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VOL. 349, JANUARY 18, 2001 537
People vs. Marcos
G.R. No. 132392. January 18, 2001.
*
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.
CESAR MARCOS Y MON, accused-appellant.
Criminal Law; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery;
There was treachery where the accused attacked the victim from
behind and while the latter was in a stooping position, thereby
depriving the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim a chance
to repel or offer any defense of his person.The two conditions
before treachery may be considered a qualifying circumstance are:
(a) the employment of means, methods, or manner of execution to
ensure the safety of the malefactor from defensive or retaliatory acts
on the part of the victim; and (b) the deliberate adoption by the
offender of such means, methods, or manner of execution. It is well-
established that treachery, to be considered a qualifying
circumstance, must be proven as clearly and indubitably as the
crime itself, and it may not be simply deduced from presumption. In
the case at bar, prosecution witness Fernando Marcos gave an
eyewitness account of how appellant attacked the victim. He
testified that appellant, armed with a bolo, suddenly attacked the
victim from behind and while the latter was in a stooping position,
thereby depriving the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim a
chance to repel or offer any defense of his person. And when the
victim fell to the ground, accused hacked him again guaranteeing
that the victim would not survive the attack. This undoubtedly
constitutes treachery for the means employed by the accused
ensured the execution of his nefarious design upon the victim
without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended
party might have made. The aggravating circumstance of treachery
qualifies the crime to murder.
Same; Same; Alternative Circumstances; Relationship; In order
that the alternative circumstance of relationship may be taken into
consideration in the imposition of the proper penalty, the offended
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party must either be the (a) spouse, (b) ascendant, (c) descendant,
(d) legitimate, natural or adopted brother or sister, or (e) relative by
affinity in the same degree, of the offender; The rule is that
relationship is aggravating in crimes against persons as when the
offender and the offended party are relatives of the same level, such
as killing a brother.In order that the alternative circumstance of
relationship may be taken into consideration in the imposi-
_______________
*
EN BANC.
538
538 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
People vs. Marcos
tion of the proper penalty, the offended party must either be the (a)
spouse, (b) ascendant, (c) descendant, (d) legitimate, natural or
adopted brother or sister, or (e) relative by affinity in the same
degree, of the offender. In the case at bar, prosecution eyewitness
Fernando Marcos, Jr. testified that Cesar and Virgilio Marcos are
brothers. Accused likewise declared that Virgilio is his brother. That
the victim is the elder brother of Cesar is likewise alleged in the
Information. The rule is that relationship is aggravating in crimes
against persons as when the offender and the offended party are
relatives of the same level, such as killing a brother. Thus,
relationship was correctly appreciated as an aggravating
circumstance.
Same; Same; Mitigating Circumstances; Voluntary Surrender;
Requisites; Where the accused testified that he voluntarily
surrendered to the police and the prosecution did not dispute such
claim, then the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender
should be appreciated in his favor. For voluntary surrender to be
appreciated, the following requisites must be present: (a) that the
offender had not been actually arrested; (b) that the offender
surrendered himself to a person in authority or to the latters agent;
and (c) that the surrender was voluntary. The circumstances of the
surrender must show that it was made spontaneously and in a
manner clearly indicating the intent of the accused to surrender
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unconditionally, either because he acknowledges his guilt or he
wishes to save the authorities the trouble and expense which will
necessarily be incurred in searching for and capturing him. In the
case at bar, appellant testified that he did not resist when the police
brought him to the police station but instead voluntarily and
unconditionally placed himself at the disposal of the authorities. The
fact that appellant voluntarily surrendered is further buttressed by
the certification issued by the police to that effect. This was never
refuted by the prosecution. In one case, it was held that where the
accused testified that he voluntarily surrendered to the police and
the prosecution did not dispute such claim, then the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender should be appreciated in his
favor.
AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Burgos, Pangasinan, Br. 70.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorneys Office for accused-appellant.
539
VOL. 349, JANUARY 18, 2001 539
People vs. Marcos
PUNO, J.:
Before this Court on automatic review is a decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Burgos, Pangasinan, Branch 70, in
Criminal Case No. B-055, dated January 7, 1998, finding
accused-appellant Cesar Marcos y Mon guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and imposing upon
him the supreme penalty of death.
In an Information
1
dated October 11, 1996, accused-
appellant Cesar Marcos y Mon was charged with the crime
of Murder, committed as follows:
That on or about August 19, 1996, at noon, in Brgy. Bayambang,
Municipality of Infanta, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident
premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously hack Virgilio Marcos y Mon, his elder brother with a bolo
hitting on the right side of head, back of neck and other parts of his
body, inflicting upon him injuries, to wit:
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- Hacking wound, right, temporo-parietal, 2 1/2
inches
- Avulsion, right, temporo-parietal area, about one
inch below the first wound, about 5x3 inches
- Hacking wound, 5x3 inches, occipital area
- Hacking wound, 2 inches, submandibular area
- Hacking wound, right, elbow joint area, 4x2 inches
which caused his instantaneous death as a consequence, to the
damage and prejudice of his heirs.
