 45-49.
8Dumayag v. People, G.R. No. 172778, November 26, 2012, 686 SCRA 347, 357-358.
9 Article 365, REVISED PENAL CODE.
10Dumayag v. People, supra note 8, at 358-359.
11 G.R. Nos. 153760-61, October 16, 2006, 504 SCRA 354.
12 G.R. No. 143380, April 11, 2005, 455 SCRA 211.
13 L-37633, January 31, 1975, 62 SCRA 245, 249.
14Rollo, p. 50.
15 Section 2. This Act shall not apply to persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life imprisonment; to those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason; to those convicted of misprision of treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage; to those convicted of piracy; to those who are habitual delinquents; to those who shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence; to those who having been granted conditional pardon by the Chief Executive shall have violated the terms thereof; to those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year; nor to those already sentenced by final judgment at the time of approval of this Act, except as provided in Section 5 hereof. (As amended by Act No. 4225, Aug. 8, 1935)
16Tan v. OMC Carriers, Inc., G.R. No. 190521, January 12, 2011, 639 SCRA 471, 481.
17Yuchengco v. The Manila Chronicle Publishing Corporation, G.R. No. 184315, November 28, 2011, 661 SCRA 392, 405.
18 G.R. No. 189871, August 13, 2013, 703 SCRA 439, 458.