CRIMINAL LAW; ROBBERY IN BAND WITH DOUBLE MURDER; TOTAL EXTINCTION OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY; CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LIABILITY EXTINGUISHED WHEN THE OFFENDER DIES BEFORE FINAL JUDGMENT. — Where in a case of robbery in band with double murder, the Court of First Instance renders a decision sentencing the accused with life imprisonment and pending an appeal therefrom the accused-appellant dies, which death is confirmed by the Director of Prisons, the case against the accused-appellant should be dismissed pursuant to the prayer of the Solicitor General. The death of the accused appellant having been established and considering that there is as yet no final judgment in view of the pendency of the appeal the criminal liability of the said accused-appellant was extinguished by his death.
Among the appellants sentenced to life imprisonment by the Court of First Instance of Quezon, Branch IV, for robbery in band with double murder was a certain Bonifacio Alison. On February 14, 1972, the following communication, addressed to the Clerk of Court, was received from the Administrative Officer of the Bureau of Prisons: "This is to inform the Honorable Court of the death of prisoner [Bonifacio Alison] on January 26, 1972 at the New Bilibid Prisons Hospital, Bureau of Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal, due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Prisoner Alison was sentenced to Life imprisonment by the Court of First Instance of Quezon, Branch IV, Calauag, Quezon in criminal case No. C-351, (G.R. No. L-30612) for Robbery in Band Double Murder and Attempted Murder." 1
Under date of February 22, 1972, a resolution of the following tenor was adopted by this Court: "The Solicitor General is required to comment, within ten (10) days from notice hereof, on the letter of Exequiel Santos, Administrative Officer of the Bureau of Prisons, informing this Court of the death of prisoner Bonifacio Alison on January 26, 1972 at the New Bilibid Prisons Hospital due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis." 2
Such a comment was received on March 27, 1972. According to the then Solicitor General, now Associate Justice, Felix Q. Antonio: "On March 15, 1972, the Director of Prisons, pursuant to the letter-request of the undersigned, submitted to the Office of the Solicitor General a copy of the certificate of death of Bonifacio Alison, Prisoner No. 9486, 45 years old, male, with address at Bo. Pasig, Claveria, Masbate; The data appearing in the aforesaid death certificate and those in the records of the case (handwritten notes of the proceedings by the Presiding Judge of the trial court, pp. 320-321, rec.) show that the Bonifacio Alison mentioned therein are one and the same person; The death of accused-appellant Bonifacio Alison having been established, and considering that there is as yet no final judgment in view of the pendency of the appeal, the criminal and civil liability of the said accused appellant Alison was extinguished by his death (Art. 89, Revised Penal Code; Reyes’ Criminal Law, 1971 Rev. Ed., p. 717, citing People v. Castillo and Ofemia C.A., 56 O.G. 4045); consequently, the case against him should be dismissed." 3
WHEREFORE, in line with the prayer of the then Solicitor General, this case against appellant, the late Bonifacio Alison, is dismissed with costs de oficio.
Reyes, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.
, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Barredo and Makasiar, JJ.
, did not take part.
, is on official leave.
1. Communication of February 14, 1972.
2. Resolution dated February 22, 1972.
3. Comment, pp. 1-2.