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People vs Abarca
G.R. No. 74433 September 14, 1987 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FRANCISCO ABARCA, accused-appellant.


This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Palo, Leyte, sentencing the accused-appellant Francisco Abarca to death for the complex crime of murder with double frustrated murder. The case was elevated to this Court in view of the death sentence imposed. With the approval of the new Constitution, abolishing the penalty of death and commuting all existing death sentences to life imprisonment, we required the accused-appellant to inform us whether or not he wished to pursue the case as an appealed case. In compliance therewith, he filed a statement informing us that he wished to continue with the case by way of an appeal. On July 15, 1984 at around 6:00 PM, accused Francisco Abarca went home and found his wife, Jenny, and Khingsley Koh in the act of sexual intercourse. When the wife and Koh noticed the accused, the wife pushed her paramour who got his revolver. The accused who was then peeping above the built-in cabinet in their room jumped and ranaway. The accused went to look for a firearm at Tacloban City. At around 6:30 p.m. he got an M-16 rifle and went back to his house. He was not able to find his wife and Koh there. He proceeded to the hangout of Kingsley Koh. The accused found Koh playing mah-jong and fired at him three times with his rifle. Koh was hit and died instantaneously. Arnold and Lina Amparado who were occupying the adjacent room were also hit by the shots fired by the accused. Arnold and Lina Amparado were rushed to the hospital and were rendered timely medical assistance that prevented their deaths. Legal Issues: 1. Whether or not Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code defining death inflicted under exceptional circumstances can be applied in the instant case dissolving the criminal liability of the accused for the murder of the deceased. 2. Whether or not the accused is liable for frustrated murder for the injuries suffered by the Amparados.

Holding: 1. Yes, Article 247 can be applied in the instant case. 2. No, the accused is not liable for frustrated murder for the injuries suffered by the Amparados.

Reasoning/Policy: Article 247 qualifies death to be under exceptional circumstance when the following elements are present: (1) that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person; and (2) that he kills any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter. There is no question that the accused surprised his wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse. That he went out to kill one of them immediately thereafter is however vague. The length of time that passed between the time the accused discovered his wife having sexual intercourse with the victim and the time the latter was actually shot took almost an hour. It must be understood however that the shooting was the continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the accused. The killing has been motivated by the same blind impulse and was the direct by-product of the accuseds rage. Satisfying both provisions, Article 247 can therefore be applicable in this case. As a result, accused is not criminally liable for the death of the deceased as he was under exceptional circumstance upon employing the act of killing. As a rule, one committing an offense is liable for all the consequences of his act. However, that rule presupposes that the act done amounts to a felony. Ruling that Article247 can be applied in this case, accused was therefore not committing a felony when he killed the deceased. Having not committing a felony, it therefore follows that the accused is not liable for the unintended acts which followed, in this case, for the injuries suffered by the Amparados. Summary of Ruling by SC: The case at bar requires distinctions. Here, the accused-appellant was not committing murder when he discharged his rifle upon the deceased. Inflicting death under exceptional circumstances is not murder. It cannot therefore hold the appellant liable for frustrated murder for the injuries suffered by the Amparados. For the separate injuries suffered by the Amparado spouses, we therefore impose upon the accused-appellant arresto mayor (in its medium and maximum periods) in its maximum period, arresto to being the graver penalty (than destierro). The decision appealed from is hereby MODIFIED. The accused-appellant is sentenced to four months and 21 days to six months of arresto mayor. The period within which he has been in confinement shall be credited in the service of these penalties. He is furthermore ordered to indemnify Arnold and Lina Amparado in the sum of P16,000.00 as and for hospitalization expense and the sum of P1,500.00 as and for Arnold Amparado's loss of earning capacity. No special pronouncement as to costs.