CONTRARY to Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code.
During the arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not
guilty to the offense charged and hence, trial ensued. On
January 7, 1998, the trial court rendered a decision
2
the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Cesar Marcos y Mon
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder punishable
under
_______________
1
Original Record, p. 1.
2
Penned by Executive Judge Angel L. Hernando, Jr.; Original Record, pp.
230-236.
540
540 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
People vs. Marcos
Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code and sentences him to suffer the
supreme penalty of Death. Likewise, the accused is hereby ordered
to indemnify the heirs of the victim the sum of Fifty One Thousand
Pesos (P51,000.00) as actual damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000.00) as moral damages.
Accused-appellant Cesar Marcos (Cesar) and the victim
Virgilio Marcos (Virgilio) are brothers and they live in the
same house at Bayambang, Infanta Pangasinan.
Evidence for the prosecution shows that on August 19,
1996 at about 12:00 noon, Fernando Marcos, Jr. (Fernando)
was resting under a mango tree a few meters away from the
house of the Marcoses. After a while, his uncle Virgilio
arrived and proceeded to the artesian well (jetmatic) located
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just at the back of the house. Virgilio bent down to put on
the ground the tools he was carrying. It was at this precise
moment that Fernando saw his uncle Cesar come out of the
kitchen door with a bolo in hand and suddenly hacked the
unsuspecting Virgilio from behind. Virgilio was hit on the
nape of the neck which caused him to fall to the ground.
Then Cesar hacked him again and this time Virgilio was hit
on the right side of the head. Fernando rushed to his uncle
Cesar and asked why he did that, to which Cesar replied
You go away if you do not want to get involved. Out of fear,
Fernando could only watch helplessly at Virgilio as the
latter was asking him for help. Then Fernando heard Cesar
tell Virgilio Tour life is not enough to pay the money you
squandered.
Fernando ran to the house of Kagawad Solomon del
Fierro (Solomon) to ask for assistance. After learning of the
hacking incident, Solomon went with Fernando to go to the
Marcoses house. On the road, they met the Chief of the
Civilian Voluntary Organization, Catalino Custodio
(Catalino), heading towards the same direction. When they
reached the house, they saw Cesar seated inside the sala
where a bloodied bolo lay on top of the table beside Cesar.
Solomon then asked Cesar where the victim was and he
motioned towards the back of the house. When they saw the
bloodied Virgilio sprawled on the ground near the artesian
well, they shifted him to a more comfortable position.
Catalino was about to leave to
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VOL. 349, JANUARY 18, 2001 541
People vs. Marcos
look for a car that would bring Virgilio to the hospital when
the policemen arrived and went inside the house. Cesar
surrendered his bolo to SPO1 Oscar Lagasca and, without
uttering a word, allowed himself to be hauled into the police
car together with the body of Virgilio. Solomon and the son
of Virgilio went with them. On the way to the police station,
Solomon asked Cesar why he hacked his brother, to which
the latter answered Thats good for him. Solomon tried to
explain to Cesar that he can be jailed for what he did but
Cesar simply replied Even if I will be jailed. Then Cesar
turned to the son of Virgilio and said Now you see what
happened to your father. When they reached the police
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station, Virgilio was already dead. Cesar was immediately
detained.
Dr. Genaro Merino who conducted a post mortem
examination on the body of Virgilio testified that the victim
died due to hemorrhage or loss of blood, secondary to
multiple hacking wounds. He surmised that by the nature of
the wounds sustained, the same could have been caused by
a bolo. He claims that considering that majority of the
wounds inflicted were located on the right side of the victim,
it is possible that the assailant was standing just behind the
victim on his left side. He discounted the possibility that the
assailant and the victim could have been facing each other
because a person could not be hacked in front.
Accused-appellant gave a different version of what
happened. According to him, in the afternoon of August 19,
1996 he was on his way out of the house when he was met by
Virgilio near the artesian well who suddenly unsheathed his
bolo and tried to hack him. Cesar was able to get hold of
Virgilios arm and they grappled for the bolo. In the course
of the struggle, Virgilio tripped and fell to the ground
thereby hitting his head with the bolo. When Cesar saw that
Virgilio was already wounded, he went inside the house and
sat on the bamboo bed near the door where he stayed until
the policemen arrived. According to Cesar, the police
retrieved the bolo from Virgilio who was then holding it. He
likewise testified that he agreed to go to the police station
because he was asked by the police to accompany his
brother. However upon reaching the police station, he was
immediately detained, and several days thereafter, a
criminal complaint was filed against him. According to
Cesar,
542
542 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
People vs. Marcos
Virgilio tried to hack him because he left Virgilio behind
when he went out fishing the night before.
Accused-appellant raises as his lone assignment of error
the issue of whether or not the trial court correctly imposed
the penalty of death. It is argued that although the
aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation was
raised in the information, the prosecution failed to prove the
same and hence, accused-appellant can only be sentenced to
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reclusion perpetua, citing in support thereof the rulings in
the cases of People vs. Lucas (240 SCRA 68) and People vs.
Saliling (249 SCRA 185). In the latter case, the Court held
that where the killing although qualified by treachery was
not attended by evident premeditation or any other
aggravating circumstance, and neither was there any
mitigating circumstance, the penalty must be reduced to
reclusion perpetua.
The Solicitor General countered that the presence or
absence of evident premeditation should not come to fore
simply because it was never appreciated by the trial court in
its questioned decision nor was it considered in determining
the penalty to be imposed. It submits that appellants blood
relationship with the victim as an aggravating
circumstance, in addition to the qualifying circumstance of
treachery, warrants the imposition of the death penalty.
The two conditions before treachery may be considered a
qualifying circumstance are: (a) the employment of means,
methods, or manner of execution to ensure the safety of the
malefactor from defensive or retaliatory acts on the part of
the victim; and (b) the deliberate adoption by the offender of
such means, methods, or manner of execution.
3
It is well-
established that treachery, to be considered a qualifying
circumstance, must be proven as clearly and indubitably as
the crime itself, and it may not be simply deduced from
presumption.
4
In the case at bar, prosecution witness
Fernando Marcos gave an eyewitness account of how
appellant attacked the victim. He testified that appellant,
armed with a bolo,
_______________
3 People vs. Pepe Lozada, G.R. No. 130589, June 29, 2000, 334 SCRA
602; People vs. Abdulajid Sabdani y Shumarhari, G.R. No. 134262, June
28, 2000, 334 SCRA 498.
4 People vs. Macaliag & Jesse Torre and Juliver Chua, G.R. No.
130655, August 9, 2000, 337 SCRA 502.
543
VOL. 349, JANUARY 18, 2001 543
People vs. Marcos
suddenly attacked the victim from behind and while the
latter was in a stooping position, thereby depriving the
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hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim a chance to repel
or offer any defense of his person. And when the victim fell
to the ground, accused hacked him again guaranteeing that
the victim would not survive the attack. This undoubtedly
constitutes treachery for the means employed by the
accused ensured the execution of his nefarious design upon
the victim without risk to himself arising from any defense
which the offended party might have made.
5
The
aggravating circumstance of treachery qualifies the crime to
murder.
It is not disputed that the aggravating circumstance of
evident premeditation, although alleged in the information,
was not duly proven by the prosecution and hence, it was
properly not appreciated by the trial court. However, the
Solicitor General insists that since accused is a brother of
the victim, the alternative circumstance of relationship
must be considered in determining the imposable penalty.
In order that the alternative circumstance of relationship
may be taken into consideration in the imposition of the
proper penalty, the offended party must either be the (a)
spouse, (b) ascendant, (c) descendant, (d) legitimate, natural
or adopted brother or sister, or (e) relative by affinity in the
same degree, of the offender.
6
In the case at bar, prosecution
eyewitness Fernando Marcos, Jr. testified that Cesar and
Virgilio Marcos are brothers.
7
Accused likewise declared that
Virgilio is his brother.
8
That the victim is the elder brother
of Cesar is likewise alleged in the Information. The rule is
that relationship is aggravating in crimes against persons
as when the offender and the offended party are relatives of
the same level, such as killing a brother.
9
Thus, relationship
was correctly appreciated as an aggravating circumstance.
_______________
5 People vs. Rufino Teston and Rogelio Gaco, G.R. No. 134938, June 8,
2000, 333 SCRA 404.
6 People vs. Caballes, 274 SCRA 83 (1997).
7 TSN, December 17, 1996, p. 2.
8 TSN, August 27, 1997, p. 1.
9 Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book One, 14th rev. ed., 1998, p. 462,
citing People vs. Alisub, 69 Phil. 362, 364 (1940).
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544 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
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People vs. Marcos
It appears from the records that a Certification was issued
by the Philippine National Police at Infanta, Pangasinan
dated 18 February 1997, which states that herein accused
voluntarily surrendered to this station with the weapon
used.
10
Nevertheless, the trial court did not take into
consideration this mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender. Neither was it raised in the appellants nor
appellees brief. Be that as it may, considering its possible
effect on the penalty that may be imposed in this case, it is
well to ascertain if the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender may be appreciated in favor of herein accused.
For voluntary surrender to be appreciated, the following
requisites must be present: (a) that the offender had not
been actually arrested; (b) that the offender surrendered
himself to a person in authority or to the latters agent; and
(c) that the surrender was voluntary. The circumstances of
the surrender must show that it was made spontaneously
and in a manner clearly indicating the intent of the accused
to surrender unconditionally, either because he
acknowledges his guilt or he wishes to save the authorities
the trouble and expense which will necessarily be incurred
in searching for and capturing him.
11
In the case at bar, appellant testified that he did not
resist when the police brought him to the police station but
instead voluntarily and unconditionally placed himself at
the disposal of the authorities.
12
The fact that appellant
voluntarily surrendered is further buttressed by the
certification issued by the police to that effect. This was
never refuted by the prosecution. In one case, it was held
that where the accused testified that he voluntarily
surrendered to the police and the prosecution did not
dispute such claim, then the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender should be appreciated in his favor.
13
Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, murder is
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Article 63 thereof
provides the rules for the application of indivisible penalties,
to wit:
_______________
10 Exhibit B, Original Record, p. 107.
11 People vs. Sambulan, 289 SCRA 500 (1998).
12 TSN, August 27, 1997, p. 14.
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1.
2.
3.
4.
13 People vs. Malabago, 265 SCRA 198 (1996).
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VOL. 349, JANUARY 18, 2001 545
People vs. Marcos
Art. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties.x x x.
In all cases in which the law prescribes the penalty composed of
two indivisible penalties the following rules shall be observed in the
application thereof:
When in the commission of the deed there is present only
one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty shall be
applied.
When there are neither mitigating nor aggravating
circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser
penalty shall be applied.
When the commission of the act is attended by some
mitigating circumstance and there is no aggravating
circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.
When both mitigating and aggravating circumstances
attended the commission of the act, the courts shall
reasonably allow them to offset one another in consideration
of their number and importance, for the purpose of applying
the penalty in accordance with the preceding rules,
according to the result of such compensation.
In the present case, While the trial court correctly
considered the qualifying circumstance of treachery, it
failed to make a finding as to the presence of any
aggravating circumstance which would justify the
imposition of the death penalty. There is here present the
aggravating circumstance of relationship but this is offset
by the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
Perforce, pursuant to Article 63, the correct penalty to be
imposed should only be reclusion perpetua.
With regard to actual damages, the trial court likewise
erred in awarding the sum of P51,000.00 to the heirs of the
victim which must be reduced to P18,000.00 since it is only
the latter amount which is supported by a receipt.
14
The bare
testimony of the victims son as to the other expenses was
not substantially corroborated by receipts to prove the same.
The court can only grant actual damages for such expenses
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if they are supported by receipts.
15
We affirm the award of
moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00. In addition,
the amount of P50,000.00 should also be awarded as civil
_______________
14 Exhibit D, Original Record, p. 152.
15 People vs. Wilfredo Riglos y Ramos, G.R. No. 134763, September 4,
2000, 339 SCRA 562.
546
546 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
People vs. Marcos
indemnity without need of proof other than the commission
of the crime.
16
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Burgos, Pangasinan, Branch 70, in Criminal
Case No. B-055 dated January 7, 1998 finding appellant
Cesar Marcos y Mon guilty for the crime of murder is hereby
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the penalty is
hereby reduced to reclusion perpetua and that appellant is
ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the amounts of
P18,000.00 as actual damages, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, and P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr. (C.J.), Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena,
Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr. and
Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
Judgment affirmed with modification.
Notes.For the circumstance of voluntary surrender, it
is sufficient that it be spontaneous and made in a manner
clearly indicating the intent of the accused to surrender
unconditionally, either because he acknowledges his guilt or
he wishes to save the authorities the trouble and expense
which will necessarily be incurred in searching for and
capturing him. (People vs. Sambulan, 289 SCRA 500 [1998])
The law does not find unusual the voluntary surrender of
criminal offendersit merely considers such act as a
mitigating circumstance. (People vs. Nepomuceno, Jr., 298
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SCRA 450 [1998])
There is no voluntary surrender where the accused was
arrested by the police. (People vs. Realin, 301 SCRA 495
[1990])
In crimes against chastity, such as rape, relationship is
aggravating. (People vs. Lomerio, 326 SCRA 530 [2000])
o0o
_______________
16 People vs. Isabelo Ragundiaz, G.R. No. 124977, June 22, 2000, 334
SCRA 196.
547
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